Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Friday, 11 November 2005 at 18h 52m 1s|
Good kitty, gone bad
|Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 19h 41m 36s|
Here comes the propaganda machine
Thanks to the awesome billmon.org .
Top White House officials say they're developing a "campaign-style" strategy in
response to increasing Democratic allegations that the Bush administration
twisted intelligence to make its case for war.
White House aides, who agreed to speak to CNN only on the condition of
anonymity, said they hoped to increase what they called their "hit back" in
White House to Hit Back at Democrats
November 8, 2005
The seven tapes were already in Sirica's hands, and it was only a matter of
time before they would become public at a trial. Haig wanted to blunt the
impact of their disclosure in any way he could, to seize the issue on the
President's terms. The preferable course was for Nixon to make a speech of
contrition -- accept responsibility for past mistakes, acknowledge the abuses
documented in the tapes, pledge a bright future. But Nixon could never
undertake an act of public confession. He was too proud, it would break him.
Haig knew Kissinger had already suggested something like that. Ziegler had
rejected the notion, saying "Contrition is bullshit.".
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
The Final Days
|Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 19h 6m 48s|
Another point about Alito
From Americablog, blogger John in D.C.
...CNN's legal affairs expert, Jeffrey Toobin, just said that there does seem
to be a distinction between what Alito said he'd do and what he actually did,
Tobin then seriously misstated the entire problem.
Toobin said there are two issues here:
1. Whether it's prohibited for Alito to participate in a specific case;
2. Whether there was some sort of computer glitch in the clerk's office that
failed to notify Alito that he should have recused himself in the case.
But Toobin's description of the issues is missing the most important issue.
The issue here isn't whether Alito was or wasn't required, under court rules,
to recuse himself from these cases. The issue is that Alito promised, seemingly
under oath, NOT to hear these cases, period - but then went ahead and heard
them anyway. That's a lie. It's also possibly perjury. And at the very least,
it suggests he intentionally misled the Senate Judiciary Committee ON THREE
SEPARATE OCCASIONS in order to get confirmed.
As for Toobin's second argument, that the reason the case came to Alito was
perhaps a computer glitch, again that's not the issue. The question is not HOW
the cases came to Alito, the question is WHY Alito didn't recuse himself, as
promised under oath, AFTER the cases came to him, regardless of how they came
In the Vanguard case, Alito went out of his way to argue that there was no
reason he should have to recuse himself. Not only does that negate the computer
glitch argument - it doesn't matter how Alito got the case, he was perfectly
happy KEEPING the case and argued that he should keep the case. But what's
more, Alito actually had the nerve to argue that there was no reason to recuse
himself from this case when there was a very good reason - he had previously
promised to recuse himself, under oath.
Again, it's nice to split hairs about whether Alito was "legally" required to
recuse himself under court rules dealing with conflicts of interest, etc., but
that's not the issue here. The issue is that Alito promised, we assume under
oath, to recuse himself in order to convince Senators to confirm him. Then
after Alito got confirmed - bam! - he turned around and broke his promise, and
hear the case anyway. And not just once, but three times.
The man is a liar, quite possibly a perjurer, and at the very least he's
someone with a proven track record of saying anything to Senators in order to
be confirmed. There is now no reason any Senator should vote for Alito based on
By the way, Toobin is a hack. He writes books about political events that seem
to be unbiased and thorough to the non-expert, but which somehow skip over
major relevant portions of those events and focus on largely inconsequential
portions of the same events.
But Jeffrey Toobin is the expert the television audience gets. Not someone
with more knowledge, and more integrity like University of Michigan History
professor Juan Cole -- or Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman -- or ....
Who the hell is Jeffrey Toobin? Whoa, a journalist ... yeah, well judge thee
by the traces of thine works.
Mr. Toobin, how could you write a whole 250 page book about the 2000 Florida
election and write only
2 weak sentences about the Felon lists and the entire history of DBA-
Choicepoint contracts and the three (yes, three) judicial decisions which
informed Governor Jeb Bush that the way that Felon lists were being collected
were unconstitutional. And the two sentences themselves stated that Mr. Toobin
held these events to be of dubious value.
In addition, Mr. Toobin neglected to mention the role John Roberts played in
the White House legal team. He did not even mention the fact that staffers
were flown to West Palm Beach on Enron jets to fake a citizens' protest. And
Mr. Toobin, your take on the ruling by the supreme court was benign to the
point of distraction. You completely obfuscate the event with your book-wide
theme that the Gore team was inferior to the legal team of Bush because the
Bush team went on the attack from day one.
