Saturday, July 01, 2006
On this weekend's Wait Wait Don't Tell me, Gwen Ifill is on. At 19:51, the quick transcript is:
Sagal: That was kind of contentious of course, that's where the subject of Mary Cheney came up which she's been talking about
Ifill: And ya know the funny thing? I didn't even ask about Mary Cheney they obviously the candidate, the Democratic Candidate, Senator Edwards, just felt the need to bring it up apropos of nothing and then claim later that he was just trying to express his sympathy and solidarity with the vice president's daughter.
Let's rewind the tape.
FILL: The next question goes to you, Mr. Vice President.
I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: "Freedom means freedom for everybody." You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions. And you used your family's experience as a context for your remarks.
Can you describe then your administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions?
CHENEY: Gwen, you're right, four years ago in this debate, the subject came up. And I said then and I believe today that freedom does mean freedom for everybody. People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. It's really no one else's business. That's a separate question from the issue of whether or not government should sanction or approve or give some sort of authorization, if you will, to these relationships.
Traditionally, that's been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will. That would be my preference.
In effect, what's happened is that in recent months, especially in Massachusetts, but also in California, but in Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of -- the legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow gay marriage.
And the fact is that the president felt that it was important to make it clear that that's the wrong way to go, as far as he's concerned.
Now, he sets the policy for this administration, and I support the president.
IFILL: Senator Edwards, 90 seconds.
EDWARDS: Yes. Let me say first, on an issue that the vice president said in his last answer before we got to this question, talking about tax policy, the country needs to know that under what they have put in place and want to put in place, a millionaire sitting by their swimming pool, collecting their statements to see how much money they're making, make their money from dividends, pays a lower tax rate than the men and women who are receiving paychecks for serving on the ground in Iraq.
Now, they may think that's right. John Kerry and I do not.
We don't just value wealth, which they do. We value work in this country. And it is a fundamental value difference between them and us.
Now, as to this question, let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy.
Apropos of nothing.
Over to you, Adam...
...oh, and regarding this line from the Klein column:
If Baghdad isn't stabilized, the war is lost. "I know it's the cliche of the war," an Army counterinsurgency specialist told me last week. "But we'll know in the next six months—and this time, it'll be the last next six months we get."
I've started taking these Friedmanesque predictions and putting their expiration dates in my calendar. If you spot them, please send them in.
The events of the past week provide one more demonstration that progressives must begin to fully appreciate the importance of the media in our political life. Look what happened: Conservatives began a coordinated attack on a news organization, and suddenly we weren't talking about Iraq or about anything else, we were actually debating whether The New York Times should be prosecuted for treason.
And journalists could barely summon the energy to defend not just their colleagues, but their profession -- let alone the citizens they are supposed to serve. At the same time that they were being subjected to this assault, they continued to view the political world through a lens created by the very people battering them mercilessly.
In recent editions of our weekly wrap-up, Jamison Foser has been making the case that, as he wrote back on May 26, "The defining issue of our time is the media." Conservatives obviously understand this fact. Perhaps soon progressives will come to the same understanding.
Which brings me to the real point of the post. Long ago after her reading her nasty review of Kristin Gore's book I vowed to read Gore's book to see if it had merit, and after Cox wrote her own book I vowed to compoare them.
I finished Gore's book, Sammy's Hill, a few weeks back. It was really kind of amusing to compare them. Gore's book was everything Cox's tried to be but wasn't. Both were basically "chick lit" (and I don't mean that pejoratively) set against the backdrop of Washington. But Gore's book actually provides some insight into what Washington culture is like, has interesting characters that are fully realized, has an unpredictable plot, and most of all is actually frequently funny. Cox's book was a lame attempt to exploit whole "Washingtonienne" thing one more time with a boring plot about a fake blog.
A key difference between the two books is that in Gore's book, the lead character actually gives a shit about something, which makes it possible for us to give a shit, while Cox's book is just a parade of narcissists who don't give a shit about anything.
I imagine it's a key difference between the two authors as well.
So, if you need a fun light summer read from one of the writers of Futurama, go for it.
Friday, June 30, 2006
The second point is that while it's true that UK newspapers don't aspire to that particular model of journalism, the BBC news empire does, so the UK does in fact have the kind of institution Tomasky discusses.
It's time for those in the mainstream media to understand that even as they invited conservatives into their homes, those conservatives were waging a war against them. Tim Russert will give them another chance on Sunday.
The media wars are on, and the respectable media seems to be surrendering.
- Meet the Press hosts Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The roundtable includes author Bill Bennett, CNBC's John Harwood, Washington Post's Dana Priest, and New York Times' William Safire.
- Face the Nation hosts Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Carl Levin (D-MI) and New York Times' exec. ed. Bill Keller.
- This Week hosts Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The roundtable includes ex-Sen. Fred Thompson (R-TN), Cokie Roberts and Time's Joe Klein.
- Fox News Sunday hosts Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jack Reed (D-RI) and NASA Admin. Michael Griffin.
