The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Via DeLong, neocon Francis Fukuyama will not vote for Bush, and wants Rummy to resign? Wow.

Bush's other senior policy adviser:
"I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job."
Yeah, well Noah was a drunk too. Heyo!

Instapundit has a question regarding news that the 9/11 Commission will report that Iran not only has connections to Al Qaeda, but harbored many of the hijackers for a time:
Will those who said that it was wrong to invade Iraq because there wasn't enough evidence of such a connection now weigh in in favor of invading Iran?
Kevin Drum has an interesting response, but there are some issues he doesn't touch on. Here's the thing: Those people Glenn mentions who said it was "wrong to invade Iraq because there wasn't enough evidence of such a connection" have a very large overlap with the people who said we shouldn't invade Iraq because the Bushies would botch it, it would turn into a messy quagmire, and would certainly help Al Qaeda's recruitment pitch.

Hell, take it to the public. Gallup's latest round of Iraq polling shows that a majority of the country thinks invading Iraq was a mistake. So with that in mind, here's a question I'd like to see the American people answer:

"Given the 9/11 Commission's report, would you support an invasion to topple the government of Iran, knowing that resistance to our occupation of Iran would be analagous to that of Iraqis, and that the invasion would be carried out by the same administration that invaded Iraq?"

Guess what: The results would be mixed . . . at best. Then there are other factors. Because the evidence is more solid with Iran, there's the possibility that a larger coalition could be formed. However, the unilateralist Rumsfeld Doctrine manner in which the Iraq war came to be (and the loss of international goodwill therein), coupled with the massive unpopularity of the Iraq war in virtually every major European country, as well as the mess it's been in the past several months, could still hamper any effort to form a large 1991-style coalition.

If the US invades a second Middle Eastern country, it will be ever so much harder to convince the people of the region that this isn't a crusade. If we invade Iran in 05 or 06, Iraq will not be stable by then, and the example of Iraq will not provide us with any sort of mandate to do it.

And should we really be further destabilizing the region by invading a Muslim country right next to an even larger Muslim country (Pakistan) with a secular government that has 1) a tenuous grasp on power and 2) nuclear weapons?

And of course, that last puppet regime we set up in Iran sure worked out well, didn't it?

So, to answer Glenn's question: No, I did not support the invasion of Iraq, for a variety of reasons including their lack of meaningful connections to Al Qaeda. But no, I would not support the invasion of Iran either, for many of the same reasons I did not support the invasion of Iraq.

I'm sure the military is up for it! Surely they're not overextended right now! I dunno, asking them to invade Iran is tantamount to a 21-year-old intern telling the 62-year-old Congressman she's sleeping with "let's do it again!"

And I'm sure Kim Jong Il loves all this.

Friday, July 16, 2004

I'm angry: The Florida felon rolls seem to show that Jeb is up to his old tricks again.
I'm disturbed but temporarily witholding judgment: Did interim Iraqi President Allawi summarily execute a halfdozen detainees in the days before the handover?  Some witnesses say so, and they have the names of the people allegedly shot by Allawi.
If true -- I'd like to see some more verification -- is this the sort of man we want in charge of a transition to a open democratic society?  I guess this is a gut-check for conservatives, certainly between the neocons and the "nuke&pave" paleocons.  For the neoconservative ideal to come true, there would need to be a clear denunciation of things like what Allawi allegedly did; the whole thing is predicated on an assertion of our superior values and how they can help the world be more like us, and aside from the initial invasion, any further dictatorial, harsh tactics can only muddy the message, in spite of any apparent necessity.
If the United States wants to understand the consequences of supporting a strongman with a (alleged) penchant for summary executions in Iraq, they need look no further than Iraq's eastern neighbor.
I hope these stories aren't true, but if they are, sadly they wont surprise me, as little has in Iraq lately.
I'm curious as to why others are gloating:  Let's keep our eyes on the ball here:
--The CIA and the White House both said, rather frequently, last summer, that the "16 words" should not have been in the SOTU speech.
--Many of the people who attacked Joe Wilson are the same people who spent a lot of energy emphatically defending Ahmed Chalabi.
--As Kevin mentioned in the link, the only bit of real new information regarding Wilson's credibility is that his wife might have been the one who recommended him for the Niger trip, and that's a pretty damn trivial part of this whole thing.
--Does this change the flagrant illegality of a senior administration official leaking Wilson's wife's identity as a CIA operative to Bob Novak as political revenge?  Not in the slightest.  And if there was no wrongdoing, the administration could have said so last summer.
--C'mon!  Wilson is a UCSB alum!  Let's give him a break.
Anyway, for some reason Salon's free day-pass isn't letting me view the rest of Wilson's open letter regarding the Senate report.
Martha sentenced to five months in prison and five more under house arrest.
Soooooo... she can do her show from her house, right?
She now adds her name to the list of famous people sentenced to house arrest, next to, say, Pol Pot.  Hmm.
Okay, can we please get back to prosecuting corporate criminals whose crimes can be measured in the billions now?

House Votes to Block Aid for Saudi Arabia - from Reuters.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Though it is quite even-handed, this flash video is still pretty funny.
Right now, Berkeley is covered with flyers alerting the local citizenry to the Nader-Camejo campaign's kickoff rally on Friday in San Francisco.  Any large-enough pole or newspaper vendor in the area immediately around campus has a flyer with the visages of the longtime consumer advocate and the former gubernatorial candidate on them.
Unfortunately, the flyers have two notable problems:
1) They're really, really white.
2) There's a healthy amount of blank space on the right.
Because of this, the flyers are just asking for highly-visible graffiti.  And sure enough, many of them have large marker scribblings on them, notably "BUSH-NADER 2004" and "MY EGO IS YOUR DOWNFALL", with the requisite arrow pointing at Ralph.
Well, at least it's good to see that the far left in Berkeley finally has some credible opposition for once!
I thought about adding to the graffiti, but I momentarily forgot how to spell "Duverger".

