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CATEGORY: War on Terror

Who are you going to believe with regard to the story on the Iraq constitution? The Washington Post, AP, or Omar from Iraq the Model who was live blogging the legislative session where the constitution was discussed as well as giving us a blow by blow account of analysis by major players being interviewed on television.

First, the updated Washington Post:

“The chances of bringing Sunni Arabs to the political process are almost lost,” said Salih Mutlak, the most vocal and most publicly unyielding of the Sunnis involved in talks on the constitution. “The Sunni Arabs will suffer a lot, unfortunately. Everybody in Iraq is going to suffer from this.”

And here’s the AP:

A top Sunni negotiator, Saleh al-Mutlaq, told Alhurra Television that all opponents of the constitution will hold a conference to decide their next move. He gave no date.

“Now we will move to a general conference that includes all groups that did not take part in the (Jan. 30) elections to take a decision,” he told the U.S.-funded station.

Al-Mutlaq said earlier the Sunni negotiators would not sign off on the final draft because of objections to provisions that allegedly threaten Iraqi unity — particularly federalism — and fail to affirm the country’s Arab identity. The draft refers to Iraq as an Islamic — but not Arab — country as the Sunnis demanded.

“I think if this constitution passes as it is, it will worsen everything in the country,” he said.

At the same time, al-Mutlaq urged all Iraqis to refrain from violence

Now here’s Omar:

While the draft is still being read, Salih Al-Mutlaq confirmed again that none of the 15 Sunni members of the CDC have signed the draft.

Al-Mutlaq also highlighted the American role in bridging the gap between the different parties involved in the process but he put the blame on the other parties (the Sheat and the Kurds) for focusing on “their narrow partisan and sectarian” interests.

Our only difference we had with the Americans was about setting a rigid timetable for completing the process.

We’ll be calling all the powers that didn’t participate in the last elections for a conference where we will be declaring our objections on the draft…

Al-Mutlaq also explained that their objections are limited to a few points and that they agree with large parts of constitution and he stressed that they (the Sunni parties) will fully participate in the future phases of the political process.

He also called on the people who are not satisfied with the draft to avoid violence and keep practicing their normal daily activities and express their opinion in peace.

I think I’ll let you, the reader decide about which account is the least biased and most accurate. All I’m doing here is shaking my head in sadness that we live in a time of such peril and are being served by such a bunch of idiots in the mainstream press.

By: Rick Moran at 2:54 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)

debt reduction linked with debt reduction
CATEGORY: Cindy Sheehan

I’ve written about this before and I’m going to keep writing about it because it bears repeating. If Cindy Sheehan has energized the anti-war movement, if she’s “ignited a prairie fire of sentiment against the war” that’s sweeping the country, and if our Griever in Chief is the “Rosa Parks” of the opposition to the Iraq War would someone please give me a straight answer to a very simple, very straightforward question:


It took a little digging, but I was able to discover that there are less than 200 people camping out with Mother Sheehan in Crawford with perhaps another 1,500 people in and around the town on any given day. While the number of campers is kept low due to space limitations, that 1,500 number appears to be pretty solid. And not all of those people are there for the protest. Many are connected with the so-called “Crawford Peace House” whose anti-semitic activities have been well documented elsewhere.

The other night, folk singer and legendary anti-war activist Joan Baez drew around 200 people to a free concert near the camp site. Also, this blogger took the trouble to add up names from three Guest Books which had been placed around Camp Casey and discovered 750 signatures – not from one day but from more than 2 weeks of protests.

It’s like this “mass movement” exists only on a Hollywood sound stage. When the cameras are turned off, it disappears like smoke from a fog machine wafting up into the rafters. It’s bogus. It’s a lie. It’s one gigantic photo-op staged for the benefit of the press whose seeming indifference to some of the truly kooky things Sheehan has said (not to mention the nauseating anti-semitic rants of Mother Sheehan and her supporters) is almost beyond comprehension.

Cindy Sheehan is not Rosa Parks. She’s Carrie Underwood, the completely made for TV “star” that Fox created out of whole cloth on their show American Idol. Cindy Sheehan has been manufactured. Piece by counterfeit piece, the legend of Mother Sheehan has been built from scratch. What started out as some left wing nut of a mother and her genuine grief at the loss of her son being shamelessly used by the hard, anti-war left to raise their pitiful profile has now morphed into a media event complete with PR flaks, political advisers, and media gurus who have turned her Quixote like protest into the signature image of a movement with nothing and nobody behind it.

Even the sponsored anti-war “Peace Vigils” last week – 1600 of them if you believe the propaganda (a number never confirmed by any news organization but used in every single account by the press reporting on that night’s activities) drew paltry numbers of people. Some blogging accounts put the number of activists at many of these protests at a dozen or less. And the estimate of 1600 protests is from the same folks who said there were 500,000 people in the streets of New York City during the main protest at the Republican Convention. Less hysterical and more professional crowd counters – the New York City police – put the number at 150,000.

This Washington Post article on the “dueling protests” in Crawford yesterday is a perfect example of how the national media has chosen to promote the anti-war uber mother:

In three weeks, Sheehan, who lost her 24-year-old son, Army Spec. Casey Sheehan, in Iraq last year, has become the face of an invigorated antiwar movement. She has drawn praise from scores of supporters as well as condemnation from conservatives who believe she is motivated by a political agenda that dishonors fallen soldiers.

“Why are we allowing him to continue to kill our kids, because he’s killed so many already?” she asked. She then invited the crowd to turn toward Bush’s ranch and chant “Not one more”—not one more death—10 times so that the president might hear.

Her protest, timed to coincide with Bush’s vacation and the usual news vacuum in August, mirrors the country’s increasing fractiousness over the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq. Sheehan has said that if she fails to get a second audience with Bush before her self-imposed deadline of Wednesday, she will lead a bus tour to Washington, where she says she will set up a permanent vigil.

Is the anti-war movement “invigorated?” I’ve seen no sign of it. There’s been a lot of ink spilled saying that but where are the bodies? Where’s the passion? Where’s the organization? Where’s the “mass movement?”


You’d never find the answer to that question in the Washington Post article. Somehow that fact got lost on the composing room floor. What does the Washington Times say?

Meanwhile, busloads of war protesters gathered several miles away at “Camp Casey,” named for Mrs. Sheehan’s 24-year-old son.

A bell-ringing ceremony at the camp honored soldiers serving in Iraq. Organizers estimated the crowd at more than 2,000, but it appeared smaller.

“I know that the Camp Casey movement is going to end the war in Iraq,” Mrs. Sheehan said after folk singer Joan Baez led supporters in singing “Amazing Grace.”

The Times estimated the pro-war crowd at about 1,500. The NRO’s Eric Pfeiffer puts the number (quoting AP) at 3,000. Needless to say, the spur of the moment “Move America Forward” pro war rally organized in less than a week outdrew someone whose name, face, and cause has been plastered all over the media for more than a fortnight.

I believe it’s time to challenge the left and their allies in the media to start giving us some hard facts on the size and scope of the anti-war movement rather than relying on “impressions” and passing them off as news. Anecdotal evidence won’t do. The latest polls show that most Americans disagree with the President’s handling of the war. Hell, any conservative blogger worth their salt is criticizing the President’s handling of some aspect of the Iraq War. It’s a silly question that doesn’t mean anything. The question that really matters is how many Americans want to cut and run from Iraq – the position being advocated by Cindy Sheehan and the leftist lickspittles who are shamelessly using her grief to advance their radical agenda. And that number has remained overwhelmingly in favor of the President. By more than 2 to 1 in the latest Gallup, Rasumssen, and Washington Post poll, Americans say that we should remain in Iraq until the job is done.

That’s the number that counts. And despite a media campaign manufactured, massaged, and manipulated by professionals whose skills in creating illusions rival those of a magician or a Hollywood special effects house, the number of people who actually support Mrs. Sheehan and her increasingly violent rhetorical attacks on the President, on her opponents, on other mothers who have lost loved ones in Iraq, and on America itself is not growing into some critical mass of people that will explode like the protests of a generation ago against Viet Nam. Rather, it appears that Mother Sheehan’s support is drawn from the same tired old left, old guard, blame America firsters whose numbers continue to dwindle as old age, senility, and a dissolute lifestyle catch up with them.


