Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 22, 2009

WEDNESDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* Happy Earth Day. President Obama has an entirely new energy framework in mind for the nation's future.

* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the Jane Harman wiretap after all.

* David Kellermann, Freddie Mac's CFO, was found dead this morning in what police described as an apparent suicide. (Fox News, for reasons that defy comprehension, is exploring alternative scenarios.)

* Good: "The Food and Drug Administration, reversing field, will allow 17-year-olds get the 'morning-after' birth control pill without a doctor's prescription, the agency announced Wednesday."

* Bob Graham, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said today prosecuting high-ranking Bush administration officials who authorized torture should not "be taken off the table."

* On a related note, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) is pleased the White House hasn't ruled out accountability for these officials, but he's like to see the president hold off on any final decisions for a little while.

* Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) don't want anyone prosecuted, no matter what crimes were committed.

* Eric Boehlert: "Does anybody else think it's odd, albeit telling, that for chunks of the corporate press corps, the emphasis surrounding the release of the Bush era torture memos is now centered on the political problems they've created for the Obama administration -- how the memos reflect poorly on the current White House -- and not, y'know, what the memos say about the administration that actually okayed the law breaking in the first place?"

* Christopher Hill was confirmed late yesterday as the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq. The final vote was 73 to 23.

* What was the single dumbest Earth Day column published in a major newspaper today? I nominate this one. (thanks to DD)

* Adam Serwer does a terrific job with this "brief, helpful guide for understanding what is and isn't fascism."

* Steve M. raises a good point: "There's no longer a point in the Republican Party where the establishment ends and the freelance ranters begin. Everyone in the GOP is now in the latter category."

* It sounds a bit like Peter Wehner wants to see terrorists vindicate his opposition to President Obama's national security policies.

* I'm going to hope Glenn Beck just doesn't know what "erotic" means. If he does, this is more than a little creepy.

* And just another reminder for anyone who might care, it appears I'm getting started with Twitter. I'm still figuring out what I'm doing, so keep expectations low, but feel free to sign up if you're interested.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (42)

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Comments

"Does anybody else think it's odd, albeit telling, that for chunks of the corporate press corps, the emphasis surrounding the release of the Bush era torture memos is now centered on the political problems they've created for the Obama administration -- how the memos reflect poorly on the current White House -- and not, y'know, what the memos say about the administration that actually okayed the law breaking in the first place?"

Exactly!

Posted by: Chris on April 22, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

David Kellermann, Freddie Mac's CFO, was found dead this morning in what police described as an apparent suicide.

Ah, going Galt, EXTREME STYLE!

Posted by: doubtful on April 22, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

The "single dumbest Earth Day column" -- is in the paper that, when Molly Ivins' Dallas paper went belly up, she moved over to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to avoid. Now we know why. Too bad she's no longer around -- be great to hear her laughter.

Posted by: ericfree on April 22, 2009 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Fox News, for reasons that defy comprehension, is exploring alternative scenarios.

Do you not comprehend they still thing Vince Foster was murdered by our current Secretary of State?

Posted by: martin on April 22, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

"David Kellermann, Freddie Mac's CFO, was found dead this morning in what police described as an apparent suicide. (Fox News, for reasons that defy comprehension, is exploring alternative scenarios.)"

Kellermann obviously got on the wrong side of Michelle Obama.

Posted by: Ross Best on April 22, 2009 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

We have also strongly opposed the overly coercive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, that these memos deemed legal. - McCain, Lieberman, Graham

Question for any lawyers out there - Does "deem" have a legal meaning? It seems like a word I associate more with judges than advising attorneys.

Posted by: danputnam@verizon.net on April 22, 2009 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

* Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) don't want anyone prosecuted, no matter what crimes were committed. -- Steve Benen

Um... Steve... You suddenly got a crush on Senator Paskudnik (also known as LIEberman)? That letter has been signed by all three best buddies and Iraq experts...
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/04/trio_of_senators_ask_obama_not_to_prosecute_bush_a.php

Posted by: exlibra on April 22, 2009 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Remember poor Vince Foster who the RepugNuts spent 8 years trying to convince sane people that Bill Clinton murdered?

Well that's probably where Fox is going with Kellermann's suicide.

