Trailers to Check Out: Saturday, 20 Sept 2004

Alien: Director's Cut


The Triplets of Belleville

Blogwise just notified me that I've been officially added to the directory. Thanks, y'all!

Oh, my, my, my, my, my.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Betty Bowers: Out to Makeover the Queer Eyes

Baptists for the Limpwrists

Can Clark Claim the Iraqi War Resolution and Ditch the Iraqi War? Yes.

The New York Times reported a bit more of Clark's Sept. 18th conversation on the plane than the Post, which makes clear his support of the Iraqi war resolution was predicated on providing leverage for a UN-based resolution. It's exactly what Clark said on the 19th, as reported both in the Post and the Times.

However, the Post appears to misquote Clark as saying he would not have voted for the war resolution:

Retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark reversed course yesterday on the issue of Iraq, saying that he would "never have voted" for the congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to go to war, just a day after saying that he likely would have voted for it.

Washington Post
The Times, again, gives up more context to the quote:
General Clark, a former NATO commander who has retired from the Army, never denied making the statement in an interview with four reporters on his chartered plane. But he seemed stunned by the headlines that it generated, as supporters worried that he had undercut his position as an antiwar candidate with military bona fides.

"I never would have voted for war," he said here this afternoon in an interview and in response to a question after a lecture at the University of Iowa. "What I would have voted for is leverage. Leverage for the United States to avoid a war. That's what we needed to avoid a war."

New York Times
I can't find where he says he wouldn't have voted for the war resolution, as the Post would have him saying. There are plenty of quotes that he would not have voted for "this war," however. We should therefore understand that the Washington Post is resolutely anti-Clark and the Times is pulling for him.

On to the larger question: Is Clark's distinction a valid one? Can he claim a vote for the war resolution and disavow the war itself?

The Iraqi war resolution gave Bush power to wage war as he saw fit, based on certain conditions. What must be shown here is that Bush violated the conditions of the war resolution, which would invalidate the war he conducted. Then I believe that Clark and other Democratic candidates could legitimately disavow that war.

Since we know Bush lied in his letter of determination submitted on the eve of the war, I believe Clark can legitimately support the war resolution and disavow the war.

Well, Cuss.

Clark Shifts Position on Iraq War Resolution
On Hill Vote, 'Never' Replaces 'Probably'
Washington Post Misrepresenting Clark Positions on Iraq War?

Daily Kos: Initial Thoughts About Clark

Kos brings up three memes circling around the Clark candidacy. The second (Clark voted Republican in the past) Kos diffuses himself. The third (Clark is being too tame) isn't going to be a problem if we ever see Clark square off against Commander Bunnypants in a debate.

I'd like to address the first, a variation of the "anti-war" Clark. Unfortunately, Kos attributes a summary statement written by a "draft Clark" website to Clark:

The United States needs to keep homeland security and the war against terrorism at the top of our list of national priorities; we can't be distracted by other entanglements, including Iraq, that might divert our attention.

* "The issue to me has been that we have known for a long time that Osama bin Laden is a problem. The difficulty was always to mobilize the American people and bring enough comprehensive pressure to bear to do something against terrorism. Well, 9-11 did that. But the administration has squandered a lot of the international goodwill that came our way after the attacks and is now squandering our domestic energy by forcing us into Iraq."
* The Bush administration's mistake in Iraq, says Clark, is one of priorities. "They picked war over law. They picked a unilateralist approach over a multilateral approach. They picked conventional forces over special-operations forces. And they picked Saddam Hussein as a target over Osama bin Laden."

The bolded paragraph is bolded at the website, and is clearly meant to summarize the following actual statements of Clark.

This doesn't blunt the point Kos is trying to make, however. The second unbolded paragraph is a direct quote from an uncredited online article about Clark's Iraqi war doubts:
Clark's argument, in simple terms, is that unless the United States can bring a strong coalition into a war against Iraq, it may put itself in greater danger. The chief threat to U.S. security right now is al Qaeda, he argues. Disarming Iraq is important too, he says, but it's not the most urgent task. The Bush administration's mistake in Iraq, says Clark, is one of priorities. "They picked war over law. They picked a unilateralist approach over a multilateral approach. They picked conventional forces over special-operations forces. And they picked Saddam Hussein as a target over Osama bin Laden."

Leadership for
Since the DraftClark2004 website didn't include a link to this quote, their use of the "priorities" sentence is a plagarism. Furthermore, had they linked to the article, it would have immediately cleared up any mistaken impression created by the summary statement. Why didn't they?

For the record, Clark's position has always been consistent:
The key issue about Iraq has never been whether we should act if Saddam doesn't comply with U.N. resolutions and disarm. Rather, the problems are how we should act, and when.

Wesley Clark: Let's Wait to Attack
You don't misunderstand a statement like that. The Bush Administration chose war as a goal instead of law. They quickly eliminated any peaceful solution, and brought the crisis to a point where war became inevitable. Only then did Clark reluctantly endorse the ensuing war:
Clark explained on CNN (1/21/03) that if he had been in charge, "I probably wouldn't have made the moves that got us to this point. But just assuming that we're here at this point, then I think that the president is going to have to move ahead, despite the fact that the allies have reservations."

Why weren't relevant quotes like these included in this summary? Why is DraftClark2004 misrepresenting what Clark said?

It couldn't have anything to do with this tangled mess, could it?

Communication Network FUBAR in Iraq

Slate, via Atrios

A WorldCom/MCI Iraqi cellphone network commissioned by a no-bid contract cannot call land phones in Iraq. It cannot call a separate network established for security forces in June.

According to a Defense Department official, if someone working for the U.S. occupation authority needed to talk with a battalion commander, there was no way to make direct contact. He or she had to call a desk officer back in the Pentagon, who would jot down the message and call the commander himself. If the commander wanted to reply to the message, the same desk officer would jot down the response and call back the occupation authority.
And Bush wants $87 billion more to rebuild Iraq? He can't even get a competent phone network off the ground!

Liberal Oasis: Fine Summary of the Initial Clark Attack Memes

Clark: Not a Target-Rich Environment

That’s a lot of random balls being thrown at the wall. And none of them are likely to stick.

As noted earlier, the more hysterical stuff is easily shot down by the facts.

And the other stuff is simply Bush league.

You can call a guy abrasive, manipulative, indecisive, conspiratorial, hot-headed, or thin-skinned all day long.

But if he doesn’t show those qualities on the campaign trail, no one will care.

If the Democratic Candidates Had Observed 'Talk Like A Pirate' Day

Salt Lake Tribune, via Making Light


Meme of the Day: Wesley Clark is a __________.

Some excellent debunking of Clark attack memes is found at American Politics. Also, a good listing of attack memes are at CounterSpin.

Counterpunch: Wesley Clark "Another Con Job of the NeoCons?"

Wayne Madsen is busy hating Clark and making crazy stuff up.

The latest trick of the neo-cons is running retired General Wesley Clark for President as a Democrat. But not just any Democrat -- a "New Democrat." The same bunch that are pushing Joe Lieberman's candidacy are obviously hedging on their bets and want to have Clark in the race as a potential vice presidential candidate (to ensure their continued influence in a future Democratic administration of Howard Dean, John Kerry, or Dick Gephardt) or as a "go-to" candidate in the event that Lieberman stumbles badly in the first few Democratic primaries next year.
Why Madsen thinks the New Democrats need Clark to run as President so they can have him as Vice President is beyond me. Why wouldn't they just pick him after Lieberman scoops up the nomination? Oh, they need him as a fall-back candidate. Well, why didn't they run him in the first place? If Madsen is right about the New Democrats, then they seriously need to get their machination rationales into the Illuminati repair shop.

Clark is in the race because he saw enough support in the people who matters, the voting public. The New Democrats aren't pulling his strings - they just know a potential victor when they see one. (And hedging your bets on Lieberman looks to be a wise choice these days.)
The "New Democrats" (neo-cons) are as much masters at the perception management (lying) game as their GOP counterparts (Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld). Clark's presidential candidacy announcement in Little Rock is one warning sign.
Okay, wait. On the entire political spectrum, the New Democrats have to be on the left side. Even if they're just one tiny toe away from the center point, they're on the left side. The *ahem* Liberal side. So how can they be neo-conservatives? Neo-liberals? No, they've always been liberals. Neo-con-wanna-bes? Sounds like a river in Mississippi. "The Snopes had always lived on the banks of Neoconwannabe..."

Why don't we just call them New Democrats? That's what they want to be called.

And Clark announced his presidency in Little Rock because he's lived there since he was five years old.
Wesley Clark was born on December 23rd, 1944 in Chicago, into an Orthodox Jewish Family. His father Benjamin Kanne, a lawyer and Democratic Party politician, died when Wesley was five years old. His mother, Veneta Kanne Clark, from Arkansas originally, moved the family back to Little Rock where she remarried a former banker, Victor Clark.
It's incredible, isn't it? As if little Wesley ran to his mother when he was five and murmured into her ear, "Mother, we must move back to your hometown now that Papa has died. The New Democrats will want me to announce my candidacy from there." Sheesh...

As you can see, there's no New Democrat scheming behind Clark's announcement location, move along...
Now enter "Arkansan" Wesley Clark. Like Hillary Clinton, Clark is a Chicago transplant to Little Rock.
Move along!
Fast forward to the Kosovo wars when Clark was NATO commander. Not only did Clark lord over the first unprovoked aerial bombardment of a major European city (Belgrade) since Adolf Hitler's Luftwaffe pounded virtually defenseless European cities, but he almost got into a shooting war with Russian peacekeeping troops in Kosovo. It was only the intervention of the British government, Defense Secretary William Cohen, and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Hugh Shelton that prevented Clark from starting World War III. When Clark ordered British Lt. Gen. Michael Jackson to forcibly block Kosovo's Pristina Airport to prevent Russian planes from landing, the Briton replied, "Sir, I'm not starting World War III for you." Jackson was backed up all the way to Number 10 Downing Street. Clark was forced to back down. Eventually, Cohen fired Clark as NATO commander three months before his term was to expire.
The artistry with which Madsen compares Clark to Hitler is almost to be admired. Almost.

Antidotal corrects the rabid urban legend of Clark "almost starting WW3" with simple facts. Did you know that a few days after Jackson said his much-repeated line, he and Clark both went ahead and sent NATO troops to the Pristina Airport? From Antidotal:
Who was ultimately correct here? You might argue that Jackson was correct because they ended up resolving the situation diplomatically without needing the particular operation Clark had ordered. But we have empirical evidence that nothing close to a serious confrontation would have occurred had Clark's orders gone through: several days later, with the situation at Pristina still pretty much the same, both Clark and Jackson authorized French and British units to take positions at the airport. The troops got there. The Russians denied them access. Everyone stood around and radioed back to their commanders for further instruction. Then the NATO units left. Lo and behold, no one got shot. No massive diplomatic crisis. No World Wars began.
Imagine that. Carry on, Mr. Madsen:
Before becoming NATO Commander, Clark was the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy within the Joint Chiefs of Staff. From this vantage point, Clark was well aware of and likely supported the arming of the Bosnian government by accepting contributions from various deep-pocketed Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Malaysia, Brunei, Jordan, and Egypt. Via something called the Bosnia Defense Fund, these countries deposited millions of dollars into U.S. coffers to buy weapons for the Bosnians and train them in their use through the use of private military contractors like Military Professional Resources, Inc. (MPRI). And when some of the weapons and cash for the Bosnians became "unaccounted for," where did some of the guns and cash wind up? In the hands of Al Qaeda and Iranian Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guard) units in Bosnia.
What's that sound? It's the sound of someone RE-E-E-E-E-A-A-A-A-A-CHING.

Don't ya just love the way Madsen plays Six Degrees of Al Qaeda here? I suppose this is meant to sound like the Iran-Contra scandal, except for the part where the Bosnian Defense Fund was legal and the contra funding scheme was not.
More interestingly is how General Clark's Bosnia strategy ultimately goes full circle. According to Washington K Street sources, the law firm that established the Bosnia Defense Fund was none other than Feith and Zell, the firm of current Pentagon official and leading neo-con Douglas Feith. Feith's operation at Feith and Zell was assisted by his one-time boss and current member of Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle. Both Feith and Perle advised the Bosnian delegation during the 1995 Dayton Peace talks. The chief U.S. military negotiator in Dayton was Wesley Clark.
Furthermore, John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and hid in a storage facility, while Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK in a storage facility and hid in a theater!

How exactly does Clark's 1995 role in the Dayton peace talks bring the events of 1999 full circle? Have the neo-cons developed time travel? What you've got is Feith, Perle, and Clark in the same room. Is this proof that Clark's a tool of the neo-cons? He was in the same room with them? God, just think what they're cooking up at the Gridiron Club!
After four years of Bush, the neo-con Fifth Column in the Democratic Party is trying to convince us that Clark is the "anti-war" candidate. Tell that to the people of Serbia, Kosovo, and Montenegro. Tell that to the coca farmer in Bolivia or Colombia who is trying to feed his family. Let's not fall for the deception and tricks of the neo-cons again. If you are tired of Bush, Cheney, and the neo-cons and their phony wars, Clark is certainly not the answer. He has been, and remains part of, the great deception of the American people.
Okay, enough with the "anti-war" candidate stuff. The general isn't "anti-war". The only people who are making him out to be an "anti-war" candidate are people who are too lazy to research what General Clark has actually said on the matter, or people who'd like to see the Democratic Party split. He views war as the last resort, and he also believes in the true power of diplomacy and international organizations. Wesley Clark is the general who will give peace a chance.

So what does Madsen have to prove that Clark is a tool of the neo-cons? Well, the New Democrats are happy he's in the race. And he was once in the same room with a neo-con. Along with a bunch of darkweaving, that's all he's got. Pitiful, isn't it?

Wesley Clark for President? Another Con Job from the Neo-Cons by Wayne Madsen
DraftClark: Wesley Clark Biography
Antidotal: Clark and Pristina Airfield

Did Bush Lie to Congress About Invading Iraq In Writing? Yes and No

The Left Coaster, via Tom Tomorrow

It appears so.

Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate

March 18, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.



The Left Coaster says this about paragraph (1).
The failure to find any imminent WMD threat has now negated Article 1 of the rationale Bush used above.
Bush neglects to mention that it was his narrow-minded rush to war that shored up his statements. But there was existing intelligence of WMD that convinced a lot of people on both sides of the aisle. The error of Saddam's WMD is a bipartisan error (one, I note, that will not split the Republican Party). Bush's cynicism in making this claim is duly noted, but he's got wiggle room. His determination in (1) is based on information available to him, and only the claim of information is being made, not that the WMD are actually there.

By this same token, however, (2) is clearly proven a lie by Bush's recent admission of no 9/11-Iraqi link. The use of force against nations is narrowly focused to those nations who planned, authorized, committed or aided the 9/11 attacks, and Bush said there is no evidence and never has been. The invasion of Iraq was therefore unjustified by Public Law 107-243, and it's a clear implication that such "information" was available to him. But:

No information about Iraqi plans of the 9/11 attacks existed when this letter was signed.

No information about Iraqi authorization of the 9/11 attacks existed when this letter was signed.

No information about Iraqi commission of the 9/11 attacks existed when this letter was signed.

No information about Iraqi aid to the 9/11 attacks existed when this letter was signed.

Paragraph (2) is a lie. Bush rolled the dice, expecting to find the evidence when they took over Baghdad. It was a high stakes gamble, and he lost.

It's time to take the football away from the influence of Bush's gut instinct.

Cleland Welcomes Bush To "Vietnam"

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Instead of learning the lessons of Vietnam, where all of the above happened, the president, the vice president, the secretary of defense and the deputy secretary of defense have gotten this country into a disaster in the desert.

They attacked a country that had not attacked us. They did so on intelligence that was faulty, misrepresented and highly questionable.

