Whew. I'm glad someone else saw it. I thought I might be losing my mind.
The utterly brilliant Charlie Pierce:
...It is posts like this one that will one day make me give up and join the Carthusians. Leave aside the labored -- and laughably threadbare -- defense of why John Edwards's haircuts matter, but not before recalling that, when Jack Kennedy first ran for Congress, people chaffed him for living in Palm Beach and having had a butler at Harvard. Both items were true. Neither bit particularly deeply. Why? Because the political press of the time -- many of whom were fresh off a battlefield in the Ardennes or the Solomons -- realized when something was a punch line and something was a real issue, and with returning veterans sweltering with their families in Quonset huts along the Charles, who gave a rat's ass where JFK spent his winters? Anyway, this argument will be with us always, and it's every bit as dumb as it was in 1948.
However, where in hell do we go with that last passage there, about how the haircuts matter because "a healthy chunk of the political press corps" doesn't like Edwards, and how they're staying away from a sauce-for-the-goose position on Mitt Romney's makeovers because of their own private calculations of the relative electability of the two candidates. OK, here's the deal. Every member of that "healthy chunk" of the press corps should be fired. Today. This minute. Without pay or recompense. Let them all walk back inside the Beltway from Cedar Rapids if they have to. I value what I do. I value the work of the people in my business who do it correctly. But, holy mother of god, these people do not do what I do. It's OK to sneer at a candidate if you don't like him? It's OK to create a destructive narrative out of unmitigated piffle because he doesn't kiss your ass with the regularity you think you deserve, or because his press buses don't run on time, or because one of his staffers was late with the Danish in Keene? I watched a roomful of them boo Al Gore seven years ago, behavior that would have gotten them run out of any press box in the major leagues. Do you think one of these jamokes -- or jamokettes -- is thinking, "Maybe we should lay off the haircut thing because of what we all did to Gore in 2000, and look how well that worked out." Please.
Here's what I think -- the majority of people who cover national politics believe that history is whatever happened in the MSNBC Green Room 15 minutes earlier. I believe the campaign is covered by people with a completely unjustified sense of their own superiority, since not many of them understand or ever care about most of the issues, much less the horrendous bills that are going to come due upon whichever of these poor sods winds up with the job. I believe these people care more about their reputation around the bar at the Wayfarer in Manchester than they do about the interests of the people they purportedly serve. And, were I an editor, and someone brought me a story about John Edwards' hair or Mitt Romney's skin, that person would do it once. The second time, the lazy bastard would find himself typing bowling agate on Wednesday night.
Am I the last to see this video of Randi Rhodes interviewing Greg Palast about Vultures? Oh. My. God.
It's a jaw-dropper.
Posted by whometense in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Mar 13th 2007, 07:14 PM
And No One Notices
A must read: http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx...
Tomgram: The Seymour Hersh Mystery
A Journalist Writing Bloody Murder…
And No One Notices
By Tom Engelhardt
Let me see if I've got this straight. Perhaps two years ago, an "informal" meeting of "veterans" of the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal -- holding positions in the Bush administration -- was convened by Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams. Discussed were the "lessons learned" from that labyrinthine, secret, and illegal arms-for-money-for-arms deal involving the Israelis, the Iranians, the Saudis, and the Contras of Nicaragua, among others -- and meant to evade the Boland Amendment, a congressionally passed attempt to outlaw Reagan administration assistance to the anti-communist Contras. In terms of getting around Congress, the Iran-Contra vets concluded, the complex operation had been a success -- and would have worked far better if the CIA and the military had been kept out of the loop and the whole thing had been run out of the Vice President's office.
Subsequently, some of those conspirators, once again with the financial support and help of the Saudis (and probably the Israelis and the Brits), began running a similar operation, aimed at avoiding congressional scrutiny or public accountability of any sort, out of Vice President Cheney's office. They dipped into "black pools of money," possibly stolen from the billions of Iraqi oil dollars that have never been accounted for since the American occupation began. Some of these funds, as well as Saudi ones, were evidently funneled through the embattled, Sunni-dominated Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to the sort of Sunni jihadi groups ("some sympathetic to al-Qaeda") whose members might normally fear ending up in Guantanamo and to a group, or groups, associated with the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.
