Sunday, May 28, 2006

Matthew McIrvin Is Shrill!

Matthew McIrvin is shrill:

mmcirvin: More fun and games: Does Joel Achenbach's article on global warming skeptics win the bingo? It's written as a more or less unjudgmental personality piece, of the "I can't evaluate what these brainiacs are saying but it sure is interesting" variety.... [T]his kind of coverage of science drives me nuts.

Joel Achenbach's true sin is his failure to lift a finger to evaluate any of the claims of global warming skeptics. Fortunately, we can teach Joel Achenbach to deal with Fred Smith. We can send him to Tim Lambert:

Deltoid: CEI exaggerates by a factor of one million: After everyone laughed at their first two ads, CEI have made another one. This purports to compare Gore's CO2 emissions from flying around to give his presentation on global warming with that of an average person. This screen capture shows that Gore's CO2 meter is about 683,000,000, while the one for the average person is 177, so apparently Gore's flying around produces 4,000,000 times as much CO2 as the average person does in their regular activities. The average person produces about 170 pounds of CO2 per day. According to the CEI video Gore only makes flights from one side of the USA to the other and never flies to somewhere in the middle of the country or on the same coast. This calculator says that a cross country flight produces 1600 pounds of CO2. It seems that the CEI believe that Gore must take 4,000,000*(170/1600)=400,000 cross-country flights every day of the year.

Taking a cross country flight even every second day would be a pretty brutal schedule, so CEI are out by at least a factor of a million.

So, if Gore doesn't fly around the country to warn people about global warming, no-one hears his message. If he does, CEI says "Don't listen to Gore, he's a hypocrite". Cute.

Joel Achenbach had better learn to deal with Fred Smith. If he doesn't he will be doomed, after his death, to forever walk the night through the Washington Post newsroom:

There was a clanking noise, deep down below; as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine merchant's cellar. The door flew open with a booming sound, and then came the noise much louder. "How now!" said the night editor, caustic and cold as ever. "What do you want with me?"

"Much!" -- Achenbach's voice, no doubt about it.

"Who are you?"

"Ask me who I was."

"Who were you then?"

"In life I was your magazine writer, Joel Achenbach." "You don't believe in me," observed the Ghost.

"I don't."

"What evidence would you have of my reality, beyond that of your senses?"

"I don't know."

"Why do you doubt your senses?"

"Because a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"

At this the spirit raised a frightful cry, and shook its chain with such a dismal and appalling noise. "Mercy!" said the night editor. "Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?"

"Man of the worldly mind!" replied the Ghost, "do you believe in me or not?"

"I do. I must. But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?"

"It is required of every man," the Ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world -- oh, woe is me! -- and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!" Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.

"You are fettered. Tell me why?"

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?"

The editor trembled more and more.

"These links I forged when I let Fred Smith spin me about global warming..."

Greg Sargent Is Shrill!

He deals with Adam Nagourney:

The Horse's Mouth: it would be awfully nice if the political media saw fit to acknowledge its own role in shaping the public's perceptions of politicans and political events. From reporter Adam Nagourney's piece:

Mr. Gore had managed to shed much of his political baggage from 2000, when he was derided precisely for being a sound-bite candidate, captive of his consultants. (Emphasis added.)

The passive voice is always a giveaway. Who was it exactly who derided Gore in 2000? Why, The New York Times among others did, that's who! The paper's coverage of the campaign, especially that done by Katharine Seelye, relentlessly caricatured Gore as overly political and calculating, and while it's not easy to get the offending articles without Nexis, you can see piles and piles of evidence if you go to The Daily Howler's archive from 2000.

With that in mind, it was gratifying indeed to hear Gore unload on the political press and describe it as frivolous and cynical....

Is it churlish to note that, while [Nagourney's] piece was somewhat sympathetic to Gore, the paper was still straining to revive an old Gore chesnut -- Gore is a pompous ass -- by noting his "cluck-clucking" at a time when Gore was talking about what is quite literally the most important issue facing humankind, i.e., the fate of the earth? Maybe. It's also worth noting that the piece strained to imply that Gore had other motives -- worry over his image and legacy; fear of losing -- for devoting himself to issues instead of returning to politics...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Poor Man Is Hypershrill!!

