Monday, June 30, 2008

The Liberal Media Octopus has some sneaky tentacles

Noted loser Patrick Ruffini sets up a good one.
Today's Peggy Noonan column has a revealing statistic: in Google News there are currently 138,000 news articles on Barack Obama and 97,000 on John McCain.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The vast majority of campaign stories have to mention both candidates, if only to report on the other candidate's response to another's volley. This statistic alone tells us nothing about who's in the "lede."

So I decided to try an experiment.

I searched for stories that mentioned Obama but didn't mention McCain in Google News. 69,473 stories.

And stories that mention McCain but not Obama? 19,135.

That's a stunning 3.63 to 1 ratio.
Ruffini goes on to point out that a roughly 3 to 1 ratio also exists when he does a similar search of Yahoo! News. Of course, without knowing the context of those stories, you can't lend any credence to his argument that this helps Obama. On Google alone, when you add in the words Muslim, Rezko or "Jeremiah Wright" you find:
  • Obama + Muslim - McCain: 3,634
  • Obama + Rezko - McCain: 1,423
  • Obama + "jeremiah wright" - McCain: 2,285

So it's clear that Patrick Ruffini--who's dedicated to winning the web for wingnuts--is either simply dumb or just thinks his readers are too dumb to look into the truth of what he's saying. But here's the funniest bit: When you search TheNextRight itself for stories which mention Obama but don't mention McCain (and vice versa), you get 1,320 Obama-only stories and 494 McCain-only stories.

Roughly a 3 to 1 ratio.

Good for Wes Clark!

Gen. Wesley Clark pointed out the obvious over the weekend:
"I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands and millions of others in the armed forces, as a prisoner of war. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility," said Clark, a former NATO commander who campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

"He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, I don't know whether we're going to be able to get this point through or not," Clark said.

Schieffer noted that Obama did not have any of those experiences, nor had he "ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down."

"Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president," Clark said.
This is exactly right. As I've argued before, if John McCain wants us to consider his military leadership--which is separate from his time as a POW--he must release his full military record.

Of course, don't expect the idiots to get the point he's making. As Digby says, "Should be an interesting Monday."

Update: Rafael Noboa lays it out:
All he does is hint at his suffering, with a wink and a nod, and because regular folks don’t know how to deal with that when faced with it (trust me, they don’t, and that’s OK, as it goes), they give him a pass — and they’ve been doing it for the last four decades.

Well, it all ends now. It starts with Wes Clark, continues with me, and there will be others, some louder than others. I refuse to sanctify or venerate some service more than others.

If John McCain wants to milk his Vietnam experience for votes and support — and he’s been doing it pretty blatantly for forty years — then he’s going to get called on it. It’s as simple as that. If he doesn’t want that to be part of the debate, then the decision is simple — quit talking about it, or referring to it, even implicitly. Simply put, step it up, brother, or shut it down, as the lyric goes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stop lying, Senator McCain!

Last night John McCain apparently repeated his false claim that Katrina caused no oil spills. He did so at a fundraiser, while defending his offshore drilling flip-flop:
Republican presidential candidate John McCain is defending his decision to switch position in favor of U.S. offshore oil drilling as he seeks votes in environmentally conscious California.

In appearances in coastal Santa Barbara and inland Fresno, McCain said on Monday he believed he had made the right decision at a time of record-high gasoline prices but that it would be up to individual states to choose whether offshore drilling is right for them.

McCain was challenged on his position reversal at an unlikely event -- a fundraiser in his honor in Santa Barbara. A participant, Dan Secord, questioned whether he could compete in California against Democratic opponent Barack Obama by advocating drilling for oil off its shores.

"We're really kind of goosey here about oil spills, and we're goosey here about federal drilling and oil lands, which are abundant offshore," he told McCain.

