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November 07, 2007


EW, of course Iran's a bigger threat than Pakistan. They must be--they have more oil. I'm sure a woman of your intelligence has already noticed the correlation between the amount of oil in the offing and the severity of the 'threat.' Why try to steal from poor countries? That isn't the Cheney way.

EW, was Matt's mention of your compaprison of Pakistan to 1978 Iran correct? If so, you have doubled up on psychic points for the day (see thread below)... As I was driving to work this morning I caught a snippet of two very serious people on NH public radio comparing Pakistan to Iran in 1978. Kudos to you ma'am. Unfortunately, though we are still left with the problem of what influence we should actually exert in Pakistan. A misstep here could make our tenuous standing there even worse.


Yes, but I read that somewhere, don't know where, so I was just borrowing from some other smart person.

NPR ran a story this morning comparing Pakistan to 1978 Iran, so the experts are slowly catching up to you...

Most actual experts I've talked to (meaning, not people like Bai or Warner, but people who get paid for a living to know things like the density of alpha phases) has thought for years that the most severe threat is in Pakistan. Actually, even a number of Congressional staffers have told me the same...

FWIW armscontrolwonk recently flagged a few items about what might happen to Pakistani nukes in a crisis.

I see I've been beaten to the punch on NPR. Well, part of greatness is knowing whom to steal from. Obviously Warner and Bai didn't.

Also, I hesitate to mention it, but William Lind has been pretty scathing in his indictment of Pakistan policy. You can read some of what he's written here, esp. #153. I hesitate to bring it up because, although he's cogent and knowledgeable on some topics, he's um, hyperbolic on others. (Which is a polite way of saying: he's a wingnut afraid of a Radical Frankfurt Left joining forces with Islamic Radicals to bring the Caliphate to American soil.)

"She reminded me, strangely, of Marcy from Peanuts. I wondered if she got that a lot." With these two sentences, he was dismissing all you had to say. And giving everyone a clue about himself as an unbiased reporter.

With accuracy like that, Bai must wear a glove when he wipes his ass.

Bai sets up an absolutely false argument first with the ad hominem of the "Peanuts" crack and then follows it up with the generalization regarding 'bloggers' attitudes in the final paragraph.

Why am I not surprised that such craptastic rhetoric actually works--after all the 'liberal bias' crap seemed a lot like implicitly denying the academic standards for 'pursuit of truth.' I often think that that was rather the point of the whole 'liberal bias' crap to begin with.

Strangely, Matt Bai reminds me of pencil-pudded hair-plug candidate. I wonder if he gets a lot of that.

Apologies for the typo... I meant to say "...*a* pencil-pudded hair-plug candidate."

I'm a little confused here. Your reference to "Warner" is the old VA Senator, the former VA governor or someone else? I'm not familiar with the slam to you but I do know that he needs to be careful about slamming you cause you'll out fox him!

Geez EW, they have to attack you in some way, don't they

your views on Pakistan are something they can argue against

you nailed the FBI on their "Falafel Investigations"

you're the world's leading expert Plamologist

I can't think of a topic where the freepi can score a point against your well constructed arguments

so how doe we explain Matt Bai's inaccurate slam ???

that's the best the freepers can do

the shit stains age grabbing for straws, cuz they ain't smart enough to abandon ship

that's,how you spot a true freeper. the shit stains have a personal stake in their self delusion, so they fight the hardest to protect their delusions

Actually Marcy, you might remind me of the girl - what's her name? - in Scooby Doo. I think it's the glasses and the smarts. But not really. You are real and that character in Scooby Doo is a cartoon.

Now Mat Bai, he reminds me of Smeagol in The Lord of the Rings. But then Smeagol was a computer generated character in the movies and a figment of my and TRR Tolkein's imaginations in the books. But frankly, I think Mat Bai is actually less real than Smeagol. More like the guy Mortimer Snerd on the radio.

Matt Bai was unable to see the well-informed and incisive Marcy Wheeler engaging in a serious debate of ideas.

Bai, for whatever reason, could see only a cartoonish DFH blogger with a likeness of Charles Shultz's Peanuts character Marcy. I forget, does Marcy have a personality on the Peanuts because the Marcy I know sure as hell has one? Maybe Bai’s observations were intended to be skin deep. Bai wasn't so interested as to actually find out about the person challenging Warner who he characterized as an uninformed knee-jerk contrarian by association (bloggers! right?) Bai also didn’t get Warner's claim reported accurately.

