Monthly Archives: April 2008

The Point Of The Internet April 28, 2008

The Knowing

Shake of the head acknowledges

the stolen thoughts abused

for nothing good but self interest

the leader of a dying cause celebrates

the theft with the look of knowing

you do not know the source,

the lying will not harm you

until it is too late. A leader

is born then made then undone

faint praise from my lips

would not suffice to honor

the disemboweled truth.

April 28, 2008 Posted by EZSmirkzz | Uncategorized | | No Comments | Edit

The InterClot

A widening out of narrowing opinion,

the pinion of free flowing information

association that gurgles wisdom

gags on self importance. No one rule

there is no measure or bound

to noise that has the intelligence

to have a name defined from

the half empty glass full of air.

April 28, 2008 Posted by EZSmirkzz | Uncategorized | | No Comments | Edit

Advertisements

Terraformed April 24-27, 2008

McCain: Hagee Endorse

Publish Post

ment Same As Hamas’

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers called the supposed endorsement by Hamas, something that McCain hit Obama for earlier today, “a legitimate issue for the American people to think about,” on the basis of Obama’s call for negotiations with Iran.

As opposed to the real endorsement of Hagee? This is the kind of political two facing the media never nails him on, and just aggravates the bejeebers out of people. Then they wonder why people say rude things about the media.

Hamas And The IRA

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Rami G. Khouri has an interesting piece up.

Test Hamas’ offer of a 10-year truce

“Many people did not know if Jerry Adams and Martin McGinnis were serious about ending the violence and promoting political progress. In retrospect, their offer of a cease-fire was a strong signal that they wanted into the political process. The response to test them on it was as crucial as the initial offer itself,” he recalled.

He also explained that, “There is a tendency to dismiss or misread signals like this when they occur, or to create impossible preconditions that become humiliating hurdles. Demanding that one party stop fighting unilaterally, turn in its arms, or accept the other’s preconditions in full before any talks occur are only a cover for those in power who do not want to negotiate or share power.”

I Blew Out My Flip-Flop

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I know almost everyone has noticed this,

I’ve talked, over and again, about the startling cynicism of the Clinton campaign in initially accepting and supporting the decision to decredential Michigan and Flordia, and then trying to reverse that decision when it seemed politically helpful. I’ve mentioned that Clinton’s top staffer, Harold Ickes, was on the DNC committee that voted to strip Michigan and Florida of their delegates. Now comes this excerpt from Terry McAuliffe’s book, that recounts what McAuliffe did, as DNC Chairman, when Michigan threatened to move up their primary in 2004:

http://Terraformed1_files/5znh58WITU8rel0.swf

No Newt, I Don’t Admire You

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Oh No He Didn’t

From Crooks and Liars:

Speaking to Sean Hannity on Fox News Friday night, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told the conservative pundit that “the left wing of the Democratic Party, frankly, kind of admires American terrorists.

LoooK! An AIDs Book

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

And the Band Played On

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic is a best-selling work of nonfiction written by San Francisco Chronicle journalist Randy Shilts published in 1987. It chronicles the discovery and spread of HIV and AIDS with a special emphasis on government indifference and political infighting to what was initially perceived as a gay disease, that has impacted the United States and the world for decades after. The book is an extensive work of investigative journalism, written in the form of an extended time line, the events that shaped the epidemic presented as sequential matter-of-fact summaries. Shilts describes the impact and the politics involved in battling the disease on particular individuals in the gay, medical, and political communities. It begins in the late 1970s in Africa, with the then first confirmed case of AIDS, that of Grethe Rask, a Danish doctor, and it ends with the announcement by Rock Hudson in 1985 that he was dying of AIDS, when international attention on AIDS exploded.

Well I’ve been down so goddamned long, that it looks like up to me.

Do we really need the discourse to be lead and driven by people that can’t read a book?

Neo-Con Air

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

It’s OK if your a Republican.

McCain Plane

Regarding the NYT story about McCain using his wife’s plane for campaign purposes, what took so long? I mean, all of the members of the press’s sycophant express have been following him around like needy puppies for months, as commonly repeated reports about McCain “flying coach” floated around.

Questions That Won’t Be Asked

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Did Israel’s attack on the Syrian facility violate the UN Charter?

Is the UN Charter the law of the land in the United States, and if so, has the US violated that Charter in dealing with the Middle East?

Given the description of terrorism, do you think American politicians will ever be able to equate their policies and their advocacies with that definition?

Simple Math, For Simple Minds

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

1,2,3,4

We don’t want your fucking war.

If I Were An Important Blogger

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I would worry about stuff like this.

Personally I’m getting tired of who can be the most offended by what a candidate or media horn has said about one another. Just to be clear, I don’t get MSNBC, and hence don’t watch Olbermann. I see clips of these people, sometimes on YouTube, and sometimes on NBC.

I’ve noticed that is a tendency on the part of the establishment gone bloggin’, so maybe the rest of the sphere needs to take note of this subtle subversion of the blogs to be driven, not by the news that appears in the traditional media, but the opinions of those who earn their primary income from that media.

Screw them.

So far this year the bad guys are driving the conversation, which means it is pretty much the political discourse of the yada yada, instead of the blogs actually doing their jobs, which used to be forking the lightning of alternative opinions, and you know, intellectual insight.

Update: Currently I am watching the Russert man, and his round table of journalists that couldn’t fit the bull session around a water cooler and still draw pay, so we are being regaled with the conventional conventional wisdom. What a bunch of lamers.

This Blog Sucks

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Questions About Syrian Reactor Hoax Story

April 27, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The continuing NeoCon Saga

More on Syrian Reactor Bombing; From an Informed Reader

For example, each of the first two Magnox reactors at Windscale in the UK used 2,000 tons of graphite. Even if this purported Syrian reactor vessel were half the size of one of the original UK reactors, it would require roughly 1,000 tons of graphite. That’s 14,400 cubic feet of highly-purified graphite. Would all official entities fail to notice the production and transfer of that amount of highly-refined graphite to Syria?

The voice-over on the CIA videotape asserts that the reactor in Syria was “nearly completed.” If the plant were “nearly completed,” those graphite blocks would have been substantially in place. Bombing and fire would have spread bits of carbon all over the site, or scattered whole blocks of graphite around the site. The “after” photos didn’t seem to indicate that this happened.

We have all been here before,

The Media Falls for Fake News Once Again

So what is really going on here? Cirincione told the BBC that “This appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted ‘intelligence’ to key reporters in order to promote a preexisting political agenda.” The preexisting political agenda may be promoting a war with Syria and/or Iran, or torpedoing negotiations between the US and North Korea. Finally, Cirincione adds ominously “If this sounds like the run-up to the war with Iraq, then it should.”

The Dair El Zor Hoax

The great “mystery” arising out of the recent Israeli strike at Syria – purportedly targeting a nuclear-related site near the town of Dair El Zor in the northern part of the country – has been the subject of much speculation, but its real purposes have been hidden behind the veil of obfuscation deliberately thrown over the affair by the Israelis and their media amen corner. The gale winds of another Israeli propaganda campaign are blowing at full force across the American media landscape, perpetrating a hoax of outrageous proportions: namely, that the Israelis knocked out a nascent nuclear facility. In a replay of the disastrous Judith Miller fabrications, the Times makes it look like the Syrians, with North Korean assistance, had constructed a nuke plant that was just about to go online:

Perhaps Broder ought to consider the bi-partisanship on display over this issue. What we have is a knee jerk Republican minority of obstructionists ready to drink whatever kool-aide is served up by an administration that for all intents and purposes is hell bent on proving that governments can and do lie, and that any reaction to natural or man made disasters on the part of government will exacerbate the disaster.

Watching The Wheels Go Round and Round

April 26, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Mamamama we’re all bloggers now,

Nukes & Spooks makes its debut

Welcome to “Nukes & Spooks,” a blog about national security matters written by correspondents

To the Brink in Iraq

I hate to say I told you so . . . but I told you so. A few days ago, Dr. iRack dropped the news that MNF-I was likely to roll-out new evidence of Iranian support to elements of JAM. This rumor was confirmed by Admiral Mullen today during a news conference. General Petraeus is likely to give the briefing next week.

and of course you read the whole post and then got as far as this,

Kilcullen on Political Maneuver in COIN

Back when this blog had about 50 readers a day, it was fun because Abu Muqawama could pretty much write whatever the hell he wanted. Now that about 3,000 people read it daily it’s less fun because of all the emails that flood in whenever one of us writes something vaguely contentious.

dit dit dit

In all seriousness, the next time Abu Muqawama sees Kilcullen, he’s going to ask him for his thoughts on whether or not Colombia’s experience with road-building in FARC-controlled areas can be brought in as another case study. It might nicely complement the U.S. and NATO experience in Afghanistan.

Oh, but do let us go full circle dear sir,


U.S. Afghan supply lines depend on Islamic militant

BARA, Pakistan — The only thing standing between Pakistan’s Taliban and the lifeline for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan may be an Islamist warlord who controls the area near Pakistan’s famed Khyber Pass.

In an interview with McClatchy, Mangal Bagh, who leads a group called Lashkar-i-Islam, voiced his disdain for America but said he’s rebuffed an offer from the Taliban to join them.

So we have two armies deployed deeply into two hostile environments, with lifelines that run through areas of control not ours. Everybody everywhere supports all this because it is the patriotic thing to do. Even when it makes no sense to be where we are doing what we are doing. We are always hearing about the bad that will come from failure, but no one wants to ask what we will have to deal with in a success.

What does it mean to win? Cheaper heroin? Cheaper oil?

Does anyone really think America will have enhanced its’ standing in the world to the point where no one will want to fly another airplane into one of our buildings because of these two wars? Or is it just unpatriotic for Reverend Wright to speak truths in words you do not wish to hear?

Update: To be clear, Reverend Wright’s words hit me on an emotional level when I first heard them, but it is only on reflection that “chickens coming home to roost,” is still blow back, and religion and patriotism are both emotional subjects easily conflated or manipulated or both, by media personalities and politicians, (or bloggers, ed note,) alike.

It is my opinion that one should also listen for truth in what one does not wish to hear, and too also question one’s own assumptions from time to time. The sword cuts both ways.

Update: Nixonian expletives deleted. Email unavailable.

There Is No Way Out Of Here

April 26, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

HOW BIOFUELS COULD STARVE THE POOR.

Reporting on the food crisis in Haiti last week, The Washington Times introduced its readership to the term “Clorox hunger,” described as “a hunger so painful it feels like your stomach is being eaten by bleach or battery acid.” It’s horrifying stuff. But that’s what the global food crisis — which many economists now believe will push 100 million people into “absolute poverty,” and which will do far worse to those already below the absolute poverty line — looks like. Higher food prices mean less food. In America, that’s an annoyance. In other countries, that’s a death sentence. And it’s in no small part our fault.

Therein lies the rub. On an extremely important issue, where two critical problems intersect, food and fuel, that the majority of Americans can actually impact by driving less, imagine that, just driving less, we get the Very Serious People like McCain discussing Obama being preferable to Hamas than McCain, or how Hillary is going to pay back all the poor slobs who failed to support her candidacy.

So what’s with the demand for corn? An article in this month’s Foreign Affairs, entitled “How Boifuels Could Starve the Poor,” lays it out, and shows how the situation could become much worse:

Somehow I find it difficult to find a reason to support either. *

Update: I guess I hadn’t looked.

* (nixonian expletive deleted.)

Things Go Booom,

April 26, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Oil firms in Nigeria cut output

Industrial action and attacks from militants have forced the two biggest oil companies in Nigeria to cut their production.

Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell are both reducing output, which is helping to keep oil prices near record highs.

Militant groups in the Niger Delta have blown up a section of a Shell pipeline, in the fourth such attack in the last seven days.

And workers at an Exxon Mobil plant began a strike over pay and conditions.

Maybe Glenn Beck ought to concentrate on Matthew 24 through 27.

Good

April 26, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Morning

April 26, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Things Go Boom

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Oil pipeline is blown up in Iraq

An oil pipeline south of Baghdad has been blown up, wounding at least eight security guards, Iraqi police say.

The blast, near the town of Iskandiriya, caused a large fire and disrupted the flow of crude oil to refineries in the south of Iraq.

Very Suspicious Of This Blog

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Citizen-journalism’s rulebook

One thing I try to remember to be suspicious of as I go through life is the alleged conversation-clinching one-liner. You know; the mot juste that is meant to end all debate on the topic at hand and to send those arguing the “wrong” side of the question slinking off to the corner. In my experience, such clinchers are almost invariably devoid of any moral or ethical component. They are “hard-nosed assessments” of “the way things are”, and we just have to “deal with it”.

Yes, but have you learned to deal with it?

The clincher that concerns us today is the one about how the blogosphere has taken journalism into uncharted waters, and it usually goes something like: “The rules have changed, man. Deal with it.”

Rulez, I don’t need no stinkin rulez.

Superficially, this is inarguable, and I want to be clear that I am, generally speaking, a big supporter of the blogosphere’s corrective power. I don’t think that most mainstream reporters have secret agendas. But I do think that they have to work so fast and under such deadline pressure (which has only intensified in the cyber age) that they often make errors of fact or judgment, some of them whoppers. And for news consumers to have another set of people, even if they are “uncredentialed”, looking over their shoulders has been, by and large, a salutary thing.

I got your salute right here, buddy.

Enough! Enough! Darst thou thinkest Atrios hath not spoketh enough?

Thar’s Thar Thar In That Thar Article

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Peggy Noonan Wonders If Obama Loves America, Has Ever Cried Thinking About Henry Ford

But has he ever gotten misty-eyed over . . . the Wright Brothers and what kind of country allowed them to go off on their own and change everything? How about D-Day, or George Washington, or Henry Ford, or the losers and brigands who flocked to Sutter’s Mill, who pushed their way west because there was gold in them thar hills?

The openly anti-Semitic admirer of Adolf Hitler, who personally flew to Nazi Germany to receive the Order of the German Eagle in 1938, and opposed our involvement in WWII? That’s someone Nooner puts alongside George Washington? That’s someone Nooner thinks Obama should tear up about?

I would never call her a Nooner. I wouldn’t even touch that with a ten foot neener.

(yes thar is great glee on this end of the tube with this whole affair. neener neener.)

It’s The Womens!

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Better For All Concerned

But what Tilove points out is that at least a very substantial part of what’s going is not whites voting against Obama because of race but women, particularly white women, voting for Hillary because of gender. This is something that shows up not only in the breakdown of the white female vote but the turnout of female voters in this year’s primaries.

Of course that would just deflate the conventional wisdom. We must protect the womens!

Santa McClause

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Comon, what are you guys? F’G elves? (Nixonian deleted)

Beginning on the afternoon of April 23, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN aired a controversial ad by the North Carolina Republican Party attacking Sen. Barack Obama and Democratic gubernatorial candidates Beverly Perdue and Richard Moore at least 22 times combined, in most cases also noting that Sen. John McCain denounced the ad. As MSNBC political analyst Rachel Maddow and other media figures on MSNBC and CNN pointed out, the repeated broadcasts benefit the North Carolina Republican Party, which does not have to pay for them, and presumably benefit McCain, even as he is credited with taking the high road for criticizing the ad.

I mean there are only two interpretations open to us here, either the media is in the bag for McCain, or they are so gullible they may need to hire some reporters to tell them what the news is.

Update: And to think the Chinese are suing Jack Cafferty and CNN for $1.3 billion for calling them goons. By that metric you guys owe everyone in America a Honda 35 mpg car. I want a blue one.

Sub-Prime Fish Fry

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

More to the picture than meets the eye?

John Olagues, a leading authority on options trading, recounts deeds concerning Bear Stearns and the mystery surrounding its demise.

“On or prior to March 10,” he wrote, “2008 requests were made to the options exchanges to open new April series of puts with exercise prices of 20, and 22.5, and a new March series with an exercise price of 25. Between March 11-14 inclusive, there were 20,000 contracts traded in the April 20s, 3700 contracts traded in the April 22.5s, and 8000 contracts traded in the April 25s. In the March 25s, there were 79,000 contracts traded between March 11-14, 2008.

“Since there was very little subsequent trading in the call with exercise prices of 20, 22.5 or 25, it is certain that the requests were made with the intentions of buying substantial amounts of the puts. The exchanges accommodated their requests, knowing that the intentions of the requesters were to buy puts. They indeed bought massive amounts of puts.”

Looking at these activities, Olagues assumes insiders collapsed the stock and he recounts the machinations requiring oversight from those who should have been attentive.

Summarised, “if an insider had $100,000 and he knew that Morgan would buy Bear Stearns at 2, he could make five-10 times more on the $100,000 by buying the newly introduced March puts. This is so because the soon to expire far out-of-the-money puts were far cheaper than the July or October out-of-the-money puts. And that is why the illegal inside traders requested the exchanges to introduce the far out-of-the-moneys just days before the crash.”

No wonder Wall Street rejoiced at Spitzer’s crash and burn,

Form Follows Fiction

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama’s ‘Distractions’?

With that, Obama identified the new public enemy: the “distractions” foisted upon a pliable electorate by the malevolent forces of the status quo, i.e., those who might wish to see someone else become president next January. “It’s easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit for tat that consumes our politics” and “trivializes the profound issues” that face our country, he warned sternly. These must be resisted.

Shorter Krauthammer, “Village People Suck??!!, Village People Suck??!!, No you suck!!”

Poor Charlie, not only is he running out of anything to say, he is running out of things to add. I’m not sure if Ayers and company even got this much press when they were actually blowing things up.

If I wrote for the WaPo I’d tie Obama into John Brown’s Ferry, since obviously you can write any old crap and get paid there.

Thar’s Green In Them Thar Lettuce Fields

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Livin’ Large in the Lettuce Field

There’s a reason why McCain has been relatively consistent over the last decade on foreign policy but all over the map on economic policy: he just doesn’t know very much about economics. That’s something he’s often admitted. But I’m surprised at a number of his quotes over the last year that have cast this point into exceptionally high relief.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Now, my friends, I’ll offer anybody here $50 an hour if you’ll go pick lettuce in Yuma this season and pick for the whole season. So — OK? Sign up. OK.

You sign up. You sign up, and you’ll be there for the whole season, the whole season. OK? Not just one day. Because you can’t do it, my friend.

According to Charles Gibson, that would make the pilgrim’s middle class wage earners worrying about capital gains taxes, and AMT.

Unfortunately fifty bucks a day is more likely apropos, and is still too high a wage to compete with slave labor, such as the shrimp you eat is grown and harvested in.

Let’s Be Fair

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

For a change

That’s obviously a happier tune than Charlie and AM were singing yesterday (what, we told you they were initial impressions), but it follows a lot of the email traffic Charlie received after the initial announcement.

Just in case you don’t go there on your own yet.

America’s BFF

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Maybe that’s why Syria is now our favorite whipping boy?

Iran’s foreign minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, strongly backed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s attack on the Mahdi Army militia on Wednesday. He said, “Weapons should be only in the hands of the Iraqi army.” The Iraqi army appears increasingly to be dominated by cadres of the Badr Corps paramilitary of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, headed by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. The Badr Corps was trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and it and ISCI are key Iranian clients in Iraq. What Mottaki said therefore makes complete sense. What doesn’t make sense is the Bush administration’s long-term effort to misrepresent the nativist Sadr Movement and its Mahdi Army, based in Iraq’s festering slums, as Iran-backed.

This is the sort of thing the government needs to be grilled over, because it is just such a glaring contradiction.

There They Go Again

April 25, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

UN censures US and Israel over Syria nuclear row

The UN’s nuclear chief today criticised the US for the delay in publishing what Washington claims is proof that a Syrian nuclear reactor was built with help from North Korea.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was briefed yesterday by the US undersecretary of state for arms control, shortly before the director of the CIA, Michael Hayden, briefed members of Senate and House committees on the same intelligence.

“The director-general deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the agency’s responsibilities under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts,” ElBaradei said in a statement today.

This really is the same line of BS they rolled out previously on two other occasions.

I can understand that no media outlet wants to be left out of the daily buzz, but this story has all the hallmarks of the Bushco Bamboozle written all over it. Which is why most sane governments don’t do this sort of stuff the first time, because the second and third times are greeted with growing skepticism, even if they may be based in fact.

The issue isn’t what Syria is doing, the issue is what are “we” doing about what Syria is allegedly doing.

Update: More here

Syria expert Josh Landis discusses a different theory of diversion, having to do with revelations that Syria and Israel are closer to an agreement on the future of the Golan Heights.

I’d add that former president Jimmy Carter’s recent trip to meet with Hamas leaders has put pressure on Israel to come back in a serious way to the negotiating table. Also Hamas’s own apparent change in stance on diplomacy, as Helena Cobban discusses.

Razz A MaTazer

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Bookend

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

You Got That Right

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

While John McCain is okey dokeying in New Orleans, he doesn’t have enough respect within the Republican party to stand up to this.

Do What Ezra Says

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

What Digby Said

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Head Cleaner

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Clinton’s Take Out Second Mortgage

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

No, Seriously Thinking

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Cranky

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

And Gender, And Rice, And On And On

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

For Democrats, Questions Over Race and Electability,

It is the question that has hung over Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and it loomed large on Tuesday night after his loss to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Pennsylvania: Why has he been unable to win over enough working-class and white voters to wrap up the Democratic nomination?

Well because those people have been voting for Hillary.

Republicans don’t have this problem, they hate everything. When we get done discussing this stuff amongst ourselves, then we’re going to take it to the rest of you.

Chrrrrrrr

April 24, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Italian researchers claim they are first to have found dark matterI

Scientists hunting an invisible form of matter that pervades the universe and holds galaxies together claim to have found it underneath a mountain in Italy.

Locals claim to see the face of your favorite religious figure in it.

Terraformed April 18-23, 2008

Remember Where We Came From, Look To Where We Are Going

April 23, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I think it is well known that I support Obama because I think he will bring a fresher and more pragmatic outlook suited to the foreign and domestic needs of the people of these United States. If it isn’t known that he is also to the right of me on some issues, then there you go.

If I regret anything it will be Hillary punching him from the right all the time which will make it harder for me to land one myself later if he were to become President. As she well knows I like to hit from both sides of the plate politically speaking, and throw left and right as well.

You know if former President Clinton thought he could win votes for Hillary he would find and buy Fred Thompson’s old red truck, and do what he likes best, talk about politics and himself, to anyone who will listen like all politicians do. But I’ve lampooned every Former President since Cyrus Griffin, some of them on a more constant basis than others.

I would have said the same things in private if it had not been for the war on Iraq. I find it offensive that the most obtrusive media in American lives is disinclined to vet military analyst to ensure that the American people get an objective view of enterprises that require their blood and their treasure. But the lies and propagators of those national security and defense issues of today are the same ones that brought us full throated into the boon boon boondogle of Iraq. If the Presidents are not out of bounds then, how much less so you?

It isn’t any wonder that Obama is getting tagged. Salacious be thy name.

If we do not seek peace as actively now as we have sought wars, then we condemn ourselves to the follies of would be great Presidents of the past, including in the passing tense. Presidents do not fight wars, people do. Money only pays for it.

It always come around to getting into peoples pockets for a purpose ill or misbegotten, just as it does to do good however. All the relatively darkened and silhouetted area of the picture I posted this morning are from the government, the seawall and rail, the tree, sign in the parking lot by a park. People with wheelchairs and other disabilities can get as close to the sunrise as anyone, Conservatives become nature purist and calculate the cost of it all, decrying the obscuration of the sunrise of God, and expenditure of funds. War gets them off, so if you want to loot the treasury do it by stoking the war machine and looking for the next mobster abroad. Hormonal.

Sec. Of Defense Endorses Obama

April 23, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

“If you flatter him, you betray him.”

Secretary Gates has been busy this week…busy reading this world-famous blog! (Clearly the source of all his best ideas.) After pistol whipping the Air Force (and assorted other services), he spoke to the Cadets at West Point yesterday and offered a inspired call for dissent, wrapped in some brilliant bedtime stories from the life of George C. Marshall and a recognition of the complexities of modern warfare.

The kicker?

But in order to succeed in the asymmetric battlefields of the 21st century – the dominant combat environment in the decades to come, in my view – our Army will require leaders of uncommon agility, resourcefulness and imagination; leaders willing and able to think and act creatively and decisively in a different kind of world, in a different kind of conflict than we have prepared for for the last six decades.

One thing will remain the same. We will still need men and women in uniform to call things as they see them and tell their subordinates and their superiors alike what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.

That’s my man.

Israel’s Alladin’s Lamp

April 23, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I thought a review of the Israeli spying on America was in order for those not familiar with the long history of it all.

Subjects like this, along with racism, and misogyny are difficult for us WASP DFH men, because they are loaded with minefields of other peoples sensibilities that one can at best only empathize with once we are aware of them, and why they probably don’t receive much play in the major media outlets, which thrive on selling peas to everyone.

I can only hope that you all who read this blog are able to look at issues without lumping entire groups of people into straw men that fit your preconceptions. If you can’t then you are part of the problem, not the solution.

I would also point out that one of the drawbacks of the empire is that everyone is trying to steal our secrets, divide our assets and corrupt our politicians. Our obligation as Americans is to not fall for it, whether it is sourced domestically or otherwise.

Hang In There Tony

April 23, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Tony Snow Taken To Hospital

Snow canceled a series of speeches today at Eastern Washington University because of illness. He was treated for exhaustion at the hospital, says a source at the University.

I promise more humor than snark, if that’ll help ya.

BTW, if you read the comments there is a poster tagged EZFrag, another fine example of conservative original thinking.

Pesky Bloggers

April 23, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Popular Vote: Listen Up, Obama Surrogates (Updated)

Always telling the Pro’s, “Hey we want to win this one morons!”

Life Is Good

April 23, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

What? Me Worry?

April 23, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Lowenstein: Triple-A Failure

Shocked? Homebuyer’s were speculating with no money down. Mortgage brokers didn’t care because they would sell the loans immediately and collect their fees. Wall Street didn’t care because they could package the loans and sell them to investors. Investors would have cared, except they trusted the rating agencies. And as this article describes, the rating agencies weren’t evaluating the underlying loans – they were performing statistical analysis using models based on lenders that cared if the borrower would repay the loan.

I wish these Alfred E.’s had been around when I was still young enough to want to stick it to the man. Sigh, such is life.

For Those Who Don’t Do Math

April 23, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

54.7-45.3=9.4 not 10. I will concede that 9.4 is indeed two digits.

Update: Decimalist Backlash!

AP’s current numbers, which most media sites (including TPM) are showing is …

Clinton 1,258,245 54.69%
Obama 1,042,297 45.31%

So according to TPM numbers wizard Eric Kleefeld, that’s actually a 9.39 point spread, not 10. I trust this has acquitted us of our mathematical responsibilities for the day.

Can I nit pick, or what?

Hillary Wins PA, Vows To Keep Bill

April 23, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

On the bright side the polls were right, so there weren’t any surprises. Watching the pundits this AM there are none either.

For those Obama supporters going through their first campaign all I can tell you is it ain’t over yet. There is a lot of demographic voting going on which will disappear in the general, although not all of it. Just remember where we are isn’t where we are going.

Updated with a link, because life is real.

Kodos In A Landslide!

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

You heard it here first.

All Your Hyperboles Are Belong To Us

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Things Are Tough All Over

Ayman al-Zawahiri is attacking Iran for spreading the Israel-9/11 conspiracy theory in order to deny Sunni al Qaeda its hard-earned reputation as the leading practitioner of mass-casualty terrorist attacks against America.

“The purpose of this lie is clear – [to suggest] that there are no heroes among the Sunnis who can hurt America as no-one else did in history,” said Zawahiri.

Oy Vey!

LMAO

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Bill: I Didn’t Say Obama Camp Played Race Card On Me I hope he is right about Hillary being the smart one.

Israeli Spy Busted

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

US man held on Israel spy charge

US authorities have arrested a military engineer on suspicion of giving secrets involving nuclear weapons, fighter jets and missiles to Israel in the 1980s.

Ben-Ami Kadish was detained for participating in a conspiracy to disclose documents related to national defence, the justice department said.

Mr Kadish worked at the army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Centre in New Jersey from 1979 to 1985.

He is accused of giving material to an Israeli consular official whilst there.

His alleged handler has been named by justice officials as the former consul for science affairs at the Israeli Consulate General in Manhattan, reportedly the same person who dealt with Jonathan Jay Pollard, who is serving life in prison for spying for Israel.

Update: More here,

Ben-Ami Kadish, an 84-year-old Connecticut-born U.S. citizen who worked at an Army engineering center in New Jersey, was suspected of reporting to the same Israeli government handler who dealt with Jonathan Jay Pollard, currently serving a life term on a charge of spying for Israel.

Kadish faces four counts of conspiracy, including allegations that he conspired to disclose U.S. national defense documents to Israel and that he acted as an agent of the Israeli government, U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia and FBI officials said.

and some implications here,

The new U.S.-Israel espionage affair revealed Tuesday is in fact an old story. Nothing in this fact, however, can reduce the gravity of damage it will cause Israel, nor lead to expectations that suspect Ben-Ami Kadish’s punishment will be eased – if he is indeed to be convicted in a court of law.

One can draw a number of conclusions from this affair: To begin with, the memory of American law and justice is very long and will not leave alone a violation even if a quarter of a century has passed.

This is known to Colonel (res.) Aviam Sela, who was involved in the recruitment of Jonathan Pollard (a U.S. citizen jailed for spying for Israel), and Yaakov Nimrodi who was involved in the “Irangate” affair (the sale of weapons to Iran). Both of these men fear arrest in the United States should they travel there.

Just to be clear, I will discuss this with anti-Semites, but I disagree with your assumptions before we get started.

FWIW

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I read some crap about Cafferty that lined him up with a bunch of conservative mumbo jumbo so I pointed out his one really germane point this political season. But then Jack doesn’t need me to stick up for him, hell he’s on TV, and can swear like a sailor too, so I took the post down.

Eating The Mushrooms Off Their Own BS

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama’s Waffle Controversy

What’s the big deal? Why is this news? Because, as Jay Newton-Small at Time’s Swampland explains, Obama hasn’t given a press conference in 10 days and the reporters had no other opportunity to ask him.

Journalists in general don’t relish asking politicians questions in awkward situations, like on a golf course or over a waffle. But sometimes our hands are forced: Obama hasn’t given a press conference in 10 days and the questions, some of them — like Hamas — rather important, are starting to build up. If he wins the nomination he’ll be running again John McCain, whose philosophy is to give the press total access to the point of saturation; Obama might consider holding avails with a little more regularity. Then, maybe, reporters would let him to eat in peace.

Basically the presser is a Sybyl of reporters asking asinine things of Obama and Clinton they wouldn’t dare broach with McCain, as opposed to a debate, wherein one or two reporters ask asinine questions of Clinton and Obama that they wouldn’t ask McCain.

The Honorable Senator From Connecticut

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Lieberman knew

As you’ll recall, the Lieberman campaign hosted their website on a cheapy hosting account, probably paying in the tens of dollars per month for the service. When their website crashed due to heavy usage on Primary Day, they accused the Lamont campaign or his supporters of “hacking” his website.

We knew immediately why his site had gone down — his shitty hosting account — but Joe Lieberman, in full sanctimony, demanded an investigation into the website failure, forcing tax payers to fund civil and criminal investigations into the mater.

We already know that the US Attorney knew before the November elections that the charges were bogus, yet refused to reveal the information. We also know that Connecticut Attorney General Dick Blumenthal claims the Feds didn’t update him on their investigation, hence he was unable to let the public know about Lieberman’s bogus politically-charged accusations.

