Monday, July 26, 2010

Last Call

It begins in earnest now as the economy continues to falter. Crooks and Liars:

An attack on Iran isn't the worst possible outcome from Tehran's desire to have nuclear weapons, according to a former CIA director appointed by George W. Bush.

Gen. Michael Hayden told CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday that an attack on Iran now "seems inexorable."

"In my personal thinking -- and I need to emphasize that -- I have begun to consider that may not be the worst of the possible outcomes," he said.
Hey...war is reflationary!

Seriously, why are we hearing from a former Bushie on what the Obama administration is going to do in Iran unless it's to say "Oh sure Obama's going to bomb the hell out of them."

There's an agenda here to advance, so get to advancin' there, Candy.

There's Nothing To See Here, Move Along

The Pentagon earlier today:
Col. Dave Lapan, a Defense Department spokesman, said the military would probably need "days, if not weeks" to review all the documents and determine "the potential damage to the lives of our service members and coalition partners."
That's not good.  Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, today:
Leaked United States military reports from Afghanistan appear to contain "evidence of war crimes," the man who published them said Monday.
Actually that's pretty bad.  The Pentagon, just now:
An ongoing Pentagon review of the massive flood of secret documents made public by the WikiLeaks website has so far found no evidence that the disclosure harmed U.S. national security or endangered American troops in the field, a Pentagon official told NBC News on Monday. 
Oh well if the Pentagon says so.  "We'll just take their word for it then."  NBC News:  Practically Slipping In Puddles Of Journalistic Integrity!  Way to chase that story, guys!

Sullypocalypse? Sullenfreude?

Journolist plus Trig Palin plus Andrew Sullivan equals the internet equivalent of that episode of Mythbusters when the guys put a couple thousand pounds of high explosives in a cement truck.  Let's all enjoy the explosion...from a safe distance.
Remember all those liberals and lefties huffily denouncing this blog's attempts to make sense of Sarah Palin's bizarre stories about the pregnancy and birth of her alleged fifth child? I was nuts, crazy, vile, disgusting, etc etc to indulge in what Dave Weigel, with no working knowledge of the story, calls "nonsense." You may also recall that the liberal media didn't touch this with a barge-pole  - and still hasn't (apart from a NYT puff-piece that I found utterly credulous at the time). Newsweek has even put its entire reputation behind the details of the story as outlined in Going Rogue, without doing any independent reporting on the subject.

Well, we now know, that, for some at least, I wasn't crazy. I was just not disciplined enough to curtail what this blog airs in order to conform with what many Journo-listers believed were the interests of the Obama campaign. Any delusions that Journo-List was not, in part, a collusory venture to shape the media narrative in ways to benefit Obama, above and beyond ferreting out the truth about any and all candidates, must now be abandoned. Ezra Klein has already been caught in a bald-faced lie about his discretion in picking members; and the notion that this was simply a water-cooler collection of journalistic thoughts is also belied by the emails now published by the Daily Caller.

One should say this, however: I have no way of knowing what the DC has omitted, and how it has shaped this information. The thread stops rather abruptly. Maybe there is context that adds to what we know. I do not trust in any way the ethics of the Daily Caller. Nonetheless, I was obviously not alone in those August days, when I was pilloried for saying out loud what the entire chattering class was saying in private.
Look, I enjoy these Sullivan meltdowns as much as the next guy on the intertoobs, the whole "NO WIRE HANGERS!" quality of the whole thing when you imagine the article read in a British voice is just amusing as hell.  But...really?  The "They called me mad at the university but who is mad now?" defense?  That's it?

Awesome.  So, let's complain about the tabloid, race-baiting gotcha journalism that is wrecking the media and then go on a hysterical tabloid bender about Trig Palin.  Ugh.  that's helpful.

Look Andy, the whole point was yes, people thought it, but no, they didn't think it was appropriate to the campaign to flog it in public wasn't friggin appropriate to flog it in public.  Of all the things to attack Sarah Palin on, (lack of knowledge, the many campaign lies, the money shell games, her term as mayor of Wasilla, etc) Trig Palin just is out of bounds, man.


A Very Tony Affair

Tony Hayward has received One (1) ACME Golden Parachute and a...demotion?
Tony Hayward, who became the face of BP's flailing efforts to contain the massive Gulf oil spill, will step down as chief executive in October and be offered a job with the company's joint venture in Russia, a person familiar with the matter said Monday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made by the British company's board, which was meeting Monday in London to decide Hayward's fate.
It's not yet clear what Hayward's role will be with TNK-BP. BP owns half of the oil firm, which is Russia's third-largest.

It was once run by American Bob Dudley, now the odds-on favorite to replace Hayward as BP CEO. After Hayward made a series of missteps, including telling reporters he wanted his life back as Gulf residents struggled to deal with the spill, Dudley took over as BP's point man in dealing with it. He was in London Monday with other board members.
Nice work if you can get it.

