Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I thought I'd chill out over the next day or two and get the most homoerotic movie ever made...with necessary comedy track:

Which also, necessarily leads to something like this:

Dick Cheney

Man of Letters

Dear Kate, Elizabeth, Grace, Philip, Richard and Sam,

Be polite and pleasant to others.

On Pain of Death.

Sincerely Yours,

Richard B. Cheney
Vice President of the United States

(P.S. I know where you live)

Brave Sir O'Hanlon

War Proponent Critic Proponent praises withdraws praise from SURGE before Congress when under oath...as opposed to before Blitzer & Tweety:

[O'Hanlon] totally backed down. Said the progress has only been against Al Qaeda, that sectarian violence and the civil war is as bad as ever, and that the current strategy will probably fail. He thinks we should partition the country. Why the turnabout from the optimistic op-ed? He didn't say.

It's almost as if the talking points were tossed out for the most massive fanfare possible when people would be paying attention.

Oh my

Harry Shearer from here.

Let me relive my time with Maureen Dowd

John Tierney writes about the "Whys of Mating"

I've condensed down the relevant portions as it relates to his relationship with America's most honestly advertised red-headed teen-aged drama queen:

To make sense of the 237 reasons, Dr. Buss and Dr. Meston created a taxonomy with four general categories:

¶Physical: “The person had beautiful eyes” or “a desirable body,” or “was good kisser” or “too physically attractive to resist.” Or “I wanted to achieve an orgasm.” (with another person present)

¶Goal Attainment: “I wanted to even the score with a cheating partner” or “break up a rival’s relationship” or “make money” or “be popular.” Or “because of a bet.”

¶Emotional: “I wanted to communicate at a deeper level” or “lift my partner’s spirits” or “say ‘Thank you.’ ” Or just because “the person was intelligent.” (you can't say grudge fuck in the New York Times)

¶Insecurity: “I felt like it was my duty” or “I wanted to boost my self-esteem” or “It was the only way my partner would spend time with me.” (To punish the voices in my head)

Mr. Macho O'Falafel

Whoa! Instead of "Groundhog Day," I'm living Falafel Day all over again.

In yesterday's comments, virtual O'Felafel doppelgänger reminded me of this fantastic exchange between The Great Falafel himself and a caller to his radio show:
O'REILLY: We've got a caller. Roger. Roger from Portland, Oregon. What say you Roger?

ROGER: Yeah, hey, Bill. First things first. You just said you've been in combat, but you've never been in the military, have you?

O'REILLY: No I have not.

ROGER: Then why do you say you've been in combat?

O'REILLY: Why do I say that, Roger? Because I was in the middle of a couple of firefights in South and Central America.

ROGER: But you were a media guy.

O'REILLY: Yeah. A media guy with a pen, not a gun. And people were shooting at me, Roger.

ROGER: People might think that you actually were in the military.

O'REILLY: Oh... We don't want to mislead anybody. But I made it quite clear... quite clear in many, many circumstances --

ROGER: [mumbles something about being, or not being, "fair and balanced"]

O'REILLY: [quietly disconnects Roger] Yeah. Hey listen, Roger. You can take your little "fair and balanced" uh... snip remark and shove it, okay? You're not getting on this air. Um... You, mister macho man, have never come close to anything I've done, down where I've been. So take a walk and... uh... 'nuff said.
The only people who ever shot at O'Falfel were probably the brothers, husbands, and boyfriends of all the women O'Falafel has threatened with his, um, falafel.

Rats! There used to be audio of this little exchange up at Al Franken's archive, but no more. If you can find it, let me know in comments and I'll post it. It really is priceless.

If he didn't exist, you'd have to invent him

Daily Kos traffic as Bill Orally has set out to "destroy" them:

There are people in the media that are more conservative than O'Reilly, but few possess the almost perfect composite of huge ego, pomposity, illogic, paranoia, and loudness to form the ultimate negative stereotype of the angry white conservative all while he is pathetically rich and spoiled.

Sean Hannity has his lack of intelligence and blatant insincerity, Limbaugh has his drug addiction and self-loathing, Ann Coulter has his shrillness and ballsack, L. Brent Bozell has his beard while he and seemingly dozens of right-wing bloviators have their legacies (daddy or mommy were mouth-breathing right wingers first) but nobody puts it together into a package of imminent meltdown like O'Reilly does.

And then to top it off, the guy is a twisted, repressed, and most of all a PATHETIC sex-freak so vane and so stupid that he paid millions in hush money AFTER he was exposed as a twisted sex-pervert!

It takes a special brand of moron to so happily and consistently play Wile E. Coyote.

Picture modified from TMZ.com

Hey, Iraqi Legislature...

In two years you've managed to accomplish absolutely nothing except make things worse, what are you gonna do?

"We're doin' what Deciders do!"

Iraq's parliament went on a one-month hiatus Tuesday afternoon, having not passed any significant legislation. Bush had outlined 4 'benchmarks' last January that the Iraqi government needed to meet by June. There were passage of a petroleum law, passage of a law specifying distribution of the petroleum revenues, revisions of debaathification rules [which harm Sunni Arabs], and progress on Sunni-Shiite reconciliation. Nothing has been accomplished on any of these fronts.

Oh, this sure sounds worth ignoring

David Brooks addresses poverty, Edwards and Obama.

Who knows more than Bobo about this subject?

Other than everyone.

Monday, July 30, 2007

And I'M Supposed to Piss Off Bill O'Reilly!

Because Falafel Day only comes once a year.

(Fuck you, Bill!)

I'm supposed to piss off Bill O'Reilly

By posting this:

But I'd rather piss him off by posting this:

What I would ask Bush today:

At this morning's presser/mumbler with Gordon Brown:

PRESIDENT BUSH: Look, people who kill innocent men, women and children to achieve political objectives are evil, that's what I think. I don't think there's any need to negotiate with them. I don't think there's any need to hope that they'll change. They are cold-blooded killers, and we better be clear-eyed when we're dealing with them.

So, when are you turning yourself over to the Hague?

While Hillary Clinton's cleavage is the talk of the media...

Mitt Romney is allowed to blatantly brag about his stools!

Tools with Stools, there's a solid platform on which to run.

I'm having a scatalogical puns overdose.

UPDATE: One more thing about Cleavage (as opposed to two more things).

All this attention paid to Hillary Clinton's rack is distracting voters from Jeri Thompson's pendulous right-leaning fun bags. It also detracts from the fact that Bush's close friend Karen Hughes also has a lovely rack, it is just that they are hard to see when covered by her lush & downy pelt.

Ingmar Bergman

Now available for chess.

And a tribute:

Oh Jeebus

What else is there, "Thunderbucket One"?

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Ironically, Brown looks scared shitless.

Fez tip to Eschaton Commenter pseudonymous in nc

Never having to change their tune

War cheerleaders and "liberal" cover providers Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack are now back to their usual tricks.

"Hey, Rich Lowry, we're winning!"

Once again, being consistently wrong about Iraq means not only never having to say you're sorry...but being allowed to spill your bullshit ad infinitum.

To his credit, Joe Klein manages not to be irritating, in addressing these two morons.

Meanwhile, Maliki wants Patraeus gone, not that Patraeus agrees...

And little Georgie decides to make things infinitely worse:

Liz Sly of the Trib reports on the tense Iraqi-Turkish border, made perilous by the safe harbor offered the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas by the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan. At the last checkpoint under Iraqi control, she is told, "There could be bombing, and there are terrorists everywhere."