All of this was being done as part of a "sea change" in the Bush administration's Middle Eastern policies aimed at rallying friendly Sunni regimes against Shiite Iran, as well as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Syrian government -- and launching secret operations to undermine, roll back, or destroy all of the above. Despite the fact that the Bush administration is officially at war with Sunni extremism in Iraq (and in the more general Global War on Terror), despite its support for the largely Shiite government, allied to Iran, that it has brought to power in Iraq, and despite its dislike for the Sunni-Shiite civil war in that country, some of its top officials may be covertly encouraging a far greater Sunni-Shiite rift in the region.
Imagine. All this and much more (including news of U.S. military border-crossings into Iran, new preparations that would allow George W. Bush to order a massive air attack on that land with only 24-hours notice, and a brief window this spring when the staggering power of four U.S. aircraft-carrier battle groups might be available to the President in the Persian Gulf) was revealed, often in remarkable detail, just over a week ago in "The Redirection," a Seymour Hersh piece in the New Yorker. Hersh, the man who first broke the My Lai story in the Vietnam era, has never been off his game since. In recent years, from the Abu Ghraib scandal on, he has consistently released explosive news about the plans and acts of the Bush administration...
Think that's enough motivation to steal an election?
a memoir about what it was like to grow up in the Allen family?
Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter
This is what Ryan Lizza has to say about it in the New Republic
George Allen is the oldest child of legendary football coach George Herbert Allen, and, when his father was on the road, young George often acted as a surrogate dad to his siblings. According to his sister Jennifer, he was particularly strict about bedtimes. One night, his brother Bruce stayed up past his bedtime. George threw him through a sliding glass door. For the same offense, on a different occasion, George tackled his brother Gregory and broke his collarbone. When Jennifer broke her bedtime curfew, George dragged her upstairs by her hair.
George tormented Jennifer enough that, when she grew up, she wrote a memoir of what it was like living in the Allen family. In one sense, the book, Fifth Quarter, from which these details are culled, is unprecedented. No modern presidential candidate has ever had such a harsh and personal account of his life delivered to the public by a close family member. The book paints Allen as a cartoonishly sadistic older brother who holds Jennifer by her feet over Niagara Falls on a family trip (instilling in her a lifelong fear of heights) and slams a pool cue into her new boyfriend's head. "George hoped someday to become a dentist," she writes. "George said he saw dentistry as a perfect profession--getting paid to make people suffer."
He and W make quite a pair, don't they???
Posted by whometense in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Fri Jun 09th 2006, 11:25 AM
George Allen: a true sadist
A little-known organization closely tied to the Republican Party and the Bush administration and often accused of promoting partisan policies and ideology abroad is now heavily involved in efforts to establish democratic institutions in Afghanistan and Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.
The International Republican Institute, though billing itself as an independent nonprofit unaffiliated with the Republican Party, acts essentially as a wing of the GOP. Its is chaired by party presidential frontrunner Senator John McCain (R-AZ), and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Representatives David Dreier (R-CA) and Jim Kolbe (R-AR) serve on its board of directors. Many of IRI’s high-ranking staff members have at some point worked directly for the Bush administration...
...In December 2004, IRI contracted with Tony Marsh and Lance Copsey of the media consulting firm Marsh, Copsey & Scott to set up a Baghdad Media Center on behalf of the U.S. State Department. Its stated purpose was to assist Iraqi political parties and candidates in the upcoming January elections.
Earlier that year, in January 2004, Marsh Copsey & Scott (now Marsh Copsey & Associates) had registered the domain name crushkerry.com, which was used throughout the 2004 election for an anti-Kerry blog run by their senior account executive, Patrick Hynes. The site was heavily involved in promoting both the SwiftBoat Veterans and CBS Memos stories. It also encouraged readers to suggest other ways of discrediting John Kerry, and claimed to have inside sources of information on the Kerry campaign. Today, the blog is gone, but http://www.crushkerry.com is still the main URL for the website of Marsh Copsey & Associates...
