Monday, July 31, 2006

The coward's war

Mark Steyn is backing up the ridiculous claim that the 101st Fighting Keyboarders are in some way "fighting" the War on Terror.
In fact, the notion "fighting" a war is the monopoly of those "in uniform" gets to the heart of why America and its allies are having so much difficulty in the present struggle. Nations, not armies, go to war. Or, to be more precise, nations, not armies, win wars. America has a military that cannot be defeated on the battlefield, but so what? The first President Bush assembled the biggest coalition in history for Gulf War One, and the bigger and more notionally powerful it got, the better Saddam Hussein's chances of surviving it became. Because the bigger it got, the less likely it was to be driven by a coherent set of war aims.

War is not like firefighting: It's not about going to the burning house, identifying what needs to be done, and doing it; it's not a technical solution to an obvious problem. And, if you think it is, you find yourself like George Bush the elder in 1991, standing in front of the gates of Baghdad and saying, "Er, OK. Now what?"
So, let me get this straight. Not only was Bush Senior wrong not to have occupied Baghdad--even though he was clearly right that such an action has brought about "incalculable human and political costs"--but somehow, if he'd only had the Kathryn Lopez and Mark Steyn blogging their little hearts out, the WWII hero pilot would have grown the cojones his disgrace of a de-winged National Guard postal officer son has. (And that's giving him the benefit of the doubt concerning his service.)

And how, exactly, would they have done it? Well, apparently the National Review folks think they're so important that they influence the President directly. "You can have the best, fastest state-of-the-art car on the road," Steyn writes, "but, if you don't know where you're going, the fellow in the rusting '73 Oldsmobile will get there and you won't. It's the ideas that drive a war and the support they command in the broader society that determine whether you'll see it through to real victory."

Does this means that Bush--he of steely-eye and ramrod spine--is simply a puppet of the pundits and the rightwing blogosphere or does it mean that the Right Wing Noise Machine has his back in the war for public opinion. If the former, they need to pay for the fuck-up this war has become and, if the latter, then they're just simply failures. One would hope that, if blogging and writing bullshit editorials were actually fighting, our country could draft better "warriors."

There was a time when our country did fight as a whole nation. In WWII, for example, those whom the draft overlooked were required to limit their travel and their consumption to better provide for our troops. As Roosevelt put it, it was a "high purpose" to "give up conveniences and modify the routine of our lives if our country asks us to do so." In other words, those who were part of the fight were those who sacrificed. And that sacrifice included, at a minimum, the willingness to pay taxes, which Roosevelt called "an obligation of American citizenship."

Yet, throughout this war, the rightwingers have both refused to sacrifice anything. They have called Americans (as does Steyn) weaklings who don't have the stomach to lose soldiers or accept mounting civilian casualties--as they cried out from their parents' basements and think tanks that we must stay the course. And, even as every twirl of their victory dances became a stumble in a danse macabre, still they called out for more "tougness," more "sacrifice," more blood. More war, war, war.

And more tax cuts.

They're willing to repeatedly demand that more and more Americans give all so that they can continue to give nothing.

Yes. There are ways to fight the battle of the homefront, but being a fatassed consumption machine who equates argument unworthy of a high school bonfire party with the sacrifice of soldiers doesn't even come close.

I'm willing to accept that nations fight wars, but that's the exact problem with Iraq. Americans realize now that we have put ourselves in a war where we are not fighting a nation, but we are fighting fanaticism in the midst of those we claim to be defending. If we simply bomb the country, then we kill civilians and, well, then why are we there? If we can't bomb the country, then our service members have to simply roll back and forth up its roads like shooting gallery ducks. All this in support of a government which would pardon their would-be killers.

Lucky for us, Americans aren't weak. Unfortunately for rightwing blogger they're not stupid either. They know this war is a debacle. There were no WMDs. Democracy hasn't made anything better. This war has, in fact, made everything worse.

So, you say, "We got Saddam." But, as Dick Cheney famously asked, "(H)ow many additional American casualties is Saddam worth?" His answer? "(N)ot that damned many."

Anyone who suggests that blogging is in any way comparable to fighting is either stupid or just scrambling to cover his own cowardice. Or both.

(Anonymous Liberal has more.)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The French make our journalists suck

Yep, we're on to excuse number God-knows-how-many why American journalists failed to do their job before the Iraq War. In one of those columns you see all the time from guys like Sebastian Mallaby, he praises the Bushies repeatedly, attacks their enemies in an off-hand manner and then pretends he's giving them a "talkin'-to." Aw shucks, he seems to say, they don't mean no harm.

I expect this kind of crap from Mallaby. He kisses ass. It's what he does and he's good at it, so why make him change, right?

But, in one of his toss away, unsupportable and utter bullshit remarks, he gives us yet another reason why he and other members of the fourth estate didn't do their jobs prior to the beginning of the Iraq War:
...just because European diplomats inhabit a fantasyland, it does not follow that the opposite to European policy is sound. This truth was ignored in the run-up to the Iraq war, when the French and others called for diplomatic containment of Saddam Hussein even though they themselves had undermined the sanctions option. This infuriating hypocrisy, and its obvious uselessness in dealing with a threat that Western intelligence agencies believed real, allowed the alternative policy offered by the Bush administration to escape scrutiny. U.S. officials spent their time explaining why the French option was unworkable -- an easy case to make. But they were not forced to answer enough questions about whether the intelligence on Iraq's weapons program was solid or whether they were prepared for the challenges of democratic reconstruction.
Ah, yes. How could journalists think to ask if Bush's information was true? It's not like some of what the administration was saying couldn't be proven by readily available information to be (at least) an obvious exaggeration. (Even the supposedly even-handed hawk Fareed Zakaria repeated that exaggeration, writing that, "The United Nations and the United States have accumulated powerful evidence of this over the past decade, including testimony from Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, about Iraq's biological weapons." Of course, like Bush, he didn't mention that same son-in-law said they'd all been destroyed.) Then there are the directions we gave UN inspectors to what we said were weapons sites and how did they respond? They said we were giving them "garbage after garbage after garbage." All that garbage and not one journalist thought to ask, "What stinks?"

And, for God's sake: Aluminum tubes? That was proven to be controversial--at best--a week after it was tossed onto the pile of other crap. Yet, that wasn't enough to make any of you think, "Hey, I wonder what else might be wrong"?

Nope. Journalists were just too infuriated by French hypocrisy to ask meaningful questions, right? Congratulations on an ingenious dodge, Mr. Mallaby. It hurts my head so much I just have to gape in awe at God's sense of humor at making sure your intials were S and M.

I'm going to stick your excuse for press failure up on the WALL OF BULLSHIT, sir. Don't worry, it's got some illustrious company.

Remember Judith Miller's excuse that security clearances determine the level of truth and it wasn't her job to wonder if they might be full of shit?
My job was not to collect information and analyze it independently as an intelligence agency; my job was to tell readers of the New York Times as best as I could figure out, what people inside the governments who had very high security clearances, who were not supposed to talk to me, were saying to one another about what they thought Iraq had and did not have in the area of weapons of mass destruction.
You know Judy's got a permanent spot on THE WALL.

Remember your colleague David Ignatius' argument that journalists were just too darn professional to question our glorious leaders?
In a sense, the media were victims of their own professionalism. Because there was little criticism of the war from prominent Democrats and foreign policy analysts, journalistic rules meant we shouldn't create a debate on our own. And because major news organizations knew the war was coming, we spent a lot of energy in the last three months before the war preparing to cover it -- arranging for reporters to be embedded with military units, purchasing chemical and biological weapons gear and setting up forward command posts in Kuwait that mirrored those of the U.S. military.
Yeah, it's hard to bother with journamalism when you're packing your bags and, sure, I'll bet those plane tickets to Kuwait were nonrefundable, too. And, hell, asking questions might have screwed up the pool, too, since, according to Newsweek International's Dec. 16, 2002, issue the "smart money (was) on war beginning in February."

