Saturday, May 01, 2010

Saturday Stuff

Francis Gary Powers was shot down in his U2 spy plane over the former Soviet Union 50 years ago today, as Russia Today tells us (more important for CNN to care about a possible feud between Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson, I see)...

Update 5/2/10: Oh, and speaking of bogus news judgment, what Digby sez here (re, that ridiculous White House correspondents dinner...h/t The Daily Kos).

...and I guess this video by the plane's namesake works on a certain level.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Stuff

Oh, before I forget, Happy seventh Mission Accomplished Day tomorrow, everybody (more here - and yep, maybe Obama is a chump for trying to play a similar bad hand in Afghanistan, but at least he wouldn't be dumb enough to stand on an aircraft carrier under a banner telling us that major combat operations are over, or something)...

...and here's more on the oil "spill, baby, spill," contrasting the advertising with the reality (here and here)...

...and here is a positive development backed by Admiral Mike Mullen here last September...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

...and kudos to her for standing up against the "illegal to be brown" farce in Arizona (here); wonder if she'd still sung this Chuck Berry standard knowing then what she knows now?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Stuff

Funny that we're not hearing "drill, baby, drill" much these days anymore, huh?...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

...and here's a neat little tune.

Thursday Mashup (4/29/10)

(Note: I’ve been able to post more than I thought this week, but there definitely won’t be posting tomorrow. Also, here is the Philadelphia Inquirer summary on last week’s congressional votes – really nothing for me to say about them...a little late on Iran sanctions, but better than never I guess)

  • I got an unintentional kick out of this screed by Repug strategist John Feehery today (here)…

    The new law in Arizona should be seen less through the prism of politics or constitutional law and more through the lens of national psychology. It really is a cri de coeur, or a cry from the heart.

    The law may seem punitive or intrusive from the ACLU’s perspective. But as I have said before, desperate times require desperate measures.

    You only need to glance over the border and see the situation that is unfolding in Mexico to understand that the people of Arizona are panicking that the drug war, like a swarm of killer bees, is coming to a location near them.
    It is absolutely ridiculous to me that we continue to discuss the immigration issue, particularly in Arizona, as being wholly centered around drugs without any mention whatsoever of guns that travel south of our border to Mexico. And it is even more ridiculous that Democratic Party politicians are completely and utterly cowed on this issue, with the exception of Frank Lautenberg of NJ and Carolyn Maloney McCarthy of NY on the federal level and Dwight Evans of PA on the state level (I would love to add other candidates to that list if I knew who they were).

    This post from Louis Klarevas last month tells us the following…

    Mexico has some of the toughest gun laws on the books. There are only about 6,000 guns registered in Mexico. Yet, as President Calderon told CNN this weekend, "We seized 66,000 weapons in three years, half of them assault weapons. We made a sample one year and a half ago, above 80 percent of those weapons came from the United States." Authorities claim that between 250-300 guns enter Mexico from the U.S. every day, most obtained in the four Southwest border-states.

    The problem is compounded by the fact that there are more licensed gun dealers in the four border-states than there are registered guns in Mexico. If you add in the Brady Center's allegation that 40% of all gun sales are made without conducting proper background checks, you can see how this is a recipe for disaster.

    The failure of the U.S. to address its national appetite for illegal drugs and its reluctance to better regulate gun sales has recently led to a degree of blowback, with Mexico's violence spilling over into the border-states. Cartel-related murders, assaults, home invasions, and kidnappings are now overwhelming local authorities.
    And by the way, I just know that somebody out there is going to say, “there he goes again, claiming that 80 percent of 66,000 guns come to Mexico from the U.S., and here’s about fifty pages of massaged and manufactured gun data from John Lott or somebody or other saying that isn’t so.”

    I know that President Calderon was talking about a sample that showed that 80 percent of the weapons came from this country. I do not know how many guns were in that sample.

