Friday, June 29, 2007

I <3 NY

I'll set the scene: FOX News's Laura Ingle is conducting an interview about the new iPhone on the street in NYC. And all of sudden...well, just watch the video, c/o ThinkProgress.

How funny. Pay attention, too, at the different way Ingle tries to spin what just happened; it's a little weird (and very telling) that misinformation has become second nature for her, the automatic reaction to someone reacting physically against FOX.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Judicial activism?

Ya mean, like this? From The New York Times (h/t Adam B @ dKos):
Striking down an antitrust rule nearly a century old, the Supreme Court ruled today that it is no longer automatically unlawful for manufacturers and distributors to agree on setting minimum retail prices.

The decision will give producers significantly more leeway, though not unlimited power, to dictate retail prices and to restrict the flexibility of discounters.

Five justices said the new rule could, in some instances, lead to more competition and better service. But four dissenting justices agreed with the submission of 37 states and consumer groups that the abandonment of the old rule would lead to significantly higher prices and less competition for consumer and other goods.

Speaking of judicial activism, guess which judge strikes down the most legislation, i.e., is the biggest judicial activist?

A: Anthony Kennedy.

Here is a good article on him in The New Republic. Yes, it happens.

Here's to hoping that in 2 years this bunch of wild-eyed conservative ideologues is the Republican party's only hold on power in Washington. Clearly they can do enough damage by themselves, blowing through our system of laws like a tornado and trashing the place every 3 months.

conceding defeat

Take a look at this video. Bush looks visibly jarred by the stunning defeat of his immigration bill. His tone and body language just scream "abject failure." I'm with Atrios on this one: if immigration only comes every 20 years or so, why push a shitty compromise that no one likes when we can wait until after '08 and get the bill we want?


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

why didn't I think of that?

John Aravosis figured out why the Democrats chose to issue warrantless wiretapping subpoenas now:
But of course, Cheney just said he and his office are not part of the executive branch. But he'll have to change his tune immediately in order to squash the subpoena by claiming executive privelege. And that is why the subpoena was issued right now, to force Cheney to recant his recent claim that he's a new and independent 4th branch of government. Two points for the Dems.

I don't give Patrick Leahy enough credit sometimes.

institutional goldfish memory

From USA Today:
Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that would allow labor unions to organize workplaces without a secret ballot election.

Democrats were unable to get the 60 votes needed to force consideration of the Employee Free Choice Act, ending organized labor's chance to win its top legislative priority from Congress.

The final vote was 51-48.

The outcome was not a surprise, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., saying for months that he would stop the legislation in the Senate. The White House also made it clear that if the bill passed Congress it would be vetoed.

Apropos of the GOP "block", I would like to ask a question: why have I not heard the word "filibuster" since the Democratic takeover of the Senate? That's the single word term for "a move requiring 60 votes to force consideration," so why are so many newspapers and news shows refusing to use the term? I was starting to wonder if the Senate rules had been changed so that now 60 votes are required to pass bills, as every vote the Democrats lose these days "falls short of the necessary 60 votes to force consideration." Then I realized that Trent Lott has been organizing filibusters of virtually every bill Harry Reid brings to the floor. What happened to the moral necessity of the "up or down vote?" More importantly, how come they're "filibusters" when the Democrats did them but just "blocks" when the Republicans do them?

I expect the GOP to be craven and hypocritical, they've made it their business to be such and their goals and strategies pretty much require them to be. But what's USA Today's excuse?

Monday, June 25, 2007

are they trying to look as hypocritical as possible?

From TPM:
According to this quite hilarious article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the California GOP has hired as its chief operating officer, an Australian national who the Department of Homeland Security has been trying to deport for repeated immigration violations. As recently as Februrary, Michael Kamburowski, was working, rather haplessly, as a real estate agent in the Domincan Republic until he "ran away without mentioning anything to us," according to his one-time boss, Rico Pester, the owner of Re/Max Island Realty, in the resort town of Punta Cana. (Said his Re/Max bio: "With his attention to detail, laid-back yet professional approach, and sense of humor, Michael will smoothen the road to your dream property in Punta Cana.")

