Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Response to e-mails post

We're trying again. (Sorry, there have been Blogger -- program -- problems this evening.)

Visitor T.F. e-mails to ask if this morning's editorial in the New York Times on Deep Throat is why the editorial (from me) appeared in this morning's first post?

We really don't do a reply to the Times editorial each morning. That's because I'm not interested in doing it. (Members can comment and reply to the editorials and have). If we mention an editorial (the one entitled "Bullies of Belfast" or some such nonsense) it's because we're tying it into the coverage in the Times. In addition to that, I've also repeatedly noted the Times editorial slamming NOW for endorsing a candidate in the Democratic primaries. Since no other organization was trashed for an endorsement and since I support NOW and am weary of the trashing of it (the Times wasn't the only one to editorialize -- apparently's it's a free country for everyone but NOW, for NOW it's just a semi-free one). That editorial ran in the Times before this community started.

It's also true that I don't always read the editorials. I hadn't read the editorial until T.F. pointed it out. I have no comment on it. (To repeat, I generally agree with the Times editorial but whether it prompts a head nod or an eye roll, I have no interest in providing daily commentary on them. Members are allowed to comment on whatever they want.)

We focused on Carl Bernstein in our comments this morning. There are several reasons for that. Carl Bernstein has continued to be a brave voice and we applaud that here. Bob Woodward's good at putting out the official version but not at getting to the truth.

One example will suffice here. George Tenent said it would be a "slam dunk." Did he? Where's our proof of that now accepted fact? It's in a book by Woodward? One written with the administration's knowledge?

I don't doubt that Woodward was told that. But as the official court gossip, he's good at repeating what he's told. Conventional wisdom passing for investigative journalism. Maybe Tenent said it. Maybe he didn't. But just because several administration sources (were any named?) put that forward and just because, as always, Woodward duly noted it doesn't make it true.

It does serve to create the larger impression that the Bully Boy was misled. The "we were all mistaken" defense where everyone's guilty so no one's guilty (see Hannah Arendt). It's certainly a nice opportunity to not wonder where the buck stops.

Some might argue that wasn't Woodward's intention. That's fine. I have no idea what his intent is other than to record what he's told/fed. When he ventured out of the social circles of D.C., using similar practices, he embarrassed himself. See Wired (his book, not the magazine) and note his very public defense of the book and his methods.

Tomorrow's article by Woodward in the Washington Post will probably be "misty, water-colored memories"* of the way he was. If Bernstein were co-writing the piece, we'd certainly get the revelations applied to today's realities. Instead, we'll get a snapshot of a time past. No doubt the frame will emphasize Woodward. (But will anyone commenting -- and some may have already -- comment on Woodward's pre-Washington Post career?)

The comparison was made this morning between Lennon & McCartney. I think it's apt. Woody continues to churn out the sort of "silly love songs" that rarely offend. Bernstein speaks truth to power.

If you're interested in it, read it.

As for Felt, T.F. wondered why we weren't praising him here. If he somehow inspires someone else to come forward (and the press actually prints the article, the mainstream press), great.
But whether he's "Deep Throat" or not (that can be answered by Woodward & Bernstein allowing full access to their papers that are currently housed in a university), I'm not going to bend over backward to call him a "hero."

Whether he was "Deep Throat" or just one aspect of Deep Throat, I don't rush to praise people like that. I'm not referring to his purported comments re: Watergate. I'm referring to -- and why the mainstream press doesn't want to talk about this, I have no idea -- his presidential pardon. I don't believe most "heroes" need presidential pardons. (I could be wrong.)

Possibly if their crimes or "crimes" result from attempting to help others they do. I don't know.
I know Reagan pardoned him and, unlike the amensia ridden press (or possibly the cat-got-its-tongue press), I remember why.

If others are "strongly applauding this great American" as T.F. notes, good for them. They're welcome to do so. Maybe they know Felt's history, maybe they don't. That's their business. But here, we don't applaud Felt.

Molly e-mails to note that NOW wasn't mentioned in the heading of the third post. No, it wasn't. And we'll do an entry tonight highlighting it. That was my error brought on by rushing this morning. Thanks for catching that, Molly.

Visitor Monica in Michigan e-mails and wonders if Ruth's post this morning should have been called Ruth's All Things Considered Report or if her "vast praise for Diane Rehm" shouldn't also be titled something else. The general rule that Ruth operates under is if she hears something worth noting on Morning Edition (and has time for an entry), she writes on that. If she doesn't hear anything on that show but hears something on another NPR program, she notes that. So in the instances of Rehm, that was a critique of Morning Edition. Translation, nothing worth noting on Morning Edition that morning. As for All Things Considered, Ruth noted she'd just returned from her family vacation. It's called Ruth's Morning Edition Report and unless she decides to change it, that's what it will continue to be called.

Visitor D.K. e-mails to say that there is nothing he can find on Bill Clinton in Ireland and that the link provided doesn't work so he doubts that Bill Clinton was in Ireland and that "these kinds of lies which can be so easily checked out don't help the cause. If Bill Clinton visited Ireland, you can be damn sure that The New York Times would report it."

Thanks for sharing, D.K. I'm not sure where you went to check your information (you report you were all over the net looking) but let's keep it simple and go to Yahoo News. Typing in Bill Clinton and Ireland (in quotes: "Bill Clinton Ireland") returns a number of news items from last week.

