The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.

The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.
The scholar


Ooh! Snap! Yowza!

No, I have no idea what “pwned” means, but this is a great exchange:



Jack Cafferty just now on CNN.

Cafferty: Where's President Bush? Is he still on vacation?

Blitzer: He's cut short his vacation he's coming back to Washington tomorrow.

Cafferty: Oh, that would be a good idea. He was out in San Diego I think at a Naval air station giving a speech on Japan and the war in Iraq today. Based on his approval rating, based on the latest polls, my guess is getting back to work might not be a terrible idea.

Transcript doesn't do it justice. Bush just got pwned. can listen here.

-Atrios 5:25 PM

Well, what can I say about New Orleans? There's a two-block-long break in the levee that guards the city from Lake Ponchartrain and the city, which is ten feet lower than the lake, is filling up fast. The governor is saying the entire city may have to be evacuated. Rescue workers are so busy evacuating the living, the dead simply have to be pushed aside. Sure is too bad the National Guard is busy in Iraq, fighting an unnecessary war of choice that's serving no discernable purpose, none that the President feels he can publicly explain, anyway. BTW, Bush will spend one last night at the ranch before going back to Washington DC.
Was the Bush Administration to blame for the disaster? Americablog says yes and points out that funding for preparing for just such a disaster has been short and it's been short very specifically due to the Iraq War.

It's been clear for a few years that people use this kind of occasion to empty out their closets and buy items they think are needed and send them along.

Please don't.

All the Red Cross needs is money. They will figure out how to allocate the cash and what people need on a day-to-day basis. Please give. They're at 1-800-435-7668 (1-800-HELP-NOW)
Best local coverage, includes blog for latest updates


Bolton's hostility to the environment

As President Bush's representative to the United Nations, Bolton's hostility to the environment is of course not just a personal quirk of his, it's a problem that we can tag the whole Bush Administration with, starting naturally at the top. After about a year of negotiations, the UN is very largely happy with their 38-page document specifying their future action items. Ambassador Bolton's proposed changes to the draft number over 400, so we can see that Bolton is there to be a bomb-thrower, not to introduce gradual changes. The following is a paragraph that he proposes cutting entirely.

p. 8: CUT: “Undertake concerted global action to address climate change through meeting all commitments and obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, the UNFCCC and other relevant international agreements, increase energy efficiency, technological innovations, and to initiate negotiations to develop a more inclusive international framework for climate change beyond 2012, with broader participation by both developing and developed countries, taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibility."

Now, I can understand the Bush Administration not wanting to be frozen into appearing to endorse a document that they “unsigned” in early 2001. It was just about President Clinton's last official act to sign the Kyoto Protocol and it was very quickly made clear that the Bush Administration felt that he had played a dirty trick on them. There of course was no official provision for unsigning the document, so that had to be a unilateral act by the Bush Administration.

The philosophy they used to mitigate the image that they cared more for corporate profits than for human health was the idea that they would find some technological fix for the global warming that Kyoto was meant to solve. I remember running across a one-paragraph article in 2002 saying that President Bush attended a trade show featuring technology that would make Kyoto unnecessary. Funny, I don't remember ever seeing any follow-up to that.

It would of course be entirely appropriate for the US to add language saying that it wanted to go along a different path, that they agreed that global warming was a real problem, but that they didn't like the particular solution specified in Kyoto. The Bush Administration has now said loudly and clearly that they just plain care more about corporate profits than they do about human health.

UPDATE 9/1: I saw a BBC program on the 30th that explicitly connected Global Warming to the disaster in New Orleans. According to those who answered my query, the US news media didn't show much interest in the topic. Der Spiegal also now draws an explicit connection. When will US news media take up the topic?


Gotta love a good history discussion

Having been a history major back in college and having read quite a number of history books for the sheer pleasure of it, I greatly appreciated the following discussion. Ben, who revels in his status as a virgin (Hey, to each his own, I'm way too liberal to have practically any opinions about people's sexual preferences.) is awfully upset that people call him a chickenhawk for 1. Supporting the Iraq War, 2. Publicly advocating that other Americans fight in that war but 3. Refusing to sign up to take part in the war himself. He names other folks who have allegedly done the same as he has:

By the leftist logic, here are some other "chickenhawks": John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Bill Clinton.

The delightful blog World O' Crap skewers Ben's argument, pointing out that:

Roger, like I told Ben the other day, you can express your opinion on anything you want. Feel free to talk about the glories of war while you stay safe at home -- it's free country, so knock yourself out. In fact, if you want, you can even preach about how young people should remain pure until marriage, while you visit hookers on a nightly basis. But just realize that you open yourself up to charges of hypocrisy if you do that. And also realize that other people have the freedom to express the opinion that you are a pussy for saying that you fervently believe in bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqis through war, while also claiming that you are too busy arranging for Affirmative Action Bake Sales to actually join the military.

In the comments, one of WOC's readers points out that:

Once again, I just have to marvel that when it actually gets right down to factual argument the Wingnut Formerly Known As Precocious flails away like a first-grader in a recess slapfest. This guy is now a Harvard 2L (?) and all he can come up with is another "The Constitution says..." line? If this is the best he can do at changing the subject when the heat is on his own self, I sure trust he's not planning on going into trial law, though I think that's a safe bet.

