War democrats Archives

November 29, 2005

Squeeze the Bay State stooges

AP reports that three Massachusetts congressmen -- Martin Meehan, Stephen Lynch and Edward Markey -- who "bucked their state Democratic colleagues and cast votes to give President Bush a green light to go to war in Iraq," have more recently "renounced their votes and emerged as critics of the way Bush has handled the war," and that "their shift has paid political dividends."

You know, there is such a thing as being too forgiving. It should be a Priority One job for the Bay State anti-war movement to get at least one of these guys out of office, no matter who replaces him. Yeah, it's sheer, bloody-minded, Judgement at Nuremburg vengeance, but it's vital to do it. Democrats need to learn that they can't fuck us over and then get an all-is-forgiven hug when they come to their senses. Particularly in Massachusetts, fer Chrissake, it's an act of amazing effrontery to defy anti-war sentiment like this and then expect to be received like the Prodigal Son when they drag their tails home from their debauchery.

I'm tempted to say we should just pick the weakest one -- the low-hanging fruit -- and make sure he faces a three-way race his next time up, with demonstrators in camo and corpse paint everywhere he appears. And I do not mean a primary challenge: I mean a red-hot lefty running on a third-party ticket in the general election.

But if we feel like being a little more sporting about it, we could make it a contest. Start sending all three letters, like f'rinstance:

Dear representative X:

Do you enjoy your office?

Well then, get us the hell  out  of  Iraq now, 
or buster, you are headed back to private practice. 
No excuses.  Get us out or  plan on a lobby job
starting in January '07. 

Your friend, 

The Electoral Avenger
Then we pick for extinction whoever responds least satisfactorily.

Only thing these guys understand is punishment at the polls. This is how the gun nuts and the Israel lobby, to name but two, enforce their will. We've gotta learn how to operate this way too. Don't welcome these guys back to the fold. Make sure they and their colleagues understand there's a price to pay when they do the wrong thing.

November 30, 2005

No votes for war criminals

I never advise people to write to politicians, usually -- a waste of ink, or bits, or whatever. But I'm going to make an exception. Get a pencil and paper and send something like this to Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee:

Dear Howie -- 

This is to let you know that no Democrat who 
had a hand in starting the Iraq 
war will ever get my vote for any office,
including the Presidency. 

If Hillary or Biden or Edwards or -- nefas! -- 
Lieberman is the Democratic nominee in '08, even for 
Vice-President, I'll pull a third-party lever, or write in 
Noam Chomsky,  or maybe just stay home. 

Ditto when these creeps run for re-election. I 
don't care if Genghis Khan is the Republican nominee; 
I will not soil my hands by voting for a war criminal. 

You have been warned. 


Fed Up

Send a copy to your local paper, too.

December 2, 2005

Schumer the Grand Inquisitor

Latest issue of the New York Review of Books has an interesting piece on Muslim chaplain James Yee's book recounting his persecution by the US Army. Yee served as Muslim chaplain at the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp and made the mistake of objecting to the abuse of prisoners there. The brass threw him in the brig and charged him with mutiny, aiding the enemy, and espionage, and told the media Yee was a member of al-Qaeda.

None of these charges had any basis, of course. Yee is now a free man and his story makes quite a read.

Among Yee's persecutors was none other than Vile Chuck Schumer, democratic Senator from New York and pilotless drone of the Israel lobby. The NYRB piece notes that Schumer "seize[d] on [Yee's] arrest as evidence that radical Islamists had taken control of the recruitment of Muslim chaplains into the armed forces."

Amazingly, or perhaps not so amazingly, "Up" Chuck still has these fantasies posted on his Web site. "NEW REVELATION: CAPTAIN YEE WAS TRAINED AND SELECTED TO BE A MUSLIM CHAPLAIN BY GROUP BEING INVESTIGATED FOR TERRORISM," Chuck's headline screams. The body text is a thing of beauty -- Roy Cohn would have been proud to claim it. Vague references to "connections" among groups, "investigations" that implicitly constutitute evidence of guilt, people with "checkered pasts" and sinister links on Web sites -- it's a minor masterpiece of scattershot character assassination firmly based on thin air.

As a New Yorker, I feel about my distinguished Democratic senators pretty much as Mr Bennett, in Pride and Prejudice, feels about his sons-in-law. I admire them both highly; but Schumer is, perhaps, my favorite.

December 3, 2005

Turn over, Nancy

La bella Pelosi has endorsed Murtha's call for an Iraq pullout.

Well, Nancy, I'd sure love to see you stare down the DLC. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, I note that you won't "call for a party caucus position on the plan by the Pennsylvania Democrat because 'a vote on the war is an individual vote.' " Now why is that -- unless you're still trying to provide some cover for the War Democrats, without losing your own cushy seat?

December 5, 2005

You heard it here first

After the Murtha moment....

Okay, so the man rode in to town and the yeller-belly War Democrats are scurrying for cover like Arkansas weevils. A thing of beauty. But now what?

Well first off, Murtha is not a dove. What we're hearing from him is probably what he's hearing from his pals in the Pentagon. (Seymour Hersh has got the dope on this topic.) And the Pentagon is not yet pushing for an admission of defeat. In fact, this war will continue till it's stopped.

The ground action may well be pretty much over -- that arm got lead poisoning and needs a serious spell in rehab. But according to Sy, who has been right many times before now, the scrap will be continued by Uncle's peerless combined air arm.

Do I need to point out that's what Murtha meant by an "over the horizon" American presence? It's obvious, right? And so is the mission all us peaceniks are now stuck with completing, if we plan on a nice afterlife with Jesus and Cary Grant. We'll have to end the Phase II air war too. And believe me, the Demo goats will come charging out from under their wooly sheep costumes as soon as any "progressives" in the party try that kind of action.

Reculer pour mieux sauter

Brother Wang points out that the War Democrats, even if they take cover temporarily behind John Murtha's call for a troop pullout from Iraq, are unlikely to give up on the war. Rather, they will want to prosecute it by other means.

And that's one more reason, if another were needed, to get these hounds out of office by any means necessary. Do not go for the old lesser-evil scam and vote for some supposedly reformed Democratic warmonger in '06 or '08. And be sure to let the party know you won't.

I personally have no hope at all for the Democratic Party. But I imagine some of y'all reading this may not be quite at that point yet. Well, let me suggest to you that if you want to have any hope of turning your party into a force for good, your absolute top-priority Job One is to purge the Liebermans, the Hillary Clintons, the Chuck Schumers, the Joe Bidens. You may well end up with a smaller party in Congress, but if it's a party that's actually willing to act like the opposition, you'd be infinitely better off.

Now the fact is you don't have sufficient clout within the party to deny them the nomination. But you might very well be their margin of victory in the general election. Once again: if you live in a district, or a state, represented by a Democrat who voted for the war, serve notice on the party that you will not vote for that person again. And stick to it. Come next November, vote for a third party or write somebody in.

You really have nothing to lose. These people are repeat offenders, and they will kill again.

December 6, 2005

Weicker for President

I read with delight that former Connecticut senator and governor Lowell Weicker is considering running against leading War Democrat Joe "Mad Dog" Lieberman. And apparently Weicker means running on a third line in the general election, not some whiny, useless primary challenge.

"When you've become the president's best friend on the war in Iraq, you should not be in office, especially if you're in the opposing party," Weicker said.

Goddam, I hope he runs. And of course I hope he wins. But the second-best outcome would be if he deprives AIPAC zombie Lieberman of his seat, in favor of a Republican. There's absolutely no downside to this scenario. A Republican couldn't possibly be worse than Lieberman, and the little rat's fate might, just might, be a salutary lesson to those of his Democratic colleagues who aren't too far gone.

If there are any such.

Clark: On to Teheran

Wes Clark has an answer. Yes, that Wes Clark -- the snake-faced donkey general has a recipe to cook the Sunni insurgence in its own soup: "reach out" and get them to join us fighting the Shiites.

Yes, you heard me right -- the pit viper of the Dalmatian coast says, stop babying those towel-headed Teheranian blood zombies! Disarm their militias! Seal their border crossings! Pump dry their oil! Dare their unemployed kids to come out into the streets and fight like men!

Looks like Wesley has joined the "real men" who wanted to go to Teheran all along. How long do you think it will be before some deputation of Congressional Democrats will bring this little Christmas gift to the floor of the House?

Editor's note: This is the same Wesley Clark who wrote a few years ago,

"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan… I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned." – --Winning Modern Wars, page 130.
Wonder where he wants to stop now?

December 7, 2005

Steve Lynch party

(Wang in lyrical mode again, via Archy. For background, see Squeeze the Bay State Stooges.)

dear rep steve

  okay   you are it  buddy boy

we with the brown bags over our heads have chosen


we want you
the  bay state's
       lowest hangin  war mongrel

yup we're givin'
marty and ed a pass
           in 06
long as they fly straight
here on out

but  u

u gotta  prove u mean it
                             big time

like cinderfellah

u be our bitch or

we  run over
     ya  next november

we got just the right blend of candidate
                                          to bounce ya
a bemedaled
  marine  viet vet from southie

he's bronzed  buff
sharp as a grade school thumb tack
                          and  ready to rumble .....

     hey  here's a thought

  not  that this will save u

but as a token of u
             "catchin our drift"

try this on

   since   you're on the house sub-c
  charged with the  noble mission
                    of rooting out all fetid thievery
    inside   gub contracting
                  over there in the sand trap...

    start  raising holy  hell   steve
stop the river of green gravy
in its  privatizing tracks

call for a freeze of funds
call a halt to about the biggest
taxpayer rip-o-ramakoff
since bebe rebozo resold
      those    alp high piles
            of hot tires
                      back in '43

do it steve nooooow
  sing solo baby

sing  like its wagner

  'out truman truman'
as  they used to say
     back in bebe's day


Yes, mates -- la bella Nancy is getting her DLC pushback. This morning, over the usual AM buttered crumpet, the gimlet-like Wang eyes pounced upon this in the Washington Post. (Don't click just yet, please -- let me have the pleasure of telling you.)

Two names to conjure with:

  • Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.)
  • Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.)

This pair of quivering dermatophytes are respectively the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman and the second-ranking House Democratic leader. You can probably play their song without me even humming a few bars: Pelosi's stance "could backfire on the party." Twisted Cal gals Jane Harman and Ellen Tauscher have articulated a House clone of the Republican Senate resolution calling for "a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty" and a Bushmill explanation of his "strategy for the successful completion of the mission in Iraq."

But of course la bella Pella stands firm, right?

Wrong. I quote her press flack:

"While Pelosi estimates more than half of House Democrats favor a speedy withdrawal, she will lobby members in today's meeting against adopting this as a caucus position."
That's right, not a typo, against against against.

Aaahh Nan, you still have my, um, attention; but my heart is broken.

December 8, 2005

Howard's end (and don't you just wish)

I am so enjoying the spectacle of the Democrats trying to be anti-war and pro-war at the same time. Today it's Howard Dean's turn in the barrel, giving Ms Pelosi a well-earned break.

On Monday, the ex-medic said "The idea that we're going to win this war is an ideal that unfortunately is just plain wrong." Today?

"It was a little out of context. ... We can only win if we change our strategy dramatically. ... We want to serve our troops well. They're doing a fantastic job in Iraq.... [Bush] is going in the wrong direction. We'll go in the right direction and save soldiers lives while we're doing it... We can and we have to win the war on terror."
God, how I love watching 'em squirm. They're caught between the public and... whom?

'Tis now the very witching hour of night...

... when churchyards yawn, and Hell itself breathes forth
Contagion to the world.

Yep, the Republican implosion has brought the democratic-party Undead clambering out of their graves. A particularly ripe and fragrant specimen is Dick Holbrooke, baulked of the top job at Foggy Bottom when his noble steed Kerry died under him. Behold, he sniffs the air. A terrible excitement animates his decaying sinews. Hollowly, tonelessly, mechanically, he speaks:

"I'm not prepared to lay out a detailed policy or strategy... It's not something you can expect in a situation that is moving this fast and has the level of detail you're looking for.... I don't believe in an arbitrary drawdown, whether it's Vietnam or Bosnia or Iraq.... A departure must be based on realities on the ground.... Iraq is a country enmeshed in civil war, with no purely military strategy available.... Sunni insurgents cannot win but U.S. troops also cannot win, cannot eliminate multiple insurgencies.... Rather than a prescription I prefer to talk about goals.... we need to reach a point where U.S. troops are not participants in this civil war but where we're still able to protect U.S. interests like oil, regional stability, counterterrorism and Israel."
As with all the War Democrats, there is much slapstick in these attempts to bridge an ever-widening gap. One foot in the dinghy, one on the dock, and the dinghy starts to drift away. The panicked expression, the windmilling arms, the inevitable splash.

And it's very gratifying to reflect that mealy-mouthed temporizing like this is quite likely to deprive the Democrats of a recrudescence in '06 that they have done nothing, absolutely nothing, to deserve.

December 14, 2005

Rahm Emmanuel: keep that war going

I hate to poach on Wang's territory, but I came across a juicy item in Newsday today. There's a Republican congressman, Peter King, from the South Shore of Long Island. King is staunchly pro-war but his district isn't. And there is a Democratic county legislator, David Bishop, who is strongly anti-war, has good name recognition, and wants to run against King. Polls show him to be a strong candidate. Sounds good, right?

Not to the unspeakable Rahm Emmanuel, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- Mr. Moneybags, in other words, for the national party. Emmanuel has apparently passed down the word that Bishop would get little support from the DCCC.

This is starting to look like a pattern.

December 16, 2005

House Democrats still running scared

It's an amazing thing, how the House Republicans can herd the Democrats anywhere they want. Latest marvel of bluff and bluster is a preposterous resolution calling for victory in Iraq. Barely more than half the Democrats were able to bring themselves to vote against this nonsense. 59 of them actually voted for it, and 34 voted... "present".

Among those dodging the bullet with a bold and resolute "present" was our friend Rahm Emanuel.

The Nan-ometer

Latest fudge-factory Nanogram on Iraq:
"There is no one Democratic voice... and there is no one Democratic position."
... and there will be no caucus vote and no use of the party whip. In fact, since Rahm Emanuel is holding the re-election purse strings, the antis are the ones most likely to feel the lash.

I say it with deep regret, since I find Nancy fantastically attractive, but she must be expunged. What is the matter with all you peace and love San Franciscans? How can you abide her willingness to sup so calmly with the worst devils in all of Tartarus?

There's your House Democratic party package -- Nan and Rahm. Why would anyone think it's an improvement for these electric eels to gain control of Congress?

To think this is the same Nan who, as whip, back in '02, rallied 126 Democratic house votes against the war authorization, right under pig-pants Gephardt's bristled snout! Now it's all too clear that was Nan doin' showbiz -- dancing to the local Frisco beat, a noble meaningless gesture, pure theatrics.

Come the Murtha moment -- come a real chance to kill the war -- the real Nan emerges, gladly setting places at the table for an Emanuel or a Harmon.

Frisco does not see Iraq like Nan, and Frisco needs to wake up and punish her. This dirty desert war is profoundly not a matter of "individual conscience".

Come next November vote your conscience, Frisco. Vote her out, in the primary if you can and the general election if you must.

PS: Nan, personally you are still my irresistible older woman.... but what sort of mind is this you live inside, Nan? A mind that can calmly claim war criminals are compadres, and call bloody hands okay as long as they happen to result from "a different set of personal values"?

December 22, 2005

Confined to Baracks

Barack Obama, who might be called, metaphorically at least, the Great White Hope of the contemporary Democratic party, seems to be solidly lined up behind Party moneyman Rahm Emanuel's campaign to suppress anti-war Democrats.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

The Duckworth campaign, orchestrated by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), chief of the House Democratic political operation -- who nationally has been recruiting Iraq vets for House races -- will be boosted by Illinois Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama.

"I'm just solidly in Tammy Duckworth's corner," Durbin said Friday as Obama, standing at his side, nodded in agreement.

I like the "nodding in agreement" part -- that's sorta what Democrats do, isn't it?

January 6, 2006

Hey diddle diddle, the pot and the kettle

From the LA Times:
Democratic congressional leaders have signaled for months that a central theme of the party's 2006 campaign will be that Republicans have focused more on the concerns of lobbyists and special interests than of ordinary families.

"It is time to put an end to … the pay-to-play politics that are going on in Washington," said [Montana] state Sen. Jon Tester. "This kind of politics … doesn't really represent the rank-and-file folks that are out there every day trying to make ends meet."

Quite apart from the remarkable Freudian slip of referring to the public as "the rank and file," there's a breathtaking effrontery in this, coming from any Democrat. As the indispensable Joshua Frank points out on his blog, "Since 1990, the Democrats have received almost 70% of all pro-Israel campaign contributions. Republicans have only pocketed 31%. "

Starting with the 2000 cycle, Abramoff and his clients pumped about $4.5 mil into the American political pigsty; during that same period, the corresponding stream of pro-Israel bribery was a little shy of $22 million. Go back as far as 1990, and the total is almost $56 million.

I'm not sure what Abramoff got for his money, but I can tell you at least one thing the Israel lobby got for theirs: the Iraq war. I know, I know, there were other factors, bla bla, but there can be no question, I think, in the mind of anybody who is paying attention, that pressure from the Israel lobby played a crucial, perhaps even a decisive role in getting this murderous folly going. Just as there can be no doubt that Democrats are even more willing to dance to AIPAC's tune than Republicans are -- and that's saying something.

So if you're still scratching your head about why the War Democrats are sticking to their guns, so to speak, even while the public is heading for the hills (not, I hope, the Hills), there's your answer: a long-standing "culture of corruption" that makes Abramoff look like some poor small-time schlemiel who has to buy retail.

January 14, 2006

Anybody would be better: an ongoing series

Number two on our hit list (of course Hillary is number one): Blue Dog Jane Harman can be had.

Last time as a very pliable and well-financed incumbent member of Orthrus' junior-head party, she won in a dog-trot (2 to 1) over a literally zero-financed token elephant act. But recall it was just a couple of cycles ago that she barely nosed out then one-term Republican Kuykendall to retake "her seat". The tally: 48% to 47%.

Her district has a take-away "prog" base large enough to pull her under -- if they're willing to walk away.

"The beach-lined district, which includes Los Angeles International Airport, tends to be fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Democratic and Republican registration is almost equal... roughly a fifth of voters register with third parties or decline to state their affiliation."
Wammo! Run a peace green type -- maybe a celebrity -- is Brad Pitt available? -- and she's history.

All you Left Democrats -- there's only two possibilities; either the Democratic Party can be turned into something useful, or it can't. If you think it can, then Job One has gotta be to get rid of dedicated NSA spy backers and all-too-open friends of war in the Middle East like Harman.

Do a little Googling on "jane harman" and iran to see what this Blue Dog stands for.

January 15, 2006

Another War Democrat, ripe for the plucking

If we can't get Hillary, at least we can get Israel -- what's that? Oh, sorry, I mean Steve Israel, from New York's second district, a slice of suburbia on Long Island.

This district is a toss-up in a well-fought two-racer. It was for a long time -- four terms -- the stompin' ground of flashy d'Amato crony Rick Lazio, till Hillary drew his fangs in Senate race 2000.

Nice revenge theme here.

Israel squeaked in with 48%, fighting for Lazio's vacated seat in 2000. Last cycle, a dummy Repub got a third of the vote, running literally on $2k in campaign funds against Israel's million-plus band wagon.

Come next November hit this fat AFL-AIPAC war pig from the peace-loving left, and you can leave the rest to the right.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: if you seriously think there's any hope for the Democratic Party as a "progressive" force, you've gotta make the concept "right-wing Democrat" into an oxymoron. And this is the kind of district that really deserves a Republican, anyway.

January 19, 2006

Osama bin Laden, man of peace...

... well, compared to your average Democrat, anyway.

The latest Osamagram, according to Reuters, apparently offers us a "truce" if we get out of Iraq:

bin Laden said al Qaeda was willing to respond to U.S. public opinion supporting an American troop pullout from Iraq. He did not specify conditions for the truce, but indicated it was linked to U.S. troops quitting Iraq.

"We have no objection to responding to this with a long term truce based on fair conditions."

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me -- hell, I think we should get out of Iraq anyway, Osama or no Osama. Don't you? But the Reuters article goes on to quote "terrorism expert" (love these job descriptions) Daniel Benjamin warning us that this would be tantamount to "bending the knee."

Benjamin was a National Security Council apparatchik during the Clinton Administration. He and a colleague from those palmy days, Steven Simon, have been parked in a liberal think tank since their expulsion from Eden, and have written a couple of books articulating what you might call the Kerry line -- namely, that the "war on terror" would be better run under Democratic management. Benjamin intones, ominously,

"Remember that bin Laden, in many of his pronouncements over the years, has held out the possibility of a new deal between the Muslim world and the U.S. It's just that the cost has been unbelievable, like getting out of the Middle East entirely or withdrawing support for so-called apostate regimes."
Huh? Getting out of the Middle East is an "unbelievable cost"? I would have said that staying in the Middle East is going to impose some unbelievable costs. If the idea of "getting out of the Middle East" was fairly laid before the American people, I bet they'd go for it like Bill Clinton after a bosomy intern. But don't hold your breath waiting for the Democrats to embrace the idea of disentanglement, with "terrorism experts" -- not a bad description of what they do, actually -- like Benjamin and Simon waiting for another turn at the controls of the war machine.

January 24, 2006

Pelosi: from Frisco, not of it

So what's Nan's secret desire -- personal power or war's end?

Do you have to ask?

Here's some highlights from a Valentine spread in yesterday's LA Times:

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nancy Pelosi is explaining the ways of Washington... "You have to understand, Washington is a secret-sauce town."
... Which is Nancy's
... way of disdaining those who profess to know the perfect ingredient for political success.... [yet] Pelosi... insists she knows the recipe for winning back the House in November: "It's one good month in front of another. Beat Social Security. Make sure the world knows what's happening -- ethically. Attract the candidates. Raise the money. Build the unity for our message."
In other words, it's entirely a technical matter -- a matter of knowing how to work the myriad delicate levers of the marvelous American political machine.
A flashpoint came last month... Pelosi seconded a proposal by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
Most beltway pros' verdict: bad... politics. According to a "nonpartisan analyst"[!],
"Politically speaking, the president was bleeding profusely from an open wound... To effectively move the spotlight from a place that was horrendous for the president to a question on which there is no public consensus..."
... was a huge blunder on Nan's part.

Behind the steely smile, Nan appears to agree.

"I think the attention is very much there with George Bush," she said, adding that her support for Murtha was a personal endorsement and not a statement of the party's position. "you don't do that on a question of war... that's a completely individual decision."
Well, Nan gets results:
Congressional Quarterly reports that in 2005, Democrats were more unified than at any time in the past half century ... 88% of the time, compared with the Republicans' 90%.

Pelosi [is] a combination den mother, — perennially reaching out to members to hear their concerns — and strict disciplinarian, cracking down on those deemed less than team players.

Tranlsation: when your team can't win the big game anyway, post votes are free. After all, the Pelosi strategy of deniable collusion only requires her to give the Republicans enough votes to cover their own occasional defectors.

We get one grandstand moment:

Pelosi allies happily publicized [her threat] to remove Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns of New York from a prized seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee after he defected on a pair of high-profile votes."
The LA Times puff piece doesn't say this, but Towns' defections were on the bankruptcy bill -- a classic piece of Pelosi screw-the-public bipartisanship.

Meanwhile, back in the district -- how's it going?

She represents one of the most liberal cities in America -- she has been picketed in San Francisco for being insufficiently antiwar.
The fools! The fanatics! The... ingrates! After all, Madame Denmother is just working
to broaden Democrats' national appeal.... by embracing... deficit reduction and veterans affairs. "She's shown a recognition of the need for a party with a big tent and diversity," [says] Tim Roemer, former Indiana congressman and more moderate Democrat, urged by Pelosi to run for chairman of the national party despite their differences on abortion
Emphasis mine, of course. Y'all remember, don't you, how every two years the Democrats come to us with exactly two things to sell -- well, maybe one and a half: abortion and the Supreme Court.

