Saturday, March 10, 2007
WASHINGTON - Presidential advisor Karl Rove and at least one other member of the White House political team were urged by the New Mexico Republican party chairman to fire the state's U.S. attorney because of dissatisfaction with his job performance including his failure to indict Democrats in a voter fraud investigation in the battleground election state.
In an interview Saturday with McClatchy Newspapers, Chairman Allen Weh said he complained in 2005 about then-U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to a White House liaison who worked for Rove and asked that he be removed. Weh said he followed up with Rove personally in late 2006 during a visit to the White House.
Weh's account calls into question the Justice Department's stance that the recent decision to fire eight U.S. attorneys, including Iglesias, was made without the White House weighing in. Justice Department officials have said the White House's involvement was limited to approving a list of the U.S. attorneys after the Justice Department made the decision to fire them.
WASHINGTON - The growing controversy over the Bush administration's abrupt dismissal of eight federal prosecutors raises a disturbing question: Has the Bush administration tried to use the federal government's vast law enforcement powers against its political enemies?
"It would be enormously problematic if, in fact, the Justice Department or the White House were trying to use U.S. attorneys for political purposes," said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia. "The questions are now hanging in the air."
Some Democrats hear echoes of Watergate in the administration's dismissals of the prosecutors and suggest that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should resign. Others want to know whether Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, played a role in the firings.
Justice Department officials say politics had nothing to do with the firings, but some of the ousted U.S. attorneys and outside legal experts think otherwise. Congressional Democrats say they're determined to find the truth.
Wandered over through Rittenhouse Square, which is packed with the usual assortment of people, and headed to DiBruno's to buy some meat to cook, Sue's Produce for some veggies, and then on my way home I went to the newly opened Pumpkin Market to see if they had anything exciting.
The cats are poised by the open window, entranced by the exciting smells of Spring. If daylight savings had begun yesterday, I'd probably do the cooking up on the roof.
So glad winter is over.
Friday, March 09, 2007
1) You don't post often enough. People click on a website regularly when they expect it to have new content. If you're a thoughtful writer who tends to write longer essays then you're at a disadvantage. On the other hand, Glenn Greenwald provides a pretty good model of how to make this work: generally one post per day, followed by a couple of updates, and some participation in his comments section. Oh, and truly excellent, original, and important content.
2) Your page design sucks. I know there are some blogs I'd read more often if the design was more appealing to me. I'm not talking about sexy and beautiful, I'm talking about basic readability issues. For example, light text on dark background makes my eyes bleed.
3) You need to get some mad blogwhoring skills. Look, good marketing/PR is a skill. There are lots of ways to try to get attention. And, believe it or not, people like me don't have the entire interwebs jacked into our cerebral cortices. If I'm not linking to your awesome blog it's quite possible I'm not aware of its awesomeness.
4) Your blog actually sucks. Maybe you're just not offering something that is original and timely enough. Maybe you don't have a good sense of what is or isn't important. Maybe your readers don't know what the hell you're talking about most of the time. Maybe you're not as funny as you think you are. Who knows?
5) You post all your best stuff as diaries at Daily Kos. Great way to get some attention and a quick readership, but it isn't a great way to encourage people to come to your site. Why should they? They can read you there.
6) A sizable chunk of your content involves complaining about people not reading or linking to you. There's an audience for this, but the territory is rather overcovered in the blogosphere.
7) An elite cabal of bloggers, all on the Hillary Clinton for President campaign payroll, have conspired to suppress your original voice by any means necessary, including the implementation of very elitist and anti-democratic peer review systems such as the open posting and "recommended diary" system at Daily Kos. This is certainly an interesting theory, and one which several blogs seem to be devoted to exploring, but absent further evidence you might want to look for alternative explanations.
E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in his Washington Post opinion column that "the evidence of recent days should settle the case: This administration has operated on the basis of a hyperpartisanship not seen in decades. Worse, the destroy-the-opposition, our-team-vs.-their-team approach has infected large parts of the conservative movement and the Republican Party. That's a shame, since there are plenty of good people in both. Still, the tendency to subordinate principles to win short-term victories and cover up for the administration is, alas, rampant on the right.
