David Kirkpatrick

October 11, 2010

Congrats to Sully

Filed under: et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:33 am

Many thanks and congratulations to Andrew Sullivan for reaching ten years blogging at his Daily Dish. It’s simply one of the best, and most honest, political (and, of course, more) blogs out there. He wears his heart on his sleeve most of the time and every once in a while can make a fairly harsh snap judgement on any number of topics, but one thing Sullivan has always done is remain intellectually curious and open. As he himself has put it more than once, you can watch him change his mindset on topics in real-time over weeks and months of blog posts. The Daily Dish has long been a daily read for me, and I doubt that changes anytime soon.

July 1, 2010

Andrew v. Andrew

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:40 pm

Sullivan versus Breitbart, that is. One is an actual principled journalist with a deep appreciation, and training, for the art bloodless war that is debate. The other is a hack rabble-rouser with an agenda. You decide.

In this much they are both entirely correct — you can’t expect any electronic communication to be “off the record.” Where they differ is whether to respect the journalistic principle of an “off the record” conversation whether it be oral, written or electronic.

(And yes, that opening graf was meant to provocate. I enjoy the work of both men, albeit in different ways at times. For the record they are both a little bit right in this conversation.)

June 30, 2010

Sully’s “Quote For The Day II” post today

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:16 pm

At the Daily Dish Andrew Sullivan posts a quote for the day, and often many quotes for the day.

I sincerely hope this one is either a joke or satire from the linked source. If not, the United States might really be going down the tubes after all.

From the link:

“When my son Hunter asked me why it was okay for Bristol Palin to have a baby before she was married, I told him that God has special rules for special people.  God knew that Bristol could become very rich from having a baby, so He granted her a pregnancy.  Since she is the daughter of Sarah Palin, and the name Bristol Palin can be rearranged to spell “Orbit Plans” she is pretty much an angel, at least by the official bible definition.  And that pretty much makes her son like a Jesus, technically speaking.  This is just more proof that the blessed Palin family has wonderful and holy plans for true Americans.  After explaining this to my son, he told me that he wanted to be sex-educated at a public school so that he could have a Jesus baby too.  I smacked him in the mouth and told him that sex education is only for liberals and atheists. As good Christians, we should be ashamed of sexuality and our bodies, unless you are chosen by God, like Bristol Palin,” – tinfoiler.

November 14, 2009

This “overview” of Palin’s book …

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:09 pm

… really reads like someone — namely Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg — was working hard to meet a word count.

From the link:

In “Going Rogue: An American Life,” Sarah Palin has written six chapters that detail her life’s experiences, from her earliest days in Alaska to last year’s GOP presidential campaign to her eventual decision to resign as the state’s governor.

Palin dedicates the 413-page memoir, which The Wall Street Journal purchased from a bookstore on Friday, to “all Patriots who share my love of the United States of America. And particularly to our women and men in uniform, past and present–God bless the fight for freedom.”

In other news from the crazy world of Sarah Palin, she apparently wanted to sue Andrew Sullivan for libel for his Daily Dish blogging. Too bad she didn’t follow through. As Sullivan blogged yesterday, discovery alone would have been worth the price of that ticket.

November 8, 2009

Sully on K-Lo

Kathryn-Jean Lopez is an editor-at-large for the National Review Online and is no rocket scientist. Sadly, the National Review, a once bastion of intellectual thought on the right, is now pretty much lockstep with what passes for political philosophy on the American right — that is, it doesn’t exist. Plenty of me-tooism and anger at paper tigers, but not so much on the fronts that make any difference.

Andrew Sullivan, blogger of the Daily Dish, and an actual philosophical conservative, totally nails Lopez here:

… this is National Review, a place where intellectual Catholicism once had a home, where Buckley and Muggeridge wrote, where Wills got his start … and now we’re left with a person with the intellectual heft of a college sophomore …

 

September 19, 2009

Torture and George W. Bush: an indictment

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:39 pm

Andrew Sullivan has been among the loudest voices in the blogosphere, or anywhere for that matter, on the subject of torture during the Bush 43 Administration’s execution of its “war on terror.” In the October 2009 Atlantic magazine he wrote a fairly long letter to President Bush asking him to help erase the stain this policy has tainted the United States with, and described his essay as “conciliatory.”

