Republican Insights Into Syria Are As Wrong As Their Lies About Iraq

Black and White Staten Island wallpaper

Black and White Staten Island wallpaper

I’ve read several accounts, including searching official White House site announcements and as of today or right this minute, the Obama administration is leaning towards ( though the White House has not confirmed) giving small arms aid to Syrian rebels. U.S. Is Said to Plan to Send Weapons to Syrian Rebels.

This announcement has prompted some of the world’s worse foreign policy analysts to chip in their comments. These conservative bloggers and pundits are the same ones that helped sell the nation on the bogus idea that Iraq had something to do with 9-11, that Iraq had WMD, that Iraq – a country that could not shoot down one U.S. plane during ten years of enforcing the no-fly zone, was an “urgent” threat to the security of the U.S. None of these conservative bloggers or pundits have shown any regret for their less than patriotic activites on behalf of the neocon agenda, much less apolgized to the familes of those killed or maimed. One could call them the Fraternal Order of Always Wrong Keyboard Warriors in honor of the Weakly Standard’s Bill Kristol. The conservative Astute Bloggers have always been less than astute, especially so when they were accusing anyone who called out Bush administration lies, terrorist sympathizers. They haven’t learned anything, MORE PROOF HE IS EVIL: OBAMA HAS DECIDED TO GIVE MILITARY SUPPORT TO AL QAEDA’S AFFILIATES ( they still think writing in all caps is some kind of magic that makes them right)




Gosh, that sounds serious. Before the usual suspects break another strand of pearls, there are a few details to consider. One, why didn’t the far Right demand George W. Bush be impeached,  2007, U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda-Linked Groups

New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most explosive” element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.

Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”

Hersh summed up his scoop in stark terms: “We are simply in a situation where this president is really taking his notion of executive privilege to the absolute limit here, running covert operations, using money that was not authorized by Congress, supporting groups indirectly that are involved with the same people that did 9/11.”

Whose side are the conservative bloggers on? They’re on the side of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. In the MYT article it confirms that the U.S. has joined in confirming French and British intelligence in confirming that al-Assad has used chemical weapons on the rebels. al-Assad is backed by Iran, Russia and Hezbollah has recently sent in fighters to help him. So that is the side these very astute bloggers are on. The major portion of the rebel resistance is not made up of the forces of Brigadier General Salim Idris leader of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) of the Free Syrian Army. he is generally considered a pro-democracy moderate. This is a story from the conservative rag called The Washington Times, Syrian rebel leader cites Hezbollah in attack on town. “Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has confirmed that his fighters are aiding Mr. Assad’s forces.” Some bloggers are lucky they can’t be impeached. Conservatives who are not taking the impeach Obama approach are resorting to the usual shop-worn canards about Obama either being too slow to act on behave of the rebels or he is using all of this to “wag the dog”. It doesn’t take the world’s biggest set of balls to take those approaches. One has only to live in world of utter cognitive dissonance about one’s past behaviors. I’m not an especially big fan of Daniel W. Drezner, and the cynicism built into this argument is galling to anyone with high ideals, but he is probably right. Why Obama is arming Syria’s rebels: it’s the realism, stupid.

To your humble blogger, this is simply the next iteration of the unspoken, brutally realpolitik policy towards Syria that’s been going on for the past two years.  To recap, the goal of that policy is to ensnare Iran and Hezbollah into a protracted, resource-draining civil war, with as minimal costs as possible.  This is exactly what the last two years have accomplished…. at an appalling toll in lives lost.

This policy doesn’t require any course correction… so long as rebels are holding their own or winning. A faltering Assad simply forces Iran et al into doubling down and committing even more resources.  A faltering rebel movement, on the other hand, does require some external support, lest the Iranians actually win the conflict.  In a related matter, arming the rebels also prevents relations with U.S. allies in the region from fraying any further.

So is this the first step towards another U.S.-led war in the region?  No.  Everything in that Times story, and everything this administration has said and done for the past two years, screams deep reluctance over intervention.  Arming the rebels is not the same thing as a no-fly zone or any kind of ground intervention.  This is simply the United States engaging in its own form of asymmetric warfare.  For the low, low price of aiding and arming the rebels, the U.S. preoccupies all of its adversaries in the Middle East.

The moment that U.S. armed forces would be required to sustain the balance, the costs of this policy go up dramatically, far outweighing the benefits.  So I suspect the Obama administration will continue to pursue all measures short of committing U.S. forces in any way in order to sustain the rebels.

