Wednesday, January 31, 2007

When will liberals join in the fight against Mooninitofascism?

The mooninites attacked Boston today. Little Green Footballs readers--before the attack was proven to be a hoax--were falling all over themselves to say it proved they're right to be such racists. From the comments:
DocMartyn: I wonder which religon the perps belong to?
That religion would be capitalism, since it was just a fucked up marketing ploy.
Just_A_Grunt: But that is impossible. Why John Kerry was just talking to them the other day explaining how a little 'ol boy from MA didn't believe any of this nonsense about terrorists and that we should just open up a dialogue.
/not that I am jumping to conclusions mind you
karmic_inquisitor: The Jehova's are at it again. Buy the Watch Tower or they will destroy our cities!

IrishEi: The first device found was detonated and contained "electronic circuit board and other components consistent with an IED" (via FOX [Nitpicker: Double ha!]). Second device is similar to the first. Apparently though, neither of these would have exploded. (? huh?)

Gas leak in NYC...IED-like devices in Boston...Lots of dry runs lately. Too many.

cookielady: Of course not, no, we must not jump to conclusions. Just because we are at war with Islamofascist terrorists who have vowed to cause mayhem and death using whatever means necessary is no reason to begin with the assumption of the probability that the devices were placed by them.

And besides, none of these things are confirmed bombs and no damage was actually done yet. Our enemy's desire to harm us and ability to do so are two different things, and we mustn't overreact to these kinds of things. Even if they had all been workable bombs that had gone off, how many people would have been killed or maimed? Not enough to squawk about. After all, people die in traffic accidents every day, and it's not like no bridge has ever collapsed. We might as well declare war on earthquakes!
So, this probably isn't the right time to pull a publicity stunt like this, but, damn, the reaction of the LGFers makes it just about worth it.

[Pointing with wide eyes] Look! Islamofascist terrorists!

Ha ha. Made you look.


Update: The General found some more patriots manning the walls of paranoia town in order to thwart the IslamoMooninitofascist conspiracy.

R.I.P., Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins died today.

Remember her words:
Sit up, join up, stir it up, get online, get in touch, find out who's raising hell and join them. No use waiting on a bunch of wussy politicians.
I wish I would have met her.

The death of conservative intellectualism

John Kyl is living proof it's going, if not gone. He writes today that Americans are cowards because we're unwilling to give up on the silly notion of civil rights: "It's fashionable to say that legal protections distinguish America from its enemies."

Let that sink in. It will begin to burn.

Update: And here's more proof. My question to you is this: Do you tune into the weather channel for it's radical pro-weather fear agenda or to see if you should wear a jacket?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Malkin disgusts me

Today she's bitching about Lara Logan using video that may or may not have come from insurgent sources to illustrate her amazing story about a battle on Haifa street. The truth is, neither Malkin nor the blogger she links to can prove the video came from the insurgent sources, that the insurgents (or al Qaeda) released it first or that the insurgents didn't receive it from the same source from which Logan got the video

I worked with Lara Logan personally in Afghanistan and, to a person, every military member she came into contact with said the stories she aired about her time with them was dead-on honest--not to mention that, unlike Malkin who spent four days "embedded" with a unit showing her the fluffiest of fluff stories, Logan was nearly killed running the Afghanistan/Pakistan border with SpecOps types. Logan is the real deal. She's ten times smarter and ballsier than Malkin could ever hope to be and she doesn't have a political axe to grind. She doesn't deserve to be picked at by the likes of Fox News's Senior Racist Correspondent.

Malkin even suggests that the "masked 'Haifa Street resident'" in Logan's story is untrustworthy when he says that the Iraq War has brought "death and destruction" to Baghdad, though that is an inarguable fact.

As long as Malkin wants to question Iraqi video sources, she should ask herself this simple question: Where did the video of Saddam's hanging come from? Malkin proudly linked to the "uncut version" on her website (and included a graphic) and, in the same post, suggested the "American Left is, yes, unhinged." Who captured that video, Michelle? What was his purpose in doing so? To foment more violence in Iraq? To gloat about the new Shiite power structure being built under Moqtada al Sadr, for whom many at the execution chanted? You have repeatedly poo-pooed the bloodshed in Iraq as "sectarian violence" and you display video that seems designed to make it worse. You wrote, upon returning from your four-day stay in the country:
Modern war in the Middle East is no longer as cut-and-dried as shooting all the bad guys and going home. We are fighting a "war of the fleas" -- not just Sunni terrorists and Shiite death squads, but multiple home-grown and foreign operators, street gangs, organized crime and freelance jihadis conducting ambushes, extrajudicial killings, sectarian attacks, vehicle bombings and sabotage against American, coalition and Iraqi forces. Cell phones, satellites and the Internet have allowed the fleas to magnify their importance, disseminate insurgent propaganda instantly and weaken political will.
But, because it fit the fairytale version of an Iraq that is gettinbetterallthetimebygod, you and your fellow right wing fucktards decided to disseminate footage made with God knows what intent.

Logan is telling the story you didn't seem to notice during your trip to the country and she's been putting her ass on the line for the past four-plus years to do it. It's time you learned that all of us have our "betters"--as they used to say back in the small Kansas town I came from. Logan is definitely yours.
This is terrible.
According to local news reports, a young Florida woman was sexually assaulted as she was returning to her car Saturday night after Tampa's Gasparilla parade. She managed to escape and reported the incident to the Tampa PD, however while undergoing a rape exam at Tampa General Hospital authorities discovered the woman had an outstanding four-year old warrant for her arrest for failing to make restitution for an incident that occurred when she was a juvenile.

The young woman was hauled off to jail and denied bond. She was also denied medical care because the jail medical supervisor on duty won't dispense the Morning After Pill due to (the supervisor's) personal beliefs.
The medical services at the jail are run by Armor Correctional Health Services an affiliate of Medical Care Consortium, Inc., which has donated $18,000 to Republicans and $4,000 to conservative Democrats since its founding in 1998, according to

One lobbyist for MCCI is Sports Illustrated writer Don Yaeger, who was suspected of doing favors for Jeb Bush's second Secretary of Corrections, James Crosby. Why would he do such a thing? Because they wanted the big state contracts being offered up by Jeb's drive to privatize the whole friggin state apparatus. There was a requirement, though, that a company had to manage the health of 10,000 inmates for a year. Managing Hillsborough county's jail was just a step along the path to a bigger payday, and MCCI tried to get the state to lift the 10,000 head requirement based on the Hillsborough gig--which Armor bid on three days after being founded and won despite not being the lowest bidder for the job and submitting MCCI's financials instead of its own. Hillsborough is, of course, where the young woman was detained and denied the medical treatment prescribed by her doctor. It was also inside Katherine Harris's old district and one of her biggest supporters, both politically and financially, was Don Yaeger.

Crosby left office in shame and has since led guilty to receiving kickbacks from another company which dealt with their agency.

What does this all mean? It means that a near-maniacal belief in the power of privatization to make life better, the appointment of corrupt bastards, connections to dirty lobbyists and fucking over the people you're supposed to help aren't simply aspects of the George W. Bush administration. It seems to run in the family.

Monday, January 29, 2007

John Hinderaker's hope springs eternal

A summary of his latest hilarious post, "President Bush's Support Holding Steady."

The polls which suggest Bush is a pariah are all flawed and their "flawed" methodologies "make it hard to track responses consistently over time" despite the fact that, taken as a whole, they seem to show an obvious trend, as Professor Pollkatz demonstrates:

Rasmussen is the bestest polling place and their methodology is awesome, 'cause they've got Bush at at 42 percent approval. Pay no attention, of course, to Rasmussen's own statement that says
When comparing Job Approval ratings between different polling firms, it’s important to focus on trends rather than absolute numbers. One reason for this is that different firms ask Job Approval questions in different ways. At Rasmussen Reports, we ask if people Strongly Approve, Somewhat Approve, Somewhat Disapprove, or Strongly Disapprove of the way the President is performing his job. This approach, in the current political environment, yields results about 3-4 points higher than if we simply ask if people if they approve or disapprove (we have tested this by asking the question both ways on the same night)...We believe that there is no perfect way to ask the Job Approval question. Consistency and trends matter more than specific numbers.
In other words, look at the image above. That's what's called a consistent, downward trend.

