Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Shrub sounding manly

No, faithful reader(s), this time Shrub is not holding his breath (as here and here) to make his critics stop demanding an Iraq pull-out. He is kvelling at the thought of his future legacy as the man who let loose the dogs or war,... oops, the Mandarin meant to say, the man who put freedom on the march in the Middle East.

Today's headline article:

Bush says U.S. won't withdraw from Iraq

RIGA, Latvia -

President Bush, under pressure to change direction in Iraq, said Tuesday he will not be persuaded by any calls to withdraw American troops before the country is stabilized. "There's one thing I'm not going to do, I'm not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete," he said in a speech setting the stage for high-stakes meetings with the Iraqi prime minister later this week. "We can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren."

Well, two things popped into the Mandarin's little head right away.

First, did Shrub just say that it will be our children and grandchildren who will finally secure victory in Iraq?

And secondly, it is now crystal clear that Shrub is not an aficionado of George Carlin, one of whose most famous lines (referring to Vietnam) was:

We’re always afraid of pulling out. “Pull out? Doesn’t sound manly to me, Bill. Let’s leave it in there, get the job done!" Because that’s what we’re doing to that country, after all…

And Shrub is never one to avoid an opportunity to look like a manly man, even without a "Mission Accomplished" banner and a strategically padded flight suit.

Original photo caption: U.S. President George W. Bush wells up as he finishes a speech at the University of Latvia in Riga, Latvia November 28, 2006. Bush, in Latvia for the NATO summit, appealed to NATO allies to provide more troops with fewer national restrictions for the alliance's most dangerous mission in Afghanistan. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Friday, November 24, 2006

The end of the "Pottery Barn rule?"

Back in the summer of 2002, when -- as we now know -- Shrub and his neocon militia were already deep into planning their invasion of Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell advised Shrub that he should be mindful of the so-called "Pottery Barn rule." As quoted from Bob Woodward's Plan of Attack:

"You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people," he told the president. "You will own all their hopes, aspirations, and problems. You'll own it all." Privately, Powell and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage called this the Pottery Barn rule: You break it, you own it."

Powell might well have been recalling the words of Shrub's father, President Bush, who wrote in 1998 about his decision to limit the Gulf War military mission to liberating Kuwait:

While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. ... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome. [Time Magazine, 2 Mar 98]

More than eight years later, this has the ring of prophesy, as we read endless headlines about tribal and sectarian strife costing the lives of over a hundred Iraqi civilians a day,
month after month, including a couple of hundred yesterday, our Thanksgiving Day here in America.

So Shrub's ignorance
has triumphed over his father's thoughtful "reality-based" foreign policy, and we have inherited a country full of broken pottery. What a Thanksgiving turkey he has turned out to be!

And the sad part for everyone, especially our troops in the field and the Iraqi populace trying to live another day without being
kidnapped and shot, is that Shrub hasn't the slightest idea how to fix what he has broken.

Original photo caption: Vehicles burn following a car bomb in the centre of Baghdad. Photograph: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"Hey, Putin, does this dress make my ass look big?"

At this week's APEC meetings in Hanoi, lame duck Shrub and his boy toy Putin were inseparable, and made quite the cute couple in their matching dresses.

The traditional Vietnamese dress called the Áo Dài (pronounced "ow yai" in south and central Vietnam and "ow zai" in the north) is commonly worn by women. These days it is rarely worn by men, and then only on cultural or ceremonial occasions.

Original photo caption: Wearing traditional 'ao dai,' U.S. President George W. Bush walks with Russian President Vladimir Putin after a group photo with leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Friday, November 17, 2006

1LT Shrub (Texas Air National Guard - AWOL) finally makes it to Vietnam (updated)

This is an emotional topic for the Mandarin, and the crushing irony of Shrub's semi-triumphant trip to Hanoi is almost unbearable.

The short version of the story, for my younger readers, is that Shrub avoided fighting in Vietnam because his daddy’s friends jumped him ahead of an eighteen-month waiting list and got him into the Texas Air National Guard (TxANG) despite his being unqualified for appointment.

His six-year military obligation began on 27 May 1968. A few months later, he was commissioned an officer without having taken any of the three required routes to an officer’s rank: ROTC (the Mandarin’s route), Officer Candidate School (OCS), or a direct commission after at least eighteen months active duty service as an enlisted man. The program under which his commission was fast-tracked was usually reserved for medical doctors or other critical specialists.