    And by the way, no matter how many guns, drugs, people or dollars cross our borders, that in no way justifies the farcical, “illegal to be brown” Arizona immigration law.

    And "killer bees," Feehery? You mean, like these? (sorry about the ad...)

  • Update 4/30/10: What a sick joke (here).

  • I’m still trying to process everything that happened on the Cape Wind decision yesterday (again, as noted here, excoriating myself a bit for not commenting on it more earlier), and as I did, I came across this CNN story today, which basically made me gag.

    To listen to our corporate media “betters,” Jim Gordon, the owner of the company that manufactures the wind turbines and thus stands to gain the most out of this awful outcome, overcame the Cape Cod “elite,” and his hair has “gone from black to gray” as a result of the legal wrangling (awww…).

    (And CNN wonders why its TV ratings are utterly collapsing, as noted here; also, speaking of MSNBC, I’ll have a note involving K.O. in a minute.)

    Gee, I wonder if “The Most Trusted Name In News” is ever going to bother to tell us that Gordon tried to pay off the local Wampanoag Indian tribe to halt their opposition (here...the tribe fought it because they believed the turbines would be constructed on sacred burial grounds)?

    And I wonder if they’re going to tell us that the project was called “…a boondoggle that defies economic logic” by the Beacon Hill Institute, which also said the following (here)…

    In 2008, the Beacon Hill Institute tallied up the social costs and benefits of the project. The social costs consist of the resources that would be used up installing, maintaining and operating the turbines plus a small charge for the negative aesthetic effects of the project, as revealed by a survey of tourists and homeowners. The benefits consist of the savings in fossil fuel consumption, the avoided capital costs of installing gas-fired plants, the health benefits of the reduced volume of noxious pollutants and the benefits of increased energy independence and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. We found that the costs would come to $2.2 billion and the benefits to $1.2 billion.
    (And yes, I know the Beacon Hill Institute is ideologically conservative.)

    And I wonder if CNN or anyone else in our corporate media is going to tell us what we learn here about how ratepayers are likely going to regret the project (here)?

    Oh, and I suppose all of those quoted in this story were “blue bloods” also…

    "The developers have a financial interest in saying that these are going to be unobtrusive on any number of fronts," says Issac Rosen, who heads an alliance that's fighting the wind farm project.

    As much as opponents object to the size of the project, what really bothers them is the way Cape Wind has taken advantage of existing laws.

    "Developers are doing much what 19th century speculators did in the West," says Rosen. "They are finding tracts of land, tracts of water, recognizing that there are no regulations governing usage or development, sticking a shovel in it and saying, 'I'm going to take this and I'm going to make money off of it.'"

    Shareen Davis's family have lived and fished near Chatham on the cape for 13 generations. She says the wind towers will destroy her local fishing grounds and endanger birds and sea animals.

    "I know that [the windmills] are going to impact all of the different aspects of the environment, of the aesthetics, of the infrastructure, of the business of the cape," she says. "It will be something that will critically change our area. Why should I have to be collateral damage to something like that."
    And the fact that Greenpeace, among others, have apparently signed off on this is enough to make yours truly utterly sick.

  • Finally, it seems that “Z on TV” himself, David Zurawik, is mad at Keith Olbermann yet again; here, he went off on K.O. last week over a reprisal suffered by MSNBC host Donny Deutsch for criticizing Olbermann in a taped segment about how the lefty blogosphere is every bit as nutty as the right (yep, loaded generalities, fake equivalency yet again – you guessed it).

    Gee, it seems to me that MSNBC has a pretty clear policy on this stuff and Deutsch totally ignored it; namely, that you don’t criticize fellow hosts on the same network.

    Also, Zurawik tells us that Olbermann is attacking Brian Stelter of the New York Times on Twitter; gee, “Z,” maybe it would have been nice for you to let us know that Olbermann was upset because Stelter ran with a “story” that Olbermann got Deutsch bounced without checking with Olbermann first, as noted here (if Stelter had done that, his reporting would have been accurate, but since he didn't...).

