Every year your politicians decide you're too stupid to understand the laws of supply and demand and instead begin an investigation into "possible" price gouging by oil companies. They find nothing, of course, year in and out.
They do this to misdirect public angst away from them, for it is Congress that in large part artificially increases the price of gas through tariff and oxygenate rules.
Bush orders inquiry into sky-high gasoline prices, April 25, 2006
FTC Asked to Probe Gas Price Gouging, Sept. 2, 2005
Florida Pursues Anti-Trust Probe Of Gas Prices, Dec. 14, 2005
Bush team asked to join investigation into big oil companies, May 20, 2004
State Lawmakers to Launch Probe into Record Gas Prices, May 18, 2004
[Joe] Lieberman Calls For Probe Into Gas Price Spike, Dec. 30, 2003
[Cali] Governor orders probe of fuel prices, March 14, 2003
[Barbara] Boxer [D, CA] seeks federal probe of gas prices, March 7, 2003
Price Hikes Fuel Calls For [FTC] Probe, Feb. 24, 2003
Bronson [FL Ag. Commish] Targets Gas Terminals in Price Gouging Probe, June 6, 2002
U-Turn On Gas Prices Probe [FTC starts new investigation after last year's failed investigation], May 9, 2002
Democrats' gas pricing probe finds no collusion, April 29, 2002
Gas Price-Gouging Probed, Sept. 14, 2001
[Carl] Levin [D-MICH] to Use Committee Post to Probe Oil Industry Profits, May 29, 2001
Senator Jay Rockefeller's [D-WVA] letter to the FTC, May 10, 2001
Federal Trade Commission begins probe of gas prices, June 21, 2000
Lawmakers, candidates add fuel to gas price debate, June 21, 2000
Justice Department to probe gas price rise, April 30, 1996
1996!!! These windbags were actively using this same boogeyman of "big oil conspiracy" a decade ago. (Yes, and I know before that too).
Well, here's the rest of the story, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:
There's been unconscionable behavior all right, most of it on Capitol Hill. A decent portion of the latest run-up in gas prices -- and the entire cause of recent spot shortages -- is the direct result of the energy bill Congress passed last summer. That self-serving legislation handed Congress's friends in the ethanol lobby a mandate that forces drivers to use 7.5 billion gallons annually of that oxygenate by 2012.
At the same time, Congress refused to provide liability protection to the makers of MTBE, a rival oxygenate getting hit with lawsuits. So MTBE makers are leaving the market in a rush, while overstretched ethanol producers (despite their promises) are in no way equipped to compensate for the loss of MTBE in the fuel supply. Ethanol is also difficult to ship and store outside of the Midwest, which is causing supply headaches and spot gas shortages along the East Coast and Texas.
These columns warned Republicans this would happen. As recently as last year, ethanol was selling for $1.45 a gallon. By December it had reached $2 and is now going for $2.77. So refiners are now having to buy both oil and ethanol at sky-high prices. In short, the only market manipulation has been by politicians.
Add to that, that China and India are using more oil (or wood and concrete for that matter) then ever, that rebels have disrupted oil flow in Nigeria, that OPEC exists, that Iran is scaring the crap out of markets with nuke talk, and oh yeah... that the Left wing, through lawsuit threats and the ballot box, have prevented any new refineries from being built in 30 years, and it's hardly rocket science or dark conspiracy that drives up your pump price.
Now tell me there's not a 'media-outrage' double standard between Republican and Democratic presidents...
In State of War, [James] Risen reveals that [former president] Clinton also had an overly ambitious plot, which eventually backfired, involving assisting an enemy with WMDs. Operation Merlin had the CIA using a Russian atomic scientist, who had defected to the United States, to sell or give nuclear bomb blueprints to Iranian diplomats at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. The catch was that the plans for the TBA 480 "firing set" contained design errors that would send Iran's scientists down the wrong path and delay their development of weapons. The TBA 480 is a Russian device for creating the implosion that sets off the nuclear chain-reaction in a bomb. The Russian scientist, whose defection does not now seem as genuine as was supposed, spotted the flaws and offered to help Iran fix the problems. But even if he had not tipped off the Iranians, other Russian and Chinese experts are known to be helping Tehran, so the design flaws would likely have been spotted at some point.
