Saturday, December 02, 2006

Late Night

Rock on.

Evening Thread

Dance your cares away.

Rummy's Farewell

Well, Rumsfeld's final memo says Iraq's messed up, the current strategy isn't working, and there a bunch of not so good ideas and a bunch of crap ideas for doing something else.

Afternoon Thread



I don't know always know what the kids are listening to these days, but I just switched on VH1 and was immediately possessed by the spirit of Butthead:

What the hell is this crap?

If you really need to know what I'm talking about, here it is.

Worst. President. Ever.

Still, dirty fucking hippies smell like patchouli.

Bush has taken this disdain for law even further. He has sought to strip people accused of crimes of rights that date as far back as the Magna Carta in Anglo-American jurisprudence: trial by impartial jury, access to lawyers and knowledge of evidence against them. In dozens of statements when signing legislation, he has asserted the right to ignore the parts of laws with which he disagrees. His administration has adopted policies regarding the treatment of prisoners of war that have disgraced the nation and alienated virtually the entire world. Usually, during wartime, the Supreme Court has refrained from passing judgment on presidential actions related to national defense. The court's unprecedented rebukes of Bush's policies on detainees indicate how far the administration has strayed from the rule of law.

One other president bears comparison to Bush: James K. Polk. Some historians admire him, in part because he made their job easier by keeping a detailed diary during his administration, which spanned the years of the Mexican-American War. But Polk should be remembered primarily for launching that unprovoked attack on Mexico and seizing one-third of its territory for the United States.

Lincoln, then a member of Congress from Illinois, condemned Polk for misleading Congress and the public about the cause of the war -- an alleged Mexican incursion into the United States. Accepting the president's right to attack another country "whenever he shall deem it necessary," Lincoln observed, would make it impossible to "fix any limit" to his power to make war. Today, one wishes that the country had heeded Lincoln's warning.

Historians are loath to predict the future. It is impossible to say with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say, 2050. But somehow, in his first six years in office he has managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to rank him as the worst president in U.S. history.

(ht pie)


CNN sez 38 people dead in car bomb attack.

Still, what's really important is making sure that no one criticizes the people responsible for this catastrophe. That would be partisan!

The Folly of Bipartisanship

This pretty much sums up everything which is wrong with the way The Grand Old Men of Washington think. Come up with a compromise which makes everybody look good so we can stop all that messy disagreement.

Never mind all the people who continue to die so Saint McCain and the Last Honest Man can preen in front of the cameras instead of hiding in shame.

Late Night Thread


Friday, December 01, 2006

Fresh Thread



One thing our media never acknowledges is that conservative pundits play under a total separate set of rules than liberal pundits. Specifically, conservative pundits are generally indistinguishable from political operatives. They aren't just writing interesting columns about things they're interested in, they're advancing an agenda, which includes electing Republicans, often with little or no regard for truth. If they can get away with it, and they frequently do, they'll just make stuff up and lie.

I'm no purist. There's always been a place for dishonesty in politics. Politicians and political operatives lie. It's part of it. But conservative pundits notionally don't live in the world of politics, they live in the world of journalism where one would hope the claimed standards of that profession would apply. For some reason they don't.

Friedman's World

Speaking of silly people, Tom Friedman is probably the silliest of all.

Who Lost Iraq?

The General has the answer.

Can't Come Up With a Joke

There are very silly people out there.

Big Mistake Bigger

This sounds about right:

CONCORD, N.H. -- Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Vilsack on Friday dismissed Republican Sen. John McCain's call for more U.S. troops in Iraq, arguing it would be wrong to "make a big mistake bigger."

Vilsack, who announced his candidacy for the White House on Thursday, questioned McCain's proposal to send another 20,000 combat troops to Iraq to quell the insurgency. The Arizona senator, considered the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, has stood alone in calling for additional troops.

"I fundamentally disagree with Senator McCain on this. I think he is wrong. We cannot afford to make a big mistake bigger," the Iowa governor said to a burst of applause at the New Hampshire Technical Institute.

And this is as good a time as any for a note going forward. Praise or criticism of the actions and statements of presidential candidates should not (except when it's obvious cough joe biden cough) be taken as endorsement, support, or detraction of that person's candidacy. There will come a time when people will get behind candidates and some of them will regularly assume bias, bad faith, or just general failure on my part to support their person sufficiently. Statements that I make will be seen by some not as what they are in and of themselves but as part of some larger meta-strategy to promote or detract particular candidates. It will all get very annoying at some point.

