Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The mother of all roundups

I hope everyone had a nice Canada Day!

There's a whole bunch of things to mention today that don't quite warrant their own posts.

1. First, watch this, if you can stomach it.

I mean, I expect this from Fox, since they've long since descended into self-parody. But what excuse do CNN and MSNBC have? Disgusting.

2. Christopher Hitchens had himself waterboarded. His conclusion? Yup, it's torture. No shit, Sherlock. Click the link for the full article and video. I'm going to give him props for being a braver man than most of the right-wing blowhards who justify torture with their bizarre Jack Bauer fantasies. He makes all the right points about the utter senselessness and immorality of torturing terrorist suspects.

I like Hitch; some of his politics are just wacky and distasteful, but I can't help but admire his bluntness and utter lack of decorum. This is him discussing Jerry Falwell's death on Hannity and Colmes.

3. More whining from the crybabies in the McCain campaign:

Last night, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) was on MSNBC, and was asked about the
right’s flap over Clark. Webb thought this was much ado about nothing, suggested
McCain “calm down,” and said it’s time to “get the politics out of the

And in response, the McCain campaign is, once again, outraged by this
“attack” on McCain’s military service. McCain spokesperson Brian
Rogers told
Greg Sargent:

“If you didn’t think this was a coordinated attack on John McCain’s
credentials before, it’s clear now that it is. Barack Obama’s surrogates are
telling the McCain campaign to “calm down” about attacks on his military record?
Seriously? Now somehow Wes Clark’s attacks are John McCain’s fault? It’s absurd.
If Barack Obama can’t control his own surrogate operation, how can he be trusted to run the country?”

I find it hard to imagine that Rogers even believes this nonsense
himself, highlighting why it’s a mistake to keep going to the same well over and
again. Not only did Clark not coordinate with Obama — the most controversial
remark in Clark’s interview originated with Bob Schieffer, not the Obama
campaign — but Webb didn’t attack McCain.
Is this what we're in for? Months of the McCain campaign whining and hyperventilating over everything?

4. This is more like it:

Obama takes a stand against gay-marriage ban

Also, today's statement on Wes Clark:

“I guess my question is why, given all the vast numbers of things that we’ve got
to work on, that that would be a top priority of mine?” Obama said, responding
to a reporter who asked the candidate why he hadn’t called on Wesley Clark to
apologize for his remarks yesterday. “I’m happy to have all sorts of
conversations about how we deal with Iraq and what happens with Iran, but the
fact that somebody on a cable show or on a news show like Gen. Clark said
something that was inartful about Sen. McCain I don’t think is probably the
thing that is keeping Ohioans up at night."
Much better. I'm big enough to admit I may have been overly hasty in my judgement of Obama's "move to the center", but let's keep him honest.

5. For the second month in a row, US and coalition casualties were higher in Afghanistan than Iraq. Wow. I guess that means you should defeat one insurgency before you start fighting another one, huh?

6. I've seen Batman: Gotham Knight, the animated tie-in to the Nolan Bat-films (don't ask me how I've seen it). And as much as it pains me to say this, don't waste your time or money on it. Of the six episodes included on the disc, only two are really any good. The others are boring, poorly animated, and totally out of synch with the universe established in Batman Begins. I think it would have been a much better idea to make a single coherent animated movie, by one director, one writer, and one set of animators.

7. Finally, Brad Reed examines the 10 Most Awesomely Bad Moments of the Bush Presidency. It's one of those laugh or cry situations.

Narrowing down the Bush administration's various debacles to a mere 10 was no easy feat. In fact, I expect that many people will express dismay that their least favorite moment was left off the list. "How could commuting Scooter Libby's sentence not even make the top 10??!!" I can hear some of you shrieking already. Well, I'll tell you. Essentially, I tried to rate each Bush disaster by two main criteria: its body count and its damage to the country's reputation. So while Bush's awkward groping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel may be personally humiliating to everyone, it doesn't have the same heft as, say, the Iraq War.

But for those of you who insist on seeing your least favorite moment get its due, here is list of every honorable mention I could come up with: warrantless wiretapping; Valerie Plame; Scooter Libby's sentence commuted; Bush believes Rafael Palmeiro is innocent; soldiers face neglect at Walter Reed; signing statements; the Kyoto treaty ripped up; loyalty oaths; the fake turkey; a staged teleconference with troops, staged FEMA press conference, extraordinary rendition, support for junk science; endorsement of neo-creationist "intelligent design"; inaction against global warming; record oil prices; record budget deficits; record trade deficits; record number of Americans without health insurance; two recessions; no-bid contracts; bin Laden still at large; the Federal Marriage Amendment; stem cell research vetoed; waterboarding ban vetoed; "Last throes"; "Old Europe"; "It's hard work"; "Bring it on"; "Yo, Blair!"; "I'm the decider"; "I'm the commander guy"; "I'm a war president"; "This is the guy who tried to kill my dad"; "So?"; "Let the Eagle Soar"; John Bolton; Kenny Boy; Harriet Miers; John Roberts; Sam Alito; Blair talks Bush out of bombing al-Jazeera; Cheney shoots some guy in the face; the Military Commissions Act; Jose Padilla arrested and held without charge or access to counsel; endless tax cuts for the rich; let's waste a shitload of money by sending people to Mars and let's hire some Heritage Foundation staffers to rebuild Iraq.

The whole thing is worth a read, but I started to feel sick to my stomach by the end of it. Not to disparage Americans or anything, but how can this coming election not be a massive landslide? How much evidence of Republican misrule do you need?

I'm sure all my Canadian readers remember the sponsorship scandal. We all remember how that was the major contributing factor in Paul Martin's downfall. And he wasn't even PM at the time! That's what I call accountability; we bring down a government over the previous government's sins. And those sins were downright insignificant in comparison to this laundry list of Bush fuck-ups.

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