At least one Daily Dish reader disagrees with Sullivan and describes the essay as an excellent final summation that, “tried, convicted and sentenced them (Bush Administration officials) all in one grand piece.”

The essay is quite long as web reading standards go, and it is worth the time spent to read the entire piece. It’s fair, thorough, chilling and is filled with not a little sadness of what this nation lost under Bush’s policies.

I’ve done plenty of blogging on this topic and I have Sullivan and others to thank for one, exposing what was happening to the Constitution, our rights and our standing in the world; and two, for keeping this difficult topic in front of minds and eyeballs that would most likely prefer to ignore and move on.

If you believe the torture was only done to “others” who are out to get Americans and don’t deserve any rights, I’ll excerpt what happened to a United States citizen — stripped of all rights, all dignity and in the end humanity. If you cherish your rights and the Constitution of the United States, this tale outlines in detail why you should fear the George W. Bush presidency and the idea its precepts could ever return in any form.

From the Andrew Sullivan essay, “Dear President Bush,”:

I want to mention one other human being, an American, Jose Padilla. I do not doubt that Padilla had been a troubled youth and had disturbing and dangerous contacts with radical Islamists. You were right to detain him. But what was then done to him—after a charge (subsequently dropped) that he was intent on detonating a nuclear or “dirty” bomb in an American city—remains a matter of grave concern. This was a U.S. citizen, seized on American soil at O’Hare Airport and imprisoned for years without a day in court. He was sequestered in a brig and, his lawyers argued,

was tortured for nearly the entire three years and eight months of his unlawful detention. The torture took myriad forms, each designed to cause pain, anguish, depression and, ultimately, the loss of will to live. The base ingredient in Mr. Padilla’s torture was stark isolation for a substantial portion of his captivity.

Among the techniques allegedly used on American soil against this American citizen were isolation (sometimes for weeks on end) for a total of 1,307 days in a nine-by-seven-foot cell, sleep deprivation effected by lights and loud music and noise, and sensory deprivation. He was goggled and earmuffed to maintain a total lack of spatial orientation, even when being treated for a tooth problem. He lost track of days and nights and lived for years in a twilight zone of pain and fear. His lawyer Andrew Patel explained:

Mr. Padilla was often put in stress positions for hours at a time. He would be shackled and manacled, with a belly chain, for hours in his cell. Noxious fumes would be introduced to his room causing his eyes and nose to run. The temperature of his cell would be manipulated, making his cell extremely cold for long stretches of time. Mr. Padilla was denied even the smallest, and most personal shreds of human dignity by being deprived of showering for weeks at a time, yet having to endure forced grooming at the whim of his captors …

After four years in U.S. custody, Padilla was reduced to a physical and mental shell of a human being. Here is Patel’s description of how Padilla appeared in his pretrial meetings:

During questioning, he often exhibits facial tics, unusual eye movements and contortions of his body. The contortions are particularly poignant since he is usually manacled and bound by a belly chain when he has meetings with counsel.

Mr. President, if you heard of a citizen of Iran being treated this way by the Iranian government, what would you call it?

August 4, 2009

Conservatism as a movement of “no”

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:24 pm

Andrew Sullivan made a very pertinent point today at the tail end of a post on a related, but more focused, topic. His point is conservatism as it’s realized today in the United States is against a lot of things, but not really for anything.

At one point in time you could honestly believe conservatism sought limited government and civil liberties. Those days are long over. Sure many self-styled conservatives in the GOP will sp0ut these ideals, but as nothing more than platitudes while doing nothing in terms of public policy, promoting legislation or even simply offering philosophical arguments on the hows and whys of this approach to government.

It’s easy to shake your head “no” at every proposal offered by those across the aisle. It’s a lot more difficult to actually counter with solutions and ideas to join all that dissent. Just ask today’s Republican Party.

From the link:

I repeat to conservatives: we know what you’re against, in healthcare, energy, counter-terrorism, taxation, gay rights, abortion. What are you actually for? How do you intend to actually address the questions of our time and place? And if conservatism cannot do that, what use is it?