I feel enormous gratitude for the existence of Mark Morford:
This is what you must know: Media is a bizarre and harrowing but somehow weirdly delicious mistress. On the one hand, it is mandatory and beneficial in innumerable ways, and the basic rule goes that if you don't watch the news or read at least one major paper or skim through some assortment of news blogs and check in with the world on a semiregular basis, well, it can be argued that you are doing a terrifically lousy job at being an informed human and you have little right to pule and bitch because willful ignorance is just as bad as, well, plain ol' stupidity.
On the other hand, excessive immersion in this swirling blood-drenched hyperbolic world of goofily inflated mayhem will only leave you deeply unsatisfied and angry and potentially alcoholic, not to mention nauseated and mistrustful of all mankind everywhere. Except maybe Tibetans. And the Kurds. Man have they been screwed.
But here's the thing: The wise ones tell us that whatever you focus on, expands. Wherever you direct your attention and wherever you put your energy and your heart and your concern, that thing will suddenly seem bigger and more important and potentially all-consuming. Is your attention excessively on death and corruption at the expense of laughter and perspective? That is your reality. Is it all about perky happy bunnies and tofu sunsets at the expense of harsher realities? This is your choice.
You cannot always choose what sort of slings and arrows the world hurls at your heart, nor should you try to avoid them all in some weeping lament at the state of it all. But no matter the blood and no matter the mayhem and no matter the hyperbole, you can always choose how you'll respond...
I may be alone in my obsession, but I'm unwilling to forgive Bill Richardson for his failure to go ahead with the New Mexico recount in 2004.
Well, I just heard this story this morning on a repeat Thom Hartmann show from earlier this week.
Court Rules in Dispute Over 2004 Presidential Recount
By Barry Massey/
SANTA FE — New Mexico's highest court on Tuesday invalidated a 2005 law that allows the state canvassing board to require candidates to pay the estimated full cost of a recount upfront as a deposit.
The ruling came in a dispute over the razor-close 2004 presidential election in New Mexico.
The state Supreme Court's unanimous decision represented a victory for Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik, who had challenged the state's handling of their request for a recount in 2004.
However, the justices declined to order a recount of presidential ballots, saying a new vote tabulation wouldn't change the national outcome of the election because President Bush had enough electoral votes to win even if he hadn't carried New Mexico.
The 2004 presidential race in New Mexico was among the closest in the country. The Republican president won the general election with 49.8 percent of the vote — a 5,988-vote margin over Democratic Sen. John Kerry.
John Boyd, an Albuquerque lawyer for Cobb and Badnarik, described the court's ruling as a "clean sweep'' for the candidates...
...The candidates had submitted a deposit of $114,400 and argued that was the proper amount for a recount based on a formula in state election law. But the state canvassing board decided in mid-December 2004 that the Green and Libertarian presidential candidates could have a recount only if they paid a security deposit of $1.4 million, which was an estimate of the full cost of a statewide recount.
The board was made up of Gov. Bill Richardson, Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron and then-Supreme Court Chief Justice Petra Maes. All of them are Democrats. Maes removed herself from the court case involving the board's recount decision.
The Legislature, in response to the election flap, changed the law to make clear that the canvassing board may require a deposit of either part or the full estimated cost of a recount.
In Tuesday's ruling, the court said the 2005 change in law was an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power because there were no standards to guide the board in deciding how large a deposit to require.
"The Legislature cannot give the state canvassing board unfettered discretion in determining which petitioners seeking a recount or recheck must pay for the full cost, and which must pay only a percentage of that cost,'' the court said in an opinion written by Justice Patricio Serna.
Two steps forward, one step back.
I still maintain that Richardson has a hell of a nerve to even consider running for president after the (complete lack of) support he offered Kerry in 2004.
(i.e. Joe Klein) in a book review today (emphasis is mine):
Joe Klein castigates both Republican and Democratic leaders for today's political culture
By Ken Bode | April 23, 2006
Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid
By Joe Klein
...This is a deeply cynical book. Take, for instance, his description of the two political parties. Democrats have had their spiritual vigor sapped by vehement secularism, their soggy internationalism spineless in the face of a dangerous world. Their liberal wing has an automatic disdain for the use of force, an attitude that is not only weak but also unpatriotic.