- Late Edition hosts Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Barney Frank (D-MA) and Griffin.
The funny thing is I'm sure the Meet the Press producers/bookers saw absolutely nothing odd about a roundtable featuring Dana Priest, John Harwood, William Safire, and Bill Bennett. Nothing odd about that at all.
Still, the real mystery isn't why Meet the Press does this, the real mystery is why people like Priest and Harwood agree to participate in such a thing.
...Scott Lemieux ably captures Lee Siegel's basic schtick with a Simpson's quote:
Dear Mr. President: There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three. I am not a crackpot.
I suppose there's an audience for this kind of thing, and it's apparently people who subscribe to the New Republic.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Justice Thomas refers to Justice Stevens’ “unfamiliarity with the realities of warfare”; but Stevens served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945, during World War II. Thomas’s official bio, by contrast, contains no experience of military service.
In a just world, Thomas would resign in shame and spend the rest of his life tending to the needs of disabled Vets.
We don't live in a just world.
You may want clear opinions from The New Republic or from any magazine of political commentary. But you certainly don't want predictable opinions or simple opinions, which, alas, is what you get from The Nation and the National Review, The Weekly Standard or The American Prospect. Why, I bet that you could write their articles in advance. No challenge, no mystery, no surprise, no puzzling through of argument. Not like The New Republic.
God they're wankers.
It's long past time for respectable journalists to stop giving legitimacy to these outlets. They have no standards for truth or decency.
My quick take is that it's certainly an important symbolic victory, but this administration's contempt for the law, the constitution, and the balance/separation of powers that our system rests on isn't going to be very affected by what 5 people in black robes say. They've ignored Congress and they'll ignore the Court too, leaving our mainstream media with more time to deal with the impending threat of blogofascism.
Wait! I'm not the one who said that. According to The Washington Post--yes, yes, MSM "douchebags," I know, I know--a new study by two researchers at East Carolina University found that Stewart's cynicism has the effect of making viewers so disgusted with politics on both sides of the aisle that they feel too discouraged to vote. Constant ridicule seems to have the effect of turning the political system into one gigantic self-parodying freak show, with no sign of imminent change or relief.
That could be why all the pre-election talk about Jon Stewart sending his young viewers--though the average age of a "Daily Show" viewer is actually 47--to the polls in great numbers to vote for Kerry was just that--talk. It simply never happened.
So maybe ridicule and invective, though entertaining, and a refreshing alternative to the mainstream media's passivity and reserve, isn't the boon to democracy it's cracked up to be? Anyway, don't despair, and don't get enraged because that's just the bad news about Stewart. The good news is that he's not a fascist.
Neither the misleading Post story nor the study itself claimed the Daily Show "has the effect of making viewers so disgusted with politics on both sides of the aisle that they feel too discouraged to vote." The Post reported only that it "could have participation implications by keeping more youth from the polls." More than that, the authors of the study didn't come to any conclusions about the impact on voting.
But if you actually read the academic paper, or the interview with the authors in the not-so-much-MSM Daily Reflector, you'll see another angle. It turns out that Stewart fans also trust their own knowledge of politics more than do network watchers. Young Daily Show viewers blame the elites who run the political-media system for the mess we're in, not themselves. They think they really get what politics is actually all about. And, says the study, here's an idea worth entertaining: "citizens who understand politics are more likely to participate than those who do not."
In other words, the cynicism and discontent that the Daily Show breeds could "spawn greater involvement," say the authors; Stewart watchers could actually "become more active voters."
Yes, the study also contemplates the other possibility: that cynicism is a voter-turnoff. "Whether it's a good thing or a bad thing," say the authors, "we just don't know."
As for the question of whether young people have been voting more, whether or not Jon Stewart has anything to do with it, there's a way to answer that question. Siegel apparently doesn't understand that if you want to know whether or not young people voted in greater numbers in 2004 then you should ask the question, "Did young people vote in greater numbers in 2004?" and then go consult some appropriate data source which will hopefully answer your question. Apparently anti-blogofascist Lee Siegel has determined that such answers can be pulled delicately out of a place us blogofascists term "your ass" while the delicate flower Siegel would probably call it his "bottom."
And, yes, young voter participation was up sharply in 2004 over 2000.
Chief Justice John Roberts did not participate in the Hamdan case. He had ruled against the government last year when the case was argued in a lower federal appeals court.
Roberts, of course, ruled for the government in that case. It's kinda how he got his current job.
(thanks to reader d)
I remember when sending subpoenas to Judith Miller was considered by the media insiders to be a threat to democracy itself. The press largely seems to be treating this as just another story.
Where's the outrage now?
Cyberspace itself, though, is a distributed system, not a centralized one. That is why the charges against Kos are so silly. In essence, creatures of the old choke-point hegemonies are projecting their own hierarchical system inaccurately on Kos. Of course you wouldn't expect people like Peretz or David Brooks to understand what a distributed information system is, dinosaurs as they are, of both politics and media.
