Jon Stewart: You’re very clever, Sy Hersh, but I remember when you were wrong

Sy and Jon.jpgLast night Jon reeled in a big media fish: Seymour Hersh, that venerable lion of the New Yorker. His book “Chain of Command” just came out in paperback, presumably without a lengthy corrections section. It’s so funny seeing what these people look like in person; Sy reminded me of James Cromwell from “Six Feet Under,” except that I found that Sy wasn’t big on making eye contact, at least not with the camera (you notice these things when you’re trying to take pictures of your TV screen. FishbowlNY, we’re the professionalest!).

We liked this episode, a lot: it was punchy, dealt with all sorts of important stuff, had lots of juicy zingers, and didn’t wimp out. Although there was nothing to wimp out on since Jon and Sy were on the same side. But that made the discussion really interesting and in fact it looks like Sy has some serious inside information. Plus we had Stephen Colbert and Ed Helms – I never realized how similar they looked before.

The Iraqi Constitution, Condi’s hair looking shinier than usual, and some delicious pancakes after the jump…when we finish it. Come check back with us!!! It’s been a busy bloggy day. But you can bet it will be sexy – we’ve got Sy Hersh, after all.


We begin with Puffy, who will always be Puffy to me no matter what. He’s changing his name. Now he is Diddy, possibly to make it easier for me to one day rhyme his name with “Fiddy.” Oh yes, I’m down wit da kids.

Moving on: Iraqi constitution, take two. Big surprise: it’s not going to be done. A hilarious bit: Jon says he’ll accept it, but it won’t be doing any better than a “B.” That would have crushed me in high school, I was a bit geeky about grades. It was all blah, blah, blah, achieve and accomplish. I’ve left all that nonsense behind me now.

Constitution in Iraq: Bush assumed the Iraqis could get it together for Constitution-making (borrow Canada’s! Borrow Canada’s!). Well, they didn’t and they can’t. Which brings the number of false assumptions about Iraq to approximately A GAZILLION. A few samples, handy list style: “Iraq has WMDS” “We’ll be greeted as liberators” “All Q’s are followed by U’s” “Not everything explodes” “Hummous left out won’t spoil” (it won’t but you can get some serious life out of it, more than you can from crappy pita bread) and “There’s no insurgency.” Can I add my assumption? “Soldiers would have proper artillery.”

So, yeah, no Constitution, or, as the French would say, pas de Constitution. Hashim Al-Hassani says no sweat though, they’re on it. Through a translator: “We regret to inform you that we have been unable to resolve two millennia of religious, ethnic, and cultural hatred in the last seven months – but, we think we can swing it by next Monday.” Also, though previously we’ve addressed him as P. Hashim Al-Hassani, he’s dropping the P to have less between him and his fans. You may now address us as “Ishbowl,” by the way. Word.

Upshot in Iraq? They’r so divided “they can’t agree about what they’re most divided about.” Says Condi portentiously, her hair shining like an obsidian helmet: “We’re witnessing democracy in Iraq.”
Jon: “Is there anything they can’t make seem like it was their plan all along?” (er, Cindy Sheehan? Just a guess). Condi is also witnessing a Process with a capital P, a big ol’ Iraqi
not-at-all-American-hey-don’t-look-at-us! Process. Jon says photosynthesis is a process, not a mild response. Oh, Jon, there’s no such thing as photosynthesis. Oh, science? How quaint. We don’t believe in science anymore, Jon. Now we believe IN GOD.

Speaking of the Prez: arguably the healthiest chief executive ever. It’s fun to play fill in the blank with “arguably the _____est chief executive ever.” Anyhow, he’s healthy because he takes long, meandering bike rides, clears brush, and eats healthy – thanks to his wonderful chef, who calls him the “#1 person in the world” (another fun game: “The #1 ______ in the world.” Funny segment with Stephen Colbert where they compare chef-vetting to the Supreme Court nomination process with a little “emergency snacktime appointment”delicious pancakes.jpg
John Bolton reference thrown in too. Jon almost loses it on camera when Colbert starts going off on some Vegan fancy-pants low-fat poncy-sounding dish that lurked ominiously in the Presidential chef’s past. “Gay food,” decrees Colbert. “It’s as gay as it gets. Might as well just stick it up your butt.” It is at this point that my mouth drops open and Jon almost loses it. Oh, Daily Show. You really do come after talking puppets.

