Friday, May 23, 2008

It is Glorious and Honorable to be Surveilled

Naomi Klein looks at Shenzhen while the authorities look back, and then some, while China takes a gander at Guantanamo. Hmmm...
Senator Johnny McTantrum

I realize the political literacy in this country is even lower than general literacy; still, I'd like to think people understand this this sort of pissy-pants behavior from John McCain is completely unacceptable for a chief if eight years of it from Shrub hasn't convinced us already.

Primitive, indeed.
Slashing His Own Credibility Right Down to the Bone

You can go all around town--hell, all around the country--and you just won't find anyone making less sense (though the GOP is his equal in that regard).
IOKIYAR, An Ongoing Series

See, it's not small-scale fraud with FEMA issued debit cards or--gasp--looting for food, or yeah, beer (probably safer to drink than water in the aftermath of the flood, by the way)--nah, it's just another $8 billion dollars looted lost in the fog of war, so that's alright. Never mind all the casualties...because war is hell, ain't it...

It's like what Obermann said the other day (paraphrasing): the reason we have a war in to have a war in Iraq. That speaks volumes about our country, and not in a good way.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


While I suppose it's nice to see that there are limits to the sorts of batshit insanity John McCain tolerates, it's still pretty damn late in the game to pull Hagee off the "Straight Talk" Express and throw him under it.

Shouldn't dismissing the deaths of 1800 American citizens--and the abject disregard for another 448,000 or so more--be quite enough?
Your Media Freak Show


...something close to the entire worldview of the mainstream political/cultural press is alarmingly askew. While posing as objective, they make specious, empty-headed judgments about presidential candidates, then without telling us, "throw their support" behind one rather than another. And, when genuine judgment is absolutely necessary to ascertain the substance behind a source's assertions, the press is often AWOL.

It goes beyond the press having a conservative bias, although that is part of it. It is, in fact, a massive incapacity/refusal to do the actual job of reporting actual news. Sure, journalism has had few golden eras. But what we've seen in the past 20 plus years, and especially in the past 10, is breathtakingly awful journalism.

There are exceptions, of course, and we know who they are: Krugman, Hersh, the McClatchy reporters, and others. But, as Somerby constantly reminds us, these voices barely matter until it is too late. The press has the power to bamboozle its constituency, the American people. And they have, over and over again. It is extremely dangerous for a country half as powerful as the United States to have a media as dysfunctional as this one. It is downright terrifying to think of the damage they have done over the past eight years by elevating Bush to the status of a serious candidate and denigrating Gore, then Kerry.
Is There Such a Thing as Executive Privilege for Weenies?

A subpoena of Karl's very own...with his name right on the front page.

Yes, there IS executive privilege for weenies. It's called the Fifth Amendment, or Taking the Fifth. Of course, it makes you look like you've got something to hide.

Ironic, isn't it, that, before long, we can expect pretty much everyone in this administration to look for shelter behind the very same rights they've tried to yank away from us.
I Guess That's Why They Call it Premium

Say hello to $4 dollar a gallon gasoline...for now. The price could climb even higher.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Strange Bedfellows Indeed

First it was Richard Mellon Scaife, now, as Jeff St. Clair notes in his concluding paragraph, Hillary is cozying up with the Turd Blossom himself.

Her campaign now resembles a political neutron bomb that wipes out all living contenders and leaves only the super-structure of her own aspiration standing. Apparently, the idea is to crush the interloper Obama, either in Denver, through some deus ex machina of spineless super-delegates stampeding her way, or to have McCain do her work for her so that she can challenge the septuagenarian in 2012. If so, her motto will be the familiar taunt of the schoolhouse tattletale: "I told you so."

If Obama survives the primaries and falls to McCain in November, Hillary will attempt to remake the Democratic Party in her own image. It will replay of the origin of the conservative DLC, designed by her husband and Lieberman to keep the party from falling into the hands of Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition. This time the C will stand for Clinton.