It is almost always ca cringe warning when a conservative has the gull to begin an argument using the term realpolitik. And they loved to use the word during the Bush-Cheney era. This might be one occasion where the cynical things being done in the name of realpotik might well be the best choices among choices that range from bad to worse. No one wants U.S. military boots on the ground. That is not going to happen, nothing be be wagged in that sense. As Daniel says that conflict is draining Iran and Russia, and has sucked in militant group Hezbollah. Not a back outcome so far – except for the  dead rebels. The liberal hawks, including Bill Clinton, as a proxy for Hillary have weighed in for more direct intervention. That would be huge mistake since Iran and Russia would respond in kind. This is a good but not perfect analysis from Professor Juan Cole, Obama should Resist the Clintons & Europe on Syria

– The backing for the regime of Russia and Iran makes this more like Vietnam, where the Russians and Chinese supported the Viet Cong, than like the Balkans in the early 1990s when the Russians were weak and supine.

– Flooding Syria with medium or heavy weaponry could destabilize it and its neighbors, including Israel & Palestine, for decades, as the CIA did to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Often in the past, US intelligence actually urged locals involved in covert wars to grow and peddle drugs to get money for weapons, creating long-term problems of narco-terrorism, which still plague Afghanistan and Pakistan.

– The prominence of the Nusra Front and other hard liners affiliated to al-Qaeda in the opposition ranks means the US could end up arming terrorists and helping them take over a whole country.

Where Cole seems to go a bridge or fig leaf too far is the recommendation that rebels began a peaceful civil resistance campaign. If he has in mind the rebels laying down arms at this point I think he needs to reconsider the al-Saad regimes current actions ( chemical warfare) and murderous past history. There is ample reason to think there would be a rebel blood bath. If the rebels keep getting logistical support, some small arms and medical aid they could fight the regime to a stand-off. One where they have a much stronger negotiating position. Marc Lynch at FP is also cynical, but hopeful, Forget about “how” to intervene in the Syrian civil war.

The debate about open U.S. military intervention in Syria should therefore be built around a frank discussion of the goals, not only the means. At the moment, advocates of arming the rebels switch between making the case that it would strike a blow against the Iranians, and that it would improve the prospects for a negotiated solution. The fundamental tension between those who argue that the rebels need more arms so that Assad will be forced to come to the table, and those who argue that this is a path leading to the complete defeat of the Syrian regime should be resolved now — not after Washington gets involved.

The reality is that the Obama administration has done very well to resist the steady drumbeat to intervene in Syria. Can anyone who has observed Assad’s tenacity over the last year still believe that his regime would have rapidly crumbled in the face of airstrikes or no-fly zones last year? Had the United States gone that route, Syria today would likely look much like it does now — except with America trapped in a quagmire and Obama under relentless pressure to escalate.

I suspect that Obama knows better than to give in to the pressure to arm the rebels simply to appear to be “doing something.” But to sustain that posture, his administration is going to have to look beyond the array of policy options and explain precisely what the United States wants to achieve in Syria.

I think Marc’s colleague Daniel explained it pretty well. Keeping the rebels fighting will probably wear down all the regime and its supporters. They too have a constituency to which they have to explain what they’re going to get out of continuing a war forever and what they’ll get out of it. The Gulf states like Saudi Arabia literally have bottomless bank accounts – Russia and Iran do not. As we saw in Lebanon a few years ago even Hezbollah can be worn down.


There is such a thing as the subconscious. So either subconsciously or perhaps consciously, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has decided that he has no desire to be president in 2016, Rubio Says It Should Be Legal To Fire Someone For Being Gay.


North Carolina Autumn wallpaper – The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain

North Carolina Autumn wallpaper


U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Agreed to Nuclear Talks

The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.

Iranian officials have insisted that the talks wait until after the presidential election, a senior administration official said, telling their American counterparts that they want to know with whom they would be negotiating.

News of the agreement — a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term — comes at a critical moment in the presidential contest, just two weeks before Election Day and the weekend before the final debate, which is to focus on national security and foreign policy.

It has the potential to help Mr. Obama make the case that he is nearing a diplomatic breakthrough in the decade-long effort by the world’s major powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but it could pose a risk if Iran is seen as using the prospect of the direct talks to buy time.

It is also far from clear that Mr. Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, would go through with the negotiation should he win election. Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.

