Just Another Day

"Any idiot can handle a crisis, it's day to day living that wears you out." - Chekhov

Sunday, June 19, 2005

From Dark Syde

As I have noted here before, some say it so much better than I can in my rants.

In Which I Take A Wingnut Apartby DarkSyde

[
Subscribe]Sun Jun 19th, 2005 at 06:18:40 EETCrossposted at UTI

The Video of Conyers' hearing with Joseph Wilson, John Boniface, Ray McGovern, and Cindy Sheehan is out at Cspan.
Below is my response to a war apologist who doesn't want an Inquiry or a hearing or any other investigation into the events inside the WH leading up to the War. This fellow thought it befitting to call me a dumbshit and imply the same ole same ole; I'm a liberal, a coward, etc ad nauseum. It got kind of long and I thought it would make a good blog entry, and some of you might like it.

Update: Yes anyone can reproduce this and you can take credit for it as far as I'm concerned. Hunter asked for examples of what members have written and think is decent: I'd rather have entries on science published, I'd much rather be writing about that. But Kos is a political blog, so this is my contribution. Diaries :: DarkSyde's diary :: :: Trackback ::

Improb,

You're certainly entitled to your opinion. I'm more interested in your rationale and your evidence. But you get a say no matter what on this Blog, in this nation, or any of the venues I contribute to, even if I happen to disagree.

But I don't think this issue, DSM/Iraq, the prewar run-up, the post war failures, dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, is going to go away, in fact I'm sure of it.

Update: In fact given
Stop George's Diary linking that the DSM and the calls for an Investigation are now being reported on the front pages of major five news wires and feeds ... I'm going to unofficially call the obvious at this point: Georgia10, Armando, Blades, Kos, Page, Hunter, everyone of you on Kos, you homies at the Booman, The Next Hurrah, Kevin Drum, Atrios, Josh Marshall, our comrades in spirit overseas, The European Tribune and others, all of you in the entire RBC, bloggers, commentators, lurkers ... IT HAS HAPPENED.

I think it's going to get worse, much worse, because I think new information is going to come out and existing information is going to become more visible. And as long as we're losing folks and hemorrhaging cash, the value of that conflict and any mistakes or misrepresentations which may have been made are going to be on the front page, in the forefront of public discourse, the lead story, and under fire. New info is going to get air time sooner or later in that backdrop, no two ways about it. You can either ignore it and hope it disappears, taking the chance it will fester or explode. Or you can confront it for the good of the nation and to demonstrate the integrity of your party. If it turns out it was a series of honest mistakes, the electorate can decide for themselves how to handle that and either forgive or hold accountable the GOP and BushCo in each and every election. Bush has little to worry about in that event. He can't run again anyway. The party might pay, his brother might pay, he will not be significantly harmed. (I think we're a pretty damn forgiving people. We forgave Clinton, we forgave Reagan in Iran/Contra)

But the ole 'smear and insult' gig is rapidly losing its effectiveness simply because the folks who are becoming restless are not all liberals; it's Republican voters, centrists, and Independents. The liberals also happen to be gaining momentum at the expense of Bushco. Smear dems and you might get some McCarthyism-like backlash, but you might not. It's a ghastly tactic when used by anyone, but perhaps there's not all that much to lose, yet, especially when you're riding high in the public eye. Smear your fellow conservatives or swing voters, especicially when the polls start to show you in the minority for the first time, they get pissed off and vote against you. You lose elections. A word to the wise.

If it turns out we were lied to, then yes, it could be trouble for Bush or whomever falls on their sword on his behalf. If it turns out someone or someones violated Federal law, then yeah, they're in deep shit. They should be; It should be trouble for them. That's exactly why the posturing and repositioning of some Republican Politicians as of late has become more noticeable. They sense that Bush, Cheney, Rummy, ect, are in political and possibly legal trouble, and the reason they're in trouble is mostly because of Iraq. This is as serious as a heart attack.

Is it a High Crime to engage in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for taking the nation into war? Is it a High Crime to manipulate intelligence so as to allege falsely a national security threat posed to the United States as a means of trying to justify a war against another nation based on "preemptive" purposes? Is it a High Crime to commit a felony via the submission of an official report to the United States Congress falsifying the reasons for launching military action? Were contracts given out in an illegal way? Did it violate the RICO Act and Corporate malfeasance measures? Did any of that happen?

I want to find out. So should you. Everyone should.

