Sunday, July 27, 2008

Why is this guy polling above 5%?!?!?

John McSame demonstrates -- for all sapient creatures to see -- why he deserves this appellation [re: Iraq, courtesy of ThinkProgress]:
We were greeted as liberators,” McCain insisted.
These people are truly living in some parallel universe. Could they be prevailed upon to stay there, and not keep popping up here and making stoopid-like?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Let the sliming begin -- Part Dix

As Obama has become the presumptive Democratic nominee, of course the RW foamers are concentrating their fire on him, and rehashing old slurs and making up new ones as they go.

I really haven't had the time or resources to catalogue all the abuse, but:

It was just a matter of time, of course, before they would recycle an old one from the Clinton era, and run with it (sadly explicated by Sadly, No!):

The Obama Death List

The following is a partial list of deaths of persons connected to Barack HUSSEIN Obama during his time inside the United States. Read the list and judge for yourself…

SARAH BERKLEY - Author of “The Jihad at the Ballot Box” - a book examining Obama’s relationship with radical Islam. Died in a mysterious car crash in 2003.

RUSSELL MCDOUGAL - Former FBI operative, January 23rd, 2007. McDougal was known to hold sensitive information about meetings Barack Obama had with arms smugglers. His wife was murdered March 2006 after he went public with his initial reports. His father died July 8, 2006 four hours after McDougal presented his findings on the Savage Nation. Suffered administrative retaliation after reporting discussions by jihadist groups concerning Obama to his superiors.


(h/t) to the inestimable Digby (and others) for this prime nugget)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday fishblogging


It's a Muppet fish!!!

For reference, blacktip grouper, Mabul island, Malaysia, July 2, 2008, Nikon D70s with twin Ikelite DS-125 strobes, 105mm F/2.8 D Nikkor macro lens, 1/125th @ F/16 [click picture for larger image]

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hoist by his own petard

You have to think that someone upstairs just doesn't like John McCain, and is trying -- in ever less subtle ways -- to tell him that.

From ThinkProgress:

In announcing his newfound support for offshore drilling, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) consistently touts the safety of offshore oil exploration. “[I]t’s safe enough these days that not even Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could cause significant spillage,” he said recently. To make his case, McCain was scheduled to helicopter tomorrow to an oil rig in the Gulf Coast.

But it seems even McCain is fearful of being caught on an offshore oil rig during rough weather. Jonathan Martin reports:

Just over an hour after finalizing plans to visit an oil rig tomorrow, the McCain campaign has cancelled the visit.“The meeting with Governor Jindal has been postponed and we are cancelling the trip to the rig due to weather,” said spokesman Michael Goldfarb. […]

The campaign declined to comment any further about the quick decision to spike the trip other than to cite the weather.

Ironically, the “weather” of concern is the strengthening Hurricane Dolly, which has been bumped up to a category 2 hurricane (Katrina was rated a category 5) with winds up to 100 miles per hour. Today, Dolly made landfall in Texas.

Nothing "ironic" about it. It's Pat Robertson's Gawd, but with a less welcome message for McCain and the Rethuglicans....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Our dysfunctional media

From today's S.F. Chronicle, this revealing nugget from Beltway pundit E.J. Dionne:
The Obama campaign is under no illusions about McCain's advantage in the polls as a would-be commander in chief. In the Washington Post-ABC News poll released last week, 72 percent said McCain knew enough about world affairs to be a good president, compared with only 56 percent for Obama. Head to head, McCain was judged by more than 2-1 as the candidate with greater knowledge of the world.
Thanks to our asleep-at-the-wheel press, that fails to bring front-and-centre things like this:
Asked on ABC's "Good Morning America" about the situation in Afghanistan -- where both presidential candidates call for sending more US troops to take on the resurgent Taliban and root out al Qaeda, McCain replied.
"I think it's serious. . . . It's a serious situation, but there's a lot of things we need to do. We have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border."
Iraq and Pakistan do not share a border; it is the Afghanistan/Pakistan border where intelligence officials believe remnants of al Qaeda are rebuilding.
and this:
Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”
it seems that many people think that McSame actually knows WTF he's talking about. Granted, some of the news media have covered these colossal bloopers (as evidenced by the links above). But not enough, if people actually think that McSame has any grasp whatsoever of what's going on in the world....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Once again, our "Attorney General" unclear on the concept