Ia Fhtagn!! Ia Fhtagn!!

The Poor Man: I was going to do a whole thing about how disingenuous Gregg Easterbrook has been about global warming, but I see that Media Matters has already done a very thorough job. I would like to highlight one rather egregious item they missed, which comes from his dramatic announcement that, at long last, the science behind global warming has earned the coveted Gregg Easterbrook Seal of Sound Science:

When global-warming concerns became widespread, many argued that more scientific research was needed before any policy decisions. [sic] This was hardly just the contention of oil-company executives. “There is no evidence yet” of dangerous climate change, the National Academy of Sciences declared in 1991.

The thing is, Easterbrook was wrong about global warming, wrong and foolish, as he has been wrong and foolish about countless scientific questions over the years.... However, as he has (somehow) fashioned a professional career based on his “expertise” in “Environmental policy; Global warming; [...] Science; Space policy”, it doesn’t look good if he is found out to be just another dilettante crackpot. So history... will have to be re-written, in order that he can claim that his anti-science position was informed.... It was not. Here is the relevent passage from that 15-year-old NAS report:

During the last 100 years the average global temperature has increased between 0.3° and 0.6°C (0.5° and 1.1°F). This temperature rise could be attributable to greenhouse warming or to natural climate variability; with today’s limited understanding of the underlying phenomena, neither can be ruled out.

Increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations probably will be followed by increases in average atmospheric temperature. We cannot predict how rapidly these changes will occur, how intense they will be for any given atmospheric concentration, or, in particular, what regional changes in temperature, precipitation, wind speed, and frost occurrence can be expected. So far, no large or rapid increases in the global average temperature have occurred, and there is no evidence yet of imminent rapid change. But if the higher GCM [General Circulation Models] projections prove to be accurate, substantial responses would be needed, and the stresses on this planet and its inhabitants would be serious.

Easterbrook cilps 5 words from page 2 of this report as evidence that the NAS was cautioning against making any policy decisions. Seventy pages later, in a chapter titled “Recommendations”, you find this:

Despite the great uncertainties, greenhouse warming is a potential threat sufficient to justify action now.

Ten pages of immediate policy recommendations follow. Again, this report came out 15 years ago.

The fundamental point is not that Gregg Easterbrook is not an authority on climate science.... Nor is it that, due to personal dishonesty or lack of interest, he doesn’t seem capable of absorbing not-at-all subtle points from minimally-technical overview documents put together - at great effort - by committees of actual world-class authorities, aimed directly at people who - like Easterbrook - who are interested in environmental policy. Nor is it that Easterbrook has a lot of poorly-concealed resentment directed at scientists and science.... Most people aren’t authorities on climate science, or on much of anything, but that’s not some horrible moral failing. Most people don’t want to read all the way to chapter 9 of some assiduously dry science policy document; and, let’s face it, most people are full of weird ideas about shit they don’t know anything about. I know I am.

The problem is that - for reasons I can’t begin to understand - Easterbrook is sitting in the chair that should be occupied by someone who knows what the hell they are talking about...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

David Frum Is Shriller than Ever!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Shrum R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

David Frum's Diary on National Review Online: When the Bush administration fitfully attempts to enforce the immigration laws, it looks for measures that meet four criteria: They must be 1) spectacular; 2) expensive; 3) unsustainable; and 4) ineffective. The proposal to deploy the National Guard to the border meets all four!

This plan won't work, and it is not seriously meant to work. It's supposed to look dramatic and buy the president some respite from negative polls.... Putting the Guard on the border is a symbolic act. If that action symbolized a genuine new commitment to enforce the law, then it would be a good and valuable thing to do. But I am afraid that in this case, the symbolism is manipulative and deceptive...

Yog-Sothoth knows the gate! Yog-Sothoth is the gate!

Not Bush, But the Press Corps Has Driven Michael Berube Shrill

Welcome to the Order of the Shrill's new Yog-Sothoth Professor of Cthonic Cthulthan Studies!

Michael Berube: Margaret Carlson, giving Al Gore his due at last, and doing it the only way a paid-up member of the Media Elite can give a Democrat his due, with a backhanded compliment, observes that possibly, just possibly, likeability isn't the only qualification for a President of the United States.

