Saturday, May 31, 2008

tried to mix with those animals, and it just left you full of humiliated confusion

Was Press a War ‘Enabler’? 2 Offer a Nod From Inside

In his new memoir, “What Happened,” Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary, said the national news media neglected their watchdog role in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, calling reporters “complicit enablers” of the Bush administration’s push for war. Surprisingly, some prominent journalists have agreed.

Katie Couric, the anchor of “CBS Evening News,” said on Wednesday that she had felt pressure from government officials and corporate executives to cast the war in a positive light.
At the time, Ms. Couric was a host of “Today” on NBC.

Another broadcast journalist also weighed in. Jessica Yellin, who worked for MSNBC in 2003 and now reports for CNN, said on Wednesday that journalists had been “under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation.”
Well that's clear enough, and us DFHs have been saying it for years. But what really shocked me was the flat out lie GE, (the owner of NBC), responded with later in the article:
A spokeswoman for General Electric, which owns NBC and MSNBC through its division NBC Universal, declined to speak about the specifics of the comments but said, “General Electric has never, and will never, interfere in the editorial process at NBC News.”
That statement goes against all evidence:
Shortly after George W. Bush declared his candidacy for president in June of 1999, General Electric Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch was contacted by Bush political advisor Karl Rove. Welch later informed associates that Rove told him a Bush administration would initiate comprehensive deregulation of the broadcast industry. Rove guaranteed that deregulation would be implemented in a way that would create phenomenal profits for conglomerates with significant media holdings, like GE.
In 1988, NBC News president Lawrence Grossman insisted to Welch that news was a public trust and should not be subjected to the same pressure to make profits that was applied to other GE units. Welch fired him.

In 1999, the GE chairman decided that it was no longer good enough for NBC News to just be profitable. Seven years of a frequently uncooperative Democratic Administration, combined with the Rove-inspired vision of spectacular profits through deregulation, now motivated Welch to take action.

He began to aggressively, but very discreetly, evangelize the gospel of corporate media as corporate lobbying tool. It was not a new concept; in the opinion of many, it was already the status quo. But from Welch’s point of view, the corporate news organizations were not living up to their potential.

The mainstream media could make George W. Bush president.
Welch viewed Al Gore as the candidate of the parasites. Gore voters were not the generators of wealth; they were the consumers of taxes. Welch privately described the typical Gore voter as “someone who needs all these goddamned social programs because she’s too goddamned dumb to keep her legs crossed and too goddamned lazy to get an abortion.”
And it's not like Welch is alone, Rupert Murdoch has done the same thing in the print media.

There is no longer a divide between the corporate and news divisions, and for GE to pretend otherwise is just ludicrous.

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald has more:
Interview with former "Donahue" producer and MSNBC pundit Jeff Cohen

One of the most amazing aspects of this week has been watching network media stars feign shock over the fact that anyone could suggest that they were "deferential, complicit enablers" of the Bush march to war. It's as though they never heard anyone ever suggest such a thing until George Bush's own Press Secretary mocked them for being meek, uncritical disseminators of government propaganda, and now -- they seem to want to convey -- they're just so confused and astonished that anyone could possibly think that about them.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

The same old places and the same old songs, We've been going there for much too long

Our blogbuddy Blue Girl/Red State has a generally superb news roundup tonight.

Here's the best part:
Of pots, kettles and degrees of blackness John McSame would have done well to keep his mouth shut about Barack Obama not flying off to Iraq for a whirlwind shopping trip and some of the finest Kabuki Theater found outside Japan every time the wind blows. Well, it turns out that he has been remiss in a duty right here at home! Prior to last month's stroll through the Lower Ninth Ward, he had been to the Gulf Coast exactly once since the day Katrina made landfall. By contrast, Obama has visited the region five times. Mapquest says it is only 1089.87 miles between Washington DC and New Orleans, and it is not necessary for a visiting potentate to be escorted on a stroll by a full company of armed soldiers, three Blackhawk helicopters and two apache gunships to make sure the potentate stays safe. And by not monkeywrenching operations in a war zone six soldiers didn't get dead on any of the five trips that Obama has made to New Orleans. Not only has McShame been aWol in NOLA, he has failed to vote for reconstruction because it might saddle the future with debt, but the old hypocrite supports the occupation of Iraq - the single biggest expense and burden upon the backs of our grandchildren - without fail.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Why was it obvious to everyone else but you?

Poor faithful Scottie:
"'The media won't let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors,' I heard Bush say. 'You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember.'"
Let's break it to him gently:

Think pretzels and convenient biking accidents:


Think vacations:


Think the confusion of world leaders as they look at Bush:


Or don't look at him:



Think about the lack of appreciation for education because of the wild partying that went on:




The inability to make sense:



I think it's been pretty obvious:


crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Do you feel safer yet?

Investigators find gaps in port security program

A Department of Homeland Security program to strengthen port security has gaps that terrorists could exploit to smuggle weapons of mass destruction in cargo containers, congressional investigators have found.
And in related news:
Gamblers' shuttle gets terrorism funds

Colorado Springs-based Ramblin Express, which shuttles gamblers to mountain-town casinos, including Cripple Creek, has received $382,000 in anti-terrorism grants.

The most recent grant, for $184,415, was announced this month as part of the Department of Homeland Security's $844 million Infrastructure Protection Activities program.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Bad Cops, Bad Cops, Whatcha gonna do?

Cop gets 4.5 years for lying after fatal drug raid
WTF!? The prosecutor never heard of 'felony murder'!?

If someone dies during the commission of a felony, any death that occurs during that crime can be 'felony murder.' It can be from a heart attack, or any other cause.

So even tho this officer didn't pull the trigger he was involved in a cover up of the murder. He helped plant drugs, he lied to investigators, he lied to the FBI, and he was convicted of multiple felonies. That's felony murder.

IMHO, the dirty cops who conducted the raid, the judge who signed off on their specious no-knock warrant, the police department officials that encouraged these actions, should all be on trial for conspiracy, and felony murder.

I emailed an Atlanta reporter who covered this story and asked him why the cop wasn't charged for felony murder. Here is his reply:
Simply put: the politics in this case are rife.

