Gates Plans Leave Admid Great Change


C

Chad Harris

July 30, 2007
Microsoft's Gates Plans His Leave Amid Great Change
By JOHN MARKOFF
REDMOND, Wash., July 27 - Microsoft is beset with competition from all
sides, unlike any it has seen in decades, and Bill Gates, who co-founded the
company 32 years ago, still intends to step away next year as planned.

But so far, Mr. Gates, Microsoft's 51-year-old chairman, shows no sign of
fading away.

One year into a planned two-year transition, there are few visible cues that
Mr. Gates is ready to leave the world's technology stage to devote his
energies principally to the $33 billion foundation he established seven
years ago with his wife.

Indeed at the company's annual financial meeting last week Mr. Gates spoke
first, outlining a decade-long agenda, not a mere 12-month outlook.

He described a world in which the widespread availability of broadband
networks would reshape computing, giving rise to what he said would be
"natural user interfaces" like pen, voice and touch, replacing many
functions of keyboards and mice.

Mr. Gates has stayed deeply engaged in the company's technology strategy. He
still frequently participates in high-level strategy planning sessions with
Microsoft's closest partners, like Intel, according to executives who have
attended the meetings.

During a wide-ranging interview last week exploring his diminished role at
Microsoft, the company's challenge and its competitors, Mr. Gates insisted
that he really has begun stepping back.

"I am in a lucky situation of having way more things that seem interesting
to do and very exciting and important, and working with smart people, and
highly impactful, way more than a 24-hour day will fit," Mr. Gates said. To
be sure, there is widespread skepticism in the industry about the
possibility of Mr. Gates genuinely disengaging. Microsoft's dominance is
being challenged as never before by Google in particular, and Wall Street
refuses to believe the company will regain its edge. The company's stock has
largely remained flat since the end of the dot-com era.

"It's very hard for someone at his age, who has built a company with that
much success and with continuing challenges to really walk away," said David
B. Yoffie, a professor at Harvard's business school. "He will never be a
titular leader."

As he spoke in his office, Mr. Gates was joined by the two Microsoft
executives, both veteran technologists, who are succeeding him. Craig
Mundie, the chief research and strategy officer, and Ray Ozzie, chief
software architect, agreed with Mr. Gates that despite significant industry
challenges from all directions, Microsoft is at a perfect historic juncture
for Mr. Gates's departure and the first stage of his withdrawal from
Microsoft has been reasonably seamless.

"The weaning process inside the company is inevitable," said Mr. Mundie, a
computer scientist who began his career developing minicomputers and
supercomputers before joining Microsoft in 1992.

The greatest danger, according to all three executives, would be if Mr.
Gates continues to make decisions while not staying deeply involved. He will
remain chairman.

"It can't be a situation where he's expected to suddenly, magically come up
to speed," said Mr. Ozzie, a software designer who developed a software
collaboration tool called Notes for Lotus and then started Groove Networks,
which was acquired by Microsoft in 2005. "You know, did you see the 20
announcements last week that Google did, Yahoo did, Cisco did?"

For his part, Mr. Gates said he planned to remain deeply involved in a few
areas indefinitely.

"Other than board meetings, there's not much in terms of regular meetings,"
he said. "It's much more sitting down a couple hours a month with Craig,
sitting down a couple of hours a month with Ray."

On Thursday, Steven A. Ballmer, who took over the chief executive role from
Mr. Gates seven years ago, said the company's overall performance had never
been stronger. Microsoft, he noted, has doubled its revenue and almost
doubled its profits in the half decade that he has been at the helm. Despite
that growth, the stock price has remained vexingly flat in the period.

Although smooth leadership transitions are infrequent among high tech firms,
it appears that Mr. Gates has had the freedom to begin stepping away
gracefully because Mr. Ballmer has been largely successful in shouldering
the burden of running Microsoft.

