Friday, December 22, 2006

Webb calls Bush a failed President

For Democrats, there's good news and bad news about President Bush's decline and fall.

The good news is, Bush's reign of terror is over. The Republican rubber stampCongress has been replaced by advice and consent, as it should be. The grown ups are back in charge.

The bad news is that the President of the United States is a beaten down, frustrated man without enough political capital to run a hot dog stand. His condition will worsen as his party deserts him, and the war in Iraq spins more and more out of control. And then there's this:
Virginia Sen.-elect Jim Webb said President Bush is a "failed president" who should use his last two years in office to repair America's image abroad by ending the Iraq war through intensive diplomacy.

In an interview Tuesday with the Daily Press, Virginia's newly elected Democratic senator made clear his antipathy toward Bush and his determination to help set a new course in Iraq.

Webb, an early and outspoken critic of the Iraq war, ousted Republican Sen. George Allen last month by a razor-thin margin that tipped control of the U.S. Senate to Democrats. A decorated Vietnam veteran and former Navy secretary, Webb has a 24-year-old son now serving in Iraq as a Marine.

"He's a failed president," Webb said, when asked what he thinks of Bush. "He has two years to try to show some true leadership when it comes to rehabilitating the image of the United States around the world.

"I warned three months before we went into Iraq that we were squandering an historic opportunity to keep almost the entire world with us in the war against international terrorism. And we have failed utterly to do that. It is now up to us - and that hopefully includes the president - to try and remediate the situation in a way that will enhance the stability in the Middle East and rehabilitate our relationship with countries around the world."
It's a compelling narrative, and one that only the dead-enders at Free Republic or NRO's The Corner will dispute.

On a shallow, purely political level, Bush's fall is great news to Democrats. But when regarded from the distance of foreign embassies, or future generations, Bush's disgrace is a disaster, probably greater than that LBJ and Nixon left us 30 years ago when the US bugged out of Vietnam. I'm not suggesting the Dems give Bush one more chance, as the asinine proposal to escalate the number of US troops committed to Iraq. And this is no time for Dems to compromise the lives of our troops just to give the GOP political cover.

But Democrats do need to formulate a plan, if not one for an elusive victory, then one for withdrawal and to manage what is left behind. It's an awful hand the President has dealt the opposition party, but it's even worse for the American people if the Democrats don't come through.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas pageant

My seven-year-old daughter, aka Heraldblogette Number two, performed a Navajo Christmas prayer with her class at tonight's school pageant.

She waves hi to me at the end as she walks off stage.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Let them drink cake

Slaughter, slaughter everywhere, and not a drop to drink. About those treatment plants the Bushies are boasting about - the GAO says 60 percent of their output is lost to contamination, theft, and leakage. But no problem, the Department of Defense is fighting back with language:
"New projects have added capacity to provide access to potable water to approximately 5.2 million Iraqis—an increase of 1 million people since the August 2006 report," the document reports in a somewhat boosterish tone, giving no benchmark to compare those numbers to. The report acknowledges that "direct measurement of water actually delivered to Iraqis is not available."
Don't worry boys, there's always Plan B.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Scorched Earth

Lindsay notes that the AP is sending Brave Little Michelle Malkin to Iraq. Her Royal Dippiness had been hyperventilating about the AP's "immolation story" a while back. You remember it - some Shiite militia invaded a Sunni mosque during prayer services, picked out six men and set them on fire. The Fighting Keyboarders of the Right wouldn't have any of it. Why was the story only sourced to one person, a police chief named Jamil Hussein? Didn't anybody else see this happen?

Now it's idiotic beyond belief that right wing bloggers would expend so much energy debunking a story that mirrors the sectarian violence that has been going on in Iraq for like, oh, I don't know, the last three years. I guess if the murders had taken place in a brand new school, or next to a rebuilt water treatment, the story would have a loud enough ring of truth to snap Malkin and her loony acolytes out of their collective denial. So the loons went into super research mode, and concluded there is no Jamil Hussein in the Baghdad police force. Ah ha! Another Media Drive By® solved!

Unfortunately for Malkin's Militia, a lonely little blogger named Marc Danziger didn't get the memo, and he kept digging, and turned up this little gem: the police chief's name is Jamail Hussein, not Jamil! And he's a real person, and the immolation really did happen!