What the DA does or doesn't do, what the U.S. Attorney does or doesn't do, are decision hugely influenced by the political climate in this city.
In related news:
Board overseeing Atlanta police faces slow start
Created after illegal shooting of Kathryn Johnston

5-16-08 People in the police oversight community told her that no one in Atlanta — not residents, not city officials, not the media — would be sympathetic to delays in getting the city's Citizen Review Board up and running.

But it's been more than a year since the board was created in response to the Atlanta Police Department's illegal shooting of Kathryn Johnston, and even Shields admits that she expected to be investigating complaints about the city's law enforcement officers by now.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Right This Way, Your Briefing's Waiting

Old Chums

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Abstinence makes the fond grow harder

With all the thunderstorms in my area I'm reminded of a sailor's maxim; If you can't head to weather, run to Lee:

Monday, May 26, 2008

Who takes care of the jailed immigrants' children?

Born in America, they are Americans. They are often separated from nursing mothers, left wandering the streets, stuck at daycare, abandoned to strangers, lost in the Child Services system.


WATERLOO, Iowa — In temporary courtrooms at a fairgrounds here, 270 illegal immigrants were sentenced this week to five months in prison for working at a meatpacking plant with false documents.

The prosecutions, which ended Friday, signal a sharp escalation in the Bush administration’s crackdown on illegal workers, with prosecutors bringing tough federal criminal charges against most of the immigrants arrested in a May 12 raid. Until now, unauthorized workers have generally been detained by immigration officials for civil violations and rapidly deported.

The convicted immigrants were among 389 workers detained at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant in nearby Postville in a raid that federal officials called the largest criminal enforcement operation ever carried out by immigration authorities at a workplace.

Matt M. Dummermuth, the United States attorney for northern Iowa, who oversaw the prosecutions, called the operation an “astonishing success.”

Oh, good for you, Mr. Dummermuth. The article continues: (my bold)

The unusually swift proceedings, in which 297 immigrants pleaded guilty and were sentenced in four days, were criticized by criminal defense lawyers, who warned of violations of due process. Twenty-seven immigrants received probation. The American Immigration Lawyers Association protested that the workers had been denied meetings with immigration lawyers and that their claims under immigration law had been swept aside in unusual and speedy plea agreements.

The illegal immigrants, most from Guatemala, filed into the courtrooms in groups of 10, their hands and feet shackled. One by one, they entered guilty pleas through a Spanish interpreter, admitting they had taken jobs using fraudulent Social Security cards or immigration documents. Moments later, they moved to another courtroom for sentencing.

The pleas were part of a deal worked out with prosecutors to avoid even more serious charges. Most immigrants agreed to immediate deportation after they serve five months in prison.

Why is there such frantic haste? Why are they pushing these raids just before a presidential election? ... oh.

Remember what has happened to other immigrants who were swept up into the private prison system


(which is doing a very nice business at the moment), do we know what is happening to them? Do they have access to their families?

The article points out the evilness of these aliens:
All but a handful of the workers here had no criminal record, court documents showed.
And clearly, the businesses who hired these evil illegal aliens have been jailed or at least fined, right? The article continues:

No charges have been brought against managers or owners at Agriprocessors, but there were indications that prosecutors were also preparing a case against the company. In pleading guilty, immigrants had to agree to cooperate with any investigation.

Chaim Abrahams, a representative of Agriprocessors, said in a statement that he could not comment about specific accusations but that the company was cooperating with the government.

Ah. The corporations actually are pissed because lack of exploitable workers raises prices. They've even tried treating workers from India as they do the Mexicans, but it didn't go very well.

Note this amazingly unacknowledged fact:
"In 2001, the Social Security Administration concluded that undocumented immigrants "account for a major portion of the billions of dollars paid into social security that don’t match SSA records," which payees, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, can never draw upon. As of July 2003, these payments totaled $421 billion."
How about we spend the money intended for the border wall to start businesses in Mexico and Guatemala so these desperate families stay home?


Making these undocumented workers the scapegoat for our economic ills has been a traditional ploy in our political theater. It also brings out the truly ugly part of our society.

Is this the America we want to be?

Update from Steve: If you purposely pour sugar on the floor of your kitchen, don't you dare complain about the ants you attract. Terribly insulting metaphor, to be sure, but until the companies that hire illegals are brought into the justice system and punished , then the illegals, like the ants, will still swarm to where they can get jobs. Don't blame them, they're just trying to make a living. You may not like them, their culture or their lifestyle, but they're not the problem, only a symptom of the problem. [/rant]

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

His country wanted him to fight, For the things they thought were right

Most people join the military for a variety of reasons, some noble, others less so. Some are purely patriotic, some see the military as a way to improve their life, either by educational benefits, or just a steady job. And some really have an affinity for the military lifestyle.

They enter into a contract with society. They promise to protect and defend the U.S., and we, the citizens of the U.S., promise to support them in every way imaginable. Soldiers know the job has risks, and they agree to take on those risks so civilians don't have to. But soldiers depend on civilian leaders to not put them at risk for bad reasons, because soldiers can't say no.

I'll be the first to admit I never would have joined the armed services. That may be a fault in my personality, and it may also be because in my lifetime, and especially since the Cold War ended, there has beel no real manifest threat to America. Not the dominoes predicted to fall after Viet Nam, and certainly not the Islamic terrorists in the Middle East. Yes, 9/11 was terrible, but in 2006 alone, over 17,000 people died in alcohol-related car accidents. Perspective, folks.

But the folks who join the military, who take up weapons and charge off into battle following orders, deserve our complete respect and support. Not with Yellow Ribbon magnets, not "I Support The Troops" bumper stickers, but health care, education, decent pay, and wisdom in choosing their battles.

And they should get our solemn reverence when they don't come home, and their families should be supported and consoled. Whatever the war, whatever the political climate, the soldiers are doing their job, and their families often pay a great price for sending their loved ones off to protect America.

Please remember that under all the political rhetoric, the lofty ideals, the rationales for war, the ultimate price isn't paid by politicians, leaders, or the country at large. It's paid by teachers, students, mechanics, medics, wives, husbands, brothers, children, and all the military families who lend their kin to the country. They gave us their literal best.

