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March 25, 2011

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At this point historians are the greatest threat to the Republican party or very good reason.

Sorry, Libya will have to wait for tomorrow or later this weekend. I have confidence it will still be being bombed by us and NATO, have no fear.

Also hoping to do a light science open thread post, but LJ filled the open thread post slot, yay!

Back more later in the weekend, I hope, but not tonight, I've gotta go. Play nicely, and please REMEMBER THE POSTING RULES.

Don't make me come hit anyone with a cluestick, okay? I'm a pacifist, mostly, as well as now a Pacificist.

And I'm really relieved that just a few hundred feet away is nuclear free zone, so it'd be illegal for me to get irradiated if I walk over there from my few hundred feet away in Oakland, where it would still be legal to nuclear bomb me.

And the science post could include this, but much more, but silly of me to promise when there's always new news every day. See ya later!

Also, I'm tweeting a bunch, if you want More Frequent Me. Plus Facebook. Just reminding you. Friend and follow me all you like!

http://www.facebook.com/gary.farber

Twitter: @GaryFarberKnows

I saw the original suggestion was in the comments of this thread at Crooked Timber, and it was that one can support Cronon by buying his book(s). Here is the Amazon link and here is the Powell's link.

The CT post also has this in regards to the Stephen Thompson who wrote the request,

About the title and idea of Republican Breakage, I'm worried that Republicans may have misunderstood the Pottery Barn rule as 'You break it, you own it' to mean that they get to keep the country.

"I saw the original suggestion"

"The" original? How so?

Also, I notice with faint annoyance that CT doesn't believe in time-stamping posts, nor is there any indication what time-zone the time-stamps in the comments are. Not that it matters significantly; it's not as if I was tracking what minute who said what, anyway; it's just that the moment I see a reference to something being "the original" of something, as in regard to chronological sequence, the next thing I think of is "well, what time are we referring to?," but it's not worth further investigation, as It Doesn't Matter. Thanks for the link, LJ!

Right now I'm distracted by the fact that I lost my phone (the cheap one, not the new Android) while, I think, in the cab on the way to dinner, but the only record I have of which cab company I called is IN THE PHONE I lost, so now I've got to see if I figure out, somehow, which company that was, and if there's some way of getting my damn phone back.

Assuming it didn't fall out of my holster somewhere else, but... anyway.

Um, if you want to link to a comment, though, maybe you could link to the actual comment, rather than just link to the post, and refer to "in the comments"?; the comments all are permalinked, after all, under the number on the right of each comment.

Hmm, looks like they're on GMT at CT, as the most recent comment as I type this is "Bill Gardner 03.26.11 at 4:54 am," comment #44.

Not sure what suggestion you're referring to, but I have to try to find what cab company I called and try to get my phone back rather more urgently than figure out what suggestion it is you have in mind. Maybe you mean Gene O'Grady 03.25.11 at 9:48 pm, #30? Where he wrote:

I’m afraid my reaction was to buy one of Mr. Cronon’s books.
?

I'm confused. (Admittedly, not a rare event.) McCarthy is notorious for utilizing the Freedom of Information Act to demand to see public documents? Who'd have thunk it...

'the original suggestion' just means 'original to me'. I didn't want to suggest that I thought of it, so I just referred people to the thread, which also allowed me to link to the CT thread rather than just the comment, because it is by a colleague of Cronon's and it is where I got the who is Stephen Thompson link. Fascinating stuff.

Seeing that Brett is using the present tense, perhaps the problem is that he thinks McCarthy is still alive. Who'd a thunk it?

Someone mentioned that this was a win-win for Republicans-- they get to both harass a professor and abuse the FOIA, which is a law they don't really like in the first place.

"Seeing that Brett is using the present tense, perhaps the problem is that he thinks McCarthy is still alive. Who'd a thunk it?"

Seeing that dead people are perfectly capable of being notorious, perhaps the problem is that LJ is just haplessly groping around for a complaint?

I think it is you that is groping around for a grammatical explanation to cover up the fact that 'McCarthy was notorious' is certainly clearer. However, if you went with that, it would kind of point to the hole in your observation.

Thought for the day: snark begets snark.

i agree with the above!! correct!! very good

I'm confused. (Admittedly, not a rare event.) McCarthy is notorious for utilizing the Freedom of Information Act to demand to see public documents? Who'd have thunk it...

Not anyone who read the post.

McCarthy is STILL notorious. Or else there'd be no point in slamming somebody by comparing them to McCarthy; People would just go, "MCarthy who?"

I found my phone, eventually, in the bushes between the yard and the sidewalk, if anyone cares. :-)

Lots going on this story, but my head is spinning for the moment, so no further updates this second, beyond what I've done. Always more to write. Besides, on to Libya!

At some point Real Soon Now. First, either more 1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6(3H,7H)-dione
3,7-dihydro-1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione or a nap.

Did I mention now I'm trying to learn WordPress, too? GOP’S RADICAL BREAKAGE CONTINUES. :-)

I tweeted my links to Prof Cronon. I suppose I could go comment on his blog....

McCarthy is notorious for utilizing the Freedom of Information Act to demand to see public documents?

I guess now I'm confused. Not sarcastic confused, just basically confused.

McCarthy died in 1957.

The FOIA was signed into law in 1966.

I'm missing something here.

I have an old copy of the ALEC playbook. Their model legislation hasn't changed much over the years. Today I published some excerpts on my blog.

Just noticed that PZ Meyers linked to this post.

Thanks for the interesting link, Zeno. I'm almost halfway through it.

Updated the post to link to you, Zeno; thanks.

Of course, I should have sent PZ the link just to my own Amygdala version, given how little traffic I get there, compared to ObWi, already, but I'm soooo generous. :-)

Geez, it's so dead around here, and every time I look at Balloon Juice there's another post every few minutes, and you can't see an open thread without 263 comments in about ten minutes.

