Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Senator Schmucko

First came the comment. As I said this morning, I find it unreal. Well, as the day wound on it got even more unreal.

As people began digesting the Senator's comments, criticism began working it's way into the ether almost immediately, prompting the good Senator to respond not just about his comments but his response to the comments:

If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.
I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.

The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.

Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they’re afraid to debate real men. And this time it won’t work because we’re going to stay in their face with the truth and deny them even a sliver of light for their distortions. No Democrat will be bullied by an administration that has a cut and run policy in Afghanistan and a stand still and lose strategy in Iraq.

With no due respect Senator, what you said was wrong, it was insulting and flatly untrue and those calling for an apology are right to do so.

Recently the Senator has made it known that he will not get caught being soft on critics ever again; further Swift-boatings are not in the cards. However, not only is this response not appropriate, it's 2 years too late. That horse is long since out of the barn.

I might remind the Senator as well that it was not fat-doughy-Chickenhawk-Republican-hacks who accused US troops of war-crimes in Vietnam, it was you. It was not fat-doughy-Chickenhawk-Republican-hacks who accused US troops last year of terrorizing Iraqi citizens in the dead of night, it was you.

The comments yesterday are yet another example of the anti-military, elitist attitude we all came to know and loathe during the 2004 campaign. It's a disgusting slur on men and women--each and every one a volunteer--who've chosen to serve their country by picking up a rifle and it deserves all the criticism the remarks have generated.

Senator Kerry announced a bit later in the day that the remarks were a botched joke aimed at President Bush. This just doesn't pass the sniff test. If in fact that were true, that statement would have come before the "No more Swift-boating" statement and his news presser afterward.

If it were true, there would in fact be no defensive statement because there'd be no reason for it. One quick explanation that the comment was meant as a joke that didn't go over throws things right back in the faces of conservatives who'd already begun to criticize.

As to the comment itself, read anecdotal evidence of it's wrong-headedness here, here, here, here and here. A number of the myriad calls for apology can be read here, here, here, here and here. Lastly, look here for hard data as to just how wrong the characterization is.

The Senator has picked a fine time to grow a spine, making this string of remarks just one week out from the elections. He's now in the course of just one day since making the initial statement defended the remarks before he deflected them as just a bad joke.

Rather than make an all out effort to defend or deflect, he's half-heartedly attempted both to much ridicule, all of it deserved and with more undoubtedly to come. I expect the Senator's stubborness to damage further his own reputation and standing, not to mention what it might cost the Democrats in next week's election.

They're all Warm and Fluffy

The WaPo reports today that Charlie Rangel lost his cool last night when asked about comments made by Vice President Cheney:

Contacted by The Post for a response, Rangel unloaded.

"He's such a real son of a bitch, he just enjoys a confrontation," Rangel fumed, describing himself as "warm and personable." Rangel said Cheney may need to go to "rehab" for "whatever personality deficit he may have suffered."

"When you have those sorts of problems, you're supposed to seek help," Rangel advised. "He acknowledged that he has problems with communication."

Dems really are some of the nicest and friendly and reasonable people you'll ever want to meet. When they're not calling the President a liar, "YEEEEEAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH,"-ing their way through a public appearance or insulting members of the opposition Party that is.


Eight years ago today, President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, calling for regime change in Baghdad, but stopping short of direct military assistance.

You almost made this man President, again

John Kerry in an appearance last night in Southern California:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and do your homework, and make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Or, if you're lucky, you can buy a Senate seat. Unreal.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I must need a break

My Muse is gone. I have nothing to write.

I'm staring at this, yet nothing jumps out at me. I read all my regular stops today...not a single thing motivates me to start pounding the keyboard.

Has anyone seen my motivation?

You Don't Say!

K-Lo at the Corner is a huge Rick Santorum fan. About the only other conservative politician that gets the blood pumping at anything like the same intensity is Mitt Romney. She made several comments yesterday after the Sunday talkers were done in response to a comment from Maryland Senate candidate Ben Cardin's appearance on Meet the Press.

Cardin offered a criticism of Santorum as a throw-away line during his appearance with opponent Michael Steele:

Ben Cardin just used Rick Santorum as a boogeyman in his Meet the Press debate with Michael Steele, to try to defend his vote AGAINST stem-cell research (I wrote about what I think about congressmen like Cardin who voted against alternatives to embryo-destroying research here ).

Few in Congress have done more FOR stem-cell research than Rick Santorum. His working with Arlen Specter to support alternatives to embryo-destroying research was a milestone moment — for educating, for seeing the true colors of those who insist on embryonic-stem-cell research and only embyronic-stem-cell research.

Cardin throwing out Santorum's name like that is only the tiniest hint of the kind of demagogic glee we'll see from the Left if Santorum loses. It will be an ugly post-Election Day if Santorm loses — on so many levels.

Then a bit later, came this: Truth is a lot more needed to be said. The bill in question was co-sponsored by ARLEN SPECTER. Specter, as Santorum is reminded every day of his life, is usually on the polar opposite side of life issues from Santorum. And yet, not only did Santorum get Specter to co-sponsor this alernative bill but every member of the Senate — including both of Maryland's senators — wound up voting for it.

So, yes, Congressman Cardin, someone needed to say more.

And in actuality, someone did; and not a someone normally thought of as a partisan Republican:

"I'm not a shill for the Democratic Party," Fox told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos. "I approached them. I sat down to find out what candidates are pro-stem cell in races where they're opposed by anti-stem cell candidates. And I had no predisposition toward Democrats or Republicans. It'd be fine with me either way.

"In fact," he added, "a Republican candidate who's pro-stem cell would be someone I'd really like to talk to. And in fact in the past I've supported, I've done commercials for [Sen.] Arlen Specter, [R-Pa.] who is a very aggressive pro-stem cell champion."

K-Lo had a point it seems. Had Mr. Cardin been watching TV rather than making an ineffective appearance on it, he might have noticed that.

Democrats passionately dislike Senator Santorum. It's a free country, they can unseat him should they find the votes. It's a shame though they couldn't find somebody who could better fill out the suit.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pulling a Merriman

In his first few years in the NBA, Karl Malone had a bad habit of performing this little arm-flailing celebration-dance-thingie after making a big play on offense (he didn't play defense back then). I used to hate it.

I've never seen the reasoning behind the celebratory antics of professional athletes after a play is ended, big-time or ordinary. After all, the only thing they've done is what's expected of them.

Watching the Rams-Chargers game today, I noticed that Shawne Merriman is an excitable fellow. He had a good day, tying a career high in sacks.

More power to him, but we really didn't need a sack-dance after his tackle of a Ram RB on a quick out; he gets paid to make that play. I think tomorrow, in honor of the "Athlete Warrior", I may pull a Merriman.

After sending a couple of successful faxes I may jump up and do a dance on the desk. After all, I'll have just done my job!


Bravo to Lynne Cheney for taking Wolf Blitzer's ridiculous questions and tossing them back in his face the other day and then having the moxie to press the CNN host on some important issues. If only more people in the Administration had a similar pair of cajones.

To the exchange:

WB: And joining us now, the wife of the Vice President of the United States, Lynne Cheney, no stranger to CNN. Thanks very much for coming in.

LC: Thank you, Wolf, for having.

WB: And we’re going to talk about this excellent new book, Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America. This is a book that I recommend for all ages, and I see it’s already a bestseller.

LC: I’m very proud of this book. It was an effort of two years for Robin Glasser and me. And it was inspiring the whole time. It’s a story of the whole country, told by a family going on a road trip, and my grandchildren love it.

WB: I want to get to that, all that, but I want to pick your brain a little bit on news that’s happening right now, including your husband, the Vice President. He was interviewed earlier this week out in North Dakota, and he had this exchange with a radio talk show host. Listen to this:

Host: Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

DC: Well, it’s a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President for Torture. We don’t torture. That’s not what we’re involved in.

WB: It made it sound, and there’s been interpretation to this effect, that he was in effect confirming that the United States used this waterboarding, this technique that has been rejected by the international community, that simulates a prisoner being drowned, if you will. And he was, in effect, supposedly confirming that the United States has been using that.