My God lad, the Court came in and stopped the law from taking effect,
completely ignoring the despicable obstruction by the Rethuglican's (real
Republican's would never act as such). As I've said in a recent post, the court
could have made many rulings -- one that could have validated the sanctity of
the vote, even to the point of ordering a new vote. Ordering a new vote is not
without precident (albeit not at the Presidential level) -- but that is not
what happened now, is it Mr. Toobin. And not a word too that Antonin Scalia
and Judge Thomas had ties to the Bush campaign (family members working for the
administration -- Scalia's son even got appointed to head the government agency
that overseas OSHA regulations, and not without a righteous criticism).
So what is your real purpose Mr. Toobin?
CNN's legal affairs expert, Jeffrey Toobin
|Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 19h 16m 26s|
Daddy, I want my lollipop
This comes from
It concerns the dropping of drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge
from the Budget in the hopes that the Budget could pass the House.
More than 20 Republicans have told the House leadership they would not vote for
the budget unless they were assured ANWR won't be added into the final House-
Senate compromise, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
ANWR is just one of many controversies in the bill, which aims to save $54
billion over five year by reducing programs like Medicaid, food stamps, student
loans and child support enforcement.
House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, said it's incorrect to call
these "cuts." They are small reductions in the growth of government programs,
he told the House Rules Committee Wednesday night.
Rep. James McGovern said the reductions will cut services for poor people at a
time when need is growing. About 300,000 people will lose eligibility for food
stamps, he said.
"To say that these aren't cuts is to imply that somehow …. real people aren't
going to get hurt," he said. "Well, if this budget moves forward as its
currently written, real people will get hurt."
Nussle said the Democrats are doing nothing to improve the situation.
"Where's your plan?" Nussle demanded. "Where's your plan for the people who
need this help?"
I love that last bit by lame ole Jim Nussle. How many ideas and alternative
policy choices do those who oppose this have to say before politicians like Jim
Nussle can stop playing games about how they are deaf to everything but their
own one track mind. Howard Dean had plenty of ideas he shared during his run
Presidency. He still shares his ideas. Everyday in fact, but alas, what
voices does the "liberal media" put on the air everyday. And hacks like Nussle
know this. He preys on the ignorance of the television addicts who get their
news completely from television.
(Note to reader -- it's called research. You can't expect info to come to
you. And don't expect the information that does will be the truth.)
Current ideas Mr. Nussle can't hear: Reform the tax code. Enforce the tax
laws. Revoke the tax cuts for the wealthy. That's three alone that various
Democrats and opposition Republican's have offered. But when you mention those
ideas to the men whose voices appear in the media (like Nussle) they find some
problem with the idea.
It's not that the Democrats have no ideas, Mr. Hackster Jimothy Nussle. It's
that you are arrogant and would rather play politics than honestly attempt to
address the nation's problems. Your own reckless ideas however must be
perceived for the makeup you put on the pig.
It's a pig. You are a pig too, Mr. Nussle, a virulent, shameless pig. Which
is why Tom Delay appointed you to your current position in the first place.
House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle (R-Iowa.)
|Thursday, 10 November 2005 at 18h 4m 13s|
It's not about Journalistic rights, Judith
It is about being a dishonest political hack.
This comes from Atrios. [SOURCE]
Adam Clymer, retired political correspondent for the Times, recalls an episode
during the 1988 presidential campaign, when Miller was deputy Washington bureau
Then the political editor based in New York, Clymer was awakened just after
midnight one morning by a call from Miller, he says. She was demanding that a
story about Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis be pulled from the paper.
The story was too soft, she complained -- and said Lee Atwater, the political
strategist for Vice President George H.W. Bush, believed it was soft as well.
Clymer said he was stunned to realize that Atwater apparently had either seen
the story or been told about it before publication. He and Miller argued, he
recalls, and he ultimately hung up on her, twice.
When she was the deputy Washington bureau chief she was taking stories about
the Democratic candidate and showing them to the opposition before they were
|Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 20h 58m 31s|
Reason versus faith
"You cannot reason a person out of a position that they did not first
reason themselves into."
