Ted Van Dyk is hopeless

There’s no hope for Ted Van Dyk. At least that’s what he says, and I am forced to agree….

On Libya: Defense Secretary Bob Gates, just before the U.S. decision to intervene in Libya, stated that “anyone should have his head examined” who decided to add yet another offshore intervention to those being undertaken in Iraq and Afghanistan, specifically citing establishment of a no-fly zone in Libya as just such an overreach.

Umm…no he didn’t.

Secretary Gates did, indeed, make a statement to West Point cadets on February 25 that included a quip about cranial scrutiny:

But in my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should “have his head examined,” as General MacArthur so delicately put it.

Even out of context, it is clear that Gates was not making a sweeping claim of the insanity of any type of U.S. intervention. He was explicitly discussing the problem of a “big…land army” type invasion or occupation. This is clear from the statement immediately preceding the money quote:

Looking ahead, though, in the competition for tight defense dollars within and between the services, the Army also must confront the reality that the most plausible, high-end scenarios for the U.S. military are primarily naval and air engagements – whether in Asia, the Persian Gulf, or elsewhere. The strategic rationale for swift-moving expeditionary forces, be they Army or Marines, airborne infantry or special operations, is self-evident given the likelihood of counterterrorism, rapid reaction, disaster response, or stability or security force assistance missions.

And following:

[…] But as the prospects for another head-on clash of large mechanized land armies seem less likely, the Army will be increasingly challenged to justify the number, size, and cost of its heavy formations to those in the leadership of the Pentagon, and on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, who ultimately make policy and set budgets.

[…] The odds of repeating another Afghanistan or Iraq – invading, pacifying, and administering a large third world country – may be low. But in what General Casey has called “an era of persistent conflict,” those unconventional capabilities will still be needed at various levels and in various locations. Most critically to prevent festering problems from growing into full-blown crises which require costly – and controversial – large-scale American military intervention.

In other words, large scale land invasions are too damn expensive. But Gates also asserts the likelihood of “critical” military actions to prevent full-blown crises.

You know what isn’t in Gates’ speech? The expression “no-fly zone” and the word “Libya”. Ted just pulled that notion out of his ass.

Van Dyk continues:

Yet here we are, not only establishing a Libyan no-fly zone but, contrary to early assurances, putting American special-operations teams on the ground to assist Libyan rebels.

Earth to Ted: intelligence personnel have likely been “on the ground” in Libya for years, and covert Special Forces have, no doubt, been “on the ground” for at least weeks. Obama never stated that there would be no covert activities in Syria.

Obama did, however, categorically rule out a land invasion, saying such an invasion was absolutely out of the question1.

Is Ted getting too much of his “news” from Bill O’Reilly? Or has he taken to trusting the Russians over Obama?

Either way, he conducts journalistic malpractice pretending that in-country covert operations are equivalent to a ground invasion.

To be clear, I am not staking an ideological position on our military action in Libya…I have mixed and complex feelings about it that I won’t go into here. The bone I have to pick is with Ted’s sloppy-ass, off-the-cuff journalism and his pseudo-analysis driven by factual inaccuracies.

On the other hand, maybe he’s suffering from, well…something…. I won’t speculate on specifically what without evidence. I’ll only suggest that Ted ought to have his head examined.

1 Obama’s gave a speech while I was editing this post this evening. In it, he confirmed that there would be no U.S. ground invasion.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    As Kosovo and Libya make clear, Republican war-lovers only love Republican wars; and are against interrupting genocides against Muslims, who, after all, are non-Christians and therefore deserve to die.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    How Wingnut Logic Works