From May 24, 2005, Cybergolf International's "Bill Clinton First Member of PGA National Ireland:"

The PGA National Ireland at Palmerstown House, Ireland’s newest golf course, has opened with the former U.S. President Bill Clinton as its first official member. President Clinton, a 16 handicap, was handed the keys to his locker and given the membership number “001” at a ceremony attended by 1,100 people in Dublin on May 23. Strong winds and heavy rain prevented Clinton from playing the County Kildare course earlier in the day, but he may return later in the year for his inaugural round.
Located just 30 miles from Dublin, the 7,419-yard parkland golf course is already being touted as a possible host site for a major championship. Sandy Jones, chief executive of the PGA, believes the new course is one of the best.

From May 26, 2005, Irish Abroad's "Clinton Aids Suicide Charity" by Mairead Carey:

Political leaders north and south were among the 1,000 people gathered at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin on Monday for a charity dinner in aid of RehabCare's suicide prevention program, where former President Bill Clinton gave the keynote address.
Clinton told guests that he had a very personal interest in suicide prevention as his roommate at Oxford had taken his own life.

Describing his friend as "a person I admired beyond my ability to say," he told the crowd that he had always wondered if there was anything he could have done to stop it, as the loved ones of all suicide victims wonder.

From May 24, 2005, BBC's "Clinton 'still backing' Agreement :"

There is no viable alternative to the Good Friday Agreement for peace in Northern Ireland, former US President Bill Clinton has said.
Speaking in Dublin, he said he did not agree with DUP leader Ian Paisley's view that "the deal was dead".
However, he said he thought that it was up to the IRA to make the next move.
"If they were to give up their arms and criminality, I think it would put a lot of pressure on Mr Paisley and others," he said.
Mr Clinton described the Good Friday Agreement as "fair, with majority rule, minority rights and self government".
"I hope it can still be revived," he said.

From May 23, 2005, The DeHavviland's "Clinton: No alternative to Good Friday accord:"

There is no viable alternative to the Good Friday agreement, former US president Bill Clinton told Irish politicians yesterday. This view appears to be at odds with the one articulated by Dr Ian Paisley of the Democratic Unionist party, who believes parties in the province can no longer wait for Sinn Fein to commit itself fully to the peace process.Mr Clinton told guests at the RehabCare event in Dublin he hoped Dr Paisley was wrong in believing the accord to be ruined.The former president is in Ireland to raise monies for an anti-suicide programme. Irish taioseach Bertie Ahern, opposition leader Enda Kenny, and Nobel prize winner John Hume were among the guests at the gala dinner.

From May 24, 2005, BreakingNews i.e.'s "Adams and Clinton hold hour-long talks in Dublin:"

The former US President said last night that he believed the Good Friday Agreement was the only way forward for the North.
His comments are in line with the views of Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Irish and British Governments, but fly in the face of DUP claims that the 1998 peace deal is dead.

Because this was the topic of Friday's editorial, I've included these citations. You can find others, D.K., but probably a good idea to go beyond the New York Times. (Which -- sorry Yazz -- in fairness only has so much space. But I'd argue that if they have time to note a report -- and get the report wrong -- during a former president's visit, they had time to note that Bill Clinton was in Ireland for several days and what he was doing while he was over there.)

We'll also note that most members have e-mailed in to request their ballots. If you haven't already done so, please do. This weekend, e-mail time was given to responding to members. That will continue to be the case for the next fourteen days. If a visitor has a question, we'll note it here if it needs noting. And to a blogger who e-mailed this weekend, there will be a piece in The Third Estate Sunday Review (barring any problems getting it completed) replying to your questions. But we won't be linking here. You're site didn't sound as though it would be of interest to members and I had two long term members check it out (honestly, I farmed out the work and thank you to Shirley and Dallas for taking the resposibility on that). We're a community for the left. We provide links to the mainstream with regard to news. However, we do not highlight the right here. They have their own sites and they can do that there.

For the most part, that's been obvious to all from the start. However, a few months back, someone e-mailed in wanting to highlight Andrew Sullivan. Since it may not have been obvious but merely understood by most, I made the point, after we noted the Sullivan thing that had been e-mailed in, that we were a site for the left and if something important was being noted, we could find someone on the left to site. (I also broke this guideline myself -- hence my awarding myself Bonehead of the Year in our year-in-review. To underscore how badly the Times was reporting on the anti-war sentiment, I linked to a Fox "News" story which gave actual figures. As members pointed out, this did underscore the Times' failure but certainly there were other sources to cite and if I had to cite Fox, there was no need for a link. The members who objected were right and I was wrong.)

I wish you luck with your site and hope you're correct about providing insight into a certain group/idealogues ways of thinking, but it's not a site that membership would enjoy and I'm not comfortable linking to you in a post -- you stated you were a visitor but you missed that blogs -- unless by reporters, artists or someone established in a field other than blogging -- are decided upon by a panel. The blogs we provide permalinks for on the left are decided by a panel and have been for a few months now. (Working on the proposal has delayed the current panel from announcing their selections. When Jill was moving from Third Wave Agenda to Feministe, the panel was contacted to make sure they were okay with providing the link. Based on Jill's prvious work, the panel was.) (Jill continues to blog at Third Wave Agenda but Feminste is now the place she regularly blogs -- as does Lauren who invited Jill to join her at Feministe. Rebecca has a very nice post on the move and on Jill graduating.)

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Note: This post has been corrected to add "*" "The Way We Were" music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman.