January 7, 2005
Compiled by Bucky Rea, The
Brown Bag Blogger
Meet the Old Boss, Same as the Old Boss
You may have made a New Year's resolution to change for the better
and I may have made a New Year's resolution to change for the better,
but our friends and foes in Washington DC this week wanted to let
the world know that they think they're fine just the way they are.
And that is the only thing that could explain why both Republicans
and Democrats met the opening week of 2005 by acting as absolutely
predictably as they could.
Republicans protecting Tom Delay played the perfect hypocrites
on governmental reform, flip-flopped on ethics standards, figured
out a slinkier angle for covering his bug-smooshin' posterior, and
then wrapped it all up in a smooth marketing campaign that hid the
fact that they used the growing Delay scandal to effectively defang
the House Ethics committee. Talk Left explains it for you.
And Congressional Democrats said next to nothing about it.
Kos is chronicling the degeneration of the US Department
Random Retribution Justice from the days when
the words "torture memo" might've implied things America was trying
to prevent, or when the phrase "the politics of the torture
memos" would mean which party could demonstrate the greatest moral
outrage against torturing prisoners of war.
Today, of course, it signals a gentlemen's debate between rah-rah
support and modest disapproval of the systemic physical and mental
degradation of prisoners who just don't understand how moral our
Digby of Hullabaloo,
meanwhile, is letting you know just how predictable all the Elephantine
fireworks over Guantanamo Bay abuses are gonna be:
Why, the Republicans are going to say that the
Democratic Party is soft on terrorism, oh my gawd! Peter Beinert
will caution that we are giving up the moral high ground by failing
to show that we are serious about fighting Islamic fundamentalism.
Oh heck! ...
Many in the Republican party... are going to immediately attack
with everything they have. (T)hey are uncomfortable with criticism
and their reaction is to lash out viciously. (Quite a few of the
wingnut "Year End" lists were quite adamant that Abu Ghraib was
overblown by the liberal media.) They will get hysterical about
the existential threat we face and talk about the constitution not
being a suicide pact. They'll paint us all as a bunch of wimps who
can't stand up to terrorism.
But, see, this is how democracy works: people stand up and speak
their minds, make their cases, regardless of personal gain or security.
How democracy doesn't work is when one side says, "ah
to hell with it" if it looks like they're not gonna win on
a particular argument. For instance, can you guess what all the
Democratic senators did when Barbara Boxer finally crossed the line
and joined House members in questioning irregularities in the Ohio
vote? Do the words "baa-baa" mean anything to you?
Fiddled's Noah Diamond gives the best terse summary
of Thursday's hearings and reminds us that the phrase "won't change
the outcome" is a cop out, not a legal argument. You kids may want
to remember that exact phrase in case you decide to dodge the draft
next year. "Sure, your honor, I guess I could enter the army
and go and fight those terrorist coddlers in Portugal. But even
if I don't go..." (all together now) "... it won't change the
No harm, no foul, right?
Like other bloggers and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Noah fell for the
short-lived announcement that Senators Dodd, Clinton, Reid, and
Obama would join Barbara Boxer in challenging the voter abuses from
Ohio. In the end, Senator Boxer stood alone on her side of Capitol
Speaking of not being able to make a difference, Alberto Gonzales
announced this week "we
must be committed to preserving civil rights and civil liberties"
for Breakfast connected the dots, pointing out something
that you never hear on the TV news:
(I)t was strategically wise for activists like
MoveOn.org not to give
US Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales a free pass during
his confirmation hearings... That means Gonzales' critics have successfully
chased him off of some of the most regressive and scary legal and
political positions ever taken by the Bush administration. Hurrah!
It's an accomplishment well worth the price paid for standing up
to reactionaries and race
baiters who said he was above criticism.
Real Democrats (meaning, sadly, the ones who don't run for office)
hammering Gonzales on his crazy torture opinions paid off. There's
a lesson in that, if there are any actually elected Democrats watching
the news out there. And that makes for this week's quote of the
Blogs in the News
Nature took these past two weeks to remind us just who's the real
boss around here. The horror in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and around
the Indian Ocean rim, was but a shrug to the forces of plate tectonics
that hold our globe together.
As seems to be the case in so many big stories recently, blogs
played important role in letting the voices of normal people be
heard amid the crush of global events. While big news media kept
the public informed on the status of all the plucky supermodels
caught up in Indian Ocean tsunami, it fell to the weblogs of the
region to remind the literate minority of the real human dimensions of the catastrophe and connecting the world to numerous charitable donation sites.
Blog of the Year? Really?
Bloggers who read Time magazine had more that just Dubya's
Person of the Year award to confirm their deepest suspicions about
"liberal media bias." Time also awarded its Blog
of the Year award to Powerline
for creating "Rathergate" and effectively diverting attention away
from the main thrust of the "60-II" story on Bush dodging the draft.
Fight the Power, baby! These three Twin City corporate lawyers have
come up with the fresh idea of constantly whining about how liberal
media bias makes life tough for conservatives. Whoa, boy, talk about
cutting edge trendsetters!
Y'know, conservatives pundits kvetching about liberal media bias
always kinda reminds your ol' brown bagger of those Lifetime Network
Movies in which wife-beatin' husbands (played by Paul LeMat) gripe
about how their long-sufferin' wives (Annie Potts) always burn the
meatloaf (Meatloaf) or can't control their screaming brats (scrawny
kid from Jerry Maguire). The brats have to scream, of course, because
the grown ups are so dysfunctional and so self-absorbed, and, frankly,
aren't doing any real work anyway.
But I digress.
Blog on Blog Violence
On the principle of fairness, although I have vowed never to award
Wolcott with quote of the week status, his take
on Andrew Sullivan is the sort of thing they ought to include
in English literature anthologies.
But you gotta give props to the molecularly unstable Sullivan for
maintaining his consistent inconsistency in our turbulent universe.
While everyone else is busy linking to tsunami relief fund sites,
Sully's top line reads: "Please support this blog! Click here to
make a donation."
You go, boy!
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