Tonight on Virtually Speaking Sundays, political & social analysts digby and Marcy Wheeler consider Aaron Swartz, DOJ, WikiLeaks and PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records); Colin Powell, John Brennan and the CIA, Chuck Hagel and DoD. Jay Ackroyd moderated. They were outstanding! Follow @digby56 @emptywheel @Bobblespeak @JayAckroyd Listen here.
The VS Media Panel: Avedon Carol, Cliff Schecter, Dave Dayen, Dave Johnson, Dave Waldman, Digby, Gaius Publius, Joan McCarter, Marcy Wheeler and Stuart Zechman.
Each Sunday, political satirist Culture of Truth tracks the Sunday Morning ‘News’ Shows, particularly Meet the Press. In The Bobblespeak Translations he gives us a laugh-out-loud, perceptive rundown, capturing “What They’re Really Saying When They’re Saying What They’re Saying.” Then, for Virtually Speaking Sundays, CoT crafts a short audio commentary, read aloud by one of several readers and capturing the most most ridiculous moment from Meet the Press. We run them as a bottom-of-the-hour segment during our Sunday shows and then at midnight eastern, I post them as stand-alone audio.
I’m Culture of Truth,
The Sunday talk shows began on a humorous note, as George Stephanopoulos played a clip from the movie “Lincoln” showing brave statesmen voting for the 13th Amendment, and said the film quote “shows Congressman Clay Hawkins and others breaking with their party to oppose slavery, inspiration perhaps for our next guests, the new chairs of the No Labels movement, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.” unquote
After this unintentionally hilarious introduction, the two No Labels gentlemen of course refused to take a position on anything, except to assure viewers concerned about gun violence that both men quote “have been shooting since we were 5 or 6 years old,” unquote, and that Manchin will introduce a bill with conservative John McCain and liberal Joe Lieberman to put together a commission on mass violence, but that he can also quote “guarantee you there will not be an encroachment on your Second Amendment rights” unquote.
On Meet The Press, Mike Murphy said he was quote “puzzled” by the fact that President Obama’s pick to be Secretary of Defense has been called contentious, and also puzzled that there will also be a fight over Jack Lew, who he admitted is “totally qualified to be treasury secretary” unquote. Mike Murphy and Haley Barbour and Andrea Mitchell all pronounced themselves very confused and troubled as to why the President is nominating people he agrees with and not more conservative Republicans.
Colin Powell assured David Gregory that he is still a Republican, but observed quote that “There’s also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the Party,” unquote.
Gregory expressed fear that with possible spending cuts, quote “we’re on the brink of creating a hollow force.” and asked “Would a Secretary of Defense Hagel preside over the hollowing out of the Defense Department?”
Powell reminded him that people worried about defense spending cuts quote “are the same people who are saying we have got to cut spending,” unquote
Powell blamed the invasion of Iraq on the CIA, saying quote “We subsequently found out that a lot of that information was not accurate and that is very unfortunate but that’s the way it unfolded,” but then a minute later said the war quote “was the correct thing to do and it was well supported by the intelligence.” unquote
But the most troubling moment came in a a discussion of torture. Gregory asked, quote “To the extent that enhanced interrogation techniques played some role in tracking down the courier which led to bin Laden, and I choose my words carefully, do the ends justify the means?” unquote
Powell argued that the military never committed waterboarding or other acts known to be torture, and said quote “we can’t be a nation that is lawless. We cannot be a nation that simply ignores our obligations to ourselves, our obligations to our constitution, our obligations to our own moral standing in the world.” unquote
Without missing a beat, as if he did not hear a single word Powell said, Gregory responded quote: “But the ends justify the means if you get bin Laden in the end?”
David Gregory usually invites classic centrist guests who will agree with his centrist Beltway views, but even if he has a guest who disagrees with this worldview, he either doesn’t hear it, or his brain simply cannot process any deviation from orthodoxy, especially one as fundamental as the idea that the ends justify the means. And that’s the most ridiculous thing that happened this Sunday.