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“Wild Bill” Keller appeared on television last night in what can only be described as “the friendliest forum available” – on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. Since Keller deigned not to explain his decision to publish information on the top secret wire transfer monitoring program in his arrogant and rather cryptic “letter” to readers in yesterday’s edition, he counted on Blitzer not to dig too deeply into his motivations and instead allow him to skate through relatively unscathed.

Good move, Bill. With anger taking on something of a bi-partisan tone for the first time in years (at least outside the blogs where liberals insist that this is one more indication that Bush is Hitler without the mustache and jack boots), Keller probably realized he couldn’t hide under his desk forever and not pretend to answer some of the issues that led him to publish a story that ruined a program that by all accounts was legal, had proper oversight, and most importantly, actually caught some bad guys.

The argument made here that ” [a]nyone who thinks that the people who carried out 9/11 don’t know that we are tapping their phones, reading their emails and checking into their financing, is an idiot” is true up to a point. Terrorists may know we are trying to tap their phones but I doubt very much whether they realized most of our capabilities in this regard. For instance, by knowing the specific measures that we take in not just intercepting phone calls to each other but also to people who may be totally unrelated to their terrorist activities, one more avenue of potential monitoring dries up. The NSA intercept program – details of which are still lacking (which hasn’t stopped the left from declaring the program “illegal”) – was far more than a wiretapping program. It was designed to uncover terrorist networks, not just the jihadis themselves.

The fact that it was successful in doing so makes the above argument ring a little hollow. Despite taking ordinary precautions against having their communications monitored, once the program became public knowledge, the jihadis could put in place countermeasures making it that much harder for us to find out what they’re up to.

In a similar vein, the wire transfer program will now be useless to us. The fact that 9/11 hijackers received Western Union wire transfers on a regular basis probably alerted the terrorists to the idea that this particular way of moving money was now closed to them. But what about their financiers? The Islamic charities here and abroad that maintain a steady flow of cash to terrorist groups like Hamas, Hizballah, Islamic Jihad, and others as well as the individuals who fund terrorists may or may not have been aware of the extent of our monitoring or of our capabilities to pull these transactions and the networks they reveal out of thin air.

Ultimately, the point is why assume they know everything that we are doing to spy on them? With that kind of attitude, we may as well shut everything down and wait for an attack, that trying to monitor their activities is useless and we may as well give up.

I think most Americans would reject that approach which is why, as Patterico points out here, Keller, the LA Times, and the Wall Street Journal may be in more trouble than they realized prior to publication:

The decision to prosecute newspaper personnel for publishing classified information is a vexing one that pits the core American value of free speech against a legitimate need for secrecy in some areas. I think that, in the particular circumstances of this case, a good argument can be made that a prosecution would be consistent with the relevant statutes and the Constitution. However, it is by no means certain that we would obtain a conviction — and prosecutions would be very bad public relations.

Accordingly, we should concentrate on finding the leakers, first and foremost. If that means dragging some journalists before a grand jury and forcing them to out their sources or go to jail, then so be it.

I think that analysis is spot on given that every newspaper and broadcast outlet in the country would oppose prosecution, no matter how much they may deserve it. And the people’s anger against the outing of this program may grow as information comes to light that there was a bi-partisan effort prior to the Times and others running their stories on this program to quash publication. Treasury Secretary Snow:

Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were “half-hearted” is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times – from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.
(HT: Captains Quarters)

While it appears that the LA Times has made a concerted effort to explain and justify its decision (that Patterico takes apart here), Keller has maintained a facade of arrogance about publication of the story that either reveals him to be completely clueless about the real anger at what the Times did or unconcerned about its impact on the War on Terror. Since Keller swears that he and his reporters assessed the potential damage to our efforts to fight terrorism, one would have to conclude that Keller and the Times ultimately placed their own narrow interpretation of the civil liberties implications of the program over what all agree was the importance of the program to uncovering terrorist networks.

This is arrogant and elitist on the part of Keller and the Times. And if we are forced to pay for their delusions of power by enduring a devastating terrorist attack, I daresay the questions asked of Keller will not be coming from bloggers, but from Federal prosecutors.


Steve Sturm suggests denying the New York Times access to the White House as well as Air Force I and other Presidential sites. In short, yank their press credentials.

It’s an interesting idea. I believe that the Administration froze out Helen Thomas in the immediate aftermath of the invasion – not for publishing secrets but because she was so rabid in her criticism. They didn’t yank her press pass but both the press secretary and the President refused to acknowledge her at press conferences and briefings. Since Thomas is the “Dean” of the Washington press corp, this was a slight that did not go unnoticed.

Can the Administration take away press privileges for the Times? I’m sure they can. But given the wailing and gnashing of teeth that would emanate from the media nationwide, my guess is that they may take them out of the loop the way they dissed Helen Thomas.

By: Rick Moran at 10:43 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (13)


Last year, I carried out an experiment in blogging that was both fun and challenging for me and, I hope, entertaining for you. I decided to “blog” the Battle of Gettysburg as if we could be magically transported back to those fateful 7 days leading up to and encompassing the battle and pretend that the internet existed in 1863. The result of this experiment was a little uneven in quality, but made me look at the battle with a whole new perspective. It is my hope that by repeating the experiment, using more maps and better sources as well as polishing some of the rough spots, I can create something that will inform and entertain both you and me.

In that fateful early summer of 1863, everyone in America knew that a titanic battle was going to take place somewhere north of Washington. The soldiers were especially aware of this as their numerous diaries and regimental histories make clear. Since most of the major media was located on the east coast, the Army of the Potomac – “Mr. Lincoln’s Army” as Bruce Catton called it – was covered disproportionately compared to other theaters of that war and received the lion’s share of the criticism doled out by the likes of the New York Tribune’s sometimes hysterical editor Horace Greeley. This meant that both the officers and men felt themselves under a microscope at times, a state of affairs that did not engender risk taking by the army’s many commanders.

As the two armies made their way toward the little crossroads town of Gettysburg, the nation literally held its breath, hoping for the best but fearing the worst. Lincoln, a tortured soul even under just the day to day circumstances of the war, haunted the telegraph office at the war department, aching for news. And there was wild speculation in the Washington and Baltimore papers about where Lee was and what his intentions were.

In many ways, this unbearable tension leading up to the battle made the explosion on July 1-3 all the more dramatic, as if all the furies of the war had been unleashed at once to torment the nation. It truly was one of the more remarkable times in American history, something I hope comes through in the retelling of events.