Mr. Gates no longer attends senior leadership team meetings, and earlier
this month he made what company executives described as a farewell
appearance at the annual Microsoft sales force meeting in Orlando, Fla. When
Mr. Gates finished his speech to the thousands of sales people at the
meeting, they gave him a five-minute standing ovation, underscoring the bond
the company still retains with its co-founder, according to a person who
attended the event.

But as he cedes Microsoft's technology leadership to Mr. Mundie and Mr.
Ozzie, the company is struggling with a radical transition in the computer
industry. Six months ago, Microsoft shipped its long-delayed Windows Vista
operating system, and there is widespread belief within the industry that
the era of such unwieldy and vast software development projects is coming to
an end.

Ubiquitous broadband networks and high speed wireless networks have for the
first time given rise to meaningful alternatives to bulky and costly
personal computers. In their place are a proliferating collection of smart
connected devices that are tied together by a vast array of Internet-based
information services based in centralized data centers.

The industry is rushing to "software as a service" models ranging from
Salesforce.com, a San Francisco company that sells business contact software
delivered via Web browsers, to Apple's iPhone, which is designed as a
classic "thin client," a computer that requires the Internet for many of its
capabilities.

It is a vision that Microsoft itself has at least partially embraced.
Microsoft, in contrast, is calling its strategy "software plus services," an
approach that is intended to protect the company's existing installed base.

During the interview, all three executives indicated that Microsoft is now
moving quickly to offer new Internet services for personal computer users.
Centralized data storage will make it possible for PC users to gain access
to most or all of their information from all of the different types of
computers they use, whether they are desktops, laptops or smartphones, and
wherever they are located.

During the transition, Mr. Gates has also stayed closely involved in shaping
Microsoft's strategy in the search market where it has been assiduously
attempting to catch Google and Yahoo.

"We made all the structural changes we were going to make, and we rode in
tandem last year," said Mr. Mundie. "In the last few months Bill has
transitioned to what I start to think of as special project mode."

If he is stepping away from Microsoft, Mr. Gates has shed none of his
trademark combativeness. He rejected the Silicon Valley view that Microsoft
has begun to exhibit the same sclerotic signs of middle age that I.B.M. did
when it dominated the computer industry, but failed to respond effectively
to the challenge of the personal computer.

I.B.M. is no longer at the center of the computer industry, he asserted, for
two reasons. First, the industry is now centered on personal computing. "As
much as I.B.M. created the I.B.M. PC, it was never their culture, their
excellence," he said. "Their skill sets were never about personal
computing."

Second, the center of gravity in the computer industry has dramatically
shifted toward software, he said. "Why do you like your iPod, your iPhone,
your Xbox 360, your Google Search?" he said. "The real magic sauce is not
the parts that we buy for the Xbox, or the parts that Apple buys for
iPhones, it's the software that goes into it."

During the interview Mr. Gates rejected the notion that Google could become
a successful competitor in the smartphone software market, where Microsoft
has about 10 percent market share. The Silicon valley search engine provider
has been widely reported to be preparing to enter the cellphone market with
its own software and a host of services springing from that software.

Microsoft's chairman said it was unlikely that Google would be able to make
inroads into the Microsoft's share of market for mobile phone software.

"How many products, of all the Google products that have been introduced,
how many of them are profit-making products?" he asked. "They've introduced
about 30 different products; they have one profit-making product. So, you're
now making a prediction without ever seeing the software that they're going
to have the world's best phone and it's going to be free?"

Again, the ability to create compelling software will determine the winners.
"The phone is becoming way more software intensive," he said. "And to be
able to say that there's some challenge for us in the phone market when its
becoming software intensive, I don't see that."

The new, less central role for Mr. Gates was first formulated more than a
year ago at a June 2006 meeting in which the three men worked out how they
would divide responsibilities for guiding the technology direction of the
$51 billion company, according to Mr. Ozzie, who was a longtime rival of Mr.
Gates at companies like Lotus and I.B.M. before joining Microsoft two years
ago.