However, the reality is that the Feds DID tell Lieberman and Blumenthal about the results.

Village People! This isn’t a media problem, since I recall hearing that there wasn’t a hack on television, but it does point out what the hell is going on in DC. This is a microcosm of the war on Iraq. It is only a difference of degree, but the SOP in DC is listen to special interests, lie about your motivations, do something stupid, ignore reports of your behavior, rinse and repeat as necessary until election time, call in favors and other confirmed liars from other states to vouch for your good moral and ethical behavior, good judgment, accuse your opponents of your behavior, rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

Never Post Angry, Or Upset, Or Something

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

One of the unwritten rules of blogging is to never post when you’re angry. I don’t know, I read that somewhere. It seems to be my favorite unwritten rule to break, although there is a web site devoted to blogging rules that I habitually break, this is the unwritten one that I try and pay attention to.

But just so you know, I don’t care. If something Pisses me off then I am apt to tell ya. I don’t figure I owe anybody anything, except the people who mosey onto this ‘ere blog, whom I figure ought to know how I actually feel about things that are just utter bullshit.

When I’m wrong, or some of the bloggers I respect say something to rein me in, I’ll apologize. Otherwise, if something I’ve written offends you either post a comment or blow it out your ass, I’m going to tell it like it is.

Say It Ain’t So Diamond John

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Today’s Must Read

You know the story: after surviving the Keating Five scandal, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) vowed to be incorruptible. Sure, he surrounds himself with lobbyists, but that is only to test his vigilance.

The New York Times tests the limits of McCain’s vigilance in a piece today about McCain’s decades-old ties to a wealthy Arizonan developer named Donald Diamond.

I think this story is a ruse to keep people from subscribing to CounterPunch.

Update: Ezra Klein notes,

That stretch of land is in California’s Big Sur, among the most gorgeous stretches of coastline in the country. Lucky for us, McCain helped Diamond build on it. This sort of thing is, I guess, de rigeur among politicians. The difference here is that McCain’s whole political persona is based around idea that McCain is the one politician who doesn’t do this sort of thing.

The Devil made him do it.

The Pentagons Big Brass Bells

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Whistling past the graveyard edition.Fortunately the Times did the story, otherwise only the DFHs would have known this stuff.

In Spite Of The War Mongers

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Report: Egypt and Hamas draft deal for Hamas-Israel cease-fire

The Egyptian state-run newspaper al-Ahram reported Tuesday that Egypt and Hamas have drafted an agreement of principles on a cease-fire between the Islamist Palestinian group and Israel.

According to the report, Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman will soon present the outline of the agreement to officials in Jerusalem, and Hamas will soon present the agreement to Islamic Jihad officials for approval.

The Kuwaiti daily al-Rai reported that the agreement calls on Hamas to cease all resistance against Israel in exchange for Israel’s lifting of an economic blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The exchange of prisoners, Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails and Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit held by Hamas since 2006, will be postponed to a later date, the paper reported.

While I’m sure there are those who will say it doesn’t go far enough, I’m pretty sure they aren’t within range of the missiles, or starving to death in Gaza either. IMHO you gotta start somewhere, and this is somewhere.

Village People Supporting The Troops

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Supporting the Troops?

Why is it that Douchebags ALWAYS have media advisers?

And has Bush given them a tax-write off on “Douchbag Related Expenses”?

1,000 suicide attempts a month amongst vets?!!! How much reporting will this get? I suppose one-hundredth of the time “Did Obama flip Clinton off?” received.

God forbid George Stephanapolis ask John McCain about it?

Notes On The Village People

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

U.S. and Iran find common ground in Iraq’s Shiite conflict

BAGHDAD: In the Iraqi government’s fight to subdue the Shiite militia of Moktada al-Sadr in the southern city of Basra, perhaps nothing reveals the complexities of the Iraq conflict more starkly than this: Iran and the United States find themselves on the same side.

The causes of this convergence boil down to the logic of self-interest, although it is logic in a place where even the most basic reasoning refuses to proceed in a straight line. In essence, though, the calculation by the United States is that it must back the government it helped to create and take the steps needed to protect U.S. troops and civilian officials.

Iranian motivations appear to hinge on the possibility that Sadr’s political and military followers could gain power in provincial elections, now scheduled for this fall, and disrupt the creation of a large semi-autonomous region in southern Iraq that the Iranians see as beneficial.

What that means is as Juan Cole notes,

Kudos to James Glanz and Alissa Rubin of the NYT for getting the story! They point out that the US and Iran are on the same side in southern Iraq, both fearful of the nativist Sadr movement. This correct narrative is completely the opposite of what Americans have been spoon fed on television and by Bush / Pentagon spokesmen. I had pointed out this Bush- Iran convergence last week and also pointed out that US intelligence analysis admits it. The article is the first one I have seen to say that Iran supports al-Hakim’s ISCI in its bid to create a Shiite superprovince in Iraq’s south. I’ve never been able to discover what the Iranians feel about this and had wondered if they weren’t at least a little bit worried about a soft partition of Iraq because of its implications for Iranian Kurdistan, which might become restive and seek to join Iraqi Kurdistan. But it is plausible that Tehran might risk this scenario in order to gain a permanent regional ally in the form of the Shiite Regional Government in southern Iraq.

Again, the United States Government has and is aiding and abetting an enemy of the United States, because the Village people know what is best for the rubes.

Hillary: If Iran Attacked Israel With Nukes ‘We Would Be Able to Totally Obliterate Them’

Nice work if you can get it, but…

This is just pandering to the AIPAC wankers, who are squeezing her balls, and everyone else with a megaphone, to misrepresent what they would like us to think Ahmed Ahmanijedad said, which is basically what Revrunt Hagee and half a million other Christian millenialist say in regard to Israel as well.

If Hillary were just one of us ol’ chicken pluckers that would be one thing, but she has spent eight years in the White House, and like the current occupant, hasn’t learned a damn thing.

The Capitalist Way

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The most potent weapon wielded by the empires of Murdoch and China

If you want to know how powerful Rupert Murdoch is, read the reviews of Bruce Dover’s book, Rupert’s Adventures in China. Well, go on, read them. You can’t find any? I rest my case. Dover was Murdoch’s vice-president in China, and took his orders directly from the boss. His book, which was published in February, is a fascinating study of power, and of a man who could not bring himself to believe that anyone would stand in his way. So why aren’t we reading about it?

Murdoch, Dover shows, began his assault on China with two strategic mistakes. The first was to pay a staggering price – $525m – for a majority stake in Star TV, a failing satellite broadcaster based in Hong Kong. The second was to make a speech in September 1993, a few months after he had bought the business, which he had neither written nor read very carefully. New telecommunications, he said, “have proved an unambiguous threat to totalitarian regimes everywhere … satellite broadcasting makes it possible for information-hungry residents of many closed societies to bypass state-controlled television channels”.

The Chinese leaders were furious. The prime minister, Li Peng, issued a decree banning satellite dishes from China. Murdoch spent the next 10 years grovelling. In the interests of business the great capitalist became the communist government’s most powerful supporter.

When economics is the sole criteria of ones worth and self esteem, then all manner of immorality is ethical. What you see in China as an exception, in America it has become the rule.

Do you understand the nuances of Net Neutrality now?

The Acronym Is COIN

April 22, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

In Baghdad, Struggle Ties Security to Basic Services

BAGHDAD — Even as American and Iraqi troops are fighting to establish control of the Sadr City section of this capital, the Iraqi government’s program to restore basic services like electricity, sewage and trash collection is lagging, jeopardizing the effort to win over the area’s wary residents.

Five years on.

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Thick As A Brick

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Boot, Podhoretz: Pentagon Propaganda Machine Is No Big Deal

Though most Americans would be disturbed to discover that the Pentagon was operating what one analyst called “psyops on steroids,” two prominent conservatives don’t see what the big deal is. Neoconservative Max Boot wonders, “Why did the Times decide this story is so important?“:

Right-wing neocon John Podhoretz agrees:

Well maybe this has something to do with it knuckleheads,

– “Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as ‘message force multipliers’ or ’surrogates’ who could be counted on to deliver administration ‘themes and messages’ to millions of Americans ‘in the form of their own opinions.’”

– “The access came with a condition. Participants were instructed not to quote their briefers directly or otherwise describe their contacts with the Pentagon.”

Of course who am I?

The Washington Post’s media critic Howard Kurtz acknowledged that “it’s hardly shocking that career military men would largely reflect the Pentagon’s point of view.” Yet he added, “the degree of behind-the-scenes manipulation— including regular briefings by then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other officials — is striking.

After all the generals that got fired for telling the truth before the war, you might want to think that the American people actually believed what their government was telling them, but since we cannot, we have to rely on the press to do their jobs and report it accurately. That would require an adversarial relationship with the government, something any conservative ought to understand innately, if they weren’t supporters of an undeclared war based on previous government lies.

Oh. This Will Be Good

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

There will be blood: Tony Snow joins CNN.

CNN has announced that beginning today, former White House press secretary Tony Snow will be joining the network as a “conservative commentator.” CNN president Jon Klein explains the decision:

In the White House, Tony brought a remarkably human touch to the discussion of public policy, which he will continue to do as part of the Best Political Team on Television. He will contribute a unique breadth of political and journalistic expertise to what is already the most provocative and wide-ranging political analysis on the air.

Yeah from the right to the center right. I can’t think of one analyst on CNN that I would consider left of center, and that is important. Given that Snow, or anyone else that CNN has hired from the other majors deserves a shot at doing their jobs objectively, the fact remains that liberals and conservatives mentally frame issues from different perspectives and there is a real danger that CNN could loose its’ objectivity inadvertently by the framing of the analysis.

They may not care about that either, yet,

As for cable news networks, CNN is heavilyskewed Democratic, as Democrats are 23 percent more likely to watch this channel. In contrast, the networks that skewed most heavily Republican are FOX News (Republicans are 42 percent more likely than the average consumer to watch FOX News), … In the cable news category, MSNBC is most heavily skewed Independent, as Independents are 22 percent more likely to watch this channel.

It would appear to me that the line up is heavily front loaded for other channels demographics already. The campaign season is a finite thing, and whether anyone likes it or not the media can and does make a dent in peoples views of issues and candidates, (see Iraq, war on, illegal, immoral,) which could make Bill O’Really’s comments more germane if the two networks start competing for the same viewers, one overtly and the other covertly. It’s one thing for the professionals to tell me not to worry, “We’re Professionals!,” and quite another for me to believe it. Color me skeptical.

The Grand Iran Bandstanding Review

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

O’Hanlon Goes to Tehran in Search of Failure

This week or next there is likely to be a major Bush administration briefing laying out new evidence of “malign” Iranian involvement in Iraq. I suspect the briefing will be given by MNF-I or the Baghdad Embassy, or both. It will pick up on a major theme of the recent Petraeus/Crocker testimony: Iran, not AQI, is now public enemy #1 in Iraq.

In the lead up to this event, expect a wave of op-eds this week by administration surrogates aimed at highlighting the Iranian threat. Today’s installment comes from Michael O’Hanlon in the Washington Times. O’Hanlon, ostensibly a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, increasingly sounds like he is auditioning for the presidency of the American Enterprise Institute. He calls for negotiating with Iran, but like the folks over at AEI, he expects diplomacy will fail. The goal, for O’Hanlon, is not successful diplomacy aimed at limiting Iran’s lethal aid to Shia militants in Iraq. Rather, talks with Iran make sense.

Which as O’Hanlon writes here,

That said, as part of a broader realpolitik strategy, talking with Iran — while preparing for the next steps after those talks fail — is still the right thing to do.

pretty much makes the strategy obvious.

Mr. O’hanlon is proposing a dog and pony show for public opinion and then doing what he wishes to do but is prevented from doing now because his position doesn’t have any traction. Abu muqawama points out some problems with the assumptions about Iran that O’Hanlon is working from.

Jocularity, Jocularity

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

New Hillary Ad Shows Bin Laden, Asks: “Who Do You Think Has What It Takes?”

The Obama campaign is already out with a response: It’s directing folks to this video of Bill Clinton saying the following in 2004:

“Now one of Clinton’s Laws of Politics is this: If one candidate’s trying to scare you and the other one’s trying to get you to think; if one candidate’s appealing to your fears and the other one’s appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope. That’s the best.”

I left the links over at TPM.

People Are Always Making Me Think

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

More on Misunderstanding Identity: A Response to Bernard Avishai

Mr. Avishai has a reponse to this post in the comments, and it all swings off of this post, Misunderstanding Identity: The Left and the Neocons Unite.

It has it all, where religion and national identity intersect with politics.

There is a lot of stuff that these guys can write about that I would feel uncomfortable putting my two cents worth in on, such as the nature of Israeli democracy. It is very much akin to my dislike of commenting on Russian and other peoples democracy. I think it is a little odd, but I have no problems with anyone else in the world discussing the merits and demerits of American democracy, religion and politics. It seems to me to be the natural order of things.

More Thinking Here

Yes, And Easter Wasn’t Anywhere Near Passover This Year Either

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Exodus Exegesis

I might add that both Democratic campaigns missed an opportunity last week. They seem not to have noticed that the date of the first Seder, April 19, was also the 233rd anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord. So, a few days before Pennsylvanians vote, the candidates could have commemorated not just the Exodus from Egypt but also “the shot heard round the world,” thus identifying themselves all at once with political liberation, religious freedom and — yes! — the right to bear arms.

Of course only the Kristol family sits around drinking rum on Lexington Concord day, wondering how to conflate non related issues into political grizzle so Billy can chew the fat with it.

She Just Needs Some Love

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Fickle Feckless Americana

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

It seems to me the primary season was much more interesting when it was coming to my state. Your’s, not so much.

That made me wonder, if a butterfly flapping its’ wings in Peking can cause a hurricane at Cape Kennedy, (just to keep things anachronistically correct,) then what will happen when the primary season is over and everyone exhales a collective sigh of relief?

Update: Maybe today is a bad blog day. I’m not knocking the coverage, just noting the duration of primary season has been extremely long this season. It seems like a long time ago that Texas went to the polls, but the coverage has been excellent.

OK, Back To Work!

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Lights and shadows

Hamas Will Accept Israel

April 21, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Carter: Hamas will accept Israel

Former US President Jimmy Carter has said that Hamas is prepared to accept the right of Israel to “live as a neighbour next door in peace”.

Like everything else, it is easier said than done. Hopefully the voices of peaceful co-existence will be heard from and within both sides now. We really haven’t heard from them in the traditional media much, and in fact the voices for peace seem to be absent from traditional media outlets almost everytime there is a confrontation between any two nations. Why is that?

Update: Beyond this being covered in the traditional media, just to embarrass me he said, when the new neighbor was concerned that some of my leftover boards were eroding onto their land another neighbor helped us find the surveyors pins. That didn’t make the news either. If he had shot my sorry ass, that would have been news, even though it wouldn’t necessarily have surprised anyone.

Creative Blogging

April 20, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Because we all get the bird sometimes.

Don’t Arm Liberals With Barrel Vision

April 20, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I Can’t Tell You Anything You Don’t Already Know

Over at Winds of Change, noted Internets savant Armed Liberal explains that people who dislike propaganda are great big sillyheads:

The usual suspects are going bonkers – bonkers! – over the notion that the Pentagon briefed a cadre of retired military men who served as ‘expert commentators’ in the media.

I recall writing a couple of years ago that we were playing into UBL’s inside straight, and I’m waiting for the Lieberwingnuts to attack Iran and make it obvious even to them. The only thing the American people need is the unvarnished truth.

Even faaar leeeffftists like myself have been known to pay attention to, and be persuaded by people to innumerable to reel off here, but familiar to the activist base and DFHs. After six years of debate the liberal hawks are still wrong, both in conclusions of the evidence, and in crossing their flags up.

ABC’s Debate: An Analysis

April 20, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Debate Analysis: ABC Asked Most Scandal Questions, Obama Was Clear Target

1) ABC’s debate was in a class of its own, with more scandal and non-policy questions than any other. ABC asked the most scandal questions, and both ABC and NBC devoted only half of their questions to policy issues. The CNN debates were dramatically more policy-focused. Here’s a breakdown:

Policy Non-Policy Scandal
CNN (1/31) 31 3 1
CNN (2/21) 23 5 2
NBC 24 17 5
ABC 32 14 13

2) Barack Obama has received the overwhelming majority of scandal questions over the course of the four debates, by a margin of 17 to 4. Obama has fielded questions about his “bitter” remarks, his connections to 60s-era radical William Ayres, two questions about flag lapels, two questions about his alleged plagiarism of speeches, three questions on Louis Farrakhan, and eight about Jeremiah Wright.

Clinton has received only four such questions — two about her Bosnia trip, one about a photo of Obama in African garb that was linked to her campaign without evidence by the Drudge Report, and one over-the-top inquiry about Bill Clinton (”If your campaign can’t control the former president now, what will it be like when you’re in the White House?”).

Nico Pitney did thee leg work over at the HuffPo.

April 20, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Bloggers Ethics Panels, And Such

April 20, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Blogger Ethics Panel

Yes it’s an old joke, but a still relevant one given the constant demands for bloggers to live up to ethics and transparency standards which don’t exist, even in theory, anywhere else in the world. Anyone watching the teevee over the past few years knew that this independent military analyst stuff was just another way for the Bush administration to launder information and propaganda to give it more authority. Kudos to the Times for actually doing the hard work and fleshing out the story, but real questions remain about the standards and practices of CNN and other cable networks who used – and probably will continue to use – these people.

Back when blogger ethics was all the rage I was chatting with one reporter who was a bit obsessed about financial transparency, as if the fact that you spout off on the internets means that you have to post your bank statements. Trying to get this reporter to understand that such transparency exists nowhere in the world, I asked what kind of financial disclosures their various op-ed contributors have to make. He paused for a minute and… well, I don’t want to say he was lying, but he said something he wanted to be true more than it was true, that such people were “vetted.”

Right.

Vetted not always,

The most incredible aspect of the NYT story is that most of the news organizations which deceived their readers and viewers by using these “objective” analysts — CBS, NBC, Fox — simply refused to comment on what they knew about any of this or what their procedures are for safeguarding against it. Just ponder what that says about these organizations — there is a major expose in the NYT documenting that these news outlets misleadingly shoveled government propaganda down the throats of their viewers on matters of war and terrorism and they don’t feel the least bit obliged to answer for what they did or knew about any of it. (And it doesn’t appear that Barstow even asked the NYT itself to comment about what they knew or what their procedures were when using these sources). CNN did answer by claiming they were unaware of these relationships and rely on their sources to disclose them.

The thing is we are only touching on news organizations and the military. How many Congress Critters and the President, willfully lied week in week out, about a subject that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, ostensibly for the privelidge of appearing on TV to do so.

The Pentagonian Post

April 20, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

SYNCHRONIZING INFORMATION: THE IMPORTANCE OF NEW MEDIA IN CONFLICT

Insurgents and terrorists increasingly leverage New Media to shape perceptions around the globe to be attractive to some and intimidating to others. New Media collapses traditional concepts of time and space as information moves around the world in an instant. Unlike traditional media, search engines and the web in general, enable information, factual or not, to be quickly and easily accessed long after it was created.

The result is a shift in the purpose of physical engagement to increasingly incorporate the information effect of words and deeds. Thus, the purpose of improvised explosive devices, for example, is not to kill or maim Americans but to replay images of David sticking it to Goliath.

The U.S. military is actively and aggressively revising its role in shaping its own narrative in cyberspace, but this is falling short. While the U.S. is finally coming to grips with the centrality of information and perceptions, it remains confused as to how to use information effectively. American responses seem to stem from the belief that the message and the messenger we are countering are the same without regard for the target audience, intent, or how the message fits into a larger narrative, which perhaps mirrors our own perception of information as propaganda.

The link between the propaganda of deeds and the propaganda of words is very real and is increasingly established not in traditional media but online through instant and persistent media that reaches a growing audience. The U.S. needs to master this link in real time in order to win the information war and ultimately the physical one.

Besides some newscasters/pundits predilections to catapulting the spoken propaganda, is the ability of TV to reach a large audience with Improvised Explanatory Dissembling of their own. They interpret the propaganda for us, and ad their own profundity to the ersatz information.

The fact that the bad guys know that the media will rerun a IED blowing up an Humvee to incite Americans, while promulagating their own propaganda shouldn’t be lost on us either.

Just as a note, words do matter. On the other hand it is interesting so many neocons are busy doing AQs work for them. Poetic justice.

Patriots or Parrots?

April 20, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Newshour. Where is it going?

I told the Newshour some time ago that I was no longer interested, but I still watch. What else is there to watch, “Battlestar Galactica?” David Brooks is always amusing and his plug ugly Irish friend is so familiar that how could one pass up the chance to watch the two of them “duke” it out? Shields’ point tonight about the utter insignificance and emptiness of the gesture of wearing a piece of tin in the shape of the US flag struck me as “the real stuff.” People ask me at times why I don’t wear one. My answer? “I gave at the office.” I don’t fly a modern American flag at home either. This is not a post office. I fly flags with inscriptions like; “An appeal to heaven,” or “Don’t Tread On Me.”

Personally I don’t care one way or another if people wear the lapel pin until they start talking about it as if they derive some authority on what patriotism is from it. Talk about elitists, and here you have them.

At any rate, the post is succinct as usual, with a little heads up on the current discussion of Carter’s trip to the Mid East, which tends to echo what the NY Times article points out about domestic propaganda operations.

In my opinion, Satloff is basically an Israeli with ties to the US. Perry is a man whose leanings toward the Palestinians are so pronounced and unequivocal that his objectivity is as much in question as that of Satloff. His sponsorship and that of his British colleague; Ramsbotham, Cruikshank or whatever is so deeply affected by partisan money that his words lack meaning.

Why doesn’t the Newhour actually try to find some neutrals, instead of just matching up the usual talking heads?

Why don’t any of them?

Obviously Referring To The NY Times Article

April 20, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Here, McCain: ‘A lot of our problems today are psychological.’

This week on Fox News, Neil Cavuto asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) about the worth of rescinding an 18-cent gas tax as prices at the pump escalate this summer. McCain responded that “a lot of our problems today” are “psychological” — even the “ability to keep our own home”:

I’m very concerned about it, Neil. And obviously the way it’s been going up is just terrible. But I think psychologically — and a lot of our problems today, as you know, are psychological — the confidence, trust, the uncertainty about our economic future, ability to keep our own home. This might give them a little psychological boost. Let’s have some straight talk, it’s not a huge amount of money.

It might be helpful if McCain understood that everything you see on TV is BS.

I wonder how long it will be before the television media acknowledges this on air, and addresses the criticism of the propaganda show put on for an illegal war?

More seriously, I wonder if Congress will address any of this stuff either.

Carter Presses For Peace

April 20, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Carter presses Hamas to back Gaza peace talks

Carter left the Syrian capital yesterday for Riyadh after an early morning meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. In more than four hours of talks on Friday night, they discussed how the Islamist group could be drawn into a Middle East peace plan and end its opposition to peace talks between Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the rival Fatah faction.

Carter demanded that Hamas stops firing rockets on Israel while he pursues efforts to lift the siege of the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas, politicians familiar with the meetings said. ‘Carter also asked Meshaal to adopt more flexible public statements and talked to him as a leader of a national liberation movement, not as the terrorist Israel and America try to depict him as being,’ one of the sources told Reuters.

Carter in Hamas ‘ceasefire call’

But leading Hamas political bureau figure, Mohammed Nazzal, told reporters: “Carter suggested a truce and that Hamas should stop its rockets against Israel.

“We support a truce, but Israel should support it too.”

One senior Hamas official in Damascus told Associated Press news agency Mr Carter had also asked Hamas to agree to a meeting with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai to discuss a prisoner exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Meshal to announce decision over Carter truce proposals Sunday

Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal said Saturday that he will announce his organization’s decision over former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s truce proposals on Sunday.

Former Hamas Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar and former Interior Minister Saeed Seyam, two Hamas officials living in Gaza who met Carter in Cairo last week, are due in Damascus later Saturday for consultations with the leadership in exile about Carter’s proposals.

Egypt: ‘Good progress’ made in Israel-Hamas ceasefire talks

WASHINGTON – Egypt said on Friday it was making good progress trying to negotiate a tacit cease-fire, including a prisoner exchange, between Israel and the militant Palestinian group Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said his government was speaking with both sides to get a “period of quiet,” which would help Israeli and Palestinian negotiators achieve a deal more easily in U.S.-mediated Palestinian statehood talks that exclude Hamas.

You can see the two tracks of the process in the Haaretz articles, but none of their convergences. Therein lies the rub. But given the nets ability to inflame passions much more quickly than understanding it is probably a good thing that we don’t. Anyone who doesn’t like watching the sausage being made in DC isn’t going to be able to handle the one over there.

Given the front page of the New York Times this morning, (previously linked,) it would be easy to just blow off anything anyone in DC says. The continuing diatribes against Carter are starting to develope the same stench. Anyone with any sense would have laid low about the visit just to see what would develope, but it is a given that any particular moment in time, large chunks of the Imperial city are not going to be displaying any. At any rate, we can hope for the best and expect the worst from everyone involved, except from the right, whom have turned doing the wrong thing into an artform.

The Rise Of Rising Expectations

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Oh, goody, a blog riff!
Another Angle on Realignment

Digby doesn’t use the word, but realignment is what she was writing about yesterday:

The Big Change
by digby

Whenever I get down about the Democrats’ prospects in the fall, which is rare, I try to remember that the Republicans are more unpopular than they’ve been in a generation and that the seismic forces that are driving this election are of such a magnitude that it’s hard to see how we can really lose it. But still, there’s that little voice whispering in my ear that Democrats have got a knack for screwing themselves even when there is major social and economic upheaval that should favor them. Are they going to do it again?

And then I read something like this piece that Matt Stoller wrotefor The Nation a few weeks back explaining how the Democrats are using the new technology to change the face of politics. And today, Ron Brownstein writes a similar article for the National Journal that makes me feel — truly — that it’s almost impossible for us lose this thing next fall:

One thing that comes to my mind, after thinking about it deeply for a couple million nanoseconds, is what the landscape and expectations of all these newly emboldened citizen activists will expect from their government. Some of these people are becoming heavily invested in their candidate, approaching religious fervor in some cases, and it is just not going to be possible for the government to respond in real time to their demands they may think are due to them.

The internet has a great power to influence as well, but it is so democratic that it has a tendency to dilute influence as well. Even I have gone from three readers to two, though my insights have not improved enough to warrant that increasing dilution.

In many ways I think that re-alignment can occur very rapidly as well, but there is some hamstringing to me because I am an old fart now, and have even adjusted to the empty nest by painting the kids bedrooms in the same underwear that I blog in. For your sakes, I change them every coat. (Really I write stuff like that just to chap the man’s ass, but I continue to foist a nested digression in a digression.)

What I could have said in fewer words, I suppose, is things may get weirder than us geezers can imagine do to our limitations, both in age and experience. I am glad that I have raised enough kids to know the kids are alright. I hope they don’t expect more than the Constitution is designed to deliver. Nor can we unelect useless Senators and Representatives, which is going to be more important in the summer than the Presidential campaigns, because it is still the Congress which the Constitution invests the will of the people in.

I would suggest that the realignment would need to occur in Congressional elections as well as in the Presidency.

Love Lies Bleeding In My Hands

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

School Safety

By way of introduction, Wayne Dolcefino is Houston’s scoop investigative journalist, sort of our city’s version of Carl Monday. He does also expose city corruption frequently, something for which I think he does deserve credit.

In this particular expose, he confronts the founder of Parkway Christian School, which boasts “a program based on Christian character, morals, values and integrity” on its website. Lavern Jordan is outside a La Quinta hotel, rendezvousing with the mother of a girl who wants to enroll her daughter in the academy.

Some school voucher program here folks.

Analysts or Analcysts?

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The latter. Atrios found this for ya, Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand

Basically what has been going on here is that the US government has been engaged in an active propaganda campaign against a domestic audience.

Heavy Traffic Ahead

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Why Guys Don’t Get It

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Survey: Men don’t pick up cues from women

Only 13 percent of women said men “get it” when a women tries to let them know they’re interested. Sixty-nine percent of the women said they make eye contact and smile flirtatiously if interested in a man, while 37 percent ask his opinion or advice for something, 26 percent approach his friends and 23 percent ask for the time.

Blockheads. The operative term in sex, drugs and rockandroll is the first term.

Here’s The Cheese

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama’s secret weapon: the media

But there was nothing to justify Tom Shales’s hyperbolic review (“shoddy, despicable performances” by Gibson and Stephanopoulos) in The Washington Post or Greg Mitchell’s in Editor & Publisher (“perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years”). Others, like Time’s Michael Grunwald, likewise weighed in against ABC.

Talk about hyperbole. This whole issue almost makes me want to laugh, but I can’t, I’m with the band.

If Obama was covered like Clinton is, one feels certain the media focus would not have been on the questions, but on a candidate performance that at times seemed tinny, impatient and uncertain.

I would have said McCain.

The Great American Bubble

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Bubble Speaks of bubbles.It’s like sucking on a bubble.

Is It Just Me?

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Or do you get a kick out of progressives being accused of trying to tell everybody else what is best for them, when those same people in the US are busy telling everyone else in the world what is best for them?

Come Let Us Reason Together

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

No Peace Without Hamas

GAZA — President Jimmy Carter’s sensible plan to visit the Hamas leadership this week brings honesty and pragmatism to the Middle East while underscoring the fact that American policy has reached its dead end. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acts as if a few alterations here and there would make the hideous straitjacket of apartheid fit better. While Rice persuades Israeli occupation forces to cut a few dozen meaningless roadblocks from among the more than 500 West Bank control points, these forces simultaneously choke off fuel supplies to Gaza; blockade its 1.5 million people; approve illegal housing projects on West Bank land; and attack Gaza City with F-16s, killing men, women and children. Sadly, this is “business as usual” for the Palestinians.

The thing we need to remember here in the States is that there isn’t just an Israeli point of view. It doesn’t matter whose point of view you may think is the more correct one either. They must both, or all, be heard out and articulated if the peace process is to move forward.

It’s just that simple.

Torture Are US

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Top Bush aides pushed for Guantánamo torture

America’s most senior general was “hoodwinked” by top Bush administration officials determined to push through aggressive interrogation techniques of terror suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, leading to the US military abandoning its age-old ban on the cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners, the Guardian reveals today.

General Richard Myers, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff from 2001 to 2005, wrongly believed that inmates at Guantánamo and other prisons were protected by the Geneva conventions and from abuse tantamount to torture.

Well who would do that, I mean the Republicans support the military to the Nth degree, I mean they practically have to put up barricades to keep them out of the recruiting offices,

The lawyers, all political appointees, who pushed through the interrogation techniques were Alberto Gonzales, David Addington and William Haynes. Also involved were Doug Feith, Rumsfeld’s under-secretary for policy, and Jay Bybee and John Yoo, two assistant attorney generals.

Oh those Republicans.

Critics Say?

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

McCain, Iraq War and the Threat of ‘Al Qaeda’

Critics say that in framing the war that way at rallies or in sound bites, Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is oversimplifying the hydra-headed nature of the insurgency in Iraq in a way that exploits the emotions that have been aroused by the name “Al Qaeda” since the Sept. 11 attacks.

It’s a statement of fact. One doesn’t have to be critical, constructive or otherwise, to state a fact.

