Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Editors, anchors, executive producers, reporters, and campaigns are instantly aware when Drudge posts something political. And with just days to go before the voting — with everyone so busy, so tired, so manic, and so vulnerable — political and media actors are more easily turned chasing in whatever direction Drudge points them. Or, more specifically, in whatever direction Drudge’s spoon-feeding sources point them.
Posted by Steve at 1:32 PM
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
A researcher at the University of Texas at Houston says bacon can actually help save your life during a heart attack.More info here.
Dr. Nathan Bryan claims nitrates found in bacon form a gas, which can re-open blocked arteries.
Early research indicates the nitrates in bacon cause cancer, but Dr. Bryan says this research is false.
"You should not avoid eating bacon because of the nitrite content. If anything, the nitrite content is what protects our heart during a heart attack," he says.
Posted by Steve at 12:29 AM
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Solicitor Romulo Diaz said, "While we respect the right of the Boy Scouts to prohibit participation in its activities by homosexuals, we will not subsidize that discrimination by passing on the costs to the people of Philadelphia."
The solicitor apparently doesn't care that the Supreme Court has ruled that the Scouts have a right to exclude homosexuals...
Posted by Steve at 11:04 AM
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
One of the state's largest health insurers set goals and paid bonuses based in part on how many individual policyholders were dropped and how much money was saved.
Woodland Hills-based Health Net Inc. avoided paying $35.5 million in medical expenses by rescinding about 1,600 policies between 2000 and 2006. During that period, it paid its senior analyst in charge of cancellations more than $20,000 in bonuses based in part on her meeting or exceeding annual targets for revoking policies, documents disclosed Thursday showed.
The revelation that the health plan had cancellation goals and bonuses comes amid a storm of controversy over the industry-wide but long-hidden practice of rescinding coverage after expensive medical treatments have been authorized.
These cancellations have been the recent focus of intense scrutiny by lawmakers, state regulators and consumer advocates. Although these "rescissions" are only a small portion of the companies' overall business, they typically leave sick patients with crushing medical bills and no way to obtain needed treatment.
Posted by Steve at 10:23 AM
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Congratulations are in order: Leahy and the White House will soon celebrate the one year anniversary of Leahy's November 15, 2006, request for “any and all Department of Justice directives, memoranda, and/or guidance . . . regarding CIA detention and/or interrogation methods.” So a Happy Torture Policy Stonewalling Day to Pat and everyone in the Bush Administration!
Posted by Steve at 10:34 AM
Monday, November 5, 2007
Once again ... is it too much to ask that a Peter Dreier, Professor of Politics at Occidental College, posting at the Huffington Post or that our respected and valued Tristero at Digby's place point out to their readers that Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution says that only "the Legislature thereof" may change the manner of selecting electors... ?
Professor Dreier is particularly remiss when he includes this...
"There's nothing in the Constitution that requires states to divvy up their electoral votes a certain way. Currently, Maine (with four electoral votes) and Nebraska (with five) allocate their electoral votes based on the popular vote in Congressional districts, but neither state has had a split vote in any of the last five elections. All other states have adopted the winner-take-all system."
...without so much as mentioning the Art. II, Sec. 1 requirement that the Legislature must make the change.
Posted by Steve at 1:16 PM
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Oh, sweet Jesus...
On My little infidel
Go to hell!
Cover up, convert or die - Sharia!
Muslim foot baths in the schools - airports too!
Public school madrassas are taking over.
Never gonna stop, give it up
We're such girliemen
Always give it up to the call of the Prophet Moe.
When you gonna cut my va?
va jay jay!
Gotta live in dhimmitude,
Gonna call you racist and Islamophobe!
If you dare to use the word Islamofascist
Never gonna stop
Give it up
We're such girliemen
Always give it up to the call of the Prophet Moe
My My My My Sharia!
My My My My sharia!
Posted by Steve at 5:03 PM
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Via Correntwire we learn, incredibly, that the office of the House Democratic Majority Leader does not know who Atrios is and is unaware of one of the leading liberal media outlets:
Welcome, Eschatonians, and thanks to Lord Atrios for the link. I called up Hoyer’s office, and courteously informed the young staffer about the link. And you know what? They didn’t know who Atrios was.Look, I don't proclaim some egomaniacal exceptionalism for Atrios (nor would he) that expects all the world to know about his blog, but one would think that the leadership office of a major political party would at least be aware of who has a significant media megaphone within his own party and in the political world generally. How are we ever going to counteract the right wing noise machine when our leaders don’t even know who the key new liberal media outlets are, let alone have a strategy for using them effectively. Can you imagine anyone in John Boehner’s office not knowing who Assrocket and Powerline is?
The sheer incompetence of Steny Hoyer and our leadership is breathtaking…
Posted by Steve at 1:54 PM
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
What Kevin says about Rudy Giuliani...
Rudy Giuliani is the guy you'd get if you put George Bush and Dick Cheney into a wine press and squeezed out their pure combined essence: unbounded arrogance and self-righteousness, a chip on his shoulder the size of a redwood, a studied contempt for anybody's opinion but his own, a vindictive streak a mile wide, and a devotion to secrecy and executive power unmatched in presidential history. He is a disaster waiting to happen.
Posted by Steve at 12:20 AM
Howie Klein:Better to give through Actblue or directly to the candidate(s) of your choice.You might be interested in knowing that 5 Democrats voted with the Republicans on condemning Rep Stark and another 8– all reactionaries– voted “Present,” refusing to come to Stark’s defense. You can probably guess the names of the disgraceful 13 Democrats. But just in case… the 5 who voted– as they so often do– with the GOP:Howie has another interesting statistic — according to Progressive Punch, of the 20 House Democrats who vote with the Bush Administration most frequently in tough roll call votes, 10 are freshmen recruited by Rahm Emanuel. Altmire, Carney, Donnelly, Ellsworth and Shuler are all on that list.
Jason Altmire (PA), still not kicked off the DCCC Front Line list (Bush Dog)
Chris Carney (PA), still not kicked off the DCCC Front Line list (Bush Dog)
Joe Donnelly (IN), still not kicked off the DCCC Front Line list (Bush Dog)
Brad Ellsworth (IN), still not kicked off the DCCC Front Line list (Bush Dog)
Heath Shuler (NC), still not kicked off the DCCC Front Line list (Bush Dog)
I’ll just leave you with that thought and let it sink in.
Posted by Steve at 12:01 AM
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
If one political party is a complete failure at governance, but their rivals are total, all-encompassing failures at politics, which do you suppose will win the favor of the citizens?It's come this this: Hoping the morons can prevail...
It looks like we are about to find out.
