Please stop with the semicolons; you have clearly never learned their proper usage. I don’t blame you for this, of course. At some point in your formative years you must have encountered a teacher who encouraged you to use this wonderful, 416-year-old mark as a substitute for every other form of punctuation in the English language. You now deploy the semicolon with a convert’s frenzy, and I must note that the spectacle is embarrassing for both of us.
Shorter Robert Turner: “A bullshit law passed during the brief period of Federalist dominance in the 1790s — and a law that has resulted in exactly one indictment and zero prosecutions (.pdf) in more than 200 years — should be unsheathed against Nancy Pelosi, who had the temerity to visit a nation with whom I wish the United States was formally at war.”
Shorter Treason-in-Defense-of-Slavery Yankee: “I’ve never heard of this law, but once I remove my wagging finger from my nose, I’m going to wag it like I’ve never wagged it before.”
Shorter Seaspook: “George W. Bush is a Nancy Boy for not enforcing this law.”
Hey, remember that time we sold some weapons to terrorist Iran and gave the money to some terrorists in Nicaragua, all the while claiming that we’d never negotiate with terrorist? That was super, wasn’t it?
Three months after the United States successfully pressed the United Nations to impose strict sanctions on North Korea because of the country’s nuclear test, Bush administration officials allowed Ethiopia to complete a secret arms purchase from the North, in what appears to be a violation of the restrictions, according to senior American officials.
The United States allowed the arms delivery to go through in January in part because Ethiopia was in the midst of a military offensive against Islamic militias inside Somalia, a campaign that aided the American policy of combating religious extremists in the Horn of Africa.
This is the same crew that argued we needed to invade Iraq because the sanction system was going to collapse. Then, immediately after putting together a strong sanction regime against North Korea and carefully reminding everyone of the importance of maintaining such restrictions, we violate it ourselves.
Even John Bolton saw through this one:
“To make it clear to everyone how strongly we feel on this issue we should have gone to the Ethiopians and said they should send it back,” said Mr. Bolton, who added that he had been unaware of the deal before being contacted for this article. “I know they have been helpful in Somalia, but there is a nuclear weapons program in North Korea that is unhelpful for everybody worldwide.”
When Bolton is making sense, things really aren’t looking good. That this deal went through in an effort to facilitate the invasion of Somalia, an operation that is increasingly collapsing into disaster, only adds insult to injury. I guess this helps explain why Chucky Krauthammer and the whole neocon gang don’t believe in multilateralism; they simply don’t plan to ever follow the rules themselves. But it does rather put claims about French, German, and Russian violation of the sanctions regime against Iraq in a truly absurd light.
Am I missing something? Why exactly was the resolution of the latest Iran hostage crisis a “success” for Iran and a “humiliation” for Britain, as the hawkish Charles Krauthammer argues (and Geoffrey Wheatcroft insinuates but doesn’t quite come out and say in his own voice, as opposed to John Bolton’s)? The hostages were released in a one-day propaganda stunt, maybe in exchange for the release of an Iranian we were holding and Iranian visitation rights for some others. But the Iranians were also looking at an awful lot of aircraft carriers steaming around their neighborhood. Didn’t they blink? If that’s humiliation, it’s not far from what a U.S.-U.K. victory in the crisis would look like.
I doubt that the release had much to do with fear of an impending attack, but it could certainly be understood that way. The only interpretation that doesn’t make any sense is the one that Krauthammer and so much of Right Blogistan have forwarded; that the incident is a dramatic humiliation for the UK and the US. Mickey further points out that the Krauthammer et al interpretation only makes sense in the context of the disappointment that crowd must have felt when no airstrikes were launched.
Happy birthday to Lysergic acid diethylamide, which turns 69 years old today. First synthesized in Basel, Switzerland by Albert Hofmann, the rye fungus derivative was was not deliberately ingested until April 19, when Hoffman turned on and tuned in with 250 micrograms — ten times the threshold dosage in humans. Among the faithful, April 19 later came to be known as “Bicycle Day” because Hofmann rode his bike home from the lab while tripping.