In fairness, I haven’t read Bai’s book, The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics. Did Bai interview bloggers or was his study of the subject a macro level study? Did he interview Wheeler, Juan Cole, Murray Waas, Kevin Drum, David Corn, Jane Hamsher, Christ Harden Smith, Jay Rosen, Glenn Greewald, Jack Balkin, Mikikatz, Sara…? (or pick your own favorite unserious, cartoonish, woefully uninformed blogger here.)

Bai is a serious journalist. Journalists are people and people make mistakes. People apologize. Journalists print retractions. How about it? It’s easier now; you can post it on your blog or in the comment section on someone else’s.

Let's take a run at the "first impression" style of reporting Matt Bai employed in his book. Matt Bai graduated from Tufts University the same year Wheeler did from Amherst. Both take their work as journalists seriously, Bai with a traditional career in journalism and Wheeler publishing on-line in new Media with full editorial freedom. Wheeler has an uncanny mind capable of rigorous analysis and the ability to read through the text, the talking points, and the spin, to find the truth buried therein. (Like Bai’s Warner, Wheeler is my protagonist.) I have never read Bai but if he's like some of the other knucklehead Tufts graduates I know, he's an underachieving unserious frequently uninspired individual who strikes me, and I don’t know why, as a person who probably works at home in his pajamas with a sink full of dirty dishes and a stack of unpaid bills on the mail table. (Like’s Bai’s Wheeler, Bai is my unserious, uninformed DFH.)

More to the point, who here now agrees Pakistan is the biggest WMD problem in the middle east and IRAN – contrary to the rhetoric coming from OVP - is more like Pakistan in 1978?

I was reading Neil's description-prediction of how Bai lives and I started to get worried

but I guess I can relax

my bills are paid, my dishes are in the cupboard, and I ain't wearing Pajamas (I don't even own Pajamas)

I must be doing something right

PS: if the NSA guys are lucky, I'm wearing my BVDs, but mostly I'm a commando blogger


RFW @ 11:41
Damn, now I have coffee in my sinuses--It hurts.

Semiot @ 12:53
Scooby-Doo character would be Velma.
I would've figured Bai more as Wormtongue rather than Smeagol, but I don't think I'll subject everyone here to my pathetic attempt at constructing character description/persona paralellisms.

Mark Warner ex governor of VA, plans to run for state office 2008. Favors cobbling together a constituency as compartmentalized as his scattered mosaic of policies such as his attempts to convince doctors that nuclear powered electric plants are safe, v. Harvard Crimson 2006 interview. Warner attempts to understand the breadth of vision his questioners clearly had at Ykos1 in 2006 image. Bai makes specious claims by misquoting, but that is the basic characteristic of the current leadership of the Republican party and their favored pundits. Something seems difficult in looking at news images such as this one of a Pakistan gendarme kneecapping a Pakistan attorney, though WaPo published it in the hardcopy version of some papers, it is an AP copyrighted photograph, available there. Warner is chary of UN; Warner takes stands that are regressive for minorities; Warner supports vitiating constitutional checks and balances by even strengthening the executive versus congress; Warner favors tabloid versions of justice, and discounts gentle, restorative remediation of unruly behaviors; big backer of Copa but the profile this comes from was written in 2001 before the Google million search strings and privacy cases reached the courts. Maybe he has improved the interconnectedness of his rough tumble social fabric policies. Pakistan seems to me to be part of the class strife pawn in the armarium of US foreign policy, though evidently now beyond the nice talking stage, after ten years of abetting surrogate conflicts in a country to its north, a risky theater simply for its proximity to the hyped 'WMD' harboring former regime in Iraq.

I dunno where Bai's been for the last however-many-years that Pakistan and India have had missiles pointed at eah other, with or without nukes. They've been fighting over Kashmir for decades; how has he missed that? (Then there's India and its neighbors in the Himalayas, but that's another matter.)

Iran, on the other hand, may be run by theocrats and a possible nutcase, but it isn't currently at war with its neighbors, AFAIK, and doesn't seem to be intent on starting one (or a civil war either).

yo, PJ:

Bai's been in that underground bunker, in an undisclosed location, drinking the koolaide with dead eye dick, and doing "the math" with kkkarl. their brilliant policy decisions have led the GOP to this promised land:

If I were a Republican strategist for 2008, I'd be depressed. The political climate reading tonight has shown that things nationally, and in Ohio, have not improved noticeably since 2006. Republican extremism is box office poison.