Perhaps it is somehow implicitly redundant to note that in the second half of the 1990s Kamburowski was working for Grover Norquist on immigration policy, tort reform and 'paycheck protection' before becoming the executive director of Norquist's Reagan Legacy Project.

I've run out of snappy anti-GOP jabs. I got nuthin'.

the root of all evil

Here is the beginning of a fantastic, comprehensive piece the Washington Post is putting together on the Vice President and just how much power he holds within the White House. And just how much of a secretive, creepy f**ker is he?:
Across the board, the vice president's office goes to unusual lengths to avoid transparency. Cheney declines to disclose the names or even the size of his staff, generally releases no public calendar and ordered the Secret Service to destroy his visitor logs. His general counsel has asserted that "the vice presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch," and is therefore exempt from rules governing either. Cheney is refusing to observe an executive order on the handling of national security secrets, and he proposed to abolish a federal office that insisted on auditing his compliance.

I put that one sentence in bold because, frankly, it's the scariest sentence of all. It can be a little tricky to describe the full potential ramifications of that sentence, as we're so used to thinking within the constraints of the constitution that it's hard to imagine what a government agency could do if it suddenly found itself without them. Perhaps it's become important to start thinking about those possibilities, as one government is now claiming that it's outside the circumscribed boundaries of the constitution, holding as much executive power as it pleases but answerable to no one. That means that Cheney believes that there is no government entity with the power to reign him in or prevent him from acting out his whims. Except perhaps the president, who is virtually a dictator in Cheney's mind, and yet intellectually subservient to him in reality. It's like we have 2 dictators!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Digby shows us how it's done

I hate to retreat so quickly to my vituperative blogger persona, but this is just outrageous. Via Julia, I see that George Bush once again shows his philosophical depth:
Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical -- and it is not the only option before us.

Right. That's a perfectly respectable philosophy that's been held by many great people for centuries. It's called pacifism and it's about as far from the philosophy of this bloodthirsty boor as you can get.

In fairness, he may not realize that because when his briefers discuss the wanton killing of little Iraqi or Afghan children, it's not called "destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life" it's called "collateral damage."

She keeps going for a while, but she could have stopped there. His argument is already eviscerated.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

the Progressive Majority

This is a really important study, if all true. It's long past time we did away with the myth that regular Americans are generally conservative. I particularly wish, however, that Democrats would read this.

The people are on your side, assholes. Start acting like it.


That's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Assault on Al Gore

If I were the former vice president, I'd hold a press conference tomorrow, walk up to the mic and say, "I rest my case," and walk off. These people are just unbelievable. Maybe he gets such a cold, sneering reception from them because he's living, walking proof that their shitty reporting sent the country off in a direction it was never supposed to go. Or maybe it just pisses them off to have to deal with someone notably smarter and better educated than them. Everyone becomes a folksy anti-intellectual when the guy across from them is an expert.

I'm reading the book, by the way; I'll let you know how it goes.

what the hell?

PBS is going to show a Christian Right-produced anti-wall-of-separation movie? From Talk2Action:
"The Wall of Separation" is a production of Boulevard Pictures, a California outfit that describes itself as "a motion picture production company committed to bringing moviegoers high-quality stories from the world's most innovative filmmakers--films that bring hope, inspire us to the good, and that show us what the human spirit can attain."

But there seems to be more there than meets the eye.

Promotional material for the program at the Boulevard Web site suggests that it promotes a radically revisionist view of church and state.

"The Wall of Separation is a metaphor deeply embedded in the American consciousness," the company observes. "Most of us take for granted the idea that politics and religion should not be intermixed because of the heritage of The First Amendment in our understanding of freedom of religion. The No Establishment Clause has protected us from the entanglement of religion with government, and the Free Exercise Clause has secured the right for all faiths to engage in their religious practices without interference from the state. America is a religiously pluralistic culture guided by a secular government."