And research, Ben. Research. Lincoln was a rather famously incompetent captain of the militia in the Black Hawk War, and Franklin, though a Quaker, served the Pennsylvania militia. Madison was physically unfit for service in the Revolution. Wilson was a child during the Civil War and a middle-aged man (and President of Princeton) by the Spanish-American war. Jefferson, I suppose, could have grabbed a musket at the close of the French and Indian War, though the major fighting was over before he turned 18 and it was taking place in Canada by then. And in early middle age he could have resigned as Governor of Virginia to serve as an incompetent infantryman. Bill Clinton opposed the War in Vietnam. Maybe you've heard tell of that.

That leaves Adams and Hancock, both of whom could have served in the French and Indian War or resigned responsible positions during the Revolution. So two of the wealthiest men in Massachusetts could have signed on to fight for the British on the frontier, but didn't. Wow. I guess that excuses you sitting out the Global War on Terror to stay home and ghostwrite anti-pornography screeds.

Doghouse Riley • 8/23/05; 8:51:45 AM #

And another reader adds:

Also, let us not forget that Madison went into the field and commanded troops at the Battle of Bladensburg, making him the only president ever to command troops in combat AS president.
Jim Madison's Dog • 8/23/05; 11:41:15 AM #


Sigh, the DLC again

The DLC is at it again, carrying the Republican's water for them as usual. It's hard to toss them out of the Democratic Party (Sure would be nice!) as major potential presidential candidates are solidly in their camp. Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are firmly with them and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is showing them far more deference and familiarity than he should. The threat the DLC poses to the Democratic Party is made clear in this sentence:

Democrats need to be choosier about the political company they keep, distancing themselves from the pacifist and anti-American fringe.

What this sentence demonstrates is that the DLC has no interest whatsoever in seeing to it that the Democratic party EVER regains any electoral influence. There, first of all, is no such thing as an "
anti-American fringe". Way back in the 1930s, there were millions of citizens who followed the Communist Party, USA (CPUSA). When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the American Communist Party abruptly spun on a dime and changed from being anti-war to being supportive of the Soviet Union in its' war with Nazi Germany. It's important to remember that when the CPUSA made its' true sympathies known in this fashion, even though the US eventually allied itself with the Soviet Union, the CPUSA dramatically deflated, losing members by the millions. Even after many years of the Great Depression and before it had entered the war on the side of the Allies, Americans refused to be led around by the nose by a foreign power, no matter how friendly the Soviets were on labor rights and however many other subsidiary goals they agreed with.

The President of the Progressive Policy Institute, Will Marshall, writes intelligently about how Republicans have overplayed their hand and have turned patriotism into an ugly term that means "conservative hotheads" and "
throwing America's military weight around", but it's very difficult to see anything progressive about the following, where Marshall approvingly quotes William Galston:

John Kerry struggled to bridge the gap between Tony Blair Democrats, who agreed with the president's principles but deplored his inept policies, and Michael Moore Democrats, who rejected, root and branch, the idea of a global fight against terrorism and for democracy.

This is pathetic! We on the left have never opposed the idea, let alone "root and branch", of a "global fight against terrorism". What we have always objected to was the overly-militarized nature of the fight, the over-emphasis on force, the under-emphasis on the "police-work" aspect of it, the under-emphasis on fairness and justice. It is, after all, rather difficult to expect whole regions of the world to maintain good feelings about America if America is economically exploiting them. The fact that Republicans determinedly ignore such aspects and like to focus on the purely military aspects is no reason for the Democrats to do the same. As to the idea of fighting "for democracy", that was always a foolish idea. Democracy is not, has not and never will be something that one nation can give another. Democracy is a bottom-up form of government that must necessarily and by definition come from the bottom. The top levels of society can certainly help and can certainly set the conditions and philosophical parameters, but democracy cannot be imposed, ever, anywhere, under any conditions.

Rather than offering fresh fodder to Karl Rove, the party would do better to heed Sens. Joe Biden, John Kerry, Evan Bayh, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who have set an example for responsible, progressive patriotism. They have balanced blunt criticism of the Bush administration's blunders with concrete suggestions for relieving the strain on U.S. forces in Iraq, broadening international support for the Iraqi government, and speeding up the pace of reconstruction.

As is pointed out in DailyKos, the "blunt criticism" offered by the above-mentioned Democrats is nothing of the kind. Biden criticizes Rumsfeld for understrength US forces in Iraq while ignoring the role of Bush and Cheney and Clinton:

...said the United States should remain in Iraq until peace can be maintained by the Iraqi people, saying the mission was part of the "long struggle against terrorism" by the U.S.

Yeesh! With criticism like this, Bush never has to worry about feeling even slightly uncomfortable, forget about making him change any of his policies. And the following is truly horrible:

Democrats should also bring a sense of proportion to the prisoner abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. These sickening deviations from America's core principles have damaged our country's moral reputation around the world. True patriotism demands not denials and whitewashes, but a thorough, independent investigation, punishment of those responsible, and clear policies to prevent a repetition.

Yet the revelation that some U.S. troops aren't saints should not come as too great a shock, at least to grownups. By dwelling obsessively on U.S. misdeeds while ignoring the far more heinous crimes of what is quite possibly the most barbaric insurgency in modern times, anti-war critics betray an anti-American bias that undercuts their credibility.

These two sentences demonstrate complete and utter moral bankruptcy. To give any weight or consideration to the "barbarity" of the Iraqi insurgents as an excuse for ignoring or minimizing American atrocities in Abu Ghraib and many other places is to use an utterly irrelevant reason for deeply un-American actions that our forces should never have committed. What if Marshall's proposed investigation goes all the way up to the President? We know that the Defense Secretary is involved and the current Attorney General wrote memos justifying the atrocities. Is it seriously plausible that the President was unaware of what his people were up to? The fact that very little investigative energy has been focused on high-ranking individuals suggests that these individuals know a lot more than the American public does about the President's involvement and that the President feels that he doesn't want to press too hard or they'll tell what they know. To describe the atrocities as merely "some U.S. troops aren't saints" is to trivialize horrific crimes.

