Friday, July 25, 2008

T Minus 179 Days

"These people don't have tanks. They don't have ships. They hide in caves. They send suiciders out."

-Portsmouth, NH, 2002

A Tale of Two Campaigns - The Cheese Speech

While Barack Obama was giving a speech in front of an estimated 200,000 in Berlin...

...McCain was explaining how he didn't really misstate the facts of the surge in the cheese aisle of a supermarket during an unscheduled stop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania...

...and having a press conference outside of Schmidt's Fudge Haus in Columbus, Ohio.

They sure have this media thing down at the McCain camp, don't they?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Giulani's Son Sues Duke...

...for getting kicked off the golf team. And it's the Republicans that complain about frivilous lawsuits?! What the fuck!

Get this:

Andrew Giuliani claims he was dismissed without cause from the golf team earlier this year because coach O.D. Vincent III wanted to cut the team of 13 players by about half. The lawsuit claims the coach has interferred with Giuliani's efforts toward becoming a professional golfer.

Hey Andy, don't you think that if maybe you were that good, you woudn't have gotten kicked off in the first place? Does not being on the golf team prevent you from playing or practicing? Get the fuck outta here, you whiny, little bastard.

Here's how I remember Andrew Giuliani - hogging up the camera at Mayor 9/11's inauguration:

What a fucking embarrassment. That punk should've gotten a little corporal punishment then, and it looks like Jack Cafferty agrees.

T Minus 180 Days

On this day in 2003, Bush desecrates the American flag by autographing it for doting fans.

- Livonia, Michigan, July 24, 2003

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

McCain Gaffes on Surge


In his zeal to show how well the surge has worked in Iraq and to trip up Barack Obama by wagging his finger in disgust to Obama's opposition of the surge last year, John McCain screwed up the timeline on when the Sunni sheiks turned against Al-Qaeda in Anbar province, referred to as the "Anbar Awakening." Whether this was intentional or not to give the surge more credence remains to be seen. But facts are facts, and they are becoming fewer and far between in the McCain campaign.

McCain: "...Colonel MacFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening. I mean, that's just a matter of history."

Actual history will prove otherwise, and McCain knows the actual history, or is he getting confused again?

... Spencer Ackerman and Ilan Goldenberg have reported, the record firmly establishes the opposite: instead of being caused by the surge, the key signs of the Anbar Awakening occurred not only before that strategy was implemented, but before it was ever conceived.

...The fact remains, however, that the military official cited by McCain, then-Colonel Sean MacFarland, described the Anbar Awakening in September 2006 -- four months before the "surge" was even announced -- noting that tribal leaders were "stepping forward and cooperating with the Iraqi security forces against Al Qaeda." Moreover, a military review written by MacFarland notes that his unit actually left Anbar before most of the surge troops arrived; his success in the region came between June 2006 and February 2007.

...Especially notable is that McCain himself was not always confused as to the start date of the Awakening, and whether or not it was caused by the surge. Fresh off one of his much-touted trips to Iraq, McCain delivered remarks to the conservative American Enterprise Institute on January 5, 2007. Alongside fellow Senator Joe Lieberman, McCain specifically advocated for the newly proposed surge, and cited the already-in-progress turning of Sunni sheiks as a reason to send more troops.

(H/T Seth Colter Walls, HuffPo)

UPDATE (7/24/08 9:20am):
It's all semantics according to McCain. The surge was a combination of events including the "Anbar awakening" even though the surge was announced in January 2007 and the Anbar awakening began happening in September 2006.

But if that's really the case, why did CBS decide to cut and paste another answer to the question posed by intrepid anchor Katie Couric? Were they trying to cover McCain's decrepit ass as he stuck his foot in his mouth again? CBS has since put the full transcript and complete video online. Here's a side by side video comparison from the Jed Report.

And yet, the GOP and wingnuts proclaim that Barack Obama is the media darling while McCain gets a bum rap. And yes, I'm taking a shot at Couric, who'll let a bumbling fool like McCain get away with an answer like that, probably because she doesn't know any better and doesn't know the history either, while she belabored the surge question with Obama and overall asked accusatory questions of Obama while asking McCain softball questions about... Obama!

