There are more revelations on the way from the CIA.[...]
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Yesterday, Charles Krauthammer accepted the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism, an annual award given by News Corporation. In his acceptance speech, Krauthammer lauded Fox News channel, which he said has “done a great service to the American polity” and for “single-handedly breaking up the intellectual and ideological monopoly that for decades exerted hegemony (to use a favorite lefty cliché) over the broadcast media.” But his praise took a strange turn when he extolled the “genius” of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes for creating an “alternate reality” for its viewers:
KRAUTHAMMER: What Fox did is not just create a venue for alternative opinion. It created an alternate reality.
A few years ago, I was on a radio show with a well-known political reporter who lamented the loss of a pristine past in which the whole country could agree on what the facts were, even if they disagreed on how to interpret and act upon them. All that was gone now. The country had become so fractured we couldn’t even agree on what reality was. What she meant was that the day in which the front page of The New York Times was given scriptural authority everywhere was gone, shattered by the rise of Fox News.
Elsewhere in his speech, Krauthammer tried to explain why his award was more valuable to him than the Nobel Prize. The Nobel Prize is “awarded to those, from Yasir Arafat to Jimmy Carter, who give the most succor to the forces of terror and tyranny,” Krauthammer said. (HT: TPM)
If you're going to be in New York later this month, this year's Personal Democracy Forum conference is coming up on June 29 and 30th. It's basically the conference every year for people working at the nexus of the internet and politics. Some of the[...]
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A choice-- Jane Harman for the status quo, Marcy Winograd for REAL change
When the War Supplemental budget came up on May 14, granting Obama another $97 billion to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, quite a few Democrats who would never have voted to give more money to Bush, voted for it because it's Obama. David Obey (D-WI) spoke for a great many of them when he said that he supported it, reluctantly, to give Obama some breathing room but that next year he wouldn't go along with this kind of funding. On the other hand, 60 members of the House voted "no." Some were very courageous Democrats who didn't feel all that comfortable about opposing their president but knew the difference between right and wrong. I'm in the middle of reading Charles Pierce's book, Idiot America and I want to quote a passage from it to set a mood:
We are at a dead level time in the dreary summer of 2007. A war of dubious origins and uncertain goals is dragging on despite the fact that a full 70 percent of the people in the country don't want it to do so. Politics is beginning to gather itself into an election season in which the price of a candidate's haircuts will be as important for a time as his position on the war. The country is entertained, but not engaged. It is drowning in information and thirsty for knowledge. There have been seven years of empty debate, of deliberate inexpertise, of abandoned vigor, of lazy, pulp tolerance for risible ideas simply because they sell, or because enough people believe in them devoutly enough to raise a clamor that can be heard over the deadening drone that suffuses everything else. The drift is as palpable as the rain in the trees, and it comes from willful and deliberate neglect. [James] Madison believed in self-government in all things, not merely in our politics. He did not believe in drift.
A few years ago, Waters?-- strong, passionate, hands-on-- worked with Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles to host an Out of Iraq forum that easily drew 1,000 antiwar constituents to an Inglewood church, just south of Los Angeles. Due to fire safety concerns, the church closed its doors to hundreds still standing outside, told there was no more room. Now, more than ever, we need Waters and her trusted colleagues to recall the passion of their own anti-war constituents and take that passion to the halls, to the back rooms, to the floor of congress in a bold and courageous act of defiance to a new President elected by an anti-war base.
Anxious to win over anti-war Democrats, the House leadership stripped the supplemental of the Graham-Lieberman Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009, which would have allowed the administration to block the release of detainee photos.
There are 73 members of the Out of Iraq Caucus; only 39 Democrats need to join the Republicans and effectively block the supplemental war spending bill.
When the bill first came before the House, 51 anti-war Democrats opposed the money bill, so one can only imagine the carrots and the sticks the House leadership is now exerting on these original hold-outs. What do you want? Money for your district? Backing for your own legislation? Committee chairs? Support this or else?
