Archive

  • WHY JUDITH MILLER?...

    WHY JUDITH MILLER? Byron York at NRO yesterday observed that the testimony, on Monday, of a number of journalists that they did not receive a leak from Scooter Libby about Valerie Plame raised questions about one of the fundamental theories underlying the CIA-leak case. If Libby's disclosure of Mrs. Wilson's identity to Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper was part of a White House conspiracy to out Joseph Wilson's wife, why didn't Libby take the opportunities he had to out her to Woodward, Novak, Pincus, et al? Did Cheney, who is portrayed in some scenarios as the mastermind of the leak, tell Libby to disclose Mrs. Wilson's identity to Matt Cooper and not to Bob Woodward? To Judith Miller and not to Robert Novak? There are very simple answers to these questions that go to the heart of Fitzgerald 's theory of the case; one of the things evidently keeping York and others from seeing those answers is the assumption that any conspiracy or coordinated effort must be vast or great. Instead, on...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THIS DOG WON'T WAG.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THIS DOG WON'T WAG. In his column this week, Mike discusses the administration's campaign to boost public support for a military confrontation with Iran. He has confidence that the American public will hold firm in opposing one, but he's not so sure about the talking heads and pundits. --The Editors
  • RICHARD COHEN COMES...

    RICHARD COHEN COMES CLEAN. And does so with self-deprecating grace : how come [Clinton] now says she did not think Bush, armed with a congressional resolution, would hurry to war? I certainly did. It was about the only thing I got right about the war, which, the record will show, I supported. If I were running for the presidency, I might call my position "a mistake" and bray about being misled. But it was really a lapse in judgment. For reasons extraneous to this particular column, I thought the war would do wonders for the Middle East and that it would last, at the most, a week or two. In this I was assured by the usual experts in and out of government. My head nodded like one of those little toy dogs in the window of the car ahead of you. Richard Cohen (as well as The Prospect 's own Harold Meyerson ) are quite right that Clinton is in a real bind. This is far worse than John Edwards 's blogger bind, which his controversial hires solved for him, as predicted , by resigning. The...
  • TWO ANTI-CATHOLIC VULGAR TRASH-TALKING BIGOTS.

    TWO ANTI-CATHOLIC VULGAR TRASH-TALKING BIGOTS. That is how William Donohue of the Catholic League described Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan , two bloggers who were hired by the John Edwards campaign. Donohue then demanded that they be fired . This did not happen, though both bloggers have recently resigned from the campaign. That the New York Times found Donohue worth quoting on this topic made me interested in learning more about what Mr. Donohue regards as anti-Catholic. What might he find so shocking that he would demand people to be fired? What is "anti-Catholic" in Mr. Donohue's faith-based reality? What is bigoted? And why is Mr. Donohue such a welcome guest in many political talk shows? Come and meet the anti-Catholics Mr. Donohue has accused by name. Some of them he has also called bigots:
  • JUST SAY NO....

    JUST SAY NO. Garance 's post below is exactly right. Elsewhere , I've been musing over the possible substantive benefits of simply swearing off an attack on Iran (at least as a consequence of weaponizing), but laying out, in advance, a 10-year set of sanctions -- end the internal conversation in Iran over the threat we pose, and force it onto grounds of economic development. However you do it, it would seem that whichever candidate actually wants the anti-war vote could nail the rest of the field from the left on exactly the grounds Garance is suggesting. My impression is that very few of the candidates actually think attacking Iran is a good idea, but they're rhetorically enabling the concept because they don't want to look soft or, uh, lose the backing of certain unnameable funding sources . Nevertheless, this unwillingness to call a spade a spade ("can't take options off the table," "need to be united before the UN") is very much the sort of thing that accelerated the last rush to...
  • Most Workers Hurt by Trade Don't Lose Their Jobs

    It is understandable that the proponents of the current trade agenda would try to assuage critics by promising to help those who lose their jobs from trade. These are the most obvious and hardest hit victims of this trade policy. However, the vast majority of the victims are those who see their wages fall as a result of the impact of being placed in competition with workers in the developing world who are willing to work for low wages. The impact of trade on the wages of less educated workers, for which the proponents of current trade policies have no agenda (of course the downward pressure on their wages is the point of the trade policy) should be the focus of policy and news reporting, not the chosen topic of the pushers of current U.S. trade policy. --Dean Baker
  • Wages Are Growing Now, They Didn't for Four Years

    USA Today makes the mystery of stagnant wages a bit more mysterious than necessary. In an article today, it asks why wages for most workers have been stagnant even with the unemployment rate at a relatively low 4.5 percent. Well, real wages are actually growing now, at a rate of around 1.0 percent annually. Given the rise in health care costs and some necessary adjustments to get from reported productivity to what I call "usable productivity" (this reflects differences in deflators and the fact that you can't eat depreciation) this is about what we should expect. The story here seems to be that with current labor market conditions (weak unions and pressure from trade), most workers will only be in a position to see rising wages when the labor market has gotten fairly tight. It was not tight in the years 2000-2005, hence no wage gains. That's not very mysterious, but also not very good news for most workers. --Dean Baker
  • OBAMA & DEAN...

    OBAMA & DEAN ON IRAN. Not to run this into the ground, but looking into what various politicians, left and right, have actually said about Iran has proved surprisingly eye-opening, and made me think perhaps we were all being a bit hard on John Edwards by focusing only his comments to Herzliya last week. For example, this Chicago Tribune story from September 2004 reports that Barack Obama , during his run for the U.S. Senate, laid out that he thought a missile strike on Iran would be needed to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. From "Obama Would Consider Missle Strikes on Iran" : U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama suggested Friday that the United States one day might have to launch surgical missile strikes into Iran and Pakistan to keep extremists from getting control of nuclear bombs.... Obama said the United States must first address Iran's attempt to gain nuclear capabilities by going before the United Nations Security Council and lobbying the international community to...
  • LIBBY CLOSE. Scooter...

    LIBBY CLOSE. Scooter Libby 's defense has announced that they're not calling Dick Cheney as a witness after all, and confirmed that Libby won't be testifying. In fact, they're going to call a few CIA briefers to testify to the important matters Libby was briefed on, enter a few documents, and rest their case. Closing arguments are apparently going to happen next Tuesday, though there are some outstanding issues that may delay that. I'll let the lawyers assess whether Libby's surprisingly brief defense means that his team feels confident about their prospects. I will say this: my lawyer friends tell me it's a big no-no to make a claim in the opening that you don't go on to substantiate, and as far as I can tell the defense has offered no evidence, beyond one note from Vice President Cheney and an attempt to elicit testimony from Robert Novak to the effect that Karl Rove was a key political figure, for its opening claim that in the fall of 2003 Libby was acting not to save his job but...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS. This week, Matt contemplates the insanity and sheer incoherence of the Bush administration's "moderate"/"extremist" realignment strategy in the Mid-East. [ Warning: This column is rated PG:13. ] --The Editors

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