Seems like no one comments around here any more....

Wasn't that long ago that ObWi had lots more commenters than BJ, and seems like not that long ago that John and I started out, and, oh, well.

I guess everyone talked about Cronon elsewhere on the internets?

I hear you, Gary: just remember: it isn't the quantity of comments that makes a blog readable, but the quality...

On those occasions when I visit the BJ comment section I'm generally not impressed by the quality. Maybe I've just been unlucky.

The ObiWi comment sections are a shadow of their former glory in terms of numbers, but you still get plenty of good comments in many or most threads.

Well, I guess the answer from me was: So what are they really doing to him? They asked for his emails, does he have something to hide?

His emails are public record, liberals go fishing in open records requests all the time, so what.

More important, WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO TO HIM? Take away his birthday? Turn him into a liberal martyr?

I couldn't figure out from your post how they were going to create any harm to him.

So I shrugged and read the next post.


Gary, your long-form posts are outstandingly informative, and carefully researched -- and for that very reason, they tend to end conversation on a topic instead of provoking it. There's very little to add or discuss when the basenote is a comprehensive overview with forty links and footnotes.

If you want to start a two-hundred-comment thread, post a short and witty one-link reference to one side of an arguable point, suggest one less-than-definitive line of evidence, and leave much of the evidence and most of the exposition for others to develop in the comment thread.

I agree with Donald Johnson that Balloon Juice is an inappropriate standard of comparison (unless you secretly wish for comment threads filled with pet advice and inside jokes).

I enjoy Balloon Juice, but the signal-to-noise ratio here is usually much higher.

"I guess now I'm confused. Not sarcastic confused, just basically confused.

McCarthy died in 1957.

The FOIA was signed into law in 1966.

I'm missing something here."

The post likens Wisconsin Republicans to McCarthy for... utilizing their state's FOIA to access public documents.

Gee, I wonder what would happen if someone R'd TFA? The post likens Wisconsin Republicans to McCarthy because McCarthy helped create the modern Democratic Party in Wisconsin by infuriating progressive Republicans, imagining that he could build a national platform by cultivating an image as a sternly uncompromising leader willing to attack anyone who stood in his way. Mr. Walker appears to be provoking some of the same ire from adversaries and from advocates of good government by acting with a similar contempt for those who disagree with him.

Why, it's almost as if the real basis for comparison was in the original post from the get-go, and SOMEONE is determined to be an incurious, mendacious and distracting ass.

Well, I guess the answer from me was: So what are they really doing to him? They asked for his emails, does he have something to hide?

Ah, the old, "What do you have to be afraid of? Huh? Huh?" I wonder what would happen if SOMEONE ELSE clicked over and read Cronon's blog posts on the topic where he makes clear what it is the Republicans are likely fishing for and are not going to find.

More important, WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO TO HIM? Take away his birthday? Turn him into a liberal martyr?

Probably the same thing they did to Shirley Sherrod and the president of NPR: Get him fired for nothing whatsoever.

My guess is that they'll scour the professor's e-mails for personal content, then try to get him fired/criminally charged for misappropriation of public resources (ie his e-mail).

Yeah, I know it doesn't make much sense - there's little if any incremental cost to some extra e-mails. However, that's where these things usually end up.

A good GOPster knows that it is done the other way around. Do your official stuff on a private email account not covered by open records laws! That can avoid lots of embarassing disclosures later.

Get him fired for nothing whatsoever.

If only there were some way, some organization, to protect people from arbitrary dismissal from their jobs!

The effect it would have on him specifically is to discredit him by dismissing him as a partisan. How that plays out in the media will influence his relationship with the university.
How it will effect the university is to remind them that they are a public institution subject to abuse by a political party that controls their funding.
How it will influence public employees of WI is to let them know that if they dare to speak against Republican policies they had better be "Caesars Wife", and even then it is going to be an extremely unpleasant experience for them.

It is just another step in the creation of a climate of fear that is essential to achieve the cheap labor goals of the Republican Party.

Historians are the most dangerous people in the world because they recognize the echo when they hear it. Then they try to warn us. Then they are accused of promoting what they are warning us against. Authoritarianism and the abuse of power that leads to destruction.
We have come very close to going over the edge several times in the past. I hope we wake up in time this time.

The post likens Wisconsin Republicans to McCarthy for... utilizing their state's FOIA to access public documents.

Well, no. The post likens Wisconsin Republicans to McCarthy for using the bully force of government to go on fishing expeditions for nakedly and arguably insane partisan purpose.

I guess everyone talked about Cronon elsewhere on the internets?

It's relative. The action is now on our Libyan intervention, and ObiWings has totally missed this boat. Even IOZ has a comment thread of over 150 entries.

Nothing like lefties pointing fingers at each other to generate heat.

bobbyp: The action is now on our Libyan intervention, and ObiWings has totally missed this boat.

??? What about this post with four pages of comments?

There could certainly be another post on the subject soon, but I'm not seeing how any boat is being missed if it were to come tomorrow rather than today. When is Obama's speech?

The post likens Wisconsin Republicans to McCarthy for... utilizing their state's FOIA to access public documents.
That's one way to read it, I suppose, but it's not the implication I was drawing, no.

Obviously, simply doing that is perfectly innocuous. If that's all you see, Brett, I don't think I shall bother attempting to explain further, since I already gave context.

Nell, I'd like to blog about Libya, but I've got a lot else going on in my life right now, and I'm also reading as much as I can, and I prefer to wait until I can say something worth saying, rather than rush in. I can report lots of news, but if you want commnetary, hey, I'd love to get a guest post from YOU ASAP. Shoot me one.

Bobbyp, I'm not keeping up on everything; please write as long a comment on Libya on either the open thread or the previous Libya thread. Or did you do that already?

I'm sorry that I haven't generated a Libya post, but I've got personal stuff going on today, and see above.