Of course the big split in the party is

...among those... who believe that Democrats should act to end the war and those who prefer to attack Bush in hopes that voters will take out their frustrations on Republicans.
Nan's answer, as above: each member is free to choose, avoiding
"the already sticky wicket of the war [becoming] a Venus' flytrap."
Translation: if the party doesn't take a position on the war, we can have it both ways. We can talk war to the war junkies and peace to the peaceniks. This is the classic Democratic straddle.

"No one Democrat "fits perfectly in every single congressional district like Cinderella's slipper," says Roemer.

Well, fair enough. You folks in Frisco -- how do you find that your "peace now" slipper fits on the wide square foot of Nan "you CAN have it both ways" Pelosi?

Kick her out, Friscoites. Whoever she's representing, it's not you.

January 28, 2006

Hey, Cindy...

An open letter to Cindy Sheehan

January 28, 2006

Dear Cindy Sheehan --

Last year, you almost single-handedly revived the dead American anti-war movement -- a movement killed by its own fatal attraction to the Democratic Party and its lesser (but still plenty evil) warmakers like Kerry, and Clinton, and Pelosi. We all owe you a debt of gratitude.

I'm sure you have your own ideas about what to do next, but perhaps you'd be interested to know what one admirer, at least, would like to see you do.

I think you should set your sights on one of these Democratic war criminals and run against him or her. And I don't mean a primary challenge, or just a primary challenge; I mean run on a third-party line, in some state or district where anti-war forces are strong, as a frank and self-proclaimed spoiler.

What would be the point of this exercise?

It's pretty clear to a lot of us that the Democratic Party, at least in its present form, is part of the problem, not part of the solution. But counsel is divided about how that might and should change. Some of us think the Democratic Party is just hopeless and needs to be cleared out of the way. Others think it can be somehow claimed or "reclaimed" by "progressives" -- for lack of a better word.

I don't know which of these views is yours. Personally, I tend to the lost-cause view of the party. Perhaps you wouldn't quite go that far. But I would argue that either way, the conclusion is the same: there can be no quarter for War Democrats. One way or the other, that must become an untenable position.

If you think the Democratic Party can be salvaged as an anti-war party, then the first order of business is to squeeze out the War Democrats by any means necessary. If they can't be defeated in a primary challenge, then they have to be fragged from behind in the general election. (I am speaking metaphorically here, of course.)

Take Hillary Clinton (please!). She faces a couple of anti-war primary challengers, which is a fine thing, as far as it goes. But her war-chest from the Israel lobby, among other sources of lavish funding, is immense, and many Democrats, even many of those who oppose the war and deplore Hillary's support for it, will be so mesmerized by the mirage of "electability" and the sophomoric appeal of strategic voting that they will pull a lever for her even in the primary. If the primary challenges fail, what then? Do we sit back and say, oh well, better luck next time, and watch this monster's triumphal progress back into the Senate and on, quite possibly, to the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008?

There is an alternative. We could take the view that we must expel the malefactors, regardless of party label, starting with the easiest, most vulnerable ones -- which means, of course, the War Democrats. We could take a frankly and openly punitive approach to people like Hillary. We could teach them that unless they stand for what we stand for, we will take our votes elsewhere, come what may. They can tell us bloodcurdling tales about the Republican bogeyman until they are Blue in the face, but we can let them know we've seen through that: if they're going to tag along behind the Republicans on the life-and-death issues that matter most to us, what have we to fear from their defeat?

As a movement, we have to show that we have too much self-respect to grovel for crumbs. We will never be taken seriously until we show that there is a price that must be paid for our support -- and a price to be paid for betraying us. "If I can't sell it, gonna keep sittin' on it," runs the old song; "Never catch me givin' it away." We've been givin' it away to the Democrats for way too long.

Now let's get down to brass tacks for a minute. I've been talking about Hillary a lot, and since I live in New York, I can't tell you how much I would love to see you show up here, determined to battle the ogress on a third-party line in November. That would get her attention in a way that her primary challengers probably are not. So if you're disposed to do that, I would be the last person in the world to dissuade you.

But perhaps you're thinking, understandably, that Hillary would be a tough nut to crack. If so, two words: Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi is very vulnerable in her peace-loving San Francisco district, as my blogmate J.S. Paine has explained. If you were to go West, Cindy Sheehan, go West, and challenge Pelosi in the primary and then challenge her again in the general election, it's very likely you could could make an example out of her that would strike fear into the hearts of all her fellow War Democrats. In fact, it's not at all inconceivable that you could end up in her House seat! Think of the hell you could raise there.

This scenario has me in such a paroxysm of delight that I'm going to have to end this letter. I do hope you will consider the idea. Think how happy you would make me -- and many, many others.

Very respectfully yours,

Michael J. Smith

February 5, 2006


As a commenter here ably stated not long ago:
"There's far more dignity in jumping off a cliff than being chloroformed and thrown off...."
Reading this passage again, just now, got my gnomic soul a-twisting. What is the latest brand of choloroform for us lefty types?

Let's start with this conciousness killer: "politics is the art of the possible." Surely you know who that's attributed to?

It's in that spirit I take up Kerry's recent NYT blooper, "we all support surveillance."

My lord, eh?

Well, though we must never ever again vote for the likes of him, I implore you -- forgive 'em. They so wish they had a hard-nosed profile. They are so far from the streets, the merit snobs believe mythical millions of white gum-heads really adore sheriffin' leaders. Liberal ilks like chinny John and Saint Hillary want nothing more then to lead America back to the humanist 90's -- but first they think they have to out-Herod Herod, before they can lure the mutts away from the Republican vigilantes.

Ah the plight... trying to shepherd a nation that they too believe is on the verge of turning lynch mob, back to peaceful pastures.

February 14, 2006

Anybody but Hillary (even a Republican)

Bulletin: Since this post was written, back in February '06, anti-war stalwart Howie Hawkins has received the Green Party nomination for Senate in New York, and so we now have a real choice. I urge my fellow New Yorkers to show a little backbone in November, reject the Ogress, and vote for what they believe in. -- MJS, May '06

There's a lot of unhappiness out there, among leftish Democrats, about the Republican-lite politics of people like Hillary Clinton. Joe Lieberman, Diane Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi... hey, the list goes on and on, doesn't it?

Naturally, this discontent has given rise to some primary challenges to the Hillarys and Feinsteins, by well-meaning people like Steven Greenfield and Jonathan Tasini in New York. The latest may be the admirable Cindy Sheehan, who seems to be considering a primary run against Feinstein in California.

Now I hate to be a Grinch, but this strategy is doomed to failure. The evildoers will get their party's nomination -- Pelosi might be the one truly vulnerable one, if anybody took her on -- because they have all the money, and because the party faithful are petrified by the twin Gorgons of "electability" and "realism."

What's needed, instead of a primary challenge, is an aggressive left-wing third-party campaign in the general election against these Democratic malefactors -- even if the result will be a Republican victory.

Continue reading "Anybody but Hillary (even a Republican)" »

February 15, 2006

Who put the Rahm in the rama-dama-dingdong?

This just in --
Thought it might cheer you up to know it's not just Hillary and Feinstein facing primary challenges from anti-war candidates: right now I'm working for my friend Johnny Hap on a volunteer, grassroots campaign to unseat the unspeakable Rahm Emmanuel in Illinois' 5th district.

True, Rahm has plenty of money and even more party-machine connections, but still we feel he is vulnerable to a progressive challenge because of the strong discontent among even mainstream Democrats in the district....

Johnny Hap is affiliated with members of the Progressive Democrats of America and is chiefly concerned with pulling the Democratic party back to the left, to a point where it may embrace a radical revision of our electoral system, including the opening-up of our two-party hegemony. Whether or not this is possible from within the Democratic party remains to be seen, but the point is we believe Rahm Emmanuel can be defeated in the primary by a progressive, anti-war, anti-corporate government candidate. Anyway, check out the website

Good luck, guys -- and I'm not being snide; it would be wonderful if somebody could knock Rahm off in the primary. I'm getting increasingly skeptical about the usefulness of primary challenges, though; I'd much rather see you gearing up for a third-party challenge to Rahm in the general election. Then you'd have some help from the Republicans, you see, assuming they can manage to field a candidate with two brains to rub together.

The crucial question is, do you loathe Rahm enough to help a Republican knock him off? If you don't -- and I don't mean you personally, I mean frustrated lefties generally -- then I think you're still entertaining some illusions about the Democratic Party, illusions that are likely to prove seriously crippling.

February 20, 2006

Harmonic convergence

Watch the mirrors here, 'cause the pending big Democratic official alternative Iraq redeployment plan is about to disappear into a consensus bipasrtisan redeployment plan, once the election smoke clears in late November.

Some updating here: since the Murtha moment the likes of Howie Dean and senator Jack Reed have been madly scurryiing around tacking togerther a party center plan. So far, its very much the twin of Republican sour grape Larry Korb's.

Why does the Korb plan for Iraq trump the Murha plan? Answer: the time frame.

Murtha wants a 6 month out, Korb gives till the end of '07 -- yes, '07. He answers the question of the hour among Orthrian Democrats: "What's the time frame that puts us beyond the cut and run rap?" Their answer seems to be -- one more year.

Now remember these are both "redeploy plans" -- that means boots and bombers stay next door in Kuwait. Now here's how we close the gaps between the two time frames. Watch closely.

The Murtha hundred in the house stand ready to ram this through -- but they can't unless we give 'em their 50 mint condition brand new army mules elected in November. But then, boy, will the fur ever fly -- thy'll goose the Orthrian high command to greenlight the 6 month "redeployment".

Now let's see... well that oughta get the troops out by 6 months from next January. But when you lay out the feasible time lines like that, Korb and Murtha start looking kinda similar, eh?

My bet is that the Rumsfeld timeline ain't too far off that pace either.

February 23, 2006

Nominations solicited

Okay so I gave three of my gang of four Democrats who have got to go: Jane Harman, Tom Lantos, Nick Israel. Now where's everybody else's list? C'mon. pony 'em up in a comment.


  • No more than four names per contributor
  • Must be incumbent House donks (or Rahm-picked challenger mules)
Help us out here. The Stop Me rogue's gallery needs some more faces.

PS -- No senators here, please -- send those big fish to Herr Smiff.

March 4, 2006

Abortion 1, peace 0

I was delighted to see that according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Democratic PA senate candidate Bob Casey, his forehead still dripping from Chuck Schumer's oil of anointment, has made the women's movement in that swingin' state so nauseous that there is talk of running a third-party candidate in the general election:
Kate Michelman, a prominent abortion-rights advocate, said yesterday that she was giving "some thought" to running as an independent in the race for a Pennsylvania seat in the U.S. Senate.

A possible candidacy by Michelman, 63, appears to have much to do with channeling frustration that some reproductive-rights activists have over the National Democratic Party's choice of Bob Casey Jr., an abortion-rights opponent, to challenge Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, who also opposes abortion rights.

Talk about the paradoxes of triangulation. Pennsylvania is a state where "pro-choice" sentiment is so strong that Arlen Specter feels he has to steer a careful course between his own party's hydrophobes and his constituents. And yet -- the Democrats want to run a remote-controlled Vatican drone like Casey!

Anyway, I hope Michelman runs -- though it's probably a long shot -- and I hope she spoils it for Casey. Experience keeps a hard school, as the man said, but a fool will learn in no other.

What puzzles me is this -- and I don't at at all mean to indulge in a coarse joke here -- but can somebody tell me why the women's movement has so much bigger balls than the anti-war movement?

As far as I know, there are no peace candidates threatening to do to their local Democrats what Michelman is threatening to do to foetus-fan Casey. Certainly not in microscopically close settings like Pennsylvania, where a few votes can really make a difference.

Kate -- I would vote for you if I lived in Pennsylvania. Would you do me a favor and give Cindy Sheehan a call?

March 21, 2006

Ted lets us down

Ted, Ted. I love the guy -- I really do -- the disappointing youngest brother, the connoisseur of steak and Scotch and secretaries, the only fallible, deplorable, understandable halfway human being in the whole Kennedy compound. So I report with deep regret that he has shit a marshmallow on Iraq.

A few excerpts:

Our troops are in Iraq to make possible the establishment of a legitimate functioning government....

The ominous challenge we face today is to prevent Iraq from sliding deeper into the quagmire. The time bomb of civil war is ticking, and our most urgent priority is to defuse it....

The Iraqi constitution must be a fair compact between all the Iraqi people. If it is not, our intervention is doomed to keep failing....

A fundamental aspect of this process should be to disarming the militias, which Ambassador Khalilizad has rightly described as "the infrastructure of civil war." No solution can work unless the Iraqi Security Forces are loyal to the government and not to a political party or faction.

Now Ted's grades at Harvard were never much better than gentleman's 'C's' -- God bless him -- but he's smarter than this. What eager-beaver, last-ditch, hold-the-line, undercover Hillary op in his office wrote this pathetic nonsense?

March 22, 2006

War Dems blitz Illinois

(A bulletin from Alan Smithee)

After a decidedly dubious showing in Texas, Rahm Emanuel's Sockpuppet Army used a late winter snowstorm to cover it's advance through Illinois, defeating antiwar forces in CDs 06 & 14 like Panzers rolling though Polish cavalry.

Despite a spirited defense by local antiwar partisans, Tammy "Lots of local support." Duckworth beat Kosniki fave-rave Christine Cegelis in CD06.  Duckworth's DCCC-financed campaign proved too much for the homegrown Cegelis campaigners and the RahmPuppet squeaked out a victory 43% to 40%.

Less surprising was RahmPuppet John Laesch's storming of CD14, where he overwhelmed the harassed forces of antiwar dem Ruben Zamora by a nearly 2-1 margin (65% to 34%.)  Using the time-honored Democrat tactic of trying to sue your opponent off the ballot. Zamora fought off early attacks as party operatives launched a challenge to his primary signatures.

Thus all three "Fighting Dems" will advance to the general in Rahm's homestate.  Prowar Duckworth will be facing equally prowar Pete Roskam in Henry Hyde's old district, while prowar Laesch will tackle House Speaker Denny Hastert and Dick Auman (whose position on the war I've yet to find) will try to face down Congresscritter Don Manzullo in CD16.

The next big challange for the RahmPuppet Army is the May 2nd Ohio primary; where we'll find out if shivving Paul Hackett has hurt the prowar cause.  Fighting dem partisans will also duke it out in Indiana and North Carolina for the chance to lead the party to glorious victory.  Stay tuned!

April 13, 2006

The Devil makes 'em do it

"Look, the GOP needs to drum up a war to survive this fall."

That's from a blogation outfit called "the left coast".

The line here quite obviously pursues the usual course of least mental resistence. The blog perp goes on to suggest the Bush brigades' massive Iraq threat hype back in the spring-summer-early fall of '02 -- i.e. prior to the first midterm election -- "jammed " the leading donks into backing the topple caper.

Makes sense if you figure the GOP master minds not only wanted to "do" the topple on its own merits, but also had the spineless donks well scoped out -- and if you assume that the donks actually needed any jamming. Anyway, our leftcoaster draws a parallel to now -- and ain't he or she right about the visible facts, anyway -- the hee haw chorus line once again is dancing its classic fake, fiddle and feint routine.

So let's say a war is on the docket. And again, the donks are moving it right along -- either because they've been fecklessly "jammed," or because they're signed up without having to be jammed. Either way they're doing their bit for the war effort, led by the muppet prince side saddle Joe and the heinous Hill.

Comrade Leftcoaster is trying to answer a question that runs like this: why in Hell hasn't the bulk of congressional donkeydom wised up? Why aren't they raging in bloodshot fury? Why are they not throwing republicans into the mouth of a volcano?

Leftcoast needs to understand it's all just a fine fiction really -- only fun if you let yourself go, suspend disbelief and let yourself be taken in by it all. Forget for the moment its all just Orthronics out there. Play along. Pretend to share the feelings of the average old gull -- like you're part of one of those iconic 50's wrestling crowds, and you just shout yourself hoarse trying to warn our baby-faced hero, as once again and for the umpteenth time, he's about to get bashed over the head from behind with a folding chair by the designated villain, while he good-naturedly helps an old lady to her seat.

April 16, 2006

Old soldiers never die, and they never fade away either

J. ALva Scruggs writes:
Here's a serendipitous little juxtaposition.

Wesley Clark reports for duty (again) and thoughtfully takes a directorship, just in case duty doesn't work out so well.

Apparently they wheeled the Butcher of the Balkans out to promote their silly "Real Security" vaporware, discussed here a couple of weeks ago.

The news item refers to Clark's

... role alongside the Senate Democratic leader, Harry M. Reid of Nevada, and the House Democratic leader, Nancy P. Pelosi of California, in crafting the national security plank in which the party pledges to ''eliminate" Osama Bin Laden, better equip the US military, and ensure that 2006 ''is a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty."

Iraq was the most difficult point of agreement for party lawmakers. Over the past months, Clark spent hours on the phone and in meetings with lawmakers ranging from centrist to leftists. Last fall, he urged Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania not to make his famed call for immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. And while Clark calls the Iraq war a ''strategic blunder," he continues to disagree with such lawmakers as Kerry who propose specific reductions of troops.

''No Democratic should put numbers" on an exit by American troops, he [said].

Did I dream it, or was this Jack Ketch in a brass hat once the darling of a coterie of self-described "progressives"?

My favorite quote from the "real security" brochure:

After September 11, all Americans trusted President Bush to take the steps necessary to keep our country safe.
All Americans, Wes? I think not. How weird that the Democrats think the way to get elected is by impersonating an imbecile.

April 23, 2006

Kerry mythohistoricus

Seems that War President Wannabe John Kerry has seen the light -- in a speech at Faneuil Hall in Boston he appears to be calling for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by year's end.

Wonder what this means. Is it that he doesn't mean to be a candidate in '08, so he can play the Judas goat who will keep antiwar Democrats in the fold? Or does he think that the war ship is sinking and it's time for the rats to desert?

Either way, I guess it's good news, as far as it goes. Strange that I feel so obliged to look this particular gift horse in the mouth. Maybe I'm so profoundly convinced of Kerry's inveterate, invertebrate pliancy that I can't imagine anything he would do could possibly be a good thing.

Kerry's speech had some amusing moments. My favorite, I guess, is this:

Even during the Cold War--an undeclared war, and often more a war of nerves and diplomacy than of arms--even the mildest dissenters from official policy were sometimes silenced, blacklisted, or arrested, especially during the McCarthy era of the early 1950s. Indeed, it was only when Joseph McCarthy went through the gates of delirium and began accusing distinguished U.S. diplomats and military leaders of treason that the two parties in Washington and the news media realized the common stake they had in the right to dissent.
Ponder that last, wonderful incoherence: McCarthy had the temerity to attack "distinguished US diplomats and military leaders," so all of a sudden the establishment realized the importance of the "right to dissent"?

Here's another:

America has always rejected war as an instrument of raw power or naked self-interest. We fought when we had to in order to repel grave threats or advance freedom and self-determination in concert with like-minded people everywhere.
This from a guy who's just finished prosing on for a quarter of an hour about Vietnam.

May 1, 2006

Toothless dog gums man

I missed Saturday's antiwar march here in NYC. I'm sure it was a cheerful spectacle, as it streamed from Union Square down to the Saturday desert of the Federal bunkers in Lower Manhattan. I may have seen it all a little too often, though: earnest grannies and movie stars calling for something to be done about Bush in the hortative subjunctive impersonal -- let him be impeached, by what or whom does not clearly appear.

I would have been more motivated to show up if the march had headed uptown rather than down from Union Square, toward Schumer's and Clinton's Manhattan offices, conveniently located a cozy block apart on Third Avenue, at 47th and 48th Streets respectively. But no, the peace movement, as usual, prefers to expend its strength against a target on which it can have no effect.

Press coverage, not surprisingly, was routine, and one can hardly blame the press -- there was basically no story, just the usual kvetching on a mass scale. If the march had gone uptown -- if a cadre of resisters had blocked Clinton's and Schumer's lobbies, or tossed blood on their doors -- I daresay that would have created more of a stir. If protesters had handed in signed letters saying that they would never, ever vote for Clinton or Schumer again, for any office whatsoever, that might have even gotten the Democratic Party's attention -- assuming, optimistically, that the capacity for attention still lies latent in that comatose creature's nervous system.

Oh well. A guy can dream. Wouldn't it be nice if we had an antiwar movement that really wanted to do something about the war -- a movement that would apply its strength against the weakest link rather than the strongest?

May 9, 2006

Feinstein anoints the spookmaster

The eagle-eyed Alan Smithee once more:

Just thought I'd pass along this delicious dose of donkey dottiness - courtesy of those mighty media minders at News Hounds:


Dianne Feinstein as Neo Con - Lauds Appointment of Michael Hayden

Reported by Melanie - May 08, 2006

Ignoring the fact that many prominent Republicans are questioning George Bush's selection of Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to head the CIA, Neil Cavuto hosted a segment today (May 8, 2006) titled, "Military Fight!" featuring guest Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Unfortunately, there was no fight in Feinstein. Fox's bookers may have booked a Democrat but it was in name only. The GOP itself couldn't have sent Cavuto a stronger, more positive, pro-Hayden talking head.

May 18, 2006

The strange power of received ideas

"Clear your mind of cant," said Dr Johnson, but it's easier said than done. I've been using the phrase "War Democrat" for years, until suddenly the light dawned yesterday: that's a tautology.

The Democratic Party, as an institution, has always been quite devoted to war -- historically, even more so than the other faction, though the Repubs in recent years have achieved parity. The Dems aren't yielding their crown without a fight, though, and Lord knows they've been right in there swinging on this Iraq adventure.

So saying "War Democrat" is just to say "Democrat." Where needed -- and it isn't often -- we ought to say "peace Democrat" for the rare dove in the mews, and just assume that "war" is understood in the case of Democrattus vulgaris. I guess we would still need some way of differentiating the real mad dogs, like Lieberman and Schumer, from the garden-variety Huns like Harry Reid. Suggestions, anyone?

This belated insight on my part has opened up an abyss before my feet. Intellectually, I've known for years that the Democrats are the war party par excellence -- and yet, and yet, here I've been talking as if it were otherwise. Is one not master in one's own mental house? Have CNN and the New York Times got cuckoo's-egg ideas lodged in all our nests, no matter how hard we try to clear our minds of their cant? The horror...!

May 22, 2006

The Wall Street journal dreams on

A characteristically contorted and peculiar piece in the Wall Street Journal contains some wonderfully hallucinatory Paul Revere stuff about the imminent Left takeover of the Democratic Party. My favorite line:
If [the Democrats] recapture either the House or the Senate this fall, a legislative drive to withdraw from Iraq cannot be ruled out.
With people like Pelosi, Reid, Emanuel, Schumer, and St. Hill dominating the Democratic Party, I really don't think the elephants have much to fear from the tiny mouse of the Democratic antiwar contingent.

Then there's that Unmentionable Lobby... But hush, the walls have ears.

May 25, 2006

Counting on the Count

Tom Lantos, freedom's friend, is at it again -- take a look at this from the Globe's op-ed page, which is just the place for such booby-prize, not-fit-for-front-line efforts at opinion shaping.

What's he up to, the Bay Area Impaler, with this crafty detailed plea for our noble nation-building effort in Afgooglestan? "Yes we can," he says, we can make a new society, one of peace and contentment. But distibuting ballot boxes ain't enough -- we need to build a broad intercommunal inter-ethnic tolerance, where now there is nothing but mutual suspicion and blood in the eye.

How? Through civilized boots on the ground -- specifically, American boots, and lots of 'em. No other boots will do, especially Euroboots.

Do I hear scepticism? Do I hear triage tolling? Do I hear "let's move on, this is a basket case"?

Shame on you -- that's not how Rome was built.

June 5, 2006

Accessories before, during, and after

A stopped clock is right twice a day, and frother Mark Steyn has a point:

Anyone who supports the launching of a war should be clear-sighted enough to know that, when the troops go in, a few of them will kill civilians, bomb schools, torture prisoners. It happens in every war in human history, even the good ones. Individual Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians did bad things in World War II and World War I. These aren't stunning surprises, they're inevitable: It might be a bombed mosque or a gunned-down pregnant woman or a slaughtered wedding party, but it will certainly be something.
Steyn, of course, draws somewhat different conclusions than I do. But he's right about one thing: Haditha was a foreseeable consequence of invading and occupying Iraq. Hillary knew there would be Hadithas when she supported the war; so did Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Rahm Emanuel, John Kerry, Tom Lantos, Chuck Schumer, Joe Lieberman, and the rest of the Democratic Party rat pack.

