Today's Blogs

Reid Takes the Lead

Bloggers discuss the closed session that the Democrats forced in the Senate yesterday; they also discuss top-secret CIA prisons, and the ongoing riots in Paris.

Reid takes the lead: To the surprise of outraged Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid forced a closed-door session in the Senate yesterday. Democrats demanded answers about the information used to justify the Iraq war. At the end of the session, legislators announced that the intelligence committee will restart its inquiry next week.

Conservatives are pooh-poohing the move. “The Democrats must feel that they are losing momentum now that the Republicans have their act together on the Supreme Court, and Fitzgerald did not indict Rove,” opinesPower Line’s Paul Mirengoff. “That the Dems see throwing a temper tantrum as a way to regain momentum, rather than as reminder to the public that they are unfit to govern, speaks volumes.” Captain’s Quarters’ Ed Morrissey questions why Reid had to call the secret meeting. He writes, “[I]f Reid wanted to really investigate all this, he should be throwing the doors to the Senate wide open, shining a light on the corruption he claims exists in this issue.” In The Corner, the National Review’s blog, Byron York points out that Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating the Valerie Plame outing, said last week, “I think anyone who’s concerned about the war and has feelings for or against shouldn’t look to this criminal process for any answers or resolution of that.” York claims that the Democrats’ decision to force the closed session stems directly from their disappointment with Fitzgerald.

And liberals are tut-tutting right back. “Republicans want to lecture Dems about decorum and polite floor tactics? Are they kidding?” asksThe Carpetbagger Report’s Steve Benen, a liberal freelance writer. “Which party likes to hold open five-minute votes indefinitely until they get the results they want? Which party prevents the minority from offering amendments … to legislation?” What’s All This Then’s liberal Jeff Smith expresses incredulity about Senate Majority Leader Frist’s outraged response: “[Frist] was talking about Reid breaking tradition!! He was talking about violating the tradition of civility. He should have thought about it for a minute and then a asked someone else in his party to respond to parliamentary coup. Someone with a lot cleaner hands than the muck and slime covering the appendages of Doctor William Frist.” And left-leaning Waveflux commends Reid’s power play: “In politics, strength owes as much to appearance as it does to actuality. Democrats have made a welcome show of their own strength, and in doing so have begun to change the game.”

Read more about the closed session.

Gulag redux: The Washington Post reports on the existence of CIA-run secret prisons in eight countries, including some Eastern European republics. The piece notes that the prison system “depends on the cooperation of foreign intelligence services, and on keeping even basic information about the system secret from the public.”

Liberals are livid. “The big question is why are they denying all access to the prisoners, even access by United Nations human rights investigators? … I know that we have to go to extremes to fight the war on terror to protect our citizens, but does this mean hiding people, completely from view and imprisoning them indefiniatey without any trial to do it?” asksThose Bastards’ King Bastard. “We have no moral high ground,” bemoansTorpor Indy’s Publius X, who reverts to quoting Nietzsche: “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.”

For some, the issue is how the Post got its information. “[H]ow is it that you think the Washington Post learned about all of this secret stuff?  Well it was leaked, almost certainly in violation of the law,” asserts the conservative Roscoe’s Blog. Roscoe contends the implications of publicizing this information are much more sensitive than the consequences of outing Valerie Plame. InstaPundit’s libertarian Glenn Reynolds also frowns upon the revelations: “I think we need a special prosecutor to subpoena the reporter and prosecute the leakers.” But on Democratic mainstay Daily Kos, EZ Writer, a journalist, urges the Post to disclose more: “WaPo … refused to ID the Eastern European country in this article after a request from Bush administration officials. What would YOU do? I am a journalist. I would name the country. I am NOT in the business of keeping the dirty secrets of the Bush administration’s dirty war.”

Read more about the CIA prisons.

Paris riots: Six nights ago, two teenagers who thought they were being chased by the Parisian police electrocuted themselves on an electricity substation’s wall and died. Since then, rioting and arson have mounted in the suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, which is mostly inhabited by poor Northern African immigrants.

Some are condemning French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who has called the rioting youths “scum.” Silent Nation’s Björn Hallberg insists, “[I]nstead of getting to the bottom of things, Sarkozy quickly moves to offer ‘zero tolerance.’ With narrow minded racist views, a rhetoric that beats even Le Pen, a desire to stir up trouble and the lack of any sort of grasp of social reality, Sarkozy is sure to lead France into a new dark age,”

Some bloggers are claiming that the problem is intractable. Mystery-writer-turned-blogger Roger L. Simon’s unsurprised: “When I visited the banlieu a couple of years back, I didn’t see one gendarme. I was told they were frightened to go in there. I can’t blame them. I was too. I have been in Ramallah and the back streets of Cairo and I was more tense in Monfleury.” Polimom, who describes herself as “conservatively liberal,” adds, “Well, for the French, I think it means they’re in big trouble. Their culture is far less permeable than the American or the British, and it’s sad but unsurprising that the rioting is spreading.” Jonathan Keiler opines, “The problem for France is that there is not really any social amelioration that can or will solve this problem. The rioting youths are second class citizens (like American blacks often were in the 1960s) but unlike American blacks, these people do not want French citizenship, even if they have it. They want an Islamic government, which would be entirely inconsistent with the fundamental ideas and beliefs of France itself. Bon chance Frenchies.”

Read more about Paris riots.

Got a question, comment, or suggestion? E-mail