Thursday, June 3, 2010

Last Call

Digby wisely connects the dots on three stories today:  the American killed in the Israeli raid earlier this week, the Tea Party wanting to overturn the 14th Amendment, and the Village backlash against Turkey.  You see, the Wingers have decided that the young man killed in that deadly raid wasn't really an American at all.
The facts are not entirely clear, but it appears that Dogan was born in the United States to Turkish parents who returned to Turkey not long thereafter. (The ABC story says he was two years old.) Apparently Dogan had lived in Turkey with his family since that time. He apparently was, in other words, a "birthright citizen," solely by virtue of the fact that his parents were residing in the U.S. when he was born.
So, screw you, 14th Amendment! Digby lays it all out for those of you who still aren't getting the whole "Why do they hate the 14th Amendment anyway?" thing.
Wow, there's a lot to consider in those paragraphs. First there is the idea that actual American citizens under current law, shouldn't be called Americans. I don't know who will decide which Americans deserve the designation, but perhaps the next teabagger convention could set up a system for the press so they'll know what's appropriate and what isn't. (No profiling please!) This is followed by the use of the phrase "birthright citizen" which I haven't heard before. Is it the politically correct version of "anchor baby?" If so, why would proudly politically incorrect right wingers bother? Call 'em all terrorists and let's be done with all the subterfuge. 
Starting to get the picture?  Add "anyone not from round these parts" to minorities, gays, liberals, sympathizers, latte drinkers, gun control freaks, non-Christians and people who drive Volvos to The List.
The old neocon "spreadin' democracy" we're all one big happy family of wingnuts is really out of fashion if even the Bush loving Powerline is pushing the 14th amendment repeal line.In fact, even the Bush administration didn't try to make the argument that American citizens who were born of foreign parents shouldn't be accorded their rights. We are seeing a joining of the neocons and the teabaggers in the spirit of shared nativism. It figures. When you strip them down to their essence they are all garden variety paranoid, neo-confederate birchers and not much more. It's all a matter of emphasis.
It's not racism if it's knee jerk cultural purity, see.

Lessons Learned From Tuesday's Primaries

Matt Osborne has a great piece over at Big Orange about Alabama Rep. Artur Davis, who got the crap kicked out of him in Tuesday's Democratic primary for governor.  The lesson?
Davis ran away from his base. He allowed Sparks to be the one defending the health care bill. He modeled his campaign organization on Obama's (even adopting similar campaign imagery), but sought no presidential endorsement. Meanwhile, he was losing the grassroots organizations that still dominate Alabama's Democratic Party.

The takeaway for Democrats still facing primaries around the country? Despite all the tea party noise, even a red state Democrat can't win if they ignore their base or run towards an imaginary center. You must still shake the most hands, cultivate endorsements, and energize your party to choose you over the other person. You don't get there by pushing the Democrats or their principles away.
Steve M. expands on this too.  Running for the far, far right of the box is a losing proposition.  Remember this guy?

Commissioner for agriculture and industries GOP candidate Dale Peterson's Internet popularity did not translate into votes in Tuesday's primary election.

John McMillan and Dorman Grace appeared headed for a runoff for the Republican nomination to the post.

With 61 percent of the vote reporting, McMillian had almost 38 percent of the vote and Grace had 35 percent. Peterson trailed with a little more than 27 percent.
Oops.  Dale came in third in the GOP primary.  Apparently being all REAL AMAIRIKUN failed to help him actually win the election. The lesson Steve draws?
I don't want to leap to the conclusion that voters dislike jerks. I think a lot of angry voters really appreciate jerks. But they want candidates to be jerks without seeming like jerks. They want at least a veneer of even transparently phony niceness (that's how Bush did as well as he did for so long).
Just so.

In a related note, congrats to Matt Osborne there, who's going to Big Orangepalooza thanks to Democracy For America and the fact he kicks some ass.

Israel Goes Cold Turkey, Part 4

And right on cue, John Cole flags down the beginnings of the Village media backlash against Turkey.
To follow Turkish discourse in recent years has been to follow a national decline into madness. Imagine 80 million or so people sitting at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. They don't speak an Indo-European language and perhaps hundreds of thousands of them have meaningful access to any outside media. What information most of them get is filtered through a secular press that makes Italian communists look right wing by comparison and an increasing number of state (i.e., Islamist) influenced outfits. Topics A and B (or B and A, it doesn't really matter) have been the malign influence on the world of Israel and the United States.
Nice.  And this:
The obvious answer to the question of “Who lost Turkey?”—the Western-oriented Turkey, that is—is the Turks did. The outstanding question is how much damage they’ll do to regional peace going forward.
Guess what kids?  Rupert Murdoch and his noise machine has declared that Turkey is now the Enemy.  The pressure will ratchet up to throw them out of NATO and the EU, to cut off relations with them, and the calls for regime change will begin soon.

