Dover Bitch

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Flush Limbaugh

DB hasn't commented on Rush Limbaugh because (blogger was down yesterday and) so many others have done a terrific job identifying him as a pig. But here's a couple additional thoughts:

Michael J. Fox isn't exploiting the disease. The disease is exploiting him. That doesn't mean that he's being mindlessly controlled by the disease and is acting irrationally. It just means that Parkinson's Disease is not the victim.

Fox was living a normal life, like so many other Americans, and probably didn't view politics through the prism of an afflicted person. This year, 50,000 Americans (and their loved ones) will leave a doctor's office, praying -- from a very personal place -- for a cure for Parkinson's to arrive quickly. And if any of them want to lead the fight for stem cell research, then DB supports them 100 percent. If any of them still oppose stem cell research, DB politely disagrees, but supports them in their right to speak their beliefs.

But what is Limbaugh really saying? That only a healthy person should be debating health care? That Lance Armstrong shouldn't be raising awareness of cancer research? That should be left to people who never had cancer?

That we shouldn't have Megan's Law or AMBER Alerts? How dare the families of child victims try to inject themselves into these serious debates?

What a jackass. And you can bet all the OxyContin your maid can carry that if Limbaugh were diagnosed with Parkinson's, he'd be selling stem cell research to his braindead audience faster than he ran to the ACLU to bail his pathetic ass out of trouble for his drug-related crimes.

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Back to the Future (again)

Josh Marshall points out that Bush, once again, is warning that future historians might view America circa 2006 in an unfavorable light if his policies aren't supported wholeheartedly.

Josh correctly notes that there is practically no chance that Bush's prediction will come true. DB would just add the reminder that this is the same president who famously deflects all accountability by saying that History should be the judge:

"But I read three histories of George Washington last year. The first President of the United States is still being analyzed by historians, which oughtta say to this president and future president: "Do what you think is right and eventually historians will figure out whether it made sense or not." -- George W. Bush, Aug. 29, 2006

Bush plays this game all the time.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Comfortably Numb

Wesley Clark once again schools Bill O'Reilly on the benefits of actually interacting with other countries in ways that don't involve "shock and awe."

PAPA BEAR: Alright, I'm not opposed to chatting. I just don't know if it's going to do any good.

WESLEY CLARK: I call it "diplomacy," not "chatting," Bill. "Diplomacy."

PAPA BEAR: OK, you can call it whatever you want. Your lips are still moving.

"Your lips are still moving," said the talking head, without irony.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hey, how am I doing?

That's the famous quote from Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City.

The answer is "not well."

At the 2004 Republican National Convention in NYC, Koch was there to help sell four more years of George W. Bush to the American people.

"I, too, disagree with the president on every major domestic issue from taxes to Social Security. Yet I believe those issues are trumped by the overriding need to defeat international terrorism, the biggest threat to our freedom."

Translation: "I am willing to sell out all my principles because some cave dwellers threatened us and Karl Rove says Bush will keep my old, rich, white ass safe."

What a coward. As he uttered these very words to MSNBC, the president was campaigning in New Hampshire, surrounded by "LIVE FREE OR DIE" license plates on every car.

So two years later, with everybody with a functioning neuron in their skulls recognizing that Bush has this country on the wrong track and the war in Iraq is a mess, you'd think Koch might have reconsidered his assessments of the president's abilities.

Nope. Koch just reiterated to Chris Matthews that even though he supports the Democratic Party, he still supports Bush and the war and thinks the president should be getting more credit. He ended the segment by praising Bush for his remarkable "courage."

DB will look elsewhere for profiles in courage.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Them there eyes

"One of the key issues in this election is who best sees the future and who best has a plan to deal with it? I firmly see the threats we face and the best way for America to protect ourselves is to go on the offense and to stay on the offense." -- George W. Bush

OK, it's petty... but Bush firmly sees the threats?

Slightly less petty update: Is the nobody-could-have-anticipated-the-fill-in-the-blank president really bragging about his ability to see the future?


I got yer stakes, for ya

What does DB think of the new GOP terror ad?

It's a joke and the GOP is a joke.

We got attacked on 9/11 and since then, the Bush has claimed unprecedented powers. The GOP Congress has granted him unprecedented powers and, instead of increasing their oversight proportionally, they've reduced it to practically zero while writing laws to make sure the Judiciary can't effectively oversee the president, either.

And what do we have to show for it?

A horrifically costly and intractable war in Iraq. A totally destabilized Middle East. Iran on its way to developing nukes. North Korea testing nukes and ICBMs. The end of habeas corpus and the Geneva Conventions. Massive debt. Wide-open borders. Uninspected ports. Planes that carry uninspected cargo, while you can't board with Chapstick. A Department of Homeland Security that simply watched an American city suffer for a week after Katrina.

