Filtered new 6/26

"For Bush, the real definition of victory has become 'anything I can get away with without taking blame for defeat.'" -- Retired Gen. William Odom,

One courageous lady If Elizabeth Edwards was running for president, with no reservations. Unfortunately, she's not.

! Does this make me "pungent" and "profane"? I'm hurt.

Here's your best source: This should be a fun website

While America is bogged down in Iraq, China's been quietly winning friends and influencing people. This week at , we're discussing Josh Kurlantzick's . Kurlantzick that "China savvily has amassed significant “soft power” around the world through aid, formal diplomacy, public diplomacy, investment, and other tools" and is going to start to use it. We ignore this geopolitical shift, according to Kurlantzick, at our own peril.

The McCain Suck Up Watch continues (but as an adoptive father, I'm really put off by this one -- RK):

In a June 18 profiling Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) wife, Cindy, New York Daily News reporter Rich Schapiro referred to the GOP presidential candidate as a "maverick" in the context of his willingness to accept an adopted daughter into his family. Schapiro wrote that after Cindy McCain adopted a baby in Bangladesh without informing her husband, "the maverick senator immediately accepted his new daughter, Cindy McCain said."

: next up in The Washington Post's series on Cheney's vice presidency, how he and his allies made torture (sorry, "cruelty") the rule.

"Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and faith started being used to drive us apart. Faith got hijacked, partly because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, all too eager to exploit what divides us. At every opportunity, they've told evangelical Christians that
Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design. There was even a time when the Christian Coalition determined that its number one legislative priority was
tax cuts for the rich. I don't know what Bible they're reading, but it doesn't jibe with my version."
-- Obama, telling the religio-frauds in the Religious Reich to go to Hell,

Sigh. The farther they travel to get here, apparently, the harder they fall. Yesterday, I the case of Michael Kamburowski, COO of the California state Republican party, who in addition to being a foreign national is only a few steps ahead of the Department of Homeland Security which is trying to deport him for repeated immigration violations. Most recently they put him up at government expense at the Wackenhut Correctional Facility in Jamaica, New York. See for more details on this joker. Seems he's decided to spend more time with his family and has left the job. The guy who ran Arnold's reelection campaign, Steve Schmidt, calls Kamburowski's hiring "almost a parody of incompetence and malfeasance." By which I assume he means the guy's a solid Republican.

Quick, bury the truth! Lara Logan broke a horrifying story this week on CBS about the nightmare some Iraqi faced. “Iraqi Orphanage Nightmare.” Abu Ghraib came to my mind….She was on CNN’s Reliable Sources and talked about the troubles she had trying to get this story cleared within our military and the Iraqi government. I’m sure the Bill Kristol’s of the world would say that this is “just an unfortunate incident.” (4666) | (4687) (1953) | (2801)

Would a "liberal media" fund the GOP? Matt discovered that while MSNBC's may have discovered that a former copy editor at The Atlantic Monthly may have made a small donation to a Democratic candidate, he did not have room to mention, say, that in 2006, gave $807,282 to Republicans and just $474,118 to Democrats. there was a similar division of funds, in "only" 60 percent of it went to the GOP. Indeed, as you can , essentially every PAC in the media sector backed the GOP over the Democrats. That's all .

Meanwhile, Jamison Foser writes that while the neocon media focused on Dedman's fatally flawed study -- shame on MSNBC.com for publishing and hyping so shoddy a piece of work -- it was ignoring the various more significant studies published recently. Foser notes:

