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September 07, 2006


The Democrats will be happy to work with Graham and McCain and come up with something that satisfies the Rule of Law. If Bush doesn't like it he can argue with them and the Supreme Court.

And Joe Lieberman needs to keep his Bush-enabling hands off of this topic. Don't think that's not a big issue back home.? See primary results.


World Leaders Offer Mixed Reaction
To U.S. Confirmation of CIA Prisons
Associated Press
September 7, 2006 7:46 a.m.

Staunch U.S. supporter Australia on Thursday backed Washington's use of secret Central Intelligence Agency prisons overseas to interrogate terrorist suspects, but critics in Asia said the President Bush's defense of the practice amounted to a tacit approval of torture.

Mr. Bush on Wednesday acknowledged for the first time that the CIA runs secret prisons overseas and said the program would continue because it "has been, and remains, one of the most vital tools in our war against the terrorists." (See related article)

I wonder if they'll call off the investigation into Dana Priest now?

Great post, Dem.

Dana Priest in an example of th best of journalism, the anti-Judith Miller.

As I was watching the CNN coverage this morning, I had thoughts similar to yours, DemfromCT: this speech was (in contrast to the last two weeks...in fact, the last five years) substantive; it provided subject matter for debate. But you knew the only part that actually interested Bush and Co. was the political aspect -- how they could "trap" the opposition into taking unadvantageous positions (whether they'll succeed, as you well point out, is a different matter).

The main thing is, true to form, the press bought right into the angle the White House prefers -- how will this hurt Democrats? It struck me that this perfectly illustrates the divide between the press and the public that has been in existence since the early Clinton administration: the press is wholly obsessed with theatre/staging...while the public rates on substance. This is why the press was so contemptuous of Clinton even while the public was giving him 65-75% approvals: they didn't think he did things NEATLY. And it's also why they remain willing to rally to a president the public has long since abandoned: they keep thinking one more impressive piece of PR will turn things around. They don't understand Charlie Cook's remark about the cake being baked, because the thing that's baked in -- the substance -- is something they've persuaded themselves, in a meta sort of way, doesn't matter.

I believe they probably got this idea during the Reagan administration, when Mike Deaver endlessly patted himself on the back for his photo ops, and persuaded the media that was the root of Reagan's success. Tell you what: take away falling gas prices, and the military-spending induced employment boom, and those photo ops woldn't have amounted to squat. And take away the Iranian revolution -- and concommitant soaring of gas prices -- and Jimmy Carter looks like a whole different president, lousy PR staff or not. Substance always matters.

You know, I wouldn't put it past Joementum to push himself forward in the Senate debate in just the most obnoxious, Bush-enabling way you suggest. And at that moment, I believe even the remaining Dem holdouts would come to realize how lucky they were Joe was denied the party nomination -- and cut him cold (as would some of his crucial loyal-Dem vote in CT).

Why would they call off the investigation of Dana Priest? They still believe it was the president's prerogative to reveal the existence of these prisons and no one else's.

As I mentioned yesterday, we have to keep in mind that these are the same guys who are asking the court in the Al-Haramain case to help them continue to deny the existence of their domestic spying program, even though they've already accidentally turned over transcripts of illegal wiretaps to the suspects' lawyers.

They clearly want the Dems to vote against the tribunal bill just like the Iraq resolution and the Dept of Homeland Security in 2002. And war funding in 2004.

What the Dems need to ask is why we need to be fighting in Iraq iof they are so successful against terrorists using intelligence and law enforcement methods. None of these guys were captured in Iraq or captured through intelligence gained in Iraq. Au contraire, pulling forces out of Afghanistan and sending them into Iraq retarded the capture of these guys, to say nothing of bin Laden.

This is really going to be a defining moment for McCain--will he back Bush or Graham/Warner? And will it matter?

The most notable thing about this to me is that my local paper (admitedly the SF Chron, but still...) ran the President's speech story, politics and substance, below the fold. It was trumped by the story of the discovery of a tall tree.

Bush has managed to turn himself into meaningless noise. Dangerous noise, but not listened to.

