Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Identified as a trouble maker by the authorities since childhood, and resolved to live up to the description, Charles Carreon soon discovered that mischief is most effectively fomented through speech. Having mastered the art of flinging verbal pipe-bombs and molotov cocktails at an early age, he refined his skills by writing legal briefs and journalistic exposes, while developing a poetic style that meandered from the lyrical to the political. Journey with him into the dark caves of the human experience, illuminated by the torch of an outraged sense of injustice.

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:44 am


4:51 pm, May 22, 2005

Joe Chip has a problem. He went to the moon with his boss, and got killed in a terrorist bomb attack. Or his boss was killed. He’s not sure, but either way, it’s a problem. It’s 1992 in a world a little different from ours. It’s still earth, and earth is still populated by people. But there are lots of psychics on the planet now, and the moon is colonized.

If Joe himself is dead, he must be in cold-pack in a Swiss half-life “moratorium,” where dead people can spend their half-life in a dreamlike space, and occasionally visit with relatives through a sort of psychic intercom. It’s a common thing to have relatives in cold-pack, and Joe’s boss, Glen Runciter, still meets to discuss business matters with his lovely dead wife Ella, who half-lives in the exclusive Beloved Brethren Moratorium, a Swiss facility that is supposed to be among the best. Ella Runciter died in her twenties, but Glen Runciter thinks so highly of her that he has never considered remarrying, despite his wealth.

Runciter Associates is a psychic security company, and Joe Chip is Glen Runciter’s top man. Although Joe was always broke, his life wasn’t entirely crazy until he met his new girlfriend, Pat Conley. Everything went crazy shortly after Joe introduced Pat to Runciter. Although both Joe and G.G. Ashwood, a renowned psychic talent scout, agreed that Pat had a powerful psychic talent, Runciter questioned whether he should even hire Pat, because he usually hired “inertials,” who block the psychic talents of “precogs” and “teeps” hired by Runciter’s nemesis, the Hollis organization of criminal psychics. But Pat wasn’t a psi-blocker. She displayed a new type of talent, the ability to change the future, not just foresee it. She could send people on alternative reality trips, to places a lot like the present, but with important differences.

Runciter had always refused to take jobs on the moon because of the security risks inherent in being away from earth, far from help. However, ever the businessman, he broke his rule to pick up a big contract job working for Stanton Mick, a plum client Runciter was eager to sign up for a very fat fee. Stanton Mick had told Runciter he needed immediate, massive assistance to block the efforts of a band of psychic spies who were invading the privacy of his lunar planned community. But shortly after Runciter and his inertials arrived, Mick came to meet Runciter in a conference room. Mick acted and talked strangely in a metallic voice in a grandstanding manner, setting everyone on edge. Slowly, it dawned on Runciter and Joe Chip that this wasn’t Mick; rather, it was an android made in his image. Alas, they didn’t figure this out until the android floated off the floor to gain destructive altitude, and an instant later, detonated.

Immediately after discovering that the blast had apparently killed Runciter, Joe Chip assumed control of Runciter Associates. He chartered a rocket and flew the survivors to Switzerland with Runciter’s body, where they booked him into the Beloved Brethren Moratorium, and tried to set up a half-life session. But Runciter wouldn’t revive into half-life, and Joe experienced the pain of losing his father figure.

After Runciter’s death Joe struggles to run the company, but he has some impediments. Like Philip K. Dick, Joe Chip finds himself habitually broke, and regularly abused by the his coin-op apartment door, which won’t let him out without depositing a poscred, and makes nasty remarks when he loses his temper. Sometimes he has to call friends to come by and visit, and pay to get in. Then he can borrow money from them to get himself out. But these problems are small, because one by one Joe’s friends are dying, turning into mummified ragbags of bone and hair. This horrific transformation occurs within a few hours after each individual quietly separates themselves from the group, seeking solitude and stillness.

Not only are Joe’s friends turning into mummies, all mechanical objects, except his apartment front door, are regressing to older models and falling apart. His TV turns into an old tube radio. The elevator in his building regressed from a modern self-serve box to a tiny lift with an accordion steel grate, and seemed to silently suggest: “Take the stairs.” Joe’s car turns into an old car, and even as he negotiates to sell it, the car ages into an even older model of jalopy that is virtually worthless. When he goes to the airport, all he can find to fly is an old biplane.

Due to a series of messages from Runciter that mysteriously appear on bathroom walls and elsewhere, Joe Chip learns that he is probably dead and merely half-living in the Beloved Brethren Moratorium, where Ella Runciter is also in half-life. To reverse the decay of all forms, and prevent himself from turning into a mummy, Runciter tells Joe to get UBIK in the aerosol can. Unfortunately, every time Joe is close to getting a can of aerosol-spray UBIK, he finds only old-fashioned, regressed versions of UBIK that contain toxic ingredients, or in one case, a substantial quantity of pure gold suspended in mineral oil. Fortunately, this last form of UBIK is worth a lot of money in the half-life realm, and Joe is able to trade it for a plane flight for Demoines, Iowa, where Runciter’s funeral is happening. Joe is still not sure that he is dead, so he of course wants to attend Runciter’s funeral.

After Runciter’s funeral, one by one, Joe’s friends just keep disappearing, hiding themselves from their friends so they can turn into psychic tumbleweeds and blow away into the void. The only one who isn’t dying is Pat Conley, Joe’s strange girlfriend. She thinks she’s doing the whole weird trip with her powers, thinks she’s immune from the death that’s stalking him, and drenches Joe with passive-aggressive cruelty while observing Joe’s painful effort to just go to his room and die. But Joe makes it to his room, where Runciter is waiting for him with a can of UBIK aerosol:

“Opening a drawer on the vanity table, he hastily brought out a spray can with bright stripes, balloons and lettering glorifying its shiny surfaces. ‘Ubik,’ Runciter said, he shook the can mightily, then stood before Joe, aiming it at him. ‘Don’t thank me for this,’ he said, and sprayed prolongedly left and right; the air flickered and shimmered, as if bright particles of light had been released, as if the sun’s energy sparkled here in this worn-out elderly hotel room.”

Shortly after this rejuvenating Ubik experience, Joe meets his true antagonist – Jory, a malevolent psychic juvenile delinquent who haunts the moratorium’s half-life realm. Jory is a projective psychotic who generates deceptive “realities” that seduce half-life dwellers into unreal realms and consumes the dregs of their half-life vitality. Dick’s description of Jory’s psychic attack on Joe Chip is bluntly physical and eerily frightening:

“Snarling, Jory bit him. The great shovel teeth fastened deep into Joe’s right hand. They hung on as, meanwhile, Jory raised his head, lifting Joe’s hand with his jaw; Jory stared at him with unwinking eyes, snoring wetly as he tried to close his jaws. The teeth sank deeper and Joe felt the pain of it throughout him. He’s eating me, he realized. ‘You can’t,’ he said aloud; he hit Jory on the snout, punching again and again.”