McCain is lying, or too stupid to be President.

Update: I see McBush has serious intellectual back up on this, Al-Qaeda As Catch-All Term

Glenn Greenwald

rightly takes Kenneth Pollack to task for this idiocy from the NY Times:a

“perfectly reasonable catchall phrase” that, although it may be out of place in an academic setting, is acceptable on the campaign trail, a place that “does not lend itself to long-winded explanations of what we really are facing,” What Glenn doesn’t realize is something that Pollack surely knows, which is that Philip Bobbitt is trying to make the catch-all “al Qaeda” academically acceptable as well.

Yes, Yes, yes it must be reduced to good guys/bad guys, of good v evil. I mean we have to think of the chicken pluckers and rubes who cannot take a lot of that nuance stuff.

Like Bush.

CNN, FOX To Air Joel Osteen Services

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I mean why not?

Maybe it is just a fad.

How’s about a couple of Bar Mitzvah’s, a call to prayer, and a bingo game too? That’s news.

The Center Cannot Hold

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

America’s allies in Iraq under pressure as civil war breaks out among Sunni

“God is Great,” screamed a man seconds before he blew himself up, killing 10 people in a restaurant in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in western Iraq.

The spring dust storms in Baghdad have given cover to renewed guerrilla fighting there.

On Thursday Iraqi guerrillas used the cover of the dust storms to bombard the Green Zone with mortar shells. On Friday clashes broke out between Mahdi Army militiamen in Sadr City and Iraqi and US troops at the edges of the vast Shiite slum. Local hospitals reported 132 wounded were brought in, in the aftermath.

U.S. warns of wave of bombings in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, April 18 (Reuters) – A group of al Qaeda bombers has slipped into Baghdad to carry out a wave of car bombs and suicide attacks, the U.S. military said on Friday.

,,,

“Information collected by coalition forces states that numerous AQI (al Qaeda in Iraq) terrorists have entered the Baghdad area with the purpose of carrying out vehicle-borne improvised-explosive devices or suicide vest attacks in the Karkh district of central Baghdad,” the military said in a statement.

The statement said the public should be vigilant and warned specifically of intelligence that a stolen ambulance could be used as a car bomb.

More than 100 people were killed in bomb attacks in northern Iraq this week.

Mr Kristol’s war.

The thing is, that no matter how much better educated one is, say in relation to me, if you cannot use an education to enhance common sense, to effect a positive change in the world, then what purpose does it serve besides the sophisticated rationalizations for killing a lot of innocent civilians in the quest to rid the world of a few “evil doers, ” or leads one to slaughter for the greater good of an abstraction, or as the case may be, a foreign power?

I know it provides a financial windfall, but is that the sum of the knowledge?

I’ll have none of it.

Stabbed Himself In The Back 19 Times

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Call me suspicious. Bound bodies found floating in a lake just don’t seem to me very likely to be the victims of suicide. Riad’s friend writes:

‘ A friend of mine, Austin middle-school teacher and pro-Palestinian activist Riad (also spelled Riadh) Hamad, was found gagged & bound in a lake. His death was declared by the local police to be a “suicide”.

The story reeks of being either a hate crime or worse, an assassination by an interested party. Hamad’s charity was under attack by various parties which volunteered to find links between his organization and terrorist organizations. FWIW, no such link has led to law suits against him, to the best of my knowledge.

Is The Media In The Tank?

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Clueless Or Complicit?

Yesterday, a very frustrated Cenk Uygur asked whether the American media were getting played by the Republican party, or whether they’re in on the game. Well, let’s look at where a couple of the more repellent questions in Wednesday’s debate came from:

1) TPM and Will Bunch pointed out that the woman who asked Obama the “Why do you hate the American flag?” question in Wednesday’s debate had already appeared in an NYT story a couple of weeks ago… asking, “How can I vote for a president who won’t wear a flag pin?” As TPM and Bunch point out, it looks an awful lot like ABC actively sought her out because they wanted someone to ask Obama that ridiculous question. Someone who wasn’t Charlie Gibson or Mr. Snuffalupagus.

2) Snuffy got one of his questions directly from Sean Hannity, who had been peddling the Weatherman story for months. Maybe it had something to do with Hannity being one of ABC’s prize radio personalities:

If these guys and gals are in the tank they are doing a poor job of hiding it, and if they aren’t then they are really being played by the Republicans, who are making them look like asses for doing so.

This makes it a no win for the media,

I think that there is a lot of fraternal fraternization within the media elites club of know betters, and so we have some of the pick on my little brother your picking on me tooisms going on here. But as the blogs noted a couple of years ago, these are basically a lot of people who grew up in the year of the Gipper, which has a lot to do with his elevation to sain’thood in the eyes of the people whom his policies clobbered out of the middle and into the working classes.

After all he is the President that managed the last comprehensive immigration reform that has resulted in 12-20 million undocumented immigrants, ( I call them undocumented, because they don’t have any immigration documents, duh!,) which has suppressed wages in the States, and the freebooter trading policies that have hollowed out the manufacturing base of the United States.

The fact is that most people remember the Cold Warrior Reagan because that is what the press wishes to remind them and their own selves of. Forget the Iran/Contra scandal, never mention the Savings and Loans “bailout”, and don’t mention the union busting, because as many of those working stiffs know a lunch break, water and restrooms were all bad for the American economy along with living wages.

He even gets credit for starting the deregulation frenzy, when in fact it was Carter that started deregulating the airline industry, To add insult to injury, it was Carter that pushed the Pershing 2 missile project through Congress, which many credit Reagan with deploying and breaking the Soviets back in the arms race.

I see no media biases. YMMV

Smooth Move On Hillary

April 19, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Hopefully everyone has heard of this by now, Clinton Slams Democratic Activists At Private Fundraiser

At a small closed-door fundraiser after Super Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton blamed what she called the “activist base” of the Democratic Party — and MoveOn.org in particular — for many of her electoral defeats, saying activists had “flooded” state caucuses and “intimidated” her supporters, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by The Huffington Post.

I find this particularly interesting since Clinton has in many cases, the established party machinery of the Democratic Party behind her. The stalwarts are those who stayed active in the party organizationally when it was at its’ nadir, and it really looked like Rove’s one party nation may come to fruition. In my precinct the caucus went to Obama, and yet by taking advantage of the inexperience of the newly active, the alternate to the state convention is a Hillary supporter, and I won’t go into all the suppositions of that, just state the facts and move on.

At any rate I was and still am surprised by the number of older white voters that came out for Obama in our precinct. None of them that I am aware of belongs to Move-On, and neither do I, although my wife and son do. I can state categorically that my wife did not intimidate anyone.

I cannot imagine why she is trying to draw us all into a right wing thugfest amongst ourselves, but that has become a pattern of her campaign and her activists. It has in fact done more to solidify opposition to her in the Obama camp, than it has in garnering support among us should she eventually prevail. On more than one occasion I wished to go negative on her ass, but in keeping with the spirit of the Obama campaign I have refrained from doing so, even as I am now.

The fact seems to not be sinking into the heads of former President and disbarred Bill Clinton, which has left that campaign free of many counter charges that could be used to obscure the issues raised by the Clinton’s just as they are doing with the issues that actually matter by raising all sorts of straw men to campaign on and against Obama with.

They don’t care what sort of damage they do to the party, it appears to me, and they do not really care what the base of the party thinks so long as they can use it to further their ends of achieving power. The Clinton’s are less about policy than they are about power. That doesn’t mean they are not about policy, but it would appear that those policies are a means to power, and not power is the means to implementing policy.

No one wants four or eight more years of that politics. That Hillary seems to be running as an incumbent President, is not lost on me either. The fact remains that she was not the President then, and given the last two months doesn’t deserve to be now.

We’ve already been there, and done that.

Someone Must Have Hit A Big Dog

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Kristol ‘Looks Down’ On Majority Of Americans: Calls Them ‘Feckless’ And Unserious»

KRISTOL: Every time there’s a little flare up, even if the flare up turns out to be for the better, which is what happened in Basra over the last few weeks, and none the less they go, “oh my God, can’t we get out of this.” So there’s a real weariness. Even amongst some decent people of just you know, it seems kind of there’s no end, there’s no clear, there’s no clarity. … And are we going to be such a feckless country, frankly, that we’re going to waste the sacrifices that have been made, snatch defeat and retreat out of the jaws of success and victory. … I’m moderately hopeful that the country gets beyond the kind of weariness and annoyance about the war and gets serious about the world we live in.

Very Serious People

Via

Meet Bill Ayers

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

In Praise of Bill Ayers

Ayers has long since earned the nation’s respect, whatever one may think of his youthful radicalism, by devoting his life to the challenge of helping educate those who have a hard time breaking the cycle of poverty and ignorance, which makes it obscene to criticize Obama for sharing a boardroom with him (Obama was 8 when Ayers was in the Weathermen back in 1970).

But Ayers and his comrades should also be honored for having been willing to go the extra mile and put their lives on the line to end a criminal war.

There is a lot of stuff in the article, but that’s good because this is the stuff that people either forget, never knew, or won’t tell you if they do.

Terraformed April 15-18, 2008

When Both Are Correct

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Carter Meets With Leader of Hamas Despite Objections There is quite a spin in this report,

“Were Jimmy Carter to have met with me, and two days later with Khaled Meshal, it could have created a facade of negotiations between us and Hamas,” Olmert said in an interview with Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

when the paragraph starts out with the interpretation that contradicts the statement,

Carter was snubbed by virtually all of Israel’s top leaders, Olmert included, when he visited this week. “Were Jimmy Carter to have met with me, and two days later with Khaled Meshal, it could have created a facade of negotiations between us and Hamas,” Olmert said in an interview with Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Blessed Are The Pacemakers

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

For they shall provide a jumper to the thumper.

Blessed Are The Peace Makers

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

For they shall be called sons of God.

YMMV

Brooks Discovers Obama’s A Politician

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

How Obama Fell to Earth

But he did not knock her out, and the aura around Obama has changed. Furiously courting Democratic primary voters and apparently exhausted, Obama has emerged as a more conventional politician and a more orthodox liberal.

Must have stumbled into No Quarter, currently a hot bed of anti Obama activity.

Another opinion?

Heat — and a Little Light

But for viewers who kept wading until they got to the other side of the swamp, this turned out to be one of the better debates of the campaign — and that’s saying something, since it was the 21st such encounter for Clinton and Obama. One imagines they’re a little tired of the drill, and of each other. No wonder they were so manifestly uninterested when Gibson pressed them to agree to a joint ticket.

McCain’t Release Tax Returns

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

John McCain releases his tax returns — but not hers

John McCain has just released details from his tax returns from 2006 and 2007, and possibly the most interesting tidbit is that he did not release his wife’s returns — and McCain married into wealth. According to the campaign:

“Since the beginning of their marriage, Senator McCain and Mrs. McCain have always maintained separate finances. As required by federal law and Senate rules, Mrs. McCain has released significant and extensive financial information through Senate and Presidential disclosure forms. In the interest of protecting the privacy of her children, Mrs. McCain will not be releasing her personal tax returns.”

Well, isn’t that special. That will fly with the base, but apparently there isn’t enough room on the airplane for all the reporters in Murica.

They Do It Because The Media Allows Them To

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Sometimes you find a treasure trove of information, seemingly unrelated, and probably not intended,
“you mean more soldiers.” Dick Cavett

At a conference I was moderating a few months ago, I grew weary of listening to this kind of “burospeek” and asked one man if by “kinetic exhaustion” he meant “tired of fighting.” He admitted that he did. pl

The pope and the bishops

The bishops collectively are responsible for a failure in this pastoral responsibility and in so many others. The bishops of the Catholic Church are quite autonomous in their territorial “rights.” They are also a kind of self-perpetuating “club,” rather like generals and admirals. They will do nothing to discipline each other. It is the pope’s responsibility to do that.

The only thing I can figure is that the news really is so bad that the television news fears running afoul of the censors,

censors, magistrates at Rome, two in number, who were elected every five years but held office for eighteen months only, in order to take the census, i.e. make up the official list of citizens and carry out the solemn purification, lustrum, which concluded it and which gave its name to the interval of five years between each purification. The registration of citizens took place in a special building on the Campus Martius. The censors’ power and prestige derived from their duty of revising the roll of senators, removing those who had acted against law and morality and replacing them by others. Throughout the middle and late republic the censorship stood at the head of the cursus honorum, but its authority was reduced by the legislation of Sulla.

having no fear of being sincere one might suppose.

Torture & The Law Goes Way Of Native Americans & Christianity

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Torture and the Law

With nine months remaining in President George W. Bush’s term, virtually no legal analyst expects that anyone in his administration will face indictment and prosecution in connection with the torture of terrorism detainees. However, a new admission from Bush last week has some legal analysts contending that the case for such prosecution has gotten significantly stronger.

But the likelihood of retributive measures against the Bush administration for torture remains remote. Huq observed that the “political appetite for that is nil,” since “an excessive of zeal for prosecuting national-security activities, historically, hasn’t happened.” His preference is to legislate the videotaping of all terrorism interrogations. A measure to do that, introduced and supported by Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), has been introduced, but it has no schedule for a mark-up, according to Holt’s office.

Well if we pretend hard enough it didn’t really happen.

Now where did I put that flag lapel pin??>

The Inner Chalabian of John McCain

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Via Bruce Falconer, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein reports that McCain strategist Charlie Black vouched for “convicted felon, disbarred lawyer, and failed business owner.”

Via Laura Rozen

Now tell me that Russert and Twitty didn’t know about this stuff, or half of McCain’s base for that matter.

Let’s pretend for a minute that they don’t know about Hillary’s connection to the American Muslim Association too.

In the end the talking heads are just as much activists for the campaigns as anyone working for them, or they would report, you know, the news.

It’s Official Now, DFH Were Right About Iraq All Along

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Pentagon Institute: War in Iraq is a ‘Major Debacle’

The National Defense Institute, identified by McClatchy as the Pentagon’s “premier educational institute,” came out with a sobering assessment (PDF) of the Iraq war yesterday:

“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,” says the report’s opening line.

It pretty much goes downhill from there:

The only problem with this, as far as I can tell ,AFAIK for the rest of you, is that this is really just the beginning of when the consensus of the powers that be and the common people diverged, and that the gap between what is being reported and what is actually occurring is increasing as various issues take center stage in the conscience of the media elite, whether driven by the political or media elite.

Social Security is another one where there is a lot of caterwauling by the conservatives about the system going broke, along with the failure of the media to hold anyone in the current administration accountable for the massive corruption that we see unfolding in DoJ, HUD, DoD etc. etc.

That’s Bill Oreilly’s far left, and Lou Dobb’s ethnocentric interests that have been right about these things all along. If any of these networks were even reasonable close to fair and balanced they would have on air push back, somewhere, anywhere.

In these issues, and many others we run into the same bailiwicks,

The possibly apocryphal quote (the internet seems to make all quotes possibly apocryphal) from Margaret Thatcher is “A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure.” There are good and bad reasons for this.

Obviously there is the Thatcheresque class association. Poor people ride buses! Paint it green and tart it up to look like a fake trolley and such people will ride them because they associate those with tourism.

The fact remains that there is an effete core of intellectual dullards posing as manly mans for the munchkins of the public, who have absolutely no idea what the American people are thinking, even after having told us what to think. They are always quite shocked that we disagree, and so find some phantom far lefty, ethnocentric interest to bash instead of looking at their own lack of clarity and understanding on many of the issues.

Being wealthy doesn’t necessarily mean that in all other fields one must be as dense as a rock, it’s just that television tends to make it appear that way.

The Pope Comes To America

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

There’s another cult in Texas on the run,
The wingnuts on the TV are coming completely undone,
When the wheels fly off the machine it really is a scene
where every act is an intermission with nothing in between.

McCabe And The Flying ABC Circus

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Hmmmm

Remember that woman from the debate last night who the moderators showed videotape of asking whether Barack Obama “believes in the flag”? Her name is Nash McCabe.

I remember thinking it was sort of odd to have a couple one-off uses of ordinary voter questions when it didn’t really seem like it was part of the format. But I was too distracted by the general inanity of the debate to focus on this issue too closely.

Well, it turns out TPM Reader JL did give it some thought. And he came up with something very interesting (see JL’s post at the DrexelDems blog). He did a little googling and found out Nash is pretty popular with the traveling press now in Pennsylvania. It turns out McCabe was featured in an April 4th story in the Times which begins like this …

It would be wonderful if it were just ABC guilty of this horse manure, but it’s not, it’s the whole kitten-kaboodle of national news organizations doing this little song and dance as they manipulate their viewers into assuming certain things about any particular candidate.

Would it be asking too much for the media to quit responding to everything written in the blogosphere, and report the f’n news? Would it be asking too much for our millionaire Jimmy Olsen’s to grow the f’ up?

Update: I added a link, from the original source. It doesn’t change anything that I think about the media projection of sloth and form over substance journalmalism.

So it’s not just bad that they sought out someone to ask the question, but that they did it in order to avoid asking the question themselves because, you know, it’s sort of embarrassing. It’s not about content; it’s about TV content and TV optics. There’s no way for Gibson to ask that without looking petty and stupid. So they used this woman.

Update II: Enough said, via Digby’s place, Tristero’s pen.

US Arms Sales Projected To Increase

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Heavy shelling in Burundi capital

Burundi’s army has launched a counter-attack after the capital was shelled overnight by suspected rebels.

A BBC correspondent in the city says the sound of explosions and gunfire could be heard throughout the night. Odd that a Christian nation would be an arms merchant for the world.

The United States is the only power in the world that derives so much income from the arms industry, then decries the violence of the arms they have profited from.

Another Wall For The Green Zone

April 18, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

U.S. Begins Erecting Wall in Sadr City

BAGHDAD — Trying to stem the infiltration of militia fighters, American forces have begun to build a massive concrete wall that will partition Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite neighborhood in the Iraqi capital.

This is misleading from the get-go, the wall is not to stem infiltration, but to keep the Shiia militias from launching rockets and mortars into the sovereign state of Iraq, currently located in the Green Zone.

The construction, which began Tuesday night, is intended to turn the southern quarter of Sadr City near the international Green Zone into a protected enclave, secured by Iraqi and American forces, where the Iraqi government can undertake reconstruction efforts.

More BS, the Iraqi government is having budgeting problems, so it can’t spend any of the oil revenue that is stashed in the Cayman;s for reconstruction, so one must expect that the NY Times is here, catapulting the Pentagon’s press release, formerly known as propaganda, always known as BS.

Casual observers of the situation are well aware that other walls have been built to separate Sunni and Shiia population centers from each other which has resulted in the “success of the surge,” that too, being neither.

On Wednesday night, huge cranes slowly lifted heavy concrete blocks into place under a moonless sky. The barriers were implanted on Al Quds Street, a major thoroughfare that separates the Tharwa and Jamilla districts to the south from the heart of Sadr City to the north.

So now the truth comes out. It is only designed to slow the movement of militia members within Sadr City, which impediment will cause greater hardship on civilians, who having been impoverished under Saddam. will now receive the empty promises from Washington DC through their Iraqi nation state in the Green Zone.

The upside for the Americans is that the press in the States will pick this story up as victory around the corner yet again, and continue to lie to their own people, for the government in DC, formerly the capital of the American Republic.

Pesky Brits

April 17, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Washington diary: On misspeaking By Matt Frei

A medieval Bible scholar scrutinising parchment documents, or a philologist grappling with the language of the Dead Sea Scrolls would feel at home in the current election campaign.

Who else would be prepared to agonise over the true meanings of a few words, the way the candidates, their surrogates or the ringside observers of my profession are?

The last time I came across this degree of semantic scrutiny was at Oxford University, where jealous academics took special glee in gouging each other’s eyes out over a few misused words.

The tribe of Obama is currently battling the tribe of Clinton over the exact meaning of the word “bitter”.

Pretty good observations in this one.

How Bad Was It?

April 17, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

TPM has a clip that runs roughly eight minutes, and IMHO, re-enforces my earlier opinion of the debate. Not having watched it sort of helps because I didn’t have to get over it.

While The Media Slept

April 17, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

‘Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S.’ Pt. 2

Everyone remembers that on Aug. 6, 2001, while President George W. Bush was clearing brush in Texas, he received an intelligence brief warning about Al Qaeda’s strategic intent to attack the U.S. homeland. After three years of denying this occurred, the 9/11 Commission’s Richard Ben Veniste treated us to this dramatic moment with Condoleezza Rice:

BEN-VENISTE: Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB [President’s Daily Brief]?

RICE: I believe the title was, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”

Today we have a second round of the PDB. It’s a General Accountability Office report titled “The United States Lacks a Comprehensive Plan to Destroy the Terrorist Threat and Close the Safe Haven in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.” (pdf) Via Max Bergmann at Democracy Arsenal, take a look at this system-blinking-red passage, drawing off an assessment from the director of national intelligence:

This is the kind of stuff I remember before we invaded Iraq, while the MSM was busy being better than everyone else the facts started piling up pointing towards the invasion, which was blown off by the mainstream and Very Serious People, because they wanted that war too. They believed the administration because they wanted to.

Now this stuff is fixing to blow up in our faces again, but that’s OK, the Pope is town, and there are sects to fry in Texas. They support all the legislation necessary to diminish civil liberty to keep them safe from terrorists, and yet when the evidence hits them in the eye like a big pizza pie, that’s an ignore it.

Later they will play a remorseful tune day and night as they mourn the dead heros of the next attack.

Debate My Arse

April 17, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The thing that really strikes me about this last debate, but more or less with all or them this cycle is how they have basically turned into press conferences with absolutely no debate.

When people make that choice, they take into account how candidates stand on the issues,” he said, but also are concerned with “experience, character [and] credibility.”

Stephanopoulos is correct in this statement, voters are concerned with the character issues, but that is something that can be figured out realitively easily, and as I noted in an earlier post, sometimes without any basis in fact or knowledge of the candidates whatsoever.

But to nail down something on an issue orientated topic almost requires an objective questioner to compel the candidates to get to the subtext of those issues. They will not do it in any other format, and so the media questioners, for whatever reason, fail both their veiwers and the the public at large.

Update: I think I’m glad I missed this one. From all I’ve been able to gather about this one, and my experience watching the others, there seems to be sense among the top tier journalist that it is their job to make or break a candidate, not for the public good mind you, but to enhance their stature I suppose amongst their peers, and further their own careers. There really isn’t much I can do about that stuff, other than call people assholes, and turn off the TV when they appear.

Just Wondering

April 17, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Those of us who didn’t watch the debate are perplexed, having found a majority of the citoyen reviews pan the moderators, and most of the people that work for the media covering these things are asking people who look like the candidates what was so wonderful about their candidate, while the rest of us wonder when the banality of it all will end, all 23 pages of it.

Anyway there’s the transcript link.

I can’t think of any reason why I would want to watch anymore of, or read anymore of this kind of stuff. Usually the point of a debate is to articulate and clarify the issues for the voters, but this season the moderators have seemed to be as much a part of the debate and of the post debate analysis as the candidates responses, as they play to their peers in the media bidness.

You know I keep suggesting these media elite ought to get a blog for that sort of stuff so that they can separate their personal and professional public persona’s in such a way as to avoid a lot of the criticisms being leveled at them. But what do I know?

There Was A Debate?

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The People Are More Civilized Than Their Institutions

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

These posts flutter out into the “blogospheres” into two carillons and fourteen tubas of television boom-boxes or the smogospheres on radio, along with uber tomes of the neoconic wingding wing, which loquaciously remind one and all how smugly we could all write if we were always wrong, and on the pages of the enquiring Washington and New York, Times and Post. You know when you’ve butt shot a big dog opinionator in print with a thrown rock when they whine and yelp on tayvay. Yeah, you gotta be really big time to make into this paragraph by name.

Still I do my best to further your careers with a phantom debating opponent. Just think of all the left wing bloggers sitting around in front of the box in their boxers and briefs, brief and bereft of bombast for to bamboozle a mesmerized head stuffing food into its’ face.

For that alone I should be allowed to spew profanities at you. But we’ll have none of that, shall we? I’m sure it would be un-and-Under American to do so, at least until the Pope and Gordon Brown leave. Whence it could revert to a flag label someone else, not me, put on your lapel or it would be an upside down patriotism, issue, and you would know that I did it to make you mad. Think about it.

Becoming institutionalized is not a one way street, and the larger the institution the greater the degree of institutionalization behavioral patterns emerge into the territorial fiefdoms and tribal warfare’s of American corporate and political spheres of influence on everyone, from outside mowing the lawn to the South Lawn.

Obama’s Still Wrong

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama reassures Jewish leaders on Hamas, Wright

Sen. Barack Obama on Wednesday criticized former President Jimmy Carter for meeting with leaders of the Islamic terrorist group Hamas as he tried to reassure Jewish voters that his candidacy isn’t a threat to them or U.S. support for Israel.

I find it rather difficult to believe that Jewish leaders cannot discern the difference between what Carter is doing and what Obama is trying to reassure them of.

Talking to Hamas does not threaten Jews, Israel or anyone else. The whole idea that it could is sheer lunacy. It reduces international relations to a binary war or peace, with no room in the middle for a way toward peace.

Nor do I see how talking to Hamas is a threat to our support for Israel. The whole concept is just bullocks.

The Israelis and Palestinians are like a guy stuck in the bottom of a well who refuse to pulled up because the guy up on the surface has borrowed the rope from the other guy.

Secure Elections Act

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Irvu writes

“The US House of Representatives is considering HR. 5036, the ‘Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008,’ as introduced by Representative Rush Holt. The bill is scheduled for a floor vote later today. It would provide for emergency paper ballots, money for the addition of voter verifiable paper ballots to existing systems, and post-election audits. Crucially, the change to paper is opt-in, making it possible for local jurisdictions to govern their own choices. Here are two summaries of the bill. It was reported out of committee with strong bipartisan support. As of this morning the White house has opposed the bill but not threatened a veto, and some previously supportive Republicans have now changed their tune. Calls may be made to your house rep (click on ‘Find your representative’). Here’s a sample support letter.”

Goppers!

Navy Engages Blogs

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Navy Blogging Discussion, Again

It is noteworthy this policy is over 2 years old, because it is almost as if it was pulled out of the stack recently. The Navy shifted policy to engage the blogs sometime in early March. It is unclear where the shift came from, what was the cause, or who is driving it from within the Navy but a shift has happened.

I’ve seen it personally on a number of levels. It isn’t just the Professional community outside the Navy either, my Navy.mil hits are up nearly 300% in the last two months, and that was before blog entries began appearing in CLIPs.

I always thought that it was a bandwidth hog with videos and tunes, instead of a worry about talking out of school. Anyway good for them.

McDunce

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Could John McCain Actually Achieve The Impossible?

Could John McCain – and his advisers – actually be dumber than George W. Bush? Now, before you scoff…

People like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet don’t need their prescriptions underwritten by taxpayers. Those who can afford to buy their own prescription drugs should be expected to do so.

The last I checked, Medicare was for folks 65 and older and Bill Gates is 52.

I wonder why McBush didn’t mention some of his Senate colleagues at least. Oh yeah they have Senate health insurance, paid for by taxpayers who don’t have health care insurance.

The only people dumber than these guys are us.

Hug Your Inner Tubes Better Yet

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Embrace Your Inner Teddy Roosevelt

John McCain is for low taxes, rapid economic growth, and free trade. Those are the underpinnings of everything else he deems important:

Low taxes mean individuals keep more of their own money and therefore are freer to make choices and less dependent on government;

Obviously the readership of the National Standard are pretty dense according to this remark. (That would explain why their writers appear to be so too, eh, Billy?) I read on, but you can probably quote the Gipper in your own head, on why great nations need less government to exert great nation status on the lesser folk of the boondock world. It’s what Teddy Roosevelt would have done.

McCain Is Old Like The Hills, Not Like The Hill

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

McCain Is Old Like Reagan, Not Like Dole ( Caution source linked is full of pop ups and other additional content that browsers gag on.)

Or, to put it another way, it’s not that age isn’t important to voters. It’s just that they prefer to measure it in less-than-literal terms, favoring the candidate who represents “the future” – no matter how old or young – over the one who represents “the past.” In this sense, a senior citizen is perfectly capable of running a youthful campaign, just as a middle-aged politician can seem hopelessly trapped in a bygone era.

Yeah it’s like middle aged bald guys doing the muscle beach thing, you know smoozing with the spring breakers. That’s why people write political viagra ads for him.

John McBush’s Gas Tax Relief

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Pandering by any other name.

It won’t pass in Congress, so what else is it besides confusing motion for action?

Update: We could theoretically discuss making up the lost revenue by bringing the troops home from Iraq. Theo rhetorically that would cover the cost.

It’s OK, We’re Professionals!

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

TIME FOR A BLOGGER ETHICS PANEL.

The “one blogger” in this New Yorker story is Ann Friedman, the brilliant deputy editor of The American Prospect and a writer at Feministing. The New Yorker should learn how to credit the writers they quote.

John Cole Gets It Wrong

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Welcome To the Party, SUCKAS

One thing you can say about the Clintons- they sure know how to lose with their dignity in tact.

I think he meant in tack.

The Traditional Media Trys Trys Again

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The traditional media pundits did a spectacularly poor job predicting the fallout from “Bitter/Cling.” Shortly, they will all get raises.

I don’t think it was so much a failure to predict as it was a failure to influence the outcome.

I think it is important too, to remember that it wasn’t all of the media, but the two major cable news networks that looped this. That may explain why the tv is off around here now. It isn’t even a matter of trying to persuade, so much as bludgeon, their veiwers into thinking something is important when it isn’t. Whoever is in charge of story selection at the two cable news networks needs to go to blogspot or wordpress or typepad and get a real blog, instead of foisting their personal perspectives on the rest of us under the guise of fair and balanced reporting.

It is no longer a case of reporting the news, as it is in finding an event and making that event news, so that the Popes visit is somehow far more important to the lives of public at large than a misguided war falling apart at the seams is. Hell the organized crime wars in Juarez are resulting in a murder rate that would in New york City project out to 4500 in a year, and the closest we get to the news event in that is Lou Dobbs continuously ranting against the machine.

Admittedly I could be wrong, and most Americans need to be told not only what to think about, but be limited in the facts presented lest they actually figure out that the government and conglomerates are in bed with each other for sure, but the public is also in bed with them as the two hole solution to the advertisng and propaganda priapisms of power. People like me aren’t supposed to notice this is going on, which merely reinforced the observation that the media and government are massive f’n failures at doing what they say they are doing. The news ain’t and the government doesn’t.

Update: Market

I suppose it’s link to Ezra day. I think one should always be rather suspicious of market-based arguments to explain the content of the product we call “news.” MSNBC is a small part of a much larger organization whose interests are somewhat broader than just advertising revenue. Ditto ABC News, the Washington Post, CNN, etc. Even to the extent that MSNBC head honchos are trying to maximize advertising revenue and viewers of the right demographics, that doesn’t mean they have any idea what they’re doing.

Update II: The Lords General blogs in mysterious ways

Gene Weingarten
Washington Post

Dear Mr. Weingarten,

I just now finished listening to your interview on NPR’s On the Media. I was very happy to hear you praise Rush the way you did. Far too few people understand that he’s just funnin’ with blacks when he sings songs called “Obama the Magic Negro.”

Recarbonizing Industrialization

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Why Kyoto can’t work

Three climate experts offer some inconvenient truths. Roger Pielke, Tom Wigley and Christopher Green show it is even more urgent than we thought to abandon the failed Kyoto strategy and move quickly to policies that might actually reduce carbon emissions.

