Josh Marshall

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Articles by Josh

Back in the distant past - in the early-mid-1980s in Southern California - when Talking Points was just a mere dot or speck, there was a slang phrase (actually a mix of a phrase and a gesture) called 'FACE!'

To make the gesture you would take your hand, extend out your fingers and thumb in every direction in a spider-like fashion, and hold your hand about two inches in front of your face, with your palm facing your nose.

Then with the back of your hand toward the recipient of the gesture and a look of awe, schadenfreude, and contempt on your face (perhaps with an air of mock pity and pained regret), you'd say "Ahhh .. FACE, dude! You are faced!" etc.

Usually there'd be a few other permutations of 'face' thrown in, with the true adepts raising the whole enterprise to something of an art form.

What this conveyed is hard to explain precisely. It was a touch shy of humiliation. But a good deal more than embarrassment. More of the arrogant being suddenly and unexpectedly brought low. Very low.

So why this little digression into a Geertzian 'thick description' of the folkways of So. Cal. teenagers circa 1984? In a word (or four, I guess) ... Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef.

As is being widely reported today Zaeef was the Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan. And in the early days of the Afghan war he gave daily press conferences, hurled accusations, chatted it up with international reporters, and was generally living the life of a Taliban bon vivant, if I may be permitted such a phrasing.

Eventually the Pakistanis told him to chill out a bit, and not attack the US quite so fulsomely, at least as long as he was operating on Pakistani soil. Then they shut him down after the Taliban government collapsed and diplomatic ties with departing Afghan government were severed. After this he vainly sought asylum in Pakistan. Finally, last week a few of those wild and crazy guys from the Pakistani intelligence services (ISI) stopped by the homestead and took Zaeef into custody, according to his secretary. And last night, in the process of being deported to Afghanistan, the Pakistanis turned him over to the United States armed forces.

Apropos of my earlier discussion, this is what is called being royally faced.

Apparently, Zaeef will probably end up with other Al Qaeda prisoners at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

One of the elements of being 'faced' is some essential unfairness in the process. (That's part of the embarrassment or humiliation: getting dealt a very unexpected and perhaps even unwarranted reverse.) And I must admit this whole process of what happened to Zaeef seems a little odd and not quite by the books.

Still, it's not something I'm going to lose a lot of sleep over. Like I said, telling someone they're 'faced!' is all about schadenfreude.

I'm going to be on CNN's Reliable Sources tonight (6:30 PM EST). And now Talking Points Memo is apparently my official byline. So says today's Washington Post at least ...

Reliable Sources. The topic is covering the president in wartime; with National Review Online's Jonah Goldberg, The Washington Post's Ceci Connolly and Joshua Micah Marshall of Talking Points Memo (CNN, 6:30; repeats tomorrow, 9:30 a.m.).
Actually, I guess this is a good thing. Since this is one job I know I'll never get run out of for failing to adhere to a strict ideological orthodoxy or party line.


You know how sometimes you'll have a friend who's recently had major body-cavity surgery. And suddenly they'll just strip off their clothes and start yanking at their stitches until their organs come sliding out of their abdomen?

Well, okay, I've got to admit that I haven't seen this happen in ... well ... God ... it seems like years.

But if you want to see the political equivalent, don't worry. Just be sure to watch the New York Democratic party's upcoming gubernatorial primary campaign matching Andrew Cuomo against Carl McCall.

The new New Republic has an elegant and precise statement of the ironies and difficulties of the current stand-off between India and Pakistan, and our vexed efforts to serve as an honest broker between the two. More broadly, however, the editorial is a clear statement of the panoply of geo-strategic, political and cultural affinities which should make India our ally in the deepest sense. We share realpolitik interests and values as well.

Oddly enough, one of the strongest bonds we have with the Indians is one the TNR editorial doesn't even mention, perhaps because it is so obvious or implicit: the fact that we, literally, speak the same language.

India isn't an English-speaking country of course. But the elite speak English, and it's the lingua franca Indians use to communicate across the multitude of languages that are spoken on the subcontinent.

We hear a great deal about the billion-plus Chinese and how they're a huge potential market, which of course they are. But the Indian population isn't that much smaller. And with them we share language, democratic values, a good bit of our legal system, and much more.

Of late I've been writing a lot about the importance of bolstering and supporting Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. But up till now, and from a broader perspective, I'm thoroughly pro-India in my sentiments. The perplexity and irony of our current circumstance is that precisely at the moment when the depth of our friendship with the Indians is most clear, our need of good behavior from the Pakistanis is most acute. And the country is suddenly being run by a leader who seems willing and - hopefully - able make it into the sort of country with which America could be a true ally.