-- Jonathan Swift
|Wednesday, 9 November 2005 at 17h 35m 13s|
The Problem with Frenchness
This is a great post by Juan Cole. The piece so definitively
situation in France that I am reproducing the entire post on my own blog. The
hard-link at juancole.com
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
-- by Juan Cole
The Problem with Frenchness
Readers have asked me for comment about the riots in France that have now
provoked emergency laws and a curfew. What I would rather comment on, however,
is the myths that have governed many rightwing American comments on the tragic
events. Actually, I can only think that the disturbances must produce a huge
ice cream headache for the dittoheads. French of European heritage pitted
against French of African and North African heritage? How could they ever pick
I should begin by saying how much these events sadden me and fill me with
anguish. I grew up in part in France (7 years of my childhood in two different
periods) and have long been in love with the place, and the people. We visited
this past June for a magical week. And, of course, I've been to Morocco and
Tunisia and Senegal, and so have a sense of the other side in all this; I
rather like all those places, too. How sad, to see all this violence and
rancor. I hope Paris and France more generally can get through these tough
times and begin working on the underlying problems soon. At this time of a
crisis in globalization in the wake of the Cold War, we need Paris to be a
dynamic exemplar of problem-solving on this front.
The French have determinedly avoided multiculturalism or affirmative action.
They have insisted that everyone is French together and on a "color-blind" set
of policies. "Color-blind" policies based on "merit" always seem to benefit
some groups more than others, despite a rhetoric of equality and achievement.
In order to resolve the problems they face, the French will have to come to
terms with the multi-cultural character of contemporary society. And they will
have to find ways of actively sharing jobs with minority populations, who often
suffer from an unemployment rate as high as 40 percent (i.e. Iraq).
Mark Steyn of the Chicago Sun-Times commits most of the gross errors, factual
and ethical, that characterize the discourse of the Right in the US on such
For instance, Steyn complains that the rioters have been referred to as "French
''French youths,'' huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse?
Granted that most of the "youths" are technically citizens of the French
Republic, it doesn't take much time in les banlieus of Paris to discover that
the rioters do not think of their primary identity as ''French'': They're young
men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community
with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim
identity more implacable than anything you're likely to find in the Middle
East. After four somnolent years, it turns out finally that there really is an
explosive ''Arab street,'' but it's in Clichy-sous-Bois.
This paragraph is the biggest load of manure to hit the print media since
Michael Brown (later of FEMA) and his Arabian Horse Society were profiled in
Arabian Horse Times.
The French youth who are burning automobiles are as French as Jennifer Lopez
and Christopher Walken are American. Perhaps the Steyns came before the
Revolutionary War, but a very large number of us have not. The US brings 10
million immigrants every decade and one in 10 Americans is now foreign-born.
Their children, born and bred here, have never known another home. All US
citizens are Americans, including the present governor of California. "The
immigrant" is always a political category. Proud Californio families
(think "Zorro") who can trace themselves back to the 18th century Spanish
empire in California are often coded as "Mexican immigrants" by "white"
Californians whose parents were Okies.
A lot of the persons living in the urban outer cities (a better translation of
cite than "suburb") are from subsaharan Africa. And there are lots of Eastern
European immigrants. The riots were sparked by the deaths of African youths,
not Muslims. Singling out the persons of Muslim heritage is just a form of
bigotry. Moreover, French youth of European heritage rioted quite extensively
in 1968. As they had in 1789. Rioting in the streets is not a foreign custom.
It has a French genealogy and context.
The young people from North African societies such as Morocco, Algeria and
Tunisia are mostly only nominal Muslims. They frequently do not speak much
Arabic, and don't have "proper" French, either. They frequently do not know
much about Islam and most of them certainly don't practice it-- much less being
more virulent about it than Middle Easterners.
Aware of their in-between-ness, young persons of North African heritage in
France developed a distinctive identity. They took the word Arabe and scrambled
it to produce Beur (which sounds in French like the word for "butter"). Beur
culture can be compared a bit to hip-hop as a form of urban expression of
marginality and self-assertion in a racist society. It is mostly secular.
Another thing that is wrong with Steyn's execrable paragraph is that it assumes
an echt "Frenchness" that is startling in a post-Holocaust thinker. There are
no pure "nations" folks. I mean, first of all, what is now France had a lot of
different populations in it even in the 18th century-- Bretons (Gaelic
speakers), Basques, Alsatians (German speakers), Provencale people in the
south, Jews, etc., etc. "Multi-culturalism" is not something new in Europe.