I doubt I'll actually get behind any particular candidate, but I won't hide the fact that I have opinions about them. I'll try to avoid getting sucked into the day to day food fight when it comes, but I'm human so I can't promise to be perfect.

Fresh Thread


Our Long National Nightmare Is Over

Pelosi has finally made what has historically been the most important and most covered decision by a Speaker and chosen Rep. Silvestre Reyes to be the Chair of the House Intel. committee.


Charles Krauthammer is much sillier than Lord Weisberg.

Blame Us!

We're all dirty fucking hippies now. Digby:

Blaming the American people is an excellent political strategy, however, and I hope these conservatives keep it up. There's nothing that betrayed voters like more than to be called stupid, cowardly and traitorous. (I know I've been enjoying it for the last couple of decades.) I'm sure all those independents and moderates who now see through Bush and the Republicans are going to love it too. It really clarifies your thinking.

This isn't the 1970's. They aren't going to get away with blaming the cowardly public this time. There are no hippies to hate ---- just millions of average, taxpaying, middle class Americans who know damned well when they've been lied to. And if they don't, there are many of us out here who will remind them.

Morning Thread



I began writing this post with a bunch of obscene insults, but thought the better of it. Let's face it, Lord Weisberg is a very silly person. There's really not much more to add to that, other than the fact that sadly he's not the silliest person in elite punditry.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Na Ga Ha Pen

Though, if true I have much more respect for this effort than I previously did:

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group plans to recommend withdrawing nearly all U.S. combat units from Iraq by early 2008 while leaving behind troops to train, advise and support the Iraqis, setting the first goal for a major drawdown of U.S. forces, sources familiar with the proposal said yesterday.

The commission plan would shift the U.S. mission in Iraq to a secondary role as the fragile Baghdad government and its security forces take the lead in fighting a Sunni insurgency and trying to halt sectarian violence. As part of major changes in the U.S. presence, sources said, the plan recommends embedding U.S. soldiers directly in Iraqi security units starting as early as next month to improve leadership and effectiveness.

The call to pull out combat brigades by early 2008 would be more a conditional goal than a firm timetable, predicated on the assumption that circumstances on the ground would permit it, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the commission's report will not be released until next week. But panel members concluded that it is vital to set a target to put pressure on Iraqi leaders to do more to assume responsibility for the security of their country.

"It's really about transitioning from a combat to a support role, and basically making very clear that this is no longer an open-ended commitment and we're going to get this done whether the Iraqis like it or not," said one of the sources. "Everybody understands that we're at the end of the road here."

I stand by my prediction: 120,000+ troops 2 F.U.s from now. Hope to be, as I always do, wrong.

More Thread

Rock on.

Fresh Thread


Even Stevphen

E&P sends us to a Daily Show flashback.


Froomkin has a crazy idea.

Let me add that failing to call bullshit doesn't just fail to inform readers, it also requires the reporter to iternalize the bullshit, to continue to treat bullshit as if it might be true.

Why Do They Hate America So Much?

It's a mystery.

Maliki's Down for a Friedman

In another 6 months, things will be better.

WASHINGTON --Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Thursday that his country's forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007 -- which could allow the United States to start withdrawing its troops.

"I cannot answer on behalf of the U.S. administration but I can tell you that from our side our forces will be ready by June 2007," Maliki told ABC television after meeting President Bush on Thursday in Jordan.

Waiting for Ponies

My view on Iraq, sadly proven to be correct, has long been that the situation isn't going to solve itself, that Bush isn't going to draw down troops, and that we will be there until there is sufficient leadership to get us out. There was never much that Democrats out of power could do about that, and there isn't much more that Democrats in power will be able to do. It's been sad watching this whole affair play out over the years, knowing that for some reason political elites really seemed to believe that one or two F.U.'s away things would be better, that it was inevitable that Bush would start bringing troops home before the 2004... then 2006... election... that James Baker would somehow provide the leadership that most of them weren't willing to provide which would somehow fix stuff.

I fear the 2008 presidential election will play out similarly to the 2004 one. Prominent Democratic candidates will imagine they look "tough" on national security by continuing to essentially support our continuing presence in Iraq. Since Iraq will be the central campaign issue in 2008, no matter how many spider holes of denial some retreat into, the Democratic primary battle will once again be between Very Serious People who won't be pushing for an exit from Iraq, and Dirty Fucking Hippies Who Know Nothing who will be pushing for such an exit.

I don't quite know how it'll play out on the Republican side - probably mostly a battle over who can hate teh gay the most - but I'm not optimistic about it being especially fun on our side.

Our Khalilzad is Up

Two months ago we had:

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq warned on Friday that time is running out for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to contain the burgeoning sectarian bloodshed that threatens to plunge the country into civil war.

