Saturday, June 08, 2002

Where is the outrage?
Finally got around to adding a few more links over on the left...
Let's return to that Salon article on Enron.

If McNally was tipped off to Enron's troubles it would mean that White House had been warned several months earlier than it has previously acknowledged of Enron's failing fortunes, which caused thousands of employees to lose tens of millions of dollars in retirement benefits. It would also mean the White House received such a warning even before Sherron Watkins delivered her famous memo to then Enron chairman Kenneth Lay, warning that the company's byzantine partnerships could destroy the company.

And then there's this.

I suppose teen sex and the R. Kelly child porn video are much more interesting.

Let's remind ourselves what life was like before the Church commission:

.."The Church Committee revealed the enormous scope of the operations against anti-war demonstrators, civil rights activists and left-wing political parties. This included the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program discredit, or otherwise neutralize” left-wing opponents of government policy. FBI headquarters alone developed over 500,000 domestic intelligence files on US citizens.

In addition the committee found:

At least 26,000 individuals were at one point catalogued on an FBI list of persons to be rounded up in the event of a “national emergency.”

Nearly a quarter of a million first class letters were opened and photographed in the US by the CIA between 1953 and 1973, producing a CIA computerized index of nearly 1.5 million names.
Separate files were created on approximately 7,200 Americans and over 100 the course of the CIA’s Operation CHAOS (1967-1973), aimed at crushing the student anti-war movement.

Millions of private telegrams sent from, to, or through the US were obtained by the National Security Agency from 1947 to 1975 under a secret arrangement with three US telegraph companies.

An estimated 100,000 Americans were the subjects of United States Army intelligence files created between the mid-1960s and 1971.

Intelligence files on more than 11,000 individuals and groups were created by the Internal Revenue Service between 1969 and 1973 and tax investigations were started on the basis of political rather than tax criteria.

The Senate committee also found that these agencies sent anonymous letters attacking the political beliefs of targets in order to induce their employers to fire them. Similar letters were sent to spouses in an effort to destroy marriages. The committee also documented criminal break-ins, the theft of membership lists and misinformation campaigns aimed at provoking violent attacks against targeted individuals.

One of the most infamous operations uncovered by the Church Committee was the FBI’s campaign to “neutralize” civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. This included an extensive surveillance program to obtain information about the “private activities of King and his advisers” to use in order to “completely discredit” them. The FBI mailed King a tape recording made from microphones hidden in hotel rooms. As one agent testified, this was an attempt to destroy King’s marriage. The tape was accompanied by a note suggesting that the recording would be released to the public unless King committed suicide.

The FBI’s Cointelpro operations against the Black Panthers involved the killing of several leaders, including Fred Hampton, by the Chicago police, as well as the frame-up and imprisonment of scores of others.

Referring to this period, Ashcroft made a passive reference to “abuses” that have been “alleged about the FBI decades ago.” The attorney general assured one and all that he and the president would never allow the FBI to use its new powers to crush political dissent or civil liberties. Like his boss in the White House, Ashcroft’s answer to concerns over the gutting of democratic rights is,
“Trust me.”

All quiet in libertarian Blogistan.

Friday, June 07, 2002

The Democratic Fascism Movement?

..inspired by the work of our Visionary Mr. Sean Hannity, who affirm the necessity for Moral Unity in our Nation today. While we do not reject the Democratic Process, we also recognize the need for bringing conclusion to the mob rule which has characterized our Government of late. It is our belief that, through more stringent voting regulations, power must be placed back into the hands of the Moral Elite...
In nice simple language that even the Greens can understand?

(stolen from j.d.w.)

Mr. greenie will never win the race, no way no how, not ever. But mr. greenie might pull away enough votes from the dem so that the gooper gets elected. Mr. gooper likes paper mills, clear cuts and meddling in your best friend's uterus. Mr. gooper bad news.

Mr. greenie like environment, he real tree hugger. But mr greenie don't care if mr. gooper wins, care more about ego of mr greenie. So if mr gooper wins, trees get cut down. Mr greenie say, 'must make things so bad that people don't listen to mr. gooper'. Mr gooper don't care about mr. greenie's feelings, but bad mr. gooper will donate money for his campaign because he knows fool when he sees one. Mr gooper bad man. Mr. greenie stupid man, sitting in clearcut while little fishies choke on siltation. Mr fisherman sad, but bright side for mr. greenie: dead fishes mean they won't be caught by non-vegetarian, evil, cruel man who catch and eat fish for sport.

Mr. greenie non-sustainable, macrobiotic, latte-swilling, birkenstock-wearing, hemp-shirted moron.

Brew disagress with me about the Pearl video, but I think he's comparing apples and oranges. I was not calling for CBS to broadcast the Daniel Pearl video, but making it somehow available for people to view when it has been viewed and described by many in the media is perfectly acceptable. His issue of tit-for-tat coverage - if they show one dead Israeli they need to show one dead Palestinian - is an entirely separate one and has to do with the slant of news coverage. Besides, an American reporter, Jewish or not, being kidnapped and killed really has nothing to do with the Israel/Palestine situation. Even if it did in the minds of its kidnappers, it is news in its own right. Overplayed or not, once the media reports on the video it is silly for them to protect us from it.
Hey, that nut Larry Klayman is suing over Anthrax Information.