McCain told Secord he believes in a state's right to make such decisions and pointed out that Texas and Louisiana had weathered hurricanes in 2005 that did not lead to oil spills at nearby offshore facilities.
This is at least the second time McCain has made a false statement on this issue, despite the fact that--as the Wonk Room pointed out--an official report showed that "Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Caused 124 Offshore Spills For A Total Of 743,700 Gallons." Other conservatives are picking up this false talking point, even though it's simply wrong. The spills were so big they could be seen from space.

It's time we asked: Does McCain actually know anything about anything?

Or does he just not care?

Dobson proves Obama's point

James Dobson said that Barack Obama is "distorting" the Bible.
The conservative Christian group provided The Associated Press with an advance copy of the pre-taped radio segment, which runs 18 minutes and highlights excerpts of a speech Obama gave in June 2006 to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal. Obama mentions Dobson in the speech.

"Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?" Obama said. "Would we go with James Dobson's or Al Sharpton's?" referring to the civil rights leader.

Dobson took aim at examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy — chapters like Leviticus, which Obama said suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination, or Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."

"Folks haven't been reading their Bibles," Obama said.

Dobson and Minnery accused Obama of wrongly equating Old Testament texts and dietary codes that no longer apply to Jesus' teachings in the New Testament.

"I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson said. (Emphasis mine.)
So Old Testament texts "no longer apply" now? Odd, because they did just a few years ago, when Dobson was quoting those same books to attack homosexuality.
The book of Leviticus issues this decree about homosexual behavior: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination" (18:22, KJV). Why is that wording so emphatic? Theologians tell us it is because sexual deviancy distorts God's original intention and corrupts the relationship between men, women and their Creator. When God looked at His arrangement in the Garden, he called it "good."
So, which Christianity would we choose to press on our citizenry in order for it to become a "Christian nation"? The Christianity of James Dobson today, when he (rightly) says that the restrictions of the Old Testament were wiped out with the coming of Christ, or the Christianity of Dobson of a few years back, when he used to pick and choose from the Old Testament as the mood struck him?

Friday, June 13, 2008

John McCain: "I'm boring."

Heh.
It was one of his very first lines he delivered, but it seemed to perfectly sum up Senator John McCain’s town hall meeting Thursday night in New York City.

"I think this town hall meeting tonight would have been a little bit more interesting tonight if Senator Obama had accepted my request,” McCain said early on in the evening, referring to McCain's plan for joint town hall meetings with Obama around the country.
No wonder he wants Obama to attend his town hall meetings.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Right Wingers on Boumediene: A "Shorter" Roundup

Shorter Ed Morrisey:
I'm so confused I think this means they'll have to put Marines on trial for detaining people
Shorter Stop the ACLU:
The framers only intended people to have rights if the president says they can have them.
Shorter Debbie Schlussel:
Don't these judges realize we can't win the war against dusky terrorists if we're better than they are?
Shorter Floppy Asses:
I only read opinions by Scalia and Roberts because they use the angry words I understand. Also, because a tiny percentage of the terrorists so far released from Guantanamo have proven to be actually bad enough (or angry enough about being detained for numerous years) to do bad things, we should hold all the rest indefinitely.
Shorter Andy McCarthy:
As a former federal prosecutor, I find the mass killing of people who have yet to be proven guilty so funny I had to pass it on.
Shorter Leon Wolf of RedState:
Like I've always said, the Constitution should be ignored.
Shorter Carol Liebau of Townhall:
How can these judges care about the Constitution when I'm still pissing my pants about terrorism?
Shorter Lindsey Graham:
A kangaroo court is too good for these people. And the innocent ones? Fuck 'em.
Shorter Joe Lieberman:
Guantanamo detainees should get Geneva Convention protections, not Constitutional ones. Of course, I agreed with taking away their Geneva protections, so...um...not sure where that leave us.
Shorter George W. Bush:
A 5-4 decision means the court is deeply divided and that means their decision is somehow less meaningful...um...
[Shorter concept stolen from Busy Busy Busy.]

