Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 1, 2007

SAFIRE IN DENIAL.... I was just catching up on yesterday's Meet the Press and was struck by just how far gone William Safire is. Tim Russert asked his journalist roundtable, for example, to name the biggest story of 2006. Safire wasn't alone in mentioning the war in Iraq, but his response was, shall we say, unique.

"The Iraq story is obviously the big story of the year. And I look at the Trumanesque quality in the White House now. You have a president who is facing all this bad news coming out of Iraq and the casualties and the brink of civil war. And he's hanging in there and he's not admitting defeat, he's not embracing defeatism. And he's coming up with another approach, and who knows, he may turn it around."

It prompted Kate O'Beirne, of all people, to counter Safire, saying, "In 2004, being steadfast like that served him well. The contrast was John Kerry is a flip-flopper and George Bush is steadfast. But by 2006, that was no longer an asset. What they considered steadfast, I think, looked stubborn and out of touch."

When O'Beirne has to intervene with a dose of reality, you know Safire has reached a breathtaking state of denial.

On a related note, Russert reminded Safire (and all of us) that the former Times columnist predicted in 2005 that by the end of 2006, we'd see evidence of victory in Iraq, a troop withdrawal would have begun, and a civil war would fail to develop. Asked to respond, Safire said he remains "optimistic," and added, "One of these days I'm going to be right."

Maybe someone could explain to me why Safire keeps getting invited back to Sunday morning public affairs shows. Even among the conservative punditocracy, Meet the Press has to be able to do better than this.

Steve Benen 12:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (165)

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Comments

Inviting one of the old guard like Safire lends an air of stodginess that some people find necessary.

Posted by: coldhotel on January 1, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

It's abundantly clear that being consistently dead wrong about big issues is not and will not disqualify someone from the rarefied air of Washington's punditocracy. The list of commentators who were dead wrong about the Iraq war is a veritable who's who of the Beltway elite. There's no accountability in these circles, and trying to look for it will be as futile as the search for WMD in Iraq.

Posted by: Killjoy on January 1, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Although steadfast, Churchill was not always popular. But hey, Neville Chamberlain was acclaimed by the lefties after he appeased Hitler.

(Chamberlain would have been fawned over by Tim Russert and Kate O'Beirn.)

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on January 1, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh Goody! Another sock-puppet heard from!

Down goes Frazier was posting on another thread as Frequency Kenneth. Look for Havlicek stole the Ball to pop up next.

Give this chump all the consideration a sock-puppet loser deserves.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Notice that O'Beirne says nothing about, you know, reality. Just about politics and perceptions.

Posted by: Anon on January 1, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Safire told lie after lie after lie to con America into this war. He traded his credibility and his honor for an invasion of Iraq, and he can't have them back.

Posted by: Laney on January 1, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

It is a pure and utter apostacy to compare the asshat in the oval right now with Truman. But keep doing so, because I have a dog in the fight to turn Missouri bule, and even Republicans in this state bristle at that comparison.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Eventually Safire will be right. The current death rate in Iraq exceeds the live birth rate and so eventually all Iraqis will be dead.

Posted by: blowback on January 1, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Bush as Truman. Geez, Truman must be rip-snortin' furious up there, every time he hears it.

Posted by: kimster on January 1, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe someone could explain to me why Safire keeps getting invited back to Sunday morning public affairs shows. Even among the conservative punditocracy, Meet the Press has to be able to do better than this.

Yeah, when I started reading the post my first thought was, "Safire? People are still asking Safire for his opinion about, well, anything?!?!" I think it's got to be a symptom of the continuing decline of the big broadcasters -- their audience is dwindling to the geezer set, people who grew up reading guys like Safire and Broder, and feel comfortable with them.

Or maybe Russert and Safire like to go fishing together -- in the news/celebrity culture, those are all the qualifications you need.

Posted by: sglover on January 1, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

What struck me was the hearty laughter about the bad Iraq predictions--just about the same reaction you could hear later in the day on the Fox football shows laughing about the bad football predictions from the crew. Ha ha, Iraq's worse than we thought, hee hee!

Posted by: BlueMan on January 1, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Over the past 20 years, Safire's gotten it right once in a blue moon. Not more. He's a hired gun, doing what he's told, spitting out all the stories about Clinton and campaign contributions and Chinese satellite technology nad on and on.

But ever once hear him stick it to the DC Establishment and insist--INSIST--on the rule of law. Laws are for lesser men. Nixon's speechwriter, he's for Covering the Ass of Power in the Ledger of History, til the End Times.

No surprise.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on January 1, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

If being right about the major issues on which one opines were some kind of qualifying requirement, we would be reduced to a comparative handful of commentators today. Everyone from David Brooks to The Mustache of Understanding would be writing gardening columns instead of national opinion pieces.

Alas, it is not so. Safire and the rest of his ilk will continue to be wrong in spectacular and extremely bloody fashion. And nobody--nobody--will ever think, "Gee, maybe we could hire someone who actually gets things correct once in a while." To even intimate such a standard exists would send the entire punditocracy shrieking into the streets with fear.

Posted by: Derelict on January 1, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

"why Safire keeps getting invited back"

They want to discuss Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 1, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

"One of these days I'm going to be right."

That has to be the motto of the War Party.

That and "We're due for a break any minute now."

Posted by: grytpype on January 1, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he didn't say Trumanesque after all. Maybe he said Rubenesque. Laura is getting that menopausal -er- thickening.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Truman is fondly remembered for finishing off Japan, not fighting to a stalemate in Korea, which persists to this day 50 years later and which is a blot on his record.

Is Safire and other Bush apologists saying we'll have a division in Iraq 50 years from now trying to prevent a breakout of hostilities?

We probably will, but it's hard to believe they're giving Bush kudos for it.

Posted by: grytpype on January 1, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Not only does Russert point out that Safire's previous prediction about Iraq was dead wrong, he then continues to ask Safire to prognosticate about 2007. WTF?!

Posted by: dannyinla on January 1, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

One day he'll be right. Right...and how many people will have died, how many dollars will have been wasted, and how many years will have gone by before then?

I'd rather someone be right now than later when it comes to something as damn serious as this. Because honestly, when people say 'someday I'll be right', it's usually because they're too proud to admit they were wrong in the now.

Posted by: Kryptik on January 1, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Safire's what ... 70 ... 80 + years old? And he was ... Nixon's speechwriter and chief water-carrier in the press until his downfall?

I mean -- what do you expect from this guy?

Safire's bigfoot status doesn't come from coining "nattering nabobs of negativism" or writing Nixon's best stem-winders. Nor does it come from his political columns, which he stopped writing a number of years ago. He's a beloved old language columnist, whose libertarian streak stood him in good stead with the NYT Op-Ed board. It'd be nice to know his views about the erosion of civil liberties under Bush this past year, but like very old people everywhere, his memory has become painfully selective, and we indulge him the way we do Grampa or some loveable-old-fart emeritus professor who consents to give a lecture once a month (provided his bowels aren't acting up).

About a decade or so ago, he was my favorite conservative columnist by far. I admired his impish wit and his concern for civil liberties -- and to this day I enjoy his language columns. In his prime, he was a good ballast for the Times -- and the liberal columnists there all seem to have good words for him. Sheesh, contrast him to David Brooks!

But asking him to take a stroll down Memory Lane is like handing great grampa the keys to the family SUV and asking him to take a jaunt down to the street fair and pick up some fresh tomatoes ...

If he returns with torn shards of Levi jeans and blood all over the grille -- well, once again -- what exactly were you expecting?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 1, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

"One of these days I'm going to be right."

I've got a watch that's exactly right. Twice a day!

Posted by: thersites on January 1, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Safire has been toast for a while. Tim Russert is the MSN's propaganda standard bearer now, which is why Safire is invited on his programs. I saw Russert on the Today Show just a couple of weeks ago, and he and the hosts could not overcome their surprise that the people who answer polls are against the US occupation of Iraq. Despite everything NBC and Russert do, people are against the occupation, and they, and other propagandists like Safire, cannot stop trying to use their media to continue to win the people's attitude for the effectiveness of military violence in achieving national goals. Anathema upon them.

Posted by: Brojo on January 1, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Our leaders do not understand Americans. Americans were willing to endure failures and a massive loss of life in the Korean War because our security was threatened by hostile Communist expansion. Americans were willing to sacrifice to defend ourselves from that threat. But Americans are not willing to pay the butcher's bill simply so we can wage a war in order to eliminate a threat that did not exist and bring democracy to a people that have never known it.

Posted by: brian on January 1, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Meet the Press has to be able to do better than this.

Why does Meet the Press have to be better? NBC doesn't care for facts anymore.

I mean if only Pumpkin Head would try to be a real journalist rather than a Tony Snow wannabe.

AND if only NBC strived to be more than a series of political garbage talks shows.

AND if only all the major networks actually cared about real news anymore.

We're down to PBS, or reading foreign news sources liek the BBC just to get the objective viewpoint these days, I mean, ever since the major TV news networks have all turned to Murdock for guidance.

It's not Safire that needs to retire completely, it's Tim Russert that we should be getting rid of at NBC. Meet the Press isn't anymore real news than is Murdock's Faux News. It's just a "got you" style of remake of the Cross-Fire.

It would be nice if we could return to a time when facts weren't completely disregarded and BS never tolerated. I mean, Safire and George Will are so extremely partisan, who the hell cares what they think?

