Archive for Iraq


But They Can’t Take It

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Politico reported Wednesday that some Senate Republicans are none too happy with Sen. Al Franken (D-MN):

The Republicans are steamed at Franken because partisans on the left are using a measure he sponsored to paint them as rapist sympathizers — and because Franken isn’t doing much to stop them.

“Trying to tap into the natural sympathy that we have for this victim of this rape —and use that as a justification to frankly misrepresent and embarrass his colleagues, I don’t think it’s a very constructive thing,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in an interview.

Citing Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Politico notes that some senators were not “convinced that Franken was staying above politics.”

[Perform spit-take here.]

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At least the damage was minimal, Frank Rich suggests in this morning’s New York Times. It’s not as if the “balloon boy” fraud led the country into invading a sovereign country in search of nonexistent WMDs, or into investing in dot-coms with no business plans, or into buying oversized homes with no-income no-asset loans.

But “balloon boy” is this generation’s “War of the Worlds” hoax, Rich believes, “the inevitable product of this reigning culture, where ‘news,’ ‘reality’ television and reality itself are hopelessly scrambled” — a culture in which media snake oil salesmen are as likely to be suckered as their audiences, if not more so.

Rich observes,

As “balloon boy” played out, the White House opened fire on one purveyor of fictional news, Fox News, where “tea party” protests are inflated into a national rebellion rivaling the Civil War and where Glenn Beck routinely claims Obama is perpetrating a conspiracy to bring fascism to America. But the White House’s argument is diluted by the different, if less malevolently partisan, fictions that turn up on Fox’s competitors. On CNN, for instance, Lou Dobbs provided a platform for the nuts questioning Obama’s citizenship. When an ABC News correspondent insisted that Fox was “one of our sister organizations” in an exchange with the president’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, last week, he wasn’t joking.

Not that anyone around him would have gotten it if he were.

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Everyone’s a critic.*

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* Other possible titles for this blog entry that were floating around in my mind included “Wow, pretty good reflexes for a dried-up drunk” or “Looks like someone’s been playing Wii Fit!”. Just be grateful I didn’t make any shoe puns, like “what a… heel” or “that’s an insult in my native… tongue!”

If anyone needs a reminder of what kind of place the shoe holds in Islamic cultures, ask yourself why exactly would the owners of the Al-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad have wanted to have an intricate tile mosaic of George H.W. Bush installed at its main entrance?

Categories : Iraq
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Today is International Laugh at Lieberman Day!

Think Joe Lieberman is a joke?

We do too. That’s why we’ve created a new holiday: Laugh at Lieberman Day. It’s today, Tuesday, November 18th, and we want you to celebrate with us! Here’s what you need to know:

How to celebrate:

Step 1: Find some way to record yourself

It can be a video camera, a camera phone, your laptop, or just a microphone. Just find someway to at least capture yourself speaking.

Step 2: Call Joe Lieberman’s office

Start your recording, pick up the phone, and dial (202) 224-4041. When someone picks up, ask if you’ve reached the office of Senator Joe Lieberman.

Step 3: Laugh!

Cackle. Giggle. Chortle. Guffaw. Whatever it is, just laugh. Even if you get an answering machine, laugh! Laugh at the joke that is Senator Joe Lieberman.

Step 4: Upload your video to YouTube

Upload the recording of you laughing at Joe Lieberman to YouTube. Make sure you tag your video laughatliebermanday so it will show up automatically on this page.

Step 5: Tell your friends!

Spread the joy! Tell all your friends about Laugh at Lieberman Day. Email them this website. Post it on Facebook. Tweet it on Twitter. Shout it from the rooftops. Just get the word out!

It’s easy and fun! See?


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Saturday Reading

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The pile of gluey tissues to my right and the steamy cup of Breathe Deep tea to my left are all the clues you need to know about my health. I don’t reckon that these germs will travel through the Toobz, so you can breathe easy. The picture here to the left is worth a clickthrough to the larger version. You’ll see Sarah Palin wearing some sort of fried egg/old-lady roses/cartoon cloud coat, and you get to see her daughter flipping someone the bird.

