Saturday, June 23, 2007

Red Rover, Red Rover, send Dickie right over... It's a Cheneypalooza!

Guest post by J. Thomas Duffy

I wanted to get this post up ASAP. Check back later for a bio of our new contributor. -- MJWS


(One question I have today is, where's Rumsfeld?)

If he isn't leading a coup, or just bustin' everyone's balls, then it may be that our Vice President is showing overt signs of dementia setting in... Senility or Alzheimer's, perhaps... Could also be his notoriously bad heart (both literally and figuratively).

It may be that the days of the week are confusing him, and he thinks he's on one of his weekend Armageddon retreats.

How else to explain that he believes he is not part of the Executive Branch?

Long past the shock of illegal, law-breaking misdeeds

Who knew, last month, when we called for volunteers to become a "Cheney's Cheney" and join his team for the Iran venture that we'd see that the Darth Vader Man was already well ahead of the curve on it.

We also saw signs last November, when Cheney broke from the White House to form his own Iran Study Group.

And we had a feeling, earlier, back in November 2005, that Dick was quite the Magic Vice Prez.

He has his lavish Secret Bunker... The family, in particular the wife, is with him all the way... He'll dress-down, and swear at, a senator, or turn around and expose a covert CIA agent at the drop of the hat... And he shares with his boss/underling, The Commander Guy, a disdain for democracy...

He's already long past the shock of conducting his illegal, law-breaking misdeeds, that there haven't been any blaring sirens coming for him ... No scoldings, no detention, so he's looking around, his head spinning like Linda Blair's, and sees no one after him, so it's time to push that secret envelope out more, and more.

We should expect some type of fiat next from the VP Man, perhaps suspending the 2008 election, removing Bush, keeping the surge he sings praises for, and, of course, leaving all Iran options on table -- particularly the bombing ones.

Which way does it go -- over the cliff or top of the world?

He doesn't give a shit about nose-diving ratings, he's got his hands on the wheel, his fingers on the buttons... And he's going for broke...

A Thelma and Louise, pedal-to-the-medal drive off the Constitutional cliff?... A Cody Jarrett, Top-of-the-World-Ma scream, standing on a blazing and exploding Iranian nuclear reactor?... Or a more fitting, Sam Peckinpah-inspired, Pike Bishop shoot out with Congress?

For me, I'd like to see, with a nice, lush, Bernard Hermann score, Cheney, sweating and panicked, on top of Mt. Rushmore, holding a trinket containing all the secret Energy Meeting Notes and Secret Service Visitor Logs, being chased and hunted by Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson (hey, lay off, it's pretty close casting), and the good guys end up winning.

The only thing of it is, whose definition of good and evil do we go by?

Red Rover, Red Rover, send Dickie right over...

It's a Cheneypalooza!

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Middle East Cliff Notes

By Carol Gee

Many Americans are confused by the complexity of the politics of the Middle East. We have difficulty in remembering the geography of the region. We mix up the leaders with unpronounceable names in our minds, forgetting who are the "good guys" and who are the "bad guys," and seeing no gradations in between. We cannot distinguish between the myriad of movements and political parties, some that even cross national borders. We resort to stereotypical thinking such as the routine over generalization, "all those Muslims over there."

The West's involvement in the current crisis -- The United States has routinely supported Israel. For instance, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza and the visit of Israel's Prime minister Ohlmert earlier in the week, the Bush administration and Israel threw their support behind Palestinian Fatah President Abbas, excluding Hamas. The Mideast Quartet is set to meet next week regarding the current situation, according to Haaretz, who also reports that Tony Blair may become the Quartet's new special envoy to the Middle East.

The following recent event is another good illustration of what prompted today's post. From the summary it is difficult to sort out the "who/what/where/when" of what actually happened. It is from today's Yahoo! News (Full Coverage: Mideast Conflict):

"Israel seizes top Hamas leader" -- Israeli troops seized a top Hamas militant in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, Israeli military and Palestinian security sources said.

Links to the Basics -- Today's post provides a set of tools that will be useful to unravel confusion by providing a set of basic resource links to which readers can periodically return.

Philosophies that compete:


  • Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) -- President of Palestine, governing from the West Bank city of Ramallah.

  • Salam Fayyad -- Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Abbas' emergency Palestinian government in the West Bank: more technocrats than Fatah party members.

  • Ehud Olmert -- Prime Minister of Israel.

  • Ismael Haniya -- ex-Palestinian Prime Minister in recent Unity Government of Abbas.

  • Khaled Mashaal -- exiled Hamas leader who has lived in Jordan and Syria.

  • Hosni Mubarek -- Egyptian Prime Minister, attempts to mediate between the parties (PA-Fatah, Jordan, Israel).

Reference web sites: Items 1 and 2 compare versions of the same story, "Haniya calls for fresh Hamas-Fattah talks." Item 3 is from the BBC:

  1. - Doha, Qatar

  2. - Israel

  3. BBC.News - "Country profiles -- Full profiles provide an instant guide to history, politics and economic background of countries and territories, and background on key institutions."

Past S/SW posts (my own blog):

  1. "Strong 'Community' - elusive Middle East goal"

  2. "Then and Now in the Middle East"

  3. "Page 2 stories about the U.S. and a few of its friends"

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Misdirection and misrepresentation

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Ooh. Aah. Yet another non-committal commitment on Iraq:

The U.S. may be able to reduce combat forces in Iraq by next spring if Iraq's own security forces continue to grow and improve, a senior American commander said Friday...

Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top day-to-day commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, did not predict any reductions in U.S. forces but said such redeployments may be feasible by spring. There are currently 156,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon from his headquarters outside Baghdad, Odierno gave an update on the U.S. offensives under way in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad and in areas south and west of the capital. He said U.S. and Iraqi troops have made important progress.

"I think if everything goes the way it's going now, there's a potential that by the spring we will be able to reduce forces, and Iraq security forces could take over," Odierno said. "It could happen sooner than that. I don't know."

Note the key words: "if" -- "potential" -- "could". And then: "I don't know."

So then why say anything? Everything here is meaningless.