This delicate problem, which could blow up the northern reaches of the Middle East, requires delicate diplomacy, right? Nope. Bush thinks all problems can be resolved with violence. Dark Prince Bob Novak says that Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman has briefed Congress on a covert US operation to help Turkey suppress the PKK. The quid pro quo would be that Turkey would not invade northern Iraq.

The problem? The Kurds are the only firm ally the US had in Iraq, and US special ops troops getting directly involved against the PKK might well alienate the Kurds in general. You can hear W.'s fingernails squeak as they dig into the face of the high cliff down which he is gradually sliding.

Juan Cole has quite a snark gene.

UPDATE: Meanwhile in the emerging paradise Pollack and O'Hanlon dream about by staying in the Green Zone and meeting those with a vested interest in blowing smoke up their ass...

BAGHDAD - A minibus exploded Monday in a Baghdad market, killing at least six people — a brutal reminder of the dangers facing Iraqis, who only hours ago were joyously united after their underdog national soccer team won the prestigious Asian Cup.

The U.S. military also said three soldiers had been killed in fighting in Anbar province west of Baghdad last Thursday. The deaths raised to at least 3,651 members of the U.S. military who have died since the start of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

In all, 58 people nationwide were killed by bombings and attacks.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The World We've made in a nutshell

Iraq wins the Asia Cup. The best day that country has had since the fall of Saddam.

So, Younis Mahmoud, Captain of the national team, are you going to Disney World?

Not exactly:

"I don't want the Iraqi people to be angry with me," he said. But, "If I go back with the team, anybody could kill me or try to hurt me.

"One of my closest friends, they (the authorities) came to arrest him, and for one year neither me nor his family knew where he is."

The Sunni Muslim Iraqi captain — who like the rest of the team wore a black arm band to remember the dozens killed by carbombers following the side's semifinal victory over South Korea on Wednesday — said the American presence in his homeland was a "problem."

"I want America to go out," he said. "Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, but out. I wish the American people didn't invade Iraq and hopefully it will be over soon."

There's your endorsement.


Jim Hoagland (a "serious" person who supported Operation Clusterfuck) doesn't like the price he is paying for being so horrendously wrong to the tune of half-a-trillion and 3,648 dead and counting:

The most vindictive bloggers and many others eager to push the mainstream media, established politicians or other remnants of the status quo off a stage that they want to occupy smash reputations with abandon to call attention to themselves. What do they have to lose in the unpoliced badlands of the ether? They contribute to a general deepening of cynicism in the land at no perceived cost to themselves.


Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice seem to be approaching the Iraq review with open minds. That goads the partisans into stepping up the skirmishing and the leaking, which by past Washington standards is still embryonic.

But the working groups (the other two cover economic sanctions and the no-flight zones over Iraq policed by U.S. and British planes) will provide excellent platforms for stealth assaults unless Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Ms. Rice get more of a handle on where the review is going.

Unidentified State Department officials have followed up an energetic trashing of the existing sanctions regime in the press with a campaign of character assassination aimed at Saddam's opponents, who are largely guilty of being friends of the diplomats' enemies at the Pentagon.

The Los Angeles Times on March 19 quoted anonymous U.S. and Arab diplomats and others as having called Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, "a crook" and a sponge who is hopeless when it comes to managing money.

Left out were Mr. Chalabi's Ph.D. in mathematics and other graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his success in founding an Amman bank that was expropriated and looted by the government of Jordan on trumped up charges of embezzlement, and his sacrifice of most of his fortune so that he can risk his life to fight Saddam.

Also left out was the salient fact that Mr. Chalabi has become the bête noire of the CIA and its friends at the State Department. He publicized the intelligence agency's gross failures in Iraq. A serious Iraq review would begin with a serious look at why and how the CIA fell on its face in Iraq under Bill Clinton.

Mr. Chalabi is a dedicated advocate of democracy who does fight against enormous military odds and deep religious and social divisions in the Arab world. A policy review dedicated to trashing him and other exiles is a shameful and self-defeating way to begin anew on Iraq. It is a phony way to argue that nothing can or should be done to oust the predatory psychopath who holds Iraq hostage.


How can ANYONE so abysmally, laughably, shit-facedly, wrong STILL DRAW A PAYCHECK let alone criticize those now criticizing him?

I'm not criticizing you Jim, I'm laughing in your sausage-stuffing face.


Broder is middleishist today:

Better late than never, President Bush has provoked what could be a serious debate on the future of health care by threatening to veto an extension of one of the most popular and successful government programs in that field.

Killing "good programs" -- it really is what "good debate" is all about.

Hey, it makes as much sense as the killer being in the back of the court room and admitting to everything under Matlock's folksy, yet cunning ways.

As with Iraq, Bush is prepared to use stubbornness and a veto pen to combat public opinion. The Democrats have the easy side of the argument, promising to insure more kids from low-income families that are too well off for Medicaid but not wealthy enough to afford private insurance.

Yeah, they have the facts and the policy merits on their side -- just like Iraq. Which is why Broder constantly brow-beats them over their extreme partisanship.

God forbid, being correct equals being partisan.

It would also be nice if Broder explained the extra-cost of covering these kids over several years would be the equivalent of 3 months of Iraq expenses (expenses that are off budget). Naturally, this would be too partisan.

I'm going to need an iron-plate in my head from all this head-banging.

David Ignatius: Democracy Lover

Surely a man so often wrong...

"Personally, I don't much care if the U.S. reports about weapons of mass destruction prove to be imaginary. Toppling Hussein's regime was still right."

...can find a way to blame YOU the American voter for what is going on in Iraq?

Why yes he can:

Future military planners will have to recognize that American democracy, in which political mandates must be renewed in two-year increments, makes us uniquely unsuited to fight protracted counterinsurgency wars. Petraeus likes to observe that it takes, on average, at least nine years to prevail in such a war. If that measure is correct, Petraeus must know there is little chance that a frustrated and angry American public will grant him enough time for success. So the question is: How to extricate ourselves in a way that minimizes the damage to the United States, its allies and Iraq?

Oh, damn us and our stupid requirement not to fight wars that are dreadfully unpopular. Who do we think we are, government of the people, by the people, and for the people?!

Besides, it is becoming evident from his editorials and appareances on right-wing talk shows the real question for Patraeus will be, "How big an advance can I get for my bio when I blame the Democrats for losing my lovely little war?"

Behind the wall

But this from Frank Rich deserves highlighting:

We already know what David [Patreaus] will say. He gave it away to The Times of London last month, when he said that September “is a deadline for a report, not a deadline for a change in policy.” In other words: Damn the report (and that irrelevant Congress that will read it) — full speed ahead. There will be no change in policy. As Michael Gordon reported in The New York Times last week, General Petraeus has collaborated on a classified strategy document that will keep American troops in Iraq well into 2009 as we wait for the miracles that will somehow bring that country security and a functioning government.

Though General Petraeus wrote his 1987 Princeton doctoral dissertation on “The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam,” he has an unshakable penchant for seeing light at the end of tunnels. It has been three Julys since he posed for the cover of Newsweek under the headline “Can This Man Save Iraq?” The magazine noted that the general’s pacification of Mosul was “a textbook case of doing counterinsurgency the right way.” Four months later, the police chief installed by General Petraeus defected to the insurgents, along with most of the Sunni members of the police force. Mosul, population 1.7 million, is now an insurgent stronghold, according to the Pentagon’s own June report.

By the time reality ambushed his textbook victory, the general had moved on to the mission of making Iraqi troops stand up so American troops could stand down. “Training is on track and increasing in capacity,” he wrote in The Washington Post in late September 2004, during the endgame of the American presidential election. He extolled the increased prowess of the Iraqi fighting forces and the rebuilding of their infrastructure.

