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Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Jim Rockford

One conservative pundit called her Crony Mcbuddy. Hehe.

My sense of the folks at Redstate is that they wanted Bush to nominate someone who had enough legal scholarship to move the court to the right significantly, and was younger. Instead Bush took the best name that Harry Reid gave her.

Meirs seems to them "not conservative enough" and they are afraid of a Souter, someone who will "succumb to the blandishments of the Ivy League establishment" and "make the right decisions to get the right sort of invatations" etc. If anything the discussions there believe that Miers will be far too "centrist" and just go along to get along.

This is not the argument that you've cited Marc. You should go over to places like Redstate.org or Powerline or Patterico yourself and judge for yourself.

I will say that the Ivy League "group think" is IMHO dangerous when applied to anything. That Miers doesn't hail from the Ivy League is probably a good thing, but in total she seems another Mike Brown crony without any serious qualifications to be even a judge let alone a Supreme. However as you noted Harry Reid said she was acceptable so Bush went along to get along.

Do Dems then turn her down? If so that pretty much destroys the argument that ANY bipartisan agreement is possible doesn't it?

Probably far more important than Crony McBuddy, is the replacement for Greenspan. Now THAT should give everyone nightmares. Carter's appointment was supposedly a total disaster, not understanding the link between interest rates and business investment.

richard lo cicero

John Dickerson got it exactly wrong. The movement conservatives wanted a red meat right wing wingnut who would be guaranteed to restore God to the commons and ban abortion. The right wing intelligentsia wanted a Federalist Society type who would restore the "Constitution in Exile" - you know "Original Intent" and all that. Neither can be happy with this cipher.

But Bush will get what he wants. A Justice that will always rule for Executive Power. And as a corporate lawyer, albeit a run of the mill one, she will uphold restrictions on torts and strike down regulations as against the commerce clause. My guess is she'll follow Roberts' lead - much as Thomas apes Scalia's decisions.

Finally this is a victory not just for cronyism but also the enshrinement of the Hruska Principle. Remember Roman Hruska from Nebraska? He countered the argument that Harold Carswell, widely derided as mediocre after Nixon nominated him, deserved confirmation because "Mediocre People deserve representation too." Bush has now ratified that in spades.

T WAS no surprise when Christopher Hitchens and his fellow neo-cons slandered British antiwar leader George Galloway during his North American speaking tour in September. But some of the ugliest attacks on Galloway came from liberals--namely, journalist Greg Palast and LA Weekly commentator Marc Cooper.

These hatchet jobs, directed at the best-known antiwar figure in Britain, were obviously designed to discourage people from turning out to hear Galloway speak.

But they were also about something more--trying to impose political conformity on the antiwar movement by attempting to marginalize a figure from the left, in particular, on the question of how the U.S. occupation has been opposed in Iraq.

For his part, Palast began his potty-mouthed outbursts with discredited allegations about Galloway’s relationship to the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, as well as the Miriam Appeal, an organization that Galloway co-founded to oppose the United Nations sanctions against Iraq responsible for the deaths of more than half a million children under the age of five.

Palast didn’t bother with facts. On the contrary, he claimed at one point that the British Charity Commission’s investigation of the Miriam Appeal “excoriated” Galloway for missing funds. The opposite is the case. “The commission’s thorough inquiry found no evidence to suggest that the large amounts of money given to the Mariam Appeal were not properly used,” the commission’s director of operations, Simon Gillespie, told reporters last year.

Both Palast and Cooper also distorted Galloway’s record to claim that he has made “deadly anti-abortion threats” (Galloway’s actual position is that he is “personally opposed” to abortion, but agrees that women have the right to choose for themselves) and is an anti-gay bigot (strangely, this “bigot” voted in favor of gay rights in Britain’s parliament).

Palast, anyway, seems to have lost interest once his smears were launched into cyberspace. After Galloway responded to his charges with a public statement--posted on the CounterPunch and ZNet Web sites, and elsewhere--the once outraged journalist was silent. Visitors to Palast’s Web site won’t find one word about Galloway’s reply to the charges against him. They will, however, discover that (note the order) “Palast and Cindy Sheehan” were scheduled to speak at the Operation Ceasefire concert during the September 24 protests in Washington.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

GALLOWAY IS a left-wing opponent of the war. His speeches across the U.S. in September focused not only on the lies that the Bush administration used to get their invasion, but the determination of Iraqis to oppose the U.S. occupation--in the same way that anti-colonial movements of the past have fought their oppressors.