That sounds pretty good. But then the Boulevard promo takes a troubling turn.

"...[W]hat would surprise most Americans," it asserts, "is the discovery that this is not what the Founding Fathers of our country intended when they established our nation and wrote the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They in fact had a radically different definition of establishment and the role of religion in state and federal governments than we do today. So radical, in fact, that some say the modern understanding of the role of religion in the public square is exactly the opposite of what the Founders intended."

Anyone know if our local affiliate is airing this? Judging from their website, it appears not, but confirmation would be nice.

a hate crime committed in Indiana: where's the media?

From The Bloomington Alternative:
The simple facts in Shorty Hall's murder shout major media. Brian Williams or Katie Couric, maybe. Bill Moyers, someday. Indianapolis Star, unquestionably.

The 1998 hate-crime murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming is commonly invoked in comparison.

Thirty-five-year-old, 5-foot-4, 100-pound Aaron Hall was brutally beaten on April 12 for hours by two teens who have described the murder in chilling detail to police. Each says Hall precipitated the violence by making a homosexual suggestion.

The beatings included repeated pummelings with fists and boots and dragging Hall down a wooden staircase by his feet as "his head bounced down all of the steps," in one of the accused's words. He died naked and alone, in a field, where he had crawled after his killers dumped his body in a roadside ditch.

Police found Hall's body 10 days after his death wrapped in a tarp in the garage of Jackson County Deputy Coroner Terry Gray, whose son is one of the accused.

As far as I can find, the South Bend Tribune hasn't covered it. Like, at all. No articles whatsoever turned up when I searched "Aaron Hall" on their website. The Indy Star? No dice there, either, according to Advance Indiana's blog. They claim it's due to the fact that the Star advocated against adopting hate crimes legislation in Indiana, but did the SBT do so as well? Even freakier, too, is the fact that someone apparently from the Star keeps harassing AI on the issue. What the hell kind of unprofessionalism is going on in Indianapolis?

Read the Alternative's article; this story gets weirder and weirder the further you read.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ron Paul is not who you think he is

If I were Rudy Giuliani or John McCain (known in the jungle as the Pandersaurus) or Mitt Romney (whose followers are affectionately known as "mittheads"), right after the primary ends I'd take as hard of a left turn as I could on one or two issues. If they do so, they'll probably win in a landslide because progressives and liberals apparently have an acute, though latent, case of the Stupid that triggers upon hearing a conservative take a liberal stance on one issue that they care about. We saw this with way too many liberals in Texas with Kinky Friedman, and he didn't even need a liberal stance on any issues; he just needed a bunch of snappy one liners.

Now we're seeing it with far-right nutjob Ron Paul. David Neiwert dismantles him ably at Orcinus; I'd suggest checking it out, just to get a sense of how cuckoo Paul really is. For background, phenry @ dKos wrote a good series on him. Paul is what you might call "the far, far right's ambassador to reality." And I don't mean "far right" like Jerry Falwell or Grover Norquist. I mean far right like "heavily armed white guys staring out the windows waiting for the Mexican horde or the black helicopters" far right. Or the "the Jews caused 9/11 and are secretly seeking world domination by hijacking the UN" far right. Here's a taste:
Paul, a tireless foe of the United Nations for more than 30 years, is one of the higher-profile proponents of the familiar "New World Order" conspiracy theory, a paranoid fantasy in which a shadowy group of powerful players is perpetually plotting to conquer the world. Like many on the fringe, Paul takes his fear of other countries to ridiculous extremes; when asked by radio host Alex Jones in November 2005 about a report that Dutch and Mexican troops were helping out with Hurricane Katrina relief operations, Paul called it "a horrible precedent, and it's all part of the NAFTA scheme and globalization and world government."