Utilizing the extensive on-line databases available on the internet as well as information from my own library, I’ll be posting on events leading up to the battle, not only in Pennsylvania but also other theaters of the war, including Grant’s simultaneous capture of Vicksburg that some historians argue was more important to ultimate victory for the north than what was happening in Pennsylvania.

I hope you stop by often over the next 7 days as I will be updating the posts just as if I was getting updates from the battlefield. It should be an interesting week.

By: Rick Moran at 8:17 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)

JUNE 27, 1863

The following is the first in a series of posts leading up to and including the Battle of Gettysburg. I have written these posts as if we had all been magically transported back to 1863 and as if the internet existed at that time.

An introduction to this project is here.



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Big news from Washington today as apparently “Fightin’ Joe” Hooker has been replaced as commander of the Army of the Potomac. I guess Joe couldn’t take the heat from Horace Greeley and the MSM for his mismanagement of the army at Chancellorsville although maybe he should get credit for getting rid of Stonewall Jackson. That said, when he casually mentioned before he was made commander that maybe a military dictator should take over and run things in Washington, you knew he’d have to deliver or be cashiered. Well, he didn’t deliver and Honest Abe has replaced him.

I’ve since gotten a hold of a copy of a letter The Railsplitter sent him prior to Hook being placed in command. Abe let him know he had heard about the “dictator” crack telling him:

“I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the army and the government needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who gain success can set up dictators. What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship.”


So who’s the next victim? Major Rathbone thinks it might be II Corp’s General Couch but I hear the Warhawks won’t stand for that. My guess would be Meade. “Old Hawknose” gets the nod probably because he’s the least objectionable. I hear from my friends at the War Department that they actually offered the Command to I Corp’s John Reynolds but that he turned them down flat. Too bad. General Johnny would do a great job. He’s also no fool. There have been 5 other Commanders of the Eastern Army and none of them could survive the scrutiny of the MSM and the Committee on the Conduct of the War.

Meade’s V Corp has fought well and the Pennsylvanian may be the only General in the whole damn army who doesn’t want to be President after the war! At any rate, he appears to be “it.” so we better support him the best we can.

So it’s a helluva time for Meade to take over what with Bobby Lee running wild in Maryland. There’s a rumor that Reb General Early is in Pennsylvania heading for Harrisburg, but that might be Stuart’s cavalry that was sighted north of Frederick. Hard to tell exactly because the only opposition so far to this thrust by the Rebs has been from State Militia. It’s all very confused and, as usual, our cavalry is no where to be found. I just wish we used them like the rebs use cavalry. Our cavalry units are too dispersed IMHO. We should marry up the units and concentrate them into division sized formations like the Rebs do, using them as shock troops.

That Jeb Stuart just rides rings around us anytime he wants to. Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll run into a Minnie ball soon.

One thing is certain. A big fight is coming. With our boys quick marching down the dusty roads of southern Maryland and Bobby Lee’s Rebs using South Mountain to screen its movements from the prying eyes of our scouts, it looks like Lee could make a stab at either Baltimore or Washington or maybe even Philadelphia. So we’re guarding the passes through the mountain to keep Lee from carrying out any plan like that.

The Rebs strategy is pretty obvious. Traitor Davis sent Bobby Lee’s army north in hopes that Mr. Lincoln will recall General Grant whose army is strangling Vicksburg as I write this. Reb General Pemberton’s 20,000 men are gone gooses unless Grant either up and leaves or takes to the bottle again. Rumor is the civilians in Vicksburg are already eating rats. It won’t be long now. And then the Mississippi River will be open and the South will be split. Not bad for a, “ignorant rail splitter” eh? Vallandingame and the Copperhead Democrats be damned!

A victory in Vicksburg will be meaningless if Bobby Lee whips Meade and moves on to Washington, D.C. The Brits and Frogs would have no choice but to recognize the Confederacy if that happened. And then, God knows. The State Department thinks that the French especially will try and break the blockade. If that happens, we may as well start peace negotiations with the Rebs.

So a big battle is coming. Where is anybody’s guess, but it better take place south of Harrisburg. If Bobby Lee were to get astride of that B & O rail line, he could strangle Washington and Baltimore in no time. That guy is something else. I just wish he was on our side.

It seems as if the whole country is holding its breath, both North and South. Something really big is building up. Maybe in Maryland. More likely in Pennsylvania. And with Vicksburg due to surrender any day, this could be the greatest 4th of July since 1776.

If we win, that is.

By: Rick Moran at 8:16 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)


Trying desperately to spin the meager bits of good news coming out of Iraq into more proof of failure and defeat, the Democrats and the left have completely left our plane of reality and embarked on a sight seeing trip to La-La Land.

How else can you explain their laughable contention that their immoral, milquetoast resolutions on Iraq have been vindicated by news that the Pentagon plans on drawing down our forces in Iraq 5% by September (conditions on the ground permitting) with another 15% by the end of 2007 being able to come home (again, conditions permitting).

Of course, John Kerry’s resolution would not have had 20% of the troops home by the end of 2007 but rather 100% with nary a word contained in that dubious document about whether or not or boys should stay if they were needed by the Iraqi government. That little detail must have slipped his mind.

And, the so-called Levin alternative resolution was even murkier on the subject, although the floor speeches made by Democrats gave the game away before they even voted. Universally (and this is the mercifully short version) they believe the War is a failure, George Bush is incompetent, and it’s time to leave so that we can blame him for the defeat in time to get enough Democrats elected in November in order to take control of Congress.

An immoral, cynical ploy ‘tis true. But then, when it comes to our national security, never let it be said that anyone cut in front of the Democrats when it came time to surrender.

The problem with the Democratic “Plan” is that it has always existed in a vacuum. The primary argument made by Republicans is that basically, you can’t run the war from Washington (Too bad Rummy didn’t take that advice very often). Any draw down of American forces must be tied to some kind of real-world, on the ground progress by Iraqi forces to deal with the violence. Do the Democrats think it a coincidence that 2 weeks and more than 500 operations after the death of the Merry Beheader al-Zarqawi that the military feels that we can reduce our troops strength? We captured or killed more than 1000 al Qaeda in Iraq operatives, sympathizers, and jihadists. We smashed their logistical infrastructure. And this is after the not-so-dearly-departed Zarqawi had written that the situation in Iraq was “bleak” for his terrorist buddies.