Take a look at these -

Questions asked of Obama:

- You talk about a residual force remaining in Iraq, but you've been hesitant to really give a number … to people. You haven't been specific... Why can't you be more specific as to what you envision?

- Before the surge, as you know, Senator, there were 80 to 100 U.S. casualties a month, the country was rife with sectarian violence, and you raised a lot of eyebrows on this trip saying even knowing what you know now, you still would not have supported the surge. People may be scratching their heads and saying, "Why?"

- you not give the surge any credit for reducing violence in Iraq?

- But talking microcosmically, did the surge, the addition of 30,000 additional troops ... help the situation in Iraq?

- ...I really don't mean to belabor this, Senator, because I'm really, I'm trying … to figure out your position. Do you think the level of security in Iraq... would exist today without the surge?

- If you believe, Senator, Afghanistan is, in fact, the central front in the war on terror, why was this your first trip there? And why didn't you hold a single hearing as chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the fighting force there?

(Senator Obama is the chair of the European subcommittee, Katie. Nice try.)

- You reportedly chaff when your foreign policy expertise is questioned. If foreign policy is not your weakest area of expertise, what is?

Are you fucking kidding?

Now compare them to these -

Questions asked of McCain:

- Senator McCain, Sen. Obama says, while the increased number of U.S. troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after militias. And says that there might have been improved security even without the surge. What's your response to that?

- Sen. Obama also told me, Sen. McCain, that the money spent on those additional troops, on the surge, might have been more effective had it gone to Afghanistan or even to a better energy policy in the United States. What's your response?

- Sen. Obama describes Afghanistan as the central front on the war on terror. That is where, after all, Senator, 9/11 was plotted. And now the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan seems to be a hot bed of al Qaeda activity. Why do you believe Iraq is the central front in the war on terror?

- Do you agree with Sen. Obama's contention that up to three additional brigades should be deployed to Afghanistan?

- Sen. McCain, you sound very frustrated with Sen. Obama's perspective.

- What is your biggest fear about bringing troops home too soon, Senator?

- Finally, Senator, your campaign released a video today complaining about what you call the media's love affair with Sen. Obama. (LAUGHTER) Clearly you believe you're getting unfair coverage. Why do you think that's the case?

The kicker to all of this are the headlines used on the CBS website for each interview.
For Obama's, it's "Obama: Surge Doesn't Meet Long-Term Goals."
For McCain's, it's "McCain: 'We Will Come Home In Victory'."

Give me a fucking break.

(H/T The Jed Report)

UPDATE II (7/24/08, 3:18pm):

Andrea Mitchell and the "Fake News"

What's going on with Andrea Mitchell? I used to think she was a pretty credible journalist (even though she is married to Alan Greenspan) but now I'm starting to have my doubts. For the most part she can pretty much play it down the middle, but on occasion she blurts out some not-so-objective statements like she did yesterday on Hardball when covering Obama and his trip to visit troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mitchell: "Let me say something about his message management. He didn’t have reporters with him. He didn’t have a press pool. He didn’t do a press conference while he was on the ground either on Afghanistan or Iraq. What you’re seeing is not reporters brought in, you’re seeing selected pictures taken by the military, questioned by the military and what some would call fake interviews because they’re not interviews with a journalist so there’s a real press issue here. Politically it’s smart as can be, but we’ve not seen a Presidential candidate do this in my recollection ever before."

And the phrase "what some would call" is just doublespeak for "what I would call." But as far as her recollection of a presidential candidate ever doing this before? John Amato at Crooks & Liars might refresh her memory.

AMATO: I understand the need to get footage of Obama is her job, but to say they were phony was like saying his trip was like those fake news reports the administration sold to local networks that were presented as real new stories. I wondered if John McCain handled any of his overseas trips in the same way and guess what?

(via email) From an AP
article during McCain’s March trip:

McCain’s visit was not announced and he was believed to have been in the country for several hours before reporters were able to confirm his arrival. It was unclear who he met with and no media opportunities or news conferences were planned.