I stole that one from DailyKOS' front page

I'm beginning to think that george's only hope is to cancel the 2008 elections

cuz if we DO hold the 2008 elections, the Democrats might just end up with more than 67 Senate seats and over 300 seats in the House (if anybody who doesn't understand congressional rules, (that means YOU shit stain) the GOP would be totally irrelevant under those circumstances)

and does anybody out there realize how strong that koolaide has to be to produce such strong delusions ???

Ugh. reducing all blogging to simple contrarian reactions to what Bush says? And in the mindset that what Bush says could possibly be true, ie sky blue? jee hee sus.

Matt: it's called journalism. you can keep your pom poms.

Good on you Marcy. Keep up the good fight.

And when I said decades, I remember hearing about it back in the 60s. It's been going on pretty much since Pakistan and India separated. (I liked to read the encyclopedia, and we had yearbooks for 1957-1965. Great way to review the events.)

And it is not, I think, an unfair aside to ask if Bai’s descriptions of Marcy suggest a revealing piece of who he is as a writer: In an appearance lasting about half a page, Marcy is rendered more negatively than probably anyone else in the book, which will come as something of a surprise to anyone who has ever met her – unless, of course, they remember that she posed some particularly difficult questions to Bai when he spoke on a panel at YearlyKos 2006, leading him to give a frankly embarrassing answer. It is difficult to read his string of unflattering descriptions of her as anything other than bitterness at having been publicly shown to be a bit of a fool.

Ooh this sounds interesting. What did Marcy ask Bai and what was the embarrassing answer?

Pete--that's a follow-up post!!

But yes, we had a bit of a confrontation. I don't think it was as bad as MissLaura said. And I was absolutely on my best behavior on my response to Matt, not like he realizes it.

For the record, I liked Marcie in the Peanuts strip. She was very observant, a good friend to Peppermint Patty, and the "sir" may have been a feminist line about patriarchal society, but maybe not.

The problem with these so called "experts" is how little they know about topics that they feel no qualms about writing about. I was rather taken aback reading the Matt book excerpt from this site until I read Miss Laura's comments, and then things started to make sense.

Incidentally the only people I know who make the claim that "progressive bloggers have a knee jerk opposition to everything Bush" are the hard core kool-aid drinkers who worship Bush and Cheney.

I dunno, Pete. I pretty much have a "knee jerk reaction to everything Bush". I also have a knee jerk reaction to placing my hand on a hot stove eye as well. Neither seem that unreasonable from where I sit. They are both appropriate learned human responses. Most non-Democratic Congressional Leadersheep humans are able to learn such appropriate and intelligent response mechanisms from the human experience.

Let me put it another way. For anyone, Matt Bai included, that thinks that it is odious to have a "knee jerk reaction to everything Bush", please immediately forward to me a list of things Bush and Cheney have NOT fucked up.

So, if our Marcy is like "Marcy" from Peanuts, which proverbial football did she yank out from Matt Bai's kicking foot? Inquiring minds want to know.

And it's good to have you back, Marcy.

And to carry the Peanut analogy further, Marcy Van Pelt was also a pretty astute observer of human nature and a decent pop-psychologist. And our Marcy analyzes people pretty darned well in debunking their motives. I'm thinking he actually meant it as a compliment, marcy. LOL

game. set. match. bmaz. How about no child left behind? he he,

The Iran Agenda

Reese Erlich, an NPR Foriegn Correspondent, talks about his book The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis, published by Polipoint Press. c-span video

Mr. Erlich argued that Iran does not present a threat to the U.S. and should not be attacked. He said that many of the people pushing for war with Iraq are doing so for reasons that have little to do with U.S. national security.

Re Peanuts characters:

You're confusing Marcie with Lucy van Pelt, Linus's sister. Lucy didn't wear glasses.

I'm Canadian, and during the tenure of Brian Mulroney as PM, I occasionally had to follow my knee-jerk responses with more thoughtful pondering of policies of the day. Mulroney was no Dubya, but he was enamoured of entwining our two countries foreign and economic policies. His administration worked hand in glove with Reagan's to bring us NAFTA.

Hey, I think I know how to reform Mark Warner's thinking, and we can leave Matt Bai in the dust doing it.

