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August 01, 2008

*snort*

And it was foretold that a great leader would come forth from the abyss....

Posted by Cassandra at August 1, 2008 07:05 PM

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I trust the McCain campaign remembered to get permission to use the Charlton Heston footage, this time. And the Blues Brothers line. :)

Posted by: Grim at August 1, 2008 07:55 PM

Snort is right. I hope the McCain camp didn't spend any actual money making that video. If that's what they're hoping to beat the Democrats with, the Republicans are in even worse shape than I thought.

Posted by: Jeffrey at August 1, 2008 08:31 PM

the Republicans are in even worse shape than I thought.

Given Jeff's views on the Republicans, that's impossible.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 1, 2008 09:23 PM

The appearance of gloating and presumptuousness, Jeff, particularly before the conventions even begin, is a poison for which a later attempt at humility may not provide a cure.

Obama has a terrific base of support, and that support will not waver, irrespective of any 30 second spotthat McCain chooses to air

But there is also a certain American obstinacy about their government(perhaps best exemplified by Missouri's motto as the "Show Me State") that Obama, however much he might be a citizen of the world, cannot take for granted.

Humility is a political virtue easily squandered, and forever lamented.

Posted by: spd rdr at August 2, 2008 01:01 AM

Heh. Actually, the only great leader who's supposed to arise from the abyss is the 12th Imam.

Oh, wait -- that's a *well*, not an abyss. Ummm, okay, maybe it's an abysmal well...

Posted by: BillT at August 2, 2008 05:43 AM

...or the Well of the Abyss in Abyssinia...

Posted by: BillT at August 2, 2008 05:47 AM

Let's see: More 50,000 Americans lost their jobs in July; yet another Bank went belly up (the eighth this year); Bush announced that he'll handing his successor a $480 BILLION deficit; GM posted a stunning $15 billion 2nd quarter loss (I smell bailout in Detroit's future); while Exxon Mobil shattered corporate records by posting a $12 billion second quarter profit; the price for a barrel of oil is back on the rise, the Red Sox traded Manny Ramirez; global trade negotiations in Doha collapsed; four female suicide bombers blew themselves up in Iraq, Pakistan may have been responsible for bombing the Indian embassy in Kabul last month, insurgency attacks in Afghanistan are up 40% this year, and you guys are high-fiving each other because McCain dissed Obama by comparing him to Britney? Y'all must be so pleased. And proud!

Americans may not like presumptuous candidates but they dislike those who rely on "fear and smear" campaigns even more. So please, keeps those ads a comin'

Posted by: Ingrid at August 2, 2008 11:58 AM

Ingrid, Bush had to deal with Clinton's legacy too, which gave us 9-11. Clinton was painting a rosy picture as terror attacks against the US increased.

Oil prices have dropped as Bush lifted a moratorium on drilling. Gas prices have dropped .25 a gallon in the past month.

GM's losses are also because they aren't selling gas guzzler SUVs. I thought you would be happy about that, at least. No greenhouse gases for
oil, unless Liberal Larry uses them to inflate the tires of his Prius.

Posted by: Cricket at August 2, 2008 12:05 PM

Good grief, Cricket. What the heck does Bill Clinton have to do with the substance of McCain's campaign ads, and the issues that are facing our nation?

Clinton was painting a rosy picture as terror attacks against the US increased. So therefore...What? Bush believed him?


Posted by: Ingrid at August 2, 2008 12:30 PM

I mentioned two issues in my response to you and you ignored them? Here, I will give you a hanky to dry your tears over the trading of Manny Ramirez.

Posted by: Cricket at August 2, 2008 01:20 PM

I mentioned two issues in my response to you and you ignored them?

Huh?? Confirming the obvious reasons for GM's losses or claiming that oil dropped a quarter (after increasing 40% in a year) because Bush changed his position on off shore drilling is non responsive to the discussion.