Risen writes (page 195) that the Clinton-approved plan ended up handing Tehran "one of the greatest engineering secrets in the world, providing the solution to one of a handful of problems that separated nuclear powers such as the United States and Russia from rogue countries such as Iran that were desperate to join the nuclear club but had so far fallen short." It probably did much to advance the day when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can truly boast that his nation had joined the world's nuclear club, as he tried to do on April 12. To fill out the analogy, Ahmadinejad is now threatening to kill thousands of Americans.
That's from William Hawkins, who analogizes the fictional president Logan from FOX's 24 with Bill Clinton. More than that, Clinton's plot affirms, once again, that the press only sees fit to act as watchdog for those things related to conservatives.
On Friday the CIA fired officer Mary McCarthy, accusing her of leaking information to the press - in fact, it's possible she leaked information regarding CIA relationships with European counterparts for jailing al Qaeda suspects. [McCarthy this evening denied that link]
Well, just so we all have it straight...
When it's a Republican president, it's an egregious leak, but when it's a Democratic president it's a Constitutional choice.
When it's in the name of a liberal agenda they are "whistleblowers" and their efforts are noble because they expose "the truth"; all others, Neo-Con scum, liars, warmongers, etc.
Problem is, of course, who determines what that "truth" is? Who gets to determine when someone is a "leaker" or the more honorable "whistleblower"? Well, apparently, the liberals in the MainStream Media and on Capital Hill feel they have the monopoly on that.
You see, by John Kerry's standard it's okay, or at least understandable or condonable, for national intelligence keepers to break the law and their sworn oaths and pass classified intelligence, even operational intelligence (i.e., intelligence of a practical rather than analytical nature, which could actually endanger agents and associates of America), when, as Kerry states it, they are "leaking to tell the truth."
And this man, John Kerry, wants to be your president...?
The media is no different. As blogger watchdogs note, ABC News used the everybody does it defense, even seemingly comparing Mary McCarthy to Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin. Juan Williams of FOX News called McCarthy's leak "an act of honor." [He was quickly berated by William Kristol, who noted she could have quit her job in protest, taken the matter to CIA's internal affairs, to Congressional oversights, or use another legal means of protest.]
The Washington Post, in initially reporting the story, pulled out of the woodwork former CIA/State Dept. schmuck Larry Johnson, who defended McCarthy by saying "I am struck by the irony that Mary McCarthy may have been fired for blowing the whistle and ensuring the truth about an abuse was told to the American people." Again, thank Heavens this man is no longer privy to national security or secrets.
Larry Johnson, you may recall, has the infamy of perhaps the worst timing in the history of the world for penning a commentary titled "The Declining Terrorist Threat"... published in The New York Times (but of course!) on July 10, 2001. That this jackass was working for our national intelligence apparatus while 19 hijackers were plotting the murder of thousands of Americans should not be a surprise, nor is not unrelated to his misguided defense of McCarthy, a incompetent cut from the same cloth it would seem. One can only hope that CIA head Porter Goss is successful in vetting these people from the CIA in the years ahead.
Back to "the truth"... Well, some people have justifiable problem with who gets to define it (and we'll even put aside that the "16 words" [aka, Iran-Niger uranium connection] were affirmed as accurate; and that Bush never leaked NIE information because presidents have the constitutional right to declassify on demand in order to disseminate [what the Left labeled "leaking'.])
[Peter Brookes, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense] While U.S. government employees are allowed to have political views, they shouldn't be mixing them with their work. Her politics is an interesting sidebar to the leak story: Clinton National Security Council staff; moved off by the incoming Bush administration; sizeable cash donations to the Democratic National Committee, and $2,000 contribution to the Kerry campaign in 2004. It’s not clear her actions were politically motivated at this point, but you do the math...