Again, he's the ambassador, so a lot of what he says, looked at individually, can be rationalized away or may even sound reasonable, until you see who he's really speaking to and what he really means. Liberals, for instance, are also against aspects of globalization and NAFTA, but not for the same reasons Paul is against them, and the end result of President Paul abolishing NAFTA wouldn't be anything resembling what liberals would want or expect.

Check out the phenry posts and the Orcinus posts to see what I mean.

Here, by the way, are some choice nuggets ripped straight off his campaign website:
NAFTA”s superhighway is just one part of a plan to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico, called the North American Union. This spawn of powerful special interests, would create a single nation out of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, with a new unelected bureaucracy and money system.

And there's this, one of his points to solving the immigration issue:
End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong.

The incredible hypocrisy and the apostasy against a core American belief should be self-evident.

the Joke Line goes to bat for Libby

Greenwald, as devastating as ever. Read it. I'll just say this: the single most salient point in this whole Libby issue is the fact that both the prosecutor and the judge were Republicans appointed by the president himself.

Also, Glenn very slyly buries this one in a pile of evidence that many people get rolled this hard for perjury all the time, but I think it speaks to many, many things:
New York Times, September 11, 1987 (h/t Attaturk):

The United States Attorney in Manhattan, Rudolph W. Giuliani, declared yesterday that the one-year prison sentence that a Queens judge received for perjury was "somewhat shocking."

"A sentence of one year seemed to me to be very lenient," Mr. Giuliani said, when asked to comment on the sentence imposed Wednesday on Justice Francis X. Smith, the former Queens administrative judge. . . .

Justice Smith was convicted of committing perjury before a grand jury investigating corruption in the city, Mr. Giuliani said later, adding that "he could have helped root out corruption" by cooperating with the grand jury.

Great moments in media accountability

Katie Couric, at Williams College's commencement:
"While it's wonderful to have the world literally at our fingertips, the tsunami of information at our beck and call has the potential to drown us and actually make us less informed.... Surfing the web may be fast and fun, but sometimes pursuing knowledge requires you to go in the deep end -- and not just dip your toe in the shallow water. [...]

"The proliferation of celebrity magazines makes Lindsey Lohan's latest stint in rehab seem more important than what's happening in Darfur.

The kind of fluff that accosts us on the newsstand may seem like harmless fun, but it should also come with a warning label that says it can rot your mind and distort your values."

Steve Benen at TPM serves this one up:
On Thursday night, the CBS Evening News' top story was Bush and Putin discussing missile defense, to which the network devoted two minutes and 35 seconds. The next longest item was Paris Hilton's release from jail, which garnered two minutes and 25 seconds.

During the half-hour broadcast, the Paris Hilton "news" got more coverage on CBS than a roadside bomb killing a U.S. soldier, the immigration legislation, and passage of the stem-cell bill combined -- times two.

Chalk another one up to our "Don't ask me, I just work here" press. I trust Couric's talking to her special effects guys right now about designing the logo for that warning label to slap on all her Paris Hilton coverage. Not to pick on her, of course; this kind of thing goes on all over the press. I remember 6 months ago hearing Brian Williams ponder aloud at the way "the media" focuses on the superficial, as if he is not, in fact, the anchor of the most watched evening news in the country.

Friday, June 08, 2007

he helps the bad guys

Another one of Matthews' more lucid moments. It's a relatively obvious point, but since no one else is saying it, props to Matthews (h/t TPM).

Thursday, June 07, 2007

our dysfunctional media

Here's a great little TPMCafe piece burning Joke Line for his favorite journalistic strategy, specifically mendacity covering up lack of thoroughness. It's actually a pretty funny episode, or at least it would be if Joe Klein didn't write for Time f*&king Magazine. Sorta like how a lot of W's screwups would be funny if he weren't, ya know, Leader of the Free World.

