Saturday, October 05, 2002

Chavez says another coup thwarted:


CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez said Saturday that his government uncovered plans for a military coup after intelligence agents found evidence of one during a raid.

"We, in recent hours, have avoided a coup. I'm sure of this, but we have to remain alert," said Chavez told supporters in Caracas.

He said the coup was planned for Sunday. Chavez, a leftist former paratrooper who was elected in 1998, was briefly ousted by dissident generals in mid-April.

His statements came after agents from the Military Intelligence Directorate raided the home of former Foreign Minister Enrique Tejera Paris, who was suspected of aiding the dissident generals.

Chavez said agents found videos, lists with telephone numbers and a large map of strategic areas in Caracas titled "The Final Solution" in Tejera's home.

Tejera was not placed under arrest and his lawyer, Luis Valdivieso, said agents violated his client's rights by raiding his home without a warrant.

Valdivieso told Globovision television that his client would cooperate with authorities "to dispel the accusations against him" and accused agents of planting the map.

Chavez also said Tejera had drafted a decree to dissolve the Constitution once he assumed the presidency.


"Final Solution" is a bit ominous don't you think?

Paris mayor stabbed.

Motive not yet known, but I have a guess or two.
Brian Linse seems to be returning to regular posting, thankfully.



My local newscast just said the police have Robert Gene Baker, the "person of interest" (or whatever) in the recent sniper attacks, in custody .
I look forward to Blogistan taking up this man's cause.


The husband of a Russian woman who died in the 11 September attacks faces deportation from the US - despite the fact that the couple's two children can legally live in America.

Well, it isn't fox hunting...




ROME, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- More than 1.5 million Italians took to the streets of dozens of cities Saturday afternoon and evening to protest possible U.S. military action against Iraq -- a surprise show of discord that could be fervent enough for the Italian government to re-think its support of Washington.

The larger-than-expected protests took place without violence, despite speculation from some fronts that the gatherings could become dangerous, especially to U.S. citizens. On Friday, the U.S. Embassy in Rome circulated a warning to citizens residing in or visiting Italy to stay away from the demonstrations because of fears that they could become targets for violence.
Friedman asks "where are the Democrats?"


I ask "where are the pundits?"

What a cowardly creep. Damn enabler.

UPDATE: Jeff Hauser has more.
Zizka on dead salmon, Iraq, and whatnot.
William Saletan can suck it.

You see, Billy can only handle seeing things through the CNN instant poll "Should we go to Iraq Yes or No?" lens. Any debate which is more nuanced is in little Billy's estimate not a debate.



Suck it.
Looks like Venezuela was just the beginning of our return to mucking about in South America.

Onward to Brazil!

Let's send the message that our party realizes the country faces a threat far different and far more deadly than it did in 1972. Today's war is on our own soil with terrorist cells lurking perhaps even in our own states and neighborhoods. Let's respond with strength and boldness, not with the same old failed script that doomed us 30 years ago.


Has Zell Miller lost his goddamn mind? Saddam Hussein is a bigger threat than the Soviet Union?

Have we all lost our goddam minds?
Looks like it probably was terrorism:



Late Friday, federal authorities in Charlotte issued a bulletin for a 33-year-old former Raleigh man in connection with the shootings. Robert Gene Baker III was believed to be heading south from Washington and may have associates in Virginia and North Carolina, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said.

Baker previously lived in an apartment at 9135 Stonehenge Drive in North Raleigh. It was not known when Baker last lived in Raleigh.

Baker's family members reported him missing Monday, according to the ATF report.

The bulletin described Baker as a drug user affiliated with various militia and white supremacist groups. He is 5-feet-9 and 165 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and tattoos on both arms and his back.


Why do I expect the Borg will stop talking about this story...

Guest conservative commentator Snotglass weighs in:



Liberal Democrat radicals in the Senate are unconstitutionally obstructing our elected President, George W. Bush in fulfilling the mandate he was given by an overwhelming majority of the American electorate. Despite the historic speeches, reminiscent of Churchill, Webster and Cicero, our President has given to the American people describing in meticulous detail the intelligence connecting the leftist regime of Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda and his plans to deploy weapons of mass destruction against the United States, these traitorous Democrat liberals continue to resist the will of our President and endanger the security of America.

The failed but fashionably dressed Democrat candidate Al Gore, in his ridiculous and subversive speech in San Francisco, tried to reinvent himself by stating that there is no need for new resolutions because existing resolutions regarding weapons inspectors are still in effect. But Gore, always a serial prevaricator, did not mention that the discredited Clinton administration had other domestic political problems and ignored UN resolutions. Because of this inaction on the part of the permissive Clinton regime, the UN statute of limitations will shortly expire making new UN resolutions imperative. For the weapons inspection system to operate, the UN must give our elected President, and leader of the Free World, the supreme enforcement authority.

Should the UN fail to act, the President does not need the questionable authority of the UN to protect US interests. But Congress must give our elected President the authority he needs to successfully prosecute the War on Terror by effecting a regime change in Iraq. Obstructionist Democrats must stop consorting with the enemy and performing as paid spokesmen for their ideological brethren in the Iraqi regime, and support the efforts of our elected President.

However, if congressional Democrats persist in their unconstitutional resistance to our elected President, he is free to act in accordance with his electoral mandate. Recent analysis by the Albert T. Beveridge Legal Center at the Heritage Foundation reveals that the President does not need congressional authority to wage just war despite the small print contained in the questionable and archaic documents cited by constitutionally revisionist Democrats. Constitutional scholar Jonah Goldberg agrees with this assessment because President Bush is accountable to a higher authority. God has not been preparing the English-speaking and Teutonic peoples for a thousand years for nothing but vain and idle self-admiration. He has made us the master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns. He has made us adepts in government that we may administer government among savages and senile peoples.

Liberal Democrats have shown they cannot lead. They must follow or get out of the way. You people should support our elected President.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Thankfully it only took me two posts to find something incredibly stupid to comment on. From Chez Andy:


THE NEW YORK TIMES ON PRE-EMPTION: The invaluable Jeffrey Goldberg presents what is to my mind an unarguable case for removing Saddam from power in Slate. But his real discovery is a New York Times editorial of June 9, 1981. It concerned the Israelis' pre-emptive strike against Saddam's Osirak nuclear plant. Under the headline, "Israel's Illusion," the Times declared:
Israel's sneak attack on a French-built nuclear reactor near Baghdad was an act of inexcusable and short-sighted aggression. Even assuming that Iraq was hellbent to divert enriched uranium for the manufacture of nuclear weapons, it would have been working toward a capacity that Israel itself acquired long ago.
There you have it: the moral equivalence, the short-sightedness, the moral preening, all disguising a fantastic error of judgment. If Saddam had had that nuclear capacity, there would have been no Gulf War, or one with disastrous consequences. The Times, of course, never learns. But this time, the security of the United States is at stake. We cannot let ourselves be led by the deluded and the defeatist any more.
- 7:01:14 PM


Error of judgement it may have been, but one which caused the Reagan administration to withhold arms shipments to Israel and rumor is it inspired his vice president to demand retaliatory strikes against Israel. I agree - Israel was right on this one, but it wasn't just the NYT that was against it.

NOTE TO ANDY: SADDAM WAS OUR BUDDY THEN!

If the NYT was guilty of anything it was what the U.S. press is always guilty of -- going along with U.S. foreign policy no matter what it is.


By HOWELL RAINES Special to the New York Times

WASHINGTON, July 16 - The Reagan Administration is expected to announce tomorrow that it will release to Israel the four F-16 fighterbombers whose delivery was held up after the Israeli air strike on the Iraqi reactor.

White House sources said the announcement would be made at the State Department. The four F-16's, whose delivery was scheduled for last month, were withheld pending a determination whether Israel had used Americansupplied planes in the raid in violation of United
States statutes limiting such weapons to defensive purposes.

American officials also made it clear that delaying the planes was a way of reprimanding Israel and calming Arabs who demanded that the United States condemn Israel for the attack on Iraq.