So I think the GOP and wingnuts should stop whining about the supposed love-in the media is having with Obama on his trip, given the fact that they probably would have gone with McCain as well had he given them a heads up.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

T Minus 182 Days

"I wish I wasn't the war president. Who in the heck wants to be a war president? I don't."

- Washington, DC, 2004

Monday, July 21, 2008

Geography 101

Please show me the Iraq/Pakistan border.

Iraq is surrounded by six countries. Not one of them is Pakistan.

Rocky Mountain Troll, Part Two

The debate continues.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

This Is Satire

Courtesy of Mr. Fish:

Lost In Translation

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki did not back the plan of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and his comments to a German magazine on the issue were misunderstood, the government's spokesman said on Sunday.

Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement that Maliki's remarks to Der Spiegel were translated incorrectly.

Uh... yeah. Is it possible that someone got a call from the White House? I'd comment on this myself but driftglass did such a good job of it, I'll just quote her:

Yes, this could simply be a translation error.

An un-fucking-believably gargantuan translation error where the microencephalic Babelfish that is apparently now being used for all such vital, nuanced, high-level translations got knee-walking drunk and just for goofs came back with "You can haz go now! All time leave now and sooner for to leave go home! Now! Now!" when what Prime Minister al-Maliki really said was "Please keep your troops in my country until my children's children's children are as old as John McSame!"

Yes, that is one possible explanation.

UPDATE (7/21/08 11:47pm): It seems the translation was accurate after all! The New York Times confirmed the story through a recording of the interview. Not to mention the fact that it was translated by Maliki's translator and not someone from the magazine.

Maliki: “Obama’s remarks that — if he takes office — in 16 months he would withdraw the forces, we think that this period could increase or decrease a little, but that it could be suitable to end the presence of the forces in Iraq.”

“Who wants to exit in a quicker way has a better assessment of the situation in Iraq.”

Of course, the McCain campaign, always being one step ahead, is still going with the mistranslation story. Oops. What a bunch of buffoons.

Must Reads

Mike Littwin, Rocky Mountain News: Obama trip likely to rob McCain of, well, limelight

Nicole Belle, Crooks & Liars: FNS: Lie-berman Shills For McCain

Bob Cesca, HuffPo: Senator McCain Isn't Funny, So Stop Encouraging Him

d r i f t g l a s s: On Shouting "Fuck"


Nouri al-Maliki: "So far the Americans have had trouble agreeing to a concrete timetable for withdrawal, because they feel it would appear tantamount to an admission of defeat. But that isn't the case at all. If we come to an agreement, it is not evidence of a defeat, but of a victory, of a severe blow we have inflicted on al-Qaida and the militias."

Maliki endorsement of Obama's 16-month withdrawal proposal is an admission from the Prime Minister of Iraq that they're ready to take over. Countless times you've heard the chickenhawks in the GOP say that we should leave when they ask us to leave. Seems like it's time to go.

You have to wonder what McCain's response will be to Maliki's statement. So far, all we've been hearing from the McCain campaign are crickets.

(H/T TPM & Cesca)

Rocky Mountain News Troll

I recently came across an opinion piece in the Rocky Mountain News by Mike Littwin titled, "Obama trip likely to rob McCain of, well, limelight." A good read, you should check it out not only for the article, but for the troll fight I got into with a commenter named "GetReal."

Actually, when I come to think of it, is it possible that I'm the troll since the majority of the comments (only a few comments to this point) are skewed to the right? Well, here's our exchange so far.

July 19, 2008,10:50 a.m.
GetReal writes:

Not surprising that Littwin barely touches on the fact that all three network news anchors are accompanying Obama for his entire trip, even sharing his personal plane. How cozy.
We will be bombarded with nightly satellite fed "reports" on how "Stately, Diplomatic and Presidential" Obama is viewed, complete with selected video of fainting foreign fans.
In contrast, the Repub nominee John McCain has made three trips overseas since March, with little coverage if any. In his most recent, he went to the middle east and Europe for a week and the networks didn't send any anchors at all, and had a total of four small stories in their nightly newscasts, one of which was dedicated entirely to a verbal slip by McCain.
If anyone ever represented the Mass Media, it would be Williams, Couric and Gibson.
They are behaving like cheer-leading political groupies, and the whole trip will be nothing but a travelling press release for the Obama campaign.
This glaring double standard highlights the imbalance of coverage by the supposedly neutral Mass Media-
But apparently it isn't important to Littwin, for obvious partisan reasons.