Hell, even the old lib'rul Debbil himself, Dan Rather, said it's impolite to doubt the President.
Look, when a President of the United States, any President, Republican or Democrat, says these are the facts, there is heavy prejudice, including my own, to give him the benefit of any doubt, and for that I do not apologize.
Yeah, I remember all the benefit of the doubt Clinton got.

The excuses go on and on, but the truth is, corporate media just sucks and the French had nothing to do with it. What are needed are better journalists, skeptical people who think that, just perhaps, evidenced should be marshaled and tested before we declare something "true." In fact, I know just the guy. His name's Sam P. and he wrote the following, which was published January 17, 2003:
I think the U.S. should wait until we get the final report from the U.N. inspectors before going to war with Iraq. We might be wrong about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. If we take the time and wait for the U.N. inspectors, we may save many lives.
Sure, that was just a letter to the editor, but he was way out in front of the rest of you. Sam wasn't part of the "mainstream media...cloaking the news in decorum" and then laughing along with Jonah Goldberg as he recycled old Simpsons jokes about the French. No, Sam was worried about the important things. He wanted to make sure we were right because lives were going to be lost.

There is one downside with hiring Sam, though. He can't drive himself to work. He wrote that letter to the editor to Time For Kids when he was 11*.


* Source Citation: "Dear TFK..." Time for Kids 8.13 (Jan 17, 2003): 7. InfoTrac OneFile. Thomson Gale. Apollo Group. 31 July 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Nice company you're in, John

John Podhoretz, in the article I talked about a couple of days ago, has found a new friend. Go check it out.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Lopez on terror

So a very bad thing happens.

A Muslim walks into a Jewish center in Seattle and kills someone and wounds five others. Do I think this is motivated by hate? Of course, I don't think terrorism. I think nutjob.

If someone loses it and goes on a rampage, that's nutty. If someone is motivated by an ideology and kills innocents in order to send some sort of message, that's terrorism. So sayeth Nitpicker. So sayeth Merriam-Webster. So sayeth the FBI.

So this tragic event occurs and the first thing that Kathy Lopez over at National Review's "Corner" can think is that the damned biased media FBI won't say the "t word."

Yes, my bringing this up is, perhaps, as petty as Lopez's comment--this does seem like a stupid and ridiculous thing to be concerned with at this point--but why is it that, when some whackjob walks in and begins shooting at people erraticly, Lopez wants to call him a "terrorist," but when someone methodically plants four bombs over a two year period--killing two people and wounding more than 110 others--she thinks the media is being excessive when they call him an "extremist"?

Is it only terror when she disagrees with a person's motives or does she just think anything bad thing a Muslim does should be called terrorism?

Well, that's nice kids...

but when we say brown shirts we mean it! Tan will not do!

That's five Hail Hannities and three Our Righteous Leaders for all of you!

You'll all be lucky if you're invited to next year's Die Feierstunde der Hannity-Jugend, er... Freedom Concert.

Now sing.
The land falls into sorrows,
Therefore we rise up;
Our helmets shine in the sunrise,
Our hearts rise up.
Freedom is the fire,
It is the bright vision,
As long as it flames high,
The world is never small.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Another way the Iraq debacle continues to hurt us

I heard this on NPR today and it surprised me that I hadn't thought of this before.
Michele Kelemen (at 3:20): Ambassador Bolton said he also expects the Security Council to pass a resolution on Iran's nuclear program, though that has been an uphill battle.

[snip]

(3:39) Russia and China have drawn lessons from the pre-Iraq War debate at the Security Council and have since been extremely reluctant to pass resolutions that could even open the door for military confronation.
Catch that? We got them to sign off on Resolution 1441 and, despite clear language in the resolution and the promise of our British proxy on the issue that it gave us no authority to go to war, Bush and other continue to use it to justify his adventure in Iraq. Here's Bush this March.
I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council; that's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed. And the world said, disarm, disclose, or face serious consequences and therefore, we worked with the world, we worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did, and the world is safer for it.
So now, when we need these nations on our side to push Iran and North Korea, they simply don't trust us.

Then again, I wouldn't trust this administration, either. They are, after all, the same logic twisters who said an authority to use military force also gave Bush the right to tap American's phones.

The lasting damage from Bush's war will haunt us for decades.

Peter Beinart's plan for Democratic victory

It seems that Beinart thinks Dems can win by following these simple steps:
  1. Support Arab leaders who back Hezbollah

  2. Support Bush's plan to hand over ports to Dubai

  3. Support an amnesty for insurgents who attack our troops

  4. Just, in general support Bush and his war, which would mean siding with a minority of Americans
As always, very helpful, Pete. Next time save us all the trouble and write "Democrats will win if they just refuse to fight."

You should be reading

The many moods of John Podhoretz

Podhoretz says Iraq is a "war to liberate 25 million people" that we're losing because "we didn't kill enough" of those people.

David Frum: Murtha was right!

I've tried to explain this before, but the conservatives had a "meme" to push: Rep. John Murtha's call for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq proved that Democrats were the "party of cut and run." At least that's what David Frum wrote, saying that "Toughness is tested and proven in times of adversity. And once again the Democrats are flunking."

(Because he was a speechwriter for the White House, bitches. He knows adversity like no Vietnam Vet retired Marine colonel has ever seen.)

What Frum and his fellow rightwing dingleberries always failed to mention, however, was that Murtha wasn't saying abandon Iraq, but, as I've pointed out before, let's pull back and wait over the hill. Our presence, Murtha suggested, was probably making things worse in Iraq. Republicans, of course, failed to actually listen to what Murtha was saying and,today, they look like fools because of it--just as one of their own predicted they would.

You see, today, David Frum, who, as far as I can tell, coined was the first to publicly use the "cut and run" phrase in this regard, is backing the plan suggested by Peter Galbraith in Tuesday's New York Times. A big part of that plan sounds suspiciously Murthaesque:
Seeing as we cannot maintain the peace in Iraq, we have but one overriding interest there today — to keep Al Qaeda from creating a base from which it can plot attacks on the United States. Thus we need to have troops nearby prepared to re-engage in case the Sunni Arabs prove unable to provide for their own security against the foreign jihadists.

This would be best accomplished by placing a small “over the horizon” force in Kurdistan.
Doesn't that sound vaguely familiar...no, wait! Doesn't that sound exactly like Murtha's plan!?
  • To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
  • To create a quick reaction force in the region.
  • To create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines.
  • To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq
Someone should figure out exactly how many dollars have been spent, how much of our international good will has been lost and how many people have died in Iraq since Murtha presented his plan on November 17, 2005. If you do, you will have figured out exactly what it takes to make David Frum see reason.

Update: I failed to point out Glenn Greenwald's much more in-depth look at what Frum's neocon apostasy means.

Update: Another holy warrior falls.

In April, John Kerry said it was time to give the Iraqis a deadline and tell them to get their shit together or we were leaving.

MoveOn and others said, "Damn straight!"
America must insist on more progress from the Iraqis and give them deadlines. The deadlines must be real—backed with troop departures. This is how progress will be finalized in Iraq and how we’ll be able to bring our troops home. This is the rationale reflected in the exit strategies of leaders like Rep. John Murtha and groups like the Center for American Progress.
Today, retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a frequent guest of Sean Hannity's, Panglossian supporter of the war and author of Never Quit the Fight says, well, it's time to quit the fight.
We should never publicize a timetable for a troop withdrawal, but here's what President Bush should have told Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, yesterday: "You are failing your country. We'll give you six months. If your government can't produce a unified response to sectarian violence that treats all sides impartially, we'll withdraw our troops and our support. Then you can fight it out among yourselves."

Failure in Iraq would be a victory for terror. In the short run. But the terrorists might then find themselves mired in a long and crippling struggle. An Iraqi civil war might become al Qaeda's Vietnam, not ours.
Damn! How many terrorists did he just "embolden" and does this means he wants the good guys to lose?