Any workable strategy has to include India and China: Kyoto did not. As they rapidly industrialise and reduce poverty, their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will rise steeply — by as much as 13% a year for the period from 2000 to 2010 in the case of China.

Of course the pointed heads will nay say this too, and having passed from the scene not have to endure the told you sos that they have had to endure with Iraq, globalization, etc. etc, ad infintum.

Space Junking

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Sky jam: A computer-generated image released by the European Space Agency on Tuesday shows trackable objects, such as satellites, in low Earth orbit (LOE). There are now more than 12 000 objects that are monitored in orbit, 11 500 of which are in LOE, where debris can stay adrift for decades. (AFP)

Interesting

Case Closed

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Rural N.C. voters speak on politics, ‘bitter’ label

The Kannapolis woman has spent a decade on disability, struggling to pay the rent and buy groceries on $872 a month.

“I’m very bitter about it,” Johnson, 60, said Tuesday. “You can’t even go in and buy a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk for less than 10 bucks hardly.”

I don’t think they’re bitter,” said Hal Allmon Jr., owner of Hal’s Pawn and Guns in Concord. “They’re just frustrated.”

`Yeah, I’m bitter’

Dave Loveless, 35, manager of Movie Gallery in Belmont, said he understands Obama’s sentiment.”The average American is feeling disenfranchised,” he said.

Ronald Easterling of Kannapolis worked 16 years at the town’s old Pillowtex plant. Now he supports a family of five on the $8 an hour he makes at Wal-Mart.

“Yeah, I’m bitter,” he said, “because it’s gotten to the point now where politicians are turning their backs on what the rich people are doing. Only a few are making it now, and a lot of us ain’t.”

Jeff Watson, a Gastonia Democrat who voted twice for President Bush, hadn’t heard about Obama’s “guns and God” comment, but he didn’t like the sound of it. Watson, 45, doesn’t know who he’ll vote for in the primary, but he will vote for Republican Sen. John McCain in November.

“Don’t like neither one — their beliefs,” said Watson, a supervisor for a company that makes plastic parts, while shopping for gospel music at LifeWay Christian Stores in Gastonia. “I just pray about it and ask the Lord to help me.”

Nuff said.

via

BTW British PM Here Too

April 16, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

US prepares a rapturous welcome for world leader. And the PM is there too

Gordon Brown flew into the US last night hours after Pope Benedict XVI arrived for his first visit.

Although Brown’s three-day trip has been billed by Downing Street as one of the most important of his premiership, it is being swamped in the US by the coverage of the Pope’s visit.

Apparently the PM hasn’t many troops anymore either.

Well That Ain’t Going To Happening

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Queen’s English Is Dead

People like me, native English speakers, are heading to the ashcan of history. By 2010, estimates language researcher David Graddol, 2 billion people on the planet will be communicating in English — but only 350 million will be native speakers. By 2020, native speakers will have diminished to 300 million. My American English, which I grew up speaking in an accent that matched what I heard on National Public Radio and 60 Minutes, is already difficult for many English-speakers to understand.

Damned You by Yodda, to speak a new way.

I’ll admit sometimes I feel a little sad when my pal from Japan doesn’t get my double entendres or idiomatic jokes. I like to play with language, and it’s hard to be quite so ludic when language is a tool and nothing more.

I just don’t think that the growing number of second language speakers of English are going to rob the native speakers of the playfulness of the language. which is learned early on in childhood. There are certain things that are exclusive to writing or speaking one’s own native tongue as Ciardi has noted in “How Does A Poem Mean?” Long before language is a tool it is a toy, and some toys you can’t take away from the child within.

They Used To Call It Dumping

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama warns China over currency

Barack Obama, the US Democratic presidential hopeful, has warned China that if elected he could restrict access to US markets if Beijing does not stop manipulating the value of its currency.

“If you are doing the right thing and not trying to manipulate your currencies to our disadvantage then you will have access,” Obama told United Steelworkers union members and other industrial workers.

Hillary Clinton, Obama’s rival for the nomination, also criticised Chinese trade practices in her speech to the same audience.

“We need solutions to fix our trade laws, build a strong manufacturing base and stand up to China and say that unsafe toys and unfair currency practices are unacceptable.”

Beijing limits the value of the yuan to a narrow trading band and has said that restrictions are needed to protect China’s developing financial industries.

This has also helped Chinese exporters, who have been able to to sell their goods cheaply on US markets, leaving local manufacturers unable to compete.

Now it’s called being dumped on.

Update: The link is to al Jazeera, so before you click think, do you really want Uncle Sam following your net surfing for the rest of your life?

A Vast Amount Of Time

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Dissin’ The Blogs

From the way I understand it, in the highly competitive Oregon Seante primary, Steve Novick has more online and general progressive grtassroots support than Jeff Merkley. If I am wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments. And yet, recent comments by Novick might reveal that while he has online support, it isn’t exactly a constiuency that he takes very seriously. This following is written by a Merkley supporter, but Noick’s comments are hard to defend:

Deep inside the Willamette Week endorsement interview of the Dems running for the U.S. Senate, there’s a clip of Jeff Merkley and Steve Novick talking about blogging. And it sparked a mini-firestorm in the netroots over the weekend.

In the clip, Jeff Merkley praises the blogs, noting that the netroots will spread the word about our Senate race in the fall. But Steve Novick dismissed blogging as “a way for a number of people to waste a vast quantity of time.”

Hey! If I can get my two readers to blow cokes and coffee into the keyboard I am contributing to the economy in ways not measurable by standard deviants. This keeps them from wasting time as they think of reasons that these things happen when they are talking to the IT department.

Very Serious People

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama plays basketball not the sax.

From yesterday’s White House press briefing:

Q: …It’s been suggested that the President, who has met so often with Catholic leaders and reached out so aggressively to Catholic groups, and whose social views very closely reflect Catholic Orthodoxy, is actually America’s first Catholic President. What do you think of that? (Laughter.)

MS. PERINO: He’s also been called America’s — or, the first Jewish President, is what the Israelis call him, too.

The foolish questioner who posed that query must figure that John Kennedy really wasn’t Catholic, because he didn’t take his orders from the Vatican, and that maybe Bush does? Hmmm, let’s think about that.

Yeah Clinton was the first black President, and Carter, well, Carter…

McCain Should Know About Bankers

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Speech! Speech! (as derided, Live on TV)

Following the deregulation of the banking industry in the 1980s, savings and loan associations (also known as thrifts) were given the flexibility to invest their depositors’ funds in commercial real estate. (Previously, they had been restricted to investing in residential real estate.) Many savings and loan associations began making risky investments. As a result, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the federal agency that regulates the industry, tried to clamp down on the trend. In so doing, however, the FHLBB clashed with the Reagan administration, whose policy was deregulation of many industries, including the thrift industry. The administration declined to submit budgets to Congress that would request more funding for the FHLBB’s regulatory efforts.

In 1989, the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association of Irvine, Calif., collapsed. Lincoln’s chairman, Charles H. Keating Jr., was faulted for the thrift’s failure. Keating, however, told the House Banking Committee that the FHLBB and its former chief Edwin J. Gray were pursuing a vendetta against him.

You would think that McCain would talk about his experiences in dealing with shyster bankers jube jubing the public.

Still Sucks

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Bush beats Harry Truman … to set record for extended presidential unpopularity

In the new poll, Bush’s approval rate stood at 33 percent, just 1 percent age point above his all-time low. The President’s approval rating has been relatively stable in ABC/Post polling; he hasn’t topped 36 percent since November 2006.

Seventy percent of Americans give Bush a thumbs-down for his handling of the economy — a record. His rating for handling Iraq isn’t much better: 33 percent like it but 65 percent do not.

These guys never call my house.

Get Your YA YAs

April 15, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

http://Terraformed2_files/waVudFEGX9orel0.swf
http://Terraformed2_files/Ibjtq3LSm4Qrel0.swf

Researchers tell voting firms, time for a truce

A major issue with most electronic voting machines is that there is no way to do a software-independent audit of the election results. In the 2006 midterm elections, many states took extra security precautions after researchers found that Diebold’s election systems contained a serious flaw. Another election system failure may have resulted in a loss for the Democratic challenger in a contest for one of Florida’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, when the configuration of the electronic ballot likely resulted in a large number of people in a Democratic-leaning county failing to vote.

Terraformed April 10-14, 2008

These Guys Run The Country?

April 14, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, I must say that’s a good question. I know him now for a little more than three years since he came into the Senate and he’s obviously very smart and he’s a good guy. I will tell ya that during this campaign, I’ve learned some things about him, about the kind of environment from which he came ideologically. And I wouldn’t…I’d hesitate to say he’s a Marxist, but he’s got some positions that are far to the left of me and I think mainstream America.

Yeah well, I wouldn’t – I’d hesitate to say Joe Lieberman is a fascist, but in this campaign I’m learning about his ideological environment which gives him some positions far to the right of me, which doesn’t explain his seeming lack of oxygen during this interview. Mr. Kristol’s is apparent.

Stephen Hadley Please Stand Up

April 14, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

A Popular, Popular, Popadoodle Populist Perplexion

April 14, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

or possibly a pundit elite passing possibility past the leathered eyes.
Perhaps advocacy is for thee, and thee alone, but I don’t do thee.
I remember when there was only one Broder, but then I read the Post
as well. Since, the center of rural folk thinking has moved to New York
City and stationed itself on my TV,

Not My Father’s Israel?

April 14, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I would hope Israel would extend to former President Jimmie Carter all the courtesy due, as I would expect my own country to extend to yours.

Mole Hill Media Event

April 14, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

You Bitter?

In cases such as this I think it is always crucial to distinguish in our own minds between what we find offensive and what we’ve been conditioned to believe that others will find offensive. And perhaps even more importantly, what others will be able to twist and distort into something that other people will find offensive.

This pretty similar to what I was alluding to previously in that those without a dog in the hunt are upset to hear that a dog in the hunt was shot.

Simply put, there are people in small towns who have absolutely no other direction in their lives other than a single issue, and that issue animates every aspect of their existence. They do, Senators Clinton and McCain, cling to their religion especially. It doesn’t mean in a destructive way, but in a close minded way.

Being a recovering alcoholic I am always on the look out for my own stinking thinking, my own dry drunk behavior, and these people exhibit many of the same problems as active alcoholics. It is extremely difficult to reach these people because they become defensive and accusatory of anyone who even in the most moderate of words and tone of voice tries to make them see things differently.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be economics either, there are many people who become bitter and cling to their hatreds and animosities as the cause of their own frustration with their own situation in life.

That some people are overly self centered on the down side of life is no more news or an astute observation than the same observations would be of some of our better known rich citizens.

The problem I have with this whole topic at this point is that any fool would expect the politicians to make hay out of such a casual human defect being articulated to a meeting of business people, but I usually expect well read and diversified individuals such as journalists to see that the obvious isn’t news, and that politicians trying to make it so doesn’t mean that they have to play along.

Admittedly I tend to run from any sort of popularity, especially in a forum such as the internet, because I have to keep my head primarily, but because popular has nothing to do with anything that I think is really important, and in my mind is more of an attribute of juveniles than adults.

That doesn’t mean that I think that the journalists and presenters are juvenile themselves, just that it is my observation that their industry operates in an environment that has become so.

Edited from the original.

I Should Probably Apologize To FOX News

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Perhaps someday I will.

http://Terraformed2_files/uv9vA_d0MVIrel0.swf

But I do owe one to all the women, children and men of tender sensibilities as far as language usage goes. What I told Stealth Badger still goes. Peace.

Everything You Forgot About The Sixties, And Some You Never Knew

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Wright – Bitter Sweet

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Is it just me, or is there a connection between what Obama experienced in his career, especially as a social activist and organizer in Chicago, the reaction to, and for the congregants in Wrights church, regarding his more inflamatory sermons and Obama’s observations, now four years old and recently news worthy?

Isn’t it more of fact that for middle class America, to pinch a phrase, what the winners don’t know the loser understands? Arguably it is important not to offend the middle class as monolithic entity, which like all others doesn’t really exist, except in the minds of those who use stratifications as a metric for explaining what they don’t understand.

In short, is it the empathetic feelings of those who have never lost the American Dream that causes them to over react to the articulation of those feelings by someone who actually has experienced them? (I mean beyond the politics of it.)

Note To The Middle East

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Hope Endures, The Dream Is Still Alive

Ditto On James Zogby’s Middle East Report

Make no mistake about it, real damage has been done by this administration’s foreign policy, and two immediate impacts are clear. First is the profound recognition that the last eight years have taken a toll across the Middle East. Many Arabs are gripped by a sense that they have lost control of their futures. They were forced to watch the unraveling of Iraq, the destructive neglect of Palestine and Lebanon, and the emboldening of extremists and Iran. This Administration’s adventurous and ill-conceived policies have unleashed dynamics that threaten to spill over into new conflicts.

Even more dangerous is the second effect, and that is the loss of hope that change is possible. Many of those with whom I spoke, especially those who know us, and even many of those who loathe our policies, want to believe we are not the country they see acting out across the region. They want to believe in America, and hope, as one put it, that “American will come back.” But, after policies pursued during the last several years, there is cynicism and, in some instances, a fear of actually hoping that America can play the role the region has long sought for it to play. One colleague said to me, “I studied in the U.S. I loved and learned from your country. But you’ve given peace a bad name, democracy a bad name – what else will you destroy?”

What emerges so clearly is how out of touch our political discourse has become from the real challenges with which the next president must be ready to deal “on day one.” First and foremost will be this loss of hope. And then there’s the fact that Palestine will still be suffering economic and physical strangulation, and Israel will still be facing the reality of violence. Lebanon will still be divided, and on the brink of conflict; and the people of Iraq will still be divided among themselves, lacking security and services, with one-fifth of their population displaced. The question that people across the Middle East are asking, and the question we as Americans should be asking of the candidates, is: “How, specifically, will you address these profound challenges facing our country’s security, and the security of a region we have so impacted?”

I’ll leave the zinger over there, since I don’t zing people.

Not Fade Away

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The WaPo Did Not Scoop This Story in 2005

I’m still waiting for the media to start covering the news that a head of state–the head of our state–just admitted to approving torture. As of 9:30, only UPI has joined ABC and the WaPo in noting this story–which is about all they do, note it (though the foreign press is beginning to take note). For its part, ABC seems to have gotten bored with breaking the news that the President authorized his top aides to set up a torture regime–by 5PM yesterday they had removed the story from their Top Headlines (but worry not, you can still find the story of Sam, the dog that invited himself to his owner’s funeral, among the Top Headlines).

I would have put Fenway on the top stories, but then I’m partial to other peoples dogs.

A search on WaPo stories from January 2005 referencing Haynes, Rizzo, and Gonzales returns just one story, regarding Alberto Gonzales’ involvement in setting up the torture regime (recall that Gonzales was up for Senate confirmation as AG in January 2005). The story does, in fact, reveal that the lawyers got together to discuss torture techniques in early 2002.

Well at least the WaPo can say they made an effort to cover this story a little bit, but then one wonders why it is falling off the radar now that Bush is directly implicated in the story.

I wonder what sort of credibility those in the media are always talking about, when it comes to politicians, or say pseudonymous bloggers who can’t be attributed because they are say, pseudonymous, but the President of the United States can be reported to have authorized war crimes and, well you know, that just ain’t news.

I mean it makes us all look bad, and gosh, the guy is a likeable fellow, and we all have nicknames, and besides he may want to leave the United States someday as a civilian and find his likeable sorry ass in the docket.

dday relates.

We should not move on, ever, until we force ourselves to look at the stain which will never come out. And at the risk of stepping on Dennis Hartley’s turf, I want to tell you about Errol Morris’ latest documentary “Standard Operating Procedure,” which I was able to see a couple days ago.

Hell just go read them all

Grim’s Report

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Thoughts on Iraq

Iraq has essentially three problems to “solve” to become a stable country. These are the Sunni problem, the Shia problem, and the Kurdish problem. By “problem” I mean not that the people are a problem, but that each of the main subsets of the population has a particular challenge that has to be resolved before it can integrate into a successful state. (This is, of course, at a high degree of abstraction — at the ground level, Shiites and Sunnis may be intermarried, etc.)

The GoI and the JAM are both disaggregating their bad elements. Mickey Kaus deserves credit for noticing, at least as far as the GoI goes:

Whether it was an incremental success or a humiliating fizzle, hasn’t the Maliki government’s assault on Sadr-linked Shiite militias operated, de facto, as a highly efficient purge of the Iraqi army? According to Juan Cole, those who heeded calls for defection or who otherwise refused to fight have been fired. … P.S.: Meanwhile, some 10,000 militia members who did fight on the government’s side have reportedly been inducted into the security forces.

What people have not noticed is that JAM is doing essentially the same thing. For quite some time Sadr has been purging JAM of elements that do not obey him. Sadr has said that he will disown members who violate the ceasefire, excepting in self-defense. His proposed truce calls for patience from his members, and comes “after receiving assurances” that his membership will not be targetted if he has them stand down.

For those of you like me, lefties with attitude, then the comments will also be enlightening, given what we hear from so many war mongers, er, Pro War Christians like Laura Ingrams current supporters of Petreus COIN tactics, some of them are informative, which one may very well be able to seperate from the lying liars and the lies and soft shoe shuffling that got us there. I think it is extremely important to look at the military situation on the ground in Iraq without the lense of domestic political BS intruding on the analysis. The otherside of the aisle has many who cannot, just as we do. But I don’t want you to be one of those people.

Update: Just to be clear, the war on the ground is not as static and putrid as the political BS coming from the war toadies in the administration and FOX.

Update II: Even under the best case scenario, the best we can hope for is an Iraq essentially what it was under Saddam, which is hardly a “victory” or “succes” as McBush asserts, unless all the deaths and maiming, all the treasury spent to acheive absolutely nothing, is those things McCain wishes them to be perceived as. They are not, and may explain why McCain isn’t going to be on Cambell Brown’s faith and politicss show tonight. And in fact that any new Iraq is pro Iranian is not something I would want to tout as a success,

The Things George Will Knows About Small Towns

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The American Civil War 1969- Present

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Cult of the Professional

The media — newspapers, radio, and television — is not made up of reporters running on a sparkling field of journalistic integrity. Those reporters are instead embedded in a machine intended to do the one thing that Mr. Keen sets as the mark of professionalism — make money. And the way the media has chosen to make money over the last few decades is, perversely, by devaluing their own product. The clearest illustration of this can be found in three massive changes that have affected news over the last two decades: the increase in radio pundits, the establishment of the Fox News Network, and the reaction of the remainder of the media to the first two events.

The myth of the “liberal media” came long before the blogs. Discrediting the “nattering nabobs” of the press is not a game that originated with bloggers. Every blogger I know is fully aware that we could not survive without the legwork done by hardworking, professional reporters. Bloggers are not competition to the traditional media — though they do, hopefully, act as an occasional check on its excesses. However, even if the Internet were entirely dedicated to the downfall of existing media, it would be only one popgun in a chorus of cannons. A large part of the traditional media is dedicated to nothing less than making war on the rest.

Good post.

Welcome To The Sinkhole

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Your Forgotten War

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

It’s the little things that kill,

The Taliban, General Giáp and Guerrilla Strategy read the whole thing and follow the links, who knows, you may end up with a balanced view, then check out the report,

The third and final bit of Sunday reading is LTG (Ret.) David Barno’s testimony to Congress last week on Afghanistan. Don’t be scared off by the fact this testimony is a .pdf file. It is a short (three pages), damning indictment of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, and it is absolutely required reading.

At least you know what the media know and aren’t telling you now.

Mr. Bush’s War

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Cheney on the Warpath Again?

Vice President Cheney went on right-wing talk radio yesterday with a dramatic new argument for preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, casting the Iranian leadership as apocalyptic zealots who yearn for a nuclear conflagration.

Cheney also notably refused to comment about any recent conversations he may have had with Israeli leaders about the possibility of their bombing Iranian nuclear facilities. Some observers suspect Cheney of encouraging Israel to attack Iran as a proxy.

Meanwhile back at the ranch,

As for the Bush charges that Iran backed rogue militiamen against the al-Maliki government, it is contradicted by the US intelligence community. The USG Open Source Center did a report on the Iranian stance toward the recent fighting between al-Maliki’s forces and those of Mahdi Army and other militias. It found that the Iranian press (hint: it is not independent of the Iranian government) backed al-Maliki! In other words, Bush and Iran are on the same side:

And of course an attack on Iran is in Al Whooda?s best interests, so what we have is a real witches brew of conflicting aims and ambitions, all under the rubric of Very Serious People. Who would have ever thought that the interests of Israel and UBL would be the same, and that it would involve the US attacking their common enemy, at the degradation of the US’s own national security?

No wonder the the national mass media focuses in on sex and violence, especially mindless violence and sexual deviancy, it’s all we can do to sort through the deranged running loose in the public, much less those running loose in government. Perhaps they think their viewers will get off on that stuff too.

Blog Reading Habit

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Blog reading becomes a habit, study says

Reading a blog can become as much of a habit as checking e-mail, a new study looking at readers, rather than bloggers, suggests.

Researchers from the University of California-Irvine presented their study, which they said was the first to look in depth at the readers of blogs, on Wednesday at the Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) in Florence, Italy.

In a release, they said that previous studies about blogs have typically focused on the writers, “largely overlooking those who go online to read, comment and participate.”

See? It really is all about you. Who knows maybe we will learn something.

President Carter Responds

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Jimmy Carter Defends Meeting With Hamas

Several State Department officials, including the secretary, Condoleezza Rice, criticized Carter’s plans to talk in Syria this week with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in the first public contact in two years between a prominent American figure and the group. Carter said he had not heard the objections directly, although a State Department spokesman said earlier that a senior official from the department had called the former president.

“I feel quite at ease in doing this,” Carter said. “I think there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that, if Israel is ever going to find peace with justice concerning the relationship with their next-door neighbors, the Palestinians, that Hamas will have to be included in the process.”

Only in America would someone like Carter have to defend common f’n sense.

Old Bloggers Never Die

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Should Fractured Feed Reader Comments Raise Blog Owners’ Ire?

While the discussion around where a blog’s comments should reside has raised its head before, especially around services like FriendFeed, (See: Sarah Perez of Read Write Web: Blog Comments Still Matter) it flared up again this afternoon when I had (innocently, I thought) highlighted how one friend’s blog post from earlier in the week was getting a lot of comments, and had become the most popular story on Shyftr, a next-generation RSS feed reader that enables comments within its service.

While I had hoped the author (Eric Berlin of Online Media Cultist, who I highlighted on Monday and like quite a bit) would be pleased to see his post had gained traction, the reaction was not what I had expected. He said he was uneasy about seeing his posts generate activity and community for somebody else. Another FriendFeed user called it “content theft” and said “if they ever pull my feed and use it there, they can expect to get hit with a DMCA take-down notice”. (See the discussion here)

via

Anyway, I am seeing this trend big time. Over on FriendFeed I’m seeing better comments than I see on most blogs (and more quantity too).

The era when bloggers could control where the discussion of their stuff took place is totally over.

This is a trend that the best bloggers should embrace. Me? I follow wherever the conversation takes me.

How quickly the establishment becomes the establishment.

Obvious Observation

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Theda Skocpol writes in …

I have been in meetings with the Clintons and their advisors where very clinical things were said in a very-detached tone about unwillingness of working class voters to trust government — and Bill Clinton — and about their unfortunate (from a Clinton perspective) proclivity to vote on life-style rather than economic issues. To see Hillary going absolutely over the top to smash Obama for making clearly more humanly sympathetic observations in this vein, is just amazing. Even more so to see her pretending to be a gun-toting non-elite. Give us a break!

The distrust remains. You can take the girl out of the DLC, but you can’t take the DLC out of the girl.

Apparently ( some of) the blogosphere has nomemory either.

http://Terraformed2_files/6oGF3cyHE7Mrel0.swf

Update: http://Terraformed2_files/4G8dRMofHNsrel0.swf

This ties in nicely with this , and of course this one too.

Truth Be Told

April 13, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

It’s not over for the Winter Soldiers The summer soldier and the sunshine patriots of the media have totally failed their readers, viewers and listeners by failing in almost every instance to cover the war as an event and not as a patriotic reaffirmation of they and their corporate slave holders, Americanism. Nothing could have proven to be further from the truth.

The accounts began to take on a similar tone, no matter if the narrator was Army or Marine, black or white or Latino, stationed in Fallujah or Baghdad, or some other city or town. The soldiers and veterans explained how trickle-down abuse starts at the top ranks of the military hierarchy with institutionalized racism, sexual harassment, and assault on the lower ranks. They talked about their complete lack of training in Iraqi culture and language. As we listened, a composite picture emerged, in which our soldiers are conditioned before leaving U.S. soil to think of Iraqis as “less than,” as “Hajis;” a term once reserved for pilgrims to Mecca, now turned inside out to demean and dehumanize. “Haji” has become to the Iraq occupation what “Gook” became to the Vietnam and Korean wars. When a people is rendered less than, everyone soon loses some humanity. When a population is dehumanized, it becomes easier to kill them.

Follow the links, and then ask yourself what thirty pieces of silver was the coin for the ongoing subversion of the Constitution by the major media outlets, and then ask yourselves if that coin isn’t in your own pocket, and from whence it came. The big lie cannot be spoken only by government subversives, but it must be relayed to the masses, by those who so fear for reputation and renumeration that all their skills are brought to bear in hidding the truth from themselves, and ultimately their audiences.

Country Boy Begs His City Crew

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Ouch

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Laughed so hard my side hurts. Memo to Petraeus & Crocker: More Laughs, Please It reminds me to use sesquipedalianism next time I refer to Brooks or Will.

I’m Shocked! Shocked I Tell Ya,

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Secret Iraqi Deal Shows Problems in Arms Orders

BAGHDAD — An $833 million Iraqi arms deal secretly negotiated with Serbia has underscored Iraq’s continuing problems equipping its armed forces, a process that has long been plagued by corruption and inefficiency.

The deal was struck in September without competitive bidding and it sidestepped anticorruption safeguards, including the approval of senior uniformed Iraqi Army officers and an Iraqi contract approval committee. Instead, it was negotiated by a delegation of 22 high-ranking Iraqi officials, without the knowledge of American commanders or many senior Iraqi leaders.

Yes, everything Iraq occurs in a corner.

So Where Is The Press?

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

ACLU Calls for Independent Counsel

The ACLU is calling on congress to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the administration’s little torture reenactment parties at the white house. … Troutfishing over at Daily Kos has issued an action alert on this to write letters to congress.

I will be contacting all the major newspapers and broadcasters myself to ask them why they aren’t interested in this story. (You can access all the email addresses here.)

You would think that an issue that will define America and America’s moral authority in the world for years and years would pique a little more air and ink.

Oh yeah, I forgot, There is a *sect in Texas, and middle class girls who had poor parenting, oh yeah, and bitter country folk.

* Just to be clear, These are serious crimes, but do they really need to dwarf very serious crimes because they appeal to the lowest common purient interests of the public? If that is the case let’s investigate all the viagra drug abuse, (hell it even has an illegal aspect to it, and I’m sure that knock offs are being smuggled across the border,) because after all boners are hard news items too. And to think, I live in a Christian nation.

You Know It’s Hell Being A Country Boy

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

There are the haves and have mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base. If life were fair I’d be a multitrillionaire, because I’m sure all these people are worth their pay. But life isn’t fair, so I must resolve myself to being invaluable.

Seriously, I don’t know where in the hell anybody gets off calling Obama’s remarks elitism, unless they just can’t speak English. Perhaps I need to link Arthur Silber’s post up again, the one that cautions against hearing what you want to hear, and seeing what you want to see.

I appreciate all the offense being taken on my behalf, but ya’ll can blow it out your elitist asses.

via

The Ass End Of The Beautiful People

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Now If He Proposed Using Hot Air

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

John McCain would be a perfect source of energy.

Obama’s Remarks On Small Town Bitterness

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Seems to be a big deal to those who live in New York City, or Washington DC, you know, all those small towns you have a house in both of, those small towns who think that they are much more sophisticated than us rubes who actually live in small towns.

Obama is right. There are people like that in small towns, and they are bitter about this and that, and for most of them they would be hard pressed to put a finger on it, like Lou Dobbs does.

Update:Basically identifying problems – and their causes and subsequent effects – is poor politics, even if that leads to policy solutions for those problems. The problem I have with Clinton and McCain on this issue is their inability to take statements such as Obama’s and run with them in a positive direction. Their take on the issue is exactly the problem that Obama articulated, Washington insiders taking remarks like his to make political hay for themselves, while ignoring the fundamental issue – that politicians like themselves do this instead of addressing the problems.

UD: I broke the last link. since it pretty much did to my post what the politicians do to each others. My apologies to strawmen everywhere, Cigarette?

Is Charles Krauthammer an Al Qaeda Tool?

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

William E. Odom: Iraq Testimony from a Different General

Odom also made hash of claims that Al Qaeda will have a staging area in Iraq for further attacks against the United States if we withdraw our entire military presence.

“The Sunnis will soon destroy Al Qaeda if we leave Iraq,” Odom said. “The Kurds do not allow them in their region, and the Shiites, like the Iranians, detest Al Qaeda. To understand why, one need only take note of the Al Qaeda public diplomacy campaign over the past year or so on Internet blogs. They implore the United States to bomb and invade Iran and destroy this apostate Shiite regime.

“As an aside, it gives me pause to learn that our vice president and some members of Congress are aligned with Al Qaeda on spreading the war to Iran.”

Obviously war is an extension of diplomacy, and diplomacy is an extension of all politics are local, so Mr. Krauthammer’s strangest bedfellow is no surprise. But it does highlight the conflation of politics and religion for the sake of manipulating American public opinion, even against its’ own best interests.

Know Your Muqtada

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

We Have All Been Here Before

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Come let us read together.

Disgusting

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Mr. Bush expalins to Martha Raddatz why he never talks about his born again religious faith anymore.

Of course he probably hasn’t connected the dots yet.

BAE- It’s A British Problem

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Tories join Brown in bid to block fraud investigations

Gordon Brown yesterday won Conservative backing for a move that would allow the government to block future criminal investigations such as the corruption case against the arms company BAE Systems.

Despite scathing criticism in the high court on Thursday, the Tories have chosen to support Downing Street in facing down critics who are keen for the BAE investigation to be reopened.

According to US media reports, there is no reason to investigate this stuff here in the States.

Crime pays if your rich,
Socialism is good, if your rich
Any other reason you’ld think
small town boys would bitch?

I Stand Correct

April 12, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Pleas from an Obama Republican

However, as this primary season has dragged on, I have been disappointed to see more and more “repug”nant posts that are dismissive or just hateful of others’ views. You should understand that TPM becomes irrelevant as soon as it grows too insular. This morning I read through some of the blog postings on Senator Clinton’s campaign site. Self-congratulatory but dismissive of others
and their opinions — with special venom for fellow Democrats who have chosen to support Obama, one woman even speaking poorly about her two sons who had chosen to back Obama — that website will never convince a single soul to support Hillary Clinton.

Shades of an echo

A Poem

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Onward through the fog they sailed in perfect misery,
In pants pentametered for to sail, for to sail across the sea,
sometimes tacking, without digital eruptions, to boost ‘er frothy sails
we’ll never hear that no more, for the blow did rustle the shuddering mains
but once, just like that, then never more, shall the sea be afloat that dream.
So we practice, and birth a thought pregnant with implication that fails
to meet expectations, and the sail unfurled longer than we keen,
and many winds will billow up, and we sail on, sail on, sail on blue seas.