We're talking about McCain's desire to use his "message time" to slam Obama instead of discussing the issues about which Americans are concerned. You're making me think McCain's inability to stay on point is more widespread than I feared!

wI learned a long time ago there are no tears in baseball. Thanks just the same. Besides, I'm a Met's fan(:~>

Posted by: Ingrid at August 2, 2008 02:01 PM

Cricket wrote: "Ingrid, Bush had to deal with Clinton's legacy too, which gave us 9-11. Clinton was painting a rosy picture as terror attacks against the US increased."

Like Ingrid, I find your comment completely off topic for this thread, but since you brought it up, Cricket, what did President Bush do about the al-Qa'ida attack on the USS Cole once he took office? Nothing. As far as I'm concerned, Bush is just as culpable for al-Qa'ida's ability to organize and execute their 9/11 plan as Clinton was. More so, because the Cole attack happened in October of 2000. Clinton had about 3 months to go before Bush was sworn in. Bush advisors attended all of the Cole briefings that fall so there's no excuse for lack of followup except careless disregard and an unwillingness to deal with international terrorism in the early months of his administration leading up to 9/11.

Posted by: Jeffrey at August 2, 2008 02:32 PM

The Cole was bombed on 1 October, and, on 17 October, then-SecDef William Cohen announced the investigation had begun -- on the previous day.

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=45502

Lead agency -- the FBI. Which (at that time) had no OCONUS jurisdiction.

Posted by: BillT at August 2, 2008 02:45 PM

Ingrid,

Rather than pick at every point you mention to get at the why, how and who might own a piece of responsibility, I'll just say that I'm all for BO and McCain discussing the issues. Ok, maybe not so much regarding baseball... IMO the government already has their nose in far too much as it is. But certainly regarding energy, regulation, security, spending, taxation and the WoT.

And since you mention baseball, let's wish (while we're wishing) that the format would include at least a few nationally broadcast forums, two or three in the town hall format mentioned a few weeks ago. Where did that idea go? Blunt and to the point questions on the major issues, with an expectation of serious, honest answers describing the candidate's position in concrete terms. No nebula gazing please.

To give the star watchers something of interest, maybe a nationally broadcast Lincoln-Douglas style debate, or two, just for slaps and tickles.

With a bare-knuckles Q&A, citizens could get a better idea of the positions of the candidates on the important issues. Issues that have a bearing on many of the items you mention. Understanding that most of the items mentioned fall under the control the U.S. Congress, a free market economy, the needs and actions of other nations and other actors.

And when candidate(s) refuse to participate in good faith discussions/debates before their constituents, what are we left with? Pretty much what we have. Good for a laugh maybe, but little else I fear.

I think that we as a Republic of citizens from which all power to govern is derived should expect no less.

A US President can attempt to influence much, as can those elected to represent us in the Congress. And policy can be crafted for the good of the nation instead of wasting time with the non-stop gotcha politics and posturing for votes in the next election currently on display. There is always a next election, even the day after the previous election. Term limits anyone?

Given that our hard working Congress just took their well deserved recess after accomplishing so much this session, I'll not hold my breath.

Just my 2.5 centavos.

Posted by: bthun at August 2, 2008 02:50 PM

...four female suicide bombers blew themselves up in Iraq, Pakistan may have been responsible for bombing the Indian embassy in Kabul last month...

Having someone strap a bomb vest to you, drop you off at a demonstration and then detonate you by remote control hardly makes you a suicide bomber.

The Kabul bombing may have been more Lal Mashjid than ISI -- the Paks are pretty wary about tweaking India's nose except along the Line of Control in Kashmir, and the bombing fit the Red Mosque/TaliQaeda M.O.

My two cents.

Posted by: BillT at August 2, 2008 03:04 PM

Bill, followup story on the Cole here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/05/04/ST2008050400049.html

Lots of blame to go around.

Posted by: Jeffrey at August 2, 2008 03:05 PM

A-ffirm with a capital "A" on that, Jeffrey.

Posted by: BillT at August 2, 2008 03:12 PM

That said, that was still the era when everyone was running around with the mindset that the bombings were criminal acts rather than acts of war.

That good ol' wall between the intelligence community and the criminal justice organizations. And that's not a slam at Clinton -- the wall was built right after Watergate.