It may not be Odierno's fault -- in other words, he may just have said what he was told to say or what was decided he should say -- but how is it possible to trust anything anyone connected to the Iraq War says anymore? And that goes for the military as well as the civilian leadership. Well, it isn't possible, not if you've been paying attention. And so it is only reasonable -- for those of us to whom reason is important -- to be skeptical as to whether or not there has in fact been any tangible progress in Diyala or anywhere else (the definition of progress remains vague, as ever), as well as to the competency of Iraqi forces (how will we know if and when they're ready to take over?), as well as to the prospects for redeployment (or withdrawal, however it may be spun).

The warriors and warmongers -- the wagers of this war in Baghdad and Washington -- want to have it all ways, to leave open all options, to keep waging war but to keep talking about pulling out. And this isn't flexibility, which could be a virtue, but the absence of a genuine plan to wage a war that has already been lost, which is a vice that keeps on killing.

It is time -- long past time -- for the ifs and coulds to give way to a definitive conclusion to this war. As long as it keeps on being waged, the only potential is for still more failure.

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"Americans are like gods"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I've been meaning to post this since my Albania post of almost two weeks ago -- you know, about the bizarre outpouring of love for Bush in Tirana.

Here's our friend Matthew Shugart with his own memories of Albania from 1991, when he was there on a democracy-assistance mission.

My suggestion would be for the Bushes -- all of them (Ma, Pa, Jeb, Neil, Dubya, Laura, the twins, etc.), plus the many Bushies who suck at their familial teat -- to relocate to Tirana for good. Albania, more than Kennebunkport, would provide the nourishing bubble of delusion they seem to need.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

SICKO a bipartisan headache

By Libby Spencer

You have to love how the conventional wise men are spinning Moore's new movie as a problem for the Democratic party. And then there's the experts who soberly advise us why our health care problem can't really be fixed.

"To presume that the private sector is going to sit idly by to see the destruction of private coverage I think is a misreading of reality," said Ron Pollack of the advocacy group Families USA. "I think the presidential candidates understand that if healthcare reform is going to have a chance of success, it will require bipartisanship and a balance of public and private coverage. It cannot be the triumph of one ideology over the other."

What the hell does ideology have to do with it? It's about money. It always has been and the only threat from the private sector is that the deep pockets of the health care industry lobbyists would be emptied and all that lovely campaign funding would dry up. As ABC reports:

In the first quarter, the Center for Responsive Politics found that the leading '08 candidates are relying mostly on those donors giving the maximum $2,300 contribution, not the smaller contributions.

"We've tracked the sources of the funds and it's largely the same as in past cycles," Krumholtz said. "You're going to see a lot of money coming from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors."

The corporate lobbyists don't have any ideology and their loyalty is to power, not either party. They'll back the perceived winner and hedge their bets by throwing a few crumbs to the losers, just in case. But back to the LAT's expert advice.

Whatever mix of private and public sources will increase the number of people with coverage, the insurance companies would like it to be managed by them," UC Berkeley health economist James Robinson said in a recent interview. "They can work with Medicare, they can work with Medicaid, they can work with employers, they can work with whomever."

I guess that depends on what your definition of work is, but he's right about the insurers wanting to keep their grubby paws on the administrative profits. I guess we're just supposed to ignore that it's the insurance companies' mismanagement that caused this mess in the first place. God knows, that's what you can expect our politicians to do.

It's absurd to suggest health care reform is "political poison with the larger electorate." Americans are tired of paying outrageously high policy premiums that deliver the bare minimum of coverage. The politicians won't lose votes for cutting the insurers out of the picture, they'll just lose the industry's payola.

I haven't seen the movie, but from what I've read, Moore's premise is right on. Our health care system is mortally ill and we can't trust the spin doctors inside the beltway to heal it. This is a case where the voters are going to have to prescribe the right medicine themselves and force our politicians to swallow it.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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What happens to sensible, moderate, bipartisan Republicans who break with the xenophobic base and pursue compromise and compassion over extremism

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Poor guy. I (almost) feel sorry for him:

Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) approval rating is taking a pounding in his home state as a result of his strong support for a bipartisan immigration reform bill, a new poll showed Friday.

Graham’s approval rating has sunk to 31 percent and he has a 40 percent disapproval rating, according to a poll released Friday by Atlanta-based InsiderAdvantage. The new poll points to Graham’s support for the Senate immigration bill, which includes a path to citizenship, as a likely reason for his apparent unpopularity.

His disapproval among Republicans is higher — 46 percent — than among Democrats — 30 percent. Both give him an approval rating in the low 30s.

Only 21 percent of respondents approved of the immigration bill, while 63 percent disapproved. When asked whether they approved of Graham’s “efforts to reach a consensus among his colleagues” to pass the bill, 24 percent approved and 51 percent disapproved, including 57 percent of Republicans.

Of course, it doesn't help that Graham represents South Carolina, a bastion of Republican vindictiveness on immigration. And it's the Republicans, not the Democrats, who put the kibosh on the immigration bill. Graham is just suffering the consequences of not being extreme enough in a party of extremism.

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Carbon-free Sweden

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Presumably the Swedish people are still full of carbon, but Brad Plumer has a post up on how Sweden is "aiming to end its oil dependency by 2020".

Yes, yes, I know, Sweden is Sweden, an exceptional Scandinavian case, and we can't all be like the Swedes, and we don't want to be exactly like them -- but still. It's an example of how to address the most pressing issue of our time, and what they've done and are doing ought to be taken seriously and to be considered seriously even in less "Swedish" countries like the U.S.

Or does it all make way too much sense for a country with a moron like James Inhofe in the upper chamber of its legislature and a similar moron down the road in the White House?

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The law requires it

By Carol Gee

Wyoming law requires that the governor appoint a successor when a U.S. Senator dies. After Senator Craig Thomas passed away recently, Governor Dave Freudenthal was required to choose a Republican successor from a list of three people nominated by other state Republicans.

Late news: A post by Josh Kraushaar at Politico carried the headline, "State senator John Barrasso appointed to fill vacant Wyoming Senate seat."

The new senator's hometown paper, the Casper Star-Tribune has the story. The paper includes a full bio and an interview with the new appointee.