Posted by: Cheryl on January 1, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

I can't let Down Goes Frazier's idiocy about the "left" acclaiming (Conservative) Neville Chamberlain after Munich go unanswered. Try looking at the memoirs of Diana Cooper (whose Conservative husband resigned from the cabinet to protest the Munich agrrement) and her gratitude to the leftists who were gracious enough to support the Coopers when their resistance to Chamberlain sent them into the political wilderness.

Or lets be honest and face facts -- the same resistance to asking the country to pay higher taxes (far more defensible for Chamberlain than for the BushBaby) left Chamberlain with little room to maneuver and makes it impossible for the neocon junta to succeed in its program of aggressive wars.

By the way, anyone who equates 30's pacifism with the left is simply ignorant. But cheap insults are so much more fun than studying history.

Posted by: Gene O'Grady on January 1, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Safire gets invited to appear on these sorts of shows because he is a Serious Commentator. And how do we know he is a Serious Commentator? He must be -- he appears regualarly on these sorts of shows.

It's sort of like Zsa Zsa Gabor and the Tonight Show...

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on January 1, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon, they invite Safire because he is willing to say really crazy things such as Bush is Trumanesque and that "who knows, he may turn it around."

TV feeds on this sort of dramatic flourish. The media aren't about truth, they are about using emotion to sell air time to advertisers. If everyone at the table said, "yep, the big story is what a disaster Iraq has turned out to be," there is no sexy point-counterpoint.

Plus the 25% of true believers get riled up and claim the media has a liberal bias.

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 1, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

But Americans are not willing to pay the butcher's bill simply so we can wage a war in order to eliminate a threat that did not exist...

Threat that did not exist, my ass.

There was a real chance of the Republicans not being able to hold onto both houses of Congress....and in 2004 the White House was also up for grabs.

Iraq was never a war, and the destruction of Saddam was lagniappe.

Iraq was conceived, and executed as the world's most expensive campaign commercial, and its major aim was to send the Democrats to the political wilderness for a generation, while those people who know the right people could back their trucks up to the public treasury.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 1, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

"One of these days I'm going to be right".

Just keep clapping, Bill, and that Pony might appear. Aside from everything else, have you noticed a rise in the shamelessness amongst the Bush-affilliated wingnuts these days?

See, for example, Bush spokesperson Francis Fragos Townsend stating that not capturing Osama after 5 years is not a failure but rather "a success that hasn't occured yet."

Posted by: Jeff S. on January 1, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Davis X. Machina:

Lagniappe -- what a great word (speaking of William Safire). Haven't encountered it since Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow -- where it was put in the mouth of one of the most personally vile characters in the book, a caracature of Southern-fried redneck military values, Major Duane Marvy.

He used the term to describe refusing an offer to pro-rate after a cocaine deal went a little awry: "Call it a little lagniappe, jes Duane Marvy's way o' doin' bidnez ... "

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 1, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Are you guys kidding me? He's a voice of independence and principle and a deserving recipient of the medal of freedom. Did Kate O'Beirne get knighted while I was out mowing the lawn?

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/12/images/20061215-1_p121506sc-0220jpg-515h.html

Posted by: Al on January 1, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

PTate in MN on January 1, 2007 at 1:29 PM

Word.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 1, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Down goes Frazier:

"Although steadfast, Churchill was not always popular."

OK: Fair enough - and historically correct. But then, you just have to append a piece of nonsensical bullshit like this:

"But hey, Neville Chamberlain was acclaimed by the lefties after he appeased Hitler."

Have you ever actually read any history? Or is making flip generalities about the iniquities of "the Left" the limit of your rhetorical abilities? JFTR, after the Munich Conference of 1938, the "lefties" - including, in those days, numbers of card-carrying Communists - and who generally loathed Neville Chamberlain, were among the forefront of criticism of the Munich agreements (mostly for not doing enough to slow down Hitler's aggression).
The "acclaim" Chamberlain got was mainly from the vast majority of the British population, left, right and center (Churchill was quite the odd man out back then) - for avoiding, via diplomacy, a possible war which no one, at point, was particularly willing to undertake.

Posted by: Jay C on January 1, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I think I could have respected Kate if she'd used the "and monkeys might fly outta my ass, Bill" metaphor. But, she didn't. Perhaps because her husband was responsible for packing the CPA with College Republicans who'd never held a real job.

Posted by: Brian C.B. on January 1, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

2/3 of the men in Safire's generation have become or will become Royal Tenenbaum, only less bright, and not previously as good looking.

Sadly, my father became him at least twenty-five years ago.

Don't believe a word they say.

And don't let them in your house.

Posted by: Linus on January 1, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Oops: I see Gene O'Grady beat me to the comment. Sorry. But I can agree wholeheartedly: DgF is both ignorant and idiotic. And add "ahistorical" for the troll-trifecta!

Posted by: Jay C on January 1, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Frazier should never be taken seriously. He has nothing to contribute except sour grapes because all those election predictions he made under various sock-puppet handles were 180-degrees off.

Ignore the useless piece of broadband connected offal.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq was deliberately structured by the British after WWI to be a failed, ungovernable state. Bush and the neocons should have been more open about the possibility that no amount of US aid and goodwill could keep it from coming apart. [This is not to excuse our failure to devote enough resources to make the reconstruction work in the first place.] For two years Ayatolla Ali Sistani deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for asking the Shia to not react to Sunni terrorism - but even a saint runs out of patience at some point.
If in the next year, or years, the mixed neighborhoods in Baghdad become more ethnicly homogenenous and the elite of that country can come to an agreement on federal devolution, Iraq could still be to the Arab world what South Korea or Taiwan are to East Asia. I don't think the comparison to Truman is that off the mark, Truman was no genius either - Pendergrass was his Rove, and his tolerance of corruption would have made Jack Abramoff blush.

Posted by: the minion on January 1, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Safire was recently awarded the Medal of Freedom by Junior. Maybe that particular medal could become some kind of kiss of death.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on January 1, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

It's Pendergast, minion.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

"On a related note, Russert reminded Safire (and all of us) that the former Times columnist predicted in 2005 that by the end of 2006, we'd see evidence of victory in Iraq, a troop withdrawal would have begun, and a civil war would fail to develop."

Typicall. Keep ignoring the evidence of victory. Googel is your friend.

Posted by: egbert on January 1, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

GC -

I thank you for the brevity of your correction, is that the only thing in the post you thought was wrong?

Posted by: minion on January 1, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I want to second Gene O'Grady andJayC re Neville Chamberlin.

In hindsight, sure, it would have been dandy had the world avoided WW2 by attacking Nazi Germany in 1938.

But in 1938, Europe was just 20 years removed from the War to End all Wars and the generation of young men and civilians who were killed in that carnage. Of course they were desperate to avoid another war. Hindsight is 20-20, as the adage goes: Chamberlain hoped that Hitler could be appeased by conceding Czechoslovakia. If that had worked...the aggressive militarists would not be huffing, puffing and snorting over Chamberlain's weakness today.

There is a time for war and a time for peace. It seems to me that the better policy is to err on the side of peace rather than rushing to war. I wonder if GWB will go down in history as Chamberlain's opposite--a man who created a war when peace was still an option?

Posted by: PTate in MN on January 1, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Planet Safire has left the Solar System.

Posted by: CapitalistImperialistPig on January 1, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'll not stand for a gaggle of liberals who use National Holidays to post on blog threads and insult the legacy of a great man like William Safire.

In the first place, Safire is correct, self-depracating remarks notwithstanding. In the second place, surrendering like monkeys to the Islamic forces of evil and abandoning Iraq to al Qaeda will consign us all to oblivion and give them a state from which to launch attacks, a la what the Taliban had in Afghanistan. Third--and most importantly--George W Bush is steadfast and unyielding and in the modern age of instant news and 24x7 liberal hate-porn, this is a quality our leaders must have in order to continue keeping us safe from attack for yet another year.

Something which you liberals have yet to say thanks for. Say it! Say, "thank you!" to George W Bush for keeping you safe for another calendar year.

Such morons...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 1, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

How Kate O'Beirne can show her face in public after Rajiv Chadresekeren's book is a mystery, but then, pundits don't have to be right as long as they don't say naughty words like "impeach" and "wanker".

(and you all thought I was gonna make a horse joke when I mentioned Kate O'Beirne's face, dincha? Well, I'm above that).

Posted by: Jim on January 1, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

To Steve Benen: "Asked to respond, Safire said he remains "optimistic," and added, "One of these days I'm going to be right."

Yea, but he also said he got those optimistic projections 'from the highest authority in the administration.'

Presumably that was bush43.

I guess you missed that MOST IMPORTANT aspect of Safire's answer.

What that means to me is that the guy in the WH was totally deluded them and is still deluded today.

He meets my definition of unfit for office.

Posted by: im1dc on January 1, 2007 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

In the Washington Post this New Year's Day, former counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke has a compelling op-ed piece ("While You Were At War...") on the dangerous and rising opportunity costs of the Bush administration's Iraq fixation. In a nutshell, Clarke argues that while President Bush and the U.S. national security apparatus have been focused like a laser beam on "grave and deteriorating" war in Iraq, other mounting security challenges have fallen off the radar.

For the details, see:
"Richard Clarke's Security Challenges for 2007."

Posted by: AngryOne on January 1, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Something which you liberals have yet to say thanks for. Say it! Say, "thank you!" to George W Bush for keeping you safe for another calendar year.

Such morons...

We had no attacks on America for five years before Bush. Whom you need to thank is those unnamed, unknown and unheard of people that keep you safe no matter how many times we change Presidents.

George does not have a superman cape, nor does Cheney have a Batman outfit. Get real man.

Posted by: Aion on January 1, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

So, Bill Safire is an old geezer whose time has come and gone.