This is bad news for Romney and the radical Right. The Iranians were supposedly intractable and would never agree to any sincere and constructive talks. So they’re wrong again. This not particularly news as talks with Iran have been going on through back diplomatic channels for years so it is the culmination of the Obama administrations stick and carrot approach.’ We don’t even have to dust off the old crystal ball to predict some of the conservative punditsphere’s reaction and spin: If the Obama White House even agrees to talks, that is a sign of weakness, the Iranians should simply cave into all demands before talks even begin, who cares about helping Iranian leaders save face before talks. As one commenter here notes, and some at the NYT article, negotiating is for the weak. A strong and exceptionalist nation – which in conservospeak means bomb first, negotiate later – doesn’t talk, they demand. The general fear among left of center blogs about Romney, considering that his foreign policy team includes Crazy John Bolton and some of the same neocons that guided Bush-era foreign policy is that Romney will start a war with Iran. I think it was a pundit at the New York Magazine (I’m not sure and cannot find the link) that argued that Obama was more likely to go with some kind of bombing or strategic missile strike if Iran did not open up its nuclear energy development for international monitoring. The reasoning goes that America is still feeling burned by the Iraq fiasco. Soldiers and their families are still suffering the consequences with the full range of issues from integrating back into civilian work life to PTSD and physical disabilities. Those families, many of whom lean conservative would absolutely turn on a Romney administration starting another counter productive war. Romney’s poll ratings would drop like lead at any attempts to start a war. The conservatives who hang out at and are mentally submerged in the all war all the time mentality of sites like The Free Republic, Breitbart and Hot Air greatly overestimate the actual troop’s desire to get bogged down in yet another mid-east debacle. American do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but they do not want another ground war in the Middle-East, New poll: Majority of Americans oppose military strike on Iran. If it should come down to Israel coming under attack, that changes things, with the majority of Americans supporting intervening to defend Israel. Which is what Obama has pledged he would do. This last bit is how the Right is framing the issue. Everyone with an ounce of common sense knows that an Iranian attack on Israel would be the same as Iran committing national suicide. Conservatives want to appear like the tough guys with the never-ending saber-rattling, but they just end up looking like insecure weenies in light of the overwhelming American superiority in our ability to launch missile and air strikes.

Just a reminder of the last time Republicans broke bad on someone:  Iraq: the rationale for, cost of, and occupation plans following America’s conquest (DOS, DOD, CIA, FBI)

Insufficient terrorism preparedness and prevention, domestic and international, before and after 9/11 (CIA, FBI, DOD, etc.);

Halliburton’s Corruption. In 2004, Pentagon auditors found that Halliburton had not adequately accounted for $1.8 billion of the bill it sent to the United States government for its work in Iraq and Kuwait.

Iraq’s spiral into a near genocidal sectarian war

Abu-Gate is the term occasionally found identifying the allegations of acts of brutality, abuse, and torture at Abu Ghraib Enemy Prisoner of War camp in Iraq.

The Treasonous “Outing” of Valeria Plame. After former Ambassador Joseph Wilson exposed Bush’s Niger uranium claim as a lie, two Bush administration officials sought revenge by exposing his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent, thus endangering her life and the lives of her network of informants, and committing a most serious crime.

Politically Manipulating Intelligence. America’s $30 billion intelligence agencies are supposed to give strictly accurate information to the President. But when the intelligence agencies could not find evidence of Iraqi WMD’s, Vice President Dick Cheney made several unprecedented visits to the CIA to intimidate intelligence officials into writing deliberately misleading reports.

When testifying before Congress in 2007, L. Paul Bremer, the former head of reconstruction in Iraq, was unable to account for as much as $12 billion—about half of his budget—as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority between May 2003 and June 2004. According to a report by Rep. Henry Waxman, contractors brought bags to meetings in order to collect shrink-wrapped bundles of money.

Most Americans live in the reality based community. When we screw up or trust people who screw up badly, we learn from the experience. Not so with the average conservative politician. This time when they bang their head into that wall there is going to be a different result. Romney Enlists General Behind Iraq Debacle as Key Military Adviser – General Tommy Franks, USA (Ret.)

Deliberately concealed [4] from the American public how in 2001, at Bush White House’s request, he was planning an Iraq invasion—while we were still trying to topple the Taliban and find  bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Lost track of bin Laden at Tora Bora in late 2001 [5], then claimed he hadn’t [6], then was proven wrong [7].

Perpetuated [8] the bogus “weapons of mass destruction” myth about Iraq.

Ignored warnings from his CENTCOM predecessor [9] that Iraq wouldn’t be a walk in the park, and disregarded an earlier series of US war games [9], titled Desert Crossing, that predicted many of the difficulties of an Iraq occupation.

Completely failed to plan for any post-conflict cleanup [10] after the predicted fall of Saddam Hussein. “You pay attention to the day after,” he reportedly told the administration [11], “I’ll pay attention to the day of.” Here are the briefing slides [12] he showed administration officials in which he described “post-hostilities” operations in Iraq as “unknown,” and here’s where he estimated [13] we’d have a mop-up force of about 5,000 US troops in Iraq by 2006. (Actual US forces in Iraq throughout that year averaged about 141,000 [14].)

