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Thursday, April 16, 2015

#notthrowbackthursday


This morning.

ntodd

April 16, 2015 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, January 30, 2015

#snowdayblogging


No angel.


A pause.


Bodies, rest & motion.


Today's snow almost makes up for that dud of a storm earlier this week.

ntodd

January 30, 2015 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Have A Right To Kill The Herd

Funny because it's true:

Regardless of what anyone else thinks, I fully stand behind my choices as a mom, including my choice not to vaccinate my son, because it is my fundamental right as a parent to decide which eradicated diseases come roaring back.

The decision to cause a full-blown, multi-state pandemic of a virus that was effectively eliminated from the national population generations ago is my choice alone, and regardless of your personal convictions, that right should never be taken away from a child’s parent. Never.

Now, who's up for going to Disney Land?

ntodd

January 24, 2015 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

We Haven't Gone Lord Of The Flies Yet


Boyz Week, Day One: walking home from school, still keeping our shit together.

ntodd

February 4, 2014 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Family Resemblances

We were struck by the Pritsky features that Sam had back in '09.  What about Sadie in '12?


Samuel Pritsky c1922, NTodd Pritsky c1970, Sadie Pritsky 2012.

As I said about the original exercise:

We ain't triplets--and we're different ages in pictures of different quality taken at different angles and whatnot--but there is a family resemblance, da?

Baby Zeetoo definitely has more of our swarthy Slavic features, in contrast to her fair-skinned, blue-eyed, blonde Big Bopper.  Hmm...

ntodd

August 30, 2012 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Can't Wait To See The Search Engine Referrals

To the FBI and Sam's future boy/girlfriends: you're welcome.

ntodd

May 11, 2012 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

What Happened?


Oh man, I just had the CRAZIEST dream!

todd

November 4, 2010 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Sunshine


With ice cream remnants, Sam reminds me of Col Sanders.


Contemplating his Buddha Nature.


Whilst balancing, his stomach looks like it has a tapeworm inside.

ntodd

August 30, 2010 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You Worry

AskMoxie:

If you and the baby are alive at the end of the day, you're doing a great job. Instead of trying to do things the "right" way, pay attention to what seems to work best with your baby. And ignore most of the advice you get* from people. If they're not willing to come take a turn at 3 am, they don't get a say in what you do.

Weird that she didn't advise Erin to get over herself.

ntodd

October 21, 2009 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Catblogging


Rainy day.


Taran seeks shelter under the Ford Escape.


Grumpy after coming out to greet us in the rain.


Heck if Pearl's going out there.


Vinnie was antsy.


Then settled down.


Drying off.


Much better.


Must. Get. Dirt. From. Toes.


Thanks for vacating my seat, Daddy.

ntodd

July 31, 2009 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

On On Firewall Fairy SEXXX!

I know Molly will take care of Maureen Dowd's latest better, more righteously and with a certain erudite panache I can never duplicate, not to mention get frontpage love from He Who Never Links To Me, but I must fisk and frisk the Dodo all the same.

The debate dominatrix knows how to rattle Obambi.

Brilliant opening frame!  Sexualize Hillary, but in a way that's sure to intimidate a lot of men, plus it gives you a chance to bring up whips and use the title "Mistress" when talking about a NEGRO!

Other guys, like Rudy, wouldn’t even be looking for a chance to greet Hillary, as Obama always does. Other guys, like Rudy, wouldn’t care if she iced them.

But she can tell that Obama does care, that he doesn’t want her to not like him or be mad at him, that he responds to the sort of belittling treatment that she sometimes dished out to her husband and his male aides at the White House, yelling at them and calling them wimps if they disappointed her.

See, the Democrats' House Negro feels a need for obeisance in front of The Bitch.  Rudy, being a strong man, a real man, a WHITE man (we'll ignore the fact that he's a WOP), would never be dominated by a lady.  At least not one without a tiara.

Obama may be responsive to Hillary’s moods because he lives with another strong woman who knows how to keep him in line. Michelle said she let her husband run for president only when he agreed to give up smoking, and she’s a master at the art of the loving conjugal put-down.

Democrat men are pussies!  Whipped!  Oops, there it is again.

He was so off his game that he duplicated her dithering performance from the last debate on the issue of whether illegal immigrants should get driver’s licenses. After a tortured exchange with Wolf Blitzer, he ended up saying he favored it — one more sign that the law professor is oblivious to the visceral nature of campaigns.

Hillary brazenly leapt away from that politically devastating position and said she didn’t support the licenses anymore. And Obama didn’t even call her out on her third reversal on the matter.

She was willing to absorb the flip-flop criticism to cut her losses on an issue that could have dragged her to defeat in the general election.

Yes, Hillary's position on New York drivers' licenses could drag her down in the general.  It has such resonance in Kansas, not to mention Peoria.  And then she flip-flopped!  Man, this chick is TOAST!

She is a control freak — that’s why her campaign tried to coach wonky Iowa voters to ask wonky questions — and her male rivals are letting her take control.

Bra.  Vo.  She's a control freak, which is why she engages in the same political games as every other candidate, though admittedly not so suavely as the Hand-Selected-Audience-in-Chief.  Dog knows we can't have a woman who wants to be in control of things, particularly when she's running for the Most Powerful Man In The World. 

Bonus: the allegedly male Democrat candidates are LETTING her be in control.  Dog knows we can't have a man who lets a woman control shit become the Most Powerful Man In The World.

If Rudy’s the nominee, he will go with relish to all the vulnerable places in Hillary’s past. At the Federalist Society on Friday, he had barely spoken the word “she” before the audience began tittering appreciatively.

Heh, she said 'tit.'

Ahem.  I mean, who could tell that when he says "she" he means her?  That's so unexpected!  There are so many women running for Preznit right now, it could mean Geraldine Ferraro or Jane Fonda for all we know!

Rudy laced his speech with faith references, including the assertion that America has “a divinely inspired role in the world” and a mission to “save a civilization from Islamic terrorism.”

Hillary has her work cut out for her. Rudy will not be so easy to spank.

No, I don't think Rudy's into the spanking.  That's more David Vitter's bag.

Regardless, I didn't really see anything that would lead to the conclusion that Rudy would somehow be more masculine than those sissy Democrat "Men" when, you know, he actually bowed out of his Senate race against Hill in 2000.  Oh sure, it was because he had cancer.  And you know where, right? 

Do you really think a guy like that can stand firm against a dyke who completely dominates her husband and had her male lover, Vince Foster, murdered?

ntodd

November 18, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Shake, Rattle and Roll
By MAUREEN DOWD

WASHINGTON

The debate dominatrix knows how to rattle Obambi.

Mistress Hillary started disciplining her fellow senator last winter, after he began exploring a presidential bid. When he winked at her, took her elbow and tried to say hello on the Senate floor, she did not melt, as many women do. She brushed him off, a move meant to remind him that he was an upstart who should not get in the way of her turn in the Oval Office.

He was so shook up, he called a friend to say: You would not believe what just happened with Hillary.

She has continued to flick the whip in debates. She usually ignores Obama and John Edwards backstage, preferring to chat with the so-called second-tier candidates. And she often looks so unapproachable while they’re setting up on stage that Obama seems hesitant to be the first to say hi.

With so much at stake, she had to do it again in Vegas, this time using her voice, gaze and body language to such punishing effect that Obama looked as if he had been brought to heel. It was a mesmerizing display, and at an event that drew the highest television ratings of any primary debate this year. The momentum Obama had gained from a vivid speech at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Iowa drained away by the end of the first half-hour.

Other guys, like Rudy, wouldn’t even be looking for a chance to greet Hillary, as Obama always does. Other guys, like Rudy, wouldn’t care if she iced them.

But she can tell that Obama does care, that he doesn’t want her to not like him or be mad at him, that he responds to the sort of belittling treatment that she sometimes dished out to her husband and his male aides at the White House, yelling at them and calling them wimps if they disappointed her.

Obama may be responsive to Hillary’s moods because he lives with another strong woman who knows how to keep him in line. Michelle said she let her husband run for president only when he agreed to give up smoking, and she’s a master at the art of the loving conjugal put-down.

When Hillary walked onstage Thursday, Obama stood to her left waiting to shake hands and say hi, as he and Edwards had done with Chris Dodd. She turned her body away, refused to meet his eyes and froze him out. Again. And he looked taken aback. Again.

For the rest of the night she owned him. He was so off his game that he duplicated her dithering performance from the last debate on the issue of whether illegal immigrants should get driver’s licenses. After a tortured exchange with Wolf Blitzer, he ended up saying he favored it — one more sign that the law professor is oblivious to the visceral nature of campaigns.

Hillary brazenly leapt away from that politically devastating position and said she didn’t support the licenses anymore. And Obama didn’t even call her out on her third reversal on the matter.

She was willing to absorb the flip-flop criticism to cut her losses on an issue that could have dragged her to defeat in the general election.

Obama and Edwards, who both seemed shaken by a few seconds of pro-Hillary booing, let the front-runner set a ludicrous standard: that any criticism of her shifts on issues is “mudslinging” and a character attack.

She is a control freak — that’s why her campaign tried to coach wonky Iowa voters to ask wonky questions — and her male rivals are letting her take control.

The Democrats should not be afraid to mix it up now, while they have a chance, and get all the doubts and disputes out on the table. Taking some flak clearly made Hillary stronger.

If Rudy’s the nominee, he will go with relish to all the vulnerable places in Hillary’s past. At the Federalist Society on Friday, he had barely spoken the word “she” before the audience began tittering appreciatively.

He went through a whole faux- bemused riff on Hillary’s driver’s license twists without ever uttering her name: “First, she was for the idea, and supported Governor Spitzer, who wanted to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Then she was against the idea. Then she was for and against the idea. And then finally she said it should be decided on a state-by-state basis. This is the only time in her career that she’s ever decided anything should be decided on a state-by-state basis. You know something? She picked out absolutely the wrong one. Right? I mean, this is one of the areas that is given to the federal government to deal with under our Constitution, the borders of the United States, immigration.”

Rudy laced his speech with faith references, including the assertion that America has “a divinely inspired role in the world” and a mission to “save a civilization from Islamic terrorism.”

Hillary has her work cut out for her. Rudy will not be so easy to spank.

November 18, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Firewall Fairy Is The Eggman

Coup, coup cachoo!  Rich takes a break from busting Hillary's ovaries:

AS Gen. Pervez Musharraf arrested judges, lawyers and human-rights activists in Pakistan last week, our Senate was busy demonstrating its own civic mettle. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, liberal Democrats from America’s two most highly populated blue states, gave the thumbs up to Michael B. Mukasey, ensuring his confirmation as attorney general.

So what if America’s chief law enforcement official won’t say that waterboarding is illegal? A state of emergency is a state of emergency. You’re either willing to sacrifice principles to head off the next ticking bomb, or you’re with the terrorists. Constitutional corners were cut in Washington in impressive synchronicity with General Musharraf’s crackdown in Islamabad.

In the days since, the coup in Pakistan has been almost universally condemned as the climactic death knell for Bush foreign policy, the epitome of White House hypocrisy and incompetence. But that’s not exactly news. It’s been apparent for years that America was suicidal to go to war in Iraq, a country with no tie to 9/11 and no weapons of mass destruction, while showering billions of dollars on Pakistan, where terrorists and nuclear weapons proliferate under the protection of a con man who serves as a host to Osama bin Laden.
...
The Pakistan mess, as The New York Times editorial page aptly named it, is not just another blot on our image abroad and another instance of our mismanagement of the war on Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It also casts a harsh light on the mess we have at home in America, a stain that will not be so easily eradicated.