Like John McCain.

Posted by: Robert Dare on January 1, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Just why is it that all the dumbfuck morons who were wrong about virtually everything are still the principle guests on these fucking shows while the folks who were absolutely right about virtually everything are never seen?

Posted by: angryspittle on January 1, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

as - why is it that ... the folks who were absolutely right about virtually everything are never seen?

Guess who owns NBC. Hint: it's not a public service truth squad.

Posted by: CapitalistImperialistPig on January 1, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Norman - Good to see you man! How goes the physical training? Three more weeks!

Posted by: CapitalistImperialistPig on January 1, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

In the first place, Safire is correct, self-depracating remarks notwithstanding.

That's funny.

In the second place, surrendering like monkeys to the Islamic forces of evil and abandoning Iraq to al Qaeda will consign us all to oblivion and give them a state from which to launch attacks, a la what the Taliban had in Afghanistan.

Al qaeda was not in Iraq before this democratic political experiment before this freedom operation. Remember freedom? The votes and the purple fingers? Sure it was a Noble idea. Wrong but Noble.

Third--and most importantly--George W Bush is steadfast and unyielding and in the modern age of instant news and 24x7 liberal hate-porn,

That must be why Fox has been named the most anti-religious network.

...this is a quality our leaders must have in order to continue keeping us safe from attack for yet another year.

So if I simply repeat 'stay the course' I can also be steadfast and unyielding no matter how ill-advised?

Posted by: Aion on January 1, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Safire's Tombstone:

"One of these days I'm going to be right."

Posted by: Carl on January 1, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Are you guys kidding me? He's a voice of independence and principle and a deserving recipient of the medal of freedom.

He's an idiot who writes poorly. That's the best that can be said about Bill Safire.

Posted by: Mike on January 1, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's especially ironic since Safire, a few months after 9-11 (I believe in Dec. 2001), wrote an NYT column in which he suggested what still seems to me a plausible way of dealing with the Saddam and Iran problems simultaneously: announce in advance, that we would invade and occupy only Shiite southern Iraq -- leaving the central Sunni section and Baghdad in Saddam's control -- and then do just that, while still insisting (as with the occupied Kurdish north) that it was part of a unified Iraq and that we were just acting as its emergency caretakers.

Without a hostile Sunni population, the number of US troops necessary to maintain security in this region would have been far less, freeing us to actually start doing effective reconstruction work that would have gained us good will among the Shiites -- and diminished their temptation to look to Iran for help. (After all, ABC's poll in early 2004 showed that, while the Sunnis were predictably furiously opposed to an American presence, the Shiites were still split about evenly on the subject.) We would have provided a much thicker safety zone between Saddam and Saudi Arabia, thereby gaining more good will from the government and (perhaps) the people of the latter. By allowing Saddam to retain his reign in central Sunni Iraq, we would have avoided giving him a justification to either use his supposed CBWs against us or threaten to hand them over to terrorists as a last-ditch technique to try to keep us from overthrowing him. (After all, this was the perfectly obvious thing for him to do. The fact that, as things actually went, he never tried to either deter an invasion by threatening to do it, or do it during the invasion itself, was the first clue I had that by God he might not HAVE CBWs, which -- as Kevin says -- virtually everyone previously thought he did have.) But at the same time, we would have cut him off from almost all of his remaining oil revenue, thus both crippling his ability to expand his WMD arsenal, and making him increasingly unpopular with his own remaining people and government officials.

Nice idea. A pity that the arrogant Nimrods in the Administration didn't consider it at the time.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on January 1, 2007 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Only time I get to hear what the wingnuts are saying is occasionally on the car radio -- with crackly interference out here in the boonies. Boortz (?) was yelling at someone, a Bush supporter, who was saying it's all over, Bush screwed up. The anger and bitterness -- and the eagerness to blame the Democrat[sic] Party and the leftwing (uh-huh) media rather than the administration made me realize that we're going to have this anger around for a long, long time. Reality isn't a friend of the rightwing ideologues -- no wonder they hate it. Safire has always had ties to that nuttiness and is a past master of self-congratulation.

PTate (1:29pm) is right and reminds me why I threw out my TV in 2001: "TV feeds on this sort of dramatic flourish. The media aren't about truth, they are about using emotion to sell air time to advertisers. If everyone at the table said, 'yep, the big story is what a disaster Iraq has turned out to be,' there is no sexy point-counterpoint."

Posted by: PW on January 1, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

If you're going to question why Safire is still on MTP, why not go back to basics and ask why a snoozy glad-hander like Ruseert is still hosting the show - that's where the incomprehensibility starts. I find Russert useless, his reputation as "exceptional interviewer" speaks more to a dearth of others in the field, not to his prowess, and his insights are simply not, well, insightful. Plus, he represents the blurring of news reporting, opinion-making, and cross-promotrion as news that infects so much of TV journalism these days, nowhere more than NBC/Universal/GE (and, yes that includes Fox News/ 20th Century Fox/ News Corp). Safire's just a gassy, aging shill. Russert is something that much worse.

Posted by: weboy on January 1, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Just remember, liberals--all that stood between you and oblivion was a Republican congress during the Clinton years.

And what do you have now, except more surrender monkeys looking for someone to surrender to?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 1, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK
... Americans were willing to endure failures and a massive loss of life in the Korean War because our security was threatened by hostile Communist expansion. ... brian at 1:22 PM
What planet do you inhabit? The Korean war was unpopular with the American people (Check points 2 & : 69% approve signing armistice, 55% against the war)
...his tolerance of corruption would have made Jack Abramoff blush... the minion at 2:02 PM
Apparently, you never heard of the Truman Committee

...he collected evidence that building bases was a sink hole of waste, fraud and abuse. He found thousands of workers with no work to do, no materials for construction delivered, etc., and he found valuable materials rotting in the mud and snow with no effort to shelter them. He established the reality of huge cost over-runs -- unaudited contracted costs of half a million costing 2.5 million, but paid because the contracts were cost-plus. FDR was none too happy with Harry -- and when Harry linked up with Senator Cox of Georgia (Dem who hated FDR), the President was even more concerned. But in April 1941 this was useful because Truman got his budget expanded to half a million, and he was cleared to investigate a broader scope of projects. (Things like the Quartermaster Corps and the Army Corps of Engineers)...
Truman was loyal to his friends, some of whom were unworthy, but corrupt or tolerating corruption? Never, no way, no how.

'll not stand for a gaggle of liberals who use National Holidays to post on blog threads and insult the legacy of a great man like William Safire.... Norman Rogers at 3:05 PM

Safire was nothing more than a paid propagandist for Republican and Israeli interests. No lie is beneath him, no spin unworthy. Safire was and is a congenital liar.

Posted by: Mike on January 1, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK
...more surrender monkeys looking for someone to surrender to?... Norman Rogers at 5:38 PM
You had a three branch Republican government produced nothing but failure, debt, corruption and disgrace. Sane people demand change. The foaming-at-mouth insane want to continue a failed policy by a failed government. Posted by: Mike on January 1, 2007 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals are funny. They listen only to each other. After a while they think the liberal conventional wisdom is actually a fact. They then ridicule Safire for not admitting the "fact" that the situation in Iraq is hopeless.

Here in the real world, we cannot know the future. Maybe Iraq will deteriorate into a full-scale civil war. Maybe Iran will take over Iraq. Maybe a new Saddam will grab control of the country. OTOH maybe the democracy will muddle through and gradually overcome the iinsurgency. The point is, we don't know for sure what will actually happen.

A comment to those who claim that Safire's prediction is worthless because his prediction 12 months ago was too optimistic: One mistake doesn't disqualify someone forever. Many liberals were too pessimistic about how hard it would be to defeat the Taliban, and too pessimistic about how hard it would be to overthrow Saddam. Safire had the courage to admit that he was wrong. I encourage posters to behave similarly.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 1, 2007 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Here in the real world, we cannot know the future.

And in wingnut world you can't know the past, the present, or really anything.

Posted by: calling all toasters on January 1, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Mr. (I assume) I DON'T KNOW, the war in Iraq has bogged down the military and the Taliban is re-emerging and Afghanistan is practically lost.

None of us ever said it would be too hard to overthrow Saddam. Are you daft? (That's rhetorical, we know the answer to that is in the affirmative.) What we said was it would deteriorate into a clusterfuck of violence and death and chaos, and we were fucking right. Deal.

Since our predictions (and mine are based on more than media accounts, Bub) were right in the past, I don't see why we should be discounted now?

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

it's nice to know that even in a new year, norman rogers is the same old dumbfuck.

Posted by: howard on January 1, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe someone could explain to me why Safire keeps getting invited back to Sunday morning public affairs shows.

He's as good as anyone else as an administration stand-in. Note the exchange:

MR. RUSSERT: Let me talk about Iraq and we’re going to talk about Mr. Safire’s office pool, the various options you lay out. But first, because this is a program of accountability, let me—Bill—bring Bill Safire back, January 2nd, 2005. Two years ago, his prediction about Iraq. Let’s read.

“I think we’re going to win in Iraq. I think by the end of next year,” that would be the end of ‘06, “we’ll have begun to withdraw our forces. We won’t have them out, but we’ll have begun to withdraw. ... I don’t see a long civil war there.”

How do you plead?

MR. SAFIRE: Optimistic, and frankly, that was as well-sourced a prediction as I’ve ever had.

MR. ROBINSON: That was the problem.

MR. BESCHLOSS: They know things that we don’t know, right, Bill?

(emphasis added)

Posted by: has407 on January 1, 2007 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Consider William Safire's (born Safir, ) provenance:

A college drop-out (two years - Syracuse University), Safire worked for gossip columnist Tex McCrary in the late 1940's and early 1950s, joining the Army in 1952. He lasted only two years (discharge status unclear) and did not serve in a combat role in Korea. He helped produce a July 4th military ceremony at the Statue of Liberty while in the service. This launched his lifelong interest in flag-waving and propaganda. He got a job fresh out of the Army producing Tex McCrary's new TV program, which was nothing more than a scandal-mongering exercise.

Safire parlayed this exposure into a foray into politics, arranging the famous "kitchen debate" between Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon. In 1960, he met William Casey, Nixon's campaign manager and one of the dirtiest street fighters in American political history. Casey would go on to be Reagan's campaign manager in 1980 and head of the CIA after a gentleman named George H.W. Bush. Safire became a speechwriter for Nixon after he became president, working with Pat Buchanan. After Nixon cratered, Safire landed a column with the New York Times, which many fellow journalists objected to strongly, given Safire's close allegiance to Nixon. Safire became an attack dog for the right-wing, torpedoing Bert Lance, Carter's Finance Director with a series of partly fictional columns. He won a Pulitzer in 1978 for the series, again over the objections of many honest journalists. Lance was later acquitted of all charges. Safire was a huge supporter of Reagan, but did criticize the Iran-Contra affair. Safire did several hatchet job columns on Bill and Hillary Clinton, including several that obliquely charged the Clintons with killing Vince Foster, despite a complete lack of evidence.

To summarize, like so many conservatives, Safire was a lackluster student and college and Army drop-out - a lifelong propagandist who worked for the dirtiest president in American history (until the current one) and made his name and fortune with vicious character assassination columns, many of which were borderline libelous. The man is sewage.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 1, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Has407 - Did you check your email?

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

IraQ is a success waiting to happen

Posted by: apeman on January 1, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

3002 in IraQ!

Posted by: R.L. on January 1, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Topic jump:

Kevin, if you're visiting the comments this evening, just know I'm thinking of you every time I yell "GET SOME BOOTY!" while watching the USC v. Michigan game.

My Badgers won, now it's up to the Wolverines. They ain't lookin so hot.

Posted by: san antone rose on January 1, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK
Many liberals were too pessimistic about how hard it would be to defeat the Taliban, and too pessimistic about how hard it would be to overthrow Saddam.

ex-liberal, can I request that you attempt to concentrate for just a moment? Who are these "many liberals"? Or perhaps I should rephrase the question this way: Do you commonly make assertions of fact based soley on your desire that such-and-such is the case?

If you had an inkling of how uninformed you are I believe you would promptly STFU.

Posted by: obscure on January 1, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

Did I mention that my New Years resolution was to stop pulling my punches? I have been entirely too cogenial with the willfully ignorant.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen -- Yes, Thanks! (Sent you a reply; brings back other memories as well :)

Posted by: has407 on January 1, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

I got your email - He laughed at the comparison to Dr. Jeff Webber.

You didn't know that, did you? The guys at the 390th MIMS watched the soaps when they didn't have anything to do because the missiles were green andt he maintenance was done.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: The point is, we don't know for sure what will actually happen.

That doesn't relieve us of the responsiblity for making informed decisions; we are not simply at the whim of the Gods. The decisions and actions of the US will have a significant impact on the future. Unless you think this is simply a Ouija board exercise.

Your statement that "Many liberals were too pessimistic about how hard it would be to defeat the Taliban, and too pessimistic about how hard it would be to overthrow Saddam.", is an excellent illustration of the inability to differentiate between war and battle, and (as GC pointed out) conflating views and opinions of the two.

In any case, what would have been more interesting than a disembodied prediction is why Safire thinks this one will be accurate; that would provide a much better basis for discussion and debate.


p.s. GC -- Really!? Figured they were always studiously glued to their consoles, with a multitude of monitors, watching something of great import... never really thought about what exactly was on those monitors :)

Posted by: has407 on January 1, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

On my grandmothers eyes. I gave them a never ending amount of grief abuot it. At one point, I recall seing a poster that was a timeline of General Hospital from the beginning to 1983 or so.

The minds that tended the nukes. I tell ya.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

I wrote about this topic as well, earlier this morning.

http://www.sotublog.com/2007/01/01/617

Posted by: Matt Ortega on January 1, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

well, ex-liberal, considering that the taliban aren't yet defeated, i'd say anyone who said it would be difficult to defeat them was onto something.

meanwhile, the fantasists in the bush administration assumed they were defeated, lost interest, and as a result, we could end up having failed in afghanistan, too.

Posted by: howard on January 1, 2007 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't been reading the comments here in a while:

Norman Rogers is a parody trool, right?

Posted by: Jim on January 1, 2007 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

God, we hope so...

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers is a parody trool, right?

To you, I must say, no. There is now loose "moderation" in effect, and while people feel they can spoof me, the simple fact of the matter is, I represent a viewpoint sorely lacking in this echo chamber.

Deal with it, sir.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 1, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Maybe someone could explain to me why Safire keeps getting invited back to Sunday morning public affairs shows."

Because William Safire and Tim Russert are members of the same coctail class. They socialize together. Meet the Press panels are overwhelmingly tilted to the right because the coctail class is overhwelmingly tilted to the right.

Posted by: Nan on January 1, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

that's right, norman: you represent a viewpoint of extreme right-wing stupidity, denial, and lack of ratiocinative ability. lord knows, we need more of that.

what an asswipe.

Posted by: howard on January 1, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

I represent a viewpoint sorely lacking in this echo chamber.

There was a shortage on batshit crazy?

Posted by: just sayin on January 1, 2007 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

If Pluto can be de-certified as a planet, why can't Safire be de-certified as a pundit?

Safire, like Pluto, is a cold, lifeless body that orbits very slowly, far from the sun.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on January 1, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Also notice how once again Tim Russert made no effort to balance Safire and O'Beirne. He invited two jihadist right wing GOP partisans with no balance on the liberal side. This is SOP for Meet the Press.

Posted by: Nan on January 1, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

There was a shortage on batshit crazy?

Absolutely. That's why Steve Benen has been filling in for Kevin Drum so that you liberals can continue to exchange your "bat**** crazy" ideas and then I can come along and tell you how the world really works.

You're welcome.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 1, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: ...the simple fact of the matter is, I represent a viewpoint sorely lacking in this echo chamber.

You previously wrote (did you not?):

In the first place, Safire is correct, self-depracating remarks notwithstanding. In the second place, surrendering like monkeys to the Islamic forces of evil and abandoning Iraq to al Qaeda will consign us all to oblivion and give them a state from which to launch attacks, a la what the Taliban had in Afghanistan. Third--and most importantly--George W Bush is steadfast and unyielding and in the modern age of instant news and 24x7 liberal hate-porn, this is a quality our leaders must have in order to continue keeping us safe from attack for yet another year.
A little short on facts and rational argument. FYI...
  • Safire has yet to be proved correct--or even close--and based on past performance, I wouldn't bet the house if I were you.
  • Your assertion that we would be abandoning Iraq to al Qaeda is so much horse shit; they're not the major problem.
  • It's not the Taliban who launched attacks from Afghanistan. In case you hadn't noticed, there's no love lost between them, the Iraq Shia, or Iran--who nearly went to war with them.
  • As to GWB's being steadfast and unyielding, there's a fine line between that and stubborn, stupid, and ignorant. Or do you suggest that things have gone exactly as planned, and that the current situation does not call for a reevalation of strategy?
You want to argue that Iraq as a failed state would be a danger, fine. But don't insult our intelligence by claiming that the "flypaper" strategy is credulous. Or that al Qaeda is anything but a side-show in this circus. Or that the current strategy is working. Or that by writing little more than a Paean, you've brought a "viewpoint" worth considering to the table.

Posted by: has407 on January 1, 2007 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Why waste your time resonding to people like Norman Rodgers? Anyone who reads him or her is doubled over in laughter anyway and knows that it is simply parody.

Posted by: murmeister on January 1, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

But don't insult our intelligence by claiming that the "flypaper" strategy is credulous. Or that al Qaeda is anything but a side-show in this circus. Or that the current strategy is working. Or that by writing little more than a Paean, you've brought a "viewpoint" worth considering to the table.

How quaint--bullet points! As if this were a powerpoint presentation that I would be required to answer in front of a room full of convention attendees.

I am screeched at constantly, but I am no parody. My viewpoint is identical to that of your average conservative in your average town in this great country.

My view is that if we do not slaughter our enemies where they live, we'll soon be forced to slaughter them where we live, and I would rather avoid having to stop on my way down to the market while the State Patrol fires on a carload of Jihadis who are on their way to put pipe bombs in a mall restroom. Perhaps you missed what happened in Chicago before the Christmas holiday?

Anything you want to ascribe to me, fine, but be forewarned--I am perfectly capable of destroying you all in good order with a reasoned debate. You see, the truth is sitting on my side while all you have on your side is obfuscation and derangement.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 1, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Happy New Year to all you PA regulars and lurkers!

Thanks you, Kevin Drum, for all that you do here at PA.
Thanks, Steve Benen, for filling in for Kevin.

Best wishes for 2007 and many happy returns!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 1, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

poor norman: not only is he a stupid moron, he's a delusional stupid moron.

he doesn't even know what a conservative is! he confuses the right-wing bilge that he taps out on his keyboard with actual conservative thought.

it's true that be definition, half the people in this country are of below-average intelligence, but still, how did so many of them get indoctrinated into the loony world that norman rogers inahbits? one really does want to know, although the affection of the simple-minded for simple-mindedness can't be overlooked....

