Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for February 12th, 2007

Joe Klein Said This?!?

Posted by MEC on February 12, 2007

H/T Atrios, who linked this:

Ok. i don’t care that U.S. intelligence officers didn’t want to reveal their identities when discussing the Iranian munitions that have been used against our troops…. But I don’t buy this:
“The [U.S. intelligence] officials also asserted, without providing direct evidence, that Iranian leaders had authorized smuggling those weapons into Iraq for use against the Americans.”
What this smells like is the Bush administration beating the war drums. As I said, it’s perfectly appropriate to display the ordance coming across the border from Iran, and to take action against IRGC operatives we find working in Iraq, but this Administration has a fabulously phony record when it comes to cooking intel and I’d say that (1) “inferences based on general intelligence assessments” just won’t cut it here and (2) if you’re going to implicate the Iranian leadership, I want to see satellite photos of Ayatollah Khamenei personally lugging the bombs across the border before I come to any conclusions.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, Iran, media | 2 Comments »

Occam’s Razor Strikes Again

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 12, 2007

I note that General Pace still refuses to back the “Iranian” weapons allegations we’ve discussed here and here.

And I also note that the actions of the Italian Mafia, combined with the riches of the enormous Al Qa Qaa ammo dump (you know, the one that was under UNSCOM guard and intact before we invaded, but was looted once our presence made it impossible for UNSCOM to stick around?) more than suffice to explain how the insurgents attacking US and British troops can stay awash in weapons. (Oh, yes: Turns out that most of the attacks on US/UK troops are from Sunni insurgent groups with ties to Saddam’s old Baathist regime, which is one reason that the National Intelligence Estimate says that Iran — which is run by Shiite mullahs who are staunchly opposed to the Sunni-secularist Baathists — is not ‘a major driver of violence’ in Iraq.)

But you know, this isn’t the first time that Iranians have been accused — falsely, as it turned out — of supplying the Iraqi insurgents.

I give you this story from October 16, 2005:

Eight British soldiers killed during ambushes in Iraq were the victims of a highly sophisticated bomb first used by the IRA, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.


The soldiers, who were targeted by insurgents as they travelled through the country, died after being attacked with bombs triggered by infra-red beams. The bombs were developed by the IRA using technology passed on by the security services in a botched “sting” operation more than a decade ago.

This contradicts the British government’s claims that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is helping Shia insurgents to make the devices.


The Independent on Sunday can also reveal that the bombs and the firing devices used to kill the soldiers, as well as two private security guards, were initially created by the UK security services as part of a counter-terrorism strategy at the height of the troubles in the early 1990s.


According to security sources, the technology for the bombs used in the attacks, which were developed using technology from photographic flash units, was employed by the IRA some 15 years ago after Irish terrorists were given advice by British agents.

So how did the Iraqis get this tech? From the IRA, of course:

Britain claims that the bomb-making expertise now being used in southern Iraq was passed on by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard through Hizbollah, the revolutionary Islamist group it sponsors in Lebanon.


But a former agent who infiltrated the IRA told The Independent on Sunday that the technology reached the Middle East through the IRA’s co-operation with Palestinian groups. In turn, some of these groups used to be sponsored by Saddam Hussein and his Baath party.


The former agent added: “The photographic flashgun unit was replaced with infra-red and then coded infra-red, but basically they were variations of the same device. The technology came from the security forces, but the IRA always shared its equipment and expertise with Farc guerrillas in Colombia, the Basque separatists, ETA and Palestinian groups. There is no doubt in my mind that the technology used to kill our troops in Basra is the same British technology from a decade ago.”

Charming, eh?  

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

“Party of Lincoln”, Please Take Heed

Posted by MEC on February 12, 2007

 If the Republicans are going to keep claiming to the “Party of Lincoln”, they really should rethink a few of their recent actions and positions. Judging by President Lincoln’s own words, he wouldn’t agree with a lot of what they’re doing these days.

Letter to William H. Herndon, 15 February 1848:

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, — “I see no probability of the British invading us”; but he will say to you, “Be silent: I see it, if you don’t.”

Letter to Henry L Pierce, 6 April 1859:

Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.

First State of the Union Address, 3 December 1861:

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

Letter to James Conkling, 26 August 1863:

I freely acknowledge myself the servant of the people, according to the bond of service — the United States Constitution; and that, as such, I am responsible to them.

Letter to Col. William F. Elkins, 21 November 1864:

Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.


You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Posted in Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln, Real Americans, Republicans | 4 Comments »

The Rise Of Local Bloggers As Journalists

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 12, 2007

Chris Bowers over at MyDD has been tracking the evolution of blogging (in posts here and here). The main changes noted are the rise in blogs that have more than one blogger, or which (as in the case of DailyKos, MyDD and a host of other blogs) expand the reader’s role beyond mere commenting. Another change noted is the need to pay the bills with ads, as bandwidth ain’t cheap.

But the changes that most intrigue me are the growth in blogs with a local focus (not just a national/international one), and the growth in blogs whose proprietors actually go out and commit actual journalism.