Or had we forgotten all that?

Surely there is a political element involved in reducing our troop strength. But to say that would be the only reason is ridiculous and, I might add, disingenuous in the extreme. Do the Democrats wish us to believe that their little dog and pony show last week with the Iraq resolutions was done solely for altruistic reasons? Who are they trying to kid?

Senator McConnell laid out the argument quite well:

Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell said lawmakers discussed the situation in Iraq with Casey before votes taken by Congress last week. But he said the point of the debate was that “Congress ought not to be dictating to the generals what the tactics are.”

“We want the conditions on the ground and the decisions of our commanders, in conjunction with the new Iraqi democratic government, to dictate the process, not the Congress trying to act like armchair generals,” the Kentucky Republican told ABC’s “This Week.”

Senator Boxer, on the other hand, is clueless:

“Here we have a situation where Democrats, 80 percent of us, voted to say we ought to start reducing our troop presence there—and again, we got pummeled,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, told CBS. “And now, it turns out, we’re in synch with General Casey.”

I would say Babs was more in synch with Zarqawi than General Casey. The fact is, the plan has always been to draw down troops in coordination with the Iraqi’s ability to defend themselves. As Iraqi National Security Adviser Sherwan Alwaeli revealed, there is an unofficial withdrawal plan heavily dependent on not only the numbers of Iraqi troops trained but also their combat capabilities. That kind of judgment cannot be made by Democratic Senators counting fingers and toes in order to come up with a cool sounding number for the voters in November.

It is unbelievable to me that despite the Republicans doing everything possible to lose in November that the Democrats haven’t virtually locked up control of at least the House and perhaps even the Senate. I think it indicative of how much the American people truly distrust the Democrats on national security. And judging by their statements this past weekend about possible withdrawals by American forces from Iraq, they have a long way to go to convince anyone that they are dead serious about protecting the United States from attack.


Hi Mom and Dad!

Well, I have to say my idea for starting this Camp New York Times retreat was certainly one of my more inspired brainstorms since taking over for poor Howell Raines as Executive Editor. I actually invited Howie up for the weekend thinking it would do him good to see the old gang again. But he mumbled something rather uncomplimentary about you, mom and well – I figured he just wouldn’t fit in with the group anymore. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Jayson Blair was staying in the Alumni cabin.

I’m having a wonderful time. Sure is nice to get away from the city where I have to rub elbows with the hoi polloi and endure the stultifying presence of so many commoners. By the way, I know you’ll get a kick out of this: One of the security guards downstairs actually had the temerity to say “Hi Mr. Keller” to me the other day. I gave him my best “New York Times Executive Editor Haughty Glance,” barely acknowledging his presence with an ever so slight nod of my patrician head. That shut him up quick. He hasn’t had the gumption to say anything to me since. Now if I could only be that successful about shutting up our Public Editor Byron Calame and stop him from bothering me all the time with stupid questions about this or that story. I am so sorry I hired him.

You may have read in our newspaper right before I left for camp about my latest triumph; publishing more hush-hush stuff from the government. We’re all having fun up here reading how simply everyone is talking about it. Right after me and some of the boys carried out a panty raid on Maureen Dowd’s cabin (she asked us to stay and “play” but Dad, you should see that woman without makeup. Yikes!), I decided it was time to write a letter explaining my decision to publish the story about this top secret program to track terrorist wire transfers.

Well, you know the drill. Blah, Blah, Blah “bill of rights.” Fiddle, Fiddle, Faddle “freedom of the press.” This is usually good enough to satisfy the really important people like my friends at The New Yorker and The Nation. And, of course, I don’t have to work very hard to get Babs Streisand or any of our Hollywood friends on my side. Besides, I’m sure you know what a complete waste of my time writing letters like this is. Since I don’t feel like I have to explain myself to anybody, much less a bunch of Bush loving chimpanzees, I made this one extra irrelevant. Not once did I mention the real reason I spilled the beans about this perfectly legal program; it makes me feel real important, almost like I was in charge of the country.

In fact, one of our funnest games here at Camp is to pretend that all of us at the Times are more important than the elected government and that I get to decide what laws to obey and which ones to ignore. It’s almost as fun as my favorite game, “I’ve Got a Secret to Publish” although all of the government leakers I asked up here who have helped us with the top secret stuff would rather play “Get Bush” which, as you know, is getting to be so boring since we play that game everyday, day in and day out at the office. (To tell you the truth, I’m getting a little tired of having those leakers around. After all, they are bureaucrats and not the right sort to invite to The Club for a drink or take out on the Sound in the Avenger .)

One thing kind of bothers me, mom. All of these wild people on the internet. You know, the bloggers and such. Now you know me. I wouldn’t know a kilobyte from a kipper. But these bloggers are sort of smart – in a pedestrian kind of way. I mean, they’re not “smart” like us. They probably don’t know about the real important stuff like never wearing navy blue after Labor Day or how a gentleman shells an oyster in a restaurant. (Just like you taught me, dad. Gently…gently.)

But these bloggers are screaming bloody murder about this terrorist thing and want me arrested because they say I helped the enemy during wartime. Now you and I both know dad, that it’s not very sporting of us to have such a huge advantage over the terrorists when it comes to our hi tech stuff. All I’ve been trying to do by publishing the gobs of secrets about how we monitor terrorists is “level the playing field” a little. Jeepers! We do this all the time in politics. Anytime a Republican gets a lead on a Democrat, all we have to do is a couple of hit pieces, blow things way out of proportion, (you know…allow that note of hysteria to creep into our coverage) and things are back level – or better.

So these bloggers are driving us nuts over this and now, some people are talking about prosecuting me. I’d be interested in your thoughts, dad, about who I should call to represent me. Paul Krugman thinks I should get Robert Bennett, the man who kept Bill Clinton out jail. But I think I’d rather go with a New Yorker. Maybe the ACLU can recommend someone.

Anyway, that’s about all if have to say. Keep reading our paper. I’m sure before too long, I’ll have some more juicy government secrets to spill.

Your son,



Michelle Malkin has a great round up of reaction to Keller’s curious missive and links to Patterico’s analysis of a radio interview done by LA Times Washington Bureau Chief Doyle McManus during which the journalist tried to explain why the paper went with the story:

The bottom line is, of course, that McManus and his colleagues took it upon themselves to decide what classified information the public (and our enemies) should know about. Bizarrely, he claims that the critical factors in his decision were whether the program was legal and had adequate safeguards — even though, as I document in a related post, it was indeed legal and had extensive safeguards in place. Thus, his excuses are an apparent cover for some other motivation, as yet unrevealed.