Sure, she admits, George Bush might have been the more likeable guy back in 2000, but:

Maybe Americans prefer to have a beer and burger with the charming frat boy to the student who always does his homework. But is that a wise basis for choosing a president?

As Shakespeare's Sister's father would say, No foolin', Red Ryder?

Carlson goes on to note that George Bush, charming a frat boy as he is, hasn't done a bang-up job:

With all the needless death from a ill-conceived war, the wasteful corruption of sweetheart contracts in Iraq and New Orleans, debt and deficits as far as the eye can see, gas prices through the roof with no energy policy in sight, and with a president who delegates to incompetents and cronies, I%u2019m ready to give the class nerd his due and raise a glass to a serious man.

You'll note that giving Al Gore his due doesn't require her to admit he'd have been a better President or that he should run again in 2008 or for her to give up referring to him and Bush as if running for President of the United States was the same as running for high school class President.

Al's still the class nerd. And as Bob Somerby keeps pointing out, this caricature of Gore is not going to go away. And if Gore does run and faces off against John McCain, the Media Elite will follow a very similar script in 2008 as they did in 2000, portraying the election as a contest between the robotic class nerd and the authentic, straight-talking, independent (but intellectually average and on the issues wronger than wrong, as wrong as George Bush) man of the people.

The Green Knight dug up something Carlson had to say about Gore and Bush back in 2000:

You can actually disprove some of what Bush is saying if you really get in the weeds and get out your calculator or you look at his record in Texas. But it's really easy, and it's fun, to disprove Gore.

If you can find the difference in tone between what she said then and what she's saying now you have a better ear than I have. The problem, back then, apparently, was that telling the truth about Bush would have required work, while picking on Al Gore just came naturally. Of course, in order to have done that, they needed to make things up about Gore, but that was ok because he was the class nerd, and nerds have no excuse to live if they aren't there to be picked on.

But I want to deal with the likeability thing a little bit, the idea that Americans want of vote for the candidate they'd enjoying sharing a beer and a burger with. I don't know when this notion took root. Maybe back in 1800 pundits were pointing out that regular Americans would prefer to quaff an ale with the charming, straight-talking war hero Aaron Burr to the cold, intellectual, elitist Thomas Jefferson.

But the first I became aware of it was back when it was Morning in America, and analysts and journalists were trying to explain how it could be that while it was obvious to them that Reagan lied, flip-flopped ever which way on issues, blew off his conservative base when it suited him, ignored the will of Congress when that suited him, broke the law (Iran? Contras? Death Squads? Ah, memories!), praised dead Nazis (Bitburg. Good times, good times.), just plain made stuff up, and basically was wrong about almost everything, he was remained wildly popular.

Throwing up their hands collectively, they decided, Heck, it's just that he's so gosh darned likeable.... I don't recall anyone suggesting at the time that Reagan's likeability and apparent sociability excused everything else.

By 2000, their tune had changed. George Bush was likeable, the charming frat boy you'd share a beer and a burger with. Al Gore was the class nerd, the kind of annoying twerp who always did his homework and made sure you knew it. (Sigh.) And not only did this explain why Bush was the people's choice, even though he was only half the people's choice, it made Bush the pundits' darling and the Right Man at the Right Time...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Daniel Drezner Is Shrill!

He writes: :: Daniel W. Drezner :: The White House goes Vizzini on Treasury: The White House seems to view the Treasury Secretary as a salesman's job, as opposed to a position where that requires any requisite policy knowledge, expertise, or anything of that nature. At least, that's what I divined from this Financial Times story by Demetri Sevastopulo, Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Caroline Daniel:

The White House has been seeking to replace Mr Snow with someone who would command more respect on Wall Street, in international financial markets, on Capitol Hill and among the public. One influential Republican with close ties to the White House said Mr Zoellick was leaving “soon” because he was not getting the Treasury job. The Republican added that the White House wanted someone who would be a better salesman. Mr Zoellick is more widely admired for his policy knowledge.

