12/03/2010 archive

Look Over Here. Nothing Is As It Appears

While the MSM is panting over President Obama’s unannounced visit to Bahgram Air Base in Afghanistan, his now canceled teleconferenced meeting with Afghan President Karzai and his address to the troops, the other important news that is getting lost in the frenzy.

Judging from the headlines, the media would have us all believe that the President’s Debt Commission (Cat Food Commission) had approved its final report.

Politico has since changed its headline from “Divided deficit group approves proposal” to the more accurate “Debt panel falls short on votes”

Both CNN and the NYT are touting that the report has bipartisan approval. They would like us to believe that a commission packed with deficit hawks determined to reduce the deficit on the backs of the middle class and the elderly is a great plan because the multimillionaires on the committee embraced it.

Then there is the news about jobs growth, or rather the lack of it, and the increase in unemployment numbers. The poor and unemployed are likely to stay that way and their numbers will grow between now and 2012 if the Republicans and blue dog Democrats have their way.

The Senate hearings on the repeal of DADT extended into it’s second day with some “heroes”, like Sen. Tester making really good argument for repeal now and the villains, like homophobic Sen. McCain who wants to hear from everyone in the military this will affect over the “next year”. Amazingly the biggest “hero” today was Defense Secretary Gates who told GOP Senators that “polling troops on policy decisions is a dangerous affront to our nation’s unbroken history of civilian control over the military”:

GATES: I can’t think of a single precedent in America history of doing a referendum of the American Armed Forces on a policy issue. Are you going to ask them if they want 15-month tours? Are you going to ask them if they want to be part of the surge in Iraq? That’s not the way our civilian-led military has ever worked in our entire history . . . I think in effect doing a referendum of the members of the Armed Forces on a policy matter is a very dangerous path.

Meanwhile, CNN and MSNBC are salivating over a photo-op visit to Afghanistan while Fox News just keeps spewing its usual twisting of myths and facts while babbling about ventriloquists.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is 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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Paul Krugman: Freezing Out Hope

Freezing Out HopeOn Monday, we got the answer: he announced a pay freeze for federal workers. This was an announcement that had it all. It was transparently cynical; it was trivial in scale, but misguided in direction; and by making the announcement, Mr. Obama effectively conceded the policy argument to the very people who are seeking – successfully, it seems – to destroy him.

So I guess we are, in fact, seeing what Mr. Obama is made of.

About that pay freeze: the president likes to talk about “teachable moments.” Well, in this case he seems eager to teach Americans something false.

Glenn Greenwald: The Moral Standards of WikiLeaks Critics

Time‘s Joe Klein writes this about the WikiLeaks disclosures:

I am tremendously concernced [sic] about the puerile eruptions of Julian Assange. . . . If a single foreign national is rounded up and put in jail because of a leaked cable, this entire, anarchic exercise in “freedom” stands as a human disaster. Assange is a criminal. He’s the one who should be in jail.

That’s quite a rigorous moral standard.  So let’s apply it elsewhere:

What about the most destructive “anarchic exercise in ‘freedom'” the planet has known for at least a generation:  the “human disaster” known as the attack on Iraq, which Klein supported?  That didn’t result in the imprisonment of “a single foreign national,” but rather the deaths of more than 100,000 innocent human beings, the displacement of millions more, and the destruction of a country of 26 million people.  Are those who supported that “anarchic exercise in ‘freedom'” — or at least those responsible for its execution — also “criminals who should be in jail”?

Eugene Robinson: Tax cut fight highlights Democrats’ missing convictions

Why did Republicans go to the trouble and expense of winning the midterm elections? It looks like they’re about to prove, once again, that you can get your way in Washington without a congressional majority – if you have a firm sense of purpose. Maybe the Democratic Party will find one someday.

Or maybe not. Sigh.

What has me exercised – okay, frothing – is the ongoing fight over the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which are set to expire at the end of the year. By all rights, this shouldn’t be a fight at all. The Republican position is so ludicrous that it beggars belief.

Dan Froomkin: An Example Of How Civil Political Discourse Threatens Modern Conservatism

WASHINGTON — The conventional wisdom among this city’s elite is that if liberals and conservatives would only sit down and actually listen to each other, they would find common ground somewhere in the middle.

Actually, it’s a belief that goes beyond conventional wisdom — it is an object of faith, the central tenet of the inside-the-Beltway religion known as High Broderism.