The Supreme Court rules President Bush overstepped his authority with military war crimes trials for foreigners held at Guantanamo Bay in a case involving a former driver for Osama bin Laden.
I'm not in front of a teevee so those who are can chime in with more details.
Of course, Bush has said he can do what he wants so who knows.
...Drudge sez 5-3 decision finding them "illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva Convention." I'm glad the Geneva Convention is in there, it's nice that the Court recognizes there is this bit about treaties being the supreme law of the land.
June 28 (Bloomberg) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, asked about a report that Sunni insurgents have made a conditional offer to halt attacks in Iraq, said the U.S. won't set a timetable for withdrawing troops from the country.
The Associated Press today said 11 Sunni insurgent groups offered to stop attacks on U.S.-led military forces in Iraq if the Iraqi government and President George W. Bush set a two-year deadline for withdrawing all foreign troops.
Rumsfeld told reporters that while he hadn't seen the report, ``the president's view has been and remains that a timetable is not something that is useful.'' A schedule for a pullout ``is a signal to the enemies that all you have to do is just wait and it's yours,'' he said.
``The goal is not to trade something off for something else to make somebody happy, the goal is to succeed,'' Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon press conference with Australian Defense Minister Brendan Nelson. ``And that means exactly what the president has said: It's condition-based.''
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
I don't especially care either way, but those are the facts.
Let's just hope the voters of his district recognize that maybe Joe Sestak would be a better option.
Given that whatever popularity the conservative Murtha has on the Left has to do with his aggressive desire to leave Iraq, and he was once a proponent of the war I'm pretty sure most people on "the Left" recognize that he is not, in fact, infallible.
It's important to make clear that this line of argument isn't about defending the New York Times' right to publish such a story, which they should have regardless, it's about pointing out what a bunch of lying scumbags their critics are.
Fox does do some things that a ratings-conscious network probably should think about emulating. But isn't the market for conservative assholes saturated?
(June 28, 2006)--A South Texas jury has found a 44-year-old political consultant guilty of four counts involving the sexual molestation of children.
The 44-year-old Cramer was convicted of one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child, two of indecency with a child by contact and one of indecency with a child by exposure.
Cramer, who now lives in Tucson, Ariz., gained national attention during the 2000 presidential election.
His McAllen company created a TV ad accusing the Clinton-Gore administration of giving away nuclear technology to China in exchange for campaign contributions.
Cramer faces a maximum of 149 years in prison for the four felony charges.
If you think it's important to court evangelicals, then court them. If, on the other hand, you think it's important to confirm and embrace the false idea that Democrats are hostile to religion in order to set yourself apart, then continue doing what you're doing. It won't help the Democrats, and it probably won't even help you, but whatever makes you happy.
Love and kisses,
P.S. What Stoller says.
Stand up, media, stand up... I've watched too many in the media stand by or even cheer it on when the right manages to collect a media scalp. Even if you "behave," they'll still come for you.
Rush Job. Rumors were swirling around Capitol Hill and beyond Tuesday that Rush Limbaugh is dating actress Mary Lynn Rajskub, who plays Chloe O'Brian on the Fox series "24." Though that still doesn't explain the unauthorized bottle of little blue pills (shhh, Viagra!) that customs agents found in Limbaugh's luggage at Palm Beach International Airport on Monday.
The conservative radio talk show host hinted on his show Tuesday that he went on a boys-only trip with the cast of "24." Chloe is no boy. If you saw the papers over the weekend, including The Washington Post, there were photos of Limbaugh planting a big kiss right on Rajskub's lips during a dog-and-pony event at the Heritage Foundation.
No one at Heritage seemed to know whether Limbaugh and Rajskub were more than photo-op kissing buddies. A spokeswoman for Heritage who asked not to be named told HOH, "Nobody knows. Several people have been asking today. I have no idea."
Our guess is, probably not. Though why would Rush take Viagra on a boys-only trip?
The woman in question.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
The narrow issue of "flag desecreation," while troubling and stupid, isn't that important. Still, putting into the constitution the notion that congress has an explicit right to regulate political speech opens up many creepy doors I don't really want to open.
And, yay Republicans! You get to prove you're dumbassess yet again in 2 years.
The percentage of Americans who say the president has "a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq" has dropped to 31%, a new low. That's still higher than the 25% who say congressional Democrats have a clear plan for Iraq.
The telephone survey of 1,000 adults has an error margin of +/-3 percentage points.
In the poll, 57% say Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing U.S. troops; 39% say that decision should be left to the president and his advisers.
People understand that the president is in charge of the armed forces - they've been told that enough over the past few years - and they obviously no longer trust him to do so. Sure they're not leaping to hand things over to the Democrats, but they nonetheless want Congress to step in and do something to stop the boy king.