But this second part is exactly what some leading voices in the antiwar movement insist must not be said--for fear of alienating “mainstream America.”

To Palast, the Iraqi resistance is nothing but “berserker killers and fundamentalist madmen”--which U.S. antiwar activists must reject, or lose credibility. Cooper likewise argues that the resistance is made up of “Jihadists and Baathists” whose “bloody handiwork...intentionally targeted civilians.”

These overheated statements are as misleading as the right-wing propaganda they resemble.

The vast majority of Iraqi resistance groups, both secular and religious, have condemned attacks on civilians--which, in fact, are the exception. According to data in a report from mainstream foreign policy expert Anthony Cordesman’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, most operations carried out by the resistance are aimed at U.S. and coalition military forces--75 percent of all attacks, compared to 4.1 percent aimed at Iraqi civilians, during the period from September 2003 to October 2004.

As Patrick Cockburn--who has reported on the occupation since it began for the Independent, usually from Iraq itself--put it in an interview with Socialist Worker: “The situation is very simple, as it would be in most countries of the world--when you have an occupation by a foreign power, you have resistance. And that’s exactly what’s happened in Iraq. It’s absurd to think that there are tiny groups either of foreign fighters or remnants of the former regime who are holding the rest of the population to ransom.”

Even the Pentagon admits the existence of a broad-based resistance, motivated by Iraqis’ hatred of living under the heel of foreign occupiers. Thus, Army Gen. George W. Casey, the top commander in Iraq, testified before Congress last week that U.S. troop reductions were necessary to “take away one of the elements that fuels the insurgency, that of the coalition forces as an occupying force.”

Galloway’s argument is simple: The U.S.-UK occupation has used the utmost violence to maintain its grip, and the majority of Iraqis are using any means they can--not only the primitive military options available to them, but political demonstrations, workers’ actions and other methods--to oppose oppression and injustice.

Once you clear away the false idea that this resistance is nothing but “berserker killers,” bent on murdering Westerners, then what is so wrong about Galloway’s statement that Cooper--and Christopher Hitchens for that matter--quoted in horror: “These poor Iraqis--ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest and most basic of weapons--are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars, with 145 military operations every day, which have made the country ungovernable by the people who occupy it...They decided when the foreign invaders came to defend their country, to defend their honor, to defend their families, their religion, their way of life from a military superpower which landed among them...The Iraqi resistance is not just defending Iraq. They are defending all the Arabs, they are defending all the people of the world from American hegemony.”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

THIS QUESTION of the struggle in Iraq is exactly where liberals like Palast and Cooper insist on silence.

Cooper is explicit about why--antiwar activists can’t be too radical, or they will frighten away Democratic Party politicians, the movement’s only hope for having an impact. “The peace movement,” Cooper wrote in LA Weekly following the September 24 demonstrations, “can achieve its goals only by building a political coalition broad enough, forceful enough and credible enough to provoke a policy sea change. A huge proportion, if not the majority, of the Democratic Party has to be onboard.”

To judge from his ill-tempered blog commentary about the protests--which directs abuse at every target to show up on his television screen as he watched the demonstration on C-SPAN--Cooper has a gripe with every part of the movement. But he saves his nastiest insults for the left--who are responsible, he believes, for driving away “not just the Kerry and Clinton types...but also outspoken critics of the war like Howard Dean, Russ Feingold and Ted Kennedy.”

First of all...outspoken? And is it really the antiwar movement’s fault that Howard “Now that we’re there, we can’t leave” Dean didn’t show in Washington? Or Russ Feingold, the single Democratic senator who voted against the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001--but who last week voted to confirm John Roberts as chief justice, so he can uphold that law against every challenge?

Cooper reduces the measure of success on September 24 to how many Democratic Party politicians could be lured on stage. The answer: almost none. So the demonstrations must have been “impotent theater of self-expression.”

Cooper ends the scolding with a reference to the 1963 March on Washington, and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Now, if my memory of Parting the Waters serves, there weren’t many Democratic Party politicians on the speakers’ platform that day--certainly no officials of the Kennedy administration.

Does Cooper think the civil rights movement should have moderated its words and deeds to get more Democrats alongside King? Were the more radical activists of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee to blame for driving the politicians away? Should the civil rights movement be considered a failure because of its commitment to grassroots protest and direct action, even if that angered Democratic Party leaders?

The antiwar movement today won’t grow strong enough to force the politicians to end the occupation by tailoring its message to what one group of those politicians wants to hear.

