Sunday, February 17, 2013

Last Call

The siren song of false equivalence is just too strong for Thomas Friedman as he is presented the majestic vistas of President Obama's SOTU speech, and he cannot contain himself from smearing crap all over the walls in the most Friedman-tastic column ever disgorged from the Augustus Gloop-like depths of his banality.

I WAS struck by one particular moment during President Obama’s State of the Union address. The president proposed a $1 billion investment to build a new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation to spur high-tech manufacturing in America. I’m sure that would be helpful, and I’m sure the president will have to beg to get any such funding out of Congress. Yet sitting up there in the balcony listening to the president’s speech was the chief executive of Apple, Tim Cook. Apple is currently sitting on $137 billion of cash in the bank. There are many reasons Apple has not spent its cash hoard, but I’ll bet anything that one of them is the uncertain economic and tax environment in this country. Think about how much better we’d all be if Apple, and the many other companies sitting on cash, felt confident enough in the future to spend it. These are the most dynamic companies in the world. They don’t need any government help to innovate. 

From this demon seed, we can extrapolate the entire rest of the column.  Friedman wants his GRAND AUSTERITY BARGAIN and he wants it now.  The GOP will totally stop hating the President if he just gives the Republicans everything they want:  massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare for future retirees, plus cuts to education across the board.  If everyone currently under 50 suffers needlessly, then, and only then, will our corporate masters choose to invest in the government's place, ostensibly so that they get a say in how the country is run.  That makes the cooling fluid in Friedman's cyborg technocrat heart pump race just a few percentage points faster.

But what makes Friedman's column this weekend so completely awesome this time around is this line here at the end:

After the whipping the G.O.P. took in the election, I believe there is now a group of Republican politicians and C.E.O.’s who would meet Obama in the middle, if the president showed he was ready to take on some of his base as well. If the president tries, and I am wrong, well, he’ll have a few bad weeks. If I am right and enough Republicans meet Obama on a Grand Bargain, it would both split the G.O.P. between the sane conservatives and the certifiable crazies and give the president a real foundation for a truly significant second term. 

This is the Ultimate Friedman Fantasy put to words, a manifesto of moron, the epitome of Friedman's empty core.  "If only President Obama will stop acting as though he won, the Republicans will come around!"  You know, the same Republican party that has called the President a socialist, fascist, Kenyan usurper anti-Christ, the guys whose only goal was to make sure the President lost in November, and they lost huge.

Sure, they'll come around.  All the President has to do is smack his base around, the dirty stupid hippies who voted for him, and then we can all enjoy a happy Grand Bargain where everyone not making a quarter mil a year gets fed to the grinder, but Friedman's sure that companies like Apple will step up and invest their billions in schools and roads and health care or something and save us all if only he would give the Republicans what they wanted...

So my only possible analysis at this point is Friedman's memory card is full, and someone needs to rip it out of his skull.  Preferably with Ripley's cargo loader from Aliens.

He's learned nothing from the last four years.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada. 

It makes my head hurt.

Hubristric Tendencies

I'm definitely looking forward to the Monday night premiere of "Hubris: Selling The Iraq War" at 9 PM EST on MSNBC.  Rachel Maddow will be hosting the special, based on the book by David Corn and Michael Isikoff.  Corn himself gives us a preview:

One chilling moment in the film comes in an interview with retired General Anthony Zinni, a former commander in chief of US Central Command. In August 2002, the Bush-Cheney administration opened its propaganda campaign for war with a Cheney speech at the annual Veterans of Foreign Wars convention. The veep made a stark declaration: "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." No doubt, he proclaimed, Saddam was arming himself with WMD in preparation for attacking the United States.

Zinni was sitting on the stage during the speech, and in the documentary he recalls his reaction:
It was a shock. It was a total shock. I couldn't believe the vice president was saying this, you know? In doing work with the CIA on Iraq WMD, through all the briefings I heard at Langley, I never saw one piece of credible evidence that there was an ongoing program. And that's when I began to believe they're getting serious about this. They wanna go into Iraq.
That Zinni quote should almost end the debate on whether the Bush-Cheney administration purposefully guided the nation into war with misinformation and disinformation.

But there's more. So much more. The film highlights a Pentagon document declassified two years ago. This memo notes that in November 2001—shortly after the 9/11 attacks—Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with General Tommy Franks to review plans for the "decapitation" of the Iraqi government. The two men reviewed how a war against Saddam could be triggered; that list included a "dispute over WMD inspections." It's evidence that the administration was seeking a pretense for war.

All this and more on Monday night.   Hopefully MSNBC will make it available online, too.  We'll continue to pay for the idiocy of the Iraq War for a generation, economically, morally, and politically.  Bush needs to be in a gated prison, not a gated community in Texas.

Tune in.

Your Stopped Clock Is Right Twice A Day Alert

Even Rand Paul and Mitch The Turtle have to mathematically be right on something once every couple of years, and their open support of bringing hemp farming to Kentucky appears to be that magical moment of pure enlightened greed.

While most Republican members of Congress have been lukewarm at best to the prospect of legalizing marijuana, senators introduced a bipartisan measure this week to legalize industrial hemp. Riding on the passage of a recent Kentucky Senate bills to ease hemp growing, the state’s Republican senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul joined Oregon Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden in introducing a bill to legalize production of the strain of cannabis used in the production of goods.

Hemp is a plant in the cannabis family with significantly lower levels of the psychoactive component, THC, than most varieties that are smoked or consumed. It is used to make textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed and other products, according to NORML. Hemp is nonetheless lumped in with all other cannabis products, which are classified as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, the most restrictive of the five schedules designated for those substances considered dangerous with no currently accepted medical value.

The federal bill would classify hemp as a regular plant as long as the THC content was low enough, and Kentucky seems to be pretty eager to be among the first states to cash in on hemp, along with Oregon.  Now, for Mitch the Turtle to go along with it, there's got to be some ridiculous profit in it for him, and bringing hemp-based industries to the state at least would be the first thing Mitch has done in years to actually create jobs instead of shipping them to Ohio, Indiana, or China.

We'll see where this all goes.
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