Assurances on Other F-16's

After it delayed the June deliveries, however, the Administration announced that it would go ahead with delivery of six other F-16's to be released to Israel tomorrow. White House spokesmen said at the time that the matter of the four planes would be resolved by the time
the six were due to be delivered.

Since the policy was announced July 1, it has been regarded as a foregone conclusion that the United States would eventually deliver all the planes. But the Administration faced the problem of working out a diplomatic explanation for its action that did not appear either to
endorse Israel's attack or to call into question the United States' role as an ally of Israel.





Is Andy this stupid? Really? My god.


Uh-oh, gonna venture into AndyLand. Wish me luck...
Wow. How did I miss this one?


A California jury has ordered cigarette giant Philip Morris to pay $28bn (£17bn) in punitive damages to a cancer-stricken smoker.

Philip Morris said it planned to appeal to the court to order a new trial, and would ask for a reduction in the size of the award if its request for a new trial was denied.

The award, the biggest ever in a smoking-related lawsuit, comes on top of an initial $850,000 payout intended to compensate the plaintiff - a 64-year-old woman suffering from lung cancer - for her illness.

The verdict wiped 6% off Philip Morris' share price, and dragged other tobacco stocks lower in sympathy.

Suckful on Jersey.



It doesn't matter much. As the blog formerly known as TNR says, it's win-win-win for the Democrats unless Nino and the Fascist 5 pull something really wacky.


But, speaking, of TNR -- Note to Peter Beinart: You will never get Big Brother Jonah Goldberg's approval, no matter how hard you try.
One really does wonder why the liberal media didn't spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the Romney residency flap or the Katie Harris resignation flap.

Well, no I don't.
From the latest "Falwell Confidential" newsletter:



DATE: October 3, 2002 FROM: Jerry Falwell

ATTENTION ALL PASTORS: You May Endorse Candidates and Your Church May Distribute Voter
Guides

[...] Liberal groups are using this week's defeat of Rep. Walter B. Jones' "Houses of
Worship Political Speech Protection Act" (H.R. 2357) as a means to proclaim that pastors
must painstakingly avoid political issues in their pulpits.

[...] I talked yesterday with Grover Norquist, a great conservative and president of
Americans For Tax Reform. Mr. Norquist was excited that he had finally convinced the
Internal Revenue Service to publish the specifics of what pastors and churches may and may
not legally do in election campaigns. I urge all pastors and church leaders to visit the
Web site of Americans for Tax Reform (www.atr.org) to learn what is and is not appropriate
in regard to church and government involvement. Mr. Norquist and his team pressed the IRS
to define, in detail, to what extent tax-exempt religious organizations may properly be
involved in the political process. [...]

Here are a few excerpts of what every pastor and church may legally do:

* Churches may distribute non-partisan voter guides describing candidates' stands on the
issues.

* Churches may engage in non-partisan voter registration drives;

* Pastors may endorse candidates from the pulpit as long as they make it clear they are
doing so as individuals - not as a church endorsement;

* Churches may invite candidates to attend and speak at events as long as they make the
offer available to all candidates for the same office. It is not required that all
candidates attend, but rather that they all have the same opportunity to do so;

* A local church may not endorse a candidate, only the pastor as an individual may do so;

* Pastors may urge their congregations to write, E-mail or call their elected
representatives to lobby for specific legislation;

* Churches may engage in active lobbying as long as the amount is not "substantial"
("Substantial" has been defined by the courts as 5% of a person's/organization's time or
resources.)

I urge 200,000 evangelical pastors and church leaders to "render unto Caesar" on November
5th by advising their 70 million parishioners to cast "Christian" votes for the men and
women who best represent their biblical values.


and one more thing:


The Jones bill was designed to annul a 48-year-old law that prohibits all tax-exempt
groups - including churches - from participating in political activity under the threat of
loss of tax-exempt status. However, it is important to note that only one church in the
history of our nation has ever lost its tax-exempt status because of political
wrongdoings. And in that case - wherein a pastor irresponsibly purchased billboards and
newspaper ads telling people not to vote for Bill Clinton - the loss of tax-exempt status
lasted for only an hour before being returned.




screw the law.
I was always more cynical than Jeanne D'Arc regarding the Bush administration's ability to wage war - and then to wage peace- but I am in no way satisfied about having been proven more right than wrong.
Ted Barlow's been posting on venom from right and left directed against the other side. I think something has been lost as the discussion progressed - the issue is not just which side has the most or biggest blowhards, but the specific content of the kinds of criticisms both sides are willing to make.

It's easy and sloppy to tar people in self-identified groups with the worst actions of their worst people. It's easy to say "conservatives this" and "liberals that," and when one side does that it is easy for the other side to cry foul.


But, the problem with the post by Bill Quick which started off the latest round in this endless discussion is not that he said that liberals and Democrats are all stupid, or mean, or even corrupt and evil. It's that he, in effect, said that everyone who pulls the 'D' lever at the ballot box hates America, hates the constitution, hates the country, wishes terrorists would eat all of our babies, and wishes that America were completely different from the ideals it has had since its founding. In short, he incorporated the standard meta-narrative of conservative discourse for decades - liberals and Democrats are unpatriotic.

This charge is particularly powerful and sinister because it is made in an attempt to undermine the ability of 50+% of the country to even have a say. No I'm not crying censorship (so stop saying that!), but if you impugn the patriotism of 'the other side' you destroy their ability to enter into the fray of political discussion. If what you say is motivated by a hatred of America, then you of course should not be listened to.

The Right, as a movement, has been successful in tilting the narrative in this way because their identification with "conservatism" allows them to lay claim to being the guardians of "true America." They regularly employ a false nostalgia for a greater past that never was, and for national traditions that never really existed, to promote their vision as a return to the past greatness which has been corrupted by the immoral forces of change. That the 50s (1850s or 1950s, you judge) provides the model for this in many eyes, despite the obscene racial injustice of that time, should sound the warning bells for this particular fraud.

I won't call Bill Quick a fascist. Probably this, as Brian Linse (AintNoBadDude) has suggested, is simply his opportunistic overture, but this kind of rhetoric is the kind employed by the authoritarian nationalist movements of past and present. It is echoed in Bush's "with us or against us" rhetoric, and his claims that the opposition party cares not for national security, and it is echoed Bill Bennett's patriotism police. It is echoed in current attempts to rehabilitate fascism's past and put a friendlier face on it for the present. It is echoed in the false idealization of the "heartland" by the likes of Andy Sullivan, and it is an echoed in a country where for too many months criticism of the president was equated by many with treason and when even now international criticism of that president's policies is labelled "anti-Americanism."


The problem is not simply that the Right employs nasty rhetoric, it is that a common undercurrent of the rhetoric is that liberals wish to destroy all that makes our country great. Tell us we're wrong, tell us we're stupid, but don't tell us that our belief that going to Iraq is perhaps the wrong way to go about the "war on terror" arises out of our desire to see the terrorists win. Don't tell us that our concern for civil liberties springs from the same desire. And, definitely do not pretend you have a monopoly on patriotism, good works, love for country, flag, constitution, mom, and apple pie.

[note: I've tweaked this in minor ways since I've posted it, but haven't changed anything of substance.]
Jason Leopold:


Leopold's version
From JASON LEOPOLD: Subject -- The New York Times, Jason Leopold, Thomas White and Salon.com. I want to bring to your attention an issue that has come to light regarding my story on Thomas White and Salon.com. This week, Salon pulled the story off its website and made statements about me that are simply untrue. This story was picked up several weeks ago by Paul Krugman, columnist for the New York Times. Because of Salon's actions, the NYT came down hard on Mr. Krugman to print a correction in his column Friday, Oct. 4, unless he could get me to reveal to him the identity of my sources and speak to them directly.