They decided at that meeting that Mr. Mundie and Mr. Ozzie would divide Mr.
Gates's role at the company along three axes. Along one of these lines, Mr.
Mundie, who has been described as Microsoft's "secretary of state" and who
is deeply involved in federal government and international policy issues,
would take a more public-facing role, while Mr. Ozzie would focus more
closely on internal company matters.

In another, Mr. Mundie has tackled the company's long-range strategic
decisions, while Mr. Ozzie has taken over the near-term challenges of
weaving together the product development issues. Finally, Mr. Mundie has
taken responsibility for software that sits closer to the computer hardware,
like the Windows operating system, while Mr. Ozzie has shaped Microsoft's
response to the growing challenge of network software.

"There's been a very natural shift in the past year where I will engage with
a particular software team and Bill will disengage," said Mr. Ozzie. Mr.
Gates insists that his new world of philanthropy will be just as compelling
as software has been. "I'll have also malaria vaccine or tuberculosis
vaccine or curriculum in American high schools, which are also things that,
at least the way my mind works, I sit there and say, 'Oh, God! This is so
important; this is so solvable,' " he said, "You've just got to get the guy
who understands this, and this new technology will bring these things
together."


CH

___________


The apathetic US is drifting into total mud. The media like Tweety Bird
(Chris Mathews) is totally stupid and coopted by the delusional moronic Bush
and his pathetic and stupid administration. LOL if not talking to other
countries works so well, why is the US at the nadir of its popularity. I
can find people who do maintainance at MacDonald's who have more
sophisticated diplomacy skills than the moron, Condi Rice.

FRANK RICH: Who Really Took Over During That Colonoscopy
THERE was, of course, gallows humor galore when Dick Cheney briefly grabbed
the wheel of our listing ship of state during the presidential colonoscopy
last weekend. Enjoy it while it lasts. A once-durable staple of 21st-century
American humor is in its last throes. We have a new surrogate president now.
Sic transit Cheney. Long live David Petraeus!



It was The Washington Post that first quantified General Petraeus's
remarkable ascension. President Bush, who mentioned his new Iraq commander's
name only six times as the surge rolled out in January, has cited him more
than 150 times in public utterances since, including 53 in May alone.


As always with this White House's propaganda offensives, the message in Mr.
Bush's relentless repetitions never varies. General Petraeus is the "main
man." He is the man who gives "candid advice." Come September, he will be
the man who will give the president and the country their orders about the
war.


And so another constitutional principle can be added to the long list of
those junked by this administration: the quaint notion that our uniformed
officers are supposed to report to civilian leadership. In a de facto
military coup, the commander in chief is now reporting to the commander in
Iraq. We must "wait to see what David has to say," Mr. Bush says.


Actually, we don't have to wait. We already know what David will say. He
gave it away to The Times of London last month, when he said that September
"is a deadline for a report, not a deadline for a change in policy." In
other words: Damn the report (and that irrelevant Congress that will read
it) - full speed ahead. There will be no change in policy. As Michael Gordon
reported in The New York Times last week, General Petraeus has collaborated
on a classified strategy document that will keep American troops in Iraq
well into 2009 as we wait for the miracles that will somehow bring that
country security and a functioning government.



Though General Petraeus wrote his 1987 Princeton doctoral dissertation on
"The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam," he has an unshakable
penchant for seeing light at the end of tunnels. It has been three Julys
since he posed for the cover of Newsweek under the headline "Can This Man
Save Iraq?" The magazine noted that the general's pacification of Mosul was
"a textbook case of doing counterinsurgency the right way." Four months
later, the police chief installed by General Petraeus defected to the
insurgents, along with most of the Sunni members of the police force. Mosul,
population 1.7 million, is now an insurgent stronghold, according to the
Pentagon's own June report.


By the time reality ambushed his textbook victory, the general had moved on
to the mission of making Iraqi troops stand up so American troops could
stand down. "Training is on track and increasing in capacity," he wrote in
The Washington Post in late September 2004, during the endgame of the
American presidential election. He extolled the increased prowess of the
Iraqi fighting forces and the rebuilding of their infrastructure.