No doubt, many people who attended an antiwar demonstration for the first time on September 24 were motivated mainly or solely by the desire to see U.S. troops withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible. They won’t necessarily agree with George Galloway’s argument about the Iraqi resistance right now, nor should they be required to in order to participate in the antiwar struggle.

But the issue of Iraqis’ right to determine what happens in their own country is undeniably a legitimate question to take up--in discussions among activists; in those “mind-numbing meetings” Cooper so hates that plan antiwar activities and the future of the movement; from the speakers’ platform at demonstrations.

Those who try to stifle this discussion with blustering insults and false allegations do a disservice to our movement--and also to the struggle of the Iraqi people against an illegal and immoral occupation of their country.

Marc Cooper

To the above poster.. I dont mind the attack. I only mind you didn't reveal its source: an article in "Socialist Worker" magazine! Im crushed.

Brian Siano

He also violated the copyright of the author. What a spectacularly ethical way to support the cause and encourage left-wing journalists!

Brian Siano

He also violated the copyright of the author-- whose name was left off, thereby encouraging the belief that Mr. Anonymous Poser was the author. What a spectacularly ethical way to support the cause and encourage left-wing journalists! Makes Tom Delay look like Daniel Berrigan.

richard lo cicero

I don't get it Marc. Is the above poster suggestung that Harriet Miers is connected to you and Greg Palast? I didn't know she had a position on George Galloway. Maybe she'll be asked at her confirmation hearings.


Kinda ironic...that...right-wing Christians are total whores.

Michael Crosby

I would not assume that Miers is a lightweight. She apparently was a pretty influential member of the American Bar Assn. leadership group, which is a sort of nerdy, very well-heeled but generally moderate-liberal crowd. If she was trying to pass what were in effect anti-choice resolution (or rather, resolutions to prevent pro-choice action by the ABA), she may have been a part of the moderate-conservative Loyal Opposition. She shares some traits with Roberts, being a managing partner in a white-shoe law firm, just like him. Unlike him, she does not have the long record of appellate advocacy before the Supreme Court.

Her not being a judge is of limited concern. Roberts had never been a trial judge, I'm not sure he had been a trial lawyer. He was a judge on the court of appeals for about 2 years. He may have even less real trial experience than Miers, who doesn't have much. Like just about everyone else, including the usually knowitall Wise Guys, I have no idea what kind of justice she would make. I just wouldn't assume she is a cipher.

My favorite part so far was hale and hearty Judge Hecht emerging to talk about what a great girlfriend she was. I think we can place this information in the SHE'S NO LESBO section of the brief the proponents are preparing for the religious right.

Jim Rockford

David Frum over at NRO has something rather different than what Marc describes:

"Some NRO readers have challenged me: Why should we trust you when you say that Miers is not qualified rather than trust the president when he says she is?

My answer is: Don't trust me. Trust your own eyes. The woman is 60 years old, a lawyer for more than three decades. Can you see any instance in this long life and career where Miers ever took a risk on behalf of conservative principle? Can you see any indication of intellectual excellence? Did she ever do anything brave, anything that took backbone? Did anyone before this week ever describe her as oustanding in any way at all?

If the answers to these questions is No, as it is, then you have to ask yourself: Why is a Republican president bypassing so many dozens of superb legal conservatives to choose Harriet Miers for the highest court in the land?

I am not saying she is a Michael Brown. But I am saying she is being chosen for her next job in exactly the same way and for the same reasons that Michael Brown was chosen for FEMA. And that is not good enough for me. Is it good enough for you? Hugh Hewitt, you are a lawyer: Is it really good enough for you?"

So yes basically Crony McBuddy. I agree with Richard, no one is happy with this nomination.

There SHOULD be room for conservative and liberal agreement: Kelo is a bad decision and should be over-turned (though Pelosi and most liberal Dems love the decision for obvious reasons). The Government should not be able to take your house to give to Wal Mart. The other is Robert's correct criticism that substituting International laws allows the private bias of each judge to shine through. Sharia in Nigeria? Soviet-derived law in Bulgaria? Napoleonic Code in France?

Roberts was right on this one and Breyer atrociously wrong.

This nomination should be turned back. When Richard and I agree on something you know it's bad.

Somewhat OT: Marc I owe you an apology. Louis J. Freeh has substantially made your points in the new book out regarding Clinton's scandals. Worse even than I had imagined. No wonder their relationship was so bad (he mentions Khobar Towers specifically).

You were right on that and I was wrong.

