Category Archives: 05_kathy

The “Genial, Professorial” Grinning Deathhead

Howard Kurtz profiles William Kristol in the respectful way he reserves for rabid right-wing lunatics:

Bill Kristol’s the-war-is-being-won piece in The Washington Post brought him plenty of ridicule, but at least one person liked it.

President Bush read the July 15 Outlook article that morning and recommended it to his staff.

On the other hand, Arianna Huffington called it “the single most deceptive piece of the entire war” and said Kristol had “officially surpassed Dick Cheney as the most intellectually dishonest member of the neocon establishment.” David Corn of the Nation dismissed Kristol’s “Bush boosterism.” And 260 pages of comments on The Post’s Web site called him everything from an “uninformed, partisan fool” to a “Bush sycophant” to a “menace to America.”

The Weekly Standard editor, looking a bit grayer at 54, takes the broadsides in stride, his genial, professorial demeanor seemingly unruffled by the highly personal attacks.

“I’ve been pretty consistent, pretty upfront and straightforward about my views,” he says in his downtown office. “I had the same views when they were reasonably popular as I do now when they’re unpopular. It would really be pathetic to adjust one’s analysis based on public opinion.”

Adjusting one’s analysis based on emerging information and facts might make sense, though.


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Thanks For That Wonderful Thank You, France — Now Here’s a Slap in the Face

There’s a lot of good writing in the blogosphere, but every once in a while I read a post that so exactly hits the nail on the head that I think, “Wow. I wish I’d written that.” Well, right now I’m feeling that way about the post Shamanic, over at Newshoggers, wrote regarding the boorish response by some right-wing bloggers to a deeply touching gesture of appreciation from a group of French citizens to the United States for saving France in World War II. The post is titled “The Cons Even Slime French Gratitude“:

Here’s your tasteless Sunday treat: Gateway Pundit and a couple of others on the right are mocking a French event commemorating the US-led liberation of that country in WWII.

Asking “Goodness, What’s Happened to France?”, Gateway Pundit shows a brief series of pictures (culled from MSM mainstay Reuters) showing thousands of people lined up on Omaha Beach, forming a human chain that spells “France Will Never Forget”. Below the words, the American and French flags are held aloft.

So, what’s happened to France? Not a thing. The real question is what’s happened to the slice of Americans that have turned long-time allies, partners, and friends into enemies.

French foreign policy often butts up against America’s interest in a given region. This should surprise no one. France has played the role of regional European power since before North America appeared on European maps. That two powerful, internationally engaged nations often disagree in pursuing their own interests is a no-brainer. Only to the crazies on the utter fringe of the right does this make a nation like France our enemy. Idiots.

That was precisely what I thought when I saw that headline, “Goodness…What’s Happened To France?” What condescending slop. Can you say, Ugly American?


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Just the Kind of Thing A Liberal Would Say

In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, it is an outrage that anyone who works full time would still wind up in poverty. Everyone who puts in an honest day’s work should receive a fair day’s pay.

That’s Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, quoted in an AP article about the federal minimum wage, which will rise to a stunning $5.85 an hour on Tuesday:

Many lawmakers, along with advocates for low-wage workers, are celebrating the first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade. Yet many acknowledge that raising it from $5.15 an hour to $5.85 will provide only meager help for some of the lowest paid workers.

About 1.7 million people made $5.15 or less in 2006, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The reality for a minimum wage worker is that every penny makes a difference because low-wage workers make the choice between putting food on the table and paying for electricity or buying clothes for their children,” said Beth Shulman, former vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

“Saying that, it’s clear going up to $5.85 is not enough to really make sure that people really can afford the things that all families need,” said Shulman, author of “The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans.”

Minimum wage workers will get an additional 70-cent boost each summer for the next two years, ending in 2009 at $7.25 an hour. That comes to just above $15,000 yearly before taxes for a 52-week work year.