The Republicans, who come off a little better, are witlessly radical, fiscally irresponsible at home, intemperate and bullying abroad, and purveyors of an intrusive religiosity that is shockingly intolerant of science or reason...
...Klein is very respectful of the Bushes, father and son George Sr. can't be blamed for the tawdry tactics of 1988, the author says, because ''he delegated politics to Lee Atwater; he was too decent a man for the hugger-mugger." When John McCain demolished George W. in the 2000 New Hampshire primary, young Bush kept his cool and headed for South Carolina. There McCain found himself depicted as having snakes in his head from the brainwashing he received during his six years as a prisoner of war, his wife was branded a drug addict, and he faced rumors he had fathered a mixed-race child. When he confronted Bush about this clandestine demolition job, McCain was told, ''It's just politics, John." The real lesson in all this is when a Bush gets cornered in a political campaign, politics heads for the gutter. In the end, it is the candidate's responsibility, not the consultant's...
...If you're looking for opinionated, gossipy dish about the consultants and the candidates, this book is for you. These are Klein's characterizations, not mine. Michael Dukakis, who hailed from the National Public Radio wing of his party, made the gratuitously lunkheaded gesture of admitting he was a card-carrying member of the ACLU. Bill Clinton was a womanizer of desperately bad taste. John Kerry was a man of regal negligence, all dignity and no details...
Another Sunday paper aside (yes, I'm just now reading the paper) - did I miss it, or was there not one single mention of Kerry's speech in today's NY Times??? Bastards.
A few things today. Column by Eileen McNamara (Democrats as models):
The Democrats lined up behind Governor Mitt Romney on the stage of Faneuil Hall last week should have negotiated a modeling fee. Imagine the residuals the fawning extras might have reaped from Romney's inevitable campaign reproductions of the sham signing ceremony of the bogus ''universal" health insurance bill.
Too late. The hapless Democrats, apparently mesmerized by rave reviews of the legislation in the clueless national press, got punked.
Don't sympathize with House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi when he whines that the ''disingenuous" Republican governor never told him he intended to veto the part of the bill requiring larger employers to provide health insurance or pay $295 per employee for the state to help provide it. Romney not only told DiMasi, he told anyone who could read. He laid out his objections in a Wall Street Journal piece published a full day before key Massachusetts Democrats, including the state's senior senator, inexplicably chose to pose for that GOP campaign ad...
...The Democrat-dominated Legislature is likely to override Romney's vetoes, but the photo op in Faneuil Hall made clear that Democrats in Massachusetts have lost all of their political instincts. Romney snowed a lot of guys who should know better. The image of a smiling Senator Edward M. Kennedy sharing the ''watershed" moment with Romney evoked memories of Kennedy posing in 2002 with President Bush for the signing of the ''historic" No Child Left Behind Act, the education reform measure that still has not been fully funded.
Here we go again.
Have to say I agree. When I saw this picture last week, my stomach flipped, and the first thing that came to mind was NCLB.
What the hell was Teddy thinking?
Even Joan Vennochi has a point today in her column, Mitt's myth of healthcare.
...The Republican governor snatched nearly all the credit for addressing a classic Democratic issue -- increasing access to health insurance.
Bay State Democrats turned up as grinning props for a Romney bill-signing extravaganza at Faneuil Hall. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the great liberal lion, stood declawed and smiling behind Romney. Senate President Robert E. Travaglini and House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi played guffawing supporting roles in Romney's campaign commercial.
Right on cue, the national press is falling in love -- and Massachusetts Democrats are falling in line...
...For Romney, the fallout from the healthcare package doesn't get any better than this: Today, he basks in applause and headlines. Tomorrow's funding headaches are the next governor's problem....
...Romney shouldn't be demonized, but his role in this legislation deserves to be demythified. His big idea -- the personal mandate -- is about punishing people who don't have health insurance. Democrats, especially DiMasi, pushed for expanded access for the poorest citizens and demanded that business accept some moral and financial responsibility for employee health insurance...
Read all off Vennochi's column - for once, she actually has something to say. And don't miss the LTTE on the subject.
Am I the only person who sees the real problem with the $295 annual per-employee assessment on businesses that will not provide health insurance? Governor Romney said that businesses should not be penalized for their failure to provide for their employees, and, of course, business leaders agree with him.