"He has a window of a couple months," said the ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad. "If the perception is that this unity government is not able to deal with this issue, then a big opportunity would have been lost and it would take a long time to address this issue."

So, now a couple of months are over. Khalilzad has since quit. And Bush says Maliki's still the man.

Their Brand is Crisis

Jeremy Rosner, last seen screwing up Bolivia, tells us what we must do:

The new Democratic Congress needs to provide the vigorous oversight of the war their Republican predecessors never provided. But they also need to avoid pushing for funding cut-offs that could be cast as undermining the troops (and which would in any event merely be veto bait). And they need to push for an end-game that moves gradually, doing what we can to build up Iraq’s infrastructure and professionalize its military and police forces, acknowledging that we bear some moral responsibility for Iraq’s growing chaos.

In other words, stay the course.


Why is Kenneth Pollack on the teevee?


I miss the days when a favorite topic of conservative bloggers was about how the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR was CRUSHING THE EURO.

$1.32 per Euro now. Don't plan any trips to Yurp.


The McCain/Lieberman war goes on:

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Baghdad's overflowing morgues have welcomed another grim daily harvest of bullet-riddled corpses as Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met US
President George W. Bush and vowed to halt the violence.

Iraqi security officials said they had recovered the bodies of 58 murder victims in Baghdad over the previous 24 hours -- a US spokeswoman confirmed 49 -- and that a mass grave holding 28 corpses was found north of the city.

Wanker of the Day

George Will

Bloggity Blog

Ann Althouse is mad at Andrew Sullivan for his breach of netiquette. Since Andy won't provide a link to her, I will.

Iraq Forever

I've been saying it all along, but no one listens to me.

AMMAN, Jordan, Nov. 30 -- President Bush delivered a staunch endorsement of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Thursday morning and dismissed calls for U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq as unrealistic, following a summit meeting in which the two leaders discussed speeding up the turnover of security responsibilities.

Our political class has long assumed that this situation would magically right itself after another Friedman or two. It won't.

Morning Thread


Fresh Thread

Kinks - All Day and All of the Night

Anyone else having problems accessing big chunks of the internets?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Two Friedmans From Now

I'll add myself to my little calendar of predictions/deadlines/timetables.

Two Friedmans from now there will be 120,000+ US troops in Iraq.

Na Ga Do It

No one listens to me, but for the millionth time this isn't going to happen.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 — The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal, according to people familiar with the panel’s deliberations.

The report, unanimously approved by the 10-member panel, led by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, is to be delivered to President Bush next week. It is a compromise between distinct paths that the group has debated since March, avoiding a specific timetable, which has been opposed by Mr. Bush, but making it clear that the American troop commitment should not be open-ended. The recommendations of the group, formed at the request of members of Congress, are nonbinding.

A person who participated in the commission’s debate said that unless the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki believed that Mr. Bush was under pressure to pull back troops in the near future, “there will be zero sense of urgency to reach the political settlement that needs to be reached.”

The report recommends that Mr. Bush make it clear that he intends to start the withdrawal relatively soon, and people familiar with the debate over the final language said the implicit message was that the process should begin sometime next year.

Barring tremendous political leadership by, well, our political leaders we aren't leaving. Leaving is losing. Bush has made this clear.

"Final Battle of Baghdad"

I don't know if Joe Scar, Joke Line, Mike Crowley, and Pat Buchanan know a damn thing or if they're talking out their asses, but tonight on Scar's show they all seem to think Bush is going to quadruple down and have a final "major climax" by going after al-Sadr.

Democrats Don't Count

In Sensible Centrist Punditland, Democrats don't exist.


I really don't even know what to say anymore.

Fact Free And Proud!



Discussing the decline and fall of George Felix Allen Jr. last night I was reminded of when I first read the teaser over at Not Larry Sabato, which at the time was:

George Allen steps in it. Video coming soon.

What George Allen just did, sent a chill down my spine. Video coming....


UPDATE: I'm verifying with sources deep inside the Allen campaign. This may be the end of any Allen for President campaign.

Indeed it was.

Fresh Thread



T.A. Frank isn't thrilled about Dr. Frist's return to medicine.

My guess is this little guy isn't either.

I think it's fitting to say goodbye to Fristy by re-running a review of his tribute to his genetic code, Good People Beget Good People:

This is a fascinating study of the extraordinary mix of in-breeding, animal sacrifice, and corruption required to produce the world's worst human being. Coming from a family of mildly despicable cheats, the Frists had a leg up on normal human beings...but it still took an enormous amount of laboratory work and careful training to produce not just a self-involved twit but an unspeakable monster.

