Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Boy of October 

From Jason Leopold of TruthOut (via Zemblan patriot B.K.):
Despite vehement denials by his attorney, who said this week that Karl Rove is neither a "target" nor in danger of being indicted in the CIA leak case, the special counsel leading the investigation has already written up charges against Rove, and a grand jury is expected to vote on whether to indict the Deputy White House Chief of Staff sometime next week, sources knowledgeable about the probe said Friday afternoon . . . .

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, was informed via a target letter that Fitzgerald is prepared to charge Rove for perjury and lying to investigators during Rove’s appearances before the grand jury in 2004 and in interviews with investigators in 2003 when he was asked how and when he discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA, and whether he shared that information with the media.
Further details from a Leopold article earlier this week:
People close to the case said that Fitzgerald has presented additional evidence to the grand jury in the past week that shows Rove lied to federal investigators and a grand jury eight out of the nine times he was asked about his knowledge of the leak since October 2003.
Now there are many, many reasons to hope for Mr. Rove's indictment (Reason #8: To see the look of sheer beatitude on Joe Wilson's face), but there's one in particular that is rising meteorically, or reverse-meteorically, up our own personal schadenfreude chart: we would like to know that Mr. Rove will be very, very distracted over the next few months. As you know, the President has just appointed him Ratfucker-in-Chief for the upcoming midterm elections. A dozen or more GOP seats are in jeopardy, thanks to the Abramoff/Cunningham/Wilkes scandals; public approval of Congress has plummeted into the low twenties; and, as John Dean explains in the column excerpted below, Mr. Bush and his Republican cronies cannot afford to lose control of either house -- which makes the Ratfucker-in-Chief a dangerous man indeed, because his dark ingenuity will have free rein. To misquote John Huston: You see, Mr. Gittes, most Presidents never have to live with the knowledge that, in order to prevent Democrats from regaining subpoena power, they are capable of . . . anything:
Active/negative presidents are risk-takers. (Consider the colossal risk Bush took with the Iraq invasion). And once they have taken a position, they lock on to failed courses of action and insist on rigidly holding steady, even when new facts indicate that flexibility is required.

The source of their rigidity is that they've become emotionally attached to their own positions; to change them, in their minds, would be to change their personal identity, their very essence. That, they are not willing to do at any cost . . . .

George Bush has misled America into a preemptive war in Iraq; he is using terrorism to claim that as Commander-in-Chief, he is above the law; and he refuses to acknowledge that American law prohibits torturing our enemies and warrantlessly wiretapping Americans.

Americans, increasingly, are not buying his justifications for any of these positions. Yet Bush has made no effort to persuade them that his actions are sound, prudent or productive; rather, he takes offense when anyone questions his unilateral powers. He responds as if personally insulted.

And this may be his only option: With Bush's limited rhetorical skills, it would be all but impossible for him to persuade any others than his most loyal supporters of his positions. His single salient virtue - as a campaigner - was the ability to stay on-message. He effectively (though inaccurately) portrayed both Al Gore and John Kerry as wafflers, whereas he found consistency in (over)simplifying the issues. But now, he cannot absorb the fact that his message is not one Americans want to hear - that he is being questioned, severely, and that staying on-message will be his downfall . . . .

As the 2006 midterm elections approach, this active/negative president can be expected to take further risks. If anyone doubts that Bush, Cheney, Rove and their confidants are planning an "October Surprise" to prevent the Republicans from losing control of Congress, then he or she has not been observing this presidency very closely . . . .

One possibility is that Dick Cheney will resign as Vice President for "health reasons," and become a senior counselor to the president. And Bush will name a new vice president - a choice geared to increase his popularity, as well as someone electable in 2008. It would give his sinking administration a new face, and new life.

Bush's second and more likely, surprise could be in the area of national security: If he could achieve a Great Powers coalition (of Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, and so on) presenting a united-front "no nukes" stance to Iran, it would be his first diplomatic coup and a political triumph.

But more likely, Bush may mount a unilateral attack on Iran's nuclear facilities - hoping to rev up his popularity. (It's a risky strategy: A unilateral hit on Iran may both trigger devastating Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks in Iraq, with high death tolls, and increase international dislike of Bush for his bypass of the U.N. But as an active/negative President, Bush hardly shies away from risk.) Another rabbit-out-of-the-hat possibility: the capture of Osama bin Laden . . . .

There is, however, the possibility of another terrorist attack, and if one occurred, Americans would again rally around the president - wrongly so, since this is a presidency that lives on fear-mongering about terror, but does little to truly address it. The possibility that we might both suffer an attack, and see a boost to Bush come from it, is truly a terrifying thought.
Please don't ask us whom we'd rather see as Ratfucker-in-Chief, if Rove is forced to resign; the likely replacements are all sociopathic monsters as well.

But chances are they're just a little bit less seasoned.

SIDEBAR: An interesting bit of speculation from Zemblan patriot B.K.:
Hashimi Rafsanjani, the Iranian who is thought to have cut the hostage deal with Reagan for the first October Surprise, is currently the head of the Iranian Expediency Discernment Council - very powerful mullahed-up guy from way back. So he's still in a position to deliver another expedient surprise - say, a step-down in the nuclear confrontation - to his friends in Washington, who have, after all, eliminated the troublesome Sunni enemy in Iraq and put an elected Shiite government in in its place. Why shouldn't he? And why on earth would the Bushes nuke one of their long-time allies?

That's my bet for the Surprise: A nuclear step-down of some kind, a drop in oil prices, maybe some help putting down the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. I don't see why it would have to wait for October, either, given that it's so obviously in the interest of all these serious people. One of the Iranian mullahs is now the fifth richest man in the world. Others will be joining him. And the Bushes, as always, will make a profit. We are witnessing the founding of the greatest family fortune in American history.
UPDATE: The great Murray Waas, "Why Rove Testified for a Fifth Time":
Appearing for a fifth time before the federal grand jury in the CIA leak case, White House adviser Karl Rove on Wednesday was questioned extensively about contradictions between his sworn testimony and that of Time magazine writer Matthew Cooper on the substance of their July 2003 conversation regarding then-agency operative Valerie Plame, according to attorneys involved in the case . . . .

Rove also testified to the grand jury that when he told Cooper that Plame worked at the agency, he was only passing along unverified gossip.

In contrast, Cooper has testified that Rove told him in a phone conversation on July 11, 2003, that Plame worked for the CIA and played a role in having the agency select her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, to make a fact-finding trip to Niger in 2002.

Cooper has also testified that Rove, as well as a second source -- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then-chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney -- portrayed the information about Plame as accurate and authoritative. Cooper has testified that based on his conversations with Rove and Libby, he felt confident enough about the information to identify Plame as a CIA officer in a July 17 Time story . . . .

After initially not telling the FBI and federal grand jury of his conversation with Plame, Rove formally revised his testimony during a grand jury appearance on October 15, 2004. In that testimony, Rove said he believed that he had spoken to Cooper about Plame, but still had little independent recollection of what was said.

Rove's new testimony came as a result of the discovery of a July 11 White House email that Rove had written to then-deputy National Security advisor Stephen J. Hadley in which Rove said he had spoken to Cooper about the Niger controversy.

Rove has insisted that he did not initially volunteer information to the FBI and the grand jury about his July 11 conversation with Cooper because of a faulty memory. He has said that he has so many conversations and phone calls in the course of the work day that he simply had forgotten about that conversation until the email surfaced.

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