June 20, 2009

Live green wave coverage from the Daily Dish

Andrew Sullivan is doing an exhaustive (and exhausting even for me just to attempt to keep up with it all) job of live blogging the green wave in Iran and now today’s crackdown from the despotic ruling regime.

He’s continually adding tweets from inside Iran, embedding video and providing fresh images of the protests and state-issued violence against a democracy seeking population.

Hit the Daily Dish link in my blogroll for his latest posts, and this link goes to “Live-Blogging Day 8.”

From the link:

2.58 pm. good source: Hospital close to the scene in Tehran: 30-40 dead thus far as of 11pm and 200 injured. Police taking names of incoming injured.

Voice from Iran: Shame on a country in which foreign embassies are safer than hospitals 😦

Gunfire Is Hearing From Near Resalat SQ. (East Teharan)

Bloody-woman

2.47 pm. New footage of fighting in the streets. And another protester is shot.

2.31 pm. Canadians, call your foreign office. It’s confirmed Canadian Embassy rejects injured protesters

Australian Embassy reportedly accepting injured

My Friend Wounded At Haft Hooz SQ, No Clinic Is Open!

May 30, 2009

Sotomayor, race and the right

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:04 am

I guess attacking on race is either all those on the right who oppose Sotomayor have, or its all they know because the actual judicial record has no bearing on the argument.

The meme has become quite strong, however, and is being hammered by multiple GOPers at multiple media outlets so I guess the Republican Party is going to live, die or fade further in obscurity and irrelevance on opposing Obama’s first Supreme Court pick purely on an argument based on race.

Here’s Andrew Sullivan on the topic, first quoting Tim Goldstein:

In sum, in an eleven-year career on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has participated in roughly 100 panel decisions involving questions of race and has disagreed with her colleagues in those cases (a fair measure of whether she is an outlier) a total of 4 times.  Only one case (Gant) in that entire eleven years actually involved the question whether race discrimination may have occurred.  (In another case (Pappas) she dissented to favor a white bigot.)  She participated in two other panels rejecting district court rulings agreeing with race-based jury-selection claims.

Given that record, it seems absurd to say that Judge Sotomayor allows race to infect her decisionmaking.

Absurd would be the word. I don’t doubt she’s a liberal on these issues – guess who won the election – but I see no smoking racial gun here. Even a toy one.

May 16, 2009

Dick Cheney and the Constitution

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:41 pm

Sully, as usual, nails it.

From the link:

America is not by virtue of being America somehow immune from the same evil that has occurred throughout human history; and the human beings running the American government are no more and no less human than those who controlled ghastly regimes in the past.

In fact, the American constitution makes no sense unless you see this. The founders assumed that Americans are as bad and as good as anyone else; and that therefore the rule of law and constitutional checks and balances are our only guarantee against tyranny. When the Cheney wing of the GOP asserts that the executive has the capacity to do anything to anyone outside the constitution and the law, and that it is also empowered to use torture to acquire “intelligence”, then the entire ballgame is over. You have given a few people the power to destroy others without due process and to create reality to buttress their power. If Democrats had done this, rule of law conservatives would have exhibited no less outrage than I have.

April 16, 2009

We tortured

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:18 pm

Of course the United States public has known this for a long while, but seeing the actual memos from the highest levels of the Bush 43 regime really jabs the point home.

We, the United States of America, in a direct reversal of a non-torture policy implemented by the then General George Washington, who later became the first president of this nation, authorized the torture of another human being.

This singular act is easily the greatest betrayal of our national honor ever perpetrated by the executive branch. History will not be kind to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or any other person involved in the Bush 43 regime who knew of these policies and remained silent.

Here is Andrew Sullivan on this dark dayin American history. He has kept the light shining on this travesty as well as anyone in the blogosphere and media.