Could it possibly be that McManus, Keller, and many other mainstream journalists and broadcasters are perhaps daring the Administration to initiate prosecutions against them? While I have no doubt that they can justify the decision to publish details of these programs based on their perception of the public’s “right to know” – a necessarily broad and all-encompassing reason – the fact is, it simply doesn’t adequately explain why they feel compelled to expose a secret program of obvious legality and with several different levels of safeguards (not the least of which is oversight by Swift itself).

It really is curious.

By: Rick Moran at 7:14 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (14)

Watcher of Weasels linked with Submitted for Your Approval
Political Satire Fake News - The Nose On Your Face linked with NYT Reveals Timmy Durgin's Hiding Place
Flopping Aces linked with The Best Kept Secret?
A Blog For All linked with Not So SWIFT
Fly At Night linked with It Is Beat Up On Bill Keller Day
Stop The ACLU linked with The NY Times Responds

(This post originally appeared June 25, 2005)


George Armstrong Custer surveyed the low, rolling Montana countryside before him on that brutally hot Sunday afternoon of June 25, 1876 and must have felt a twinge of anticipation. He was a warrior. And prior to every battle he was ever involved in, from his glory days in the Civil War to this, the last battle of his life, Custer felt the tingling of impending combat. He considered himself invulnerable. His confidence – some would say arrogance – inspired both intense loyalty and profound disdain from the men and officers under his command. This, more than anything else, led to his destruction.

The Battle of Little Bighorn (the Lakota call it “The Battle of Greasy Grass Creek”) is the most closely examined battle in American history. Custer’s every known move has been examined, debated, dissected, re-examined and criticized by historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, and scientists. It’s also been one of the most popular subjects for artists as every generation since the battle has had both ridiculous and stylized portrayals as well as historically accurate reproductions. And thanks to Hollywood, just about everyone has heard of both the battle and its two major players – Custer and Tashunca-uitco AKA “Crazy Horse.”

The evolution of attitudes toward the battle is one of the most fascinating aspects of its history. Originally seen as a massacre of white soldiers by merciless Indians, the loss of of 267 American soldiers outraged and humiliated a country that was in the process of celebrating it’s Centennial. The resulting outcry sealed the doom of the Lakota, Cheyenne and other plains Indians tribes who had united for one last great war against white encroachment. Custer was portrayed as a great hero, thanks in no small part to his wife Libby’s hagiographic biography of their lives together called Boots and Saddles.

Then in the 1960’s, a welcome re-examination of America’s mythic heroes, including Custer, was initiated by historians eager to take advantage of the American people’s desire for the “truth” about our past. The pendulum swung in the opposite direction and Custer emerged as a vainglorious martinet of an officer, so eager for glory that he sacrificed his men on the altar of personal ambition.

By the late 1970’s, Custer’s image had been slightly rehabilitated thanks to a re-examination of his outstanding career as a Civil War cavalry leader. And along with authors like Jeffrey Wert and Evan McConnel, a new, more personal side of Custer emerged. The arrogant martinet became the loving and devoted husband whose letters to his young wife reveal a playful, likable man with a penchant for teasing.

But on that fateful Sunday, Custer allowed the darker side of his personality to take over. This was a Custer that was unconcerned with the lives of his men. This was the Custer who had been court martialed and suspended for a year for disobeying orders. And this was the Custer whose overweening confidence in his own abilities and suicidal disdain for the fighting skills of his adversary sealed his fate and the fate of so many in his command.

He was not technically in violation of his orders. General Terry who was making his way to the Little Big Horn with 2,500 infantry was due the next day but had not specifically ordered Custer to wait. So despite the warnings of his faithful Crow scouts (“Many Sioux” they had told him, a warning he didn’t heed because he thought the Indians couldn’t give an accurate count of warriors), Custer rode to his death.

His survey of the Indian encampment before him was superficial. All he could see from his vantage point was the north end of the village. This was due to a quirk in the topography of the battlefield. If you ever visit the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument, you’ll be struck by the gently, rolling hills that give the impression of a single valley stretching out in the distance. What Custer couldn’t see were intervening copses and indentations that hid not the 5,000 or so Indians he believed he was facing, but fully 15,000 men, women and children in a gigantic encampment that stretched for more than 5 miles across the plain.

At the sight of Custer’s men, the Indian warriors rushed to their families and helped to get them out of harms way. Custer interpreted this as a sign that the Indians were preparing to flee and divided his command into 3 sections. He sent Major Reno around to where he thought the south end of the camp was, ordering him to ride through the village and sow confusion while he attacked from the north and the other column commanded by Major Benteen attacked from the east.

It was stupid, rash, and doomed to failure. Reno, an inexperienced (some would say cowardly) officer took one look at the immense village before him and retreated. Some historians believe that if Reno had attacked while the warriors were busy looking after the safety of their families he could have in fact caused the kind of confusion that Custer was looking for. What this would have meant to the outcome of the battle is uncertain. It may have given Custer time to find better defensive ground as his subordinate Major Benteen was able to do by linking up with the incompetent Reno who had taken up a position on a steep bluff overlooking the Little Big Horn river. Given Custer’s impetuous nature, this probably wasn’t in the cards.

Custer’s 267 men rode along a bluff that he thought hid him from sight of the village. He was tragically mistaken. The Indians, alerted to his presence by the incompetent Reno were now swarming between the copses and in the shallow depressions that marked the north end of the battlefield. Too late, Custer realized his predicament and ordered his men up to the top of a gently sloping hill northwest of the village. Known as “Last Stand Hill,” approximately 900 Lakota and Cheyenne warriors were able to surround Custer’s command and wipe them out to almost the last man. (One of Custer’s Crow scouts escaped by wrapping a Lakota blanket around himself and simply wandering away).

In the aftermath of the battle, General Terry arrived and after hastily burying the dead, started after Sitting Bull and his people. Evading capture for two years by going to Canada, the starving Lakotans finally surrendered on their own and were forced onto reservations.

The spectacular victory of the Indians over the United States army was the last major engagement of the Indian wars of the 19th century. There would be other skirmishes and campaigns – most notably against Goyathlay AKA “Geronimo, the great Chiricahua Apache warrior – but Little Big Horn would be the last time so many warriors on both sides were involved.