Update: See also CQ Politics. -- MJWS

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While you wait

By Capt. Fogg

Is Commander Guy's sinister sidekick suffering from vascular dementia or is he sliding into paranoid schizophrenia? Is he simply so sure of himself that he offers an excuse so laughably flimsy for refusing to turn over documents as claiming he isn't part of the Executive Branch? Is he trying to point out the impotence of the Public when it comes to taking a renegade administration to task? Maybe it's both. Maybe he's the head of a new branch that makes the other three branches subordinate: Halliburton, but with Cheney's perennial contempt for being asked what the hell he's doing by people with the constitutional right to ask it, all avenues of speculation lead to comedy of one sort or another.

But while we're waiting to see whether his diseased heart will last as long as this diseased administration and wondering whether we or the Shadow will ever know what evil lurked there, we can entertain ourselves with the documentation of decades of secrets about CIA murders, assassinations, thefts, burglaries, illegal wiretapping, kidnapping, infiltration and surveillance galore. It seems that all the things we hippies, subversives, conspiracy theorists and leftist, pinko paranoids once said the government was doing were pretty much true and more like understatement than hyperbole. It's all due to come out next week when the CIA is planning at long last to air enough dirty laundry to stink up the solar system.

I will try to avoid smirking while we read about it, while the remaining true believers try to think of excuses. I'll try not to say I told you so and I will try not to get the dry heaves this coming Independence day when we go through the annual rituals, ceremonies and parades of self praise. I will recall, through the rockets' red glare that people are suffering and dying while yet another generation of evil men sit on the truth and tell lies.

(Cross-posted at Human Voices.)

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In it for himself

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Who? Why, Rudy Giuliani, of course. (By the way, did you know he was mayor of NYC on 9/11? Huh.)

He may very well be worse than Bush and he would surely be the fearmonger-in-chief in the Oval Office, an Orwellian leader forever mythologizing 9/11, America's Great Historical Event, talking up terrorism like Stalinists talked up Trotskyites, rhetorically keeping the country on the brink, imposing vigilante justice from above, whipping up patriotic fervour with neo-McCarthyite lust, a blood-thirsty authoritarian spying on dissidents and torturing suspected evildoers and other enemies of the state with rapturous glee, a father figure hell-bent on order, mein Führer, order!

And without much of a clue about anything.

On this cluelessness, specifically on his "shrugged blow-off of [the Iraq Study Group]," see Steve Benen (and Fred Kaplan). This is "a glimpse at the darker side of America’s Mayor: that he’s in it not for the country, but for himself".

I would add that that "darker side" includes a penchant for brutality that needs to be explored further in the media. This is no man fit to lead a free and democratic country.

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BAGeL Radio on the TeeVee?

By Creature

First, dear Reaction readers, please stop by SotD and read Ted's post regarding Internet radio's Day of Silence . It's important and you can make a difference. Next, if you want to see Ted, and BAGeL Radio, on the TeeVee as he fights for Internet radio's very existence, go here [and Go, Ted!]. Finally, because it's all about the music in the end, today is Friday and that means 480 Minutes of live BAGeL Radio goodness [9AM Pacfic/12PM Eastern]. New White Stripes today [yay!]. Ted says the new album is "amazing." I cannot wait.

Happy Friday, everyone. And remember, you've got to fight for your right to BAGeL.

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Sign of the Apocalypse #48: Retro communist chic

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As the BBC is reporting, a new hotel in Berlin, Ostel -- Das DDR Hostel, "offers guests a choice of rooms in the style of the old eastern bloc". You can even stay in the "Stasi Suite". (No word if you can pay to have Katarina Witt -- "the most beautiful face of socialism," as Time once called her -- report your reactionary capitalist goings-on to Stasi personally.)

How charming. Perfect for that totalitarian family vacation you've been planning.

And when you're done in Berlin, why not try out these related destinations:

  • Killing Fields Holiday Inn (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
  • Goebbels Third Reich B&B (Nürnberg , Germany)
  • Gulag Archipelago Fantasy Camp (Novosibirsk, Russia)
  • Il Duce Golf & Country Club (Naples, Italy)
  • Franco's Fascist Naturist Resort (Madrid, Spain)
  • Baath Bathhouse (Baghdad, Iraq)
  • Hilton Hermit Kingdom (unknown)

For more information, Google.


Update: My tourism contact in Cambodia e-mailed me a recommendation this morning. In addition to serving a mighty fine "continental" breakfast (continent unspecified), the in-house restaurant at the K.F. Holiday Inn in Phnom Penh, the Khmer Khafé, offers a "Pol Pot Luck Special" every Saturday from 10-2. It's a variation on dim sum, with each dish served, as authenticity would seem to require, in a human skull.

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Torture, American-style

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Speaking of torture -- which I just did -- make sure to check out this piece at Salon by Mark Benjamin: "Psychologists helped the CIA exploit a secret military program to develop brutal interrogation tactics -- likely with the approval of the Bush White House."

A Dark Age indeed for the American Empire.

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Secret torture

By Michael J.W. Stickings

AP: "The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and move the terror suspects there to military prisons elsewhere," where they can be tortured without anyone like Amnesty International or Congress finding out about it.

Okay, I made that last bit up. Or did I?

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nixon territory

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Pardon my Schadenfreude, but a new Newsweek poll finds Bush's approval rating at just 26 percent, the lowest for any president since Nixon in January 1974 -- just seven months before his resignation, Nixon's approval rating was a lowly 23 percent. Carter dipped to 28 percent in June 1979. On the flip side, Bush's disapproval rating is 65 percent, "including nearly a third of Republicans".

Also: "The war in Iraq continues to drag Bush down. A record 73 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Bush has done handling Iraq. Despite “the surge” in U.S. forces into Baghdad and Iraq’s western Anbar province, a record-low 23 percent of Americans approve of the president’s actions in Iraq, down 5 points since the end of March." And it's not just Iraq: "Bush scores record or near record lows on every major issue: from the economy (34 percent approve, 60 percent disapprove) to health care (28 percent approve, 61 percent disapprove) to immigration (23 percent approve, 63 percent disapprove)."