I can't decide

I read this today:
President George W. Bush on Thursday signed legislation that will establish a national sex offender registry and try to make it harder for sexual predators to reach children on the Internet.
And I think "Hey, that doesn't sound like a completely awful idea." But then I started wondering...Did Bush really just intend to create a new database of possible Republican donors or did Norm Coleman co-author this law in order to keep track of his dad?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Surprise! It's a war!

Good Lord.
A senior Hezbollah official said yesterday that the guerrilla group did not expect Israel to react with an all-out offensive when it captured two Israeli soldiers.
And then...
After weeks of aerial bombardment and artillery fire, Israel's army finds itself in a bruising ground war just across its border against an opponent employing the classic tactics of guerrilla warfare. And so far, say soldiers, commanders and military analysts, Hezbollah has proved a more formidable force by orders of magnitude than the armed Palestinian groups in the territories.

[snip]

"When it comes to this kind of urban warfare, it has been like this throughout history," said Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, a member of Israel's general staff. "It is the most difficult kind of warfare ever."

"Are we surprised?" Nehushtan continued. "Well, I wouldn't say that. But they are certainly fighting."
Honestly, unlike the neocons who think that the answer to war is more war, I don't have an easy answer for what's going on in the Middle East right now. But A) I'm wondering if there's anyone left who actually realizes that actions have consequences and; B) we can now quit listening forever to Max Boot, who wrote "Democratic developments in Iraq may send out ripples across the Middle East that will topple other despotic regimes." Sure, his next sentence was "Or not," but he seemed certain that we could just "help the process along."

Patterns

I'm not saying that this evidence isn't circumstantial, but I detect a pattern here.

Today Max Bergmann pointed out over at Think Progress that a contractor who would directly benefit from the Air Force's F-22 Raptor program was involved in a supposedly independent endorsement of continuing the controversial program.

He points out that "In a recent piece in Foreign Affairs, conservative Fred Kagan pointed out that a single F-22 could pay for 3,000 additional American troops." But it goes back further than that. Kagan has valiantly been fighting against the F-22 since at least September 2000, when he signed on (along with Paul Wolfowitz, "Scooter" Libby and other PNACers) to a paper which suggested (PDF link) that F-22 wasn't needed. What was needed were more aircraft like the C-17.

I honestly couldn't say whether or not the F-22 is worth the cost, but, of the people that do know, most say it isn't. But I find it odd that one of the signators of this document was Barry Watts of Northrop Grumman. NG provides systems for all kinds of aircraft, including the A-10, the B-1B, the B-2, the B-52, the C-130, the E-3, the F-111G, the F117A, the F-15, the F-16, the KC-10A, the KC-135, the OA-10A, the E-2, the C-17, the Global Hawk, the Predator, the FA-18, the MH-60, the AH-1Z and the UH-1Y. What airplane is missing from that list?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Who can you trust? Not Bill O'Reilly

Today:
So here's the question of the hour: Who is really looking out for you, the very secret Bush administration or the anti-Bush media?

[snip]

In the end it comes down to this: I believe there will be more blood in American streets if the government eases up on aggressively pursuing the terror killers. But the anti-Bush media doesn't believe that, and some are putting forth that the president's policies are the primary threat to this country, not the killers themselves.

I think that's downright dangerous. I'll also tell you a secret: Fighting a two-front war on terror, with the second front being the media controversy here at home, has weakened the USA substantially.
O'Reilly, March 18, 2003:
And I said on my program, if -- if -- the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again.
O'Reilly, February 2004:
"I was wrong. I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this," O'Reilly said he was "much more skeptical about the Bush administration now".
O'Reilly, one day later.
O'Reilly was back on more familiar turf, telling his Fox audience that the controversy was cooked up by the "left-wing press" who "used my words to hammer the president." The liberal media, he reminded his audience, "has made dozens of mistakes itself and continues to deny that the world is a better place because Saddam is gone." This from a guy who promises his show is a "no spin zone."

God help us

What have we done to Iraq?
An average of more than 100 civilians per day were killed in Iraq last month, the highest monthly tally of violent deaths since the fall of Baghdad, the United Nations reported today.

The death toll, drawn from Iraqi government agencies, was the most precise measurement of civilian deaths provided by any government organization since the invasion and represented a dramatic increase over daily media reports.
United Nations officials also said that the number of violent deaths had been steadily increasing since at least last summer. In the first six months of this year, the civilian death toll jumped more than 77 percent, from 1,778 in January to 3,149 in June, the organization said.
Bush, at a press conference June 14, after returning from Iraq:
Q Is the tide turning in Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: I think -- tide turning -- see, as I remember -- I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of -- it's easy to see a tide turn -- did I say those words?

Q (Inaudible) --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I probably ought to then reflect on those words and think that -- I sense something different happening in Iraq. The progress will be steady toward a goal that has clearly been defined. In other words, I hope there's not an expectation from people that, all of a sudden, there's going to be zero violence -- in other words, it's just not going to be the case.
Is it possible that, after his little trip, even he's beginning to realize what he's done?

Update: Here's what gets me. Bush has incessantly referred to Iraq as "the central front" in the war on terror, but if you follow the link to the press conference above, you'll find that he repeatedly makes it just a part of his war.
See, Iraq is a part of the global war on terror. It's not "the" global war on terror, it's a theater in the global war on terror. And if we fail in Iraq, it's going to embolden al Qaeda types.

[snip]


And I want to repeat something: Iraq is not the only part of this war. It's an essential part, but it's not the only part of the war on terror.

[snip]


The American people have got to understand that Iraq is a part of the war on terror.
To me that sounds like he wants to distance himself from it while still fighting it. What say you?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Billmon gathers the newspeak

The call of the chickenhawk

Bill O'Reilly tonight, answering his viewer mail.
The alternative to violence is surrender.
He's so willing to send American service members off to die, but you remember what he did the last time he said, "there comes a time in life where you got to stand and fight"? Surrender.

Fucking coward.

George Will's new buds

No, I'm not talking about his friends. George Will just told them to go to hell.

I'm talking about the cojones he appears to have grown so late in life. He takes on both Condi Rice's continued claims that "democratization" is some sort of panacea and then swivels and hits the Weekly Standard with both barrels.
One envies that publication's powers of prophecy but wishes it had exercised them on the nation's behalf before all of the surprises -- all of them unpleasant -- that Iraq has inflicted.
Damn, George. Testify.

Now, he gives Bush a little too much credit, in my opinion, for restraint. It seems more like disinterest to me, but George has written an excellent piece. Considering the calls to war by the crowd of neocon chickenhawks, it couldn't come at a better time.

Power Line: Bush at the top of his game

From Paul "No Comments, Please" Mirengoff of Power Line:
In an obscene attempt to obtain political mileage, the Democrats are claiming that President Bush is responsible for the outbreak of war in the Middle East. Howard Dean claims that the war would not have occurred if the Democrats had been in power because the Dems would have worked the past six years to prevent it.
Mirengoff doesn't offer any links or proof that Dean has said this, but, damn, what kind of kooky liberals would suggest Bush wasn't working hard to bring peace to the Middle East? Oh, that's right, it was the American Enterprise Institute, in 2002.
The wisest path is probably to punt downfield, as the administration is doing with the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation.
Well, you make the call if that was the wise choice or not.

Then, after saying it was a "previously unknown low" to suggest that Bush has dropped the ball, Paulie Nonuts says that it was all Clinton's fault, anyway (just like this Heritage Foundation article claimed). Paul's little mind is not haunted by the hobgoblin of consistency.

Then he ends with the old conservative saw about how North Korea is Clinton's fault, too.
Remember, though, this is the party that brokered the deal that enabled North Korea to obtain nuclear weapons, yet now blames that regime's nuclear status on President Bush.
May I point this out just one more time? In 2002, just months after it had achieved "Axis of Evil" status, Bush handed North Korea a bunch of money and said "We don't want to see what you're hiding."
US Government has announced that it will release $95m to North Korea as part of an agreement to replace the Stalinist country's own nuclear programme, which the US suspected was being misused.
Under the 1994 Agreed Framework an international consortium is building two proliferation-proof nuclear reactors and providing fuel oil for North Korea while the reactors are being built.