As for history’s judgment, Custer’s legacy will be a mixed one. Perhaps it’s unfortunate that Little Big Horn will overshadow his real accomplishments as a cavalry commander during the Civil War. He remains one of the most fascinating characters in American history, reason enough for the continued fascination with the battle that claimed his life.

By: Rick Moran at 6:30 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (7)

CATEGORY: Blogging, Ethics

Dan Riehl is singlehandedly trying to change my mind about bloggers replacing the mainstream press.

In a series of stunning posts that deserve a helluva lot more attention than they seem to be getting, Mr. Riehl raises some troubling questions about Jerome Armstrong and MyDD, the political blog that Mr Armstrong created originally as a stock analyzing site that used astrology to help investors pick the winners.

If that were the only problem with MyDD, we could simply have some fun at the expense of the “reality based community” by gently pointing out that astrology hasn’t been considered a science since Newton got whacked on the noggin by a falling apple, which, given the prominence of Mr. Armstrong among the netnuts, sorta puts the kibosh on any claims liberals have to the rationalist high ground.

The real story here is not “Astrologer Jerome” or Armstrong’s problems with the SEC. What Mr. Riehl has uncovered with his sleuthing is what appears to be an elaborate flim flam involving a liberal PAC called BlogPac (that Markos Moulitsis transferred administration to MyDD just 10 days ago) and an apparent working relationship between Armstrong and MyDD’s Chris Bowers.

What makes that relationship significant is that BlogPac has decided not to disburse money to political candidates any longer. Instead, Blogpac’s mission “will be primarily to defend the netroots and improve the quality of online activism…”

Who then has benefited from this change in focus? Mr. Riehl:

If you look at the BlogPAC disclosure records, you’ll see that from Jan – Mar of 2005 – their only disbursements were to another blogger / consultant – Bob Bingham – from the Swing State Blog. According to slate, he was a one time employee of Armstrong, as well as a leading force behind BlogPAC. Interesting. They’ve been collecting money on line and paying it to … themselves for consulting?? I don’t know. But those filings could prove interesting, either now, or in the future.

And Riehl adds this disclaimer:

Without alleging any illegality, or malfeasance, which I am not – given Armstrong’s display of bad judgment in both political candidates and stocks, on top of his trouble with the SEC, it seems fair to at least broach the question: will the decision to turn Blog PAC over to MyDD end up helping blogs, or being a classic example of how a fool and his money can be soon parted?

Of course, assuming one thinks most liberals are fools to begin with, I suppose you could make the argument that its stupid money right from the start.

I would also like to add that there is nothing illegal in paying themselves for running the PAC. But one would think that contributors would like to be clear on the relationships at play before coughing up any money. And the relationship between Bowers and Armstrong appears to be one of employer and employee, which makes the BlogPac money a potential godsend to someone who can disburse it to bloggers who could then be employed to write paeans to Armstrong clients.

There’s no evidence for this except past history. Chris Bowers, for instance, has acknowledged being paid to consult for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The SEIU paid a company called Political Technologies LLC for which Armstrong is the Registered Agent $162,000 in 2005 for “Consulting”, “Professional Services,” and $5,000 for “Website Support.” Mr. Riehl points out that the SEIU received some glowing coverage in Armstrong’s book co-authored with Markos Moulitsis as well as many glowing references on Moulitsis’ own site, Daily Kos.

Is there more of this “pay for play” on blogs (perhaps conservative blogs as well) than anyone has guessed? For the record, I can categorically state that the only monies I have received because of this site (besides donations from readers) is the quarterly payment I get from Pajamas Media for hosting their ads – ads I have no control over as far as content or placement.

Read Dan’s entire post for some more complete background on the issues he raises.

By: Rick Moran at 6:06 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

Passionate America linked with Passionate Picks 6/25/2006 OTB
Super Fun Power Hour linked with The Ayatollahs Of kO$ola

Yes, victory. For all the sneering lefties who will come here and try and explain away the news that the freely elected government of Iraq is about ready to ask the United States military to leave once certain conditions are met and a timetable relating to those conditions is agreed upon, this is the very definition of a win for our side (no thanks to you). Our leaving would also be predicated on the acceptance by the insurgents of some kind of amnesty program for those who fought American troops but not for terrorists who deliberately targeted Iraqi civilians.

How is this different than John Kerry or the Democrats asking for a “timetable” based on arbitrary and capricious criteria, specifically neglecting the insurgency factor? For one thing, the proposal comes from the Iraqis themselves not self-serving domestic politicians wishing to score points with our electorate. For another, no Democrat ever proposed anything that would have taken into account a ratcheting down of much of the insurgency. It never entered into any discussion on any of the resolutions offered in the Senate. The timetables would have been based solely on Iraqi capabilities not on a concomitant easing of the security situation by drawing the insurgents into politics.

In short, not only will we leave once the Iraqis can stand up, but also when most of the insurgents lay down.

This is a formula for victory albeit not a complete one. Both the White House and the military have fiercely opposed amnesty in the past and will probably continue to do so. I made the point here that though it would be a bitter pill to swallow, we must expect some kind of amnesty program. For Prime Minister Maliki, who is proceeding more quickly and with more determination than anyone expected, the amnesty program is the cornerstone of his Grand Solution or “National Reconciliation Plan:”

A timetable for withdrawal of occupation troops from Iraq. Amnesty for all insurgents who attacked U.S. and Iraqi military targets. Release of all security detainees from U.S. and Iraqi prisons. Compensation for victims of coalition military operations.

Those sound like the demands of some of the insurgents themselves, and in fact they are. But they’re also key clauses of a national reconciliation plan drafted by new Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who will unveil it Sunday. The provisions will spark sharp debate in Iraq—but the fiercest opposition is likely to come from Washington, which has opposed any talk of timetables, or of amnesty for insurgents who have attacked American soldiers.


The plan also calls for a withdrawal timetable for coalition forces from Iraq, but it doesn’t specify an actual date—one of the Sunnis’ key demands. It calls for “the necessity of agreeing on a timetable under conditions that take into account the formation of Iraqi armed forces so as to guarantee Iraq’s security,” and asks that a U.N. Security Council decree confirm the timetable. Mahmoud Othman, a National Assembly member who is close to President Talabani, said that no one disagrees with the concept of a broad, conditions-based timetable. The problem is specifying a date, which the United States has rejected as playing into the insurgents’ hands. But Othman didn’t rule out that reconciliation negotiations called for in the plan might well lead to setting a date. “That will be a problem between the Iraqi government and the other side [the insurgents], and we will see how it goes. It’s not very clear yet.”