We owe them our best in return.

"And They Obey" ~ Carl Sandburg

Smash down the cities.
Knock the walls to pieces.
Break the factories and cathedrals, warehouses
and homes
Into loose piles of stone and lumber and black
burnt wood:
You are the soldiers and we command you.

Build up the cities.
Set up the walls again.
Put together once more the factories and cathedrals,
warehouses and homes
Into buildings for life and labor:
You are workmen and citizens all: We
command you.

And one name read and nobody really cared, But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair

Our good friend Brad Friedman of BradBlog has 4 posts at the top today with the names of every U.S. soldier killed in the Afghan and Iraqi Wars, it's incredibly humbling.

It's too easy to intellectualize these wars. Regardless of your opinion of either war, these are men, women, younger as well as older, that will never walk this earth again. If anyone reading here has lost someone in these wars, my heartfelt sorrow goes out to you. If you haven't lost anyone, look at someone you love across the room, and imagine their blood spilled thousands of miles away. It should make your heart ache. Now imagine the families connected to the names on Brad's list. Because for them, it's not intellectual, nor imaginary.

It's bitter reality.

And please, watch the video, listen to the lyrics. If you're not already a fan, you will be.

Happy Sailing Senator Kennedy!

(Pic stolen from here.)
Sen. Kennedy competes in ’Figawi’ sailboat race

HYANNIS - It was a “great day,” Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said today after his surprise decision to compete in the last leg of the Figawi regatta -- and his schooner "Mya" finished second.

“Well, it couldn’t be a more beautiful day,” Kennedy said on his private pier. “We have wonderful friends and family. It’s a tradition out here and we had a great day.”

A crew member on Kennedy’s sloop told the Herald the skipper was “in a great mood.” The Mya came in second in division 3 in the weekend Hyannis-to-Nantucket race.
Asked why Kennedy took to the seas today, spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter told the Associated Press, “The wind was just right.”
“The wind was just right” ... for a sailor there's no better answer to many of life's persistent questions.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Sunday, May 25, 2008

In Memoriam

It's Memorial Day and the unnecessary deaths from friendly fire, bad political decisions, poor equipment ... have nothing to do with the soldiers who died. Those conditions have been inherent in war since war began. And especially so in the wars that started with lies. Just in my lifetime: 'Gulf Of Tonkin Incident'; 'Grenada Was Taken Over By Communists'; 'Iraq Has WMDs and We Know Where They Are' were all lies.

But the people who died because of these lies did not die for these lies. They died for their fellows, they died for their country, they died for us.

This is why we should remember them every day, not just between brats (edible and sired) on this day, but because regardless of the lies, the coverups, the sheer incompetence that put them in harm's way to begin with, they were doing it for us.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Caption Contest!

(I added the text to the photo, inspired by Shipment of Fail website.)

Here are my submissions:
That's the hard way to join the Mile High Club!
If you can't Fly United, land united!
Honey, I swear, that tail-dragger meant nothing to me!
We wuz OK till we hit that yeller tape!

OK, now it's your turn.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

No time to think about what to tell them, No time to think about what shes done, And she was

What can you say to this?
"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right?" Clinton said. "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it." (Here is transcript of her original remarks, clarifying her remarks and her explanation for them.)
Keith Olbermann said it best:

(via AMERICAblog)
Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment" about Hillary Clinton invoking Bobby Kennedy's assassination

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Friday, May 23, 2008

So you got to let me know, Should I stay or should I go?

Petraeus Expects to Recommend Troop Cuts in Iraq This Fall

"My sense is I will be able to make a recommendation at that time for further reductions"
Now where have I heard that before? Oh, I remember, it was exactly what Petraeus said last year:
Monday, September 10, 2007 - General David Petraeus made his long-awaited appearance on Capitol Hill today. The general said he believes the United States can reduce its presence in Iraq to pre-surge levels by next summer
Well summer's here and now he says he'll let us know next fall, oddly enough, it's yet another 'Friedman unit', what a surprise! And just in time for the elections!

Doesn't anyone in the MSM or Congress have enough brain cells to remember that this is the exact same lie that's been repeated for the whole war!? (More here.)

Why Congress isn't rejecting this "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" out of hand I'll never understand. (More here.)

Petraeus also said 'violence has hit a four-year low'

That's just an outright lie. Last month, April 2008, 52 Americans died and Iraqi military & civilian deaths were 744 (confirmed).

In the last 4 years there were 18 months that American soldiers had fewer deaths. In the last 2 years there were 5 months that Iraqi military & civilian deaths were lower. (That's just confirmed, actual civilian deaths are probably much higher, but our military refuses to do 'body counts.')

General, I just got one thing to say: You better go now, go now, go now.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

I told her I didn't really care, High water everywhere

We've had a little bit more rain than we can use this Spring. (Click for larger pics.)
But more water just means more sailing!

And this country, it belongs, to folks like me and you

Steve Clemons writing at TPM Cafe makes 2 points. The first is spot on, that Dwight Eisenhower would be shocked by his formerly conservative Republican Party today:
How far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

If men can develop weapons that are so terrifying as to make the thought of global war include almost a sentence for suicide, you would think that man's intelligence and his comprehension. . . would include also his ability to find a peaceful solution.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking. . . is freedom.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

In most communities it is illegal to cry "fire" in a crowded assembly. Should it not be considered serious international misconduct to manufacture a general war scare in an effort to achieve local political aims?

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Indeed. But Steve's second point, that the Republican closest to "Ike" today is Chuck Hagel is slightly off, I think:
If I was in Barack Obama's shoes and Hillary Clinton had turned down my offer to run as Vice President, I'd go with Eisenhower in a unity ticket -- and because Eisenhower is not available, I'd go for Chuck Hagel. John McCain couldn't put a ticket together to beat that combo.
Sure, Hagel has been critical of the GWBush government on several issues, like Iran:
However, now is the time for the United States to actively pursue an offer of direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with Iran. We cannot afford to refuse to consider this strategic choice any longer. We should make clear that everything is on the table – our issues and Iran’s….similar to the opportunity that we squandered in 2003 for comprehensive talks with Iran. This should include offering Iran a credible way back in from the fringes of the international community, security guarantees if it is willing to give up nuclear weapons ambitions, as well as other incentives. This will require the day-to-day efforts and presence of a very senior administration official, higher ranking than the American Ambassador to Iraq.

Of course, I'm waiting for him to be called an appeaser by some idiot like Hannity.

Hagel is also Reality-Based™ on Iraq:
If the war continues to lose support from the American people, the limited options we have today will vanish. The president will be left with a bitter few allies in our party, and we will be forced to withdraw from Iraq in a way that greatly damages U.S. interests in the Middle East and leaves the world far more dangerous than it is today. Forging a bipartisan consensus now that places responsible conditions on U.S. war funding could forestall a time when we have no options. The Baker-Hamilton report could have been the base for that bipartisan consensus.

Cool. But there are other problems lurking below his reasonable surface:
Although he was pressured by some to run for Governor of Virginia, where he had lived for 20 years, in 1992 Hagel moved back to Nebraska to become president of the McCarthy Group, an investment banking firm. He also served as a Chairman and was CEO of American Information Systems Inc. (AIS), a voting machine manufacturer, until its name-change to Election Systems & Software (ES&S) in 1997. He had ownership interest in ES&S through its parent company The McCarthy Group as of January 29, 2003, when The Hill reported that, due to his ownership interest, “Hagel’s ethics filings pose disclosure issue”.[4]

And on other key issues:
  • Voted YES on barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions. (Oct 2007)
  • Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)
  • Voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)
  • Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)
  • Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life. (Mar 2003)
  • Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000)
  • Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999)
  • Voted YES on banning human cloning. (Feb 1998)
  • Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Rated 100% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance (190 members). (Dec 2006)

  • Voted YES on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
  • Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)
  • Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
  • Voted NO on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women. (Mar 1998)
  • Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)
  • Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001)
  • Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
  • Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Rated 11% by the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)

  • Voted NO on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on reforming bankruptcy to include means-testing & restrictions. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy. (Jul 2001)
  • Rated 87% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record. (Dec 2003)

  • Voted NO on granting the District of Columbia a seat in Congress. (Sep 2007)
  • Voted YES on requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections. (Jul 2007)
  • Voted YES on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress. (Mar 2006)
  • Voted NO on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity. (Mar 2006)
  • Voted NO on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads. (Mar 2002)
  • Voted YES on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration. (Feb 2002)
  • Voted NO on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations. (Apr 2001)
  • Voted NO on funding for National Endowment for the Arts. (Aug 1999)
  • Voted NO on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance. (Oct 1997)

So Hagel is reliably Republican, except perhaps on the war. He may be in line with Eisenhower's Republican Party, although the corporatist voting record probably wouldn't endear him to Ike.

But with a voting record like that, he's hardly a viable candidate for VP in a Democratic administration. The enemy of my enemy isn't always my friend. And probably the only common ground I can find between Hagel and a Presidential ticket I would vote for is his position on Iraq. And that ain't enough. It's time to take our country back from the far-right, and not use their tools anymore. And except for his stand on Iraq, Hagel is a tool.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I won't lose a friend by heeding God's call

Tristero at Digby's place makes a point:
Nor, despite the size of his congregation, is Hagee the real issue. McCain's character is. A fool who would actively seek out this loon's endorsement. A moral coward - yes, coward - who would equivocate about denouncing such ideas and the bigots who hold them.

Such a person is not a serious candidate for president.

I would think so too, except for one thing: I know better. For 5 years my two main clients were evangelical mega-churches that also had recording studios. I ate lunch with these people, listened to their rants, and have a really clear picture of their beliefs.

Here's the point Tristero misses, which is the idiot-savant genius of McCain's campaign: No one on the right, NO ONE, cares about Hagee, with the possible exception of a few moderate genuine conservatives, that is. All 3 of them.

But the far-right Evangelical end-times Christians, for whom Hagee is a dog whistle the size of a Marshall stack, will still support McCain, even more now than before. Not only is he a "true believer" by courting and wedding Hagee, but now he's been bloodied by the secular humanists that threaten the Christian way of life. His rejection of Hagee's support isn't a betrayal of Hagee's prophecy, but a tactical retreat in the face of the abortionists, school desegregationists. and gay-marriage supporters whose defeat his administration will hopefully bring about. And thus is a stronger hero born.

The only problem might be Hagee's perceived anti-Semitism, which is only a problem for Jews. Because the evangelical Far-right and its ministers like Hagee don't give one golden crap about actual Jews. To them, Jews are indeed God's chosen people, who will still likely not get into Heaven unless they become, you know, Christians. But because they're Chosen, fundies pay lip service to them. You don't want to piss off the Big Guy. It's like going to a party at the creepy rich kid's house because he has a swimming pool.

And to them, Israel isn't an actual country with actual people. Instead, it's the Armageddon battleground, sacred for what it promises them in salvation. Anyone else left after the final battle is dust, not worthy of consideration. Including the Jews.

For movement conservatives, the Hagee deal is just noise. They have issues with McCain, but the hyper-religious don't matter to them except as pawns who vote. It's a macrocosm of the evangelicals and the Jews; the larger group views the smaller one as somewhat useful, but in the end, merely a means to that end.

So McCain won a demographic, scorns one of their icons, yet still walks away with their support. Imagine if Obama asked for the support of Noam Chomsky, then rejected it. Many on the left would be righteously indignant. But it's OK if you're a Republican. Karl Rove would be proud.

Hey wait . . .
A top McCain adviser said both Mehlman and Rove are now informally advising the campaign. Rove refused to detail his conversation with McCain.

Yeah, that's what I thought.


Omg, Bush's bestest buds are appeasers!

To refresh memories:
to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.
So what do you call this?
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN -- Pakistani authorities announced Wednesday that they had struck a truce with a militant faction that moved last year to impose Taliban-style rule in a once-popular tourist area.

The deal between government officials and Islamic militants in the scenic Swat valley could presage broader accords with militants in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

The 15-point pact was signed despite explicit expressions of concern from the United States about such truces -- the latest warning delivered only a day earlier by Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte in Washington.