Posted by Steve at 11:57 PM
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Tucker Carlson is a douche (but you probably already knew that...).
But what makes the Tucker segment noteworthy is not that it featured false, misleading, and oversimplified claims about a prominent progressive -- that happens all the time on cable news. What really makes it noteworthy is that at the end of the segment -- a segment in which three journalists (Tucker, A.B. Stoddard of The Hill and Josephine Hearn of the Politico) had discussed at length an allegation against Hillary Clinton that appeared, based on a single anonymous source describing a 14-year-old event, in a factually flawed book that at least two of the three had not read -- Carlson and his guests agreed that the media is giving Clinton a pass on the allegation.
None of the journalists had noted the allegation's dubious provenance. None noted that Gerth, at least, has a long history of deeply flawed reporting about the Clintons. Instead, they made false claims (as in Hearn's assertion that nothing in the book had been contested) and misleading statements (as in Carlson's description of the authors as "not two guys from The American Spectator. These are two -- in at least one case, I think, a pretty well-established, at least, former liberal. I mean, they're not screaming right-wingers") bolstering the credibility of a book that at least two of them had not read.
Posted by Steve at 10:39 PM
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Posted by Steve at 12:50 AM
As for why Rockefeller and committee Dems decided to release the (Phase II Iraq Intelligence) report on a Friday afternoon before Memorial Day weekend ... well, I can't figure that one out.It's for the same reason the House Democrats, after getting beaten up in the press for delaying lobbying reform, finally passed their bill on Thursday -- the same day as the climatic Iraq funding vote and just before the holiday weekend, guaranteeing virtually zero publicity for moving on an important election promise.
It's for the same reason they were incapable of effectively charging Bush for not supporting the troops when he vetoed the funding bill, or when he threatens to veto a troop pay raise.
It's because they are entirely incapable of creating or sustaining rhetorical narrative. Quite simply, it's because the Democratic congressional leadership are political morons.
Posted by Steve at 12:19 AM
Saturday, May 26, 2007
But I have a quick follow up question: If opposing money for the troops in a time of war is necessarily anti-military and un-American, why did Bush reject war funding less than a month ago? If supporting the military means supporting funding measures, didn't the president deny those in uniform the resources they need?The better question is why Barack O'Clinton and the Democrats were totally incapable of effectively making and sustaining this charge against Bush?
Posted by Steve at 11:59 AM
Thursday, May 24, 2007
WILLARD: "They told me that you had gone totally insane and that your methods were unsound."Please tell me that as a matter of strategy our leaders didn't capitulate to avoid being bitch slapped...
KURTZ: "Are my methods unsound?"
WILLARD: "I don't see any method at all, sir."
Please tell me that as a matter of strategy our leaders our leaders don't believe this capitulation is victory...
Look, setting aside for the moment whether confrontation, supported by the majority of the American people, would be the better tactic at the moment, it appears our leaders have no effective rhetorical or political strategy whatsoever. If you're going to capitulate, if that is your short term strategy, at least embrace it and frame to your advantage. Atrios, as usual, sums it up succinctly:
I understand the leadership doesn't have the votes. So say that, and blame those responsible.If capitulation is their affirmative strategy, then, you know, they should actually use it as a strategy. They should get mad. They should be assigning blame. They should be seething that the GOP is playing a game of chicken with the troops. They should be hanging this no accountability bill around the GOP's necks.
Instead, there appears to be no strategy, no method at all. No short term strategy on the supplemental. No long term strategy to use the FY2008 Iraq authorization process, where we're quietly on track toward authorizing another $140 billion without any real guidelines or benchmarks to determine whether and when the appropriations should be for redeployment out of Iraq, as another tool to effect policy. Our leaders need to give us more than symbolic votes and incoherent strategy.
This is the endThere are no "elaborate plans." Just madness without method...
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Posted by Steve at 1:58 PM
Former Tennessee Senator and potential Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson has shut down a political action committee that paid out more money to his son than it did in political donations.Via TBogg.
Federal Election Commission records analyzed by the Blotter on ABCNews.com show Thompson's committee paid $178,000 to his son's political consulting firm, Daniel Thompson Associates, since 2003.
In contrast, the committee made only $66,700 in contributions to other campaigns and political committees in the four years since Thompson retired from the Senate.
The payments to Thompson's son were described as for management and consulting services.
Via Kevin, The Washington Monthly has a series of short essays from seven recent war veterans entitled "How A Democrat Can Get My Vote." Some are more resonant than others; all are interesting, even when I disagree. Give them all a read -- it doesn't take very long. However, this comment from Andrew Exum* was particularly good political advice:
When Republicans think of role models to follow for getting tough on defense, they inevitably think of Ronald Reagan. Democrats think of John F. Kennedy. Here the Democrats are better placed than their Republican peers. Reagan “won” the cold war by outspending his competitor—on weapons systems, advanced aircraft, tanks, and so on. Today, there is no Soviet Union to spend into submission, and stealth bombers and nuclear submarines are hardly the weapons of choice in a counterinsurgency fight.Republicans are much better at propping up mythology about their former presidents and leveraging it for political and rhetorical advantage. Democrats should make a more concerted effort to do this, including, in addition to the Kennedy suggestion above, reminding voters that things were better under Clinton (as starkly contrasted against the bookended Bushes).
Kennedy, by contrast, invested in weapons that are effective against insurgencies and guerrillas, supporting the Army Special Forces and fathering the Navy’s SEAL teams. These kinds of weapons—not bombers or warships—are best suited to fight a global insurgency. This provides an opportunity to a Democratic candidate. For once, they can argue, it’s the Republicans who are at sea on issues of defense policy and who don’t understand modern war. We get it, they can say. They don’t. (emphasis original)
* Andrew Exum is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the American University of Beirut. He led a platoon of light infantry in Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks and subsequently led a platoon of Army Rangers as a part of special operations task forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Posted by Steve at 12:04 AM
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The 16-man platoon from Ft. Hood, Texas, uses a decrepit Iraqi national police compound for its outpost. Chickens, turkeys and sheep laze on the lawn, drenched by an overflowing septic tank. Each day, the soldiers venture out for a few hours onto the dangerous streets of what was once a fashionable Sunni Arab neighborhood.
Led by a 24-year-old West Point graduate, the Americans weave their Humvees among villas commandeered by Sunni fighters who snipe at them from rooftops, bury bombs in the streets and evade searches with the help of two men dubbed the "moped twins," who relay the platoon's position by walkie-talkie at nearly every turn.
The troops stay overnight in makeshift quarters, nursing their wounds and attempting to hold onto any gains they've made through the day in the now-downtrodden Amiriya and Khadra districts.