Well, this struck me as a bit silly, complaining about the anchors going on the trip and reading his "through the looking glass" comment on how the media is behaving like groupies and the "glaring double standard." Oh yeah, that's right, McCain had to battle with his relationship with his pastor for six weeks when the media wouldn't leave it alone as well as having to deal with attacks on his wife, didn't he?

I couldn't leave well enough alone and I had to bite. I thought I'd take a whack at the hornets nest.

July 19, 2008, 2:07 p.m.
BroadwayCarl writes:

Get Real said: "...In his most recent, he went to the middle east and Europe for a week and the networks didn't send any anchors at all..."

Anchors were originally scheduled to go, but when they saw "Czechoslovakia" on the itinerary, they decided to forego the trip, realizing (as McCain should have multiple times) that Czechoslovakia doesn't exist anymore!
I thought that would be the end of it. But GetReal wants to "get real." I'll also include a comment from "T1anda" as he/she also gets into the act.

July 19, 2008, 4:46 p.m.
T1anda writes:

Will Obama be cued with the answers from a teleprompter when interviewed by the three kiss-arse anchors?
He can't seem to say anything without it being scripted first!!
It's amazing how the liberal biased media made sure this "out of no where guy" got the nomination.
Obama supporters are starry-eyed zombies!!! Neither candidate is a good choice for President. However I will be voting for John McCain!!!I will take experience over clueless, socialist, any day!!

July 19, 2008,5:16 p.m.
GetReal writes:

I call B.S. with your explanation of why the Network Anchors didn't go with McCain, or are you just being cute?
Why do the anchors even have to go? Obama outlined his policy on Iraq right before he left the U.S., without waiting to even talk to any commanders on the ground for updated, first hand information.
I saw today's big overseas accomplishment was he played basketball. Get ready for this important live report and video by Katie and Co. on tonight's CBS, NBC, and ABC newscasts. You want to see how Katie, Brian and Charlie will behave on Air Obama?
Just like these hypnotized, star struck, swooning, giggling, and fawning "journalists" did earlier this year, when they witnessed OBAMA WEARING JEANS!-
And yes, CNN interrupted it's regular programming with that as a "BREAKING NEWS" video. I kid you not. Look at the scroll at the bottom.
So much for impartiality.

Then he writes this, in response to "T1anda":

July 19, 2008, 5:43 p.m.
GetReal writes:

It doesn't matter what Obama says or does, he is immune from criticism in the eyes of the liberally slanted Mass Media, and anybody who tries to question his many questionable associates or activities is instantly branded a racist.
The press, when not outright ignoring his many controversies and gaffes, will actually make excuses for them providing what they see as needed cover. What ever happened to journalistic standards?
How about just sticking to the Who, What, When, Where,
and Why?
To get an idea of the sheer number of Obama's non-teleprompter screw-ups, most of which have yet to be reported on by the MSM

Dan Quayle was villanized for misspelling potato,
Why does Obama get a pass?
Three words-


Well now we see where this is coming from. "Misplaced white guilt" spells it all out, doesn't it? Also amazing that you can replace the name "McCain" with "Obama" in that last comment and it would be all the more truthful, but that doesn't seem to matter to GetReal. GetReal doesn't get it. And he sites an anti-Obama website that's concentrating on his "gaffes" but a brief trip to that site shows that it looks like they don't know the definition of "gaffe."

So I respond:

July 19, 2008, 7:35 p.m.
BroadwayCarl writes:

Once again it is proven that sarcasm is lost on Republicans. Yes, I was making a joke at the expense of McCain and the fact that he can't seem to remember that Czechoslovakia ceased to exist as a country since 1993.
And you're not really serious in comparing Obama's teleprompter gaffes to McCain's, are you? Really?

