A Week and a Day to Go

I seem to be easily amused these days and found this post from Atrios to be so. Perhaps you will as well…

8 Days

Be prepared for the final onslaught of the really stupid, when the media feels the need to balance reality with whatever horseshit the McCain/Drudge are spewing that day.

I recommend a locked windowless room with a vat of vodka. I’d take that advice except I must write this sucky blog for you, dear readers.

I find that now that I have cast my ballot, I simply want this whole thing to be over so we can get on with digging ourselves out of the mess we are in.

Like the Thrashing of Dying Dinosaurs

Dave says he ‘makes this shit up’ which may well be true. I respect him more for that. He also says, “I know not whereof I speak.” And that, I think, just shows how full of shit he could be. 😉

Which is all to invite you to go read.

Competing Messages: Credibility Crisis

Why should we believe anyone in this administration? These are the guys who told us Iraq had weapons of mass destruction so they could advance their radical ideological agenda. Might they not being lying to us now?

Maybe we should not act on what they tell us might happen, and instead respond to what actually does happen. Then do so in a responsible way.

I don’t wish to be a conspiracy theorist here [that has never stopped me! –Hal], there’s plenty of evidence there is a genuine problem. But it isn’t clear to me that the only solution is to saddle the government with $700B of debt that’ll take decades to resolve. Which basically ties our hands in dealing with any of a myriad of other competing problems and priorities. In that context, this almost feels like a scorched earth retreat by the Bush administration. Actually, scorch and salt the earth.

I don’t trust these guys. They don’t think and act like pragmatically rational people. They’re ideological purists who’ve failed spectacularly, and I think they’re lashing out as the sun sets on their ignominious legacy. I think we should wait and see, and then act on what really happens.

I think we might just need to take the hit as well. I strongly suspect that these dinosaurs see their 65MKYA meteor equivalent in the sky and are trying to transfer a generation’s worth of prosperity from the public into their coffers.

Sometimes I feel as though we are poised on the crux of a change of millennial proportions. Sometimes I think they want to sink back into the primordial ooze.

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.

Biden, Palin and The Lazio Fallacy

This is from MissLaura‘s diary over at dKos:

The Lazio Fallacy

One piece of “common wisdom” that’s emerged quickly since John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate is that Joe Biden had better be careful not to look like he’s beating up on a pretty girl by, you know, knowing more than she does and showing it. Rick Lazio’s name is inevitably mentioned, because obviously if Biden knows more than Palin, it will be equivalent to physically getting up in her face.

At the same time I’m outraged that the groundwork is being laid for the notion that a woman shouldn’t be expected to hold her own in what is, effectively, a job interview, I don’t doubt that the danger of this is real for Biden.

Why? Because the traditional media has decided it’s a landmine for him. That means that, come the vice-presidential debate, this is what they’ll be conveying: Sarah Palin has not one shred of a clue about foreign policy, agricultural policy, urban policy? Everyone knew that. But did you check out how Biden was rude enough to make that obvious even to people who know less than Palin? Damn, what a sexist pig that guy is.

We saw in the first days of reporting on the DNC exactly how pervasive a media narrative can be even in the face of contradictory facts. If you can’t find meaningful division among Democrats, ignore the fact that the people claiming to be PUMAs are actually Republicans. So it would go with Biden debating Palin.

So here’s my problem with this. How fucking insulting to women and to the nation is this line of thinking? (more)

You know it’s going to happen. Just like the outrage over Bristol and “we never said anything about Chelsea Clinton!” Pants on fire.

John McCain “Like a flamethrower in a fireworks factory”

This is from Crooks and Liars.

“Like a flamethrower in a fireworks factory”

Strangelove McCain The Glasgow Herald’s veteran political correspondent Iain McWhirter wonders wtf is wrong with America, that John McCain is actually level with Obama in the polls. A lot of Europeans are wondering the same thing.

It seems incredible, but as the Democrats gather in Denver to anoint Barack Obama, America could be on course to re-elect a Republican as their President. Not just any Republican either, but a belligerent 71-year-old who can’t remember how many houses he owns, would happily nuke Iran and whose answer to global warming is to drill for oil in environmentally sensitive areas off the coast of America which don’t even have much oil. But according to the polls, John McCain is drawing level with Barack Obama, and even pulling ahead.