There's also plenty of other "action" taking place all over the world and nation, and if you're focused on just one thing, then, well, you're missing all the other stuff. There's also not a crying need to address the stuff everyone else is talking about, which maybe is what I did with Professor Cronon, since I didn't realize everyone else on the internets would be writing about him.

But neither do I want to rush in and simply say something simpleminded about Libya, and mostly I just can't do it this afternoon, and probably not today, and we'll just have to see. I'm sorry if this is unsatisfactory. How about you give us your six most interesting links you've read on "the action" about Libya? Then we could all read up on what you think the most worthwhile commentary is.

Or three would do. Or one.

Nothing like lefties pointing fingers at each other to generate heat.
Sorry, I'm not following what you're saying here. Which lefties are pointing fingers at each other where about what?

His emails are public record, liberals go fishing in open records requests all the time, so what.

Perhaps you could come up with some analogous examples of such fishing. Cronon is a public employee, but not a government officeholder, elected or otherwise. There there is no evidence of wrongdoing on his part, no involvement in public policy-making or government administration. So where are your examples? And BTW, why would such examples justify this particular intrusion?

More important, WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO TO HIM? Take away his birthday? Turn him into a liberal martyr?

I couldn't figure out from your post how they were going to create any harm to him.

Harm to Cronon is only part of the picture. The request serves to tell all University employees, including those unprotected by tenure, that if they publish material critical of Walker they will have their email pawed through by these a**holes. The fundamental message is that the WI GOP is going to punish its critics however it can.

Nell: ??? What about this post with four pages of comments?

Yeah. That one. What was the last line of that post, anyway? Americans, always forgetting history :)

Thanks, Nell.

Joel, thanks for the compliment. I'll have to work on my flame-bait. :-)

Gary,

Joe Klein (well, OK, please indulge me that he is a leftist) is skeptical. Juan Cole is all for the intervention. Alexander Cockburn sees the fingerprints of Al Quaeda. Josh Marshall is taking a somewhat critical stance. Obama supporters are, no surprise, supporters. Anarchists are, as usual, cranky opponents of Empire.

In short, the usual stew....eerily similar to the divisions seen amongst lefties during the Kosovo imbroglio.

No flame bait, please. I rise to that like a starving trout.

The effect it would have on him specifically is to discredit him by dismissing him as a partisan. How that plays out in the media will influence his relationship with the university.

In this case, he is a partisan. He wrote an op-ed. It was an opinion, taking a side. So it is not unexpected, if perhaps unreasonable that someone might object.

How it will effect the university is to remind them that they are a public institution subject to abuse by a political party that controls their funding.

How it will influence public employees of WI is to let them know that if they dare to speak against Republican policies they had better be "Caesars Wife", and even then it is going to be an extremely unpleasant experience for them..

This is why I strongly support the concept of tenure at the university level. It is also not really much of a threat.

It is just another step in the creation of a climate of fear that is essential to achieve the cheap labor goals of the Republican Party.

This I just don't accept. Unless FOIA is just for liberals. Despite earlier guffawing, if he didn't misuse public resources then there is little to no reason to be intimidated. I don't suspect from reading his bio or his blog he is very intimidated, nor is the university.

Historians are the most dangerous people in the world because they recognize the echo when they hear it. Then they try to warn us. Then they are accused of promoting what they are warning us against. Authoritarianism and the abuse of power that leads to destruction. We have come very close to going over the edge several times in the past. I hope we wake up in time this time.

This would need some examples.

Okay, yes, I'm familiar in general with what many people are saying. Hundreds, actually, given all the tweets, and various columnists and numerous blogs, and on and on. Everyone has an opinion. I thought you might have some specific pieces you have thought particularly insightful.

But that's okay. It's why I'm blogging, and you're not. :-)

Except please forgive me; I'm having a Very Bad Physical Pain Day today. So far, and compounded. Hydrocodone not helping much. So far.

But might always change soon. Meanwhile, read to distract as can.

In this case, he is a partisan. He wrote an op-ed.

Writing an op-ed indicates that you have an opinion. Not the same as being partisan.

Somewhere in this great land of ours is a faithful handful of conservative Republicans who think it's total BS that folks holding a position in the Republican party are demanding Cronon's emails under the WI Open Records Law. Of whose party are they the partisans?

Taking a side in a discussion because that is where the facts and your convictions lead you is not the same thing as being partisan.

Why do the Republicans want Cronon's emails?

Because they hope to find that he has misused his academic email account for political activity that falls outside of what's allowed.

That will, potentially, let them try to get him fired. Tenure might not be enough to preserve his job in that case, because he will actually have violated an explicit university policy.

It will also let them portray universities as hotbeds of liberal activism, funded by your and my hard-earned honest dollars. It's a perennial favorite.

But I agree that Cronon appears to have quite a bit more sand than the average Republican rat-f***ee. I don't think he's likely to just roll over and take it.

Good for him.

This I just don't accept. Unless FOIA is just for liberals.

Then the solution is simple. All public employees emails should be made public...perhaps the minute they hit 'send'. After all, it is the right that argues there is no such thing as a 'right' to privacy.

if he didn't misuse public resources then there is little to no reason to be intimidated.

Wow. The old, "if they are innocent, they have nothing to hide" argument. Classic.

Hell, if you want to read my emails, you're welcome - but you have to answer them and follow up, too!

"Why do the Republicans want Cronon's emails?"

First

Lets say, as you stipulated, why do THESE Republicans want his emails.

Second, this generalization

But I agree that Cronon appears to have quite a bit more sand than the average Republican rat-f***ee.

is quite unnecessary.

Third, this was certainly a partisan op-ed, in language and intent.


Fourth, I can write a beautiful bio of the Koch brothers accomplishments, civic deeds, educational background and charitable donations and it would make them no less partisan.

So I don't care if this guy walks on water in his spare time, he wrote a liberal, partisan op-ed and entered the political fray. So acting like he is exempt from being questioned on his ethics while participating is bs.