The Clintons have always been graceless and petulant in defeat. They seek to destroy any defectors from their camp (c.f., Bill "Judas" Richardson). Now that NARAL has jilted Clinton for Obama, Hillary is probably contemplating coming out in favor parental notification for teenage abortions and joining the next senate filibuster against stem cell research.

Meanwhile, Obama is daily being drained of any vestigial progressive instinct. In order to prove he’s not an appeaser of Hezbollah, Obama is pledging to beef up funding of the Lebanese army and paramilitaries, a disastrous scheme that will only exacerbate a fractious situation. If this keeps up, there will soon be demands that Obama annul his marriage to the seditious Michelle, the last affirmative reason to vote for him in my view.

With the walls closing in around her, Hillary unveiled a final argument: Karl Rove, the man John Conyers wants to put in leg-irons in the crypt of the Capitol, says she’s the better candidate against McCain. Rove also swore there were weapons of mass destruction. Clinton fell for that one, too.

Well, yeah, but a couple of things--first, if Clinton's willing to rub elbows with Scaife and Rove after all they did to trash her, hopefully that means she'll bury the hatchet with Obama, preferably sooner rather than later. We'll see.

Second: in spite of this, it appears that the public is simply fed up with the mix and match of arrogance and stupidity that is the Republican "brand," that is George W. inseparable as "Jimmy Carter" is to the Democratic Party of the 1970s. And no, I don't like having to make the comparison--after all, all things considered, Carter's a reasonably decent man, his admiration for the Shah of Iran (and a few other things) notwithstanding...but THAT'S precisely the strategy the Democratic Party needs to apply. GOP=George W. Bush. Rinse, repeat.

Bush, whether he or anyone else likes it or not, is toxic waste. As is anyone associated with him.

Like Karl Rove.
Oh Please Oh Please Oh Please

Bill Kristol demonstrates the sort of Bill Kristol judgement that's made him, well, Bill Kristol (I guess everyone knows Bill was then Vice President Quayle's chief of staff, which certainly speaks volumes):

In an editorial yesterday, the New York Sun concluded from the Commentary speech that Lieberman "would be a fabulous running mate for Mr. McCain." On Fox And Friends this morning, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol concurred with the Sun...

Ah, yes. Because nothing says "victory" like tapping perhaps THE most despised Democratic politician the last five years or so to be your running mate. Yeah, that's a winning strategery.

And maybe they could get Shrub to campaign for and with them.

Like I said: Oh please oh please oh please...
Gillespie: How Dare You Upset Emperor Pissy-Pants!

Well, we don't know if Shrub's going to really careen of the deep end and attack Iran, but it's pretty clear he and his trusty assistant Reichsmarshall Gillespie have declared war on MSNBC. Mighty brave of them. Shoot, they might even be in line to present themselves some medals for valor...
After Watching the Election Returns Last Night...'d think Appalachia was far and away THE most critical electoral demographic in 2008. Gee, who'd have thunk it?

As I said in an email to my sister earlier, maybe they just don't want to upset a group of people who are armed to the teeth. Well, tooth.

Funny though, I doubt the Matthewses, Norons, and Russerts of this world would get caught dead interacting with those whom they evidently think are the proverbial salt-o-the-earth in any way beyond the equivalent of a hominid version of Lion Country Safari.

John Dean, in this article Blue Gal linked to, hits the nail on the head:

...eight years of President George W. Bush's anti-intellectual stance, staggering inarticulateness, and clear pattern of incompetence may well encourage Americans to vote for a chief executive/commander-in-chief with brainpower commensurate with the demands of the job.

In other words, Appalachia's HAD their president. Time to move on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Freedom on the March

"Baghdad's Sopranos?"

BAGHDAD -- As Arabic pop songs blared from a cafe and children squealed on rickety rides, men armed with pistols and Kalashnikovs wandered through a crowded Baghdad park one recent evening, checking visitors for weapons and keeping an eye out for suicide bombers.

Eight months ago, some of them may have been planting bombs themselves, or firing rounds at passing American convoys. But on this night, they grabbed hands and stomped their feet in a traditional line dance as a U.S. foot patrol stopped to watch.

