Sunday, September 30, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
I LOVE the funding-hijack idea. Bypass the Dem organization entirely and contribute only to worthy candidates directly, until the party as a whole pulls its head out.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
1) The Surge is a HUGE success, so we need to keep on a'surgin'!
2) If Blackwater can't function, then no one is safe to leave the Green Zone.
The math here misses me. The surge has made Baghdad safer, but it's so dangerous American personnel can't leave their Fortress of Solitude without armed mercenary columns to protect them? Of course, it's two rightwing positions on Iraq, so we know it's all shit anyway.
UPDATE: Froomkin weighs in in a lengthy posting today.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
One of the points he makes is that, far from making things less expensive (government is less 'efficient' than the 'market'.... yeah, right), privitization, in Iraq, makes things cost four times as much as government services would cost. Hmmm.
Friday, September 14, 2007
The reason I didn't blog wasn't lack of material, but absence. I hauled my butt up to LA and the bf and I went to Hollywood to see the LA production of Wicked at the Pantages. I've loved the music since I saw the production number of Defying Gravity on the Tonys. When it was announced it would open in LA, tickets were immediately acquired and tonight was the result!!
I went with an open mind, knowing that it would be different without Kristen and Edina, but not knowing if it would have the same impact. Well, let me tell ya..... IT DID! Eden Espinoza, in the Elphaba role (the future Wicked Witch of the West, for the uninitiated) was great! She's gotten great reviews and deserves every one of them. She milks the verdigris victimhood of Elfi for all it's worth and blows the doors off in her (multiple) show-stoppers.
Megan Hilty as Galinda is also excellent. She's not Kristen (who is?!?!?!) but more than acceptable as a replacement. She's trying a little to hard on the 'kittenish' aspects of the young Galinda, but goddam!, she can sing. The rest of the cast is superb too, with the ever marvelous Carol Kane (a surprise, since I had NO idea she was in the cast) as Madame Morrible being the superbest! It's a word, look it up (I just scribbled it in the dictionary!)
Anyway, if you're within shouting distance of LA, run, do not walk, to the computer, and plunk down the (gulp) $100-ish bucks for a ticket. It's worth every penny. And the drinks in the bar are good too, if HIDEOUSLY overpriced (you listening, Niedermayer Org?)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Let's start with the big fallacy first. We're not fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq. Oh, yeah, we may be engaging with a 'faction' of Al Qaedi there, but it's not Al Qaeda. If this tiny fragment of insurgents called itself Ford Motor Company, would we be fighting Ford? The best indicators are that AQI is maybe 1% of the total insurgent population, more likely a lot less, so if we're fighting AQI, we're wasting a lot of time fighting other people instead.
Second, I'm sure most of the families of the dead and massively wounded of the Iraq War don't think they've paid a 'small price'.
Third, in a time of major tax cuttery, the war is costing up to $3billion a week. A WEEK! Assuming there are 300million people in the US, that's a a cost of $10/wk per capita. $500 a year. Assuming that 1/3 to 1/2 of the population is actually paying taxes (factoring kids, students, retirees, etc) that works out to $1000-1500 a head each year. But we're not paying it, we're borrowing it. Foisting the cost off on our kids and grandkids (and ourselves in our retirement); regardless of the outcome, we'll be paying for this war for at least another generation (and I'm not talking political or economic costs, just the actual expenditures. Do we hate ourselves and our descendants more than we hate Al Qaeda?
Lastly, probably the most important cost overall, is the cost to the US in reputation and prestige. We are no longer the 'shining city on the hill', we've become the artillery battery from over the hill. Our moral superiority (whether real or imagined, it was always there) is gone. Our ability to influence other nations, short of through intimidation, is pretty well shot. Our ability to use military force, if needed (see previous point), is diminished, since our military is stretched to the breaking point (maybe beyond) in our war against 1% of the insurgents in Iraq.
I won't even get into the absurdity of our many, contradictory and mutually exclusive goals in Iraq. Even if we get what we (say we) want in Iraq, achieving Goal A means can't achieve Goal B, and since we can't achieve Goal B we can acheive Goal C, the achievement of which would preclude Goal D, and on and on and on and on.
John 'Brain Boner' Boehner can proclaim all he want that the war in Iraq is small price to pay. After all, he isn't paying it in a way shape or form.
cross posted at DailyKos
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
They can sell the war to the public (or at least to the DC crowd), but they can't manage the war. They can sell a report (or so they hope), but they can't make the environment they're reporting what they want it to be (hence, they HAVE to sell!)
Most of this administration (well, some of the original crew) had pretty impressive success in business (with the obvious exception of the serial Failure-in-Chief), so you'd think if they'd spent HALF as much time actually managing/planning the war as they did selling, it might have come off, at least better than it did. But that would be too much like actual work, and that's something Bush will never do, unless it involves innocent brush on the Crawford 'ranch'. Where he has no cattle.