Lori Byrd at Polipundit notices the same lack of anti-war enthusiasm:

For all the publicity Cindy Sheehan and the anti-war groups are receiving, they are not attracting large numbers of people. This says more to me than the recent public opinion polls. When the steady drumbeat from the MSM is that we are losing in Iraq, it is understandable that many would express disapproval of the way things are going there. I believe that the most passion, however, is with those who support the troops and their mission. We should take every opportunity available to express that support – even if it does not get much attention from the MSM. Through email, talk radio, and the blogs, the message will eventually get through to those serving in Iraq.


Jay Tea at Wizbang hits the nail on the head with this post about other questions Mother Moonbat should be asking Bush:

But while she’s there, perhaps she’ll take a moment or two to bring up a couple of other matters. She might ask President Bush why he’s the “biggest terrorist in the world.” She could inquire why he “and his indecent bandits traitorously had intelligence fabricated.”

Maybe she can discuss jsut who we’re fighting in Iraq? You know, the ones who killed her son? Are they terrorists or “freedom fighters?” And does she really believe that “America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for.”?

And while she has the “lying bastard” and “maniac’s” undivided attention, she might bring up her solution to the Middle East problem—“you get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you’ll stop the terrorism.”

While she’s there, maybe she could give the President the “Chief Brody Slap”’s what she wants anyway.

And yes Mr. Joyner, it is a nice day for a Sunday drive!


Welcome LGF Readers! Thanks to Charles for the link. Here’s another Cindy Sheehan post you may enjoy on her upcoming bus tour:



Little Green Footballs actually has some pictures that prove the point of this post.

I see some intelligent comments from the lizardoids about hurricane Katrina pushing Cindy off the nets followed by the Roberts confirmation starting next week.

Good point. Except this hurricane looks like it could be the worst natural disaster in American history and if, God help us, it stays on course, just about everything else will pale in comparison to what those people in New Orleans will be going through for a very long time.

If you haven’t seen the numbers, they’re talking about 100,000 people being homeless with the city itself uninhabitable for weeks. FEMA has activated its catastrophic disaster plan – the kind they’d use for a massive terrorist attack or a truly horrifying earthquake – and they’re putting people up in the Superdome. The economic hit could be as massive as 9/11.

Cindy Sheehan’s crusade should be relegated to the ash heap of history because she’s taking part in a fraud. It’s ironic, and typical of the MSM, that a natural disaster will accomplish that fact and not any well deserved disapprobation on the part of the media or the people.

By: Rick Moran at 6:34 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (24)

Cold Fury linked with Channeling, for grins
Say Anything linked with Where Are All The Protesters?
The Bernoulli Effect linked with Anti-war Groundswell And Sheehan's Handlers
Security Watchtower linked with Where are all the protestors?
TMH's Bacon Bits linked with Bush Supporters Descend on Crawford
CATEGORY: War on Terror

This could be good news. Then again, it may be too late. But in an 11th hour bid to keep the constitutional process alive, the Sunnis have apparently offered a “compromise

The counterproposal came in an afternoon news conference held by Tariq Hashimi, secretary general of the Iraqi Islamic Party, who said he would be meeting with U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad later Saturday.

Hashimi said a plan by Shiites and Kurds to have parliament approve the document Sunday—with or without Sunni concurrence—was too hasty.

“This is unfair,” he said. “They cannot put us in such a corner where either we agree or that’s it. The draft did not contain what we had asked for.”

This “not so fast” ploy is being played out under what has to be intense US pressure on all parties to get together and break the impasse. The President already had called Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) leader Abdul Aziz Hakim yesterday and pleaded with him to give more ground to the Sunnis in order to reach a deal. Apparently Hakim grudgingly gave in to the President’s pleas only to have many (not all) of the Sunni negotiators throw the compromises back in his face.

That’s when Hakim decided to up the ante and announced that the draft constitution would be taken before the parliament “as is” and voted on. Since the Shia-Kurd block controls 221 out of 275 seats in parliament and only a simple majority would have been needed for passage, the wily Hakim was giving the Sunnis a stark choice; get on board or be frozen out.

Apparently, Hakim’s gamble has paid off and the Sunnis want back in. And their representatives meeting with American Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad signals that there may be a little more “give” to the Sunnis position than they’ve had previously.

The Sunnis really have little choice. Already hugely unpopular due to their domination during the Saddam years as well as their more recent support of the violent insurgency, any walkout by them could throw the entire country into chaos – with violence directed toward their communities by Shia militias who vastly outnumber the Sunni minority.

The US military is worried enough that they’ve made arrangements to augment the number of troops in case of massive unrest as a result of a failure to reach an agreement on the constitution:

While outwardly declaring optimism over the political process, the US administration appeared to be preparing for its unraveling with urgent plans being drawn up to send more large-scale military reinforcements. The Pentagon had announced that two battalions of the 82nd Airborne, about 1,500 troops, will be deployed. But according to senior American sources, a brigade of some 5,000 will be sent to combat the violent fallout from the constitution crisis.

Those troops were probably earmarked for Iraq anyway in that there was a plan already in place to increase US troop strength in the lead-up to the referendum on the constitution on October 15. And while domestic pressure would increase on the President to get American forces out of Iraq in the event of a full fledged civil war, that eventuality is thankfully becoming more remote.

The two largest Shia militias – Moqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi militia and Hakim’s SCIRI’s Badr Brigade – are rivals for power in the new Iraqi government. But in a twist of irony, al Sadr can’t afford all out war with the Badr Brigades because of the latter’s much larger size and Hakim needs al Sadr and his supporters to make any Iraqi government work. The two are caught in a mutual dance where all out war between them could doom them both.

Would they combine to slaughter the Sunnis? The Sunnis have their own militias (many of which are involved in the insurgency already) and could make any such conflict troublesome for the Shias. The key must be found in the new federalism being proposed by the Shias in the constitution. Sunni leaders are worried that if strong, autonomous states are formed with the Kurds in the North and Shias in the south, any Sunni state will be squeezed out of oil revenue as well as other economic benefits.

Their fears may be justified. That’s why the Sunni compromise may be the key to success. The Sunnis wish to delay debate on any federalism issues for two years. From their point of view, it makes eminently good sense. They want to see how Sunnis will be treated in any new government before they commit to a federalist system. My guess would be that there will be enormous pressure placed on the Shias by the US to accept this compromise. It won’t bring all the Sunnis on board, but it should bring enough that the constitution could claim support among all elements of Iraqi society.

Any way you look at it, the next few hours will be crucial in the life of the new Iraq. In the end, let’s hope they all realize that in order to live together, this constitution will have to be a first step.

By: Rick Moran at 4:21 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

CATEGORY: War on Terror

Muqtada al Sadr is a name familiar to most Americans who have been following the Iraq war closely. His “Mahdi Militia” has twice foolishly tried to take on the US military and been slaughtered – once in Najaf where Sadr’s chestnuts were pulled out of the fire at the last minute by a sickly Ayatollah al Sistani and again in Baghdad’s impoverished Sadr city where the radical cleric was forced to agree to a cease fire to save what was left of his militia.

Despite those two setbacks, Sadr’s militia has become the sharp end of the stick for his brand of Iraqi nation building. In a story that’s been developing for months and has gone largely unreported in this country (although British newspapers have done a good job in keeping tabs on Sadr’s political ploys) Sadr’s militia has followed the age-old axiom of politics – power abhors a vacuum – and moved into cities and hamlets in southern Iraq where Iraqi government forces have either been too weak or too scared to challenge him. They have introduced the strictest form of Islamic law, segregated the sexes, forced women to wear the burqa, and adopted an Islamic code of justice for local jurisprudence.

In effect, Sadr has been trying to set up an autonomous region in the south. Part of the reason for doing this is that he believes that the largest Shia party in Iraq, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) is getting too close for comfort to the Iranian Mullahs. Sadr fears Iranian influence almost as much as he opposes the American occupation. Hence, as a hedge against that influence (and as a way to have more influence himself) his militia has carved out a sizable slice of Iraq where neither the national government or American’s have much sway.