It may surprise you to learn that Iraqi government officials have been in contact with several of the larger insurgent groups for months. Since many of the major Sunni rebel groups are made up of men with tribal and clan loyalties, negotiators have been hard pressed to get a consensus among so many disparate groups. Apparently the ex-Baathists are one of the largest if not the largest insurgent group and are also being difficult although holding out the bait of political participation (making the party legal again) could work in Maliki’s favor.

But what will Washington do? In the end, Bush will have little choice in the matter. When the Iraqis ask us to leave and set the conditions for that to happen, we can hardly say no. Yes, we can push for a more limited amnesty and for more flexibility in the timetable. But resisting a pullout at this point just doesn’t make sense.

The President should schedule either a press conference or an oval office address for Monday or Tuesday at the latest. It’s not like they haven’t been kept fully informed of what has been going on so our response should be immediate. And Bush should take the opportunity to come out and say flatly that this is the path to victory. Not only would it undercut his critics, but he should carefully take the time to explain how this is different than the proposals made by the cut and run Democrats who were so soundly defeated in the Senate last week.

The insurgency is only part of the problem, of course. Al Qaeda in Iraq will not give up no matter what most Sunni groups end up doing. And then there are the lawless gangs of thugs who run large sections of Baghdad and some of the larger cities, making citizens pay them protection and running kidnapping rackets as well as engaging in murder for hire and other crimes of violence. This is a law enforcement problem that can be tackled vigorously once most of the police are freed up from concentrating on stopping insurgent and terrorist attacks.

And Prime Minister Maliki seems to have his priorities straight:

Maliki’s reconciliation plan will undoubtedly be the subject of protracted discussions, and not everyone in the Iraqi government is pleased with it. The document also calls for bringing militias and “death squads” under control—a provision which the powerful Shia party, SCIRI, is not happy with, because it effectively equates militias with the insurgents. Maliki is also Shia but from the Dawa party. And Sunnis, for their part, are reluctant to renounce the insurgency when they are still threatened by Shia militias, and by Shia-dominated police. “The Sunnis have only one card to play, the insurgency,” says the senior coalition official. “They don’t have enough population and they’re not sitting on any of the resources. Therefore their political identity is almost entirely defined by the insurgency.”

Breaking that Shia/Sunni impasse won’t be easy. But as the U.S. ambassador says, “Every war must come to an end,” and few on any side in Iraq any longer believe they can kill their way to peace. The only alternative is to try to talk their way there.

Peace. Victory. And with some hard negotiating along with a little luck vouchsafed by a just and merciful Providence, our boys and girls can come home in triumph.


Josh Marshall has an intelligent view from the left:

Not just the departure of American troops at some distant and unspecified point in the future when everything in Iraq has calmed down and it’s a fun place to live, but having it begin to unfold in the here and now. That accomplishes two things—it begins to lance the boil of foreign occupation and it forces the Iraqis themselves to start taking steps to run and control the country themselves. This would have to take place as part of a political program of national reconciliation as Prime Minister Maliki is proposing.

Am I sure this will work? Not at all. As I’ve written at various points over the last couple years, this is the root irony and tragedy of the situation we’ve gotten ourselves into in Iraq. We are both the glue holding the country together and the solvent tearing it apart.

Marshall draws an erroneous conclusion I believe when he states that Bush won’t take the deal because he is seeking to pass the problem along to a predecessor. I think if Bush is half the politician I think he is, he will jump at this chance to end our involvement in this problematic war. And while there’s no doubt that the Iraqis will request a residual “trip wire” force of perhaps 10 or 20 thousand men remain to prevent foreign adventurism, I think that troop drawdowns starting in late summer or early fall will take the Iraq War off the political menu for the Democrats.

This doesn’t mean they still can’t take over the House. But it may bring home just enough of the President’s base to allow Republicans to squeak their way to victory in November.

By: Rick Moran at 6:23 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (11)


I refuse to take a back seat to anyone in my support for constitutional principles. No lefty, no privacy advocate, no civil liberties absolutist, and certainly no smarmy, self righteous, sickeningly smug Executive Editor of a newspaper like the New York Times and its cowardly editor Bill Keller can look me in the eye and accuse me of less. Those who question my support for those principles know nothing of me, my past, my passions nor my sincerity.

I have questioned many of this Administration’s anti-terrorist measures and am troubled by the accumulation of power by the executive branch – a process, I might add, that both the President and Vice President have stated on numerous public occasions their intent to justify and continue. They have made no secret of their goal to, in their words, “bring the constitution back in balance,” a state of affairs they attribute to the stripping of executive power by Congress following Watergate. I look at these statements and some of their actions with the jaundiced eye of a conservative who remembers what untrammelled executive power is capable of when used by men whose primary goal is not preservation of the nation but preservation of their own personal, privileged positions in power.

I have wrestled with with these issues on a case by case basis as any thinking American should. This lets out the overwhelming majority of liberals whose knees automatically jerk and whose heads explode with every revelation of government trying to figure out if there is someone out there trying to blow me to smithereens. They are not serious people and should never, ever be trusted with anything more important to national security than running the local YMCA.

This most recent attempt by the New York Times and others to throw a body block against the Administration to spring al-Qaeda for an open field run at the United States is so far beyond the pale that any attempt to justify their actions only reveals them to be as clueless about national security as they are partisan in their political beliefs.

Indeed, this jaw dropping “explanation” by Times Executive Editor Bill Keller reaches heights of hubris and arrogance not seen since the days of Hearst, McCormick, and other press barons who believed they, not the elected representatives of the people, ran the country:

Bill Keller, the newspaper’s executive editor, said: “We have listened closely to the administration’s arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest.”

There are many, many things “in the public interest” that I would love to see splattered all over the front pages of the Times. For instance, I would find it irresistible to know what was in the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) from the CIA each day, wouldn’t you? I would love a transcript of the private briefing listened to by the President. What questions did he ask? What were the spook’s sources? And while we’re at it, I would find it fascinating to get the CIA’s take on the situation inside Syria or what’s the real scoop on President Ahmadinejad of Iran. Is he really as loony as he sounds? Or is it all an act?

