LOOKING FOR LIFE BEYOND CABLE NEWS AND FINDING THAT RESISTANCE IS FUTILE
You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy. But you cannot have both.
- Louis Brandeis
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
- Chinese Proverb
Well, look who came to dinner!
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Monthly Archives: March 2013
Did anyone else know that Shout goes back this far and was recorded by The Shangri-Las??? I certainly didn’t. (Shep is still in love with Mary Weiss from Queens it seems . . . )
If you’ve had occasion to use a Federal government website to get information – personal or other – you know how good these sites are. They’re intuitive, have rational architecture and are easy for the user to navigate. No dead ends. They do, as did ‘Brownie’ in George W’s memorable words, a ‘great job’.
And then there are the service corporations we all rely on – like Comcast. I’ve never had a pleasant experience with them online. Finding info is difficult because all the ‘buy more stuff from us’ gets in the way. Using their Search function leads to Google as often as it does to a relevant link on their own site. They clearly aren’t interested in servicing existing customers.
Oddly, they do a better job on the phone. I’ve mostly been able to get through to someone, usually the right person and they do try to help. But online they’re just awful.
Today I tried to sign on – something I’ve done dozens of times over the years – but my PIN was rejected. Doesn’t match their records they say. It’s nonsense, but that hardly matters since I can’t get in.
I clicked the ‘Help with Pin’ link – the message says they will email or send via the USPS (really!) within five business days. FIVE BUSINESS DAYS!
I’m speechless (not really). But F-R-E-E-D-O-M.
This is pretty big news. It’s also very good news.
AMMAN—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan spoke by telephone Friday, after a prolonged effort by President Barack Obama and his aides to overcome a deep chill that had settled into the relationship between Israel and Turkey.
Despite being a majority-Muslim country, Turkey had a cooperative relationship with Israel for years. But it soured in 2010 . . . .due primarily to the Israeli raid on a Turkish-registered vessel carrying activists who said they were trying to take aid supplies to Gaza. Nine Turkish citizens were killed in the raid.
. . . Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan during their conversation Friday and acknowledged “operational mistakes” during the raid. Erdogan accepted the apology . . .
The Israeli government confirmed the apology in a statement and said the two leaders also agreed to normalize relations by dispatching ambassadors again and, on Turkey’s part, cancelling legal charges against Israeli forces.
Details are here about Israel’s 2010 raid on the flotilla, which was delivering relief supplies to Gaza. Nine of the activists aboard were killed.
If you’ve been around here for a while you may have had some dialogue with Bill Tchakirides of Under the LobsterScope. He hasn’t been around lately so I just went over to say hi and found a post from his wife. Bill has brain cancer and is now in the hospice program. He’s still alert and looks forward to visits and comments. So if you know this nice man, stop over and let Ellen know we’re thinking of him.
In previous posts on this tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I failed to mention the Prince of Darkness, Richard Perle. He called early, often and urgently for us to send our young people to die in Iraq. By the time Bush got into office, Perle was on the official Iraq War Marketing Team. On The Dish, Andrew Sullivan reminded us and quotes Pearle in an interview ten years on:
Montagne: Ten years later, nearly 5,000 American troops dead, thousands more with wounds, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead or wounded. When you think about this, was it worth it?
Perle: I’ve got to say I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done with the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t a decade later go back and say we shouldn’t have done that.
Perle was an early member of PNAC calling for a ‘new American Century” and the removal of Saddam.
From David Corn in Mother Jones:
Perle began calling for war in Iraq nanoseconds after September 11. He told CNN, “Even if we cannot prove to the standard that we enjoy in our own civil society they are involved, we do know, for example, that Saddam Hussein has ties to Osama bin Laden. That can be documented.” In 2002, he suggested a war against Iraq would be a cakewalk: “It isn’t going to be over in 24 hours, but it isn’t going to be months either.” He asserted Saddam was “working feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons.” He claimed the post-invasion reconstruction in Iraq would be self-financing. He got everything wrong.
And still he said: “You can’t a decade later go back and say we shouldn’t have done that.”
Maybe he can’t. We can.
By the way, Sullivan himself was an early and ardent supporter of the Iraq invasion. He’s been tripping all over himself in the last recent years saying he was wrong and apologizing for that. But my oh my how he did once love that war. He proved it by damning – over and over again in strong language – those who would dare oppose the war likening such opposition to anti-Semitism and calls for American defeat. He wasn’t just wrong – as he admits – he nearly called the left traitors.
And like many at the time – and right up to today – he claimed that opposing the war was equivalent to morally condoning Saddam’s record of human right abuses.
This lazy form of moral equivalence is not rare among the radical left in this country. But it is based on a profound moral abdication: the refusal to see that a Stalinist dictatorship that murders its own civilians, that sends its troops into battle with a gun pointed at their heads, that executes POWs, that stores and harbors chemical weapons, that defies 12 years of U.N. disarmament demands, that has twice declared war against its neighbors, and that provides a safe haven for terrorists of all stripes, is not the moral equivalent of the United States under President George W. Bush. There is, in fact, no comparison whatever. That is not jingoism or blind patriotism or propaganda. It is the simple undeniable truth. And once the left starts equating legitimate acts of war to defang and depose a deadly dictator with unprovoked terrorist attacks on civilians, it has lost its mind, not to speak of its soul.
Really? Sullivan never apologized for that part. Here’s his March 2003 archive; lots of nasty stuff.
As I said below about Wolfowitz, the ones who got it wrong still occupy positions of influence. They may be scorned on this tenth anniversary, but mostly they’re in the background making money and calling always for more war, war, war. It’s what they do.
Sorry FOXers, this isn’t about ‘envy’ or whatever your current word is.This is danger, a threat the future of the nation.
What David Frum called the conservative entertainment complex continues to dismiss and even mock any expressed concern about income inequality in the United States. They honestly don’t know what they’re talking about. This is one of the very best explanatory videos I’ve ever watched. It’s pretty viral right now, so you may have seen it. If not, take the full six minutes to watch; every moment of this is clear, precise, informative and ultimately of course quite alarming.
Any country that lets this continue dooms itself to oligarchy, to instability, civic unrest . . . a nasty future awaits and denying it doesn’t make it not so.
h/t friend Brian. (Nice to see you at the theatre too!)
Glory be! Comes yet another chapter in the GOP’s endless obsession with genitals. And teh sex. And all the other stuff that they shall not name, because the words are dirty, dirty, dirty.
After the City of Phoenix AZ passed comprehensive nondiscrimination protections, a state congress critter saw the threats hidden in its dangerous language and stepped up to protect the citizenry from its government.
. . . Rep. John Kavanagh (R) is not pleased that transgender people will be protected when using the correct bathroom, and so he has introduced a new bill to ban them from doing just that.
Kavanagh’s [new amendment] prohibits a person from entering a “public restroom, bathroom, shower, bath, dressing room, or locker room” if the sex designation of that facility does not match the individual’s birth certificate. He defended his “show your papers to pee” bill in an interview with 12 News Phoenix:
KAVANAGH: The city of Phoenix has crafted a bill that . . . raises the specter of people who want to go into those opposite sex facilities not because they’re transgender, but because they’re weird.
Always worrying about teh sex stuff.
And so it began ten years ago tomorrow.
This week Brown University (another bastion of liberal lies and anyway, it’s un-American since it was founded before the American Revolution) published a comprehensive study of the costs – in blood and treasure – of our adventurous invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq. (The full report is here. It’s broken down by subject – dollars, lives, politics etc.)
According to the report, the war has killed at least 190,000 people, including
men and women in uniform, contractors, and civilians and will cost the United
States $2.2 trillion.
Among the group’s main findings:
- More than 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence in Iraq have been civilians — an estimated 134,000. This number does not account for indirect deaths due to increased vulnerability to disease or injury as a result of war-degraded conditions. That number is estimated to be several times higher.
- The Iraq War will ultimately cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion. Because the Iraq war appropriations were funded by borrowing, cumulative interest through 2053 could amount to more than $3.9 trillion.
