Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never fail to keep the attention of their listeners

We all complain about the press, but the reality is that it matters whether the press really pays attention. They’ve shown a certain fondness for Republican Mike Huckabee, but didn’t really take him seriously as a contender until a few week ago. They didn’t know and probably still don’t know what to make of Ron Paul, afterall what ever Paul is he isn’t a Beltway insider in the way that John McCain and Mitt Romney are. Then there was John Edwards. Upstanding guy with thoughtful and well thought out stands on the most pressing issues facing America. Kind of boring when you have the possibility of America’s first woman or black president. Those are certainly appealing narratives if you’re trying to sale papers or generate  buzz, but they’re less important then  the candidate’s capacity to make real change. Now that in Iowa Edwards might be on the verge of upsetting all the wisest pontifications he’s getting a little more attention, Edwards Fights to the Finish

His rivals scoff at the angry populism coming from Edwards in these final days. They believe it is an invention, saying what Edwards now talks about bears little resemblance to the record he compiled in the Senate.

It is hypocritical, they say, coming from someone who grew rich in the courtrooms and who now lives in an enormous house in North Carolina. It is phony, they argue, to condemn big money and become the beneficiary of an independent expenditure campaign run by his former campaign manager.

None of this bothers Edwards. He knows what the critics say but he couldn’t care less. He doesn’t believe those attacks have hurt him. He believes he is connecting with the anger and unrest that many ordinary Americans feel about the state of the country and especially the way Washington works. He promises not to fix the system but to blow it up. (emphasis mine)

I forget who said that if you want the presidency you have to take it, they just don’t give it to you even if you do deserve it. Edwards decision to come out fighting is simply the writing on the wall. He or his campaign has seen that it does take more then having the right policies and being a decent guy, its stepping up and claiming the message. Now if the press will just give a little more credit where do.

Difficult to slice off a piece of this essay as it weaves back and forth among its subjects, Mailer, Paley, Vonnegut: same era, different voices

American fiction lost three of its most warmly admired figures this year, all dead at the age of 84 after long careers. Critics love the idea of literary generations, but it would be a challenge to find themes or ideas to link the disparate work of Norman Mailer, Grace Paley and Kurt Vonnegut.

Chess Pawn wallpaper 

“Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never fail to keep the attention of their listeners.” ~ Dale Carnegie

From The Onion, Hillary Clinton Is Too Ambitious To Be The First Female President

I’d rather see a female presidential candidate who wasn’t so focused on herself and her political aspirations. It seems like she puts a lot of thought into every decision that she makes, as if every little move were planned ahead of time down to the smallest little detail.

Might be a good point here, maybe she should be more like Fred Thompson. Except that Thompson is tanking.

Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct

A couple posts from Salon. One of the better horse race articles, Which Democrat is a winner? and Greenwald on Peggy Noonan

So Peggy Noonan is a “grown-up.” She goes on ABC News and MSNBC and writes for the Wall St. Journal in order to opine and is widely respected by our media elite as a mature political commentator. She knows that “the next American president will very likely face another big bad thing, a terrible day, or days.” America therefore needs a President with “knowledge, judgment, a prudent understanding of the world.”

She thinks that America needs a good leader and despite that she thinks Bush is a good president because he has two of ’em. Which makes me wonder if Peggy and Chris Matthews were separated at birth,

– “We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical.” [5/1/03]

Here are two very highly paid pundits. People who haven’t been known to break a sweat to earn an honest dollar. It is not my opinion, but two of America’s premiere pundits ( a sad state of punditry)  and their feelings on who should be president has the disturbing aura of fetishism. When Chris and Peggy go into the voting booth rather then having visions of competent leadership have visions of a murky den of clichéd manliness.

I’m in no way a Ron Paul supporter and probably never figure out the guy’s zealous support. Still his somewhat isolationist, old school Republican leanings seem to threaten the narrative of the nation building neoconservatives. So much so that he’s being banned by Fox from a forum of Republican presidential candidates.

Bill Kristol like most of our modern day Republicans has convictions that run deep. About as deep as a half filled teaspoon. He called on the New York Times to be prosecuted for reporting Bush’s crimes, but is all too happy to be on their payroll.

“Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

A good conscience is a continual Christmas

ThinkProgress Year In Review: The 10 Most Popular Posts Of 2007

Right Wing Launches Baseless Smear Campaign Against 12 Year Old Recipient Of SCHIP [Link]

Fox News Anchor Calls Ted Kennedy A ‘Hostile Enemy Right Here On The Home Front’ [Link]

Obama Smeared As Former ‘Madrassa’ Student, Possible Covert Muslim Extremist [Link]

Gonzales Contradicts Prior Statements, Confirms Existence Of Other Spying Programs [Link]

The rest at the link.

Hansom Cab Winter NYC

9/11 Commission chair: ‘No question’ CIA knew we wanted tapes

There is “no question” the CIA was aware that its now-destroyed videotapes depicting severe interrogations were among evidence being sought by 9/11 Commission investigators, says the commission’s chairman Thomas Kean.

Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, told CNN’s John Roberts that the 9/11 Commission had actively sought all of the spy agency’s information about detainees with suspected links to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

“I’m not a lawyer and I’m not sure if they broke the law or not but what they did do, I think, is try to impede our investigation,” said Kean. “Because we asked for…anything to do with those detainees, because they were the ones who knew most about the plot of 9/11 and that was our mandate.”

He sharply dismissed the agency’s continued insistence that the tapes were not specifically requested by the commission.

“They can parse their words all they want,” he continued. “We asked for every single thing that they had, and then my vice chairman, Lee Hamilton, looked the director of the CIA in the face and said, ‘look, even if we haven’t asked for something, if it’s pertinent to our investigation, make it available to us.’ And our staff asked again and again of their staff and the tapes were not given to us. So there was no question.”

You can’t help but note the irony of one Republican complaining about the parsing of language. Hamilton asked for anything related to 9-11 and we’re now to believe that persons held by the CIA that they thought necessary to torture were not pertinent to said investigation.

The CIA Inspector General, a watchdog of the CIA was investigated by the CIA and now the CIA’s watchdog will change the way it watches the CIA with a “dozen” procedural changes.

The probe was led by Robert L. Deitz, an attorney and longtime associate of Hayden who was brought to the agency to serve as a senior advisor to the director.

Deitz was appointed by General Michael Hayden who was appointed by Bush and recently probably lied about the time period that taped interrogations ended. Maybe someone does need to watch the watchdogs, but is Hayden and his friend the people to trust with that responsibility.

A good conscience is a continual Christmas.~ Benjamin Franklin

A little fact is worth a whole limbo of dreams

Political Progress in Iraq During the Surge

* A political settlement is essential for sustaining the security gains and for longer-term stability. Despite the declaration of a national reconciliation plan by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in June 2006, by the fall of 2007 only limited progress had been made toward reconciling the differences between the political groups and forging a national agenda.
*The dominance of sectarian political groups has fueled polarization, and the inability of the government and Parliament to adopt crucial legislation is a measure of continuing distrust between the groups. Serious political dialogue between the sect-based parties has proved difficult and the results are limited.

The Right has been shouting that something has been won. It is a little more Dante-ish then that, Iraq as a state exists in different levels of hell. Iraq’s forgotten population

The United Nations refugee agency says 800,000 internally displaced persons are in northern Iraq. Given the cultural differences and the stormy history of relations, when Arabs flee to Kurdistan their predicament is like that of refugees who flee abroad. International law distinguishes between refugees who escape to another country, and internally displaced persons, who flee to other parts of their own country. In theory, international law protects refugees, whereas internally displaced persons are a problem to be solved by their own country.

That’s 800,000 internal or displaced individuals living off what they can find or carry. The UN estimates that Iraq has become the worse refugee crisis since 1948’s displacement of the Palestinians with one in eight Iraqis having fled to a neighboring country. Tie that number to an estimated million Iraqis killed and its no wonder the violence is down there are far fewer people left to die or fight. Of course none of these native Iraqis had anything to do with 9-11 or made any sizable contribution to the exportation of terrorism or jihadism, but that hasn’t keep the Chicken-Little Brigade from continuing to paint the occupation of Iraq as part of the “war on terror”. Kurds’ power share row with Iraqi government

Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq have threatened to withdraw support from the Baghdad government if demands for federal power-sharing and a fair share of oil wealth are not met.