It?s time for all anti-war leaning caucuses in the House to convene. Calling all members of the Out of Iraq Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus-- We need you to stand strong against the pro-war legislation now before you.
According to a report on the Huffington Post, the House leadership hoped for a vote on the measure last Friday, but pulled the bill when it looked like it might be defeated.
What happens if President Obama and Speaker Pelosi can?t get enough votes for the supplemental? The military says it needs the next batch of billions by July; otherwise other budget accounts will be raided to pay for the wars that never end. I say, "Let the raids begin." Then we can call it like it is-- taxpayer theft.
If I were in Las Vegas, I wouldn?t bet odds on my 2010 congressional opponent Jane Harman voting to block the supplemental (quite the contrary); nor would I put money on California congress members Berman, Waxman, Sherman or Schiff-- all of whom voted for the Iraq War Authorization and refuse to join the Out of Iraq Caucus. I might, however, press my luck on Waters, one of the original 132 House members who voted against the invasion of Iraq, and I might expect other Out of Iraq Caucus members like Diane Watson, Bob Filner, Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee to say nay, not another dime for these war crimes-- but that?s only if the anti-war base that elected Obama speaks up at this critical moment.
According to Salon?s Glenn Greenwald, the House Democratic leadership is hoping to change the hearts and minds of key Democrats listed-- here. On the list are Waters, Watson, Woolsey, Kucinch, and Congressman John Conyers, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee who should not have to swallow such a bitter and bloody pill to stay in good favor with those who control the committee chairs.
With army commander Casey suggesting we need to occupy Iraq for another ten years and the Pentagon sending 20,000 additional troops to join the 50,000 already in Afghanistan, speaking up will require high-decibel action. On your marks, get set, dial. 202-224-3121.
?Many of the European banks made a series of risky and speculative loans in central and eastern Europe that are likely to go into default,? Brunner said. ?We are looking conservatively at more than a trillion dollars in bad loans, loans that the United States had no part in, and we simply cannot afford to step in now and bail them out through the IMF. "We have too many families and our own institutions struggling here at home who need our help first.?
d r i f t g l a s s: Note To Self
Seeing the Forest: More Republican hatred of America
No More Mister Nice Blog: George W. Bush: Secret Muslim
Echidne Of The Snakes: I don't like you anymore
Scholars and Rogues: Journalists need to explain why 'experts' missed gasoline price hike
Mitt Romney has just announced a Mitt Pac essay contest about keeping America free and strong. The winner gets to join the Mitt clan in the 'family seats' at a Boston Red Sox game. Runners up can win a a Mitt-autographed ball. [...]
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Finally, some bipartisanship in these polarized times!
William Jefferson, the Democratic former congressman who's facing trial on corruption charges after being found with $90,000 in his freezer, will get help from a Republican fellow ex-lawmaker from Louisiana.
Jim McCrery, who was the ranking GOPer on the House Ways and Means committee before retiring this year, will serve as an "expert witness," testifying that Jefferson was just helping out a constituent, according to court filings examined by RollCall.
Jefferson's lawyer wrote:
Congressman McCrery will describe the constituent service or 'case work' activities performed by Members. He will explain generally that Members often provide assistance to their constituents in the form of obtaining information from, and/or facilitating interactions with, U.S. government agencies, and that they do that in order to maintain their constituents' political support.
He is expected to testify that in his opinion, while certain of these activities have come to be customarily performed by many Members, there is significant variation among Members concerning the nature and extent of activities performed.
McCrery, of course, had a starring role in President Bush's failed push to privatize social security.
The move is reminiscent of the Ted Stevens trial, in which Democratic senators including Ted Kennedy and Daniel Inouye appeared on the defense witness list intending to sing the Alaska Republican's praises.
Sometimes being a fellow member of the club is more important than sharing the same party. We're not sure that's a good thing.