Shortly after the Jory encounter, from which Joe barely escapes with his life, he sees a pretty girl going down the street, and in a desperate hope to have one last pleasant moment, he strikes up a conversation with her and asks her to dinner. You can almost see Phil Dick counting his Dexedrine pills, getting hungry for a burger after days of speeding and typing, and figuring out he’d better finish this story up quick, before he consumes the last of his inspiration. The story picks up pace immediately after the unexpected encounter with the girl, which leads to the hasty revelation that she is Runciter’s dead wife. Ella Runciter tells Joe that his friends have been killed by Jory, but that, good news – he’s been granted a perpetual supply of UBIK. She explains to him that an aerosol can of UBIK is actually “A portable negative ionizer, with a self-contained, high-voltage, low-amp unit powered by a peak-gain helium battery of 25kv. The negative ions are given a counter-clockwise spin by a radically biased acceleration chamber, which creates a centripital tendency to them so that they cohere rather than dissipate.” UBIK, at 212 (Vintage 1991).

Immortality in a spray can? What else would we expect from Phil Dick?
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:46 am


7:23 pm, May 22, 2005

My wife creates these images with Photoshop, and sometimes I consult on the composition. Cloning all the little Bushies was a perverse delight, especially since he hates cloning so much. Better suppress Photoshop on grounds of national security, because it aids forgery and counterfeiting! Gonzales, get on it!

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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:51 am

THOSE WERE THE DAYS, by Charles Carreon

7:06 pm, May 29, 2005

Once upon a time there was this thing called acid rock, the pre-eminent practioners of which were not the Grateful Dead, but rather the spare, efficient power trio, Cream. For those of you looking for authorities to guide your search, Timothy Leary liked Cream, I'm quite sure, though I can't find a quote, so you can take it on faith or miss the show. For your baptism by fire in the fine work of this eminently gifted band, click through to the website and listen to the tunes on the double album Wheels of Fire. One of my favorite tunes, Those Were The Days, is also attached in mp3 format at the bottom of this post for easy access.

Personnel on this exercise in deafening virtuosity were Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker. These folks played so fast by the standards of those days, that rumor had it they sometimes consumed crystal meth, but I don’t think so.

Baker, the drummer, had an early career as a competitive bicyclist, and backed into drumming as a way to channel his endless tendency to bang rhythmically on everything in sight. His first audition was also his first time sitting at a drum kit, and the band, which hadn’t wanted to audition him at all originally, replaced their old drummer with Baker after one listen.

Jack Bruce, a bass player whose exploits are legend, made sure this band always walked with a strut, and never limped along with a lame beat, so several songs give vastly more scope to the rock bass than your average boogie riff. Aspiring bassists, take heed.

Clapton, for my money, has never rocked this hard before or since. I loved him on Derek and the Dominoes, but nothing, repeat nothing, compares with the sizzling licks he jams into Crossroads, bringing out the dark spirits to ferry one more guitarist to play for their lord. And we all got to watch and listen. Those, indeed, were the days.

Here’s a quick rundown of a few of my favorite tracks, though it hardly matters how you approach them – the album is a solid masterpiece, and genius has a way of making its own points:

White Room – Just as magnificently confused and visually highlighted as the look of the world about an hour after the listener consumes a hit of Orange Sunshine, this song casts its spell with exquisite, entrancing lyrics — “Silver horses ran down moonbeams in her dark eyes,” alternating with disconcerting rhymes like “Golden tigers crouched in jungles in her dark eyes,” sharing obscure, half-formed sorrows — “you swore that you would be there at the station,” and leaving the listener with nostalgia for an unknowable, unrecapturable world, glimpsed once, and lost forever.

Sitting On Top of the World – Constructed from gleaming, twisted blue scales reflecting in the twisted mirrors of self-pity, this song of repentance takes a few sad lyrics and hangs them from the gallows to blow in the wind, a reminder that love will take its toll if we fail to take its measure.

Passing the Time – Introducing itself stupendously with blasts of bass and rhythm guitar resonant as a huge cathedral bell tolling the hour of doom, this song first segues into a contemplative canticle gentle as candlelight, then kicks into a rhythmic bridge as pumped up as a subway car rattling through station after station, a process that continues until Baker takes us all the way home in a drum solo that just fades away, bringing us back once more to Windwood’s soft melodic lullaby, which puts us sweetly to bed. What a way to pass the time – try it and you’ll see what we hippies were so hipped about.

Pressed Rat and Warthog – Is this song, many have asked themselves, Mere Nonsense, doggerel, the product of hash brownies and an aimless wander through the stacks of odd nomenclature? Perhaps, but meaning isn’t everything. By the end of this musical vignette, we truly feel for Pressed Rat and his partner Warthog, and are absolutely certain that the world will be the poorer for the lack of their admittedly idiosyncratic wares: “atonal apples and amplified heat, and Pressed Rat’s collection of dog’s legs and feet.” Musically, the song reminds me of a rock fugue, with guitar, drum, and bass weaving counterpoint themes, occasionally punctuated by a stately, respectful trumpet.

Politician – Lugubrious, luxurious, unctuous, and crass, the lyrics in this song are unabashedly male – “Baby, get into my big black car, Just wanna show ya’ what my politics are.” Bruce’s bass rhythm wanders like a fat man trying to choose between chocolates, cheesecake, power, and sex. Clapton's guitar expresses a confusion of emotions, wandering in the privileged jungle of temptation, a magnificent web of tones stretching and bending each other into sweeter and sweeter distortion, until the song thunders to a conclusion with Baker escorting the motorcade along like a whole squad of Harley-riding cops, vanishing into the clefts of the skyscraper-scarred horizon.

Those Were The Days – If you like majestic songs, you’ll like this one, which opens with the ringing of stately bells. (Click on the mp3 below to have a listen.) Windwood tunes his voice to a soft, reflective timbre to sing an anthem glorifying the golden days of Atlantis, firmly backed by Baker working the tom-toms and his double-bass bass drums gently, softly, perhaps to avoid waking the spirits who might hear. Clapton’s guitar marks rhythm with sharp blasts that break into an occasional tight solo to ornament the dark rhythmic figures cast by Bruce and Baker, setting them off with accents of ancient gold.

Crossroads – Ah if only boogie could be like this all the time. Clapton doesn’t really need a lot of help as he renders a great guitarist’s homage to this blues classic by Robert Johnson. Legend has it that if a bluesman goes alone to the crossroads with his guitar on a moonless night, he’ll meet the devil, and the devil will take his soul in exchange for the magic power to master the instrument. This song seems to express a corollary belief that the only way to come out right on the deal is to play so fucking fast that even the hellhound is left in the dust, howling “unfair!”

Spoonful – Willie Dixon rests easy in his grave when he hears this tune. With Bruce and Clapton thumbing the fat strings, the opening bars stomp towards us like a hoodlum, only to reveal a beautiful lyric like a diamond necklace offered to his girl: “Night spilled spoonful of diamonds, Night spilled spoonful of gold, Just a little touch of your precious love, Will satisfy my soul.” The jamming on this song is quite extended, but you know, joints were rolled fatter, and burned longer, back in those days.