I revealed my sources on the Thomas White story to Paul Krugman, including the person who sent me the email. He spoke to each and every one of my sources and verified their employment with Enron through W-2 documents they faxed to him. In addition, he verified the authenticity of the email by speaking directly with the person who sent it. Moreover, I found that Salon had erred in stating that I plagiarized seven grafs from the Financial Times. The paper was credited three times in the original story. Only an idiot would credit a story and then at the same time plagiarize the same story.

I took these unusual steps to reveal my sources to Krugman and provided him with documents because he was told by the NYT editorial board that if he could get me to do that then he could write a column that defends me and state that he independently verified everything. This was a painstaking process, having to convince more than a dozen sources to speak up, albeit in defense of me and confirm the authenticity of documents, particularly the email.

However, when Krugman informed his editors and the editorial board of the NYT that he had independently secured confirmation from all of my sources and verified the authenticity of the email, the NYT was shocked, according to Krugman, and then told him it was not good enough, that despite all of this verification he could still not write a column in support of my story, the documents mentioned, or reveal to readers that he spoke to my sources. Krugman, to his credit, did everything in his power to get the NYT editorial board to allow him to write the column he wanted regarding the Tom White email.

Now the NYT has put me into a position where I can no longer win the trust of my sources because they broke their promise to me. Had the NYT told me or Krugman their plans for never honoring the agreement, I would have never revealed my sources to the paper. This clearly became an issue for the NYT to pursue a salacious story about me rather than pursue the story itself, which is Thomas White and whether he wrote this email.

Ethel the Blog notes that Hugo Chavez's crackdowns on press freedom seem to come down to one very Jesse Ventura like comment - "he said the press was full of shit."

There's plenty to dislike about Chavez, but that one is silly.

Srolling down, Steven Baum also quips "I learn from Doc Searls that I'm number 7 (of 2,180,000) on a Google search for "blog". This would be a whole lot more exciting if I could turn it into beer." Agreed. (hint)
Anyone catch CNN's little pro-Saudi propaganda piece today? "They're just like us!"


There was a big PR push about a week ago with the line "Harvey Pitt seems to have found religion" being parroted by the usual parrots. I kinda thought it was crap at the time, and apparently it was.
So, any expectations about the timeline for Nino and the Gang to say something about Jersey?
Pat Robertson, Who Thinks Feminists Caused 9/11, Gets Federal Tax Dollars


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- A charity founded by Pat Robertson is to receive $500,000 in the first wave of grants under President Bush's "faith-based initiative," which the religious broadcaster had criticized.

The money for Virginia Beach-based Operation Blessing International was among $25 million in Compassion Capital Fund grants that were announced Thursday for 21
roups, including several that are deeply religious in nature as well as traditional social service providers.

The grants are the first tangible result of the "faith-based initiative," which stalled in Congress amid debate over how religious programs can get government money without running afoul of the constitutional separation of church and state.

In March, Robertson said on his "700 Club" television show that the program to give federal money to religious organizations that provide social services was a "Pandora's box" that could make legitimate religious charities dependent on government and finance cults that "brainwash" prospective adherents.

Robertson said the groups getting funds "will begin to be nurtured, if I can use that term, on federal money, and then they can't get off of it," according to The Washington Post. He added, "It'll be like a narcotic; they can't then free themselves later on."



Oh libertarians? where are you?

In the last couple of days I've started seeing a cross section of folks carrying anti-war signs around with them - not in any kind of group protest, but just carrying them around in the course of their daily business.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

CalPundit says:



The Republicans are arguing that the Constitution gives legislatures — not courts — the right to set rules for congressional elections. This may sound similar to part of the Supreme Court ruling in Bush v. Gore, but it's not. There, the court questioned whether the Florida Supreme Court had ruled based on the state constitution rather than state law. The theory behind this was that in presidential elections the constitution specifically empowers state legislatures to set election rules, bypassing state constitutions entirely, so that any court ruling should be based solely on interpretation of state law, not on whether state law conflicts with the state constitution.


However, the Supreme Court specifically did not say that courts can't arbitrate election disputes — and how could they? Who else could arbitrate election disputes, after all?


The New Jersey decision gave no hint of its actual reasoning, but there's no reason to think it was based on any state constitutional grounds. CalPundit's prediction: the Supreme Court, affirming its usual stance of declining to overrule state courts in purely state matters — and with a sigh of relief — won't even hear the case.


Okay. But I *still* don't get how anyone can take this "the constitution specifically empowers state legislatures to set election rules, bypassing state constitutions entirely" stuff seriously. I don't understand how one can divorce the state constitution established legislature from the legislature itself.


Conason:


Or as another witty reader points out, Torricelli could simply have backdated his resignation to the 51-day deadline. What kind of precedent would permit such a cheeky maneuver? Exactly the same one that inspired Katherine Harris to backdate her resignation as Florida's secretary of state two months ago.



[henryhanks]But that was different, you see, because...[/henryhanks]
Jeb Bush.



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told a delegation of lawmakers that he had "some juicy details" about the sexual orientation of a missing Miami girl's caretakers.



During a meeting Wednesday, Bush implied that the two women, who had just been charged with fraud stemming from the investigation into Rilya Wilson's disappearance, were lesbians.

"As (Pamela Graham) was being arrested, she told her co-workers, 'Tell my wife I've been arrested.' The wife is the grandmother, and the aunt is the husband," Bush explained, using his fingers to indicate quotation marks to emphasize the word "grandmother."



No comment needed.

(via Dr. Limerick)
Nathan Newman has a list of impressive Democratic achievements in California.
Poll: Hispanic voters lean Democrat.


If 49 to 20 is "leaning.."



Hey, Kinsley is starting to get his spine back


We need no lectures from the beneficiary of this judicial coup d'├ętat about the dangers of mixing politics and judges.


Sam Heldman has more on Jersey (every time I bring this issue up my fingers start typing 'Florida'..grr). Anyway, he notes that Eugene Volokh brings up the possibility that a raationale for the Supremos to take this is the 3-justice embraced theory that "federal elections are the province of state legislatures rather than state courts" which is such a profoundly stupid argument I don't even know where to begin.

Sam also brings up the possibility of option C - The Supremos disgrace themselves again, Torch stays on the ballot, and the outrage sweeps Jersey and the country to Democratic victory. We'll see...
The Self Made Pundit surveys the scene.
God, could these people be more pathetic? I do love it when they squeal, although I guess I'll be squealing when Nino steps in.




Sen. Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee and the head of the committee, told reporters, ``What the Democrats have done is clearly illegal. They are attempting to steal an election they could not win.''

Frist and other senators said the New Jersey court decision sets a dangerous precedent and would allow other candidates to swap out just before an election if polls show they were headed for defeat.

Sen. Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, said, ``I pray to God that the United States Supreme Court will right the wrong that has been perpetuated on us by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.''



The official unemployment rate hides a lot.


By one important measure, this recession is every bit as bad as it gets. Lee Price, chief economist of the Senate Budget Office, finds that the number of people working as a proportion of the working-age population has fallen faster in this recession than the average of the last nine recessions. Moreover, it has fallen for 27 months, longer than in any other postwar recession.

The first priority of a stimulus package should be to extend unemployment benefits beyond the customary period. Unless the economy improves, two million workers will run out their unemployment insurance by the end of the year, and an additional couple of hundred thousand will lose coverage every month thereafter.

Hey Glenn! I think Bush might be referring to you...



Bush calls his detractors “elites, these kind of professor types that love to read their names in the newspaper.”
Daily Kos and Josh Marshall wonder where the "rules are rules" people were when Mitt Romney had residency issues.


Or Dick Cheney, for that matter...(although, at that time it was the constitution that might have mattered..)
Neal Pollack's hiatus was mercifully brief, and he is back defending his position as Jersey's Pundit Laureate.
Ted Barlow's discovering the unpleasant truth of "acceptable" right wing discourse and (Scroll down) wonders where the "rules are rules" crowd was when Cruella Harris broke them.
"House of Worship Political Speech Protection Act" defeated in House.