In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the Framework's requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.

President Bush argued that the decision was "vital to the national security interests of the United States".
Yep, that's some national security plan. "Take this money, evil guys. We trust you."

Update: Oh, and I forgot to mention that he called Howard Dean and us other liberals Nazis.

Hey, Paulie? When a conservative writes something Jon Podhoretz thinks is "disgusting" you ought to listen. Remember, this is the man who thinks it's appropriate to question a kidnapping victim's mental state if she says something he doesn't like, so I'm not sure how you were even able to get below that bar.

Jeb Bush hates democracy

If I've understood the conflicting conservative arguments against the judicial system, their main complaint is that judges aren't accountable to the people. Right, guys?
"Unelected judges can cut the voters out of the loop and decree liberal dogma as the law of the land." - Thomas Sowell

"Aided and abetted by arrogant, unaccountable and unelected judges who are determined to implement their vision of political correctness, thousands of unlawfully "married" gays and lesbians are fanning out across the nation, preparing civil rights suits and demanding recognition by the courts." - James Dobson

"I am questioning the propriety - indeed, the sanity - of having a value-laden decision such as this made for the entire society ... by unelected judges." - Justice Antonin Scalia

"My only concern is of an unelected judge imposing same sex marriage against the will of the people and the representatives." - Ankle Biting Pundits
But, then again, conservative really hate it when the judges are elected. From Pensacola's Independent News:
Republican Party members and Gov. Jeb Bush plan to fight for their right to appoint 55 local judges across the state, including two new First Judicial Circuit Court posts in Santa Rosa County.

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature in a House Bill called for the judges to be elected rather than appointed. Even though local judges are elected, many earn their seats by appointment because judges will often quit during their term to allow the Florida governor to select a replacement. Once on the bench, judges rarely face opposition when their terms end and often serve until they're ready to retire.

But Bush and his cronies do not like the election of the new judge posts. So, the Judicial Nominating Committee for the 11th Judicial Circuit for Miami-Dade County is challenging in the Florida Supreme Court the elections scheduled this fall.
Bush is just like his brother. They don't think it's fair that they can't game the system whenever they want.

Howard Kurtz: If I cover it, the media has covered it

Yesterday, I suggested everyone take the time to ask Howard Kurtz why the media always calls lefties angry, but doesn't mention the right's death threats.

His answer: Not me!
Philly, Pa.: Howard...it amazes me that the media call the left side of the blogosphere angry when it is the right side of the blogosphere that is constantly calling anyone who disagrees with them "traitors and unpatriotic." A perfect example was after the NYT travel section published pictures of Rumsfeld's and Cheney's vacation homes. The pictures were printed with both men's approval and their security details' approvals, but the right-wing blogs went ballistic and called for the blogs to seek out the addresses, phone #'s and directions to NYT reporters' homes. This was a ridiculous reaction to a puff piece that had no security risks for the men involved. This continues to baffle me that the right-wing blogs are taken seriously. Is it for false balance? When will you stop having these people on your show b/c that gives them credibility that they don't deserve.

Howard Kurtz: Seems to me there is considerable anger on both sides. I wrote about the non-scandal fomented by some conservative bloggers about the NYT running a photo of Rummy's weekend place on Maryland's Eastern Shore and how this was some terrible security violation. When the Pentagon confirmed that the Defense secretary had given his permission for the picture, some of the righty bloggers backed off and some didn't.

---

Harrisburg, Pa.: "Seems to me there is considerable anger on both sides". Well, yes, there is.

But only one side seems to be consistently calling for the death of the people with whom they disagree (see the Coulter quote you cited this morning).

Only one side consistently uses terms like 'treason' and 'traitor' and claim that their political enemies are on the side of the terrorists.

Have you really not noticed this? If you have, doesn't it bother you?

Howard Kurtz: Anyone who reads me knows that I am well aware of the fierce anti-press views out there, including those who say journalists should be tried for treason. But I am not going to pretend those views don't exist, whether or not I agree with them. People should be aware of them and form their own judgments.

---

Philly, Pa: Howard, come on..."Seems to me there is considerable anger on both sides."

Are you serious? What lefty blogs or pundits have called for the hunting of reporters? What lefty blogs or pundits have called for the gassing of those they disagree with (Melanie Sloan), or the firing squad (Coulter)? There is definitely a difference!

Howard Kurtz: If you got the email I get, you'd know that passions run high on both sides. I don't know of any liberals who have suggested that journalists be executed, but many are plenty angry at media coverage of Bush, Iraq, you name it.
Hey? Howie?

No one is asking what the fuck you do! You're the media correspondent. People want to know why the media in general fail to cover these issues?

Conservawhores?

A little while back, Kos threw a party. All kinds of people were invited, including Mark Warner, who, because he was the second politician to answer the call, addressed the audience. He also threw a little party of his own for the Kossacks and press in attendance.

Because Kos's old friend Jerome Armstrong works for Warner, Warner was accused, without evidence, of being involved in a "pay for play" scam, of "buying off a potentially problematic interest group...cheaply," and, even, "the buying of the Democratic blogosphere."

Then what are we to think about this little event?
Off-the-Record Happy Hour For Conservative Bloggers

When: TONIGHT, Monday, July 17, 2006, 7-8:30 PM

Where: A private Townhouse in Washington, D.C. (Address provided with RSVP)

Invited: Reps. Mark Kennedy of MN (http://markkennedy.house.gov/), John Shimkus of IL (http://www.house.gov/shimkus/), and Kevin Brady of Texas (http://www.house.gov/brady/).

If you would like to attend, please RSVP today to [redacted] at [redacted]@mail.house.gov with your full name and blog. Any questions about this event can also be directed to [redacted].

Thanks,

David
Now, Republicans (even those who call themselves "liberals," like the staff to The New Republic) have yet to prove that there was any instance of pay-for-play. I doubt they will, either, considering the fact that Warner started getting noticed by Kossacks soon after he started getting noticed by the traditional media and long before he hired Jerome. Hell, for that matter, Warner has shown up in some other nontraditional venues, as well, including a party at the SXSW music festival.

But Mark Warner has acted above board and out in the open on this, inviting all Kossacks and members of the media--including Byron York--to his events. What should we think then of these three members of the Republican party, who want to meet in secret with bloggers, without so much as a list of whom they might have co-opted with their "happy hour"?

A question

If Republicans want to take the "long view" in the Middle East and suggest, as Newt Gingrich has, that we have actually been involved in "World War III" since 1979, then shouldn't they have to answer for Iran-Contra and for giving arms to Iraq, which provided direct aid and comfort to our enemies?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm probably late to this...

but, damn.
It seemed like a routine question, one that military leaders involved in prosecuting the war in Iraq must ask themselves with some regularity: Is the U.S. winning?

But for Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff known for his straight-shooting bluntness, it proved a hard one to answer.

During a Capitol Hill briefing for an audience mostly of congressional aides, Schoomaker paused for more than 10 seconds after he was asked the question — lips pursed and brow furrowed — before venturing:

"I think I would answer that by telling you I don't think we're losing."

It was a small but telling window into the thinking of the Army's top uniformed officer and one of the military's most important commanders: Despite the progress being made by the new Iraqi government and the continuing improvement of local security forces, the outcome in Iraq, in many ways, is growing more uncertain by the day.

"The challenge … is becoming more complex, and it's going to continue to be," Schoomaker mused. "That's why I'll tell you I think we're closer to the beginning than we are to the end of all this."
Read the whole thing.

If Bush is Sinatra...

Then Lebanon is Shecky Greene, says James Wolcott.

