Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, August 30, 2012 6:09 am

If I ran a cable-news network …

Filed under: Evil,Journalism — Lex @ 6:09 am
Tags: ,

… and an attendee at one of the two major parties’ presidential nominating conventions threw nuts at a black camerawoman who worked for me while saying, “This is how we feed animals,” I would make sure that every single one of my viewers got a look at the faces and names of the offenders. And if that party’s presidential candidate had been running a race-baiting campaign on top of that, I would personally write the script if necessary to make damn good and sure that my anchors and reporters were connecting the dots for people.

Perhaps that’s why I don’t run a cable-news network.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 8:11 pm

John Cusack, Jonathan Turley and our ConLaw-Prof-in-Chief; or, “We used to have some lines we wouldn’t cross [but] whoever stops fighting first loses.”

Shannyn Moore was kind enough to post the transcript of a telephone conversation that actor John Cusack, who has a certain interest in politics, had with constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley. If you care at all about the Constitution, they raise some very troubling questions, particularly the very practical question of what someone who cares about the Constitution is supposed to do in November with his presidential ballot.

Put simply, in the real world, where torture and other war crimes appear to have strong bipartisan support, there are no good choices. A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for a man who has taken the executive branch’s extrajudicial fight against “terrorism” even farther than Bush did (and Bush took it far enough to merit a date with a Netherlands noose). A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for a guy who almost certainly cares as little as Obama for constitutional rights and, more broadly, the accountability of power AND who is beyond likely to nominate more constitutional sociopaths to the Supreme Court. And with all due respect to my Libertarian friends, a vote for Gary Johnson is, effectively, a vote for Obama.

What’s a voter to do?

Turley: We appear to be in a sort of a free-fall. We have what used to be called an “imperial presidency.”

Cusack: Obama is far more of an imperial president than Bush in many ways, wouldn’t you say?

Turley: Oh, President Obama has created an imperial presidency that would have made Richard Nixon blush. It is unbelievable.

Cusack: And to say these things, most of the liberal community or the progressive community would say, “Turley and Cusack have lost their minds. What do they want? They want Mitt Romney to come in?”

Turley: The question is, “What has all of your relativistic voting and support done for you?” That is, certainly there are many people who believe –

Cusack: Well, some of the people will say the bread-and-butter issues, “I got healthcare coverage, I got expanded healthcare coverage.”

Turley: See, that’s what I find really interesting. When I talk to people who support the administration, they usually agree with me that torture is a war crime and that the administration has blocked the investigation of alleged war crimes.

Then I ask them, “Then, morally, are you comfortable with saying, ‘I know the administration is concealing war crimes, but they’re really good on healthcare?’” That is what it comes down to.
The question for people to struggle with is how we ever hope to regain our moral standing and our high ground unless citizens are prepared to say, “Enough.” And this is really the election where that might actually carry some weight — if people said, “Enough. We’re not going to blindly support the president and be played anymore according to this blue state/red state paradigm. We’re going to reconstruct instead of replicate.” It might not even be a reinvented Democratic Party in the end that is a viable option. Civil libertarians are going to stand apart so that people like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and others know that there are certain Rubicon issues that you cannot cross, and one of them happens to be civil liberty.

Cusack: Yeah, because most people reading this will sort of say, “Okay, this is all fine and good, but I’ve got to get to work and I’ve got to do this stuff, and I don’t know what these f—— guys are talking about. I don’t really care.”

Both Turley and Cusack seem to lean against voting for Obama’s re-election, on the grounds that they would be supporting a serial war criminal and violator of the Constitution, even though, by his own admission, Romney would embrace many of the same policies. But neither flatly says that’s what he intends to do. And that’s where we find ourselves: We have no good choices. And the reason we have good choices is that We, the People, brought this shit on ourselves by letting it go on before — now just with Bush 43, when we soiled our drawers on 9/11 and have spent the better part of the ensuing decade running around like decapitated chickens, but also with all sorts of crime dating at least as far back as our propping up banana republics in the 1930s for the greater good of Chiquita.

I’ve already called for Obama’s impeachment on just this issue and petitioned my federal elected officials accordingly. Obviously, that isn’t going to happen. I know that the long-term solution is to start electing officials at the local level who demonstrate a decent respect for the rule of law and holding the powerful accountable and hope that in 20 or 25 years, one of them can work his/her way to the White House. But that’s only a long-term solution (and I won’t even get into the obstacles). We need an answer to a short-term question: How does one cast a ballot for president in November in a way that honors and protects the Bill of Rights?