"Take the rush of conservative organs demanding an immediate pardon of Scooter Libby after his conviction on four counts related to lying and obstruction of justice. . . .
"In other words, when an impartial judicial system does something that conservatives don't like, the will of conservatives, not the rule of law, should triumph."
One of those conservative organs, Charles Krauthammer, writes in his Washington Post opinion column that a presidential pardon for Libby "should be granted now without any further delay."
But Krauthammer seems to have not paid any attention to the prosecution case that convinced a unanimous federal jury of Libby's guilt.
Finally, we'll get a bunch of people decrying the existence of big money in politics, and yes, that is obviously a problem. But what we're seeing with these numbers, especially if small donors are a big part of that, is an unprecedented level of excitement and engagement by regular people in their political process.
I don't really think presidential campaigns cost all that much money. This is a big country and a national campaign requires a decent staff, a lot of travel, and, yes, television advertising. Add up what it costs to employ even a modest staff in dozens of states for a sustained period and you've already gotten to a pretty big number.
The issue isn't how much it costs, but the extent to which fundraising relies on big donors and big donor networks. Those aren't going away, but the more campaigns can expand their fundraising by increasing their share of small donors the less the "big money" problem is actually a problem.
...adding, there's some discussion over at mydd about whether all money raised online is "netroots" money or something else. Obviously it depends on what you think of as "netroots." A definition would certainly include a huge number of people who had never heard of the Great Orange Satan or the Baby Blue Idiot, but I don't think it's correct to see every dollar raised as the consequence of people being engaged with politics online in any form. Some chunk of it is no doubt simply from people who would otherwise write a check and send it in the mail in response to a direct mail solicitation, given that people are increasingly likely to do such transactions online. That is, it's basically just a technological change which doesn't necessarily involve people who are otherwise actively engaged in politics on the internet.
...adding, again, that somewhat paradoxically making campaigns be more expensive might actually force them to engage in activities designed to court low money voters. There's a finite pool of people who would even consider giving the legal maximum, and once you run out of them you need a new strategy. Washington Wankers thought it was scandalous when Obama dared to suggest that people at his rally buy into his campaign with a small donation, but I'd rather candidates spend their time holding large campaign rallies and collecting $20,000 bucks a bit at a time than having a lunch meeting with a small group of law partners to collect the same. And some of those rally attendees might be motivated to volunteer, as well.
What this means I do not know.
The Bush administration has created vast and permanent data bases to collect and store evidence revealing the private activities of millions of American citizens. When the FBI obtains information essentially in secret -- with no judicial oversight -- that information is stored in those data bases. This is all being done by the executive branch with no safeguards and no oversight, and the little oversight that Congress has required has been defiantly and publicly brushed aside by the President, who sees legal requirements as nothing more than suggestions or options which he will recognize only if he chooses to. That is the constitutional crisis that we have endured under virtually the entire Bush presidency -- the crisis which, for the most part, our mainstream political and media elite have collectively decided not to acknowledge.
The story here is not merely that the FBI is breaking the law and abusing these powers. That has long been predicted and, to some degree, even documented. The story is that the FBI is ignoring the very legal obligations which George Bush vowed were not obligations at all, but mere suggestions to be accepted only if he willed it. It is yet another vivid example proving that the President's ideology of lawlessness exists not merely in theory, but as the governing doctrine under which the executive branch has acted, time and again and as deliberately as possible, in violation of whatever laws it deems inconvenient.
Through no fault of anyone's in the military, meanwhile, the administration has managed to become totally confused about our objectives in the region, where we're no longer sure if we're fighting Iran or al-Qaeda, if we're encouraging or discouraging sectarian conflict, if we favor Sunnis or Shiites. Under the circumstances, we can't possibly be brokering a viable political settlement; we don't even know what our goals are.
That's about right. Thanks Oh Wise Men Of Washington.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
It's not how I want things to be, but it's the logical consequence of what some people have been agitating for. If "faith" matters, the specifics of your beliefs matter, and the differences between beliefs will be highlighted. Multiple Choice Mitt might be the catalyst for the discussion, but it's nonetheless overdue. Want political fights to align with religious ones? Sounds like a bad idea to me, but it's what you've been asking for.
Perhaps someone should point out why firefighters don't like Saint Rudy.