    That all being said, I should add that I have neither the time nor the desire to try and referee a corporate media hissy fit like this, and I hope you feel the same way. Besides, I already posed some questions to Zurawik over similar behavior, questions that are a lot more than hypothetical which I presume will never be answered (the second bullet here has to do with another Stelter misstep, and the third deals with Zurawik).

    And one more thing, ”Z,” as long as you feel so pleased with yourself for helping to “publicly shame” the “conman” John Edwards here, I should tell you that he and Elizabeth, now estranged of course, have two young children, Emma Clare, born in 1998, and Jack, born in 2000, in addition to their other offspring. Really, the classy thing to do, no matter how you may feel about any of the adults, is just to say nothing and try to spare the feelings of the kids, even just a little given what they’ve endured to date and likely will endure for the rest of their lives over this, OK?
  • Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    Wednesday Stuff

    By the way, Snarlin' Arlen Specter became a Democrat again one year ago today (and isn't this interesting?).

    In response, click here...

    ...and there are times when I've said you must be high to be a Repug; this proves it...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and here's someone trying to run away from those zany teabaggers - must not like to wear those adorable hats...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and with all of the "illegal to be brown" business in Arizona, this song has been much on my mind lately (nice vid).

    Wednesday Mashup Part Two (4/28/10)

    (Part One is over here.)

  • Well, all I can say in response to this story is that Dennis Miller, John Ratzenberger (Cliff from “Cheers,” proving that, in his case, art imitated life...both characters are obnoxious) and that airhead Victoria Jackson will no doubt help to fundraise against Al Franken’s opponent in 2014.

  • Also, while journeying to the wingnut universe of J.D. Mullane’s blog (talk about "Swampland,") I came across this from a life form named Andrew Klavan, a screenwriter and novelist who tells us that “Hollywood conservatives have to “meet in secret” and “talk in whispers.”

    Yeah, well…I seem to recall Klavan saying the exact same thing two years ago here, in a column similarly filled with straw-men arguments and baseless generalities.

    Oh, and did you know that Klavan once compared Dubya to Batman here? Holy non-existent WMD! Another problem for me with that argument is that the Caped Crusader took it upon himself to rectify the problems of Gotham City, whereas Dubya took it upon himself to pass the buck to anyone in sight which would thus provide him deniability.

    Also, Klavan helped to spread the “death panel” lie about health care reform (here...I'll admit that he had a lot of company).

    And in Klavan’s 2008 Washington Post column, he encourages conservatives to use art to “take the culture back,” which to me would necessitate supporting the arts. I would find that argument to be a lot more credible if it weren’t for the fact that conservatives are always trying to cut arts funding, as noted here.

    Because, as Miles Mogulescu of The Huffington Post tells us here…

    When people attend a performance or go to a museum, they often spend additional money on restaurants, nearby shopping or parking. Artists are often the pioneers of urban revitalization. First artists move into lofts in a rundown neighborhood. Then cafes and galleries start to open. Soon middle class professionals are flocking to the area, first as consumers and then to rent and buy real estate, generating tax revenue which supports city and state governments and helps pay for things like schools and police.

    The New Deal provides ample precedent for using the arts as economic stimulus, as well as inspiration providing hope to struggling Americans. The Works Progress Administration, known as the WPA, was at the heart of The New Deal, providing jobs to millions of Americans. One of the WPA's most influential components was Federal Project Number One, which employed thousands of Artists through its Federal Theater Project, Federal Art Project, the Federal Music Project, and the Federal Writers Project.
    And Klavan is worried that conservatives are “whispering”? Hell, with everyone Twittering, Facebooking and IM-ing like crazy, it’s a wonder anyone is talking at all!