Now, someone in such a job and earning $5.85 an hour would bring home $12,168 a year before taxes. The federal poverty level for singles is $10,210, couples is $13,690 and $17,170 for families of three.

“In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, it is an outrage that anyone who works full time would still wind up in poverty,” said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. “Everyone who puts in an honest day’s work should receive a fair day’s pay.”


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Questions and More Questions

The Grinning Deathhead has a question:

How can you say with a straight face that you support the troops while advancing legislation that would undercut their mission and strengthen their enemies?

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There’s A First Time for Everything

Hell is a cold place today. I agree with Ann Althouse. Vis-a-vis Mitt Romney’s attack on Barack Obama for “advocating sex education for kindergartners,” Ann came out in favor of age-appropriate sex education for five-year-olds. Avedon is shocked, too:

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If This Does Not Light A Fire Under Congressional Asses, Nothing Will

I know exactly how you feel, Jeff.

The cognitive dissonance of George W. Bush’s supposed democratic “mission” in Iraq is buzzing louder by the day:

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The Name of Our Country is the United States, Not “The Homeland”

Rana beat me to it. About the references in my post (in material I quoted) to “The Homeland,” Rana commented:

Am I the only one freaked out by the “the” there, and the capitalization?

I’m trying really, really hard to avoid Godwin’s Law, but it’s damn difficult when things like this issue from that man’s mouth!

No, Rana, you are not the only one. In fact, I was going to write about that in the post itself, but I couldn’t find a way to do it smoothly because it was a non sequitur from what I was discussing in the post. So I was going to write a separate post about that obnoxious usage, but Rana posted her comment, like, 10 seconds after I published!

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We Told You So, We Told You So, We Told You So, We Told You So

Michael Abramowitz has a good piece in today’s Washington Post about how the just-released National Intelligence Estimate underscores the folly of leaving our unfinished business in Afghanistan to invade Iraq:

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush has been able to deflect criticism of his counterterrorism policy by repeatedly noting the absence of any new domestic attacks and by citing the continuing threat that terrorists in Iraq pose to U.S. interests.

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Another Major Paper Comes Out for Bringing Troops Home

The Tribune-Review in Pittsburgh has come out with an editorial calling for Bush to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq:

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Iran Hearts Al Qaeda

It doesn’t surprise me to read that Al Qaeda has set up “leadership councils” in Iran and is “reconstituting” its leadership there. It only makes sense that a Sunni terrorist group would find a warm welcome in an overwhelmingly Shiite country that is allied with the Shiite majority in Iraq, who are engaged in a bloody civil war with the Sunni minority in Iraq. Well … at least it does if you are Eli Lake, writing for the New York Sun:

One of two known Al Qaeda leadership councils meets regularly in eastern Iran, where the American intelligence community believes dozens of senior Al Qaeda leaders have reconstituted a good part of the terror conglomerate’s senior leadership structure.

That is a consensus judgment from a final working draft of a new National Intelligence Estimate, titled “The Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland,” on the organization that attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The estimate, which represents the opinion of America’s intelligence agencies, is now finished, and unclassified conclusions will be shared today with the public.

The classified document includes four main sections, examining how Al Qaeda in recent years has increased its capacity to stage another attack on American soil; how the organization has replenished the ranks of its top leaders; nations where Al Qaeda operates, and the status of its training camps and physical infrastructure.

The judgment that Iran has hosted Al Qaeda’s senior leadership council is likely to draw some criticism from those outside the government who doubt Iran plays a significant role in bolstering Sunni jihadist terrorism. Iran’s Shiite Muslims are considered infidels by the Salafi sect of Sunnis that comprise Al Qaeda.

Nahhhh. Ya think?


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Wow, They Lied To Us!

We’re fighting the terrorists in Iraq so we don’t have to fight them at home (UPDATE BELOW):

Al Qaeda will try to tap its allies and resources in Iraq in its efforts to exact another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, according to a top government intelligence report released Tuesday.