Which brings us to one of the points I've been trying to make: Therefore it is both fair and responsible to ask these candidates about their precise religious views. I don't mean vague bland nods to "Christian faith" or simply "faith" but actual details on doctrine and practice.
If people want to make religion a central part of political campaigns, I say great! Bring it on! It'll be nice to actually find out just what the hell they're talking about finally.
My guess is that while a lot of the political internet was focused on the presidential race in '04, in '08 the focus will be much more on House and Senate races, at least in relative terms. There most likely won't be a Dean-like figure who emerges this year to provide the focus of that support, and after the primaries there won't be the sense that netroots support is needed by the nominee. Just to illustrate, I highly doubt that readers of this site will contribute anything close to the amounts they contributed to the Kerry campaign and the DNC to whoever is the nominee.
What's going on in Washington is not sufficiently removed from the routine doings of a tawdry Third World dictatorship to give any American comfort.
...ah well, he apparently didn't write it. Funny.
*In this case it isn't clear whether they lied to the committee or lied to Ensign, or both, but either way it's time to remind them that lying to committees is a no-no.
Washington's media elites have been against this case from the beginning, seeing Fitzgerald and Wilson as unwelcome interlopers threatening the cozy relationship between the city's top political journalists and their sources.
So perhaps today's Washington Post editorial shouldn't come as a surprise. And yet it does.
The Post's editorial grudgingly acknowledges that "Mr. Libby's conviction should send a message to this and future administrations about the dangers of attempting to block official investigations." But, making assertions that aren't supported by facts that have been reported by its own news operation and others, the editorial concludes that the guilty verdict is, of all things, a vindication of the White House and an indictment of the prosecutor.
Remember, back in the summer when the Iraq chatter started heating up in the media we would have Rumsfeld saying things like "why is everyone talking about Iraq? There are no plans for Iraq!" Then Andy Card mentioned the post-labor day marketing rollout. Suddenly we had the patriotism of people like Max Cleland being questioned. At every step, explosive new exciting evidence of Just How Dangerous Saddam Really Is was just around the corner. At each new unveiling, it was always conjecture at best and more generally lies and deception.
The worst part of all of this were the deliberate attempts to link Saddam Hussein to the events of 9/11. Nice way to exploit the deaths of 3000 people. I've been informed by readers that Republican congressmen have been telling their constituents during town hall meetings that there is "secret evidence" that Hussein was behind 9/11. Well, if Hussein was behind 9/11 why the hell is it secret and more importantly why the hell haven't we fired a missle up his ass yet?
Each step deception. Each step cynical exploitation. Each step complete incompetence. How the hell could ANYONE be on board with this?
Anyway, the point was to find something you were wrong about. I went through about 70% of it and couldn't find much. This isn't self-congratulation. As I said, I tend to not make predictions, which is where people usually find themselves being wrong.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
These are patented Whitewater-style "smell test" stories. They are based on complicated details that make the casual reader's eyes glaze over and about which the subject has to issue long confusing explanations in return. They feature colorful and unsavory political characters in some way. They often happened in the past and they tend to be written in such a way as to say that even if they aren't illegal they "look bad." The underlying theme is hypocrisy because the subjects are portrayed as making a dishonest buck while pretending to represent the average working man. Oh, and they always feature a Democrat. Republicans are not subject to such scrutiny because a craven, opportunistic Republican isn't "news." (Neat trick huh?)
No single story will bring down a candidate because they have no substance to them. It's the combined effect they are looking for to build a sense overall sleaziness. "Where there's smoke there's fire" right?
These nonstories are being front paged on the Post and the Times, which leads to TV news covering them and taking them seriously. The fact that, for example, in the Obama story the money involved was a tiny amount of money both brings it down to a human scale people can understand and makes people believe that if an important newspaper like the New York Times is writing about what seems to be a trivial matter it somehow must be important. Even when Obama loses money! The mindless jerks at the Note led with the Obama story and gave it more coverage than the Libby verdict. And how'd they see it?
Good sign for Team Obama: They have already put out their, uhm, first response document, ahead of The Note's deadline.
Bad sign for Team Obama: Whitewater lost money too.
Heh. Indeed. Even a nonscandal in which you lose money can bring you down! Ha ha ha.