And the tree was much better looking.

more of what demtom refers to:

The Note:

1. The President's detainee gambit — tactically boffo enough to bring the Los Angeles Times Ron Brownstein off of book leave for only the second time (Be the first to name the other story that did that and win a prize: e-mail the answer to [email protected]) — is given universal praise by the Gang of 500 for ensuring the fall debate will be more about who can keep America safer from terrorists, and, thus, for putting the Democrats on the defensive. LINK

But Brownstein actually says:

David Wade, a senior advisor to Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), said the skepticism of such prominent Republicans about Bush's approach would make it difficult for the GOP to use the issue to portray congressional Democrats as weak on security.

"I think that is incredibly hard for them to pull off when a president who has approval ratings in the 30s is not able to corral former prisoner of war John McCain, former secretary of the Navy John Warner, and former [military] lawyer Lindsey Graham to follow that playbook. They are going to be the faces of the opposition to Bush's policy," Wade said.

I think we can do no less that deal with the captured al Qaeda the same way we dealt with the Nazis. We should use the model of the Nuremberg trials.
Of course those trials were public.
Your move, Dumbya. Public trials, amen. It makes sense, and it's the American way. No more of this secret bullshit. IF PUBLIC TRIALS WERE GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE NAZIS, THEN IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE THE ISLMOJIHADIFACISTS.
If the fake opposition party of Dems doesn't seize this golden opportunity to take the narrative away from the rovians, then the writing is on the wall, and the streets need to be filled with 50 million people saying we aren't going to take it anymore! Remember:
If public trials were good enough for Nazis, then public trials are good enough for the "terrorists". Get it?

I appreciate the reminder about Dana Priest. Here are two vignettes, transcripts of the jibes and questions, which she manages deftly. In the first she is the expert commentator at the Hayden hearing, the link is to her live blog replies to emails during the hearing May 2006. The other link is a transcript of a segment in Meet the Press July 2006 with Bill Bennett, who had advocated Dana be incarcerated, and other wingers; Editor and Publisher has the excerpted relevant passages, and has an interest in the proceedings as it was tarred by some of the political commentaries; the MTP session is hosted by Andrea Mitchell.

Bush is hardly getting his 48 hours of sycophancy this time. The LA Times headline is "Bush Acknowledges Secret Jails." That's the first thing readers will see, and the connotation is more "gulag" than "tough on terror."

Rick, Meet the Tim and Brian Williams did the ga-ga bit on the Nightly News.

(I only watched America's Sweetheart once. Someone email me if Lara Logan becomes anchor.)

PS cable is all ABC "Path to 9/11" with no mention of the Bush speech. ABC is justifying keeping the movie depite Clinton's vehement objection.

That's another story... but the focus is not on Bush today.

Mimikatz, you're correct that the person for whom this moment has the most consequence is clearly McCain. His "suck up to the Bush right/my adoring centrists will never hold it against me" strategy is put to a very severe test, and I think he will suffer real damage with one side or another depending on how he falls. My cynical instinct is he's now so wired into pursuing the righty strategy he'll cut Warner/Graham cold.

I didn't think Darlin' Katie had any particular failngs as an anchor -- she read the news as competently as anyone -- but when I heard she was doing a 1-on-1 with Bush, I bailed for Charlie Gibson (when I read some of the interview content on Salon, I was glad I had). I'm not that happy with any of the 6:30 choices now. How sad that Jennings had to meet his sad fate right when he was most needed.

DemfromCT, maybe you want to start a thread on the ABC movie. It seems to have become a blog-begun flashpoint at the level of Trent Lott/Strom Thurmond -- and our side seems to be firmly gaining the upper hand.

That it's drowning out what Bush hoped would be his subject-changer is justice too delectable for words.

And the tree was much better looking.

And smarter.

More troops are needed because the Pakistan government just agreed to create a new country on the border with Afghanistan. It will be run by Al Quaeda and the Taliban.

Pakistan and India both got nukes under Clinton and Albright and now it's a new country for Bin laden.

There are new books coming out like this and she wants cash(she also ran Mercy Corps and got billions from AID):

Rebuilding Afghanistan (The Leonard Lopate Show: Tuesday, 05 ...5 Sep 2006 by [email protected] (WNYC, New York Public Radio)
Sarah Chayes discusses why Afghanistan’s post-Taliban transition has been so ...
Sarah Chayes is the founder of Arghand, which sells hand-crafted products from
Kandahar. ... Events: Sarah Chayes will be reading and signing books ...
wnyc's Leonard Lopate Show - http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate
[ More results from wnyc's Leonard Lopate Show ]

She works closely with the Taliban(her admission) that agreed to the new country and does not like US policy in the area. Maybe she had some input also, but there are internet rumors for the last couple of years that she is a CIA ooperations officer like Plame.

