Saturday, June 18, 2005

Open Thread

Play nice.

Completely Disconnected From Reality


Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is angry. He's upset about the more than 1,700 U.S. soldiers killed and nearly 13,000 wounded in Iraq. He's also aggravated by the continued string of sunny assessments from the Bush administration, such as Vice President Dick Cheney's recent remark that the insurgency is in its "last throes." "Things aren't getting better; they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality," Hagel tells U.S. News. "It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

That's strikingly blunt talk from a member of the president's party, even one cast as something of a pariah in the GOP because of his early skepticism about the war. "I got beat up pretty good by my own party and the White House that I was not a loyal Republican," he says. Today, he notes, things are changing: "More and more of my colleagues up here are concerned."

Silly Chuck. The Bush administration CREATES reality.

Gilead, FL

Monaghan plans our future.

Open Thread


Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.


Greg Mitchell reminds us of what tickles the collective funny bone of the Washington press. in all its glory here.

Wanker of the Day

Brian Conley.

Apparently the owner of Knoxville's Metro Pulse alt-weekly is the thinnest skinned man in the universe, responding to mild criticism on South Knox Bubba's blog by writing this rather intimidating (and illuminating) email to him, leading SKB to out himself.

Anonymity allows people the freedom to speak without fear of reprisals in other elements of your life. On the internet, where every little comment can potentially hang around forever, it allows people to communicate views without worrying about what current/future employers or customers may think of them. People do get fired/not hired for this kind of stuff. Without anonymity many people would not be able to talk politics on the internets. It allows people to separate their personal political/religious/whatever views from their personal/professional lives otherwise. It's truly a gift.

I was fortunate that I was able to be anonymous for as long as I was without ever being outed. There is certainly no right to anonymity, and I revealed enough personal information over time that one person was able to figure it out (they were kind enough to keep that particular scoop to themselves).

The accusation here is that SKB "abused" his anonymity. Anonymity can be abused if it's being used as a cover for illegal activities or actionable speech (libel). In both cases anonymity provides little cover - one subpoena to your ISP or web hosting company and it's all over. Anonymity could also be abused by posing as an "outsider" of some sort when you're actually an insider, or if you use it to mask some sort of hidden personal agenda or financial interest. To the extent that anonymity prevents knowing if those apply it can be criticized.

People divide their lives all of the time. Sally the business owner can to some degree separate herself from Sally the parent and Sally the activist. The ability to keep aspects separate is generally respected by people who are not assholes. On the internet, anonymity, while not strictly necessary, is close to being required to maintain that in the age of Google (not all people feel the need). Non-internet personal activities can be separated from your professional life simply by not socializing with colleagues. But, internet activities are always google-able.

Andrew Sullivan once said it wasn't fair that I was anonymous because it meant he couldn't go after me personally. Strange comment, I thought. I suppose being anonymous protected me from being accused of personal hypocrisy - say, if I were criticizing adultery while engaging in it myself or some other form of gross personal hypocrisy.

But, on the internet I was "Atrios" as SKB was "South Knox Bubba." Additional details about my personal life are almost entirely irrelevant, which is all knowing my real name would give you. And, once this blog had a certain prominence my reputation could rise and fall as "Atrios" separate from other aspects of my life. Being anonymous certainly didn't protect me from criticism.

After achieving enough prominence I couldn't have really complained if, say, Salon had outed me. It would have been a legitimate story I suppose, although it would still be poor editorial judgment. Now, if I really was Sidney Blumenthal or something like that then it would truly be a story - again the insider posing as outsider issue - but a story which is "who is Atrios? Oh, just some guy" isn't really much of a story.

Certainly at some point anonymity is unsustainable - towards the end I went to a few public events and did radio appearances and I certainly could no longer have any expectation of maintaining it, though I hoped that people would keep quiet until my professional situation changed.

But, this situation isn't about the right or expectations of anonymity, it's about a power imbalance between the owner of a local newspaper and some guy with a blog, and that newspaper owner using anonymity as means of intimidation. What a fucking wanker.

America: Still Better Than Nazi Germany!

Fox News puke funnel Chris Wallace admirably makes the case.

You won't believe the final quote. You just won't.

The Siege

Light of Reason directs us to this surprisingly good article from spite girl Ceci about the other side of the Schiavo fiasco - life inside the hospice while the crazies were there and making threats.

Most of the people protesting at the hospice were, as they are rightly called by the hospice's chaplain, extremists. Many were clearly, by many standards, nuts. Opinion polls were overwhelmingly against them, and yet our media let them hijack the national discourse for weeks.

One also has to wonder why the Post waited until after the autopsy results to print this story (which clearly they did). Were the hospice workers and all of the other patients and their families just irrelevant?


I certainly would never encourage people to click through just for the sake of clicking through (I don't get paid that way anyway), but quite frequently the people who advertise here are advertising for issues/groups/candidates/causes that might actually be of interest to readers. Not all of them are just looking for donations, either. So, don't hestitate to glance at them now and then. You might find something interesting.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Peeance and Freeance


MOSCOW, June 17 - Uzbek law enforcement and security ministries implicated by witnesses in the deadly crackdown in the city of Andijon last month have for years received training and equipment from counterterrorism programs run by the United States, according to American officials and Congressional records.

The security aid, provided by several United States agencies, has been intended in part to improve the abilities of soldiers and law enforcement officers from the Uzbek intelligence service, military and Ministry of Internal Affairs, the national law enforcement service. Besides equipment aid, at least hundreds of special forces soldiers and security officers, many of whom fight terrorism, have received training.

Witnesses and American officials say the Uzbek Army, law enforcement and intelligence service were all present at the crackdown. Among them was a special Internal Affairs counterterrorism unit known as Bars, which has two or three members who trained in a course sponsored by the State Department for crisis-response commanders in Louisiana in 2004, according to the State Department.

It is not clear whether these specific officers were present in Andijon, although their unit was. Several United States officials said they had no evidence that any of the hundreds of individual troops or security officers with American training took part in the violence. At the same time, however, they said they were not certain that no American-trained personnel were present.

The uncertainty, officials said, is one reason an independent investigation of the violence is necessary. "Until Uzbek authorities allow an independent and credible investigation to occur, we cannot know who was responsible or was involved," said Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Friday Cat Blogging

I'll likely be killed in my sleep for this one:

nap time:

Steve has some extra Fristy cat blogging here.

And, our army is amassing to defeat the Fristian forces here.

And People Wondered...

...why I blogged anonymously when I was an academic.

Fox News Liars


Frist is a Moonie Times Reading Liar


If I were the Democrats I'd show up to work next week wearing "THE MAJORITY LEADER IS A LIAR" T-shirts.

Theater folks, theater. Use it.

Open Thread

Have fun.

More on Milbank

From jesselee.

They Write Letters

Mr. Michael Abramowitz, National Editor
Mr. Michael Getler, Ombudsman
Mr. Dana Milbank
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20071

Dear Sirs:

I write to express my profound disappointment with Dana Milbank's June 17 report, "Democrats Play House to Rally Against the War," which purports to describe a Democratic hearing I chaired in the Capitol yesterday. In sum, the piece cherry-picks some facts, manufactures others out of whole cloth, and does a disservice to some 30 members of Congress who persevered under difficult circumstances, not of our own making, to examine a very serious subject: whether the American people were deliberately misled in the lead up to war. The fact that this was the Post's only coverage of this event makes the journalistic shortcomings in this piece even more egregious.

In an inaccurate piece of reporting that typifies the article, Milbank implies that one of the obstacles the Members in the meeting have is that "only one" member has mentioned the Downing Street Minutes on the floor of either the House or Senate. This is not only incorrect but misleading. In fact, just yesterday, the Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, mentioned it on the Senate floor. Senator Boxer talked at some length about it at the recent confirmation hearing for the Ambassador to Iraq. The House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, recently signed on to my letter, along with 121 other Democrats asking for answers about the memo. This information is not difficult to find either. For example, the Reid speech was the subject of an AP wire service report posted on the Washington Post website with the headline "Democrats Cite Downing Street Memo in Bolton Fight". Other similar mistakes, mischaracterizations and cheap shots are littered throughout the article.