And oh, joy, we really are going to be set to party like it's 1999 again. Spite Girl Kit Seelye is going to be back to covering politics for the Times.
Stock up on liquor, it's going to be the silliest season of all.
Richard Land, head of public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention, told The Associated Press that evangelicals believe the former New York City mayor showed a lack of character during his divorce from his second wife, television personality Donna Hanover.
"I mean, this is divorce on steroids," Land said. "To publicly humiliate your wife in that way, and your children. That's rough. I think that's going to be an awfully hard sell, even if he weren't pro-choice and pro-gun control."
Still, he gets a lot of manlove from Tweety and the gang, who apparently aren't bothered by this behavior.
Nonetheless, I expect a small epidemic of mancrushes on the guy from the Serious Liberals if he announces.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
"It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day....
How utterly repulsive, insulting, and heartbreaking to God for His chosen people to credit idols with bringing blessings He had showered upon the chosen people. Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of anti-Semitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.... it rises from the judgment of God uppon his rebellious chosen people." ( "Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To War", paperback edition, pages 92 and 93 )
With friends like these...
Surely, tens (if not hundreds) of millions of Americans believe Christianity is the one truth faith -- and, therefore, that "there are inferior religions."
This is, of course, true and people are welcome to have that belief. But it's also why the backlash against "arrogant" or "militant" atheists we see is absurd. We live in a society where large numbers of people believe they have "the one true faith." And a nontrivial subset of those people think part of that one true faith involves proselytizing and convincing the rest of us to join up. All fine, too. But the belief that you have the "one true faith," while you're welcome to it, is certainly more "intolerant" than someone like Dawkins or Harris calling you a complete moron for believing that. An atheist thinking your* beliefs are absurd is milder than your belief that all beliefs not yours are both absurd and potentially condemning someone to eternal damnation.
I'm not a proselytzing atheist myself, but they're no more intolerant than millions of religious people who, as they are entitled, think they have the "one true faith."
*Not ascribing that belief to Lava.
- I think it's a sad day. I'm not surprised. I think it's an indicator that once again we see an administration that's more interested in politics and discrediting its critics than it is in getting the job done. There's some parallels to the developing scandal now where you have senators and representatives calling prosecutors to influence cases and you have coverups over what was going on in the Walter Reed scandal.
This is an administration which is reminding me of the Nixon administration where the president himself and others have become more obsessed with their critics than doing their jobs and America is suffering.
Frankly, they didn't give a damn about what went on at Walter Reed and it makes me sick and I think it makes a lot of Americans sick.
"the primary thing which convinced us on most of the accounts was the conversation... the alleged conversation... with Tim Russert..."
"...Mr. Libby saying he was surprised to hear about Mrs. Wilson, we have about 34 post-it pages... 2.5 feet x 2.5 feet... and they were filled with all the information we distilled from the testimony... we took a long time to do that..."
"...what we came up with was that Mr. Libby either was told by or told to people about Mrs. Wilson at least 9 times..."
"...even if he forgot who had told him about mrs. wilson, it seemed very unlikely that he would have not remembered about mrs. wilson."
"...the belief of the jury was that he was tasked by the VP to talk to reporters. We never came to any conclusion whether cheney would've told him what exactly to say..."
Was he covering for the Vice President? "We actually never discussed that because that was not what we were assigned to do."
What do you think? "I really don't know. One thing about being on this jury..the people who were on this jury...there were some incredibly good managerial type people who just took everything apart into the smallest piece and put it in the right places... and it got to the point where you just couldn't...opinion had very little to do with it... you just came to the conclusion that wow, here it is right before us..."
"we had one unanimous decision right away..."
"The results are sad. It's sad we had a situation..."
"We wish that it had not happened, but it did..."
"It's not the verdict which justifies the investigation, it's the facts."
Cheney question. Response:
"We don't talk about people not on trial."
(By request I'm not linking directly to them to preserve their servers).
I'll try to post here as soon as I hear. FDL's getting hammered. They may decamp to Daily Kos. MSNBC has real time coverage it seems.
...Walton entering courtroom.
...Verdict has been reached on all 5 counts. No hung jury.
...Jury not in room yet.
...Jury now in.
...Juror 12 is foreperson.
