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March 12, 2006

Comments

Done! Thanks for the post.

Frist's response:

here we are, the Republican Party, the leadership in the Congress, supporting the President of the United States as Commander in Chief, who is out there fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and the people who have sworn, have sworn to destroy Western civilization and all the families listening to us. And they’re out now attacking, at least today, through this proposed censure vote, out attacking our Commander in Chief.

He is NOT our Commander in Chief. He is the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military. Not of the citizens of the United States, and not of the U.S. Congress. And the fact that he apparently really is Bill Frist's commander-in-chief just shows that Frist is completely unfit for his position.

John Warner's response was to accuse Feingold of "political grandstanding" and point out that he's a potential candidate in 2008. To which I say: whatever. If you were talking about Evan Bayh or whoever doing this that might have some credibility, but Russ freaking Feingold? The politician in D.C. most likely to inspire people to b*tch about how he's too much of an earnest boy scout? The guy who voted against the PATRIOT Act in October 2001, for John Ashcroft, and against dismissing Clinton's impeachment charges? Who was questioning Alberto Gonzales about this program before anyone knew it existed? I think he may actually be just a little upset about the idea that the President can secretly ignore criminal laws if he wants to.

Senators really, really need calls on this one. Carl Levin wasn't supporting it on CNN because he wanted to wait for the results of the Senate intelligence committee investigation. (Since the Senate intelligence committee just decided against having an investigation I'm not sure what he meant). Levin is usually pretty solid and trustworthy on stuff like this--if he's wavering that means that there's no Senator who doesn't need a phone call.

Let's all do it. Feingold is absolutely right on the merits here, and he absolutely needs support. I'll be on the phone tomorrow.

this is 2/3 off-topic, but while people are calling their Senators, they might also suggest:

1) they vote against and be prepared to filibuster DeWine's terrible NSA bill.

2) they vote against and be prepared to filibuster anything resembling a Senate version of James Sensenbrenner's odious immigration bill, H.R. 4437.

3) they cosponsor/vote for the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, S. 1033.

I'm wondering if, after the Cuellar/Ciro campaign, if it would be possible to donate to some organization (but which?) and say that this is in support of X. I can see some good points and bad points about this. Discuss?

"Dear Russ,

Just what we needed. Very high-minded of you to refuse the usual gratuity--I'll drop a few bucks on some Widows and Orphans group in your name.

Yours In Darkness,

KR"

Heh, Scott. But I find that interesting because Rove doesn't seem to be a money man, but more an ideas guy, though he was put in charge of the Katrina reconstruction effort.

I just assumed that he had to be mailing checks out at a frightful pace: some of the things that McAuliffe, Dean, & Co. have said and done over the past five years can only really be explained by massive bribes--or serious blackmail material. . .at least the equivalent of threatening to publicly remind everyone that an actor appeared in Highlander 2 or Baseketball.

Scott, the upside to being as good at winning elections as the GOP is at governing is that it can be strangely liberating: why base everything around guesses about what makes you "electable" when you have such a terrible, terrible, terrible track record about guessing correctly? Why not just do the right thing and stand up for the law and the Constitution? It won't work worse than anything else we've tried. It might even work better.

Not this has penetrated in D.C., mind you. Even with Bush's approval rating at 36%, many if not of the Democrats in Congress fold as soon as Karl Rove yells "psych! psych!" in their ear. But I am just completely unmoved by these arguments. And I don't think Feingold really gives a damn either.

Not to say that I don't think smart tactics and politics matter. They matter a lot, in the sense of actually getting what you want on the issues. For instance, Feingold is absolutely right to call for censure rather than for impeachment, and as happy as I am with him now I'd have been annoyed if he'd done that. But the idea that you can't stand up for the most fundamental human rights or constitutional principles at all, because the voters are too stupid or selfish to be convinced by your views--if you think that, you just shouldn't be in politics.

Stream of conciousness here, but I'm reminded of a story when I was Madison about 10 years ago. Evidently, a group of teens found out that one branch of a clothing store was selling levis at a reduced price, while another one didn't have a discount. They bought the cheap ones and returned them for a refund at the other branch to make maybe a $5 profit. Someone (perhaps a letter to the editor?) pointed out that the teens were simply doing what people do in arbitrage, and they were getting arrested for it. (Don't know what the outcome of the case was)

I know, this isn't what Allen did, but it just tickled my memory.

Spanish politics.

And obviously in the wrong thread. Sorry about that.

Call and ask whether they support Feingold's resolution.

Since my Senator is Feingold, I'll withhold the question :) Probably call up to thank him, though, and maybe call Kohl as well to get his sorry ass in shape.

since my Senators are Dole and Burr, i'll not waste my time.

after Rove told his audience, at that speech, that 'the left' was working for the enemy (or whatever phrase he used) i sent Dole a letter asking if she agreed with him.

she did.