Blogging as a non-American, which is what I am, allow me to congratulate the American people for getting it right on this one. (If only more of you had gotten it right in '00 and '04, eh?) I'm not sure what to make the pro-Bush 26 percent of them, but, then, no people are perfect. Perhaps more and more of them will come to side with the overwhelming majority of their fellow citizens, that is, to recognize reality for what it is, over the remainder of Bush's presidency. Unfortunately, there are likely more then seven months left.

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Dear Ralph -- your 15 minutes are up

By Libby Spencer

Nader apparently doesn't know when to quit. Allowing his ego to overcome common sense, he's once again flirting with a third party run that he knows he can't win, but he proffers all sorts of high-minded reasons he's considering throwing his hat into the ring for his fourth try at failure anyway.

If Nader runs, he would emphasize the "ever-increasing corporate power in our society" and "the expanding disconnect between the growth of the economy and the distribution to people who work hard but don't get the fruits of it."

Nader also believes the United States should withdraw from Iraq over a six-month period, have the United Nations sponsor new elections and leave no U.S. forces behind.

I believe John Edwards, at least, is on that already, so why isn't Ralph throwing his support to a declared candidate?

"What third parties can do is bring young people in, set standards on how to run a presidential election and keep the progressive agenda in front of the people," he said. "And maybe tweak a candidate here and there in the major parties."

Apparently Nader's never heard of the blogosphere? We're on it Ralph and frankly, we don't think you're going to be much help in that.

There was a time when Nader was an inspiring activist who changed the face of politics. Now he's just looking like an sad old man still singing the same old tune but who can't bear to step out of the limelight to make way for fresh talent. It's time for Ralph to retire while he's still able to preserve some dignity. A fourth run will only succeed in rendering him a permanent political joke.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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The essence of spin: When fewer boos are a 'victory'

By Edward Copeland

Clinton greeted by fewer boos on Iraq war

That was the headline the Los Angeles Times used for its coverage of Democratic presidential contenders at the Take Back America forum. The Washington Post had a more subdued headline: Antiwar Democrats Are Less Critical as Clinton Takes New Tack on Iraq. I know the MSM lusts for Hillary to get the nomination, but this is ridiculous. The New York Times didn't cover the event at all, as far as I could tell.

One thing though that most of the MSM seems to have downplayed, which is even more unfavorable to Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton, are the results of Politico's straw poll of attendees at the same conference which named Barack Obama as the choice of 29% of the 720 votes cast and John Edwards as the pick of 26%. Hillary lagged far behind at 17%. Even more fascinating, the poll asked the participants whom their second choices would be if their first choice didn't make the cut. In that one, Obama got 30%, Edwards 28% and Hillary only 16%. Bill Richardson, who only garnered 9% among first choice voters, ticked up to 11% here. Obama in particular got high marks for an unusually (for him) confrontational speech at the forum that impressed the activists such as conference organizer Roger Hickey.

Obama clearly did himself well with a red-meat speech, showing he knows how to appeal to the activists.

The Los Angeles Times buried the straw poll results deep in their story and The Washington Post saved a brief mention of it for the very last paragraph.

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Fuck you and your snowflakes

By Creature

You know, I failed to mention yesterday how fuckin' pissed off I am at Dear Leader for vetoing the stem cell bill, again. I knew it was coming, we all did, yet the level of pissed in my system is at an all time high over this one. A couple of fuckin' cells do not constitute an embryo or a life. The same cells that have the potential to save a life, or thousands, will just be thrown into a fuckin' dumpster. What a waste.

And what a waste of a human being our president is.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Strong "Community" -- elusive Middle East goal

By Carol Gee

Cross-border conflicts continue to be the stuff of Middle East headlines this week. Violence and angry words, mixed messages from our current president (OCP), splits within Congress, and Iraqis becoming more and more factionalized, all characterize today's reality.

The world is favoring more and more fences, it seems, between members of groups. Rather than finding the common ground enabling them to tolerate the existence of the other at minimum, they split into smaller and smaller units of trust. They have no knowledge of how to be in community, in the best sense of the word. The news in the following stories causes me to think that far too many people desire to apart from each other.

Poor leadership in recent years has made the Middle East situation much worse. The leadership community of George W. Bush, Mahmoud Abbas, Khaled Mashaal, Ehud Olhmert, Fuad Signiora, Nuri al-Malaki and Moqtada al-Sadr are collectively among the weakest of leaders. Lacking in diplomatic or visionary skills, these men rely on military or covert operations, or terrorism, at worst to wield power. They fail to deal with terrorism in smart and effective ways. And they fail to anticipate the unintended consequences of over-reliance on "democracy" and free elections to cure the region's problems. In short, none of these leaders seem capable of "being in community."

Cross-border attack -- There is a vacuum of diplomatic leadership and involvement in Lebanon on the part of the U.S. government. From comes this inevitable headline: "Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel" (6/17/07). To quote:

Katyusha rockets have been fired into northern Israel from Lebanon in the first cross-border attack since last year's war between Israel and Hezbollah...

Israel responded with five artillery shells into southern Lebanon, Lebanese security forces said, but an Israeli army spokesman denied the shelling was aimed at Lebanese territory, calling the exercise "artillery calibration fire" using empty shells fired into Israeli territory...

Fuad Siniora, Lebanon's prime minister, said the attack had "political goals" and was aimed at destabilising Lebanon by casting doubts about the ability of the army and the UN peacekeeping force in South Lebanon to protect the border zone.

No mediation to be given -- In the understatement of the year regarding lack of U.S. attention to the mid-east region, The Financial Times headlined, "US, Israel promise support for Abbas" (6/19/07). To quote:

It was not the job of the US president to mediate between Israel and Syria, Mr Olmert quoted Mr Bush as saying. “He has got many other things to do,” the Israeli prime minister said at a joint press conference.

"First Muslim Rep. mends global fences" is the headline from Politico (6/19/07). The only Muslim in the U.S. congress has modeled a conciliatory spirit and working hard to solve problems. Our current president could take a lesson from his style. To quote:

With a few short words, Rep. Keith Ellison had just stunned a joint session of Congress. Last March, Jordan's King Abdullah II had concluded his address in the House chambers with the traditional Arabic salutation, "as-salaam 'aleikum," which means, "Peace be unto you."