Marshall has no useful advice and should be ignored by all true Democrats. Anyone who stands with him might as well give up and join the Republican Party.


Rush goes nuts!

Rush Limbaugh is very, very upset over the fuss that's being made over his comparison of Bill Burkett to Cindy Sheehan, complaining angrily that his words are being "taken out of context" and that the Left is manipulating Ms Sheehan for it's own dark, sinister purposes. Media Matters (That allegedly relies on: "little pimple-faced kids that are working at wannabe websites who excerpt this program and others, take them out of context") reprints a long excerpt (Runs a full 10 kilobytes) from Limbaugh's defense of his remarks, a defense that repeats his charges, that the Left is exerting some dark sinister influence:

And the influences that have been exerted on her and the way she is being used, I think it's despicable on the part of the left the way they're doing. I avoided it.
They have made her a star in her own mind and this attention that she's getting I'm sure is helping to assuage her loss.
...the media is exploiting her like she is a genuine spontaneous eruption. They are not telling the truth about how this woman has been shepherded by [former ambassador] Joe Wilson.
...then went on to make the point that all she is is an opportunity like Bill Burkett was an opportunity, to bash Bush, like the Jersey Girls are an opportunity to bash Bush. Like Valerie Plame is an opportunity to bash Bush and bash Rove. Like the Jersey Girls were. She's just the next in line. And here's what I said on August 15:

LIMBAUGH (clip): The fact that they are too eager, I mean, Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real. It's --

And Limbaugh's conclusion from all this?

Meaning, the whole thing is staged! The whole event is staged.

And why are the evil Lefties doing this?

Because they cannot beat us in the arena of ideas.

What ideas are those? The whole power of Cindy Sheehan's protest is precisely that Bush can't answer her question "What was the 'noble cause' that my son died for?" If Bush could provide a straightforward reason as to why American soldiers continue to fight and die in Iraq, there wouldn't be a protest! Ms Sheehan would not have attracted attention at all had her question not been shared by millions of other Americans.

They cannot answer what I am saying about Cindy Sheehan. They cannot answer what my accusations about the way she's being used are. They don't deal even go there, dare even go there, so they have to try to discredit me in the eyes of people who may not listen to this program or other people in the media, who are supposedly reporters, who are supposedly curious, who supposedly would wanna get to the bottom of something. If something like that's really being said, find out about it. But no, just accept what happens to be written in other places on the World Wide Web.

Of course, the beauty of writing on the Web is that links can be provided back to the original source, so while we can highlight and call attention to certain phrases, we cannot and have no intention of obliterating or wiping out what the original words were. As to the idea that we on the Left can't answer Limbaugh's charges against Ms Sheehan, his accusation appears to be that Ms Sheehan is the helpless and unknowing puppet of the Left, that she is being led around by the nose, that she's being manipulated by dark and sinister forces that are motivated by nothing more than the desire to "bash Bush". Sorry, but I was there when Ms Sheehan spoke in New York City earlier this year and Ms Sheehan has worked closely with a friend of mine, Celeste Zappala (Who also lost a son while he was fighting in Iraq) and neither one of these ladies are the type to be led around or manipulated by anyone. Neither one is ignorant or is the helpless dupes of anybody. The suggestion that either one of them is less than fully conscious of or less than fully responsible for their actions is insulting and demeaning.
Limbaugh then makes a puzzling statement:

But nobody can call attention to her lies

Lies that Ms Sheehan herself has told? Nowhere in this screed does Limbaugh specify what Ms Sheehan's "lies" are. Limbaugh then rants and raves and froths at the mouth about how the Left is "coming apart". Ha! You wish!


Comments on dialogue & politcal communication

This really ticked me off:

Who is qualified to speak on matters of national security? According to the American left, only pacifists, military members who have served in combat and direct relatives of those slain in combat or in acts of terrorism. The rest of us -- about 80 percent of voters -- must simply sit by silently. Our opinions do not matter. You want disenfranchisement? Talk to the political left, which seeks to exclude the vast majority of the American populace from the national debate about foreign policy.

The bulk of the left in this country refuses to argue about foreign policy rationally, without resorting to ad hominem attack. The favored ad hominem attack of the left these days is "chickenhawk."

Lefties have always felt that someone who has no idea what they're talking about, say a person speaking about the World War II policy of internment, should not be taken as seriously as someone who has some clue as to what they're saying but we have never felt or advocated that such people should be prevented from speaking. Ben goes on:

The "chickenhawk" argument proves only one point: The left is incapable of discussing foreign policy in a rational manner. They must resort to purely emotional, base personal attacks in order to forward their agenda. And so, unable or unwilling to counter the arguments of those like Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney and President Bush, they label them all "chickenhawks."

Would that these people had ever, at any time, "discuss[ed] foreign policy in a rational manner"! I remember quite a few times from late 2002 to early 2003 when the left attempted to have some sort of dialogue about the planned war with Iraq and when we were casually pushed aside. I'll let Orcinus continue:

Sure. And she {Cindy Sheehan] will also [while in the process of "Googling"] -- rather more to the point -- read many accounts of what happens when anyone chooses not to let themselves merely be a photo op for Bush's propaganda, a prop for his agenda. They get shut out or shouted down, accused of being anti-American traitors.