I disagree. Since what's happening in the Middle East now is exactly what the neocons have been wanting, then I think that Israel is actually Shirley MacLaine. MacLaine has said that, while filming Some Came Running, Sinatra said to her, "I wish someone would hurt you...so I could kill 'em for ya."

So it is a Crusade?

Glenn Reynolds links to this blogger, Greg Burch, who explains why our current war will be different than the Cold War.
(Islam) rejects science as the arbiter of truth and makes no very specific promises to improve the material conditions of life for its adherents. Instead, it projects the reward for submission to Islam in an imaginary afterlife. The truth of this assertion cannot be inspected or tested for accuracy.

...Since Islam does not make any ambitious proposal to improve the lot of its followers in the real world, but only in an imaginary afterlife, no amount of waiting can undermine its claim to truth.
I just have a couple of questions.
  • When did we go to war with Islam? I thought we were fighting terrorists.

  • Couldn't every thing that Burch says about Muslims be equally attributed to the Christian Right? Or, for that matter, any religion?
Update: Right wing Christian fundamentalism rejects science in my home state of Kansas.

Is Juan Williams about to lose his Fox contract?

Juan Williams has always been a reliable foil for Fox News conservatives. As he and Mara Liason have sat in on panel after panel, they've worked for the right in two ways.
  1. Being real reporters and not partisan pundits, they won't fight back against the excesses of the right. The NPR code of ethics explicitly demands that reporters working on other stations "should not express their personal opinions on matters of public controversy because that impairs their ability to report credibly on those same matters for NPR." This means that the right can toss out ideas without fear of strong opposition.

  2. It also backs up the notion that there exists a "liberal media." Rightwingers can point to the panel, pretend it's "balanced" by the fact their guys are facing off against NPR staffers. This is the very nature of Fox News' version of balance: Frothing at the mouth conservatives take on impartial spokespeople or simply trot out conservatives with no balance at all. Remember, O'Reilly has all but called himself a coward.
That's why it was so refreshing to see that Juan Williams actually called Bill Kristol on his "get tough" bullshit on Fox News. ThinkProgress has the transcript and the video, which you should watch, but I want to highlight this one bit. After saying that Bill Kristol just wants "war, war, war," Juan Williams goes on to say this:
Well, the hard and unforgiving line has been, we don’t talk to anybody. We don’t talk to Hamas. We don’t talk to Hezbollah. We’re not going to talk to Iran. Where has it gotten us, Bill?
Bill Kristol's answer? His response to being called a warmonger who has supported and continues to support failed policies? The shrug you see below.















Apparently, Bill Kristol is a man beyond shame.

And, if Williams actually starts calling them like he sees them, he's not long for Fox News.

Jonah Goldberg is helpful

At the beginning of a withering critique of Jonah Goldberg's recent L.A. Times column, this from News Corpse.
In the second paragraph of his column, Goldberg prefaces his citation of Times colleague Jonathan Chait saying, “…and I’m not making this up…” It is considerate of him to alert us to when he is, or is not, making things up. It would be even better if he did so consistently.
I think that, from now on, we should just assume that Jonah's making things up unless he tells us otherwise.

A must-read post and a call to action

If you haven't yet read Glenn Greenwald's post you should. Glenn is calling upon the media to finally shed some public light on the disgusting nature of the right wing blogosphere.
The important point here is that the liberal blogosphere has received substantial -- really, endless -- media attention over the past few months, coverage which has included everything from the upsetting use of bad words to petty bickering to rank Internet gossip. But the pro-Bush blogosphere is all but ignored by the media, and it is long past time for a substantive, thorough examination of the extremist rhetoric and violence-drenched imagery which composes the backbone of their dialogue.
You have to read the whole thing, because Glenn lays it out with links galore. Greenwald has been pissing off the wingnuts lately because, well, he actually makes them look at what they've said and highlights it outside the insular world of the hate-filled circle jerk that is right wing blogging.

So, tomorrow just happens to be one of those days that Howard Kurtz, WaPo media reporter, will be live online. Everyone needs to ask him the questions that Glenn is asking: Why is the opposition of a candidate considered an "Inquisition" from the left, but death threats from the right get ignored?Why is it worth covering an in-house Kos spat, but not the calls to violence by frequent guests on national news programs like Michelle Malkin and David Horowitz?

Then write those same questions to whomever you think will listen. Right wing media "critic" Brent Bozell provides a handy list of editorial staff right here. If a paper has run something on us, they should have to answer these questions.

Update: John at Crooks and Liars thinks it's already too late for the American press.

Update: Right wing blogger "Eric" at Classical Values rights a lengthy post taking on Greenwald and ironically calling Glenn Reynolds "Il Duce." However, considering his delivery of a 1700-plus word defense of one of the several right wing bloggers Greenwald calls out, it seems that "Eric" comes from the "doth protest too much" school of blogging.

Update: A funny thing in the Classical Values link above. Does anyone notice something odd about this clever little chart "Eric" made? (Click for larger image.)

That's right. Glenn Greenwald, whom Eric calls a "troll and a link whore," is getting attacked by a political blogger who seems to think Tom Delay was a Senator. Hmm...

The draft: Politics vs. policy

Rolling Stone has a piece up called "The Return of the Draft." You should read the whole thing, but I wanted to show you this:
During the campaign last year, the president dismissed the idea as nothing more than "rumors on the Internets" and declared, "We're not going to have a draft -- period." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in an Op-Ed blaming "conspiracy mongers" for "attempting to scare and mislead young Americans," insisted that "the idea of reinstating the draft has never been debated, endorsed, discussed, theorized, pondered or even whispered by anyone in the Bush administration."

That assertion is demonstrably false. According to an internal Selective Service memo made public under the Freedom of Information Act, the agency's acting director met with two of Rumsfeld's undersecretaries in February 2003 precisely to debate, discuss and ponder a return to the draft.
Then there's this:
The politics of the draft are radioactive: Polls show that less than twenty percent of Americans favor forced military service...

Charlie Moskos, a professor of military sociology at Northwestern University, says the volunteer system also limits the political fallout of unpopular wars. "Without a draft, there's really no antiwar movement," Moskos says. Nearly sixty percent of Americans believe the war in Iraq was a mistake, he notes, but they have no immediate self-interest in taking to the streets because "we're willing to pay people to die for us. It doesn't reflect very well on the character of our society."

Even military recruiters agree that the only way to persuade average Americans to make long-term sacrifices in war is for the children of the elite to put their lives on the line. In a recent meeting with military recruiters, Moskos discussed the crisis in enlistment. "I asked them would they prefer to have their advertising budget tripled or have Jenna Bush join the Army," he says. "They unanimously chose the Jenna option."
And we're back to the cowardice of the Chickenhawk.

You see, kids, with the world going to hell in a handbasket, the military stretched thin and the neocons thumping their chests at Iran and North Korea, a draft just makes sense if you really think we should "stay the course." There is simply no way that our military can take on yet another fight without more troops. No honest observer says otherwise.

But the Republicans only believe in this war to the extent that it continues to bolster their dwindling credibility on national defense issues. The point isn't that there won't and shouldn't be a draft, but, if they really believed in their bullshit war in Iraq, there should be a draft but there won't. Their dedication to their own power forbids it.

The next time Republicans attempt to compare this war with WWII, point out that, in that war, there was a draft. This is especially important now that some Republicans believe the only way for them to stay in power is to call this World War III.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Feel the bounce!

Fox News still tries to spin some parts of their new poll, but even they have to admit Bush and the Republicans are tanking.
Less than four months before Election Day, the latest FOX News Poll finds that voters strongly favor the Democrats on key issues such as the economy and gas prices, and give the minority party a double-digit lead for control of Congress this fall. For most of President Bush’s second term in office, more Americans have said they disapprove than approve of his job performance and that is again the case in this new poll.

