Saturday, September 30, 2006

Opening Ceremony at Oktoberfest

This makes me smile.

Friday, September 29, 2006

False choices from a false leader

President Bush's deceptions are reaching Katrina-like proportions, as hot air rising from panicked Republicans rotates on its own axis of evil. Now he is chastising Democrats for using intelligence estimates for partisan purposes to end a war.
"The Democrats can't have it both ways. Either they believe that Iraq is a distraction from the War on Terror or they agree with the intelligence community and the terrorist themselves that the outcome in Iraq is important to the War on Terror. Truth is the Democrats used the NIE to mislead the American people and justify their policy to withdraw from Iraq," he said.
Let's be clear about this: It is possible, even realistic, to see the Iraq war as a distraction, and as an unnecessary front in Bush's war on terror. Bush used 9/11 for partisan purposes, attacked a country that had nothing to do with al Qaeda, thus creating more animosity toward the US than existed before 9/11. At least that's what 16 different US intelligence agencies are saying in the report that Bush tried, but failed, to suppress.

Like most of Bush's lies, this one carries a smidgeon of truth. The Democrats have failed, during years years of failed Republican policy, to deliver their own coherent plan for Iraq. One on hand, you have Hillary Clinton and other "liberal hawks" calling for more troops, more commitment, more blood. On the other, you have the John Murtha wing, backed by numerous retired generals and intelligence analysts and even conservative voices, calling for withdrawal.

It's harder for the party not in power to put up a united front. There is no clear leader of the opposition party, as have the Republicans in Bush. The Republicans can continue to fragment, as they have, but Bush's mewling still counts are the party line. As weak as Bush is, he is still perceived as stronger than the party not in power.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lost in translation

Is Osama dead? A French newspaper, citing a Saudi source, said Bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last summer. A Saudi intelligence source, obviously speaking in Arabic, told United Press International: "We are not saying he is dead, but there is a lot of truth in the report."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You in a heap o' trouble, Jew boy

Sen. George Allen isn't really a southerner, but he plays one on C-Span. His schtick, honed during his California high school days, is more Hollywood than Heartland, part Jethro Bodine, part aggrieved Christianist. During a recent meet-the- candidates event, Senator Macaca faked indignation when a panelist asked him about his reported Jewish ancestry. "Why is that relevant? My religion, your religion, or the religious beliefs of anyone other there?" Allen asked to applause. Then he launched into his focus-group tested, Jesusland stump speech, ending with "and another thing is preserving our foundational values, and one of those values is freedom of religion, without making aspersions about people because of their religious beliefs."

In Allen's America, there is only one thing worse than calling a dark-skinned person macaca, and that's calling a light-skinned person Jewish. Senator Allen is not a bright man. When he explains later that he didn't know what "aspersions" meant, people will believe him.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

RamPo in La-La Land

Ramesh Ponnuru is still in denial:
The effects of victory on the Democrats may also be helpful to Republicans. Powerlessness has stoked Democrats’ rage. If the party wins the House, its left-leaning “net-roots” may grow more enraged still, because the Democrats would then have the illusion of power without its reality. Even under their most optimistic calculations, they would have the smallest Democratic majority since 1957 — and they will have to deal with a Republican president and (probably) Senate.

House Democrats could initiate countless investigations of the administration and schedule votes to make Republicans look bad. But they could not do much to affect either the conduct of foreign policy or the composition of the courts, which are the areas where their most fervent supporters most desperately want influence. If the Democrats try to appease their base by impeaching the president, they will probably increase President Bush’s poll numbers, much as Republicans once improved President Bill Clinton’s.

RamPo is getting ahead of himself, and the constitution. In order for there to be an impeachment, there first has to be an investigation, something the Republican House has avoided so far. But that lack of accountability is about to come to an end, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Simple Request

The sign on the right reads "Free to offend. Please don't behead me."

- Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan

Monday, September 11, 2006

Clarke Attacks ABC

President Clinton's go-to guy for killing terrorists, Richard Clarke, on ABC's crapumentary The Road to 9/11:
From the President, to all of his White House team, and NSC Principals (Lake, Berger, Albright, Tenet, Reno) there was a common fixation with terrorism, al qaeda, and bin Ladin. The President approved every counter-terrorism operation presented to him, including many that CIA proved unable or unwilling to implement. He increased counter-terrorism spending by 400% and initiated the first homeland security program in forty years. Even though the US had taken relatively few casualties from al qaeda at the time, the President repeatedly authorized the use of lethal force against bin Ladin and his deputies and personally requested the US military to develop plans for "commando operations" against them. Even though he knew the timing of an attack aimed at killing bin Ladin would be labeled by critics as a political diversion, Clinton decided to follow the advice of his national security team and pay the price politically.
Clarke is a news consultant for ABC. I'm hopeful that the network's boneheaded decision will prompt a housecleaning there in the near future. ABC and Disney have alienated millions of Americans, in an industry built on trust and goodwill. What were they thinking?