"In the name of Allah, I do not have anything to plead and I enter no plea," Zacarias Moussaoui told the trial judge in Alexandria, Virginia when asked to enter a plea yesterday. Some apparently think this is an example of why we shouldn't give terrorists a platform for mouthing propaganda, but rather try them in secret military tribunals.

But isn't the answer to this sort of backtalk just 'who cares?'

Are we so pitiful that this bothers us?

There may be a place and a rationale for military tribunals. But this one is pretty weak.

On the other hand, why should Moussaoui - who actually came to America and plotted a specific terrorist act - get a civilian trial, when some poor shlub in Afghanistan who barely made it out of the training camp gets strung up in a military tribunal? One pretty clear answer would be that if you get caught on American soil you get tried in our courts. But that clean division seems already to have been ruled out by the President's original executive order, which makes no such distinction.

Here's a pretty encouraging sign that the Pakistani government may have the willingness, determination and - presumably - the ability to turn crisis into opportunity and move decisively against the malignant militants in its midst.

"We realised that things have to be done," the Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar told the Times of India, while emphasizing his government's willingness to move ahead in its own anti-terrorist crackdown. He even said something on the need to combat terrorism that would do John Ashcroft proud. "In a time of stress," said Sattar, "legal hassles have to be given the go by."

Wondering how many Bush administration (Senate-confirmed) appointees owned stock in Enron? Or how much they owned? Or what business relationships they had with the company? Well, hey, you came to the right place!

Now it's important to keep in mind that most of these folks listed below just owned stock in the company, which probably only means they got suckered and cleaned out by the company brass like a lot of other people.

But then if some of them cashed in their stock a few months ago (which next year's disclosures will tell us) based on inside information ... well, that would be another matter entirely.

Appointee: Kathleen B. Cooper
Title: Undersec. for Economic Affairs
Department: Commerce
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,001

Appointee: Thomas C. Dorr
Title: Under Sec. for Rural Development
Department: USDA
Relationship: (1) Enron stock $1,001-$15,001 (MG Dorr IFT), (2) Enron stock $1,001-$15,001 (Roth IRA)

Appointee: Emil H. Frankel
Title: Asst. Sec. for Transportation Policy
Department: Transportation
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: Eugene Hickok Jr.
Title: Undersecretary
Department: Education
Relationship: (1) Spouse Katherine Hickok Rev. Trust: Enron stock $15,001-$50,000 value, $5,001-$15,000 dividends/capital gains; (2) Son Adam Eugene Hickok Trust: Enron stock $15,000-$50,000 value, $5,001-$15,000 dividends/capital gains; (3) Daughter Katherine C. Hickok Trust: Enron stock $15,001-$50,000 value, $5,001-$15,000 dividends/capital gains.

Appointee: Allen F. Johnson
Title: Chief Agriculture Negotiator
Department: US Trade Rep.
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: John H. Marburger
Title: Director
Department: Office of Science and Technology
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000 value, $201-$1,000 dividends

Appointee: Alice H. Martin
Title: US Attorney, Northern District of Alabama
Department: Justice
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: Sandra L. Pack
Title: Asst. Secretary
Department: Army
Relationship: Enron stock less than $1,001 value, $5,001-$15,000 capital gains.

Appointee: Robert Zoellick
Title: US Trade Rep.
Department: USTR
Relationship: Enron stock $15,001-$50,000, Enron advisory fees $50,000

Appointee: Hansford T. Johnson
Title: Asst. Sec.
Department: Navy
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: Donald H. Rumsfeld
Title: Secretary
Department: Defense
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: John E. Robson
Title: Chairman/President
Department: Export Import Bank
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: Thomas Scully
Title: Administrator
Department: HCFA
Relationship: Enron stock $15,001-$50,000

Appointee: Martin J. Silverstein
Title: Ambassador to Uruguay
Department: State
Relationship: Enron stock $15,001-$50,000

Appointee: William Winkenwerder
Title: Asst. Sec.
Department: Defense
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: Thomas E. White
Title: Secretary of the Army
Department: Defense
Relationship: Former Vice-Chairman of Enron Energy Service; Enron Corp-common stock worth $25,000,001-50,000,000 that paid over $5,000,000 in dividends and capital gains; Enron Corp-stock options worth $25,000,001-50,000,000 that paid $100,001-1,000,000 in capital gains; Enron Corp Cash Balance Retirement Acct (Enron Stock will rollover into permissible property) worth $100,001-250,000 that paid less than $201 in dividends; Enron Corp-DLJ Private Equity Partners Fund II that paid $5,516,131.08 in salary; Enron Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Defined Contribution Plan Managed by Enron worth $1,000,001-5,000,000 that paid less than $201 dividends; Enron Phantom Stock Award worth $5,000,000-25,000,000 that paid less than $201 dividends; Enron Retirement Account (Enron Stock) worth less than $1,001 that paid less than $201 dividends; Agreements: Pursuant to provisions of employment agreement and routine practice of Enron Corp, given $1,000,000 in severance pay; The Phantom Stock Award in Enron (approximately 240,000 shares) were accelerated and paid out when he left Enron