Indeed, according to MSNBC she's got Rand Beers answering her telephone for her. Beers was a national security advisor to Democratic Party candidate John Kerry for the 2004 election.
Additionally Brookes points out the differences between operational and analytical intelligence in his commentary, underscoring that what McCarthy did is causing harm to the United States - the country she swore an oath to protect.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy (no relation) wonders why Mary McCarthy isn't in jail, or at least why a Justice investigation isn't already going after her:
An additional, compelling policy consideration is also at issue here. Mary McCarthy's position - the post from which she is likely to have learned the most sensitive information at the heart of the leak controversy - was inside the CIA's inspector general's office. This is the unit that investigates internal misconduct. This is the unit to which government employees are encouraged to report government abuse or illegality so it can be investigated, potentially reported to Congress, and prosecuted if appropriate.
That is, it is the legal alternative to leaking national secrets to the media.
It is, therefore, the process that has to be protected if our intelligence community is to have credibility with the public and with the foreign intelligence services on which we are so dependent. If it becomes just another Washington sieve - a place where people who comply with their oaths and exercise professional discretion may nevertheless expect to find the information they confide trumpeted on Page One of the Washington Post - we are guaranteed to have much more leaking. And much less security.
Yet protecting process is all the more difficult because not only are half the players on the take, but the refs (the media) are too. It is difficult at best to arouse public outrage because the very people who should be doing that (the media) are too busy justifying the means by the outcome, although in this case the outcome itself is often delusional.
The liberal strategy of telling half-truths until they are accepted common knowledge are not isolated to the war on terrorism, Iraq or national security.
Jonah Goldberg explains:As Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at MIT, recently lamented in The Wall Street Journal: "Scientists who dissent from the [Global Warming] alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis."
In Vanity Fair, writer Mark Hertsgaard alleges that Frederick Seitz, the former president of the National Academy of Sciences and the former president of the prestigious Rockefeller University, was a shill for, of all things, the tobacco industry. A press release by the National Environmental Trust proclaims "Scientist Who Spearheaded Attacks on Global Warming Also Directed $45M Tobacco Industry Effort to Hide Health Impacts of Smoking."
Seitz, a giant in American science, says this is all "ridiculous, completely wrong." Now 94, Seitz explained to TCSDaily.com that R.J. Reynolds had given Rockefeller University $5 million a year for basic research. Seitz says he directed the money toward non-tobacco-related efforts in the study of prions (the virus-like proteins that cause mad-cow disease), tuberculosis and other diseases. Prion researcher Stanley Prusiner thanked both R.J. Reynolds and Seitz in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
But [Global Warming advocate Al] Gore & Co. aren't troubled by such details because the smears are all for a good cause. That's why Gore saw nothing wrong in bullying dissident climate-change scientists when he was a senator or waging a mean-spirited campaign to discredit the work of his old mentor, Harvard oceanographer Roger Revelle, because Revelle thought alarmism was unwarranted.
Read the whole thing.
Here's a teaser on The Drudge Report:
ROLLING STONE MAG: BUSH 'WORST PRESIDENT IN HISTORY?'
Wow! A highly liberal music magazine doesn't like a Republican president!? Shocking, right? What's next, "Hollywood Insider to bash Dick Cheney"!? "Four out of five Hollywood actors agree - Impeach Bush"!?
I'm curious, is Jimmy Carter at least on Rolling Stone's top 43?
Anyway, upcoming intellectual scoops from the media include:
ESPN: SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SUCKS!
LINUX RED HAT: MICROSOFT "A MONOPOLY"!
"F*CK THE NRA," SEZ SARAH BRADY!
A little bit of historical recap proves that the calls for Don Rumsfeld's resignation by former Pentagon top brass has very little to do with Iraq and very much to do with budgets (and ideology).