First, I'm interested to read how you portray the 1991 Gulf War as a "war of necessity" in a meaningful way. (I'm still reading your book, so my apologies in advance for going over ground you may be covering.) The argument advanced in your post for why the 2003 Iraq invasion was a war of choice -- "the United States had options besides force to deal with the threat posed by Saddam Hussein" -- could be fairly applied to the 1991 conflict as well. In that earlier war, the calculations of interest, the cost to the U.S. and the ultimate outcome make it appear a justified choice, but it's hardly the case that the U.S. had no option in 1991 but to oust Saddam from Kuwait. What's more, I see from skipping around (mea culpa) that you conclude the book by contending the U.S. shouldn't "rule out all wars of choice." If not, then isn't your argument really about the relationship between wars and the national interest, not about choice or necessity?
Second set of questions, this time building off Todd's post. In a generic sense, what do you think the responsibility is of officials who recognize an "ill-advised" war is on the way? Should such an official resign in protest, as some Foreign Service Officers and the White House counterterrorism czar did ahead of the 2003 Iraq invasion? Or is that too glib an understanding? What should a hypothetical Obama aide do if s/he comes to believe the troop escalation in Afghanistan places U.S. policy in a no-win situation and that the administration won't change course?
This morning, USA Today reported that two days before he voted against the economic stimulus package Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) requested over $180 million in stimulus money from the EPA and the Department of Agriculture. Bennett, attempting to explain this apparent contradiction, told USA Today that “as long as it passed and they’re handing out money, they might as well hand it out where it will do some good.” But in a statement he released after voting against the bill, Bennett claimed the recovery legislation could do no good. “The only thing this bill will stimulate is the national debt,” said Bennett:
The economy is in serious trouble, and we need to do the very best we can to restore confidence in our economy and in our future. Our country desperately needs a stimulus package, but I don?t think the bill passed today is the right medicine. I regret that this opportunity to put our economy back on track has been squandered. We should have passed a bill that focused on fixing housing, helping taxpayers keep more of their hard earned money through permanent tax cuts, and spending only on projects that would genuinely stimulate the economy and create jobs. Unfortunately, the only thing this bill will stimulate is the national debt.
USA Today also found that 13 other Republicans who had voted against the stimulus had also requested stimulus funding for their states or districts.
Yeah, your eyes are not deceiving you. The headline is accurate.
Last night, it was somewhat intriguing (even if, in the eyes of quite a few Kossacks, it was justified) to see how much of the reaction from last night's Virginia primary was a celebration of Terry McAuliffe's defeat, rather than Creigh Deeds' decisive win.
Some of the more charitable Deeds supporters tried to tamp down the renditions of "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye", pointing out that Deeds could benefit if McAuliffe chose to be magnanimous down the line.
They didn't have to wait long. This email hit inboxes less than three hours after the polls closed in Virginia:
Earlier, I called Creigh Deeds and congratulated him on becoming the Democratic nominee for Governor. And I told him something that I know you all will agree with: he MUST be the next Governor of Virginia. Creigh Deeds will carry on the proud tradition of Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and he will get Virginia's economy back on track.
Bob McDonnell, on the other hand, has done everything he could to stand in the way of Virginia's progress. He voted "no" on Mark Warner's budget reform. He said "no" to Tim Kaine's transportation reform. He even said "no" to President Obama's economic stimulus plan, rejecting $125 million of your taxpayer money that is now going to other states.
With Bob McDonnell sitting on millions of dollars in his bank account, Creigh Deeds needs our help to gear up for the general election. So please, make a contribution to his campaign and help continue the progress we've made over the last seven years.
Click here to contribute to Creigh Deeds' campaign.
I have been following politics for about half of my lifetime. And I have never seen a vanquished candidate in a primary exhort his supporters to financially support the primary winner within hours of the polls closing in the election.
That was an "A+" move from the guy, and a sign that any divisions in the Democratic Party in Virginia are bound to heal rather quick. It is pretty common for candidates to talk about unifying their party after an election. Good on McAuliffe for, on this occasion, actually doing something about it.