Praise Jeebus.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

NJ Supremos say unanimously Torch can be replaced.


Over to you, Nino...
Ann Coulter on Pat Robertson, from CBN:



COULTER: Well, my point is that it shows the ideological insanity of these people and how they are terrified of anyone who believes in a Being even higher than the New York Times. When you try to figure out what the Religious Right is, essentially my conclusion is that it either comes down to one man, Pat Robertson, or 80 percent of Americans, anyone who believes in God and wants his taxes cut. When you look at Pat Robertson’s positions, they are really quite moderate positions, as one would expect from a Yale Law School graduate. I may not agree with him as a conservative, but my point is they are trying to demonize Pat Robertson as some sort of horned conservative. If he didn't believe in God and go on TV and talk about it, he would be Jim Jeffords, he would be Christie Todd Whitman, I mean just in his political positions. It really shows how crazy these people are. They really are terrified of believing Christians.


Jerky provides the graphics for Conason's latest:








And people wonder why we call them chickenhawks...



Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington and David Bonior of Michigan, both Vietnam War-era veterans, also said at a news conference that they felt obligated to inform Americans of the risks they faced by going to war with Iraq.

[..]


House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said McDermott was "totally out of touch with the most fundamental tenet of congressional responsibilities" and that he and other liberals had "just basically regressed to their childhood days of Vietnam War protests."


Daily Howler rips Saletan a new one.


POSTSCRIPT—OUR INCOMPARABLE SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH: You know us—we thought we’d conduct a thorough search to see how often the Gore-like Torch accused his rival of “risky schemes.” And it was weird—the Bergen Record recorded no instance. Neither did the Philly Inquirer. In fact, we were almost starting to get the feeling that Saletan may have embellished a tad. Maybe he was willing to do and say anything. Or maybe he even had a problem with the truth. Gosh—maybe he felt the need to embroider even when the truth would have been good enough. We found that it wasn’t hard to imagine what probably happened when Saletan typed his piece up.

But finally! The New York Times replied to our search for “Torricelli AND risky scheme.” Here is the offending example, from a September 19 report by David Kocieniewski. For the record, this is the only response to “Torricelli AND risky scheme” on the entire NEXIS archive:


KOCIENIEWSKI: Mr. Forrester, who has tried to focus the campaign on questions about Mr. Torricelli’s ethics, has [used] the Social Security squabble to challenge the senator’s credibility. At a news conference in Trenton today, he said he would oppose the Bush administration’s plan to privatize Social Security and any attempt to invest part of the trust fund in the stock market.
He also cited Mr. Torricelli’s appearance on CNN’s “Crossfire” program in October 2000, in which the senator appeared to embrace a proposal to invest part of the Social Security trust fund in stocks.

“It’s a risky scheme, with two pitfalls,” said Bill Pascoe, Mr. Forrester’s campaign manager. “First, as demonstrated by the stock market downturn, we could end up losing the money. Second, you’d be in a situation when the government is picking stocks, choosing one company over the other, with the potential for political influence-peddling.”

Mr. Torricelli’s campaign manager, Ken Snyder, said that the senator had been invited to appear on the television show because he opposes privatization and that it would be misleading to interpret “a vague moment on a rapid-fire political talk show” as a formal endorsement.


Weird, eh? In the one recorded case where someone yelled “risky scheme,” it was Forrester’s manager—he’s a Republican—yelling “risky scheme” at the Torch! Why, if we didn’t know the press corps better, we’d almost think that Will’s “fact”—which helped slime Vile Gore—was mistaken. Or had just been made up.
TAPPED says:



Traditionally, in election-law jurisprudence, courts are generally willing to override certain kinds of election statutes -- deadlines and such -- in the interest of giving voters a choice.


Well, traditionally they do...
Gore makes speech.


"I am not asking the president to abandon his ideology," Gore said in a speech at the Brookings Institution. "I am suggesting that he should try to reconcile his ideology with the realities now being faced by the American people."




Republicans respond that Gore inspires treason:


Al Gore went after Republicans and the president last week, which seemed to embolden some Democrats to the point of going to Baghdad and defending Saddam Hussein and attacking the president," said Republican national spokesman Jim Dyke. "I hope this doesn't embolden some Democrats with similar ill-conceived and unproductive ideas."



Clinton speech.

cue andy sullivan whining.
Rittenhouse on the disgusting defense of Einhorn.
CalPundit on Ari's definition of bipartisanship:


Bush, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said in a morning briefing, "is now supporting a bipartisan compromise on homeland security."


Keith Koffler, White House reporter for Congress Daily, was puzzled. "How many Democrats support this bipartisan bill?" he asked. "I'm not aware of any more than one Democrat."


"Well," Fleischer replied, "that certainly does make it bipartisan."


"So that's the new definition of bipartisan?" Koffler inquired.


"I think, frankly, that's the old definition of bipartisan," Fleischer rejoined. "I'd be shocked if all of a sudden the definition of bipartisan changed."




Proof that Bush personally set up the bogus Turkish uranium story:



Scientists at Turkey's Nuclear Research and Training Center on the outskirts of Istanbul said on Tuesday the substance was not uranium and was not radioactive.

"It is a powder of zinc, manganese, iron and zirconium," Guler Koksal, director of the research facility told Reuters. "It is not radioactive, it is not chemical and it is not explosive."

Suspicions had been aroused by the words "primarily youranuom" written on the outside of the metal tube in which the sandy powder was stored in a glass vial.


I rest my case.
Jeff Hauser's anonymous legal expert (well, I assume it's him or her anyway) has this to say in the comments:


The author of the legal analysis replies:
I don't think that it matters, for the legal analysis, that this is the end of Torricelli's term. Losing a senator for a few months, or even for a few votes, is a serious blow to a state's power to protect its interests. That fact is reflected in the founders' debates about Article I, Section 3, which provided for gubernatorial appointment of senate vacancies when the state legislature was out of session. William Randolph, for example, thought that the governor was not much to be trusted, but thought that losing a senator even for just the period in between legislative sessions was so serious that he was willing to take the risk.

So, I think you can't read the Constitution to say that states are barred from appointing senators even very close to the end of their terms. And, if it would be impractical to force the interim senator to stand for election immediately, I think it is unlikely a court would rule that you have to hold an impractical or pointless election. That was, actually, much the point of the Wofford case in the Third Circuit; that the exigencies of filling the seat took precedence over the state's primary requirements.

But, I think the posters have made a good point that whether or not the appointment would have the effect of extending a party's hold over a seat for a short period is a relevant question of policy. States will certainly consider that now, if they contemplate re-writing their senate appointment laws.
I don't think there's been enough attention on the inappropriateness of an official Bush advisor saying this:


"It would be best if he (Schroeder) resigned. But he's obviously not going to do that," Pentagon adviser Richard Perle said in an interview with Wednesday's Handelsblatt daily, released ahead of publication.


UPDATE: Rittenhouse Review writes in to tell me about, and I notice Level Gaze has the second part of Perle's statement.



Perle, a leading voice in U.S. efforts to oust Saddam Hussein, told Handelsblatt that Schroeder's stance on Iraq would set back Berlin's desire to win a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council "for a generation".

There's also this:



"During the election campaign Schroeder tried to improve his party's position at any price and thereby ignored the roll of the U.S. in supporting freedom in post-Hitler Germany, such as America's contribution in the post-war reconstruction and during the reunification process." Pearle said: "The chancellor threw all of this out the window."






ah, diplomacy.
Forget Oil, let's talk water.

and Sisyphus Shrugged has a great transcript of Wolf "WAR NOW!" Blitzer and Mario Cuomo. It's amazing that Wolf seems to argue that Cuomo was being mean and unfair to the Bush administration because he was a signatory to a Common Cause ad that raised questions. Why is it unfair? Well, because the Bush administration says they will answer them! Even though they haven't yet. Or something...

Hey Wolf, maybe if you'd ask some goddamn questions for a change..

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Why does anyone respect Tom Friedman's column? Really. I don't get it.
Burying your lead.