And the kicker? Osama bin Laden is still running around scott free.

Go ahead. Run that ad all day long. America knows what the GOP record is.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Smite those furrows, Hitchens

Ezra Klein has an amusing and fascinating post about Christopher Hitchens and his understated, self-described solipsism. Oh, and the fact that he's completely insane.

In a 2003 interview, Hitchens said the events of September 11th filled him with "exhiliration." His friend Ian Buruma, the writer, told me, "I don't quite see Christopher as a 'man of action,' but he's always looking for our defining moments--as it were, our Spanish Civil War, where you put yourself on the right side and stand up to the enemy." Hitchens foresaw "a war to the finish between everything I love and everything I hate." Here was a question on which history would judge him; and just as Orwell had (in his view) got it right on the great questions of the 20th century -- Communism, Fascism, and imperialism -- so Hitchens wanted a future student to see that he had been similarly clear-eyed (He once wrote, "I have tried for much of my life to write as if I was composing my sentences posthumously.)

Absorb that: This isn't about 9/11, or "Islamofascism," or repression in the Arab World. It's about Christopher Hitchens. It's about his need for an enemy great enough, dark enough, sinister enough, and threatening enough that he can match the exploits and courage of Orwell's unpopular, often courageous crusades.

DB didn't blog on it at the time, but this post by Josh Marshall is an all-time favorite:

A little earlier this evening I linked to this post from young DC blogger Kris Lofgren who got into the AEI Chalabi speech today and managed to score a few moments of quality time with Christopher Hitchens to boot.

In his post he tells us ...

Hitchens then turned the subject back to Chalabi, his good friend. I asked him if he thought Chalabi had been passing American intelligence to the Iranians. "No," he insisted. "It's possible that with his training, you know, at [The University of] Chicago that with his own ability he was able to crack the codes. He is a mathematical genius. His expertise is cryptology. It is possible that he broke the codes himself." (This is a paraphrase since I was walking down M Street and crossing Connecticut Avenue all while being amazed that I was having an actual conversation with Christopher Hitchens at the time). Now, I don't believe this for one second. Why would Chalabi be trying to break American codes in his spare time anyway? Who does that if they are friendly to us? Suspicious, I say.

Damn, that's funny. This guy is has so much Kool-Aide coming out of his pores (insert booze joke here) that he thought Chalabi could be a walking quantum computer, capable of factoring enormous numbers into primes with a pencil, or perhaps just his mind. A TPM reader points out that Chalabi didn't even specialize in cryptology. Hilarious.

Looking back at Hitchens' May 2004 defense of Chalabi, appropriately titled by an observant copy editor, "Ahmad and Me," it is clearer than ever that it's always all about "Me."

DB's favorite part:

As for "exile" -- a term used as a sneer by many people who have never set foot in Iraq -- it is a word that would cover Willy Brandt, Bruno Kreisky, Andreas Papandreou, Benigno Aquino, and Kim Dae Jung, to name a few. Admittedly these brave men (four of whom I have met) were in prominent positions in existing mass-based parties before they fled their homelands, later to return as leaders.

Awesome. To find that kind of futile self-gratification-through-association from a dreamer whose time has come and gone, one must look to the great poets, like Alfred Lord Tennyson:

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides, indeed.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blame this

DB has wondered when the Republicans will finally stop blaming Bill Clinton for things. It has to happen eventually, right? Not soon, but at some point in history, don't you think?

Actually, it looks more and more likely that the last day of blaming Clinton will never get here. Look how the American Spectator (no link, jerks) responds to the North Korean nuke test:

Jimmy Carter? These guys are reaching. And now John McCain is sailing on the warship U.S.S. Blame Clinton. It's like Bush took office on Friday.

Bush deflects accountability by saying History should be the judge (even though he claims to know what History will say about the Present). Meanwhile the GOP Congress deflects any requests for oversight on the run-up to Iraq by saying it's all in the past and hindsight is 20-20.

Then we have our U.N. Ambassador, John Bolton, telling Lou Dobbs things like this:

DOBBS: The North Koreans have made it clear they want to talk bilaterally, direct talks with the United States. The United States has insisted that it remain a six party configuration. Any suggestion that that would change?

BOLTON: Well, this idea that everything would change if only he had direct bilateral contact between the United States and North Korea is a way of saying this is all America's fault. And of course there are always those who blame America first, as Jeanne Kirkpatrick once said.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) used the "blame America first" line on Tucker today, as well.

Kirkpatrick's 1984 speech included hits like this:

"When Marxist dictators shoot their way into power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies. They blame United States policies of 100 years ago. But then they always blame America first."

So don't criticize Bush for anything. Let History be the judge. Let 100 years go by. And then... continue to shut up.

But go ahead and blame Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. They weren't American presidents (and sons of the South). They were Democrats.