I watched Feingold on Stephanopoulos. George destroyed him. Feingold actually seemed to support our President's stance on national defence and acted like the Censure was a newspaper to the nose of a loved pet that just pooped on the carpet. He's probably going to get just the opposite of what he intended - more of a Murtha Effect. At least we can trust Feingold won't vote against his own action. Thank you Russ, we love you.

My dear liberal ignoramuses,

In your "myopic zeal" to "get" President Bush you are, once again, exposing your rank ignorance of, and contempt for, the law, civics and the United States constitution.

President Bush, unlike President Clinton, cannot be impeached, because President Bush, unlike President Clinton, has done NOTHING illegal. And he has done NOTHING even approaching worthy of censure.

Russ Feingold and the rest of the dishonest, treasonous, contemptible, loathesome slime that make up today's reprehensible Democratic party (with a handful of noteable exceptions), most of whom surely know better (some of whom are as mindless and ignorant of American Constitutional law as yourselves), are depending on your ignorance to convince you otherwise--purely for partisan political gain. Once again showing that there is nothing they won't do to get back in power--no lie they won't tell, no low they will not stoop to, no damage they will not do to America--even endagering our security--in their lust to regain power.

For your education and edification, (the one you didn't get because liberal policies have destroyed the public school system) let's review some remedial civics:

1. Congress cannot supersede the Constitution by writing a law. Ever. Period. If they want to change the Constitution, they must pass a Constitutional Amendment, which must pass both houses of Congress by at least a two-thirds majority and must also be ratified by three-fourths of the collective states.

2. The president's powers as commander-in-chief don't come from congress, they do not come from a congressional act, they don't come from thin air, they come from and are granted solely to the executive branch by the US Constituion.

3. Congress can write as many laws as they want, all day long, trying to change the President's constitutional powers, but they can no more change his presidential powers with a law than the president can change congress' powers with an executive order.

(It is in FACT power-hungry, treasonous Democrats in congress that are making an unconstitutional power-grab, not the President. He is merely exercizing his constitutional powers, they are lying in order to undermine the President so they can get back in power. That our nation is at war and that they are treasonously undermining that war effort is of little concern to them.)

4. the federal courts are the final arbiters of the law and the constituion--not congress. And the federal courts have ruled on the issue of wiretapping several times already. And in every instance they have ruled that it is completely legal, perfectly constitutional, and indeed, necessary for the president to wiretap international calls when national security dictates, EVEN without a warrant, EVEN when one end of the conversation is in the United States.

And THAT is what we're talking about, NOT "domestic wiretapping" as liberal liars and their ignorant minions keep saying. (So no, hate to break it to you, but the cases of John Kennedy wiretapping Martin Luther King Jr. and Nixon's domestic wiretapping ARE NOT RELEVANT. Those were illegal. Listening to al qaida talking to people in America is not! But once again, liberal liars keep bringing up those irrelevant cases because they are counting on confusing you ignorant minions.)

5. Rather than list all the federal court cases, I will quote the most recent, which sums up ALL the other cases very nicely:

In 2002, the federal courts ruled, in a case known as "Sealed Case No. 02-001":

"The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. It was incumbent upon the court, therefore, to determine the boundaries of that constitutional authority in the case before it. We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA [the foreign intelligence surveillance act] could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power. "

In fact, the CLOSEST thing president Bush has done to an illegal act is not prosecuting DEMOCRAT Sandy Berger to the full extent of the law when he stole and destroyed national security documents to prevent the 9/11 commission and the American people from finding out the truth about the REAL corruption and ineptitude that was the Clinton administration and not prosecuting the many treasonous acts several Democrats have committed in their desperation to get back in power at any expense! Sandy Berger should be rotting in prison! Where is your outrage at his blatant criminal cover-up?

Thank God that while you ignorant children are playing your traitorous and ENDLESS game of "gotcha" at the expense of what's best for America, and at the expense of national security, we have adults running the show in the White House who rise above your utterly loathesome behavior.

And when this issue does come before the courts, and the administration's argument is upheld, will you hold Russ Feingold responsible for undermining America and endangering our national security? of course not. Because your ignorance of national security is as deep as your ignorance of the Constitution, you will rationalize it away without a second thought, oblivious to the larger issues. And by then you will have moved on to new phony charges. How do I know? because its all youve been doing for the past six years. The bipartisan Senate Intelligence committee proves that not only did Bush not lie about Iraq seeking uranium, but that Joe Wilson was blatantly lying--did you hold Joe Wilson accountable? Of course not. You brushed it off as no big deal and started your search for your next phony "gotcha"! An utterly childish and contemptible game you have been playing ceaselessly.