Long before Iraq began Don Rumsfeld was quickly making enemies by daring to rock the Pentagon boat, USS Status Quo. Even before 9-11 Rumsfeld was pushing an unpopular ideological change in the military: a quicker, more mobile and effective fighting force.
Rumsfeld canceled the Army's self-propelled howitzer, the Crusader (an $11 billion project) and the attack helicopter Comanche (a $14.6 billion project). Both projects were born in an era when military threats were perceived from Russia or China, not an IED or band of hijackers.
And while not canceled, Pentagon upper echelon were nonetheless perturbed and considered galling Rumsfeld's decision to review the cost-benefits of the Marine Corps’ V-22 Osprey (estimated between $72 and $100 million per bird) and the Air Force’s F/A-22 Raptor fighter (a 19-year-old $72 billion project, currently $55 billion over budget).
Indeed, such a shock to the system was Rumsfeld's decision to terminate Crusader in particular, that Pentagon members took it upon themselves to insolently lobby members of Congress to countermand Rumsfeld's order. Suspecting Secretary of the Army Thomas White as the one responsible, Rumsfeld pushed him out the door (White, simultaneously caught up in corporate graft allegations, shortly after resigned in 2003).
Even more appalling to the Pentagon-Beltway union was Rumsfeld's threat to the notion of lifetime employment. In April of 2003 Rumsfeld published "Defense Transformation for the 21st Century Act," which among other things dared to move 320,000 military jobs to the private sector in an effort to free more soldiers up for combat and allow greater flexibility in promoting or firing top officers. Competition? In the Pentagon!? How dare he!?
But you better believe that anyone who dares upset the government beliefs of career entitlement is going to be targeted by everyone from Congressional leaders - whose angry constituents are looking to avenge lost contracts - to organized labor and career diplo-generals.
These people push back when anyone tries to revise how taxpayer monies transact within and through the Pentagon.
Now, I'm not going to debunk, one-at-a-time, the claims of each of these anti-Rummy generals, but it's worth noting that Marine General Anthony Zinni was never for the war in Iraq, advocated the cold-war era tactic of containment against Saddam Hussein, and was prominant in the Clinton-era strategy to make Yassir Arafat a "peace" partner between Israel and the Palestinians.
However, in 2000, Zinni, like all the other Democrats who were for removing Saddam before they were against it, warned of the dangers of leaving Saddam Hussein in power. Before the US Senate Zinni said,
"Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Arabian Gulf region... due to its large conventional military force, pursuit of WMD, oppressive treatment of Iraqi citizens, refusal to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR)..."
Gee, he sounds like Rumsfeld himself! Wait, there's more:
"Despite claims that WMD efforts have ceased, Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions, ... Even if Baghdad reversed its course and surrendered all WMD capabilities, it retains the scientific, technical, and industrial infrastructure to replace agents and munitions within weeks or months.
Three (Iraq, Iran and Sudan) of the seven recognized state-sponsors of terrorism are within this potentially volatile area [CENTCOM], and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been sanctioned by the UN Security Council for its harboring of Usama bin Laden."
All this, you'll recall, took place after the Bill Clinton administration launched cruise missile attacks on Baghdad, and made it official US policy to remove Saddam Hussein from power (the 1998 Iraqi Liberation Act).
So, how is it that these policies were right for Clinton and Zinni, but wrong for Bush and Rummy?
"When I recently asked an Army officer with extensive Iraq combat experience how many of his colleagues wanted Rumsfeld out, he guessed 75 percent. Based on my conversations with senior officers over the past three years, I suspect that figure may be low." -- David Ignatius, Washington Post
Responding specifically to Ignatius' silly statistical evidence is Jack Kelly:
Record re-enlistment rates do not suggest widespread dissatisfaction among the rank and file with the secretary of defense.
Now, Kelly's data may be as unscientific as Ignatius', but at least Kelly recognizes it as such.