Blame gays, abortionists, people who enjoy a latte... Blame anybody in a Blue State. California is just begging for a North Korean strike.

Just don't blame Bush or Bolton. Because that's blaming America.

Note: In the above link about McCain, Digby links to an excellent Fred Kaplan article about North Korea. As DB wrote in the last post, Kaplan is one of the only reasons to read Slate anymore, and today he again writes about the North Korean predicament.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Why even ask Congress to take an oath?

Dahlia Lithwick writes with Richard Schragger today and simply hits one out of the park.

Specter's justification for then voting for a bill he deemed unconstitutional? "Congress could have done it right and didn't, but the next line of defense is the court, and I think the court will clean it up."

There is some irony in this congressional willingness to see the courts as some kind of constitutional chambermaid—as an entity that exists to clean up after Congress smashes up the room. It is especially ironic when it's articulated by members of Congress who like to invoke judicial restraint as a constitutional value. But it is beyond ironic, and approaching parody, when Congress asks the court to clean up a bill it knows to be unconstitutional, when the bill itself includes a court-stripping provision.

Criticizing the court for overturning the laws passed by Congress—as Specter did repeatedly during the John Roberts and Samuel Alito hearings—is fair, so long as one is willing to defend one's own interpretation of the Constitution when one gets a chance to assert it. But simultaneously crying "judicial activism" as you rely on the courts for political cover when you're too timid to defy the electorate—or your president—is hypocritical.

Lithwick and Fred Kaplan are pretty much the only reason to ever visit Slate anymore.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

GOP: Of course we'd never do the right thing

The Foley scandal is such a giant problem for the GOP because, as bad as it is to have a predator in Congress, it is worse to have leaders who cover it up to protect their hold on power.

It should be obvious to every American that Republican leaders cared more about preserving their majority than the safety of the kids who were placed in their care.

But just in case it isn't, Republican leaders, operatives and conservative pundits have been desperately trying to point the finger at Democrats.

DB says great! They're proving the point. People like Pat Buchanan find it incomprehensible that a Republican revealed this information -- because no good Republican would ever put the safety of these children ahead of the political considerations of the party.

Buchanan criticized the GOP leaders, not for covering for Foley, but for failing to be "loyalists." Game. Set. Match.

Democrats should say:

"I'd be proud to take credit for putting an end to this predator's career in Washington. And I'd be proud to be the one who let the voters know, when they're all paying attention, that the GOP leadership is so completely addicted to power that they let these crimes continue for so long.

But the fact that the Republicans want people to think that I'm the one who helped put a stop to these disgusting acts just proves that the Republicans think standing up for these kids is the wrong thing to do. That's reprehensible."

The GOP is digging themselves a deeper hole every time they open their mouths. Let's hope they don't shut them until election night.

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Foley as Bush Administration metaphor

Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post today about the ways in which the Foley scandal reveals to the most casual observer all the mendacity and bottom-feeding tactics of the Bush Administration and its most ardent supporters. Go read it.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Least what?

Republican Charles Poochigian is running a preposterous negative ad in his bid for California Attorney General.

The ad describes the epic clash of good and evil, lamenting that evil sometimes wins. Then it points out that Poochigian's opponent, Jerry Brown, opposes the death penalty -- even for serial killers (picture of, gasp, Charlie Manson).

OK, a sensational ad, big deal. But then it ends with this remark:

Jerry Brown -- he may just be the least qualified person in all of California to be Attorney General.

Excuse me? Have you been in California lately? There are millions of people there who couldn't even correctly pluralize the title, Attorney General. Probably millions who don't know what the Attorney General even does.

Brown got his law degree at Yale and has been California's Secretary of State, Governor, Mayor of Oakland and nearly won the Democratic nomination for President that went to Bill Clinton in 1992.

Say what you want about him and his position on the death penalty, but "least qualified?"


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blame game

If you are stunned by the fact that right-wing leaders are reacting to the Mark Foley scandal by pointing the finger at gays, Democrats and liberals in general, you've been living under a rock.

After all, this is what Jerry Falwell had to say to an agreeing Pat Robertson after 9/11:

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

If they will blame 9/11 on gays, how could anybody be shocked when these people blame gays for Foley? Of course, nobody really is shocked.

What is amusing to DB, though, and should be highlighted by liberals is the irony of the situation: Republicans are caught in a scandal because they are so warped by seeing things through a partisan lens that they put political considerations ahead of the safety of children and they are now looking to deflect that responsibility by claiming the entire thing is a partisan, election-related set up.

Aside from the fact that ABC's Brian Ross has already demolished that argument, the fact that they respond to this crisis with more of what got them into it in the first place is all the evidence anybody should need to prove that these immoral jerks care about their own power and nothing else.

