Sunday, December 31, 2006

happy new year, mr. president

3000.1, 2, 3

1 according to the iraq coalition casualty count.
2 the count continues to stand at 3002.
3 identifies the 3000th casualty as "specialist dustin r. donica, 22, of spring, texas, killed thursday by small arms fire in baghdad."

minus one


1 (the count continues to stand at 3002)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

minus two


that didn't take very long.

1 (the count continues to stand at 3002)

minus three

2997.1, 2

1 (december is now the deadliest month of 2006)
2 (the count continues to stand at 3002)

the nth man? is now reporting that 3002 u.s. servicemen have been killed in iraq.

for my countdown i have been tracking the numbers at the iraq coalition casuality count, which, since my last update and for the first time that i have noticed, have been reduced by one for a current total of 2995.

Friday, December 29, 2006

minus four


1 (now tied with october as the deadliest month of 2006)

minus seven


minus eight


Thursday, December 28, 2006



blood on the shoulder of narcissus


as little as a week ago, it did not seem likely, but the number of u.s. deaths in iraq may pass 3000 before the year's end.

while december's deaths (101 so far) are still lower than october's high (106), the casualty rate (3.68/day1) has picked up dramatically and has already surpassed october's (3.55/day2).

that number will sit like a vulture on bush's shoulder during his coming state of the union address.

1, 2 (includes all coalition deaths)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

the most beautiful christmas ever

today iraq's highest appeals court upheld the conviction and death sentence of unrepentant deposed president saddam hussein. the court ruled that the verdict must be carried out anytime in the next thirty days. sic semper tyrannis.

sixteen years ago, caught in the debris of the dramatic collapse of the soviet union, romanian head-of-state and communist party leader nicolae ceausecu found himself in a hauntingly similar situation during the holiday season of 1990:

nicolae and elena ceausescu scoffed when a romanian military tribunal sentenced them to death, and even as they faced their executioners they believed that state security police would rescue them at the last minute, their attorney said in a published report yesterday.

nicu teodorescu, in an interview printed in the times newspaper, said he tried to prevent the christmas day execution of the ceausescus by advising them to plead mental instability to charges of corruption, embezzlement and murder.

"when i suggested it, elena in particular said it was an outrageous setup," said teodorescu, who was hastily-summoned to a military barracks to conduct the ceausescus' defense. "they felt deeply insulted, unable or unwilling to grasp their only lifeline. they rejected my help after that."

teodorescu, one of bucharest's most prominent lawyers, told the times that nicolae ceausescu showed "absolutely nothing but contempt" when the tribunal delivered its verdict of death, telling the prosecutor, "'when this is all over, i'll have you put on trial.' we all laughed."

about 15 minutes after sentencing, soldiers marched the couple out of the barracks and into a yard, he said. the ceausescus believed that they were being taken to a cell but instead were hastily gunned down by a rabble of soldiers, and not an organized firing squad, he said.

"the first they knew they were about to die was when the bullets hit them," said teodorescu, who said he was about 90 feet from the site. "elena and nicolae fell head to head. as they fell their bodies spun slightly around and they fell close to each other, about 30 centimeters apart."

his account differed from that of film shown on state-run television, which showed the blood-splattered couple propped up against a wall.

the newspaper said it was possible that the bodies were moved for the benefit of the camera.

"ceausescu was convinced all along his securitate [secret police] would rescue him," teodorescu was quoted as saying. "i always thought that elena was the dominant force in the partnership, but i soon came to realize nicolae was in command. they complemented each other perfectly, like a monster with two heads."

the lawyer said he agreed to defend the ceausescus because "it seemed an interesting challenge." the tribunal comprised three civilians, five judges and assessors, two prosecutors, two defense lawyers and a cameraman, reported teodorescu, the only member to give a public account.

"when i saw [the ceausescus] dead, as a lawyer i didn't feel anything at all," he said. "but as a citizen, i, like everybody, rejoiced. it was the most beautiful christmas in my whole life."

as much as hussein justly deserves his fate, in the wake of the ever-spiralling death and chaos his ouster precipitated, there can be little doubt that many in both washington and baghdad quietly regret the impetuous decision to invade. as the only living person known to have been able to contain iraq's violent passions, the idea of turning back the clock, however utterly fantastic, must be sorely tempting.

from the bonus trivia corner: hussein's november 5th death sentence is not his first such conviction. for his role in the 1959 cia-supported attempted ouster of iraqi prime minister abdul karim qassim — who had himself come to power the previous year in a military coup that deposed and executed iraq's last royal family — saddam hussein was sentenced to death in absentia while he lived in exile in cairo on the largesse of the cia.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

a very substantial revolution in thinking

(updated below)

1968 secretary of defense clark clifford, speaking in the oscar award-winning 1974 documentary "hearts and minds":

in the beginning of 1968 general westmoreland needed 206,000 more troops. we met hour after hour after hour in the pentagon, and i started in and asked the joint chiefs of staff:

how long do you think that we'll still be in the war?

none of them knew.

do you think that the 206,000 men will be enough?

nobody knew.

well, uh, might we have to send more men?

well, possibly.

well, in six months?

we don't know.

a year? eighteen months?

i couldn't get answers to these questions. by the end of that four day interrogation i was getting down by the end of it, into very serious questions. like:

do any of you men, as you look at it objectively, do you find any diminution in the will of the enemy to fight?

well, they said, no, we guess we don't.

are they sending the same number of men down through the ho chi minh trail?

well, yes, and even there might be a little more.

and, how about our bombing? we've placed great reliance on our bombing, is our bombing stopping them?


well, what is the amount of attrition that our bombing has caused?

well, maybe ten to fifteen percent.

i remember asking one question: well, if a north vietnamese field commander in south vietnam needed 1000 men, [ inaudible ], if he asked for say, 1200 men, 1000 would get through?

well, that's right.

well, then he'd have the 1000 he really needed.

well yes, that's so.

well, this type of interrogation — finally, by the end of four or five days, i must say that my thinking had undergone a very substantial revolution.

at that moment in 1968 it was the joint chiefs who were pushing to further escalate the war — today, in a curious historical reversal of roles, it's only the white house and their dwindling enablers who are trying to justify a "surge" in iraq, to the unanimous consternation of the chiefs and a very disapproving public.

if the iraq study group report did nothing to impede the prosecution of the occupation — much less revolutionize the thinking of the president — at the very least it seems to have finally taken any talk of "victory" from his smirking lips.

(hat tip to steve gilliard and in particular to his commenter bohica for the life cover.)

update (12/20/06):

president bush acknowledged for the first time yesterday that the united states is not winning the war in iraq and said he plans to expand the overall size of the "stressed" u.s. armed forces to meet the challenges of a long-term global struggle against terrorists.

as he searches for a new strategy for iraq, bush has now adopted the formula advanced by his top military adviser to describe the situation. "we're not winning, we're not losing," bush said in an interview with the washington post. the assessment was a striking reversal for a president who, days before the november elections, declared, "absolutely, we're winning."