Read the rest of Kelly's piece, which in part retorts each of the six ex-Army officers gone public with their dislike of Rumsfeld. In addition to Zinni, it includes:
*Retired Army general Charles Swannack -- blames Rummy for Abu Ghraib, but neglects to point a finger at any Army officer.
*Paul Eaton -- "oversaw the rebuilding of the Iraqi army in 2003-2004, when everyone now agrees this was a disaster."
*MajGen. John Riggs -- "busted a grade and forced to retire because of a procurement scandal." So much for moral authority.
Meanwhile Tony Blankley argues that if these generals sudden coincidental attacks on Rumsfeld were actually premeditated it would officially constitute mutiny and sedition, according to military code.
If you're wondering why you're paying $3 a gallon at the gas pumps and how it is that a barrel of oil is now over $70, you can count on our economically ignorant mainstream media to further obfuscate the answers.
You can count on our always liberally leaning media to propagate with the staples of liberal and socialist thought - scarcity mentality and zero-sum economics. I.e., in order for people to gain it must by natural default mean others are losing.
These notions are what Einstein termed... "bullshit."
Pop quiz, hot shots: The US is at an 8-year high or low in crude oil reserves? That would be an 8-year high. So, you may wonder, how is it that we could have more oil in our stock then at any time in 8 years yet be paying $3 a gallon for gasoline?
Well, by the media reports one might be inclined to think that the war in Iraq or Iran's nuclear ambitions are to blame. This in turn fuels the usual and tired conspiracy theories about fat capitalists in smoke-filled rooms artificially hiking prices via scare tactics and wars. If only it were that easy!
Well, then it's gotta be the damage sustained to Hurricane Katrina. Kat was certainly painful, but that too is only a factor. The corollary to this (that we might not be at $3 a gallon had only Katrina missed the Gulf Coast) should be obviously false to everyone. Our gas would have been almost as high regardless of Katrina.
Other more savvy thinkers among you might correctly note that drastically increasing economic development in China and India (population: 1.3 billion and 1.1 billion, respectively) are forcing up the price of everything from oil to wood to concrete. But, again, while factors, these too are not the chief blame for your $3 a gallon pump price.
Finally, those enlightened backslappers like myself who read the Wall Street Journal might be following recent rebel attacks on Nigerian oil supplies. Nigeria is a major oil exporter, on the top four list of US imports. But, my friends, the US imports more from Mexico or Canada (the number one and two exporters of oil to the US, respectively) than any other country, and the US daily consumption of oil is almost 40% domestic supply.
So, how is it that the US can have such a drastic difference between its 8-year high oil supply and its seemingly all time high gasoline price*? (*Note: factoring inflation, gas price today is nowhere near as high as during the energy crisis, another government-caused energy problem).
Answer: BLAME CONGRESS
Yes, friends, once again your United States Congress proves that if there's a way to screw up efficient business they're ready for the task.
[Wall Street Journal] Congress has long required the use of such "oxygenates" as ethanol and MTBE in gasoline. Midwest drivers have tended to rely on locally produced and corn-based ethanol, while places where ethanol is expensive to ship -- such as the East Coast and Texas -- have used petroleum-based MTBE. But the ethanol lobby wanted more market share, and so last year's energy bill included a giant new ethanol mandate, while at the same time denying liability protection for rival MTBE makers that are getting sued for having sold a product that Congress had once mandated.
MTBE makers are now fleeing the market; most oil companies will drop the additive entirely on May 5. So bye-bye to a significant portion of the domestic fuel supply, which already stretched ethanol producers have no hope of replacing any time soon. Since ethanol is difficult and expensive to transport, such highly populated cites as New York or Dallas that are far from the ethanol belt will suffer most from the gasoline shortages.
One eminently sensible short-term solution would be for the feds to drop the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol, which would particularly help coastal areas. But eager to show the Bush Administration's own deference to the ethanol lobby, Energy Secretary Sam Bodman defended the tariff last week, saying it was necessary so that foreign producers "can have no advantage over American companies."