Ellison, a freshman Democrat from Minnesota and the first Muslim in Congress, instinctively replied, "wa 'aleikum as-salaam" -- "And to you be peace"...

A self-proclaimed "bleeding-heart liberal," Ellison says he wants to make a name for himself not just as a Muslim, but by pushing for better health care, reducing poverty, ending the war in Iraq -- and tackling predatory lending practices.

No reconciliation -- Aljazeera headlined, "Abbas rules out talks with Hamas" (6/20/07). The United States abandoned peace efforts between Israel and Palestine when the current administration came into power. This story is the tragic result. To quote:

The Palestinian president has ruled out talks with the Hamas movement which he accused of trying to assassinate him and of carrying out a coup in the Gaza Strip...

Abbas said Hamas replaced the "national project" with "its project of darkness", attacking the symbols of government in Gaza, including the house of the late leader Yasser Arafat.

[Abbas continued]: "It's a fight between the national project and this small kingdom they want to establish in Gaza, the kingdom of Gaza, between those who are using assassination and killing to achieve their goals, and those who are using the rules of law."

Egypt provides leadership -- Once again the vacuum left by the U.S. lack of diplomatic effort in the Middle East is apparent. From Israel's Haaretz, "Egypt to host Olmert-Abbas summit next week" (6/21/07). To quote:

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has invited Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah II to attend a summit in Egypt early next week, a senior aide to Abbas said Thursday.

The meeting will focus on bolstering Abbas and opening diplomatic channels between Abbas and Olmert, following the Hamas takeover in the Gaza Strip last week and the establishment of an emergency government in Ramallah over the weekend...

Olmert reached an understanding with United States President George W. Bush during his visit to Washington on Tuesday that it is necessary to support Abbas, a senior political source in Jerusalem said Wednesday.

Shiites fight -- Bogged down in an increasingly factionalized Iraq, the current administration seems incapable of taking in the implications of this reality. From The New York Times came this very sad headline: "Shiite Rivalries Slash at a Once Calm Iraqi City" (6/21/07), from which I quote:

The Shiite heartland of southern Iraq has generally been an oasis of calm in contrast to Baghdad and the central part of the country, but now violence is convulsing this city. Shiites are killing and kidnapping other Shiites, the police force is made up of competing militias and the inner city is a web of impoverished streets where idealized portraits of young men, killed in recent gun battles with Iraqi and American troops, hang from signposts above empty lots.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Mayor vs. Mayor

By Creature

I'd like to see Mike Bloomberg run for president if only because it will really, really, really piss Rudy "9/11" Giulani off. Go, Mike!

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Aryan Nation

By Capt. Fogg

It's like Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman or Godzilla Vs. any of the other rubber monsters he was set up against in the movies; one ludicrous thing against another makes for bad movies. It makes the US into a bad movie too when we put our near-idolatrous worship of the "troops" against our hysterical phobia about Latin American illegals. One way or another, the winner will be a monster.

Yaderlin Hiraldo entered the US illegally from the Dominican Republic in 2001 and she married Army specialist Alex Jimenez in 2004. Her green card was in the works as they say. Jiminez is one of those missing troops who was taken prisoner and not heard from again until his ID card turned up in an Al Qaeda safe house and a video was found that claimed he had been killed. It's likely that he is dead, but nobody knows for sure whether Yaderlin is a widow. The country was saddened when these men went missing and all the usual rhetoric about supporting the troops was vented. Most of that rhetoric is meant to serve Bush's program of blaming America for his military losses, but all in all, it's a lot of hot air. They're certainly not going to support Mrs. Jiminez, they're going to deport her and if she wants her application to have a chance, she's going to have to leave the country and wait ten years.

So thanks Alex for your service. We're sorry you may have died under horrible circumstances and because of incompetent leaders, but we're not sorry enough that we'll treat your widow like a human being, even though we love to get all gooey about the sanctity of marriage - what with her Hispanic origin and all. We will be happy to support some nice blond white troops, but not your sort, so get the hell out of here, we've got to get ready for the 4th of July celebrations where we bow down to our own graven image and chastise Liberals for not supporting the troops.

(cross posted at Human Voices)

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Sign of the Apocalypse #47: Olfactory politics

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Okay, okay, I realize this isn't a big deal. And it may say more about one particular news personality, Alina Cho, than about the corrupted culture of media and politics more generally. Still. What is the point of pointing out, regardless of whether or not it is true, that Mitt Romney "looks great, sounds great, smells great"? -- especially the last of those (how does she know?). It's akin to Chris Matthews's man-crush on Fred Thompson, just not quite as explicit (or as disturbing).

Of course, it's now all-too-common to point out that the news, and particularly cable news, is more entertainment than anything else. Entertainment, infotainment -- call it what you want. There has been a broad debasement of public discourse in the United States, as elsewhere (the U.S. is not as exceptional as some imagine in this regard), and it is this debasement that allows for the cult of celebrity that turns Paris Hilton into a megastar whose pathetic incarceration dominates the news over a period of days, if not longer, and provides the fertile ground upon which someone like Alina Cho -- and I don't mean to pick on her; there are far worse than her out there (see Fox News or MSNBC at any time of the day) -- can spew this sort of pointless banter instead of acting (and speaking) like a serious news personality.

Kennedy looked better than Nixon in 1960, and -- yadda yadda yadda -- you all know what happened after that. Does it matter in 2007 that Romney apparently "looks great, sounds great, smells great"? Yes, probably. Superficial qualities matter, perhaps more so than ever before. Voters may take such qualities into account -- they always have, to varying degrees (even with a great leader like Lincoln -- he may not have been attractive in a telegenic sort of way, but he sure gave good speeches) -- but what is of greater concern is that the media are proving increasingly incapable of providing the citizenry with what it needs to make reasoned choices, that is, of providing a forum for public discourse (and even for the presentation of serious news) at a level that democracy requires in order not to descend into the quagmire of demagoguery. For what is politics now but a game of demagoguery? It's all about who looks better, who sounds better, and, apparently, who smells better. And the media are to blame for much of what it has become -- they and their "consumers," the "people," who co-exist with their political leaders in a mutualistic relationship of self-narcotization.