In the six years of compromising our principles since 9/11, our democracy has so steadily been defined down that it now can resemble the supposedly aspiring democracies we’ve propped up in places like Islamabad. Time has taken its toll. We’ve become inured to democracy-lite. That’s why a Mukasey can be elevated to power with bipartisan support and we barely shrug.

This is a signal difference from the Vietnam era, and not necessarily for the better. During that unpopular war, disaffected Americans took to the streets and sometimes broke laws in an angry assault on American governmental institutions. The Bush years have brought an even more effective assault on those institutions from within. While the public has not erupted in riots, the executive branch has subverted the rule of law in often secretive increments. The results amount to a quiet coup, ultimately more insidious than a blatant putsch like General Musharraf’s.

Yes, we gave away our country quietly in installments.

ntodd

November 11, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Coup at Home
By FRANK RICH

AS Gen. Pervez Musharraf arrested judges, lawyers and human-rights activists in Pakistan last week, our Senate was busy demonstrating its own civic mettle. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, liberal Democrats from America’s two most highly populated blue states, gave the thumbs up to Michael B. Mukasey, ensuring his confirmation as attorney general.

So what if America’s chief law enforcement official won’t say that waterboarding is illegal? A state of emergency is a state of emergency. You’re either willing to sacrifice principles to head off the next ticking bomb, or you’re with the terrorists. Constitutional corners were cut in Washington in impressive synchronicity with General Musharraf’s crackdown in Islamabad.

In the days since, the coup in Pakistan has been almost universally condemned as the climactic death knell for Bush foreign policy, the epitome of White House hypocrisy and incompetence. But that’s not exactly news. It’s been apparent for years that America was suicidal to go to war in Iraq, a country with no tie to 9/11 and no weapons of mass destruction, while showering billions of dollars on Pakistan, where terrorists and nuclear weapons proliferate under the protection of a con man who serves as a host to Osama bin Laden.

General Musharraf has always played our president for a fool and still does, with the vague promise of an election that he tossed the White House on Thursday. As if for sport, he has repeatedly mocked both Mr. Bush’s “freedom agenda” and his post-9/11 doctrine that any country harboring terrorists will be “regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

A memorable highlight of our special relationship with this prized “ally” came in September 2006, when the general turned up in Washington to kick off his book tour. Asked about the book by a reporter at a White House press conference, he said he was contractually “honor bound” to remain mum until it hit the stores — thus demonstrating that Simon & Schuster had more clout with him than the president. This didn’t stop Mr. Bush from praising General Musharraf for his recently negotiated “truce” to prevent further Taliban inroads in northwestern Pakistan. When the Pakistani strongman “looks me in the eye” and says “there won’t be a Taliban and won’t be Al Qaeda,” the president said, “I believe him.”

Sooner than you could say “Putin,” The Daily Telegraph of London reported that Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, had signed off on this “truce.” Since then, the Pakistan frontier has become a more thriving terrorist haven than ever.

Now The Los Angeles Times reports that much of America’s $10 billion-plus in aid to Pakistan has gone to buy conventional weaponry more suitable for striking India than capturing terrorists. To rub it in last week, General Musharraf released 25 pro-Taliban fighters in a prisoner exchange with a tribal commander the day after he suspended the constitution.

But there’s another moral to draw from the Musharraf story, and it has to do with domestic policy, not foreign. The Pakistan mess, as The New York Times editorial page aptly named it, is not just another blot on our image abroad and another instance of our mismanagement of the war on Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It also casts a harsh light on the mess we have at home in America, a stain that will not be so easily eradicated.

In the six years of compromising our principles since 9/11, our democracy has so steadily been defined down that it now can resemble the supposedly aspiring democracies we’ve propped up in places like Islamabad. Time has taken its toll. We’ve become inured to democracy-lite. That’s why a Mukasey can be elevated to power with bipartisan support and we barely shrug.

This is a signal difference from the Vietnam era, and not necessarily for the better. During that unpopular war, disaffected Americans took to the streets and sometimes broke laws in an angry assault on American governmental institutions. The Bush years have brought an even more effective assault on those institutions from within. While the public has not erupted in riots, the executive branch has subverted the rule of law in often secretive increments. The results amount to a quiet coup, ultimately more insidious than a blatant putsch like General Musharraf’s.

More Machiavellian still, Mr. Bush has constantly told the world he’s championing democracy even as he strangles it. Mr. Bush repeated the word “freedom” 27 times in roughly 20 minutes at his 2005 inauguration, and even presided over a “Celebration of Freedom” concert on the Ellipse hosted by Ryan Seacrest. It was an Orwellian exercise in branding, nothing more. The sole point was to give cover to our habitual practice of cozying up to despots (especially those who control the oil spigots) and to our own government’s embrace of warrantless wiretapping and torture, among other policies that invert our values.

Even if Mr. Bush had the guts to condemn General Musharraf, there is no longer any moral high ground left for him to stand on. Quite the contrary. Rather than set a democratic example, our president has instead served as a model of unconstitutional behavior, eagerly emulated by his Pakistani acolyte.

Take the Musharraf assault on human-rights lawyers. Our president would not be so unsubtle as to jail them en masse. But earlier this year a senior Pentagon official, since departed, threatened America’s major white-shoe law firms by implying that corporate clients should fire any firm whose partners volunteer to defend detainees in Guantánamo and elsewhere. For its part, Alberto Gonzales’s Justice Department did not round up independent-minded United States attorneys and toss them in prison. It merely purged them without cause to serve Karl Rove’s political agenda.

Tipping his hat in appreciation of Mr. Bush’s example, General Musharraf justified his dismantling of Pakistan’s Supreme Court with language mimicking the president’s diatribes against activist judges. The Pakistani leader further echoed Mr. Bush by expressing a kinship with Abraham Lincoln, citing Lincoln’s Civil War suspension of a prisoner’s fundamental legal right to a hearing in court, habeas corpus, as a precedent for his own excesses. (That’s like praising F.D.R. for setting up internment camps.) Actually, the Bush administration has outdone both Lincoln and Musharraf on this score: Last January, Mr. Gonzales testified before Congress that “there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution.”

To believe that this corruption will simply evaporate when the Bush presidency is done is to underestimate the permanent erosion inflicted over the past six years. What was once shocking and unacceptable in America has now been internalized as the new normal.

This is most apparent in the Republican presidential race, where most of the candidates seem to be running for dictator and make no apologies for it. They’re falling over each other to expand Gitmo, see who can promise the most torture and abridge the largest number of constitutional rights. The front-runner, Rudy Giuliani, boasts a proven record in extralegal executive power grabs, Musharraf-style: After 9/11 he tried to mount a coup, floating the idea that he stay on as mayor in defiance of New York’s term-limits law.

What makes the Democrats’ Mukasey cave-in so depressing is that it shows how far even exemplary sticklers for the law like Senators Feinstein and Schumer have lowered democracy’s bar. When they argued that Mr. Mukasey should be confirmed because he’s not as horrifying as Mr. Gonzales or as the acting attorney general who might get the job otherwise, they sounded whipped. After all these years of Bush-Cheney torture, they’ll say things they know are false just to move on.

In a Times OpEd article justifying his reluctant vote to confirm a man Dick Cheney promised would make “an outstanding attorney general,” Mr. Schumer observed that waterboarding is already “illegal under current laws and conventions.” But then he vowed to support a new bill “explicitly” making waterboarding illegal because Mr. Mukasey pledged to enforce it. Whatever. Even if Congress were to pass such legislation, Mr. Bush would veto it, and even if the veto were by some miracle overturned, Mr. Bush would void the law with a “signing statement.” That’s what he effectively did in 2005 when he signed a bill that its authors thought outlawed the torture of detainees.

That Mr. Schumer is willing to employ blatant Catch-22 illogic to pretend that Mr. Mukasey’s pledge on waterboarding has any force shows what pathetic crumbs the Democrats will settle for after all these years of being beaten down. The judges and lawyers challenging General Musharraf have more fight left in them than this.

Last weekend a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that the Democratic-controlled Congress and Mr. Bush are both roundly despised throughout the land, and that only 24 percent of Americans believe their country is on the right track. That’s almost as low as the United States’ rock-bottom approval ratings in the latest Pew surveys of Pakistan (15 percent) and Turkey (9 percent).

Wrong track is a euphemism. We are a people in clinical depression. Americans know that the ideals that once set our nation apart from the world have been vandalized, and no matter which party they belong to, they do not see a restoration anytime soon.

November 11, 2007 in Firewall Fairy, Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Firewall Fairy Can Kik Rich In Teh Ballz And Dowd In Teh Ovariez?

Rich:

[W]hat happens if President Bush does not bomb Iran? That is good news for the world, but potentially terrible news for the Democrats.
...
There are signs that the steady invocation of new mushroom clouds is already having an impact as it did in 2002 and 2003. A Zogby poll last month found that a majority of Americans (52 percent) now supports a pre-emptive strike on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In 2002 Senators Clinton, Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards and Chris Dodd all looked over their shoulders at such polls. They and the party’s Congressional leaders, Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt, voted for the Iraq war resolution out of the cynical calculation that it would inoculate them against charges of wussiness. Sure, they had their caveats at the time. They talked about wanting “to give diplomacy the best possible opportunity” (as Mr. Gephardt put it then). In her Oct. 10, 2002, speech of support for the Iraq resolution on the Senate floor, Mrs. Clinton hedged by saying, “A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war.”

We know how smart this strategic positioning turned out to be. Weeks later the Democrats lost the Senate.

This time around, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidates seem to be saying what they really believe rather than trying to play both sides against the middle. Only Mrs. Clinton voted for this fall’s nonbinding Kyl-Lieberman Senate resolution, designed by its hawk authors to validate Mr. Bush’s Iran policy.
...
That leaves her in a no man’s — or woman’s — land. If Mr. Bush actually does make a strike against Iran, Mrs. Clinton will be the only leading Democrat to have played a cameo role in enabling it. If he doesn’t, she can no longer be arguing in the campaign crunch of fall 2008 that she is against rushing to war, because it would no longer be a rush. Her hand would be forced.
...
Potentially facing that Republican may be a Democrat who is not in favor of rushing to war in Iran but, now as in 2002, may well be in favor of walking to war. In any event, she will not have been a leader in making the strenuous case for an alternative policy that defuses rather than escalates tensions with Tehran.

Noun + verb + 9/11 — also Mr. Bush’s strategy in 2004, lest we forget — would once again square off against a Democratic opponent who was for a pre-emptive war before being against it.

Dowd:

Girlfriend had a rough week...I must rush to a sister’s defense.

Women need to rally to support Hillary and send her money because there are men, men like Tim Russert, who have the temerity to ask her questions during a debate. If there are six male rivals on stage and two male moderators and heaven knows how many men manning lights and boom mikes, the one woman should have the right to have it two ways.

It’s simple math, really, an estrogen equation.

If she wants to run on her record as first lady while keeping the lid on her first lady record, that’s only fair for the fairer sex. And if she wants to have it both ways on illegal immigrants getting driver’s licenses, then she should, especially if those illegal immigrants are men, or if Lou Dobbs is ranting on the issue, because he’s not only a man, he’s a grumpy, cranky, border-crazed man.

