Letter to the Senator

23 August 2007

Senator Wyden has placed a hold on the nomination of John Rizzo to the position of CIA general counsel due to Mr. Rizzo’s failure to object to a memo authorizing interrogation techniques that may have given officers “shaky legal advice”.

According to the International Herald Tribune, Rizzo has been “acting general counsel off and on for most of the past six years”. AP stories mentioned that he his most recent stint as acting general counsel has lasted for three years.

Will Senator Wyden’s hold on Rizzo’s nomination to a permanent position have any effect on his status as de facto general counsel at the CIA?

Senator Ron Wyden has gotten a good deal of press — including a mention in a recent New Yorker article on CIA “black sites” by Jane Mayer — for placing this hold. That’s great and all, I would love to have the people responsible for authorizing torture held accountable for their actions. But none of the articles that I have seen mentioning Wyden’s action say anything about what the actual effect will be of preventing or delaying Rizzo’s permanent appointment to a position he has filled in an acting capacity for much of the Bush administration. Maybe someone who has better access to the Senator could ask that question.

Postmark Katrina

Flipping around through TV last night there was remarkably little on the fifty or so channels we get about Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast, or New Orleans. And by “remarkably little” I mean almost nothing. Apart from CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360”, the only other significant piece I came across was “Storm Stories” on The Weather Channel, which had an (oddly enough) interesting episode called “Postmark Katrina”, a joint production with the US Postal Service about how mail operations were undertaken in the wake of the disaster. Take it with a grain of self-served salt, but the USPS’s emergency operations come off looking a lot better than FEMA’s. And it even features some footage from Portland — although that’s about people scamming FEMA money.

We Are Not OK

New Orleans. We are not OK. 8.29.2007

Image via Suspect Device

New Orleans posts from August and September 2005:

The Gordon Smith Plan for Bringing the Troops Home

From the Smith campaign web site:

Gordon Smith understands the importance of bringing our troops home from Iraq. He is a supporter of a plan to transition America’s mission to the Iraqi security forces leaving our troops focused on our arch-enemy – extremists and terrorists.

That’s — uh — it. He “supports” a plan but doesn’t tell you what plan it is.

That’s a Reinhard…I Say That’s a Reinhard, Son!

torridjoe at Loaded Orygun says he had a bucket at the ready when he wrote a post in which he had to sort of agree with the Oregonian‘s David Reinhard on similarities in the struggle between top-position candidates (like Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination and Jeff Merkley for Democratic candidate for Oregon Senator) and their primary challengers (Barack Obama and Steve Novick, respectively).

I thought I once posted a piece where I had to agree with the O‘s Bad David (as opposed to David Sarasohn) on something but I either wrote that as a letter to the editor or it was just some memory of a hellish nightmare.

On the other hand, I have to wonder out of which hole Reinhard pulled the word “speechifying” of when he described the Obama/Novick half of the equation as:

And in this corner, the super-charged challenger, the hot new kid on the block who makes up in pizazz, speechifying and life story what he lacks in public-office experience…

To me, anyway, that sort of has the smack of Tony Snow’s use of “tar baby” a year or two ago. It’s not flagged as derogatory in my online references, but then “tar baby” isn’t either. It’s just a little odd that Reinhard pulls out the Foghorn Leghorn/Pogo language for highfalutin disquisition when he’s talking about Obama who is — ahem — African American.s

The Irony of Experience

Barack Obama supporters are pumped up because President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski has come out in support of their candidate.

After a couple of weeks of wrangling between Hillary Clinton, Obama, and the media over the question of whether he has enough experience to be President — and Obama’s quite justifiable response that the “experienced” senators were the ones who fell for fake claims of WMD in Iraq and authorized George W. Bush to attack Iraq and get the US into the mess it’s been in for more than four years — now an “experienced” foreign policy expert comes through and says that Obama “has the upper hand” over Clinton in his grasp of foreign policy.

I suppose people need to take the endorsements they can get, but aside from Brzezinski’s own judgment on arming anti-government forces in Afghanistan in 1979, wasn’t the whole debate based on the idea that just because someone had been involved in foreign policy decisions for X number of years that didn’t necessarily make their judgment superior to someone with, say, sane views?

It seems self-defeating for a campaign to make the claim that the longer experience of an opponent doesn’t necessarily make them right, then buttress their clearer judgment by pointing to an endorsement by someone with even more experience without an examination of the endorser’s own record.

IAM Candidate Forums Monday and Tuesday

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace WorkersThe International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is hosting a series of discussions with some of the presidential candidates from both parties at their National Staff Conference in Orlando on Monday and Tuesday this week, hosted by Erin Moriarty of CBS News. This is the schedule:

Mon., 27 Aug., 12:30 pm Pacific New York Sen. Hillary Clinton
Mon., 27 Aug., 4:30 pm Pacific California Rep. Duncan Hunter and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
Tue. 28 Aug., 4:30 pm Pacific Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich

The event will be streamed, live, from the IAM web site.

The Stakes Involved

Quoted in Bruce Miroff’s newly-released The Liberals’ Moment: The McGovern Insurgency and the Identity Crisis of the Democratic Party, Sen. George McGovern in March 1965, on a CBS television panel on the escalation in Vietnam:

I think there will be a staggering loss of human life out of all proportion to the stakes involved and I see no guarantee that once we go through that kind of a murderous and destructive kind of military effort that the situation out there will be any better. In fact, I think it will be a lot worse.

Novick Wants Your Stuff!

Oregon Democratic Senatorial primary candidate Steve Novick has landed HQ space on SE 8th in Portland, and they’re looking for donations to stock the office, particularly:

  • Chairs (office or folding)
  • Tables
  • Desks
  • Computers
  • Monitors
  • Flatbed scanner
  • Printers
  • Copiers
  • TVs
  • Filing cabinets
  • Trash cans
  • Dry erase boards
  • Office supplies
  • Coffee maker
  • Microwave
  • Fridge
  • Couch
  • Book shelves
  • Corkboard
  • Clocks
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Stereo
  • Shredder
  • Power strips
  • Posters and other memorabilia of famous underdogs

Call the campaign at 503-236-7289 if you can donate. I assume that they’re looking for underdogs that won.