  • Conservative radio host Michael Graham, appearing on fellow conservative radio host Glenn Beck's CNN Headline News television show, he would have liked to see the Clintons be murdered during their spoof of the final episode of The Sopranos. Graham has previously said of Hillary Clinton, "I wanted to bludgeon her with a tire iron." Beck, too, favors bloodthirsty rhetoric: He once fantasized on his radio show about "choking the life out" of Michael Moore, saying, "I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could." (This, incidentally, came before CNN decided to hire him. Talking about killing liberals doesn't get you kicked off the radio -- it gets you a television show on CNN.)
  • Guest-hosting for Rush Limbaugh, Mark Belling same-sex couples' decision to have children as "pure selfishness."
  • Michael Savage that the Massachusetts state legislature killed a proposed ... referendum on banning same-sex marriage because the "gay mafia bought the votes ... like cheap tricks in a gay bathhouse." Last week, Savage "I think it's child abuse" for a gay parent to raise a child. That was no slip of the tongue; Savage said the in February: "I want to puke when I hear about a woman married to a woman raising children because, frankly, I think that it's child abuse to do that to children without their permission." And : "The idea of two women who are so-called married raising children, I think it's child abuse." In 2003, Savage , whom he described as a "sodomite," that he "should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How's that? Why don't you see if you can sue me, you pig. You got nothing better than to put me down, you piece of garbage. You have got nothing to do today, go eat a sausage and choke on it."

    Michael Savage isn't on MSNBC's list of journalists who make political contributions. Neither is Rush Limbaugh, Mark Belling, Glenn Beck, or Michael Graham. But what if they did? Should we care more if they wrote $250 checks to the Republican National Committee than that they routinely use their radio shows to make hateful comments?

    Of course not. It's the content of the news that matters, not the personal beliefs and preferences of journalists.

That's all . And hey, lookit mindlessly hyping the study on CNN. I wonder if The Washington Post's media cop will have anything to say about this.

You'll bust a gut laughing at this one Bill O’Reilly was the featured speaker at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) conference on Friday, where he, I kid you not, about opinionated news dissemination.

O’Reilly contended that many newspapers are losing circulation because they’ve allowed the “liberal” ideology of their editorial pages to “bleed into news coverage” -- despite, he said, there being a greater number of “traditional conservatives” than liberals in the American population.

Yes, if there’s one thing O’Reilly and his network understand, it’s the importance of keeping a clear distinction between news reporting and opinion journalism. (Stop! My sides are aching!)

Taunting I agree that the best way to get to our 3-year-old president is to start taunting him for playing second fiddle just like he did with dear old dad all those years before he found a new daddy figure in Dick.

Necon media for racism I suppose it's nice that my capacity to be

Psychological Crutch "The training concept has become, in my view, a kind of psychological crutch for US elites who don't want to face their own basic inability to improve things. The idea that you could help resolve an ongoing multifaceted conflict by introducing greater quantities of lethal weaponry and better-trained fighters is absurd on its face. At best, we're in the position of arming several sides in a multi-pronged civil war in the vague hope that whoever prevails won't notice we were also arming their adversaries and be loyal to us down the road, which seems like a really, really, really stupid bet." Years and years of this crap because of the delicate egos of old men. The disaster they have wrought and perpetuated because of their perceived need to "save face." Our elite class is made up of a bunch of self-important children who believe lack of personal accountability for themselves is America's highest ideal.

No Politics I, too, yearn for a world of rainbows, Matlock reruns, and the regular soothing voice of David Broder whispering the word "comity" in my ear, but any political commentator who imagines that politics would just magically stop if only the right person were to be elected president fails to understand that the reason we have combative politics in this country is that people genuinely disagree about stuff. That is unlikely to change simply because the country elects a Broder-approved independent who claims to be Broder's lack of interest in the actual

Are Dick n' Dubya the only blind hawks left? Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), the senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, tonight announced his support for an immediate shift in Iraq policy, calling on President Bush “to downsize the U.S. military’s role in Iraq and place much more emphasis on diplomatic and economic options.” In a major speech on the Senate floor, Lugar said that “victory” in Iraq as defined by President Bush is now “almost impossible.” The current course of the war “has lost contact with our vital national security interests in the Middle East and beyond,” he said. Lugar warned that “persisting indefinitely” with Bush’s escalation strategy “will delay policy adjustments that have a better chance of protecting our vital interests over the long term.” He specifically rejected claims that withdrawing U.S. forces will increase instability. Downsizing the U.S. military presence in Iraq would “strengthen our position in the Middle East, and reduce the prospect of terrorism, regional war, and other calamities,” Lugar said. Also today, the Center for American Progress released its latest detailed Iraq exit strategy, , which calls for virtually all U.S. troops to be redeployed out of Iraq within one year. Read , and analysis from and . Full text of Lugar’s speech is .