Click here to download Those Were The Days.mp3.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:53 am

OH, FOR A NIXON TO LEAD US NOW!, by Charles Carreon

2:13 pm, July 1, 2005

Nixon was a sneaky bastard, a sweaty, hard-drinking, suspicious, hands-on reputation-ruining former prosecutor who looked somehow right in a bulbous black Cadillac getting a pelting of rotten guavas in downtown Caracas. They said he wore too much makeup on TV, and his grizzled jowls became the target of a George Carlin punch line in which a jowl-print, taken from a moist plaster wall at the Watergate, becomes the smoking gun that points suspicion to the Oval Office.

But Nixon also coined the terms, “Peace With Honor,” and more pragmatic terms like “Phased Withdrawal,” and “Troop Reductions.” He ended the war in Vietnam, albeit while conducting secret wars in Laos, Cambodia, Burma and other heroin-producing nations in Asia's Golden Triangle.

Eventually, the last GI was out of a defoliated, napalmed, booby-trapped jungle filled with whores, drug dealers, phony South Vietnamese officials, and dotted with spots of urban night life where some of the girls spoke French. Eventually, the roof of the US Embassy was used to airlift out the lucky few who managed to get safe passage out of Saigon as it fell to the North Vietnamese, who had been accumulating forces for the final offensive for months. It was an ignominous end to a dishonest enterprise, that left friends of the Americans in Saigon to shift for themselves in a holocaust of revenge. Peace with honor, indeed.

The current leader of the free world, a man who slanders with a smile and a shake of his cocky little head, who stands straight and tall as a wooden soldier, isn't the same type of knave as Nixon, who had plans, who manipulated and machinated relentlessly, who tactically governed events by the force of his stratagems.

The secret problem Nixon had with winding down the war was how to revert the economy to a peacetime condition. “War is Good Business, Invest Your Son,” was a slogan often seen in Nixon's day. The young, being drafted to fight a war against people they'd never heard of in geography class, accused greedy capitalists of funding imperial aggression for profit. But the economic challenges of those times were so severe that Nixon actually imposed Wage and Price Controls for about two years, to combat “spiraling inflation.”

By spending about $200 Billion on war industry and spending hundreds more injecting funds in the Dept of Homeland Security and the Transportation Safety Administration, we have created a wartime economy in which even Wired magazine gives tips on how to land venture capital from the CIA, and the Dept of Education pays people to plug the No Child Left Behind Act on the radio. It is a new way of doing business, and has shifted federal funding from Blue States to Red States with a vengeance. The security buildup along the Mexican border is inflating border states like Arizona, Texas and Southern California with military and security personnel, construction and funding.

The rationale for all this spending was the deaths of over 3,000 people when two large skyscrapers collapsed for what some say are unexplained reasons. We have been throwing money at “security” and “terrorism” ever since, and that money has blown away like the $170 Million that the FBI paid SAIC to build a computer network that just got junked. Airline security is just inconvenient for travelers, but it's an engine of the economy and another sink of low wage employment for those who aspire to flip more than burgers, and are ready to step up to rifling through luggage for sex toys.

There's an old song called “Give Me 40 Acres, And I'll Turn This Rig Around,” about driving big trucks. Well, we're driving about twenty thousand big trucks in the desert, plus humvees and such, and if Nixon was president, every day some of them would be driving to the beach, gettin' loaded on cargo ships, and sailing home to the land of the free. Oh, for a Nixon to lead us now!
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:53 am


10:56 pm, July 11, 2005

Sitting outside the Ashland Community Food Store a couple of days ago, my friend Joe told me an interesting story. Joe said his Dad was Native American and lived on an Indian reservation, a tribe called the Tihwas in California. He was an alcohol counselor, and advised all the Tihwas not to drink. He was also an alcoholic, and tippled all the time. He had little stashes of whiskey and chocolate everywhere. When he died, at eighty, the Tihwas who came to his funeral filled up the coffin with little whiskey bottles and miniature Hershey bars.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:55 am


5:20 pm, July 12, 2005

Well, there's one thing suspicious about this Valerie Plame imbroglio — Karl Rove “remained mum yesterday” according to the Wall Street Journal's 7/11/05 article entitled Democrats Step Up Attacks on Rove After Time Email. With Rove not talking, the fat is definitively in the fire as of now.


The amplified Democratic attacks suggest that the White House and Mr. Rove will face turbulence in the days ahead whatever the outcome of Mr. Fitzgerald's criminal probe. Under a 1982 law, it is illegal to knowingly expose an active-duty CIA covert agent, and federal prosecutors have been investigating. It isn't clear whether or not Ms. Plame was an active-duty CIA operative at the time her identity was reported in Mr. Novak's column and in Time magazine.

Deflecting attention from Rove's impending emergence in the role of post-9/11 Benedict Arnold, all the self-serving media handwringing is about how the Supreme Court turned its back on ”freedom of the press."


That discomfort continues to ripple through the news media as well. One journalist who reported but didn't write a story on the matter, Judith Miller of the New York Times, has gone to jail rather than disclose her sources, while Time magazine and Mr. Cooper ultimately decided to cooperate. Facing a federal judge's deadline to testify, Time turned over Mr. Cooper's notes. The reporter himself then agreed to testify after saying his source had released him to do so. Mr. Luskin has said Mr. Rove was the source in question.

Time Inc. Editor in Chief Norman Pearlstine sought to assuage dissatisfaction about the magazine's actions at Time's Washington bureau yesterday. A roomful of editors and reporters expressed anger and concern for two hours, according to people who attended the meeting.

Mr. Pearlstine told the staff that he had made an error in emphasizing that Time was ”not above the law,“ and thus had turned over Mr. Cooper's notes to the grand jury, a person at the meeting said. Mr. Pearlstine explained that under a different set of circumstances, the magazine might not have complied with the court order but that the circumstances in this case warranted that approach, the person said. Jim Kelly, managing editor of Time magazine, also was at the meeting and confirmed the account.

Having coughed up the emails, rather than pay a per-day contempt fine, Pearlstein is now backpedalling from his original act of contrition. ”Not above the law“ was wrong. Okay, thanks for letting us know you have no sense of citizenship. The media is a kingdom apart, the place where opinions are made, free from scrutiny.

This purported freedom of the press is simply the right to feed people garbage, even criminal garbage — information that the public insists it has no right to know — the identity of a Secret CIA Agent Specializing in Weapons of Mass Destruction. Exposure of Valerie Plame resulted in execution of many of her sources, according to sources you can find easily on the Net. This freedom to keep sources secret, even when the source is the propaganda minister, on an official propaganda errand, is bunk. Freedom of the press is the right to print any goddamn thing you want, not the freedom to destroy a woman's career, bring death and torture to her sources, and conceal the identity of a criminal wrongdoer. Obviously, the fact that Rove is the criminal complicates the matter. Will they appoint a Special Prosecutor?