This book is Frankenstein of our century, a marvellous account of the line between science and morality, and the "Dr. Frist" character is a chilling reminder of the true evil inherent in all humanity...even if readers will find Dr. Frist himself an impossibly overdrawn character. Surely, no actual human could be so evil. Neverthless, he stands like Shelley's monster as an emblem of the path we as a species must never take.

By damning this "Dr. Frist" character and the bizarre process that created him, this sterling work serves as a moral guide, a hope for the future.


CNN sez Maliki's talks with Bush postponed until tomorrow.

Not sure what's going on with all of this.

Joementum II: Biden Boogaloo

Biden's still running.

Reality on the Ground

I suppose Powell might still have some ability to move the conversation forward, but this has always been the problem. The Iraq war has always been packaged purely for domestic political consumption, and specifically for the glorification of Commander Codpiece. The "rebuilding of the schools," the obsession with first "dead enders" then "foreign fighters" and "al Qaeda in Iraq," the constant turning of corners, the denial of the existence of civil war, were all an elaborate reality denial dance. What made it worse was they believed their own propaganda.

Thanks for all you've done for us, oh Wise Men of Washington.

Wanker of the Day Revisited

Roy piles on for fun.

The stupid burns so much.

Health Care for the Young Ones

Responding to various commenters and emailers, as a means of fixing the horrible health care system in this country it is true that a group plan for young people is probably a terrible idea, except to the extent that it could blossom into something for everyone. But as a means of fixing the problem that younger people don't have portable health insurance it's possibly an excellent idea. Lots of 20somethings either don't have jobs with health insurance or have to make life decisions based on having to find a job which will give them health insurance.


Frist not running for president.

Wanker of the Day

The Ole Perfesser.

...adding, I've found it to be a fairly consistent them among many gun nut libertarians (who I call "might makes right" libertarians) that they fantasize about the breakdown of civil order and the rise of Road Warrior style society. It's weird. Especially since most of them are such losers.


Anyway, just echoing Glenn Greenwald the whole Pelosi/Hastings/Harman "controversy" which every single liberal commentator felt the need to chime in on was a big fact-free fake controversy likely set up by Harman supporters. Whatever the merits of Hastings, there was never anything coming from Pelosi's office suggesting that he was her desginated man for the job, just speculation turned rumor turned "fact."

But, good job everyone who helped fan the flames on this one. You helped one Dem contingent to try to pull the rug out from under Pelosi about 3 minutes after she was voted into a job she doesn't even have yet.



Lawmakers and cabinet ministers loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have suspended their membership in Iraq's government because of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's summit with President Bush, The Associated Press reports.

My Life

I don't know how easy or feasible or affordable, but setting up a portable group health plan for young people seems like a pretty good idea.


Too tired to write my chumps post.

You'll have to wait.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Well, that was amusing. Rock on.

Even More Thread

From NotAtrios

More thread

(I just get twitchy when they get over 800.)

Not Atrios

Fresh Thread

On the road. If you miss me you can watch me here, or you can just chat amongst yourselves.

Blue Pennsylvania

Hey, we won the PA House.


Just adding on to Ezra, I have hostility to the concept of "centrism" for a variety of reasons. First, except on a few mostly social issues there really isn't all that much which can be neatly fit into a left-center-right-axis. Mostly centrism is used be elite opinionmakers to denote sensible, set off against real or (more often) imagined "extreme" positions which are of course wrong because anything "extreme" has to be wrong. Except, perhaps, invading countries for no good reason.

What's sensible? Anything elite centrist opinionmakers think is sensible! So, the political center is an artificial concept created by people who imagine they're centrists because they know they're sensible and they certainly aren't extreme. The fact that such ideas do not have majority support, or don't really fit on the center of some political axis, is irrelevant. It's the sensible center, as they define it.

Whe Kevin Drum writes:

I'd argue, for example, that good analysis supports a fairly extreme view on Social Security (just leave it alone for now)...

He's buying into this "centrism as centrist opinionmakers define it." But how on Earth can wanting to maintain the status quo on a long-existing program which has tremendous majority support be described as an "extreme view"? But all "sensible centrists" know that Social Security is doomed, benefits must be cut, and private accounts are probably a peachy idea, so this becomes a "centrist position."

Your Modern GOP


WASHINGTON - Rep. Tom Tancredo, the leader of the anti-illegal immigration faction in the U.S. House, spent a recent weekend at The Breakers in Palm Beach.