Larry wonders about this:

In October 2001, press reports revealed that White House staff had been on a regimen of the powerful antibiotic Cipro since the September 11th terrorist attacks. Judicial Watch is aggressively pursuing the disclosure of the facts and the decision for White House staff, and President Bush as well, to begin taking Cipro nearly a month before anthrax was detected on Capitol Hill.

You know what? Me too.

Haha, the White House liars tried to attack Ron Suskind's credibility (with respect to his Esquire article about Card/Hughes/Rove/etc..) by saying he got the color of the carpet in Card's office wrong, and therefore the rest has been invented. It turns out that Suskind is colorblind, so he made sure to fact check that part with Hughes' people.

Pollkatz has an nice site monitoring Bush approval polls.

One thing that is very interesting is his graphing of all polls by pollster -- Approval and Disapproval.

There are obviously consistent biases across the different pollsters, particularly on the disapproval rating. Zogby puts it consistently high and Fox consistently low, relatively.
For the record, I like Josh Marshall's new serial killer look.

Well, Enron, not 9/11...

June 7, 2002 | According to a former Enron Corp. executive under congressional investigation in relation to the company's collapse last fall, an Enron lobbyist tipped off the Bush administration last August about the company's impending financial problems.

Enron lobbyist Pat Shortridge met with White House economic advisor Robert McNally Aug. 15, the day after Enron president Jeff Skilling resigned, to alert the White House that Enron could face a financial meltdown that could possibly cripple the country's energy markets, the former Enron executive told Salon this week.

"It was very well known that Enron faced a financial meltdown," the former executive said. "The day that Jeff resigned our stock plummeted. We knew it wouldn't rally. What we didn't know was how the financial problems at Enron would impact the energy markets in the U.S. That's why Pat met with Mr. McNally. To find out."

When contacted for a response, a White House spokeswoman, Anne Womack, would only point out that the a meeting was acknowledged by the White House on May 22 in documents released to reporters and Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. In those documents, it was noted that "Mr. McNally met with Mr. Shortridge and another individual who was not from Enron." Asked whether Enron's future was discussed, Womack said, "If the meeting was about that, I would assume there wouldn't be anyone else there besides Mr. McNally and Mr. Shortridge." A spokesman for Enron refused to comment for this story.

If McNally was tipped off to Enron's troubles it would mean that White House had been warned several months earlier than it has previously acknowledged of Enron's failing fortunes, which caused thousands of employees to lose tens of millions of dollars in retirement benefits. It would also mean the White House received such a warning even before Sherron Watkins delivered her famous memo to then Enron chairman Kenneth Lay, warning that the company's byzantine partnerships could destroy the company.

And, yes, I know, Bush doesn't actually know anything about anything, but the administration knew.

Can we fire Ashcroft yet? Pretty-please????

This week, the Justice Department announced the results of a long investigation of a French Quarter bordello that serviced a virtual who's who of New Orleans elite, including at least one judge.

For more than 13 months, the Justice Department has conducted a major investigation of this bordello, producing hundreds of pages of surveillance transcript and reports by 10 FBI agents. With considerable fanfare, the Justice Department touted its "catch" in a news conference: 12 prostitutes.

Only the FBI could go to the French Quarter and find just a dozen prostitutes after a year of investigation. Given the roughly one-to-one ratio between agents and prostitutes, the FBI could have produced a hundred times this number by having agents walk down Bourbon Street.

While you're at it, Mickey, why not pick on Newsmax?

Wonder if the Freepers are lining up to have their pockets picked..
Just realized I screwed up the link before, so let me try that again. Welcome Red Letter Day to Blogistan
TAPPED says Kudos to Salon for running a critical piece on MWO, aside from its merits, on the basis that Salon has demonstrated that it is not a liberal or Democratic mouthpiece, or whatever.

Why is that a good thing? That whole notion pisses me off. First, the premise is ridiculous -- Salon has never been a Democratic mouthpiece - witness Jake Tapper's Gore reporting - and though I'll agree with the characterization that Salon is more liberal than the average media bear, this in no way implies that they have to keep fending off criticism by publishing contrarian pieces (and, Salon has always published a wide range of conservative writers...Sully...Horowitz...the ridiculous Norah...Crouch..etc..etc..). Liberals are always pressured into proving they're somehow "not like those other liberals." Screw that. The wingnuts will never be happy.

I'm not implying that Salon shouldn't be allowed to publish a critical piece on MWO, I'm just saying that they shouldn't be given points because of it. Their job is not to make the residents of the premier forum for American Conservatives or the Weekly Standard editorial board happy. Besides, they never will.

This is pretty telling.

Posted on Mon, Jun. 03, 2002


Signs of attacks well-known

No one wants to believe that the attacks of Sept. 11 could have been prevented, but we do a disservice to our country if we stay in denial. No one wants to believe that President Bush had more forewarning than he acknowledges, but there is strong circumstantial evidence that he did.

Reviewing that evidence on May 26, The Washington Post's ombudsman, Michael Getler, alluded to one very telling sign from a conversation between CIA Director George Tenet and former U.S. Sen. David Boren over breakfast on Sept. 11. When an aide rushed up to tell Tenet of the attacks, Tenet's immediate reaction was: ``This has bin Laden all over it. . . . I wonder if it has anything to do with this guy taking pilot training?''

