PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Weblog

June 30, 2008

Daily Trivia

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 7:10 am
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I’ve got a bunch of posts coming this week, most political but at least one movie review, maybe more (depending on if I get to see Wanted this week), but I wanted to pass on the following while I’m thinking of it.

I’ve taken advantage of MyFunTrivia.com to create a daily trivia tournament. Nothing at stake but bragging rights, but it’s free and fun. Please join us and see how you do against the PavCo braintrust.

PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Trivia Tourny
Daily Trivia

The 300 Project: 9/11

June 16, 2008

Leaving Iraq May not be Up to Us

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 11:11 pm
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Much has been made this campaign season, indeed the last couple, back to the midterms, about how long the US should keep forces in Iraq. From John McCain’s “Hundred Years” to the depiction of Obama as wanting to cut and run, it’s one of the true wedge points between the two candidates.

But the ultimate decision may not be up to either candidate. The current administration is attempting to negotiate a Status of Forces agreement with the Iraqi government, which would “provide a legal basis for the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq after the UN mandate expires at the end of the year.” (USA Today, 6/13)

Unfortunately (for the Bushies), the USA Today article linked above also points out that the two governments are at loggerheads over provisions in the agreement which the Iraqis feel impinges upon their sovereignty.

McClatchy reported that the Iraqis might actually ask the US to leave if an agreement can’t be reached by that time.
 
 
 
The 300 Project: 8/116

June 1, 2008

Questioning the Value of Candidates’ Boots on the Ground

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 9:23 am
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CNN’s Michael Ware comments on the McCain claim that Obama is at a disadvantage because he’s only been to Iraq once in the video below. Ware also comments on whether or not politicians’ visits to Iraq actually give them an accurate view of exactly what’s going on.

The 300 Project: 1/109

May 31, 2008

ONYD: John McCain’s Drawdown

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 9:26 pm
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I actually published my last post because I wanted to do this one, and thought that I should address the Memorial Day blunder by Obama first.

Much has been made this week of John McCain’s observation that it’s been over two years since Barack Obama has been to Iraq. That’s undoubtedly true of many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, but it’s probably at least a sound theory that someone campaigning to be president probably should get over there and see what’s happening on the ground. McCain even offered to serve as Obama’s personal tour guide which probably isn’t that great an idea politically, as it plays directly into McCain’s attempt to portray his foreign policy expertise as his greatest strength.

That expertise came into question early in the campaign, when Senator Joe Liebermann had to remind McCain who in Iraq liked their neighbors in Iran and who didn’t, and it came further under fire this week with McCain’s statement on the levels of troops and violence in Iraq.

“I can tell you that it is succeeding. I can look you in the eye and tell you it’s succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr City are quiet and it’s long and it’s hard and it’s tough and there will be setbacks,” McCain said to reporters on Thursday. Unfortunately for him, the general pre-surge level is considered to be 130,000 troops.

McCain tried to backtrack without admitting he was wrong by saying that he was actually referring to the troop levels following the current rotations, which are set to be completed by July. Unfortunately, that didn’t help much; following the return of the two additional brigades in July (5 were sent as part of the surge, 3 are already back), there will be approximately 140,000 troops still there.

McCain’s camp still didn’t back down, instead using their “explanation” to take another shot at Obama; spokesman Tucker Bounds said, “What informed people understand, John McCain included, is that American troops are not even close to Surge levels. Three of the five Army ‘Surge’ brigades have been withdrawn and additional Marines that were initially deployed for the ‘Surge’ have come home as well — the remaining two brigades will be home in July. Talk about a political stunt, it’s sending out campaign surrogates to parse words about a topic Barack Obama has no experience with, and has shown zero interest in learning about.”

Well, thanks, Tucker, but that isn’t what McCain said. And when your people tried to explain it, they played it down as a semantic argument over verb tense. That’s not the same thing as “we meant it was lower than the surge”. That’s a different statement entirely.

