Saturday, March 24, 2007

Trust Us


For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews.

From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.

They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.

From these operations, run by the department’s “R.N.C. Intelligence Squad,” the police identified a handful of groups and individuals who expressed interest in creating havoc during the convention, as well as some who used Web sites to urge or predict violence.

But potential troublemakers were hardly the only ones to end up in the files. In hundreds of reports stamped “N.Y.P.D. Secret,” the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law, the records show.

Forget the civil liberties issues, this is such an absurd waste of resources.

Open Thread

For the peeps.


It's obvious that Republicans in general and the presidential candidate especially will have to run against George Bush in '08 if they want to have any chance of actually winning control.

It's also obvious that fealty to dear leader is still an extraordinarily important thing to the 30 percenters.

It's also probable that our blessed media, who spent '00 demanding that Al Gore run away from Bill Clinton due to his hideous 65% approval ratings, will be unlikely to do that to the Republican candidate in '08.

Just thinking out loud here.

More Thread


Biofuels, Bitches!



Broder's boy is sure bouncing.

It all makes for a continued hard slog for the president: Just 36 percent approve of his job performance overall, very near his career low of 33 percent last month. Bush hasn't seen majority approval in more than two years — the longest run without majority support for any president since Harry Truman from 1950-53.


Bush is paying the continued price of an unpopular war. Sixty-four percent now say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, up six points from last month to a new numerical high. (It was 63 percent in October.) A majority hasn't said the war was worth fighting since April 2004, and it's been even longer since a majority has approved of how Bush is handling it. Sixty-seven percent now disapprove; 55 percent disapprove strongly.

In a fundamental change, 56 percent now say U.S. forces should be withdrawn at some point even if civil order has not been restored in Iraq. That represents a continued, gradual departure from the "you break it, you've bought it" sentiment that until now has mitigated in favor of continued U.S. involvement until some stability is attained.

Another part of this change has been a shift in views on setting a withdrawal date. Given pro and con positions (avoiding casualties vs. encouraging insurgents), support for a deadline has risen from 39 percent in late 2005 to 47 percent last summer and 53 percent now. That's a majority, but not a large one; 46 percent still oppose a deadline, underscoring the difficulty of finding consensus on how to get out of Iraq.

Lies and the Lying Liars

What will we tell the children?


I think one of the worst habits we have is telling other people not just how they're supposed to live their lives, but what the appropriate emotional responses to life events - births, deaths, triumphs, tragedies - are supposed to be. While we're not all twisted freaks like Rush Limbaugh, I think the impulse is a fairly universal one.

People who get a serious illness, or become disabled, lose both their agency and their humanity in the eyes of many. They become freaks who have to prove they are human in every interaction, and have to reassert their own agency at every moment.

For some reason the most natural and seemingly healthy impulse - to go on with your life as you had intended to the best of your ability - seems to be the most alien to those not experiencing a tragic illness.


David Kurtz has the exact right take. When a Republican operative talks about depoliticizing something, what they mean is there are too many Democrats.

Keyboard Kommnados

The Price of Genius.

Morning Thread

Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!

And enjoy the Smackdown!
--Molly Ivors


As has been the case since I've been obsessing about this crap, journalists obsess about mostly trivial ethical issues, pat themselves on the back for doing so, and proceed to ignore more serious issues.

Why was Jayson Blair a bigger scandal than Judith Miller?

Some questions answer themselves...

Truth From Tweety

Friday, March 23, 2007

Not the Most Important Thing in the World

But, nonetheless, Gail Shister is probably the best unique product the Inqy has. They should be promoting her far and wide for what she does best instead of forcing her to do stupid things.

Late Night

Rock on.

Oh My

Can't find online yet, but a little birdy sends me:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly released documents show Attorney General

Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in a

November meeting, contrary to claims he was not closely involved in

the dismissals. we go:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in a November meeting, according to documents released Friday that contradict earlier claims that he was not closely involved in the dismissals. The Nov. 27 meeting, in which the attorney general and at least five top Justice Department officials participated, focused on a five-step plan for carrying out the firings of the prosecutors, Justice Department officials said late Friday.

There, Gonzales signed off on the plan, which was crafted by his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson. Sampson resigned last week amid a political firestorm surrounding the firings.

The five-step plan involved notifying Republican home-state senators of the impending dismissals, preparing for potential political upheaval and naming replacements and submitting them to the Senate for confirmation.

Friday Night

Now with soundtrack, since all the cool kids are doing it.

Friday Cat Blogging

Tweety Speaks Truth!

The Washington Post is not the liberal newspaper it was, Congressman, let me tell you - I've been reading it for years and it's a neo-con newspaper now.