Bush's legacy: Estimated number of Iraqi refugees, “many alarmingly young,” now employed as .

For the sake of politics and pride, “The White House is resisting a move by both Republicans and Democrats to fully declassify a Senate report on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction,” believing the declassification “would and Democratic-led congressional hearings, said a Senate Republican, who asked to remain anonymous because of ongoing private discussions.”

Helen Thomas: We've (She means Bush) killed thousands of people, tens of thousands --

Tony Snow: Many have died, and hundreds of thousands died under the previous regime. This is a place that has been wracked by violence. Blah, blah, blah...

Helen Thomas: We're not supposed to be comparing, are we?

Tony Snow: Unfortunately, if we fought evil guys who said, you caught us, we're evil, we give up, we'll be good -- that would be great, that would be wonderful.

Helen Thomas: Everybody isn't evil who fights for his land.
-- Wednesday's WH Press briefing,

It's here because it's cool I don't pretend to understand linguistics, but Noam Chomsky's "theory of universal grammar" is being by an Amazonian tribe.

The people, members of a hunter-gatherer tribe called the Pirahã, responded to the sight of Everett—a solidly built man of fifty-five with a red beard and the booming voice of a former evangelical minister—with a greeting that sounded like a profusion of exotic songbirds, a melodic chattering scarcely discernible, to the uninitiated, as human speech. Unrelated to any other extant tongue, and based on just eight consonants and three vowels, Pirahã has one of the simplest sound systems known. Yet it possesses such a complex array of tones, stresses, and syllable lengths that its speakers can dispense with their vowels and consonant altogether and sing, hum, or whistle conversations.... The Pirahã ... have no numbers, no fixed color terms, no perfect tense, no deep memory, no tradition of art or drawing, and no words for “all,” “each,” “every,” “most,” or “few”—terms of quantification believed by some linguists to be among the common building blocks of human cognition.

Also catch the last line of the article. Such pungency and profanity in academia!

Cleaning the frauds from the Fourth Estate When will these people understand that he’s a Republican operative (a smart one) who plays the and will never be fair and will always slant his opinions towards Republicans. … And once again C&L’s incredible archives gives us this great segment about Luntz’s signature efforts to fake out Americans on important issues as you’ll see from The Daily Show with Samantha Bee back on . Bee: Luntz has made a brilliant career..spraying perfume on dog turds… (1655) | (1850) (609) | (1173) Luntz explains why a free and open town hall is very dangerous thing…

Patiotism or nationalism? Awhile back I wrote a post called “,” which was followed up by “,” “,” “,” and probably some other posts. Anyway, in the first post I repeated some quotes about patriotism and nationalism I found in Bartlett’s. Here are some of them, again:

The difference between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does; the first attitude creates a feeling of responsibility, but the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to war. — Sidney J. Harris

Patriotism is a lively sense of collective responsibility. Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on its own dunghill and calling for larger spurs and brighter beaks. I fear that nationalism is one of England’s many spurious gifts to the world. — Richard Aldington

“Responsibility” seems to be a common theme:

What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility … a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. — Adlai Stevenson

I contend that the primary difference between patriots and nationalists is that patriots value responsibility, while nationalists value loyalty. So you know that when you read , you are reading the words of a nationalist, not a patriot. -18747" class="more-link">(Read the rest of this story…)

You can't be this wrong without trying The immigration debate is actually fracturing , but if you listen to David Broder—he blames the Democratic Party. It’s just weird. (609) | (495) (282) | (277)

Broder: Well, the Democrats have taken the position that they now will do with the nation’s business. And if they’re not doing that business, and clearly the immigration issue is very much on people’s mind, I think they will suffer the same consequences that the Republicans suffered a year ago. People are fed up with seeing Washington bickering, fighting, infighting and never dealing with the issue.