How do we cut this gordian knot? Simple. Change a variable and solve the problem using that variable. Assume that Rove disclosed the information not to a reporter but directly to an agent of a foreign nation, say Pakistan. Say Rove called Musharraf directly and told him, ”Just so you know, my friend, Ms. Plame is with The Company." Now that would be a crime, and Musharraf couldn't claim the right to keep the identity secret if he were served with a Grand Jury Subpoena signed by Alberto Gonzales while in Washington D.C. So why should telling it to a reporter, who will then tell not only Musharraf, but also the entire gang of nuclear proliferators, make any difference?

Rove has earned himself a place in the Hall of Infamy. But don't wait on his pal Al to figure it out. He's already there.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:56 am


7:54 pm, July 21, 2005


Summary: After a confrontation with a knife-wielding teenager in Ashland, Oregon failed to result in a citizen shooting, a group of disgruntled police officers in the small department began complaining that the teenager should have been “drilled,” but that because of Police Chief Mike Bianca's policies, they were unable to shoot the apparently intoxicated boy. In a reversal of the usual scenario, the townspeople of Ashland have rallied around their Chief of Police, who was an Ashland Police officer for years before getting the top-cop spot in the postcard-perfect town famous for its Shakespeare festival and low crime rate.

Usually, cops rally behind a beleaguered Chief of Police when citizens come calling for his head. In the town of Ashland, Oregon, known for its Shakespeare Festival, park-like atmosphere and low crime rate, a different type of drama is unfolding.

After the confrontation with the young man Last month was defused, Chief Mike Bianca, who was appointed Chief last year after years as a patrol officer on the Ashland Police Department, found himself accused by his own officers of being too soft, and limiting their use of deadly force to the point where it endangered officer safety. Ashland Patrol Officer Teresa Selby, a diminutive blonde, commented to the local press that, but for the nearby presence of bystanders, she would have “drilled” the uncooperative young man.

Selby's comments, and those of two other Ashland police officers who claimed Chief Bianca's tactics put them in danger, struck a nerve in this sedate town, where the streets are lined with souvenir, bead and jewelry shops, and average incomes and home values far exceed the Oregon norm. Last week, a rally in support of Chief Bianca drew hundreds, and today, the Mayor of Ashland came out in the Chief's favor.

Local sources say that the complaining officers are now thinking better of their actions. “They started something and now they can't finish it. They'll be lucky to get out with their jobs.” said a local political observer who preferred to remain anonymous.

Meanwhile, Ashland activists supporting Chief Bianca have announced another rally for July 29th at 3 p.m. at the entrance to Lithia Park, promising to march to City Hall and the police station on a campaign to “Clean up the Ashland Police Department.” The activists, adopting an appropriately theatrical touch for a town full of actors and artists, plan to march with brooms and other cleaning implements, are circulating flyers throughout the little town and anticipate a large turnout.

Despite the humorous approach, at least some Bianca supporters say they're deadly serious about removing the cops who mounted the mutiny. Charles Carreon, a former Deputy District Attorney in Jackson County who worked with the Ashland Police Department during his years as a prosecutor, supports Bianca and is helping to organize the march. When asked why he planned to march, he stated: “Mike is the best Police Chief this City ever had. He understands his community and they appreciate him. It looks like these other cops chose the wrong guy to pick on.”
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:58 am


9:47 pm, July 22, 2005

Emerson said, “Things are in the saddle, and ride mankind.” Never truer that when you have a computer riding herd on your heart. Pacemakers, also known as implanted defibrillators, have until now presumably been dangerous only in the vicinity of those ubiquitous hotdog-heaters and popcorn-poppers known as microwave ovens. Who would have suspected that the very same microwave could broadcast a TV signal, ruin a meal, or kill a retiree, depending on how you aimed it?

Well, revolt of the machines it may not be, but these Guidant pacemakers apparently on occasion get all cranked up and pace you right into the grave, or do other funny things. The origin of the defect — crappy sealer that lets moisture into the computer. Wish you'd told me that before you stuck it in my chest, Doc.

Here's what the NYT says:

July 19, 2005
Pacemakers by Guidant Have Flaw

The Guidant Corporation, already embroiled in controversy over recalls of heart devices, alerted doctors yesterday that nine of its older pacemaker models were prone to failing. Some patients might need to have the units replaced, the company said.

The alert covers 28,000 pacemakers made from November 1997 to October 2000 and still implanted in patients. Guidant said that a component used to seal the pacemakers could degrade, allowing moisture to build up and causing the devices to fail. Such failure could cause “serious health complications” in some patients, the company said. The flaw may have contributed to one patient's death, though that is not clear.

The pacemaker alert follows Guidant's recalls in recent weeks of tens of thousands of implantable heart defibrillators. Guidant's long delays in notifying doctors about problems with some of those devices have thrown a spotlight on the issue of when and how device makers alert physicians and patients to product flaws. It has also raised questions about how the Food and Drug Administration discloses safety data it collects about medical devices.

Late yesterday, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, signaled his interest in reviewing issues surrounding the recent Guidant recalls.

In a letter to the F.D.A. commissioner, Dr. Lester M. Crawford, Mr. Grassley requested that the agency provide him with five years of annual reports filed by Guidant for the defibrillators and pacemakers that were the subject of recent company alerts or recalls. The Senate Finance Committee has previously investigated the agency's handling of several drugs, including Vioxx.

In his letter, Senator Grassley also asked agency officials to explain why they did not routinely make public such reports, which are filed annually by heart device makers for each defibrillator and pacemaker they make. An article last month in The New York Times highlighted how those annual reports contain far more detailed product-safety and performance data about heart devices than companies routinely provide to doctors. However, the F.D.A. treats the reports as confidential.

In its alert yesterday, Guidant said that doctors should consider replacing the affected pacemakers in patients who depend on the device for survival or to prevent serious health consequences. That category roughly ranges from 20 percent to 40 percent of pacemaker patients, two doctors said.

Because of their age, most of the pacemakers at issue will need to be replaced soon anyway, since their batteries are nearly drained. The company said that it would pay for the replacements.

While both pacemakers and defibrillators are implanted under the skin, they serve different purposes. A pacemaker regulates a heart that is beating too fast or too slowly. A defibrillator emits an electrical shock intended to interrupt a chaotic and deadly type of heart rhythm.

Guidant's recent spate of recalls, including the one announced yesterday, is likely to play a role in discussions of second-quarter earnings results due this week from both Guidant and Johnson & Johnson, which agreed in December to buy Guidant for $25.4 billion.

Today, Wall Street analysts are expected to ask Johnson & Johnson executives, when they discuss the company's earnings, if Guidant's recent problems might affect the timing or price of Johnson & Johnson's planned acquisition.

Asked for comment yesterday, a spokesman for Johnson & Johnson, which is based in New Brunswick, N.J., referred to a statement made in mid-June in which the company said it would close the Guidant deal this quarter, though it added that it viewed Guidant's product problems as “serious matters.”

The deal is valued at $76 a share to Guidant holders. But in recent weeks, the value of Guidant's stock has fluctuated sharply as investors have speculated on whether the deal's price will be revised. Yesterday, Guidant shares fell $2.10 to close at $67.31 a share, down 3 percent.