She should certainly be allowed to play the gender card two ways, or even triangulate it.
...
[R]emember the time Hillville used a Washington Post story about a sighting of the senator’s cleavage in the Senate to spearhead a fund-raising drive with women? Dollars for décolletage. Genius!
...
We underestimate Hillary if we cast her as Eleanor Roosevelt. She’s really Alfonse D’Amato. Not just the Senator Pothole role, but the talent for playing the aggrieved victim.

D’Amato pulled off a dramatic upset in ’92 against Robert Abrams, the New York attorney general, by pouncing when Abrams slipped one night and called D’Amato a “fascist.” Though never a sensitive soul about insulting other ethnic groups, D’Amato quickly cast “fascist” as an insult to Italian-Americans, producing an ad with scenes of Mussolini.

“It was sheer gall,” Anthony Marsh, D’Amato’s media consultant, proudly told The Times’s Alessandra Stanley.

Like Alfonse, Hillary has the gift of gall. She can be righteous while playing brass-knuckle politics. She will cozy up to former enemies she can use, like Matt Drudge and David Brock, and back W.’s bellicosity if it helps banish her old image as antimilitary.

There is nowhere she won’t go, so long as it gets her where she wants to be.

That’s the beauty of Hillary.

To sum up: Rich, who was part of the rush to bomb Iraq now says that not bombing Iran will be bad for Hillary, and when she's savaged for having an ambitious vajayjay by the likes of MoDo she's not allowed to point that out.  I'm not supporting her during primary season, but this is pretty fucking ridiculous tripe, even for the Grey Vajayjay's Vaunted Bullshit Artists.

ntodd

November 4, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Noun + Verb + 9/11 + Iran = Democrats’ Defeat?
By FRANK RICH

WHEN President Bush started making noises about World War III, he only confirmed what has been a Democratic article of faith all year: Between now and Election Day he and Dick Cheney, cheered on by the mob of neocon dead-enders, are going to bomb Iran.

But what happens if President Bush does not bomb Iran? That is good news for the world, but potentially terrible news for the Democrats. If we do go to war in Iran, the election will indeed be a referendum on the results, which the Republican Party will own no matter whom it nominates for president. But if we don’t, the Democratic standard-bearer will have to take a clear stand on the defining issue of the race. As we saw once again at Tuesday night’s debate, the front-runner, Hillary Clinton, does not have one.

The reason so many Democrats believe war with Iran is inevitable, of course, is that the administration is so flagrantly rerunning the sales campaign that gave us Iraq. The same old scare tactic — a Middle East Hitler plotting a nuclear holocaust — has been recycled with a fresh arsenal of hyped, loosey-goosey intelligence and outright falsehoods that are sometimes regurgitated without corroboration by the press.

Mr. Bush has gone so far as to accuse Iran of shipping arms to its Sunni antagonists in the Taliban, a stretch Newsweek finally slapped down last week. Back in the reality-based community, it is Mr. Bush who has most conspicuously enabled the Taliban’s resurgence by dropping the ball as it regrouped in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Administration policy also opened the door to Iran’s lethal involvement in Iraq. The Iraqi “unity government” that our troops are dying to prop up has more allies in its Shiite counterpart in Tehran than it does in Washington.

Yet 2002 history may not literally repeat itself. Mr. Cheney doesn’t necessarily rule in the post-Rumsfeld second Bush term. There are saner military minds afoot now: the defense secretary Robert Gates, the Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Mullen, the Central Command chief William Fallon. They know that a clean, surgical military strike at Iran could precipitate even more blowback than our “cakewalk” in Iraq. The Economist tallied up the risks of a potential Shock and Awe II this summer: “Iran could fire hundreds of missiles at Israel, attack American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, organize terrorist attacks in the West or choke off tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s oil windpipe.”

Then there’s the really bad news. Much as Iraq distracted America from the war against Al Qaeda, so a strike on Iran could ignite Pakistan, Al Qaeda’s thriving base and the actual central front of the war on terror. As Joe Biden said Tuesday night, if we attack Iran to stop it from obtaining a few kilograms of highly enriched uranium, we risk facilitating the fall of the teetering Musharraf government and the unleashing of Pakistan’s already good-to-go nuclear arsenal on Israel and India.

A full-scale regional war, chaos in the oil market, an overstretched American military pushed past the brink — all to take down a little thug like Ahmadinejad (who isn’t even Iran’s primary leader) and a state, however truculent, whose defense budget is less than 1 percent of America’s? Call me a Pollyanna, but I don’t think even the Bush administration can be this crazy.

Yet there is nonetheless a method to all the mad threats of war coming out of the White House. While the saber- rattling is reckless as foreign policy, it’s a proven winner as election-year Republican campaign strategy. The real point may be less to intimidate Iranians than to frighten Americans. Fear, the only remaining card this administration still knows how to play, may once more give a seemingly spent G.O.P. a crack at the White House in 2008.

Whatever happens in or to Iran, the American public will be carpet-bombed by apocalyptic propaganda for the 12 months to come. Mr. Bush has nothing to lose by once again using the specter of war to pillory the Democrats as soft on national security. The question for the Democrats is whether they’ll walk once more into this trap.

You’d think the same tired tactics wouldn’t work again after Iraq, a debacle now soundly rejected by a lopsided majority of voters. But even a lame-duck president can effectively wield the power of the bully pulpit. From Mr. Bush’s surge speech in January to Gen. David Petraeus’s Congressional testimony in September, the pivot toward Iran has been relentless.

Reinforcements are arriving daily. Dan Senor, the former flack for L. Paul Bremer in Baghdad, fronted a recent Fox News special, “Iran: The Ticking Bomb,” a perfect accompaniment to the Rudy Giuliani campaign that is ubiquitous on that Murdoch channel. The former Bush flack Ari Fleischer is a founder of Freedom’s Watch, a neocon fat-cat fund that has been spending $15 million for ads supporting the surge and is poised to up the ante for Iran war fever.

There are signs that the steady invocation of new mushroom clouds is already having an impact as it did in 2002 and 2003. A Zogby poll last month found that a majority of Americans (52 percent) now supports a pre-emptive strike on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In 2002 Senators Clinton, Biden, John Kerry, John Edwards and Chris Dodd all looked over their shoulders at such polls. They and the party’s Congressional leaders, Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt, voted for the Iraq war resolution out of the cynical calculation that it would inoculate them against charges of wussiness. Sure, they had their caveats at the time. They talked about wanting “to give diplomacy the best possible opportunity” (as Mr. Gephardt put it then). In her Oct. 10, 2002, speech of support for the Iraq resolution on the Senate floor, Mrs. Clinton hedged by saying, “A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war.”

We know how smart this strategic positioning turned out to be. Weeks later the Democrats lost the Senate.

This time around, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidates seem to be saying what they really believe rather than trying to play both sides against the middle. Only Mrs. Clinton voted for this fall’s nonbinding Kyl-Lieberman Senate resolution, designed by its hawk authors to validate Mr. Bush’s Iran policy. The House isn’t even going to bring up this malevolent bill because, as Nancy Pelosi has said, there has “never been a declaration by a Congress before in our history” that “declared a piece of a country’s army to be a terrorist organization.”

In 2002, the Iraq war resolution passed by 77 to 23. In 2007, Kyl-Lieberman passed by 76 to 22. No sooner did Mrs. Clinton cast her vote than she started taking heat in Iowa. Her response was to blur her stand. She abruptly signed on as the sole co- sponsor of a six-month-old (and languishing) bill introduced by the Virginia Democrat Jim Webb forbidding money for military operations in Iran without Congressional approval.

In Tuesday’s debate Mrs. Clinton tried to play down her vote for Kyl-Lieberman again by incessantly repeating her belief in “vigorous diplomacy” as well as the same sound bite she used after her Iraq vote five years ago. “I am not in favor of this rush for war,” she said, “but I’m also not in favor of doing nothing.”

Much like her now notorious effort to fudge her stand on Eliot Spitzer’s driver’s license program for illegal immigrants, this is a profile in vacillation. And this time Mrs. Clinton’s straddling stood out as it didn’t in 2002. That’s not because she was the only woman on stage but because she is the only Democratic candidate who has not said a firm no to Bush policy.

That leaves her in a no man’s — or woman’s — land. If Mr. Bush actually does make a strike against Iran, Mrs. Clinton will be the only leading Democrat to have played a cameo role in enabling it. If he doesn’t, she can no longer be arguing in the campaign crunch of fall 2008 that she is against rushing to war, because it would no longer be a rush. Her hand would be forced.

Mr. Biden got a well-deserved laugh Tuesday night when he said there are only three things in a Giuliani sentence: “a noun and a verb and 9/11.” But a year from now, after the public has been worn down by so many months more of effective White House propaganda, “America’s mayor” (or any of his similarly bellicose Republican rivals) will be offering voters the clearest possible choice, however perilous, about America’s future in the world.

Potentially facing that Republican may be a Democrat who is not in favor of rushing to war in Iran but, now as in 2002, may well be in favor of walking to war. In any event, she will not have been a leader in making the strenuous case for an alternative policy that defuses rather than escalates tensions with Tehran.

Noun + verb + 9/11 — also Mr. Bush’s strategy in 2004, lest we forget — would once again square off against a Democratic opponent who was for a pre-emptive war before being against it.

-----

November 4, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Gift of Gall
By MAUREEN DOWD

WASHINGTON

Girlfriend had a rough week.

First Hillary got brushed back by the boys in the debate. Then some women bemoaned Hillaryland’s “Don’t hit me, I’m a girl” strategy.

The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus deplored the “antifeminist subtext” of Hillary’s campaign playing the woman-as-victim card. “Using gender this way,” she said, “is a setback.”

I must rush to a sister’s defense.

Women need to rally to support Hillary and send her money because there are men, men like Tim Russert, who have the temerity to ask her questions during a debate. If there are six male rivals on stage and two male moderators and heaven knows how many men manning lights and boom mikes, the one woman should have the right to have it two ways.

It’s simple math, really, an estrogen equation.

If she wants to run on her record as first lady while keeping the lid on her first lady record, that’s only fair for the fairer sex. And if she wants to have it both ways on illegal immigrants getting driver’s licenses, then she should, especially if those illegal immigrants are men, or if Lou Dobbs is ranting on the issue, because he’s not only a man, he’s a grumpy, cranky, border-crazed man.

She should certainly be allowed to play the gender card two ways, or even triangulate it. As her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, said after the debate, she is “one strong woman,” who has dwarfed male rivals and shown she’s tough enough to deal with terrorism and play on the world stage. But she can break, just like a little girl, when male chauvinists are rude enough to catch her red-handed being slippery and opportunistic.

If the gender game worked when Rick Lazio muscled into her space, why shouldn’t it work when Obama and Edwards muster some mettle? If she could become a senator by playing the victim after Monica, surely she can become president by playing the victim now.

Sometimes when Hillary takes heat, she gets paranoid and controlling. But this time she took the heat by getting into the kitchen. After trying to have it both ways during the debate, she tried to have it both ways after the debate.

In New Hamphire on Friday, she stayed above the fray, saying that her male rivals are not “piling on” because she’s a woman but because she’s “winning.” Meanwhile, she let her aides below the fray stir up fem-outrage by putting a video on the campaign Web site called “The Politics of Pile On,” edited to highlight men ganging up on her to the tune of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.”

Mark Penn presided over a conference call on Wednesday to rally supporters to the idea of a fem-backlash, during which one devoted Ellen Jamesian suggested that Tim Russert “should be shot.” The woman quickly repented, not the sentiment, but the fact that she shouldn’t have said it on a conference call. (NBC security remained on high alert.)

Nothing should be sacred when it comes to rousing the women’s vote, especially the working-class women Hillary needs to carry her back to the White House. That may be why she recently blew off a Vogue photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz at the last minute, according to Liz Smith: to show solidarity with supporters who can’t afford Vogue frocks.

And remember the time Hillville used a Washington Post story about a sighting of the senator’s cleavage in the Senate to spearhead a fund-raising drive with women? Dollars for décolletage. Genius!

When pundettes tut-tut that playing the victim is not what a feminist should do, they forget that Hillary is not a feminist. If she were merely some clichéd version of a women’s rights advocate, she never could have so effortlessly blown off Marian Wright Edelman and Lani Guinier when Bill first got in, or played the Fury with Bill’s cupcakes during the campaign.

She was always kind enough to let Bill hide behind her skirts when he got in trouble with women. Now she deserves to hide behind her own pantsuits when men cause her trouble.

We underestimate Hillary if we cast her as Eleanor Roosevelt. She’s really Alfonse D’Amato. Not just the Senator Pothole role, but the talent for playing the aggrieved victim.

D’Amato pulled off a dramatic upset in ’92 against Robert Abrams, the New York attorney general, by pouncing when Abrams slipped one night and called D’Amato a “fascist.” Though never a sensitive soul about insulting other ethnic groups, D’Amato quickly cast “fascist” as an insult to Italian-Americans, producing an ad with scenes of Mussolini.

“It was sheer gall,” Anthony Marsh, D’Amato’s media consultant, proudly told The Times’s Alessandra Stanley.

Like Alfonse, Hillary has the gift of gall. She can be righteous while playing brass-knuckle politics. She will cozy up to former enemies she can use, like Matt Drudge and David Brock, and back W.’s bellicosity if it helps banish her old image as antimilitary.

There is nowhere she won’t go, so long as it gets her where she wants to be.

That’s the beauty of Hillary.

November 3, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Firewall Fairy Mindlessly Channels Thamus

Bobo:

I discovered the Sacred Order of the External Mind. I realized I could outsource those mental tasks I didn’t want to perform. Life is a math problem, and I had a calculator.

Until that moment, I had thought that the magic of the information age was that it allowed us to know more, but then I realized the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less. It provides us with external cognitive servants — silicon memory systems, collaborative online filters, consumer preference algorithms and networked knowledge. We can burden these servants and liberate ourselves.

Musical taste? I have externalized it. Now I just log on to iTunes and it tells me what I like.
...
Memory? I’ve externalized it. I am one of those baby boomers who are making this the “It’s on the Tip of My Tongue Decade.” But now I no longer need to have a memory, for I have Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia. Now if I need to know some fact about the world, I tap a few keys and reap the blessings of the external mind.

Personal information? I’ve externalized it. I’m no longer clear on where I end and my BlackBerry begins. When I want to look up my passwords or contact my friends I just hit a name on my directory. I read in a piece by Clive Thompson in Wired that a third of the people under 30 can’t remember their own phone number. Their smartphones are smart, so they don’t need to be. Today’s young people are forgoing memory before they even have a chance to lose it.
...
I have relinquished control over my decisions to the universal mind. I have fused with the knowledge of the cybersphere, and entered the bliss of a higher metaphysic. As John Steinbeck nearly wrote, a fella ain’t got a mind of his own, just a little piece of the big mind — one mind that belongs to everybody. Then it don’t matter, Ma. I’ll be everywhere, around in the dark. Wherever there is a network, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a TiVo machine making a sitcom recommendation based on past preferences, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a Times reader selecting articles based on the most e-mailed list, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way Amazon links purchasing Dostoyevsky to purchasing garden furniture. And when memes are spreading, and humiliation videos are shared on Facebook — I’ll be there, too.

I am one with the external mind. Om.

One flaw in Bobo's column: outsourcing a mind requires having a mind to begin with.  Anyway, it's so great he has finally discovered there are all sorts of technologies that can externalize stuff we used to cram inside our heads!

But what is mind?  No matter.  What is matter?  Nevermind!

ntodd

PS--Some of this discussion fits thematically with the last two Paxcasts, wherein I refer to James Burke.

PPS--Okay, now I'm really mobilizing.  Later!

October 26, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Outsourced Brain
By DAVID BROOKS

The gurus seek bliss amidst mountaintop solitude and serenity in the meditative trance, but I, grasshopper, have achieved the oneness with the universe that is known as pure externalization.

I have melded my mind with the heavens, communed with the universal consciousness, and experienced the inner calm that externalization brings, and it all started because I bought a car with a G.P.S.

Like many men, I quickly established a romantic attachment to my G.P.S. I found comfort in her tranquil and slightly Anglophilic voice. I felt warm and safe following her thin blue line. More than once I experienced her mercy, for each of my transgressions would be greeted by nothing worse than a gentle, “Make a U-turn if possible.”

After a few weeks, it occurred to me that I could no longer get anywhere without her. Any trip slightly out of the ordinary had me typing the address into her system and then blissfully following her satellite-fed commands. I found that I was quickly shedding all vestiges of geographic knowledge.

It was unnerving at first, but then a relief. Since the dawn of humanity, people have had to worry about how to get from here to there. Precious brainpower has been used storing directions, and memorizing turns. I myself have been trapped at dinner parties at which conversation was devoted exclusively to the topic of commuter routes.

My G.P.S. goddess liberated me from this drudgery. She enabled me to externalize geographic information from my own brain to a satellite brain, and you know how it felt? It felt like nirvana.

Through that experience I discovered the Sacred Order of the External Mind. I realized I could outsource those mental tasks I didn’t want to perform. Life is a math problem, and I had a calculator.

Until that moment, I had thought that the magic of the information age was that it allowed us to know more, but then I realized the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less. It provides us with external cognitive servants — silicon memory systems, collaborative online filters, consumer preference algorithms and networked knowledge. We can burden these servants and liberate ourselves.

Musical taste? I have externalized it. Now I just log on to iTunes and it tells me what I like.

I click on its recommendations, sample 30 seconds of each song, and download the ones that appeal. I look on my iPod playlist and realize I’ve never heard of most of the artists I listen to. I was once one of those people with developed opinions about the Ramones, but now I’ve shed all that knowledge and blindly submit to a mishmash of anonymous groups like the Reindeer Section — a disturbing number of which seem to have had their music featured on the soundtrack of “The O.C.”

Memory? I’ve externalized it. I am one of those baby boomers who are making this the “It’s on the Tip of My Tongue Decade.” But now I no longer need to have a memory, for I have Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia. Now if I need to know some fact about the world, I tap a few keys and reap the blessings of the external mind.

Personal information? I’ve externalized it. I’m no longer clear on where I end and my BlackBerry begins. When I want to look up my passwords or contact my friends I just hit a name on my directory. I read in a piece by Clive Thompson in Wired that a third of the people under 30 can’t remember their own phone number. Their smartphones are smart, so they don’t need to be. Today’s young people are forgoing memory before they even have a chance to lose it.

Now, you may wonder if in the process of outsourcing my thinking I am losing my individuality. Not so. My preferences are more narrow and individualistic than ever. It’s merely my autonomy that I’m losing.

I have relinquished control over my decisions to the universal mind. I have fused with the knowledge of the cybersphere, and entered the bliss of a higher metaphysic. As John Steinbeck nearly wrote, a fella ain’t got a mind of his own, just a little piece of the big mind — one mind that belongs to everybody. Then it don’t matter, Ma. I’ll be everywhere, around in the dark. Wherever there is a network, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a TiVo machine making a sitcom recommendation based on past preferences, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a Times reader selecting articles based on the most e-mailed list, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way Amazon links purchasing Dostoyevsky to purchasing garden furniture. And when memes are spreading, and humiliation videos are shared on Facebook — I’ll be there, too.

I am one with the external mind. Om.

October 26, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Firewall Fairy Feels For The Fucking Frogs

Roger Cohen:

Not only is Christine Lagarde France’s finance minister, ready to forsake her native tongue, she is, she says, “happier doing this in English.” With that, right off the bat, she declares in ringing Anglo-Saxon: “We are trying to change the psyche of the French people in relation to work.”

Yeah, I'll say:

The French transportation strike – set to begin Wednesday night - could be one of the country’s biggest labour disruptions since the 1995 general strike. Train, metro and bus employees across the country will be protesting President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to reform the “special” pension plans of public sector workers.

Quite frankly, I wish we had more of the French work ethic...

ntodd

October 18, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Firewall Fairy Derangement Syndrome

The Shrill One:

On the day after Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize, The Wall Street Journal’s editors couldn’t even bring themselves to mention Mr. Gore’s name. Instead, they devoted their editorial to a long list of people they thought deserved the prize more.

And at National Review Online, Iain Murray suggested that the prize should have been shared with “that well-known peace campaigner Osama bin Laden, who implicitly endorsed Gore’s stance.” You see, bin Laden once said something about climate change — therefore, anyone who talks about climate change is a friend of the terrorists.

What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?

Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration.

And now that Mr. Bush has proved himself utterly the wrong man for the job — to be, in fact, the best president Al Qaeda’s recruiters could have hoped for — the symptoms of Gore derangement syndrome have grown even more extreme.

The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the “ozone man,” but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.” And so it has proved.

But Gore hatred is more than personal. When National Review decided to name its anti-environmental blog Planet Gore, it was trying to discredit the message as well as the messenger. For the truth Mr. Gore has been telling about how human activities are changing the climate isn’t just inconvenient. For conservatives, it’s deeply threatening.
...
So if science says that we have a big problem that can’t be solved with tax cuts or bombs — well, the science must be rejected, and the scientists must be slimed. For example, Investor’s Business Daily recently declared that the prominence of James Hansen, the NASA researcher who first made climate change a national issue two decades ago, is actually due to the nefarious schemes of — who else? — George Soros.

Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy.

Well, yes, Gore is a lightning rod for the wingers, but it goes deeper than Krugman thinks.

The New Conservative philosophy is a zero-sum game.  Any gain by somebody else is at the expense of another person--there is no cooperation or compromise or compassion in their worldview.  If the Frosts get healthcare on the government dime, to these people it's taking food out of their kids' mouths, or more likely taking away another iPod or HD TV or some other luxury they reallyreallyreally want and Dog damn it are totally entitled to.  If Gore says we might want to consider not burning so much oil that means he's a fascist commie who wants to destroy personal liberties.

And since they personalize EVERYTHING, whether it be Saddam as Iraq or Bush as America, when you attempt to do any good works that threaten to "steal" from them, they must by extension attack the person(s) involved.  So Graeme Frost deserves to be destroyed because hey, he stupidly chose to join the political process.  Gore is evil because he wants people to "give up their clothes driers" (oh yeah, hyperbole is also part of their schtick, and you know it's impossible to be kind to the environment without becoming Gandhi and giving up all your stuff).

The medium isn't the message; the messenger is.  So they don't want to kill their televisions, they want to kill the people telling them what they don't want to hear because that is tantamount to stealing their souls ala a primitive tribe's attitude toward cameras.  And that makes sense since they rarely engage their cognitive powers and instead rely on their primal urges to drive all their behavior.