Apollo 13, best wishes to you for the new year as well....

Posted by: howard on January 1, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Apollo-13 and Howard (and even Uncle Norman) - Happy New Year to one and all.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 1, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

To echo Apollo 13... Thanks again Steve, and may 2007 be a better year for everyone! Cheers!


p.s. And to you Norman, I hope that the coming year finds you with less brag, and more facts.

Posted by: has407 on January 1, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

howie:

poor norman: not only is he a stupid moron, he's a delusional stupid moron.

Why? Because I have a differing viewpoint? Because I'm not chortling and shouting "Bush Sux!" like one of your little robot friends? Pardon me for being the only one creative enough to show up and have a different take on things. You know how people enjoy it when William F. Buckley appears on various shows and explains how things work to unsuspecting pundits and fools? That's the service that I provide to you, and I rarely get a thanks for it.

he doesn't even know what a conservative is! he confuses the right-wing bilge that he taps out on his keyboard with actual conservative thought.

A ha! I dictate what is published here and my housekeeper, Minerva Tavares, actually "taps" out my thoughts. I know nothing of the programmer language "H T M L" and she has a certificate from a school in Honduras that taught her English, computer skills, and how to make web pages. A conservative like myself EMPLOYS people; liberals like yourselves are EMPLOYED BY people. This is the main difference.

it's true that be definition, half the people in this country are of below-average intelligence, but still, how did so many of them get indoctrinated into the loony world that norman rogers inahbits? one really does want to know, although the affection of the simple-minded for simple-mindedness can't be overlooked....

Simple--I EMPLOY PEOPLE. Do you understand this or are your comfortable in your drugs and your derangement? People know where their bread is buttered and they care about the things that affect them. Joe Six Pack knows that he better vote Republican or he'll be faced with gay men marrying themselves off to each other at the local NASCAR racing track.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 1, 2007 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

I don't recognize this as a holiday--it is a trick of the calendar and only Godless pagans and Papists really celebrate it, oftentimes by becoming so drunk they crash into one another with their cheap cars at four in the morning.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 1, 2007 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Do you understand this or are your comfortable in your drugs and your derangement?

Arg! You got me there! You just forgot my comfortable shoes!

Posted by: craigie on January 1, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

You just forgot my comfortable shoes!

Apologies--I know how you love to put your knees together and show off a sassy pair of pumps to a gaggle of construction workers.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 1, 2007 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: Joe Six Pack knows that he better vote Republican or he'll be faced with gay men marrying themselves off to each other at the local NASCAR racing track.

Ok, I didn't get it at first (mea culpa)... Jeez...I haven't laughed that hard in a long time (but damn... the water in the nostils is irritating). Thanks Norman! If you're not a writer for Colbert, you should be!

Posted by: has407 on January 1, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

hasbeen407:

That's fine--keep taking for granted the ability of the American people to be offended by the site of Dale Earnhardt Jr. having to slow down and follow a pace car for thirty grueling laps while Elton John marries his backup dancer in pit row.

Cultural issues are important to the American people, are they not? And most Americans would agree--my humorous little metaphor aside--liberals offend them far more than conservatives ever will.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 2, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Cultural issues are important to the American people, are they not?

They would be, if America had a culture. Instead of what it does have, which is a Kulture.

Posted by: craigie on January 2, 2007 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

craigie:

Leg lifts, son. You need to do a lot of leg lifts if you want a man to admire you in those sassy pumps you order online. And this advice is from Minerva, not myself.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 2, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Simple--I EMPLOY PEOPLE.

Liar. I'm pretty sure that patronizing prostitutes doesn't count as being an employer.

Posted by: Vladi G on January 2, 2007 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

Ali G:

Liar. I'm pretty sure that patronizing prostitutes doesn't count as being an employer.

No, I have employed several thousand people at one time--back when I had partial ownership of a defense firm after my father diversified his company. Since that time, the number of people who work for me has fluctuated from 250 to a low of six just a few years ago. Currently, I have thirty employees working out of the main office in downtown Manchester.

I'll leave you to your sex fantasies, though. It must comfort you to get your jollies off while people like me work for a living and contribute to society.

Liberals have never appreciated hard work, honesty, and earning a living. Look what the sickos do with the fact that I ensure people can support themselves and their families--they mock it and denigrate it, as liberals are wont to do.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 2, 2007 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

Liberals have never appreciated hard work, honesty, and earning a living.

Hmmm.

Number one US export: Hollywood programming.
Hollywood: cesspool of liberal lefty scum.
Does not compute! Does not compute!

Try again.

Posted by: craigie on January 2, 2007 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Look what the sickos do with the fact that I ensure people can support themselves and their families--they mock it and denigrate it, as liberals are wont to do.

No, I'm mocking you for being a liar, liar.

Posted by: Vladi G on January 2, 2007 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: That's fine--keep taking for granted the ability of the American people to be offended by the site of Dale Earnhardt Jr. having to slow down and follow a pace car for thirty grueling laps while Elton John marries his backup dancer in pit row. Cultural issues are important to the American people, are they not?

I bow to your expertise. If American sensibilities were terribly offended by Dale Earnhardt Jr. taking a back seat (so to speak) to Elton John, I'll take your word for it. (You appear to be much more in tune to that, than what is happening in Iraq. :)

Posted by: has407 on January 2, 2007 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

Norman Rodgers - Just remember, liberals--all that stood between you and oblivion was a Republican congress during the Clinton years.

Does this mean you are still working on that psychiatric discharge from your probably imaginary military enlistment?

Posted by: CapitalistImperialistPig on January 2, 2007 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK


And I look at the Trumanesque quality in the White House now.

Truman knew when to finish the job (Japan), when to not escalate a war (against MacArthur's wishes in Korea), and when to intervene (sending the 7th fleet to Taiwan). Sure, Truman played hardball politics with the best of 'em, but ultimately, he made sensible, rational decisions. So no, Bush isn't like him at all.

Posted by: Andy on January 2, 2007 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Norman writes:

In the first place, Safire is correct, self-depracating remarks notwithstanding.

Safire kept insisting on the link between Al-Quaeda when the evidence suggested that there were none. So with regards to Iraq, Safire is wrong.


In the second place, surrendering like monkeys to the Islamic forces of evil and abandoning Iraq to al Qaeda..will consign us all to oblivion and give them a state from which to launch attacks, a la what the Taliban had in Afghanistan.

You readily admit they already have another base by which to launch attacks against us. And you can add to your list Somalia. So if we leave Iraq, they will have a state to organize. But you say they already have such a state - in addition to Somalia. So Afghanistan and Somalia are already states that they can use to "consign us to oblivion." Unless you mean if we leave Iraq they'll have another state to launch attacks from, in addition to Somalia and Afghanistan. I find your line of thinking difficulat to follow.


Third--and most importantly--George W Bush is steadfast and unyielding..

So you're saying being steadfast and unyielding even when you're wrong is is how we're going to "win?" You're wrong here. Making rational decisions in the interest of the country is more important than being "unyielding."


My view is that if we do not slaughter our enemies where they live, we'll soon be forced to slaughter them where we live.

We left Vietnam, and we didn't have to fight the Commies in Orange County. In fact, they just stayed where they were.

Posted by: Andy on January 2, 2007 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

My first thought was the same as Nan's -- Safire and O'Beirne, what balance!

And then Potatoe Head (spelling intended) gushed all over the Medal of Freedom Safire just got from Bush and I gagged at the clip they played.

Heck of job predicting, Saffie!

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 2, 2007 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, you said "had.." But Al-Quaeda have a base in Somalia now.

Posted by: Andy on January 2, 2007 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Before the war, I remember reading a Safire column in which he admits that he lacked any evidence of a bin Laden-Hussein relationship (the e-mails he selectively quoted from were full of shit), he just said he believed in such a relationship because if there was a relationship, it wouldn't be written down because that's just not things are done in the region. He failed to say how, if that's how things are done in the ME, Hussein was any different than the House of Saud or the royal families of Jordan, Yemen, etc. He should be embarassed.

Posted by: Reality Man on January 2, 2007 at 3:12 AM | PERMALINK

Safire told lie after lie after lie to con America into this war. He traded his credibility and his honor for an invasion of Iraq, and he can't have them back.

What some people won't do for a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

December 15, 2006, at the White House.

Posted by: Maeven on January 2, 2007 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

Wasn't Safire just honored at the WH with a Medal of Freedom or something?

Posted by: bob h on January 2, 2007 at 7:10 AM | PERMALINK

Safire, a former speech writer for Spiro Agnew, has been irrelevant for years. Humor him.

Posted by: Nat Felton on January 2, 2007 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Norman does hyperbolic-patrician-hawk-closet-gay-republican-parody schtick as comprehensively as anyone plowing that very particular & infertile plot. Think Thurston Howell III played by Jack Nicholson on crystal-meth, uniforms by Tom of Finland, lingerie by Fredric's of Hollywood, arsenal by Northrop Grumman, staff by Sante Kimes, bond & hedge fund portfolio by Merrill Lynch. It's a complexly imagined but one-joke solipsism in which all threads lead to N.Rogers. And that's the real shame. It's not that Norman isn't real. (He isn't) It's not that Norman isn't funny. (He is.) It's that any subject worth discussing is too often eclipsed by the vaudeville of a plum-voiced elephant in the corner.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on January 2, 2007 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

So send me an E-mail missive, DanJoaquinOz.

If you're so smart, send me an E-mail and prove that I'm not real.

