Thursday, July 27, 2006

Fear Itself

Molly has a great column today about how the spiraling insanity in the Middle East may be our October Surprise. Read it!

From the first day of 24/7 coverage, you could tell this was big. By the time Chapter 9,271 of the conflicts in the Middle East had gotten its own logo, everyone knew it was HUGE. I mean, like, bigger than Natalee Holloway. Then anchormen began to arrive in the Middle East and people like Anderson Cooper and Tucker Carlson - - real experts and then Newt Gingrich -- and who would know better than Newt? -- declared it was World War III. Let's ratchet up the fear here -- probably good for Republican campaigning.

By then, of course, you couldn't find a television story about the back corridors of diplomacy and what was, or more importantly, what was not going on there. Between Anderson Cooper and Tucker Carlson, it was obviously World War III, and besides, there were a bunch of American refugees in Lebanon who couldn't get out, and so, elements of the Katrina story appeared, Thank God Anderson was there.

Meanwhile, people who should have known better were all in a World III SNIT over Chapter 9,271. Actually, they all knew better, but it was a better story if you overplayed it -- sort of like watching a horror movie that you know will turn out OK in the end, but meanwhile you get to enjoy this delicious chill of horror up your spine. What if it really was The End? I mean, any fool could see it could easily careen out of control, and when George W. Bush is all you've got for rational, fair-minded grown-ups, well, there it is.

If I may raise a nasty political possibility. One good reason for the Bush administration to leave Chapter 9,271 to burn out of control is that this administration thrives on fear. Fear has been the text and the subtext of every Republican campaign since 9/11. Endless replay of the footage from 9/11 has graced every Republican campaign since. Could it be that 9/11 is beginning to pall, to feel as overplayed as Natalee Holloway? Fear is actually more dangerous than war in the Middle East. For those who spin dizzily toward World War III, the Apocalypse, the Rapture -- always with that delicious frisson of terror -- the slow, patient negotiations needed to get it back under control are Not News.

All we have to fear, said FDR, is fear itself. And when we are afraid, we do damage to both ourselves and to the Constitution. Our history is rank with these fits of fear. We get so afraid of some dreadful menace, so afraid of anarchists, Reds, crime or drugs or communism or illegal aliens or terrorists that we think we can make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free. We damage the Constitution because we're so afraid. We engage in torture and worse because we're afraid. We damage our standing in the world, our own finest principles, out of fear. And television enjoys scaring us. One could say cynically, "It's good for their ratings," but in truth, I think television people enjoy scary movies, too. And besides, it makes it all a bigger story for them.



Monday, July 24, 2006

CT- Sen Imbroglio

I haven't covered the Liebermann-Lamont primary brouhaha mostly because I don't know enough about CT politics or Lamont to have much of an opinion. That said, I mostly loathe Liebermann for his penchant for acting like a Repug or at the least giving them protective cover from the 'left'.

mcjoan at dKos, has a long column today about the Liebermann side trying to twist Liebermann's attacks on Clinton in l'affaire Lewinsky as a positive for Clinton and the Dems. What hogwash (the argument, not mcjoan's column). I highly recommend the posting.

Her summary says it all:

Well, that is certainly true, for this president, anyway. The next time Lieberman scolds President Bush will be the first. But Lieberman was not always so shy about scolding Presidents:

... (excerpt from the Liebermanners...)

Scolding Presidents does not always go against the grain for Lieberman. But he sees no reason to scold President Bush's performance as "the steward of our freedoms and our values."

President Clinton betrayed his wife. President Bush betrays the Constitution. Lieberman "scolds" the former. He can not be bothered with the latter. Just another reason why Lieberman should be defeated on August 8.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Well, Why Would You?

SusanG, at DKos, has a great post, the intro to which is below. Read the whole thing here.

Would you hire a babysitter who hates children and thinks they should be eliminated? Or who declares for years in your hearing that children are irritants who should be starved to be small, unseen and mute?

Would you hire cops who think laws are stupid and useless and should be abolished?

Would you hire a conductor for your orchestra who believes music itself an abomination?

Then why would you hire - and you did hire them, America; they are your employees, after all, not your rulers, despite their grandiose pretensions - members of a political party who think government is useless, ineffective, bloated and untrustworthy?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Reed Goes DOWN

Ralph Reed, exhead of the so-called Christian Coalition, and current scuzbucket associate of Abramoff and ripper-off extraordinaire of Indian tribes, was squashed in his attempt to gain the Repug nomination for GA Lt Gov. It wasn't quite 2-1 (at least in the early returns I saw) but it was close enough to qualify as a landslide. And a landslide couldnt land on a nicer target!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Lebanon/Then and Now

From TalkingPointsMemo:

If Rip Van Winkle had fallen asleep under a cedar tree in Lebanon in 1982 and awoke today, you could hardly blame him for thinking he had snoozed for only a few minutes.

Israel is still in Lebanon. Iran is America's great nemesis. Russia-U.S. relations remain tense. An imperial power (Britain/U.S.) is conducting a military campaign in a farflung locale (Falkland Islands/Iraq) in what is maybe its last gasp of imperialism. There is a gathering threat in the East (Japanese economy/North Korea). The news even includes mention of the death of a popular princess (Grace Kelly/Diana) in a car accident.