Authored one of the most nakedly self-serving, embarrassingly written military memoirs [15] of all time. (“Rumsfeld fixed me in his thoughtful blue gaze.”)

In case anyone has not heard of the phenomenon – Franks is a great example of the Peter Principle – “the effect could be stated as: employees tend to be given more authority until they cannot continue to work competently.” Franks would have been a competent colonel – someone who is good at following instructions. He sucked at strategy and adjusting tactics. Which is kinda the whole point of being a competent general.


Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) Benghazi document dump exposes several Libyans working with the U.S.

But Issa didn’t bother to redact the names of Libyan civilians and local leaders mentioned in the cables, and just as with the WikiLeaks dump of State Department cables last year, the administration says that Issa has done damage to U.S. efforts to work with those Libyans and exposed them to physical danger from the very groups that had an interest in attacking the U.S. consulate.

“Much like WikiLeaks, when you dump a bunch of documents into the ether, there are a lot of unintended consequences,” an administration official told The Cable Friday afternoon. “This does damage to the individuals because they are named, danger to security cooperation because these are militias and groups that we work with and that is now well known, and danger to the investigation, because these people could help us down the road.”

One of the cables released by Issa names a woman human rights activist who was leading a campaign against violence and was detained in Benghazi. She expressed fear for her safety to U.S. officials and criticized the Libyan government.

“This woman is trying to raise an anti-violence campaign on her own and came to the United States for help. She isn’t publicly associated with the U.S. in any other way but she’s now named in this cable. It’s a danger to her life,” the administration official said.

Do conservatives watch a lot of Three Stooges movies growing up and consider them instruction videos. An Issa staff stooge has since claimed that hey just because the documents were marked sensitive does not mean we should not let the world know what they said. Imagine for a moment the little gears turning inside Issa’s pointed head: go for some gotcha points against the Obama administration or look out for America’s best interests. The George W. Bush gear screamed release the sensitive documents as soon as possible, damn the consequences.

So long to the great statesman and WW II hero George McGovern, George McGovern: He deserved better
In 1972 the populist war hero was destroyed by Richard Nixon’s dirty tricks and Democrats’ self-destructive fear

The son of a Methodist minister, McGovern grew up in Depression-era Mitchell, South Dakota and never forgot the raw Dustbowl desperation he witnessed there. He volunteered for the Air Force at the start of World War II and won the Distinguished Flying Cross; just as influential in his career was the hunger he saw in Italy as the war came to a close, which led to his lifelong work on hunger relief. He returned home and went to divinity school on the G.I. Bill but switched to history, doing his doctoral dissertation on the 1913 Colorado coal strike, which shaped his lifelong advocacy for labor. He supported Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party presidential bid in 1948, but moved away due to the predominance of what he derided as “fanatics,” Communists and extremists.

Elected to the House of Representatives in 1956 (despite being red-baited for his Wallace association, a sign of things to come), he ran for Senate in 1960, campaigning alongside John F. Kennedy. Kennedy later lamented that he probably cost McGovern his election, given that the Massachusetts Catholic was associated with a toxic East Coast liberalism unpopular in South Dakota. He was right; McGovern lost, but Kennedy made him the first director of his Food for Peace program (he would be President Clinton’s Ambassador to United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture through both Clinton terms.) McGovern won the senate seat in 1962.


“The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain.” – George McGovern

Happy Birthday John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie (October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993)

Industrial Gears wallpaper – Romney Makes Weird Sandwich to Medicare Comparison, Conservative Media Stumbles

Industrial Gears wallpaper


Conservatives do and say dumb things. It happens that dumb things are not that difficult to report yet some of the press is not able to put the latest Romney goofiness in perspective – MSNBC mischaracterizes(sic) Romney remarks

MSNBC aired footage today that inaccurately portrayed Mitt Romney’s remarks at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.

Discussing how the public sector suffers from a lack of competition, Romney told the audience about an optometrist who wanted to change his address and subsequently received 33 pages of paperwork from the federal government, which begat a months-long bureaucratic nightmare during which the optometrist in question wasn’t receiving his checks. “That’s how government works,” Romney said.

Then, to illustrate the advantages of competition in the private sector, Romney shared an anecdote from his visit to the local WaWa chain store. “I was at WaWas, I went in to order a sandwich. You press a little touchtone keypad — you touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier — there’s your sandwich. It’s amazing. People in the private sector have learned how to compete. It’s time to bring some competition to the federal government.”

