Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pleasures of the Web

BlogCCP is a new political blog based in Kansas City, and it shows signs of being the logical replacement for the short-lived BuzzBlog as a place for political-types to gather and chatter amongst themselves.

In the past few days, it has featured Phil Cardarella (local attorney, defendant in an almost-definitely-politically-inspired mortgage fraud case, and spouse of former Jackson County Executive Katheryn Shields) writing about the Justice Department, and local attorney Dale Youngs pointing out the hypocrisy of attacks on the Missouri Judicial system by Big Tobacco's state representative, Bryan Pratt. High-level writers, writing on important topics, with a developing group of great commenters.

And if politics isn't your thing on this 4th of July, maybe you'll enjoy the fascinating and odd story of Bummer and Lazarus.


Anonymous the nitwit said...

OMG, Dan, could you be anymore of a joke. Cardarella and Shields as political martyrs? And I thought your defense of Funk was a joke. I'm not sure if we should laugh at you or cry for you now.

7/04/2007 4:19 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Political martyrs? Did I say that?

7/04/2007 4:21 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Oh, wait, that's right, you only know how to split hairs, don't you? My apologies for interpreting what you were clearly implying even though you didn't explicitly say it.

7/04/2007 4:34 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Phil and Katheryn, two of KC's more prominent Democrats, are prosecuted a few days before an election by a thoroughly discredited US Attorney's office - discredited by politicization of the office. Those are the simple facts. No hair splitting involved. I said that the prosecution was almost certainly politically motivated, and I believe that it was. You're free to ignore them - for that matter, you're free to laugh or cry for me. Your comments are becoming irrelevant and annoying, and much more likely to be simply ignored, until you start coming up with something other than vitriol and flawed logic.

7/04/2007 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Keith Sader said...

Dan, Dan, Dan.

How long have you been on the internet?

Vitriol and flawed logic are part and parcel of the blog-commenter's arsenal of idiocy.

7/05/2007 8:49 AM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

I'm actually thinking of changing the name of my blog to "Vitriol and Flawed Logic".

I think it more accurately describes what visitors will find there.

7/05/2007 8:55 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Wow Dan, you actually used the word "discredited" in a sentence to DEFEND Katheryn Shields? Now there's a lark. Oh, and how many ways did you misfire in that very same sentence:

1. You said Shields and Cardarella were "prosecuted a few days before an election." Wrong. The indictment came down within days of Shields announcement for mayor, but roughly two full months before the primary election itself. The investigation and prosecution would have been in the works well before that, and as I recall, the indictment itself was expected. So much for the "simple facts" as you claimed.

2. You also say the KC U.S. Attorney's office has been "thoroughly discredited." Wrong again. The timing of a single set of indictments in the ACORN case has drawn much deserved scrutiny. However, the indictments themselves (with the exception of one that was made against the wrong person) have clearly held up and have led to convictions. That's hardly thorough.

3. Additionally, your claim the office has been "discredited by politicization" is overstating things. The ex-U.S. Attorney in question, Bradley Schlozman, has again had serious questions raised, but that hardly means every single indictment brought by his office during his tenure is in question. That's overstating the facts. I think Schlozman is crooked as as loon, but I believe the career staff in that office deserve a little more credit than that.

4. You call Shields and Cardarella "two of KC's more prominent Democrats." Notorious might be a better word. Shields became an embarrassment, and there's no way she would have won the mayor's race with or without the indictment. In fact, the indictment itself probably had no more than a marginal impact on her support at the polls at best. The idea that a U.S. Attorney would prosecute a political dead donkey and a lame duck to boot makes no sense at all. Getting "vote fraud" into the papers days before the Talent-McCaskill race adds up; indicting the unelectable Shields two months before the mayoral primary doesn't.

Finally, you Funk supporters kept promising us that he would bring a "breath of fresh air" to City Hall. Well, guess what? That's precisely what we've seen that with Mike Sanders. Unlike Shields, he's been a businesslike leader who is getting things done for Jackson County, rather than just for himself. My only major criticism of him is why he's waited so long to hold a public work-party where we can all take turns painting over that God-awful mural of Queen Katheryn.

Regardless of the exact words you used, Dan, the clear and obvious implication you were making is that Shields and Cardarella are victims of a political crucifixion. For anyone who has watched Jackson County politics in recent years, it's pretty hard to read that without bursting out in guffaws.