If the evidence revealed by the Downing Street Minutes is true, if the Niger Document was known or highly suspected to be fake, if the aluminum tubes were known or highly suspect, if the integrity of curveball was known or highly suspect, then the President's submission of his March 18, 2003 letter and/or various reports to the United States Congress might violate federal criminal law, including: the federal anti-conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, which makes it a felony "to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose..."; and The False Statements Accountability Act of 1996, 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which makes it a felony to issue knowingly and willfully false statements to the United States Congress.

Was an operation carried out against Valerie Plame designed to blow her cover, threaten her confidantes in the Middle East, and defame her husband, because he went public with information Bush wanted kept secret concerning the reliability of the Niger Documents? If so, was it a violation of Federal Law?

Does any of that apply? Did any of it happen? I don't know, but there is sufficient reason to suspect it may have. The President and his cabinet deserve their day in front of an Inquiry to tell us what transpired. They deserve a chance to tell their side of the story. And we the people, their bosses in a democracy, are entitled to those answers, not another PR campaign run by the folks who are under investigation, but sworn testimony under oath with supporting documentation.

Did you support the White Water Investigations? Did you support the Monica Lewinsky investigation and the Inquiry into whether or not Clinton committed a crime [perjury]?

I did. And it was far less serious than these allegations.

If you did also then you must support this Inquiry as well. It's simply inexcusable for the President or anyone else in his Cabinet to break the law, and for anyone to justify it, regardless of their personal political viewpoint. Did they? Only one way I know of to find out. If you can't concede that simple fact then you do not support our most cherished values of equality and due process, as well as our uniquely American Constitutional principles, and you are in fact Un-American in the extreme sense of the term; no flag waving involved, no cheesy appeals to veterans status accepted. Just a simple fact. This is America, a nation of laws and free inquiry where politicians must answer to the electorate they serve.

Note that none of this has anything to do with whether or not Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, or if the Iraqis deserved liberation or a democracy, or if they're happy with it, or if it was done competently or not, or what our exit strategy is or should be. It's purely a matter of what the President was told versus what he told us and Congress, how policy was arrived at on the war and the money handouts, and how he or others acting on his behalf may have repressed dissent allegedly depriving the nation of what are potentially material facts.

You seem to be arguing that we simply ignore any possible wrong doing while waving around your 'patriotism' and castigating me as a liberal and pretending that liberals are somehow less patriotic than you; as if that makes it all OK and absolves you of any need to elucidate your point of view using logic and precedent.

It doesn't. It's frankly both an old, tired canard and a bit nauseating. You don't know jack about me. You assumed I was a liberal, you assumed I have made no sacrifice for this nation, both are utterly unfounded and utterly wrong.
Yes, you can ignore it. Yes, you can ridicule it. But tar me as someone who is less an American than you? Huh-uh. That I won't allow to go without comment.

Both my wife and I have worked closely with the defense industry in one form or another ... in some cases serving in National Security environments so sensitive I don't think I should even be discussing them with any detail-even though it's mostly old news and probably long ago DC'ed.

Here's just a couple of things I feel no one would have any reason to object to me speculating on. My wife was assigned to what I'm confident was a super secret listening post on the Soviet Border at the height of the cold war in the most lawless part of the world, hundreds of miles from civilization, in the middle of Islamic Fundamentalism and Communist sympathizers, surrounded by smugglers and bandits. One of the handful of females who drew such duty, I shudder to imagine what would have happened had she been taken by some bad actors.

My Father-in-law is a retired VP who served as a corporate/engineering officer in two MAJOR Defense Contractors during his career, companies which I would guess had a hand in the construction and deployment of the most sensitive birds ever put into orbit. He was I gather very high on the Totem Pole in the engineering management of fuel enrichment. I'm guessing based on common knowledge on both the particulars here: Because neither my wife or my step father has ever told me this or discussed it with me in such detail; and I don't mean ever in a 'wink wink' way, I mean never, ever, because my family and myself are professionals of the highest caliber. We take any confidentiality agreements we may have signed, corporate or government, seriously. And we will take them to the grave.

She and many in her family are still working near or right in the middle of such environments and some of them are working on what I strongly suspect may even be Black Projects here at the Cape ... because, unlike most families at gatherings, they never, ever, talk about their work, capiche?

Yet you assumed (And tried to discredit me in the process), that I'm interested in getting to the bottom of this because I'm a libby who 'hates America'. Again dead wrong. The reason this possible case of wrongdoing in the highest office in our land, over the most important decision we as a people can make, hurts me is precisely because my family and I love this nation, have prospered under her freedoms, treasure her values, have done what we can to engender that tradition, and I'm highly motivated to preserve her unique heritage for the future generations. That's all one hell of a lot more important to me than Bush's reputation or a political party; or your feelings.

