Monday, June 30, 2008

You gotta be kidding me

Well I guess we won't be seeing Wes Clark in the VP slot after all.

What Clark actually said:

Bob Schieffer: General-could I just interrupt you-I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down.

General Wesley Clark: I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president...

-- Face the Nation (CBS), 6/29/08

What did he do? He said something that no rational being could dispute -- that the things McCain did 40 years ago, and that at least several hundred of other men did, do not perforce make him or any of them qualified for the highest office in the land. What he did not do is in any way impugn McCain's service or patriotism. Which, of course, means that the MSM was of a single voice in saying that he impugned McCain's service and patriotism.

The performance of the MSM in this whole episode is such a stunning affirmation of every negative stereotype of the stunning, omigawd stoopidity that has defined the MSM since the 90s.

What Clark said is a textbook Kinsley gaffe (that is, an accidental truth). The skills that make a good POW, or even a good pilot don't necessarily map to POTUSness. (We know that being a questionable fighter jock is associated with being the Worst President Ever, but it isn't worth getting into whether McCain's skills 40 years ago were any better.)

Anyway, we now know three things: (1) the MSM has learned precisely nothing; (2) the MSM is still very much McCain's base, and (3) if ever he was, Wes Clark is no longer on the short list for the veep slot.

Only the third item is newsworthy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Today Obama tried to explain his surrender on FISA, and just made things worse.

I don't blame Obama for wanting to put some distance between himself and the DFHs. Were I in his place I would indeed tack to the center. He should take us for granted. And he could have done it without significantly eroding his support among the (smarter) DFHs.

What I do blame him for is for putting real distance between himself and the Constitution.

There is policy (Social Security, universal health care, tax policy etc.), which you can horsetrade. And then there is bedrock principle. Or, at least, there should be. Today I learned that you can fit every Senator who feels that way in a single minivan. And the presumptive Democratic nominee ain't one of them.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Feet of clay

Telecom immunity passed the House. Obama triangulated himself into going along with it, which likely means the Senate will seal the deal.

The very definition of "hopeless cause" seems to be "whatever I support."

I was initially baffled by the cave-in, but seeing Pelosi's incoherent Gingrich-like cheerleading made it clear: there must be buckets of blood on her hands, and a paper trail to prove it. There are enough Dems complicit in the warrantless wiretapping that there truly was bipartisan interest in making sure the truth stayed buried. She looked, to coin a phrase, terrified.

I watched "An Unreasonable Man" a few days ago. Paired with this sorry episode, it is hard not wonder if my contempt for Nader and his "not a dime's difference" perspective was unfair.

Oh, and Somersby has the goods on Saint Timothy of MTP. Why the hagiography by his peers? In short, because he was the journalistic equivalent of all hat, no cattle -- lots of gravitas, but wrong about everything.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stop telecom immunity

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


One of the most important victories the blogosphere has achieved has been the derailing of telecom immunity in connection with the FISA debate. But the bottomless pockets on the other side have ensured that no succession of silver bullets, garlic and stakes through the heart is enough to make immunity stay dead. And so they are at it again, and trying to do it on the down low.

Greenwald has the latest, and is again leading the charge.

I know there is a fundamental conflict between claiming that this is the last stand for democracy and the other times I have said it. But you can think of us as the goalie protecting the Constitution and rule of law. This is sudden death overtime, and every shot on goal can destroy what is left of the republic.

This time the guy with the puck is, nominally, one of our own. Steny Hoyer has to be stopped, and ActBlue is taking him on.

I put my money where my mouth is. I urge you to do the same.

We don't need to do this indefinitely -- Congress will recess for summer in a few weeks, and the odds of it coming up on the eve of the election are probably remote. If we can stop it this time, we might just finally kill it dead.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

McWag the dog

About a year after his release from a North Vietnamese prison camp, Cmdr. John S. McCain III sat down to address one of the most vexing questions confronting his fellow prisoners: Why did some choose to collaborate with the North Vietnamese?

Mr. McCain blamed American politics.

“The biggest factor in a man’s ability to perform credibly as a prisoner of war is a strong belief in the correctness of his nation’s foreign policy,” Mr. McCain wrote in a 1974 essay submitted to the National War College and never released to the public. Prisoners who questioned “the legality of the war” were “extremely easy marks for Communist propaganda,” he wrote.

