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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bolton Blogging

This is weird. Both the Washington Post and the New York Times discuss the vote on the motion of cloture ending debate on confirmation of the nomination of John Bolton as US ambassador to the UN without mentioning a clearly relevant fact. Both present the issue in strictly partisan terms -- the Democrats demand information from the Bush administration before they will allow a vote while the Republicans say the Senate has enough information

The Post runs the AP story by Liz Sidoti
The relevant passage is
Should Bush decide against that, he could withdraw the nomination or authorize further concessions to Democrats who are demanding access to information, some of it classified, about Bolton before they stop stalling.

Earlier the Post had an article on a possible recess appointment which, like the ap story, presents the information request as a purely partisan matter
Democrats say they want to check a list of 36 U.S. officials against names _ initially blacked out _ that Bolton requested and received from national security intercepts he reviewed. They rejected a list of seven names offered last week by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Rice, in Jerusalem, said Roberts "has already spoken to the issue of the nature of those inquiries."

Note no mention of the fact that Democrats have agreed to submit a list of names asking if they are among the 36 and that Roberts came up with his own list of 5 names which clearly are not among the 36 because they are Washington based intelligence analysts (including Rexon Ryu IIRC) and one which Steve Clemons had already deduced was not. Not as if Rice presumes that the Democrats should be satisfied now that it is confirmed that none of the seven dwarfs is on the list, but, with all due respect for the brave intelligence analysts who battled Bolton, the lists are about equally relevant.

David Stout in The New York Times has a farily long story on the vote which similarly presents the request for information as a purely Democratic idea

The Democrats are pushing for information about Mr. Bolton's request, while he was under secretary, to review the names of Americans mentioned in communications intercepted by the National Security Agency and identified in highly classified intelligence reports. Republicans say senators already have all the information they need to decide.

This is a rather clear statement about the view of Republican Senators on the relevance of the requested information. There is only one little problem. The information request was made (in April) by the ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee. Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) might now say that the information is irrelevant, but he chose to request it. Since the information includes top secret NSA intercepts, he should not have lightly requested the information if it is, indeed, not needed for a decision. I may be ignorant, but I do not recall him saying that this information is not needed. Of course he did vote for cloture, but, as far as I know, he has not withdrawn his request for information. The Bush administrations refusal to give information requested by a committee considering confirmation is extraordinary. The acquiescence of the AP, the Washington Post and the New York Times in the dishonest false redefinition of a bipartisan request as a purely partisan issue is shocking to me (OK I'm naive).

Now the Post also mentioned that arms control efforts are suddenly progressing now that Bolton is off the case, so I guess they felt they had to suppress the relevant fact for balance. I'd say they just have to accept that they will have to choose between reporting and being balanced for a while, since the facts are reliably biased against the Republicans (why do the facts hate America ?).

Do what is weird ? Well why the hell do I have an opinion about Bolton when I live in Italy and am almost completely ignorant about, say, the referendum changing the law on fertility treatment. I was worrying about that already when I found to my shock that google lists this blog as the third leading source of information on "rexon ryu"
I was only moderately alarmed, since I was fairly confident that I had miss spelled "rexon" or "ryu" so I searched for "ryu" then ryu and bolton and found his first name spelled Rexon in the Washington Post . This forced me to confront my web dependence and news habit. It also shakes my faith in google. they are Smart and to be cAse senSitive is dumb no ?

However, the search for Ryu did lead me to this and this which is work safe except if you work for James Dobson or something
Seven Dwarfs indeed hmf.

This made me think of a solution. Why don't the Republicans forget about this Bolton guy and send Ryu to turtle bay. Now that would be forceful diplomacy in favor of radical reform of the UN. Hell Ryu wouldn't just dream about the UN building losing its top 15 stories, he would knock them off with one kick.

I mean jeez you think those third worldists and Europeans are scared of a mustache ?

update: The first Ryu image was chosen by google for some reason I don't understand. Clearly it is not Rexon, since Rexon is a man (and I will say this for Bolton he has guts; I would think twice before trying to end that guys career). The photograph has nothing to do with the Bolton nomination and is not I repeat not a veiled (oops I mean unveiled) reference to Plato's Retreat, which, as far as I know, has nothing to do with Bolton, although I'm sure was a wonderful place and I don't mean to criticize it.

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