Most Americans are really conservatives, of course, despite Rasmussen's "consistent methods" showing that, on the key issues facing the nation, likely voters trust Democratic congressional leaders over Bush by 10 points. Odd that all those conservatives would trust Dems over Bush.

Good stuff. I hope Republicans like Johnny keep thinking that the country really, truly is on their side and, in two years, the Democratic Majority won't just be veto-proof. The damn thing will be bulletproof.

Update: More here, with less snark. More here, with more snark.


I'm no fan of John McCain, but I wonder if any of the National Reviewers were as disgusted as I was to hear one of their National Review Institute Conservative Summit attendees call the senator a "traitor" on NPR this morning. McCain is, after all, the only Republican candidate with any military experience and, considering the glee with which the right (including McCain) uses the one nut who sent in a "Bush=Hitler" ad to Move On's ad contest to smear the entire organization, I think the National Review Institute should have to respond to this statement. Do they believe that John McCain is a traitor?

Michelle Malkin went to Iraq...

And all I got was this post at Sadly, No!, which completely demolishes her.

I couldn't be happier.

Update: Ha!

Friday, January 26, 2007


I might not have access to the interweb for a couple days.

Miss me.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I support Hugh Hewitt

As Julia points out, we should all be helping him complete a pincer movement against Republican senators. I wholeheartedly agree.

Michelle "Rafterman" Malkin

Over at Michelle Malkin's blog she highlights blogger Bill Ardolino's statement about the month he spent "embedded" in Iraq:
This trip has briefly exposed me to personal extremes of stress, humor, camaraderie, nobility, savagery, hope, despair, fear and excitement, either as an observer or participant. I've arrived at a better understanding of the chaos that stalks civilization and met a lot of inspiring folks who make me want to be a better human being. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world.
I give Ardolino props for going over there to put his ass--and his convictions--on the line. Of course, as a war supporter he tended to report the "good news" exclusively (odd that he missed this fight for a single street in the heart of Baghdad, for example), but, still, he did hang it out there. To be honest, I didn't read far enough into Ardolino's posts to have made this claim and I retract it. He seemed to deal with the bad shit as well as the good and, of course, he was in Anbar province.

I also applauded Michelle Malkin for going over, but her response to Ardolino makes me sick. She wrote:
Ditto that.
Oh really, Michelle? In the week you spent in country you reached the personal highs and/or lows of " stress, humor, camaraderie, nobility, savagery, hope, despair, fear and excitement"? Or is she simply saying she wouldn't trade her week in sunny Baghdad? Either way, it's hard to see how she gained any truly meaningful understanding of what it means to serve over there in her hit and run visit to the country. I'll bet her friends are already tired of hearing about her week "in the shit" and how she was really there to blog and take photos, but if the shit had gotten too thick she would have had to "go to the rifle."

Honestly, when I saw Michelle Malkin on TV the other night, I thought, What? She's back already? and then I learned she'd been back for a week, spending about a week on the ground. On returning from her trip, she wrote:
I came to Iraq a darkening pessimist about the war, due largely to my doubts about the compatibility of Islam and Western-style democracy, but also as a result of the steady, sensational diet of "grim milestone" and "daily IED count" media coverage that aids the insurgency. I left Iraq with unexpected hope and resolve.
That must have been some week. Strangely enough, I can't find where Malkin blogged about being a "darkening pessimist" before leaving, but maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.

Note: I have voiced my intention to blog from Iraq a bit later in the spring and I plan to spend at least two months on the ground. I have been asking for donations for some time and, honestly, I haven't received a strong response. I will put out the call once again, but, before you donate, I want you to know this: I intend to tell the stories on the ground while I'm there. I want to tell the personal stories of deployed soldiers and local Iraqis with as much impartiality as I can muster. I have a history in the military and in journalism and you will not find a more avid supporter of "the troops" than I, but I have believed from the beginning that this war was a foolish waste of blood and treasure. While I believe that I will have my feelings about the war alternately tested and reinforced, I will not argue that my view of the war is the only view of the war, but I will add my voice to the debate. You can't describe the war from the perspective of a single person anymore than you can describe St. Peter's Cathedral by looking through a keyhole.

I hope you'll consider donating to the cause.

The new "snowflakes"?

I wonder how many shredders Rumsfeld has in his taxpayer-funded "transition office."
Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has left the Pentagon, but not the Defense Department.

On Jan. 4, Mr. Rumsfeld opened a government-provided transition office in Arlington and has seven Pentagon-paid staffers working for him, a Pentagon official said.

The Pentagon lists Mr. Rumsfeld as a "nonpaid consultant," a status he needs in order to review secret and top-secret documents, the official said.

Mr. Rumsfeld and his aides, who include close adviser Stephen Cambone, are sifting through the thousands of pages of documents generated during his tenure.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hannity shouldn't debate four star Rhodes Scholars

Wesley Clark made Hannity look stupider than usual last night. I want to highlight this specific moment in their discussion.
Sean Hannity: Alright. You said there was no new strategy. Let me tell you what the new strategy is ‘cause clearly uh I guess you’re missing what the President’s saying here. The prior strategy, and the President admitted that there were some mistakes made, was that they go in and they’d clear out the insurgency and they didn’t stay long enough or hold those areas long enough. Now the new strategy with the troop surge will be go in, remove the insurgents, hold the areas as pa...and also accelerate the training of Iraqi troops and police. That is a new strategy.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK:: I don’t think that’s a new strategy. I

Sean Hannity: Hold on a second,

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: I’ve heard him for a year talking about "seize, clear and hold."

Sean Hannity: No. That’s what it is now.
You know, of course what's coming. The phrasing isn't exactly as Clark remembered it, but this strategy, as he pointed out, isn't new.
Condoleezza Rice, October 19, 2005: In short, with the Iraqi Government, our political-military strategy has to be to clear, hold, and build: to clear areas from insurgent control, to hold them securely, and to build durable, national Iraqi institutions.

George W. Bush, October 28, 2005: Our coalition, along with our Iraqi allies, is moving forward with a comprehensive plan. As Secretary Rice explained last week, our strategy is to clear, hold, and build. We are working to clear areas from terrorist control, to hold those areas securely, and to build lasting and democratic Iraqi institutions.

From a David "OK, one more chance" Ignatius column, November 4, 2005: What caught my eye in (Lewis) Sorley's book (A Better War) was the phrase "clear and hold." For the identical words appeared in Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's Oct. 19 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which she laid out the clearest articulation of U.S. strategy in Iraq that I've seen. "Our political-military strategy has to be to clear, hold and build: to clear areas from insurgent control, to hold them securely, and to build durable, national Iraqi institutions," she said.

In Vietnam, Abrams's version of "clear and hold" replaced Westmoreland's ruinous idea that with ever-larger U.S. troop levels and a bigger "body count," the United States could bleed its adversary into submission.

Condoleezza Rice, November 20, 2005: When we talk about clear, hold, and build, what we really mean is that we and the Iraqis have been successful now in clearing areas. Iraqi forces are now attaining the numbers and capabilities that will allow them to hold those places and not allow bad guys to come back. And then they can build economic and political institutions.

Title of strategic "Fact Sheet," March 20, 2006: Strategy for Victory: Clear, Hold, and Build
Note: Apparently I wasn't clear. Wesley Clark didn't have these citations with him on the program. I'm simply showing that Clark was right and Hannity dead wrong.

Attack of 10,000 bubbleheads

Dear Gregg Easterbrook:

Expect mail.
Check the list of the U.S. Navy's supercarriers and note the presidential succession. Of postwar presidents, Republicans Dwight Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan and the elder George Bush have supercarriers named after them; Democrats Truman and John Kennedy have supercarriers in their names; the missing presidents are Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Since Nixon is the only president ever to have resigned, it would be inappropriate to name a ship after him. That means there are three postwar presidents worthy to have their names placed on Navy capital ships, who have not had a supercarrier named for them -- and all are Democrats. Attention Pentagon: You're not supposed to be partisan, how come the Navy is showing favoritism to the Republican Party in the naming of supercarriers? There is an attack submarine named for Carter, but no ship named for Johnson or Clinton. Bill Clinton was elected to the presidency twice; Gerald Ford was never elected to any national office, and served only an interregnum term in the White House; Jimmy Carter is the only living president to have won the Nobel Peace Prize; yet Ford's name now graces the new class of supercarriers, while the Navy has extended only a lesser honor to Carter and no honors to Johnson or Clinton. This seems cheap political favoritism unbefitting the United States military.
If Easterbrook had ever spent any time around military guys--especially those who served in a tight-knit military community like the submarine service (as Carter did)--he'd know they don't consider it a "lesser honor" to have a sub named after them.

