Saturday, November 04, 2006

Late Night


Democracy. Whiskey. Sexy.

Much to be horrified about in the NYT's Chalabi article, but I think this is appropriate at the moment.

A winter rain is falling. Chalabi is standing inside a tent in Sadr City, the vast Shiite slum of eastern Baghdad. He's talking about his plans for restoring electricity, boosting oil production and beating the insurgency. People seem to be listening, but without enthusiasm. The violence here, worsening by the day, is washing away the hopes of ordinary Iraqis. Less and less seems possible anymore. People are retreating inward, you can see it in the glaze in their eyes.

As Chalabi speaks, I pull aside one of the Iraqis who had been listening. What do you think of him? I ask.

"Chalabi good good," the Iraqi man says in halting English.

Whom are you going to vote for? "The Shiite alliance, of course," the Iraqi answers. "It is the duty of all Shiite people." When the election came, Chalabi was wiped out. His Iraqi National Congress received slightly more than 30,000 votes, only one-quarter of 1 percent of the 12 million votes cast - not enough to put even one of them, not even Chalabi, in the new Iraqi Parliament. There was grumbling in the Chalabi camp. One of his associates said of the Shiite alliance: "We know they cheated. You know how we know? Because in one area we had 5,000 forged ballots, and when they were counted, we didn't even get that many." He shrugged.

Twisted Freaks

Awful people.


Bradrocket had a doomsday device. We are all dead.


Bradrocket's such an amateur.

He'd better stop before this escalates.

Haggard News

From CNN, Haggard has been forced to resign from New Life Church. Church board said they've concluded without a doubt that he'd engaged in "sexually immoral conduct."

[he'd previously stepped down as head of the National Assocation of Evangelicals.]

Fresh Thread

Behave or I relaunch the Youtube wars.

On Tweety

From a reader:

I grew up not far from Tweety in Somerton (far Northeast Philadelphia). The neighborhood's certainly tougher than Radnor or Princeton, but it is not especially blue-collar. Most of the residents are Catholic and work for the city. My neighbors were a judge, a police captain, and an aide to Councilman Cohen. Down the block was Billy Meehan, the Republican boss of Philadelphia. Across the street was the Trainer family, the owners of American Roller Bearing Company, who owned a huge estate with a flock of sheep and a mule (now a Catholic retreat called Cranleith).

So it's not just Tweety's macho fetishism that bothers me. It's the pretense, common to Matthews, Russert, O'Reilly, Hannity, and Limbaugh, that they're the underdog. They believe that their white male bitterness is legitimate because they're descended (often at a great distance) from immigrant laborers. It's working-class anger divorced from the actual material conditions that justified it.

Of course, Brown, Casey, and Webb _do_ represent a return to New Deal liberalism. Brown made his name by opposing trade agreements like NAFTA. But television commentators like Tweety always have trouble distingushing between policy, persona, and biography.


Andrew Cohen

Wanker of the Day

JD Hayworth.

The Idiots Who Rule Us

This isn't just another instance of "the buck stops here" accountability. This is an instance of direct, personal intervention by the president who countermanded the advice of his experts and ordered something to be done that resulted in nuclear secrets, written in arabic, landing on the internet.

He did this because he listened to the crew of childlike idiots, both in the congress and on the radio and internet, who comprise the heart of his political movement. It illustrates something I don't think I've ever fully understood before. Bush listens to the 101st keyboarders and believes their delusionary drivel. In essence, the nation is being led by Limbaugh, Powerline and Michele Malkin.

If that doesn't scare the hell out of you, I don't know what will.

Tweety's World

We all know about Tweety's bizarre fetish for manly manly working men. It's so powerful that when he comes across a politician he likes he has to fit them into his rugged blue collar construction worker pinup model fantasy. He had this to say about Sherrod Brown, who when he enters the Senate will probably be one of the most progressive senators in the country.

MATTHEWS: Let‘s go to Ohio where I made the comment earlier that I think Sherrod Brown looks like the kind of Democrat that should be running nationally. Looks like a working guy, looks like he he‘s actually had some physical labor in his past. And he has a little bit of talking out of the side of his mouth, which works with most Americans. he doesn‘t look like one of these Ivy league guys that keep getting crushed nationally. I‘m going through the Gore, Dukakis, Kerry hit list of infamy, politically. Why don‘t they run guys like Sherrod Brown and Bobby Casey? I know I‘m talking from my own kind here, OK, guys? But I really think these guys—what are you doing, Charlie? What‘s wrong with Sherrod Brown? He‘s going to do something awful in Ohio. He‘s going to win.

Of course, like Tweety's other manliest men pinup hero, George W. Bush, Sherrod Brown went to Yale.

Sherrod Brown was born in Mansfield, Ohio in 1952, the youngest of three sons. His father Charles was a physician. His mother Emily hailed from Georgia and was an early supporter of the civil rights movement, introducing her boys to political activism at an young age. Sherrod was elected president of his high school student council. "He caused people a lot of headaches because he was such an activist," says his mother. "The principal didn't really care for him at all."

In 1970, he and his friends organized a march in Mansfield for the first Earth Day. "We did this really cool march and we had a really big crowd," says Brown with pride. "But we get down to the square and none of us had thought about what you do when you get down there. We didn't have any speakers, and it was like, 'Oh, shit.' So we just disbanded."

Brown enrolled at Yale, where he split his time between Russian Studies and campaign work for liberal candidates, including George McGovern. He so impressed Don Kindt, his local Democratic County Chairman, that the next spring, when Brown was back at Yale finishing up his senior year, Kindt called Brown and asked him to run for state representative. "I remember him calling me," says Sherrod's older brother Charles, who was in Yale Law School at the time. "'You just can't believe this, this is the most exciting news. Don Kindt wants me to run!'"

Sherrod graduated and moved back home, where his father, a Republican, was initially skeptical. "My dad says, 'I'm not voting for you, you're too young,'" says Sherrod. "But he helped a lot." Mrs. Brown recruited neighborhood kids to lick stamps and stuff envelopes in the basement of their house, and Charles spent nearly the whole semester in Mansfield running the campaign. By the time the election rolled around, Sherrod had knocked on 20,000 doors, nearly half the households in the district. In a stunning upset, he beat the Republican incumbent. She never saw it coming.

In 1982 at age 29, after eight years in the state House, Brown was elected Secretary of State. He spent two terms in Columbus, where his signature effort was voter registration outreach. He convinced McDonald's to print voter registration forms on their tray liners. "You could see voter registration cards with ketchup and mustard on them," he says, "and we accepted them."

Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against people from less than elite backgrounds achieving something, but this story Tweety tells himself about "his own kind" and their rugged manliness is absurd.


Newsweek press release:

New York-Three days before midterm elections, the numbers haven't changed much according to the November 2-3, 2006 Newsweek Poll. If the election were held today, 54 percent of likely voters would vote for the Democratic candidate in their district, versus 38 percent who would vote for the Republican. Ninety percent of Republican likely voters say they would support the Republican candidate; 95 percent of Democrats would support the Democratic candidate. But among independents, 51 percent would vote for the Democrat, compared to 26 percent who would vote for the Republican.

