Good & Bad News on Jane Harman: Why Her Voice in Congress Matters

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harman222.jpgWord is leaking out everywhere that Representative Jane Harman (D-CA) is resigning her House seat in favor of succeeding Democratic foreign policy icon Lee Hamilton as the next president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
For Harman personally, this may be great news.
The job running the Wilson Center is one of the premier foreign policy/national security spots in Washington, and I think Jane Harman has a balanced understanding of the realist and idealist forces swirling around many of the key problems facing the US and the international system today.
But I am a bit disheartened on other fronts by her likely departure from Congress.
First of all, Harman — whose trust in the George W. Bush administration’s management of intelligence led her to strongly support the invasion of Iraq — had become chastened by that experience and spoke out strongly in favor of more Congressional oversight and “certainty” when it came to future deployments of American men and women in combat.
Second, she is one of the few Democrats in Congress who has a deep understanding of the architecture of national security intelligence and knows a lot about the technical dimensions of satellites. I always felt that it was a significant mistake by Nancy Pelosi not to make Jane Harman Chair of the House Intelligence Committee because her knowledge of the beast so far outstripped anyone else’s background by far.
Third, Jane Harman who is no softy when it comes to matters of war and peace and is someone many have considered a hawk nonetheless was emerging as a sort of J. William Fulbright-style voice against the deepening commitments of the US in the Afghanistan War. She emerged as one of the Obama administration’s more serious critics citing inchoate strategy and the problem of a corrupt-to-the-bones partner in the Karzai administration. Her voice on Afghanistan will be particularly missed.
On the Israel front, Harman who was also one of those Members of Congress close to AIPAC and of course close to Israel’s interests was also someone who demonstrated in words and by her example that the US could not afford false choices between our relationship with Israel and our relationship with other governments in the region. Even though Iran has hardly been cooperative, Harman was a leading voice during the latter years of the G.W. Bush administration for at least engaging Iran to see what might be accomplished. She is a realist in her assessments of Middle East politics and turmoil and refuses to yield to oversimplified versions of what is going on there — whether from Israel-tiliting or Arab-tilting sources. This is the kind of perspective we need more of in Congress.
Lastly, Harman is one who believes that we are operating in a “fog of law” internationally in responding to terrorist challenges coming from non-state actors rather than the “rule of law.” She believes that we need to deal with this — be up front about it — and renegotiate with the international system new rules for the era we are in today rather than one from the past. I totally agree with her — and think that Harman’s voice in this arena will be missed among the Members of Congress who have much less mature and developed views.
I wish Jane Harman well and congratulate her on her new post at the Wilson Center — but I think it’s also fair to lament some fronts where the nation will be worse off for her departure.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

80 comments on “Good & Bad News on Jane Harman: Why Her Voice in Congress Matters

  1. Paul Norheim says:

    Yes Don, they are clearly dissimilar in the sense that the
    Iranian regime is theocratic while the Egyptian is secular,
    and that the constitutional framework is more democratic in
    Iran. But in the treatment of real opposition, there are
    similarities. On some (especially moral) levels, the Iranian
    regime is interfering much more in the lives of ordinary
    citizens than the Egyptian regime.

    Reply

  2. Don Bacon says:

    Paul Norheim,
    “An Iranian outcome is not easy to predict either, but the contours of the Green Movement are at least visible; and their demands are similar to those of the demonstrators in Egypt.”
    No, they’re not. The two situations are dissimilar.

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    Dan, I thought the US was training protesters a while ago and had just sent them back in….
    Maybe this is another “color” revolution spawned by the CIA…. But designed by a community organizer?

    Reply

  4. questions says:

    Here’s what I think is the operative paragraph:
    “Mr. Mubarak named the panel that will recommend constitutional amendments, and endorsed other moves to create a timetable for a

    Reply

  5. Paul Norheim says:

    “Egypt, and the post-Islamist middle east
    Asef Bayat, 8 February 2011
    The portrayal of Egypt

    Reply

  6. Dan Kervick says:

    Some recent tweets along this theme:
    occupiedcairo:
    “Army regrouped around People’s assembly. Announcing they have orders to clear the area by morning. They said this about Tahrir…”
    (5 minutes ago)

    Reply

  7. Dan Kervick says:

    Egypt’s revolution appears to signal a profound generational shift that is threatening *all* of the region

    Reply

  8. DonS says:

    Jane Hamsher reads the tea leaves, the 2012 election, AIPAC behind the curve, Clinton as the bad cop, and Obama trying to have it both ways. Maybe a bit heady on the power of social media; but maybe on target:
    “Ironically, social media has had an impact on US politics almost as radical as it has had on Egypt

    Reply

  9. Paul Norheim says:

    So a Gallup poll shows that 82 % of the American people
    are either “very” sympathetic or “somewhat” sympathetic to
    the Egyptian “mob”. This suggests that WigWag and others
    who hope for the survival of the Arab autocrats are a
    minority in America.
    I think those who sympathize with Israel and support
    Mubarak (the the latter doesn’t automatically follow from
    the former) should reconsider their view. The
    demonstrations in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen will
    undoubtedly inspire the opposition in Syria and – as we’ve
    already seen – Iran.
    The outcome of such protests in Syria is anybody’s guess.
    An Iranian outcome is not easy to predict either, but the
    contours of the Green Movement are at least visible; and
    their demands are similar to those of the demonstrators in
    Egypt. In the next presidential election in Iran (summer
    2013), the opposition has a fair chance of winning against
    the Mullahs’ rule – inspired by the ongoing popular
    protests in other countries in the Middle East. This could
    actually lead to a weakening of the Iran-Syria-Hizbollah-
    Hamas link. Israel should probably not express a strong
    support for the protestors in the region, as that is likely to
    backfire; but by expressing support and sympathy for the
    autocrats, they weaken their position if the Green
    Movement wins in 2013.

    Reply

  10. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag’s heroes during the Iranian election fraud in June 2009 support the “mobs” (WigWag)
    protesting in Egypt:
    “Iran’s opposition has called for renewed street protests next week on the back of the wave of
    demonstrations that have swept across the Middle East.
    Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the leaders of the green movement in Iran, have issued a
    call for what they have described as “a solidarity move to support the protests in two Muslim
    countries of Egypt and Tunisia” on Monday.
    The green movement staged a series of mass demonstrations for several weeks in 2009, following a
    disputed presidential election that gave Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term in office. Tehran and
    other major cities saw the biggest popular uprising in the history of the Islamic Republic.
    In a joint letter addressed to Iran’s interior minister, Mustafa Mohammad Najjar, Mousavi and
    Karroubi have asked permission to stage a march from Imam Hossein Square to Azadi (or Freedom)
    Square in central Tehran.
    On his official website, Mousavi has likened the protests in Egypt and Tunisia to those in Iran in
    2009. “Undoubtedly, the starting point of what we are witnessing in the streets of Tunis, Sana’a,
    Cairo, Alexandria and Suez should be seen in the Iranian protests,” he said.
    “The Middle East is on the threshold of great events these days that could affect the fate of the
    region and the world.” .”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/08/iran-opposition-green-movement-tehran-protest