They went along with the war, they knowingly voted for Haditha, and they figured that if it all turned out badly, they could blame it on the Republicans. They knew the excuses for the war were lies. They weren't fooled. They weren't stampeded. Their support for the war was a cynical calculation. They winked at the lies and paid for the Hadithas -- with our money, of course -- because they thought they could have it both ways. They thought they could avoid the risk of opposing the war, and avoid the blame for starting it.

I really think these reptiles may be worse, in a moral sense than the Republicans. At least the Republicans went balls-to-the-wall for this murderous folly. They nailed their colors to the mast, and if we had an opposition party in this country, their ship would be sunk.

But the Democrats -- these vile, slinking, doubletalking, soulless, conscienceless hypocrites -- they went along with it thinking they could wade hip-deep in blood and still keep their skirts clean.

They're as culpable as the Republicans, and even less honest, which is really saying something. They're accessories before, during, and after the fact, and anybody who votes for one of them is an accessory too.

Gore and blood

Al Gore For everybody who thought there was a new Al Gore, this just in:

"I would pursue the twin objectives of trying to withdraw our forces [from Iraq] as quickly as we possibly can, while at the same time minimizing the risk that we'll make the mess over there even worse and raise even higher the danger of civil war," Gore said.

Dismissing calls for any deadline, Gore added, "It's possible that setting a deadline could set in motion forces that would make it even worse. I think that we should analyze that very carefully. My guess is that a deadline is probably not the right approach...."

June 16, 2006

Electoral calculation, or Lobby ownage?

JSP passed this along:

A piece on Counterpunch quotes a mailing as follows:

To prove that Iraq is important to focus on during the election we hired a top political polling firm to investigate the opinions of voters in the top 68 "swing" districts-two-thirds of these districts are represented by Republicans.

Here is what we found:

  • The war is by far the most important issue to voters in these districts right now.
  • By wide margins these voters think the war was a mistake and not worth it. People are angry about the war.
  • A discussion about Iraq during the campaign increases support for the Democrat.
  • A Democrat who takes a firm stand for getting out of Iraq does better than a Democrat who takes a wishy-washy position-even in the face of Republican attacks like, "cut and run."
  • Republicans are vulnerable to all sorts of attacks-including their blind support for Bush's policy of never-ending war.
  • Voters are universally angry about how defense contractors have been put ahead of our troops and how priorities here at home have been neglected.
I seem to recall that some panelists at Yearly Kos cited similar results (or possibly the same results).

Now given that this is so -- why is the Democratic Party still so gun-shy on this issue? Frankly, it makes me wonder whether they're not motivated less by electoral calculation than by a certain, erm, Lobby.

Warp speed

Just read the latest Obama stone warmer, offered up at Bring Back My America ... take 13.

I'll fast forward thru the noodles and only give you the beefy bits :

We find ourselves at a crossroads in American history...

... anxiety about the future...

...uncertainty about the direction....


.. health care ....

.... outsourcing....

surely we've come to a moment where things have to change...

--Is there a section missing, Scotty?

No sir, that's it so far, sir.

-- No war in Iraq?

No sir, not so far, sir.

--Okay, proceed.

There's no challenge that is too great or no injustice too crippling or no destiny that is too far out of reach...
--Yipes and sweet Jesus, fast us forward outta here, Scotty!

Ey ey Captain Kirk, ey ey!

... we face one of those moments today in a century that is just six years old.
--Yeeeeyoooo, Sco...

Righto, O captain Sir!

But while the world has changed around us, unfortunately it seems like our government has stood still. ..
--No! no! Scotty! Scotty... Scotty?


--Wake up, Scotty, wake up, you geepy bastard!

Sorry, Captain, but it's so damn booorring...

...ownership society ...

... social Darwinism ...

--No, wait, Scotty, wait -- social Darwinism?

What, captain?

--Zoom in on that!

I can't relocate it, sir, and guarantee we'll ever get oot again. The fields around that poart are flooxin' so -- look, even the dilithium crystals are invertin' -- the whole thing's so damn unreal we may get totally sucked in...

Americans understand this....

... They know the government can't solve all their problems

Don't let anybody tell you ..

that we don't know what we stand for.

we know that as progressives we believe in affordable health care for all Americans

- and that we're going to make sure that Americans don't have to choose between a health care plan...

.. that bankrupts the government and one that bankrupts families the party that will guarantee every American an affordable,...




education, from early childhood to high school, from college to on-the-job training.....

I've completely lost control of her, Cap'n! I'll try cutting the after buirners... it's our only...
Progressives are the folks who believe in energy independence for America...

we need a tough foreign policy

-- No no, go back, Scotty, go back -- this is the nub here!
... we know the other side has a monopoly on the tough-and-dumb strategy; we're looking for the tough-and-smart strategy - one that battles the forces of terrorism and fundamentalism but understands that it's not just a matter of military might alone, that we've got to match it with the power of our diplomacy and the strength of our alliances and the power of our ideals, and that when we do go to war, we should be honest with the American people about why we're there and how we expect to win....

We understand as progressives that we believe in open and honest government....

.... peddle the agenda of whichever lobbyist or special interest can write the biggest check....

I guarantee you America is looking for us to lead.

... we may be proud progressives but we're prouder Americans.

We're tired of being divided...

We are tired of running into ideological walls and partisan roadblocks....

We're tired of appeals to our worst instincts and our greatest fears....

Seems like the man's tired, Captain, and God knows I am.
America is desperate for leadership...

I absolutely feel it everywhere I go... They are longing for direction

... they want to believe again. …


Sir.. that's the end of it.. there is no moooore, Captain, there is no bloody moooore.

June 20, 2006

Not enough... or too much?

Listen to these thoughtful fellows at tompaine:
Beinart does bring a positive contribution to the progressive debate on foreign policy by recalling the philosophy of Reinhold Niebuhr, the Protestant theologian whose worldview inspired the vanguard of the 1960s civil rights and social policy movements....
Hold it. Reinhold Niebuhr "inspired" the civil rights movement? I'd love to hear what Stokeley, or Rosa, or Martin, or Medgar, or Malcolm, would have to say about that.
Unlike the conservatives of the Reagan and Bush II eras, who promote the virtuousness of America, and thus its authority to act unilaterally to imprint its values on other countries, Niebuhr believed that it was America's doubt in its own virtue, and the restraint that such a lack of confidence instills, that in fact enhances America's legitimacy in the rest of the world...
"Restraint"? "Doubt "? Not the barriers to intervention I'd want to rely on. Let's poll the world to see who that passage relieves of their "doubt" about Uncle.
Beinart's book quotes President Hoover as saying, in the spirit of Niebuhr, "We all have to recognize-no matter how great our strength-that we must deny ourselves the license to do always as we please."
We're really in the Twilight Zone now. Herbert Hoover, master of the food-aid-as-weapon, channeling the future thoughts of Cold War theologian Niebuhr? Think I just had a stack overflow. I'm going to lie down for a while.

June 21, 2006

They're ALL war Democrats

Nothing can exceed the New York Times at its best -- in this case a blatant chop job at fearless yuppie John "the Treetrunk" Kerry:
Mr. Kerry has found his resolve. But it has not made his fellow Democrats any happier. They fear the latest evolution of Mr. Kerry's views on Iraq may now complicate their hopes of taking back a majority in Congress in 2006.
God, can these donks caper and kick, among themselves, over what's too much or too little of a half measure.

And the bottom line? It's bi-partisan from Bush to Feingold. They're all pointing toward a shared horizon, where uncle maintains a perpetual armed and ready local presence, effective enough to keep that oily, gassy, messy, area behaving decent enough for American and trans-nat interests to see a way through to central Asia.

No one wants 140,000 US troops in Iraq for ever -- so one way or other, one time or other, a big hunk of our kids over there are indeed coming home.

So what's the real beef here? Answer: there isn't any -- its a carnival of contending cads.

July 3, 2006

Beating the bounds

Tim D writes:
This is from my Democratic congressman, Dutch Ruppersberger - perhaps the most reprehensible Democrat in the House honestly. Looks like he has a new plan for Iraq. The "Perimeter Plan" as he callls it. I'm guessing it will be seized upon by Hillary and co. pretty soon.

-----Original Message-----
From: Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger []
Sent: Mon 7/3/2006 1:27 PM
Subject: Iraq Update from Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger

Dear Mr. D:

... After returning from my fourth visit to Iraq on June 4, 2006 as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I believe it is time to adopt a new strategy to secure the peace and bring our troops home. Our servicemen and women are doing a remarkable job under tough circumstances. However, they are still policing and patrolling Iraq's urban areas; a dangerous job that should be carried out by Iraqi security forces, not American troops

For this reason, I am advocating a new strategy for Iraq called the Perimeter Plan, which I have presented to President Bush, U.S. Commanders and Generals, and Iraqi leaders.

Under the Perimeter Plan, Iraqi forces will take over policing operations in urban areas so that American troops can move to the outskirts of the cities: away from suicide bombers and IEDs (roadside bombs). U.S. and Coalition forces will be ready to backup Iraqi troops when needed but security will be provided by the Iraqi military. We have trained the Iraq military for more than two years; it is time to cut the apron strings.

I do not believe we should set a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq. Setting a withdrawal date would jeopardize military operations and would help insurgents prepare for an escalated offensive after our departure.

Changing the mission of U.S. forces, redeploying them to perimeter areas, and lowering the profile of the U.S. forces in urban areas will break the dependency the Iraqi military has on U.S. forces. This Perimeter Plan is the first step in bringing our troops home.

July 6, 2006

Beauty and the beast

According to the AP, la belle Barbara Boxer (left, a very unflattering photo) will be campaigning for that repulsive little ball of filth Joe Lieberman (below, a very flattering photo) in the Connecticut Democratic primary.

Well do I recall the Kosniks' tumultuous welcome for Boxer in Las Vegas; she's the pwogs' Joan of Arc. And here she is campaigning for the pwogs' Beelzebub. I think we have finally found the elusive Democratic "message"; it runs something like this -- "Let's keep each other in office."

Barking mad in Connecticut

We always knew Lieberman was a creep, but it just now came clearly into focus, for me at least, that he's also insane. Thanks to the fine folks at, I found this speech, from 2004, delivered to the quaintly-named Committee On The Present Danger (which has to find a new Present Danger every so often):
What we are fighting against is an Islamic terrorist totalitarian movement which is as dire a threat to individual liberty as the fascist and communist totalitarian threats we faced and defeated were in the last century.... What we are fighting against is the prospect of a new evil empire, a radical Islamic caliphate which would suppress the freedom of its people and threaten the security of every other nation's citizens...

Restoring the caliphate -- the seat of secular and ecclesiastical power that existed for centuries across a wide territory -- is their goal.... They would create a new evil empire, stretching from Istanbul to Islamabad, from Khartoum to Kabul, from Kuala Lampur to Bangkok, and beyond.

A new Caliphate! Jeee-hosaphat. And don't you love the "beyond", as applied to Bangkok? What's "beyond" Bangkok? Honolulu? Hollywood?

This demented reverie is clearly the product of some insulated, self-referential, cultic world of discourse. More specifically, it's a case of Caliban determined to see his own face in a mirror.

Some years ago, I was sitting harmlessly in a diner on the upper west side of Manhattan, trying to read a book -- a shallow detective novel, probably -- when two young men, obviously Columbia students, slid into the booth next to me. They were both wearing yarmulkes (so what were they doing in this treyf joint? I dunno, ask them) and they fell to talking about some program they'd just heard. "So -- once we get across the Bosphorus -- it's a cakewalk, all the way to Berlin. Our tanks -- they've got nothing to compare." It took me a while to figure out that what they had in their minds was a fantasy of Israel -- that's the "we" -- dominating Western Europe militarily. And "they", of course, was -- well, everybody in Europe, from Pristina to Paris.

Now in one way these two were crazy, obviously, and in another way not. I bet they graduated from Columbia and got good jobs and I don't suppose they spend much time, these days, fantasizing about Israel as a global power. But their craziness, quite clearly, was a shared craziness, a collective craziness. They had come from a meeting, at an Ivy League university -- a third-rate one, to be sure, but still -- and these were ideas they were hearing bruited about.

Now I can't be absolutely sure that either of them grew up to be Joe Lieberman. I didn't really get a good look. I was mostly listening, and pretending not to, a harder thing than it sounds. But reading Joe's words about the International Caliphate Conspiracy, I couldn't help thinking back to the hothouse world my two zealots lived in. Joe's picture of the Caliphate is an uncanny mirror-image of my guys' apocalyptic vision of Much Much Much Greater Israel.

This stuff about the new Caliphate is utterly mad. But Joe, like my neighbors in that diner, long since razed to make room for Columbia dorms, is not a pathetic solitary madman. He has a community of thought behind him. The Committee on the Present (And Never Ending, You Can Be Sure Of That) Danger includes people who have published books, people who have won prizes. I do believe Saul Bellow was part of it, even before his death became too obvious to deny.

So... we have a guy who's not only vile, but a dangerous, delusional, cultish madman, "representing" the Nutmeg State. And we have nice, well-spoken, good-looking people like Barbara Boxer going to bat for him. Because, forsooth, the Democratic Party is our last best hope.

Well, if that's true, folks -- then we are fucked.

July 10, 2006

Don't bring 'em home, send 'em somewhere else

Here's an application of the imperial law of conservation of forces -- occupation forces that is. This chap's an ex-Clinton assistant secretary of state, and he's got a clever counter for the Repugs, a finesse move for his fellow donks -- don't call for an Iraq cut-and-run, call for a scram-o-stan -- send US forces now in Iraq not back home -- but to Afghanistan!

Hey, these GWOTniki never say die, do they? An interesting gambit, though. What can it mean?

July 15, 2006

Frick and Frack in the Great Game

From the International Herald Tribune:
We need to be tough with Russia
By John Edwards and Jack Kemp

At a time when the president of the United States has made democracy a central goal of American foreign policy, Russia's political system is becoming steadily more authoritarian....

There is no question that a more democratic, open, transparent Russia would be behaving differently on many issues. A more democratic Russia would be forcefully engaged in efforts to end Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions - and it would be talking openly about the consequences of Iran's defiance....

It would not play host to Hamas. It would not work to kick the United States out of vital bases in Central Asia. It would not be using energy as political leverage....

In other words, it would be a nice docile lapdog state like, oh, Britain.

I know I keep saying this, but plus ca change. Sometimes, reading the headlines, I wonder whether the world has really altered much since the Crimean War. Russia through Tsars and Commissars, kleptocrats and neo-autocrats, remains the uncrackable nut, and Capitoline geese like Kemp and Edwards can be counted on to hiss and honk and flap their wings at the lumbering bear, like Palmerston writ very, very small indeed.

July 17, 2006

Beauty and the beast

Belle of the liberal ball Barbara Boxer has apparently suggested, on CNN, that war criminal Madeleine Albright ought to be sent as a special envoy to the Middle East. I would agree, with the proviso that Albright must parachute into South Lebanon and make her way on foot to Jerusalem. -- Well, okay, she can hitchike, if anybody will give her a lift. I know I wouldn't.

I can't seem to find a direct link to the Boxer-Albright story, but Googling around I did come up with this forgotten gem, from the year 2000. Boxer is on the Larry King show, being asked about the choice of Joe Lieberman for the vice spot on Gore's ticket. Here's what she had to say:

I was surprised, and I might say happily surprised. I think not only was this a bold choice, because when you bring down barriers, you have to be bold. So thank you, Al Gore, for being bold.

But also I think it's a winning choice. He's gone to the mainstream of our party. I think he's gotten a wonderful running mate.

Chuckie Schumer and the animatronic mummy of George McGovern were on the same show, and both praised Gore's world-historically bonehead choice in similar terms. Never say the Democrats can't agree on a message.

July 27, 2006

The oracle speaks

This Zionic Leb-krieg seems to have legs, so I checked in with the man himself -- the guy Sandy Berger called "that facetious preppie dickhead," our one and only link to the Foreign Service/NSC mindset, the renowned Mr Y (Of Arabia, in this case). Interview follows.

P: This Lebaon biz has its unfurling complexity, eh?

Y: Well, I suppose it does to the chittering horde of unscarred armchir strategists. [Sighs wearily] One can always elaborate this stuff, fabricate, out of whole cloth conflicting premeditations, and the like. But I prefer to look at the events themselves, at least so far as we can view them, and I see a very simple drama here, really -- one perhaps waiting offstage for a decent moment to spring itself upon the world, to be sure.

P: And that would be... ?

Y: Why, obviously, a king-hell IDF rampage. My guess is, they like the idea they're up against a real guerrilla force here -- not just young gals in blast belts. It ought to run for a while, at least till Syria is forced to play some cards.

P: Can the outside do anything?

Y: The French and their German consorts may eventually send in troops. I underline 'eventually.' Interlarding the rough edge between these two toughs could be very hazardous at the present time, so don't count on a civilized intervention till the Zionian forces have kicked a lot more stuffing out of the Hezzery. If they can, of course. I doubt the Euros want a serious piece of any suppression action.

P: Our man Smith seems inclined toward a US Marine landing scenario.

Y: [snickers] Far be it from me to gainsay Father Smith, what with his deep ties to the Maronite community and the Falange -- but I'd place my bets on a pure IDF operation. Nooo, I expect we won't see fighting jarheads dancing through the minds of voters come November, as aesthetically pleasing as that might seem now. I think the Mini-Me's will play the role all by themselves -- until, and I should add, if, both sides eventually allow in a new middle force like the Franco-German bid.

Needless to say, uncle will need to endorse whatever deputation goes there from the enlightened north of the planet -- but US boots on the beach? I'd say no. Even if the plan calls for a blitz to Damascus, this will remain a Light Of The Nations folly throughout.

P: Okay then, give me a time scale here -- from now to status quiet or quit.

Y: Damned if I know. It's a tiger ride over there right now, since neither side looks even winded to me. It could be a long waltz. Then again, its hard to tell what inside this feels like to the Israelis. They have their solid reasons both to overplay Hezzy fortitude, and underplay their own objectives. So we'll likely get the usual mishmash of cross-eyed BS in public statements and planted Op-Edery.

By the way, Father Smith's suggestion to parachute Ms. Albright into the area of conflict is an ace of a play. In fact, Nazrullah, if you're listening -- if Albright does get substituted for the younger, more agile, entirely irresistible but less wily Condi -- don't let that owly old she-witch mug of hers fool you. Watch your shins. In the clutches she's a regular Rosa Klebb.

And to be fair, she was not always old and monstrous. At Foggy Bottom it was always rumored that as a youngster, to make her bones, she whacked the estimable Doctor Che, whilst in a mountaintop love-nest embrace.

July 31, 2006

Careful -- it might be a trap

Et tu, gray lady?

It's all over the map already: the New York Times has endorsed Lamont over that nutmeg muppet of Fort Zion, das Lieber-fiend.

Why, why, why? This can't be good. The Times, choosing just this moment to stab the pre-eminent acolyte of Mini-Me in the back?

There's a fair foulness in the air, dear hearts.

Le Hump vs. Lamont

The Gray Lady's coverage of the Lieberman-Lamont mano-a-mano remains oddly, perhaps ominously, delightful (when you find yourself agreeing with the Times, something doesn't add up).

I've always thought the picture choices in the Times say a lot more than the copy ever does, and in this case, we have an oddly-cropped picture of Lieberman and endorser Ken Salazar, in a strange ambiguous pose that suggests they just finished enjoying a spot of frottage. This disquieting image is contrasted with a very engaging picture of Lamont, who has apparently just cracked a straight-faced joke which has given a hearty laugh to two African-Americans. The latter picture is so charming that you really wish you had been there to hear the exchange. Excerpt:

Mr. Lieberman brought in his own Democratic Party stalwarts, including Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, a decorated war veteran, who tried to defuse the central issue that has left the three-term senator struggling to win his party’s nomination: the war in Iraq.

“I know what war is all about,” said Mr. Inouye, who received the Medal of Honor for his combat service in World War II. “I’ve seen friends shattered, I’ve seen heads being blown off. I am here because I believe Joe Lieberman is a good, good American patriot.

“It pains me to see us become a one-issue party,” he added. “There are many issues, not just the war.”

.... Although he demonstrated for civil rights in the 1960’s, Mr. Lieberman has been criticized as a lukewarm defender of affirmative action in recent years, and his vice-presidential candidacy was questioned by prominent black officials like Representative Maxine Waters of California.

....Senator Ken Salazar, Democrat of Colorado... described Mr. Lieberman senator as “a man who votes with his heart.” Later, Senators Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut arrived to bolster their longtime colleague; Senator Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey is planning to appear today with Mr. Lieberman....

Lots to love in this. My favorite is the "although he demonstrated for civil rights" trope. Guy shows up at a demonstration or two, forty years ago, and it's news -- according to the Times -- that this doesn't give him a free pass for the rest of his life.

The there's the bit about "voting with his heart." That part, at least, I can believe. If there's anything at all in that leathery, desiccated organ, it's Israeli chauvinism, moralizing sadism, and metastatic self-regard. .

Wonderful, isn't it, how all the Democratic honchos are lining up behind him? I've said it before, but maybe it bears repeating: Never say the Democratic Party isn't about something.

In the very same issue of the Times, a poll is reported:

The latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows what one expert describes as a continuing “chasm” between the way Republicans and Democrats see the war. Three-fourths of the Republicans, for example, said the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, while just 24 percent of the Democrats did.
So. Three-quarters of the Democratic "base" have left Joe behind; but the people's tribunes like Salazar and Clinton mere et pere and Boxer and on and on and on, are still headed right down the toilet with the stercoraceous little creep. What conclusion do we draw from this picture, kids?

August 1, 2006

Took the words out of my mouth

Reechard writes:
As Saving Private Lieberman heads into the third act, my schadenfreude is a-tingle.

Does Lamont lose and do Kosniks thus find themselves relieved of their fun by way of Clintonerectomy?

Does Lieberman poll slippage lead to the greater fx-travaganza of a Dembones HQ sneak attack upon Lamont--some 11th-hour heartbreaker about a spreadsheet or boy scout--that grants Joe new gusto for the final slouch toward Bethlehem?

And what of a Lamont primary win that only leads bitterly to an election loss against a "reluctantly" indy-labeled Liebs, who rides his unchosen exile to a resounding victory with GOP votes and then promptly seeks restoration as a Dembones, his betrayal-within-a-betrayal giving the whole thing a Jacobean twist capable of further splitting the party's somnambulists from its heavy snorers?

Hoping for the unhappiest ending, but as always I don't know how much I dare dream.

August 7, 2006

Would that it were so

The Houston Chronicle thumbsucks thus:
Democrats and Republicans alike around the country are watching [Lamont-Lieberman] closely, attempting to gauge the depth and voter-motivating effect of antiwar sentiment and any possibly dangerous nexus with a mood to "throw them all out."
"Throw them all out!" Oh, how that phrase sets my pulse racing. And how wonderful that somebody is worried about voters getting into a "dangerous" mood. About time, I'd say.

I'm shocked, shocked!

From the NYT:
Last spring, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and New York Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the party's campaign committee, appealed unsuccessfully to [] not to oppose Lieberman.
Schumer, of course. But Reid? The sweetheart of Daily Kos? Give-'em-shit-and-call-it-Arpege Harry? Say it ain't so.

August 8, 2006

Harman-ic convergence

Here's War Democrat Jane Harman last week:
In my capacity as the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, I've been to the Guantanamo Bay prison three times to try to learn what was going on there. On the two most recent visits, a Major General named Geoff Miller was in charge. A no-nonsense, macho kind of guy, Miller seemed totally in control of what appeared to be a well-run program.