But in the MSNBC clip, which first aired on Andrea Mitchell Reports, Romney’s remarks begin with the WaWa anecdote and end at “It’s amazing,” an edit — first noted by conservative blogger Sooper Mexican — that makes it seem as though Romney was expressing amazement at the advent of touchtone screens.

The MSNBC clip feeds into the narrative, beloved by some on the left, that Romney is a 1950’s throwback. After the clip cut, Mitchell and MSNBC contributor Chris Cillizza broke out into laughter — which is understandable, given that they both had been led to believe that Romney was wowed by a simple machine. In fact, what Romney found so “amazing” was the discord between private sector innovation and public sector bureaucracy.

Romney Medicare, subs and efficiency

This is simple. Romney made a bizarre apples to oranges comparison. Romney’s story – based on a totally unverified anecdote from one person reminds me of the Michele Bachmann(R-MN) statement about vaccines being dangerous. Why were vaccines dangerous according to Bachmann? Because a woman she meet at one of her rallies said so.

One, he could have changed his address on-line in a few minutes. One of the reasons it might take a little longer for a health care provider to change addresses is because Medicare has to take precautions against Medicare and Medicaid fraud. How in the world is that like using a debit card to buy a sub.

Romney plans to gut Medicare and Medicaid anyway so why does he care whether providers have to take a few minutes to file a change of address.

Romney’s little play acting was supposed to demonstrate how private sector efficiencies should be introduced into the public sector. There is just one little problem with that. Government efficiency is at its best in dispensing safety net benefits like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In a study of private sector versus government, they came out about even in satisfaction ratings: Government is Good. An Unapologetic Defense of a Vital Institution 

In the public’s view, government agencies are not only wasteful, they are enormously wasteful. Surveys reveal that Americans believe that 48 cents of every tax dollar going to bureaucracies like the Social Security Administration are wasted.3 Yet investigations by the Government Accounting Office and various blue-ribbon commissions have found that waste amounts to only a small fraction of that figure. Al Gore’s National Performance Review, conducted when he was vice-president, examined the federal bureaucracy in great detail and discovered that waste consisted of less than two cents of every tax dollar.4 Of course we should be ever vigilant about waste and try to eliminate it wherever we can find it, but it seems clear that the extent of this problem is being highly exaggerated by conservative critics of government. As one set of scholars who examined a wide variety of the studies on government waste concluded: “There is … little evidence to support the widespread impression that government inefficiency squanders huge amounts of money.”5

full size chart.

The numbers indicate citations. Is there government waste. Certainly. One of the most infamous examples was the outsourcing of government services to Blackwater, which became XE and than became Academi, “The congressional investigation found that Blackwater charges the government $1,222 per day for each private military operative – more than six times the wage of an equivalent soldier.” Is that the kind of private sector efficiencies Romney thinks are automatic as soon as we turn over government services to private contractors. Than there were those no-bid contracts to Halliburton( or its subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) – which squandered millions in tax dollars, sullied tainted drinking water to the troops, supplied shoddy wiring that electrocuted several soldiers. More here, Questionable Iraq Contracts May Exceed $10 Billion. Liberal media? If there were such a thing they would do their job and make Romney answer some tough questions about the drivel he passes off as keen insights. Another recent example: Experts Say Romney’s Defense Plan Doesn’t Add Up

Romney wants to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Should he and his Republican cult succeed in doing so they will also be repealing the cost efficiencies built into health care reform –   Quality Health Care Delivered Effectively and Efficiently.

Not all the the ACA has even been implemented yet and it has already saved tax payers $2.5 billion in Medicare fraud. Not bad considering that Medicare fraud has less than 2% fraud rate.

The media seems to buy into the Romney is now, since the primaries are over, a moderate. yet the sub sandwich story demonstrates that like the NYT resident conservative David Brooks, Mittens is just sneakier about selling deeply false, radical and weird points of view.

Conservatives do seem to have a loyal devotion to falsehoods. Sometimes they know better and are just being malevolent. Other times they appear to believe their own hogwash. The jack bootd poster at the Republican site Atlas Shrugged posted this fantasy, Obama Threatens Any Opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt with the Withdrawal of All U.S. Aid

The Obama administration warned Egypt’s military leaders on Monday to speedily hand over power or risk losing billions of dollars in U.S. military and economic aid to the country.

It wasn’t enough that Obama invited the Muslim Brotherhood to his submission speech in Cairo in June 2009, despite the fact that the group was banned at that time for obvious reasons: they wanted to install a Sharia government, and the draconian, barbaric code of Sharia in Egypt. It wasn’t enough that after he invited the Brotherhood to his speech, he had officials in his administration meeting with this Islamic supremacist group. It wasn’t enough that he abandoned the true freedom movement, when the women of Iran and the Persians, Zoroastrians rose up after 30 years of oppressive Sharia rule. He spit on them and left them to die.

