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The Wages of Sin

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While our bankrupt Congress delays its most recent bi-partisan sellout of the people’s right to be secure in their persons and effects so as to protect their corporate benefactors – whom they obviously consider to be their primary constituency - so that they may attend the funeral of an unapologetic southern white racist, race-baiter and homophobe, we take stock that their approval rating of just 18% as of one year ago has now been cut in half.

Just like American industry and the corporate press, they are reviled by their customers because it is quite obvious to them that none of America’s elites give a rat’s ass about public concerns, except as a means to protect and enrich themselves and their cronies.

So, what are you going to do about it?

"Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."

--- Karl Rove, describing Barack Obama

When I first read about this comment, my immediate reaction was that I couldn't think of a single country club that would admit a black man named Barack Hussein Obama. Then I thought Rove was doing his usual shtick, i.e., take his greatest weakness and ascribe it to his opponent. In other words, I felt that he was describing George W. Bush at the club, not Obama. Makes much more sense that way, given Bush's history with alcohol -- and his smart mouth. It was much the same technique Rove used to destroy John Kerry's Vietnam war record in 2004, all but accusing the nominee of being a liar and a coward. All this while Bush was hiding his "war record" in plain sight.

But a commenter at Talking Points Memo unpacked Rove's comments differently than me and I think he nails it:

The key to the statement is that (in the image) he is with "a beautiful date." Not Michelle Obama or, in the abstract, his wife, i.e. a wife like Michelle Obama. When you think of a "beautiful date" specifically at a country club, do you picture an African-American woman? Would Rove's target audience?

Or do you picture him there, a black man, smoking a cigarette indoors at a country club, with a white woman on his arm?

When I thought of this, I got a chill. When you think of Obama's vulnerability, I think the primaries showed that race remains a real and very serious obstacle, particularly with white Americans over 50. When you think of where we are with racism in this country, I think its a pretty safe bet that the final freak-out factor to overcome may be black men dating white women, in particular, one's daughter.

If I were a completely amoral Republican operative, I'd try to find some white women that Obama dated before Michelle and get them into the public's stream of consciousness anyway I could. Its a tactic so vile I don't even like speculating about it, but if you want to be ready for the worst, I think Rove just tipped his hand at where they plan to go.

In all fairness, I have to ask if there is (or isn't) the analogous scenario that an "amoral Democratic operative" could spring on McCain? Remember, in order for it to work, it has to resonate at the emotional level and be absolutely radioactive in the extreme. It has to address a fundamental fear that the electorate has about McCain.

We Have Met The Enemy

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Get your lobbying resume tweaked, Steny. After we've purged the body politic of the miscreants with "R"s next to their names, we're coming after you.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

Would you like Freedom Fries with that pound of flesh?

Now that it's official, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence finally releasing the last two reports of "Phase II" of its inquiry about the Administration lying about the pre-war threat from Iraq and the Fixing of Intelligence by Doug Feith's office at the Pentagon (PDF's here and here), and in light of the confessions of Scott McClellen confirming everything and more said by Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke, Thomas E. Ricks, and so many other men and women of conscious who raised the alarm that the Bush administration was committing grave crimes against the world and shredding the Constitution, what do we do about it.

From the moment Nancy Pelosi stated that impeachment was "off the table," we knew that the Democrats, even if they gain all the levers of power, are not interested in getting even, in justice, so much as they are interested in getting power for themselves, wresting it from the criminals now in charge (a good thing in and of itself) and fixing what is broken -- but have no stomach for making anyone pay for what they did.

Except for Dennis Kucinich and hints from John Edwards, I don't recall much along the lines of a desire to prosecute anyone from the presidential candidates either. And no doubt George W. Bush will issue blanket pardons for anyone remotely involved in his breathtaking racket before he leaves office, leaving only him as a possible defendant in American Courts. I seriously doubt President Obama will consider initiating such a politically charged prosecution in keeping with his mission to heal the nation and move forward, undoing the madness of the last eight years. It probably wouldn't seem something that would help his reelection prospects of help maintain and expand the Democratic majorities in Congress either.

I disagree, but then again they don't pay me millions of dollars as a political consultant giving bad advice to candidates. But that's another story.

Rachel Maddow speaks for many, myself included, insisting that there is a difference between relying on flawed intelligence and "deliberately telling the American People something you know is not accurate" (ie. lying us into war) is "worthy of a prosecution or two." However her boss at Air America, Mark Green has another idea. Four actually:

  1. "Vote Big" giving the Democrats a large mandate and sending the GOP a clear message. Of course herding cats is and easier task, and probably more fun.

  2. "Shame 'em" challenging the the media to do it's job. Good luck with that.

  3. "Sue" "Hit them in the pocketbook." You can kinda tell Mr. Green isn't a lawyer. While going after Halliburton may be worthwhile, government officials have qualified immunity from prosecution when excercizing and acting within their legally defined areas of discresion. The Iraq war, for all the fraud involved in gaining permission to use force from Congress, that permission was granted by folks like John Kerry, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton voting with the GOP majority for the AUMF back in 2002.

  4. "Create a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)" In essence, this would be a national confessional, a catharsis for those of us who at least desire truth above consequences. Not quite the Nuremberg trials, but public acknowledgment that atrocities were committed even if no one is punished.
Richard Clarke expressed similar desires to see a Truth Commission modeled on post-Aparteid South Africa on Countdown last night. And some true optimists out there in blogtopia (y!sctp) believe that much like the example of post WWII Germany, the people of the United States would not be completely consumed by such a circus as parading all the perpetrators that have been involved in the litany of high crimes before cameras to confess their sins.

Somehow I doubt it. Our uniquly tabloid culture , where a minor celebrity's double-murder trial can take over the national consciousness and expose the tenuous seams that divide us more than unite us, would gorge itself on the spectacle. I know I wouldn't miss a minute of this show.

However, it would be cathartic. The alternative is to wait for history's verdict, which might then not even be the resolution we need. My Armenia friend Ara could enlighten you much further on why sometimes just waiting on history to decide who was wrong and who was right can fester instead of heal.

The government of Turkey continues to call for Truth and Reconciliation of the horrific events they still refuse to official call the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23, yet critics argue that an Historian's Commission telling "both sides" (no better that the first drafters of history we have today on ever talking head program) would amount to a whitewash, or worse -- elevating the lies and coverups to be valid viewpoints.

I don't think we can await history's verdict. I know I don't want to. But what I want is to see every son of a neocon creep locked up while they wait upon history.

by Mark Adams

... to fight for Obama and to make my dream come true of appointing John Edwards as Attorney General ... it would drive Jonah Goldberg off the edge.

... the suggestion that John Edwards would be even considered for Attorney General is horrifying. I really can't think of any mainstream political figure more inappropriate for that job than Edwards.

See, since the day Edwards bowed out of the race, I couldn't think of anyone MORE appropriate for the AG job -- and now I know my instincts were spot-on.

Seriously, can you think of someone who has been more stupid, more wrong about more things than the guy who made the absurd notion that fascism is a phenomenon of the Left the running joke of Blogtopia? [Y!Sctp!]

If this is what it will take to keep the Doughy Pantload awake at night, quaking in his pee-stained footie PJ's, I'm all the more for it.

In fact, I can think of a fairly long list of bed-wetters who should lose sleep with John Edwards in charge of the Justice Department, starting with this fool.


I don't recall Barack Obama offering Osama bin Laden the Sudetenland (or a slice of the Afghan/Pakistan border). Did anyone catch Obama offering Hamas any Israeli territory in exchange for peace, or Hezbollah their own section of Lebanon to call their own?


The fact is, Obama has said exactly the opposite:

"Obama and McCain have the same position on Hamas —no talks, no recognition, no outreach."
But mere facts have never, ever prevented George Bush and his crime family from creating a myth out of whole cloth and fighting the strawman with every ounce of venom their being.

It's not just that George Bush implied the Democrats are no better than Nazi appeasers with this bit of nonsense (via) before the Israeli Knesset ...

Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

Some people suggest that if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of our enemies, and America rejects it utterly. Israel's population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you.

... it is an outright lie!

Unless the Dickhead in Chief is talking about Ron Paul, no legitimate office seeker in this country wants to break ties with Israel. No one is trying to appease, or psychoanalyze, or give aid and comfort to extremists and terrorists -- unless you count John McCain sucking up to homophobic, bigoted preachers ... or listening to Don Rumsfeld's solution for using terror to increase GOP loyalty.

I've always felt that the job of government is to keep an eye on business and the job of the independent press is to keep an eye on government. So when I see the traditional media being lazy and self-loathing (handing the cudgel to right-wingers so they can be clubbed mercilessly) it bothers me.

Now, in just the latest episode of a news industry that cares more for ratings (and profits) than they do for truth, we're reading about the Pentagon-orchestrated campaign to use "miltary analysts" with the appearance of objectivity to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance:

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

By co-opting the role of an independent press in this way, we've taken one more large and consequential step toward fascism -- a system where government and business are indistinguishable and the interests of the people are subverted or ignored entirely.