$300 million dollars to private American contractors to create psyop teevee for the Iraqis:

“The Defense Department will pay private U.S. contractors in Iraq up to $300 million over the next three years to produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to “engage and inspire” the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government.

The new contracts — awarded last week to four companies — will expand and consolidate what the U.S. military calls “information/psychological operations” in Iraq far into the future, even as violence appears to be abating and U.S. troops have begun drawing down.”

Blast from the near past. Obama and McCain exchanged letters over ethics reform in 2006. McCain was pissy about Obama even back then. Go read it and tell me that John’s not kinda c-r-a-z-y.

Pennsylvania Republicans join their comrades in working hard to get fewer people to vote:

Sue Nace thought election volunteers were joking when they told her she would have to remove her T-shirt to vote in the presidential primary last spring.

But it was no laughing matter to the poll workers-turned-fashion police, who said Nace’s Obama shirt was inappropriate electioneering – and made her cover the writing before casting a ballot.

Now, a political fight over what voters can wear to the polls is headed to court in Pennsylvania – with the Republican Party favoring a dress code and Democrats opposed.

The McCain campaign is working hard to keep voters from seeing the results of the “troopergate” report.

Almost all of McCain’s ads between now and election day are going to be attack ads. He’s losing, and the only way he can bounce back is to drag Obama into the mud. His agenda doesn’t sell with America, so all that’s left is fearmongering and mudslinging.

tremayne at Open Left says that McCain isn’t even trying to win at this point, simply hoping to do better than Bob Dole.


Tuesday Afternoon Reading

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Star City Harbinger: The National Organization of Women has endorsed Barack Obama for President. We can safely assume that even McCain surrogates won’t have the temerity to call them sexist for doing so. Sarah Palin wants to control your uterus.

Washington Post: “A GOP congressional leader who was wavering on giving President Bush the authority to wage war in late 2002 said Vice President Cheney misled him by saying that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had direct personal ties to al-Qaeda terrorists and was making rapid progress toward a suitcase nuclear weapon”

For those of you who loved Obama’s speech at the convention and have been wanting another oratory fix, watch this speech given in Colorado today.

Another big endorsement for Obama comes from Virginia, “Former GOP governor Linwood Holton today endorsed a Democrat for president for the first time and is going to stump critical areas of the state for him.

Linwood Holton is the hero of moderate Republicans in Virginia. He defeated the segregationist Democrat for governor and fought GOP rightwingers. Holton is widely regarded as the father of the Republican party in Virginia. When Richmond public schools were ordered integrated Holton enrolled his children in the AA school close to the governor’s mansion and walked them to school.”

AP: Bob Barr made the ballot in Pennsylvania. Good news for Libertarians. Bad news for McCain.

Giant Eddie Murphy head on the highway.

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Some folks with more enthusiasm than pragmatism decided they’d show the Democratic Party what’s up:

Infoshop:  “Last night, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, we trashed the Democratic Party Headquarters in Asheville, NC. We dumped several gallons of used motor oil onto their front porch and painted, “No war, No warming, No Drilling” on their walls.”

I emailed Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sinclair to ask if this was true. She replied:

“Trashed” is really not appropriate. They spray painted the front of the building and poured oil on the porch. So, yes, it’s true.

It appears they’re a bit confused though. Their acronym is C.H.A.N.G.E, and the Democratic Party is all about change. We also support the issues they painted on the building: No War, No Drilling, No Warming.”

I’m not sure what the folks were trying to accomplish other than just making a mess. If they want to move the Democratic Party away from drilling, away from supporting war, and towards effective global warming measures, then I’d advise them to get involved with candidates who are willing to do those things.  If they’re just wanting to express frustration and rage with the status quo, then I hope they’re feeling better today.

My guess is that they’ll find that most viable candidates willing to take such stands will be registered Democrats.

As someone with a strong anti-authoritarian streak, I can relate to the desire to push against whatever establishment appears to be a part of the problem. However, I’m now at a point where I’m convinced that we can alter the establishment more easily through infiltration than through intimidation.

