Daily Archive: 07/29/2010

Jul 29 2010

Karl Rove Gives Obama His Approval

Just what every Democratic President wants the approval of Karl Rove, aka Turdblossom, for the Afghanistan War

Turdblossom Tweets:

Victory in Afghanistan requires two things: the right strategy and the resolve to see it through. http://bit.ly/da0JrQ

The link is to his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and what he thinks is missing from Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan, “Victory” . LOL

Mr. Obama has acted impressively so far on Afghanistan. He changed strategy based on facts on the ground, increased our troops by tens of thousands, and picked exactly the right man to lead our military into battle.

The president has the right pieces in place. Now he needs to signal to the world that he believes in the cause with all his heart. Let’s hope he does.

As Glen Greenwald points out Karl  had 7 years to get achieve “victory” and is now “claiming with a straight face that he knows the key to “Victory in Afghanistan””.

Obama is so far down the rabbit hole that even Karl Rove is saying he’s doing a good job.

Jul 29 2010

Journolist: The Right’s Tempest in a Tea Cup

In case you thought that the “Journolist” controversy over a now defunct, left leaning e-mail list created by Ezra Klein when he was 22 and working for The American Prospect, which was the source of the leaked e-mails by Washington Post right wing blogger, David Weigel that got him fired, well, it still rages among journalists from the left and the right. As Joe Conason points out it isn’t the left that has the problem it is the right wing journalists who have their knickers in a knot.

Joe Conason: On the team: The stunning hypocrisy of Journolist’s critics

They speak at GOP banquets. They meet to plot in Grover Norquist’s office. Yet the wingers find a listserv shocking

Nothing much can be learned from the manufactured media uproar over Journolist, except as a case study of how the right-wing propaganda machine still dominates America’s daily narrative — and how conservative journalists remain astonishingly exempt from the standards they are pretending to uphold.

Look no further than the outrage feigned by two of the nation’s most prominent right-wing journalists, Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard (and Fox News) and John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, both of whom could barely contain their indignation over the revelation that a few hundred progressive writers and academics engaged in political discussion via e-mail. Having read a single Journolist e-mail that suggested tarring him as a “racist,” Barnes suddenly detects a departure from “traditional standards” :

  When I’m talking to people from outside Washington, one question inevitably comes up: Why is the media so liberal? The question often reflects a suspicion that members of the press get together and decide on a story line that favors liberals and Democrats and denigrates conservatives and Republicans.

   My response has usually been to say, yes, there’s liberal bias in the media, but there’s no conspiracy. The liberal tilt is an accident of nature. The media disproportionately attracts people from a liberal arts background who tend, quite innocently, to be politically liberal … Now, after learning I’d been targeted for a smear attack by a member of an online clique of liberal journalists, I’m inclined to amend my response. Not to say there’s a media conspiracy, but at least to note that hundreds of journalists have gotten together, on an online listserv called JournoList, to promote liberalism and liberal politicians at the expense of traditional journalism.

   My guess is that this and other revelations about JournoList will deepen the distrust of the national press.

More:

Jul 29 2010

Future? What Future?


These are two of the cheerful passages in the article. If you’ve never read the whole thing I’d recommend it…

The Delusion Revolution:
We’re on the Road to Extinction and in Denial


By Robert Jensen

Imagine that you are riding comfortably on a sleek train. You look out the window and see that not too far ahead the tracks end abruptly and that the train will derail if it continues moving ahead. You suggest that the train stop immediately and that the passengers go forward on foot. This will require a major shift in everyone’s way of traveling, of course, but it appears to you to be the only realistic option; to continue barreling forward is to court catastrophic consequences. But when you propose this course of action, others who have grown comfortable riding on the train say, “Well, we like the train, and arguing that we should get off is not realistic.”

In the contemporary United States, we are trapped in a similar delusion. We are told that it is “realistic” to capitulate to the absurd idea that the systems in which we live are the only systems possible or acceptable because some people like them and wish them to continue. But what if our current level of First World consumption is exhausting the ecological basis for life? Too bad — the only “realistic” options are those that take that lifestyle as non-negotiable. What if real democracy is not possible in a nation-state with 300 million people? Too bad — the only “realistic” options are those that take this way of organizing a polity as immutable. What if the hierarchies on which our lives are based are producing extreme material deprivation for the oppressed and a kind of dull misery among the privileged? Too bad — the only “realistic” options are those that accept hierarchy as inevitable.

Let me offer a different view of reality: (1) We live in a system that, taken as a whole, is unsustainable, not only over the long haul but in the near term, and (2) unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.

How’s that for a profound theoretical insight? Unsustainable systems can’t be sustained.

Jul 29 2010

Punting the Pundits

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Is this what the American people really voted for? More war?

Robert Scheer at Truthdig

Thank God for the Whistle-Blowers

What WikiLeaks did was brilliant journalism, and the bleating critics from the president on down are revealing just how low a regard they have for the truth. As with Richard Nixon’s rage against the publication of the Pentagon Papers, our leaders are troubled not by the prospect of these revelations endangering troops but rather endangering their own political careers. It is our president who unnecessarily sacrifices the lives of our soldiers and not those in the press who let the public in on the folly of the mission itself.

What the documents exposed is the depth of chicanery that surrounds the Afghanistan occupation at every turn because we have stumbled into a regional quagmire of such dark and immense proportions that any attempt to connect this failed misadventure with a recognizable U.S. national security interest is doomed. What is revealed on page after page is that none of the local actors, be they labeled friend or foe, give a whit about our president’s agenda. They are focused on prizes, passions and causes that are obsessively homegrown.