Happy Great Divider Day

I don't expect perfection from anyone or anything, nor do I believe that perfection should be the enemy of the good. So I can forgive President Bush for most of his misteps. But no one should forgive, or forget that Bush willingly broke his 2000 campaign promise to be a uniter, not a divider. It's the big lie, grand enough to make Goebbels blush, and petty enough to escape notice, that has brought America to the sorry state it is in today.

Instead of uniting Americans, left and right, around 9/11, Bush used it for bald political purposes. Rather than work for international consensus, he dealt with Iraq unilaterally. Rather than upholding the constitution, he edits the inconvenientparts, much to the delight of his obsequious base.

Today, on this fifth anniversary of the attacks, two 9/11s fight for the soul of America. There is the actual day when Americans of all persuasions united with a sense of purpose. Even the French were American. So were the British, whose Buckingham Palace band struck up the Star Spangled Banner. Iranian youth lit candles and prayed, while impotent religious police glowered nearby.

It was a truly global event, kind of like the Olympics, but more spiritual and without the closing ceremony. Until President Bush, flight helmet in hand, strutted across the field of honor to extinguish the flame. The prize was too great. Carpe diem, carpo bellum.

The shared experience and all that it has taught us is gone now, says Publius:
The loss, the heroism, everything — it has all been replaced by the second 9/11. And the second 9/11 is not the day, but the concept of the day. And more precisely, it is the concept that has been tailored and mangled to fit the needs of the Republican Party. This cheap imitation of the day has been dressed up and whored out to justify Iraq, to justify torture, and to justify a political and policy agenda that has destroyed tens of thousand lives and made us reviled throughout the world.

And those are the reasons why I (like many liberals I suspect) have been annoyed with the 9/11 remembrances. We feel like we have to go along, but inside we resent the anniversary and want it to be over. Inside we’re coming to hate the day. But we shouldn’t. That’s because it’s not the day we hate, it’s the second 9/11. It’s the Frankenstein-like creation that Bush and Cheney and Rove created for political reasons.
So today we have two 9/11s: one to remember what was, and what could have been; and one to to behold the monuments, reflected in the eyes of the Great Divider.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Road to Cultural Illiteracy

Democrats are right to push back against the Disney/ABC mockumentary, The Road to 9/11, to be shown Sunday and Monday nights. It's obviously a set-up, a four hour infomercial for Karl Rove's War on Terror. And what the hell was Scholastic thinking when it sent out companion workbooks to 25,000 teachers? The whole thing doesn't pass the smell test.

But Democrats are way overplaying their hand when they call for ABC to pull the show altogether. It's more politically advantageous for the show to go on, without charges of censorship, and with ABC's promised edits. ABC is obviously embarrassed by the publicity, and has all but confessed to turning the fiery deaths of 3,000 Americans into a four-bucket popcorn fest.

Have they no shame?

It really takes some historical perspective to put this sham in the proper light. President Bush tells us that his stupid War on Terror wil be vindicated in time. Well, how much time does it take to turn a national heartache like 9/11 into entertainment? It's only been five years since the towers fell. It took longer than that for the first decent Pearl Harbor joke*. Are there even any historical equivalents for ABC's mini-series?

The Road to Dealy Plaza
first shown Nov. 22, 1968

Scene: Lincoln Bedroom of White House. Marilyn Monroe, in her see-through nightie, primps in a mirror.

Kennedy: Now let me get this straight. Your cousin Harvey will sign up 50,000 illegal Mexican immigrants to vote for me in the Texas primary?

Monroe: Silly John John. His name is Lee. Harvey's his middle name.

Kennedy: Yeah, whatever baby. So tell me about these Mexicans. Can they read English?

Monroe: Not yet. But Lee has access to a whole schoolbook warehouse, and he says he'll pass out free lesson books to all of your (giggle) constituents.

Kennedy (skeptically): What do I have to do?

Monroe: Not much. Just go to Dallas, and meet cousin Lee at work. He'll be waiting for you in the park across the street, near the man with an umbrella.

And scene...


*Why was Dec. 7, 1941, such a chilly day? Because there was a little nip in the air.

Moving Day

It seems to be fashionable for bloggers to complain about their web hosts. This makes me cringe just a little, because most blog hosting is free, so we're basically complaining about crappy free service. I started Heraldblog in March, 2004, and continued more or less continually up to a month ago, when my crappy blog host, 20six, changed its platform. Now, thanks to the miracle of windows based architecture, 20Six is no longer Mac friendly.

So here I am.