My wife, myself, my extended family, are all red, white, and blue American Patriots. We are the present members of several generations of such a family with a long, rich history in engineering, aerospace, and physics, and most of us are veterans, many saw action. Patriots, scientists, and professionals we are, one and all, in every sense of the word. The same is true for much of my neighborhood. Lockheed, United Space Alliance, NASA, JPL, Boeing, CIA, NSA, Harris; you name it, I'm in the thick of it here in on the Space Coast of Florida. About once or twice a year men in black suits who look like they could bench press a car driving black SUVs knock on my door, wave a badge, and ask politely if I'd mind answering some routine questions about a neighbor who needs an upgrade or review of his clearance because of a job change or a promotion he's received. Black Helicopters fly over my community, to and from unknown LZ's, probably research and launch facilites at the Kennedy Space Center; the VAB can be seen from my roof. You getting the pic?

Statements such as yours are only forgivable because you don't know any better and besides, you're on a blog where as far as I'm concerned you can say whatever you want. And free speech includes the right for you to freely make an ass out of yourself. Even if you said that kind of shit to me in person I'd probably just laugh at your ignorance and walk away, but if you kept it up, I'd be tempted to bitch slap some sense into your silly ass and tell you who the hell you're dealing with.
You may agree or disagree with my various political views, as is your Constitutionally Mandated Right. But either way I can tell you one thing: It's pretty obvious you don't know what the fuck they are. I would call your behavior slipshod, and yet sadly all too typical of what passes for critical thought among too many in the right these days. You suffer under the false pretense that you and you alone are the holders of the Torch of Freedom, that anyone who disagrees with your political views is not worthy of that title, and that any criticism of the civilian leadership is an indictment of our troops.

Bullshit.

If I was given to making snap decisions-as you have done in my case based on a few comments on a Blog-that initial and probably just as inaccurate impression, would be that you're a clueless jackass pumped on holier than thou rhetoric who doesn't know squat, and who thus has to resort to juvenile insults because he can't back up his opinion with anything remotely representing a coherent argument. But I don't know that about you. I don't even know if you're a 'he'. You could for all I know have misspoke or been upset, or something could be going on in your life that caused you to act like a jerk, and it may not be a fair representation of you at all.

Instead, I'll extend to you a courtesy you denied me, as you chose instead to call me a dumbshit and imply I am a coward: Just because someone doesn't support Bush on Iraq, or has reservations about it, doesn't mean they're any less of a patriot. And you supporting it doesn't give you special privilege to reserve that claim for yourself; and that goes for your apparent disdain of 'liberals' too my friend. Liberals are Americans just like you and I. Democrats are mostly loyal, red, white, and blue, Americans, just as you and I. I don't agree with everything they advocate, I sometimes get tired of their incessant knee jerk reaction that everything any republican does has to be bad. OTOH I can't blame them for the time being because so much of what the Republican leadership has enagaged in recently has been ill-conceived to say the least.

But, it takes a lot of guts to stand up on Air America and publicly buck the WH in the middle of a war. It takes cojones to criticize what was once a popular administration, especially early on and especially given this WH's alleged penchant for smearing and destroying anyone who tries to exercise that right, or the same proclivity among their supporters. I'll take honesty and guts over demagoguery and religious lunacy any fucking day. I'll choose transparency and accountability over secrecy and cronyism any fucking day. And, if that means I have to vote for Democrats for a cycle or two, then call me a Donkey for the next few years. But don't ever call me a coward or anti-American.Our Founding Fathers were radical progressives. The folks who struck down child labor and sweat shops were radical liberals. The people who gave blacks and women the right to vote were liberals. I don't consider myself a liberal in the modern sense of the word, but it's not an insult to be one. In fact, if being a liberal simply means I'm intersted in getting to the truth and holding accountable those who may have lied, then I'm damn proud to be one.

Notice the double standard at work here. Global warming is 'unproven' and yes it is unproven. Weather and oceans are open interacting chaotic systems which are notoriously difficult to model with any accuracy for long periods. The planet has been warming up since the end of the Pleistocene. We're probably adding to that effect. Each degree translates into a meter or so rise in the ocean level due to thermal expansion and ice melt. One degree spells trouble for barrier islands and low laying communities, where I live btw. Two degrees means the refineries in Houston and Florida are down and out along with huge numbers of homeless people, trillions in lost property and businesses. Wordlwide it means famine in Asia and engineering headaches in Europe the likes of which we have never witnessed. It means salt water would run upstream into rivers and streams and lakes for hundreds of miles insland in some cases, ruining thousands of acres of farm land. Storms are exponentially fed by increasing heat; greater numbers of Cat four hurricanes, more thunderstorms meaning more hail, more flooding, more tornados, more lightning strikes: More damage, more loss of life and property. All these potential changes are pretty much immediate with the rise in global temperatures of a even one or two degrees.