Friday, December 15, 2006

na ga ha pen

for those of you going all a-twitter (or for others, going all a-slaver) at the prospect of the stillborn loss of next year's democratic senate majority:

take a deep breath.

it ain't that easy, according to jonathan singer @ mydd:

little to no precedent for forcibly unseating incapacitated senators:

the only way the senate can remove a member is by a vote to expel, and there has never been any desire to do that for a health-related cause.

sen. karl mundt (r-s.d.) suffered a debilitating stroke in 1969 but refused to resign and stayed in office until his term expired in january 1973 — although he never showed up for work following his infirmity. republicans pressured mundt to step down shortly before the 1970 elections, when it appeared the gop was going to lose the governorship, and with it their ability to appoint a senate successor. there was never talk of a motion to expel, though the republican conference eventually did strip him of his committee assignments. in november of that year, a democrat was elected governor, so the republicans who were urging mundt's resignation turned to hoping he would serve until his term expired.

there were other, similar situations. rep. john grotberg (r-ill.) lapsed into a coma in january 1986 after participation in an experimental program for his colon cancer caused him to have a heart seizure. his family and staff refused to consider resignation, and the house took no action. he even won re-nomination to the house in the march gop primary that year, but his family finally relented and announced he would not run again. he remained a member of the house until his death in november 1986.

in the spring of 1964, sen. clair engle (d-calif.) was dying of brain cancer, but refused democratic entreaties to resign. in june, when the senate voted to break the filibuster that had stymied the civil rights bill, the dying engle was wheeled onto the senate floor to vote for cloture by motioning with his hand. he died a month later.

in the spring of 1943, sen. carter glass (d-va.) was 85 years old, in poor health and simply stopped coming to work. he died in may of 1946, still a senator but no longer a visitor to capitol hill. and according to sen. robert byrd's ( invaluable book of senate historical statistics, sen. james grimes (r-iowa) suffered a stroke in 1869 and remained in office as an invalid until his death in february of 1872. but there was no move in the senate to declare any of the aforementioned seats vacant.

the only instance i can think of where lawmakers took action involved gladys spellman of maryland. the democratic house member suffered a massive heart attack in october of 1980 while campaigning that left her in a semi-conscious, coma-like state from which she never emerged. she won re-election with ease, but once it was determined that there was no prospect for recovery, the house voted to declare the seat vacant in february 1981.

still, what this inquiring mind wants to know is: if johnson should fall into a "persistent vegetative state" (though, according to his most recent diagnoses, johnson is thankfully "recovering without complications", making this outcome increasingly unlikely), like the now-famous terry schiavo, for whom the republicans brought congress to a standstill, should we expect the republicans to agree to allow him to take his seat?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

the young person's guide to net neutrality

a public service brought to you by henry rollins of the independent film channel's the henry rollins show:

freedom is under attack — under attack by hysterical and well-funded christian psychotics. intellectually undernourished leaders who lie and manipulate information. overfed baby huey coward bitch motherfuckers like karl rove and their suck-up weakling apologists like sean hannity.

to question authority is to be somehow unpatriotic, un-american and in league with terrorists worldwide?

fuck you!

with even election results becoming more and more questionable, the constitution a thing to be manipulated, ignored and frivolously amended, even democracy itself seems to be on the run.

so where's the one place you can go and tell your version of the truth, rail against liars, fakes and propagandists with your own unique propaganda, sign your name to it and let the whole world know how you feel?

that's right. the internet.

perhaps responsible for the most substantial shifts in culture in the last several decades. there's so much freedom and potential on the worldwide web that one is barely able to get one's head around it.

who in their right mind would dare to regulate or charge websites to be on the internet? who would dare to rain on a parade so fantastic that many of us would not know what to do without our high-speed connection and our lives on the internet?

actually, some very powerful forces.

telco companies want to make you pay for your site to be carried on the internet. if you can't afford to pay, guess what?

that's right, you're cyber-history, pal!

the bush administration wants major internet and phone companies to keep track of where their customers surf, all in the name of the "war on terror", don't you know. how much do you wanna bet they want the internet regulated, contained and thrown into a cell at guantanamo bay?

for a country that talks so much about freedom being on the march, seems to me that some people want anything but!

if they come for your freedom, you must not only resist, you must strike back with a vengeance that will stun them.

on this front, if your anger and outrage are not at the forefront, then you're already dead! dead to me, anyway.

fuck these cowards! these traitors! these ENEMIES of democracy!

thanks for watching the show this season.

never relent.

note: in an otherwise solid introduction to the developing struggle over net neutrality, henry mistakely mischaracterizes the telcos' plan as wanting to burden the end user with excess access fees.

what the telcos really want is to get their fees directly from the access providers, who in response would create segregated tiers of access, rewarding the affluent with state-of-the-art high speed high bandwidth content while relegating the rest of the population to the equivalent of the internet ghetto.

today competes for your attention on the same playing field as, but the telcos want to apply the corporate television model to the internet, which rewards institutional media outlets with disproportionate impact, benefits and profits relative to their resource-starved public-access brethen.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

mission creep

for those of you who haven't been paying attention, jim henley @ unqualified offerings has been keeping score:

defining catastrophe up

a rhetorical change i'm noticing since the isg [iraq study group] report came out is that we have to stay in iraq "to prevent a wider regional war," aka "the new thirty years' war" and so on. that suggests that our mission is no longer preventing "full-blown civil war," which used to be what we had to prevent, or "increased sectarian strife," which is what we had to prevent before that, or "increasing insurgent violence" which is what we had to prevent before that. the pattern has always been:

  1. declare that we must stay in iraq to prevent some bad thing from happening.

  2. bad thing happens anyway.

  3. declare that we must stay in iraq to prevent some worse thing from happening.

  4. worse thing happens anyway.

  5. reiterate sequence.
at no point does the "sensible center" consider that the previous failures implicate our ability to fulfill the new mission, which is always paradoxically grander in scale while being a retreat from previous ambitions.

henley did leave out a crucial step, however, one that the administration has never missed — signaling its utmost importance — the step that falls between the last bad thing happening and the next declaration of commitment:

  • launch a grandiose speaking tour to roll out our minty fresh new war slogan!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

a special holiday rebroadcast

beyond the fact that my non-blogging duties have reduced my output to a minimum during the last two months, it's actually getting harder to come up with original material, given that so many events have evolved so predictably over the still-short lifespan of this blog. (though not predictably enough for the mainstream press.)

i've never been particularly fond of listening to myself repeat myself, but given the denouments of this month, the midterm elections and the violence in iraq, i thought it was safe to indulge in a few classic reruns, with only the mildest hint of schaudenfreude.

regarding the midterms, i present first this graphic from my march post "karl rove: super-genius":

is there really anything more that needs be said?

