Thursday, April 01, 2004

To 41

"It hurts an awful lot more when it's your son that is being criticized."
--GHW Bush

Of course it's bound to hurt. You were President, but first you were young George's father. He deserves the criticism, though. You have to bear that in mind.

Your opinion as a former President is valued. It is no more valuable than former President Carter or Clinton, however. Your opinion is entwined with your attachment to your son. It's an inevitable and natural consequence of feeling.

He deserves the criticism. though. You have to bear that in mind.

He deserves it.

An April Fools' scenario
O'Franken Factor makes waves

Howard Kurtz:
FLASH: Liberals Heard on Radio!

Here's some of the best from Howie's article:

.....perhaps the most entertaining moment came when conservative talker and onetime Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy called in from his radio show.

"I know if someone comes after me, you'll kill them," Franken said.

"And not quickly," Liddy noted. "Slowly and painfully."

*G Gordon's a real card (and a good sport)!


[Mark] Walsh has assembled a lineup that leans heavily on entertainers, from comedian Janeane Garofalo to rapper Chuck D to Lizz Winstead, co-creator of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

Conservative pundits have been dismissive. O'Reilly said on his Fox News show that "this whole liberal network scheme is just plain stupid. . . . These pinheads backing the venture will lose millions of dollars because the propaganda network is simply tedious and tedious doesn't sell." *To which Iddybud replies: bwahahahahahahahahahaha!*


*I agree with Howie here.....they could have done a better (and more gracious) job while they had Al Gore on the line.*

- A surprise call from Al Gore was frittered away as Moore offered an apology (for supporting Ralph Nader in 2000) so convoluted that the former Democratic nominee asked: "What are you saying?" -

*I made a personal note that on yesterday's debut, Michael Moore was still associating Gore with the DNC. Al Franken failed to correct him on that erroneous political point. It's been very clear that Gore has become far more detached from the DNC in the recent past. His endorsement of Howard Dean was a major clue.*



The parade may come to an abrupt halt, however, as Rupert Murdoch, evil head of the News Corporation which owns Fox News, has announced his intention to acquire the liberal radio network, by force if necessary. He said that if efforts to take over the network itself are unsuccessful, he plans to simply buy out all the stations carrying it. Left-wing shows will be replaced by Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter. Advertisers including Purdue Pharmaceuticals are already lined up.

April Fools!


Real articles

Talk Network Makes Debut, With Rage a No-Show
New York Times

New, liberal radio network launched in US
ABC Online

A voice for unabashed liberals
San Francisco Chronicle, CA

New network out to give liberal listeners a rush
Chicago Sun Times

Talking back
BBC News, UK

On Franken's new network, left is right
Newsday, NY

Liberals take to airwaves
Miami Herald, FL

There is a lot left to learn
Boston Globe, MA

Franken's shtick shaky in liberal radio debut
Atlanta Journal Constitution

Liberal Radio Network Hits Air With Left Jab
Washington Post

Regime change radio launches in the US
BBC News, UK

Liberal talk-radio station hits airwaves
Stronghold Fallujah-
Why are they so anti-American?


“The U.S. commanders said they didn’t want demonstrations. We told them that democracy allows people to demonstrate. If they bring in international peacekeepers it would be better. What happened at the school was done in a cruel way, even if it was in self-defense.”

---- Tahab Bedawi Hamidi, Fallujah’s mayor, April, 2003


Gary Leupp wrote about one particular incident last April which may give some insight into why tempers flare to savage pitch in Fallujah to this day:
"....April 29, just checking out the news online. MSNBC. Very mainstream, trustworthy reportage.
...."US fires on Iraqi crowd, killing at least 13".. In the town of Fallujah, MSNBC reports, U.S. soldiers opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators (boys 5-20 in age) this morning, 10:30 Baghdad time, protesting the troops' occupation of the school where (according to MSNBC) the boys used to normally study, but now is used as those troops' headquarters. The story cites al-Jazeera as reporting that the soldiers fired after "someone threw a rock at the school."
..Dr. Ahmed Ghanim al-Ali, director of Fallujah General Hospital, said there were 13 dead, including three boys under 11 years old. He said his medical crews were shot at when they went to retrieve the injured, which he said numbered 75 people........CNN said the school (termed "an elementary school") was taken over because it was thought to house weapons, but says none were found.....
.....Shooting schoolboys is sometimes necessary, especially when you've taken their school, and they want to take it back, and they don't want you there, and they're armed with rocks, or whatever's on hand. And occupation is liberation, and good is bad, and up is down, and Iraq is free.......
In anticipation of some troll telling me I'm supporting yesterday's heinous behavior in Fallujah, allow me to remind you of journalist Ashley Banfield's words (also from last April):
Again, I'm not saying support for that side. There are a lot of things that I hate about that side but there's got to be the coverage, there's got to be the journalism, and sometimes that is really missing in our effort to make good TV and good cable news.
That goes for blog news, too.
Read the follow-up MSNBC article from last May titled "They Call it the Alamo"

What on earth have we done?

The world should have been together on Iraq all along. Our unilateral folly still reeks of Bush's blatantly ignorant anti-U.N. stance. He abandoned the world on a crooked path to fight an invisible enemy in gray areas. I'm sorry, but I must say, as a nation, you just don't do that sort of thing on your own and expect it to work out well for you. In the Atlantic monthly, James Fallows' Blind Into Baghdad, the definitive history of the Bush administration's willfull ignorance in its lead-up to the pre-emptive attack upon Iraq includes the line:
"What David Halberstam said of Robert McNamara in The Best and the Brightest is true of those at OSD as well: they were brilliant, and they were fools."
Bush's ideology really hasn't changed since
(pre 9-11) Campaign 2000

I'm sure you recall Bush's Campaign-2000 “we don’t nation-build” ideology. An international effort with peacekeepers would have won hearts and minds. Donald Rumsfeld 's paring down U.S. forces and systematic disbanding of the Army War College’s Peacekeeping Institute ( where officers were trained in post conflict-issues) have worked against the U.S.' better interests in Iraq.

The Bush administration’s stubborn and determined resistance to multilateral aid (with seemingly little thought about what would come after the initial battle was won) has thwarted any good-faith effort to "liberate" the Iraqis. In the Bush administration's political rush to hand over self-government to Iraq, they ignore the deterioration of progress and trust of the Iraqi people.Again, from the James Fallows article:
Administration officials must have believed not only that the war was necessary but also that a successful occupation would not require any more forethought than they gave it....It will be years before we fully understand how intelligent people convinced themselves of this..
The people of Iraq are turning to anarchy in their mistrust and confusion. My heart breaks for them..and especially for our troops who are determined in their mission to do what is right while their government handles it oh-so-wrong. If we support our troops, speak out about this charade of a "liberation". Let's get it right for once. Most of all, let's admit it never had a damned thing to do with a 9-11 connection.

We suffered an overwhelming defeat by 19 foreigners on 9-11...15 of them were Saudi nationals. Lashing out at Iraq for the actions of those 19 who brought such overwhelming defeat to our doorstep seems more like a disjointed act of vengeance than a 'next logical step' on a reasoned path.

There were myriad warning signs (pre-Iraq) that the Bush Administration chose to ignore. Choice involves free will. Our leader was perfectly willing to do as he pleased knowing all the risks. To be asked to think about how a generally non-curious President may have entered Iraq for some "big idea" that would bring glory to his name and unnecessary death to so many people..troops and Iraqi citizens... is a nauseating proposition. James Fallows ends his article by saying:
Leadership is always a balance between making large choices and being aware of details. George W. Bush has an obvious preference for large choices. This gave him his chance for greatness after the September 11 attacks. But his lack of curiosity about significant details may be his fatal weakness. When the decisions of the past eighteen months are assessed and judged, the Administration will be found wanting for its carelessness. Because of warnings it chose to ignore, it squandered American prestige, fortune, and lives.