And it is most devoutly held when it comes to the subject of the national deficit — as demonstrated by the recent orgiastic coverage of President Obama’s deficit-hawk-heavy fiscal commission.

One of the latest attempts to support this position comes courtesy of , a group heavily funded by billionaire deficit propagandist Pete Peterson’s eponymous foundation. The group, which sponsored an exercise in deliberative democracy earlier this year, was out with a press release Thursday declaring: “LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES FIND COMMON GROUND ABOUT HOW TO RESOLVE NATIONAL DEBT.”

On This Day in History: December 3

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

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

December 3 is the 337th day of the year (338th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 28 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1947,A Streetcar Named Desire opened on Broadway.

Marlon Brando‘s famous cry of “STELLA!” first booms across a Broadway stage, electrifying the audience at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre during the first-ever performance of Tennessee Williams‘ play A Streetcar Named Desire.

The 23-year-old Brando played the rough, working-class Polish-American Stanley Kowalski, whose violent clash with Blanche DuBois (played on Broadway by Jessica Tandy), a Southern belle with a dark past, is at the center of Williams’ famous drama. Blanche comes to stay with her sister Stella (Kim Hunter), Stanley’s wife, at their home in the French Quarter of New Orleans; she and Stanley immediately despise each other. In the climactic scene, Stanley rapes Blanche, causing her to lose her fragile grip on sanity; the play ends with her being led away in a straitjacket.

Widely considered a landmark play, A Streetcar Named Desire deals with a culture clash between two iconic characters, Blanche DuBois, a fading relic of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski, a rising member of the industrial, urban working class.

The play presents Blanche DuBois, a fading but still-attractive Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly mask alcoholism and delusions of grandeur. Her poise is an illusion she presents to shield others (but most of all, herself) from her reality, and an attempt to make herself still attractive to new male suitors. Blanche arrives at the apartment of her sister Stella Kowalski in the French Quarter of New Orleans, on Elysian Fields Avenue; the local transportation she takes to arrive there includes a streetcar route named “Desire.” The steamy, urban ambiance is a shock to Blanche’s nerves. Blanche is welcomed with some trepidation by Stella, who fears the reaction of her husband Stanley. As Blanche explains that their ancestral southern plantation, Belle Reve in Laurel, Mississippi, has been “lost” due to the “epic fornications” of their ancestors, her veneer of self-possession begins to slip drastically. Here “epic fornications” may be interpreted as the debauchery of her ancestors which in turn caused them financial losses. Blanche tells Stella that her supervisor allowed her to take time off from her job as an English teacher because of her upset nerves, when in fact, she has been fired for having an affair with a 17-year-old student. This turns out not to be the only seduction she has engaged in-and, along with other problems, has led her to escape Laurel. A brief marriage marred by the discovery that her spouse, Allan Grey, was having a homosexual affair and his subsequent suicide has led Blanche to withdraw into a world in which fantasies and illusions blend seamlessly with reality.

In contrast to both the self-effacing and deferential Stella and the pretentious refinement of Blanche, Stella’s husband, Stanley Kowalski, is a force of nature: primal, rough-hewn, brutish and sensual. He dominates Stella in every way and is physically and emotionally abusive. Stella tolerates his primal behaviour as this is part of what attracted her in the first place; their love and relationship are heavily based on powerful-even animalistic-sexual chemistry, something that Blanche finds impossible to understand.

The arrival of Blanche upsets her sister and brother-in-law’s system of mutual dependence. Stella’s concern for her sister’s well-being emboldens Blanche to hold court in the Kowalski apartment, infuriating Stanley and leading to conflict in his relationship with his wife. Blanche and Stanley are on a collision course, and Stanley’s friend and Blanche’s would-be suitor Mitch, will get trampled in their path. Stanley discovers Blanche’s past through a co-worker who travels to Laurel frequently, and he confronts her with the things she has been trying to put behind her, partly out of concern that her character flaws may be damaging to the lives of those in her new home, just as they were in Laurel, and partly out of a distaste for pretense in general. However, his attempts to “unmask” her are predictably cruel and violent. In their final confrontation, Stanley rapes Blanche, which results in her nervous breakdown. Stanley has her committed to a mental institution, and in the closing moments, Blanche utters her signature line to the kindly doctor who leads her away: “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

Democrats exploiting Republicans? You bet.

PhotobucketSo. the frayed ends finally rip and tear. It finally becomes clearer: most Democratic politicians aren’t interested in being courageous. They are, however, interested in cash, campaigns, and power. They love to wordsmith and dazzle progressives with fabulous politicSpeak: yes, they do. More and better words delivered by more, but not necessarily better, Democrats.