LC: Wolf, that is a mighty house you’re building on top of that molehill there, a mighty mountain. You know, this is a complete distortion. He didn’t say anything of the kind.
WB: Because of the dunking, you know, using the water and the dunking…

LC: Wolf, I understand your point. It’s kind of the point of a lot of people right now, to try to distort the administration’s position. And if you really want to talk about that, I watched the program on CNN last night, which I thought, it’s your 2006 voter program, which I thought was a terrible distortion of both the President and the Vice President’s position on many issues. It seemed almost straight out of the Democratic talking points, using phrases like domestic surveillance, when it is not domestic surveillance that anyone has talked about or ever done. It’s surveillance of terrorists. It’s people who have al Qaeda connections calling into the United States. So I think we’re in the season of distortion, and this is just one more.

WB: But there have been some cases where innocent people have been picked up, interrogated, held for long periods of time, then simply said never mind, let go. They’re let go.

LC: Well, are you sure these people are innocent?

WB: Well, they’re walking around free right now. Nobody’s arrested them.

LC: You made a point last night of a man who had a bookstore in London, where radical Islamists gathered, who was in Afghanistan when the Taliban were there, who went to Pakistan. I think that you might be a little careful before you declare this as a person with clean hands.

WB: You’re referring to the CNN Broken Government special…

LC: I certainly am.

WB: This was the one that John King reported on last night.

LC: You know, right there, right there, Wolf. Broken Government. Now what kind of stance is that? Here we are, we’re a country where we have been mightily challenged over the past six years. We’ve been through 9/11. We’ve been through Katrina. The President and the Vice President inherited a recession. We’re a country where the economy is healthy. That’s not broken. This government has acted very well. We’ve had tax cuts that are responsible for our healthy economy. We’re a country that was attacked five years ago. We haven’t been attacked since. What this government has done is effective. That’s not broken government. So you know, I shouldn’t let media bias surprise me, but I worked at CNN once. I watched the program last night…

WB: You were a co-host of Crossfire.

LC: …and I was troubled.

WB: All right. Well, that was probably the purpose, to get people to think, to get people to discuss these issues, because there are a lot of conservatives…

LC: All right, all right, Wolf. I’m here to talk about my book. But if you want to talk about distortion…

WB: We’ll talk about your book.

LC: Right. But what is CNN doing running terrorist tape of terrorists shooting Americans? I mean, I thought Duncan Hunter asked you a very good question, and you didn’t answer it. Do you want us to win?

WB: The answer, of course, is we want the United States to win. We are Americans. There’s no doubt about that. You think we want terrorists to win?

LC: Then why are you running terrorist propaganda?

WB: With all due respect, with all due respect, this is not terrorist propaganda.

LC: Oh, Wolf…

WB: This is reporting the news, which is what we do. We’re not partisan…

LC: Where did you get the film?

WB: We got the film…look, this is an issue that has been widely discussed, this is an issue that we reported on extensively. We make no apologies for showing that. That was a very carefully considered decision, why we did that. And I think, and I think, of your…

LC: Well, I think it’s shocking.

WB: If you’re a serious journalist, you want to report the news. Sometimes the news is good, sometimes the news isn’t so good.

LC: But Wolf, there’s a difference between news and terrorist propaganda. Why did you give the terrorists a forum?

WB: And if you put it in context, if you put it in context, that’s what news is. We said it was propaganda. We didn’t distort where we got it. We didn’t distort anything about it. We gave it the context. Let’s talk about another issue in the news, and then we’ll get to the book. The Democrats are now complaining bitterly in this Virginia race. George Allen using novels, novels that Jim Webb, his Democratic challenger, has written, in which there are sexual references. And they’re making a big deal out of this. I want you to listen to what Jim Webb said today in responding to this very sharp attack from George Allen.

LC: Now do you promise, Wolf, that we’re going to talk about my book?

WB: I do promise.
LC: Because this seems to me a mighty long trip around the merry-go-round.

WB: I want you to respond. This is in the news today, and your name has come up, so that’s why we’re talking about it. But listen to this:

James Webb: There’s nothing that’s been in any of my novels that in my view, hasn’t been either illuminating the surroundings, or defining a character, or moving a plot. I’m a serious writer. I mean, we can go and read Lynne Cheney’s lesbian love scenes if you want to, you know, get graphic on stuff.

LC: You know, Jim Webb is full of baloney. I have never written anything sexually explicit. His novels are full of sexually explicit references to incest, sexually explicit references…well, you know, I just don’t want my grandchildren to turn on the television set. This morning, Imus was reading from the novels, and it’s triple X rated.

WB: Here’s what the Democratic Party put out today, the Democratic Congressional Senatorial Campaign Committee. Lynne Cheney’s book featured brothels and attempted rape. In 1981, Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynne, wrote a book called Sisters, which featured a lesbian love affair, brothels, and attempted rapes. In 1988, Lynne Cheney wrote about a Republican Vice President who dies of a heart attack while having sex with his mistress. Is that true?

LC: Nothing explicit. And actually, that is full of lies. It’s not…it’s just absolutely not true.

WB: But you did write a book entitled Sisters.

LC: I did write a book entitled Sisters. This description…

WB: And it did have lesbian characters.

LC: No, not necessarily. This description is a lie. I’ll stand on that.

WB: There is nothing in there about rapes and brothels?

LC: Wolf, Wolf, could we talk about a children’s book for a minute?

WB: We can talk about the children’s book. But I just wanted to…

LC: I think our segment is like 15 minutes long, and we’ve now done ten minutes, so…

WB: I just wanted to clarify what’s in the news today, give you a…

LC: Sex, lies and distortion. That’s what it is.

WB: This is an opportunity for you to explain on these sensitive issues.

LC: Wolf, I have nothing to explain. Jim Webb has a lot to explain.

WB: Well, he says he’s a serious writer and novelist, fiction writer. He was doing basically what you were doing.

LC: Jim Webb is full of baloney.

WB: We’ll leave it at that. Let’s talk a little bit about your book, Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America.

LC: You know, one of the reasons I wrote this book is because we spend so much time nowadays talking about things that are negative. And it’s not the fault of any particular segment of the society. But we have come to define news as bad news. And so our kids get a steady diet of this is wrong, the government is broken, the war isn’t working, the economy’s terrible. Even when those things aren’t true, our kids are getting a steady dose of negativity. What Robin and I wanted so much to do is to talk about what a wonderful country it is. We wanted to give our kids something positive. And I hope that’s what we’ve done in this book. It’s very, very pro-American. This is a book that’s very patriotic. There is no question about our view that this is the greatest country on the face of the Earth, and that is what we want kids to take away from it.

WB: The kids who read this book will learn a lot about the 50 states. That’s what it’s called…

LC: Yes.

WB: But a lot of the landmarks in those 50 states.

LC: Well, not just landmarks, but the vast variety and diversity of our culture. You know, we have everything from the preservation hall band in New Orleans to mariachi music in Texas, to the philharmonic in Boston. We’ve got all kinds of food. There’s a lovely little girl in this book, her name is Annie, and she writes back to her grandma again and again about the different foods she’s enjoying or not. In Boston, she says the beans are great, but she’s a little doubtful about the cod. So it’s not just about landmarks, it’s also about the kind of history and culture that I think kids will enjoy very much.

WB: And it is beautifully illustrated.

LC: Robin Glasser is a dear person, and a very talented individual. And I’m very happy to work with her.

WB: We can certainly disagree on what is news, what is serious news, but we can agree that this is a beautifully done book.

LC: Well, I appreciate that. Thank you, Wolf.

WB: How is your husband doing, because there’s always concern about his health.

LC: Well, I’m not sure why there’s always concern about his health. He’s been out on 140 campaigns. He’s raised forty-some million dollars for Republican candidates around the country. He’s been very busy. He has been serving the nation very well, as I think George Bush has been a really great leader for us during this time of some trials.

WB: We’re going to leave it right there. It was kind of you to come in.

LC: Thanks, Wolf.

WB: You came armed. I guess you knew what you wanted to do.

LC: Wolf, I am always prepared for you to ask questions that maybe aren’t quite fair, but they’re pretty tough.

WB: You did a good job.

LC: Thanks, Wolf.

WB: Thank you.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Hey Michael!

