Wednesday, 28 July 2004
I've seen the future... and it's good.
I've seen the future... and it's good.
Foot fetish. For those who are following the latest scandal from the people who brought you Travelgate, Filegate, Whitewatergate, and dozens of other made-up events that turned out to be all smoke and no fire, the latest accusation is that Sandy Berger, formerly National Security Adviser under the Clinton administration, was caught stuffing secret documents into his pants and socks.
No, seriously, that's what they're accusing him of. Former President Clinton had asked Berger to review thousands of pages of classified documents in the National Archives for submission to the 9/11 Commission; Berger visited the Archives three times, with staff members present on each occasion. He brought with him a leather portfolio, containing business papers and other (non-classified) documents, and he took notes while he was working, which is against the rules.
On one of the visits, apparently, copies of two classified documents got mixed in with Berger's personal papers and ended up in his leather portfolio. He took them home, which is also a no-no, and subsequently the Archives contacted him to inquire about a third document that had gone missing. Berger promptly looked through his papers and returned the two documents he had, as well as the notes he had taken.
The Justice Department investigated, as they should have, and found no evidence of wrongdoing. This was well on its way to becoming a routine non-story, with the investigative equivalent of a police report and a warning…
…until this week, when someone leaked the story and added a few embellishments. In the sexy new version of the tale, Berger had been caught sneaking documents out of the Archives by hiding them in his clothes. The story is not that he left the Archives with his notebook in his pocket and a leather portfolio filled with documents in plain view — that's way too dull, so our friends in the GOP sexed it up. Instead, Berger was pilfering documents by dumping them down the front of his pants; the crack team of National Archive librarians witnessed this act, but chose not to stop him for their own inscrutable reasons; and Berger subsequently destroyed the missing document in order to cover up… the Clinton administration's success in foiling an Al Qaeda plot.
And, just to stretch the truth a bit further, the latest (anonynmous) claim is that Berger was smuggling documents in his socks. How the heck do you smuggle a document in your socks? I can see maybe folding up one piece of paper and stuffing it into a tube sock, but a document? How do you walk out of the National Archives with a binder wrapped around your foot?
I think the silly season is upon us.
I helped to set up that booth. (I'm not in the photo, because I had to scuttle off to work afterwards — but, hey, I was there.) What are you doing to elect John Kerry?
On the subject of postponing elections.
Link via a Daily Kos comment.
It has long been a grave question whether any government, not too strong for the liberties of its people, can be strong enough to maintain its own existence in great emergencies.
On this point the present rebellion brought our republic to a severe test; and a presidential election occurring in regular course during the rebellion added not a little to the strain. If the loyal people, united, were put to the utmost of their strength by the rebellion, must they not fail when divided, and partially paralized [sic], by a political war among themselves?
But the election was a necessity.
We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife of the election is but human-nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case, must ever recur in similar cases. Human-nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak, and as strong; as silly and as wise; as bad and good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.
But the election, along with its incidental, and undesirable strife, has done good too. It has demonstrated that a people's government can sustain a national election, in the midst of a great civil war. Until now it has not been known to the world that this was a possibility. It shows that, even among candidates of the same party, he who is most devoted to the Union, and most opposed to treason, can receive most of the people's votes. It shows also, to the extent yet known, that we have more men now, than we had when the war began. Gold is good in its place; but living, brave, patriotic men, are better than gold.
— Abraham Lincoln, November 10, 1864.
When I get older, losing my hair… A happy (belated) birthday to Ringo Starr, who on Wednesday became the first Beatle to turn 64.
Sound bite. I just did my first radio interview in, oh, let's say "ever" (college radio doesn't count) with Rod Quinn of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, talking about John Edwards and his selection as Kerry's VP candidate. I mentioned this in passing a few weeks ago, but for the record: I'm now an officer of Democrats Abroad Australia, the Democratic Party's chapter for American expats Down Under, and as of today I'm a spokesman. (For someone who wasn't even a Democrat a year ago, this has been quite a trip.)
The interview was a ten-minute softball Q&A that could have been titled "Who is John Edwards?" — I think the toughest question Rod asked was whether I thought the GOP would make hay about Kerry's criticisms of Edwards during the primaries, to which I mumbled something about how people would understand the difference between the primary and the election. I managed to say a few good things about Edwards, we talked a little about elections in general (first two-Senator ticket since 1960, etc.), and it's amazing how quickly ten minutes goes by when you're on the air.
As far as I know the interview only aired in Canberra, so there's little chance that anyone I know actually heard it here in Sydney. Nonetheless, it's another personal milestone on the road to taking my country back.
Steal this quote. From the back cover of John Edwards' book, by way of Daily Kos:
Horn section. I live about fifteen minutes from downtown Sydney, in a nice little suburb called Petersham. Petersham is the "Little Portugal" of the Sydney area, and we're about two blocks from the center of it: There are lots of good restaurants within walking distance (spicy chicken — mmm), they block off a street and have cultural events just down the road, and so on.
Usually I don't spend a lot of time ruminating about life in Little Portugal, and I certainly don't follow European soccer. I did notice last month a poster or two that I hadn't seen before, and glanced at them long enough to decipher that Portugal was hosting the "Euro 2004" championships this year — and then my chicken sandwich was ready, so I left and went about my business.
Weeks went by, and gradually the number of Portuguese flags and posters increased; I mean, there were a lot of them to begin with already, but all of a sudden they were everywhere. Through osmosis I gathered that Portugal was doing well in the tournament. I was happy for my neighbors.
And then we come to this weekend, when I can barely leave the house without running into a carload of screaming Portuguese-Australians, waving red and green flags out every window and honking their horns like Portugal had just won a major world war. Single-handledly.
The only thing that could make matters worse is if they were playing the championship against Greece, Petersham's second-largest ethnic community… so, naturally, they are. Carloads of screaming Greek-Australians are now driving around outside, hamming it up with the Portuguese, and creating a wall of noise that sounds like a New York traffic jam on steroids.
It's a strange, strange way to spend the Fourth of July. Luckily I made it to the American Society's Independence Day picnic yesterday, and got a healthy dose of Americana — and signed up 30-40 people to request their absentee ballots.
Pants on fire, part 2: Dick Cheney, caught in the act.
See also Rumsfeld, Donald.
Power tools. New on the blogroll is a great idea from Judd Legum of the Center for American Progress: Winning Argument, a blog that collects the facts you'll need to win a backyard debate for the progressives. Each entry is a new topic, and the articles so far range from the CPA didn't adequately prepare for the transfer of power in Iraq to American CEOs are overpaid.
I'll probably end up using this site like a handyman who's just discovered duct tape. Anyhow, check it out. (Link via TAPPED.)