Then came the stunning revelations of abuse at Abu Ghraib and allegations of detainee mistreatment at Gitmo. By the time Miller appeared before the Intelligence Committee, presumably to shed light on these shocking reports, he was the Deputy Commander for Detainee Operations for the Multi-National Force in Iraq. Instead of responding directly to my questions, General Miller gave disquieting and evasive answers, which prompted me to send him a letter....

Do I correctly detect here a mad scramble to get out from under a falling edifice -- an edifice that Jane helped build?

Jane understandably does not allude to her vote with the Republicans, last year, to keep Guantanamo going. She was one of 79 Democrats who voted for the Caribbean concentration camp on that occasion. Steny Hoyer, of course, joined her, along with Steve Israel, Tom Lantos (inevitably), and the egregious sockpuppet Edolphus Towns.

Even on its face, Jane's narrative is... odd. She went to Guantanamo three times? And it never occurred to her that things weren't quite kosher -- until a public scandal erupted.

Well, let's cut her some slack. Maybe she was distracted. Note that odd line about the commanding general -- "a no-nonsense, macho kind of guy, Miller seemed totally in control." Hey, the girl is only human. I'm imagining the dinners -- were there candles? Did Miller's medals and marmoreal, closely-shaved, square jaw glisten in the soft light? Did Jane take a little extra trouble with her toilette?

Oh, I don't think she misbehaved. She's much too rational for that. And I don't think Miller's architectonic jaw and trumpery, brummagem military bling could possibly turn her head, not really. It's just a funny, novelistic thought.

Jane's actions, in her official capacity and probably her private capacity as well, are driven solely by calculation. Her support for buff, macho General Miller was calculated; her abandonment and excoriation of him equally so. (Does she want to strip him -- of his medals? Yuk yuk.)

But there's something in that "macho, no-nonsense" trope that suggests Jane's heart was touched. That line was not a PR flack's idea.

Jane's heart? A contradiction in terms, surely. But I bet under all that scar tissue, she still has one -- and I wish her peace-n-love SoCal constituents would retire her and give her a chance to cultivate that starved, shortchanged organ.

She had to throw General Toy-Boy to the wolves -- but you know, I bet it cost her a pang. Not a deadly pang, or a long-lived pang, but it left its trace in her words.

Joe: throw him to the wolves -- or else

The Joe show needs to close now.

Herr Liebermannikin must be forced to leave the race for his seat to the party's choice -- and ambitious Senate folks like St Hill, Biden, Kerry, Feingold, Obama better damn well demand it of him. And if he fails to act quickly they better damn well renounce the Lieb publically, right away, and throw him out of the Senate party caucus.

For each one that doesn't toe this line, let there be a symbolic branding -- "here slides a Joe-mentum sidewinder."

August 9, 2006

Lieberman: The new Jacob Javits

What joy:
Lieberman concedes Democratic primary, vows to continue fighting

Aug 08 2006 11:12 PM

HARTFORD -- U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman conceded losing today's Democratic primary to Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, but vowed to continue his quest to serve another term in Washington.

Taking the stage at 11:03 p.m. in Hartford, Lieberman said Lamont won by playing "partisan politics" and focusing on "insults instead of ideas."

He promised to file paper work Wednesday morning to form a new political party -- "Team Connecticut" -- so that he can still run for the U.S. Senate seat he now holds.

Rahm: spinning like a top

Here's boy genius Rahm Emanuel's take on the Lieberman debacle, quoted in Rolling Stone online:
“This shows what blind loyalty to George Bush and being his love child means. This is not about the war. It’s blind loyalty to Bush.”
"Not about the war," eh Rahm? Well, it's easy enough to see why you might want to think so.

Apparently intending to be complimentary, The Rolling Stone writer sagely comments,

Emanuel’s as smart as the Democrats have got.
... which is true enough, but in a sense that the RS commentator hasn't quite grasped.

Speaking of boy geniuses, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga approvingly quotesEmanuel's comment, and adds some wonderful silliness of his own:


People-powered politics.

Talk about spin. Kos himself, half a breath before this monumental piece of foolishness, observed that Lamont was a wealthy man who dropped a couple mil of his own money in this race. Does Kos' idea of "people-powered" politics include a dependence on the kindness of millionaires? Rich-people-powered politics, is that what he means?

It gets better:


Hillary, Bayh, and Edwards, who moved most aggressively to embrace Lamont after the winner was called.

Huh? If the Lieberman defeat means anything at all, it means something rather ominous for bloody-handed fanatical War Democrats. But Kos has so immersed himself in tactical, inside-baseball minutiae that the only thing he pays attention to is the Brownian movement of minute-by-minute positioning. Hillary a "winner" in the Lieberman defeat? That one really takes the Microscopic Eye to see.

Next tumbril, please

Now that Joemental-illness is gone, St Hill's head must be next.

Her march to easy victory in November must be so badly mired down that she can't even conceive of a probable path to the party nomination for prez.

We must be very clear here and stay on mission. Electing Lamont is nonsense. Defeating the hawk donks is our appointed task, and the pumpkin-head from the House of Rodham is target numero uno.

Let "los de abajo" -- those from down below-- be heard! No more war mules.

Joe the Undead

Others may be singing requiems for old Joe Liebermaniac, but not The New Republic. Thus "senior editor" Ryan Lizza:
Some Democratic Senators will endorse Lamont this morning, but don't expect much more than a press release. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has no intention of throwing any real money at Lamont. "This race will have zero bearing on who controls the Senate after Election Day in November," says a top Democrat involved in Senate campaign strategy. "Why would we spend money defending a seat that will be blue either way?..."

This is music to the Lieberman campaign's ears. It's counting on top Democrats to change the subject quickly. "A bunch of Democrats out of obligation will endorse Lamont, and then they will disappear," says a senior Lieberman aide. "They will nominally endorse him and then head for the hills."

He seems to be right. Washington Democrats aren't interested in fighting another round with Lieberman.... They ... reject the idea that the primary changes the Iraq debate: "Our Iraq policy has been driven by [Harry] Reid and [Carl] Levin. To be honest, they could give a rat's ass about the blogs."

Well, who do they give a rat's ass about? We certainly know the answer to that one as far as the New Republic itself is concerned.

If this Lizza cat is onto anything at all -- if he's not just gabbling Peretz-ite wishful thinking -- then it would seem to follow that Reid and Levin and the party not only don't give a rat's ass about the blogs, they don't give a rat's ass about the public. Lizza writes,

... Lamont's small margin of victory has failed to impress the commentariat, which was ready for a blowout after seeing Lamont's gaping thirteen-point lead last week.
If Lizza is correct about the "commentariat," the thinking would seem to be that the narrow margin shows the war isn't very important to people, or that it won't be a serious liability to War Party Number Two in November.

I certainly hope this is a misculculation -- and I certainly hope it's a miscalculation the Democrats are really making, and it's not just a hothouse fantasy of the New Republic likudniks. How I would love to see the War Democrats sail serenely into November, confident that they had a hundred fathoms under their keel, only to go hard aground on the uncharted -- and for them, unchartable, incomprehensible, impossible -- reef of public disgust.

August 29, 2006

Coulda, woulda, shoulda...

Reechard writes, in connection with the perennial argument that a Democratic President would not have invaded Iraq:
Kerry's pre-invasion dudgeon is well-doc'ed. No need for DNA testing along this blood trail; just spy the WMD fretting and brow-furrowed war fever in the fingerprints at Here's Kerry at his pithiest, some months before he ran on the Send Me ticket:

"And while the administration has failed to provide any direct link between Iraq and the events of September 11, can we afford to ignore the possibility that Saddam Hussein might accidentally, as well as purposely, allow those weapons to slide off to one group or other in a region where weapons are the currency of trade? How do we leave that to chance?"

Sourcing Hillary's cheery outbursts on Iraq is left as an exercise for the reader.

But would it all have been different had the Gore-Liebs duo succeeded Our Man With The Wet Havana? We might fantasize that Gore would have broken with his hawkish past, but to do so requires explicitly ignoring his post-9/11 go-get-'em speech before the Council on Foreign Invasions, er, Relations in February 2002 (text and analysis here:

There has been no Dem "silence" on Iraq, either before or after. The 2004 platform and subsquent talking points have made one technocratic promise after another of occupying better--better ally recruitment for better killing and better oil extraction. No, they signed no PNAC manifesto; why stoop to second-raters when you're accustomed to a starring role?

August 30, 2006

Barney: Who you callin' anti-war?

Barney Frank wants us to know he's as big a warmonger as anybody. He indignantly rejects
Dick Cheney's assertion that the defeat of Senator Joseph Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary, largely but not entirely because of his support for the Iraq war, demonstrated that Democrats were unwilling to use appropriate force against terrorism....

Every Democratic senator and representative but one voted for the war in Afghanistan....

... one of the reasons why the Iraq war does America so much harm is that it has diverted attention, resources, and support from Afghanistan.

There you have it. The reason to be against war is that it's bad for war. Maybe the Dems need to stick with the cheap gas.

August 31, 2006

The Clausewitz of Comedy Central

Deep strategic thinker Bill Maher has joined the boots-on-the-ground gang:
The morgue in Baghdad counted more than 1,800 bodies last month, which was a record high. ... But this month, the morgue is on track to receive less than a quarter of that. Why? Because we've redeployed 8,000 U.S. soldiers and 3,000 Iraqi troops to Baghdad and sent them on house-to-house sweeps for militants and weapons caches. In other words, we've knocked Baghdad back from complete and total madness to borderline chaos.

Geez, it's almost like more soldiers works better....

Of course, the forces weren't added; they were moved from other parts of the country, which will now descend back into complete and total madness.

I especially like the "we". How I wish Bill's boots were on the ground over there, so he could use that pronoun in its literal sense.

September 9, 2006

Nanny says: No dope, kids, and stay safe over there

The indispensable J Alva Scruggs writes:

"On Thursday afternoon, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., succeeded in passing his amendment to add $700 million to funding for the U.S. military's counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan."

Why not just buy it all? Seriously. I bet the entire crop could be had for $700 million and lord knows the farmers need the money.

"And Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., worked with Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, to gain GOP support for an amendment that would require the Pentagon to send Congress a contingency plan to protect military and other personnel in Iraq should sectarian violence continue to escalate."

That's just risible. How 'bout bringing them home? That would keep them safe.

September 10, 2006

If you liked Lynndie England...

... You'll love the new Army. The Demo wonkhood's "boots on the ground" strategy appears to be working, at least in one sense of the word:
Army to hit 2006 recruit goal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a big turnaround from a year ago, the U.S. Army will achieve its 2006 goal of 80,000 new soldiers despite lingering reluctance by some potential recruits to join amid the Iraq war....

Adding recruiters, sweetening enlistment bonuses, accepting older volunteers and even tolerating more tattoos helped the active-duty Army rebound from fiscal-year 2005 when it fell almost 7,000 recruits short of 80,000....

But some defense experts argued the Army, which provides the bulk of ground forces in Iraq, had been able to make its goal only by taking lower-quality volunteers who previously might have been rejected.

"The real question is: how low are we willing to let the quality of the Army decline while we continue in this war?" asked Lawrence Korb, assistant secretary of defense in charge of manpower issues under former President Ronald Reagan.

... Critics note the Army has accepted more recruits with past criminal conduct or medical problems and more from its lowest acceptable category of recruits, as well as hiking the age cutoff for enlistment to 42 from 35.

Korb, now an analyst with the Center for American Progress, said of this year's recruits, "There are at least 5,000, maybe as high as 10,000 people, who five years ago couldn't have gotten in."

Look on the bright side -- this'll be great for YouTube.

September 13, 2006

More GI Joe dribble...

... from that quavering Irish tenor of ex-military sentimentality, John Kerry:
Two years ago, I met a young man with character a lot of old men will never know. His name is Jon Soltz.

Jon is a veteran who served his country in Kosovo and Iraq.... Between Jon's tours, he worked day and night on my presidential campaign in Pennsylvania. I'll never forget what Jon said to me as I stepped off a plane back in 2004. He's told me I was the first veteran he met after he came home. Nothing anyone said to me on the campaign trail made me prouder. It was an honor to tell him something too many vets haven't heard enough: "Welcome home."

... War changes you. It makes you think about life differently. Simple things.... You live for the guys who didn't make it back....

You get the idea. All this snivelling is in aid of introducing another variation on the old "fighting Democrats" trope, called Here's their logo, by the way:

-- another triumph of Amurrican design.

September 14, 2006

Our Man in Hillaria

John Halle writes:

According to the New York Times, Sept 13, 2006:

"Primary Day came and went with little fanfare for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. She gave no victory party. There was no balloon drop. With the exception of an early-morning appearance to vote for herself in the Democratic primary at a mostly deserted polling station near her home here, Mrs. Clinton barely acknowledged having a challenger at all."

The following victory speech was, however, apparently delivered to a group of core supporters. It was found discarded in the rumpus room of the Senator's Chappaqua residence by a member of the Senator's household staff.

My fellow New Yorkers.

A great man once said that you can't fool all of the people all of the time and we now know exactly how many you can't fool: the number is 17% -- those who voted for my opponent Jonathan Tasini.

I know, and Jonathan knows, that I have spent most of my political career working tirelessly to oppose most of what those voting for me claim to believe in.

It is not only my continuing support for the Iraq war, even while over 70% of my constituents oppose it.

That's just the beginning.

I support the Israeli invasion of Lebanon; most of you oppose it as well as the massive human rights violations, environmental assaults and the war crimes enacted by the Isaeli defense forces.

Unlike you, I am a believer in military force as a first rather than a last resort. My enthusiasm for weapons system, even useless boondoggles like Star Wars, has no bounds. I routinely signed off on bloated defense budgets, even before the "war on terror" provided cover for a new generation of Democratic hawks and their paymasters in the defense industries.

Some Johnny-come-latelies to the cause like Chicago Mayor Dick Daley would have you believe they are lone voices in the wilderness when it comes to defending the rights of corporations to prey on folks like you.

Jonathan and I know better. I was there at the beginning -- serving on the Walmart Corporate Board when I was Arkansas First Lady. And I have continued as their faithful servant ramming through free trade pacts, doing nothing to prevent the continuing slide of unions into irrelevance while real wages have declined and inequality has skyrocketed.

My main achievement during my husband's years at the White House was to have scuttled all hope for a rational national health care system for a generation.

Yes, many of you will spend more of your pay check for worse care now and in the future, but not to worry.

I have an outstanding benefits package.

Do you have a problem with that?

83% of you say you don't.

For civil libertarians who have convinced themselves I am a faithful ally, I offer you the flag burning amendment and the greatest assault on civil liberties in recent history: the USA Patriot Act.

For African Americans, I give you personal responsibility and freedom, the freedom to leave your children unattended at home while you try to negotiate the mandatory work requirements of welfare reform. Over one million of you also have the freedom to rot in prison after being victimized by the drug war which I continue to support.

And for my core constituency: women have consoled themselves with the assurance that at least she won't play footsie with the zealots of the reiligious right. To you I present my new-found kind words for faith-based education, abstinence-only and my description of abortion as "a sad and tragic choice."

In short, my supporters want peace. I give them war. My supporters want democracy. I give them plutocracy. You want fairness, I give you a stacked deck.

Or, to put it slightly differently, I serve you a stew laced with arsenic and you ask for a second helping. I pee on your leg and you kiss my ring.

And so, as your nominee for Senator I come before you today to accept your nomination and your continuing support. And in so doing I offer you one word which will define my agenda: more.

More contributions from Ruppert Murdoch offered in exchange for my support of more media consolidation and more giveaways to the media conglomerates.

More contributions from K street lobbying firms and more obstacles thrown in the way of campaign finance reform. More carbon emissions resulting from increased coal power generation-- which I am on record as supporting.

More exemptions of the automotive industry from CAFE standards resulting in more greenhouse emissions and more global warming.

More troops to Iraq and, when the time is right, more troops to Iran and the middle east.

More attacks on New Deal programs under the guise of personal responsibility.

And in closing -- a final word to my distinguished opponent, Jonathan Tasini and his supporters:

What are you going to do about it, punk?

I am pleased to accept your nomination as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from the great state of New York!

The Nation has found a man to believe in...

... and it's Sherrod Brown, formerly the drab apparatchik who quashed Paul Hackett's chance of "crashing the gates". Paul, you recall, was last year's Kosnik pinup boy, the prototype ex-military "fighting Democrat". The Kosniks, and presumably Paul himself, thought he had a shot at the Democratic senatorial nomination this year -- until the Bush administration imploded, and the Democrats, now running against a quadriplegic, suddenly thought they might have a chance. At that point, the time-servers -- Sherrod Brown prominent among them -- popped up to claim their due, and got it.

Now that Sherrod is the Designated Democrat, the Nation scents the odor of sanctity hanging about him:

The road to the Democratic Party's renewal runs through Allen County, Ohio. And Sherrod Brown is on it, looking for the towns his party forgot and the voters who got away.
Can't let those voters get away. Who, after all, do they think they are?
Theoretically, Lima [Ohio] should be Democratic turf. A blue-collar town with a solid union base and a substantial African-American population, this city of 40,000 has lost 8,000 manufacturing jobs and a quarter of its population over the past two decades. A few years back, a PBS documentary crew titled a report from Lima "Lost in Middle America." Though Lima still has a Ford plant and an Army tank facility, the deindustrialization that has hammered Ohio during George W. Bush's tenure has taken a particular toll here.
"Past two decades" -- "George W. Bush's tenure" -- geez, has Bush really been President for twenty years? I know, it seems like forty, but counting on my fingers.... Hmmm. And who was President for the eight years before that?
The inability of the Democrats to capitalize on economic issues to put towns like Lima in their column has contributed mightily to Republican domination of Ohio, where all major statewide offices are in GOP hands and where the last two presidential elections handed Bush the electoral votes he needed to secure the presidency.
Strange people, these Ohioans. What's the matter with them?
"Sherrod understands that Ohio can remain a manufacturing state if we've got a federal government that supports the development of new industries," says Thomas Willis, president of Precision Energy & Technology, a fuel-cell firm, who appears with the candidate to vouch for Brown as the real friend of small manufacturers
Ah. Well, all the big manufacturers are taken, aren't they?

September 25, 2006

States' rights -- what a concept

From The Note:
In a pair of speeches on Tuesday, Democrat Phil Angelides plans to say that on his first day as governor he would call for all California National Guardsmen to return to the Golden State.

If implemented, the Angelides proposal would almost certainly provoke a legal challenge.

Angelides maintains, however, that under Perpich v. Department of Defense, a 1990 Supreme Court case, a governor retains the right to refuse to deploy his or her state's National Guard if deploying the troops "were to interfere with the State Guard's capacity to respond to local emergencies." ....

Questions yet to be answered: Whether Democrats will make this part of their paid media campaign and whether national Democrats like Leader Pelosi will back Angelides when asked about the proposal.

Indeed. It would be fun to watch Pelosi wriggle on this one.

September 26, 2006

Save that fetus, so he can enlist

More delights from Bob Casey, Democratic senate candidate in Pennsylvania:
I’m not ready to abandon this mission [in Iraq]; I think a lot of Americans are not, either... We don’t need a deadline—a timeline; we need new leadership....

Accountability, I think, means replacing Donald Rumsfeld....

The second thing we need, I think, in Iraq, in terms of a new direction is to make sure that we have clear and measurable benchmarks. Not just from the president, but from the Iraqis as well. What is the plan that the president can tell us about with regard to disarming the militias? What is the plan to bring oil production above the pre-war levels?

... I’ll conclude with this: We need to rebuild the American military. We need to have more Special Forces. I’ve called for a doubling in the number of Special Forces....

This would seem to be the locus-classicus Emanuel/Schumer talking points. I especially like this strategem of concentrating on Rummy. You just know that the Dems are giddy with self-congratulation on the fiendish, Machiavellian cunning of this stroke.

The Boot Gap Party

In an uncannily exact echo of fetus-fancying Democrat Bob Casey's talking points, mentioned here but moments ago, Senator Joe "Talks With God" Lieberman (shown above enjoying a well-deserved colonoscopy on live television) has laid out his plan for Iraq. Vile Joe

...called on Monday for the number of United States troops embedded with Iraqi forces to be doubled or tripled, to speed up the training of the Iraqis and help hasten the withdrawal of the Americans.

...Mr. Lieberman, who has been under attack for his support of the war, said that those troops could be added through redeployments, rather than by committing additional troops in the region.

At the same time, he called for increasing the overall size of the United States Army and Marine Corps, to better prepare for looming conflicts....

This is an old, old story. In fact I'm an old, old enough guy to remember Mattress Jack Kennedy beating Nixon in 1960 on an imaginary "missile gap" -- borrowing, with improvements, a gambit tried unsuccessfully by Adlai Stevenson. Maybe "bomber gap" wasn't quite as sexy as "missile gap" -- and certainly, Adlai wasn't as sexy as Jack.

Neither Casey nor Lieberman is as sexy as a warmed-over frittata, but institutional memory dies hard. In fact, it doesn't die before the institution does -- and really, isn't it about time?

This, for me, is the perennial puzzle. All my Democratic friends and neighbors have no use for the military. And yet they have sold their souls to a group of people who think we need a bigger army.

Maybe someday, I'll understand.

September 27, 2006

Shoot a few generals, pour encourager les autres

I always feel I need to say a kind word for anybody who fires generals -- or even threatens to fire them. The only thing better is shooting them -- and think how quickly the Civil War would have been over if Lincoln had shot McClellan. Would have established a valuable precedent, too.

Among generals currently in the news is retired Major Gen. John Batiste, a commander in Iraq, shown below shaking hands with another two-star while a three-star looks benignly on. (Why can't the damn Iraqis ever come up with an IED when it would really come in handy? Text continues below).

Batiste got his fifteen minutes of fame recently before a conclave of Democratic senators, who fell all over this bloodthirsty megalomaniac:

"Your statement, I believe, defines the word 'courage,' " Sen. Byron Dorgan (N.D.) gushed. Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) pumped his fist and gave Batiste and his colleagues pats on the biceps. And Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) proclaimed, giddily: "This hearing today could change our country." ... Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), as the last questioner, invited the officers to comment on the effect of a specific withdrawal date.

"The result will be a civil war of some magnitude that will turn into a regional mess," Batiste said without hesitation.

The Dems love Batiste so much because he's a poster boy for their vapid strategy of running against Donald Rumsfeld. Batiste was apparently dissed by Rummy and now has a hard-on for the SecDef. Here are a few excerpts from Batiste's remarks:
There is no substitute for victory and I believe we must complete what we started in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Donald Rumsfeld is not a competent wartime leader. He knows everything, except “how to win.” He surrounds himself with like-minded and compliant subordinates who do not grasp the importance of the principles of war, the complexities of Iraq, or the human dimension of warfare. Secretary Rumsfeld ignored 12 years of U.S. Central Command deliberate planning and strategy, dismissed honest dissent, and browbeat subordinates....

The mission in Iraq is all about breaking the cycle of violence and the hard work to change attitudes and give the Iraqi people alternatives to the insurgency. You cannot do this with precision bombs from 30,000 feet. This is tough, dangerous, and very personal work. Numbers of boots on the ground and hard-won relationships matter....

... we must mobilize our country for a protracted challenge, which must include conveying the “what, why, and how long” to every American, rationing to finance the totality of what we are doing, and gearing up our industrial base in a serious manner....

Now I yield to no one in my loathing for Rumsfeld, but Batiste puts me very strongly in mind of a famous scene from Dr Strangelove:
General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, do you recall what Clemenceau once said about war?

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No, I don't think I do, sir, no.

General Jack D. Ripper: He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Substitute "terrorist" for "Communist" and you've got General Batiste talking to Chuck Schumer.

Of course, unlike Mandrake, Schumer is buying it.

October 4, 2006

Let's hear it for endless war

From the Washington Post:
Democrats criticized Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) yesterday for saying that the Afghan war against Taliban guerrillas can never be won militarily and for favoring bringing "people who call themselves Taliban" into the government.

Democrats accused Frist of trying to "cut and run" in Afghanistan, something Republicans have been accusing Democrats of seeking to do in Iraq.

"Senator Frist now suggests that the best way forward in Afghanistan is to coddle the Taliban by welcoming Taliban members into a coalition government, as if 9/11 had never happened," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said yesterday in a statement.