Michael Grunwald's Festival of Republican Ugliness prompted a frustrated response from me yesterday. One day and another story later, it's frustrated bordering on angry. With a hat-tip to TM:

A blogger at Stop October Surprises has successfully tracked the fellow who set up the phony "Stop Sex Predators" website that first published some of the Foley emails.

The fellow behind Stop Sex Predators was a Democrat.

The AP coverage simply expounds on the report I linked to on Thursday about the Human Rights Campaign staffer who first published the Foley emails in September. So the question for Michael Grunwald and even Chris Matthews is an obvious one:

Why the selective outrage?

It's obvious to anyone willing to see it, that Democrats are engaged in unappealing, messy election-season hatchet jobs of their own and the media aren't even trying to mask the cheerleading.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Reports of the Constitution's death have been greatly exaggerated

At least according to a CNN poll. But I could have told you this, despite the braying and spittle from the Left:

Most Americans do not believe the Bush administration has gone too far in restricting civil liberties as part of the war on terror, a new CNN poll released Thursday suggests.


Fuming about attack ads and the unfairness of it all? So, apparently is the WaPo. Tim Graham highlights their descriptions as a "Carnival of Ugly":

Yikes, at this time of year, the liberal, partisan bias in the Washington Post is so constant and overwhelming it's the proverbial trying to drink water out of an open fire hydrant. But start with this: they're totally tap-dancing on the DNC talking point du jour with Michael Grunwald's front-pager today on negative ads. With great authority, the Washington Post-Democrat (as my not-related pal Michael Graham accurately calls it) summarizes it's a festival of Republican ugliness:

The result has been a carnival of ugly, especially on the GOP side, where operatives are trying to counter what polls show is a hostile political environment by casting opponents as fatally flawed characters. The National Republican Campaign Committee is spending more than 90 percent of its advertising budget on negative ads, according to GOP operatives, and the rest of the party seems to be following suit. A few examples of the "character issues" taking center stage two weeks before Election Day:

After listing a pile of Republican ads (and the article starts with an attack on Democrat Rep. Ron Kind in my old southwestern Wisconsin district, who hasn't had a competitive race in years), Grunwald does acknowledge a few examples of Democratic nastiness. I'm not saying that some of these ads don't sound awful, and sound like they may backfire. But in every cycle, the liberal-Democrat media labors to leave the impression that Republicans are nastier — because that's just the way Democrats feel. And what helps them win votes.

Two words for Mr. Grunwald: Mark. Foley.

Say what you will about his behavior, no one has defended it and he was shoved out the House door as soon as all went public. The fact that people sat on that information--for months--is example of a certain type of nastiness and political hatchetry that Mr. Grunwald would do right not to ignore.

I, however, will not be holding my breath.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Must admit

He's good for something....

AS is getting badgered in some quarters today following his interview yesterday. At the same time, he's attempted to break out before he gets pigeonholed by the thin-skinned sourpuss attitude.

As I said this morning, I wasn't overly impressed with the performance but none of it excuses the boorish behavior that Andrew reports. In the mean time, he'd do well to lighten up.

In the midst of it all though, he found the time for this. And for that, I'll be forever grateful!


President Bush finally got around to signing the Secure Fence Act today. Speculation was after the conference bill passed, that the President was holding it for a bit and targeting a signing date closer to Election Day for better effect.

It remains to be seen whether there will be any pro-GOP bump as a result, though it's nice to finally have this signed and put to bed. Now on to the second step.

Quite a Time

It was quite an interview yesterday...a full two-hours available for your listening pleasure. Andrew Sullivan is bright and engaging but this was one of the most defensive and un-enlightening interviews I've ever heard.

The funny thing is that months ago, according to Hugh's take anyway, Sullivan agreed to appear on the show and be interviewed about his book though at the time Hugh was anxious to speak with him about many other topics. Sully showed up yesterday and as the interview progressed, wanted to talk about all sorts of things other than his latest work.

Me thinks he doth protest too much.

Andrew's brief summation of the experience is here, while bloggers at large weigh in here.

Answers to Questions

It appears that a Human Rights Campaign staffer was the primary driver of the Mark Foley scandal, something they admitted to yesterday:

I have repeatedly highlighted the HRC’s involvement in the Foley affair from the start. Many of you dismissed it. But the HRC has finally admitted it.

So my questions now are the following:

--When did the HRC employee come into possession of the Mark Foley emails?
--Why did he hold them until October, instead of going to the proper authorities immediately if he truly wanted to expose a potential sex predator?
--What did the officials at HRC know about the Foley matter before today?
--Who is this former HRC employee? What connections might he have with the two-year old outing campaign targeting gay Congressional staff?
--Were other HRC employees involved in this conspiracy?
--Does this former HRC employee have any connections to Democrat Party officials?

Finally, it is worth noting that one of the central figures in the Foley affair is also a Board of Directors member of the Human Rights CampaignJeff Trandahl, the former Clerk of the House.

I think the HRC needs to come clean and fully explain to those of you who give them money exactly what the hell they are up to. This entire matter has put every gay American into a bad light by equating child predators with being gay. The HRC has a responsibility to tell us what they know and when they knew it. They are now directly responsible for the anti-gay atmosphere that has emerged from the scandal that one of their own employees helped launch.

HRC of course is devoted to the advocacy of gay/lesbian rights. Upon first glance, it would seem a tie to the Foley effort is somewhat self-defeating.

Another run at Conspiracy Theory

I live in the stupidest nation on Earth, if this piece was to be believed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More Reasons to Vote

Lots at stake in two weeks, a fact that many seem to have begun to notice recently. NRO was chock full of reasons yesterday to vote:

We start with this:

Not that I oppose some well targeted punishment for a few egregiously liberal Republicans. Lincoln Chaffee? Forget about it. Whatever the risks to our Senate majority, making that guy pay for being so far over the line is entirely justified — and wise. Collectively targeting a few folks like Chaffee sends a salutary message, without seriously endangering the position of the party as a whole. But telling Republicans nationally to stay home?

Wake up, Ned Lamont Republicans. For decades now, suicidal liberals have handed conservatives this country on a platter. Are we about to return the favor?

Then there was this:

If Only more voters saw the world the way this one does:

Is it really conceivable that conservatives are going to stay home on election day and watch the Dems win? Are they really that crazy and that destructive? I don't want to believe it, but if that happens I think I'll move to Jerusalem, where the politics are ludicrous and too complicated to follow, or to Venice, where only the rising of that corrupting canal will be doing the destruction.

And then there was this:

From a reader:


Over on Freerepublic, I've been one of the people who consistently has been chanting for abandoning the Republicans. The fact of the matter is a republican in congress has a lot more in common with a democrat in congress than either of them has with me and the other folks who only get to spend their own money. The contempt they hold for your average American slips out from time to time and it's always disheartening. So come election time, it seems the only tool I have to get them to listen to me is to threaten to withhold my vote and potentially move the scope of all political discourse further to the right. But when the moment arrives, I'm going to hold my nose and vote for the republican lying weasel instead of handing a victory to the democratic lying weasel.

I mean I'm angry... but I'm not an idiot.

And finally, on the lighter side, this:

An e-mail:

I don't think any of you have mentioned the number one reason aconservative should get out and vote Republican on election day - the incredible, joyous feeling of Schadenfreude you are going to have watching the Democrats try to explain why they couldn't take the house and theSenate under conditions that could hardly be worse for the Republicans. I break out in giggles at just the thought of watching Nancy Pelosi try tospin the fact that she is still not Speaker of the House.

Cackling just to be heard

Now we're risking getting to the point that the US Army can't fight a conventional war:

Remember when critics said that the U.S. Army had unlearned the lessons of prior "small wars," was unprepared to conduct counterinsurgency, and had trained too exclusively to fight conventional campaigns in places like Europe and Korea? Well, now some critics are saying that our soldiers are becoming incapable of fighting future conventional wars in places like, well, Korea.

According to a Baltimore Sun report:

The Army's senior leaders say there is scant time to train on the high-intensity skills and practice large mechanized maneuvers when combat brigades return home.

With barely 12 months between deployments, there is hardly time to fix war-damaged gear and train newly arrived soldiers in counterinsurgency operations. Some units have the time to train but find their tanks are either still in Iraq or in repair depots.

