A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
by Catherine Fenton
[BuzzFlash Note: Sexual Content -- Not for Sensitive Readers]
Boy, was I glad to hear that Ted Haggard was pronounced "cured" of his penis penchant after only three weeks of intensive counseling. You have no idea how much hope that gave to this girl. Like many women, I too have struggled to rid myself of the lure of the penis. Now, I don't know if this is just a rumor (you know how the internets can be) but I have heard that Ted is writing a book. It's going to be entitled "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Pussy." As soon as it's listed on Amazon, I'll be pre-ordering it.
In a much lauded (not by me) piece, Larry Diamond passed a big piece of misinformation that was credulously accepted by too many:
Beyond this, the president and vice president subscribe to what some call the "unitary executive," which is a fancy way of saying they believe that Congress cannot prevent the president from doing almost anything he wants. . . . [Bush] could still attack Iran and have up to 90 days before being required to get congressional authorization for the attack.
The Unitary Executive theory propounded by the Bush Administration is a travesty. but it does not provide for what Diamond says it does. In relevant part, it means that once the CONGRESS authorizes military action, then the President's power as Commander in Chief is plenary. In any event, the Supreme Court has scuttled this idea with its decisions in Rasul, Hamdi and Hamdan.
Bruce Ackerman debunks Diamond's false claim:
BA: The president has to get another authorization for a war against Iran. It isn't up to Nancy Pelosi or the House to prevent him; he doesn't have the constitutional authority to just expand the war. He does not have the authority to unilaterally invade Iran....
FP: What about actions short of invasion: air strikes or hot pursuit?BA: Air strikes would be an invasion. It's an act of war of an unambiguous variety....On a major incursion into another large Middle Eastern country, I believe that, when push comes to shove, the president will once again request the explicit authorization of Congress. When he was contemplating the invasion of Iraq, he was in a much stronger position politically -- and he was still obliged to request authorization.
Obviously I agree with my former Con Law professor. But he does miss the important wrinkle - that the 2002 Iraq AUMF could be Bush's rationale for striking Iran. That is why I say to stop a war with Iran, end the war in Iraq.
In discussing Senator Kennedy's troop cap proposal I described why the Iraq AUMF is a blank check for the President:
the Congress must strip the President of the power the Congress granted him to wage war in Iraq. To wit, the Congress needs to "undeclare" the Iraq Debacle by repealing the Iraq War resolution. A new resolution can be approved authorizing the use of force in Iraq for a purpose the Congress wishes, but I believe Senator Kennedy is wrong when he says:In October 2002, Members of Congress authorized a war against the regime of Saddam Hussein, not to send our troops into a civil war. I voted against that resolution and feel an escalation of this war only compounds the original mistake of going in the first place.
Congress authorization was broader than this:SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) AUTHORIZATION. The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to
(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.
This blanket grant of war power to the President was a disgrace. But it was done. And now it must be undone. More.
This is why I am quite peeved at many of my fellow Left bloggers and pundits:
Here is a new line of thinking I find extremely infuriating, via TPM:Deciding what to do next about Iraq is hard — on the merits, and in the politics. It’s hard on the merits because whatever comes next, from “surge” to “get out now” and everything in between, will involve suffering, misery, and dishonor. . . . By comparison, Iran is easy: on the merits, in the politics. War with Iran would be a catastrophe that would make us look back fondly on the minor inconvenience of being bogged down in Iraq. While the Congress flounders about what, exactly, it can do about Iraq, it can do something useful, while it still matters, in making clear that it will authorize no money and provide no endorsement for military action against Iran.
Matt Yglesias ran with the same nonsense the other day:[W]hat I'd urge everyone to do is keep their eyes on the real ball in the air at the moment: Iran. If Bush really bombs Iran and spineless Democrats back him ex post facto then the whole Iraq dynamic changes dramatically, and not for the better. If you want to hassle your member of congress on behalf of some peacenik cause this month, hassle him or her about Iran.
This is so wrong, so obtuse, so plain dumb from both Fallows and Yglesias, that I simply can't understand how they came to think these things. Let's be clear -- the chance of Congress authorizing military action against Iran is zero. Zilch. None. Bush will not even consider asking for it. Everyone must know this. How could they not? The ONLY reason Bush can even contemplate action against Iran is - surprise - BECAUSE WE ARE IN IRAQ! You want to stop military action against Iran? Then work like hell to get us out of Iraq. This is too obvious. How could these smart people not see this? . . . It is the ONLY way Bush can get at Iran. He has no authority to attack Iran. Hell, there is not even a plausible plan for attacking Iran's alleged nuclear facilities. We don't even have a clue where they are. As for the effect on the Iraq War, since when has the Bush Administration ever done anything that made sense in Iraq?
Do people not get it yet? It is not only that the Bush Administration is filled with shameless liars, it is that the Bush Adminstration is the worst in history. Their incompetence knows no bounds.
But my question is what are people like Fallows and Yglesias thinking? Don't push on Iraq because of Iran? Excuse me, one of the reasons to push hard on Iraq is to preclude an attack on Iran!
Bush does have a Congressional blank check on Iraq - the 2002 Iraq AUMF. He has no check at all on Iran. Any action taken against Iran MUST be justified by reference to the Iraq authority.
To argue that we must forget Iraq to concentrate on Iran is an argument so obtuse that is amazing that any intelligent person, and both Yglesias and Fallows are extremely intelligent, could possibly make it.
It is as plain as the nose on your face - to stop a war with Iran, we must end the war in Iraq.
John Edwards and his campaign decided to stand up to the ankle-biters, and deserve credit for doing so.
The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.