The wrangling over the new constitution has put Sadr into something of a bind. Relegated to a backseat in negotiations with the Sunni’s and Kurds, Sadr has decided to play an extraordinarily dangerous political game. He has actually cast his lot with the Sunni’s in opposing the constitution based on the concept of federalism as defined in the drafts. Sadr evidently believes that by granting too much autonomy to a Shia federal state, the SCIRI will dominate the politics of the state government leaving he and his followers out in the cold.

To assess his influence within the Shia community, al Sadr fomented an armed clash this past Wednesday between his Mahdi militia and the militia backing SCIRI, the Badr Brigade:

The violence erupted after al-Sadr loyalists tried to reopen an old office belonging to the al-Sadrite movement. The attempt to open up an office met with resistance from al-Sadr’s main rival group, the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). SCIRI’s armed wing, the Badr Brigades, and al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army are the only two noteworthy militias among the Iraqi Shia.

Almost everyone in the Shiite political spectrum took serious note of the clash and has been quick to placate al-Sadr. His opposition comes from SCIRI, not the entire Shiite community—and even SCIRI publicly denies involvement in and condemns the attack. Satisfied that he is taken seriously by the more established groups among the Shia, al-Sadr then decided to back off and call for peace and harmony within the community. In other words, al-Sadr generated a mini-crisis to assess his current political status and the future of his movement.

This move also puts al-Sadr closer to the Sunnis, who have accused the Badr Brigades of engaging in violence against their community. Al-Sadr knows that if he is to rise within the ranks of the Shia, resistance will come from SCIRI —which means future clashes between Shiite militias are likely. For now, however, the Shiite movers and shakers have brought things under control.

By fighting with the SCIRI, whose revenge killings against Sunnis for Shia deaths due to the insurgency have been rising in recent months, al Sadr has actually gained some support among important Sunni leaders. In addition, while Sunni’s have taken to the streets to protest provisions in the constitution that outlaw Saddam’s Baath Party, Sadr’s politicos also ordered demonstrations and in an impressive show of political muscle, more than 100,000 al Sadr supporters poured into the streets in several cities on Thursday protesting against US interference in the constitutional process as well as proclaiming opposition to the federalism clauses in the draft document.

So far, Sadr himself has kept his position on the fate of the draft constitution to himself. In a way, he has painted himself into a corner and will have no choice but to oppose it. If the constitution is passed by parliament as is, Sadr will find himself in a quandary. If he supports the constitution, his influence in the Shia community will be reduced significantly. If he opposes it, he’ll be seen as an impediment to progress. What’s more, Sadr’s opposition will likely not take the form of sitting on the sidelines with his militia. Armed conflict with the SCIRI could be in the offing.

In short, al Sadr is a wildcard in the whole constitutional mess. His choices are narrowing the closer the constitution gets to ratification. And despite his militia’s questionable military capabilities, they are fanatical enough to cause a host of problems for both US troops and the SCIRI. Al Sadr will not go quietly into political oblivion.

Is there a way to satisfy the radical cleric while maintaining the integrity of the constitution? Some observers believe that most of what al Sadr is doing can be explained by a desire to be taken seriously by the entire Shia community. They point to Sadr’s religious standing (he’s too young to have the experience and years of religious study to become a respected Shia cleric) as a major cause of his frustrations. Could he be appeased by Ayatollah al Sistani who could elevate his standing as a cleric? It’s possible but not likely. As in all religions there are rules and procedures, not to mention traditions, that must be followed. It’s doubtful that even if Sistani wanted to he could satisfy al Sadr’s desires in this regard.

Could al Sadr’s Mahdi militia join with the Sunni insurgency and make common cause against the coalition? This has been a fear of the US military since Sadr emerged as a player following the US shut down of his inflammatory newspaper Al Hawza. And al Sadr’s flirtation with Sunni support in opposition to the constitution is troubling indeed. However, unless Sadr has gone off the deep end, it’s unlikely not only that he would actually join forces with the unreconstructed Baathists but that the Sunni’s would trust him in the first place.

What is possible is that Sadr would initiate a low level insurgency in the months leading up to the October 15 nationwide vote on ratifying the constitution which would be designed to highlight his political position as well as attempt to weaken support for the SCIRI. This too would be a dangerous game with Sadr running the risk that the Badr Brigades and the US military would think him too troublesome and try to destroy his militia and thus his influence. But it’s also possible that by carrying out attacks on both US military targets and Badr Brigade cadres, his influence would skyrocket among the Shia population.

Muqtada al Sadr presents an enormous problem for both the United States and the new Iraqi government. At the moment, they’re desperately trying to placate him so that his fanatical followers don’t disrupt the constitutional process that’s balanced on a knifes edge. But Sadr has his own balancing act to worry about. Which way the radical cleric goes may determine the future of constitutional government in Iraq.

Information in this article was obtained from, a subscription only mideast news service.

By: Rick Moran at 7:36 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)

Pundits My *ss linked with Cindy's 19th nervous...
CATEGORY: Cindy Sheehan

I just can’t wait.

In six days the “Mother Sheehan Magical Mystery Tour” will depart from Crawford, Texas and slowly wend its way toward Washington, D.C. where it’s scheduled to arrive on September 24. That’s the day set aside for every loon, goon, moonbat, March hare, and various vagrants to appear on the Washington Mall for a rally against any and all things Bush, Republican, and to a large extent, American.

Oh what a time it will be.

I’m mighty tempted to join in myself just to soak up the atmosphere and relive the glories of my youth where it was the fashion to attend anti-war demonstrations so that you could show your solidarity with the brave Vietnamese resistance to American imperialism. It was also a fact that hippie girls were easy as was access to some great weed. Put the two together and you could have one hell of a party without really trying.

For Mother Sheehan, the bus trip will be reminiscent of of one of the strangest Beatle’s albums (and movies) the fab four ever made. Magical Mystery Tour told the story of a bus trip taken by the Beatles through the English countryside where they meet the strangest bunch of kooks and characters including someone Sheehan should be very familiar with; The Fool on the Hill:

Well on his way his head in a cloud,
The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him,
Or the sound he appears to make,
And he never seems to notice,
But the fool on the hill . .

The Lennon-McCartney lyrics call to mind the times perfectly; a colorful, carefree kind of harmless nonsense with the war’s darkness always lurking in the background. These lyrics to I am the Walrus epitomize that concept:

Expert textpert choking smokers,
Don’t you think the joker laughs at you?
See how they smile like pigs in a sty,
See how they snied.
I’m crying.

Semolina pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower.
Elementary penguin singing Hari Krishna.
Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob…

Also reminiscent of the 1960’s was the little piece of guerrilla theater put on yesterday by Sheehan and her supporters:

The antiwar protesters responded Thursday with an emotional ceremony, carried live on national television, in which Sheehan was presented with the boots worn by her son before he was killed. She tearfully laid them before a small cross bearing her son’s name, surrounded by dozens of supporters. There were sobs from other women whose sons were killed in Iraq.

I have no doubt Sheehan’s tears as well as the tears of others there were genuine. However, when you hire a public relations firm and have a dozen or more political “handlers” advising on the protest, the fact that this little slice of “reality” was broadcast live makes the entire “event” fair game for critics like me who would have thought the gesture much more heartfelt if carried out in private – like the President’s visit with Mrs. Sheehan following the death of her son.

The event was put on for the cameras. And for the left to continue to use this woman’s grief as a rallying cry for cutting and running in Iraq is worse than ghoulish. It’s a sad reminder of the utter contempt the left holds for the American people and America itself.


Meanwhile, the semi-official blog of Mother Sheehan’s catered Jamboree Camp Casey Now continues to sound a couple of discordant notes in this anti-American symphony.

First, they complained that there weren’t enough people camping out with her (150 as of Wednesday), something I pointed out here:

If Cindy Sheehan is the “Rosa Parks” of the peace movement, if she’s the second coming of Martin Luther King or the “tipping point” that will energize the anti war movement and turn it into a raging prairie fire that will sweep evil George and his neocons from office, how come there are less than 100 people camping out at salon de Cindee in Crawford?

For God’s sake, Waco, a city of more than 100,000, is just a hop skip and a jump from Crawford. Are you trying to tell me with a city of that size and that close that you can’t even get the local loonies to come out and show their support for Sheehan?

Not only was there a complaint of not enough moonbats, the ones who were there were taken to task for being lazy!

Why are activists spending time cooking and cleaning etc… they should be spend most of their time building (tent city, signs, more crosses), educating the media, doing something pro-active to get more numbers there. They should be doing everything imaginable to get the truth covered by the mainstream media, like making banners or flyers with things like, “The Downing Street Memo is equivalent to the Watergate Tapes” and placing them everywhere, so any mainstream newscast from Camp Casey will have something in the background. Beware of ineffective signs… misinformation agents will gladly volunteer for the task then make it illegible, or put bad slogans, etc…

Now the problem appears to be that they’re having such a good time in Crawford, there’s some question as to why they want to leave so early:

Why? Labor Day is a huge travel holiday… why not advertise Crawford, Texas as the site of the Great American Campout this Labor Day Weekend. I don’t know for sure, but in all likelihood our vacationing President will stay thru the weekend- why the rush to disband Camp Casey? Why the rush to announce the camp’s demise- if not to kill the momentum.

Is Ann Wright’s plan the best plan for the peace movement? Do the caravans really need those extra 5 days?

The moonbat wants to advertise a “Labor Day at Camp Casey” that would draw thousands, thousands I tell you!

This will be paid for by the $125,000 or more in donations already received. $10,000 in lumber and in canvas, and 100 volunteers with cordless drills could whip up a slew of quick tent frames that could fit a family or two.

If we advertise this widely- we could get many, many thousands of people to come to Crawford to make a real statement. Which would be more powerful in affecting change, caravans leaving the 31st, or the Great American Campout in Crawford? Am I being divisive just because, or is there actual logic behind this proposal.

Logic? At Camp Casey? When you find some kid, let me know.


With both Al Sharpton and the Neo-Nazis on their way to Crawford, Goldstein has the line of the day:

I see. A bit of logistical advice to Camp Crawford organizers, if I may? Hide any strong rope and/or Jews.


The latest IPSOS-AP poll is out and it’s official: an overwhelming majority of Americans support the Constitution.

The American Constitution, that is.

This earth shattering news is based on the fact that 1001 people responded to one of the silliest questions ever asked by a major polling organization:

An overwhelming number of people say critics of the Iraq war should be free to voice their objections – a rare example of widespread agreement about a conflict that has divided the nation along partisan lines.

Well, duh.

Nearly three weeks after a grieving California mother named Cindy Sheehan started her anti-war protest near President Bush’s Texas ranch, nine of 10 people surveyed in an AP-Ipsos poll say it’s OK for war opponents to publicly share their concerns about the conflict.

I think if some pasty-faced pollster had asked me that question I would have looked at him as if he was from the planet Mongol and spit in his eye for insulting my intelligence. Why would such a question be of earth shattering importance? Better they ask if 1001 Americans like ice cream or enjoy sex.

Of course, the purpose of the question was to tie that 90% figure into the Cindy Sheehan-George Bush “Stand-Off” in Crawford. By implication, the AP is making it seem as if people are endorsing Sheehan’s quixotic, Quixote-like quest to bitch slap the President over the Iraq war – a moment she devoutly hoped would have been a catalyst for the anti-war movement.

Instead, the President won’t see her. Now that’s a question I would love to know the answer to: “Should President Bush meet with Cindy Sheehan despite the fact that he met with her once already and where she expressed her thanks to the President for “really caring?”

Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be seeing a question like that asked by any national polling outfit anytime soon.

Other poll results showed the President’s approval in handling the Iraq War right where it should be: around 37%. I know I would have given my disapproval for the way the civilians have handled the war recently. While our military is doing its usual spectacular job, the President and the brass in the Pentagon seem wedded to policies that are confusing, contradictory, and unrealistic.

One result of the poll that surprised me was that only 53% of the people think the war was a mistake. After the most relentless and aggressively anti-war media campaign in American history 47% of the American people still think invading Iraq was the right move. The poll also showed a solid 60% favor staying in Iraq till the job is done. The Gallup number is much higher – 67% – which could reflect an oddity in the way the polling was conducted.

There was the inevitable (and tiresome) comparison to Viet Nam:

More than half of those polled, 53 percent, say the United States made a mistake in going to war in Iraq. That level of opposition is about the same as the number who said that about Vietnam in August 1968, six months after the Tet offensive – the massive North Vietnamese attack on South Vietnamese cities that helped turn U.S. opinion against that war. Various polls have shown that erosion of war support has been faster in Iraq than during the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

Please note the totally unrelated mention of August 1968. What in God’s name does that have to do with a poll taken in August 2005? The 1968 poll was taken “six months after the Tet Offensive.” The 2005 poll was taken six months after…February. Now I hate the month of February as much as the next man but to compare Tet with February is just a little kooky.

And then there’s the helpful information (wishful?) that the erosion of war support (in what way?) has been faster in Iraq than Viet Nam.

Perhaps it would have been more helpful to know what analysis those numbers were based on. Seems to be a pretty broad statement to make with no proof to back it up. Perhaps some enterprising blogger would like to look into that statement because I seem to recall polls taken last November that while showing greater approval of the President’s handling of Iraq also show about the same percentage of people believing the war was a mistake and that we should leave immediately.

I have no doubt that Americans are getting tired of the war. They’re tired of the constant bombardment of bad news from the press and the carping and caterwauling of the left over the war. I am too. But if the Iraqis can ever get their act together and come up with a constitution agreeable to most of the country, I’m pretty confident that some of those numbers will inch upward.

And if the President could get out front on the war and show a little leadership, his numbers will probably take a turn for the better too.

By: Rick Moran at 5:51 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

CATEGORY: Blogging, Media

“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.” (Henry Ward Beecher)

For just a few hours today, I want to forget about Cindy Sheehan, George Bush, Democrats, Republicans, the right, the left, the MSM, Islam, Chrstianity, Osama, Zarqawi, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, any and all things I’ve been writing about since I started posting on this site almost exactly 11 months ago.

Instead, I want to think about the future. Not of the country or the world, but a much more personal future – a place that you and I will find ourselves before we know it. I think that a large part of that future will involve what’s going on here, on this site, on your site, and millions like them around the world.

In a large sense, we’ve moved far beyond Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message.” McLuhan was talking about human interaction and the “extensions” we use to communicate. Everything from gossiping over the backyard fence to satellite communications fell within McLuhan’s broad definition of “medium.” McLuan also famously coined the phrase “the global village” to describe how these extensions would unite the planet while at the same time, shrinking it to the point that it could be squeezed through a cathode ray tube and shown on a TV screen.

But the old definitions, like the tired gatekeepers who are fighting a losing battle against the barbarians storming the pallisades of old media, are simply not working. We’ve had some fun on this site making sport of their demise. And like dinosaurs who didn’t have a clue they were on the way out, we can sit back and watch in bemused fashion as we take a perverse sort of pleasure in their death throes. In a ghoulish sort of way, this is what passes for entertainment on many blogs, including this one. I suspect that this will continue to be the case because the nature of this medium enslaves us, binds us, and with tortuous regularity ultimately dooms us to follow a certain path.

The nature of this medium is content. When I first started writing a blog almost exactly 11 months ago, I knew I wanted to write about politics, media, history, and the way that those forces intersect and ultimately interact. I found the best way to do that was to write essays. Occasionally, to feed the content monster, I’ve been forced to alter the formula and simply link to other good blog posts with scant commentary on what someone else has written. Whenever I do that, I feel a twinge of regret and feel like slapping myself for my laziness or lack of inspiration.

This demon of a blog is an all consuming beast. It eats ideas for breakfast. It gobbles up perspectives for lunch. It devours concepts for dinner and snacks on personal conceits and beliefs between meals. But what it really gorges itself on is time.