If he is the saint as depicted, the light shone on his behavior should illuminate that point.

Iff

...in his spare time, he wrote a liberal, partisan op-ed and entered the political fray

he is exempt from being questioned on his ethics

QED

Yup. Anyone who dares to write an oped from a liberal prespective should expect to be subjected to a formal investigation and its their own damn fault for daring to express a liberal thought in public.

"Yup. Anyone who dares to write an oped from a liberal prespective should expect to be subjected to a formal investigation..."

Since when was a FOIA open records request a formal investigation?

Ya'll act like this is the FBI investgating him.

So I don't care if this guy walks on water in his spare time, he wrote a liberal, partisan op-ed and entered the political fray. So acting like he is exempt from being questioned on his ethics while participating is bs.

Someone called Marty used to post conservative, partisan comments here, thus entering the political fray. So by CCDG's logic, Marty's ethics -- like whether Marty ever posted ObWi comments from his employer's computer -- are open to question.

I don't think Marty's employer was any branch of government, so a FOIA request would not apply. That's lucky for Marty, since otherwise CCDG would be all over his sorry ass.

--TP

Since when was a FOIA open records request a formal investigation?

Ya'll act like this is the FBI investgating him.

And you're acting like this isn't intimidation.

C'mon. If this was a conservative scholar, you'd be the first person running to their defense.

Fair's fair'; if he was employed in the private sector, you couldn't do anything, NOR SHOULD YOU. Same rules should apply.

"Someone called Marty used to post conservative, partisan comments here, thus entering the political fray."

I would suggest that Marty's anonymous obviously unauthoritative opinions in the comments section on a blog, even one as widely read as Obwi, are not equivalent to an attributed op-ed piece as an expert in the NYT. But I could be wrong.

Hey, isn't there a certain "Althouse" character in Madison, on the faculty or something?

Perhaps her emails should be FOIA'd. It could be interesting, if only to discover where she gets all the box wine.

Or budget address tix for her BF.

Geez, it's so dead around here

What Joel said. For me, Gary, it's hard to comment on a topic that requires me to read so much material or suffer from the inevitable "didn't you read the above?" criticism. It chills discussion. There is a balance, and, IMHO, the length of your posts and the amount of links you provide go over it.

Also, there are at least three distinct lines of thought in the post: The Cronon FOIA issue, ALEC, and TR. Not to mention the "lawless R's" final parting comment.

Plus, I like more original thought from posters. More distillation.

And finally, ObWi still needs more balance. Been saying that for a while. What, don't you guys have conservative friends?

What was Cronon's offense? He wrote an Op-Ed piece for the terrorist-loving New York Times.

Well, yes, the NYT is terrorist-loving, but that couldn't have been his offense since the Op-Ed came was March 22nd and the records request was March 17th. Cronon himself thinks it is just intimidation in response to his blog post about ALEC.

Other thoughts: Cronon on his own web page states he doesn't have all the answers. He hoped putting it "out there" would shine more light on ALEC. He doesn't have anything definitive to tie ALEC to the Wisconsin legislation. Which, IMHO, is contrary to his headline.

He seems to cast aspersions on ALEC (which may be warranted; I don't know) by associating them with such nefarious organizations as CATO, but then admits the connections are not clear.

And where is ALEC's model "union busting" language? I was thinking that must be out there somewhere given the headline. Instead, Cronon notes you cannot see ALEC's model bills without being a member. So how does he know that ALEC drafted the Wisconsin legislation? He doesn't. Hence the title: "Who’s Really Behind Recent Republican Legislation in Wisconsin and Elsewhere? (Hint: It Didn’t Start Here)." To which I say: Hint: if you really don't know but only suspect and you're a really smart almost-Pulitzer Prize winning scholar, you should probably say Who MIGHT be behind . . ."

I find it interesting that he notes how "open" the records request really was: Stephan Thompson didn't try to hide his Republican Party affiliation! Why is that surprising? Why would the Republicans try to hide their association with the request?

OTOH, I question going after an academic, even one that is clearly to the left of what he claims to be, with such a full FOIA request. Unless they know there is something there, it seems to come close to the line.

Collective bargaining law published despite court order blocking it.

This is quite the intriguing development. How lawless will the Wisconsin Republican Party become?

Yes, nothing like trying to actually enforce a bill passed by a majority while the minority left the state to, er, act lawfully.

However, without reading the text of the judge's opinion, I would think the "no implementation" language would have covered any further action. Seeking to implement the law with a TRO out there is a bit much.

CCDG: I would suggest that Marty's anonymous obviously unauthoritative opinions in the comments section on a blog, even one as widely read as Obwi, are not equivalent to an attributed op-ed piece as an expert in the NYT. But I could be wrong.

So, let me get this straight: Professor Cronon is fair game for publishing signed, authoritative opinions? And "Marty" is not fair game because he was just some pseudonymous doofus, babbling to a much smaller audience? Is that the proposition?

I would not mind if it is, actually. I always thought Marty's opinions were incoherent foolishness, more embarrassing to the author than persuasive to the reader. Cronon's opinions are quite the opposite, CCDG seems to imply: too coherent and persuasive to be met with mere counterargument; hence justifiably open to ad hominem rebuttal, e.g. by FOIA access to his emails.

I cannot bring myself to stoop as low as CCDG seems prepared to go when it comes to ad hominem forms of combat in the arena of argument. At least, I don't care whether Marty ever used company time or company facilities to post his "anonymous, obviously unauthoritative opinions" in comments here. But I suppose it's possible that I might have tried to impugn Marty's integrity along those lines, had his opinions ever seemed worth such desperate measures. Had I feared the power of Marty's opinions, as the Republican scum seem to fear Cronon's, then (who knows?) I might have succumbed to the temptation that CCDG seems determined to excuse.

