Executive Privilege

Nice editorial in tomorrow’s New York Times:

The courts have recognized a president’s limited right to keep the White House’s internal deliberations private. But it is far from an absolute right, and Mr. Bush’s claim of executive privilege in the attorneys scandal is especially ludicrous. The White House has said repeatedly that Mr. Bush was not involved in the firings of nine United States attorneys. If that’s true, he can hardly argue that he has the right to conceal conversations and e-mail exchanges that his aides had with one another and the Justice Department. …

… Last week, in a bit of especially mendacious spin, Tony Fratto, the White House deputy press secretary, responded to the subpoenas on the illegal wiretapping by saying, “It’s unfortunate that Congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation.”

Actually, Mr. Bush chose that route long ago by defining consultation as a chance for lawmakers to hear about decisions he had already made, bipartisanship as a chance for Democrats to join Republicans in rubber-stamping those choices and Congressional oversight as self-serving and possibly seditious. At this point, confrontation is far preferable to the path the Republican majority in Congress chose for so many years — capitulation.


A flaming SUV crashed into the main terminal of Glasgow airport, MSNBC says.

In Glasgow, the green SUV barreled toward the building at full speed shortly after 3 p.m., hitting security barriers before crashing into the glass doors and exploding, witnesses said. Two men jumped out of the burning vehicle, one of them engulfed in flames, they said.

“The car came speeding past at about 30 mph. It was approaching the building quickly,” said Scott Leeson, who was nearby at the time. “Then the driver swerved the car around so he could ram straight in to the door. He must have been trying to smash straight through.” …

… Passengers fled running and screaming from the busy terminal, Margaret Hughes told the British Broadcasting Corp. “There was black smoke gushing out where the car had obviously been driven into the airport,” she said.

Flames and black smoke rose from the vehicle outside the main entrance. Police said it was unclear if anyone was injured. Other passengers were stranded, with at least one airplane grounded on the runway, the BBC said. …

… “The jeep is completely on fire and it exploded not long after. It exploded at the entrance to the terminal,” witness Stephen Clarkson told the BBC. “It may have been an explosion of petrol in the tank because it was not a massive explosion.”

Two men—one of them engulfed in flames—were in the SUV, witnesses told BBC News executive Helen Boaden, who was at the airport at time. She described the men as South Asian.

Larry Johnson comments:

Preliminary, unconfirmed reports indicate a nuclear blast has occurred at Glasgow’s international airport. No one has seen the mushroom cloud or heard the blast, but something by God is happening and it must be terrible. There is smoke and fire. In fact, a car is on fire. It must be Al Qaeda. Only Al Qaeda knows how to set themselves on fire inside a car. Please. Flee to the hills (leave you doors unlocked). Oh the humanity!

As events unfold I’m simply asking that folks take a big deep breath and try to keep things in perspective. Are there jihadist extremists in the world who are willing to kill innocents? Absolutely. Are they amenable to negotiation? No. I am not in the, “have you hugged a terrorist today” camp. However, we need to stop equating their hatred with actual capability.

If today’s events at Glasgow prove to be linked to the two non-events yesterday in London, then we should heave a sigh of relief. We may be witnessing the implosion of takfiri jihadists–religious fanatics who are incredibly inept. While I am not an explosives expert I am good friends with one of the world’s foremost explosives experts. Propane tanks and petrol (gas for us Americans) can produce a dandy flame and a mighty boom but these are not the tools for making a car bomb long the lines of what we see detonating on a daily basis in Iraq.

My main beef remains that much of the cable news media reacts to this nonsense like a fifty year old guy on Viagra or Cialis–they pop major wood. And the same warnings are appropriate–an erection lasting more than four hours may be harmful. Amen.

Thursday a single explosion killed five U.S. soldiers in Baghdad, and I don’t see the media or the wingnuts flame about that.

I do take terrorist attacks seriously, even inept ones. I live in New York, remember. Episodes like this are what make me crazy about people who still support the Iraq war — the “why don’t you want to fight al Qaeda?” whackjobs. If that’s who we were fighting in Iraq they might have an argument. But most of al Qaeda is sitting safe and sound in Pakistan, or elsewhere, just watching us shoot ourselves in the foot in Iraq. The bulk of the violence there is between Sunni and Shi’ia militants, not al Qaeda, and both those groups are getting very good at playing the U.S. to do some of their fighting for them. Makes me crazy.

I don’t even have to look at the rightie blogs to know what they’re saying. The evil terrorists are evil, and liberals don’t understand that, which is why they don’t want to fight in Iraq. The reality that our fighting in Iraq isn’t stopping terrorist attempts in Britain doesn’t sink in.

See Sicko Again

Gateway Pundit writes,

Yahoo defines “Sicko” as a documentary in the Politics/Religion genre. Truly, the socialism pushed in the movie is nothing short of a religion to many.

First, one of the things I hope to bring out in the ongoing Wisdom of Doubt series is to establish that religion is something other than “fanatical belief in things that demonstrably are not true.” But let’s put that aside for now. The real fantasy is, of course, that the United States has The Best Health Care in the World. It does not. It does not by any empirical measure. The only way one could possibly still believe that the United States has The Best Health Care in the World is if one is utterly ignorant of the health care systems here and abroad.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat it. There’s an old joke that a “conservative” is a liberal who got mugged. The new joke is that a “liberal” is a conservative who lost his health insurance.

A brainwashed twit named Sheila commented to the last post, saying that

First of all, 4 out of 5 Americans are satisfied with the health care system, so it is really a non-issue (this will likely be the reason the movie flops).

Take a look at the latest polls on health care at pollingreport.com. It’s very encouraging. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll of May 4-6, 2007, asked the question “Do you think the government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes?” 64 percent said yes; 35 percent said no. Interestingly, a smaller percentage of people in the same poll said yes to “Do you think all employers, including small businesses which employ few workers, should be required to provide health insurance to every employee, or don’t you think so?” Here the spread was 56 percent yes to 43 percent no. I think people are starting to catch on that the cost of employee health insurance is terribly burdensome to business, large and small. Well, except to the health insurance industry, of course.

Anyway, Gateway Pundit’s post is fairly typical of the “Best Health Care in the World” genre. It consists mostly of photographs of filth and cockroaches alleged to have been taken in Cuban hospitals and not at Walter Reed. And they may very well have been taken in Cuban hospitals; I wouldn’t know. But then there’s France, whose health care system is generally considered to be the crème de la crème of health care systems on the planet. And Canada. and Britain. And about 30 other nations with nationalized health care and better life expectancy and lower infant mortality rates than ours.

But after reading Gateway Pundit’s post I decided that I’d like to amend something I wrote in the last post, which is:

But most of the bad reviews I’ve read amount to sputtering defenses of the status quo and personal attacks on Michael Moore. What the critics never ever do is honestly address the problem of people who can’t get insurance, or our crumbling emergency rooms, or our dismal health data. They just make excuses.

To “sputtering defenses of the status quo and personal attacks on Michael Moore” I’d like to add “photographs of roaches in Cuban hospitals” and, of course, the old stand by: waiting lines in Canada. Still, not a peep about the problem of people who can’t get insurance, or our crumbling emergency rooms, or our dismal health data.

See also:
Bush to Uninsured Kids: Drop Dead” and The Mahablog health care archives.