Palin Reaction from Conservatives

Sullivan, ObamaCon:
No one on McCain's staff even argues she's ready to take over, or even close to it. It's also silly to believe that only by taking this massive gamble on a total unknown could McCain have a chance. He's been running pretty even with Obama until very recently. This pick is an enmorous risk for his campaign and an even more enormous risk for the country.

After the last eight years, do we really want a president who takes massive gambles, consulting with a tiny core of loyalists, without thinking through the consequences, and who hires unknown and untested people to run a government already badly mismanaged because they help his political coalition.

This is the third term of Goerge W. Bush - with less caution.


Charlie Black, McCain's lobbyist extraordinaire says:

"She’s going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years, and most doctors think that he’ll be around at least that long"


Steve Bennen accumulates conservative reaction:

It's probably fair to say most sensible people would find it tough to defend John McCain's choice of running mates, but I've been genuinely curious to see how Republicans respond to yesterday's Sarah Palin announcement. I don't mean campaign surrogates or Fox News personalities, who don't have a choice; I mean more traditional Republican voices who actually have to consider this decision on the merits (or lack thereof).

* Charles Krauthammer: "The Palin selection completely undercuts the argument about Obama's inexperience and readiness to lead.... To gratuitously undercut the remarkably successful 'Is he ready to lead' line of attack seems near suicidal."

* Noah Millman, presenting a defense for Palin: "I realize, of course, that she's totally unqualified to be President at this point in time. If McCain were to die in February 2009, I hope Palin would have the good sense to appoint someone who is more ready to be President to be her Vice President, on the understanding that she would then resign and be appointed Vice President by her successor."

* Ramesh Ponnuru called it "tokenism," adding, "Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?"

* David Frum: "The longer I think about it, the less well this selection sits with me. And I increasingly doubt that it will prove good politics. The Palin choice looks cynical.... It's a wild gamble, undertaken by our oldest ever first-time candidate for president in hopes of changing the board of this election campaign. Maybe it will work. But maybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I'd be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it's John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.... If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?"

* Kathryn Jean Lopez: "As much as I loathe Obama-Biden, I can't in good conscience vote for a McCain-Palin ticket. Palin has absolutely no experience in foreign affairs. Considering both McCain's advanced age and the state of the world today, it is essential that the veep be exceedingly qualified to assume the office of president. I simply don't have any confidence in Palin's ability to deal effectively with Iran, Russia, China, etc." [Update: Lopez was quoting an email, not expressing her actual views. My apologies.]

* Mark Halperin: "On the face of it, McCain has failed the ultimate test that any presidential candidate must face in picking a running mate: selecting someone who is unambiguously qualified to be president."

The phrase "jump the shark" keeps coming to mind.


The Current Buchanan

First, Pat Buchanan's his response to the Obama nomination acceptance speech:
BUCHANAN: “I stand with Obama! It was a genuinely outstanding speech, it was magnificent. I saw Cuomo’s speech, I saw Kennedy in ‘80, I even saw Douglas MacArthur, I saw MLK; this is the greatest convention speech and probably the most important because unlike Cuomo and the others, this was an acceptance speech, this came out of the heart of America, and he went right at the heart of America. This wasn’t a liberal speech at all. This is a deeply, deeply centrist speech. It had wit, it had humor, and when he used the needle on McCain, he stuck it into McCain and it was funny. It was Kennedy’s speech in ‘80. ”
About Sarah Palin, his ardent supporter back in the day:

Biggest political gamble I believe just about in American political history...that is not hyberbole. I can think of no choice of VP that approaches this.

I like the new Buchanan better than the old. He's McCain in reverse, because he no longer has Republican political ambitions.

Palin and Her Lack of Interest

You wouldn't expect McCain's VP pick would be as experienced in foreign policy as Joe Biden, who is a walking encyclopedia of long-winded expertise and opinion. Heck, maybe a VP pick doesn't need to have any foreign policy experience - generally a problem for governors.

But Palin doesn't even seem to be interested in Foreign Policy. After four long years of the Iraq War, she still doesn't think she's paid enough attention to have opinions. She's just "been too focused on her state." As if Alaskans weren't also being asked to serve and sacrifice.

Salon writes:

A clip search doesn't show any substantive comments from Palin about Iraq during her short term as governor of Alaska, in 2007 or 2008, or at any point prior to that. That includes instances when she was specifically asked about the war.

In an interview with Alaska Business Monthly shortly after she took office in 2007, Palin was asked about the upcoming surge. She said she hadn't thought about it. "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq," she said. "I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe."

Seven months into the surge, she still either had not formed any opinion on the surge or the war or just wasn't sharing. "I'm not here to judge the idea of withdrawing, or the timeline," she said in a teleconference interview with reporters during a July 2007 visit with Alaska National Guard troops stationed in Kuwait. "I'm not going to judge even the surge. I'm here to find out what Alaskans need of me as their governor."
You would think that a candidate for VP, someone just one 72-year-old, cancer-ridden heartbeat from the Presidency, would at least have a record of being interested in foreign policy. Instead, she actively avoids it.

Palin and Buchanan

Sarah Palin heard Buchanan's infamous Culture War speech, and she was right there with him. In fact, he called her a "brigadier" for him. Indeed:
Buchanan has his own page on the website of the Anti-Defamation League, which says he has "racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-immigrant views" and offers quotes going back well before 1996, including his 1990 description of Capitol Hill as "Israeli-occupied territory."
This is the speech that she was right along side him for:

That's a hell of a speech. That speech is reflective of the Republican Party declaring war on half the country, who for the most part just want to be left alone, and treated equally. "Fags" are not the enemy. No American should be made to feel like an enemy because of their sexuality, their race, or their religion.

Republicans for Identity Politics

Sarah Palin:
“It was rightfully noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all!”
This exact form of identity politics is exactly what the GOP has always said is bad for the individual, and bad for America. You could pile quotes about Hilary Clinton from the right wing pundits into a staggering tower. "Vote for me because I have ovaries," would feature prominently.

Talk about a long bomb of a pick.

McCain's Taste in Women

Some facts:
  • McCain's wife is a beauty pageant winner
  • McCain's running mate is a beauty pageant winner.
  • McCain's first wife was a successful bathing suit model until a disfiguring accident.
Can anyone propose a unifying theory to these data points?

Is this going to be called sexist?

Palin Wants Polar Bear Off Endangered Species List

These guys shouldn't be considered endangered, eh?

There you go, Palin. That's what Polar Bears think of you.

Palin did NOT Oppose Bridge to Nowhere

So, in her initial pitch, she said that she was against that infamous Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere. This seemed weird to me, since it was the congress critters that put it in the budget, so I started checking it out. Here's her quote from the announcement:
I told Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that bridge to nowhere.
Unsurprisingly, this is flatly not true. Instead, she only voiced opposition when it was clearly a political loser and she was looking to higher office. The best quote proving this is the first, but others follow:
5. Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?

Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now--while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist. Anchorage Daily News October 22, 2006

She cited the widespread negative attention focused on the Gravina Island crossing project. 'We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative,' Palin said." Ketchikan Daily News 9/28/06
People across the nation struggle with the idea of building a bridge because they’ve been under these misperceptions about the bridge and the purpose,' said Palin, who described the link as the Ketchikan area’s potential for expansion and growth. Ketchikan Daily News 8/8/06
One of the keys to understanding this is that line about getting the bridge done while their "Congressional delegation is strong." In other words, let's get this under the radar before we lose our majority in the coming midterms. Furthermore, the Alaska Republican delegation in particular is corrupt to the bone - perhaps the most corrupt Republicans that haven't been thrown in prison yet.

So, she was for the bridge when she thought Ted Stevens and Don Young, bribed Republican politicians that they are, could get them the cool $250 million without drawing attention. It was only when the Democrats shined the light on them that she flipped and tried to pretend that she had said "thanks, but no thanks."