- Th $2.2 trillion figure includes care for veterans who were injured in the war in Iraq, which will cost the United States almost $500 billion through 2053.
- The total of U.S. service members killed in Iraq is 4,488. At least 3,400 U.S. contractors have died as well, a number often under-reported.
- Terrorism in Iraq increased dramatically as a result of the invasion and tactics and fighters were exported to Syria and other neighboring countries.
- Iraq’s health care infrastructure remains devastated from sanctions and war. More than half of Iraq’s medical doctors left the country during the 2000s, and tens of thousands of Iraqi patients are forced to seek health care outside the country.
- The $60 billion spent on reconstruction for Iraq has not gone to rebuilding infrastructure such as roads, health care, and water treatment systems, but primarily to the military and police. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has found massive fraud, waste, and abuse of reconstruction funds.
Dont know if they touch on this, but neither electricity nor oil production has reached pre-war levels yet. And there is that business of Iraq now being a Shia ruled country aligned with Iran. But Cheney et al got their blood. So there’s that.
I was just starting to enjoy this . . . the ‘oh let me do that’, the ‘we’ll go to the store for you’. Sweet. But . . . a phone call from the radiologist just now delivers a final verdict, the good news they say.
The fractured elbow is not fractured. So roll up the ace bandages, off with the splint. No plaster of paris appointment in my morning.
And I had just mastered ‘sweeping’ the lanai with the leaf blower. Which, by the way, is how I shall do it forevermore.
Over at Buzzfeed, responding to the urgent yet eternal need to fill space with any and all arcana the little webloggers can think up . . . they’ve morphed everyone’s favorite cable talking heads so we have an O’Reilly/Maddow, an S.E. Cupp/Toure (one of the better ones) and on . . . missing from the fun are Matthews, Hannity, a few others. Here’s my favorite – it really works!
A few hours before his death, I was alone with my father in a small cubicle off the Emergency Room. He was on a gurney and I on the only chair. I sang this song to him.
POSTED BY ORHAN
Moe wants you all to know that she’s under the weather—a fractured elbow–and will be posting infrequently for a while; a Saint Patrick’s Day post is a strong possibility, however. Elvis bless her, and let’s hope she heals quickly.
Republican Governor Rick Snyder of Illinois – adored by the new Right – chooses Kevyn Orr as Emergency Manager of Detroit. Very good. Smart man. Chosen why? Chosen because he did it for GM and Snyder wanted the best.
Uh-oh . . . wasn’t there a certain media narrative in the way-back machine about how the auto bailout was a disaster?
What’s a FOX pundit to do? How can Limbaugh talk his way around this one? Eh. You know he will – child’s play for he who can, and brilliantly does, justify absolutely any flip-flop as long as it’s his own or committed by any of his ideological allies (a cast which also changes over time adding yet another layer to the challenge of justification, but Rusty is up to it. No one does it better.)
It’s done and the new pope is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, age 76, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, to be called Pope Francis.
Like Drum (inventor of Friday Catblogging at Cal Pundit, founding blogger of Political Animal at Washington Monthly and now at Mother Jones – I’m a long time fan), I too remember Wolfowitz. I watched him testify to Congress advocating for the invasion of a sovereign nation. He told them war in Iraq was unlikely to cost more than three billion, and, anyway, Iraq could easily repay that from oil revenues he said. Remember? A great moment in Congressional testimony. Drum sums it up:
Paul Wolfowitz’s “fanciful” testimony before Congress, of course, had come a week earlier, when he told Congress that Eric Shinseki’s postwar troop estimates were “wildly off the mark”; that there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq; that Iraqi civilians would welcome an American-led liberation force; that “even countries like France will have a strong interest in assisting Iraq in reconstruction”; and that published estimates of the costs of war and rebuilding were way too high. It was an epic tour de force of wrongness, quite possibly the wrongest war prediction since Allied generals figured that troops would be “home by Christmas” after the start of World War I.
I want to be sure you got this part: he said there was “no history of ethnic strike in Iraq”. I could say that all day and weep. Did any of those Congress critters listening that day remember the 1991 Gulf War? Or the Shia slaughter in the South? Guess not – heads nodded, guns were loaded and boys went off to die and 18 months later Iraq was on fire in an ethnic Civil War.
