Saturday, December 30, 2006

Shorter Nick Kristof

Dear Mr. President, please give me a unicorn.


Be excellent to each other.

Saturday Night

Party on.

Still Alive

Rick Wakeman on ice seems to have taken Sadly, No down. Just to make sure they're dead here's some Jon and Vangelis.

...oh, what the hell, here's a clip from Michelle Pfeiffer's greatest movie. We're escalating to chemical warfare.

Fresh Thread

Rock on.

I Came Prepared for Battle

You really think you can beat Rick Wakeman's Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table...

...ON ICE!

Pasty Gibberish

Oh my.

Jeff Goldstein, artist's conception

Rule of Law

Bush's America: Still better than life under Saddam!


Sadly, it appears that ETA is back in business, setting a bomb at the Madrid airport.

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Bomb disposal experts detonated a powerful truck bomb at Madrid airport today, damaging the arrivals lounge at the fourth terminal and destroying an entire floor of a parking lot. Two people are missing in the rubble.

``The information that we have leaves us with no shadow of a doubt that ETA is responsible,'' said Spanish Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba at a Madrid press conference. The explosives were ``extremely powerful,'' he said.

The Social Event of the Season

His Irrelevancy and Saint McCain are the silliest people in the country, which makes them very serious indeed.

A Taxonomy of Annoying People

While I spend most of my time attacking the other side for their various misdeeds, I suppose it's only fair to point out some flaws by people "on our side" who annoy me at various times. So, here's a taxonomy of annoying people on our side:

The Defeatists - Doom and gloomers who know it is all hopeless, who know that we can't win elections, or that if we do win elections nothing will improve, and who think that people who bother to try are just wasting their time. Why these people spend so much time paying attention to this stuff if there's nothing to be done I do not know. If you really feel that way go do something else with your time, otherwise I expect you're just addicted to the sweet thrill of self-righteous outrage.

The Armchair Revolutionaries - People who are convinced that the only way to enable change is to take to the streets in mass protest movements, and that anyone who isn't taking to the streets is a big sellout wimp. Whatever the validity of this viewpoint, I say go ahead and do it and convince others to do so. There are, for example, small scale war protests all over the country which people attend every week. Are you attending them? Are you trying to organize more? Or are you just fantasizing about a noble struggle which you aren't really bothering to take part of.

Sock Puppeteers - People who think that I, and every other blogger, exist to give voice to your personal issues.

The Narcissists - People who think politicians exist to cater to them personally.

The Magical Thinkers - People who speak in semi-riddles, hinting at webs of understood secrets, conspiracies, and truth who actually are just spouting gibberish.

The Lazies - People who think its my job, or any other blogger's job, to spend time, effort, and money supporting candidates or causes even though they themselves aren't actually doing it.

The Demanders - People who demand that people agree with them, rather than thinking that maybe they should try persuasion instead.

The Forwarders - People who randomly add others to their personal email lists, forwarding every interesting thing and thought they have.

Assumers of Bad Faith - Those who think that people who disagree with them can't possibly have come to that opinion honestly, that they must be on the take, or have a hidden agenda, or be misrepresenting themselves, or whatever.

And, yes, this list sounds cranky but I'm really just having a bit of fun. More than that, while Time's Person of the Year was stupid and condescending, the internets do provide an easy way for people to get involved, persuade, and lead. You don't have to have a "big blog" like this to reach people. If nothing else, Daily Kos and other sites give anyone the potential to have, at least temporarily, a sizeable megaphone which you can use to reach a large audience. In meatspace there are numerous ways you can get involved in local or national politics, or join in with charitable works, or whatever. I'm not telling people they have to do these things, I'm just saying that as some guy once said, you have the power, and the tools are there for you to do so with minimal effort. We live in an age when any idiot on the internets can potentially have an impact on our national discourse, so if you have an issue, or a cause, or a candidate, or whatever, you can try to to organize and persuade and lead. Sitting around in a pool of defeatist narcissistic self-righteous fury while despairing about the grand truths only you understand is good fun, and we all do it at times, but ultimately it doesn't accomplish anything. If the world isn't to your liking, try to change it, and as some other guy suggested, you can start by being the change.

On TeeVee

This FAIR article from over two years ago has a certain relevance for the events of today.

When Democrats Go On The Teevee

You'll have to scroll down to where the interview begins, but just take a look at yesterday's CNN interview with Edwards.