There is growing concern, Gen. Richard Cody recently told reporters, that the Army's skills are eroding and that if the war in Iraq continues at current levels, the United States eventually could have "an army that can only fight a counterinsurgency."

While we should want our military leaders to always be thinking ahead and heading off future problems, this situation reminds me of some of the commentary during the initial military campaign in Iraq, during which we were told by supposedly authoritative sources that our armor columns were bogged down, they were moving too fast to be supplied, the initially clear skies helped the enemy, the storm helped the enemy, etc.

If we get to the point that the Army does counterinsurgency so relentlessly and so well that their tank-battle skills have atrophied, let's celebrate and then fix the problem.

Some, it seems, will never be satisfied.


At the risk of stealing Sim's schtick, I point out to you this post about the current rage for meme-makers everywhere: George W. Bush has gotten rid of habeas corpus.

After all, the Edward R. Murrow of our day says so...it must be true. Talk about bright and shiny:

Ordinarily, I ignore whatever Olbermann and Hentoff have to say, on the basis that even if they’re correct only 1% of the time (to be generous), it’s not worth reading the other 99% partisan crap in order to find the occasional tiny jewel of truth.

However, I am always alert at the thought of Gummint (in whatever form or persuasion) setting out to abridge our freedoms, and habeas corpus is a Great Big Huge Freedom which predates the Constitution by at least a century. So it’s worth a look.

As Sim is wont to say, "Read the Act." Our salty blogger did and here's where we land:

To sum up, therefore:

1. This instance does not fall into the 1% of occasional truth uttered by Lefty commentators like Olbermann and Hentoff.

2. Not even the Lefty commentators can call Congress’s passage of this law a “strictly partisan vote”.

3. The United States can now pursue the War Against Terrorists as an actual war, and not as law enforcement.

No wonder GWB called it an “important tool”, and no wonder Congress passed it quickly, and by a large majority.

Read the Act, indeed.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A note on Earnings

More than one analysis of the recent surge in stock prices--you didn't know? NBC News didn't devote an evening of Dateline to the Dow's recent highwater mark? Who'da thunk!--points to record 3Q earnings as the driver.

As if to underscore that point, Lockheed announced that it's earnings in the third-quarter of the year were up nearly 50%:

Lockheed Martin Corp., the world's largest defense contractor, said Tuesday that third-quarter earnings soared 47 percent on higher sales in its space and information-technology divisions. The company also raised its outlook for 2006.

Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed earned $629 million, or $1.46 per share, in the third quarter, up from $427 million, or 96 cents per share, in the same period of 2005. Quarterly revenue was up 4 percent to $9.6 billion from $9.2 billion.

I post this for the benefit of my colleague--he knows why. Enjoy!

And as for the rest of us, how 'bout we also enjoy an economy that's humming along rather nicely by all the standard benchmarks!

The Secret to Fantasy Football

It's all about the running backs. Ask anyone who plays the silly game and they'll tell you. A tier-one RB puts you on the fast track to success.

Which explains why each of the last two weeks my fantasy team has gone down for lack of production (any...at all) at the Quarterback position. In two weeks, two guys have gotten me exactly 2 points.

You win a lot of games that way...so instead of potentially sitting at 7-0, I'm now 5-2 and stuck in a tie for first.

Lovin' it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

This is waterboarding?

This is what the hue and cry is about? I'm with MKH here:

...I'm so unmoved that I wonder why Current thought this would be an effective way to illustrate the barbarity of the Bush administration. Rather, it demonstrates that the Left's hyperventilating over this has been taken to a simply silly level. After many minutes of off-and-on waterboarding (torture, as they'd have you believe), the subject is still speaking clearly and calmly. That guy, it should be remembered, is a SEAL, so he's tougher than most, but I still can't say I feel all that bad about doing this to suspected terrorists.

Don't look now...

But Olbermann's pissed. He announced tonight's screed during his guest spot on the Dan Patrick show earlier today.

He's upset that Republican's are doing Osama's job for him (his words) and continue to try to scare Americans. At that point, after an appropriate laugh, I wanted to reach through the radio and slap him.

Even if it were true, who the hell are you, Keith? Edward R. Olbermann to the rescue?! Please...

Give it up already. You're the least-watched host on Cable Television...why do you need to work harder to give any more people a reason not to watch?

Smart People being Stupid

Hugh parses Sebastian Mallaby's WaPo column this morning and wondered aloud at about the same time I did while reading the post, how is it that smart men can be so dumb. Mallaby has a fine resume and has worked in many a place all across the globe.

But if his column is to be believed, he has little understanding of much. Of the several key observations, here is the most salient:

Mr. Mallaby is proof that a fine education, long stays in exotic locales and an enormous frequent flyer balance don't bring wisdom of even the elementary sort.

How does a man with so much experience and knowledge conclude that America can but do nothing to change the face of the world staring back at us and win the fight?

Says it all

Ann Althouse wonders aloud--repeatedly, over and over--how it is that anybody reads Glenn Greenwald. Her comment here pretty much sums it up:

Notice how I'm more pissed at him for writing badly than for slandering me... if he's slandering me. He's such a bad writer I can't even tell. I'm also pissed that he gets 30,000 readers a day. Who are those people? I'm pissed at them for their foolishness. They can't actually be reading the writing, can they? Maybe they just glance to see who he's attacking today, feel smug, and leave.

Been there, done that myself.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Getting Down and Dirty

The first shots of what could turn into an ugly fight between the two major daily papers in SB County appear to have been fired this last week. Santa Maria Times Executive Editor Tom Bolton details the episode on today's editorial pages:

Twice in the last week, this newspaper's integrity has come under unwarranted attack in columns written by the editorial page editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press.

In case you've somehow missed it, for months now the News-Press has been wracked by a very-public conflict between its journalists and its mega-rich owner, Wendy McCaw, over issues of editorial independence and integrity.

Amid the turmoil, dozens of talented and experienced journalists have left the News-Press, including some who now work for this newspaper.

While we've written news stories about much of what has transpired at the News-Press, we have refrained from commenting on the situation on our opinion pages, feeling we didn't need to delve into their dirty laundry.

But when their opinion editor, Travis Armstrong, made baseless accusations questioning our ethics, I felt compelled to respond in writing.

However, rather than allow me to answer his charges in print, Armstrong took small portions of my letter, twisted them, and attacked us again in his column. He also warned me that should I use my own editorial pages to defend our integrity, I would be proving his contention that we are “ethically challenged.”

Armstrong's analysis and logic are so flawed that it's mind-boggling, but it's what I've come to expect from the amateur-hour newspaper to the south.

That Armstrong even feels the need to attack his neighbor to the North amazes me. The News-Press has no one to blame but themselves for the mess they've found themselves in since early July. Their management has behaved abysmally, to say the least.

At the risk of sounding like an amateur psychologist, it seems that Armstrong's accusations against the Times are a classic case of projection. As Bolton points out:

The latest chapter of your desperate campaign has Travis Armstrong labeling the Santa Maria Times “ethically challenged” because members of our news staff are part of our editorial board. You ask where is the dividing line - the “wall,” as you put it - between news and opinion.

It's quite simple: Stories that appear on our news pages are written and edited to the highest standards of accuracy, fairness, thoroughness and impartiality.

We don't write or edit our stories to please our publisher, our owner or their friends, or to punish the people or groups she or they don't like or agree with.

Our editorial pages, meanwhile, provide a robust forum for a wide range of viewpoints, and we print as many or more from folks who disagree with us as from those who share our views.We also offer nearly unfettered access for letter writers, omitting only those very few that are blatantly offensive or libelous.

As is the case at a great number of newspapers across this country - especially smaller ones - our senior editors do help formulate our editorial positions. We do this openly, with full disclosure to our readers. And we take great care to ensure that the opinions we express in our editorials do not insinuate themselves into our news coverage...

Those so clumsily wielding power at your newspaper fail to grasp the obvious: It's not about whether you have “walls” separating news and opinion.

It's about honesty and integrity and whether you can be trusted to do the right thing.

Who is it again that is ethically challenged?