The Good Murphy

Reward good behavior.

Murphy-Americans All The Same

The NRCC sent out a press release blasting Tim Murphy for voting to provide funding for the military in Iraq.

Tim Murphy is a Republican.

A little while later they retracted it.

A little while later they sent out a press release blasting Iraq war Vet Patrick Murphy for voting to fund the troops in Iraq.

(ht reader m)

Shorter W

The troops need funding which is why I'll veto the bill which would give it to them.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Not all emails turned over.

Fresh Thread


The Education of Peter Beinart

Well, it took him a few years but maybe now he's getting it.

In 1973 the Senate voted to suspend funding for American military operations in Vietnam; the next year, Congress voted to cut off aid to the embattled government in Saigon. Some of today's commentators argue that those votes devastated the Democratic Party in the mid-1970s. But if so, the Democrats had a strange way of showing it. They won the 1974 midterm elections in a landslide. Two years later, Jimmy Carter grabbed the White House. To be sure, Watergate played a major role in those victories. But if the party's efforts to end the war weren't the primary reason for its success, they certainly didn't hurt.


The real danger for Democrats in the Iraq debate isn't that they'll oppose the war too aggressively; it's that they won't oppose it aggressively enough. In 1972, Nixon attacked McGovern as a liberal extremist, which wasn't exactly wrong. But the Democratic Party has become more moderate since the Clinton years, and in the past two presidential elections the G.O.P. has attacked Al Gore and John Kerry less as ideological radicals than as soulless opportunists, weather vanes willing to say whatever it took to win. As pollster Ruy Teixeira has noted, surveys in recent years show Democrats trailing the G.O.P. by more than 20 points when it comes to "know[ing] what they stand for."

If the public doesn't like what you stand for, then you should probably adjust your views. But if the public doesn't believe you stand for anything, then you had better show them that you do. That's the problem the Democratic Party faces today. And the solution is to end the war in Iraq.

I Am Pure You Are Corrupt

As Chris wrote yesterday, we're having another round of "my opinions are pure yours are somehow corrupted" in the blogosphere. I don't claim to be right about everything, but the fact that I disagree with you doesn't necessarily involve some grand conspiracy.

More than that, the "you're corrupt!" crowd tends to mesh fairly well with the "why don't you link to me?" crowd. Some questions answer themselves.

...and this, very silly. My principles are not anything you happen to make up for me, and my role in this universe is not anything you happen to imagine it to be. I've never claimed to be an "independent journalist" and never suggested that politicians can't have conversations without them being broadcast to the world. My goal is to influence, not report, and I've never pretended otherwise.

You Go To Vote With The Democrats You Have

And, let's face it, some of them suck. As I've written a couple of times, things are a bit different now that the message isn't everything. There are the contours of what is realistically possible, and people who to try to navigate within them. There are also people who try to change those contours. I applaud both. But wishing for a magic pony plan to withdraw from Iraq is no different than the hundredth article from TNR or WaPo wishing for a magic pony plan to "win" in Iraq. Our side has the Congress we have, and their side has George Bush running the war. Neither is perfect.

Grand Old Police Blotter

And another one:

WASHINGTON -- Former Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles will plead guilty to one count of obstruction of justice in the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation, The Associated Press has learned.

Griles, an oil and gas lobbyist who became an architect of President Bush's energy policies while at the Interior Department between July 2001 and July 2005, is the highest ranking Bush administration official implicated in the Washington lobbying scandal.

The former No. 2 official at the Interior Department has agreed to a felony plea admitting that he lied five times to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and its investigators about his relationship with Abramoff, people involved in the case told the AP.


Unsurprisingly, we know who is to blame:

The underlying belief, shared by the Bush Administration, is that too much regulation would stifle credit for low-income families, and that capital markets and well-educated consumers are the best way to curb unscrupulous lending.

Sadly, the free market fairies failed us once again.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.


CNN/Reuters: "Sunni Deputy PM Not Stable After Suicide Bombing."

...oh, and I sold out again. Weird how selling out involves no money.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Could He Possibly Be That Stupid?

My theory is that Swampland's business model is to get writers to write stuff so stupid that liberal bloggers like me will be baited into linking to it.

But, seriously, Kinsley's obviously been stealing Carol Darr's mercury chips.

More Thread

Sensible centrists are neither sensible nor centrist. Discuss.


Democrats being in the majority makes life a bit more difficult for people like me. When they're in the minority, message is everything and the rules of the game are simpler. In the majority, message is still important but there are a lot more moving parts, many of which are not easily visible.