The truly scary thing... is the White House's belief that one can find a Treasury Secretary who would be a salesman while still commanding respect in the markets. To my knowledge, the only value-added John Snow has brought to the Treasury position has been his willingness to be the Bush administration's salesman -- and I'm pretty sure the markets don't respect him all that much.

Yes. That is one of the truly scary things.

The other truly scary things are drawn from darker and more furtively whispered cycles of subterranean legend--black, formless Tsathoggua, many-tentacled Cthulhu, proboscidian Chaugnar Faugn, and other rumored blasphemies from beyond the stars and beneath the sea described in forbidden books like the Krugmanomicon, the Book of Crawford, or the Unaussprechlichen Kulten of OSP.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Drezner R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn! Aiiiiiii!!!

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Washington Times Is Shrill

Bruce Bartlett points us to this shrill and unbalanced editorial by the Washington Times. Yes, John Snow has finally pushed them over the edge:

TODAY'S EDITORIAL May 22, 2006: Treasury Secretary John Snow might find his credibility rising if he would recognize that his listeners are intelligent. Testifying May 17 before the House Financial Services Committee, he noted that "real [i.e., inflation-adjusted] GDP rose an impressive 4.8 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter of this year." Moments later Mr. Snow, trying to "stress how broadly the benefits of this strong growth impact Americans," cited as example that "average hourly earnings are picking up. We learned from this month's jobs report that average hourly earnings have risen 3.8 percent over the past 12 months -- their largest increase in nearly five years."

Rep. Barney Frank asked Mr. Snow: "What's the [consumer price index] increase over the past 12 months?" Presumably referring to the Labor Department's consumer price index number for April, issued just an hour and a half before Mr. Snow began testifying, the Treasury secretary replied, "It came out recently, as you know. The headline [CPI rate] . . . " He was interrupted by Mr. Frank, who repeated his request for the consumer price index number "over 12 months," the precise period for which Mr. Snow had earlier boasted that "average hourly earnings have risen 3.8 percent." The Treasury secretary replied, lamely, "Well, about 5 [percent], I think, 5.1 [percent]."

Mr. Frank then asked Mr. Snow to "acknowledge that [the] 3.8 percent increase in wages you're talking about is nominal, not adjusted for inflation." Mr. Snow, who holds a Ph.D. in economics, nevertheless hadn't figured it out: "I'll have to go back, congressman, and check these numbers." Mr. Frank persisted. Perhaps helped by an assistant (perhaps without a Ph.D.), Mr. Snow conceded, "For the 12 months, it's nominal."... [T]he actual not-so-good news, beyond the microscopic increase in average real wages, is that America's secretary of the Treasury has no clue about the 12-month "headline" rate of inflation...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tom Friedman Howls Beneath the Dead Uncaring Stars

Yes. Tom Friedman is now a greater shoggoth:

War and Piece:: What's happened to Tom Friedman?

President Bush has slipped in one recent poll to a 29 percent approval rating. Frankly, I can't believe that. Those polls can't possibly be accurate. I mean, really, ask yourself: How could there still be 29 percent of the people who approve of this presidency? Personally, I think the president can reshuffle his cabinet all he wants, but his poll ratings are not going to substantially recover -- ever.... Americans in recent months have simply lost confidence in this administration's competence and honesty... time and time again, it has put politics and ideology ahead of the interests of the United States, and I think a lot of people are just sick of it. I know I sure am....

Is there no job in this administration that is too important to be handed over to a political hack? No. In his excellent book on the Iraq war, "The Assassins' Gate," George Packer tells the story of how some of the State Department's best Iraq experts were barred from going to Iraq immediately after the invasion -- when they were needed most -- because that didn't pass Dick Cheney's or Don Rumsfeld's ideology tests. And that is the core of the matter: the Bush team believes in loyalty over expertise. When ideology always trumps reality, loyalty always trumps expertise.

Yes, Mr. Bush has seen the error of his ways and has sacked the Goss crew, but we just wasted a year and saw a number of experienced C.I.A. people quit the agency in disgust...