The article begins with an especially mean and nasty tone, claiming that House Democrats "pretended" a small conference was the Judiciary Committee hearing room and deriding the decor of the room. Milbank fails to share with his readers one essential fact: the reason the hearing was held in that room, an important piece of context. Despite the fact that a number of other suitable rooms were available in the Capitol and House office buildings, Republicans declined my request for each and every one of them. Milbank could have written about the perseverance of many of my colleagues in the face of such adverse circumstances, but declined to do so. Milbank also ignores the critical fact picked up by the AP, CNN and other newsletters that at the very moment the hearing was scheduled to begin, the Republican Leadership scheduled an almost unprecedented number of 11 consecutive floor votes, making it next to impossible for most Members to participate in the first hour and one half of the hearing.

In what can only be described as a deliberate effort to discredit the entire hearing, Milbank quotes one of the witnesses as making an anti-semitic assertion and further describes anti-semitic literature that was being handed out in the overflow room for the event. First, let me be clear: I consider myself to be friend and supporter of Israel and there were a number of other staunchly pro-Israel members who were in attendance at the hearing. I do not agree with, support, or condone any comments asserting Israeli control over U.S. policy, and I find any allegation that Israel is trying to dominate the world or had anything to do with the September 11 tragedy disgusting and offensive.

That said, to give such emphasis to 100 seconds of a 3 hour and five minute hearing that included the powerful and sad testimony (hardly mentioned by Milbank) of a woman who lost her son in the Iraq war and now feels lied to as a result of the Downing Street Minutes, is incredibly misleading. Many, many different pamphlets were being passed out at the overflow room, including pamphlets about getting out of the Iraq war and anti-Central American Free Trade Agreement, and it is puzzling why Milbank saw fit to only mention the one he did.

In a typically derisive and uninformed passage, Milbank makes much of other lawmakers calling me "Mr. Chairman" and says I liked it so much that I used "chairmanly phrases." Milbank may not know that I was the Chairman of the House Government Operations Committee from 1988 to 1994. By protocol and tradition in the House, once you have been a Chairman you are always referred to as such. Thus, there was nothing unusual about my being referred to as Mr. Chairman.

To administer his coup-de-grace, Milbank literally makes up another cheap shot that I "was having so much fun that [I] ignored aides' entreaties to end the session." This did not occur. None of my aides offered entreaties to end the session and I have no idea where Milbank gets that information. The hearing certainly ran longer than expected, but that was because so many Members of Congress persevered under very difficult circumstances to attend, and I thought - given that - the least I could do was allow them to say their piece. That is called courtesy, not "fun."

By the way, the "Downing Street Memo" is actually the minutes of a British cabinet meeting. In the meeting, British officials - having just met with their American counterparts - describe their discussions with such counterparts. I mention this because that basic piece of context, a simple description of the memo, is found nowhere in Milbank's article.

The fact that I and my fellow Democrats had to stuff a hearing into a room the size of a large closet to hold a hearing on an important issue shouldn't make us the object of ridicule. In my opinion, the ridicule should be placed in two places: first, at the feet of Republicans who are so afraid to discuss ideas and facts that they try to sabotage our efforts to do so; and second, on Dana Milbank and the Washington Post, who do not feel the need to give serious coverage on a serious hearing about a serious matter-whether more than 1700 Americans have died because of a deliberate lie. Milbank may disagree, but the Post certainly owed its readers some coverage of that viewpoint.


John Conyers, Jr.

Tyco Execs - Guilty

Kozlowski and Swartz guilty and are going to do "hard time," according to Jeffrey Toobin, in New York's state prison system.


Washington Values

Alterman sums it up very simply:

As insider Washington defines its values, Clinton's failed attempt to mislead the nation about whether he had "sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" is a far worse crime than George Bush & Co.'s successful deception to lead the nation into a ruinous war. It is a minority viewpoint in most of the world, including the United States; but one that is treated with contempt and condescension in our SCLM (so-called liberal media).

[[I think Eric needed an editor there, but we know what he means...]]

The Column No One Should've Had to Write


On public radio this week, Walter Pincus, the senior national security reporter for The Washington Post, posed the question: if the statements in the various Downing Street memos are to be dismissed as "old" news--since preparing to go to war in Iraq and questions about intelligence were already "conventional wisdom" and published as such in 2002--then why was so much made of the Pentagon Papers back in the 1970s when reporters knew early on, and were writing, that the Vietnam war was a disaster in which the U.S. had made a string of mistakes?

Ironically, it is the same New York Times which bravely published the Pentagon Papers that, as recently as today, is still treating the Downing Street Papers as merely fodder for “antiwar” types.

Even though their importance has been dismissed, or played down, by both the Bush Administration and several leaders of the mainstream news media in the United States, the British government memos leaked to Michael Smith of the Sunday Times of London do constitute “primary” sources from near the heart of government when composing the first draft of an authoritative history of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Moreover, all the key questions about the deceit and lack of judgment by the Administration when making the case for war are back on the table for public debate.


But of all the major national newspapers, none have been so
deconstructionist, cavalier, and churlish in treating the memos as The New York Times. Todd Purdum, for example, has declared that the documents are not “shocking.” Official evidence of a rush to war not shocking?

It is hard to escape the conclusion that, for the most part, the American print media’s bringing up the rear “beetlebum” approach in covering the memos constituted a rather blatant dereliction of duty. It indicates a complicity in resisting a re-examination of the official lies on the path to war. It is almost enough to make one believe that major media outlets are afraid to take on the White House’s version of truth, either out of worry over being out of step with other “mainstream media,” or because they fear
losing access to high-level sources, or because top editors supported, and support, the invasion and occupation of Iraq--and in some well-known cases, their own stories “fixed” intelligence to fit the pro-war view.

But what about the Fourth Estate’s integrity before history?

Good News!

There are now only 13 pro-lynching US senators!

that's progress, I guess.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

They should assign this guy to be the recruiting agent for the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. He, at least, actually signed up, and he obviously speaks their language. I say send him down to the College Republican convention and see how many of his disciples he can get to sign up. If it's more than 5, make him a General.

Wanker of the Day

Evan Thomas.

World Nut Daily


Did President Bush mislead the nation to war?

In a live, unscientific Internet poll, MSNBC readers are overwhelmingly saying yes.

With more than 6,000 votes recorded, the survey shows a lopsided 94 percent believe Bush misled the American people, with only 6 percent saying no.

The live poll is a companion to an Associated Press story about a call from Rep. Charles Rangel, D-NY, for an official inquiry on the topic.


LARGO - Refusing to give up on the Terri Schiavo case, Gov. Jeb Bush has asked Pinellas prosecutors to sort out time discrepancies Michael Schiavo has provided regarding the hour he found his wife unconscious 15 years ago.


Michael Schiavo has said he called 911 immediately after finding his wife collapsed on the floor of their home on Feb. 25, 1990. Though medical records indicate he called 911 about 5:40 a.m. that day, he told the Medical Examiner's Office recently that he found his wife about 4:30 a.m.


Felos said it's impossible that 70 minutes elapsed before Michael Schiavo called 911.

"She would have been dead before they (paramedics) got there," he said.

Your family could be next. This is about a minor discrepancy between statements made today and events 15 years ago.

They Write Letters

Avedon Carol writes a letter.

Take the Poll


...never mind. Wankers took it down.

Do They Want to Stay Or Do They Want to Go

Yglesias returns us to the fundamental question which derives from the answer to the "Why Did We Invade Iraq?" - do we intend to stay permanently?

I'm not sure his concerns about "emoldening" by leaving are necessarily valid. It's certainly conventional wisdom. But, it really depends on what the motivations of the insurgents are and the basis for their nontrivial popular support.

However, I think it's really time someone gets Scotty or George or Dick to answer this question:

Do you envision a time when there will be no US troop presence in Iraq?

Or maybe:

Is it the goal of this administration to have a permanent troop presence in Iraq?

Who knows, maybe keeping 30,000 troops in Iraq permanently is even something I'd support, but it's unlikely that I or most Americans would support it at a cost of dozens of lives per month.