In return for an immediate assignment to pilot training, he agreed to serve as an active pilot in the TxANG for five years following graduation. He graduated on 29 Nov 1969, making his obligation to be on continuous flying duty until the end of November 1974.

Shrub was assigned as an F-102 pilot to the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) in Houston, once again being jumped to the head of the line - this time a number of more experienced pilots, some of whom had been waiting more than a year for a slot in this highly desirable unit. As a pilot on active flying status, Shrub was obligated to complete at least 36 flying days a year, including one weekend a month (hence we active duty officers called them “weekend warriors”) and one two-week summer training camp. He served honorably until April 1972. That was the month the Air Force began requiring drug testing as part of the annual pilot’s physical exam.

Shrub disobeyed a written order to complete such a physical in May 1972. His last flight as a TxANG pilot was on 17 Apr 1972, more than 31 months short of his five-year flying obligation. By then, he was not even flying the F-102. A few months before that date, he had been ordered to take remedial training flights in a two-seat trainer (the T-33). At the time, this was an unequivocal sign of performance problems in the cockpit. His military pilot status was formally revoked on 1 Aug 1972 for having failed to appear for his annual flight physical and mandatory drug test.

Around that time, without permission, he moved from Houston to Alabama for a few months to work on a political campaign. He was AWOL for the months of May through September 1972, failing to appear for his required one weekend a month of training. He trained intermittently in Alabama beginning in October. He was also paid for a few days of training in Houston, but no one at the 111th FIS remembered ever seeing him there on the dates in question. He did not accumulate the required days for the fiscal year ending 30 Jun 1973. He also disobeyed written orders to attend the mandatory two-week summer training camp in 1973.

The 1973 personnel evaluation by his home unit, the 111th FIS, was submitted blank, the author citing Shrub’s failure to appear at the unit at any time during the year ending 30 Jun 1973.

In September 1973, Shrub requested a transfer to a reserve Unit in Boston so he could begin the Harvard MBA program. That request was not approved, but he moved to Boston anyway and did not attempt to join any reserve unit there.

The following month, he received a disciplinary discharge from the TxANG and was transferred to the books of the Air Force reserve, where he was liable for immediate call-up. By then, the war was over, the last US combat forces having been withdrawn five months earlier. He remained in that status for over a year and was discharged from the military service on 21 Nov 1974. He had not attended any required training in the previous seventeen months, or flown an airplane since April 1972.

This is a photo of Shrub's F102, cockpit empty and waiting for his return. Mission accomplished?

Shrub's original military files, as released by the White House, can be seen here.

A detailed time-line follows, extracted from publicly-available excerpts from Shrub's actual military personnel record, with hot links to relevant documents.

Note: the six disputed “Killian” memos that Dan Rather presented on CBS News (and for which he lost his job) are included here in their correct chronological position, but are clearly marked “unauthenticated.” The material released by the White House itself is abundantly sufficient to establish dereliction of duty.

17 Jan 68

Takes the Air Force Pilot Qualification test. Scores 25%, the lowest acceptable score. (Some give date as 19 Jan)

30 Jan 1968

Tet Offensive begins in Vietnam.

27 May 68

Accepted into the Texas Air National Guard (TxANG), the same day he interviewed with General Staudt, the Commanding Officer of the TxANG, despite an 18-month waiting list at the height of the war in Vietnam. Ben Barnes -- then Speaker of the Texas House and a friend of the Bush family -- has said on the record he arranged this as a favor to Bush Senior. Private Bush acknowledged a six-year obligation.

28 May 68

Signs agreement that if he is sent to flight school, he will serve the TxANG as a pilot for five years after graduation. Graduated 29 Nov 69, so his obligation to serve on Flying Status would run until Nov 1974.

08 Jun 68

Graduates from Yale

14 Jul 68

Initial Active Duty (Basic Training), until 25 Aug 68 at Lackland AFB, TX

03 Sep 68

Discharged from Enlisted Status

04 Sep 68

Commissioned 2LT without ROTC, OCS or required period of prior active duty (usually 18 months) through a direct commissioning program usually reserved for doctors and other specialists in high demand by the service.

04 Sep 68

Assigned to the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Ellington AFB, Texas -- despite a waiting list of already-qualified pilots. Other members of the unit, pilots and non-pilots, included the sons of Senator Tower, Senator Bentsen, and Governor Connally, plus seven Dallas Cowboys players.