McBride spokesman Alan Stonecipher, who called Putney after getting a phone call from a viewer about the Fran-Sylvia connection, said his candidate did not recall seeing the queued-up names and faces, but he accepts the explanation.

"It's water under the bridge now," Stonecipher said.


They're gonna rig this puppy, McBride. I hope you realize that.
This Signorile column is important both for what it says about judicial nominee McDonnell and its implicit indictment of the liberal media:


But much less has been noted about McConnell’s vociferous antigay record. McConnell wrote a brief filed with the Supreme Court on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America in BSA v. Dale, arguing that it was perfectly reasonable for the Boy Scouts to ban gays as leaders because it was similar to the Scouts’ exclusion of alcohol or substance abuse. Yes, homosexuality, in his mind, is another vice we’ve got to fight against. Speaking at a colloquium on evangelical civic engagement in 2002, McConnell thundered that "the Scouts’ traditional ties with schools, national parks, and the military are in jeopardy. Scout supporters must go on the offensive, to highlight the intolerance of gay-rights activists."

Gee, why didn’t they just nominate Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson?

McConnell’s urge to purge gays is far beyond the realm of the Boy Scouts too. He is against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the relatively tepid and narrow piece of legislation (it exempts religious organizations, for example), cosponsored by even quite a few Republicans in both the House and the Senate, that would prohibit employment discrimination against gays. Don’t expect him to vote to uphold such protections at that inevitable time when religious zealots challenge them in court (if the bill ever gets passed).

"This would be the only civil rights law which is preventing people from hiring or firing on the basis of a moral judgment," said McConnell in an interview on NPR.

I hope Keith Olbermann keeps writing this kind of stuff. (premium, sorry)




The AVOT story is neither new, nor tied to a political party or group. It's the first step of a well-worn path to American hell. The branding, the demonizing, the demand that we always speak with only one voice -- and its inevitable consequences -- should inspire Bill Bennett to make his list of "internal threats," check it twice, and add AVOT to it.



Salon also has this story on SaveKaryn

I say - screw Karyn! Save Atrios!
Jeff Hauser has what this non-lawyer thinks is a pretty solid legal analysis of l'affair Torch.
Don't miss Sullywatch and SmarterAndrewSullivan...


fish in barrel, as they say..
Patting myself on the back...

Well, with a little help from Dwight Meredith:


Hey Atrios:


I noticed that your counter went over 200,000 hits. Congratulations are in order!!! I hereby nominate you for the James Brown Award given annually to the "Hardest Working Man in the Blog Business."

Thanks much.

ps. post this if you like


Thanks Dwight!
Regardless of the ultimate truth of the Sylvia dustup, it is pretty amazing that the loathsome Mr. Putney has claimed that Jeb got more time for rebuttals during the debate because he was the sitting governor.
Apparently we're now going to "thwart" the UN and prevent them from sending inspectors. Does this mean Europe is going to invade?
Daily Kos has the latest on Jersey, including Republican precedent for changing the name on the ballot.


Hesiod has more.
Conason gets the debate moderator Putney to answer questions about the Florida Debate:


Michael Putney says that's just ridiculous. "Let me be absolutely clear about this: neither candidate had advance knowledge of either the questions or the names of the citizens asking them," he replied to my questions in an email this morning. And he has an alternatefront of the candidates, but not visible on any camera, the director would cue up the next questioner and freeze it--with the 'super' line with the questioner's name beneath it. My guess is that Gov. Bush looked up and saw the name 'Fran' and her face on the monitor and inadvertently used it rather than 'Sylvia.' Big deal, right? The McBride campaign is desperately trying to find a conspiracy where none exists."


Reasonable explanation, perhaps, though for the record I (nor Dedalus) have nothing to do with the McBride campaign. And, Putney's contempt for McBride comes out pretty clearly in that statement, unsurprisingly.


Bush signs bill forcing U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and then says he doesn't have to obey it.


"U.S. policy regarding Jerusalem has not changed," Bush wrote in a statement as he signed an $8.6 billion spending bill for State Department programs around the world.

He criticized the provision that recommended recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying it "impermissibly interferes with the president's constitutional authority to conduct the nation's foreign affairs."

The measure would, "if construed as mandatory rather than advisory, impermissibly interfere with the president's constitutional authority to formulate the position of the United States, speak for the nation in international affairs and determine the terms on which recognition is given to foreign states."

I need constitutional scholar Ann Coulter to explain this one to me.
I do wonder why the Bill Quicks of the world are so intent on bashing Daschle and Gephardt when their Iraq criticism has been almost 0 instead of the Lugars and Hagels of the world who are coming out strong on this issue.

Well, no I don't. Not really.
Not from the Onion: GI Joe takes Barbie's Dream House as a Forward Command Post.

In the JC Penney's catalog.

Sure to be a favorite this holiday season for all the little Neo-Con children.
Start your morning off with Tbogg on some of Andy's raving lunacy and David E. on Snitchens.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Alchemy : From 33 pounds of uranium to 3 ounces of zinc, iron, zirconium and manganese in about 2 short days.
New Comments

I'm trying out a new comments system, as the old one seemed to be causing lots of problems. Bad news is all the old ones are "gone" or at least in cold storage. Let me know if there are any complaints about this one.
Was Jeb Bush Unfairly Fed Questions Before Debate ???


(Dedalus sent this information to me.)


I'm not accusing, just asking. Anyone who watched the Florida debate picked up pretty quickly that the moderator was giving a lot of favors to Bush - lots of extra rebuttals compared to McBride.

The transcript of the debate confirms that the candidates were not supposed to have received the questions in advance (they were pre-recorded "man on the street" type questions):


THE QUESTIONS WILL BE ASKED WILL BE ASKED BY CITIZENS FROM AROUND THE STATE.

FLORIDA NETWORK STATIONS COLLECTED MORE THAN 100 QUESTIONS BY VOTERS AND WE SELECTED THE ONES WE THINK REFLECT THE CONCERNS OF MOST FLORIDIANS.

THEY HAVE NOT SEEN THE QUESTIONS. THEY WILL BE DIRECTED TO THEM ALTERNATELY AND THEY'VE HAVE 90 SECONDS TO RESPOND OR LESS, IF THEY CHOOSE.


Something strange happened during the debate. Consider this section from the transcript. Note first that the fourth question was ask by a Ms. Fran Gosselin.


Putney: NOW THE FOURTH QUESTION... IT IS FROM FRAN GOSSELIN, AND IT HAS TO DO WITH VOTING PROBLEMS IN FLORIDA.

Fran Gosselin: I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY CAN'T CLEAN UP THIS MESS ABOUT VOTING. IT'S NOT FAIR FORT PEOPLE THAT VOTE AND DON'T GET THEIR VOTES COUNTED.

Putney:GOVERNOR BUSH, THIS QUESTION IS FOR YOU. MR. McBRIDE AND PARTY LEADERS HAVE SAID THE PROBLEMS WITH VOTING IN MIAMI-DADE AND BROWARD COUNTY, PARTICULARLY, IN THE SEPTEMBER 10th PRIMARY, THAT YOU ARE, TO A LARGE DEGREE, ACCOUNTABLE FOR THOSE PROGRAMS. ARE YOU?

Gov. Jeb Bush: THANKFULLY I'M NOT. BUT IN THE CONSTITUTION, THEY'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR RUNNING ELECTIONS.

AFTER THE 2000 ELECTION, WE DID ACT. I ASKED JIM SMITH TO PUT TOGETHER A COMMISSION, WE PUT A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF PEOPLE TOGETHER AND WE MADE A SERIES OF RECOMMENDATIONS TO REFORM OUR LAWS.

TODAY IN FLORIDA, THAT ARE UPDATED QUALITY FOR MACHINES. WE HAVE A SINGLE STANDARDS FOR RECOUNT, AND WE HAVE PROVISIONAL BALLOTS, SO IF THERE'S ANY PROBLEMS IN THE PRECINCTS, THE POLL WORKERS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO USE THESE PROVISIONAL BALLOTS TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO VOTE. WE'VE REFORMED THE ABSENTEE BALLOT PROCESS.

