Thursday, October 06, 2005

Mike's feeling a little better and plans on posting tonight. We're grabbing the same two items. This may be my last Thursday for awhile due to the fact that the group I gave everyone a heads up to awhile back will be meeting on Thursdays. This is a special issues group and it is not a permanent group. It will run through December, however, so do not expect to see new posts up here on Thursdays.

Pentagon Analyst Pleads Guilty In Israeli Spy Case (Democracy Now!)
A top Pentagon analyst has pleaded guilty to handing over highly classified intelligence to members of the pro-Israeli lobbying group AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The official, Larry Franklin, also admitted for the first time that he handed over top secret information on Iran directly to an Israeli government official in Washington. Franklin said he personally met with an official from the Israeli Embassy in Washington eight times. The Washington Post reports that Franklin's guilty plea casts doubt on long-standing claims by Israeli officials that they no longer engage in any intelligence activities inside the United States. In 1987, U.S. Navy intelligence officer Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life in prison after he admitted to spying for Israel. As part of a plea agreement Franklin pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and a third charge of possessing classified documents. He faces up to 25 years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, he has agreed to testify against the two former AIPAC officials, who are facing trial.

"Secret information." Is that classified information? The issues raised are serious issues and this isn't a top story on Yahoo or one that many people seem aware of. Is Israel spying on the United States? The case suggests it is. So why is there silence on this? Is it okay that we're spied on by some countries but not by others?

A Pentagon employee, "top analyst," has admitted to divulging classified information to another government. This should be a huge story. Where are the jowly Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts? Cat got their tongues? I'd watch This Week on Sunday if there was a chance the two who cast themselves as the moralizers of our time (in the nineties) were going to address this issue. But maybe the silence is because it doesn't provide the opportunity to grind an axe against Bill Clinton which really seems the whole reason for This Week's existance in the nineties.

Clear Channel Seeks Rewrite of Media Ownership Rules (Democracy Now!)
In other media news the radio giant Clear Channel is asking Congress to ease media ownership laws to allow it to purchase more stations. Clear Channel is the country's largest radio-station operator with over 1200 stations around the country. Clear Channel wants Congress to rewrite the rules to allow a single company to own up to 12 different stations in a single market.

More Clear Channels? I can't imagine anything more frightening. Localism and regionalism has been destroyed across the country as Clear Channel has been allowed to set up their own little monopoly which has included "dee jays" that aren't in the area, automated "broadcasting" which consists merely of a person hitting the play button every few hours. It's a monopoly, it should be broken up under Anti-Trust legislation. It should not be granted the ability to own and operate more stations.

Some whiner wrote C.I. today about "How dare you write about Robert Kagan's Hurricane Katrina commentary! Kagan didn't give Hurricane Katrina commentary!" I think C.I. was too nice in the reply (but I haven't read the e-mail that was sent in). Knowing C.I., I can hear the attempts to go through it all slowly for the benefit of the non-reader but I really think ___ is right and C.I. needs to stop spoon feeding whining children.

C.I. never wrote about Kagan commenting on Hurricane Katrina. Some whining baby who can't even bother to find out what C.I. wrote about fires off a how-dare-you e-mail attempting to correct something that C.I. never wrote about.

Read the thing, it's a good entry on C.I.'s part. But I wish C.I. had let it rip. How?

"A stupid idiot e-mails me today wanting a correction. I'd suggest stupid idiot spend less time worrying about what I wrote and more time wondering why stupid idiot flaunts illietarcy. I never wrote about what stupid idiot is whining about."

I also think when those e-mails come in, C.I. should name the idiots. If they're going to whine about things that didn't happen, put their name in so they can embarrassed in front of the whole world that they've taken the time to whine in an e-mail about something they are severely ignorant of.

Kyle e-mailed to ask if I knew who the idiot was. I don't. I haven't spoken to C.I. today. I will call tonight and ask who the idiot was but, if I'm told, it will be due to our long friendship so I won't be able to turn around and post about it. But Kyle's feelings are that the whole community had to be put on hold today because some idiot didn't know what he or she was talking about and Kyle thinks, when that happens, the idiot should be named.

Kyle said that even without knowing who the idiot was he enjoyed reading the entry. I did too. And I was running down likely suspects in my mind. I've narrowed it down to four choices (if I'm told and one of my four is correct, I'll note that tomorrow but I won't pass on the name).

I'll also note C.I.'s comments re: Harriet Miers and the Democrats' silence because they are important:

Focus on the Fool's James Dobson claims to have "inside" information from the one responsible for converting her (presumably, either the preacher at her church or Miers' phone chum who's a judge) and has spoken to Karl Rove. He's vouching for Miers. Kirkpatrick notes that Dems are on the sidelines here. Why is that? She's not qualified. If George Will (of all people) can make that point, why can't Democrats?
The attitude seems to be "Oh, let them fight amongst themselves and then we'll step in." That's not how you defeat this nomination. Ed Gillispie and others are being sent out. The "debate" will be shut down at some point. Now is when Democrats need to be speaking up and raising the issue that she's not qualified. This is the highest role for a judge in this country. They failed to make that point (as a party) with regard to Robertson. They appear unable to today as well. Why Republicans are squabbling and questioning the nomination, Democrats should be repeating, "She's not qualified" over and over.
There's a real danger here and it's when the squabble dies down. The nation may look at it, the squabble, as a vetting process in and of itself. And if Dems wait to bring up serious criticism until the "debate" is over, people may take the attitude of "This has already been settled. Why are they bringing it up now?"
Democrats need to take (and show) some leadership here. Harry Reid won't do it. He doesn't know how to be a leader. But the way you defeat the nomination is by raising questions while Republicans are as well. Not waiting to see what stuck because the reality is that its highly unlikely that they won't stifle their own disagreements (Republicans) and come together around Miers. When that happens, it's too damn late for Dems to try to raise issues and concerns.
You do it now. While people are seeing Republicans question Miers' capabilities. Let's use an example. Rebecca, Mike, Seth, Dona, Cedric and Betty are going to lunch. Rebecca and Mike argue over where to go. They finally agree on one place. At which point, after they've agreed, Seth says, "I don't want to go there, I want to go ___." Betty, Cedric and Dona may look at Seth and think, "Why did you wait to bring this up? We've already decided."
That's what will happen if Democrats don't start getting vocal. This could even be smart strategy on the part of Republicans. Before they come together, they air the appearance of a debate (from their own party) and it then appears that all issues were raised and addressed. So when Dems finally find their voices, the public may be weary and think, "Let's just go eat already!"

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center)
War would end if the dead could return.
Stanley Baldwin