--TP

CCDG and Marty both must have missed one of the favorite pastimes of conservative bloggers during the Bush years, which was investigating and "outing" pseudonymous liberal bloggers, then trying to get them fired.

"Fair's fair'; if he was employed in the private sector, you couldn't do anything, NOR SHOULD YOU. Same rules should apply."

If he was employed in the private sector, his employer could do worse. The theory behind FOIA, in part, is that the public ARE the employers of government employees, and entitled to know what they're up to during work hours. Just as my own employer can look at my corporate email anytime he wants, rifle through my desk, and so on. FOIA is actually LESS intrusive, in that he could keep purely private emails from being released.

"Hey, isn't there a certain "Althouse" character in Madison, on the faculty or something?

Perhaps her emails should be FOIA'd. It could be interesting, if only to discover where she gets all the box wine."

She'd doubtless prefer it to the death threats she actually receives.

She'd doubtless prefer it to the death threats she actually receives.

given that we know the GOP actively considers running "false flag" operations to generate sympathy for itself, i see no need to take anything like this seriously.

If he was employed in the private sector, his employer could do worse.

THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE GOVERNMENT IS THE WORST MOST DAMAGING FORCE IN HISTORY DOES NOT COMPUTE >>>>>>BOOM<<<<<<<<

What TP said.


Here are a few simple question for CCDG or anyone else who thinks it's silly for people to be bothered by the FOIA-based investigation of Cronon's e-mails:

Do you think it's a form of intimidation or not? If not, do you think it's justified, and on what basis? What specific need is there for opening up this particular guy's e-mail to public scrutiny right now?

Since Cronon went against plutoctracy methods, i wonder when will Obama come out with statement http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/03/11/not-only-wont-obama-close-gitmo-hes-now-relying-on-gitmos-sops/>such us:

With respect to FOIA on Cronon's emails (Private Manning), I have actually asked the WI Republican Party (Pentagon) whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of FOIA request (his confinement) are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are. I can’t go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Cronon's academic non-partisan objectivity (Private Manning’s safety) as well.

Bold are mine and in parenthesis is Obama's.
Thebewilderness comment leads to the same tactics and purposes, just as GOP's tactics lead to McCarthy's tactics.

About the difference of 'liberal' and 'conservative' request for emails: Several GOP governors recently claimed that they receive tons of emails of support for their policy of union-busting, tax breaks for the upper income levels/corporations etc. but were not very willing to show proof for those claims. So, the 'liberal' requests for those emails were quite specific, not just a fishing expedition. And it turned out, to no one's surprise I would say, that the claims were either completely false (5:1 against is not a majority for) or highly misleading (support emails overwhelmingly came from out of state).
If a Dem public official had made similar claims, a 'conservative' request for proof would have been equally justified. On the other hand, if a 'liberal' entity would demand all the correspondence of a professor they don't like with the obvious intent to seek for dirt (or what could pass for dirt in the right light) in order to silence him/her, such behaviour should be condemned.

I forgot to include: the governor of Maine claimed numerous complaints about the mural in the labor department but refused to show proof. He constantly changed the story (it was letters, faxes, emails...) and in the end could offer only a single handwritten letter that iirc was dated after his announcement that he would remove the 'offending' artwork.

Hsh,

Yes

No

None whatsoever

Its all silly. I just don't see the likelihood of any actual harm. It is all political theater.

Sorry for placing my comment inside quote block.

Gary
I hope you do not think of me as paranoid anymore since Cronon also wrote about "concerted and well organised GOP efforts towards GOP permanent rule" implemented by true believers. Since i came to this conclusion trough similarities of pre-war Croatia to the US situation you accused me of being paranoid that it will lead to the same outcome: civil war. Political division is complete, true believers can not be persuaded with no amount of facts and logic and they can see the winnings at the end of the tunnel. Only pointing to the historical outcomes, given enough time before next economic crash, might, just might prevent the bad outcome.

So, basically, CCDG, we agree on what it is, but disagree on what it means. Thanks.

Tom Delay came right out and said that the Republicans were trying to create a one party state. Of course he got jailed for his contributions toward that goal but Rove, Norquist, the Koch bothers, indeed the entire leadership of the Republican party elected or otherwise, keep on with their efforts through intimidation of individuals, hate talk shows, voter supression, coordinated ALEC proposals, jerrymandering, the buying of politicians,consolidation of the media in corporate hands... with the support of voters who are receptive to divide and conquer messages or responsive in a positive way to the selfishess which is the heart of the Republican message.

Of course one of the elements necessary for their success is their dependence upon the willingess of their voters to refuse to connect dots so long as they percieve the Republicans as screwing over someone other than themselves.

SO from that perspective it makes sense to launch an investigation, even if there is no reason for thinking a crime or misbehavior has occured, against a man who has scholarly expertise and who, based of his expertise, expressed his thoughts in a op ed. To create a one party state people not of that party must be made to feel that they risk being harassed for their thoughts.

From that perspective it slao makes sense for a individual who wishes to justify supportig Republicans to pretend that there is nothing wrong with launching an investigation against someone without the least evidence that malfeasance has ocuured based only on the pulbic expression of a thought that a Republcian governor didn't like. Define the public expression of a non-Republican thought as grounds for investigation! And pretend that there is no intent to intimidate! Redefine civil discourse on ideas to mean that if you speak up in pulblic you can expect to be investigated! make that the new normal for liberals! But no it has nothing to do with intimidation.SHeesh.

This isn't just word games. There is a real person out there who is the target of itimidation. And of course the real message is to any other college professor or expert in any field who might dare to pubically express a non-Repulican thought.

BTW my dog whacked the N key off my computer.

Wonkie,

All that being stipulated, two years ago when the political wisdom was there was going to be a permanent Democratic majority, no one here complained.

Every candidate in the Republican party was George Bush, even today that is tired but tried in every election by the Democrats. There is no shortage of people on the left searching for things to catch those right wingers on, and most is as innocuous as this.