I wanted to riff off this episode, however, to point something out. Perhaps I've mentioned it before, but there's an awful lot of misinformation surrounding the issue of "funding the troops." That the media let the issue be framed in such baldly partisan language is evidence itself of the ineptness with which they handled the issue, which is in my opinion what ultimately led to the breakdown in Congress. Everyone essentially admitted that Bush won the funding battle because Bush won the messaging of the funding battle. The Democrats' message was that this is how previous wars were ended and that this was how Congress was given a check on the president's war powers, and the president's message was that defunding is tantamount to letting the troops run out of bullets in the middle of Baghdad. Ultimately, the electorate (which in very real ways still is the final arbiter of these decisions, and this is an excellent example of such a situation) was swayed by Bush's argument, and the Democrats came to the conclusion that it was too politically perilous to push the issue (a decision they will, in all likelihood, come to regret next year).

Here's where the media screwed everything up, though: one of these arguments is a fact, and the other argument is a lie. Literally. It is absolutely true that Congress has used this power before and that it never amounts to soldiers running out of bullets. Never. In fact, the Republican congress did it as recently as 1993, when they defunded Clinton's peacekeeping mission in Somalia. It is, therefore, a bald-faced, absolute, literal, in-every-sense-of-the-word lie to say or in any way imply that defunding the war=soldiers in the middle of gunfights running out of bullets or going hungry or not getting their paychecks.

Yet that is not how it was portrayed in the newspapers or on TV. Russ Feingold, screaming from the rafters that the GOP's argument is crazy talk, was treated as "just another opinion on the matter" while pundits, anchors, and reporters alike were allowed to use the term "defunding the troops" with impunity. No one was ever called on it despite the fact that this is not a subjective position, but rather something that can actually be verified or refuted with even a mere modicum of research, so far as I've found.

It is notable that (from what I read, anyway) it was often implied that soldiers would run out of bullets, or that they would suffer from defunding-- you may remember a number of iterations of "defunding would harm soldiers in the field"-- but almost no one would actually come out and say "they'll run out of bullets." It's become a very handy way to tell when a politician or pundit is lying: when they imply something over and over, but never actually say it, obviously so that, when the truth finally comes out, the speaker can't be fingered as technically having "lied." Perhaps this explains why no intrepid reporter ever bothered with fact-checking it: since no one ever technically said it...

But, of course, we all know that these were exactly the arguments being forwarded, which is exactly why the majority of Americans polled now believe that defunding a war is bad but ending the war in every other conceivable way is good, amazingly despite no one ever technically telling them that!

There are 2 points in this whole battle where the media's careless treatment of the debate is both mitigated and exacerbated, however. One is that a number of Democrats in the House and Senate, including, most disappointingly, Barack Obama, actually confirmed the rightwing frame on camera. I am still, at this point, utterly baffled at why they did so; perhaps they thought the PR battle was already lost and didn't want Pelosi leading them down the path to losses in '08. On the one hand, this fact relieves the media of a degree of culpabiliity, since if even some Democrats were saying it, it must be true, right? On the other hand, if the media were handling this in the true/false manner it really merited, perhaps they would've confronted these wavering Democrats on the issue.

The second point is that, if you look at the history of "defunding" wars, and the fact that it's always happened safely in the past, and that after losing funding, all previous presidents have ordered the Armed Forces to execute orderly and safe withdrawals from theirs conflicts, in what way could the current troops possibly be put in harm's way by defunding, especially more than by staying in this war? Though I said that the "running out of bullets" argument is an absolute lie, there is actually one way in which it could be true: if Congress knows or believes that the president would intentionally let the troops run out of bullets. That is, if Congress would refuse to pass a funding bill for the war, and the president were to set a deadline until the troops start running out of supplies (which, as you may remember, he did), and instead of ordering a withdrawal, he kept them right where they are. Then he'd invite all the media to come to the Green Zone and watch while he dares Congress to sit on its hands while the clock winds down.