Give Us Your Tired

Senator Kennedy is absolutely correct that we must do more for Iraqi refugees, including letting them relocate to the U.S. I'm not optimistic on that front, however.



U.S. troops cheered as news of Saddam's execution appeared on television at the mess hall at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in eastern Baghdad. But some soldiers expressed doubt that Saddam's death would be a significant turning point for Iraq.

"First it was weapons of mass destruction. Then when there were none, it was that we had to find Saddam. We did that, but then it was that we had to put him on trial," said Spc. Thomas Sheck, 25, who is on his second tour in Iraq. "So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?"

Don't trouble your beautiful mind, Spc. Sheck. No one knows why we invaded Iraq, and no one really knows why we're staying. Just stay safe.


Some other people are still dead:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - At least 46 Iraqis died in bombings Saturday, including one planted on a minibus that exploded in a fish market in a mostly Shiite town south of Baghdad.


The U.S. military announced the deaths of three Marines and two soldiers, making December the year's deadliest month for U.S. troops in
Iraq with the toll reaching 108.

The Marines, all assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, died Thursday of wounds from fighting in western Anbar province, the U.S. military said. A soldier assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division and also died in combat in Anbar, and another was killed by a roadside bomb in northwest Baghdad, the military said.

Morning Thread

Apparently Saddam Hussein is still dead.

Late Night

And the You Tube Wars begin again.

Friday, December 29, 2006


I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Open Thread

While Bush waits for special DVD of what 700,000 lives and half-a-trillion dollars can get you nowadays. He must really love Iran.

The Money Primary

John Edwards has pulled in $220,000+ since announcing on Act Blue, which he's using for his online donation system. When your favorite candidate enters the race, if you have one, I recommend donating early and often, unless your favorite candidate is a sitting senator who can roll their existing campaign stash into their presidential fund.

The Grand Iranian Conspiracy

I've tried not to trouble my beautiful mind too much lately with the question which will, I think, be with us forever:

Why did we invade Iraq?

For a time I was leaning in a not-entirely-tongue-in-cheek way in the direction of thinking that it was, ultimately, a product of a massive Iranian intelligence agency operation to dupe us into doing it. Still, whatever the unknown and unknowable motives of the people who decided to take us there it is the case that if there's been a winner in all of this it has been Iran.

So, as Anonymous Liberal rightly points out,if Iran is, as His Irrelevancy says, the Great Evil lurking in the desert, then that just makes his support for the Stupidest Fucking War Ever that much more evidence of his bad judgment.

Still, he's a very serious person. Really. He is.

Wanker of the Day

Will Marshall.

Fresh Thread

Please don't shoot anyone in the face.

Happy CD Alston Day!

Indeed! Raise a glass and celebrate!

Insurgents in Iraq are showing little capacity to keep up numerous and persistent attacks, a senior U.S. general in Baghdad says.

At a briefing December 29, Air Force Brigadier General C.D. Alston said there are three reasons for the diminishing capability of the insurgents to keep up attacks. The ability of insurgents to wage sustained combat is a key indicator closely watched by U.S. military forces to determine the enemy's effectiveness.


A modest proposal for other bloggers, if anyone feels like playing along: On Dec. 29, highlight the one-year anniversary of this confident pronouncement from a high-ranking U.S. military spokesman in Iraq that (as the government summary I link to characterized his remarks at the time), "Insurgents in Iraq are showing little capacity to keep up numerous and persistent attacks."

Better yet, from the same Dec. 29, 2005 government faux-news story: "Because of this improvement among Iraqi security forces, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said during recent appearances in Iraq that the United States would reduce the number of combat troops there by approximately 7,000 in 2006."

(via lg&m)

His Irrelevancy


The out-of-the-blue insertion of Iran as our central threat not only in Iraq but in the global war on terror, the non sequitors, the comic book stylings and language, the assertion that "vision, will and courage" is all that we've been lacking and all that we need to secure victory -- it all serves to make the very idea that this writer has staked his political career partly on perceived foreign policy expertise and gravitas truly absurd. The lowlight: Lieberman insists that the troop surge should have "a clearly defined mission." Elsewhere Lieberman describes that mission as defeating "the extremists." Clear as a bell!

Lieberman is a truly silly person, which in Washington makes him very serious. One couldn't invent such a perfect parody of High Broderism.