Count 1 guilty
Count 2 guilty
Count 3 not guilty
Count 4 guilty
Count 5 guilty
Chief among the cheerleaders was MSNBC's Chris Matthews. On the May 1, 2003, edition of Hardball, Matthews was joined in his effusive praise of Bush by right-wing pundit Ann Coulter and "Democrat" Pat Caddell. Former U.S. Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-CA) also appeared on the program.:
MATTHEWS: What's the importance of the president's amazing display of leadership tonight?
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously. What does that image mean to the American people, a guy who can actually get into a supersonic plane and actually fly in an unpressurized cabin like an actual jet pilot?
MATTHEWS: Do you think this role, and I want to talk politically [...], the president deserves everything he's doing tonight in terms of his leadership. He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics. Do you think he is defining the office of the presidency, at least for this time, as basically that of commander in chief? That [...] if you're going to run against him, you'd better be ready to take [that] away from him.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Bob Dornan, you were a congressman all those years. Here's a president who's really nonverbal. He's like Eisenhower. He looks great in a military uniform. He looks great in that cowboy costume he wears when he goes West. I remember him standing at that fence with Colin Powell. Was [that] the best picture in the 2000 campaign?
MATTHEWS: Ann Coulter, you're the first to speak tonight on the buzz. The president's performance tonight, redolent of the best of Reagan -- what do you think?
COULTER: It's stunning. It's amazing. I think it's huge. I mean, he's landing on a boat at 150 miles per hour. It's tremendous. It's hard to imagine any Democrat being able to do that. And it doesn't matter if Democrats try to ridicule it. It's stunning, and it speaks for itself.
MATTHEWS: Pat Caddell, the president's performance tonight on television, his arrival on ship?
CADDELL: Well, first of all, Chris, the -- I think that -- you know, I was -- when I first heard about it, I was kind of annoyed. It sounded like the kind of PR stunt that Bill Clinton would pull. But and then I saw it. And you know, there's a real -- there's a real affection between him and the troops.
MATTHEWS: The president there -- look at this guy! We're watching him. He looks like he flew the plane. He only flew it as a passenger, but he's flown --
CADDELL: He looks like a fighter pilot.
MATTHEWS: He looks for real. What is it about the commander in chief role, the hat that he does wear, that makes him -- I mean, he seems like -- he didn't fight in a war, but he looks like he does.
CADDELL: Yes. It's a -- I don't know. You know, it's an internal thing. I don't know if you can put it into words. [...] You can see it with him and the troops, the ease with which he talks to them. I was amazed by that, frankly, because as I said, I was originally appalled, particularly when I heard he was going in an F-18. But -- on there -- but the -- but you know, that was --
MATTHEWS: Look at this guy!
CADDELL: -- was hard not to be moved by their reaction to him and his reaction to them and --
MATTHEWS: You know, Ann --
CADDELL: -- you know, they -- it's a quality. It's an innate quality. It's a real quality.
MATTHEWS: I know. I think you're right.
Later that day, on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Matthews said:
MATTHEWS: We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like [former President Bill] Clinton or even like [former Democratic presidential candidates Michael] Dukakis or [Walter] Mondale, all those guys, [George] McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits. We don't want an indoor prime minister type, or the Danes or the Dutch or the Italians, or a [Russian Federation President Vladimir] Putin. Can you imagine Putin getting elected here? We want a guy as president.
Two suicide bombers struck a crowd of Shiite pilgrims today in Hilla, Iraq, killing at least 47 people and wounding at least 117, a Hilla police official told CNN.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two suicide bombers blew themselves up Tuesday in a crowd of Shiite pilgrims streaming toward a shrine south of Baghdad, killing up to 90 people, police said.
The coordinated attack happened on a main street in Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, said Capt. Muthana Khalid. More than 150 others were wounded in the blasts, he said.
Still, Bush just told me that large weapons caches were recently found, so this will probably all be over in another Friedman or 3.
BAGHDAD, March 6 — The American military command in Iraq reported today that nine American servicemen were killed in two blasts north of Baghdad on Monday, making it the deadliest day in weeks for U.S. troops.