A key piece of that intelligence was an outright lie that the White House put into the president's State of the Union speech. These officials have overextended the American military, including the National Guard and the Reserve, and have expanded the U.S. Army to the breaking point.

A quarter of a million troops are committed to the Iraq war theater, most of them bogged down in Baghdad. Morale is declining and casualties continue to increase.

In addition to the human cost, the war in dollars costs $1 billion a week, adding to the additional burden of an already depressed economy.

The president has declared "major combat over" and sent a message to every terrorist, "Bring them on." As a result, he has lost more people in his war than his father did in his and there is no end in sight.

Military commanders are left with extended tours of duty for servicemen and women who were told long ago they were going home. We are keeping American forces on the ground, where they have become sitting ducks in a shooting gallery for every terrorist in the Middle East.

Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President. Sorry you didn't go when you had the chance.
The Bush Presidency: DOA.

Toles Previews Clark-Bush Debate


Bush Admits No Iraq-9/11 Link


Now will he admit his adminstration's part in hyping this non-connection? Survey says...X.

The real problem is Cheney, I'm willing to bet. He's the one with the most outrageous quotes, and so I'm betting that his office is the one pushing the envelopes on exagerrated claims. I expect Cheney to bow out of the 2004 race for "health reasons".

New Links: Crafty, Wordplay, and Clark 2004

The biggest new thing is the Clark 2004 section: I'm pulling all explicit Clark links there, including the official campaign website.

There are some good link in the storycraft section, too. Crafty Screenwriting is written by a development executive and current story editor. Wordplay is a dynamite collection of essays from Terry Russio. Enjoy!

Crafty Screenwriting: Writing Movies That Get Made

Screenwriter's Utopia

There is no point writing a screenplay if it isn't going to get produced. In theory everyone knows that, but most of the thousands of screenplays I've read in my years as a development executive were never in any danger of being made into a movie. From the moment the writer conceptualized them, they were doomed.

This column won't be solely about writing "commercial" screenplays. Ninety percent of will be about how to write a great movie. But there is no point writing even a great screenplay if it is not going to get made into a movie sooner or later.

That's because a screenplay is not just writing intended to be turned into film. It's important to understand what else a screenplay is, if you're going to go to all the trouble of writing one - because if you don't, you may well be wasting your time.

A screenplay is the first element in what the movie business calls a package. A package is a combination of a star actor and/or a star director and some material - a book, a screenplay, even just a concept - that movie people are betting a lot of other people will want to go see in movie theaters or on their TVs.

Like it or not, a screenplay is an element in a deal.

Clark Being Gored As "Anti-War Waffler": Media Whores Up To Their Old Tricks

FAIR: Wesley Clark: The New Anti-War Candidate?
Record Shows Clark Cheered Iraq War as "Right Call"

Let's accept that the quotes attributed to Clark in the FAIR article are his. I've been able to obtain the London Times articles, reprinted in full, at the Free Republic, and the quotes there are accurate, so I'm willing to accept that FAIR's got Lexis access. ;-) Plus, Clark's October 2002 op-ed for Time, Let's Wait To Attack, has been mirrored at CNN. From the title alone, it's clear that for Clark, it's not a question of if, but when, and has always been the case. To describe him as a anti-war candidate is wrong. Critical of the war? Yes, as Bush carried it out. But anti-Operation Iraqi Freedom? Roll quotes from the Time article:

We must also have sustained public support, but so far, our national debate on Iraq has been upside down. The Administration announced its aim to change the regime in Baghdad before it made the case for action. To some, our government seemed to be seeking war as a preferred choice rather than as a last resort. We need a real debate to gain the full and informed support of the American people as we move ahead.

In the near term, time is on our side. Saddam has no nuclear weapons today, as far as we know, and probably won't gain them in the next few months. The U.S. has total military dominance of the region. Although Saddam has chemical and biological weapons, he has no long-range missiles with which to deliver them. Certainly, the clock is ticking, because Saddam may eventually acquire the nuclear weapons and delivery systems he seeks. Nonetheless, there is still time for dialogue before we act....

....After Saddam's government collapses, are we prepared to maintain order and prevent mayhem? Wouldn't we be wiser to arrange for police support from other nations and international organizations? And if, as a result of conflict, Iraq's economy collapses, wouldn't we like to have international organizations ready to assist in nation building? Afterward, when agencies from the Islamic world enter Iraq to help rebuild, won't we want to inhibit anti-Americanism and anti-Western sentiment by having thought through the many possible humanitarian problems before we are blamed for them?

The answer to all these questions is yes, if we have the time. Well, we do. The key issue about Iraq has never been whether weshould act if Saddam doesn't comply with U.N. resolutions anddisarm. Rather, the problems are how we should act, and when. As for the how, the answer is clear--multilaterally, with friends and allies, with every possible effort to avoid the appearance of yet another Christian and Jewish stab at an Islamic country, with force as a last resort, and with a post-conflict plan in place to assure that the consequences of our action do not supercharge the al-Qaeda recruiting machine. As for the when, let's take the time to plan, organize and do the whole job the right way. This will only take a few more weeks, and it's important. It's not just about winning a war--it's also about winning the peace.
Clark never was an outright opponent of the Iraqi invasion, and as far as I can tell, he's never claimed to be. He's got grave doubts about the way the Bush Administration was handling the approach to conflict, or was not planning the post-conflict details, but the basic idea of the Iraq invasion? He was on board.