Pakistan's new coalition government, which took office seven weeks ago after winning parliamentary elections in February, has said it is willing to talk with extremists who are prepared to renounce violence. But the Bush administration and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization say they believe that Islamic militants will use respites to strengthen and rearm themselves and resume attacks when it suits them. They also say cross-border strikes aimed at Western troops in Afghanistan have edged up since negotiations began.


Under the pact, the government appeared to have made significant concessions. It agreed to begin pulling back troops, provided that attacks against the military cease. The government suggested that Fazlullah, previously one of the country's most wanted men, would not be actively pursued. It also agreed that the Swat valley would come under a system of Sharia, or Islamic law, with Islamic clerics and scholars advising civil judges.

In return, the militants softened some of the harsher measures they had taken to enforce their stringent form of Islam. They agreed to stop their campaign against polio vaccinations, which they have denounced as a Western plot, and girls' schooling. They also promised to stop terrorizing barbers who shaved men's beards and blowing up music and video stores.

As part of the agreement, Fazlullah's followers pledged not to display weapons in public, though they did not agree to disarm. The group's former heavily fortified headquarters is to be turned into a university, both sides said.
Pakistan's last consession allowed the Taliban to reorganize and gain strength. What is this going to do?

And, clutch those pearls, Mabel, Israel is an appeaser, too!:
JERUSALEM -- In February 2007, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, met privately for more than two hours in Turkey.

The two leaders concluded that the time was ripe for Turkey to mediate indirect peace negotiations between longtime enemies Israel and Syria.

The existence and extent of those negotiations were acknowledged by all sides Wednesday, prompting speculation as to the timing, goals and prospects for success.

Syrian President Bashar Assad disclosed the negotiations last month, saying Turkish mediators had informed him that Israel was willing to return the disputed Golan Heights to Syria.

Israel declined to confirm the talks at the time, but an Israeli official said Wednesday's coordinated statements out of Jerusalem, Damascus and Ankara were a sign that "the discussions had advanced" to a more serious level.

The Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. government had been "fully briefed" from the start on the initiative.
Georgie, you knew about these dangerous diplomatic appeasement-related program activities for a year? And didn't tell us?

I thought talking to the enemy was evil and bad?

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

If you are reading this, you're probably on the list

To be rounded up. Pack a toothbrush:

Govt. May Have Massive Surveillance Program For Use In ‘National Emergency,’ 8 Million ‘Potential Suspects’
Last year, former deputy attorney general James Comey revealed that in 2004, he refused to “certify” the legality of certain aspects of the National Security Agency (NSA) spy program. Comey witnessed Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card try to force a bed-ridden John Ashcroft to approve the program. Comey, however, did not publicly give specifics as to what program he opposed.

CAP’s Peter Swire wrote on ThinkProgress at the time that Comey’s testimony implied that “other programs exist for domestic spying” outside of the NSA program. Radar’s Christopher Ketcham suggests that another spy program does exist: “Main Core,” a program that authorizes “computer searches through massive [unspecified] electronic databases” in order to discover “potential threats” in the event of a “national emergency”:

According to a senior government official…”There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” … One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.

Remember the ten easy steps to fascism:
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law
This explains all those secret private prisons around the country, the odd obsession that Cheney and Rumsfeld had about playing shadow government games, Cheney's claim that the Vice President was outside the law and the Constitution, the indifference to foreign workers, the ICE raids, Blackwater mercenaries, Gitmo, Tasers being issued to police and being scrubbed from autopsy reports, identifying every crime and misdemeanor as terrorism, and the officious arrogance of the airport security, doesn't it?

These loyal Bushies must have been promised really neat uniforms and high glossy black boots so they could shock and awe their craven neighbors. Is that why they gutted the treasury? To create a depression that would make Americans desperate to support a fascist regime? It might have worked when Georgie's grandfather Prescott Bush tried to start a coup against FDR.

Are they hoping another terrorist strike will do the trick?

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Found at Michelle Malkin's post(no link, you don't want to go there) about Sen. Kennedy's brain cancer:
I will pray for Senator Kennedy. Dying from a brain tumor must be awful. I can’t think of anything worse except perhaps suffocating at the bottom of a tidal pool in a ‘68 Oldsmobile. Alone and scared. At 25 years old.

Prayers for the woman he left to die, Mary Jo Kopechne. Ted Kennedy has already received all the breaks in the world. He got away with vehicular homicide and afterwards has spent his life showing no mercy to and villifying Republcans. I cry for the millions of aborted babies and the rest of the victims of Liberal insanity like his.

While much posted there was more like this one:
Senator Kennedy and his family have my and my families prayers.
Cancer is not political.
May God Bless, he and his family.

The majority seemed more like this:
While I vehemently disagree with Senator Kennedy on his politics, I have much sympathy for him and his family. I hope he’s able to get through this. I wouldn’t wish death upon anyone serving this country, even if I disagree with his methods.

Many comments brought up Chappaquiddick and Mary Jo Kopechne. That was a really sad, ugly incident in Kennedy's life, and ruined any chance he may have had of running for President. And many commentors at MM's site also mentioned the "millions of aborted babies and the rest of the victims of Liberal insanity like his".

Apparently lots of Right-wingers feel compassion for Ms. Kopechne. Too bad they don't feel that way about Michael Douglas:
Michael Dutton Douglas, 17, had driven only half a mile before America’s Black Widow of the Night deliberately ran the stop sign at high speed, striking the small car with such ferocity that her boyfriend was ejected from the car and into the dirt.

Nothing else to add except the observation that when a Democrat is responsible for someone's death, they should die in pain and burn in Hell. But when a Republican is responsible, they will likely get a Presidential Freedom Award.

Update: From my dear friend MJS in comments:
He is such a horrible human being that the will of the people of Massachusetts has been to elect him to the Senate every six years since 1962.

Update II by The Sailor: Laura Bush was never charged, even tho she was speeding and ran a stop sign.

She did however release a statement in 2000 when George Bush was ruining [sic] for office:
"I know this as an adult, and even more as a parent, it was crushing ... for the family involved and for me as well."

