Crooks & Liars has the video. The speech was for a public policy center honoring former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker. Baker’s famous quote? “What did the president know and when did he know it?“
Last night, Fox News anchor Brit Hume argued Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito wasn’t expressing his “personal views” when he wrote in a 1985 letter that “the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.” Here’s an excerpt:
HUME: But these were not personal views he was discussing, in all fairness, though were they?
KONDRACKE: (crosstalk)…politically his own.
HUME: No, he has said these were the legal arguments that he made as a lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department. He was in the solicitor general’s office and had played a role in making these judicial arguments to the Supreme Court. And he was arguing against Roe versus Wade. [Fox News Network, 11/14/05]
Alito himself wrote in the aforementioned letter, “I personally believe very strongly” in this legal position on privacy rights.
Hume must have Alito confused with Chief Justice Roberts, who argued during his confirmation hearings that “his early writings simply mirrored the policies of two Republican presidents for whom he worked.” As the New York Times reported, “Unlike memorandums from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s work for the Reagan administration released during his confirmation, Judge Alito’s application describes only his personal views, not those of his employer.”
Hume should at least have the decency to update his own spin.
Last night, Bill O’Reilly referred to his comments approving of a terrorist attack on San Francisco as a “satirical riff.” We’re not sure President Bush would agree.
Recall the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1624 — passed unanimously on Sept 14, 2005, with President Bush actually personally casting the vote for the United States. In his speech to fellow heads of state, Bush singled it out and said the United States “strongly supports the implementation of this resolution.”
Now re-read O’Reilly’s statement on November 8:
If you want to ban military recruiting [in public schools], fine. But I’m not going to give you another nickel of federal money. If Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.
It sounds like O’Reilly has run afoul of at least the spirit of the UNSC resolution – and the wishes of his president. Here’s the specific text:
1. Calls upon all States to adopt such measures as may be necessary and appropriate and in accordance with their obligations under international law to:
(a) Prohibit by law incitement to commit a terrorist act or acts;
(b) Prevent such conduct;
(c) Deny safe haven to any persons with respect to whom there is credible and relevant information giving serious reasons for considering that they have been guilty of such conduct
Yesterday, Alito’s 1985 application for a job in the Justice Department was released. In it, he says he “personally believed” a woman’s right to choose was not protected by the Constitution:
Alito is now dismissing the document, claiming he was just saying what he needed to say to ingratiate himself with his potential bosses in the Reagan administration. Here’s what Alito told Sen. Diane Feinstein this afternoon.
It was different then. I was an advocate seeking a job. It was a political job.
Translation: those weren’t my personal views, I was just lying to get a job.
Yesterday was the deadline for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to report its progress on Phase II of the investigation into the administration’s use of pre-war intelligence. The prognosis is not good, according to Senators Rockefeller, Levin and Feinstein. They have released a letter, and here is its main finding:
At this time, we are unable to provide an estimated completion date of the Phase II investigation given the substantial amount of work that remains to be done.
This assessment differs greatly from the one offered by Sen. Pat Roberts on November 1st: “It isn’t like it’s been delayed. As a matter of fact, it’s been ongoing. As a matter of fact, we have been doing our work on Phase 2.” In reality, as the letter makes clear at various points, the work of the committee has been stonewalled by an unwillingness on the part of conservatives to investigate the administration. The Senators report that the investigation has been unable to proceed due to the following issues:
(1) Chairman Roberts is unwilling to investigate the “Cabal” inside the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans because he is deferring to the administration to investigate itself.
(2) Roberts has been unwilling to allow for “additional interviews and documents” to conduct a thorough inquiry.
Also, it is important to note that while Bush continues to falsely claim that the Senate Intelligence Committee found the administration had not “manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war,” the Intel Committee Senators say just the opposite:
The Committee staff work on two other sections of the investigation is not finished: whether public statements were substantiated by intelligence information and the use of intelligence information provided by the Iraqi National Congress.
Copy of Rockefeller, Levin, and Feinstein letter here.
How does serial fabricator Ahmad Chalabi manage to still open the most exclusive doors at the White House and the Pentagon? According to National Review’s Byron York, it’s because numerous Bush administration officials still believe (despite all the evidence) that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
From last night’s Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Why is the Vice President and other administration officials like Rumsfeld seeming to reject the notion that this guy [Chalabi] is full of it?
BYRON YORK: A couple of reasons. One, he is now a high ranking Iraqi official.
MATTHEWS: Thanks to us.
YORK: We do recognize his position. And the other thing is, look, I think there are a lot of people in the administration who still believe that there were weapons of mass destruction somewhere that they were spirited away or in some way not found.
MATTHEWS: Who would — who do you know believes that?
YORK: I’m not going to say any brand names, but they do believe that — it was not possible that all of the intelligence was totally wrong.
We can’t figure out which is worse: the fact that Bush officials are still clinging to the myth of WMDs in Iraq, or that they’re still turning to Chalabi to help confirm their misconceptions.
Documents released yesterday revealed that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito wrote in 1985 that he personally believed the Constitution did not protect a woman’s right to an abortion:
Conservatives are arguing that what Alito thought 20 years ago doesn’t matter. But President Bush explicitly said that one of his considerations in nominating a Supreme Court justice is finding someone whose views would not change over a 20-year timeframe. From Bush’s 10/4/05 press conference:
Thirdly, I know her well enough to be able to say that she’s not going to change, that 20 years from now she’ll be the same person with the same philosophy that she is today. … And that’s important to me. It was important to me when I picked Chief Justice Roberts; it’s important for me in picking Harriet Miers.
One can only assume that it was also important to him when he selected Judge Alito.
on habeas suspension. The new measure “authored by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.)…would grant detainees the right to appeal the verdict of a military tribunal to a federal appeals court. The deal will come to a vote today, and the authors say they are confident it will pass.” (Via Kevin Drum)