    Republican war (Iraq) that kills 4,000+ Americans: Good

    Democratic war (Kosovo) that kills 0 Americans: Bad

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Apart from being logically inconsistent, wingnuts also are liars. Specifically, Fox News lied when it accused CNN and other media outlets of allowing their journalists to be used as “human shields” to protect Gadhafi from U.S. bombs — and said its own correspondent refused to get on the bus taking the journalists to the Gadhafi interview. Which was true as far as it went, but what Fox didn’t tell its viewers is that another Fox camera team got on that bus. Van Dyke is just another lying wingnut propagandist who attempts to manipulate news events to promote a totalitarian ideology. You can’t distinguish these guys from Pravda. It’s the same bullshit.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Maybe Van Dyk has been inhaling ozone. That extra electron does funny things to brain cells. The sad thing is this moron has a following of people who actually believe what he says.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The Economist, a conservative U.K.-based opinion magazine, has an interesting article on the influence of money in American politics (focusing on the Koch brothers), written from a libertarian’s point of view, that I found interesting and worth recommending to my objectively-thinking liberal friends.


  6. 6

    Zotz sez: Teahadists are Koch suckers! spews:

    BTW: I have my grumbles with O, but it’s a good thing McSame and Caribou Barbie aren’t around to really fuck up the world.

  7. 7

    Michael spews:

    The folks on the ground are mostly Brits and they’re there to provide targeting assistance for cruise missiles and bombs so that we don’t bomb the wrong targets. Will they do more than that? Sure, but that’s the overwhelming majority of it, and personally, I’m not very concerned about statistical outliers.

  8. 9

    Michael spews:


    Hours after declaring Sunday that he expects to be running for president within a month, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he’s worried the United States could be “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists,” in the foreseeable future, according to Politico.

  9. 10

    Doc Daneeka spews:

    If you quietly point out the number and frequency of crackpot conservative lies the only consequence is that mainstream conservatives simply up the ante by shouting “liar” at progressive electeds at every turn. And what results is a perception that “they all lie”.

    Better to call them crazy. Flat out fucking, round-the-bend, tin-foil-hat, shrine-to-their-dead-dog-in-the-closet crazy.

    At this point the crazy has just gone of the dial. And it seems to me that false equivalency just won’t work. A Democrat might lurk around the page dorms trying to bone a teenager. That’s depraved and immoral. Whatever. But Republicans do it, and then on Sunday stand in church next to the wife and kids and shout down Satan (and the “fags”), and then on Monday introduce legislation to decriminalize gay-beatings.

    That’s crazy.

  10. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 I think it’s time to recognize that not only are Republican electeds moral degenerates, but so are the people who enable them by electing them.

  11. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Several interesting items in this morning’s news clips.

    Let’s start with Wisconsin, where Republicans are now arguing that today’s court hearing on the GOP’s union-busting bill should be canceled because the bill is already law — by Republican fiat. In other words, last week they did an end-run around the secretary of state and declared the law published and in effect, even though most legal experts say that’s poppycock. Now, the GOPers argue the courts have no authority to deal with the issue because they themselves have declared the issue moot by fiat. This crap is straight out of the Stalinist playbook, and my guess is the GOPers won’t find a judge anywhere in Wisconsin — not even a Republican judge — willing to buy their argument that the executive branch can deprive the judicial branch of jurisdiction by decreeing the judicial branch has no jurisdiction. This argument throws separation of powers out the window and vests the executive branch with absolute power — by executive fiat. Which is exactly where the totalitarians of the GOP Stalin Party want to go. Judges aren’t stupid. They’ll realize buying this nonsensical, circular argument would put them out of work. Even Republican judges won’t go for that. They like their paychecks too much.

    In other news:

    The federal government is headed for shutdown because Democrats won’t agree to Republican demands to defund food safety inspection and other programs Republicans don’t like (this isn’t about spending or deficits, as shown by GOPers’ willingness to spend America into bankruptcy to buy weapons and kill foreigners in their own lands);

    An article in the New York Times details the dishonest ways in wage food companies are trying to deceive consumers into paying more for groceries (see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42....._business/); and

    The Mukilteo city fathers have decided, by a 4-3 votes, that a Tim Eyman initiative passed by 70% of city voters banning traffic cameras is only “advisory” and the city council can override it (although they apparently don’t have the balls to actually put up the cameras in defiance of the initiative) (see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42320523).

    Regarding the Mukilteo initiative, I’m not particularly a fan of Tim Eyman, but I think it’s ironic to see Eyman get bit in the ass by the same tactics being used by Wisconsin Republicans. Once someone starts this sort of thing, then everyone does it, and it has a way of getting out of control … know what I mean? That’s why everyone had the good judgment not to do it, until the stupid Republicans came along. The Wisconsin GOPers may think they’re pretty clever, but they’re going to find out that once you let a poisonous snake get out of its cage, sooner or later you’re gonna get bit by your own snake. Just ask the Bronx zookeepers how that works. Who, btw, haven’t found their missing cobra yet.

  12. 13

    What do you expect spews:

    Dude, you’re arguing facts with people who have “beliefs”. You CAN’T ever change the mind of people with belief with ANY amount of data, facts or logic. Just pointless. Just nod politely and back away slowly. Save your breath for folks who have reason and logic.

  13. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    At a time when corporations in general, including food processing companies, are racking up record profits and paying almost nothing in taxes, food middlemen are raising prices at a blistering pace. They do it by shrinking packages — and raising prices in tandem, if they can get away with it. For example, a 6.5 ounce can of tuna used to cost 59 cents, but now you get a 5 ounce can of tuna for 89 cents. That’s a 96% price increase overnight.

    And the government tells us there’s no inflation, as an excuse for not raising Social Security benefits, keeping interest rates artificially low, and expanding the money supply. They do it by not counting food and fuel in official inflation calculations, on the grounds food and fuel prices are “volatile” and therefore skew the calculations. The problem is, food and fuel prices are volatile in only one direction — up. Republicans don’t trust politicians or bureaucrats, and neither do I, because it’s so obvious they’re liars. If Republicans were willing to acknowledge businesses are every bit as dishonest and grasping as the government is, then we’d be in the same place, and would have something to talk about.

    Getting back to the matter of inflating the money supply, YOU are getting NO benefit from that policy (known as “QE2″); that new money isn’t creating jobs or raising wages or boosting CD and bond returns to senior citizens living on investments. It’s going straight into the stock market, making Wall Street and Roger Rabbit richer, and making everyone else poorer by devaluing savings and incomes. Well, what do you expect? Obama ran the most expensive campaign in history, he spent $900 million to get elected, and almost all of that money came from Wall Street, so what do you expect? O is just another Goldman Sachs bootlicker. And to think the stupid tea partiers believe he’s a socialist!!! Of all the “you’ve got to be kiddings” they dream up, that’s the biggest whopper of all.

  14. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 You mean well, but haven’t thought this through. This blog isn’t about persuading the unpersuadable wingers. It’s about not letting those liars have the microphone entirely to themselves.

    That’s important because American elections are decided by swing voters, who are the least engaged and least informed segment of the electorate. If we let the lying wingers monopolize public discussion, how do you think those voters will vote? And what would that do to the outcome of elections?

    Nope, sorry, you’re dead wrong; what we do here is vitally important to America’s survival as a democracy.

  15. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    On a more mercenary note, I’ve made a thousand bucks in the stock market so far this morning, and it’s not even 9 AM yet! Of course, that could go down as the morning progresses; but, then again, it could go up from there.

    My portfolio is within a few dollars — literally, within about 50 dollars — of its all-time high … which vividly demonstrates the strength of this market. Think about all the things that have happened recently: Japan, Libya, the looming federal budget deadlock, etc. None of this has affected stock prices beyond a barely perceptible dent lasting a few days, more like a slight bruise to your skin than a parking lot ding in your car door.

    Why is the stock market so strong? Because the government is printing money, and this gusher of fantasy money has nowhere else to go. Businesses, which already are sitting on mountains of cash, don’t want to hire because consumers aren’t buying. Banks, which are flush with liquidity, aren’t lending because nobody wants to borrow. Investors who flocked into Treasuries and bonds that are paying nothing have looked around and seen there’s only one place they can get a return on their money and that’s the stock market.

    There’s something like three trillion dollars of idle cash sitting on the sidelines. Given that fact, it’s positively insane for the Federal Reserve to pump up the money supply by another 600 billion dollars. We’re halfway through this money supply expansion and aren’t seeing much of anything tangible in job creation. What we are seeing is food, oil, and commodity prices roaring skyward as speculators hedge against the inevitable inflation by ditching devalued dollars for hard assets that you can at least eat or run your car with if the currency becomes worthless. The crowds flocking into gold and silver should tell you that something is very wrong with the Fed’s monetary policy.

    So why is the Fed still running with this hare-brained idea? Because it plays into Wall Street’s hands, and Wall Street owns our politicians (including, nay, especially, Obama) lock-stock-and-barrel. Owns them. As in, puppets dancing on a string.

    The Tea Partiers understand this, and most Tea Partiers aren’t from the stock owning class, and they’re mad as hell about how Wall Street is fleecing Main Street and Anytown. As much as I and my fellow progressives may loathe the Tea Parters and most of what they agitate for (more racism, more guns, etc.), unlike Establishment Republicans they’re not lackeys of Wall Street. They’re as mad at the financial fascists as we are. At least they know who the enemy is.

    This raises the prospect of a couple interesting spectacles. First, the Republican Party is now at war with itself, because they’ve adopted these Tea Party guys, and the TPers aren’t on the same page as they are. They may end up wishing they hadn’t let this particular snake out of its cage. Second, there are times when the enemy of our enemy should be considered our friend, and maybe we should be looking at forming a strategic alliance with these TP guys for the purpose of waging a jihad against the Masters Of The Universe. Let’s bring them down, then fight with the TPers over turf when there’s some turf to fight over.

    As for me, I realized 30 years ago that working for wages is becoming obsolete, and only the Owning Class will prosper in the future, so I became a fucking capitalist. It’s laughable that the dirty-fucking-hippies-turned-Republicans call me a “communist” or a “socialist” when you stop to think about it. After all, I’m the filthiest capitalist on this entire blog! I seek out and buy shares of the most antisocial companies I can find, because they make the most money, and I’m all about scarfing up some of that pie for myself. After all, the very best money is the money you did nothing to earn and don’t deserve, and that you get by simply taking it from someone else, which in my case is usually professional investment managers working for mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance companies. In a world in which workers are disrespected and work is devalued to the point of paying almost nothing, the idea of helping myself the free money — and taking it from the pockets of greedy capitalists — appeals to me greatly. And don’t think it takes a lot of capital to do this. Over the last 25 years, I’ve put less than $20,000 of my own money into the stock market, and right now I’m earning over $1,000 a day with it. That sure beats working for Republican wages or trying to live on the interest that banks pay on CDs or passbook savings. I’m just sayin’ — when snakes take over the world, you wanna be a snake, not a rabbit; but if you’re stuck with being a rabbit, you can at least disguise yourself as a snake and think like a snake, so you won’t get eaten.

  16. 17

    rhp6033 spews:

    RR @ 16: Good point about how the stock market is going up because the money simply has no other place to go. We need to keep an eye on these larger movements of money in and out of various locations and forms of investment.

    As we know, some of the right-wing trolls on the comment boards here like to post about how the stock market is going in the toilet every time you have a day or two of negative numbers, which is why quite some time ago I kept track of the relative performance of the DJIA by President. The results clearly show that if you are relying upon the stock market to protect your retirement savings, you’d better also pray that a Democrat remains in the White House, the odds are in your favor that way.

    But as I’ve admitted here before, the stock market isn’t a very good indicator of how any president is doing relative to the economy. I just use it because the wingnuts are also using it to present their faulty comparisons.

    In truth, there can be long lags between any meaningful presidential action and any results being shown in the stock market. Some things which occur in the stock market are beyond the control of the president, no matter what his economic philosophy – earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, extended cold weather and snowstorms, revolutions or border wars in foreign countries, etc. And a president who focuses on good common-sense control and regulation of the stock and financial markets may never get the recognition he deserves, because the results of what that particular president achieves is what DOESN’T happen.

    As an example, George W. Bush persued a laisse’ fare policy (sp?) with respect to the financial markets, and ignore clear warning signs that it was going to lead to trouble. The “cheap and blind” lending policies fueled a boom in both real estate and financial markets in 2005-2007, by early 2008 it was clear that it was a bubble economy which was about to burst, but the DJIA was reluctant to reflect this concern. The ironic thing here was that Bush did everything possible to knock out the underpinnings of regulation and oversight, but it took some time for the whole stack of cards to fall down. The DJIA could have crashed in Jan. of 1008, or June of 2009, it was just lucky for the Democrats that the financial markets started their collaps in the late summer & fall of 2008, before the election.

    So I will continue to post the comparitive results of the DJIA among modern presidents, any time the right-wing wingnuts care to make a claim about the performance of Obama or any other modern president with respect to the DJIA. If they want to choose that method of measurement, so be it, it’s so easy to refute their conclusions with the actual facts.

  17. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @17 “persued a laisse’ fare policy (sp?)” should be “pursued a laissez faire policy” — signed, the ever-helpful rabbit

  18. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @17 (continued) The interesting thing about the current stock market is that it’s impervious to all the known epics and catastrophes that ordinarily bring stock markets down, which reinforces my strong suspicion that this probably-ersatz bull market is being fueled by funny money. There’s no other explanation for it. And when you put nitro in a production car with an assembly-line engine, sooner or later the sucker blows up and belches smoke on you. This stock market will do exactly that when the artificial flow of cash into it grinds to a halt, as it must, sooner or later.

    One thing I want to say about the George W. Bush regime is that the roots of the mortgage crisis and financial meltdown lay far behind him. Look up when Alan Greenspan was first appointed as Fed chair and you’ve got the beginning date of the problem. Look up repeal of Glass-Steagall, and who voted for that, too — and you’ve got another cast of bad actors. Clinton comes off looking less than innocent. But to suggest Bush inherited this problem, as I’ve seen argued on some wingnut blogs, is absurd. Bush is the guiltiest of all. He’s the guy who showed up with a fire truck and pumped gasoline onto a smoldering grass fire until it consumed the whole forest.

  19. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Wisconsin Republicans Lose Initial Court Rulings

    Two efforts by Wisconsin Republicans to halt court proceedings challenging Gov. Walker’s union-stripping bill were rejected by judges today, and the court hearings will go forward.

    First, the state attorney general, a Republican, tried to withdraw an appeal of a court order blocking implementing the bill, arguing the law is already in effect therefore the issue is moot. A state appeals court refused to take the appeal off the docket, saying it has already been certified to the state supreme court. This means Wisconsin’s highest court will decide whether to rule on the merits of the GOP’s arguments that the GOP’s declaration-by-fiat that the law is in effect bypasses the injunction against it.

    Second, the Republicans argued that the judge who issued the temporary restraining order has no authority to block implementation of the bill because the law is now in effect and therefore the Republican legislators named in the lawsuit are immune from civil suit. Judge Sumi rejected this argument and the trial scheduled for today is now underway.

  20. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Judge Blocks Union-Stripping Bill; Kicks GOP Attorney General Off Case

    Wisconsin judge Maryann Sumi said today that Republicans either “ignored or misinterpreted” her earlier injunction against the union-stripping bill and issued a revised order prohibiting any further implementation of the legislative bill.

    She also barred GOP Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen from representing Secretary of State Doug LaFollette and ordered Gov. Walker to appoint a different lawyer to represent the SoS.

    Source: WTMJ-TV News, Milwaukee

  21. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m not an expert in Wisconsin law, but I’ll hazard a guess about how this might play out.

    First, with more testimony scheduled for Friday, it’ll be a while before the trial court (Judge Sumi) issues a final ruling on a permanent injunction against the anti-union bill.

    Before that happens, Wisconsin will hold an election on April 5 for one of the state supreme court seats held by Republicans, who currently have a 4-3 majority on the court. The incumbent, Judge Prosser, is tainted by recent news reports about incendiary remarks he made, including calling the chief justice a “bitch.” There has also been news coverage about a controversial decision he made to not prosecute an alleged child molester when he was a prosecutor. Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate is a highly respected female assistant attorney general. Internal GOP polling shows the race is a tossup, which usually is a bad sign for an incumbent judge. The outcome of this election easily could be, I think in fact is likely to be, that the court majority will flip to the Democrats.

    Step three is for Judge Sumi to enjoin the law. I think that will happen. In any case, a separate case challenging the law’s validity is sure to go to the state supreme court. Even without being familiar with Wisconsin law, I think it’s almost a given that a Democrat-controlled state supreme court will have no difficulty finding that the GOP’s tactic of passing the union-stripping bill separately, without the quorum required for budget measures, invalidated the bill. Why? Because the legislative history, if not language of the bill itself, makes clear this bill is a budget measure. I wouldn’t be surprised if it contains explicit language declaring, “This measure is necessary to address the state’s budget crisis,” or words to that effect. Even if it doesn’t, the court will have no difficulty determining that’s its purpose and intent.

    But court cases take time, and by the time a ruling is issued that strikes down the Walker bill, it will be too late for Republicans to re-enact it; because, by then, recall elections will have been held for 8 Republican senators, and Democrats need to win only 3 of those seats to flip control of the state senate to the Democratic Party. If polling is to be at all believed, that’s a slam-dunk.

    With Democrats in control of the state senate, Walker and state house speaker Fitzgerald won’t be able to re-enact anything at all. Their anti-union initiative will be dead. They won’t be able to pass a budget without compromising with the Democrats, who will demand rescission of the business tax breaks the GOPers passed earlier this session.

    The pro-business interests who bankrolled Walker and GOP legislative candidates will end up with an empty bag — they’ll get absolutely nothing in return for their investment of millions of dollars of campaign support. Knowing Walker has become useless to them, they won’t spend a dime to save his ass when he faces a recall election next year.

    Walker’s political career will be over; he won’t be electable or appointable to anything. Republicans will lose control of the state house next year, and Fitzgerald also will be out of a job, or at least out of power. Voters, angered by the deception practiced on them, will freeze Republicans out of Wisconsin politics for years to come. Rich conservative donors will take their money elsewhere.

    Yep, I think Wisconsin’s Republicans are heading for the biggest meltdown since Chernobyl. They were too clever by half, overplayed their hand, and instead of getting half a loaf (as any good compromiser would), they’ll end up with a big fat goose egg for their trouble. And their own supporters will be mad as hell at them for bungling so badly.

  22. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Such an outcome would go a long way toward deterring anyone else from attempting Walker-style thuggery in the future.

  23. 24

    slingshot spews:

    I’ve been cruising the blogs over the last hour and nobody wraps it up like you did @21 & 22, Roger. Nice work.

  24. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @24 Thankew! According to an MSNBC story posted 1.75 hours ago, Judge Sumi has threatened “sanctions” against anyone who continues to defy her orders, and Wisconsin Republicans continue to assert she has no authority in the case, setting up the possibility of contempt citations with jail time for GOP leaders. It’ll be interesting to see whether police, whose union was exempted from Walker’s bill because cops tend to vote Republican, will be willing to arrest their fellow Republicans for contempt of court.

  25. 26

    Zotz sez: Teahadists are Koch suckers! spews:

    @24, and 25: Roger is indeed a treasure. Thank you Roger.

    Here’s a wrinkle to chew on:

    Why hasn’t the Wis GOP simply redone the vote given the 24 hour open meeting notice. Essentially, in a couple days they could pass this legally and move on, avoid all this legal hassle, right?

    According to Doug Lafollette (relative of Fightin’ Bob), SoS, they no longer have the R votes to pass it.

  26. 27

    progressive1 spews:

    For years I’ve wondered about the correct pronunciation of Van Dyk’s name. After reading the Crosscut post I now realize it rhymes with “sick.”