More partisanship in military public affairs

As a military public affairs guy, I have written numerous posts about how the Bush administration's influence has tainted the PA community. After reading this post at WaPo's Intel Dump today, I'm afraid it's going to take years to get this shit corrected.

The Army's public affairs office publishes a daily roundup of Army-related news called "Stand To" -- named for the set of procedures combat units do just prior to dawn, when they go to full alert for a possible enemy attack. The daily wrapup contains links to mainstream media articles, Army press releases, foreign media stories and blogs. It's similar to the Defense Department's Early Bird -- but much briefer, and obviously more focused on the Army.

Tuesday's edition contained an entry under "WHAT'S BEING SAID IN BLOGS" that struck me as unusual -- both for its headline and its patent political bias:
Obama: World peace thru surrender (KDIHH)

The link goes to a milblog called "Knee Deep in the Hooah." The author is a former Army officer whose son is serving in Iraq now. After citing a column on some curious Pentagon planning for an Obama administration, he goes on to write:

Roger that Redleg six, throwing away all ammo now and preparing to surrender ... Redleg five, out.

After all, what better time to surrender than when we are winning? The article cited above also includes a Youtube link so that you can see the end for yourself in the end makers own words. Sure. This is all old news for those of us who care. But it still ticks me off anyway. So I thought to myself,"Why not share the wealth?" Now I can be ticked off in good company. Enjoy.

Mr.Hooah!, out.

Seriously? Have any of these people actually read the Obama defense policy papers or speeches -- or are they simply going on what they hear on Fox News and the Limbaugh network?

And more to the point, why is the Army's official in-house public affairs shop linking to this kind of stuff? Just a few weeks ago, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told all hands to stay out of politics: "As the nation prepares to elect a new president, we would all do well to remember the promises we made: to obey civilian authority, to support and defend the Constitution and to do our duty at all times.... Keeping our politics private is a good first step." He added: "The only things we should be wearing on our sleeves are our military insignia."

Unfortunately, the message didn't get to through to the Army.

I find this more than a little bit disgusting.

McCain's hidden military background

Michael Gerson writes the following today, praising the "McCain Miracle":
The personal miracle of McCain's presidential run is even more extraordinary. It is obvious -- and therefore often unstated -- that the journey from a 4-by-6-foot North Vietnamese cell to the 36-by-29-foot Oval Office would be unprecedented. It would be as though George Washington were captured by the British, who snapped his legs in a torture cell; or Ulysses Grant were nearly starved to death at Andersonville Prison; or Dwight Eisenhower had been interrogated and beaten by the Gestapo in a German stalag. All three, I imagine, would have been honorable, defiant and arrogant enough to survive. But McCain has proved it.
While, yes, it would be new to have a president who had been captured and tortured by the enemy, that's not really the point of what Gerson is trying to do here. What Gerson is trying to do is add to the aura of John McCain by comparing him not only to presidents who served, but to three military geniuses--all who achieved the rank of General of the Army (though Washington was awarded the honor posthumously)--who eventually went on to become president.

But that's a long damn stretch to compare McCain to these men.

Let me say, first, that I am not arguing that John McCain did not acquit himself heroically during his captivity, but there is a difference between being a heroic captive and a military genius. Gerson could have just as easily and more appropriately used John Tyler, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in his examples. After all, those men served in war at ranks more comparable to McCain's when he was captured. But Gerson and others are desperate to build up John McCain's faltering national security image, so the former Bush speechwriter with a penchant for lifting phrases and using religious allusions of near-shibboleth dimensions wants you to think of the true military greats when you think of McCain.

The truth is, very little is known about McCain's actual skills as a military thinker. We know that he graduated 894th out of 899 cadets and was a rambunctious junior officer, but went on to be a decent commanding officer, it seems. Much has been said about his service in numerous books, but I think that, if McCain wants to suggest that his military background should be seen as a qualifier to lead the country, he needs to truly open up and let us see his complete background, which he has not yet done.