I got nothin’. You?

Not funny

Filed under: Aiee! Teh stoopid! It burns!,Evil — Lex @ 6:57 am
Tags: ,

All you people marketing T-shirts that say, “I’d rather take a shower at Penn State than cheer for the [insert plural form of football rival's mascot here]“: die in a fire. Right now. (And, hell, no, I’m not linking to you.)

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I’ve got nothing against cheap laughs at the expense of the powerful. But at the expense of the kids whom Jerry Sandusky assaulted? People who already  have had their lives ruined enough, thankyouverymuch? No, I think not, and it’s a shame anyone even needs to point this out.

Thursday, August 23, 2012 7:01 pm

@ToddAkin has gone and done it now: He has pissed off my mom.

“I’ve been told that when assaulted by legitimate science, the male conservative brain has ways of trying to shut that whole thing down, so that knowledge and understanding rarely occur.” — Mom, on Facebook today.

Saturday, August 18, 2012 11:33 pm

Media criticism

Filed under: I want my country back. — Lex @ 11:33 pm
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Sarah, Proud and Tall, on Peggy Noonan,

Our Lady of the Pickled Dolphins

:

Peggy thinks that the Joe Soptic Super PAC ad is an appalling personal attack that makes Obama “look perfidious and weak” and so he should disavow any such combative behaviour, but she also seems to think that Mitt should stop being so nice, take his gloves off and start fighting back. This seems a little inconsistent, but it’s hard to type and make a coherent argument at the same time, especially when you have your pearls clutched in one hand and a mason jar of gin in the other.

American suffering as morality play for our so-called journalists

Sir Charles on the great American sport of granny-starving, as applauded by The Village:

Someday someone is going to do a study on the psychological attitudes of the worthless media elite of our time and their obsession with making life more miserable for large swaths of their fellow Americans. The degree to which Saletan, Dancin’ Dave Gregory, David Brooks, and virtually the entirety of Fred Hiatt’s funny pages (save Eugene Robinson, Harold Meyerson, and E.J. Dionne), get tumescent over granny having to move in with the kids because she can’t afford to live on her own is really like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s gratuitous cruelty at the hands of people who have far more than they deserve and confuse this status with wisdom

.

Friday, August 10, 2012 8:40 pm

You didn’t build that, Thomas (“Common Sense”) Paine edition

Tom Paine was a Marxist libtard:

“Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally.

“Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist, the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilisation, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came.”

So, all you Randian sociopaths, who’s more American?

Thursday, August 9, 2012 8:37 pm

Your liberal media, part the bajillionth

This, kids, is what they call a teachable moment, courtesy of BooMan. Suppose this story were going around …

Mitt Romney isn’t really a Mormon. He’s an atheist who only went along with his father’s faith so he could duck the Vietnam draft. He didn’t actually try to convert anyone when he was in France either. In reality, he spent all his time in Monte Carlo gambling and buying high-end hookers. When his daddy found out what he was doing, he made him come home and marry his high school sweetheart. Actually, he only made him marry her after the second time she got pregnant. The first time, they got an abortion. Then Romney started using some of the mafia connections he had made in Marseilles to import heroin. By the time he became governor, they were flying it straight into a secret airport they set up in the Berkshires. When one of the pilots started to talk, Romney had him killed.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s an amalgam of stuff that has been said about our past two Democratic presidents, personalized a bit for Romney.

Now. Sen. Harry Reid has claimed that a source whom he won’t name, but who supposedly was involved in Romney’s firm, Bain Capital,  says Romney paid no federal income taxes for 10 years. Not only has the Poynter Institute’s Politifact claimed that Reid’s pants are on fire, even liberal pundits like Kevin Drum are accusing Reid, on the basis of zero evidence, of lying. BooMan concludes with this useful observation:

Now, if we started telling these stories to people, and a substantial percentage of the population started to actually believe these stories, and if congressmen humored and even encouraged the people who believed these stories, and if media figures talked about these stories, and if Congress actually had hearings about some of these stories, then Mitt Romney would know what it’s like to be treated like a Democrat.

Stuff like this is where the notion that there’s a lower bar for the GOP, that IOKIYAR*, originates.