The reality: President Obama warned the Egyptian military – who the CIA, Special Forces and Naval Air helped defeat – to respect the results of the democratically help elections: Obama administration warns Egypt’s military leaders to hand over power or risk losing US aid

As Egypt’s Islamist candidate claimed victory in a presidential run-off, Pentagon and State Department officials expressed concern with a last-minute decree by Egypt’s ruling military council giving itself sweeping authority to maintain its grip on power and subordinate the nominal head of state. The move followed last week’s dissolution of parliament by an Egyptian court.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said the U.S. was troubled by the timing of the military leaders’ announcement, just as polls closed Sunday night for the presidential election. He said the U.S. would urge them “to relinquish power to civilian elected authorities and to respect the universal rights of the Egyptian people and the rule of law.”

The military council pledged Monday to hand over power to the new civilian authorities by the end of the month.

But the new military powers and the recent collapse of Egypt’s first freely and fairly elected parliament have Washington concerned about the perilous state of Egypt’s democratic transition. The Obama administration has sought to safeguard its interests while championing change in Egypt. Sunday’s election runoff were the second round of the first presidential elections after three decades of authoritarian rule under Hosni Mubarak, who made Cairo a bulwark of American influence in the Middle East before being pushed from power in February 2011.

So Atlas Shrugged is portraying the Egyptian military’s attempt to declare the democratic elections void as the same as support for Muslim radicals. She does know that the military is Muslim as well? The “He spit on them and left them to die” silliness is just delusional. It is a reference to the Iranian protests of 2011. What she wanted was for the U.S. to invade Iran just like we did Iraq. The Iranian people showed no signs they wanted an invasion that would have likely caused hundreds of thousands of causalities – and ended up being twice the nightmare of Iraq. I’m pretty darn sure that at no time did President Obama spit on those Iranian protesters. Conservatives are pushing for war with Iran. Which they hope to get with a Romney presidency. To his credit, thus far anyway, Romney has laid out a plan similar to President Obamas’. For those liberals who think there is only degrees of difference between conservatives and Democrats on foreign policy, be thankful for those few degrees of difference.

Senator Scott Brown(R-MA) is quite the little prima donna or just a wuss, I’ll only debate you if that widow shuts up

Furthermore, Brown says that he can only get asked about the Boston Red Sox and Celtics and how awesome they are.

And Elizabeth Warren has to wear an “I love Hitler” T-shirt.

Brown has agreed to two radio debates, including one being moderated by Dan Rea, a conservative-leaning talk show host, and another hosted by Margery Eagan, a Boston Herald columnist…

What, was Newsmax not available? The Herald, of course, is the city’s right-wing newspaper which has relentlessly flogged the “Warren is a fake Native American” non-story. Brown is desperately trying to stay on safe territory.

But hey, can you blame him? He’s woefully out-of-touch with his state’s electorate, so if he can hide the “debates” on wingnut radio, that would be a plus for him.

But telling a widow to shut the fuck up? That level of crassness you couldn’t make up.


Today’s Final Match – Republicans versus Republicans

Remember the words of that wise insightful politician, with tons of executive experience as claimed in the last two Mccain commercials I saw, Sarah Palin,

PALIN: You have to have some diplomatic strategy going into a meeting with someone like Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-il, one of these dictators that would seek to destroy America or her allies. It is so naive and so dangerous for a presidential candidate to just proclaim that they would be willing to sit down with a– a leader like Ahmadinejad and just talk about the problems, the issues that are facing them. So that — that’s — that’s some ill-preparedness right there.

Bush plans to establish U.S. diplomatic post in Iran

The Bush administration will announce in mid-November, after the presidential election, that it intends to establish the first U.S. diplomatic presence in Iran since the 1979-81 hostage crisis, according to senior Bush administration officials.

The proposal for an “interests section,” which falls short of a full U.S. Embassy, has been conveyed in private diplomatic messages to Tehran, and a search is under way to choose the American diplomat who’d head the post, the officials said.

So far George W. Bush has, by his actions supported Obama’s position on Iran, as has General Petraeus. Or put another way, Bush and Petraeus do not support Palin-McCain’s positions on Iran or Afghanistan.

Sarah embarrassed yet again

Part of Palin’s problem is she thinks she can BS her way through issues as deep and wide as American foreign policy. The McCain team has had a month to coach her. Wouldn’t some basic boilerplate policy positions on Iran be at the top of the To Learn List. I wonder if she knows what NATO is? Turkey, Iran may sign energy investment deal in November

Turkey is opposed to an Iranian plan to build a new pipeline to transport natural gas to Europe and urged for the planned Nabucco project pipeline to be used instead, Reuters reported.