It's also a good time to remind Christians everywhere that politicians are not Jesus and never have been. This is why government should be kept at a safe distance from religion.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Protect us with the powers you have

(Not the ones you want)

Fantastic. The Bush administration and their rubber stamps in Congress have been trying to figure out how they can spy on Americans with no oversight whatsoever and today we learn that they're more interested in our phone calls than the ones being placed by people who have actually tried to blow up the World Trade Center.

WASHINGTON - Convicted terrorists locked up in U.S. prisons can still use mail and verbal communications to conduct terrorist or criminal activities, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Department of Justice's inspector general.

The inspector general launched a review after a series of NBC News Investigative Unit reports in February and March 2005 revealed that jailed terrorists — even those responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center — were continuing to support jihadists and encourage violence around the world.

"We found that the BOP (Bureau of Prisons) has not effectively monitored the mail of terrorist and other high-risk inmates," concludes the 122-page report.

In 2005, Lisa Myers and the NBC News Investigative Unit reported that, while behind bars at the Administrative Maximum Penitentiary in Florence, Colo., the 1993 World Trade Center bombers continued their terrorist activities, writing letters to other suspected terrorists and brazenly praising Osama bin Laden in Arabic newspapers. The prison, also known as "Supermax," houses the largest number of and most dangerous terrorist inmates.

According to confidential Spanish court documents obtained by NBC, at least 14 letters went back and forth between the Trade Center bombers at Supermax and members of a Spanish terror cell. One example, from February 2003: Trade Center bomber Mohammed Salameh writes: "Oh, God! Make us live with happiness, make us die as martyrs, may we be united on the day of Judgment."

The recipient, Mohamed Achraf, later allegedly led a plot to blow up the National Justice Building in Madrid. In July 2002, a letter Salameh sent from prison was published in the Al-Quds Al Arabi newspaper, proclaiming, "Osama bin Laden is my hero of this generation."

And we're supposed to trust Bush? He doesn't seem willing to use the powers he already had to protect us. His entire presidency has been about getting more.

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Here's to Hecht

DB takes its name from a poem by Anthony Hecht, who died exactly a week before this blog went online.

In his honor, a double dactyl:

Macaca, Mucaca
Senator George Allen
told us he's Jewish, yet
still, he eats ham.

Nooses and deer heads hurt
Candidates with brains don't
schmooze with the Klan.

UPDATE: While we're at it:

Ickity, Sickity
Congressman Mark Foley
asked of his page, would you
measure your schlong?

Despite this disgusting
Hastert and Reynolds could
see nothing wrong.

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Misunderestimated Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan has taken quite a few hits already for forgetting how he vilified people who were against the Iraq war -- before becoming one of them. And DB never tried to pile on.

But Sullivan just won't quit coming up with transparently shallow ways of trying to retain a feeling of superiority. Take his Quote of the Day III from Monday:

"Liberals' assertion that they 'knew all along' that the war in Iraq would go badly are guilty of the hindsight bias. This is not to say that they didn't always think that the war was a bad idea. It is to say that after it was apparent that the war was going badly, they assert that they would have assigned a higher probability to that outcome than they really would have assigned beforehand," - Hal Arkes, a psychologist at Ohio State University, who has studied "hindsight bias" and how to overcome it.

He's like someone who lost his house in Vegas, mocking people who play the lottery.

OK, first of all "hindsight bias?" You mean rose-colored glasses? Ohio State pays a guy to study that? Clearly if anybody should be judging "liberals" it's Hal Arkes.

At least he can acknowledge that some people legitimately thought invading Iraq was a bad idea. But anybody who thought it was going to be this screwed up has to be lying. Feel better yet, Andrew?

Here's the problem: The Cheney administration said it was going to be a cakewalk. Anybody who thought it was going to be tough was light years ahead of the people for whom Sullivan was clapping. And part of the reason it is so completely screwed up is precisely because of the fact that they all thought it was going to be easy. If there's any truth to what Arkes is saying at all, it's that nobody could have known just how genuinely off their rocker, I'll-fire-anybody-who-says-we-need-a-post-war-plan nuts this administration actually was.

So go ahead Andrew, comfort yourself by knowing that even the people who were most adamant about the wrongness of your thinking couldn't possibly have predicted just how completely fucked we'd be by taking your advice.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Exit, Stage Right

DB agrees with Josh Marshall: Hastert's done.

It seemed clear after his press conference today, when he refused to answer questions and just sulked off like an alien from The Fifth Element, who came to Egypt to collect Milla Jovovich's sarcophagus.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.


Foley truncated

Why did the Palm Beach Post truncate this hypocritical quote about Bill Clinton by Mark Foley?

"It's vile. It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction."

Here's how the Post printed it:

"It's vile," Foley said in 1998. "It's more sad than anything else — to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain."

What's the point of that edit?