Soldiers here now openly declare pessimism for the mission's chances, unofficially referring to their splinter of heavily fortified land as "the Alamo."
"Sometimes," said Brendan Gallagher, the captain who oversees Williamson, "we like to comfort ourselves when we are taking a lot of IEDs and casualties by saying that the enemy is desperate, they are doing this because they are scared. But how many times can they actually be desperate? I sometimes worry that this period will end up going down here as their surge, not ours."
Posted by Steve at 3:36 PM
On timelines and withdrawal, the fundamental politics are that although 70% of the country may support them Democrats do not hold 70% of the seats in Congress. What's irksome is none of the obvious narratives that derive from this were employed in any effective way:
- Injecting this into the 2008 presidential race -- if you want to change course we have to change presidents.
- Blasting the congressional GOP for opposing any real accountability; Not only did we capitulate, we exacted no political price from our opposition.
- Overtly playing the capitulation as just that -- this is Decider Codpiece's and his congressional GOP enabler's war. It's their fault the American people's wishes are being defied. Instead, somehow we've played this as our weakness and their strength.
Instead of all of the above, Democrats managed to played the supplemental into a defeat for themselves alone. It's as though they can't walk and chew gum at the same time, let alone craft a strategy for political chess. That is much more disturbing than the "capitulation" itself.
Posted by Steve at 1:39 PM
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Mitt Romney claimed he didn’t raise taxes when he was governor of Massachusetts, failing to note that he increased government fees by hundreds of millions of dollars and shifted some of the state tax burden to the local level.
Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado claimed scientific reports on whether humans are responsible for global warming are split 50-50, which isn’t close to being true.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee praised a "fair tax" but failed to note that it would ease the burden on the richest Americans while imposing a stiff retail sales tax of perhaps 34 percent.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani used more statistical dexterity to manipulate statistics, claiming adoptions increased 133 percent when he was mayor. Actually, they peaked and started a continuing decline.
Posted by Steve at 1:03 AM
Monday, May 21, 2007
Psycho Pammy Atlas Juggs is once again all genocidally a'twitter...
Carpet Bomb Gaza AlreadyLovely... Can't wait for her next video...
...Common sense dictates that in any war between the civilized man and the savage, you always side with the civilized man...
...Carpet bombing. All is fair in love and war and these barbarians mean to kill us all. WTF are we waiting for?
Posted by Steve at 11:48 PM
Elsewhere, Roger has a simpler answer...
Posted by Steve at 5:04 PM
Atrios:In fairness to Atrios, Digby's comment was off the Iraq topic, prompted by Sen. DeMint's whopper in support of Multiple Choice Mitt. However, I agree with Digby's assessment of the unrepentant, audacious, craven behavior of the GOP -- I have no doubt that the GOP nominee/congressional leadership can (and will if it's to their advantage) devise a way to reverse field on Iraq. Furthermore, is there any doubt that if/when it happens the Wise Old Men and their Broderella brides will laud the "bold leadership" while ignoring all the prior rhetoric...?I disagree, as I don't think there's any way they can climb out of the rhetorical trap they've placed them selves in (surrender dates, defeatocrats, have to fight them there, etc...) given that George W. Bush won't provide them with an opening for that.Digby:They are completely beyond embarrassment or shame, aren't they?
Posted by Steve at 1:00 AM
Friday, May 18, 2007
...Adding, regarding this from "a liberal House Dem staffer who is a sharp observer of Hill politics:"
Worse, (the Dem staffer) says, aside from the fact that the benchmarks-with-no-accountability measure would be a substantive failure, it also contains a serious political pitfall. If the final compromise has (meaningless) benchmarks that the White House initially opposed, the possibility is that Republicans in Congress, by supporting such a measure, would be the ones perceived as having been the bridge of compromise between Congressional Dems and Bush.Meaningless accountability should be a non-starter. The critical question is how badly does the congressional GOP want/need to separate themselves from Bush. The politics of the situation is that the American people want to troops to be funded for some reasonable, but not open-ended, period of time, AND they want some accountability from the Bush Administration. If they're willing to defy Bush in veto-proof numbers in favor of a bill with real accountability that's one thing, however there's no point in "rewarding" them for a fake pseudo bill.
"If the Republicans come across as brokering this deal, not only have we gained nothing, but they will have gained a lot," he says. "The Republicans will be the ones perceived to have brought Bush back into line. This is certainly not a gift we want to give them."
If the congressional GOP is unwilling to build some real accountability into the funding, then the funding should be limited to some reasonable period of time (more than two months, but not entire period they've asked for), and put the onus on Bush to justify the need for more money at the end of the period.
Perhaps we should let the Friedman Unit generator work for us. I see no reason why we need to fund more than an additional six months and that position should be politically defensible.
Posted by Steve at 1:07 PM
You do have to admire the near perfection of Mitt Romney as a candidate. It’s no easy thing to find someone with such poise, movie-star looks, high intelligence, family stability, and record of accomplishment. He is accused of being too smooth by those of us less gifted by nature....possibly setting herself up for an ugly Man vs. Beast confrontation with K-Lo.
Posted by Steve at 1:34 AM
letter tree Joe Klein gets it sort of right when he opines that Rudy Giuliani won the recent GOP debate in South Carolina. However, while giving a sly nod "to sane people everywhere else" Klein largely omitted reference to the true winners of the debate -- torture and waterboarding -- which both got louder audience reaction that any of the candidates. As striking as it was to see 30% of the GOP field indicate they don't believe in evolution in the Gipper Porn debate, the audience whooping and cheering for torture was the most revealing moment in this debate season and of just how depraved the GOP deadender base has become. Sadly, Joe Klein's readers won't know about it...
Posted by Steve at 12:50 AM
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
"Blazing apostles, guardians of light
The phone number's on the wall...
If you are needing a devil to fight
Why don't you give us a call?
Salvation brings a badge to wear
On the glad rags of your soul
Just keep up with the payments
and we'll make your misery whole
We've got albums of redemption and confessions on cassettes
All on easy hire from the following address
All on easy hire from the following address
Blazing Apostles Flat 99, South Revelation Row
City of Lost Souls, Land of the Blind
It's a wonderful place to go...
A wonderful place to go..."
Posted by Steve at 12:41 PM
Monday, May 14, 2007
Posted by Steve at 11:50 PM
Increasingly, political observers are whispering that Edwards seems to be running much as former Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) Did in 2004, wooing organized labor and recycling a class warfare message. Of course, I'm not suggesting that Edwards' message is entirely new -- in the previous cycle, his "two Americas" theme addressed issues of class and race as well -- only that, of the credible candidates, Edwards has filled the "Gephardt slot" in the current race.Set aside that Gephardt set about taking down the Dean campaign with him in Iowa last cycle, all of this "whispering" and "raising of eyebrows" about how Edwards must be filling "roles" and/or must be re-running previous campaign is just silliness. It's as though Rothenberg thinks a Democrat cannot be his/her own person and must be a posturing synthetic caricature. Furthermore, in today's political environment it's just bizarre to proffer the idea that combining an message of economic populism with forceful opposition to Bushism is outside the mainstream.