Six soldiers were killed and three others wounded by a blast that struck near their vehicles during combat in Salahaddin Province, the vast Sunni area that stretches north from the capital through Samarra and Saddam Hussein’s hometown Tikrit to northern Iraq.
Another bomb attack killed three soldiers conducting combat operations in Diyala Province, the restive area northeast of Baghdad where Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias fight daily for control of the large city of Baquba and the fertile region around it.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Christ Jesus. I always knew in the abstract that they'd lie about anything, but the actual sound of their claws scraping those barrel-bottoms can still send a chill up my spine.
Still, some of them provide evidence that there may be a serious problem with state subsidized higher education.
Like Yglesias, I don't really have a problem with personal religious beliefs whatever they are. But implicit (and often explicit) in the religious beliefs of many - especially those who adhere to religions which put some emphasis on proselytizing - is that they have the correct belief system, one which puts some emphasis on who and how to worship and how to behave, and that those who have other belief systems are wrong. Perhaps wrong enough to spend eternity feeling the sweet sweet touch of fire. It's bizarre that a pundit at a major magazine would fail to understand this.
Sure I have a problem when a general in the US military sees himself in a religious crusade, and performs his job according to those beliefs. But that's about his job, not his beliefs. I don't care if Jerry Boykin believes his God is bigger than their God. The problem is when it affects his job, and as a general even loudly espousing those beliefs (especially when in uniform) is problematic in ways which wouldn't be if he was a lower ranking officer not doing so in uniform.
...and, adding, while "my religion rocks yours sucks" might be emphasized a bit more in conservative religious circles, I don't think that it even comes close to being limited to them. Even among the more "tolerant" (left or right), I often perceive a tremendous amount of contempt for "fringe" religious or mystical beliefs (wicca, astrology, rastafarianism, Scientology, Mormons, Shakers, other "fringey" Christian sects, etc...). The reasons for these distinctions may be clear to some, but not to me.
I know there are those who wonder why we bother with this stuff because it's all very predictable.
1) Ann Coulter makes racist or homophobic comment.
2) Ann Coulter provokes outrage.
3) Ann Coulter gets more TV appearances because of it.
It's true. But I'm not outraged at 1) or 2), I'm outraged by 3). That part was predictable as well, but it's important to keep calling them on it.
Bush's approval rating in the new poll was 33%, while 63% disapproved of his performance. That was a slight dip from last month, when 37% approved.
...err, I checked right before I started to write this post but the markets are, while not quite tanking, heading towards tanking territory.
"Show me three important national pieces of legislation that have come out of her office," said UC Irvine political scientist Mark Petracca. "If I were her, I'd be scared. You had an excuse all these years" — being in the minority party — "and you could play frivolous. Not anymore."
She should be scared, despite having an excuse? This silly. Sanchez got 62% of the vote in Orange County, CA. Sure, the more liberal/Dem bit of OC, but Dems only have a 5 point party registration advantage in her district. She's very popular.
I do kinda miss Bob "lesbian spearchucker" Dornan though.
And people at Justice are throwing Senator Pete to the wolves...
The Justice Department said Monday that Republican Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico called Attorney General Alberto Gonzales four times to complain about a U.S. attorney who claims he was fired for not rushing a corruption probe.
Domenici acknowledged Sunday that he contacted the prosecutor, U.S. attorney David Iglesias, in October 2006 to ask about his investigation into an alleged Democratic kickback scheme. But Domenici insists he never pressured or threatened Iglesias, though he said he had long sought Iglesias' ouster.
On Monday, Justice officials said that Domenici had called Gonzales on three occasions — September 2005, as well as in January and April 2006 — to question whether Iglesias was "up to the job."
It's a sick, twisted, rhetorical trick. I hope at least a few of them have the stomach to watch the Walter Reed hearings today, not just to see the callous treatment of these people by the Bush administration, but also the horrible consequences of their pet war generally.
Over the last few decades we've seen just about every radical conservative idea be completely mainstreamed into our politics and discourse, while at the same time the Noble Defenders of the Left Flank like Joe Lieberman Weekly and Joe Klein have valiantly fought to ensure that every political idea or thought to their left on the rough political spectrum is declared to be "extremist." It's marginalization rhetoric which paints those who those who have those ideas as not just wrong, but actually ineligible to have a seat at the debate table.