No, Alina Cho's not the problem. She's just part of it -- a small part. But her pointless remarks point to a much deeper disease at the core of American public life. And one wonders if a cure will ever be found.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Vodka Belt

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Several months ago, I mentioned that the regulation-happy European Union was looking into regulating vodka, specifically into restricting the use of the word vodka (much as the use of the word Champagne is restricted to sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France -- order "Champagne" in Germany, for example, and they might just give you some local Sekt). This made sense to me. I'm no fan of excessive regulation, but there is something to be said for clear standards -- that is, for vodka, not "vodka".

Well, it looks like a compromise has been reached. The definition of vodka will remain loose, but there will be transparency:

The European Parliament has voted down a bid by MEPs from Poland, Finland, the Baltic states, Sweden and Denmark to tighten the legal definition of vodka.

The so-called "vodka belt" countries wanted to restrict the term to spirits made only from potatoes or grain.

But a majority of MEPs voted in favour of a looser definition.

Vodka made from anything other than potatoes or grain will have to say so on the label -- but no minimum size for the declaration will be stipulated.

MEPs agreed on a looser definition taking in sugar beet, grapes and even citrus fruit, which are used as ingredients by producers in countries such as Britain, France and Germany. They account for nearly a third of EU vodka production.

The new definition is still tighter than the definition in use in the EU up to now.

Given that the European Union is a collection of countries dedicated as much to national self-interest as to some grander European ideal, if not more so the former than the latter, what seems to have happened here is that the Vodka Belt countries, whatever the worthiness of their cause, were simply outvoted. Consider that under this loose definition, as under the previous one, Britain remains the #2 vodka producer in Europe -- one hardly imagines vodka coming from Britain. British "vodka" is still vodka under this definition, and that's precisely what the lobbyists at the European Vodka Alliance wanted.

My advice? Buy and drink vodka, not "vodka". Or buy and drink "vodka" knowing that it's not really vodka -- and some of it is quite good, such as the French "vodka" made from grapes, Cîroc. Personally, I prefer the real stuff. In my freezer at this very moment can be found Stolichnaya, the fine Russian vodka made from wheat and rye, and a pure and quite robust vodka from Iceland called Reyka.

Obviously, though, be sensible.

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Who would Bloomberg hurt?

By Edward Copeland

Sounding more and more like a potential 2008 presidential candidate each time he denies it, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken a step that no reasonable person could divine as anything other than the fact he's serious weighing that option. Today, the Republican mayor, who was a Democrat before he ran for mayor, changed his political affiliation to unaffiliated, portending a potential independent run.

In his statement, he said he would only run after he sees who the two parties pick as nominees next year and if he's certain that spending half a billion dollars of his personal fortune would make him the winner. Bloomberg said:

Any successful elected executive knows that real results are more important than partisan battles and that good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular political ideology. Working together, there's no limit to what we can do.

I've thought for a long time that 2008 seems to be a prime chance for a third party run with the front-loaded primary calendar which means that both parties probably will know their nominees by late February or early March, meaning that voters will be tired of hearing the same two people for nine months, no matter who the parties pick. Theoretically, we could have an unusual situation where if the Democrats do the stupid thing and nominated Hillary Nothing-But-Ambition Clinton and somehow Rudy Giuliani manages to land the GOP nomination and Bloomberg leaps in, it could be a three-way, all New York presidential race.

I have to admit: I've always enjoyed the idea that someday a third party candidate could actually win, just to scare the crap out of both parties. However, the decks are still so stacked against independent candidates, it would seem unlikely Bloomberg could pull it off. Who exactly would his appeal be to? It almost depends entirely on the nominees of the other parties. If Hillary is the nominees, people who can't bear to vote for a Republican after the 8 years of Dubyaland hell would have an option. If the Republicans pick a conservative, pro-Iraq war candidate, disaffected Republicans might cross over to vote for Bloomberg if they can't stomach voting for a Democrat. Only one thing is certain: Bloomberg won't be attracting disaffected religious right-wing voters, no matter who the GOP nominates.

From what I know about Bloomberg though, he is a practical man and he will only leap in if he truly believes he can win. Spoiler isn't a role he would pursue. We'll have to wait and see.

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It's big in Japan

By Capt. Fogg

'm resigned to the fact that people like Mel Gibson and Arthur Butz will continue for reasons known only unto them to insist that Hitler's death camps were not there to exterminate Jews and Gypsies and other decadent races. The world still remembers though. The world has seen the photos, the films, the books, the memorials, the gas chambers themselves. Holocaust denial is not accepted by most in America and is illegal in Germany although many here would like to stop hearing about it.

It's big in Japan though, the redaction of history for the purpose of resurrecting Japan and it's divine Emperor as a heroic nation attacked by those nasty Americans, Chinese, Koreans and Filipinos. Back in march, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that even though his government had formerly apologized and offered restitution, all those thousands of Korean women forced into prostitution weren't really forced and that although many thousands died after being relentlessly raped,
they were volunteers.

He's now taken the redaction further. The
Rape of Nanking never happened, says he. China remembers, Korea remembers, all of Asia remembers; has seen the films, the photos, the books. The memory persists in the families of the victims but the most powerful leader of the world's second biggest economy, the country George Bush wants armed with nukes, says it never happened. All history of Japan's heinous aggression and unequaled atrocities will soon disappear from that island and only the memorials to their glorious heroes of WW II will remain. I really am too upset to write more than this -- enjoy your Toyota.

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Painless, endless war

By Creature

"In essence, the issue is whether we are a Department and a Service at war [...]" -- new US Ambassador to Iraq, and TalkingP Bot 2.0, Ryan C. Crocker, boiling down the essence of his embassy's ill qualified personnel woes.

Kevin Drum tackles the direct point of the embassy issue--disdain for competence and a love for cronyism and ideology when picking the initial Baghdad team--I, however, want to point just to the Crocker sentence above as the perfect analogy for the Bush administration's approach to war.

Let's play it again: "In essence, the issue is whether we are a Department and a Service at war."