Americans captured after 1968 had proven to be more susceptible to North Vietnamese pressure, he argued, because they “had been exposed to the divisive forces which had come into focus as a result of the antiwar movement in the United States.”
Now this is just plain sad. I feel for him, and for other POWs. No one should have to go through what they went through, though my willingness to empathize is sharply reduced when victim so completely morphs into perp, as the now torture-lovin' Maverick has (and what he and his friends are doing sounds fully worthy of the Hanoi Hilton). It should come as no surprise that he is still fighting the last war -- or perhaps 3 or 4 wars back. But in addition to demonstrating how McCain's world view was frozen in amber 40 years ago, this story shows an incredible self-centeredness in his approach. He was a POW; free speech made his job as a POW harder; ergo the problem is free speech.

To use the interrogation techniques employed against men who never should been in harm's way to begin with as justification for limiting or muzzling in any way the voices of those who tried to bring them home is truly to look at the world through the wrong end of the telescope.

Friday, June 13, 2008

John Cole nails it

Tim Russert was a newsman. He was not the Pope. This is not the JFK assassination, or Reagan’s death, or the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. A newsman died. We know you miss him, but please shut up and get back to work.

I will refrain from Russert-bashing today. But jeeze, folks, enough.


So much going on...

Victor Davis Hanson is still an eedjit.

David Broder is not just an eedjit, but a venal hypocrite.

Newsweek thinks Wes Clark is a likely veep choice for Obama. (I am not going to make a prediciton, but that sure makes sense to me)

The L.A. Kobes (now with extra hubris!) are about to get theirs.

Oh, and the Supremes just revived habeas corpus.

The bloggers 'round here don't write nothin' at all
They just stand back and let it all be.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Welcome to the Hades Ice Rink

1. A black man is the going to be the Democratic nominee for President and, most likely, be elected in November.

2. I am ever so slightly rooting for the Celtics against the Lakers. (20 years ago, if you had asked me which of these two items would happen first, I would have gone with President Jesse Jackson.)

3. And I just read and agreed with a Charles Krauthammer column.

There will be more: I predict that gay marriage will reach its sell-by date as a political wedge a month or so after the California Supreme Court ruling takes effect.

Something is going on out there.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Yesterday's conspiracy theory is today's "duh"

Tin foil hats are about to go mainstream:

Defense Department counterintelligence investigators suspected that a small group of Pentagon officials who'd collected dubious intelligence on Iraq and Iran from Iranian exiles might have "been used as agents of a foreign intelligence service ... to reach into and influence the highest levels of the U.S. government," a Senate Intelligence Committee report said Thursday.

A top aide to then-secretary of defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, however, shut down the 2003 investigation into the group's activities after only a month, and Pentagon officials never followed up on investigators' recommendation for a more thorough investigation, the Senate report said.

The revelation raises questions about whether Iran may have used a small cabal of officials in the Pentagon and in Vice President Dick Cheney's office to feed bogus intelligence on Iraq and Iran to senior policymakers in the Bush administration who were eager to oust the Iraqi dictator.

Iran, which was a mortal enemy of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and fought a bloody eight-year war with Iraq during his reign, has been the primary beneficiary of U.S. policy in Iraq, where Iranian-backed groups now run much of the government and the security forces.

The aborted counterintelligence investigation probed some Pentagon officials' contacts with Iranian exile Manucher Ghorbanifar, whom the CIA had labeled a "fabricator" in 1984. Those contacts were brokered by an American civilian, Michael Ledeen, a former Pentagon and National Security Council consultant and a leading advocate of invading Iraq and overthrowing Iran's Islamic regime.

The Bush Administration was not content to screw up solo. Evidence now surfaces that our epic misadventure in Iraq was an example of willing sock puppetry controlled by Iran.

I've been dismissive of the 9/11 conspiracy theories. But at this point about the only thing holding me back is my unwillingness to believe that this bunch of asshats could actually (a) do it and (b) keep quiet about it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

And you thought it was just Gov. Conan

Our awe-inspiring Preznit Conan:

During a videoconference with his national security team and generals, Sanchez writes, Bush launched into what he described as a "confused" pep talk:

"Kick ass!" he quotes the president as saying. "If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can't send that message. It's an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal."

"There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!"

The original:

Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of the women.

(Actually, our English-as-a-second-language Governor did a much better job than our cerebral-cortex-as-a-foreign-organism Commander in Chief.)

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