Despite the fact the press has reported that the "Navy recently released McCain's military record," all we have actually seen from McCain's record is a collection of his award citations (pdf link), which amount to a tiny fraction of the documents which should be found in his complete record. Most importantly, the release left out all of John McCain's fitness reports, the documents in which McCain's superiors would characterize his service and his potential as an officer.

I am not suggesting that there is necessarily something untoward to be found in McCain's fitreps, but, when John Kerry used his military service as the cornerstone of his presidential pitch in 2004, Republicans demanded that he release his full military record, which he did, revealing excellent fitness reports during his time in the service. John McCain should do the same. At least then we could begin to judge whether he truly demonstrated exemplary military leadership and judgment outside of his experience in captivity.

If McCain wants to make his military career such a huge part of his campaign (and its clear that he does), we should be getting the full picture of his service. If the right thinks that Barack Obama's birth certificate is worth stamping their feet about, then they certainly shouldn't have a problem with McCain giving up documents which would shine more light on his character.

Regardless of whether he releases the rest of these documents or not, John McCain is no Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"Liberty and security can be reconciled"

Good news. The Supreme Court has finally begun to undo the Bush administration's attack on the constitution. In what SCOTUSblog writer Lyle Denniston calls a "stunning blow to the Bush Administration in its war-on-terrorism policies," the court found that foreign nationals can make habeas challenges to their detention. I especially like this bit, from the conclusion of the court's decision (pdf link):
The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law. The Framers decided that habeas corpus, a right of first importance, must be a part of that framework, a part of that law.
Sadly, it was another 5-4 decision, with the usual assholes disagreeing, despite the majority pointing out quite rightly that "protection for the habeas privilege was one of the few safeguards of liberty specified in a Constitution that, at the outset, had no Bill of Rights." In other words, it doesn't get anymore Constitutional than that.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hilarious

Stephen Moore, The Wall Street Journal's "senior economics writer" doesn't understand the basic rules of the Social Security tax.
In various tax proposals Mr. Obama has set the definition of rich at levels of $100,000, $200,000 and $250,000 in annual income. He has vowed, for example, to erase the Bush tax cuts not only for those who make more than $250,000, but to end the cap on Social Security taxes, which amounts to a tax hike on anyone who makes more than $100,000 in income. More recently, Austan Goolsbee, an Obama economic adviser, told me the new cap might be set at $200,000.

All of this has caused some heartburn among certain Democrats in high cost-of-living states. New York Rep. Joseph Crowley says a couple with earnings of $100,000 could be "a police officer and nurse." "In New York City," he adds, "they'd be struggling."
As Media Matters points out, Social Security taxes are levied against individual incomes, not joint incomes, so unless that cop and his wife are making $100,000 on their own, they'd see no change.

Dumbass.

"Pro-life" policies lead to abortion

Making a similar (but clearer) point to the one I made Monday, Christina Page writes at Huffington Post:
It's pro-choice policies that result in dramatic declines in the need for abortion. That's a truth both pro-choice and pro-life voters would be interested to know.

The pro-choice movement, and pro-choice politicians, alone champion wider access to birth control, and birth control is the only proven way to reduce unintended pregnancy and abortion. Obama shouldn't get sucked into the silly debate about whether the pill is an abortifacient since even the anti-abortion movement's most respected physicians agree there's no scientific evidence that it is. He should ask why McCain hasn't championed campaigns to reduce unwanted pregnancies. The electorate should be reminded that it's the pro-choice movement and pro-choice elected officials that have fought for health insurance coverage for contraception as well as to bring new and more effective contraceptives to market. (Emergency contraception, for instance.) Also, let's not forget that the birth control pill itself is available to Americans entirely because of the efforts of the pro-choice movement.