Anyone who wants to is perfectly entitled to disagree that the Iraq War was the right thing to do. And to say so as loudly, and as often as you want. But you people have gone waaaay beyond that. You are so eager to "get" President Bush for something...for ANYTHING... that you are repeatedly undermining your own country in the process. You are putting your politics ahead of your country. THAT, not your disagreement, not voicing your opinion, not excercising your right to free speech, but all your repeated attempts to undermine your country in the process just to "get" the President--THAT is unAmerican, lothesome and reprehensible! and you people should be ashamed of yourselves. I am ashamed of you. I am ashamed you are Americans. Everyone should be. Grow UP!!!!!

I'd like to thank the representatives of the "Republican wing" of the Republican Party for their thoughts on this matter.

See, the sleeping dog awakes.

Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

George destroyed him.

That I'd have to see. George destroying a teacup poodle would be something to see, come to think of it.

You can probably sense that my opinion of Stephanopoulos is rather low. Hopefully that came across, anyway.

Will, you're in violation of the posting rules. If you wish to discuss things here, please review them and comply, and you'll be welcome to offer further thoughts in a way that's not insulting to other posters.

My dear liberal ignoramuses

i think it's nice when the first sentence of a long post gives me an excuse to take a pass on the rest of it. time is precious...

bbm,
The video is here. You may want to check to see if you are watching the same thing. And the way Frist responded, he certainly didn't think it was just a rolled up newspaper.

Will,
I have different view from yours on your cite of Sealed Case 02-001. The link is on the Wikipedia page and on page 15, it says

Although the Truong court acknowledged that “almost all foreign intelligence investigations are in part criminal” ones, it rejected the government’s assertion that “if surveillance is to any degree directed at gathering foreign intelligence, the executive may ignore the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.” (emphasis mine)

I also think that page 33, where they shred the government's contention that no legitimate distinction between foreign intelligence and law enforcement, has something to do with this.

The section you quote is on page 48 and the discussion on following pages refine the point so it is substantially less telling than you claim it to be. In fact, the decision argue that "The Truong court misconceived the government's interest and moreover, did not draw a more appropriate distinction...' which the review suggests that the FISA did.

Orin Kerr, no 'liberal ignoramus' as you so charmingly put it, has this

I have been unable to find any caselaw in support of this argument. Further, the argument has no support from the cases cited in the government's brief. In all three of those cases — Butenko, Truong, and Keith - the Courts were talking about whether the President's interest in conducting foreign intelligence monitoring creates an exception to the Warrant Requirement of the Fourth Amendment. In other words, the issue in those case was whether the Constitution bars warrantless surveillance absent Congressional action, not whether Congressional prohibitons in this area cannot bind the Executive branch.

Furthermore, those cases were deciding if the President could authorize such surveillance for national security where there was no authorization. With the FISA constitutionality approved by the very document you cite, it would seem that it does summarize the state of play quite nicely, but unfortunately exactly the opposite of the way you contend. However, IANAL, so I turn it over to those who are better versed in this.

questions for those who believe FISA is unconstitutional:

1) is the Uniform Code of Military Justice unconstitutional?
2) is the Anti-Torture statute unconstitutional?
3) why/why not/under what circumstances?

No, lj, I don't need to watch it again. In light of slarti's response, George was a veritable junk yard dog relative to his usual softball self. Even George could smell Murtha all over this one. But who knows, maybe Feingold can get Cindy Sheehan to run point for him. Caricatures abound.

bbm,
the "junkyard dog" aspect was 'why aren't you asking for impeachment?' That is clearly a non-starter given the republican majority. Perhaps I am misreading things, but this seems like smart politics, proposing something that Republicans can express their distance from the president.

btw, Firedoglake has a few updates and additional numbers.

OT Breaking news,
the Moussaoui judge, Brinkema just recessed the death penalty trial because of government coaching of witnesses.

That is clearly a non-starter given the republican majority.

I disagree. One might characterize it as a non-finisher, but hardly a non-starter. If the President truly has broken the law (I'm still not convinced this is the case, JFTR) and Democrats are silenced just by being in the minority, they may as well just hang it up with respect to every other issue as well.

A motion to impeach gets you and your issue visibility, at least, while doing nothing tends to communicate that you're going along with things, even if reluctantly.

None of the above ought to be construed as me offering my advice to Democrats, just to be clear.

I've recently re-learned this lesson, though: that being right is not enough. What you have to do is convince others that you're right. If I had advise to offer, then, it would be this: stand firm, and persuade.

It seems like an 'all in' proposal. With the opposition party basking in the port deal phenomena, why bring up the data mining situation, which the populace isn't nearly as strongly against. Can't anybody here play this game?