We should always keep in mind that Turkey, a Muslim state is a NATO ally, Turkish aircraft in fresh raid in Iraq, says Kurdish official 

Turkish jets bombed northern Iraq on Sunday in the latest of a string of attacks on Kurdish rebels there, but caused no damage or casualties, an Iraqi Kurdish security spokesman said.

So as the Right declares victory from Mom’s damp basement the Bushies seem to be clueless as to what to do about making the Iraqi government they prop up include the Kurds in the governing process while our allies bomb them. There are not only different levels of the hell Bush has created in Iraq, but revolving doors and the Bushies can’t seem to get a handle on how to stop it.

CIA Seeks Investigation Of Ex-Officer’s Claims   

The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether a former agency officer illegally disclosed classified information in describing the capture and waterboarding of an al-Qaeda terrorism suspect, officials said yesterday.

Now the Decider Guy has said he is not torturing people in our name  and along comes this guy who says The Bushies do torture. That torture is classified and must be investigated. Very confusing. How can something Bush says he doesn’t do be investigated.

What Happens at a CIA ‘Black Site’ 

The kidnap and torture program of the Bush administration, with its secret CIA “black site” prisons and “torture taxi” flights on private jets, saw a little light of day this week. I spoke to Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah in his first broadcast interview. Bashmilah was a victim of the CIA’s so-called extraordinary rendition program, in which people are grabbed from their homes, out of airports, off the streets, and are whisked away, far from the prying eyes of the U.S. Congress, the press, far from the reach of the courts, to countries where cruelty and torture are routine.

Bashmilah is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and by the New York University School of Law International Human Rights Clinic in a lawsuit with four other victims of CIA rendition.

Again, very confusing news. Bush says we don’t torture or kidnap people and send them to secret sites. Bush’s supporters keep saying that Bush has never ever told a lie so the constant stream of revelations about Bush’s lies must be part of some uber conspiracy by the commie pinko martians that have insinuated their way into every branch of government.

The Bushies have really been lucky in the fall guy department with Scooter Libby being perhaps the premiere example. They might be so lucky with Jose Rodriguez, CIA chief to drag White House into torture cover-up storm 

THE CIA chief who ordered the destruction of secret videotapes recording the harsh interrogation of two top Al-Qaeda suspects has indicated he may seek immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying before the House intelligence committee.

Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA’s clandestine service, is determined not to become the fall guy in the controversy over the CIA’s use of torture, according to intelligence sources.

It has emerged that at least four White House staff were approached for advice about the tapes, including David Addington, a senior aide to Dick Cheney, the vice-president, but none has admitted to recommending their destruction.

Vincent Cannistraro, former head of counterterrorism at the CIA, said it was impossible for Rodriguez to have acted on his own: “If everybody was against the decision, why in the world would Jose Rodriguez – one of the most cautious men I have ever met – have gone ahead and destroyed them?”

“A little fact is worth a whole limbo of dreams.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Great idea nudge nudge wink wink, we’ll sell Huckabee as a liberal

Matthew Yglesias picked up on this piece by National Review ( They would be part of the establishment media by the way) written by Mark Hemingway,

I had (largely) refrained from piling on Huckabee because I wanted to give him a fair shake. I’ve now read his last two books (you can read my piece about them on NRO today) and am here to tell you they were terribly written and totally insubstantial. Thought his Foreign Affairs piece was bad? Read his chapter in From Hope to Higher Ground on how to “STOP the Loss of America’s Prestige at Home and Abroad.” His relentless use of folksy aphorisms and corny rhetorical sleight of hand provokes visceral objections — but the criticism isn’t merely superficial. In the TNR I piece I linked to yesterday a member of the Arkansas press corps observed, “He thinks and speaks in metaphors. And, often, they’re not right.” That, well, hits the nail on the head. […] I don’t think I’m being uncharitable when I say that’s disturbingly authoritarian. Huckabee should probably start answering some critics instead of dismissing this all as “The Establishment” trying to keep a good ol’ boy down.