Getler notes that the reference is to Zacarias Moussaoui, the ''20th hijacker,'' who had been taken into custody in Minnesota four weeks before, after attracting suspicion at a flight school there.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the FBI did not tell the White House about Moussaoui until after Sept. 11.

But it is a safe bet that the CIA's Tenet did. Even before learning about Moussaoui,

Tenet's President's Daily Brief of Aug. 6 bore the title ''Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.'' When analysts working in Tenet's Counterterrorist Center were warned about Moussaoui a few weeks before Sept. 11, it is inconceivable that they would not have told Tenet. He is, by law, ''the principal advisor to the president for intelligence matters related to national security,'' and is entitled to ``all intelligence related to the national security, which is collected by any department, agency or other entity of the United States.''

Hey, Mickey Kaus is once again bashing the "leaking American Prospect."

How about the leaking Weekly Standard?

New York Post?

Washington Times?

National Review?


Ah, what's the big deal, we'll just refuse some federal money that just goes to the wrong kinds of people anyway..
Skakel guilty.

UPDATE: Larry King has already scored the post-verdict interview with the Moxley parents!

As always, the coverup is worse than the crime.

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Mitt Romney contradicted his previous public statements yesterday, and said for the first time that he did not file Massachusetts income tax returns for 1999 and 2000 as a resident of this state.

At a news conference, Romney said that he filed as a part-year resident for 1999 and a nonresident for 2000. He amended those returns, claiming Massachusetts resident status, on April 2, a week after he announced he was running for governor of Massachusetts and four days before the state Republican convention that endorsed his candidacy.

Massachusetts 7 year residency requirement for governor is silly. And, as anyone who moves a lot knows, filling out various state tax forms appropriately has little to do with what you consider your homestead to be. But, the Romney campaign tried to pull a fast one here.

And here. This is much more serious.

As the Mitt Romney campaign struggled earlier this week to justify the tax break on his Park City home, the Republican gubernatorial candidate's campaign aides asked
a Utah county assessor to sign a letter asserting that the $3.8 million house qualified as a primary residence despite the fact that Romney regarded himself as a resident of Massachusetts.

Summit County assessor Barbara Kresser said she balked at the request of Romney campaign manager Ben Coes, explaining that Romney had not gone through the appropriate procedures to qualify for the break.

It was apparently at that point, after Kresser declined to sign the letter, that the Romney campaign changed its account of the tax break, from insisting that Romney was entitled to the break to
saying he was the inadvertent beneficiary of a clerical error.

I don't get the big flap about the Boston Phoenix linking to the Pearl Video. I have no desire to see it, but I really hate the paternalistic press -- many of whom have seen the videos and decided the rest of us shouldn't.
mmm.. Chilicheeze... Okay, not just a tasty sounding treat, but an interesting blog I was previously unaware of...
Hey Panchito! Liz Smith has a few words for you..

June 6, 2002 -- New England cowboy. 'PRESIDENT George Bush regularly joshes around with reporters and gives them nicknames that suggest an easy familiarity. Privately, however, his advisers confide that he considers most of them to be preening, two-faced, left-wing egotists who are out to get him. "For their part, the White House news-pack - particularly the network broadcasters - suck up shamelessly to the president and his aides, while privately ridiculing them. Certainly, most have a natural inclination to look down on the homespun Texan."

Well, duh.

Just ordered Attack Queers by Richard Goldstein. Will review once I read. But, in any case, the overrepresentation of conservative gays (and blacks, and hispanics) in the media seems pretty indisputable to me...
Welcome Red Letter Day to Blogistan.
Deconstructing Jennifer Liberto.

pretty good.
I used to be really happy that the President was going after Tara. That bitch is my neighbor. Her dogs bark all night. She puts her trash out days early and never brings the cans in. She keeps parking her car on my lawn. God I hate Tara.

But, its been like 8 months and he still hasn't tracked Tara down. Look, Mr. President, Tara isn't in Afghanistan, she's right next door to me. I tried reporting her to the new Freedom Corps web site, but I didn't get a response. I sent it to GOP team leader and they didn't even send me the hat they promised.

Hey vaara, put down that beer, stop revelling in the joys of Euro-Socialism, plug in your computer, and give us an update!
Where does this word Islamist come from? Is this new or old? Is this some recently made up word? An established word being used correctly? Incorrectly? A bit clueless here...
Nathan Newman reminds me to check out Brad DeLong's Blog, which I just realized mysteriously disappeared from my links on the left and thus from my daily read. Added bonus - DeLong goes after the best argument against immigration, Andy Sullivan.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

Bear Truth says I'm insult heavy. I think this is just more evidence of people being numbed to the brutal rhetoric by the right. Most conservative bloggers I read aren't exactly insult-free.
It took a long time, but I finally got the Nigerian email scam..
Oops, a reader writes in demanding a correction:

Dear Mr. Atrios,

"I just wanted to add that I doubt that Liberto's reporting was any more sleazy than, say, Richard Berke's 300th story about how the only person in the country who actually likes Al Gore is a criminally insane serial rapist currently in restraints in an asylum."

I never said he was in restraints.