7/05/2007 9:13 AM  
Blogger les said...

nitwit, it's nice to see a commenter who's honest with his/her screen name. "Splitting hairs", while you don't like "few days?" Spare me. A DOJ hatchet man is subbed into the US atty. job, under a provision that the honorable Phil Specter, whose amendment it was, claims no knowledge of; in the midst of a national pattern of bogus voter fraud cases and prosecutions of Dems; timed to release slime and innuendo through the campaign, right up until a few days before the election; then the USA is whisked back to Washington, and is clearly involved in the politicization of the DOJ; and you can't see political maneuvering? Even if the charges stick--which we don't know yet--if you think the timing was not political, you are indeed a foolish nitwit.

7/05/2007 9:59 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

The "honorable Phil Specter"? What does the Prince of Pop, the Golden Boy of the Brill Building, and a man indicted of murder have to do with the DoJ? Oh wait, did you mean Arlen Specter, the Senator from Pennsylvania and the man who brought us the single-gun theory?

That foolishness aside, I never said Schlozman or the DoJ are unblemished. Indeed, as I said, I believe Schlozman is crooked, but the assertion by some Democrats in this town that Shields is a victim is laughable.

If anyone (you or Dan or hell, even KC's newest blogger, Cardarella himself) wants to put together a rationale for DoJ to politically target Shields let's hear it. Other than the fact that she's a Democrat (and as a proud member of the party that makes me cringe) let's hear any plausible case for why Schlozman, Rove or any other Republican would waste their time trumping up a political indictment against a politician who has been even more discredited than Attorney General Gonzalez or Schlozman.

7/05/2007 10:14 AM  
Blogger les said...

"let's hear any plausible case for why Schlozman, Rove or any other Republican would waste their time trumping up a political indictment against a politician who has been even more discredited than Attorney General Gonzalez or Schlozman."

It's what they do, nitwit. They attack Dems at any opportunity, and they fire US attorney's who don't go along. Nobody said they were competent about it.

7/05/2007 10:36 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Sorry Les, to have a conspiracy theory you need to have both a conspiracy or a theory. Right now you don't have either. Just saying "Republicans are bad" isn't enough.

I'd at least expect you to implicate Lieber and Stoller or Carole King as co-conspirators. Or do you think this is more a case of the Ronettes gone wrong?

7/05/2007 11:38 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Sure to spur scorn on this site, I will never believe Acorn didn't knowingly register multiple, ineligible voters all over the friggin U.S. Not to mention, other democratic criminal activities, like slashing tires of republican get-out-vote vehicles in Wisconsin (where sister and brother were working Repub headquarters there at the time)..

And, guilty pleadings kinda speak for themselves. So, sob story about wrongful political motives doesn't work with me. Show me some proof of that they weren't guilty in the Missouri case and I'll listen.

7/05/2007 1:16 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Travelingual, ACORN was too sloppy and lax in its supervision of the folks collecting the registrations, but they fully cooperated in the investigation and worked to make sure these folks got busted. ACORN needs to do a better job to prevent this in the future, but I don't think anyone has credibly suggested that this was anything but some bad seeds taking advantage of ACORN.

7/05/2007 2:51 PM  
Blogger Waldo Oiseau said...

What an interesting and odd tale (tail?) of Bummer & Lazarus! Where DO you find this stuff? :)

7/05/2007 3:06 PM  
Blogger les said...

"Sorry Les, to have a conspiracy theory you need to have both a conspiracy or a theory. Right now you don't have either. Just saying "Republicans are bad" isn't enough."

If newspapers are hard to come by where you live, and nobody broadcasts CSPAN, check out if you really don't know what's up at DOJ. I suppose you can split more hairs about what constitutes a conspiracy; call it DOJ policy to politicize the department, US attorneys and the conduct of prosecutions if it makes you feel better. That you don't like Shields--and I don't, particularly--or care to call her victim is irrelevant to whether Schlotzman initiated the prosecution for political reasons.

My apologies for the inadvertent connection of Phil to this slime pit; Arlen is, of course, the deserving denizen.

7/05/2007 5:43 PM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Les, I'm well aware of the DoJ stuff. It's the Phil and Katheryn charade that's lacking any evidence beyond "they're Democrats." Believe me, I know more than enough about Gonzo and the Schloz to fill a book. I'm willing to bet I know more than you.

