Wednesday Morning Open Thread

shield law morin
(Jim Morin via GoComics.com)

Okay, it was not President Obama, but some guys at the DoJ reporting to Eric Holder. I believe it was Mr. Twain who said “Never get in an argument with an industry that buys pixels by the terabyte” — or something like that.

But perhaps it would be better to tear down the old rotted structure rather than patching another coat of duct tape and spackle over the decay? Charles P. Pierce suggests “A Bipartisan Idea That Will Die at Birth”:

[N]ow that both parties are staunchly behind the right of the press to ferret out uncomfortable secrets about what the government’s up to, and because there isn’t a scintilla of political expedience or chunks of gored oxen involved in this story, what do you say we all get together and repeal the damn Espionage Act?

The Espionage Act is a foul relic of a foul time, born of the repressive mind of Woodrow Wilson, American history’s most overrated man, employed to quash dissent during World War I, and then repurposed for the Red Scare that followed hard on the Armistice, and it rose again during the subsequent Red Scares after the subsequent world war….

History and valuable extracurricular readings at the link.

***********

Apart from inflaming the local authoritarians before they’ve had their morning adult beverages, what’s on the agenda for the day?

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46 replies
  1. 1
    Napoleon says:

    According to the TV Michelle Bachman will not run for her house seat again.

  2. 2
    geg6 says:

    @Napoleon:

    Bet she’s whacking poor Marcus in the head with a spiked heel and screaming at him about how a presidential run was SUCH a great idea. Because, apparently, he makes all her career decisions for her, right? Isn’t that why she went to law school, because Marcus told her to?

  3. 3
    raven says:

    Boy, Mornin Joe just had Jay Sekulow on. What a sleaze bag, PhD from Pat Robertson U!

  4. 4
    sm*t cl*de says:

    The citation turns out to be not Mark Twain, but an Indianapolis Congressman, c. 1964. I looked it up once.

  5. 5
    Schlemizel says:

    @Napoleon:
    The alarm went off this morning to the local NPR station quoting her saying something about spending the next 18 months defending the people of her district. I didn’t hear that she was quitting but that makes sense now.

    I do wonder what the little attention whore is going to do in the future, Congress will be better off without her

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    @Napoleon:

    While I’m glad she’ll be gone, I hope it doesn’t make her district harder to win.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    That political cartoon is weird. First, why would the media not use this opportunity to get legal protections through a shield law, rather than mocking the idea? Second, why are that couple entering the rest room together?

  8. 8
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @raven: Sekulow kept on saying the IRS was asking for more information and called it harassment. Young Ezra pointed out that it’s the IRS’s job to ask questions about the 501c(4) applications.

    For a second that Raspberry bumper made me think my wife was calling, that’s her ring tone.

  9. 9
    raven says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: And then they play Petty!

  10. 10
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Baud: You’ve never heard of co-ed bathrooms?

  11. 11
    gene108 says:

    Why does the media actively seek out information from people, who have sworn not to divulge information to the government, i.e. folks with TS/SCI clearance, like Kim, for example?

    Doesn’t the media realize they are asking people to break the law?

    I can understand, if someone comes to the media with tales of wrong doing, but I don’t get the conversations with actual government employees/contractors.

    Also, how does the media make contact with these guys? Is there a company that sells phone lists of government employees/contractors with TS/SCI clearance for journalists to cold call?

    I just have so many questions with the DoJ subpoena of phone records. The whole thing doesn’t make sense.

    EDIT: Also, too why can’t journalists devote sometime to Wal-Mart employees, who are on SNAP? They wouldn’t be getting anyone to break any laws and a lot of people aren’t aware a good chunk of all SNAP recipients work.

  12. 12
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @raven: Well I don’t have that as a ring tone. The only other custom one I have is for the kid, Sweet Jane.

  13. 13
    David Koch says:

    Ding -dong the witch is dead!

    the witch is dead!

    the wicked witch!

    Ding-Dong the wicked witch is dead!