Well Of Course!

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama was referring to you.

Andrea, for claiming that you, as a Republican strategists from a small town in PA, would not vote for Obama now.

I Hope This Remark Is True

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Even if I have to eat crow with Brooks because I can’t recall when or where I heard or read it, but perhaps some of you will more accurately recall the tale of the western native nation’s chief who remarked that the first white man he ever saw was a black man.

Guns Are The Second Amendment, Religion Is Your Opinion

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Transcending an issue.

Updated to clarify.

The Little Trainwreck That McCould

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Straight Talk And All That Jazz

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis sent out a fund-raising letter this week trying to raise money off of George Soros’ funding of indy Dem groups: “He and his group of billionaire left-wing Democrats have pledged $40 million dollars of soft money to smear John McCain in a national television ad campaign,” Davis wrote in the letter.

The problem for McCain is that Soros has also funded groups like the Reform Institute, an advocate of campaign-finance reform that Davis himself served as president of from 2001-05 and for which McCain was honorary co-chairman. As TPM Election Central reports, Soros gave $150,000 to the McCain-Davis outfit back in 2003.

it gets better,

Turns out that right-wing pariah, George Soros, also contributed money to the legal defense of McCain-Feingold.

Whata Maroon!

Only in America.

Support This Blogger

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Gadzooks!

You know if I agreed with everything everyone else had to say, or everything they did, I wouldn’t need anybody else would I?

So Long Scott, We Hardly Knew Ya

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Maybe It’s Time They Got Back To The Basics Of News

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Think Again: The End of the Network News?

Of course these journalists and producers have a tough job. Audience numbers are in steep decline and their ages are rising, making them unattractive to advertisers and increasingly difficult to fund. But perhaps they are seeking viewers in the wrong places. CBS has the lightest news agenda, according to the study, and it is perhaps no coincidence that they’re also consistently the lowest-rated broadcast.

This is one of those articles I like to read so I can stand athwart my aphasia and link to TBogg even though I prefer to link to him about important stuff rather than … oh well I forgot, but whatever Brooks has, I don’t want it.

I can’t do serious research into this stuff, but I can tell you what I like or dislike about the media. One of the things I dislike is the overly broad brush of the term. I mean how does one discriminate between local and national and national cable news media without getting into the verbosity of Brooks? I mean without pooching out ones lips like Kristol who is always looking like he is a six month old baby in the process of pinching a loaf?

Nope. in my mind it would just be easier to say what he said.

What he said.

Note To Obama, Change

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Obama, Carter and Meshaal: Campaign rhetoric v. policy

But from a policy perspective, this is a mistake. As I wrote here yesterday, the current administration’s policy toward Hamas has boomeranged. The US supported Hamas participation in Palestinian elections, expecting a festival of democracy and Hamas’s defeat. When Hamas won, the administration’s tactics helped produce the Hamas takeover of Gaza. Bush’s “pro-Israel” stance toward Hamas has hurt Israel repeatedly. Meanwhile, Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based head of Hamas’s Political Bureau, has just reiterated his willingness to accept a two-state solution.

Given the Bushco fiasco of formenting the Fatah putsch in Gaza, which our media doesn’t report so as to keep the stenographers busy showing us Pentagon videos, and the assertion that one is open to changing the parameters of discussion, I would suggest you start reading South Jerusalem.

Note To Israel

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Torture Are US

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Central Intelligence Anxiety

After that, a division emerged between what a former senior Agency official described to me as the “SS crowd” and the “Wehrmacht crowd,” the “hard edged” and the “smarter and better informed.” He said, “People managed not to take assignments. There were senior people who would not go to meetings if they thought that extraordinary rendition or enhanced interrogation techniques were going to be discussed.”

Well how can that be you wonder?

What about Congress? “They have known for a long time that [the CIA] uses stress positions and hypothermia and waterboarding and sleep deprivation—and they haven’t done anything about it,” says Marty Lederman, a former Justice Department attorney who now teaches law at Georgetown University. “They don’t disagree with it. And if they do disagree with it, what are they going to do about it? The default position is to have closed hearings, which is preposterous. The intelligence oversight committees are totally captured by the intelligence community.”

Good little Germans, one and all.

Off Shoring Taxes

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Corporate Tax Revenues Dropping, as U.S. Multinationals Shift Profits Abroad

In this week’s report, “U.S. Multinationals Shifting Profits Out of the United States,” Tax Analysts contributing editor Martin A. Sullivan found that corporate tax revenues dropped by $17.4 billion in 2004, the last year for which comprehensive data are available, compared to 1999.

This finding, Sullivan writes, indicates “the IRS is losing its battle to rein in aggressive transfer pricing abuse” – the abuse of U.S. tax rules for allocating assets, goods, and services among foreign and domestic operations, which allows companies to shift profits to lower-tax jurisdictions and pay tax
accordingly.

Heads up from C-SPAN, albeit the other tube.

Know Your al-Sadrs

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

No Nation Has Ever Been Both Free And Ignorant

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

This is where the corporate media comes in, Losing the Republic

President Bush’s signature constitutional idea is that he is the law. The idea is taking hold in a climate of post-Sept. 11, 2001, fear. Under the banner of fighting international terrorism, Mr. Bush claims unchecked powers historically associated with despots: torture; kidnappings; secret imprisonments; indefinite detentions of suspected unlawful enemy combatants; violations of the Constitution and laws with impunity; and, the authority to employ the military at any time and place of his choosing. On the domestic front, Mr. Bush disputes the power of Congress to oversee the executive branch for lawlessness, abuses, or maladministration. He signs laws while asserting a right to disobey those provisions he pronounces to be unconstitutional.

Unfortunately the ignorance appears to start at the top. via

Real Men Advocate Short Wars With Tehran

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Petraeus Points to War With Iran by Patrick J. Buchanan

The Iranians may sense what is afoot. For Tehran helped broker the truce in the Maliki-Sadr clash in Basra, and has called for a halt to the mortar and rocket attacks on the Green Zone.

With a friendly regime in Baghdad that rolled out the red carpet for Ahmadinejad, Iran has nothing to gain by war. Already, it is the big winner from the U.S. wars that took down Tehran’s Taliban enemies, decimated its al-Qaeda enemies and destroyed its Sunni enemies, Saddam and his Baath Party.

No, it is not Iran that wants a war with the United States. It is the United States that has reasons to want a short, sharp war with Iran.

The only problem with all of this is there will be no short war with Iran. No one wants to tell you this, I just did.

Update: Bush granted Kristol advance preview of Iraq speech.»

Kristol breaks the rules of journalistic ethics in order to emphasize Bush’s grieving during Tuesday’s Medal of Honor ceremony and paint a hagiographic picture of the President:

Why not?

Lieberman, Bennett, And Kristol See Petraeus Hearing As ‘An Argument’ For ‘Going Into Iran’

I don’t think Bennet has completely lost his fucking mind like Kristol and Lieberman, but anyone who thinks that a war with Iran will be a short painless affair is deluded.

Lieberman and Kristol of course, can afford to be putting their armour on before battle as though they were taking it off having returned from it, they won’t go.

Hannity Accused Obama Of Consorting With Torturers

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Powell Has Praise for Obama Oh my bad.

Hannity hasn’t got around to that yet, lest he have to dig into My Lai and other assorted wonders of the Powell adventures.

Of Course They Need A Bailout

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Home loans to cost more despite rate cut by Bank

Britain’s largest mortgage lenders were last night accused of fattening their profits at the expense of increasingly stretched homeowners as two leading firms ignored the third interest rate cut from the Bank of England in five months and pushed through price increases on some of their most popular home loan offers.

Nationwide said it was raising some of its fixed-rate deals and withdrawing others. Fees on several of its products were put up 40% to £699. Meanwhile, Alliance & Leicester will today raise its fixed rates – three days after it last put them up. Abbey and Woolwich raised fixed rates earlier in the week.

I would imagine that I’m a little slower than the American banks in importing this crap from Britain.

Refried McBush

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Same as it ever was.It really is better than saying the media suck isn’t it?

Iranq

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Just so you know what I think, the Iraq nation is now a proxy state of Iran, and the reason we are there is to prevent them from benefiting from the oil. We are there to prevent Iran from having the ability to tell Saudi Arabia and OPEC what the benchmark price of crude is, and perhaps which currency the price of oil will be pegged to.

Not To Be Confused With Agreement

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

There has been some blowback on this post I linked to about the reporters position on the war etc. That is for me beside the point. There are going to be those with whom I disagree, with opinions that I can learn from.

Even if we are to find an objective reporter, such as Ware appears to be, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the outfit that they work for is and so there really isn’t any telling what is ending up on the cutting room floor.

What we can count on, IMO, is that the majors are going to toe the line with the government position, so that whatever comes out on the national level needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

So what is the point? My thinking is that if you haven’t formulated your own questions to ask, say a Patraeus, then you are at the nationals mercy, and if you have formulated your own questions then how close do those questions come to being asked, and more importantly, how close is any answer given to the question asked. Patraeus is very good at answering by rephrasing the question asked into a strawman that he will answer. He is a political general, and like all politicians does this very well.

That is and continues to be a major problem with Americans and American public opinion, the tendency to lock things into a binary configuration of our own mindset, which allows us to gather many facts that we can agree with and none that we disagree with. The extent to which the reporters and national news decimators play into this, is extent that one thinks they are reliable.

The problem of propaganda from a war zone is very much a mental IED to be aware of, but not a reason to remain in the green zone of ones own opinion. The only facts I think we have are those we have been presented with, and it is not beyond reporters and editors to broadcast or print local Iraqis’ opinions that re-enforce the story they wish to tell if they are braodcasting from Iraq, so they must be used in conjunction with other reports and other analysis to come to some sort of balanced view of the reality of Iraq.

I don’t expect Patreauses to reveal any military useful information, so Wares questions about the extent of Iranian penetration of the Iraqi government may be acknowledge but they will not be addressed. The information is in the question, not the answers. This is true of much reporting on many issues.

But I would suggest what you see on TV or in the papers is much like honey, it is sweet and taste good, but it is in reality bee barf that cannot describe the flowers from which it originated. Very much like what you hear in church.

Update: John Roberts just made my points. Interviews with anyone in the Pentangle is just a live press release.

Wasting My Time

April 11, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

zero use CNN’s video clip of the Ware interview of Petraeus, which is better than the transcript.

Say Good Night EZ

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Lou Dobbs’ World

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

http://Terraformed2_files/akVL7QY0S8Arel0.swf

Via The Economist’s View“The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class”

Talk starts at 4:45

The underlying anxiety

The Really Long Slog

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Terraformed April 4-10, 2008

Operation Enduring

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Petraeus Plays Defense in Testimony

Part of staving off the anti-war tide involved convincing members of Congress that the sacrifices entailed in an open-ended Iraq presence are worth the cost. And therein lay two problems. First, the security successes that Petraeus presented are, politically, a mixed blessing. After all, if the surge has worked so well, why not pull up stakes and go home? Petraeus’s response was to emphasize the “fragility” of the security situation. But that made the security gains Petraeus championed appear illusory — and damaging to Petraeus’s credibility.

“It clearly is in our national interest to help Iraq prevent the resurgence of Al Qaeda in the heart of the Arab world,” he argued. But in response to questioning from Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the about-to-be GOP nominee for president, Petraeus said that Al Qaeda was significantly weaker than it was pre-surge.

It was an awkward moment: the two men represent the best political hopes for the war to continue. Yet McCain was trying to get Petraeus to say that Al Qaeda in Iraq remained a powerful foe, and Petraeus, sensitive to the implication that his strategy might not have been a smashing success, was trying to say that it had been badly beaten. (Just not too badly to claim victory.) If ever there was an example of the strategic fog of the pro-war crowd, it was that exchange.

Well There We Have It

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

CNN’s Jamie McIntyre is reporting that Defense Secretary and the CJCS have said there will be more troop draw downs before the end of the year.*When Levin asked Gates why he would use the term “pause” when Petraeus refused, Gates responded: “One of the benefits of being the secretary of defense, I suppose, is that I’m allowed more to hope than the field commander is.”

Apparently Bush can’t even get his own cabinet on the same page.

On further thought maybe the administrations position is to send out so much noise that it can decide which is the signal later on, depending on the outcome of events, down the road. It is the only explanation that makes any sense.

Of course reporters in the neocon bag are left spewing whatever in the hell the soft shoe shuffle du jour of the day is to their public, and act surprised and hurt when people start to notice that they are tools.

*Actually the two statements aren’t that contradictory if one takes the July reassesment, as a jumping off point.

But given Patraeus’ near insubordination and Gates flippant response to Congress, one would think that a Democratic President would at least give the Republicans in Congress some balls when dealing with the administration.

edited for accuracy.

Maybe Patraeus Can Answer Us That Too

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

If you read the previous posts update then you will know what I mean.

President Conflates Factors, Actors In Iraq

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

It really is as simple as that. Listening to him one may as well be listening to a stump.

I am really impressed with the work of so many journalists to actually get the American public on the same page, given the administrations inability to even get us into the same book.

Decent Outcome, Say Twenty Years

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Real ChangeAt about 3:25 in Rose interupts Dexter Filkins as he says a decent outcome could be had in 20 years.

At 6:04 failure in Basra is an improved failure since only 1K of Iraqi forces booked, as opposed to two years ago when they all did.
6:32- 7:30 John Burns notes the more realistic political debate in America over Iraq, but oddly fails to cite this blog as one of the reasons.
8:37 -8:54 Filkins articulates a little more on the military achievements, but Rose draws out that it is tenuous and reversible. But it remains the necessary ingredient to political advances. accomodations without reconcilliation.
In short, no matter how far downthe field you thing Patraeus has moved the ball, it is critical that we not move backward in the military situation.
10:36 Burns reminds us of the Asian soccer championship and the Iraqi national pride, which has been given short shrift in the ensuing years and at 11:02 notes a significant reduction in violence by any metric.
I think that the partitioning of Baghdad with concrete walls and the SOI effects are very much a part of the reason for the reduction of violence, and yet get the feeling that the thrust is on US military tactical advances. Given the current events in DC that isn’t surprising either, but it should be noted.
14:30 Burns reminds Rose of the necessity of having the United States as a viable military force in the eyes of the world.
15:15 Filkins notes the improvement in startling terms but that there is a window of opportunity that can close.
21:00 We need to make the Iraqis do what we are inclined, as Americans, to do for them.
23:19 Basra offensive under consideration, which is that it is quite a big deal for Malaki to do, perhaps with urging all the way up to Sistani, but questions remain if Iraqis are willing to die and kill other Iraqis.
25:00 Burns notes how wonderfull Americans are for reinventing this blog. YMMV
29:30 Sectarian violence is the essence of the current struggle, AQI having been thumped. 31:30 970 suicide bombers since 2003, mostly foreigners, which may have some impact on AQI numbers if you can do the math.

Michael Ware’s interview with Patraeus will air at 10 PM Eastern on CNN.

Worth A Read

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Washington diary: China’s crisis

But the Beijing Olympics were never just about the pride of a city or the sporting prowess of Chinese athletes, or indeed the tourist board’s desire to introduce the globe to Dim Sum, Sichuan folk dresses and the Terracotta Army.

For China, the Games are a coming-out party for an emerging super-power, a chance to prove to the world that it deserves to be respected, that it has finally shaken off the yoke of Communist isolation or colonial occupation.

IMHO

After The Shredder

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Not a “Shred of Evidence” in Those Docs

Here at TPM we were honored this year to receive The Week magazine’s “Blogger of the Year” award for our reporting on the US Attorneys scandal. One thing I wanted to make clear: I very much wanted to be at the awards ceremony in DC Tuesday night. But my wife is due to give birth to our second child in just a few weeks. And I didn’t feel comfortable going out of town so close to the big day. In any case, I was reading this item in Mary Ann Akers The Sleuth blog in the Post. And apparently there was a funny, awkward moment at the ceremony since Karl Rove was there to appear on a panel. I’ll pick it up from Akers …

Gerald Ford And The Nixon Precedent

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Journalmalism

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The McEconomic Wizard

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

More Evidence of John McCain’s Naiveté on the Economy

But what’s particularly dangerous about McCain is that he doesn’t seem to understand his own voodoo economics.

When Senator John McCain was asked here this afternoon how he plans to balance the budget, he said that he hoped to do so by stimulating economic growth – and approvingly cited the example of President Ronald Reagan.

There was one thing he did not mention during his response: the deficit nearly tripled during the Reagan presidency, partly due to tax cuts and increases in military spending.

Too Stupid To Be President 2.0

Global Insolvency

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The dominoes keep falling, Under a debt weight

According to latest figures from Statistics SA, personal insolvencies increased by 58% last month compared with a year ago and civil debt judgements against companies jumped 41,2%. Liquidations for the first two months of the year increased by 6%.

This is the first time since February 2002 that liquidations have increased in the first two months of the year. These figures do not come as a surprise considering the current levels of household debt. The ratio of household debt to disposable income rose to 77,6% at the end of last year compared to 72,8% at the end of 2006.

Upgrade That Flash Player

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Adobe upgrades Flash Player

The update fixed a flaw that security researcher Shane Macaulay used in the PWN2OWN contest at the CanSecWest conference to compromise a fully-patched Windows Vista laptop. The update also revamps the security of the Flash Player to solve several major issues that could serve as a vector of attack, including a DNS rebinding attack that has worried browser makers.

“This is the update we’ve referred to in a couple of earlier posts,” the company stated on its blog. “These potential vulnerabilities could allow someone who successfully exploits them to take control of the affected system, so we recommend users update to the latest version of Flash Player.”

The linked article references a hole in Safari, so you may wish to read that if you use a Mac.

Hamas And The Two State Solution

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

You don’t even need the GRID to connect to this very informative post, it is on the old intertubes.

Ignoring Meshaal is a mistake, especially given developments I’ll describe in a moment. So I asked Palestinian journalist Ata Qaymari to translate some key excerpts of the Al-Ayyam interview. They appear below. Pay particular attention to the last paragraph. First, though a bit of context. (For more context, see my new American Prospect piece, for which I’ll add a link as soon as it’s up on the site.)

Next Weeks News, Today

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

THE OLYMPIC TORCH IN S.F.

Thousands of supporters were already there, unloaded from dozens of buses parked across from the ball park. (One torch relay insider told me some in the crowd had been bused from as far away as Los Angeles.) During the day Chronicle reporters were told by some supporters that they had been bused into San Francisco from the South Bay, the East Bay and Sacramento by the Chinese Consulate and Chinese American groups.

…But mayoral spokesman Nathan Ballard might have been closer to the truth when he said that the new route let people “enjoy the torch rather than political kabuki theater.”

More here,

Mr. Bush’s War

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

And your flag decal won’t get you into heaven anymore…

Khalil regrets toppling statue of Saddam Baghdad – Ibrahim Khalil, who five years ago took part in the iconic toppling of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad, said on Wednesday he now regrets taking part in the hugely symbolic event.

“If history can take me back, I will kiss the statue of Saddam Hussein which I helped pull down,” Khalil told reporters on the fifth anniversary of the statue’s toppling.

“I will protect the statue more than my own self,” Khalil said in Firdoos Square alongside a monument erected where Saddam’s statue once stood before US marines and Iraqis strung a chain around its neck and brought it crashing down.

“Now I realise that the day Baghdad fell was in fact a black day. Saddam’s days were better,” said Khalil, who along with his brother runs a car repair shop.

“I ask Bush: ‘Where are your promises of making Iraq a better country?’

“These days when we go out we have to carry a pistol. In Saddam’s regime, we were safe. We got rid of one Saddam, but today we have 50 Saddams.”

The Whole World Is Watching

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

WRAPUP 7-Baghdad violence spirals higher despite clampdown

The upsurge in fighting comes as the top U.S. officials in Iraq testified in Washington that they opposed setting a timetable to withdraw troops from the 5-year-old war.

“The floor of the hospital is covered with the blood of children,” said Dr Qasim al-Mudalla, manager of the Imam Ali hospital in Sadr City, where he said four children and two women were among 11 dead bodies brought in Wednesday.

“What is the world doing? They have seen the blood of our children and are doing nothing.”

If anyone comes to you supporting this war, and says they are Christians, do not believe them.

The Real McKool-Aid

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

John McNeoStupids’ staffing

The concerns have emerged in the weeks since McCain became his party’s presumptive nominee and began more formally assembling a list of foreign policy advisers. Among those on the list are several prominent neoconservatives, including Robert Kagan, an author who helped write much of the foreign policy speech that McCain delivered in Los Angeles on March 26, in which he described himself as “a realistic idealist.” Others include the security analyst Max Boot and a former United Nations ambassador, John Bolton.

Prominent members of the pragmatist group, often called realists, say they are also wary of the McCain campaign’s chief foreign policy aide, Randy Scheunemann, who was a foreign policy adviser to former Senators Trent Lott and Bob Dole and who has longtime ties to neoconservatives. In 2002, Scheunemann was a founder of the hawkish Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and was an enthusiastic supporter of the Iraqi exile and Pentagon favorite, Ahmad Chalabi.

Another reason he isn’t tooting his common sense.

Will The Real General Petraeus Please Stand Up?

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Petraeus Shifts Sharply On Basra, Aligns With White House Spin

Perhaps sensing that his testimony on Tuesday was undermining the official White House version of events in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus today offered a dramatically different interpretation of the recent violent unrest in Basra.

Tell me the general isn’t in the tank.

Armchair general Kagan’s “street” analysis is grossly oversimplified. Maliki’s government in fact traveled to Iran to “win the support of the commander of Iran’s Qods brigades” for a cease-fire (revealing his dependence on Iran), to which Sadr agreed. Maliki’s government then issued a statement praising Sadr, after the PM insisted days earlier there would be “no negotiation.”

Republicans Highlight Christian Nation Agenda

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

ABC Report: Bush’s ‘Principal’ Advisers OK’d Torture

ABC News reported tonight that President Bush’s most senior and trusted advisers met in “dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House” beginning in 2002 to approve the use of “combined” interrogation techniques (the joint use of harsh interrogation techniques). Those tactics included whether detainees “would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.”

Members of the National Security Council’s Principals Committee — Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, George Tenet, and John Ashcroft — approved the use of these techniques. “Sources said that at each discussion, all the Principals present approved.” According to ABC’s report, Ashcroft indicated he was troubled by the meetings:

Iraq Celebrates Republican War

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Curfews, Clashes, Protests and Mortars;
Five Years after Fall of Saddam;
5 US Troops Die;
23 Iraqis Wounded in Sadr City

GRAHAM: The point that you’re making is a good point. They should do more militarily, and they should pay the bill in larger measure. And they are, and they will.

But my point is very simple. It’s in our national security interests that Iraq become a stable, functioning government, saying no to al Qaeda, a buffer to Iranian ambitions.

US Showtrials Hit Snag

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

New Roadblocks Delay Tribunals at Guantánamo

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — When military officials announced war crimes charges against six detainees for the Sept. 11 attacks two months ago, the move was part of an effort to accelerate the Bush administration’s sluggish military commission system, which has yet to hold a single trial.

But the Sept. 11 case immediately hit a snag. Military defense lawyers were in short supply, and even now, two months later, not one of the six detainees has met his military lawyer.

Afghans Hold Secret Trials for Men That U.S. Detained

KABUL, Afghanistan — Dozens of Afghan men who were previously held by the United States at Bagram Air Base and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are now being tried here in secretive Afghan criminal proceedings based mainly on allegations forwarded by the American military.

The prisoners are being convicted and sentenced to as much as 20 years’ confinement in trials that typically run between half an hour and an hour, said human rights investigators who have observed them. One early trial was reported to have lasted barely 10 minutes, an investigator said.

The Republicans New American Way.

Sketchy News Reported As Fact

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

China makes sketchy claim of Olympic kidnap plot

China says it has uncovered a criminal ring planning to kidnap Beijing Olympic athletes and visitors, the Associated Press has reported. The sketchy claim was immediately questioned as an attempt to divert attention from the country’s human rights records, which has been the subject of world protests this week.

Unfortunately it has been observed,

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International say Beijing often uses alleged terrorism as an excuse to violently repress any activism for independence in the region, whether violent or peaceful.

Andrew Fischer, a fellow at the London School of Economics and an expert on western China, said: “I can’t imagine why Uighur activists would want to attack athletes in the Olympics.

“What do the Uighurs have against Olympic athletes? How would that serve their cause?

The Civilized World

April 10, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

SFO wrong to drop BAE inquiry, court rules

The high court today ruled that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was wrong to drop an investigation into alleged bribery in a massive arms deal between BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia.

The decision represents a stunning victory for Campaign Against Arms Trade and Corner House Research, which campaigns against corruption in international trade, as well as a major embarrassment for the government.

The two groups sought a review of the decision by the SFO director, Robert Wardle, to drop the investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption in contracts between BAE Systems and Saudi Arabia. BAE and a Saudi national security adviser, Prince Bandar, deny the accusations.

This won’t stay on that side of the pond for long.

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Republicans Come To Grips With Iraq Reality

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

http://Terraformed3_files/ZaSSK09_mBcrel0.swf

The greatest strategic blunder in American history sits on the doorsteps of these modern brainiacs. If I were they, I would be very smug and self assured that those who opposed the war couldn’t figure a way out of the quagmire. If I were they. But I’m not.

There is no way to do a do over in Iraq, and the only way forward is to have a regional peace conference that includes Syria, Iran, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia at a minimum. Without Arab and Iranian input there will be no through put.

It really is that simple. Simple isn’t so easy, is it? It doesn’t matter that the right will never be able to wash the blood off of their hands either, since to the world we are all bloody, imagine that. That broad brush we paint each other with works on us too. Who woulda thunk? Who woulda thunk?

We will therefore have to overcome our own superior attitudes toward one another and get to work on a viable, comprehensive framework for peace in the Middle East, which brings us into a situation that those who have been unwilling to compromise must do so, or face their own destruction from powers and events that are beyond their control.

So if I were a Republican I would keep my smug assed comments to myself, since you are in fact the sources of this current crisis, and you and I unfortunately will need each other in the coming years to do this thing. I won’t remind you you are a fuck up if you don’t remind me that you are a fuck up.

Red State, Stupid To The Bone

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Occupying Iraq Is Just Like Occupying … Alabama?

Today, RedState sent an email alert to readers to further push the point … making a, shall we say, novel argument (emphasis added):

Clearly McCain was talking about a peace time standing presence … Someone should ask the Democrats if they think we’re still at war with the confederacy, the Germans, and the Japanese given all the standing American armies in the South, Germany, and Japan.

How can I compete with this stuff? ht

Olympic Torch Disappears

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

San Francisco police report that the Olympic torch has disappeared in San Francisco. Bystanders report seeing a junk yard dog chasing a runner in short pants down a tin pan alley, but they refused to be interviewed.

Update: One person on the streets of San Francisco has reported seeing the runner and torch through the police protection. We were unable to confirm this sighting from the ground, although it is reportedly being shown on television from helicopters not named Ben.

Update II: Digital footage repeatedly showing various people in states of disassembly, adding to the normal confusion one expects to expect from San Francisco.

Update III: Protesters continue to disrupt the torch run, some yelling at the torch bearer for being a capitalist running dog, others reportedly yelling at the dog.

Catapulting The Propaganda

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Petraeus and Crocker, less convincing this time

The endless repetition of these two propaganda “themes;”

– Maliki’s legitimacy above all other contenders

– direct Iranian intervention as the cause of Shia infighting,

have been the music of the Petraeus/Crocker show before Congress.

This propaganda technique of the endless repetition of truth, half truth or outright lies is the essence of the propaganda trade.

This is how we were sold the war. pl

Pardon the appeal to higher authority, but I understand that some people actually think you need college degrees and years of experience to make legitimate statements like this.

But, if that’s what you need, there you go.

Who’s On First?

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Media Ignore Bipartisan Criticism Of Iraq Policies, Claim ‘A Parade Of Democrats’ ‘Pounced’ On Petraeus

A number of media outlets characterized yesterday’s Senate hearings on the situation in Iraq and the future of U.S. policy there as a confrontation between Democrats and Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

I am so glad that my MSM weren’t listed,

However, statements from a number of Republican senators during yesterday’s hearings undermine these characterizations. For example:

– Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH): “The American people have had it up to here” with the war. The U.S. should tell its allies in the Middle East: “Hey guys, we’re on our way out.”

– Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE): “What are we doing? I don’t see Secretary Rice doing any Kissinger-esque flying around. Where is the diplomatic surge?”

– Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN): “Simply appealing for more time to make progress is insufficient.”

– Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): “I’m looking for an articulation as to how we get to the end” […] “We’re at a point in the conflict where an articulation of the endgame needs to be made.”

– Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME):”We’re continuing to pay for the training and equipping of Iraqi forces. I’m told that we’re even continuing to pay for fuel within Iraq. Isn’t it time for the Iraqis to start bearing more of those expenses?”

– Sen. John Warner (R-VA): “Is all this sacrifice bringing about a more secure America?”

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t note that Republicans haven’t been voting the way they are speaking, and just add that to the remarks of Senator Graham noted previously.

Update: Another media related observation

You Mean, Like, Saddam?

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I got side tracked yesterday right in the middle of all of this, but it’s such an obtuse thing to say,

BLITZER: They had zero — they had zero money. The Iraqis have billions of dollars, including $30 billion sitting in U.S. banks right now.

GRAHAM: The point that you’re making is a good point. They should do more militarily, and they should pay the bill in larger measure. And they are, and they will.

But my point is very simple. It’s in our national security interests that Iraq become a stable, functioning government, saying no to al Qaeda, a buffer to Iranian ambitions. What is it worth to the American people to have an ally in the Mideast, a country in the middle of the Mideast that aligns themselves with us against al Qaeda, that will say no to Iranian desires?

We have got a long way to go in Iraq. It’s going to cost money, and it’s going to cost more injuries and more lives. But, in my opinion, it’s worth it. And isn’t that really your question? “Senator Graham, is it worth it?”

Yes, it’s worth it to me to win in Iraq, because losing in Iraq will cost us more.

These guys all seem to forget where we started from. It would have served our national security interest better to let the UN finish its’ inspections.

These are the same idiots who find it sensible not to talk to Iran or Cuba.

Still Dead

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

U.S. Official: Al Qaeda terrorist dead of natural causes

WASHINGTON – A U.S. counterterrorism officials says that Abu Obeida al-Masri (Ah-boo oh-BAY-duh ahl-MAHZ’-ree), an Egyptian al-Qaida chief who was responsible for attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan, is dead.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter said Wednesday that Al-Masri died of natural causes, apparently hepatitis. The official said al-Masri died within the last several months.

The Pakistani government originally had believed he was killed a CIA Predator strike in 2006.

Given his situation, a bullet in the head would pass for today’s natural causes.

Aussie With Cajones

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Rudd confronts China on human rights

KEVIN Rudd, defying official protests from Beijing, has used the first day of his China trip to highlight human rights abuses in Tibet and to vow to pursue the issue with Chinese leaders.

The Prime Minister surprised and wowed students at Peking University as he addressed them in Mandarin, at some points cracking jokes and at others criticising their Government and its human rights record.

“Australia, like most other countries, recognises China sovereignty over Tibet but we also believe it is necessary to recognise there are significant human rights problems in Tibet,” Mr Rudd said. “We recognise the need for all parties to avoid violence and find a solution through dialogue. As a long-standing friend of China, I intend to have a straightforward discussion with China’s leaders on this.”