Ninety miles to the south, he found a symbol to bolster his belief that unfettered immigration is endangering the United States: Miami, he told a conservative online news site, ``has become a Third World country.''

In South Florida to attend Restoration Weekend, a gathering of conservative activists, the Colorado Republican, whose district includes suburbs of Denver, pointed to Miami as an example of how ''the nature of America can be changed by uncontrolled immigration,'' the story says.

''Look at what has happened to Miami,'' the WorldNetDaily quotes Tancredo as saying in an interview. ``It has become a Third World country. You just pick it up and take it and move it someplace. You would never know you're in the United States of America. You would certainly say you're in a Third World country.''

Picking a Winner

Needless to say, if Iraq isn't in a civil war now (it is), it will be when we actively take sides.

Everybody's Fault But His

So, it's Europe's fault that things are shit in Afghanistan and it's Maliki's fault that things are shit in Iraq.

This is the thinking the Sensible Centrists have allowed to bloom. Thanks guys.

Two Years

Watching some of the speech this morning it became clear that our country is run by a shockingly stupid, somewhat delusional, and very messianic person who has downloaded large doses of extreme wingnuttery deep into his brain stem.

Two more years...

Fresh Thread


Monday, November 27, 2006

Late Night

Kinks - Celluloid Heroes

Great Moments in Daily Show Writing

Stewart: Certainly from an Iraqi perspective, what this is called makes no difference.

Oliver: Oh, really? If you have lost a loved one in this conflict, and statistically if you're an Iraqi you have, wouldn't you rather know it wasn't in a Civil War but rather a territorial arglebargle of regional qualms?

Stewart: 3,000 Iraqis died just this month. To argue over what to call it seems like semantic quibbling.

Oliver: Semantic quibbling? Oh, well, I wouldn't call it that.

Stewart: What would you call it?

Oliver: A minor linguistic flareup between two parties of different terminological points of view.

Stewart: It's really the same thing.

Oliver: It's "same-ey." For now let's agree to disagree on how we state our agreements. Agreed?

Baghdad Bob Says Saddam Is Winning

I really don't understand our contemporary press.

...Washington Post flashback on the Hummer Which Threatened Civilization:

I will say for the Washington Post, we have not labeled it sex. I have asked around to see why not or see what’s the thinking on that and really our reporters have not filed that. We try to avoid the labels, particularly when the elected government itself does not call its hummer sex.


Thanks Oh Wise Men of Washington. Thank you St. McCain. Thank you Last Honest Man. Thanks oh Glorious Keepers of the Flame of the Vital Center. Thanks Jon "Beware the Dirty Fucking Hippies" Chait. Thank you Richard Cohen and Margaret "Whatever Colin does, I’ll go with" Carlson. Thank you oh self-glorifying stewards of our national discourse for sending us down this path. Thank you Joe Lieberman Weekly for being wrong about everything all the time, and therefore making it easy for me to choose a direction every morning.


The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda's rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that set off debate in recent months about the military's mission in Anbar province.

The Marines recently filed an updated version of that assessment that stood by its conclusions and stated that as of mid-November, the problems in troubled Anbar province have not improved, a senior U.S. intelligence official said yesterday. "The fundamental questions of lack of control, growth of the insurgency and criminality" remain the same, the official said.

The Marines' August memo, a copy of which was shared with The Washington Post, is far more bleak than some officials suggested when they described it in late summer. The report describes Iraq's Sunni minority as "embroiled in a daily fight for survival," fearful of "pogroms" by the Shiite majority and increasingly dependent on al-Qaeda in Iraq as its only hope against growing Iranian dominance across the capital.

We Don't Need No Education

I agree with Yglesias' basic suggestion that the overly long summer vacation for kids, at least for the younger ones, is an anachronism. Having said that, I wouldn't support sticking kids in barely air conditioned classrooms for more of the same over the summer months, but instead spend a couple of months with more of an "educational summer camp" model.

But, given that I have no kids and no experience teaching the young ones I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Chait Droppings

Holy shit.

Please, just cut his mic. Just cut all their mics. They're hurting us.

Just Blow The Place Up

A certain segment of our population spends their time touting all of the various "hate America" type things which bubble out of the Arab press. It never occurs to them that people in the Middle East can, you know, find the mirror image in our press, whether its Glenn Reynolds' new favorite saying, "more rubble, less trouble," or Dick Cheney's favorite radio host saying we should blow the place up.

More Thread


Goodbye to Dick?

Nah, I don't believe it. Obviously it would make a lot of sense, but that has never figured greatly into the Bush decision making process.

Fresh Thread



Michael Ware explains Iraq to Kyra Phillips.