She flat out lied in her first speech. The introduction to the nation of this political unknown! Talk about a hail mary.


Summer Melt

There's that mythical northwest passage opening up. Despite last winter's heavy snow and freeze, we're still on track for record ice loss. I'm sure this evidence will convince the deniers, right? They did send around all those triumphant e-mails crowing about how much ice there was back in February, so I'm sure they're following developments closely. I'll hold my breath. Don't disappoint me GlobalWarmingHoax.net, or you'll have my suffocation on your conscience!

Americans Wont Work for $50/hr!

How is this not the ballgame? I remember seeing this back during the primaries and thinking, "my God. That was the most insulting thing I have ever heard in my life. He thinks any American would rather be homeless or on welfare than do a menial task for $50/hr? My. God. If the immigration thing hadn't killed him already, this would." See how right I was?

The man has had servants his entire life. He's the son and grandson of Admirals. He was provided for by the Navy until he married a bear heiress. It makes perfect sense that he wouldn't have any idea about the lives of real Americans.

Brits Disapprove of McCain's Reckless Georgia Reaction

The WaPo reports:
Sen. John McCain has repeatedly proclaimed that it is time to kick Russia out of the "Group of Eight" organization of industrial powers, even before Russia's recent conflict with Georgia. But the idea has not been embraced by many foreign policy experts, who tend to view it as needlessly provocative.

Today, the top diplomat of one of the U.S.'s closest allies, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, weighed in, calling the notion "knee-jerk," though he did not mention McCain's name.

In a tough speech delivered in Kiev, Ukraine, Miliband said Russia will face consequences for its actions in Georgia. But he added: "In all international institutions, we need to review our relations with Russia. I do not apologize for rejecting knee-jerk calls for Russia to be expelled from the G8, or for EU-Russia or NATO-Russia relations to be broken. But we do need to examine the nature, depth and breadth of relations with Russia."
The Brits want Obama, just like everyone else in the world except those who thrive on division, like Al Qaeda. They see him as reckless, shooting from the hip. So does everyone else.


McCain Loses Tapper!

Jake Tapper, a journalist at ABC referenced favorably and frequently by Rush Limbaugh, has had enough of John McCain's lies:

We in the media have given a lot of airtime to the TV ads of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., this week, starring as they do Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.

There's been evidence emerging that McCain's campaign isn't really running these ads anywhere, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

“These were basically video press releases,” CMAG’s Evan Tracey tells the Wall Street Journal.

OK, so that's kind of dishonest of the McCain campaign.

Today's new McCain ad -- "Tiny," which you can watch HERE -- crosses a new line into dishonesty, however, beyond whether or not it's actually airing anywhere.

The script reads; "Iran. Radical Islamic government. Known sponsors of terrorism. Developing nuclear capabilities to 'generate power' but threatening to eliminate Israel.

"Obama says Iran is a 'tiny' country, 'doesn't pose a serious threat,'" the ad continues. "Terrorism, destroying Israel, those aren't 'serious threats'? Obama -- dangerously unprepared to be president."

This is a dishonest representation of Obama's words.

On May 18, on Pendelton, Oregon, Obama said that "strong countries and strong Presidents talk to their adversaries. That's what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That's what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That's what Nixon did with Mao. I mean think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela -- these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying, 'We're going to wipe you off the planet.'

"And ultimately that direct engagement led to a series of measures that helped prevent nuclear war, and over time allowed the kind of opening that brought down the Berlin Wall," Obama continued. "Now, that has to be the kind of approach that we take. You know, Iran, they spend one-one hundredth of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serio us threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance. And we should use that position of strength that we have to be bold enough to go ahead and listen. That doesn't mean we agree with them on everything. We might not compromise on any issues, but at least we should find out other areas of potential common interest, and we can reduce some of the tensions that has caused us so many problems around the world."

Watch HERE.

That is not even close to Obama saying Iran is a "tiny" country that "doesn't pose a serious threat."

Not even close.

Ouch. And don't you just love Obama's actual words? Don't they ring true? This is the rational, non-machismo-based foriegn policy of a moral nation. McCain's approach is the first term Bush approach, and it has proven to be dangerous.


Drill Here, Drill Now, Get A Few Guys Rich

This is in response to a conservative chain e-mail slamming the Democrats over ANWR, and generally blaming all the energy woes of this country on the party that has not been in power for the last decade. I had a lot of fun writing it, so I figured I'd post it:

The first thing that needs to be said is that John McCain opposes drilling in ANWR! Still. He still does, even after the flip-flop on energy policy a week ago. So that makes this a moot distinction, politically. Hardly worth arguing about, since it's certainly not a reason to vote for McCain over Obama.

But more important is pushing back against the idea that these flip-flops on domestic oil production will help us in any way, since Newt Gingrich is holding up "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" as the "Republicans one chance" at a victory in November. So here are the facts about Newt's proposal. World oil supply is about 85 million barrels per day (mbpd). America uses about 24mbpd. America produces only 8 mbpd. ANWR and the coastal shelves will not start producing for 10 years after the leases are given. When they do produce, it will amount to less than 0.9mbpd! The most optimistic projections show that for oil prices in 2025, this will only reduce oil prices by $1.44... PER BARREL! It's already $143/barrel now! There are 42 gallons in a barrel, from which you get about 28 gallons of refined gas, so that's roughly $0.05 per gallon of gasoline you've saved by potentially ruining this pristine area. (By the way, the pessimistic projections showing it only saving you 41 cents per barrel) Furthermore, this oil wont really be ours in any appreciable way, since Oil is a fungible, world-wide commodity. We could produce 40mbpd in this country and still be subject to the whims of price spikes because the world's supply is not meeting demand.

All of that being said, I'm not sure I really oppose it anymore, given how far behind these Republicans have allowed us to slip by not acting for energy independence sooner when they had complete control. I'm sure safeguards will be in place to avoid wholesale exploitation and ruination of the land, and as long as they are enforced I'm fine with carefully developing those lands. (Enforcement is another reason you want a Democrat in the White House, by the way - no cronies). We are going to need the oil to get us over the transition. But pushing it as a significant part of a solution is just more of the same Republican malarkey that we've been operating under for decades, and that has resulted in those of us in the middle class getting squeezed ever lower! The gap between rich and poor has become a chasm. The trickling down has not happened, and it's had nearly three decades to try! It is time to try something new in this country. It is time to stop being so divided. Obama is an arguably conservative* Democrat, so he can get it done. He wont view Republicans as targets to be vilified, as the Bush/Cheney/Rove White House has done to the Democrats.

Here's some nice charts showing McCain favoring the ultra rich with his tax cuts, and the effects of trickle down economics - stagnation and decline of the middle class:

So come home you Reagan Democrats! You have nothing to fear from the Democratic Party these days. Guns have been off the table for a decade, Welfare reform is on the table, the Democrats are doing massive outreach to the evangelical community, and everyone is treating the troops with respect (even if we no longer respect their Commander-in-Chief). It's time to change course from the new-school Republican policies that have lead to the gradual destruction of the middle class, massive government growth, devaluation of the dollar, and humiliation in the eyes of the world! This is our time! This is our chance to unite for the future! Yes! We! Can!


*: The "study" saying that Obama is the most liberal senator is what we call a load. That National Journal Study is a right-wing rag that always magically finds that the Senators/Governors that are most likely to win the nomination are the "most liberal," based on their arbitrary picks. Obama is arguably conservative because the liberals are pissed off at him over his decision to vote for the FISA compromise, because he decided that National Security interests trump civil penalties for the TeleComms. He has worked with Sen. Brownback, Sen. McCain, Sen. Warner, Sen. Lugar, and Senator Coburn, just to name a few. Hell, he did a bunch of work with Coburn, a guy so rabidly conservative that he was worried that "lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom." He passed Google for Government, a tool that allows public searching of all government spending, with Coburn, in fact. Now, when the government is wasting money they can't just hide it like that Republican Senator did with his Bridge to Nowhere. Obama's a Conservative Dem, when you look at the record and don't watch too much Fox News.