Now, I really wish Reid’s source, if the person exists, would come forward. And if the source doesn’t exist, then I’ll be the first to say Reid deserves whatever happens to him, whether it’s being hauled up before the Senate Ethics Committee, toothless as it might be, or sued.

But as much as I respect U.S. journalists who attempt to fact-check politicians, they have committed some serious failures of both logic and context in criticizing Reid for an accusation that, while unproven, is not demonstrably false and that Romney himself could easily disprove if it were.

Threat assessment, right-wing Caucasian edition

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 8:17 pm
Tags: , , ,

Conservatives like to claim that America is a conservative country. There’s a certain amount of truth in the claim … and not to the country’s benefit.

For example, Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic makes an observation:

There is, however, another factor that likely explains some of the reticence of some Americans, including professional commentators, to focus very much attention on the Oak Creek massacre.

Their disinclination to grapple with it has less to do with the victims than the gunman. The key factor isn’t that they’re Sikhs; it’s that the apparent homegrown terrorist — a term virtually no one would object to had a murderous Muslim burst into the Sikh temple — was perpetrated by a white guy.

Hold the victims constant and give the perpetrator the last name Mohammed. Does anyone think for a moment that such an attack wouldn’t still be the most discussed story at Fox News and National Review? And at various network news shows and unaffiliated newspapers for that matter?

Instead Wade Michael Page was the gunman.

Attacks like his are disconcerting to some white Americans for a seldom acknowledged reason. Since 9/11, many Americans have conflated terrorism with Muslims; and having done so, they’ve tolerated or supported counterterrorism policies safe in the presumption that people unlike them would bear their brunt. (If Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD sent officers beyond the boundaries of New York City to secretly spy on evangelical Christian students or Israeli students or students who own handguns the national backlash would be swift, brutal, and decisive. The revelation of secret spying on Muslim American students was mostly defended or ignored.)

In the name of counterterrorism, many Americans have given their assent to indefinite detention, the criminalization of gifts to certain charities, the extrajudicial assassination of American citizens, and a sprawling, opaque homeland security bureaucracy; many have also advocated policies like torture or racial profiling that are not presently part of official anti-terror policy.

What if white Americans were as likely as Muslims to be victimized by those policies? What if the sprawling national security bureaucracy we’ve created starts directing attention not just to Muslims and their schools and charities, but to right-wing militias and left-wing environmental groups (or folks falsely accused of being in those groups because they seem like the sort who would be)? There are already dossiers on non-Muslim extremist groups. In a post-9/11 world, Islamic terrorism has nevertheless been the overwhelming priority for law enforcement, and insofar as innocents have suffered, Muslims have been affected far more than any other identifiable group, because the bulk of the paradigm shift in law enforcement hasn’t spread beyond them.

Would that still be true if the next terrorist attack on American soil looks like Oklahoma City? How would President Obama or President Romney wield their unprecedented executive power in the aftermath of such an attack? Who would find that they’d been put on no fly lists? Whose cell phone conversations and email exchanges would be monitored without their ever knowing about it?

Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog has an answer, and it’s depressingly likely that he is correct:

We might have a serious counterterrorism crackdown against whites in the near future, but we absolutely won’t have a serious counterterrorism crackdown against right-wing whites. If a future large terrorist attack is conducted by a Weathermen-like group, the hammer will come down on lefties; by contrast, if the next big attack is like Oklahoma City, the reaction will be … well, like the reaction to Oklahoma City: there’ll be no crackdown on like-minded people, no significantly stepped-up surveillance, no nationwide cloud of suspicion, no wave of new laws. That’s for non-whites and lefties only.

The key factor isn’t just skin color — the ’60s and ’70s leftists who were tracked by law enforcement were mostly white. The key factor is that right-wing extremists share a lot of beliefs with the mainstream right — they’re anti-cultural elite, anti-urbane, distrustful of government, unswervingly opposed to gun control, and fed up with programs meant to help non-whites, the poor, women, and gay people. That’s the resemblance that matters in this society, not skin color; that’s why we’ll never consider a serious crackdown on right-wing extremism, however organized and violent right-wing extremist groups become. No liberal or left-centrist president would dare challenge the pro-“regular American” bias that protects right-wing extremists, and no Republican would even dream of cracking down on the far right.

