Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Wolcott on GOP: Flautulent with Hubris

Wolcott on GOP: Flautulent with Hubris

You've just got to love James Wolcott.
Really. How can you resist?
"I wonder if Dems are learning the wisdom imparted by Bull Moose, that there's mischievous and useful fun to be had in being the opposition party, particularly when the party in power is as flatulent with hubris and corruption as the fiefdom of Tom DeLay. Dems should resist the temptation to be statesmenlike and bail out Bush should he stumble, the way they shamefully rescued Reagan in his second term. Bipartisanship has gotten Democrats nowhere for four years, has earned them nothing more than a fine spittle of contempt falling like a constant drizzle. They should let a smile be their umbrella as they enjoy the spectacle of House and Senate Republicans promoting Social Security privatization as if they'd been ordered by their commander in chief to suck lemons."


For some reason, I keep getting this message while searching the net for believable quotes from the Bush administration on Iraq:

Jeff Gannon Update

Jeff Gannon Update

At The Nation, David Corn has a few things to say today about recent blog-outings. I think he's going far too easy on the people who've worked in concert to "kill off" Eason Jordan. I'd imagine David would have felt differently had he been the target.
"..let me raise a cautionary note or two. The blogosphere in recent months has become the piling-on-osphere. When there is blood in the water--or on the keyboard--bloggers rush in for the kill...So far all of the victims have deserved the whacks..CNN executive Eason Jordan did not immediately clarify, back up or retract comments in which he reportedly claimed that US troops in Iraq had purposefully targeted and killed journalists. Yet the speed and drama of these trials-by-blog may be cause for quasi-concern not unfettered celebration. Am I being a semi-old fuddy-duddy? Could be."
I have to say I was left a bit cold by David's assessment. Eason did immediately clarify, but the ones who wanted his head never wanted to hear them.

On Jeff Gannon, I somewhat agree with David. think the Internet/gay-escort angle is a bit of a circus sideshow (The guy was a total creep). Yet, I don't think David or any of us should run away in fear of being called a "vigilante" over this particular story.

The aspect of the story with which I am seriously concerned is the one which surrounds any involvement he may have been allowed to play in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame..before or after the time she was outed. I ask myself, why would this untrained, inexperienced journalist who squeezed himself, somehow, into the White House Press Corps, be privy to confidential information and internal memos when seasoned, hard-scrabble journalists couldn't get to them? It just doesn't "smell" right. Since Gannon has run away from the public's sight so very quickly, it should make any curious investigator want to latch onto the story.

Corn says:
"....Another serious angle in the Gannon/Guckert story. In October 2003, Gannon/Guckert interviewed former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a Bush critic whose wife months earlier had been outed in a Robert Novak column as an undercover CIA officer by unidentified administration officials. During this interview, Gannon/Guckert cited "an internal government memo prepared by US intelligence personnel that details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports." The question is, how did a hooker-turned-reporter end up with this leak of classified information? Did White House officials hand it to Gannon/Guckert because he was in cahoots with them? Gannon has refused to say if he had a copy of this memo or if someone had read him what it said. In December 2003--when he was not under fire--Gannon/Guckert wrote that this "information did not come from inside the administration," and he strongly hinted that his source was on Capitol Hill, referring to the Senate intelligence committee...

..Gannon/Guckert has noted that FBI agents working on the Wilson leak probe did contact him and that he would not tell them the source of the information. Apparently, he has not been subpoenaed by Patrick Fitzgerald, the Justice Department attorney investigating the Wilson leak...

...There has been some public confusion about this aspect of the Gannon/Guckert story. Representative Louise Slaughter, a New York Democrat, has called upon Fitzgerald to "investigate the leaking of a classified Central Intelligence Agency memo containing the identity of undercover agent Valerie Plame to a man at the center of the White House Press Briefing Room scandal, 'Jeff Gannon.'" The classified memo came not from the CIA but from the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and by the time its contents reached Gannon, Valerie Wilson (nee Plame) had already been identified as a CIA officer.

Gannon/Guckert, according to the record so far, was a bit player in the Wilson affair. The leak he received was an after-the-fact leak. But it is certainly rather curious that this particular reporter obtained any classified information from any government source. Slaughter and others are justified in calling for an investigation. It is not beyond belief that partisans in the White House or on Capitol Hill saw Gannon/Guckert as a safe outlet..."
Anthony Wade strongly disagrees with David Corn on many of his points.

Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest says:
"If you are following the Gannon story - the right-wing fake "reporter" who was somehow able to infiltrate the White House using an alias, even gaining access to the President and classified CIA documents - then you know that the whole right-wing machine is now saying this is all an attack by "liberal BLOGGERs" on the guy's "private life." Wow. This is how the supposed National Security crowd - "keep us safe" and all that - react. Do they demand that this huge hole in our national security be closed? Do they demand that someone answer for this? OF COURSE NOT! They use it as an opportunity to attack "liberals" while just making things worse."

Skippy says we should be wondering how a miscreant breaking the law somehow got access to a classified memo about valerie plame.

Temerity Leads to Grave Injustice

"Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.