She'll be able to find any number of stories that make clear that the only way to you even get be in an audience for an appearance by the president is by swearing to be a supporter. And that the easiest way to get tossed from a Bush event is to express support for anything resembling a liberal idea. How weird -- how totalitarian -- is that?

This is a president who lives in a bubble, who refuses to be held to account. By anyone.

Indeed, if Cindy Sheehan were to Google around a bit, she could find plenty of stories about what happens to anyone who tries to hold this president to account. Paul O'Neill. Richard Clarke. Joe Wilson. All tried to expose the lies he used to lead us into this war, all were smeared. Wilson's wife saw her career as a CIA specialist in weapons of mass destruction end.

What's remarkable about all this is that Bush has succeeded. He has not yet been called to account for misleading the nation into war. The primary reason: the watchdogs of our national discourse, the mainstream media, have refused to hold him responsible.

I mean, just how is it that the nation isn't really aware of the contents of the August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Briefing? How is it that, nearly a year after both the 9/11 Commission Report and the Duelfer Report, most Americans still believe Iraq was connected to 9/11? How did it happen that a guy who certifiably skipped out on his military commitment was able to run a campaign that slandered his war-hero opponent's record? How is it that the Downing Street Memo is still just a rumor for most Americans?

I'll tell you how: Because the traditional media have completely fallen down on the job. The public isn't getting this information because guys like Robert Jamieson [A reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer] and his editors have decided they have, um, "other priorities."

Sure. While the threat of terrorism was building both at home and abroad in the late 1990s, these are the same folks who thought it worth the public's while to devote most of our attention to prurient allegations regarding the president's private life. Some priorities.

The song and dance continues: Michael Jackson. Scott and Laci Peterson. Robert Blake. Terri Schiavo. An endless circus of freak shows, bread and circus for the masses. Let's not be bothered by the inescapable reality that the United States invaded another nation under false pretenses, and almost certainly in violation of international law. Oh, and don't look over there at those photos from Abu Ghraib, either, or the reports out of Gitmo.

But then what happens? Someone comes along and reminds everyone that soldiers are dying daily in Iraq, and that this president still hasn't been called to account for misleading the nation into war, and in so doing, dishonoring the memories of those people who have died there. Someone tries to do what the media have failed to do: Hold this man to account.

And, well, the media poobahs huff and they puff. How dare she? Who does she think she is?

Well, Robert Jamieson may not like it, but she is someone who is speaking for a lot of us. We're people who are opposed to the war on principled grounds, and who have not been taken seriously because our motives, too, have been discounted and smeared.

You find wonderment that the antiwar movement has coalesced behind her? It shouldn't be a surprise, because everyone else who has demanded this accountability has been called an anti-American traitor, sideline carpers who won't make the necessary sacrifices. It's false, it's a smear. And it sticks -- mostly because the charge is made so freely in today's "mainstream media" environment. Right, Ann Coulter?

But it's harder to pin that on Cindy Sheehan. A lot harder.

So she's become a spokesperson for a lot of people. Including a lot of those other mothers and fathers of dead soldiers for whom Jamieson seems to have so much sympathy -- the ones who don't have the luxury of spending the time and energy to force some kind of accountability from this president. She speaks for many thousands of them, even if not all of them.

She speaks for a lot of people who feel passionately about this war, that the killing must stop.


Letter from FUMCOG on tonight's Peace Vigil

Dear FUMCOG family [and anyone else who reads this],

As you may know, our beloved Celeste Zappala recently returned from Crawford, Texas, where she was keeping vigil with Cindy Sheehan and other Gold Star families outside George Bush's ranch.

This Wednesday, August 17, at 7:30 p.m., we have the opportunity to join with Celeste in supporting Cindy Sheehan with a candlelight peace vigil at First United Methodist Church of Germantown. This vigil will be one of hundreds across the nation.

We plan to gather near the steps at Germantown and High Streets for a brief moment of reflection before spreading out along Germantown Avenue with our candles. If a very large number of people attend, we may hold the initial gathering inside the church. Please bring a candle and candleholder or flashlight.

The coordinated vigils are being organized in cooperation with the grassroots democracy organization provides handy tools for spreading the word. You can RSVP for the vigil by clicking on this link:

It's not absolutely necessary to RSVP, but it will help us know how many people to expect. If you are unable to get to Germantown or even if you are away on vacation, you can find another vigil near you by visiting


Beth Stroud

Gauging truth of statements

Caught this from Media Matters. It's a statement from the August 11 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

I can tell you for a fact that the soldiers there [Iraq] are saying that we are winning the war, precisely because the insurgency miscalculated back in January that the elections would be as successful as they were. They made a terrible mistake, and now they know that they have to derail the upcoming elections, constitutional referendum elections, that are this month and again in December.

To my eyes, this is an indisputably false statement. First off, the Bush Administration has, time and again, tried to make it seem as though the insurgents are very, very concerned with what American plans for their country are. Time and again, the Bush Administration has presented their plans as being of tremendous importance to the insurgents and they are continually trying to "derail" or defeat the latest plan, whether it be to "turn sovereignty over" or hold elections or whatever. This is a line that the Bush Administration has repeatedly taken.

In terms of being able to independently verify what the Administration is saying, it's useful to remember that Rumsfeld made a similar comment shortly after the war officially started.

We know where they [the WMD] are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad.

Note that Rumsfeld's statement is completely unverifiable. This is information that only our intelligence agencies would have been aware of and A look at the map shows that Tikrit and Baghdad are nearly 100 miles apart. From the Southern tip of Iraq, Basra to the Northern tip, Mosul is only about 500 miles, so the area from Baghdad to Tikrit constitutes are very substantial chunk of the country. People who were informed on the situation knew that UN inspectors were all over Iraq in early 2003 looking for WMD, so if Rumsfeld was correct, the question then was: Why didn't the US point out to the inspectors where the missing WMD were?

