So very true

December 3rd, 2010 – 12:08 am
Tagged as: Media,Politics

Absolutely this:

One thing that’s been true since I’ve been paying attention is that everything The Left does is wrong. By The Left I mean everyone to the left of the basic governing power. Third Parties are bad, sitting out elections are bad, putting pressure on elected reps is bad, protesting is bad, primary campaigns are bad, media criticism might hurt their feefees and is bad, saying mean things about Rush Limbaugh is bad, actually discussing your views honestly is bad, etc. Obviously the failure of The Left to take control and run the country does suggest that it is doing something wrong, but no one ever really offers much constructive advice other than…please STFU.

You have the right to obey

November 16th, 2010 – 1:34 pm
Tagged as: Rights

Digby says:

Everyone’s written about this “don’t touch my junk” story, but this new development is so sadly in line with my thesis about these things that it’s almost a cliche. When I wrote about it over the week-end, I pointed out that this was the latest in a series of steps to a police state — the building of a police bureaucracy, the intimidation and the incoherence of security theatre designed to confuse citizens and indoctrinate them to the idea that they should unquestioningly submit to absurd directives from authorities. It’s how you control a populace.

A worthy rant

September 7th, 2010 – 9:04 pm
Tagged as: Economics

Atrios on the current economic situation:

This is a righteous rant pointing out that what we have is a complete fucking fail. It’s a failure of our political institutions, of our financial system, of our economy as structured, of the economics profession, of unelected elite GOP Daddies who are supposed to fix things, of the media, of the whole fucking thing. Extended 9.5%+ unemployment is not ok. It means something is seriously fucking wrong, and the people in charge are unwilling or for whatever reason (including being idiots) unable to fix the problem.

That pretty much sums it up.

The collapse of Imperial America

August 6th, 2010 – 1:22 pm
Tagged as: Economics,Politics

From Glenn Greenwald’s piece titled “What collapsing empire looks like:”

Does anyone doubt that once a society ceases to be able to afford schools, public transit, paved roads, libraries and street lights — or once it chooses not to be able to afford those things in pursuit of imperial priorities and the maintenance of a vast Surveillance and National Security State — that a very serious problem has arisen, that things have gone seriously awry, that imperial collapse, by definition, is an imminent inevitability?

How much longer?

July 19th, 2010 – 12:56 pm
Tagged as: Politics

From the always excellent Glenn Greenwald’s piece on The Real U.S. Government:

That’s really the only relevant question: how much longer will Americans sit by passively and watch as a tiny elite become more bloated, more powerful, greedier, more corrupt and more unaccountable — as the little economic security, privacy and freedom most citizens possess vanish further still? How long can this be sustained, where more and more money is poured into Endless War, a military that almost spends more than the rest of the world combined, where close to 50% of all U.S. tax revenue goes to military and intelligence spending, where the rich-poor gap grows seemingly without end, and the very people who virtually destroyed the world economy wallow in greater rewards than ever, all while the public infrastructure (both figuratively and literally) crumbles and the ruling class is openly collaborating on a bipartisan, public-private basis even to cut Social Security benefits?

The answer, unfortunately, is probably this: a lot longer. And one primary reason is that our media-shaped political discourse is so alternatively distracted and distorted that even shining light on all of this matters little.

Kill journalists, then cover it up.

April 5th, 2010 – 9:02 pm
Tagged as: Iraq

Wikileaks released video today of two journalists from Reuters (and several other people) being killed by American troops in Iraq in 2007:

[Warning: Video contains graphic violence.]

Dan Froomkin observes:

Calling it a case of “collateral murder,” the WikiLeaks Web site today released harrowing until-now secret video of a U.S. Army Apache helicopter in Baghdad in 2007 repeatedly opening fire on a group of men that included a Reuters photographer and his driver — and then on a van that stopped to rescue one of the wounded men.

None of the members of the group were taking hostile action, contrary to the Pentagon’s initial cover story; they were milling about on a street corner. One man was evidently carrying a gun, though that was and is hardly an uncommon occurrence in Baghdad.

Reporters working for WikiLeaks determined that the driver of the van was a good Samaritan on his way to take his small children to a tutoring session. He was killed and his two children were badly injured.

In the video, which Reuters has been asking to see since 2007, crew members can be heard celebrating their kills.

“Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards,” says one crewman after multiple rounds of 30mm cannon fire left nearly a dozen bodies littering the street.

A crewman begs for permission to open fire on the van and its occupants, even though it has done nothing but stop to help the wounded: “Come on, let us shoot!”

Two crewmen share a laugh when a Bradley fighting vehicle runs over one of the corpses.

And after soldiers on the ground find two small children shot and bleeding in the van, one crewman can be heard saying: “Well, it’s their fault bringing their kids to a battle.”

Goodbye Furl, hello Delicious

March 19th, 2009 – 8:23 pm
Tagged as: Miscellaneous

The death of, which is what I’d been using to provide the headlines that sit at the top of the left column, has finally motivated me to switch to something else. The headlines are now coming via my bookmarks at, with the added benefit of clippings when you hover over a headline, and the front page loading doesn’t crawl along anymore while Furl eventually gets around to working. I think it’s definitely a change for the better, especially since the headlines tend to be the most active part of this blog.