You know, despite the fact we use Turkish bases and airspace as integral parts of our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Wingers will DEMAND!!!11! that we threaten them as much as possible because they are hiding Al Qaeda and Nazi eugenics clones and make cheese taste funny and the bastards wrote the last episode of Lost.

So thanks to Israel not being able to control their urge for self-fulfilling martyrdom ("The entire world is against us anyway, so let's drive the entire world against us!")  our media is now going after a critical ally in the Middle East that is vital to any chance of success we have in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Of course, maybe that's the plan.  They throw Turkey under the bus and then yell at Obama for "losing the war" when they tell us to go intercourse ourselves.

And so it goes.

Pop Quiz, Hot Shot

Quick, what's 2400 miles long and completely screwed by the middle of August?

If you said "The American coastline between Morgan City, Louisiana and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina" then you win!  Also, you lose, too.  We all do.

(Other acceptable answers include "Every Cincinnati Reds fan in America laid end to end.")

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Rasmussen finds 58% of Americans disagree with the 14th Amendment's citizenship clause.

I wonder how many of the people who are against the 14th Amendment would have their citizenship revoked because at the time of one their ancestor's birth, both parents were not U.S. citizens?

I'm guessing down the line, quite a few.

Ahh, gotta love our long tradition of hatred for immigrants in this country.  Melting pot my ass.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Hey America?  With everything that's going wrong in the world, with an American dead among those killed by Israel, the Gulf oil spill heading for Florida, the economy down and the markets tanking again today, with North Korea threatening war, and things generally falling apart...

...why does Jim Joyce's blown call ruining Armando Galarraga's perfect game matter in the least to our elected officials?

Frankly, you guys have bigger. f'cking.  problems. to solve.

I suggest you work on them.

Never Miss An Opportunity For Obama Derangement Syndrome

The crew at MoJo plumbs the depths of the latest tinfoil lunacy on how Obama will drain your precious bodily fluids at FEMA camps.
Is there a covert government plan to forcibly evacuate up to 50 million people from the Gulf Coast and move them into FEMA trailers somewhere in Missouri and elsewhere because of the oil spill? Some of the nation's survivalists are convinced that the Obama administration is plotting just such an operation. Last week, Greg Evensen, a former Kansas state trooper and a regular on the "Patriot" movement talk circuit, appeared on the Internet radio show "Shattering the Darkness" to warn listeners that government is moving to evacuate basically everyone from the coast of Texas to Cape Cod. Evensen says the move will come after these areas become uninhabitable due to an "oversaturation of benzene" from the chemical dispersants BP is using to try to clean up the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

Yes, even an eco-tragedy can breed conspiracy theories.

Interviewed by a man known only as "the Hawk," Evensen predicted on May 27 that the evacuations would begin sometime around June 15, after the government brings together "people who can be engaged in combat"—possibly including foreign troops—and stations them at 500-mile intervals.  He predicted that people as far north as Cape Cod might have to be evacuated, given that the oil is likely to end up "on beaches of England."  These events, Evensen warned, would show the "rolling thunder effect of how it will bring America to its knees," to which the Hawk responded, "This could be larger than anything we could ever imagine."

In an interview with Mother Jones, Evensen explained that he had heard about this massive governmental operation from a "buffet meal of state and local law enforcement" sources, many of whom find him—rather than the other way around—thanks to his media appearances and Internet postings. (Evensen lives in Michigan.)

The podcast of this show soon made its way into the Tea Party world and was circulating on various listservs this week, with headlines like "Forced evacuations of 40 million begin in less than two weeks. Anyone within a thousand miles of the Gulf of Mexico needs to listen to every word of this." John Kaminiski, a "truther" who believes Jews blew up the World Trade Center, warned in an email that "If you don't leave now, you will never make it. You will either die on the road, or in a FEMA camp. The troops are already in place."
And then only the WOLVEREEEEEEEENS can save us!  Also, I guess this means no more Shrimpfest at Red Lobster.  (There are no Red Lobsters in FEMA Death Camps.)  You thought the 9/11 Truthers were bad?  You thought the Obama Derangement was topped by the Birthers?

You ain't seen nothin' yet, folks.

Steel Town Showdown

President Obama went to Pittsburgh yesterday and ripped into the GOP.
Obama has largely been on the defensive during his spring string of reasoned, low-key “Main Street” speeches in Middle America, battling critics of his stimulus and health care efforts.

But on Wednesday at Carnegie Mellon University, Obama went on the summer offensive, accusing Republicans of sucking up to corporations, hewing to a bankrupt economic ideology and peddling tried-and-failed tax breaks for the rich.

“[A] good deal of the other party’s opposition to our agenda has also been rooted in their sincere and fundamental belief about government,” Obama said. “It’s a belief that government has little or no role to play in helping this nation meet our collective challenges. It’s an agenda that basically offers two answers to every problem we face: more tax breaks for the wealthy and fewer rules for corporations.”