From the link:

I do not believe that any American president has ever orchestrated, constructed or so closely monitored the torture of other human beings the way George W. Bush did. It is clear that it is pre-meditated; and it is clear that the parsing of torture techniques that you read in the report is a simply disgusting and repellent piece of dishonesty and bad faith. When you place it alongside the Red Cross’ debriefing of the torture victims, the fit is almost perfect. I say “almost” because even Jay Bybee, in this unprofessional travesty of lawyering, stipulates that these techniques might be combined successively in any ways that could cumulatively become torture even in his absurd redefinition of the term. And yet the ICRC report shows, as one might imagine, that outside these specious legalisms, such distinctions never hold in practice. And they didn’t. Human beings were contorted into classic stress positions used by the Gestapo; they had towels tied around their necks in order to smash their bodies against walls; they were denied of all sleep for up to eleven days and nights at a time; they were stuck in tiny suffocating boxes; they were waterboarded just as the victims of the Khmer Rouge were waterboarded. And through all this, Bush and Cheney had lawyers prepared to write elaborate memos saying that all of this was legal, constitutional, moral and not severe pain and suffering.

Bybee is not representing justice in this memo. He is representing the president. And the president is seeking to commit war crimes. And he succeeded. This much we now know beyond any reasonable doubt. It is a very dark day for this country, but less dark than every day since Cheney decided to turn the US into a torturing country until now.

April 7, 2009

Sully on torture, part two

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:40 pm

Here’s part one from November. Andrew Sullivan has long written about the U.S. implementation of torture, often a singular voice out in the void. His constant, and necessary, drumbeat helped to keep my focus on this shameful subject.

Now that details are coming to light about exactly what the Bush 43 regime perpetrated and what (if anything) was truly gained, this topic will become mainstream news.

Here’s Sully today on torture. He, Glenn Greenwald, the TPM gang and others deserve a lot of credit in continuing to pursue this difficult subject when the mainstream media either completely ignored torture, or worse used the Nazi-era euphemism preferred by the Bush team, “enhanced interrogation.”

From the second link:

I should be clear. I oppose all such torture as illegal and criminal and immoral even if tangible intelligence gains were included in the morass of lies and red herrings that we got. But if torture advocates really do insist that America needs to embrace this evil if it is to survive, then we need to see and judge the evidence that they keep pointing to off-stage. We need a real and thorough and definitive investigation. If Cheney is right, he has nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of. And the Congress should move to withdraw from the Geneva Conventions, withdraw from the UN Torture Treaty, amend domestic law to enshrine torture, and allow future presidents of the United States to torture suspects legally.

More sunlight please. Let us have this debate in full and in detail. And soon – before it is too late.

March 29, 2009

Torture and (the lack of) intelligence

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:00 pm

Did we get any useful information from initiating systemic torture under the Bush 43 regime? Apparently not.

Cheney and his apparatchiks continue to insist that they got reliable and vital information from these torture sessions, but they can never verify it:

 

Since 2006, Senate intelligence committee members have pressed the CIA, in classified briefings, to provide examples of specific leads that were obtained from Abu Zubaida through the use of waterboarding and other methods, according to officials familiar with the requests. The agency provided none, the officials said.

We sold our souls for lies.

March 18, 2009

Sully on Cheney

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:35 pm

Sullivan sees both evil and incompetence. Can’t say I disagree.

There’s one semi-plausible/semi-joking theory on Cheney. I first read it in the New Republic a ways back in an article by Michelle Cottle. There’s a condition known as “pump head syndrome” that afflicts people who have undergone surgery where your circulation is taken over by machines and blood is pumped into your body with a different level of force than typical. Some people have very debilitating effects from this process. It’s possible that Cheney — and Bill Clinton for that matter — suffers from pump head, thereby explaining the gross incompetence, the evil and the outright lack of concern for anything beyond his narrow, narrow goals.

From the first link:

The torture of individuals whose guilt or innocence is unknown is the mark of barbarism. The treatment of human beings as sub-human is equally the mark of the forces of anti-civilization. From the beginning in this struggle against evil, Cheney has been, as he proudly declares, on the dark side. And operating from within.

His post was built on this quote from Lawrence Wilkerson:

The fourth unknown is the ad hoc intelligence philosophy that was developed to justify keeping many of these people, called the mosaic philosophy. Simply stated, this philosophy held that it did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance (this general philosophy, in an even cruder form, prevailed in Iraq as well, helping to produce the nightmare at Abu Ghraib). All that was necessary was to extract everything possible from him and others like him, assemble it all in a computer program, and then look for cross-connections and serendipitous incidentals–in short, to have sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified.