On 6 March 2003, Bush asked a good question:

The world needs him to answer a single question: Has the Iraqi regime fully and unconditionally disarmed as required by Resolution 1441, or has it not?

His answer was:

Iraqi's dictator has made a public show of producing and destroying a few missiles, missiles that violate the restrictions set out more than 10 years ago. Yet our intelligence shows that even as he is destroying these few missiles, he has ordered the continued production of the very same type of missiles.

No such missiles were ever found, of course. But it would have been difficult to make the case as, again, the only people who would have known for sure would have been members of US intelligence agencies.

Iraqi operatives continue to hide biological and chemical agents to avoid detection by inspectors. In some cases these materials have been moved to different locations every 12 to 24 hours, or placed in vehicles that are in residential neighborhoods.

Again, this charge is completely unverifiable and, surprise, surprise, turned out to have been untrue as well.
Bush then concludes:

These are not the actions of a regime that is disarming. These are the actions of a regime engaged in a willful charade. These are the actions of a regime that systematically and deliberately is defying the world.

Problem was, all of his "evidence" was crap. Bush cited what Iraq was "doing", but never told us how he knew any of this. Bush never said what his source of information was, besides referring vaguely to "intelligence". The woman speaking in the paragraph about the insurgents being disappointed, etc., cites similar "evidence": "...soldiers there are saying " appears to be her sole source. A group of anonymous soldiers, so deep-cover, we don't even get any idea as to their rank.

In short, the statement that begins this piece is crap, just like many of the statements that preceded the war.


As Atrios would put it: document the atrocities

Poor Erick. He wrote about Cindy Sheehan in the following terms:

… Cole responds, pointing out that Sheehan was not called a “whore” literally, but actually a “media whore”, which is a metaphorical kind of whore that doesn’t necessarily fuck people for money (Jeff Gannon nonwithstanding.) No, I won’t get out of here - that’s what he said. Go see for yourself. So if anybody thought that Erick was literally saying that Sheehan fucks people for money, please disabuse yourself of that notion forthwith! He merely meant that she behaves analogously to a whore in her dealings with the media. Please adjust your views accordingly, and remember to always beware of metaphors.

and those gosh-darn lefties have the rudeness to misquote him!! The nerve! To confuse “media whore” with “whore”. Just awful! See how they twist and misquote his words (all emphases in original):

Enter August, no major news, and a media still smarting over the President’s re-election despite everything they threw at him. Cindy Sheehan returns entering stage right—this time a left wing media whore in the form of a grieving mother.

Which has morphed into the following at Eschaton:

Um, has Michelle Malkin talked to Cindy Sheehan’s son? Has Bill O’Reilly? Has Erick Erickson, who called Cindy Sheehan a whore over at If they haven’t talked to him, they should shut up, leave her alone, and defend their incoherent position on the Iraq war without hiding behind Cindy Sheehan’s dead son. [Funny thing, I read through this guy's entire post and he doesn't once attempt to explain or defend the war.]


Blogger Erick Erickson says Cindy Sheehan is a “whore in the form of a grieving mother”

The Poorman himself:

The proximate cause and context of all this is a little online soap opera which opens with Sheehan being called a “whore” and an Arab-loving traitor, among other things, by some dude named Erick.

And, my favorite, at Steve Gilliard’s site:

To call her a “left-wing whore” will affect how people see you and your site. Even your readers disagree with the sentiments here and their expression.

Where he just drops the word ‘media,’ but makes sure he gets the ‘whore’ part in. Funny how the metaphor looks like a literal use of the word ‘whore.’ Just one of those weird coincidences on the InterTrons!

I suppose technically, Erick is probably right, but I just can't work up much outrage on behalf of someone who uses a vulgar and insulting term like “whore” to describe the mother of a dead soldier who is in turn trying to ask the President an entirely legitimate question, i.e., “What was the noble cause that my son died for?” I suppose Erick's point is that Ms Sheehan is using the media as a megaphone to try and get her question answered.

Well I'm sorry, but the day that becomes a breach of manners is the day that America ceases to be a democracy. American citizens have every right to petition their government to redress grievances and get their questions answered.



Wow, is this stupid!

Bush advisers have concluded that public opinion about the Vietnam War]shifted after opinion leaders signaled that they no longer believed the United States could win in Vietnam.Most devastating to public opinion, the advisers believe, are public signs of doubt or pessimism by a president, whether it was Ronald Reagan after 241 Marines, soldiers and sailors were killed in a barracks bombing in Lebanon in 1983, forcing a U.S. retreat, or Bill Clinton in 1993 when 18 Americans were killed in a bloody battle in Somalia, which eventually led to
the U.S. withdrawal there.The more resolute a commander in chief, the Bush aides
said, the more likely the public will see a difficult conflict through to the

Uh, Reagan and Clinton both acted like mature adults and pulled out of their “neat adventures” because they realized that the American people in turn realized that there was no further point to continuing the conflicts they were engaged in. To have continued to “be resolute” in face of the obvious fact that neither conflict was serving any useful purpose would have been stupid.

(Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Saturday said the United States will not lose its nerve and prematurely withdraw troops from Iraq, which he said would betray that country as its leaders finish a critical act of democracy in writing a constitution.

``The terrorists cannot defeat us on the battlefield. The only way they can win is if we lose our nerve. That will not happen on my watch,'' Bush said in his weekly radio address.