Afternoon Thread

Rock on.

Dennis Kucinich Is a Very Silly Person

We all know this to be true. He's very very silly. His silliness has nothing to do with whether he's right or wrong. I don't know if he's really been right about everything, but he's certainly been right about more important stuff in recent years than most of the people on Tim Russert's rolodex. Still, he's a phenomenally silly person, so silly that when he's covered in the media there's tangible eye rolling by the reporters in the copy.

Since his silliness doesn't have much to do with his judgment on important things, it's worth exploring why he's so silly. As we know, you can be wrong about absolutely everything and still be a Very Serious Person Who Is Not Silly At All. Still, poor Dennis. He's very very silly.

He's silly because he talks outside the bounds of acceptable discourse which have been established by The Serious People. He doesn't try to work within these clear boundaries, but instead steps outside of them.

Howard Dean was also branded a very silly person by the Wise Old Men of Washington. He had the temerity to suggest crazy things which were not supposed to be said - the Iraq war was a bad idea, the capture of Saddam Hussein wouldn't make us safer, etc... etc...


It's all about them.

Human Rights Organizations are Always Wrong

Following up the post below, one little rhetorical trick used by our Oh So Wise opinion leaders is the invocation of a position of some human rights organization or another as a means of elevating the Wisdom and/or Morality of the pundit by contrasting themselves with the Always Wrong human rights organization.

It's a neat trick because it can be used for almost any reason, especially if the pundit is willing to just make stuff up. You can blast the organization for not paying enough attention to your pet issue, making you a very good person and them very bad. You can blast them for caring too much about a particular issue, either because your issue is more important or because it makes them very unserious. It's extra fun when you pretend that they are organizations with infinite resources and power instead of, you know, not. And always the pundit is Wiser and More Good than the human rights organizations who are very silly and don't really care about human rights, at least not the stuff that matters.

Whatever the motives of the individual pundits, the net effect is, of course, the complete undermining of these organizations. I'm not suggesting all such institutions are perfect or above criticism for their emphasis or actions, but that's not the kind of thing I'm talking about. I'm talking about the criticizing-organization-as-means-of-self-aggrandizement which is a very common thing.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Yglesias asks:

Do these guys not understand the concept of principles?

They do not.

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

The Last Honest Moron

So, in his WaPo editorial Lieberman truly reveals that he knows absolutely nothing about what's going on in Iraq. He asserts it's a conflict between bad guys sponsored by Iran and everyone else, which is a more ignorant analysis of the situation than even Glenn Reynolds usually manages to come with up.

And this is who is supposed to be "serious" about foreign policy.

Lord help us all.

Of course, no one will bother to ask the Last Honest Man why a year ago he said everything was working and 6 months ago he said we'd be able to start substantial troop withdrawals by now.

Morning Thread

Rock on.


Apparently it's an enshrined tradition that former presidents don't criticize current ones. I've been hearing that a lot lately.

Somebody forgot to tell Ronald Reagan, who wrote this in the New York Times about a month after Clinton took office;

SECTION: Section A; Page 23; Column 4; Editorial Desk

LENGTH: 1009 words

HEADLINE: There They Go Again

BYLINE: By Ronald Reagan; Ronald Reagan, President from 1981 to 1989, heads the Reagan Center for Public Affairs.


Less than one month ago, our nation showed the world the strength of our democratic system with the peaceful transfer of Presidential power from one elected citizen to another and, incidentally, from one political party to another. While it is no secret that I would have preferred a different scenario that day, I have great respect for our constitutional system and would like to support our new President.

I had every intention of holding back any comments on the new Administration until it was well in place and its policies became clear. Unfortunately, the policies are already becoming alarmingly clear. With campaign promises dropping like autumn leaves, I can't refrain any longer.

"First, we're going to raise the taxes on the people that did well in the 1980's," the Clinton Administration says. Did I hear that right? I'm afraid so! Do they really believe that those who have worked hard and been successful should somehow be punished for it? Is success in the 1980's, or any time for that matter, supposed to be something we as Americans are to be embarrassed about?

I hate to confuse their economic thinking with a few facts, but if they were to look at the 1980's, they would find that America experienced its longest period of peacetime economic expansion in our history. They would find that America led the world out of a global economic recession and that our economy was the envy of virtually every other nation. They would see that we created nearly 19 million new jobs for Americans of all income levels. And it may shock the Clinton Administration to discover that most of the economic gains of the 1980's were made by low- and middle-income citizens, not the wealthiest Americans.