TAPPED says I think Liberto's email is sleazy. Actually, I posted it without comment. Not being a journalist I'm not entirely sure what the ethics of such things are. I'm not surprised that journalists butter up their (potential) sources and don't stop short of misleading them somewhat. However, what is sleazy is the degree to which (inside knowledge here) some of those sources' comments were ignored to spin the story she wanted to tell. In addition, I have been told that she had promised not to reveal a certain name that was printed in the article. That I assume is sleazy. Actually, I found the email rather juvenile and silly, and it was quite obvious to the sources I have communicated with that alarm bells went off when they received it. A bit too cutesy.

Sleazy by itself? Perhaps not. But, that isn't the end of this story...

UPDATE: I just wanted to add that I doubt that Liberto's reporting was any more sleazy than, say, Richard Berke's 300th story about how the only person in the country who actually likes Al Gore is a criminally insane serial rapist currently in restraints in an asylum. But, hey, to paraphrase Layne or Welch or whoever it was, this is 2002 and we can fact-check yer ass and your motives.

Member of the press? Are you on the government approved list?

I guess that criminal background check will exclude John Fund...

Ah, now that I linked to AndyLand I couldn't resist a visit to there. He's obsessing over the American Prospect's claims about traffic to their site. Now, I'm all for trying to get "accurate" numbers and rankings of these things, and quite happy for the good folks over there to figure it out, but everyone (who knows a little about these things) knows that it is impossible to get the "right" numbers...the best one can hope for is apples and apples for comparison. Probably what Prospect is recording is similar to what my counter records - a visit being a unqiue IP address within an hour (IIRC). This is different than page views, and different than unique visitors. But, with dynamic IPs it is impossible to get a true measure of unique visitors.

Jane Mayer reviews Blinded by the Right here.

She misses one fact. David Brock didn't coin "a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty." The phrase he actually used was "a little nutty and a little slutty." The one responsible for the more catchy version of the phrase was none other than Crazy Andy Sullivan.

UPDATE: oops. Privateer points out correctly that the phrase Brock used was "a bit nutty and a bit slutty." It was Andrew Sullivan that added the 'little,' not the 'bit.' I need a fact-checker..

Anyway, here's the reference from google's cache of Medianews letters.

Setting it straight on nutty/slutty
From STACI KRAMER: Subject: The New Yorker's right. [Re the letter below.] David Brock in The American Spectator, "The Real Anita Hill", March 1992: "So Hill may be a bit nutty, and a bit slutty, but
is she an outright liar?"

Andrew Sullivan appears to have started the incorrect version in the Sunday Times, May 15, 1994:

>>Hill, the woman memorably described by the right-wing American Spectator as '"little bit nutty and a little bit slutty," now adorns the front page of the even more right-wing Washington Times to embarrass
President Bill Clinton.<<

By April 1995, American Spectator managing editor Wladyslaw Pleszczynski was writing about the phrase and the way it was being used in various iterations against Brock.

>> The nutty-slutty phrase was first reported by the Washington Post's magazine columnist Charles Trueheart on February 25, 1992, but it required Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson's sandbagging of Brock's book in the New Yorker fifteen months later to give it everlasting life. Whereupon it was taken up by the likes of Ellen Goodman, Molly Ivins, Michael Kinsley, National Public Radio , even Howard Kurtz [who used it twice in one piece, and in the wake of Troopergate seemed to attribute it to Bob Tyrrell, as did Esquire magazine unambiguously, not to mention all those people at the New York Times. Journalists as far away as Dublin, Glasgow, and London have cited it. An apologist for Jimmy Carter has used it. Irked by Brock's successes on other fronts, Goodman and Ivins have joined Frank Rich and Anthony Lewis as repeat offenders. Goodman now erroneously says the phrase is found in the book, while Ivins risked censure by Dr. Bracey for calling Brock "that foul little right -wing reporter." Never, ever has any of these geniuses confessed to any greater familiarity with Brock's work on Hill. And what did Brock actually write in that original story: "So Hill may be a bit nutty, and a bit slutty, but is she an outright liar?" Only one journalist got it right, the Washington Times's John Elvin, who thought it a fair question in view of the flurry of Hill-related facts reported by Brock--which I might add no one has yet refuted, or even attempted to refute.<<

While I agree about "“Bellesiles Update” being, at this point, an excuse for me to click somewhere else (stick a fork in him, guys, he's done). Beauty of Gray is a bit naive about assaults on abortion rights. Parental notification is no minor thing.
Tapped links to a column by Dave Zweifel about Cheney/Halliburton connections to Iraq. One of them should have included this exchange between Sam Donaldson and Dick Cheney on This Week:

Donaldson: I'm told, and correct me if I'm wrong, that Halliburton, through subsidiaries, was actually trying to do business in Iraq?

Cheney: No. No. I had a firm policy that I wouldn't do anything in Iraq - even arrangements that were supposedly legal.

No more talking about the Tubesteak Messiah today. It gets people way too excited.
Mueller on C-span right now is unable to provide a specific example of where agents were deterred from doing something due to fears of being attacked for racial profiling. He won't provide the FBI's definition of profiling. He won't answer if it has changed.

Made up nonsense.
As one of my commentors points out, the new immigration regulations don't apply to Saudi citizens.

How many of the hijackers were Saudis?

just askin'...

Just wanted to quickly add that War Liberal makes the excellent point that MWO was one of Salon's biggest boosters when they went pay.