also from march, i present "cry uncle", my death knell for the republican majority:

so much for the radical conservative plan for a permanent republican majority. it doesn't appear to have had any more staying power than the "thousand-year" reich.

i guess a taste of absolute power — or as much as could be had within our system — over both the government and the media will do that to a movement as morally bankrupt as this one proved to be.

if i could isolate the hamartia, the single critical flaw responsible for the downfall of the conservative agenda i would point to its rampant cronyism. cronyism is of course nothing unique to this administration, nor is it inherently evil; it is quite natural for people to want to extend their largess to those whom they like, a characteristic that makes cronyism impossible to eradicate.

cronyism is typically harmless when its beneficiaries are rewarded with positions that exist in title only, even if those positions do contribute to administrative bloat. but tangible harm looms when qualified people are prevented from assuming or are forced out of positions where their expertise is mandated. people like former treasury secretary paul o'neill, who disagreed with bush on his tax cuts. people like former counter-terrorism advisor richard clarke, who disagreed with bush on the threat of al quaeda. people like retired generals anthony zinni and eric shinseki, who disagreed with bush on invading iraq.

cronyism breeds incompetence when it elevates unqualified and untalented people into positions of importance and influence. people like former nasa press director george deutsch, who attempted to turn the science agency into a propaganda organ. people like former fema director michael brown, whose incompetence in the face of hurricane katrina delivered fatal consequences. people like president george walker bush, who of course needs no further introduction.

the bush administration is a potemkin government: by virtue of their elevation of politics over policy and appearance over substance, they eventually and inevitably reveal themselves to be completely inept in every instance where actual governance is required. disaster follows them like a love-sick dog.

it is actually quite amazing the speed with which the hard-line conservatives have burned through their so-called "capital". after forty years in the wilderness, they blew their gains in just ten years. so it looks like it's back to the desert for this sorry crew. the lesson has become painfully obvious to all, even to the members of a party so practiced in the art of denial: former speaker of the house newt gingrich, who masterminded the 1994 elections that brought republicans to power on promises of revolutionizing the way washington is run, told time that his party has so bungled the job of governing that the best campaign slogan for democrats today could be boiled down to just two words: "had enough?"

lastly, regarding iraq, i present, in condensed form, another march post, "can't stand up for standing down", an examination of bush's "strategy for victory in iraq":

while efforts to recruit and train iraqis into a competent, independent and professional fighting force have been purportedly ongoing, with halting progress, since the overthrow of saddam hussein, at the end of last november the president officially declared these efforts to be one of the linchpins of his exit strategy, during his "strategy for victory in iraq" tour, a series of speeches aimed at once again shoring up his dying support among increasingly skeptical americans...

his strategy has been compared to "vietnamization", nixon's handing over of military operations to the south vietnamese army — a comparison the administration understandably has ignored, not wanting to evoke unsettling images of the fall of saigon.

... meanwhile, either because of or in spite of the explosion of full-blown chaos after the bombing of golden dome, the newly-elected iraqi government remains stillborn amid intense sectarian disagreements, among them ibrahim jaafari's re-nomination to prime minister. it seems incapable of forming a "unity" government ...

and the non-"civil war" rages on unabated with its clearly ethnic bombings, reprisals and executions, with the continuing participation of iraq's security forces ...

can "iraqization" succeed under these conditions? not bloody likely. in at least one crucial aspect it is a very different process from "vietnamization". the government of south vietnam, corrupt and unpopular as it was, was not wracked to the core by sectarianism. the south vietnamese government could reasonably count on the loyalty of its troops, if not their strength.

there has been almost no reportage whatsoever on the issue of troop loyalties. to me it seems to be one of the elephants in the room regarding bush's exit strategery.

in order for "iraqization" to succeed, first, the mutually antagonistic elements of the duly elected iraqi government must come together as one and begin governing. until then it is a government in name only. second, the mutually antagonistic elements of the iraqi military and police forces will have to put loyalty to the government and its laws above loyalty to their particular family, tribe and imam. unfortunately, i don't see that happening with the current generation, certainly not while ethic violence continues in a self-consuming orgy. loyalty to the government cannot be taught in eight weeks of boot camp. what the bush administration calls "standing up", i call building american-trained and american-armed death squads.

if american troops are going home anytime soon, it won't be because the iraqi army is ready to "stand up".

(image courtesy of get your war on.)

Friday, November 24, 2006

"we" are not amused

i had been hoping to make time for an original piece on former seinfeld star michael richards' now-famous racist rant at the laugh factory, but steve gilliard just stole my main points:

his tone was deeply racial and mean. i've been called nigger before, but never has anyone said i should be lynched. that kind of hate comes from a feeling of racial superiority, that other people are lower than you (e.g borat and the gypsys) and that is the natural order of things. when the two neatly dressed men walked in the group, he said as they did "here comes the blacks and mexicans" they weren't in hoodies, they looked like young professionals. yet they were racially abused.

... i don't think this is a man who handles failure or correction well. even with hecklers, you don't call for them to be murdered. this is an unhappy man, who got rich but never grew up. he lives in a white world, and his outbursts have been ignored for years. you don't see his former cast members running to say "this isn't the guy we know". only seinfeld, who has a financial relationship with richards, jumped in.

steve then zeroes in on the one aspect of richards' tirade that leapt out at me as the most reprehensible:

it's one thing to say "fuck you nigger". which will get you a punch, it's another world to say "50 years ago we would have hung you from a tree with a fork in your ass"

we? most people would have said, they or the klan. not we. we is pretty twisted.


richards is identifying personally with the worst elements of any society.

kramer the klansman.

time to stick a fork in him. he's done.

Monday, November 06, 2006

time for a change, pt. iii

ok, it's time for a last-minute election eve post for simple posterity.

the democrats will take both the house and the senate.

the momentum clearly belongs to the democrats, for whom it's been building for months. most significantly, republican incumbents both nationwide and up and down the political hierarchy are trailing their challengers. i'll go so far as to say that any surprises coming tomorrow will break for the democrats. that's what momentum does.

conversely one could say that the republicans have been unable to gain momentum, despite their best (or worst, to be more apt) efforts to control the direction of the race.

the republicans and their enablers have not only been beset by a seemingly endless barrgage of viscerally disturbing late-developing scandals, but they are also bereft of any accomplishments to boast of and any message to trumpet — at least any the electorate still finds compelling — exactly what they have so srtridently accused their soon-to-be-masters of lacking.

the republican's still-favorite whipping boy, ex-president bill clinton, today in maryland summed up the gop message in his characteristic plain-spoken style:

clinton: ... that you have to vote for us because our opponents are no good. and because they'll tax you into the poor house. and on the way to the poor house, you'll meet a terrorist on every street corner. and when you try to run away from the terrorists, you'll trip over an illegal immigrant. isn't that their thing? that's what they're sayin' ...