On Thursday, Guidant is set to announce second-quarter results. Those results will provide the first look at whether the company has suffered financial damage as a result of its recent recalls.

Analysts are split about how the steady beat of bad news from Guidant will affect its market share in the long term.

Guidant has been under scrutiny since late May when it was disclosed that the company failed to notify doctors for three years that an electrical defect in one defibrillator model could cause it to short-circuit when needed to save a patient's life. The company continued to sell units with the potential electrical flaw even after it began producing improved versions of the same model in which the problem had been fixed.

The F.D.A. is investigating how Guidant handled reviews of its products' dangers. Since late May, the company has issued alerts or recalled 11 models of defibrillators.

Yesterday, an F.D.A. spokeswoman said the agency was aware that Guidant had issued the pacemaker alert to doctors and that it was evaluating the matter. Guidant said it expected the F.D.A. to designate the alert as a recall, a formal classification that involves the type of physician notification that Guidant is already making.

A recall does not mean that a device should be removed. Instead, patients are typically advised to discuss with their doctors the risk posed by a device compared with the risk posed by the surgical procedure needed to replace it.

Several doctors said yesterday that they would probably recommend that pacemaker-dependent patients have the units replaced.

“To me, that is the conservative move,” said Dr. Eric N. Prystowsky, a heart specialist in Indianapolis who is also a medical adviser to Guidant. Nine older pacemaker models are involved. They are the Pulsar Max, the Pulsar, the Discovery, the Meridian, the Pulsar Max II, the Discovery II, the Virtus Plus II, the Intellis II and the Contak TR. The company said that the units, which are of an earlier design, have not been implanted for the last four years.

Guidant said it had identified 69 devices that may have had the seal problem, out of some 78,000 devices in which that component was used. Currently, about 28,000 of those units are still implanted in patients, with 18,000 of them in the United States.

In 20 known cases, the problem caused pacemakers to fail, and in 5 such instances, patients blacked out, apparently because of inadequate blood flow. In two other instances, the flaw may have caused a pacemaker to keep pacing at a high rate.

In one such case, that flaw may have contributed to a patient's death. However, because the unit was not returned to Guidant for inspection, the company said it was not clear if the death was related to the device or to the patient's health problems.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:00 am


10:33 pm, July 22, 2005

That's the good news for Cyrus Kar, “an aspiring filmmaker from Los Angeles ... freed Sunday in Baghdad ... after more than seven weeks in solitary confinement in a military prison in Iraq.” The bad news, though, “American officials told him [was] that his United States passport had been destroyed in the course of an effort to test its authenticity ... and ... he might have to wait a week before a new one could be issued.”

Kar, who was born in Iran, is a naturalized US citizen and former US Navy man who went to Iraq to shoot a film about his famous Persian namesake, Cyrus the Great. Unfortunately, he and his cameraman were in a cab that was stopped at a checkpoint, and in the trunk of which were found 35 washing machine timers, and, needless to say, no other washing machine parts. Obviously the timers were destined for use to trigger delayed detonation of improvised explosive devices. In Iraq, when your clothes are dry, everybody hears about it.

Wrong place, wrong time to make a movie. Kar spent his seven weeks in a 5-by-7 foot cell, down the hall from two famous captives: Tariq Aziz, Saddam's former main man, and one of Saddam's brothers. But for the efforts of his family, who are smart and well-connected (see San Jose Mercury article below), he'd still be there.

The military claims Kar has been released, but I'm sure he'll be withholding judgment until he is back in his own home, drinking a cold brew. War makes fools of everyone.

In Iraq war, justice for the savvy, not all.
By Scott Herhold
Mercury News

It took serendipity for Cyrus Kar's sister to learn that the aspiring filmmaker was being held in Iraq by American forces. But it was no accident when he was released. That took a push on the levers of power.

A week after the 44-year-old San Jose State University graduate was booked into a detention camp near Baghdad, a Red Cross worker called Kar's sister, Anna, who happened to work for the Red Cross in Nairobi, Kenya.

The colleague told Anna that he had just seen her brother in Iraq. ``I said, `Oh, great, what a coincidence that you met him over there,'' Anna Kar told the New York Times.

The colleague straightened her out. He hadn't just bumped into Kar, a Navy veteran who had gone to Iraq to film a documentary. The Red Cross worker had visited Kar officially at Camp Cropper, an American military jail.

That news — and a call from Kar himself to his aunt in Los Angeles the same day — launched the family on a six-week quest to free the filmmaker from the suspicions of American military authorities.

They succeeded last weekend, when Kar and his cameraman were released. But his saga reveals two truths about our Iraq misadventure.

Bureaucratic war

First, we have more to fear from bureaucracy than from outright cruelty by American forces. Second, justice in the war on terror often depends on who is the most savvy.

``The lesson here is he had a family who knew what do to and they called us to get involved,'' said Mark Rosenbaum, the executive director of the ACLU Southern California Chapter, which filed suit to free Kar. ``He was very fortunate.''

Born in Tehran but raised in Washington state, Kar got a degree in marketing at San Jose State while moonlighting as a bartender. For much of the '90s, he worked in the valley's electronics industry.

After the collapse of the boom, he moved to Los Angeles and pursued a long-cherished project: a film on Cyrus the Great, an early Persian ruler known for his progressiveness.

``His goal of making the documentary was his full-time job,'' said his cousin Shahrzad Folger in a court declaration.

That passion led Kar this May to Iraq, where he hoped to film archeological sites at Babylon, an ancient city that Cyrus conquered in 538 BC. On his first day in Iraq, May 17, Kar and his cameraman climbed into the wrong taxi. It was stopped by Iraqi authorities, who found several washing machine timers in the trunk. The timers are commonly used in bombs.

FBI investigation

Kar and his cameraman protested that they knew nothing about the timers, that they were merely passengers. To no avail. They were both put in jail. And the FBI launched an investigation of the filmmaker, searching his Los Angeles apartment and seizing his personal computer.

His family knew nothing of this until a week later, when Kar called his aunt and the Red Cross worker called Nairobi. In some ways, the real story is how they responded.

Kar's cousin Folger, a University of Southern California graduate, took control of the effort. She called Sen. Barbara Boxer's office and the Navy. She called the State Department. She even tried a New York number for the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. All without much result.

An FBI investigator assured the family in mid-June that Kar had been cleared, passing a lie detector test. But when he still wasn't released, Folger contacted the ACLU.

And it was through a habeas corpus lawsuit — literally, produce the body — that the case got attention. When the story ran on the front page of the New York Times last week, you had the sense that the family had touched the real levers of power. Kar was released not long afterward.

Kar told reporters that although he nothing against U.S. forces, he had been treated as a ``mushroom'' — thrown into a dark spot, fed garbage, forgotten by the bureaucracy. His family knew enough to call the right people. But what about folks who aren't as savvy?
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Thu Oct 03, 2013 7:05 am

ROVE RUNS BEHIND BUSH, by Charles Carreon

1:53 am, July 23, 2005

During the last few weeks, we've discovered a new Karl Rove. Smiling, silent, and submissive, moving in Bush's wind-shadow, apparently the only safe place for him in the media universe. Scott McLellan exceeded all previous standards as an affable stonewaller on July 11th, when this press briefing came down. Logic is clearly not the first weapon of the publicity man, nor does it much seem to aid the reporters attempting to wield it.