Glenn Greenwald:

One of the most significant political stories of this decade, if not this generation -- the media's full-scale complicity with the Government in the run-up to the Iraq war -- has never been meaningfully discussed or examined on any establishment television network, including cable shows. While piecemeal quibbles of media coverage can be heard (of the type [Washington Post's Howard] Kurtz typically spouts, or the Limbaugh-driven complaint about the "liberal media"), no fundamental critique of the role the media plays, the influence of its corporate ownership, its incestuous relationship with and dependence on government power -- among the most influential factors driving our political life -- are ever heard.

Hopefully, the role, influence, and ratings of the traditional media have lessened as the role of interactive media has grown. Blogs, wikis, social networks, video-sharing -- all of these non-traditional media (and more) have made it possible for an alternative narrative to emerge that highlights how our own government -- and the independent press -- has failed us.

However, and in the meantime, we're awash in bogus "scandals," chief among them whether or not Barack Obama secretly wants to "kill whitey." I presume that these stories are playing out 24/7 because they are (wait for it) good for ratings. High ratings, of course, lead to higher advertising revenues. On the other hand, reporting the truth might lead to real change --- which, at best, may have no impact on the news media's bottom line and may actually hurt it.

So the next time you hear about a politican who might be untrustworthy because he doesn't wear a flag pin, remember how the Pentagon supplied the generals (all of whom wore brass stars on their shoulders) and how they lied about how we're doing in the war -- and how the traditional media put them on the air in the first place.

by shep

Some people think Michael Mukasey was lying when he stated publicly, “We've got three thousand people who went to work that day and didn't come home to show for… a call from someplace that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn't know precisely where it went.”

But Michael Mukasey is the Attorney General of the United States, the highest law enforcement officer of the country. He’s also an ex-federal judge who knows that under contemporaneous federal law the Bush Administration could have wiretapped that call and learned where it went and, possibly, thwarted the 9/11 attacks.

Could it possibly be that anyone, even a Republican, would lie about such a thing just to hide the illegal conduct of George Bush, Dick Cheney and AT&T? Any way you slice it, what would you call such traitors to their oaths of office and duty to the public? Oops, I guess I just did.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

Say what you will about Keith Olbermann, but he calls it the way he sees it. And in the dismal years of the Bush-Cheney regime, no one nails them better than KO.

It is bad enough, sir, that you were demanding an ex post facto law that could still clear the AT&Ts and the Verizons from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who are stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail.

But when you demanded it again during the State of the Union address, you wouldn’t even confirm that they actually did anything for which they deserved to be cleared.

“The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America.”

Believed? Don’t you know? Don’t you even have the guts Dick Cheney showed in admitting they did collaborate with you? Does this endless presidency of loopholes and fine print extend even here? If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business, come out and say it! There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend.

You’re a fascist — get them to print you a T-shirt with "fascist" on it!

We Have Met the Enemy

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by shep

And it isn’t just made of Republicans.

19 Senate Democrats, led by the miserable Jay Rockefeller, enabled by the mendacious Harry Reid just voted:

”…to legalize warrantless spying on the telephone calls and emails of Americans, and will also provide full retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, thus forever putting an end to any efforts to investigate and obtain a judicial ruling regarding the Bush administration's years-long illegal spying programs aimed at Americans. The long, hard efforts by AT&T, Verizon and their all-star, bipartisan cast of lobbyists to grease the wheels of the Senate -- led by former Bush 41 Attorney General William Barr and former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick -- are about to pay huge dividends, as such noble efforts invariably do with our political establishment.”
--Glen Greenwald

As Dan Froomkin puts it: “"isn't that the very definition of a police state: that companies should do whatever the government asks, even if they know it's illegal?"

Why yes it is. It is also the exact definition of the word fascism when what the government asks infringes on the rights of the people to benefit “the state”.

Greenwald again:

”…a large number of elected Democrats vote in favor of the radical Bush agenda for a very simple reason: they believe in it. Despite the glorious "D" after their name, their views are materially indistinguishable from the defining ones of the Bush faction on the key issues. A huge portion of Congressional Democrats are members of the corrupt, bipartisan Beltway political establishment first, and everything only follows that, and they thus embrace and support the values of that establishment.”

Progressives have their work cut out for them. After we rout Republicans from the White House and the Congress, progressive will still have their work cut out for them. Purging Joe Lieberman from the party was a good step. And another Bush Dog Democrat was sent to another fat cat lobbying job by progressives supporting Maryland’s Donna Edwards, against the full force and might of Nancy Pelosi and the “corrupt, bipartisan Beltway political establishment,” wing of the Democratic Party.

I know who’s next on my wish list. Just don’t make me move to Delaware.

[Cross-posted on Dispassionate Liberal]



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