Here's the closest FAIR can get to Clark claiming that he was against the war:
Hearing Clark talking to CNN's Paula Zahn (7/16/03), it would be understandable to think he was an opponent of the war. "From the beginning, I have had my doubts about this mission, Paula," he said. "And I have shared them previously on CNN."
Doubts about the mission? Is that doubts about whether it actually should have occured? No! It's doubts about the logistics and post-war matters, and these "doubts about the mission" are consistent throughout this time period.

Who's claiming he was? Howard Fineman is, for one, that shining example of media harlotry. Howard called him as anti-war as Dean. This is a setup - we are looking at the way BushCo is trying to take Clark down, the same way they took Gore down: misrepresent what was said, and crank up the Wurlitzer.

Here are some few quotes from the first London Times op-eds that FAIR didn't let you in on:
Already the scent of victory is in the air. Yet a bit more work and some careful reckoning need to be done before we take our triumph.

In the first place, the final military success needs to be assured. Whatever caused the sudden collapse in Iraq, there are still reports of resistance in Baghdad. The regime’s last defenders may fade away, but likely not without a fight. And to the north, the cities of Tikrit, Kirkuk and Mosul are still occupied by forces that once were loyal to the regime. It may take some armed persuasion for them to lay down their arms. And finally, the Baath party and other security services remain to be identified and disarmed.

Then there’s the matter of returning order and security. The looting has to be stopped. The institutions of order have been shattered. And there are scant few American and British forces to maintain order, resolve disputes and prevent the kind of revenge killings that always mark the fall of autocratic regimes. The interim US commander must quickly deliver humanitarian relief and re-establish government for a country of 24 million people the size of California. Already, the acrimony has begun between the Iraqi exile groups, the US and Britain, and local people....

If the alternative to attacking in March with the equivalent of four divisions was to wait until late April to attack with five, they certainly made the right call...

As for the diplomacy, the best that can be said is that strong convictions often carry a high price. Despite the virtually tireless energy of their Foreign Offices, Britain and the US have probably never been so isolated in recent times. Diplomacy got us into this campaign but didn’t pull together the kind of unity of purpose that marked the first Gulf War. Relationships, institutions and issues have virtually all been mortgaged to success in changing the regime in Baghdad. And in the Islamic world the war has been seen in a far different light than in the US and Britain. Much of the world saw this as a war of aggression. They were stunned by the implacable determination to use force, as well as by the sudden and lopsided outcome.

Now the bills must be paid, amid the hostile image created in many areas by the allied action....

Is this victory? Certainly the soldiers and generals can claim success. And surely, for the Iraqis there is a new-found sense of freedom. But remember, this was all about weapons of mass destruction. They haven’t yet been found. It was to continue the struggle against terror, bring democracy to Iraq, and create change, positive change, in the Middle East. And none of that is begun, much less completed.

Let’s have those parades on the Mall and down Constitution Avenue — but don’t demobilise yet. There’s a lot yet to be done, and not only by the diplomats.
All of this is still expressing his "doubts about the mission," right in the middle of congratulationing the troops and their leaders for the successful assault! There's even an acknowledgment of his being wrong about waiting in there - subtle, but it's there.

Didn't you see it? It's the statement that titles this thread...the "right call" meme. That's how misleading the subtitle of the FAIR article is. He didn't cheer the war. He accepted its necessity and expressed his doubts about how the war was being carried out. When one element of his doubts was proven wrong, he said that the people in charge, on that one issue, made the right call, and then cheered the successful conclusion of that phase of the war, especially the troops on the ground.

And yet Clark is being set up to be the candidate that "waffled" on the war. The meme will run, "Oh, he was all against it in the beginning. CNN couldn't have him on enough to slam the war. But when the troops got to rolling, he did a 180 and sucked up to the winners. And now that Dean is standing on top of the Democratic pack by slamming the war, Clark is right back on the naysayer's side."

When the truth is, he's consistently voiced his approval of the basic necessity for the war while expressing major doubts about the way the war was conducted. That's who General Clark really is. Go back and read the excerpts from October and April. It's the same message.

And don't believe everything that Howard Fineman tells you. ;-) Clark's Let's Wait To Attack
Smirking Chimp Thread

Good News: Clark Is IN THE RACE!!!!, via Smirking Chimp

Right below the politics subdivision on the sidebar is a Meetup icon for Clark2004. Get in today, and get America turned around. WheeeeeeeeeHAAAAAAAAA!

But Where Does The Pastor Stand on Supralapsarianism?

OBJECTIVE: Ministries

The good Dr. Andrew Miller, "pastor of Mt. Fellowship Baptist Church, devoted husband, and Biblical scholar," has taken a firm stand against the modern heresy of triclavianism, the doctrine that three nails and three nails alone were used to nail our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the cross:

Some have criticized my stance on triclavianism as being counterproductive, arguing that making a point of doctrinal contention over not making a point of doctrinal contention over adiaphora is itself non-salvific. However, my critics are overlooking the dangers of triclavianistic doctrines: allowing adiaphora to creep into our credenda -- while possibly pushing the theologoumenic envelope and providing exciting new opportunities for supererogative works -- will most often serve to muddy the soteriological foundation of Faith, leading in general to ultramontane excesses and, in extreme cases, ebaptization (which is unacceptable pastoral malpractice, however rare it may be.) Doctrinal integrity, and hence salvific effectiveness, is best served by working to end triclavianism and similar erroneous, or simply adiaphoric, doctrines.
Isn't it gratifying to know that we can imagine as many nails in the body of Christ as we want to, and our salvation is still assured? Truly this is the peace that passes all understanding...

