Friday, March 31, 2006

Selling and buying

I love the new rhetoric of the right that the only thing the President has done wrong in Iraq is he's not good enough at "selling the war."

Selling the war. Hmmm. To me, Iraq isn't a used car, or a set of encyclopedias. It's a generational commitment to expend potentially unlimited amounts American blood and treasure in order to install democracy in the Middle East at the point of a gun. (It used to be about protecting America, but that's *so* 2003.)

I don't think that the American people should have to be "sold" on a war. The case should be so clear, so obvious that no "selling" should be involved. A war should be scuba equipment in the ocean, not a Hummer in the suburbs.

Cleansing the palate

People who live in America are Americans. People who live in England are English. People who live in France are French.

But people who live in Holland are Dutch.

What's up with that?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Facts are funny

When George W. Bush took office, the national surplus was $236 billion.

After six years of Republican control, the national debt is now $400 billion.

Recently, Congress approved raising our debt ceiling (think of it like filling out all those pre-approved credit card apps that come in the mail - all at once) to $9 trillion. According to the London Times, that amount of money would buy you 28 full-size replicas of the Eiffel Tower - in pure gold. (Or 9,000 Buckingham Palaces. Presumably, not in gold.)

Thanks to Democratic Underground, which basically wrote this post for me. But I thought it was too good not to share.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

'They are animals'

Well, now that RedState founder Ben Domenech has been forced to resign from his job as the's resident conservative blogger because of a rather extensive history of plagiarism, the knives are out as usual. This is my favorite line from a commenter:
I repeat: Should the entire American Left fall over dead tomorrow, I would rejoice, and order pizza to celebrate. They are not my countrymen; they are animals who happen to walk upright and make noises that approximate speech. They are below human. I look forward to seeing each and every one in Hell.
You first, buddy.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Iraq War: A Play in One Act

Now that the "blame the media" meme is back at full strength, thanks to people like Laura Ingraham demanding that the Today Show broadcast footage of smiling Iraqi children, I thought it would be a good time to reprint something written back in June 2004 by Adam Blust on his now-defunct weblog, Words Mean Things.

The Iraq War: A Play in One Act

RIGHT: That hornet's nest is interfering with my enjoyment of our tree. Let's poke it and get all those hornets out.

LEFT: What, are you crazy?

RIGHT: No, it's a great plan. I have this giant stick and I'm not using it at all. Here goes!

[frenzied poking]

[swarm of hornets emerge, stinging both Right and Left]

RIGHT: Damn you, Left! You didn't help me poke! This is all your fault.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bush broke the law

It was fun on "Fox News Sunday" this week to watch Brit Hume skate close to a stroke when Juan Williams had the temerity to suggest that The Great and Powerful Bush might have, in fact, broken the law by doing warrantless wiretaps. (At least this time Hume didn't suggest, as he did in a recent FNS dustup, that Williams be "hosed down." Nice, Brit. Fucker.)

Well, for all those still clinging to "we need to investigate before we determine whether Bush broke the law," as usual my new hero Glenn Greenwald breaks it down:

1. FISA requires warrants.
2. Bush didn't get warrants.

Neither of those facts are in dispute.
"An investigation cannot answer the question as to whether U.S. Senators ought to take a stand against deliberate and ongoing lawbreaking by a President. Only U.S. Senators can answer that question, and they already have all the facts that are relevant to that question already before them. Claiming that they need further 'investigation' before taking a position is nothing short of an abdication of their responsibilities, an obvious tactic for avoiding the question of whether they oppose lawbreaking by the President."

The way-back machine, remix

February 24, 2001: "Saddam Hussein has not developed any significant capacity with respect to weapons of mass destruction," says Secretary of State Colin Powell. "He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."

July 29, 2001: "We are able to keep [Saddam's] arms from him," NSC advisor Rice tells the media. "His military forces have not been rebuilt."

Now that we're entering the fourth year of the war in Iraq, isn't it tragic and sick how truthful and accurate those statements were?