Thus, as many people as possible had to be kept in detention for as long as possible to allow this philosophy of intelligence gathering to work. The detainees’ innocence was inconsequential. After all, they were ignorant peasants for the most part and mostly Muslim to boot.

Here’s more from the Wilkerson link:

Another unknown, a part of the fabric of the foregoing four, was the sheer incompetence involved in cataloging and maintaining the pertinent factors surrounding the detainees that might be relevant in any eventual legal proceedings, whether in an established court system or even in a kangaroo court that pretended to at least a few of the essentials, such as evidence.

Simply stated, even for those two dozen or so of the detainees who might well be hardcore terrorists, there was virtually no chain of custody, no disciplined handling of evidence, and no attention to the details that almost any court system would demand. Falling back on “sources and methods” and “intelligence secrets” became the Bush administration’s modus operandi to camouflage this grievous failing.

But their ultimate cover was that the struggle in which they were involved was war and in war those detained could be kept for the duration. And this war, by their own pronouncements, had no end. For political purposes, they knew it certainly had no end within their allotted four to eight years. Moreover, its not having an end, properly exploited, would help ensure their eight rather than four years in office.

February 8, 2009

Sully nails it …

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:20 pm

totally.

This graph sure does concentrate the mind and reveals, to my mind, the surrealism of the current GOP. They spent the last eight years spending like FDR in a boom and now they’re born again fiscal conservatives?

jobsrecessionssm_22

And even follows up on the graph.

January 19, 2009

The Bush 43 legacy

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:39 pm

Here on the final day of his presidency, there’s no way to determine the legacy. One thing that’s becoming clear, he’s pushing the idea that his greatest achievement was preventing another attack on US soil after 9/11.

Andrew Sullivan makes a great point here that sums my thoughts exactly.

From the link:

In the end, the Bush presidency was something of a mixed bag: massive increases in the power of the federal Leviathan was the dark side. But President Bush’s most important legacy is the fact that he kept Americans safe after September 11.

The latter talking point remains as hard to gage as any. We simply do not know yet, from the vantage of history, whether Bush’s record in preventing another 9/11 style attack was luck or design or some mix of the two. We don’t talk of how Clinton “kept us safe” after the 1993 WTC attack – at least, I fail to remember that as a GOP talking point in 2000 – because from the vantage point of 2001, it didn’t look so great.

I have a sinking feeling that we surrendered enormous amounts of freedom and the heart of the Constitution … for the usual meager portions of pseudo-security. But the point is: I don’t actually know. No one does, except those whose direct interest it is to defend their own record.

December 22, 2008

Dick Cheney, enemy of the people

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:22 pm

He’s gone on record admitting to advocating, promoting and authorizing a war crime. And he’s still wiping his ass with the Constitution and gloating about it.

Sullivan does a great job of summing things up here.

From the link:

And Cheney’s colorful explanation of this theory is also extremely revealing:

 

The president of the United States now for 50 years is followed at all times, 24 hours a day, by a military aide carrying a football that contains the nuclear codes that he would use and be authorized to use in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States.

He could launch a kind of devastating attack the world’s never seen. He doesn’t have to check with anybody. He doesn’t have to call the Congress. He doesn’t have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in.

What Cheney is saying is that if the president of the United States has the power to destroy all civilization alone, he has the power to do anything up to and including that. Chris Wallace asks the right questions, but it is very telling that he didn’t ask about torture. I presume that was agreed by Fox and Cheney in advance. I can see no other reason for the lacuna.

But what we know with real clarity is the following: the vice-president long ago became an enemy to the Constitution and to all it represents. He should have been impeached long ago; and the shamelessness of his exit makes prosecution all the more vital. If we let this would-be dictator do what he has done to the constitution and get away with it, the damage to the American idea is deep and permanent.