I still miss the 90's economy though. I think Bush is terribly vulnerable on economics.

richard lo cicero

Harriet Miers problem is not that she went to a non-Ivy Law school or has no experience on the Bench. Its that her professional career never brought her into contact with the type of questions the Supreme Court gets - with the exception of those involving the commerce clause. And frankly, she's probably better suited for the Chancery Court in Delaware.

Plenty of Justices never sat on the bench but their experiences prepared them. Earl Warren and William Howard Taft were Chief Executives of Governmental units. Their posts dealt with the kind of questions and controversies that the Court gets. Same with a SEn Hugo Black or a William O. Douglas who helped write New Deal legislation and headed the SEC. Nine months in the Office of White House Counsel doesn't cut it.

Can't let Freeh's comments go unremarked. Any number of observers have noted that Freeh was a micromanager who was a luddite. No computer support. His top anti-terrorist expert quit in disgust. And Clinton wanted to fire him but that was politically impossible since Freeh had ingratiated himself with the GOP congress over a Special Counsel for campaign finance irregularities. Notice how quickly he decided to spend more time with his family when Bush came in? The GOP had no more need of him and wanted someone competetent.


Hugh Hewitt is certainly proof lawyers and thus judges have an ideology within the context of the law. I think Roberts revealed his this week, just as I thought: go easy on the administration and hammer the position that goes against his ideology. Objective my ass.

Tom Grey - Liberty Dad

I like Harriet, from what (little) I've read about her. Among the top 50 or top 100 lawyers in the country, consistently; managing law partner of a big Texas law firm (she was the first woman they hired) -- and it merged with another law firm, she co-lead the merged firm.

Isn't married, no kids; goes to Christian Church regularly. Bush knows her for years.

I say she's 90% to vote to overturn Roe; Roberts is only 80%. Roberts is more likely a Souter than Miers -- intellectuals always know how to tell themselves such good lies that they believe them. (Rationalization).

If the Dems don't accept her, look for radical conservative intellect, and nu-kue-lar option to stop filibuster.

Reps might not like her -- but name the Rep Senators who will vote no. Otherwise she's in.

Frum and Malkin prolly want, as do I, an intellectual giant who is openly Conservative & pro-life (anti-Roe, at least), and is willing to fight the Bork battle again, but this time win. I read that Rep Senators told Bush they didn't want to fight that fight.

So she's top 1% as a woman lawyer, instead of top 1/10 of 1%. My blog post in her support:
Common Sense and Goodness, not a Pointy Head.

Recently I've heard some Christians complain that they are being taken advantage of by the Reps, just like the Dems use but never really help poor Blacks. It would be interesting to see if Dem-voting Black sheep start getting restless based on this kind of Christian complaint about the Reps.

Marc, in ref. to your Let me Count the Ways post, did you see anything substantive that Bush has done that is really pro-Christian?

Almost half of Bush voters voted for him for "moral values" as most important -- they want openly pro-life, anti-Roe justices on the Court.


"I've heard some Christians complain that they are being taken advantage of by the Reps"

Funny cuz I've heard some Christians complain they are being made to look like blithering, crypto-fascist idiots by the Reps. You must be talking about the far-right fundamentalist cults . If they're Christian, Brezhnev was a Marxist and Dick Cheney was a capitalist entrepreneur.

Abbas-Ali Abadani

Tom Grey: "Recently I've heard some Christians complain that they are being taken advantage of by the Reps, just like the Dems use but never really help poor Blacks. It would be interesting to see if Dem-voting Black sheep start getting restless based on this kind of Christian complaint about the Reps.

"Marc, in ref. to your Let me Count the Ways post, did you see anything substantive that Bush has done that is really pro-Christian?

"Almost half of Bush voters voted for him for "moral values" as most important..."

This is actually a great point. "Values voters" never get anything in return for their unconditional loyalty to the GOP. Not even the "god, guns & gays" thing which is held out to the base as bait.

Republicans don't fight for things like prayer in schools, or the posting of the Ten Commandments -- even in districts where the vast, vast majority of residents are in favor of such things.

And the NRA's "law and order" mentality prevents it from taking a proactive and activist role in rolling back all unconstitutional and illegal gun control laws. Instead they remain steadfastly in favor of "enforcing existing laws as strictly possible" -- and each new anti-second amendment measure that is enacted automatically meets with their approval.

Meanwhile GOP operatives always to seek villianize, marginalize and sideline no compromise gun rights orgs such as Gun Owners of America and the Tyranny Response Team.

There was a great cover story in the April 11 issue of The American Conservative dealing with the marginalization of social conservatives.


nursing clothing

indeed, agree with that Abbas. well said Abbas.

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