I really haven't written about the House Iraq Bill for this reason. It isn't perfect, but the choice isn't between nothing and a pony, it's between nothing and this. From what I understand Pelosi has called in every chip she has (and thrown some elbows) for the Bill. Whatever its imperfections, it's better than the realistic alternative. Let's hope it passes.

More Thread

Finally home.

They Write Letters

Reverend Jeremiah Wright writes to the New York Times.

Elizabeth Edwards

Well, obviously everyone has already heard the truly horrible news. Really don't know what to say.

Another Open Thread

I seem to be the only one here.


Open Thread

When I grow up I hope I'm as classy as the Edwardses.


The stupid!!!!! IT BURNS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wanker of the Day

DoughBob LoadPants.

Just Another Day in Baghdad


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was unharmed as he ducked behind a podium after a rocket or mortar round landed near the prime minister’s office Thursday

For [Maliki] obviously, this is just another day in Baghdad, something that happens in Iraq every day. You feel and the mortar attacks, they happen all around this country. But obviously, in this situation, it startled the new Secretary- General, his first trip to Iraq, quite a reality check for him.

The never-ending "Onward until non-defined Victory" tour continues its steady trend:

Travel Day

So, light posting...

Are You?

Colbert last night.

Morning Thread


Daily Show on the Reasonable Proposal

John Oliver:

It's a major concession from the president's initial offer to Congress, which was that they go fuck themselves.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hope Elizabeth is Okay

Not sure whether this is medical (Elizabeth Edwards apparently had some appointments this week), political, or a combination, but in any case...


...adding, I'm not gossiping here, news reports had Edwards canceling a campaign event to be with Elizabeth for a medical appointment.


This is Thread.

More Gapmails

But highly selective ones.

One From the Gap

One (but only one) email from the 18 days has been found.

Matt Drudge Rules His World

Kos McJoan gives us some Mark Halperin funnies, and Tbogg gives us the text of his stalkeresque love letter to Hugh Hewitt.

Dance, Tony, Dance!

Some high points with Tony today.

Ed Henry Finds a Nut


I think also, another thing to look at, I followed up a question about executive privilege. You heard Tony Snow at the end there saying the president has no recollection of being involved in this decision to fire the US attorneys. So we asked the question then, well why are you citing executive privilege - or at least suggesting you will, and yesterday the president said the principle at stake here is candid advice from his advisers to the president - if the president was not involved in the decision, then how can you cite executive privilege on something he was really not involved in? And Tony Snow basically said, it's a good question and I don't know the answer.

Tony Snow on The 18 Day Gap

Tells the reporter to ask Justice, and only provides:

I've been led to believe that there's a good response for it, and I'm going to let you ask them because they're going to have an answer.

He looked really really uncomfortable.

Friedman in for a Friedman

But is it the final F.U.?

Go to the Tape

Think Progress has the video of the now sane Bob Barr.

Snow Job

Hey, someone in the WHPC is on the job.

What kinds of conversations does executive privilege protect?…What are the limits on privilege?'' a newspaper columnist wrote in the spring of 1998 on a subject strangely familiar today.

"Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration,'' the columnist wrote. "Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything.''

"Sounds like you're reading an old column of mine,'' Tony Snow, the Bush administration's press secretary, said today, readily recognizing his nine-year-old words read back to him today at a press gaggle in which Snow was arguing for Bush's right to protect the internal deliberations of his White House staff.

In March 1998, Snow wrote for the Detroit News, in which this column appeared. Today, he is press secretary for another president confronting an aggressive Congress. It's a different situation, Snow insisted.

With credit to Olivier Knox of Agence France-Presse for a deft piece of document research, here is a copy of the column that Snow published in the Detroit News on March 29, 1998:

...CD interviews Knox.

Giving It All Away

Following up on the post below, I'm not advocating that artists and record companies give all their product away for free. I recognize that there are legitimate IP/copyright concerns. The point is simply that the industry has spent the last decade or so focused on trying to maintain their old marketing/distribution models instead of recognizing the new reality and figuring out how to exploit it. That may, in fact, involve giving away lots of content for free. Or maybe not. But radio stations have been giving away content for free for decades, sometimes after large checks were written to them by record companies.

The point is that the internet and .mp3s are here, they aren't going away, and instead of fighting it record companies need to figure out how to creatively exploit that to, yes, hopefully make lots of money.


Bob Barr is on CNN sounding extraordinarily sensible. I would have never guessed that out of all of the impeachment cast of characters, his post-Clinton existence would involve an incredible diminishing of his level of hacktitude.


House committee votes to subpoena Karl and Harriet.