A majority of Americans, 53 percent, say that they would most like to see the Democrats win enough seats on Tuesday to take over Congress, according to the latest Newsweek Poll; 32 percent would most like to see the Republicans keep control.

In deciding their vote for Congress this year, registered voters say Iraq remains the most important issue. Thirty-two percent of registered voters told the Newsweek Poll that the situation in Iraq is most important; 19 percent say the economy is most important; 12 percent say that terrorism is; 11 percent say health care; 10 percent say immigration; 5 percent say abortion and 3 percent say stem cell research.

President Bush's approval rating remains low-35 percent; compared to 37 percent in the October 26-27, 2006 Newsweek Poll. Sixty-four percent say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States; only 29 percent say they are satisfied.

Colin Powell's Shame

When the history of this tragic time is written, Colin Powell will receive the well-deserved universal condemnation that he deserves. Colbert King writes again about how Powell turned his back on his entire public identity in order to support this disaster.

Colin Powell was probably the only person in the world who could have stopped this war. Instead, he enabled it, along with the "liberal" pundits who put their trust in him. Margaret Carlson flashback:

ROSE: Where were you on the war?

CARLSON: I was, give diplomacy a chance. [Brightening] I was with Colin Powell the whole way along! Whatever Colin Powell—

ROSE: Oh, so whatever Colin— You know. OK.

CARLSON: Yeah. Whatever Colin does, I’ll go with.

ROSE: Is that right?

Proud Ricky

America's worst senator is proud of telling Iran how to buid a bomb.

The Silliest Season

We'll find out soon if enough voters reject these clowns.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Morning Thread


Late Night


Friday, November 03, 2006

Open thread

Only a few more days....

See what you think of Katrina's suggestions.

Friday Night Thread

I'm going to go eat some dead animals and drink some elitist wine.

Great Moments in Modern Punditry

Almost forgot. Two months ago today Bill Kristol said:

It may be that things will look a little better in the next two months in Iraq.

It's getting so much better all the time.

Many of Saddam's fellow Sunni Arabs, along with some Shiites and Kurds, are predicting a firestorm of violence if the court sentences the ex-president to death, as is widely expected. Bloodshed is already high, with police finding the bodies of 83 torture victims throughout the capital between 6 a.m. Thursday and 6 p.m. Friday.


But attacks are not limited to Baghdad. South of the capital, police in Kut found 13 more bodies Friday, seven pulled from the Tigris River. Elsewhere in Iraq at least nine others died violent deaths.

The U.S. military announced seven more deaths - four Marines and three soldiers killed Thursday - raising the death toll for November to 11. At least 105 U.S. forces died in October, the fourth highest monthly toll of the war.

Mud Loving Mike DeWine

Tweety smacks down Mike DeWine.

Neo Culpa

Funny. From Vanity Fair's press release:

New York, N.Y., November 3, 2006 — A group of neoconservatives led by former chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee Richard Perle and former Pentagon insider Kenneth Adelman tell Vanity Fair contributing editor David Rose that they blame the “dysfunctional” Bush administration for the “disaster” in Iraq and say that if they had it to do over again they would not advocate an invasion of Iraq.

Perle tells Rose that, “at the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.... I don’t think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty.... [Bush] did not make decisions, in part because the machinery of government that he nominally ran was actually running him.”

Adelman tells Rose that when he wrote in 2002 that “liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk,” he “just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the postwar era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional.”

Adelman also tells Rose that “the idea of using our power for moral good in the world” is dead, at least for a generation. After Iraq, he says, “it’s not going to sell.”

Of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, whom Adelman says he is “very, very fond of,” he admits, “I’m crushed by his performance. Did he change, or were we wrong in the past? Or is it that he was never really challenged before? I don’t know. He certainly fooled me.”

Adelman adds that he “checked out” of this administration the day that Bush gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former C.I.A. director George Tenet, General Tommy Franks, and Coalition Provisional Authority administrator Paul Bremer—“three of the most incompetent people who’ve ever served in such key spots.” It was then, Adelman says, “that I thought, There’s no seriousness here, these are not serious people. If he had been serious, the president would have realized that those three are each directly responsible for the disaster of Iraq.”

Story here.

Bye Bob

My BFF resigns from the House.

The Puke Funnel

Maybe one day brilliant sage Mark Halperin will understand the connection between his belief that Republicans are, as he claims, better at the "freak show" and his belief that "Matt Drudge rules our world." The former is true is large part because of the latter.

Something bubbles up from the fever swamps, shows up on Drudge, and soon pops up on MSNBC and CNN as a "controversy" or as unsourced reporting.

The responsible media, or at least those in the media who like to think of themselves as responsible, can't control talk radio and Drudge and Fox, but they can stop taking their cues from them and they can stop legitimizing them by running around going on their shows or having them on as guests. They can, if they want to, close off the puke funnel. They can, if they want to, take responsibility for what they choose to report on instead pretending they're just passive conduits for all this crap.


According to CNN, Haggard claims he bought meth but didn't use it and went to the prostitute for a massage.


The Last Honest Man

The Lieberthugs are back.

Today at an event in Hartford, at a senior center, Joe “volunteers” swarmed the “stand up for change” bus and pressed their bodies against the vehicle, not allowing the doors to open and anyone to exit.

When the bus moved and the door was partially opened for Ned and staff, Joe’s “volunteers” rushed the bus again, violently screaming in the door. Ned was never able to make it off the bus and into the senior center.

Lies and the Lying Liars

We really are ruled by the worst people.


There have been 11 troop deaths in Iraq in November.

It's the third day in November.

Thanks 101st fighting keyboarders, for all you have done for this country.

An Army of Morons

They really are too stupid to breathe.

BoBo's World

BoBo edition.

Gandhi's in Hell

So says loving Christian Ted Haggard.

...oops, I forgot, Amy Sullivan told us not to mock such beliefs. My bad. I'll shut up now.

An Army of Davids

Digby's take and a Sadly, No! flashback.

In October ‘04, Brent Bozell’s fake news service, CNS News, was leaked a number of alleged Iraqi Intelligence Service documents that allegedly proved the Bush Administration’s WMD claims and the story that Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were in cahoots. CNS said that the translated docs were vetted by three unnamed experts, two of whom turned out to be Laurie Mylroie and Bruce Tefft (usual-suspect pseudo-experts with an agenda) while the third was almost certainly Bill Tierney, a right-wing loon par excellence with a storied career as a self-claimed US torture-interrogator, a Terri Schiavo hysteric, and paranormal WMD-inspector. Tellingly, although CNS News talked up the documents, they were very cagey about releasing them, claiming that they didn’t want them to be ‘altered or misrepresented’ by other parties on the Internet, whatever difference that would make with a solid primary source. Smart money said that they didn’t want anyone to see that they were holding a very weak poker hand. All the documents are now available in holographic form in the Arabic original, and by all reasonable accounts they don’t seem very interesting.