Over the course of the last four years our Dear Leader, and his wingnut base, have preached to us that the United States is caught in a struggle of civilizations where our steadfastness is necessary and our weakness will be our demise as a nation. So, in essence, to analogize from Mr. Crocker, the issue is whether we are a country and a government at war.

We are told we are at war, yet we are encouraged to go shopping. We are told we are at war, yet tax cuts abound. We are told we are at war, yet profits continue to be made off the backs of our soldiers. We are told we are at war, yet the sacrifice is not shared.

It's time the Bush administration put their money where their rhetoric is. You want endless war? How about a draft--or at least send the twins. You want endless war? How about taking the profit motive out of the fight. You want endless war? How about a war tax to help pay for it.

Or maybe, just maybe, this struggle for our very existence is actually a bit of hyperbole meant to line the war machine's pockets with gold. Mission. Accomplished.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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An explanation

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It seems like forever since I last blogged -- it was Friday, and that's virtually an eternity in the blogosphere. Where have I been? Busy with a rather significant development in my life. I will have an update soon, along with more specific details. Some of you know what this is about. All is wonderful.

-- Michael

P.S. Thanks to the co-bloggers for keeping things going through this eternity. I've often said that I couldn't do this without them, and that this blog would be much less without them, and this proves it.


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Another year without success in Iraq

By Carol Gee

It is really hard to want success for the opposition. It may be a little easier for me, however, because I am not an athlete nor a warrior. The best outcome in my opinion, is often not win/lose but win/win.

But it is really hard to visualize a successful outcome for the United States invasion of Iraq, now deemed the world's Number Two Failed State. Millions of us have struggled for a long time with this terrible dilemma.

What to do about "the opposition"? I asked in my blog last year. In mid June 2006 I posted "Who does not want success?" I spoke about Senator Joe Biden's view -- representing what I called "the loyal opposition at home." I want to quote a bit of what I was thinking back then:

"[Biden] hoped that President Bush can have success in Iraq." It would be crazy to want this misguided war to utterly fail. It is not disloyal to the Democratic Party to have a nonpartisan approach to foreign affairs, as does the good senator, for the most part. People of good will want success for the Iraqi people most of all.

In an interview... the Senator, like so many of us, made it clear that he does not wish to see the U.S. effort fail in Iraq.

Iraqis oppose each other -- I also spoke a year ago about "the loyal opposition in Iraq." In 2007 they are in what seems like a full civil war. I quote from my post again:

In order to feel any loyalty to the nation of Iraq, members of minorities, must have some share of the available power and resources...

[Biden] was not calling for a true partition, but for more autonomy and oil revenue sharing for each region. I may not agree with Senator Biden's proposal, but his point is well taken. Just as in the United States, religious or ethnic differences can separate the people of a nation. Poverty and lack of the basic necessities of food, shelter and safety can separate people here or in the Muslim world.

"Sharing power with the opposition," was the heading of the conclusion of last year's post. I quote it in full:

The Iraqi constitution is very new. It is yet to be modified to the satisfaction of all the people living in Iraq, so that power can be shared equitably by all. The U.S. constitution is very old, much modified, and also still vulnerable. If we are not very careful, the executive branch will have far too much power, and the original framers' careful separation of powers doctrine will be in shambles.

Loyal oppositions in both countries want their national administrations to be successful, but not too successful at gathering power only unto themselves. Utterly partisan leaders cannot have it both ways. There are terrible trade-offs with power grabs. In Iraq lots of people are dying. In the United States, lots of people have opted out of the political process in disgust. Will the 2006 election turnout be as equally disheartening as the other recent ones?

The war in Iraq will never be successful as visualized by our current president (OCP) -- The incursion was a mistake from the beginning. But the Democrats won the election in 2006! Surely we cannot be disheartened. But we are, because members of Congress have not acted on their election success. They have ceded power to the opposition. So what is the answer now?

There was never a merely military answer for Iraq. The military is a great institution when it sticks with what it does best, defend the United States against enemy attack. Iraq never attacked the U.S. We attacked Iraq -- Mistake Number One. But we cannot undo that now.

Iraq has its own answers, which it will discover or not. The U.S. military was never designed to facilitate such processes. (OCP) Bush definitely eschewed "nation building" during his campaign for president. And now that Iraq must rebuild politically from within its own opposed forces, we have kept the military in charge of supporting their efforts, rather than the State Department. That is Mistake Number Two. And we can and must undo that now.

Congress has the answer. Will it find it? The Executive Branch of government does not represent the American people. It has not served us, but itself. Nor has Congress, which actually does represent us but which has yet to answer as it must. Congress has to withdraw financial support from the military in Iraq, and increase support for diplomatic efforts to help Iraq succeed, if Iraq decides it wants to succeed. Democratic Congressional leaders are making Mistake Number Three. Democrats must not leave the leading to their loyal opponents, the Republicans. These leaders can and must undo their mistake soon.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Surge sinks into the quagmire

By Libby Spencer

When Bush thumbed his nose at the Baker Commission, the military brass and the American people in January and ordered the so-called surge, I distinctly remember him and his hand-picked patsy, Gen. Petraeus assured us they only needed six months to demonstrate it could work. When it turned out they couldn't muster a surge of troops and instead had to send in a trickle down force, that timetable morphed into nine months. September became the magic month when all would be well on the way to the long elusive victory.

Well, here we are three months short of what many of the few remaining occupation supporters embraced as the drop dead date and already the White House is moving the goal posts. Petraeus now tells us "[c]onditions in Iraq will not improve sufficiently by September to justify a drawdown of U.S. military forces."

Asserting steady, albeit slow, military and political progress, Petraeus said that the "many, many challenges" would not be resolved "in a year or even two years." Similar counterinsurgency operations, he said, citing Britain's experience in Northern Ireland, "have gone at least nine or 10 years." He said he and Crocker would make "some recommendations on the way ahead" to Congress, and that it was realistic to assume "some form of long-term security arrangement" with Iraq.

That's a pretty far cry from what we heard in January when Petraeus was being hailed as the last best chance to rescue the occupation. We were told he could do it because he literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency tactics and Petraeus himself held out the carrot of a six month deadline in his Senate testimony to sell the surge.

