Tag: Capitulation

Look Who’s Made the Big Time


In an article today over on MSNBC, national affairs writer Tom Curry wrote a piece titled “Judiciary Committee approves Mukasey – Latest in a string of setbacks for Bush administration foes”.

Some selected quotes (by far the easiest form of blogging known to mankind, it’s been a busy day) from the article below the fold…

On Iraq Funding: A Moment for Obama

Senator Barack Obama has run a campaign criticizing what he calls the Politics of the Moment all the while campaigning for his moments. Well, if this is true, an Obama Moment can emerge:

Despite their rhetoric about not wanting to hand President Bush another “blank check” for the Iraq War, Democrats appear poised to give him exactly that — enough cash to keep the war going full steam for as long as six months, no strings attached.

. . .Democrats are quietly preparing to give the president enough spending flexibility to keep the war going anyway. . . . Democrats began approving billions in extra funding, starting with the first stopgap spending resolution [I have no idea what Roll Call is talking about here. I kow of no additional funding measrues that have been passed since the Iraq Supplelemental that was passed prior to Petraeus's testimony. Frankly, I think Roll Call is wrong.] Next up will be the regular Defense spending bill, expected to go to conference committee Tuesday. Although the bill is not expected to include funding specifically targeted to Iraq, Democrats plan to allow much of the funding to be diverted from regular Defense accounts to the war. . . .

(Emphasis supplied.) The House can not pass such funding without the Senate. Senator Obama, just say no. Put a hold on such a bill. Lead a filibuster against it. This is your moment. Prove you are more than just pretty words.

The Disgraceful Jay Rockefeller

One of the biggest disappointments of last night's debate for me was Senator Chris Dodd's refusal to discuss (sure Russert and Williams were not going to ask about it, but so what, thrust the issue into the debate) the raison de etre for his candidacy – restoration of the Constitution ad the rule of law. And today, as Glenn Greenwald discusses, Senator Jay Rockefeller reaches a new disgraceful low, as he argues for total disrespect for the rule of law:

Today there is significant debate about whether the underlying program — the president's warrantless surveillance plan — was legal or violated constitutional rights. That is an important debate, and those questions must be answered.

In the meantime, however, these companies are being sued, which is unfair and unwise. As the operational details of the program remain highly classified, the companies are prevented from defending themselves in court. And if we require them to face a mountain of lawsuits, we risk losing their support in the future.

What drivel. Losing their support in what? Breaking the law? What in blazes is rockefeller talking about? The telcos will not honor duly issued warrants because they are being sued? Ah, there's the rub. Rockefeller does not believe in the NEED for the government and telcos to follow the law. What's the rule of law to Rockefeller? Nothing at all. He is a disgrace. More.

What We Need: A Do Nothing Congress

Brian Beutler has a terrific run down of what went wrong tactically with the Democratic Congress last week (S-CHIP, FISA, etc.) But Beutler still is looking at the tactical picture and looking at a Congress that he wants to do something. The problem is that, and this is true, they do not have the votes to do something in contested areas like S-CHIP, Iraq funding and FISA. This mistaken focus is exemplified here:

There is no hypothetical package of enticements the Democrats can offer a Republican that outweigh the price that that Republican will pay within his own party. He'll only be treated leniently when his party bosses realize that, if they don't let him vote with the opposition, he might lose his seat. At some point the Republicans realized something crucial: That, for now anyhow, upholding the veto is politically neutral. . . .

What does this mean? It means that even on issues as politically popular as S-CHIP, Bush can stop all Democratic initiatives. The question is then what can the Democrats do? Simply this, END all the Bush travesties. Iraq, FISA, etc. By using the power of the purse and NOT funding them. More.

The Democrats Political Gambit

I started to write a comment in response to Armando’s excellent essay asking the question (and I’m paraphrasing), Why are the Democrats given a pass in the media about Congress’s ability to end the Iraq war by doing nothing? But as I continued to write, I decided it was probably more appropriate to be a seperate essay (my first here at Docudharma) rather than a comment, because it was this very issue back in February of this year that led me to my opinions and conclusions about what the Democrats were planning to do.

So with that in mind, my response continues below.

Missing From The Iraq Coverage

is the reality that Democrats can end the Debacle by not funding it. The power of doing nothing is lost on them. Instead, we see the Republican Party responding to its base (h/t Josh Marshall):

Despite months of pressure, no more than eight Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have backed any measure that mandates a troop withdrawal. And GOP strategists predict that is unlikely to change.

“Republicans have to be cognizant of where their base is,” said pollster Bob Wickers, whose company has worked with Republican candidates in a dozen states in recent years.