And that bit about Mosul being quiet? Three suicide bombings in and around Mosul on Thursday left 30 people dead. Hopefully Mr. McCain’s plans are not to bring that type of quiet to the U.S.

Oh, and Mr. Bounds? Just because Obama hasn’t shown an interest in learning about Iraq from John McCain, that doesn’t mean he’s not interested in learning about it. He probably just wants the truth.
 
 
 
The 300 Project: 30/105

May 4, 2008

The “Hundred Years” War

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 10:05 pm
Tags: , ,

Pay attention, class, ’cause I’m gonna do something here that I don’t normally do: I’m gonna stick up for John McCain. But just for a minute.

Much has been made of the comments that John McCain made during a January 3 town hall meeting, saying that he’d be fine with the US staying in Iraq for fifty or a hundred years. The Democrats have jumped all over the comments, implying that McCain is perfectly willing to stay in Iraq with the situation unchanged for the next century, and have characterized his attempts to clarify the comments as backtracking or flipflopping.

Here comes my defense.

McCain’s explanations are totally valid, and the Democrats are trying to give voters who are unfamiliar with the context of the statements the impression that I’ve described above, that McCain is willing to maintain the status quo for a hundred years. The next portion of his statement from January 3, makes it clear that that’s not what he was saying:

We’ve been in Japan for 60 years. We’ve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long as Americans, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. It’s fine with me and I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world.

I actually agree with McCain’s statements above. If the situation in Iraq were to become comparable with those in Japan or South Korea, I have no problem with having military bases in Iraq, and staffing those bases.

Here ends my defense.

HOWEVER…

(you had to know that was coming)

The fact that Senator McCain believes, despite all evidence to the contrary, and the fact that absolutely nothing suggests that Iraq is in any way capable of getting itself to the point where it’s socially, economically, and politically stable enough so that “Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.”

And, for a candidate who’s building a large part of his candidacy on the fact that he’s more savvy in the military and foreign affairs arenas than the other candidates, the fact that Senator McCain would imply that the situation in Iraq is in any way comparable to the situations in those other countries, causes me to seriously question his foreign policy judgment.

The 300 Project: 16/91

April 19, 2008

To Don’t List

Filed under: General,Politics — CPav @ 9:47 am
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“A former pentagon official said this week that before the start of the war in Iraq, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave the Bush administration a “list of horribles”, things he believed could go wrong. Which the Bush administration mistook for a “to do” list.”

–Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update

(The list actually exists, and its history and the administration’s response is detailed in an excerpt here, from War and Decision by Douglas Feith. In a footnote, it is noted that a similar list could have been drafted with the “horribles” which might result from Saddam Hussein staying in power.)

The 300 Project: 7/67

March 30, 2008

Let’s Go to the Tape

I feel like I’m beating up on George Bush tonight, so I’m going to start this one off with Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton.  But I will get to W soon enough.

My friends and family know me as something of a gadget guy.  Though I don’t usually have the disposable income to get the latest and greatest (I’ve been known to lead the kids past a big-screen tv at Best Buy and say “I could have one of those if I didn’t have to feed and clothe you.”), I’m usually at least passingly knowledgeable on the trends.

So it’s my great pleasure to introduce to you, the loyal readers of PCMS (or people just passing through; I’ll spread the seeds of knowledge willy-nilly) to a fascinating new technology.  I know you’ll find it hard to believe, but our scientists have now made it possible to point a box with a glass lense on it at one or more subjects and — make sure you’re sitting down — record what they do and say!!!

What’s that you say?    You’ve heard of this technology before?  Well, apparently Barack Obama’s former pastor, Hilary Clinton, and White House Spokesperson Dana Perino haven’t. 

By now, you’ve heard and read about the controversies surrounding recordings of the Reverand Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, some of which (Obama would say a very few of which) contained some fairly strident, anti-white (or anti-rich white) comments.  Obama gave ahat was IMHO a brilliant speech to try to not-so-much diffuse the issue, but to take the discussion to a new level.  I commented on the speech in a previous post, and St. Louis columnist Kevin Horrigan has an interesting column on the Post Dispatch website wondering if the speech wasn’t too intellectual for the general public. So I’m not going to rehash that.