Earlier this week, President Clinton said, "I know we have learned the hard lessons of the 1980's." I didn't realize they were so hard to learn. The fundamental lesson of the 1980's was that when you cut taxes for everyone, people have the incentive to work harder and invest, to make a better life for themselves and their families.

If the new Administration doesn't want to look back as far as the 1980's, maybe it will at least look back at the summer of 1992. Candidate Bill Clinton was promising that, if elected, he would provide a tax cut for the middle class. Now, in less than one month of his Presidency, that promise of a tax cut has not only been broken but it has been reversed into a tax increase for middle-income workers.

During the campaign, Bill Clinton said he would tax only the very rich. Last week, he defined this category as those making $200,000 a year. On Monday, the definition came down to $100,000 and now the "very rich" seems to be anyone making $30,000 a year.

Somehow, as the Administration raises everyone's taxes, it wants us to take comfort in knowing that others are getting theirs raised even more. Unfortunately, that kind of "comfort" doesn't put food on the table of the hard-working middle class, buy new shoes for the kids or make it easier to pay the mortgage, let alone put some money aside for savings. The fact is, every dollar the politicians take back to Washington means less spending power for average Americans and more opportunity for the Federal bureaucracy to waste money.

We must also listen for the sound of the other shoe to drop: the Clintons' health program. This will almost certainly involve proposals for another round of taxes later this year, and you can bet those won't be levied on a handful of millionaires.

In the Middle Ages, it was believed that alchemists could turn base metals into gold. Now it appears that alchemists in President Clinton's Administration hope to turn a huge tax increase into economic growth. Alchemy didn't work then and it won't work now. Taxes have never succeeded in promoting economic growth. More often than not, they have led to greater economic downturns.

In his campaign, candidate Clinton described himself as a "new Democrat," implying that there would be no more tax-and-spend dogma, no social engineering, no class warfare pitting one group against another. This week, however, he has begun to sound like an "old Democrat." That's the kind who does not understand one simple fact: the problem is not that the people are taxed too little, the problem is that the Government spends too much.

Until President Clinton and the liberals in Congress accept that principle and act accordingly, I'm afraid we are headed for a repeat of the late 1970's. And that is something we can all live without.

No one can dispute that the enormous budget deficit is a major threat to the economic security of our country. But let us remember that deficits are caused by spending. By the very terms of our Constitution, only Congress has the power to spend.

For more than four decades, one party, the Democratic Party, has controlled the House of Representatives. The solution to the deficit problem is not to ask heavily taxed working Americans to "sacrifice" even more.

It's the big-spending liberals controlling the Congress who need to show some restraint and "sacrifice" a few of the pork-barrel measures they've been slipping past the taxpayers for far too long. Only when the Clinton Administration and Congress summon the will to put the brakes on Federal spending will they get the deficit under control.

While I'm flattered that President Clinton admits to taking a page out of my communications plan, I wish he'd use it to sell an economic program of growth and expansion, not the failed liberal policies of the past.

Just as positive signs of economic recovery are appearing, Mr. President, please don't blow it. Although it goes back well before the 1980's, may I offer you the advice of the 14th century Arab historian Ibn Khaldun, who said: "At the beginning of the empire, the tax rates were low and the revenues were high. At the end of the empire, the tax rates were high and the revenues were low."

And, no, I did not personally know Ibn Khaldun, although we may have had some friends in common!

Technorati Profile

Eschaton After Dark

Rock on.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fresh Thread


If Only We Had Something For Them To Do...


It's not that the president has some policy initiative in mind whose operational requirements dictate a surge in force levels. Rather, locked in the prison of his own denial he came to the conclusion that he should back an escalation, prompting the current search for a mission.

This is it in a nutshell. Leaving is losing. "Stay the course" is no longer a possibility. So, that leaves... more troops!


We are ruled by fools.

Real Live Journalism

Kudos to the AP for actually talking to soldiers in Iraq to get a rough gauge of their opinions on escalating the war. We were recently treated to multiple news reports about Gates meeting with troops who supported escalation without any exploration of whether that opinion was in any way representative or if instead they had been hand-picked for their views for propaganda purposes. It seems more likely it was the latter, so great job all who reported unskeptically!