[snip]

Obama could remind the voter that only 11% of sexually active women don't use contraception and from this 11% comes 50% of the nation's abortions. Ninety-three percent of the American public strongly favors contraception because of this very reason. Very few voters are aware, however, that not one pro-life organization in the United States supports contraception. Or that instead, pro-life groups have been spearheading campaigns to prevent Americans from accessing birth control. No less than 80% of self-described pro-life voters strongly support contraception. Few know that McCain has a long legislative resume devoted to voting against access to contraception and prevention.

McCain and the right to life movement may have sanctimony on their side but, so far, sanctimony has proven ineffective at preventing abortion. Study after study suggests the right to life approach, which McCain has helped execute for decades, is actually the root of the problem: leading to more abortions and later ones too.

Obama should pose this question to McCain: Do you support couples having access to safe and effective birth control options, including emergency contraception? When questioned about his position last year McCain told a reporter: "I have to find out what my position was. Brian (a campaign staffer), would you find out what my position is on contraception...I'm sure I support the president's policies on it." (No president has led more attacks on the right to use contraception than Bush has.) Birthcontrolwatch.org, a group that alerts the public to attacks on the right to contraception, offers more questions Obama could ask McCain -- many would be devastating bombs to lob during, say, a televised debate.
You must read the whole thing.

Senior moment?

Is it still a "senior moment" if McCain's already been called on a lie, but continues to repeat it again and again?

CNN:
On Friday, McCain attacked Obama's record on the environment during a campaign stop in the Florida Everglades.

"Sen. Obama has no record of being involved in this issue that I know of," he said. "I will stick by my record and my commitment of many years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." (Emphasis Nitpicker's.)
Really? You'd think McCain might know about this:
Potential presidential rivals John McCain and Barack Obama are joining with newly independent Sen. Joe Lieberman on a plan they say would reduce annual global-warming gases by two-thirds by mid-century.

Their bill, being announced Friday, is intended to cut the heat-trapping emissions by 2 percent a year. It is sure to produce a contentious debate on climate control in the new Democratic-run Congress and draw strong opposition from the White House and industry.

Surprise! Crazy People!

Andrew Sullivan points to this article by Melanie Phillips, which is basically a further attempt to smear Obama as a former Muslim (or a crypto-Muslim) and writes:
What on earth happened to her?
Should Sullivan truly be shocked by such things from the woman who wrote in 2003:
(N)ow that allied troops are laying down their lives for their countries, those who continue their protests are committing nothing less than an act of treachery.

There is now not only war in the gulf. The west is at war with itself.

The battle is between those who want to build a better world and destroy the promoters of tyranny, terrorism and mass murder, and those who wish instead to appease them — composed of a startling global coalition of the far right, communists, pacifists, terrorists, anarchists, defeatists, antisemites and useful idiots.
To those of us who never supoorted the war and, therefore, were considered one of the above versions of "appeaser," it seems quite unsurprising to find out Melanie Phillips is full of shit.

Solid thinking

This is pretty good. I wonder who wrote it?
It was a shameful thing to ask men to suffer and die, to persevere through god-awful afflictions and heartache, to endure the dehumanizing experiences that are unavoidable in combat, for a cause that the country wouldn’t support over time and that our leaders so wrongly believed could be achieved at a smaller cost than our enemy was prepared to make us pay. No other national endeavor requires as much unshakable resolve as war. If the nation and the government lack that resolve, it is criminal to expect men in the field to carry it alone.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How does Obama's VP pick affect his design team?

It's been pointed out by better observers than I that Obama's design team has done an excellent job of both creating clean, evocative images and layouts to support the campaign, as well as enforcing discipline on how those images (and fonts, etc.) are used.

Hell, his stuff's been so good that McCain's been trying to steal it.

So here's the question that's been bugging me: Obama's design has been good, but how, exactly does a Vice President's name fit in? Suggestions? (Here's a list of all the "logos" since 1960, in case you need to get the juices flowing.)