The NY Times Public Editor now says the Times was wrong when it disclosed the nature of the SWIFT program that the Bush Administration was using to track terror-related financial transactions:

Since the job of public editor requires me to probe and question the published work and wisdom of Times journalists, there’s a special responsibility for me to acknowledge my own flawed assessments.

My July 2 column strongly supported The Times’s decision to publish its June 23 article on a once-secret banking-data surveillance program. After pondering for several months, I have decided I was off base. There were reasons to publish the controversial article, but they were slightly outweighed by two factors to which I gave too little emphasis. While it’s a close call now, as it was then, I don’t think the article should have been published.

Those two factors are really what bring me to this corrective commentary: the apparent legality of the program in the United States, and the absence of any evidence that anyone’s private data had actually been misused. I had mentioned both as being part of “the most substantial argument against running the story,” but that reference was relegated to the bottom of my column.

Thanks, Byron. I for one, however, would have appreciated the attack of conscience before you all decided to publish the piece, not after several months of soul-searching.

Don't get me wrong; it's nice that you have a conscience of course, but it's meaningless if it doesn't keep you from making poor decisions.

Tom Maguire with his thoughts here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I had to laugh at this ridiculousness at the Huffington Post. If only he had the power ascribed to him...what a wonderful world it would be!:

When I asked Gore Vidal at dinner why the White House seemed so serene and at ease about the vote, he replied that, this time around, the Bush-Cheney henchmen could simply call on martial law. He glumly noted that we are so far down the road toward totalitarianism that, even if Democrats do win back the Congress, it would take at least two generations before the last six years of damage to the nation could be reversed. Gore frankly despaired that any amount of time could ever return the country to where and what it previously was. This prediction left me reaching for some Fernet Branca.

We all know the neocons won't cede power easily. They have to be aware that if the tide of Congress turns, Bush's last two years will be mired in gridlock and perhaps even be punctuated by several embarrassing congressional investigations. Of course, Cheney did say last week that everything in Iraq is hunky dory, which leads one to believe that after James Baker's devastating report and the escalating mass destruction of the war, Dickey-boy has simply lost it. But whether it is hubris, loony tunes, or both, the White House's freakish calm about the elections makes me as nervous as the hell we seem to be headed for. Therefore we should all be on alert. If for whatever reason we don't win back Congress in November the only real answer will be to take to the streets.

We've come full-circle. As best I can tell, we're right back where we got when the Clinton-haters started talking about Y2K as justification for Bill Clinton to suspend elections and invoke--yes--martial law. We're just a year-and-a-half early is the only difference.

It's buffoonish lunacy. In otherwords, buffoonacy.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Non-complimentary Compliment

Or something like that. Tim Cavanaugh at Reason makes a wonderful observation about the Bush Administration:

As I never tire of pouring icy water on political hopes, I'll point out again that Bush is still way ahead of the average presidential-coattails performance in off-year and midterm races. Even if the GOP lost both houses in November, Bush would still be ahead of the average. He's already an electoral success for his party. How such a small man had such a big effect is something future historians, with their smellevision and massive frontal and parietal lobes, will have to puzzle out.

Back in Line

Amazing what a meeting with your patron will do:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il expressed regret about his country’s nuclear test to a Chinese delegation and said Pyongyang would return to international nuclear talks if Washington backs off a campaign to financially isolate the country, South Korean media reported Friday.

“If the U.S. makes a concession to some degree, we will also make a concession to some degree, whether it be bilateral talks or six-party talks,” Kim was quoted as telling a Chinese envoy, the mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo reported, citing a diplomatic source in China.

Kim told the Chinese delegation that “he is sorry about the nuclear test,” the newspaper reported.

The reporting on Today had the Chinese communications characterized as: "Don't think about another nuclear test and get back to the Six Party talks."

In other words, some seemingly helpful admonitions from the only country that stands between NK and NKaos. The effects remain to be seen.

Would I be surprised...

No, I wouldn't. Politicization of the Intelligence Committees--if indeed it is ongoing--is bad, bad news.

But given the way Democrats have acted and reacted to everything security-related for the last 4 years...no, I wouldn't be surprised.

And here we go...

It's the end of the world apparently:

--Bush has his Vietnam

--"It is time to admit our mistake"

--Echoes of the Tet offensive, when US became 'mired in a stalemate'

--Tet memories underscore woes in Iraq

'Course, you didn't really think they'd get the comparison, did you?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

More on the "Outing"

Ann Althouse with--what is for her rather typical--keen insight on the dynamics of Mike Rogers 'outing' of the married-for-decades-with-kids Senator from Idaho, Larry Craig:

I think aggressive characters like our "lefty blogger" think that uncovering gay Republicans will disgust social conservatives and change their voting behavior. They might also believe that they are demonstrating hypocrisy and that doing so will motivate Republicans to abandon social conservatism. I would like to see Republicans abandon social conservatism, and I'm not cheering on these slimy outings. But, honestly, I think these creepy, gleeful efforts at outing will only make social conservatives more conservative, and they will continue to look to the Republican party to serve their needs.

Like I wrote yesterday, like I wrote of the "List"...this is over-the-top, beyond-the-pale political hatchetry.

This is Tet?

This is Tet?:

Eleven more U.S. troops were slain in combat, the military said Wednesday, putting October on track to be the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the siege of Fallujah nearly two years ago.

The military says the sharp increase in U.S. casualties _ 70 so far this month _ is tied to Ramadan and a security crackdown that has left American forces more vulnerable to attack in Baghdad and its suburbs. Muslim tenets hold that fighting a foreign occupation force during Islam's holy month puts a believer especially close to God.

Who is talking about Tet, you say? One milblogger in particular anyway:

He merely agreed that there was an appropriate comparison to be made between the Tet offensive and the violence we are seeing in Iraq today. I agree.

Not surprisingly to me but shocking to many, the President obviously knows more history than his interviewer. When President Bush "accepts" the analogy of the surge in violence in Iraq to the Tet offensive in Vietnam, he is not "accepting" that Iraq is an unwinnable struggle against a noble enemy. He is saying that victory or defeat in Iraq will not be a function of the amount of violence that the enemy is able to do during any given period, but our will to keep fighting notwithstanding that violence. In that one regard, Iraq is dangerously similar to Vietnam, which fact the mainstream media would know if the typical editor read military history instead of the journalism pretending to be history that fills the bestseller lists.

70 KIA in a month? US commanders would have loved to lose as few as 70 soldiers a day in 1968...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

When you put it that way...

K-Lo at the Corner is a huge fan of Mitt Romney for President in '08. Whenever possible, she's extolling his virtues to anyone who will listen. This Pro-Romney blurb caught my eye. Short, sweet and to the point:

An e-mail:

Subject: Mormon issue (from a Christian)

The choice between a Mormon and a Democrat is equivalent to the choice between eating ice cream and being stabbed in the eye with a fork. There isn't a choice.

No room for this

In either Party. At least there shouldn't be. If the Democrats want to live this way, I guess there's not much to be done about it other to call it the disgusting nonsense that it is. Mike Rogers is a punk:

The thuggishness continues. Last night, gay rights crusader/political hatchet man Mike Rogers revealed that Idaho Senator Larry Craig is gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Unless you’re a Republican.

Craig was surprised by his outing, since he didn’t even know he was in. Craig, the father of three and the grandfather of nine, dismissed Rogers’ allegations as “laughable” through his office’s spokesman. Rogers meanwhile stands by his “reporting” and claims to have spoken to three men who have had trysts with Craig.

Desert Debacle

The offensive coordinators for both the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals were both fired yesterday as a result of the teams poor performances. Under the desert sky on Monday night in front of a national audience and a sold-out crowd, the Cardinals turned a 20-0 halftime lead against the Bears into a 24-23 come-from-ahead meltdown:

Arizona entered the season with high expectations. The Cardinals acquired running back Edgerrin James, drafted quarterback Matt Leinart and moved into an ultramodern stadium.

But the Cardinals appear jinxed. Their streak of seven consecutive losing seasons is the longest in the National Football League, and Monday’s loss was a debacle, even by Cardinals standards. This is Green’s third season in Arizona. He is coming off 6-10 and 5-11 seasons.