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, WE'RE NOW SPENDING MONEY AT THE STATE LEVEL. $32 MILLION. NEVER BEFORE WAS MONEY SPENT FOR MACHINES AND FOR NEW TRAINING.

65 COUNTIES IN THIS STATE GOT IT RIGHT, UNDER DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT GOT IT RIGHT. TWO COUNTIES DIDN'T.

THEY HAVE PLEDGED TO IMPROVE THE ELECTION, WHICH IS SO SESSION FOR THE VOTERS. WE'VE OFFERED ASSISTANCE, BUT IT'S THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE THE ELECTION WORK.


Now look at the section in bold. If you listen to the audio from the debate here, starting at about 17:30, you notice that what Jeb actually says is.


FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, Sylvia

Ah, what's the big deal? He flubbed her name. Well, it's made just a little bit suspicious by the fact that the *next* questioner is :


Putney: AND QUESTION FIVE... IT'S FROM SYLVIA SCOTT FROM MIAMI.

Sylvia Scott: WHAT CAN YOU OR WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ASSIST THE HOMEOWNERS AND THE SKYROCKETING INSURANCE RATES?


Coincidence? Oh, probably...

It's also possible they were given a list of the questioners' names in advance but not their questions. Perhaps someone should ask...










William Burton has a few remarks regarding the Tubeseak Messiah.
Daily Kos has the full scoop on Jersey.
What Jeff Cooper says.



I'm sorry, but this is intolerable. It's pernicious nonsense like this that justifies Samuel Johnson's description of patriotism as the last refuge of the scoundrel. It is entirely possible to love one's country, to recognize that Saddam Hussein is an evil man who has done evil things and will do more in the future if unchecked, to believe that terrorism must be opposed forcibly, and still to harbor grave doubts about the course on which we are now set. This is especially so when the administration's public argument for action against Iraq is so deeply based on demonstrable lies—lies recognized as such even by the Washington Times, for goodness sake. Given the dishonesty with which the case against Iraq is presented, it is, I would think, a demonstration of devotion to one's country to question the wisdom of pursuing unilateral action in the face of our allies' opposition, and indeed to question the motives of those who repeatedly rely on falsehoods to press their case.



Or, as I would say it -- piss off, Mr. Quick.
From the be careful what you wish for files:



Sept. 30, 2002 | Getting what they want
Just four days ago, Republican senatorial candidate Douglas Forrester demanded that Bob Torricelli step down. "Mr. Torricelli has disgraced himself and New Jersey," he said. "The people of New Jersey deserve better. I reiterate my call for Mr. Torricelli to resign his office and apologize to the people of New Jersey." But before Torricelli decided to follow his rival's advice Forrester's friends began whining.

"This is a cynical attempt by party bosses to manipulate democracy," cried the executive director of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee." In other words, they've suddenly realized that the Torch's resignation would allow Gov. Jim McGreevey to name a new Democratic senator -- who would probably beat Forrester in a special election. Some people are just never satisfied.


Arianna bludgeons the maladministration.
Haha, Clinton's Cock will never lose its power to Strike Fear in the Hearts of repressed conservatives.


THE OTHER SENATOR CLINTON?: [Rod Dreher] I'm talking on the phone just now with a friend, and we're discussing Sen. Robert Torricelli's possible withdrawal from the New Jersey Senate race later today. The Torch has said he would quit if a suitable replacement could be found. My friend said, "Is Bill Clinton available to move to New Jersey?" Please, somebody tell me that Jersey has residency requirements that would keep Clinton away from this race.
Posted 2:20 PM | [Link]



UPDATE:


Dreher adds:


NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!: [Rod Dreher] Andrew Napolitano, formerly a judge in New Jersey, just said on Fox that Bill Clinton has until Monday to relocate to the Garden State if he wishes to seek the Democratic line in the Senate race there.

MOVE BILL MOVE!!!!
Poop at the moment seems to be that Torch is going to drop out of the race but not resign from the Senate. What this means is that they'll need to petition the Jersey Supreme Court to get permission to put a new person on the ballot.

Odd.
Drudge says ,"Republicans said they would contest any effort to have a substitute candidate take his [Torch's] place... "

Jersey law seems clear. Scalia may not see it that way of course.
Lord help us.


The uncertainty has caused tension between the military and its civilian masters. According to one knowledgeable source, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has engaged in frustrating, circular discussions with his generals. In a scene that has repeated itself more than once, Rumsfeld, an impatient questioner, demands to see a plan of attack. The generals respond that they can’t plan without knowing exactly what they are planning for and with what tools, i.e., what bases and what forces.Rumsfeld becomes vexed and insists on “out of the box” thinking. The generals look perplexed or exasperated and fall back on traditional notions of the American way of war, which is to overwhelm the enemy with superior firepower. Such a campaign takes a long wind-up and a massive attack, which prompts the basic questions—from where? with what forces?—all over again. Some Pentagon officials are already mocking the massive assault proposed by CENTCOM’s Gen. Tommy Franks as “hey-diddle-diddle, straight up the middle.”

Clueless has a long screed against all things not science, engineering, or 'professional.' In other words, Liberal Arts and Humanities. He's entitled to his opinions, but it morphs into a paternalistic rant about the evils of African-American Studies in which he says:


American blacks make up 12% of our population. I brood about the fact that 12% of our best minds are going to waste, being directed away from useful study and productive contribution in science and engineering and business and law and medicine, instead to bury themselves in ideologically-warped anthropological and sociological studies of race, because they will somehow feel that they have a racial obligation to major in "Black Studies" instead of chemical engineering -- or computer engineering, where I might have been able to hire them. I think about all the miracles they would be creating, all the advances they'd produce. I think of all the fantastic work I've seen done by Chinese men and Indian women, and I know that blacks would be just as valuable. I brood over the lost opportunity, the resource wasted, the opportunity lost.


Without getting into the merits of Black Studies programs, as I (and likely nor Mr. de Beste) know little about the curriculum, I would like to point Mr. de Beste to this article.


Nationwide less than 1 percent of all African-American college students major in black studies. But at some of our highest-ranking institutions with top-rated black studies programs, the percentage of black students who select the major is significantly higher.


So, not to fear.


Jim Henley has a good rundown on the "Turkish Smugglers."
On the news that Torch may be dropping out, let me be the first (before Eric Alterman wakes up) to suggest running Bruce Springsteen in his place.

UPDATE: Here's the story.


The punchline is that in order for their to be a new candidate on the ballot, Torch has to resign.


Under New Jersey law, a political party can replace a statewide nominee on the ballot if the person drops out at least 48 days before the election. But only 36 days remain until the Nov. 5 election, meaning Democrats would have to seek approval from the state attorney general. That would likely result in a court challenge from Republicans.

Under state law, if the candidate resigns his office or dies with more than 30 days to the election, the governor can appoint a new candidate. If it happens with less than 30 days before the election, the race can be canceled and the governor can set a new date for a special election.


UPDATE 2: Anyone know what the timetable is for setting a special election? It looks like Torch can resign, a replacement can be appointed, and the election cancelled/postponed.

UPDATE 3: Here's the statute, thanks to my legal analyst Melic.


19:3-26. Vacancies in United States senate; election to fill; temporary appointment by governor
If a vacancy shall happen in the representation of this state in the United States senate, it shall be filled at the general election next succeeding the happening thereof, unless such vacancy shall happen within thirty days next preceding such election, in which case it shall be filled by election at the second succeeding general election, unless the governor of this state shall deem it advisable to call a special election therefor, which he is authorized hereby to do.

The governor of this state may make a temporary appointment of a senator of the United States from this state whenever a vacancy shall occur by reason of any cause other than the expiration of the term; and such appointee shall serve as such senator until a special election or general election shall have been held pursuant to law and the board of state canvassers can deliver to his successor a certificate of election.