Thank you, Congress, for your concerns about protecting us from ourselves...

Posted by: BillT at August 2, 2008 03:27 PM

Take a breath, everyone. My initial comment included a summary of the past week's news. No blame, no fingers' pointing just the facts to highlight the hot button issues affecting us while McCain's campaign is throwing spitballs in the back of the classroom.

Choosing to go down an 8 plus year old rabbit hole with talk of Bill Clinton, and the USS Cole was your doing.

Is that really what you want to discuss in this political election? If so, than I assume McCain has found his audience, and his campaign ads are spot on.

Posted by: Ingrid at August 2, 2008 03:42 PM

bthun, Obama has agreed to three debates, however, it would appear that the Town Hall match-ups are off the table. McCain asked for ten of them, Obama countered with two, which McCain rejected so that leaves us with none. A look at today's calendar would confirm their unlikeliness.

BillT, I note that the Pentagon finally charged the mastermind of the USS Cole bombing last month. It only took 8 years, and a waterboarding or two.

Posted by: Ingrid at August 2, 2008 04:22 PM

Ingrid, although this thread has slid off the track (my contribution helped it along), it is something that the candidates should be speaking about (instead of creating any more dumb videos like "The One"), partly due to the various failures around the USS Cole investigation (see the 9/11 Commission Report, chapter 6, for a detailed discussion of the history and the issues) and partly due to the recent RAND study that recommends we drop the Global War on Terror moniker in favor of "counterterrorism". How we didn't bring the fight to Usama bin Laden over his attack on the Cole is highly relevant to where we find ourselves in Afghanistan/Pakistan today.

I'd really like to see a comparison of both candidates' positions on how the GWOT should be prosecuted. In fact, maybe I'll make that a project for this weekend.

Posted by: Jeffrey at August 2, 2008 04:29 PM

Things you can't call lies automatically become "dumb videos". Interesting.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 2, 2008 05:08 PM

BillT, I note that the Pentagon finally charged the mastermind of the USS Cole bombing last month. It only took 8 years, and a waterboarding or two.

Badawi was serving a ten-year sentence in Yemen when he escaped in 2006, then, in 2007, he turned himself in and was released by the Yemenis because he promised to be good.

BTW, the Pentagon doesn't "charge" people. Badawi was indicted in the Southern District of New York (Justice Department) after the Yemenis originally caught him.

Posted by: BillT at August 2, 2008 05:09 PM

How we didn't bring the fight to Usama bin Laden over his attack on the Cole is highly relevant to where we find ourselves in Afghanistan/Pakistan today.

There's that reload option about going back in time and fixing things so that the ideal theory becomes existent.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 2, 2008 05:09 PM

BTW, the Pentagon doesn't "charge" people. Badawi was indicted in the Southern District of New York (Justice Department) after the Yemenis originally caught him.

But so many have disappeared via the Patriot Act... how can you say the DoD hasn't charged people?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 2, 2008 05:10 PM

...how can you say the DoD hasn't charged people?

Positively or negatively?

Lances or sabres?

Posted by: BillT at August 2, 2008 05:20 PM

BillT, al-Nashiri is being held in Gitmo, and is being charged by the government's military tribunal. He is not under SDNY's jurisdiction. Here's a quote from the link I provided. Hope that helps.

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon said Monday it is charging a Saudi Arabian with "organizing and directing" the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole — and will seek the death penalty. Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, legal adviser to the U.S. military tribunal system, said charges are being sworn against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi of Yemeni descent, who has been held at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2006. The charges still must be approved by a Defense Department official who oversees military tribunals set up for terrorism suspects.

As the article states, the question of whether the admitted waterboarding of al Nashiri in 2002 will jeopardize the government's case is unclear.

I couldn't agree with you more, Jeffrey re: discussion of counterterrorism. But a discussion on the merits here will get you more heartburn than acknowledgment. :~>

The Times had a cautionary op ed the other day written by a couple of the 9/11 Commission members highlighting how vulnerable we are during the transition between outgoing and incoming presidents, just as we were when Bush took office before 9/11. Among other measures, the nomination and confirmation process for key Cabinet posts needs to be accelerated so that the next President doesn't wait months to put his team in place.