The rest is tragic history. Were the Iraqi forces on the trajectory that General Petraeus asserted in his election-year pep talk, no “surge” would have been needed more than two years later. We would not be learning at this late date, as we did only when Gen. Peter Pace was pressed in a Pentagon briefing this month, that the number of Iraqi battalions operating independently is in fact falling — now standing at a mere six, down from 10 in March.

But even more revealing is what was happening at the time that General Petraeus disseminated his sunny 2004 prognosis. The best account is to be found in “The Occupation of Iraq,” the authoritative chronicle by Ali Allawi published this year by Yale University Press. Mr. Allawi is not some anti-American crank. He was the first civilian defense minister of postwar Iraq and has been an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki; his book was praised by none other than the Iraq war cheerleader Fouad Ajami as “magnificent.”

Mr. Allawi writes that the embezzlement of the Iraqi Army’s $1.2 billion arms procurement budget was happening “under the very noses” of the Security Transition Command run by General Petraeus: “The saga of the grand theft of the Ministry of Defense perfectly illustrated the huge gap between the harsh realities on the ground and the Panglossian spin that permeated official pronouncements.” Mr. Allawi contrasts the “lyrical” Petraeus pronouncements in The Post with the harsh realities of the Iraqi forces’ inoperable helicopters, flimsy bulletproof vests and toy helmets. The huge sums that might have helped the Iraqis stand up were instead “handed over to unscrupulous adventurers and former pizza parlor operators.”

It would be nice if Patraeus actually had to account for some of these questions when assessing his veracity. But as long as he only goes on talk shows with Hugh Hewitt, we'll be lucky to find out anything beyond the question of whether he thinks Democrats are "losers" or merely "defeatists".

Saturday, July 28, 2007

High Brow

Shorter Lisa "Who the Fuck is She?" Schiffren at the Wankhole:

This discussion of Hillary Clinton showing cleavage is demeaning to women, and besides she's a stove top! Harrumph!

Dear Cable Networks

I DARE YOU to hire this guy as a pundit!

It'll never happen, he speaks for the American Public.

Found at the Great Orange Satan.

Just Wondering

Will Deadeye Dick Cheney turn over presidential powers to 'Lil Boots Bush while the former undergoes surgery to replace the battery in his pacemaker today?

Maliki, he's a popular guy

He's almost as loved as the Decider:

He sure will be happy about this:

The U.S. military in Iraq is expanding its efforts to recruit and fund armed Sunni residents as local protection forces in order to improve security and promote reconciliation at the neighborhood level, according to senior U.S. commanders.

I guess the Second Amendment is in force in other countries too. Guns promoting reconciliation? Oh yeah, THAT'S A PLAN!!! When did Wayne LaPierre join the Pentagon?

I know I'm no pompous, always wrong military historian, like various and sundry Kagans; but somehow, when the Sunnis are the primary cause of American soldiers' deaths -- and we are trying to avoid an even worse civil war, arming large groups of one ethnicity just doesn't strike me as the wisest possible fucking course in the world.

But that's just me, the craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy liberal! (throw your hands up in the air when you say that out loud).

I'm sure this will make Maliki hap, hap, happy!

A key aide says Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s relations with U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus are so poor the Iraqi leader may ask Washington the withdraw the well-regarded U.S. military leader from duty here.

Meanwhile, the groups we are arming recently threw down the gauntlet (or pretended to throw down, the price of gauntlets is at an all time low -- I cannot even sell my "Gauntlets of Ogre Power" on e-bay):

The Shiite-led Iraqi government issued a sharp response Friday to a Sunni political bloc that is threatening to pull out of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's administration, saying the group's "threatening, pressuring and blackmail" will not impede Iraq's progress.

In a four-page statement, Maliki spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh dismissed each of the 11 demands made by the Iraqi Accordance Front, the country's largest Sunni political group. Dabbagh accused the Accordance Front of working for its own political gains rather than for the benefit of the Iraqi people.

Damn, that political progress stemming from the surge is fan-damn-tastic.

I tremble at such awesomeness!

To summarize:

- The Sunnis hate the Shiia government.
- The Sunnis hate the American occupation.
- The Shiia's reject Sunni demands.
- A civil war is going on.
- The Americans give guns to the Sunnis and the Government to the Shiia.

WOW, what could possibly go wrong?

With Friends Like These

As a supplement to Attaturk's post immediately below, take a look at this anecdote about our good pals the Saudis from Tariq Ali writing in the London Review of Books:
The day after the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 a Saudi woman resident in London, a member of a wealth family, rang her sister in Riyadh to discuss the crisis affecting the kingdom. Her niece answered the phone.

"Where's your mother?"

"She's here, dearest aunt, and I'll get her in a minute, but is that all you have to say to me? No congratulations for yesterday?"

The dearest aunt, out of the country for far too long, was taken aback. She should not have been. The fervour that didn’t dare show itself in public was strong even at the upper levels of Saudi society. US intelligence agencies engaged in routine surveillance were, to their immense surprise, picking up unguarded cellphone talk in which excited Saudi princelings were heard revelling in bin Laden’s latest caper. Like the CIA, they had not thought it possible for him to reach such heights.
Saw Robert Dallek on a Daily Show rerun yesterday. He was there to discuss his new book Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power, but the part that I remember was his concern that BushCo is scrubbing the record of its activities as it goes along its merry way.

I wonder how many Dalleks it will take thirty years down the road to unravel the twisting, turning, torturous relationship we have with the Saudis, especially when evidence of it is probably being disappeared even as I type this.

(via Rick Perlstein)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bush World

Two stories, one day, one paper.

This morning:

The Bush administration’s frustration with the Saudi government has increased in recent months because it appears that Saudi Arabia has stepped up efforts to undermine the Maliki government and to pursue a different course in Iraq from what the administration has charted. Saudi Arabia has also stymied a number of other American foreign policy initiatives, including a hoped-for Saudi embrace of Israel.

This evening:

The Bush administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve an arms sale package for Saudi Arabia and its neighbors that is expected to total $20 billion over the next decade at a time when some United States officials contend that the Saudis are playing a counterproductive role in Iraq.

Sorry Douchebag of Liberty

Bob Novak’s heaven: A ‘place where there are no blogs.’

I've got some bad news for you Bob, you'll be working here.

Frankly, this should work pretty well with many Republicans

Oh, Human Events, you conservative perverts:

Yes, it's right up there with CNBC's 2006 Mid-Term Guide:

Why Executive Privilege

In the Pat Tillman case.

I long ago learned NEVER to underestimate the Bush Administration's capacity for being assholes and using Tillman for propaganda purposes. And this just adds to the list:

_ In his last words moments before he was killed, Tillman snapped at a panicky comrade under fire to shut up and stop "sniveling."

_ Army attorneys sent each other congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or non-criminal, punishments.

_ The three-star general who kept the truth about Tillman's death from his family and the public told investigators some 70 times that he had a bad memory and couldn't recall details of his actions.

_ No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene - no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck.

The Pentagon and the Bush administration have been criticized in recent months for lying about the circumstances of Tillman's death. The military initially told the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by enemy fire. Only weeks later did the Pentagon acknowledge he was gunned down by fellow Rangers.

All of this, especially the bolded section makes it incredibly suspicious when one recalls that within the last two weeks...

Bush claims executive privilege on Tillman

When exactly did Bush know how Tillman had been killed? Was it before or after the funeral?

Were Bush Administration officials, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Feith, Rove, Cheney, Libby, or even Bush, involved in the legal process to prevent a criminal investigation -- which from the circumstances seems necessary?