P.S. Oh, and those pictures of beautiful ANWR that the e-mail says are lies? They aren't. There's a huge amount of diversity in the area, and you can frame your photographs any way you want. It will be a blight, and an inconvenience for the caribou, but I bet we can engineer around those problems with a little bit of "guidance" from an Obama Administration.

Obama Love

I love him.

And yes, I just might marry him! That's legal now, you know.

Michelle Obama Brings Down the House

A stunning speech:

Every other eye in the crowd was full of tears at the climax of that speech. All the post coverage mentioned the tears prominently. I could feel it.

Go Michelle, go!


Prebiotic Environment on Titan!

Excellent science news today! Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is known to be almost entirely made of ice - much of it water. Comets bring tholins, which are simple organic molecules. Now, with some new science done by a grad student somewhere, it has been shown that tholins and nearly frozen water can interact, albeit slowly, to create larger organic molecules. These molecules form the basis for life.
While Neish’s work is not a perfect representation of chemistry on Saturn’s largest moon, it nonetheless suggests that similar processes could produce organic compounds in significant quantities during periods when liquid water is available.

On Titan, this suggests that prebiotic molecules might exist in melt water from impact craters and ice volcanoes. And similar processes might have occurred on the early Earth, before our atmosphere contained significant quantities of free oxygen.
Hooray! Let's say hello to our bacterial cousins!


Obama's Starting to Attack

Obama's been trying to be so nice, barely raising his hands to defend the punches leveled at him. But here's evidence that he's been playing the rope a dope - allowing himself to get roughed up in order to affect the narrative. He's run a stunningly positive, issues oriented campaign so far, and McCain has run a scurrilously negative one. That narrative has been so firmly established that even McCain's base in the press is leaving him because of his negativity.

But now that the time is ripening, he's accumulated a significant quiver of McCain's screw ups and he's beating down. He's calling attacks against him lies on top of it. More like this, please.

More of McCain's Base Leaves Him

Jonathan Alter, in Newsweek, writes about how McCain is “making stuff up about Barack Obama.”

As usual, news organizations are deeply afraid to say that one side is more negative than the other. Doing so sounds “unfair.” It’s much easier, and less controversial, to say that “both candidates” are being negative. That would be “balanced”, but also untrue.


Overall, and to his credit, Obama has not engaged in anywhere near the number of falsehoods as McCain.

For about a month, McCain’s campaign has been resorting to charges that are patently false. When Obama traveled abroad in July, to positive reviews, McCain decided he had to make attack ads that went far beyond the norm. In the past, plainly deceptive ads were the province of the Republican National Committee or the Democratic National Committee or independent committees free to fling mud that didn’t bear the fingerprints of candidates. But not this time. These smears come directly from the candidate.

McCain has been lying repeatedly about Obama's tax policies, saying he wants to raise taxes when in fact the average family will see a significantly larger tax cut from Obama than McCain. McCain lied about Obama being to blame for high gas prices. He lied about Obama not wanting to visit wounded troops in Germany. Finally, he's lying about Obama motivation for his foreign policy. Obama is not a traitor.

When he resorts to these kinds of falsehoods, and casts such aspersions on his opponent’s patriotism, John McCain is no longer putting his country first. If he were, he would recognize that the interests of the nation require a relatively truthful campaign. To fulfill his image of himself, McCain should stop lying about his opponent. For a man with his claims to honor and integrity, that’s not too much to ask.

Another one of John McCain's base leaves him.


Tax Cuts are Welfare?

You must be joking! The Wall Street crumb bums and fat cats, to whom tax cuts for the ultra-rich are an item of religious devotion, have decided that when a Democrat cuts taxes it is really just a welfare program in disguise! So much for starving the beast and encouraging personal responsibility, eh?

For the Wall Street Journal to make this argument is just stunningly audacious. It's like they believe all money truly belongs to them - it's just temporarily in other people's pockets until they can swindle it out of them. Why else would they oppose tax cuts that aren't ruthlessly biased towards the top 1%? Remember, 52% of Bush's tax cuts went to the top 1%.

And this comes after decades of pleading with the Democrats to support tax cuts so that the country-club crowd could support them. Outrageous!


Boortz Call Notes - Cone of Silence

Once again, I did a pretty good job of getting this on the air, despite an interruption in the middle over Rove:

Topic words: Saddleback NBC partisan coverage

Howdy Neal, it's always an honor talking to you sir! We've had number of satisfyingly serious conversations. You try to be fair, I think.

So McCain's campaign is hitting NBC pretty hard, huh? Davis the campaign manager sent a letter saying that they were crossing the line of partisan coverage - becoming some sorta liberal FOX News. McCain's campaign is ticked!

But here's the thing, I've got the two things Mitchell reported that's got McCain so Angry again. These are quotes:

-McCain may not have been in the cone of silence

-he may have had some ability to overhear the questions asked to Senator Obama

Now, McCain's own campaign manager, the rove-protege himself says that McCain was in a car with quote no broadcast feed." (Queue lengthy interruption about the validity of mentioning Rove in this context. I ended up prostrating myself and withdrawing the point so I didn't get booted off the air.)

But what does Cone of Silence mean? Words mean things, and THOSE mean you don't have the ABILITY to listen in.

Now, I'm in a car now, and I don't have a broadcast feed, but do you think I could find out the questions in such a situation? Of course I could! So their reporting on this was correct.

(Here, Boortz tries to get me to say that I think McCain cheated, but I don't allow the diversion)

I'm not calling to say that McCain cheated. I'm saying that the McCain campaign is being a dishonest whiny baby about this NBC letter thing.

But since you bring it up, tell me the truth... when McCain was sitting in that church he SAID that he had been in a cone of silence. Now come on, Neal, if this was a Democrat, the radio'd be crowing about how McCain LIED Sat. Night at that church. McCain LIED in CHURCH, Neal! To millions of Christians!

I had more to give, but that little run got me booted. :)


Newt Disintigrates into Silliness

Here's a quote from Newt from last night. It simply defies imagining how utterly stupid this point is.

Seeming to outdo his previous false attacks on this issue, Gingrich claimed that Obama's idea is actually encouraging Americans to "enrich Big Oil" because selling air has "a higher profit margin than selling gasoline":

GINGRICH: Well, I got a very funny e-mail from a retired military officer in Tampa who pointed out that most tire inflation is done at service stations and you pay for it. And it's actually a higher profit margin than selling gasoline. So Sen. Obama was urging you to go out and enrich Big Oil by inflating your tires instead of buying gas.

When you inflate your tires properly, you save 3% on gas. On a $40 tank of gas, that's $1.20 saved. $1.20 saved per tank from then on, you bleeding idiot. So sure, you pay fifty cents or a buck to power the air pump, on which the service station makes a very high profit margin (cuz air is free, you idiot), but you still make that entire cost back in the very next tank, and then go on taking that money from Big Oil into the foreseeable future. It in no way can be said to be enriching Big Oil, even if it's "only supposed to be 'funny'." Oy. Did I mention the word idiot?

At the very least, we can dispense with the notion that this is a serious man, who would not advance arguments that didn't have an intellectual underpinning. Then again, ever since "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" that's been obvious. I should really put up that post dissecting his plan... check back on that one.

Ingraham Off-Air = Evil Beast

(Just in case you missed it, for context:)

If you enjoy watching Fox News people be angry, then you can watch Laura Ingraham just absolutely hate on everyone in the studio for 9 solid minutes. Fun stuff, for those into reveling in the pain of their enemies.