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    “A new Gallup poll shows 82% of Americans are sympathetic or very sympathetic to the
    Egyptian protesters, with 87% of people following events in the Middle East country closely,
    Salon reports. Justin Elliot writes:
    The irony here, of course, is that Americans are on the side of protesters fighting a regime that
    the U.S. government has been propping up for decades. And it’s an open question whether
    public opinion in the U.S. will have an impact on the Obama administration’s Egypt policy,
    which has notably shifted in the past few days away from calls for immediate change.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/feb/08/egypt-protests-live-updates1

    Reply

  12. JamesL says:

    (I regularly visit like Wallace’s site, but this is a great example of)
    Managing the news:
    Ed Wallace

    Reply

  13. Dan Kervick says:

    Live mobile shot from the Egyptian Assembly building.
    http://bambuser.com/channel/norashalaby/broadcast/1397069

    Reply

  14. DonS says:

    @ FDL:
    “The US media and political establishment

    Reply

  15. Dan Kervick says:

    What is clear is that with almost each passing minute now, this movement is gaining more confidence, and that as it gains confidence its evolving and somewhat inchoate ambitions continue to grow. The public posture of the US administration continues to lag behind events.
    Mubarak needs to be gone – yesterday, last week!
    The people in Tahrir – whose numbers are expanding beyond Tahrir to protests at other government buildings – now refer to themselves as the “people’s assembly”. The actual Assembly building is purportedly unguarded and surrounded by protesters.
    If there is any delegation of “wise men” with credibility in Egyptian society, they need to go to the Assembly building and be prepared to join hands and meet with the protesters when they take over the building.
    If figures of respect and influence are not able to gain some control over these events, the US is going to end up with a very radical outcome on their hands.

    Reply

  16. DonS says:

    The document linked at 11:08 is mixed sounding, in translation, although it clearly gives emotional support to the uprising. Beyond that, as I have suggested is clearly possible, it generally supports thinking outside the box of the current legal structure, but with enough reference to existing structure to facilitate getting rid of Mubarak with Suleiman as a transitional figurehead only as part of a process that deligitimizes the current government and vitiates the existing constraints in the current constitutional structure (mainly electoral provisions) that everyone has been tying themselves in knots over. My guess is that there is already a provisional constitution drafted and ready to be put into place

    Reply

  17. Don Bacon says:

    II neglected to make clear that Clinton’s quote ends with “and over again.” Sorry.

    Reply

  18. Don Bacon says:

    SecState Clinton has been been reasonably clear, as clear as any politician ever is, that any chaos and any violence has been on the part of the government and not by the dissidents, and it should cease.
    Clinton, January 28, 2011

    Reply

  19. Paul Norheim says:

    WIGWAG THEN AND NOW:
    Posted by WigWag, Feb 07 2011, 8:49PM
    “There’s a far more descriptive term for what you call
    “street action;” it’s mob rule.”
    ———————————
    ———————————-
    Posted by WigWag, Sep 20 2009, 5:10PM
    “It’s pretty obvious to everyone how brutal the Iranian
    government is to the demonstrators; many have been
    injured in past demonstrations and several have been
    killed. According to Roger Cohen, protestors who have
    been arrested have been raped. Despite the danger,
    Iranians are willing to take to the streets to show their
    contempt for their government’s support of Hamas and
    Hezbollah.
    It seems to me that the commentators at the Washington
    Note who are the Islamaphobes are the ones who defend a
    government that attacks and kills its own people; who are
    by the way, almost all Muslim.”
    ——————————————–
    Posted by WigWag, Sep 20 2009, 2:15PM
    “Just two days ago Mahmoud Ahmadinejad participated in
    an Al Quds day rally in Tehran. It’s the one where he said
    the holocaust was “a lie.”
    Unfortunately for Ahmadinejad and for naive leftist
    supporters of the Iranian regime, the Iranian people
    disagree.
    The New York Times reporter (Rovert W. Wirth) covered it
    this way,
    “But Ahmadinejad’s efforts to recapture the stage were
    largely drowned out by a tumultuous day of street rallies,
    in which the three main opposition leaders marched with
    their followers for the first time in months. Flouting the
    official government message of support for Palestinian
    militants, they chanted,

    Reply

  20. Warren Metzler says:

    First I want to thank Dan Kervick for referencing the Wael Ghonim interview. Very informative.
    Questions. Consciousness, as used by me, refers to all each person inwardly knows is possible: what that person, with work and dedication, can achieve; personality wise, in work, with one’s friends, in religion, politically, etc. Each person has a consciousness, and unless a person changes her consciousness (which is possible) that person can never go beyond what she currently thinks is possible.
    LSD, mescaline, pot, peyote; but definitively not heroin, other poppy products, or all the cocaine derivatives; can expand one’s consciousness. But at the same time, if done irresponsibly can result in a contracted consciousness.
    Periodically God installs a new consciousness in every human, alive at that time and all future times. The Reformation and all the peri-1500’s changes were a result of that. That new consciousness was “you have a personal destiny, and it is quite okay if in pursuing it, you become quite different from your family, culture, or religion.” Humans reaction to that consciousness changed the world dramatically: nation states, secular art and science and literature, Protestants, world exploration, etc..
    Another major consciousness installation occurred in the 1960’s: “you can be optimal in every area of your life: you can be autonomous (be your own person all the time); in work repeatedly experience being productive, skilled, creative, and contributing to your clients; with your friends, repeatedly experience intimacy (richness and fullness), love (deeply value the other), and have dynamic communities (all the members repeatedly empower each other); recognize you have a spiritual component and optimize it.
    All of the liberation movements since; women’s, Black, Hispanic, gay, etc.; are humans manifesting their personal approach to this new consciousness. What is occurring in Egypt is a manifestation of Egyptians finally saying they want to take advantage of this new consciousness.
    And by the way, being the son of a missionary, and because of my personality / work, I have been exposed to poor people my whole life. Everything I experienced around them affirmed my consciousness theory.
    A practical example. Sarah Palin obvious has refused this consciousness, and substituted a distorted version. Which in her case is “I am special and want to be Queen of the US, and there is no lie it is not reasonable for me to express to achieve this goal; the fact that I lack any leadership skills is irrelevant, it is my destiny to be queen.”
    Perhaps you now better understand my view.

    Reply

  21. Dan Kervick says:

    Statement issued yesterday by the Cairo University Faculty of Law (English translation at bottom):
    http://libertyforegypt.blogspot.com/2011/02/translation-of-statement-issued-by.html

    Reply

  22. DonS says:

    Via Juan Cole, one response to the “mob chaos” meme:
    Meyer: Clinton

    Reply

  23. JohnH says:

    I guess the warmongers will have to think a little harder before launching another preemptive war in the ME…now that the Arab street has shown itself to be restive.
    The unrest in Egypt must be giving heart burn to those who are itching to occupy Iran. Maybe instead they’ll settle for Egypt?

    Reply

  24. DonS says:

    Per your 7:21 link to the Telegraph article, Dan, no doubt the fact that Suleiman is Clinton and Netanyahu’s choice, with complicity with Israel similar to Abbas, doesn’t help with the perception of legitimacy. From my reading, things are beginning to turn a bit more anti-American. Didn’t have to be this way, but I guess we’d be living in a different America, with a different governmental mindset.
    ———————
    When you think about the multibillions Mubarak and the ruling elite have pocketed on the backs of an impoverished nation, as well as skimming US aid dollars, why would the demonstrators, or any average Egyptian, be easily mollified?