Mark Warner is to run on the Democratic Party Line for the Senate in 2008. He is apparently ahead in the polls that have been done.

Now the point should be to Educate Mark Warner. Well, he actually has a serious Pakistani and Indian Muslim Constituency -- the Medical Personnel in SW Virginia. In towns such as Galax, Wythville, Bristol (TN and VA)the vast majority of the Doctors and Nurses are migrants from either Pakistan or Muslim Indian Communities, they are now mostly Citizens, and they are well organized. There is a huge 3 state VA hospital in Bristol they staff, and many regional hospitals. I bet Mark Warner does not know about this constituency, probably doesn't know about the chain migration that brought them to that corner of VA, and probably doesn't know why the US and the State of Virginia have to import Doctors. (not enough places in Virginia's medical schools -- it is cheaper to import Personnel, Native American Docs don't want to live in culturally backward SW VA.) And I suspect that most of them -- Pakistani and Indian orgined, know a thing or two about the Nuclear Arms Race between India and Pakistan. Of great importance, these are folk who can vote for Mark Warner next year.

So how do we take this nugget of odd information, and educate Mark Warner, something needed if he is to be a Senator. (And I bet Matt Bai doesn't know about all the Pakistani's in SW Virginia. I wouldn't except that my elderly second cousin once asked me If I knew why all their Doctors were from Pakistan? An odd question from a widowed farmer's wife -- but eventually I found the answer.)

Let's sharpen up Mark Warner.

There have been many threads here on TNH about the danger of Pakistan spinning out of control and that it poses the most serious threat to the world.

Iran IMO is not so much as a threat but a potential partner to bring stability to the ME. The simplicity of reporting in our corporate media makes it easy to caricature Ahmedinejad who in reality has very little power in Iran compared to the Ayatollah Khamanei. Iran has indicated I believe on numerous occasions a willingness to negotiate a grand bargain. The other problem that we have is that both Repub and Dem politicians buy into the conventional wisdom that Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are automatically bad and evil. Hezbollah is a very sophisticated and disciplined political and militia operation. Hamas has a huge following among Palestinians and was the duly elected party in free elections. It makes so much sense for us to sit down with these folks and work a deal. They have the ability to deliver their people. That would however mean we will have to play a much more even handed role in the ME something for which Howard Dean was pilloried. This would imply not being the lapdog for AIPAC and the Likudniks and cutting loose the "dicatorships" in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

What we are seeing in Pakistan is again in many ways not surprising and quite predictable. Pakistan has been a very unstable place since our use of islamists to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan with rising jihadist influence in the military and intelligence services. Growing unrest in the northern tribal provinces with jihadist influenced islamists gaining substantial strength. Add to this volatile mix an absolutely corrupt system and political parties and with secular people and institutions under assault by both the military and islamists for their own reasons. There is a very real possibility that Pakistan could unravel and in the ensuing chaos nuclear weapons and fissile material could easily pass into jihadist hands. There's also a very real possibility that to rally people into a common focus and enemy the Pakistani military could launch a war with India. There should therefore be significant concern that tthe real threat is not Iran but an unstable Pakistan that collapses into anarchy and unleashes a conflagration that includes nuclear weapons.

I am glad that at least EW is asking key politicians like Mark Warner these very important questions so that they can go and educate themselves. Unfortunately our dumbed down she said/he said corporate media can't make it sensational enough for a Nancy Grace show.

Sara's right. The debate is for a purpose. Act purposefully.

(...)"I effectively agreed with Warner's assessment of why Iran was a threat--Ahmadinejad's threats, Iran's hegemonic pretensions,(...)

Personally, I wouldn't concede either of those points. Re: the former (eg: threats"), Armiandinejad is a figurehead w/no real power. The winger media/talking heads (etc.) has focused on him to hi-lite GWB's exploits does not change that. Cheney, Wolfowitz and rest of W's neo-con cabal floated similar

On the later point (hegemony), Iran has attacked nobody. They have been occupied by US (Mossadeq coup/Shah), and attacked by us as SH's proxy. They neighbor Iraq, which has elected an Iran friendly govenment, so AFAIC they certainly have an interest... profoundly, in not having large US military presence w/in pissing range.

Personally, I'm willing to concede nothing to any chorus currently feeding Iran's "axis of evil" marketing scheme, whether folks do so consciously or not.

Perilous times.

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