Monday, October 03, 2005

Newsweek lies 
The latest cover of Newsweek has two headlines:

Delay: How the Hammer Got Nailed.

The GOP: A Crisis of Competence and Cronyism.

But the Hammer hasn't been "nailed" with much of anything. I read the indictment, and, like a lot of other people, can't figure out for the life of me what it is the DA is alleging he did that was illegal! According to the indictment, the only thing delay did was waive certain rights. The Newsweek cover is assuming facts which are far, far, FAR from in evidence.

The old saying says that you can indict a ham sandwich. But at least the ham sandwich is guilty of violating Jewish dietary laws. That's more than one can say about Delay at this point. The Newsweek cover would be appropriate if he were convicted. It may even be appropriate if there were, you know, EVIDENCE against him.

But the people at Newsweek were heartset on the cheap-assed, shopworn "hammer and nail" pun. (People are PAYING you for that? Puhleeze.)

Also, wholly and inexplicably absent from Fineman's and Clift's account is the DA's history of petty and unsubstantiated, politically-motivated indictments. We've got Newsweek's A-team on this - Isikoff, Lipper, Clift, and Fineman, - and yet if you got your news from Newsweek, you would have no idea whatsoever that the DA's motives and the quality of his case is seriously, SERIOUSLY in question.

On the second line, it has become something of a tenet of faith that Michael Brown got his job because of cronyism, and that he is incompetent.

But as I have pointed out here on many occasions - and no one has yet seriously challenged me on the logistical facts here - it has not been established that Michael Brown is incompetent. No one has pointed out - ANYWHERE - what could have been done differently, given the logistical facts on the ground - that could have sped up the federal response more than marginally - say, a few hours.

No one has yet pointed out where FEMA has failed its charter. But Michael Brown has an awful lot of damn-well handled hurricanes under his belt, including what is, by all accounts, a superb effort reacting to Rita. If he were that incompetent, none of that would be possible.

But that doesn't stop Newsweek from characterizing Brown as "hapless yet arrogant."

Yeah, that's fair and balanced. That's our objective media in action. I'd love to engage Fineman or Clift or any one of those people on Michael Brown's competence and the responsibilities of FEMA vs. state or local officials, and what was possible, given the realities on the ground.

All in all, an absolutely shameful performance by Newsweek. Pathetic.

Splash, out


UPDATE: Fineman will be doing a live chat on Wednesday at 5, ET. If one of you can make it, maybe you can ask Fineman about some of his omissions here.

I'm a little squeamish about the right putting on their James Carville masks this Halloween and saying that this is nothing but a 'partisan witch hunt' - even if that is exactly what it is.

If there is nothing there in the indictment, then that's all we should need. As it stands, it just looks like we're flipping the playbook and closing ranks on one of our own just because he's on our team. "Stickin'" as it were.
Jason, Brown was out by the time Rita hit. He trained and led the organization that handled Rita well, but he wasn't actually overseeing Rita efforts.

Anonymous, It's not the Republicans who close ranks when our guy is guilty. We have a history of eating our own when guilty, even when the infractions are relatively minor. This case is different. This clearly IS partisan.
If Michael Brown were as incompetent as the idiotarians say he is, then his second-in-command would have been running the whole thing on the sly, anyway.

That's my point. So it's partisan - the motive of the prosecutor is irrelevant. The focus should be on the flimsiness of the case, not on why they want to bring a flimsy case. You know, stuff like sliding an indictment through a grand jury on a law that wasn't in effect at the time the alleged crime was committed. Then refiling TWICE to correct that oversight, and changing to money laundering.

The guy's shooting slop pool; that should be the focus.
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