05 Sep 68

Begins an authorized two-month leave of absence to work on the Florida Senate race of Ed Gurney.

21 Nov 68

Begins one year of pilot training at Moody AFB, GA

29 Nov 69

Finished Basic Pilot Training

29 Dec 69

Begins Combat Air training (F-102)

20 Jun 70

Completes F-102 training with 300 flying hours, returns to 111th FIS as Ready Reserve pilot. To be eligible for assignment to an F-102 unit in Vietnam, 500 flying hours was the minimum. Nevertheless, Bush volunteered for a three-month temporary rotation to Vietnam, but was turned down for that reason.

30 Jun 70

USAF decides all overseas F-102 units will be deactivated and their missions shifted to units flying newer aircraft.

Sep 70

Authorized leave of absence through November to work on Bush Senior's campaign.

03 Nov 70

Promoted to First Lieutenant.

01 Jun 71

Credited with 46 days of flight duty in previous year (minimum requirement was 36 days).

2 Feb 72

Unauthenticated Killian memo to Harris enquiring about Bush’s pilot certification. (1st memo)

Mar 72

De-rated from flying the F-102 and required to undergo remedial training in a two-seat training aircraft (the T-33), usually a sign of pilot performance problems.


Early this year, some sources claim Bush was arrested for possession and use of cocaine, did community service working at an inner-city youth outreach program and had his criminal record expunged. Other sources claim none of that ever happened. The drug issue is mentioned here because Bush’s detractors link it to his decision to disobey orders and not take any required annual flight physicals beginning in April 1972.

Apr 72

US Air Force announces mandatory drug tests as part of all annual flight physicals

17 Apr 72

His last flight in an F-102. He still had a Military Service Obligation to serve as a pilot on Flying Status for another 955 days (until 28 Nov 1974), but he never again flew any TxANG or other military aircraft until his famous "Mission Accomplished" stunt over thirty years later.

4 May 72

Unauthenticated Killian memo formally ordering Bush in writing to report for flight physical no later than 14 May 72.

May 72

Bush expresses the intention to relocate to Alabama during May to work for Blount campaign until November.

15 May 72

Bush’s last day on the base at Ellington. Beginning now, there is no evidence of attendance at any required drills or training activities for five months, technically going Absent Without Leave ("AWOL"). The usual punishment for such action, and it was enforced many times, was to be placed on a list to be called to active duty immediately, for up to two years. Bush’s time spent in pilot training in 1968-70 might have been credited against the two years, leaving him liable at the very least for say six more months of active duty, and in the worst case for the full two years.

Note: AWOL simply means any unauthorized absence. Desertion is defined as: "leaving or remaining absent from [one's] unit, organization, or place of duty, where there has been a determined intent to not return; if that intent is determined to be to avoid hazardous duty or shirk important responsibility." You decide whether Shrub was AWOL or a deserter.

19 May 72

Unauthenticated Killian memo regarding his conversation with Bush, who wanted to get out of training in Texas and do it in Alabama. Killian also counseled him on having missing his physical, Bush said he may be to busy in Alabama to take care of the flight physical while he is there.

20 May 72

Per his pay records, Bush does not attend, and did not later make up, two days of mandatory training the weekend of 20-21 May.

24 May 72

Bush applies for permanent transfer out of the TxANG to the US Air Force 9921st Air Reserve Sq, Montgomery, AL. Note he entered an incorrect AFSC (occupational specialty code) of 1125B rather than 1125D. This would have incorrectly listed him on the records of the USAF Reserve as a pilot trained to fly only two types of already obsolete aircraft, the F-89 and F-94, both no longer in service. He also listed his Training Category as “G” (no drills required) instead of the correct category “A”. Bush was not legally eligible for this transfer because of his unfinished obligation as a pilot. He was still in Training Category “A”, requiring 48 half-day drill periods plus 15 active duty training days a year. Also, merely having filed an application to leave the TxANG did not relieve him of his obligation to continue drills in Houston, two days of which he had already missed the weekend before he filed the request.

26 May 72

Commanding officer of 9921st accepts Bush, but cautions him the 9921st is not a "ready reserve" unit and training there may not satisfy his MSO (military service obligation). This unit was a training category “G” unit – also called a “postal unit” because its members had completed their Military Service Obligation and were no longer required to attend any drills.

01 Jun 72

Credited with 22 days of flight duty in previous year, which was 12 days short of his minimum requirement of 36.

