Sid's Fishbowl
A proud member of the reality-based community (aquatic division)
Sunday, April 30, 2006

Josh Marshall boils the Iran issue down to its essence:

With respect to what's coming on Iran, what is in order is a little honesty, just as was the case with the Social Security debate a year ago. The only crisis with Iran is the crisis with the president's public approval ratings. Period. End of story. The Iranians are years, probably as long as a decade away, and possibly even longer from creating even a limited yield nuclear weapon. Ergo, the only reason to ramp up a confrontation now is to help the president's poll numbers.

This is a powerful message because it is an accurate message. We have many challenges overseas today. Chief among them, as one of the Democrats' senate candidates puts it, is "refocusing America's foreign and defense policies in a way that truly protects our national interests and seeks harmony where they are not threatened." The period of peril the country is entering into isn't tied to an Iranian bomb. It turns on how far a desperate president will go to avoid losing control of Congress.

Go to his heart. Go to his weaknesses. Though the realization of the fact is something of a lagging indicator, the man is a laughing stock, whose lies and failures are all catching up with him.

To the president the Democrats should be saying, Double or Nothing is Not a Foreign Policy.

I hope that Democrats don’t fall into the trap of trying to finesse the Iran issue. It’s very simple: Invading Iraq was a blunder of colossal proportions. Invading or bombing Iran would be 10 times worse.

Oh, and has anyone noticed that we haven’t had a terrorist alert since October 2004? Funny, that. Anyone want to take bets on when we’ll see some new threat materialize?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Scorpio has an excellent proposal::

By now almost everyone on the net knows Godwin's law: the first person to bring Hitler into an argument loses.

Scorpio's Corollary is fairly simple. The first person to justify Bush's conduct by claiming that Clinton did the same thing loses. That is one of the most common lies in current debate tactics. It deserves to be a line that ends discussion.

Absolutely right. I love the triumphalism with which wingnuts trot out their lame Clinton references. “Look! General Zinni said this when he was in the Clinton administration! And it’s different from what he says now.

Losers. And yes, I’m looking at you, Jonah Goldberg.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Can Neil Young save the world?

Conventional wisdom has pretty much made it clear that Bush and his regime are incompetent, venal and corrupt and that his war is one of the most catastrophic foreign policy blunders every made by a U.S. president. What Neil has done with LIVING WITH WAR is made these idess easily digestible for post-literate western society at large. He's managed to create a body of work that will help make it easy for people to talk about the war, Bush's short-comings and how to deal with them. Virtually no one wants the U.S. to start a (nuclear?) war against Iran-- not the citizens of this country and not the professional military. But who's going to stop Bush and the crazed, obsessed fanatics he's surrounded himself with? LIVING WITH WAR will filter up into political policy circles, not with answers but with the questions he's raised from us and for us.

Can't wait to hear it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

He might write something like this:

Down by the Pentagon, where the crickle grass grows,
Where for years the insurgents have been in their "last throes"
Old Donald Rumsfeld relaxed and kicked back
And thought of the fine job he'd done in Iraq

But despite Rummy's feelings of omnipotent might
Lots of people were dying, with no end in sight
So several old generals rose up in rage
And their mad diatribes made it to the front page

All of them wanted poor Rummy to quit
Since 'twas under his watch that Iraq went to shit
But just as old Rummy was about to resign
Bush came along and said "You're doing just fine!"

He was tallish and oldish and grayish and chimpy
And his face looked cartoonish, like a Ren or a Stimpy
He rolled up his sleeves, slammed the floor with a "bang!"
And then bellowed out in his fake Texas twang:

"I'm the decider! I decide what is best!
And all my decisions, they come Jesus-blessed!
I don't read the views of the MSM paparazzi
'Cause I need Rummy's help stopping Muslamonazis!

"To all you old generals whose anger won't yield,
Why won't you think of the troops on the field
They want Rummy to stay, they say that they need him
What's wrong with you bastards, do y'all just hate freedom?"

And with that all the critics looked shamed and afraid
For providing bin al-Qaeda with comfort and aid
They wept and covered their faces with bags
And said, "We're sorry for being such traitorous fags!"

But Dr. Seuss isn’t even alive anymore, much less in the White House press corps. So thank goodness for Sadly, No!

Oh, and that quote? “I’m the decider! I decide what is best!” The Worst President Ever actually said that.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I was over at Professor Brad DeLong's place today and saw this Google ad in the right-hand column:

Now, I think this is really an important issue, and I certainly want to know what I'm not hearing. So of course I clicked the ad, which took me to Scooter's fascinating site, filled with links to editorials from the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post and National Review and the New York Sun, along with much praise for Scooter's "selfless" service to his country.

If you care about this issue, I think you'll want to read about it, too. So if you happen to visit a site run by someone you care about and you see one of these ads, be sure to click through and read the fascinating content.

The fact that Scooter's defense fund has to pay Google for your click, and they in turn pass a cut along to your favorite blogger, should not influence your decision at all.

Not at all.

Monday, April 10, 2006

So yesterday I'm watching CBS Sunday Morning, normally a pleasant, offbeat, politics-free zone, and am revolted by Rita Braver's gushing, giggling profile of Pat Robertson. Why? And why now?

The 17-year-old Christian Coalition is now is “more than $2 million in debt, beset by creditors’ lawsuits and struggling to hold on to some of its state chapters.” Meanwhile, close ties to Abramoff continue to dog the group’s former leader, Ralph Reed.
It was amusing to see Robertson rip into John McCain in his inimitable passive-aggressive style:
RB: A-- a lot of people are saying that John McCain could win election if he could get the Republican nomination. Could-- could you support John McCain?
PR: (UNINTEL PHRASE) uncomfortable.
RB: Really?
PR: I really-- yeah, I really do. I-- I-- I-- I just think that-- well-- if I thought that his finger was on a nuclear trigger, I-- I-- I don't know where in this world I would be (LAUGHTER) able to hide. But I-- I'd wanna go someplace.
RB: You think he just doesn't have the temperament.
PR: I'm afraid.
The despicable, unprincipled McCain is about to go make nice with Jerry Falwell. It's nice to see the other wing of the Christian Right begin to savage him.

But the rest of the interview is just a love letter to the Far Right Reverend Robertson. Fuck you, CBS.

(via Think Progress)

Quote of the day (and it's still early):
On Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, in Annapolis at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at AU, was requested to testify. At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said: “Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?” Raskin replied: “Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.” The room erupted into applause.
(Via Andrew Tobias)