It's even got them mentioning that a "some Hispanic-looking man" must be an illegal. Awesome.

McCain Lies about Missed Energy Votes

A reporter pushing McCain on his missed energy votes:
WALTER ISAACSON: [...] Tom Friedman's column mentioned that you haven't been there supporting the tax breaks that need to be extended for wind and solar. Do you support those breaks, and will you keep pushing for--will you push for it at some point?

JOHN MCCAIN: Yes, and I have, and I have a long record of that support of alternate energy. [...] I've always been for all of those and I have not missed any crucial vote. But my citizens in Arizona know that when I'm running for the President of the United States I have to be out campaigning. But I of course I am for renewable energy
This is a lie. Friedman's column shows that McCain missed every vote on Energy in 2007.
[McCain said at a] motorcycle rally that Congress needed to come back from vacation immediately and do something about America's energy crisis. "Tell them to come back and get to work!" McCain bellowed.

Sorry, but I can't let that one go by. McCain knows why.

It was only five days earlier, July 30, that the Senate was voting for the eighth time in the past year on a broad, vitally important bill -- S. 3335 -- that would have extended the investment tax credits for installing solar energy and the production tax credits for building wind turbines and other energy-efficiency systems.

Both the wind and solar industries depend on these credits -- which expire in December -- to scale their businesses and become competitive with coal, oil and natural gas. Unlike offshore drilling, these credits could have an immediate impact on America's energy profile.

McCain did not show up for the crucial vote July 30, and the renewable energy bill was defeated for the eighth time. In fact, McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the past year -- which effectively counts as a "no" vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn't leave his office to vote.

Despite that, a McCain campaign commercial running during the Olympics shows a bunch of spinning wind turbines -- the very wind turbines that he would not cast a vote to subsidize, even though he supports big subsidies for nuclear power.
If these missed votes become a significant line of attack from Obama I'm sure we'll learn that it's fine because he was a POW.

Update: Youtube of the "misstatement" is here.

Warren Flap over Cheating

The NYTimes confirms that McCain violated the Cone of Silence at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church.

We are told by El Rushbo that words mean things. In this case, "Cone of Silence" means you are isolated - that there is no way for you to cheat. We were led to believe by Rick Warren and John McCain that we didn't have to trust the Rove'd up McCain campaign not to cheat. They lied to us, in church.

While they were in that motorcade, for the first half an hour of the interview, McCain could have listened to as much as he wanted.

“The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” Ms. Wallace said.

Before an audience of more than 2,000 people at the church, the candidates answered questions about policy and social issues.

Mr. Warren, the pastor of Saddleback, had assured the audience while he was interviewing Mr. Obama that “we have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence” and that he could not hear the questions.

After Mr. Obama’s interview, he was joined briefly by Mr. McCain, and the candidates shook hands and embraced.

Mr. Warren started by asking Mr. McCain, “Now, my first question: Was the cone of silence comfortable that you were in just now?”

Mr. McCain deadpanned, “I was trying to hear through the wall.”

Interviewed Sunday on CNN, Mr. Warren seemed surprised to learn that Mr. McCain was not in the building during the Obama interview.

"The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous." Ha! Tell that to McCain's first wife.

McCain Doctrine

Behold this lengthly article in yesterday's New York Times, "Response to 9/11 Offers Outline of McCain Doctrine."

Now, as Mr. McCain prepares to accept the Republican presidential nomination, his response to the attacks of Sept. 11 opens a window onto how he might approach the gravest responsibilities of a potential commander in chief.

Within hours, Mr. McCain, the Vietnam War hero and famed straight talker of the 2000 Republican primary, had taken on a new role: the leading advocate of taking the American retaliation against Al Qaeda far beyond Afghanistan. In a marathon of television and radio appearances, Mr. McCain recited a short list of other countries said to support terrorism, invariably including Iraq, Iran and Syria.

“There is a system out there or network, and that network is going to have to be attacked,” Mr. McCain said the next morning on ABC News. “It isn’t just Afghanistan,” he added, on MSNBC. “I don’t think if you got bin Laden tomorrow that the threat has disappeared,” he said on CBS, pointing toward other countries in the Middle East.

Within a month he made clear his priority. “Very obviously Iraq is the first country,” he declared on CNN. By Jan. 2, Mr. McCain was on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, yelling to a crowd of sailors and airmen: “Next up, Baghdad!”

These are America's worst instincts on display. This excess passion of the masses is explicitly what we want our leaders to be above. It is why we are a democratic Republic, and not a Democracy.

The article concludes with a stunning McCain quote:

I believe voters elect their leaders based on their experience and judgment — their ability to make hard calls, for instance, on matters of war and peace. It’s important to get them right.

Yes, it is important to get decisions of war and peace right, and John McCain went along with the fervor of the moment rather than dispassionately evaluating America's interests. If these are the most important decisions, John McCain fails.


McCain on Georgia again!

John McCain says: "My friends, we have reached a crisis, the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War. This is an act of aggression."

Since the end of the Cold War, John? (I figure we're on a first-name basis, since he's called me his friend so many times). Really?

Let's do an off-the-cuff list of international crises that weren't crises in McCain's mind:

  1. Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
  2. Operation Desert Storm to remove Iraq from Kuwait.
  3. Collapse of Yugoslavia
  4. NATO in Serbian genocide
  5. Events surrounding 9/11 and consequent US invasion of Afghanistan.
  6. US invasion of Iraq.
  7. US peacekeeping in Somalia
  8. The Lebanon/Israel War
  9. The turmoil in nuclear-armed Pakistan
  10. North Korea testing a nuclear weapon
None of those count. Georgia is the first. Thank God we've already got a President McCain to deal with this first international crisis since the Cold War! God knows the Republicans we normally have in charge would screw it all up!

McCain's Mind

Word of the day: Confabulation.
In just the past six weeks, McCain has referred repeatedly to Czechoslovakia as though it still existed and to Vladimir Putin as though he were still president of Russia. More significantly, he has claimed that Iraq borders Pakistan, that the Anbar Awakening occurred after the surge, that the Iraq war was America’s first major armed conflict since 9/11, and that, unlike Obama, he would prefer to speak outside the country only after being elected president.

In May, McCain incorrectly said the U.S. had drawn down its forces in Iraq to pre-surge levels. In March, he wrongly claimed that Iran was training Al Qaeda operatives. Last April, he mistakenly said General David Petraeus regularly drove around Baghdad in an unarmored Humvee. In each of these “McCain moments,” political life would have been easier for the candidate if his statements were true. But none were.

What might be happening in McCain’s head? Gerontologists and retirement planners have learned that aging brains compensate for cognitive decline by relying on templates of familiar knowledge more than problem solving. That’s usually a good thing, but neuroscientists have also found that memory loss can lead people to substitute incorrect information. This phenomenon, called confabulation, rather than being random, often takes the form of untrue “facts” that make them feel better — giving them what scientists have called “the pleasantness of false beliefs.” So are McCain’s stumbles simply misstatements, or evidence of a mind filling in blanks with wish fulfillment? Well, we really have no idea. But neither does McCain: His aides told reporters in May that he has had no mental evaluations in the past eight years.
Science is interesting. McCain, on the other hand, is a bit scary.

McCain Thinks Swiftboating is Funny Now

In 2004, when McCain was still considering becoming a Democrat, he said that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were "dishonest and dishonorable," and that President Bush should condemn them. Those dishonorable smears were led by a Dr. Jerome Corsi, who now has a new book called, cleverly enough, Obama Nation. No link for him.

Corsi's new book is the one alleging that Obama is a crypto-Muslim Black-Power crackhead just waiting till he gets elected to turn us into an Islamic socialist empire. What's McCain '08's response to these deplorable attacks? "Gotta keep your sense of humor." Oy.