Dubya consiglier... -- umm, sorry, "Attorney General" -- Michael Mukasey wants Congress to 'fix' the adverse decision by the Supreme Court in Boumediene and pass a new law to reinstate the Dubya practises found wanting, which is to say, no court review of the maladministration's handling of detainees:
[Mukasey]: “... uncertainty is not the only, or even the main, reason these issues should not be left to the courts alone to resolve. There is also the question of which branches of government are best suited to resolve them. . . . Congress and the Executive Branch are affirmatively charged by our Constitution with protecting national security, are expert in such matters, and are in the best position to weigh the difficult policy choices that are posed by these issues. Judges play an important role in deciding whether a chosen policy is consistent with our laws and the Constitution, but it is our elected leaders who have the responsibility for making policy choices in the first instance.”
h/t to Digby for the quote from Mukasey's testimony.

(BTW, thanks, Chucky Schumer and Dianne Feinstein for enabling this travesty of an appointment)

You know, "three strikes, you're out" is a popular RW 'legal maxim'. After Hamdi and Rasul, then Hamdan, and now Boumediene, and also after passing the DTA, found wanting, followed by the MCA, also found wanting, you'd think they'd learn....

But what to make of this reasoning?: "Congress and the Executive Branch are affirmatively charged by our Constitution with protecting national security, are expert in such matters, and are in the best position to weigh the difficult policy choices that are posed by these issues. Judges play an important role in deciding whether a chosen policy is consistent with our laws and the Constitution, but it is our elected leaders who have the responsibility for making policy choices in the first instance." Hey Mukasey!!! Didn't you just say that it is the responsibility of the courts to make sure that the executive's actions (and policies) are consistent with the law and the Constitution? If so, then what's the matter with the court doing what it's supposed to be doing?!?!? Why do you now insist on a replay of the Hamdi/Rasul/Hamdan/Boumediene stuff? And why should matters of nash'null secur'tah lead to shortcuts and end-arounds round our time-tested legal process? Where in the Constitution does it say that should happen?


More from consigliere Mukasey:
“Fourth, any legislation should acknowledge again and explicitly that the Nation remains engaged in an armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations, who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated to the slaughter of Americans—soldiers and civilians alike.”
A backdoor attempt to get Congress to sign on to a "declaration of war" in perpetuity, so as to be able to argue Congress gave Dubya "war powers" again?!?!? Outside of that, I see no purpose of insisting on this provision....

The Clinton impeachment succeeded

Thinking back on it, I can see that the Republicans, while they (or at least some of them) may have thought that their intended end wasn't achieved, in fact -- on the whole -- they gained quite a (albeit strategic) political victory with their failed impeachment of Clinton.

Amongst other things, their Whitewater never-ending investigation and subsequent impeachment effort spelled the death-knell for the hated Independent Counsel Act (instituted in the wake of the Nixon fiasco), and enabled the hijacking of the justice system by political cronies, unchecked by any fear of accountability for lawlessness, once again (see also here and here).