Green stared grimly from the sideline as the Cardinals blew a 20-point second-half lead without their defense giving up a touchdown. The Bears recovered two fumbles and returned them for scores, and Devin Hester scored the game-winning touchdown on an 83-yard punt return.

Debacle indeed. I read with interest an email exchange between former Fantasy football colleagues about the game yesterday morning. There were no words to describe the numb sensation of the morning-after. But there were plenty of criticisms--and very few of them about fired OC Keith Rowen.

Most of the ire was directed at HC Denny Green who continues to be less-than-impressive as the man-in-charge. How did he get such a good reputation in Minnesota?

Perhaps the Cards really are the Clippers of the NFL...there's just something that happens to otherwise good people when they join the organization. Whatever the cause, the result is pure ugly.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Clear and Pleasant Danger

It defies comment and on so many levels:

Whenever you blow up stuff deep underground, you run the risk of forcing the tectonic plates to shift.

Recall how there were no nukes in North Korea under Clinton, when the adults were in charge of foreign policy. I hope that Hawaii residents can put two and two together and vote Democratic because the GOP's idiotic mishandling of North Korea is a clear and pleasant danger. Heh, the smoking gun just fired, Dee-dee-dees!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Kerry the asterisk

Jonah weighs in on the good Senator today. Much shorter and to the point than my not-quite-analysis of his FNS appearance, but then that's partly why Mr. Goldberg makes his living as a writer and I do not.

To wit:

John Kerry's destiny is to be the answer to a trivia question and nothing more.

Who to believe?

Somebody is right and somebody is wrong, but who is it? The forces of optimism or pessimism? Who knows...

You almost made this man President

(Or, "I lambasted the President on North Korea for doing what I lambasted him for not doing in Iraq!")

I had to watch it a second time. Most of the time my commentary pertaining to any discussions or interviews at FNS is directed at Juan Williams who can be counted on to make at least one absurd statement a week (this one being no exception). This week though, it's all about John Kerry.

Senator Kerry was an exclusive guest this week and his interview with Chris Wallace was well, stupefying and points out exactly why he never should have been and never should be, ever, allowed within 200 miles of the White House.

So a few favorite moments then...

I think my personal favorite of course was his "blasting" of the President for pursuing multi-lateral diplomacy with NK and calling it a failure:

WALLACE: Let's start with North Korea. What effect do you think that the U.N. resolution is going to have on North Korea and its effectiveness in trying to stop their nuclear program, and what would you do?

KERRY: Well, let me begin by saying that North Korea is a renegade nation and it's a nation we all understand does threaten.

That said, I think the administration -- and just listening to what I could hear -- I couldn't hear all of it -- of the secretary's comments, they're living in a world of make-believe, Chris. They're living in a complete fantasy with respect to the foreign policy they put in place.

It is a failure. It's a failure in Afghanistan where they have a sort of cut-and-run policy of not completing the job. We have seven times the troops in Iraq.

WALLACE: Well, forgive me.

KERRY: Well, I want to comment, because it's all tied together.

WALLACE: Let's talk about North Korea.

KERRY: Well, this is about North Korea, because the problem with Iraq is that it has diminished our hand and reduced our ability to be able to deal with Iran and North Korea. They are related.

One of the reasons that North Korea can misbehave the way it is today is because the United States has lost its leverage, lost its credibility and doesn't have the capacity to be able to bring countries together in the way that it used to. That's number one.

Number two, with respect to North Korea itself, you hit it on the head. This administration is tolerating. This administration is doing exactly what it said it wouldn't do, which is allowing North Korea to get away with what it's doing.

These sanctions are not the bold, tough sanctions that the secretary talked about. China walked out of there and said we voted for it, but we're not going to enforce the cross-border mechanism, it's too dangerous for our region.

So you have sanctions that are just, by statement of those involved, not going to do the job.

WALLACE: So what would you do differently to deal with this very erratic regime of North Korea?

KERRY: I would do precisely -- I would do precisely what I said for the last five years consistently, which is engage in bilateral, face-to- face negotiations with North Korea, make it absolutely clear to North Korea that we are not intending to invade and have a regime change, and work on the entire set of issues that are outstanding since the armistice with regard to the north.

WALLACE: But, Senator, let me ask you about that. Let's look at what you espoused as your basic foreign policy principle during the 2004 campaign. Here it is.


KERRY: America is stronger. Our troops are safer. And our success is more certain when we build and lead strong alliances, not when we go it alone.


WALLACE: Alliances, not going it alone. Multilateral, not bilateral. Doesn't it still make sense to engage North Korea in talks with all of its neighbors, including China and South Korea, who have a lot more leverage than we do, rather than just get into a conversation about nothing with them ourselves?

That's been part of the Democrats mantra on the Bush foreign policy of the last 4 years, and when he does it their way, it's a failure. The Senator desperately wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Just prior to this, Secretary of State Rice had pointed out the fact that unanimous sanctions against North Korea is a new development in this game:

RICE: There is no way to suggest that having China, Russia, the entire international community finally unified around a plan, around a program to deal with the nuclear threat from North Korea is somehow less successful than where we were in 2002 when the North Koreans were pursuing a new path to nuclear weapons, where they were breaking out of bilateral agreements with the United States -- where, by the way, just two years before that, they had, in fact, tested missiles.

No, it wasn't a good situation in 2002 -- 2000, and they have continued to pursue their programs, but we finally have the right coalition of states to put enormous pressure on North Korea to reverse its course. We did not have that in 2002 when the president made that speech.

Or was it his Oath of Failed-ty to the Agreed Framework (emphasis is mine):

WALLACE: But what leverage do we have?

KERRY: ... was prepared to send Kissinger to China -- the leverage of the stakes between the two nations.

Let me go back in time. Bill Clinton was in office for eight years. When he started out in office, there was enough fuel for bombs for about one to two bombs. They were members -- North Korea was a member of the non-proliferation treaty and North Korea had not tested.
At the end of Bill Clinton's term, they had enough fuel for one to two bombs, they were members of the non-proliferation treaty, and they had not tested. Now they have enough fuel for nine to 10 bombs. They say they're going to build -- get enough for five to six more. They've pulled out of the non-proliferation treaty. We no longer have cameras in the reactor. We no longer have inspectors in the reactor. We no longer know where the fuel rods are. We know that they have now tested.

The United States of America is less safe, and the six-party talks have been a cover to get away from the idea, because George Bush and Dick Cheney decided ideologically in 2002 they would break off the oil trade, they would not build the nuclear reactors, they would not keep the framework that had been agreed on, and from that moment on, it's been downhill with North Korea.

WALLACE: Senator, there are several points you've made that I'd like to ask you about.

KERRY: Absolutely.

WALLACE: But first of all, one, all independent experts say that by 1997, North Korea was cheating on the Clinton agreement.

KERRY: Absolutely. But cheating...

WALLACE: If I may ask my question -- and in fact, had already begun secret uranium enrichment. I think to get to the larger issue...

KERRY: Can I stop you there for a minute? Because it's very important, what you just said. Uranium enrichment -- their bombs are plutonium.

And the fact is with respect to the threat of the United States, while we knew they probably were cheating, we were on a road where we had them in the non-proliferation treaty. They didn't have additional bomb capacity, and they hadn't tested.

And if we had stayed on that road, then we could have perhaps had a better opportunity to be able to curb this.

Apparently, a failed agreement is always better than no agreement.

Maybe it was this attempted addition to the left's political lexicon:

WALLACE: I'm going to ask you a question, and then you can answer the whole thing. You made a speech in New Hampshire on Friday night where you blistered the Bush approach to North Korea. Let's take a look at that.

KERRY: When George W. Bush turned his back on diplomacy, Kim Jong Il turned back to making bombs, and the world is less safe today because a mad man has the Bush bomb.

WALLACE: The Bush bomb?


WALLACE: I mean, don't you really think you should blame this on Kim Jong Il, not President Bush?

KERRY: It's a bomb that has been developed because of the unwillingness of this administration to engage in opportunities that every expert says have been there all the time.

President Carter went over there in 1994 and President Carter negotiated an agreement. Now, rather than continue that agreement in 2002, this administration just arbitrarily decided, out of ideological whatever - - anything but Clinton -- they proceed down a different road.