Sure would be nice to see the screws put to the Administration to be honest for a change, especially on such a viscerally known case.

Ah, the classics

Forget Fox News, Republicans afraid of average Americans

GOP Contenders are afraid of Americans asking them questions through a series of tubes...



It isn't fear of contagion that keeps folks away from you:

Slippery Slope? [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

Just a coincidence that this happened in Massachusetts?

Sherborn teen charged with bestiality

(And no I'm not equating men and dogs.)

I suppose you've fallen out of what passes for love, to you, with Mitt Romney, but that doesn't mean he boned the dog before confining it into the kennel during the MORON 500.

Shorter Chuckles Krauthammer

"Talking to people I don't like is naive. However, bombing the fuck out of people I don't like is the soul of wisdom."

Progress Progressing Progressively

Damn, but those Kagans know all about security and how things are getting better. Besides, what kind of a society needs electricity? They can just drink the oil!

As the Bush administration struggles to convince lawmakers that its Iraq war strategy is working, it has stopped reporting to Congress a key quality-of-life indicator in Baghdad: how long the power stays on.

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that Baghdad residents could count on only "an hour or two a day" of electricity. That's down from an average of five to six hours a day earlier this year.

But that piece of data has not been sent to lawmakers for months because the State Department, which prepares a weekly "status report" for Congress on conditions in Iraq, stopped estimating in May how many hours of electricity Baghdad residents typically receive each day.

Oh, I'm sure there's no fudging going on there.

Takedown 101

This would be a perfect example.

I'd be remiss if I didn't also note this from Digby on the whole Beauchamp reaction from the right, which is shameful even by their low-standards:

Thank God Joseph Heller and James Jones and Erich Maria Remarque and countless others aren't trying to write their books today. They'd be burned as heretics by a bunch of nasty boys and girls who have fetishized "the troops" into a strange form of Boy Band eroticism --- the empty, nonthreatening form of masculinity that the tweens use to bridge the scary gap between puberty and adolescence. Private Peter Pan reporting for duty.

The real men for them are the civilians on 24 torturing suspected terrorists for an hour each week, keeping the Lil'est Tough guys safe from harm with hard sadism and easy answers. That's where this wingnut war is really being fought. With popcorn.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The FUNK of the internets

What can one say?

Crazy Stuff [John Podhoretz]

There's a lot of crazy stuff circulating around the Internet about Scott Beauchamp. Some of it is from his own literarily overwrought blog, which reveals Beauchamp is an ambitious guy who was hooked on portentous and pretentious writing (his own and other writers') well before he arrived in Baghdad. But there's other crazy stuff too. Someone has purportedly discovered that Beauchamp is engaged to a New Republic staffer because of an Internet wedding registry...

The wankerous irony of John Podhoretz mocking someone's writing skills and discussing rumors of familial connections considering he has his job because of HIS DADDY...


It is amazing that after days spent denying this guy existed, then being proven wrong, these alleged lovers of American Soldiers are going all out to make sure this poor sap gets fragged.

Shoot The Messenger

I mean to write about this when I first went, but time got away from me. Anyway ...

Lizz Winstead -- she of "The Daily Show" and "Air America" before it totally sucked -- has a new project. It's called "Shoot The Messenger" and it's a live sketch comedy that spoofs 24-hour cable news networks. The "Shoot" people go after them all. You get the deceit of Fux, the dunderheadedness of CNN, and everything in between.

The show's live every Monday at the Ace of Clubs Caberet in NYC (downstairs from Acme Bar & Grill). The first night was sort of rocky, but I have a feeling it will tighten up and get better as it goes along. I saw Rachel Maddow of AAR fame there and she is just cute as a button.

So if you're in New York and looking for somethign to do on a Monday evening, check it out. And be sure to try the pecan pie upstairs. A friend of mine makes it and it's delish!


Glenn Greenwald exposes here the fallacy of the beltway journalist mindset. To be sure, Klein's appearance on the blogosphere has liberated him to throw an occasional hard punch at the establishment. Blogging has allowed Klein to occasionally throw off the chains that bind him, but those chains are apparently hard to let go. People like Klein can't admit that they are wrong and have an even more difficult time admitting that others are correct. Examples like the one Greenwald gives are instructive:

The "Serious" mockery stems from the fact that his views are unaccompanied by any such work and are devoid of any critical thought. Klein, for instance, famously defended the President's NSA lawbreaking by admitting his Bush defense rested in blissful ignorance: "People like me who favor this program don't yet know enough about it yet. Those opposed to it know even less -- and certainly less than I do."

That is what a Serious Person does -- blindly trusts the President even when he breaks the law, and demonizes as Unserious those who object to presidential lawbreaking, exactly what Klein did when he scorned Unserious Nancy Pelosi in the pages of Time because she said that George Bush should not commit felonies when spying on Americans. Klein called objections to Bush's lawbreaking "civil-liberties fetishism" and said "these concerns [i.e., that Bush broke the law] pale before the importance of the program."
Klein also warned that if Democrats continued to object to illegal eavesdropping, "they will probably not regain the majority in Congress or the country," because "liberal Democrats are . . . far from the American mainstream" on this issue. The hallmark of Beltway Seriousness is the inability to do anything other than spout authority-worshipping conventional wisdom ("you better revere the President even when he breaks the law, and stop investigating him so much, or else you will lose elections") which is wrong time and again, while branding as "Unserious" anyone who challenges Beltway orthodoxy and, especially, who opposes too strenuously the High Beltway media and government priests. That is the essence of Beltway Seriousness.

Any pundit that could produce that kind of tripe, like Klein, really does need liberating. And any pundit that thinks he is serious because he can advocate either side or both sides of an argument proves only that he wants to show he is above others because he knows something the rest of us don't.

Where are the fucking Oompa-Loompas?

To roll this piece of shite away?

REUTERS/Larry Downing

Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do
Look at this watery hunk of poo
Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-da-dee
If life was just, he'd do a life term or three

War fighting's fine when it's just pretend
It's not very funny when you torture your friends
So you're repulsive, revolting, and wrong
Lying and cheating all day long

The way that Saddam did

Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-dar
If there was a God, you'd never go far
You should live in misery too
Like most war criminals do

Fez tip to Pony Boy

Oh my,


PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) -- Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours.

His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means the patient has less than four hours to live.

"He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," Dr. David Dosa said in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Sadly, the cat is not 100% accurate (or is he?)

Announcing "Operation: Nah, that's too much Hard Work"

Yes, we must keep stayin' and dyin' and failin' and cryin' in the land we invaded for no other reason but one man's ego.

But the actual, original goal of the "War on Terror" which morphed into the "War of Error"? Well...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's safe haven in northwestern Pakistan is largely inaccessible to outside forces and unlikely to be eliminated soon by the U.S. or Pakistani military, top intelligence officials said on Wednesday.

Well, good thing invading and occupying a nation unaffiliated before the invasion and occupation with Al Qaeda IS SO FUCKING EASY THEN!


In today's episode, David Broder phones telegraphs semaphores it in.

Weigh to find a "weighty" issue there Mr. Peepers.

And now, enhanced Matlock viewing with David Broder's thoughts!

Oh, damn Joe you so funny

I just observed Joe Scarborough mocking John Edwards for riding a bike with Lance Armstrong and wearing spandex (as if ONLY spandex) and a bike helmet -- the implication is Edwards is effete and not a real man.

REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Apparently, none of these sins can be imputed to George W. Bush, Scarborough's boy in 2000 and 2004.

Pure unadulterated spandex, with nothing between it and his tiny, tiny, tiny jewels.