This all raises the interesting issue of what would happen in the event that the establishment is somehow unable to beat back his insurgency. Presumably, the right-wing punditocracy would walk back a lot of this anti-Huckabee rhetoric. But it seems to me that you couldn’t walk it all the way back. And I feel like a move in either direction would prompt something of a crisis in the relationship between the conservative press and its audience. (emphasis mine)

Since Mr. Hemingway can’t stand folksy aphorisms or someone that is disturbingly authoritarian, one assumes that he completely rejects two of the signature traits of the Bush/Cheney reign. If the Right-wing establishment wants to make a case against the grass roots Huckabee maybe they would be better off not finding that his crucial failings are much like their hero’s George W Bush. Huckabee is doomed anyway so the Right need not get its tidy whities in a knot. He’s one of those actual Bible believing help the poor and hungry and the earth is only a couple of thousand years old Christians that the Right was happy to have line up at the Diebold machine, but never did want to have actual power.

One Republican commenters over at Matthew’s post claims that most of Huckabee’s supporters are “secular liberals”. He will not be the last Republican to wake up to the fact that his party has been composed of two major factions all along and the Huckabee faction wants a seat at the table with the elite frat boy Republicans like Bush and Hemingway.

It doesn’t get more elite establishment power then the Cuban cigar smoking French champagne drinking Rush Limbaugh. So in a throw down between Rush and Huckabee who’s side is the Michelle Malkin crowd going to take. Limbaugh’s of course, Rush goes nuclear on Huckabee? Update: Audio added, posted at 2:03 pm on December 21, 2007 by Allahpundit

Huck’s people have already begun kissing ass to mitigate the damage. The more the conservative world comes out against him, from Will to Peggy Noonan to NRO to Rush to Sean Hannity, the more he’ll be forced to pitch an “us against them” campaign to his supporters. He’s too far left on too many issues to tack right credibly, so the only way to keep them in the fold is to try to build on that religious and economic populism he’s peddling and make this a full-blown Cause against the conservative establishment. The trick is keeping the few truly big players like Limbaugh neutral, since they really do have the chops to tilt this thing in a two-man race. Sounds like it might already be too late.

In this post by Glenn Greenwald he writes about the up hill battle of the three anti-establishment candidates Huckabee, Ron Paul and John Edwards. The absurd proposition that Huckabee is too far left from the Limbaugh brown nosers over at Hot Air is a glaring example of that. If they and Limbaugh really believe what they’re saying then they are incredibly out of touch with a large part of their party’s base and recognition of the people who have given their party so many razor thin victories at the polls. Also in this same post at Hot Air was the warning not to attack Huckabee purely on religious grounds to stick with trying to paint Mike as too liberal. Are they going to be able to get away with attacking a Republican who is also a minister without alienating the voters they need to win. In other words can the Right pull the same political dirty tricks on Mike that they pulled on McCain in 2000 and somehow make it look like Mike went down in flames because as Ann Coulter has said “Mike Huckabee is the Republican Jimmy Carter.” Coulter is quoted in this piece for the Right-wing NewsMax, Ann Coulter: Huckabee Like GOP Jimmy Carter

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter says GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is the “Republican Jimmy Carter” and nominating him would be a big mistake for the party.

Appearing with John Gibson and Heather Nauert on Fox News’ “The Big Story,” Coulter was asked about Huckabee’s recent surge in the polls.

“I’m getting tired of this being blamed on the evangelicals,” said Coulter.

Huckabee’s rise is actually “bad for the evangelicals,” she asserted. “Mike Huckabee is the Republican Jimmy Carter.”

Nominating the ordained Baptist minister “would be a big mistake,” Coulter opined. “He has many good qualities. Unfortunately, the things that are upsetting to the mainstream media about Huckabee are what normal Americans like.”

She cited as examples Huckabee’s “religiosity and his questioning of Darwinian evolution.”