But Wolfowiz is still in the fold, still considered to be a serious person. He was even appointed – by Bush – to lead the World Bank. A prophet once anointed is always a prophet I guess, no matter how reality later unfolds.
I can’t remember him without also remembering Ahmad Chalabi. He would be Iraq’s savior and leader said Wolfowitz. He has a great following inside Iraq said Wolfowitz. they’ll flock to his side nad support him said Wolfowitz. (At the time, Chalabi was wanted for banking fraud around the Middle East, but no matter), he was a savior and would be loved said Wolfowitz.
And so the great and imaginary hero of Iraqi flew back to his homeland, kissed the soil, and the Iraqis said “Ahmad who”? And it got so much better – from Evan Thomas at the time:
For the hard-liners at the Defense Department, the raid came as a surprise. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his senior deputies, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, got the news from the media. When Iraqi police, guarded by American GIs, burst into the home and offices of Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress, looking for evidence of kidnapping, embezzlement, torture and theft, the men who run the Pentagon were left asking some uncomfortable questions.
Until at least very recently, Chalabi had been the darling of these top Pentagon officials. How could it be that the men who run the most powerful military in the world could not know that their own troops were about to run a raid on a man once regarded as the hope of free Iraq?
Before the invasion, at the 2003 State of the Union, Chalabi sat smugly next to Laura Bush as her war-hungry husband named the ‘axis of evil’ and set the stage for the disaster to come. Great moment. Good times.
Sarah is hustling to rake in those last dollars before she fades entirely into obscurity. And how better than a book declaring her committment to stopping those who have declared the ‘War on Christmas’.
Now, those who declared that War were just down the hall from Sara in the Fox News Channel marketing department . Perhaps she didn’t know that. But as she’s recently been fired, I’m going to guess that they thought it prudent to stop her before she came through on her “committment to stop” them.
From her big announcement:
Palin also “will share personal memories and traditions from her own Christmases and illustrate the reasons why the celebration of Jesus Christ’s nativity is the centerpiece of her faith.”
Maybe. But that’s not the centerpiece of Christianity.
(I’m climbing into bed now and biting my knuckles to stop the screaming.)
In the last recent months, credible media have begun treating Joe Scarborough as a serious thinker with something to say. He’s penning op-eds in The New York Times and The Washington Post and appearing on Sunday news (not a high standard, but he’s there).
Most recently he engaged in an infamous exchange with Paul Krugman on the Charlie Rose show where, as if hosting the Tim Matthews Memorial Wanna-Be Gottcha’ Competition, he went after Krugman in an unusual and nearly hostile exchange. (Rose usually keeps that sort of argument from developing because his audience isn’t into it. But he didn’t that night.)
I watch Morning Joe if I watch morning TV (hey, it’s a step up from Honey Boo Boo, so give me credit for that). What I’ve seen, regularly, is the Scarborough routine wherein he instantly adopts as his own whatever his guest has just said. He does this almost every day. And heads around the table nod. Irksome.
And now this escalation, so I ask: what outside entity is creating this new persona. Who is crafting – maybe for network TV, maybe for politics yet again – the 2013 edition of Joe Scarborough? Because I don’t think he’s steering that ship.
Harking back to the early days of Whatever Works, a reprise from 2010 and one of the best slow-dancers for the almost-pubescent set:
Too many cocktails perhaps – how else to explain these clips. I always saw the woman as an opportunist (a smart one, she identified an emerging market early on and fed it with titles like Slander(!), Treason(!)*, Godless(!), Demonic(!) and Mugged (by guess who!) among other illustrious works.
Judge for yourself. (And what ever happened to her? I’ve not seen her around.)
* For anyone who’s forgotten, this one was the defense of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
California to Florida? Five hours in the air – perfectly acceptable, in fact a marvel.
18 Hours of air and airport time over two days for that trip – oh my aching back. (I did accept, indeed quietly and with grace, that on the first flight a 300 pound man chose the middle seat to my left. It happens.)