  • Also, in the vein of media criticism, George Packer tells us the following about Number 44 here…

    “They seem to want to close the book on the highly secretive years of the Bush administration. However, in their relationship with the press, I think they’re doing what they think succeeded in helping Obama get elected,” said the New Yorker’s George Packer.

    “I don’t think they need to be nice to reporters, but the White House seems to imagine that releasing information is like a tap that can be turned on and off at their whim,” Packer said.
    I hate to break the news to Packer, but releasing information IS “a tap that can be turned on and off at their whim,” and that’s true of every presidential administration.

    In response, Brendan Nyhan tells us the following (here)…

    … There's no reason to think that speeches conveying a clearer worldview would have a significant effect on Obama's standing. (Per Matthew Dickinson, see also the New York Times profile of David Axelrod for additional pining for a better meta-narrative.)

    An even more insipid analysis comes from Time's Mark Halperin, who blames "much of the political predicament in which the present decider finds himself today" on Obama's lack of a chief economic spokesperson, lack of sufficient political and policy integration, failure to distance himself from Congressional Democrats, and failure to delegate to his cabinet on domestic policy. Really? Obama's "political predicament" would be different if he turned loose Ray LaHood? (See Jonathan Bernstein for more on Halperin; I refuse to dignify the piece with a longer response.)

    In short, this entire genre of political coverage is useless. If/when the economy picks up, Obama's speeches will start "connecting" and everyone will marvel at how effective the White House political team has become.
    And in that event, Packer can return to another one of his pet topics: why, as nearly as he could see, there was no liberal opposition to the Iraq war (here, proving for all time that Packer really doesn’t know a hell of a lot about lefty blogs).

  • Finally, this tells us that ownership of the Philadelphia Daily News and the Inquirer has transferred from Philadelphia Newspapers, L.L.C. run by Brian Tierney (A Bruce Toll Production) to…

    The senior lenders - which include Angelo, Gordon Co. and Credit Suisse – (who) expect to close by late June…there will be $10 million of liquidity to operate the business, said Lawrence G. McMichael, the lead attorney for Philadelphia Newspapers.

    McMichael said that the new owners would have to get a loan to continue operating the business.

    Robert J. Hall, an adviser to the creditors' committee who served as publisher of The Inquirer and Daily News for 13 years until he retired in 2003, said he will be chief operating officer under the new ownership.

    He said that the company would hire a new chief executive officer and publisher, and that the new owners had someone in mind.

    Hall said the Daily News, which two weeks ago won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, would remain in operation. "The Daily News is a very important part of this organization," he said.

    But Hall noted that there would have to be concessions made on the part of the publishing company's unions.
    I am definitely not someone familiar with the legal comings and goings of media companies, but something about this tells me that it’s another step in the long, almost interminable process of dissolving this organization into smaller concerns that can be digested by other outlets.

    And I would love to be wrong. Because, despite my constant griping about the ever-more-rightward tilt of the editorial direction particularly of the Inquirer, I realize the caliber of expertise possessed by the individuals who work diligently to bring the news to us each day from that portion of the universe (and I’m sorry I didn’t mention the Daily News’s Pulitzer when it was awarded, but I couldn’t find a way to work it into a post until now). And it truly would be a blow to the city to lose either one or perhaps both of its daily print media “voices” (kind of wished they'd listened to me here, but oh well...).

    In his way, I honestly believe Brian Tierney cares about both papers, though his missteps have been thoroughly chronicled by yours truly and many others. And I have to admit that he’s been a more visible advocate for them than I ever would have imagined, given his past history of media antagonism.

    I stopped paying for the Inquirer a long time ago, and I refuse to do so because they continue to give column space to Kevin Ferris, John Yoo and Rick Santorum (another Tierney “master stroke,” particularly in the case of Yoo; I know he inherited Ferris, but I don’t remember whether Santorum came after the change in ownership or not). However, that doesn’t mean that the work of the rest of the paper (and the Daily News, of course) isn’t important and worthwhile. And I know I’ve lost out, but we have no problem with our decision to switch to the New York Times instead.