Appointee: Mark Weinberger
Title: Assistant Secretary (Tax Policy)
Department: Treasury
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000 value, $201-1,000 dividends

Appointee: Vicky A. Bailey
Title: Assistant Secretary, International Affairs & Domestic Policy
Department: State
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: Alexander Vershbow
Title: Ambassador to Russia
Department: State
Relationship: Enron stock $50,001-$100,000 value, $201-1,000 dividends

Appointee: Marcelle M. Wahba
Title: Ambassador to the UAE
Department: State
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: Steven M. Colloton
Title: US Attorney (S.D. Iowa)
Department: Justice
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: Richard J. Egan
Title: Ambassador to Ireland
Department: State
Relationship: Enron Partial Sale
Value: $250,000-500,000
Dividends: $5,001-15,000
Capital Gains: $100,001-1,000,000

Enron Corporation (SOLD)
Value: Less than $1,001
Dividends: $201-1,000

Egan's spouse: The following is owned through his wife's Lawhill Capital fund for the year 2000:

Enron Gas & Oil
15,679 US G/L

Enron Corp.
Lost 12,429 US G/L

Appointee: Donald W. Washington
Title: US Attorney (W.D. Louisiana)
Department: Justice
Relationship: Enron stock $1,001-$15,000

Appointee: John Prince
Title: Ambassador to Mauritius, Comoros, Seychelles
Department: State
Relationship: Enron stock through four direct/indirect sources: (1) less than $1,000; (2) $15,001-$50,000; (3) $1,001-$15,000; (4) $15,001-$50,000.

Appointee: William Schubert
Title: Administrator, Maritime Administration
Department: Transportation
Relationship: Project Consulting Services for Enron, paid over $5,000

Appointee: Bruce Carnes
Title: CFO
Department: US Dept of Energy
Relationship: Enron Stock $1,000 - $15,000

Appointee: John S. Wolf
Title: Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation
Department: Dept of State
Relationship: Enron Stock $50,000 - $100,000

Appointee: Linnet Deily
Title: Deputy
Department: Office of the Trade Representative
Relationship: Enron Stock $15,000 - $50,000

Appointee: Nils J. Diaz
Title: Commissioner
Department: US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Relationship: Enron Stock $1,000 - $15,000

Appointee: George L. Argyros
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Spain and Andorra
Department: State
Relationship: Enron Stock $100,000 - $250,000; $1,000 - $15,000

Appointee: Charlotte L. Beers (Beadleston - married name)
Title: Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy
Department: State
Relationship: Enron Stock $100,000 - $250,000

Appointee: Stephen F. Brauer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Belgium
Department: State
Relationship: Enron Common Stock $50,000 - $100,000

Maybe reporters covering the relevant departments should ask some questions.

Nice column by Michelangelo Signorile in the New York Press. Signorile picks up on an element of the John Walker story that briefly saw the light of day in a back-and-forth between columnists in the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner but (as far as I've seen at least) hasn't gotten much other play.

Walker's parents' divorce was closely tied (chronologically at least) with his conversion to Islam. And apparently the divorce itself was triggered by his father's coming out as a homosexual or bisexual man.

The conventional take on Walker has been the 'only in Marin' line.

Yes there are a couple permutations. There's the really shabby, slumming version of the story: lax values, permissive parenting, mom's a Buddhist ... of course, he joined the Taliban.

Sophisticates have a more nuanced rendition ... same cake, really, just with a Straussian frosting. The center will not hold, relativism breeds ennui breeds fanaticism. You know the story.

In any case, this seems like a window into Walker's soul that cuts a good deal more deeply than the cookie-cutter versions getting the play on Op-Ed pages. And as to why it's garnered so little notice? I suspect that's because for both parties to the controversy this is just an angle that's a little too dicey, too uncomfortable to handle.

Here's a good, even-handed rejoinder to a lot of the partisan Clinton Defense legacy-bashing. The Bush folks may get credit for good strategy in Afghanistan. (I'll certainly give it to them.) But they're winning it with Bill Clinton's military.

Here's yet another fascinating and captivating article about the company of Special Forces soldiers who were working with Hamid Karzai in the crucial middle and final phases of the war in central Afghanistan. This the company that lost two men late in the fighting due to a friendly fire incident. The company captain, Jason Amerine, who was wounded in the friendly fire incident, described much of the tale for the Washington Post from a hospital bed in Germany. Read the story. I'm sure at some point a movie will be made about this one team's exploits.