See: May 1, 2003, Killings in Al Fallujah, City of Mosques- Has America Taken on a New Military Culture with New Rules that Allow Us to Kill Civilians at Will? By Sam Hamod


Informed Comment
Wolfowitz of Bagdhad? (No April Fools joke..I swear)

I couldn't believe it when I read it. Were my eyes betraying me? I firmly believe President George W. Bush has made some foolhardy decisions, but this one would take the cake. Could it really be possible that Bush would consider appointing Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz as amabassador to Iraq? That is apparently the "buzz". Juan Cole reports that Wolfowitz "is currently deputy Secretary of Defense, but probably could not have continued into a second Bush term." He also wonders "whether Wolfowitz could be a successful ambassador, given the way he has sidelined and badmouthed the State Department. Wouldn't the foreign service officers find ways to sabotage him?"

In the most gut-realistic and politically incorrect way, we know Wolfowitz' chances of being seen as a successful abassador of good faith in Iraq are slim-to-none. Juan Cole says it well:
"...having a Likudnik* run the US embassy in Baghdad would be a complete disaster for US policy in Iraq and in the whole region. It would be proof positive to the insurgents in Iraq that the US intends to reshape the country in accordance with a Zionist agenda and make Iraqis the bitches of Ariel Sharon [Mind you, I think this conspiratorial way of thinking illegitimate, but it is already a theme in Iraqi popular political discourse]. It seems unlikely to me that Wolfowitz could get the cooperation of the Shiite clerics."
At Informed Comment, we are also sadly reminded that 8% of Iraqi academics have fled the country, and more than 1000 leading Iraqi professionals and intellectuals have been assassinated since last April; and several thousand angry Shiites demonstrated in downtown Baghdad yesterday, protesting the closure of the al-Hawzah newspaper.

9-11 Commission / War on Terror

Washington Post- Top Focus Before 9/11 Wasn't on Terrorism ; Rice Speech Cited Missile Defense
On Sept. 11, 2001, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to outline a Bush administration policy that would address "the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday" -- but the focus was largely on missile defense, not terrorism from Islamic radicals.

Josh Marshall comments on the Rice speech that never was:
" a front page piece in Thursday's Washington Post we learn that on September 11th, 2001 Condi Rice was scheduled to deliver a major foreign policy address on missile defense as the centerpiece of a new strategy to combat "the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday."
-Then reality intruded.
-As the Post explains, the speech contained little real discussion of terrorism. The only mentions were swipes at the Clinton administration's supposed over-emphasis on transnational terrorism at the expense of more important priorities like missile defense.
-Perhaps it goes without saying, but let's say it: It was as obvious four years ago as it is today that the most potent threats to America are asymmetric threats, particularly forms of attack that cannot easily be tied back to particular states which we can punish with our conventional military superiority.
-In plainer speech, the biggest threats we face today are ones that don't come with a return address."
Washington Post- Bush's Flip-Flop Problem; Credibility Questions Could Boomerang on Bush
•The president initially argued that a federal Department of Homeland Security wasn't needed, but then devised a plan to create one.
•He resisted a commission to investigate Iraq intelligence failures, but then relented.
•He opposed, and then supported, a two-month extension of the 9/11 commission's work, after the panel said protracted disputes over access to White House documents left too little time.
•He initially said any access to the president by the commission would be limited to just one hour but relaxed the limit earlier this month
Visa Process Undermines American Opportunity, Education and Progress

Robert M. Gates, ex-CIA director under President George H. W. Bush and President of Texas A & M, claims that our current visa process will undermine our hopes for future peace and foreign alliance. In a NYT op-ed, he writes:
To defeat terrorism, our global military, law enforcement and intelligence capacities must be complemented with positive initiatives and programs aimed at the young people in developing nations who will guide their countries in the future. No policy has proved more successful in making friends for the United States, during the cold war and since, than educating students from abroad at our colleges and universities.

I take a back seat to no one in concern about our security at home in an age of terrorism.....I learned..that protecting our security requires more than defensive measures; we have to win the war of ideas, too. For this reason, we simply cannot tolerate a visa process that fails to differentiate quickly and accurately between legitimate scholars and students — and individuals who may pose genuine security risks.