Really, America is a strange, strange country. After a disastrous and illegal war, in which 4000 American soldiers have died, in the middle of an economic crisis largely caused by the investment houses that finance the Republican party, you would have thought it almost inconceivable that the Republicans could be re-elected. Could any political brand be more toxic? Has any party in history deserved to be thrown out at an election more than the Republicans in 2008?

… Yet enough American voters believe that John McCain might have the answers for him to become a serious contender. Which is scary. McCain is not an unknown quantity – he is a highly excitable politician with a notoriously short temper, who would bring his impetuous and confrontational style into American foreign policy. With the world entering a global economic slump, and old enmities raging in Europe, John McCain as President would be like a flamethrower in a fireworks factory.

It is scary – and Obama has to take a fair chunk of the blame. He’s seemed flat since the exhausting primary race (here’s hoping he does better at the convention) and although his campaign actually has a decent set of detailed policies, he’s been awful at articulating them. Good on the inspirational rhetoric, crap on getting down in the weeds and it’s left him looking like, as the right likes to put it, an “empty suit”. Maybe Biden will help there – even when I’ve disagreed with him on policy, Joe’s been adept at putting detailed policies into easy to swallow forms that don’t obscure that there is detail there.

But McWhirter points to the major reason a McCain presidency is scary:

I got an insight into the McCain worldview last week at the Edinburgh Book Festival in a session I did with Robert Kagan, McCain’s leading foreign affairs adviser, and author of The Return of History and the End of Dreams. The good news is that the war against terror is past tense, it seems, because he didn’t mention al Qaeda once. The bad news is that America might be about to revisit, not the cold war, but the era of nineteenth-century great power rivalry, which is how Kagan characterised the current state of international affairs.

He believes the great faultline is between America and an axis of authoritarianism represented by China and Russia. There is a new era of geopolitical confrontation, according to Kagan, as Russia re-arms and China builds the biggest army in the world. America has to step up.“The future international order will be shaped,” he says, “by those who have the power and the collective will to shape it.” No prizes for guessing whether John McCain is up to the military challenge. Europe, which Kagan dismissed as an irrelevant entity in the new world of hard power, would get trampled in the rush.

That’s basically an admission from Kagan that a McCain foreign policy would consist entirely of looking for reasons to fight with Russia and China.

The neocons finally have their wet dream. No longer do they have to hype up a bunch of ragtag misfits hanging out in Pakistan’s wilds or an “existential threat” from Iran that is anything but. They’ve got an enemy worthy of their ideology, their notion that America shows itself best when in a war for its very existence. They want to take on the two largest rival military powers in the world, both at once. And they don’t want to do it by diplomacy, containment or any of that other pantywaist stuff. Oh no – they’’e want to use ‘hard power’ – that’s a euphemism for war, folks – and they believe McCain is just the angry old duffer they can lead by the nose into providing it.

“Scary” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Completely batshit insane would be better. In case anyone doesn’t remember, the era of nineteenth-century great power rivalry led directly to the Great War and WW2, the first of which began over a tiny incident that lit the fuse on the powderkeg. How comforting is it to know that, under a McCain presidency, the neocons would actively go looking for a new spark?

(Crossposted from Newshoggers)

“The only things truly “compromised” are the trust of the voters…friends, and family, in Iraq”

Olbermann was on fire last night, rightfully so. Joan Walsh at Salon says “it was a little over the top” but I don’t think so.

And yet when faced with the prospect of someone calling you on your stubbornness–your stubbornness which has cost 3,431 Americans their lives and thousands more their limbs–you, Mr. Bush, imply that if the Democrats don’t give you the money and give it to you entirely on your terms, the troops in Iraq will be stranded, or forced to serve longer, or have to throw bullets at the enemy with their bare hands. How transcendentally, how historically, pathetic.

The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq.

You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions – Stop The War – have traded your strength, your bargaining position, and the uniform support of those who elected you… for a handful of magic beans. [Crooks and Liars Courtesy of MSNBC.com]

Since I live in Nevada, Harry Reid happens to be my senator. His office has heard and will continue to hear from me on this and other issues. You can watch the video at either Crooks and Liars or MSNBC.com