That resulted in the following smack from the Obama campaign:

"The old John McCain used to boast about honorable politics, while the new John McCain finds Roveian smears funny. Honor is not a laughing matter. What does John McCain think is funny about an intolerant smear artist who called Pope John Paul II senile and claims the government lied about 9/11? McCain has said he wants to run an honorable campaign, but his belief that these smears are funny makes people question whether he now approves of the same reprehensible politics used to smear his own character eight years ago."

So much for the "civil, respectful" campaign.

McCain's Lawsuits

From Breitbart, a usually conservative publication, we learn the following fascinating tidbits about the McCain family dynamic. It turns out that after the cheating and divorce, McCain's own mother sued Carol, the first wife! The lawsuit was to reclaim personal property left in Carol's possession after the divorce. A second lawsuit was a suit by both Carol and John against a property management company that incorrectly discarded some of their belongings.

Already, this story is weird enough, casting the McCains in a fairly negative light. It gets better.

The court records clearly show the mother filed a suit against Carol in 1990, but:

Curiously, although the records clearly list the plaintiffs, McCain's campaign says that the Arizona senator didn't know about or authorize the 1990 lawsuit with his ex-wife, Carol, and that his mother's 1980 lawsuit was filed "unintentionally." And McCain's 96-year-old mother, Roberta, says she never sued Carol.

How on earth do you file a lawsuit unintentionally? "Oh, no, I only meant to use the threat of a lawsuit to extort what I wanted from Carol. I never wanted to actually file the suit!"

It continues to get better:

In the 1980 lawsuit, filed shortly after John and Carol McCain divorced, Roberta sued Carol to reclaim some personal property, including paintings, a needlepoint screen and a pair of earrings. A settlement was reached in 1981.

But in a brief telephone interview, Roberta denied filing the lawsuit.

"I have never heard of what you're talking about. ... I will put my hand on a Bible," she said, to attest that she had never sued Carol.

Roberta's denial prompted laughter from the ex-daughter-in-law.

"Yes, she sued me," Carol said in a brief phone interview.

Roberta's lawsuit sought personal property she claimed Carol was refusing to return. The disputed items included an "18th century Burmise Buddist Preist (Burmese Buddhist priest)" valued by Roberta at $2,000, and a "Butlers Tray for Liquor" she valued at $225.

I love it when statements are so ridiculous they generate laughter in response.

McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said in an e-mail, "Of course, by all accounts the divorce was completely amicable. After John and Carol McCain's divorce, there was apparently some confusion about belongings that were Roberta McCain's but we understand the court papers were unintentionally filed, and the matter never went further in the legal system. It went nowhere, and was of no consequence."

Relying on "unintentional lawsuit" as a defense is just plain weird. Only an elitist slips and files a lawsuit.

In the 1990 lawsuit, John and Carol McCain jointly sought $1 million in punitive damages after a property management firm mistakenly threw out some McCain family treasures from a garage the McCains shared with an adjacent townhouse. The lost items included letters McCain wrote to his wife as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

In his e-mail, Bounds said McCain "had no knowledge of the suit: He did not authorize the suit or participate in its filing."

But the lawyer who represented the McCains said she did indeed speak to McCain and get his permission to sue on his behalf.

"You can be sure that I talked to and got the permission of any client who is listed as a plaintiff," said attorney Barbara P. Beach.

It would be a serious violation to file an unauthorized lawsuit, and "I haven't been disbarred yet," Beach said with a laugh.

So John's lawsuit was "unauthorized." I guess that's slightly different that unintentional. And once again, we get laughter in response to McCain's denials from one of the expert witnesses. Brilliant.

McCain sure does have trouble with his memory, eh? What with all the memory-related gaffes, we're once again presented an unpleasant set of possibilities. Either McCain is having real cognitive difficulties, and should not be President, or he is using the Alberto Gonzales approach to governing and accountability - "I do not recall" - and is not honest enough to be President.


McCain Thinks He's Pres Already

McCain thinks he's president already.
Standing behind a lectern in Michigan this week, with two trusted senators ready to do his bidding, John McCain seemed to forget for a moment that he was only running for president.

Asked about his tough rhetoric on the ongoing conflict in Georgia, McCain began: "If I may be so bold, there was another president . . ."

He caught himself and started again: "At one time, there was a president named Ronald Reagan who spoke very strongly about America's advocacy for democracy and freedom."

And yet, here's guessing that we wont spend a solid week giving it a segment on every damned news show there is. Just to get this mention there had to be an unseemly accumulation of facts unreported in this direction. "President" McCain's been pulling this stuff since the primary:

But this is also a serious point about McCain, not just the media. He's been talking with the President of Georgia every day. He's been opposed to the real President's policy - one that initially urged restraint on all parts - and he's been directly undermining it via back channels. He's sent his own bloody delegation to the theater of conflict! This is way, way, out of the norm for what Presidential Candidates are supposed to do during a campaign, and in fact may be so far outside the norms that it violates Federal Law - the Logan Act of freaking 1799.

Once again, yet another of our political conventions overturned by these madmen.

Remember, Obama was accused of the same presumptions. Of course, in McCain's case we haven't had to doctor the quote or invent any lies to make him seem presumptuous.


Broyles '08 > McCain '08

Jackie Broyles is your man if you like your presidents ornery and cootish, thereby neutralizing McCain's natural demographic.

White House changes rules to avoid Endangered Species Act

Better practice that beary-paddle, buddy. Either that or evolve gills, quick-like!

The Republicans just changed the rules requiring independent review of endangered species impacts for future projects. Now the "review" can be done by the people with a vested interest in the project going forward, so you can imagine how independent and trustworthy those reviews will be.

Time on Bush's recent rule change:
Environmentalism is synonymous with loss. We fret about the loss of the rain forest, the loss of the Arctic ice cap and, eventually, the loss of a livable planet to climate change. But while that decline is undeniable, it can sometimes obscure several decades of real environmental achievement, including the rehabilitation of scores of animals rescued from the brink of extinction. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) — the 1973 law that requires the Federal Government to protect endangered species and plan for their recovery — iconic animals like the bald eagle, the peregrine falcon and the gray whale have rebounded to healthier numbers. It is one of the real success stories of the green movement.

If the Bush Administration has its way, however, those protections may soon be endangered themselves. The White House on Aug. 11 proposed a sweeping regulatory overhaul of the ESA, virtually eliminating the independent scientific evaluation of the environmental impact of federal actions. The current law mandates that any project that may impact an endangered species and requires approval by a federal agency — for example, a new highway planned by the Department of Transportation that could damage the habitat of a listed red wolf — must undergo an independent review by scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service. The proposed new rules would allow the agency in charge of the project — in this example, the Department of Transportation — to decide whether a review would be necessary.
"Yup. I can do the review for you right now... Ummmm... nope. No endangered species impact at all."

Upitty McCain?

From one of my favorite Conservatives for Obama:
How would the trad media have portrayed Barack Obama if he had behaved as John McCain has done since Georgian President Saakashvili sent troops into South Ossetia? Would it have been 'presumptuous' to issue proposals to intervene in the fighting even before the President had spoken? To stake out an aggressive position far in front of anything the US wished to adopt? To attack a rival candidate for refusing to do the same? ... What if he claimed to be able to speak for the nation? (we're all Georgians)
Damned Liberal Media!

McCain loses more of his Base: Journalists

More of McCain's base is leaving him. It's now clear that he's losing the NYT’s Thomas Friedman. McCain's ridiculous gimmickry over energy is the last straw:

John McCain recently tried to underscore his seriousness about pushing through a new energy policy, with a strong focus on more drilling for oil, by telling a motorcycle convention that Congress needed to come back from vacation immediately and do something about America’s energy crisis. “Tell them to come back and get to work!” McCain bellowed.

Sorry, but I can’t let that one go by. McCain knows why.