That was the same kooky press secretary who called me up recently and asked me what kind of radio show I do and how she could listen to it and whether my newspaper column is exclusively political. I sort of figured this was one of their improv skits, so I went along as though these were perfectly reasonable questions to ask me. I then suggested that she could better understand one of my takes on Lieberman by reading a certain posting elsewhere in this blog, whereupon she told me she makes it a point never to read any blogs because they get things so wrong. I love this press secretary.
The mysterious and spooky campaign manager is very funny too. He has kind of exploded the old crypto-truckling stereotype of political operatives dealing with members of the press. Here is how he concluded an email to a local TV reporter: “If you distort the truth and report that we are running a negative campaign and Ned is not, I will not forget it.” Ooh! It’s only June, and they’re already propping up pony heads in our percale, those scamps!
Needless to say we're talking about the Lieberman campaign here. The cluelessness on display is almost charming, though it's also a bit creepy. Whatever value blogs add (or detract) from the world, much like talk radio they have have an influence and sizeable audience. How a political campaign thinks they can ignore such things, especially when their opponent's campaign has largely been driven by those blogs, is truly weird to me.
I don't think blogs are the most important thing in the world, but they are a "thing" that exists and it's frightening that people running campaigns just want to pretend they don't exist.
I will never stop finding the fact people who work in traditionally print-oriented outlets have gotten such little reader feedback over the years fascinating, and how shocked they are when they get some. Even when this blog only got a few hundred hits a day I still got a substantial amount of reader feedback, either in comments or email. And while as Josh says not all of it is friendly, and some of it is just annoying, without the immediacy of feedback I would've gotten bored with blogging long ago. When the comments go down my own blog bores me.
Speaking of fundraising, for local folks there's reception for Patrick Murphy at the
As another Tapped commenter stated, "I'm no believer in astrology, or in virgin births, transubsantiation, or any number of very mainstream religious beliefs..." And, indeed, belief in astrology is quite mainstream. In 2003, 31% of the population, including 27% of Christians were believers (down from 37% in 1998 with 37% of Christians believing). I'm not entirely sure how to classify astrology, but presumably it falls under the general umbrella of religious/spiritual beliefs.
For an agnostic/atheist like myself lots of religious beliefs sound pretty nutty to me, but as Amy Sullivan keeps telling us we keep losing elections because people like me aren't sufficiently respectful of religious beliefs even though, you know, we generally are. And, now, from left to right, from Tap to TNR to the wingnutosphere, people are falling all over themselves to mock someone who had a perfectly mainstream belief apparently shared by millions and millions of Americans.
I find that rather odd.
Tragically, I walked through the door yesterday and my roommate already had Hardball on. There were two people debating the issue of . . . whether or not The New York Times should be brought up on charges of treason. Seriously. Treason. For publishing an article in a newspaper. Treason. And there was Chris Matthews happily presiding over the whole thing as if this was a serious conversation that people should be having. This all taking place on a network that, allegedly, does journalism.
Torturing people, jailing journalists for treason, the president being allowed to disobey the law at whim... The mainstream media has made all of these things a part of the normal conversation. They've allowed "two sides" to all of these things to be debated on equal footing. Left wing bloggers on the internets complain about the media and they get ignored and accused of "blogofascism." Conservatives call for the New York Times to be blown up and their reporters and editors jailed and they get treated seriously on MSNBC's flagship political talk show.
There's a problem here. You've been playing this game for years, letting these people control the terms of the debate. This is where it has brought you. Congratulations.
...video here, for those with the stomach.
COULTER: Right, this idea of the conservative war on science has just become this cliche that`s drummed into people, like, you know, "Bush lied, kids died," when, in fact, a casual, a cursory review of history shows, really, a 30- 30-year war by the left on science, because what science is, is looking at the world as it is, which is not always the way liberals would like it to be...
SCARBOROUGH: Give me some example, a quick example...
COULTER: ... from their cancer clusters, the breast implant litigation turned out to be false. Anything that ever shows a difference between races, between gays and straights, between blacks and whites, between races, the attack on Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein`s "The Bell Curve," which was...
SCARBOROUGH: I was just going to say -- I was just going to say, it`s like "The Bell Curve." I remember the controversy that caused in the late -- I think late 1980s.
(tip from cursor)
Think about the advantage when you're negotiating on behalf of 43 million elderly and disabled Americans. That's the image painted by Democratic lawmakers who want the federal government to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare recipients.
The Democrats envision using the money that is saved to close a gap in coverage, called the "doughnut hole," that will affect an estimated 6.9 million people this year.
"Democrats fought against Social Security privatization, and we are now working to fix the flaws in the Republican prescription drug program," said California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader.
The Democratic proposal, being introduced Tuesday, provides an alternative viewpoint to how the drug benefit should be shaped. Currently, seniors and the disabled select from dozens of plans offered in their state by private insurers, who negotiate prices.
The Democratic proposal would let beneficiaries choose a plan administered by the federal government.