Of course, John Edwards can actually stay upright on his bike...

And I am just going to take a guess that Edwards might actually not be left alone on a bike ride while a terror alert drill occurs at the White House.

Now I know that actually LYING about John Edwards wearing only spandex is funny to Joe -- almost as funny as the occasional dead intern in your Congressional office -- but watching the lie is amusing.

One bullshit line after the other

Sorry, not falling for it:

The U.S. military has noted a "significant improvement" in the aim of attackers firing rockets and mortars into the heavily fortified Green Zone in the past three months that it has linked to training in Iran, a top commander said Thursday.

He read that just like David Addington wrote it.

Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, the top day-to-day U.S. commander in Iraq, also expressed cautious optimism over a decline in the number of American troops killed this month. At least 60 U.S. troops have died so far in July after the death toll topped 100 for the previous three months, according to an Associated Press tally based on military statements.

Oh, Hooray, we're just under 3 needless deaths a day instead of 4.

Except, there's a pattern to July the last couple years...

8-2005........85 deaths
7-2005........54 deaths
6-2005........78 deaths

and then:

8-2006........65 deaths
7-2006........43 deaths
6-2006........61 deaths

Someday we will build an "Iraq War Memorial", where emblazoned upon it will be all the sound bytes, false claims, twisted facts, and declarations of success on top of the ever piling number of deaths, missing limbs, and off-budget hundreds of billions.

I'm starting to believe....

This will be the year, a Scotsman finally wins the Tour de France!


Reading the occasional negative 'The Simpson Movie' review in Comic Store Guy voice is, not surprisingly, as delightful to the reader as it is annoying to the listener.

Yeah, nobody saw that one coming.

Who'd have thought?

That suddenly Hockey is the cleanest sport on earth?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No More Mister Nice Guy

Impeachment: Josh Marshall goes there.

FOX-NEWS in History

A pattern of convenient mislabeling? Oh, I don't know...






My Marc Maron Nightmare

Last night I had my Marc Maron dream for the third time.

In the dream, Maron plays one-half of a hit man team along with Billy Bob Thornton. Billy Bob is the mean one and Maron is, of course, the funny one. Maron is determined to kill me, mind you; but he goes about it in a Maron sort of way, which is to say that he explains and apologizes while sub-referencing politics, relationships, pop culture, his own neuroses, and all matter of fucked-upedness plaguing our planet.

Anyway, in last night's edition I was trapped in the bathroom of one of those anonymous, ubiquitous condos that keep springing up on once-crappy stretches of various Manhattan avenues. Maron and Billy Bob are pounding on the door; but Maron somehow sneaks in and lets me slip down the service stairway before Billy Bob can shoot me full of holes. (Maron has let me escape in the two previous editions of the dream, too.)

So what does this all mean? Freud would probably say, "The comedian you are dreaming about represents your father." Albert Ellis, who died yesterday, would probably say, "Who gives a good goddamn what it means? Stop trying to explain it. Avoid irrational thinking. Oh, and have sex!" (This is not bad advice in general.) My siblings would probably say, "It means you are gay." Fans of the late, great "Morning Sedition" would probably say that the dream is an expression of the emptiness I feel at not having Maron to wake up to. And the new owner of Air America, Mark Green (not to mention all of that wretched network's various and sundry owners and executives, current and former), would, quite properly, hang his head in shame when asked anything about Maron.

I welcome your interpretations of this nightmare. Oh, and if you live in Scotland, you can see Maron at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh next week.

Here's a journalist

Not a war cheerleader, what you don't understand about Iraq -- can get Americans killed.

Via Attytood, this is not to be linked to by Glenn Reynolds...

As pilgrims marched by our Baghdad bureau on their way to Karbala, I could hear them chant: "Kul yom Ashura! Kul ard Karbala!" or "Every day is Ashura! All land is Karbala!" Simply put, they were saying, everyday and everywhere in Iraq, Shi'ites are reliving Hussein's battles in Karbala. There was no talk of democracy or the Ba'ath Party, Saddam Hussein or the U.S. troop "surge," or other subjects that dominate the Iraq debate in the United States. Instead, it is apparent that many of Iraq's Shi'ites believe they are fighting a different war from the one many in the United States see their troops engaged in here, and for different reasons.

Many Sunni groups in Iraq are also fighting a war that seems to have little in common with the official U.S. and Iraqi characterization of the conflict. Al-Qaeda in Iraq and its allies recently formed an umbrella group they call Dowlit al-Islam, or the Islamic State in Iraq. After the group claimed responsibility for bombing the Iraqi parliament building in Baghdad's Green Zone in April, the group issued an Internet statement explaining its motivation. The group said the suicide bomber who attacked parliament's cafeteria and killed one lawmaker was motivated to kill "the traitors and collaborators" who had sold out to a "Zionist-Persian" conspiracy to control Iraq. From what they wrote, they seem to believe they are fighting Israel, Iran and their agents, not the U.S. mission to bring democracy to Iraq...

U.S. politicians and military commanders often complain that the Iraqi government "won't step up and do its job." The impression they give is that Iraqi officials are sitting around smoking hooka pipes and refusing to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, while U.S. troops are fighting and dying to "get the job done." Perhaps the question should be, "Which job?" American soldiers often ask me when the Iraqis will "step up and fight for their own country." They are already fighting for their country. Iraqi officials, religious leaders, militia groups, Syria, Iran and al-Qaeda are struggling and dying to get a "job done" in Iraq, though it does not appear to be the job the White House would like them to be doing.

It isn't that the Iraqis are cowards, it is that most of them want something different than what we want. We removed Saddam, but we cannot impose our will at all places for all times within that nation. It is their country, what they want -- or rather what the strongest group wants (undoubtedly some form of Shiia amalgamation) is going to come to pass. We cannot prevent it, we can only have Americans die and the nation go broke while delaying its eventuality.

What have the Kagans been Wrong about Now?

It's been a while since "America's First Family of War Whores" has written an article. Two whole weeks. Surely, pugnacious Brian Dennehy look-alike Robert Kagan is due to publish an editorial this Sunday in the Fred Hiatt Section of the Washington Post?

So we must travel back to the nostalgic days of early July 2007 to find this bon mot from Holly Gofightly of the Kagans, Kimberly who said:

Today, Iraq is a different place from what it was six months ago. U.S. and Iraqi forces began their counterinsurgency campaign in Baghdad in February. They moved into the neighborhoods and worked side-by-side with Baghdadis. As a result, sectarian violence is down. The counterinsurgency strategy has dramatically decreased Shiite death squad activity in the capital.

In the words commonly heard in the military history section of AEI (outside of "I'm turning in my cards for 15 armies"), "OOPS!":

Up to 592 unidentified bodies were found dumped in different parts of Baghdad in the period between June 18 and July 18, 2007, according to figures based on media reports compiled by Iraq Slogger. Most of the bodies found by the police – an average of 20 a day – are bound, blindfolded and shot execution style, victims of sectarian violence carried out by both Sunni and Shi’ite death squads. Many also bear signs of torture or mutilation, according to medical sources in Baghdad. Despite official Iraqi and U.S. statements to the contrary, the reports indicate that the number of unidentified bodies in the capital has risen again to pre-surge levels over the last two months.