It took a little while, but Edwards set the right precedent for how this type of smear should be handled. As a Democrat, I'm proud of him and his campaign. And I'm happy that Edwards is ready to move beyond BS "hijackings" like this to talk about real issues. Let's join him in putting this nonsense behind us.
(Graphics luv to commenter Andrea of the Huffington Post who sent this to Arianna. Seemed so appropriate for today, somehow.)It's just been one of those weeks for Mary Matalin, with all Cheney's her own words coming home to[...]
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*****Update, per the Chicago Tribune online: “Edwards Keep?s Controversial Bloggers.” As covered by one of my co-authors, Alexander Paul Melones, in an earlier post, Democratic Presidential candidate, John Edwards, has fired his two official campaign bloggers after it was discovered that bloggers can be somewhat animated and opinionated. Apparently, Mr. Edwards thought it [...]
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Or 'progress week' for that matter. Yesterday we had the fifth U.S. chopper shot down in Iraq since January 20, and three Army Reserve officers, along with two American civilians accused of steering money to contractors in exchange for kickbacks. Today we learned that Iraqis were fleeing from Iraq to the tune of 3,000 a day (or more than 2 million since the war started), and the Iraqi Health Minister is being accused of being a central figure in alleged corruption and the infiltration of the ministry by Shiite militiamen. Go ahead, ask yourself, what's next!?
Continue reading after the jump.
Four Marines were killed today in action in Iraq, bringing the total number of U.S. service members killed in the country since the start of the war to at least 3,114.
Four U.S. Marines were killed in fighting in Anbar province, the military said Thursday. The Marines, who were assigned to Multi-National Force ? West, died Wednesday from wounds sustained due to enemy action in two separate incidents in the insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad, according to a statement. The deaths raised to at least 3,114 members of the U.S. military who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
The U.S. Embassy, meanwhile, said U.S. officials were investigating a previously undisclosed Jan. 31 incident involving a civilian helicopter. A military official in Washington said the helicopter either crashed or was forced to land by gunfire. The passengers and crew were rescued by another U.S. helicopter, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.
Bush certainly does have one helluva distorted definition of "progress" doesn't he? Seems someone forgot to tell the insurgents that a supposed security crackdown got underway yesterday in Iraq.
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One outstanding controversy that Condoleezza Rice addressed -- or sort-of addressed -- in this morning's testimony has to do with a reported overture made by Iran to the U.S. in 2003. Only she may have contradicted what she told NPR...
Subject: EDWARDS STATEMENT ON CAMPAIGN BLOGGERS AMANDA MARCOTTE AND MELISSA McEWEN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2007
EDWARDS STATEMENT ON CAMPAIGN BLOGGERS AMANDA MARCOTTE AND MELISSA McEWEN
Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- The statements of Senator John Edwards, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwen in reference to their work as independent bloggers before joining the Edwards campaign are below.
Senator John Edwards:
"The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in."
"My writings on my personal blog, Pandagon on the issue of religion are generally satirical in nature and always intended strictly as a criticism of public policies and politics. My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are central rights, and the sum of my personal writings is a testament to this fact."
"Shakespeare's Sister is my personal blog, and I certainly don't expect Senator Edwards to agree with everything I've posted. We do, however, share many views - including an unwavering support of religious freedom and a deep respect for diverse beliefs. It has never been my intention to disparage people's individual faith, and I'm sorry if my words were taken in that way."
This was a smart and potentially significant move by the Edwards campaign on several levels, the most significant of which is that it signals that Democratic campaigns aren't going to capitulate to contrived controversies manufactured by the lowest and basest precincts in our political culture. There is more Edwards could have done with this, but still, he stood resolute in the face of an intense and ugly coordinated media/right-wing swarm and rendered it impotent.
Nobody is going to be casting their votes a year from now based on the pre-campaign postings of Amanda Marcotte or Melissa McEwan, and the only ones who will ever speak of this again would never have voted for Edwards in the first place, and only raised these issues in the first place with the intent to harm Edwards specifically and Democrats generally. That faction is the last one to which Edwards and other Democrats ought to pay any attention. John McCain will have to spend the next year pandering to the Bill Donahues and Michelle Malkins of the world. There is no reason John Edwards should, and it is good to see that he will not.
UPDATE: The Associated Press' Nedra Pickler writes a much more balanced article on this matter than the one which made its way yesterday into The Washington Post. In today's story, Pickler conveys the important point made by McEwan on her blog that McEwan enthusiastically voted for a Catholic (John Kerry) for President in 2004, which suggests that she is hardly an "anti-Catholic bigot."
It is true that McEwan opposes specific Catholic doctrine applied by some right-wing Catholics to political questions, which -- despite Bill Donohue's best efforts -- is not the same as being "anti-Catholic" (just as opposing Pat Robertson's political agenda does not make one "anti-Christian," nor does opposing the policies of specific right-wing Israelis or American Jews make one "anti-semitic," nor does opposing specific views of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton make one "racist"). The language they used was inflammatory -- almost certainly deliberately so -- but that hardly makes it "bigoted."
Pickler also includes -- as she and The New York Times should have done originally -- a small though illustrative excerpt from that Civility Crusader, Bill Donohue: "Donohue also doesn't shy away from blunt language sometimes in his criticism of gays, Hollywood's control by 'secular Jews who hate Christianity' and even the Edwards bloggers, whom he referred to as 'brats' in an interview Wednesday on MSNBC." That (along with Michelle Malkin and the likes of Jonah Goldberg) is who was masquerading as the Guardians of Elevated Political Discourse, and that is why it was so important not to indulge this charade.
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An hour or so later, Matalin called back Imus to, uh, clarify.