    But I definitely hope both papers survive, and I wish them well, even if the odds are most certainly against them.
  • Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    Tuesday Stuff

    K.O. gives us a rundown on the financial testimony going on today on Capitol Hill (good stuff from Ted Kaufman at the every end; yep, I wish he could stay too, especially since that seat will probably flip to an "R" with Mike Castle in November)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and with Goldman Sachs in mind, I was looking for a song with the same title by Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters, but this works too (it actually ends at about 3:15).

    Tuesday Mashup (4/27/10)

    (And I also posted here.)

  • This may be the stupidest Mark Halperin “post” on his site “The Page” since this one – really has to be seen to be believed.

    And under the heading of “particularly brainless corporate media,” I give you Fred Hiatt from Kaplan Test Prep Daily yesterday (here)…

    When President Obama did not stir himself to rescue D.C. voting rights last week, advocates of democracy for the District joined a long line of disappointed thought-we-were-friends with the president.

    Gays, immigrants, union leaders, budget hawks, campaign finance reformers, environmentalists, free-traders, human rights activists and civil libertarians all have had cause to wonder whether they were right to trust Obama. The list is familiar, but the explanation remains disputed.
    First of all, as noted from a story linked to Hiatt’s column, the legislation died in the House due to gun-related shenanigans by Dem Travis Childers and Repug Mark Souder of Mississippi and Indiana, respectively. Secondly, as noted here, Obama called for passage of the law that would grant full voting rights to D.C. residents, but of course it didn’t happen.

    But as noted here, though, Hiatt is an old pro when it comes to fact-free punditry.

  • Update: Speaking of the WaPo, I have to admit that mcjoan has me beat with this one.

  • Further, I found this item under the aptly-named blog “Hot Air”…

    (Dem U.S. Congressman of Minnesota Jim) Oberstar has introduced the Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA), which removes the word “navigable” from the law in order to get around Supreme Court decisions that circumscribed federal efforts to claim jurisdiction over lands and waterways that have nothing to do with interstate commerce. (The Cato Institute’s Jonathan) Adler presents the legal background of the CWRA and argues that it represents a massive land grab that has no connection to the original intent of the CWA…
    Um, actually, the reason the word “navigable” (as in "navigable waters") was removed was because that was the word The Supremes of Hangin’ Judge JR keyed on in their recent ruling that restricted the Clean Water Act, as noted here last month…

    Companies that have spilled oil, carcinogens and dangerous bacteria into lakes, rivers and other waters are not being prosecuted, according to Environmental Protection Agency regulators working on those cases, who estimate that more than 1,500 major pollution investigations have been discontinued or shelved in the last four years.

    The Clean Water Act was intended to end dangerous water pollution by regulating every major polluter. But today, regulators may be unable to prosecute as many as half of the nation’s largest known polluters because officials lack jurisdiction or because proving jurisdiction would be overwhelmingly difficult or time consuming, according to midlevel officials.

    “We are, in essence, shutting down our Clean Water programs in some states,” said Douglas F. Mundrick, an E.P.A. lawyer in Atlanta. “This is a huge step backward. When companies figure out the cops can’t operate, they start remembering how much cheaper it is to just dump stuff in a nearby creek.”
    To find out what else we can do about this, click here.

  • Finally, apparently, Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, used some language today that, while wholly appropriate for yours truly considering that Levin was interrogating Goldman Sachs, still offended the delicate sensibilities of one Marc Thiessen, former Bushco flunky; he called it the “Bidenization of political discourse” and added that “Henry Clay and Daniel Webster must be rolling in their graves” here (warning: bad language alert).

    That’s pretty funny considering that fellow Bushie Karl Rove once said “We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him” in a phone call noted by Ron Suskind here.