    Reply

  25. DonS says:

    “In a very real sense, this “awakening” is merely the heap problem with a networking solution . . . [big snip] This is not at all what I’d call consciousness raising. (questions)
    So maybe the wrong word, but some might quibble with your use of ‘awakening’, noting that it’s more like an explosion of a pre-awakened consciousness perhaps. Not important.
    I’d just like to note, reviewing the thread, it was you questions who introduced the notion of “street action” in talking about American protest movements that have led to improve ‘awareness’ and action for certain social ends. WW took it in a different way, changed the subject, essentially accused you of naivte at best, when ballistic about revolutionary theory and practice.
    I am not a bomb thrower either, and I think much of Edmund Burke. But I stick to my opinion that demonstrations for basic rights (racial, economic, gender, etc) are important counters to the all encompassing force of the corporate state, not to mention the lies and unconstitutional behavior of the national security state. To equate Kristalnact with the 1963 march on Washington or anti-Vietnam demonstrations is pretty insulting, not to mention inaccurate. And of course if I suggested that the US invasion of Iraq were a government- sanctioned mob action with high tech weapons, someone might be offended by that. Wouldn’t be PC or something.

    Reply

  26. Dan Kervick says:

    The Obama administration has miscalculated if they determined the Egyptian protest movement is dying down.
    According to various reports:
    Demonstrations are now taking place outside the square, including in front of the Ministry of Health and Parliament building.
    Some prominent Egyptian celebrities are now expressing support of the movement and joining it.
    Many first-time protesters are in Tahrir Square today.
    The release and televised interview with Wael Ghonim has re-energized the movement.
    Possibly the largest gathering to date.
    3arabawy Hossam:
    “Tahrir Sq is full and people r still flocking. Long queues on the Nile cornich and Qasr el Nil bridge. #jan25”
    6 minutes ago

    Reply

  27. questions says:

    DonS,
    People already understand rights talk. They already know they shouldn’t be quite as miserable as they are.
    They don’t need to be told this, actually. What they need is for other people to understand it as well.
    And even this isn’t quite the problem.
    Try this one — what’s happening in Egypt is a playing out of collective action/comfort zone/problem of the heap issues.
    People all along have known how corrupt and nasty their regime is, how torturing, how unfair, and how poor their chances are individually to do a fucking thing about it.
    Somewhere between the Tunisian self-immolation, some economic loosening in Egypt itself, Twitter and F’book, the youth bulge and whatever else you want to toss in, people’s sense of being too isolated to take a risk, too much a single grain of sand rather than a member of a heap, too little within a communication/coordination/coercion network to make it at all an acceptable risk — suddenly that gave way.
    In a very real sense, this “awakening” is merely the heap problem with a networking solution. How many grains of sand in a heap? Take one away, is it still a heap…. How do you translate the separate realms of continuous and discrete quantity, and are there times when both discourses count? And how do you get a single grain of sand to “know” its status?
    Well, the Egyptian protesters went from a few grains of sand to a heap, and they did so by networking, by telling each other and binding each other to the tale of the heap.
    Once the people were a heap, they became a force to be reckoned with.
    This is not at all what I’d call consciousness raising, as people were quite conscious of their social status in Egypt, quite conscious of their economic status, and quite conscious of the kleptocratic police state.
    What they needed was something to deal with the collective action/free rider problems inherent in group action.
    Network theory coupled with game theory is a powerful explanatory tool, and I like it a whole lot more than “consciousness raising.”
    I also like the heap problem a lot, lately.
    And I’m thinking that the ME needs to be thinking a lot about heaps, quantities, networks, critical mass (which is the physics version of network theory, maybe), quantum entanglement (which might be floating through here metaphorically).
    Oh, and DonS, if you haven’t seen the passion, you haven’t been reading me carefully. Policy wonkdom is comprised of a profoundly human hope that there are solutions to profound human suffering. The suffering I witness most days has some boring technocratic solutions that need to be wed to political passion and a sense of justice. But the fact is that wonky and tedious policy is really a part of it, and playing with wonky incentives is a part of it. This part doesn’t move crowds, but as I’ve noted regarding Egypt, the moving of crowds can backfire is some seriously ugly ways.
    I like wonkiness.

    Reply

  28. DonS says:

    Interesting to see Questions and Metzler talk past each other although they’re not talking to each other. At another time, Questions would quite likely be riffing on Metzler’s flourishes. Consciousness expansion not important? How else to civil rights get translated from the bare bones, follow the law, stage to become part of the social compact, if they ever do? BTW Questions, your passion is impressive; now I’d love to see you tear these right wing a’holes a new one now and then.

    Reply

  29. questions says:

    As for “consciousness expansion” — umm, count me out.
    This is some bizarro mix of Hegel, Marx, and LSD.
    People in China, the USSR, the ME, workers of the world — they don’t need their consciousness expanded. They need their bank accounts expanded. They need their bills of rights expanded and instituted faithfully. They need the police and the state spies to put down the weapons and log books. They need the oligarchs and keptocrats to say “Hey, I have enough money already. I don’t need to steal more.”
    Poor people don’t suffer from unexpanded consciousnesses, and if you think they do, you probably haven’t met very many poor people who are trying to take care of elderly parents, kids, the sibling in prison, the surprise (!) grandchild, the health issues from stress or genetics, the neighborhood, and then the city raises the cost of a bus pass so now you have to walk, or the beater car runs over an unfixed pothole because who the fuck fixes city streets and then you need a 300 dollar car part, but you don’t have 300 dollars so you walk or quit your job but the fucking former democratic pres instituted a time limit on public aid just to help people like you…. And you know what, you don’t really have it all together suddenly.
    And I can’t see any need for expanding the consciousness of such a person. This composite of many is expanded to the breaking point. This composite of many KNOWS what the fuck is going on in the world. This composite of many works his or her ass off daily to keep it together. This composite of many does not need Stalin, or Mubarak, or Mao to come in and expand his or her consciousness by slaughtering hundred or a thousand or a hundred thousand or a hundred million close friends and family.
    Where the real expansion needs to come is in the basic humane sensibility, the sense of justice as Rawls calls it, of the overlords, the upper middle class, the people who could fucking afford a 3-5% increase in income tax, who could fucking pay capital gains taxes, who don’t need a 60th billion dollar since there’s already way more than 59 billion of those suckers lying around.
    So Mr. Metzler, go expand your own consciousness at the wrong end of a guillotine or a gun or a meager diet of gruel once a month. Please do not expand the consciousnesses of anyone else.

    Reply

  30. questions says:

    nadine,
    I never complained about the Tea Party meetings or gatherings or marches or speeches. I don’t at all agree with their agenda, nor do I think they have much of an agenda, nor do I think they are particularly coherent….
    But, yes, the Tea Party managed to get a number of House reps elected (and we’ll see what happens with them — there are some serious issues with some of these people’s civic understanding, but many people learn over time how their health insurance is paid for and the like).
    Whether or not the Tea Party has any long term effectiveness, or whether or not the very effectiveness of the Tea Party ends up dooming it (if they get what they want, they might regret it) is a thing to be seen.