And this is how we've gotten to where we are. The Elite Consensus in Washington is that acceptable political thought runs from the New Republic to the Free Republic. Or, as John Harris put it:
I sometimes think that if Washington political reporters ran the government their ideal would be to have a blue ribbon commission go into seclusion at Andrews Air Force base for a week and solve all problems. It would be chaired by Alan Greenspan and Sam Nunn. David Gergen would be communications director, and the policy staff would come from Brookings and the American Enterprise Institute. They would not come back until they had come up with sober, centrist solutions to the entitlements debate, the Iraq war, and the gay marriage controversy.
As I wrote at the time:
Note that the range of opinions runs from people who occupy what is generally called (rightly or wrongly) the center of political opinion to the extreme right. David Gergen is a Republican. Sam Nunn is a conservative Democrat who likes to run around with Warren Rudman telling people the Social Security is DOOOOMED. Alan Greenspan is an extreme conservatarian freak. Brookings prides itself on itself on straddling the political center and hosts such grand contributors to our current mess as Kenneth Pollack, while AEI is a right wing freak show filled with hackery of epic proportions.
In other words, as I've long said, the acceptable positions in Official Washington range from the New Republic to the Free Republic.
Anyway, as his commenters try to explain to him over and over again, the point is that to the extent that the people Klein was trying to caricature with his list of left wing extremist characteristics actually exist (stipulating for sake of discussion at the moment that they do), they aren't members of congress, they don't have prominent positions in the Democratic party, they don't have columns in Time magazine, they don't get invited to discuss the issues on CNN or NPR, they don't write Op-Eds for the New York Times and, most relevant for this discussion, they aren't even prominent dirty fucking hippie bloggers.
On the flip side, the caricature he offers up of right wing extremists are members of Congress, prominent members of the Bush adminstration, run the Republican party, have columns in Time magazine, regularly come on CNN to discuss the issues, and pretty much define the right wing blogosphere.
Klein uses too many absolute qualifiers for either list to be especially helpful, but whether either caricature is especially apt I think we can understand who he is trying to describe. On one hand we have a bunch of people who have no voice in our politics or mainstream media, on the other hand we have lots of people who are pervasive in government and who occupy prominent media spots on a regular basis.
Which is why, years and years later, people like me don't understand why the "liberal" pundits in the mainstream media too often spend more of their time swatting at powerless potentially phantom people who have no political power, rather than pointing their rhetorical guns at the people who actually have power.
...adding, it isn't central but I'm curious about his assertion that right wingers believe there are "inferior religions." While there are certainly genuinely open people who believe in the "many religions/many paths to God" kind of worldview, I wager that the vast majority of religious people in this country believe that there are "inferior religions." I appreciate that we try to have a tolerant society free of religious discrimination, but for believers the things that they actually believe are, you know, important. Few believe in the "all religions are equally good except atheism" picture our mainstream religious discourse strains to suggest. Large numbers of people say the won't vote for a Mormon. Are they all right wing extremists?
General Casey, last October:
WARSAW (AFP) - The US general in charge of the multinational coalition in
Iraq, General George Casey, said that the next six months will be a decisive period that will determine Iraq's future.
"This is a decisive period for everyone and everyone knows it. The next six months will determine the future of Iraq," Casey said in a statement after attending two days of closed-door meetings in Warsaw to address "the challenges facing Iraq and the US-led coalition."
...and now what?
The ultimate Plan B is pull everybody out," said Stephen D. Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and an adviser to the Defense Department. "Nobody wants to do that. Most are looking at the middle ground between surge and pullout."
Most options involve partial or complete U.S. redeployment from Baghdad and other violent urban centers, followed by containment of the civil war within Iraq's borders -- keeping out meddlesome neighbors such as Iran and preventing a wider, regional conflict. Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, a former chief of Central Command, the U.S. military headquarters for the Middle East, said Congress is "drifting toward containment" and predicted that option will soon begin gaining popularity.
Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack of the Brookings Institution last month released the most comprehensive public exploration of containment. The two national security experts seemed to wince even as they proposed keeping up to 80,000 troops along Iraq's borders, cautioning that "there would be no end in sight either for the war or for their mission." But it is "the only rational course of action," they wrote.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide car bomb devastated Baghdad's historic booksellers' district on Monday, killing up to 26 people and setting shops and cars ablaze, sending a thick plume of choking black smoke over the city.