but the main reason the republicans' short-lived "permanent majority" is coming to an end is their unrestrained corruption and incompetence. as i wrote in march ("cry uncle") and april ("the only thing we have to fear") in two of my numerous posts on republican malfeasance:

but it is far too late for this regime to save 2006 and 2008. bush's ratings have already dropped into the range of the worst presidents and the poisonous drip-drip-drip of scandal betrays no sign of abating. as long as the white house insists on treating its problems as a matter of perception, they will continue their pointless pantomine of leadership and never adopt the substantive remedies that might regain the public's trust. thus the drip-drip-drip will torment them to the bitter end.

the republicans had a choice; they always did, but they chose naked power over good governance and forgot that in a democracy power alone isn't enough to maintain power.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

ooh, ooh that smell

ap: charles dharapak

(hat tip to watertiger @ firedoglake)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

foley night football

just when it seemed the tastiest juice had been already squeezed out of the foley congressional page scandal (not that the squeezing itself was anywhere near abating), another spirited exegesis has blossomed from steve gilliard's news blog, this time from commenter lowermanhattanite, in the spirit of steve's warhammer 40k series:

what with monday night football being on, players stomping each other in the grille and thoughts of half-*ssed collegiate griddder [sic] george "macaca" allen jr. dancing in my head all weekend, the gop's handling of this whole foley thing brought believe it or not — football to mind for me.

some of you may be too young to remember those scary san diego charger teams of the late 70's, but let me tell you — they were probably the most frightening passing offense you'd have ever seen — with john jeffferson [sic], charlie joiner, chuck muncie, wes chandler and kellen winslow catching balls hurled all over the field by the toss-happy dan fouts at qb.

my god, but they were a sight to behold. a breathing 11-man textbook on passing power 101. folks called 'em "air coryell", after their "rain man-esque" offensive savant of a coach don coryell. watching them seeming to effortlesssly run up scores via air power, you'd think they were the greatest thing ever to grace turf and chalk.

but you know what? the mother-f*ckers never won a super bowl — much less even made iit [sic] to one. wanna know why?

son-of-a-b*tches couldn't play a lick a' defense.

folks, the gop's defense on this pig-f*ck of a scandal is "air coryell, 2006" — a team used to passing, passing and mo' passing its way to easy, demoralizing regular-season victories, but in the end, unable to win the big game/truly govern.

i mean, it really is kind of amazing to watch this team of supposed bruisers, so used to dominating in their usual way, getting their *sses handed to 'em on this story. again, baack [sic] to "air coryell", that squad sought to beat you down with long offensive drives that would keep their defense off the field. their p*ss-poor, hole-filled, sub-par defense, that is. and what this little debacle is showing us all is what happens when the gop actually has to defend for any length of time.

they really don't know how.

all this mad scrambling, unable to control the tempo because they don't have the ball in their hands as usual? they look a little lost.

"uh. rep. hastert didn't know about this."

"well, he did, but only the clean e-mail."

"er ... not even that, really. he might've been told, but he doesn't really remember it."

"oh, it was just a few naughty e-mails"

"whoops! did i say naughty? i meant reprensible! [sic] reprehensible, vile — fill in the blanks."

"it's the pages fault!"

"it's the dems fault!"

"it's the holder of the ims fault!"

"they're adults!"

"um ... pay no attention to us getting busted scrubbing all the child endangerment stuff from hastert's website — in spite of this being about 'adults'".

there appears to be no coordinated defense on this at all — just a bunch of individulsl [sic] running around aimlessly after whoever they think is carrying the ball at the moment. and that vaunted offfense [sic] can't do a f*cking thing here. can't outscore the other side — because offense don't mean sh*t when you ain't in possesssion of the ball, baby.

a position this crew is sorely un-used to. even drudge — usually so canny with his poison darts — took to crow-barring his target upside the head with that egg-zaggerated "beast" sh*t he spouted. and man ... when you get him, the gop's star ball-carrier (pun unintended) that far off his game and screaaming [sic] on the sidelines? they have got a serious f*cking issue on defense.

i don't mean to boil the seriousness of what foley and his enablers did by equating it to a mere "game". rather, i'm talking about the craven team of bullies who've been trying to as usual, dodge this heinous sh*t by "offense-ing" their way out of some really serious trouble here. more than 72 hours into this blow-out and they can't as yet conjure up a equally troubled democrat to equivocate this sh*t with? wtf? three quarters in and these f*ckers are still getting shut out? i ain't used to seein' this team!

it is a wonder of sorts though, watching all the old gimmick plays — "88 flea-flicker media misdirect", "swift boat shake-off on 04" and "baby-fake power trap r-dc" all get thrown for f*cking losses over the last few days.

f*ck that "best defense is a good offense" sh*t, eh?

are you ready for some football?

to be fair, the republicans are not merely lacking a defensive plan: there simply exists no defense for the odious trap they've so carefully constructed for themselves. the doomsday scenario they've been quietly postponing has detonated in their faces, at the worst possible moment. the only way the survivors can leave the field with honor at this late date is to remove themselves as hastily as decorum allows. but knowing this crew, and their pathological hatred of even the appearance of defeat, they'll go painfully down in protracted overtime, whining all the way like babies.

Monday, October 02, 2006

torture logic

if anyone is still a little puzzled why president bush has invested so much of his waning political capital into an end run around the geneva convention, it's not just to save himself the cost of a trip to the hague, although that alone would certainly be reason enough.

juan cole relates a most enlightening lecture delivered by former uk ambassador to uzbekistan craig murray at a recent academic symposium on central eurasia:

the bush administration has been about "the greater middle east" (including central asia). it has been about basing rights in those areas. it says it is fighting a "war on terror" that is unlike past wars and may go on for decades. it has been about rounding up and torturing large numbers of iraqis, afghans and others. this region has most of the world's proven oil and gas reserves.

why is the bush administration so attached to torturing people that it would pressure a supine congress into raping the us constitution by explicitly permitting some torture techniques and abolishing habeas corpus for certain categories of prisoners?

... boys and girls, it is because torture is what provides evidence for large important networks of terrorists where there aren't really any, or aren't very many, or aren't enough to justify 800 military bases and a $500 billion military budget.

boys and girls, is there any doubt that when this chapter of american history has been committed to ink that it will catalogue the war on terror with the spanish inquistion and the salem witch trials?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

separated at birth

disgraced former boston cardinal bernard law

disgraced soon-to-be-former house speaker denny hastert

(hat tip to jeffrey feldman @ dailykos)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

but you already knew that, didn't you?

with the release of parts of the key judgements of the most recent national intelligence estimate (nie), the final linchpins to the administration's ever-shifting arguments for its continued occupation of iraq have been definitively yanked away, by the very community paid to know the facts better than anyone else on the planet. the last shreds of clothing have been snatched off the emperor, as explained by aj, a former defense intelligence officer who spent two years on iraq policy:

the recently-declassified nie titled "trends in global terrorism: implications for the united states", which was finalized nearly six months ago, is a devastating repudiation of virtually everything leading executive and defense department leaders have told americans about the war on terror.