But there are supposedly 2 million or more of these docs archived in (I believe) Qatar and elsewhere, of which only a small percentage has been translated, and the story has been widely broadcast via the usual wingnut channels that somewhere amidst them is the vindication of every right-wing canard about Saddam Hussein and the stated reasons for the war. References to the docs have turned up frequently, and many people have pushed stories about them during the past year or so, including a veritable menagerie of the cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs wingnut community. Laurie Mylroie seems to appear with a sulfurous bang wherever they’re mentioned, and the Move America Forward foundation — the boldest and most flagrantly silly of the “nonpartisan” GOP front groups — picked up on the CNS News story, batted it around for awhile, and apparently couldn’t find much to do with it, absent any hard evidence to distort.

Nice work. Morons.

Wankers of the Day

Rick Santorum and the 101st Fighting Keyboarders.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Oh My

This is even funnier than it sounds (and even aside from the fact that Drudge was hyping it earlier):

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”

Officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, fearing that the information could help states like Iran develop nuclear arms, had privately protested last week to the American ambassador to the agency, according to European diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. One diplomat said the agency’s technical experts “were shocked” at the public disclosures.

The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.


The campaign for the online archive was mounted by conservative publications and politicians, who argued that the nation’s spy agencies had failed adequately to analyze the 48,000 boxes of documents seized since the March 2003 invasion. With the public increasingly skeptical about the rationale and conduct of the war, the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees told the administration that wide analysis and translation of the documents — most of them in Arabic — would reinvigorate the search for evidence that Mr. Hussein had resumed his unconventional arms programs in the years before the invasion. American search teams never found such evidence in Iraq.

And the money quote:

he Web site, “Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal,” was a constantly expanding portrait of prewar Iraq. Its many thousands of documents included everything from a collection of religious and nationalistic poetry to instructions for the repair of parachutes to handwritten notes from Mr. Hussein’s intelligence service. It became a popular quarry for a legion of bloggers, translators and amateur historians.

Well, it'd be funny if it wasn't, you know, serious.

...and it's even funnier because of this. Our discourse is truly controlled by the stupidest people on the planet.


Drudge, who rules Mark Halperin's world, is such a wanker.

From You To Lou

Lou Reed releases a remix of Walk on the Wild Side.


No not this one:

That one:


From CNN, Stu Rothenberg is now predicting 35-40 House seats and a Dem Senate.

And Bush's election strategy now involves yelling at everyone to tell them to clean up his mess.

Haggard Stepping Down


The leader of one of Colorado's most popular mega-churches, Ted Haggard, is temporarily stepping down from his leadership role, after allegations from a male prostitute that Haggard solicited gay sex.

Haggard, the founder and senior leader of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs and president of the multimillion- member National Association of Evangelicals, denied the accusations raised by the prostitute on Wednesday.

Today, a press conference by church leaders to support Haggard was cancelled shortly before it was scheduled to take place.

Harris to Halperin: STFU


Damage Control


Two senior aides to National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds participated in “damage control” conference calls concerning correspondence between Congressman Mark Foley and a former congressional page -- two days before the scandal became public, and earlier than previously reported.

NRCC Communications Director Carl Forti and Reynolds then chief-of-staff Kirk Fordham both took part in the first call the evening of Wednesday, September 27, and one call the next day, Forti and other sources familiar with the call confirmed. Forti's involvement and the NRCC's role in the run-up to the Foley scandal add another link between the disgraced former congressman and Reynolds, who has said he knew only indirectly of questionable emails, and that he reported them to his House superiors. They also reflect another moment at which House GOP leadership was aware of concerns about Foley and pages.

Foley resigned Friday, September 29, soon after ABCNews presented him with a sexually explicit instant message correspondence with a page.

But ABCNews first approached the Foley campaign that Tuesday, with more ambiguouscorrespondence in which Foley asked the former page for his photograph(.pdf).

The conference call, described by a Hill staffer familiar with its contents as focused on “damage control,” also included Foley’s Florida-based political consultant, Richard Johnston, and his communications director, Jason Kello, according to two people familiar with the call. The participants were unaware of the explicit instant messages that would force Foley's resignation two days later.

A Pony for Matt Stoller

Just because.

Blaming the Generals

The president is the commander-in-chief. Donald Rumsfeld is the Defense Secretary. If the generals doing the wrong thing they can be told to change. Still, Rep. Boehner knows that nothing can ever be George Bush's or Don Rumsfeld's fault, because they aren't subject to the normal rules of human conduct. So, he blames the generals for the decisions of George W. Bush. And he won't apologize.

One imagines this will become the Republican's new line. As they did with the CIA on Iraq intelligence, they'll absolve themselves of responsibility by blaming the people who were trying to follow their insane directives.

Do Stuff

Zack Exley describes Move On's call for change.

The Iraq War Show

From the beginning, the media let the Iraq War Show be presented precisely as the Bush administration staged it.

Anne Garrels

The toppling of statue — yes, there were people celebrating, but there were as many people standing in shock. It was not just one big party, as I think the cameras tried to make it out to be. In fact, Morning Edition called me after the first feed, and they were seeing the TV coverage, and said, “Do you want to redo it for the next feed, because it seems like the pictures are people celebrating.” And I said, “Well, there are so few people trying to pull down the statue that they can’t do it themselves; the Marines have had to intervene, rightly or wrongly, with a crane to pull it down.” Many people were just sort of standing, hoping for the best, but they weren’t joyous; there was a very mixed feeling about seeing American soldiers in their midst.

And there was a quote. A man was standing next to me, a university professor, by pure chance, and he said to me, “You understand, you will now have to be in complete control, and we will resent you every step of the way.” And he was so right. The only problem was that of course the U.S. was never in complete control and the resentment was probably even greater because of it.


Went to a Bob Casey event last night. It was nominally a fundraiser, but basically a visibility event as it was pretty low money. All the local mucketymucks were there (Mayor Street, Bob Brady, Chaka Fattah Allyson Schwartz, etc...). Ricky's kids (campaign volunteers) were out protesting the event, making themselves look like idiots.

At this point it's largely irrelevant, but I have to admit Casey surprised me quite a bit. He had a lot more charisma, and a much better ability to control a room, than I expected or I'd ever seen before. He even made a couple funnies. I don't really care if my politicians are charismatic except to the extent that it helps the ones I like win. I don't need to have a beer with them, or like them, or feel like they're my buddy as long as they work for stuff I approve of. How much he'll do that remains to be seen, but credit where credit is due. I don't imagine that he'll be the anti-abortion zealot that his father was, though he could prove me wrong on that count. I'm still pissed at the Wise Old Democrats who pushed away more progressive candidates, thinking it was necessary in order to defeat the already-a-national-joke Santorum. But he'll probably just run for governor in 4 years anyway.*

I suppose the point of all this is to say that yes, I'll be hitting the button for Bob Casey on Tuesday.

*Yet another issue I'm surprised the Santorum campaign hasn't tried to make an issue of. True or not, "everyone" believes Casey's senate run is just a stepping stone to the governor's office, and the obvious time for that to happen is in 2010.

Wanker of the Day

Joe Lieberman.

BoBo's World

Colorado Springs edition.

And, yes, these are just allegations. They could be made up.