Talk about “public interest!” The Times would sell a gazillion copies if they printed that stuff. Of course, I’m not saying the Times is quite so irresponsible as all that. But the point needs answering.

Where does one draw the line on “public interest?” Does the Times have the obligation to disclose its internal debates that went into the decision to out this particular program? Do its editors and writers have an obligation to fan out and appear in public forums like the cable nets and talk radio shows to explain their rationale for publicizing a program that even they admit in their 5,000 word article is legal?

Keller is a coward. And his refusal to appear on shows like Hugh Hewitt’s program only leaves the impression that he knows what he did is unjustifiable under any doctrine that includes “the public’s right to know” or that the Times was acting in the even more problematic “public interest.” The reporters on the piece are less responsible but should still demonstrate a little backbone and come out from behind the Time’s firewall and explain themselves.

Patterico wrestles with the legal implications:

As to the separate question of whether these folks can and/or should be criminally prosecuted, I haven’t made up my mind. I lean toward the conclusion that prosecutions are possible and wise. But it’s not as obvious as you might think. In the context of the current situation, the answer may seem obvious. But it is easy to imagine other situations where it is not.

The boys at Powerline are much more certain about what should be done:

It is unfortunately past time for the Bush administration to enforce the laws of the United States against the New York Times. The Times and its likeminded media colleagues will undoubtedly continue to undermine and betray the national security of the United States until they are taught that they are subject to the same laws that govern the conduct of ordinary citizens, or until an enraged citizenry decides, like Bill Keller, to take the law into its own hands and express its disagreement some other way.

From a purely practical point of view, making Keller and the Times reporters do the perp walk would cause a constitutional crisis no matter how “legal” the prosecutions would be or how justifiable they would be under the present circumstances. Nearly every media outlet in the country would condemn it and it would certainly set off a Congressional row. It may actually end up being much more trouble than those gentlemen are worth. In fact, the prosecutions may have the opposite effect that Powerline envisions. Just to prove how brave they are, journalists would take it upon themselves perhaps to publish all sorts of classified information, daring the Department of Justice to prosecute them.

What we can do is being done – flood their inboxes with mail and condemn their actions with all the moral outrage we can muster. It won’t change a thing with regards to this story. But it may make Keller and the Times think a little harder next time about publishing national security secrets.


Patterico has cancelled his subscription to the Los Angeles Times, one of three papers who broke the story yesterday. The other two were the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal.

He pointed out to the subscription specialist who tried to talk him out of cancelling that he wasn’t doing it because he disagreed with the newspaper. And anyone who has read Patterico’s year end summaries of what the LA Times has done knows that he has plenty of ammunition there. Rather, he cancelled because he cannot abide by the paper’s decision to publish details of the top secret program:

I told the man that officials from the Bush Administration had begged the newspaper’s editors not to print this story, but the editors ran the story anyway. I told him that I think publishing the story was completely irresponsible, totally lacking in any justification, and has posed a threat to the safety of our country. And I just can’t continue to subscribe to a newspaper that would do such a thing.

This is another way to make newspapers think twice about publishing such stories. Hopefully, many more will follow his example.

By: Rick Moran at 8:15 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (24)

Stop The ACLU linked with ACLU Says Government Spying on Bank Records is Further Abuse of Power
Pro Cynic linked with Ripfest
CATEGORY: Blogging, Politics

This article originally appears in The American Thinker

There are many observers of the New Media who believe that blogs or other on-line communities will one day replace the mainstream media as the best way to transmit news and information to the American public. The rationale behind this revolution is that collectively speaking, bloggers are wiser, less prone to error, and when that error is discovered, ruthless in correcting the mistake.

The key, as new media herald Jeff Jarvis preaches, is content. With millions of on-line participants in the process, content will cease to be of paramount importance and instead, the community itself will emerge as both arbiter and disseminator of what we now consider “news.” No more gatekeepers. No more “reporters.” In this brave new world, the act of sharing information itself through “linking” and other technological innovations will supplant the old paradigm of a small elite who writes, edits, and prints (or broadcasts) the news.

I have tremendous respect for Jarvis and others of his ilk who have devoted considerable thought to the new media and where it might be headed. And in the end, he may be proved a true prophet of the new age, a voice in the wilderness who pointed the way toward a bright future of citizen participation in the political conversation of the nation as we’ve never seen before.

Frankly, I don’t buy it. And judging by the burgeoning controversy surrounding Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos, the biggest liberal blogger on the planet, we may in fact be witnessing something of an earthquake that will alter the blogging landscape, changing the public’s perception of these on-line journals from fiercely partisan, independent voices to little more than pale echoes of the political parties they support.

More than 50 million Americans get most of their news and information from the internet with 13 million people counting themselves as readers of blogs. What makes politicians salivate about bloggers and blog readers is simple; they are comparatively rich. Surveys show that 43% of this group make over $90,000, with almost 70% enjoying annual incomes in excess of $50,000.With that kind of money to be had for the taking, insiders from both parties have begun to reach out to bloggers in earnest. And it isn’t just politicians. Adapting the adage “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” mainstream media outlets have begun to cater to bloggers as well. Most on-line editions of major newspapers now feature one or more blogs of their own as well as blog friendly features like tags for articles that help with identifying issues as well as listings on blog aggregators like Technorati.

The result of all this attention has been a phenomenal increase in advertising revenues for bloggers from a variety of sources. Herein lies the makings of controversy for Kos and I suspect other influential bloggers. All of that ad revenue has brought increased scrutiny of the Daily Kos universe by the mainstream press. And what they are beginning to uncover smacks of influence peddling, “pay for play” by politicians on the Kos website, and perhaps most interestingly, a network made up of the biggest, most influential liberal blogs with Moulitsis himself cracking the whip and ruthlessly enforcing a kind of orthodoxy of thought thanks to his control of a liberal ad network to which bloggers subscribe.

As with any media story, one must look at the sources and motivations of the people and outlets digging up this kind of dirt. If these revelations came only from right wing media outlets or talk radio, they could be more easily dismissed as just part of the normal background noise indicative of the usual partisan bickering. But some of what is being reported comes from the nominally liberal New Republic and the New York Times – hardly bastions of the right wing noise machine. And the details that are emerging, while revealing nothing illegal, certainly call into question Mr. Moulitsas’ ethics and thus, the ethics of all bloggers.