    Also, noted here, “Bush’s Brain” once said, “Just give me a fucking faith-based thing” in response to whether or not he should “roll out” the White House Office of Faith-based Initiatives, as captured by Dubya insider David Kuo in his book.

    And last but certainly least, I give you Deadeye Dick himself, who said recently here that telling Sen. Patrick Leahy to go fuck himself was “sort of the best thing I ever did.”

    So, I wouldn’t think too much about Thiessen’s concern of either Clay or Webster and their earthly remains. Given Bushco’s antics and Webster’s quote that "Justice is the great interest of man on Earth. It is the ligament which holds civilized beings and civilized nations together," I would say that Webster at least has been “rolling” for a good while now.
  • Monday, April 26, 2010

    Monday Stuff

    "Worst Persons" (A Thai restaurant down under - g'day, mate! - doesn't let a diner enter because they thought the man's dog was gay...I have a feeling that, if the proprietor thought he heard that instead of "guide dog," then maybe he should lay off the Foster's; speaking of people acting mentally impaired, Stephen Baldwin, uber-conservative, devises perhaps the world's most obnoxious online tip jar in His name - hate to be in his shoes when he's at St. Peter's gate one day, assuming he gets there; but Sen. Chuck Grassley gets the nod for being against health care reform before he was for it...those teabaggers may have short attention spans, Chuck, but not THAT short)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and I think this is a cool new tune.

    Remembering "President 79.5 Percent"

    (And I also posted here.)

    I know I should probably just ignore the right-wing bloviators out there, but for as long as I’ve been posting here (coming up on five years, and no, I can’t believe it either), I’ve gone back and forth as to when I should ignore them and when I should respond. And former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm is pretty high on that list.

    And in his quest today to obfuscate, spin and accentuate the utterly trivial in his incessant preoccupation with trying to impugn President Obama any way possible, he came up with this a few days ago…

    A new Gallup Poll just out finds Obama's fifth quarterly poll score (Jan. 20-April 19) to be 48.8% job approval, down from his fourth quarter approval of 50.8%. Carter was 48% and Reagan 46.3%.

    The average fifth quarterly score since Gallup began tracking it in 1945 is 54%.

    One very slim sign of hope for Obama comes from a new ABC News poll that finds a few people believe the economy is getting even worse, now 30% versus a recent 36%. Alas, 92% still think the economy under Obama is in bad shape.

    Here's something that would really annoy the current White House crowd if it paid attention to public opinion polls, which of course it doesn't, being so focused on doing what's right for the American people. But by far the best fifth-quarter presidential job approval in modern history was George W. Bush's 79.5%.

    (Oh, and Malcolm also goes out of his way to take a dig at former President Carter at the end of this screed – I’ll see him his “one-term Carter” and raise him a “one-term Poppy Bush,” to say nothing of the fact that, if I tried to catalogue all of Carter’s post-presidential achievements, this post would turn into a book, such as this one, maybe).

    But what really got me is Malcolm’s totally disingenuous comparison between Obama and the fifth quarter of Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History.

    And as I recall, there was an event that made a few headlines that, inadvertently or no, helped to drive up 43’s approval numbers in a big way towards the very end of the third quarter and the fourth as well. Can you guess what that was?

    Hmmm, I’m having a bit of a problem with that recollection…

    It’s on the tip of my tongue, as it were…

    (In fact, soon after this series of related events, Dubya’s approval numbers actually hovered near 90 percent, driven more by grief than anything else…it was nice to see everyone flying their flags for a time afterwards, though obviously we would have been better if we’d had no reason to do that.)

    So the fifth quarter, then, would have been January-March 2002 I believe. Why don’t we take a look back to find out how much of an improvement Commander Codpiece supposedly was over our “Kenyan, Marxist, won’t-show-his-Hawaiian-birth-certificate” incumbent?