Here's Glenn Greenwald, commenting on the current political climate:
Writing from the Netroots Nation conference, The Nation's Ari Melber detailed what he calls "Bipartisan Attacks on the Rule of Law," and specifically highlighted the fact that close Obama adviser, Professor Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago, "cautioned against prosecuting criminal conduct from the current Administration" during a Conference panel. As Melber wrote:
Prosecuting government officials risks a "cycle" of criminalizing public service, [Sunstein] argued, and Democrats should avoid replicating retributive efforts like the impeachment of President Clinton -- or even the "slight appearance" of it.
By engaging in a naked, obvious political attack -- void of substance -- on Clinton, the Republicans (and the maladministration) have gained some immunity from even substantive attacks on their behaviour, invoked simply by saying the magic phrase "partisan witch-hunt!" (as they've done repeatedly to any attempt by Congress to uncover the dirty dealings of the executive and Republican party). And Democrats, not anxious to stoop to the level of the 1990's Republicans (or even to be seen by some as doing so), back off.

What most galling is that Whitewater was such a free-form, "anything goes", investigation of "everything Clinton", that now when the Dubya maladministration is violating laws left and right, from top to bottom, any investigation of the actual Dubya misdeeds actually looks like the open-ended (but unproductive) fishing expeditions of the Whitewater fiasco. Therefore, the Dubya maladministration gets the most immunity by being as flagrant as possible in as many places as possible. No administration could possibly be so thoroughly crooked, so any attempt to point this out begins to seem partisan and hysterical (until you see that there's substance to each and every travesty uncovered).

Cigars all around. Well done, Republicans. You've managed to generate enough public cynicism that nothing will enrage any more.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday honeymoon bonus fishblogging

Two pictures today, you lucky ducks!

Found Nemo.

For reference, clownfish (clown anemonefish), Sipadan island, Malaysia, July 1, 2008, Nikon D70s with twin Ikelite DS-125 strobes, 28-80mm F/3.3-5.6 G Nikkor lens, Focal Length: 34mm, 1/25th @ F/16 [click picture for larger image]

And the pièce de résistance:

One of the weirdest fish you'll ever see.

For reference, ornate ghost pipefish, Kapalai island, Malaysia, July 6, 2008, Nikon D70s with twin Ikelite DS-125 strobes, 28-80mm F/3.3-5.6 G Nikkor lens, Focal Length: 80mm, 1/25th @ F/16 [click picture for larger image]

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday weddingblogging

The wedding

The wedding party! Those are my two new step-daughters....

Photos courtesy of my lovely bride Kristen's brother, John Metza

(click photos for bigger picture)

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Unclear on the concept....

[posted from Chile]

According to Prof. Marty Lederman over at Balkinization, Sen. Kit Bond needs some refresher courses in civics:
"There is nothing to fear in the [new FISA] bill," says lead sponsor Senator Kit Bond, "unless you have Al Qaeda on your speed dial."
I'm not talking to al Qaeda. So if you want to listen to my phone conversations, go and get a friggin' warrant!!! If I was talking to al Qaeda, I might expect you folks to be snooping. But I'm not. So unless you can show probable cause as to why you should be listening to me, you can go pound sand.

The Fourth Amendment is not there to protect the guilty. It's there to protect the innocent. The guilty can be snooped on with probable cause that they're engaging in illegal activities (no real problem for al Qaeda et al.), and they have no reason for complaint. OTOH, I don't want you snooping on me because you're too stoopid to figure out who the 'bad guys' are ... or just because you feel like it. But that's what you insisted on being able to do in the changes to the FISA laws. And sorry if I won't just take your word for it that you're not going to do so even though the laws says you can.....:
From a July 25, 1969 article in Time:
During his presidential campaign, Richard Nixon said that he would take full advantage of the new [eavesdropping] law -- a promise that raised fears of a massive invasion of privacy. To calm those fears, the Administration last week issued what amounted to an official statement on the subject.

In his first news conference since becoming the President's chief legal officer, Attorney General John N. Mitchell pointedly announced that the incidence of wiretapping by federal law enforcement agencies had gone down, not up, during the first six months of Republican rule. Mitchell refused to disclose any figures, but he indicated that the number was far lower than most people might think. "Any citizen of this United States who is not involved in some illegal activity," he added, "has nothing to fear whatsoever."

As usual, Glenn Greenwald nails it.