The Republicans had their war, and now the Democrats, it seems, want to have one of their own -- or at least, adopt one.

October 6, 2006

Pryor restraint

J Alva Scruggs writes:

Mark Pryor -- candidate for stupidest senator

From the Arkansas News:

"Pryor joined three other senators on his first visit to the country, where he met in Baghdad with American generals and Iraqi officials.

He said he left with an impression of Iraq as a complicated country with progress in some areas but enough problems to leave Pryor troubled.

"I think Iraq is at a turning point," Pryor said in a telephone interview from Jordan. "I think over the next few months, three or four months, if we don't see some real progress in Iraq, we need to be very concerned.""

A turning point! He'll be seeing lights at the ends of tunnels next.

October 24, 2006

Irresistible force, immovable object

Is this where us Amurricans are headed?
Iraq: voters want British troops home by end of year
Fresh pressure on Blair as public back calls for early withdrawal

Julian Glover, Richard Norton-Taylor and Patrick Wintour
Tuesday October 24, 2006
The Guardian

A clear majority of voters want British troops to be pulled out of Iraq by the end of this year, regardless of the consequences for the country, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today.

In a sign that public opinion is hardening against Britain's military presence in Iraq, 61% of voters say they want British troops to leave this year, even if they have not completed their mission and Washington wants them to stay.

Only 30% now back the prime minister's commitment to keep troops in Iraq as long as is considered necessary.

Almost half of those questioned - 45% - want British forces pulled out immediately and a further 16% want them to leave by the end of the year, whether or not the US asks the British government to keep them on. When the Guardian last questioned voters on the issue in September 2005, 51% backed troop withdrawal with 41% arguing that British forces should stay in Iraq until the security situation in the country had improved.....

The foreign secretary, Margaret Beckett, admitted yesterday that Iraqis may eventually choose to partition the country rather than carry on as a single state.

"That is very much a matter for the Iraqis. They have had enough of people from outside handing down arbitrary boundaries and arbitrary decisions," she told BBC Radio 4's The World At One.

Asked if historians may judge that Iraq had been a foreign policy disaster for Britain, she said: "Yes, they may. Then again, they may not."

Maybe, or maybe not... much comedy here.

Compare with this:

Emanuel's War Plan for Democrats
The Book of Rahm

... Congressman Rahm Emanuel [has] worked hard to guarantee that Democratic candidates in key toss-up House races were pro-war. In this he was largely successful, because of the money he commands and the celebrity politicians who reliably respond to his call, ensuring that 20 of the 22 Democratic candidates in these districts are pro-war. So the fix is in for the coming elections.

In 2006, no matter which party controls the House, a majority will be committed to pursuing the war on Iraq--despite the fact that the Democratic rank and file and the general voting public oppose the war by large margins.

So here's the deal: public opinion is great as long as it coincides, or can be made to coincide, with what the dominant sub-gangs of our elite super-gang want to do. When it doesn't coincide, then fuck it. We'll just suspend democracy. Cf. Connecticut.

October 27, 2006

Steady as she goes

If you are one of the two or three people who still think a Democratic takeover of Congress next week will make a difference in the Middle East, Bill Clinton has news for you:
...For Clinton, the rally was an opportunity to try to refute a key element in the GOP's efforts to retain their majorities in the House and the Senate: the perceived risk, which Bush raises regularly, that Democrats would seek to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq before the country had been stabilized and could defend itself against becoming a haven for anti-American terrorists.

Speaking in an airport hangar before several hundred Democratic partisans, Clinton cited several of the veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the current conflict in Iraq running for Congress on Nov. 7, including L. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Army National Guard major who lost her legs in a helicopter crash in 2004.

"They can call us the 'cut-and-run' party all they want, but that's a pretty hard case to make when you look at Tammy Duckworth … and our other veterans," Clinton said.

Then he added, to loud applause and whoops from the audience: " 'Stop and think' is not the same as 'cut-and-run.' "

"Stop and think." Now there's a slogan to stir the blood, isn't it? Stop and think. And then perseverate.

October 30, 2006

October non-surprise

From Reuters:
No fast U.S. shift on Iraq if Democrats win: Dean
By Philip Barbara Sun Oct 29, 2:33 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Even if Democrats win control of Congress in elections next week, an immediate change of course in Iraq policy is unlikely, the party's chairman said on Sunday.

Countering Republican campaign charges that Democrats would "cut and run" from Iraq, chairman Howard Dean said the party did not believe there should be a sudden pullout of all U.S. troops.

... Dean said a small U.S. force should be left somewhere near Iraq to help prevent the establishment of a terrorist haven in the region.

"We will need to leave a force of special-operations folks in the Middle East, not in Iraq but on the periphery of Iraq, so we can deal with terrorism in a timely manner.

"We don't believe now we should suddenly pull everybody out...," he said.

Ah, the Special Forces -- pinup boys for the Democratic Party ever since Mattress Jack Kennedy had that brainstorm about the berets.

November 7, 2006

Just had a brainstorm...

... which probably came to everybody else here six months ago. Sorry, I'm a little slow sometimes.

About six in ten voters are said by pollsters to "disapprove" of the Iraq war -- whatever that means. Presumably the Democrats have noticed this fact.

Problem is, most of the Democrats are fine with the Iraq war -- just as most Democrats have been fine with every war we've embarked upon in the last hundred years.

So, the marketing problem is this: how can we donks take advantage of this voter discontent, without actually being against the war?

Answer: Find the minimal slogan that will put the necessary daylight between us and Bush, without actually coming out against the war. This isn't a matter of "triangulation" -- it's not that they want antiwar votes and pro-war votes. It's that they're pro-war themselves and mean to keep it going, and in the fullness of time, expand it to Iran.

Hence all the yammering about Rumsfeld, the stupid parsing and re-parsing of "stay the course," the emphasis on management and tactics rather than the idiotic folly of the whole undertaking. The Democrats want to pick up the antiwar vote without actually being antiwar.

I know, I know, obvious to the meanest intellect for quite some time, but it just really came into focus for me tonight, as I was reading some of those silly exit polls.

November 15, 2006

Bait and switch

The long-suffering American public elected a Democratic Congress largely because they're sick of the Iraq war. Now, however, it appears that the generals -- and, by implication, their friends in the Democratic Party, like Jack Murtha -- may have something slightly different in mind than what the public thought it was getting:
Get Out of Iraq Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 - One of the most resonant arguments in the debate over Iraq holds that the United States can move forward by pulling its troops back, as part of a phased withdrawal. If American troops begin to leave and the remaining forces assume a more limited role, the argument holds, it will galvanize the Iraqi government to assume more responsibility for securing and rebuilding Iraq.

...But this argument is being challenged by a number of military officers, experts and former generals, including some who have been among the most vehement critics of the Bush administration's Iraq policies.

Anthony C. Zinni, the former head of the United States Central Command and one of the retired generals who called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, argued that any substantial reduction of American forces over the next several months would be more likely to accelerate the slide to civil war than stop it.

...Instead of taking troops out, General Zinni said, it would make more sense to consider deploying additional American forces over the next six months to "regain momentum" ....

...[S]ome current and retired military officers say the situation in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq is too precarious to start thinning out the number of American troops....

John Batiste, a retired Army major general who also joined in the call for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation, described the Congressional proposals for troop withdrawals as "terribly naïve."

...Indeed, General Batiste has recently written that pending the training of an effective Iraqi force, it may be necessary to deploy tens of thousands of additional "coalition troops."...

Kenneth M. Pollack, an expert at the Brookings Institution who served on the staff of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, also argued that a push for troop reductions would backfire by contributing to the disorder in Iraq.

November 16, 2006

Let the handwringing begin...

... and who better to kick it off than David Corn?
Murtha Loses--And So Does Pelosi

The vote count is in: Steny Hoyer defeated Jack Murtha 149 to 86 for the majority leader post in the House.

There's no way to spin this: this was a big loss for incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The vote wasn't close. Her ally was rejected....

Moreover, Murtha, the candidate with the most ardent antiwar credentials, lost--and did so decisively. How will this be interpreted (or exploited) by pundits and politicos who oppose the Pelosi/Murtha call for the withdrawal of troops? Murtha champions did try to turn the majority leader race into a debate on the Iraq war. Can the vote be read as an indicator that many House Democrats don't support Pelosi all the way on her opposition to the war?

Can it, David? Do you have to ask?

For that matter, Pelosi's own "opposition to the war" has always had a flimsy, pro-forma look to me, and I'm not convinced that she really went balls-to-the-wall for Murtha, either. Call me hypersuspicious and paranoid, but this whole shadow-play looks a lot like Nancy setting up a proactive "hey, I tried" defense.

A small wager

So: who's willing to bet something valuable that there will be no US troops in Iraq come November '08?

I've got a bottle of Haut-Brion that says we'll still have American boots on that particular ground. Any takers?

November 20, 2006

Balls of Empire, part II

I'm back on this "no armed interventions" pledge kick.

Yeah, yeah, I know it's hardly enough, what with the military-industrial complex and all, and the transnational corporations going everywhere they want and doing anything they have to when they get there. The "internal" push for armed actions gets, well, intense.

It reminds me of the guy who castrated himself in prison, 'cause he was a wild perverted violent sex fiend and he was desperate to free himself from his mad and domineering "urges". We'll need to castrate ourselves, just like that chap -- demolish the Pentagon, close all our foreign bases, revert to a citizens' militia.

But we're hardly there yet, eh? First we must ballyhoo "the pledge" -- we must make the broad mass of our citizenry realize the empire is not patriotic, the empire is not the job stiffs' friend; the empire is a killer, a killer that lives among us, is us, and when the day comes, as it must to all monsters, it will be through our heart the stake is driven.

* * *

Yesterday evening I read a now-stale post by Max Sawicky. Max poses question one here, if a bit convolutedly:

What then is the argument for "the indispensable nation" not commissioning new carnage in Iran or North Korea?
Indeed, where is the root blowing charge we need to place at the stump of each one of these brutal gun play interventions? We need right here and now to stop the insanity from happening again. But we haven't even begun to set the charges -- in fact I suspect most of us dare not set any charges -- because, as Max writes, "Criticism of imperialism can still be painted as 'anti-American.'" He's dead right. He continues, "The only safe way to do it [i.e. attack the American empire project] is as a conservative or libertarian."

But doesn't the horrendous debacle that the Iraq escapade has become give us progs the means to beat the empire's battle apes senseless in the public square, right now, even as they still grapple like ruthless futile imbeciles with their sand hydra? To free ourselves and our future from these horrors repeating twice every generation, we must wave the bloody shirt of this present monstrous carnage like raft-bound castaways trying to flag down a passing ship.

Flashback to the low 70's: the "anti-imperialists" lost the Nambo post-mortem, didn't they? The GI's were near rebellion in 1970, but by 1980, these same vets had joined the white-trash roar for Reagan. The Nixon white house did it up brown. Man, were they good, what with the brilliant MIA cult, and the fabricated Jane College anti-vet spitskrieg. In spite of Dick's personal and temporary disgrace and fall, his pattern of goverence and his notion of national entitlement passed through the gauntlet without a scratch.

As Hunter T wrote in '72, "we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen, with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable." Yes, this rabid vicious national moment was "lived with" and we were lullabyed to sleep each night with hands still soaked in foreign blood.

And compadres, it will happen here again. It's already begun. Once more, we will get the horse collar hung on us, not the Cheney Express ponies -- that is, unless we strike first. First and with the gut level of the job class as our target. This time let's not play it like parson peacefingers from the pulpit. Let's not approach our task with superior airs and a heavy measure of condescending self-righteousness, as if we're tutoring the morally challenged.

November 21, 2006

Any color you want, as long as it's black

From the New York Times:
U.S. Considers Raising Troop Levels in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 — Pentagon officials conducting a review of Iraq strategy are considering a substantial but temporary increase in American troop levels and the addition of several thousand more trainers to work with Iraqi forces, a senior Defense Department official said Monday.

The idea, dubbed the "surge option" by some officials, would involve increasing American forces by 20,000 troops or more for several months in the hope of improving security, especially in Baghdad. That would mark a sharp rise over the current baseline of 144,000 troops. But some officials and senior military officers are arguing against the idea... There is far more consensus within the Pentagon on the need to increase the number of American trainers, more than 3,000 of whom are working with Iraqi Army, police and border units.... A Pentagon strategy review... is backing the idea, as is a separate panel studying Iraq options, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III....

The number of American advisers, who generally work in 11- to 13-member teams attached to Iraqi units, is likely to end up being doubled, the officials said. To do that, officials are considering whether they could convert American soldiers in combat units already in Iraq into advisers... The group appears to have rejected other more radical options, including a rapid withdrawal of American troops from Iraq....

Though a temporary increase of about 20,000 American troops is under consideration, the plan envisions the additional troops staying only until security conditions improve.

So the midterms' Great Blue Wave has changed... what, exactly? Gotta love the bit about "advisers", too. Us old-timers have heard that one before.

November 25, 2006

Realism: a transient disorder

For a lazy genius like yours truly, it's wonderful to find the entire multitude of venal "goo goo with a gun" idiocy huddled together in the works of one mind. So I thank J Alva for Mr Packer here:

Read and delight:

We are all realists now. Iraq has turned conservatives and liberals alike into cold-eyed believers in a foreign policy that narrowly calculates national interest without much concern for what goes on inside other countries.... At some point, events will remind Americans that currently discredited concepts such as humanitarian intervention and nation-building have a lot to do with national security-that they originated as necessary evils to prevent greater evils. But, for now, Kissingerism is king.
Yes, this is a boo-hoo -- we're cuttin' and runnin'. Oh, the humanity!

If there be an exact antithesis to my views -- thar she blows.

November 27, 2006

To the amazement of every three-year-old...
A draft report on strategies for Iraq, which will be debated here by a bipartisan commission beginning Monday, urges an aggressive regional diplomatic initiative that includes direct talks with Iran and Syria but sets no timetables for a military withdrawal, according to officials who have seen all or parts of the document....

Several commission members, including some Democrats, are discussing proposals that call for a declaration that within a specified period of time, perhaps as short as a year, a significant number of American troops should be withdrawn....

Among the ideas are embedding far more American training teams into Iraqi military units in a last-ditch improvement effort. While numbers are still approximate, phased withdrawal of combat troops over the next year would leave 70,000 to 80,000 American troops in the country, compared with about 150,000 now...

The recommendations of the commission, an independent advisory group created at the suggestion of several members of Congress, are expected to carry unusual weight because its members, drawn from both political parties, have deep experience in foreign policy. They include its co-chairmen, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a Republican, and Lee H. Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman.

November 28, 2006

Expert tease

My eagle eye is skim shooting the Huff bloggery massif and notices R J Eskow, "writer, business person, and musician." Seems he's applied his multipart talents to the "Iraq: what next?" quandary, and here's his view: the whole damn mess needs not "bipartisanship" but... "non-partisanship"! Neutral rethinkers! "If the Iraq Study Group is going to be dominated by the "bipartisanship" of so-called "centrists," it will be too paralyzed by political posturing to lead us out of the quagmire" "political posturing"? That's our national welfare's present danger number one? Not the beastly Occ and its "police war" itself, oh no -- just the featured pols fluttering around with it for petty party and personal gain.

Piffle! The fix is even worse: "experts", yes experts, deadeye stone geniuses ready to craft a solution. But here's his twist: to qualify as an expert on Iraq, you have to have been right on the topple's consequences from before day one, and therefore, against the invasion and occ all along.

But that's a problem, since as he sez, "people who were actually right about the Iraq War -- before it happened" ain't "presentable", because the imperial stooge press has spent "the last three years tarring anyone who made the right call about this war as 'left-leaning' and therefore not 'centrist'". And God knows if this is to be an all-party plan it needs to be "centrist". So if we need a centrist-lookin' team we're stuck with pro-invasion retreads, wizards manque, political hack-spurts, venal roller clods who've proven their chief skill is calling a knot hole an ass hole if that's what the guys who sign the checks want it called. Thus, RJ warns us we're in for a "bipartisan" train ride to "nowhere".

w What else can we expect out of these tinkering time servers? No matter how clever or plain-thinking they may be, they're servants of the interests, like Baker and Hamilton -- moral smudge jobs.

Nope this means impasse, drift, more blood, boots and bombs -- and why, RJ asks? Because we can't call in the "experts", and "when it comes to war and national security" there's "no substitute" for "the willingness to let experts look at a problem without ideological blinders." Cue the brass section florish and... post over... the end... finis.

Now are you saying what I said -- "That's it? All we get is this pompous portico?"

Hey, RJ, what about these experts? Name names, you bugger! Names and audition tape suggestions they've made!

I guess just conjuring the blessed spectre of these "neutral" experts, these ghost riders, is a comfort and a spur all at once to the soul of this windy dope.

Even if the guy hasn't a foggy fart of a notion of what is to be done, how's he sure somebody without ideology or special interests, with courage and brains and integrity, someone steeped in regional scholarship and with Solomon's knack for fine judgements, could devise a miraculous chestnuts out of the fire solution here, one agreeable to all parties and one that would do our nation proud. He can't know that short of blind faith, and if he don't really believe it, if he's just blowin' feel good smoke and figures there is no such fantasy plan, no matter who in hell works it up, even George Marshall himself, then he oughta blast these proceedings and any future proceedings for what they are, will be and must be -- a big fat goosey stall job.

December 1, 2006

Instant gratification

Straight from Olympus:
Idea of Rapid Withdrawal From Iraq Seems to Fade

...[D]espite the Democrats' victory this month in an election viewed as a referendum on the war, the idea of a rapid American troop withdrawal is fast receding as a viable option.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff are signaling that too rapid an American pullout would open the way to all-out civil war. The bipartisan Iraq Study Group has shied away from recommending explicit timelines in favor of a vaguely timed pullback. The report that the panel will deliver to President Bush next week would, at a minimum, leave a force of 70,000 or more troops in the country for a long time to come.... Even the Democrats, with an eye toward 2008, have dropped talk of a race for the exits....

The group never seriously considered the position that Representative John P. Murtha... took more than a year ago, that withdrawal should begin immediately. The group did debate timetables.... But explicit mention of such a schedule was dropped.

In statements on Thursday, Democrats from former President Bill Clinton to Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, seemed to agree that hard timelines could invite trouble....

This is so wonderful. The Democrats aren't even making me wait until they take office to watch them sell out their most devoted, and perennially betrayed, supporters.

I foresee that dedicated Kosniks et sim., who have spent the last few years making anti-war noises and selling the Democrats as the only hope for peace, will emerge as actual apologists for continued war, now that "their" party, with its legislative majorities, has undeniable buy-in and responsibility. This is another subtle effect of the two-party machine and the lesser evil mentality -- they pull the internal Left back into line. People just can't stand the cognitive dissonance, and if they can't give up the institution, they have to give up their convictions instead.

December 4, 2006

Biden channels Palmerston (on Fox News)

Here's strategic mastermind Joe Biden, calling for a little bear hunt:
WALLACE: I'll start with you, Senator Biden: Do you believe -- I understand it's speculation, but do you believe that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is involved? And whether we can prove that or not, how should it affect our relations with Russia?

BIDEN: Well, I don't know whether he's involved, but our relations with Russia have to get straightened out to begin with.

Russia is moving more and more toward an oligarchy here. Putin is consolidating power. He's been doing it for the last six years. We have basically been giving him a bye. I think that Russia is sliding further away from genuine democracy and a free-market system and more toward a command economy and the control of a single man.

So I'm not a big fan of Putin's, and I think we should have a direct confrontation with Putin politically about the need for him to change his course of action.

WALLACE: I was just going to bring in Senator Graham.

In the time left, your thoughts about Putin and what the U.S. needs to do?

GRAHAM: I think Joe is right on. I think Bush misread his soul. I think this guy is taking Russia backward. He's a problem, not a solution, to most of the world's problems. He could help us with Iran if he chose to. He is becoming basically a one-man dictatorship in Russia. And we need to be tough with him.

Russia needs to be part of the international community in a constructive way. They're going backward, not forward. And now's the time for the international community to speak with Russia with one voice: "Change what's going on in Russia. Help us with Iran."

Together in perfect harmony.

December 6, 2006

Reyes of sunshine

Here's the latest from Pelosi protege Silvestre Reyes:

Dec. 5. 2006 - In a surprise twist in the debate over Iraq, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the soon-to-be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he wants to see an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops as part of a stepped up effort to “dismantle the militias.”

The soft-spoken Texas Democrat was an early opponent of the Iraq war and voted against the October 2002 resolution authorizing President Bush to invade that country. That dovish record got prominently cited last week when Speaker designate Nancy Pelosi chose Reyes as the new head of the intelligence panel.

But in an interview with NEWSWEEK on Tuesday, Reyes pointedly distanced himself from many of his Democratic colleagues who have called for fixed timetables for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

To the Max

Sometimes Max is worth a million. Read this, apropos what I call the bipartisan Great Convergence on Iraq:

The function of the Democratic Party from the standpoint of elites is to channel dissent into support for elite discourse. In the present context, the framework for such cooptation is advice against "precipitous" withdrawal from Iraq. The alternative to such a policy is continued, open-ended, mucking around.

A secondary objective is to prevent a complete meltdown of the Republican Party by entangling Democrats in the purported phase-down of U.S. involvement. The meltdown implied by the continued stubbornness of the Bush White House would unbalance the American two-party duopoly, a development which would strengthen dissent among Democrats and widen the space for third parties and for more basic criticism of U.S. foreign policy.

December 18, 2006

Surprise, surprise

Bill Kaufman sent in this tidbit (sorry I can't find a URL for it):
This one falls under the category, "Wanna run that one by me again?." Reid should really consider an appearance on Letterman's "Stupid Human Tricks": "Talking Out of Both Sides of Your Mouth":
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate's top Democrat offered qualified support Sunday for a plan to increase U.S. troops in Iraq, saying it would be acceptable as part of a broader strategy to bring combat forces home by 2008....

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose party campaigned in the November congressional elections on changing course in Iraq, said he would be open only to a short-term increase....

"The American people will not allow this war to go on as it has. It simply is a war that will not be won militarily. It can only be won politically," Reid said.

What I particularly love is that he's still talking about winning!

December 22, 2006

Make nothing look like something

Got a call last night at some ungodly hour. It was The Source himself, my inside guy at Foggy Bottom, Mr. Y himself:

"Jaybo, this troop buildup biz in Iraq is pure schnizzle -- like the private account gig. It's a way to make the status quo look like victory." Click!

I guess that's the way the great bipartisan convergence works -- make the two-year boot-dragging look like the do-nothing donkery stopped an escalation.

January 2, 2007

Don't stop thinking about yesterday

Mike Flugennock writes:
Mogadishu, we hardly knew ye.

Sure is nice to see good old Somalia back in the news again.

A little blast from our past circa September 1993,

...part of my compilation of the "Clinton Legacy" In Wheat Paste:

...which I thought might be a nice quick guide for "Stop Me" readers as Somalia begins simmering again, and the Liberal interventionists are calling for "action" in Darfur, and Hillary's taking a crack at the Democratic -- or "Outer Party", as I like to call them now -- nomination...

(ripply-wiggly recollection-sequence transition effex here)

In September of 1993, still glowing from its success in Waco, Texas, the Clinton Regime is hip-deep in the "humanitarian intervention" in Somalia. This Army PAO hack's comment is in response to a question regarding the machine-gunning of groups of protesting Somalis from US helicopters:

"There are no sidelines or spectator seats. The people on the ground are considered combatants."

--U.S. Army Maj. David Stockwell,
Chief Spokesman, U.N. Military Mission in Somalia
(Wash Post Sunday 09.12.93)

Btw, has Ridley Scott been signed to direct the sequel? (Working title: "Carry Me Back To Old Somalia"?)

January 4, 2007

Occupy the occupiers

Like any real patriot, clear on our mission, and raised on our gallant heritage of direct action, I'm a great fan of the Occupation Project:

Many incumbents, including my own Congressperson, talk for peace – even join the “Out of Iraq” Congressional Caucus – but vote for war. They must now be told in no uncertain terms the jig is up. We will no longer tolerate platitudes for peace and votes for blood. This is where we draw the line. They either vote to end the occupation of Iraq or they will be occupied.
A terrific idea, and I have nothing to add except this: since lawless resolutes indeed often show up in limited numbers, then besides targeting a few high profile jackasses like mother Clinton and Tumbleweed Harry Reid, it might make sense to aim at the real finks -- the lovey-dovey prog dems who work both sides of the street.

