Elvis Has Left The Building

September 15, 2012 at 11:24 am | Posted in Foreign Affairs, Obama!, politics straight up, Reality Bites, State Department, terrorism | Leave a comment
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When I saw the story teaser — “Why Can’t Muslims Remain Calm?” — I was expecting more “they’re subhuman” bullshit that’s popular again after the killings of Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador to Libya, and three members of his staff. The teaser misled me. This is the gist of the author’s argument:

Tombs of the Mamluk Sultanate (photo c1867-1899, courtesy of Library of Congress)

“This week’s events have certainly reminded us that there are Americans who hate Muslims, and there are Muslims who hate Americans. And if friendship between Egypt and the United States is contingent upon no American ever saying anything that will offend the religious sensibilities of Egyptians, then it is time to declare that friendship dead. President Obama can no more control anti-Muslim bigotry in America than President Mohammed Morsi can put a lid on anti-Americanism in his country. But the haters don’t have to win the day. In this, Egyptians (and, more importantly, their political leaders) could take a lesson from the United States.”

While I believe the author is correct that the American government led by President Obama has reacted in a measured way to recent events, he gives Americans too much credit. America only appears to be better behaved.

Just as politicians and political actors in Egypt and Libya are playing on emotions to control power, the Bush/Cheney administration used the emotions of the American people after the attacks of September 11, 2001 to justify what turned out to be an enormously expensive (both in money and lives) yet ultimately failed attempt to move Iraq’s assets into the hands of a small group of people. Americans aren’t marching in the streets, throwing rocks at foreign embassies, but we don’t have to. We outsource the violence. We can — and do — sit comfortably in our Barca loungers while drones drop bombs on the people we hate. Americans are, in the end, no more adult than Egyptians or Libyans. We are just as easily manipulated by those who foment hate as a means to their particular end.

Why is the Obama Administration negotiating with terrorists?

November 17, 2010 at 10:15 am | Posted in Bush, Foreign Affairs, Obama!, politics straight up, Reality Bites, terrorism | Leave a comment
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"Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland. Gas demonstration. Reconditioning gas masks at the gas mask factory." 1942 June. Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats still don’t understand that Republicans don’t care if they destroy the country, whether it be by foreign or domestic means.

Because a police state is so much better than a nanny state.

Well, better for the terrorists anyway.

Relationship FAIL

November 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Bush, terrorism | Leave a comment
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"Mother listening to son read. Sarasota trailer park, Sarasota, Florida." January 1941. Marion Post Wolcott, photographer. Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

(NYPost) George W. Bush’s pro-life stance solidified when he was a teenager in Texas — after his mother suffered a devastating miscarriage and showed him the fetus in a jar, the former president said in an extraordinary interview that airs tonight.

“She said to her teenage kid, ‘Here’s the fetus,’ ” the shockingly candid Bush told NBC’s Matt Lauer, gesturing as if he were holding the jar during the TV chat, a DVD of which The Post exclusively obtained.

“There’s no question that affected me, a philosophy that we should respect life,” said the former president, who had to drive his distraught mother to the hospital at the time.

[snip]

But “the purpose of the story wasn’t to try show the evolution of a pro-life point of view,” Bush insisted to Lauer.

“It was really to show how my mom and I developed a relationship.”

How stupid are Democrats?

July 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Bush, civil rights, law, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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Pretty fucking stupid.

Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Jacksonville, Illinois. Between 1880 and 1901. (Library of Congress)

Even a Fox News legal analyst — former New Jersey district judge Andrew Napolitano — thinks Bush and Cheney should have been indicted for “for torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrants.” But the Obama administration, not wanting to be seen “politicizing politics,” turned its back on the rule of law, figuring that if a Democratic administration didn’t pursue criminal charges against the Bush, Cheney and other members of their administration, somehow Republicans would feel constrained from attempting to impeach another Democratic president for lying about getting his cock sucked, or some other manufactured hysteria.

Darrell Issa is making plans now to “investigate” the “corrupt” Obama administration.

What have Democrats accomplished by not doing the right thing and criminally indicting Bush and Cheney for crimes against humanity? Nothing, except to prove again that nice guys finish last. As an added bonus, they license future Republicans administrations to pick up where Bush/Cheney left off.

Did no one learn anything from the ill-conceived pardoning of Richard Nixon?

This is perhaps the most egregious example of Democrats making a huge concession in exchange for bupkis, but as we have seen with health care and financial reform, it’s the way this administration rolls.