In a separate report, said Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler will visit Iran next month and sign the deal after both parties agreed on the investment model and plan of three natural gas fields in the country’s South Pars region.

Maybe this is a good development or maybe not. The fact is that Turkey is an American ally and member of NATO. Turkey must feel that they are not compromising their security by coming to this economic/energy arrangement with “dangerous” people.

So far we have two media sources that have bothered to even mention McCain’s ties to domestic terrorist G. Gordon Liddy, David Letterman and now Keith Olbermann.

Former Mass. Gov. William Weld to endorse Obama. Weld, who many consider a moderate Republican brings up E. J. Dionne’s piece in today’s WaPo about the divide that Republicans like Weld and Colin Powell find themselves in. The so-called intellectual old school William F. Buckley Republicans versus the hard Right culture war Republicans like Palin, Civil War on the Right

Then there are those conservatives who see Palin as a “fatal cancer to the Republican Party” (David Brooks), as someone who “doesn’t know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin” (Kathleen Parker), as “a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics” (Peggy Noonan).

These conservatives deserve credit for acknowledging how ill-suited Palin is for high office. But what we see here is a deep split between parts of the conservative elite and much of the rank and file.

For years, many of the elite conservatives were happy to harvest the votes of devout Christians and gun owners by waging a phony class war against “liberal elitists” and “leftist intellectuals.” Suddenly, the conservative writers are discovering that the very anti-intellectualism their side courted and encouraged has begun to consume their movement.

If the hard Right is suddenly astonished that people like Bush and Cheney or John and Cindy McCain for that matter really have no interest in NASCAR or sitting down and having a beer with them, its their own fault. Whether it was the blinders or the thick rose colored glasses they did, and many still do want to see these elite prep school Ivy League college grads as one of them, as the “real” America. Can they really imagine Dick Cheney at a tractor pull or John McCain hip deep in snow trying to bag a moose. Bush has given plenty of lip service to cultural conservatives and did give then Roberts and Alito, but his priorities and loyalties have always been to his true brethren the Wall Street Republicans, that like him went to the schools dad went to. McCain’s dad was an Admiral, not a Master Chief with an arm full of hashes. He went to the Naval Academy, not Bob’s Community College. Republicans got in the act of deciding how to remake their party and reconcile their opposing identities is going to take up a lot of ink in the next few years, especially if McCain loses – as of today things are not looking good, Today’s Polls, 10/23: McCain on Life Support

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Debate two – “We have a disaster here”

Did anyone else find it a little strange that last night McCain said this about Iran,

McCain: Well, let me just follow up, my friends. If we had done what Sen. Obama wanted done in Iraq, and that was set a date for withdrawal, which Gen. [David] Petraeus, our chief — chairman of our Joint Chiefs of Staff said would be a very dangerous course to take for America, then we would have had a wider war, we would have been back, Iranian influence would have increased, al Qaeda would have re- established a base.

There was a lot at stake there, my friends. And I can tell you right now that Sen. Obama would have brought our troops home in defeat. I’ll bring them home with victory and with honor and that is a fundamental difference.

The United States of America, Tom, is the greatest force for good, as I said. And we must do whatever we can to prevent genocide, whatever we can to prevent these terrible calamities that we have said never again.

But it also has to be tempered with our ability to beneficially affect the situation. That requires a cool hand at the tiller. This requires a person who understands what our — the limits of our capability are.

We went in to Somalia as a peacemaking organization, we ended up trying to be — excuse me, as a peacekeeping organization, we ended up trying to be peacemakers and we ended up having to withdraw in humiliation.

In Lebanon, I stood up to President Reagan, my hero, and said, if we send Marines in there, how can we possibly beneficially affect this situation? And said we shouldn’t. Unfortunately, almost 300 brave young Marines were killed.

So you have to temper your decisions with the ability to beneficially affect the situation and realize you’re sending America’s most precious asset, American blood, into harm’s way. And, again, I know those situations.

One of Sarah Palin’s nonsequitors makes more sense. By occupying Iraq, Bush and the neocons gurantted an increase in Iranian influence in the region, Iraq in particular. Just this past June 2008 Iraq and Iran agreed to boost defense cooperation. Foriegn policy guru Mccain either doesn’t comprehend the on going developent of relations between the two countries or he honestly doesn’t know. The latter being inexcusable. McCain also failed to acknowledge that the occupation has provided no increased security for America. The idea that Iraq would have attacked us, burned our Constitution and created a despotic regime under Saddam’s control is laughable. What the occupation accomplished in the first four years was replacing one Saddam with a hundred little tribal Saddams, horrific ethnic cleansing, millions of refugees and thousands of dead and wounded Americans. When did it become possible to be both delusional and a foreign policy expert at the same time. The use of Iran as another boogieman during the debate is something he can think George Bush for, Oct 04, 2008 Politics scuttles plan to put US diplomats in Iran

The Bush administration has shelved plans to set up a diplomatic outpost in Iran, in part over fears it could affect the U.S. presidential race or be interpreted as political meddling, The Associated Press has learned.