Edwards' campaign strategy and message may well be due to the presence and influence of his campaign manager, former Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.). Bonior, a national co-chairman of Gephardt's 2004 presidential campaign, always has been close to organized labor, and he was a leader in the fight against free-trade measures during his years in Congress.
When the Edwards campaign announced in April that it had signed consultant Joe Trippi as a "key member of the media team and senior adviser," it raised plenty of eyebrows. Trippi doesn't merely like to think outside the box; he prefers to take the box, rip it into little pieces, pour kerosene on it and set it ablaze.
These days, Edwards' campaign seems unable to pass up an opportunity to throw a political bomb, particularly about Iraq. Trippi's past presidential client, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), was about as confrontational as anyone in the 2004 race, which inevitably leads to the question of Trippi's influence on the former Senator's message.
Since Edwards switched his position on Iraq long ago, far before Trippi joined the campaign, I'm not suggesting that Edwards is getting his voice on Iraq from Trippi. But the consultant's hiring at the very least suggests Edwards is seeking to fill the Dean role -- the angry, militant conscience of the party who eschews compromise -- in this campaign. (emphasis added)
But it gets worse. Edwards loves him some hippies too:
More troubling for mainstream Democrats may be Edwards' association with the innocuous-sounding Democrats.com, a shrill, pro-impeachment group that appears to be at the far end of the ideological spectrum.Yes, yes, those "mainstream Democrats" and those "liberal Democrats," where, you know, mainstream means DLC and liberal means TNR, are increasingly wringing their hands over Edwards flirtation with the dirty fucking hippies, using 'radical' rhetoric that comports with what the majority of Americans (read "rabble") actually believe. My guess is this is the beginning of a round of pieces from the likely suspects about whether Edwards is "going too far."
Democrats.com recently sent out an e-mail including a message from Edwards praising the group and urging its supporters to sign his petition demanding a "binding exit plan for the War in Iraq."
For the moment, Edwards' message of confrontation, confrontation, confrontation probably looks pretty good to grass-roots Democrats who are sick of the war, distrustful of the president and once again longing for some of the anger and feistiness that now- Democratic National Committee Chairman Dean demonstrated during the summer of 2003. And unlike Dean (and even Gephardt), Edwards has personal qualities that make him more appealing to voters.
The question is whether, in the long haul, mainstream Democrats -- and I'm certainly including liberal Democrats in that category -- will find Edwards' recent rhetoric and style too Dean-like for their liking. As we all saw four years ago, being angry and confrontational, and having the support of blue-collar union voters, isn't always enough.
If only Edwards didn't believe in evolution -- then he wouldn't have to worry about the beltway Rothenberg's thinking he's extreme...
Posted by Steve at 3:46 PM
Posted by Steve at 3:11 PM
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Posted by Steve at 2:06 PM
Saturday, May 12, 2007
The FY 2008 budget does not include the cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Those costs are covered in the $95.5 billion emergency-spending bill, part of a supplement to the FY 2007 budget, over which the White House and Congress are currently quarreling.) (emphasis original)The FY08 National Defense Authorization Act just reported out of committee on a 58-0 vote (pdf) includes some $140+ billion in "Authorization of Additional Appropriations for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom" (pdf - see Sections 1501-1517, starting on page 655).
It's astonishing that while all sides posture and preen for advantage over the supplemental, Congress is quietly on track, without so much as a peep from the anti-war groups or the reality-based community, toward approval of a benchmark- and timetable-free additional $140+ billion for Iraq and Afghanistan in the FY 2008 budget...
Posted by Steve at 1:16 PM
Without prejudging whether President Bush's "surge" policy will work, the administration and its critics ought to be seriously thinking about a Plan B, the "80 percent solution" - also known as "winning dirty..."Yea, sure our deft and clever Bush Administration team can thread the Shiite needle to ensure non-Iran friendly, anti al-Sadr governance. Not to mention the foolish inherent assumption that our "friends" in Saudi Arabia and Jordan will stand by and let this happen. Clearly, Mort has been pilfering Fred Barnes's stupid pills...
The 80 percent alternative involves accepting rule by Shiites and Kurds, allowing them to violently suppress Sunni resistance and making sure that Shiites friendly to the United States emerge victorious.
No one has publicly advocated this Plan B, and I know of only one Member of Congress who backs it - and he wants to stay anonymous. But he argues persuasively that it's the best alternative available if Bush's surge fails. Winning will be dirty because it will allow the Shiite-dominated Iraqi military and some Shiite militias to decimate the Sunni insurgency. There likely will be ethnic cleansing, atrocities against civilians and massive refugee flows.
Winning dirty would involve taking sides in the civil war - backing the Shiite-dominated elected government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and ensuring that he and his allies prevail over both the Sunni insurgency and his Shiite adversary Muqtada al-Sadr, who's now Iran's candidate to rule Iraq. (emphasis added)
Posted by Steve at 12:41 AM
Friday, May 11, 2007
Steve -- if you can explain why it is ok for us in the Clinton White House to make exactly this point about calls for Janet Reno's resignation but the double standard should apply to Gonzales, then you are entitled to live by a double standard. That is not my choice.Here is my reply:
You also may spend your time better expressing opinions based on my entire interview, in which I said if Gonzales is found to have fired a US Attorney for reasons relating to his investigatory activity (or lack thereof), then that would be a firing offense.
Thanks for taking the time to write. I usually don't respond but you seem at least thoughtful, although it says a lot that you hide behind anonymity in expressing your opinion. I don't.
Thank you for your response. With all due respect, your argument is flimsy on a number of fronts:
Your "double standard" argument omits any consideration of the merit or reasons underlying the calls for resignation. Evidently, because Democrats rejected GOP calls for Reno's resignation we must refrain from doing the same for Gonzalez, regardless of the underlying facts. Never mind that GOP charges against Reno were founded on wild Waco conspiracies, the Wen Ho Lee non-spying scandal, her unwillingness to appoint Independent Counsels for every GOP contrived "scandal" etc. Because Democrats rejected resignation calls based on accusations without merit then, we're somehow ethically prohibited from doing so now on an entirely different set of facts? Do you really believe that?