Do Stuff

Want to do something? You can find out stuff to do here.

Here's Al Gore's suggestion.


Monthly jobs report number comes out tomorrow. Consensus forecast is +135K jobs. As usual, I'll take the under bet.

Four More Friedmans

Well, the preznit says Rumsfeld gets to keep his job forever. Nothing's going to change in Iraq, except that it will get worse. Bush has reaffirmed the Bush doctrine, which is that leaving is losing, and asserts that we have to stay there to babysit Dick Cheney's oil.

The Iraq war will continue to dominate our politics, and will once again be the issue in both the presidential primary and the presidential election. In the Democratic primary the battle will be between those who think getting in was a bad idea and getting out is a good idea and The Much More Sensible people who think getting in was a sorta-not-so-good-idea and that getting out is something we should really keep talking about in a Very Sensible Fashion but not, you know, doing it. We know which side Fred Hiatt and Mark Halperin will be on.

Yes, it's depressing.


Still bouncing.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 — A substantial majority of Americans expect Democrats to reduce or end American military involvement in Iraq if they win control of Congress next Tuesday and say Republicans will maintain or increase troop levels to try to win the war if they hold on to power on Capitol Hill, according to the final New York Times/CBS News poll before the midterm election.

The poll showed that 29 percent of Americans approve of the way President Bush is managing the war, matching the lowest mark of his presidency. Nearly 70 percent said Mr. Bush did not have a plan to end the war, and 80 percent said Mr. Bush’s latest effort to rally public support for the conflict amounted to a change in language but not policy.

The poll underlined the extent to which the war has framed the midterm elections. Americans cited Iraq as the most important issue affecting their vote, and majorities of Republicans and Democrats said they wanted a change in approach. Twenty percent said they thought the United States was winning in Iraq, down from a high this year of 36 percent in January.


Among registered voters, 33 percent said they planned to support Republicans, and 52 percent said they would vote for Democrats.


Mr. Bush’s overall approval rating was 34 percent, unchanged from a poll three weeks ago, an anemic rating that explains why many Democrats are featuring him in their final advertisements, as well as why some Republican incumbents do not want him at their side.

That approval rating is 9 points below where former President Bill Clinton’s was in October 1994 — the election in which Republicans surprised Democrats by taking control of the House — and 28 points below where Mr. Bush’s approval rating was on the eve of the 2002 midterms.

Osama Tape Out Yet?

Figure it's due. Wonder if he's redecorated the cave yet. Oh, and why isn't he in jail?

Your Liberal Media

Paula Zahn cancels on Sam Seder because Ann Coulter refuses to appear with him, and then has on her good friend Mickey Kaus instead (obviously it never would have occurred to them to cancel on Ann Coulter). But, never fear, in the previous hour they had Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan. And, yes, Sully no likey the Bushies no more but but that's still no excuse for never putting a goddamn liberal on TV.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions


This is hardly the first time that Mr. Bush has played the politics of fear, anger and division; if he’s ever missed a chance to wave the bloody flag of 9/11, we can’t think of when. But Mr. Bush’s latest outbursts go way beyond that. They leave us wondering whether this president will ever be willing or able to make room for bipartisanship, compromise and statesmanship in the two years he has left in office.

Uh, no.

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

Fresh Thread


Whoever He Is

Bush admits to the Joe "Mama" Besser strategy.

HANNITY: How important is getting Usama bin Laden in the war on terror?

BUSH: Well, it's important, and that's why we're after him every single day. But so is getting Zawahiri important, and so is getting the number-three guy, whoever he is when they pop up. You know, we've got this guy, Zarqawi.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Yeah, I know it's more than a bit silly to complain about the stresses of running this blog. It's a privilege to be compensated decently for the equivalent of ranting away on the street corner, and I certainly appreciate the support I've received from Chevron, The Bestest Oil Company Evah, and MSNBC, The Bestest Cable News Network Evah, but when the silly season arrives, as it has, it's a struggle to keep paying attention to all the nonsense. What I'd love to do is go take a nap for the next 6 days.

I suppose we should remember that all the stupid news that's going to come out over the next few days really doesn't matter. I'd like to be able to ignore it, but this blog has always been about seeing how politics is portrayed by the media. Maybe I'll ignore it all and go all wonky until the election.

Who's up for a brief Econ 101 course?

Late Night

Rock on.

Ann's Got Problems

Voting case goes to prosecutors.

Fresh Thread

Light blogging this evening.

They Write Letters

Jeff Borden writes to Romenesko:

So, Mark Halperin doesn't vote to maintain his journalistic purity, but he runs panting after a second-tier conservative talk show host's approval and slanders the entire press corps as anti-military in the process? I know these self-absorbed DC creatures have some strange ideas, but what's up with this?

It doesn't say much for Halperin's abilities as political director for a major network news operation that he fears casting a vote behind the privacy curtain of a polling place will hurt his reputation but transforming into a lickspittle for a rightwing radio host doesn't. I'll certainly be looking elsewhere for political coverage.

They Write Letters

Mark Halperin writes to me.

Talking About the War

Looks the DCCC is closing on Iraq.

You Poke It You Own it

Well, this is rather depressing. And, no, withdrawing consent after penetration isn't retroactively withdrawing consent, it's simply telling someone to get their schlong out of your body when you want them to.

Some Actual Television News

On Katie Couric's show:

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Josh Marshall asks:

Ezra Klein on something beyond pathetic. And along those lines, should lightning strike and Dems take over, what will happen to those DC worthies whose career has been based on fellating the Republican power structure?


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

The longer version is that the entire Washington press corps has, since Clinton, been fellating the Republican power structure. The great thing about the Republican power structure is that it doesn't go away, it just sets up shop in DC office buildings and continues its symbiotic relationship with conservative lickspittles like Mark Halperin, Andrea Mitchell, John Solomon, Steno Sue Schmidt, Gwen Ifill, Karen Tumulty, and the rest of the gang of 500 wankers. It's a structural issue which will not go away no matter how many Democrats win elections. It's how this generation of journalists, if we generously call them that, was trained. It's in their genetic code.

Sid Vicious

For local people, Sidney Blumenthal will be speaking at the Constitution Center today at 6:30.

On Halperin

From Big Media Ezra:

It is now a matter of public record, however, that Mark Halperin is writing with an eye towards Hugh Hewitt's approval. Everything he writes must be judged through that lens. Much of it must be discarded for that reason. He's no longer a journalist, can no longer protect his pretensions of intellectual independence.

Limbaugh Retrospective

The president's pal, 06/13/1996:

LIMBAUGH: Want to wrap up something here that I--I just really find heartwarming. Ninety-three-year-old Strom Thurmond won his primary battle for the Republican nomination to be re-elected as senator in South Carolina this past week. And he was asked on TV, after the election was over, why the voters voted for him. Here's what he said.

Senator STROM THURMOND (Republican, South Carolina): Those who would believe that my age is a handicap or even a reason not to vote for me have been silenced. The voters have sent the message that it is my experience and ability to represent and serve the people of South Carolina that truly counts.