They also want to live in the past, not unlike a washed up highschool quarterback keeps replaying The Big Game in his dreams and in his waking life.  Their big triumph was 2000 and now that current reality isn't so sweet, they want to return to the days when everything was Pleasantville perfect.  It's a simplistic approach to the world because they cannot adapt to new facts.  So because some scientists in the 70s based on the understanding of the time said we might be in danger of global cooling, Gore can't be right today despite more data in just the last few years.  Grog not understand.  Grog hit.

It's so insane that even Gore's actions that have nothing to do with them have to be about them.  They mock his carbon offsets and rather than leaving it at that, which is childish and ignorant enough, they actively do things to counter his efforts!

Bottom-line is The Right's very much like the old joke about Puritans (and Democrats): they lie awake in bed at night worrying that someone, somewhere, might be doing a good thing.  That, in their minds, means they necessarily are bad and since they are not, whatever that person is doing must be bad. 

I think that's part and parcel with their amazing ability and veritable need to hold many contradictory thoughts in their reptilian-dominant brains: capitalism is the greatest system ever/Gore is bad for making any money from global warming; the Nobel Prize is worthless/how horrible Gore won; Democrats should get over the 2000 election; hahah, Bush kicked Gore's ass in 2000.

Cognitive fucking dissonance, bitches!

ntodd

October 15, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Gore Derangement Syndrome
By PAUL KRUGMAN

On the day after Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize, The Wall Street Journal’s editors couldn’t even bring themselves to mention Mr. Gore’s name. Instead, they devoted their editorial to a long list of people they thought deserved the prize more.

And at National Review Online, Iain Murray suggested that the prize should have been shared with “that well-known peace campaigner Osama bin Laden, who implicitly endorsed Gore’s stance.” You see, bin Laden once said something about climate change — therefore, anyone who talks about climate change is a friend of the terrorists.

What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?

Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration.

And now that Mr. Bush has proved himself utterly the wrong man for the job — to be, in fact, the best president Al Qaeda’s recruiters could have hoped for — the symptoms of Gore derangement syndrome have grown even more extreme.

The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the “ozone man,” but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.” And so it has proved.

But Gore hatred is more than personal. When National Review decided to name its anti-environmental blog Planet Gore, it was trying to discredit the message as well as the messenger. For the truth Mr. Gore has been telling about how human activities are changing the climate isn’t just inconvenient. For conservatives, it’s deeply threatening.

Consider the policy implications of taking climate change seriously.

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals,” said F.D.R. “We know now that it is bad economics.” These words apply perfectly to climate change. It’s in the interest of most people (and especially their descendants) that somebody do something to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, but each individual would like that somebody to be somebody else. Leave it up to the free market, and in a few generations Florida will be underwater.

The solution to such conflicts between self-interest and the common good is to provide individuals with an incentive to do the right thing. In this case, people have to be given a reason to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, either by requiring that they pay a tax on emissions or by requiring that they buy emission permits, which has pretty much the same effects as an emissions tax. We know that such policies work: the U.S. “cap and trade” system of emission permits on sulfur dioxide has been highly successful at reducing acid rain.

Climate change is, however, harder to deal with than acid rain, because the causes are global. The sulfuric acid in America’s lakes mainly comes from coal burned in U.S. power plants, but the carbon dioxide in America’s air comes from coal and oil burned around the planet — and a ton of coal burned in China has the same effect on the future climate as a ton of coal burned here. So dealing with climate change not only requires new taxes or their equivalent; it also requires international negotiations in which the United States will have to give as well as get.

Everything I’ve just said should be uncontroversial — but imagine the reception a Republican candidate for president would receive if he acknowledged these truths at the next debate. Today, being a good Republican means believing that taxes should always be cut, never raised. It also means believing that we should bomb and bully foreigners, not negotiate with them.

So if science says that we have a big problem that can’t be solved with tax cuts or bombs — well, the science must be rejected, and the scientists must be slimed. For example, Investor’s Business Daily recently declared that the prominence of James Hansen, the NASA researcher who first made climate change a national issue two decades ago, is actually due to the nefarious schemes of — who else? — George Soros.

Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy.

October 15, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ich Bin Nicht Ein Feuerwandmärchen

A threefer, just like in the good ole days...

Rich:

“BUSH lies” doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves.

[T]he drill remains the same. The administration gives its alibi (Abu Ghraib was just a few bad apples). A few members of Congress squawk. The debate is labeled “politics.” We turn the page.
...
We can continue to blame the Bush administration for the horrors of Iraq — and should. Paul Bremer, our post-invasion viceroy and the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts, issued the order that allows contractors to elude Iraqi law, a folly second only to his disbanding of the Iraqi Army. But we must also examine our own responsibility for the hideous acts committed in our name in a war where we have now fought longer than we did in the one that put Verschärfte Vernehmung on the map.

I have always maintained that the American public was the least culpable of the players during the run-up to Iraq. The war was sold by a brilliant and fear-fueled White House propaganda campaign designed to stampede a nation still shellshocked by 9/11. Both Congress and the press — the powerful institutions that should have provided the checks, balances and due diligence of the administration’s case — failed to do their job. Had they done so, more Americans might have raised more objections. This perfect storm of democratic failure began at the top.

As the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin.
...
It was always the White House’s plan to coax us into a blissful ignorance about the war. Part of this was achieved with the usual Bush-Cheney secretiveness, from the torture memos to the prohibition of photos of military coffins. But the administration also invited our passive complicity by requiring no shared sacrifice. A country that knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch was all too easily persuaded there could be a free war.

Instead of taxing us for Iraq, the White House bought us off with tax cuts. Instead of mobilizing the needed troops, it kept a draft off the table by quietly purchasing its auxiliary army of contractors to finesse the overstretched military’s holes. With the war’s entire weight falling on a small voluntary force, amounting to less than 1 percent of the population, the rest of us were free to look the other way at whatever went down in Iraq.
...
Our moral trajectory over the Bush years could not be better dramatized than it was by a reunion of an elite group of two dozen World War II veterans in Washington this month. They were participants in a top-secret operation to interrogate some 4,000 Nazi prisoners of war. Until now, they have kept silent, but America’s recent record prompted them to talk to The Washington Post.

“We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture,” said Henry Kolm, 90, an M.I.T. physicist whose interrogation of Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, took place over a chessboard. George Frenkel, 87, recalled that he “never laid hands on anyone” in his many interrogations, adding, “I’m proud to say I never compromised my humanity.”

Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name.

I've said before that the blood is on all our hands and that we can't just be blaming Bush for the evil our nation has wrought.  It's not pleasant to think on that, but we as a people have not done enough to stop the murder in Iraq.  Who will join in a general strike, with no excuses about whom you voted for or how important your job is, as we try to escalate the opposition?

Dowdy (er, Colbert):

I’d like to thank Maureen Dowd for permitting/begging me to write her column today. As I type this, she’s watching from an overstuffed divan, petting her prize Abyssinian and sipping a Dirty Cosmotinijito. Which reminds me: Before I get started, I have to take care of one other bit of business:

Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay.

There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.

So why I am writing Miss Dowd’s column today? Simple. Because I believe the 2008 election, unlike all previous elections, is important. And a lot of Americans feel confused about the current crop of presidential candidates.

For instance, Hillary Clinton. I can’t remember if I’m supposed to be scared of her so Democrats will think they should nominate her when she’s actually easy to beat, or if I’m supposed to be scared of her because she’s legitimately scary.

Or Rudy Giuliani. I can’t remember if I’m supposed to support him because he’s the one who can beat Hillary if she gets nominated, or if I’m supposed to support him because he’s legitimately scary.

And Fred Thompson. In my opinion “Law & Order” never sufficiently explained why the Manhattan D.A. had an accent like an Appalachian catfish wrestler.

Well, suddenly an option is looming on the horizon. And I don’t mean Al Gore (though he’s a world-class loomer). First of all, I don’t think Nobel Prizes should go to people I was seated next to at the Emmys. Second, winning the Nobel Prize does not automatically qualify you to be commander in chief. I think George Bush has proved definitively that to be president, you don’t need to care about science, literature or peace.

While my hat is not presently in the ring, I should also point out that it is not on my head. So where’s that hat? (Hint: John McCain was seen passing one at a gas station to fuel up the Straight Talk Express.)
...
Nevertheless, I am not ready to announce yet — even though it’s clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative.

What do I offer? Hope for the common man. Because I am not the Anointed or the Inevitable. I am just an Average Joe like you — if you have a TV show.

Like peeling an onion, with each layer making me cry so much I laugh.  And MoDo doesn't know just how much he's mocking her banal, destructive political coverage any more than his clueless guests do.

Mustache:

Seeing Al Gore so deservedly share the Nobel Peace Prize, it is impossible not to note the contrast in his leadership and that of George W. Bush.

Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush each faced a crucible moment. For Mr. Gore, it was winning the popular vote and having the election taken away from him by a Republican-dominated Supreme Court. For Mr. Bush, it was the shocking terrorist attack on 9/11.
...
“No matter what happens, sooner or later character in leadership is revealed,” said David Rothkopf, author of the upcoming “Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making.” “Gore lost the election and had to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. He took the initiative to get the country and the world to focus on a common threat — climate change. Bush won the election and for the first year really didn’t know what to do with it. When, on 9/11, we and the world were suddenly faced with a common threat — terrorism and Al Qaeda — the whole world was ready to line up behind him, but time and again he just divided us at home and abroad.”
...
“Gore, even without the presidency, used all the modern tools of communication, the Internet, video and globalization to reach out and galvanize a global movement,” Mr. Rothkopf said. “Bush took the greatest platform in the world and dug himself a policy grave.”

Now Mr. Bush is a spent force and Mr. Gore is, apparently, not running. So we still need a president who can unify the country around meaningful action on energy and climate. Most of the Democratic candidates mouth the right words, but I don’t sense much real passion. Most of the Republican candidates seem to be brain-dead on the energy/climate challenge. And it is amazing to me how flat-out wrong some conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh, can be on this issue.
...
In sum, Al Gore has been justly honored for highlighting — like no one else — the climate challenge. But we still need a vision, a strategy, an army and a commander in the White House who can inspire young and old — not only to meet that challenge but to see in it the opportunity to make America a better, stronger and more productive nation. This is our crucible moment.

Yes, we'll need somebody in the White House who can see the forest for the trees, as it were.  I still think that person should NOT be Al Gore, but he (or she--but let's face it Hecate, a woman will NEVER be preznit) will need to see the value Al Gore brings to the proverbial table and make him an ally.  He's the one with credibility worldwide and can do the most good when unfettered by the demands of presidential politics.

As a bonus, note in contrast to WaPo that the Grey Lady has a completely good editorial about Gore's Nobel:

One can generate a lot of heartburn thinking about all of the things that would be better about this country and the world if the Supreme Court had done the right thing and ruled for Al Gore instead of George W. Bush in 2000. Mr. Gore certainly hasn’t let his disappointment stop him from putting the time since to very good use.

Yesterday, the Nobel committee celebrated that persistence and awarded the Peace Prize to Mr. Gore and a panel of United Nations scientists for their efforts to raise awareness of the clear and present danger of global warming.

The committee said that the former vice president “is probably the single individual who has done most” to create worldwide understanding of what needs to be done to halt the damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions. It credited the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for creating “an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming.”