"Tough" Foreign Policy

Charles Dodgson discusses us a brief excerpt from an Atlantic article about North Korea. He writes:

The newest Atlantic has an article wargaming the current North Korea mess. This is, you'll recall, a situation where Dubya came in denouncing Clinton's soft policy on negotiations, and instituted a new "get tough" policy -- the result of which is that the North Koreans now have, at least, several more nukes than they had when he entered office.

But, say Dubya's defenders, the Koreans were cheating on their deal with clinton. Replies the guy who negotiated with the Koreans for Clinton:

Excuse me. The Soviets cheated on virtually every deal we ever made with them, but we were still better off with the deal than without it. ...

When the Clinton folks went out of office, the North Koreans had only the plutonium they had separated in the previous Bush administration. Now they've got a whole lot more. What did all this "tough" shit give us? It gave us a much more capable North Korea. Terrific!

Advocates of "get tough" policies generally push the line that they're being "hard-nosed" and "realistic". But a genuinely hard-nosed assessment of your options looks more like this:

I'm not interested in teaching other people lessons. I'm interested in the national security of the United States. If that's what you're interested in, are you better off with this deal or without it?

If you're being genuinely realistic, you do one thing. If you're convinced that the other guy will inevitably bow before your large swinging dick if you just wave it around enough, you do something else.

Google News Search


Open Thread

Play nice.

War Pigs


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Low Hanging Fruit

The Deal

A screener of a Christian Slater produced/starred modest budget political thriller came my way. I believe it opens tomorrow in limited distribution.

I'm a horrible reviewer, but I'll do my best. It's a sort of liberal porn version of the political thriller genre from a time before it was unpatriotic to point out that big corporations and the US gov't occasionially engage in bad acts. It's set in a very-near future (like, tomorrow) where we're at war with a united coalition of Arab states and gas prices have skyrocketed accordingly.

Strengths: It's dense enough to not be overly simple. Characters and their motives are not always spelled out in neon.

Weaknesses: A bit slow. The female lead, played by Selma Blair, is horrible in the first half though she manages to improve in the second half (not sure why). Plot twists are not quite as twisty as they hope to be. Modest budget likely prevents decent visual portrayal of life-in-high-oil price-recession, and aside from "highly educated yuppies have a hard time getting jobs" the impact isn't really portrayed.

Overall, if you're in the mood for a decent political thriller with a liberal porn bent, or if you just miss Christian Slater, this is a movie for you.

More info here.


The other night the secret of Fafblog was revealed to me. It is written by Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Pamela Hensley, Thom Christopher, and the late Wilfrid Hyde-White.

Fresh Thread

America: Still Better Than Stalin

The conservative rallying cry.



I Remember When It All Began


WASHINGTON - President Bush asked for a plan to invade Iraq in November 2001, about three months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks and at a time when U.S. forces were still in the midst of ousting the Taliban regime from Afghanistan.

The timing of Bush's war planning, revealed in a book to be released Monday and confirmed Friday by the White House, is likely to fuel criticism that the Bush administration was preoccupied with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein at the expense of pursuing al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.


The money, about $700 million, was taken in July 2002 from a budget item that had been approved for the war in Afghanistan, Woodward wrote.

"Some people are going to look at that document called the Constitution, which says that no money will be drawn from the Treasury unless appropriated by Congress," Woodward says in his CBS interview.


Not something one would expect from the Nelson Report...

Failed Presidency

Some nasty poll numbers.

Corn on the Memos


All of this contradicts what Bush told Americans before the invasion of Iraq. He and his aides claimed that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program, that Hussein was producing and stockpiling biological and chemical weapons, that Baghdad was in cahoots with al Qaeda, and that the intelligence obtained by the United States and other governments (presumably including the Brits) left "no doubt" that Iraq posed a direct WMD threat to the United States.

The British memos are further evidence that Bush overstated the main reasons for the war. They also show that his key line of defense is bunk. When confronted with questions about the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bush and his allies have consistently pointed to bad intelligence. But the previously released Downing Street memos and the new ones indicate that the Brits--who had access to the prewar intelligence--saw that the WMD case (based on that intelligence) was, as Jack Straw observed, weak. One might ask, why did they have such a different take than the one Bush shared with the public?


What an idiot.

Opening Move

There are/were two factions in the Democratic party - those who supported the Iraq war and those who didn't. Most of the Iraq war supporters have been unwilling to admit their error, and some like Lieberman are fully on board with The Tinkerbell Strategy. However, "hawks," the ones who get treated as "serious" and are called on to the gab fests to give the Democratic views on foreign policy have never been able to craft a position or a policy which made any sense or had any political traction - largely because at this stage the only plan is hope. As a consequence there has really been a complete leadership vacuum on Iraq (on the Republican side, too, as Cuckoo Bananas hasn't exactly been displaying any either).

Now, for better or for worse, the anti-war faction is going to step up. They will be marginalized and largely ignored by the media, but they will have what the hawk faction doesn't have and probably can't - a clear message and position.

I don't know what the right politics are and I don't know what the right policies are, really, but the question now is whether the rest of the Democrats, those "centrists" and "hawks" start to tear the party apart over this issue by distancing themselves from the dirty hippies. There was a leadership vacuum, and now it might be filled.

(Washington, D.C.) - Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has informed Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) that she and Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. John Conyers, and Rep. John Lewis are leading a newly formed Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus, with 41 members as of today.

Rep. Waters said: "The Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus is a newly formed effort whose sole purpose is to be the main agitators in the movement to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our efforts will include the coordination of activities and legislation designed to achieve our goal of returning our troops home. Through floor statements, press conferences, TV and radio appearances and other actions, we will provide leadership for the American Public who has been waiting too long for our collective voices against the war."

“This announcement illustrates the changing tide in Washington around the issue of the Iraq Occupation,” says National Director of PDA Tim Carpenter. “This caucus will allow a collective dialogue within Congress on this issue, in which the tens of thousands of grassroots activists within PDA will be working to support.”

In addition, Rep. Waters will speak at today's 5 pm rally in Lafayette Square Park in support of Rep. John Conyers' (D-MI) hearings today on the Downing Street memo. Before the rally Rep. Waters will be attending the hearings. The hearings are being held from 2:30-4:30 pm in Room HC-9 of the U.S. Capitol, with overflow at the Wasserman Room at 430 S Capitol St. SE.

Current members of the caucus include:

Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Corrine Brown, Rep. Julia Carson, Rep. Donna Christensen, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. William Delahunt, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Chaka Fattah, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Rush Holt, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Shelia Jackson - Lee, Rep. John Lewis, Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. Grace Napolitano, Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton, Rep. John Olver, Rep. Major Owens, Rep. Donald Payne, Rep. Nick Rahall, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Janice Schakowsky, Rep. Bobby Scott, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. John Tierney

Good Gaggle

Holden presents the best of the gaggle.

Wanker of the Day

So many options today, but I always have a special affection for "hawks" who equate "weak on national security" with "against Iraq war."

Rick Heller, you are the wanker of the day.

Anyone else starting to wonder if TPMCafe isn't Josh Marshall's cunning plan to discredit as many wankers as possible? (and, yes, there are non-wankers there as well).

DOD Now Threatening Critics

Delightful folks.

Why Did We Invade Iraq?

Barney Frank just made the point that it's pretty impossible to end something when you didn't have a good reason to start it in the first place. It's hard to have an exit strategy when you don't know why you're there and what you hope to accomplish.

Digby revisits it again today, and I think it's really important that our press, who also seem to have no idea, understand that they have no idea. We've had multiple and shifting justifications from the players, but justifcations were just excuses and marketing pitches, not reasons. Inevitably when I broach the subject I get several emails which consist of variations on the theme of "it's oil you fucking idiot." Obviously oil had something to do with it, or at the very least the presence of oil made the adventure a bit more interesting, but this is not anything approaching a complete answer.

The media are operating under the basic assumption that once we fix the broken pot, we'll go home. This is something which is most certainly false, but since no one is much concerned with answering the question of why we went to Iraq in the first place they're certainly not much interested in finding out what we intend to do now that we're there. The two are connected.