Residents credit cooperation between the American soldiers and the dancing gunmen, members of a U.S.-funded Sunni neighborhood guard force, for a turnaround in security in Adhamiya, a Sunni Arab enclave in Shiite-dominated east Baghdad that until recently was on the front line of the Iraqi capital's sectarian war.

But doing business with the gunmen, whom the U.S. military has dubbed Sons of Iraq, is like striking a deal with Tony Soprano, according to the soldiers who walk the battle-blighted streets, where sewage collects in malodorous pools.

"Most of them kind of operate like dons in their areas," said 2nd Lt. Forrest Pierce, a platoon leader with the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment. They shake down local businessmen for protection money, seize rivals for links to the insurgency and are always angling for more men, more territory and more power.

For U.S. soldiers on the beat, it means navigating a complex world of shifting allegiances, half-truths and betrayals.

That's the Bush Administration's definition of "success."
Real Man of Genius, That Shrub

The chimperor thinks his 'create a swarm' strategery is a good idea.

And that's not the first time he's expressed pride in it.

Worst. Ever. And totally delusional.
Something About a Pot Meeting a Kettle, I Think

Rove and Ingraham were evidently serious about their allegation that MSNBC is "blurring" the line between "commentary and journalism." a whore lecturing on the virtue of chastity.

Update: Others may hold a different view, and that's fine; however, I personally don't think Olbermann is doing anything but good, solid, straight-up journalism as opposed to playing stenographer for an administration that holds the public in an almost unfathomable degree of contempt.

The rest of MSNBC's "news" panel can hardly be accused of "liberal" bias, what with Chris Matthews, Noron, Brian "I like Rush" Williams, and Brokaw.

If that's Rove's grand librul conspiracy, it's pretty thin gruel.
On Threats and Appropriate Force

Sigh. I mean, it's simply impossible to argue logic with those who loudly reject it out of hand and mulishly insist on taking what, in all seriousness, is a position of pure and ugly fear mongering.

But for those who DO believe in logical analysis, Rising Hegemon breaks down the comparison nicely.

This sort of stuff reminds me of the wingnut howler monkeys who insisted that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was the first step towards launching an invasion of...Iran, conveniently ignoring--and expecting the American public to be ignorant of--the fact that Iran and the Soviet Union already shared a border. Furthermore, the Iran/Soviet border was well suited to tank warfare, while the Iran/Afghanistan border is mountainous and uniquely UNSUITED for the same.

Anyway...I digress. The point Obama was presumably trying to make is that, yeah, it's a dangerous world, but you act like an adult and make preparations commensurate with the threats you face.

In contrast, John McCain believes in hysteria, hyperbole, and trying to scare the shit out of a public that, let's face it, isn't exactly expert in Middle Eastern politics, history...or geography.

An election between the educated and the ignorant...and we all know how that worked out the last two times.

Now I'm depressed.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Speaking of Idiots...

William Kristol was in fine wingnut form today...not much of a surprise there.
The Passion of Johnny Mac

The religious nuts gave their hero Shrub a halo; Johnny Mac only merits a cross and a crown of thorns.
Inspired by True Events...

Well, nothing like inviting needless casualties via a astonishing level of cultural insensitivity, but on a more serious note, I think this underscores the inherent contradictions in wingnuttia's attitudes towards the Middle East/Central Asia, Arabs, Islam, etc.

This indecision over whether to "uplift and Christianize" or "exterminate the brutes" plays itself out on scales both large and small, and as often as not simultaneously...which explains quite a bit, if you think about it.
But the Good News is...That's Only a Little Over 3 Cents...Per Ounce

A gallon of gasoline now costs $4.00 in Chicago and parts of New York.

Still think it's a joke, Mr. Bush?
Channeling Her Inner Brownshirt/Klansman...

I'll give Kathleen Parker small credit for being willing to come right out with "heritage" buzzword...although, as Greenwald points out, that displays an extra level of pinheadedness (Barack Obama's maternal grandfather was a World War II veteran).

Welcome to the general campaign...