Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pelosi: It's So Hard For A Prez To Find Good Help These Days

Speaker Pelosi was on Larry King this evening. I was with her until this exchange.

KING: President Johnson, toward the end of Vietnam, he didn't run for reelection, exhibited extreme torture himself. You see it in all the tapes that have been released, the look on his face. And he died soon after leaving office.

Why do you think this president doesn't appear to exhibit that kind of pain over all this public opinion against?

PELOSI: I think he believes he is on the right course even though the facts on the ground speak to a different reality. And I just don't know, but I don't think he's getting good advice.

Puhleeze. I've heard this excuse made for this sorry example of a decider numerous times. A POTUS can get advise from most any citizen in this country or even the world at the snap of his fingers. If you are a professor or scholar teaching Middle Eastern affairs at the University of Washington, and you are summoned to the White House unexpectedly in the middle of the night because the President wants to consult with you, you wipe the sleep out of your eyes, get dressed and catch the first flight to D.C.

And what was the Iraq Study Group if not one large bi-partisan advisory panel?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hillary's Fantasy Speech

Gary Kamiya over at Salon has penned a wonderful speech that Hillary Clinton might give in a perfect world. In this perfect world, she would be perfectly in tune with her Democratic base as well as with most Independents and even many Republicans. The fact that she never would, and genetically never could, even come close to delivering this speech, is only an indication of how far removed from the truth is the deception she has been living... how far from being honest with her constituents and the electorate she has been. Here is a little taste:

Until now, I have been saying, "If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have voted for it." That is a pathetic evasion. So let me say it clearly and forthrightly. I was wrong to vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq. Like most of my blue-state Democratic colleagues, I voted for the war out of cowardice, for purely self-serving political reasons. I didn't want to appear "soft on terrorism." I knew I was giving an incompetent president surrounded by ideologues with dubious motivations carte blanche to launch an unjustified and incredibly risky war. And I did it to save my own political skin.

Moreover, I knew I was wrong even as I did it. It was the greatest mistake of my life, and I will never stop regretting it. I will feel to my last breath that I bear some share of responsibility for an unjustified war that has become America's greatest foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, and has needlessly cost the lives of more than 3,000 American troops and as many as 700,000 Iraqis.


For far too long I have been a follower, not a leader, timidly shaping my views to correspond to some imagined political center, some vague sense of a "silent majority." It's the same gutless deference to "Middle America" that caused the media to cave in to Bush's war. Well, I've decided it's time to lead, not follow. The truth is, Middle America is more sensible, and conservative in the traditional sense, than we give it credit for. And it's waiting for someone to tell it the truth.

There are many more big and juicy truths, facts and insights that we will never hear from the mouth of the Senator from New York, even though this knowledge, we sense, must exist in her mind to a great degree. Read the entire thing. It's an eye opener.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bill O'Reilly Finds a Liberal

SEE Bill O'Reilly identify Tammy Bruce as a liberal. LISTEN to Tammy psychoanalyze Bill Maher and the rest of us Bush haters as having unresolved parental issues. HEAR her say Clinton's personal behavior was more destructive to people than Bush's policies. WATCH her claim the attacks on Bush are worse than those against Clinton because Bush critics are without reason.

Why don't news show hosts ask actual Bush haters why they hate Bush? By the same token, why don't they ask actual jihadist terrorists why they hate America instead of asking Republicans? I'm sure you'd get much more accurate answers.

Oh and by the way, DIG Bill Maher telling it like it is!

An Unreasonably Principled Man

Sure, I'm an Obama supporter. He is an attractive, smart guy. Articulate and clean too. But at this point, I have to confess his main attraction for me is mainly as the candidate most likely to slay Hillary before she has a chance to lose in the general election. Should Al Gore toss his hat (or his Oscar statuette or his Nobel Peace Prize) into the ring, I'd jump over to his ship in a heartbeat. But deep down, I'm not really happy about any of it.