But sometimes they catch a Tom Delay.

It gets harder for everyone to separate the politics from any policy, on both sides. The op-ed we are talking about wasn't exactly a measured policy piece.

All that being stipulated, two years ago when the political wisdom was there was going to be a permanent Democratic majority, no one here complained.

That was a matter of opinion based on the (wrongly) perceived general political environment, not an intimidation scheme intended to undermine open discourse. It's not remotely the same thing. (Of course, democrats want democrats to win. It's a matter of how they go about the winning.)

Every candidate in the Republican party was George Bush, even today that is tired but tried in every election by the Democrats.

I'd like to see you demonstrate the truth of this, but, even if you could, it's again not the same thing. Poor arguments aren't intimidation schemes targeting individual citizens for expressing the "wrong" opinions.

There is no shortage of people on the left searching for things to catch those right wingers on, and most is as innocuous as this.

But sometimes they catch a Tom Delay.

But Tom Delay did things that deserved investigation. I don't think investigations are a categorical problem. It's a matter of their being justified or not. Clearly, the investigation of Tom Delay's activities were justified. The good professor's, not so much.

The op-ed we are talking about wasn't exactly a measured policy piece.

So what? You've already admitted that using the FOIA to search through this guy's e-mails was unjustified, so what's the point of characterizing the op-ed this way?


Probably the same thing they did to Shirley Sherrod and the president of NPR: Get him fired for nothing whatsoever.

Who needs the White House when you can remote-control it?

All that being stipulated, two years ago when the political wisdom was there was going to be a permanent Democratic majority, no one here complained.

um, what?

i'm a Dem, but i make a point to point and laugh at anybody who says stupid sh*t like that.

[ASTERISK ADDED TO COMPLY WITH POSTING RULES]

"...but even if you could..."

This was absolutely intimidation, if any candidate agreed with any policy George Bush ever agreed with they were abused with the label and knew they couldn't win.

Every middle of the road conservative headed for the hills and all that were left were what we have today, those that were willing to fight against the brutal constant drumbeat of the late Bush years. Even Bush conceded his last eighteen months to the vindictive left who found an antichrist to constantly burn in effigy.

Obama rode that intimidation to a majority and then proved he didn't believe it by half.

In all fairness to cleek's sensibilities, ISTR a general voicing of hope for an improved & not permanently crippled Republican Party when the D's too back Congress four years and change(!) ago.

What the...? A politician being criticized for supporting the policies of an unpopular president of the same party is "intimidation"? And it's somehow equivalent to opening investigations of people for expressing opinions that the party in power doesn't like?

Second, this generalization

But I agree that Cronon appears to have quite a bit more sand than the average Republican rat-f***ee.

is quite unnecessary.

Nothing is necessary. A more relevant comment might be that it is uncalled for, or inappropriate.

I think it's right on the money, myself.

If your objection is to bad words generally, noted. Although the term in question is quite a common one, it's not one I invented.

If your objection is to any kind of imputation of bad behavior on the part of folks in, or acting in the interest of, the Republican party, sorry but it's a reality.

And I stand by my reading of the word "partisan". The word has a definition, and I didn't make it up.

And finally, ObWi still needs more balance. Been saying that for a while.

Not for nothing, but there are conservative folks who have posting rights here. They just don't post.

There are lots of reasons for that, all of them good ones. But some kind of attempt by ObWi to shut out conservative voices is not among them.

Every middle of the road conservative headed for the hills and all that were left were what we have today

IMO this is correct, but to claim that that's because of "liberal intimidation" is frankly risible.

You can thank your tea party types for it.

And I hate to break it to you, but the fact that being associated with GW Bush was a liability is because he was a seriously crap President.

No "liberal intimidation" needed there.

A lot of your point here seems to be based on the idea that all politicians, political parties, and political movements are kinda the same.

I'm not buying that.

some kind of attempt by ObWi to shut out conservative voices is not among them

WrS. Von, myself, and Sebastian still have posting privileges, and can post whenever and whatever we please, until such time as the hivemind experiences some sort of autoimmune expulsion of the offending elements.

Which has not happened, I shouldn't have to add.

But I think it's not a bad idea to have conservatives who actually have something to write about, and the time and willingness to post.

This was absolutely intimidation, if any candidate agreed with any policy George Bush ever agreed with they were abused with the label and knew they couldn't win.

I just knew this was coming. So, let's allow for the idea that attacking campaign opponents for their positions and associating them with an unpopular president are forms of intimidation. Fine (even if you've grossly overstated the use and effectiveness of these tactics). They're still nothing like opening a professor's e-mails up to public scrutiny because he wrote an op-ed.

Politicians and their supporters say mean things about their opponents during elections. Whoopie! They might even constitute bad arguments. Heavens!

For something analogous in the case of the professor's op-ed, you might, I don't know, write your own op-ed refuting what the professor wrote. Something like that. That would be like politicians saying mean things about each other during elections.

Unnecessarily opening up the guy's e-mails is a very different animal. What legitimate purpose does it serve? How is it an appropriate response to what he wrote in the op-ed? How is it like the ugly but normal, expected and long-standing practice of unfairly attacking one's political opponents in whatever convenient way is available at the time during an election? How is it at all the same kind of intimidation?

"Probably the same thing they did to Shirley Sherrod and the president of NPR: Get him fired for nothing whatsoever."

Who needs the White House when you can remote-control it?

Is there a point I'm supposed to be attempting to suss out here, or are you just being your usual glib self?

hsh,

even if you've grossly overstated the use and effectiveness of these tactics

In general I would agree with this, not in this case. It was hitting every Republican object with a huge object, covered with spikes that drew blood as hard and as often as possible with no possible defense. Heck, it made McCain pick Palin.

I believe it shaped the reactionary nature of the Republican Party for at least another two election cycles.

