Friday, May 13, 2005


Friday Blog Blogging: Back to the basics

I usually use this spot to highlight new or obscure stuff, but sometimes you have to go with the classics, if for no other reason than to remind yourself why they are classics in the first place.

Two outstanding posts on Daily Kos:

Reid under attack

by kos
Thu May 12th, 2005 at 23:41:49 PDT

Frist wants to be president bad. Really bad. And he's willing to drag down the rest of his party in order to fulfill his ambitions.

Seems that his battle over the filibuster is going so poorly, he's hired a known thief to lead a smear campaign against Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid. The first salvo has been hurled by partisan "journalist" Charles Hurt of the Washington Times.

Minority Leader Harry Reid strayed from his prepared remarks on the Senate floor yesterday and promised to continue opposing one of President Bush's judicial nominees based on "a problem" he said is in the nominee's "confidential report from the FBI."

Those highly confidential reports are filed on all judicial nominees, and severe sanctions apply to anyone who discloses their contents. Less clear is whether a senator could face sanctions for characterizing the content of such files.
And the punchline:
Republican aides pointed to Standing Rule of the Senate 29, Section 5: "Any Senator, officer, or employee of the Senate who shall disclose the secret or confidential business or proceedings of the Senate, including the business and proceedings of the committees, subcommittees, and offices of the Senate, shall be liable, if a Senator, to suffer expulsion from the body; and if an officer or employee, to dismissal from the service of the Senate, and to punishment for contempt."
And then Reid is lectured by a thief.
"Harry Reid is a disgrace to the Senate and to [his] Church of Latter-day Saints," said Manuel Miranda, who was forced to resign as a Republican Senate staffer after downloading files on judicial nominees from Democratic computer servers.
So let's take a moment to digest this.

Reid is a disgrace to the Senate and his church, and should face expulsion from the Senate, for mentioning that Judge Saad has an FBI file. Got it. That secret FBI file. The one that was discussed in the Detroit Free Press a year ago.
Levin and Stabenow testified Thursday during the private meeting. They said before the meeting that they would discuss information from Saad's FBI background check that raised doubts about his ability to serve, but they wouldn't elaborate.
The secret FBI file that was discussed by Gannet News Service also last year.
The Judiciary Committee held a private meeting to discuss Judge Saad's nomination after a routine FBI background check on the judge uncovered allegations of "very serious nature."
It is indeed an act of sleaze and desperation for Frist's office to try and use this to rally rebel Republicans to his side on the Nuclear Option.
How much you want to bet that at least some "moderate" or "neutral" so-called MSM journalists pick this up and run with it, ignoring Bush's tumbling popularity, DeLay's sleaze, Frist's incompetence, and the way the war in Iraq is going so well?

Onward (and, alas, downward):
The Extremist War on Moderates

by Armando
Thu May 12th, 2005 at 23:41:02 PDT

The Extremists in control of the Republican Party are at war with the moderates of their own party, and the moderates have started to notice:
The next squeeze, for the moderates, will be the explosive question of whether Republican leaders should change Senate rules to bar Democrats from using the filibuster, a two-century-old parliamentary tactic, to block the judicial nominees. Dr. Frist is advocating the change, and a confrontation is widely expected next week.

. . . Mr. Specter is in a particularly tight spot. He is trying to remain neutral, but as Judiciary Committee chairman is expected to advocate for the nominees. John Breaux, a centrist Democrat who was in the Senate until last year, said defying party leaders could be especially risky for a committee chairman. "They can put an awful lot of pressure on you," he said of the leaders. "They say, 'Look, you're a chairman because your party is in control, and you've got to be with the party.' So when you break with them, you have to be fast on foot to explain it."

Ms. Collins, chairwoman of the domestic security committee, is also taking that risk. Along with Ms. Snowe, she has expressed reservations about the rules change, as well as the Social Security plan. Last week, the two returned to Maine to find themselves the targets of an advertising campaign on the judicial nominees, a campaign that had the endorsement of Dr. Frist.
Can you believe that the Senate Majority Leader has approved running ads against Senators from his OWN Party? It is the Dobsons and Robertsons who run the Republican Party. The most extreme elements in the Republican Party call the shots now. But the moderates now realize it:
By this week, Ms. Collins seemed a bit worn down by that debate. "It seems like it's issue after issue this year," she said, adding that she often envies "those senators for whom everything is black and white."

Ms. Snowe, meanwhile, had a message for fellow Republicans: "Frankly," she said, "the election of the president drew from Americans who describe themselves as moderates, which is about 45 percent of Americans today. That's something we overlook at our own peril.
With due respect to Sens. Snowe and Collins, you overlook at your own peril that the head of the Republican Party is now the Reverend James Dobson of Colorado Spring, Colorado.
Another development the MSM is completely going to miss. This one is harder to figure out why, though. Keeping Bush in office is good for the corporations (at least short-term), so it figures they'd try to ignore bad news about the Republicans or at least seek distractions such as fictitious bad news about the Democrats.

But how is it in even Rupert Murdoch's personal or class interest to see America become a theocracy under the "guidance" of James Dobson and Pat Robertson? Or do he and his fellow plutocrats think they can ride the tiger? For a chilling cautionary tale of how that worked out once before, read David Abraham's The Collapse of the Weimar Republic: Political Economy and Crisis (Princeton University Press, 1981).

Or perhaps they don't give a shit, figuring that if America goes belly-up, they can simply own China or India instead. Which is a whole lot of help and comfort for the 99.9% of the country without that option.

America - especially its rational propertied classes - had better wake up soon.
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