The rest is tragic history. Were the Iraqi forces on the trajectory that
General Petraeus asserted in his election-year pep talk, no "surge" would
have been needed more than two years later. We would not be learning at this
late date, as we did only when Gen. Peter Pace was pressed in a Pentagon
briefing this month, that the number of Iraqi battalions operating
independently is in fact falling - now standing at a mere six, down from 10
in March.


But even more revealing is what was happening at the time that General
Petraeus disseminated his sunny 2004 prognosis. The best account is to be
found in "The Occupation of Iraq," the authoritative chronicle by Ali Allawi
published this year by Yale University Press. Mr. Allawi is not some
anti-American crank. He was the first civilian defense minister of postwar
Iraq and has been an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki; his book was
praised by none other than the Iraq war cheerleader Fouad Ajami as
"magnificent."


Mr. Allawi writes that the embezzlement of the Iraqi Army's $1.2 billion
arms procurement budget was happening "under the very noses" of the Security
Transition Command run by General Petraeus: "The saga of the grand theft of
the Ministry of Defense perfectly illustrated the huge gap between the harsh
realities on the ground and the Panglossian spin that permeated official
pronouncements." Mr. Allawi contrasts the "lyrical" Petraeus pronouncements
in The Post with the harsh realities of the Iraqi forces' inoperable
helicopters, flimsy bulletproof vests and toy helmets. The huge sums that
might have helped the Iraqis stand up were instead "handed over to
unscrupulous adventurers and former pizza parlor operators."


Well, anyone can make a mistake. And when General Petraeus cited soccer
games as an example of "the astonishing signs of normalcy" in Baghdad last
month, he could not have anticipated that car bombs would kill at least 50
Iraqis after the Iraqi team's poignant victory in the Asian Cup semifinals
last week. This general may well be, as many say, the brightest and bravest
we have. But that doesn't account for why he has been invested by the White
House and its last-ditch apologists with such singular power over the war.



On "Meet the Press," Lindsey Graham, one of the Senate's last gung-ho war
defenders in either party, mentioned General Petraeus 10 times in one
segment, saying he would "not vote for anything" unless "General Petraeus
passes on it." Desperate hawks on the nation's op-ed pages not only idolize
the commander daily but denounce any critics of his strategy as deserters,
defeatists and enemies of the troops.


That's because the Petraeus phenomenon is not about protecting the troops or
American interests but about protecting the president. For all Mr. Bush's
claims of seeking "candid" advice, he wants nothing of the kind. He sent
that message before the war, with the shunting aside of Eric Shinseki, the
general who dared tell Congress the simple truth that hundreds of thousands
of American troops would be needed to secure Iraq. The message was sent
again when John Abizaid and George Casey were supplanted after they
disagreed with the surge.


Two weeks ago, in his continuing quest for "candid" views, Mr. Bush invited
a claque consisting exclusively of conservative pundits to the White House
and inadvertently revealed the real motive for the Petraeus surrogate
presidency. "The most credible person in the fight at this moment is Gen.
David Petraeus," he said, in National Review's account.



To be the "most credible" person in this war team means about as much as
being the most sober tabloid starlet in the Paris-Lindsay cohort. But never
mind. What Mr. Bush meant is that General Petraeus is famous for minding his
press coverage, even to the point of congratulating the ABC News anchor
Charles Gibson for "kicking some butt" in the Nielsen ratings when Mr.
Gibson interviewed him last month. The president, whose 65 percent
disapproval rating is now just one point shy of Richard Nixon's
pre-resignation nadir, is counting on General Petraeus to be the un-Shinseki
and bestow whatever credibility he has upon White House policies and
pronouncements.


He is delivering, heaven knows. Like Mr. Bush, he has taken to comparing the
utter stalemate in the Iraqi Parliament to "our own debates at the birth of
our nation," as if the Hamilton-Jefferson disputes were akin to the
Shiite-Sunni bloodletting. He is also starting to echo the administration
line that Al Qaeda is the principal villain in Iraq, a departure from the
more nuanced and realistic picture of the civil-war-torn battlefront he
presented to Senate questioners in his confirmation hearings in January.