And they won't take kindly to Easterbrook's saying it is.

Obama's experience offers a lesson for other Dems

Well, John Kerry's officially out of the 2008 presidential race and that's probably a good thing. Like Josh Marshall, I like Kerry and hate that he's been tainted by the same Republican machine which effectively smeared Al Gore, but, the truth is, Kerry didn't fight back effectively. As I said when I got back from Afghanistan, the issue of his service in Iraq could have beaten back with the simple slogan: I Believe the Navy! It should have been on T-shirts and buttons and every conservative who gave the Swiftboaters any credence should have been force to answer why they didn't believe the Navy and why any veteran should feel their meritorious service would be safe from partisan attack.

And then there was the "botched joke."

It should be remembered by all Democratic politicians that the right wing has an extremely efficient echo chamber and all they have to do is create enough noise to confuse voters who aren't following every bit of campaign info. That's nothing new, but many Democrats still fail to push back immediately and aggressively against smears.

I am heartened, then, to see a Dem fighting back.
Obama is aggressively going after Fox News today for pushing that smear-job report claiming that he went to an Islamic “madrassa” school as a child. The report has already been completely debunked by CNN, but Obama isn't letting up.
Obama released a memo and it says:
In the past week, many of you have read a now thoroughly-debunked story by Insight Magazine, owned by the Washington Times, which cites unnamed sources close to a political campaign that claim Senator Obama was enrolled for “at least four years” in an Indonesian “Madrassa”. The article says the “sources” believe the Madrassa was “espousing Wahhabism,” a form of radical Islam.
Insight Magazine published these allegations without a single named source, and without doing any independent reporting to confirm or deny the allegations. Fox News quickly parroted the charges, and Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy went so far as to ask, “Why didn’t anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised — spent the first decade of his life, raised by his Muslim father — as a Muslim and was educated in a Madrassa?”


If Doocy or the staff at Fox and Friends had taken [time] to check their facts, or simply made a call to his office, they would have learned that Senator Obama was not educated in a Madrassa, was not raised as a Muslim, and was not raised by his father – an atheist Obama met once in his life before he died.
Pushing back with actual facts--and pushing hard no less? Good stuff.

I hope to see more of this from the Democratic presidential hopefuls.

The graciousness of the surrounded

John Podhoretz wants to know if Dems will "match (the) graciousness" Bush showed in his speech last night.
At the political low point of his presidency, faced with a Democratic Congress alternately hostile toward and exasperated with him, Bush struck a tone that was more than merely conciliatory. It was a genuine effort to seek a middle ground on domestic policy, and to offer a plain-spoken explanation for his new warfighting policy in Iraq that took into account the displeasure of many in the chamber with the idea of expanding the number of forces there.

And it was far more successful at both than I would have expected. The opening salute to his ferociously partisan critic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, must have surprised even Pelosi with its generosity. His calm and reasoned discussion of immigration reform - commending a debate "without animosity and without amnesty" - showed great political delicacy.
Hm. I'm not sure how Podhoretz knows that Bush, who has admitted he lies when he wants to change the subject, is now being "genuine." Hell, even he admits that Bush's "new political voice...may not last the week."

Me, it sounded like the "graciousness" of a suddenly repentant Sal Tessio, surrounded and outed as a rat, asking Tom Hagen to get him "off the hook." Or Napoleon boarding the HMS Bellerephon, for "the purpose of throwing himself on the generosity of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent."

It's easy to be gracious (or at least act so), in other words, when you suddenly find that nobody likes you anymore. It's easy to ask people to fight "without animosity" when you're fighting a mob single-handed.

Me, I'm all for reasonable compromise. I don't think that "bipartisanship is another name for date rape"--as Republican anti-tax fanatic Grover Norquist likes to say-- or that Democrats should, a la Newt Gingrich, come up with a list of words to paint our political opponents as "sick...pathetic...traitors," but let's be serious. Bush has been unwilling to compromise in any way since the day he took office. He might act "gracious" now, but to suggest he really means what he says--or, at least, that we can know when he really (honestly, I swear, this time) means what he says--is ridiculous.

Democrats are in power now and they have the support of the American people. Let's see if Bush can continue to act "gracious" as they carry out their agenda.

John Derbyshire: Hero

John Derbyshire takes one of his patented brave stands. After boldly arguing that women are really only attractive between the ages of 15 and 20, courageously voicing his ambivalence about Muslim-on-Muslim violence and arguing--heroically--that noncombatants should be considered fair game in war, he decides today to come out in favor of "whites only" restaurants.
One of the lesser evils of our age is the passing of "anti-discrimination" laws by legislators in democratic countries. These laws amount to systematic destruction of the principle of freedom of association. While governments should of course treat all citizens impartially, legislators have no business telling citizens whom we may do business with, rent a room to, hire, fire, or engage in any other private transaction with.
Of course, he couldn't possibly really mean that he would put up with a return to whites only lunch counters, right? He is, after all, not a hillbilly, but one of the "respectable middle-class people with good educations, who would not harm a fly, nor deny civil rights to anyone" even though, goshdarnit, he just doesn't like teh gay.

Thank God for John Derbyshire and his fellow "courageous and noble, (though) increasingly desperate" fighters in the war against the "intolerance" of "meritocratic egalitarianism."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lowry sets off the Irony alarms

In 2004, Rich Lowry thought "authenticity" (Bush's) was a winning trait and Barack Obama was a moving speaker. Today, he bemoans "the vapid, feel-good authenticity of Barack Obama."

And then, with no apparent self-awareness, he pules that Hillary Clinton is a phony who has changed her views in the past two years.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Shorter Bill Kristol

It's irresponsible for people who have been proven right time and time again to keep talking.

One for the "moonbats"

Dan Riehl is a constant source of amusement. First, read this post from October, when he tried to blame Citzens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington for covering up the Foley scandal for some sort of supposed political gain.
Why Is CREW Lying?

They must be genuine moonbats at CREW to believe they are going to get into a he said, she said with the FBI and come away a winner. The FBI states that they now believe CREW may have had emails in question in the Foley case as far back as April and that CREW refused to provide clean copies, or tell them how they came into their possession.

Those requests are perfunctory if someone really wants an investigation to take place. Here they are below in the original pdf file CREW had on its site. Obviously they were redacted, precisely as the FBI claims.
Earlier today, the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) released its report regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) response to former Rep. Mark Foley’s (R-FL) emails to a former House page.

In July 2006, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent the emails to the FBI for investigation. In October, after the FBI revealed that it had not conducted any investigation into the emails, CREW requested an IG inquiry into the FBI’s inaction. Days later, CREW sent a second letter to the IG asking for a review of FBI misstatements regarding CREW’s conduct in the matter.

In its report, the IG concludes that the FBI should have taken some action when CREW sent the Foley emails to the Bureau in July and it should have “notified CREW, the complainant in this case, that the FBI declined to open an investigation.” The IG based this assessment, in part, on the fact that the language in Rep. Foley’s emails “fell within the type of behavior that the FBI warns against in its Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety.”

Regarding the misstatements to the media regarding the information CREW provided to the FBI, the IG found that “statements attributed to the FBI and the Department about CREW and the Foley e-mails were not accurate.” First, the IG found that contrary to the FBI’s claims, the emails CREW forwarded were not redacted by CREW and that the “emails still contained the full names of the pages and the House employee to whom the emails were sent.” Further, the IG found that despite statements to the contrary, the FBI “did not seek additional information from CREW,” other than one follow-up phone call. Finally, the IG found that the emails were provided to CREW in July 2006, not April as an unnamed FBI source had claimed.
If Dan Riehl didn't exist, I'd just have to invent him, if only because he's so damned funny. He's the sad clown of politics who always ends up with a face full of cream pie.

Update: I'd like to thank Dan Riehl for dropping by and commenting. I guess I'll have to take his word on the "car wreck" analogy. If anyone knows what the blogging equivalent of a bad accident would look like, it must be Dan.