Heaven forbid foreigners should be able to compete with a heavily subsidized domestic ethanol industry that is getting rich off U.S. drivers. Politicians in Washington are blaming high gas prices in part for their low approval ratings, and as usual the voters are right.
You see, we don't just put crude oil in our cars. It's first refined into nice clean viscous oil and clear gasoline. But that process takes time and money. Of the $3 a gallon pricetag, Congress - just from oxygenates - is responsible for 18 percent. Add to that all the federal and state taxes on a gallon of gas and you begin to see the real culprit.
Well, as usual, in government lies the problem. This is exacerbated by so-called environmentalists who are often simply socialists in environmental garb.
What happens when the oil industry attempts to build a new refinery? They're tied up for decades in expensive lawsuits because environmentalists claim the refinery will harm the population of the yellow-tailed salamander or cutesy owl or fluffy bunny, etc.
As of January 1, 2005 there were only 148 refineries in the US. In 1989 there were 204. In 1981, 324. There has not been a new refinery built in 30 years. So, if there's any endangered species here it's the US oil refinery. And, if there's an ecosystem in danger it's the US economy.
Short of Harry Potter's wand we must still convert crude to gasoline. Regarding that, one final note that the nation's environmentalists like you to forget: No oil, no plastic. Think about life without a toothbrush, a computer or tires. Sure, in time it may become cheaper to produce non-petrolium plastics but to date nothing gives more energy bang for the buck than oil and coal.
But don't expect your mainstream media to list "lack of refineries" or "Congress" or "environmental lawsuits" as bullet points on high gas prices.
A few days ago, I posted a translation of a document culled from the captured Iraqi documents that the US found during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This particular memo, dated March 17, 2001, comes from a brigadier general in the Iraqi Air Force and requests a list of volunteers from all units under his command for suicide attackers. The memo explicitly explains the targets for these terrorist attacks, as the original translation from Joseph Shahda shows:
The top secret letter 2205 of the Military Branch of Al Qadisya on 4/3/2001 announced by the top secret letter 246 from the Command of the military sector of Zi Kar on 8/3/2001 announced to us by the top secret letter 154 from the Command of Ali Military Division on 10/3/2001 we ask to provide that Division with the names of those who desire to volunteer for Suicide Mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American Interests and according what is shown below to please review and inform us.
When I posted this document, readers of this blog questioned the accuracy of the translation. People know that Joseph translated this for Free Republic, a strongly pro-war website, and that it was distributed by Laurie Mylroie, another pro-war commentator. Skeptics felt that this pedigree lent itself to a possibly warped interpretation of the memo. While the accuracy of the translation remained in question, the actual text -- which showed an active Iraqi terror program aimed at Americans -- would not get the attention it deserved.
In order to solve this problem, I decided to hire two Arabic translators on my own.
I found a translation service, Language 123, that employs a number of translators who work as free agents. The first translator, Nabil Bouitieh, works in the UK as a full-time translator for several government services. He has language certificates from Karl Marx University in Dresden, the German Cultural Center in Damascus, a degree in translation from Polytechnic of Central London, and a Masters of Diplomatic Studies from the Diplomatic Academy of London. Separately, I also hired Hamania H, who works from Damascus. She earned several degrees in language at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, including masters in translation, foreign languages, and bachelors in both areas and in law as well.
Neither of them knew that I had asked the other to translate the document. I split out page 6 from the original PDF and sent it to both along with payment. They both returned their translations today, and their results make it clear that Joseph Shahda had it right all along. First, we have Nabil Bouitieh:
Top secret memoranda sent to Al-Kadisseiya Military branch No.2205 dated 04/03/2001 and to the Headquarters of Zee karr military branch No. 246 dated: 08/03/2001 that we were informed by another memo from Ali Unit military branch No. 154 dated: 10/03/2001. We urge you to inform the above mentioned unit of the names of people wishing to volunteer for suicide action to liberate Palestine and strike American interests according to the following below for your information and to let us know.