Here's my question, why don't Democrats have to be cognizant of where THE COUNTRY is? Josh's post is really missing this point – that Democrats won in 2006 on Iraq. That THEIR base and the country want out of Iraq. And that they have the power to stop the war. By doing nothing. It is the central insight and is missing from much of the Iraq coverage, Media and blogs alike.

NYTimes Disses Dems

And rightly so:

With Democrats Like These …

Every now and then, we are tempted to double-check that the Democrats actually won control of Congress last year. It was particularly hard to tell this week. Democratic leaders were cowed, once again, by propaganda from the White House and failed, once again, to modernize the law on electronic spying in a way that permits robust intelligence gathering on terrorists without undermining the Constitution.

. . . There were bright spots in the week. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon managed to attach an amendment requiring a warrant to eavesdrop on American citizens abroad. That merely requires the government to show why it believes the American is in league with terrorists, but Mr. Bush threatened to veto the bill over that issue.

Senator Christopher Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat, said he would put a personal hold on the compromise cooked up by Senator Rockefeller and the White House.

Otherwise, it was a very frustrating week in Washington. It was bad enough having a one-party government when Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. But the Democrats took over, and still the one-party system continues.

If This Is True . . .


Tim Starks of Congressional Quarterly reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to bring the Senate’s surveillance bill up for floor debate in mid-November. That’s despite the hold that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) plans to place on the measure . . .

then Harry Reid can go fuck himself. I will never want to hear another fucking word about how hard Harry Reid is trying. This is unprecedented.

Say it ain’t so Harry, cuz if it is . . .

The Power of Doing Nothing

There is a passage in today’s WaPo article on the Senate capitulation on FISA that demonstrates how little Democrats understand of the power of the Congress to do nothing:

An adroit Republican parliamentary maneuver ultimately sank the bill. GOP leaders offered a motion that would have sent it back to the House intelligence and Judiciary committees with a requirement that they add language specifying that nothing in the measure would apply to surveilling the communications of bin Laden, al-Qaeda or other foreign terrorist organizations.

Approval of the motion would have restarted the legislative process, effectively killing the measure by delay. Democratic leaders scrambled to persuade their members to oppose it, but with Republicans accusing Democrats of being weak on terrorism, a “no” vote proved too hard to sell, and so the bill was pulled from the floor.

Stacey Bernards, a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), called the Republican maneuver “a cheap shot, totally political.”

Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union, called it a “perfect storm” of progressive Democrats who did not think the bill protected basic constitutional rights and of Republicans who took advantage of the lack of unity. “It was too precipitous a process, and it ended up in a train wreck,” she said. “It was total meltdown.”

I love the ACLU and Caroline Frederickson in particular. They do great work. But from the perspective of a progressive and the ACLU, WHICH OPPOSED the House bill (because of the question of bypassing indivudualized warrants for surveillance, adopting instead a “basket” approach), the failure of this bill SHOULD BE great news.

Like Iraq funding, the FISA extension past the February date when the current capitulation bill expires, is a problem for the Bush administration, not the Congress. IF the Congress passes nothing, then the law will revert to the original FISA law that prevailed prior to this summer’s capitulation. There is nothing wrong with that, DESPITE the gnashing of teeth from the Bush administration. IF there were, they would not block THIS BILL.

If the Democrats, PARTICULARLY the Progressive Caucus, sticks to its guns, it will either get a good bill, or no bill at all. OF course the preference is a good bill. But after that, no bill at all is eminently preferable to a BAD bill. Frankly, the House bill was not a good bill imo. Nor was it a good bill in the ACLU’s opinion. Its demise is nothing to lament. So long as Democrats understand the power of doing nothing.

Will Pelosi Stand Up On Iraq? Let’s Act As If She Will

Buhdy e-mails me about this:

Pelosi made three specific promises on the question of funding the war and on the Congressional battle over FISA: 1) that the House will not take up a war appropriations bill this year 2) that there will be no war appropriations bill next year that doesn’t include a fixed date for bringing the troops home 3) that House Democrats will put up a major fight over the Bush administration’s desire to make permanent the FISA law passed in August, particularly over the issue of retroactive immunity that the Senate has already given in on.

and asks:

Parsing? or Progress?

Here’s my take – let’s act as if it is a real promise from Nancy Pelosi. Let’s praise and cheer her for standing up. Let’s tell her we have her back on this.

Why? Because it has a better chance of becoming true if we react to it in that way. And that is all that matters.

The Clueless Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told George Stepanapoulos today:

I am one of the most vociferous opponents of the [Iraq] War . . .