-- John Adams

Temerity Leads to Grave Injustice

Self-righteous temerity mixed with just enough lies necessary to convince good people of a moral purpose has led to the Iraq war.

The same self-righteous temerity and jabber-jawing about a higher purpose (while covering the actual reason - vigilante justice) has caused Eason Jordan to be professionally removed from the mainstream.

Self-righteous rhetoric is often spewed about a respect for life. In the past four years, I have seen a tremendously disturbing breakdown in our culture's respect for life.

For instance, you cannot possibly think of using a stem cell gleaned from an embryo, but you can see a perfectly innocent family of ten eliminated with a misguided bomb and not blink an eyelash.

You brand others as 'evil' for demanding equal justice for a prisoner who was too poor to afford a hotshot attorney and is sitting on death row, but you can hear about 3 of your own soldiers dying in Iraq one day, and you go on eating your dinner, accepting it as just another day, just another body, for the fight against WMD...I mean rogue leaders with terror connections...I mean, tin pot dictators with rape rooms...I mean, in the grande march toward freedom...I mean, the rush for pipe line domination.
* Just what are they dying for, anyway, after we sort through all those lies?

American citizens: How is it that you have lost your sense of reality? How have you so easily forgotten your sense of humanity? Compassion? Truth? Empathy? Honesty? Why do you fail to speak out for these values, if they are values you espouse?

In a recent blogpost on Eason Jordan's resignation, Bernard Moon asks:
"Imagine if Jordan's statement went unchallenged and taken as truth?
What effect would it have on the morale of our troops?
And a further battering of America's image abroad?"
I ask my readers to think about the government that fails to cherish or respect the truth.

Gee, I don't have to imagine that the Bush administration's irresponsible statements in the lead-up to the Iraq war went unchallenged by the mainstream press.
They did.
The lies were, for all intents and purposes, taken as Gospel truth.
They were never investigated.
Hard questions were omitted from the press.
Soft questions were given the back-seat treatment on page 8, far from the focus of the public.

Bernard Moon raises a red herring when he asks "What if Jordan Eason's words had gone unchallenged?"

In an open society with a working and healthy democracy, we can always expect statements like Jordan's to be challenged.

Moon wonders, what would be the effect, on troop morale, of his (highly unlikely) scenario of Jordan's completely "unchallenged statements"?
Troops have fought and died for freedom of speech.
Moon is clearly lacking faith in a democracy where everyone has an equal right to speak. He comes off sounding something just short of paranoid.

What effect has the (real and present) lack of truth-telling by the Commander in Chief had on troop morale? That's the real question.
A line of soldiers refusing to return to Iraq is shattering evidence that our troops are questioning the reasons for the Iraq war.

Is anyone so blind that they cannot see that the Bush administration was responsible for America's reputation being "battered" abroad? And yet we blame journalists?

How could anyone be in denial about the fact that it was the gross misleading of the Bush administration, with their backhanding of the international community, which caused America's reputation to spiral downward?

Imagine: What if the Bushite-NeoCon crowd's statements were taken as truth in the lead-up to attacking Iraq?

No imagination necessary.
They were.

Self-righteous temerity has made real-life decisions about our nation going to war far too easily made, because of an absence of journalistic investigation through intimidation. NeoCons have created a narrative borne of idealism - a story with a nice-sounding moral vision. The problem is, in reality, it spells d-e-a-t-h for many inncocent people. This cult of death is hidden by the sweet-sounding folly of the NeoCon dream.

I submit to you that NeoCon temeriy and intimidation have directly contributed to the degradation of the traditional American values we share. Our culture has lost a respect for intellect, life, truth, honesty, and the forthright spirit that is required in a healthy open democratic society.

Life has been rendered far less precious in an atmosphere of right-wing intimidation and an all-too idealistic cult-style vision.

The cult of death reigns today, and if a journalist says one cautionary word about it, they are swiftly removed, with the help of right-wing blogger lynch-mobs, from the market's sight.

The reason we are at war in Iraq right now is because we were given reasons that were far less than true, and the media, most of them being afraid of the loss of advertiser-dollars, hardly questioned the government.

Eason Jordan raised questions and found out that you just cannot even mention your unfounded fears or suspicions in the public anymore, lest you be swept from the world of mainstream journalism. You can't even throw them up for discussion.

If the Eason Jordans of the market-driven mainstream are barred from professionally raising concerns, and the government continues to spout unchallenged lies, I see nothing but death for freedom of speech in the marketplace. Cultural propaganda is all the public will be allowed to see in the future.

I'm tiring of smokescreens. I'm tiring of right-wing idiots running roughshod over the decency and integrity of America while NeoCons spin their Utopian tales.

I respect life. Life has been cheapened. I love truth. Under the black lie-boot of the Bush leadership, the cult of NeoCon, and a concert of chirping right-wing morons, truth has suffered killing blows. Freedom to live in truth should be a treasured common value. In the Bush era, we are moving away from freedom in our own nation. Let's not sit on the sidelines and watch it happen.

Let's take our government back.


*A tip of the hat to Scrutiny Hooligans for the quote.