Silly people like me have been trying to warn you for years - you created, cultivated, nourished, and promoted these people. They're one of you. Take a stand, because pretty soon it's going to be too late.
the most dramatic exchange occurred when Mr. Kean sought to contrast his own background and record in Westfield, a wealthy suburb, with Mr. Menendez's in Hudson County.
"I invite people to come to Westfield, look at my hometown, and look at my actions. Are you willing to invite people into Hudson County, Bob, to look at this record, because we need to make sure we have real leadership in the future?"
There was a gasp from the audience.
"Are you casting an aspersion upon the people of Hudson County?" Mr. Menendez asked.
"You know better than that, Bob."
"That's the way your question sounds," Mr. Menendez said, adding, "They're hard-working, they're blue-collar people."
"You're right," Mr. Kean said, before continuing to criticize Mr. Menendez.
This is about a moral and ethical choice. Yes, burning a source is a very big deal, but why would they protect a liar? They're reading the comments here, and half my posters think Zengerle made this up on his own. Talk about a hanging curve ball. Frank Foer knows he's gonna face this again, and his refusal to do the right thing now is going to haunt him and TNR. Zengerle's credibility and a $1 will get you a dirty water dog near Central Park. But it won't get you a credible story.
If TNR thinks their pathetic, cowardly apology is acceptable, that is their choice. But they will be renminded of that choice many times in the future, by many different people, for many different reasons. Hiding behind a liar is a short term solution with a long term consequence.
A frequent complaint about bloggers is that because no one hires us there's no accountability, but I rarely see much accountability in journalism. People tend to get fired for relative stupid and inconsequential stuff, while the larger sins and sinners just sit there festering. I'd like to think the Times couldn't get away with their bullshit Whitewater reporting now, but 14 or so years later we're still waiting for them to print that "correction."
Personally I was astonished by the movie Shattered Glass and TNR's response to it. They were promoting the damn thing, and they were right to. Somehow it made them look good! Everyone managed to be a bit of a hero except for Glass himself. No one else was responsible.
Don Atrios blackballed me for not showing the respect to Howard Dean -- a.k.a. the Boss of All Bosses.
Who knows, maybe it's true, but I honestly don't remember anything like that. I remember Billmon being on my blogroll until he left blogging for an extended period.
In any case, the rest of the linked post is worth reading.
Monday, June 26, 2006
So, in no particular order:
George Eliot, Middlemarch.
Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children.
AS Byatt, Still Life.
Richard Powers, The Prisoner's Dilemma.
Robertson Davies, The Cornish Trilogy.
Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace.
Graham Greene, The Quiet American.
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Unconsoled.
Robert Penn Warren, All the King's Men.
He said he had the Viagra in his possession for his use and that he did obtain it from his doctors," Miller said.
Sheriff's investigators confiscated the drugs, and Limbaugh was released around 5:30 p.m. without being charged.
However, the sheriff's office plans to file a report with the state attorney's office.
"We believe there may be a second degree misdemeanor violation, which is possession of certain drugs without a prescription, because the bottle does not have his name on it," Miller said.
A doctor had prescribed the drug, but it was "labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes," Roy Black, Limbaugh's attorney, said in a statement.
But if that is something doctors and their patients can legally do then fine by me. And, if it is, then I'll actually feel bad for the bloated one. Grabbing people in airports 'cause they have a bottle of Viagra is pretty silly, assuming that's all it was about.
In addition, "57% say Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing U.S. troops," a fact which will not be able to penetrate the 46 tons of pig shit which protects the world headquarters of The Note from actual reality.
What he leaves out is that the mainstream media has long given a platform to - and continues to do so - people who advocate their jailing and death. The "respectable media" created and nourished them.
But liberal bloggers are mean! And call people wankers!
I have just received an e-mail from TNR editor Frank Foer which said they thought the apology is adequate and "they had nothing more to add". It was bad enough they tacked on Gilliard-gate to their mistake on their reporting. But now, they're defending a dishonest source, who sends e-mails withour any proof of their accuracyMy question is simple: why are they protecting a dishonest source on a story? They know the person in question lied to them about my words, yet they continue to protect them. Why would they do this? Apology or not, this is about credibility and their lack of it. How can anyone trust Jason Zengerle's words again? If they were to face legal action in the future, from an issue unrelated to this, counsel would surely contact me about this matter, as well as use it against them. This isn't about me, except for those words. It is, however, about how badly and dishonestly this whole affair has been handled. It was sloppy, an embarassment and TNR cannot wish it away. Until they deal with this in a forthright manner, their critics will always say "how can you trust them, they posted that fake e-mail", regardless of the facts of the story.
Burning sources who mislead you just seems like a nobrainer to me. Aside from punshing someone who aided and abetted your screwup, it also sends a signal to other would-be bullshitters that their attempts may not be consequence free.
Nice little racket they've got.
In the weeks and months after September 11, the nation was afraid. And confused. We faced a new enemy, an apparently brutal and skillful one, that we little understood. A grateful nation's eyes turned to Christopher Hitchens, whose neologism "Islamofascism" established a key precedent for the age: in this new era one would not be expected to know what one was talking about in order to have strongly held opinions as to what needed to be done.
