Captain Mainline

Saturday, January 15, 2005

In a knife fight?

Regarding the flock of scandals where Armstrong Williams, Markos Zuniga of Daily Kos and Jerome Armstrong of MyDD each took money from political agents, I cannot help but think that this is typical for how money and influence interact.

The powerful rarely bribe politicians to purchase support; they instead fund politicians who already agree with their agenda. Is this a whiter shade of pale?

If a given voice poses as a non-partisan who is objectively picking amongst issues and positions then and purchased influence would be more significant that these cases where people with a clear track record are paid to carry on as expected. Yes, I am thinking of CBS and Dan Rather again. They claim they have no bias, and their big report failed to consider evidence the networked coordinated activities with the Kerry campaign- and perhaps breaking the law. To me this deserves a larger focus.

Now, I agree the details of the financing should, in a perfect world, be transparent- and for politicians there is a legal obligation. But for citizens, I am not sure there is the same requirement.

Perhaps one day there will be an accreditation process and an oath for voices that want to be respected, from CBS to Kos to myself. Until then I am reminded of Ted Cassidy in a famous western: “Rules?!? In a knife fight??!?!!!”

I agree it all sounds shady, but in part because there were no actual surprises so far- I wonder if this is merely a tempest in a teapot. I mean, we are talking about free speech from private citizens.

What should we expect from our pundits?

Friday, January 14, 2005

Whitewash or Half-a-Loaf?

I think the term WHITEWASH is actually too kind because not only was the content deliberately soft, the Thornburgh-Boccardi panel itself was intended to simulate a "blue ribbon" or independent commission. I have seen those words used to describe the panel. As has been noted elsewhere the lawyers worked for CBS before this report was created. The Panel's task was to represent their client, not report the truth. Because the panel allowed (or even fostered) a misrepresentation of themselves as being independent I call the production of the report a "pig circus" and its product was a whitewash.

To understand the thinking of the Half a Loaf crowd, please note the Panel did a world-class job of achieving their intentions. It is a marvelous document where significant time and great skills were invested to devise the most favorable report to CBS's interests- given the seriousness of the situation.

The report laid out a great many facts and it did not lie even though its manipulation of the proof threshold to vary from a preponderance of the evidence to beyond a reasonable doubt to an elephant hanging from its tail on a dandelion to best serve the interests of CBS was machiavellian. But it should come as no surprise (follow the money) that this report was bought and paid for by CBS, and it was worth every penny.

The panel has attempted to perform the same service for CBS as was done for OJ Simpson by his jury. Note that Mr. Simpson did not pay the jurors; if he had their verdict would have surprised fewer people. It was proper for CBS to hire lawyers to defend themselves- note CBS could face legal consequences related to potential.

Did Mr. Heyward have control over the contents of the report? I am not aware of any reason which would have prevented this. How much more favorable could this report have been for Mr. Heyward, and still have gained significant acceptance?

Considering how 110 days were spent only to find no proof of faked memos or bias at CBS, my thoughts for the "half a loaf" crowd would include an understanding that the report did include many damaging and detailed facts, that it did not lie and was very well written… but my personal verdict on your perspective: there is a sucker born every minute!

International Law for US Courts?

I had two thoughts while considering the recent question of how international law should affect US judges.

First, I do not like the idea of world or European values creeping in to the USA without a formal process because in general I find our home grown values to be better for the USA.

But more importantly, I feel the focus of the question was misguided in a way that is independent of my bias against the USA adopting foreign views.

I think it is proper for voters and to a lesser degree legislators to consider legal events from the world at large and to consider what changes we may want to adopt.

My inclination would be to look for things to UNDO here when the USA too closely mirrors Europe’s progressive thinking, but as I said that is a reflection of my conservative inclination. Regardless, the last people who should be pondering extra-legal influences are judges who in theory are bound to consider the will of the legislators and the US constitution.

The proper orifice for considering foreign ideas should not be through judges but be instead the voters here in the USA.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Ode to Hugh, the Blog-Father

Or should that be "owed" to Hugh Hewitt, the person I characterize as the Blog Father in the mold of Odin, the All-Father from Norse Mythology?

OK, I bought the book BLOG! and I was properly inspired and voila, here is my own blog. I know, I will soon have to invest and even read the entire book, but this should get me started.

Or should I say get "us" started, because I will need a bit of help from the big guy. How about it Hugh, can you throw me a bone?

Well, next I'd better post something worthy & see if I can get some attention. What, with 8 million bloggers its a long shot, but how many of them are conservative political bloggers? Too many to count, but its a good thing.... Anyway, here ends my Hello World initial post.