Definitely, as we say in Texas, all hat, no cattle.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Goldsmith apparently was sympathetic to many of Addington's goals. But not the means. Because the means were illegal. And ultimately self-defeating.
Rosen writes: "Instead of reaching out to Congress and the courts for support, which would have strengthened its legal hand, the administration asserted what Goldsmith considers an unnecessarily broad, 'go-it-alone' view of executive power. As Goldsmith sees it, this strategy has backfired. 'They embraced this vision,' he says, 'because they wanted to leave the presidency stronger than when they assumed office, but the approach they took achieved exactly the opposite effect. The central irony is that people whose explicit goal was to expand presidential power have diminished it."
Goldsmith's book also includes an unforgettable image: Of John Ashcroft's wife sticking her tongue out at two top White House aides as they left her husband's hospital room after unsuccessfully trying to browbeat Ashcroft into approving a surveillance plan that Goldsmith and others had concluded was illegal.
Rosen writes: "In a new book, 'The Terror Presidency,' which will be published later this month, and in a series of conversations I had with him this summer, Goldsmith has recounted how, from his first weeks on the job, he fought vigorously against an expansive view of executive power championed by officials in the White House."
When Goldsmith presented his view that the Fourth Geneva Convention, which describes protections that cover civilians in war zones like Iraq, also covered insurgents and terrorists, "Addington, according to Goldsmith, became livid. 'The president has already decided that terrorists do not receive Geneva Convention protections,' Addington replied angrily, according to Goldsmith. 'You cannot question his decision.' ...
Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald focuses on Addington's apparently wishful thinking about the FISA court.
Greenwald writes: "Their goal all along was to 'get rid of the obnoxious FISA court' entirely, so that they could freely eavesdrop on whomever they wanted with no warrants or oversight of any kind. And here is Dick Cheney's top aide, drooling with anticipation at the prospect of another terrorist attack so that they could seize this power without challenge. Addington views the Next Terrorist Attack as the golden opportunity to seize yet more power. Sitting around the White House dreaming of all the great new powers they will have once the new terrorist attack occurs -- as Addington was doing -- is nothing short of deranged."
Three Brazilian Soldiers
Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."
"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"
His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.
Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"
Giuliani then, according to The Weekly Standard, justified the invasion this way: "American troops deposed Saddam Hussein, 'who was a major pillar of support for Islamic terrorism,' Giuliani said." Saddam Hussein was a "major pillar of support for Islamic terrorists." Al Qaeda works for Iran. Saddam might have been responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Iran might be responsible for the 9/11 attacks. There is simply no limit, no constraint of reality, on what they say.
But in the Fred Hiatt world, none of this matters, because accuracy and reality are not considered virtues. The only virtue is a willingness to advocate war -- i.e. "toughness." That is why Hiatt thinks he is saying something derogatory about ElBaradei when he says he "was lionized by opponents of the Iraq war" for being right. To Hiatt, ElBaradei's credibility is undermined because he is on the side of opponents of the Iraq war, no matter how right he was. And the "Bomb Iran" crowd is instrinsically entitled to respect -- no matter how insane and deceitful are their claims -- because they advocate war, which is an inherently Serious position.There is no other way to put it. From any rational perspective, Micheal Ledeen -- the preeminent Iraq Leader on the Right -- is a joke, as are the statements from those who view him and his like-minded comrades (i.e., Norm Podhoretz) as prophets, including Rudy Giuliani.
Just fathom how shameless a person like Hiatt has to be -- how beyond embarrassment and indifferent to grotesque error -- for him to attack ElBaradei on Iran using the same exact arguments he made, almost verbatim, to attack ElBaradei's absolutely correct claims with regard to Iraq -- i.e., he is defying the UN mandate, is overly trusting of the Bad Regime With Weapons, is too eager to avert war, etc.
Hiatt insisted that the invasion of Iraq proceed without waiting and ElBaradei argued that the inspection process should be completed, but in Hiatt's mind, even though he thinks exactly the same way as he did prior to Iraq, he is still the Serious One and it is ElBaradei's credibility -- and even his trustworthiness and allegiances -- which are suspect. That is just amazing.
There is one bright spot on the horizon, altho it's Iraq related......
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Kevin Drum has a provocative post up in which he concludes that the liberal blogosphere and liberal establishment were badly "outplayed" by Petraeus' PR "blitzkrieg." Kevin reaches this sobering conclusion: "Even though there's been no discernible political progress, minimal reconstruction progress, and apparently no genuine decrease in violence, he's managed to convince an awful lot of people that the first doesn't matter, the second is far more widespread than it really is, and the third is the opposite of reality."
Meanwhile, Atrios adds that part of the blame lies with our elected leaders, who "have chosen to play along."
Without discounting any of these conclusions, I think it's necessary to add another explanation for the apparent success of Petraeus' PR push: The media, in some cases out of incompetence and in others by design, helped him get away with it, and indeed actively enabled it.
Then he lays out specifics and tries the case. Verdict: guilty.