Monday, February 06, 2006

Monday Roundup

Depends on what the meaning of "lie" is

Looks like MoxiGrrrl had it right on Gonzales ... and like Senate GOPers are going to cover Gonzales's ass from here out out.

Security blank-it

Digby asks the $64,000 question: "Since the Republicans have been successful in winning elections on national security, how should Democrats deal with it?"

It's a long, hard slog, but there's no substitute for the truth: Americans have to be shown that Republican actions have had precisely nothing to do with national security, that they have had everything to do with politics, power and money, and that in fact the nation is less, not more, secure due to Republican actions since 9/11.

The issue at hand, of course, is the illegal wiretapping. That issue is already, I think, reasonably well untangled from the "national security" trappings the Republicans have tried to wrap it in. But we should go further:

- The wiretapping would have been completely legally kosher with FISA warrants, which are almost never denied and which are even retroactively available. There were no national security risks implied in getting those warrants -- Bush just decided he wasn't going to follow the law.

- As soon as the decision was made to break the law, participants in the wiretap operations became national security risks: Criminals, embedded in the national security apparatus, and subject to blackmail by any foreign agent -- government or terrorist -- who might happen to find out what they were up to.

- If the wiretaps produce any criminal prosecutions -- or result in an unwillingness on the part of other countries to extradite -- there's a very good chance that the tainted evidence will cost the government convictions, possibly even putting terrorists back into circulation where they will either attack again, or where US personnel will be put at additional risk in trying to eliminate them.

In other words, Bush & Co. are willing to put the national security at risk in order to bolster their claims to an extended, un-checked, unaccountable executive power.


Balko on Paey. Just another example of the plea bargain abuse we don't hear enough about. We get all kinds of noise on how awful it is that criminals "plea bargain their way out of serving time." We hear almost nothing about the use of plea bargains to bludgeon the innocent into boosting prosecutors' win/loss records.

Do yourself two favors:

- Bookmark Balko. You know you want to.

- Go down to your local courthouse (it's probably a gargantuan, metal-detector festooned "Justice Center" by now) some time and spend an hour or so sitting in on the criminal docket. Don't just follow the official proceedings -- listen to what's going on around you. Bring an airsick bag, though.

Rumors of the Democratic Party's death ...

... continue to be greatly exaggerated. Here's McQ's latest take on Howard Dean. Laugh it up, Repubs ... you'll be crying soon enough.

Yes, as McQ points out, the DNC has a low cash reserve at the moment. The DNC always raises, and always has, less money than the GOP. What McQ doesn't mention is that the DNC has been steadily closing the gap on raising funds ... it's just spending more, too, and if Republicans are smart they're going to stop chuckling and wondering where that money's going (they won't like the answers very much). Democrats are also closing the fundraising gap on House campaigns, and they've pulled ahead in the Senate.

And why are those gaps closing? In large part because Howard Dean has been dragging the party's machinery, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. The Dems took longer to get savvy to the Republican "fax tree" strategy, but they leapfrogged right past it to "electronic precinct" tools that get the message through a decentralized activist network (while simultaneously bringing a lot of the message spin back "in house" after years of it being outsourced through MoveOn and other groups). The Dems have also been conducting extensive candidate and campaign volunteer training to make the party more competitive in places where it wasn't before.

That money isn't just disappearing. You'll see where it went come November.

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