Cable News Ratings

I continue to be amazed at the apparent inability of cable news programmers to see the obvious patterns in the ratings. On CNN and MSNBC, the most Republican-friendly shows (zahn and tucker respectively) are low-rated. The only "liberal on TV," Keith Olbermann, beats them all. No one is actually watching golden boy Glenn Beck's show, despite his massive promotion all over the place. His show probably costs about 5 cents to produce, but still.

Any sensible person would see that Olbermann's audience generally drops off a lot when Joe Scar comes on the air, and think about how to retain that audience.

Broken Promotion Machine

My guess is that the music industry's biggest problem is their failure to adapt to the need for new marketing. Listening to music radio on my recent car trip (I rarely listen to music radio otherwise) I basically heard no "new" music except for a bit of dance and hip-hop music. MTV doesn't play videos anymore. Instead of exploiting the desire of people on the internet to promote their stuff for free, they're obsessed with royalties and DRM. It's bizarre to me that an industry notorious for its payola scandals - paying radio stations to pay their crap so that people can hear it for free - simultaneously obsesses about the possibility that people might actually throw up a song on the internet so that people can hear it for free. It's called promotion.

There's a lot more decent music floating around than when I was a teenager, and you can find it if you spend some time looking for it, but there seems to be absolutely no mainstream media marketing or play of most of it.

Speaking of Philly Politics

This is actually pretty funny and well done.

The Decider


One thing that is fascinating about George Bush is how little he has grown in office. No, that's not right. It's not that he hasn't grown, he has gotten smaller; less Presidential, more sad little man watching his paper boat circle the drain. After six years of playing The Decider he should at least have a thin candy shell of gravitas as opposed to coming across like one of those guys on Peoples Court who not only has an unshakable belief that people won't see through his bullshit, but that no one will notice his artful comb-over either.

As bad a president as George W. Bush has been (and lets face it, not only is he the worst ever, he's actively lobbying to be considered worse than at least the next five, possibly six presidents, and that includes President Patrick McHenry [warning: video] who will come to power following the Great Munchkin Uprising of 2021. You don't want to know...) he is a worse person and it shows whenever he is under pressure; he melts down into a greasy little puddle of glares and smirks and incipient panic. But tonight was special. Tonights performance lays to rest any notion other than the fact that he's not a very bright man who has nothing but contempt for a world that refuses to dumb down for him.

Ballot Challenge

Philadelphia elections always involve the ritual "trying to throw your opponent off the ballot" dance. Though Mayoral candidate Congressman Bob Brady's (D) problem here isn't necessarily the technical disclosure issue which might get him thrown off, but the ethics of getting compensation for a "no-show" job.

On the stand, Brady said he did not work 140 hours a month at the carpenters' union - though documents subpoenaed from the union show it contributes to his pension as though he did.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Brady shot back after Rosen asked a series of questions about his carpenters' pension. "I don't know what you mean by vesting," Brady said at one point. "I just don't understand what you're saying."

Throughout his testimony, Brady maintained he was not actually drawing income from the union pension yet - echoing his legal team's argument that he was not obligated to disclose it on the form. Rosen, for his part, was looking to establish that the payments to the pension fund were made in Brady's name and thus were compensation of sorts.

18 Day Gap

What was in the missing emails?

Morning Thread


Impeaching Abu G

If the White House stalls the investigation, then impeaching Abu G should pretty much be a no brainer.

The Nixon Articles of impeachment, which passed the House Judiciary Committee:

Article 1
RESOLVED, That Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanours, and that the following articles of impeachment to be exhibited to the Senate:



In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his consitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, in that:

On June 17, 1972, and prior thereto, agents of the Committee for the Re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, District of Columbia, for the purpose of securing political intelligence. Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such illegal entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.

The means used to implement this course of conduct or plan included one or more of the following:

1. making false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;

2. withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;

3. approving, condoning, acquiescing in, and counselling witnesses with respect to the giving of false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States and false or misleading testimony in duly instituted judicial and congressional proceedings;

4. interfering or endeavouring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and Congressional Committees;

5. approving, condoning, and acquiescing in, the surreptitious payment of substantial sums of money for the purpose of obtaining the silence or influencing the testimony of witnesses, potential witnesses or individuals who participated in such unlawful entry and other illegal activities;

6. endeavouring to misuse the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency of the United States;

7. disseminating information received from officers of the Department of Justice of the United States to subjects of investigations conducted by lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States, for the purpose of aiding and assisting such subjects in their attempts to avoid criminal liability;

8. making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation had been conducted with respect to allegations of misconduct on the part of personnel of the executive branch of the United States and personnel of the Committee for the Re-election of the President, and that there was no involvement of such personnel in such misconduct: or

9. endeavouring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favoured treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Adopted 27-11 by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, at 7.07pm on Saturday, 27th July, 1974, in Room 2141 of the Rayburn Office Building, Washington D.C.