Perhaps it is just plain decency that Democrats lack… the decency to stop playing both sides of issues. The decency to stop exploiting Republicans. Yes. You heard me. The Democrats have been the minority, the majority, with and without a sitting president and STILL the fucking Republicans are road blocks? It’s always the Republicans’s fault? No matter how it is sliced and diced, the Dems are always having their hands tied by some outside force.  I’m not buying it.

cross posted at writing in the rAw and Daily Kos

Morning Shinbun Friday December 3

Friday’s Headlines:

Counting the cost of a drugs revolution


Obama, GOP closing in on tax deal

World is running out of places to catch wild fish, study finds


French socialist candidate claims dirty tricks after third break-in

Hungary under fire over ‘totalitarian’ media law proposal

Middle East

IAEA worried about uranium enrichment site in North Korea

Hamas leader sets out conditions for peace with Israel


Beijing pledges support for N Korea

US sails with Japan to flashpoint channel


Côte d’Ivoire in lockdown as leaders reject vote results

WikiLeaks goes off-line after ‘multiple’ attacks

U.S. firm says denial of service attacks on site threatened nearly 500,000 others

msnbc.com staff and news service reports

WikiLeaks went off-line late Thursday after a U.S. firm providing its domain name system said the controversial website had come under mass denial-of-service attacks.

EveryDNS.net said it had “terminated” its services to WikiLeaks as the attacks and ones expected in the future would “threaten the stability” of the company’s services to nearly 500,000 other websites.

WikiLeaks has been continuing to release classified cables sent by U.S. officials, causing huge embarrassment to diplomats and world leaders amid growing outrage and calls for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be prosecuted under the U.S. Espionage Act.

The Tangled Web Of Justice

The “Crushing Irony” of Interpol’s Red Notices and the tangles web that the Obama administration has woven to cover the Bush administration cabal of criminals and crimes, may soon come to a new reality.

Julian Assange is wanted by Sweden and a “red notice” issued by Interpol for his arrest. The Obama administration would love nothing more than to see Assange silenced. Now the Nigerian government is asking Interpol to issue a international warrant, a “red notice”, for the arrest of former US Vice President Richard Cheney for his alleged role in a bribe scandal in which Halliburton-owned company KBR gave $180 million to Nigerian officials between 1994 and 2004 in exchange for lucrative natural gas contracts.

This presents quite a dilemma for “restoring the rule of law” President Obama. There is no way that he will be able to save face in the international community if he supports Assange’s arrest and not Cheney’s. The other “sticky” problem for Obama and his DOJ is that there is an extradition treaty between the US and Nigeria. How much longer can Obama and his DOJ protect Cheney, or for that matter George W, Bush, from justice?

Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Law professor and Constitutional law expert, gives his analysis of international legal problem for the Obama justice department.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The US has in the past deported ill, elderly, war criminals to other countries to face trial for their crimes. Just because Dick Cheney has a serious heart condition should not be a deterrent to his extradition to Nigeria to face these charges.  

Long slog to be alive

Hello, all.  I wish everyone a very happy month.

Warmest regards,


Prime Time

Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.  Some premiers, but basically a freaking desert.

I can’t get the antlers glued to this little guy. We tried Crazy Glue, but it don’t work.

Did you try staples?

You know what they say about people who treat other people bad on the way up?

Yeah, you get to treat ’em bad on the way back down too. It’s great, you get two chances to rough ’em up.


Dave in repeats (10/29).  Jon has Stacy Schiff, Stephen David Stockman.  Conan hosts Kardashians, Kevin Nealon, and Deerhunter

I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream; past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Methought I was… -man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was… -and methought I had… -man is but a patched fool if he will offer to say what methought I was and what methought I had.

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Russia, Qatar triumph at World Cup vote

by Rob Woollard, AFP

2 hrs 1 min ago

ZURICH (AFP) – Russia and the tiny Gulf state of Qatar scored stunning victories in the battle for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups here Thursday after an acrimonious bidding war tainted by allegations of corruption.

In a historic conclusion to two years of frenzied lobbying, world football chief Sepp Blatter revealed the surprise winners following a secret ballot of 22 FIFA executive committee members in Zurich.

The announcement means the World Cup will be staged in two countries which have never hosted the event before following the 2014 tournament in Brazil.