Update: Dear Riehl World Viewers,

Dan Riehl told you about how us liberal "moonbats" were so horribly spun by CREW. Here's what he failed to do.

Whenever I clip a few words from a quote, I let you know with an ellipse (...) or, if it's a significant portion, I give you the classic [snip] to let you know I've cut a big piece of writing that doesn't relate precisely to what I'm talking about. Here, however, is what Riehl gave you in his recent post on this subject.
Investigators: FBI not wrong to dismiss complaint about Foley

A Justice inspector general's investigation cleared the FBI of accusations that officials were too quick in declining to open an investigation based on five e-mails from Foley, none of them explicit in nature, to a former page.
Now, he actually linked to the article quoted, however, which reads:
Investigators: FBI not wrong to dismiss complaint about Foley

The FBI misled reporters about its decision not to investigate a series of e-mails between former Rep. Mark Foley and a congressional page, but was justified in deciding not to open a case based on information provided in July 2006, Justice Department investigators said Monday.

A Justice inspector general's investigation cleared the FBI of accusations that officials were too quick in declining to open an investigation based on five e-mails from Foley, none of them explicit in nature, to a former page.


The IG also noted that Foley's messages followed the lines of behavior that the FBI describes as "gradual seduction" in its Parent's Guide to Internet Safety.
So that's what "cleared" means these days?

If you have the brains of, say, the average second grader, you see that Riehl's original post, which accused CREW of "lying" is complete and utter bullshit. CREW provided "clean copies" and made no attempt to obscure the source of their information, as Riehl argued originally.

The guy's simply full of crap, people, and you're not helping him or your respective causes by pretending he's not. It will just lead to him embarassing either himself or you.

Rainbow T. LoveBeads, C.E.O.?

Anyone interested in the debate over supposed liberal bias in academia must go read this new report by *gasp* an actual education policy researcher named John Lee. Yes, the report was funded by Free Exchange on Campus, which opposes bias diviners like David Horowitz, but it's interesting in that it's not arguing that campuses aren't liberal, but only showing that the "research" showing that liberal bias exists on campus is damned sketchy.

The Free Exchange blog offers a snarky post about how Lee simply fails to understand "researchiness."
(I)t seems unfair that there is this new report out "The 'Faculty Bias Studies': Science or Propaganda" that is trying to hold a set of recent researchiness studies to scientific standards. C'mon. These are not supposed to be actual research studies. They aren't looking to discover anything. They are trying to prove what they already know!

So, you can just go tell this Dr. John Lee to take his "social science criteria" and his "findings" and go back to wherever he came from (my bet is some university!). These pseudo-scientists already know what they know and there are just trying to put together some baseless claims evidence to support for their predetermined positions.
The report is an interesting read.

For my part, I've always wondered why the Horowitzian crowd can't understand that, even if there are more Democrats working in academia, that doesn't mean there's a conspiracy to blame for that. Being an academic, to me, just seems like something in which a left-leaning person would be more interested. What young right winger is sitting around right now dreaming of the day he can share a cramped, book-clogged office with a post-modernist literature professor who specializes in deconstructing literature according to the teachings of Jacques Lacan?

Should liberals be trying to force Congress to pass a "Business Bill of Rights" to force companies to let more dirty hippies run their companies?

The self-fulfilling prophecies of anti-abortion activists

In this interesting article about "Post-Abortion Syndrome" from Sunday's New York Times Magazine, you'll find this bit:
While it seems that some anti-abortion advocates exaggerate the mental-health risks of abortion, some abortion advocates play down the emotional aftereffects. Materials distributed at abortion clinics and on abortion-rights Web sites stress that most women feel relief after an abortion, and that the minority who don’t tend to have pre-existing problems. Both claims are supported by research. But the idea that “abortion is a distraction from underlying dynamics,” as Nancy Russo put it to me, can discourage the airing of sadness and grief. “The last thing pro-choice people, myself included, want to do is to give people who want to make abortions harder to get or illegal one iota of help,” says Ava Torre-Bueno, a social worker who was the head of counseling for 10 years at Planned Parenthood in San Diego. “But then what you hear in the movement is ‘Let’s not make noise about this’ and ‘Most women are fine, I’m sure you will be too.’ And that is unfair.”

Initially, Torre-Bueno’s encounters with grieving patients surprised her, because sadness wasn’t an issue in the first years after Roe. “In 1975, I’d say, ‘I wonder how you’re feeling,’ and women would answer, ‘Thank God it’s legal!’ ” she says. But by the early 1980s, Torre-Bueno and a handful of other counselors who favor abortion rights say, the emotional tide began to turn along with the political one. Congress cut off Medicaid money for abortion. The Supreme Court retrenched. Protesters picketed clinics and made bomb threats. Some clinic directors decided it was not enough to treat abortion as a straightforward medical procedure. Charlotte Taft, who founded an abortion clinic in Dallas in 1978, later began practicing what she calls “emotional triage” to identify women at risk of adverse reactions. She would ask prospective patients: Are you against abortion but fel you have no choice? Do you believe that abortion is murder? Do you think God will never forgive you? Is someone pressuring you? Do you have a history of depression? “Some women are clearly fine,” Taft told me. “Others are torn apart, and they need more process.” When women answered Taft’s questions by saying things like “I’m going to hell, but I have to do this,” Taft sent them home with exercises to help them work through their emotions.
What is never explicitly pointed out (of course) is that those who support the criminalization of abortion and use, in part, the emotional effects suffered by women who've had abortions are probably the most direct cause of those emotional effects. As I've said before, my feelings about abortion are complicated, but it seems to me that the people who are being most obtuse in the abortion debate are those who say they're trying to "protect" women from the emotional effects of abortion despite spending time waving signs at those women telling them they're going to hell.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A question

We already know the man's a pervert, but does Bill O'Reilly get some sort of sick, sexual gratification out of talking about pedophilia so much?

Hey, I'm just asking.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is this legal?

I probably don't have to point out once again that I'm not a lawyer, but does blanket approval from a FISA court judge allowing the White House to tap the phone of any American citizen they feel needs it really fulfill the requirements of a law that demands a judge must:
(1) specify—

(A) the identity, if known, or a description of the target of the electronic surveillance;

(B) the nature and location of each of the facilities or places at which the electronic surveillance will be directed, if known;

(C) the type of information sought to be acquired and the type of communications or activities to be subjected to the surveillance;

(D) the means by which the electronic surveillance will be effected and whether physical entry will be used to effect the surveillance;

(E) the period of time during which the electronic surveillance is approved; and

(F) whenever more than one electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device is to be used under the order, the authorized coverage of the devices involved and what minimization procedures shall apply to information subject to acquisition by each device; and

(2) direct—

(A) that the minimization procedures be followed;

(B) that, upon the request of the applicant, a specified communication or other common carrier, landlord, custodian, or other specified person, or in circumstances where the Court finds that the actions of the target of the application may have the effect of thwarting the identification of a specified person, such other persons, furnish the applicant forthwith all information, facilities, or technical assistance necessary to accomplish the electronic surveillance in such a manner as will protect its secrecy and produce a minimum of interference with the services that such carrier, landlord, custodian, or other person is providing that target of electronic surveillance;

(C) that such carrier, landlord, custodian, or other person maintain under security procedures approved by the Attorney General and the Director of Central Intelligence any records concerning the surveillance or the aid furnished that such person wishes to retain; and

(D) that the applicant compensate, at the prevailing rate, such carrier, landlord, custodian, or other person for furnishing such aid.
Doesn't a judge who believes he shouldn't have to follow the specific requirements of a law describing his job qualify as an "activist" judge?

The flop sweat of hate

Colbert: You have the courage to say that right, that you agree with some of the things that these radical extremists are against in America?...Do you agree with that statement?

Dinesh D'Souza: I agree with it.