Elderly and timorous as I am, I'll be ready to hit my local champion, Rep. Henny Frank.

January 12, 2007

Occupy the occupiers, bis

More on Operation Occupation from honcho Jeff Leys :
"The premise is simple. Representatives and Senators: publicly pledge to vote against the $100 billion supplemental war spending package which President Bush will submit in early February or we will occupy your offices...This will not be a singular action on a single day. We will return again and again and again until you pledge to vote against funds for the Iraq war....
Leys here demonstrates a keen awareness of the terms of confrontation -- the various budget sections and functional areas like procurement, operations and maintenence.

We need to bone up on the funding battle's various components and the history of these struggles.

The Kos/Mydd-type "soulful peaceniks" will no doubt try to hide the naked truth from themselves with a wardrobe of lies -- starting with stuff like Biden's judo chop last week: maybe non-funding is... illegal! And lord knows, we wouldn't want to break the law.


January 16, 2007

Give 'em hell Harry, indeed
Critics say the Democrats’ reluctance to seize the Iraq war’s purse strings stems from political timidity.

Jim Manley, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–Nevada), told TNS that while the Senator would scrutinize the upcoming funding requests, Reid "intends to make sure that the troops get everything they need."

For now, Manley said that Reid, who initially supported the war, is promoting a conciliatory approach: a non-binding resolution criticizing Bush’s troop increase, aimed at winning Republican backing to show bipartisan opposition. That resolution, Reid's office says, is still being finalized and has not been publicly released.

But retired Lieutenant Colonel Piers Wood, who heads the think tank Military Insights, said de-escalating the war would not necessarily put the troops at further risk. By enacting surgical budget cuts, he said, Congress "could constrain offensive operations" but maintain funds to cover troops’ basic needs.

He nonetheless predicted, "Congress, of course, being cowards, are going to hold off on cutting funds in any obvious or dramatic way…

This is all on the mark, of course, except for the bit about "timidity" and fears for re-election. The fact is that the Democratic Party, at the institutional level, has been behind this war from the beginning, and is still behind it. They're not afraid; they're committed.

January 18, 2007

Sheep in wolves' clothing

The New York Times is, apparently, the only entity in the world that takes Joe Biden seriously:
The Senate set the stage on Wednesday for a direct clash with President Bush over the war, with two senior Democrats and a prominent Republican introducing a symbolic measure to declare that the administration’s plan to send additional troops to Iraq runs counter to the national interest.

The resolution, proposed by Senators Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Carl Levin of Michigan, both Democrats, and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a Republican, would not be binding, and the White House said it would have no effect on Mr. Bush’s plan to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq.

The normally unfunny Dana Milbank, however, rises a bit above his usual level with a rogue's gallery of non-proposals:
Lawmakers were introducing Iraq legislation at a mad pace yesterday, at one point in the afternoon scheduling news conferences in half-hour intervals. By the end of the day, they had issued more bills than Pepco.... Booking the Senate TV studio at 2:30 p.m. were Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), with their own Iraq resolution. They had to vacate the room at 3 p.m. for the arrival of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.); Clinton floated a variation of the Dodd plan. Minutes after that session, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) issued a statement announcing legislation ordering a "phased redeployment" of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Even Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who gave up his Senate seat, tried to get a piece of the action yesterday. His campaign sent out a fundraising appeal, asking: "Please chip in to help stop this escalation today."

A couple of days ago we made the point here -- not for the first time -- that the Democrats aren't afraid to end the war; rather, they don't want to end the war. If they were afraid, they wouldn't be indulging in this shadow-play; and if they were serious, they'd be doing something real.

Here's the reason for the shadow-play:

A strong majority of Americans opposes President Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq, and about half of the country wants Congress to block the deployment, a Times/Bloomberg poll has found.... more than three-fifths of those surveyed said the war was not worth fighting, and only one-third approved of his handling of the conflict.

Asked about the president's recent announcement that he would dispatch an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, three-fifths said they opposed the move, whereas just over one-third backed it.... About one-fourth of Republicans said they did not believe the war was worth fighting....

As usual, the people are way ahead of their leaders. The Democrats can read polls and they know where the public is. But they don't want to cross whoever it is that's the driving force behind this war -- the oil sector or the Israel sector, or pick your own suspect (a prize will be awarded for the most original hypothesis). So their solution is, as usual, the old reliable plot gambit of tired musical-comedy playwrights: "Let's put on a show!"

January 22, 2007

Squeaky clean -- well, almost

You may have missed this -- it's Mike F's Breck boy, Gomer's courthouse spellbinder bro, and Dem prez hopeful Johnny Edwards

Seems he sold his opulent Georgetown house this December to a real big-time stinkeroo, or rather a stinkeroo couple, Paul and Terry Klaassen.

Ironic side light: two big unions El Brecko wants in his corner are after this same creep -- no, not for unfair labor practices, but for major stock losses. The two unions took on the stinker's company, then serious accounting irregularities surfaced, and sent the stock a-tumblin'. Seems this here stinker had sold a 20 million dollar block of shares just prior to... buying Breck-boy's house!

Gotta love it, though -- the union as disappointed investor. Hell hath no fury like a sucker fleeced!

January 29, 2007

Dracula and the domme

From Nancy's hometown newspaper:

Pelosi's trip: She believes more strongly that withdrawal will help region, says troops deserve better policies than president's

(01-29) 04:00 PST Washington -- Three days in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan have made House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even more certain of her view that moving troops out of Iraq is the best way to bring stability to the region, she told The Chronicle on Sunday....

Pelosi's visit comes as Congress readies a resolution opposing Bush's plan for new troops to Iraq....

A clear majority of senators oppose the president's troop increase, although competing resolutions and a filibuster threat make vote counts difficult. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, D-Del., predicted Sunday that fewer than 20 senators -- not even half of the 49 Republicans -- would be willing to voice support for Bush's plan.....

Lantos reiterated Pelosi's opposition to Bush's war plans.

"What we saw and heard in Baghdad leaves me even more convinced than before that the administration's 'stay the course' approach will only lead us deeper into disaster,'' Lantos said. "Placing more troops in harm's way in order to shore up a failed policy is unconscionably reckless and only compounds the mistakes already made.''

Lantos is opposing the "surge"? Has Nancy cracked the whip and brought him to heel? Has Lucy got the Injun sign over the Count?

Alas, no. Lantos' acquiescence gives the game away -- nobody, not even the Israel lobby, is serious about the "surge". Defeating this non-initiative is, as Owen's brother pointed out here some time ago, a way to present the status quo as victory. I think we can all write the history of the next few weeks.

Note, too, the now-obligatory "harm's way" trope. Wake me up when somebody says we shouldn't be putting people in Harman's way.

February 2, 2007

A Whoyer, without a heart of gold

The highly dependable Steny Hoyer was invited recently to address the Brookings Institution (which will, one hopes, have had the room fumigated afterwards).

(Don't watch the video unless you're a glutton for punishment; Hoyer is so deathly dull he makes Joe Biden look like William Jennings Bryan. This image, strange and unsettling as it is, barely begins to convey the man's creepy, leaden, golem-like demeanor. He acts like he's under remote control from a distant location -- Jerusalem, perhaps? -- over a very low-bandwidth satellite link.)

His interminable speech boiled down to this: it was a good idea to go into Iraq, but the Administration fucked it up. First, they gave the wrong reason -- preemption based on WMDs that "turned out" not to exist (as if Steny and all his congressional colleagues weren't perfectly well aware, all along, that they didn't exist). Steny thought our pretext should have been a different one: namely, the fact that the late Saddam Hussein failed to comply with various UN resolutions. One wonders whether it has occurred to Steny that this same pretext would also serve quite nicely for an invasion of Israel.

Not only did the Admiistration fuck up the pretext, according to Steny, they also fucked up the execution. And what was the problem? Our old friend "boots on the ground," extravagantly vulgarized by Steny. He took the number of troops used in Mr Clinton's dear little Serbian war -- which he considers, of course, our finest hour in recent memory -- divided that by the population of Kosovo (not Serbia, oddly), then multiplied by the population of Iraq, and came up with half a million troops. Fifty divisions! That's the ticket! (The United States Army currently has ten active divisions.)

So. Next time one of your Democratic-party friends starts telling what the Democrats would or would not have done, you can tell them what their House majority leader at least says he would have done. I bet your friend will cling to his illusions rather than believe what his own honchos are saying.

February 7, 2007

Hey, warmongers can be liberals too

File this under: can't beat the Devil at his own game.,1,4802828.column?track=rss

It's by Johnny Chait, warmonger and prat-boy first class of Empire.

I don't want to accuse American doves of rooting for the United States to lose in Iraq.... they understand the dire consequences of defeat....
Notice the force-feeding -- "dire"? Really, Johnny, what particularly enfeebled doves have you in mind here?
... the [doves'] urge to gloat is powerful and some of them do seem to be having a grand time in the wake of being vindicated...
Well don't we all, Johnny? If it ever happened that you were vindicated, you'd be crowing like Chanticleer. But here's the meaty heart of this column:
Radar magazine recently published an article bemoaning the fact that pro-war liberal pundits [read: people like me] have not been drummed out of the profession for their error....

It's not hard to imagine where this is going, is it?

This pusillanimous tower toady wants to retain his liberal pundit auctoritas despite all his egregious war pandering. And since the best defense is always a good offense, his approach is to attack the doves' record of failed prognosticating in prior wars. Implication: so what if they got this one right -- even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

But in particular -- and yes, Johnny has a very particular rival in mind -- he wants us to forget about elevating "lefty foreign policy guru Jonathan Schell" to anything resembling auctoritas.

Schell recently had the gloatful impudence to sniff

'There doesn't seem to be a rush to find the people who were right about Iraq [like me] and install them in the mainstream media.'

Well, that certainly sounds like it might have an impact on Johnnie's bottom line.

February 11, 2007

All deliberate speed

Driving to my little shop of sleepy horrors this morning, don't I hear a sound bite by Barack Obama, our choco-lite saviour from the land of Stephen Douglas. (Yeah, it was on NPR News, so I have no one but myself to blame.)

Apropos the Iraq-upation: "We need to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in."

It's a perfect humanist empire phrase, isn't it? The obvious response from the anti-empire side: But Obie -- it's really not our call, is it? It's the Iraqi people's call; and if -- as I'm sure is the case -- they want us to scram, then we just oughta scram. Anything else -- in particular, staying solely for "their own good" and solely at our own expense, 'cause we owe it to them to... do the right thing. Even if it's thankless! Even if the world will revile us!

Bullshit, Obie.

We are home invaders there, not foster parents. If there's domestic abuse there now -- and even if there'll be way way more after we leave -- well, that tragedy of choice will still be on our heads, and the only thing we can do by staying is make it worse.

We owe Iraq reparations, not armed mediation, not a donkey-infested, responsible, humanely-motivated, open-ended bloodletting.

Any further Uncle Sam brutality, any further occupation, is a second round of criminality. And it's even worse than the first round, because at this point, nobody can deploy that scanty fig-leaf of innocence, "we wuz lied to." Everybody knows what's what in Iraq now, and nobody can pretend not to, and every day's new tally of dead and maimed lies right at the door of the people who want to be "careful getting out."

February 16, 2007

Show me the money

... or rather, show me the polls.

Conventional pwoggie wisdom is that the worst our long-eared representatives are guilty of is cowardice: they cut off funds for the Iraq romp, they pay a price at the polls. But where does that idea come from?

If a fund cutoff translates into lost votes in '08 for the jackassery -- show us what canvassing sample says so, or else I gotta figure you crypto empire donks pulled it right out of your assholes.

Who knows any actual human being who wants us out of Iraq -- but who doesn't want the Dems even trying to pull the plug?

And who in hell wants the troops back? Who wants us to fund a longer campaign there, let alone a buildup? Who? Who?

Show me the numbers, you phoney bastards!

February 22, 2007

Hurt me, Melvin. Hurt me.

Here's a somewhat sanctimonious account of Gerry Ford's last-gasp, final-chance, must-act-now request for funds to keep the Red congs from tanking through Saigon:

The piece seems to have been ripped off from The New Republic, and what it mostly goes to show -- unintentionally, of course -- is just how un-opposed to the war the Democratic Party was, even after Nixon took over the management of it:

In 1970, during the Vietnam war, an amendment to the military procurement authorization act introduced by Republican Mark Hatfield and Democrat George McGovern proposed that, unless President Nixon sought and won a declaration of war from Congress, no money could be spent after the end of the year “for any purposes other than to pay costs relating to the withdrawal of all United States forces.” Of course, withdrawing forces is not cutting funding for them (in fact, it might have turned out to be more expensive in the short term), and Hatfield-McGovern never got more than 42 votes in the Senate–even though, in its second go-round in 1971, 73 percent of the public supported it.

The first time the Senate actually voted to suspend funding for American military activities in Vietnam was in the summer of 1973, two months after the last American combat brigades left, by the terms of a peace treaty Nixon negotiated. That amendment passed by a veto-proof majority–encompassing Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals–of 64 to 26....

Early in 1974, Nixon requested a support package for the South Vietnamese that included $474 million in emergency military aid. The Senate Armed Services Committee balked and approved about half. A liberal coup? Hardly. One of the critics was Senator Barry Goldwater. “We can scratch South Vietnam,” he said. “It is imminent that South Vietnam is going to fall into the hands of North Vietnam.” The House turned down the president’s emergency aid request 177 to 154; the majority included 50 Republicans....

Finally, of course, under the hapless Ford, lopsided bipartisan majorities in both houses turned down a last-ditch request. Comes now Melvin Laird -- bet you didn't know he was still around, did you? -- writing in Foreign Affairs that
Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by cutting off funding for our ally in 1975. Washington should follow a similar strategy now [in Iraq], but this time finish the job properly.
Implications: the Dems will abandon our fightin' kids in Iraq, let 'em get picked off one by one, as they hole up there in the green zone and at forts Haliburton and Bechtel, pinned down like Beau Geste, dying like rats, etc. etc.

Huge indignation about this from the Dems. Don't throw us in that briar patch. What a nice cover for them. Their liberal true-believer base is infinitely credulous that the yahoo inanity, out there in their tens of poorly-educated millions, live on such invisible foreskin music. And so, of course, the poor donkey's flank must be guarded, and that means... well, you fill it in. The dance of mutual enablement continues, without missing a step.

Here, for example, is The Nation's ace beltway scout:

A few days ago , a senior Capitol Hill Democratic aide called to tell me he was worried. The aide feared that his party would soon find itself split over the Iraq war.
Gee, David, you say that like it's a bad thing. The threnody continues:
Progressive House Democrats are pushing for a cutoff in funding, he said, not caring that such legislation would put their colleagues from less-liberal districts in a bind. Moderate Democrats, the aide said, will not likely want to vote against military spending for Iraq and face the criticism (justified or not) that they are not supporting the troops. Even though the war is unpopular and Bush and the Republicans are on the run, we’ll be dividing ourselves, said the aide, who works for a legislator who favors a funding cutoff.

The following day, a prominent liberal thinker in Washington told me he was concerned that Democratic leaders and antiwar activists are swinging behind Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha’s plan to attach restrictions to Iraq war funding. Murtha’s proposal would prohibit money from being used to deploy troops to Iraq who are not fully equipped, fully trained and fully rested. That plan cannot win a majority, this thinker said; putting it up to a vote would only rip apart the party. The Democrats, consequently, would look weak and not achieve anything, but they still would give the Republicans the chance to accuse them of undermining the soldiers in the field. Couldn’t antiwar Democrats and activists, this liberal asked, find a more mature and sophisticated strategy?

Lo, the hour of combat approaches on winged sandals. Mayhaps the soap will even get softer.

March 7, 2007

The fix is in

From The Hill:
House Democrats say consensus is forming on U.S. troop withdrawal

House Democrats... haven’t been able to resolve differences between those who want to mandate a clear date for withdrawal from Iraq and those who don’t. But leaders [say] that they have reached consensus in some key areas.

“What we’re trying to do is make policy, not just points,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)....

Meanwhile, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) disputed reports that liberal Democratic members will vote against a Democratic plan if it doesn’t set a concrete date for withdrawal.... "There is consensus on three important parts,” Emanuel said, namely more money for Afghanistan than President Bush had requested, more demands placed on the Iraqi government, and fully training and equipping troops....

Speaking for the liberal wing,[Barbara] Lee said that the “Out of Iraq” caucus is not seeking to cut funding to the troops....

In other words, the Dems are reaching a consensus to keep the war going in Iraq, and intensify it in Afghanistan. My favorite line:
Hoyer has said members are discussing a way to allow members of the Progressive and “Out of Iraq” caucuses to offer an amendment on the floor during the Iraq debate for a full withdrawal of troops....
... so that people like Bernie Sanders will have an empty gesture to make, for the edification of their constituents with dovish bumper stickers. Steny, as always, blurted out the blunt truth, like the knucklehead he is: there's policy and then there's points. The points made will be anti-war, the policy quite the reverse.

March 14, 2007

Nobody in here but us Philistines

One senate Samson can pull this war machine down on itself -- one Samson willing to stop the funding by filibustering the appropriation. So claims John Walsh:

"It takes only one Senator to filibuster against funding the war" -- one senator and "41 abstentions to sustain the filibuster," and "Bush's supplemental funding bill for the Iraq war is dead."

Now indeed if that is all it takes, then the Dems really do own this war too, don't they? Is that a surprise?

You didn't really believe their reasons, did you? It's a dead certainty that the fund cutoff would in fact harm no soldiers over there, and save many, who really cares what the talk radio goblins yammer? Are the people that stupid ???

No -- but a big chunk of them are hope-hearted enough to believe that the Dems really might want to stop this thing, when obviously they don't.

John has a site on this:

March 16, 2007

Hillary: Show some balls, girls. Vote for my war!

God bless Mother Clinton:

She makes it so easy. Like de Gaulle was the face of France, St Hill personifies the humanist empire.

[Clinton] said... that there were “remaining vital national security interests in Iraq” that would require a continuing deployment of American troops.

The United States’ security would be undermined if parts of Iraq turned into a failed state “that serves as a petri dish for insurgents and Al Qaeda,” she said. “It is right in the heart of the oil region,” she said. “It is directly in opposition to our interests, to the interests of regimes, to Israel’s interests.”

“So it will be up to me to try to figure out how to protect those national security interests and continue to take our troops out of this urban warfare, which I think is a loser,” Mrs. Clinton added. She declined to estimate the number of American troops she would keep in Iraq, saying she would draw on the advice of military officers.

My prediction: such jut-jawed plain speak is veep talk. But she'll never play Lieberman on Gore's next ticket.

Will the polls show a howl of disapproval from her base? Right now she has a gender gap on Oby -- they are close with males, but she's got 10 points on the cocoa Chihuahua among Dem gals.

This relentless iron-maiden act -- are the girls gonna go for that?

March 19, 2007

Three stooges

Waters, Lee, and Wolsey, the cal-gal trinity -- gotta love 'em, as this LA Times article suggests.,0,4059042,full.story

But it's dollhouse politics, pro-forma prog-pond victories that the threesome will win here. Even if the house bill has more draconian bench marks then a swiss butcher's block, no buddy's war mule will get slaughtered on it. The bigger game is already lost, and how is just the latest episode in an old old story: the Senate bars the door.

Hell, the dem congo majority won't even force a prez veto. The dream of a qualified majority beyond partisan reach is irrelevant. Even without the house majority, the war's funding could cease -- but this was ruleed out of the question, despite the obvious fact that the out of Iraq caucus could force a showdown by not voting for the mauled remnants of the Murtha-Pelosi bill. But the progs aren't even willing to force a funding crisis.

So there'll be two bills to blend here, one to come out of each of our two chambers of legislation, but the House bill, whether candle flicker or blowtorch will be snuffed in conference. After the dust settles, Bush will have his war as long as he wants it, and the out of Iraq caucus will look like the beautiful losers they are. And the Bay Area bombers, Nan Francisco and Tom Lantos will still be the cal-gal trio's prog buddies.

March 21, 2007

Get along, little pwoggies

From The Hill:
It’s tough to get 218 votes, so Speaker gets tough, too

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is holding the implied threat of lost committee seats over the heads of Democratic Caucus members who may vote against her $124 billion Iraq war supplemental bill.... The Speaker pointedly reminded Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a leading opponent of the bill, that she had appointed her to the Appropriations Committee, three Democratic lawmakers said.

During a meeting last week with appropriators, Pelosi reminded them that serving on the panel was a privilege, admonishing lawmakers from safe districts who feel they have the luxury to vote how they want without consequences — as opposed to Democrats elected in swing districts who do not....

Pelosi also has met with members of the Progressive Caucus several times in the past two weeks. A lawmaker said the tension between Pelosi and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), a chief deputy whip and a founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, was noticeable. The two Californians sat at opposite ends of a long table in Pelosi’s office as Waters, her arms crossed, listened to Pelosi make her case for the bill.....

“Do I have 218 people that I know are definite ‘yeses’ right this minute? The answer to that is no. … Do I think we will have 218 votes on this bill when we call it up for a vote? The answer to that is yes,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters yesterday. “[Do] I think we will need to delay it? I hope the answer to that is no and believe it is no.”

Steny is almost certainly right, for once. The pwoggies will fall into line. It's funny how asymmetrically organizational discipline works in the Democratic Party: aisle-crossers to the right like Lieberman never seem to be punished, but Lee and Waters, it appears, will get the hammer if they stray from the party line -- which is, of course, more war and more wars, in saecula saeculorum.

March 28, 2007

Hit us with your best shot

According to the Washpost:

... the Repug senate minority may not block the house war funding bill; they may just let the White House veto it. It's as if the Repugs decided to stuff the donks: "So you're afraid of a crisis. Well then -- we'll just have to give you... a crisis!"

As they both watch the poll numbers unwind on this debacle, I think there'll be plenty of disgust to go around. Point: bipartisan popular revulsion is harmless -- maybe even just what this moment calls for. The take-away image: the Repugs just called the donks' leadership "yellow", and they figure it will stick. No matter which way the Dem congos turn next, they've shown the Repugs that they fear the people's fickleness.

Beinart raises a laugh

I don't usually think of Peter Beinart as an entertaining writer, but I got a chuckle out of this:

Since the Democrats won control of Congress last fall, they've been besieged with warnings against acting too aggressively on Iraq. Such "moves carry clear risks for a party that suffered politically for pushing to end an unpopular war in Vietnam," suggested the Washington Post.... [A] G.O.P. staff member crowed that "the public won't go for it." Haven't the Democrats learned anything from Vietnam?

Actually, they have. Despite today's conventional wisdom, Democrats didn't suffer in the 1970s for opposing Vietnam. And they're even less likely to pay a political price for trying to end the war in Iraq.

For once I agree with Peter. They're not likely to pay a political price for trying to end the war -- because, among other reasons, they're not trying to end it.

March 29, 2007

The good, the bad, the ugly, and the Democrats

It's getting to look mighty wonderful, as the commander in chief calls out the jackasses in front of a lobby/rally of ox-tough cattlemen.

What's up here? A stand off -- okay, not exactly toe to toe, but a face off nonetheless -- Bush and Cheney at one end of Penn Ave, Nan and Harry at the other, Congo agin White House: cue the Ennio Morricone.

Maybe the Washpost gets to it: it's a replay of the famous Clinton vs Newt chicken run of '95.

Although Democratic leaders ...To prepare... are studying the events of 1995 and 1996, when President Bill Clinton vetoed appropriations bills and then successfully blamed Congress for shutting down the government.... Inside the White House, Bush strategists hope that the Democrats will overplay their hand, as the Republicans themselves did a decade ago.
It don't get any better than this, folks -- pure cornball horse-feathering.

April 12, 2007

De-fund the parade

Tax time approaches, and like spring itself, it awakens something ghastly about all this renewal. Just as re-budding plants and new chicks are feedstock for yet another year of alpha-predator uncontrolled "dining out", this is Uncle's time to snatch his fifth of our fruits.