More compare and contrast:

"Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out."
-President George W. Bush, March 2002

"To assume I wanted war is flat wrong, with due respect. No president wants war. It's simply not true."
-President George W. Bush, March 21, 2006

Monday, March 20, 2006

These days, even humor can hurt

Senate to legalize Watergate break-in

While stuff like this is still funny and clever, at this point reading it is like laughing while hitting my elbow against the table edge and getting that nerve-twinge pain.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Bush Lied!

My position all along, despite the braying from people like Dean Esmay, was not that the President lied about Iraq. My position was that he didn't know whether what he was saying was true or not, and didn't care. This applies to the "16 words," the mushroom cloud, the aluminum tubes, everything. (Of course, this applies to the domestic spying, as well. He didn't know whether what he was doing was legal, and didn't care.) In every instance, it sounded good, and it furthered his agenda. That's all that mattered.

A perfect example of this was the President's recent assertion that roadside bomb IEDs in Iraq were coming from Iran. The funny thing was, when reporters asked Gen. Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, about this, he admitted that they have no proof of this. But it sounds good, and in fact, Bush's assertion received a lot more press, even after Pace's denial, than the denial. Examples like this are legion in the last four years. Remember Condi Rice's "smoking gun will be a mushroom cloud"? Yeah. Same thing. Sounds good, gets people riled up, and the actual truth is pretty much irrelevant.
"I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false is guilty of falsehood, and the accidental truth of the assertion does not justify or excuse him."
-Abraham Lincoln

Fantasy and reality

Went with some friends to see "V for Vendetta" on the Madison IMAX last night. While it was well-shot, well-produced and well-acted, for me it just didn't have the emotional punch I was expecting. The movie skillfully translates the original comic book's outrage at the Thatcher administration in England to the current War on an Abstract Concept, even though the setting remains London. But for me, the revolutionary oomph fell flat.

I guess I have outrage fatigue. When the Attorney General of the United States testifies before Congress (not under oath, but still) that Congress can certainly suggest things, and the administration will consider them, where do we have to go from there?

Back in reality, people like John Aravosis of AMERICAblog are saying beautifully all the things that I don't have the strength for right now.

The lesson, my friends, is that no matter what you do, Rush Limbaugh is going to crow about it, Ken Mehlman is going to do a mass-mailing about it, and the American Family Association will launch a boycott over it.

And even if you choose to do nothing, all of them will still attack you, claiming that you did something you didn't do.

So the choice for Democrats is to sit on their asses and do nothing, while Republicans criticize them unjustly, or to launch an all-out attack on the GOP while the Republicans criticize them unjustly.
When half the country fails to vote it's because they realize they're not represented by an political party. Almost half the country supports censuring the president. That's not half the Democratic party, that's half the country.

We ARE the majority of the country. The Republicans represent a 30-percent-or-so minority, that's it. They've only got the Terri Schiavo voters - the rest they get by default because we suck. They don't get 51% by choice. The majority of the country supports Democratic policies. We simply need some Democrats who have the nerve to stand up and say it, and fight for it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sick fucks

Here's a sample of what passes for mainstream opinion over at
I am FED UP with the crap coming out of Washington. Maybe this country needs another Pearl Harbor to wake up completely. Maybe we need to lose DC in order to wake up. For God's sakes I am SICK of the crap that gets passed as a national platform for Republicans. NO ONE is thinking about the border.
Translation: I am so disgusted with brown people that I would welcome my nation's capital be destroyed, hopefully by terrorist nuke. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

UPDATE: And over at Michelle Malkin's place, with all that's going on in the world, her top post right now is about.....

wait for it.....


(You saw that coming, right?)

Stop being weak and be strong

I've said for months and years now that all the American electorate cares about is strength. If you're strong, it doesn't matter what your policy positions are; we like you. And of course the opposite is true. It doesn't matter if you have the greatest ideas in the world, or even if the voters agree with you. If they think you're weak, they hate you. See: Bush and Kerry. Policy pales into meaninglessness against this emotional calculus.