Democrats and academia (some angry CIA agents) and the movie is not liked. Well, the dems put in Bush as a way to pay off for Clinton expecting a bill from the terrorists. So, why would what is happening be bad for democrats; be any different than the past?

You get the impression that RightHandMan isn't very bright.

"You get the impression that RightHandMan isn't very bright."

You get the feeling "coherent" isn't his first language.

Rove is alive and well. What you have said DemfmCT is pretty much true, except it actually does put a lot of pressure on the Democrats. Bush and the Republicans will say we put the ball into the Dems corner and they squabbled and whinned which is what they are best at, and did nothing. Another talent they have!

One other thing, when they tried the Nazis, the war was over so there weren't any great secrets they had to protect. It all was pretty much hung out to dry.

By the way DemfmCT did you ever go back to Tactical and "fill in the blank?"

Jodi, thanks for the prompt! ;-)

Great post, and some great comments (and RightHandMan just needs an adjustment to his meds).

I agree that this is an interesting moment for McCain -- but I'm also curious about Graham. I know he's former JAG, and has been a strong voice on this stuff publicly; but I admit I haven't trusted him since his phony Atticus Finch routine during Clinton's impeachment hearings. And John Dean's recent Findlaw piece about his machinations with Kyl over the Hamdan case (http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20060705.html) did nothing to make me rethink my distrust. Then there's his less-than-straightforward Gang of 14 involvement (cue Kagro X)...And of course, neither he nor McCain seems to have put up much of a fight over the emperor's little "never mind" note on the torture amendment. (How McCain in particular can sleep at night over that I honestly don't understand.) So I just hope Graham is in earnest over this one.

Apropos of RightHandMan, it was Josh Marshall, who said about the pakistani-al Qaida/Taliban deal: Fighting them in Iraq because we're afraid to fight them in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Isn't it obvious that these trials underscore Bush's failure to capture Bin laden? I think the Democrats should be calling for a public trial of Bin Laden, in absentia if necessary.
Look, no one would be satisfied with a hidden trial of Bin Laden---why should we be satisifed with a hidden trial of the others?

more why it won't work:

The Pentagon's top uniformed lawyers took issue Thursday with a key part of a White House plan to prosecute terrorism detainees, telling Congress that limiting the suspects' access to evidence could violate treaty obligations.

Dear emptywheel,
Good news about the book. I suggest you try to get it made into a made-for-tv Disney movie so the wingnuts will get a look at the truth for a change. But I digress. With regard to your comments about the WaPo, the NYT and the WSJ, it should come as no surprise that the very rich, and very well placed would cleave to any lie to maintain their status and position, to say nothing of the wealth that they can thank the really rich people for.

Andrew Sullivan has trouble with the trust thingie.

It's right there in the president's speech yesterday: once again, baldly stated, as if saying it more categorically makes it true:

I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture. It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorized it - and I will not authorize it.

There is no other way to say it. On one of the gravest moral matters before the country, this president is knowingly stating an untruth.

I think the shelf-life of Rovian tactics are over. The corporate media will buy it as they are the propaganda arm of the right-wing. Exhibit A in that is ABC that uses public airwaves to broadcast a propaganda campaign commercial to shift the blame on 9/11 while refusing to release Fahrenheit 9/11 before an election as they did not want to come across as partisan.

When all they have is an one-act play and the act keeps getting repeated people catch on. They are not going to be fooled easily again. And I sense the Senate Dems getting some cojones and hopefully will not rollover to this ploy. They are gaining momentum by standing up to these shenanigans. And endangered Repubs will be more worried about getting elected than rubber-stamping. The fact that Chris Dodd stood up to corral a fillibuster on Bolton and Chafee becoming weak kneed are good signs. The fact that the Senate Dems wrote to Iger at Disney reminding him of the free use of public spectrum was another hopeful sign.

If the Dems can keep Bush and Iraq front & center and keep the pressure on why there needs to be checks & balances on a rogue administration that does not believe in the rule of law, I think the voters will respond.

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