The RepugNuts caused untold misery for Foster's friends and family by repeatedly publicizing his death and pandering cock and bull theories about his murder by Clinton. The MSM instead of protecting Foster's grieving survivors, reopened the wound of their loss and probed and prodded into their grief and privacy on the extremely remote possibility that their masters, the Republican party, might be right. Then the MSM would have a really big scoop.

I hope the Democrats and the not MSM media take the MSM and the Repugs to task this time around and help try to protect this man's family.

Posted by: Marnie on April 22, 2009 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, looks like the Clinton rules are back. The death of anyone who a) ever met the Obamas, b) comes from Chicago c) comes from Hawai'i, d) comes from Kenya or e) has been in the news for any reason since last election day, will be presumed to have been whacked by the Obamas till proven otherwise. And the absolute absence of any evidence whatsoever for those claims will not for one minute even slow down their repetition. At least Jerry Falwell is dead and can't make a sleazy video that he markets with deceptive commercials. But I'm sure there is some other man of God willing to blithely ignore the Commandment against false witness for the greater glory of the conservative movement.

Posted by: T-Rex on April 22, 2009 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Eric Boehlert: "At least the corporate media has the virtue of staying bought."

The Bush administration may be gone, but the wingnut stranglehold on a vast percentage of the MSM means that they will continue to act as both sword and shield for the Bush/Cheney/Rove cabal for as long as they possibly can.

So can we start the anti-monopoly hearings on Capitol Hill NOW???

Posted by: Curmudgeon on April 22, 2009 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Why do you want to join the Twitter Twits Brigade, Steve? You craving the company of guys like this:
http://tinyurl.com/dyu6c5
If it can be said in 140 characters (or fewer), then it's a bumper sticker and, probably, not worth saying at all.

Posted by: exlibra on April 22, 2009 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK
Eric Boehlert: "Does anybody else think it's odd, albeit telling, that for chunks of the corporate press corps, the emphasis surrounding the release of the Bush era torture memos is now centered on the political problems they've created for the Obama administration -- how the memos reflect poorly on the current White House -- and not, y'know, what the memos say about the administration that actually okayed the law breaking in the first place?"

What is even more odd is that even the critics of this behavior describe what the Bush Administration did as "okaying breaking the law" rather than "breaking the law".

Its not like the issue here is that Bush Administration gave a free pass to people who broke the law on their initiative.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 22, 2009 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

TRex nails it, and it's hard to disagree. But I'm a little bit excited to see this torture story finally getting some traction in the lame-stream media. msn.com has a front page story today asking "Were Soldiers Scapegoated in 'Torture' Cases?", which is exactly the kind of question that rational people were asking at the time. Believe me, if this story really gets rolling, the media giants will act like they uncovered the whole thing--"America was in the dark about all the corrupt Bush/Cheney activity until we came along and uncovered the story."

The story unfolded before all our eyes, but those asstards couldn't or wouldn't see it. That means they're either duplicitous or wicked stupid. Not that these are mutually exclusive traits, especially among the glassy-eyed Foxnews mannequins.

****
TRex wrote: Yep, looks like the Clinton rules are back. The death of anyone who a) ever met the Obamas, b) comes from Chicago c) comes from Hawai'i, d) comes from Kenya or e) has been in the news for any reason since last election day, will be presumed to have been whacked by the Obamas till proven otherwise. And the absolute absence of any evidence whatsoever for those claims will not for one minute even slow down their repetition.

Posted by: BigFagontheRag on April 22, 2009 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Happy Earth Day. President Obama has an entirely new energy framework in mind for the nation's future.

Is that a quote from a new Orwell novel?

Posted by: Razor on April 22, 2009 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Were Soldiers Scapegoated in 'Torture' Cases?"

Yes! Jesus! It wasn't an isolated incident nor was it done in seclusion. My question is how and why did those soldiers decide to take the rap? Were they tortured, too??

Posted by: MissMudd on April 22, 2009 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Torture, wiretapping, illegal rendition (which were all in Orwell's novel)...IOKIYAR!

Building a sustainable energy grid? Where'd Obama get that, 1984?!?!! A FascoCommie Plot!

Really, the most dishonest and intellectually stunted people in the world. Every single one of them.

Posted by: Jay B. on April 22, 2009 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

My question is how and why did those soldiers decide to take the rap? Were they tortured, too??

They seemed to have been sentenced according to how responsible they were for either staging what became public, or defending themselves publicly. As far as the Bush administration was concerned, that was the crime.