There is nothing "credible" about Harman. Yes, she is smart and knowledgeable, but she has been wrong about everything that matters, particularly in the intelligence area. But she was wrong in exactly the same way that the Beltway geniuses and The New Republic and David Broder and Fred Hiatt were wrong. For that reason, they don't want her to be repudiated and rejected because that would constitute a repudiation and rejection of them. So they build up and glorify the "credible," responsible Harman because she represents them, and they hate Pelosi in advance for rejecting Harman for being wrong about everything because they feel rejected by that choice.

As a result, Pelosi and her opposition to Harman have to be belittled and removed from the substantive arena. Harman supported the most disastrous strategic decision in our nation's history and repeatedly defended the administration's worst excesses. That ought to be disqualifying on its face. But the Beltway media are guilty of the same crimes, so they want to pretend that Harman -- just like Steny Hoyer -- did nothing wrong and the only reason not to anoint her to her Rightful Place is because of petty, womanly personality disputes that have no place in the public arena.

For the same reason, they decree that Pelosi must prove that she's a "responsible" and serious leader. How does she do that? By embracing the Beltway establishment types, including those -- especially those -- who have been so wrong about so many things.

The Moral Bankruptcy of Modern Punditry

Yglesias writes:

The primary question facing America's pundit class today is how to avoid responsibility for the situation in Iraq, which is almost certain to get much worse over the next two or three years.

Of course, most of them are responsible. And it's reprehensible that they're engaging in word games which ensure that we will continue to "stay the course" because George W. Bush thinks we're "winning."

Deck of Cards

When the history of this era is written, I hope it is remembered that the President of the United States created a deck of cards with "bad guys" on it. The media, rather than seeing this is a bizarre and infantile thing, thought it was wonderful. So wonderful that they dutifully printed the graphics on their newscasts, and created lovely interactive web features around it.

We are ruled by dangerously silly people.

The Scary Left

I'm a bit more in agreement with Max than with Matt, though I think they're probably more in agreement than Max makes it sound.

Whatever my opinion on the merits of any particular policy, the self-defined sensible center has long shot itself in the foot by spending more time marginalizing opinions to their left while announcing loudly their willingness to embrace and negotiate those on the right. That ensures the compromise negotiated by the Sensible Technorats is way to the right. And that's when Democrats are in charge. When Republicans are in charge, they lock the Sensible Technorats out and put the right wing nutters in charge.

Having said that, as a strategic plan for getting things done instead of a rhetorical strategy ensure a monopoly on "liberal" thought in the marketplace of ideas it isn't such a bad thing. You know, you'd better drop your resistance to higher CAFE standards or Al Gore's going to be the next EPA chief. Still, it does continue to start from a position of compromise which if nothing else makes you appear to be rather weak.

Human Grocery Store

I suppose we should be thankful that NBC is now calling the civil war in Iraq the civil war in Iraq, but it's rather disheartening that it took them this long.

Prodigious Leaker

Roll Call (sub. req.) has a story about how Democratic Senate aides are rather unhappy with The Last Honest Man's hiring of McCain loyalist, "prodigious leaker" to the press, and extraordinarily silly person Marshall Wittmann. Basically, they know Wittmann's loyalties are elsewhere and he'll likely leak everything both to the press and to his Republican pals so they won't be able to actually talk when he's in the room.

If I Can Make It There

I'll be in NYC at the Museum of Television and Radio for a Very Exciting Event, 6:30-8 tomorrow. It'll be webcast too, so you can all gaze at my beauty.

"Cyber Monday"

We went through this last year, but if there was ever any doubt about the influence of the PR industry on news coverage it was swept away by the full embrace of the mythical "Cyber Monday" as the online counterpart to "Black Friday."

It's just some shit they made up. Stop talking about it.

Stay the Course

Thanks oh Wise Men of Washington. Thanks St. John McCain. Thanks Last Honest Man. Thanks Joe Lieberman Weekly. Thanks oh Glorious Keepers of the Flame of the Vital Center.

Wankers all.

Morning Thread


Late Night

The Kinks - Village Green Preservation Society

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Over There


With no obvious personal stake in the war in Iraq, most Americans are indifferent to its consequences. In an interview last week, Alex Racheotes, a 19-year-old history major at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, said: “I definitely don’t know anyone who would want to fight in Iraq. But beyond that, I get the feeling that most people at school don’t even think about the war. They’re more concerned with what grade they got on yesterday’s test.”

His thoughts were echoed by other students, including John Cafarelli, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, who was asked if he had any friends who would be willing to join the Army. “No, definitely not,” he said. “None of my friends even really care about what’s going on in Iraq.”

