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Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Hostage to Partisanship

Yesterday the blogs were abuzz with news of the hostage situation unfolding at a Hillary Clinton campaign office in Rochester, New Hampshire. While giving new meaning to the phrase "battleground state", thankfully the drama ended as swiftly as it began. All the hostages were freed and the hostage taker, later determined to be a mentally unstable individual, was taken into custody.

But once the well wishes were issued, it didn't take long for the partisan rancor to set in amongst the right and it continues today. The typical jokes and jabs were elicited and some pundits were even trying to pick winners and losers in the crisis. Many are conspiratorially suggesting the event was possibly staged at worse or at best will be seized upon by the Hillary campaign to garner some form of pity vote. Michelle Malkin, who has in the past scolded lefty blogs for their impertinent commenters, was furiously deleting them from her site yesterday. At least she now understands how we on the left feel about and deal with such poor taste ramble rousers.

And this incident just highlights what is to come. Any situation or event even marginally connected to a Democrat will be picked over by the righties and the media with a fine tooth comb, where as genuine scandals like Rescue Rudy's taxpayer funded rendezvouses will be all but ignored.

I long for the day when basic decency will win out over politics. Sadly it seems that may never come true so long as there are those who will forever attempt to divide us.

See also fellow ASZer Steven Reynolds.

(Plucked from a folder at The Xsociate Files)

Friday, November 30, 2007

RIP to one great daredevil

As a child of the '70s I was a huge Evel Knievel fan. Today his daredevil days came to an end. RIP.

Mouth brain disease

Looks like Karl Rove won't get to rewrite history after all. Today, former chief of staff Andy Card threw water on Rove's lie that it was Congress, not the White House, that precipitated the rush to war in Iraq.

So, Rove's lie, wait, let me say it again, Rove's LIE has been discredited. Here's the rub: Card may have set the record straight but he still lacked the balls to call Rove out on his LIE. Silly Karl, he wasn't LYING, according to Card, it's just that sometimes his "mouth gets ahead of his brain."

Fine. Play that way. In the meantime I'll remember that line just in case I ever run into Karl. "Sorry, officer, I didn't mean to strike that lying sack of crap in the mouth. It's just that sometimes my fist gets ahead of my brain."

A pressure cooker

The NYT opines:
Without a serious effort at national conciliation, American troops are just holding down the lid on a pressure cooker. Iraq’s rival militias, the insurgents, the bitter sectarian resentments and the meddling neighbors haven’t gone anywhere. [...]

Even after putting another 30,000 Americans in harm’s way, Mr. Bush still sees no need for a strategy to get all 160,000 troops in Iraq safely home. And as long as they know that this is the case, that Mr. Bush is willing to go on paying the bills — and protecting the Green Zone — Iraqi politicians will see no reason to compromise.

Americans need to ask themselves the questions Mr. Bush is refusing to answer: Is this country signing on to keep the peace in Iraq indefinitely? If so, how many American and Iraqi deaths a month are an acceptable price? If not, what’s the plan for getting out?
Never was a plan, beyond the looting of a sovereign nation, and there never will be a plan. With all three sides now effectively armed, not to mention laying low and/or feigning cooperation, finding a way out will be more difficult than ever. And who will most likely have to deal with this exit? Certainly not Bush. Which was the reason for the surge in the first place. Mission. Accomplished.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Original Sin

The Daily News [via Yglesias]:
"A lot of Obama's advisers thought this was a stupid war in 2002, and a lot of Hillary's advisers thought it was a good idea in 2002," said one Democrat with a national security résumé. "That's the original sin which causes people to make some choices."
It still sways me.

Hillary made her choice. She enabled George Bush and Dick Cheney to launch their war. What Hillary should have said:
I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.
Except she didn't and Obama did. Call it a litmus test, but on matters of war and peace Obama wins.

Do you GOPTube?

After reading through some of the blog posts about last night's YouTube GOP debate the consensus seems to be the candidates did pretty awful. This was no doubt in part due to the types of questions CNN chose. While the network had already assured ahead of time there would be no "gotcha" style questions because Americans can't be trusted to pick good questions (as if CNN has any claim to fame in that area), outrage has nonetheless taken hold in Right Blogotopia. Not so much over the actual substance of the questions mind you. Most of them could care less about gays serving openly in the military or abortion unless, that is, it can be used as a wedge issue to divide Democrats. No what matters is always the messenger, in this case the supposedly ordinary Americans who were allowed to submit questions for the debate.