November 22, 2008

Sully on torture

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:49 pm

Yep, he’s still on it and rightly so. The atrocities committed under the Bush 43 regime should never be repeated. We, as citizens of the United States of America, should make certain the rules of law and standards laid down by our founding fathers and our first president, George Washington, are carried out with grace, humility and strength.

Torture, even for the most evil amongst us, is never an option. It is a tool of the weak and frightened. The United States is neither.

From the link:

Even the word “torture” can be too vague and abstract a term. So let us state in plain English how Bush, Cheney, Tenet, et al. actually got information. They did it by subjecting prisoners to repeated drowning, or freezing, or heating, or sadistically long sleeplessness, or shackling or crucifying them until the pain could be borne no longer, or beating them until they pleaded for mercy, or threatening to kill or torture their children or wife or parents. Or all of the above in combination, in isolation, and with no surety of ever seeing the light of day again, with no right to meaningful due process of any kind, sometimes sealed off from light and sound for months at a time, or bombarded with indescribable noise day and night in cells from which there was no escape ever. This is what “under coercive conditions” actually means. It drove many of the victims into become mumbling, shaking, insane shells of human beings; it killed dozens; it drove others still to hunger strikes to try to kill themselves; and it terrified and scarred and “broke” the souls of many, many others. For what? Intelligence that cannot be trusted, and the loss of the sacred integrity of two centuries of American history. Did it save lives? We do not know. We do know that the people who are claiming it did have been unable to bring any serious case to justice based on their original claims, and are the people who are criminally responsible for the torture they have committed. Why would they not say it saved lives? And yet we have no other way to know. And we have the terrifying possibility that false information procured by torture provided a pretext to torture others in a self-perpetuating loop in which any ability to find out the actual truth is lost for ever. That, after all, is how some of the flawed intelligence that took us into Iraq was procured.

November 5, 2008

Emanuel offered Chief of Staff

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:22 am

Obama’s first move as president-elect is to offer White House Chief of Staff to Rahm Emanuel. Not quite sure what I think about the move, but here’s two separate takes from the right.

From Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish:

That’s some chief of staff. I think even Rahm’s friends will acknowledge that he is as abrasive as Obama is smooth, and, well, he knows who to be a total asshole when he has to be. But that’s often what you want in a chief of staff: an enforcer. Marc has more on the transition.

And here’s Yuval Levin at the Corner:

Obama’s apparent selectionof Rahm Emanuel for White House chief of staff is an extremely disconcerting (if not wholly surprising) first indication on the “which Obama will we get” question. It suggests both that he wants to be ruthless and partisan and that he does not have a clear sense of how the White House works.

Emanuel was by all accounts a very effective White House staffer in the Clinton administration, and he has certainly been an effective member of the House of Representatives. He is smart and tough. But he has been, in both positions, a vicious graceless partisan: narrow, hectic, unremittingly aggressive, vulgar, and impatient. Those who have worked for and with him come away impressed but not inspired, and generally not loyal.

Given the entire timbre of the Corner these days — insane partisanship and simpering fealty to absolutely any GOP talking point — Levin comes off as a bit frightened of the Emanuel choice, and more than a bit frightened of Obama.

Overall on the right Obama has been characterized as an Elvis Presley type. Elvis was considered a white man who could sing like a black man. Obama has been seen as a black politician who could win the White House like a white polician.

Take this bit from Levin (same link above):

Obama is especially in need of someone who will lead him to decisions, because he appears to be intensely averse to making difficult choices—which is the essence of what the president does. His inclination is to step back and conceptualize the choice out of existence, looking reasonable but doing nothing.

The problem with that attitude from the right is I think they forget Elvis could sing.

October 30, 2008

Reax to Obama’s infomercial

From Culture11. I’ve yet to add the site to my blogroll — but I bet I do. If you are looking for interesting, intelligent and forward-thinking (read: these bloggers understand Sarah Palin is the death of the GOP, not its savior) blogging from the right side of the aisle, you could do worse than visiting Culture11 every day.

Sure it’s fun to read the increasing crazy at the Corner and Ace of Spades and some of the other usual suspects, but in reality I much prefer to read good, conservative arguments and reasoned thought. You can get that at the Daily Dish, but the loony right wing has somehow decided Andrew Sullivan is, what? His gayness is out, but he’s a closet liberal? Hardly, but he is a principled conservative thinker from more a Tory standpoint than the evangelical nutjobs that currently hold the GOP hostage.