But what, do tell, other than the fact that they're prominent/notorious Democrats, can you offer up as a reason why Gonzo and the Schloz would have targeted poor, poor Katheryn and Phil. Anything?

7/05/2007 6:30 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

Jesus Fucking Christ. Just drop trou, lay them on the table, we'll measure them and declare a wiener!

This is why I avoid local politics and why I don't care who my mayor is.

It's the "big fish in a little bowl" syndrome.

Little bitty tiny fishies swimming around in their glass bowls pretending to be ocean prowling, predatory Great Whites.

They sieze on some inconsequential local political fiasco and they go at it like they are Woodward and Bernstien going after Nixon.

NOBODY GIVES A FUCK! It's just a big City Hall Circle Jerk.

American soldiers are dying in Iraq over a pack of lies and you all are pissing and moaning about Park Board appointments and local cut-throat, Pendergastish politics.

There are more important things in this world than Jabba the Sheilds and Frau Semler.

7/05/2007 7:42 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

While I agree with your sentiment, Xavier, I'd like to point out that an individual can contribute a lot more, and have actual impact and influence, on local political issues.

Much more so than on national issues.

7/05/2007 9:51 PM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

mainstream - "I'd like to point out that an individual can contribute a lot more, and have actual impact and influence, on local political issues."

That is certainly the fantasy that fuels many local bloggers and commenters who seem to take themselves and each other WAY to seriously.

I would suggest that any post or comment made under a moniker like "anonymous", "nitwit" or "SaveYer OwnAsses" will be taken with the seriousness and gravitas that it deserves.

If you want to make a difference in local politics, then stand forth as a Real Individual (like, for instance, Mark Forsythe or Mayor Funkhouser, or Joe Miller), submit yourself to Public Scrutiny, lay forth your curriculum vitae, make the case that you are someone who should be taken seriously and present your ideas to the electorate.

But if, like me, you prefer to simply have a section of bandwidth to rant and fume your rage without being taken seriously, then blog on.

But please, don't confuse the two.

7/05/2007 10:15 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

"lay forth your curriculum vitae" ??

How do I do that? It's in latin, a dead language which I don't know, and you might of have just insulted me.

I'm not exactly sure.

"lay forth your curriculum vitae" ?? That's up here with Phil Carderella's "How delicious" quote on CCCP Blogorooski.

That's cute the way you present Joe Miller as an almost-founding-father of this city, when in fact he's a toddler riding out of control on a tricycle downhill.

And the person who plopped him on the bike, and gave him little shove?

Might as well have been you, XO.

7/05/2007 11:05 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Nitwit -

Good work! Your comment at 9:13 yesterday showed a thought process, and you even found some factual flaws in what I had written. It's great to see you bring something other than insults and illogic.

I think Les does a fine job of demonstrating that, in fact, the USA office, nationally and locally, has been transformed from a politically neutral, professional organization into a Keystone cops of rightwing bias - and that applies particularly well to the local office. It's a pretty well-established rule among legal circles that if you are dealing with someone who's been there since before Bush, you can presume they are competent, but no such presumption applies to those brought in after Bush. And that's a damned shame, because there are some great people there.

XO - I disagree with your disdain for local politics. It's easier to get to know a lot of these people personally, and have some influence, if that's your thing. And there are matters that matter to be worked on. You're correct, however, about some people taking themselves WAY too seriously, and I also see some people turning needlessly cruel. But I think that's been going on ever since cave times . . .

7/06/2007 6:59 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Dan, I've been bringing logic and reason all along, but (and I honestly mean this as a critique rather than a slam -- kudos to you if you can take it as food for thought) you're too often blinded by your own bias to see what others are saying when they disagree with you. You also too often get caught up in petty nuances rather than the broader issues. Oh, and by the by, you dish more than your share of insults too. Now I'm hardly innocent on any of those marks, but I'm not the one playing host here, am I?

As far as Les's points on the DoJ, no duh. We all know there are problems there, and we all know there were some questions about Schlozman's TIMING with the ACORN indictments. But unless you're seriously suggesting that every indictment he delivered and every conviction the office won under him is inherently suspect, then you cannot just throw out a statement like you did on the Cardarella and Shields indictment without backing it up with something. With anything.

To date, all that's been put out there is the "victim of a political witchhunt" line from Phil and Queen Katheryn and some of their supporters, as they wrap themselves up in the USA scandal. Sorry, but it doesn't add up, and it's not as if there hasn't been an ethical cloud hanging over Shields for a long time.