Heck, it made McCain pick Palin.

I think russell mentioned the Tea Party. Somehow, I think there's more to McCain's choice and the current make-up of Republican party than Democrats associating Republican candidates with GWB.

Either way, I don't see how it relates to what's going on with Cronon.

"If your objection is to any kind of imputation of bad behavior on the part of folks in, or acting in the interest of, the Republican party, sorry but it's a reality."

My objection was to the word "average" thus my word "generalization".

I agree that the personal intimidation of Cronon is reprehensible, and that it's par for the course for Republicans, who routinely stop at nothing in their attempts to personally intimidate people. This has long been a political technique of theirs (Nixon's dirty tricks, the Bill Clinton witch hunt, Karl Rove's raison d'etre - easy to list them on the Republican side; hard to think of them on the Democratic side), but very much more disturbing to see them using these techniques against private citizens.

But slightly off-point, I think there are parallels between "outing" the emails of a professor, and the Wikileaks phenomenon. Both involve disclosing communications of people who did not intend for their communications to be made public. There are good reasons sometimes (investigating legitimate accusations of civil or criminal wrongdoing, for example) to examine communications made by people who work for government organizations, but people who make careless or malign decisions to make semi-private communications public can cause hardship. That's true both in this case and Wikileaks.

I would suggest that Marty's anonymous obviously unauthoritative opinions in the comments section on a blog, even one as widely read as Obwi, are not equivalent to an attributed op-ed piece as an expert in the NYT. But I could be wrong.

The only thing that I know he's been accused of is doing partisan political work from university computer accounts. I don't think there's a qualifier for anonymity or number of eyeballs/standing of the forum where the statements are made.
I think that anyone, liberal or conservative, ought to follow those laws. But I don't think anyone, liberal or conservative, should be subject to a fishing expedition based on their political views or private political activity just to check if they might have violated those rules.
Also, these are not public records, any more than his private HR file or his discussions with other faculty members about students etc. I think any comparison between a FOIA of eg a meeting that should've been on the record but was not, and this, is both inaccurate and fueled by an intentional equivocation using the term "public record".

Let's consider the potential effect here- any public employee could see their emails and work records FOIAed and searched for either potential violations or just interesting tidbits. Public employees would then either have to be scrupulous, not just avoid recording illegal actions (which is good) but anything even potentially damanging to their families, careers, etc (criticizing colleagues or the university, having an affair, expressing normal job frustrations, being in the closet, having non-mainstream political/social/etc opinions, embarrasing revelations from their youth, etc).
Many people probably would be embarrased if every email they wrote ended up in public, so the only way out for public employees would be 1)don't attract attention or 2)make a habit of not using your university email account for *anything*.

If he was employed in the private sector, his employer could do worse. The theory behind FOIA, in part, is that the public ARE the employers of government employees, and entitled to know what they're up to during work hours.

Im not at all sure that this is the theory behind FOIA, that we ought to be able to pry into the employment records of the Capital janitorial force.

Just as my own employer can look at my corporate email anytime he wants, rifle through my desk, and so on. FOIA is actually LESS intrusive, in that he could keep purely private emails from being released.

His employer is the university. They can presumably rifle through his desk and look at his emails. I think this is another mistaken equivocation- in one sense he is employed by the public, but not in the sense that "the public" gets to do his performance review via FOIA or "the public" ought to have the power to sit in on his classes and offer constructive criticism.

In general I would agree with this, not in this case. It was hitting every Republican object with a huge object, covered with spikes that drew blood as hard and as often as possible with no possible defense.

I think this is too much a stretch for comparison. On the one hand, we have politicians running for office, who are expected to deal with all manner of true and false allegations, innuendos, etc. On the other hand we have a private citizen who happens to work for the state expressing a political opinion.
And even with that stretched comparison, if a university professor were running for office Id not support a fishing expedition into all of their university emails looking for something to smear them with.

people who make careless or malign decisions to make semi-private communications public can cause hardship. That's true both in this case and Wikileaks.

Interesting comparison. And, I think, probably accurate insofar as I understand the wikileaks motivating principle to cause problems for overly-secret organizations (and the Wisconsin GOP's motivation to cause problems for people who advocate for liberal causes).
One obvious difference is the nature of the two targets, but I think another one is the nature of the information itself. ie if the US government is hiding something that we would not only like to know but *ought* to know, then attacking that system of classification seems to be a better thing than harassing someone for their political opinions via info that we ought not have access to (at least from my understanding of personal privacy).

But still, interesting comparison, I hadnt seen that & it's food for thought.

CCDG and Marty both must have missed one of the favorite pastimes of conservative bloggers during the Bush years, which was investigating and "outing" pseudonymous liberal bloggers, then trying to get them fired.

The privacy concern is legitimate. So is the concern with "fishing expedition" investigations into someone you disagree with. Politico (and Slarti, I am really trying to understand how to insert a link) at this address: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51949.html (which when I attempted to add it as a link simply caused the balance of my comment to disappear from the 'edit' screen) alleges that Media Matters is doing oppo research on Fox News mid level people as a means of attacking them, their network and presumably their message. If true, this is at least as awful, if not considerably more so, than a FOIA request on a public employee, regardless of motives. If the cost of expressing an opinion is having others sift through your private life and expose human frailty, then the line has well and truly been crossed.

Sapient, do I misremember: didn't the Clinton Administration have a rather muscular oppo research program? Didn't someone affiliated with the Democratic party unearth the details of GWB's DUI arrest and plant it just prior to the 2000 election? A more balanced view is that dirt-digging is a reprehensible, bipartisan activity.

McKinney: "A more balanced view is that dirt-digging is a reprehensible, bipartisan activity."

It depends on the dirt. An arrest is something that people disclose on many job applications (certainly every government application I've seen), and GWB was applying (running) for a government job.