And things have gotten worse. Things have gotten worse in Afghanistan. Things have gotten worse in Iraq. They're not telling the truth to the American people about a civil war in Iraq.
They don't listen to the generals on the ground in Iraq. The generals have said it's a debacle. They've said Rumsfeld doesn't have credibility. They're not standing down while the Iraqis supposedly stand up.

In every aspect of our foreign policy, this administration has misled Americans and misled the world. And they don't have credibility. Chris, this is not political. This is not political.

Or it could have been this discourse on how the Administration could have solved the problems in Iraq in 2004 had they only listened to Kerry's advice:

KERRY: No, we were about one year out from the start of the war then, Chris. A whole series of things that we thought could be done -- I was still saying that I thought we could, hopefully, if they made the following decisions, make it a success.

I went to Fulton, Missouri. I went to New York University. I went to Georgetown University. I gave three speeches in which I laid out what I thought the president needed to do to make a success of Iraq.

In each case, we offered the president the best advice that we could give. The president didn't follow that advice. On the last occasion, I said this may be the president's last chance to get this right. The president didn't do what's necessary. He still hasn't.

You have to resolve the differences, political differences, between Shia and Sunni. And there's nothing our troops can do to do that. General Casey has said this can't be resolved militarily. Condi Rice has said this can't be resolved militarily.

The Senator wishes us to believe he's a smart guy. Does he not read? Say what you will about the pace or the ultimate disposition of them all but the political steps and accomplishments in Iraq continue on.

What does the Senator have to offer? The same condescension that put-off millions of Americans in 2004 and was on display again today in another mini-tirade against Administration efforts at coalition building (and in case there are any Democrats out there usure about what that means--it's multi-lateralism in action):

KERRY: No. I was for the $87 billion if we paid for it and if we had a plan, and we voted on that in the Senate. And when the vote lost, then I voted against it because I thought it was a matter of conscience and principle. And I should have said that more clearly.

In the same way now, this vote -- look at what the president's done. He said he would go to war as a last resort. He didn't. He said he would exhaust the remedies of inspections. He didn't. He said he would build a legitimate coalition. He didn't.

With every lingering second of this interview, I was reminded yet again how grateful I am and ought forever to be that this man did not become President of the United States. As, it seems, was Bill Kristol:

KRISTOL: Yeah. I mean, national security is supposed to be the advantage for Republicans, and now it's neutral. I mean, John Kerry's recommendations are even more ridiculous than Condi Rice's wishfulness.

I wonder, as an aside, what my colleague has to say on the subject, as one who voted for the Senator out of deep dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration.

And of course there was Juan in a statement whose absurdity speaks for itself:

WALLACE: And we've got about 30 seconds left in this segment. So did George W. Bush fall into the Democratic trap by going multilateral?

WILLIAMS: No. I think that it's the right thing to do. But you're in a situation here where, you know, in fact, they've tried to blame the Clinton people, tried to blame...

HUME: Who in the administration did that?

WILLIAMS: John McCain.

HUME: Name one person -- McCain is not in the administration.

WILLIAMS: Well, I think McCain was carrying administration water here when he...

HUME: Oh, please.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Reporting, Commentary, Fantasy? You Decide.

I recently ran across this article (?) listed under YahooNews' "Top Stories." Now admittedly, YahooNews isn't The Washington Post or The Christian Science Monitor. But as more and more of us get our news from online sources, it's important that we take stock in what is actually being served up to us.

I was surprised to discover this article classified as journalism while it is at best commentary, and at worst subjective crap. Tom Raum (whoever he is) contributes a piece which does not constitute real reporting, but rather is a regurgitation of a silly and oft-repeated meme that the administration has had "shifting rationales" for the war in Iraq. Take this gem, for example:

When no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, Bush shifted his war justification to one of liberating Iraqis from a brutal ruler. After Saddam's capture in December 2003, the rationale became helping to spread democracy through the Middle East. Then it was confronting terrorists in Iraq "so we do not have to face them here at home," and "making America safer," themes Bush pounds today.

Perhaps Tom Raum should have listened to President Bush's speech at the American Enterprise Institute in February, 2003. In that speech Bush said:

The first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people, themselves. Today they live in scarcity and fear, under a dictator who has brought them nothing but war, and misery, and torture. Their lives and their freedom matter little to Saddam Hussein -- but Iraqi lives and freedom matter greatly to us. (Applause.)

Bringing stability and unity to a free Iraq will not be easy. Yet that is no excuse to leave the Iraqi regime's torture chambers and poison labs in operation. Any future the Iraqi people choose for themselves will be better than the nightmare world that Saddam Hussein has chosen for them. (Applause.) ...

There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They are mistaken. (Applause.) The nation of Iraq -- with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people -- is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom. (Applause.)

The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the "freedom gap" so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times. Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab charter that champions internal reform, greater politics participation, economic openness, and free trade. And from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward politics reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region. (Applause.)

To be sure, the centerpiece of Bush's case was the legalistic argument about weapons of mass destruction. But to suggest that the president, Tony Blair and other Coalition leaders were not consistent and passionate in their condemnation of Saddam Hussein's brutality is preposterous. To argue that they were not regularly speaking about the liberation of the Iraqi people and ultimately, the opportunity to establish a democratic beachead in the Middle East is simply poppycock. The truth is, that those who opposed the war simply shut-down every time those arguments were advanced. "Yes, we know Saddam is a bad guy, but...." was the common refrain.

Tom Raum isn't digging for facts or interested in providing his audience with a credible expository on the rationales for war. He's interested in advancing a political agenda. He's interested in serving up raw meat for those who believe George Bush lied us into war. Proof positive comes when he misuses a quote from foreign policy expert Michael O'Hanlon. In using the quote, Raum overlooks a preamble which essentially repudiates his central thesis in order to be able to slip in a "gotcha" on the Iraq project as failure:

Except for the weapons of mass destruction argument, there is some validity in each of Bush's shifting rationales, said Michael O'Hanlon, a foreign policy scholar at the Brookings Institution who initially supported the war effort.

"And I don't have any big problems with any of them, analytically. The problem is they can't change the realities on the ground in Iraq, which is that we're in the process of beginning to lose," O'Hanlon said. "It is taking us a long time to realize that, but the war is not headed the way it should be."

Desperation so intense that you invalidate your own argument with expert opinion is not the hallmark of good reporting or true journalism. It's not even the hallmark of quality commentary and editorial. It's proof of partisan hackery in the run-up to an election. When classified by YahooNews as, well, news is nothing short of a wolf in sheep's clothing.

GOTV, Republican Syle

A day after I found this gem on the Governator's GOTV efforts, Jim Gerahty over at NRO wrote a lengthy piece on the National GOP efforts. It's lean, it's mean and a very well-oiled machine. And the Democrats have nothing that holds a candle to it:

I know a person or two plugged in to that world. Let's start with the good news for Republicans. In 2002, the new and improved get-out-the-vote system worked very well. In 2004, they studied the results, refined and improved it again, and it worked fantastic. And for this year's elections, they have studied 2004, refined, expanded, and improved it again, and it can/should/will be even more effective. And, I am told, the Democrats do not have anything comparable. They will be relying on the old-fashioned way - unions, African-American churches, and volunteers knocking on doors.

(To refresh, after 2000, the GOP threw out the old "rules" for turning out the vote. They cross-referenced consumer data and polling data with voter registration rolls, and determined not only their likely voters, but pursuadables - folks who had voted GOP in the past but had fallen out of the habit, right-leaning folks who had forgotten to register when they moved, folks who were likely Republicans but who had never been reached by previous GOP outreach efforts because they lived in Democratic neighborhoods. While the Democrats hired anybody for $8 an hour to knock on doors and tout their candidates, the Republicans relied exponentially more on personal contact - somebody from your church, your child's Little League coach, your neighbor, your softball league buddy, etc. Needless to say, in 2004, this new strategy worked wonders.)

The good news is, in 2006, the GOP will be deploying a get-out-the-vote-system that's even better than 2004.

The bad news is, it requires enthusiastic Republicans; if Iraq, spending, immigration, or Foley have damaged the enthusiasm of the GOP base, then the system can't make these people vote. (Perhaps that's next year's upgrade. I write that only to set off spasms of paranoia among our left-of-center friends.)