So, unless you or Les or anyone else want to offer up an ounce of evidence or present a theory that explains why the DoJ would have targeted them other than the fact that they are Democrats, then that line will be viewed by me, and my most of Kansas City as a joke without a punchline.

As far as XO's abdication of all things local, I'll second Dan's argument, but I'll also add that local issues more directly impact your life than the national ones. I'll probably never know anyone personally who's locked up in Gitmo or whose CIA cover gets blown by a White House insider. But the lousy roads, sewers, public schools, and so on are a part of my every day reality. I'm not saying they're MORE important than bigger national issues, but on a day-to-day basis, they affect us all much more directly.

Ask yourself this, XO, why were so many Iraqi's complicit in supporting the insurgency early on? Was it because they hate Americans and love Osama? Or did it have more to do with the fact that after months, they still didn't have basics like running water and electricity? The big stuff matters, but the mundane crap makes a very big difference too.

7/06/2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

I realize that local issues are important. I think I mentioned before that once I hit the KC city limits it seems like I drive over more steel plates than concrete.

It's just that I can't seem to get worked up over the local stuff. The whole parks board thing is a perfect example. Funk's car is another. It's just so incredibly trivial.

And when I see local "insiders" pouncing on these trivialities like a pack of pit bulls and tearing into them as though there was actually any meat to be had...well, it doesn't inspire me to want to get involved and try to "make a difference".

The fact that lots of folks are on the attack just to be attacking because they have a partisan agenda to advance is pretty fucking transparent to the detached, dispassionate observer.

I'm afraid if I get too close I might get some on me. I don't want to become that petty. I prefer to save my poorly-informed, shit-flinging outrage for issues that I think are important enough to justify the emotional expenditure.

7/06/2007 10:00 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

XO - I think your comments are right on. I feel that way much of the time as well.

But it's fun to enter the fray, anyway.

After all, XO, you've spent more time focusing on local issues (by telling us you don't care about them) than most bloggers.

You're persepctive, however, is quite valid.

7/06/2007 10:24 AM  
Blogger les said...

"But what, do tell, other than the fact that they're prominent/notorious Democrats, can you offer up as a reason why Gonzo and the Schloz would have targeted poor, poor Katheryn and Phil. Anything?"

But that's the point; or at least the question. Given the way the maladministration runs DOJ, there may not be any reason other than the fact that they're Dems. In fact, until I see solid evidence of something else--which isn't readily apparent yet--the default position is political motivation, because that's what they do, even in trivial cases. Even if there's fire under all the smoke, I'd still suspect politics in the timing. There's ample evidence of "conspiracy"--although when it's really policy, maybe that's the wrong word--it'll take evidence to convince me any decision by Schlozman is not tainted.

7/06/2007 10:24 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Les, if you're going to claim the Shields/Cardarella indictments are invalid based on nothing but the fact that they're Democrats, then why can't someone claim that for every single other Democrat indicted by the DoJ?

Also, the timing isn't suspect. The indictments came down BEFORE Shields had entered the race and two full months before the primary. Also, no one can deny that serious ethics questions have dogged Shields and Cardarella for a long, long time, and frankly it's very much well deserved.

Are they guilty in this case? We don't know yet. They get their day in court. But a grand jury indicted them, and no one has offered any rational explanation for why the evildoers at DoJ would have even bothered to unfairly target Shields. She was political dead before the indictment.

Did they target Funk or Brooks or even Riederer? Nope. And yet they were the three that everyone knew were most likely to win the mayor's race. NOBODY, except Queen Katheryn thought Shields had a chance to win. So why on Earth would they have bothered with her? Could it be that there was reason to believe she had broken a law? Hmmm?

And to further burst this bizarre bubble, ONLY a Democrat can be elected mayor in KC. It's not as if any DoJ meddling would do anything to help a Republican win here. So there's no payoff for them. That's why messing with the Talent-McCaskill race makes sense, but targeting Shields doesn't. There's no motive, there's no benefit, there's no payoff.

The one thing that does add up is that based on her statements and actions in JaCo, Shields has viewed herself as being above accountability. So, it would be easy to see why she might choose to believe that the DoJ scandal is the reason she was indicted. If you believe you can't do anything wrong, then the only explanation is that someone else is out to get you.

7/06/2007 11:00 AM  

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