Whiny and Creepy

Bush just gave a brief talk which consisted mostly of his usually blather, but he almost seemed frightened. It was weird.

Today in Sociopathy

From Sadly, No!

"Obsequious Irritant"


According to Lieberman, "over the course of the war in Iraq," discussions on the right approach have taken place in partisan "dueling press conferences" that ignore the common national interest. That's a grotesque reading of the past three years. Congressional Democrats -- and Republicans as well, to only a slightly lesser extent -- have been reduced to making their points in press conferences for two obvious reasons: President Bush the decider has steadfastly refused to consult with anyone outside his close circle of advisers on the best way forward in Iraq, and the Republican-led Congress, under strong White House control, shamefully forfeited its constitutionally prescribed oversight duties.

Although Lieberman, who still strongly supports Bush's original decision to invade Iraq, has become an obsequious irritant with his "war cabinet" idea, the need for greater bipartisanship on Iraq and other foreign-policy issues is real. But it must start with a reasonable reading of recent Washington history and a recognition that White House behavior needs to change.

Sen. Carl Levin, incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, got it exactly right in response to Lieberman. More bipartisanship would be terrific, he said, but what is really needed is for the Bush administration to finally initiate "real consultation" with Congress. Levin even pointed the way Bush should start: by meeting with both Republican and Democratic congressional leaders before he announces his "new direction" for Iraq in January. Now there's a good, reasonable idea.

"The Level of Whitewater"

Really, just kill me.

The Washington press gang has never come to terms with the fact that Whitewater was a fake scandal from beginning to end, from the fraudulent reporting by Jeff Gerth to the panty sniffing of the Starr Report.

It's really depressing.

Simple Questions

Josh Marshall:

Gates is either not in favor of the troop build-up or he is guilty of one of the great flip-flops in recent DC history. Where is he on this? Is he going along with a policy that the last year of study of the situation has actually convinced him is bound to fail. Is he silently trying to upend the policy from the inside? Certainly the Post and Times reporters can tell us more on this, right?

My guess is Bush's only real elite support for escalation comes from the Quiet Americans toiling away in think tanks (Brookings, at least O'Hanlon, AND AEI support it! What a great range of debate we have in our elite discourse), and of course Darth Cheney. Still, I doubt they'll be able to talk him down either. What they might do is throw a bunch more troops into "the region" generally so they can tell him he's got his little escalation, and a few more thousand troops in Baghdad specifically, and then a year from now we can convene Iraq Survey Group II: The Nightmare Isn't Over, and do it all over again.


Ezra, who was there, probably has the right take on Edwards' announcement speech, at least what I saw before CNN cut away to Heidi Collins' inane babbling, and plans going forward. I'm intrigued by the campaign-as-creative-movement-building. There are people who really want to be plugged into something associated with politics but don't really have a sustained outlet for doing so and a presidential campaign which tried to harness that would accomplish something. I would hope that if that is indeed Edwards' real plan that thought is given to creating something which continues after the presidential campaign, however it turns out, is over. That'll be the key difference between a movement which is all about the candidate, and a movement which is about a broader agenda.

And, I suppose this is as good a time as any for my occasional reminder as we enter the silly season. Ads appearing on this site by candidates are paid ads and do not imply any support or endorsement by me. I actually don't expect to get behind one candidate or another, though that could change, especially if suitcases filled with money appear on my doorstep. I'll try to do my best to avoid at least some of the food fight once it begins, though I'm human and have opinions and happen to write a blog about politics, so I imagine I'll get sucked in at times.

I'll definitely give my opinions about the policies candidates support and the way they try to deliver their message. And, of course, I'll be busy trying to push back against unfair media smears of any of the candidates. But, again, the fact that I praise or defend candidate X does not mean I've joined their team.

Front Paged

Ford's comments to Woodward about Iraq were given the giant font front page treatment on the Inquirer today, which I found rather odd, and they're getting more play on cable news than I expected. No other broader point to make.

Wisdom from The Wise Old Men

Brookings Michael O'Hanlon, who seems to define the left flank of acceptable opinion on Iraq in this country, is on the local NPR show. Things I've learned:

  • 2007 is the "make or break year" during which we need "one last gasp" and "one last try"
  • He supports escalation, but only if a bunch of things which aren't going to happen do happen, but on balance he supports escalation
  • We were never able to implement the "clear, hold, and build" strategy which I know is a lie because The Last Honest Man told me he saw that it was working.
  • I turned it off, so maybe he said it, but I didn't hear what we should do if two F.U.s from now things are still FUBAR.

