December 17, 2007

Let's be undecided, let's take our time

Richard Diebenkorn, Untitled (Albuquerque), 1952

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"There was outrage last week as we learned that in 2005 the CIA destroyed tapes of the torture of two suspected terrorists, despite the fact that "federal courts had prohibited the Bush administration from discarding evidence of detainee torture and abuse months before," according to the Associated Press.

"So what did the president know and when did he know it? According to ABC News:

DUBYA: My first recollection of whether the tapes existed or whether they were destroyed was when Michael Hayden briefed me. There is a preliminary inquiry going on, and I think, I think you will find a lot more data. Facts will be coming out in an orderly fashion, and that is good. It will be interesting to know what the true facts are.

"Now why does that ring a bell? Ah yes - here's what Bush said about the Valerie Plame case back in 2005 (see Idiots 219):

"I don't know all the facts. I want to know all the facts. I would like this to end as quickly as possible. If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

And we all know how that turned out. In fact, it seems that much like the Valerie Plame case, facts won't be coming out in an orderly fashion. According to the International Herald Tribune:

The Justice Department asked the House Intelligence Committee on Friday to postpone its investigation into the destruction of videotapes by the Central Intelligence Agency in 2005, saying the congressional inquiry presented "significant risks" to its own preliminary investigation into the matter.

The Justice Department and the CIA's inspector general have begun a preliminary inquiry into the destruction of the tapes, and Attorney General Michael Mukasey said the department would not comply with congressional requests for information now because of "our interest in avoiding any perception that our law enforcement decisions are subject to political influence."

"Yes, gee, wouldn't want to give anyone the 'perception that our law enforcement decisions are subject to political influence' now would we?"

* AmericaBlog. excerpt:

"TPMmuckraker has a new article up entitled, 'Reid Chooses Admin-Friendly Measure as Basis for Surveillance Bill.' You can read the article for yourselves, but bottom line is that Harry Reid is being accused of caving to the Bush-enablers in his own party who are pushing for legislation to grant retroactive immunity to AT&T, Verizon and other telecom companies that helped the Bush administration illegally spy on innocent Americans.

"At this point, I don't know who to blame. Harry Reid for not getting firm with his own Democratic caucus? Democratic committee chairs like Patrick Leahy and Jay Rockefeller, either of whom has the power to throw a wrench in Bush's plans? Organizations like the ACLU, who are taking the lead on this issue, but whose "campaign" on this issue, and privacy overall, still remains a mystery?

"I do know that the blogs (including Glenn Greenwald, Christy at FireDogLake, and our gang, to name a few) have been going nuts on this issue, and the issue of privacy overall. But the blogs aren't enough. We don't have election certificates. We don't have multi-million dollar advocacy budgets. And those who do don't seem to understand anymore how to win, or how to even fight back.
(After the jump: Where was the non-profit advocacy?)

"And before anyone says that lots of money and time was spent on advocacy on this issue, I'm sorry, but what do we have to show for it? Where is the nationwide buzz about privacy (hell, where is the nationwide campaign about privacy?) Where are the Harry and Louise TV ads? Where is the discussion about how this issue affects every American who has ever had phone sex, committed adultery, or had a bit too much fun explicitly chatting with someone online? You better believe our current crop of politicians, and our current crop of non-profits advocates, wouldn't touch that side of these issues with a ten foot pole (no pun intended). But they're the very issues that affect real Americans, and they're the issues that would get America's attention and make them understand that what Bush did, what AT&T and Verizon did, and what Congress is about to do, have actual real-life impacts on their lives. But launching a campaign like that might embarrass our politicians and our board members and our donors. So, better to lose with our heads held high while our country falls apart around us.

"Once again, push comes to shove and liberals are caught unprepared. The politicians on the Hill and the big-money non-profits failed to lay the groundwork that would enable everyone to do the right thing on yet another core progressive issue. It's the Alito nomination all over again. After months of inadequate hearings and inadequate non-profit advocacy, the vote was a foregone conclusion because our side kind of sucked.

"I really don't know what to say any more. Our side, on the Hill and in the non-profit sector, honestly believes that there is no other option than failure. They honestly believe that no matter what they do they'll lose. So they give it the old college try, 'knowing' that failure is the only option."

* "Ask forgiveness, not permission" -- Will Oldham


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