This indifference is widespread. It enables most Americans to go about their daily lives completely unconcerned about the atrocities resulting from a war being waged in their name. While shoppers here are scrambling to put the perfect touch to their holidays with the purchase of a giant flat-screen TV or a PlayStation 3, the news out of Baghdad is of a society in the midst of a meltdown.

When I was an undergraduate student, at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, it wasn't that way for us. I knew two people who went to Gulf War the First quite well, had many other friends who expected to go but fortunately didn't have to, and was within a couple of degrees of separation of dozens who went. The point is pretty much everyone on campus knew people who went. A lot of students were in the National Guard because it helped pay for college. Some of them went to Iraq.

At the school I was last teaching, Bryn Mawr College, it was as Hebert described.* No student I talked to knew anyone who was going to Iraq (I'm sure there were students for whom that wasn't the case). It just wasn't in the air. It was something for other people.

Anyway, my point is that I'm sure there are college students for whom Iraq is very real, and whose friends/boyfriends/girlfriends have served. But the farther you get away from elite institutions, the more likely that's the case.

*Clarifying - there were certainly students who were much less apathetic than Hebert describes, but it was still something for other people.

When the Friedmans Come Due

At some point I started keeping track of various Friedmanesque predictions/deadlines. For those who wish to follow at home here's what we have coming ahead. The dates posted are the dates the predictions/deadlines are due.

11/30/06 Zalmay Khalilzad sez Maliki has a window of a couple of months.
11/18/06 Joe Klein says we should give Iraq "One last shot." Time ambiguous, so I gave him a Friedman.
11/19/06 Lee Hamilton says next 3 months are critical.
12/31/06 Joe Lieberman says significant troop withdrawals begin.
1/06/07 Senator Warner sez "In two or three months if this thing hasn’t come to fruition and this level of violence is not under control," Warner said, "I think it’s a responsibility of our government to determine: Is there a change of course we should take?"
03/05/07 General George Casey says "This is a decisive period for everyone and everyone knows it. The next six months will determine the future of Iraq>"
05/20/07 Obama says reduction should start in 4 to 6 months.
05/26/07 Cornyn says we need another 4 to 6 months to get this right.
05/26/07 McCaffrey says the next 4 to 6 months are crucial.
06/12/07 McCain sez we're going to win or lose this thing within the next several months.
12/31/07 Joe Lieberman says half the troops will likely be home, with full withdrawal possible.

Wanker of the Day


Black Bars

It appears the White House has weird thick black bars at the bottom of lots of videos, not just the mission accomplished one.

How odd.

Fresh Thread



Kudos to Matt Welch for managing to reveal some truths about St. McCain without falling into the usual trap of trying to argue about where he actually fits on the imaginary political spectrum and instead just telling us what the dude thinks about things.
Look, people who advocate adding "personal accounts" to Social Security are just stupid people. Really, just morons. There's no reason to do it. There's no reason to take any part of Social Security contributions and put them in a little fund account with my name on it. If you think some Social Security contributions should be invested in the stock market (I don't) to raise returns overall, then it can be stuck into an index fund or managed by a fund manager or whatever. I still think that's a bad idea, but there's a rationale for it. There's no rationale for dividing that up into millions of individual accounts. There's no rationale for letting individuals "control their own money" by letting them choose across some finite number of managed funds. Social Security is a lovely program which works just fine and really needs no changes other than extraordinarily nonurgent tweaks to the tax formula at some point. And, no, there's no need for modest benefit cuts. There's no need for means testing it. There's no need for any of these things The Serious People like Bob Kerrey want to do. There's no need to strike a "grand bargain" which combines some stupid things with some smart things because there's no need to do so. Leave it alone.

There is no problem with the Social Security system. People who continue to argue that there is - and that the problem can be "solved" with the magic private accounts fairy - either have broken brains or are attempting to push an agenda for ideological reasons or for personal enrichment for themselves and their kind.

Mission Accomplished

Someone sent this to me a few days ago and I can't remember who it was, so apologies for not giving credit.

Anyway, if one goes to Mission Accomplished Day at and then clicks on the video link there's something interesting.

Notice anything weird? The black bar at the bottom of the video?

They clipped off the top quarter of the video, and pushed the rest up, in order to hide the Mission Accomplished banner.

Ah, found it:


John Roberts explains the situation in Iraq to Howard Kurtz.

Joke Line

Well, almost six months later Joke Line kinda-sorta-wish-washily thinks maybe it's time to leave Iraq. Though, one imagines, only in his not-actually-specified way and not in the horribly unserious way any Democrats would propose.