TPM : Dems worked with the White House on a compromise, brought the bill to the floor, and about four-in-five Senate Dems voted to support it. In contrast, 85% of the Senate GOP caucus voted against it, and the president apparently couldn’t move a single Republican vote. Broder finds Reid, Durbin, & Co. a convenient scapegoat, but if he’s looking for a party to blame, he’s got the wrong one…

Necon media: sloppy, racist, both? ABC Fox ...

ABC News has apologized for mistakenly running a picture of former Washington Mayor Marion Barry when it was promoting a "World News" story about a man suing a dry cleaner for $54 million for losing his pants. Both Roy L. Pearson, who filed the lawsuit, and Barry are black. Barry's picture ran for East Coast feeds Tuesday when Pearson's story was "teased" at the beginning of the news. It was corrected for later editions, spokeswoman Natalie Raabe said.

The mistake happened because both men happened to be in a Washington court that day and ABC got video of both, Raabe said. Barry was acquitted this week of drunken driving charges.

Satisfied with the non-denial denial? When a reporter finally got a chance to ask Karl Rove about the claims he had a role in orchestrating the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman (D) all he managed was a dodge: that he in which his alleged role was revealed. Well, obviously, that doesn't mean anything since no one is claiming he was a party on that call. Folks are ignoring this one at their peril. With the track record of the US Attorney firings, when the president's top advisor is accused, credibly and specifically, of orchestrating the prosecution of a Democratic governor, he should be able to give a straightforward answer. Apparently he can't. Siegelman's sentencing is tomorrow.

The mental midgets who govern us As pathological as Dick Cheney comes across in today's much-discussed , our notorious Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, hardly comes across looking good. (Barton Gellman and Jo Becker confirm that the president calls his long-time friend "Fredo.")

For example, we've long believed that Gonzales was responsible for the infamous memo that dismissed the Geneva Conventions as "quaint," and characterized Colin Powell as a defender of "obsolete" rules. Today's piece explains that Gonzales didn't even write his own memo; Cheney general counsel David Addington did.

This graf seems to capture the internal White House dynamic.

Gonzales, a former Texas judge, had the seniority and the relationship with Bush. But Addington -- a man of imposing demeanor, intellect and experience -- dominated the group. Gonzales "was not a law-of-war expert and didn't have very developed views," [John] Yoo recalled, echoing blunter observations by the Texan's White House colleagues.

So, on top of everything we've already learned with regards to Gonzales' on-the-job performance, we now also learn that our AG was looked down upon by his White House colleagues, and was given a nickname belonging to the feeble, incompetent from The Godfather.

It inspires confidence in the nation's chief law-enforcement officer, doesn't it? Maybe he's been all along.

"Well, I think Hillary attempted a very brave thing fourteen years ago. She came in and said
there should be healthcare for all; there should be no pre-existing conditions; everyone's covered,
no matter what you make, what job you have, or whatever. It was a very bold move on her part.
And she was destroyed as a result of it. I mean, they put out I think well over $100 million to fight her."
-- Michael Moore, talking to Amy Goodman on NPR

Rudy Giuliani's claim that he blew off his commitment to the Iraq Study Group to avoid politicizing the panel's work doesn't stand up well , but in case there was any doubt, even Tim Russert is the bogus rationalization.

On Meet The Press this morning, host Tim Russert offered more evidence that politics was not an issue in Giuliani's decision to leave the ISG. "Several commission members have said to me that presidential politics never entered the discussion," said Russert. "It was all about Giuliani's schedule and commitments versus showing up for the Iraq Study Group." [...]

As PBS's Gwen Ifil pointed out, the important work of the Iraq Study Group should have come before any political considerations. "Even if it were his presidential ambitions," said Ifill. "Is that really a good answer that you were so political that you rather focus on politics than focus on the nation's security?"