As Ron Rosenbaum explained in a classic January 2002 New York Observer article, Hitchens was, along with Andrew Sullivan, a George Orwell for our times. Coining the term "Islamofascism" was a "brilliant stroke . . . devastatingly effective in describing who the terrorists, the al-Qaeda/Taliban nexus, really are." Yes, yes. Paul Berman did us the further favor, in his book Terror and Liberalism, of revealing that, despite appearances, not only were Islamic jihadists the same as Nazis, but both were also the same as secular nationalist Baathists. For that matter, despite decades of superficial rivalry, Syrian Baathism was the same as Iraqi Baathism. And, of course, as Hannah Arendt taught us long ago, if something is the same as fascism (as many things are these days) then it's also the same as Communism.
This was all very enlightening, needless to say. But the threats of the past are now obsolete -- since the liberation of Iraq, neither Islamofascism nor Baathofascism nor even Naziofascism need trouble us much.
The belief that eventually Iraq will improve and we will leave is part of the reason why there hasn't been until recently significant political pressure for there to be any change. Absent significant popular and political pressure nothing will change in Iraq. Not this year, not the next, not the next... I'm not optimistic that such pressure will lead to changes absent new political leadership, but at least we can try to bring the debate back to where it needs to be.
The presidential primary season will be heating up less than a year from now, and Iraq will likely be even a more central issue in that election - and the general in 2008 - than it was in 2004.
It's dangerous to assume it will just go away. It won't.
The Bush administration is actively working against the wishes of the elected Iraqi government and the expressed preferences of the American public to pursue an indefinite occupation of Iraq. This is a perpetual deployment on behalf of no stated goals, no wish-list of accomplishments, and no obvious purpose. I can't say whether we want the military bases, the oil, the regional foothold, or anything else; but invading a country, overthrowing their government, and then remaining against the wishes of the elected successors is the very definition of an occupying power, and in any international context, the neocons would be quick to define it as a hostile occupying power. Folks sometimes wonder why we don't have an exit strategy. The answer, now obvious, is because we don't want one.
Bush wants to stay in Iraq forever. We don't know what the presumed benefits of that are because they won't tell us why, and nobody will ask. We have some sense of how costly the ongoing occupation is, and how costly it will be in the future.
We can't have a sensible public debate about this issue until the public understands what the issue is. Our pundit class is blissfully unaware of why we're in Iraq. No one has yet been able to answer the question.
People certainly can change their opinions (flip-flop!) as either new information comes or even as they just reconsider their thinking. I write a hell of a lot so I'm certain Little Russ could subject me to the dreaded Russert treatment on some issue or another. Still, when pundits radically change their position it'd be nice if more often we'd get an acknowledgment of that change and more importantly an explanation for the change in thinking.
Almost every issues divides the country, in that some people fall on one side and some people on the other. In the case of Schiavo, which was hailed as a very "divisive" issue, in one poll an astounding 82% of people said the feds should stay out of it. Yet, somehow, the issue "divided America."
It's hard to say where the line should be drawn when it comes to such an intensely personal disclosure. Did Waas's near-death experience, and subsequent complications, affect his journalism? How could such a searing experience not change your outlook on work and life?
Waas, who works for the National Journal and has drawn attention lately for several scoops in the CIA leak investigation, sued George Washington University Medical Center for failing to diagnose his cancer, winning a $650,000 judgment. But over the years he has persuaded other reporters to steer clear of his medical history on grounds that it was private -- an interesting stance for a journalist who asks probing questions for a living.
But over the years he has persuaded other reporters to steer clear of his serial adultery on grounds that it was private -- an interesting stance for a journalist who asks probing questions for a living.
But over the years he has persuaded other reporters to steer clear of his numerous encounters with hookers on grounds that it was private -- an interesting stance for a journalist who asks probing questions for a living.
But over the years she has persuaded other reporters to steer clear of her past experience as a rape victim on grounds that it was private -- an interesting stance for a journalist who asks probing questions for a living.
Mr. Khalilzad said he and the American commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., would began talks with the Iraqis in the coming weeks on the topic, but reiterated that any reduction would depend on progress in Iraq. "We will adjust our forces, but we'll do it based on conditions, and the condition is that Iraqis can take care of themselves," he said. "The next five to six months are critical for this government."
Dec. 14 2005 NYT:
The election, Mr. Bush said, would be followed by ''days of uncertainty'' and perhaps weeks of vote counting that could leave the outcome unknown until next month. He made no claim that the vote on Thursday would allow the United States to start reducing its military presence. Instead, he alluded obliquely to a feeling among many foreign policy analysts and some administration officials that it could be six months before it was possible to say whether the Iraqis had established a workable government that could lead to a gradual American disengagement.