Is there a way to get the T-Shirt without buying it? Perhaps I could plead poverty but conviction.

Texas Passes Proposition 12: Welcome to the Corporate States of America

As Molly Ivans explained in her September 11th column:

For 150 years, the Texas Constitution has guaranteed that every person who has suffered some sort of injury shall have remedy by due course of law. Prop. 12 limits the right to sue makers of dangerous supplements like Fen-fen, makers of unsafe tires and exploding gas tanks, polluters, drunk drivers, manufacturers of unsafe medical devices like the Dalkon Shield and corporate crooks. People like Ken Lay and Jeff Skillings of Enron, who destroyed the life savings of thousands of people, get legal protection under Prop. 12. This is the Polluters and Predators Protection Act. And it doesn't even do anything to discourage frivolous lawsuits.
Democratic Veteran points out that the bind the insurance companies find themselves in is due not to outrageous settlements, but risky investments with money that should have been set aside to handle claims. In other worlds, the insurance companies have Bill Bennetted their rates sky high, and now we are expected to lay aside our rights.

Well, Texas did, and was it close. 51% to 49%, in a race that brought out twelve percent of the electorate (only nine percent was expected to show). The people of America continue to abdicate their ruling power to the merciless greedmongers who, in the words of Molly, want to rule, not govern.

Ivans: Case Closed
Democratic Veteran: Sane Texans, you have my sympathy...

US News and World Reports: Vote on Top 10 Documents That Shaped America, via The World Around You

My ten (in the order I remember them):

1. Declaration of Independance
2. Constitution
3. Bill of Rights
4. Articles of Confederation
5. Marbury v. Madison
6. Emancipation Proclamation
7. Sherman Anti-Trust Act
8. Servicemen's Readjustment Act (GI Bill)
9. Manhattan Project Notebook

I can't remember my tenth one! I'm thinking it was the Gettysburg Address, which I would change to the Civil Rights Act or Eisenhower's Interstate Act. Or even the Social Security Act...

My logic is how did we get to where we are today. The first four are no brainers. M v. M established judicial review, the Emanicipation Proclamation is the official turn of the tide against bigotry in America, and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act was a stand against the corporations that began to rival federal power. The GI Bill is the hallmark action of rebuilding America after the war, and the Manhattan Project turned America into the first global nuclear power.

Maybe I wouldn't change the Gettysburg Address. Attention must be paid to the sacrifices of so many American lives for the freedoms we enjoy in this nation. They have not died in vain as long as we are free, and we have not lived in vain if we preserve the blessings of liberty for our posterity.

CA Recall Blocked by Fed Judge

A federal appeals court Monday ordered California election officials to halt preparations for the October 7 gubernatorial recall election, citing concerns about a "hurried, constitutionally infirm" process.
Another concern was replacing "antequated voting machines". Are they replacing them with the latest Diebold Landslide 2004 editions?

More Misleading Alerts from David Corn: "W. And The Gang"

Capital Games

Is there some deadline approaching, after which Bush administration officials have to engage in honest debate?
One can only hope. Announces Great Resource

The opening salvo is taking on the 16 words+ in the State of the Union:

Sixteen untrue words in the President's State of the Union message helped push American into war with Iraq. It's now clear that the remaining 5397 words in the speech were just as misleading. For example:

On the Economy:
"We will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents and other generations."

The truth: Factoring in the cost of reconstruction in Iraq and other laws that are set to be enacted, the federal budget deficit is close to $5 trillion over the next 10 years. The President's latest request to make his tax cuts permanent would add another nearly $1.6 trillion to the federal debt through 2013. That's $41,300 for every man, woman and child.

On Jobs:
My "first goal is an economy that [will] employ every man and woman who seeks a job."

The truth: 2.5 million jobs have already been lost since 2001 and the President's own economic advisors project that his economic plan - if everything goes well - will create fewer jobs in the next year than were lost in the last year. This will make President Bush the first president since Hoover's Great Depression-era presidency to preside over an economy that has lost more jobs than it's created.

This website will chronicle the Bush Administration's ongoing misstatements, misleading figures, and outright deception. Unfortunately for all of us, there is enough misleading to keep this website busy.
A welcome addition to the fray.

Riley Working from Sundquist's Playbook

The World Around You

Now that his tax plan was crushed by Alabama voters, Bob Riley is busy following the footsteps of Mr. Sundquist here in Tennessee: axing programs with an eye for most impact on Alabama voters. What else can he do? Scholarships for needy individuals - gone. Matching federal funds for those scholarships - lost. The Alabama Technology Network, a cooperative program between UA and Auburn that provided streamlining advice for Alabama businesses - down for the count. Adult Education programs - losing a leg.

As Kristopher from TWAY says:

The legislators have to face up to their responsibility and be honest with the people. You asked for less government and now you are getting it.
Birmingham News

Stephen King To Recieve National Book Medal

Ten years ago, he bought a ticket to the annual award presentation because "that was the only way [he] was going to get into the door. Now he's bagged the top prize. It'll look good next to the heart of a small boy...

Congratulations, Stephen King, from a Constant Reader.