Now here's the translation of the same passage from Hamania H:
A confidential letter of Qadisya Military Branch, that holds the number 2205 dated on 4/3/2001, notified upon a confidential letter issued by Thi Kar military command, that holds the number 246 dated on 8/3/2001 and notified to us upon a confidential letter issued by Ali squad military command, that holds the number 154 dated on 20/03/2001. Kindly provide the aforementioned squad with the names of persons desiring to volunteer in the suicidal act in order to liberate Palestine and to strike the American interests in accordance with the following details. You are informed and we therefore expect you to notify us.
You will note that all three translations of this document -- performed by three different people working independently of each other -- all translate this section almost identically. All three explicitly show that the Iraqi military had ordered a call for volunteers to carry out suicide attacks on American interests, six months before 9/11 and two years almost to the day prior to our invasion.
This confirms that Saddam Hussein and his regime had every intention of attacking the US, either here or abroad or both, using members of their own military for terrorist attacks. That puts an end to all of the arguments about whether we should have attacked Iraq, we now know that Saddam and his military planned to attack us. This one document demonstrates that had we not acted to topple Saddam Hussein, he would have acted to kill Americans around the world.
-- Captain Bill's Quarters
Deroy Murdock provides even more argument.
How else does one title a blog entry about the bizarre redefinition of the word "leak"?" Yet, here's the MainStream Media defining Bush's 2003 decision to declassify parts of the CIA's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to defend his State of the Union claim that, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
That Bush's claim was then true, is now true, and that those facts are conveniently ignored by the MSM is something to address further below. However, it's galling to me that the media and both Usual Suspects Democrats and spineless Republicans on Capital Hill propagate the notion that Bush somehow committed a wrong by declassifying information. Last time I checked my US Constitution, the President alone has supreme war powers, including what to classify as secret and what secrets to declassify. Period. (The point is made perfectly by former US Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.) If a president declassifies intelligence - for whatever reason, as right or wrong it is a power every president has - than that information is no longer secret and one thus cannot "leak" it.
More galling are the parties who conveniently apply a new double standard to this presidential power. Indeed, where were the cries of "Leak-gate" when President Clinton, in an attempt to defend the blunder that was his decision to bomb the al Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan (1998), declassified national secrets? Yet here's Mr. Clinton's wife, Hillary, comparing Bush to Nixon for his declassification. "It was done to protect the decision makers from being held accountable for some of the information they used in the run up to the invasion of Iraq," said Ms. Clinton: funny that she neglects to mention that Mr. Clinton declassified al Shifa for that very reason - to protect decision makers - and that, oh yeah, the US policy to overthrow Saddam Hussein was not started by Bush but rather by the Democratically controlled Congress in 1998, and signed off as official US policy by her husband, Bill Clinton himself.
This is gotcha journalism run amok. It's gotten bad. Really bad. They've gone from simple biased slant to warping facts. You need a 24-hour cable watchdog to police the MSM!
Now they claim that Bush only has a 38 percent approval rating? Well, that's like our old American Olympians trying to get a good score from the East German judge.
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
True or not true? We keep "not true" from the Usual Suspects of Bush bashers, and that Bush's tactics were undeniably designed to attack the character of former Ambassador Joe Wilson by outing his James Bond wife Valerie Plame (and a reminder on that soon too). However, the bottom line is that the British government has affirmed the validity of the Iraq-Niger connection time and again. Micheal Ledeen notes in his column today official wording from the Butler Commission Report, the British Parliamentary committee assigned to investigate the validity of the claim:
the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government’s dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that:
"The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa" was well-founded. (Page 123, Paragraph 499)
Ledeen adds one reason the truth is so easily propagated as a "lie" or "leak" is because the Bush Administration is horribly awful at self-defense.