Like I said, it didn't make any sense to fire the guy now.  A lateral transfer on the other hand, well.  That shows you just how seriously BP takes destroying the gulf.  You get transferred to Russia.

It's A Nuclear Melt-Up, Part 4

The worst June in new housing sales ever recorded, and the Dow closes up 100 points because May's downward revision was so hideous that June's pathetic numbers were "a huge jump in new home sales".
The Dow Jones industrial average has had its third straight triple-digit advance after investors got some unexpected good news about the economy.
The Commerce Department reported a better-than-expected jump in new home sales for June. Sales rebounded from a record low in May to an annual rate of 330,000 units, more than economists expected.
The melt-up continues, and when this one blows up in our faces, it's going to be a lethal shock to our economy.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

This one comes from Tennessee's GOP Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey, who's not really sure if Islam counts as a "religion" or not.
At a recent event in Hamilton County, Ramsey was asked by a man in the audience about the "threat that's invading our country from the Muslims." Ramsey proclaimed his support for the Constitution and the whole "Congress shall make no law" thing when it comes to religion. But he also said that Islam, arguably, is less a faith than it is a "cult."

"Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it," Ramsey said. "Now certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face." 
Islam's just a 1200 year old fad.  It'll die out in a couple millennia or so.  There's only a billion of them.  After all, they hate us for our freedoms.
The question, Ramsey mused, was related to the simmering topic of a new Muslim community center scheduled to be built in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Ramsey, like many conservatives weighing in on the debate, mistakenly confused the center with a mosque -- which Murfreesboro already has -- and then proceeded to foment fears that Sharia saw would be practiced by Muslims there.

"Now, you know, I'm all about freedom of religion. I value the First Amendment as much as I value the Second Amendment as much as I value the Tenth Amendment and on and on and on," he said. "But you cross the line when they try to start bringing Sharia Law here to the state of Tennessee -- to the United States. We live under our Constitution and they live under our Constitution." 
Which apparently Ron Ramsey has never actually read.

So, I'm glad to see Tennessee Republicans get to choose their candidate for Governor from Captain Religious Tolerance over here, Zach "Secession or Bust" Wamp, and this crazy mofo here.  That must be fun!

[UPDATE]  Welcome C&L readers and thanks for the link love, Mike!

Tancredo Pulls A Hoffman

Tom Tancredo is making even more friends now that he just Hoffmaned all the Republicans running for Colorado Governor by announcing his own independent bid.
Late last week in Colorado, former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) delivered a bizarre ultimatum to the Republican Party's two gubernatorial candidates: if they're trailing the Democratic nominee in the polls in mid-August, they should agree to drop out and let him jump in.

And what if the leading GOP gubernatorial candidates -- Scott McInnis and Dan Maes -- refuse to go along with Tancredo's scheme? The right-wing former House member said he'd run as a third-party candidate in the fall, seeking the nomination of hyper-conservative American Constitution Party.

As of today, the threat is apparently no longer operative -- Tancredo isn't waiting to see what the Republican candidates will do or what their chances will be in the fall.
Former Congressman Tom Tancredo is in the race for Colorado governor, he said this morning.
"I will officially announce at noon that I will seek the nomination of the constitution party," Tancredo told The Denver Post.
The Littleton Republican must file some papers with the Colorado Secretary of State and register as a member of the American Constitution Party, but then "he's ready to go," raising money, disclosing his platform and launching a website that is already put together.
It's not entirely clear at this point what prompted Tancredo to jump the gun, but it probably didn't help that he got into a screaming match this morning on a talk-radio show with state GOP chair Dick Wadhams, with both calling each other "liars."

Democrat John Hickenlooper is edging out both Republicans in this race, and with Tancredo picking up the far right crazy vote, I predict Hickenlooper wins this one by, well, the margin of what Tancredo gets.

The Hoffman Effect.  Gotta love it.

Arizona's Somebody Else's Problem Field

With Arizona's "papers please" law going into effect on Thursday, Latinos are fleeing the Grand Canyon State for the other 49.  Not all of the folks leaving are undocumented, either.
While the law targets undocumented migrants, legal residents and their U.S.-born children are getting caught up in the rush to leave Arizona.
Mexican housewife Gabriela Jaquez, 37, said she is selling up and leaving for New Mexico with her husband, who is a legal resident, and two children born in Phoenix.
"Under the law, if you transport an illegal immigrant, you are committing a crime," she said as she sold children's clothes at a yard sale with three other families. "They could arrest him for driving me to the shops."
Lunaly Bustillos, a legal resident from Mexico, hoped to sell some clothes, dumbbells and an ornamental statue on Sunday before her family heads for Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday.
"It makes me sad and angry too because I feel I have the right to be here," said Bustillos, 17, who recently graduated from high school in Phoenix.
All Arizona's law is doing is passing the problem on to other states.  What we need is a comprehensive and realisitic national law, but wingnuts on the right keep shooting it down.  Gov. Jan Brewer keeps hissing "Do your job" at Obama, when she needs to be asking Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl why they scuttled McCain's own immigration reform bill and why they refuse to take one up now.  It's not Democrats refusing to consider immigration reform.