The righties have apparently taken to scouring the questions posed at last night shindig and finding that not all of the Tubers signed that loyalty oath that the Repubs are so fond of. Whether it was an openly gay ex-general asking about gays serving openly in the military being a Hillary supporter or an abortion questioner being an Edwards fan, righties are now saying this failure to disclose the political leanings of the Tubers is more evidence of liberal media bias. Some are even alleging that CNN specifically chose questions that would make conservatives look back.

Anyone else get the feeling they're just ashamed that out of so many questions submitted, so few could be included that didn't make the right look completely batshit crazy?

(Plucked from a folder at The Xsociate Files)

GOPers debate, Dems win

I did watch the GOP debate last night. Why? I'm not so sure. Maybe I like watching trains wreck--or in this case maybe it's more that I like watching a train filled with bigoted, fear-mongering, misogynistic, homophobic, bible-thumpin' white men wreck. If I had to add my two cents to the many cents out there already I'd say Mike Huckabee certainly edged his way into the top tier. If he wasn't batshit Creationist crazy I would almost, and that's a big almost, like the guy.

Overall, Benen gets it just right: "It’s almost impossible to pick a winner from last night Republican presidential candidate debate in St. Petersburg, Fla., except maybe the entire Democratic field — for more than two hours, the GOP hopefuls made it abundantly clear that none of them should be the president."

Help The Writers - Call Studio Execs

American Rights At Work has made it easy by providing phone numbers and talking points. The writers are standing against corporate greed and for the rights of all workers to fair pay for their work. This video does a good job laying it all out in about a minute:

Click the links for more info, talking points, and phone numbers.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy

The Politico:
As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.
It's not the fuzzy accounting that's going to sink Rudy. It's the fact that every time the fuzzy is mentioned, the adultery is mentioned right along with it. Please, America, let this be the last Rudy straw.

Update: Not only does Rudy fail at math, he also fails at being the Mayor of 9/11. The Village Voice has the scoop on Rudy's terrorist hugging tendencies. [h/t to Digby]

The Right Accuses The Left of It's Own Sins

Whenever The Right accuses The Left of malfeasance, you can bet it is up to it's corrupt knees in that very same bad behavior. When there is talk, in 2007, of "liberal bias" in the media when we can all see that corporate media presents us with more conservative commentators by a large margin, it is a sign of this. When you hear of voting improprieties from Rush Limbaugh, you know it's to muddy the argument when The Right is caught red-handed doing just that -- another sign of this phenomenon. When preachers of irrational hate like Coulter and Malkin claim that it is the people of The Left who are incapable of civil discourse, you know there's some serious projection going on, and again, it is a sign of this.

Last week Digby posted an excellent piece that described this phenomenon. Here's a snippet:
[H]ere we find ourselves more than 40 years after the conservatives began decrying the moral depravity of the left and 15 years after Patrick Moynihan told us that our liberal culture was defining deviancy down and we find that they were right all along. They just got one little detail wrong. It wasn't the liberal left who were morally depraved. It was them.

While the culture at large was adjusting to the idea that families don't all look the same and that private sexual morality was not the business of the state, the decadent economic elite and right wing ideologues had systematically defined deviancy down to the point where Moynihan's deviant "altruism" can be illustrated as giving bonuses to workers who denied cancer patients their medicine; his deviant "opportunism" is seen as giving hundreds of millions of dollars to failed business leaders who lost their companies billions; and his deviant "normalizing" can be observed as society tossing aside its taboo against government-sanctioned torture.

If those are the "old" standards the culture warriors of the right have been trying to defend, they're killing us. Literally.

Read the rest.

Opening The Files: 11/28/07

Phoning It In

President Bush's brief appearance at a peace summit yesterday in Annapolis once again illustrates that not only should he be forever sequestered from attending any event with "peace" as the principal subject but also from giving any further speeches which may afford him more opportunities to mangle the name of a foreign head of state. For a president who has overseen some of the worst geopolitical upheaval in a generation to suddenly be spouting the need for two sides in a conflict he has thus far, and continues, to neglect is the height of irony.

Then again, even the Bushies weren't making this summit out to be anything other than the "mother of all photo-ops", one last attempt to spit shine a waning presidency so lacking in glorified successes that have yet to occur. And it does not say much when expectations have fallen so low that this latest bit of presidenting by proxy is deemed a success simply because more than just the janitors were in attendance.

Gordon brings us the illustrated version of Bush's Middle East peace process.

Eric says if we are going to focus on who RSVP this little shindig, perhaps we should consider the potential for actually accomplishing something.

AJ Rossmiller is glad that some narratives weren't allowed to stand uncontested. Some however...

And Maureen Dowd says that just like her exercise routines, Condi Rice's idea of diplomacy involves a lot of running but not getting anywhere.