Q Does the President stand by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak of a name of a CIA operative?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I appreciate your question. I think your question is being asked relating to some reports that are in reference to an ongoing criminal investigation. The criminal investigation that you reference is something that continues at this point. And as I've previously stated, while that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren't going to comment on it while it is ongoing.

Q Excuse me, but I wasn't actually talking about any investigation. But in June of 2004, the President said that he would fire anybody who was involved in this leak, to press of information. And I just want to know, is that still his position?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, but this question is coming up in the context of this ongoing investigation, and that's why I said that our policy continues to be that we're not going to get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation from this podium. The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium. And so that's why we are not going to get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation, or questions related to it.

Q Scott, if I could — if I could point out, contradictory to that statement, on September 29th, 2003, while the investigation was ongoing, you clearly commented on it. You were the first one who said, if anybody from the White House was involved, they would be fired. And then on June 10th of 2004, at Sea Island Plantation, in the midst of this investigation is when the President made his comment that, yes, he would fire anybody from the White House who was involved. So why have you commented on this during the process of the investigation in the past, but now you've suddenly drawn a curtain around it under the statement of, “We're not going to comment on an ongoing investigation”?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, John, I appreciate the question. I know you want to get to the bottom of this. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. And I think the way to be most helpful is to not get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation. That's something that the people overseeing the investigation have expressed a preference that we follow. And that's why we're continuing to follow that approach and that policy.

Now, I remember very well what was previously said. And at some point, I will be glad to talk about it, but not until after the investigation is complete.

Q. So could I just ask, when did you change your mind to say that it was okay to comment during the course of an investigation before, but now it's not?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think maybe you missed what I was saying in reference to Terry's question at the beginning. There came a point when the investigation got underway when those overseeing the investigation asked that it would be their — or said that it would be their preference that we not get into discussing it while it is ongoing. I think that's the way to be most helpful to help them advance the investigation and get to the bottom of it.

Q Scott, can I ask you this; did Karl Rove commit a crime?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, this is a question relating to an ongoing investigation, and you have my response related to the investigation. And I don't think you should read anything into it other than we're going to continue not to comment on it while it's ongoing.

Q Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003 when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliott Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, “I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this” — do you stand by that statement?

MR. McCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation we're not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time, as well.

Q Scott, I mean, just — I mean, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us after having commented with that level of detail and tell people watching this that somehow you decided not to talk. You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium, or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: And again, David, I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said, and I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation —

Q Why are you choosing when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate?

MR. McCLELLAN: If you'll let me finish —

Q No, you're not finishing — you're not saying anything. You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke out about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation? Was he involved, or was he not? Because, contrary to what you told the American people, he did, indeed, talk about his wife, didn't he?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, there will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

Q Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

Go ahead, Terry.

Q Well, you're in a bad spot here, Scott, because after the investigation began, after the criminal investigation was underway, you said — October 10th, 2003, “I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby, as I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this.” From that podium. That's after the criminal investigation began. Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's not a correct characterization Terry, and I think you are well aware of that. We know each other very well, and it was after that period that the investigators had requested that we not get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation. And we want to be helpful so that they can get to the bottom of this, because no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. I am well aware of what was said previously. I remember well what was said previously. And at some point, I look forward to talking about it. But until the investigation is complete, I'm just not going to do that.

Q Do you recall when you were asked —

Q Wait, wait — so you're now saying that after you cleared Rove and the others from that podium, then the prosecutors asked you not to speak anymore, and since then, you haven't?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you're continuing to ask questions relating to an ongoing criminal investigation, and I'm just not going to respond any further.

Q When did they ask you to stop commenting on it, Scott? Can you peg down a date?

MR. McCLELLAN: Back at that time period.

Q Well, then the President commented on it nine months later. So was he not following the White House plan?

MR. McCLELLAN: John, I appreciate your questions. You can keep asking them, but you have my response.

Go ahead, Dave.

Q We are going to keep asking them. When did the President learn that Karl Rove had had a conversation with the President — with a news reporter about the involvement of Joseph Wilson's wife and the decision to send —

MR. McCLELLAN: I've responded to the questions.

Q When did the President learn that Karl Rove had —

MR. McCLELLAN: I've responded to the questions, Dick.

Go ahead.

Q After the investigation is completed, will you then be consistent with your word and the President's word that anybody who was involved would be let go?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, after the investigation is complete, I will be glad to talk about it at that point.

Q And a follow-up. Can you walk us through why, given the fact that Rove's lawyer has spoken publicly about this, it is inconsistent with the investigation, that it compromises the investigation to talk about the involvement of Karl Rove, the Deputy Chief of Staff?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, those overseeing the investigation expressed a preference to us that we not get into commenting on the investigation while it's ongoing. And that was what they requested of the White House. And so I think in order to be helpful to that investigation, we are following their direction.

Q. Scott, there's a difference between commenting on an investigation and taking an action —

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Goyal.

Q. Can I finish, please?

MR. McCLELLAN: You can come — I'll come back to you in a minute. Go ahead, Goyal.

Q. Scott, today also the President spoke about the war on terrorism and also, according to — report, there was bombings in London and also bombings in India, and at both places, al Qaeda was involved. According to the India report and press reports, a Pakistani television said that Osama bin Laden is there alive and they have spoken with him, and his group is still — as far as terrorism around the globe is concerned. So now the major bombings after 9/11 took place in London, and more are about to come, according to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. They are still — and again, the President is doing a great job as far as fighting against terrorism is concerned. But where do we stand now, really? Where do we go from London, as far as terrorism is concerned? How far we can go after Osama bin Laden now to catch him? Because he's still in Pakistan.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, what occurred in London is a grim reminder that we are at war on terrorism. We are waging a comprehensive war on terrorism. You heard the President talk earlier today to the FBI personnel and others who are at Quantico, and the President talked about our global war on terrorism. He talked about our strategy for taking the fight to the enemy, staying on the offensive, and working to spread freedom and democracy to defeat the ideology of hatred that terrorists espouse.

And the President pointed back to the 20th century. He pointed out that in World War II, freedom prevailed over fascism and Nazism. And in the Cold War, freedom prevailed over communism. Freedom is a powerful force for defeating an ideology such as the one that the terrorists espouse. And that's why it's so important to continue working to advance freedom and democracy in the broader Middle East. And that's what we will continue to do. And the President also talked about the great progress we've made at home to protect the home front.