A quick look at the map shows that over half the bodies are found in five specific districts of Baghdad: Amil (100 bodies), Saidiya (84), Bayya’ (67), Sadr City (39), and Dora (33), respectively. With the exception of Sadr City and Dora, both of which are almost completely cleansed from their former minority Sunni and Shi’ite communities, all mentioned districts are mixed and are witnessing a power struggle between Sunni and Shi’ite militants to control them and drive the other community out. They are also the least affected by current U.S. and Iraqi military operations in the capital, as media reports indicate that the U.S. military usually focuses on districts where they are attacked – such as the Sunni districts of Adhamiya, Jami’a and Khadhraa’ – rather than districts witnessing gruesome sectarian reprisal killings. Shi’ite-dominated Interior Ministry commandos currently patrol the top three districts in the list.

The five districts are closely followed by Ghazaliya, Shu’la and Mansour, with 21 bodies found in each over the same period. Incidentally, districts completely controlled by either Sunni or Shi’ite militias had witnessed the least number of unidentified corpses. Two thirds of the bodies were found in western Baghdad, while half the number was found in the districts south of the Baghdad International Airport highway alone.

In other words the surge isn't accomplishing shit on its most fundamental claimed basis, the sectarian battles and ethnic cleansing continue unabated. Only where it has already been completely accomplished has the killing dropped.

It is the success of the cleansing that drops sectarian deaths, not the Kagan's beloved Surge. All that has accomplished is increased American casualties, increased expense, and a perpetual delay of George Bush taking responsibility. So they continue to get to lie -- I guess that's the most important form of "Mission Accomplished" to them. Thanks Don, thanks Fred, thanks Robert, thanks Kimberly - Medals of Freedom all around.

And most recently?

July 24 (Reuters) - Following are security developments in Iraq at 2000 GMT on Tuesday:

* BAGHDAD - Eighteen bodies were found around Baghdad on Tuesday, police said. Most were believed to be victims of sectarian violence.

BAGHDAD - The bodies of 24 people, most with bullet wounds and showing signs of torture, were found in different parts of Baghdad throughout Monday, police said.

Digby, You Magnificent Bastard...


Note: I know she's not a dude, but she did beat me to what I was going to write about.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

While your getting Ralph Peters Rx...

Pick up something for Michael Ledeen who is having an existential meltdown and needs his mommy after the announcement that talks will continue with Iraq about setting up a 3-way security committee with the U.S. & Iraq:

Just what we needed. Just when we are winning the war, arresting Iranians daily, and destroying their Sunni and Shi'ite proxies, the appeasement lobby snatches a new defeat from victory's jaws. Probably the deep thinkers at the White House are telling each other how this will deflect any criticism from those who accuse them of planning war with Iran. I hope they enjoy it, because Iran is planning a lot more war with us.

Reality has a terrible "temporary" effect upon the mind determined to believe in his own shadows and fictions.

He has the vapahs!

The depths

Oh, Ralph Peters needs that prescription updated stat!

Despite including many fine combat commanders, our military leadership could fail in Iraq, defeated by terrorists, rough-hewn insurgents and shabby militiamen who understood America's limitations better than the generals did.

The generals point out that they don't control the strategic decisions, that all they can do is to follow orders, that then-secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wouldn't listen to anyone, that Congress undercut the military, that the media's behavior has been pernicious, and that Iraq's political leaders have failed their country.

Each claim is true. Even so, as the Army taught me, "The maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters." Our generals must shoulder their share of the blame for the mess in Iraq.

Our current system of selecting generals produces George Pattons in bulk. But it hasn't produced another George Marshall, the general who had the ethical force to disagree — respectfully — with his president when victory was at stake.

Decades of observation of our generals taught me that battlefield lions turn to jellyfish in Washington. Our elected leaders, ever fewer of whom have served in uniform, do not get frank, direct and routine military advice.

Sixty years of misguided "reforms" emplaced multiple buffers between the president and his top generals. Given the number of White House gatekeepers today, the relationship that Gen. Marshall had with FDR would be impossible — unless the president wanted it, which today's presidents don't.

Somebody should point out to Ralph this tension predates World War II as well. George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside and Joseph Hooker were not all that buffered from Lincoln and they still managed to be damn unaccomplished as military commanders. Fortunately, Lincoln was up for the task. Folks like George Marshall are not terribly common in history and he was fortunately paired with an outstanding President in FDR. Fortunately for the nation before, and a curse to our time, few Presidents are as pathetic as our current occupant.

It's quite a toxic cocktail.

And poor Ralph is left here watching his beloved war go down the shitter, maybe someday he will look in the mirror.

Lighten Up, Francesco.


ONE of the last things a fledgling New York City business wants to do is alienate a powerful city politician. But that is exactly what happened to Scott and Kim Myles, the owners of 5 Boroughs Ice Cream.

In June, James P. Molinaro, the Staten Island borough president, issued a statement attacking the couple’s Staten Island Landfill flavor (which contains fudge, pieces of brownies and cherries) as “insulting and derogatory” to the borough, and urged that New Yorkers boycott all of the company’s flavors.

But after the boycott, four Whole Foods stores in Manhattan quadrupled their ice cream orders and Whole Foods affiliates in Connecticut and New Jersey began ordering the company’s ice cream for the first time. The Myleses, who live in Astoria, Queens, attribute the rise in orders to publicity from the boycott. “It tripled our sales and gave us a lot of momentum,” Mr. Myles said.

It's called a sense of humor, Mr. Molinaro.

This isn't the first time some dingbat Staten Island politician has demonstrated why the adage about keeping one's mouth closed and being thought a fool rather than opening it and removing all doubt has such resonance. Remember the Venturi Scott Staten Island Ferry Terminal clock controversy? Then-borough president Guy Molinari thought the clock (rendered here) "insulting" to the good citizens of Staten Island whom, it was thought (by Molinari and, seemingly, Molinari only), would be stressed out as they eyed the clock while crossing the harbor en route to jobs in Manhattan.
Please. The only thing stressing out those ferry commuters would be the crazy shit they were reading in wingnut-penned columns in the NY Post. Have I mentioned that Staten Island is the most heavily Republican borough in the city?
Meanwhile, the Landfill flavor sounds pretty good, as does the straight-outta-Astoria Bakla-Wha. I think I will check it out.

Serious people for serious times

What can one say about Joe Klein? -- for every step forward, there's two farts back:

Well, I had doubts about it...but the youtube format was pretty good. The informality and the irreverence of questions was classicly American. The answer to Drudge's mocking headline "Is This Any Way to Elect A President?" is:

Hell, yeah. It's a lot better than electing a President by having the Democratic candidate slimed via sleazy Republican leaks to your site, Matt.

Yes, how dare Drudge engage in petty gotcha games and shallow analysis when there is a need for substance. Damn right, Joe. You tell 'em.

And then...the most ironic paragraph ever written:

Edwards--Best of the candidate commercials. Very clever "hair" offering, mixing gossip about his haircuts with images of Iraq and Katrina. Generally strong and gracious responses. (Though wildly stupid to say that he didn't like Hillary Clinton's blouse.) But on the subject of haircuts, if I were spending all that money, I'd have the barber add a little gray: I'm not sure why it is, but Edwards comes off as too much the tyro to be a President. Appearances do matter. Sorry.

Joe, you are such a bitch!

The Blues Broders

CNN, and the other media, often just cannot believe the things that come out of the Decider's mouth. It must be those crazy bloggers.

Well, Bush does say some crazy-ass shit and never gets called on it.

President George W Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.

...Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003.

Nabil Shaath says: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Abu Mazen was at the same meeting and recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

My other favorite "God military adviser" moment from Bush is this rather under-reported moment:
Pat Robertson, in an interview with CNN that aired Tuesday night, said God had told him that the war would be messy and a disaster. When he met with Bush in Nashville before the war Bush did not listen to his advice, Robertson said, and believed Saddam Hussein was an evil tyrant who needed to be removed.