Mr. Bush has become so reckless in his own denials of reality that he seems
to think he can get away with saying anything as long as he has his "main
man" to front for him. The president now hammers in the false litany of a
"merger" between Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda and what he calls "Al Qaeda in
Iraq" as if he were following the Madison Avenue script declaring that
"Cingular is now the new AT&T." He doesn't seem to know that nearly 40 other
groups besides Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia have adopted Al Qaeda's name or
pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden worldwide since 2003, by the count of
the former C.I.A. counterterrorism official Michael Scheuer. They may follow
us here well before any insurgents in Iraq do.


On Tuesday - a week after the National Intelligence Estimate warned of the
resurgence of bin Laden's Qaeda in Pakistan - Mr. Bush gave a speech in
which he continued to claim that "Al Qaeda in Iraq" makes Iraq the central
front in the war on terror. He mentioned Al Qaeda 95 times but Pakistan and
Pervez Musharraf not once. Two days later, his own top intelligence
officials refused to endorse his premise when appearing before Congress.
They are all too familiar with the threats that are building to a shrill
pitch this summer.


Should those threats become a reality while America continues to be bogged
down in Iraq, this much is certain: It will all be the fault of President
Petraeus.

July 29, 2007
Editorial
Mr. Gonzales's Never-Ending Story
President Bush often insists he has to be the decider - ignoring Congress
and the public when it comes to the tough matters on war, terrorism and
torture, even deciding whether an ordinary man in Florida should be allowed
to let his wife die with dignity. Apparently that burden does not apply to
the functioning of one of the most vital government agencies, the Justice
Department.

Americans have been waiting months for Mr. Bush to fire Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales, who long ago proved that he was incompetent and more
recently has proved that he can't tell the truth. Mr. Bush refused to fire
him after it was clear Mr. Gonzales lied about his role in the political
purge of nine federal prosecutors. And he is still refusing to do so - even
after testimony by the F.B.I. director, Robert Mueller, that suggests that
Mr. Gonzales either lied to Congress about Mr. Bush's warrantless
wiretapping operation or at the very least twisted the truth so badly that
it amounts to the same thing.

Mr. Gonzales has now told Congress twice that there was no dissent in the
government about Mr. Bush's decision to authorize the National Security
Agency to spy on Americans' international calls and e-mails without
obtaining the legally required warrant. Mr. Mueller and James Comey, a
former deputy attorney general, say that is not true. Not only was there
disagreement, but they also say that they almost resigned over the dispute.

Both men say that in March 2004 - when Mr. Gonzales was still the White
House counsel - the Justice Department refused to endorse a continuation of
the wiretapping program because it was illegal. (Mr. Comey was running the
department temporarily because Attorney General John Ashcroft had emergency
surgery.) Unwilling to accept that conclusion, Vice President Dick Cheney
sent Mr. Gonzales and another official to Mr. Ashcroft's hospital room to
get him to approve the wiretapping.

Mr. Comey and Mr. Mueller intercepted the White House team, and they say
they watched as a groggy Mr. Ashcroft refused to sign off on the wiretapping
and told the White House officials to leave. Mr. Comey said the White House
later modified the eavesdropping program enough for the Justice Department
to sign off.

Last week, Mr. Gonzales denied that account. He told the Senate Judiciary
Committee the dispute was not about the wiretapping operation but was over
"other intelligence activities." He declined to say what those were.

Lawmakers who have been briefed on the administration's activities said the
dispute was about the one eavesdropping program that has been disclosed. So
did Mr. Comey. And so did Mr. Mueller, most recently on Thursday in a House
hearing. He said he had kept notes.