Hey lady! It was literally crushing for your boyfriend, it was a tragedy for his family. Laura's statement depicts yet another quality that her husband and co-conspirators have in common, the complete lack of empathy evinced by psychopaths.

I don't doubt that laura thinks she was as affected by her boyfriend's death as much as his parents were. Just like she said about American deaths in Iraq: "no one suffers more than their President and I do."

I don't know how to love Him

Imagery in Bastrop school mural stirs controversy
Religious symbols, historical scenes cause some to call for painting's removal.

The painting in question, a student project completed in 2003, adorns a wall in the corridor leading to the Bastrop High School gym. It depicts the sometimes unpleasant history of the town, showing scenes of a Mexican and Comanche raid and slaves working in a cotton field, as well as unifying visions of children of different ethnicities reaching out to one another.
Patty Green, the art teacher who coordinated the project, said she doesn't understand why the issue is coming up now. Austin muralist Raul Valdez organized a group of Bastrop students to paint the mural using a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bastrop Association for the Arts.

"It sat up there for five years, and nobody had a problem with it
," said Green, the head of the Bastrop association.

Bastrop resident Lauren Hansell, who made the original complaint, homeschools her children but visits the school on Fridays to pray with students at the flagpole.

A Christian, Hansell said she wants the mural removed because of the war and slavery scenes and depictions of Buddha and ancient gods.

Among the images on the mural are an Aztec sun, ancient Egypt's King Tutankhamen, Buddha and Shiva, a Hindu deity, dancing on a demon of ignorance.

Hansell, who at first interpreted Shiva's dance as a message in favor of abortion, said laws that bar Christian symbols from public schools should apply to the mural.

The First Amendment, which bans government-sponsored religious activities even as it protects religious expression from government interference, allows students to pray during school in informal settings, according to U.S. Department of Education guidelines.
So after 5 years of the mural being displayed a woman who has nothing to do with the school except for proselytizing every week on school grounds complains and engenders a controversy.

"Dancing on a demon of ignorance" indeed.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

Nope. Not me. Ah'm not allowed to even touch the button.

(edited to include this necessary pic)

Unka Dick is going to do it.


- The White House on Tuesday denied a published report in Israel that said President Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term in January.
A story in the Jerusalem Post quoted a "senior official" there as saying that Bush plans to attack Iran in the coming months. The story says the unidentified official claimed that a "senior member" of Bush's traveling entourage made the statement about attacking Iran in a closed meeting. Bush was in Israel last week.

The article also says the unnamed Bush official said that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney "were of the opinion that military action were called for."


Perino said the "president of the United States should never take options off the table, but our preference and our actions for dealing with this matter remain through peaceful diplomatic means. Nothing has changed in that regard."

Diplomacy? Isn't that appeasement to Georgie? I think this means we're going to attack Iran before the year is out.

And McBush apparently doesn't give a fuck who is actually in charge in Iran:

Yesterday, the Wonk Room’s Matt Duss noted that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) often incorrectly portrays Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as if Ahmadinejad has a significant role in formulating Iranian foreign policy. He doesn’t. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Iran’s National Security Council set Iran’s foreign policy.

Yesterday, Time’s Joe Klein pressed McCain on the issue, but McCain refused to concede he was wrong, saying he disagreed that Khamenei runs Iranian policy behind the scenes. McCain added that because the “average American” thinks Ahmadinejad is Iran’s leader, that’s good enough for him:

MCCAIN: I mean, the fact is [Ahmadinejad’s] the acknowledged leader of that country and you may disagree, but that’s a uh, that’s your right to do so, but I think if you asked any average American who the leader of Iran is, I think they’d know.

Ahmadinejad? Khamenei? What does it matter if we're going to nuke the place anyway?


crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Whenever you feel 'played out', remember...

Do It Live


Monday, May 19, 2008

Let's Talk About Sex

OK, now that I have your attention, let's talk about race ... and sex.

In a kinda sorta follow up to SteveAudio's post about the racist Curious George T-shirt and in light of the comments on that post, I'd just like to say: Misogyny is terrible, racism is worse.

Let me re-phrase: Misogynists are terrible, racists are worse. I suggest you read the post and read the comments, and read the links to the comments on other sites. I'll wait ...

... ... ...

Yep, those were awful, sexist, misogynist comments about Hillary.

And that's really bad, but racism is about both men and women. Men and women that were kidnapped and stolen from Africa and auctioned off as chattel in our country. Men and women that were considered as property, and even enshrined in the Constitution as 3/5ths of a person so that Southern states were equally represented in Congress.

There aren't groups in our country that want to kill women just for being women but there are groups in our country that want to kill black people, just for being black.

And if I were to put on my cynical hat I would say that Hillary should take the VP job, if offered, because Obama being assassinated, (and if he's elected I put the odds of that at 50/50), is the best chance she has of being President.

And that's why misogyny is terrible, racism is worse.

Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth

(Video by Robert Greenwald at Brave New Films)

There are some folks we call dead-enders. They will follow The Party no matter what. If they saw GWBush, John W. McCain, Dick Cheney, and Grover Norquist gang-raping their child on TV, they would still vote for anyone with an "R" after their name, including the aforementioned McCain.

It always cracks me up when a supposed 'thoughtful' Right-wing pundit criticizes a Democratic candidate, thoughtfully, as if they would ever vote for said candidate, or even consider him anything but a traitor willing to sell us all down the river into Islamofascist slavery:
The fact that everyone knows who Bush was referring to and the fact that the substance contained in the remark reflects the widely held belief of a very large percentage of voters should have given Obama an opening to retract the remark and share his thoughts on engaging Iran, Syria, and other terrorist supporting nations in a useful dialogue.

Instead, Obama and the Democrats hit the ceiling, calling Bush every name in the book and whining about their hurt feelings. Their reaction reminded me of a line from the movie All The Presidents Men where the Washington Post has published an article accusing the White House of wrongdoing and the reaction to that article from the Nixonites. Ben Bradleee observes “They doubt our ancestry, but they don’t say the story isn’t accurate.”