This Chris Hedges piece is a brief for arguably the most principled man in politics. And my natural extension, it is also a stark look at our troubled and corrupt system. It is a reminder to me that Democrats look good only by comparison. It confirms to me that there is cause for my general underlaying malaise about the American political process, and a reminder of why I voted for Nader in 2000, and why I have no regrets for doing so.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hillary Can Keep Her Damn Apology

From today's New York Times:
In the end, she settled on language that was similar to Senator John Kerry’s when he was the Democratic nominee in 2004: that if she had known in 2002 what she knows now about Iraqi weaponry, she would never have voted for the Senate resolution authorizing force.

Yet antiwar anger has festered, and yesterday morning Mrs. Clinton rolled out a new response to those demanding contrition: She said she was willing to lose support from voters rather than make an apology she did not believe in.
I myself have no burning desire to hear Hillary apologize for her Iraq vote. She’s had a good four years to do so and she hasn’t yet. It’s far too late now. If it must be forced out of her mouth at this point, it will not have come from her heart. It will just be another political calculation. It will be worthless for those of us who seek leadership, principle and authenticity.

Her Kerryesque "If I knew then" answer to the question of whether her vote as a mistake is inane and grating. There were millions of us who opposed this war from the very beginning, who could see that the administration was lying about WMD, that it was a diversion from going after bin Laden, that it was just a terrible idea to invade and occupy a major nation in the middle of the Muslim Middle East as a response to 9/11, and that it was the wrong way to deal with extremist Islamic terrorism. We protested in the streets and we called and faxed our representatives urging them not to write a blank check for Bush and Cheney -- and they ignored us.

Moreover, many of us were well aware of the "Bush Doctrine" of military preemption, unilateral action, world dominance and hegemony, which he introduced in his commencement speech to the graduating class of West Point on June 1, 2002 and was formally set forth in The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, published on September 20, 2002, well in advance of the Senate's October 11 vote giving Bush his authority to use force against Iraq.

How much warning does a U.S. Senator need? Was Hillary not paying as close attention as we were? When a man (a lying, moron of a man) is threatening to shoot somebody, and then you give him a gun and a license, should you then be surprised when he kills somebody?

Knowing what we all knew then, we all showed better judgment than Hillary Clinton.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Doug Stanhope

Lately, I've abandoned listening to music and audio books on my mp3 player in favor of comedy albums. But excellence in comedy is hard to find. As in all other fields of human endeavor, most of it is poor to average... puerile, adolescent, safe, hackneyed and unoriginal. In the words of Salieri, "Mediocrity is everywhere." Fortunately, I don't have to listen very long to a comic's act before realizing whether it's shlock or not -- unlike reading or listening to an audio book where you've waded 50 or 100 pages into it before you realize it's junk.

I just discovered Doug Stanhope. You might call him the spiritual heir of the immortal Bil Hicks. I would immediately put him in line for a place in the pantheon with Carlin, Bruce and Pryor. I do not make such declarations lightly and it frightens me that I actually wrote that.

For the faint of heart, I would warn that, yes, he is drunken, foul and coarse, but the content of what he says is unapologetic, irreverent, iconoclastic truthtelling. His honesty strikes you and his audiences immediately as outrageous, as truthtelling often is. His bits don't come off as polished, overly rehearsed, stand-up comedy set pieces. They don't even sound so much like jokes as they do a spontaneous conversation with the audience -- like hanging out at the bar with a good, funny friend riffing with you late at night about junk he's been thinking about in the darkest, but honest corners of his mind. He's less a comic and more a ranting monologist with a strong libertarian bent. By stating those obvious, yet not-so-obvious, dark truths that lurk in the back of our minds, and stating them so bluntly and colorfully, he shocks us into laughter.

Do yourself a favor, buy one of his CDs or rent his DVD Deadbeat Hero. Or go see him live if you get the chance.

9/11 Made Hillary Vote for Iraq War

From an interview with The Associated Press only last month:

Attention focused on Iraq and her vote to authorize the use of force ahead of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. Presidential rivals such as former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards now say the vote in support was a mistake.

"There are no do-overs in life," Clinton said. She says Congress received bad information going into the vote and that she would have voted differently given what she knows now.

"As a senator from New York, I lived through 9/11 and I am still dealing with the aftereffects," Clinton said. "I may have a slightly different take on this from some of the other people who will be coming through here."

So, what is her point? That she bought into the paranoid neocon notion that Iraq was connected to 9/11 somehow?