Monday, October 18, 2004

More dirty politics

I don't know whether to file this under “politicians who don't understand national security shouldn't campaign on it” or “parties that don't understand national security shouldn't control it.”

Front of flier 'To Dennis Moore, the intelligence budget should be an open book'In the last few days, the congressional race here in the Kansas 3rd has been heating up. I got two pieces of idiotic direct mail, both of which support TV ads being run by Kris Kobach. I have nothing really nice to say about Kobach. He used to work for John Ashcroft, and he seems to be running further to the right in the general election than he did in the primary. Maybe he didn't think he needed to work too hard in the primary, though. After all, it was between an ultra-right wing wacko and the inexperienced lout who got trounced last time around.

Back 'Terrorists could use that information against us' But now I get this: an attack on my congressman that puts forward the claim that only a terrorist would want access to the intelligence budget.

Clearly then, only a terrorist would write this:

Recommendation: Finally, to combat the secrecy and complexity we have described, the overall amounts of money being appropriated for national intelligence and to its component agencies should no longer be kept secret. Congress should pass a separate appropriations act for intelligence, defending the broad allocation of how these tens of billions of dollars have been assigned among the varieties of intelligence work.

The specifics of the intelligence appropriation would remain classified, as they are today. Opponents of declassification argue that America's enemies could learn about intelligence capabilities by tracking the top-line appropriations figure. Yet the top-line figure by itself provides little insight into U.S. intelligence sources and methods. The U.S. government readily provides copious information about spending on its military forces, including military intelligence. The intelligence community should not be subject to that much disclosure. But when even aggregate categorical numbers remain hidden, it is hard to judge priorities and foster accountability.

Oh, wait, that was the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Against the United States, aka the 9-11 Commission. In their best-selling report, they have a helpful chapter for people interested in making America more secure, which offers the recommendation above. They made sure some parts were in bold so that even if you were lazy and/or stupid, you wouldn't miss the important parts.

Millions of people read the report this summer. Most weren't running for anything, didn't work in security, didn't even have family affected by 9-11. But they managed to make it through the very readable report, cover to cover. That no one in Kobach's office, let alone the candidate himself, read the report is damning. And if they read it and are still using this to tar a great representative, that's even worse.

The only thing that could possibly be worse is that these ads are being paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee. Since no one seems interested in ponying up the cash to Kobach himself, the NRCC is footing the bills. That no one in the NRCC saw these and said, “Stop. It makes everyone less safe to politicize and twist the recommendations of the 9-11 commission,” says a lot about what's wrong with the Republican party today. No one with any influence has any qualms about abusing the truth, even to the point of making the public less safe, if it lets them win.

Abortion mailingThe other lies in the TV ads and mailings are pretty standard. Dennis Moore opposes violating “posse comitatus” by deploying troops to the borders. Dennis Moore opposes laws that are guaranteed to be unconstitutional, like banning abortion procedures without an exception for the life of the mother. Dennis Moore voted against a bill that stripped away protections for the innocent, and couldn't do that without voting against information sharing between the CIA and FBI. Kobach was at the Justice Department when the Patriot Act was written and sent to Congress. Why didn't he stop someone and say, “Let's get a good, honest information sharing bill, and work out a second bill that expands police powers?” That would have sent a strong message about our commitment to fighting terrorism, while leaving everyone comfortable with the outcome.

Close up of miscarriage text And why is he proud of his wife's miscarriage? I'll avoid jokes about miscarriage of justice and a campaign that was stillborn, but only because I don't know anything about his wife. He waves that flag, he can take the mean jokes.