I do have to say that, if this article's right and Obama's considering Richard Danzig for VP, it could lead to some metalocalyptic options.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Romans 3:8

I really do get some joy out of visiting The Corner on a daily basis. It's fun to watch a bunch of goofballs who only speak to each other sit around and try to explain just how stupid the American public is for not seeing the obvious--oh so obvious--truth that conservatism has been proven right again and again (never mind the war, the economy, America's standing in the world, etc.).

But I am getting sick and tired of Kathryn Jean Lopez thinking that she has some ingenious insight on how Catholics should vote. Today she writes the following while arguing Catholics shouldn't vote for Obama.
Our religious morality necessarily informs our political judgments.

The thing about abortion is, it’s not just any other issue — as serious as so many others are. Abortion is not open to debate.

Pope Benedict, in a speech to European politicians in 2006, offered some instruction for the Catholic conscience: “As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today: the protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family — as a union between one man and one woman based on marriage . . . ; and the protection of the rights of parents to educate their children.”
All of this is, in fact, true, but Lopez is either too dishonest or too stupid to actually think about what any of this means on a larger level.

First, let's just point out that making abortion illegal doesn't equate with ending abortion or even greatly decreasing it. As a 2007 study by the Guttmacher Institute found, outlawing abortion does "not affect its incidence" (WHO pdf link). So, were one truly interested in stopping abortion, working to make it illegal isn't the way to do it.

As a Catholic, I do oppose abortion, but I simply don't think making it illegal does anything but drive it underground, leading to even more horrors. Working to teach children properly about sex and correct the situations of hopelessness which lead to the majority of abortions seems more sensible approach, because I don't only care about the life of the child, but also the life of the scared teen which could be lost in a back-alley abortion. Of course, Lopez seems to believe those little whores are just getting what they deserve when they bleed out on a dirty mattress and shouldn't be included among the numbers of the "life in all its stages" deserving protection.

The Guttmacher Institute found that making contraception more widely available was the best way to decrease abortion. The New York Times article linked above points out that
In Eastern Europe, where contraceptive choices have broadened since the fall of Communism, the study found that abortion rates have decreased by 50 percent, although they are still relatively high compared with those in Western Europe. “In the past we didn’t have this kind of data to draw on,” Ms. (Sharon) Camp (chief executive of the Guttmacher Institute) said. “Contraception is often the missing element” where abortion rates are high, she said.
And Lopez, in her article, does suggest that she sees an important distinction between contraception and abortion and says that "a ban on contraception" is "not a serious consideration," so wouldn't it be best for her to become an advocate for more contraception access?

Regardless of Lopez's views, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated last year in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship that
As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support."
So it's not as simple a picture as Lopez likes to paint.

And when you consider that Lopez declared John McCain "not one of us" because he opposed water boarding, she was arguing that McCain differed from her because he opposed torture, another act the Church considers "intrinsically evil." Lucky for her, McCain came around to her way of thinking. Unfortunately for her, Pope Benedict has been clear about this issue, reminding Catholics last year that "the prohibition against torture 'cannot be contravened under any circumstances.'"

(Who called water boarding torture, by the way? The United States did in 1947, when the Japanese used it against our troops and then argued the same thing for 60 years (pdf link) until John Yoo came along and said torture was part of the "core of the Commander-in-Chief function", so Congress "can't prevent the President from ordering torture.”)

Ultimately, here's what my conscience tells me: While I don't want abortions to occur, I think my commitment to my faith is to volunteer and to advocate to make life better for the women who get abortions out of fear--60 percent of women who had abortions in 2000 were poor; 60 percent were already mothers. In the end, not all women will choose to have a baby, though, but criminalization of abortion won't change that. Working to better women's lives to the point they will be better able to accept a child seems the best I can do in the interests of protecting "life in all its stages." I cannot prevent abortion, but I can do good and hope that good will come of it.