As far as non-teleprompter gaffes, you really need to start watching something other than Fox News. Did you miss McCain fumbling for an answer asked by a reporter about health insurance companies covering Viagra but not birth control? Or are you just conveniently forgetting that?
Besides the fact that either McCain can't really remember how he voted on certain positions when asked, or doesn't want to answer where he stands on the issues now for fear of contradicting his vote!

July 19, 2008, 7:45 p.m.
BroadwayCarl writes:

I just checked out the link you provided regarding McCain's town hall meetings. Perhaps Obama would be more apt to participate if the audience was a true mix of citizens and not just invitees of the McCain campaign.

July 19, 2008,8:57 p.m.
GetReal writes:

I saw that lame article by the loony NY Times and couldnt help but laugh at the irony. Obama has at least two dozen documented gaffes in the last 9 months and all occurred without the help of his beloved teleprompter.The NYT's and the rest of the old media ignored virtually every one. Do YOU really want to compare gaffes?
For every one you have on McCain I can show you 10 recent ones on Obama. The guy is a walking gaffe machine when forced to think on his feet.

Concerning the Town Hall Meetings-
Are you that naive that you honestly believe Obama doesn't do the same? Or were you one of the many chosen "faintees" conveniently dropping like flies at The Messiah's numerous appearances?
Wait until the debates start to see your boy fold like the cheap suit he is. That is if he ever has the nuts to actually show up.

July 20, 2008, 8:37 a.m.
BroadwayCarl writes:

GetReal -
You keep saying you can show me the "many" Obama gaffes and I'm sure there are some. But you have yet to show any examples. And by gaffe, I don't mean a misreading of a teleprompter, like "Lex-eeg-ton Project" or vetoing "beers." I'm talking about major mistakes like confusing Sunni and Shia when trying to make the false claim that Iran is helping Al-Qaeda.

Or using "Czechloslovakia" multiple times on different days. You'd think someone in his campaign would correct him after the first time so he doesn't make the same mistake, but there he is, the very next day saying "Czechoslovakia."

So please give me some examples of Obama gaffes. If you really think you can name 10 Obama gaffes to every 1 of McCain's, I'll be expecting at least 300 or 400 examples. And please back up your argument with links to reinforce your stance, like I've done above.

I'll come back to this page over the next couple of days to look for your response.

We'll see where it goes from there. I didn't know poking the bear was so much fun! If you'd like to participate in the fun, head on over to Rocky Mountain News and have a rip-roarin' good time, but at the minimum read the Littwin piece. It's pretty good.

UPDATE (7/21/08, 10:15am): The debate continues.

July 20, 2008, 8:02 p.m.
GetReal writes:

Here are just a few, do a quick YouTube or Google search yourself for many others. They are not hard to find, except if all you watch is the MSM.
Funny how none of these made the evening news like McCain's Sunni/Shia gaffe.
Bristol Va. brain melt-

Dead people in audience-

Al Qaeda not in Iraq-

57 states of America-

10,000 dead Kansans-

Hugo Bush1 flub-

Compilations of lies and gaffes-

Look for more to come with any unscripted speaking appearances, that is if his advisers let him.
Obama said he would debate anytime, anywhere.
McCain requested 10 debates and Obama now says maybe one. He now has extremely limited press access and his wife has finally been muzzled, ala Theresa Heinz Kerry.
Why do you think that would be?

Regarding McCain's "Czechoslovakia" slip, and the slew of stories it generated implying he is senile or losing it-Sam Nunn, a veteran retired senator, former chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee and an oft-mentioned Democratic vice presidential running mate or sec of State/Defense within the Obama admin,Has made the same gaffe three times just recently-
Where are all the stories critical of Nunn?

Personally I think it is an honest mistake, done out of habit and no big deal.
I will also admit SOME of Obama's gaffes are that also, no big deal, but the number of larger "misstatements" seem to happen anytime he opens his mouth to talk candidly.