You sound like a typical liberal lefty--anyone who brings a certain viewpoint to the table just has to be a parody, a lie, etc.

Were you paying attention, you would know that I've been posting here for several years, I am in fact a real person with a particular viewpoint and take on things, and you would also know that spoof posting and handle snatching is now moderated by the recent upgrade in the software utilized by the Washington Monthly.

And, in point of fact, I have been introduced to the owner of the Washington Monthly, Charles Peters, and I find him to be a good man who sincerely appreciates the commentary provided by people like myself who arrive at their political sensibilities by way of actually holding a job for the last forty years and from being active in Republican party politics. Sorry if that blows your frightwigged freakshow liberal worldview out of the water.

So, go stuff it, you fool.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 2, 2007 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

This E-mail account (via Bill Gates "hotmail" is a valid one, I believe.

NRogers_Princeton65@hotmail.com

Not a real person? Sorry, bub. I'm quite real. It is you who is not real.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 2, 2007 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Norman,

The reason right wing columnists are attacked on a major holiday by many is that this is our jaded secular version of a Festival of Sacrifice event -

Agree with many up thread on their negative views of Safire, but Conservative Deflator hit upon one thing - Iran-Contra - Safire was the only one who tried, repeatedly, to drum up any attack against the BNL scandal - that is, the Italian Bank putting up the vast sums of money to support the illegal arm shipments - Much of Saddam's buildup came from this money, also.

The rest of the press merely yawned, as they did, in the S&L scandal.

But his novel about Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation is a fine read.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 2, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

But his novel about Antietam and the Emancipation Proclamation is a fine read.

I have not read that one, but I will tell you something for nothing--you can glean an understanding of modern politics by reading Safire's Scandalmonger, a novel which is about Thomas Jefferson but is really about Bill Clinton.

Right down to the scorned mistress who takes her revenge...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 2, 2007 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

>>Plus the 25% of true believers get riled up and claim the media has a liberal bias.
Posted by: PTate in MN

I'm guessing that's the same 25% who recently told a poll that they believed Jesus Christ would return this year, too.

Posted by: MsNThrope on January 2, 2007 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

To be reimbursed for all of those Green Stamps he "saved" during the 60s.

Posted by: stupid git on January 2, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

3rd Paul, Msnthrope


From instapundit

JAMES MCCORMICK REVIEWS Mark Steyn's America Alone: "In more academic hands, America Alone would have been longer on statistics and historical references, and much shorter on wit and clarity. But in our current political environment, it’s hard to imagine an academic book, drawing on the same facts and arguments, climbing onto the bestsellers lists as quickly as this one. This will be the book that gets the arguments out in front of the general public in a palatable, even amusing, way. And because of the harmony of Steyn’s argument with the broader historical/technical discussions in the Anglosphere Challenge, Mark Steyn will be the leading proponent for American (and secondarily Anglosphere) exceptionalism over the next few years."

From RDW:

AA is actually filled with choice facts such as the voting record of the EU during the 90's. Did you know they only voted with the USA 45% of the time on major votes? I would think to be even considered an ally we'd be voting together at least 75% of the time.

If we disagree 55% of the time we're not really allies are we? I know you've had an ideology drilled into your head but at what point does reality set in? This is pre-Bush.

To be under 45 is to remember Monyihan, Kilpatrick, Bolton and a long series of disagrements and angst with the EU and UN. Those polls which show public opinion for the UN and EU in the toilet will not be changing.

McCormich gives Steyn a tad too much credit. He will be a leading spokesman for American Exceptionalism but not the spokesman. It's way too crowded a field

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers wrote: "... spoof posting and handle snatching is now moderated by the recent upgrade in the software utilized by the Washington Monthly."

No it isn't.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 2, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Someone let that boorish cretin of Drexel Hill in.

Another dead thread while he talks to the portraits of Ronnie and the Usurper...

*yawning*


'Somewhere in this nation, perhaps on a midwestern university campus, or toiling on the receiving dock of a Best Buy store, there are sharp young people who are not failing to notice the stupendous economic injustice that saturates the system as it is currently running. These young people may emerge as the Dantons, Robespierres, and Saint-Justs of the 21st century. It's not a happy prospect.' - James Howard Kunstler

Posted by: MsNThrope on January 2, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

3rd Paul, Msnthrope, PTate in MN


Do check out the front page of the WSJ this morn. We are looking foreward to another year of very solid GDP growth, low inflation, low interest rates and strong Corporate profits.

The 8th wonder of the Modern world, the US economy continues. We are expected to add > $400B to GDP while France and Germany will be lucky to add $60B

The rich get richer.

Did you know the US spends about 4% on defense. That additional $400B in GDP will add $16B to defense spending in 2007. France spends about $45B and with surging welfare state demands will be cutting that amount.

The powerful get more powerful.

Year after year it's the same story. Just think ahead to about 2020 when US per capita income is about $60K and French is about $30K.

That's just going to be ugly!

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

perhaps on a midwestern university campus, or toiling on the receiving dock of a Best Buy store, there are sharp young people who are not failing to notice the stupendous economic injustice that saturates the system

If they're on a college campus they're confident there's nothing but economic opportunity or they wouldn't be taking on the debt.

If they're on a loading dock at Best Buy they see capitalism at it's best. Each month the new batch of toys for ALL the classes arrives and they're lighter, smaller, cheaper and better than the previous batch. The exception being TVs which are lighter, BIGGER, Cheaper and Better than the previous batch.

NO doubt said worker is using their employees discount to get it even CHEAPER than everyone else.

Is this really that hard for you?

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Moderator!

12:21PM is NOT me!

Please do you job and fix this outrageous attack on my character.

I thank you.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 2, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

If they're on a loading dock at Best Buy they see capitalism at it's best. Each month the new batch of toys for ALL the classes arrives and they're lighter, smaller, cheaper and better than the previous batch. The exception being TVs which are lighter, BIGGER, Cheaper and Better than the previous batch.

Well, the crappy DVD player I have in the kitchen will NOT play R+ DVDs; this is a built-in obsolescence that I most certainly do not need to deal with in my life. I refuse to scrap the R+ DVDs and go back to using R- DVDs and I don't have the time to stand with a bunch of slackjawed yokels at Best Buy, waiting for the latest sexy gizmo to turn their little faces from all frowny to happy. There is no VIP section of Best Buy for people like myself who actually have money, but there should be.

That's why I purchase most everything over the Internet.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on January 2, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "... strong Corporate profits ... The rich get richer ... The powerful get more powerful. ... capitalism at it's best. Each month the new batch of toys ..."

Behold, the banality of evil.

The wheels of the mighty engine turn. The rich, diverse, wonderful life of the Earth is processed ... into toxic garbage, and "toys", which quickly become toxic garbage, to be replaced by more "toys", which become toxic garbage ... the masses borrow and spend, consume and discard, going ever deeper and more desperately into debt, trudging on the treadmill of wage-slavery, consumerism and TV-hypnosis-induced stupor ... in the process channeling and concentrating ever more wealth and power into the hands of an already ultra-wealthy and ultra-powerful hereditary corporate ruling class ... and in the process degrading and destroying the very capacity of the Earth to support life until global ecological catastrophe becomes inevitable and irreversible ...

And weak-minded, ignorant, gullible mental slaves of corporate-funded right-wing extremist propaganda look upon it, and say it is good.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 2, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

A few weeks ago, Safire wrote an NYT op-ed in which he said basically the same thing- and that a "Trumanesque Bush" will attack the "do-nothing" Democratic Congress, and the GOP will win in 2008. How detached from reality does he have to be to write such drivel? He is obviously becoming senile.

Posted by: bibliographic specialist on January 2, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

The rich, diverse, wonderful life of the
Earth is processed ... into toxic garbage,

You are as dumb as a post. New products use less resources and the more wealth we have the most we have to invest is a clean environment.

I can brag that in the last week my small township announced it has $600K in a rainy day fund to invest in open spaces while my country has just processed over $1M in grants and aid to preserve 950 acres and has received over $400,000 in matching state and federal funds to restore a creek bed.

If you go into Delawarewatershed.ord you'll see a picture on a big fat striper caugt in the Schulkill river in center city Philadephia. It's a record. Also spotted going up the fish ladder were rare turtles and a family of otters.

It's America the beautiful my friend. We get more beautiful EVERY DAY in EVERY WAY. That's more permanent open space, cleaner air, cleaner water, restored habitats, etc. We've got large and growing trusts funds dedicated to environmentalism. Europe does not.

The cool thing about Best buy is with their big screen TVs we get to enjoy this ecological splendor in HD.

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

destroying the very capacity of the Earth to support life

Not so fast. Obviously you have not read Mark Steyns book America Alone. Europe and much of Asia are already breeding themselves out of existance. They can already predict when the total population will peak and start moving back down. It will happen fairly quickly and dramatically.

We US farm techniques popularized globally we're already seeing a rapid shrinkage in the amount of farm land needed for food. That's why forests are actually larger NOW than in 1970 and will continue to expand.

America the exceptional leads the way. The world had never been in such good hands.

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

3rd paul, secularists MsNThrope.

Check out James Woolseys piece in the WSJ (link on instapundit) on energy independence.

"Bet on major progress toward independence, spurred by market forces and a portfolio of rapidly developing oil-replacing technologies"

Turn that frown upside down. The good news is the dramatic inceases in exploration, drilling and alternative sources. Much has been done and the beauty is so much is in private hands. No Jimmmy Carter debacles here.