War Correspondent Joe Galloway Is Shrill

Via Noah Schachtman's defensetech. War correspondent Joe Galloway is really shrill:

Defense Tech: Galloway Goes for the Throat: One of the nice things about being one of the most repected war correspondents ever is that you get to tell Pentagon bigwigs to shove it where the sun don't shine. Check out this e-mail slugfest between We Were Soldiers Once... And Young author Joe Galloway, and departing Defense Department flack-in-chief Larry DiRita.

The whole thing started over Galloway's recent profile of Paul Van Riper, the iconoclastic Marine retired general. But it wound up hitting on just about every major issue facing the Pentagon today, from where to station forces to what kind of gear to buy. Along the way, DiRita and Galloway call each other lots of nasty things. Here's an excerpt, from Galloway's third response to DiRita. Check out the whole thing after the jump.

...this is not an army on the way up but one on the way to a disaster... so far it is the willingness of these young men and women to serve, and to deploy multiple times, and to work grueling and dangerous 18 hour days 7 days a week that is the glue holding things together.

all the cheap fixes have been used; all the one-time-only gains so beloved of legislators trying to balance a budget and get out of town.

the question is what sort of an army are your bosses going to leave behind as their legacy in 2009? one that is trained, ready and well equipped to fight the hundred-year war with islam that seems to have begun with a vengeance on your watch? or will they leave town and head into a golden retirement as that army collapses for lack of manpower, lack of money to repair and replace all the equipment chewed up by iraq and afghanistan, lack of money to apply to fixing those problems because billions were squandered on weapons systems that are a ridiculous legacy of a Cold War era long gone (viz. the f/22, the osprey, the navy's gold plated destroyers and aircraft carriers and, yes, nuclear submarines whose seeming future purpose is to replace rubber zodiac boats as the favorite landing craft of Spec Ops teams, at a cost of billions). meanwhile, the pentagon, at the direction of your boss, marches rapidly ahead with deployment of an anti-missile system whose rockets have yet to actually get out of the launch tubes. at a cost of yet more multiple billions.

you say i blame your boss for things 3 or 4 levels below him that he can't possibly be controlling and quote accusations from present and former flag officers who he has never eyeballed personally. well the above items are things that he directly controls, or should; things he came into office vowing he was going to fix or change drastically. and in the latest QDR, his last, he made none of the hard choices about wasted money on high dollar weapons systems that make no sense in the real world today. the same QDR quite correctly identifies an urgent need for MORE psyops and civil affairs and military police and far more troops who have foreign language training appropriate to where we fight. and we budget a paltry 191 million, i say MILLION, bucks to do all that. not even the cost of the periscopes on those oh-so-necessary submarines, or the instruments on one of those f22s.

this is what has my attention; this is what has me in a mood to question over and over and over, waiting for answers that never come, change that never comes, course corrections that never come. you wanted some specifics. there are some specifics.

joe galloway

PS: those [tens of thousands of soldiers in fixed garrisons in germany who could not deploy] were called VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War. they deployed. they formed the armored spear that penetrated kuwait and broke the republican guard. the garrisons were guarded, while they were gone, by the german army and police. they would have been so guarded in OIF too had we tried a bit of diplomacy instead of bitch-slapping Old Europe as your boss did at a crucial moment.

Rush Limbaugh Is Shrill

Dick Cheney goes on Rush Limbaugh, expecting some softballs he can hit into the outfield. But he gets a surprise. Rush screams and leaps, tearing at Cheney's flesh with the suckers on his tentacles while trying to get purchase to rend Cheney's entrails with his horny beak... I can't watch:

Carpetbagger Report: Yesterday, Dick Cheney made his third appearance on Rush Limbaugh's radio show.... Cheney was on for 13 minutes -- and there wasn't a single softball question during the entire interview. Consider some of Limbaugh's queries:

  • Is the President -- are you and the President, the administration aware of the dissatisfaction on the whole issue of illegal immigration that exists not just within the Republican base, but within the country at large?
  • Why is it that so many people don't think that the steps the President is outlining and has outlined over the years will address the seriousness of the problem?
  • Let me ask you this on behalf of my audience, simply because of the number of emails. People don't think that this number of 6,000 [National Guard troops] -- which probably will add up to 2,000 or 3,000 on duty at any given time -- is actually going to make much of an impact.
  • The Dubai Ports deal, American people spoke out loudly against it, "we don't want any part of it," it got killed. The illegal immigration deal is generating just as much negative response, but the American people are not getting the reaction -- the same reaction from government to that, that they got on the Dubai Ports deal -- a little confused, asking questions, "what's different here, we're still talking security."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

John Tierney Is Shrill!!