But censure gets you visibility, too, without inspiring the visceral reaction that the word "impeachment" arouses.

It's not that Feingold is afraid to take a stand - he was the lone dissenter on the 99-1 vote in favor of the Patriot Act, after all. But he is playing smart politics here.

The way the media plays "gotcha" is that they try to get you to take the most extreme version of your position ("if you favor censure, why not impeachment?"). If you refuse, then you're unprincipled; if you agree, then you're out of the mainstream. But in the real world, it's not always necessary to go to extremes. Kudos to Feingold for avoiding the trap.

I found Will's post more amusing than anything else. Such incoherent rants are about all the Bush defenders have left at this point.

But censure gets you visibility, too, without inspiring the visceral reaction that the word "impeachment" arouses.

Certainly. I was responding to LJ's suggestion that impeachment is a non-starter. I'm guessing censure will likewise fail to pass, although it will likely get a few more votes.

Will has absolutely made my day. There are a lot of criticisms that could be justly leveled at me, but 'inadequately educated' is honestly a new one.

I'm not sure what BBM means by "Murtha" effect. The way I remember the chain of events, Murthat made a statement which frightened and therefor enraged a number of rightwingers who tried to defuse his statement with a combination of smear and mockery. It didn't work and now Murtha is widely known, widely quoted, widely respected, and his opinions are, according to opipion polls, mainstream.
If Fiengold is scaring the right, I'm delighted. If they react with smears and mockery, well that's predictable. Maybe six months from now fiengold's position will be mainstream conventional wisdom. I hope so.

To tell you the truth, hilzoy, I didn't bother reading that far. I'll be happy to read the rules-compliant version if it ever emerges, but I generally disregard the noncompliant stuff.

But yes, that is to laugh. Anyone accusing hilzoy of being uneducated, unintelligent, or otherwise lacking in knowledge and acumen simply hasn't bothered themselves to discover the truth.

lily: Feingold doesn't frighten me. I'm interested in seeing how this all pans out, but I'm not scared.

Hilzoy, it depends on your definition of "education". That's what the reeducation camps will be for.

I just emailed Senator Nelson's office with a sort of "vote your conscience" urge.

There are a lot of criticisms that could be justly leveled at me, but 'inadequately educated' is honestly a new one.

Damn straight, you overadequately educated hippie, you!

Ah, the opportunity to cross swords presents itself.

JFTR I'd say that the "will" that posted above is probably not the same "will" that's posted here previously. This, based on both style and IP address.

Slarti: I probably shouldn't have used the word "frightend ( or did I say scared?) because that's an unprovable internal thing. I wasn't thinking of you anyway.. You usually come off as pretty dispassionate.

lilylily: If Fiengold is scaring the right, I'm delighted. If they react with smears and mockery, well that's predictable.

I agree with your later comment that "scared" is the wrong word. On the whole, I think most people on the right - certainly most of those who voted for Bush in 2004 - are still in deep, deep denial about what a really terrible mistake they made then. The catastrophe that is Bush's administration was clear to neutral observers from reasonably early on - certainly, before 2004. To vote for Bush anyway, despite his track record, or even because of it - suggests a depth of denial which I doubt we have yet fully plumbed.

You usually come off as pretty dispassionate.

But in denial, apparently.

He's probably going to get just the opposite of what he intended - more of a Murtha Effect. At least we can trust Feingold won't vote against his own action.

I'd like to propose a motion for everyone's immediate consideration.

The Blogbudsman Action: "Should conservatives eat liberal babies to prevent the spread of this heinous ideology?"

Please indicate your vote in the thread below. Thanks!

Anarch, I owe you an apology. I always thought your handle was a play off of 'anarchy', but now realize its 'an arch' like in that backward bend necessary to stick your head up your ass.

I'll take that as a no vote. And against your own action, yet.

And here I thought Anarch took his name from mishearing the name of John Cleese's character who had a theory about the brontosaurus ("And it's mine").

I enjoyed the heck out of Will's comment. I have long favored some relaxation of the posting rules in order to lower the level of discourse at ObsWi to something approaching the reality of American politics. But it ain't my blog.

As far as Feingold and censure is concerned, I don't compromise with tyrants and torturers, or their enablers. Only trial in the Hague for most of the White House is acceptable, no matter what the cost. As I look back on the history of successive Republican Presidents shredding the Constitution, this may be America's last chance. If we aren't into "irrevocable" yet.

Wolcott on V for Vendetta

Denby on Vendetta

A positive and a negative review of the new movie "V for Vendetta" linked for absolutely no reason at all.