What the citation didn’t mention but needs to be said is that it shouldn’t have to be left to a private citizen — even one so well known as Mr. Gore — or a panel of scientists to raise that alarm or prove what is now clearly an undeniable link or champion solutions to a problem that endangers the entire planet.
...
There will also be those who complain that this prize — like the committee’s earlier awards to Jimmy Carter and the chief United Nations nuclear inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei — is an intentional slap at President Bush. It should be. We only wish that it would finally wake up the president.

While other leaders are beginning to recognize the urgency of climate change and the need for ambitious and costly solutions, Mr. Bush and his administration still drag behind: conceding the obvious only when there is no remaining choice, boycotting any initiative that is not their own and rejecting any action that might cut into the immediate profits of industry.

All this was on depressing display last month at Mr. Bush’s summit on global warming, where he again refused to accept the necessity of obligatory targets for reducing greenhouse emissions. His refusal to lead has made it far easier for China and others to refuse to act.

Having squandered the last seven years, Mr. Bush is unlikely to change. Mr. Gore and the United Nations panel of scientists have shown how much citizens with courage and determination can do.

Now it’s up to Congress, the presidential candidates and other world leaders to take up their challenge and the challenge of the Nobel committee. We cannot afford to squander any more time.

Well, I do disagree on one point: it's up to everybody, private citizens, government and industry, to implement solutions to this global problem.  We could do much, much worse than having Gore as a private champion for the cause of global warming; and we can do much, much better than having Bush executing policy.  But in the end, just as with stopping the war(s), it's up to us...

ntodd

October 14, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The ‘Good Germans’ Among Us
By FRANK RICH

“BUSH lies” doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves.

Ten days ago The Times unearthed yet another round of secret Department of Justice memos countenancing torture. President Bush gave his standard response: “This government does not torture people.” Of course, it all depends on what the meaning of “torture” is. The whole point of these memos is to repeatedly recalibrate the definition so Mr. Bush can keep pleading innocent.

By any legal standards except those rubber-stamped by Alberto Gonzales, we are practicing torture, and we have known we are doing so ever since photographic proof emerged from Abu Ghraib more than three years ago. As Andrew Sullivan, once a Bush cheerleader, observed last weekend in The Sunday Times of London, America’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques have a grotesque provenance: “Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the ‘third degree.’ It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.”

Still, the drill remains the same. The administration gives its alibi (Abu Ghraib was just a few bad apples). A few members of Congress squawk. The debate is labeled “politics.” We turn the page.

There has been scarcely more response to the similarly recurrent story of apparent war crimes committed by our contractors in Iraq. Call me cynical, but when Laura Bush spoke up last week about the human rights atrocities in Burma, it seemed less an act of selfless humanitarianism than another administration maneuver to change the subject from its own abuses.

As Mrs. Bush spoke, two women, both Armenian Christians, were gunned down in Baghdad by contractors underwritten by American taxpayers. On this matter, the White House has been silent. That incident followed the Sept. 16 massacre in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, where 17 Iraqis were killed by security forces from Blackwater USA, which had already been implicated in nearly 200 other shooting incidents since 2005. There has been no accountability. The State Department, Blackwater’s sugar daddy for most of its billion dollars in contracts, won’t even share its investigative findings with the United States military and the Iraqi government, both of which have deemed the killings criminal.

The gunmen who mowed down the two Christian women worked for a Dubai-based company managed by Australians, registered in Singapore and enlisted as a subcontractor by an American contractor headquartered in North Carolina. This is a plot out of “Syriana” by way of “Chinatown.” There will be no trial. We will never find out what happened. A new bill passed by the House to regulate contractor behavior will have little effect, even if it becomes law in its current form.

We can continue to blame the Bush administration for the horrors of Iraq — and should. Paul Bremer, our post-invasion viceroy and the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts, issued the order that allows contractors to elude Iraqi law, a folly second only to his disbanding of the Iraqi Army. But we must also examine our own responsibility for the hideous acts committed in our name in a war where we have now fought longer than we did in the one that put Verschärfte Vernehmung on the map.

I have always maintained that the American public was the least culpable of the players during the run-up to Iraq. The war was sold by a brilliant and fear-fueled White House propaganda campaign designed to stampede a nation still shellshocked by 9/11. Both Congress and the press — the powerful institutions that should have provided the checks, balances and due diligence of the administration’s case — failed to do their job. Had they done so, more Americans might have raised more objections. This perfect storm of democratic failure began at the top.

As the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin.

In April 2004, Stars and Stripes first reported that our troops were using makeshift vehicle armor fashioned out of sandbags, yet when a soldier complained to Donald Rumsfeld at a town meeting in Kuwait eight months later, he was successfully pilloried by the right. Proper armor procurement lagged for months more to come. Not until early this year, four years after the war’s first casualties, did a Washington Post investigation finally focus the country’s attention on the shoddy treatment of veterans, many of them victims of inadequate armor, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals.

We first learned of the use of contractors as mercenaries when four Blackwater employees were strung up in Falluja in March 2004, just weeks before the first torture photos emerged from Abu Ghraib. We asked few questions. When reports surfaced early this summer that our contractors in Iraq (180,000, of whom some 48,000 are believed to be security personnel) now outnumber our postsurge troop strength, we yawned. Contractor casualties and contractor-inflicted casualties are kept off the books.

It was always the White House’s plan to coax us into a blissful ignorance about the war. Part of this was achieved with the usual Bush-Cheney secretiveness, from the torture memos to the prohibition of photos of military coffins. But the administration also invited our passive complicity by requiring no shared sacrifice. A country that knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch was all too easily persuaded there could be a free war.

Instead of taxing us for Iraq, the White House bought us off with tax cuts. Instead of mobilizing the needed troops, it kept a draft off the table by quietly purchasing its auxiliary army of contractors to finesse the overstretched military’s holes. With the war’s entire weight falling on a small voluntary force, amounting to less than 1 percent of the population, the rest of us were free to look the other way at whatever went down in Iraq.

We ignored the contractor scandal to our own peril. Ever since Falluja this auxiliary army has been a leading indicator of every element of the war’s failure: not only our inadequate troop strength but also our alienation of Iraqi hearts and minds and our rampant outsourcing to contractors rife with Bush-Cheney cronies and campaign contributors. Contractors remain a bellwether of the war’s progress today. When Blackwater was briefly suspended after the Nisour Square catastrophe, American diplomats were flatly forbidden from leaving the fortified Green Zone. So much for the surge’s great “success” in bringing security to Baghdad.

Last week Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq war combat veteran who directs Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, sketched for me the apocalypse to come. Should Baghdad implode, our contractors, not having to answer to the military chain of command, can simply “drop their guns and go home.” Vulnerable American troops could be deserted by those “who deliver their bullets and beans.”

This potential scenario is just one example of why it’s in our national self-interest to attend to Iraq policy the White House counts on us to ignore. Our national character is on the line too. The extralegal contractors are both a slap at the sovereignty of the self-governing Iraq we supposedly support and an insult to those in uniform receiving as little as one-sixth the pay. Yet it took mass death in Nisour Square to fix even our fleeting attention on this long-metastasizing cancer in our battle plan.

Similarly, it took until December 2005, two and a half years after “Mission Accomplished,” for Mr. Bush to feel sufficient public pressure to acknowledge the large number of Iraqi casualties in the war. Even now, despite his repeated declaration that “America will not abandon the Iraqi people,” he has yet to address or intervene decisively in the tragedy of four million-plus Iraqi refugees, a disproportionate number of them children. He feels no pressure from the American public to do so, but hey, he pays lip service to Darfur.

Our moral trajectory over the Bush years could not be better dramatized than it was by a reunion of an elite group of two dozen World War II veterans in Washington this month. They were participants in a top-secret operation to interrogate some 4,000 Nazi prisoners of war. Until now, they have kept silent, but America’s recent record prompted them to talk to The Washington Post.

“We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture,” said Henry Kolm, 90, an M.I.T. physicist whose interrogation of Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, took place over a chessboard. George Frenkel, 87, recalled that he “never laid hands on anyone” in his many interrogations, adding, “I’m proud to say I never compromised my humanity.”

Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name.

-----

October 14, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
A Mock Columnist, Amok
By MAUREEN DOWD

I was in my office, writing a column on the injustice of relative marginal tax rates for hedge fund managers, when I saw Stephen Colbert on TV.

He was sneering that Times columns make good “kindling.” He was ranting that after you throw away the paper, “it takes over a hundred years for the lies to biodegrade.” He was observing, approvingly, that “Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream is driving a bulldozer into The New York Times while drinking crude oil out of Keith Olbermann’s skull.”

I called Colbert with a dare: if he thought it was so easy to be a Times Op-Ed pundit, he should try it. He came right over. In a moment of weakness, I had staged a coup d’moi. I just hope he leaves at some point. He’s typing and drinking and threatening to “shave Paul Krugman with a broken bottle.”

I Am an Op-Ed Columnist (And So Can You!)

By STEPHEN COLBERT

Surprised to see my byline here, aren’t you? I would be too, if I read The New York Times. But I don’t. So I’ll just have to take your word that this was published. Frankly, I prefer emoticons to the written word, and if you disagree :(

I’d like to thank Maureen Dowd for permitting/begging me to write her column today. As I type this, she’s watching from an overstuffed divan, petting her prize Abyssinian and sipping a Dirty Cosmotinijito. Which reminds me: Before I get started, I have to take care of one other bit of business:

Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay.

There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.

So why I am writing Miss Dowd’s column today? Simple. Because I believe the 2008 election, unlike all previous elections, is important. And a lot of Americans feel confused about the current crop of presidential candidates.

For instance, Hillary Clinton. I can’t remember if I’m supposed to be scared of her so Democrats will think they should nominate her when she’s actually easy to beat, or if I’m supposed to be scared of her because she’s legitimately scary.

Or Rudy Giuliani. I can’t remember if I’m supposed to support him because he’s the one who can beat Hillary if she gets nominated, or if I’m supposed to support him because he’s legitimately scary.

And Fred Thompson. In my opinion “Law & Order” never sufficiently explained why the Manhattan D.A. had an accent like an Appalachian catfish wrestler.

Well, suddenly an option is looming on the horizon. And I don’t mean Al Gore (though he’s a world-class loomer). First of all, I don’t think Nobel Prizes should go to people I was seated next to at the Emmys. Second, winning the Nobel Prize does not automatically qualify you to be commander in chief. I think George Bush has proved definitively that to be president, you don’t need to care about science, literature or peace.

While my hat is not presently in the ring, I should also point out that it is not on my head. So where’s that hat? (Hint: John McCain was seen passing one at a gas station to fuel up the Straight Talk Express.)

Others point to my new bestseller, “I Am America (And So Can You!)” noting that many candidates test the waters with a book first. Just look at Barack Obama, John Edwards or O. J. Simpson.

Look at the moral guidance I offer. On faith: “After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up.” On gender: “The sooner we accept the basic differences between men and women, the sooner we can stop arguing about it and start having sex.” On race: “While skin and race are often synonymous, skin cleansing is good, race cleansing is bad.” On the elderly: “They look like lizards.”

Our nation is at a Fork in the Road. Some say we should go Left; some say go Right. I say, “Doesn’t this thing have a reverse gear?” Let’s back this country up to a time before there were forks in the road — or even roads. Or forks, for that matter. I want to return to a simpler America where we ate our meat off the end of a sharpened stick.