A Real Stand Up Guy

E.J. Dionne gets his righteous indignation on.
The mainstream media and the Obama administration must stop cowering before a right wing that has persistently forced its propaganda to be accepted as news by convincing traditional journalists that "fairness" requires treating extremist rants as "one side of the story." And there can be no more shilly-shallying about the fact that racial backlash politics is becoming an important component of the campaign against President Obama and against progressives in this year's election.

The administration's response to the doctored video pushed by right-wing hit man Andrew Breitbart was shameful. The obsession with "protecting" the president turned out to be the least protective approach of all.

The Obama team did not question, let alone challenge, the video. Instead, it assumed that whatever narrative Fox News might create mattered more than anything else, including the possible innocence of a human being outside the president's inner circle.

Obama complained on ABC's "Good Morning America" that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack "jumped the gun, partly because we now live in this media culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody scrambles." But it's his own apparatus that turned "this media culture" into a false god.

Yet the Obama team was reacting to a reality: the bludgeoning of mainstream journalism into looking timorously over its right shoulder and believing that "balance" demands taking seriously whatever sludge the far right is pumping into the political waters. 
Well said and I completely agree with it.  Again, the problem is not the President flinching, but a right-wing media so rapidly partisan that Andrew Breitbart can get a person fired with a video clip and a smirk.  Now he and his slime peddlers are gallivanting around with the idiotic notion that all this time in America's history the real racists were black people.

Dionne stands firm here and delivers.  Would it be that the White House and the rest of the Village would listen.

The Seasons Turn In Cincy

Sports seasons, that is.  The big sports news here (other than it being after the All-Star Break and the Reds still in the playoff hunt) is the dream combination of Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco for Carson Palmer to throw to this fall, and whether or not the universe can survive it.
Rumors are buzzing about Terrell Owens and where he might end up this season. The perennial Pro-Bowler, talented wide-out and all-round headache for coaches, seems to be playing nice with the Cincinnati Bengals, specifically Chad Ochocinco. Additionally, the guy at the helm of the team, Carson Palmer, likes what he sees.

Now, the thought of an Owens and Ochocinco wide-out tandem is pretty scary, but can a team really survive two inflated ego's THAT big?
Don Martelli doesn't think so and neither do I.  Owens has sunk every team he's been on, the only question is does the team in question get glory first before TO crashes and burns the squad.  Ask the Niners, Eagles, Cowboys and even the Bills what they think of the guy.

This may be one of those rare seasons where everyone's still talking about the Reds while the Bengals are playing, but the odds of that happening go to zero if TO is signed.

We'll see.

All The Energy's Been Sucked Out Of It

The Senate's new "Energy Bill" is just that: legislation that only deal with energy and the BP oil spill, and does nothing for the much larger problems of climate and carbon regulation.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will unveil as early as Monday a slimmed-down energy bill seeking to make offshore drilling safer and convert trucks to run on domestic natural gas.

The full Senate could begin consideration of Reid's bill on Tuesday and Democrats would like to pass it by the early part of the following week.

With time running short ahead of a month-long recess starting Aug 6, Democrats abandoned efforts last week to put climate-control measures in the bill. Reid said then that he had no Republican votes for items such as carbon caps and mandates requiring utilities to generate some of their power from alternatives sources such as wind and solar.

Reid said Congress could revisit climate legislation in September but lawmakers and analysts doubt there will be much appetite ahead of the mid-term elections in November.

Sadly, it is all we can expect from 59 Democrats in the Senate.  Of course it wasn't time for legislation when there were 60 Dems in the Senate either and they could beat a Republican filibuster too.  If now now, when, Mr Reid?

Let Slip The Leaks Of War

As I've had a chance to read over some of the Wikileaks documents this morning,   I can't help but think Steve M. is right:
I don't care how many visions of 1970s glory the media is having right now -- that's not the moment we're living in. This document cache is not the new Pentagon Papers, for the simple reason that it emerged at a moment when old-school wingnuttery (with a few new bells and whistles) has come roaring back to dominate our politics. There needs to be a strong anti-war movement to make this document cache politically meaningful, and there isn't one; there needs to be even a modicum of anxiety on the part of Republicans about the political usefulness of old-fashioned right-wing bombast, and there isn't any such thing. So this matters only to historians.
And he's got a point.  So far we're not really learning anything truly new here if you have cared to dig even a bit under the headlines:  Pakistan's ISI is helping the Afghan insurgency, we've killed a lot of Afghan civilians, the Afghan government is corrupt as hell, billions in aid dollars are missing, and war is hell.  We knew all that already.

And this won't change a damn thing.


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