    Reply

  31. Paul Norheim says:

    Warren Metzler, there were at least tens of millions killed
    under Stalin’s and Mao’s regimes – the combined amount
    may be slightly less than, or well over 100 million, I’m not
    sure, and I can’t grasp these horrors anyhow.
    Whatever the statistics, I just want to question the rather
    weird notion that millions and millions of people have to die
    so that their grandchildren may have a Castaneda
    experience.
    Why not just work out a system to distribute the mushrooms
    evenly among those who have a desire to expand their
    consciousness?

    Reply

  32. Warren Metzler says:

    Nadine, I absolutely stick to my premise. You can’t have consciousness expansion without deaths and suffering. And I consider your hundreds of millions in Russia and China to be totally unfounded.
    Plus I am really perplexed about your view. Your God (who happens to be my God as well, but from a Christian perspective), killed every male and female who was 21 years or older when the Israelites left Egypt, except for two: Joshua and Caleb. A SIGNIFICANTLY higher percentage of that nation’s population, than even your inflated numbers of Russia and China. A much greater genocide (percentage wise) than ever occurred throughout human history. And for what reason? Consciousness expansion stimulation.
    Just because a particular fact offends your personal sensibilities doesn’t make it not a fact.

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Published on Monday, April 20, 2009 by Salon.com
    Major Scandal Erupts involving Rep. Jane Harman, Alberto Gonzales and AIPAC
    by Glenn Greenwald
    Other obligations prevent me from writing until later today — and I intend to focus on Rahm Emanuel’s war-crimes-protecting proclamation that Obama’s desire for immunity extends beyond CIA officers perpetrating torture to the “policy makers” who ordered it (watch today as the hardest-core Obama loyalists start explaining how the UN doesn’t matter, international treaties are irrelevant, and war criminals need not be held accountable) — but, until then, I wanted to highlight this extremely important and well-reported story from CQ’s Jeff Stein, which involves allegations of major corruption and serious criminal activity on the part of Democratic Rep. Jane Harman. Here’s one crucial prong of the story:
    Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.
    Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.
    In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.
    Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”
    That’s not even the most significant part. Back in October, 2006, Time reported that the DOJ and FBI were investigating whether Harman and AIPAC “violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee” and “the probe also involves whether, in exchange for the help from AIPAC, Harman agreed to help try to persuade the Administration to go lighter on the AIPAC officials caught up in the ongoing investigation.” So that part has been known since 2006.
    Stein adds today that Harman was captured on an NSA wiretap conspiring with an Israeli agent to apply pressure on DOJ officials to scale back the AIPAC prosecution. But the real the crux of Stein’s scoop is that then-Attorney General Alberto Gonazles intervened to kill the criminal investigation into Harman — even though DOJ lawyers had concluded that she committed crimes — because top Bush officials wanted Harman’s credibility to be preserved so that she could publicly defend the Bush administration’s illegal warrantless eavesdropping program:
    [C]ontrary to reports that the Harman investigation was dropped for “lack of evidence,” it was Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush’s top counsel and then attorney general, who intervened to stop the Harman probe.
    Why? Because, according to three top former national security officials, Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House. .
    continues……..
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/04/20
    Oh yeah, we oughta be reeeeaaaaal sorry to see this piece of crap Harman hit the road, eh?
    Kinda disconcerting that Steve didn’t see fit to mention any of this when he gave this Harman wretch his kudos, eh?

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Senate Moves Forward on Orwellian “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act”
    by Tom Burghardt
    Global Research, May 14, 2008
    In the wake of Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins’ (R-ME) alarmist report, “Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorism Threat,” the Senate may be moving towards passage of the Orwellian “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007” (S. 1959).
    A companion piece of legislative flotsam to the House bill, “The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007” (H.R. 1955), the Democrat-controlled Congress seems ready to jettison Constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly. The bill passed the House by a 404-6 vote in October. Twenty-three congress members abstained, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers.
    Under cover of studying “violent radicalization,” both bills would broaden the already-fluid definition of “terrorism” to encompass political activity and protest by dissident groups, effectively criminalizing civil disobedience and non-violent direct action by developing policies for “prevention, disruption and mitigation.”
    Call it COINTELPRO 2.0.
    Crafted by former House Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Jane Harman (D-CA), the legislation would create a domestic commission, a university-based “Center of Excellence” that would study and then, target domestic “radicalization” as a “threat” to the “homeland.”
    David Price, a professor of anthropology at St. Martin’s University who studies state surveillance and the harassment of dissident scholars, told Jessica Lee of New York’s Indypendent newspaper last year that Harman’s bill “is a shot over the bow of environmental activists, animal-rights activists, anti-globalization activists and scholars who are working in the Middle East who have views that go against the administration.”
    Evoking disquieting memories of political witchhunters ensconced in the House Committee on Un-American Activities and Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, the anti-radicalization commission would be empowered to “hold hearings and sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, receive such evidence, and administer such oaths as the Commission considers advisable to carry out its duties.”
    With the power to subpoena and compel testimony from anyone, the commission would create the (intended) impression that a person forced to publicly testify before a congressionally mandated star chamber must be involved in “subversive” or illegal activities.
    continues…..
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=8978&context=va
    One hopes the facist sack of shit is gone forever from public service.
    In fact, in a society that purports itself as having freedom of expression, she has no business in a “think tank”. Unless, of course, she’s “thinking” about making a mockery of everything we once stood for.
    Like I said, good riddance.

    Reply

  35. DonS says:

    The wigwag, nadines dissemble. It’s not about the Khemer Rouge, or the phantom property owning Bushites.
    It’s about the decency of the human family which these miserable excuses for humans toy with.
    Making mockery of decades of heartfelt American protest. Wigwag, scurrilous crone, plays of a discussion of American protest to associate it with every obscene foreign atrocity her addled mind can call up. Not even embarrassed by her own unctuous drivel. Sick woman.
    Nadine slithers in with her usual political theatre that reduces the scope of human possibility to a dry balance sheet inaccurately recorded by some uninspired necrophyte of Palin ™. Feh.
    Hear, hear, Metzler.

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…but I think it’s also fair to lament some fronts where the nation will be worse off for her departure”
    Of course, by “nation” you are referring to Israel.
    The Palestinians should celebrate.
    Good riddance.
    http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=19961&ref=search.php
    “Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington”
    “Harman was recorded saying she would

    Reply

  37. Dan Kervick says:

    Here is Part 2 of the Wael Ghonim interview, with English subtitles:
    http://egypt.alive.in/2011/02/08/dream-tv-interview-with-wael-ghonim-part-2-with-english-subtitles/

    Reply

  38. WigWag says:

    “Are the people of Russia now better off because Stalin and Lenin’s boys got rid of the Tsar? Absolutely!”
    Stalin murdered between 20 and 60 million Russians; he ordered massive involuntary population transfers and the Russians enslaved half of Europe for almost half a century. Yet you want us to believe that life under the Czars (who were actually in the process of liberalizing Russia) was worse?
    “Are the people of China better off because Mao and his forces got rid of Chang Kai-shek? Absolutely!”
    Chang Kai-Shek was little more than your typical tin-plated dictator. Mao Tse Tung was responsible for the deaths of between 15 and 45 million Chinese. His wife was responsible for torturing and ruining the lives of tens of millions during the Cultural Revolution. To this day, the Chinese can’t freely access the internet without going through a government firewall.
    Do you really expect anyone with a brain to think that Chang Kai-Shek was worse than Mao?
    Along with Hitler, Mao and Stalin were far and away the two worst butchers of the 20th century. What is it you will be telling us next, that the people of Germany are better off today because of Hitler?