Hoffman’s first plunge into psychedelia didn’t start out so well, but once he realized that his couch was not threatening him and that his neighbor was not a witch, Hofmann settled back and seems to have enjoyed himself:
Slowly I came back from a weird, unfamiliar world to reassuring everyday reality. The horror softened and gave way to a feeling of good fortune and gratitude, the more normal perceptions and thoughts returned, and I became more confident that the danger of insanity was conclusively past. Now, little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux. It was particularly remarkable how every acoustic perception, such as the sound of a door handle or a passing automobile, became transformed into optical perceptions. Every sound generated a vividly changing image, with its own consistent form and color … Exhausted, I then slept, to awake next morning refreshed, with a clear head, though still somewhat tired physically. A sensation of well-being and renewed life flowed through me. Breakfast tasted delicious and gave me extraordinary pleasure. When I later walked out into the garden, in which the sun shone now after a spring rain, everything glistened and sparkled in a fresh light. The world was as if newly created. All my senses vibrated in a condition of highest sensitivity, which then persisted for the entire day.
I never dropped acid, largely because I couldn’t conceive of being under the influence of anything for more than a couple of hours at a stretch. Also, I once saw a high school friend blow two hours trying to fix a massive, non-existent dent in his skull.
Interestingly, I think that the more Pelosi acts like a wannabe President, the worse it is for Hillary. And I think that Pelosi knows that.
Yes, and all those Republican Congressmen going to Syria–and, hence, wannabe Presidents–must be really bad for male Republican candidates, right? And we can just assume their motives are related to primary catfights, right? And George Bush’s failed, exceptionally unpopular presidency suggests that men are unfit to be President, right? Right? It’s just amazing that a law professor could still think this way in 2007.
…I agree with Sister Nancy Beth Eczema. I wish that Pelosi would stop worrying her pretty widdle head about big manly foreign policy issues. The administration’s immensely successful foreign policy will continue to create stable, pro-American and pro-Israeli liberal democracies throughout the middle east if the uppity women will just get out of the way and leave the big decisions to Bush and obscure members of Congress with more appropriate genitalia.
Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Bleichwehl said troops, facing scattered resistance, discovered a factory that produced “explosively formed penetrators” (EFPs), a particularly deadly type of explosive that can destroy a main battle tank and several weapons caches.
What? The same EFPs that had to come from Iran, because they couldn’t possibly be manufactured in Iraq? I don’t mind so much anymore about the falsehoods; I just wish that they would respect my intelligence enough to tell plausible lies.
Exhibit Z. Well, at least we can be reassured that his assertions of unlimited executive power won’t extent to providing health care for poor working people, who frankly deserve to die if they “choose” not to purchase insurance.
Scott and Ezra, predictably enough, have rushed to judgment on the question of Iraq’s ties to Al Qaeda. Sure, we could rely on declassified reports that undermine one of the administration’s central cases for war (a case that Dick Cheney among others continues to make in public.) And we could assume that because this latest report reiterates what most authoritative sources — including the September 11 Commission — have been arguing for several years, it would be reasonable to grant the DoD’s assessment a certain measure of legitimacy.
But wouldn’t it be irresponsible of us not to consider the possibility that some dude’s self-published e-book might offer a more reliable, alternative account of Saddam’s vast Islamic conspiratorializing? Bob Owens thinks so, and he’s already prepared to state that “If the conclusions made are supported, it may just be the most important book released since the beginning of the War On Terror.”
And what might those conclusions be? Glad you asked:
2. Documents provide strong evidence that Saddam was the instigator and ultimate mastermind behind the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. They also provide evidence to suspect that Saddam was complicit in the Millennium Plot as executed by al Qaeda against the United States. Furthermore, documents reveal what may be foreknowledge by Saddam of the American anthrax attack that occurred within days of 9/11 . . . .
