Friday, January 18, 2008

Failing Upwards

Former Chief of staff for Dan Quayle, labeled "Quayle's Brain" (talk about setting the bar low!) William Kristol has landed a cushy gig writing his opinions in the paper of record, The New York Times.

The Times has been whining a lot lately about the amount of invective directed at it for making such a heinous decision, declaring critics want to stifle speech.

Mr. Kristol can stand on any streetcorner on a soapbox and bark at the rain all he wants. It appears to me however, that the critics of this decision place a higher value on the product The New York Times produces than those who produce it.

One would hope the paper of record would not have a philosophy of hiring op-ed columnists on the basis of being wrong about their opinions. The Times should aspire to be a collection of the most astute and reasoned journalists and pundits our country has to offer. They have chosen to dip their quill into the cesspool of vile partisan hacks for the sake of controversy over integrity.

Mr. Kristol's has been an unflinching proponent of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and published a recent op-ed in the NYT about the troop surge, kicking sand in the face of Democratic Presidential candidates:
When President Bush announced the surge of troops in support of a new counterinsurgency strategy a year ago, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Democratic Congressional leaders predicted failure. Obama, for example, told Larry King that he didn’t believe additional U.S. troops would “make a significant dent in the sectarian violence that’s taking place there.” Then in April, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, asserted that “this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything.” In September, Clinton told Gen. David Petraeus that his claims of progress in Iraq required a “willing suspension of disbelief.”

The Democrats were wrong in their assessments of the surge. Attacks per week on American troops are now down about 60 percent from June. Civilian deaths are down approximately 75 percent from a year ago. December 2007 saw the second-lowest number of U.S. troops killed in action since March 2003. And according to Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of day-to-day military operations in Iraq, last month’s overall number of deaths, which includes Iraqi security forces and civilian casualties as well as U.S. and coalition losses, may well have been the lowest since the war began.
Do Obama and Clinton and Reid now acknowledge that they were wrong? Are they willing to say the surge worked?


Compared to what? The previous four years? How many lives and Billions of dollars and gallons of blood is required to sate the neocon learning curve?

Mr. Kristol tries to make another point:
But Sunni tribes in Anbar announced in September 2006 that they would join to fight Al Qaeda. That was two months before the Democrats won control of Congress. The Sunni tribes turned not primarily because of fear of the Shiites, but because of their horror at Al Qaeda’s atrocities in Anbar.

Well...a little money helps:

AMERICAN forces are paying Sunni insurgents hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to switch sides and help them to defeat Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The tactic has boosted the efforts of American forces to restore some order to war-torn provinces around Baghdad in the run-up to a report by General David Petraeus, the US commander, to Congress tomorrow.


Seems he left out the part about undermining the duly and Democratically elected Iraqi government by funding it's chief opponents. Sunni's, like Saudi's, are the people of Bin Laden and the terrorists that attacked America. How proud Mr. Kristol must be that they are firmly attached to the tit of the American taxpayer.

We are not surprised at Mr. Kristol's scribblings, just disappointed the NYT chooses to publish them. He is not only wrong most of the time, but wrong with disastrous consequences. For example, on the first anniversary of 9/11, when the invade Iraq sales pitch was going full tilt, Billy chimed in, conflating Iraq with 9/11 saying, "we cannot afford to let Saddam Hussein inflict a worse 9/11 on us in the future."

It goes on:

On September 15, 2002, he claimed that inspection and containment could not work with Saddam: "No one believes the inspections can work." Actually, UN inspectors believed they could work. So, too, did about half of congressional Democrats. They were right.

On September 18, 2002, Kristol opined that a war in Iraq "could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East."

On September 19, 2002, he once again pooh-poohed inspections: "We should not fool ourselves by believing that inspections could make any difference at all." During a debate with me on Fox News Channel, after I noted that the goal of inspections was to prevent Saddam from reaching "the finish line" in developing nuclear weapons, Kristol exclaimed, "He's past that finish line. He's past the finish line."

On November 21, 2002, he maintained, "we can remove Saddam because that could start a chain reaction in the Arab world that would be very healthy."

On February 2, 2003, he claimed that Secretary of State Colin Powell at an upcoming UN speech would "show that there are loaded guns throughout Iraq" regarding weapons of mass destruction. As it turned out, everything in Powell's speech was wrong. Kristol was uncritically echoing misleading information handed him by friends and allies within the Bush administration.

On February 20, 2003, he summed up the argument for war against Saddam: "He's got weapons of mass destruction. At some point he will use them or give them to a terrorist group to use...Look, if we free the people of Iraq we will be respected in the Arab world....France and Germany don't have the courage to face up to the situation. That's too bad. Most of Europe is with us. And I think we will be respected around the world for helping the people of Iraq to be liberated."