Sounds crazy, right? But what else Could Obama possibly have meant when he said no member of Congress "wants to play chicken with our troops?" Why would Democrats not only back down from defunding before they even tried, but even reinforce the framing that defunding puts troops in harm's way? In what other way could that statement possibly be true? Do you really think Bush would order a withdrawal if Pelosi said he was cut off, and even if he would, do you really think he would let Congress know that? This is the argument that, I believe, was going on behind the argument we were hearing on TV, yet not a single reporter ever pushed this issue. Not a one. Imagine what could've happened had the media brought logic into the equation and shown that one argument was patently, verifiably false, except under this bizarre cicumstance, and what could have happened. Not only would our discourse have been more honest and real and productive, but perhaps there's a chance that "Home by Christmas" could have been a reality for 160,000 families this year.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

the vindication of William Jefferson Clinton

10 years later, every single Republican presidential contender, save John McCain, says he should've gotten off without punishment. From ThinkProgress, here's what the leading candidate and former US Attorney said:
Giuliani said the case ... was “incomprehensible” because “ultimately, there was no underlying crime involved.”

Oops, they're actually talking about Scooter Libby, who lied about outing a covert CIA agent working on Iranian WMD to exact political revenge on her husband (and, of course, silence any other potential naysayers among the spooks). That would be the same Iran that's now closer to acquiring a nuclear weapon. Bill Clinton lied about cheating on his wife, which last time I checked, was not, in fact, illegal.

Friday, June 01, 2007

"the left" blah blah blah blah...

I made an argument recently about how Republicans don't have much of an identity or ideology other than a bizarre, obsessive hatred of liberals programmed into their thinking by decades of incessant drum-beating and innuendo. Democrats will often talk at length about healthcare, the environment, and even foreign policy without turning their thoughts to "the right," but no matter what the subject is, conservatives just won't STFU about "the left" and "liberals." It's always about liberals, and at times it's pretty creepy.

Take for instance, this article by one of Gingrich's old goons about what happened with the Democratic cave-in on Iraq. How many times does he mention "the left" in this short, 1 page article?

I count 3 times in one page, not counting gratuitous, sneering references to "," the "Nancy Pelosi-led congress," and a not-so-subtle-but-not-coming-out-and-saying-it throwaway line insinuating that the media has a pro-Clinton liberal bias.

By the way, asshole: the Democrats gained 31 seats, bringing them a larger House majority than any the Republicans ever attained under Newt Gingrich or Dennis Hastert. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

the Onion: January 2001

Amazing. The Onion:
WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."

President-elect Bush vows that "together, we can put the triumphs of the recent past behind us."

"My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."

Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

2 points: For one, this was written on January 17, 2001, before Bush had even taken office. What do you think are the chances David Broder or Tim Russert could have predicted the future with this degree of accuracy? Is it really any surprise that so many people have turned to comedians to do the job of pundits, and even Washington reporters?

Two, remember this article next time someone argues that Americans, or conservatives, or Republicans, or whoever had no way of knowing that Bush would be so disastrous of a president (an argument I admit I have myself used). The evidence was all there for anyone who took the time to look. Much of this he'd pretty much said himself on the campaign trail or in the debates, and the rest of it was easily inferred from his statements as governor, from newspaper and magazine articles and bios of him, and the agendas of his ideological brothers and sisters. We knew he was intellectually incurious and deeply ignorant of foreign affairs, he was callous and petty, he was an ideologue (remember, McCain was the moderate candidate at that time), and he was a terrible administrator. How reporters who knew about his history in the private sector were able to report on him advertising himself as "the CEO president" without laughing hysterically, I'll never know.

a grand harmonic convergence of wingnuttery

A couple of days ago Josh Marshall tried to answer the $64,000 question: why did we invade Iraq? A lot of people are arguing about it over at TPM, but I've always felt like the answers we tend to hear don't really cut it. There's too much countervailing and/or inconsistent behavior to explain. Atrios has a take that, I think, at least forwards the discussion and brings us a little closer:
Josh Marshall heads down the path to madness in order to try to answer that question.