as i've written before, the most important thing to look for in this kind of analysis is trends. events are different than how things are going in general, and here's an example: the report states that u.s. efforts have damaged the leadership of al-qa'ida and "disrupted" is operations, which is almost certainly true. there have been plenty of operations disrupted. but that's a summary of events, not a trend. more important is the follow-up that "the global jihadist movement ... is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts." event: we've done some good. trend: things are getting worse, not better.

much of the initial assessment is uncontroversial. jihadism is decentralized, it's expanding, self-radicalized cells (especially in europe) are a growing threat, etc. the real meat, both analytically and politically, involves iraq. bear in mind that the report focuses on terrorism, not iraq per se, so it's instructive that a great deal of the summary addresses iraq.

the iraq portion begins somewhat dubiously, with the statement that "perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere." that's disingenuous to the extent that jihadists already perceive success and fighters have already moved beyond iraq (claiming responsibility for attacks in jordan and other gulf states). the assessment that iraq "is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives" is also not surprising, though i think more people should realize that a similar situation in afghanistan caused the rise of al-qa'ida in the first place. no matter how or when we leave, there will be trained and angry operatives who will lash out in the future.

but to me, the most important, the scariest, and the most damning part of the entire summary is this single sentence:

we assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities are [sic] are likely to do so for the duration of the timefram [sic] of this estimate.

ladies and gentlemen, that's the ballgame right there. what this intelspeak means in english is, "the causes fueling terrorism outweigh the vulnerabilities of terrorists and their networks, and that fact is likely to be true indefinitely." the assessment is saying that the main motivations for terrorism — and the report puts iraq at the top of that long list — outweigh our ability to prevent it, meaning, essentially, that iraq is more harmful than helpful in our counterterror strategy. i already knew that, and so did most readers here, but i don't think that's the conventional wisdom. until now, at least. anyone who defends the iraq war now has to answer this question: the collective judgment of the entire u.s. intelligence community is that under the watch of the bush administration terrorism is becoming more of a threat, not less of one, primarily due to iraq. do you support continuing that failure, or changing the course to solve it?

the bush administration is trying to spin the findings, saying that they reflect previous statements, but this response is pathetic. the spin conflates fact with trend, basically saying that president bush has stated some of the facts contained in the report (shorter version: "the report says al-qa'ida is bad. president bush has said al-qa'ida is bad!") while failing to address the assessment that things are getting worse, not better.

one more time, because it's really a remarkable assessment, despite being in bureaucrat-speak:

we assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this estimate.

those underlying factors are listed as, basically, entrenched grievances and humiliation; iraq; lack of political reform in muslim nations; and pervasive anti-u.s. sentiment among most muslims. these are all interconnected, of course, and bush administration policies, especially its intransigence on iraq, are hurting more than they are helping. analysts are generally discouraged from offering policy suggestions (that's for policymakers, not interpreters of information), but this transcends that usual prohibition a little, and the strongest statement is this:

countering the spread of the jihadist movement will require coordinated multilateral efforts that go well beyond operations to capture or kill terrorist leaders.

that is a concept this administration, and its rubber-stamp congress, simply doesn't seem able to grasp.

the report is definitive, provocative, and damning, and every day between now and the elections democrats — and sane republicans — should demand accountability for these unconscionable failures of presidential and congressional leadership.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

it's a given

chief of u.s. central commander in iraq, general john abizaid:

given unlimited time and unlimited support, we're winning the war.

whew! — now that's a relief! and i was really getting worried there for a second ...

Monday, September 18, 2006


josh marshall:

if you were to pick the single greatest hypocrisy of the bush presidency, wouldn't it have to be this: that the man who ostentatiously claims jesus as his favorite philosopher (he of "do unto others as ye would have them do unto you" fame) would say, in all seriousness, "common article iii says that there will be no outrages upon human dignity. it's very vague. what does that mean, 'outrages upon human dignity'?"

* what would jesus do?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

for the president's clarification

george w. bush, addressing the press in the white house rose garden:

this debate is occurring because of the supreme court's ruling that said that we must conduct ourselves under the common article iii of the geneva convention. and that common article iii says that there will be no outrages upon human dignity. it's very vague. what does that mean, "outrages upon human dignity"? that's a statement that is wide open to interpretation. and what i'm proposing is that there be clarity in the law so that our professionals will have no doubt that that which they are doing is legal. you know, it's — and so the piece of legislation i sent up there provides our professionals that which is needed to go forward.

the geneva convention, article 3, regarding the treatment of prisoners of war, in force since october 21, 1950:

in the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the high contracting parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:
  1. persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

    to this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

    1. violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

    2. taking of hostages;

    3. outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

    4. the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

  2. the wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.
an impartial humanitarian body, such as the international committee of the red cross, may offer its services to the parties to the conflict.

the parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present convention.

the application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the parties to the conflict.

now tell us again, george — just what part is it that's "vague" and "wide open to interpretation"?

no, george, this "debate" is not occurring because of any wrist-slap from the supreme court. the geneva convention did not pass unmolested for more than a half century because no one noticed how pretty the plain and bespeckled old bird was. so too with the constitution and your craven efforts to play peeping tom on its citizens.

no, george, after spending your two terms shamelessly defiling both the convention and the constitution, your flabby virgin backside juts exposed to charges of war crimes and impeachment and you need your rubberstamping posse running congress (but running it for not too much longer) to cover your unsightly naked emperorship.

Friday, September 15, 2006

america's most wanted

or maybe not.

president bush, september 17, 2001:

q: do you want bin laden dead?

bush: i want justice. there's an old poster out west, as i recall, that said, "wanted: dead or alive."

q: do you see this being long-term? you were saying it's long-term, do you see an end, at all?

bush: i think that this is a long-term battle, war. there will be battles. but this is long-term. after all, our mission is not just osama bin laden, the al qaeda organization. our mission is to battle terrorism and to join with freedom loving people.

we are putting together a coalition that is a coalition dedicated to declaring to the world we will do what it takes to find the terrorists, to rout them out and to hold them accountable. and the united states is proud to lead the coalition.

q: are you saying you want him dead or alive, sir? can i interpret —

bush: i just remember, all i'm doing is remembering when i was a kid i remember that they used to put out there in the old west, a wanted poster. it said: "wanted, dead or alive." all i want and america wants him brought to justice. that's what we want.

president bush, march 13, 2002:

q: but don't you believe that the threat that bin laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

bush: well, as i say, we haven't heard much from him. and i wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. and, again, i don't know where he is. i — i'll repeat what i said. i truly am not that concerned about him. i know he is on the run. i was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. i was concerned about the fact that he was basically running afghanistan and calling the shots for the taliban.

president bush, september 5, 2006:

bin laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as lenin and hitler before them. the question is: will we listen? will we pay attention to what these evil men say? america and our coalition partners have made our choice. we're taking the words of the enemy seriously. we're on the offensive, and we will not rest, we will not retreat, and we will not withdraw from the fight, until this threat to civilization has been removed.