You appear to stand by your false construct of the Gonzalez issue -- that calls for his resignation are based on whether he can be "effective with Congress" -- and use that as foundation for your equivalence argument. While it is true that the GOP would use any and every non-issue to create "no confidence" arguments against Reno, you either deliberately ignore or simply don't know the foundations of the calls for Gonzalez's resignation -- including mounting evidence that he testified falsely under oath, politicized public corruption investigations, attempted to use the Justice Department to influence election outcomes and that his personnel administration has been, at best, incompetent.
Surely you don't believe that simple "no confidence" issues are the equivalent of possible perjury, obstruction and/or maladministration of justice, etc? Yet you must ignore these differences to maintain the (false) equivalence of your "double standard" argument; Conversely, if you review the Reno issues vs. the Gonzalez issues on their merits there is no "double standard."
You've created a false framing of the Gonzalez issues and created a false equivalence to the Reno issues in order to create an artificial moral high ground from which you've taken pot shots at your "fellow" Democrats. It is dishonest intellectually and unhelpful politically.
Posted by Steve at 1:02 PM
Dear Mr. Davis,
While The General has done a fine job dealing with your use of the six magic words you're so fond of ("The problem with us Democrats is..."), I want to address this comment from the same NPR interview:
"It's up to the president to decide whether he wants an attorney general who is effective with Congress. It's not up to Congress to decide," Davis says.Mr. Davis, do you seriously believe that the only thing at issue here is whether the attorney general "is effective with Congress?" You frame the issue more charitably than even the most sycophantic GOP spinmeisters.
More fundamentally, are you truly not aware that what is at issue is whether or not the attorney general has "faithfully" executed the laws; whether the AG has used the Justice Dept. to influence elections; whether the AG has lied under oath? If proven these are High Crimes and felonies. That, sir, is precisely for "Congress to decide."
I would suggest that in the future if you are as ignorant of the facts as your comment above reveals, you ought to refrain from commenting.
Posted by Steve at 12:30 AM
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Joe Klein on what drives him to drink:
Speaking for myself--and you can check it with my colleagues and bosses--I'm terrified each week when it comes to column-writing time. Need to be sure I haven't made any mistakes or taken intellectual short-cuts, need to be sure I'm saying something sorta new, need to be sure I haven't let my anger get the better of me...One of my first editors, in the underground press in Boston around the dawn of time, said: "You're only as good as your last column." He was joking, I think, but...I'm still biting my toes each week waiting to see if the editor likes it or not. (And if you want some real serious insecurity, try having a piece fact-checked and copy-edited at the New Yorker.)
Joe Klein's terrifying Editor after Joe confessed to screwing up:
The whole substance of Klein's assertion depended on the chronology, and the chronology was incorrect. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...
So what do you do? This got printed in the actual dead tree edition of Time. So you get a correction, right?
Wrong, says Time editor Priscilla Painton. Priscilla, by the way, finally got into the act when we actually had the gall to pursue that correction. In an e-mail exchange with Markos, she first said that Joe's "correction" -- issued on the blog and not in the magazine -- was sufficient. And when pressed, said instead:
Date: May 10, 2007 11:18:57 AM PDT
Subject: RE: Correction
Dear Markos:After reviewing the facts, I don't believe Joe's
column was incorrect.
Got that? The online correction to the print piece is sufficient. And not only that, but what I just said wasn't even necessary, because there's nothing to correct.
Posted by Steve at 7:11 PM
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
The Bush administration is facing growing difficulties in filling a rising number of high-level vacancies following a recent spate of senior departures.Hard to decide what's worse -- understaffed or fully staffed incompetents...
In the last 10 days alone Mr Bush has lost four senior officials and more resignations are expected to follow. “I wouldn’t describe this as disintegration,” said one senior official. “But there are worrying large gaps opening up and it is very hard to recruit high-quality people from outside.”
Posted by Steve at 4:02 PM
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is threatening to take President Bush to court if he issues a signing statement as a way of sidestepping a carefully crafted compromise Iraq war spending bill.Why would Congress cede authority over this to the Supreme Court?
Pelosi recently told a group of liberal bloggers, "We can take the president to court" if he issues a signing statement, according to Kid Oakland, a blogger who covered Pelosi's remarks for the liberal website dailykos.com.
"The president has made excessive use of signing statements and Congress is considering ways to respond to this executive-branch overreaching," a spokesman for Pelosi, Nadeam Elshami, said. "Whether through the oversight or appropriations process or by enacting new legislation, the Democratic Congress will challenge the president's non-enforcement of the laws."
Someone might want to inform Pelosi that the Constitution empowers Congress, not the Judiciary, as the 'check and balance' against an Executive that fails to "faithfully" execute the laws. Not performing a Constitutional duty is a High Crime. Impeachment is the remedy. Congress should guard its powers and perform its duties under the Constitution.
Posted by Steve at 12:27 PM
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Andrew McCarthy goes on at some length propping up the current military effort by arguing that Iraq is now central to the the fight against al Qaeda, but in conclusion gives up the ghost of error:
On the need to fight al Qaeda, the argument is already won. But the jury is out, and increasingly skeptical, on how well Iraq serves that need. Victory is not about Iraqi democracy or stability. It is about killing and capturing jihadists who threaten American national security.If "victory is not about Iraqi democracy or stability" but rather "about killing and capturing jihadists" what are we doing with tens of thousands of troops in overt public appearance acting as policeman and nation builders, propping up failed democracy and false stability? Capturing and killing jihadists requires small groups of special forces acting on intelligence, with stealth and the huge American public footprint is entirely counterproductive to that enterprise. Even if its true that our disastrous adventure has enabled al Qaeda's entry into Iraq (where it largely wasn't before the Iraq invasion), it can't be used, as McCarthy does, as reason to support continuing our current, large scale, military presence in Iraq.
Posted by Steve at 11:38 PM
Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, is preparing to acknowledge that it should have known kickbacks were being paid to Saddam Hussein on oil it bought from Iraq as part of a defunct United Nations program, according to investigators.
The admission is part of a settlement being negotiated with United States prosecutors and includes fines totaling $25 million to $30 million, according to the investigators, who declined to be identified because the settlement was not yet public.
The penalty, which is still being negotiated, would be the largest so far in the United States in connection with investigations of companies involved in the oil-for-food scandal.
At the time, Condoleezza Rice, now secretary of state, was a member of Chevron’s board and led its public policy committee, which oversaw areas of potential political concerns for the company.
Posted by Steve at 11:55 AM
Less noticed is what's missing: a white guy on the right. You know the type: He would be the candidate blessed by the Democratic Leadership Council and would campaign on a promise to free the Democratic Party from its feuding interest groups, particularly those on the left, and would advertise his appeal in a general election to conservative Democrats in his native South or Midwest.