The AP has invited Brave Little Michelle to Baghdad, so she can see the scorch marks on the mosque floor, talk to grieving relatives about the cruelty of the Sunni militias, then dine with Jamail Hussien on couscous and crow.

Then she will return to the US and do what she does best, namely lie, because you see facts don't mean squat to these people.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company

It's 39 degrees and partly sunny in Milwaukee. Can't wait for Summertime.

Don Adams, who played Agent Maxwell Smart in the 60s, comes off as a real jerk towards the end. I thought Janis gave a great answer.

Great wagers through history, part I

Jonah Goldberg in Feb., 2005:
"I predict that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I'll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now). This way neither of us can hide behind clever word play or CV reading. If there's another reasonable wager Cole wants to offer which would measure our judgment, I'm all ears. Money where your mouth is, doc. One caveat: Because I don't think it's right to bet on such serious matters for personal gain, if I win, I'll donate the money to the USO. He can give it to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or whatever his favorite charity is."
Prof. Cole didn't take the bait.

h/t Lawyers Guns and Money

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Why I love the internets

Disgraced and still clueless ex-Congressman Tom DeLay has a new blog, and for a short while he was allowing unmoderated comments. Big mistake, Tommy. Over 100 not-so-supportive readers left their thoughts before DeLay put the hammer down. The comments were duly deleted, but not before blogger and national hero James Risser copied them down. Risser runs TomDelayDotCom, the Bizzaro-world version of the Hammer's blog. A Bizzaro blog? Maybe I've invented a new internet word. Cool biz!

Here's some of the richer comments captured by Risser:

What a magnificently, terrifically boring and irrelevant blog. Honestly, who on earth cares what you have to say?

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter Miles Coverdale


You left Congress disgracefully and you want people to take you seriously? You should be in prison you assclown, piss off Tom.

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter Tom you suck


Tom DeLay is a pussy-ass faggot moneygrubber.

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter Jar Jar


Didn't we already stick a fork in your ass and decide you're done?

To paraphrase you: You WERE the Federal you're a nothing.

The fact that you are trying to keep your name alive by starting a stupid blog is actually kind of pathetic and sad. Please just go away.

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter Meadows


How pathetic you are, Mr. Delay. You are a criminal, and you should be serving time in jail alomg with your buddies Abramhoff and Cunningham.

The damage you have done to this country is reprehinsible.

Do us all a favor and just disappear, you sorry excuse for a person.

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter cosmo



When you're locked up, will you smuggle blog posts out in your visitors' rectums?

December 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter Rick Derris
I tried to leave a comment to the effect that I hoped the warden would let DeLay blog from his prison cell, but I guess that one cut a little too close to the bone, and the comment was never accepted. Oh well.

Six Brutal Truths About Iraq

General William Odom wants you to know that everything you are hearing about Iraq is wrong.

He's probably right.
Mythologies about the war in Iraq are endangering our republic, our rights, and our responsibilities before the world. The longer we fail to dispel them, the higher price we will pay. The following six truths, while perhaps not self-evident to the American public, are nevertheless conspicuously obvious to much the rest of the world.
Odom is no lightweight. He's a retired lieutenant general, and a Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute and a professor at Yale University. He was Director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988. From 1981 to 1985, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army's senior intelligence officer. From 1977 to 1981, he was Military Assistant to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

He's also a foriegn policy realist, and that's what makes his essay brutal. Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Who ya gonna call? Christian Embassy!

Crooks and liars has a disturbing video from the Christian Embassy. These folks openly prosyletize congressman and house staff, foreign embassy officials and Pentagon brass. These folks need to get a serious grip on what the War on Terror is all about, especially the guy at the end of the video who says "In this time of world wide war on terrorism, what more do we need than Christian people leading us in Christ?"

The video shows four colonels and three generals shilling for CE's blatant political message, a clear violation of Pentagon rules that prohibit uniformed personnel from openly endorsing politicians, products, etc.

How is it possible to fight an enemy that conflates religion and state, if we ourselves make the same mistake?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Heraldblog has the blues

I bought my first blues album in high school, a double album set by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and I was hooked.