It was only five days earlier, on July 30, that the Senate was voting for the eighth time in the past year on a broad, vitally important bill — S. 3335 — that would have extended the investment tax credits for installing solar energy and the production tax credits for building wind turbines and other energy-efficiency systems.

Both the wind and solar industries depend on these credits — which expire in December — to scale their businesses and become competitive with coal, oil and natural gas. Unlike offshore drilling, these credits could have an immediate impact on America’s energy profile.

Senator McCain did not show up for the crucial vote on July 30, and the renewable energy bill was defeated for the eighth time. In fact, John McCain has a perfect record on this renewable energy legislation. He has missed all eight votes over the last year — which effectively counts as a no vote each time. Once, he was even in the Senate and wouldn’t leave his office to vote.

McCain will no doubt dispute this, since he can get any fact wrong without being called on it by the liberal media. Remember him lying to the vet's face about his voting record on veteran's issues? Probably not, since it generated nary a peep.

Liveblogging McCain on Georgia

I know he needs to throw every long ball in order to have a chance, but my god. This is a man hankering to start another war - to have that "moral clarity" that the first Bush Term enjoyed.

(Also,/ interesting how CNN tries to make McCain more interesting by including war footage in 3/4 of the screen, huh? Ha!)

He's making the 1939 analogy, that "we have learned the lessons of what happens when we allow nations to start annexing parts of other nations." That's Hitler, baby. Prime Hitler. Godwin's Law be damned.

"We learned at great cost the price of allowing aggression against free nations to go unchecked. With our allies we must stand with united purpose to withdraw it's troops from Georgia." This is exactly the sort of thing we said in the run up to the Iraq War. It's dangerous talk from a hotheaded man. I don't want a President that might get us into a war with Russia. This, once again, is against our strategic interests.

Finally, in what sense are we "all Georgian's today?" That's the language of 9/11, a sacred day. It's not his place to assign 9/11's emotions to this remote crisis that Georgia started. If Obama had deigned to speak for all Americans in a matter of foreign policy, do you think it might have been judged differently? Presumptuous, maybe?

Georgian President Quotes McCain

Well, he's paid for the right, huh? Via TPM:
The President of Georgia just quoted John McCain in a speech before a large crowd in Tbilisi. It helps having one of the Georgian president's employees running your foreign policy team.

Scheunemann's 'policy' was to get the Georgians ginned up on the idea that we were their close military allies and that we'd come to their rescue if their brinksmanship with the Russians went bad. Well, that didn't work out very well. Any situation where you start the shooting and then find yourself begging for a ceasefire within 48 hours is a major blunder. He's not an 'expert' on Georgia; he's the lead guy on the policy that got us into this situation. And the fact that John McCain would make him his chief policy advisor after he's been the conductor on so many trainwrecks should tell us all we need to know about Sen. McCain's foreign policy judgment.
McCain's initial response to international crises is always one of overreaction, and coupled with the Georgian lobbyist heading McCain's Foreign Policy operation that hotheaded tendency was amplified. If McCain's initial response had been implemented and Georgia was inducted into NATO immediately we would have been automatically entered into a state of war with Russia. That's what it means to be a member of NATO. Were he President, I wonder what the world would be like now.

Hot (White) Chicks Dig Obama

McCain's campaign finally did it. They released an ad making an explicitly racial/sexual attack on Obama. The statement in this ad couldn't be clearer: Hot (White) Chicks Dig Obama.

1) The five "Hot Chicks" featured in the ad were all white. If you count all females in the ad, it was 7 white, 1 black (a newscaster). So clearly, you've got pretty white women in mind when you get hit with the "Hot Chicks Dig Obama" line.

2) When you talk about Culture in America, you're talking about White Middle Class Culture. Therefore, if you don't specify, what your mind conjures is a white woman. The Conservative's response to this is, "YOU'RE being the racist. I don't see race. Just like Stephen Colbert." Bullshit. This is coded communication to your Southern Strategy base. So much for the Bush Administration's apology for those tactics, huh?

Now, not everyone is bothered by the thought of black men fiending after all your white women, but a significantly larger number is bothered by the thought of the young black stud dating their daughter, or their sister.

Finally, to drill home the point that this is an actual racist attack, remember that just 40 years ago black men who "didn't know their place" and so much as looked at a white woman could find themselves hung from a tree. Lynchings are the cultural progenitor of McCain's campaign for President at this point.

That poor, poor man. Rove has always vied against McCain, originally in 2000. He won in 2000 by destroying McCain personally. Rove clandestinely orchestrated attacks that went after McCain's daughter, saying she was a half-black illegitimate child. They attacked McCain over the South Carolina Confederate Flag, making him endorse what he admits he knew at the time was a hateful symbol "for all the wrong reasons. For ambition." They attacked him on his POW status, saying that his time in prison made him crazy and unfit to run the country.

So, Rove has historically competed with McCain, but I wonder if somewhere along the way he grew to hate him as well. Because once again, Rove is personally destroying McCain reputation. McCain's Rove'd-Up Campaign is taking him into the depths of the sewer. If to be a Patriot is to love and defend your country and therefore its traditions, then McCain's campaign is unPatriotic in the same sense that all of Rove's campaigns have been. The man defeated Ann Richards for Governor of Texas by starting a rumor she was a lesbian, for God's sake! The man will channel the worst parts of human nature, and wring victory from our underlying tribalism. It's discouraging generally, and it's heartbreaking to see it happen to McCain, someone I once admired greatly. It looks like Rove will defeat McCain for a second time, and this time he'll stay down.

If only McCain 2000 was running, for the thousandth time.


Attourney General Refuses to Prosecute Bush Admin Lawbreakers AGAIN

Big Surprise.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Tuesday rejected the idea of criminally prosecuting former Justice Department employees who improperly used political litmus tests in hiring decisions, saying he had already taken strong internal steps in response to a “painful” episode.
The Bush Administration thinks that they take oaths to the President. That's unbelievably unAmerican.

If the people tasked with prosecuting criminal acts refuse to do so, a special independent prosecutor may be the only option to retain America as a country ruled by law and not men.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey said Tuesday that the Department of Justice would not pursue criminal charges against former employees implicated in an internal investigation on politicized hiring practices.

“Where there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing, we vigorously investigate it,” Mukasey said in a speech at the American Bar Association. “And where there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, we vigorously prosecute. But not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime.”

Good god. " Not every violation of the law is a crime." I gotta remember that.

Our Change is a Renewal

From ABC, on Republicans for Obama:
Former Iowa Republican Rep. Jim Leach endorsed Barack Obama on Tuesday, saying that the Illinois senator's platform is rooted in "old American values that are as much a part of the Republican as the Democratic tradition."

"Barack Obama's platform is a call for change," said Leach. "But the change that he so gracefully is articulating is more renewal than departure."


Chafee, who left the GOP in March so that he could vote for Obama in the Rhode Island Democratic primary, criticized McCain for changing his stance on the Bush tax cuts.

"I served with McCain and we were the only two Republicans to vote against the Bush tax cuts," said Chafee, referring to a Senate vote in 2001. "He says now he would make them permanent. It's a different John McCain."

The former Rhode Island senator also charged that the Bush administration has damaged U.S. credibility on torture, wiretapping, and carbon-dioxide regulation.

Hauser said she wants to see the war in Iraq ended in a responsible way, adding that she fears that McCain would represent a "third Bush term."

"It's difficult to walk away from your nominee but you have to put your country first," said Hauser.

I agree completely with the idea that Obama's change is, in fact, a returning to America's best traditions. It's not a departure from American norms, it is the renewal of those American norms after a Bush Administration that took the U.S. on a radical departure from what had been our mainstream. Once again, America can be that shining city on the hill.