DLC Chairman Al From argues that the leading Democratic candidates are centrist in their domestic policies.
"As the candidates start laying out their agendas, you'll see enormous influence from the DLC," he said.
"The overall message of the Obama campaign has been the kind of message that we've tried to bring to this party for a decade and a half -- of hope and responsibility and opportunity," he said.
As for the notion of challenging Clinton from an "electable" right, From said, "the difficulty is that Hillary takes up that space. ... I don't think there's a lot of room to the right of Hillary in the Democratic Party."
So Clinton finds herself with what may turn out to be a blessing -- or a curse: She has the right of the Democratic primary field largely to herself.
Posted by Steve at 12:06 AM
Monday, May 7, 2007
Sunday, May 6, 2007
It's almost as if they think nobody has ever managed a war before...
Now that the White House is searching for a "war czar," it begs the question of who has been coordinating U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan the past four years.
A team of West Wing players led by national security adviser Stephen Hadley has tried to keep turf-conscious agencies marching in the same direction on military, political and reconstruction fronts. A few Bush aides say privately, however, that the White House probably should have recruited someone to oversee the war effort a year ago.
Critics say the administration's job of coordinating the war has never gone smooth enough or fast enough. And now two key members of the White House team focused on the war are leaving.
Hadley said he wants to make sure that if any request from the war zone bogs down among agencies, there is someone who can speak for the president to get it solved quickly.
"That's the kind of thing that I do, but I can't do it full time," said Hadley, who must monitor hot spots around the world.
"This is really more of a head cracker than a czar — a bureaucracy cracker," said Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy analyst for the Brookings Institution who likes the idea.
"They want one point person to contact everyone else to tell them that we need these 17 things by Tuesday to comply with the president's top foreign policy priority," said O'Hanlon, a former adviser to the Iraq Study Group. The panel concluded that duplication and conflicting strategies at federal agencies were undermining confidence in U.S. policy.
"It's the nuttiest idea ever," said James Carafano, a defense expert at Heritage Foundation.
He said a war coordinator at the White House would be outside the regular chain of command. "It confuses lines of authority. It's like adding a fifth wheel on a car."If only the Founders had foreseen this and designated a Commander in Chief...
Posted by Steve at 4:28 PM
Memo to Howard Fineman: It's not the Republicans...
From the just released Newsweek poll:
25. From what you know about them, would you describe any of the six major candidates in the 2008 presidential race as optimistic? Which one?
51% - Barack Obama
47% - John Edwards
46% - Hillary Clinton
45% - Rudy Giuliani
40% - John McCain
27% - Mitt Romney
Posted by Steve at 12:16 AM
Saturday, May 5, 2007
* Giuliani claimed that adoptions shot up 73 percent while he was mayor. In fact, the net increase over his entire tenure was 17 percent.
* Brownback hyped the medical potential of stem cells taken from adults and not embryos, failing to mention their limitations.
* Hunter claimed that 155,000 non-Mexicans were seized crossing illegally from Mexico last year. The actual figure is 98,153.
* Romney described a Massachusetts health care plan he backed as “a fabulous program,” when in fact it has not fully taken effect and only half the low-income persons who are eligible have signed up.
Giuliani: When I was mayor of New York City, I encouraged adoptions. Adoptions went up 65 to 70 percent; abortions went down 16 percent.
Actually, adoptions rose only 17 percent during Giuliani’s tenure as mayor, according to the New York City Administration for Children's Services.
Hunter: Last year we had 155,000 folks who came across from Mexico who were from other countries in the world — some from communist China, some from Iran, some from Korea.
Actually, only 98,153 non-Mexicans were arrested crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in fiscal 2006, which ended Sept. 30.... The Border Patrol won't say how many of the non-Mexicans were from China, Iran or Korea in the most recent year... (but) the Border Patrol will say is that in fiscal 2006, 98.6 percent of the non-Mexicans were from five other Latin American countries.
Hunter: I built that border fence. We brought down the smuggling of people and narcotics by more than 90 percent. ...
According to the Congressional Research Service, overall apprehensions in the San Diego sector declined by 76 percent after the fence was begun. Meanwhile, however, apprehensions increased in others sectors further east, most notably a 591 percent increase in the Tucson sector between fiscal 1992 and 2004.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney called his state health care experiment "a fabulous program" accomplished without any "government takeover":
Romney: I love it! It’s a fabulous program. ... And this is a country that can get all of our people insured with not a government takeover...
In an April statement, the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector, the entity created to oversee the program, said that nearly 70,000 people had signed up for subsidized health plans available for low-income individuals and families. That number is half of those eligible. But the total estimate of uninsured Massachusetts residents is 372,000. The state has a long way to go.
Posted by Steve at 2:01 PM
Friday, May 4, 2007
Thursday, May 3, 2007
To Hammer His Points Home [Jonah Goldberg]
McCain should hold his hand over an open flame — like G. Gordon Liddy — for the duration of each of his answers just to prove his steely resolve and his willingness to go to eleven in defense of America.
Posted by Steve at 9:04 PM
" it shows how we mischaracterized, we willfully misunderstand Islam. Yes, on the face of it yes Arabic is a language in a sense there is would be no difference between opening a foreign language school - a Spanish language school or a french language school - but in fact Arabic is more than a language. It is explicated the language of Islam so in that sense it is part of the Islamic religious imperial project. Radical Islam advances through the Arabic language. And you go all kinds of places that aren't in the Arab world now like Pakistan, Indonesia, Central Asia, the Balk ins, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Canada and the United States and you will here those Imams preaching in Arabic. Arabic is not just another language like French or Italian, it is the spearhead of an idea logical project that is deeply opposed to the United States." (Emphasis original)Fortunately, we defeated Russian in the cold war...
Posted by Steve at 4:47 PM
In my view all of this is the wrong way to view the situation. It's divisive and sets factions of our caucus against each other instead of focusing on what unites us. Quite simply, there are two fundamental principles that should unite the caucus and represent why we were voted into the majority: Accountability and Enforcement.
Accountability and Enforcement. That's what we should be talking about; That's what should be the foundation any war funding proposal.
The American people voted in overwhelming numbers for this Administration to held accountable for its actions. They do not want any more blank checks given to Bush. Furthermore, it ought to be fairly obvious that without any means of enforcement, or penalty for non-performance, there can't be any real accountability.
Enforced Accountability -- it must be imposed on this Administration.
That means ruling out "full funding with benchmarks," which essentially discards any enforcement. What's the penalty for non-performance? They'll already have all of the money without having to justify themselves until next year. Even setting aside the fact that this proposal is a non-starter with the progressive wing of the party, as a matter of policy it fails to hold Bush accountable.