New Research: Greeks Adopted Egyptian Counting System


The alphabetic numerals of Greece were probably derived from the Egyptian demotic numeral system. An increase in trade between the two countries is likely to prove the medium of the transfer. Now you know...

Reality TV I'd Like to See: BBC's Restoration Saves Manchester "Water Palace"

Independent, via Crooked Timber

What an incredible concept for a show: Ten historical sites are chosen to compete for restoration. Each site is advocated by a celebrity, and the audience votes for the site they wish to win via 900 numbers. The winner gets the big prize. I'd love a program like this!

China Moves 150,000 Troops To North Korean Border

Taipei Times


Beliefnet Interviews Al Franken: "Would the AntiChrist Write Chorus Line?"

Must read, must read:

There’d been this article about Bush & God in Newsweek. It describes this Bible group that Don Evans [Bush’s Commerce Secretary and longtime friend] got Bush into when he stopped drinking. [Newsweek writer Howard] Fineman describes it as scriptural boot camp. Ten guys and each week they’d study a chapter of a book over two years and analyze them line by line. Over two years, they read Luke and Acts.

So I was at the White House Correspondents dinner and found myself seated at the table next to Don Evans. I was all set to ask about the tax cut. And I said, “So you know what Acts is about?”

And I saw sort of this blank thing go over his eyes and then sort of a quick look of panic and he said, “No.” And I was absolutely shocked. And I said, “Well your tax cut so heavily favors the rich, and Acts is so socialist almost.”

And he said, “But, ah! Acts contains the Parable of the Talents.” Now just as it so happens, I knew that actually wasn’t true. I knew the parable of talents was from Matthew. And he said, “Are you sure?” And I said, “Yeah.” It was just a complete fluke that I knew that. My son the year before had been assigned some New Testament reading in high schools as part of a civilization class and talents was part of what he was assigned.

But I realized that these guys didn’t read these books line by line for two years and discuss them for two years –- they couldn’t have! I know these guys aren’t the smartest guys in the world but they’re not that dumb. I remember stuff I read in high school that I didn’t really read that well but we discussed in class for a like a week—-ya know what I mean?
I love Al Franken. I love him, I do...

McClintock Pummels Schwartzy On-Air

Although they're not scheduled to formally debate until September 24, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom McClintock had the opportunity to engage in some verbal sparring Friday morning.

The hosts of the "Armstrong and Getty" talk radio program, which airs on KSTE-AM in Sacramento, orchestrated a surprise on-air confrontation between the two candidates. McClintock entered the studio during a telephone interview with Schwarzenegger, and the two had their first public conversation since the campaign began.

McClintock immediately took the offensive, asking Schwarzenegger to participate in a debate at the state Republican convention, which starts today and runs through Sunday. "We've got a Republican convention coming up this weekend, you and I are the two Republican candidates now left in the race, why don't we get together and discuss the major issues of this campaign?" said McClintock.

Schwarzenegger replied that he'd be "more than happy" to "get together" with the McClintock, but declined to participate in a debate.

Undeterred, McClintock repeated the challenge to engage in a public face-off on the issues. "Can we do that in a debate before the convention Saturday?" he said. "We're both going to be there."

Schwarzenegger again declined, but added that he would be more than happy to meet privately with McClintock to discuss the issues facing California.

McClintock extended the invitation to debate a third time, but Schwarzenegger again demurred. "We will talk about all those things, and we will have a great time at the Republican convention," he said, just before ending the phone call.
I'm reminded of Mark Anthony offering Julius Caeser a crown three times. I don't know why...

R. Kelly and bin Laden - Two of a Kind

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via War Liberal

Here's a very special fool on parade. Indicted on child pornography charges, R. Kelly knows just how Osama feels. Shouldn't you have compared yourself to someone innocent, R.?

Fool On Parade: George Will Mouths Off On School Vouchers

Town Hall

Blogging before you today is a product of the Alabama public school system. My mother teaches for the public schools in Texas. And my grandfather was an organizer for the IBEW.

So guess where I stand on the idea of vouchers?

George Will keeps trying to make arguments, but in the end, his recent article on school vouchers flops spectacularly.

He first contrasts John Boehner's recent victory in the House (an experimental school voucher program for DC students) with Bill Clinton's veto of the ESSE Act in 1998. Clearly the Repub cares more for kids than the "dry-eyed" Clinton, correct? Well, not exactly. The ESSE Act wanted to set up tax-free education accounts that parents could set up to pay for private education. Who's going to get the vast benefit of that? People who can already afford it. The legislation was a hor deurve for the well-off wrapped as a gift for the needy, and Clinton was quite right to veto it. From CNN:

The education bill cleared the Senate last month by a margin too slim to overcome a presidential veto, and Clinton immediately said he would not sign it. It was offered as an alternative to Clinton's $12 billion, five-year proposal to build schools, hire teachers and expand after-school programs, and Clinton renewed his call for lawmakers to approve his plan.
It's been five years now - imagine the state of the DC schools if they'd been able to apply for some infrastructure and after-school program support? And there's plenty of research showing that small class size is the real dynamic behind improving pupil performance - an advantage that pricy private schools have that underfunded public schools often don't.