Freedom marching to a different drummer

President Bush, according to Newsweek and other sources, plans to save his legacy with a shiny new slogan: 'The New Way Forward,' his latest plan to salvage the mission in Iraq. Expect to see the new way forward rolled out next week, right after Bush reads all the other other Iraq War reports.

If it's possible for a nation to collectively cringe, then it will happen next week when Bush looks into the camera, resists his frat boy smirk, and tells us one more time that we need to be more scared of al Qaeda that we are of the addle-pated dauphin in the Oval Office. And then he will substitute language for policy, and hope nobody notices.
Of course, that's been the problem during this entire fiasco – the substitution of rhetoric for policy – the belief, even at this late date, that reality can be changed simply by changing the language used to describe it. Bush makes a big show of his religious faith, but what's truly impressive is his incredible faith in the power of PR, and, accordingly, his lack of faith in the American people.
Reality got a big boost last week from the Iraq Study Group report, that 150-page term paper from the adults in President Bush's life. From his vantage point at the children's table, Dubya probably feels like my golden retriever when I give her a bath.

Much ink has been spilled probing Dubya's personality, from his spoiled WASP upbringing, his need to upstage an accomplished father, and his alcohol-fueled co-dependency on others to do the heavy lifting. But not every blue blood turns into a sadistic little prick, and a man Dubya's age should have made peace with the Daddy issues by now. So that leaves John Barleycorn as the most likely culprit for America's impending decline and fall.

So forget "New Way Forward", "Merge Right on Freedom Highway" or whatever Rove comes up with next. If we can't rely on the President to lead us through these awful times, then we'll just have to rely on ourselves. What Americans really need is a 12-step program to free us from from the Neo-Con agenda. Just substitute "George Bush" for "alcohol", and we have our plan.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over George Bush - that our nation's life had become unmanageable.

Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity - constitutional democracy and respect for the rule of law.

Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Constitution as interpreted by the judicial branch of government over the past 230 years.

Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our leadership.

Step Five: Hold our free press accountable for exposing the exact nature of our leadership's wrongs.

Step Six: Were entirely ready to have Congress investigate and remedy the Bush Administration's defects of character.

Step Seven: Humbly asked Congress to remove Bush from power.

Step Eight: Made a list of all persons Bush has harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory of whatever party is in power, and when they are wrong, send the bastards packing.

Step Eleven: Sought though science and reason to improve our society, to respect the rights of others, and grant power only to those with the willingness to carry that out.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to neo-conservatives, greed-heads, and other political extremists to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Great magazine covers through history, Part I

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The right to keep and arm bears

Is the second amendment an individual or group right? Do individuals have the right to keep and bear arms, or only militias?

The Supreme Court has never addressed the question, although the Bush administration, which has never seen a wedge issue it didn't like, says gun rights belong to individuals. That could change, as a lower court judge in Washington, D.C. recently upheld the district's long-time ban on gun ownership.
"We interpret the Second Amendment in military terms," said Todd Kim, the District's solicitor general, who told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the city would also have had the authority to ban all weapons.

"Show me anybody in the 19th century who interprets the Second Amendment the way you do," Judge Laurence Silberman said. "It doesn't appear until much later, the middle of the 20th century."
Gun mania took off in the US after the Civil War, when millions of veterans returned home with their rifles. Enterprising weapons manufacturers stoked our interest in the shooting sports, and a new industry was born - privately owned handguns and rifles.

The Second Amendment is like the crazy uncle living in the attic. Nobody wants to address the problem, so we just accept the absurdity of a constitional amendment that protects unfettered gun ownership. Courts have chipped away at the right over the years - gone are the rights to own machine guns, sawed off shotguns, shoulder-launched surface-to-air-missles and suitcase nukes. But why? The court won't say. It just seems sensible, and few will argue the point.

The problem, after all, is the second amendment. It was written at a time when state militias were a legitimate impediment to an overreach of power by the federal government. But fast forward 200 years, and there's not much that a well-armed citizenry can do against a modern air-force, and mechanized infantry divisions, unless the feds want to arms us with some serious hardware. Which they don't. It's bad enough the Crips are packing Uzis. How do you feel about flame throwers and grenade launchers?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday Hendrix

Because I can.