Back to Obama’s infomercial — here’s Freddie deBoer’s take from that link way up in the first sentence:

Three thoughts occur to me in response to Obama’s infomercial.

The first is that this production shows again the great folly of the McCain campaign’s decision to bet the election on “otherizing” Obama. I think anyone who watched, and wasn’t already in the tank against Obama, would be very hard pressed indeed to see this man as a radical, or a terrorist, or a socialist out to steal their money. I think that they would be very hard pressed to see him as someone who they couldn’t trust, or who they “just didn’t know about.” I think that they would find him reassuring. I think that they would find him refreshingly normal, refreshingly American. I think that they would see him as a decent, loving family man.

Of course, that’s not sufficient, for a Presidential candidate. It’s not enough to be decent, or a good husband and father. It’s not enough to be normal, or American. It’s not enough to be not a radical. But this is the bed that the McCain campaign has made: when they made the election about Barack Obama’s basic decency, about his normalcy, when they insisted that the reason to oppose him was because he represented some terrifying unknown, they set the bar for the Obama campaign incredibly low. It turns out that proving you’re not some terrorist-sympathizing socialist with a crazy foreign name isn’t that high of a hurdle to clear. And once cleared, the McCain campaign’s own rhetoric damages them. If what’s important is that whether or not Americans can trust him, the answer for most of us is clear: yes, we can. After claiming for six months or so that the appropriate question for a Presidential candidate is whether he is a trustworthy American, America appears poised to accept that question, and in the case of Barack Obama, answer in the affirmative.

September 29, 2008

Sully knocks one out of the park on Palin

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:21 pm

He’s been (rightly) hammering the issue of McCain’s veep pick from the get go. Sarah Palin is beyond unprepared to ascend to the presidency if neccesary. That executive decision alone disqualifies McCain in my eyes.

Over at today’s Daily Dish Andrew Sullivan makes the keypoint on Palin.

From the link:

And the real test of this, anyway, would be a real press conference, with follow-ups. But that, incredibly, won’t happen. For the first time in American history, a candidate who could become president will not have a press conference in the campaign! No, you’re not hallucinating. Welcome to Vladimir Putin’s idea of election campaigns in America.

September 18, 2008

I almost feel bad …

… for reposting an entire Andrew Sullivan item because the quote he pulls is so great. In return for borrowing his content, here’s a plug — be sure to catch Sully on the Bill Maher show this weekend on HBO.

From the link:

Ron Paul Was Right, Ctd.

18 Sep 2008 02:28 pm

“I fear the government has passed the point of no return. We have the irony of a free-market administration doing things that the most liberal Democratic administration would never have been doing in its wildest dreams. It’s pure crisis management. It’s the Treasury and the Federal Reserve lurching from crisis to crisis without a clear statement on how financial failures will be handled in the future. They’re afraid to articulate such a policy. The safety net they are spreading seems to widen every day with no end in sight,” – Ron Chernow, a leading American financial historian.

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August 30, 2008

Sully on Palin

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:04 pm

As expected Andrew Sullivan has a lot to say about McCain’s veep pick, but this little item about Palin might just be the most interesting:

I would not be surprised if she is not the veep finally on the ticket. We’ll see.

August 11, 2008

Sully on Bush’s record

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:51 pm

Andrew Sullivan brings some insight and asks a very valid question about the Bush 43 years put into a different perspective:

Imagine that Bush is a Democrat (not that hard when you consider his fiscal record). Now imagine that a Democratic president had presided over the worst attack on American soil in history, a far stronger Iran on the brink of nukes, and a resurgent, aggressive Russia, willing and able to invade and terrorize a neighboring country in part because the president long believed that its president was a good man, and had looked into his soul.

I think they would have impeached him a few years ago, no? He would be viewed as the Carter to end all Carters. But they are actually arguing that the man who has held no executive power these last seven years is responsible for the triumph of America’s rivals around the world. And they describe everyone who is dismayed at Bush’s Carter impersonation as leftist.