It sounds like if Torch quits within 30 days of the election, the Gov. can appoint a temporary replacement and put off any election until '04.

Watch out Kenny Boy.


In an action that could prompt companies to beef up oversight of 401(k) plans, the federal government issued a court brief this month that sides with Enron workers. It said former chief executive officer Ken Lay and other top executives could be personally liable for millions of dollars in retirement plan losses.

The Department of Labor document is significant because it spells out the agency's position on an employer's duty to 401(k) plans and potential liability if there are losses. It could benefit a lawsuit by Enron workers and many other 401(k) lawsuits that have proliferated as accounting scandals take a toll on retirement plans loaded with employer stock.

Although the judge in the Enron 401(k) lawsuit is under no obligation to accept the agency's view, it should be influential because the Labor Department interprets and enforces pension law.

"It's a very significant position that will help participants in a lot of situations if it's upheld by the courts," says Norman Stein, a University of Alabama law professor who specializes in pension issues.

Though the policy it describes is not new, the brief represents the agency's most detailed clarification of many legal issues relating to retirement plans. Directors and executives often haven't understood their legal obligations.

If the courts agree, the Labor Department's position could have more impact than pension reforms being considered by Congress, says Fred Reish, a Los Angeles pension lawyer. "It will provide a clearer road map for all employers," Reish says. He also says it will mean that executives' own "bank accounts and investments are on the hook."

Labor Department officials would not comment beyond the brief itself. Among other things, Labor Department lawyers say in the brief that if Enron executives were aware that workers were misinformed about the stability of Enron stock, they were obligated to protect them. According to the brief, remedies available to Enron included notifying all investors of the risk, freezing the investments or removing Enron stock as an investment option and as the company matching contribution.

The duty to protect workers doesn't rest only on the trustees who directly oversee a 401(k) plan, the Labor Department says. Any top executives or directors who appoint the trustees are responsible for monitoring the plan and are liable for breaches in fiduciary duty, the brief says.
.

oof.
Okay, maybe I'll have to stop muttering bad things about Lisa Beamer:


To the Editor:

Re "Fellow Democrats Fret and Fume as Torricelli Campaign Struggles" (front page, Sept. 22):

We are New Jersey voters and 9/11 widows who wish that the media would focus on the positive work that Senator Robert G. Torricelli has done. He certainly has been a strong advocate for the nearly 700 affected New Jersey families. For example, he was one of the very early supporters of an independent investigation into all aspects of 9/11, just now supported by the White House, an investigation that we hope will prevent future security failures and save other American lives.

Closer to home, his long record of public service shows that he is a tireless champion of all his constituents. He gets things done, and he stands up for what we believe. That's what our state needs — and gets — in Washington and what the voters deserve to know.

LISA BEAMER
NIKKI STERN
Princeton, N.J., Sept. 22, 2002
The letter was signed by 10 other 9/11 widows who live in New Jersey.



This is why you lie. Because the press will continue to repeat it. Over and over.


By the end of the 1991 Gulf War, IAEA assessments indicated Saddam was six months away from building an atomic bomb. Inspectors discovered that the oil-rich nation had imported thousands of pounds of uranium, some of which was already refined for weapons use, and had considered two types of nuclear delivery systems.

Please read this

I linked it below, but I'm not sure I put enough red flashing neon signs around it.

This is what is being proposed. As the author concludes:


If we do decide to seize empire, we should make that decision knowingly, as a democracy. The price of maintaining an empire is always high. Kagan and others argue that the price of rejecting it would be higher still.

That's what this is about.




Yes. So, let's stop pretending it's about the women and children, or the free pie, or anything else.
Oh, it's about the women now...



This latter point is the more contentious. The US is using diplomats who have travelled widely in Iraq to make the case that the people of that country, and in particular its women want a change of regime as much as Washington does, and would welcome a US-led strike in the same way as citizens of Afghanistan did"


Don't roll, Congress...

Oh, and on CNN Wolf Blitzer says:


BLITZER: The Bush administration believes the stakes in Iraq have never been higher. A new government in Baghdad could unite the nation and help stabilize the region. The right kind of government, the administration believes, could even help ease the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.


and free pie, too!

Sunday, September 29, 2002

It is really rather disturbing that the outrage is directed at the democratic congressman who said that Bush would mislead the American people on Iraq instead of at Bush who has mislead the American people on Iraq.

Strange times.
Perpetual war.
Glasnost.



p.s. you really should read this.
That pesky Euphrates..
Ah, the good 'ole Cointelpro Days...

(via Blowback)
In Italy, a kindler gentler fascism.

Oh jeez.


The refined uranium caught by Turkish police Saturday weighed far less than originally thought, an official source in southwestern Turkey said Sunday.

It was originally believed that the Turkish paramilitary police had seized over 15 kg of weapons-grade uranium in the operation that also resulted in the detention of two men accused of smuggling the substance. The actual weight of the uranium turned out to be hundreds of grams, a fraction of the initial estimate.
.

UPDATE: CNN just said "authorities have released the two men [caught with the material.]" No wonder Oliver has his tinfoil hat on this weekend.

UPDATE 2: Here's the story. You've got to be fucking kidding me.


ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) --Turkish authorities Sunday released two men accused of attempting to smuggle a quantity of uranium, saying the amount in their possession was only a fraction of what officials originally
estimated.

Turkish officials announced Saturday they had seized a box filled with nearly 35 pounds (15 kilograms) of uranium. But Muzaffer Dilek, the mayor of Sanliurfa, a Turkish
city near the Turkey-Syria border, said Sunday that the material amounted to only 140 grams -- about five ounces.

The two men arrested with the material were released due to lack of evidence and have since disappeared, Dilek said.

Someone had better check and see if Pat Buchanan is okay:



Spanish-language newscast most-watched in Bay Area
By Edwin Garcia
Mercury News

One of the Bay Area's smallest television stations, which broadcasts in Spanish, is drawing some of the region's biggest ratings.

This summer's Nielsen Station Index crowned KDTV's ``Noticias 14'' at 6 p.m. as the most-watched newscast among Bay Area adults ages 18 to 49. It was the San Francisco station's best showing ever -- and the first time a Spanish-language newscast has topped all 6 p.m. local news programs for a major sweeps period in that age group.

The surging popularity of KDTV (Ch. 14) and other Spanish-language stations nationwide reflects an audience that is intimately bonded to its newscasts. Their success is also prompting a growing number of English-language stations to take notice. Some are diversifying their staffs and programming, while others are offering a Spanish simulcast.

Spanish-language newscasts in Miami and Los Angeles in the past few years have outranked all stations in their respective markets. And KDTV, owned by Univisi├│n Communications, has occasionally ranked No. 1 among young adults.

But the recent sweeps-month ratings show KDTV increasing viewership among older adults and inching closer to the news audience most advertisers crave: 25- to 54-year-olds. Its ratings will probably continue to grow when Nielsen updates its population figures for the November sweeps period to reflect the latest census data.

An estimated 71,000 viewers ages 18 to 49 watched ``Noticias 14'' on an average weekday during the sweeps period that ran July 11 to Aug. 7. In second place was ``KTVU Channel 2 News at 6'' with an average daily viewing audience of 59,000. (The 6 p.m. local news ratings leader among all viewers over 18 years was KGO, with 176,000.)

Doonesbury is good today.
On the Race for the Cure.

When good causes are bad.
An excellent post over at PLA on changing the tone, to which the Greenehouse effect has some follow up.


Max has a thoughtful well-written discussion of the D.C. protests.

UPDATE: Nathan Newman has more about the police tactics.
hahaha.
The Digby Doctrine:


Do a Google search on Turkey + Uranium and you will find that there have been a dozen incidents like this over the past few years. If it's rogue uranium your worried about it looks like we should think about invading Turkey instead of Iraq. There has been a lot of speculation that they are building a bomb, too. This report proves nothing.

I don't object to going into Iraq because I think Saddam doesn't want nukes. Of course he does. So do a lot of people, including al Qaeda. And a lot of unstable regimes already have them, like the countries of the former Soviet Union and Pakistan. I object because I don't believe there is any new evidence that he's on the verge of getting them or that he had anything to do with 9/11, or that he’s crazy because he gassed his own people (without our objection at the time), or that he’s just plain so evil that we simply must invade without delay, all of which have been presented as reasons over the past few weeks. There are reasons why we are planning to invade Iraq, but they have nothing to do with the reasons stated and are based upon political and ideological not security goals.

I particularly object because I deeply mistrust the people who are insisting that Saddam presents an urgent danger because they have been agitating for invasion and regime change, offering a variety of rationales, for 11 years. Pardon me for being skeptical but there is an entire cottage industry in the GOP devoted to the destruction of Saddam for a variety of reasons, none of which have anything to do with an imminent threat to the US. Until they concocted this bogus 9/11 connection, even they never claimed that the threat was to the US, but to Israel, moderate Arabs and the oil reserves.








I very much object because among these obsessives are the authors of the Bush Doctrine, which is nothing more than a warmed over version of the PNAC defense policy document that was based upon Cheney's 1992 defense dept. draft laying out the neocon case for ensuring the continued status of the US as the only superpower after the cold war. They did not take the threat of terrorism into account when they formulated this strategy and have made no adjustments since the threat emerged. Instead they are cynically using the fear created by 9/11 to advance goals that have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism and in fact will make another attack more likely. We will not be able to protect ourselves against another 9/11 by asserting a doctrine of unilateral preventive war in Iraq or anywhere else. Terrorism is a different animal that requires a completely fresh approach with an emphasis on cooperative intelligence, creative police work and stealthy military strategies. We can't invade every country that contains people who are potential terrorists. And the more we try to solve this problem through military force the more terrorists we will create.

This is my main objection to invasion of Iraq without convincing evidence of collusion in 9/11, without mideast allies and using a dubious doctrine of a right of preventive war. I believe it will make more terrorist attacks on the United States more rather than less likely. We should be trying very hard to avoid that rather than rushing toward it at warp speed without due consideration.

I'm not the only one who thinks this. The Republican establishment itself is divided on this issue. Plenty of very smart, hard headed realists know that this new doctrine of pre-emptive unilateral regime change is a bad idea and their lobbying succeeded in convincing the President that he should go to the UN over the objections of his more unilaterally minded advisors.

The result has been that the administration position has been incoherent ever since. One day we must invade because Saddam is close to getting nukes, another it's that he already has chemical and bio weapons. The next he's a genocidal maniac. Blair and Powell say they want disarmament one day, Rummy and Cheney argue that regime change is the goal the next. According to next week's Time Magazine, an administration source admits that they are throwing everything out there and hoping that something will "stick."



Now the process is getting bogged down again, the inevitable is not looking quite so inevitable. Saddam might acquiesce to inspections. The security council is not cooperating. Public opinion is opaque. The bandwagon effect may not be working. So what do they do? After weeks of insisting that the reason for "regime change" is Saddam's impending acquisition of nukes ("we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud") suddenly the rationale is once again that Iraq is harboring al Qaeda.

How fucking convenient. No more need for the UN, no more need for congressional resolutions or convincing the public, now we can invade on the basis of the post 9/11 resolution giving Bush the power to attack any country associated with the attack on the WTC.

Doesn’t this inconsistency make you just the tiniest bit suspicious of what's really going on?

I have said before that if Bush will take yes for an answer and allow the UN to make another resolution demanding inspections, I will be more than happy to let him take credit for a hugely successful bluff. If Saddam fucks up we will then at least have the support of the international community to go to war on the basis of his intransigence instead of on the basis of a spurious right to "pre-emptive regime change” without convincing evidence of a threat.

More importantly we will not have implemented the delusional Bush Doctrine or engaged in unilateral “pre-emptive” military action in the mideast and thoroughly screwed up the coalition needed for terrorism prevention by striking at the hornets nest of Islamic anti-Americanism for no good reason. At this point, I’ll be thrilled if we can avoid WWIII and keep from burning all of our bridges in the very countries where we need cooperation to prevent more terrorism on US soil.

*For the record, I didn't write that "sanctions would work." I said "sanctions and tough inspections would work." And you conveniently neglect to mention that the comment you quote was said in the context of your contention that nuclear armed Pakistan was not currently a threat. I wrote that since you were willing to bet that Musharref could hold off his Islamic crazies for the forseeable future I was willing to bet that sanctions and tough inspection would keep Saddam from obtaining fissile material for the forseeable future. There was a tiny bit of irony, there, that perhaps you didn't get.

Tbogg asks


I wonder how Russ Feingold sleeps these days?


dunno.
In Arguendo on hyprockersy.
Sigh II.
Sometimes I just have to say...


BASTARDS.

Senator Dayton.


What a difference an administration makes.

Congressional leaders who are hurrying votes on Iraq had very different views when the president was a Democrat named Bill Clinton. They made more sense back then.

After Saddam Hussein bounced U.N. inspectors in January 1998, then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said on Feb. 12: "I had hoped that we could get to the point where we could pass a resolution this week on Iraq. But we really developed some physical problems, if nothing else. . . . So we have decided that the most important thing is not to move so quickly but to make sure that we have had all the right questions asked and answered and that we have available to us the latest information about what is . . . happening with our allies in the world.

"The Senate is known for its deliberate actions. And the longer I stay in the Senate, the more I have learned to appreciate it. It does help to give us time to think about the potential problems and the risks and the ramifications and to, frankly, press the administration."

The Republican-controlled Senate took five more months to pass a resolution that year, and it did not authorize President Clinton to use military force. After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, the Senate also deliberated five months before authorizing what became the Persian Gulf War.

Yet now Congress is being rushed to pre-approve whatever President Bush decides to do, which includes something no president has done before: start a war. According to researchers at the Library of Congress, the United States has never in its 213-year history launched a preemptive attack against another country.

Never.

During the past 50 years, our leaders have confronted dangerous dictators who possessed weapons of mass destruction. Yet they protected our country and the planet by preventing war, not by starting one. Some members of Congress and the administration are now demanding that we rush to vote so that we can rush to war. Such haste is unnecessary, reckless and foolish.

For some of my colleagues, it seems a quick and easy decision to wave the flag, denounce an evil dictator and launch our military might. But war seldom is quick or easy. We know that the United States would defeat Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein. But we don't know the cost in bloodshed, destruction and subsequent occupation. And we don't know the consequences of violating our national principle of not starting wars.

That principle, which has earned us enormous respect throughout the world, is the cornerstone of international stability. As the world's superpower, we set the standards for international conduct. We lead by our deeds. When we lead the world by our diplomacy and peaceful resolution of conflicts, we make it more secure.

But if we attacked another country because it might threaten our national security, how could we dissuade others from doing the same? If nations that have nuclear weapons or that are developing them fear a preemptive strike, what might their responses be? Would the world be more or less secure?

The profound consequences of these decisions are compelling reasons to make them as carefully as possible. I believe that the president is right about the need to disarm Saddam Hussein before he obtains nuclear weapons and the ability to use them against us. But that threat does not appear to exist today or within the next few months. For now, the president is withholding his decision about U.S. military action. Congress should do the same, but instead it's "Vote quick, pass the buck, head for home and wish 'em luck."

This rush to vote is being driven more by political expediency than by military necessity. Gaining political advantage in a midterm election is a shameful reason to hurry decisions of this magnitude. If the president needs Congress to support his resolve never to let Saddam Hussein threaten our nation with weapons of mass destruction, we can pass such a resolution tomorrow. If the United Nations fails to exact Iraq's compliance with its previous restrictions, this Congress or its successor can convene at any time to authorize the appropriate U.S. military response.

That is what the Constitution intends when it authorizes Congress, and only Congress, to declare war. This would be an especially good time for Congress to do it right.