But she criticized the former Arkansas governor for opposing a bill that would have required Arkansas residents to prove they are Americans before they could vote or get social services.

That last paragraph is ironic in that Huckabee’s position on that issue is rabid Right while Coulter’s is liberal. As her respect for science over superstition. To sum up Coulter’s position anyone but Senator Clinton or Mike Huckabee and she’ll be using liberal rationalism to make her case. Coulter, Limbaugh, Malkin, the National Review and Newsmax aren’t too far off course. This is how they think and what they think about the future of America. Its wacky Konservaworld filled with contradictions and irony. It is not a big tent as much as it is an out of control circus. Interesting since Conservatives have always been guided by and strictly adhered to staying on message. Its certainly not a secret right-wing plot. Hot Air and others seem to be quite ready to admit that Huckabee and his supporters are not true Republicans and that it is in their best interest to paint the Huckinites as liberals. The simplest examination of the facts revels that strategy to to be composed of pure bunk, but when has that ever stopped the real powers in the Republican party from turning up the noise machine full blast.

Tucker Carlson explains why if you come from a working class family, play by the rules, work hard and make money then buy a large house like John Edwards you don’t deserve to be president.

“All cartoon characters and fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.”

Conservatives always want to have it both ways on how they are perceived. On the one hand they’re supposedly the strong movement always on the march, resolute and unstoppable such is their might and you’re either with them or against them. On the other hand they’re the poor defenseless little mice suffering insufferable persecution from every strata of society – workers, college students and professors, labor unions that compose everyone from nurses to fire fighters to truck drivers, the press, even though they own much of the press and soldiers that don’t tow the line. You get the idea, their enemies and persecutors are everywhere and the attacks are endless. The story of Conservative student Francisco Nava’s supposed alleged attack at Princeton University made the perfect rallying point for that wussy side of Conservatism and like so many stories incubated and echoed without question by the Republican pundits and blogs this one too turned out to be a hoax, The Conservative Persecution Hoax Exposed

A host of right-wing bloggers joined the outcry. “I wonder if this will get the attention that politically-reversed assaults would get?” mused Glenn Reynolds, the author of the blog, Instapundit. A blogger at Redstate.com mocked author and expert on hate crimes, David Neiwert over the Nava incident, challenging him to report on what could be a “fairly serious hate crime.”

[ ]…But on the night of December 17, as the conservative firestorm was being whipped to a frenzy, there was another development. Nava confessed to Princeton Township Police that he had invented the entire incident. They had suspected the veracity of his tale all along. Signs of an elaborate hoax had been present from the beginning, from Nava’s history of fabricating death threats to his cinematic description of his latest victimization.

Nava’s sham fit neatly into an epidemic of faked hate crimes on college campuses across America. But in their eagerness to stage-manage the unfolding political drama, leaders of the conservative movement ignored these inconvenient details.

When Nava was exposed as a fabricator, his defenders disappeared almost as fast as they had mobilized.

I read about the rumor that Sludge Drudge and the National Enquirer were spreading about John Edwards a couple days ago and didn’t think much about it considering the sources. What person over the mental age of four takes Drudge’s or the National Enquirer’s stories at face value or Micky Klaus for that matter. Now the Right is using the obviously false rumor to smear Hillary Clinton, pointing to her as the source, From the December 18 edition of ABC Radio Networks’ The Mark Levin Show

Matt Drudge touted a December 19 National Enquirer article that reports former Edwards campaign worker Rielle Hunter is six months pregnant and that according to the Enquirer, “she’s told a close confidante that Edwards is the father of her baby!” As Media Matters further documented, neither Drudge nor Kaus has noted that the Enquirer story to which they link states, “[Edwards confidante Andrew] Young — a 41-year-old married man with young children — now claims HE is the father of Rielle’s baby!” The article also states, ” ‘Andrew Young is the father of Ms. Hunter’s unborn child,’ declared his Washington, D.C.-based attorney.”

During the segment, Levin speculated about whether the story was “another Hillary Rotten [sic] Clinton Plant” and asked, “Who else would leak this to the National Enquirer, whether it be true of false. It would be the Clintonoids with their hemorrhoids, because this is the kind of game they play.”