* Listen to the roll call of the Judiciary Committee on the First Article of Impeachment
* Listen to the Announcement of the Vote

Article 2
Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies.

This conduct has included one or more of the following:

1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

2. He misused the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and other executive personnel, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; he did direct, authorize, or permit the use of information obtained thereby for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; and he did direct the concealment of certain records made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of electronic surveillance.

3. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, authorized and permitted to be maintained a secret investigative unit within the office of the President, financed in part with money derived from campaign contributions, which unlawfully utilized the resources of the Central Intelligence Agency, engaged in covert and unlawful activities, and attempted to prejudice the constitutional right of an accused to a fair trial.

4. He has failed to take care that the laws were faithfully executed by failing to act when he knew or had reason to know that his close subordinates endeavoured to impede and frustrate lawful inquiries by duly constituted executive, judicial and legislative entities concerning the unlawful entry into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, and the cover-up thereof, and concerning other unlawful activities including those relating to the confirmation of Richard Kleindienst as Attorney General of the United States, the electronic surveillance of private citizens, the break-in into the offices of Dr. Lewis Fielding, and the campaign financing practices of the Committee to Re-elect the President.

5. In disregard of the rule of law, he knowingly misused the executive power by interfering with agencies of the executive branch, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Division, and the Office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, of the Department of Justice, and the Central Intelligence Agency, in violation of his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Adopted 28-10 by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.

Article 3
In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things Richard M. Nixon, substituting his judgment as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

Adopted 21-17 by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.

The "unitary executive" gang has long said impeachment is Congress's primary check on the executive. Time to call their bluff.

The Straight Talk Express

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fresh Thread


"I now declare this thread...


[/end falsetto]


Barack the Magic Negro

From the pillpopper himself.

Fresh Thread


Reid Statement

On Abu G and the gang:

After telling a bunch of different stories about why they fired the U.S. Attorneys, the Bush Administration is not entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Congress and the American people deserve a straight answer. If Karl Rove plans to tell the truth, he has nothing to fear from being under oath like any other witness.

This is correct. The only reason to refuse to be under oath or even have a transcript is because you plan to lie and you want to do it with impunity.

Any executive privilege claims can only theoretically potentially limit the scope of questioning, not prevent them from testifying at all. Working for the president doesn't give you magic immunity from everything.


Free campaign advice to the Clinton and Obama campaigns:

Every public disagreement, no matter how serious or valid, will be portrayed as CNN is doing it now as a trivial schoolyard "spat." As it is only March, 2007, this gives them many months to infantilize and trivialize you as much as possible. By next year, all the public will know about you is that you are very silly people who have regular temper tantrums about nothing.

Cut His Mic

Bush to speak at 5:45. Fortunately that's right before Drinking Liberally, so I'll be able to dull the pain immediately after.

My bet is that this will be one of his "stamp my feet and declare I'm the decider" speeches, one of the mini-tantrums he confuses with leadership.


In response to Somerby, I didn't mean to suggest that Broder himself had been upset by Clinton's attorney firings - I didn't actually go back and check - was just referring to the general prevailing attitude in Washington that Clinton wasn't entitled to do what presidents are actually entitled to do. I threw out Broder's name because his "he trashed the place" comment encapsulated the attitude of establishment Washington fairly well, though that doesn't mean he personally endorsed every permutation of that attitude.

How Are Those Benchmarks Working Out, Mark?

About 1000 US troops died since that memo was written.


It takes some silly parsing to think this somehow reflects badly on Obama. One of the rhetorical tricks during the glorious summer of war was to classify a bunch of things not really capable of "mass destruction" as "weapons of mass destruction." Remember how Ricin was going to kill us all? So, poisons and nasty chemicals much less useful for killing lots of people than an automatic weapon were suddenly transformed into existential threats.

I too assumed that Saddam had something which could be classifed as a chemical weapon - say a bucket of bleach sitting next to a bucket of ammonia - though I also thought there was no evidence that Saddam had anything which could be in any way thought of as an actual threat to the US in any way. The issue was never really "does Saddam have WMDs as currently defined?" But, "is Saddam a threat to us?" The answer to the latter was obviously no, no matter how many industrial cleaning agents might be in the possession of the Iraqi government.

Arlen Specter Wankerectomy Act of 2007 Passes Senate

Otherwise known as no longer letting Abu G appoint attorneys without Senate confirmation.

Abu G Meeting With House Committee Canceled


They Do Testify

As Think Progress notes, White House aides have testified to Congress plenty of times.