Check out Ethanol.org. You'll be stunned at the rapid expansion of ethanol production and they're just getting started. It is already the most effective alternative energy program ever and it's based on a combination of Federal, state and local tax breaks for private investment. By 2012 10% of our gasoline demand will be met by ethanol with possibilities of doubling quickly.

There is much good news ahead in this regard. America works!!

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone checkout out these temps?

I know my natural gas supplier isn't happy. Demand is down dramatically and supply is at historic highs. For those of you tracking inflation keep an eye on energy costs. The recent production cuts announced by OPEC will move spare capacity over 10% and still won't be enough.

At the same time there are over 50 large ethanol production plants under production with about 4 coming online each month. Moreover we have steady steams of new production from the Tar Sands coming online and it's all destined for US markets.

OPEC doesn't know it yet but they're gradually losing control. It's also true that virually every new car and truck model sold in the USA gets better mileage than the model it replaced.

It was interesting last week that Royal Dutch Shell announced last week large finds off Brazil are confirmed as commerical quality. Brazil is already self-sufficient and still expanding their sugar-cane based ethanol. Brazil has to decide if they wish to drill and risk over-supplying the market.

GWB was very, very wise to allow private markets to solve the energy problem. That it's going so well is entirel predictable.

When you think about America the 1st thing that comes to mind is innovation followed by problem-solving. I'm not sure what it costs to produce a gallon of ethanol but you just know it's going to cost less next year and less again the year after. It is OPECs worst nightmare we find the emzyme or microbe to improve fermentation such that a gallon of ethanol cost $.50.

And you just know there are a ton of labs working the issue knowing a ton of money can be made. Now that's capitalism.

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

bibliographic specialist: "How detached from reality does he have to be to write such drivel? He is obviously becoming senile."

Oh, you mean Safire.

After reading the last few comments on this page I thought you meant rdw. That description fits him perfectly.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 2, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

The cool thing about Best buy is with their big screen TVs we get to enjoy this ecological splendor in HD.

LMAO. That is some tasty satire there, rdw. My congrats on fooling most folks into thinking that you are an actual wingnut.

Posted by: Disputo on January 2, 2007 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK
...When you think about America the 1st thing that comes to mind is innovation followed by problem-solving. ......Now that's capitalism. rightist dim wit at 2:31 PM
Since ethanol production and research is highly subsided by the government, it can hardly be called "private market" but you have never given any indication you understand what a private market is. By the way, it is the failure of US manufacturers to innovate, especially auto manufacturers, that has cost them market share and billions in lost sales. Every major innovation in the past score years has come from Japan. Posted by: Mike on January 2, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK
...That's why forests are actually larger NOW than in 1970 and will continue to expand.... rightist dim wit at 2:03 PM
Actually, the world forest inventory is in decline.
...2020 when US per capita income is about $60K and French is about $30K. rightist dim wit at 12:25 PM |
You are confusing average with median income Posted by: Mike on January 2, 2007 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "When you think about America the 1st thing that comes to mind is innovation followed by problem-solving. Now that's capitalism"

One of the things that I think about when I think about America, is that the technology of photovoltaic cells was invented in the USA.

According to the WorldWatch Institute, in 2005, world production of photovoltaic cells jumped 45 percent to nearly 1,730 megawatts, six times the level in 2000; the world's photovoltaic industry has grown at more than 30 percent a year for each of the last five years; and securities markets have seen a surge in the stocks of photovoltaic cell producers.

Quite a triumph for "American innovation."

Except that the world's largest producers of photovoltaic cells, who are cashing in on this growth, are Japan and Germany. China's photovoltaic industry is also growing rapidly.

The USA, not so much.

We lost this tremendous growth industry to Japan, Germany and China because US energy policy -- both governmental and corporate -- has been dominated by the fossil fuel industry and the state-subsidized nuclear power industry, and photoltaic production in the US has stagnated.

That's "capitalism".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 2, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "The cool thing about Best buy is with their big screen TVs we get to enjoy this ecological splendor in HD."

Disputo replied: "That is some tasty satire there, rdw. My congrats on fooling most folks into thinking that you are an actual wingnut."

The sad thing is, I don't think that was satire. I think that's the way rdw really thinks.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 2, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

We lost this tremendous growth industry

The 'industry' is microscopic except for those little landscape lights. It's the classic case of being 10 years 'away' from useful for 40 years.

It's terrific the Germans are spending their money on it. We don't have to waste ours.

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Every major innovation in the past score years has come from Japan

Why do you think GWB has spend so much time cultivating warm relations with the Japanese? Why do you think GWB has talked the Japanese into removing article 9 of their constitution and ALL restrictions on defense spending? Why do you think GWB has made Japan full partners on our Star Wars system? Why fo you think the ship based system is being tested off Japanese cruisers?

And why do you think the French know nothing of star wars system? and why do you think it important the President of Iran promise they would have missle capable of reaching Berlin and Paris?

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

You are confusing average with median income

Actually I meant per Capita GDP. The most useless stats in economics are income stats. Ther unmistakeable sign of financial health is growing GDP.

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the world forest inventory is in decline

No, it is not. The worlds forest are expanding and as one would expect it's led by the USA which had more forest now than at anytime in the last 200 years. Canada also has more forests.

Your data is from pre-2000

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK
...Not a real person? Sorry, bub. I'm quite real. ... Norman Rogers on January 2, 2007 at 9:03 AM
You're a rightwing cliché, and a rather nasty one at that.
...about Thomas Jefferson but is really about Bill Clinton.... Norman Rogers on at 9:41 AM
You are perhaps mislead by Clinton's full name: William Jefferson Clinton, but then again, Safire is notorious for sloppy writing and for being a partisan hack careless with factual data.
The exception being TVs which are lighter, BIGGER, Cheaper and Better than the previous batch. rightist dim wit at 12:31 PM
Did you ever notice how many of those TV's are made in the USA. Soon, capitalists will even have to import the gravediggers who will bury them. Posted by: Mike on January 2, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Since ethanol production and research is highly subsided by the government, it can hardly be called "private market

There are tax breaks for virtually every kind of R&D. The key for successful research is joint private - government work designed to evolve into private for commercialization. The drug companies are the masters of this.

In this way we get private companies making the key decisions based on promise and cost-benefit rather than a govt decision based on helping out cousin Ed.

Private Ethanol R&D is exploding along with production as ethanol has the potential of becoming a $100B business

There's money to be made my friend and nothing attracts attention like profits.

Also the state and local money is in tac breaks and set asides common as Governors work to attract new business. Ethanol is a no brainer. Everyone in the state wins.

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK
Actually I meant per Capita GDP. ... Ther unmistakeable sign of financial health is growing GDP. rdw on January 2, 2007 at 6:23 PM
If you want to analysis by Per capita GDP, you will find that the US is behind several "socialist" economies. It is a poor method of proving national well-being.
...Your data is from pre-2000 rdw at 6:26 PM
While you have no actual data to offer. Any growth post 2000 is from a large decline from the 50's and probably non-existent. Posted by: Mike on January 2, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK
There are tax breaks for virtually every kind of R&D...rightist dim wit at 6:33 PM |
Tax breaks are government subsidies and are a form of corporate socialism. Private ethanol is mainly for the heavily subsidized Archer Danial Midlands. If you want to see wide spread ethanol use, look to Brazil where is it also subsidized. The fact of your argument is government socialism if profitable for those corporations who pay for it by means of "campaign contributions" and other bribes. That is not, prima facie, a "private" market. Posted by: Mike on January 2, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: The 'industry' is microscopic except for those little landscape lights. It's the classic case of being 10 years 'away' from useful for 40 years.

The depth of your ignorance never ceases to amaze. No matter how many abjectly, shockingly ignorant things you say, you are always ready to come up with something even more ignorant than anything you have posted before.

rdw: The worlds forest are expanding and as one would expect it's led by the USA which had more forest now than at anytime in the last 200 years.

That is false. Even if you count industrial tree farms growing thousands of acres of genetically identical pine tree monocrops for paper pulp as "forests", which they are not.

You are, as you have always been, a weak-minded, ignorant dupe of right-wing extremist propaganda, a cheerleader for anti-human corporate fascism, and a fountain of falsehoods and idiocy.

Perhaps as 'bibliographic specialist' suggested with regard to William Safire, perhaps your detachment from reality and the steady stream of delusional, fact-free drivel that you offer comes down to senility.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 2, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "In this way we get private companies making the key decisions based on promise and cost-benefit rather than a govt decision based on helping out cousin Ed."

In this way, we get ultra-rich corporate bigshots who bribe the bought-and-paid-for elected government officials like Bush and Cheney to appoint their hand-picked corporate lawyers and lobbyists to run all the government agencies, and bribe their bought-and-paid-for Republican shills in the Congress to ensure that the taxpayers dollars will flow by the billions to their "private companies" so that the "costs" are paid by the public and the "benefits" are enjoyed by the ultra-rich corporate elites.

This is the corporate fascism that you cheerlead for, you weak-minded, ignorant, gullible stooge.

I have never encountered anyone quite so joyful about being a slave as rdw.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on January 2, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

and are a form of corporate socialism

Not even close. The research the govt funds is designed to be the basic research that profit making business cannot affort because there's little or no profit potential or the profits are too far away. THe research 'owned' by the govt is widely available.

It's not about ownership or profits but advancing knowledge so that it can become profitable AND THUS DEVELOPED.

The cool part about ethanol is the subsidaries are available to ALL producers and will benefit ALL consumers. They're not tied to any one company or consumer.