The only things missing are Survivor, Toto, and Air Supply.

When critics of the Iraq War suggested it would set back progress in the Middle East for a generation, I didn't take it to mean we would revert to a generation ago.

-- TPM Reader DK

Gotta Love 'Radioactive Slime'

Ann Coulter apparently headlined a fundraiser for Colorado Bob Beauprez. How much did she raise for him? Let's just say, not even Beauprez showed up!

I'd have paid just to see that! :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bush Drift

Kevin, at Political Animal, got me thinking about Shrub this morning:

But that's really just a single piece of a broader, and even more remarkable turn of events: the Bush administration literally seems to have no foreign policy at all anymore. They have no serious plan for Iraq, no plan for Iran, no plan for North Korea, no plan for democracy promotion, no plan for anything. With the neocons on the outs, Condoleezza Rice at the State Department, and Dick Cheney continuing to drift into an alternate universe at the OVP, the Bush administration seems completely at sea. There's virtually no ideological coherency to their foreign policy that I can discern, and no credible followup on what little coherency is left.

As near as I can tell, George Bush has learned that "There's evil in the world and we're going to stand up to it" isn't really adequate as a foreign policy for a superpower but is unable to figure out anything better to replace it with. So he spins his wheels, waiting for 2009. Unfortunately, the rest of us are left spinning with him.



Bush's life has basically been a series of bailouts/buyouts. Tired of flying planes and possibly getting your ass shipped of to Viet Nam? Bail out! Tired of diddling around drilling for oil? Run for Congress! Tired of drilling dry holes and bankrupting your friends? Get another friend to buy you out! (Repeat as needed) Tired of being a waste-of-space Preznit and fucking the world of over? Well, let's see how he bails out of this one!

Texas Repugs MUST Keep DeLay on Ballot

Like everyone born and raised in Texas, I will always be a Texan, regardless of where of I've escaped to. Therefore, I tend to follow the shenanigans of Texas politics, even from afar.

In a case that ultimately has no real consequences outside of Sugarland, a judge has ruled that Tom Delay (R-soon-to-be-Leavenworth) must remain on the ballot as the Republican candidate in the TX-22 Congressional race. The judge essentially ruled that Delay withdrew and that, as such, he can NOT be replaced on the ballot. This should give this formerly Repug seat to the Dems.

Wanna bet they redistrict his ass whenever the the biennial Texas Lege manages to meet again?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ken Lay Dies

Kenny-Boy croaked today in his temporary exile in Aspen (while awaiting sentencing in the Enron debacle.) I wish I could care. He totaled a company and virtually everyone who worked for it, crippled the state pension programs in FL and CA (at the least), bankrupted much of CA, it's municipalities and electric providers, and generally shat on everybody's rug.

What does perk my interest is the White House trying to downplay the relationship between Kenny Boy (Bush's largest contributer, campaign plane loaner, transition team member, energy policy advisor, etc etc etc) as merely an 'acquaintance'. Check out the film 'Smartest Guys in the Room' to see how fallacious that story really is.

And just between you and me, is Tony Snow the biggest jerkoff around? He combines the moronic qualities of Scott McClellan with the smarmy assholier-than-thou attitude of Ari Fleischer to create moronic assholiness. Of course, he was pretty much a moronic asshole on FNC, so I shouldnt be surprised.

Final thought..... the coroner ruled he died of a heart attack (wasnt that quick, conspiracy theorists?) Who'd have thought he had one?

EDIT:

SmokingGun blows the BEJESUS out of the 'acquaintances' story!!!

Thoughts on Korea

So lil Georgie had his bluff called yesterday. North Korea fired (depending on reports) between five and ten missiles, basically into the Sea of Japan. Apparently, all the missiles were failures, the dreaded Taepondong-2 missile fizzled after 42 seconds and crashed into the ocean (sorry, fishies...); the rest were apparently already known entities, but either crashed, or were crashed, shortly after takeoff. Kim Jong Il didnt have to prove anything; he was just thumbing his nose at lil Georgie.

We had spent weeks blustering about how horrible the consequences would be for Kim if he launched his little air-mada (actually, the multiple launch was a bit of a surprise, at least to the public- we just expected the TpD-2). And he did. And we didnt shoot them down. We didnt blow them up on the launchsite. We didnt do shit. And Kim knew this. And thus, Georgie gets his Korean nose-thumb.

And lil Georgie has no one to blame but his own damn self, as we say in Texas. He's stretched our military to the point that it can really only sit in place in Iraq and get shot at. He's removed us so far from the mainstream of diplomacy that we couldnt organize a escape in a Turkish prison. And he's spent our asses into such a hole, that even if we could pull something off, we couldnt pay for it.

So, when Iran does something egregious, or Somalia lobs a rocket at something of ours in the Persian Gulf, or some 'state' somewhere does something against our best interests, remember this Fourth of July. It's the day the rest of the world declared it's independence from American influence.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Bush Closes Bin Laden Search Unit

Mr War on Terrah himself closed down a CIA operation, started by Mr Bill Appease the Terrorists Clinton to find Bin Laden. Way to go, Shrub!

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