Now, of course, such a stance shouldn't guarantee them a puff piece, but it's going to be coming out soon that Liberto was playing a bit fast and loose with them pesky ethics....
"I don't believe any longer that it's a matter of connecting the dots," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., told reporters. "I tthink they had a veritable blueprint and we want to know why they didn't act on it."

-Arlen Spector (R-PA)

It's late, too lazy to post link, but from CBS news.

Update: Link here.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Josh Marshall makes the point that today's announcement by Ashcroft was more of a whimper than a bang. Apparently the only thing new is that Syria is going to be added to the list of countries we already have special measures for immigrants.

Contrary to numerous straw men set up by the Right, most of us have no problems with an immigration policy which is already country-specific. I do have increasing problems with country-profiling the more it differentiates treatment of people legally within the border by country of origin -- particularly if such things are likely, even if explicitly not intended to, spill over into actual racial profiling (such as, local law enforcement asking for proof of citizenship/residency by brown-skinned people which they wouldn't otherwise ask for). But, requiring a finger print on a visa application is not an issue.

Hey there,

Apologies for the mass email. I'm writing you all to gather
information for my article looking at what is, exactly.

I pulled your names from bylined pieces featured on the
MWO website, after looking at the last year or two of issues.
(Let me apologize ahead of time, if I've pulled wrong email
addresses and you have no idea what I'm talking about.)

I'm looking at how has taken civic
activism to it's next step. I mean, here's a successful
website getting noticed by many big names and faces,
mostly in Washington. However, the problem is, I don't
think these people get it. I'm hearing all these funny
stories, about these big Washington names accusingly
cornering their friends and cronies, speculating on which of
themselves is behind the website.

After an intense examination, it seems to me, and correct
me if I'm wrong, please, that most of the website's content
is generated by contributors like yourselves. Educated yet
politically savvy individuals, including some fabulous
writers, who, by writing a piece, have decided to step up to
the role of watchdog, because nobody else is.

I'm hoping that y'all will email me or call me back
individually, (and I'd appreciate it if some could provide
phone numbers so I could interview you over the phone)
about your thoughts on how the website grew into what it
is today. Is it serving a necessary purpose? And does it
bother you that's there is no one person stepping up to
claim responsibility for some pretty strong content? That
seems awfully unusual for such an opinionated webisite, (I
mean even Bartcop, however shy, is sort of 'out') and sets
the site up for criticism.

I've got an online interview coming with the folks behind
the MWO email address, but I wanted to get opinions from
people who probably regularly read the website, and who,
at least, have contributed to it..

Many thanks, in advance for any and all help.



Jennifer Liberto
Freelance writer
Now Kaus believes that Drudge and Rush are tools of Howell Raines and his Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy.

What is in that Santa Monica water...
Perot systems is the latest to be discovered to have been involved with the California power mess..

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California state senator has alleged Perot Systems Corp. , which designed the computer systems for the state's power exchanges, with showing power companies how to exploit loopholes in those systems to inflate prices.

Shares of Perot Systems, founded in 1988 by former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, plunged in response to the allegation, trading down more than 24 percent on Wednesday at $13.60 on the New York Stock Exchange (news - web sites).

State Sen. Joseph Dunn, who chairs a committee investigating price manipulation in California's energy markets, on Tuesday released documents from a presentation that Plano, Texas-based Perot allegedly made to Reliant Energy and other participants in California's electricity markets.

That presentation, which mapped out a strategy for creating congestion on the California electricity grid and driving up prices, represented a clear conflict of interest and could open Perot to civil and criminal liability, Dunn said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

I'm glad Senator Dunn is the one on this. Smart guy. Throws a good party, too.

I'm posting this again. For some reason I thought this would get a bigger reaction than it did. Maybe the point isn't clear enough....Mueller on Meet the Press, June 2nd.

MR. MUELLER: No. I’m just getting started on the job. And the beauty of the job is I have the opportunity to work with FBI special agents, the men and women in the FBI, who are remarkable and wonderful. And what gets lost in a lot of this dialogue is the job that they have done since September 11 in protecting this country. Within two weeks, they identified the 19 hijackers, within six weeks, they identified the fact that this was al-Qaeda, leading back to Osama bin Laden. Since September 11, they have been working day and night to protect the country from additional attacks. They are a wonderful group of individuals. It is the people that has made the bureau in the past, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

(via Blowback via Dack).

As Blowback points out, this was a mere 2 weeks after the bombing campaign in Afghanistan began on October 7.


Frank Bruni is off to Rome....

Don't let the door hit you on your way out, Pancho...
Uh-oh, get ready for the deafening screeches from the mouth-breathing social conservatives over this one....
Affidavit of Jane Doe #5 , otherwise known as Juanita Broaddrick.

Affidavit of Juanita Broaddrick denying non-consensual sex with President Clinton

Released on Monday, March 30, 1998

Following is the full text of a Jan. 2 affidavit from the woman named in documents filed by the Jones legal team on March 28, 1998. Those documents reported an
unsubstantiated hearsay claim that the woman, here called "Jane Doe #5," was raped by Bill Clinton 20 years ago.

1. My name is Jane Doe #5. I am 55 years old and have been married since 1981. I have one child, age 28. I currently reside in Arkansas.

2. In November of 1997, two private investigators retained by Paula Corbin Jones approached me at my residence. I declined to speak with them, but
provided the name of my family attorney. I subsequently was served with a subpoena seeking the production of documents and purporting to require my
testimony at a deposition in the civil action between Paula Corbin Jones and President William Jefferson Clinton (Civil Action No. LR-C-94-290). I have
never met Ms. Jones, nor do I have any information regarding the allegations that she has advanced against President Clinton. In this regard, I have no
knowledge or information regarding the events she has alleged occurred on May 8, 1991 at the Excelsior Hotel or, for that matter, any knowledge or
information regarding any interaction between herself and Mr. Clinton.

3. I met President Clinton more than twenty years ago through family friends. Our introduction was not arranged or facilitated, in any way, by
the Arkansas State Police. I have never been an Arkansas state employee or a federal employee. I have never discussed with Mr. Clinton the
possibility of state or federal employment nor has he offered me any such position. I have had no further relations with him for the past (15)

4. During the 1992 Presidential campaign there were unfounded rumors and stories circulated that Mr. Clinton had made unwelcome sexual advances
toward me in the late seventies. Newspaper and tabloid reporters hounded me and my family, seeking corroboration of these tales. I repeatedly denied
the allegations and requested that my family's privacy be respected. These allegations are untrue and I had hoped that they would no longer haunt me, or
cause further disruption to my family.

5. I do not possess any information that could possibly be relevant to the allegations advanced by Paula Corbin Jones or which could lead to admissible
evidence in her case. Specifically, I do not have any information to offer regarding a nonconsensual or unwelcome sexual advance by Mr. Clinton, any discussion offer or
provision of state or federal employment or advancement in exchange for sexual conduct, or any use of state troopers to procure women for sex. Requiring my testimony
at a deposition in this matter would cause unwarranted attorney's fees and costs, disruption to my life and constitute an invasion of my right to privacy. For these reasons,
I have asked my attorney to advise Ms. Jones's counsel that there is no truth to the rumors they are pursuing and to provide her counsel with this sworn affidavit.

Further affiant sayeth not.

Jane Doe #5

Over at Off the Kuff, Charles Kuffner has a few comments about MWO. He has some personal objections to the tone and style of the web site, which is of course his right. But, I nonetheless have a few comments.

First, it is important to recognize that MWO is at some level a parody site. It takes the attitude and methods of the frothing Right (not lumping ALL of the Right in this category) and throws it back at them. It adopts their language (As in 'Republic Party' to imitate the often repeated 'Democrat Party'), Drudge's over-the-tope headlines and siren, etc... If there's one thing that we have learned in the past 12 years it is that turning up the volume, and mocking your opponents into the ground, works.

In a perfect world political discourse wouldn't be dominated by Rush Limbaugh. But, it is. And, for too many years there has been no counterpart on the Left. None. And, those cry-baby conservatives who are always screaming liberal media also always scream "free market" when the domination of the AM (and increasingly the FM) dial by right wing hate radio is pointed out to them, are not too stupid to understand the importance of ClearChannel's market power, or the fact that Mike Malloy, the closest thing to a "liberal Rush Limbaugh," (sorry for the comparison, Mike) was fired from his highly rated Chicago radio show not because of ratings.

We can't change the rules of the game, but we can accept them for what they are, arm ourselves, and start fighting back.

As for his objections to MWO's email campaigns - well, sure, the tone of some people's emails is over the top. And, MWO can be held, I suppose *partly* responsible for that. On the other hand, anyone who has questioned the media about this issue has gotten the response that volume and quantity matter. Their rules.
First the liberal media, now liberal academia..

Leaders of Florida's public universities met secretly in January to discuss an agenda that included how to "enhance" Gov. Jeb Bush's re-election and fight a proposed constitutional amendment that would undo the governor's reorganization of higher education.

The agenda turned up in documents released after the Orlando Sentinel and three other newspapers requested records of closed meetings between Phil Handy, chairman of the Florida Board of Education, and the chairmen of boards of trustees at the 11 state universities.

Hey, I get to say it twice in one day...Clerical error my ass.

It's pop the cork day in tinfoil hat land. This Salon article completes the Enron-Afghanistan connection:

When George W. Bush took office in 2001, his administration made new overtures to the Taliban, and the pipeline deal gained renewed support, as an incentive to get the Taliban to make political concessions and form a broader government. U.S. representatives met with Afghanistan's former King Shah, to see if he might be included in a new government. And American companies began exploring the failed 1998 pipeline project. A report by an Afghan-born Enron manager in July 2001, for instance, illustrates that company's deep interest in some sort of pipeline deal. Enron had begun funding the same sorts of humanitarian projects as Unocal had three years earlier.

Scary when all the dots to start to connect...

Dick Cheney shouldn't have been allowed to run for Vice President as he was a Texas resident. Well, more precisely, the Texan electors should have been forbidden from voting for him.

On a related note, it appears the Mitt Romney is a Utah resident. "Clerical error" my ass.

Ah, one of my commentors has embraced the Clinton Rule of Criminal Justice. That's the system in which the accused is presumed guilty and must prove their innocence.

It's a companion to the Clinton Rule of Journalism, which has two parts:

a) Any horseshit, no matter how fanciful, requires only one anonymous source for verification.

b) Any such horseshit, no matter how many times it has been debunked, can be recycled and repeated as fact.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Apparently Jennifer Liberto goes to that dishonest school of journalism. You know, the one in which you promise your sources you won't name them and then you do.

It's official. Steffie is going to run This Weak next year. And, for those of you getting ready to scream "liberal bias"....well, it'd be like me screaming "Conservative Bias" if they had tapped Kevin Phillips for the show.

You guys can have Steffie, we don't want him.
Oh, comeon Glenn. Mediawhoresonlinewatch is sorta cute, but it isn't exactly a devastating critique...Hell, I could do a better job, and I am on their editorial board am a big fan.
I've added a Paypal button to ease the flow of the millions of dollars into my tip jar.
Mueller on Meet the Press, June 2nd.

MR. MUELLER: No. I’m just getting started on the job. And the beauty of the job is I have the opportunity to work with FBI special agents, the men and women in the FBI, who are remarkable and wonderful. And what gets lost in a lot of this dialogue is the job that they have done since September 11 in protecting this country. Within two weeks, they identified the 19 hijackers, within six weeks, they identified the fact that this was al-Qaeda, leading back to Osama bin Laden. Since September 11, they have been working day and night to protect the country from additional attacks. They are a wonderful group of individuals. It is the people that has made the bureau in the past, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

(via Blowback via Dack).

As Blowback points out, this was a mere 2 weeks after the bombing campaign in Afghanistan began on October 7.

Oooh, I see why all the libertarian-conservatives are A-OK with the FBI's new powers. They must have gotten the memo from CATO, which says everything is peachy.
Hmmm.. After spending all this time saying that no media insider could possibly be behind MWO, suddenly one possibility occurs to me...

Wait, the administration puts out a report about Global Warming and then Bush dismisses it?

I'm so glad the grownups are in charge.
Unsurprisingly, Cockburn and St. Clair are big fans of Paul Wellstone's anti-semitic Green opponent, who appears to be politically to the Right of him.

These idiots are just pissed off that no one in the power structure has ever given them a seat at the table. Can you blame them?
Who does Lloyd Grove think is behind MWO?

Reader M.S. sent me this from his recent online chat:

Lloyd Grove: Good morning, everyone. How come this short week has gone on so long? I am ready to relax this weekend, for sure. So, it seems, is that left wing Web site that last week was inciting an e-mail campaign against me for that "tell-all Washington memoirist David Brock in Sibley psychiatric ward" item. The e-mails seem to be fizzling out and I haven't noticed any new diatribes on the site, like the one comparing Brock to a courageous Soviet dissident and me to a Stalinist thug. Maybe the author of these learned pensees received a chilling phone call from his book publisher about the catastrophic consequences of yet another missed deadline. Anyhow, let's meet OUR deadlines right now.

If this isn't a throwaway comment then Grove believes those behind the site are under pressure for a book deadline. Anyone wanna guess who he's referring to? I vote Bob Somerby. But why would Somerby run his own site under his name and MWO under a pseudonym?

Anyone have other guesses who he means?

Jennifer Liberto's Salon article on MWO has the wrong angle for the story. She emphasizes two aspects -- the anonymity and therefore unaccountability of the site, and the site's occasionally email campaigns.

The anonymity angle makes it a mystery story and hints at deeper forces at work, as well as somehow questioning its legitimacy. The unaccountability spin is both irrelevant and false. What type of accountability is Liberto referring to? This is never made clear. Is it financial accountability - to customers and owners? We know that doesn't necessarily make for good media. That is part of the site's premise, in any case -- they're called whores for a reason. Besides, many many political publications either are known to or are rumored to lose oodles of cash (despite Mickey Kaus's pathological obsession, this phenomenon is not limited to the The American Prospect but is true of most conservative political publications as well, which would not survive without the deep pockets of its supporters.) Accountable to its critics? Well, MWO is as accountable to them as anyone. Accountable to its readers? As any MWO reader knows, emailing will often get you a response. Accountable to the Washington Beltway Cocktail Party Circuit? In the end, that is probably what she meant.

Full disclosure here: I am a long time reader and occasional contributor along with a lot of readers. But, contrary to the suspicions of a certain editor of a certain conservative publication, I have no inside knowledge of the inner workings of the site. My own belief is that people can play the "guessing game" all they want about who is behind MWO, but they're going to be severely disappointed in the end. It is possible to do what they do without being an "insider." In fact, rather more possible I would argue - what insider would have the time?

As for MWO's email campaigns, they are actually relatively few and far between. And, when they do call for them they are not simply because some journalist said a bad thing about Bill Clinton, but for more extreme whorish behavior. They didn't invent email campaigns.

Liberto fails completely to address the substance of anything posted on MWO's web site. She fails to attack the validity of anything they have written. Though she raises nebulous questions about their reliability due to their partisanship and anonymity (rumor is Solitary, Nasty, and Short write the words while Brutish takes care of the graphics), as most of what they do is to critique mainstream media it is difficult to know how they are unreliable factually. They aren't the first partisan magazine or e-zine to come down the road.

Some have seen Liberto's article as a hit piece. It may have been, but it was a pretty piss poor hit piece. I thought it was mostly just ignorant gossip-column style writing that qualifies as journalism these days. I hope Salon didn't pay too much for it.

UPDATE: I just noticed that the always fabulous Tamara Baker has a piece about this, which includes this quote from Maia Cowan, who was interviewed, but essentially ignored, by Liberto:

One of the most important moments of my life occurred years ago when I realized that how defensive I felt when somebody criticized me was directly proportional to the validity of the criticism.

Pity the mediawhores never had that Moment of Truth. They'd be better reporters for it.

In a world where Howie Kurtz's weekly suckfest Reliable Sources is what qualifies as media criticism, this comment is dead on.

I wonder why Rumsfeld pulled the spy drone tracking Bin laden...
Salon has a decent article about Louis Freeh here (premium), but I think the previous article in the American Prospect (linked via TAPPED) is more on the money. The 90s were a time when being a CHA got you a free pass in the media and in politics. A few honest souls in the more "mainstream media" will carefully reveal they are aware of this fact, but most don't bother.
Do you have Blacks, too? In Brazilian..

Monday, June 03, 2002

Hell, even the liberals in blogistan are apparently unconcerned with the FBI's new freedom to infiltrate and investigate organizations at whim for up to a year without cause.

Sadly, this Top 10 Conservative idiots entry isn't very funny.

John "Big Brother" Ashcroft is watching you. Last week the Bush administration gave itself a collective woody and announced that the Fourth Amendment was toast. See, apparently the FBI needs "broad new powers to monitor Americans," according to Yahoo News, and John Ashcroft is salivating with excitement now that he can spy on websites, libraries, churches and political organizations without needing any evidence of criminal wrongdoing - oh, providing the goal is "detecting or preventing terrorism," of course. Civil liberties organizations are concerned that these new powers will mean a return to the civil rights abuses of the 60s and 70s, but apparently the government has promised that it won't, which means there's nothing to worry about. So if John Ashcroft is reading this, we'd just like to say: Luv ya, John! You're the man! You crazy whacked-out unconstitutional power-hungry psycho!

Did I miss the outrage in libertarian-conservative blogistan? Or maybe, as I've long suspected, it really is just conservative-libertarian...

Digby sez:

Frankly, I don't think any liberal should expend one moment worrying about whether they are being uncivil or bad mannered when criticising the press. Compared to Freep or Lucianne, MWO is St. Francis of Assisi.

The vitriol on those sites is unequaled. And that makes me believe that they are likely the ones who send out the violent or threatening e-mails in MWO's name.

Furthermore, the accountability issue is a red herring. Who is the Washington Post accountable to? Shareholders. They care superficially about accuracy or truth, but they are held accountable only to a corporate board or a stock price. The fact that we know the name of Len Downie and can talk to him or about him is irrelevant as to whether he cares or will be moved by accusations of innacuracy or political bias. MWO has proved that.

There is no accountablity in the American press at all. Our libel laws are a joke. Anyone can print lies with impunity. Who are they kidding? Mwo is no less or no more accountable than the mainstream press so it's anonymity is irrelevant.

The reason people want to know who is behind MWO is because they want to judge their "social status." Are they "insiders." Where did they go to school. What are their credentials? Are they "somebody" we should worry about? If it's some flyover nobody, then who cares what they say.

They are scared because they can't peg this site as either "in" or "out" of their rarified little world and it's driving them crazy.


The U.S. Attorney's Office and Ashcroft have differing opinions on the 2nd amendment, apparently.

The U.S. attorney's office argued yesterday in D.C. Superior Court that the District's ban on handguns should be upheld, brushing aside the Bush administration's new directive that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to bear firearms.

In the first of at least three cases that challenge the District's prohibition on handguns as unconstitutional, assistant U.S. attorneys filed motions defending the broad statute, citing a 15-year-old D.C. Court of Appeals decision as binding local precedent.

Over to you, Glenn.
David Neiwert has posted a quicky critique of the Liberto MWO article, voicing my own similar sentiments. I'll hopefully chime in later...

I have to chime in on Jennifer Liberto's not-very-good piece on Media Whores Online:

What I object to most of all is the utter lack of context to this piece. Liberto seems to be blithely unaware that the mass e-mail attack hardly originated with MWO. This strategem actually came into its own as a result of the ultra-conservative (and frankly neo-Patriot) Free Republic Web site. Ask anyone who dared write anything anti-conservative during the late 1990s what it was like to get "Freeped." The rabid MWO hordes clearly represent the flip side of this, but why shouldn't liberals be able to fire away with the same abandon and gusto as conservatives? And frankly, having sampled both sides, I think the MWO crowd on balance is more civilized, though probably only by degrees.

A noteworthy passage:

Of course, it's hard to take MWO seriously as a media watchdog, when it remains completely free of any accountability.

Actually, the main criteria for whether or not to take MWO seriously is whether or not they are right. And a lot of times, they catch these pundits and faux journalists with their pants down, and they do it very effectively.Liberto utterly fails to acknowledge this.

There's more.

It appears that in my absence, the Daily Brew got his blog up and running, decreasing the degree to which "daily" is a misnomer.

William Safire is still upset that his pal Henry K. had his phone bugged.

Ah, the good 'ole days of Cointelpro..
George W. Al Gore? That isn't even witty, Rusty.

Charles Murtaugh has a few obervations for those who believe that the movie version of The Sum of All Fears transformed the Islamo-fascists (not) from the book into neo-Nazis.
I'm back, after my European Tour with the rest of the MWO editorial board trip to the East Coast. More later.