Take a Stand for Your Country

Everybody else is linking Greenwald today. He approves of Feingold's censure motion, calling it a courageous stand or something. I think censure might be appropriate for oral sex in the Oval office. Illegal surveillance on American soil, refusing oversight, defying the most important laws by this habeus-destroying torturing war-criminal administration might warrant something stronger than a mild reproval.

Have we lost our minds?

Will's post kind of cheered me up, too. "Liberal politics have destroyed the public school system" ... This might come as a surprise to the Bible-belted, Rapture-ready crowd that ran the public schools in Texas when I attended them in the '60s and '70s (and still do today). They've done just fine messing up the public schools all by themselves.

Also, I want an "ignorant minions" t-shirt.

Meanwhile, off to call Clinton and Schumer.

will's post is a masterpiece. I went from thinking he was serious, to thinking he was a parody, and then back to thinking he was serious.

Firedoglake on Censure

The left blogosphere is still selling strategery, imagining just a little more public outrage than the lapdogs in Washington will win, oh maybe 3 more house seats. Not too much. Can't have the media, centrists, and moderate Republicans thinking the blogosphere wants to change the unspoken rules, or that there are crazies out there. Still playing focus group politics, the art of the permitted, not the possible.

Came a point in the sixties when people didn't care what Walter Cronkite and Scoop Jackson thought. They just did what was right, or acted out. May not have done any good, but it sure felt better than calculating the appropriate level of indignation to achieve a pathetically modest goal.

I think most people on the right - certainly most of those who voted for Bush in 2004 - are still in deep, deep denial about what a really terrible mistake they made then

Jes -- I think it's probably more accurate to say that most of those who voted for Bush in 2004 believe that things are either going well, or that things would have been going worse under Kerry. It's tough to argue with logic like that: it's like saying that Nixon would've prevented Genocide in Cambodia or something.

I called this morning. I'm very pleased about that.

Nothing doable is fierce enough for you, eh Bob? Hope you're training with firearms for when we descend to that level.

Meanwhile, Digby makes the case for why censure makes political sense.

I wouldn't expect you to understand, bbm.

Did anyone read or see Specter's response? It was bizarre. He conceded everything but the commander-in-chief argument--in part because Feingold made that case least effectively today. But if that's the case that Feingold made least effectively today, it's the one that I think is potentially most damaging for the administration over all--the one that ties this back to the torture memos & scandal & general claims of unlimited power they make & allows you to break out all the scary John Yoo quotes and demand to see copies of all the scary John Yoo memos. The AUMF argument is equally frivolous, but it's not as INTERESTING, and I think that's why the administration was so eager to shift the debate with their "White Paper."

I think Feingold can make that case, though I've always found his focus on the PATRIOT act over, say, habeas corpus, to be a little odd. Not to say he's not also better on habeas corpus than 95% of Congress.

No one's cosponsoring it so far, and a few of my designated "good guys" are saying definitively that they do not support it. Durbin seems to want to use it to create leverage for an investigation. The thing is, though, for investigation to become the middle way between doing nothing and censure, you have to have more than one lonely guy supporting censure--you have to have the Dems solidly behind it, and then maybe you get a real investigation from one of the committees, with supboenas and all (namely Judiciary. Specter's bad, but has occasional teasing glimmers of life, whereas Roberts is utterly hopeless). Which Durbin really ought to know. Sigh. They'll never get it.

Bob thinks I also don't get it. I think he's ignoring an old rule: "show, don't tell." Whatever measures you think need to be taken ultimately will have to be preceded by getting the evidence out there and getting people to listen to it. You present the evidence in a way that is most likely to get them to listen. People are listening more seriously to this than they would a call for impeachment. The idea is to change stuff, not just to feel better. Also, this is pedantic, but Feingold's a U.S. Senator. Extradition requests and articles of impeachment are outside his jurisdiction.

"Bob thinks I also don't get it."

You are right, I don't. The extremes pull the center.

Emma Goldman and Eugene Debs (and hell, Lenin) helped create Social Security and the 40-hr week. The most extreme Vietnam protesters caused the center to turn against the war. The most radical feminists created the group looking for a workable compromise on equal rights. The bombers and snipers put Alito on the bench.

The blogosphere somply calling for censure will allow 30-40 Democrats to vote against Feingold. If the blogosphere were calling for impeachment or war crimes trials with a unified voice, we might get censure.

Politics is coercion by other means.

I'm just fine and dandy with a call for impeachment, bob. Call away. If that's what it takes to get this matter resolved, so be it.

If you're going to go there, though, you could always throw in a few extra charges, such as the lying-America-into-war charge, the stealing-the-election charge, and...well, I'm sure there are others. Go whole hog. I'd settle for just the NSA bit, though.

"If that's what it takes to get this matter resolved, so be it."