(tip from reader d)
Connecticut party officials were particularly incensed when President Bush kissed Lieberman on the cheek following his 2005 State of the Union address. In meetings with state Dems, Lieberman tried to assuage their concerns, but also kept reminding party officials he had a 70% approval rating. Even so, the attacks on the kiss became so vocal that an exasperated Lieberman told one group of Democrats "I didn't kiss him back," a response that didn't exactly hearten them. (The incident has become so radioactive that Lieberman now denies Bush actually kissed him, telling TIME last week "I don't think he kissed me, he leaned over and gave me a hug and said 'thank you for being a patriotic American.'")
Watch the kiss here.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
On This Week with George Stephanopoulos a few minutes ago, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic Party Whip, was asked repeatedly if he would support the winner of the Connecticut Democratic Primary, whether it was despised incumbent Joe Lieberman or anti Iraq War upstart Ned Lamont. He was reminded that Lieberman might as an Independent if he lost the primary. Durbin said regardless of the outcome of the primary, he would support Lieberman.
While Durbin expressed support for Lieberman in the primary, he didn't take a position on what would happen if Lieberman jumped.
Also on the homefront, Durbin pledged his support for his Democratic colleague, Sen. Joe Lieberman, who faces a tough primary challenge in his bid for reelection in Connecticut. Just six years ago, Lieberman was tapped by then-Vice President Al Gore to join the Democrat's presidential ticket; now Lieberman faces an intraparty challenge from Ned Lamont, an anti-war candidate who says Lieberman's positions have drifted too far right.
"I'm going to support Joe Lieberman and I hope that he wins the Democratic party," Durbin told Stephanopoulos, before continuing, "I'm going to support Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary."
But, the Illinois Democrat demurred when pressed by Stephanopoulos as to whether Durbin would support Lieberman if he loses the primary and begins an independent campaign for the Senate; "I'm not going to accept your premise," Durbin offered, insisting his statement of support in the primary is all he would say for now.
I hope he jumps. As soon as he does I bet he'll be surprised at how quickly his Republican pals will forget his name. Anything can happen in a 3-way race, and unless Joe jumps all the way to their camp, they'll be quite interested in the possibility of taking that seat.
Kudos to Russ Feingold for understanding that as a Democrat the right thing to do is to support the wishes of the Democratic voters of Connecticut.
Lee Siegel has it all figured out. Lee Siegel has everything figured out. He's been unwrapping the bows and ribbons of his intellect on websites for years, including a preening Slate diary a few years ago that nearly got him laughed out of the lodge, yet he disassociates from the other riffraff online, behaving as if has nothing in common with the amoebic nonentities who presume that they too have something to say. TNR Online features a column called "Lee Siegel on Culture," which seems like a naughty thing to do to culture, but let that go for the mo. Here, he has quite a go at those revolting peasants climbing over the hedges and tramping across the petunia beds. "It's a bizarre phenomenon, the blogosphere. It radiates democracy's dream of full participation but practices democracy's nightmare of populist crudity, character-assassination, and emotional stupefaction. It's hard fascism with a Microsoft face. It puts some people, like me, in the equally bizarre position of wanting desperately for Joe Lieberman to lose the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont so that true liberal values might, maybe, possibly prevail, yet at the same time wanting Lamont, the hero of the blogosphere, to lose so that the fascistic forces ranged against Lieberman might be defeated." A writer chiding bloggers for their incoherent rage ought not to be so glib about lobbing characterizations of fascism around. It sounds as if he’s lashing out, doing what he laments others doing, only with fancier language and rhetorical footwork. A lot of those who oppose Lieberman are longtime liberals who are tired of him being the Republicans' pet Democrat, and fed up with his unctuous mushmouth pieties in support of Bush initiatives. I suspect that part of the peevishness Siegel and his fellow epicureans of ideas feel towards the angry amoebas of the blogsphere is rooted in the uncomfortable knowledge that sites such as Daily Kos, Atrios, and Steve and Jen’s News Blog proved a helluva lot more right about the debacle in Iraq than the battle cries of the Beltway intelligentsia.
But we all lapse into overstatement from time to time, and Siegel should not be pilloried for a single ill-thought out post.Unfortunately, he has followed that up with an even ill'er thought out post, putting his foot in it up to his hip socket. His attempt to enlarge the frame of his argument and isolate the fascist gene that makes the Kossacks and their ilk so dangerous to democracy and discourse is an embarrassing display of smarmy sophistry the likes of which I haven’t seen since Jonah Goldberg last tried to form a serious, non-Captain Kirk thought. Siegel begins by recounting some of the vile insults and suggestions he received after his first post. It’s no fun being at the receiving end of one of these pile-ons. I’ve been the subject of threads on some of the rightwing sites where no aspect of my well-crafted persona went unvilified; it’s true that there are a lot of gnomes lying in the weeds out there spreading fumes. But there’s quite a difference between mouthy malcontents and fascist fodder, a distinction lost on Siegel, who absurdly writes, “Two other traits of fascism are its hatred of the processes of politics, and the knockabout origins of its adherents. Communism was hatched by elites. Fascism was born along the drifting paths of rootless men, often ex-soldiers who had fought in the First World War and been demobilized. They turned European politics into a madhouse of deracinated ambition.”