DoJ Partisanship Reminder

Just a reminder on why that whole Department of Justice thing was important. Not only was the Bush Administration illegally hiring only "Loyal Bushies" to supposedly nonpartisan jobs in our blind justice system, but they were also illegally pressuring prosecutors to prosecute only Democrats, and to do so right before elections.

For the first five years after 9/11, when they were given increased power to pressure prosecutors via the Patriot Act, federal investigations skewed 79%-18% against Democrats. And yet, they've still been bagging Republicans left and right, from Tom Delay to Scooter Libby to Abramoff to Ted Stevens.

This went so far that people in the independent Department of Justice swore an oath to the President! Or, at the very least, they believed that they had taken an oath to President Bush, rather than to the Constitution.

It shouldn't have to be said, but the vast majority of employees of the Justice Department are supposed to be civil servants. They are the people's employees. The White House has its own lawyers, thank you very much. When the White House is allowed to exert too much influence on the DoJ, there cannot be true Justice for all, and that is unAmerican.

Thank you, Republicans, for making the future President Obama the most powerful President in the history of our great Republic. Limited Government, indeed!

Our President in China

Thanks, Pres. Stay classy.

Wont it be nice when he have a President that doesn't make us cringe?

Suskind Reveals More Impeachable Offenses

Ron Suskind has another book out, and it's a doozy. I'll just quote extensively from one of the ObamaCons:

The former head of Britain's MI6, Sir Roger Dearlove, confirms to Suskind on the record that both Bush and Blair received late-breaking but excellent first-hand intelligence that Saddam was bluffing on WMDs. A James Bond character, British spy Michael Shipster, secured a real line of information from an Iraqi intelligence chief. Blair had tasked MI6 with getting to the bottom of the WMD question. Suskind's original source, a high-level American intelligence agent, puts it this way:

"We knew," he says.
"Knew what?"
That there were no weapons in Iraq."

"Sure," I say, "people suspected. Define knew."

Then the story of Michael Shipster, subsequently confirmed by Dearlove. So if we knew there were no WMDs, why did Bush and Cheney go ahead with the invasion? Wouldn't they have known that the lack of WMDs would retroactively destroy the legitimacy of the war? Here's Dearlove's response:

"The problem," Dearlove says, finally, "was the Cheney crowd was in too much of a hurry, really. Bush never resisted them quite strongly enough." His voice trails off as he looks beyond the Old Chruch to the temples o Washington.

"Yes, it was probably too late, I imagine, for Cheney," he says, about stopping the invasion. "I'm not sure it was too late for Bush."

The story of the Bush administration in a single anecdote? Probably, Dick Cheney has a hell of a lot to answer for.


WaPo Hates Obama because of Iraq?

The Washington Post continues its habit of hatin' on people that were right about the Iraq War, with the following biased piece: Obama Tax Plan Would Balloon Deficit, Analysis Finds

Here's the dollar amount Obama would increase the defecit:

According to a recent analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Obama's tax plan would add $3.4 trillion to the national debt, including interest, by 2018.

You'd think the Obama number would be huge by comparison with McCain, given the headline treatment. And yet:

According to the Tax Policy Center, McCain's tax plans would increase the national debt by at least $5 trillion over the next 10 years

So, you've got McCain's plan adding at least 1.6 trillion dollars more to the deficit, and yet that only warrants one sentence of text in a story from an ostensibly liberal publication. Right. Damned Liberal Media. (I can't even muster an exclamation point for that today)

The board of this paper supported the war in Iraq, and the editorial page editor supported the war quite forcefully. It must be a terrible feeling to have hundreds of thousands of deaths on your conscience. I can understand those people wanting to lash out at the people who were right, and made them look like such flower-smelling gullible fools in the process.

McCain doesn't speak for campaign

The New York Times takes a look at McCain's campaign, and notices the same thing I have. It seems that anytime McCain breaks news with his own mouth, his staff walks it back within hours. It's embarrassing.

Mr. McCain is known to sign off on big campaign decisions and then to march off his own reservation. Two weeks ago, he publicly disagreed with his own spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbaker, after she used a line of attack against Senator Barack Obama that he had approved after careful strategizing within his campaign. Ms. Hazelbaker raced out of the Virginia campaign headquarters and refused to take Mr. McCain’s calls of apology, aides said, and a plan to have Republican members of Congress use the same critical line about Mr. Obama’s foreign trip fell apart.

This happens with McCain again and again. The most recent one I can think of is his saying that "everything is on the table" regarding "fixing" Social Security. Not 6 hours went by before his spokespeople were saying that raising the payroll tax was not on the table. Brilliant. Or how about the time McCain's campaign was going around questioning the validity of the foreign trip they themselves had goaded Obama into, calling it the first every political rally held overseas. In this case, it was McCain that walked back the campaign, disagreeing with his own staff and showing that he has difficulty controlling the relatively small campaign organization he now leads. It has not been an inspiring performance, thus far.


McCain is Bush II(1)'s 2nd Term.

The Politico carries a discussion of McCain's response to the Georgia conflict:
Obama’s statement put him in line with the White House, the European Union, NATO, and a series of European powers, while McCain’s initial statement—which he delivered in Iowa and ran on a blog on his Web site under the title “McCain Statement on Russian Invasion of Georgia,”—put him more closely in line with the moral clarity and American exceptionalism projected by President Bush’s first term.

A McCain advisor suggested Obama’s statement constituted appeasement, while Obama’s camp suggested that McCain was being needlessly belligerent and dangerously quick to judge a complicated situation.

So, voting for McCain gets you a reinvigoration of President Bush's disastrous first term - the term where he threw all, not just most, caution to the wind. As Glenn Greenwald argued in Tragic Legacy, it this binary, Manichean world view that led to so many of Bush's failures.

Also of note is the fact that we once again have McCain calling the Bush Administration weak appeasers, since the Obama response is in line with the White House. So remember, as Pat Buchanan says, if you want a President that makes the Bush Administration look like Gandhi, vote for John McCain.

Damned Librul Media! (part a million)

Let me see if I understand this. A candidate for President has received a loads of money from a foreigner named Abdullah who is under investigation for corruption and who funnels money to the campaign through Jordan... and it doesn't seem to be getting any traditional media coverage.

Damned Liberal Media! Why aren't they talking about this story? Oh, right. Because it's about John McCain.

Not that Republicans are ever going to give up whining about it, but the media isn't biased. It's just incompetent.

Hamdan Sentenced to Five Months!

Salim Hamdan, the man who won such a stunning victory in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld before the Congress took it away with the Military Commissions Act, was just convicted of being a dastardly driver for Al Qaeda.

The kicker, though, is that this panel of military officers only sentenced him to serve another 5 months or so, since his years already in captivity are credited against his sentence. The reason for this becomes clear when you remember that since he is considered a enemy combatant for doing all that evil driving, when his sentence is over the Bush Administration reserves the right to continue detaining him until the conclusion of the Global War on Terror.

Essentially they sentenced him to serve out the remainder of the Bush Administration. "These guys aren't going to let you out anyway, so we're giving you the lightest possible sentence." The lightness of the sentence proves that his crimes are not serious, I think.


Edwards the Douchebag

I knew there was something wrong with that guy:

John Edwards repeatedly lied during his Presidential campaign about an extramarital affair with a novice filmmaker, the former Senator admitted to ABC News today.

In an interview for broadcast tonight on Nightline, Edwards told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff he did have an affair with 44-year old Rielle Hunter, but said that he did not love her.

Edwards also denied he was the father of Hunter's baby girl, Frances Quinn, although the one-time Democratic Presidential candidate said he has not taken a paternity test.

What a scummy asshole. And yes, I believe that is the harshest language I've ever used on this blog. Appropriate, I'd say.

As for him not being the child's father, that's just one more lie. Edwards is now telling us that although he knew he was under investigation by the media, he went to see his mistress' newborn baby even though it wasn't also his own? Does that really sound likely?