Obama, who plans to stay in Pittsburgh for only a couple of hours before flying back to the nation's capital, said most Republicans “have sat on the sidelines and shouted from the bleachers.”

He added: “As November approaches, leaders in the other party will campaign furiously on the same economic argument they’ve been making for decades. Fortunately, we don’t have to look back too many years to see how it turns out. … They gave tax cuts that weren’t paid for to millionaires who didn’t need them. They gutted regulations, and put industry insiders in charge of industry oversight. ... And despite all their current moralizing about the need to curb spending, this is the same crowd who took the record $237 billion surplus that President Clinton left them and turned it into a record $1.3 trillion deficit.” 
Some powerful words about the Republican mindset and their raft of "solutions".  He's right.  Everywhere you turn you hear Republicans talking about how we need to make the deficit worse with more tax cuts and that government can't help, ever.

Good to see the old Obama back.  We've missed you.

If It's Thursday...

Jobless claims this week down 10k to 453k, continuing claims up 31k to 4.67 million.

ADP's private numbers for May are only 55,000 jobs created.  If the last couple of months are as good as it gets, we're in trouble.

Epic Brewer-ing Lies Fail

Arizona GOP Gov. Jan "Papers, please!" Brewer got caught in a rather nasty lie here this week. Taegan Goddard:
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) told the Arizona Republic that her signing of a tough immigration law has opened her up to what she says were "unanticipated personal attacks."

Said Brewer: "The Nazi comments... they are awful. Knowing that my father died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany, that I lost him when I was 11 because of that... and then to have them call me Hitler's daughter. It hurts. It's ugliness beyond anything I've ever experienced."

One problem: The Arizona Guardian reports Brewer's father worked during the war as a civilian supervisor of a naval munitions depot and died of lung disease in California in 1955.
Oops.  That's a hell of a whopper.  Politicians:  If you're going to play the victim card, make sure your story is straight.  It's possible somebody might check the story out and commit acts of actual journalism.

Folks, anger at the Democrats does not magically mean the Republican Party is more honorable, trustworthy, or competent than they were in 2006 or 2008.  Keep that in mind.


The Nuclear Non-Option

No, says Energy Secretary Steven Chu, we're not going to nuke the friggin' oil geyser, so stop asking.
Decades ago, the Soviet Union reportedly used nuclear blasts to successfully seal off runaway gas wells, inserting a bomb deep underground and letting its fiery heat melt the surrounding rock to shut off the flow. Why not try it here?

The idea has gained fans with each failed attempt to stem the leak and each new setback — on Wednesday, the latest rescue effort stalled when a wire saw being used to slice through the riser pipe got stuck.

“Probably the only thing we can do is create a weapon system and send it down 18,000 feet and detonate it, hopefully encasing the oil,” Matt Simmons, a Houston energy expert and investment banker, told Bloomberg News on Friday, attributing the nuclear idea to “all the best scientists.”

Or as the CNN reporter John Roberts suggested last week, “Drill a hole, drop a nuke in and seal up the well.”
This week, with the failure of the “top kill” attempt, the buzz had grown loud enough that federal officials felt compelled to respond.

Stephanie Mueller, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department, said that neither Energy Secretary Steven Chu nor anyone else was thinking about a nuclear blast under the gulf. The nuclear option was not — and never had been — on the table, federal officials said.

“It’s crazy,” one senior official said.

Government and private nuclear experts agreed that using a nuclear bomb would be not only risky technically, with unknown and possibly disastrous consequences from radiation, but also unwise geopolitically — it would violate arms treaties that the United States has signed and championed over the decades and do so at a time when President Obama is pushing for global nuclear disarmament. 
If you haven't noticed, there is the chance that any given plan we try may fail and make the situation worse.  Perhaps we should not use nuclear weapons on things just because we can.

On the other hand, it's hard to imagine the devastation to the Gulf could be worse from a pocket nuke than it would be if the oil is still flowing in December.

Unleash Joe Biden, Flotilla Edition

When you want to know what the Obama administration is going to do, you can always count on Joe Biden telegraphing it from a million miles away.
Vice President Joe Biden offered the White House's strongest defense yet of Israeli's actions off the coast of Gaza this week in an interview with Charlie Rose airing tonight on PBS.

"I think Israel has an absolute right to deal with its security interest. I put all this back on two things: one, Hamas, and, two, Israel's need to be more generous relative to the Palestinian people who are in trouble in Gaza," Biden said, according to a transcript of the interview, in which he went on to discuss Hamas's control of Gaza:

"[The Israelis have] said, 'Here you go. You're in the Mediterranean. This ship — if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we'll get the stuff into Gaza.' So what's the big deal here? What's the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it's legitimate for Israel to say, 'I don't know what's on that ship. These guys are dropping eight — 3,000 rockets on my people,'" Biden said.
Yeah, Israeli commandos killed some folks on a boat and there's more boats coming.  What's the big deal?  Not like anyone's going to get hurt because we've asked Israel nicely not to do so.

What could possibly go wrong?


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