I hereby proclaim his new rank as a Greater Shoggoth in the Order of the Shrill. He writes:

Throwing Hawks a Bone - New York Times: President Bush['s] job last night was not to secure the border but to pretend he could.... His plan to send a few thousand National Guard troops to the border is a symbolic gesture, but symbolism is what's needed. Immigrants will find ways to evade the proposed new ID card requirements, as well as the new high-tech sensors at the border, but the ideas sounded good enough on television.... The fixation on defending the border is a political -- and psychological -- problem, not a rational response to a genuine national threat.... The border hawks have two chief arguments, starting with that great debate stopper: Sept. 11. A porous southern border is supposedly no longer tolerable now that terrorists have declared war on America and are threatening even more catastrophic attacks. But... Mohamed Atta did not have to hire a coyote or swim across the Rio Grande. He and the other hijackers entered the country legally....

The border hawks' other argument is that America must enforce its immigration law or succumb to "mob rule."... But for most of the country's history, America allowed essentially unlimited immigration without descending into Hobbesian chaos....

Bush tried a brief dose of economic reality... the lure of America for poor Mexican workers "creates enormous pressure on our border that walls and patrols alone will not stop." As he explained, the way to reduce illegal immigration is to change the law so more people can enter legally. But that was the rational part of the speech, which Bush knew wasn't enough.

He had to throw in the tough border talk and the ID cards. He had to deal with the new outbreak of xenophobia.... Distrusting foreigners made evolutionary sense when outside clans threatened to bring in disease and encroach on hunting grounds. It made sense during the thousands of years when towns built walls to stop invaders from plundering their wealth and enslaving their inhabitants. But the immigrants now coming across the Mexican border do not want to sack our cities. They're not about to pillage our granaries or march home with Americans in chains. They just want to mow our lawns and clean our offices.

They're coming to feed us, not take our food, yet we're demanding that our leaders keep them out. No Mexican busboys! No Guatemalan cooks! Stop them before they grill again!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Kathryn Jean Lopez of *National Review* Is Shrill!!

Over at National Review, Kathryn Lopez writes:

The Corner on National Review Online: The Speech [Kathryn Jean Lopez]: I think I wouldn't hate it as much (going into it knowing el Presidente Jorge Arbusto and being realistic)...

"Arbusto" is both Spanish for "Bush" and a reference to Arbusto Energy:

Arbusto Energy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Arbusto Energy (Arbusto Oil) was a petroleum and energy corporation formed in Midland, Texas, in 1977, by George W. Bush. The word arbusto is Spanish for "bush".

Investors in the company included Dorothy Bush, Lewis Lehrman, William Henry Draper III, Bill Gammell, and James R. Bath. At the time that Bath made an investment of $50,000 he was representing Salem bin Laden's interests in Texas. When Salem bin Laden died in 1988, his interest in Arbusto (along with other bin Laden Group assets) passed to Khalid bin Mahfouz.

In 1982, Arbusto became known as Bush Exploration, a year after George H. W. Bush became Vice President. A friend of the Bush family, Philip Uzielli, invested $1 million in 1982 in exchange for a 10% stake in the company, at a time when the whole company was valued at less than $400,000. As it neared financial collapse again in September 1984, Bush Exploration merged with Spectrum 7 Energy Corp., a company owned by William DeWitt and Mercer Reynolds. Bush became Chairman and CEO of Spectrum 7.

In 1985 Spectrum 7 reported a net loss of $1.5 million and was bought in 1986 for $2.2 million by Harken Oil and Gas, with Bush joining the Harken board of directors and finance audit committee.

In 1987 the Saudi investor Abdullah Taha Bakhsh bought most of Union Bank of Switzerland's shares in Harken becoming its third largest investor owning 17% of the company. He was represented on the board by Talat M. Othman. Another investor was Ghaith R. Pharaon who would later be involved in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International scandal.