fred barnes, editor, the weekly standard, september 14, 2006:

host: alright fred, you and a few other journalists were in the oval office with the president, right? and he says catching osama bin laden is not job number one?

barnes: well, he said, look, you can send 100,000 special forces, that’s the figure he used, to the mountains of pakistan and afghanistan and hunt him down, but he just said that’s not a top priority use of american resources. his vision of a war on terror is one that involves intelligence to find out from people, to get tips, to follow them up and break up plots to kill americans before they occur. that’s what happened recently in that case of the planes that were to be blown up by terrorists, we think coming from england, and that’s the top priority. he says, you know, getting osama bin laden is a low priority compared to that.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

that certain ... je ne sais quoi

results from today's cbs news/new york times poll for the period august 17-21. the poll was open-ended, in which the respondents were allowed to provide answers in their own words rather than choose from a provided list:

what do you like best
about the bush presidency?
don't know34%
handling of war on terror11%
handling of war in iraq4%

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

tough guys don't carry umbrellas

we can all sense that the war is coming. it is vital for america to seize the initiative and fight it on our terms, when we have the maximum advantage.

it's five minutes to midnight. the time to strike iran is now.

— robert tracinski, "five minutes to midnight: the war is coming, no matter how hard we try to evade it."

tracinski tries his level best to sound calming and reasoned, yet still strident and imperative — but james wolcott, left blogistan's resident ginsu expert, knows the sound of trash talk when he hears it:

i have a theory on why the war party rhetoric has gone skittish and skyhigh, a theory based on casual observation of new york streetfights (streetfights everywhere, really). what i've noticed is that the trash talk in a street altercation escalates in proportion to the expanding distance between the two protagonists. when two potential fighters are almost literally in each other's faces, their words are few, their expressions fierce. it's when the fist fight has been avoided (or tabled) and they're putting distance between each other that the taunting becomes louder and more florid. "get back in my face again, motherfucker, and i'll pound your face into hamburger meat, motherfucker." "come back and say that to my face, lame-ass motherfucker." etc. you can supply your own david mamet expletives and challenges. one of my favorite verbal showdowns occurred on 14th street one rainy day when two non-pugilists kept up the trash talk until one of them said, "you're carrying an umbrella, motherfucker — how tough can you be?" which i must say got quite a chortle from us idle bystanders.

now what has this to do with the posings of our militaristic muscle mouths?

this: it is an index of the frustration and impotence they're experiencing at not getting their way. they're waging rhetorical escalation because de-escalation is the unacknowledged order of the day, and there's nothing they can do about it.

steve clemons published a dispatch from the nelson report indicating that despite all of the cheneyesque bluster, the bush administration is pursuing the diplomatic route with iran. to the dismay of the hard nosers, bush is also reeling back his use of "islamic fascists", which will be interpreted as a capitulation to political correctness. you even have rumself whining that his recent appeasement slur was taken "out of context," and calling for "constructive" dialogue regarding the situation in iraq. and then there's the happy novelty of rudy giuliani blowing the whistle and calling a foul on "partisan bickering", which will not endear him to the more strident dickheads in his party.

there has been a major shift in the mood climate, one which the war party and its bloggers are resisting at the top of their lungs. but resistance is futile. as john robb writes in an important post at global guerrillas, "playing at war", we're not going to the get the grand, conclusive world war iii (or iv) that same [sic] neocon ideologues crave.

newt gingrich: look at all the different connectivity. you'd have to say to yourself, "this is in fact world war iii."

john gibson: world war iii.

bill o'reilly: world war iii, right?

john gibson: this is world war iii.

sean hannity: ... world war iii. the start of world war iii!

michael leeden: more like world war iv ...

Friday, September 01, 2006

send in the clowns

fmguru @ steve gilliard's news blog explains exactly why joe lieberman's newly released "sunset" ad is further evidence that his contentious "independent" senate bid is doomed:

lieberman's expensive consultant sucks ass.

this is yet another reason why joe's campaign will sputter and die. all of the good political consultants and media people are already fully employed with '06 races. joe fired all his staff after the primary and went to hire a brand-new team. but august 9 is verrrry late in the season to be staffing up a political campaign. the people who are available are the political equivalent of the kids chosen last for the kickball team.

i was briefly worried that joe was going to go out and get himself a team of ass-kicking, eye-gouging, race-baiting republican campaign consultants (you know, the ones that actually know how to fight and win elections, unlike the bob shrum all-stars), but then i realized that all of the a- and b-level gop talent was already busy with actual republican races. and there are plenty of democratic shops that won't touch joe with a 10-foot pole. so he's stuck sifting the dregs for his campaign staff.

it's not even that the ad is terrible — it's that this ad was what they'd spent two weeks cooking up in their backroom. the [sic] spent a couple hundred thousand dollars making and airing this ad — this was their opening shot, their best foot forward. that's what so funny about this (well, that and the commo team's hapless response to people wondering how they got the sun to set over the southern coast of ct). it's proof that the entire lieberman campaign is being run by the political equivalents of larry, moe, and curly. i'm sure this same half-assery is replicated throughout the lieberman organization. you think these clowns will be able to put together a functioning gotv operation in 70 days, prep for a debate, organize campaign stops and appearances, or mail out literature to people asking for it? it's like the lieberman campaign should be followed around by caliope music wherever it goes.

i'm reminded of two things: one is the famous film flub in john wayne's dreadful rah-rah vietnam pic the green berets, where the movie closes with the sun setting in the gulf of tonkin (nice trick, that), and the other is the half-assed, corner-cutting way they did their web operation in the primary. the sort of people who figure webhosts are all the same, so why not go with the cheapest one are the same ones who'll buy the first piece of stock footage they find on google. sunrise, sunset, who the fuck's gonna know the difference, right?

buh-bye, joe.

Monday, August 28, 2006

on notice

you're on notice, pal!

i just found a new toy on the internets: the stephen colbert "on notice board" generator.

have fun.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

one year later

almost one year ago, clinton administration jetsam dick morris washed up on fox news and made this bold prediction about hurricane katrina's impact on bush's popularity:

y'know, george bush basically believes the federal government should do two things: fight wars and help people recover from disasters and now he's got both on his plate. i think that his ratings are gonna soar! not necessarily in the next three days, but over the next year he's gonna look so good doing all this stuff.

morris' hosts — even bush apologist-in-chief sean hannity — were understandably skeptical:

morris: ... the people who said this storm is gonna hurt bush's presidency are just wrong. he can get all the money he wants out of congress 'cause of this disaster, the people will be solidly behind him, the media will cover it like crazy, and he's gonna look like santa claus.

colmes: so if you're advising democrats now, how would you advise them to react?

morris: to shut up and stop harping —

colmes: ha! "shut up" ... !

morris: — and screaming and hollering and pointing fingers, and start amassing national credits by showing the same liberal democratic compassion bush did.

colmes: so they should just agree with him and say he's doing a great job.

morris: yeah, they — just like right after 9/11, they hurt themselves by any kind of carping. ah, bush — this speech was fantastic!