Officials have expressed concern in the past that the Iraq war is providing a theater for al Qaeda to train insurgents and test the terror network’s capabilities.

“In addition, we assess that its association with [al Qaeda in Iraq] helps al Qaeda to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for homeland attacks,” said the declassified summary of the National Intelligence Estimate.

But the radicalization process doesn’t stop there, according to the report. Islamist Web sites, aggressive anti-American rhetoric and an increasing number of self-generating terror cells in Western countries indicate that violent factions of Islam are spreading.

Though the problem is more dire in Europe than the United States, the report said, there is evidence that extremists in the U.S. are “becoming more connected ideologically, virtually and/or in a physical sense to the global extremist movement.”

Update: Steve Benen has an excellent response to the NIE that links to what others are saying about it.


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How the Richest of the Rich Got That Way With No Help From Anyone

The New York Times pays homage to “The Richest of the Rich: Proud of a New Gilded Age“:

The tributes to Sanford I. Weill line the walls of the carpeted hallway that leads to his skyscraper office, with its panoramic view of Central Park. A dozen framed magazine covers, their colors as vivid as an Andy Warhol painting, are the most arresting. Each heralds Mr. Weill’s genius in assembling Citigroup into the most powerful financial institution since the House of Morgan a century ago.

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Executive Privilege Is Evoked Once Again in Killing of Pat Tillman

The White House will not release records to a congressional investigation of Pat Tillman’s “friendly fire” death in Afghanistan:

The White House has refused to give Congress documents about the death of former NFL player Pat Tillman, with White House counsel Fred F. Fielding saying that certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), the leading members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, objected to the refusal yesterday in letters to the White House and the Defense Department.

White House and Pentagon officials have turned over about 10,000 pages of material, but Waxman and Davis said those papers do not include critical documents that would show communications between senior administration officials and top military officers shortly after Tillman was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.


“The main focus of the committee’s investigation is to examine what the White House and the leadership of the Department of Defense knew about Corporal Tillman’s death and when they knew it,” Waxman and Davis said in a letter to Fielding. “Unfortunately, the document production from the White House sheds virtually no light on these matters.”

The Chief Executive and all the other senior members of his branch of government are criminals and liars, and that is why “Executive Privilege” are their two favorite words.


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What Is It About “Get Out” That Bush Does Not Understand?

Iraqis have been telling us to leave for years now. Today, they told us again:

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American troops leave “any time they want,” though he acknowledged the forces need further weapons and training.

The embattled prime minister sought to show confidence at a time when congressional pressure is growing for a withdrawal and the Bush administration reported little progress had been made on the most vital of a series of political benchmarks it wants al-Maliki to carry out.

Al-Maliki said difficulty in enacting the measures was “natural” given Iraq’s turmoil.

But one of his top aides, Hassan al-Suneid, rankled at the assessment, saying the U.S. was treating Iraq like “an experiment in an American laboratory.” He sharply criticised the U.S. military, saying it was committing human rights violations, embarassing the Iraqi government with its tactics and cooperating with “gangs of killers” in its campaign against al-Qaida in Iraq.

Al-Suneid’s comments were a rare show of frustration toward the Americans from within al-Maliki’s inner circle as the prime minister struggles to overcome deep divisions between Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish members of his coalition and enact the American-drawn list of benchmarks.

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The Things They Witnessed

Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian interviewed 50 Iraq combat veterans to learn, through the troops’ perceptions and experiences, how the military occupation has affected ordinary Iraqis. The results are very disturbing:

… These combat veterans, some of whom bear deep emotional and physical scars, and many of whom have come to oppose the occupation, gave vivid, on-the-record accounts. They described a brutal side of the war rarely seen on television screens or chronicled in newspaper accounts.