I contend not only that businesses should be required to pay their fair share, but that the $295 fee is too low. I am fortunate to work for a company that provides a good health plan, but my share of the premium amounts to more than $1,800 a year to cover myself and my wife.
Assuming that my employer's share of the premium cost is roughly equivalent to mine, I foresee that a smart businessperson with an eye on the bottom line would conclude that it would be much cheaper to pay the $295 and let the employees fend for themselves.
I'm surprised that I have to point this out.
I'm surprised too.
An excerpt from a new book, Patriots Act: Voices of Dissent and the Risk of Speaking Out
...I find myself today, going on sixty-four, a washed-up, dried-up prune of a military veteran who has been thrown on the scrap heap of time and looking back wistfully and saying, "I wished I'd done more to prevent the current disaster in Iraq that's exactly mocking the first disaster in Vietnam that I was personally a part of."
I go to Walter Reed Hospital now for trauma counseling. For my own self. Because it never ends. I've got post-traumatic stress disorder. Didn't know I had it. Anxiety and fear and all that crap. And it never goes away. But you can submerge it into a higher cause like politics.
So here I am, back at Walter Reed, thirty-seven years later, dealing with the trauma of Vietnam. I never got the counseling back then. But I look down the hall, and it's still 1968. Seeing all these young Iraq War veterans blown up, missing arms and legs and eyes, I just can't stand it. It triggers all of my stuff from Vietnam. And these young men had the same grit and courage that we had going off to war. You go up to 'em, and say, "How ya doing, son?" "Fine, sir!" they answer. But years later, it will take its toll. They just don't know yet.
I'm seeing the full circle of the Vietnam experience. What's happening today is that a certain number of young Marines and Army guys are doomed to get killed and blown up and have missing arms and legs and eyes, and maybe they'll be on the phone twenty to thirty years later talking to some guy writing a book about them. I have seen this movie before. I'm terrified that I'm seeing Vietnam all over again in my lifetime....
from everything JK said in his two interviews yesterday was the part about how we spend a fortune warehousing prisoners but refuse to spent the relatively small amount it would take to prevent a large criminal underclass from forming in the first place. This is a pet soapbox of mine - having seen firsthand the small miracles Head Start can create in the lives of kids from poor and undereducated homes.
I'm a pollyanna about education - not in the forced testing sense (after all, I am a product of the sixties), but in the sense that improving childrens' lives when they are young and impressionable is the most cost-effective and humane way of tackling our most debilitating social problems.
I hope JK spends a lot more time talking about this issue. I think it could (and should) be a top priority for the country, and one that has no red/blue state boundaries. After all, Vermont (where I had most of my teaching experience) and Mississippi have much in common when it comes to their educational needs.
Posted by whometense in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Thu Mar 23rd 2006, 05:36 PM
I agree that Feingold's actions are consistent with who he is as a politician. I believe the same can be said with equal truth about Kerry's actions, Kennedy's, Boxer's, Durbin's, and even Lieberman's. What I do take serious issue with, though, is the implication that the other dems are not signing on to Feingold's proposal out of fear. I just don't believe that is the reason, not for an instant. Where is the evidence? Dana Milbank's editorializing? Please.
Were the other dems afraid to sign on to Kerry's Alito filibuster? Was Feingold afraid to filibuster Alito himself? Was he afraid to vote against Roberts? I don't believe so. There are any number of strategic calculations a politician has to enter into before taking a given action. It's part of their job. Feingold makes his personal calculations just as the rest do. It's arguable whose public positions have been the most consistently courageous, but I don't really want to discuss that here.
My point is that democrats are calling democrats cowards for no good reason except their own frustration with Bush administration policies. How about zinging the policies instead?
Here's what I propose to do about it. The next time I come across a post about democrats that contains the words "spineless" "coward" "gutless" "weak" or any other such term, I will immediately stop reading. I'll take that site off my bookmark list. If I come across them on Kos, I will rate that comment down and explain why. On DU I will put that person on ignore and explain why.
My venom is reserved for those who truly deserve it. Those monsters who betray the public trust at every turn.
Is anyone else with me?
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