Thursday, September 28, 2006

Seriousness of the Day

Apparently, opposing specific inhumane torture techniques is unserious and irresponsible:
What kind of damage could this do? Islamists who watch American media will note the exceptions McCain listed and tell their operatives that they will not need to prepare for waterboarding and can prepare for less rigorous techniques. While it isn't quite the same thing as telling them all of the approved techniques, it gives another edge to the Islamists -- an edge we didn't need to give them.

Serious and responsible people would understand this. Apparently, John McCain doesn't qualify as either.

Please, can we have a modicum of seriousness?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mail-Order Venison

The Editors manage to get George Allen off the hook.

Greenwald vs. Goldberg

Aka, Goldberg vs. History. I love how easily Greenwald hands Jonah's ass to him on a platter:
It is hard to overstate how false Goldberg's claim is, as even Byron York reported, in Goldberg's own magazine, National Review (emphasis added): "Instead of striking a strong blow against terrorism, the action [launching cruise missiles at Osama bin Laden] set off a howling debate about Clinton's motives. The president ordered the action three days after appearing before the grand jury investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair, and Clinton's critics accused him of using military action to change the subject from the sex-and-perjury scandal -- the so-called 'wag the dog' strategy."

Leading GOP political figures and pundits repeatedly voiced such criticisms against Clinton:

You can read the damning list from there. Jonah is forced to admit that it's a good list, but strikes back with the assertion that...Greenwald's annoying. Snap!

Seriousness of the Day

I mean, Hugh Hewitt of the day:
President Bush and the GOP are serious about the war. The Democrats are not, are in fact dangerously ill-informed about the threat, and their "strategy" is a recipe for disaster. All of this is becoming so blindingly clear that the consequences will show in November.

If Hewitt so desired, I'm sure I could write a simple computer program that would generate his daily posts for him.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Coffee Break

Shrill Clinton gets Rice in a huff. As The Editors note, only shrillness can save us now.

A scrubbed-down and renovated Superdome plays host to an emotional Saints victory.

Cherie Blair apparently thinks Gordon Brown is a liar. Or a similar-sounding word.

I can't wait to see Musharraf on the Daily Show.

Europe: surreptitiously taking over the world.

I'm guessing he was the al Qaeda #2.

Extra Bonus Seriousness of the Day

This is about as succinct as it gets. And he even quotes Hewitt!

Seriousness of the Day

Meetings are not serious:
There have been, what, a thousand meetings at every level from platoon to the Office of the Secretary and the Oval Office, from the mid-ninties until today, and bin Laden is still not captured or known to be dead. By now the Bush Adminsitration has certainly passed the Clinton Adminsitration in "meetings held" by a factor unknowable but certain to be large.

"Meetings held" like the demotion of Richard Clarke are the parts of the Clinton narrative that most offend serious people, because neither mean anything.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Seriousness of the Day

I was in Pittsburgh for a week, so blogging was on hold. But the master, Hugh Hewitt, never goes on vacation. Here's his interview with Thomas Edsall:
HH: One of the interesting passages, and very candid ones in Building Red America is where you recognize the security gap between Democrats and Republicans. And you write about the fact that the Pelosi Democrats, the Ned Lamont Democrats, the Harry Reid and Howard Dean Democrats have really lost the confidence of America on national security issues. Do you think it’s fair for Americans to judge them less serious about security than Republicans?

TE: Yeah, I think they come out of an anti-war tradition, anti…their voting records of Democrats on the whole is much more anti-defense weapons systems. And there is, as I’ve said at the beginning of this interview, an underlying hostility to people in the military among many on the left.

Update: This is too easy.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Extra Bonus Seriousness

It's hard to keep up with the seriousphere. Here's Michael Tanji from the Weekly Standard:
IT TOOK ONLY A FEW MINUTES for media outlets to disseminate headlines about how the recent Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report comparing pre-war intelligence claims against post-war findings was a refutation of the stated reasons for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Focusing on the conclusions of the multi-section report, most news accounts walked down a checklist of the "lies" allegedly perpetrated by the Bush administration.