Food for thouught that should be everyone's concern regardless of your political stripes.

Posted by: Ingrid at August 2, 2008 05:53 PM

Ingrid -- Thanks for the excerpt. I can't access MSNBC from here, and Badawi has always received "Cole Mastermind" billing.

Among other measures, the nomination and confirmation process for key Cabinet posts needs to be accelerated so that the next President doesn't wait months to put his team in place.

You're preaching to the choir, Rev -- now hit Congress with that clue bat.

Posted by: BillT at August 2, 2008 06:22 PM

Ymarkasar, it isn't a question of going back in time, but pointing out how we got here from there.

I did that for precisely that reason; we never seem to learn the lessons of history, and that Jefferson, ol' Thomas J of Declaration of Independence fame, Was On The Right Track in his dealings with the Barbary pirates.

I tend to think that Pres. Bush, for all the missteps he has allegedly made, according to the Left and the MSM, is not going to negotiate with terrorists. It didn't work then, and catch-and-release doesn't work now.

10,000 detainees have been released in Iraq.
Or haven't Ingrid and Jeffrey been paying attention?

Posted by: Cricket at August 2, 2008 07:00 PM

"I couldn't agree with you more, Jeffrey re: discussion of counterterrorism. But a discussion on the merits here will get you more heartburn than acknowledgment."
Ingrid,

One way to test your assumption regarding a discussion on the merits would be for you and/or Jeffery to put something together, post it on your or Jeffery's blog/forum, and then invite comment.

You might be surprised with the reasoned discussion that might ensue, if flames and/or derision are not volunteered at the outset.

Everyone likes a little snark and an opportunity to share a laugh. But serious and thoughtful discussions can and do frequently occur on all sides of an issue. I can vouch for the site Cass runs and Grim's Hall too.

Posted by: bt_what-me-worry_hun at August 2, 2008 10:59 PM

The ad Ingrid references - “Celeb” - did raise two specific issues: Obama opposing offshore drilling and Obama raising taxes on electricity. Interestingly, Obama is now changing his position on offshore drilling.

Beyond that, “Celeb” is attempting to make a distinction between Obama’s celebrity and his reality. The ad referenced in this post (“The One”) and the earlier ad “Media Love” and at least a couple of ads about Obama’s change of position on issues like campaign finance attempt to make the same point. I think it’s a valid area to explore because it’s the mirror image of Obama’s presentation of himself as offering change from politics as usual. Obama’s contrast between his new politics and McCain’s old politics can also be viewed as a contrast between inexperience and experience and between rhetoric and reality.

To borrow an expression from elsewhere, the ads ask whether Obama is “all hat and no cattle”. Appropriate since the most effective way for McCain to ask this question would be to compare Obama to George W. Bush - both relatively unknown, not much of a track record, sound good (remember “compassionate conservatism”?) - and then cite any of a zillion (Democratic) pundits talking about how badly Bush has done as President. Since both loyalty and political concerns militate against that - and hopes of picking up Hillary voters militate against a similar comparison of Obama to Clinton - McCain does what he can.

I have to say, though, I think “The One” was the worst done of the bunch. It tried to do too much, combining the Obama-focused storyline of “Media Love” with the “is he ready to lead” orientation of “Celeb”. McCain would have done better to keep the lighter tone of the beginning of the ad which he lost with the Moses clip and the shot of the Oval Office. I would have stuck with Obama clips, using the quote about oceans as the last one, and ending with a screen that just had something like Will Rogers’ quote: “If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these acceptance speeches there wouldn't be any inducement to go to heaven.”

With regard to more general issues, McCain is bringing them up in speeches. For example, although most of what I heard in the media about his Urban League speech focused on his references to Obama the speech itself was packed with policy proposals, contrasted McCain’s position on issues like school choice and raising taxes with Obama’s positions on those issues, and pointed out why those contrasts should resonate with his audience.