Sucks to be a Congressman

Adam B directs us to this article focusing largely on the busy schedules of Patrick Murphy and Joe Sestak.

It's never to early to consider ways in which you can help. I've set up ActBlue pages for incumbents and for challengers.

And Then... There Was a Pony!

Sounds like a wonderful plan to me!

Wanker of the Day

Mike Allen.


Fitzgerald's rating by Kyle Sampson had been blacked out. Now we know why.

Mary Jo White, who supervised Fitzgerald when she served as the U.S. attorney in Manhattan and who has criticized the firings, said ranking him as a middling prosecutor "lacks total credibility across the board."

"He is probably the best prosecutor in the nation — certainly one of them," said White, who worked in the Clinton and Bush administrations. "It casts total doubt on the whole process. It's kind of the icing on the cake."

Morning Thread


Monday, March 19, 2007

How Long

Hot Docs

House squirrels are posting them as fast as they can.

Moment of Silence

Fat Fucking Slags

Memories of Hitch:

A week later, after the statue of Saddam fell, I got a call from the New York Times' David Carr, one of my favorite writers there, who seemed to be asking me, politely, gently, even compassionately, what it felt like to be so, well, wrong -- and to be so alone in being so wrong. Carr wrote a fair piece; he corralled me, Dan Perkins (our Tom Tomorrow), Katrina vanden Heuvel and Eric Alterman of the Nation, and Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker; he didn't lump us with any far-left Saddam-boosters or anyone hoping for "a million Mogadishus." He did let Christopher Hitchens say this about us: "Their prediction and deepest hope was that the black shirts of the fedayeen were going to win and force a stalemate. Just like they predicted, the Arab street did explode, but with the joy of freedom, which is not the one that they meant, so they are furious and depressed." But that's a nice quote to have four years later. Just look at all that joy of freedom out on the Arab street!

Oh My

And the dump begins:

New e-mails released this evening by the Justice Department reveal the depth of White House involvement in the discussions to fire eight U.S. attorneys last year. The thousands of pages of e-mails suggest the White House was involved in the plan from the beginning.

The e-mails detail conversations about attorneys targeted for dismissal. There are no e-mails from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who reportedly does not use e-mail, though the Justice Department says messages show some indication that Gonzales' former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson, kept the attorney general apprised.

Not Looking Good for Abu G


WASHINGTON - The White House began floating the names of possible replacements for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Monday as the Justice Department prepared to release more internal documents related the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year.

Support for Gonzales appears to be collapsing under the weight of questions about his truthfulness and his management ability. White House spokesman Tony Snow offered a tepid defense when asked if Gonzales would stay on the job until the end of President Bush's term.

"We hope so," Snow said. "None of us knows what's going to happen to us over the next 21 months."

A Republican source, who had earlier predicted that Gonzales would survive the controversy, said he expected both Gonzales and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty to resign soon. Another well-connected Republican said White House officials had launched an aggressive search for Gonzales' replacement, though Bush had not decided whether to ask for his resignation.

Wanker of the Day

Mike Kinsley.

"Bad Apples"

What conservative Mark Smith just called Iraq war veterans who oppose the war on Paula Zahn's show.

Uh, Arlen?

You're not in charge anymore.

I also like his new theory that politicians should be disqualified from doing their jobs because they might be interested in politics. If they're Democrats, anyway. Republicans never have such concerns.

Additional Insight

Massive document dump on the way.

Fresh Thread


Booing St. McCain

My guess is the Club for Growth spokesperson is exactly right. McCain does dodge these conservative events because he knows he'll probably be booed.

Pleasant Thoughts for a Monday Afternoon

From Nouriel Roubini, who's been right on this issue so far:

The sub-prime and overall mortgage carnage is now likely to lead to a financial crisis whose cleanup and bailout costs will make the S&L bailout bill look like spare change. We are only at the beginning of this fallout but, already, several proposals and bills in Congress have been submitted to help millions of sub-prime homeowners on the verge of bankruptcy and foreclosure. The prospect of millions of homeowners thrown homeless on the street is already shaking politicians of every stripe. The relatively modest bailout envisaged by the first bills currently proposed in Congress will mushroom into a much bigger fiscal bailout of homeowners, borrowers and lenders once the garbage of sub-prime, near-prime and pseudo-prime toxic waste spreads around the economy and likely leads to a hard landing recession that will cause a much bigger financial and banking crisis.