But the SSCI report is of limited use for anyone seriously attempting to understand what was--and was not--going on in pre-war Iraq.

Senate report, schmenate report. Facts and findings are not serious until we confer seriousness upon them.

Coffee Break

The deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank, who has crusaded against corruption and money-laundering, is gunned down in Moscow.

A gunman opens up in a Canadian college, killing 1 and wounding 19 before killing himself.

Nancy Grace is the devil.

GOP renegades are standing strong. Good for them.

Northwest coffee culture comes to NYC.

This headline says it all about how it's going in Iraq.

Novak and Armitage disagree about the nature and manner of the leak. Some theories about why Novak's story seems to be changing.

Seriousness of the Day

It's not that I want to pick on Hugh Hewitt every day, it's just that he consistently delivers the goods:
Most Senate Democrats oppose the legislation, and that opposition should be the centerpiece of the GOP campaign over the next eigth weeks. Democrats are simply not serious about the war or about preventing terrorism.

He must be the most serious blogger of all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Great Awakening

Knowing that Bush sees the war on terror as a religious struggle really doesn't make me feel better.


This NYT piece by Ramesh Ponnuru fits into the classic CW as well -- popular among both Republicans and much of the mainstream media -- that everything works to the advantage of Republicans, no matter what. Ponnuru just takes this to its logical extreme: losing is really winning.

I can see some of the logic - that Republicans maintaining absolute power over congress and the presidency until 2008 makes it more likely that voters will turn against the GOP in that election. But I don't buy his assumption, that Dems taking a small majority in the House will sour voters against them for 2008. If Dems re-take the House, it will be a first small step toward regaining some power from this corrupted GOP. And initially it won't be much power, unless they miraculously get a majority in the Senate too.

But most importantly, what Ponnuru doesn't point out is that the Republicans shouldn't lose for strategic reasons; they should lose because they deserve to lose.

And Digby takes Ponnuru to task even further here.

Path to 9/11 Redux

The Guardian gives the lowdown on David Cunningham, the film's director.

Seriousness of the Day

From the master of serious thought, Hugh Hewitt:
The fact is, post 9/11, the parties have come to two very different places on terror. The Republicans may be wrong (I think they’re more right than wrong, but that’s neither here nor there), but at least they’re serious. The Democrats are both wrong and frivolous. So anything that makes people think about terrorism and national security works to the Republicans’ advantage.

This is so perfect and ridiculous, I love it. So, the Republicans may have waged the war on terror with complete ineptitude, but at least they're serious. Not like those frivolous Dems. Hewitt captures so much of the right-wing CW in just a few lines, it's amazing. Like believing that anything relating to security and terrorism works for the GOP, no matter how dangerously incompetent they've been.

Coffee Break

Lincoln Chafee wins the Republican Rhode Island primary, discouraging some Dems but also sending a threatening message to the far-right of the GOP.

Apple unveils its movie download service, though content is limited to Disney-related films.

Chavez and Livingstone, together again.

A day later, enmity between the US and Syria returns.

Police find 65 more bodies of torture victims in Baghdad.

Better use your bell.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lowry and Kristol

In addition to the Greenwald quote below, I like this short comment from Atrios. Lowry and Kristol are the editors of the two premier conservative magazines in America, and they have been more wrong about American foreign policy than anybody else these past years. Why do they still have a voice in the media, in places like the Post? They should be shunned.

Matt Lauer

This is the best thing I've ever seen from Matt Lauer. My favorite line is when W, who is obviously incredibly uncomfortable at that moment, interrupts and says "Let me remind you, September 11th was a bad day." He has become such a parody of himself. It's amazing that he thinks such simplistic invocations can sweep aside the issues at hand (in this case, our shameful use of torture and secret trials). I'm amazed anyone believes a single word he says anymore.