Slart, I read Geneva and Hague and I see war crimes. FISA and NSA (etc), and I see grounds for impeachment. I may be mistaken, I may be crazy, but I am not going to be insincere or inauthentic out of political calculation.

If you can talk me out of those beliefs, believe me, I listen. But I will not be quiet because I scare or upset people or go too far too fast. Not am I wallowing in self-righteousness. I honestly believe more could be accomplished with a strident and shrill rhetoric. DKos and Atrios and LGF are the top blogs for a reason.

Though DKos and Atrios are supporting the call for censure, Bob. The claim that calling for censure is insincere or inauthentic is a claim that is used to try and get people on record for being for impeachment and then claiming that they are extremist and worthy of being ignored. You mention Emma Goldberg, but you should also realize that there is a reason why anarchism philosophy can be ignored and dispatched by most people and that is precisely because the points that were adopted were considered to be non-anarchist, not as a partial realization of anarchist notions. I feel that the basic values of a liberal democracy should not get consigned to the same bin as values of 'bomb-throwing anarchists'

You are right, I don't. The extremes pull the center.

Sure--but the pull goes both ways--and the backlash often exceeds any movement toward the extreme exerting the force. The KKK is an extreme group which creates a backlash in favor of civil rights every time some moron in a robe burns a cross or opens his mouth. By the same token, every time someone cackles "when we join the World Court we'll see those bastards in the White House dragged out in chains!" where they can be heard by the sane, another decimal place is added to the already vanishingly small chance that the US will join any such body any time soon (indiscretions by those in other countries with similar ambitions have similar effects, of course).

but I am not going to be insincere or inauthentic out of political calculation

Of course, I didn't say or even imply that you were doing anything of the kind. I'm just saying that as many accusations as I see flung out there, one would think at least one of them could be made to stick.

I have no doubt that you mean exactly what you say. What I am less sure of is that you're right. But, courage of convictions and all that. Throw it on out there and see what happens.

btw, I see Joe Lieberman is now against scolding people? When did that start?

"Though DKos and Atrios are supporting the call for censure, Bob."

It has been an interesting weekend. Such a concerted but uncoordinated action will give me food for thought. The left blogosphere feels just a little needy, just a little too desirous of recognition and approval. The Cuellar/Rodriguez disappointment did not help.

I don't think this was about censure. It was about Finegold, and the ground game, and respect. But the right blogosphere, tho smaller, was a factor in Miers and Dubai, and the left blogosphere is laughed at by the Durbins and Liebermans. Those dudes on the right are serious.

It's About Votes, Not Money

"The lesson for the Progressive left should be clear. Organize through your own channels, with your own leaders. Challenge in primaries. Be willing to withold support. Make threats. Follow through on them.

As long as Conservative Democrats know that they can take progressives for granted, they will do so." ...Ian Welch, BOPNews

Politics is fueled by fear.

okay, "the Durbins and Liebermans"
in the same phrase, as if they're of the same type, shows a genuine ignorance of Democratic politics. Among Democratic Senators--Durbin's not the furthest from Lieberman it's possible to be; I guess that'd be Feingold. But he's damn close.

And the reason that the weblogs focused on censure, is that there is a resolution of censure before the U.S. Senate. Do you really think a bunch of posts about how if Feingold really meant it he'd support impeachment would give his censure resolution a better chance than a bunch of earnest "call your Senators" posts? Whatever.

Also, for someone so desirous of war crimes prosecutions, I sure recall you having a pretty dim view a few months ago of the journalists, human rights organizations and lawyers who actually put themselves on the line to find out about those human rights violations. (again, not me--I just run google searches, basically.) I guess they should be stockpiling ammo, or writing darkly dramatic weblog comments, or who knows what else, instead. That'd really show em.

By the same token, every time someone cackles "when we join the World Court we'll see those bastards in the White House dragged out in chains!"

The ICC can only investigate things that happen *after* the parties involved signed the treaty. So the "world court" is totally out of the equation.

"Dick Durbin, apologizing and crying on the Senate floor for saying something that was undeniably, absolutely true. How did he arrive there? By getting sucked into the GOP's bullshit semantic games, rather than just telling them to go fuck themselves and read a little history while they're at it.

One cannot overestimate the amount of damage that image has wreaked on the party. And did he get any slack cut as a result? Hell no. Go along to get along is necessary in the Senate, except Senate Dems aren't getting along. They are just going along and still getting pantsed afterwards.

We need someone who is willing to smash the other side in the face with a shovel in 2008." ...apostropher, comment at Unfogged

You are correct, Durbin and Lieberman are poles apart.