Great Moments in Cable News

CNN on Edwards:

Ken Rudin: Given the fact that John Edwards from day 1 has been talking about the two Americas, the fact there's been a disparity among - with economics in this country.

Heidi Collins: Ken, forgive me, do you want to position yourself as the opposition to Bush or do you want to be the person who says hey, this is all about bipartisan. Do you really want to be talking about two different Americas because of how close that sounds to, you know, two different worlds in Washington even? And getting things done.


The McCain-Lieberman war goes on:

BAGHDAD - Three bombs killed 23 Iraqis in Baghdad on Thursday, and the U.S. military announced the deaths of three American soldiers.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I can understand why there are short term embargoes on things at times, but... 2+ years?

Former president Gerald R. Ford said in an embargoed interview in July 2004 that the Iraq war was not justified. "I don't think I would have gone to war," he said a little more than a year after President Bush had launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford's own administration.


Ford had faced his own military crisis -- not a war he started like Bush, but one he had to figure out how to end. In many ways those decisions framed his short presidency -- in the difficult calculations about how to pull out of Vietnam and the challenging players who shaped policy on the war. Most challenging of all, as Ford recalled, was Henry A. Kissinger, who was both secretary of state and national security adviser and had what Ford said was "the thinnest skin of any public figure I ever knew."

"I think he was a super secretary of state," Ford said, "but Henry in his mind never made a mistake, so whatever policies there were that he implemented, in retrospect he would defend."

In 1975, Ford decided to relieve Kissinger of his national security title. "Why Nixon gave Henry both secretary of state and head of the NSC, I never understood," Ford said. "Except he was a great supporter of Kissinger. Period." But Ford viewed Kissinger's dual roles as a conflict of interest that weakened the administration's ability to fully air policy debates. "They were supposed to check on one another."

Monochrome and Tranquilizing


Fresh Thread


Blitzer/May Flashback

Blitzer had this say about Cliff May, who has taken to posting years-old emails of indeterminate origin.

BLITZER: Well, why would Clifford May say that he knew about it?

JOHNSON: Clifford May has been wrong on a whole variety of things.


BLITZER: But he's a respected guy, Clifford May.

JOHNSON: Well, he's respected by some people. I don't respect him, because I...

BLITZER: I have known him for many years...


BLITZER: ... going back to when he was a reporter for the "New York Times."

Of course, not all that long ago May wrote:

There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The mystery is what Saddam Hussein did with them.

As for Blitzer, recently he said of Kissinger:

And, in our next hour, one of the world's wise men on international affairs comes right here, into THE SITUATION ROOM, with words of advice for President Bush.

It's All Good!

Disastrous war, poll numbers in the 30s, which in the pre-Bush era were considered to be "low," and no plan to fix things. Needless to say, all this is good for Bush!

American Aristocracy

As Yglesias says, the only alternative to a full and blanket pardon wasn't putting Nixon in chains, though that was a possibility. The important thing was to find out the truth. Our elites repeatedly redefine "getting past it" as "sweeping it under the rug" based on their apparent opinion of themselves as necessary moral and spiritual leaders for the riffraff. If they are revealed to be greatly flawed then without them as a shining beacon to light the way the riffraff will go astray and the country will collapse.

They are our betters and we need them they think, and so their class must be preserved even if the occasional unpleasantness must be swept under the rug.

Gotta Wait For the Decider To Decide

According to the White House, no one is allowed to comment on hypothetical plans for Iraq until the Decider has Decided.

We are ruled by children.


Corner morons.

Afternoon Thread


Getting So Much Better All the Time

Except it's getting worse.

Never fear, though, the very serious Joe Lieberman (CFL-CT) said this in July:

BRIDGEPORT — U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman believes the U.S. will withdraw a "solid' contingent of its military forces in Iraq by the end of the year because of gains made by the Iraqi armed forces.

"There really has been progress made by the Iraqi military," Lieberman said Tuesday during a meeting with the Connecticut Post's editorial board. "Two-thirds of it could stand on its own or lead the fight with our logistical support."

The three-term U.S. senator said he believes a complete withdrawal is possible by late 2007 or early 2008.