Partial funding -- whether every two months, four month or even six months -- which requires the President to come back to Congress is the only way to enforce accountability. If "benchmarks" have been met Congress can vote on new funding at that time, but the funding shouldn't be automatic; It should require a vote.
Furthermore, if we frame the debate as being about "accountability" instead of "pro war vs anti war," we make it harder for Republicans to oppose. The only thing worse than having to justify support for the Iraq war is having to justify unaccountable support for Bush.
So, let's stop using "benchmarks" and "timetables" as the lexicon of this debate. This about "accountability" and how to "enforce" accountability on this President.
No blank checks. No war money without enforced accountability.
Posted by Steve at 1:42 PM
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Ask Bill Kristol if he asks his children to loan him money. Then ask him why he has the government do it for him... (with borrowed money tax cuts)It's truly amazing how the GOP has turned on its head the old American credo that parents sacrifice so their children will be better off...
In fact, if you happen upon Tim Russert ask him if Big Russ ever hit him up for money when he was growing up ... and what Big Russ would think of those who do.
That's conservative governance in a nutshell -- asking our kids to sacrifice so they can have a better life today...
Posted by Steve at 12:20 PM
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
For one, hardcore Democrat types like to snicker at his (Hugo Chavez) third-grade level insults at our President. Regardless of what you think of our President’s performance, it’s just rude.Your liberal media...
Posted by Steve at 10:46 AM
Monday, April 30, 2007
Article II, Section 3: "(The Executive) ... shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed..."Sometimes it's worth stating the obvious, because the simple, basic civics class level statement is what the average citizen will understand.
Article I, Section 2: "The House of Representatives ... shall have the sole power of impeachment."
Article I, Section 3: "The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments."
The Executive is required to "faithfully execute" the laws. Failure to do so is a High Crime.
The Legislative branches have the "sole power" to remove Executive branch officers when they commit High Crimes.
There is no role for the Judiciary in this matter (save the Chief Justice presiding over a Presidential impeachment trial).
Congress has the constitutional obligation to investigate allegations that the Executive has not 'faithfully executed the law.' Failure to provide Congress the information necessary to ascertain whether the Executive has failed to comply with the constitution -- which is a High Crime -- is Contempt of Congress, and itself constitutes a High Crime.
Congress should not rely on the Executive to enforce its request for information, nor should they ask/allow the Judiciary to adjudicate it. There is no reason for the Legislative branch to defer to the Judiciary, nor should it allow the Judiciary to bind or limit its Article I power w/r/t impeachment, which includes oversight of issues that could be impeachable.
There is no role for the Judiciary -- Contempt of Congress is a High Crime. Congress must be responsible for enforcing their Legislative rights under the constitution; It should not rely on, or defer to, the other branches.
It's a simple, basic civics framing of the issue and we should start stating it as acceptable discourse on this issue. Let those who disagree explain why it isn't.
Contempt of Congress is a High Crime. Perhaps it's time to just say it...
Posted by Steve at 2:00 PM
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Or perhaps they can be put in a wing of the George W. Bush Library...
82 Inmates Cleared but Still Held at Guantanamo:
LONDON -- More than a fifth of the approximately 385 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been cleared for release but may have to wait months or years for their freedom because U.S. officials are finding it increasingly difficult to line up places to send them, according to Bush administration officials and defense lawyers.Unfortunately, this may eliminate Crawford from consideration...
Since February, the Pentagon has notified about 85 inmates or their attorneys that they are eligible to leave after being cleared by military review panels. But only a handful have gone home, including a Moroccan and an Afghan who were released Tuesday. Eighty-two remain at Guantanamo and face indefinite waits as U.S. officials struggle to figure out when and where to deport them, and under what conditions.
Another major obstacle: U.S. laws that prevent the deportation of people to countries where they could face torture or other human rights abuses...
Posted by Steve at 12:28 AM
Saturday, April 28, 2007
off their new
In preparing for my trip across all 99 counties in Iowa I picked up a Winnebago this past weekend. It's the least expensive RV in working order that I could find, but it meant that I had to fly to Phoenix to pick it up. I'm working on getting it wrapped in some Romney 2008 images and am trying to come up with a good name for it. I'm thinking the "Five Brothers' Bus", but am open to any of your suggestions. Also, let me know if you have any recommendations on places we should visit as we hit the trail in the RV.
Posted by Steve at 3:52 PM
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
In a paragraph of the United States constitution that makes no mention of Congress — the founding fathers decreed that "the president shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States."
But in a CNN interview today — Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman and leading war critic John Murtha was asked about complaints from President Bush that Congress was trying to micromanage the war in Iraq. Murtha's response: "That's our job."
The Republican take from Florida Congressman Adam Putnam: "We strongly disagree. It is never appropriate for politicians in the gilded committee rooms of Washington to be dictating targets and tactics on the ground."
Of course, Brit deliberately neglected to inform is his viewer of the Constitutional powers granted Congressman Murtha in Article I, Section 8:
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Your modern GOP: Selectively rewriting the Constitution to suit its needs of the moment.
Posted by Steve at 1:50 PM
"...If you hand his head to the Democrats they'll move on try to whack somebody else. They're already trying to get Karl Rove and they're subpoenaing one of his assistants at the White House, Sarah Taylor, and so they're really after him, but in the meantime they've still got Alberto Gonzalez to beat up on and the can't move on to some other cabinet officer."
Posted by Steve at 1:33 PM
WASHINGTON — The Air Force's top general expressed frustration on Tuesday with the reassignment of troops under his command to ground jobs for which they were not trained, including guarding prisoners, driving trucks and typing.
Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, said that more than 20,000 airmen had been assigned to roles outside their specialties.
In a breakfast session with reporters, Moseley said he was trying to be realistic. "We live in a military that's at war. And we live in a situation where, if we can contribute, then sign me up for it," he said.
Still, the Air Force general added, "I'm less supportive of things outside our competency."
Posted by Steve at 1:01 PM
Digby has a piece about Rush's tasteless parody "Obama, the Magic Negro" and his (and others like him) usual pattern of racist commentary followed by obtuse denials projecting his racism back at his accusers. It's an interesting read and, as usual, well worth the time.
There's another angle worth looking at, however -- how the GOP defeated another young, personable African American: Harold Ford. A key theme the GOP and Bob Corker used against Ford, the tag line just before the infamous "Harold, Call me" line in Corker's racist ad, was "He's just not right," which to the ear sounds like "He's just not white."