Posted by: Danp on April 22, 2009 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Lieberman,Graham, McCain"

The Three Stooges strike again; profound apologies to the real Three Stooges.

Posted by: Ken on April 22, 2009 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK
On a related note, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) is pleased the White House hasn't ruled out accountability for these officials, but he's like to see the president hold off on any final decisions for a little while.

Delaying a criminal probe to let a Congressional probe destroy the possibility for criminal accountability isn't generally a good idea. If there were an active criminal investigation, it would make more sense to delay a Congressional probe while it proceeded than the reverse.

Assuming, of course, you don't put showboating over accountability.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 22, 2009 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

This is a watershed moment for our country in my opinion. Since we spent the last 8 years explaining things in black and white terms, it should be very simple to understand this:

The law was broken. The perpetrators have been identified. Do you investigate and prosecute or not? Is the law subjective? Arbitrary?

If so, then every law on the books invalid.

If someone can torture someone, why can't I go rob a liquor store?


Posted by: citizen_pain on April 22, 2009 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

The MSM instead of protecting Foster's grieving survivors, reopened the wound of their loss and probed and prodded into their grief and privacy on the extremely remote possibility that their masters, the Republican party, might be right. Then the MSM would have a really big scoop.

uh, don't confuse richard mellon scaife or christopher ruddy with anything mainstream, unless of course you consider extreme right lunatics as mainstream...

Posted by: mudwall jackson on April 22, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Twitter? What, filling up my live bookmark (RSS) once a day isn't enough?

Posted by: beep52 on April 22, 2009 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

* Happy Earth Day. President Obama has an entirely new energy framework in mind for the nation's future. -- Steve Benen

And a neat T-shirt to go with it :)

https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/dnc08newenergyshirt?source=20090421_NET_E

Posted by: exlibra on April 22, 2009 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of twittering go outside and listen to real birds twitter. I think you can deprive the blogosphere of your every thought for a couple of moments please. Twittering is for twitwits. What's next, direct wifi transmission of the neurons firing in your cerebellum nano second by nano second? The blogosphere is getting to be like cable tv: not enought quality moments to avoid re-runs like Gilligans Island or the Beverly Hillbillies. Please, lets voluntarily limit our mindless immersion in the deepening narcissus of online neurology. If you must, write some poetry or haiku.

Posted by: mickster on April 22, 2009 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Olbermann interviews Karpinski

Posted by: MissMudd on April 22, 2009 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

mickster, yesterday I went out to the Mojave and gazed at cinder cones and cactus blooms. Does that count?

Posted by: MissMudd on April 22, 2009 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

You commentariati don't seem very interested in this Jane Harman story. I know we'd like to believe the best (?), but aiding foreign lobbyists and for favors is not cool.

Posted by: Neil B ‼ on April 22, 2009 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

MissMudd: Your original haiku read:

yesterday I went out to the Mojave and gazed at cinder cones and cactus blooms

However he rules of haiku are three lines as follows:

5 7 5 syllables.

So I reworked your original above as follows:

In the Mojave
desert I gazed at cinder
cones and cactus blooms

I think the above has the appropriate counts. A little more work and I think you've got it. But a very good start.

Thanks or your thoughtful reply.

Posted by: mickster on April 22, 2009 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

I thought it was very courageous of sen. John Ensign to let everyone know that even gay republicans support torture and are against "democratic" witch hunts.

Posted by: Ned Pepper on April 22, 2009 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

An open-thread question: Some conservative friends (I do have), say the Geneva conventions (maybe they mean Hague) only apply to uniformed enemy combatants etc. Do you have resources to show the language forbidden things like torture in general, against "anyone", and what articles refer to those who aren't UECs etc? tx, these talking points are needed all over.

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on April 22, 2009 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Please! Just say no to Twitter. It's only for twits.

Posted by: Paul Camp on April 22, 2009 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you back, Mick :)

Posted by: MissMudd on April 22, 2009 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

* Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) don't want anyone prosecuted, no matter what crimes were committed.***************

McLame, I just found the guys who tortured YOU, and the men that told them to do it. Also found the men who tortured thousands of other brave Americans. (You know, the guys that you gave all that really good, quality information to; when you named the Green Bay Packers offensive linemen as your fellow soldiers). Yep, you are living proof, torture works oh so well. Anyway, the torturers said that it's all in the past, so it is old news. And anyway, sometimes you just gotta keep walk'in, so you can't touch them. Right now they are counting their stocks and shares and sipping champagne, with both of their good arms and hands. But I'm sure you understand, right? They only did it for their national security.