The stupid! It burns!!!!!

Ford and the Wise Old Men of Washington

As we all know, because everybody on the teevee will keep repeating it, Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon was perhaps the wisest and awesomest thing anyone has ever done in the history of presidenting. Never mind that it wasn't popular at the time. Never mind that it set an awful precedent which led to the pardoning of the Iran Contra figures and transformed corrupt Nixonites into distinguished elder statesmen and Bush administration officials.

We are told again and again that what they nation needed was "to heal." That "the turmoil" needed to be over. That it was necessary to move on.

But these are the Wise Old Men talking, not of the country but of their beloved Washington. The turmoil was in their city, not in the country. While they speak as if they know what's best for us, in truth they simply know what's best for them.

Iraq Forever

Frederick Kagan wants to send a lot of other people to go fight his war for an even longer time. Huzzah!

In 2004 he wrote

is likely, therefore, that a significant American military presence in Iraq will be necessary for some time.

So the question becomes how much pain can the Army stand before breaking? There is no obvious answer, for America has never tried to sustain its armed forces for so long without dramatically increasing their number. And the armed forces have been holding up amazingly well. But, eventually, the toll of separation from families for more than a year at a time, of back-to-back rotations that make the separation even longer, and of seemingly endless duty at the front lines of a complicated and dangerous insurgency, will likely damage the Army's morale.

With no relief in sight and a force too small for the current mission, the probability that the Army will break under the pressure increases day by day. Rumsfeld's callous and flippant responses to serious questions raised by troops in Iraq could bring that day ever closer. If it arrives, skilled and experienced officers and senior NCOs will begin to leave the force. Recruiting for the active force will go down. The National Guard and Reserve will wilt under the strain. The result will be a serious erosion of American combat power at a critical time, and the consequences could last for decades.

Kagan's been consistent on his basic desire to expand our military, to increase deployment in Iraq, and generally lengthen our commitment there. He's been less than consistent with his arguments to get us there, and very wrong with his predictions.

I liked this one from 2005:

The Bush administration is making it clearer day by day that it intends to withdraw American troops from Iraq rapidly and roughly in step with the increase in the number of Iraqi troops deemed capable of taking over security responsibilities. Even while denying rumors of a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces, President Bush has declared that "as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down."

Jesus Luther Gandhi

Bradrocket confronts today's wanker.

Round and Round We Go

I get more than a little frustrated with "pro-life" people who don't explicitly advocate outlawing abortion but nonetheless don't ever quite come out and say what policy position they advocate. I'm all for improving marketing, so if that's all we're talking about it isn't a big deal. But for years we've been hearing for the likes of Lord Saletan about how there's some grand compromise to be found between anti-choice people and pro-choice people which involves keeping abortion legal but supporting policies which nonetheless reduce the number of abortions. Of course, no matter how many times it is explained to them that the compromise position - which involves reducing unwanted pregnancies through comprehensive education and access to health care, along with perhaps economic aid and health care for mothers/children - has long been the very liberal position of everyone in the reproductive health and choice movement, they continue on as if they've discovered a Pony.

I believe there are people whose opposition to abortion is deeply felt and sincere, and understand that legal abortion is troubling for them. But there are two ways to translate that opposition into policy. One is to erect legal barriers which make it more difficult for poor women to get abortions. The other is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Since the latter is the liberal position, what the hell are we fighting about?

And, one more issue - in any relatively close election you can generally credit almost any subgroup as providing the marginal votes.


Regarding our wingnutty judge, if he'd had any courage he'd just have used the word "feminazi" instead of "femifascist," which was undoubtedly what was in the first draft.

Morning Thread

Rock on.

Wanker of the Day

David Ignatius.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gerald Ford, RIP

No link yet.

Wanker of the Day

Dennis Prager.

Late Night

Rock on.

Joementum II: When Nature Calls

Because we all need a presidential candidate to kick around.

...still, credit where credit is due: he is telling his good friends McCain and Lieberman to go stuff it.

Pith Helmets

Just shoot me.

More Thread


"Overseas Recruiting Stations"

Operation Yellow Elephant has been a failure, so CNN informs me that we're going to start recruiting foreigners into our military.

And, yes, plenty of foreigners already serve but they're currently legal US residents.

Christmas Post-Mortem

Fortunately, Bruce Tinsley didn't get drunk and run anyone ever.