Change you can believe in

February 4th, 2009 – 9:52 pm
Tagged as: Economics,Politics

It’s been a stellar week for Obama on the economic front.

Start with his decision to tap Senator Judd Gregg as his new Secretary of Commerce, a guy who voted to abolish the Commerce Department back when Clinton was President.

So, Judd Gregg will become Commerce Secretary, and a Republican will keep Gregg’s seat in the Senate. Gregg’s lifetime Progressive Punch rating of 10.08 out of 100.00, and 6.91 “when the chips are down,” should make him a much needed right-wing champion for the Commerce Department. Gregg should also be a useful voice during cabinet meetings, making sure that President Obama and the other radical liberals there don’t over-reach.

Then there’s the stimulus bill, where, despite Obama’s willingness to give the Republicans all sorts of concessions, there apparently still aren’t enough votes to get it through the Senate. The likely solution? More concessions, because that’s the bipartisan way.

If that comes out of spending and not tax cuts – and since Republicans and moderate Democrats are driving the boat on this one I assume it will – then the bill will be completely unable to accomplish its goals on job creation. It may provide a temporary boost, but won’t do what’s needed to stop the bleeding. The recession will continue for years and maybe slip into depression.

Lastly, there’s news that Obama and his administration are working on a bailout plan that will attempt to keep the shambling corpses of the big banks moving around for a while longer by letting the taxpayers guarantee huge amounts of toxic paper. No pesky nationalization for him, despite the many studies that show that’s the way most likely to actually work.

The Obama Administration, if the Washington Post’s latest report is accurate, is about to embark on a hugely expensive “save the banking industry at all costs” experiment that:

1. Has nothing substantive in common with any of the “deemed as successful” financial crisis programs

2. Has key elements that studies of financial crises have recommended against

3. Consumes considerable resources, thus competing with other, in many cases better, uses of fiscal firepower.

The Obama Administration is as obviously and fully hostage to the interests of the financial services industry as the Bush crowd was. We have no new thinking, no willingness to take measures that are completely defensible (in fact not doing them takes some creative positioning) like wiping out shareholders at obviously dud banks (Citi is top of the list), forcing bondholder haircuts and/or equity swaps, replacing management, writing off and/or restructuring bad loans, and deciding whether and how to reorganize and restructure the company. Instead, the banks are now getting the AIG treatment: every demand is being met, no tough questions asked, no probing of the accounts (or more important, the accounting).

Oh, wait, there were also the newly-announced executive compensation restrictions, which couldn’t be more obvious an attempt to appease the proles even as billions more of their dollars are spent trying to save zombie banks.

I was hardly expecting Obama to govern from the left, given the fact that he’s a center-right technocrat and all, but this is getting ridiculous and it’s only February.

The post-partisan era

January 28th, 2009 – 7:53 pm
Tagged as: Politics

What happens when you make concessions to the Republicans so you can have “bipartisan” support for the stimulus bill? This:

The stimulus package just passed the House, with the billions in corporate tax cuts, without the money to re-sod the National Mall, without the money for family planning for poor people, and without one Republican vote. Without one. Final vote was 244-188 as 11 “Democrats” crossed over.

It’s the exact same result Obama (and Pelosi) could have gotten by pushing a better bill through without any concessions at all.

As the Rude Pundit put it:

We don’t know what Barack Obama actually said to Republican members of Congress in his closed-door meetings with them yesterday regarding his stimulus plan. But we do know one thing for sure: it accomplished nothing. This is the way it’s gonna go, and if you’ve paid attention at all, you know the steps: Obama will concede shit and Republicans will ask for more (even though they already got more tax cuts than anyone fucking needs), Obama will concede more shit and Republicans will ask for more (even though they’re gonna get the family planning funding taken out), Obama will concede more shit and Republicans will ask for more, and then when the vote comes, Republicans will vote against it, saying that no one listened to them and fuck that Obama for lying about bipartisanship. Yet the legislation will have passed in a watered down form from the deep infrastructure and other spending so desperately needed to, you know, create jobs, which will, you know, create taxable income, which will, you know, help actually pay for shit some day.

Obama has done good work so far when he’s been able to do things directly, like starting the process of closing Guantanamo, lifting the gag rule, and reviewing the idea of letting states set emissions standards that are tougher than the federal governmen’s. Apparently though, everything he learned about how to play things in Congress he learned from the same Democrats who failed to get much done for the past two years. Here’s hoping this episode teaches Obama that the Republicans have no interest in compromising, no matter how much the new President wants this to magically be a post-partisan world. He should do what’s right, rather than responding to Republican hissy fits with concessions.

A Palestinian father’s anguish

January 17th, 2009 – 10:25 am
Tagged as: Palestine,Terrorism

From the L.A. Times [via Informed Comment]

Minutes away from a scheduled phone interview on Israeli TV 10 with newscaster Shlomi Eldar, Aboul Aish called Eldar’s cellphone, screaming and weeping in Arabic and Hebrew. The doctor’s home had been struck by a shell:

“Oh God, oh my God, my daughters have been killed. They’ve killed my children. . . . Could somebody please come to us?”