What effect are we having? Are we preventing the onset of another ice age (Good effect), are we hastening an inevitable series of minor catastrophes (Not so good), or are we fabricating a string global disasters we need not ever face (Terrible)? I'd like to find out and I don't particularly want either an Exxon Shill or a scientist under contract to Earthfirst! making that call, unilaterally with no review or oversight, you know?So lets try and find out and in the meantime, until we do know more, I don't want to blow hundreds of billions and wreak havoc on tens of thousands of families based on unproven fears and hopes. I'd bet we agree on that.

But the War in Iraq is also 'unproven' in the context of the WoT isn't it? The outlook unknown, the effects unpredictable, the winner unclear, even the utility to the WoT of prevailing in Iraq is dubious. Yet not only are you willing to bet the farm on it despite these unknowns, you're not even willing to look into what everyone now agrees were colossal mistakes in the process leading up to the decision to undertake it.

Global warming: unproven and complex, therefore something we should think twice about before we shut down businesses and throw people out of work to the tune of billions of dollars, even though the potential damage is in the trillions and the potential loss of life in the millions. But the war; unproven and complex. But worth destroying countless families and spending hundreds of billions of dollars on; BUT not worth clearing the President's name or even checking out the events. That is an atrocious exemplar of right-wing double think. It makes no sense, unless you hold a double standard concerning what is proven and what isn't.

On criticizing Iraq and asking wtf went on behind closed doors that led us to make so many mistakes, I'm not alone by any means. It is now acceptable for conservatives to question Iraq or Bush, and you know what? It really always has been Improb because we are a free nation. William Buckley is doing it. A number of Reagan's originals are doing it. An increasing number of Congressmen and women are joining in. You may have no reason to do so, you may be satisfied, you may even be terrified of what might turn up if we flip over the right rock. I have reason to question their competence, I'm not satisfied with their non-responses so far, and I'm much more afraid of what might have gone on and more afraid of what might go on if the process which led to this screw-up is not repaired or discarded than of what I'll find if we start getting serious about determining what happened.

I voted for Clinton in 96 because he was doing a competent job, but not because I thought he was an honest broker. When he got busted lying about a blowjob I thought it was funny as hell.

Improb this latest turn of events is anything but funny. Compared to tens of thousands of dead and maimed bodies, a tawdry sex scandal in the middle of unparalleled prosperity and peace looks positively sublime.

My father in law is a wise, smart, old man. He holds two graduate degrees, one in business and one in engineering. A diehard Republican since the day he registered to vote. A generous contributor to the GOP in times past. Do you know what he said about Iraq just prior to the invasion? I was for it at the time and I was arguing the case for the war, parroting claims about terrorism and nukes and he just shook his head and floored me saying, "Look I supported Bush, but I'm telling you this is a mistake, it's going to cause huge problems, cost a ton of money, we're going to be stuck there, and it's not going to do a damn bit of good. It just doesn't smell right." He doesn't 'hate America', he's not a terrorist sympathizer, he's not a coward, he's no liberal, he's not even normally inclined to criticize.

Yet, that's a big part of what freedom means buddy, free expression, free press, transparency, accountability, due process; all the stuff we fight for and proclaim is our heritage as Americans. The same freedoms you want to see us spread to the rest of the world are what you decry and suppress here at home with all your might. It's ugly.

Most importantly of all and what should really give you pause before shooting your mouth off, most of what the libs claimed about Iraq ended up being correct, and much of what you and I originally believed about Iraq-mostly as a result of trusting Bush-ended up being wrong. No one has a corner on accuracy, no one is immune to mistakes, no one is impervious to a slick PR campaign, no one is unaffected by appeals to patriotism or fear, and no one is insulated from salesman peddling malfeasance dressed up as National Security. I fell for it. You fell for it.

The liberals did not fall for it. No one has a monopoly on being right or wrong.

One difference between you and I, is I can admit I may have been swindled and I want to find out if I was. I can admit I should have been more careful, I should have thought it through, I should have considered the dissenting voices. I'm a skeptic by nature and the evidence was there for me to find. I accept responsibility for being 'handled'. And now I'm taking that mantle of responsibility back along with my pride.