The answer is unknowable because there isn't one. There are a variety of powerful actors who have different motives. It's as true, if not more true, for the continued occupation as it was for the initial invasion.

George Bush started the war because Saddam tried to killed his Dad and because he wanted to prance around on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit. He later got stubborn about the whole thing when those mean Democrats started criticizing him, and he began to buy into the transformational rhetoric due to his increasing messianic bent. And, now, it's about his "legacy."

Dick Cheney started the war because of his insatiable lust for the black stuff. Dick Cheney keeps us in Iraq because of his insatiable lust for the black stuff.

Don Rumsfeld went to war to prove that he could achieve any military result with 3 marines, an armed aerial drone, and his left pinky. He stayed in Iraq because George Bush told him to and because he still needed to prove his awesomeness.

AEI and Viceroy Jerry went to war because they were excited about their new libertarian paradise laboratory.

Paul Wolfowitz had grand dreams about transforming the Middle East into who knows what.

Tom Friedman and others went to war because they have the mentality of 5 years olds and they thought that the smartest thing we could do was whip out our giant schlong and wave it around for awhile. Tom Friedman and others stay in Iraq because they think that if they don't keep popping cialis ("If your occupation lasts longer than 6 months...") the world will notice our little tiny shriveled up thingy.

Karl Rove went to war so his boy could prance on the aircraft carrier and win re-election. He stays because leaving Iraq will anger wingnuttia.

Lots of other people stay in Iraq just because they don't like to admit they're wrong. Their egos are more important anything.

The sensible liberals at Brookings were so stupid they thought Saddam was a threat. They were the stupidest people of all, because that was about the only thing which had nothing to do with why we invaded Iraq. They stay in Iraq because they're unable to accept responsibility for their actions.

Democrats went to war because they were scared of losing their elections. They stay there because they're scared of losing elections.

Ultimately it's all centered around oil, the endless needs of the military industrial complex, and various other financial interests masquerading as ideology. But there isn't one reason, just a grand harmonic convergence of wingnuttery.

I'm not so sure about the details (e.g., I think hubris re: the power of the American military and the fact that "war presidents" rarely lose elections had at least as much to do with W's thinking as "Saddam tried to kill my daddy"-- the former set him upon looking for more war, while the latter pointed him to Iraq. Taking down 2 countries in one term would've virtually guaranteed him a second term and a positive legacy), but Atrios' point that different actors had different motives, and that Iraq was uniquely equipped by geography and circumstance to satisfy many different motivations to various nefarious characters (and the spineless sycophants and nemeses that follow them), is probably by itself closer to the truth than anyone else has gotten. Perhaps the day George Bush's idiot son was selected, with arch-neocon and war profiteer Dick Cheney as his runningmate, Iraq's fate was sealed.


But...but...I thought it was the Democrats who were always in disarray and who have no core principles??? From the Washington Post:
Boehner has convened a group of allies and confidantes to work on GOP "branding," an exercise designed to restore an identity to a party that many voters no longer see as holding a core set of principles.

"We're trying to look into our conscience and define ourselves, and as we define ourselves, decide how we can best communicate that to the rest of the world," said Rep. John Carter (Tex.), the Republican conference secretary and one of the effort's participants. "In other words, what are Republicans?"

Funny that the press has been telling us for years now that precisely the opposite is true, that it is the Democrats who don't know what they stand for. Had anyone else heard a peep about major fissures in the GOP before the House Minority Leader himself came out and said there were fissures? Because I don't remember much from that angle.

And look who just came down with the so-called "Bush Derangement Syndrome," that thing that people get when they get disillusioned with the president and thus become mentally ill: Peggy Noonan:
What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future.

As one might expect, Noonan is crying because the W doesn't want to punish people for the crime of being Mexican as much as she does.