They didn't believe Iraq was a threat to us, and they didn't bring up the current reason, freeance and peeance, until the war had almost began. Who knows, maybe it is all about freeance and peeance for the Iraqi people. Maybe George "I'm against nation building" Bush had a secret plan to nation build the world. I doubt it.

Maybe it's oil. Maybe it's Israel. Maybe it's just the "Ledeen Doctrine." Maybe it was about being a war president. Maybe it's about a permanent strategic military presence. Maybe it's freeance and peeance. Maybe it's 'cause he tried to kill George's dad. Maybe (and quite likely) it was different combinations of these things to different people in the administration. This last one, which is probably correct, is the scariest. If everyone in the administration thinks their pet war happened for a different reason, then the people in charge truly have no idea what the fuck they're trying to accomplish.

George Bush's America

Apparently, it is the case that if I read to George Bush the following description of prisoner treatment:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold....On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

that he would not conclude that this was how prisoners were treated by, say, the Cuban government or Pol Pot's government or under Stalin or in North Korea. No, he'd imagine that this must be a report from a detention center under the authority of the United States of America.

This of course is no surprise, as this has in fact been the policy of George W. Bush.

This is George Bush's America.

Conyers Hearing

You can get liveblogging here.

Fred Hiatt's America

This how Fred Hiatt imagines the United States of America. Might makes right.

Tweety's America

This is how Chris Matthews imagines the United States of America:

My big concern is, the longer you keep them, the angrier they get. Eventually, you are going to send them home. Maybe the smarter thing is to execute everyone down there, because if you‘re going to send them back to the Arab world or the Islamic world angry as hell at us, they‘re going to be doing dirty stuff against us, right?


Montpoli on Nancy Grace.

Michael Smith

Washington Post deserves kudos for hosting Sunday Times of London (why does Rupert Murdoch hate America?) reporter Michael Smith:
Michael Smith: Firstly, I think the leaks were regarded as politically motivated. Secondly there was a feeling of well we said that way back when. Then of course as the pressure mounted from the outside, there was a defensive attitude. "We have said this before, if you the reader didn't listen well what can we do", seemed to be the attitude. I dont know if you have this expression over there, but we say someone "wants to have their cake and eat it". That's what that response reeks of. Either it was politically motivated and therefore not true or it was published before by the US newspapers and was true, it cant be both can it?

The attitude they have taken is just flat wrong, to borrow an expression from the White House spokesman on the Downing St Memo.

It is one thing for the New York Times or the Washington Post to say that we were being told that the intelligence was being fixed by sources inside the CIA or Pentagon or the NSC and quite another to have documentary confirmation in the form of the minutes of a key meeting with the Prime Minister's office. Think of it this way, all the key players were there. This was the equivalent of an NSC meeting, with the President, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, George Tenet, and Tommy Franks all there. They say the evidence against Saddam Hussein is thin, the Brits think regime change is illegal under international law so we are going to have to go to the UN to get an ultimatum, not as a way of averting war but as an excuse to make the war legal, and oh by the way we arent preparing for what happens after and no-one has the faintest idea what Iraq will be like after a war. Not reportable, are you kidding me?

And, on all the language wankers:

Michael Smith: There are number of people asking about fixed and its meaning. This is a real joke. I do not know anyone in the UK who took it to mean anything other than fixed as in fixed a race, fixed an election, fixed the intelligence. If you fix something, you make it the way you want it. The intelligence was fixed and as for the reports that said this was one British official. Pleeeaaassee! This was the head of MI6. How much authority do you want the man to have? He has just been to Washington, he has just talked to George Tenet. He said the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. That translates in clearer terms as the intelligence was being cooked to match what the administration wanted it to say to justify invading Iraq. Fixed means the same here as it does there. More leaks? I do hope so and the more Blair and Bush lie to try to get themselves off the hook the more likely it is that we will get more leaks.

I'm not all the way through yet, but as the kids say read the whole thing. The entire country should read the whole thing.


That's the year a huge chunk of ARMs switch from their initial fixed rate to the current rate.

2007 could be a very bad year.

Fristed Yet Again

Frist lies to the American people.

What will we tell the children?


One wonders whether Limbaugh is more concerned about getting convicted or just having really hideously embarrassing medical information released. While I agree that it seems reasonable that medical information not in any way related to a possible crime should certainly be kept private but if there's really embarrassing stuff in there related to the allegations of criminal conduct...

Plain Dealer Piles On

Catching up with the Toledo Blade, the Cleveland paper discovers even more shenanigans with the worker comp fund:

At the same time a Maryland investment manager was losing millions of dollars in a fraud scheme, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation allowed him to continue managing $20 million of its money.

In the end, the bureau says, it lost $1.34 million of the $20 million it invested with Chapman Capital Management, a firm owned by Baltimore investment manager Nathan Chapman.


The bureau gave Chapman Capital Management $20 million to invest between May 1998 and February 2000 and allowed him to invest that money until March 7, 2003, according to bureau spokeswoman Emily Hicks.

During two of those years, one of Chapman's companies lost about $40 million in clients' money in a well-publicized fraud scheme perpetrated by another bureau investment manager, Alan Brian Bond, according to published reports.


The bureau gave Chapman Capital Management $20 million to invest between May 1998 and February 2000 and allowed him to invest that money until March 7, 2003, according to bureau spokeswoman Emily Hicks.

During two of those years, one of Chapman's companies lost about $40 million in clients' money in a well-publicized fraud scheme perpetrated by another bureau investment manager, Alan Brian Bond, according to published reports.


Bond is now in federal prison. Chapman is in legal trouble, too, for a separate scheme.

On Aug. 12, a federal jury convicted Chapman of defrauding two pension funds, shareholders in his company and the public. He was sentenced to 90 months in prison on 23 counts and ordered to pay more than $5 million in restitution.

Prosecutors said Chapman, 47, used some of that money to lavish gifts on mistresses, including $7,000 for a college graduation party for one of them.

Life in Republican world.

All OJ All The Time

We joke about the missing white women coverage, etc..., but I think it's time to take this a little more seriously. Suddenly we're finding the same trivial stories (yes, a missing woman is important and possibly tragic to her family and friends and community, but it is not a national 24/7 story) being pushed to death across the board on all the cable channels. Even the supposedly more serious shows are covering this crap nonstop.

Let's take Aaron Brown. According to CNN, Monday was Jacko. Tuesday was Jacko. Wednesday was Schiavo, California Earthquake and Aruba.

Brown used to take himself more seriously. He was a bit smug and full of himself, but you did get the sense that he genuinely cared about presenting the news that mattered.

Family Values

Oh the humanity:

U.S. Rep. Don Sherwood of Northeastern Pennsylvania repeatedly punched and choked a Maryland woman during a "five-year intimate relationship" with her, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday.

Cynthia Ore, 29, of Rockville, Md., says that after each "unprovoked and vicious attack," Sherwood, 64, promised he wouldn't do it again and begged her not to leave him, according to the four-count lawsuit filed by Patrick M. Regan, a Washington lawyer.

The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court of the District of Columbia, asks for $5.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages and accuses the congressman of assault and battery, gross negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

It also says Ore plans to pursue a restraining order against Sherwood, a Republican from Tunkhannock.

The complaint states that throughout the relationship, Sherwood repeatedly struck Ore on her face, neck, chest and back, violently yanked her hair, and tried to strangle her.

In the complaint, Ore states that she lived with Sherwood in Washington for much of the relationship and that he repeatedly promised to marry her and start a family.

Sherwood is married and has three daughters.

Ore has previously stated she met Sherwood in 1999 at a Young Republicans event.

Important to remember these are just allegations, though the "giving a backrub" story later in the piece is a bit, uh...

Romantic Images

Hoagland writes:

Sordid details of thugs and kidnappers such as these cannot compete with the romantic images of Iraqi "insurgents" taking desperate measures in desperate times, so don't expect to see Hayssam's story on the evening news here or on al-Jazeera's Arabic broadcasts.

It has never once occurred to me that such images or actions are "romantic." Anyone else?

Open Thread


Open Thread


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Strange Days

While the obsessive news coverage of all things missing white women is obscene it does provide an opportunity to observe truly bizarre aspects of our culture. I'll hopefully have more to say about this tomorrow, but until then:

1) Since when is it weird for young adults to travel to foreign countries unchaperoned? (in this case there were chaperones, but the question persists)

2) Why exactly is it that my fellow males seem to think it to be truly insane that females would ever spend time with any of us without numerous chaperones and bodyguards?

Open Thread

Have fun.

James Taranto's America

Apparently James Taranto does in fact envision that if I read to him this statement about prisoner conditions:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold....On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

that he would not conclude that this was how prisoners were treated by, say, the Cuban government or Pol Pot's government or under Stalin or in North Korea. No, he'd imagine that this must be a report from a detention center under the authority of the United States of America.

James Taranto's America everybody. Not the way I imagine my country to be.

There Are No Moderate Republicans

Yglesias is exactly correct here:

In response to Atrios and my many irate commenters, the point of the post below isn't to try and let the press off the hook, it's to try and make sure that we in the blogosphere don't become so obsessed with the media's failings that we wind up letting the Republicans off the hook. It isn't written into the fabric of the universe that congressional Republicans need to operate as White House stooges and block all oversight of the executive branch. There's such a thing as doing the right thing, and the fact that zero members of the GOP on the Hill are doing it is worthy of notice.

In the Senate, especially, it would only take a handfull of the people who pride themselves on their reputation for high-minded statesmanship and independence to actually demonstrate high-minded statesmanship and independence to make a world of difference.

The tiny club of moderate Republicans has for too long gotten away with basking in their moderate reputations while doing absolutely nothing of impact to deserve that status. It's time for that to change.

Small Bizness

I don't know if the assumptions that were made in this study requested by Kerry and Dorgan are correct - absent an actual Bush plan for social security it's impossible to know what assumptions are correct - but I have yet to see a single argument which actually tries to genuinely refute the idea that social security private accounts would be an incredible burden on small businesses.

Right now the onus is on business to pay their social security taxes on time. They're credited to the worker when they're supposed to be paid and applied to the retirement benefit formula accordingly. If businesses are a bit late in paying taxes they'll pay a penalty but it isn't a big deal. But that's because benefits under the current system are formula based and not return based. If your employer doesn't pay your benefits for a couple of months, and the stock market shoots up 20% in that time, are they liable? If not, why not?

Open Thread

Have fun.

Things the Right Wing Believes

That this kind of treatment, as a matter of policy, is something which is to be expected of modern enlightened Democracies, and not fascist and Stalinist authoritarian regimes:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold....On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

That, apparently, is the American ideal they believe in. Glad they're finally being honest about their true intentions for this country.

Was Vince Foster a Woman?

I think if we discovered that Vince Foster had in fact been a woman it could be the discovery which would provide us with the Grand Unified Theory of Wingnuttia.

According to Mr. Klein’s guilt-by-association theory, she must be a homosexual "gender feminist," and couldn’t possibly love her husband, because "many of her closest friends and aides were lesbians." But he repeats the old rumor that she had an affair with Vince Foster, the White House counsel who committed suicide, although my sources still insist that Foster was a man.

According to Conason Klein has footnotes but frequently when you check the footnotes it turns out they're just recycling unverifiable anonymously sourced crap from other anti-Hillary books.

Shame on Penguin:

Even Page Six, the New York Post’s Clinton-bashing gossip column, derided the book as a "hatchet-job" and the author as "error-prone." The tabloid mocked Mr. Klein for identifying a happily married former classmate as Mrs. Clinton’s rumored lesbian lover. He never spoke with this lady—who denied the smear to the Post—and he repeatedly misspells her surname, which he evidently copied from another book. The New York Times management must cringe whenever Mr. Klein’s former employment there is cited as his main journalistic credential.

As for the management of Penguin—a company once regarded with universal respect and admiration—they should be cringing for years to come.

Not the Way it Works

Yglesias is correct in pointing out that some part of the reason the Democrats can't get any press is that they don't run committees, can't hold hearings, etc. Certainly, if they did the media would feel more obligation to cover stories, and the resulting regular "new" news that hearings can make would give stories more life.

However, this lets the media off the hook far too easily. They certainly show no problem keeping a story alive endlessly, even ones which don't involve missing white women, when they choose to. Plenty of Clinton-era pseudo-scandals (and post-Clinton era Clinton pseudo-scandals) were kept alive for significant amounts of time even without officials hearings and whatnot.

Now, I would sadly admit that part of the problem is that the Democrats still haven't managed to work the media machine. The deck is certainly stacked against them, but they could do a lot better. They need to figure out how to work with existing narratives to their advantage, and how to occasionally seize the moment to create their own. Given the hostility of the media and their lack of power that's a challenge, but something they need to learn how to do. Opportunties materialize and they fail to make use of them. It's depressing.

Open Thread

Off to impress the world with my ability to sweat while running in the heat...


Truly a curse.

damn journalists can't even get the right address.

Keyboard Kommandos

Episode 2.

Girls Gone Wild

Not having enough actual news about missing white women, CNN has apparently handed its news division over to the producers of Girls Gone Wild.'s a sample which I grabbed before it scrolled off my Tivo. From CNN's hard hitting report on what naughty 18 year old women get up to in Aruba:

My guess is that they are very angry with the missing white woman for not providing them with a sufficient number of genuine news updates, so they'll start pushing the "she deserved what she got" angle.

Two Futures

The debate about peak oil can be summed up in two graphs. So, excuse me for a moment as I revert to my larval form as an economics professor before I blossomed into the beautiful butterfly I've become.

Here's the first pretty graph:

This graph represents a the short run market for oil. The supply curve is fairly flat over some range, and then turns sharply upwards. This reflects the fact that in the short term at least there is a fixed maximum capcity that can be pumped out. The arrows reflect how the short run market is evolving over time. The demand curve is shifting outwards as worldwide demand grows, and the supply curve is shifting inwards at some speed as oil deposits are used upand the deposits which are the cheapest to extract are used up first. Market price is obtained at the point of intersection of the curves.

What we learn from this graph is that if the demand curve intersects the supply curve is at or near capacity, then price spikes can be large and sudden. This can be exacerbated by speculators boosting demand and potentially California-style gaming of the system through deliberate slowdowns in delivery/refinery (obviously refinery is about the market for oil-derived products, not oil, but the story is the same). If ever we're in a situation like this in the short term, even if there's a whole mess of easily extracted deposits sitting out there, we've got problems. Massive oil price spikes and supply disruptions would result, even if we haven't actually "run out of oil."

Long run, then fundamental question is - how fast are the demand and supply curves moving, and what is the shape of the long run supply curve. If we think now of the "market for oil and close substitutes," allowing for the possibility of some sort of grand technological transformation or the discovery of massive dilithium mines, the question is whether the long run supply curve is very steeply sloped, reflecting few new oil deposits or no new technology, or if it is more gently sloped, looking more like this:

Either way, serious energy market problems are more than possible even if there's still plenty of hot tasty oil just waiting for the taking if that demand curve is flirting with the production capacity level. It's hard to comprehend the impact on the world economy if even a temporary massive oil price spike combined with some supply disruptions occurs. It's also hard to imagine that such an event won't occur at some point. Long run, however, the future depends on how much oil is out there, how fast worlwide demand is increasing, and how fast new substitutes for oil come into being, either by using existing technologies (wind,nuclear, etc...) or finding new ones.

If we have oil supply problems, the worst hit areas will be those which at the time of the supply problem there aren't any close substitutes. Electricity can be produced a variety of ways, but right now cars need oil. I'll leave it to the experts as to whether hydrogen will be a better energy storage device for cars than batteries storing electricity, but weaning automobiles away from oil dependency would go a long way to cushioning us against a potential price shock.

Fristed Again

Ah, good memories of the doctor's diagnosis.

"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office,” he said in a lengthy speech in which he quoted medical texts and standards. “She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli.”

Schiavo, it turns out, was completely blind. "The vision centers of her brain were dead."

The Liberal Media


Lynching Good

Here's the latest list of pro-lynching senators, and my God what a wanker Alexander is.

Raping the Discourse

Arianna discusses Ed Klein's nonsense. I'll save my Rude Pundit inspired addition for the comments.

Coingate Gets Weird

You know, it's starting to bother me that this isn't getting more play on TV,not because it's important and important stories deserve to be covered (I'm not that naive), but because it's a fun story. Great TV. Wacky cast of characters. Interesting plot development.

COLUMBUS — The suburban Denver home of a former employee of Tom Noe was burglarized over the weekend, with thieves making off with artwork, guns, jewelry, cars, and $300,000 in wine — possibly purchased with money from the state of Ohio.

Michael Storeim, a suspect in a Colorado criminal probe into Ohio’s missing coins, reported Monday night the valuables had been taken from his Evergreen, Colo., home while he was vacationing with his wife.

Investigators from the Jefferson County, Colo., Sheriff’s Office on June 3 took custody of 3,500 bottles of wine valued at $500,000, and seized hundreds of rare coins, 265 Cuban cigars, computers, and documents from Mr. Storeim’s home and office as part of a criminal investigation.

The wine was left in a locked cellar in the home, but police had changed the locks.

Open Thread

Play nice.

Fuck Tom Friedman

Speaking of degenerate sacks of shit, this is what he thinks of liberals:

Liberals don't want to talk about Iraq because, with a few exceptions, they thought the war was wrong and deep down don't want the Bush team to succeed.

Here we get to gaze deep inside the heart of Tom Friedman, Pundit extraordinaire, for whom being right is more important than the lives of thousands or millions of people. Deal with your own sick and twisted sociopathic existence. Don't project it onto me.

Scoutprime and Silber have more.


What a lying degenerate racist enabling sack of shit:

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) refused repeated requests for a roll call vote that would have put senators on the record on a resolution apologizing for past failures to pass anti-lynching laws, officials involved in the negotiations said Tuesday.


As dozens of descendants of lynching victims watched from the Senate gallery, the resolution was adopted Monday evening under a voice vote procedure that did not require any senator's presence.

Eighty senators, however, had signed as co-sponsors, putting themselves on record as supporting the resolution. By the time the Senate recessed Tuesday evening, five other senators had added their names as co-sponsors, leaving 15 Republicans who had not.


But the group that was the driving force behind the resolution had asked Frist for a formal procedure that would have required all 100 senators to vote. And the group had asked that the debate take place during "business hours" during the week, instead of Monday evening, when most senators were traveling back to the capital.

Frist declined both requests, the group's chief counsel, Mark Planning, said Tuesday evening.

"It was very disappointing" that Frist handled the matter the way he did, Planning said. "Other groups have gotten roll call votes, so there was nothing new to this, nothing different that we were asking for."

Bob Stevenson, Frist's chief spokesman, said Tuesday evening the procedure the majority leader established was "requested by the sponsors."

The chief sponsors of the resolution, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and George Allen (R-Va.), disputed that assertion.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I never had any strong opinion about who the Democratic candidate for president should be. By "should be" I mean the guy who had the most chance of winning. I was certainly a Dean sympathizer during the primaries - I thought he brought the discussion to a better place - but not an outright supporter. I had strong opinions about how to win, but never really had strong opinions about who the right candidate was.

But, I think, a year and a half or so later it's pretty instructive to remind ourselves what constituted the worst political gaffe in the history of the universe, according to The Note fuckwads and their ilk.

So, let's listen to a rousing campaign speech, directed at a crowd of passionate supporters who had just lost, and consider why it was thought to be so offensive.

Listen here! Extra bonus guns and roses.

All Hail David Stout

He apparently put some actual facts into a New York Times article. Kudos.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Open Thread


Wall of Shame

All GOP edition.


Wolf the Beard just informed his viewers that (rough quote) "A recent string of abductions have some grandparents concerned and wondering what they can do to keep their children safe..."

Look, this is just tabloid journalism. He's implying that there have been more abductions than usual, rather than just more abducted people who CNN deems attractive enough to cover 24/7. One of the abductions, of course, wasn't even an abduction.

Actual journalism would involve taking 15 seconds away from the Where the White Women At show to actually answer the question of whether there has actually been an uptick in abductions.

Gay Conservatives in Spain to Out Anti-Marriage Conservatives

Great fun.

They Get Phone Calls

Howard Dean just rang to thank me and everyone for all the support.


...Dean's spending some time calling the "$2 crowd."

The Call of Duty

Kos is right. It's time for influential Iraq-war supporting media faulting conservative to use their bully pulpit to call on their supporters to enlist.

I will not, however, hold my breath waiting for it to happen.


Why do Senate staffers think it's okay to lie to their bosses' constituents?

Spanking the Chairman

Paul Waldman has a good column up at TomPaine about Dean, the Democrats, and the press.

Pro-Lynching Update

Geidner has one list, Americablog has a slightly smaller one. I'd like to nail this down. The evil little troll Jeff Sessions is listed as a co-sponsor even though his press secretary is claiming he wasn't because he was too busy in... France.

CORRECTION: It's Shelby who's getting Frenchified, not Sessions.

So, some confusion here.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Show Them the Money

The Heritage Foundation provides a nice model of what various liberal organizations should be doing.

You need easier career tracks for young adults who want to get into this stuff. You need to pay people something, otherwise there's tremendous class bias in representation.

Coingate Rolls On

Toledo Blade:

COLUMBUS — As multimillion-dollar losses by a Pittsburgh investment firm mounted last year, the chief financial officer of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation told another top agency official that he had been told to “give MDL a break,’’ according to records released yesterday by Gov. Bob Taft.

The records stated that Terrence Gasper, removed from his post after the bureau lost $215 million in the hedge fund managed by MDL Capital Management, told a fellow official that the instructions had come from the former administrator of the bureau, James Conrad, who had been asked by George Forbes, a member of the bureau’s Oversight Commision, to go easy on MDL.

Mr. Forbes daughter, Mildred “Mimi” Forbes, is an executive with the investment firm.

Pro-Lynching 6

Chris Geidner has come up with a list of 6 pro-lynching senators:


Kos has more.

(to be clear, there may be more. final count not yet certain)

Open Thread

Have fun.

Open Thread

Rock on.

Open Thread

Rock on.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Noted Now

ABCNEWS'S the Note gets a letter:

I've been reading the Note since the middle of the 2004 presidential campaign, and I must say it's one of the funniest things I've ever encountered. It's the perfect parody of the insular, snobbish, in-crowd mindset of Washington journalism. You've captured everything: the craven subservience to power, the swooning over empty Republican chest-beating, the total ignorance of issues that matter to non-millionaires, the snide sidelong shots at people who understand those issues, and - particularly when you talk about Howard Dean - the pissiness of people who believe themselves elite and can't quite understand why nobody else is listening to their pearls of wisdom. It's like a transcript of a cocktail party attended exclusively by ultra-rich child molesters and whores. Congratulations on
the brilliant work, and remember the words of satirist Michael O'Donoghue: "Making people laugh is the lowest form of comedy."

Freeance and Peeance


Defense officials from Russia and the United States last week helped block a new demand for an international probe into the Uzbekistan government's shooting of hundreds of protesters last month, according to U.S. and diplomatic officials.

British and other European officials had pushed to include language calling for an independent investigation in a communique issued by defense ministers of NATO countries and Russia after a daylong meeting in Brussels on Thursday. But the joint communique merely stated that "issues of security and stability in Central Asia, including Uzbekistan," had been discussed.

The outcome obscured an internal U.S. dispute over whether NATO ministers should raise the May 13 shootings in Andijan at the risk of provoking Uzbekistan to cut off U.S. access to a military air base on its territory.

Bobo's World


ST. GEORGE, Utah — Abandoned by his family, faith and community, Gideon Barlow arrived here an orphan from another world.

At first, he played the tough guy, aloof and hard. But when no one was watching, he would cry.

The freckle-faced 17-year-old said he was left to fend for himself last year after being forced out of Colorado City, Ariz., a town about 40 miles east of here, just over the state line.

"I couldn't see how my mom would let them do what they did to me," he said.

When he tried to visit her on Mother's Day, he said, she told him to stay away. When he begged to give her a present, she said she wanted nothing.