Jun 72

Per his pay records, Bush was not credited with or paid for any training in or attributable to Jun 72, rendering him technically AWOL or a deserter, depending on his intent (see above).

Jul 72

Per his pay records, Bush was not credited with or paid for any training in or attributable to Jul 72, rendering him technically AWOL or a deserter, depending on his intent (see above).

31 Jul 72

HQ Air Reserve Center, Denver, disallows his request for transfer to 9921st, citing Bush's Ready Reserve obligation and the inappropriate status (training category "G" or “postal”) of the destination unit.

Aug 72

Per his pay records, Bush was not credited with or paid for any training in or attributable to Aug 72, rendering him technically AWOL or a deserter, depending on his intent (see above).

01 Aug 72

Unauthenticated Killian memo reports revoking flight status for failing to meet TxANG/USAF standards including failure to take physical. Comments Bush has made no effort to meet his certification requirements. Also reports he has directed a Flight Review Board be convened, a very serious matter for a military pilot. Bush's flying status was formally revoked in these written orders on the same date.

3 Aug 72

Memo from Major Shoemake, TxANG Personnel officer, to Bush’s unit - rebuking them for having submitted an unacceptable transfer application for Bush.

Sep 72

Per his pay records, Bush was not credited with or paid for any training in or attributable to Sep 72, rendering him technically AWOL or a deserter, depending on his intent (see above).

05 Sep 72

Bush requests permission to perform “equivalent duty” (meaning substitute drills in Alabama for required drills in Texas with the 111th) for Sep-Nov 72 with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group at Dannelly ANG Base, AL. This was not a transfer – he remained on the books of the 111th in Houston.

15 Sep 72

Request to perform equivalent duty with 187th for Sep-Nov approved, but the September drill date had already passed when the request was granted.

07 Oct 72

Bush invited to report to 187th for equivalent duty Sat/Sun 7/8 Oct 72. Both the Commanding Officer and the Personnel Officer of this unit said in later interviews that he did not appear at any time in 1972 to train with them.

28/29 Oct 72

Per his pay records, paid for two days training in Alabama to make up Oct training missed in Texas.

04 Nov 72

Bush was invited to report to 187th for equivalent duty Sat/Sun 4/5 Nov 72. The Commanding Officer and the Personnel Officer of this unit said in later interviews that he did not appear to train with them.

11/12 Nov 72

Per his pay records, paid for two days training in Alabama to make up Nov 72 training due in Texas.

13/14 Nov 72

Per his pay records, paid for two days training in Alabamato make up Dec 72 training due in Texas.

Nov/Dec 72

Returned to Houston after Blount lost the election. Did not report back to the 111th. Did not resume training with his home unit.

4/5 Jan 73

Per his pay records, paid for two days training in Alabama to make up Jan 73 training due in Texas.

6/8 Jan 73

Per his pay records, paid for two days training in Alabama to make up Feb 73 training due in Texas, 35 days early and therefore contrary to regulations limiting substitute training to no more than 30 days ahead of time, rendering him technically AWOL or a deserter, depending on his intent (see above), for February 1973.

9/10 Jan 73

Per his pay records, paid for two days training in Alabama to make up Mar 73 training due in Texas, 60 days early and therefore contrary to regulations limiting substitute training to no more than 30 days ahead of time, rendering him technically AWOL or a deserter, depending on his intent (see above), for March 1973.

27 Jan 73

Paris peace talks result in a cease-fire agreement in Vietnam.

Mar 73

Last U.S. combat forces depart Vietnam, leaving behind only a small group of advisors and enough Marines to guard the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

7/8 Apr 73

Per his pay records, paid for two days training with 111th in Texas, but that unit's Commanding Officer later wrote that Bush was not present. Had he actually been there, it would have been Bush’s first actual day training with his unit in Houston since 17 April 1972, almost a full year during which he did not appear for duty at his home unit.

1 May 73

Ordered to attend summer “active duty for training” at Ellington during the period 22 May - 7 Jun 73. He disobeyed this order and did not attend.

02 May 73

Bush's TxANG Commanding Officer writes in his fitness report of Bush, that Bush had not been observed at the unit at any time during the twelve months ending 30 Apr 73. Page one. Page two.

19/20 May 73

Per his pay records, paid for two days training with 111th in Texas.

22 May 73

During this period, until 30 Jul 73, Bush was credited with 35 reserve points on a form that does not explain what they were for. Early version, unaltered or incomplete. Later version, altered or more fully filled in.