Gaius Publius at AMERICAblog

Ellsberg: Obama ‘has indicted more people for leaks than all previous presidents together’

Daniel Ellsberg is asked to comment on a clip of press secretary Robert Gibbs complaining about the leaks:

   

KING: Daniel, do you understand why Mr. Gibbs, representing the president, is so upset?

   ELLSBERG: Well, he’s very upset in part because he’s working for a president who has indicted more people now for leaks than all previous presidents put together. And two of those people — Thomas Drake and Shamai Leibowitz — have been indicted for acts that were undertaken under Bush, which [the] George W. Bush administration chose not to indict.

   So this is an administration that’s more concerned about preventing transparency, I would say, than its predecessor which I’m very sorry to hear. As somebody who voted for Obama and expect to vote for him again, despite all this.

Yikes. That’s all – yikes. (Video of the Ellsberg intervew is available here.)

Jul 29 2010

Four Little Words

Has anyone wondered what happened to FISA reform that President Obama promised to do after he took office? Well if this is his idea of reform, he is no better than the gang that occupied the Executive for the last 8 years.

In today’s Washington Post, the White House proposal would ease FBI access to records of Internet activity by adding four little words, electronic communication transactional records, the government will have access to the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user’s browser history. The government lawyers are claiming that it would not grant access to content. If you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you.

From emptywheel at FDL:

Make no mistake. This is one of the most important pieces of civil liberties news in a long time. The Obama Administration is asking Congress to sanction the collection of internet records without a warrant that has been going on-the kind of shit they used to do without a warrant, until people expressed their opposition.

But then Democrats took over and now they want legal sanction and now-Voila, a request that presumably provides cover.

As Glen Greenwald said, “One Point, contrary to blatant strawman incessantly raised by Obama loyalists that the criticisms are NOT grounded in the complaints that Obama has failed to act quickly enough to usher in progressive policies but instead are based on the horrendous policies which Obama himself has affirmatively and explicitly adopted as his own, many of which directly contradict what he vowed to do as President.”

Obama has gone further than Bush by ordering the assassination of an American citizen abroad without due process and now this. Kevin Drum at Mother Jones said it best last night

You know, if I’d wanted Dick Cheney as president I would have just voted for him.

Jul 29 2010

On This Day in History: July 29

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

On this day in 1858, the Harris Treaty was signed between the United States and Japan was signed at the Ryosen-ji in Shimoda.  Also known as the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, it opened the ports of  Edo and four other Japanese cities to American trade and granted extraterritoriality to foreigners, among other stipulations.

The treaty followed the 1854 Convention of Kanagawa, which granted coaling rights for U.S. ships and allowed for a U.S. Consul in Shimoda. Although Commodore Matthew Perry secured fuel for U.S. ships and protection, he left the important matter of trading rights to Townsend Harris, another U.S. envoy who negotiated with the Tokugawa Shogunate; the treaty is therefore often referred to as the Harris Treaty. It took two years to break down Japanese resistance, but with the threat of looming British demands for similar privileges, the Tokugawa government eventually capitulated.

Treaties of Amity and Commerce between Japan and Holland, England, France, Russia and the United States, 1858.

The most important points were:

   * exchange of diplomatic agents

   * Edo, Kobe, Nagasaki, Niigata, and Yokohama‘s opening to foreign trade as ports

   * ability of United States citizens to live and trade in those ports

   * a system of phttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterritoriality extraterritoriality] that provided for the subjugation of foreign residents to the laws of their own consular courts instead of the Japanese law system

   * fixed low import-export duties, subject to international control

The agreement served as a model for similar treaties signed by Japan with other foreign countries in the ensuing weeks. These Unequal Treaties curtailed Japanese sovereignty for the first time in its history; more importantly, it revealed Japan’s growing weakness, and was seen by the West as a pretext for possible colonisation of Japan. The recovery of national status and strength became an overarching priority for the Japanese, with the treaty’s domestic consequences being the end of Bakufu (Shogun) control and the establishment of a new imperial government.

Jul 29 2010

Prime Time

No Keith, Rachel.  The Boys are back in town.

8 – 2 last night, much more entertaining than a no-hitter.  Jon, I’m going to give you some personal advice, once that beard starts itching in a week or two you won’t be able to get rid of it fast enough.

Men of Honor is good, but not so good I’d watch it twice in a row.  Charlie is the Johnny Depp version.  New Mythbusters @ 9- Bottle Bash.

Later-

  • AMCTroy (Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?)
  • SciFiHaven
  • Turner ClassicsNetwork
  • USABurn Notice (this week’s)

Dave has Michael Keaton and The Flaming Lips.  Jon has Robert L. O’Connell, Stephen Elon Musk.  Alton does Molasses.

Ice Station Impossible is the introduction of Professor (voice of Stephen Colbert) and Sally Impossible, and Pete White and Billy Quizboy.  It includes the death of Race Bannon (Yeah, they never show that part on TV.)

Does Random House have some kind of deal where it’s authors can’t be listed in Wikipedia?

Jul 29 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 100 days in, Gulf spill leaves ugly questions unanswered

by Andrew Gully, AFP

2 hrs 9 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster reached the 100-day mark Wednesday with hopes high that BP is finally on the verge of permanently sealing its ruptured Macondo well.

But years of legal wrangles and probes lie ahead even after the well is killed, and myriad questions remain about the long-term effects of the massive oil spill on wildlife, the environment and the livelihoods of Gulf residents.

BP aims to start the “static kill” on Sunday or Monday, pumping heavy drilling mud and cement down through the cap at the top of the well that has sealed it for the past two weeks.