So, the question is, what does a good "ground game" get you on Election Day? One person, seemingly in a position to know, said last night that (s)he foresaw any GOP candidate being able to overcome a 4 to 5 point deficit going into Election Day — that it's that good.

One best hope so.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fallen Hero

It's a Daddy-doggy weekend. My wife has left us alone 'til tomorrow afternoon and as I do on similar weekends, I plant myself in front of the TV and watch a movie or two that we wouldn't normally take in together. Earlier this afternoon I took in the annual viewing of Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down.

I'm amazed every time I see it by the Ranger ethos. Dozen's of men put their own lives on the line for one 18-year old newbie and then again for the crews of two Black Hawk helicopters, selflessly and without regard for their own safety. It is my earnest hope that I never take such bravery on the part of other men for granted.

Life imitates art when tonight I came across this story of Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor:

A Navy SEAL sacrificed his life to save his comrades by throwing himself on top of a grenade Iraqi insurgents tossed into their sniper hideout, fellow members of the elite force said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had been near the only door to the rooftop structure Sept. 29 when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor, said four SEALs who spoke to The Associated Press this week on condition of anonymity because their work requires their identities to remain secret.

"He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," said a 28-year-old lieutenant who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."

Monsoor, a 25-year-old gunner, was killed in the explosion in Ramadi, west of Baghdad. He was only the second SEAL to die in Iraq since the war began.

His sounds like a story we could stand hearing more of.

Part of the Process

When I read this, I wanted to weep:

Wracked by regret, Cory Lidle's father recalled yesterday how he turned down the doomed Yankee's invitation to come watch him pitch against the Detroit Tigers in the playoffs.

"'Son, I think you'll get by them,'" a weeping Douglas Lidle remembered telling his son in what turned out to be their last conversation.

After a loved one dies, regrets will want to eat you up.

My mom died on a Sunday night. The whole week prior I'd spent sick at home--yes, I was in my mid-20's and living at home. It was California where homes now cost over $600,000. It happened--and spent the entire time building precious memories I didn't know I'd keep years later.

My heart goes out to Douglas Lidle and his family, my prayers as well that they won't allow it's sudden and unexpected nature to keep Cory's death from dealing with it.

Time for an Intervention

I'm not sure what Bill Kristol is smoking, drinking, sniffing or shooting, but it's time for an intervention. He's officially off the rails:

Bush has two more years. Whatever happens in November's elections, the country cannot afford his all-U.N.-all-the-time defensive crouch. It is not too late to increase the size of the military; to work with Japan, rather than kowtowing to China, on North Korea; to institute an interdiction regime around that country; to act with a coalition of the willing to bomb airfields and aircraft assisting genocide in Sudan; to help the democrats in and near Russia; to insist on real sanctions and pressure on Iran, backed by the threat of force; and generally to stop huffing and puffing about what is unacceptable and intolerable--only to then accept the unacceptable and tolerate the intolerable. But it is getting late.

Statistics don't Lie

Buffalo's population has dropped from 580,132 in 1950 to 279,745 in 2005.

Return to Moronica

Home of brilliantly composed Big Media regurge. Kind of like this.


He's not going anywhere. George Bush is loyal, yes to a fault. He's said Donald Rumsfeld isn't going anywhere, so can we quit with the hand-wringing?

And as for Bob McNamara...yeah he was sorry alright. It just took 54,000 dead and 30 years.

Friday, October 13, 2006

This is no way to run a campaign

Early in the week Phil Angelides' campaign sends a snarky fax to Leno:

With this Election Day just weeks away, and Mr. Angelides trailing rather substantially in the polls, his campaign has decided to make an issue of the unequal treatment. At the campaign’s behest, Representative Xavier Becerra, a Democrat from Los Angeles, wrote a letter of complaint to Kevin J. Martin, the president of the Federal Communications Commission.

The Angelides campaign wrote a letter to NBC affiliates appealing to them to not broadcast Mr. Leno’s show with the governor.

Mr. Angelides’s campaign manager, Amanda Crumley, accused Mr. Leno of giving Mr. Schwarzenegger a leg up among late-night television viewers in violation of F.C.C. rules. “As absentee ballots are currently hitting homes in California,” Ms. Crumley said in a prepared statement, “the governor is getting what amounts to millions in free airtime from the network.”

A spokesman for the commission, David Fiske, declined to comment, as did Mr. Schwarzenegger’s re-election campaign.

And then later in the week, the campaign unveils this bit of surreal political advertising. Yes, that is a "Dump Nixon" flyer on the bulletin board.

Phil's got serious street cred.

I already was

Get indignant:

Republicans should bristle at the suggestion that they were protecting Foley in any way. If signals were missed, there is no evidence that congressmen were shielding Foley from accountability. Certainly no one was covering for him out of fear that a Democrat would take his seat, as liberal commentators have charged. If Foley had been found out and ousted as soon as Rep. Rodney Alexander brought up his so-called overfriendly e-mails in the fall of 2005, Foley’s seat would be safe for Republicans today. As soon as everyone knew that Foley had been plying teenagers with lewd instant messages and using the page program to identity potential sex partners, he was gone.

Republicans should show their anger that during the final weeks of a campaign waged in the midst of a war on terror, with shooting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and rogue states staging or attempting to stage nuclear tests, Democrats and the media want to focus on the sick transgressions of one disgraced former congressman. They should say that the public deserves better, and that at this point — after more than a week of wall-to-wall coverage — the continued Foley overkill tells us more about the frivolity and bizarre obsessions of the media and the Democrats than it does about the Republicans. It is they who should be ashamed.

There is no doubt about it, the Foley scandal is now raw political blood sport. It is a convenient way for Democrats and their de facto allies in the media to sweep the Republicans from power and give us Speaker Pelosi. Republicans must acknowledge this, and act accordingly.

On North Korea

I've been wanting to drop a post on the apparent emergence of North Korea as the world's newest member of the nuclear club all week, but the issue is so vexing that I haven't been able to get a good bead on what I wanted to say.

There will be more to come as I struggle with organizing my thoughts on the subject, but let me start by providing you with a link to an outstanding opinion piece I stumbled upon written by Gerard Baker and appearing in The Times of London.

He's right. The price of, as he puts it, "shillyshallying" with rogue states in response to their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (particularly of the nuclear variety) is indeed high. For all the hand-wringing we hear about nuclearized North Korea and Pakistan and nuclearizing Iran, there isn't much more to be done. We have passed the point of return with all of them. There is an inflection point in the nuclear development cycle before which negotiations and strong measures can bear fruit. But after the inflection point has been passed, the world finds itself with few options, none of them good. The world "shillyshallyed" prior to all of these nations' inflection points and only became concerned and engaged once the nuclear inflection points had been passed, once it was already too late.

Which brings us to Iraq. Although it is trendy to question and berate America's intervention in that country, we can today be certain that Iraq, no longer in the hands of Saddam Hussein, has taken major steps away from its nuclear inflection point as the result of the American invasion. Now certainly we face a whole host of other issues in Iraq. But none of them quite so ominous as nuclear weaponry in the hands of a dangerous fanatic and known proliferator.

North Korea is what happens when you shillshally. And today the world is truly less safe as a result. To be clear, the danger lies less in the possibility of a missile attack on an American west coast metropolis than it does in the sharing of nuclear technology with terrorists or in Asian disputes influenced and governed by an irrational leadership brandishing WMD.

Nuclear red-lines need to be drawn around the most dangerous of regimes. One was drawn around Iraq and enforced. As for the other members of the "Axis of Evil," well those inflection points had already been passed by the time the red-lines had been drawn. What next? I don't know. But hold on to your hats.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Descent from profundity to absurdity

I used to give great weight to the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. In my mind, the winner of the prize was someone of great substance, character and someone that had made great contributions to the cause of peace. But I've raised my eyebrows at some of the more recent recipients (Jimmy Carter and Yasser Arafat come to mind, albeit for entirely different reasons).

But one scratches his or her head at the possible trajectory of the award's stature should recent Prize nominee Cindy Sheehan become this year's recipient.

There's just nothing else to say.

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