...and then go read watertiger for a full roundup of snark.
BENNETT: They were talking about that, for sure. We started with the Miami story, of course, of this plot -- supposed plot -- to blow up the World Trade Center. The people were angry about that, bothered by it -- a little afraid. A lot of talk about our kids, the next generation, we have working kids in cities like Chicago and New York, fear for them. So that was quite apparent.
But the fury this morning was about the "New York Times," and it wasn't fury about people having their bank records looked at. It was hundreds of people calling and saying, Look, we're in a war on terror. This program, the SWIFT program, at the Treasury Department, apparently doing a lot of good. We captured this guy who was responsible for the bombings in Bali because of this program. And it also led to the arrests of some of the people last July 7, and people are wondering about the "New York Times" and other outlets as to when they will stop interfering with these intelligence programs. O'BRIEN: So you think a lot of the rage from your listeners is directed at the "New York Times" for sort of outing this previously secret program?
BENNETT: Yes; the question as posed by one of our listeners was this -- here's the government. Now, we know the government may overclassify. We know the government keeps secrets it shouldn't, but this is a government that we've elected. They are responsible and accountable to us. And they are our first line of defense, through the military and through intelligence operations, in the war on terror. They said the "New York Times" cloaks itself in the First Amendment, but it's a profit-making media behemoth which is out to make headlines and make profits. And the government is entitled to have its views respected over that of the editors of the "New York Times."
So this thing continues to build. We had Pete Hoekstra on, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who is extremely frustrated about this. Something is going to happen before long. I know we've had hearings on this, but people don't appreciate just how angry a lot of the public is, in what they feel is an interference with the program. Here you have the Miami story, where the FBI, Soledad, penetrated this group. This depends upon having intelligence that remains secret, and if it is always being spilled out in the papers, people are worried, we're going to be putting ourselves and our kids in jeopardy.
It's long been a mystery to me why the free press embraces people who want to destroy them. One would think this is a bit more important than the fact that Markos can be a bit strident sometimes, I use bad words, and the elite's general horror at popular participation in the discourse.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The worst possible thing we could do is what the Democrats are suggesting, and no matter how you carve it, you can call it anything you want, but basically, it is packing it in, going home, persuading and convincing and validating the theory that the Americans don't have the stomach for this fight.
BLITZER: All right. You want to respond to the vice president, Senator Biden?
BIDEN: No, I don't want to respond to him. He's at 20 percent in the polls. No one listens to him. He has no credibility. It's ridiculous.
That's a good response from Biden, and it's the same response Democrats should be making not just for anything that comes out of Dick Cheney's mouth but anything which comes out of George Bush's mouth. Dems seem to generally lack the understanding of how effective general dismissive disdain and contempt can be. Bush has been in the 30s for about 4 months now. No one except the people who write The Note listen to him or think he has any credibility. He is, indeed, ridiculous.
And, contra Joe Lieberman, undermining the credibility of the president is the best hope we have for improving the situation in Iraq and everywhere else in the world.
This new obsession with bloggers is rather funny, and like Stoller I don't quite get it. One would think there's nothing else important going on in the world. I also find it amusing the right wing bloggers apparently no longer exist anymore, locked in the attic like the crazy granny or something.
BoBo's long displayed a willingness to just make shit up, to present the world as it exists in his warped little imagination rather than as it actually does exist. Since, like Assrocket, he's a dorky middle-aged harmless looking pasty white guy people automatically assume he's "reasonable" when in fact he's basically a third-rate propagandist uninterested in facts which trouble his beautiful mind.
One gets used to criticism, but it's hard to let it just roll over you when you see yourself or your wider world being utterly misrepresented by the mainstream media which is supposed to be committed to telling the truth.
The notion that Markos is sitting around telling bloggers what to do is just ludicrous. There are bloggers who spend time try to herd the cats somewhat through organization and discussion - not through any top-down control efforts - but Markos isn't even one of those people. And, contra Jedmunds, this doesn't involve attempts to manipulate the "sheep" who are our readers, but rather how to sometimes influence the wider media-poltical bloodstream through emphasis and fact-based messaging. You know, sometimes bloggers discuss stuff. The horrors.
But, to reiterate, the reason Brooks's column is so funny is because it's so wrong. Markos has a big megaphone on his site. If there are bloggers out there who fear being mean to Markos because maybe he won't link you then perhaps you need to rethink your whole relationship to the blogging thing. But otherwise Markos is not one to spend his time controlling the blogosphere. Markos barely reads blogs, let alone tries to tell people what to put on theirs.
But, hey, it's BoBo's world, the world of a goatfucking methaddict, so what do you expect.
For the record, Supreme Overlord Kos didn't send me a single dictate telling me how to respond to BoBo.