I don’t generally predict the future, but I will say that I would not be surprised if the next large-scale terrorist action to take place on U.S. soil were the work of the home-grown right-wing fringe rather than Islamists.

 

Monday, August 6, 2012 8:08 pm

What’s in your printer?

How about a whole new life?

Between what’s in this video and the Mars landing* this morning …

… I think maybe we need to remind ourselves that amid all the horrible news about the economy and politics and climate change and nuts with guns, we live in an age of wonders, and that, if we can avoid killing ourselves and throw off the short-sighted, greedy bastards now dampening our affairs and blinkering our vision, we may yet achieve even greater wonders, on this world and beyond.

*UPDATE: My online friend John Burns, a fellow Davidson alum, posts on Facebook:

Hey, rest of the world. Nice job in the Olympics, really. You’re doing great. Great to see all countries competing in the spirit of harmony. Hey, that reminds me, how did YOUR landing of a 2,000 pound robotic vehicle on another planet go? What’s that? You don’t have one? [Drops mike] 

An hour of work, a quarter-century of drift

J-prof Jay Rosen finds the biggest problem in American political “journalism” in one short blog post at The Washington Post.

Count me in the “Fight for what is true” crew.

Saturday, August 4, 2012 10:35 pm

Child abuse

Economist Dean Baker:

Yes, on this great day when we hear the unemployment rate is 8.3 percent, NYT columnist Bill Keller is still pressing on the need to curb Social Security and Medicare spending and calling on his fellow baby boomers to rise to the occasion. He has even brought in Jim Kessler, the senior vice-president for policy at Third Way, to help him make the case.

I’m sure that Keller and Kessler would consider my mention of the 8.3 percent unemployment rate to be rude, after all what does that have to do with the need to cut Social Security and Medicare? There is a simple answer to that. The 8.3 percent unemployment rate should be seen as comparable to a school fire where the children are still inside the building. Tens of millions of people are seeing their lives ruined.

This is not a short-term story. Many of the families that will break up under the stress of high unemployment or the loss of their home will not get back together when the unemployment rate falls back to a more normal level. Similarly, the kids who have their school lives disrupted because their parents lose their homes or must move in search of jobs and/or family break up will not have the damage repaired later. This is why 8.3 percent unemployment should be problems #1, #2, and #3.

And yes, we do know how to fix this. Spending money puts people to work. Contrary to a bizare cult in policy circles, it does not matter whether money comes from the private sector or public sector –dollars will get people to work. And the people who get those dollars will spend them and put other people to work. If Keller and Kessler want to be responsible baby boomers they will do everything in their power to try to get us back to full employment quickly so that so many children do not have to grow up in families that are troubled by unemployment. The next generation will thank them for their efforts, I assure them.

UPDATE: Link added. H/t to Beau for alerting me to the omission.

UPDATE: Greensboro folks, this Keller piece appears on the front of today’s Ideas section in the News & Record.

Thursday, August 2, 2012 7:43 pm

Steve King’s priorities

Steve King, the dog-slaughtering mutt who represents unfortunate parts of Iowa in the U.S. House, is moving on. After creating enough jobs to reduce unemployment to below 5%, he pushed a bill today to make English the country’s official language.

What?

Oh.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 8:03 pm

A Wendy’s franchise owner steps into a big bucket of something warm and brown that is not hamburger

Jim Furmen, CEO of Tar Heel Capital, which owns 86 Wendy’s franchises in North Carolina, says he stands with Chick-Fil-A. Fine; I and mine are walking elsewhere.

Image (and story h/t): TowleRoad.com

ATTN: Jim Furmen, CEO, Tar Heel Capital.

I’m a Republican, a conservative and a Christian. And it is because of, not in spite of, those affiliations and the beliefs that undergird them that I will not patronize any Wendy’s franchise owned by Tar Heel Capital so long as the company supports Chick-Fil-A’s bigoted stand.

If you don’t like gay people getting married, don’t marry one.

And repent and come to Jesus, you jackass.

Underdog has nothing on the Olympians

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 7:47 pm
Tags:

In the cartoon show “Underdog,” which I watched as a kid, the title character’s alter ego, Shoeshine Boy, would be given a quarter for a shine at the beginning of every episode — and would bite it to make sure it was real.

Apparently, in the ongoing London festivities, this has become a thing.

(h/t Nance).

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