Let me regurgitate: I know why you want me to run, and I hear your clamor. I share Americans’ nostalgia for an era when you not only could tell a man by the cut of his jib, but the jib industry hadn’t yet fled to Guangdong. And I don’t intend to tease you for weeks the way Newt Gingrich did, saying that if his supporters raised $30 million, he would run for president. I would run for 15 million. Cash.

Nevertheless, I am not ready to announce yet — even though it’s clear that the voters are desperate for a white, male, middle-aged, Jesus-trumpeting alternative.

What do I offer? Hope for the common man. Because I am not the Anointed or the Inevitable. I am just an Average Joe like you — if you have a TV show.

-----

October 14, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Who Will Succeed Al Gore?
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Seeing Al Gore so deservedly share the Nobel Peace Prize, it is impossible not to note the contrast in his leadership and that of George W. Bush.

Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush each faced a crucible moment. For Mr. Gore, it was winning the popular vote and having the election taken away from him by a Republican-dominated Supreme Court. For Mr. Bush, it was the shocking terrorist attack on 9/11.

Mr. Gore lost the presidency, but in the dignity and grace with which he gave up his legal fight, he united America. Then, faced with what to do with the rest of his life, he took up a personal crusade to combat climate change, even though the odds were stacked against him, his soapbox was small, his audiences were measured in hundreds, and his critics were legion. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore stuck with it and over time has played a central role in building a global consensus for action on this issue.

“No matter what happens, sooner or later character in leadership is revealed,” said David Rothkopf, author of the upcoming “Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making.” “Gore lost the election and had to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. He took the initiative to get the country and the world to focus on a common threat — climate change. Bush won the election and for the first year really didn’t know what to do with it. When, on 9/11, we and the world were suddenly faced with a common threat — terrorism and Al Qaeda — the whole world was ready to line up behind him, but time and again he just divided us at home and abroad.”

Indeed, Mr. Bush, rather than taking all that unity and using it to rebuild America for the 21st century, took all that unity and used it to push the narrow agenda of his “base.” He used all that unity to take a far-right agenda on taxes and social issues that was going nowhere on 9/10 and drive it into a 9/12 world.

Never has so much national unity — which could have been used to develop a real energy policy, reverse our coming Social Security deficit, assemble a lasting coalition to deal with Afghanistan and Iraq, maybe even get a national health care program — been used to build so little. That is what historians will note most about Mr. Bush’s tenure — the sheer wasted opportunity of it all.

Yes, Iraq was always going to be hugely difficult, but the potential payoff of erecting a decent, democratizing government in the heart of the Arab world was also enormous. Yet Mr. Bush, in his signature issue, never mobilized the country, never punished incompetence, never made the bad guys “fight all of us,” as Bill Maher put it, by at least pushing through a real energy policy to reduce the resources of the very people we were fighting. He thought he could change the world with 50.1 percent of the country, and he couldn’t.

“Gore, even without the presidency, used all the modern tools of communication, the Internet, video and globalization to reach out and galvanize a global movement,” Mr. Rothkopf said. “Bush took the greatest platform in the world and dug himself a policy grave.”

Now Mr. Bush is a spent force and Mr. Gore is, apparently, not running. So we still need a president who can unify the country around meaningful action on energy and climate. Most of the Democratic candidates mouth the right words, but I don’t sense much real passion. Most of the Republican candidates seem to be brain-dead on the energy/climate challenge. And it is amazing to me how flat-out wrong some conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh, can be on this issue.

They can’t see what is staring us in the face — that in pushing American companies to become greener, we are pushing them to become more productive, more innovative, more efficient and more competitive.

You can’t make a product greener without making it smarter and more in demand — whether it is a refrigerator or a microchip. Just ask G.E. or Wal-Mart or Sun Microsystems. You can’t make an army greener without making it more secure. Just ask the U.S. Army officers who are desperate for distributed solar power, so they won’t have to depend on diesel fuel to power their bases in Iraq — fuel that has to be trucked all across that country, only to get blown up by insurgents. In pushing our companies to go green we are spurring them to take the lead in the next great global industry — clean power.

In sum, Al Gore has been justly honored for highlighting — like no one else — the climate challenge. But we still need a vision, a strategy, an army and a commander in the White House who can inspire young and old — not only to meet that challenge but to see in it the opportunity to make America a better, stronger and more productive nation. This is our crucible moment.

-----

October 13, 2007
Editorial
A Prize for Mr. Gore and Science

One can generate a lot of heartburn thinking about all of the things that would be better about this country and the world if the Supreme Court had done the right thing and ruled for Al Gore instead of George W. Bush in 2000. Mr. Gore certainly hasn’t let his disappointment stop him from putting the time since to very good use.

Yesterday, the Nobel committee celebrated that persistence and awarded the Peace Prize to Mr. Gore and a panel of United Nations scientists for their efforts to raise awareness of the clear and present danger of global warming.

The committee said that the former vice president “is probably the single individual who has done most” to create worldwide understanding of what needs to be done to halt the damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions. It credited the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for creating “an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming.”

What the citation didn’t mention but needs to be said is that it shouldn’t have to be left to a private citizen — even one so well known as Mr. Gore — or a panel of scientists to raise that alarm or prove what is now clearly an undeniable link or champion solutions to a problem that endangers the entire planet.

That should be, and must be the job of governments. And governments — above all the Bush administration — have failed miserably.

There will be skeptics who ask what the Peace Prize has to do with global warming. The committee answered that unhesitatingly with its warning that climate change, if unchecked, could unleash massive migrations, violent competitions for resources and, ultimately, threaten the “security of mankind.”

There will also be those who complain that this prize — like the committee’s earlier awards to Jimmy Carter and the chief United Nations nuclear inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei — is an intentional slap at President Bush. It should be. We only wish that it would finally wake up the president.

While other leaders are beginning to recognize the urgency of climate change and the need for ambitious and costly solutions, Mr. Bush and his administration still drag behind: conceding the obvious only when there is no remaining choice, boycotting any initiative that is not their own and rejecting any action that might cut into the immediate profits of industry.

All this was on depressing display last month at Mr. Bush’s summit on global warming, where he again refused to accept the necessity of obligatory targets for reducing greenhouse emissions. His refusal to lead has made it far easier for China and others to refuse to act.

Having squandered the last seven years, Mr. Bush is unlikely to change. Mr. Gore and the United Nations panel of scientists have shown how much citizens with courage and determination can do.

Now it’s up to Congress, the presidential candidates and other world leaders to take up their challenge and the challenge of the Nobel committee. We cannot afford to squander any more time.

October 13, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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The Man Who Would Be Firewall Fairy

Herbert:

When I heard that Mr. Gore had won the Nobel, my thoughts wandered to the younger Mr. Bush and to Rudolph Giuliani, who is leading the current field of Republican presidential candidates.

Mr. Bush came to mind because, for all of the obvious vulnerabilities he exhibited in 2000, it was not him but Mr. Gore who was mocked unmercifully by the national media. And the mockery had nothing to do with the former vice president’s positions on important policy issues. He was mocked because of his personality.

In the race for the highest office in the land, we showed the collective maturity of 3-year-olds.

Mr. Gore was taken to task for his taste in clothing and for such grievous offenses as sighing or, allegedly, rolling his eyes. It was a given that at a barbecue everyone would rush to be with his opponent.
...
Mr. Gore actually polled the most votes in 2000, but he was criticized for not having whipped Mr. Bush decisively enough to have avoided the madness in Florida.

Mr. Gore knows the system is in trouble, and not just because of the way he lost in 2000. The last time I spoke to him, a few months ago, he said: “Having served in the White House with the Gingrich Congress, and having watched the best of intentions so often turned into small changes ballyhooed as revolutionary, sometimes having no lasting mark, I really do believe that fixing the dynamic of democracy is an urgent task.”

That’s just the kind of thoughtful comment that can’t get a real hearing in our sound-bite politics. The result is that reality, untidy and complex, is almost always trumped by well-crafted phoniness.
...
Al Gore is a serious man confronted by a political system that is not open to a serious exploration of important, complex issues. He knows it.

“What politics has become,” he said, with a laugh and a tinge of regret, “requires a level of tolerance for triviality and artifice and nonsense that I have found in short supply.”

It will not be something my little cupcake froster, Vicki, might want to hear, but this is precisely why I don't want Gore to run for President. 

He understands the problem with our rickety democratic mechanisms and the Heathers who blithely focus on the banal, as well the unconscionably slow US and global response to climate change.  I don't think these are things he can fix within the current system and would do the greatest good as an insurgent on the outside, a sort of Shadow President with the moral authority and flexibility necessary to address our major issues.

In short, he's too goddamned smart to be our chief executive.  Let the other Democrats scurry about to raise money, bash each other, and get mired in the deep shit Bush leaves them in the White House.  Gore has a more important mission than becoming a mere president.

ntodd

PS--No, there really is no need for the Firewall Fairy anymore now that the stupid firewall is kaput, but I'm a liberal so am keeping him employed to prevent him from becoming a meth whore.

October 13, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Trivial Pursuit
By BOB HERBERT

Yesterday began with the gratifying news that Al Gore, derided by George H.W. Bush as the “Ozone Man,” had won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The first thing media types wanted to know was whether this would prompt Mr. Gore to elbow his way into the presidential campaign. That’s like asking someone who’s recovered from a heart attack if he plans to resume smoking.

Mr. Gore, who won an Academy Award for his documentary on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and an Emmy for his cable TV network, Current, knows better than anyone else how toxic and downright idiotic presidential politics has become.

He may be one of the most intelligent, thoughtful, talented men in America and remarkably well-equipped to lead the nation, but it’s Mr. Bush’s less-than-curious, less-than-distinguished son, George W., who is president.

There are all kinds of ironies wrapped up in the title of Mr. Gore’s latest book, “The Assault on Reason.”

When I heard that Mr. Gore had won the Nobel, my thoughts wandered to the younger Mr. Bush and to Rudolph Giuliani, who is leading the current field of Republican presidential candidates.

Mr. Bush came to mind because, for all of the obvious vulnerabilities he exhibited in 2000, it was not him but Mr. Gore who was mocked unmercifully by the national media. And the mockery had nothing to do with the former vice president’s positions on important policy issues. He was mocked because of his personality.

In the race for the highest office in the land, we showed the collective maturity of 3-year-olds.

Mr. Gore was taken to task for his taste in clothing and for such grievous offenses as sighing or, allegedly, rolling his eyes. It was a given that at a barbecue everyone would rush to be with his opponent.

We’ve paid a heavy price. The president who got such high marks as a barbecue companion doesn’t seem to know up from down. He’s hurled the nation into a ruinous war that has cost countless lives and spawned a whole new generation of terrorists. He continues to sit idly by as a historic American city, New Orleans, remains wounded and on its knees. He’s blithely steered the nation into a bottomless pit of debt.

I could go on.

Mr. Gore actually polled the most votes in 2000, but he was criticized for not having whipped Mr. Bush decisively enough to have avoided the madness in Florida.

Mr. Gore knows the system is in trouble, and not just because of the way he lost in 2000. The last time I spoke to him, a few months ago, he said: “Having served in the White House with the Gingrich Congress, and having watched the best of intentions so often turned into small changes ballyhooed as revolutionary, sometimes having no lasting mark, I really do believe that fixing the dynamic of democracy is an urgent task.”