Jonah remembered

As long as Jonah Goldberg's going to try to use three- and four-year-old statements to try to make Democrats look wishy-washy about Iraq, he should probably have to answer for this:
More importantly, (Francis Fukuyama) claims that the war planners’ arrogance led them to ignore warnings about the war’s aftermath. But with the possible exception of General Shinseki’s admonition about the need for more troops to occupy Iraq, such warnings were almost nonexistent [Unless you count the warnings of Tommy Franks as he planned the war - Nitpicker] — and were certainly not forthcoming from Fukuyama...The reality was that it was, to use Kanan Makiya’s phrase, a Republic of Fear. When the United States removed the fear, the whole place imploded. But, again, this does not mean that what happened was widely foreseen: The doom-and-gloom forecasts from bureaucratic opponents of the war were, in the final analysis, at least as wrong as the “cakewalk” talk on the other side — for example, what happened to the refugee crisis the invasion was supposed to create?
Here it is, Jonah, you insufferable ass:
The surging violence in Iraq has created what is becoming the biggest refugee crisis in the world, a humanitarian group said today.

A report by Washington-based Refugees International said an influx of Iraqis threatened to overwhelm other Middle Eastern countries, particularly Syria, Jordon and Lebanon.

Last month, the UN estimated that 100,000 people were fleeing the country each month, with the number of Iraqis now living in other Arab countries standing at 1.8 million.
Democrats have changed their tunes about Iraq, of course, but that's because the war has continued to get worse and worse under Bush's leadership. Why in God's name would anyone think it might improve when war supporters are continually proven to be foolish, blindered idiots?

And, lest we forget, Tom Tomorrow seems damn near psychic these days.

Update: Don't ever tell me Democrats are more elitist than Republicans again. Here's Jonah Goldberg, responding to The Carpetbagger Report's post about his column:
Apparently I'm deluded for having said "And, of course, Kerry, Pelosi and other Democrats were in favor of more troops before they were against it." Kevin Drum, for whom I have a lot of respect, says it's a "canard." Meanwhile, something called the Carpetbagger report chimes in making similar objections (I particularly like it when bloggers I'm barely aware exist claim it's a big concession for them to respond to me).
It is tedious responding to Jonah Goldberg, an idiot who, but for springing from Lucianne's womb, would be hard-pressed to find someone who would pay him to sell used cars, much less give him a column in a national magazine.


Dinesh D'Souza was interviewed about his new book, Let's Us and the Right Wing Muslims Beat Up Liberals, over at the Corner.
Our concern should be with the traditional Muslims, who are the majority in the Muslim world. These people are also religious and socially conservative, and they are our natural allies. In fact, since the cultural Left in America is de facto allied with the radical Muslims, we as conservatives have no choice but to ally with the traditional Muslims. We cannot win the war on terror without them. No matter how many Islamic radicals we kill, it’s no use if twice as many traditional Muslims join them. Now building bridges to this group doesn’t mean changing our way of life, and if we are conservative there is nothing that needs to be changed. Our values are quite similar to those of traditional Muslims. There’s no point chasing after “liberals” who believe in secularism and feminism and homosexual rights. Such people are quite rare and they have no constituency in any Muslim country. The traditional Muslims are our best bet.
Here are some traditional Muslims who hate feminism. Someone should get their number for D'Souza.
The discovery of the body of 19-year-old Hamda Abu-Ganem in her home in the Ramle neighborhood of Juarish didn't surprise Ramle Police Superintendent Yigal Ezra. Although many people, including Ezra, tried to help Abu-Ganem run from the fate that awaited her, she remained in her parents' house - and became the seventh woman in her family to be murdered in an "honor killing" in as many years. Three youths were arrested for the crime yesterday and are expected to face a remand hearing today.

"A few young criminals in Juarish set up a group that decides which of the women has violated the honor of the family," said Ezra. "For instance, if a woman spoke to someone on a cell phone, or laughed with a man, that is sometimes considered a violation of the family honor, from their perspective. They plan how the murder will take place, who will carry it out and even find an alibi for the murderer. From the moment someone is marked, there is no way out."
It's a Young Republicans recruiting bonanza!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Atrios points out that Kevin Drum's arguing with imaginary bloggers when he says that those of us who opposed the war in the beginning did it solely (or even mostly) because we opposed preemptive war. Now, I know that I don't count as one of the "high-traffic liberal blogs" Drum feels deserves attention, but, from the very beginning, whether here on the Internets or at a picnic lunch with my National Guard unit*, I argued that, if you looked at the evidence available, it simply did not support the Bushies' claim that Saddam obviously had weapons and we needed to strike immediately.

Here are two examples of posts from the month I started blogging. September 23, 2002.
George Schultz has marched out his oft-repeated “shall we be the Hamlet of nations” tripe for the Republicans’ new war, but only after Dick Morris (the Republicans’ new best friend) said the same and predicted the tack that Republicans would take in this move toward action and away from thought.

Why does no one give Hamlet any credit? Everyone points to him as a man who thinks too much, but conveniently forgets that the act he was contemplating was an act of murder. George W. seems to have forgotten that simple fact and, like the man of action, Fortinbras, is ready to go to war “even for an eggshell” – whether he’s sure of the eggshell’s existence or not.

The point is, people are going to die. This should be an act which gives us pause.

If Hamlet were the only reference, though, this may not bother me so much. He’s often misunderstood by the kind of frat boy boneheads that seem to fill Bush’s cabinet. It’s his supporters take on Othello that drives me nuts.

In a recent commentary on All Things Considered, Ken Adelman said that he “stand(s) with Othello” in supporting the Bush Administration’s move to attack Iraq. In this he says “push the details aside and use force” against Iraq. I’m not sure what details he’s talking about here, but I assume that he means details like Saddam’s actually having WMDs and whether or not we should violate the UN’s charter. Details like that.

He’s right on one aspect, though. Othello did do this in defense of Venice. However, like Bush, Othello did this all the time, and that was his downfall. People attacking Venice? Don’t count them. Kill them. Wife might be unfaithful? Don’t hesitate. Kill her.

I, for one, think we should think this through. We should, like Hamlet, try to wrap our minds around the act we intend to commit. Let’s go into Iraq and see what’s there. We must not act without knowledge. In this, I stand with Hamlet.
From September 27, 2002:
Say I'm a guy in an apartment in a bad neighborhood. I have the feeling that the guy down the hall wants to do me harm. He might have a gun in there or a pit bull or a baseball bat. I think he might even be related to the guy who mugged me last week. Might even have put him up to it. What do I do?

If you answered, "Kill the guy," then you are on the side of Dubya and his buddies in this war. If you answered, "Get someone to check him out," then you are on the side of those who see the role of the UN and inspectors in this issue.


We have no idea what (weapons) Iraq has or how they intend to use them. Donald Rumsfeld tried to get around this when speaking before Congress by saying that "the last thing we want is a smoking gun. A gun smokes after it has been fired. The goal must be to stop Saddam Hussein before he fires a weapon of mass destruction against our people."

What he's saying here is that he doesn't know what Saddam's got. I don't expect him to find a smoking gun, but at least prove to me that the gun exists.
I almost feel guilty because I'm one of those people who obviously make Kevin Drum feel bad because I was right about the war and he was wrong. But he shouldn't weep too much. He wouldn't have his current position as a Respected Pundit if he'd been right before the war. That's been proven time and time again.

* Prove it, I remember telling a lieutenant colonel over burgers, and I'll take a private's slot in a spear-point infantry unit. Otherwise, I don't want to send this guy or that guy or her to die for nothing.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Read this. Apparently, in Bush's America, Schindler's list should have been considered a list of Nazis.

Prove it

Fred Hiatt writes in the WaPo:
The truth is, every side in the war debate uses the troops for political gain. When Bush tearfully presents the Medal of Honor to the family of a slain war hero the morning after announcing his latest strategy for Iraq, then flies off to Fort Benning, he is using the troops as props. Democrats didn't make the absence of body armor a key campaign issue until they had done a lot of poll-testing.
Is this something Hiatt knows or something he believes? Does he have any proof that Democrats weren't honestly and understandably outraged by this administration's willingness to provide adequately for our troops under fire and needed to test the waters before they argued Bush should have done better? This seems like a no-brainer moral issue and, personally, I doubt anyone would have needed to conduct polling to realize how despicable this would make Republicans look.

So I'd like to see Hiatt back up this claim.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Yes! It's four, four, FOUR wars in one!

Yes, it's the amazing Bush Clusterfuck! How much would you pay for this amazing disaster?

Don't answer! There's more!

This handy-dandy four-piece war also slices and dices our prestige around the world!

It even juliennes fries!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A thousand words

Every American should be scared shitless by this frightened, deer-in-the-headlights look. Howard Fineman's take.

General silences soldiers to help Bush

Oh, this is wonderful. Soldiers who are fighting, I'm told, for our rights are now being deprived of their own.
The pictures were just what the White House wanted: A teary-eyed President Bush presenting the Medal of Honor posthumously to a slain war hero in the East Room, then flying here to join the chow line with camouflage-clad soldiers as some of them prepare to return to Iraq.


Assuring there would be no discordant notes here, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, the base commander, banned the 300 soldiers who had lunch with the president from talking with reporters. If any of them harbored doubts about heading back to Iraq, many for the third time, they were kept silent.


White House officials had promised reporters they could talk with soldiers. But that was not good enough for Wojdakowski. "The commanding general said he does not want media talking to soldiers today," spokeswoman Tracy Bailey said. "He wants the focus to be on the president's speech." Only hours later, after reporters complained, did the base offer to make selected soldiers available, but the White House plane was nearing departure.
I have been doing quite a bit of research on Bush's political use of the U.S. military for an upcoming book and I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. Today wasn't simply another example of a common theme in his history, the use of service members as props. Sure, in 2004, the Republican National Committee bragged about the fact that a number of active duty soldiers would be attending the Republican convention, despite the fact their doing so is strictly prohibited by regulation. And I spent 2004 in Afghanistan watching military broadcasting which promoted the Bush administration's take on Iraq and other issues, while ignoring John Kerry's campaign speeches about those issues, another violation of regs. But to have a general denying military members the right to speak to the media, while admitting he did so to allow the president's spin to sink in is disgusting.

As a public affairs guy, I know the regulation regarding dealing with the media, people, and that regulation, AR 360-1 (PDF link), says:
5–12. Official discussions with the media
To broaden public awareness of the Army, Army personnel are encouraged to speak with the media factually, candidly, and fully about unclassified matters on which they have personal knowledge and expertise. Senior commanders and staff officers are expected to discuss military matters within their purview with news media representatives.

5–13. Unofficial discussions
Anyone subject to this regulation may agree to a media request for an interview in an unofficial capacity. Army personnel may express personal opinions unless limited by law or regulation. They should discuss candidly matters about which they have personal knowledge if the information is not classified or otherwise non-releasable. When questioned on a classified matter, they will state frankly that the information cannot be discussed.
Soldiers have the right to speak to the press, goddamit. There are limits--an officer can't speak "contemptuously" of his or her leaders, for example--but a Bush-supporting general's desire to provide cover is a poor reason to deny them that right.

Update: The administration better get to censoring National Guardsmen and Reservists, too. Because they just got fucked.
The day after President Bush announced his plan for a deeper U.S. military commitment in Iraq, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the change in reserve policy would have been made anyway because active-duty troops already were getting too little time between their combat tours.

The Pentagon also announced it is proposing to Congress that the size of the Army be increased by 65,000, to 547,000 and that the Marine Corps, the smallest of the services, grow by 27,000, to 202,000, over the next five years. No cost estimate was provided, but officials said it would be at least several billion dollars.

Until now, the Pentagon's policy on the Guard or Reserve was that members' cumulative time on active duty for the Iraq or Afghan wars could not exceed 24 months. That cumulative limit is now lifted; the remaining limit is on the length of any single mobilization, which may not exceed 24 consecutive months, Pace said.

Words mean things

John Podhoretz, at The Corner:
A four year-old named Isaac Chotiner, who posts on The New Republic's blog, has declared Joe Lieberman an "apparatchik" because Lieberman supports the 21,000 troop surge even though he said nice things about the initial 30,000 troop-surge proposal. Mr. Chotiner can be forgiven his inability to comprehend this, as he has only recently switched to pull-ups. But maybe one of the six year-olds over there could enlighten him as to the meaning of the word "apparatchik" and why Lieberman, who fits in with no party, is almost exactly the opposite of one. After all, if you're going to run an intellectual nursery school, you should do a little educating along with playtime, naptime, and snack.

The definition in my dictionary is "a member of an apparat" and the definition of apparat is "an underground political movement." Of course, it usually meant a Communist party loyalist, but I'm not sure how much more "underground" a political movement can get than being a party of one. And does anyone doubt Lieberman's loyalty to Connecticut for Lieberman?

Of course, apparat can also be defined as an "apparatus" and, if we take that definition, then Joe Lieberman is, as Chotiner shows, clearly a well-lubed cog in this president's war machine. Podhoretz just wants to bitch about words like this because he won't deal with the larger point that Lieberman is a reliable supporter of Bush's disastrous war no matter the facts on the ground or the words which have previously spilled from one side of his mouth or another.

Update: If Podhoretz really wanted to deal with ignorance in our midst, he could look to his fellow National Reviewer, Michael Ledeen, who complained about the "substantial number" of American troops in Iraq who are "sitting in air-conditioned quarters and drinking designer coffee."

And he had the balls to write this for a magazine which includes Jonah "I'm fat and can't fight because I need more money than the Army can pay me" Goldberg on its editorial staff.

Bush's speech: Comments from the right

Rave reviews:
"good enough" - Victor Davis Hanson

"Jerry Fordish. He looked sincere but occasionally stumbled. His subliminal message: Being president is a tough gig." - Don Surber

"The president’s speech was adequate." - Mackubin Thomas Owens

"he’s just never been able to pull off the heights of rhetoric that would mark him as a truly great leader" - Jay Reding

"it struck me as a snow job...(Bush's logic) leaks like a sieve" - John Derbyshire

Feingold gets it right

It's time to give Bush an allowance.
Some will claim that cutting off funding for the war would endanger our brave troops on the ground. Not true. The safety of our service men and women in Iraq is paramount, and we can and should end funding for the war without putting our troops in further danger.

Congress will continue to give our troops the resources and support they need, but by, for example, specifying a time after which funding for the war would end, it can give the president the time needed to redeploy troops safely from Iraq.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Brit Hume asks you to look past Bush's horrible speech

Decisions, decisions

Should I watch the Worst President Ever give the Least Suprising Speech Ever or should I watch my new DVD of Idiocracy?

The more pressing question, of course, is whether I would be able to tell the difference.

Preview of the speech:
BUSH: Now I understand everyone's shit's emotional right now, but listen up. I got a three point plan to fix everything. Number one: We got this guy, General Petraeus. Number two: He's got a higher I.Q. than any man alive. Number three: He's gonna fix everything. I give you my word as President.

(Image courtesy of Kos.)

Update: Well, the movie's great.

Seems like Bush's speech didn't go over well, though. I'm told Brit Hume responded with something like, "I guess we're past the point now were it matters whether it's a very eloquent speech, or very well written..." Anyone have the exact quote?

Update:Assrocket gets all weepy.
In the past, I've often said that President Bush has been more effective in televised speeches than he has been given credit for. Not tonight. I thought he came across as stiff, nervous, and anxious to get it over with. The importance of the issue seemed to overwhelm the President's ability to communicate. I suspect that only a few listeners absorbed more than a general impression of what the new strategy is all about.


Victor Davis Hanson bemoans modern academia:
What are we to make of this increasingly corrupt institution, whose health is so necessary to the welfare and competitiveness of the United States? It brags that American higher education is the strongest on the globe, but that is largely true only because of the non-political and still untainted hard sciences, engineering, and informational and computer sciences—and despite the humanities, particularly literature, philosophy, and history that have become increasingly ideological and theoretical.
Of course he's right. We must come up with a way to measure literature, philosophy and history objectively. A dipstick, perhaps? VeeDee units?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Coming around

In arguments "off-blog," as it were, I have repeatedly argued the newly-elected Democratic Congress might have the opportunity to finally control part of the debate over Iraq, but they lack the opportunity to demand action from the executive branch. Arguments by some that Congress should use its power over the purse strings to cut funding for the war bothered me both constitutionally and, I admit, politically.

This new report from the Center for American Progress, however, shows that there is a tradition of using such funding checks against a president's power to wage war. An extensive list, it went a long way toward convincing me that limiting the use of funding was supported by recognized precedent.

This argument, however, sealed the deal for me:
...Congress has at its disposal many other powers to balance presidential power in warmaking. Congress has complete control over the raising, funding, and size of the military. It can block a president's warmaking simply by refusing to allocate funds for a conflict. Congress can choose to block presidential warmaking ex ante, if it chooses, simply by doing nothing. If Congress had opposed the wars in Kosovo or even Iraq, it could simply have chosen not to provide any money. We should not confuse a constitutional defect for a failure of political will on the part of Congress to oppose presidential foreign policy.


Supporters of a Congress ex ante system rely on the records of the Philadelphia Convention, when the delegates changed Congress' power from "make" to "declare" war, because they wanted to give the president the power to repel sudden attacks. But this view usually ignores the treatment of the war power during the ratification process itself, which was the more important event. Many critics of the Constitution claimed that it vested too much power in the executive over the military; not a single defender of the Constitution responded that the declare war clause would give Congress any power to prevent this. Rather, James Madison in the Virginia ratifying convention argued that it would be Congress's power of the purse that would control the executive sword. Madison drew upon British history, in which the crown's control over the use of military force had been checked by Parliament's funding power.


(Regarding the conflict in Kosovo) Congress rejected a declaration of war and Congress rejected a statute authorizing hostilities. It only passed an appropriation for the war and a resolution expressing support for the troops. If the Justice Department read those and similar congressional actions as authorizing the Kosovo war, then it has relied on appropriations as approval for war...
This is not a new argument, but one I only recently read. While there is much to dislike about the nature of this rhetoric--especially the idea that Madison, et al., wanted the American presidency to be similar to a kingship with Congress merely controlling the money--but what is extremely important about it is who made them: John Yoo.

Yoo, you'll remember, was assistant Attorney General in the Bush administration from 2001 to 2003. He was instrumental in Bush's policies regarding torture and his beliefs about the nature of executive power are, frightening as they may be, form the basis of the administration's willingness to ignore the views of Congress.

No, I'm not arguing that any of the near-fascistic theories Yoo espouses about the Constitution should be taken at face value--or even seriously--but they do explain the boundaries battefield upon which Bush is willing to fight. This leaves Democrats with two choices: They either have to fight this "unitary executive" theory head-on now (while soldiers continue to die in Iraq), which, were justice to be served, would lead inevitably to impeachment; or, for the sake of the country, take the expedient route and fight the Bushies on the field they've chosen and deal with crackpot power plays afterward.

So I am now a believer. It is time to de-fund Bush's adventure.

Update: Paul Kiel, at TPMmuckraker, asks this question: Would Bush listen?
The Bush White House, after all, has often claimed unprecedented executive power. This issue is no exception. "Until the Bush admininistration, no president had ever argued in writing to the Supreme Court that a statutory restriction on his war powers was unconstitutional," Georgetown Law Professor Marty Lederman told me.

“All of our understandings and practices are based on a White House that’s more compromising and accommodating than some people feel this White House will be,” Scott Lilly, a former House Appropriations staffer, told me. So what happens if Congress makes its move and Bush ignores it? Good question.
I had this question, too, but that's why the support of Yoo and the other prophets of the "unitary executive" for this approach is important. Yes, it sucks that this is the tack that must be taken, but I hardly see how Bush could make a valid argument for ignoring this approach.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Oddly enough, the "Newt Sandwich" sells poorly

Andrew Ferguson writes an obviously sadness-filled article about the Democratic takeover in Washington in The Weekly Standard. That a conservative magazine actually printed the article shows just how tone deaf their movement has become and, perhaps, always was--the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" make an appearance in honor of Republicans and that's supposed to be a good thing.

Funnier than anything, though, is Ferguson's faux-heroic description of the value of the Republican Revolution. Sure, the Republicans can't balance a budget or win a war or keep their "members" away from the underage pages, but none of that matters at lunch, does it?
The Gingrichites took power and turned the (House) food services and concession stands over to people with a profit interest. And now we have the kind of cornucopia only a free market can create; an array of foods named after places we all wish we lived in instead of Washington: A Santa Fe Chicken Special from Malibu Wraps, Carolina Brisket from Austin Blues. And the drinks! Starbucks coffee and Melon Smoothies! Endless cups of Diet Sprite--with ice! Freshets of Mr. Pibb!

It is fashionable these days, especially among disaffected conservatives, to say that the Gingrich Revolution amounted to next to nothing and ended in failure. Let those doubters come here. Let them come to the Longworth Food Court.
Yes, let them come and bow before the glory of Republican smoothies!

Mussolini had his timely treni. Gingrich has a Santa Fe Chicken Special. Take that, people who wanted health insurance!

Michelle? Michelle Malkin?

( noises...)

The comedy stylings of "Pam Atlas"

Crazy Pam at Atlas Shrugs got to set in on an interview with John Bolton. Sadly, there were others there and so, as far as we know, Pam didn't get the opportunity to ask any insane, 380-word, fellatic questions of the man, but leave it to Pammy to let the funny shine through.

First, she cracks me up with her apparent belief that the number of periods in here ellipses should be based upon whether or not her medication is spiking, but I also love her transitional descriptions of the Bolton quote to come, like:
The continuing problem is Lebanon ...............
The continuing problem of Lebanon. Although it's been quiet there...
What Bolton is very worried about:
I am very worried about it. And I am worried that because of their frustration...
And we get Pan's assurance that, as we should have known all along, gosh darn it, Bolton "is all that and a bag of chips."

Good stuff.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Iraq: The terrarium of capitalism

Dear neocons:

I'm sure it was cute when you sent the little baby neocons to Iraq to test your grand theories on a brand new baby democracy. When your buddy's daughter wrote home that her pants were "perpetually dirty--splattered with mud" and her boots were "looking very rough indeed," but, you know, "war is hell," I'm sure there was a chorus of aaaaaaaaaawwws at the cuteness of it all in the halls of the American Enterprise Institute. Hell, I'll bet all of the wonderful moments in which ridiculously underqualified people were put in charge of large chunks of the Iraqi infrastructure sent blossoms of good-natured warmth through your hearts and/or groins.

You even finally got to test your flat-tax over there, which allowed some of your buddies to bring that crazy shit up over here again.

Kudos, my friends. Kudos.

But this puzzles me.
The idea to revive state-owned industries has come full circle. Iraq's economy under Saddam Hussein was state-controlled. When the first U.S. team arrived, its members looked to reenergize the industries as a key element in jump-starting the economy. But the subsequent Coalition Provisional Authority, run by L. Paul Bremer, opted to scrap the effort and emphasize a free-market economy, even though Iraq was ill equipped to make a dramatic conversion. The failure of a free market and the lack of both local and foreign investment has led the Defense Department to launch a massive reassessment. [Emphasis Nitpicker's]
Now, I'm no economist, but am I to understand that you guys thought that people would actually invest their money in a war zone? That people would take the portable wealth they'd stashed away--probably not Saddam-faced dinars--and start a nice little dress shop out in al Mansour or a tire store in Hurriya?

Look. It's lovely that you got your chance to test your conservative theories of capitalism on a brand-spanking-new democracy, but it would have been nice if you had actually thought the smallest part of it through.

You and your fellow war supporters love to compare this war to World War II, so it would have been nice if you'd actually read something about it. After WWII, the Japanese, suffering from what was known as the kyodatsu condition, did not spring into action as investors. Food was horribly scarce despite American efforts to overpay farmers and subvert the black (but capitalist!) market. As John W. Dower wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-winning Embracing Defeat, this "enhanced the image of the U.S. as a generous benefactor" even though it didn't prevent some level of what became known as the "bamboo-shoot existence," the systematic stripping away of one's possessions to survive. Lord knows what would have become of the country if we'd simply pointed at empty storefronts and said, "Invest!"

I'm sure it seemed horribly distasteful to you to allow state-owned or -aided institutions to survive your time in the country, but even the most Darwinist capitalist should understand that people don't invest when they're scared. McDonald's ribbon-cuttings are rarely held on blood-stained streets. People with money leave.

It's almost like you're a bunch of semi-insane idiots who've spent way, way too much time sitting around in think tank offices saying the world would be a better place if only, if only, if only...It's almost like your every idea should have been ignored or ridiculed by people with half a brain. It's almost like you played games with the lives of millions of Iraqis, not to mention the American soldiers killed in your war and the citizens who believed that, by supporting it, they were keeping their families safe.

But that can't be the case, can it?

Can it?

[Cross-posted at Glenn Greenwald's Unknown Territory, where I've been guest-blogging. Make sure, by the way, you've read Glenn Greenwald's article in, of all places, The American Conservative.]

Hot Air guy is *gasp* clueless!

Allahpundit at Hot Air writes that Media Matters is lying:
The headline, “Warbloggers refuse to admit their errors in making fraud allegations against AP,” links to Boehlert’s latest piece. It’s followed by an item about Brit Hume supposedly announcing that the AP’s been vindicated on the whole “Iraq atrocity story.” Alas, that’s not what Hume said, but that’s beside the point. The point is, by starting with that headline and the Hume item, MM wants you to scan the remaining items and think that they’re all examples of warbloggers responding to the news about Hussein’s existence by taking shots at Boehlert to change the subject. E.g., “Hot Air on ‘Boehlert’s disingenuousness.’” See the irony? I reacted to evidence of the Iraqi MOI’s disingenuousness by accusing Boehlert of the same because I can’t admit when I’m wrong. Wingnut.
Um, wingnut or not, you're quite stupid, fella.

This is a list of historical stories about the subject. That's it. Any sense of outrage you might have about the way they're supposedly misleading people stems, I'd guess, from the shame you and your fellow right wing bloggers are (or, at least, should be) feeling right now over this issue.

One time I'd like to see you guys deal with a real subject instead of how mean the media and left wing bloggers are. Think about it: This whole issue arose when right wing bloggers were trying to avoid the fact that your war is a complete and utter failure. This story arose as NBC decided to belatedly call Iraq a Civil War, but, rather than deal with the quotidian, mindnumbing tragedy in a war for which you so vehemently cheered, you wanted to talk about an incident you thought maybe, just maybe, possibly, pleaseohpleaseohplease might not have happened.

Quit your whining and take your lumps. It's not like you're getting shot at, fuckers.

You predicted that "the left will enjoy this" and you were right. Sorry, but it's the way things work. As one of your own once said, "The check on blogs is other blogs."

If it hurts too much, let us know and we'll gladly call you a waaaaahmbulance.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The cultural sky is falling. Again.

A University of Louisville cheerleader took some racy pornographic photos of herself and Ace of Spades says it's an unprecedented sign that "something has seriously gone wrong in this culture." He even provides you with a link to the photos so that you can see just how wrong it's gotten. Tsk tsk.
Some will say stories like this, and the Texas high school cheerleader scandal, don't indicate anything more than the fact that the media is now giving these stories play. I.e., this has always been going on, now our sensationalist, 24-hour-cycle media is just telling us about it.

That's nonsense. This has never happened before.
No, that's nonsense. The republic is not crumbling. The culture isn't any sicker than it might have been 10, 20, 30, 50 or 100 years ago. If you don't believe me then Google the title The Illustrated Book of Filthy Victorian Photographs (But not at work.) I'll wait.

The real reason that this stuff is so ubiquitous can be summed up in three words. Cheap. Digital. Cameras. Not only can images be dumped from them into the computer in seconds and, from there, whisked around the world, but, because they do not create a negative or even a polaroid print, there is the feeling (not quite the illusion, but it's close) of safety--that you can limit access to the image by controling its movement. You can even delete it immediately after it's taken, if you want. (But, unless you're really hoping to be the next signifier of the cultural apocalypse and absolutely sure that you never want to run for office, I wouldn't trust that.) It is that simple.

I would argue actually that there are some signs of hope in our cultural trends. The fact that we laughed about Britney Spears' public display of her hoohah, but rent our proverbial clothes and gnashed our teeth over Michael Richards' and Mel Gibson's tirades is a sign, from my point of view, that the culture is actually better than before. Silly people showing their asses is much less important than a cultural undercurrent of racism, ne c'est pas? I think it's good that we live in a culture waking up to that realization.

(H/T Sadly, No!)

Friday Random Ten

1. "Last Monkey" - Richard Butler
2. "They" - Jem

Lyrics you should catch in this song:
And it's ironic too
'Cause what we tend to do
Is act on what they say
And then it is that way...
3. "Venus in Furs" - Velvet Underground
4. "Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset" - Modest Mouse
5. "Four Leaf Clover" - Old 97s
6. "Darkness" - Fat Jon
7. "Go To Church" - Ice Cube featuring Lil Jon & Snoop Dogg

8. "Who Am I?" - The Samples
9. "Waterfall with Blenders" - Turtle Island String Quartet
10. "Janine" - Soul Coughing

Shorter Peggy Noonan

Should've...sent...a poet.
I kid. Peggy Noonan writes a lot indfensible and/or weird stuff, but this ain't that. It's a sweet column and no more sentimental than some of the things I've written here.

My brain needs cleaning

People, if you thought the right wing bloggers were ridiculous, just wait until you catch a load of this new "report" by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), which suggests an al-Qaeda tie to the Oklahoma City bombing. (PDF link). Here's a sample:
There is serious, yet in some cases circumstantial, evidence that suggests a possible Middle Eastern connection to the Oklahoma City bombing (named “OKBOMB” by federal investigators):

For example, of all the cities in the world, convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef and Terry Nichols were in Cebu City in the Philippines at the same time three months before the Oklahoma City bombing. Yousef was the perpetrator of the first World Trade Center attack as well as the mastermind behind the planning of other high-profile attacks on Americans. Furthermore, Ramzi Yousef’s phone records, from the months before he detonated the first World Trade Center bomb in early 1993, show calls placed to the Filipina neighbor and close friend of Terry Nichols’ in-laws in Queens, New York. The opportunity for interaction between American terrorist, Nichols, and al-Qaeda terrorist, Yousef, is evident.
If you need me to explain to you the meaningless nature of this coincidental "evidence," then you're already a member of the 30-percent-of-Americans-and-falling just too deluded to be talked to. This is a meme that's been floating around in crazy people circles for some time now, but to see it lent any creedence by a member of the House--even Dana "It's 'Nonsense' to Think the Taliban Threatens the West" Rohrabacher--just proves that intellectual thought on the right is truly atrophied.

Congratulations, Mr. Spruiell!

Nitpicker would like to award the second rarely issued No Shit Award to the National Review's Stephen Spruiell.
The Iraqi Interior Ministry appears to have committed a colossal error here, and if the AP's reporting is correct, then the U.S. military and a number of conservative bloggers, myself included, gave the MOI too much credit and the AP too little in the criticism that followed.
Yep, who could have possibly imagined that this might QUOTE-end badly for the righties-UNQUOTE?

Sprueill, at least, handles this issue with candor and does not try to hid behind the fig leafs upon which his fellow righties are relying, including:
The It's Not About defense, in which someone who said "it appears that the AP has used a fraudulent source for more than sixty stories" now says it was never about said fraudulent source, but, rather, about credibility. And irony alarms go off around the country.

The This Ain't Over By A Long Shot defense, in which someone refuses to come out and say he was wrong when he wrote that Hussein "is a ghost, an appartition, a Never Was" and instead slides neatly to a now-we-can-get-to-the-bottom-of-this-foolishness-footing.

The He Exists But He's Probably A Liar defense, in which the blogger admits that, yeah the guy's real, BUT the "fact that the AP used a single source for dozens of inflammatory stories about atrocities in Iraq that still have yet to find any confirmation is almost as disturbing as making the source up" which, of course, they didn't do.
Where were these multiple-sourcing rules when Bill Clinton was being accused of murder, one wonders?
The I've Been Saying All Along defense, in which the asshole who started this all--saying the "MSM" was "getting the news from the enemy" and that Hussein was "bogus" in the first post on the topic--now says that he's been saying something he never, ever said. For example, "As many of us have said from the beginning, finding Jamil Hussein will not make this story go away." He also now says that "what we have here is a real police officer giving bogus information about an incident to inflame the Sunni population AND the AP reported it as fact without independently verifying it (3 unnamed witnesses is not verifying it), that my friends is a problem."
So now that Hussein's a real policeman, Floppy Aces can read his mind and know his intent. He can't, however, verify those unnamed witnesses, so they're obviously fake. Just like Jamil Hussein was.

Please, O right wingers, tell me what rules of evidence you accept for any incident in a war zone! And tell me whether you think that, if AP reporters plan on naming every source, you think it's a good idea for the reporter to just shoot those sources after the interview so that they might avoid a more agonizing death later.

Anyway, this is a moment for celebration. As I mentioned above, we've found a rare moment of clarity from a right winger.

Enjoy your Golden Sherlock, Mr. Spruiell.