Seriousness of the Day

Today, Glenn Greenwald takes a close look at Rich Lowry, Serious Foreign Policy Expert:
Just go read a few Rich Lowry columns about Iraq over the last few years -- just pick some randomly -- and then ask yourself if there is anyone you would trust less on national security; ask whether, short of being Bill Kristol, it would be possible to have been more wrong about everything. Virtually every one of his Iraq columns are filled with bitter mockery of those who were right, along with pompous predictions about what would happen which were plainly grounded in a world composed in equal parts of adolescent fantasy and rank ignorance.

But as always with Iraq and terrorism debates, being endlessly wrong is a sign of profound seriousness, and cheering on wars -- no matter how misguided and misinformed the cheering is -- renders one a serious foreign policy expert who recognizes the serious threats we face in these very serious times. That's why, when The Washington Post wants to find someone to counsel us on its Op-Ed page as to what to do in Iraq, it turns to two of the Wrongest People in America.

Poker and the Poorman

Just a little flashback to one of the funniest posts ever.

Coffee Break

Islamic militants attempt to storm the US Embassy in Damascus. Syrian security forces kill 3.

This is ridiculous.

Americans don't believe Bush has any more credibility.

One of the fathers of modern environmentalism, James Lovelock, makes the case for nuclear power.

Why did Bush use a 9/11 commemoration speech to talk about Iraq?

Hamas softens its words but continues its violence.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Coffee Break

Multiple moments of silence are held to remember the 9/11 victims.

Blair doesn't get a very warm welcome in Lebanon.

Tim Russert gives Cheney a long-overdue grilling.

Five years on, development at Ground Zero has been painfully slow.

Sarkozy lines up against Turkey entering the EU.

Cameron isn't a neo-conservative, but Brown might be.

Seriousness of the Day

Hugh Hewitt gets all serious:
Every time I think the Democrats have hit bottom, they dig a new basement.

I suspect the extreme reaction of the Senate Democrats is based on the sudden recogntion that the fall campaign will be waged on the single issue of which party is serious about national security. The president's demand for action on key fronts yesterday has clearly thrown the Dems into disarray as they realize that the American electorate will not reward more fecklessness on the part of Democrats. Now arrives a major television event that exposes the specifics of Democrtaic-era "stewardship" of national security, and they are in a frenzy to do whatever it takes to keep that memory down the memory hole.

BBC2 Responds

So this is the email I got back in response to my complaint:
Thank you for your e-mail.

'The Path to 9/11', to be transmitted over September 10 & 11 is a drama based on real events and, as with any drama, the writer's perspective will be brought to bear on those events. A statement at the beginning of the programme is clear about the sources and methods which have been used:

"The following dramatization is based on the 9/11 Commission Report and other published sources and personal interviews. Composite and representative characters and incidents, and time compression have been used for dramatic purposes".

It is not our practice to engage in public debate about the contents of programmes before they've been transmitted, but what we will say is that this subject matter is always going to be politically controversial. Most of the events take place when the Clinton administration was in power so naturally it will feature heavily.

The programme has been reviewed by the Editorial Policy team and we are confident it lives up to high standards of fairness and accuracy.

With this in mind, we hope you will enjoy the drama.


BBC Information

Friday, September 08, 2006

FISA Round-Up

Anonymous Liberal summarizes what's at stake with the wiretapping issue:

Is it even possible to be any more disingenuous? The amendments to FISA contained in the Patriot Act were passed with the express purpose of giving the president the ability to listen in on any calls involving al Qaeda agents. Every single politician in the country is unambiguously in favor of listening in on al Qaeda's calls and to suggest otherwise is entirely dishonest.

Bush doesn't need any further Congressional authorization to intercept terrorist communications. What he wants is for Congress--via the Specter Bill--to do away with any requirement that the courts oversee what the executive branch is doing. He wants us to return to the pre-FISA era of unchecked executive power, where the J. Edgar Hoovers of the world could spy on whoever they wanted to without fear of being held accountable.