    In January, Obama’s predecessor gave his 2002 State of the Union Address, and this tells us the following (and before you dismiss out of hand the World Socialist Web Site as supposedly being nothing but a bunch of “loony lefties,” as the Bucks County Courier Times might put it, consider how prescient this column is, as well as other accounts from this period)…

    The State of the Union speech given by George W. Bush Tuesday night was among the most menacing and belligerent in American history. The US president outlined a program of limitless and perpetual warfare, on every continent, and against any regime that stands in the way of the rapacious American ruling class.

    From a military standpoint, the network of bases and access rights which the US has established since September 11 resembles more and more a noose tightening around China: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, India, the Philippines, and now the saber-rattling on the Korean peninsula.

    As the British daily the Guardian noted Wednesday, “Every twist in the war on terrorism seems to leave a new Pentagon outpost in the Asia-Pacific region, from the former USSR to the Philippines. One of the lasting consequences of the war could be what amounts to a military encirclement of China.” The newspaper cited the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review which, without naming China, warned of the danger that “a military competitor with a formidable resource base will emerge in the region,” and called for a policy that “places a premium on securing additional access and infrastructure agreements.”
    And for anyone out there who thinks that this is merely recent history, read this and consider that it could be a case of the proverbial chickens coming home to roost.

    Continuing with the WSWS…

    The scale of US military ambitions is demonstrated by the gargantuan increase in the Pentagon budget that Bush proposed, a staggering $48 billion, an increase larger than the total military budget of any other country. And his call for every American to sacrifice two years in public service clearly suggests the logic of this program of unbridled militarism—the restoration of compulsory military service for the new generation of American youth.

    Bush's domestic policy centers on internal repression, building up the police and military at home. While the “war on terrorism” is the pretext, the real purpose is to prepare to deal with massive social upheavals through the use of force. A government installed, not by a vote of the people, but by a 5-4 majority on the US Supreme Court, the Bush administration more and more rests on the army and the police and dispenses with the trappings of democracy.
    And in February 2002, "Old Europe," as Rummy once called it, decided to “push back” (here)…

    PARIS, France -- A senior French government minister has attacked the U.S. approach to fighting terrorism as "simplistic."

    Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine told France Inter radio on Wednesday: "We are friends of the United States, we are friends of that people and we will remain so.

    "But we are threatened today by a new simplism which consists in reducing everything to the war on terrorism.

    "That is their approach, but we cannot accept that idea. You have got to tackle the root causes, the situations, poverty, injustice."

    Vedrine said the U.S. was showing signs of acting "unilaterally, without consulting others, taking decisions based on its own view of the world and its own interests ... refusing any multilateral negotiation that could limit their decision-making, sovereignty and freedom of action."
    And in response the following year (to this and the fact that the French chose not to go along with Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Iraq Adventure), two of our august members of Congress concocted this nonsense (including Bob Ney, who was eventually convicted in the Jack Abramoff scandal).

    Oh, and just to let you know that “the drinking of the Kool-Aid” in this country, symptomatic of Dubya’s ridiculous approval rating, was truly bipartisan, I give you this, from someone who most definitely should have known better.

    Also in February 2002 (can’t track down the link at the moment – I think it’s nested here – though I seriously don’t think the facts here are in dispute)…

    In a White House press briefing, Bush's counterterrorism chief, Frances Fragos Townsend, told reporters that (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) was arrested in February 2002, and "at that point, the other members of the cell" (later arrested) "believed that the West Coast plot (to fly a plane into the Library Tower) has been canceled, was not going forward" [italics mine]. A subsequent fact sheet released by the Bush White House states, "In 2002, we broke up [italics mine] a plot by KSM to hijack an airplane and fly it into the tallest building on the West Coast." These two statements make clear that however far the plot to attack the Library Tower ever got—an unnamed senior FBI official would later tell the Los Angeles Times that Bush's characterization of it as a "disrupted plot" was "ludicrous"—that plot was foiled in 2002. But Sheikh Mohammed wasn't captured until March 2003.
    However, that of course didn’t stop Dubya, as part of the drip-drip-drip of Terra! Terra! Terra! news to hopefully win allies as well as elections, from releasing these supposedly “new details” in February 2006, noted here, suspiciously during a congressional midterm election year (the “Bank Tower” is the proper name, even though former President Nutball incorrectly referred to the structure as the “Liberty Tower”).