``Withdrawing our troops from Iraq prematurely would betray the Iraqi people, and would cause others to question America's commitment to spreading freedom and winning the war on terror,'' Bush said in the radio ddress.

``So we will honor the fallen by completing the mission for which they gave their lives, and by doing so we will ensure that freedom and peace prevail,'' he said.

Notice that these words of the President do not directly address Ms Sheehan’s question, which is:

I said I want the president to explain what was the noble cause that my son died in, because that's what he said the other day when those 14 marines were killed. He said their families can rest assured that their sons and daughters died for a noble cause. And I said, "What is that noble cause?"

-- Cindy Sheehan

I don’t see any “noble cause” outlined in what the President said above. I see a lot of backing and filling and hemming and hawing. The ideas that Bush outlines are persuasive if on sees Iraq as a board game with plastic markers, not if one sees it as affecting human lives.


Still more on Cindy Sheehan

Think Progress:

Bill O'Reilly: I think Mrs. Sheehan bears some responsibility for this [publicity] and also for the responsibility for the other American families who lost sons and daughters in Iraq who feel this kind of behavior borders on treasonous.

Michelle Malkin: I can’t imagine that Casey Sheehan would approve of such behavior


Sheehan Speaks

You can listen to the audio from the Bill Press show:
I didn’t know Casey knew Michelle Malkin…I’m Casey’s mother and I knew him better than anybody else in the world…I can’t bring Casey back, but I wonder how often Michelle Malkin sobbed on his grave. Did she go to his funeral? Did she sit up with him when he was sick when he was a baby?
I can't imagine that Veronica Malkin would approve of what her mother is doing.

In other headlines:

38 Members of Congress Call on Bush to Meet with Cindy Sheehan

Good summary of story from Yahoo! News As to rumors that Ms Sheehan will be declared a "threat to national security" and arrested, " protesters will be arrested unless they trespass on private property or block the road, said Capt. Kenneth Vanek of the McLennan County Sheriff's Office." So people can settle in until the end of Bush's vacation.

LeftCoaster looks at other protesters around the country. Priceless quotes (emphasis his):

Face it, George, the Cindy Sheehans of America are slowly gaining supporters and ever more strength. You can't run, you can't hide - not even in one of Unka Dick's Secrit Hidey-Holes.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and it's even worse when Mama Bear is missing a cub.

Argentina had The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. America has the Mothers of the Crawford Ditch.

You keep acting like you want us to think you are a brave man just because you pose in militarily-styled clothing in front of massed ranks even though you have dodged every opportunity to demonstrate real bravery.

Are you such a wimp that you can't even face one woman even through the screen of your security detail?

We think so.

Real Texans pride themselves on their personal bravery. You can't even stand up to face a mere woman. You're yellow. The streak is a mile wide down your transceiver-equipped back.

What would Sam Houston say?

"Brave Texans were friends of mine. Governor, you're no brave Texan."

Ooh! Slap!! Yowza!!1

Last night Bill O'Reilly said [Gold star Mother for Peace] Cindy [Sheehan] was appearing on his show tonight. I asked her today if she was going on with Bill to talk about her situation. At first she said that she thought she would, but after hearing what O'Reilly said about her she told the show she would go on only if he apologized for lying about her.

Cindy: My second reaction was I’m not going on it, I'm not going to dignify his show by my presence because I believe his show is an obscenity, it's an obscenity to the truth and it’s an obscenity to humanity..



Developments in Cindy Sheehan vigil outside Bush's ranch

Celeste Zappala, Gold Star Mother of Philadelphia and member of FUMCOG, has traveled down to Crawford, TX to stand with fellow Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan to confront President Bush about why he caused the deaths of their sons by starting an unneccessary war with Iraq and by failing to anticipate and plan for the aftermath of conquering it.

NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd has weighed in on the issue, commenting on Bush's "meta-insulation" from the ordinary humans whose lives are so drastically affected by his policies. I've taken the liberty of posting a message I received from Vietnam Veterans Against the War/Veterans For Peace describing their efforts of Ms Sheehan's behalf.

A sign of how desperate the Bush Administration is to limit the political damage is that an article was published by Drudge quoting Cindy Sheehan and her family making pro-Bush statements after the family had first met with him, reviving the charge (First made against John Kerry) of an opponent of the President being a "flip-flopper". Bush's team was alleged by a lefty blogger of doing "oppo research".

THE REPORTER of Vacaville, CA published an account of Cindy Sheehan's visit with the president at Fort Lewis near Seattle on June 24, 2004:

"'I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis,' Cindy said after their meeting. 'I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith.'

"The meeting didn't last long, but in their time with Bush, Cindy spoke about Casey and asked the president to make her son's sacrifice count for something. They also spoke of their faith.

But, hold the presses, it appears that this item did not originate with the White House, but from a group of intrepid bloggers:

Kristinn Taylor of writes...

It was Freeper research that dug out The Vacaville Reporter story Saturday evening. It was found on Cindy Sheehan's own Website. We paid The Reporter for their archived version to authenticate it.

I spoke with the news desks of Reuters, AP, Fox, CNN and The Sacremento Bee Saturday night and Sunday morning. None of them knew about the first meeting Sheehan had with President Bush last year and asked me to e-mail the information, which I did. I also e-mailed The NY Times with the info after reading Richard Stevenson's first article about Sheehan.

With the exception of Reuters (which appeared to have given Steve Holland the day off on Sunday) they all added to their stories that Sheehan had met previously with Bush. However, none of them challenged Sheehan on her wildly differing versions of that meeting.

