Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Quote of the Day
Karen Hanretty, a spokeswoman for Fred Thompson:
“Fred will never rush to war because Fred doesn’t rush to anything.”
Karen Hanretty, a spokeswoman for Fred Thompson:
“Fred will never rush to war because Fred doesn’t rush to anything.”
On Wednesday I missed this editorial by a former master instructor and chief of training at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School, but this ‘graph sums up my feelings on waterboarding nicely:
Is there a place for the waterboard? Yes. It must go back to the realm of training our operatives, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines - to prepare for its uncontrolled use by our future enemies. Brutal interrogation, flash murder and extreme humiliation of Americans may now be guaranteed because we have mindlessly, but happily, broken the seal on the Pandora’s box of indignity, cruelty and hatred in the name of protecting America.
MORE: Ugh. Waterboarding is just another day at the pool.
Check out raging neoconman Norman “Please Bomb Something” Podhoretz, Rudy Giuliani’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, debating Fareed Zakaria about Iran on PBS.
From The NY Times:
“Cheney’s Law” is an exemplary exercise in synthesis that displays a reserved tone and still manages to feel like a riveting political thriller as it diagrams the ways in which the vice president’s vision was often so seamlessly assimilated.
If you missed Frontline’s excellent documentary last night, “Cheney’s Law,” you can now watch it online. Highly recommended.
I know I’ve said before that Romney’s profound and almost incalculable phoniness is a terrifying prospect to behold in a possible president. But the danger of phoniness, aesthetic or otherwise, cannot hold a candle to the truly catastrophic foreign policy Giuliani would likely pursue if he got anywhere near the Oval Office. Watching him campaign it’s pretty clear that the guy has no real sense that posturing and pandering to ethnic paranoia in New York City simply isn’t the same as running a national foreign policy. The people he’s coalescing around himself as his foreign policy advisors are the ones who are going to help him learn as he goes. And they are simply the most dangerous, deranged and deluded folks you can find in American political and foreign policy circles today. It’s really not an exaggeration. Scrape the bottom of the “Global War on Terror” Islamofascism nutbasket and you find they’ve pretty much all signed on as Rudy advisors.
And LG&M links to an article called “Giuliani’s War Cabinet” from The American Prospect that provides a good overview of Rudy’s potentially disastrous foreign policy team and highlights a spot-on quote from Jim Henley:
You will not enjoy a day of peace so long as Rudy has anything to say about it. Peace is something we will “achieve” in the distant future when the lion has been clubbed senseless with the lamb.
Renaldo & the Loaf—“Songs For Swinging Larvae”
From the Washington Post
A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal.
Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.
Details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the documents, but Nacchio’s lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans’ phone records.
In the court filings disclosed this week, Nacchio suggests that Qwest’s refusal to take part in that program led the government to cancel a separate, lucrative contract with the NSA in retribution. He is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper.
Nacchio’s account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts.
So I guess now we have to change the wingnuts’ all-purpose dismissive phrase to “(he or she) has a pre-2/27 mindset”? Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it?
We are so fucked if Rudy Giuliani is elected president. Don’t think it’s too crazy of an idea to have the eternally wrongheaded and repellent Richard Perle serve as our next Secretary of Defense.
Neocons can’t help but slink around Washington, D.C. The Iraq War has given the neoconservatives—who favor the assertive use of American power abroad to spread American values—something of a bad name, and several of the Republican candidates seem less than eager to hire them as advisers. But Rudy Giuliani apparently never got that memo.
Read the whole thing.
MORE: Rudy’s Right Hands
From Stars and Stripes:
The former top commander of U.S. troops in Iraq slammed the handling of the war and gave a bleak assessment of the current situation in Iraq.
“There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight,” retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez told a convention of military journalists on Friday.
“From a catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan, to the administration’s latest surge strategy, this administration has failed to employ and synchronize the political, economic and military power,” Sanchez said.
Continuing changes to military strategy alone will not achieve victory, rather it will only “stave off defeat,” he said.
“The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure and the American people must hold them accountable.”
“I think once you are retired, you have a responsibility to the nation, to your oath, to the country, to state your opinion,” he said.
Ouch, that’s going to leave a mark.
And look for the nutters to do everything possible to destroy Sanchez’s reputation as a balm for the sting on their swollen behinds. You know, the area that serves as holsters for their heads.
A beautiful photo essay of images from Iran brought to you by the Unapologetic Mexican:
Here are images, I wanted to lay them out. As glimpses. Isolated glimpses into another country, one that mostly exists for us in scary soundbytes and media-approved shots of hangings and flame and the dark dark chador and the obscuring burqa. We pump the hot gas of our fear and media worship into those shadowy shapes, because after all, all of us here in the USA are experts at marketing and advertising and image.
Granted, he pushes the “freedom” in Iran angle too far as the post progresses, but he makes a salient point with the images alone.
“I find it unfathomable that the committee tasked with oversight of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program would be provided more information by The New York Times than by the Department of Justice.”
Deputy White House press secretary Tony “Boom Boom” Fratto deals with the awful responsibility of having to play table tennis in big boy clothes.
And now the Shitty Quote of the Day from Fratto:
“I’ve had the awful responsibility to have to work with The New York Times and other news organizations on stories that involve the release of classified information. And I could tell you that every time I’ve dealt with any of these stories, I have felt that we have chipped away at the safety and security of America with the publication of this kind of information.”
The deputy press secretary has the “awful responsibility” of having to work with the premiere newspaper in the country. What a pity. Something tells me Fratto is in the wrong line of work.
From Tim F. at Balloon Juice:
A Giuliani nomination win would cement the GOP’s place as a catchbasin for islamophobic security freaks, basically a militia movement minus greasepaint.