    And what of March 2002? Well, we learn the following from here…

    "September 11 really underscores the need to look at a full range of flexible options," noted David Smith, an author of a recent report by the National Institute for Public Policy supporting such a view (namely, that we’ve supposedly “marginalized” nukes in the name of deterrence). "We don't believe that the current arsenal of the United States is persuasively deterrent to all comers." Advocates favor recalibrating nuclear weapons as part of an effort to strengthen deterrence and assure more effective results if such weapons are unleashed against a new range of post-Soviet targets. These new nukes, for example, would be smaller than the silo-busters in favor during the Cold War, and they would be fashioned to hit non-conventional targets located in depots underground or in caves. The Pentagon's Nuclear Posture Review leaked in early March 2002 confirmed the interest of the Bush administration in such new capabilities.
    Of course, this type of weapon had nothing to do with 9/11 (thank God), and Dubya’s request to fund new nukes was defeated in 2005 by a Republican congress, as noted here (and this tells us what Dubya’s sane successor has done by contrast).

    So, to sum up, much of this country was in a state of lizard-brained, jingoistic panic due to the worst terrorist attack on our soil during the “fifth quarter” of Dubya’s presidency, a time in which I’m sure anyone who was taking up space in An Oval Office would have enjoyed high approval numbers (and I suppose it’s “picking nits” on my part to say that Malcolm would likely cast GWB in a favorable light anyway since he worked for his wife at the time). And to date, Obama has kept us safe from a similar fate (which rankles the Bushies to no end, I’m sure).

    But all of this is par for the course when it comes to Malcolm and Obama (and as noted here, Malcolm is just as much of an embarrassment, at least, when it comes to the veep as well).

    And perhaps this little history lesson is a little tedious at this point, redundant, repetitive...whatever. But we forget it at our peril, lest Malcolm and the other corporate media gutter snipes concoct something else that may be more sympathetic to our prior ruling cabal, though it be ever more damnable to what our country has stood for for approximately 234 years.

    Update 4/30/10: Too funny (h/t Atrios - and I gave McClatchy more credit than to publish this garbage)...

    Sunday, April 25, 2010

    Sunday Stuff

    (Posting is likely to be flaky this week, by the way, especially on Friday.)

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Moustache of Understanding in today’s Times (here)…

    I’ve been trying to understand the Tea Party Movement. Sounds like a lot of angry people who want to get the government out of their lives and cut both taxes and the deficit. Nothing wrong with that — although one does wonder where they were in the Bush years. Never mind. I’m sure like all such protest movements the Tea Partiers will get their 10 to 20 percent of the vote. But should the Tea Partiers actually aspire to break out of that range, attract lots of young people and become something more than just entertainment for Fox News, I have a suggestion:

    Become the Green Tea Party.

    I’d be happy to design the T-shirt logo and write the manifesto. The logo is easy. It would show young Americans throwing barrels of oil imported from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia into Boston Harbor.

    The manifesto is easy, too: “We, the Green Tea Party, believe that the most effective way to advance America’s national security and economic vitality would be to impose a $10 “Patriot Fee” on every barrel of imported oil, with all proceeds going to pay down our national debt.”
    John Cole at Balloon Juice already beat me to it with a great reply, so I’ll merely link to him here.

    Oh, and by the way, Little Tommy, here is a teabagger whom you can try to persuade. Go ahead (h/t Red vs. Blue)…

    Update 4/26/10: You go, Ed! (here)

    …and yeah, I kind of like this tune the way I liked Playboy for the interviews (and I really did).