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


My blog is listed among the expansive collection of Daily Kos Reader Blogs, that is, blogs of people who have contributed to DKos in some way/shape/form.

Some of the people on the list, such as Folkbum, have blogrolled the entire list of DKos Reader blogs on their personal blogs, and mad props go out to them. To render myself a more active member of this non-community community, I've provided a link to a list of these blogs at the top of my blogroll on the left, and I will begin to occasionally do roundups of good stuff from a few randomly selected blogs from the list on a weekly-or-so basis.

Okay let's give this a shot:

--At Big, Left, Outside, Al Giordano is having a tournament/contest in which readers submit speeches they'd like to see John Kerry make when he accepts the Democratic nomination at the end of this month. The deadline is July 22nd, so hurry!

--The Department of Louise mocks Man-On-Dog Santorum's rhetoric and notices some things about the President's body language.

--Some interesting thoughts over at That Good Night on the recent developments involving the Israeli wall security barrier.

Gay marriage amendment vote fails 48-50.
The Senate dealt an election-year defeat Wednesday to a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, rejecting pleas from President Bush and fellow conservatives that the measure was needed to safeguard an institution that has flourished for thousands of years.

The vote was 48-50, 12 short of the 60 needed to keep the measure alive. Six Republicans joined dozens of Democrats in sealing the amendment's fate.

"I would argue that the future of our country hangs in the balance because the future of marriage hangs in the balance," said Sen. Rick Santorum, a leader in the fight to approve the measure. "Isn't that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?"
Yo Ricky: Woof woof. Come and get it, right here.

In case you were wondering, the two missing votes were those of Kerry and Edwards, who stated they would not return to the hill just to cast a procedural vote, though they would have for the up-down vote. Republicans were holding out hope that if the two of them didn't show, they might be able to squeak out a symbolic simple majority from this vote. Guess that didn't work out!

[billclinton] Hey, what's with Senate Republicans bringing up culture war issues that require a 2/3 majority but don't even make it to a symbolic simple majority? [/billclinton]


Well, don't fret Republicans, at least Bush can run on his smooth, versatile, well-managed stewardship of the situation in Iraq.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


I have only given intermittent attention to this blog over the past couple weeks. I have a feeling that this trend will continue through much of the summer, I must be honest.

With that in mind, let's cast a wide, non-dolphinish net...

--The Incredible Hulk wants to know why there aren't any plans in the works for a sequel to his 2003 blockbuster. That is, "Why no one want make Hulk 2?" Laugh-out-loud funny.

--Wait a minute. I thought that a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was supposed to be used as a wedge issue to divide Democrats. Boy, that sure worked out! Kitten Kevorkian Frist says:
"This issue is not going away," Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee said in a virtual concession that the measure would fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance past a Wednesday test vote. "Will it be back? Absolutely, yes," he added.
Remember that just a week ago, Republicans were the ones pushing for an up-or-down vote this week. Many Republicans out there like to lecture us liberals that 2004 is nothing like 1992. To them I say, we can now add "culture war wedge issue that backfired" to the comparison. (1992's, of course, was the flag-burning amendment)

--A lot of people around the blogs have either commented on, or taken this marginally useful "culture test", which asks respondents to pick their cultural preference from 100 pairs of people, places and things. It's a bit long, and some of the pairs required me not to reply due to my insufficiently expanded cultural palate, but here are some of my highlights:
1. Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly? I'm a sucker for Singin' in the Rain, so obviously Kelly.
10. Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning? As a pretentious songwriter, I need organization in my art, so de Kooning it is.
11. The Who or the Stones? Let's face it: Both of them sucked after their relevance threshold, the former in the period up to and after Moon kicked, and the latter after about 1973. At their peaks? Stones by a nose.
22. Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe? Marilyn in a walk.
28. Tchaikovsky or Chopin? I was in The Nutcracker when I was 6, and I'll always love it, but the drama of Chopin's best work is too much to resist.
31. Grosse Pointe Blank or High Fidelity? Good god, why do they even bother asking a question like this? I can think of 5 reasons...
40. Rodgers and Hart or Gershwin and Gershwin? I grew up with Gershwin, I'll die with Gershwin. It's very cleeeeaarrr...
54. Ghost World or Election? Shit. For the sole reason that there was a girl in one of my Political Science sections last year who reminded me exactly of Tracy Flick, Election it is.
67. A Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It? Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade, he bravely broached his boiling bloody breast!
71. North by Northwest or Vertigo? Vertigo. San Francisco baybee.
74. The Music Man or Oklahoma? Oklahoma, for the sole reason that I was in it once. My production was directed by none other than Gene Nelson, who played Will in the movie.
81. Diana Krall or Norah Jones? Diana Krall looks like Ann Coulter. So it's all you, Norah!
89. Huckleberry Finn or Moby-Dick? Moby Dick, obsession rules!
94. Liz Phair or Aimee Mann? Liz Phair, if only for Exile in Guyville. That pop crap she came out with last year made this a close call.

--Lastly, I know some people who would do well to plan a road trip around this idea.

More blogging soon.

Monday, July 12, 2004

ANCHORMAN not worth full price. I really like Will Ferrell, and I find him quite funny, but in spite of his skills, Anchorman is often a good deal tedious. On the other hand, every second of film devoted to Steve Carrell (playing a Ralph Wiggum-esque weatherman) is pure gold. That is all.