[ snip ]

morris: ... you have a president that doesn't think government should do a lot. but he believes they should fight wars and that was the first term, and they believe they should recover from disasters and that's the second term. man, is this guy fortunate!

hannity: [chuckling] fortunate to have a disaster?

morris: fortunate to be able to be president at a time when he can respond without violating his principles.

with bush's approval at 41% (according to a fox news poll released on the day of the broadcast), dick probably thought his analysis was not completely ludicrous, since bush seemed to have nowhere to go but up:

today, 41 percent of voters approve and 51 percent disapprove of president bush’s performance, which is the lowest job rating he has received in a fox news poll. the president’s approval rating is down 4 percentage points from two weeks ago (45 percent, august 30-31), around the time the magnitude of katrina’s damage was becoming clear. before the hurricane, 47 percent approved and 44 percent disapproved (july 26-27).

well, after a year of bush's "liberal democratic compassion", dick may have been at least half-right — bush had nowhere to go. nowhere but down, that is, and he's dragging his republican-led congress down with him:

the new poll finds the [sic] 36 percent of americans approve of president bush’s job performance and 56 percent disapprove. these results are in line with the ratings the president has received for the last couple of months. moreover, for the past three surveys the gap between approval among republicans (76 percent) and democrats (10 percent) has been 66 percentage points.

the assessment of the job congress is doing continues to be abysmal, as more than twice as many americans say they disapprove (58 percent) as approve (24 percent).

to be fair, dick's fawning pronouncements would not necessarily have been so pathetically absurd had he been prognosticating about any other president than the dismal one we are presently stuck with. to vindicate dick's wet dreams of republican munificence, all nero bush needed to do was to roll up his sleeves and simply deliver on dick's assurances of timely and tangible material support to katrina's victims.1 compassion — if bush actually has any to give — without assistance is nothing more than contempt.

it was sickening enough that dick neglected to acknowledge the federal government's own culpability in the disaster that so fortuitously befell louisiana. but did dick truly believe that this potemkin administration ever intended to provide new orleans with more than a white wash and red tape? did he truly believe that the destruction of a major american city ever meant more to bush than just an opportunity for another series of woefully ineffectual photo-ops in bush's non-stop dog-and-pony tribute to himself?

1 and of course, while he's at it, bush would also need to pacify iraq and lower oil prices and catch osama bin laden and jump-start the economy and ...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

a message for dick cheney

seen on a bus in queens, new york:

photo by dave hill © 2006.

since i doubt the vice president frequents that particular route, i thought i'd pass the sentiments along.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


josh marshall, a liberal blogger still trying in these partisan times to hold fast to the middle — wherever that may be going — has just reached "like a sort of epiphany":

is there anyone in the country who can say honestly, in their heart of hearts, that when that moment of fear hit them after the recent reports out of london, they said to themselves, "god, i'm glad we're in iraq"?


Saturday, August 12, 2006

red alert

boys, it's time to duct tape the windows, strap on your diapers and man the keyboards — the islamo-irani-talibani-qaeda-o'fascists have taken connecticut!

chuck roberts, anchor @ cnn headline news:

how does this factor into the lieberman/lamont contest? and might some argue, as some have already argued, that lamont is the al qaeda candidate?

tony snow, press secretary @ the white house:

... the real question for the american people to ask themselves is, do you take the war on terror seriously? with all the developments around the world — and, if so, how do you fight it to win? there seems to be two approaches, and in the connecticut race, one of the approaches is ignore the difficulties and walk away. now, when the united states walked away, in the opinion of the osama bin laden in 1991, bin laden drew from that the conclusion that americans were weak and wouldn’t stay the course and that led to september 11th.

dick cheney, vice president @ the white house:

the thing that's partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the american people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task. and when we see the democratic party reject one of its own, a man they selected to be their vice presidential nominee just a few short years ago, it would seem to say a lot about the state the party is in today if that's becoming the dominant view of the democratic party, the basic, fundamental notion that somehow we can retreat behind our oceans and not be actively engaged in this conflict and be safe here at home, which clearly we know we won't — we can't be.

bill o'reilly, talking head @ the o'reilly factor:

i believe this is a chilling indication of what lies ahead in american politics. iran’s betting we americans have no will to restrain their jihad, and judging from the connecticut vote last night, they might be right.

cal thomas, columnist @ the washington times:

the narrow primary defeat of veteran sen. joe lieberman in connecticut's democratic primary is more than a loss for one man. it is a loss for his party and for the country. it completes the capture of the democratic party by its taliban wing.

they used to be "san francisco democrats," a phrase coined by former u.s. ambassador to the united nations jeane kirkpatrick to describe the party's 1984 convention. but they have now morphed into taliban democrats because they are willing to "kill" one of their own, if he does not conform to the narrow and rigid agenda of the party's kook fringe.

joe lieberman, sore loser @ the new york times:

if we just pick up like ned lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in england. it will strengthen them, and they will strike again.

i'm worried that too many people, both in politics and out, don't appreciate the seriousness of the threat to american security and the evil of the enemy that faces us — more evil, or as evil, as nazism and probably more dangerous than the soviet communists we fought during the long cold war.

how the heck can we be in a battle in which we are fighting as democrats and republicans against each other, when these terrorists certainly don't distinguish based on our party affiliation? they want to kill any and all of us.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

post mortem

let us examine the corpse, shall we?

admiralnaismith @ mydd:

lieberman was the goliath candidate. when you're goliath, you win by being as gracious as possible, trying to keep the condescension out of your voice as you welcome the chance for an amicable primary contest and talk about how democracy is so wonderful and your little-known opponent has every right to run, and then you swamp him financially with positive, upbeat ads about your record, mentioning the "david" by name barely if ever. "goliath" wins popularity contests by being a gentle giant, not by being a brutal bully.

lieberman didn't do that. he was fred sanford, clutching his chest and yelling "lamont! lamont!" every chance he got. he didn't even bother to hide his contempt for the democratic process as he screeched and raged at how this bloody peasant was daring to besmirch the divine right of incumbents. he publicly insulted not only the "david" but anyone who held "david"s views — which happened to be popular, majority views. and to cap it off, he unveiled his spoiler independent bid, stabbing his own party in the back before he had even had the primary.

it was lieberman, and not lamont, who turned this race from nothing into a real contest, and then an upset.

thereisnospoon @ daily kos:

let's face some cold, hard facts, people. we didn't do this, because what we supposedly did was impossible to do — in any politcal climate.

in one corner, you had a bunch of unpaid volunteers, internet rabble-rousers, and an inexperienced politician whose highest post had been county selectman.