The Feingold censure resolution is another prime example of this truth. As usual, Glenn Greenwald says it eloquently and forcefully:
And, at bottom, what this whole episode illustrates, yet again, is that if Democrats want to be perceived as strong, and if they want to lose the albatross of being pereceived as weak, what they have to do is extremely simple and clear -- stop being weak and be strong. Who appears stronger and more resolute right now -- Russ Feingold, or the Democrats scurrying around in the dark, afraid of their own shadows and petrified of standing up to a weakened President who got caught breaking the law?

Monday, March 13, 2006

The personal responsibilty and morality administration

So did you hear the one about the guy who is charged with $5,000 in retail fraud at Target? The guy who would buy items, then return to the store with the receipt, grab an identical item from the shelf, and then demand a refund for the item he didn't purchase?

As Paul Harvey would say.....and that man was Claude Allen, President Bush's former top domestic policy advisor and nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Great way to restore honor and credibility to the Oval Office. Bravo. Next stop, smashing kittens with hammers! Tonight on FOX!

Everything these guys touch is turning to crap. And it couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.

Good for you, Russ

I just called Senator Herb Kohl's office to urge him to support Russ Feingold's censure of Bush over the illegal wiretapping. As expected, Kohl "hasn't taken a position" on the issue. Yeah. OK. Good job, Herb. Way to put yourself out there. (See Update IV below.)

But hey, none of this matters anyway, right? Feingold is just another crazy liberal elitist terrorist-loving America-hating baby killer, emboldening our enemies in a time of war with his pitiful attempt to attack The Great and Powerful Bush. And who doesn't want us to spy on towelheads who want to kill us? Traitors, that's who. Anyway, Bush didn't violate FISA. Or if he did, it's OK because Congress said he could do whatever he wanted. Or if Congress didn't tell him, really the Constitution says the President can disregard any law that gets in the way of potentially killing towelheads. Because the President's war powers, in a war he declared, are infinite. So FISA is actually unconstitutional! Or something like that. Give me a few more hours watching Fox and I'll be up to speed.

UPDATE: Egregious weasel words from Michigan Sen. Carl Levin on Feingold's censure resolution:
"I think criticism of the president is legitimate," Levin said. "I think we ought to welcome some checks and balances on the president."
"Welcome" "some" checks and balances, Carl? How about "demand" "all"? This is still America. For now.

UPDATE II: Glenn Greenwald on how the administration lies to try to defend itself. They are utterly shameless.

UPDATE III: It's really a shame when only one Democrat in the whole fucking Congress is willing to stand up against a President who has not only violated the law and consistently lied to the American public, but who is at 34-freaking-percent in the polls. Every single one of those cowering, simpering weasels should be thrown out on their asses. And then beaten severely about the head and shoulders with a large tuna.

UPDATE IV: Well as expected, Herb Kohl wimped out and wouldn't support his Wisconsin colleague.
"As the Senate continues to investigate the president's implementation of the domestic eavesdropping program, it is not clear that censuring the president is the most effective way to bring that program into line with our need to protect national security and civil liberties."
Thanks, Herb.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Bravo, George

"And finally, I would say that, you know, we are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while. I think it's probably a good thing. We're the ones who talked about AIDS when it was just being whispered, and we talked about civil rights when it wasn't really popular. And we, you know, we bring up subjects. This Academy, this group of people, gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters. I'm proud to be a part of this Academy, proud to be part of this community, and proud to be out of touch."

-George Clooney, accepting the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "Syriana"
Since I readily admit my faults, I'll admit a special charge when Clooney won, because I knew somewhere, Bill O'Reilly's head was exploding.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

He should stay away from phones altogether

Apparently now, Bill "Shut up!" O'Reilly is threatening callers to his radio show who mention rival Keith Olbermann with retaliation from the Fox News security staff. Good move, Bill.

Obviously poor Bill is stressed. Even Juan Williams can't calm him down these days. What the man needs, clearly, is a complete falafel rubdown.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Hard to be freaked out anymore

In a Zogby poll out just a few days ago, 85 percent of troops serving in Iraq believe the U.S. mission there was "to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9-11 attacks."

85 percent!

We are so fucked.