Afternoon Thread



Still printing bullshit, years later...

1, 2, 3, What Are We...


BAGHDAD: A military action against a police station in the southern city of Basra found prisoners being held in conditions that a British military spokesman, Major Charlie Burbridge, described as "appalling."

More than 100 men were crowded into a single cell, about 9 meters by 12 meters, or 30 feet by 40 feet, he said, with two open toilets, two sinks and just a few blankets spread over the concrete floor.

A significant number showed signs of torture. Some had crushed hands and feet, Burbridge said, while others had cigarette and electrical burns and a significant number had gunshot wounds to their legs and knees.

Hundreds of British and Iraqi soldiers assaulted the police station on Monday, killing seven gunmen, rescuing 127 prisoners from what the British said was almost certain execution and ultimately reducing the facility to rubble.

Fools and Frenchmen

Just who is this "we" you refer to?


Yglesias wonders why a pretext for going to war with Iran is seen as a good thing by Glenn Reynolds. I really don't have an answer.

Health Care

Billionaire Mort Zuckerman is hardly a liberal icon, though his concern for middle class economic issues isn't new, so it's encouraging to see him join the club on health care:

If there is one single source of risk our policymakers must tackle, it is health insurance. We must not muddle on, a band-aid here and a band-aid there. We must find some way to provide universal health insurance, especially to cover all children. This is one of the critical reasons that Americans are nervous and no longer believe that the next generation will be better off.

The deep disquiet in this newly anxious American nation was evident in last month's midterm elections. Whichever party better focuses on healthcare will do a world of good for itself and the country.


Over there:

BAGHDAD - Three simultaneous car bombs exploded in southwestern Baghdad, killing 16 people and wounding 70, Interior Ministry and police sources said.

* BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb killed five people and wounded 15 others in a crowded area in central Baghdad, police said.

* BAGHDAD - Three U.S. soldiers looking for roadside bombs were killed northwest of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. One soldier was wounded.

Monday, December 25, 2006


Please don't shoot anyone in the face.

Late Night

I'm too much.

Afternoon Thread

Rock on.


Because everyone likes a bit of econ-related reading on Christmas, you can go read this about the new reality of Latin American borrowing.

When countries default on debt, one expects "the market" to punish them - that is, require much higher rates for any future lending - the same way you're not going to get a good mortgage rate if your credit rating sucks. But the international financial gods didn't really leave it there, but put a system in place to try to make it so that defaulting countries wouldn't just be punished by "the market" but would actually experience a kind of superpunishment, which they describe as "a powerful creditors' cartel headed by the IMF" which "had a credible threat of punishing a defaulting country by depriving it of credit from most sources." This is changing, and that's good.


The McCain/Lieberman war goes on.

*BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. patrol in southern Baghdad, killing one soldier and wounding two, the U.S. military said in a statement.

*ANBAR - Two U.S. soldiers were killed in action in Iraq's western Anbar province on Sunday, the U.S. military said in a statement.

BAGHDAD - A car bomb killed at least 10 people and wounded 15 when it exploded on a busy commercial street in the mainly Shi'ite New Baghdad district of the Iraqi capital, police said.


BAGHDAD - A total of 29 bodies were found shot dead, with most showing signs of torture, in different districts of Baghdad on Sunday, an Interior Ministry source said.

Still, there's always the chance we're "winning." Heh. Indeed.

Wanker of the Day

Libby Copeland.

James Brown, RIP

Morning Thread

I got nothin'.


Merry Xmas

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Grave Threats

This isn't just insulting to our intelligence but insulting to the people who lived and died in very grave situations. In the second world war Londoners experienced a sustained bombing campaign which killed about 40,000, with one especially nasty day killing close to 1500.

2006 - The Year in Wingnuttery

A look back from Media Matters.


Joe let his inner Joe come out. From Blog Wars;

(posted by Spazeboy)

More Thread

Go away. Go spend time with your friends and family.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities, including the atrocity of a guest list:
Guests: the Rev. Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life"; Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham.

• "This Week" Sens. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C; U.N. Secretary-General-designate Ban Ki-moon; former President Bush and his wife, Barbara.

• "Face the Nation" Guests: -- First lady Laura Bush.

• "CNN Late Edition" : Repeats of past interviews with President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others.

• "Fox News Sunday" Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney; Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl; Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham.