Patterico's Pontifications


John Kerry for Secretary of State!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:48 pm

Those Senators aren’t going to let ol’ John get “Swift boated” any more than they were going to convict Clinton for something minor like perjury or obstruction of justice. Why, they’re much too genteel to worry about things like honor or principle.

114 Responses to “John Kerry for Secretary of State!”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (1cc817)

  2. it’s got a very decline of the Roman empire feel to it

    happyfeet (ae4c7f)

  3. What are concepts like honor and principle compared to Kerry’s unfailing foreign policy instincts?

    Assad’s Western habits and seemingly moderate views had initially inspired optimism among Western acquaintances and Syria watchers about his leadership of the strategically vital country of 20 million. Assad’s pledges to implement political and economic reform once won him prominent admirers in the United States, including Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    If Obama can’t keep Clinton, who famously referred to Assad as a reformer, then he’ll get some other idiot who’s even more clueless than he is.

    It’s easy to be the smartest guy in the room. As long as you get to pick the other lightweights allowed in the room.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  4. Just what we need for a SecState:

    Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

    But then, that’s what diplomats do.
    Go overseas and tell lies in the name of the President; though in this case, all they have to do is quote him.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  5. And his running mate, John Edwards for Attorney General, to bring up the standards of that office.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  6. But then, that’s what diplomats do.
    Go overseas and tell lies in the name of the President…

    This may be true, but up until the current administration I’ve never seen a crew more viciously devoted to blowing its own cover.

    OK. Diplomats lie. Embassies are cover for spy operations. But do we have to send up flares and fire up neon signs advertising the fact?

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  7. Thank you, Jesus. Kerry is now more than just a ma. problem, he is now everyones problem.

    mg (31009b)

  8. Obama doesn’t really care much about foreign policy but he will use Kerry to further his take over of the energy industry via regulations and EOs. Kerry will go trotting off, his Environmental Ghengis Khan handbook at the ready, and sign all sorts of protocols or even treaties (pending Senate actions) whereupon Obama and the EPA will implement them. For the treaties, Reid will just shelve them but Obama will start implementation “in anticipation”, etc.

    Don’t buy gold. Buy carbon. (lol)

    cedarhill (b87345)

  9. Why is Kerry wrong, well a picture tells you;

    narciso (ee31f1)

  10. So . . . on the day that she’s sworn in, Elizabeth “Lieawatha, Fauxcahontas, Sacocrapwea, Sitting Bulls—” Warren will become the senior senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?

    Are we REALLY sure that the world didn’t end yesterday?

    Icy (tehGr8) (a81517)

  11. On the bright side. Senator Aristoslacker has a longer history of talking to commies than Hillary, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  12. Jean Fraud Francois Frickin Kerry’s family has some prior experience as scumsuckers in the diplomatic corps.

    Comanche Voter (29e1a6)

  13. Unbelievable.

    How did the conversation go?

    “We need somebody to be the face of America.”
    “How bout John Kerry?”
    “OH HELL YEAH!!”

    Leviticus (17b7a5)

  14. C’mon, how bad could Kerry be? After all, we’re talking about the guy who’s instincts led him to pick Edwards as his running mate.

    Seriously, this is a guy who knows quality when he sees it. You can’t teach that.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  15. Obama needed a sockpuppet.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  16. Comment by cedarhill (b87345) — 12/22/2012 @ 4:27 am

    In today’s world, nitrate-compounds are a very sound investment.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  17. What does it say about the Senate of the United States, that it would confirm a nominee for high office (an office that makes its holder a successor to the Presidency) that lied to Congress, and is proud of it.

    I guess this is what he meant by saying that he was going to fundamentally change the country.

    With the clown-circus at 1600 PA, and Kerry and Hegel at State and Defense, we are truly ….ed!
    And, when Lisa shuts down the last coal-fired power-plant, none of them will wonder why their computers won’t boot.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  18. What difference does it make? President Obama is the one who sets foreign policy, and he’s the problem.

    John François Kerry won’t do any better than anyone else Teh Won would nominate, but he won’t do any worse, either.

    The realistic Dana (f68855)

  19. 18.What does it say about the Senate of the United States, that it would confirm a nominee for high office (an office that makes its holder a successor to the Presidency) that lied to Congress, and is proud of it.

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 12/22/2012 @ 11:05 am

    This is going to be an equal opportunit rant. John Kerry emodies everything that’s wrong with our political system. I mentioned earlier that he chose Edwards to be his running mate. The thing is, he chose Edwards after Edwards lied to him about the night of his son’s death. Apparently Edwards is such a soulless ghoul that although he begins his story with “I’ve never told anyone this before…” but he prostitutes that tale so often he forgets how many people he’s told the story of what he claims he never told anyone before.

    Kerry’s campaign manager said Kerry was stunned by the fact Edwards forgot he had given him the exact same spiel a couple of years earlier, then used the same pitch to sell Kerry on the idea of picking him as his VP.

    Stunned or not, Kerry saw it as no big deal that Edwards would casually lie through his teeth to the guy he wanted to work for.

    Later in his trial Edward’s lawyers successfully argued that although Edwards was admittedly a monstrous liar and cheating bastard those things weren’t illegal.

    Apparently those are now the standards to qualify one to serve in the Senate.

    In addition, the people of Massachussets seem to have an additional question to ask of a candidate; would he pull you out of the water if you were drowning?

    If the answer is no, then they give them a lifetime job and keep voting for them. If the answer is yes he would pull you out of the water if you were drowning, as was the case with Mitt Romney, then you’re one and done.

    But as I said, this is an equal opportunity rant. Put an “R” after John Kerry’s name and I’d still be wondering in what circle of hell does it make sense to make this guy SecState? What has he actually accomplished other then punching a timeclock and sitting like a bump on a log in the Senate when he isn’t rousing himself to be wrong on a given issue.

    Really, when you get down to it the idea that Kerry gets this nomination for no other visible reason than it’s “his turn” is a very GOP-ish concept. That’s how Dole got the party nom as its presidential candidate, and then later McCain.

    Speaking of McCain, since when has it become a national fetish to worship people who get shot down and captured? Don’t get me wrong; I have respect for people who can endure under those circumstances. It’s just that amongst aviators the fact you’ve been shot down is usually taken as a sign you may not be very good at your job.

    Like when Scott O’Grady got shot down over Bosnia back in ’95. People were like, “what the hell was he doing up there, sleeping?” At least he evaded capture.

    As an aside I never understood why some aviators got their panties in a wad over what kind of pistol they were issued. Some guys in my squadron insisted they get 1911s instead of the S&W snubbie .38 revolvers. I couldn’t understand it. If you can’t get the job done with a mix of sidewinders, sparrows, and pheonie bombs, plus the mighty AWG-9 and RIO to work it and a bag full of gas, you’re not going to get the job done with a .45.

    I took the the .38 snubbie as added incentive to focus on making it back to the boat.

    Getting back to McCain, you’d think it would matter to him that Kerry built the foundation of his political career by lying about and insulting him. It doesn’t. But then I find that par for the course for a guy who’s going to call his party’s base a bunch of racists when he’s pushing amnesty, then go to the border and make commercials that practically show him to be willing to shoot an illegal when he’s facing a serious challenge.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  20. 1911 v. snubbie….
    many would contend that the slab-sides of the 1911 make it more comfortable to carry as there’s no cylinder poking you in the ribs.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  21. A five shot Smith J frame doesn’t have much cylinder to poke you in the ribs. It’s not slab-sided like a 1911, but it’s no wider. It sure is lighter.

    Plus it doesn’t eject empties into the cockpit where they can get into the flight controls and jam them (a concern for the helo guys who’ve occasionally had to shoot while on the ground).

    It’s just that when SEALs and other special operators conduct strategic reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines it’s doctrine for them to avoid getting into a firefight. They’re survival depends on going unnoticed. They can call in airstrikes or artillery, but they avoid taking direct action themselves.

    Those guys are trained gunfighters. Aviators aren’t. So if the gunfighters are going to avoid getting into situations where they have to shoot, I’d say that’s also good advice for anyone else who finds themselves on foot behind enemy lines who moments before had a jet strapped to them.

    The handgun you have with you is inconsequential. It may be nice to have, but in reality you’ll find a map, compass (or GPS), radio, and knife more useful.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  22. So now he’s volunteering to be a “war criminal?”

    Ghost (2d8874)

  23. Some situations arise that don’t allow choice.
    At that point, the tools-at-hand need to be the ones you’re most comfortable with.
    I’ve always been comfortable with a 230gr point-of-view.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  24. My wife ran the Boston marathon the year lurch was the official starter, as he left the podium he could be heard saying,”get me the hell out of here”. He has nothing in common with the people he works for.

    mg (31009b)

  25. I’m sure we will see a very many World Conferences held in some of the great wind-surfing spots around the world in the coming four years.
    Do you think he’ll get a new wet-suit that looks like traditional diplomat duds?

    askeptic (2bb434)

  26. So is he finally going to release his military records, as he promised to do nearly eight years ago? To the general public, not just to three hand-picked reporters?

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  27. Well, at least he already has experience negotiating with the USA’s enemies. Only this time he’s supposed to be on our side!

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  28. Only this time he’s supposed to be on our side!

    Why? The rest of the administration isn’t.

    Just ask Woods, Doherty, Smith, and Stevens.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  29. Comment by Milhouse (15b6fd) — 12/22/2012 @ 5:38 pm

    He won’t, and his Senate colleagues will not have the backbone to demand it – it would be so declasse.
    Though, Rand Paul might be an outlier.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  30. Look at it this way: as Secretary of State, the House can call in Lurch to testify about stuff, and probably get him to perjure himself. :)

    The Dana who sees the silver lining on every black cloud (f68855)

  31. Dana, Obama probably has the pardon already written.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  32. John Kerry as Secret’ry of State?
    Like Hill’ry, he’ll be second rate!
    Oh, why should we care?
    Look, he’s got great hair!
    Bad policy? Now that is our fate.

    The Limerick Avenger (f68855)

  33. Eight years after twenty-oh-four
    Lurch has his foot in the door
    Hill’ry is done,
    Now Kerry’s the one,
    At State, who will mess up more?

    The Limerick Avenger (f68855)

  34. I’m glad that François
    Is fin’ly out of Senate;
    In four years he’s done.

    The Haiku Avenger (f68855)

  35. Good stuff, Mr. Avenger.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  36. I wonder whether he’ll wear his magic hat to his confirmation hearings.

    Milhouse (15b6fd)

  37. In case Colonel Haiku browses this thread,

    Colonel, I’ve been preoccupied all day, and just got a chance to read your comments about your father’s passing in the thread about guns.
    I’m terribly sorry for your loss. I had noticed you’d been sparse ’round these parts of the internets for the past couple weeks.
    I just figured you were busy with work, as well as the fact that with your wit and penchant for music knowledge, you were probably in demand at friends’ and colleagues’ holiday parties where you sit at the host’s piano and tickle the ivory like the great songwriter Hoagy Carmichael, espousing some witty words of wisdom in between sips of egg nog. (Incidentally, Hoagy was famously conservative politically.)

    Colonel, you’re a poet and a gentleman, and an entertaining contributor to the comments threads here at Patterico.
    I hope that your family finds comfort in one another during this solemn time.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  38. I think it’s important to note that Senator Winter Soldier has demonstrated throughout his career that not only has he been wrong on just about everything but he is incapable of learning.

    In that sense he’ll get along swimmingly with King Putt.

    A walk down memory lane to the not so distant past:

    The Multitudinous Disasters Of The Obama Administration. Here: On Syria And Iran

    It still amazes me (although by now it shouldn’t) how comfortable Obama is in not only making overtures to, but in establishing pacts with governments like Syria. The Assads are the last regime except Gadhafi’s from the generation of the colonels, which goes back to Nasser and Hussein and whose chilling ethic is carried on by the opthamologist heir to his father Hafez, murderer of much too many to count. Do you recall how the press welcomed Bashar as a rational man of science?

    In any case, the Obama courtship of Doctor Assad fell on bad times no sooner than it began.

    …On Syria, for the most recent episodes of the story see here and here but, briefly, the Syrian government keeps punching the United States in the face as Washington ignores it.

    But now, on March 1, a new record is set. The place: State Department daily press conference; the main character, departmental spokesman Philip J. Crowley. A reporter wants to know how the administration views the fact that the moment the U.S. delegation left after urging Syrian President Bashar al-Asad to move away from Iran and stop supporting Hizballah, Syria’s dictator invited in Iran’s dictator along with Hizballah’s leader and Damascus moved closer to Iran and Hizballah. Indeed, Asad said regarding Hizballah, ”To support the resistance is a moral, patriotic and legal duty.”

    In other words, the exact opposite of what the United States requested. Is the government annoyed, does it want to express some anger or threat?

    …But even more amazing, what Crowley said is that the U.S. government thinks Syria, Iran’s partner and ally, is upset that Iran is being aggressive and expansionist. And it actually expects the Syrians to urge Iran not to build nuclear weapons!

    One Lebanese observer called this approach, “Living in an alternate universe.”

    …Oh wait! Now it’s March 3 so time for something new. The ófficial Syrian press agency reports that Syria’s government opposed an Arab League proposal to support indirect Palestinian Authority-Israel negotiations. Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem asserted that Syria is “no way part” of the consensus supporting the plan.

    But guess what? First, Senator John Kerry opened a meeting of his Senate Foreign Relations Committee by erroneously praising Syria as supporting the plan, giving this as an example of Damascus’s moderation. The New York Times quoted from the Syrian report, making it sound like Moallem is praising the United States, but left out the paragraphs attacking the U.S.-backed plan! And the State Department circulated the Times article as proof of its success in winning over Syria when in fact Syrian behavior proved the exact opposite!

    Essentially, Obama thinks Kerry would be a “perfect” Secretary of State because he shares all the same delusions.

    Not even liberal Israelis can stomach John Kerry:

    No more illusions about Egypt after Mubarak

    Western naiveté about the Middle East is hardly confined to Egypt.

    Last year, I was part of a group of Israelis who met in Jerusalem with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Mr. Kerry had just come from Damascus with excellent news: Bashar al-Assad was ready for peace with Israel. When one of the participants mentioned that demonstrations had begun to challenge Mr. Assad’s legitimacy, Mr. Kerry’s response was: All the more reason to negotiate while he’s still in power. In other words: Israel had the golden opportunity to give up the strategic Golan Heights to a dictator who might be deposed by a popular revolution, which might or might not recognize whatever peace agreement he signed.

    That kind of wishful thinking has resulted in Western policy toward the Middle East that is strategically incoherent.

    The Obama administration has completely divorced itself from reality. As former UN Ambassador Boulton observed Barack Obama is simply incapable of processing reality. The fact that he has chosen John Kerry to be his SecState shows he is obstinately committed to ever acknowledging reality exists. And in John Kerry he has a partner in crime.

    Martin Peretz, author of the New Republic article on Obama’s multitudinous disasters, ends his piece with this forlorn hope.

    Of course, the Senate may someday also wake up to the worldwide diplomatic disaster that is the architecture of this president.

    The fact that Senators are all lining up to support this horrible nomination shows that they aren’t going to wake up and deal with reality, either.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  39. *The fact that he has chosen John Kerry to be his SecState shows he is obstinately committed to never acknowledging reality exists.*

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  40. 2. A pretty good block quote on Sharansky from Prof. Jacobson:

    The GOP has a hope of returning to relevance should they decide to become the party of small business and the middle class. I’m not optimistic.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  41. Steve, maybe a little McMurphy style electroshock might work.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  42. Of John F’in Kerry, almost everything I possibly have to say I have already said at length (and have even somewhat incompletely indexed by date).

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  43. Actually I’m enjoying re-reading some of those old posts. Almost all of them were seared — seared! — into my memory.

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  44. I will pledge $1000, here and now, to any GOP senator with the balls to ask Kerry at his confirmation hearing whether he brought his special hat.