In January 1990 with the company in the same state as its previous incarnations, it was awarded a contract to drill for crude oil off the coast of Bahrain, a move that shocked industry insiders as Harken had no previous experience outside of the US or of drilling offshore.

In June 1990 Bush sold most shares in Harken to a Los Angeles broker named Ralph D. Smith. One week later Harken announced an overall loss of $23.2 million triggering an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into the sale...

A Tiny Revolution Makes an Awful Suggestion

Could this be? No... No... It's inconeivable!

A Tiny Revolution: Dog Whistle Politics FROM BEYOND THE STARS: George Bush is notorious for his use of dog whistle politics%u2014that is, references in speeches that strike most people as innocuous if peculiar, but are freighted with great meaning for certain constituencies. For instance, in one of the 2004 debates, Bush said he wouldn't appoint anyone to the Supreme Court who would condone the Dred Scott decision. This was confusing, given that this question seemed to have been definitively settled by the Civil War. But it turns out "Dred Scott" is actually religious right-speak for Roe v. Wade. It was inaudible to almost everyone else, but they heard what he was saying.

Yet few have noticed Bush's secret messages to an even more terrifying group of supporters. Take his speech from the 2004 convention:

Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom.

This was such an important point he repeated it on Inauguration Day:

We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom.

This seems weird but essentially meaningless...unless, that is, you are familiar with the Necronomicon of the Mad Arab Abdul Alhazred:

I hear the Crawling Chaos that calls from beyond the stars...

Or as it was put by H.P. Lovecraft himself: with minds sensitive to hereditary impulse will always tremble at the thought of the hidden and fathomless worlds of strange life which may pulsate in the gulfs beyond the stars...

That's right! Bush was directing these references not to us, but to the specialest special interest of all:


Moreover, as the End Times approach and R'lyeh prepares to rise from the sea, Bush is getting more and more overt about this. Indeed, according to advance copies, his prime time speech tomorrow will conclude with these words:

My fellow Americans: the Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be! Yog-Sothoth knows the gate! Yog-Sothoth is the gate!


So, here's some advice from an old political hand: when Cthulhu awakes, try if at all possible to be among the first to be eaten.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at May 14, 2006 02:42 PM | TrackBack

Friday, May 12, 2006

Newt Gingrich Is Shrill!

On TV last night, Newton Leroy Gingrich now joined the Order of the Shrill--those driven into shrill unholy madness by the malevolence, incompetence, disconnection from reality, and sheer mendacity of George W. Bush and his administration:

Gingrich on NSA:

COLMES: Then he said when it came out a little while ago that there was some wiretapping he said it only applies to international communications. And now we're finding something else. So it just seems we're not getting a consistent story here, are we?

GINGRICH: No. You're not.

COLMES: Why not?

GINGRICH: Look, I'm not -- Alan, I'm not going to defend the indefensible. The Bush administration has an obligation to level with the American people.

And I'm prepared to defend a very aggressive anti-terrorist campaign, and I'm prepared to defend the idea that the government ought to know who's making the calls, as long as that information is only used against terrorists, and as long as the Congress knows that it's underway.

But I don't think the way they've handled this can be defended by reasonable people. It is sloppy. It is contradictory, and frankly for normal Americans, it makes no sense to listen to these three totally different explanations.

Gingrich Fhtagn!! Gingrich Fhtagn!!! GINGRICH FHTAGN!!!

Thomas P.M. Barnett Is Shrill!

Global strategic analyst Thomas P.M. Barnett has joined the ranks of the shrill, unbalanced critics of the Bush administration:

Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog: Putin's backtalking is just another sign that the Bush administration is a spent force: ARTICLE: "Putin Hits Back, Criticizing U.S. In Yearly Address: Russian Leader Call for Stronger Military," by Judith Ingram, Washington Post, 11 May 2006, p. A1.

Nice line: "We are aware of what is going on in the world. Comrade wolf knows whom to eat, he eats without listening, and he's clearly not going to listen to anyone."

Translation: "The Bush Administration does what it wants with its military and energy policies. It decides to invade and conquer one of the world's largest oil reserves, and does so with little care for allies' opinions. Even know, though, this regime lectures the world on democracy while consorting with whatever dictators it cares to, so long as their access to energy is assured."

