I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Various matters

(1) Marty Lederman has some interesting thoughts on the testimony yesterday of former Bush Justice Department official David Kris. Video excerpts of Kris' testimony can be seen here.

(2) Marty's co-blogger, Jack Balkin, has posted a thorough analysis of the Hamdan Oral Argument before the Supreme Court yesterday.

(3) It turns out that the editor of Ramesh Ponnuru's new book, Party of Death, is none other than serial plagiarist Ben Domenech (Digby has an incisive and rather hilarious analysis of Ponnuru's new book here).

The striking aspect of this story, among others, is that Ponnuru defended Domenech in The Corner at the height of the controversy over Domenech's selection as a blogger without disclosing his personal relationship to Domenech, misleading his readers into believing that he was commenting objectively on the anti-Domenech accusations. I explained my thinking on this blatant conflict of interest -- the nondisclosure of which is indisputably unethical -- in an e-mail to Jane Hamsher, who has been covering the Ponnuru-Domenech relationship and wrote about the issue, including my e-mail, here.

(4) The L.A. Times article which reported on the identity of Ponnuru's editor is highly worth reading, as it provides a compelling antidote against the increasingly accepted premise that the blogosphere is filled with crazed, irresponsible, fringe radicals who are free of substance and ought to be ignored. As the article demonstrates, in the Domenech case (as is frequently the case), the blogosphere performed an invaluable function of uncovering what ought to have discovered but failed to -- namely, the serial plagiarism of its new paid blogger.

As I have written about before (and wish I could write more about right now), so much of the resentment towards the blogosphere and the accusations of "irresponsibility" come from establishment journalists who have grown accustomed to being unchallenged and never being held accountable. They deeply resent the accountability which the blogosphere presents, and ironically, the accusations of irresponsibility against the blogosphere grow in proportion to the blogosphere's effectiveness in exposing the corruption and error which underlies so much of what the establishment media does. It is refreshing and encouraging -- as well as, I believe, a sign of what is to come much more frequently -- to see the substance and value of the blogosphere recognized in a newspaper like The Los Angeles Times.

(5) Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson, in a post entitled "Put Out More Flags," links approvingly to Mickey Kaus' protests over the display of Mexican flags at the immigration rally in California last week, and Kaus' related protest over the downplaying of this information by the Los Angeles Times. There have been many similar objections raised concerning the presence of Mexican flags at these rallies -- including, notably, by Big Trunk himself, who objected the day after the rally to the waving of the Mexican flag by a march participant and said: "I can't think of many things more likely to increase support for enforcing existing immigration law than the march of the illegals that took place in Los Angeles."

But there is one thing I couldn't help but notice -- that is, right next to Johnson's posts, and on the front page of Powerline, is an American flag, and right under it is an Israeli flag. I've never heard any of the people who protested the display of the Mexican flag object to that, and Johnson himself, who seems to find it objectionable to display the Mexican flag, seems to think it's perfectly appropriate to fly the Israeli flag.

Is there really some meaningful, rational distinction that can be drawn beteween these two acts? On what possible basis can one condemn the waving of a Mexican flag in the U.S. but think that it's pefectly appropriate and unobjectionable to wave the flag of some other country, such as Israel? Once a year, at least in Manhattan, there is an event called the "Israel Day Parade," in which tens of thousands of people parade through Manhattan waiving Israeli flags. Here's a representative picture of what it looks like:

How come Big Trunk, Michelle Malkin, and Mickey Kaus aren't objecting to that? Just to be clear - I am not arguing that it's proper to display Mexican flags or improper to display Israeli flags. I just don't see the rationale -- at all -- that would allow people such as Big Trunk to object to one while not only approving of, but engaging in, the other.

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