I’m glad I learned rephrasing and a smattering of espanol.

I Would Have Phrased It Differently

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Somethings just shouldn’t be phrased like that though.

And this is where it starts to get interesting in terms of U.S. domestic politics. One of the notable differences between Obama and Clinton on whether or not Iran’s Suleimani should be seen as a terrorist. Last year 75 U.S. senators (including Clinton) voted to accept the Bush administration’s claim that the general’s organization, the Revolutionary Guards, was a “specially designated global terrorist.” Obama did not vote for that.

But this also gets interesting for the Republican champion, Sen. John McCain. He stressed Sunday, ahead of the Petraeus-Crocker testimony, that even though he knew the two men would warn about Iran’s arming and training of America’s enemies in Iraq, this did not mean necessarily that the United States should do anything about it.

“Let me say categorically, because I’m worried about Iranian influence doesn’t mean that I’m ready to go to war with Iran,” McCain said. “Please, I’m not.”

McCain, who argues that the only thing worse than bombing Iran would be sanding by as Iran developed a nuclear weapon, is now realizing just how complex the Iran-Iraq equation has become. On the one hand, he sees Iran as a dangerous enemy. On the other, he knows Iran now decides whether Iraq goes up in flames or it doesn’t.

McCain has staked his presidential campaign on his support for the U.S. military “surge” and the reduction in Iraqi and U.S. casualties it has brought about. But if Iraq falls apart before November, so does McCain’s campaign. It begins to look as if Iran’s Revolutionary Guard leader has McCain’s presidential campaign in the palm of his hand.

Mr Hagee’s World

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

‘Allying with Christian Zionists is bad for Israel’

NEW YORK – “No, we cannot.” We cannot cooperate with the Christian Zionists, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, told the annual conference of the movement’s rabbis Wednesday night in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to copies of the speech distributed ahead of time to the press.

Evangelist to Yoffie: ‘I’m not trying to undermine peace’

Televangelist John Hagee sounded a bit irate when he read his response to the accusations leveled at him and the organization he founded, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), by Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the Union for Reform Judaism.

Hagee, who is currently in Jerusalem with 1,000 Christian pilgrims, delivered his response via conference call to U.S. reporters. He said that had Yoffie and his followers asked him directly about his opinions, they could have avoided many of their alleged mistakes. Hagee said, for example, that he has not called the Catholic Church a “great whore,” nor is he trying to dictate Israel’s security and political policies. Hagee will support Israel whether or not it carries out withdrawals, he repeatedly said, adding that this is something its citizens will decide.

For what it is worth, Hagee is a theological descendant from the millenialist movements in America of the 19th century. Not much has really changed in their prophetic interpretations except when one of them makes a definitive statement about events that subsequently fail to pan out. Men plan, God laughs, but that doesn’t stop men from planning. Hagee has a problem with tactics and strategy too, it seems.

Iraq’d

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Congressional hearing intrudes in Sadr City, if power lasts

The troops generally agreed with Edwards, who said it would be foolish to withdraw American troops at this time. But some also bemoaned the lack of progress on the Iraqi side.

Lieutenant Matthew Apostol, 25, from Mililani, Hawaii, and the platoon leader, summed up both concerns.

“There should not be a quick timeline for reducing troops,” he said. “That would not a good thing for Iraq right now. But the Iraqi government is pretty inept. They are not meeting their end of the bargain. The Iraqi Army is not getting the support it needs from its government. They come and ask us for food, water and ammunition, basic things that soldiers need.”

As was previously noted in the article,

Sergeant Derek Arnold, 23, from Springfield, Oregon, said he was annoyed to learn in the opening statement of the senior Democrat, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, that the Iraqi government was not spending all of its oil proceeds. “It ticked me off to hear how our tax money is going into this when they are just stockpiling the money,” he said.

The question is less should it be saved, but rather can it be saved?

Boombust

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

NY Times: The Boom That Wasn’t

David Loenhardt writes at the NY Times: For Many, a Boom That Wasn’t

It’s not just the apparent recession. Recessions happen. …

The bigger problem is that the now-finished boom was, for most Americans, nothing of the sort. In 2000, at the end of the previous economic expansion, the median American family made about $61,000, according to the Census Bureau’s inflation-adjusted numbers. In 2007, in what looks to have been the final year of the most recent expansion, the median family, amazingly, seems to have made less — about $60,500.

IMF makes gloomy forecast for UK economy

With the US already sliding into what the IMF predicts will be a “mild recession”, there is mounting pessimism about the ability of the rest of the world to escape unscathed. In its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook, the IMF warns that America’s mortgage crisis has spiralled into “the largest financial shock since the Great Depression”, and there is now a one-in-four chance of a full-blown global recession over the next twelve months.

First they said it wouldn’t come to this, then it came to this. Now they are saying the world will decouple from this, then it will be the caboose that is the last car off of the track. Most Americans will have missed the train, although they are very much paying for all the tickets for the free loaders.

Update: ‘She’ll be right’, IMF says of Australia

AUSTRALIA is set to escape the slump facing other Western countries in 2008 and 2009, but its inflation rate will stay above the Reserve Bank’s target zone, the International Monetary Fund has forecast.

The IMF’s half-yearly World Economic Outlook, released overnight, cuts its forecast of global growth in 2008 for the fourth time in nine months. It now tips the world’s output to grow by 3.7% this year and 3.8% in 2009, down from 4.9% last year.

Well, there we have it.

Graham: The Surge Is Strategic

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Sorry sir, but that is a tactic. It may be a change in strategy, but it is a tactical change in strategy.

So for the American public to grasp what’s going on here, they need to listen to people who speak English.

The strategy for going into Iraq has never been articulated, it has continuously been changed from one thing or another, but what the strategic goals of the war on Iraq are are still a mystery. First it WMDs, and 911, now it is Al-Whoda, later it will be democracy in the Mid East, but those are smoke screens for Mr. Grenspan’s oil, which may itself be a smokescreen, because the simple fact is this Republican government, and these Republican members of Congress simply cannot tell the truth about the strategic goals of the war on Iraq.

War Is Their Drug

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Five years of addiction;

We Tried To Say No

And on it goes.

Five years of Friedman Units, of politicians insisting that Iraq wouldn’t be an issue in the next election, of pundits assuring us that Bush would have to withdraw troops any day now, of anti-war voices even now completely excluding from the media, and of course the sage advice of the Wise Old Men of Washington…

Same Charts

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Petraeus apparently is in his own greener zone, putting the debunked BS back up for the House.

Hypothetically, Iraq spending for the year will reach the level of American spending for a month, with implementation of the Iraqi budget passed two months ago.

I too support the troops.

Here We Go AgainLive blogging the dead enders.

More Here Like I said…

Hypothetically Wanking

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Via Balloon Juice;

CROCKER/PETRAEUS WRAPUP….Various tidbits from Democracy Arsenal’s liveblogging of the Crocker/Petraeus hearings on Tuesday:

  • Ambassador Crocker again refuses to engage in hypotheticals with Senator Biden. Unless we hypothetically talk about leaving Iraq, in which case he is absolutely sure that everything would fall apart and the world would end.

Crimes and Punishments

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

A Tale of Three Lawyers

On Thursday in the National Press Club in Washington, a crowd gathered to witness the presentation of the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling to Lieutenant Commander Matthew Diaz. The story of Matthew Diaz was chronicled in this space repeatedly (also here and here). It is a story of courage, fortitude, conviction and suffering. Joe Margulies introduced the honoree with clarity:

Some other needs to reads

Someone To Dry Spencer’s Balls

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Iraq Report Redux

Gen. Petraeus and Mr. Crocker have gotten more confident about calling the surge a success, and rightly so. “It’s worth it,” said the general. “We have seen a significant degradation of al-Qaeda’s presence and its abilities,” said the ambassador. “Al-Qaeda is our mortal and strategic enemy. So to the extent that al-Qaeda’s capacities have been lessened in Iraq — and they have been significantly lessened — I do believe that makes America safer.”

What hasn’t much changed is the partisan debate over Iraq, which as Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) lamented, remains resistant even to established facts.

twinkletoes, you’re breaking my heart:

Forgive me, but this post is for the dudes. You know how you come out of the shower — at the gym, say — and you’re toweling off, and you feel all dry, but then you put on your underwear and you realize: Dammit, I forgot to dry under my balls.

Joe Lieberman’s world.

via the usual suspects.

No Fly Zone

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Oasis budget airline stops flying

KPMG, appointed as liquidator, advised ticket holders to call 00852 3628 0628 or 0844 482 2323 for more information.

Oasis operated daily flights between London and Hong Kong and six services a week between Hong Kong and Vancouver.

For those of you who are stuck, I take care of my readers.

Things Go Boom

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

7 die in explosion in Sadr City; Green Zone shelled

BAGHDAD — Seven people died in Baghdad’s Sadr City as clashes between security forces and Shiite militiamen continued in the capital today, a day after top U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus called for a suspension of U.S. troop withdrawals because of the renewed combat.

The city’s Green Zone, which houses diplomatic missions and much of Iraq’s government, also came under renewed attack by rockets or mortars early today. The U.S. embassy confirmed the shelling, but said there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Know Your Muqtada

April 9, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Life Imitates Bullshit

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Baghdad Lockdown During Petraeus Testimony Says it all.

Heh

Michael Ware seems as clueless about Congress as they appear to be about Iraq. I think the hearings where facinating.

And as an added thought I think Obama tried to start some metrical analysis, and as a whole the Democrats proved to be kicking ass on some important political points that needed to be made, because if the Republicans are going to remain dead centered on substansive issues for political reasons then they have to be pointed out for doing so.

You Heard It Here First

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

In Passing

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Sailor killed in Iraq awarded Medal of Honor

Michael A. Monsoor, who grew up in Garden Grove, has been selected to receive the medal posthumously for his efforts to save fellow SEALs during a firefight in 2006.

Republicain’t Governmen

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

FISA Fight: Republicans and the Protect AT&T Act

This was the law, the Protect America Act, that Republicans told us was necessary for preventing the end of the world. Until Democrats said “bullpuckey” and let it expire, after which the world did not end. Now that bill isn’t enough, because the gaps in intelligence they insisted would cripple us if the law expired are not nearly as important as letting AT&T off the hook for illegally spying on us.

Note To Lindsay Graham

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

In acknowledging that General Patreaus inherited chaos in Iraq, does that mean you are willing to admit that you were completely wrong previous to the surge? If so, why didn’t you say so?

The Republicans want to focus on a single year and say they were right about the surge, but to do so they have to admit that the war policy was a failure previous to that surge, and they did nothing to redirect the military policy.

Update: Tenuous at best

Under pointed questioning earlier from Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), Gen. Petraeus painted a much more somber picture of Iraq than many of his Republican cheerleaders:

It’s why I’ve repeatedly noted that we haven’t turned any corners, we haven’t seen any lights at the end of the tunnel. The champagne bottle has been pushed to the back of the refrigerator. And the progress, while real, is fragile and is reversible.

As Tom Foreman has noted, a lot of the debate is in interpreting the facts.

One of those facts is that things can go downhill a lot quicker than they can go up.

Basically, all of our progress is dependent on other actors, other forces, than those under our own control. We may be a player in Iraq, but we are not in control of Iraq. That is four years plus the surge.

Updated: I wonder if Wolf will ask him?

Graham: It’s Saddass’s fault that the infrastructure is all torn up.

Update II: The Lord works in mysterious ways, as dday says,

That was a very significant moment at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings with Amb. Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus. Joe Biden asked Amb. Crocker where it would be better for American national security interests to eliminate Al Qaeda in Iraq or Al Qaeda along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Crocker had nowhere to hide with that question. Spencer Ackerman describes the outcome.

Crocker, in an impossible political position — give the correct answer and humiliate the Bush administration; give the administration’s answer and look like a fool — dodged as much as he could. Then Biden forced him down. Crocker: “I would therefore pick Al Qaeda on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.”

Maybe The FBI Should Do It Then

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Al-Qaida could be beaten in a few years, says head of FBI

The head of the FBI predicted yesterday that al-Qaida could be defeated within a few years, far more quickly than senior counterterrorism officials and government ministers in Britain suggest. “I think we’ll see victory on my watch,” Robert Mueller said on a visit to London.

Hmmmm. Treat terrorism as a law enforcement matter?

This idea isn’t exactly a new concept, so it shouldn’t really be news, except some boneheads wanted to blow up rocks and there weren’t any in Afghanistan. So we went and made some rubble to bounce in Iraq.

Now we are where we are.

Ignorance Is Chambliss

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

AQI was first formed in what year sir?

Petraues Fudges The Chart

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Number’s Simply Don’t Match Up…

A graph (which is pasted below) Petraeus presented today seems to paint a diametrically opposite picture for March in terms of Iraqi civilian casualty numbers than what has been broadly reported. The graph suggests that civilian casualties in Iraq stayed somewhat level during March, and in fact the coalition numbers seem to demonstrate a dip in overall civilian deaths. This clearly doesn’t jive with what has been broadly reported. The Washington Post, for instance, reported on the deadly month that was March as thus.

Update: Petraeus: ‘We Don’t Arm’ The Sunnis

CNN: Another graphic blows.

McBomb Bomb YA

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

McCain seems confused about al Qaeda again, suggests it’s a ’sect of Shi’ites.’

MCCAIN: Do you still view al Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat?

PETRAEUS: It is still a major threat, though it is certainly not as major a threat as it was say 15 months ago.

MCCAIN: Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shi’ites overall?

PETREAUS: No.

MCCAIN: Or Sunnis or anybody else

On accident of course.You know this isn’t just misspeaking. The man has a mental inability to distinquish the differences between the various players in Iraq,

I think that there is a pattern developing here, and it points to a fatal flaw in the neo-con reasoning(?), that everyone in the world thinks along the same lines as we do, and wish to live as we do.

Uber Whine

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Lieberwhat?

Joe Lieberman is probably beyond shark-jumping at this point, but his statement that Iraqis have made more progress on political reconciliation since September than have Americans is really pretty appalling.

One trick loser.

More here, Cheerleader Tryouts on Capitol Hill

Sen. Joe Lieberman: “[T]here’s a kind of hear no progress in Iraq, see no progress in Iraq, and most of all, speak of no progress in Iraq.”

Conveniently forgetting the monkey with its’ hand wrapped around a banana in a mason jar and unable to withdraw it’s hand through the opening. Joe forgot the “monkey stuck”, monkey.

Live Blogging The Hearings

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Here ya go.

Yeah, It’s All The Democratic Left

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Except when it isn’t.

The considerable buzz in conservative circles about Barack Obama, best exemplified by Andrew Bacevich’s article “The Case for Obama” in The American Conservative, has largely focused on his potential as the only candidate who might actually end the war in Iraq. Maybe he would or maybe he wouldn’t, but it is dead certain that neither John McCain or Hillary Clinton would rush out of Baghdad, nor would they put an end to the neocon-derived globalism that threatens to involve the U.S. in still more wars of choice in places like Iran. Obama might be better on both counts, hence his appeal to some conservatives, most particularly the ones who believe that the war in Iraq is a truly existential issue for the United States and must be ended at all costs.

This is one of the most under reported aspects of American political thinking, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy against the war.

Josh points out this petition, which follows what is is basically pandering by Cornyn, that I can’t imagine not signing, with of course a signing statement noting Cornyn’s pandering.

The Colbert Effect Repor

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Pssst! Rahm, Nancy…

Far from hurting the careers of the Democrats who go on his show, as both Speaker Pelosi and powerhouse Congressman Emanuel feared, a new study has found that donations to Democratic lawmakers appearing in his “Better Know a District” segment spike upwards rather dramatically:

Other Rumors

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Slashdot informs me, Rumors of a ‘Whisper Campaign’ Forming Against Fair Use

An anonymous reader writes “Ars Technica reports that a group of companies and organizations it calls ‘big content’ is currently engaged in a worldwide ‘whisper campaign’ against Fair Use.

Shave Off Buzz

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Maliki’s Threat and the Ayatollahs

Why would the Maliki/Hakim/US forces want that? Application of Occam’s Razor to this issue yields the solution that those forces fear that Sadr would become stronger in the elections if allowed to contest them on an “even playing field.”

Sadr is the most nationalistic of the movements, most likely to resist Iranian influence and we get this?

There seems to be a disjunct between our stated goals and our policy goals in Iraq which the MSM could, you know, investigate a lttle more in depth, instead of catapulting the propaganda to show their patriotic showmanship.

Update: More here,

Bill Roggio has some good analysis over at the Long War Journal on Maliki’s latest gambit designed to sideline Moqtada al Sadr and his Jaish al Mahdi [Mahdi Army] ahead of the upcoming elections. Having failed to knock the Sadrists off-balance militarily during the recent engagement in Basra, Maliki is trying a political manoeuvre, passing a parliamentary resolution to ban all political parties that maintain an armed militia from participating in the election. While it is too early to say how it will pan out, early signs suggest that in his latest face-off with al Sadr, Maliki is playing his cards a little better.

See, if a blogger can do it

In reality, Iran maintains ties with all of the major Shia actors in Iraq, and, as the main beneficiary of the Iraq invasion, stands to gain however the current political struggle is resolved. Because of ISCI’s acceptance (for the moment) of U.S. goals in Iraq, credulous American analysts have ignored overwhelming evidence of ISCI’s continuing ties to Iran in order to portray them as friendly to U.S. interests. Senators should beware ideologically-motivated attempts to portray the current power struggle in Iraq as simply “the Iraqi government versus Iranian-supported bad guys.”

The Petraeus and Crocker Show

The neocon lacky Petraeus has had his script written for him by Cheney, and Petraeus together with neocon warmonger Ryan Crocker, the US governor of the Green Zone in Baghdad, will present Congress next Tuesday and Wednesday with the lies, for which the road has been well paved by neocon propagandists such as Kimberly Kagan, that “the US must recognize that Iran is engaged in a full-up proxy war against it in Iraq.”

Crocker alleges that the rockets dropping on the Green Zone during the Basra fighting were made in 2007 in Iran. As should be obvious even to disengaged Americans, if Iran were to arm the Iraqi insurgency, the insurgents would have modern weapons to counter US helicopter gunships and heavy tanks. The insurgents have no such weapons. The neocon lie that Iran is the cause of the Iraqi insurgency is just another Bush regime lie like the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and connections to al Qaeda and the lie that the Taliban in Afghanistan attacked the US.

I think I should be clear that I don’t think that Petraeus is a neo-con lakey, but I think his objectives as a general in Iraq can only be met by keeping it contained within the confines of the current CiC’s rhetoric. He is too smart to be a neo-con, but that is MHO. YMMV.

Update: Crocker, not so much.

via Atrios,

BAGHDAD – Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatened Tuesday to lift a seven-month freeze on his Mahdi Army militia if the Iraqi government does not halt attacks on his followers or set a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal.

The statement came from his office hours before the top two U.S. officials in Iraq — Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker — planned to brief Congress on the situation in Iraq and prospects for drawing down American troops.

Update: YA

As Juan Cole, a regular Salon contributor, told me, “The Americans are doing propaganda.” I called Cole, a nationally recognized expert on Shiite Islam, because I wanted to get a reality check not just on Petraeus and Crocker’s expected Iran-is-to-blame spin, but to hear what Cole thinks the United States should do to extricate itself from Iraq. As it turns out, the two questions are inseparable. Cole makes a disturbing case that the Bush administration’s hard-line position on Iran and Sadr could end up wrecking our chances of getting out of Iraq without leaving chaos in our wake.

via

Act Two

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

David Corn reminds us that he is a nerd,

COUNTDOWN TO PETRAEUS: On Tuesday, General David Petraeus will again try to take Capitol Hill. I’ve already done a set-up (here and here). But I was thinking about last year’s Petraeus show and remembered that he had a pretty easy time snowing Congress. Read this posting (of mine) from September:

Citing General David Petraeus, George W. Bush, in his so-called “wayforward in Iraq” speech declared on Thursday night, “The Iraqi army is becoming more capable.”

For days, I’ve been carrying around with me page 13 of the 14-page slideshow Petraeus showed during his multiple appearances on Capitol Hill. (That’s how nerdy I am!) And to anyone unfortunate to get stuck in an elevator with me, I’ve flashed this chart to show that according to Petraeus’ own numbers, there has been no progress in the past year in fielding Iraqi security forces that can function on their own. Yes, I said no progress.

The chart–titled “Iraqi Security Forces Capabilities”–divides Iraqi troops into four groups: units that are fully independent (Level I); that can stage operations with support of U.S. forces (Level II); that can fight side by side with U.S. forces (Level III); that are still forming (Level IV). If you look at September 2006, you will see that there were 11,000 Level I troops and 86,000 Level II troops. Fast forward to September 2007, and the numbers are, Level I, 12,000 and Level II, 84,000. That’s a slight drop in capabilities, if you combine Levels I and II.

I Don’t Understand Them

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

You would think after bombing civilian populations for five years they would want to be our buddies.

Silly foreigners, just don’t understand us.

Get Your War On

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

American Grand Delusions Why the Testimony of General Petraeus Will Be Delusional

In the U.S., the administration’s lack of planning for the occupation of Iraq — starting with the wholesale looting of Baghdad after American troops had taken the capital — has been the subject of much debate and discussion in Congress and the media. While it’s usually noted in passing that, amid the chaos, orders had in fact been issued to American troops to guard the Oil Ministry, little is made of that. In fact, orders for U.S. troops to guard that ministry and the Interior Ministry, and nothing else, were indeed given, which simply indicates that administration planning was extremely focused — on oil and the secret police (and perhaps Saddam Hussein’s secret archives).

In addition, we know that the administration ignored the 13-volume “Future of Iraq” project put together by the State Department to guide an occupation — largely because its neocon officials were so intent on sidelining the State Department more generally. On the other hand, the Pentagon did plan for what it thought would matter. Specifically, from a front-page April 19, 2003 New York Times article, we know that, by the time the invasion began, the Pentagon already had on the drawing boards plans for building four permanent mega-bases in Iraq. (They were meant to replace our bases in Saudi Arabia.) And these were indeed built (along with others and the largest embassy on the planet) in more or less the locations originally described. From the beginning, whatever planning it didn’t do, the Bush administration was certainly planning to make itself at home in Iraq in a big way for a long, long time.

Hillary’s Hospital Hoax Splained

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Clinton’s Tale Part Truth, Part Errors

Clinton erred in telling audiences that the Ohio woman lacked insurance when seeking help for her troubled pregnancy. But according to Casto’s account, Bachtel’s medical tragedy began with circumstances very close to the essence of Clinton’s now-abandoned account: the lack of insurance created a $100 barrier to needed medical attention close to home.

Just don’t expect me to be fair all the time, until my demands are met on the bumper sticker issue.

No Bloggers Allowed

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Informed Comment notes,

The Sadrists have no intention of dissolving the Mahdi Army, according to this Arabic source, quoting Sadrist spokesman Salah al-Ubaidi. They point out, pace that great Iraq expert Lowry, that there are 28 militias in Iraq. The Badr Corps of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) still exists as a stand alone organization. In fact it ran as a political party in the elections and holds both provincial and federal seats. It hasn’t been complete merged into the state security forces as Lowry alleged. And anyway, painting a sign on a militia saying ‘this one is legitimate because its party won the last election’ is not going to convince any real Iraqis.

and the NY Times informs McBush

Figures compiled by the American military showed that attacks specifically on military targets in Baghdad more than tripled in March, one of many indications that violence has begun to rise again after months of gains in the wake of an American troop increase. Overall attacks on Baghdad more than doubled, to 631 in March from 239 in February, reflecting new strikes against the Green Zone, the fortified headquarters for Iraqi and American officials, as well as renewed fighting in Sadr City between the Mahdi Army and American and Iraqi forces.

All of which goes to prove that we are a long way from actually having a grip on the situation.

Voting Locations Fer Houston

April 8, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Runoff Sekula-Gibbs is now calling herself Doctor Sekula-Gibbs for gravitas, I suppose.

Secret, Sensitive US Iraq Plans Here

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Secret US plan for military future in Iraq

A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country.

The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, dated March 7 and marked “secret” and “sensitive”, is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to “conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security” without time limit.

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Way We Heard

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Can anyone spot the influence and reaction to this story,

The Way Clinton Heard the Hospital Story

Did a hospital turn Bachtel away for lack of funds? Nothing we’ve heard so far says that this wasn’t the case. Did she eventually get treatment at another hospital? That’s exactly what both Deputy Holman and Senator Clinton say happened. Maybe Holman got it wrong. But Clinton told the story the way she heard it.

with this one,

But It Almost Worked!

There are definitely ways that the Clinton campaign has annoyed me, but the “win Super Tuesday and it’s over” strategy really was a pretty good one and it almost worked. Politics is binary and there’s big tendency to overstate the genius of the winners and lament the bumbling of the losers. Now the basic Clinton campaign strategy wasn’t necessarily one which spoke to me, but the point of the campaign isn’t to win me over it’s to… win.

and then this one?

Chief Goof

TPM Reader JM laments how Penn destroyed Hillary’s campaign …

There’s no good reason why Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be cruising to the nomination right now. She very easily could have been the candidate of fresh ideas, the tireless worker who would finally deliver on the promise of Bill’s administration. For most of 2007 I expected her to roll out a killer argument that would finally convince me that she was a better pick than Obama.

After the super Tuesday failure the negativity went up and Hillary lost half of her would be defenders. That is strategic, and the error, IMO.

Who Is That Bear In My Stearn?

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Time to Buy Gold Bars?

One bright spot in this dismal account is that it is no longer possible to brush such shameful episodes aside with a day or two of anodyne testimony. The blogosphere has changed the rules. A legion of dedicated, and knowledgeable finance bloggers has been diligently digging up all the details available to be dug. Readers who would like to plunge deeper into swamp should check out Yves Smith, Felix Salmon, Steve Waldman and Alea.

No, I’m not going there with you.

Oh What A Tangling Of Webb’s

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

when first we seek to be stubborn horses arses.I am awaiting the prevarication and re-verification of these issues from Michael O’Hanlon point of view, who should be very very familiar with horses arses, having been one all these years.

What Does “Time” Know

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

You would have thought Cafferty and Wolf’s blogs would have made the first annual MSM surveys the competition and rates them accordingly.

CNN, Portland Oregonian & Denver Post Cover the Race Chasm

My article for In These Times about the Race Chasm has generated a lot of discussion and feedback about race in America – which I’m thrilled about. Race and class are the two issues that the Establishment is least interested in discussing – despite their prominence in our politics. And so if an article I write generates some ferment, that’s a good thing – especially if it can also promote the work of a great progressive magazine like In These Times.

They should have called me, serious blog ass kissing doesn’t work. Well, maybe it does.

Let’s experiment, you kiss my ass and we’ll see if that gets you a link.

Terraformed is seeking a young ambitious public relations guru. qualifications…

A Fairly Uncommon Minor Incident

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Earthquake reported south of San Antonio

The epicenter of the quake was pegged at 10 miles south of Poth in Wilson County, and 12 miles west-northwest of Kenedy in Karnes County, the center reported on its Web site.

If We Wish A Free And Stable Iraq McMac

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Independent of Iranian influence, then shouldn’t we be more inclined to support the Sadrists?

How come poor foriegn policy advocates always bring the generals in when they are talking about strategic political blunders?

Update:Angel Duss versus Fred Kagan. An unfair fight.

Must Ssuccumb

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Second Cousins Twice Removed

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Meanwhile Back At El Rancho Iraquero

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The F.U. Era is Over

Update: U.S. and Iraqis Battle Militias to End Attacks

BAGHDAD — Sharp fighting broke out in the Sadr City district of Baghdad on Sunday as American and Iraqi troops sought to control neighborhoods used by Shiite militias to fire rockets and mortars into the nearby Green Zone.

But the operation failed to stop the attacks on the heavily fortified zone, headquarters for Iraq’s central government and the American Embassy here. By day’s end, at least two American soldiers had been killed and 17 wounded in the zone, one of the worst daily tolls for the American military in the most heavily protected part of Baghdad. Altogether, at least three American soldiers were killed and 31 wounded in attacks in Baghdad on Sunday, and at least 20 Iraqis were killed, mostly in Sadr City.

Good Morning

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Be It Therefore Declared And Affirmed Also Too:

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Barack Obama is forthwith, (as well,) acknowledged to be responsible for any and all disparaging remarks I make about anyone else, I mean, why not?

Bloggers Dying In Droves

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The death rate amonst living things has been reaffirmed as one per.

War, Hawk, Monger

April 7, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

A difference without distinction.

The modern versions are off their clocks. I don’t think anyone is advocating a weak national defense, but McHawk and the Potomac Moons think a good defense is a good offense, which they have neither of.

Another Inconvenient Inconvenience

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The missed part of our national defense outlook is where do we want to be five or fifteen years, and the strategic impact of a military and industrial offshoring, on the financial and industrial capabilities of the United States to fight an invasion of our own shores.

If we cannot produce the necessary then we are at mercy of those who can. We can no longer offshore excessive unemployment to foriegn lands in unnecessary wars, and must find a new and different diplomatic, economic and political approach to the modern world.

Update: I lost the linkage, so I deleted the reference. My bad.

A Ponzi Scheme Done Right

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Eight Steps to a Trillion-Dollar Meltdown

But what about the homeowners who are stuck with mortgages they can no longer pay? Helping them will be simpler once their problems are untangled from the banks’ goal of protecting overpriced assets. A change in the bankruptcy laws, for example, could empower judges to convert excessive mortgages into market-rate rentals, which are usually much cheaper.

All current rescue proposals being floated in the U.S. Congress have the taxpayer buying up the loans the banks no longer want, absorbing the losses just as taxpayers did in the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s. As an equity investor, however, the U.S. government would get the same terms as other private investors, leaving the losses to fall on the shareholders and executives who either caused the debacle or allowed it to happen. Concerns about the government’s holding bank stock directly could be allayed by depositing the shares in the Social Security trust funds. As the banks return to normal operations, they would become quite valuable securities and probably greatly improve the system’s returns.

Bank shareholders and executives made extraordinary financial gains during the 2000s. Now that their Ponzi scheme has been exposed, they are demanding that the public absorb much of their losses, and the Federal government has been responding with huge showers of money. The Bear Stearns rescue demonstrates the need to draw a line. From now on, the banks, their shareholders, and their executives should eat their own losses. If that wipes out the capital of essential depositary institutions, the federal government should step in. Save the banks and help struggling homeowners, yes. But no more largesse for bank executives and shareholders.

via This seems too comprehensive and balanced, to me, for it to ever fly in DC. It actually tries to solve problems instead of stockholders and politicians woes.

Pesky Illegal Immigrants

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Finance Minister to Expel Workers, Escape in Flying Saucer

Finance Minister Roni Bar-On is preparing a plan to rid Israel of all illegal immigrants within five years, Ha’aretz reports. The story did not state that Bar-On will then escape Israel in a flying saucer piloted by three-eyed green men, but it could have. Bar-On has about as much chance of ending illegal economic immigration to Israel as he does of the flying-saucer get-away.

As the excellent Hebrew blog Laissez Passer, devoted to immigration and refugee issues, notes today, 8.5% of the Israeli workforce now consists either of labor immigrants and Palestinians from the occupied territories. With drastic efforts, the government may reduce that number temporarily, and then it will bounce back.

The unmistakable reach of Lou Dobbs, I suppose.