As U.S. and Iraqi forces extended a major security crackdown into a key Shi'ite militia haven in northeast Baghdad, the blast was a challenge to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who has vowed to deal evenly with Sunni Arab insurgents and Shi'ite militias.
BAGHDAD - The bodies of 20 people were found shot dead and some showing signs of torture on Sunday in the western half of Baghdad known as Karkh, police said. Baghdad has become increasingly divided into Shi'ites on the east and Sunni Arabs on the west side of the Tigris, though there is a crossover.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
BAGHDAD, Monday, March 5 — Iraqi special forces and British troops stormed the offices of an Iraqi government intelligence agency in the southern city of Basra on Sunday, and British officials said they discovered about 30 prisoners, some showing signs of torture.
The raid appeared to catch Iraq’s central government by surprise and raised new questions about the rule of law in the Shiite-dominated south, where less than two weeks ago Britain announced plans for a significant reduction in its forces because of improved stability.
News of the Basra raid, with its resonant themes of torture and sectarian-driven conflict, coincided with the next stage of the intensified security plan here in Baghdad, where more than 1,100 American and Iraqi soldiers moved into Sadr City, a stronghold of Iraq’s largest Shiite militia. The soldiers met no resistance in what the Americans called the plan’s biggest test yet.
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a conservative Shiite, condemned the raid in Basra, but he publicly said nothing about the evidence of torture.
“The prime minister has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident of breaking into the security compound in Basra and stressed the need to punish those who have carried out this illegal and irresponsible act,” said the full text of a statement issued late Sunday by his office.
It remained unclear why he sought to pursue the raiding force aggressively rather than the accusations of prisoner abuse. Efforts to reach officials in his office were unsuccessful.
...ah, right after I posted. It appears St. Malkin Our Lady of Civility has a potty mouth. "Chickenshits." Oh my. I may faint. Don't tell Howie Kurtz.
Calling All Wingnuts has it here, and a cleaned up version with transcript at S,N!
Her potty mouth is extra funny in light of this:
And I'm glad, I have to honestly say, I'm glad I didn't bring my children here because that's not the kind of language I would use.
I'm glad Malkin wouldn't use the word "faggot" around her children. What about chickenshit? (for the record I imagine if I had children I'd happily use the word chickenshit around them).
And some more Malkin freakazoiding from Max Blumenthal.
But there is certainly plenty of space for people to do other things. To establish new directions for commentary or activism or whatever. I know lots of people think that established bloggers have some sort of lock on the traffic and there's no room for new entrants. I don't deny that there is a degree of habitual readership, and that someone who started writing a blog identical to and as awesome (or sucky) as this one wouldn't have an audience overnight, but neither did I.
And you don't even have to start your own goddamn blog and slowly build an audience. You can go to the Great Orange Satan's place and post a diary, potentially having tens of thousands of readers right away, or try at any of the "smaller" community bogs. I'm not claiming that there's some perfect meritocracy in blogworld, but if you can make a compelling case for whatever you feel the need to make a compelling case for, people will respond.
But leading requires leadership skills. Yelling at people for not doing what you think they should be doing isn't leadership, it's a tantrum. Persuade, don't hector. Inspire, don't try to tear everyone else down. And if people aren't responding the way you think they should, maybe you should rethink your approach.
There are missing pieces in the blogosphere, places for people to stake out a territory. Blogging is harder than most people think, however, and if you think you want a large audience then you might consider being careful what you wish for. Most of all, building an audience requires regular and consistent posting. It's very time -consuming. "I'm smart and I have things to say that people should hear" isn't enough.
This is unfortunate. It looks terrible, which is the problem. The problem is that it looks as if this administration, which has sent troops into harm’s way, is now neglecting them when they’re injured and need care and help.
's "This Week" -- Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Trent Lott, R-Miss.; Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
CBS' "Face the Nation" -- Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.
NBC's "Meet the Press" -- Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
CNN's "Late Edition" -- U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad; Sens. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.; Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
"Fox News Sunday" -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Reps. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., and Charles Rangel, D-N.Y..