The families and friends of those who lost their lives in London are — continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. We know what it's like to be attacked on our soil. And that's why the President made a decision that we were going to take the fight to the enemy to try to disrupt plots and prevent attacks from happening in the first place. And that's exactly what we are doing. But we're also going to work with the free world to support the advance of freedom and democracy in a dangerous region of the world. For too long we ignored what was going on in the Middle East. We accepted and tolerated dictatorships in exchange for peace and stability, and we got neither. As the President said, free nations are peaceful societies. And that's why it's so important that we continue to support the advance of freedom, because that's how you ultimately defeat the ideology of hatred and oppression that terrorists espouse.

Carl, go ahead. I'll come to you, David, in a second.

Q. Does the President continue to have confidence in Mr. Rove?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, these are all questions coming up in the context of an ongoing criminal investigation. And you've heard my response on this.

Q. So you're not going to respond as to whether or not the President has confidence in his Deputy Chief of Staff?

MR. McCLELLAN: Carl, you're asking this question in the context of an ongoing investigation. And I would not read anything into it other than I'm simply not going to comment on an ongoing —

Q. Has there been — has there been any change —

MR. McCLELLAN: — investigation.

Q. Has there been any change or is there a plan for Mr. Rove's portfolio to be altered in any way?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you have my response to these questions.

Go ahead. Sarah, go ahead.

Q. A secret British memo says plans are underway for a significant troop withdrawal from Iraq early next year. Does the President agree with those plans? And even though he doesn't want to give an exact date —

MR. McCLELLAN: Who? Who has a plan? I'm sorry.

Q. With the plans of the — a secret British memo says plans are underway for a significant troop withdrawal from Iraq early next year. Does the President agree with those plans, even though he doesn't want to give an exit date? Is there White House and Pentagon pressure to draw down U.S. troop levels in Iraq as soon as possible?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you're referring to reports of a British memo talking about reduction in troop forces. First of all, the military always plans for all contingencies. And that's something our military is always looking at — what are the various contingencies, and how do we meet our commitments and complete the mission. The President has made it clear that we are going to complete the mission, and then our troops will return home with the honor that they deserve.

We always look to — the President always looks to his commanders on the ground to make assessments in terms of what troops levels are needed, and the commanders on the ground will have the troops that they need to complete the mission. But the commanders have said that that will be based on the conditions on the ground, it will be based on circumstances on the ground, so you're always looking at the circumstances on the ground.

Now, one part of our strategy for victory in Iraq is to train and equip the Iraqi security forces. As we stand up the Iraqi forces, we will stand down coalition and American forces. And the President talked about that again today. That's part of our two-track strategy for succeeding in Iraq. And what you're seeing now is that the number of Iraqi forces that are trained and equipped continues to go up. They are the largest contingent providing for security in Iraq. And we continue to expand those forces. But not only are we expanding the numbers, we're strengthening their capability. And the commanders have talked about that, as well. So there's good progress being made there. The President referenced some of that in his remarks today.

Now I'll go back to David. Go ahead.

Q. There's a difference between commenting publicly on an action and taking action in response to it. Newsweek put out a story, an email saying that Karl Rove passed national security information on to a reporter that outed a CIA officer. Now, are you saying that the President is not taking any action in response to that? Because I presume that the prosecutor did not ask you not to take action, and that if he did, you still would not necessarily abide by that; that the President is free to respond to news reports, regardless of whether there's an investigation or not. So are you saying that he's not going to do anything about this until the investigation is fully over and done with?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think the President has previously spoken to this. This continues to be an ongoing criminal investigation. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. And we're just not going to have more to say on it until that investigation is complete.

Q. But you acknowledge that he is free, as President of the United States, to take whatever action he wants to in response to a credible report that a member of his staff leaked information. He is free to take action if he wants to.

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you're asking questions relating to an ongoing investigation, and I think I've responded to it.

Q. Scott, since President William Howard Taft became Chief Justice after his presidency, you would not rule out the President nominating former law school professor Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court, would you? And if you wouldn't, we can report that President Clinton is under consideration, can't we?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's the first time I've heard that name suggested. I know there are a lot of names being suggested out there, and you know that I'm not going to get into speculating about any particular names.

Q. One follow-up. Considering the widespread interest and the absolutely frantic Democrat reaction to Karl Rove's excellent speech to conservatives last month, does the President hope that Karl will give a lot more speeches?

MR. McCLELLAN: He continues to give speeches. He was traveling this weekend talking about the importance of strengthening Social Security. And he has continued to go out and give speeches.

Let me back up, though. You brought up the Supreme Court, and I would like to update you, in terms of where we are in terms of consultations with the Senate, because the White House consultations have been wide and deep with the United States Senate. I think you heard Senator Hatch yesterday talk about how, in his 29 years in the United States Senate, he has not seen anything like this when it comes to the level of consultation that is going on. It is unprecedented, in his words, and he's certainly been around the Senate for a long time to see the type of consultations that go on.

But we have reached out to more than 60 senators now, and we have actually consulted with most of those. We are continuing those outreach calls and meetings to listen to what senators have to say and hear what their views are. The President —

Q. Did you try to reach all the senators?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President has reached out, himself. The President looks forward to meeting tomorrow with four distinguished leaders in the Senate. He will be listening to what their views are. The President is not prejudging anything. He wants to hear what their views are and hear what they have to say as we move forward on a Supreme Court nominee. The President —

Q. Does he want to hear names, Scott?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President welcomes people suggesting names. That's part of the consultation process. But not only are we going to consult before the nomination is made, but we'll continue to consult once the nomination is made.

We've also consulted with more than half of the Democratic conference in the United States Senate. We've spoken with every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And we are continuing that outreach as we speak. A number of White House staffers have been reaching out to individual members, and the President is going to be sitting down and meeting with those four leaders tomorrow.

Q. What does he think of Specter — what does he think of Specter suggesting O'Connor as Chief?

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, Les, there are going to be a lot of suggestions made. I'm just not going to get into speculating about potential nominees. The President takes this responsibility very seriously. And that's why he is going through a deliberate and thorough process. That's why he has instructed us to reach out to senators and get their views and hear what they have to say about a potential nominee.

The President hopes that we can move forward in a dignified and civilized way. You heard him express that. It's important to elevate the discourse as we move forward. The American people want this nomination process to be something that we can all be proud of. And the President is going to select the nominee who meets the criteria that he outlined — that is someone of high intellect, someone of integrity, someone who — someone of great legal ability and someone who will faithfully interpret our Constitution and our laws and not try to make law from the bench.

Q. Will the President discuss his names with Democrats, as well, and get their thoughts on those names?

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, April. Go ahead.

Q. Scott, what was the President's interaction today with Karl Rove? Did they discuss this current situation? And understanding that Karl Rove was the architect of the President's win for the second term in the Oval Office, how important is Karl Rove to this administration currently?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, this is coming at it from —

Q. It has nothing to do with what you just said.

MR. McCLELLAN: This is still coming at the same question relating to reports about an ongoing investigation, and I think I've responded to it.

Q. Who is Karl Rove as it relates to this administration?

MR. McCLELLAN: Do you have questions on another topic?

Q. No, no, no, no. Who is Karl Rove as it relates to this current administration?

MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate the question, April. I think I've responded.

Go ahead, Connie.