    Reply

  39. Dan Kervick says:

    So far, there has been no sign of mob behavior in the Tahrir Square protest movement. The protesters were attacked by a mob, and 297 of them have been killed so far according to Human Rights Watch. But they have been remarkably cohesive and deliberative and disciplined for such a large group. On a few occasions last week they came close to marching to the presidential palace. Had they done so, there is some risk that mob behavior could have erupted. But so far, none of that.

    Reply

  40. Warren Metzler says:

    Bless you Wigwag for providing me with proof of your duplicity: acting as a cover for Israel, pretending to be a democracy loving historian.
    “Oh, one more thing Warren. I’ve never met a member of the Khemer Rouge either. Is it okay if I castigate them? I’ve never met a member of the Tounton Macoute; have you? Do you think its okay if I castigate them? I’ve never met a member of the Janjaweed. Do you think I’m within bounds if I crticize them?”
    Can you not see that all these three demonstrated they nature after BEING IN CHARGE???? When the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt has never been in charge. And do you have information on the extensive social welfare and educational programs enacted by Khemer Rouge, Tounton Macoute, and Janjaweed, before they were in power, showing how much we can depend on such actions of the Moslem Brotherhoods for the past many decades being proof they are going to be fascist Islamic dictators if they gain power in Egypt????

    Reply

  41. Warren Metzler says:

    Wigwag posted 8:49, while I was writing 8:57, and presented what I considered to be a major misinterpretation of history.
    Hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people have died throughout human history. So numbers of people dying has never been an indication of whether or not a historical event was beneficial for the future of mankind. In both Russia and China, prior to their communistic revolutions, the vast majority of the populations were people with a slave mentality who never ever considered they had the right to pursue their own personal destinies. Now the vast majority of the citizens of both those countries, personally believe they have the right to pursue their personal destinies. The dead and destruction done by their leaders was the price to pay for the consciousness raising that resulted. All such consciousness raising in history resulted in similar numbers of death and destruction.
    And I challenge the idea of treating mob rule as a synonym for popular revolt. Mob rule leads to fascism. Popular revolt leads to consciousness expansion and eventual improvement in the populations in the countries in which the popular uprising occurred.
    There is a fundamental difference between the intention and the outcome of a man shooting a rifle on a target range, and a mafia hit man centering the sights of his rifle on a victim. If you can’t learn to distinguish which is which you need to resign from serious political discourse, such as takes place on The Washington Note.
    Are the people of China better off because of Tiananmen Square? Absolutely.
    Are the people of the US better off because of MacArthur violently removing (his army being the epitome of mob rule) the veterans from the Mall? Absolutely not.
    Are the people of France better off because of the storming of the Bastille back in the 1700’s, and the Paris Commune and the demonstrations in 1968? Absolutely.
    Are the people of Russia now better off because Stalin and Lenin’s boys got rid of the Tsar? Absolutely!
    Are the people of China better off because Mao and his forces got rid of Chang Kai-shek? Absolutely!
    Will the people of Iran’s lives be better off in the future, because of the Islamic revolution? Absolutely!
    Will the lives of all Cubans be better off in the future because of Castro’s revolution? Absolutely!
    Enough of short-sighted history. Which in Wigwag’s case, I suspect, is being constructed to be a smokescreen for Israelis knowing their fascist oppressive ways’ goose is cooked once this Egyptian movement changes Egypt.

    Reply

  42. Don Bacon says:

    Look at at this way: Without questions there couldn’t be answers.

    Reply

  43. Dan Kervick says:

    Here is the first of four parts of the Dream TV recorded interview with Wael Ghonim. It contains only the introduction by the interviewer. The other three parts are available on You Tube, but unfortunately this is the only part for which I can find an English subtitled version. Translations of the other three parts are promised by the Alive in Egypt website.
    http://egypt.alive.in/2011/02/07/dream-tv-interview-with-wael-ghonim-part-1-with-english-subtitles/

    Reply

  44. questions says:

    Don Bacon,
    Time, place, and manner restrictions are completely constitutional.
    Permits for demonstrations, crowd control plans, port-a-potties and the like need to be dealt with.
    No rights in the Constitution are absolute, because nothing really is absolute except the non-absoluteness of everything (which is absolute).
    Congress provides for copyright law, libel and slander law, disrespecting the po-lice restrictions, the “fire in a theater” line comes from how unacceptable that speech is and how like encouraging people to ditch the draft it is (can’t do either). There are restrictions on speech, on assembly, and the name of someone’s deity is on our money thus bringing together the sacred and the profane, both of which we worship.

    Reply

  45. WigWag says:

    “It is distressing that people like Nadine, Wigwag and Pearlman, knowing that they have never had a single conversation with a Moslem Brotherhood person, are able to so facilely castigate them.” (Warren Metzler)
    Sorry you’re distressed Warren.
    The answer to your question is that I can read. I can read the history of the Muslim Brotherhood and I can read the commentary written by even its most “moderate” advocates like Tariq Ramadan. When “moderate” Brothers like Ramadan refuse to castigate the idea of stoning “adulterous” women to death, I get a sneaking suspicion that something is wrong. When I read that he and his brethren admit that they believe that capital punishment is an appropriate sanction for apostate Muslims who convert to another faith, I get even more suspicious.
    But to be frank, I’m happy to admit to a little prejudice; I don’t like any type of “brotherhood” that relegates the “sisters” to second class status.
    Oh, one more thing Warren. I’ve never met a member of the Khemer Rouge either. Is it okay if I castigate them? I’ve never met a member of the Tounton Macoute; have you? Do you think its okay if I castigate them? I’ve never met a member of the Janjaweed. Do you think I’m within bounds if I crticize them?

    Reply

  46. questions says:

    You know, W/W, I’m mixed on this.
    I can see the Huntington/order is all issue loud and clear. I can see the take it to the streets side of things too. I would hope a strong enough polity makes the public square quite open to large, loud, long demonstrations as “the mob” or “the people” or “the dirty fucking hippies” have a hard time being heard otherwise.
    I don’t distrust “the people” entirely. I am a democrat after all. In caps and lower case.
    I certainly see, and have indicated, that inchoate crowds with inchoate desires are a potential problem. Paul Norheim has enlarged on this issue quite nicely with several reminders about how terribly wrong things can go. All of this I appreciate.
    And at the same time, I see the point of the protesters. Governmental change in Egypt is long overdue, and I have some hope that in the post-Iranian revolutionary period people can see that empowering intolerant theocrats isn’t exactly the most democratically-smart thing to do, even if you have a hankering for religious display, zealots will generally want more than you, and there are always people further along the zealotry axis than you are. So it’s a bad bet to go with the theocrats.
    I’m not romanticizing other people’s revolutions, though, as I am aware of the pitfalls. Hence my call for a whole lot of committee meetings.
    I think the demonstrators have really done some impressive work, and the best reward anyone in this situation deserves is a month of nightly committee meetings.
    The work of democracy IS the work of committee meetings.
    The demonstrators seem to stay just north of “mob” except when the Mubarak-gang come out. Assuming they can keep to that, the country will normalize over the next several days, meetings will continue apace, and the country will shift in fairly positive ways.
    At least, I hope.