GEN. PETRAEUS: Sir, under the current plan, as I understand it, the final brigade would be operational in Iraq at the end of May. Giving them time to get established, to understand the situation on the ground -- other forces will have already certainly been moving into their areas of operation -- I would think that we would have indicators at the least during the late summer of the ability to clear and hold and then build in the Baghdad area and to secure that population.

By February we were deluged with crowing from the surge supporters about the early signs of success. But in March, Petraeus was already hinting that one Friedman wouldn't be enough and warned that a military solution was not possible, but still he was only talking about a few more months.

Now he's suggesting a military occupation of ten years while the White House is floating a 50 year Korea model. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but that sounds sort of like a military solution to a political problem to me and a timetable that curiously coincides with the anticipated time limits on the oil contracts that Bush is pushing Maliki to deliver.

I think it's pretty clear the White House knew all this going into the surge -- it was certainly clear to me -- and it seems my initial assessment that Petraeus accepted this loser of an assignment to advance his own career wasn't so far out of line. In fact, I've been noticing this odd phenonmenon lately. Whenever I hear a talking head say his name, my subconscious hears it as General Betrayus. I fear for all his assurances that he wouldn't allow politics to dictate his tactics, that is going to be the case.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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Screw Circosta, pardon Libby

By Capt. Fogg

It's not just that Mitt Romney is another polished, glib and slippery salesman who thinks he can slither into the Presidency by virtue of good looks and a few slogans; it's that he's a truly reprehensible human being. Mitt, whose name provokes an irresistible rhyming response to those fond of bestowing nicknames, brags about never pardoning anyone for any reason. He doesn't like to overturn a jury decision, says he. It looks though, that ingratiating himself with the criminal junta that runs America has finally provided a reason for him to trot out the sophistry and vouchsafe his willingness to consider pardoning Scooter Libby. He's a victim of entrapment and the prosecutor knew he was not guilty of a crime, said the lugubrious Mr. Romney to CNN today, knowing full well that perjury and obstruction of justice are independent of the crime of exposing a secret agent and the accusation of entrapment does not fit here at all. Only a man like Mitt could pound a square lie into a round hole with so little noise and it makes you wonder about the nature of the "faith" he likes to talk about. Perhaps it does better at lubricating a lie than at mandating any kind of morality.

Mitt doesn't give a shit about morality or justice anyway, no matter how many bibles he gnaws on before breakfast or how much spray he uses in his hair. Ask Anthony Circosta, the fellow with a juvenile record of shooting a friend with a BB gun when he was 13. I admit I've been hit at least a dozen times as a kid playing "Army" with my friends. It stings but won't penetrate clothing or break the skin. Paintball guns will sting worse on bare skin and shooting at your friends with one is a very popular sport, but never mind that Circosta worked his way through college, joined the Army National Guard and is decorated Iraq war veteran, having led a platoon of 20 through the Sunni triangle. He now needs a pardon, amazingly enough, so that he can become a policeman, but Romney refused the request twice, despite the state Board of Pardons' recommendations. Perhaps he was too busy with his unfathomable faith to consider mercy, decency, justice or even the facts.

This evening on CNN, we heard on Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room that because of a juvenile firearms violation of a boy, the man, the battle tested soldier could not ever again be pardoned or trusted with a firearm. Perhaps neither Mitt the Shit nor Wolf Blitzer should be trusted with the English language, any kind of logic, or any position of public trust requiring either of those, because a BB gun is worked by a spring and is not a firearm. No matter what the twittering hoplophobes in Massachusetts might think or how much Romney's hypocrisy may stink, it's not a firearm, not a firearm, not a firearm.

(Cross-posted at Human Voices.)

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"They're world-famous and immensely rich"

By Creature

This weekend on the McLaughlin Report John Podhoretz reminds the nation how the outing of Valerie Plame was really a "win win" for the Wilson's:

She's got a two-and-a-half-million-dollar movie deal. Tom Hanks and Cate Blanchett are going to play them in the movie. It's a terrible thing that happened to Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. They're world-famous and immensely rich -- awful.

That's not why you pardon him. You pardon him because he was -- because no harm was done in the case, because it was a case that was overreached. The sentence was an overreach. The indictment was an overreach. He did not do -- and we know, as a matter of tort, that, far form doing any harm to Valerie Plame Wilson, she got a two-and-a-half-million-dollar book deal.

I guess damage, as a matter of tort, to national security by outing a CIA officer who just happened to be on the hunt for WMDs doesn't play into the equation for Mr. Podhoretz. It's about deflection of guilt. It's about minimization of harm. It's about the politics of personal destruction. It's never about the good of, or harm to, the country for these neocon shills. Selfish bastards.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

A sinking feeling

By Capt. Fogg

The Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC is sinking, little by little. It's built on caissons and pilings sunk deep into the Potomac riverbank mud, but the National Park Service isn't exactly sure why the building modeled after the Pantheon in Rome is becoming unstable and have hired an engineering firm to study the problem. Of course many of the monumental masterpieces of the US Capitol are built on rubble, mud and landfill and not bedrock, much like our government itself. Such things as this memorial to the author of the Declaration of independence, enemy of tyranny and champion of secular democracy, need to be maintained, shored up and monitored for slippage much as does our constitution and body of laws which do not rest on the certain bedrock of divinely mandated law, or on kings subject only to God, but on the free will and consent of the governed.

It's not only our monuments that are settling into the mud of course. The foundations of Democracy are no more stable than the subsoil of the drained swamp the capitol city is built upon and the pilings of the Bill of Rights, of Habeas Corpus, the system of checks and balances that are meant to maintain a government of laws and not of men, have been eroded of late.

Schnabel Engineering is due to release a report on the monument next month, but I doubt it will discuss the great rumbling underground which is our founding fathers in their graves; their bony fingers clawing and grasping toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I am sure none the less that the needed course of action, should we venture to stop the subsidence of liberty and justice along with the marble and concrete is much more obvious. We know what and who is eating away at our foundations while calling it patriotism. It is the jihadists and conquistadors in the Executive branch, the dimwitted toadies in the legislature and the politicized judiciary. It's the hysterical, small minded and superstitious voters, it's all of us.

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Truth in Comics

By Creature

If it's Sunday, it's Truth in Comics.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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