I figure to write a 500-750 word essay takes about 3 hours. Some take longer, some shorter. Where time comes into play is doing research for an essay. And this is where it’s easy to be seduced by the internet.

The amount of information out there is beyond belief. I’ve gotten pretty good at googling up whatever information I need in order to get different perspectives on just about any issue you can imagine. What’s even more amazing is that you can find a treasure trove of information on just about any event in world history. And there just isn’t time to read it all. I’d love to sit back and read a long essay on the reign of Franz Joseph and how the death throes of the Hapsburg dynasty resulted in the explosion of nationalism which was a proximate cause of World War I. But I don’t have the time.

Perhaps I should explain. One would think that in my position – unemployed by choice, financially comfortable – I would have all the time in the world. Indeed, I spend a good 10-12 hours a day in front of this screen trying to keep up with the world as it rushes past. But my purpose in starting a blog was two-fold; to reaqcuaint myself with the writing skills I used a couple of decades ago when politics was my life and to build a blog that could act as a stepping stone to making a living as a writer.

The problem is that in the content driven culture of blogs, you don’t really have time to work much on number 1 and thus become a slave to number 2. There are not too many people who want to say upfront that most of what they do on a blog is geared toward increasing readership, links, and ultimately their standing in the ecosphere. Some see such grasping materialsim as sullying the “purity” of this new medium. Spare me. This new medium is exactly what you make of it. If you want to remain pure as the driven snow and not take any advertisements and say that you’re only writing for yourself, that’s fine. You’re welcome to that point of view and I congratulate you for it. You’re a better man than I.

Ultimately, readers will praise or condemn me not for the reason I write but for what I write – content. And here’s where the future comes into play in a big way.

How are we going to be receiving content 5 years from now? Ten years? I say “receiving” content because at the moment, we are slaves to others for access to that vital commodity. Will there come a day when content will not be “received” as much as it just simply is? In other words, if we’re not slaves to gatekeepers for the distribution of information, will there come a time when the “message is the medium?”

Jeff Jarvis:

I’m writing this post — grappling with perhaps the most fundamental truth of my brief blogging career — because I still hear big-media colleagues insisting — or perhaps they’re praying — that content is king, that owning content is where the value is, that equity will still grow from exclusivity.

But no: Content is transient, its value perishable, its chance of success slight. You think your article or book or movie or song or show is worth a fortune and in a blockbuster economy, if you were insanely lucky, you could be right. But now anyone can create content. And thanks to the power of the link — and the trust it carries — anyone can get the world to see it. Is some of this new load of content crap? Sure. Lots of content in the old media world was crap, too. But don’t calculate the proportions. Look instead at the gross volume of quality: There’s simply more good stuff out there than there could be before. And it can be created at incredibly low or no cost.

There is no scarcity of good stuff. And when there is no scarcity, the value of owning a once-scarce commodity diminishes and then disappears. In fact, it’s worse than that: Owning the content factory only means that you have higher costs than the next guy: You own the high-priced talent or infrastructure while your new competitor owns just her own talent and a PC.

What Jarvis is saying – and I agree with him wholeheartedly – is that I and most other bloggers are barking up the wrong tree. Content is transient. It’s not the end. It’s not even a means to an end. It simply exists. Content is not even a commodity – unless it’s so superior that it transcends conventions and enters the realm of culture itself. As Jarvis points out, that is a rare occurence. Content and how you recieve it (distribution) are secondary. But to what?

This is so hard for those of us trained in the old economy to get our heads around. That is why, like an ape on 2001, I keep poking at this obelisk to figure out what it is.

But in this new age, you don’t want to own the content or the pipe that delivers it. You want to participate in what people want to do on their own. You don’t want to extract value. You want to add value. You don’t want to build walls or fences or gardens to keep people from doing what they want to do without you. You want to enable them to do it. You want to join in.

And once you get your head around that, you will see that you can grow so much bigger so much faster with so much less cost and risk.

So don’t own the content. Help people make and find and remake and recommend and save the content they want. Don’t own the distribution. Gain the trust of the people to help them use whatever distribution and medium they like to find what they want.

In these new economics, you want to stand back and interfere and restrict as little as possible. You want to reduce costs to the minimum. You want to join in wherever you are welcome.

Okay…so there will be content and there will be distribution of that content but the value of both will take a backseat to the value of the community (or readership) itself, what Jay Rosen refers to as “a horizontal network” of like minded people all of whom will not only read content but contribute and help others contribute. In turn, the content is disseminated (linked?) where ideally, the value is contained in the act of sharing.

Here’s Jay Rosen on the sea change that’s taking place right under our noses:

Everywhere the cost of putting like-minded people in touch with each other is falling. (Idea number 8 on my Top Ten list.) So is the cost of pooling their knowledge. The Net is ideal for horizontal communication— peer to peer, stranger to stranger, voter to voter, reader to reader. When you talk about the Web era in journalism think: audience atomization overcome. Then you will be on the right track.

Think: media tools in public hands. We are in the middle of a producer’s revolution in media, also called Citizens Media by its great promoter and sage, Jeff Jarvis, following in the steps of others, who recognized what a big shift this potentially was.

Open Source journalism is all journalism that derives from the Janes Intelligence Review case, which was, in fact, “a giant leap forward for collaborative online journalism.” (There were other leaps too, the most important of which is Oh My News.) Not satisfied with that definition? Simpler one: Dan Gillmor says his readers know more than he does. Open Source journalism builds on that insight, which is foundational.

On a macro level, we saw this concept of open source journalism in action during the Rathergate affair where literally thousands of blog readers whose expertise in arcane subjects like typewriter fonts of IBM Selectrics from the 1970’s contributed to the overall story. And now that concept has been extended to on-line publications and even the editing of on-line books!

But let me whine for a moment; I’m not a journalist. I don’t pretend to be one nor do have any desire to imitate one. Will there be room for a 51 year old opinionated fat man who sees himself in a silly, heroic sort of way as a polemicist, a rabble rouser, someone who 200 years ago would have been posting broadsides on buildings facing the town square? Where does that leave me? How do I participate in this brave new world if I don’t want to climb on board this new media bandwagon?

More questions; what innovations will there be in hardware and software that will affect this new medium? How about changes in the internet itself? Access to it? The portability of it?

These questions go to the root of my problem; how should I approach the future? As Mr. Beecher (whose daughter Harriet was to write the play Uncle Tom’s Cabin) points out, one can either be anxious about the future or have faith in it. At the moment, I’m extraordinarily anxious. I suppose that’s natural for anyone my age whose basic supposition about the way things are is undergoing a radical transformation. I’d like to have faith in the future but wishing won’t make it so. I think the best any of us can do is keep an ear to the ground, watch for trends, and even try to anticipate change wherever possible. Easier said than done. I suppose in the end, having faith in the future means having faith in oneself.

And that, dear readers, is a process that gives meaning to any life. Self-discovery in the internet age. Who woulda thunk it.


Demosophist at Jawa Report links the Jarvis post and ties into what appears to be an idea for an open source intelligence network during wartime. The idea comes from this post by Donald Sensing which lists some interesting advantages that such a network would have.

The writer ties this in with MSM coverage of Iraq:

As always the value is in reliability and validity, and what has changed involves the method by which the public at large arrives at its assessment of those conditions. Every time MSM provides an assessment that turns out later to have been imprecise and even wildly erroneous the public downgrades their determination of the reliability and validity of their information and explanations. But the cycle by which this process unfolds, while nearly instantaneous in some instances, can take up to a year depending on the kind of information involved. And some things, like the brushstrokes of the counterinsurgency in Iraq, are making it through in dibs and dabs. But this is the very nature of brushstrokes. When the entire masterpiece becomes fully visible things may change very quickly, because it will be universally recognized that the critical detail was largely, if not completely, invisible to MSM.

By: Rick Moran at 7:02 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (20)

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CATEGORY: War on Terror

I used to wonder why Venezuelean President Hugo Chavez was able to stay in office following the recall vote held in that country in 2004. After all, the Venezuela economy is in the pits, corruption is rampant within his administration, he has callouses on his knees from genuflecting so often before Fidel Castro, and he has a crick in his neck from reaching back and patting himself on the back so much.

But Hugo Chavez has a secret weapon. He’s a comedian.

Witness this latest string of one liners from the government of la cabra que ríe (loosely translated: The Laughing Goat):

This public call to assassinate a head of state, considered a crime by all modern legislation, is prosecutable by its very nature. That is what the civilized world is expecting of U.S. authorities,”

“It’s a huge hypocrisy [for the United States] to maintain this discourse against terrorism and at the same time, in the heart of that country, there are entirely terrorist statements like those,”

In Washington, Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez Herrera also described Mr. Robertson’s remarks as “a call to terrorism.” He demanded that the United States take steps to ensure Mr. Chavez’s safety when he visits New York for a U.N. General Assembly meeting next month.

(Cue Laugh Track)

All this in response to idiotarian Pat Robertson’s fantasia about someone “taking out” Mr. Goat Face. Robertson sort of apologized today, saying at first he was “misinterpreted” but then later sayingIs it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him.”

Takes a fantasist to know a fantasist, I guess.

Hugo Chavez is a thug in the classic tradition of Manuel Noriega and his idol Fidel Castro. In Chavez Venezuela, there are disappearances, death squads, shockingly routine police brutality, executions without trial, and a host of human rights violations that would make one pine for Allende’s Chile.

Then there’s the little matter of his support for narco terrorists in Columbia. FARC is a group of communist guerillas who’ve been fighting the Columbian government for decades. They now make no bones about financing their war by growing and selling drugs. Chavez has allowed them to open training camps in his country and has looked favorably on their terrorist activities. The laughing goat has opened a western hemisphere franchise outlet that may as well be called “al Qaeda West:”

Cuban “advisors” currently are in positions throughout the Chavez government with some even masquerading as sports coaches. Before he was imprisoned in 1994, fellow Venezuelan Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, a.k.a. “Carlos the Jackal”, whose long and sordid history of KGB/Cuban trained terrorism included acting as a specialist in terror for Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Lebanon, may be the original connection between Chavez and Islamic terrorists finding haven in Venezuela. Chavez has capitalized on his position as president of one of the five original founding members of OPEC to not only wage economic warfare against the US but to use his position to deal covertly with the anti-US Islamic members.

According to Chavez’s former personal pilot, Venezuelan Air Force Major Juan Diaz Castillo, Chavez told him, “ organize, coordinate, and execute a covert operation consisting of delivering financial resources, specifically $1 million, to [Afghanistan’s] Taliban government, in order for them to assist the al-Qaeda terrorist organization…making it appear as if humanitarian aid were being extended to the Afghan people.”

Furious that defectors have exposed his schemes, Chavez is demanding that the US refute news stories showing his links with and funding to terrorists. Chavez is especially bitter about a US News and World Report article “Terror close to home”. Chavez angrily said, “I challenge the staff of US News and World Report or its owners to come here and look for one single shred of evidence, to show the world one single shred of proof. The US government should respond to this call. (The magazine) supposedly cites information provided by US government officials. If a Venezuelan daily ran something as filthy as this, citing presidential officials here, my government would respond. It is a lie, but all the same, the idea has been planted. It is a strategy, to launch an offensive by concocting anything—an assassination, a coup, an invasion.”

Chavez has also proved himself a real laughing cowboy when it comes to making common cause with some of the filthiest terrorist enablers in the world. He’s made well publicized visits to Iran, North Korea, and Libya to proclaim solidarity and laugh it up with fellow comedians Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran, Kim Jung Il of North Korea, and Muammar Al-Qaddafi.

His own military tried to overthrow him in 2002 which is probably why he relies more and more on Cuban “advisers” salted throughout his government and security services. If Castro propped this guy up any more, they’d have to nail him to a couple of two by fours and stand him up in front of a microphone so that he can deliver one of his infamous 4 hour nationally televised speeches.

All this would rank him as one of the top ten funnymen of Latin America. But what really sets this goon apart from the run of the mill stand-up comics are his regional ambitions. The guy wants to unite Andean South America under his rule. To that end, he recently started a satellite TV network known as “El Jazeera:”

Chávez himself is well-known for his vehement opposition to the United States and his belief that capitalism is the root of all poverty in Latin America. He also believes in uniting every Andean country under a single socialist government, throwing all of his support behind a so-called “Bolivarian Revolution.” At the end of April he met with Castro and hundreds of regional communists in Havana before flying to Brazil for the first ever Arab-Latin America summit, where he met with the Qatari delegation to work on a deal to exchange footage and material with Al Jazeera, with whom Tariq Ali is connected. The deal is finally getting attention, earning Telesur the name “El Jazeera,” for good reason. Does it sound like anyone on this editorial board would seriously refuse anything the regime asks of them?

Clearly, this is a man begging for a CIA-backed coup. The question I would have before we get serious about ending this clown’s pompous dreams of glory is who or what is going to take his place?

Clearly, Castro has a stranglehold of sorts of Chavez’s government. When foreign thugs are the only thing standing between you and a military coup, it stands to reason that the person directing those foreigners will have tremendous sway over policy. Castro tried something similar in Grenada back in 1979, backing the bloodless coup carried out by Maurice Bishop, worming his way into the government there, and then staging a second coup in 1983 putting his stooge Bernard Coard in power. What Fidel didn’t count on was a United States President who wouldn’t meekly accept his brazen interference in the internal affairs of a Carribean country – after all, we reserve that right exclusively unto ourselves. So President Reagan sent thousands of troops into the tiny country, killed or captured a bunch of Cuban “construction workers” (who were armed to the teeth), and brought the wonders of freedom and democracy to the island.

The problem with trying a Grenada rerun is that the script would be different this time. Castro’s tentacles are so pervasive that it’s doubtful such a coup would succeed much less bring to power anyone we could work with in the United States. So for the moment, Chavez is relatively safe. I daresay the CIA will be working like crazy to unite the opposition to Chavez so that next year’s elections will bring to power someone who doesn’t look upon bloodthirsty jihadists as natural allies.

As for Pat Robertson’s diarrhea of the mouth, Jeff Goldstein had some prescient thoughts yesterday:

Though Robertson clearly overstated the case—at least insofar as he spoke publicly, which will allow Chavez to play up his already legendary paranoia and anti-Americanism by tying Robertson’s statement to the official government line—it is nevertheless imperative that we don’t lose sight of who the real villian is here. Unfortunately, I suspect our own press will do just that, aiding Chavez by playing up the connection between the social conservative base—understood to be Bush’s staunchest supporters (though that itself is debatable)—and Roberstson’s brand of religiosity. Which, while predictable, would be a shame, nevertheless.

After all, it’s quite possible Robertson read the WS piece and was simply heeding Halverssen’s advice (however rhetorically boneheaded his execution) that “persistent public exposure of Chávez’s increasing militarism, assaults on democracy, human rights abuses, and free speech violations, as well as his involvement with terrorist groups in South America and terror sponsors in the Middle East” is an important component in combatting his influence in South America and the Middle East.

Goldstein’s prescience about the media connecting Robertson and Bush was eery given he wrote this yesterday. At the same time, he’s spot on with his call for combatting this clown’s influence in the region. One thing we don’t need is a bunch of mini-Chavez’s strutting across the Latin American stage at this point. No sense in worrying about our rear (Central and South America) when we’ve got plenty on our plate sitting right in front of us in Iraq and the middle east.


Jay Tea is rethinking his criticism of Robertson in light of the discussion generated about President Goat Face.

And Raven at And Rightly So has a great post on the controversy asking “Who is Worse: Robertson or Chavez?”

Good question although I don’t think we could consider Robertson an enemy of the US - which is one of the points Raven makes. Read the whole thing.

And Stephen Green sums up nicely making a couple of points similar to ones I made here:

Not that there’d be much wrong with killing Hugo Chávez. If there’s one thing Ayn Rand got right, it’s this: No dictatorship has any right to exist; any free nation wishing to topple a dictatorship has the moral right (but not the moral obligation) to do so.

Failing that, knocking off the dictator certainly couldn’t do any harm.

But Robertson is still an idiot. Do you know how tough it is to kill a country’s ruler? Do you know the kind of backlash that thing can lead to, especially when said leader has been using petrodollars to buy popularity? And doubly so when that leader has also been using Cuban know-how to keep dissenters from dissenting? Do you know of our nation’s awful history regarding South America?

Tom Bowler has an interesting link to a Mother Jones article from 1997 that references the recently unearthed whacko comments by George Stephanopouloos as well as other journalists who advocated the same thing!

By: Rick Moran at 6:13 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (10)

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Huhray…Huhray…Huhray…Step right up ladies and gents. See the strangest and oddest collection of cluebats on planet earth! “If they’re clueless, we’ve got ‘em” is our motto. Die-rect from Washington city and all points west, north, south, and east! Huhary…Huhray…Huhray…Step right up…

Okay, so I would have failed as a carnival barker. In truth, we don’t need no stinking barker to highlight this week’s souls whose capacity for rational thought was either an afterthought of the almighty or a qualification the Lord never considered adding to their intellectual makeup in the first place.

Our lineup of cluebats is ripped from this week’s headlines…kind of like Law and Order but without Angie Harmon (You can tell the last time I watched that show). I mean we’ve got “Team America Assassin” Pat Robertson, Arlen Specter, Chuck (The Ghost of Viet Nam Past) Hagel, “Mother (******)” Sheehan, as well as the usual lineup of local loonies, national nincompoops, and international idiotarians.

So take off your shoes and set a spell. Sample the grist of the blogosphere mill where cluebats are ground to dust and truth, justice, and good old fashioned American fisking is elevated to an art form.

“Stupidity is better kept a secret than displayed”
(Heraclitus of Ephesus (Greek philosopher remembered for his cosmology)

“Yo Hercules! It’s pretty clear you haven’t visited Crawford, Texas lately.”


Mr. Right of The Right Place channels Monty Python and comes up with an hilarious spoof of Holy Grail repressed peasants. As with all good satire, it has just enough truth in it to make you think and laugh at the same time.

Van Helsing of Moonbattery fires a silver bullet into the heart of Frank Rich’s excreable article this week that defends Cindy Sheehan by smearing her detractors. Frank should go back to reviewing restaurants where he prevented people from getting indigestion instead of causing it as he does now.

Wonder Woman at North American Patriot has a few words for Hollywood bad boy, peace activist, and supporter of tyrants Sean Penn. Sean recently paid a visit to the mad Mullah’s theocratic paradise in Iran and came away saying “The Iranians are like, kewl.” Given Penn’s track record with his treatment of women, it’s no wonder he feels an affinity for gimlet-eyed Revolutionary Guardsmen who are known to beat women in the street if they’re not properly “covered.”

Josh Cohen at Multiple Mentality is angry at radio station programmers who have cut their playlists dramatically. Josh even goes after XM Satellite radio stations. Darn! And I was just about to get one.

Mark Coffey at Decision ‘08 has a question for Pat Robertson that sounds a lot like that Dierks Bentley song “What was I Thinking?” Mark should have known that Bentley’s song which is about a late night tryst with a ” little white tank top sitting right there in the middle by me” is not inThe 700 Club’s Top Ten Countdown.

The lovely Pamela (Official Carnival Poster Girl®) of Atlas Shrugs has a few hundred choice words for the left and their defeatism with regards to the Iraq War. She points out you can’t start an anti-war movement with smoke and mirrors. Since the left is blowing plenty of smoke – both literally and figuratively – in Crawford, she has a good point.

Speaking of Camp Casey, Beth sends us a link to the Camp Casey Now website where they are asking “Numbers at Camp Casey: Is this the best we could do?” A point that seems to be lost on the MSM who keep reporting about the “growing encampment” at Moonbatville. You don’t think that the press would like, you know, exaggerate or anything, do you?

Giacomo at Joust the Facts seems confused…or is he? He can’t make up his mind about which is the silliest column he’s ever read; Paul Krugman or Frank Rich? He solves the problem by taking them on together. Giacomo proves himself to be ambi-cluebat.

Fred Frey asks a simple question: “Would Europe Go to War Over Oil?” His answer, like Jeopardy, is in the form of another question: ‘Can Europe go to war?’ I guess that depends. If the bloodthirsty jihadists let the Europeans use insulting rhetoric, virulent anti-Americanism, and abject surrender as weapons, the Europeans will win hands down.

William Teach at Pirates Cove hoists the black flag and goes after Paul Krugman and his mysterious vote count studies from the 2000 election. Bill also gives Mr. Enron Adviser a lesson in party identification.

Cao of Cao’s Blog (pronounced “key”) is asking Mother Sheehan some tough questions in “Run Cindy, Run.” She also makes some excellent points about the hangers’ on who have surrounded the grieving mother. Great post!

Speaking of great posts, here’s one from Raven at And Rightly So about original Cluebat Hall of Famer Ward Churchill and the trouble he’s in with the University of Colorado Board. Raven says “Faster, please.”

Carnival regular Minh-Duc at State of Flux – always thoughtful and a good read – has an interesting post taking on two Op-Ed writers at the Washington Post (Ayako Doi and Kim Willenson) who wrote a piece decrying the loss of Japanese pacifism. Two more cluebats who went to sleep on 9/10/01 and woke up on September 12.

Ferdinand T. Cat is the most thoughtful cat blogger in the Shadow Media. The fact that he’s the only cat who blogs regularly may have something to do with that. At any rate, how many othe cats can royally fisk a moonbat psychologist who has connected pedophiles and Star Trek watchers? And my little ones heartily endorse Ferdy’s brand of conservatism.

AJ at The Strata-Sphere sends up the Washington Post for their coverage of the mad Mullah’s desire for a nuclear weapon. AJ asks the right question: “When you see a story that almost says Iran’s nuclear power program is not tied to nuclear bombs – you have to wonder where these reporters are coming from?

New World Man gives us the skinny on Ohio Governor and scion of a famous Republican family Robert Taft and his problems with sticky fingers. Is pleading “no contest” the same as pleading guilty? Uh… Yep.

How about a little satire with your breakfast cereal this morning? The Nose on your Face has a riotously funny take on the Air America finanical imbroglio with special attention to AA Chairman Evan Cohen’s efforts to “raise his father from the dead.”

And what would Carnival satire be without Mr. Satire himself! (NOT SAFE FOR WORK) He reports today on a homosexual marraige in the middle east between two Kuwaiti men. Where did it take place? “ Hilton Ramses Hotel in Cairo, located at the rear of the Gay Liberation Square.” Read it all.

No Woodstock in the Czech Republic as a music festival billed as Czechtek ran into a little trouble. According to Taylor Buley of Fresh Politics when the youngsters were denied access to the festival, they made like it was 1989 and protested – which was promptly rudely interrupted by some clueless Czech police. Excellent coverage of an underreported event. (Nice blog too. Check ‘em out)

Will Franklin shows the anti-war crowd, in terms that they can understand (polls, of course) why they’re barking up the wrong tree when it comes to making Mother Sheehan an icon for the anti-war movement. Franklin: “Her 15 minutes needed to be up 16 minutes ago.” That just about covers it.

For a completely different take on the Cindy Sheehan issue, the bravest liberal in the blogosphere Northstar (our only left-wing regular) from the People’s Republic of Seabrook pulls no punches whatsoever in this post skewering Vice President Cheney entitled “Hail to the Chickenhawk in Chief.” Be nice, now. Be nice. We’ll not be supressing any opinions here today.

The next two posts take back all the nice things these bloggers said about Senator Bill Frist after he came out in favor of funding embryonic stem cell research. First, Orac of Respectfully Submitted takes a “vacations interruptus” to club the Presidential wannabe over the head for his remarks on intelligent design.

Ditto for Doug at Below the Beltway whose rant against Senator Frist includes the good Doctor’s motivation for his position: “Frist needs to establish his bona fides with the evangelical Republicans who dominate the Republican primary process in many states important to getting the 2008 nomination.” I would say that’s spot on.

Don Surber has an extraordinary post highlighting some cluelessness you have to read to believe about a baby killer and the $50,000 he won in a court of law. This is in addition to the $25,000 the state paid to fix the killer’s teeth.

Urban Grounds has another story almost too ridiculous to be true. This one is about a killer who was arrested while in the funeral procession for the person he killed! Was the family of the victim grateful? Absolutely not! Read it all and try to keep your jaw from dropping to the floor.

More unbelievable cluelessness brought to you by Pstupidonymous. This one is about a man who was hit by a Taser gun for stealing a salad at Chuckee Cheese. Who’s more clueless? The police for using excessive force or someone stupid enough to even eat salad from Chuckee Cheese in the first place? We report, you decide.

Like explaining things to a two year old child, Mean Ole Meany patiently (I know, completely out of character for Two Dogs) explains how Mother Sheehan’s grief doesn’t give her any more “perspective” than anyone else. If only the splodeydopes would listen.

More on the Chuck Hagel nonsense from Jimmie K at But That’s JustMy Opinion. Jimmie links to an article that says a lot about Hagel’s idea of party loyalty during wartime.

The Maryhunter at TMH Bacon Bits has one of the strangest science stories of the year involving some clueless ecologists who want to re-introduce “predators” back into the North American eco-system. Saw a cartoon referencing the story with Bill Clinton standing in a wilderness and saying “I smell intern.”

The Headgirl at The Common Room brings us a strange bit of cluelessness on the part of some motivational speakers who may as well have been twins seperated at birth. Another gentle, humorous takedown from our education-friendly friends.

Speaking of education friendly, how about our buds at Elephants in Academia giving a thorough and well deserved spanking to Senator Arlen Specter for his remarks on the “window of opportunity” we have in making a deal with Venezualean’s strutting peacock of a dictator Hugo Chavez. Yeah, right.

Matt from Going to the Mat has an interesting story about some clueless local school officials who seem to have erred in building an elementary school – at least as far as its location. Says Matt: “A crosswalk without a stoplight on a busy, four-lane highway is about as effective as a screen door on a submarine.” Needless to say, the parents are up in arms.

From the “When will they ever learn Department” the ACLU has equated religion with terror. Jay of Stop the ACLU has a link to this statement by a local ACLU moonbat: ““They believe that they answer to a higher power, in my opinion. Which is the kind of thinking that you had with the people who flew the airplanes into the buildings in this country, and the people who did the kind of things in London.” Un.Be.Lievable.

Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy gives us the outrage of the week. The city of San Francisco and their refusal to play host to the World War II era battleship the USS Iowa because of (wait for it) The Iraq War! Damn their moonbat souls to hell.

Speaking of hell, here’s my take on Pat Robertson’s bid to make it into the cluebat Hall of Fame.

NOTE: Next week’s Carnival will return to its regular slot on Tuesday

By: Rick Moran at 8:59 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (19)

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CATEGORY: War on Terror

It was a story waiting to be told for more than 3 years. And for some reason, the major networks – ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX - all gave it a pass.

That’s not to say that each of those networks hasn’t done their own “Special” on the 9/11 attack. CNN in particular, had a retrospective of that day that’s quite powerful. And CBS’s show “9/11” which tells the incredible story of two brothers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, who were doing a documentary on a New York Fire Department rookie’s probation period when they turned their camera skyward to catch American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the World Trade Center North Tower is some of the most powerful TV you’ll ever see.

Similar shows have been on the other networks. But “Inside 9/11” is different. I’ve had some bones to pick in the past with National Geographic magazine’s coverage of some issues, most notably their uncritical look at global warming and their wholesale adoption of Kyoto talking points. But the job done by everyone involved with the National Geographic’s searing and honest production of “Inside 9/11” was, in this reviewer’s opinion, without parallel in television history.

The story of how we ended up at war with fanatical jihadists is extraordinarily convoluted. The barriers to making a documentary of the Islamist’s war on America beginning with the first World Trade Center bombing through the present day are staggering. You have a dizzying array of characters who leapt from place to place over that period so that under ordinary circumstances – reading the Final Report of the 9/11 Commission for example – it’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of trying to follow a coherent story line.

Using an absolutely brilliant set of conventions, the documentary told the story using three basic rules; reorient, repeat, and review:

1. Every single scene would orient the viewer as to where one was geographically by flashing an attractive high altitude photo which would zero in on where the action would take place and then move in for a closeup of that spot on the photo. Absolutely brilliant device in that it made it easy to keep track of where one was at any given point in the story.

2. The names of the Islamists along with a short phrase that described him when we were first introduced were repeated every time they appeared in a new scene. Mohamed Atta was “the engineering student.” He was identified as such, along with his name of course, every time he came back into the story. It made it so much easier to follow the course of events when one could recall the character and what he had been doing previously.

3. Every once in a while, the documentary would review a segment by summing up what was known to that point. This was especially effective the closer we got to 9/11 and the number of hijackers and “muscle hijackers” increased substantially. After repeating, the documentary would lay another layer of the conspiracy on top of what had already been shown. Far from getting repetitive or boring, it made it easier to watch.

This was the key to why the documentary was so powerful. By basically freeing the viewer from having to keep track of the timeline, the locations, even the names of the characters, the story itself hit home in a series of sledgehammer blows that left the viewer alternately shaking one’s head and shaking with rage at the incompetent fools who failed to protect us.

The “might have beens” with regard to 9/11 are also extremely well presented and done so in as apolitical fashion as possible. It helped that the people they had presenting expert commentary had no ax to grind – usually. 9/11 Commission staffer Deitrich Snell was really the only “expert” who could have been accused of that and his face time was limited. And the al Jazeera reporter was insufferably smug. Aside from that, the producer let the story take center stage and kept the expert’s commentary to a minimum.

The documentary would have been a triumph if all it had set out to do was tell the story of the hijackers and how they planned the attack as well as showing what radical Islam was and how it grew. But the producer didn’t stop there. The hijacker story made for fascinating television. But when the documentary began to tell the story of the victims and the heroes of that horrible day, the show entered a whole new realm, a place that television rarely goes; the sublime world of first person history.

Simply put, the producer puts you in the airplanes, in the towers, in the Pentagon and lets you watch as events unfold. It makes for some of the most searing, poignant, and startling television imaginable. In fact, I can’t imagine how it could have been done better.

There was less voice over narration and more first person accounts in this segment of the show. Stories told by survivors, by victim’s relatives, by eyewitness reporters who both reported on and became part of history that awful day all contributed to a viewing experience unlike anything shown on TV before. The stories of heroism were told matter of factly and with little embellishment thus allowing the deeds themselves to make one stand back and be in awe of the unselfishness and bravery of ordinary people.

The one discordant note I might sound – and I haven’t seen any reviews or other commentary yet – was what I considered the short shrift given to the firefighters and policemen whose acts of courage were brought out much better in CBS’s “9/11.” Of course, that documentary was about the firefighters actions that day. But it just seemed a little incomplete to have so few stories told of the 300 plus firemen who trudged up those stairs carrying nearly 100 pounds of equipment past thousands of people and never made it back down.

There will be other documentaries of 9/11 made. It’s hard to imagine anybody doing a better job. Perhaps a Hollywood film will be able to put more emotional context into the story. But I doubt it will give us such a broad overview of what the world was like and what we were like in the lead up to that terrible day. Nor will any Hollywood film be able to capture the immediacy and realism that “Inside 9/11” was able to show us.

This is a documentary that will age well. It will have something to say to our children, to their children, and to children 100 years from now who wish to know how and where the war on terror started. Let’s hope that at that point, they will be looking at the conflict in the rear view mirror of history rather than living it every day like those of us who are survivors of that fateful day.

By: Rick Moran at 3:11 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (10)

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Independent Sources linked with Lazy LAT Reporting Abetting DOD’s Desire to bury Able Danger
TMH's Bacon Bits linked with Inside 9/11, From Beginning to Never Ending
Truth Out Loud linked with Inside 9/11 on the History Channel