Which is why I’m so happy to report, albeit belatedly, on a big scoop garnered by the fine folks over at A Bluestem Prairie, a blog devoted to the happenings in Minnesota’s First Congressional District:

State Senator Dick Day (R-Owatonna) to run for congress

Following up on an internet rumor about State Senator Dick Day’s filing paperwork with the Federal Election Committee to run for Congress in Minnesota’s First in 2008, we contacted the FEC, then State Senator Day himself for confirmation.


The FEC did not have the committee paperwork online yet, and a spokeswoman in the information office told us that, other than for high-profile Presidential candidacies, the agency isn’t releasing information about filing before they are online. She noted that the paperwork is generally online 48 hours after it is received.


In a brief telephone interview, a gracious and enthusiastic Senator Day confirmed that he is indeed challenging Representative Walz for the MN-01 seat. He had signed the necessary paperwork earlier in the week and “his people” had sent it off.

There’s more (including a number of updates) at the link. Kudos to BSP!

Posted in local blogging, Tim Walz | Comments Off on The Rise Of Local Bloggers As Journalists

Would they do this to a man?

Posted by Charles II on February 12, 2007

Let’s start from the end and work toward the beginning, which is one way to make sense of The New York Times’s upside-down coverage. Can you imagine any television journalist today being described by The New York Times’s Landon Thomas, Jr. as follows?

Typically, Ms Bartiromo’s interviewing style can be probing, aggressive and….she can make even some of her best sources sweat a bit on camera. In an interview with Robert L. Nardelli, the recently ousted chief executive of Home Depot, she peppered him with sharp questions relating to his conduct and governance at the company. And a question posed to President Bush about his use of Google elicited a revealing response from the president as he referred to the search engine as “the Google.” “She is not a marshmallow,” said Gerard R. Roche, the chairman of the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, who has been interviewed by Ms. Bartiromo. John J. Mack, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley, agreed, recalling an interview he had with her. “She put me on the spot big time,” he said….“She is a professional,” Mr. Mack said. “You can’t assume that you will go on air and that it will be a cakewalk.”

She asks tough questions! On air!  Live!  She is a real journalist!

Perhaps that’s why The New York Times has chosen to feature her in yet another Gerthian scandalorama, in which the reader hunts to find the scandal hidden among crumbs of SEX! and MONEY! For example:

Like many of the judges [at a car show], Ms. Bartiromo chose the bright red Ferrari Spider, according to one attendee. So did Mr. Thomson, a car enthusiast. “It’s the ultimate package of sex and performance,” he told a reporter for the magazine.

Let’s take that Editor Utwater for re-write: 

Many of the judges at the show chose the red Ferrari Spider. Mr. Thomson, who was one of them, told a reporter that “It’s the ultimate package of sex and performance.”  According to one attendee, Ms. Bartiromo also favored the Spider.

The basic story is that Bartiromo accepted a ride on a corporate jet from Todd Thomson at Citi, who turned out to be on his way out the door in part because he was misusing the corporate jet. (Aside: if he had been hitting his numbers, he could have sodomized a goat on Wall Street for all that Citi would care). Another CNBC anchor had some inside dope on his imminent departure, and Bartiromo didn’t want the story aired. Why? Well, read this:

[CNBC anchor Charles Gasparino] Jonathan Wald, head of news programming, that he had been told by people within Citigroup that top management had examined Mr. Thomson’s conduct, specifically the occasions that Ms. Bartiromo joined him on the company jet. Mr. Wald told Mr. Gasparino to pursue the story, these people say. When Ms. Bartiromo got wind of Mr. Gasparino’s reporting, she told Mr. Wald, complaining that her name was being dragged into the matter, these people say. Mr. Wald said that reporting the story was Mr. Gasparino’s job. Nevertheless, Mr. Gasparino never reported on Mr. Thomson’s threatened job status. He was urged to proceed cautiously with the story, but some within the network say Ms. Bartiromo’s role in the story prevented it from being fully reported. Mr. Wald adamantly disagrees with that interpretation. “We were clear from the beginning about reporting the story to the fullest. We did not air it because it was not adequately sourced. It didn’t meet our criteria from a journalist’s standpoint, and it clearly wouldn’t have met our lawyers’ criteria.”

And why might lawyers be involved? Because if your sensationalistic, poorly-sourced reporting ends up costing a top executive his job, he would have very good grounds to sue you for sums that CNBC does not in this or any other world earn. Not to mention what a humiliated Bartiromo could do.

As for Bartiromo, the innuendo about her making out with the Citi guy may or may not be true. If so, it would not exactly be the first time that a journalist (cough::AndreaMitchell::cough::HowardKurtz::cough:: ::hackJudithMillercough::) got entangled with his/her sources or their co-workers in a manner that compromised their journalism. But basically, if Thomson misused corporate jets, one doesn’t need to know why. It might be relevant to whether Bartiromo’s marriage to Joshua Steinberg survives or whether readers of The New York Times view her as a crimson-rouged harlot, but the one thing it won’t change is this:

She is a real journalist, one of the very few on television. 