  14. 14
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @gene108: What I don’t understand is, why would somebody with TS/SCI clearance call a reporter on either their office phone or their personal cell phone? Back when I worked for Satan I knew that they could read my e-mail and could see who I called, it was their property.

  15. 15
    JPL says:

    @David Koch: Bachmann’s god might encourage her to run for Senate. Since she is being investigated for campaign finance abuse, she could say it’s a witch hunt.

  16. 16
    Central Planning says:

    @Baud:

    Second, why are that couple entering the rest room together?

    And why does it say Restroom on the inside? Or, why is the sink on the outside of the restroom?

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA:

    How many middle aged couples frequent coed restrooms?

    @Central Planning:

    The cartoon raises more questions than it answers.

  18. 18
    Todd says:

    Oh noze! Asshole journalists become conduit for (thereby co-conspiring with) truly and necessarily classified info leaking leaker. Administration gets search warrant per law and Constitution so they can deal with leaker.

    Scandal! Worse than Nixon! Asshole journalists run around squealing, bitch ass emoprogs wail and seek succor with impeachment seeking teatards.

    Meh. In the administration of Preznit Rand Paul, they’ll quietly disappear investigating journos and enjoy sequestering/beating/arresting/spraying/shooting emoprogs, and I won’t give a shit – it’ll be Karmic retribution without participation.

    I might even celebrate the payback.

  19. 19
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Schlemizel: Surely Bachmann has lined up a job at Fox News, no?

  20. 20
    raven says:

    @Central Planning: Great BBQ in Lexington, NC has the sink outside the restrooms. I’ve seen a number of such set-ups in the south.

  21. 21
    JD Rhoades says:

    repeal the damn Espionage Act?

    Every time I bring this up to the wingnuts, the response is to change the subject, usually to some generic rant about how ‘liberal Obots never criticize Obama for anything.”

  22. 22
    Todd says:

    @raven:

    Great BBQ in Lexington, NC has the sink outside the restrooms. I’ve seen a number of such set-ups in the south.

    I always suspected that is a shaming device to ensure that people wash their hands.

  23. 23
    raven says:

    @Todd: Huh, maybe so. I always figured it was a money issue.

    We have a meeting with the head of public utilities tomorrow. We are hopeful.

  24. 24
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Central Planning:

    And why doesn’t someone fix that dripping faucet? And I don’t see a towel dispenser or air dryer, either. And everyone knows you use LIPSTICK to write messages on mirrors. Do they think President Obama carries a BLACK LIPSTICK around with him all the time?* Terrible cartoon.

    *(Actually, they probably do think exactly that….)

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Todd: There will always be tension between the public’s right to know what its government is doing and the the governments need to conduct national security activities quietly. Both are legitimate concerns. We as a people will not always get the balance right, but the struggle will be around forever. I think we need a limited journo-source privilege, strong whistleblower protections, and the ability to severely punish people who improperly disseminate classified information. The question is how to do all three properly.

  26. 26
    Todd says:

    @raven:

    We have a meeting with the head of public utilities tomorrow. We are hopeful.

    Good deal! Make sure you’re on your best behavior. Be really nice, and whatever happens, hold it in check until after the meeting.

  27. 27
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Baud:

    While I’m glad she’ll be gone, I hope it doesn’t make her district harder to win

    I’m reasonably sure that’s the exact reason she’s quitting. The leadership finally convinced her that the R’s might lose the seat if she runs. I’m sure they larded it with “oh, the evil liberals will be pouring money in to defeat Your Right Wing Awesomeness, do this for the Good of the Party” so she gets to play the martyr. They do love playing the martyr.

    (And Fox News loves paying the martyr. )

  28. 28
    martha says:

    Dumb question, but could Bachmann be the source of some (or one) of these leaks?

  29. 29
    Suffern ACE is a Basset Hound says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: it could be a really thick sharpie.

  30. 30
    raven says:

    @Todd: Roger. Here is our take. The city and our builder made mistakes and it doesn’t matter to us anymore. I told our builder we hoped to be able to continue to work with him and I told the city dude on the phone that we understand the issue of the main sewer line being accessible.