The president’s approval rating dropped to 36 percent, down from 41 percent approval two weeks ago and 40 percent in mid-June. Bush lost ground this week among some key constituent groups, such as Republicans, whites and men. Overall, 53 percent of Americans say they disapprove.
And there's this.
So far, interest in this year’s elections is modest: 19 percent of voters say they are extremely interested and another 38 percent very interested. Democrats (23 percent) are slightly more likely than Republicans (17 percent) to say they are extremely interested.

"It is worth noting," observes Gorman, "that ‘interest’ is one significant component of turnout scales. If Democrats are not only preferred but also turn out in higher numbers than Republicans, the current polls may actually be underestimating their strength."
Get out the vote, people.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Another Bush ad that shouldn't be forgotten

The discussion about campaign and party ads got me to thinking about what Bush used to promise. I found the ad below on YouTube, which, in light of Bush's crowing about another year of massive budget deficits, seems important to watch again.

More on the DCCC commercial

The DCCC ad Nitpicker wrote about earlier has caused some interesting comments.

First, from Americablog, John points out that Republicans seem awful concerned with dead American troops. It's the living ones they're not worried about.

Newsbusters brought up the Bush ad we talked about earlier, writing, "As the MRC reported on March 12, 2004, when a campaign ad for the re-election of President Bush that year showed images of the 9/11 attacks on America, the media were quite outraged...Should we expect the same outrage from the press concerning this campaign video by Congressional Democrats, or are such images only verboten when used by a politician the press despises?" But I thought that Republicans said it was fine? Are such images only OK when used by a politician Brent Baker loves?

A rightie who says this is a tempest in a teapot and all but calls his fellow right bloggers pussies:
    Captain Ed, who writes "American servicemen have come home in flag-draped coffins, and that is a public policy issue that we should debate. We argue that the Democrats are so afraid of casualties that they lack the tenacity to win this war, but if we can't watch these images without getting our own panties in a twist, I don't know that we're communicating a stronger position."
List of people who think it's unfair of Dems to remind people of the consequences of Bush's war:
  • Stephen Spruiell at NRO

  • Blackfive, who was against flag-draped coffins before he was for them before he was against them. Apparently, you can't use the dead, get this, in a "negative" way. Don't be so darn glum, Democrats!

  • Some crazy lady, who writes that Democrats should imagine "how differently things would have gone had America been united infighting the jihad and liberating oppressed societies in that despotic wasteland of theocratic Arab regimes" and proves that A) she's never heard of Bush's good buddies in theocratic Saudi Arabia; B) that bloggers and copy editors should mix; and C) that Pajamas Media is the least exclusive of clubs. (Yes, it's that crazy lady.)

Republicans own the dead?

So the DCCC puts out the ad at the bottom of this post and the right wingers go apeshit. If you watch it, you'll see that there are shots of soldiers patrolling a burned out Iraqi wasteland, flag-draped coffins and a helmet on a rifle. Now, this is only part of the ad, but the right blogosphere is displeased, to say the least.

Did they really think we'd forget Bush's ad?














Watch the DCCC ad. It shows these things in the context of every other thing this administration has fucked up, from job creation to Hurricane Katrina. I think it makes sense and, considering the right wing's defense of Bush's ad, they don't have a leg to stand on in this case.



Then tell the Republicans they can go to hell, by donating to the Democrat of your choice. They neither own the right to mention death nor to bitch when we point out that quite a few of those deaths are their party's fault.

Update: A statement by DCCC Communications Director Bill Burton:
Republicans have gone to great lengths to obscure the pictures of these brave young men and women who come home having paid the ultimate sacrifice. Perhaps if these Republicans had been able to summon up this same level of outrage when President Bush sent our troops off to war without the body armor they needed and the Humvee armor they required, so many wouldn't have come home in flag-draped coffins or with life-changing injuries. After more than 2,500 Americans have died in Iraq, more than 18,000 wounded and more than $450 billion spent, it's time for a new direction.
Update: A conservative blogger agrees with me.

Update: Erick, the linked-to genius over at RedState writes that the ad "uses pictures of dead soldiers in their flag draped coffins and the subtle threat of harm from September 11th to make a threat to the GOP." Aside from the nearly incomprehensible nature of this sentence, it just shows how whiny these fuckers get when Dems fight back.

Here's what the righties were saying about Bush's campaign ad:
President Bush released the first television ads of his re-election campaign today. They are so low-key as to be almost completely inoffensive. Nevertheless, the Democrats and the nation's newspapers pretend to be shocked--shocked!--that the ads include brief views of scenes from the September 11 attacks. - The artist formerly known as AssRocket from Power Line

LOOKING BACK, there is nothing surprising about the carefully plotted spasms of outrage at the reference, in a Bush campaign ad, to the terrorist attacks of September 11 through the fleeting shot of a flag-covered stretcher, and the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center in downtown New York. This has been done, done before, and done for all the same reasons: Democrats have been steadily working to take September 11, its cause, effect, and aftermath, off the table of election-year politics since . . . oh, possibly . . .

September 12. Or, perhaps, to be fair, since some weeks later, when it became clear that George W. Bush's response to the attacks would be an electoral plus. - Noemie Emery in The Weekly Standard

Emery is right, of course -- one need only to think back to Robert Byrd's almost surreal theatrics on the floor of the Senate to recognize how the Dems had already begun testing these waters early in 2002 or thereabouts -- and the campaign has continued apace, relying on a steady series of faux outrages and manufactured resentments to place off-limits, politically speaking, any mention of 911. - Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom

WHO OWNS 9-11? AND WHO OWNS HISTORY in general, the right to evoke the past and use pieces of it in creating the present?

The first television campaign ad for President George W. Bush came under partisan attack in the Leftist media because it included a few solemn, dignified frames of devastation from the World Trade Center, destroyed by terrorists on September 11, 2001...

And as for those loved ones who died in the terrorist attacks of 9-11, the most “demeaning” things someone can do is to erase them from our national memory, erase the history of the attack that killed them, and erase the effort to bring the terrorists who planned their murders to justice?

All this is being done cynically in order to help elect a Democrat President this November? By their re-writing of history, Senator Kerry and his allies in the Leftist media are engaging in the most demeaning, dehumanizing, Orwellian politics imaginable. - Lowell Ponte, FrontPage
Oh, I see... They're angry because they think that actually pointing out the devastation wrought by their party doesn't equate to an "electoral plus" for them. Sorry, WATBs. This war is yours.

Shorter Texas Republican Party

We can't get this booger off our finger.
(As always, a hat tip to Busy, Busy, Busy for the "shorter" format.)

The Wall Street Journal: Treasonous?

[For the record, Nitpicker supports crazy, radical notions like Freedom of the Press and that Congress should make no law abridging it, but the right feels differently. They believe in a new Constitution.]

Paul Gigot has been claiming on the Journal's editorial page and on TV that while the New York Times' decision to report on the SWIFT issue was "political," the Journal shouldn't be blamed for reporting on the same issue. He said the paper was "fed" the story because Bushies "wanted to affect the way that this story was portrayed."

In other words, Don't blame us, we're just administration mouthpieces. We don't do "reporting."

Righties, of course, came to the Journal's defense, buying Gigot's b.s.

And b.s. it was. The reporters at the Journal--who actually seem to care about what is true and not true, unlike Gigot--are pissed.
“To have Paul Gigot as our captain is bullshit,” one staffer said. “It’s not for real.”

“I’ve been here 16 years, and in my 16 years, this is something different,” political reporter Jackie Calmes said.

At a July 5 meeting in the Washington bureau, Ms. Calmes urged her fellow staffers to take action in response to the editorial. Currently, the staff is drafting a letter of protest to Mr. Steiger. “It could be one sentence: ‘We object,’” Ms. Calmes said. “It doesn’t have to go into chapter and verse. But I was just throwing it out there. I’m not instigating it. I’m not going to take the lead.”

