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:


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


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


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.


April 26, 2008 by EZSmirkzz


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


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


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.


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.

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