  31. 31
    mai naem says:

    @Napoleon: That must mean that that little investigation into her campaign finances is going to cause her problems.

    What I don’t get about the media records is why they couldn’t figure out from the inside who was leaking. They knew the number for the journos. They knew the dates of publication of the stories so shouldn’t it be easy to figure out from the inside?

  32. 32
    Todd says:

    @raven:

    Roger. Here is our take. The city and our builder made mistakes and it doesn’t matter to us anymore. I told our builder we hoped to be able to continue to work with him and I told the city dude on the phone that we understand the issue of the main sewer line being accessible.

    Perfect attitude, and more likely than not will get you closer to what you want to accomplish by way of mitigation.

  33. 33
    raven says:

    @Todd: Your input has been really helpful, thanks.

  34. 34
    ericblair says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I think we need a limited journo-source privilege, strong whistleblower protections, and the ability to severely punish people who improperly disseminate classified information. The question is how to do all three properly.

    If you read the main classification executive order (EO13526), it’s prohibited to classify “violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error”. I don’t know what the effect of this is in real life, but I haven’t seen it mentioned. This should be an explicit defense for whistleblowers if it isn’t now.

  35. 35
    p.a. says:

    Bachmann to Fox, Heritage, National Teatard organization? Or 2014 run against Franken? Or could the investigation lead to time in a federal relaxation facility? (Well, one can dream, yes?)

  36. 36
    lol says:

    Setting aside the fairly salient fact that no journalist has been arrested much less prosecuted for any of thing, I’d love to see one of the hair-on-fire types explain what line they think shouldn’t be crossed because it appear they don’t think there should be any. It just comes off sounding like they want blanket immunity and no responsibility for what they write. Both the AP and Rosen pieces were utterly reckless. It’s not really any different than the Plame case, except this time a bunch of high-profile lefties have signed on because they want to bash Obama. Hell, it worse than Plame because there was at least the pretense of “whistleblowing” there. This is just releasing national security info for shits and giggles.

    Somehow, if *I* approached a state department employee/contractor and ask him/her to leak me classified information so that I could influence US policy, I doubt any of them would be leaping to my defense. Weird.

  37. 37
    japa21 says:

    @lol: This is the key. They don’t think they need to be held accountable for anything they print or say. Let’s suppose the DC Sniper had called someone at the Post, gave his name and gave information that only the sniper would know. The reporter gets a major story but refuses to give any of the specific info (name, number, etc.) to police in order to protect his source. According to what the media is arguing, this is perfectly legitimate and if the law attempted to get phone records or anything that would be against the 1st Amendment.

    Also, I wish they would stop using the word spying. Spying is something done in the present. Investigating relates to things that happened in the past.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    mai naem says:

    @raven: Raven, I’ve been seeing some of your recent construction posts so I’m coming in late. Why do you need to access the sewer line? Is it because you’re hooking up to the city now and have a septic right now or is it for another reason. We were going to buy 2 houses where they had septic and both were going to cost $20K to being the city sewers in and this wasn’t cutting through any neighbors, they just happened to be kind of far from the closes city sewer and none of houses closer were hooked up.

  40. 40
    mai naem says:

    @lol: The Rosen stuff and the AP pieces are different issues. The the Reuter’s piece on the AP story gives you a better idea of what happened and it doesn’t seem like AP did wrong, it was the stories following the AP story that caused problems. I completely understand the DOJ wanting to know the leaker. but I still don’t understand why they needed to look at AP phone records for firstly so many lines and secondly so many journos. Also, I would have thought it would have been relatively easy to figure out from the phone records inside the CIA/Pentagon whatever to figure out who the leaker was.

  41. 41
    jshooper says:

    @lol: I agree with your comment 100%. Everything you stated is exactly how I feel about this issue.

    The idea that this was “whistleblowing” is complete bullshit. None of the firebaggers claiming that have been able to explain what government wrong doing / corruption was being exposed.