Update:

*I would like to make one thing perfectly clear, I do not in any way wish anyone to think that Mr. Dobbs or his staff may have anything more in common than general direction of thinking with Bar-On, on a singular issue, but within a far different nation, in the midst of what to us seem existential circumstances, and Mr. Dobbs’ populism is divergent in an American patriotic populist way as Bar-On’s is to his own.

My apologies to one and all if I impugned or incited anyone to impugn the good name of Mr. Dobbs. I do hope however they were good ones for historical purposes in the vaults of high hope, and low expectations.

De Love Bugging The Windshield

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Pentagon’s battle bugs

Biological weapons delivered by cyborg insects. It sounds like a nightmare scenario straight out of the wilder realms of science fiction, but it could be a reality if a current Pentagon project comes to fruition.

Right now, researchers are already growing insects with electronics inside them. They’re creating cyborg moths and flying beetles that can be remotely controlled. One day, the US military may field squadrons of winged insect/machine hybrids with on-board audio, video or chemical sensors. These cyborg insects could conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions on distant battlefields, in far-off caves, or maybe even in cities closer to home, and transmit detailed data back to their handlers at US military bases.

I thought they were showing up early this year.

This Blog Sucks?

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Some Say

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Another lad who needs to get around a little more notes in a post entitled, (emboldened for Republicans,) Cain & Abel, LLC

Mike Flugennock passed this along, from the Washington Times of all places:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080403/NATION/153270729/1002

Blog bickering called poison to Democrats

Some say acrimony is rampant among liberal and progressive bloggers who debate the merits of the Democratic presidential candidates…. the divisiveness potentially exacting a toll on the party itself.

Much more fun is Moulitsas’ po-faced comment that “us [sic] progressive bloggers have no problem… disagreeing with each other.” Having been purged from the Kos web site under half a dozen different aliases, I can testify that this is a whopping lie. The relentless tyranny of groupthink on Kos and the other “progressive” blogs makes the Gulag look like Liberty Hall. Debate, such as it is, occurs out at the fifth or sixth decimal place.

That’s why I like my criticism, as it always warranted, accurate, and devoid of hyperbole.

And why I didn’t say anything about his criticism of the Washington Times.

Lindsay Graham Reminds Me

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Iraq is part of the war on Terra. Yeah, it wasn’t before you boneheads invaded and occupied it, but that is distinction with difference.

Now Iraq is part of the war on Iran too.

It’s Dumsfields fault.

John wants to win it. Iran already has, hence bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb … who’d we say we were bombing?

Second verse same as the first.

I’m Bushco the next I yam I yam. (purposely broken pentameter)

McCain is most highly qualified to be commander in chief.

He\'ll make a most qualified commander in chief

Operation, “Braking Knucklehead,” graphic pinched liberally from DKos

Pesky Persians

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Iran joined militias in battle for Basra

IRANIAN forces were involved in the recent battle for Basra, General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, is expected to tell Congress this week.

Military and intelligence sources believe Iranians were operating at a tactical command level with the Shi’ite militias fighting Iraqi security forces; some were directing operations on the ground, they think.

Petraeus intends to use the evidence of Iranian involvement to argue against any reductions in US forces.

The story doesn’t detail whether the Iranians were woking with Mahdi or Badr Brigade militias.

I’m sure the Kagans and Kristols hadn’t planned on this. Heckofa job Billy!

This has been another edition of “If they were half as smart as they think they are, they would be twice as smart as they really are.”

Reality Check For McCain

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

McCain says he’ll take Secret Service protection

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. John McCain has made it very clear he doesn’t want Secret Service protection, but Friday bowed to reality and said he will take it

One observer says Sen. John McCain doesn’t want to be restricted by a security detail.

McCain told Fox News Friday that he will meet with Secret Service officials next week to arrange for protection.

“I think that it’s important as we get more and more visibility, that we recognize the inevitable…we will be talking with them early to arrange for very soon, some Secret Service protection,” McCain told Fox News.

This highlights how irresponsible McCain can really be. You have to wonder sometimes what in the hell is going through his head.

Speed Kills, Kristol’s Math and the Kagans Don’t Add Up

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

It isn’t brought out in the article, but the Kristols and Kagans are just as isolated from the American public as they are from the Iraqi one.

Dave at Small Wars Journal encouraged everyone to read the article by Richard Kohn on the coming crisis in civil-military relations, and Abu Muqawama seconds Dave’s recommendation for this passage alone:

In the civil-military arena, the consequences of even a slowly unraveling debacle in Iraq could be quite ugly. Already, politicians and generals have been pointing fingers at one another; the Democrats and some officers excoriating the administration for incompetence, while the administration and a parade of generals fire back at the press and anti-war Democrats. The truly embittered, like retired Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded in Iraq in 2003­­–04, blame everyone and everything: Bush and his underlings, the civilian bureaucracy, Congress, partisanship, the press, allies, even the American people. Last November, Sanchez went so far as to deliver the Democrats’ weekly radio address—and, with it, more bile and invective. Thomas Ricks, chief military correspondent of the Washington Post, detects a “stab in the back narrative . . . now emerging in the U.S. military in Iraq. . . . [T]he U.S. military did everything it was supposed to do in Iraq, the rest of the U.S. government didn’t show up, the Congress betrayed us, the media undercut us, and the American public lacked the stomach, the nerve, and the will to see it through.” Ricks thinks this “account is wrong in every respect; nonetheless, I am seeing more and more adherents of it in the military.”

It should also be noted IMO that those who have lead the charge into Iraq, and loudly proclaim their patriotism are the very ones who are advancing the stabbed in the back scenario just to cover their sorry asses for being completely and utterly wrong about this war.

It is my fault that Saddass had no WMDs, no connection to 911, and the cake walkers still can’t afford to pay the piper, much less figure out how to stop the music, so that they can sit down and STFU.

These people are hoping to do to internal American affairs what they have accomplished in international affairs, and the MSM appears willing and ready to help them do it. I do not question their patriotism, just their common sense and humanity.

Naval Roviator Demands Apology

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Barbed Remark on McCain Sets Off Campaign Dispute

MISSOULA, Mont. — The campaigns of Senators John McCain and Barack Obama sparred Saturday after Ed Schultz, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who is known for his blunt criticisms of the Bush administration and the Republican Party, called Mr. McCain a “warmonger” at a fund-raiser.

Later, Mr. McCain, speaking to reporters in Prescott, Ariz., said, “Mr. Schultz is entitled to his views.” But he added, “I would hope that in keeping with his commitment, that Senator Obama would condemn such language, since it was part of his campaign.”

Bomb bomb Iran sound familiar to you John?

We have entered into the age of political whining it would appear, with the bonehead extrodinaire demanding that kind retraction. I will apologize to Senator Obama then for telling John McCainanite to please face me and blow it out his arse.

NY Times Discovers Click Troughs

April 6, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Already Big Thing on the Internet: Spying on Users

In 1993, the dawn of the Internet age, the liberating anonymity of the online world was captured in a well-known New Yorker cartoon. One dog, sitting at a computer, tells another: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Fifteen years later, that anonymity is gone.

It’s not paranoia: they really are spying on you.

Technology companies have long used “cookies,” little bits of tracking software slipped onto your computer, and other means, to record the Web sites you visit, the ads you click on, even the words you enter in search engines — information that some hold onto forever. They’re not telling you they’re doing it, and they’re not asking permission. Internet service providers are now getting into the act. Because they control your connection, they can keep track of everything you do online, and there have been reports that I.S.P.’s may have started to sell the information they collect.

Now you can too.

A thing to be noted is that government can purchase this stuff just like CNN. (or anyone else for that matter)

UpdateII? More here from slashdot. Deep Packet.

Forget The Tax Returns, Splain This

April 5, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Meanwhile, as if all of this was not enough, Clinton’s credibility problem is going to re-emerge next week as a full-time story with this example of truthiness: Ohio Hospital Contests a Story Clinton Tells

It seems like calling the hospital would have been an easy first step, and in fact, let’s compare and contrast. When your average right-wing blogger wants to prove or disprove something, generally the first thing they do is CONTACT the people in the middle of the situation. Think about that. Either the Clinton campaign didn’t care if the story was true or not, and just wanted to keep telling it, or they are less equipped to get at the truth than your average citizen journalist.

Ouch.

New Faces

April 5, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

General Propaganda Replaces Petraeus In Iraq

April 5, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

There he goes again It seems like only last year we were hearing the party line from the general on the success of the 15 really equals 6 month surge.

British officials gave warning yesterday that America’s commander in Iraq will declare that Iran is waging war against the US-backed Baghdad government.

“Petraeus is going to go very hard on Iran as the source of attacks on the American effort in Iraq,” a British official said. “Iran is waging a war in Iraq. The idea that America can’t fight a war on two fronts is wrong, there can be airstrikes and other moves,” he said.

In remarks interpreted as signalling a change in his approach to Iran, Gen Petraeus last week hit out at the Iranian leadership. “The rockets that were launched at the Green Zone were Iranian-provided, Iranian-made rockets,” he said. “All of this in complete violation of promises made by President Ahmadinejad and the other most senior Iranian leaders to their Iraqi counterparts.”

The are of course some problems with this assessment, one being that the rockets probably haven’t been time stamped and could have been in the hands of the Mahdi militia for years, and the militia’s probably don’t need Iranian permission to shoot them.

The other problem is that the US has steadfastly refused to present any evidence to third parties to verify their claims of Iranian manufacture.

One has to wonder as well at the general’s general obtuseness of American public opinion on the veracity of anything this administration is saying, and its’ motivation for anything that it is doing.

Most of us are aware of Iranian influence in Iraq, given the latest out break of violence and their role in the cease fire, and most of us are aware of US and British involvement in saving the Iraqi army’s bacon in that offense.

Finally all of this ignores Iran’s own self interest. It is never in a third rate military power’s interest to attack a first rate one, or provoke it into one.

The question then is in whose interest would a war with Iran be? We don’t like to go there either, do we?

Olympic Discretion

April 5, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Alway On The Wrong Side Of History

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

and apparently fairly influential, which is beyond me. Such is life.

As per my previous two posts, it is always incumbent on us to forgive those who are on the wrong side of history. That is our obligation to our God. But God does not require us to be fools, to wait until the obvious is obvious even to those ones.

We are compelled to hear them out, because their wealthy enablers have also been wrong, about the policies, about the framing of the conversation, and about the outcomes and repercussions of those policies. Greed is only good so long as we all agree that disasters are good. I dissent.

Hope Still Lives, The Dream Is Still Alive

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Amid the tragedy of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, April 4, 1968, an extraordinary moment in U.S. political history occurred as Robert F. Kennedy, younger brother of slain President John F. Kennedy, broke the news of King’s death to a large gathering of African Americans in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The gathering was actually a planned campaign rally for Robert Kennedy in his bid to get the 1968 Democratic nomination for President. Just after he arrived by plane at Indianapolis, Kennedy was told of King’s death. He was advised by police against making the campaign stop which was in a part of the city considered to be a dangerous ghetto. But Kennedy insisted on going.

He arrived to find the people in an upbeat mood, anticipating the excitement of a Kennedy appearance. He climbed onto the platform, and realizing they did not know, broke the news.

Ladies and Gentlemen – I’m only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening. Because…

I have some very sad news for all of you, and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.

For those of you who are black – considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible – you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.

We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization – black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.

But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

(Interrupted by applause)

So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, yeah that’s true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love – a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke. We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We’ve had difficult times in the past. And we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it’s not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.

(Interrupted by applause)

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Thank you very much. (Applause)

Robert F. Kennedy – April 4, 1968

McCain Gets This Wrong Too

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Maybe in 25 years he can tell us all he didn’t mean it.

John McCain, wrong for America then, wrong for America now.

Terraformed April1 -4, 2008

Worth A Look

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

When Liberalism’s Moment Ended

Forty years ago, American liberalism suffered a blow from which it has still not recovered. On April 4, 1968, a relatively brief but extraordinary moment of progressive reform ended, and a long period of conservative ascendancy began.

Mr. Presser on the otherhand attributes the decline of liberalism to the death of *Martin and Bobby, as I do, but for different people there are different cut off points.

The salient thing is none of that really **matters, what matters today is for you to be here now.

*edited to clarify what he said. (that doesn’t work with my stuff.)

**edited to clarify what I said, I am referring to the decline of liberalism.

Teh googled

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Call me.

Seriously.

Just A Reminder

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I do shameless plugs for other people.

Adali Stephenson once said that liberals care about people, and all people equally.

Trainwreck, reveals things Republicans hope you never find out, including…

Especially if you’re a Republican.

Hillary, Call Me

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Mark, Mark, Mark

Hillary Clinton’s chief campaign strategist met with Colombia’s ambassador to the U.S. on Monday to discuss a bilateral free-trade agreement, a pact the presidential candidate opposes.

Attendance by the adviser, Mark Penn, was confirmed by two Colombian officials. He wasn’t there in his campaign role, but in his separate job as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller Worldwide, an international communications and lobbying firm.

Obviously, I can help.

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

McCain Vows To Bar B Q Hawk

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Citing his national security credentials and bar b q ing skill McCain vowed to cook the birds goose if it messed with his hair.

Mr. Bush’s War

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that clashes continued to be fought in Basra on Thursday between Iraqi government troops and the Mahdi Army militia.It also says that US troops in civilian clothing were targeted in the Shiite city of Hillah south of Baghdad. They were attacked by unknown gunmen and had to call in airstrikes on enemy positions. So how come they were wearing civilian cloths?The New York Times confirms that “over a thousand”officers and troops of the Iraqi army declined to fight the Mahdi Army in Basra or deserted their posts. It also reports that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki replaced them by inducting 10,000 Shiite “tribal” fighters into the Iraqi army. But the Iraqi press didn’t call them “tribal,” it called them Badr Corps, the paramilitary of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, headed by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and now al-Maliki’s main political ally. I’m not sure about the source of the discrepancy, but the NYT piece seems to be based on interviews with Iraqi and American government officials. It is possible that the need to strengthen the Iraqi army by turning to a Shiite militia trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (terrorists!) was just too embarrassing to admit. So the officials used the euphemism “tribal forces” with the foreign press.

via IC, which proves that we are civilized, as we only send thousands of Congressional aides to yell at volunteer poll workers and such.

I can only presume that things are going so well that the military in civvies were off duty and doing the tourist thing. After all, teh surge is working.

Al-Qaeda ‘weakened’

Separately, an American intelligence report on security in Iraq says the improvements seen since the surge in troops last year have been maintained.

The latest National Intelligence Estimate highlighted how Sunni Muslim tribes have helped weaken al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The new report was given to Congress a week before the most senior US general in Iraq, David Petraeus, gives evidence to a Senate committee.

The report does not mention the Iraqi government’s efforts last week to disarm militant Shia groups.

Reckon not.

The Nice Thing About Not Looking At A Computer All Day?

April 4, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Not looking at a computer all day.

The Nice Thing About Not Watching TV?

April 3, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Not watching tv.

Light Posting

April 3, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Stuff to do.

Worth A Read

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Democratic Campaign and Cognitive Dissonance

And I will say the first thing that all of us liberal Democrats who really care about the outcomes must do, is ask, why should that person (my candidate’s opponent) not get the benefit of doubt or at least some the assumption that they are in the campaign for good and noble reasons? And why spend so much tearing down the other candidate after you know how damaging these emotions are for you? Not one of our candidates is perfect (but then again neither am I nor are you), so let’s make sure we don’t feed into the emotionally toxic systems that will destroy even us (good people that we are) in our pursuit of getting rid of the current gang. Truly in this case, as Votaire says, we must not allow the perfect to become the enemy of good. Nothing will condemn humankind more than letting the war-mongers and know-nothings hold on to the White House for Four More Years. Both our candidates know that, but do you?

The Tune I’m In

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Things To Ponder

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Deep Thought

Didn’t Apollo Creed beat Rocky?

Pinched

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Science Behind Global Warming Skeptics

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Burn, Melt, Repeat

By the time we’ve burned all the oil in Greenland, Antarctica is bound to be ice-free. Just imagine all the resources we’ll find down there!

Lad Needs To Get Around A Little More

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Dreaming of A Stateless World

Maybe there is a God.

On the other hand — you know, the hand with all those progressive-y fingers sticking out of it — what to do with Obama’s affirmation of the glories of “the traditional realistic policy” of George I, JFK and Reagan?! I briefly scanned several of the big liberal-y, progressive-y blogs and maybe I missed the detailed discussions of what this might mean about The Messiah Who’s Going to Change Everything, but…they don’t seem to be talking about this! At all! Wotta surprise!

Just saying.

McSwamper

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

100 Years War

Furthermore, McCain’s frequent “You don’t know anything” tirades about national security might be more effective if he had a better sense of the war in question. When I asked him about Basra in January, he assured me that it was “not a problem.” Last week, he seemed to think it was a good idea for the militia that calls itself the Iraqi Army to attack the militia that calls itself the Mahdi Army. So did George W. Bush, who posited it as the good guys fighting the “terrorists.” This betrayed a fundamental lack of knowledge about Shi’ite politics, something any good President or presidential contender–especially one who styles himself a “national security” expert–needs to study.

McLobbyist

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Black Claims McCain’s Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: ‘I Don’t Know What The Criticism Is’

McCain’s advisers have a history of using their connections to the senator to win lucrative contracts, raising questions about the independence of their work now. McCain, similarly, has pushed for positions that have benefited his advisers’ past and current clients. Some examples of the lobbyist ties of McCain’s senior staff:

– Rick Davis, Campaign Manager: Between 2002 and 2005, Verizon paid Davis $640,000 to lobby on its behalf. Davis signed Verizon up as a client in 2001, just a year after he managed McCain’s first presidential campaign. McCain served as Senate Commerce Committee chairman for most of that time. Verizon and Davis terminated their contract after 2005, when McCain gave up the chairmanship. [Senate Lobbying Database; USA Today, 3/23/08]

– Christian Ferry, Deputy Campaign Manager: Ferry “partnered with Davis in representing SBC and Verizon from 2003 to 2005.” [USA Today, 3/23/08]

– David Crane, Senior Policy Adviser: Crane is a lobbyist and president of Quadripoint Strategies and “served as a senior policy advisor” to McCain on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. “He previously worked as a lobbyist and senior vice president for Global USA and The Washington Group. His clients have included Bank of America, the Financial Services Roundtable, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” [Media Matters, 2/26/08]

– John Green, Congressional Liaison: Green is co-founder and managing director of Ogilvy Government Relations, one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying firms. Recently, McCain pushed the Pentagon to open the bidding process for new Air Force tankers to EADS — a European company — “a move loudly objected to…by numerous members of Congress.” Green received $1,080,000 to lobby for EADS, although he is now on a “leave of absence” from Ogilvy. [AP, 3/11/08]

– Thomas Loeffler, Campaign Co-Chairman: Loeffler is founder, chairman, and senior partner at the Loeffler Group. While serving as McCain’s national finance chairman, Loeffler also lobbied for EADS in the Air Force deal. [AP, 3/11/08]

Of course there is more there.

Maybe Mr. Black will read it too. Then he’ll unnerstan.

Political Systempunkt

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

You always look for an opportunity to point out something to your readers to let ‘em know what the hell is really going on, and today I got one.

Keep An Eye On It

In this post The Atlantic Monthly’s Marc Ambinder notes that top lobbyist Doug Davenport is joining the McCain campaign as one of its ten regional campaign managers. He also, as Ambinder notes, one of the founders and current chief lobbyist for the DCI Group. Now, as long time TPM readers know, DCI is the Republican outfit when it comes to ‘astroturf’ (i.e., phoney) grassroots campaigns and sundry campaign bamboozlment.

basically all these guys are doing is;

In global guerrilla warfare (a combination of open source innovation, bazaar transactions, and low tech weapons), the point of greatest emphasis is called a systempunkt. It is the point point in a system (either an infrastructure or a market), always identified by autonomous groups within the bazaar, where a swarm of small insults will cause a cascade of collapse in the targeted system. Within infrastructure, this collapse takes the form of disrupted flows that result in immediate financial loss or ongoing supply shortages. Within a market, an attack on the systempunkt destabilizes the psychology of the market to induce severe inefficiencies and uncertainties. The ultimate objective of this activity, in aggregate, is the collapse of the target state and globalization.

following these lines of thinking, (edited)it is pretty much what we are seeing from diverse sources aimed at diverse candidates.

I know a lot of the lefty’s don’t get off on reading or thinking about this stuff, but the fact is that is why I support Obama, because he will, like I do. The problem with being too much of a partisan, too self assured, is a tendency to forget that we are Americans first. That has been a Republican problem for years, in spite of their patriotic lofties to God, *Country, and Apple Pies. I would hope that the Democrats would learn their tactics, but not emmulate them.

*Update: I added a link to Country,

In a recent interview with GQ, former Bush adviser Karl Rove criticized Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) for “not wearing a flag lapel pin,” saying that “to a lot of ordinary people, putting that flag lapel pin on is true patriotism.” As Rove made this comment, however, interviewer Lisa Depaulo noticed that he wasn’t wearing a pin:

DEPAULO: You’re not wearing a flag pin, Karl.

Updated Insert: I forgot. IOKIYAR

Investors may want to pay attention to this stuff too. Ya never know if someone thinks you’re a fool with too much money.

Support This Blog

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Major World Hunger Crisis

We get tunnel vision on superdelegates and stump speeches and credentials committees, all of which have their own level of importance. When I see a headline that millions are in danger of starvation I stop thinking about all that and pay attention.

This goes well beyond any political issue. Over the past week we’ve all received urgent calls for money from candidates for state and federal office. Poor people worldwide don’t have a flashy email they can send you. Yet they need your support more than ever.

WFP’s Fill the Cup program has for small amounts that can feed the hungry for a week or more. That’s probably the best way to get resources into the hands of those who need them.

Global Giving has programs that feed children in Niger and India, for example.

World Hunger Year tackles community-based solutions to hunger and poverty.

CARE has a World Hunger Campaign.

Do the research, see which organization fits with your comfort level, and give. Millions of people are at risk and our financial mess has at least a little to do with it. The other thing you can do is DEMAND that your Congresscritter raise US donations to the World Food Program. Global poverty is an economic and national security issue. It’s also, as John Edwards called it, the moral test of our generation.

John McBush’s Senate Armed Forces Committee Oversight

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

I guess all that Senate experience is paying off for someone, just not us.

Update: And while we’re on the subject of the military-industrial complex, did everyone see this article?

The Government Accountability Office found that 95 major systems have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average. In addition, none of the systems that the GAO looked at had met all of the standards for best management practices during their development stages. … In another case, the initial contract target price of Boeing’s program to modernize avionics in the C-130 cargo plane is expected to skyrocket 323 percent, to $2 billion. Another Boeing program, for a radio system, is up 310 percent, to $966 million.

This may not be a reason to vote for Obama over McCain, but it’s certainly a reason to vote for Obama over Clinton. It’s tough to look at all those generals and admirals up there with her — and John freaking Murtha — on the podium and think she’s going to be the one to harness this beast. Obama, on the other hand…

Live Coverage Of The Dedication Of The Co-Cathedral of The Sacred Heat

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Maybe Congress Ought To Use The FOIA

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Yo Yo’s Walking the dog with Yoo Yoo’s,

More than five years after its composition, we finally see a copy of John Yoo’s March 14, 2003 memo to William Haynes, then the Defense Department’s general counsel. It was, as The New York Times and Washington Post report, a green light for military interrogators to use just about any technique the Pentagon deemed useful. Criminal statutes prohibiting torture stopped at the water’s edge, because, Yoo wrote, “such criminal statutes, if they were misconstrued to apply to the interrogation of enemy combatants, would conflict with the Constitution’s grant of Commander in Chief power solely to the President.”

As Thomas J. Romig, who was then the Army’s judge advocate general, tells the Post, “it appears to argue there are no rules in a time of war.” As Marty Lederman, a former lawyer at OLC writes, “it is, in effect, the blueprint that led to Abu Ghraib and the other abuses within the armed forces in 2003 and early 2004.”

Despite the fact that Congress has been asking for the declassification of this memo, it appears to have only been released now as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Update: More here and as Christy notes;

The Vanity Fair piece that Scott references is startling in its brutal prose, so be forewarned before clicking through this link. But it, like the Yoo memorandum, needs to be read and discussed in the open. Because there is much, much more to come, the indications are all over the footnotes and whispers on this, and have been for months. And what we do not know still? It’s beyond my ability to even imagine how much worse it could be, because thus far we have reached a level that should never, ever have occurred by law or by basic standards of human decency.

Update II: John notes,

Glenzilla has a piece up that is so scathing it will singe your eyebrows when you read it:

That John Yoo is a full professor at one of the country’s most prestigious law schools, and a welcomed expert on our newspaper’s Op-Ed pages and television news programs, speaks volumes about what our country has become. We sure did take care of that despicable Pvt. Lyndie England, though, because we don’t tolerate barbaric conduct of the type in which she engaged completely on her own.

“Everything we sort of expected it would say is there.”

Taze ‘em Bro!

Obama’s Llama

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Walking On The Moon

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

http://Terraformed4_files/rpHuQi17EaErel0.swf

That’s the Florida Senate Democratic minority leader Steven Geller overtly pretending to object to the new calendar, laughing about it the whole time.

Geller: The chair of the Democratic National Committee has of coursed threatened that if we move the primary to before the first Tuesday in February that they will sanction us at the Democratic National Convention. So the Democratic leader and the Democratic leader pro-tem are jointly making this motion, which we will duly show to them later, that we tried not to have the election before the first Tuesday in March.

Chair: And so Sen. Geller are you urging a negative vote or would you like us to pass this vote?

Geller [laughing]: Oh no sir, we really really want this, don’t we senator?

Chair: I understand. Please don’t throw me into the bramble bush.

Liberally snarfed from the web site that dare not be mentioned by name.

This happened before being thrown under the bus was the pet rock of pundits and politicians. I figure that getting a paper trail for electronic balloting machines has more to do with insuring the democratic process than all the bluster about disenfranchising the Florida voters, who were not.

I only assert that if a way can be found to do a do over there and in Michigan that is fair to both candidates it ought to be done. Rules are rules, however and one sided bombast on the issue neither informs, nor helps, when that one simple fact is ignored.The noisiest people on this issue are those who are not even Democrats.

They assert that the democratic process is being subverted by DNC and disenfranchises the people of these two States, which is a half truth even if we work on the underlying assumption that rules are for other people, especially when they agree with the ends of those means.

“Independents” ought to join the Democratic Party and change the rules if they do not like them, but to assert that an entire population of a state, Republicans and non eligible citizens are being disenfranchised is ludicrously disingenuous caterwauling for personal political and economic gain.

!@#! Safari editors.(,) poor workman who blames his tool. You boys try and remember that tonight.

Bernanke: Economy Continues To Refract

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Fed took action to preserve integrity of financial system. … and the lack thereof .

Then They Meet Me

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics

The Right has perfected the art of creating mythical cults of personality around their leaders. They are strong, courageous, honor-bound, protective, morally upstanding salt-of-the earth Everyman-warriors — contemptuous of elitist prerogatives, and oozing traditional masculine virtues and cultural normalcy. As important, if not more so, is the corresponding character demonization of liberals, Democrats and a growing group of miscellaneous right-wing opponents — those weak, subversive, conniving, appeasing, gender-confused, elitist freaks, whose men are as effeminate and cowardly as their women are angry, threatening and emasculating.

I am all of those things.

It ain’t easy being EZ.

Hey! Does that make me a bi-polar bi-partisan?

Give Peace A Chance

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Meshal: Hamas backs Palestinian state in ‘67 borders

Hamas supports the united Palestinian position calling for the establishment of a fully sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, including Jerusalem, and the right of return for refugees, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal told the Palestinian daily Al-Ayam.

In a special interview with Wednesday’s edition of the paper, Meshal said the Palestinian position had received a vote of consensus during the national accords of 2006 and that this position is considered acceptable to the Arab world at large.

via War and Piece

That Ain’t Spencer.

April 2, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

on the banks of the old raritan

This is.

On the eve of Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker’s Capitol Hill testimony next week, it would be helpful to know how the U.S. intelligence community measures progress/backsliding along the same metrics as it did nine months ago. But alas: the default policy set last fall by a put-upon Michael McConnell, the director of national intelligence, is to restrict the release of declassified intelligence summaries. The Iraq NIE-update is no exception. “Generally, the officials looked at it and did not see any type of overwhelming need to put this in the public domain,” the official said. After all, when a democracy goes to war, you wouldn’t want an informed citizenry or anything.

Under Educated Below Their Intelligence

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

This is a decidedly rough post, but I thought it might be as good a place to store it as any. As often as I chap
Lou Dobb’s ass, it is to be noted that he inspires more research on my part than anyone since Vaughn Hamilton in English 101. (2 kudos in one sentence, top that guys.)

America’s Failure in Science EducationG

LOBAL COMPETITION. Until now, America has compensated for its failure to adequately educate the next generation by importing brainpower. In 2000, a stunning 38% of U.S. jobs requiring a PhD in science or technology were filled by people who were born abroad, up from 24% in 1990, according to the NSB. Similarly, doctoral positions at the nation’s leading universities are often filled with foreign students.

However, because the “the global competition for science and engineering talent is intensifying…the U.S. may not be able to rely on the international market to fill our unmet needs,” warns the NSB. Indeed, as globalization accelerates, bright young Indian or Chinese scientists may well have better opportunities at home than in the U.S.

Permission To ForgetEven the abstract of this book can give you an inkling of one of the facets of this problem which is delineated, and the entire paper is here,
Appendix I: Educational Failure and the Need for Remediation: The Human Cost

The unlettered, as Ong and Havelock establish, do not think in terms of regular cause and effect; they do not think in abstractions or according to general principles; they do not think in precise quantities (the idea of precise quantity remains baffling to them); they do not think in objective terms at all, but relate everything to the immediate, the personal, and the subjective.41 The lettered, by contrast, acquire the ability to follow complex lines of cause and effect, to link statements with evidence in an objective way, to suppress the merely subjective for the sake of establishing external truths, and to deal with ethical issues in a distanced and principled way. Says Ong in a summary passage: “The distancing which writing effects develops a new kind of precision in verbalization by removing it from the rich but chaotic existential context of much oral utterance . . . . Orally managed language . . . is not noted for analytic precision.”

One of the meanings of the word education, then, is the ability to think carefully about things in an objective way and according to abstract, or general, principles. It bears considerable repetition that the students who need remedial education need it in the areas of reading and writing and math: Their capacity for precision, for precise thinking, is insufficiently developed.

Think of the way education is organized

Perhaps it is time for educators to realize that the present high school education may be archaic for today’s world. After all, it is organizationally and content-wise [3Rs etc.] little changed over hundreds of years… even though schools have gotten larger.

Rather than recognizing the opportunities available with larger schools, the educational system forces larger schools to conform to the small school model and wonders why it doesn’t work.

Let’s get a little creative in our thinking. Instead of thinking of a large high school as a bloated version of a small high school, why not organize it into the university model? Take advantage of the large number of teachers with a variety of interests and skills.

Measured Progress: A Report on the High School Reform Movement

Takes the opposite position on smaller schools from the previous article, and of course I wonder why they should have to be mutually exclusive solutions.

How we confuse symbols and things

But in the meantime, most “educated” people cannot tell the difference between a fact and an idea, the most common confusion of symbol and thing. Most believe if they collect enough facts, this will compensate for their inability to grasp the ideas behind those facts. And, because of this “poverty of ideas,” most cannot work out the simplest conceptual questions, such as “why is the sky dark at night?” (unless you are in a small minority, the actual reason is not what you think — see more here ).