"And the reason that the weblogs focused on censure, is that there is a resolution of censure before the U.S. Senate"

Reactive. And we will see how actually effective it is;so far Feingold can't even find a co-sponsor. I personally think Markos wants Bob Shrum's position.

"...journalists, human rights organizations and lawyers who actually put themselves on the line to find out about those human rights violations."

I never mentioned journalists or NGO's. And I simply wanted to believe that something more than the usual catalog of abuses could be accomplished in four years. But it seems to me the situation is worse now than four years ago:precedents established, Graham amendment, gulag moved to more repressive nations.

I don't award gold stars for effort.

Jeff: I think it's probably more accurate to say that most of those who voted for Bush in 2004 believe that things are either going well, or that things would have been going worse under Kerry.

As I said: they're in deep, deep denial. :-)

The KKK is an extreme group which creates a backlash in favor of civil rights every time some moron in a robe burns a cross or opens his mouth.

There are plenty of other extreme groups which, instead of creating a backlash, retrench existing extremism and help push borderline people towards the outskirts, though. Worse, extreme groups, when unopposed, can not only draw borderline people into their orbit, they can actually destabilize the political or ideological arenas near them, breaking down the attitudes and borders that define them as extreme and allow them, virus-like, to infect those nearby with the extremism until the entire notion of "center" becomes obsolete.

By way of illustration: the KKK has always been extreme but it's only in recent times that its activities have provoked civil rights backlashes. Part of the reason they do so is the constant (and well-deserved) derision and antipathy that the vast majority of us -- I want to call us the "not-insane folks", but maybe "hoi polloi" might be better -- drown them in on a regular basis. If that derision, that antipathy, that scorn were to be lifted; if we were to simply ignore them; then I'd say your cavalier dismissal of their potency would prove... unwise.

Or, to put it as simply as I can: extremist groups remain extremist only by constant vigilance, even if that vigilance is expressed by hostile indifference.

Oh, I'm not advocating ignoring them--I've been on record for a long time as believing that the best way to prevent the rise of a new Hitler is a combination of a constant flow of mockery and a metaphorical kick in the teeth whenever the law (or circumstances, where there is effectively no law) permits it. The same principle applies for lesser potential menaces--it's why I have nothing for contempt for those who whined "aw, leave them alone--can't you be a good winner!" after certain people acted like lunatics after recent elections and were appropriately savaged for it. If one wants to be left alone, the time-honored way to arrange it is to wander off alone, stay quiet, and think of a way not to be pummeled in the next confrontation--not act like an idiot and depend on the pity of one's targets.

I've been on record for a long time as believing that the best way to prevent the rise of a new Hitler is a combination of a constant flow of mockery and a metaphorical kick in the teeth whenever the law (or circumstances, where there is effectively no law) permits it.

Hm. I don't disagree with the Hitler part, I'm just wondering what record you're on? Among your acquaintances do you use phrases like "I'm on record ..."? And does it sound as pompous to them as it does here?

Bob, Durbin did a masterful job yesterday of taking Specter apart in the floor discussion of the warrantless spying. I agree with apostropher about the earlier cave; it was extremely damaging, because such a clear example of being unwilling to fight for what's worth fighting for.

Just like being unwilling to fight for the truth and the Constitution now:

Democrats, ... distancing themselves from Mr. Feingold's assertion that the president "plainly broke the law" in approving surveillance without warrants

And does it sound as pompous to them as it does here?

I couldn't tell you. . .but I'm pretty sure that they'd say that it sounds less pompous than someone who says they agree with a point, then spends another two sentences grousing about the form the point comes in.

As for the question leading to the pompous grousing in question, I'd suggest that Google exists, and that if you're interested enlightenment exists in that direction. Have at it.

And does it sound as pompous to them as it does here?

Just as a refresher:

Don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.

Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.

What legitimate purpose that question might have served is unclear. Dare I ask?

"pompous grousing"

Is Cheney visiting Argentina?

Slarti, often a straight line has to precede a laugh. bob m, thanks, that was laugh out loud for me.

What legitimate purpose that question might have served is unclear.

Why, the same legitimate purpose the remarks it followed served. Clearly stated and civily phrased, my question can be answered or not--I don't mind. But there's surely nothing offensive in the asking; least of all to anyone who believes in the medicinal use of interwub mockery to stem whiners, Hitler, and "potential lesser menaces."

When did you stop beating your wife, Paul?

Just as civilly phrased, and I'm just as unoffended asking it.

Slarti, please don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.

Consider both Paul and I warned, with future punitive action taken in the event of subsequent infractions.

Paul seemed to be joining in the conversation. You seemed to be disrupting it. For no particularly good reason, except that Paul isn't on your political side of the fence, and M.Scott is.

Paul seemed to be joining in the conversation.