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Our Marines Are Always Right

Josh White in the Washington Post:

An investigating officer in the case against a U.S. Marine accused of murdering civilians in Haditha, Iraq, has recommended that charges against him be dropped, concluding that the government’s allegations that the Marine executed a group of men are “unsupported and incredible.”

The findings by Marine Lt. Col. Paul Ware could exonerate Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, who formed part of a convoy that was struck by a roadside bomb in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005. Members of his unit — Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment — allegedly killed a group of young men who were ordered out of a nearby car. The Marines then went house to house in the neighborhood, allegedly killing as many as two dozen people, including women and children.

The right is using this news as an opportunity to hammer on John Murtha again:

Hadn’t seen this commented on yet but the investigating officer at the Article 32 hearing (similar to a civilian grand jury) for a Marine charged with murder in the Haditha case has recommended no charges be brought. You may recall this is the case where Congressman Murtha announced shortly after the allegations were made that these Marines were guilty of murder and that he had gotten his information from an unnamed high ranking Marine source. I wonder if Mr. Murtha will now issue an apology to the Marines he’s slandered. I somehow doubt it.

Well, Rich, first of all, never underestimate the willingness of a Democrat to apologize for saying or doing something that absolutely needed to be said or done. But I’ll tell you what I think should happen. I think that you, Rich, should apologize to the surviving relatives of the women, children, and elderly men who were slaughtered by our Marines in Haditha — and I think you should get all of the others in your war- and military-worshipping crew who have been saying they hope that the massacre of 24 unarmed, innocent Iraqis by U.S. Marines will not make our troops more cautious about using deadly force, to apologize to those surviving relatives as well. But don’t stop with a simple apology. Please also find a way to convince them that, appearances to the contrary, your crowd does not really believe that Iraqi lives are of less value than the lives of Americans.

If you will do that, then maybe we can talk about John Murtha apologizing to the Marines.


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Kimberly Kagan on the Progress of Her Family Project

Everytime you look around, another member of the Kagan family crawls out of the woodwork to shout hurrahs for the Iraq war and proclaim the so-called “surge” to be a resounding success. The latest of these is Kimberly Kagan, who is married to Frederick Kagan (architect of “the surge”) and who is the sister-in-law of Robert Kagan (Frederick Kagan’s brother, and a leading cheerleader for the surge). Here she is, vomiting out the same old garbage at the Opinion Journal [emphasis mine]:

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Rick Santorum: The Terrorists Will Be Attacking Before the Elections

Rick Santorum, on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show:

“Between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public’s going to have a very different view of this war, and it will be because, I think, of some unfortunate events, that like we’re seeing unfold in the UK. But I think the American public’s going to have a very different view,” said the former senator from Pennsylvania.

“By this time next year”? How does he know this? And why does he sound so happy about it?

Big Tent Democrat is “not comfortable with this line of reasoning“:

I detest it when Wingnuts accuse Democrats of “wanting the terrorists to win” when Dems speak the truth about Iraq. I think this is only marginally better than that — a veiled insinuation that Wingnuts want terrorists to successfully attack us.

Can everybody, Wingnuts and DFHs, just drop this line of thinking? I guess I know Republicans and Wingnuts will not so is this a case of sauce for the gander? Perhaps, but I still do not like it.

I can’t really disagree with this: It’s a principled, ethical position. And snarks aside, I don’t believe that Rick Santorum wants another terrorist attack in the U.S.. But clearly he’s not above using — or misusing — language to raise fears of one, in the hope of ending congressional calls to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.


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Okay, and What Do We Do With This Information?

With apologies to the Dixie Chicks, it’s a sad, sad story when the first thought that pops into my head when I read that two out of three Americans do not think Bush should have commuted Libby’s sentence is: So?


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Harris Gardiner Has Two Last Names — Could That Be Why He’s So Confused?

I don’t get this headline. Does the Times think this is breaking news?

McJoan is confused, too. (And I swear on a stack of John Muir first editions: I wrote the two sentences above before I clicked on the Daily Kos link.)


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