I have the phrase “I like a good baloney” typed in my notes.

Next segment on X-treme bass fishing can be summed up in one sentence:
“Whatever happened to just bashing a fish in the head with a rock?” O Fishy, we wish we could protect you.

Commercial: Trump shilling for Pizza Hut. After haggling over the price, he grabs the stack of pizzas and that’s that. Not only doesn’t he pay, but he doesn’t tip. No woonder he’s rich. Although not too rich to need to do a pizza hut commercial, apparently. Is it for his his ego or his bank balance? No, really, I have no clue and don’t feel like googling. Tell me.

Main event: SY HERSH. Guy obviously knows what he’s talking about but come on, can’t you give us some hope or something? He if Jon’s putting any faith in the Constitution making any difference Sy’s got a bridge he can sell him. Sy says the delay in the Constitution only means that the Admin. people over there will have one more week in which to grease their palms. “This is corruption city,” he says. “We fixed the elections in January (as he says in this New Yorker article), the famous elections that were supposed to produce “democracy,” we did the same in Afghanistan…we were also trying to “fix” things” Apparently we’ve (“we’ve”) looted “billions of dollars” from Iraqi oil funds including a bilked Saddam Hussein treasury of 3.5 BILLION dollars. Every so often Jon tries to break the depressing litany with a “so where can I buy this bridge?” joke but honestly, the interview is totally gripping but weirdly exhausting as well. Sy says that maybe if we’d tried to reason with the insurgents a year ago we’d have been able to draw them into the process but it’s too late now. Plus he’s nervous that they’re planning something for inside the Green Zone. Yikes. Jon marvels that the Administration doesn’t seem to react to the stuff that’s happening, behaving as though la la la la it’s perfectly fine. Sy: “There’s absolutely no game plan except to get out before the [midterm] election in some way that makes sense.” He says though that the Admin. is seeing a tipping point – Cindy Sheehan wouldn’t have gotten this attention a year ago. Meanwhile, opposition and anger at us in Iraq is just growing. “This is not slowing down. Most of these people are homegrown people who don’t like occupiers.” Sy, have you met our friend Gina Kolata? Jeez.

The Ghost of Seymour  Hersh.jpg Oh before we forget…Jon caught Sy earlier in a prediction he made that didn’t come true. Hence our title. You’d think we’d have written it all down so we’d remember, but no. Luckily, though, we’ve got “I like a good baloney” faithfully transcribed. Point being, Sy wasn’t right about one thing so maybe, just maybe, he’s wrong about all this today. But still, his ghost hovers.

We return now to our regularly-scheduled Weltzchmertz. Oh and hello, let’s not forget Iran and their new president who leurves Americans. “Right now, Iran’s been talking to Veneauela…” Huh? Jon’s with us with a “Whoa! Where’d you get Venezuela?” Sy: “They got oi.” Jon: “Oh right, Venezuela, fourth-largest producer of oil.” NIce, Jon! You had that fact totally at your fingertips! Bravo. The upshot? The war sucks. But, note Sy, our soldiers do not. Unlike Vietnam, the American people are behind their soldiers. So let’s get them the hell out of there. Finally, something that hints at optimism! Jon smiles, bridge forgotten, and says “As I always say, it’s a pleasure to talk to Sister Mary Sunshine.” Sy Hersh, ladies and gentlemen. Buy his book.

Moment of Zen: Bush fishing, reminscing of pulling dinner for Vicente Fox right out of the water that day, like a real man. He’s arguably the _____est chief executive ever.