That was plain enough. It confirmed what most people long ago concluded:
that Mr. Gonzales is more concerned about doing political-damage control for
Mr. Bush - in this case insisting that there was never a Justice Department
objection to a clearly illegal program - than in doing his duty. But the
White House continued to defend him.

As far as we can tell, there are three possible explanations for Mr.
Gonzales's talk about a dispute over other - unspecified - intelligence
activities. One, he lied to Congress. Two, he used a bureaucratic dodge to
mislead lawmakers and the public: the spying program was modified after Mr.
Ashcroft refused to endorse it, which made it "different" from the one Mr.
Bush has acknowledged. The third is that there was more wiretapping than has
been disclosed, perhaps even purely domestic wiretapping, and Mr. Gonzales
is helping Mr. Bush cover it up.

Democratic lawmakers are asking for a special prosecutor to look into Mr.
Gonzales's words and deeds. Solicitor General Paul Clement has a last chance
to show that the Justice Department is still minimally functional by
fulfilling that request.

If that does not happen, Congress should impeach Mr. Gonzales.


Saturday July 28, 2007 09:51 EST by Glenn Greewald

What Beltway media stars mean by "centrism" and "extremism"
(updated below)

As always, when wielded by Beltway media stars, the terms "centrist" and
"moderate" and "mainstream" mean "whatever views I personally happen to hold
on a topic, regardless of how many Americans actually share it." Hence, the
unanimous, wise Beltway wisdom was that Barack Obama "blew it" in the last
Democratic debate by proclaiming his willingness to meet with leaders of
hostile countries, while Hillary Clinton scored a big victory.

As but one example, from Thursday's Chris Matthews Show, discussing the
Clinton-Obama debate:

MATTHEWS: I share your sentiments. But as a journalist, I have to look at
the politics of this thing. Your last words?

[Weekly Standard's Stephen] HAYES: I think if [Obama] continues down this
course I think he's in serious trouble because it's unsustainable.

MATTHEWS: Too far left?

HAYES: Absolutely.

Matthews went on to pronounce, with regard to the exchange with Obama, that
it shows why Hillary "will win this thing."

And what of polling data that shows exactly the opposite? Who cares? Beltway
wisdom is more representative of what Americans believe than what Americans
actually believe. From the latest Rasmussen Reports poll:

Forty-two percent (42%) of Americans say that the next President should meet
with the heads of nations such as Iran, Syria, and North Korea without
setting any preconditions. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone
survey finds that 34% disagree while 24% are not sure.

That question came up during last Monday's Presidential Debate with Illinois
Senator Barack Obama saying he would commit to such meetings and New York
Senator Hillary Clinton offering a more cautious response. Democrats, by a
55% to 22% margin, agree with Obama.

This is precisely the same process that causes one to hear endlessly from
Beltway pundits about how Democrats will be in big, big trouble if they keep
up with these investigations because "Americans" sure don't like that, even
though polls continuously show that Americans overwhelmingly want Congress
to investigate the Bush administration even further. The claim that Congress
is "going too far" or "neglecting the people's business" or "engaged in
witch-hunts" are actually embraced only by minorities. But that is what the
government-defending Beltway media believes; hence, they repeatedly assert
as a mantra-like chant, based on nothing, that opposition to more
investigations is the "centrist position," that Americans do not like
Congressional probes and see them as unjustifiably obstructionist.

It is not difficult to understand why Americans are supportive of Obama's
pro-diplomacy instincts. It is because they have seen the alternative for
the last six years and know that it is a petulant refusal to speak to the
Bad People that is the real fringe, dangerous, extremist position. Indeed,
the actual fringe extremism on this issue was vividly illustrated on the
same Chris Matthews Show, by the very same Stephen Hayes, the Serious
right-wing national security scholar and all-around tough guy:

MATTHEWS: Cheney is the kind of guy who represents to me the hard case. He's
not going to go negotiate with anybody. Is it fair to say that Cheney would
take the position, you don't deal with Ahmadinejad, for whatever reason, you
don't deal with Castro, you don't deal with Kim Jong il or any of these
guys. You stiff them. Is that the Cheney view?

HAYES: To play off of what Sally [Quinn] said, it actually is for the
opposite point. You don't play with them precisely because it gives them
respect. It gives them stature on the world stage that they don't deserve.
Ahmadinejad, as Howard said several times-he's a holocaust denier.

That's crazy talk -- ridiculous, insane position.

MATTHEWS: Does that mean never talk to them?

HAYES: Yes, absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Then what do we do? How do we negotiate?

HAYES: We don't negotiate somebody who's denying the holocaust, with
somebody who's killing our soldiers.

MATTHEWS: What do you do with them?

HAYES: I think you confront them. I think you confront them in a stronger
way.

MATTHEWS: How do you do that? What should we do with Iran?

HAYES: Certainly we should be having units, at the very least, taking out
the Iranian Revolutionary Guards who are killing our soldiers.

MATTHEWS: So we should cross the border?

HAYES: I think if we need to cross the border, we should cross the border?
Yes.

MATTHEWS: You think we should be acting aggressively towards Iran?

HAYES: Yes.

That is the only extremist national security mentality that has any degree
of influence or significance in our political landscape. There simply is no
idea that could ever be uttered by a national, viable Democratic candidate
that can even compete with the extremism, radicalism and fringe nature of
this view. The Weekly-Standard/Giuliani/Lieberman position is a view that is
overwhelmingly rejected by the American mainstream; it is a true fringe
position:
A majority of adults in the United States believe their federal
administration should not wage war against Iran, according to a poll by
Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN. 63 per cent of respondents
would oppose the U.S. government if it decides to take military action in
Iran.
Yet while Obama-like calls for diplomacy are almost immediately labelled
"too left" or "extreme" despite polling data that shows the opposite, people
who advocate insane military attacks on Iran are virtually never labelled as
such even though polling data shows how fringe they are. That is because
"centrism" and "extremism" and "fringes" designate nothing other than what
Beltway media stars personally believe, and anyone who favors war -- old
ones or news ones -- is inherently mainstream, responsible and . . .
serious. That, more than anything else, is why we are still in Iraq, and why
withdrawal is universally depicted as the "extreme" leftist position even
though most Americans favor it.

While on the subject of Chris Matthews' Thursday show, one would be remiss
by failing to note this bit of wisdom from him:

MATTHEWS: Who's right? Doesn't it look like Hillary will win this thing
simply because she's better at playing to the concerns and sensitivities of
people who vote Democrat? This holocaust denial thing is brilliant. They're
putting this guy, whose middle name is Hussein, out there, saying he wants
to go play in the sandbox with a holocaust denier. That's brilliant politics
if you're a Democrat. And now he's got to deny it.
To the extent that this can be understood, Matthews seems to be saying that
there are many Jews in the Democratic Party ("playing to the concerns and
sensitivities of people who vote Democrat") and so it is "brilliant" of the
Clinton campaign to associate her rival who is saddled with the middle name
of "Hussein" with the Israel-hating "Holocaust denier." Hence, in Matthews'
mind, this episode shows why Hillary "will win this thing" even though
"Democrats, by a 55% to 22% margin, agree with Obama." Media pundits are so
suffuse with narcissism and self-importance that they automatically think
that their own views on any topic are, by definition, held by "most
Americans," on whose behalf they speak, even when they don't.

* * * * *

On an unrelated note, I had expressed the view several times this week that
I believed the perjury case against Alberto Gonzales was weak to the extent
it was grounded in his answers about whether the Comey/Ashcroft dispute
applied to the "Terrorist Surveillance Program," as opposed to "other
intelligence activities." My view arose, in part, from e-mail discussions I
had on this topic throughout the week with Anonymous Liberal, a very smart
and insightful lawyer who has developed a real expertise in the NSA scandal.
Throughout the week, he and I shared the same view on Gonazles' defense to
this particular perjury charge.