That, I think is why her peers seem to hate her enough to pull a Gerth on her.

You tell me. Would they do this to a man? 

Posted in beat the press | 2 Comments »

Memo To Bill Donohue: You’re Next.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 12, 2007

I love the smell of outed 507(c)(3) violators in the morning.

Check out this, this and this.   Heheheheheh.  Michele Bachmann’s best buddy is going down in flames.

Posted in Fundies, megachurches, Michele Bachmann, Minnesota, Republicans | Comments Off on Memo To Bill Donohue: You’re Next.

This Is Beyond Stupid

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 12, 2007

A non-trivial chunk of African-American society — with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West leading the charge, apparently — is now attacking Barack Obama for not being black enough.

Granted, they usually don’t say it quite that bluntly — the usual charge is that “he doesn’t have a history of working with civil rights”, which is utter bullcrap, as Obama has been a community activist since 1984 and is well known as such in Chicago in particular and Illinois in general, as this Chicago Reader piece on him from 1995 shows. Here’s a relevant snippet:

Here in Chicago, Obama worked as lead organizer for the Developing Communities Project, a campaign funded by south-side Catholic churches to counteract the dislocation and massive unemployment caused by the closing and downsizing of southeast Chicago steel plants.


From 1984 to ’88 Obama built an organization in Roseland and the nearby Altgeld Gardens public housing complex that mobilized hundreds of citizens. Obama says the campaign experienced “modest successes” in winning residents a place at the table where a job-training facility was launched, asbestos and lead paint were negotiated out of the local schools, and community interests were guarded in the development of the area’s landfills.

And that’s just the start of Obama’s career as a community activist.

But this isn’t stopping even people like Steve Gilliard, who should know better, from reciting the “Obama doesn’t have civil rights experience” crapola. This apparently translates into “he didn’t live in New York City, so it doesn’t count”.

Know what’s really interesting?

One of the excuses given by West and Gilliard and Smiley for black-on-black crapping on Barack Obama is that his father was African and his mother was white. But Colin Powell — who is of African-Caribbean heritage [UPDATE:  And who also has been considered presidential timber — remember 1996?]  — has never, EVER been crapped on by Gilly the way Gilly’s crapping on Obama. (I Googled it, just to be sure.) And unlike Obama, Colin Powell spent much of the last decade enabling Bush’s atrocities.

Posted in Barack Obama | 1 Comment »

Some People Learn From Experience

Posted by MEC on February 12, 2007

Democrats skeptical of Iranian weapons claim

A compact disc distributed at the [US press conference in Baghdad] contained photographs of alleged Iranian weapons seized in Iraq — a Misagh-1 ground-to-air missile, explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs, and mortar shells manufacturing, according to their markings, in late 2006.

But the disclosures came less than a week after Congress released a scathing report by acting Pentagon Inspector General Thomas Gimble, in which he argued that former US undersecretary of defense Douglas Feith had manufactured “inappropriate” intelligence reports linking Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda to bolster the case for an invasion.


“I look at this with a degree of skepticism, based on the record that these intelligence operations have provided us in the past,” said Christopher Dodd.


Former Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry expressed a similar view, acknowledging that he had no doubt that there were “Iranian instigators, agents in Iraq.” … The Massachusetts senator assured the administration’s new “evidence of Iranian meddling will be met by “a skeptical Congress, and appropriately so, because of the last experience with Iraq.”

At least the Democrats are saying, “Fool me once … won’t get fooled again.” The U.S. news media, maybe not so much. This article is from AFP, a European news service. The BBC also says Democrats[are] wary over Iran claims. A search of Google News for Iran Democrats skepticism didn’t turn up similar headlines from U.S. news outlets. Quotations from skeptical Democrats buried in articles that have headlines proclaiming the accusation, not the skepticism:

Will the Democrats be heard over the drum beats?

[Edited to add:]

At last, the AP half-heartedly acknowledges Democrats’ skepticism:

Skeptical congressional Democrats said Sunday the Bush administration should move cautiously before accusing Iran of fomenting a campaign of violence against U.S. troops in Iraq.


The members of Congress spoke on the morning talk shows as the U.S. military said it believes orders came from the highest levels of the Iranian government to send components for sophisticated roadside bombs in Iraq.

Explosives seem to be flowing into Iraq from Iran, but does it stem from a deliberate government policy or rogue elements within the Iranian government? asked Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.


Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said the administration could be laying the groundwork for an attack on Iran and that “I’m worried about that. That’s how we got into the mess in Iraq,” by relying on what Dodd called “doctored information.”

Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said “the administration is engaged in a drumbeat with Iran that is much like the drumbeat that they did with Iraq. We’re going to insist on accountability.”

But the article still repeats the Pentagon charges without any mention of the evidence against those charges. Instead of committing real journalism, the AP is just repeating gossip, and portraying the issue as a partisan squabble instead of, you know, a serious issue of life and death.

Posted in beat the press, Democrats with spines, GOP/Media Complex, Iran, media, Media machine, mediawhores, mythmaking, tutu-less Democrats | 2 Comments »

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