The controversy centers mostly around Moulitsas’ relationship with his friend, business partner, and recent co-author Jerome Armstrong. As the conservative site RedState has reported, there appears to be a correlation between candidates who hire Armstrong to work on their campaigns and favorable attention paid to those candidates on Daily Kos, a blog that garners more than 500,000 readers a day. Normally, this wouldn’t raise many eyebrows. Kos himself worked for the Howard Dean campaign and fully disclosed the fact that he was being compensated by the candidate. But what has some tongues wagging is Kos’s apparent support for the Presidential aspirations of Virginia Governor Mark Warner, a moderate Democrat who recently hired Armstrong as an internet consultant.

Further, during the recent YearlyKos convention in Las Vegas, Governor Warner spent a reported $50,000 on an open bar reception for attendees while delivering a rousing speech denouncing President Bush and the Republicans. Moulitsas, whose support of far left candidates have included other Armstrong clients like Representative Sherrod Brown who is running against Senator Mike DeWine in Ohio, has recently said that the moderate Governor Warner “bears watching” while praising his electability for President.

There is no evidence that any money changed hands between Armstrong and Moulitsas as a quid pro quo for pimping Brown, Warner, or any other politician’s candidacy on the Daily Kos website. But the appearance of impropriety is there. And legitimate questions arise in this regard when examining the background of Jerome Armstrong and his history with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a complex stock touting scheme, Armstrong was paid $20,000 to push a stock on investment message boards without disclosing he was being paid to do so. The SEC got Armstrong to cease his activities on behalf of the stock and had him agree to a permanent injunction that forbade him from touting stocks in the future. In addition, the SEC is still considering whether or not to levy monetary penalties against him.

The connection between Armstrong’s stock touting and Kos’s candidate pimping is made by RedState:

It’s hard to say that Armstrong’s conduct in the BluePoint case can be separated from his employment by the Warner campaign – if anything, what he did in 2000 bears a striking resemblance to what numerous people have noted in the netroots with candidates: money goes to Armstrong, and hype emerges around his favored candidates, and – if the Howard Dean campaign is any indication – what’s left at the end is a bunch of promoters and consultants who made a bunch of money and an audience of true believers who got left with nothing. In other words, it appears that Warner may be using Armstrong for a function similar to one which ran Armstrong afoul of the law in the first place.

If this were Moulitsas’ only problem, he could probably brush it off as a media campaign carried out by conservatives to discredit him. But the revelations about an email list of top liberal bloggers with Moulitsas as putative leader, as well as his board membership on the top liberal blogad network, could really have an impact on his credibility outside of his leftist readership.

The New Republic’s Jason Zengerle has uncovered a network of liberal bloggers who keep in touch through an email list known as “Townhouse” and who, according to Zengerle, coordinate their blog activities. He quotes from an email sent by Kos about the Armstrong controversy where Kos asks the group to keep quiet about it:

My request to you guys is that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story. Then, once Jerome can speak and defend himself, then I’ll go on the offensive (which is when I would file any lawsuits) and anyone can pile on. If any of us blog on this right now, we fuel the story. Let’s starve it of oxygen. And without the “he said, she said” element to the story, you know political journalists are paralyzed into inaction.

Thanks, markos

This kind of coordination in and of itself is not shocking. What is apparently out of the ordinary is the fact that Moulitsas sits on the board of directors of an blog advertising group known as Advertising Liberally, a group that pays liberal bloggers for ads.

Along with Armstrong and MyDD’s Chris Bowers, Kos runs a BlogAds advertising network called Advertising Liberally, to which a number of “Townhouse” members belong. (If you want a fuller understanding of how BlogAds advertising networks operate, and how they allow lower-traffic blogs to gain more clout with advertisers by combining their traffic, read this piece.) Therefore, Kos (along with Armstrong and Bowers) gets to decide which blogs belong—and don’t belong—to Advertising Liberally, which means a lot of these blogs’ financial health hinges upon staying in Kos’s good graces. Is it any wonder they’re so obedient?

That may be true, although from my own personal experience, very, very few people are going to get rich by featuring advertising on their blogs. That said, it is the appearance of control that is the issue here. And even though there may be some bloggers on the Townhouse list who have criticized Moulitsas in the past and not suffered any consequences, there is the very real possibility that many of the smaller liberal blogs would feel compelled not to upset their blog patron lest they lose whatever meager earnings they squeeze out of their websites, or their imaginative dreams of future success as a major blogger.

In short, this is not so much Kos cracking the whip to keep people in line but rather the reluctance of many on the left to challenge his position and authority.

From my own perspective as a blogger, I think that while appearances are important, Moulitsas has done nothing wrong nor has he operated in an unethical manner. The email list is titillating but hardly the stuff of conspiracy. And as far as the blogad controversy, unless your blog has a fairly large presence, your remuneration will be so small that most bloggers wouldn’t think twice about speaking their mind if they believed Kos was wrong. The threat of Moulitsas pulling their ads is therefore not credible.

What all of this does point to is the imminent demise of blogs as we have come to know and love them. Blogs are about ready to hit the big time. It is expected that most competitive campaigns will spend tens of millions of dollars on internet advertising before the November elections, a large chunk of that on political blogs. What will all of this money do to Blogland?

We will probably see a stratification process as money flows to larger blogs and smaller websites scrambling for the remainder while the owners harbor dreams of making it big. And this presents a whole series of problems with blogs themselves and what we who write them are becoming.

In order to get a nice chunk of that ad money, smaller sites must grow. And the surest way to grow one’s blog is by being a good writer and participating in controversy. I don’t deny that one of my motivations for writing this piece is that people who read this site and others are interested in the Kos case. But what this kind of thinking reveals on my part and on the part of political bloggers in general is a thirst for the controversies and scandals that rock politics on a regular basis and appeal to the lowest common denominator in readership.

In this respect, we are little better than the “old” media in that the drive for readership and notoriety is becoming paramount. Gone are the days when many of us simply blogged for the sake of writing and sharing information. And while there are still thousands of bloggers who enjoy blogging for its own sake, for many of us, it has become a competitive enterprise, a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

Will success spoil the blog and the blogger? Even if it does, there will be someone and something to take its place. The only thing we can be certain of is that the pace of change in this on-line world is greater than in any other mass medium in history. Where it will be five years from now is anyone’s guess.

blog posts on Kos at The Truth Laid Bear

By: Rick Moran at 10:14 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)