LIMBAUGH: He holds the record. He's got the longest filibuster in Senate history: 20--24 hours and 18 minutes, without even going to the bathroom, folks. Strom Thurmond, you got to love him.

That filibuster, of course, was of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Got to love him for that, says Rush.

A Limbaugh Retrospective

The president's pal, on 05/11/93:

LIMBAUGH: And welcome back to RUSH LIMBAUGH on television sitting here, ladies and gentlemen, in the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. And again, if you're wondering why I'm holding a utensil made popular basically on Thanksgiving Day, be patient, be cool because we'll explain it to you in the final segment of our program.

All right. Gays in the military. Wha--I want to show you Strom Thurmond. And I'll tell you why I wa--have you--have you people by--have any of you in the audience seen Strom Thurmond's comments on this? All right.

Now Strom Thurmond is 90 years old and, of course, he's--he's from the World War II generation. He has a different view of the world than people of, say, my generation or my parents' genera--well, I wouldn't say he's different from my parents' generation. Probably the same view of the world--same thoughts. Strom Thurmond just fire--he doesn't care. He is not encumbered by trying to be politically correct. He's not encumbered by all of the--the so-called new niceties and proprieties. He just says it, and if you want to know what America used to be--and a lot of people wish it still were--then you listen to Strom Thurmond. Here he is conducting hearings yesterday on gays in the military and he's actually talking--you won't see him, but you're--he's talking to a homosexual. He--and what you also won't hear--he has just asked the homosexual if he has ever sought psychiatric help.


LIMBAUGH: Now, my friends, let's not chuckle. Be compassionate. He will ask the homosexual if he's ever had any psychiatric help and ha--the homosexual answers and then Strom continues. Here's what he says.

(Footage from Senate hearing)

Senator STROM THURMOND: Your lifestyle is not normal. It is not normal for a man to want to be with a man or a woman with a woman.


LIMBAUGH: He got a standing ovation. Now people--people applauded that. People applaud--because--you know, Strom Thurmond can say it because he's 90 years old and people say, Ah, he's just an old coot. He's from the old days,' and so forth. But that's what most people think. They just don't have the guts to say it. That's why they applaud when somebody does say it that directly and that simply. But it wasn't just people of Strom Thurmond's age on Tuesday who were commenting about this. We have three clips--a sailor, a sailorette and...

(tip from melior)

A Limbaugh Retrospective

Yes, we all know that Limbaugh is disgusting slime for making fun of someone with Parkinson's, and calling him a faker. It shouldn't be a surprise that someone like that is someone George W. Bush grants an interview to. So, let's spend the day going into the Limbaugh vaults for some bon mots.

In Rush Limbaugh's world, the only alternative to "white, upper middle-class yuppies" are "poor black homeless people."

From the 12/8/92 Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: (Voiceover) As you know, the mayor of Boulder, Colorado, lamented the other day that too many white, upper middle-class yuppies live there. They wanted to balance it out with lower income black people. Oh, look at that. Isn't that wonderful footage of the Old West in Colorado. You know we--look at--I want to show you what we got in the mail today.

This is a grocery bag, ladies and gentlemen, that came from Boulder, Colorado. It's from a--What's the name of the store that--Alfalfa's Supermarket. And the co-sponsor happens to be this newspaper out there, the Daily Camera, which editorialized and called me a ranting, raving lunatic or whatever. Look. You know what this bag is for? This bag is for people to donate food to the hungry in Boulder. Now I didn't think there were any hungry people in Boulder.


LIMBAUGH: I thought that was the problem--that there was--that there was not enough suffering out there and that they wanted some diversity and so forth. But here there--I wonder if the mayor out there knows about this. We thought maybe she doesn't, Leslie Durgin, so here they're suffering out there. We went out on the streets with our cameras today to ask poor black homeless people if they'd like to move to Boulder, Colorado. We explained the situation to them. We don't have time to show you all the video. We explained it to them. We told them they're wanted. We told them they love--love them out there in Boulder, wanted as many of them to go. We offered them bus tickets and all kinds of stuff. Here's what they had to say.

Your conservative movement. Your president's pal.

What's Going On?

A rare approving link to Andy:

The U.S. military does not have a tradition of abandoning its own soldiers to foreign militias, or of taking orders from foreign governments. No commander-in-chief who actually walks the walk, rather than swaggering the swagger, would acquiesce to such a thing. The soldier appears to be of Iraqi descent who is married to an Iraqi woman. Who authorized abandoning him to the enemy? Who is really giving the orders to the U.S. military in Iraq? These are real questions about honor and sacrifice and a war that is now careening out of any control. They are not phony questions drummed up by a partisan media machine to appeal to emotions to maintain power.

And where, by the way, is McCain on this? Silent on Cheney's "no-brainer" on waterboarding. Silent recently on Iraq. But vocal - oh, how vocal - on Kerry. It tells you something about what has happened to him. And to America.


Joe Lieberman, 11/29/2005:

Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do.

Reality, now:

Urban areas are experiencing "ethnic cleansing" campaigns to consolidate control... violence at all-time high, spreading geographically.

The Biggest Loser in the World

I've always really disliked Mark Halperin, but now I just pity him. I really wonder what kind of psychological development he had in life which has led him get down on his knees and beg for the approval of... Hugh Hewitt.

More than that, he's the political director of ABC news. Last I checked it's a rather important time for such news. And he's spending his time crafting whining emails to a conservative hack radio host? There's no better use of his time 7 days before an election?

Imagine how embarrassed his friends, family, and coworkers must be for him. What a pathetic shell of a human being.


Over there:

Police on Wednesday confirmed the kidnapping of more than 40 Shiites along a notoriously dangerous highway just north of Baghdad, as the death toll from a suicide bombing at a wedding party rose to 23, including nine children.

The abductions on Tuesday near the town of Tarmiyah marked a further outbreak of sectarian violence in a region where scores were killed last month in bloody attacks and reprisal killings among formerly friendly Shiite and Sunni neighbours in the city of Balad.

Unarmed men checked identification cards and seemed to be looking for familiar faces among travellers stopped in heavy traffic, said an eyewitness, who asked to be identified only by the pseudonym Abu Omar for fear of reprisals.

Morning Thread


Who's the Boss?


BAGHDAD, Oct. 31 — Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki demanded the removal of American checkpoints from the streets of Baghdad on Tuesday, in what appeared to be his latest and boldest gambit in an increasingly tense struggle for more independence from his American protectors.

Mr. Maliki’s public declaration seemed at first to catch American commanders off guard. But by nightfall, American troops had abandoned all the positions in eastern and central Baghdad that they had set up last week with Iraqi forces as part of a search for a missing American soldier. The checkpoints had snarled traffic and disrupted daily life and commerce throughout the eastern part of the city.

The language of the declaration, which implied that Mr. Maliki had the power to command American forces, seemed to overstep his authority and to be aimed at placating his Shiite constituency.

A Tribute to Tim Robbins

His appearance on Colbert tonight reminded of the greatest movie nobody's seen: Tapeheads.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wanker of the Day

Mark Halperin.

What a loser.

Fresh Thread

Got the right to vote, and we'll elect.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Thomas Sowell edition.