From simple minds come simple minded conspiracy theories to deflect from long time deranged Clinton hater Matt Drudge. That’s quite a circle jerk Matt Drudge, the National Enquirer, Micky Klaus and Mark Levin. It is part and parcel of Republican presidential politics to never let the facts get in the way of spreading a juicy rumor.

Bush continues his non-denial denial of when and what he knew about the destruction of the CIA tapes, The Weakest of Denials

Q: “Mr. President, there’s ambiguity in the statement that you have no recollection about the existence and destruction of the CIA interrogation tapes. Why can’t you say yes or no about the tapes and their destruction? And, regardless, do you think the destruction of the tapes was the responsible thing to do?”

Bush: “I — it sounds pretty clear to me when I say I have — the first recollection is when Mike Hayden briefed me. That’s pretty clear.

And much like his hypocrisy over the Plame leak and Whitehouse staff since there is an investigation underway he will not elaborate further because he might inadvertently tell the truth.

The Disgraceful Treatment of Our Veterans

The experts say that between 20 and 30 percent of all troops returning from combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But many of VA hospitals didn’t have the special PTSD programs that experts say are vital. Soldiers returning from Iraq are allowed to slip unnoticed into their old lives, and neither the Department of Defense nor the VA does anything to monitor their mental health.

But Bush just got more billions for his optional war in Iraq and one supposes his continued search for Osama Bin Forgotten.

“All cartoon characters and fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.” ~ Walt Disney

Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night

Vice-Emperor Cheney acknowledges that its best if engaged in nefarious activities not to leave a paper trail, Memo from the V.P.: Don’t write this down

NYT changes headlines at Bush’s request. Not because it was inaccurate, but because it didn’t sound nice.

The Whitehouse found the headline “troubling”. If the story was a lie, why not say that instead of parsing reality.

MSNBC Conservative pundit Tucker Carlson thinks that John Edwards should be ashamed of himself for reminding people to remember our vets during the holidays, Tucker Attacks John Edwards For Remembering Homeless Vets In Holiday Ad. In the world of the Kool-Kids like Tucker they own all vets and no vets are homeless.

The Bush family continues its tradition of betraying the Kurds,

The Turkish ambassador to the United States, Nabi Sensoy, said Wednesday that the US military provided real time intelligence to Turkey and was ‘very helpful’ in allowing Turkey to launch attacks on alleged Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) sites inside Iraq. He denied that the Turks had given the US military too little notice of its planned Sunday air raids, saying that the two militaries were in close contact.

Remember David N. Bossie, the Republican operative who edited together bits of recordings of Hilary Clinton to make it look like she had engaged in some billing shenanigans. While he was fired for that episode it hasn’t slowed down his raging Hate the Clintons Derangement Syndrome, Jeff Gerth appears in trailer for anti-Clinton film by Republican activist Bossie and is listed among cast 

I thought C-Span was supposed to be neutral or liberal,

Turns out C-SPAN is not just painfully mind-numbing, but it also leans decidedly right in its coverage of think tanks, according to a new evaluation by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The study finds that right-wing think tanks got 51 percent of C-SPAN’s total coverage in 2006, while left-of-center think tanks only got 18 percent of their coverage (a mere 5 percent of which were “progressive” think tanks). The other 31 percent of coverage went to centrist groups. So what happened to C-SPAN’s stated mission to provide their audience political coverage “without editing, commentary or analysis and with a balanced presentation of points of view”?

Much like the perfectly good word values, Republican double talkers have also corrupted the word obstructionist, RECORD-BREAKING: SENATE CONSERVATIVESNew Report Shows How Conservative Minority Rules by Filibuster, Preventing Up or Down Vote on a Record Number of Bills

The Republican Senate minority today filibustered an omnibus budget bill, setting a modern-day record for blocking the most legislation during a congressional session. A new report released today by the Campaign for America’s Future details the 62 times conservatives have used the filibuster to block legislation (or force modification of bills) in the first session of the 110th Congress.

Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night.~ M.W.Edelman