Thankfully, Republicans such as Heather Wilson understand the issue:
"You need checks and balances in place to make sure future administrations or even civil servants don't get out of line," said Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.), sponsor of the main House surveillance bill. Unlike Specter's bill, she added, "my bill was not authorized by the White House."

I like that quote, because it reinforces how the Bush administration is so often short-sighted in the sense that it does things for the benefit of their administration. If GOP lawmakers look ahead to a time when they are no longer in control of the White House, do they really want the president to have unfettered surveillance powers? Of course not. It should never be the case. But because they are in power, every decision is calculated to give the president more power. If they have their way, I suspect the GOP will come to regret this one day. In other words, this shouldn't be a partisan issue, but rather a checks-and-balances issue.

NYT on Secret Prisons

It's refreshing when a newspaper points out that the president is lying. Not everything should be framed as a debate between two parties. Some things are simply true or not.

Coffee Break

Belgian doctors discover that some patients in persistent vegetative states are aware of their surroundings and able to understand instructions.

ABC might head back to the editing room.

A coalition of Senate Republicans, Democrats and military lawyers resist Bush's tribunal proposals.

Marion Jones is clear. Makes you wonder about Floyd Landis and Justin Gatlin.

Belgian police arrest neo-Nazis in alleged terror plot.

Israel ends naval blockade of Lebanon.


Also, BBC2 is going to be showing Path to 9/11 over here as well. If you want to drop them a complaint, here's how. You might ask how buying programmes from the US Republican Party is the best use of license fee money.

ABC and 9/11

There's hope yet. Apparently ABC is being inundated with criticisms from viewers as well as lawyers from the Clinton cabinet.

What I think is most interesting is that conservatives aren't even pretending that The Path to 9/11 is fair or balanced. They just keep saying that they need to get Republicans rallied around this movie, and that Dems shouldn't complain since they had Fahrenheit 9/11. In other words, they're admitting it's a partisan piece.

As Jonah should note, there are huge differences. Michael Moore makes no pretenses of being nonpartisan, and he has been lambasted for dishonesty and disingenuousness by people on both ends of the spectrum, myself included. But supposedly, The Path to 9/11 is based on the 9/11 commission report and is a nonpartisan docudrama to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of the attacks. Now that it's been revealed to be a right-wing hit piece on the Clinton administration, ABC should feel compelled to pull it.

Seriousness of the Day

Unsurprisingly, from National Review:
Civil-liberties extremists have already decried the CIA program under which these terrorists have been held and the interrogation techniques used against them. But the simple fact is that they are crucial to saving lives. That’s why the White House has proposed legislation to ensure that they continue — giving voters a chance, before the midterm elections, to see how serious their senators and congressmen are about keeping them safe.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Seriousness of the Day

From Hugh Hewitt:
I’m especially uncomfortable with this controversy since it’s so unnecessary. The record of the Clinton administration on terrorism is an embarrassment and a disgrace. All serious studies of the matter have reached the same conclusion.

Politics of the Guantamo Move

Josh Marshall understands the simple politics of the Guantanamo 14. It's a clear challenge from Bush, who believes that engaging this issue before November will benefit the GOP politically. So now we have to pin our hopes on the integrity of 3 senators. Here's hoping they stand firm.

Coffee Break

Bush admits use of torture in secret CIA prisons.

When Glenn Greenwald and John Podhoretz both believe that Bush is now committed to military action against Iran, it's time to be concerned.

Tony Blair looks ready to cave to pressure and name a departure date.

GOP blocks Rumsfeld no-confidence vote.

Two are dead in a Russian nuclear sub fire.

ABC and the Path to 9/11

So, ABC is marketing this as a "dramatization...not a documentary," which contains "fictionalized scenes." They also claim that it's based on the 9/11 Commission report, although, as the Post notes, the ABC drama and the 9/11 report conflict with each other. Figures such as Richard Clarke, Madeline Albright, and Sandy Berger have disputed key events of the ABC drama. ABC has further inflamed matters by providing sneak previews to right-wing pundits and right-wing blogs, but not allowing former Clinton officials to see the same previews.