Excuse me Madame Speaker, but are you fucking kidding me? Nearly 90 House members have signed this letter:

The Honorable George W. Bush
United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Seventy House Members wrote in July to inform you that they will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.

Now you are requesting an additional $45 billion to sustain your escalation of U.S. military operations in Iraq through next April, on top of the $145 billion you requested for military operations during FY08 in Iraq and Afghanistan. Accordingly, even more of us are writing anew to underscore our opposition to appropriating any additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq other than a time-bound, safe redeployment as stipulated above.

More than 3,742 of our brave soldiers have died in Iraq. More than 27,000 have been seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or injured in the hostilities and more than 4 million have been displaced from their homes. Furthermore, this conflict has degenerated into a sectarian civil war and U.S. taxpayers have paid more than $500 billion, despite assurances that you and your key advisors gave our nation at the time you ordered the invasion in March, 2003 that this military intervention would cost far less and be paid from Iraqi oil revenues.

We agree with a clear and growing majority of the American people who are opposed to continued, open-ended U.S. military operations in Iraq, and believe it is unwise and unacceptable for you to continue to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come.


Co-signers: Murphy (CT), Jackson, Brown (FL), Thompson (MS), Watt, Meeks, Loebsack, Weiner, Kucinich, DeFazio, Farr, Waxman, Thompson (CA), Lee, Woolsey, Waters, Watson, Frank, Conyers, Filner, Rush, Towns, Clay, Wynn, Delahunt, Holmes-Norton, Butterfield, Solis, Maloney, Nadler, Honda, Cohen, Hare, Napolitano, Hastings, McGovern, Kaptur, Schakowsky, Carson, Linda Sanchez, Grijalva, Olver, Jackson-Lee, McDermott, Markey, Fattah, Pallone, Hinojosa, Stark, Scott (VA), Moran, McCollum, Oberstar, DeGette, Tauscher, Holt, Hinchey, Pastor, Davis (IL), Hall, Velazquez, Rangel, Hodes, Blumenauer, Lynch, Artur Davis, Johnson (GA), Payne, Cleaver, Lewis, Clarke, Abercrombie, Moore(WI), Ellison, Baldwin, Christensen, Scott (GA), Paul, Gutierrez, Welch, Capps, Rothman, Cummings, Tierney, Doggett, Eshoo, and Tubbs-Jones.

The name Pelosi is not among the signatories. When Pelosi signs that letter; when she promises that she will not put forward any bills to fund Iraq without a date certain to end the Iraq Debacle, then she can claim to be “one of the most vocieferous opponents of the Iraq War.” She is not one of the most vociferous opponents of the Iraq war. She needs to do everything she can to end it and then she can truthfully claim to be such. Until then, Pelosi is simply not telling the truth.


When Nancy Pelosi says:

“We have to make responsible decisions in the Congress that are not driven by the dissatisfaction of anybody who wants the war to end tomorrow,” Pelosi told the gathering at the Sofitel, arranged by the Christian Science Monitor. Though crediting activists for their “passion,” Pelosi called it “a waste of time” for them to target Democrats. “They are advocates,” she said. “We are leaders.”

It captures virtually no attention from the Left blogs. Instead we get this:

“Name one hero. Just one.” A woman in the audience raised her hand and said “Eli Pariser.” Then everybody clapped.

MoveOn is an incredibly valuable asset on the progressive side and it’s no surprise that entrenched Democrats who see them as a threat took an opportunity to take a swipe at them. . . . MoveOn stuck their necks out. And I believe it worked. People talk about it as if it was a “distraction.” From what? From ending the war? As if. I hope they continue to find meaningful ways to combat the horrible trajectory this country seems to be on by continuing to fight for progressive values.

Stuck their necks out? A threat to entrenched Democrats? Puhleeeaze. They probably raised more money than they have all year. They support these entrenched Democrats. It begins to smell like a racket to me. This was Move On when it mattered:

MoveOn’s Washington director, Tom Matzzie just confirmed to me that despite earlier concerns that the House Dem leadership’s Iraq plan wasn’t tough enough, the organization yesterday started polling its members and has decided to back the legislation . . .  “Our view is, this is a choice between Republicans who want endless war and Democrats who want a safe, responsible end to the war.”

Democrats like Nancy Pelosi who will not do what needs to be done to end the Debacle? You think Move On will run an ad on Pelosi? It smells like a racket to me. Who will speak for the “irresponsible ones” who want Congress to do what it must to end the war – not fund it after a date certain? Not Move On. Not the Left blogs. Not the Left pundits. Where are the “heroes?” Who is defending and supporting the Progressive Caucus? Those folks are the heroes. Not Move On. Not the Left blogs.

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