What was new was the Romantic nationalist conviction that there
are "pure" "nations" based on "blood." It was among the more monstrous mistakes
in history. Of course if, according to this essentially racist way of thinking,
there are "pure" nations that have Gypsies, Jews and others living among them,
then the others might have to be "cleansed" to restore the "purity."
Yet another problem: France has for some time been a capitalist country with a
relatively strong economy. Such economies attract workers. There have been
massive labor immigration flows into France all along. In the early 20th
century Poles came to work in the coal mines, and then more came in the inter-
war period. By the beginning of the Great Depression, there were half a million
Polish immigrants in France. Their numbers declined slightly in the next few
years. There were even more Italians. There isn't anything peculiar about
having large numbers of immigrants who came for work. And, few in France in the
early 20th century thought that Poles were susceptible of integration into
French society. Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy, who has made himself
unpopular by exacerbating tensions with intemperate language, is the son of
immigrants (I guess he does not count as "French" according to Steyn's
Steyn wants to create a 1300-year struggle between Catholic France and the
Muslims going back to Tours. This way of thinking is downright silly. France in
the 19th century was a notorious ally of the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and fought
alongside Muslims against the Christian Russians in the Crimean War. Among
contemporary French, 40 percent do not even believe in God, and less than 20
percent go to mass at all regularly. Many of the French of non-European
heritage are also not religious.
The French repaid the compliment of Tours by conquering much of the Middle
East. Bonaparte aggressively and viciously invaded Egypt in 1798, but couldn't
hold on there. But in 1830 the French invaded Algeria and incorporated it into
France. Algeria was "French soil." They reduced the Algerian population (which
they brutalized and exploited) to marginal people under the colonial thumb. The
French government of Algeria allowed hundreds of thousands to perish of famine
in the 1870s. After World War II, given low French birth rates and a dynamic
capitalist economy, the French began importing Algerian menial labor. The
resulting Beurs are no more incapable of "integrating" into France than the
Poles or Jews were.
So it wasn't the Algerians who came and got France. France had come and gotten
the Algerians, beginning with Charles X and then the July Monarchy. They
settled a million rather rowdy French, Italians and Maltese in Algeria. These
persons rioted a lot in the early 1960s as it became apparent that Algeria
would get its independence (1962). In fact, European settler colonists
or "immigrants" have caused far more trouble in the Middle East than vice versa.
The kind of riots we are seeing in France also have occurred in US cities (they
sent Detroit into a tailspin from 1967). They are always produced by racial
segregation, racist discrimination, spectacular unemployment, and lack of
access to the mainstream economy. The problems were broached by award-winning
French author Tahar Ben Jalloun in his French Hospitality decades ago.
(Americans who code themselves as "white" are often surprised to discover
that "white people" created the inner cities here by zoning them for settlement
by racial "minorities," excluding the minorities from the nicer parts of the
cities and from suburbs. As late as the 1960s, many European-Americans were
willing to sign a "covenant" not to sell their houses to an African-American,
Chinese-American or a Jewish American. In fact, in the US, the suburbs were
built, most often with de facto government subsidies in the form of highways
and other perquisites, as an explicit means of racial segregation. Spatial
segregation protected "white" businesses from competition from minority
entrepreneurs, who couldn't open shops outside their ghettos. In France,
government inputs were used to create "outer cities," but many of the same
forces were at work.) The French do not have Jim Crow laws, but de facto
residential segregation is a widespread and intractable problem.
The problem is economic and having to do with economic and residential
exclusionism, not with an "unassimilable" "immigrant" minority. (The French
authorites deported a lot of Poles in the 1930s for making trouble by trying to
unionize and strike, on the grounds that they were an unassimilable Slavic
On the other hand, would it be possible for the French Muslim youth to be
pushed toward religious extremism if the French government does not address the
underlying problems. Sure. That was what I was alluding to in my posting last
The solution? Recognizing that "Frenchness" is not monochrome, that France is a
tapestry of cultures and always has been, and that sometimes some threads of
the tapestry need some extra attention if it is not to fray and come apart.
|Monday, 7 November 2005 at 17h 20m 9s|
An advertiser's nightmare.
I listen to the radio. I learn that I am holding back my money-
and should spend thirty-nine ninety-nine to release my subconscious fears that
cause me to make less money. I discover that I have nagging fears about paying
my five monthly bills, and should consider getting advice from the experts --
for only nine ninety-nine a month, and that's just pennies a day mind you. I'm
not yet good enough, I don't look right, I'm not doing something correctly, but
sure enough, for only a small fee, I'll get to be perfect and dandy.