Remembering Ronald Reagan (February 6, 1911– June 5, 2004)

June 4, 2010 at 1:45 am | Posted in Bush, God machine, Historical, palin, politics straight up, Reality Bites | 2 Comments
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St. Ronnie

Campaign poster, 1984 (Library of Congress)

What we saw during the Bush/Cheney administration was not a fluke or an anomaly, but the murderous crest of an authoritarian/plutocrat movement that was born in sin and began its aggressive descent into ignorance, bigotry and willful blindness not five months or five years ago…but was well underway 40 years ago, was radically amplified by a man named Ronald Reagan, and had been gaining barbaric force and momentum ever since.

It was, after all, none other than Ronald Reagan — the very Fountainhead of all Conservative Good Things — who first blew up the deficit. Wheee!

It was Ronald Reagan who rode to power over the bodies of civil rights workers, in the back of the imaginary Cadillac of a fictional welfare queen, to the thunderous applause of Klansmen, Birchers and theocrats.

It was Reagan who kicked the door open and invited the crazies onto the dance floor. Reagan, who opened the floodgates to the GOP lining its electoral pockets by demonizing gays. And uppity women. And minorities. And imaginary hippies.

It was Reagan who crushed residential mental health programs, programs to provide legal help to poor people, food programs, unions, you name it.

It was Reagan who unleashed Total Class Warfare aimed squarely at those citizens who were poorest, weakest and least-able-to-defend themselves.

It was Reagan who began the Republican War on the Middle Class that is now approaching its Gettysburg.

It was Conservative icon Saint Ronald Reagan who supercharged the efforts to methodically transformation of the Party of Lincoln into the Party of Jefferson Davis begun under Conservative Richard Nixon. Who oversaw the cynical escalation of the cultural war from Conventional to Nuclear.

It was Reagan who conducted a flatly illegal war and told his critics to fuck off when his crimes were discovered. It was Reagan who dallied with terrorists and laundered their money to pay for that illegal war. And it was Reagan’s vice president who 20 fucking years ago turned the despicable Lee Atwater loose to run one of the most nakedly racist campaigns in modern presidential history, and who then went on to make sure that all of Reagan’s criminal co-conspirators got pardons.

All of which and so very much more has been whisked down the memory hole by Mr. Sullivan, because his particular shell game only works as long as everyone agrees to pretend that the Palinites, the Bushies, the Cheneyites and all the other slavering, wingnut zombie hordes from which Mr. Sullivan now cringes in horror are some random freaks of recent vintage …

It’s also a function of Fox News creating a national ideology through a national propaganda arm of the RNC. Well, they will reap what they sow. At least I hope so if real conservatism is going to one day find a comeback in American political discourse.

Sister Sarah

… and not a generation of stunted, smug, pig-ignorant Conservatives who were deliberately spawned and suckled by the Republican Party in the radioactive wasteland created by Mr. Sullivan’s beloved Reagan Revolution.

Because any Acknowledgment of Paternity which establishes Ronald Reagan’s as the political father of George Bush, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin would completely fuck up Mr. Sullivan’s lucrative scam.

So, shhhhhh!

Driftglass, 2/8/10

Attention Eric Cantor: This is what “adult, responsible leadership” looks lke

April 18, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Bush, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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Vodpod videos no longer available.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) delivered the Republicans’ weekly address yesterday and among the many idiotic things that came out of his mouth was that if only voters would give them another chance, Republicans would provide “adult, responsible leadership.”

Well, Mr. Cantor, apparently you were asleep from January 2001 through January 2009. If the many disasters caused by Republicans during those years is any example of what they would do if given another opportunity, I hope Americans are smart enough to decline to give them that opportunity any time soon.

Thanks, Crooks & Liars, for the video!

“Hey, don’t look at me!”

April 7, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Economy, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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'Don't put up any resistance! Just keep in step' Cartoon shows a small man, labeled "Congress," being hustled away from the Capitol by three hulking men in fedoras and black coats. All three men have President Richard Nixon's features and are labeled "Executive Privilege," "Impounding of Funds," and "Veto Power." After Nixon won re-election with a huge majority in 1972, he announced an ambitious domestic program that he called the "New American Revolution." Determined to destroy any opposition, he used all the weapons at his disposal to force Congress to accept his plans. This included the pocket veto of 11 bills after Congress adjourned in 1972 and the impoundment of funds for programs enacted by Congress. In addition, he extended the principle of executive privilege, refusing to allow members of his staff to testify before Congressional committees, most notably the Watergate Committee chaired by Senator Sam Ervin. Many people feared these actions were causing an erosion of Congress's powers and a consequent increase in the powers of the president. 1973 April 13. Edmund S. Valtman, cartoonist (Library of Congress)

So Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chair from 1987 to 2006, is blaming his failures on the US Congress. It’s interesting then to read this comment made by Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald in a discussion on an Australian radio program on August 17, 2005:

“[Greenspan] was gearing up to do something about [the bubble]. He could see that it was way out of line, he could see that it was about to . .that it was carrying up the economy up to great heights, it was going to burst and the economy would be dashed to the ground, we’d be in recession, everyone would lose their money. He saw it unfolding exactly as it was going to, and we know that because we have the minutes of the Feds secret meetings, they published in full five years later. And he even went so far as to begin to warn about it, and you’ll remember he gave a famous speech where he said the markets were entering a period of ‘irrational exuberance’. But then something funny happened. After he gave that speech markets around the world took a tumble. But then Greenspan stopped on that agenda. He stopped warning about the bubble, he stopped shaping up to do something about it, and he switched and went over to the other side and became a cheerleader. Now, really the question you’re asking is why did he do that? What changed? And the short answer is, he played the politics, not the economics.”

Perhaps Mr. Greenspan would like to explain what happened five years ago that caused him to reverse his position on something he recognized as a serious threat to the economy. But I won’t be holding my breath waiting for an explanation, especially not an honest one.

It never ceases to amaze me how Republicans can go on and on about “personal responsibility” yet never seem to require it of themselves.

Thanks, Crooks & Liars.

Why do “conservatives” hate America?

February 8, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Bush, Historical, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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People made a lot of excuses for George W. Bush and his inability to speak coherently, but consider how successful he was at harming the country.

As the World Trade Center towers were burning in New York, Bush was in a Florida elementary school classroom reading “The Pet Goat."

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful – and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people – and neither do we.”

George W. Bush at a signing ceremony for a $417bn defense bill on August 5, 2004, in Washington DC

If Sarah Palin ever somehow manages to get herself installed in the Oval Office, you can bet the farm that she will deliver failure to a degree that will make Bush look like Washington, Lincoln and FDR all rolled into one.

“Now like a lot of you, perhaps, I have spent the last year thinking about how — how to best serve. How — How can I help our country? How can I make sure that I, that you, that we’re in a position of nobody being able to succeed?”

AFP/Getty photo by Jim Watson / October 13, 2008

Excerpt from Sarah Palin’s Keynote Speech at the Inaugural Tea Party Convention, February 6, 2010.

Chilcot Hearings on Iraq War

January 29, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Posted in Bush, Foreign Affairs, Historical, terrorism, torture | Leave a comment
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Ctesiphon, the imperial capital of the Arsacids and of the Sassanids, was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia, now Iraq. c1932 (Library of Congress)

Wufnik at Scholars and Rogues has been doing regular posts on the goings on at the Chilcot hearings on the Iraq war that are well worth a read.

The first post in which Wufnik talks about the inquiry is Christmas music (9)–Best English folk/indie/whatever Christmas album, then Stout Denial, More Chilcot, Blogging Blair and Blogging Blair (2).

The British Government has a website for the Iraq Inquiry that has video, transcripts and background documents.

Whose deficit?

January 15, 2010 at 11:29 am | Posted in Economy, Historical, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Blowing away the surplus

Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 31, no. 1576. 1887 March 5. (Library of Congress)

A recent Fox poll asked the question, “Who do you think is more responsible for the current state of the economy — President Obama, former President Bush or Congress?”

Six percent held President Obama responsible, 36 percent blamed Bush, 30 percent blamed Congress, 20 percent said it was some combination of the three, and 8 percent didn’t know.

Some people would say it’s not fair to blame Congress, but I do think those individuals who were members during the Bush administration rightfully deserve a share of responsibility. They were the ones, after all, who put Bush’s policies into action. It is nice to see though that despite the media saturated with fingers pointed at the current president, a very small number were buying.

David Axelrod has an op-ed in the WSJ where he lays out in simple, concise language the current state of affairs and how we got here.

The day the Bush administration took over from President Bill Clinton in 2001, America enjoyed a $236 billion budget surplus — with a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. When the Bush administration left office, it handed President Obama a $1.3 trillion deficit — and projected shortfalls of $8 trillion for the next decade. During eight years in office, the Bush administration passed two major tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest Americans, enacted a costly Medicare prescription-drug benefit and waged two wars, without paying for any of it.

How anyone can keep a straight face while pushing for a recommencing of the failed Republican policies that got us here is beyond me.

Thanks, Steve Benen!

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