On a number of occasions this campaign season, Senator Clinton has attempted to boost her foreign-policy cred by recalling a particularly harrowing trip she took to Bosnia back when she was First Lady. As she recalled it in a number of speeches, a welcoming ceremony on the airstrip was canceled due to heavy sniper fire, and the delegation had to run to their vehicles with their heads down. Then that nasty technology popped up, and video surfaced of Clinton emerging from the plane, daughter Chelsea by her side. They distinctly did not run, heads down, to their armored vehicles. Instead, they crossed to a waiting group, listened as a young girl read a poem she had composed for them, and accepted something from her.

“Well, what was I going to do,” Clinton asked, when confronted with the tale of the tape, “walk past this poor little girl? We ran to the vehicles after that.” More tape, more not running. Much handshaking and smiling and talking with soldiers, but no running and ducking, no sense of danger. Confronted with this additional evidence, she copped only to “misspeaking”, and blamed it on being overtired. Hopefully when she gets that 3 a.m. phone call, she won’t be misspeak and tell them to “attack” instead of “read poetry”.

At least Senator Clinton admitted to saying what she was quoted as saying. On his blog last week, reporter Eric Brewer recounted an exchange with White House Press Secretary Dana Perino regarding a speech the President had given on the anniversary of the beginning of the war. In the speech, the President warned that Al Qaeda might seize Iraq’s oil reserves and use them to damage the world economy.

There’s that fictional Al-Qaeda/Iraq connection again (yes, I know, he meant Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but that’s not what he said, and let’s face it, most of the public just isn’t hip enough on the difference to let the statement pass with a “well, everyone knows what he meant” shrug, like when he uses the non-existent word “nucular”), but that’s not what made me sit up and take note. Actually, that was because I think Ms Perino is kindof cute, and respect her for appearing on Wait…Wait…Don’t Tell Me, an NPR current events quiz show that regularly makes fun of her boss, but that’s neither here nor there in this discussion. What is important is that the President is now using Iraqi oil as a threat.

Remember when the war started, and the cynics pointed out that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, and that the U.N. inspectors had determined that Saddam Hussein didn’t have WMD, and that the only reasons to attack Iraq would be to avenge Hussein’s attempted assassination of George H. W. Bush and to control Iraq’s oil reserves? And remember when those cynics were branded as unpatriotic, and we were assured that we weren’t in Iraq for the oil? Well, now, 5 years and 4000 deaths later, we’re finally getting indications that, well, maybe the administration might have misspoken when they said we weren’t interested in the oil.

And Ms Perino’s explanation for the administration’s change of objective? Well, she didn’t really have one. She just denied that that’s what the President said and accused Brewer of taking the comments out of context.

Video of both the Perino/Brewer exchange and Bush’s comments are available at ThinkProgress.org. The text of the full speech is available at the White House web site.

The 300 Project: 18/59

An ONYDer Double-Header

Filed under: Entertainment — CPav @ 10:51 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Both of these ONYD quotes occurred a couple weeks ago, but I’m running late on clearing through some of my “I have to comment on that” notes, so I figured rather than roll up my post count, I’d combine them in a two-for-one deal.

On March 13, according to Reuters, President Bush called the Iraq war “romantic”, and said that he “env[ied]” the soldiers serving there.  This from the man who, in the best light, enlisted in the National Guard to avoid going to Vietnam (back in those days, there was a draft, so the National Guard stayed home to…well, guard the nation).  The full quote from Reuters’ article:

“I must say, I’m a little envious,” Bush said. “If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed.”

“It must be exciting for you … in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You’re really making history, and thanks,” Bush said.

A couple weeks later, in an interview with Martha Radditz, the same interviewer to whom he uttered his previous ONYDer, Vice-President Cheney told us who the true victim in the whole Iraq mess was:

“The president carries the biggest burden, obviously…He’s the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm’s way for the rest of us.”