    Reply

  47. Don Bacon says:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    Case closed.

    Reply

  48. Warren Metzler says:

    Another comment, this one on Egypt. It is distressing that people like Nadine, Wigwag and Pearlman, knowing that they have never had a single conversation with a Moslem Brotherhood person, are able to so facilely castigate them. Apart from the fact that all reliable sources on Egypt give them at best a 20% return in a free election, what single piece of evidence do you that they won’t turn out to quite similar to the current ruling party in Turkey?
    And how is it that you claim to believe in democracy, and don’t accept that the Egyptian people have a right to select the type of government they want?
    Further, why is it that you claim to be such big fans of democracy, and don’t have the faith that countries who are predominately Islamic will under an Islamic government eventually realize all such governments are incompetent and eventually fascist? Certainly the Iranian Green movement should have taught you that. And why won’t you believe that once a government is Islamic, it is just as susceptible to departure as the despotic regimes of Tunisia and Egypt?
    Authentic democracy requires the majority of its population have such personal development they are willing to lose and not get into much more than an emotional tizzy. You can’t seriously believe that most of the citizens of the mainly Arab countries yet have that level of development. Let them find their own way. It is only a matter of time before all people move toward democracy / free enterprise as their form of government. Have patience.

    Reply

  49. WigWag says:

    “But even without that, people here, many people here, don’t like street action. Even when street action leads to something good.” (Questions)
    Has it occurred to you, Questions, that the reason many people don’t like what you euphamistically refer to as “street action” is because it leads to something “bad” far more often than it leads to something “good?”
    There’s a far more descriptive term for what you call “street action;” it’s mob rule. And there’s nothing modern about people not liking it; the fear of the mob is as ancient as Cicero and the suspicion of hyper democracy, majoritarianism and the mob was fully internalized by founding fathers of the United States, especially Washington, John Adams and James Madison.
    Even modern day commentators as naive and full of vitriol as Chas Freeman fear the destructive power of the mob. When commenting on the “street demonstrations” that took place in Tiananmen Square, this is what Freeman said to one of his friends in an email,
    “I find the dominant view in China about this very plausible, i.e. that the truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud, rather than — as would have been both wise and efficacious — to intervene with force when all other measures had failed to restore domestic tranquility to Beijing and other major urban centers in China. In this optic, the Politburo’s response to the mob scene at “Tiananmen” stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action.
    For myself, I side on this — if not on numerous other issues — with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans’ “Bonus Army” or a “student uprising” on behalf of “the goddess of democracy” should expect to be displaced with dispatch from the ground they occupy. I cannot conceive of any American government behaving with the ill-conceived restraint that the Zhao Ziyang administration did in China, allowing students to occupy zones that are the equivalent of the Washington National Mall and Times Square, combined; while shutting down much of the Chinese government’s normal operations. I thus share the hope of the majority in China that no Chinese government will repeat the mistakes of Zhao Ziyang’s dilatory tactics of appeasement in dealing with domestic protesters in China.
    I await the brickbats of those who insist on a politically correct — i.e. non Burkean conservative — view.”
    Why Steve doesn’t ask the quotable Mr. Freeman what he thinks of the demonstrations in Egypt is a mystery to me; could it be because Freeman is almost certainly disgusted by the demonstrations or alternatively that he

    Reply

  50. Warren Metzler says:

    Steve, I’m beginning to wonder if you are capable of presenting that there is an elected official, or an administrative appointed person who is a scoundrel. Jane Harman is my congresswoman, and there are few congresspersons who are more of a prostitute, more lacking in a single moral value, more lacking in any positive character traits. Are we forgetting that she in one of the four congresspersons who knew of Bush’s patently illegal actions and informed no one????!!!!
    That woman is incapable of taking a principled stand on anything. I’m shocked that a man who was able to create such fantastic stereo equipment would have been willing to marry her (Harman/Kardon). I have been a resident of her area for about thirteen years now, and during that period I don’t think I have ever received a single piece of non-campaign literature from her during that entire period.

    Reply

  51. DonS says:

    From Hamas victory in Gaza to Elliot Abrams stiffing the WH working group. All the stupidity you (and Obmama/Clinton’s) money can buy
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/02/07/why-we-were-unprepared-for-hamas-2006-victory-in-gaza/

    Reply

  52. Don Bacon says:

    “Germany suspended its arms sales to Egypt today.”
    Germany has frozen arms sales to Egypt, $100 million in 2009. Whatever will they do? Egypt still has $1.5 billion per year in military aid from the U.S.
    Does Egypt need all the military hardware it buys with free money? Egypt borders Libya and Sudan — not threats. It has Israel on the other side of the Sinai. Will Israel attack Egypt? No.
    The Egypt military has stated it won’t fire on its own citizens, so why the big military? Egypt ranks globally among the top 10 weapons importers, with military spending of up to $3 billion annually in recent years.
    Egypt, in this sense, reminds me a lot of the U.S., wasting money on military junk, except at least the U.S. finds far-away enemies to fight. You know, like Afghanistan, a desperately poor country on the other side of the planet that supposedly is a major threat to the U.S.
    Did the U.S. ever try to get a return on its investment and coerce Egypt into joining the Coalition of the Willing in Afghanistan for the Necessary War (TM)? No. I suspect that most of the “investment” went into deep US and Egyptian pockets, since there is no other obvious possibility of benefit. That’s what most military spending is good for.
    Eleven Egyptian officers remained enlisted in a German military training program throughout the current unrest, with the explanation that the course aimed to instill democratic values as well as military expertise. There’s nothing quite like learning democratic values in a military training program. The BS never ends.

    Reply

  53. DonS says:

    Re (corporate) media. The George Fucking Bush/Cheney Iraq war: there were street demonstrations all over, including my little burg — virtual media blackout. Surely you remember us naive surrender monkeys — who just turned out to be, again, right, in spades.
    Not Vietnan redux? My fucking ass.

    Reply

  54. DonS says:

    “I chalk it up to racism and US history, actually. The DFH issues, too.” (questions)
    When did the the several really decent things that have occurred in this nation toward social justice become emblematic of anti-Americanism in the toxic cesspool of the right wing?
    Rhetorical.

