All right, as we enter the scary season (no, not Halloween, but the breathlessly anticipating the election shenanigansof Rove-Diebold-Bush), it is time to announce that the political lamp is again lit.
First, some items that were noted down at the comment level, but that folks may not have seen mentioned here at the top layer, in their RSS feed.
“Keith Olbermann is just on fire: channeling Ed Murrow.“ I agree with Stefan. This is the BEST thing from our side (the side of the Enlightenment and the American Experiment) in six years. I have waited so long for an alpha -- a real alpha -- to step forward who can denounce the rascals as thoroughly and rightly as Olbermann does.
Above all, it takes much more than passion and indignation (which Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore have in copious supply) or even evidence. What it takes is intellectual caliber and overwhelming maturity -- which they just as evidently lacked... but which Olbermann supplies in truckloads, along with more than adequate gravitas. People who ignore this would as easily have shrugged at Zola, during the Dreyfus affair.
* The president says the war in Iraq will be "just a comma" in history books, but by Nov. 26, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, with the Study Group's recommendations due, the comma will have lasted as long as U.S. involvement in World War II. Ponder that. Similar numbers died on 9/11 and at Pearl Harbor. Only after Pearl, the rich united with all other classes, helping pay to win a victory that left us a world titan, standing atop smoldering enemy despotisms.
Today, our alliances, popularity, internal cohesion, credit and finances, and (above all) our readiness for new emergencies... have all plummeted to levels that only our worst enemies would have wished upon us.
* The current military expenditures in the Iraq war are about to exceed those of the Korean war to make it the third costliest war in US history after World War II and the Vietnam War. On an inflation adjusted basis. What could we have done with a trillion dollars? To strengthen us is ways that would have left all foes in a cloud of dust? (According to nicholas d. Kristof.)
For every additional second we stay in Iraq , we taxpayers (ah, but not the New Lords) will end up paying an additional $6,300. In the run-up to the Iraq war, Donald Rumsfeld estimated that the overall cost would be under $50 billion. Paul Wolfowitz argued that Iraq could use its oil to “finance its own reconstruction.” In science, relentless failure of prediction causes either re-evaluation of the theory, or discrediting of the theorist.
Since these are dogmatic men who will never re-evaluate, clearly they must be discredited.
*Bill Maher had a good take on the right-wing “think tanks” that helped get us into this disastrous war:
Maher: And finally, I propose a new rule in two parts:
(A) You can't call yourself a think tank if all your ideas are stupid; and
(B) If you're someone from one of these think tanks that dreamed up the Iraq War and who predicted that we'd be greeted as liberators, and that we wouldn't need a lot of troops, and that Iraqi oil would pay for the war, that the WMD's would be found, that the looting wasn't problematic, that the mission was accomplished, that the insurgency was in its last throes, that things would get better after the people voted, after the government was formed, after we got Saddam, after we got his kids, after we got Zarqawi, and that whole bloody mess wouldn't turn into a civil war, you have to stop making predictions.
Finally, there is this rumination, pulled upward from yesterday’s comments...
Russ Daggatt is savoring the likelihood that President George W. Bush is about to be the "lamest of lame ducks" after mid-term electoral reversals, without influence even within his own party. (Well, he did predict optimistic changes in 2004, too. Alas.)
In fact, regarding duck-lamedness, I beg to differ. In fact, Bush will have four more cards in his hand, after the elections, that will keep him a force to be reckoned-with.
First the inherent powers of executive department management. This will (for example) allow him to continue signing "emergency" exceptions to contract vetting rules. This has been a primary method of graft for 6 years and it requires no legislation. Dems in Congress would have to act assertively in BOTH houses to prevent this.
Second, we all fear his control over defense and foreign policy could "go nuts". Nuff said.
Third, there is the scenario of Cheney resigning in order to give W a new Veep... who would then be the GOP heir apparent. W's power to appoint this fellow makes him an overwhelmingly potent kingmaker.
But card number four is the biggest reason the GOP must continue kneeling to Bush. Presidential pardons. He can dish these 'get out of jail free' cards like Halloween candy. According to whim. (Especially if he does the unprecedented and issues one to himself!) There are scads/hordes who will be needing these Escape Justice Certificates, and they will do whatever it takes to get one.
It is not too soon for the dems to be contemplating maneuvers to limit this final betrayal of justice. Unless some of THEM are also standing in line?