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Though for years anyone suggesting it was branded a surrendering cut-n-runner by the Republican acolytes of George W. Bush and John McCain, the Iraqis have been making it clearer and clearer that they are ready for us to send our soldiers home. In today’s Washington Post they clarify a bit further:

“Iraq’s foreign minister insisted Sunday that any security deal with the United States must contain a “very clear timeline” for the departure of U.S. troops. A suicide bomber struck north of Baghdad, killing at least five people including an American soldier.”

They don’t want John McCain there for the next hundred years. They don’t want to have a hand-wringing conversation over what will happen when we go. They want us out, and we ought to oblige.

Of course, they’ve wanted us out for a long time now. Polls taken just under a year ago noted “nearly two-thirds of Iraqis now say it was wrong for the United States and its allies to have invaded Iraq — 63 percent”, and “Seventy-nine percent of Iraqis oppose the presence of coalition forces in the country, essentially unchanged from last winter

In 2006, it was much the same…

A large majority of Iraqis–71%–say they would like the Iraqi government to ask for US-led forces to be withdrawn from Iraq within a year or less. Given four options, 37 percent take the position that they would like US-led forces withdrawn “within six months,” while another 34 percent opt for “gradually withdraw[ing] US-led forces according to a one-year timeline.”

Now, of course, John McCain will start squawking about conditions on the ground while trying to slam Barack Obama for “playing politics”, thought it’s been Obama who’s been in tune with the American and the Iraqi people.  If they’re a sovereign nation, and we don’t withdraw our troops, then we’ve become a hostile force.  If a sovereign nation says go – you’ve got to go.

Categories : Iraq, Presidential Race
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I’m sure someone lost their job over this.

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This needs an appropriate sound effect. I’m sure I’ve got one lying around somewhere… (ABC News Political Punch)

The White House this afternoon accidentally sent to its extensive distribution list a Reuters story headlined “Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan – magazine.”

The story relayed how Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told the German magazine Der Spiegel that “he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months … ‘U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes,'” the prime minister said.

The White House employee had intended to send the article to an internal distribution list, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz reports, but hit the wrong button.

The misfire comes at an odd time for Bush foreign policy, at a time when Obama’s campaign alleges the president is moving closer toward Obama’s recommendations about international relations — sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, discussing a “general time horizon” for U.S. troop withdrawal and launching talks with Iran.

Marc Ambinder has more regarding the Maliki announcement (emphasis mine):

Via e-mail, a prominent Republican strategist who occasionally provides advice to the McCain campaign said, simply, “We’re fucked.”

Of course, this really doesn’t mean anything – unless someone put a name to that anonymous “prominent Republican strategist” like, say, Karl Rove – but I’m pretty sure that the official McCain response won’t sound like that. Unless, of course, there’s a gorilla with a propensity toward rape involved.

Oh, and I think I found an appropriate sound effect.

(Thanks, Tom!)

UPDATE: Add PM Gordon Brown to that list as well.

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While you’re anxiously waiting for the Starbucks to open on the ground floor of the Parkside Condo Highrise, come bite your fingernails with a gaggle of liberals down at the Asheville Brewing Company. In this brave, new Asheville where condo developers can scheme with City and County staff to buy our public park land and turn it into luxurious living for the millionaires among us, it’s vital that we plebians behave as though nothing is wrong.

We can ignore Maj. Gen. Taguba leveling war crimes charges against George W. Bush and KBR telling our military to suck on it in Iraq. We can ignore the occupation of Iraq altogether while pretending that the do-nothing Democrats in Congress have already held the Bush administration to account. Global warming? Fuggedaboutit. Gas prices? F5 that shit. A massive wave of foreclosures, ballooning national debt, the plunging value of the dollar? Who has the time?

Come whistle while Rome burns tonight at the Asheville Brewing Company, 77 Coxe Ave., Downtown Asheville. Drinking Liberally, that left-leaning cabal of well-educated, well-heeled, well-bourbon political love children comes together for another Thursday night praising the light and cursing the darkness. We’ll start at 7ish and go until the goings gone. Everyone’s welcome. The only cost is your tab.