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    DonS,
    I chalk it up to racism and US history, actually. The DFH issues, too.
    There is a liking of order, a fear of disorder. The Republican/Bush ownership society was set up to encourage the kind of quiet, conservative, worried about property values mindset that makes people dislike street action all the more.
    But even without that, people here, many people here, don’t like street action.
    Even when street action leads to something good.
    ****
    Back to committees, by the way, I think one of the major motivating forces in Obama’s worldview is the pendulum swing, or more properly, slowing the pendulum swing.
    We know that Egyptian oligarchs are no more likely to give up their money than are American oligarchs. We already have elections and committees, and we still have oligarchs.
    IF any significant number of Egyptian protesters think that democracy means an end to oligarchy, they are likely to be disappointed, and so swings the pendulum.
    Democracy does not at all guarantee healthy economic distribution. In fact, as someone somewhere notes (DeLong????), American democracy and American oligarchy seem quite happily a couple now.
    What American democracy does give us is a chance to have a meeting in which we petition for a stop sign for the corner of Big St and Tall Ave. because 12 pedestrians have been killed there this week alone. We might not get the sign, but we can sure ask for it.
    We can scream, group ourselves, put pressure on the government, and sometimes get something out of it. It’s all diffuse, and not really fun, and who wants to be a poll watcher?
    The street protesters are right to protest, but the hope is that they aren’t overromanticizing the various freedoms that popular rule really barely guarantees.
    An end to torture? Ask any African American male in the criminal justice system if we’ve dealt with this.
    Economic justice? Need I say more?
    Crony capitalism? Neil Bush’s literacy program, Erik Prince, the treatment of BP???
    Nepotism? All over the place.
    We still have large numbers of pathologies, which is not to say that I’d rather be living in Egypt, but is more to point out that it’s a good idea to have a good idea what collective action can deliver and what it can’t.
    Or the pendulum will swing crazee all over again.
    Committees are a nice reality punch. 1, 2. Smack. Shit, other people, dumbfuck people, and I have to sit with them to talk about whether or not the stop sign could hurt business on Petit St.
    Meetings are good.

    Reply

  56. DonS says:

    “There’s a strong undercurrent here of people’s not really liking street demonstrations.” (questions)
    I wonder why? Could be the fucking media slant. Including for the ‘defense contractor/jobs’ slant.

    Reply

  57. questions says:

    Ditto, this one:
    http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2011/0207_egypt_alqaeda_riedel.aspx
    on Al Qaeda’s silence…
    “Worse, their hated enemy, Egypt

    Reply

  58. questions says:

    h/t HuffPo:
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,743998,00.html
    Mubarak’s medical leave?????? May never happen. It’s an internet rumor, or not…..

    Reply

  59. questions says:

    I get the feeling American sympathy would typically work the other way — concern for the defense contractors who employ you or your neighbors…. We’d vote to increase sales to guarantee our jobs…..
    There’s a strong undercurrent here of people’s not really liking street demonstrations.

    Reply

  60. Dan Kervick says:

    “… but may be in a working behind the scenes committee meeting mode instead of in a all news all the time head-bashing on TV for your viewing horror mode.”
    Maybe, but the stalling and committee business won’t go forward to produce serious change without the televised drama.
    Germany suspended it’s arms sales to Egypt today. The German government only does things like that because its concerned citizens are moved enough by sympathy and outrage to compel their government to do it. And the citizens only experience those emotions because of the events they see on television or read about. And those events depend on the fact that there are people still willing to prolong risky demonstrations in Tahrir Square.

    Reply

  61. Paul Norheim says:

    Re Iran and the Middle East:
    Despite the complexity, and the significant differences
    within the respective countries in the Middle East, the
    dichotomy “Democracy versus Oppression”, although
    simplistic, seems to capture the current events and and
    dominating mood in the region slightly better than the
    “Secular versus Islamist”, or “Moderate versus extremist”
    dichotomies that have been floating around in the
    discussions in the Western world during the last decade.
    Syria is “secular”, but alas not “moderate”. Saudi Arabia –
    the traditionally most important ally of the West due to oil
    – is “moderate”, but certainly far from secular (as
    everybody knows, it’s the biggest exporter not only of oil,
    but also of religious fanaticism and terrorism) Etc.
    Future historians may see the “Green Revolution” in Iran as
    the first big signal of impatience and anger – in a chain
    leading to the revolt in Tunisia, Egypt, and other countries
    that we are witnessing now. Whether the oppressive
    regimes are allied with, or hostile to the West is of
    secondary importance to the protestors in the respective
    countries. And regardless of the outcome, the democratic
    impulse is real.
    And who knows? Perhaps even Israel may be in for a
    pleasant surprise: the Iranian theocracy as well as the
    Syrian regime being among the domino bricks falling in
    the near future due to the spread of the popular demand
    for democracy – and with the fall of Iran and Syria also a
    weakening of Hizbollah and Hamas?
    We may all be in for some big surprises in the coming
    years.

    Reply

  62. questions says:

    OT…On AOL’s march to save journalism, which maybe it might even do, but at any rate, this timely article (found in my dead tree New Yorker) explains the buy out….
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/01/24/110124fa_fact_auletta
    Egypt is still bigger news, but may be in a working behind the scenes committee meeting mode instead of in a all news all the time head-bashing on TV for your viewing horror mode.

    Reply

  63. Paul Norheim says:

    Yes Dan,
    the Iranian regime has made attempts to capitalize on the
    events in Egypt (an “Islamic awakening”), but what we’ve
    seen in Tunisia and Egypt may be an enormous inspiration
    for the opposition in Iran – yet another reason for the West
    to support the opposition in Egypt.

    Reply

  64. Dan Kervick says:

    I think we can call this catalysis – Iranian regime possibly hoist on the petard of its own cynical support for the Tahrir Square movement:
    http://www.yalibnan.com/2011/02/07/iranian-opposition-to-stage-rally-in-support-of-egypt-tunisia/

    Reply

  65. Carroll says:

    Lieberman gone, now Jane, that makes two.
    The internet and everyone’s ‘thoughts’ are a tad bit safer now.
    Jane’s old HR 1955
    http://www.slate.com/id/2178646/
    Bad Ideas
    The law promoting outstanding excellence in fighting terrorism

    Reply

  66. Dan Kervick says:

    Tribute page to people killed in the Egyptian pro-democracy uprising:
    http://1000memories.com/egypt

    Reply

  67. Paul Norheim says:

    Don,
    as you perhaps know, the Ethiopian calendar contains 13 months, and
    their tourist ads often have “13 MONTHS OF SUNSHINE” written with big
    types.
    While the PR is not entirely true, I spent the last two months of 2010 in
    sunny Ethiopia – in that critical period of the year when most Norwegians
    for unknown reasons keep their heads collectively stuck “where the sun
    don’t shine” – i.e. in the Scandinavian peninsula (did you know that,
    POA?).
    While occasionally foggy on early mornings, I got sufficient sunshine to
    survive the remaining winter months here in a happy mood:
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2011/01/letter_from_pau/

    Reply

  68. Dan Kervick says:

    I am personally still on the subject of Egypt.
    Some of you will be interested in the Twitter feed of Sultan Al Qassemi. Beginning approximately one hour ago, Qassemi tweeted a running account of a televised interview with Wael Ghonim, the Google executive and internet activist who was arrested by the Egyptian regime on January 27th and released today:
    http://twitter.com/#!/SultanAlQassemi

    Reply

  69. WigWag says:

    And as long as we’re off the subject of Egypt for a moment, I hope Steve tells us what he thinks of the sale of the Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million.
    Considering that Ariana Huffington and the real brains behind the operation, Ken Lerer, started the Huffington Post with an investment of at most a few million (the New York Times said it was only $1 million but this is probably an underestimate)they are both about to make boat loads of money (along with the rest of their investors). Of course neither Huffington nor Lerer need the money; she walked away incredibly wealthy when she divorced her husband (who discovered he was gay after their marraige broke-up).
    Lerer is a former business partner of Linda Robinson (Robinson’s husband is the former CEO of American Express); the two owned a public relations firm together until the firm broke up after a nasty disagreement. Lerer arranged most of the financing for the Huffington Post with the money he got when he was booted out of AOL-Time Warner where he served as head of Corporate Communications. Formerly, Lerer was a senior executive at the then Time Warner subsidiary, Six Flags Amusement Parks.
    It’s interesting that Lerer sold the Huffington Post back to the firm that he originally worked for; AOL. Lerer actually rejoined Time Warner when AOL and the Media conglomerate merged.
    But I digress.
    My real question to Steve Clemons is how much he thinks the Washington Note is worth. If Newsweek can but the Daily Beast, the New York Times can buy “538” and AOL can buy the Huffington Post, surely someone’s in the market for a blog like the Washington Note. Personally, I don’t think Steve should sell for a penny under $100 million.
    Steve is twice as smart as Ariana and far less annoying (even on his worst days) then Tina Brown. He has to be much more fun at a party than Nate Silver.
    Steve, it’s time to cash-out!