July 21, 2008, 8:12 a.m.
BroadwayCarl writes:

Get Real -

Thanks for the list. I will admit there are some doozies on that list, although they can be easily explained, for example:

"57 states gaffe" (obviously he meant to say 47 states)

10,000 dead Kansans (he meant to say "at least 10" and corrected himself in the same appearance which was absent on the video:
"As the Illinois senator concluded his remarks a few minutes later, he appeared to realize his gaffe.
“There are going to be times when I get tired,” he said. “There are going to be times when I get weary. There are going to be times when I make mistakes.”
Of course the larger point he was trying to make was that 60 percent of the Kansas National Guard's equipment is in Iraq, making the recovery process slower.

Your "Dead people in audience" link didn't work but I found it myself. Verbal flub? Yes, but obviously he was speaking to the LIVING veterans in his audience on Memorial Day.

Al-Qaeda not in Iraq - well, the video shows that this is a trip of the tongue was he was saying that there is "no Al-Qaeda LEADERSHIP in Iraq." If you want to argue that point, it's a separate debate, but if Bin Laden or his number two, Ayman al Zawahiri were in Iraq, don't you think we would have found them by now?

The compilations you linked I won't comment on as they can be easily edited to make gaffes seem worse than they are. The same goes for the other side. I try to avoid those and stick to any news items or unedited video. And I won't comment on Sam Nunn since we're comparing Obama and McCain. If we were to start debating on possible VP candidates and their flubs, we'd never finish.

The Va. Brian melt down? Yeah, I guess that's going to happen on occasion with both Obama and McCain in the midst of non-stop campaigning and very little rest. But as far as gaffes go, I'm not talking about a slip of the tongue or a teleprompter misread.

Let's go to my own McCain list (off the top of my head) to explain what I mean, starting with the Sunni-Shia gaffe on March 18, 2008.

This isn't just a flub. If McCain doesn't know or can't remember the fundamental difference between Sunni and Shia, and may make decisions based on that lack of knowledge or misremembering, I find that a major problem.

If he had done it once? No big deal. But he had said it on February 28, March 17, March 18, and then he did it again on April 8.

Here's McCain avoiding a question regarding his vote on health insurance companies covering Viagra but not covering birth control.

If you can't remember how you voted, that's one matter, but when you don't answer the simple question of "what is your stance now?" for fear of contradicting your vote or hoping not to anger the Religious Right base, that's another matter entirely.

How about McCain as a comedian?

Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran -

Killing Iranians with cigarettes -

McCain's inmate joke and lawyer joke -

McCain's Chelsea Clinton joke: (This was back in 1998, but remember he ran for POTUS in 2000.)

McCain's Daily Show appearance and his IED joke :

Now, it may be okay for you or I to joke about these things (although I don't think it's something to joke about) but we're not running for President. When you are a nominee for President of the United States, then your words and their meanings and your JOKES are taken in a different context. It's not funny for a possible next President to joke about cigarette exports to Iran as a way of killing its civilians or to joke about giving Jon Stewart an IED as a gift. It's embarrassing. It's not funny. It's. Not. Presidential.

Let's also not forget the events of the past week (which I've posted above, July 20, 1:31pm), as the White House has sent Secretary of State Rice to meet with leadership in Iran, the agreement with the White House and Iraq for a "general time horizon" which is doublespeak for a withdrawal timetable, and McCain's flip-flop on sending troops to Afghanistan; all positions that Obama has held long before they happened. For someone who's wet behind the ears and doesn't have any forgeign policy experience, he was pretty spot on.

I'm going to assume that we're going to agree to disagree. That's fine. But please don't assume that every Obama supporter is a "faintee conveniently dropping like flies at The Messiah's numerous appearances." This is just my opinion but the difference I've seen between Dems and Reps is that Dems don't automatically follow in lockstep for who the party tells us to follow. Why do you think it took so long to get the primary race over with?

I have been disappointed in some choices Obama has made, the FISA vote in particular. We don't believe Obama is the next coming or that he's perfect and infallable. But if my choice is between Obama and McCain, I'll vote Obama every time. We've seen what's happened over the last 7½ years and in my opinion, a President McCain would be more of the same. And even Republicans have to acknowledge that more of the same isn't what we need.