Friday, December 16, 2005

A fly in the Kool-Aid

Congress as a Consumer of Intelligence Information

As a result, the President, and a small number of presidentially-designated Cabinet-level officials, including the Vice President (3) - in contrast to Members of Congress (4) - have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods.

A fly in the Kool-Aid. However, I predict that this memo will prevent exactly zero true-believers from spouting the talking point about "seeing the same intelligence."

(Via TPM: Original Recipe)

RIP, U.S. Constitution

Bush Secretly Lifted Some Limits on Spying in U.S. After 9/11, Officials Say

Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.


Several officials said the eavesdropping program had helped uncover a plot by Iyman Faris, an Ohio trucker and naturalized citizen who pleaded guilty in 2003 to supporting Al Qaeda by planning to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with blowtorches.

With blowtorches? He must not have realized that his eye lasers or mind bullets would have been much more effective.

Granted, I am basing this snark on all of two sentences in a newspaper report. But I am not duly impressed by this "success story" of the Bubble Boy administration. One whacko with a plan and a cell phone does not make for a convincing threat to national security.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

No sharp objects for Bubble Boy

From the dripping-with-liberal Froomkin:

Brian Williams talked to after his Bush interview:

"Williams: I love the details. When I was a White House intern in '79, I loved how the White House staff mirrored the boss. Everybody who worked for President Carter wore his or her watches crystal down because he did. The boss always has a quirk that the staff mirrors, whether they do it consciously or not. In the Bush White House, everybody uses a Sharpie because that's Bush's pen of choice. They are all over the place. Sharpie now makes one for them. It bears a replica of the president's signature on the barrel of the pen. That I noticed by just looking at his inbox in the Oval Office."

Crayola must be pissed. They would have loved to have that endorsement, whether it was an official endorsement or not.

Also, WHO THE FUCK WRITES WITH A SHARPIE?! No wonder Iraq and New Orleans are such a mess - no one can read their own, or anyone else's, handwriting.

"Hmmm, I could have sworn I wrote down, 'Danger, Michael Brown is a clueless knob,' but now that I read it, it looks more like, 'Dapper Michael Brown doing a heckuva job.' That's strange."
House Renews Antiterror Law, but Opposition Builds in Senate

Ms. Stolberg, were you in a rush when you wrote the following? Too hasty to think back to how the legislation about the Department of Homeland Security was drafted, revised, etc.?

Emphasis added.

The vote is also laden with political implications for Democrats, who suffered at the polls in 2002 after defeating legislation to create a Department of Homeland Security. Republican backers of the bill are taking pains to remind Democrats of that, as did Ken Mehlman, the head of the Republican National Committee.

I seem to recall that the Democrats pushed for the DHS and Bush resisted. Later on, when Bush wanted to take ownership of the effort, he had a poison pill (an anti-union measure) entered in the legislation. The Dems would not swallow the poison pill, and Bush and the GOP have been taking credit for the DHS and slamming the Dems ever since.

Please be more precise in your descriptions. And please do not claim that this is a "partisan view" of what happened. I may be partisan, but my description above is absolutely objective.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Pinko Froomkin

Goddamn, that Froomkin is such a liberal. Here he is, clearly advocating for nationalized health care and guaranteed retirement payments for all Americans.

Reporting that President Bush steered clear of the White House's own Conference on Aging yesterday -- making him the first president ever to do so -- fell to the regional newspapers and NPR, not the big guys [...for example...] the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, or even on the Associated Press or Reuters wires.

It turns out that had Bush attended, he would have been facing a very hostile audience.

What's that you say? The words "nationalized health care" and "guaranteed retirement payments" don't actually appear in Froomkin's comments? Oh they are there, alright, although well hidden. You are just applying your own ideological viewpoint if you can't see his obvious slant.

Bless me, but more imporantly pay attention and fear my influence

Post reporters Jonathan Weisman and Alan Cooperman pick through the rhetorical and ideological vomit of the "religious" right to see if there is anything solid in that mess.

A Religious Protest Largely From the Left
Conservative Christians Say Fighting Cuts in Poverty Programs Is Not a Priority

Dobson also has praised what he calls "pro-family tax cuts." And Janice Crouse, a senior fellow at the Christian group Concerned Women for America, said religious conservatives "know that the government is not really capable of love."

"You look to the government for justice, and you look to the church and individuals for mercy. I think Hurricane Katrina is a good example of that. FEMA just failed, and the church and the Salvation Army and corporations stepped in and met the need," she said.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said the government's role should be to encourage charitable giving, perhaps through tax cuts.

"There is a [biblical] mandate to take care of the poor. There is no dispute of that fact," he said. "But it does not say government should do it. That's a shifting of responsibility."

The Family Research Council is involved in efforts to stop the bloodshed in the Darfur region of Sudan as well as sex trafficking and slavery abroad. But Perkins said those issues are far different from the budget cuts now under protest. "The difference there is enforcing laws to keep people from being enslaved, to be sold as sex slaves," he said. "We're talking here about massive welfare programs."

The forgotten Beatitudes:

Blessed are those who trust in supply-side economics, for they shall gain access to the halls of power.
Blessed are those who oppose government programs, for they shall be given Grover Norquist's mailing lists.
Blessed are those who claim to be pious, for they shall get undue influence on the national discourse.

Bizarro journalism

Froomkin clearly has a lot of dedicated fans, and therefore does not really need me to chime in here. But I'm a-gonna anyway.

Jay Rosen has a piece on the whole "Post White House reporters are a bunch of whining sissies" flap. Watch as John Harris betrays that his concern is for his sources, not his readers, and be amazed as he contradicts himself in the span of only three sentences! (My emphasis added.)

John Harris: I don’t keep a running log, but I regularly run across people who think Dan is one of our White House reporters. One of them was a very news-saavy source of mine who actually runs campaigns. That tells me there is a large chunk of readers—I’m not saying most but a lot—who are not clear who he is and that he is writing as a commentator and not a White House reporter.


John Harris: They have never complained in a formal way to me, but I have heard from Republicans in informal ways making clear they think his work is tendentious and unfair. I do not have to agree with them in every instance that it is tendentious and unfair for me to be concerned about making clear who Dan is and who he is not regarding his relationship with the newsroom.


...This is probably why my comments caused such a stir: People bridled at what they interpreted as my view that challenging the White House on evasions, misstatements, or contradictions is evidence of “liberalism.” By no means is that my view.

So my reservations about “White House Briefing” are not in theory but in practice. It seems to me that if you read his column over time he is presenting a pretty standard liberal critique of Bush.

He's not sayin', he's just sayin!

Reading the whole thing, both Harris and Brady agree that Froomkin is a liberal, but refuse to take Rosen up on his request for specific examples. Sorry, Mr. Froomkin, you've been found "liberal" without any evidence - you may now be dismissed as a partisan. Thanks for trying, though!