Next, Christopher Hitchens, a rare rational liberal (almost an oxymoron these days), reviews the history of the matter:
In February 1999, [Wissam al-Zahawie, Iraq's senior public envoy for nuclear matters] Zahawie left his Vatican office for a few days and paid an official visit to Niger, a country known for absolutely nothing except its vast deposits of uranium ore. It was from Niger that Iraq had originally acquired uranium in 1981, as confirmed in the Duelfer Report. In order to take the Joseph Wilson view of this Baathist ambassadorial initiative, you have to be able to believe that Saddam Hussein's long-term main man on nuclear issues was in Niger to talk about something other than the obvious. Italian intelligence (which first noticed the Zahawie trip from Rome) found it difficult to take this view and alerted French intelligence (which has better contacts in West Africa and a stronger interest in nuclear questions). In due time, the French tipped off the British, who in their cousinly way conveyed the suggestive information to Washington. As everyone now knows, the disclosure appeared in watered-down and secondhand form in the president's State of the Union address in January 2003.
...The Duelfer Report also cites "a second contact between Iraq and Niger," which occurred in 2001, when a Niger minister visited Baghdad "to request assistance in obtaining petroleum products to alleviate Niger's economic problems." According to the deposition of Ja'far Diya' Ja'far (the head of Iraq's pre-1991 nuclear weapons program), these negotiations involved no offer of uranium ore but only "cash in exchange for petroleum." West Africa is awash in petroleum, and Niger is poor in cash. Iraq in 2001 was cash-rich through the oil-for-food racket, but you may if you wish choose to believe that a near-bankrupt African delegation from a uranium-based country traveled across a continent and a half with nothing on its mind but shopping for oil.
So why is the truth a "lie" and a "leak"? Add to poor self defense the civil war occurring between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Bush Administration, who in citing British intelligence in its State of the Union sent a clear message that the CIA's performance has lacking.
Now, onward to Joe Wilson himself. The man has been discredited more times than James Frey. But don't expect the Hardball Oprah treatment towards Wilson. He'll continue to get Katie Couric softballs. Once again, thank Heavens for Internet academics and watchdoggery.
Rick Moran has a long writeup at The American Thinker. To Whit: Why did the CIA send not a WMD expert the the vocal anti-war husband of CIA employee Valerie Plame to investigate the validity of the Iraq-Niger connection? To date the Butler report, foreign intelligence agencies, the US Senate and the 9-11 Commission have all discredited Wilson (Dan McKivergan of the Weekly Standard also has a long retort of Joe Wilson claims). To date, neither Joe Wilson nor his wife Valerie Plame nor their defenders can accurately claim that she was a "covert agent" outed by Bush. But "covert agent" is a legal status - one that Ms. Plame apparently did not meet. One can argue that Bush's decision to push back against Wilson was done to discredit him, but is that wrong? If you punch me in the face and I strike back how dare you claim that I'm the one being vindictive.
Lewis Libby is likely going to be hit by Justice for a watered-down obstruction charge, but at the end of the day there's a simple explanation why US Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has yet to release any information proving that any member of the Bush Administration, or any reporter for that matter, outed Plame as a covert agent: that's because she wasn't one. Even the usually biased Washington Post notes that "After more than 2 1/2 years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald has reported no evidence to support Mr. Wilson's charge [that the White House blew Plame's cover]."
As covered in-depth by Byron York, Fitzgerald has refused all requests to confirm Plame's so-called covert status. Generally the Liberal MSM would declare it Kafkaesque to charge someone without really charging them. But because it's a Bush man they're curiously silent.
Personally the most frustrating this about this is that I've spent way too many hours covering this useless subject: see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.
Perky she may be, be appointing Katie Couric as Dan "Fake but accurate" Rather's replacement is like replacing the henhouse fox with a velociraptor.
Media Research Center has a long list of Katie's bias here.
Meanwhile, Katie's objective nonpartisan replacement Meredith Vieira proudly marched at a 2004 Anti-Iraq War rally.
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