Shameless dishonesty is all that the conservative movement has left. Expect them to employ it even more often than usual.

Sowell isn't some asshole on the radio, he's a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. I hope Stanford's proud.

An Accurate Lede

Mark this one on your calendars.

A Democratic activist who verbally confronted U.S. Sen. George Allen at a campaign rally in Charlottesville yesterday was shoved, put into a headlock and thrown against a window by three men wearing Allen stickers, according to a widely disseminated video of the incident.

Fresh Thread

You talk too much. You never shut up.


Just who is commanding the troops over there?


Of the many disgusting things this administration has done, the regular deflection of criticism of them onto the people actually serving in the military has to rank pretty highly.

More Video

CNN covers the assault on Stark.

Civility Studies

Oh Jeebus.

Mike Stark Attacked

Mike Stark of Calling all Wingnuts was attacked and assaulted by by George Felix Allen Jr. staffers.

...adding, contra the news report Stark was not protesting, but a constituent who was asking his senator a question after a campaign event. There was no attempt to interrupt or disrupt the event itself.

Air America Advertiser Blacklist

Includes the US Navy.

Rebels and Revolutionaries

Yglesias writes about Crazy Andy's new book:

Which brings us to the real problem here, such as it is. Though billed as "one of today's most provocative social and political commentators" on his book jacket, Sullivan's substantive views are almost frighteningly banal. Far from "bold and provocative," Sullivan offers up an unusually colorful expression of what is, in fact, the bland conventional wisdom of the Anglo-American elite. In foreign affairs he's hawkish, chastened by Iraq but not so chastened as to revisit any of the empirical or theoretical premises that led America into its current quagmire. In economics, he's disdainful of European social democracy, a supporter of balanced budgets and sound money while dismissive of concerns about inequality. On cultural matters, he's generally progressive, but doesn't much care for feminists. He loathes academic postmodernists but doesn't seem to actually know anything about them.

These elite consensus views have, in the way that only an elite consensus can, an enormous amount of political power behind them already. What the elite consensus lacks is what it's always lacked -- a serious electoral constituency -- the very problem that led it to increasingly ally itself with the very forces of more populist right-wingery that Sullivan deplores. This, though, is hardly a new story; from the Red Scare and McCarthyism to Nixon's Southern Strategy, "respectable" conservatism has long found a need to ally itself with base demagoguery to obtain power. As a gay man, Sullivan finds the current configuration of this alliance unusually obnoxious, to an extent he doesn't seem to have minded, say, Ronald Reagan's implicit appeals to segregationist sentiment. So far as that goes, good for him. But the conservatism of doubt -- which is to say the conservatism of elite complacency -- as a mass political movement is an impossible dream, and always will be.

This elite-consensus-without-a-constituency is also what's behind all of the various third party, above the fray, unity presidential ticket notions. They blame the existing political parties for somehow failing to cater to their personal politics, which they imagine to be so unquestionably right as to not require actually obtaining a consensus.

Weird people.


Wake me up when the latest fake controversy is over.


Iraq continues to be just like Manhattan.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide car bomber struck a wedding party in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 11 people and wounding 21 outside the bride’s home, police said.

The bomber drove an explosives-rigged sedan into a crowd of Shiite celebrants in the northeastern Shaab neighborhood, police Lt. Ahmed Mohamed said.

Media Wars

I assume no one in the mainstream media will bother getting a bit annoyed that Mark Halperin says they all hate the military.

This is getting absurd, but you guys gotta stand up for yourselves.

No Sex

Until age 29, anyway. Maybe everyone gets to have an awesome 30th birthday party.

Great Moments in Punditry

Bill Kristol, on 09/03/20006:

It may be that things will look a little better in the next two months in Iraq.

To be fair, we have 3 more days to find the pony.

Stand Up Stand Up Stand Stand Down

We keep training Iraqi troops, and yet still we stay.

And, yes, both Henley and I spent the year saying that at the end of the year there would basically be the same number of troops in Iraq. We were a bit wrong. There are actually more troops in Iraq. Still, the basic point stands.

Connecticut Residents - Get to Work

Sign up to volunteer.

Hating Democracy

Joe hates the voters, and hates an honest vote.


It's truly bizarre that reporters are miraculously unconcerned with Joe's $400,000 in unaccounted for petty cash expenditures.

Morning Thread


Shorter Anne Applebaum

Because leaders did dumb stuff in the past, we can't blame Bush for anything.

Late Night


Monday, October 30, 2006

Some Crappy Blog

I still think pulling clips from Youtube is kind of a dumbass thing to do, but at least they just claimed on the Daily Show that they'd be posting up full shows on their site.

They have the legal right to object to such clips, but I tend to think such things provide for free the kind of marketing they pay a lot of money for.

Talk to the Hand

Cowardly bigot Marilyn Musgrave:

Stupid Pundit Tricks

David Gergen just now on Larry King:

If the Republicans hold on - a surprise big victory - there's some type of escalation in Iraq to get this finished. If the Democrats come in there's a lot more pressure to disengage.

So, apparently, over the last 3 and half years of all Republican control their hands were tied and they were unable to commit to "some type of escalation" which would magically "get this finished." However, if Democrats are there we won't "get this finished" but will instead "disengage" which would not be getting anything finished.

8 more days...

One Last Prediction

The Connecticut for Lieberman party ends its run with an 0-1 record.

They Write Letters

Public Campaign Action Fund writes to Joe Lieberman.

In response, Dangerstein plans to shoot their dog.


Yeah, what the hell? Apparently we're in opposite land now.

...adding, the notion that "old timers" appear to be more optimistic than "net rooters" has some empirical support, but as for strategery it's completely wrong. I think pessimism by people like me is causing us to encourage support for as many candidates as possible, recognizing that some magical wave isn't going to push them over the edge. Most of us have always pushed the "support every candidate possible" and continue to do so.

Prediction Time

Oh, well, I guess it's about time to pull some numbers out of the air. If I'm right you can all proclaim me a genius and if I'm wrong you can call me an idiot. But, yes, the pulled from nowhere numbers are: Dems +18 in the House, with the possibility of an orgy of party switching on both sides making the final outcome in the House uncertain.

Senate: Dems +4.

More Thread


I'm Hellbound

But does Amy Sullivan think so?

Snark aside, I think Yglesias hits on an often overlooked point:

On this view, a person who led an entirely exemplary life in terms of his impact on the world (would an example help? Gandhi, maybe?) but who didn't accept Jesus as his personal savior would be subjected to a life of eternal torment after his death and we're supposed to understand that as a right and just outcome. That, I think, is seriously messed up.

Yes. It's one thing to believe to the core of your being that in the Grand Plan established by God that accepting Jesus is a necessary step to avoid eternal torment, but that belief walks hand in hand with the one which says that God's Grand Plan is a Just and Wonderful Plan.

And, no, I'm not going to STFU and stop telling people that if they think that then I think their moral universe is pretty messed up.

Wanker of the Day

Joe Lieberman.

Progress, Greg Mankiw Style

Congrats, women, you're getting poorer a bit more slowly than men are.