Then Will enlightens us on how bad the schools are in DC. He points to a real scandal in the DC teacher's union as proof of this - can we trust teachers with our tax money? The culprits in the embezzlement scandal are rightly derided and punished, but should this tarnish the thousands of teachers who buy class supplies out of their own salary for their students, who put in 10-12 hour days on a salary well below what it should be? And it should be noted that the embezzlers stole directly from the union, and only indirectly from the school system (via the dues that come out of the already strapped teachers' pockets). People who want to see justice done here should be raising the concerns of the teachers, not trying to destroy public education.

Finally, concludes Will, all the arguments of the pro-public schools people have "sunk". His summary of the sinkings are taking on some water of their own:
Choice programs that empower parents to choose religious schools are unconstitutional? Seven consecutive Supreme Court decisions say otherwise.

Choice programs take money from public schools? The D.C. program takes not a penny -- the $10 million would be new money.

Choice programs skim the best students from the public system? Davis' bill gives priority to students in D.C.'s 15 worst-performing schools.

Choice programs lack accountability? The academic progress of participants in the program will be measured against the progress of the students who sought but failed to get any of the 1,300 scholarships.
Unconstitutional: Will neglects to mention that two prominent Supreme Court decisions had to be overturned to get to this point, and that the Court is regularly divided on this issue. But this one holds for now, as long as the voucher programs adhere to the narrow set of circumstances that Zellman v. Simmons-Harris sets up. From the ADL:
While the Supreme Court has upheld school vouchers in the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris case, vouchers have not been given a green light by the Court beyond the narrow facts of this case. Indeed, Cleveland's voucher program was upheld in a close (5-4) ruling that required a voucher program to (among other things):

* be a part of a much wider program of multiple educational options, such as magnet schools and after-school tutorial assistance,
* offer parents a real choice between religious and non-religious education (perhaps even providing incentives for non-religious education),
* not only address private schools, but to ensure that benefits go to schools regardless of whether they are public or private, religious or not.

This decision also does not disturb the bedrock constitutional idea that no government program may be designed to advance religious institutions over non-religious institutions.

Finally, and of critical importance, many state constitutions provide for a higher wall of separation between church and state -- and thus voucher programs will likely have a hard time surviving litigation in state courts.
Yeah, George. It's all smooth sailing for vouchers now...sheesh.

Takes money: The Cleveland program at the heart of Zellman v. Simmons-Harris already reports that only 33% of the voucher students were attending public schools. That means that the program is sucking money out of the school district to pay for students who were already attending private schools. The DC program is to be commended for its stance against robbing schools, but it's paving the way for an even greater bilking of the system.

Skims the best students: Will's argument is laughable here. The priority of the program is on the 15 worst performing schools, which means the best students will be taken out of them, further hobbling the schools' performance, giving the pro-voucher crowd more ammo for dismantling the whole system. Scratch laughable, and insert grossly cynical.

Lack accountability: Most school voucher programs do - check out the Millwaukee program:
What does it mean when private schools get public dollars yet don't have to be accountable to the public? Under the recently upheld legislation, for instance, private schools in Milwaukee's voucher program:

* Do not have to obey the state's open meetings and records laws.
* Do not have to hire certified teachers or even require a college degree.
* Do not have to release information on employee wages or benefits.
* Do not have to provide data such as test scores, attendance figures, or suspension and drop-out rates. In fact, the legislation expanding vouchers to include religious schools specifically eliminated the requirement that the State Superintendent of Schools conduct annual performance evaluations of voucher schools.

Regulations governing private schools are so weak that it is harder to get a liquor license or set up a corner gas station in Milwaukee than it is to start a private school.
And yet Will imagines that the DC program is accountable because it's going to measure the academic progress of program participiants against failed applicants for the vouchers. Well, guess what? They've been doing that in previous voucher programs, and studies show that vouchers don't improve performance of students.
From a research or "what works" point of view, then, the case that vouchers will work to improve the achievement of low-income African American students (but not whites or Hispanics, for whom no positive effect of vouchers has been found) is based entirely on Peterson's New York City results. Those results had already been questioned, interestingly enough by the very group contracted by Peterson to do the voucher research in New York City, Mathematica, a respected, independent research firm. And now, thanks to Mathematica's cooperation in making the full data available for further independent analysis--in keeping with scientific norms--Peterson's positive results for vouchers in New York City have been overturned.

In "Another Look at the New York City School Voucher Experiment," [download the PDF file], Alan B. Krueger of Princeton University and the National Bureau of Economic Research and Pei Zhu of Princeton University re-examine Peterson's data and conclude that the difference in achievement between the African-American students who received vouchers and the control group of students is statistically insignificant. "The safest conclusion," they say, "is probably that the provision of vouchers did not lower the scores of African-American students."
What do you think they're going to find in the DC stats?

The voucher program will be largely used by the well-off to subsize religious education they were already providing for their children, while the public school system will further lapse into an underfunded malaise. The poor will be kept poor, and the rich will be kept rich.

Any last thoughts, Will?
It is a pity that "pro-choice'' Democrats do not remain pro-choice when poor children make it past birth and reach school age.
You lay that flattering unction to your heart, Mr. Will. We who buy pencils and paper for those poor children, we the people, we'll keep working to expand their options in a way that doesn't shanghai the opportunities of a generation.

CNN: Clinton Vetoes School Voucher Bill
AFT: Vouchers Vs. Small Class Size
ADL: School Vouchers are Constitutionally Suspect
AFT: Vouchers: Where's the Public Accountability?
AFT: Another Look at the Results of the Voucher Experiments in Washington, D.C., Dayton, Ohio, and New York City