Given the fallout and real, social and financial costs of this disaster the political blame game will soon start. So it is important to make sure that the self-serving spin game that accompanied the game of those who happily ignored since last summer the looming housing, mortgage and economic mess will not be repeated again. Powerful political and financial interests will spin their self-serving ideological spin on who is to blame for this mess. Specifically be ready for a cabal of supply side voodoo ideologues - from the Wall Street Journal editorial page (and its invited op-ed writers) to hacks (calling them economists would be an insult to my profession) such as Arthur Laffer, Steve Hanke and other assorted voodoo religion priests - to start spinning a tale blaming government regulation and interference for this disaster that has instead its core in the lack of sensible government regulation, not the existence of such regulation. In the meanwhile powerful financial interests that repeat the mantra – or better the proof-less dogma - of unregulated free markets and do not like any – even sensible – supervision and regulation of the financial system will happily blame government action – rather than their own reckless greed and stupidity - for this disaster while happily demanding and receiving billions in bailout funds from the same government that they so happily disdain. This will be the most appalling form of corporate welfare: privatize the profits in good times and socialize the losses in bad times.


In summary, lack of sensible supervision and regulation of banks, mortgage lenders and other financial institution – partly induced by an ideology of free market fundamentalism – has been the core cause of this private sector created disaster, not excesses of regulation or of government policy. Thus, to minimize the fiscal costs of cleaning up this mess, use of public funds should be carefully managed and targeted to help the true victims of this mess – borrowers duped by predatory lending practices – while avoiding any bail-out of the culprits of this mess. Privatizing profits in good times while socializing losses in bad times is another form of reckless corporate welfare that generates moral hazard while fostering new bubbles. Ideological supply side voodoo zealots should not be allowed to spin a tale where evil government intervention caused this disaster. And the private sector institutions and investors that indulged in this unregulated reckless behavior should take their losses. Market economies are the best economic system but they work properly when private greed, manias, panics, stupidity and recklessness is tempered by sensible supervision and regulation. And may the unfolding mortgage disaster bury once and for all the neo-con supply side voodoo economics religion of unregulated free markets fundamentalism.

Ruling Class

Stoller's correct that Democrats controlled Congress until '94, so it's not quite correct to say that Washington was a top to bottom Republican town for all those years. Still, thousands of important jobs are presidential political appointees, and as Stoller correctly points out a lot of "Democrats" back then were Dixiecrats and defense/farm pork Democrats. Basically, the ruling class of Washington for decades has been a right of center coalition of Republicans, "serious" Democrats who are wrong about most things, and the media elite who preside over the party.


I'd been meaning to take a look at real-time reaction to the "scandal" of Clinton replacing US attorneys, but travel prevented from doing so, as I had pretty vivid memories of the "scandal" of Clinton doing something perfectly normal when he came into office.   That is, it's perfectly normal to replace political appointees, including US Attorneys, with your own people when you come into office.  For some reason when Clinton did that it was scandalous.  Greenwald says it's an early demonstration of the right wing noise machine.   I think it was part that, but this kind of thing (remember Travelgate?) was also thoroughly mainstreamed in our press.  My theory has long been that after 8 years of Nixon/Ford, a brief 4 year pause of Carter, then 12 years of Reagan/Bush, that Washington had become a Republican town from top to bottom.  Clinton coming into town really did upset the socio-economic order, and David Broder and the gang didn't like the fact that the "good people" they had lovely dinner parties with had to go and find new jobs.

For the trolls, what's not okay is to fire US Attorneys because they are investigating members of your own party, or because they aren't investigating enough people of the other party.  That is, to fire them to obstruct or distort justice, especially with regard to public corruption cases.  It's a rather simple concept.


Yes, it's having problems. Jeevan's always pretty good about fixing it in a timely fashion, especially given how much we pay him.

Where We Are

While public opinion has shifted immensely, and large numbers of Democrats in Congress are pushing for us to get out, the fact remains that the Very Serious People in Washington, as represented by Fred Hiatt, are still all for sending other people off to die to find the pony they know is there. The editorial the Post had out yesterday will be recycled for next year's anniversary, with little changed.

And on and on.

...A year ago, David Ignatius told us in the Post:

wouldn't pretend that these two snapshots are an accurate representation of the whole of Iraq. If that were so, the country wouldn't be in such a mess. But this is the way this war is supposed to be going. It's a few years late, but the new U.S. strategy is moving in the right direction.

and Donald Rumsfeld told us:

Some have described the situation in Iraq as a tightening noose, noting that "time is not on our side"and that "morale is down." Others have described a "very dangerous" turn of events and are "extremely concerned."

Who are they that have expressed these concerns? In fact, these are the exact words of terrorists discussing Iraq -- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his associates -- who are describing their own situation and must be watching with fear the progress that Iraq has made over the past three years.

The terrorists seem to recognize that they are losing in Iraq. I believe that history will show that to be the case.