On March 1, 2003, Kristol dismissed concerns that sectarian conflict might arise following a US invasion of Iraq: "We talk here about Shiites and Sunnis as if they've never lived together. Most Arab countries have Shiites and Sunnis, and a lot of them live perfectly well together." He also said, "Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more thoroughly than this one by this president." And he maintained that the war would be a bargain at $100 to $200 billion. The running tab is now nearing half a trillion dollars.

On March 5, 2003, Kristol said, "I think we'll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq."


We are not amused by Mr. Kristol stamping his feet demanding someone else admit being wrong when he was a chief cheerleader for death and destruction that was never right. Indeed, few people in modern history have been more wrong about more things of more importance than William Kristol.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Democratic Presidential Contenders

Then there were three. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. As Democrats wind through the primary process to select our champion, each of these candidates needs a good hard look. After all, our current President* has amply demonstrated that it really matters who sits in the oval office.

A chummy yet arrogant Rexall Ranger tin star cowboy we would like to have a beer with just won't cut it this time.

This is my analysis of the top three Democratic contenders. We start with Hillary Clinton.

As our Sith Lord Cheney has informed us, all we need to enact an agenda is 50 percent plus one vote. Bi-partisanship, according to some Republicans, is a lot like date-rape. Fair, or unfair, this is what we will get with Hillary getting the nomination. Republican leadership has bled out America, so the probability is the Democratic nominee will win.

Many on the right who people the mighty right-wing Wurlitzer like Fix News and hate-spew rightard radio and newspaper columnists have an irrational hatred of the Clintons. This bled over into the corporate media. David Broder, the Dean Of The Washington Press Corps. famously wrote about the Clintons, "They came in and trashed the place, and it's not there place."

President Clinton was not a liberal--he was a moderate, just ask any liberal. Also see NAFTA and the Federal Telecommunications Act. Still "the Clintons" (get two for the price of one) served up as national tackling dummies for the right and got nuked for eight solid fucking years. Every week a new gate was built. Haircuts on the runway, travel agents getting fired, whitewater, Monica, anything to diminish and divide the overwhelming popularity of President Clinton.

And now Senator Clinton wants her turn at bat in a country that is far more divided than before. Entire careers were built by bashing her husband, so her nomination would be money in the bank for many. No matter what she does, or how well she does it, there exists a built-in sizable group genetically predisposed to hating Clinton. It really irritates true progressives when Senator Clinton strikes a moderate position on anything because they know when she puts her hand out to the right, she'll only get back a bloody stump, which is then poked in the eye of the left.

Senator Clinton would probably make an excellent President. The right will never accept her and the left thinks she's a fool for trying. She may do 50 percent plus one vote, but the victory for Democrats will taste like ashes. After all, she campaigned for Lieberman.

Obama has the wow factor. He is new and shiny and different and speaks of hope and unity and the American dream. Many have questioned his experience in the rough-and-tumble world of politics, but being from Chicago, one would guess he knows how to throw an elbow. Still, I have the gnawing feeling that he has not been adequately vetted by our venerable press corps. What with Senator Clintons cleavage and Senator Edwards hair, who really has the time to deconstruct Senator Obama? The Republicans will during the general election.

Get set for the nastiest, bloodiest general election in history as the richest one percent in the country pour huge amounts of money into opposition research and all sorts of made-up shit to protect their precious tax cuts. Senator Obama has made the same mistake as Senator Clinton, only openly and repeatedly, reaching out to independents and Republicans during the Democratic Primary. To the far right fringe, who happen to be very noisy, are unconcerned with the truth and devoted racists, it won't matter.

Sing kumbaya all you want to, Senator, if you walk on water they will say you can't swim.

Finally to Senator John Edwards. Every time I hear him speak I think of the final scene in "Scarface" (Say hello to my little friend). Americans have been trickled on by Reaganomics, enjoyed the thousand points of blight by Bush the Adult and seen thousands of Americans die, lose their jobs, homes and national treasure under the askew glance of the compassionate conservative junior. In these times we can not afford a triangulating policy wonk or a handwringing "can't we all just get along?" (because we can't) group hug Dr. Philgood.

Americans need a champion. That man is John Edwards.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Welcome to another day under the command and control of The New World Order!

Lo! Do not chafe under the yoke; be gleeful that your overlords are pleased with nearly 500 times your worth, lest they be bored and seek greener lands elsewhere.

Indeed, relish in thine labours. Seek not communion amongst your peers for betterment, for it is only in this fashion that more yokes may come forth to harness your pitiful whelps. Overlords may band together to form corporations and wield great economic power but dwellers of the yoke cannot.

Corporations dictate.

Unions vote and collectively bargain.

Which of these two options is more American?

Which of these two options is anti-American?

A vote is coming to a place near you. If you want change, you have to vote for a change.