(Another one for the cabinet over at The Xsociate Files)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cheney impeachment talk goes mainstream

While the Internets have been a buzz about the need to impeach the vice president for years, it seems last week's McClellan blurb has done what Dennis Kucinich could not, it has taken impeachment to the masses via America's newspaper, USA Today. Here's the bottom line from DeWayne Wickham [via ThinkProgress]:
While there is still little evidence to suggest that Bush was knowingly involved in this cover up, the evidence against Cheney is piling up. It came out during Libby's trial that the vice president authorized him to leak Plame Wilson's identity to journalists. And now we hear from McClellan that Cheney duped him into telling other reporters that the White House didn't have its hands in this matter. This trail of lies and deception has put Cheney on the same path that led to Nixon's impeachment. And it may yet cause the vice president to tumble into the same political abyss.
While I do not absolve Bush, or McClellan for that matter, as Wickham makes clear, the lying and obstruction can be laid at the vice president's door.

If Nixon can go down for "trying to misuse the IRS to attack his enemies — and using his subordinates to make 'false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States' about the White House involvement" then surely Cheney can fall for misusing state secrets and then lying about it to the American people.

If this was 1974 there would be calls for Cheney's head, but somehow, in our business as usual media environment, outing a CIA agent and breaching national security barely rates. Maybe using the "I" word in the USA Today will change this, but I'm not holding my breath.

Marriages of Convenience

Now that the Bush administration has finally overseen that shotgun wedding they always wanted, perhaps now they can get to eliminating a new scourge threating our "relationship": cross dressing terrorists.
Soldiers manning a checkpoint near Baghdad stopped a wedding convoy to find that the purported bride and groom were wanted terror suspects, an Iraqi Defense Ministry official said Monday.

The Army set up the checkpoint last week in the Taji area, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

The soldiers became suspicious of the convoy because its members -- save the "bride" -- were all male and because one of the cars in the convoy did not heed orders to stop, the official said.

Also, soldiers said, the people in the car seemed nervous and the groom refused to lift his bride's veil when soldiers asked him to, according to the official.

Soldiers ordered everyone out of the car, the official said.

Upon inspecting the convoy, soldiers found a stubbly-faced man, Haider al-Bahadli, decked out in a white bride's dress and veil.

Bahadli was wanted on terror-related charges, as was his groom, Abbas al-Dobbi, the official said.
And here I thought all those warnings from righties that the terrorists would come to this country and get gay married were just silly.

(Plucked from a folder at The Xsociate Files)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another premature victory lap

With the news today that the Bush Administration is moving forward with plans to stay in Iraq forever the chicken-hawks are doing a victory dance. This from Gateway Pundit [no link]:
It will be interesting to see what the democrats will have to say about this latest development. Surely, they will be disappointed. After all, it suggests that major fighting against terrorists is drawing down, that the insurgency is beat, that the Iraqis are ready to stand alone, that the US will have an important Middle Eastern base and that Bush wins. It's a Democratic nightmare.
Forget the lives lost and the billions spent. Don't mention tomorrow's dead and the billions more to be spent. Sweep under the rug the fact that this long-term deal is being struck with a unreconciled puppet government. Ignore the fact that U.S. oil interests will get their fair share confirming the terrorist battle cry. All that matters is that the boy president has been vindicating and the Democrats find themselves in a bind. So, yay, Bush wins! Mission accomplished (again)! Today is a glorious day for chicken-hawks and the perseverance they displayed.

Bullying Rots Politics

From David Neiwert at Campaign For America's Future:
People in key positions of media and conservative ideological prominence (Coulter, Limbaugh, O'Reilly) exhibit multiple symptoms of being pathological sociopaths, either antisocial or narcissistic, or a combination of both. And not only their fellow participants in the conservative movement, but mainstream centrists and even liberals are unable to figure out that there is something seriously wrong with these people because they are projecting their own normalcy onto them. They cannot perceive because they cannot believe that these people are not operating within a framework guided by the boundaries of basic decency that restrain most of us.

They are political muggers out of control -- and as their rhetoric encourages both the figurative and physical elimination of liberals, they become ever more likely to actually tread into regions of real violence.

The essay is long, but divided into neat sections for easy pacing. Please read the whole thing, it really helps explain what the Raving Right has done to political discourse, how it has done it, and the damage it has caused.

Shocking Indeed

Big news via Roll Call: In a "shocking move" Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is resigning to spend more time with his family his wallet. Good riddance.

Update: The Trent Lott show may not be over if you feel so inclined to connect this Larry Flynt dot. Pass the popcorn, please.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Truth in Comics

If it's Sunday, it's Truth in Comics.