Hey! Watch it Lou.

Education: A Look at the Past, Present and Future

The following essay contains some thoughts I have about the problems we face with education in our country and what I think needs to be done in order to make things better. I am a liberal, but my opinions in this essay, and about education, can easily be categorized as conservative. I know from first hand experience that our system of education in this country doesn’t work. I am currently an A student in college; however I was considered a failure in high school and eventually dropped out. The system failed me, here’s why.

I think that we should attribute the problem of education, not to a lack of funding, but to a lack of accountability from our teachers, a lack of involvement from our parents and a lack of enthusiasm from our students.

http://www.edjj.org/links/

Isn’t Anything The Way It Appears?!

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Economic Coverage Versus Economic Reality

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The President’s Party Affiliation and Changes in Inequality

…What it shows is the difference that the President’s party affiliation makes to the distribution of income during the four years of the president’s term. (The distributional outcomes are shown with one year’s lag.) When a Republican president is in power, people at the top of the income distribution experience much larger real income gains than those at the bottom–a difference of 1.5 percent per year going from the bottom to the top quintile in the income distribution. The situation is reversed when a Democrat is in power: those who benefit the most are the lower income groups. If you are in the bottom quintile, the difference between having a Democratic or a Republican president in office is an income gain (or loss) of more than 2 percent per year! Strikingly, compared to Republicans, Democratic presidents generate higher income gains for all income groups (although the difference is statistically significant only for lower income groups).

So fair is liberal bias. Now I get it!

Pesky Lawsuits

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Judge Rules Rep. Boehner Can Collect $1 Million-Plus in Fees From 1996 Taped Call Case

WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader John Boehner can collect more than $1 million in his lawsuit against Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Chief Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued the decision in a decade-long dispute over an illegally taped telephone call. In the 1996 call, Republican leaders discussed an ethics case against then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. A Florida couple recorded the cell phone call on a radio scanner and McDermott leaked the tape to two newspapers.

So what do you think about trial lawyers now Boehner?

How will Broder reconcile this?

Why am I watching Brit?

Will Boehner forgive Turner?!

Will Christians forgive Turner?!

What the hell is going on around here!!

Pesky Texas Caucuses

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

After the Flood: Fixing Our Caucus System

Two days after the big meltdown here in SD10, and already those of us who served on credentials and had a hand in running the convention are trading emails speculating on how we can prevent things from spiraling so far out of control again. After all, we want our conventions to be meaningful and well-attended, from the state convention all the way down to the precincts. We have to fix some things to make that truly possible, though.

It all sounds reasonable to me.

Twofer Tuesday

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

cleaning-station.jpg

Not Your Right Wing War On The Media

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Party Crashers

Apparently Jay Rosen was intrigued (and concerned) by Will Bunch’s characterization of the liberal bloggers at Eschacon “declaring war” on the press. I find that interesting since, as far as I’m concerned, liberal bloggers declared war on the press many years ago. I’m not sure that this is even controversial. Pushing back on biased, anti-Democrat and pro-Republican lies and editorial judgment is supposed to be one of our primary raison d’etres.

Digs splains things.

All Your House Are Belong To US

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Some Times I Forget

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Peace

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

In Passing

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Sailor killed in Iraq awarded Medal of Honor

Michael A. Monsoor, who grew up in Garden Grove, has been selected to receive the medal posthumously for his efforts to save fellow SEALs during a firefight in 2006.

Latest Bank and Housing Crashings

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Deutsche Bank to Write Down Record 2.5 Billion

April 1 (Bloomberg) — Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s biggest bank, will write down 2.5 billion euros ($3.9 billion) of loans and asset-backed securities and said markets are deteriorating. “Conditions have become significantly more challenging during the last few weeks,” Deutsche Bank said today in a statement. The Frankfurt-based company’s shares, which have declined 17 percent this year, rose on speculation the worst of the losses in the banking industry may almost be over.

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Shitpile still shitty.PARIS — UBS, the largest Swiss bank, said Tuesday that it would write down another $19 billion related to the American real estate market and said that its chairman, Marcel Ospel, would step down.UBS said the write-down would result in a first-quarter loss of about 12 billion Swiss francs, or $12 billion, and that it would seek new capital of about $15 billion, the second time it has announced plans to raise money since the credit markets began to contract.

The President’s Party Affiliation and Changes in Inequality

I’m looking forward to reading pages 4 – n. … I find that I’m completely convinced by the main premise .. that a great deal of the increase in inequality has been an effect of Republican approaches to taxation and redistribution. I’m simply not convinced that this is pernicious. I do think economic stratification is pernicious, but that has more to do with the Democratic Party standing in the way of fundamental structural reform in education as it has to do with Republican tax cuts for rich people, doesn’t it? … Page 4, here I come!

Emphasis mine

Maybe not so nonsensical after all

The combination of the WSJ mean forecast, and the observed correlation over the 1991Q4-07Q4 period leads to an implied 40% log decline in the Case-Shiller price index (34.7% in percentage terms). (If one uses a static-no lag specification, then the implied drop is 34.8% in log terms.)

This doesn’t include the effects on home values on the coast going under the other water from the effects of global warming.

WaMu Alt-A Pool Deteriorates Further

Note the above progression. This cesspool from May of 2007, was 92.6% originally rated AAA, even though loans had full doc only 11% of the time. In less than one year, the pool was 25.3% 60-day delinquent or worse. Of that 25.3%, 13.35% is in foreclosure and 4.44% is bank owned real estate.

And the band gurgled on,

Lehman Alt-A Pools DowngradedMSN Money is reporting Moody’s downgrades certain Lehman XS Alt-A deals.Moody’s

Investors Service has downgraded the ratings of 279 tranches from 27 Alt-A transactions issued by Lehman XS Trust Series. One hundred sixty two downgraded tranches remain on review for possible further downgrade. Additionally, 97 tranches were placed on review for possible downgrade.The ratings were downgraded, in general, based on higher than anticipated rates of delinquency, foreclosure, and REO in the underlying collateral relative to credit enhancement levels.

This action is just a start. Expect far more downgrades in Alt-A mortgages. Prime mortgages will follow suit as well.

The voyage of the Economic Enterprise

To get a “feel” for how crazy things got, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at The Telegraph in London reports that “Bear Stearns had total positions of US$13.4 trillion. This is greater than the US national income, or equal to a quarter of world GDP – at least in ‘notional terms’.”

Whistlingly noted,

“If the Fed had not stepped in, we would have had pandemonium,” said James Melcher, president of the New York hedge fund Balestra Capital.

“There was the risk of a total meltdown at the beginning of last week. I don’t think most people have any idea how bad this chain could have been, and I am still not sure the Fed can maintain the solvency of the US banking system.”

So, you still think gas prices should be your biggest concern do ya? This link will explain the ’suckers’ rally we are seeing on Wall Street today. This will give you some insight as well.

George Soros has an opinion too

Speaking in a BBC documentary, Mr Soros said that at the heart of the financial crisis was the culmination of a 60-year-old boom in leverage, the result of which will be a far deeper downturn than many expect.

He also warned that the financial services industry now faces a painful crunch. “I think that the financial industry will have to shrink… and of course the indebtedness of the American consumer will have to shrink. The US currently consumes 6pc more than it produces. That will have to come down. So it’s an adjustment but it will be a very painful adjustment.

“I think that there will be a big backlash and there is even a danger that the global financial markets will be disrupted by protectionism.”

On the upside there is April Fools Day

Just Hope

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Funny how hope is such a good thing in this instance, isn’t it?

As a Ukrainian who was born in the USSR, I support Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko in their attempt to forge closer ties with the West.

These leaders have given me hope.

I guess we’ll hear the answer now, Published: May 4, 1998

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright (Op-Ed, April 29) dismisses the idea that something as ”distant” as Hungarian membership in NATO could be linked to Moscow’s intransigence on other issues. This will no doubt come as a surprise to the many Russian legislators and policymakers who have made clear that such a link indeed exists. At what point will Ms. Albright realize that NATO expansion is producing an adverse Russian reaction? When the Baltic states join? Does she hope to include Belarus and Ukraine? What would she expect to see as a reaction from Moscow at that point?

Ten Years LaterThoughts to ponder

There is thereupon something that I’d like to point out – refusing to offer MAPs to Ukraine and Georgia, NATO will practically lose the chances of its further expansion. At the same time Russia will have an opportunity to realize, in future, its long-standing goal – to become “the third Rome”. It isn’t a secret that without Ukraine Russia can become a strong and powerful state, and it will be one, especially with its resources potential. But it will remain Russia. It will never get the might and power of the Soviet Union.

The Grand Game is still afoot.

If Georgia joins Nato, it will have to accept the loss of a considerable part of its territory, particularly after the precedent set by Kosovo. Neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia – which have both unilaterally proclaimed their independence from Georgia – is going to join Nato.

Should We Fight for South Ossetia? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Two provinces of Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, have seceded, with the backing of Russia. And there are 10 million Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east of that country, and Moscow and Kiev are at odds over which is sovereign on the Crimean Peninsula.To bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO would put America in the middle of these quarrels. We could be dragged into a confrontation with Russia over Abkhazia, or South Ossetia, or who owns Sebastopol. To bring these ex-republics of the Soviet Union into NATO would be an affront to Moscow not unlike 19th century Britain bringing the Confederate state of South Carolina under the protection of the British Empire.

Ukraine and Europe : A shotgun wedding is bound to fail By Anatol Lieven Published: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2004

Those who warn of such a reaction from Moscow are often accused of crying wolf, given Russia’s failure to react against NATO membership for the Baltic states. But Ukraine is much more important to Russia from every point of view. And there is also a famous proverb about camels and last straws.Taking Ukraine into NATO long before it is ready to join the EU would fail a basic test of realpolitik. Rather than a strong and stable buffer state, the West would acquire a weak and divided one — in other words, no true buffer state at all. That could be a recipe for disaster if, at any point in the future, America’s military commitment to Europe were to falter.

Bush promises to back Ukraine’s NATO bid

“In Bucharest this week, I will continue to make America’s position clear: we support MAP for Ukraine and Georgia,” Mr. Bush said. “My stop here should be a clear signal to everybody that I mean what I say: It’s in our interest for Ukraine to join.”

“France will not give its green light to the entry of Ukraine and Georgia,” French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said in a radio interview Tuesday. He said potential NATO membership by the two countries could upset the balance of power between Europe and Russia.

So you geniuses trust the rocket man?

Ya Think?

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Hamas’s Insults to Jews Complicate Peace Effort

Next thing you know they’ll be shooting missles and rockets at each other like they do the words quoted in this article. So when will Pravda dig up that Rabbi?

Unless of course your living in a vacume.

Not Just A Black Thang

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Who Are We? New Dialogue on Mixed Race

Jenifer Bratter once wore a T-shirt in college that read “100 percent black woman.” Her African-American friends would not have it.

“I remember getting a lot of flak because of the fact I wasn’t 100 percent black,” said Ms. Bratter, 34, recalling her years at Penn State.

“I was very hurt by that,” said Ms. Bratter, whose mother is black and whose father is white. “I remember feeling like, Isn’t this what everybody expects me to think?”

Shades of Mexico.

Quds Force Saves Bush’s Bacon

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Not to worry, President for Strife is off to the Ukraine.

If it is true that the commander of the IRGC Quds Force mediated the intra-Shia fracas, then the US policy in Iraq of favoring the ISCI/Dawa/Badr dominated Maliki government is in serious trouble.

Is Your Blogger A Mole?

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Military Report: Secretly ‘Recruit or Hire Bloggers’

A study, written for U.S. Special Operations Command, suggested “clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers.”

Obviously, I’m safe. One has to wonder what planet these guys live on, given the diversity of the American public which is reflected in the blogosphere.

Libertarian Thinking Liberals Should Appreciate

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The Benefits Of Reverend Wright

April 1, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Rev. Jeremiah Wright isn’t the problem

Rev. Jeremiah Wright isn’t the problemThe great shock so many people claim to be feeling over Wright’s sermons is preposterous. Anyone who is surprised and horrified that some black people feel anger at white people, and America, is living in a racial never-never land. Wright has called the U.S. “the United States of White America,” talks about the “oppression” of black people and says, “White America got their wake-up call after 9/11.” Gosh, who could have dreamed that angry racial grievances and left-wing political views are sometimes expressed in black churches?

It’s not surprising that the right is using Wright to paint Barack Obama as a closet Farrakhan, trying to let the air out of his trans-racial balloon by insinuating that he’s a dogmatic race man. But beyond the fake shock and the all-too-familiar racial politics, what the whole episode reveals is how narrow the range of acceptable discourse remains in this country. This is especially true of anything having to do with patriotism or 9/11 — which have become virtually interchangeable. Wright’s unforgivable sin was that he violated our rigid code of national etiquette. Instead of the requisite “God bless America,” he said “God damn America.” He said 9/11 was a case of chickens coming home to roost. Now we must all furrow our brows and agree that such dreadful words are anathema and that no presidential candidate can ever have been within earshot of them.

I know you’ve made up your mind, but let me try to confuse with some facts.

BTW: Don’t forget to get your war on.

Terraformed March 28-31, 2008

Just Like That

March 31, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

While pondering the last couple of posts, and just where all of that was going, it occurred to me that both television and the blogs were starting to exert far more influence on my thinking than I like. That lead me to the realization that previous to going on line for political discussions I hadn’t really paid that much attention to political reporting since I knew how to read a variety of newspapers, easily available at the public library, and from the reporting there to come to political positions that were independently formed without the influence of information influence peddlers, or editorialists and pundits.

In that state there was no reason to dislike any of them, nor find anything remarkable about what they had to say, whether it was brilliant or stupid, insightful or spin. I have no intentions of forcing my readers to come to that conclusion about anyone else, myself included. By the same token I have resolved not to let any of you do that to me. That is all easier said than done, and with the rise of the information age and the way people interact probably wishful thing on my part. But that is where I am aiming to go.

While I tend to agree with a lot of what is written and said on the leftern frontier, I am amazed at the depth of knowledge about issues in combination with the political naivete, and distrustful of the evolving new elite. Fortunately I am a very minor player in all of that so I don’t feel any sense of resistance toward them or their agendas anymore than I feel any obligations to support their causes and methodologies. They just are like many of the mainstream pundits, who wish to persuade me to their way of thinking and their way of seeing the world.

That is not to denigrate either subset of punditry, merely to reflect my observation of it. To be honest and fair the blogosphere is still on track with its’ nascent goal of building communities of like minded individuals, and from that to influence the outcomes of political debate and policy. It is also in danger of an evolving priesthood and church of distributed Village People, indistinguishable from the Washington DC/New York City nexus projects of their television and print counter parts, and with enough time will become indistinguishable from them as younger people replace the gurus and sages of the other two mediums extant today.

As I have noted previously, many times, the confines of the acceptable discourse define the parameters of the acceptable solutions to many pressing problems, problems which higher education only exacerbates by failing to include alternatives to it in their degrees of specialization. That lack of genius is a feature of modern education, not a bug, and in the process of seeking and defining it, looses it irretrievably to and for the majority of students who come to a hierarchical understandings of their own intelligence and that of others, and from that springs a valuation system that is exclusive of what it hopes to discover and educate. The assertion that there are more geniuses working in the gas stations of college towns than there are at the college is probably true. Should we ever become civilized and provide universal education there would be a sample large enough to measure and compare.

We kid ourselves when we say that we are civilized, instead of stratified. Stratification produces revolutions and discord, and yet all the centuries of education have not been able to cope with this most basic of observations, and so the solution of the civilized is to create more discord and divisions, and to hide that perfidy with civilized and acceptable parameters of discourse. Philosophy is dead, long live the philosophistry that permeates the religious, political and economic systems, the pillars of most uncivilized civilization.

Using all you educational skills and life experiences do me a favor and calculate how many days do you think it will take you geniuses to blow the civilized world to smithereens?

From The Top

March 31, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Losing the Narrative

Yet, as editorial writers rush to call it “the greatest speech on race since King’s 1963 oration…,” I can’t help but notice how they blithely overlook LBJ’s 1965 commencement speech at Howard University which, to my mind and by any serious historical standard, was easily a more important and historic statement. Johnson’s speech was, after all, a statement which had and still has consequences, in terms of major institutional reforms embodied in our nation’s laws and practices, affecting the lives of many millions of people over the span of two generations. (But, then, the Obama enthusiasts have successfully implanted the idea that it is somehow ‘racially insensitive to recall that LBJ’s skills, vision, courage and compassion were absolutely indispensable in bringing about the progress we all take for granted today…)

Well since I have to redo this post, I’ll redo my observations, which would be that perhaps I should be an editorial writer, or brainstormer at least, for the wankers that are. I would also interject my observation that Hillary was pilloried unjustly for her remarks on the influences of King and Johnson on the civil rights movement. I again would point folks in the direction of Silber’s post, The Lies in Your Head, More Powerful than All Facts, which is a warning to not see what you want to see, to not hear what you wish to hear.

To set the record straight I have a black nephew, and an Hispanic grandson, so vicariously I have a dog in this hunt, but it is my personal interest in their well being and acceptance in this country that is personal and intense.

I know, just as Wright surely knows, that things have changed a great deal. I also know that, as I write this, one million young black men are under the physical control of the state; a third of black children live in poverty, and, the Southside of Chicago, with more than one-half million black residents, is one of the most massive, racially segregated urban enclaves ever to have been created in the history of the modern world… These things are a reflection of social, cultural, economic and political forces deeply enmeshed in the structure of American society. They are not merely the consequence of attitudes embraced by some more or less well-meaning but benighted black and white persons — attitudes which can be thrown-off if only we were to become determined, under the inspiring and inspired leadership of the junior senator from Illinois, to work together to solve our common problems, etc.

It is not, ” if only we determined to be so and do so.” under the condescending BS ascribed to the leadership of the junior senator from Illinois, it is if only we acknowledge the changes in attitudes of the modern American population, to that of Jeremiah Wright’s generation.

At this juncture no one else has attempted to do what Obama is attempting to do, and no other voice has achieved the stature and credibility to do so. That he would threaten both blacks and whites historical narrative is the revolution, and it is the necessary thing. To assert that the words and works of Martin Luther King, or Lyndon Johnson or any other historical American is the end all and be all of what can be said and what can be done is to write an end to the historical narrative. To assert that he or any other American can silence the prophetic outbursts of any American is to be ahistorical. To wish to relive the glory of past movements is to be unaware of ones own power to initiate new ones.

I do not support Obama because of what he speaks to white Americans, or black Americans, or Hispanic Americans, I support him because he speaks to the hopes and aspirations of all Americans. To do so we must change the framework of the debate, and there are no other leaders in America at this moment who can do so. I do not wish to continue listening to the sputtering of my father’s and my generation’s of the past injustices and indifferences, but to hear the words of a new generation reaching to resolves those injustices through equality, to hear those voices saying that we can overcome them by acknowledging the successes and failures of those who preceded us to this point in the historical narrative. I want to hear someone say, yes, yes we can.

Lou Dobb’s World

March 31, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Cotton Pickin’

I’m actually happy to put “cotton …” in the “stupid ass shit that comes out of your mouth on the teevee sometimes” category, but the rest of what Dobbs said is really what’s offensive. He’s teeing off on the fact that Rice actually suggested that maybe this country, as it was founded, was a bit problematic with respect to race and then goes on to complain that black people are always telling him what he can and can’t say.

Some of the criticism of Dobb’s in this post and others has validity because Dobb’s is always accusing those who disagree with him of trying to stifle debate. It isn’t just blacks, it is everyone. Unfortunately he comes across as the man who has read everything and experienced nothing. It appears to me that he has never experienced racism. sexism or ageism. so these and a multitude of other isms are an imposition on the intellectual and philosophical points he is trying to make, which to me are a bigger bugaboo because he isn’t consistent in that either. He decries others ethnocentric positions while conveniently ignoring the fact that without them America would be a much more segregated and racist nation than it is today, had those positions not been taken, but which he himself exhibits in his broadcasts as the angry white middle class guy.

Appearances are not indicative of motivations, and being pro middle class does not necessarily make one anti anything else, but that shouldn’t preclude him from reading the Constitution to see which birth defect Secretary Rice is referring too, and actually trying to carry on a debate within someone else’s framework. He manifested this same attitude in the Ramos, Campean case, in which his anti-drug, anti-illegal immigration positions precluded him from addressing the issue of whether Ramos and Campean did in fact break the law in their reporting of the shooting in that case to their superiors. So he excoriated a USDA, and jury of twelve for hearing a case and deciding the issue based on the evidence presented.

That the case may now be reversed on appeal has no bearing on his previous advocacy in that case, just as one would hope that his advocacy had no bearing on the original verdict of that case. Empathy, like faith, is not the possession of all people, nor the purview of the court. If it is not in the law by legislation it cannot be advocated into it by Lou Dobb’s or anyone else, until it goes to trial.

But racism is in the law by the very fact of the Constitution itself, and it is a constant reminder to those who have suffered the effects of slavery and segregation, of that very birth defect Secretary Rice is referring too. It is as plain as the birth mark on Gorbachev’s head, and the lack thereof on Dobbs’ . One woman’s burden is another man’s whine.

Update:proper possesive added for syntax police.

Update 2: I don’t think any of us are immune to this stuff either, to some degree. Dobb’s is just the whipping boy.

A Little Help From Our Friends

March 31, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

via DKos’s Troutfishing,

We urgently need your continued support, to make it possible for Cursor to keep holding the powers that be — in both government and media — accountable, and to help Media Transparency follow the money fueling the right-wing movement. All contributions to Cursor, Inc. are tax deductible.

Words Matter

March 31, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

If You Don’t Get It, It Might Be A Joke

The point being that “foreclosed tenant” is not simply a curious misunderstanding of law and fact. It is, you know, a way to “get” the “pointless” behavior, if you apply any degree of attention to a contradiction in terms. Possibly some borrowers are coming to the belated recognition that they were, de facto, not much more than tenants who were paying well above “market rent,” but the market no longer allows them to “sell” the “lease” to the next sucker, and the law does not allow them to simply forfeit the security deposit and move away. To be a “foreclosed tenant” is to live in the worst of both worlds.

Maybe selling the copper wire is their way of getting back at the man.

Obfuscation

March 31, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Calling the new rules proposed by Treasury as oversight, when the actuality is overlook.

Houston’s New Cathedral

March 31, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Here are some pictures of it, for those of you interested in such things.

Your Web Site Sucks

March 31, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Web developers, fix thy Flash

While software makers have taken steps to close the security holes, Web site owners continue to host older files created by older authoring programs that are vulnerable to cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, Rich Cannings, information security engineer of search giant Google, told security professionals attending the conference on Wednesday. Using a specially-crafted Web address, an attacker could use a vulnerable Flash file on a major Web site to gain access to the user’s account on that site, once the victim logs in. A bad Flash file on a banking site, for example, could put that bank’s customers at risk, allowing an attacker the ability to access the victims’ funds.

Besides protecting me,

Software developers have taken the issues seriously. Adobe plans to release a new version of its Flash Player in early April that will prevent attackers from exploiting the issues and, likely, break much of the Flash content on Web sites that are unprepared for the changeover. The makers of major authoring tools have also closed the security holes in the Flash files created by their tools.

Racism Exists

March 30, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

That’s a news flash.

But I seek to reduce it, not inflame it. But to paraphrase the man, racism is not the exclusive property of the white man, and I am at loss at times to deal with it myself, because as noted these things are internally driven, and so every nation, race, religion, tribe or tongue has those who fear, hate and manipulate to extremes, that can appeal to who have no other voices, the poor, and blame the perceived cause of their poverty on enemies at home and abroad.

Thirty years ago this couldn’t have been said because it was rare to find any Latino or African Americans in positions of power and prestige. That is no longer the case because democracy works. Causes are irrelevant. All I can do is work with those people of every other previously mentioned, (and omitted for brevity,) subset of the American stew who wish to amend the laws and customs of the United States to make the playing field level, not more level, for all. More level means someone’s going to roll.

This is not the only issue, nor just an internal human affair or internal affair of the United States, but an international affair needing resolved in the boombox of war, economic mahem and political turmoil. One more thing and things will be just about right.

I am only certain of one thing in this age, so long as there are Americans the world will never be a dull place.

DKos Follows The Party Big Wigs

March 30, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Sunday Talk – 4,000 X 100

Will the blogosphere survive?

Is it a fracture in the left?

Will the DLC follow suit?

Will the DLC file a suit?

Will the DLC fill a McSuit?

Can you just shave off a McBush?

Clintonomics And The Collapse of Neoliberalism

March 30, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

When They Pick Up the Phone at 3 AM, What Will They Say?

Hillary Clinton shuttles between criticisms of McCain’s stance and her formal declaration in one recent speech that she wants Clinton-era Treasury secretary Robert Rubin, and former Fed chairmen Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker to lead a “high-level emergency working group” to recommend ways to restructure at-risk mortgages to help avert more foreclosures.

Her nomination of Rubin and Greenspan scarcely encourages confidence in Mrs C’s oft-proclaimed capacity to hit the ground running in times of crisis. Rubin was the arch deregulator in Bill Clinton’s second term. It was Rubin who successfully pushed for repeal in 1999 of the Glass Steagall Act which, amidst financial collapse in early 1933 (when Roosevelt closed down the banking system altogether) placed regulatory barriers between commercial and investment banking.

As fed chairman in the Clinton and early Bush years Greenspan deliberately encouraged the growth of speculative bubbles. He chose in 1996 not to set margin requirements on stock market speculators and in later years fiercely advocated the deregulation of the financial system. His fingerprints are all over the sub-prime disaster.

This brings us to the man who, on the basis of current delegate counts, will be the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama. His track record in matters of economic policy is slight, beyond some big favors extended in his senatorial term to Wall St which have earned him grateful campaign funding from this quarter. It would be the matter of an hour for any capable and economically informed speech writer to draft a speech for Obama which could politely savage Mrs Clinton’s claims that she has the maturity and experience to handle the nation’s economic affairs in what is sure to be a darkish time, at the start of 2009.

This really is the economic policy picture of the three major candidates, who seem incapable of doing more than talk of change, which in the current situation is chump change for the public.

I stand by my assertion here. We keep hearing how this or that religious, political or economic system is going to set us all free of want and need, while those very institutions exacerbate those things, and inflame the passions of the public to deflect attention away from their own callous and egotistical greeds and desires.

Television, bless their hearts, seems determined to impose both the corporatist view of the world mixed in with whatever inclination and snark the presenter posseses, along with their own ignorance of the failures of these institutions, all under the rubric of their own deus ex machina, which one must presume from their pontifications of superiority from their pulpits will fall off of the moon RSN.

One can hardly wait for the next round of I told you sos, followed by the why I got it wrong all along bloviations as has followed the war on Iraq. As I have asserted previously, college imposes certain frameworks of conversations among the college elite on nearly every issue, none of which is useful in the current situation. Just as it is emotionally difficult to talk about race relations in this country because they have no framework in their arsenal to so, so it is impossible for them to discuss the end of neoliberalism because they don’t have the mental tools to do so.

Iraqi Operation Goes Multi-National

March 30, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

via Informed Comment,

“While engaged with hostile forces, ISOF and a supporting U.S. Special Forces team identified additional armed criminal elements in the area,” it said. “A supporting Coalition forces aircraft identified enemy forces on three rooftops and engaged with precision gunfire after being cleared by ground forces.”

Which sound a little Soviet to me, YMMV.

THE British Army yesterday fired artillery shells at Shi’ite militias in Basra for the first time since the Iraqi government launched a fresh offensive in the city six days ago.The Ministry of Defence denied the move represented an escalation in the battle for Iraq’s second city, but it will throw further doubt on plans to bring home 1,600 British troops this spring.

The sunrise today also does not herald a new day dawning…

Wilkes Walks On Appeal

March 30, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

via War and Piece,

San Diego Union Tribune blog: Wilkes set free while pursuing appeal. More. A former Congressional lawyer/reader notes this from the coverage: “Moreover, the judges said his appeal raised a ’substantial question’ of law or fact, that ‘is likely to result in reversal, an order for a new trial, or a sentence that does not include a term of imprisonment.’” His question: “I wonder what the substantial question is.”

Obama V McBush In Afghanistan

March 29, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Two Conservative Views of McCain’s Foreign Policy

Following Abu Muqawama’s controversial declaration that Barack Obama’s combined plan for Iraq and Afghanistan was more responsible than John McCain’s (Obama, alone, has a realistic plan for winning in Afghanistan), here are two rival views of John McCain’s foreign policy from a conservative perspective:

Two, Andrew Bacevich makes the case for Obama in the American Conservative. Bacevich, who lost his son in Iraq but was an outspoken critic of the war from Day One, seethes with rage when he writes of the neoconservatives:

I think that in conjunction with these efforts we can make a pretty good dent in McBush’s national security cred.

Change Is The Issue in 2008

March 29, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Hagel: Barack Best to Unite Country

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) said last night that, among the 3 remaining candidates, he thought Barack Obama had the best chance of bringing the country together. While he did not dismiss McCain (he’s done that in the Senate) or Clinton (she’s had some success in the Senate, not as much as McCain), he said that he believed that Barack Obama, for generational reasons, could best bring the country together.

I’m starting to like Senator Hagel more and more, and not because of this quasi endorsement, which is really more of a political observation. I think he is dead on about the war on Iraq.

Texas Caucus Repots

March 29, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

Best information is at Burnt Orange Report

County by County Results

Dirty Tricks

It includes an eye witness report from the caucus convention in Senate District 26, plus second-hand information on similar tactics in Senate District 19.

Read the whole report, it is worth it.


That’s Over

March 29, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

The county convention ran rather smoothly in our little piece of Texas. It was packed by 167 delegates and alternates, massive considering the last one had approximately twelve people there. The Clinton delegates didn’t show their flag as well as they ought to have, but the county chairman was pretty good about making the whole process fair, in my opinion, and as would be hoped for stuck to the rules.

The only real out burst was from an African American lady who questioned the make up of the executive committee being all white, which afforded me two observations, one there was an Hispanic woman on the committee indicating that that persons definition of white is markedly different than whites and Hispanics. The other is that you can’t just show up on election day and conventions and expect to have a lot of influence in party affairs.

On the first observation I think it is clear that we have a long way to go in improving racial relations because the divide is internal to individuals. As with Silber’s post, the woman was projecting a racial connotation to her own inexperience in party politics. I keep wondering where people think poll workers come from, and who they think will move up in a local party organization. On the other hand an elderly white woman still feared Obama being “like” Jessie Jackson, whatever being Jessie Jackson meant to her, and so was having a hard time dealing with the Reverend Wright issue and I would imagine the African American woman’s questioning of authority played into those fears.

We really do have a long way to go on race, and it has to be initiated from the pulpit because that is one of the few places where people actually feel compelled to be. The problem with that is most ministers don’t know how to grapple with such a complex problem, and they usually do not preach to mixed congregations. Even there nothing changes because we are so sure of our own thinking that whatever conclusions we have drawn are re-enforced by hearing nothing anywhere to contradict those conclusions.

Good Morning

March 29, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

As I noted over there, this is a busy day at the county convention. Hopefully there won’t be any wankery so I can avoid double posting pictures and the tale.

You Knew My Name

March 28, 2008 by EZSmirkzz

This ‘ere blog is where I’ll be for awhile, so if you miss me over yonder, eh.