Just another reason to believe this flap will .

More trouble for Rudy His new South Carolina campaign co-chair of making, shall we say, "racially charged" remarks.

Revisiting the rebirth of torture Since we're returning to the roots of the administration's sanction of torture in the aftermath of 9/11... a 2002 Justice Department court filing showing William Haynes, the Defense Department's general counsel, authorizing interrogators to "take the gloves off" when interrogating John Walker Lindh.

"Nothing could be more boring to Tony Snow than how many Iraqi civilians we have killed.
His yawn is virtually audible. What could be less relevant than that?"
--Glenn Greenwald,

Our silence convicts us The Sunday paper arrived by my mailbox carrying its usual heft of ads, sports, and television schedules. Above the headlines on the front page was the story of a man who killed his wife and kids, and was foolish enough to not only do so on the basis of the plot from a popular TV crime show that aired the previous week, but to base his murder scheme on a plotline in which the murderer was caught. The rest of the front page was taken up with a story of religion in baseball, the difficulties of a local museum, and a study on mass transit. Nothing too unusual.

In the meantime, we have a Vice-President who has declared his independence from law and regulation, and a President who, far from reigning in in this ridiculous Constitutional overreach, has decided to play , even in reference to regulations that explicitly address the office of the president and vice president.

Cheney is not subject to the executive order, she said, "because the president gets to decide whether or not he should be treated separately, and he's decided that he should."

In the ultimate evolution of Nixonian dogma, they are quite blatantly asserting that the rule of law may be ignored, and that the president and vice-president obey only at their own discretion.

Did you know that members of the St. Louis Cardinals often stay after the game to talk to fans about faith? Or that Paris has agreed to have an interview with Larry King? Or that Conservapedia states that the Pleistocene is a "theoretical" period of time? All those stories made the "A" section of my Sunday paper.

There have been some voices raised that the we are nearing a constitutional crisis. That's not true. We are in a constitutional crisis. And to lose this fight, we don't have to land in jail. We don't have to see troops on the street or get a midnight knock on the door.

People are still speculating over the meaning of the Soprano's finale. A rare monkey was born at the Tokyo Zoo. Colin Powell is coming to town to give a motivational speech.

We have only to worry about the events of everyday life. We have only to flip on the tube. We have only to be silent. Qui Tacet Consentit -- silence implies consent.

Toward the page of section A, there's a story on more soldiers losing their lives in Iraq. That's sad, but look there's a bit on how Peru has lowered the age of consent to 14, and a human interest piece on the struggles of Muslim detective in France.

Every paper that is not running this story on the front page, every day, is providing a blessing to the administration's actions. Every television station that wastes a minute on celebrity gossip, is complicit in the destruction of democracy. And every one of us not actively protesting these actions is passively supporting them.

There's a review of the newest model from Saturn in the auto section, the business section mentions that gas is below $3 nationally, and just look at those ads! Some department stores are already discounting summer merchandise

Meteor Blades has already given you a terrific of the protest movement during the Vietnam era, and told you about , the series of protests that are planned to start in September. I plan to participate, and I hope you will, as well.

There's a long section in News Watch about how we may have no choices but New Yorkers in the election. The Midwesterners interviewed for the story don't seem too thrilled about it. And hey, the city museum had a two-headed hermaphroditic albino snake. How cool is that? Oh, but it died.

But don't wait for September. If you already belong to a local group, keep participating, if you don't, then join. And even if you're not out involved in a formal protest, conduct a constant, personal protest. It can be at your school, at your church, or at the copy machine, but whenever opportunity allows, make it clear that you do not consent. Make it clear that this is not okay with you. It's not ordinary. It's not something that "all politicians do." It's not business as usual. Do not be silent.

Where's that movie schedule? I think we could still catch a flick this afternoon.

Published

June 26, 2007 - 8:14am

Author

randomness