Still bouncing.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush's popularity has not been buoyed by a series of public events in recent days, a new CNN poll has found.

Bush's approval rating still hovers in the high 30s, where it has been throughout October.

The poll, conducted by Opinion Research Corp., found that 37 percent of Americans approve of how Bush is handling his job as president; 58 percent disapprove.


It appears that Big Time Dick is planning for a Dem takeover.

Party On

On election night I'll be joining the fun with CNN and the blog babes.

CNN is trying to incorporate bloggers directly into its coverage of next week's midterm elections by inviting them to an "E-lection Nite Blog Party," an event aimed at corralling some of the top online opinion makers in one place to provide instant reaction as the results come in.

The cable news network plans to host more than two dozen bloggers from across the political spectrum — including sites like RedState and Daily Kos — at a Washington Internet lounge where they can monitor the election returns on a slew of flat-screen televisions. (Each blogger will get his or her own monitor, which can be tuned to any channel.) There will be free wireless access — and plenty of food and beverages, natch.

Nuking Casey from the Left

I've been waiting for this to happen, wondering how Little Ricky and his supporters would be so stupid as to not try this strategy. Someone's sending out mailers attacking Casey from the left.

Too little too late fortunately, I expect, but I've been really puzzled why there hasn't been more of this. Not that I want there to be, just that it was such an obvious thing to do.

Put Your Faith In the Ruling Class

The real problem with Mallaby's column today isn't actually the throwaway bit about Iraq. The real issue is the message that he's sending, and the little rhetorical trickery with which he leads us there. He starts with the basic premise that well-functioning societies require a degree of trust, something I agree with:

In 1995 Francis Fukuyama came out with a book called "Trust," in which he argued that a society's capacity for cooperation underpins its prosperity. The same year, Robert Putnam's famous article, "Bowling Alone," lamented that the United States was depleting its stock of precious social capital.

But then he moves from the issue of shared social capital - trusting each other - to the need for people to have faith in the ruling class:

Meanwhile President Bush had enormous foreign policy momentum in 2002-03 because Americans trusted him. Thanks to the Iraq mess, Americans are now focused on holding Bush accountable, and his options are limited.

There are powerful reasons trust tends to decline and accountability advances. Mobile societies tend to have weak bonds; the Internet makes it easier to hold people accountable and encourages acerbic negativity. And the absence of trust can feed on itself. Leaders function under stifling oversight; this causes them to perform sluggishly, so trust continues to stagnate. But occasionally there is a chance to escape this trap: A shock causes trust to rise, leaders have a chance to lead and there's an opportunity to boost trust still further.

We've recently had a double opportunity. The boom of the 1990s boosted trust in business; the 2001 terrorist attacks boosted trust in government. But CEOs and politicians abused these gifts with scandals and incompetence. Such is the cost of corporate malfeasance and the Iraq war: Precious social capital is destroyed by leaders' avarice and hubris.

Mallaby's arguing that society functions much better when the ruling class is unfettered by the pesky masses. Yes, yes, the ruling class shouldn't abuse its trust - that would be wrong - but when it does the real tragedy is that then they get subjected to pesky oversight from the dirty fucking hippies which prevents them from achieving their true awesomeness as our unaccountable overlords.

I really don't understand these people.


To be fair to Mallaby, like all sensible beloved centrists he had some sensible things to say throughout the runup to the war. He furrowed his brow and fretted that maybe the Bush administration on rebuilding Afghanistan wasn't so hot, and maybe that should make us think twice about our excellent Iraqi adventure. He offered up some other concerns about the whole thing. But, really, the money quote is the one below:

All that said, however, the worst silliness in the Iraq debate comes from those who write off the war talk as an example of Bush's blinkered attitude to foreign policy. It is the critics who are blinkered, for it is they who refuse to see a real threat. And it is the critics, in many cases, who have called repeatedly upon the administration to engage in the world -- and who now pout and sulk because their calls have been answered.

There, in one neat paragraph, sums up the attitude of the Wise Old Men of Washington at the time. Yes, well, maybe the Bush administration is a bit blinkered. And, yes, I, as a Beloved Centrist in Good Standing, have a license to furrow my brow a bit in print. My criticisms and concerns are measured and serious, you see. But the real problem is, as it always is, those dirty fucking hippies who oppose the war.


Sebastian Mallaby, 05/06/02:

This is pretty strange. The charge that the prime minister is Washington's poodle is nonsense: He differs with the Bush folk on global warming and steel trade; his terrific aid minister has traded public insults with the U.S. Treasury; last week his foreign secretary differed with the Pentagon on biological and chemical weapons. Many Britons preemptively complain that Blair is backing Bush's ambition to unseat Iraq's dictator. But Blair hasn't promised his support yet and won't until he sees a plan of action. Besides, if Bush can come up with a way to rid the world of a prime menace, why should Britons object?

The answer is there's no good reason, beyond that wretched sulkiness. And yet, though there is still too much of this in Britain, there's probably less than there once was. The staid old Britain lives alongside pockets of entrepreneurial energy; the country is more a meritocracy and more a melting pot. And Blair, after all, enjoys record poll ratings, despite the gripes one hears about him. As his campaign slogan said five years ago, the success of New Labor perhaps portends a New Britain.

Mallaby, 09/09/2002:

Now consider the challenge of Iraq. Pretending that Saddam Hussein does not pose a threat is like pretending that global warming or global poverty poses no threat: It involves ignoring the evidence. Hussein has amassed biological and chemical weapons and seeks nuclear ones. He has proven his willingness to use this arsenal against Iran and against the Kurds. He has demonstrated his massive attachment to massively destructive weaponry by withstanding a decade of international pressure to get rid of it. The threshold question on Iraq is the same as the threshold question on climate change: Are you willing to acknowledge the threat and do something about it?

The Bush administration, again to its enormous credit, is willing to engage this problem. And engagement means facing up to the next point: All responses short of war have been attempted. The Clinton administration tried diplomacy, sanctions, air strikes and support for the internal opposition; none of this stopped Saddam Hussein from keeping his weapons. If you take the Iraqi threat seriously, it's hard to avoid the unpleasant conclusion that war may well be necessary.

This doesn't clinch the case for war. If you think Hussein's successor will be just as bad, it doesn't make sense to sacrifice thousands of lives in an effort to unseat him. If you think new concentrations of al Qaeda in Iran pose a more immediate threat, it doesn't make sense to tie up military resources in an Iraqi venture. What's more, the administration has handled the Iraq issue badly. It should have been clear from the start that it would seek the support of Congress and its allies.

All that said, however, the worst silliness in the Iraq debate comes from those who write off the war talk as an example of Bush's blinkered attitude to foreign policy. It is the critics who are blinkered, for it is they who refuse to see a real threat. And it is the critics, in many cases, who have called repeatedly upon the administration to engage in the world -- and who now pout and sulk because their calls have been answered.

Mallaby, 08/21/2002:

Creating such a fund is worth the trouble because Iraq won't be the last challenge in the wars of preemption.