4. Saddam corrupted mightily. He used pacifists, leftists, and even environmentalists to spread his propaganda. His intelligence agencies claimed to have sources all over the world in sensitive organizations, including the UN and the American media . . . .
6. For the sake of history we make the startling revelation that during President Bush’s 2006 State of the Union Address, a spy for Saddam Hussein sat with the First Lady, Laura Bush. It should be noted that it was practically impossible to know this, and at the time the man was a leader of the Afghan reform movement that supported the overthrow of the Taliban.
This is what separates hacks like us from true citizen journalists like Bob Owens. Have we forgotten the One Percent Doctrine already?
Failure of imagination, guys. Failure. Of. Imagination.
Shockingly enough, assertions about operational connections between Iraq and Al-Qaeda turn out to be…completely bogus! Who would have thunk it? And just to pre-empt any claims that this is a strawman that nobody ever put forward as a justification for the war anyway, Glenn Reynolds thoughtfully compiled somelinks at the time to various conservative bloggers (in addition to himself) demanding more attention to Saddam’s fictitious connections to Al-Qaeda. I particularly enjoyed reading this one: “STEPHEN F. HAYES wonders why the White House continues to downplay the Saddam / Al Qaeda connection. I’ve wondered the same thing.” Yes, indeed, there was an obvious inference to be made from the fact that the administration (with the exception of the Vice President) largely declined to make direct assertions about Iraq’s alleged ties to Al Qaeda although this would have provided an unassailable justification for the war. The fact that Reynolds, Hayes, and other conservative pundits refused to connect the dots is quite remarkable; it’s not easier to make more hackish and factually bereft arguments in favor of the war than Bush himself, but some people succeeded.
I have a discussion of Jan Crawford Greenburg’s new book up at TAP. The most valuable part of the book, I argue, is that it emphasizes how contingent the (relative) moderation of the late Rehnquist Court was. To excerpt one point:
The most sophisticated denial strategy is to point out that the Court rarely stays outside of the bounds established by political pressures for long. Long-established by the political science literature, this claim actually has considerable merit, and it is true that worries about the return of a “Constitution in Exile” are overblown. (It is highly unlikely that anything like a radical, pre-New Deal vision of federalism will ever command five votes in the Supreme Court. Even if it happened, the effects would be temporary, as the Republican Party would essentially be finished as a political force in its current form.)
Still, it’s important not to overstate the restrictions on the Court’s autonomy, or to assume that justices will always act in the strategic interests of the party that appointed them. In retrospect, it may seem inevitable that the Court has failed to take the highly unpopular step of overturning Roe v. Wade, but as Greenburg reminds us, Roe’s survival (in diluted form) was highly contingent. Had Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork when the GOP still controlled the Senate and saved Scalia to replace Lewis Powell, for example, he almost certainly would have gotten both confirmed. Similarly, Souter’s nomination by George H.W. Bush was a fluke based on the influence of John Sununu and Warren Rudman in the White House and strange internal machinations in the Department of Justice; without those things, Kenneth Starr would have been the likely nominee. Either result would have ended in Roe being overturned, and would have had a considerable impact in many other areas of law as well (most notably affirmative action and church and state issues). The Rehnquist Court could have been much more conservative than it was. Liberals shouldn’t get too complacent about the consequences should a Republican president get to appoint the replacement for John Paul Stevens or Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
As I say, it’s true that the Court–in general–tends to gravitate towards the political center. But there are also any number of exceptions to this rule, and (particularly during times of closely divided government) the Court often has considerable discretion about individual issues. The fact that overturning Roe might not be optimal for the Republican Party doesn’t ensure its survival by any means, and in fields where a great deal of rollback can be done outside the public eye the potential damage of making Roberts or Scalia the median vote on the Court is even greater.