AP's Deb Riechmann appears to have at least asked her, but didn't use any of The Reporter's quotes. Instead she let Sheehan get away with saying she was in shock at the time of the meeting.

We sent The Reporter story to Drudge last night during his radio show and he picked up on it on the air. He also allowed me on the show to talk about it. I told him that Cindy Sheehan used to have photos on her Website of her and President Bush and her family from that meeting in 2004 but that the photos were now delinked. However, the captions were still there as of Saturday night.

It was really appalling yesterday to watch Wolf Blitzer let Sheehan get away with her horrid description of her meeting with Bush when CNN's Washington bureau had The Reporter article in their hands Sunday morning.

The media is treating her as a sainted mother rather than as the hardcore leftist agitator she has become.

So, clearly someone was doing oppo research on the grieving mother of a dead soldier, it's just not entirely clear who.

UPDATE: A fellow congregant pointed out that it's not at all unusual for people to change their minds over time and as they gain new information, insights, etc. Media Matters also parses the story and finds that (Surprise, surprise!) Sheehan's feelings towards Bush upon her first meeting with him are a good deal more complicated than Drudge made them sound.


Cindy Sheehan, martyr to the anti-war movement

Cindy Sheehan, a Gold Star Mother who lost a son fighting in Iraq and who has taken up residence in a small tent a few miles outside President Bush's vacation home in Texas.

Ms. Sheehan has vowed to camp out on the spot until Mr. Bush agrees to meet with her, even if it means spending all of August under a broiling sun by the dusty road. Early on Sunday afternoon, 25 hours after she was turned back as she approached Mr. Bush's ranch, Prairie Chapel, Ms. Sheehan stood red-faced from the heat at the makeshift campsite that she says will be her home until the president relents or leaves to go back to Washington.

Naturally, the President has sent low-level subordinates out to where Ms Sheehan is to try and shoo her away and to allow the President his vacation time undisturbed by having to deal with the war that he unleashed. Ms Sheehan has refused to leave.
The NY Times article goes on to relate how the President prefers private meetings with families who have lost loved ones in Iraq, obviously because private meetings can be presented as being something they are not and, not surprisingly, Ms Sheehan's account is quite different from those of most people, she describes meeting a president who:.

was an arrogant man with eyes lacking the slightest bit of compassion, a President totally "detached from humanity" and a man who didn't even bother to remember her son's name when they were first introduced.

Ms Sheehan continues :

Instead of a kind gesture or a warm handshake, Sheehan said she immediately got a taste of Bush arrogance when he entered the room and "in a condescending tone and with a disgusting loud Texas accent," said: "Who we'all honorin' here today?"

The Free Republic posts a piece heavy on administration statements of understanding:

She said Hagin told her, "I want to assure you that he (Bush) really does care."

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said response that Bush also wants the troops to return home safely.

"Many of the hundreds of families the president has met with know their loved one died for a noble cause and that the best way to honor their sacrifice is to complete the mission," Duffy said.

"It is a message the president has heard time and again from those he has met with and comforted. Like all Americans, he wants the troops home as soon as possible."

And of course, in the comments section, there were other opinions:

What a disgrace. And to think her son died to protect her right to badmouth the President.
I can understand the mother's grief. But she dishonors her son's sacrifice.
Grief excuses a great deal, but not this. She's being used by America's enemies, God help her.
"I can't even imagine this happening in 1941-1945 when we lost 400,000 men"

Mothers had dignity back then.

Most still do today, but all of them did back then.
this women is two ways about it....she was a speaker at the Conyers hearing on the Downing Street Memo with Joe Wilson and claimed that her son's demise was "a premeditated death"....
Yep, most of these so-called "peace protestors" are too dim-witted to realize that they are only making future conflict more likely by encouraging our adversaries. The leaders of these movements know this, but they aren't really interested in peace; for them its just a recruitment tool (along with racism, the environment, social justice, etc.) to hook the useful idiots.
She is a willing participant in the campaign of hate that the Left has pursued against President Bush since his victory in 2000

Of course, there were genuinely intelligent and compassionate statements like the following:

She's a grieving mom. I think we ought to leave her alone. Be angry at the people using her. I hope GB does schedule a private interview with her.

But most of them were like this:

She is not angry about her sons death, she is angry because she is not running the world.

Narcissistic at the least, probably egomaniacle. Her "opinion" is one of self interest and will never be swayed.

Is Bush himself willing to wait until Cindy Sheehan dies of thirst out in the hot Texas sun? I'll let Mark Crispin Miller have the final word:

[Bush] has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he's speaking punitively, when he's talking about violence, when he's talking about revenge. When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine. It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes.
"I know how hard it is to put food on your family," Bush is quoted as saying. That wasn't because he's so stupid that he doesn't know how to say, "Put food on your family's table" — it's because he doesn't care about people who can't put food on the table.
So, when Bush is envisioning "a foreign-handed foreign policy," or observes on some point that "it's not the way that America is all about" it's because he can't keep his focus on things that mean nothing to him.

Hillary Clinton has now become irrelevant

The letter in the Inquirer "Fighting terrorism" Aug 7th, completely misses the point. The writer states that:

[Liberals] should stop worrying about detainee's rights, possible prison abuse and civil rights violations until after our enemy has been eradicated. They should let our leaders help solve the awful situation that our country and indeed, the entire world is facing.

Let's try to keep the attention focused on the brutality and death that our countrymen and world allies are facing rather than what may be happening to these wicked and evil perpetrators of terrorism.

The WOT (That old description that was kicked aside and then reinstated) cannot be effectively fought at the same time that detainee abuse is taking place. It's not a question of "and", it's a question of "either, or". The US can either engage in detainee abuse or it can effectively pursue the WOT. For the US to engage in detainee abuse means that people who might object to "wicked and evil perpetrators of terrorism" have absoluely no reason to give the US information about what these perpetrators are up to. If the US is seen as being just as bad as the opposition, then the WOT is hopelessly lost. The British investigation against Islamic extremists in their midst is only going well bcause they have not lost the trust of the British population. Brits are confident that when their police are given information about possible terrorists, that information will be used only against lawbreakers who threaten the British people.

The Left Coaster correctly points out that Hillary Clinton, by sending out a "support me for President" letter that does not even mention Iraq, that Clinton is leaving herself wide open to being defined by the Republicans on this issue.

To spend contributors' funds mailing out perhaps millions of letters with no mention of Iraq is nothing short of asking for another Democratic defeat in 2006. [emphasis in original

Clinton's website on the issue is hopeless. She makes no direct mention of Iraq and only glancingly tackles the issue of "radical Islamist extremists". She completely fails to draw a distinction between different ways to fight the WOT, ignores the clearly documented fact that there is a right way that is consistent with American values AND that is effective and a wrong way that Bush & Company have been engaged in for the last several years. By carefully skirting the question and not dealing with it directly, Clinton is missing an opportunity to draw clear distinctions between Democrats and Republicans, a distinction that Joe Biden has, to his great credit, drawn. By coming out foursquare against permanent military bases in Iraq, Biden has drawn a clear and bright line, a line that Clinton would do well to toe.

By remaining with the old, tired, long-since-obsolete 1990's strategy of fudging the differences between oneself and one's political opponent, Clinton is setting the stage for resounding and permanent defeat.


Yee-Haw!! 52(R)-48(D)

Yes, the Democrat Paul Hackett lost by four points or 3500 votes, but considering that the previous Democrat to run for the same seat lost by 44 points and where Bush beat Kerry by around 2-1 in 2004, that's a HUGE victory for the liberal/progressive/leftist side! Consider also that Hackett met the checklist criteria put out by and quickly agreed to by liberal bloggers and everyone running for Democratic seats has a sure-fire template for victory!

As a military veteran (Like Hackett, I was what was called a REMF back in the Vietnam era.) I take great pleasure in the fact that Hackett made an issue out of this:

In a pre-election interview with USA Today shortly before the election, Hackett rebuked Bush for his swaggering 2003 declaration regarding the Iraqi insurgents that: "There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on." "That's the most incredibly stupid comment I've ever heard a president of the United States make," Hackett told the interviewer. "He cheered on the enemy." Hackett also referred to Republican supporters of the war who had not served in the military as "chickenhawks."

I don't care that Bush's "bring it on" statement is from all the way back in 2003. It was an incredibly stupid comment and Bush fully deserves to be hammereed for it! Bush sat their on his duff 6000-7000 miles away from the front, has only gotten as close as the Baghdad Airport during the early morning hours (People might remember Bush serving turkey to the troops) and made a statement that put troops in danger by encouraging the enemy! And hey, if Republicans can drag up questions about Kerry's military service from three decades back, surely liberals can holler about Bush's statements from only two years back!


Good news!!!

This isn't just good news for today, it's good for the long-range future of the Democratic Party and by extension, for liberals/leftists/progressives in general. Paul Hackett is an Iraq War vet who apparently served in a supply unit and has never referred to any battles that he took part in, so back in the old days he would have been called a REMF. (Natcherly, that's pretty much the position I filled back in my Navy days, so I don't have a problem with that at all.) Hackett has been waging a hard fight and has pulled in money for the campaign via liberal blogs. From The News Blog:

Another note from Bob Brigham

Here's the situation, the Paul Hackett campaign decided to shoot the moon. Ohio's second congressional district favors Republicans by 30 pts. Running a safe campaign would result in failure.

Paul Hackett is a Fighting Democrat and he's gambling, pushing, pull out all of the stops and running like his life depends upon it (if he loses, he'll probably be sent back in Iraq).

To Get Out the Vote, we need to raise $30,000 today.
Update: Well shit, never thought I'd say this but the campaign doesn't need any more money. The goal was $30K, the netroots delived over $40K.


[Gillard comments]
Shit, I've NEVER seen that before. A campaign which doesn't need cash. And I'm older than Bob. Even if Hackett loses, we did real good here. Not the DLC, not the DNCC, us, average Americans with $20 and $50 donations. And we stuffed over $40K into his campaign. Sure, it was an off year, mid-summer race with no distractions. We made a hard race, one which got national play, happen in one of the reddest, most conservative districts in the country. And for a candidate who is far less liberal than many of us.

Did we have a litmus test? No. Did we check to see if he met all our personal good Democrat check points? No. He was a Democrat and he got our support. The fact that he didn't cower from Bush and Schmidt is a weak opponent helped, as did his service in Iraq. But unlike the DLC, being a Democrat was enough for a few thousand of us, he didn't have to agree with all of us on everything.

We are not a piggy bank. We do not support people blindly. But when they deserve our support and Hackett did just for making the run, if nothing else, we can fight. And the best part is, even thought we know his winning is long odds, we can ask Mr. Steinbrenner about how that can play out, we gave him the tools to fight and win. We gave him money and time and got him heard. We did that, not the Democratic Party, not the campaign staff, us, average Americans who opened their wallets and gave of their time.

This time, we brought a gun to the gun fight.