August 5, 2008

Sully on Goldberg

Filed under: et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:12 pm

It’s good to see Andrew Sullivan back in typical form after his working vacation. He’s bringing teh funny, but it’s hardly a fair fight to pick on the special one at NRO:

Leave it to Jonah:

An explosive fad in the 1980s, postmodernism was and is an enormous intellectual hustle in which left-wing intellectuals take crowbars and pick axes to anything having to do with the civilizational Mount Rushmore of Dead White European Males.

Philosophy is easy when you know nothing about it, isn’t it?

I’ll give Goldberg this much, academic postmodernism was, and still is, a load of crap.

July 12, 2008

Sully on blogging

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:38 pm

Superblogger, Andrew Sullivan (if not in ideas, then certainly in volume; However, I do like a lot of his content), opines on the nature of blogging.

From the link:

Moreover, different blogs can do different things – and this one has evolved over the years from a purely personal diary of sorts to more of a broadcast hourly magazine. The point is that I don’t expect or hope that any reader relies on the Dish alone. The Dish is a portal as well as well as a blog – to all the information and ideas percolating out there. And my role has evolved from purely an opiner to a web DJ of sorts, re-mixing and finding and editing the thoughts and images and facts of others.

June 17, 2008

Bush 43 and torture

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:13 pm

Sully hits this one out of the park. It’s certainly fitting since the Daily Dish kept the specter of Bush’s policy on torture in the forefront.

From the link:

But why would they be punished when they are carrying out Bush policies? The president, meanwhile, continues what is either point-blank lying or terrifying denial:

“My only point to you is, is that yes, I mean, we certainly wish Abu Ghraib hadn’t happened, but that should not reflect America. This was the actions of some soldiers.”

The trouble with having someone with the rigid dry-drunk denial mechanisms of this president is that he simply cannot accept what he is: the first president in the history of the United States to have ordered his underlings to torture prisoners.

March 29, 2008

Sully, Bush and war crimes

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:14 pm

Andrew Sullivan opines about the Bush 43 regime and war crimes. What has occurred under the auspices of the US government over the last six and half years is a national tragedy. I’ve written many times on my stance about our execution of the “war on terror.” 

Anyone hoping for war crime charges against any administration official ought not hold their breath. Of course some of these officials may find their travel options a bit limited as more evidence comes to light.

From the Daily Dish link (in first graf, first sentence):

I posted about Philip Gourevitch’s and Erroll Morris’s superb and disturbing recent piece on Abu Ghraib here. What it shows once again is how Abu Ghraib was never, ever an exception. It was permitted, enabled, authorized and pre-meditated by Bush, Cheney, Yoo, Rumsfeld, Miller, and Addington, among many others. The techniques testified to correspond with chilling accuracy to techniques authorized by the president, for which we now have overwhelming evidence. Scott Horton reminds us what exactly some of the techniques were:

February 24, 2008

One view of a Clinton White House

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:55 pm

Andrew Sullivan is back, with a vengeance, at the Daily Dish. Here’s a great post on Clinton’s last stand.

In this snippet, Sullivan looks at a possible Clinton White House:

Clinton is a terrible manager of people. Coming into a campaign she had been planning for, what, two decades, she was so not ready on Day One, or even Day 300. Her White House, if we can glean anything from the campaign, would be a secretive nest of well-fed yes-people,  an uncontrollable egomaniac spouse able and willing to bigfoot anyone if he wants to, a phalanx of flunkies who cannot tell the boss when things are wrong, and a drizzle of dreary hacks like Mark Penn. Her only genuine skill is pivoting off the Limbaugh machine (which is now as played out as its enemies). Her new weapon is apparently bursting into tears. I mean: really.

January 30, 2008

The US and torture

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:33 pm

This post from TPM Muckraker does a nice job of illustrating just exactly where the United States stands vis-a-vis torture.

This subject is a part of a dark period in US policy following 9/11, and will possibly stand as the true legacy of the Bush 43 regime. John Negroponte, the former Director of National Intelligence, has already gone on the record admitting we did utilize the torture technique of waterboarding.

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