23/24 Jun 73

Per his pay records, paid for two days training with 111th in Texas.

23 Jun 73

Air Reserve Personnel Center returns the 2 May 73 fitness report to his unit, querying the lack of any ratings, and says Bush should have been reassigned to another AFSC (occupational specialty code) in May 1972 since he was no longer flying or serving with the 111th FIS, so carrying him on the book as a pilot was unauthorized.

24 Jun 73

Unauthenticated Killian memo to a superior officer saying that Harris and he cannot rate Bush for full year ending 30 Apr 73 because he had not trained with the 111th after April 1972. Killian further comments that, “His recent activity is outside the rating period,” supporting evidence that Bush had finally returned to the unit after 30 Apr 73 to begin makeup drills. (5th memo)

16/17 Jul 73

Per his pay records, paid for two days training with 111th in place of training due in Aug 73, 33 days early and therefore contrary to regulations limiting substitute training to be done no more than 30 days ahead of time.

18/19 Jul 73

Per his pay records, paid for two days training with 111th in place of training due in Sep 73, 66 days early and therefore contrary to regulations limiting substitute training to be done no more than 30 days ahead of time.

21/22 Jul 73

Per his pay records, paid for two days training with 111th.

18 Aug 73

Unauthenticated “CYA” memo by Killian saying the brass want him to write a fake annual evaluation for Bush, but that he would refuse because Bush had not been with the unit that year and he had no info from the Alabama Air National Guard to support a review. Says he would backdate the review but not assign Bush a fitness rating.

5 Sep 73

Requests discharge from TxANG and transfer to Air Reserve Personnel Center (NARS) as of 1 Oct 73 to attend Harvard. NARS stands for Non-Affiliated Reserve Section -- meaning the inactive reserve with no further obligation to attend drills or training. As a condition of his early discharge from the TxANG, Bush agreed to affiliate with another Guard or Reserve unit in Boston, but later failed to do so.

Sep 73

Begins Harvard Business School

16 Oct 73

Reassigned to Air Reserve Personnel Center (ORS). The ORS is the Obligated Reserve Section – not his requested assignment of Air Reserve Personnel Center (NARS). Some personnel experts interpret this as a disciplinary action for failing to take 1972 flight physicals and missing 1973 summer camp and numerous drills. Assignment to ORS meant he was severed from the Guard and Active Reserve, placed on inactive status, and available for call to active duty. Bush’s signed acknowledgment of disciplinary reason for transfers from TxANG to Air Reserve Personnel Center (ORS). His orders. Texas ANG discharge. This was his final assignment. He remained in this status for another year without being called to active duty.

12 Nov 73

Fitness report addendum for year ending 30 Apr 73 (responding to 5 Sep 73 request for more info) says “Not Rated” for administrative reasons.

24 May 74

Original end date of Bush's six-year obligation, later extended because of his flight training agreement.

21 Nov 74

Discharged from inactive reserve, five years after completing flight school.

30 Apr 75

Saigon falls to the North Vietnamese army one day after the dramatic evacuation of the U.S. Embassy by helicopter from the rooftop.

17 Nov 06

Mandarin's head explodes to see Shrub in Hanoi, smiling under a bust of Ho Chi Minh, telling his hosts that the minor ideological differences of the 1960s and 70s should be bygones and we're all just one big happy family now.

Original picture caption (top photo): A bust of revolutionary communist leader Ho Chi Minh is seen at rear as U.S. President George W. Bush smiles before the start of his meeting with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet, not pictured, at the presidential palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, Friday, Nov. 17, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dietrich lives!

The Mandarin lives in Southern California, and earlier this year our local papers (and perhaps yours, too) were full of the story about a Swedish millionaire who totalled his $1,000,000 Ferrari Enzo going 162 mph while racing one night on the Pacific Coast Highway ("PCH") in Malibu. Police found the Swedish millionaire sitting in the passenger seat of what was left of his car. Even though he had a bloody nose and was in the passenger seat, only the driver's airbag had blood on it. Even so, the Swedish millionaire said he had not been driving, it was his friend "Dietrich" who had crashed the car, and then ran off into the hills above PCH.

Well, Dietrich was never found, and it turned out that the Swedish millionaire was really an ex-millionaire who had been some kind of con man, and even the Enzo was due for repossession because he had fallen behind on the payments on it and another exotic car. Now, he is going to jail for embezzlement.