Neither is Mr. Steiger. A Dow Jones spokesperson said that the paper doesn’t comment on its reporting and editing decisions. In an e-mail, Mr. Steiger noted that the editorial had explicitly not speculated about whether or not the news operation would have held a story if the administration had asked it to. “That said, the edit page is free to comment on anything it wants to comment on,” Mr. Steiger wrote. “The news department is free to write about anything it considers newsworthy, which on rare occasion has included the activities of The Journal’s edit page. The edit pages expresses opinions. The news pages do not.”

Mr. Gigot, meanwhile, has continued pushing his message. On July 9, on Fox News’ Journal Editorial Report, Mr. Gigot repeated the characterization: “[T]he news side was fed it …. The news side of The Journal was given the story because … [the administration] wanted to affect the way that this story was portrayed.”

According to Journal staffers with knowledge of the situation, Mr. Simpson, who is based in Brussels, had been working for months on a story about government monitoring of the international banking system operated by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT. On June 22, Mr. Simpson was in Washington when a Treasury source tipped him that The Times would be publishing a piece on the subject, according to Journal sources. Mr. Simpson delayed a flight back to Belgium and raced to put out a piece on deadline, posting one online minutes after the Times story went out. The Journal, The Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post all had SWIFT stories in the next day’s papers.
So I guess Michelle Malkin has a new protest to organize...

Update:: A quick reminder:
I'm calling on the attorney general to begin a criminal investigation and prosecution of The New York Times, its reporters, the editors that worked on this, and the publisher. We're in time of war, Chris, and what they've done here is absolutely disgraceful. I believe they violated the Espionage Act, the Comint Act.

This is absolutely disgraceful. The time has come for the American people to realize and The New York Times to realize we're at war and they can't be just on their own deciding what to declassify, what to release. - Rep. Peter King
Then there's King on the O'Reilly Factor.
O'REILLY: All right. So you want Attorney General Gonzales to do what? Charge them with what?

KING: Charge them with violating the Espionage Act and also the comint. The Espionage Act in 1917. And the "comint" of 1950. [Editor's Note: "comint" is jargon for communications intelligence. In 1950, Congress passed a law making such disclosures by a news organization a crime] Both refer to the disclosure of confidential classified secret information. That's what was done here.

O'REILLY: How about the guys in The L.A. Times and The Wall Street Journal. Do you want them prosecuted, too?

KING: Perhaps. Again, the only reason I'm — I don't know all the facts about The L.A. Times and The Wall Street Journal. I know enough about The New York Times.

For instance, my understanding is that The Washington Post — The L.A. Times and The Wall Street Journal only went forward when they had heard The Times had decided to go.

O'REILLY: That's true. That's true.

KING: So that could be a mitigating factor.

Also, as far as I'm concerned, The Times are recidivist. They're serial offenders here.

And again, you know, this is so important to me. You know, Bill, you and I know how many people we lost in our congressional district on September 11. The thought that The New York Times could run the risk of stopping — of preventing a pie in our hands — from preventing another type of attack, to me this requires criminal sanctions, criminal penalties. That's why I'm calling on the attorney general to launch a full investigation and prosecution of The New York Times.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I'm going to invent a car that runs on bullshit

Here's a short list of some of my main suppliers:
Sen. Rick Santorum: No, it's not my view that (oil companies) are the villains here. I think this is clearly driven mostly by supply and demand; that doesn't mean that there aren't isolated cases where this is a problem...

J. Bennett Johnston: In an exclusive debate on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., faced off with former Senator J. Bennett Johnston, D-La., now a spokesperson for the oil industry, on the issue burning a hole in American pocketbooks — rising gas prices.

"It is the iron law of supply and demand," said Johnston. He cited Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq, and boiling tensions with Iran, not the oil industry, as the source of rising rates.

Thomas Sowell: "These repeated investigations over the years have repeatedly failed to turn up anything other than supply and demand."

Michael Reagan: "Despite the spurious claims of price gouging by the wicked oil barons or OPEC or your corner gas station, the reason for the present high price of gasoline is simply this: there are too many people consuming gas supplies and too little gas to meet the need. That’s called the law of supply and demandand no matter how hard the Marxists running the national Democrat party try, it’s a law they can’t repeal."

Mort Kondracke: "And you know, and it’s basic economics, which, you will know that if the supply goes down and the demand goes up, that the price is going to go up."

Rush Limbaugh: "The immediate problem is not price. The immediate problem is supply -- and when you interrupt supply, that means you have less of it; the law says the price is going to go up, and that's exactly what's happening."
The truth (which seems to get less coverage):
Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Ranking Minority Member and Chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, today released a Subcommittee staff report finding that market speculation has contributed to rising oil and gasoline prices, and that too many energy trades are occurring without regulatory oversight. The report recommends that Congress enact legislation to close a major loophole in federal oversight of oil and gas traders, slipped into law in 2000 at the behest of Enron and other large energy traders...

Although these high prices are often attributed to the forces of supply and demand, the report demonstrates that supplies have been more than adequate to meet demand. Since late 2004, the amount of stored oil in the United States has been increasing. Oil inventories recently reached 347 million barrels – an eight-year high and the largest U.S. inventory since 1998, when oil was $15 per barrel. Similarly, oil inventories in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries recently reached a 20-year high. As the report explains, the traditional factors of “supply and demand” do not tell the whole story on oil and gas prices.
More from the Nieman Foundation.

Update: A reliably conservative friend of mine sent me this:
Can the other white meat's manure make black gold?

They say you can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, but University of Illinois researchers are working some interesting magic at the other end of the animal.

"We are the first to actually do this," professor Yuanhui Zhang says proudly of his team's ability to turn swine manure into crude oil. He's a bio-environmental engineer at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who has led the 10-year research project that recently announced a breakthrough in porcine petroleum.
We're getting there...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Jonah makes a funny?

Jonah Goldberg:
The base of the Democratic Party should be thanking the GOP for winning the Florida recount battle in 2000. If they hadn't, Al Gore would be finishing his second term and Joe Lieberman would be gearing up his presidential campaign. The horror!
Ha! Good one!

But...if, as the right wing pundits love to say, the Iraq War is the only thing the Lamont/Lieberman primary is about, then what problems would we have with Lieberman, considering we wouldn't be stuck in the Iraq quagmire under President Gore?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Talkleft's take on Deborah Frisch

Here:
What Deborah Frisch wrote is inexcusable behavior for a blogger of any kind, liberal or conservative. Her comments about Jeff Goldstein's son and wife are indeed unhinged. I cannot imagine any provocation that could justify them.
My take here.

Update: Instapundit says he's still waiting to hear from the "toddler threatening community." I admit that I was late in talking about this, but, um, I just don't read Protein Wisdom. I have a very low threshhold for mumblings from the leather-lined closet.

On the other hand, Glenn tiptoes around chastising his own clan for posting and/or promoting others who posted the addresses of the Times reporter and photographer. Instead, he lamely points to that "Online Integrity" crap, without chastising his fellow righties. Hypocritical? You betcha.

Michelle Malkin's fantasy dashed

Just now on "Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked" on the History Channel, about the late 1930s Superman:
While Superman fought for a liberal social agenda, Batman fought crime, plain and simple.
Poor Michelle.

Nutjobs

If half of what right wing blogger BlackFive has posted on this matter is true, then University of Arizona professor Deborah Frisch is one crazy lady. It seems she threatened Jeff Goldstein and his children. Of course the right, smarting from the embarrassment of putting a jihad on the New York Times over something one of their heroes authorized, will try to say that this is an example of how [Limbaugh voice] "deranged the left has become," forgetting all about how their bloggers sicced the flying monkeys on the families of Times reporters and photographers.

Well, here's how it's different. This lady is clearly not a political blogger, with almost no political posts on her blog. She doesn't even understand how political blogging works. For the record, honey, they have "moonbats" and we have "people who may have gone too far"--no matter which side of the political divide you claim as "we."