The proposal to send U.S. diplomats to Tehran for the first time in three decades attracted great attention when it was floated over the summer, but has now been placed on indefinite hold as November’s election nears and Iran continues to defy demands to halt suspect nuclear activities, officials told the AP.

Two administration officials familiar with the matter spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal administration deliberations on the sensitive subject.

Secretary of State Rice has had talks with Iran, a fact in itself that scuttles the McCain narrative that Obama is mistaken to even be open to the idea of talks. Bush, through the Treasury Department gave the private organization the American-Iranian Council permission to open an office in Tehran to host round-table discussions and conferences. Time and again, never listen to what Cons say, watch what they actually do.

Pretend for a minute that you’re a right-winger, you watched last night’s debate. You have few options. High on the list is pretend that with your special ConVision you clearly discerned a McCain victory. In other words the usual. I’m guessing that the National Reviews Andrew McCarthy was so depressed he just lost it and decided to throw an unhinged temper tantrum,

We have a disaster here — which is what you should expect when you delegate a non-conservative to make the conservative (nay, the American) case. We can parse it eight ways to Sunday, but I think the commentary is missing the big picture.

Bomb bomb bomb Iran- a hundred years in Iraq McSame isn’t far Right enough for Andy. I could offer to lend him my shovel so he could dig up some old comrades of Mussolini. Those guys were about as good as managing the economy as “nay, the American” Right.

Bless pandagon or going over to the dark side and getting Malkin and the freeper’s reaction to McCain’s idea to buy up mortgages in a Resurgence Plan, That one

He spent the entire debate assailing massive government spending — while his featured proposal of the night was to heap on more massive government spending to pursue home ownership/retention at all costs. If Obama had proposed this, the Right would be screaming bloody murder about this socialist grab. (Malkin)

One must first assume that he is sincere. Johnny says he can pay the 300 billion for funds already appropriated by Congress. Where did McCain get the idea that he needed to do something, or appear to do something for homeowners. Gee, the concept, excluding details from an idea that Senator Obama floated around last week. What was McCain’s reaction at the time,

When the mortgage crisis first ballooned, Obama offered a plan that included aggressive regulation of financial institutions, relief for homeowners and a $30-billion economic stimulus package. McCain criticized it as a “multibillion-dollar bailout for big banks and speculators” and said, “There is a tendency for liberals to seek big government programs that sock it to American taxpayers while failing to solve the very real problems we face.”

McCain’s version, just a big all consuming homeloan buyout is exactly what Democrats and many Republicans thought was a bad idea because it would in effect reward predatory lenders ( the people the bailout money would go to) and that small portion of borrowers who tried to game the system. Talk about erratic behavior with a high percentage of pandering.

Except for the “that one” remark did anyone notice what McCain didn’t say. if you went to middle-school or high school in the U.S. one sure way to get a reputation as a wuss is to go around trashing people behind their back. Then when faced with the victim of the gossip, the wuss pretends he never said a word. McCain and Palin have been high schoolish and libelous in their ads and campaign rallies, yet given the opportunity to say those things to Obama in person, McCain wimped out. If McCain believes the smears in his ads are true and ginuenely feels that electing Obama-Biden would in effect be a form of treason, why not use this uber media soapbox to let that be known. Cowardice would explain part of it, but the larger reasom probably has to do with McCain not believing enough in  his own propaganda to repeat it on video, saved for perpetuity, to the face of the man whose reputation he has tried so hard to destroy. John McCain, the liar and wuss.

No cartoon today, but an unintentional joke by Republican James Taranto in opinion piece for the WSJ is entitled The ‘Fact Checking’ Fad. Then bemoans the lack of context as he uses a couple examples out of context and one without noting that General Petraeus said the same thing that James thinks is just plain wrong when Obama says it. The circles of Taranto’s mind.

The Right’s attempts to put the blame for the financial-housing crisis on the poor and minorities has turned into a full on crusade. Seeing that we’ve lived in the Bush Culture of Never Accountable Conservatism for eight years it is pretty predictable that would try to sleaze their way out of this one too, The right blames the credit crisis on poor minority homeowners. This is not merely offensive, but entirely wrong

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