Think about this, though: I wouldn't support a woman getting an abortion in order to protect my lifestyle. However, Lopez (as an editor of the National Review) surely supports the magazine's argument that Bush's veto of anti-torture legislation was justified because "with the most hardened terrorists, effective interrogation may not be possible at all without recourse to more robust measures" and, therefore, "history will judge that President Bush made his top priority the protection of the American people against a wily and ruthless enemy."

In other words, as long as it keeps us safe, Lopez and her fellows at the Review are willing to let Bush commit--and order others to commit--evil acts on their behalf.

But there is a life beyond this one and anyone who truly believes that should not support evil acts simply to prolong this one. When you look at the arguments of Lopez and others, you have to wonder, actually, where their abortion opposition would go if it were not terrorists but an unborn baby in between them and another day on the planet...

By the way:
In a recent survey of 19 states that have held presidential primaries this year, 63% of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats compared with 37% for Republicans, a sharp increase from 2005 when 42% of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats, based on polls conducted by Edison/Mitofsky.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I concur

David Weigel on Larry Johnson's ever-shifting rumor-mongering:
In his peddling of this story, Johnson has altered his description of what was in the tape. I e-mailed Johnson, asked about the holes in the HillBuzz story, and called him a liar. He e-mailed me back.
You and Reason in the same sentence? Now that's funny. I don't recall soliciting an email from you so fuck off.
Until he comes out with a video tape that shows at least one of the many rumored "Michelle speeches," I think that's the last we need to hear from Larry Johnson.
Emphasis mine.

Good guys don't lie

Here's everything you need to know about how Republicans see the world and how it has screwed us over the years. In the newly released "Phase II" report on the intelligence that took us to Iraq, the Committee points out that no one in the government tried to "determine the true intentions of the foreign government with regard to interacting with the Iranians or Mr. Ghorbanifar." The Republican committee members complain in the minority report (page 46, pdf link):
We do not understand what this sentence is trying to suggest and do not understand why anyone would be concerned about the "true motives" of the foreign government. Is the suggestion that we need to be concerned that the foreign government had an ulterior or nefarious motive? The foreign government is one of our closest allies, often assisting us with all types of government issues--they even assist us in war. Why would DoD think the foreign government had a mysterious motive?
Tell me again how Democrats are naive when it's the Republicans who "do not understand" why we might want to question the motives of even our allies when we are heading toward war.

Update: If, like John Bolton, you're still interested in trying to paint Democrats as naive for their "willingness to meet with the leaders of rogue states," then you may want to take both the above paragraph into account and it would be nice if you were honest enough to point out the Iraq Study Group expressly called for direct diplomacy with Iran.

Time for Pat Roberts to go

Remember Sen. Pat Roberts, who even the normally pro-Republican Wichita Eagle said "dragged his feet on a promised but long-delayed Senate investigation into whether the White House cherry-picked and amplified prewar intelligence to fit its preconceived goal of invading Iraq"? His footdragging was so bad, in fact, that Harry Reid shut down the Senate in November of 2005, a move that Roberts called a "blindside attack."

Well, since he lost control of the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2006, it's actually been doing the work of the people, investigating how we got into this bullshit war. They've finally released the report Roberts was impeding and it's obvious why he was trying to hold it up. According to Talking Points Memo, the committee found:
-Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa'ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa'ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.

--Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.

--Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.

--Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq's chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community's uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.

--The Secretary of Defense's statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.

--The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.
Go give some money to Roberts' opponent, Jim Slattery. We don't need a "reliable partisan apologist for the Bush administration on intelligence and security controversies" tainting the Senate any longer.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Transmogrifying McCain




I found this picture on CollegeHumor.com, but my sons and I recently saw this Transformers rip-off in our local gas station and had a good laugh. I explained to my youngest that people who try to do this sort of thing are hoping for a purchase by the gramma who doesn't know any better to pick it up for her grandson who may have said something about "Transmo-something-or-others" a while back. This is called "confusion marketing."