Obama is the Antichrist

Eschatologists (end-times Christians) agree that the second coming of Christ will be proceeded by the Antichrist - a charismatic leader who will bring together the world under the false messages of peace and transcendence. He will build this unity in order to turn it to his own dark purposes, culminating in leading the world into the battle of Armageddon. That ol' Antichrist. He invented the bait and switch.

Of course, the Republicans are running with it:

America has never faced so many different crises at the same time in living memory. The war with al-Qaida and Islamic terror, the Iran crisis, Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation, the rising price of oil, the falling dollar, enemy acronyms like OPEC, NAM, OIC, U.N. ... Obama is correct in saying that the world is ready for someone like him – a messiah-like figure, charismatic and glib and seemingly holding all the answers to all the world's questions.

And the Bible says that such a leader will soon make his appearance on the scene. It won't be Barack Obama, but Obama's world tour provided a foretaste of the reception he can expect to receive.

He will probably also stand in some European capital, addressing the people of the world and telling them that he is the one that they have been waiting for. And he can expect as wildly enthusiastic a greeting as Obama got in Berlin.

The Bible calls that leader the Antichrist. And it seems apparent that the world is now ready to make his acquaintance.

I'm not saying he's the Antichrist, I'm saying that the bible says that someone just like him is the Antichrist. Hilarious.

Even Time is getting in on it!

The ad was the creation of Fred Davis, one of McCain's top media gurus as well as a close friend of former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed and the nephew of conservative Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe. It first caught the attention of Democrats familiar with the Left Behind series, a fictionalized account of the end-time that debuted in the 1990s and has sold nearly 70 million books worldwide. "The language in there is so similar to the language in the Left Behind books," says Tony Campolo, a leading progressive Evangelical speaker and author.

As the ad begins, the words "It should be known that in 2008 the world shall be blessed. They will call him The One" flash across the screen. The Antichrist of the Left Behind books is a charismatic young political leader named Nicolae Carpathia who founds the One World religion (slogan: "We Are God") and promises to heal the world after a time of deep division. One of several Obama clips in the ad features the Senator saying, "A nation healed, a world repaired. We are the ones that we've been waiting for."


Perhaps the most puzzling scene in the ad is an altered segment from The 10 Commandments that appears near the end. A Moses-playing Charlton Heston parts the animated waters of the Red Sea, out of which rises the quasi-presidential seal the Obama campaign used for a brief time earlier this summer before being mocked into retiring it. The seal, which features an eagle with wings spread, is not recognizable like the campaign's red-white-and-blue "O" logo. That confused Democratic consultant Eric Sapp until he went to his Bible and remembered that in the apocalyptic Book of Daniel, the Antichrist is described as rising from the sea as a creature with wings like an eagle.

Yup. Obama's campaign seal is a hidden message to the Satanists out there. That's gotta be good for a few Satan-lover points in the general election, right?

(h/t the GOS)

Arizona Reporters

The clip-n-save version of this piece from Amy Silverman, an Arizona reporter that has been covering McCain for 15 years. The article is a compendium of all the interesting McCain stories from the last three decades.

Some of it (the Keating Five story) is familiar, though I hadn't known that the decision of the Senate Ethics Committee to blame McCain less than the others was based in part on the fact that some of his misconduct had taken place when he was a member of the House.

New stuff (to me):

1. McCain arranges for an extortion investigation against he guy who blew the whistle on his wife's theft of medicine from the charity she ran.

2. McCain brings a reporter with him on a visit to the ailing Mo Udall.

3. McCain threatens the job of a federal scientist for sticking to his opinion about whether a University of Arizona project threatens an endangered squirrel species.

4. A Republican governor is driven from office and replaced by a Democrat, Rose Mofford, who previously served as Secretary of State and has little knowledge of the Central Arizona Project, a huge piece of Federal pork. McCain helps Republican efforts to get her recalled by setting her up to be blindsided at a Senate hearing just eight days after she is sworn in. He gleefully brags about his role at lunch with a newspaper publisher — "I'll embarrass a Democrat any time I get the chance" — then proceeds directly to tell a bunch of reporters "I'd never do anything like that." He later calls the Governor and tells her "I didn't have anything to do with that."

Silverman also has stories about the cream-puff treatment McCain has gotten from the press. No reason to think that will change just because she has some facts.

Very interesting article. For those of you unfamiliar with McCain's self transformation into the maverickey identity that took him through 2003, the Keating Five scandal is particularly instructive.


Tire Gauges vs Offshore Drilling

Obama is being mocked for suggesting that if Americans would inflate their tires and perform regular maintenance, the benefits would be greater than if we gave the Republican Oilmen exactly what they want on Offshore Drilling. Furthermore, those results would be immediate, whereas the Offshore drilling wont have any affect at all for a decade.

Well, it turns out that everyone agrees with him. Of course, not that that will stop the mockery. "Ol' Obama's acting smart again! Actin' big for his britches!"

The Bush administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 barrels per day by 2030. We use about 20 million barrels per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage by 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone else did, we could reduce demand several percentage points immediately. In other words: Obama is right.


Update: The man himself:


"At Least Bush Deserves Credit for US Not Getting Attacked Again"

Even on talk radio everyone seems to hate President Bush. The most vigorous defense of their previously beloved President they can muster is to say that "well at least President Bush deserves credit for keeping us safe since 9/11."

There are a couple of things wrong with this, either of which is fatal to the argument.

First, and most obviously, we have not been kept safe since September 11, 2001. Although it had been swallowed by the memory hole until just recently, everyone should remember the Anthrax Attacks - attacks that only targeted "liberals." So, even on its own terms this argument is incorrect.

More significantly, however, is the fallacy of timing. Conservatives employing this argument will always list the terrorist attacks that predated 9/11 in order to drill home the impressiveness of us "not being attacked again since." The list will look something like this:
It was one of series of terrorist attacks that included the blackhawk down incident, the first World Trade Attack, Kobar Towers Attack, the Twin Embassy Attack, the USS Cole Attack...
"Wow," you think, "that was a lot of attacks from 1993 to 2001." Of course, only one of those attacks is a good analogue for the 9/11 attacks. Only the first attack on the WTC in 1993 was an attack on a civilian target, inside America. If one were to include attacks like the USS Cole Attack the number of terrorist strikes on "America" would have gone up astronomically thanks to Bush. Given that the first WTC attack was eight years before Al Qaeda's second attack on our soil, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect something like another 8 years until they try again. That puts it out of Bush's Presidency, and therefore not something to credit him with.

I know this is just the last refuge of a conservative movement that once followed George W. Bush as if he were the physical avatar of the God of Conservatism, but that doesn't mean I should leave it to provide even that illusory comfort, right? President Bush, after what he did to this country, deserves all the blame and derision we can heap on him.

Iraq's Progress

The Iraqi Provincial Elections have been canceled. So much for that.
Despite intense U.S. pressure, Iraqi leaders failed Sunday to resolve differences over how to govern the oil-rich city of Kirkuk — a dispute that is blocking provincial elections and stoking tension in the volatile north.
Yup. That's what I've been saying. They make enough progress for us to talk about it back here in the press, then everything falls apart before they actually pass the thing. This allows the "we are winning in Iraq" storyline to remain alive.

Also, this is further evidence that some real pressure on the Iraqis is necessary to get this type of political reconciliation to take place. Currently, with the open-ended Bush-McCain policy, they know that all the "intense U.S. pressure" imaginable wont matter in the real world. The leaders can dawdle all they like because they know the American military will be there to keep them alive. Once you start putting hard deadlines on withdrawal, however, it becomes clear very quickly that they need to make their fellow Iraqis stop killing each other, lest the rulers themselves fall under the knife.

Once again, Obama was right.