"He was just sitting there, like, 'I'm on top of the world,' and I warned him about this war," Robertson said.

"I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you better prepare the American people for casualties.' 'Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties.' 'Well,' I said, 'it's the way it's going to be.' And so, it was messy. The lord told me it was going to be, A, a disaster and, B, messy."

So I guess Bush will be blaming God now.


I have a feeling Patraeus is now "totally too busy" to talk to someone who is not totally syncophantic:

I am writing to request an interview with General David Petraeus, to be broadcast in its entirety on the Alan Colmes Show, along with a full, unedited transcript to be published as the feature story on Salon.

There was some controversy triggered when Gen. Petraeus this week gave an exclusive interview to highly partisan, pro-war Republican talk show host and blogger Hugh Hewitt. Concerns were expressed that Gen. Petraeus was submitting to interviews only with those who have a reputation for conducting highly reverent and uncritical interviews with Bush officials and military commanders.

As a fervent supporter of the Bush administration and the Iraq war, Hewitt's questions were, as one would expect, designed to enable Gen. Petraeus to make statements without any questioning or challenge.

As I am much more of a war skeptic than Hewitt, both the questions I would pose and the audience which would be exposed to the interview would be different than the one Gen. Petraeus conducted with Hewitt. It is my sincere hope that Gen. Petraeus, in order to facilitate as honest and robust a public discussion as possible, is willing to discuss the situation in Iraq and the merits of the current strategy with both supporters and critics of the initiative.

I'm pretty sure that Glenn Greenwald is NOT on the White House spin list, like the whitest man on earth.

Oh, this is unnecessary

Astronaut tosses junk from space station

Painful, and makes docking very difficult.

Order those copies of "Breathing for Dummies"

Apparently, some folks at "Red State" need them.

A political comedian, and not exactly an unknown one, writes some biting satire, and suddenly some right-wingers are freaking out.

Look, I know that other being TOLD that Dennis Miller is funny many readers of RedState lack the ability to know what satire is, other than an Ann Coulter excuse macro, but come on?

You can argue whether it is "good" satire (The Colbert Report) , or "bad" satire (Michelle Malkin displaying her half-inch vertical leap), but you cannot argue over whether it is satire.

Apparently no one remembers the Daily Show's history or Saturday Night Live from the 19890s 1980s.

It's from "A. Whitney Brown" (as opposed to "THE Whitney Brown" [his joke]. Well known political satirist. Here is his resume.

What a bunch of cretins.

Your Tubes

Well, I only saw bits and pieces of the latest dog & pony show, but it sure looked less doggy and pony than the other debates.

I think the bottom line is, even when they cannot do follow up, the average American with a digital camera is slightly less of a ham and substantially more intelligent than a cable news talking head.

Eliot, You Ass!

Dear Governor Spitzer,

Joe Bruno and Sheldon Silver have been fucking up New York for years. Diluting their power and death grip on Albany would do wonders for the state. Given these two old farts' track records of obstructing progress, running the state like their own personal fiefdoms, and, in Bruno's case, being a Republican it should be easy. That means you needn't have resorted to acting like a garden variety Republican thug to do it. Honestly, I don't know what's come over you. Maybe you got a little excited by your 69% mandate last fall. Maybe your bull-in-a-china-shop nature overcame your common sense. Maybe you're not as smart as I think you are. Whatever it is, do us a favor and cut the crap. It's going to be hard enough to recover from the twelve years of George Pataki and six years of George W. Bush without having to defend Democrats who run their operations like Republican goons and give the David Broder's of this world fodder for their "Both sides do it!" shrieking.

Dealing with entrenched power like that of Bruno and Silver is going to take a lot more wit and a little more subtlety. Surely they must have taught you something about that at Harvard Law School?


Monday, July 23, 2007

"And now for the Baby!"

George has been inspired to give colonoscopies to everyone he runs into.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Fuck you Timmah

Tim Russert swallows the Fred Hiatt defense -- Iraq is all the Democrats fault:

MR. RUSSERT: I think a big tactical mistake from a Democratic perspective. There are 30 Republican senators who are desperate to get away from President Bush. They’ve been pushed back toward President Bush by, one, Harry Reid making this more partisan, and a censure resolution would make it hyper- partisan. So I think it would be huge for the whole political landscape if those Republicans drifted away from Bush. But it’s not going to happen if there’s censure resolutions, if it’s a partisan debate.

Oh please just kill me now.

Even under the spin that Li'l Russ spews, the so-called 30 GOP Senators desperate to get away from Bush, but willing to let kids die because of mean ol' Harry Reid indicates one thing.


You know, while I am at it and dissecting the toolish ruminations of the special education panel Timmah had on yesterday (David Brooks, Cheney Blowographer Stephen Hayes, and Bob Woodward) I have to take notice of this. Listen to el Bobo pontificate:

MR. BROOKS: Well, if we leave, we could see 250,000 Iraqis die. You had the John Burns’ quotation earlier in the program. So are we willing to prevent 10,000 Iraqi deaths a month at the cost of 125 Americans? ...

MR. WOODWARD: And the problem, though, is, we don’t know. People can say, “Oh, it’s going to be a disaster.”

MR. BROOKS: Uh-huh.

MR. WOODWARD: I mean, you cite numbers which you have pulled out of the air of 10,000 dying. I mean, that’s—that—where does that come from?

MR. BROOKS: Well, A, it comes from John Burns. Second, it comes from the national intelligence...

MR. WOODWARD: Well, no, he doesn’t say 10,000.

MR. BROOKS: Well, no, no, but it talks about genocide.


MR. BROOKS: So I just picked that 10,000 out of the air.

"I got that number from John Burns my ass"

Look, last October, the death estimate methods that our government has trusted for throwing out numbers in every other civil conflict estimated the increased deaths due to our invasion of Iraq was likely 650,000 (through bombings, shootings, beatings, but also through lessened medical care, medical conditions, stress and other health rated conditions, suicides, nutrition, less healthy births, lack of medicines, etc.)

That was published three-quarters of a year ago -- I don't think anybody is proclaiming the death rate has slowed appreciably over prior years at this time, only at the rate of just before surge began...even the Kagans admit that.

I know the neo-cons have managed to drive this number into being too dangerous to say in this country, but if, all things being considered there are now another several tens of thousands dead, 10,000 a month are dying now.

How much worse can it really get? Even Bobo's out of his ass number is less than the death rate based on the Lancet estimates.

Show Trials & Kangaroo Courts

Cuba, of course, is no stranger to the misuse and abuse of the legal system. Not long after Castro came to power trials were held of former regime members and accused sympathizers where "justice" was meted out before crowds of thousands. The kind of thing that would have led Joe Stalin to say, "Why didn't I think of that?" It should be noted that Castro was hardly the first Cuban dictator to so abuse the legal process.

So it is with particular poignancy that thanks to the Bush Administration, we have managed to set up a farce of justice that continues in that grand tradition.

Stephen E. Abraham’s assignment to the Pentagon unit that runs the hearings at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, seemed a perfect fit.

A lawyer in civilian life, he had been decorated for counterespionage and counterterrorism work during 22 years as a reserve Army intelligence officer in which he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. His posting, just as the Guantánamo hearings were accelerating in 2004, gave him a close-up view of the government’s detention policies.

It also turned him into one of the Bush administration’s most unlikely adversaries.

In June, Colonel Abraham became the first military insider to criticize publicly the Guantánamo hearings, which determine whether detainees should be held indefinitely as enemy combatants. Just days after detainees’ lawyers submitted an affidavit containing his criticisms, the United States Supreme Court reversed itself and agreed to hear an appeal arguing that the hearings are unjust and that detainees have a right to contest their detentions in federal court.