That’s just the kind of thoughtful comment that can’t get a real hearing in our sound-bite politics. The result is that reality, untidy and complex, is almost always trumped by well-crafted phoniness.

Which brings us to Mr. Giuliani.

The entire basis for this former mayor’s candidacy is his contention that he is some kind of expert, a veritable guru, on matters related to terrorism.

“I understand terrorism,” he says, “in a way that is equal to or exceeds anyone else.”

And yet in the two most important decisions he has made with regard to terror, he has miserably failed.

Mr. Giuliani foolishly insisted, against expert advice, on placing New York City’s state-of-the-art emergency command center on the 27th floor of a 47-story building that was known to be a terror target and that was destroyed in the World Trade Center attack.

And he pushed hard for the corrupt and grotesquely underqualified Bernard Kerik to be appointed to the top antiterror post in the Bush administration, secretary of homeland security.

In an episode that humiliated the president, the nomination had to be scrapped after boatloads of damaging information began to emerge about Mr. Kerik. (He has since pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors and remains under federal investigation.)

But Mr. Giuliani, who shares with Mr. Bush a Manichaean view of the world and an aggressive, authoritarian temperament, remains not just a viable candidate, but the G.O.P. front-runner.

Al Gore is a serious man confronted by a political system that is not open to a serious exploration of important, complex issues. He knows it.

“What politics has become,” he said, with a laugh and a tinge of regret, “requires a level of tolerance for triviality and artifice and nonsense that I have found in short supply.”

October 13, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Firewall Fairy Is Fiscally Irresponsible

The Shrill One:

Mr. Greenspan has just published a book in which he castigates the Bush administration for its fiscal irresponsibility.

Well, I’m sorry, but that criticism comes six years late and a trillion dollars short.
...
If anyone had doubts about Mr. Greenspan’s determination not to inconvenience the Bush administration, those doubts were resolved...when the administration proposed another round of tax cuts, even though the budget was now deep in deficit. And guess what? The former high priest of fiscal responsibility did not object.

And in 2004 he expressed support for making the Bush tax cuts permanent — remember, these are the tax cuts he now says he didn’t endorse — and argued that the budget should be balanced with cuts in entitlement spending, including Social Security benefits, instead. Of course, back in 2001 he specifically assured Congress that cutting taxes would not threaten Social Security.

In retrospect, Mr. Greenspan’s moral collapse in 2001 was a portent. It foreshadowed the way many people in the foreign policy community would put their critical faculties on hold and support the invasion of Iraq, despite ample evidence that it was a really bad idea.

And like enthusiastic war supporters who have started describing themselves as war critics now that the Iraq venture has gone wrong, Mr. Greenspan has started portraying himself as a critic of administration fiscal irresponsibility now that President Bush has become deeply unpopular and Democrats control Congress.

Methinks all the former apologists have been practicing "Ich keine Nazi" in the bathroom mirror...

ntodd

September 17, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Sad Alan’s Lament
By PAUL KRUGMAN

When President Bush first took office, it seemed unlikely that he would succeed in getting his proposed tax cuts enacted. The questionable nature of his installation in the White House seemed to leave him in a weak political position, while the Senate was evenly balanced between the parties. It was hard to see how a huge, controversial tax cut, which delivered most of its benefits to a wealthy elite, could get through Congress.

Then Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, testified before the Senate Budget Committee.

Until then Mr. Greenspan had presented himself as the voice of fiscal responsibility, warning the Clinton administration not to endanger its hard-won budget surpluses. But now Republicans held the White House, and the Greenspan who appeared before the Budget Committee was a very different man.

Suddenly, his greatest concern — the “emerging key fiscal policy need,” he told Congress — was to avert the threat that the federal government might actually pay off all its debt. To avoid this awful outcome, he advocated tax cuts. And the floodgates were opened.

As it turns out, Mr. Greenspan’s fears that the federal government would quickly pay off its debt were, shall we say, exaggerated. And Mr. Greenspan has just published a book in which he castigates the Bush administration for its fiscal irresponsibility.

Well, I’m sorry, but that criticism comes six years late and a trillion dollars short.

Mr. Greenspan now says that he didn’t mean to give the Bush tax cuts a green light, and that he was surprised at the political reaction to his remarks. There were, indeed, rumors at the time — which Mr. Greenspan now says were true — that the Fed chairman was upset about the response to his initial statement.

But the fact is that if Mr. Greenspan wasn’t intending to lend crucial support to the Bush tax cuts, he had ample opportunity to set the record straight when it could have made a difference.

His first big chance to clarify himself came a few weeks after that initial testimony, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Here’s what I wrote following that appearance: “Mr. Greenspan’s performance yesterday, in his first official testimony since he let the genie out of the bottle, was a profile in cowardice. Again and again he was offered the opportunity to say something that would help rein in runaway tax-cutting; each time he evaded the question, often replying by reading from his own previous testimony. He declared once again that he was speaking only for himself, thus granting himself leeway to pronounce on subjects far afield of his role as Federal Reserve chairman. But when pressed on the crucial question of whether the huge tax cuts that now seem inevitable are too large, he said it was inappropriate for him to comment on particular proposals.

“In short, Mr. Greenspan defined the rules of the game in a way that allows him to intervene as he likes in the political debate, but to retreat behind the veil of his office whenever anyone tries to hold him accountable for the results of those interventions.”

I received an irate phone call from Mr. Greenspan after that article, in which he demanded to know what he had said that was wrong. In his book, he claims that Robert Rubin, the former Treasury secretary, was stumped by that question. That’s hard to believe, because I certainly wasn’t: Mr. Greenspan’s argument for tax cuts was contorted and in places self-contradictory, not to mention based on budget projections that everyone knew, even then, were wildly overoptimistic.

If anyone had doubts about Mr. Greenspan’s determination not to inconvenience the Bush administration, those doubts were resolved two years later, when the administration proposed another round of tax cuts, even though the budget was now deep in deficit. And guess what? The former high priest of fiscal responsibility did not object.

And in 2004 he expressed support for making the Bush tax cuts permanent — remember, these are the tax cuts he now says he didn’t endorse — and argued that the budget should be balanced with cuts in entitlement spending, including Social Security benefits, instead. Of course, back in 2001 he specifically assured Congress that cutting taxes would not threaten Social Security.

In retrospect, Mr. Greenspan’s moral collapse in 2001 was a portent. It foreshadowed the way many people in the foreign policy community would put their critical faculties on hold and support the invasion of Iraq, despite ample evidence that it was a really bad idea.

And like enthusiastic war supporters who have started describing themselves as war critics now that the Iraq venture has gone wrong, Mr. Greenspan has started portraying himself as a critic of administration fiscal irresponsibility now that President Bush has become deeply unpopular and Democrats control Congress.

September 17, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Firewall Fairy Has A Stabbing Headache

The Shrill One:

All in all, Mr. Bush’s actions have not been those of a leader seriously trying to win a war. They have, however, been what you’d expect from a man whose plan is to keep up appearances for the next 16 months, never mind the cost in lives and money, then shift the blame for failure onto his successor.

In fact, that’s my interpretation of something that startled many people: Mr. Bush’s decision last month, after spending years denying that the Iraq war had anything in common with Vietnam, to suddenly embrace the parallel.

Here’s how I see it: At this point, Mr. Bush is looking forward to replaying the political aftermath of Vietnam, in which the right wing eventually achieved a rewriting of history that would have made George Orwell proud, convincing millions of Americans that our soldiers had victory in their grasp but were stabbed in the back by the peaceniks back home.

What all this means is that the next president, even as he or she tries to extricate us from Iraq — and prevent the country’s breakup from turning into a regional war — will have to deal with constant sniping from the people who lied us into an unnecessary war, then lost the war they started, but will never, ever, take responsibility for their failures.

I blame Krugman for the liberals loudly cutting down trees with chainsaws near Hecate's hut so I couldn't sleep in, and I demand she turn the Shrill One and all the rest into newts.

ntodd

A Surge, and Then a Stab
By PAUL KRUGMAN

To understand what’s really happening in Iraq, follow the oil money, which already knows that the surge has failed.

Back in January, announcing his plan to send more troops to Iraq, President Bush declared that “America will hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced.”

Near the top of his list was the promise that “to give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.”

There was a reason he placed such importance on oil: oil is pretty much the only thing Iraq has going for it. Two-thirds of Iraq’s G.D.P. and almost all its government revenue come from the oil sector. Without an agreed system for sharing oil revenues, there is no Iraq, just a collection of armed gangs fighting for control of resources.

Well, the legislation Mr. Bush promised never materialized, and on Wednesday attempts to arrive at a compromise oil law collapsed.

What’s particularly revealing is the cause of the breakdown. Last month the provincial government in Kurdistan, defying the central government, passed its own oil law; last week a Kurdish Web site announced that the provincial government had signed a production-sharing deal with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas, and that seems to have been the last straw.

Now here’s the thing: Ray L. Hunt, the chief executive and president of Hunt Oil, is a close political ally of Mr. Bush. More than that, Mr. Hunt is a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a key oversight body.

Some commentators have expressed surprise at the fact that a businessman with very close ties to the White House is undermining U.S. policy. But that isn’t all that surprising, given this administration’s history. Remember, Halliburton was still signing business deals with Iran years after Mr. Bush declared Iran a member of the “axis of evil.”

No, what’s interesting about this deal is the fact that Mr. Hunt, thanks to his policy position, is presumably as well-informed about the actual state of affairs in Iraq as anyone in the business world can be. By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds, despite Baghdad’s disapproval, he’s essentially betting that the Iraqi government — which hasn’t met a single one of the major benchmarks Mr. Bush laid out in January — won’t get its act together. Indeed, he’s effectively betting against the survival of Iraq as a nation in any meaningful sense of the term.

The smart money, then, knows that the surge has failed, that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia. And I suspect that most people in the Bush administration — maybe even Mr. Bush himself — know this, too.

After all, if the administration had any real hope of retrieving the situation in Iraq, officials would be making an all-out effort to get the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to start delivering on some of those benchmarks, perhaps using the threat that Congress would cut off funds otherwise. Instead, the Bushies are making excuses, minimizing Iraqi failures, moving goal posts and, in general, giving the Maliki government no incentive to do anything differently.

And for that matter, if the administration had any real intention of turning public opinion around, as opposed to merely shoring up the base enough to keep Republican members of Congress on board, it would have sent Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, to as many news media outlets as possible — not granted an exclusive appearance to Fox News on Monday night.

All in all, Mr. Bush’s actions have not been those of a leader seriously trying to win a war. They have, however, been what you’d expect from a man whose plan is to keep up appearances for the next 16 months, never mind the cost in lives and money, then shift the blame for failure onto his successor.

In fact, that’s my interpretation of something that startled many people: Mr. Bush’s decision last month, after spending years denying that the Iraq war had anything in common with Vietnam, to suddenly embrace the parallel.

Here’s how I see it: At this point, Mr. Bush is looking forward to replaying the political aftermath of Vietnam, in which the right wing eventually achieved a rewriting of history that would have made George Orwell proud, convincing millions of Americans that our soldiers had victory in their grasp but were stabbed in the back by the peaceniks back home.

What all this means is that the next president, even as he or she tries to extricate us from Iraq — and prevent the country’s breakup from turning into a regional war — will have to deal with constant sniping from the people who lied us into an unnecessary war, then lost the war they started, but will never, ever, take responsibility for their failures.

September 14, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack