Just the Fax, Please

Just the Fax, Please

Just the Fax, Please

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Sept. 20 2005 6:25 PM

Just the Fax, Please

Bloggers are debating a fax gone wrong (or was it just another one of Karl Rove's plans?), the FBI's hunt for a few good agents who know their porn, and the British military's attempts to remove two soldiers from an Iraqi prison.

Just the fax, please: Bloggers are buzzing about this story on "alternative news nexus" Raw Story about how someone from Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith's office faxed a memo from Smith to presidential adviser Karl Rove by way of an unnamed Democratic congressman's office. The memo, which outlines Smith's views on immigration issues, says that, "Liberals can easily and accurately be painted as opposing enforcement [of immigration laws]." The blogs are filled with predictable—but still funny—intern jokes, like this one from Will Bardwell, a left-leaning law student: "Someone tell Smith's intern to go to Office Depot later this week to pick up a new fax machine and a coherent agenda." Pam Spaulding, a liberal blogger, adds, "Oopsie. Guess incompetence reigns, even at the administrative assistant level on the Bush team."

Torie Bosch Torie Bosch

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, New America, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

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Others don't see the humor. "Congressman Smith thinks the solution, is to paint Democrats as being anti-enforcement, thus playing on the fears of white Americans, that there is a 'Mexican Threat' to America (or ultimately the horror of their white daughter marrying a hispanic)," says David, a Texan, at Supreme Irony of Life. Melder's Musings' liberal Daniel Melder conspiracy-theorizes: "I suspect Rove will figure out how to blame the Democrats for Smith's mistake, as soon as he gets out of treason charges for outing a government agent and finishes his version of the blame game … for the Katrina failures."

Conservative bloggers don't see what the fuss is about. The California Conservative says the memo "does nothing except show that some Republicans, at least, are taking the immigration issue seriously" and nominates Smith to head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Immigration Watchdog views the leak not as a fiasco but as part of a greater plan. "Was this leaked intentionally? Hmmm."

Read more about the Karl Rove fax fiasco.

The FBI's newest team: A Washington Post report on the FBI's creation of an eight-agent squad to combat hard-core pornography has stirred debate. "It is stupidity like this that will cost the Republican party power in the future," fumesJewpublican Lee, an Atlanta blogger. "How silly will the Republican Party feel when you have Hillary standing there saying she will fight the 'War on Terror' rather than chase after consenting adults?" Like many other bloggers, conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan asks "don't our law enforcement agencies have better things to do than preventing adults from enjoying adult porn in the privacy of their own homes?" Fellow righty Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters hypothesizes that this new porn-busting team is an attempt to sweeten a possible Alberto Gonzales nomination to the Supreme Court by making the attorney general look more conservative.

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Social conservative Cheat Seeking Missiles is defending the new squad. "[D]oes anyone think another eight FBI agents would have saved us from 9/11? Please. … pornography should be fought. Not just for the reasons Atty Gen Gonzales recently enumerated -- its destruction of families -- but also because it abuses vulnerable women, spreads disease, is a major criminal enterprise, and is used to launder drug money."

But Liberal Pen Pal thinks that the attempts at regulating porn are actually against Republican principles, asking, "Where's the free marketers defending the 'inalienable right' of the market to create and distribute porn without governmental interference? They defended cigarettes and alcohol, why not porn?" Californian Geoff, at Bullmonkey, looks at the long-term effects of this new plan. "God bless America for so wisely spending my tax dollars (well, not MY tax dollars... at this point, we're probably spending my great grandkids' tax dollars... but whatever)."

Read more about the FBI's porn squad.

Controversial jail break: The attempt by British forces to free two soldiers held in a Basra jail is quickly becoming one of the most talked-about, and most confusing, stories to emerge from Iraq recently. The Iraqi government says the soldiers were arrested for killing an Iraqi policeman, but the Brits deny that that was the reason for the arrest. The British blog flânerie asks, "What I want to know is why no-one is asking the question: "Why did British troops kill an Iraqi policeman and are they under arrest for it?" Lenin's Tomb lays out a timeline of events and attempts to make sense of the conflicting media reports. Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan, has constructed a timeline of events and criticizes the way the media are reporting what is going on. "Sabrina Tavernisse of the New York Times gives the only account of alarming events in Basra I have yet seen that makes sense," he says.

Read more about the prison break.