Posted by: Get Real on April 22, 2009 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with citizen_pain.

Republican'ts: Soft on Crime

Spread it along.

Posted by: Impeach Jay Bybee on April 22, 2009 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

An open-thread question: Some conservative friends (I do have), say the Geneva conventions (maybe they mean Hague) only apply to uniformed enemy combatants etc. Do you have resources to show the language forbidden things like torture in general, against "anyone", and what articles refer to those who aren't UECs etc? tx, these talking points are needed all over.
Posted by: Neil B ☺ on April 22, 2009 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK****************************

I can't give you resource, but torture is against the law, international and US. It is also against our constitution. Beyond that, it is abhorrent and immoral. The shrub kept saying, "We don't torture!" He lied. We did and broke the law in the process. I thought the repukes were the 'moral party', the 'culture of life' party, the 'family values' party, the 'party of Jesus'. They relentlessly and mercilessly tortured men, waterboarding some up to 6X/day for a month. My God. Why? to protect us? No, to protect themselves. They wanted to torture out a confession, true or not, that they could use to link Iraq to Al-qaeda. They gave us preemptive war based on lies, torture in our name, illegal spying on US citizens, extraordinary rendition, outing one of our own CIA agents, and on and on. These thugs are criminals and belong in jail. Period. UEC or not, it violates our US values and principles, and is inherently UnAmerican.

Posted by: Get Real on April 22, 2009 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

This is a watershed moment for our country in my opinion. Since we spent the last 8 years explaining things in black and white terms, it should be very simple to understand this:

The law was broken. The perpetrators have been identified. Do you investigate and prosecute or not? Is the law subjective? Arbitrary?
If so, then every law on the books invalid.

If someone can torture someone, why can't I go rob a liquor store?
Posted by: citizen_pain on April 22, 2009


It's OK to go rob that liquor store, but for a small fee I must first "advise" you as to go about it in non-illegal way.
Yours Truly,
Dick®

Posted by: dick on April 22, 2009 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

The law was broken. The perpetrators have been identified. Do you investigate and prosecute or not? Is the law subjective? Arbitrary?
If so, then every law on the books invalid.If someone can torture someone, why can't I go rob a liquor store?
Posted by: citizen_pain on April 22, 2009*******************

Because...,torture. It's only OK when the US government does it! -WCW go to
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1170/t/3716/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1918 to help us push to prosecute the bush war crimes.

Posted by: Get Real on April 22, 2009 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Steve. I love following your blogs because they provide facts and analyses, which prime me against one fellow in my Chem class who claims he's not a republican, but screams I'm such a liberal because I "watch nothing but Rachael Maddow and MSNBC". *Sigh* Just another Rethuglican.


Anywho. I just have to say I dislike Twitter, because I just think it's a stupid concept. And I don't like how there's no links to the interesting "tweets"(?) you put up. Just providing my opinion and comment.


Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Katie on April 22, 2009 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

Man. Specter quoting Rove today was probably the most humiliating thing I have seen a GOP politician do since they stopped giving airport handjobs to strangers.

The GOP has COMPLETELY melted down--but they still have dead air to fill on their now useless media organs. Know-Nothings. No-Nothings. No. Nothing. Void. Test Pattern.

Posted by: Sparko on April 22, 2009 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

[...] fellow in my Chem class who claims he's not a republican, but screams I'm such a liberal[...] -- Katie, @23:48

Funny, how so much depends on perception, no? I've always thought of myself as moderate but, back in Poland, I was considered to be a "revisionist", almost in the capitalist pigs' pocket. Here, my husband refers to me as a "flaming commie", even though he, himself, is a self-described "yellow dog Democrat"...

Posted by: exlibra on April 22, 2009 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Neil,

"Some conservative friends (I do have), say the Geneva conventions (maybe they mean Hague) only apply to uniformed enemy combatants etc."

That's just another RightWing Straw Man:

UN Convention Against Torture

Posted by: Joe Friday on April 23, 2009 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

the most humiliating thing I have seen a GOP politician do since they stopped giving airport handjobs to strangers.

Oh, come now, Spark. One got caught is all. The rest don't believe it can happen to them.

Posted by: shortstop on April 23, 2009 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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