    Why should “journalists” be allowed to disrupt highly classified counter-terrorism operations and potentially put CIA assets lives at risk for the sake of a “story”.

    I thought everyone universally mocked Geraldo for giving away troop locations and potentially putting our soldiers lives in danger. Everyone on the left howled to the moon over the politically motivated leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

    Now in the age of Wikileaks and Bradley Manning, leaking for the sake of leaking has become a far-left virtue. In my opinion you should only be a whistleblower if you are attempting to expose horrible crimes / corruption.

  42. 42
    jshooper says:

    Part of me has absolutely ZERO interest in the Press’ whining over this issue for several reasons.

    1) this is the same Press that whined about not having access to Pres.Obama’s golf game with Tiger Woods. They actually made it a “serious” issue.

    2) The same Press that didn’t do their fuckin job in the lead up to the Iraq war

    3) the same Press that let Mitt Romney go an entire presidential campaign without releasing his tax returns like every modern candidate before him

    4) the same press that spent the last 2 months parroting GOP talking points about Benghazi. Even going so far as to help spread fabricated evidence in emails

    5) Now all of a sudden they are sticking their chests out and calling Pres.Obama Nixon because they want the right to disrupt counter-terrorism efforts without govt. scrutiny. On what planet would they be allowed to do that.

    6) if you listen to the way some people are whining over this issue….you would think the Govt. is sending out the Gestapo to round up reporters and beat them in the street.

  43. 43
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @mai naem: See this thread. Basically he wants an addition/deck and there’s a sewer line in the way that crosses neighbors lots, IIRC.

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  44. 44
    patroclus says:

    I’m not in favor of repealing the Espionage Act, I’m not in favor of sliming Woodrow Wilson; I think leaks of classified information should be investigated and if, like Scooter Libby’s outing of Valerie Plame’s NOC status, prosecuted as well. Disclosing the identity of the U.S.’s North Korean mole is a bad idea as is disrupting covert Yemeni operations. No journalists have actually been prosecuted recently despite all the bleating – not even Julian Assange. I just don’t agree with Charles Pierce at all on this.

  45. 45
    DFH no.6 says:

    From all I’ve read and seen about this alleged DOJ/AP/Rosen “scandal” it doesn’t appear to be a case of our gov’t extra-legally stomping on the 1st Amendment rights of the press, nor is it about some whistleblower witch hunt a la the Pentagon Papers or whatnot.

    It looks to me to be exactly what the DOJ says it is: a legal investigation of an important leak of classified information that just may have compromised on-going intelligence and operations directed at actual terrorists.

    As Omne Omnibus put it in comment #25 above responding to Todd, this is an example of the forever tension between a free press and national security. With not a “whistleblower” exposing some gov’t corruption or mis-deed in sight.

    Any on “the left” supporting the real witch hunt here (fascists attacking Obama and his admin with anything they think might stick) can go fuck themselves. Useful idiots is the term that comes to mind.

    Or does anyone actually believe the fascists care about the freedom of the press? Naïve in the extreme if anyone does believe that.

    There is no fucking scandal here, just like there are no scandals around Benghazi or the IRS with the goddamn teabagger groups asking to be tax-exempt because they pretended to be non-political “social welfare” organizations (which is a lie, of course, but such is de rigueur with fucking fascists).

    All of which makes me an Obot (or perhaps “knob-slobberer” in the current parlance) I suppose. Because pushing back on rightwing bullshit based on little or nothing means I believe Obama can do no wrong. Obviously.

  46. 46
    burnspbesq says:

    @lol:

    Setting aside the fairly salient fact that no journalist has been arrested much less prosecuted for any of thing

    That’s not quite true, although the Morison case is distinguishable based on the fact that he stole the information himself and intended to publish it in his side job as a correspondent for Jane’s. But it is correct that no journalist has ever been prosecuted solely for violating Section 793(c), the “receiving stolen information” part of the Espionage Act.

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