Obama called Bush’s words “an appalling attack,” “dishonest,” divisive, “fear-peddling,” fear-mongering,” but for some reason, never got around to responding to the substance of Bush’s charge; that Obama and the Democrats cannot be trusted with running American foreign policy because their outlook on the world is is based on false assumptions about, our friends, our allies, our role in the world, and most of all our deadly enemies.

Bush actually did Obama a favor. He gave him a golden opportunity to lay out his “realistic” ideas on American foreign policy so that it would get the widest possible hearing. The problem, as Obama and the Democrats well know, is one of perception – a perception they try their best to finesse rather than tackling head on. It’s not about talking tough and making threats. It is about calling our enemies, well, enemies . They could try that for starters.

Right. Problem is, any idea Obama lays out as realistic will be ridiculed by this guy and his crowd. Yet he seems so reasonable. But often so do most sycophants and supporters of totalitarian regimes.

In another post by the same guy, he mocks Obama for his popular appeal, as if appealing to, well, the populace was something to be avoided:
What could possibly be wrong with 75,000 people attending a political rally?

Admittedly, not much on the surface. And perhaps if the times weren’t so perilous and the candidate who was the beneficiary of that huge crowd wasn’t so problematic, we could really celebrate such an outpouring of support, free from the nagging doubts that plague many of us about Barack Obama and his past associations and present ideological beliefs.

Except my republican soul (note the small “r”) is a little frightened at this mob scene. Politicians should be plebeian in their appeal – being one of us and not standing above us, Caesar-like in their beguilement of the masses. Truman and Eisenhower were plebes; modest in their habits and with no illusions regarding their own failings. There is something to be said for such solid republican values in a presidential candidate and when someone such as a Kennedy or Obama rises above the masses, presenting themselves as perhaps something more than a servant of the people, we are bound to look in askance at such a phenomenon.

The anti-populist elitism, the sniff of "dirty masses" from an ivory tower conservative psuedo-intellectual is almost enough to make the spirit of Bill Buckley smile up from Hell. The fear of the people revolting, trying to further their own best interests, has been a touchstone in conservative politics since long before the Cold War.

And in case he forgot, there's never been a more anti-plebian President than GWBush, with the possible exception of Poppy Bush, who really took his elitism as a life style, and didn't try to hid it with a phony rancho in Texas.

Moran finishes his anti-Obama whine thusly:
But dangerous he is – for his beliefs, not for his personality or the character of this mass movement he has inspired. So when I see 75,000 people screaming his name with the kind of abandon reserved for rock stars or religious figures, I worry more that the candidate won’t be able to live up to the lofty expectations he has engendered in his legions than he would use such a movement for nefarious purposes.

And given his incredible lack of experience and zero track record in getting anything done, I would guess that if he is elected he would generate more disappointment among his followers than any other president in memory.

Dude, that's rich in unintended irony. He worries, poor concern troll he is, that Obama won't live up to the Left's expectations, that he has an "incredible lack of experience and zero track record in getting anything done", and will "generate more disappointment" blah blah blah.

Like, you know, George W. "28%" Bush has done.

The real reason for all this pearl-clutching and hand-wringing is in the video at the top, and rests on the heads of the Republican collective, the "dirty unwashed masses" who voted for McCain, once a pariah in Republican top circles, now their candidate. Weak as Wally Cox with the flu, ethically challenged as Ferdinand Marcos, anti-intellectual as GWBush, and flip-flopping more than a trout in the bottom of a boat, McCain's star is the one they have hitched their wagons to. So Moran instead carps and whines about Obama's mis-perceived problems, and pronounces him a bad candidate.

Yeah, because your guy is Teh Hot™.


Saturday, May 17, 2008


Bring out the scarlet letters!:

During a speech to the Israeli parliament yesterday morning, President Bush attacked Barack Obama, comparing him to Nazi appeasers for the Illinois senator's willingness to hold discussions with Iran.

One problem: Bush's speech came just hours after The Washington Post reported that Bush's defense secretary, Robert Gates, said that the United States needs to "sit down and talk with" Iran. Not only that, Gates added, "We can't go to a discussion and be completely the demander."


Naturally, then, a media firestorm erupted, with the Bush administration and its political allies questioned all day about whether Bush has any idea what he is talking about, whether he has lost control over the Pentagon, whether Gates will be fired, what Gates thinks about Bush's comparison of those (like Gates) who advocate dialogue between the United States and Iran to appeasers of Adolf Hitler, and whether the fiasco will remind voters that the Bush administration's foreign policy has been marked by incompetence and dishonesty, thus doing irreparable electoral damage to John McCain and other Republican candidates.

Sorry -- what was I thinking? That didn't happen.

Instead, much of the news media got busy pretending the Post article didn't exist and that Gates had not undermined Bush's political attack on Obama. Instead, many news outlets simply rushed to repeat Bush's assault over and over again, as though it had merit.

Just like this guy... who had no clue what Neville Chamberlain had done and what appeasement actually means:
to yield or concede to the belligerent demands of (a nation, group, person, etc.) in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Friday, May 16, 2008

Dry White History # 322

One apocryphal bit of business surrounding the 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler...' quote, used 'liberally' without attribution by various conservative writers and attributed to Senator William Borah, the 'lion of Idaho', bears mentioning.

Borah was linked quite often in the papers of the times as a compatriot to his fellow Republican Senator, Gerald P. Nye (R-North Dakota), who during his time in office was the chairman of a special Senate committee tasked with investigating the munitions industry’s connections with World War I.

This was the Munitions Investigating Committee, popularily known as the Nye Committee.

Essentially, the committee found some rather striking degrees of conviviality between the American government of the time under Woodrow Wilson, and various arms manufacturers and sellers, including Samuel P. Bush, who at the time was tasked by Bernard Baruch to head the Ordnance, Small Arms, and Ammunition Section of the War Industries Board, a post for which as a 'railroad man' he showed scant previous experience, save for his very amicable relations with such social luminaries as Percy Rockefeller, owner of Remington Arms, and Averill Harriman, later Senior Partner of Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

Both captains of industry later took it kindly upon themselves to recommend young Prescott Bush to Yale's Skull and Bones fraternity in 1916, along with Averill's brother 'Bunny' Harriman.