First off, why ABC thinks that the five-year anniversary of 9/11 warrants a fictionalized version of the build-up to the attack, rather than a documentary or non-fiction docudrama, is anybody's guess. Second, ABC has clearly betrayed their biases to the world on this. If they were attempting to tell the truth, they would be open to giving advance viewings to all interested and relevant parties, but they're not forthcoming in doing so. How deep in the GOP pockets are they?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

ABC and 9/11

Digby asks the right questions: why would ABC choose far-right filmmakers to make a supposed documentary about 9/11? And does this illustrate a pattern of ABC caving to the far right in its programming decisions?

Via Greenwald, we're reminded of CBS caving to the wingers regarding an "insufficiently reverent" docudrama about Reagan. Why do the major networks lose their spine when the right-wing makes a little noise? They're willing to go as far as false historical revisionism to make the Republicans happy.

Seriousness of the Day

From Red State:
A note on this: the Democrats have taken it upon themselves to issue a critique of the President's policy before he gave his speech, which they archly call "Neo-'Con.'" Now I'm as big of a fan of a good pun as anyone, but there is a time and a place for such things. Even if you are awed by the cleverness of the genius who crafted this rapier word play on "conservative" and "confidence trick," you should probably resist the temptation to make a pun the title of your counter-terrorism policy, which you are issuing in an attempt to make voters believe you have a serious alternative to Mr. Bush's strategy to propose. Of course, the Democrats have no such thing.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Malkin Ahmadinejad

Andrew Sullivan finds out just how damningly similar Christianists and Islamists can be.

Homelife of a Justice

What exactly has Justice John Roberts been telling his kids?:
"Let me explain the government to you. There’s God, then there’s the president and then there’s my father.”

— Jack Roberts, 6-year-old son of Chief Justice John Roberts, overheard speaking to one of his young peers on the last day of summer camp

Scarily, Kathryn Lopez thinks that qualifies him as the smartest kid in the country.

Coffee Break

The final decision in the Mexican election should come today.

Kofi Annan will help mediate discussion between Israel and Hezbollah to free the kidnapped soldiers.

Summer break is over for Congress.

GOP puts immigration overhaul on hold in advance on the November elections.

Israel settles in.

Somehow, opium cultivation is up by 59% in Aghanistan.

In better Aghani news, some 200 Taliban fighters are killed.

The Fear of Mark Steyn

Steyn apparently has a problem with the Fox newsman and cameraman participating in a videotaped "conversion" to Islam in order to save their lives. The typically brilliant Glenn Greenwald dismantles Steyn here.


This is a great and much-needed discussion of appeasement. What with Rumsfeld and Cheney bringing out that bogeyman again and again recently, some historical perspective is in order. I particularly like the points about Lyndon Johnson becoming trapped in Vietnam because he didn't want to appear like another Neville Chamberlain and about Reagan making enemies in the 1980s for holding talks with the USSR rather than confronting them militarily. It's good to remember where the fear of appeasement can lead. Don't let Rumsfeld and Co. get away with using the same bogeyman in Iran that they used in the build-up to Iraq.

Seriousness of the Day

Alas, if you spend even a fraction of time reading the comments sections at even eggheady leftwing blogs (Tapped, for example) your faith in the good will and intellectual seriousness of the opposition will not be bolstered.

Now, for something serious: Community colleges.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Coffee Break

Steve Irwin, 'crocodile hunter', killed by a stingray.

The NYT gives a breakdown of the House seats up for grabs.

The Battle of Seattle is to get the Hollywood treatment.

More trouble at TNR.

Your Daily Doone.

Everyone ever arrested was was the No. 2 al-Qaeda man.

Europe attacks moon.