And the Quiet American (well, Brit, actually) offers up his mea culpa, 04/12/04:

Which brings us to Iraq. In a technocratic sense, the war was right: Saddam Hussein was an America-hating monster. But the war, unfortunately, enjoys little legitimacy. We are not back in the Vietnam era, when demonstrating students enthusiastically waved posters of America's enemy, Ho Chi Minh. But there's a sense that the Iraq war violated the principles America is admired for. This country stands for the rule of law, but the Bush policy of unilateral preemption appears lawless. This country stands for the democratic conviction that a broad cacophony of voices must be heard, however much that slows the wheels of government. But in the lead-up to Iraq, the Bush team treated international opinion contemptuously. And in assembling the provisional authority in Iraq, it thought it could sideline awkward but powerful voices such as that of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

This was a mistake. The lesson the aid people learned applies to global strategy as well: Legitimacy is crucial. Precisely because American ideals have triumphed and authoritarianism has been discredited -- precisely because no demonstrating students wave posters of Hussein -- America needs broad popular consent for its actions.

Everyone should pray for American success in Iraq, and it's too early to pronounce success impossible. But our troubles there are paradoxically the product of our success. America won the contest against communism because its ambition is not to rule the world but to create a world of rules; it is not simply to be right but to stand up for the rights of others. You cannot win the Cold War on the strength of these ideals, then expect to win in Iraq by ignoring them.

Morning Thread



Oh Lordy, I guess Monday's gonna have to be Sebastian Mallaby Day. Teaser:

We've recently had a double opportunity. The boom of the 1990s boosted trust in business; the 2001 terrorist attacks boosted trust in government. But CEOs and politicians abused these gifts with scandals and incompetence. Such is the cost of corporate malfeasance and the Iraq war: Precious social capital is destroyed by leaders' avarice and hubris.

As the kids say... heh, indeed.

Wanker of the Day

Confused by time changes, we'll call this one Sunday's wanker

Ellen Tauscher.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Late Night



Over there:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Suspected Sunni Arab gunmen killed 23 policemen Sunday, including 17 in one attack in the predominantly Shiite southern city of Basra, signaling the possible start of an intensified insurgent campaign against Iraq’s predominantly Shiite Muslim security forces.

Political tension deepened in Baghdad when Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, the country’s highest-ranking Sunni politician, threatened to resign if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not act quickly to eradicate two feared Shiite militias.


Joe Galloway is shrill:

This unseemly circus and its clowns in Congress can't go away fast enough and with enough dishonor and disgrace to suit the circumstances. Their place in America's history is secure: They will go down as the worst administration and the worst Congress we've ever had. Period.

They deserve to lose both the House and the Senate on Nov. 7, and the White House in 2008. They bullied their way into a war that they thought would be a slam-dunk and then so bungled things that the only superpower left in the world has been humbled and hobbled in a world that they've made more dangerous for us.

Thanks, guys. You've done a heckuva job. We won't forget it.

They Write Letters

Jamison Foser writes to the Gang of 500.

Fresh Thread

I think molasses got into my internets today, or maybe the truck driver is on vacation or sumthin'.


The guy the bullshit moose thinks is a serious foreign policy thinker would still vote for the Iraq war.

God's War

Garry Wills:

There is a particular danger with a war that God commands. What if God should lose? That is unthinkable to the evangelicals. They cannot accept the idea of second-guessing God, and he was the one who led them into war. Thus, in 2006, when two thirds of the American people told pollsters that the war in Iraq was a mistake, the third of those still standing behind it were mainly evangelicals (who make up about one third of the population). It was a faith-based certitude.

(via Howie Klein)

Lies and the Lying Liars

Lynne Cheney edition.

This Doesn't Sound Good

Denver Post:

On an autumn day two years ago, Colorado issued a warrant to arrest Taiwan Lee, a state prisoner who had vanished on parole.

He hadn't gone far. While police looked for him, he bought three houses at inflated prices in Arapahoe County with the help of lenders who put up the entire $1.9 million.

After he was caught and jailed, he managed to buy two more. Until the foreclosures commenced, Lee owned five villas in an affluent gated community while living behind prison bars 150 miles away.


Critics say mortgage companies have little incentive to ferret out inflated sales because they bundle and resell their home loans to Wall Street investors, taking their profits and diluting fraud losses in large pools of mortgage-backed bonds.

These securities get "sold in little pieces all over the world," said Lou Barnes, a Colorado mortgage bank owner. "It makes it very difficult to figure out who, if anyone, bears any responsibility for the flow of Colorado's foreclosures."

Marc Loewenthal, a senior vice president of New Century Financial Corp., says his industry cares about the loans it sells.

Because You Keep Cancelling Them

Turning now to the very important stuff, I imagine a big reason why people aren't rushing to start watching many new serialized dramas is that the networks have a tendency to to cancel them after a few episodes. If something's good, and it isn't canceled, people can catch up later with DVDs or by using the internets.

And I imagine those of us with lovely Tivos can do what I did - just set the damn thing to record all the episodes of anything which looks decent. If something manages to survive and still sounds interesting I can just start watching.

The Man

Not so long after 9/11 I was in an airport, and a group of 3-4 young, probably college-aged, guys were walking by. One of them saw George Bush on the teevee and loudly and enthusiastically shouted "he's The Man!" His companions looked at him slightly quizzically, and he backpedaled a bit, amending his proclamation by saying, "Well, he'd better be..."

After 9/11 George Bush had a chance to be The Man, and too many people wrongly assumed that because he'd better be The Man, that he would be The Man.

We know how that worked out.


While attempting to make a rather nonsensical comparison between Iraq and WWII, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Dumbass) just said about Iraq:

It's only been a short amount of time.

Oh Ricky

I have to say I've been quite puzzled with Little Ricky's campaign, which according to polls hasn't been helping him

It isn't over yet, of course, but I thought his ideal election strategy would've been pretty obvious - play to his base in those parts of the state where they live, be the distinguished longterm senator in general ad campaigns, and either directly or through the use of surrogates go at Casey from the left in suburban Philadelphia to confuse the hell out of the swing voters there.

If nothing else it looks like we'll be able to say goodbye to Senator Man on Dog 9 days from now.

Hussein Verdict

Well, leave it to old Saddam to say what everyone knows to be true but which no one is talking about.  According to CNN he asserts that his Nov. 5 verdict is for propaganda purposes for the US election.  Well, duhh.

Porn King Hearts Mehlman

Lucky Ken.


Over there:

* FALLUJA - Police found four bodies bearing signs of torture and bullet wounds in a deserted area near Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, police said. The bullet-riddled body of a kidnapped policeman was found, dumped in the town.

BAGHDAD - Police found 25 bodies with signs of torture and bullet wounds in different parts of Baghdad over the last 24 hours, Interior Ministry sources said.

BAGHDAD - A sports presenter at the state television station Iraqiya was killed with her driver in Baghdad, police said. The bodies were among six found in different parts of the city.

BAGHDAD - A bodyguard of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was shot and wounded in a government car on Saturday in Baghdad, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said. Maliki was absent. Gunmen in a car also killed two policemen in central Baghdad.

Morning Thread

Blogger is still bloggered.

Late Night