For all of the hullabaloo about the more overt racism of the blonde whispering "Harold, Call me," Corker ultimately prevailed by convincing swing white voters (and perhaps the small number of conservative black voters) that Ford was "just not
white right." He wasn't white and he wasn't an authentic African American either.
All of this "concern" over Obama's authenticity as an African American, notably coming mostly from white conservatives, is in my view an ongoing attempt create the impression that there's something 'just not
white right' about Obama. They're going to attempt to "Corker" Obama too...
Posted by Steve at 12:20 AM
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Multiple Choice Mitt! down in Florida to fluff Governor Crist for endorsement, reiterates his call for increasing troop levels by 100,000 (excluding his sons), reminds the faithful that he, too, has flip-flopped on abortion, but in the good way, just like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, issues a bold new call to fight Islamofascism with ..... group hugs:
(Romney) said he supported Bush's "troop surge" strategy in Iraq, but said the answer to "radical jihadist" terrorism warranted a "second Marshall plan" to modernize the Islamic culture.
"We're going to have to change hearts and minds, as the saying goes, and I think one of the first things I'd want to do is to call a summit of nations, led not just by us, but by moderate Islamic states, and other leading nations of the world, to say: How can we help move Islam towards modernity?" he said.
This should play very well with the LGF crowd...
Posted by Steve at 1:01 AM
Monday, April 23, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO -- David Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who chronicled the Washington press corps, the Vietnam War generation and baseball, was killed in a car crash early Monday, a coroner said. He was 73.
Halberstam, of New York, was a passenger in a car that was broadsided by another vehicle in Menlo Park, south of San Francisco, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said.
Posted by Steve at 5:31 PM
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Joe Klein caught dead to rights mischaracterizing Markos and deliberately misleading the readers of Time magazine. Will Time print a correction? Will there be any discipine of Klein? His editor? Anyone?
Update: Klein defends his chronologically incorrect quotes as accurate anyway because ... Markos is clairvoyant? Says the only thing he did wrong was his failure to note that the quotes were chronologically incorrect. I wonder if his editor fell for it?
Posted by Steve at 11:46 PM
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Posted by Steve at 11:51 PM
Friday, April 20, 2007
Greg Stevens, a Republican political and media strategist who might be best known for taking presidential candidate Michael Dukakis' 1988 publicity appearance in a tank and using the image against him, died of brain cancer Monday at his home in Yarmouth, Maine. He was 58.
Before starting his Alexandria, Va.-based firm in 1993, Stevens had a long career as a political operative and GOP strategist who learned under Charles Black, Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes. He spoke of Ailes, now chairman of Fox News, as his closest mentor in developing clear visual strategies.
Stevens and his associates attracted strong criticism at times for his methods. He was fired from Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner's reelection campaign in 1996 for doctoring an image of his Democratic opponent. The firm also came under fire for a 2006 television commercial made for Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) that digitally added billowing smoke to an image of the Twin Towers taken before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
His firm also made ads during the 2004 presidential race for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth advocacy group.
The group, whose members included many financial supporters of President George W. Bush, raised doubts about Democratic challenger John Kerry's valor as a Navy lieutenant patrolling the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War. Stevens said he had little to do with the Swift Boat ads because they were handled by a partner.
Posted by Steve at 3:56 PM
WHITEHOUSE: The two areas where you ask us to agree with you, in your testimony: The first is that U.S. attorneys can be fired at will by the president. That's undeniably true, but I think its use as a rhetorical point in this discussion is highly misleading, deeply misleading.
Because I think you and I both know that, for years, for decades, there has been a tradition of independence on the part of United States attorneys.
Once they're appointed, unless there is misconduct, they're left to do their jobs. And that rule, that practice, has existed for good and meaningful reason. And it can't be overlooked by just blithely saying, well, the president has the power to remove these people.
That misses the point. These people make tough decisions. They're out there on their own very different. Very often, the Department of Justice and the political environment that surrounds it is one that you want to protect them from.
And the idea that, willy-nilly, senior staff people can come out and have the heads of U.S. attorneys -- I think it's highly damaging to that piece of structure.
If I may make my second point, because I'm running out of time here. It's the second thing that you suggest, which is we should further agree on a definition of what an improper reason for the removal of a U.S. attorney would be. And over and over again you've used the word "improper" as sort of your target word as to where the boundary is, to where you should and shouldn't go.
But your definition of improper is almost exactly the same as Kyle Sampson's. He came in here and testified, he said, without consulting with anybody, and said that the improper reasons include an effort, and I quote, "to interfere with or influence the investigation or prosecution of a particular case for political or partisan advantage."
And your testimony is, "...to interfere with or influence a particular prosecution for partisan political gain."
You've loaded up those words. You've used them repeatedly. And I think that the definition of where impropriety lies, clearly that would be improper. That would be grotesquely improper.
But I think you've set the bar way low for yourself, if that's your standard of where impropriety is, because -- and I'd like to hear you comment on this -- I think any effort to add any partisan or political dimension into a U.S. attorney's conduct of his office, irrespective of whether it's intended to affect a particular case or not, is something that we need to react to firmly, strongly, resolutely, and without any tolerance for it.
And yet you've set the bar so that it's not impropriety until it affects a particular case.
Why did you do that?
GONZALES: Senator, because the accusations that have been made primarily, certainly as an initial matter, was that there was something improper; we were trying to interfere with particular cases.
And that's why certainly the focus in my mind was to focus on: OK, well, what is the legal standard?
And I think it's important for us to understand, as an initial matter: What is the legal standard; what would be inappropriate or improper?
WHITEHOUSE: But something a lot less than that would be improper, would it not? I mean, when Admiral Byng got hanged there was the famous comment: Every once in a while you got to hang an admiral just to encourage all the others.
You know, if you hang a U.S. attorney every once in a while just to discourage all the others, even if your intention is not to affect a particular case, you have to agree that would be highly improper.
GONZALES: Senator -- well, it may be improper as a matter of management. Some would have to wonder: Is that really an appropriate way to manage the department?
But, again, Senator, you have to understand that...
WHITEHOUSE: Well, otherwise it would be obstruction of justice, correct?
GONZALES: ... that these individuals have served their four years, they're holding over. There's no expectation of a job here. There shouldn't be, because of the fact that they are presidential appointees.
Now, clearly, as a management issue, there is value added to a person who has served as a United States attorney in terms of experience, expertise. And so, those things are very important.
WHITEHOUSE: It's more than just a management issue. It's an issue about the structure through which justice is administered in this country.
And when it's broken and when it's damaged and when the attorney general of the United States says the only place where impropriety exists is when political and partisan influence has risen to the point that it's intended to affect a particular case, but otherwise it's fine, I have a real problem. And I think everybody in America should have a real problem with that.