"I am dead to her now," he said.

Gideon is one of the "Lost Boys," a group of more than 400 teenagers — some as young as 13 — who authorities in Utah and Arizona say have fled or been driven out of the polygamous enclaves of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City over the last four years.

His stated offenses: wearing short-sleeved shirts, listening to CDs and having a girlfriend. Other boys say they were booted out for going to movies, watching television and staying out past curfew.

Some say they were sometimes given as little as two hours' notice before being driven to St. George or nearby Hurricane, Utah, and left like unwanted pets along the road.

Authorities say the teens aren't really being expelled for what they watch or wear, but rather to reduce competition for women in places where men can have dozens of wives.

Fresh Thread


The South Shall Rise

According to John, they Senate isn't going to do a roll call vote on the anti-lynching resolution because 12 senators don't want to have to have their names associated with it.


and, yes, oh trolls, this is the "Democratic Ballot" because the Mississippi Democratic Party put Dixiecrat Thurmond on the ballot instead of Truman. In any case, as John said I don't care what party these senators are from. It's a disgrace.


Drum does pretty good on Clinton hatred until he writes this sentence:

In the end, it all blew up in the absurd spectacle of a wingnut-inspired impeachment that did nothing but make its target more popular than ever, and since then the wingnuts have (mostly) been swept back into the murky fever swamps of delusion where they belong.

But for one brief, glorious moment, they controlled the national agenda. And that's what makes Clinton hatred so very, very special.

Uh, no. Wingnuts and wingnuttia have been entirely mainstreamed by the media. Their opinions, beliefs, and bullshit are front and center.

Is Annenberg This Stupid?

Read this:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- About 40 percent of Americans say they consider talk show host Bill O'Reilly a journalist - more than would define famed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward the same way, according to a poll conducted this spring.

Only 30 percent said Woodward, who broke the Watergate story with Carl Bernstein, was a journalist. More than a quarter said talk show host Rush Limbaugh was one, while one in five said they considered newspaper columnist George Will to be a journalist.

Poll respondents were simply asked, "Please tell me if you think (the individual named) is a journalist or not?" The question made no specific reference to differences between reporters and commentators.


Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, said the results of the poll suggest the public defines the word "journalist" far differently than those in the press define it.

This poll tells us nothing about who people believe is a journalist. It just tells us who has name recognition. This question reads like a test and people are going to try to give the "right" answer. What a stupid stupid poll.

This last part is kinda funny:

Annenberg also polled journalists from all sectors of the industry. Only 3 percent of journalists said Limbaugh was "somewhat close" to being a journalist and 11 percent said that about O'Reilly, while 93 percent said Woodward was "somewhat close or very close" to being a journalist.

7 percent of journalists don't think Booby Woodward is a journalist?

Thank God That's Over

Obviously the paramount consideration is whether justice was really done. For all of the other considerations - Nancy Grace's mental health and a quicker exit of the media circus - I'm very glad the verdict was what it was.

Michael Jackson Verdict Thread

Because no matter how much we want these stories to just go away, they won't.

...beat it.

Remember the fine words of Bill O'Reilly:

It's regular folks. This is not L.A. and O.J. Simpson. This is regular folks.

Abortion is Good

And it should be safe, legal, and rare, in the same way that appendectomies should be safe, legal, and rare.

Bad Blood

Ledeen and the mob.

(damn. wrong link. fixed now. other link was to Duncan Hunter chicken porn).

Open Thread

Have fun.

"Why Did We Invade Iraq?"

Yes, what Digby says. It's time for the press to ask, and answer, the question.

But, it's clear they never will.

Eschaton Assignment Desk

Billmon has a wonderful story opportunity for an enterprising young investigative reporter.

Open Thread

Rock on.


I was impressed yesterday with Timmeh's phrasing of the Iraq issue, the way he asked if Americans had the "political will to stay the course in Iraq." This is the foreign policy version of the Beltway eat your vegetables conventional wisdom. The idea is that there are good ideas which involve lots of sacrifice from people not named Timmeh and if only those pesky voters would understand that sending their kids off to die was good for them they'd do so but damnit they just don't have the will to do so. And such selfishness! They actually WANT the Social Security benefits they were promised! Greedy!

Right now there's a massive political constitutency who want to withdraw. Anyone noticing? Timmeh? Joe? Other Joe?

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Open Thread

Rock on.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Egyptian Cotton

Reader mm writes in (slightly edited):

As far as I can understand the logic, the MSM decided in 2004 that war had been determined on in 2002, but that there was no way of proving it. So it was a non-issue, and the MSM gave the administration a pass. When the Brits leaked the DSM proof in May, the MSM then decides that this is old news (to themselves, anyway) and gives the administration a pass. I think Heller immortalized this type of logic as Catch 22.

Can’t someone come up with a pithy sound bite that captures this and makes it accessible to a non-political, non-foreign policy public? I love your indignation and your explanations, but I have a hard time seeing this go anywhere without a talking point that even a Democratic senator can remember.




Wayne DuMond

Since we're spending a wee bit of time skipping down memory lane, let's remind ourselves of the case of Wayne DuMond. DuMond was convicted of raping a distant cousin of Bill Clinton, and his conviction and imprisonment became a non-trivial part of Wingnuttia's Clinton conspiracy mythos. DuMond was widely believed to be innocent by those on the Right. He became a cause for NY Post columnist Steve Dunleavy, who regularly pushed the issue claiming his innocence. As was frequently the case in those years, even such outlets as the not liberal "liberal" Village Voice pushed the story. As that last link will explain, DuMond attacked and castrated while he awaited trial. I'm certainly no fan of vigilante justice. But the fact that he was a victim of a crime doesn't make him innocent of the crime he was accused of.

Dunleavy and others flogged this issue for a long time. At some point, DuMond was released on parole. Not long after he was accused of committing two homicides, for which he was sentenced to life without parole (as far as I can find he was just found guilty of one of these though I could be missing something). Nice job Steve Dunleavy! I'm sure the family Carol Sue Shields is thrilled.

When the Clinton rules of journalism are in operation, there is nothing they won't stop at. Steve Dunleavy? Still writing for the NY Post...

a bit more here.



"My view is FOX News is a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party and I don't comment on FOX News," Dean said. That was in response to vice president Dick Cheney calling Howard Dean "over the top" on Fox News on Sunday.

This is exactly right and it's something not enough Democrats understand and not enough people in the media in acknowledge. The problem with Fox is not that it's conservative, the problem with Fox is that it is, as some guy just said, "a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party." There is no equivalent media outlet for Democrats. None.

Testing 1, 2, 3...

It'll be interesting to see how wide a hearing in the ethical liberal media a book which alleges that Chelsea was conceived when Bill raped Hillary (see Drudge).

If we had time, we could probably convene an emergency panel on blogger ethics to get to the bottom of that question... people understand where we are now, this book is not being published by Regnery. It's being published by Sentinel, which is a division of Penguin which was established to get in on some of the fact free Regnery action.

Roger vs. Dave

I'm really not sure this is a good idea. I imagine it'll be like the opening/final scene in Dying of Laughter, which is too obscure a reference to be making on this blog.

The Schools

Leaving aside all other issues with vouchers and school testing, I think Matt and Kevin are both missing something. People don't just send their kids to private/parochial schools so that they get an education sorta like the public schools only better, they frequently send them there because they're getting an entirely different education. Sure, it's fair to imagine that accountability measures work in early primary school - basic math/reading skills - but after that all bets are off. Religious schools aren't necessarily just about learning what you learn in public school plus a bit of prayer and bible study, and some non-traditional but secular or secularish private schools aren't about "like them only better" either. They're about teaching different things in different ways.

I believe (though I am not certain) that PA has fairly rigorous across the board curriculum standards, but nonetheless the kids I knew who went to some of the creepier Christian schools were certainly getting a rather different version of reality than one generally gets in public school.

We can chat about how accountability and vouchers can be combined, but the people most fervently behind vouchers, except for Milton Friedman, are not going to allow for that.

Credit Where Credit is Due

George Bush surely does deserve credit for the results in the elections in Lebanon.



WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States will "have to face" a painful dilemma on restoring the military draft as rising casualties result in persistent shortfalls in US army recruitment, a top US senator warned.

Joseph Biden, the top Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the prediction after new data released by the Pentagon showed the US Army failing to meet its recruitment targets for four straight months.

"We're going to have to face that question," Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" television show when asked if it was realistic to expect restoration of the draft.

"The truth of the matter is, it is going to become a subject, if, in fact, there's a 40 percent shortfall in recruitment. It's just a reality," he said.

I do wish people like Biden would stop saying things like this without actually offering any constructive alternatives or without properly laying this problem at the feet of the Bush administration. Pretty soon the Democrats will be the party of the draft, thus robbing of us of the opportunity to have exactly 100 Senate seats and 435 House seats.

Though, there is no chance of a general draft in this country. None. Years of fuck you Republicanism has ensured that. There is no way Chris Matthews is going to let his son Michael (who may be a standup guy, this isn't about him being responsible for his father) get plucked out of the Brown to go to war. There's no way that all over this country little Johhny McMansion is going to go take the SATs, get accepted to his Big 10 school of choice, and then get shipped off to Iraq.

If it does happen, the only way it'll happen is if targets the cloutless in this country. They'll be plucking kids out of juvenile detention centers, making it a part of plea bargains for petty offenses, etc... Only kids who no one gives a shit about will go.


An article filled with facts. Stunning piece from Dick Polman. Didn't know he had it in him. Yay inky.

Americans are probably more conversant about Angelina Jolie than about the contents of the so-called Downing Street memo, which was leaked in London seven weeks ago to the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sunday Times. But if the war chaos continues (80 U.S. troops and 700 Iraqis died last month), the awareness gap may narrow - because the memo states that as Washington was preparing for war, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."

This is one of the few pieces of hard evidence that supports critics who contend that Bush hyped a nonexistent threat - Hussein's purported weapons of mass destruction - as his justification for waging war.


Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army colonel who is now a war analyst at Boston University, said: "The memo is significant because it was written by our closest ally, and when it comes to writing minutes on foreign policy and security matters, the British are professionals. We can conclude that the memo means precisely what it says. It says that Bush had already made the decision for war even while he was insisting publicly, and for many months thereafter, that war was the last resort.


The memo's reference to "fixed" intelligence is noteworthy. It's not a new issue. It has long been clear that Bush's depiction of Hussein as a grave menace was overstated. Among many examples: Bush said, on Oct. 7, 2002, that Hussein intended to use unmanned aerial vehicles "for missions targeting the United States," a distance of 6,000 miles. It later turned out that the UAVs had a range of 300 miles.

But the Bush camp is working hard to deny the memo's fixed-intelligence passage - a sign that the White House is sensitive about the issue. Last weekend, GOP chairman Mehlman stated: "That [memo] has been discredited. Whether it's the 9/11 Commission, whether it's the Senate, whoever's looked at this has said there was no effort [by Bush's war planners] to change the intelligence at all."

Mehlman's claim is undercut by the facts.

The 9/11 Commission never looked at the administration's behavior; commission vice chairman Lee Hamilton said last year, "[Under the law] we were to focus our attention on 9/11 and those events, and not on the war in Iraq." And while a 2004 Senate panel did criticize the prewar intelligence as "a series of failures," it didn't look at whether the Bush team had misused the material. That task was postponed until after the election; today, in the words of Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, it's still "on the back burner."

Meanwhile, the morons are still running the show:

Party strategist David Axelrod explained the Democratic wariness: "We already fought that battle [over Bush's veracity] and we lost. He got elected again. So even though the memo is important, there's a sense that people don't want to revisit the lead-up to war. Although I'm not sure I agree with that, when you look at the number of Americans dead today."



Open Thread

Rock on.

Consider the Response

Bringing two threads together, given Ali Weldon's Meet the Press Appearance, let's imagine the reaction to some version of this speech:

Good evening my fellow Americans. I must be honest with you. We face a looming threat which we must be equipped to deal with. Iran is intent on striking at our country, and that threat must be dealt with sooner rather than later. Your country needs your service. I am imploring the young and able, and those with much needed special skills, to consider enlisting in our military to help defend this country. [insert bunch of inspiring words here]

God Bless America.

Or the alternative version in which he announces the implementation of the draft.


This might actually be an improvement. Certainly no worse.

The Tweety Show

A related question to the "is there anything Republicans can say that will get the drummed out of public life?" one is the "is there anything that Fox News Democrats can say that will stop the media from putting them on as 'the Democrat'" question.

All signs point to no.


Fortunately my crush on Katie Holmes died some time ago, otherwise this would be impossible to endure.

Pincus Gets a Promotion

Post puts him on page 1.

It's important to remember that there was a lot of good reporting leading up to the war by people such as Pincus. But their reporting was buried by editors and not integrated into the overall narrative about the war. Such news reports were treated by the Russerts and Matthews and Kurtzes of the world, those who sift and shape the news narrative, as nasty smelly farts in their otherwise cheerful cocktail party.


Drum writes:

Was the Iraq war a foregone conclusion by early 2002? Of course it was. These new memos provide further evidence of that, but I'm not sure there's anyone who really doubted it in the first place.

Look, this is just bullshit. There are two sets of people here. One consists of inside the beltways types and assorted news junkies and the other consists of The Amerkin Public. The former knew the Iraq war was a foregone conclusion by early 2002, but didn't bother to tell the Amerkin Public. They still haven't. I knew the dance with the UN was bullshit and I tried to point it out, but my blog is not all powerful. The American press did not bother to tell people. And, now, they still don't want to bother to tell people.

This isn't about attacking Drum, I've fallen into this trap before myself. Everyone should've known this in 2002. But, they didn't.

It's just like Russert calling the Downing Street Memo the "famous" Downing Street Memo? Famous to whom? To all the fuckers who didn't give a shit enough in 2002 to tell us what was obvious to anyone who was paying attention.

Open Thread

Rock on.

Open Thread

Have fun.



The attacks continue to be so successful that even now, long after many news organizations, including The Times, have been found guilty of failing to puncture the administration's prewar W.M.D. hype, new details on that same story are still being ignored or left uninvestigated. The July 2002 "Downing Street memo," the minutes of a meeting in which Tony Blair and his advisers learned of a White House effort to fix "the intelligence and facts" to justify the war in Iraq, was published by The London Sunday Times on May 1. Yet in the 19 daily Scott McClellan briefings that followed, the memo was the subject of only 2 out of the approximately 940 questions asked by the White House press corps, according to Eric Boehlert of Salon.

This is the kind of lapdog news media the Nixon White House cherished. To foster it, Nixon's special counsel, Charles W. Colson, embarked on a ruthless program of intimidation that included threatening antitrust action against the networks if they didn't run pro-Nixon stories. Watergate tapes and memos make Mr. Colson, who boasted of "destroying the old establishment," sound like the founding father of today's blogging lynch mobs. He exulted in bullying CBS to cut back its Watergate reports before the '72 election. He enlisted NBC in pro-administration propaganda by browbeating it to repackage 10-day-old coverage of Tricia Nixon's wedding as a prime-time special. It was the Colson office as well that compiled a White House enemies list that included journalists who had the audacity to question administration policies.

Such is the equivalently supine state of much of the news media today that Mr. Colson was repeatedly trotted out, without irony, to pass moral judgment on Mr. Felt - and not just on Fox News, the cable channel that is actually run by the former Nixon media maven, Roger Ailes. "I want kids to look up to heroes," Mr. Colson said, oh so sorrowfully, on NBC's "Today" show, condemning Mr. Felt for dishonoring "the confidence of the president of the United States." Never mind that Mr. Colson dishonored the law, proposed bombing the Brookings Institution and went to prison for his role in the break-in to steal the psychiatric records of The Times's Deep Throat on Vietnam, Daniel Ellsberg. The "Today" host, Matt Lauer, didn't mention any of this - or even that his guest had done jail time. None of the other TV anchors who interviewed Mr. Colson - and he was ubiquitous - ever specified his criminal actions in the Nixon years. Some identified him onscreen only as a "former White House counsel."