It should be noted that Remington Arms became preeminent in small arms and ammunition contracts for American and Allied powers during this time, supplying by one estimate '...machine guns and Colt automatic pistols; millions of rifles to Czarist Russia; over half of the small-arms ammunition used by the Anglo-American allies in World War I; and 69 percent of the rifles used by the United States in that conflict'
...No doubt, merely incidental to the close personal relationships being formed by these elite members of American society.

Although the final findings of the committee were somewhat ambiguous, in a similar fashion to the determinations of the McCormack-Dickstein Congressional Committee (tasked to examine the 'businessman's putsch' of 1933), numerous Neutrality acts were reactively authored and passed as an indirect result of the investigation.

It would be illuminating to reflect upon the larger role that Samuel P. Bush might have played in facilitating such amicable relationships in the Great Game of the time, but unfortunately most of the records detailing his activities in this matter were burned by the National Archives at an unspecified date, purportedly in order to 'save space'.

The triumph of convenience.


Resisting an illegal war

Sgt. Matthis Chiroux
, who served in the Army until being honorably discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines, today publicly announced his intention to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq.


Resisting the backdoor draft or as I see it, involuntary servitude.

IVAW's post finishes with a request for donations:
To donate to IVAW’s Legal Fund to support Matthis and other servicemembers who are refusing to support the occupation of Iraq, use our online donation form and select “Legal Fund” under special projects.

crossposted at Rants from the Rookery

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It' My Party and I'll Whine Cry If I Want To

GOP leaders sought yesterday to "re-brand" the party with a new slogan and renewed pledges of fiscal rectitude and limited government. But the slogan -- "The Change You Deserve" -- came under mocking fire, because it parallels Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama's "Change We Can Believe In" motto and it mirrors the advertising slogan for the antidepressant Effexor. [ED: Take for depression, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. Common side effects include apathy, irritable bowel syndrome and sexual dysfunction. Take only if you are a republican.]
And in a rare moment of honesty:
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner said "It's not that the party's going to change, it's what we talk about and how we talk about it"
See, even Boner (R-loser) admits it's just talking points and nothing is going to change if McCain (R-bushleague) gets elected.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak

the ink of a scholar is worth a thousand times more than the blood of a martyr

GWBush stepped in some horse doo doo today:
In a speech to Israel's Knesset, Bush said: "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along."

"We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Of course, his loyal minions claim he wasn't trying to smear Obama:
The White House said Bush's comment wasn't a reference to Obama.

"It is not," press secretary Dana Perino told reporters in Israel. "I would think that all of you who cover these issues and have for a long time have known that there are many who have suggested these types of negotiations with people that the president, President Bush, thinks that we should not talk to. I understand when you're running for office you sometimes think the world revolves around you. That is not always true. And it is not true in this case."

Sure. That's why it was done in the Knesset; Bush can claim that Republicans are better defenderers of Israel. And it's bullshit on so many levels. And who was the genius speechwriter that came up with this? We can't blame Frum for this, I don't think he's that stupid.

Harry Reid has a pretty good take on it:
“Not surprisingly, the engineer of the worst foreign policy in our nation’s history has fired yet another reckless and reprehensible round. More than seven years into his Presidency and in the sixth year of the directionless Iraq war, President Bush has yet to learn that his brand of divisive partisan rhetoric is precisely what has made America and our allies less secure. And for the President to make this statement before the government of our closest ally as it celebrates a remarkable milestone demeans this historic moment with partisan politics.

“President Bush’s own actions demonstrate that he believes negotiations – at the right moment, under the right conditions and with the right leaders – can both show strength and produce results. He has relied on negotiations with North Korea and Libya, two state sponsors of terror. And by conducting discussions with Russia, China, Libya, North Korea and Iran in recent years, President Bush has demonstrated his belief that negotiations can be a tool to advance America and Israel’s national security interests. I call on the President to explain the inconsistency between his Administration’s actions and his words today.”

Obama's response was OK, just OK, but Kevin Drum's take is spot on:
Over in Israel today, George Bush got right down to business and compared Democrats to the Hitler appeasers who sold out Czechoslovakia just before World War II. Barack Obama shot back that this was a "false political attack" and that Bush was a liar.

. . . I still think I would have preferred something like a Reaganesque shake of his head followed by "It's always Munich with these guys, isn't it?" There are times when mockery is the best policy.

And as proof that GWBush's statement is sheer partisan hackery, here's his SecDef just yesterday in the WaPo:
The United States should construct a combination of incentives and pressure to engage Iran, and may have missed earlier opportunities to begin a useful dialogue with Tehran, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday.

Does this mean he will be reprimanded by Bush? McCain, of course, fellates supports Bush:

Senator John McCain, who has been critical of President Bush on the environment and other policies this week, on Thursday morning wholeheartedly endorsed Mr. Bush’s veiled rebuke in the Israeli Knesset of Senator Barack Obama that talking to “terrorists and radicals'’ was no different than appeasing Hitler and the Nazis.

“Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain,'’ Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign bus after a speech in Columbus, Ohio. “I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.'’

Note the obligatory Reagan idolatry. But oft-sensible conservative Andrew Sullivan thinks:
This is manna for the Obama campaign, sent straight from Heaven. Who wouldn't want to run against this president this November? By conflating Bush and McCain on this, the White House has done the Democrats a massive favor.

McCain's invocation of Reagan's vision is pretty myopic. Fred Kaplan in Slate:
Part of the Soviet failure in Afghanistan was due to the fact that the Reagan administration was feeding billions of dollars in arms to Afghanistan's Islamic resistance. Reagan and, even more, his intensely ideological CIA director, William Casey, saw the battle for Afghanistan as a titanic struggle in the war between Eastern tyranny and Western freedom.

. . . After the last Soviet troops departed, Afghanistan fell off the American radar screen. Over the next few years, Shevardnadze's worst nightmares came true. The Taliban rose to power and in 1996 gave refuge to the—by then—much-hunted Bin Laden.

Oh yeah, those were our terrorists. So Reagan was doing his presidential duty by talking with those terrorists, as well as creating Iran-Contra, but now Bush and McSame won't talk to anybody?


Here's Lupe Fiasco's "American Terrorist":