McTex, from your cite:
Media Matters, Brock said, is assembling opposition research files not only on Fox’s top executives but on a series of midlevel officials. It has hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck’s show. The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes. And it has hired two experienced reporters, Joe Strupp and Alexander Zaitchik, to dig into Fox’s operation to help assemble a book on the network, due out in 2012 from Vintage/Anchor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Media Matters last month also issued a report criticizing “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy’s criticism of this reporter’s blog.)

How I feel about this depends on what they mean by oppo research. If they mean collecting quotes etc and comparing to actions, or collecting quotes about motivation, I think that's a reasonable thing- eg Ive seen emails from FOX editors suggesting how they should slant their news coverage. That seems like fair game & newsworthy in and of itself (as well as speaking to their credibility as a news org). Sifting through the personal lives of reporters or editors would be foul play IMO.
But I wouldn't want to condemn this until I understood exactly what was meant by it.

If the cost of expressing an opinion is having others sift through your private life and expose human frailty, then the line has well and truly been crossed.

Hear hear. It's bad enough that we feel it compulsory to dig into the private lives of our actual politicians- when the price of having a political opinion is being targeted for an invasion of personal privacy, we're in a bad place.

It depends on the dirt. An arrest is something that people disclose on many job applications (certainly every government application I've seen), and GWB was applying (running) for a government job.

Sapient, it's a rare instance that can't be distinguished in some form or fashion. There is relevant dirt and irrelevant dirt. A timed disclosure of irrelevant dirt is of the same ilk as what is being complained about here. It's all dirty pool. All of it. Parsing details to excuse one side while damning the other simply gives both sides the fig leaf of justification for the inevitable next round.

The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes.

Normally I'm fine with litigation. But, I've seen companies who use it as a form of punishment/revenge/intimidation etc. David Brock was a smear artist when he was on the conservative side of things. I doubt the leopard has changed his spots.

My objection was to the word "average" thus my word "generalization".

To be clear, "average" in my comment was applied not to Republicans, but to the targets of dirty tricks carried out by Republicans or their proxies.

I admit I don't have access to the full range of data points, but my seat-of-the-pants estimate is that the average *target* of dirty tricks is not as diligent in pushing back as Cronon appears to be.

FWIW.

Sapient, it's a rare instance that can't be distinguished in some form or fashion. There is relevant dirt and irrelevant dirt. A timed disclosure of irrelevant dirt is of the same ilk as what is being complained about here.

It's true that just bc a line can be drawn between two examples doesn't mean they're different, but it doesn't mean they're the same, either. Im not a big fan of the probing of the personal life of politicians, but it is the norm & I wouldn't call it dirty pool to ask Newt about his divorces or Edwards about his infidelity. Id prefer not to live in that world, but the fact that we do doesn't excuse going after private citizens for expressing political opinions.
So Id say that GWB's DWI is no less irrelevant than many other personal details that we ordinarily demand from politicians and accept as part of the political process. Whether that ought to be the case isn't IMO on target in asking whether a private citizen has been treated fairly.
And, as someone pointed out above, you can hardly get a job as a teacher or dogcatcher without revealing past convictions.

Normally I'm fine with litigation. But, I've seen companies who use it as a form of punishment/revenge/intimidation etc.

Usually against people for whom the burden of showing up in court or hiring a lawyer is prohibitive. Doesn't work that way against wealthy multinationals Ill expect. More likely they want to tarish the FOX brand by revealing ugly stories or hope to find something via discovery.
The latter Im not a fan of either- I would like to see judges use more, er, judgment in figuring out when discovery is justified and when it's fishing. otoh, in political matters like this, judges are IMO more likely to use their political judgment than their legal one in determining what's appropriate. (Or at least, those are the stories that make the news, so it might be unfair to judge judges by that evidence).

Usually against people for whom the burden of showing up in court or hiring a lawyer is prohibitive.

Sometimes, but I've seen Big Company vs. Big Company stuff go on. Sometimes it's lawyer driven, sometimes it's just a vicious bastard with a lot of money calling the shots.

"I am really trying to understand how to insert a link"

"<" "a href=" "http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51949.html" ">" "linked text" "<" "/" "a" ">" Take out the quotes, and it works.

Thus: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51949.html>linked text

"Remember when conservative bloggers outed a bunch of pseudonymous liberal bloggers and commenters, then contacted their employers to try to have them fired? And remember when Andrew Breitbart and his cabal got Shirley Sherrod fired? And remember when Jamie O'Keefe got the president of NPR to submit her resignation? Well CONSERVATIVES ARE THE REAL VICTIMS HERE!!!!!!1111ONE!!!!"

Only you, McKinney. Only you could be so bold.

Only you, McKinney. Only you could be so bold.

Yes, that's exactly what I said. But again, perhaps inadvertently, you make a point worth addressing: O'Keefe and NPR. I think scamming people is slimy and I don't care for it. However, I don't recall you being upset when Scott Walker got scammed in a similar way. So, again, I think you're making my point.

I wouldn't call it dirty pool to ask Newt about his divorces or Edwards about his infidelity.

I wouldn't either, particularly Newt, because he's put his character in issue by running. Ditto for Edwards if he was ever stupid enough to run for office again. However, this is not comparable to GWB in 2000. Whatever else one might say unkindly about GWB, he was fairly clear that his past was not perfect, that he'd made his share of mistakes, etc. The DUI was quite old--I don't recall the exact number--and it was unearthed and intentionally dropped in October by a Democrat, not because it was relevant to any current issue, but to affect the outcome of the election. That was low, as low as anything being complained of here.

That was low, as low as anything being complained of here.

We'll have to agree to disagree on that point. However, if you're looking for counterexamples, there's the guy who hacked into Sarah Palin's personal email. That'd be more comparable IMO.

CW, there's plenty of it going around. It's all pretty nauseating. BTW--I was comparing dropping irrelevant outdated information at a time intending to affect a national election with using FOIA to access emails of a public employee.

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