Cheney also makes reference to the fact that many of the brave men and women who are currently serving in the military signed up in a surge of patriotism following 9/11, an interesting statement which, while factual (enlistments did increase after the terrorist attacks), once again draws the false tie between Iraq and 9/11 that the administration so loves, and totally ignores the fact that many of them are being forced to stay on in Iraq or Afghanistan, or return there following the end of their originally agreed upon enlistment period due to the military’s “stop loss” policy.

And that doesn’t even include the folks who joined the National Guard (as Bush did in the 60s) to defend the country, only to find themselves fighting abroad (as Bush didn’t), and forced to stay there after their enlistment. Be honest. Prior to Iraq, did anyone really associate the National Guard with armed combat overseas?

But at least they’re living the romance.

The 300 Project: 17/58

March 20, 2008

ONYD Moment

Filed under: General,Politics — CPav @ 8:02 pm
Tags: , , ,

Piggybacking on the raging success of our coining of the term TYGA moment, we here at PavCo Multimedia Synergistics are pleased to unleash upon present to you the latest in our increasingly popular “Moment” line: The ONYD© Moment.
(pronounced “Oh-need”, in tribute to the clueless guy in the movie That Thing You Do, who pronounces the band’s name, Oneders (“One-ders”) as “Oneeders”. No, it has nothing to do with the meaning of the acronym, but it’s our word and we can pronounce it as we see fit.)

The ONYD moment is one in which a speaker (as with the TYGA moment, usually a politican or some sort of bureaucratic functionary) says something that causes the listener to jerk their head up and say “Oh no you dih-int!”

Considerate as he always is for the needs of the common man, Vice President Cheney provided us this week with a particularly quintessential ONYD moment, in an interview with ABC news. On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war, Cheney was asserting that we were making measurable strides in Iraq. The interviewer asked the Vice President, arguably the second most powerful elected official in the country, how he responded to the fact that 70% of the American people did not think the war in Iraq had been worth it. Cheney’s response?

He said “So?” and chuckled.

The 300 Project: 13/54

TYGA Moments

Filed under: General,Politics — CPav @ 5:48 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

In the second 1980 Presidential debate, when President Jimmy Carter repeatedly accused then-Governor Ronald Reagan of opposing Medicare, Reagan finally looked at him and said “There you go again.”

It was an iconic moment in American politics, but could have become much more so, had someone applied simple military tradition to it and created an acronymic word, like SCUBA, RADAR, or FUBAR. So it is, without further ado, that we here at PavCo Multimedia Synergistics, introduce the TYGA© moment (pronounced tee’-gah)

A TYGA© moment is one in which a speaker, usually but not necessarily a politician, utters something which causes one to roll one’s eyes. President Bush’s repeated assertions that the economy was doing just fine, followed by his reluctant admission that it was going through a “rough patch” were TYGA&0169; moments.

Another TYGA© moment came this week courtesy of Senator John McCain. on his “remember, I’m the foreign policy guy” photo op “fact finding mission” to Iraq, Senator McCain gave a speech in which he repeatedly made references to Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the “fact” that Al-Qaeda operatives were known to be crossing over into Iran for training, then coming back into Iraq. Finally, Senator Joe Liebermann steps up and whispers to McCain that he should have said “extremists” rather than “Al-Qaeda”, at which point McCain corrected himself.

We here at PCMS are not foreign policy scholars. In fact, we’re known to answer “Argentina” to any geographical trivia question, even if that question is something along the lines of “What island state’s name starts with ‘Haw’ and ends with ‘aii’?”. But even we are aware that Iran and Iraq are not exactly on friendly terms, what with that whole Shiite vs Sunni thing. (Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a Sunni organization. Iran is Shiite.)

While some have been portraying this as simply a senior moment on McCain’s part, or a momentary slip of the tongue, this claim is undermined by the fact that he made the exact same statement the day before, on a radio show. It is this that truly elevates it to a TYGA© moment.

The 300 Project: 12/53

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