Second, I'm going to do something that the right has yet to do: Shun this crazy person. She doesn't represent me and has forfeited the right to my--or anyone else's attention (with the possible exception of the Arizona state police). I await with bated breath a similar statement from the right concerning the little bastard who wrote:
Go hunt them down and do America a favor. Get their photo, street address, where their kids go to school, anything you can dig up, and send it to the link above. This is your chance to be famous - grab for the golden ring.
and then disappeared back into the muck. And I can't wait for them to announce that they have turned their backs on Horowitz acolyte Rocco DiPippo (who posted the photographer's address), his fellow nutjob "Ted" and, even, Jeff Goldstein himself.

But while we're at it, can we point out that A) Goldstein's a professor; B) He's treated by the right as a credible source; and yet he C) seems to think threatening to slap guys in the face with his penis (in a strictly heterosexual manner, of course) is appropriate political dialogue. Hell, he's got a whole penis, thing, if you will. It is complete bullshit that anyone would threaten anyone's kids, but maybe Jeff would attract fewer nuts if he would quit talking about his own so much.

Update: For the record, Red State poster Constantine wrote this about the publishing of the Times staffers' info:
It's been a long time between visits. Powerline, Malkin and a number of others are promulgating the idea that gathering information about American children is a sign of patriotism.

You're kidding me, right?

...And yet we have folks lining up to make excuses for conservatives who attack children, that the left made the right attack children.
Good for Constantine.

More info: "Denny K" the pissant blogger who wrote the Political Insight blog and, in the course of this brouhaha changed its name to (no shit) Flying Monkey-Right Blog, is the guy who asked for people to hunt down the staffers and info about their kids. He shuttered his blog completely and getting rid of his blogger info. I have no intention of trying to track the guy down, but, I did want to highlight something. Originally, his profile read:
Worked in government for 25 years, elected to a number of public and party offices, currently teaching Political Science and Public Speaking at the college level. Every member of my family came to this country legally.
Right before he bailed, it read:
I toiled in the political trenches for many glorious years before graduating to “Defender of the Faith,” and now suffer the reprehensible brickbats from the Looney Left (see any comments sections). However, this will not deter me from my desire to change the mush minds in America’s youth to those of lean, mean, conservative machines. BTW, Every member of my family came to this country legally.
Why is it that Denny hasn't yet apologized as Frisch did and quit his teaching job like she did?

And the high point of the whole shebang? A freeper who goes by the name Diddle E. Squat commented that:
Freepers have to expose these clowns. Work up some photos of their homes, their mistresses' apartments, their routes to work, maybe where their children attend day school, alert all the sexual predators in the neighborhood (their names, addresses and photos are now readily available on line thanks to the do-gooders) etc. The government cannot perform this task or WH would be accused of Donald Segretti's Dirty Tricks or Gordon Liddy's blackops (wetops?). Where is Mia T when we need her? Call the Pajamahadeen to muster!
I'm just saying there's nuts on both sides. If anyone thinks the left should answer for Frisch, then the right has to answer for this fucker, especially since he wasn't called out and the post removed until someone from outside freepland called them on it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Joe's right!

Yesterday, I pointed you to Joe Roberts. I noticed on his site this statement.
Neo-Cons like the $8+Trillion debt because they buy U.S. Bonds and collect interest. Neo-Con family values send children of working Americans to a war that boosts their defense contractor stock holdings. Neo-Cons ignore the Constitution and the law and encourage illegals to do the same. Neo-Con CEOs swill salaries of $100 Million plus, while cutting worker pay, benefits & retirement.
It turns out there's confirmation of part of that statement. Cheney's money people think administration policies will make the dollar sink and inflation rise:
The Cheneys held another $1 million to $5 million in Vanguard Tax-Exempt Money Market fund (VMSXX, news, msgs), which is practically risk-free and could benefit from continued increases in short-term interest rates. And the couple had between $2 million and $10 million in Vanguard Inflation-Protected Securities fund (VIPSX, news, msgs). The principal and interest payments of inflation-protected bonds rise along with consumer prices, making them good inflation hedges...The Cheneys also had between $10 million and $25 million in American Century International Bond (BEGBX, news, msgs). The fund buys mainly high-quality foreign bonds (predominantly in Europe) and rarely hedges against possible increases in the value of the dollar. Indeed, its prospectus limits dollar exposure to 25% of assets and the fund currently has only 6% of assets in dollars, according to an American Century spokesman.
We need more Joes and fewer Dicks.

DONATE.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Support Joe!

No, not Joe "Smoochy" Lieberman.

Here's the deal: Howard Dean promised us a 50 State Campaign and, by God, it looks like it's happening. He can't do it all, though. The party needs you to get behind candidates and I've got one for you: Joe Roberts is running for the House from Florida's 1st District.

A Marine who served in Vietnam and continued to serve in the National Guard until 2005--including an active duty stint in Operation Enduring Freedom--Joe's a fighter.

For the record, I have no relationship to the Roberts campaign, but, before I would throw in my chips on his side, I met with him. I was more than impressed.

He is a conservative Democrat, but let's peep what that means to Joe:
Laws are meant to serve the best interests of the nation as a whole. When members of any national government consider themselves above the rule of law, or selectively enforce laws to the advantage of a the few, those people should be removed from government ASAP. Republican leaders in Congress, the Administration and elsewhere have repeatedly shown contempt for the rule of law since the fall of Richard Nixon. This trend continues unabated today with scandal after scandal involving elected and appointed government officials.

Immigration laws are ignored by the current Republican administration so that corporations can maximize profit by exploiting desperate workers from other nations. Illegal immigrants lose, American workers lose and corporations win. Corporations control our government via lobbies, exporting our jobs and importing poverty...

Bush, (Joe's Republican opponent Jeff) Miller, Rove and the rest leave little doubt that they are dishonest, incompetent and untrustworthy. Their inability to govern or do anything to promote the interests of the American People has brought America to the brink of being lost, damaged and wasted and they deserve the boot!
It's a conservatism we can get behind.

On top of that, winning this conservative tip of Florida's panhandle would allow us to get rid of one of the Tom DeLay stooges who voted to weaken house rules so that the Bugman could keep his job despite an indictment. If he ain't a crook, he's a least an enabler of crooks.

This also used to be Joe Scarborough's old seat, so it would be sweet to rub his smug little face in the lost of his seat to a Democrat.

So, here's what I'm asking you to do. Give a few bucks--any amount you can swing--to Joe Roberts' campaign. You can donate here or on his homepage above, but I think it would be great if we could point out how the netroots believes in winning even here in this extremely red district.

Crossposted here.

UPDATE: Niteskolar did it first. Let's add .01 to anything we donate to let Joe know where it's coming from.

Jong Il and George

Bush spoke up today on Korea's missile test. Something seemed weird about it...
Non-transparent societies run by governments that aren't selected by the people are -- very difficult to tell what's going on. That's part of the problem. We're dealing with a person who was asked not to fire a rocket by the Chinese, the South Koreans, the United States, the Japanese, and the Russians, and he fired seven of them...
I'm sure the Kim Jong Il would have surely not fired those missiles if he'd also been opposed by the Vatican and many, many others...

Thank God those missiles didn't kill anybody.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

On freedom

A veteran plans to fight the power.
This afternoon, drinking a cup of coffee while sitting in the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center on Chicago’s south side, a Veterans Administration cop walked up to me and said, "OK, you’ve had your 15 minutes, it’s time to go."

"Huh?", I asked intelligently, not quite sure what he was talking about.

"You can’t be in here protesting," officer Adkins said, pointing to my Veterans For Peace shirt...

You know the rest. Handcuffed, led away to the facility’s security office past people with surprised looks on their faces, read my rights, searched, and written up...

After informing me I could either pay the $275 fine on the citation or appear in court, Ousley escorted me off the premises, warning me if I returned with "that shirt" on, I’d be arrested and booked into jail...

And just for the record? I’m not paying the fine. I’ll see Adkins and Ousley and Dubya’s Director of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, if he wants to show up, in United States District Court on the appointed date.
The guy was a Navy corpsman in the Vietnam War. I think the Bushies have an embarrassing fight on their hands.