But, imagine the Mandarin's surprise to read today of recent events in Australia that have "Dietrich" written all over them:

Police in Sydney said 240 people were under investigation over [a] speeding scam, where hundreds of motorists blamed either the same dead man, or a person living in another state, for driving their cars at the time of the speeding offences.

Come to think of it, when the Mandarin got that ticket a few years ago, wasn't that the day some Australian bloke named Dietrich borrowed the Mandarin's trusty Saab?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Shrub plays defense

In this shot, besides the, shall we say, cautious look on his face, Shrub seems to be protecting the family jewels -- note the left hand position.

But can you blame him? After the symbolic kick in the balls he got in Tuesday's elections, I suppose he can't be too careful when the new Majority Leader is sitting right there in person....

Original photo caption: President Bush, right, shakes hands with Democratic House Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi of Calif., during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Intelligent design

The Mandarin is now a believer in intelligent design: the voters have sent Katherine Harris into a well-deserved retirement.

The Mandarin's prediction for the House was thankfully too conservative, although one small disappointment in the overall delightful picture was Tammy Duckworth finishing two percentage points short of upsetting Peter Roskam in the Illinois 6th.

In the Senate, if the razor-thin Democratic leads in Virgina and Montana hold up through the recounts and lawsuits, the Mandarin's guess will have been spot on (allowing for mistaking Socialist Independent Bernie Casey in Vermont as a Democrat - sorry, Bernie).

Anyway, the voters have comprehensively repudiated Shrub, Big Dick, Karl "Shrub's Brain" Rove, Rummy [update: Rummy takes one for the team], Condi and the whole incompetent crowd of neocons and their camp followers. Golly, how will the Wall Street Journal editorial page spin this one?

It was worth the long wait, boys and girls. A boatload of bums have been thrown out. Now let's hope the Democrats can deliver on their promise to be different.

On to 2008!

Original photo caption: Sarasota, Florida, January 16, 2004. Harris lost her long-shot quest for the Senate on Tuesday after a gaffe-prone campaign that saw the former Florida election official shunned by her own party chieftains. (Peter Muhly/Reuters)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Did Karl Rove decide the timing of Saddam's verdict?

Josh Marshall is shocked. So is the Mandarin.

Well, if it turns out Karl and Shrub don't have Osama in the White House kitchen's walk-in freezer, then it would make sense.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A sweep?

The Mandarin, fresh from his insightful prediction for the 2004 Presidential election, fearlessly predicts the following:

50 Democrats
49 Republicans
1 Independent caucusing with the Democrats (Lieberman)

223 Democrats
212 Republicans

Of course, the Mandarin reserves the right to come back and change his mind at any time.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Keith Olbermann said it better

The Mandarin bows before him - he has succinctly summarized the issues better than anything the Mandarin has heard in a long time. Watch it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

How not to tell a joke (updated)

Today, the Mandarin is recalling President Ford’s famous gaffe:

On October 6, 1976, during a televised presidential debate in the 1976 presidential election with rival Jimmy Carter, President Ford became confused stated that Poland and Eastern Europe were not under the domination of the Soviet Union. When challenged over his comments, he repeated "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration." [Wikipedia]

That led to a lot of Republican back-filling and damage control, always beginning, “What President Ford meant to say was…..”

Enter John Kerry, definitely no David Letterman when it comes to delivering jokes.

Kerry’s script:

Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.

What Kerry said:

You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.

What Senator Kerry meant to say was [déjà vu attack] that Shrub, the poster boy for people who are intellectually lazy, allowed his ignorance and intellectual laziness to get us stuck in Iraq.

Now, unfortunately, between Kerry's lame delivery and the short attention span of the american TV audience, the combat veteran with three purple hearts is once again facing character attacks from a bunch of draft-dodging chicken hawks like Lieutenant “AWOL” Shrub and Dick “multiple student deferments” Cheney.

Anyway, the lesson for Senator Kerry is, apologize whether you meant it or not, and read the Mandarin’s lips: no more ad libs. Leave the jokes to Al Gore.


Kerry's full statement of apology:

As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: my poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and never intended to refer to any troop.

I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended.

It is clear the Republican Party would rather talk about anything but their failed security policy. I don’t want my verbal slip to be a diversion from the real issues. I will continue to fight for a change of course to provide real security for our country, and a winning strategy for our troops.