As for debates, this from AP was the latest info I could find. It doesn’t go into the earlier back and forth about town halls although I found this from Politico on that topic. My reading is that McCain wanted the setup he felt would be most advantageous to him (10 weekly town halls) and Obama wanted the setup he felt would be most advantageous to him (one town hall on the economy - cleverly combining his weakest format with his strongest topic - and one in-depth debate on foreign policy - presumably the Lincoln/Douglas format talked about at AP). Makes sense on both sides and, of course, both sides proceeded to make as much political hay out of the situation as possible. Sigh.

The AP article has a link to Commission on Presidential Debates which describes the three Presidential and one Vice-Presidential debates that will happen after the conventions. The first Presidential debate will be on domestic issues; the third will be on foreign policy. It looks like the second Presidential debate will be in a town hall format which may have led to some of the confusion about whether Obama was offering one or two town hall debates. The VP debate will include domestic and foreign issues. (The CPD debates have been set up since November of 2007. I assume candidates could opt out if they want - wouldn’t that be a pretty kettle of fish?)

Posted by: EliseK at August 3, 2008 01:06 PM

Nancy Pelosi is on a book signing tour. The Republicans are in Congress now, and Speaker Nancy has refused to hold a vote on the subject of drilling.

Posted by: Cricket at August 3, 2008 02:06 PM

Nice summary Elise.

And my apologies for the disjointed and choppy comment I made when I mentioned debates. I was shirking my duty and dithering away my time commenting when I was supposed to be completing other tasks. Walkin' Boss noticing my productivity, went into foot tapping mode. Always a bad sign. I blame... well anyone but myself of course. =8^}

"Nancy Pelosi is on a book signing tour."
Didn't she crack into the Amazon top 2000 or something like that? Heheh.
" The Republicans are in Congress now, and Speaker Nancy has refused to hold a vote on the subject of drilling."
True, and while it may drive home the point the house GOP are trying to convey to the public, for all practical purposes, the Congress is officially in recess. *begins channeling Huey Pierce Long* So as we say down he'ah, da bid'ness ah da people ain't gettin' done.

Posted by: bt_what-me-worry_hun at August 3, 2008 02:36 PM

Hmmmm.

Save the world, sign a book.

Save the world, sign a book.

Why are those historic decisions always so *haaaaard*?

Posted by: BillT at August 3, 2008 02:38 PM

Mr. Bill you know that it's all about the priorities...

Oops, here's Walkin' Boss! Back out back I go.

Posted by: bt_what-me-worry_hun at August 3, 2008 02:44 PM

Thanks for the excerpt. I can't access MSNBC from here

There's that Republican Big Brother totalitarianian government at work, again. Obviously the ACLU will give Bill here the requisite free attorneys to continue the fight for truth and civil liberties...

....

....

Okay, are we back to our own quantum dimension yet?

Ymarkasar, it isn't a question of going back in time, but pointing out how we got here from there.

While everyone tries to explain causality from their viewpoint, Jeffrey here already has demonstrated that he will easily step further in and actually proclaim that had reality changed in his proscribed fashion concerning the surge, the results will be as he says they will be.

You know that that is entirely different from your views on American Constitutional history. When did I hear you proclaiming that if the Founding Fathers had done something different, something more to your liking, that things would be better or just as good in today's world, centuries hence from those times?

Or haven't Ingrid and Jeffrey been paying attention?

Given their logic is flawed, it doesn't really matter, now does it.
*************
Nancy Pelosi has given you people the change that you sought, now you are complaining? One might think you all to be Republicans or something, expecting fairness and one standard and justice for all. Dontcha know that the Democrats can obstruct Republicans efforts when Republicans are in power and that is just justified minority dissent? And that the Democrats can obstruct the Republicans when the Democrats are in power because that's the Will of the People? You people are losing grip of reality here.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 4, 2008 05:12 PM

No, we are very much grounded in reality. What I would like to see is along the lines of the lessons of history. No, I can't change the past, but I can learn from it. Will it have the desired outcome? I would like to think so, but so far, we have learned that appeasement doesn't work.

I don't know. Outcome based future?

Hm...sounds like a movie.

Posted by: Cricket at August 5, 2008 05:43 AM

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