The governors are having a feeding freenzy. They get to please everyone. THe farmers are getting 40% more for corn and can sell all they grow. The construction of production facilities uses workers and marerials from within the state and employees workers from within the state. The entire process requires inputs purchased from other state business and produces other by-products valuable as animal feed and fertilized within the state. On top of all the economic advantages they get to call themselves Governor Green. It's win/win/win.

This is why production is sky-rocketing in the farm belt. It's perfect. State and local coffers are flush with cash and it's a great local investment.

It's very, very possible places like Iowa and South Dakota are in for extended booms and the states become energy independent very qiuckly as the populace transition to E85. Give Americans a choice between American ethanol or Saudi Gasoline they'll go E85 everytime.

My understanding is the Feds are subsidizing production opf E85 at the pump by $.50 a gal. IF Iowans can buy E85 at the same price they will buy E85 vehicles and never buy pure gasoline ever again.

At that price they simply will not be able to make ethanol quickly enough.

This is the type of transition capitalism was designed to manage. With properly incented farmers, producers, sellers, auto-manufactures and researchers we'll get a market efficient rollout and constant product improvement. Already auto engineers have discovered the mileage losses from burning ethanol aren't near the 10% TO 15% they feared.

It's very possible within 5 years a majority of cars sold are E85 compliant and marketers will have a hard time meeting demand. One cannot count on breakthroughs but to the extend they happen they will improve the ability of all nationsto grow their energy. Erthanol is OPECs worst nightmare.

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

and are a form of corporate socialism

Not even close. The research the govt funds is designed to be the basic research that profit making business cannot affort because there's little or no profit potential or the profits are too far away. THe research 'owned' by the govt is widely available.

It's not about ownership or profits but advancing knowledge so that it can become profitable AND THUS DEVELOPED.

The cool part about ethanol is the subsidaries are available to ALL producers and will benefit ALL consumers. They're not tied to any one company or consumer.

The governors are having a feeding freenzy. They get to please everyone. THe farmers are getting 40% more for corn and can sell all they grow. The construction of production facilities uses workers and marerials from within the state and employees workers from within the state. The entire process requires inputs purchased from other state business and produces other by-products valuable as animal feed and fertilized within the state. On top of all the economic advantages they get to call themselves Governor Green. It's win/win/win.

This is why production is sky-rocketing in the farm belt. It's perfect. State and local coffers are flush with cash and it's a great local investment.

It's very, very possible places like Iowa and South Dakota are in for extended booms and the states become energy independent very qiuckly as the populace transition to E85. Give Americans a choice between American ethanol or Saudi Gasoline they'll go E85 everytime.

My understanding is the Feds are subsidizing production opf E85 at the pump by $.50 a gal. IF Iowans can buy E85 at the same price they will buy E85 vehicles and never buy pure gasoline ever again.

At that price they simply will not be able to make ethanol quickly enough.

This is the type of transition capitalism was designed to manage. With properly incented farmers, producers, sellers, auto-manufactures and researchers we'll get a market efficient rollout and constant product improvement. Already auto engineers have discovered the mileage losses from burning ethanol aren't near the 10% TO 15% they feared.

It's very possible within 5 years a majority of cars sold are E85 compliant and marketers will have a hard time meeting demand. One cannot count on breakthroughs but to the extend they happen they will improve the ability of all nationsto grow their energy. Etthanol is OPECs worst nightmare. If they get the cost below $1 the US will eventually stop importing oil for gasoline. Or, more iikely, gasoline will be priced > $1

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

SA,

Ethanol production is controlled at the state and local levels. It's the governors falling all over themselves offering incentives for local production.

The brilliance is most of the federal help is at the consumer level. Producers must SELL a gallon to get the subsidy. It's available to every seller. It's up to them to buy it at a profitable price. It's up to the refiners to produce it at a profitable price. It's up to the farmers to grow the corn at a profitable price. At each stage we have price signals determining optimal investment not some govt pencil-neck.

Anyone who is a fan of business and economics has to look at this as poetry in motion. It's art.

here's a stock market tip.

Something big has been happening to oil imports. For most of the 4th Quarter imports were down between 3% and 8% each week while crude supplies were only drawn down marginally. In the last 6 weeks running crude imports were down 7% by volume. Yet Crude inventories are well above the top of the average range for this time of year.

It could be refiners and producers have decided they were carrying too much supply and didn't want to pay for storage. Or it could be the warm winter, increases in ethanol production, increases in Tar Sands production, other US based production increases and consewrvation efforts are all beginning to have a measurable impact.

One of the most amazing aspects of the recent economic boom is energy demand is down. Energy efficiency as a unit of GDP is up well over 12%.

It's very possible US demand for imports is in a long term secular decline and will cap all OPEC rice increases. This is fabulous for inflation and thus global economics. IF in fact this huge import drop is directly driven by final demand
in the USA Oil prices will come down. Inflation will come down AND global stock markets will rise.

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

I have never understood why a grammarian like Safire should also be taken seriously as a pundit. Grammarians are prone to conservatism, out of nostalgia for Gibbon and Burke, Jane Austen, or Warde Fowler, back when Marxism was perceived as the main threat to the English language.

Grammarians tend to pick examples of linguistic and stylistic atrocities from left-wing writing, rather than right-wing writing.

Posted by: sara on January 2, 2007 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Did you ever notice how many of those TV's are made in the USA

Have you even taken an economics course? If not look up David Ricardo and comparative advantage. It's part of the beauty of capitalism. The reason wecan buy 42" flat screens for $1K is they can make it so much more cheaply.

So let them!

THe fact we can buy so many things so cheaply is why our lifestyles are so luxurious. It's why so many of lifes necessities are now so cheap and even the poor live better than kings of old.

I take it you're one of the ones still convinced we have a starvation problem because the poor can't afford to eat. The number one health issue among the poor is obesity. Only a liberal will tell you that's because they're hungry.

It's comical how the libs look at this economy and trade. I called a help desk for my wireless modem last week and was connected to New Delhi, India. I was thrilled. It's win/win. GWB has been pushing improived relations hard and it's working. The US isn't just creating high paying jobs in the USA but among our close allies as well.

Now think ahead. We are adding $400B in GDP a year with a 4.4% unemployment and face the largest wave of retirements in human history. We face acute labor shortages while the largest English speaking Democracy has a surplus of well educated labor.

This exploding middle class, and entranpreunral class, in India will in turn buy American products. Work for American companies to design American products and work for American companies to pruduce maerican products.

You've got no more chance at stopping globalization than you do at stopping the rain.

It's unfortunate the Western Europeans fight globalization. But only for them.

I got a kick reading a month ago the French are facing a severe retrenchment in their wine industry. They've been under ompetitive pressures for 2 decades ignoring market signals. Most Americans like me wouldn't even think of buying French Wine. We've found better quality from Ausralia. In a global market it's now wise to piss off your largest market. This is especially true in a highly regulated market like France where change is so slow. By the time they figure out how to cut production 15% they'll need to cut 30%.

Posted by: rdw on January 2, 2007 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

India's property boom yields high returns

From yahoo

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A pair of scimitar-horned oryxes from the Kansas City Zoo are among six from North America and four from Europe that are being reintroduced in Tunisia, the animals' native scrubland where they have been wiped out.

If not for America just how much worse would it be?

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

COLD PLACE EVEN COLDER
Nearly 60 per cent of New Zealanders are concerned about global warming. Well, this should calm ‘em down:


Defying talk of global warming, New Zealanders shivered in December, with the capital Wellington recording its coldest start to the southern hemisphere summer for 78 years, according to official figures released Wednesday.

( Via Larry T.)

Posted by: rdw on January 3, 2007 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK
Have you even taken an economics course?... It's part of the beauty of capitalism....rightist dim wit at 8:33 PM

Actually, it's the stupidity of American multinationals who delight in seening a lowering of the American standard of living while their profits are increased by off shoring and outsourcing American jobs. If you knew anything about economics, you would know that using per capita GDP as a measure of individual standard of living is incorrect.

India's property boom yields high returns rightist dim wit at 8:22 AM

India's boom may be happening at the expense of the American worker. I understand that you paeans to the Haitian economic system in which a few wealthy capitalist holding millions of peasants in thrall, is the goal of Republicanism.
Defying talk of global warming, New Zealanders shivered ...rightist dim wit at 8:45 AM

Anyone with a bit of sense realizes that there are wide variations in weather patterns but knows that CO2 emissions cause an increase in tempatures overall and that Eight of the 10 warmest years since 1860 have occurred within the last decade.

Posted by: Mike on January 3, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK
Not even close. The research the govt funds is designed to be the basic research .... rightist dim wit at 7:42 PM
Your understanding is highly limited. The tax and supporting subsidies are going to a few favored few. Using Government funding to support corporate "contributors" of that government is the definition of corporate welfare which is socialism for big business. Taking chances, spending for R&D is the essence of capitalism. Using government subsidies is not. Take an econ course; it would do you a world of good.
You've got no more chance at stopping globalization than you do at stopping the rain rightist dim wit at 8:33 PM
What you call globalization is nothing more than using the cheapest labor for the highest profits. If former times, it was called slavery which is the ultimate in cheap labor. That and the complete lack of labor standards and environmental considerations enable communist states like China and Vietnam to under cut Americans. If trade were fair, there would be requirements on that trade and taxes to replace the income lost to American workers and the American government. Posted by: Mike on January 3, 2007 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

So angry!

The search for profits is the core of capitalism and capitalism rules the world.

Did you know Best Buy sold more 40" HDTVs in December than in all of 2005?

Doen't seem like the American worker is doing so poorly to me.

Posted by: rdw on January 4, 2007 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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