Q. Is the President going to make any outreach to conservative groups on the Supreme Court nominee and listen to their point of view at all?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we are listening to what others have to say, not only in the United States Senate, but outside, as well. And there are a lot of people expressing their views right now.

Q. — seemed to get annoyed last week —

MR. McCLELLAN: I wouldn't try to label anything.

Go ahead.

Q. Scott, I think you're barrage today in part because we — it is now clear that 21 months ago, you were up at this podium saying something that we now know to be demonstratively false. Now, are you concerned that in not setting the record straight today that this could undermine the credibility of the other things you say from the podium?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I'm going to be happy to talk about this at the appropriate time. Dana, you all — you and everybody in this room, or most people in this room, I should say, know me very well and they know the type of person that I am. And I'm confident in our relationship that we have. But I will be glad to talk about this at the appropriate time, and that's once the investigation is complete. I'm not going to get into commenting based on reports or anything of that nature.

Q. Scott, at this point, are we to consider what you've said previously, when you were talking about this, that you're still standing by that, or are those all inoperative at this point?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you're still trying to come at this from a different angle, and I've responded to it.

Q. Are you standing by what you said previously?

MR. McCLELLAN: You've heard my response.

Go ahead.

Q. The six-party talks are finally to be resumed on July 27th. The United States policy has been to demand complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of nuclear weapon by the North Korea to ensure nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. If North Korea does not agree to that, what would happen to the six-party talks?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, we are pleased that North Korea is coming back to the talks. The five parties put a proposal on the table, and we believe it's now time to make progress on what we outlined. It's important for North Korea to return to the talks prepared to talk in a serious way about how to move forward on that proposal. The goal is not for North Korea to come back to the talks; the goal is a denuclearized peninsula. That's a goal that we all share. And we need to make progress toward that goal. That's why it's important that when North Korea comes back, that they are prepared to respond to the proposal and move forward in a serious way to make progress toward that goal.

In the discussions recently with North Korea, they have expressed a commitment to a denuclearized peninsula and making progress toward that goal. These meetings or this upcoming six-party talks is a way to move forward toward that goal. And we want to move forward in a serious way.

Q. It is reported the United States would offer some new incentives to the North Korea. Would you tell us, what is the contents of new —

MR. McCLELLAN: I think any such impression is wrong. We have put a proposal on the table along with the other four parties in the talks. That is a proposal that was — it's a serious proposal. It was put on the table by the five parties for North Korea to consider and respond to. Now North Korea is committed to coming back to the talks with a date certain. And when they come back later this month, we want them to be prepared to talk in a serious way about how to move forward on that proposal. That's the proposal that is on the table. It was a proposal that was outlined to North Korea in the last round of talks over a year ago by the other five parties.

Go ahead, Alexis.

Q. When the leak investigation is concluded, does the President believe it might be important for his credibility, the credibility of the White House, to release all the information voluntarily that was submitted as part of the investigation, so the American public could see what the — what transpired inside the White House at the time?

MR. McCLELLAN: This is an investigation being overseen by a special prosecutor. And I think those are questions best directed to the special prosecutor. Again, this is an ongoing matter; I'm just not going to get into commenting on it further at this time. At the appropriate time, when it's complete, then I'll be glad to talk about it at that point.

Q. Have you in the White House considered whether that would be optimum to release as much information and make it as open a process —

MR. McCLELLAN: It's the same type of question. You're asking me to comment on an ongoing investigation, and I'm not going to do that.

Q. I'm actually talking about the communication strategy, which is a little different.

MR. McCLELLAN: Understood. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation. And that's what he expects people in the White House to do.

Q. And he would like to that when it is concluded, cooperate fully with —

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I've already responded.

Go ahead.

Q. Scott, was it — who in the investigation made this request of the White House not to comment further about the investigation? Was it Mr. Fitzgerald? Did he make the request of you —

MR. McCLELLAN: I mean, you can ask — you can direct those questions to the special prosecutors. I think probably more than one individual who's involved in overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference that we not get into commenting on the investigation while it's ongoing. I think we all want to see the prosecutors get to the bottom of this matter. The President wants to see the prosecutors get to the bottom of this matter. And the way to help them do that is to not get into commenting on it while it is ongoing.

Q. Was the request made of you, or of whom in the White House?

MR. McCLELLAN: I already responded to these questions.

Go ahead.

Q. According to the Gallup Poll, 62 percent of the American people believe that a terrorist attack like the one we saw in London could happen here. In the President's speech today, we haven't heard anything new. What his plan exactly to protect the American people?

MR. McCLELLAN: It's exactly what he outlined in his remarks earlier today. It's a comprehensive strategy. We are working on multiple fronts to protect the American people. As he said, the best way to defend the American people is to stay on the offense and take the fight to the enemy. That's exactly what we are doing.

You see, the terrorists have been carrying out attacks for years. They felt that the civilized world would only respond in a very limited way. We saw the attacks back in '83 on the Marine barracks in Lebanon. We saw the attacks on — or the attack on the World Trade Center back in 1993. We saw the attacks on our embassies back in '98. They've certainly carried out attacks in other parts of the civilized world, as well.

The President saw the attacks of September 11th and said we are going to take the fight to the enemy. We are going to wage a comprehensive war, and we are going to see it through. The enemy will be defeated. And the way we will ultimately defeat the enemy is to defeat their hateful ideology. And you do that by spreading freedom because free societies are peaceful societies, as the President said.

Bob, go ahead.

Q. Yes, in your dealings with the special counsel, have you consulted a personal attorney?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I'm just not going to say anything further. I expressed all I'm going to say on this matter from this podium.

Go ahead.

Q. How does the uncertainty over Chief Justice Rehnquist affect the President's selection of a replacement for Justice O'Connor?

MR. McCLELLAN: How does the speculation about another vacancy?

Q. How does the uncertainty about Chief Justice Rehnquist affect the process?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President is moving forward to fill the vacancy. He spent time on his trip looking over the background materials of potential nominees and some of their key rulings or decisions. The President has been talking with senior staff — I know he visited with Andy Card about it on the trip, as well — and talking to them about potential nominees and the process for moving forward to name a nominee.

We are prepared for additional vacancies, if they should occur. This is something that we have prepared for, for quite some time at the White House. But I'm not aware of any announcement that's been made on an additional vacancy at this point.

Q. Scott, voting rights reauthorization. I understand the President is for voting rights reauthorization, but he still wants to study portions of it. It sounds kind of contradictory. Could you explain what that means, as it's up for renewal?

MR. McCLELLAN: Sure. As you point out, it's up of reauthorization in 2006. The President does support reauthorization. That process is getting underway in Congress. And as it works its way through Congress, the White House will look at and consider any improvements to strengthen it. And that's — that's really where it stands at this point.

Q. Well, what does he think could strengthen it? What tweaks is he thinking of right now —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that's something we'll look at. There are suggestions that I'm sure people are going to make as we move forward, and we'll look at and consider those suggestions. The President also met with the Congressional Black Caucus and said he would take their views into account as we move forward, as well.

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