Here we go again. This weekend FAUX News ran a super scary, one-sided (surprise!) special investigation called “Iran: The Ticking Bomb.” It was hosted by Dan Senor, noted rightwing propaganda peddler and former Coalition Provisional Authority disaster, and featured interviews with perpetually wrong war whores like Joe Lieberman and John Bolton. Below you will find four of the five parts of the special (I’m still trying to track down the fifth and final part—post a link in the comments if you’ve found it) and a few choice pull quotes for those of you who, understandably, can’t stomach watching any of it.
From Part One:
Lieberman: “We have now at least twice through our ambassador in Baghdad presented to the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad evidence of their complicity in the deaths of hundreds of Americans and they don’t do anything and we don’t respond at all—”
Senor: “It’s an act of war!”
Lieberman: “It is an act of war and if we don’t respond to it in some strong way the Iranians are going to take it as a sign of weakness.”
Senor (to Lieberman): “Iran scares me right now more than anything else I’ve seen.”
Editor: You know, except for the time Campbell Brown had to point out where her clitoris was.
From Part Two:
Senor: “And the 9/11 Commission even suggested Iran might have played a role in the September 11th attacks as well. The biggest worry since 9/11 is that the terrorists might get nuclear weapons. That’s why the story that you’re about to hear, told for the first time on American television, is so terrifying.”
Ahem. Here’s a direct quote from the 9/11 Commission report Senor cites above:
“We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack. At the time of their travel through Iran, the al Qaeda operatives themselves were probably not aware of the specific details of their future operation.”
Now, on to the video…
Seriously, if the NY Times can nutshell it so easily, why can’t the Democrats? It’s the taxpayers’ money, stupid:
If, as he says, President Bush is going to start withdrawing troops from Iraq, why on earth does he need vastly more money from Congress to wage war? The staggering, ever escalating numbers tell the real story: As long as it’s up to Mr. Bush, the American presence in Iraq will be endless and ever more costly, diverting resources from other national priorities that are being ignored or shortchanged.
The administration showed its cards on Wednesday when it asked Congress for an additional $42.3 billion in “emergency” funding for Iraq and Afghanistan. This comes on top of the original 2008 spending request, which was made before Mr. Bush announced his so-called “new strategy” of partial withdrawal. It would bring the 2008 war bill to nearly $190 billion, the largest single-year total for the wars and an increase of 15 percent from 2007.
And here are a few more facts to put the voracious war machine in context: By year’s end, the cost for both conflicts since Sept. 11, 2001, is projected to reach more than $800 billion. Iraq alone has cost the United States more in inflation-adjusted dollars than the Gulf War and the Korean War and will probably surpass the Vietnam War by the end of next year, according to the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
For officials and politicians used to dealing with eye-popping numbers, the additional $42.3 billion may just register as a few more zeros on the bottom line of a staggeringly big bill. But it’s more than enough to cover the five-year $35 billion proposal for children’s health-care coverage that Mr. Bush has threatened to veto.
Read the whole thing.
I missed this earlier, but apparently Rick Perlstein picked up on the “bedwetter” meme I started when I was blogging at Catch.com (read Jane Hamsher’s comment (#9) on my guest FDL post) and sprinted with it:
How cowardly our conservative Republic of Fear has made us. How we tremble at the mere touch of a challenge. It’s conservatives who started it, of course. Here’s what they’re reading in their own media: a letter from Human Events editor Tom Winter headlined “Are You Ready for a New Dark Ages?”:
Dear Fellow Conservative:
Someday soon, you might wake up to the call to prayer from a Muslim muezzin. Millions of Europeans already do.
And liberals will still tell you that “diversity is our strength”—while Talibanic enforcers cruise our cities burning books and barber shops… the Supreme Court decides sharia law doesn’t violate the “separation of church and state” ... and the Hollywood Left gives up gay rights in favor of the much safer charms of polygamy.
If you think this can’t happen, you haven’t been paying attention, as the hilarious and brilliant Mark Steyn—the most popular conservative columnist in the English-speaking world—shows to devastating effect in his New York Times bestseller, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It….
This stuff is mind-numbingly hysterical—literally. Such rhetoric is literally calculated to numb the mind, to render any rational calculus impossible, to reduce democratic deliberation on the most subtle and difficult issues of our time to mere grunts and snorts, turning readers’ minds to mush. That’s what the conservative media is all about.
The worst thing about [this], however, is how many people who should know better have surrendered it. They’ve lowered us all to their own pants-piddling level. And somewhere, Nikita Khrushchev is smiling. For well and truly, he is right. We have been buried—by our own demobilizing.
That “letter” from Tom Winter clearly articulates why I came up with the “bedwetter” tag for these truly bad Americans. They’re a complete embarrassment to this country and useful power tools for the terrorists. They see their job as allegedly patriotic countrymen to constantly point out how our proud nation will fold up like a well-oiled card table the minute a few swarthy brown men with unmanageable beards show up on our shores and say “boo.” These obsessed, wide-eyed fear junkies howl about how all of our women will be forced to wear burkas if we don’t “WAKE UP!!!” They sputter about how we’ll all be living under sharia law (that’s right, America—a country they obviously have little faith in—will be living under sharia law) if we don’t come to the terrified realization that “THEY WANT TO KILL US ALL!!!” They’re a sad, victimized lot and if you don’t join them in spraying streams of panic all over the place, well, they’ll have no sympathy for you “WHEN ISLAMOFACISTS SLOWLY SAW YOUR HEAD OFF!!!” It would be 100% comical if it wasn’t so absolutely deranged, pathetic ... and dangerous.
But don’t count on them to wise up and conquer their self-imposed demons, they’ll just call themselves “grown-ups” while standing in a puddle of hyped-up pusillanimity. Someone get a mop. A big one. And don’t even think about putting it away for the next decade or so.