    Reply

  70. Don Bacon says:

    Paul, how can you be so chipper when the sun is currently AWOL in Norway? Even the reindeer are hibernating, probably. And I caught that “quality of the day” Thoreauvian remark, which reminds me . . .

    Reply

  71. Don Bacon says:

    The idea that we are in a “fog of law” internationally in responding to terrorist challenges coming from non-state actors is simply a red herring which is promoted in order to enable more extra-legal repression of Americans and others.
    There is no real fog of war. The world has always had international criminals who have been properly the subjects of anti-criminality procedures and laws based on effective intelligence and police procedures. It has been the US failure in the performance of effective intelligence and policing which has led to acts like 9/11, the underwear bomber and the fog of war red herring.
    The result has been a plethora of wrongful, unconstitutional governmental acts, including unwarranted wiretapping, torture, detention without charges, homeland security highway and airport intrusive inspections, etc., all actions that Harman has been involved in.
    Thankfully she will soon be gone. It’s a good day for Americans.

    Reply

  72. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag,
    As a Norwegian, it has during all these years been my
    unwavering principle not to comment on resigning
    American Congresswomen at the Washington Note. I can’t,
    however, hold back from expressing my disagreement
    with the unfounded view expressed in your post above.
    Sitting in the peanut gallery, we may all have strong,
    occasionally even qualified opinions on a lot of things, but
    we can’t predict the future.
    At 3.54 PM nobody knows whether this eventually is going
    to be a good or a bad day for Jane Harman – not even Ms.
    Harman herself. The cautious expression on her face in
    the photo above perfectly reflects this fact.
    Here in Norway, it’s 21.54 right now – implying that I’m in
    a better position than Jane Harman to evaluate the quality
    of the passing day; and I’m happy to report that it’s been a
    perfect day.
    I sincerely hope that this will be a good day for Jane
    Harman as well – and for you too. But it remains to see.
    Stuff happens.

    Reply

  73. Carroll says:

    I disagree on Harmon.
    Praised for hindsight?..on Iraq.
    If Harmon is as good as it gets in congress on intelligence or security we are in big trouble…but we knew that already.
    The bar is way too low for congress–and most of Washington. Perfect may be the enemy of the good but surely out of 350 million people in this country we can do better than the Harmons, the Schumers and 90% of what currently have.
    I have a feeling also that there may be more to Harmon leaving than she says.

    Reply

  74. WigWag says:

    “I always felt that it was a significant mistake by Nancy Pelosi not to make Jane Harman Chair of the House Intelligence Committee because her knowledge of the beast so far outstripped anyone else’s background by far.” (Steve Clemons)
    This is absolutely correct, but it was not a mistake, it was done for spite. The two women disliked each other and Pelosi decided to place her own feelings of animosity over the good of the country. We learned all we needed to know about Pelosi from that incident.
    When she drove the eminently qualified Harmon off the Committee, Pelosi was faced with the prospect of appointing the number two or number three ranking Democrats then serving. Next in seniority after Harmon was Congressman Alcee Hastings of South Florida. Pelosi decided she couldn’t appoint him because he was an impeached former federal judge who stuck it to the Congress that impeached him by getting himself elected to the House of Representatives.
    The next ranking Democrat on the Committee was
    Silvestre Reyes of Texas. Pelosi gave him the job of Chairman despite the fact that the man is a functional idiot. Shortly after taking over the Committee, Reyes expressed astonishment that Shia and Sunni Muslims weren’t the same. He didn’t know that Al Qaeda was Sunni and Iran was Shia.
    But Pelosi thought it was more important to give Harmon some political payback then have a competent Chairman.
    How the Democrats could have elected a leader as horrible as Pelosi as Minority Leader is incomprehensible.
    As for Harmon, she will have at least as much influence in her new position as she had in the place in Congress that Pelosi exiled her to.

    Reply

  75. Steve Clemons says:

    Wig — I supported Jane Harman in her last race and have great respect for her views and thoughtful approach to problems, even when we don’t agree on something. I try to keep an open mind on most fronts and am not fond of folks thinking I’m in a predictable groove. I’m not. I’m a progressive realist/centrist — and given that there are so few of those out there, I ally with a variety of people depending on the subject matter. And yes, Josh Block is a friend.
    Lee Hamilton is also a great policy player and has given a lot to the country. I thought that the role he played with James Baker at the time on the Iraq Study Group was essential. I haven’t been a fan of all of his work — but in the aggregate, and in a town that doesn’t do foreign policy all that well, I think Lee Hamilton deserves our respect and thanks.
    all best, steve

    Reply

  76. Don Bacon says:

    Jane Harman was an anti- civil liberties extremist in the promotion of Bush’s GWOT, advocating and voting for warrantless wiretaps (with abated dedication after her own phone was tapped) and covering-up for Bush torture. So she is a natural fit for anything to do with Woodrow Wilson who was the first president to remove civil liberties on a grand scale, in order to promote his war program.
    In 2009 Nancy Pelosi cleared up why Harman wasn’t re-appointed chair of the House Intelligence Committee:
    “The only reason why Jane is not the chairman is because she already served her two terms. It had nothing to do with her position on Iraq; it had nothing to do with donors; it had nothing to do with eavesdropping, wiretapping; it had nothing to do with anything.” Really, she said that.
    This is an example of the lack of standards for congressional performance which has the Congress pegged at 69% disapproval (RCP ave.).
    Harman is resigning her seat three months after the election, requiring an expensive special election when California is beyond broke. Simply to deny the seat to Winograd? Class act, Jane.

    Reply

  77. WigWag says:

    I have to admit that I’m rather surprised at Steve’s fond words for Jane Harmon; but he’s pretty hard to predict and I probably shouldn’t be taken aback. After all, if Steve can party with Josh Block (Ron Kampeas spotted them at a shin dig together this past November) why can’t he lament the retirement of Congresswoman Harmon?
    Perhaps Steve will tell us whether he plans to support the candidate who Harmon defeated in the past two Democratic Primaries, Marcy Winograd. She’s sure to run in the special election to replace Harmon and her views, especially on the Middle East, appear at first glance, at least to be similar to Steve’s.
    The Woodrow Wilson International Institute seems to be an interesting place. Established by Congress to memorialize the President who may very well be the most clueless and destructive of all times, the Institute seems non-partisan and the home of a number of respectable scholars.
    As for the retiring Lee Hamiliton, I know he’s highly thought of, but shouldn’t he have retired long ago?

    Reply

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