You seem eager to perpetuate the goonish secrecy despite the absymal track record of that methodology under Bush, and you come off as if you're intent on protecting the possible swindle and absolving the alleged swindlers without even knowing the facts. Sometimes when someone has been so conned it's literally too painful to come to terms with it. Yes, I understand if that's the case for you.

I strongly recommened that if anyone reading this knows something that needs to be brought to light, or in which their conscious is bothering them, at the very least seek legal counsel to explore what your rights and protections are in properely bringing it forward. And if you think you may be culpable, you can discuss leniency, protection, and so forth under the legitimate cover of privileged legal discussion with an attorney. It's in your interests to do this at a minimum even if you currently do not plan to reveal anything or are under the impression you cannot reveal anything. (I'll bet you Kossacks could set up a network of such lawyers, or provide a few names, willing to listen in several parts of the country to these types of potential customers.) But it's also foolish, deadly for our men and women in uniform, and immature, not to face that reality or delve into how it transpired.

Then again, they were right about Schiavo, the right was wrong, they were right about tax cuts not shrinking the deficit, the right was wrong, they're right about evoluton, the right is wrong. But what finally proved too much for my family as a group was Schiavo. That was the tipping point.

By the last election the family was split over who they were going to vote for. Not so after Schiavo. I really think the right underestimates the damage they caused themselves with that debacle. It not only caused most of the nation including most Republicans to break ranks, it gave them a crucible in which further criticism was allowed to germinate. It made questioning the GOP permisable and honorable. Of course, it should never have been percieved as dishonorable. That was part of the con imo.
See, you can get away with all kinds of shit when well over half the country agrees with you; the case shortly after 9-11. You cannot when the majority thinks you're nuts or totally out of line.

This last Easter as we set around talking, about twenty of us, including grandkids of voting age and their spouses, every last one disagreed loudly with the GOP's Schiavo grandstanding, Stem cells were also an issue-we are an educated family. And every one of them professed how much they thought the GOP was wrong on these fronts. And once the gates of criticism were opened, it was an avalanche, led by the youngest of us, and it quickly centered on Iraq. Every one of them proclaimed they're going to vote against the GOP because they think they were lied to; with one exception by one family member. And that was "If that bitch Hillary runs I have to vote against her no matter what on principle" ... said almost in apology by one of the most loyal Republicans among us.

In '06 and '08 you're going to have videos of Frist on the Senate Floor claiming Terry Schiavo wasn't in a PVS with a cut in of the pathologist's results. You're going to have video of Tom DeLay saying she can 'talk and laugh and interact with people" interspliced with the hard science. You're going to have Jeb front and center in all of it. In '06 and '08, you're going to have Bush prancing around in a flight suit with a "Mission Accomplished Banner" in the background ... followed by scenes of dead American kids, pissed off families, and videos of bin Laden and Ayman Zawari smiling, free, shouting deadly Jihad-if they're still at large. You had better take seriously your chances now to either clear Bush, or disassociate yourself from him if things continue unabated and he doesn't get our men and women out. And if there is another terrorist attack on US soil, or if gas rises to 4 bucks a gallon, or if the housing bubble bursts, I don't think you have a hope in hell of retaining power, but you're going to need everything you can muster in the way of credibility.

We're not unique here in Florida or in the country. If it's happening to my band of GOP voters it's happening elsewhere. If you ran the election now, I'd have to guess Bush would lose by a solid three points or more based on this sample and others I know of here in Florida, maybe substantially more (I almost laughed beer out of my nose when my fundy GOP neighbor told me in seriousness "I can't believe how full of shit FOX News is on this Schiavo thing").

Given the track record of error in Iraq, the polling trends, and recent unpopular positions on everything form Social Secruity to Stem cells to Schiavo, I'd shut the fuck up and can the insults, before you drive even more mods away from the GOP and into voting for the democrats-like most of my family is now planning to do based on this string of mistakes, Iraq being the most serious. Your only chance to get them back for the next election cycle or two is to either vindicate that Bush did not lie, or crucify him if he did. That's your choice in my estimation. So sooner or later you're may have to decide which is more important to you: The GOP, or Bush's reluctance to being questioned.

Please keep all this in mind before blowing your own horn and ridiculing the democrats, or mine, or anyone else's; and we can have some great discussions, freely exchanging ideas and counteragruments. Our right and privilege, as members of a free country.
Digby's the only one I can think of in terms of well-thought out pieces such as this. There may be others but I lack the time. In terms of humor, go to Rising Hegemon.

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