Cheney warns that Putin is threatening to reverse the gains of the last decade in Russia. Guess what? Plenty of our allies belief Bush and Cheney have already reversed the gains made by globalization over the past decade!

Yes, yes, the Clinton years are looking better by the minute....

[T]his administration seems intent of making sure we reduce our partnership with Russia as much as possible. Why? Apparently right now we need allies less than ever. Putin's backtalking... signals the growing awareness internationally that the Bush Administration is a spent force. This crew is not inclined to change their spots now, and the world knows it. So, quite frankly, our debates should focus most on who and what comes next for America. The conversation is basically over with the Bush Administration. So it's time to focus on the new ideas, the new leaders, and the lifers within the bureaucracy who will both rule--for all practical purposes--in the meantime and be there when the new crew arrives.

Reality Is Shrill!

Jim Henley says that the structure of reality itself compels all to join the Ancient and Hermetic Order of the Shrill:

Unqualified Offerings: Look, I have become a "Bush hater." There's nothing wrong with that. The man's record on civil liberties, spending, executive aggrandizement and international hubris compel animus.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Order of the Shrill News

Andrew Sullivan welcomes Peggy Noonan to the evening wiener roast:

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: Peggy Come Lately: Well, better late than never:

The Republicans talk about cutting spending, but they increase it - a lot. They stand for making government smaller, but they keep making it bigger. They say they're concerned about our borders, but they're not securing them. And they seem to think we're slobs for worrying. Republicans used to be sober and tough about foreign policy, but now they're sort of romantic and full of emotionalism. They talk about cutting taxes, and they have, but the cuts are provisional, temporary. Beyond that, there's something creepy about increasing spending so much and not paying the price right away but instead rolling it over and on to our kids, and their kids.

All of this was apparent before the last election, but Noonan was more interested in John Kerry's war record. Still she's right about one thing. Only by winning the last election has Bush been held fully accountable for what he has done. The chalice was poisoned; and the polity, if not the president, can recover.

Another Right-Wing Conservative Joins the Order of the Shrill

Welcome, right-wing judicial hero Judge J. Michael Luttig. We might carp a little on how long it took you to be driven into shrill unholy madness. But at least you know when you have been lied to and double-crossed. Now you clearly see the incompetence, mendacity, disconnection from reality, and malevolence of the George W. Bush administration.

We understand you already have your robe:

For Luttig, a Breakdown in Trust: On Nov. 22, U.S. Circuit Judge J. Michael Luttig was at work in his chambers here when he received a telephone call telling him to switch on the television. There, he saw Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announce that the government would file charges against Jose Padilla in a federal court -- treating the accused terrorist like a normal criminal suspect.

The judge was stunned. Two months earlier, he had written a landmark opinion saying the government could hold Padilla without charge in a military brig. The decision validated President Bush's claim that he could set aside Padilla's constitutional rights in the name of national security. The judge assumed the government had a compelling reason to consider the suspect an extraordinary threat. Now Gonzales wanted the courts to forget the whole case.

It didn't take long for the judge's anger to burst out into the open. The clash, which underscores the increasing skepticism among even some conservative jurists toward the Bush administration's sweeping theories of executive power, culminated yesterday in Judge Luttig's resignation. Read more in today's Page One article. -- Jess Bravin and J. Lynn Lunsford.

Friday, May 05, 2006

USA Today Founder Al Neuharth Is Shrill

Via the Carpetbagger Report:

Carpetbagger Report: USA Today founder Al Neuharth, generally known for his Republican views, seems to have officially given up on the president.

How low can Bush's approval rating go? My hunch is it's at or near the bottom. That 34% represents mostly unshakeable far-right wingers. Like Bush, Vice President Cheney and company, they are in denial. As were the 24% in the polls who still approved of President Richard Nixon before he resigned in disgrace.

What happened to the 37% who have switched from pro-Bush to anti-Bush? They finally realized they were suckered by Bush and his buddies back then about Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction, his tie to terrorists and his threat to the USA.

President Abraham Lincoln was right when he said: "You may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."