When the courtesy calls come, I hang up the phone. When I get the endless mail
concerning pre-approved debt, I toss the letters in the nearby trash can.
Sometimes I'll talk to the Indian telephone worker calling from Bank of America
to sell me Life Insurance, but only to ascertain from where on the global map
the call is coming. I am 36 years old, and have no children or wife. Giving
the bank more of my money so they can use it to play with securities and bonds
is ridiculous. The only difference between Insurance and Ponzi schemes, is the
size of the fund. They use your money to invest and play the stock market,
with the understanding that the percentage of claims will always be less than
the initial funds growth potential. However, the institutions often separate
collection (sales) from investment (profit) to the extent that there is little
communication between the 2 operations. And that is why insurance rates have
skyrocketed over the last 4 years. We are paying higher premiums for their
foolish stock-market escapades.
So when I discover via television advertising that Mr. Greybeard won't get the
hottie, or, if the sexy momma likes me only when I use Gilette, you can still
I am not moving a millimeter at all to the nearby store. Nope, not at all. I
know I'm missing
out on all of what each and every one of the rehearsed roles say, but alas, I
guess I'm just gonna buck the TV crowd nevertheless. I admit, I've always been
a god damn independent, but what these people do is much worse -- they guilt
trip you when you don't act like them. Or they try to. As far as I'm
concerned, you can just be you, that's good enough for me.
Are these people really paid well to push this pap psyco-babble?
|Monday, 7 November 2005 at 6h 34m 43s|
I love Jim Hightower
"To measure the vitality of a town, don't look for corporate logos but for
signs that the community has some semblance of a soul."
Jim Hightower, 4 November 2005
In other words, the town center is more vibrant without a McDonalds, Starbucks,
and B Dalton Bookstore located where a small local business used to be. In the
name of progress called corporate profit extraction we have torn the heart of
living out of our chest, so that we can receive the advertized version.
When big business replaces small business, lots of middle men get cut out
because the market operations and the local business spending shrinks, and
becomes reallocated. The above businesses have their own warehouses and
financial centers far removed from the thousands (millions even) of retail
stores and their locales. Decisions are made by persons who will never meet
the people affected
by those decisions, and so those persons do not at all weigh upon the factors
which go into the decisions. Indeed, the sole weight becomes pure financial
So when Starbucks goes into a new market and buys up the surrounding property,
they are doing so to control the competition. When McDonalds sponsors and
supports the unhealthy raising of cattle and the bad agricultural practices
which enable its world-wide array of supplies, they do so because they want to
experience economies of scale. Local businesses sponsor local sources of
supply, which is where the restaurants of San Francisco obtain their grass-fed
beef. For small proprietors , the demand for economies of scale are not
possible at the magnitude of large corporations because they do not have the
market power to force or create suppliers that cut costs at the expense of
health or quality.
Personally I think no retail or food business should be allowed to cross state
lines, and I also think limitations should be placed on how many businesses any
one controling group can own. Right now we are just creating an aristocracy,
and a polity which is merely the well-funded propaganda arm of the rising
|Saturday, 5 November 2005 at 1h 20m 23s|
Excerpt from my soon to be finished novel
I really liked this exchange, and thought I'd share it with
Juvi raised his beer. “I hear you, dog.” He then added sincerely, “But I grew
up in that park, man. It was hard to see it go. And now ... and now there
ain’t nowhere for the young brothers to go hang out except on street corners
and in automobiles. I mean shit. It never was about jobs. It was always
about ownership. You know they talk about everyone being able to buy a piece
of the corporate ownership, but fuck man, I got maybe 10 or 20 grand surplus
cash in any given year, hows am I supposed tuh compete with mother fuckers who
gots 10 to 100 millions extra in the bank? Sooner or later the little people
get priced outta da market and the rich people own everything. Then they start
pushing judges and politicians on us, trying to convince everyone that their
self-serving philosophy is beneficial. That’s all corporations do for America.”
“Put a man in a strait-jacket”, Jim began, his beer grasped firmly in
his right hand, “ and call the few who escape entrepreneurs or men of
genius. Everyone else is a loser, but at least the strait-jacket makers come
with a lotta money.”
The men laughed.
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