Fortunately, history is not made up of daily headlines, blogs on Web sites or the latest sensational attack. History is a bigger picture, and it takes some time and perspective to measure accurately.

Jim Hoagland told us:

The quiet change was suggested in classified briefings for friendly diplomats and visiting foreign officials: U.S. troops will be moving out of Iraq's streets and then out of Iraq's cities by the end of this year as part of a coordinated drawing down and concentration of all foreign forces. Troops from Italy and other nations will leave the country, and a reduced British force will redeploy into a smaller area of operational responsibility.

This is part of a new internal exit strategy that President Bush hinted at in Monday's Iraq speech. U.S. forces will stay in Iraq beyond 2006 to fight al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists who are using Iraq as a platform for terrorism. Iraqi units -- operating with U.S. logistical assistance from remote locations and embedded command help -- are to be given primary responsibility for containing the domestic insurgency. This is what Bush calls Iraqis standing up to allow Americans to stand down.

Four Years Already?

All you anti-war people sure will feel stupid in six months when things are better.

"Kyra Phillips In Baghdad"

That's not a phrase I ever thought I'd hear. Good for her.


Tomorrow is an excellent day to blog.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Pass the popcorn:

WASHINGTON - Fired San Diego U.S. attorney Carol Lam notified the Justice Department that she intended to execute search warrants on a high-ranking CIA official as part of a corruption probe the day before a Justice Department official sent an e-mail that said Lam needed to be fired, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.

Feinstein, D-Calif., said the timing of the e-mail suggested that Lam's dismissal may have been connected to the corruption probe.


Feinstein said Lam notified the Justice Department on May 10, 2006, that she planned to serve search warrants on Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, who'd resigned two days earlier as the No. 3 official at the CIA.

On May 11, 2006, Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales' chief of staff, sent an e-mail to deputy White House counsel William Kelley, asking Kelley to call to discuss "the real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."

Just Shoot Me

Dateline is doing a piece on... men who like football! Hidden camera footage proves it!

Next week... men who don't enjoy shopping!

Wanker of the Day

Tim Russert, for having Perle and DeLay on.

What's All That About

10,000 people showing up to see Obama in March of '07 means...something. Not just about Obama (though about him, too), but about the willingness of large numbers of people to show up for a political rally. Something's up.

(via mydd)

2nd Commandment

Would it be too much to ask of "devout Christians" to have even a passing familiarity with their own religion?

Would it be too much to ask of Major Time Columnists for them to, you know, maybe have a bit of the same?

Even this godless heathen knows that the golden rule isn't in the ten commandments, and to the extent that it can be related to them, the 2nd (any of them) doesn't exactly top the list of potential foundations for it.

...okay, maybe I'm the idiot. That the "golden rule" is the 2nd of the "new testament commandments" is a new one to me, and apparently not exactly a universal designation, but probably that's what he meant.


Normal blogging operations will commence shortly...

Blogs Become Respectable

So argues Steve Benen.
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about whether we’re in the midst of a sea-change when it comes to the role of blogs in driving the political discourse....

FireDogLake’s coverage of the Libby trial was must-read content for reporters covering the case. TPM has the purge scandal what it is today. It’s getting increasingly difficult to dismiss the blogosphere’s “dirty hippies” as wrong and irrelevant.
Maybe someday we'll also be credited with being right about how the Iraq war wasn't a very good idea. Even if that opinion seemed "unserious" at the time.

Fresh Thread

Atlas Juggs edition.

--Molly Ivors

fresh thread



Broder's boy has bounced all the way to 30% in latest Newsweek poll.

Shorter David Broder

I feel for Bush administration officials who broke the law in the past but have stopped doing so since 1/07.


Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities:

ABC's "This Week" - Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and John Cornyn, R-Texas; national security adviser Stephen Hadley; actor Sam Waterston.

CBS' "Face the Nation" - Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

NBC's "Meet the Press" - Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa.; former Rep. Tom Andrews, D-Maine, and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas; Richard Perle, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

CNN's "Late Edition" - Hadley; Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.; former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski; retired Army Gen. George Joulwan; Michael Gordon, chief military correspondent for The New York Times; retired Army Col. Patrick Lang.

"Fox News Sunday" - Former U.S. Attorneys Bud Cummins of Arkansas and David Iglesias of New Mexico; Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and John Kerry, D-Mass.; Alyssa Mastromonaco, campaign aide to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

All hail Unity 08.

Late Night

The late, great, beautiful Kirsty MacColl. She graced the universe.

More Thread

PARNELL came down the road, he said to a cheering man:
'Ireland shall get her freedom and you still break stone.'