Puzzle if the American public was educated to see the commander-in-chief as an unambiguous warrior long before the soap-opera slow and unusually claustrophobic "24." Note "Air Force One", the 1997 Harrison Ford thriller, as a brief for omniscient presidential powers in wartime. Mass murder, betrayal, threats, assassination, causus belli like raindrops, and deliberate distortion of the facts to keep the delightfully compliant media as agog as the movie going audience. And the bad guys are terrorists with a credible cause, an inspirational sense of self-sacrifice, and discipline like Russian airborne. Still, the national security apparatus of the United States in a one-man attack dog who shoots and shoots and shoots and shoots. Can guess the Harrison Ford approval rating was 105%. Ask who is a better model for the Ford character. Boy Clinton, who is not known to have fired a weapon in anger nor committed US riflemen to more than retreat? Or the cowboy?
The Spectacle Blog
Loose Canons regretfully announces that we have lost all patience with Fox's "24." In last night's episode: (1) we found out that the missing nerve gas was America's (and, lest we forget, had been stored at a small California airport where terrorists could get to it conveniently). Never mind the fact that we don't have such stuff; (2) the president's chief of staff convinced his idiot boss to be quiet about the assassination of a previous president of the US and the nerve gas's destination because it could be used to prove the presence of WMD in SW Asia; and (3) Our Hero took time, in the middle of threatening torture, scorning the president and Saving the Day to negotiate his love life with two ladies.
Yes, it's fast-paced. Yes, it's relatively well acted and directed. But no, it's not bearable. Jack Bauer is morphing into Dirty Harry as rewritten by Michael Moore.
Count on Larry King to ask all the hard questions regarding Bob Woodruff's condition:
KING: ...Now there are rumors, as there always will be in cases like this, about disfigurement. What do you know?
RADDATZ: I'm not going to go beyond anything that ABC News has released but I don't think that is the case here....
Or to bring on a guest like the fellow-traveling Peter Arnett, whom he introduced as "formerly with CNN." Formerly of CNN? How about telling us he was fired by CNN in 1999 for cooking up a story? (Or for that matter that NBC fired him three years ago for something equally flagrant?) As you can see, Peter was in fine form last night:
Jerusalem source reports that Hamas chief and Damascus-Tehran chimp Khaled Meshal is close to a deal with Cairo to transfer his operation back into Gaza City.
Egypt Secret Police Chief Suleiman, the heavy duty factotum of aging, despairing, betraying Mubarak of Egypt, has negotiated a deal to give Meshal triumphant return travel package back through Cairo to the Sinai and through the open Rafah crossing.
Israel says it will stop the return of the notorious Mr. K. No such luck is available since the EU claims to be the guard poodle of this now smuggler-open border.
Meshal is an arch villain. Terrorism with a ghoulish face. IDF will want to target his tonsils as soon as he provides opportunity, and this time, overpraised Mossad geniuses, no oafish, over-clever subtlety, just use a Hellfire.
And does Dr. Rice know all this subterfuge in plain sight? Roger. And what is she going to do about it? Cut off Hamas's money. How? Ask Prince Bandar please don't give any more charity to Gaza?
Spoke with Walid Jumblatt, leader of the British connected and MI-6 blessed Druze of Lebanon. Jumblatt condemns the al-Assads of Damascus as terrorists and says that they are playing a waiting-out Bush game -- stalling the UN in hopes of regime change in Washington. Even a congressional setback in November would brighten Damascus's eyes.
Jumblatt was also consistent that he will negotiate and cooperate with Hamas-run Palestinian Authority as soon as the PA government is formed.
Jumblatt knows there is no down side to him if he supports Hamas. Europe, and the EU councils, and the MI-6 money and support, will not go away because Jumblatt is anti-Israel.
Iran President Ahmadinejad remains out of sight and unlocated by routine signals intelligence at the beginning of the second week of mystery.
Meanwhile the Basiji, the bully boy militia attached to the revolution, begin national defense exercises in Khuzestan, the province neighboring Iraq in the south, also scene of the terror bomb blasts last week, at the city of Ahvaz. The national defense exercises are not terror related. The exercises are more practice to repel airborne assault, and also practice to engage in urban fighting.
These national defense exercises resemble the crude, panicky, lumbering exercises practiced by Iraqi forces during the chatty decade of paranoia between Gulf I and Iraqi Freedom. (See 1997 Harrison Ford vehicle "Air Force One" for a glimpse at the Iraq obsessed national security apparatus of the Clintonistas.)
Quick observation at this point in time is that Iran is major league spooked. Spooked enough to launch diversionary strike? Spooked enough to keep Ahmadinejad in the genie's bottle that birthed him?
The five permanent (i.e., veto-holding) members of the UN Security Council agreed tonight in London to transfer the Iran issue from the IAEA to the Security Council. This agreement, which includes both Russia and China, will not immediately trigger a sanctions debate. Apparently, the introduction of resolutions and debate on them will be withheld until the March IAEA report.
This is a major step on Iran. The Perm-5 agreement, which does not guarantee votes by Britain, France, Russia or China for sanctions, nevertheless is a major blow to Iran. It puts more diplomatic pressure on the mullahs, and reduces to finite terms the otherwise infinite flow of Euro-diplomacy. The UN won't do anything decisive or effective, but at least the clock is running on Iran. What Iran may do in response to this vote will tell much about how the next round will go. It is entirely possible that Iran will strike -- economically or through its terrorist proxies -- in answer to this vote. The more reckless Iran gets, the shorter their time will, ultimately, be.
In my article on Ted Kennedy and the Alito nomination, I suggested that the senior senator from Massachusetts may not care enough mount to filibuster. Clearly I was wrong. But Kennedy's complete meltdown tonight takes his madness to a whole new level. So what's his method? A few theories:
-The nuts on the left needed a compelling performance, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-style. But a filibuster sufficiently pleased them. So the breakdown wasn't necessary.
-He needs it for re-election this year. But this one doesn't wash either: the highest percentage an opponent has ever garnered was 41 percent -- Mitt Romney in 1994.
-Kennedy really believes this stuff. I doubt it. If he did, he would have been this exercised about it every day from late October until now. No, this is a last-minute break. So unless I'm missing something, that leaves one possibility:
So my plan for the Kerry minibuster on Alito has failed, and the good guys won. The collateral damage amongst the hyperlibs - especially their bloggocracy - is hysterical as well as hilarious. But they're going farther than usual. Now, at least among the Lord of the Flies Boys at DailyKos, they're apparently calling for violence:
In every case, the warriors in those wars suffered immense setbacks, repeatedly so, and found it hard to get the politicians to speak up and stand up for them. Eventually, however, because they refused to surrender, and because they took the fight beyond the electoral arena, they won. We will, too.
Wow. The KosKidz and others are also talking about Dems who voted for cloture in terms both obscene and threatening. They're a marvel to behold.
That should read, "Nukes or Butter?" If you compare the EUnuchs' reactions to a Saudi boycott of Danish products to their continued dithering on Iran, you should conclude that the nations of shopkeepers of Europe are following in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers. Their fathers appeased Hitler. Their grandfathers, the Kaiser. Now they're appeasing Ahmadinejad.
Unfair comparisons are one fuel of politics. And it’s hard to be fair to