Even More Friedmans

Senator Cornyn:

We have about another 4 to 6 months to get this right.

And then what?


Cornyn also said he wanted to send more troops, that the number of troops should be decided by the generals, but that he disagreed with Abizaid who thought it was a bad idea to send more troops.

Just kill me.

In For Another Friedman

On Meet the Press, General McCaffrey informed us that the next 4 to 6 months are crucial.

...he was on Meet the Press last on June 11. Here's what he said then:

MR. RUSSERT: The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Khalilzad, had this to say to Der Spiegel magazine in Germany. "The next six months will be critical in terms of reining in the danger of civil war. If the government fails to achieve this, it will have lost its opportunity."

GEN. McCAFFREY: Yeah, well, thank God we've got that ambassador on the ground. He's going to be a huge part of our ability to coach this new emerging legitimate Iraqi government to achieve some...

MR. RUSSERT: But General, he seems to be saying that by the end of this year...

GEN. McCAFFREY: Yeah. I think so.

MR. RUSSERT: ...if we have not gotten control of this civil war, the Iraqi government will have lost its opportunity.

GEN. McCAFFREY: Yeah. I think between now and Christmas is the crucial time.

The endless cycle of Friedmans cannot be broken.

Conventional Wisdom

Mistah Kurtz:

The conventional wisdom is American troops resent the media's coverage of this war as too negative.

And that's about all you need to know about Howie.

...overall the segment was very good, with the Mighty Power of John Roberts' Truth Vanquishing the Truthiness of Mistah Kurtz. I'll put the clip up in a bit.

The Endless Cycle of Friedmans


Is withdrawal -- whether incremental or total -- considered to be an "extreme view" that the Washington "centrists" have not only rejected but have excluded in advance even from consideration? That's what this article seems to suggest, and that would definitely be consistent with conventional Beltway wisdom -- that withdrawal is advocated only by the fringe radicals and far leftists (such as the individual whom Americans just knowingly installed as Speaker of the House).

There is nothing "centrist" about a Commission which decides in advance that it will not remove our troops from a war which is an unmitigated disaster and getting worse every day. It just goes without saying that if you invade and occupy a country and are achieving nothing good by staying, withdrawal must be one of the primary options considered when deciding what to do about the disaster.

Even if that is not the option ultimately chosen, a categorical refusal in advance to consider that option -- or to listen to experts who advocate it -- is not the work of a "centrist" body devoted to finding a solution to this war. If the Commission begins with the premise that we have to stay in Iraq and then only considers proposals for how to modify our strategy on the margins, that is anything but centrist. To the contrary, that is a close-minded -- and rather extremist -- commitment to the continuation of a war which most Americans have come to despise and want to see brought to an end.

Back in 2002, when the U.S. was debating whether to invade Iraq, those who opposed the invasion were, for that reason alone, dismissed as unserious morons and demonized as anti-American subversive hippies. Despite the fact that subsequent events have largely proven them to have been right, and that those who did the demonizing were the frivolous, unserious, know-nothing extremists, this narrative persists, so that -- even now, when most Americans have turned against this war -- the only way to avoid being an "extremist," and to be rewarded with the "centrist" mantle, is to support the continuation of this war in one form or another.

It's now lasted longer than [our participation in] WWII. Thanks to St. McCain, The Last Honest Man, the Wise Old Men of Washington, and the Glorious Keepers of the Flame of the Vital Center, we're on track to beat the Vietnam record. woohoo!


Booby Woodward just called Laura Bush a liar (not with that word of course). Funny.

...and the transcript just landed in my inbox:

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: Andy Card, also went on television and said that's not true. And let me just say the one thing about that book: Those quote of mine, were in quotes, and the author didn't call me and fact check. And it just didn't happen.


KURTZ: Your response?

WOODWARD: Well, first of all, Andy Card, as you know, has gone on television and said the quotes are accurate. And that they did happen. And the first lady is saying that what she said and -- again, there is a way, and a habit they have in the White House of you write something and then they kind of pick it up one step, then they deny the version that they say you wrote.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities:

ABC’s “This Week” — Jordan’s King Abdullah II; Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; supermodel Maggie Rizer. 1

CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Sens.-elect Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Ike Skelton, D-Mo.; retired Gens. Wayne Downing and Barry McCaffrey.

CNN’s “Late Edition” — Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie; former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski; Maryland Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele; Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

“Fox News Sunday” — Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., Barney Frank, D-Mass., and John Dingell, D-Mich.; Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss.; Joseph E. Robert Jr., chairman of Fight for Children.