The manufacturers could also be relying on the guilt-based purchase--the guy who wants to get his son the real thing, but can't afford it and buys him this cheap knock-off instead.

Kids know, though, that a fake is worse than an honest original and adults eventually learn that the copycat purse only lasts a few weeks, the i-Bob will never be an iPod and the the "smells like Acqua di Gio" cologne from CVS actually smells like rubbing alcohol.

Knock-offs, in other words, are always rip-offs.

That's why John McCain's website has just become sad. (Hat tip to foxsucks81.)

Check it out: The 26-year-Senator has been trying to pass himself off as an agent of "change," (which is laughable enough) but now he's attempting to steal Obama's entire identity.
  • Obama's slogan, "Change we can believe in" has become "A leader we can believe in."

  • Obama's "logo" of the sun rising over a red-and-white-striped hill has become a sunrise over what appears to be red-and-white-striped cliff. (A subconscious statement by a campaign going nowwhere?)

  • Even the color scheme and the stars in the background are stolen directly from Obama's website.

(Click to see the full, sad, glory.)


It seem that McCain has been listening too hard to those who tell him the "Republican brand" isn't selling anymore, so he's decided to steal the Democratic one. (This should give you an idea of what his site used to look like.) The only problem with that idea is that the Republican brand is actually the best thing the party has going for it right now, according to a poll conducted last month for NPR by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and Republican Glen Bolger (pdf link). When Americans were asked about the economy, Iraq, foreign trade, and taxes, more sided with the Democratic messages on each issue when they were not given partisan cues. Democrats actually lost a (very) few people when party I.D. was attached, meaning that it's not the party "brand" that's losing people, but their actual ideas.

So all McCain has to do win is run against his own party on key issues without coming off as a flip-flopper and losing his base. He can't, of course, so he's attempting, instead, to become the Starpreya to your Starbucks.

This should be good.

Update: Hotline, late to the party.

Is there a copyright on metaphor, too?

Ed Morrissey, usually one of the brighter least-dim lights of the right blogosphere, seems to think that using similar rhetorical techniques amounts to plagiarism. Odd that he doesn't have a problem with his boss, Michelle Malkin, piecing her entire career together with snippets of Father Coughlin, early-pro-Jim-Crow National Review op-eds and the The Reader's Guide to Xenophobia, Volume 7 (Mexi to Musl).

Update: Will "Captain Ed" demand George W. Bush hold a seance to get permission to steal from Reagan?

Bush, May 28, 2008:
For all the advanced military capabilities at our disposal, the most powerful weapon in our arsenal is the power of freedom.
Ronald Reagan, January 20, 1981:
Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.
And no, there's no attribution.

Just the right amount of Johnson?



Of course we've all heard Obama compared to Kennedy, Reagan and others, but I'm glad to see he's a scrapper as well as an inspiration.
the presumptive Democratic nominee raised a few eyebrows when he took Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) aside to a quiet corner of the Senate for a private conversation.

A vocal supporter of Obama's opponent Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lieberman has not been shy in criticizing Obama's foreign policy positions.

Earlier in the day, Lieberman participated in a conference call with reporters organized by House Minority Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in which Lieberman criticized Obama’s stance on the Middle East, a move that will surely further alienate Lieberman from the Democratic caucus he abandoned in 2006 to become an independent.

The two had what appeared to be an animated, if civil conversation that lasted at least three minutes. At one point Lieberman was literally backed against a wall, as Obama placed his hand on his shoulder and made several animated points.
Another report:
While it was unclear what the two were discussing, the body language suggested that Obama was trying to convince Lieberman of something and his stance appeared slightly intimidating.

Using forceful, but not angry, hand gestures, Obama literally backed up Lieberman against the wall, leaned in very close at times, and appeared to be trying to dominate the conversation, as the two talked over each other in a few instances.

Still, Obama and Lieberman seemed to be trying to keep the back-and-forth congenial as they both patted each other on the back during and after the exchange.
It's about time.