in the other, you had the three-time senator, former vice-presidential candidate, visible party statesman, bill clinton, hillary clinton, harry reid, barbara boxer, the other popular ct senator dodd, most of organized labor, the women's groups and the environmental groups, most of traditional democratic party support, paid lobbyist support, paid armies of gotv staff, the slick ad money, the top dlc consultants, and a 3 to 1 budget gap.

i'm sorry. that's not david vs. goliath. this isn't even the nba champions versus a rec league team. that's more like an ant vs. my shoe.

and the shoe lost.

but then, the dlc is an old shoe — and the most politically incompetent shoe i've ever seen. the truth is that the dlc couldn't beat my dead great-grandmother. or yours.

they couldn't beat their own shadow. so why did anyone think they could beat karl rove?

josh marshall @ time:

he's seemed almost militantly indifferent to the disaster iraq has become. and his passion about the war seemed reserved exclusively for those who questioned it rather than those who had so clearly botched the enterprise. his continual embrace of president bush — both literal and figurative — was an insult to democrats, the great majority of whom believe bush has governed as one of the most destructive presidents in modern american history. it's almost as though lieberman has gone out of his way to provoke and offend democrats on every point possible, often, seemingly, purely for the reason of provoking. is it any wonder the guy got whacked in a party primary?

lieberman got in trouble because he let himself live in the bubble of d.c. conventional wisdom and a-list punditry. he flattered them; and they loved him back. and as part of that club he was part of the delusion and denial that has sustained our enterprise in iraq for the last three years. in the weeks leading up to tuesday's primary, a-list d.c. pundits were writing columns portraying lieberman's possible defeat as some sort of cataclysmic event that might foreshadow a dark new phase in american politics — as though voters choosing new representation were on a par with abolishing the constitution or condoning political violence. but those breathless plaints only showed how disconnected they are from what's happening in the country at large. they mirrored his disconnection from the politics of the moment.

juan cole:

first of all, the man was brain dead on the iraq issue.

... lieberman had bought into the rove master narrative. bush went to war electively, thus very conveniently making himself a war president and therefore above criticism. he got a second term that way despite having been among the worst presidents in history. lieberman ceded to bush a kind of invulnerability on the most important republican party snafu since its policies contributed to the onset of the great depression. why would a democrat do that?

the answer is that on foreign policy issues, lieberman is a neoconservative, and supports the iraq project for the same reasons that douglas feith and paul wolfowitz (then number 3 and 2 respectively at the pentagon) did.

... lieberman may run as an independent, and we cannot know what will happen in that case. but for the reasons given above, it is important that he has been repudiated by democratic voters. the rest of the party now has a shot at taking the house, without risking having their colleague's pro-bush sanctimonies on iraq constantly thrown in their faces.

christy hardin smith @ firedoglake:

at some point, the folks who report on politics and the folks who run for office will wake up and understand that bloggers are merely americans who try to amplify the sentiment of thousands more just like them. and the overwhelming sentiment that i have been hearing for months and months is that people have had enough of the lies, the manipulation, the self-dealing, the egos, the idiocy, the selfishness, and the outright dereliction of duty and lack of accountability from so many in washington, d.c. in this rubber stamp republican congress … we’ve had enough.

time for a change, pt. ii

from ned lamont's victory speech:

this race started out as a dream, many thought an impossible dream, but thanks to all of you and thousands of citizens across the state ... we have a coalition that believes this is a time for change.

time indeed. couldn't have said it better.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

time for a change

well, it's primary day in connecticut and the country finally gets to see if democratic and independent voters there want a new senator. although lamont has enjoyed an amazing 13-point lead in the polls over the last week, that lead was halved over the weekend, and polls have been known to be wrong anyway. lamont's "netroots" supporters have been careful to temper their enthusiasm, having bitterly tasted defeat too often before.

i've been trying to step back and look at the race in more fundamental terms, beyond the particular issues being argued in it. in most regular elections the voters are offered two choices: the incumbent or the challenger; the status quo or change.

and right now the entire country is disgusted with the direction the white house and congress has taken the country, and nowhere is that truer than in connecticut, one of the bluest of the blue states. the country is aching for change. it's a fundamental dynamic that seems only today to be getting the emphasis it really deserves:

americablog: people are frustrated. they're tired of the republicans and their arrogance, their failed policies, their incompetence, and their inability to learn and grow from their mistakes. that is why the blogs came about, and it's why we've been successful at getting a voice. we are tapping into that frustration and, yes, anger, and channeling it towards an effort to change things for the better.

and that, my reporter friends, is what is happening in connecticut and across america.

joe lieberman is a victim of the anti-incumbent, anti-republican times in which we live. he is not a victim of the peace movement. he is not a victim of the iraq war. he is part or the larger passion play that is taking place across the country against the incumbent party in power. republicans control the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. americans believe our country is heading in the wrong direction and we, rightfully, are finally holding those running the country accountable, in addition to those who enable and embrace them.

mydd: luis, a poll worker who came out for some fresh air, said "lots of democrats today!" — the polling place had separate doors for the republican and democratic primaries, and i could see fewer than 1 out of 10 voters were going in the republican door. luis said he's seen a lot of new voters and young voters today. "they want change."

for all his vaunted experience in politics, lieberman strangely has been either unwilling or unable to recognize or respond to that basic dynamic. he's lost touch with his own constituents. he's been taking them for granted.

this race shouldn't have been a contest. it's been lieberman's to lose all along, and he will. what finally convinced me was lieberman's last big media statement, his "closing argument", which he delivered as a speech on sunday in east haven.

in it he reiterated his record and ticked off his democratic bona fides. but not once did he say the magic words: i'm going to change.

lieberman insists that he's been good for connecticut for 18 years and connecticut needs him to continue to do what he's been doing.

he even insists that he hears the criticism:

what i will say is this: i not only respect your right to disagree or question the president, i value it.

but just how does he demonstrate that? he never explains how his constituents' views influence his behavior, if at all. i get the impression of joe patting a boy on the head, telling him, "i know you're upset — i really, really do — you just need to understand your daddy knows what's good for you."

so it comes as little surprise, according to markos of daily kos, that lieberman omitted these words from his planned ending for that speech when he finally delivered it:

if after hearing the truth about where i stand on iraq, you still want to cast your vote solely on that one issue, then i respect your decision.

lieberman apparently had second thoughts about legitimizing that rationale for the voters.

and when asked early sunday for his position on iraq by george stephanopolous on abc's this week:

gs: you're right that iraq is the number one issue, there's just no question —
jl: — there's no question about it and you see not only — you see it in the opinion polls.
gs: and you said in the debate [with lamont on july 7] that iraq is better now than a year ago. do you still believe that?
jl: it is better now ... it- it- it’s better and worse if you’ll allow me to put it that way ...

joe just can't let go of his support for the failed occupation. even while suffering the damage it's done to his career — which explains his fumbling bush-like doublespeak.

so joe's not gonna change his tune or his behavior, and he expects connecticut voters to simply accept that.

and they will, but only for a few hours longer.