This spring is special of course, as we all watch in a variety of nasty moods while our duly elected peace congress, like so many packasses, carry this year's war requistion cloppingly down Penn Ave, braying and planting their front hooves scutteringly for an instant over and over again, like each moment will be the last step -- "I'll go no further" they cry, just before the next step. And it continues, this easter season passion parade, far far longer then the Nazarene's one-off.

Obviously, as Father Smiff tirelessly points out, for the top kicks among the congressional Demitry, all this is the purest charade, the purest "don't throw me in that briar patch" hooey. But hey, it's the art of the possible -- and man is this fraud of a show "possible".

Since this official oppostion to funding the bloodbath in the sand is really an unofficial co-conspiracy, maybe you might try starving the beast in the neo-nazi helmet, by direct action and here's just where to start:

April 18, 2007

Straw men in the wind

The Washpost the other day tried sliding this past their readership:
William A. Galston of the Brookings Institution, a Clinton administration domestic policy adviser and an early opponent of the Iraq war said his party should note that voters appear just as worried that Democrats would withdraw from Iraq too quickly as they are concerned that Republicans would stay there too long.

Now what is this Galston guy up to here?

Against the war "early" -- but now he's waving the yellow caution flag 'cause "voters appear worried".

Best way to play the hole? Don't try cutting through the 2-to-1 favorable dogleg -- don't go with the massive center-left shift -- stay safe. Drive it down the middle of the fairway. Sure there's water to the right, but there's trees to the left. Too quick is just as bad as too long. Okay, so the trees aren't there now -- but they're growin' and they'll be there by September, before election time.

Now can this guy really have a job at the Big B and still be as stupid as this chitter implies? Wait, there's more:

I think it's important to distinguish between the desire to bring this agony to an end and the consequences of bringing it to an end in the wrong way.
Smell orthrian shit coming here? You're right. Galston's sum-up:
I can't prove this but I believe Democrats will be held responsible if they are seen as advocating a course of action that doesn't take the consequences of failure into account.
---Cue the tuba----
...We cannot afford as a party to be either silent or blithe about the consequences of rapid withdrawal.
Echoes of general Buck Turgidson: 'we cannot afford a mineshaft gap.'

But Galston ain't wrong about the word 'afford'. The empire's overlords are watching. Donor money can suddenly gush, but it can just as suddenly dry up.

So beware, Obama; beware, thou blithe spirit. Don't you try drivin' over that dogleg. Don't you fuck with us while we figure out how we extract the empire from this bottomless sand hole Cheney got us into. Don't try riding a popular wave. Don't fall for that base of yours bellowing from below "Out now!" Out now!" -- not if you want the White House.

April 21, 2007

Business as usual

From the No Comment Needed department:

Declaring that the Bush administration's actions in foreign and domestic affairs raise "serious questions of constitutionality," Vermont state senators voted yesterday to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in what officials say was the first such vote by state lawmakers in the country.

Without debate, the Democratic-controlled Senate voted 16 to 9 in favor of the nonbinding resolution, which urges US Representative Peter Welch, a Democrat, to introduce a resolution in the House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings.

Vermont's congressional delegation, which includes Welch and Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, promptly rejected the call.

May 2, 2007

I love ya, tomorrow
[Spokesman] Gibbs said Obama believes that Democrats have made progress in changing minds in Congress and said there will be future opportunities, whether through the supplemental bill or future defense spending measures, to build support for a course change in Iraq.
Any day now... Any day now....

Nancy in wonderland
Bush's Veto Survives House Challenge

WASHINGTON -- Congress failed to override President Bush's veto of legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq on Wednesday, a defeat for anti-war Democrats that triggered immediate talks on a new measure to fund the conflict.

"I'm confident we can reach agreement," the president said....

Smarter than he looks, that Bush.
Democrats flashed defiance, yet signaled they were ready to make significant concessions such as jettisoning the troop withdrawal timetable ....

"Make no mistake, Democrats are committed to ending this war," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said .... "We hope to do so in unison with the president of the United States."

There is certainly one thing they will do in "unison" with the current POTUS, and that is -- continue the war. But Nancy's gnomic utterance intends, of course, to suggest subliminally that they will "end the war" in -- what was the word? -- ah yes, "unison" -- if they have a President of their own party. So keep the faith, dear little pwoggie non-pro-war children, until January of 2009.

At which point, of course, some new excuse will have been found.

May 4, 2007

Wrong verb

I recall hearing an anecdote years ago about Jack Nicholson: at a party, a luscious starlet approaches the great man and says, "Wanna dance?" Nicholson replies, with a particularly wolfish grin, "Wrong verb." This story came to mind in connection with an amusing piece on ABC News. The only thing wrong with it is the verb in the headline:

Democrats Back Down on Troop Withdrawal

A serene group of Democratic Senate leaders indicated this afternoon that they were willing to give up on forcing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq....

"There are many different ways of focusing on the problems in Iraq," Reid said.... "Timetables is one. Benchmarks is one. We could have waivers from the president. We could have waivers from the secretary of defense. There are just many different things that can be done....

"We have benchmarks. We may need more benchmarks. We may need a way of enforcing the benchmarks."

... Reid and other members of his leadership team -- Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and Patty Murray, D-Wash. -- spoke today almost as if their last bill didn't call for a U.S. troop withdrawal.

"If our legislation stood for anything, it stood for two propositions," said Schumer. "One, we support the troops. Two, we must change the mission. The president's veto isn't going to change our two goals. We're going to keep at it. We're going to try new ways to reach a reasonable agreement with the president. We're not abandoning our heartfelt view that that mission must change."

The problem, of course, is that you can't back down unless you've previously stepped up, and that's just what the Congressional Democrats have never done and never had any intention of doing.

Still, it seems a little churlish to nit-pick, it's such a funny story: Reid happily burbling about benchmarks, waivers here and waivers there. The sense of relief is palpable, isn't it? They think they wiggled out of a bind. The public expected 'em to do something about the war, and now they think they've gotten us to believe that they tried.

May 6, 2007

Don't feed the pigeons

Times photo of earnest peaceniks in conclave

The grey lady puffs the ferocious eclair peaceniks pictured in session above. They're described as combining "the online mobilization capabilities of MoveOn with the old-school political muscle of organized labor."

Quoted in the article is a flaming cross of a letter, sent last Thursday by this mighty coalition of hard-nosed peace pigeons to the leader of the senate's custard majority, Dry Gulch Reid, and of course mon amour La Nanita:

In the past few days, we have seen what appear to be trial balloons signaling a significant weakening of the Democratic position.
How acute, how vigilant, eh?
On this, we want to be perfectly clear.
That must be ultimate bad faith segue phrase, a favorite, as we all know, of the father of all modern American political bad faith, tricky Dick Nixon. Would that these slime had a maternally implanted chronically guilty conscience like his, one that lunched on their gut like his lunched on him. Recall the fox in the Spartan kid's tunic? But I digress. To continue to the money line:
If Democrats appear to capitulate to Bush -- passing a bill without measures to end the war -- the unity Democrats have enjoyed and Democratic leadership has so expertly built, will immediately disappear.
... and, I wager, just as immediately reappear, on the far side of this latest counterfeit tussle after a decent interval of fighting the decent interval has passed, of course.

Ahh these peace pigeons -- they sure can flutter and cluck and coo like real doves, can't they?

July 13, 2007

Nooo! Noooo! Anything but that!

That Harry Reid -- what a scary tough hombre. Watch him deploy the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch:

The strategy pursued by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is to keep scheduling votes to pressure Republicans, who, in turn, would pressure the White House to change its war policy. "The president hasn't seen the last of these votes," said Reid spokesman Jim Manley. "We'll look forward to additional votes in September."
No, Godfather, no! Not another... vote!! I kiss your hand, Godfather! Have mercy! Have mercy!

August 2, 2007

Cruise Missile Posturing

WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, under attack from a rival who portrays him as naive on foreign policy, declared Wednesday that he would use military force against Al Qaeda operatives hiding in tribal areas of Pakistan if that nation did not move more aggressively against them first.

The Illinois senator said he would take military action as president, if necessary, despite the risk of undercutting Pakistan's leader, President Pervez Musharraf, an important American ally.

"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges," Obama said. "But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. ... If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."


Bless their hearts! Those kids are willing to compete with the big boys in thoughtlessly bellicose eructations.

Obama let himself get out cruise missiled on this one and now he's shown that he can be goaded into foolish boasting.

August 22, 2007

Exsurgat asinus
August was supposed to be the month that crystallized Democratic opposition to the Iraq war.... Yet nowhere is the political tentativeness more on display than on the war -- with members of Congress sharing impressions that something is working. "Staking out positions that could complicate efforts to achieve party unity in September, a few Democratic lawmakers have returned expressing support for a continued troop presence," writes Jonathan Weisman of The Washington Post.

The broad argument Democrats are making: The security situation is improving, but it's too late for the Iraqi government to take advantage of it. "The Democrats' reframing of the war debate helps them avoid criticism for naysaying U.S. military achievements while still advocating a speedy pullout from what they say is a civil war the Iraqi government cannot quell," writes the Washington Times' S.A. Miller.

Two leading senators -- Levin, D-Mich., and Warner, R-Va., are out with a new report with nuggets that play off of that (rather muddy) message. "The 'surge' is having 'measurable results' " that should make compromises possible, they write, per ABC's Z. Byron Wolf. But they're calling for new Iraqi leadership because "we are not optimistic about the prospects for those compromises." Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, is going the furthest, in calling for a new prime minister if Nouri al-Maliki can't force quick compromises.

... Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. John McCain took their turns yesterday before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City. Clinton... said elements of the new military strategy are "working" (what will Sen. Barack Obama say about that?) but added that it's unlikely to make a difference....

October 20, 2007

The how -- or the what?

Dear Hillary seems to be feeling a little defensive about her recent vote greasing the skids for war with Iran. Apparently she has written a letter to Iowa Democrats on the subject -- a minor masterpiece in its own way, and one that raises an interesting question. Here's the gist of Hillary's self-exculpation:
Let me be clear on Iran -- I am opposed to letting President Bush take any military action against that country without full Congressional approval.
Now here's the interesting question: Does the public care about the "how", or are they more concerned with the "what"? That is, will they be happy with an Iran war, as long as it has "full congressional approval" -- or would they rather not have one, no matter who might approve?

If it's the latter -- if they don't want a war, whether or not the civics teachers feel that due process has been observed -- then it's pretty clear that Hillary will disappoint them. Now Hillary will be the Democrats' candidate, and very likely the next President, barring the very unlikely appearance on YouTube of a sex tape of her with Bob Rubin, or with a high-quality, top-notch, officially-certified, drug and disease-free standard poodle.

It will, in a mild way, be interesting to see what Iowa voters make of this gambit. What they ought to conclude, of course, is "game over" -- it's gonna be war upon war upon war, all the way down, for all their fabled "caucuses" can do to stop it.

Wouldn't it be great if they just stayed home -- if the one person who showed up for the Iowa caucuses was a poor old toothless dodderer in a walker, with one quesion: What are you going to do for "seniors"?

Oh, I know it wouldn't make any difference. But it would make me think better of Iowa.

November 22, 2007

The dogs that stopped barking

Meant to post something about this story back when it first appeared, but maybe it's still worth chewing on:
As the congressional session lurches toward a close, Democrats are confronting some demoralizing arithmetic on Iraq.... the only war legislation enacted during this Congress has been to give the president exactly what he wants, and exactly what he has had for the past five years: more money, with no limitations.

...[P]ublic opinion about the war — while still dominated by opposition to a military adventure most people think was a mistake — has risen modestly in recent weeks, according to several nonpartisan polls....

The changing views probably have little to do with Congress, said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“You have also had the near absence of the war coverage in the last months, and since the coverage is generally negative, the less coverage, the less negative communications that reaches people’s living rooms.”

Pew reported Friday that only 16 percent of Americans name the Iraq war as the news story that first comes to mind today — a huge shift.

... Meanwhile, both sides must contemplate the most dispiriting piece of Iraq arithmetic of all.

At the start of the year, there had been 3,003 U.S. military casualties in Iraq.

Now there have been 3,860 — already making this the deadliest year of the five-year military campaign.

So... why has the war story suddenly dropped off the media radar? Is it conceivably because... the Congressional campaign is over, and the Presidential camapigns are avoiding the topic?

I think it was Richard Pryor, back in the days when the poor man was funny, who had a routine about a man and woman in bed. The man, erm, reaches fulfilment quickly and leaves his partner, erm, high and dry. She expresses frustration, and he responds smugly, "I got mine, you get yours."

The Democrats got theirs a year ago by exploiting and, to some extent, encouraging public dissatisfaction with the war. But now it's steady as she goes, don't rock the boat, don't put Hillrack on the spot. The Republicans are so bollixed that victory in '08 for the Dems appears to be merely a question of not fucking up. The last thing they want now is a public het up about a war they intend to continue.

So how do we "get ours"? Start by finding a different bedmate.

April 5, 2008

The permanent government speaks

From the New York Sun (of all places):
Obama Adviser Calls for 60,000-80,000 U.S. Troops To Stay in Iraq Through 2010

WASHINGTON — A key adviser to Senator Obama's campaign is recommending in a confidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office.

The paper, obtained by The New York Sun, was written by Colin Kahl for the center-left Center for a New American Security..... Kahl writes that through negotiations with the Iraqi government "the U.S. should aim to transition to a sustainable over-watch posture (of perhaps 60,000–80,000 forces) by the end of 2010 (although the specific timelines should be the byproduct of negotiations and conditions on the ground)."

Mr. Kahl is the day-to-day coordinator of the Obama campaign's working group on Iraq.

I love the way these weebles like to sling around military jargon. "Over-watch posture," forsooth! Brother Kahl (shown left) is a 1993 BA (UMich) and 2000 Phd (Clodumbia U) whose closest brush with combat was probably his dissertation defense. But man, is he intellectually muscular! Here's a sample:

Too many critics of the war favor a policy of unconditional disengagement from Iraq. Some who take this position believe that nothing America does in Iraq can be of positive and lasting consequence.... This strategy ignores the very real contribution American forces are making to preventing a resurgence of civil war in Iraq.

The "Center for a New American Security" (was there ever an old one?) is a recent arrival in the bewildering swarm of Washington think tanks -- a wonderful phrase, by the way: places where people think as if they were in a tank. Still, why do we need so many? They all say the same stuff. Their logos all have a flag. Their mission statements are almost word-for-word identical. Who pays for this stuff, and why?

CNAS (pronounced "con-us", I think) seems highly respectable though new. Its board of directors includes Dick Armitage; serene, unconflicted mass murderer Madeleine Albright; John Podesta; several revolving-door types, formerly in government, now executives (or hood ornaments) at defense contractors like Raytheon and Lockheed; and the obligatory handful of generals. Democrats love generals.

If this is the sort of place where Obama is looking for "change", it's likely to be pretty small change.

April 14, 2008

Dems to Iraqis: Pony up, you ingrates

WASHINGTON (AP) — Iraq's financial free ride may be over. After five years, Republicans and Democrats seem to have found common ground on at least one aspect of the war. From the fiercest war foes to the most steadfast Bush supporters, they are looking at Iraq's surging oil income and saying Baghdad should start picking up the tab, particularly for rebuilding hospitals, roads, power lines and the rest of the shattered country.

"I think the American people are growing weary not only of the war, but they are looking at why Baghdad can't pay more of these costs. And the answer is they can," says Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Nelson, a Democrat, is drafting legislation with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Evan Bayh of Indiana that would restrict future reconstruction dollars to loans instead of grants.

Their bill also would require that Baghdad pay for the fuel used by American troops and take over U.S. payments to predominantly Sunni fighters in the Awakening movement. Plans are to propose the legislation as part of a war bill to cover spending through September.

Likewise, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he wants to add a provision to a defense policy bill that would force the Iraqi government to spend its own surplus in oil revenues to rebuild the country before U.S. dollars are spent.


You invade and occupy a country, you drive millions out of their homes, kill hundreds of thousands more, foment civil war, and destroy all the infrastructure. You kill and maim thousands of your own soldiers in the process. Clearly best way to cap that is with a buffoonish, psychotically pecksniffian attention to the accounting.

A joint resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.

House vote

Senate vote

May 3, 2008

The Devil makes 'em do it

From the SF Chronicle:
House Democrats work on huge Iraq money bill

House Democratic leaders are putting together the largest Iraq war spending bill yet, a measure that is expected to fund the war through the end of the Bush presidency and for nearly six months into the next president's term....

Bay Area lawmakers, who represent perhaps the most anti-war part of the country, acknowledge the bill will anger many voters back home.

"It's going to be a tough sell to convince people in my district that funding the war for six months into the new president's term is the way to end the war," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, a leader of the Out of Iraq Caucus who plans to oppose the funding. "It sounds like we are paying for something we don't want."

Wrong, Lynn. It sounds like you're paying for something you do want.

A poll accompanies the Chronicle story: Poll results

Gotta love the Bay Area. But I feel sadly sure that nearly all that 88% who gave the right answer will dutifully trudge to the polls in November and vote for these inexcusable-breachers-of-promise.

Q: How many psychoanalysts does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Does the lightbulb want to change?

May 30, 2008

More laurels for the Truman wreath

One of the most remarkable things about the modern liberal Democrat who knows a little -- but not much -- history, is his capacity to like cracker-barrel Harry Truman, to date the only head of state ever to use nuclear weaponry.

Of course, compared to the real mass murderers, Truman's paltry hundred thousand or so in Hiroshima and Nagasaki pale beside, say, Clinton's half a million children dead from the Iraq sanctions(*). Even so, Mr Plain Speaking's bloody hands form a somewhat uncomfortable contrast to his lovable, avuncular conventional representation.

But Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not Truman's only credentials in the mass murder derby. It now appears that Truman had his own version of the Phoenix Program, avant la lettre:

Thousands killed by US's Korean ally

DAEJEON, South Korea (AP) — Grave by mass grave, South Korea is unearthing the skeletons and buried truths of a cold-blooded slaughter from early in the Korean War, when this nation's U.S.-backed regime killed untold thousands of leftists and hapless peasants in a summer of terror in 1950.

With U.S. military officers sometimes present, and as North Korean invaders pushed down the peninsula, the southern army and police emptied South Korean prisons, lined up detainees and shot them in the head, dumping the bodies into hastily dug trenches. Others were thrown into abandoned mines or into the sea. Women and children were among those killed. Many victims never faced charges or trial.

The mass executions — intended to keep possible southern leftists from reinforcing the northerners — were carried out over mere weeks and were largely hidden from history for a half-century. They were "the most tragic and brutal chapter of the Korean War," said historian Kim Dong-choon, a member of a 2-year-old government commission investigating the killings.

... Through the postwar decades of South Korean right-wing dictatorships, victims' fearful families kept silent about that blood-soaked summer. American military reports of the South Korean slaughter were stamped "secret" and filed away in Washington.

.... "Even now, I feel guilty that I pulled the trigger," said Lee Joon-young, 83, one of the executioners in a secluded valley near Daejeon in early July 1950.

The retired prison guard told the AP he knew that many of those shot and buried en masse were ordinary convicts or illiterate peasants wrongly ensnared in roundups of supposed communist sympathizers. They didn't deserve to die, he said. They "knew nothing about communism."

The 17 investigators of the commission's subcommittee on "mass civilian sacrifice," led by Kim, have been dealing with petitions from more than 7,000 South Koreans, involving some 1,200 alleged incidents — not just mass planned executions, but also 215 cases in which the U.S. military is accused of the indiscriminate killing of South Korean civilians in 1950-51, usually in air attacks.

... The declassified record of U.S. documents shows an ambivalent American attitude toward the killings. American diplomats that summer urged restraint on southern officials — to no obvious effect — but a State Department cable that fall said overall commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur viewed the executions as a Korean "internal matter," even though he controlled South Korea's military.

Ninety miles south of Seoul, here in the narrow, peaceful valley of Sannae, truckloads of prisoners were brought in from Daejeon Prison and elsewhere day after day in July 1950, as the North Koreans bore down on the city.

The American photos, taken by an Army major and kept classified for a half-century, show the macabre sequence of events.

White-clad detainees — bent, submissive, with hands bound — were thrown down prone, jammed side by side, on the edge of a long trench. South Korean military and national policemen then stepped up behind, pointed their rifles at the backs of their heads and fired. The bodies were tipped into the trench.

.... When British communist journalist Alan Winnington entered Daejeon that summer with North Korean troops and visited the site, writing of "waxy dead hands and feet (that) stick through the soil," his reports in the Daily Worker were denounced as "fabrication" by the U.S. Embassy in London. American military accounts focused instead on North Korean reprisal killings that followed in Daejeon.

But CIA and U.S. military intelligence documents circulating even before the Winnington report, classified "secret" and since declassified, told of the executions by the South Koreans. Lt. Col. Bob Edwards, U.S. Embassy military attache in South Korea, wrote in conveying the Daejeon photos to Army intelligence in Washington that he believed nationwide "thousands of political prisoners were executed within (a) few weeks" by the South Koreans.

Another glimpse of the carnage appeared in an unofficial U.S. source, an obscure memoir self-published in 1981 by the late Donald Nichols, a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, who told of witnessing "the unforgettable massacre of approximately 1,800 at Suwon," 20 miles south of Seoul.

Such reports lend credibility to a captured North Korean document from Aug. 2, 1950, eventually declassified by Washington, which spoke of mass executions in 12 South Korean cities, including 1,000 killed in Suwon and 4,000 in Daejeon.

.... In 1953, after the war ended in stalemate, after the deaths of at least 2 million people, half or more of them civilians, a U.S. Army war crimes report attributed all summary executions here in Daejeon to the "murderous barbarism" of North Koreans.

Even educated South Koreans remained ignorant of their country's past....

The Koreans shouldn't feel bad about that last bit. The same could be said -- in spades -- about "educated" Americans.


(*) About which Madeleine Albright unforgettably observed, "It was worth it."

June 19, 2008

Killing for kindness

Generalissimo Mia Farrow wants to send in the mercenaries:

Activists turn to Blackwater over Darfur

Mia Farrow, the actress and activist, has asked Blackwater, the US private security company active in Iraq, for help in Darfur....

Ms Farrow said she had approached Erik Prince, founder and owner of Blackwater, to discuss whether a military role was either feasible or desirable.

She acknowledged that many people might have reservations about Blackwater being involved in Darfur – the company’s men were involved in the fatal shooting of 17 Iraqi civilians last September – but said the threat of violence to refugees meant all options had to be explored....

Mr Prince has raised the possibility of a role in Darfur for security companies.

Ms Farrow, who represents Dream for Darfur, a human rights group, and other lobbyists this week lambasted the UN Security Council for its “shameful” failure to halt killings in the Sudanese province....

“How long will you continue to allow the government of Sudan to manipulate this body?” Ms Farrow asked council members. “Did Adolf Hitler get to choose which troops should be deployed to end his genocide?”

It's a fascinating exercise in the sociology of military humanism to explore the tangled web of nested and interlocking committees, coalitions, front groups, and so on that branch out and return to this "Dream for Darfur" outfit. Ex-Clintonites and various tentacles of the Israel Lobby octopus(*) are conspicuous, but there are some wonderful free-lance eccentrics too; DfD itself lists at the head of its advisory board one "Bob Arnot," whose occupation is described as "Humanitarian". I think this must be the same Bob Arnot who used to be an NBC News correspondent, but was fired because his cheerleading for the Iraq war was too over-the-top even for NBC.


(*) Including that ubiquitous old stager Ruth Messinger, a short-period comet in my sky since I moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan thirty years ago.

July 2, 2008

Not anti-

From the Financial Times, via an intellectual-property scofflaw pal of mine:
Obama camp signals robust approach on Iran

The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is the biggest threat facing the world, according to one of Barack Obama's senior foreign policy advisers....

In an interview with the Financial Times, Anthony Lake, a former US national security adviser who has worked with Mr Obama since the start of his campaign, also urged the US to learn lessons from its traumatic withdrawal from Vietnam regarding pulling out of Iraq....