Some lawyers say Colonel Abraham’s account — of a hearing procedure that he described as deeply flawed and largely a tool for commanders to rubber-stamp decisions they had already made — may have played an important role in the justices’ highly unusual reversal. That decision once again brought the administration face to face with the vexing legal, political and diplomatic questions about the fate of Guantánamo and the roughly 360 men still held there.

“Nobody stood up and said the emperor’s wearing no clothes,” Colonel Abraham said in an interview. “The prevailing attitude was, ‘If they’re in Guantánamo, they’re there for a reason.’ ”

I believe those latter quotes sure seem a lot like they come from the grimace of Dick Cheney and/or Bill Kristol.

Critics of the administration’s detention policies have questioned the hearings’ fairness, noting that detainees are not permitted lawyers and cannot see much of the evidence. Pentagon officials have said such criticism is not meaningful because a combatant status hearing “is not a criminal trial.” They note that 38 of the 558 cases ended in decisions favorable to the detainees.

But Colonel Abraham said that in meetings with top officials of the office, it was clear that such findings were discouraged. “Anything that resulted in a ‘not enemy combatant’ would just send ripples through the entire process,” he said. “The interpretation is, ‘You got the wrong result. Do it again.’ ”...

...One of the tribunals the lawyers have learned more about since then was the one on which Colonel Abraham sat. Documents they have gathered show that he was assigned to the panel in November 2004. The detainee was a Libyan, captured in Afghanistan, who was said to have visited terrorist training camps and belonged to a Libyan terrorist organization.

By a vote of 3 to 0, the panel found that “the detainee is not properly classified as an enemy combatant and is not associated with Al Qaeda or Taliban.”

Two months later, apparently after Pentagon officials rejected the first decision, the detainee’s case was heard by a second panel. The conclusion, again by a vote of 3 to 0, was quite different: “The detainee is properly classified as an enemy combatant and is a member of or associated with Al Qaeda.”

Colonel Abraham was never assigned to another panel.

What an amazingly even-handed process.

One Country, One Standard

The Divine watertiger recommended Kevin Baker's takedown of Rudy "Bada" Giuliani in the August Harper's. The article is unfortunately not online; but even if it was, Harper's website is so bad I doubt you could find it. But I digress.

The article reminded me of one of Rudy's 1993 campaign slogans -- "One City, One Standard" -- which he used to inflame assure Outer Borough Archie Bunkers (and more than a few of the Upper West Side Liberals that give David Brooks the vapors) that crazed negroes would stop getting "special treatment" in a Rudy administration. ('Cause, you know, black people were getting all types of perks in 1993 New York. In fact, black people were getting such special treatment in those days that virtually every white NYC resident was trying to figure out a way to become black. But again, I digress....)

In any case, I was thinking that if Rudy winds up as his illustrious party's nominee that he could play on the "One City, One Standard" platform that worked for him in the past. I'm thinking, "One Country, One Standard." And by that I mean One Standard for All Criminals, such as disgraced former vice presidential aides who lie to federal prosecutors, disgraced ex-police commissioners and Department of Homeland Security secretary nominees, jammed up for evading taxes, disgraced senators who procure sexual services, disgraced campaign chairman indicted for possession with intent to distribute coke, and disgraced priests accused of covering up allegations of the sexual abuse of children. Rudy could assure America that in a Rudy Administration, the standard of justice for those people would be exactly the same as for any other justice-obstructing tax-evading hooker-procuring coke-dealing abuse-covering Joe Schmo walking the streets of America.

After all, beginning with the stolen 2000 presidential election and extending to the recent U.S. Attorney Scandal, America's faith in its justice system has been severely compromised. So what better way to telegraph to voters your intention to set it right by going back to what worked for you in the past, with a twist?

For more on Rudy's race-baiting ways, check out the video that Josh Marshall posted up last week. And you can read the ever-so-polite NYT tip-toe around the subject here.

Words they'll have to live by

Not surprisingly, I shall not be seeing the latest Adam Sandler film. At least I'm not the Village Voice who will have to live with this quote from Nathan Lee:

...I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is as eloquent as Brokeback Mountain, and even more radical.

Um, yeah.

I'm back

Yearly Attaturk was a smashing success. Thanks to the lovely and talented Mr. & Ms. DeDurkheim for hosting it. I won many awards, including the costume party where my touching salute to the late Lady Bird Johnson brought on many tears.

I got a trophy and everything.

Meanwhile, just pretend I read the Harry Potter book. I know I will.

The real lesson

If we weren't undermining the notion of Democracy, let alone democracy in the Muslim World with the disastrous OPERATION CLUSTERFUCK, the actual example of democracy in the Arab World working might actually have some real inspirational force and appeal.

Sunday's victory is a boost for Erdogan, who called the early elections in May after opposition lawmakers blocked his choice of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to become the country's president.

The nomination sparked massive protests from Turks who feared the AKP would attempt to turn Turkey into an Islamic state. It also elicited a warning from Turkey's military -- which has seized power from civilian governments three times and pushed out a forerunner of the AKP in the 1990s -- that it would step in if necessary to protect the republic's secular tradition.

But the country has been prosperous since Erdogan took office in 2003, promising to pursue pro-business policies and to push for Turkey's entry into the European Union. He urged his followers to accept the election results "with maturity."

"The elections are over, but the test continues for us," he said. "We practice unity politics, and we will continue doing that."

Erdogan has admirably (and fortunately for the Bush Adminsration) shown great restraint in not forcibly moving into Kurdistan to go after the terrorist groups that operate against them in Northern Iraq (though he's certainly rattled the saber). It is worth noting that the nationalist party whose platform was dedicated to taking stronger measures against these groups ended winning more than 14% of the vote and winning 70 seats in Parliament -- drawn mostly from Erdogan's Party. What this augers for the future is best left to Juan Cole, rather than somebody with a Turkish Pseudonym.


The fact that the 2007 NIE is so directly different (and more ominous) than the 2006 NIE leads Larry Johnson to say there are some definite questions someone needs to ask:

A careful reading of the NIE on The Terrorist Threat to the Homeland fails to reveal any empirical or intelligence data to justify the conclusions. For example, if we had intelligence that an increasing number of foreigners had crossed into Waziristan during the last three years, received training, and departed the area then there would be some legitimate basis for concern about a “regenerated” Al-Qa’ida. But no such evidence or facts are proffered to make such a case. That is odd. Even in unclassified key judgments one should expect some reference to the underlying data supporting the assessment that a capability has regenerated. But there is none.
More troubling is the underlying assumption that there are active training camps in this area? Really? Then why are they still standing? Why have we not seen a smoking hole in the ground where these alleged camps once stood? George Bush promised in the wake of 9-11 that a country must decide if it is with us or against us. And that countries that harbored terrorists would pay a price.

Let’s concede that the Waziristan portion of Pakistan is wild and ungovernable by the authorities in Islamabad. If there are such camps then Predator drones armed with hellfire missiles should be taking those camps out. If people trained in those camps are coming out equipped to do terror why have none been arrested or detained?

I agree that Osama Bin Laden and Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri want bad things to happen to Americans and American cities. But their malevolent intent and desires do not translate into hard capabilities. So what is up DNI Director Mike McConnell? Is the DNI and the NIC confusing their fears with reality? It sure looks like it. It is time for the Senate and House intelligence committees to get some firm, clear answers.

I think there is one thing that is still true, we are terrified of dudes in ski-masks using "the monkey bars".