But over the last couple of days, A.L. went back and reviewed all of the
testimony given by Gonzales to the Senate Judiciary Committee back in
February, 2006. He now conclusively believes the perjury charge against
Gonzales would be very strong, and he has put together a compelling
evidentiary case proving Gonzales' perjurious intent. His post has certainly
changed my view, and I hope someone on the Senate Judiciary Committee takes
notice of the virtually irrefutable proof he has compiled.

UPDATE: As Andrew Sullivan has been recently realizing and pointing out,
spending your life and career rooted in Beltway media and political circles
inevitably warps one's perspective, no matter one's ideological leanings --
especially (though by no means only) with regard to "how Americans think."
From long-time Beltway political correspondent David Corn of The Nation and
now also Pajamas Media:

I can see the ad now: Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro, Bashar
al-Assad, and Hugo Chavez all strolling into the White House, and a grinning
Barack Obama greeting them with a friendly "Welcome, boys; what do you want
to talk about?"

If Obama gets close to the Democratic presidential nomination, pro-Hillary
Clinton forces could air such an ad. If he wins the nomination, the
Republicans could hammer him with such a spot.

And the junior senator from Illinois will not have much of a defense. . . .

[T]his moment illustrated perhaps the top peril for the Obama campaign: with
this post-9/11 presidential contest, to a large degree, a question of who
should be the next commander in chief, any misstep related to foreign policy
is a big deal for a candidate who has little experience in national security
matters.

He goes on to compare Obama to Dean in 2004, whom he said made a series of
"dumb gaffes" which supposedly exposed that Dean "had not spent years
talking and doing foreign policy" and that he was "not ready for prime time
regarding national security matters" -- even though he "had the foreign
policy positions that resonated most with Democratic voters." But the
"flubs" and "gaffes" were important only to Beltway media types, who then
used it to depict Dean as "weak" and "inexperienced" on national security,
which then became conventional wisdom.

That is how this works perpetually -- media elites repeatedly masquerade
their own conventional wisdom and biases as "American centrism" and any
deviation as "extremism" or "unseriousness" or even "craziness." That is how
their Beltway orthodoxies are enforced. As Prairie Weather says: "this kind
of media falsehood becomes a self-confirming prophecy. Establishment wins;
you lose."

To be clear, none of this is about whether I personally believe it is a good
idea to commit to face-to-face meetings in the first 12 months of a
presidency with every hostile world leader regardless of the circumstances.
I doubt that Obama actually intends to embrace such a specific commitment
even though (as Bob Somerby fairly notes) he did say "I would" when asked
(though sysprog makes what I think is the more convincing argument about
what Obama actually said). The point here, though, is that it is being
almost universally depicted as some sort of politically damaging reply -- a
terrible "gaffe" -- all because media stars disagree with it, not because
American voters do.

-- Glenn Greenwald
 
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M

Mike

Chad Harris said:
July 30, 2007
Microsoft's Gates Plans His Leave Amid Great Change
By JOHN MARKOFF
REDMOND, Wash., July 27 - Microsoft is beset with competition from all
sides, unlike any it has seen in decades, and Bill Gates, who co-founded
the company 32 years ago, still intends to step away next year as planned.

<huge load of political crap deleted>

What exactly does any of this drivel have to do with Vista?

Mike
 
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C

Chad Harris

Strange you would ask, Mike because I have copies of hundreds of topics I've
answered on these two groups setup and general that are questions far flung
from Vista including Office WMP, etc. I thought it would be of interest.

If you don't want to read it, just like a remote don't click it.

As to those kinds of insipid questions, save them for your employees if you
have any who are being paid to answer stupid questions. I'm not paid to
answer to you.

Why not get off your ass and help some people if you think you can. LOL

You're the quintissentially apathetic type that has this country in a
quagmire hemorrhaging money and lives--mostly of poor people of color who
are being fed into the meatgrinder as Cheney calls it. Note that Cheney's
fat ass and his daughters aren't anywhere near fighting in Iraq nor or is
his son in law or his daughter's lesbian partner.

CH
 

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