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  45. Of course, I meant (*cough*)to the re-election campaign or favorite charity of any such senator.

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  46. Of course, Beldar, John Kerry’s execrable behavior in and immediately following his truncated tour in Vietnam should be disqualifying on its own. But I thought I’d point out more recent examples of John Kerry’s complete failures of judgement and moral bankruptcy.

    I don’t know how else to characterize a man who as recently as 2010 was calling Bashar Al Assad his dear friend, and even the WaPo was referring to him as the federal government’s most prominent apologist for the Assad regime.

    It isn’t just Syria; as Obama’s pick to become SecState he’s currently demonstrating he has no problem with obvious conflicts of interest as he sits in charge of the Senate’s stonewalling of the Benghazi debacle as the head of the Foreign Relations Committee doing all in his power not to investigate it.

    I expect Obama to pick incompetent yes men (and women) who won’t do anything to let facts intrude on his fantasy-based worldview. So Kerry fits right in with the rest of the over-rated screw-ups Obama surrounds himself with.

    On foreign policy, Democratic Senator John Kerry is Barack Obama’s good soldier

    But what I do find appalling is the willingness of the GOP Senators to go along with this unfolding national calamity.

    Senate colleagues in both parties say Kerry’s confirmation would be swift and near certain, another remarkable turnaround. Eight years ago, the GOP ridiculed Kerry as a wind-surfing flip-flopper as he tried and failed to unseat Bush.

    “If he is nominated, he comes into the position with a world of knowledge. He’s someone who certainly understands how the legislative process works, and I think he will be someone that Congress will want to work with in a very positive way,” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who is poised to become the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee next year.

    Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said “there’s no question he has a very strong depth of knowledge of these issues. Certainly qualified.”

    This guy is a hack, pure and simple, and like the President he’ll be a disaster on foreign policy.

    Can anyone identify any accomplishment Kerry can claim to his credit? Because as far as the rest of the world is concerned he never met an anti-American dictator he didn’t like and could suck up to.

    Our enemies are rejoicing at the prospect of this dupe becoming the Prince of Fools’ chief envoy to the world.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  47. What with Sloe-Joe having been on the wrong side of almost every major foreign-policy issue during his 30+ years in the Senate, John Francoise Kerry (who by the way served in VietNam) will be a wonderful addition to the Foreign-Policy team in this administration, reinforcing the notion that the blind is truly leading the blind, and that there is not a one-eyed man to be seen.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  48. Yes, you can’t forget that, now he supped at Mubarak’s table, ditto for Assad, how long before he forgets he ever met the Sauds, oh frabjous joy

    narciso (ee31f1)

  49. Steve57, your comment (#47 — 12/22/2012 @ 9:59 pm) is indeed a useful update. As for its closing question and observation:

    Can anyone identify any accomplishment Kerry can claim to his credit? Because as far as the rest of the world is concerned he never met an anti-American dictator he didn’t like and could suck up to.

    The closest thing I could point to as accomplishments of John Kerry would be:

    (1) Kerry’s service on the USS Gridley, a guided missile cruiser that patrolled off the Vietnamese coast. (This was before he volunteered for the Swiftboats. at a time when they seemed all PT-109ish but very safe, since they were only doing coastal patrols then; their mission changed to much more dangerous brown-water river and canal patrols while Kerry was in training.)

    (2) Kerry’s brief service as a Massachusetts state assistant DA; to get his ticket properly punched he tried, and won convictions on, some misdemeanors and a few felonies. (Kerry quickly gravitated to being a flacker/PR maven for the DA himself, an almost purely political position.)

    And (3) Kerry’s role in the substantial normalization of relations between Vietnam and the U.S., in which he was bipartisan partner with John McCain. (Note that even though this is surely is his greatest arguable diplomatic credential, isn’t inconsistent with the observation about dictators that you made after your question.)

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  50. lurch greeting the moo slum brotherhood, “where can I get me a hunting license?

    mg (31009b)

  51. Can anyone identify any accomplishment Kerry can claim to his credit?

    — He married an evil rich person.

    Icy (tehGr8) (c37bce)

  52. A bigger spotlight for Teresa Heinz Kerry is always good for a few yuks.

    Birdbath (716828)

  53. I don’t think Senator “I Married the Widow of the Heinz Ketchup Heir” can cut the mustard.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  54. I fully expect the nuclear-armed Caliphate to form more quickly now.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  55. Yes, as this detail, before we ever heard of Bin Laden;

    narciso (ee31f1)

  56. Kevin, don’t worry. The caliphate is being fast-tracked before our very eyes.

    Muslim Brotherhood claims victory in Egypt constitution vote amid fraud allegations

    Who wants to bet that Kerry makes another trip to Israel in the very near future to urge them to “trade land for peace” with Assad double-quick before he’s deposed. So then AQ affiliates can violate whatever treaty Assad signs and have a great vantage point in the Golan Heights to look down on the northern half of their country after seizing Assad’s chemical and biological weapons.

    The geniuses in the administration who consider the fact that Israel now can be attacked with rockets from the Sinai since they threw Mubarak under the bus can’t help themselves.

    Baghdad Bob was an oracle of truth compared to the people in that crowd.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  57. *who consider the fact that Israel now can be attacked with rockets from the Sinai since they threw Mubarak under the bus a foreign policy success can’t help themselves.*

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  58. Beldar (3)….
    I’m sure some of this success was due to his familiarity with the players on the other side, as most of them were probably ones he met in his meetings with the NVA in Paris in ’71!

    He’s the perfect diplomat:
    A duplicitous four-flusher.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  59. 54. I don’t think Senator “I Married the Widow of the Heinz Ketchup Heir” can cut the mustard.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (65d289) — 12/23/2012 @ 7:07 am

    He can’t. But as TIME’s Person of the Century has made quite obvious, TIME’s Person of the Millenia likes to be the smartest person in the room. So Obama’s Person of the history of America is careful to pick incompetent suck-ups to share the room with him. That way Obama’s Person of the Entire Human Race can feel accomplished and intelligent in comparison.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  60. Obama: Caligula without the kinks!

    Now, if we could only find a Claudius?

    askeptic (2bb434)

  61. Ther-RAY-sah is not evil, she’s just clueless and ditzy. The money was all earned by the late Sen. John Heinz’ family from beans and catsup.

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  62. askeptic: I’m not implying anything, but re your comment (#61 — 12/23/2012 @ 8:48 am) that Obama is “Caligula without the kinks”: I have no reason to differ as to whether he’s without kinks or not, but absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. Best simply to say that Obama’s private life has remained private — compare, e.g., the world press’ treatment of the Bush twins to their treatment of Obama’s daughters, or their lust for Bush cocaine rumors while ignoring Obama cocaine admissions.

    Everything in the Obama family may in fact be as peachy as they portray it to be, and I hope it is, and I congratulate them if so. I don’t think there’s ever any political upside to attacking a candidate’s family, even indirectly. Nevertheless, what we know if them is no more than what they have permitted, indeed than they have spun, us all to believe.

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  63. “if them” –> “of them,” sorry for the typo.

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  64. As Beldar indicates, the media is loathe to report anything that might hurt Obama. For instance, the White House pool reportershaven’t seen him at all in Hawaii, even though they’ve followed him to the golf course and a restaurant. The one public photo we’ve seen of Obama golfing was taken at the golf course by an unknown person and published by the local newspaper.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  65. Well he’s more like Catiline, if you want a late Roman Republic reference, he who incited the mob to violence, however Jon Meacham at Random House, can disseminate slanderous trash without much fear of legal retribution,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  66. @ askeptic: You may just be a fan of ancient history, as I am. But I’m guessing you also have in mind John Hurt’s brilliant portrayal of Caligula, opposite Derek Jacoby’s of his imperial successor, Claudius, in the still-amazingly-good BBC adaptation of the Robert Graves’ “I, Claudius.” (It’s still known among its afficianados as “I, Clavdivs.”) I bought the entire set on DVD for my young-adult kids, because it is indeed genuinely educational TV and demonstrates how superior acting and scriptwriting can make up for low-budget 1970s British TV production values. That series’ menacing, drunken, eerie theme music could be the musical score for “America, Jan. 2009-Jan. 2017.”

    (How I shudder and grieve at calculating that latter date, how I hate to admit that it must be committed to print. But there we are.)

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  67. BTW, that series is also worth buying on DVD if only to see Patrick Stewart in a meaty, virile role as “Sejanus,” one of Tiberius’ most politically ambitious Roman army officers. He never says “Engage!” or “Make it so!” but he has a very full head of wavy blond hair! (Might be a rug on top, I’ll concede, but I think the sides are real anyway.)

    (Patrick: If I link something from here in a comment after first finding it through your search widget, as I just did, is that still getting Amazon Associates’ credit through to you? There’s a page on the Amazon Associates sub-website that lets you check any URL to see if it’s being interpreted properly. If for some reason that doesn’t work, I’d be better not to include a hyperlink so that people will just use your widget instead.)

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  68. Well he’s more like Catiline

    I’d say Commodus.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  69. Commodus, is ‘surprisingly’ not the character that River Phoenix made him out to be, otherwise he wouldn’t have last 12 years in power,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  70. Mr Stone wrote:

    I don’t think Senator “I Married the Widow of the Heinz Ketchup Heir” can cut the mustard.

    What, exactly, is the Patterico Punishment for the worst of puns?

    The groaning Dana (f68855)

  71. So when do we get Jane Fonda as Defense Secretary? That seems like an insult to our troops that would be irresistible to the left.

    Machinist (b6f7da)

  72. 70. Commodus, is ‘surprisingly’ not the character that River Phoenix made him out to be, otherwise he wouldn’t have last 12 years in power,

    Comment by narciso (ee31f1) — 12/23/2012 @ 9:46 am

    True, but the historical figure wasn’t all that, either. Apparently he was successful at first because he wasn’t interested in actually reigning as Emperor. So he appointed competent subordinates to rule for him as he enjoyed the perks of royal life.

    But then that changed.

    Encyclopedia Brittanica: Commodus

    In 182 Commodus’s sister Lucilla conspired with a group of senators to assassinate him. The plot failed, and Commodus retaliated by executing a number of leading senators. Thereafter his rule became increasingly arbitrary and vicious. In 186 he had his chief minister executed in order to appease the army; three years later he allowed the minister’s successor to be killed by a rioting crowd. Political influence then passed to the emperor’s mistress and two advisers.

    Meanwhile, Commodus was lapsing into insanity. He gave Rome a new name, Colonia Commodiana (Colony of Commodus), and imagined that he was the god Hercules, entering the arena to fight as a gladiator or to kill lions with bow and arrow. On December 31, 192, his advisers had him strangled by a champion wrestler, following his announcement the day before that he would assume the consulship, dressed as a gladiator.

    He wasn’t the first emperor to fight in the gladitorial arena or demonstrate their skill with weapons (primarily during the “beast hunts” when they’d show off their skill as archers, and Commodus was actually very skilled with weapons having basically raised on campaign with the Roman army). But emperors would generally fight in display matches with both contestants using wooden weapons. Commodus liked to surprise his opponents by telling them it was such a display match, then he’d enter the arena with real weapons.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  73. Well Dio Cassius, has a slightly different impression;

    Dio Cassius, a first-hand witness who had no known reason to defend Commodus, describes him as “not naturally wicked but, on the contrary, as guileless as any man that ever lived. His great simplicity, however, together with his cowardice, made him the slave of his companions, and it was through them that he at first, out of ignorance, missed the better life and then was led on into lustful and cruel habits, which soon became second nature.”[8]

    But historians like Procopius, re Justinian are fickle, if not down right dishonest like Machiavelli, regarding one patron vs, another.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  74. I got a simple stock reply for the next Speaker in his/her dealings with Emperor Schlong:

    Reprise Cheney to Leahy,’GFY’.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  75. narciso, the Historia Augusta has this to say about Commodus:

    ..After the death of Antoninus, Marcus tried to educate Commodus by his own teaching and by that of the greatest and the best of men. In Greek literature he had Onesicrates as his teacher, in Latin, Antistius Capella; his instructor in rhetoric was Ateius Sanctus.

    However, teachers in all these studies profited him not in the least — such is the power, either of natural character, or of the tutors maintained in a palace. For even from his earliest years he was base and dishonourable, and cruel and lewd, defiled of mouth, moreover, and debauched. Even then he was an adept in certain arts which are not becoming in an emperor, for he could mould goblets and dance and sing and whistle, and he could play the buffoon and the gladiator to perfection. In the twelfth year of his life, at Centumcellae, he gave a forecast of his cruelty. For when it happened that his bath was drawn too cool, he ordered the bathkeeper to be cast into the furnace; whereupon the slave who had been ordered to do this burned a sheep-skin in the furnace, in order to make him believe by the stench of the vapour that the punishment had been carried out.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  76. A Caligula Confirmation:

    The Dems nominate Michelle for President in 2016!

    It would be the equivalent of Caligula making his horse a god.

    And, Yes, I loved “I, Claudius”. That was the last thing I watched on PBS until “Foyle” came along, followed by “Downton Abbey”.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  77. There are apparently some reliability issues, with the Historia Augusta, then again imagine 22nd century historians trying to make sense of the world, from the collected works of Maraniss, Alter
    and Halperin,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  78. There are reliability issues with most of the ancient chroniclers. Most of whom were more interested in advancing their own ambitions (such as Julius Ceasar) or their patron’s (such as Josephus) than strict accuracy.

    Steve57 (b64cdf)

  79. Beldar, a query for you or anyone that might venture an educated opinion…

    Assuming the confirmation committee will actually exercise its nomination oversight responsibility and review Kerry’s complete military record, must they also obtain a Kerry-signed SF 180 authorization to do so?

    Bingo (84698f)

  80. Bingo, with profound apologies for sounding like Al Gore, I don’t know of any “controlling legal authority” to definitively answer your question.

    The privacy provisions in the statutes and regs regarding military records say what they say. That begs entirely the important question — which is not the legal question of whether the Senate, through contempt of Congress powers, could theoretically compel Kerry to sign a written waiver of privacy rights through an SF 180 or some comparable document, but the political question of whether enough GOP members of the Senate have the balls to insist upon that before casting a vote.

    I suspect that ultimately, the Senate could compel Kerry’s consent — if a majority of senators were willing to go to the judicial branch to try to enforce the congressional contempt powers. Obviously Harry Reid won’t permit that as a political matter, so the legal question is certain to continue without controlling legal precedent for the nonce.

    I do expect Kerry and the Obama Administration to exploit the lack of same

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  81. I.e., they’ll stonewall, they’ll point to the privacy laws, and when the reporters say, “Yes, but can’t Sen. Kerry waive those rights?” they’ll all pretend not to have heard, and no one but bloggers and maybe the conservative pundits on Fox will ever mention it in public.

    They’ll get away with this. It makes me sick, but they will.

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  82. They’ll get away with this. It makes me sick, but they will.

    Perhaps not…if individual committee members can be publicly coerced or even shamed into performing their oath-sworn duty.

    Any ideas out there?

    Bingo (84698f)

  83. How ’bout Lindsey Graham? I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t consider Kerry’s military records to be irrelevant…

    Though Kerry is expected to sail through the Senate confirmation hearings, Graham and McCain have hinted the decorated Vietnam veteran will not get a free pass.

    Read more:

    Bingo (84698f)

  84. oops…make that “would consider”

    Bingo (84698f)

  85. If I were a GOP member of the Senate Committee holding the confirmation hearings, I’d intentionally phrase a question in order to elicit John Forbes Kerry to pronounce “Genghis Khan.”

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  86. Oh, Kerry may let the committee see it, on the condition they keep it confidential.

    Sammy Finkelman (7b1b59)

  87. narciso @56 about khilewi.

    Your article is from 1998. I have a file, a collction of abstracts from the National Newspae=per Index from 1994 1995 and 1996.

    Khilewi was second rank at the Saudi Embassy to the Uniited Nations.He had trouble getting asylum but he brought a tape of an official theatening him with death if he didn’t meet with Prince Bandar (the Ambassador to the United State in Washington)

    Prince Bandar is the probable murderer of Vincent Fosterwho sought and got an emergency meeting with President Clinton and Sandy Burglar probably to explain this (although a different explanation (of course) is given for the meeting in the article by Fred Barnes on page 10 of the March 14, 1994 New Republic, and the unscheduled meeting is said to have been initiated by Berger.

    Prince Bandar is now in charge of Saudi intelligence and the counter planning with regard to the Arab spring, and is a prime contender for King, although I don’t know if he would want to be the caliph, too. There might be strong objections to that idea from King Abdullah II of Jordan, who has a much better claim to that position. But to object, he would need strong backing from the United States.

    Sammy Finkelman (7b1b59)

  88. Well Sammy, my maim point, actually came from a Cockburn piece in the New Yorker, in 1993, their abouts, about their attempt to secure nuclear weapons,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  89. From the 1998 Khilewi article linked by narciso:

    MEQ: Does Saudi intelligence have agents elsewhere in the United States?

    Khilewi: Yes, it has a big budget that allows it to plant agents almost everywhere. You will find them in human rights organizations, in the United Nations, and in Washington, D.C.

    MEQ: How about researchers?

    Khilewi: A major concern. If politicians and the media are their old target, scholars are the new one. This explains why the government is so active on the Internet, where you find them listed under various committees and organizations.

    In an effort to know and to control everybody who researches the country at universities and research centers, it sets up seemingly anti-Saudi websites.

    These serve two purposes: First, as a gatekeeper they make known who’s doing what. Second, they spread misinformation, which is made the more plausible by also giving out correct information.

    I recommend you don’t believe what you read on the Internet about Saudi Arabia unless you know who is sponsoring the site and you examine every piece of information.

    Sammy Finkelman (7b1b59)

  90. Prince Talal underwrites middle east programs at GeorgeTown (with Esposito) at Columbia (with Bulliet), the al Amoudis contribute the Middle East Institute, which is a sinecure for Arabists,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  91. 90. Comment by narciso (ee31f1) — 12/23/2012 @ 6:41 pm

    Well Sammy, my maim point, actually came from a Cockburn piece in the New Yorker, in 1993, their abouts, about their attempt to secure nuclear weapons,

    According to Khilewi, Saudi Arabia was involved in helping Iraq get nuclear weapons in 1989 (at a time when they were allies, before he invasion of Kuwait.)

    There is Washington Post story from July 25, 1994 and a New York Times story from August 7, 1994. The Washington Post article says something about Iraq.

    Defector Says Saudis Sought Nuclear Arms – Aug 7, 1994 New York Times

    UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 6— A former Saudi diplomat seeking political asylum in the United States asserts that Saudi Arabia tried to buy nuclear research reactors from China and from an American company in 1989 as part of a secret effort to acquire nuclear weapons.

    In an interview on Friday, Mohammed A. al-Khilewi, formerly the second-ranking official at the Saudi Mission to the United Nations, produced some letters to support his allegations.

    One letter, dated Jan. 10, 1989, appeared to be from the China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation in Beijing to Prince Abdel Rahman, a nephew of King Fahd, saying it was willing to sell research reactors known as miniature neutron source reactors to Saudi Arabia and pay the Prince a 5 percent commission on the deal.

    Value of Deal Not Stated

    The letter does not state the value of the deal. Experts describe such reactors as small models suitable for research, with relatively simple applications…..

    …Asked about Mr. Khilewi’s claims, an official of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, Adel al-Jubir, challenged the authenticity of the documents today in a telephone call from Paris but did not comment on their substance.

    Mr. Khilewi says he has some 14,000 documents proving human rights abuses, terrorism and corruption by the Saudi Government. He broke with his Government in May and formally applied for political asylum in the United States in June. His request is still pending. …

    In the interview, Mr. Khilewi also said he had evidence confirming American newspaper and television reports that the Saudis had contributed about $5 billion to Iraq’s covert nuclear program in the years leading up to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The alliance collapsed after the invasion.

    The reports said the Central Intelligence Agency had concluded in 1990 that Saudi Arabia had helped to bankroll the program in return for a share of weapons and technology developed by Iraq.

    Mr. Khilewi said Saudi Arabia originally had not planned to develop a nuclear program of its own because it lacked the technological expertise. Instead, he asserted, it sought first to buy into a covert Pakistani nuclear program and then into Iraq’s nuclear weapons program in the hope of securing atomic arms from these countries and the technology to make them them itself.

    But in 1985, two years before it approached China for nuclear reactors and bought a Chinese CSS-2 medium-range missile system, he said, “Saudi Arabia started to think seriously about starting its own nuclear weapons program.”

    In his response to the request for comment, Mr. Jubir of the Saudi Embassy in Washington pointed out that Saudi Arabia had openly offered to pay to rebuild Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor after it was destroyed by Israeli warplanes in 1981. He seemed to be implying that any payments to Iraq might be connected to that offer.

    Sammy Finkelman (06de9c)

  92. Comment by narciso (ee31f1) — 12/23/2012 @ 6:48 pm

    Prince Talal underwrites middle east programs at GeorgeTown (with Esposito) at Columbia (with Bulliet), the al Amoudis contribute the Middle East Institute, which is a sinecure for Arabists.

    Is this Talal the 23rd son of King Abdul Aziz who was lose to Adnan Khashoggi, and the father of Walid (or Alwaleed) bin Talal, the investor, who in 1998, then in his 40s, was ranked by Forbes as the second richest person in the world, next to Bill Gates? Walid claimed he got no help from his father. He couldn’t be so rich unless he was a nominee or front man.

    Walid bin Talal is the person whose money Mayor Giuliani rejected when he tried to blame the September 11 2011 attacks on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, particularly with regard to Israel. He didn’t explicitly blame that but saying the policy should change was close. It was $10 million.

    Walid bin Talal was also was close to Michael Jackson, the celebrity, or his money managers maybe.

    Sammy Finkelman (0c3646)

  93. * close to Adnan Khashoggi. (along with Sultan)

    Sammy Finkelman (0c3646)

  94. No, he’s the younger, an investor in NewsCorp, Citigroup, other enterprises

    narciso (ee31f1)

  95. The bad, the worse, and the abyssmal;;page=101

    narciso (ee31f1)

  96. John Forbes Kerry has lived a life as a blue-blood, all the way down to the embroidered monogram (“JFK”) which adorns his shirts, as well as his windsurfing, and his multiple estates. He’s been married to two wealthy heiresses, and probably finds Grey Poupon to be too low-brow for his taste—not that he could actually cut the mustard. Or whatever.

    All that being said, it is a little unusual for such a narcissist to enthusiastically take a government job as a secretary. I can’t envision him typing 40wpm or shopping for paper clips at Staples.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  97. 96. 92. The Prince Talal who underwrote middle east programs at GeorgeTown (with Esposito) at Columbia (with Bulliet) – is that really his son Walid bin Talal, or somebody else altogether also named Talal?

    Sammy Finkelman (0c3646)

  98. 97. That link reminded me that Senator Kerry once held hearings on BCCI. Later on, this was taken up by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

    Kerry apparently drop[ed the subject (it was apparently really his staff – maybe one person working for him)

    Sammy Finkelman (0c3646)

  99. 98. This is a Secretary with a capital S.

    Sammy Finkelman (0c3646)

  100. And what’s going on with Hagel? Today Senator Limdsey Grahams said he hadn’t known all of Chuck Hagel’s positions, and the hearings in this case really would matter. Senator Schumer didn’t want to offer up any opinion unless the nomination actually was made.

    Sammy Finkelman (0c3646)

  101. Yes, but the irony is he had picked one of their frontmen, David Paul for Ghaith Pharaon, as the Senate campaign treasurer, Pharaon, fled the country, reputedly living in Syria as of 2011,

    And yes Talal, is the younger son, of a reform minded prince,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  102. Number One Message taken from the Obama Administration from last month’s election results:

    Stonewalling works.

    Eventually during the next two years there will be a massive constitutional showdown between the House and the POTUS. There will be no showdown in the Senate, however, and thus no showdown over John F’in Kerry. I’m all in favor of symbolic yanks on Treebeard’s long chin — see above, re $1000 and the lucky hat — but I have no illusions about the inevitability of this result. Elections have consequences.

    Beldar (1a3f6b)

  103. The upcoming debt-ceiling negotiations should bring us a real dust-up.
    The preliminary position staked-out by Obama is pretty Imperial, and is going to be resisted right down to the wire by the TEA Party types.
    And this is a President not known for compromise.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  104. The irony, coming from a long time abetter of Trig trutherism;

    narciso (ee31f1)

  105. 1992 Boston Globe story on Kerry:

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  106. Chicago religious Jewish blogger about Hagel:

    I don’t think Hagel is an anti-semite. More likely, he’s corrupt or been corrupted.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  107. How Kerry got into holfding hearings on BCCI:

    He started out with the idea of hearings on the CiA, or otehr American agencies, importinmg cocaine into the United States, (alledgedly to support the contras) He really believed this.

    What actually had happened I think, is that organized crime used CIA cover. They has been using CIA cover since the 1960s. Some people involved in the Saviongs and Loan scandla did that too.

    And they used this CIA story to explain why sometimes they were not prosecuted. They had actually corrupted people, and/or entered into informant arrangements.

    The one thing the CIA did not need was money. It HAD A SECRET BUDGET.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  108. Yes, Sammy, the “Black Ops” budgets are secret, but they are not unlimited….
    That’s why they call them B U D G E T S !!!!!!!!

    askeptic (2bb434)

  109. If they were going to break the law, they break the law on budgeting, or borrow money or something, not smuggle drugs.

    Sammy Finkelman (bda33a)

  110. Obama will settle for an raise in the amount of the debt ceiling would be projected to cover two years. He knows he’s not going to get that practical abolishment of the debt ceiling.

    But he won’t want to give anything in return beyond what he’s doing anywsay,

    Sammy Finkelman (bda33a)

  111. Comment by Beldar (1a3f6b) — 12/23/2012 @ 12:20 pm

    …the political question of whether enough GOP members of the Senate have the balls to insist upon that before casting a vote.

    In that metaphorical vein, It may not be the size of their politcal appendages but rather their perception on the size of the political projectile headed for their anal orifice that could be determinative.

    Make it so.

    Bingo (84698f)

  112. BINGO!, to Bingo.

    askeptic (2bb434)

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