Mr Lake depicted the Democratic candidate as a tough-minded realist rather than an anti-war politician....

He stressed that Mr Obama, even after withdrawing troops from Iraq over 16 months as he has promised, would maintain "a residual presence for clearly defined missions". These would include military training, and "preparedness to go back in if there are specific acts of genocidal violence".

"That is not 'cut and run and let's just see what happens'," Mr Lake said.....

Highlighting a parallel with his first posting as assistant to Henry Cabot Lodge, a US ambassador in 1960s Saigon, he said: "It is common sense that we could not leave Vietnam successfully unless we left behind a government in Saigon that could govern successfully.

"It seems obvious in retrospect; it was not obvious enough to too many politicians at the time. In Iraq it's the same problem."...

Mr Lake was sympathetic to aspects of Mr McCain's idea of a League of Democracies, one of the centrepieces of the Republican's foreign policy plans.

...[H]e backed the general idea of a grouping that was "not an anti-Russian device but an effort to find ways for the democracies to act together on issues of defence of our common values . . . specifically on issues when the UN can't act".

Even that notion might be difficult to digest for European countries wary of offending Moscow or seeming to sidestep the UN. But as Mr Lake's words indicate, Mr Obama could yet be a demanding partner for the rest of the world.

* * *

So Obama is "not anti-war." I was always taught that in English a double negative added up to a positive.

I really wonder -- not for the first time -- why so many people think the Democratic party is more anti-war, or rather less pro-war, than the Republicans.

It's interesting too that the ancient campaign to keep Russia in a box -- which dates back to well before the US was Top Country, and has now entered its third century under the new management -- seems to be cranking up again. That was high on the agenda in the Clinton years, but seems to have been rather back-burnered under Bush.

Plus ca change: Palmerston and the Whigs were always more interested in an aggressive policy against Russia than the Tories were. Although the parallel is a bit inexact; there really are no conservatives in the 19th-century sense anymore, and certainly none in the Republican Party.

Still, it's fun in a grim kind of way to hear these themes and motifs recur.

July 15, 2008

Barack: War ain't so bad

From the NY Daily News:
Barack Obama purges Web site critique of surge in Iraq WASHINGTON - Barack Obama's campaign scrubbed his presidential Web site over the weekend to remove criticism of the U.S. troop "surge" in Iraq, the Daily News has learned.....

"The surge is not working," Obama's old plan stated, citing a lack of Iraqi political cooperation but crediting Sunni sheiks - not U.S. military muscle - for quelling violence ....

Obama's campaign posted a new Iraq plan Sunday night, which cites an "improved security situation"....

It praises G.I.s' "hard work, improved counterinsurgency tactics and enormous sacrifice."

Has anybody else noticed this word "counterinsurgency" showing up a lot lately on the lips of Democrats? Hell of an ominous sign for those of us who remember the Phoenix Program.

Pwogs ♥ war

There's a pretty good article by Robert Dreyfuss in The Nation:
Even as he pledges to end the war in Iraq, Obama promises to increase Pentagon spending, boost the size of the Army and Marines, bolster the Special Forces, expand intelligence agencies and maintain the hundreds of US military bases that dot the globe....
More of this horrible stuff further down-page. Reading it prompts a reflection.

We've all known for a long time that professional liberals -- people like Anthony Lake -- aren't against war and empire. Au contraire: they only dislike imperial wars, and aggressive imperial power-projection and meddling, when they don't appear to be succeeding.

But I've always had, in the back of my head, a kind of notion that non-professional, base pwogs -- like the earnest young folk who feel such a need to believe in Obama -- aren't quite so down with the imperial project and its martial entailments. I've always sorta thought that they get schnookered by the Lakes.

Now I begin to wonder whether I've given them too much credit for character and too little for intelligence. The facts about Obama's attitudes on war and empire are just too accessible. He really hasn't tried to conceal them. If the beautiful souls of Obama's base were truly averse to imperial war, they would have the motivation, as they certainly have the ability, to discover what their man really stands for.

I can only conclude that they're not really that bothered about Obama's determination to maintain and expand the Empire. Maybe Lakoff really is right -- they don't care what gets done to the hapless peoples in our imperial crosshairs, as long as it gets done by somebody like them.

More fine stuff from Dreyfuss:

[Obama] pledges to "integrate civilian and military capabilities to promote global democracy and development," including the creation of "Mobile Development Teams (MDTs) that bring together personnel from the military, the Pentagon, the State Department and USAID, fully integrating U.S. government efforts in counter-terror, state-building, and post-conflict operations." He would also "establish an expeditionary capability" for non-Pentagon agencies, including the departments of State, Homeland Security, Justice and Treasury.

Asked which failing states might need attention from Obama, Susan Rice, a former Clinton Administration State Department official who advises the candidate, says, "The list is long. You can start in South Asia and Afghanistan, but there is also Somalia, Yemen, Kenya and the Sahelian countries in Africa." Then, she says, there are countries that, while not yet failing, have weak or poorly formed civil societies....

Even in more resistant countries, such as Egypt and Russia, the United States can still support dissidents and take other pro-democracy steps, says Rice. Asked whether Russia, for instance, would react favorably to such efforts, she says, "No, they would not like it. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be doing it. And we were doing it, until a little while ago. During the Clinton Administration, there was a much more active democracy promotion effort."

Questions also arise about Obama's attitude toward humanitarian intervention. Several of his advisers, including Rice and Tony Lake, President Clinton's National Security Adviser, are strong advocates of using US military force to intervene in cases of severe violations of human rights.... In 2006 Rice and Lake wrote a Washington Post op-ed demanding a unilateral US "bombing campaign or naval blockade" and even the deployment of ground forces in Sudan to halt the killing in Darfur, and Obama has called for "enforcing a no-fly zone" there....

Indeed, on the issue of the Defense Department and military spending, Obama cedes no ground to McCain.... [D]uring his years in the Senate Obama never challenged military spending bills in a significant way.

In the Senate and in his presidential campaign, Obama has supported the addition of 65,000 troops to the Army and 27,000 to the Marines. He backed the latest round of NATO enlargement into Eastern Europe, and he supports granting Membership Action Plans for Ukraine and Georgia; the latter, especially, is considered deeply threatening by the Russian leadership.... [Obama's] call for the expansion of the Special Forces would empower the most aggressively interventionist of the Pentagon's units....

Obama called for the creation of "a twenty-first-century military to stay on the offensive, from Djibouti to Kandahar." ...He has called for spending significant new money to add unmanned aerial vehicles to the Air Force, boost electronic warfare capabilities and build more C-17 cargo planes and KC-X refueling aircraft to enhance America's "future ability to extend its global power." Obama also plans to "recapitalize our naval forces" so America can patrol ocean "choke points" to protect oil supplies, and he wants to fund new ships that can "patrol and protect the 'brown' waters of river systems [overseas] and the 'green' waters close to our shores."

Along with his determination to pull combat units out of Iraq, Obama has pledged to beef up the US presence in Afghanistan, promising to add at least two combat brigades to the US-NATO force there. "And that's a floor, not a ceiling," says Rice. He's also said that he'd attack Pakistan unilaterally to take out Al Qaeda-linked forces if there was "actionable intelligence" about their location. It's become part of the Democratic Party catechism to accuse President Bush of letting Al Qaeda off the hook in Afghanistan and Pakistan ....

Obama's foreign policy team uniformly dismisses the idea that the Pentagon's bloated budget can be cut, even though, not counting spending on Iraq and Afghanistan, it has nearly doubled since 2000 and is roughly equal to the military spending of all other countries combined.

July 26, 2008

Experienced Cold Warrior seeks to re-enter labor force

Am I the only one who thought Zbigniew Brzezinski was dead years ago? (Wishful thinking, I know.) Now he seems to be in the news every day:

All of a sudden, everyone seems to be in favor of sending more troops to Afghanistan... as Barack Obama encourages Europeans to dispatch more NATO forces.... But Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski is not on board -- though it's not the first time President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser has cast a skeptic's eye on the usefulness of dispatching great numbers of troops to the country. In an [in]famous 1998 interview with France's Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski admitted his own role in funding Afghanistan's Mujahadeen in 1979, thereby "increasing the probability" that the Soviets would invade a tough, demoralizing, mountainous theater for combat.

And it's with a similar perspective that Brzezinski now doubts the that the answer to what ails Afghanistan is more troops. "I think we're literally running the risk of unintentionally doing what the Russians did...."

However, Brzezinski noted that just as the Soviets were able to delude themselves that they had a loyal army of communist-sympathizers who would transform the country, the U.S.-led forces may now be making similar mistakes....

Brzezinski, who has endorsed Obama, was far more critical of a few figures now surrounding McCain....

"Well, if McCain is president and if his Secretary of State is Joe Lieberman and his Secretary of Defense is [Rudolph] Giuliani, we will be moving towards... World War IV... If it's [Richard] Armitage, or if it were to be Brent Scowcroft, I think it would be very different."....

"Republicans move toward neocon-ish formulas, and Democrats [follow] idealistically escapist formulas. In either case you don't end up with the necessary mix of idealism and realism."

Man wants a job, doesn't he? And what a resume: Hire the guy who got us into this mess to get us out.

July 27, 2008

McCain gets it right (for once)

From Reuters:
Obama says conditions to dictate final Iraq force

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said in an interview published on Saturday the size of a residual U.S. force left in Iraq after the withdrawal of combat troops would be "entirely conditions-based."

... Obama told Newsweek Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki recognized Iraq was "going to need our help for some time to come."

"We're going to have to provide them with logistical support, intelligence support. We're going to have to have a very capable counterterrorism strike force.... We're going to have to continue to train their army and police to make them more effective.... It's hard to anticipate where we may be six months from now, or a year from now, or a year and a half from now."

.... "Barack Obama is ultimately articulating a position of sustained troop levels in Iraq based on the conditions on the ground and the security of the country. That is the very same position that John McCain has long held," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

Obama: Kill more Europeans, buy more gas

Comment seems superfluous:
"If we have more NATO troops in Afghanistan, then that's potentially fewer American troops over the long term," he said, "which means we're spending fewer billions of dollars, which means we can invest those billions of dollars in making sure we're providing tax cuts to middle-class families who are struggling with higher gas prices...."

November 22, 2008

Plus ca change, all over again

From the Los Angeles Times:

Antiwar groups... are increasingly concerned at signs that Barack Obama's national security team will be dominated by appointees who favored the Iraq invasion and hold hawkish views on other important foreign policy issues.... both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates could be in the Obama Cabinet [and] several other short-list candidates for top security posts backed the decision to go to war.

"Obama ran his campaign around the idea the war was not legitimate, but it sends a very different message when you bring in people who supported the war from the beginning," said Kelly Dougherty, executive director of ... Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Kelly has got this wrong, of course. Obama did not "run his campaign around" any such "idea". He ran his campaign around his supporters' apparently infinite capacity for self-delusion.
... [T]he roster of possible Cabinet secretaries has included Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), who both voted in 2002 for the resolution authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq....

"It's astonishing that not one of the 23 senators or 133 House members who voted against the war is in the mix," said Sam Husseini of the liberal group Institute for Public Accuracy....

Astonishing, Sam? Perhaps if you're three years old.
Another possible contender... former U.S. diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke, also backed the Iraq invasion.

Kevin Martin, executive director of the group Peace Action, said ... "[I]n the short term, we're going to be disappointed"....

Long term too, Kevin. You will be sorely tried. But I have confidence in you. At the end of the day -- the long, bloody day -- you will, I feel sure, be numbered among the diehard Obama faithful.
Martin ... recognized that [his group] must approach the subject delicately because of public euphoria over Obama's historic victory.

"There's so much Obama hero worship, we're having to walk this line where we can't directly criticize him," he said. "But we are expressing concern."

Concern, huh? Obie must be shaking in his jackboots. I love these "delicate" antiwar groups. They would probably be quite effective if the militarists were equally delicate.

And finally:

Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War, said that although he finds Sen. Clinton's views "very troubling," Obama should be given the benefit of the doubt.
What a name: Win Without War. Win what? How? Does Tom believe that an empire can be run on Ghandian lines? Why didn't Napoleon think of that? -- Not as smart as Tom, probably.

And as for "doubt" -- at this point, doubt is about as well-founded as belief in the Easter Bunny.

December 2, 2008

A moment of wild surmise

The fun thing now is wondering about the personal chemistry between ha-Moshiach and Hillary.

To borrow a phrase from Obie: As I have said consistently... the only good thing about the New York Times is its photo editors, who just never get it wrong. The front page of this morning's print edition carried a photo -- unfortunately not available online, and even better than the one above, good as that is -- of the Great One and his new SecState.

In the printed photo, they're standing closer together than I've ever seen a president and a cabinet officer stand. Their hands are tightly clasped together, positioned right over Obie's hipbone. They're staring deep into each other's eyes. Hillary's back is arched and her nice abundant poitrine appears to be pressed rather emphatically against the one fastened button on Obie's beautifully-tailored jacket. He seems suddenly unmindful of the media around. Her chin is tilted up, her lips... but no, I can't go on.

*Wipes sweat from brow*

I hope it happens. Lord knows Hillary is entitled, after how many years of arid marriage to the self-infatuated, heedless, ungrateful Bill. And it makes a nice mirror image of the long-suspected Georgie-Condi connection. (I must say I envy Obie more than Georgie, if the parallel holds.)

Even the Times' print reporter saw something, and the editor let it pass, with characteristic Times hedgery softening the outlines of the story:

Mr. Obama gave [Hillary] an opportunity to make a statement from the lectern, something he did not do with any of his economic appointees last week, and she promised to give “my all” to him ....

The body language was friendly and appropriate, if not necessarily personal. Standing behind Mr. Obama during his remarks, Mrs. Clinton nodded as he spoke of the nation’s challenges; after the event ended, the two walked out of the room arm in arm, her hand gently patting his back.

Get a room, you two!

February 28, 2009


Here's a well-observed piece by Jeremy Scahill, on Alternet:

Some anti-war analysts find hope in President Barack Obama's address at Camp Lejuene in North Carolina on Friday, in which he appeared to spell out a clear date for withdrawal from Iraq.

"I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011," Obama said in a speech that quickly generated headlines announcing that an end to the occupation is on the horizon.... [But] Obama's plan, as his advisors have often said, is subject to "conditions on the ground," meaning it can be altered at any point between now and 2011. Underscoring this point, a spokesperson for New York Rep. John McHugh, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said on Friday that Obama "assured [McHugh] he will revisit the tempo of the withdrawal, or he will revisit the withdrawal plan if the situation on the ground dictates it. … The president assured him that there was a Plan B."

Sometimes coincidence is a beautiful thing. At the time this astute reading of the tea-leaves crossed my screen, I happened to be re-reading Chalmers Johnson's wonderful book, The Sorrows Of Empire, and I came across this observation, by fresh-faced arch-reactionary Niall Ferguson:
''From 1882 until 1922, the British promised the international community 66 times that they would leave Egypt, but they never did."
Niall, at the time -- 2003 -- thought that we Yanks ought to take up the white man's burden, dropped by his grandparents' former colonial masters. I don't know what he thinks now. But he's a clever fella, all the same, and I think he's made the right comparison here.

April 9, 2009

Pwoggie went a-bombin', he did ride

Call me squishy-soft on libertarians, but I like Justin Raimondo's stuff at He has a fine piece there now about Pwog bomb-droppers, particularly the Center for American Progress (CAP), recently excoriated here.

Raimondo writes:

As President Barack Obama launches a military effort that promises to dwarf the Bush administration’s Iraqi adventure in scope and intensity, the "progressive" community is rallying around their commander in chief as obediently and reflexively as the neocon-dominated GOP did when we invaded Iraq. As John Stauber points out over at the Center for Media and Democracy Web site, the takeover of the antiwar movement by the Obamaites is nearly complete. He cites as a prime but not sole example:

"MoveOn built its list by organizing vigils and ads for peace and by then supporting Obama for president; today it operates as a full-time cheerleader supporting Obama’s policy agenda....

Peace Action is... confining their opposition to an online petition. As for UFPJ, their alleged opposition to Obama’s war is couched in all kinds of contingencies and ambiguous formulations. Their most recent public pronouncement, calling for local actions against the Af-Pak offensive, praises Obama for "good statements on increasing diplomacy and economic aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan."

...I am truly at a loss to describe, in suitably pungent terms, the contempt in which I hold the "progressive" wing of the War Party, which is now enjoying its moment in the sun. These people have no principles: it’s all about power at the court of King Obama, and these court policy wonks are good for nothing but apologias for the king’s wars.

(Raimondo also takes a gratifying pot-shot at the good old CPUSA, the Pet Sematary of the Democratic Party. This is a teaser to get you to go read the whole thing.)

The Nation magazine recently gave a platform to Lawrence Korb, of the CAP, to make the humanitarian case for raining high explosives on the turbaned heads of Afghanis and selected Paks. Korb's case is (as usual) long on assertion and short on argument; what it comes down to is that it should be obvious that we've got to undertake a ten-year crusade in Afghanistan, and if you can't see it, you must be a mere knee-jerk war-hater:

A Responsible Afghan Strategy
By Lawrence J. Korb & Sean E. Duggan

If the United States ever wishes to leave Afghanistan, it requires a sustained engagement using all elements of national power--military, economic and diplomatic.....

If you want to leave -- you've got to stay! Suppose we said we wanted to stay. Would we then get to leave?
Afghanistan is not Iraq. Unlike the war in Iraq, which was always a war of choice, Afghanistan was and still is a war of necessity.
Necessary? Because why? Why, because...
[W]e have been warning of the consequences of the chronic and unacceptable neglect of the war in Afghanistan since 2005 .... Al Qaeda and its affiliates have regained a strategic safe haven within Afghanistan and Pakistan..... [A] failed Afghanistan would threaten the stability of Pakistan and the region.... Afghanistan's opium revenues fund regional and international terrorists.

Failed states, international terrorism, and "stabilizing" Pakistan [*cue sour laugh on sound track*] -- can anybody detect even a shift of emphasis or vocabulary or tone or anything at all from the propaganda line of the last eight years (or twenty, if it comes to that)? The only shift I can see is that a different set of turbans will be getting the bulk of the high explosive.

As for Pakistan, it seems crystal clear that "stabilization" is not the goal. If anything, I think I may detect an Indo-Israeli nutcracker at work on that hapless land, by way of supplement to the unending and invariant Great Game.

Here's my favorite bit, Korb's peroration:

Many wrongly assert that the progressive community is instinctively against all wars. This assertion is both wrong and dangerous. In the words of President Obama, we are not against all wars, just dumb wars.
Anything that comes with a "smart" label, of course, is guaranteed to appeal to merit-class bright sparks.

Of course Korb is quite right that the "progressive community" is not anti-war. Au contraire, the "progressive community" has a long record of cheerleading for wars, always with the best and most noble of motives. This is one reason among many why the term "progressive" makes my skin crawl.

I do wonder why he think's it's "dangerous" to impugn the Pwogs' thirst for blood, though. Dangerous to whom?

June 8, 2009

Humane killers

Had to check the date after reading this one: It's not April 1.

The Obama administration is considering a change in the law for the military commissions at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that would clear the way for detainees facing the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.

The provision could permit military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques. It could also allow the five detainees who have been charged with the Sept. 11 attacks to achieve their stated goal of pleading guilty to gain what they have called martyrdom....

David Glazier, an associate professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles... said: “This unfortunately strikes me as an effort to get rid of the problem in the easiest way possible, which is to have those people plead guilty and presumably be executed."

Hey, win/win!

I don't often feel at a loss for words, but the demented depravity of this solution absolutely takes my breath away. It's fascinating to think that Obie -- who really looks quite human, and no doubt loves his daughters as much as the rest of us -- nevertheless lives in a cognitive world where Hannibal Lecter thinking like this might strike him as a nice blend of hard-nosed reasonableness and muscular humanitarianism.

The former law professor and current butcher-in-chief is, I believe, an admirer of Judge Posner, who will undoubtedly be delighted to see his influence at work.

Hey, it's a practical problem, it needs to be solved. What's the least-cost solution?

Searching for suitable images -- not that there are any -- I found this nice humanitarian document from a British horse-fancier group, which might be adapted for the press release if the Hope and Change team decide to go ahead with their program of euthanizing political embarrassments:

When may a horse have to be put-down?

Serious injury, terminal illness or chronic conditions. Where, in the opinion of a veterinary surgeon, a horse will not respond to treatment for any serious injury or condition involving significant pain, or where a horse is in such a condition that it would be cruel to keep it alive, the animal must be destroyed humanely, without unreasonable delay.

Permanent unsoundness or progressively degenerative conditions. In a non- emergency situation, where a horse is permanently unsound, or has a recurring or progressively degenerative condition, a rational decision must be made, with due regard for the horse's future and welfare.

End of usefulness or old age. When a horse reaches the end of its active working life, or is elderly, consideration must be given to whether the horse can be provided with a good quality of life in retirement or whether it would be kinder to have the horse painlessly destroyed.

October 10, 2009

Seals of approval

We've been arguing here recently about the authorities and how we should think about them.

Providentially -- at least from my point of view -- the Nobel Peace Prize has just been awarded to the latest imperial mass-murderer-in-chief, Mr Barack Obama, for... for... for not being George Bush, as far as I can tell.

Perhaps Obie's barking minatory schoolmarmish accent falls more kindly on the Norwegian ear than Georgie's faux-yahoo drawl. Or perhaps the Norwegians feel flattered by Obie's lip-service to diplomacy, and international institutions, and due process. Who knows, a parliamentarian from a small inconsequential country like Norway might hope some day to have a photo-op with this nice new well-educated Emperor. Oh Gunnar, believe me, you matter -- hard to imagine Georgie the Frat-Boy Emperor bothering to work up quite that level of pious hypocrisy.

I love this mad slavish stunt on the Norwegians' part. It tends to the general discreditation of authorities, a project dear to my heart.

Not that the Nobel folks had much credit to dis- ; I seem to recall that they gave this same Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger and Shimon Peres. Oh and Theodore Roosevelt, back in the day.

October 24, 2009

Walk away, and don't look back


Update on our nation's scattered fleets of submariner households. According to the Washington Post(*),

"A growing number of underwater borrowers are walking away from their homes even if they can afford the payments.... More than 25 percent of mortgage defaults [are] strategic defaults.... Housing experts say these borrowers are calculating that their homes are no longer a sound investment...."
Walkaway gaining mojo! Father S must be pleased.


(*)Subscription only, it appears. But the whole article has been reproduced here.

January 7, 2010

Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work's in vain...

... but then I visit Daily Kos, and realize that though I am no General William Booth, shown below --

... nevertheless somebody needs to keep trying, however vainly, to rescue these poor souls, wandering in an intellectual and spiritual desert, and doing violence at every turn to the better angels of their nature. Here's an example:

In recent days, Dick Cheney and his Republican buddies have been claiming that President Obama not only refuses to say we are at war with terrorist networks like Al Qaeda, but won’t even talk about terrorism at all. Their claim, however, has no basis in reality. In fact, as this brief compilation of video clips from 27 different Presidential speeches shows, the exact opposite is true.
The clip is well worth watching. Our Kosnik is so eager to defend Obie that he makes the prez look like a man with a brain tumor, mechanically babbling some word or phrase at the unquenchable urging of a diseased misfiring neuron. Obie's weird annoying glottal barking tone becomes even more noticeable, and grating, than it usually is, in this lovingly chosen and carefully stitched-together sonic quilt. He's even started to syncopate the second syllable of "terr'rism" and "terr'rist" the way Bush did.

There's a probably unintentional family resemblance between the robotic talking points of the reactionary jerks who introduce the clip, and the stilted zombie-like terr-terr-terr gabble of "President Obama", as our Kosnik obsequiously calls him. What's strange is that the wingnuts at least get to speak full sentences, but the version of Obie we get from his admirer has boiled the discourse down to its essence: who can say the terr- word faster and more frequently, and with the fewest other words nearby to obscure its dark glory and hypnagogic power?

In this clip at least Obie wins hands down. Makes sense. That's the greatest triumph a Kosnik can conceive: to beat the Fascists at their own game.

Which is, of course... Fascism.

About War democrats

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