Yes, sure, if you absolutely refuse to see his response as a gussied-up accusation of pomposity. You see that as acceptable? I don't.

For no particularly good reason, except that Paul isn't on your political side of the fence, and M.Scott is.

Yes, certainly, I'm completely averse to calling out those right of center. I mean, you have to look way upthread to see an example of that.

To all: please pass on commenting any further about Paul and clear space for other libs to vent their spleens and to follow Feingold over the cliff.

Sulla, the country went over a cliff a long time ago. The only question left is how long before we hit bottom.

"All right so far" said the man passing the window.

An interesting twist on the "sky is falling" view of things- "we all are falling".

Yes, I agree.

The same principle applies for lesser potential menaces--it's why I have nothing for contempt for those who whined "aw, leave them alone--can't you be a good winner!" after certain people acted like lunatics after recent elections and were appropriately savaged for it.

Strangely, assuming I read your indirect reference correctly, those who "acted like lunatics" aren't even approximately as dangerous to the country as the bulk of people who failed to act like "good winners". May I presume from your principles that you also held those people to task, and with far greater vigor?

with future punitive action taken in the event of subsequent infractions.

Eh, no blood, no foul. For "the record" I've no opinion on Mr. Eiland's pomposity or lack thereof IRL. No doubt he's a prince among men. But cheezies, I imagine very few of us have ever gone "on the record" on anything, nor would many people care if most of us did. So, yes. It's pompous rhetoric. It embarasses the angels. If some guy stopped me on the street and told me, "I'm on the record as having said George Bush would be bad news, maann," I'd snicker at him, too.

Put me on the record as not understanding what the big deal is about saying "I'm on record...". Seems like a pretty ordinary locution to me, in written language at least. Oh, can I use the word "locution", or is that too pretentious?

Strangely, assuming I read your indirect reference correctly

You didn't.

Apologies--had I known that your train of thought had been derailed at that particular station, I would have clarified the matter earlier and spared dozens of innocent keystrokes the sad fate of being expended in a moot cause.

Apologies--had I known that your train of thought had been derailed at that particular station, I would have clarified the matter earlier and spared dozens of innocent keystrokes the sad fate of being expended in a moot cause.

And yet, for all the innocent keystrokes that now rest upon your conscience, it remains unclarified.

Actually, since I merely looked at your comment and saw "underpant gnomes business plan" reasoning (A, ?, C), I merely note the error without knowing what it is you were trying to say. Perhaps some clarification on your part would enable me to describe in detail specifically *why* you were mistaken.

Actually, since I merely looked at your comment and saw "underpant gnomes business plan" reasoning (A, ?, C)...

An excellent metaphor for an entirely different conversation, seeing as how it's completely inapplicable here. At this juncture I'd normally recommend re-reading what it was that I actually wrote, but since I think we're in the middle of a cryptic-off that's far too direct a response.

Apologies--had I known that your train of thought had been derailed at that particular station, I would have clarified the matter earlier...

Perhaps some clarification on your part would enable me to describe in detail specifically *why* you were mistaken.

M Scott Eiland, meet M Scott Eiland. M Scott Eiland, meet M Scott Eiland. Perhaps the two of you can come to some agreement about what it is you're trying to say? And if we're doubly lucky, actually come out and say it?

To be fair, how to deal with extremists is something that I don't think any society has a handle on (well, there are societies that don't have any problems, but I think we can agree that their solutions are a bit, well, severe) I would suggest that everyone dial it back a few notches.

I have to say that this situation, where we have two or more people striving valiantly to out-clever each other, is one of the multiplicity of occasions where communication fails despite the best of intentions. Not throwing darts at anyone, particularly because I'm at LEAST as likely as anyone else to get myself into this sort of...well, anti-debate, but...please, as LJ suggested, let's either get off of this particular topic, or let's get into it at enough of a level of detail that everyone can figure out what's being communicated.

Please. I don't want to be the etiquette police any more than I have to, and it absolutely pains me to see people staggering around an issue like this. We can all do better. At the risk of wounding egos, even I can do better.

or let's get into it at enough of a level of detail that everyone can figure out what's being communicated.

But...

But...

But where's the fun in that??

I mean, God, if we were actually trying to communicate here, I'd actually have to think about what I was saying and make an attempt not to sound like an ass!* Instead, I'm having the time of my life -- I lead a very tragic life, you see -- stripping out identifiers and derefencers, using pronouns, avoiding writing anything concrete... I mean, it's hard to be that uncommunicative! It takes work! Practice! Suffering!** Role models!*** Have you no respect for the craft? Have you no sense of the joy of obfuscationism? At long last, have you no decency??

* Which attempt, I note, has thus far remained valiantly unattempted.

** Mostly yours.

*** Thanks, Scott!

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