Category: Potpourri

Booman and the NSA/Security State Papers

In Booman’s recent post Privatizing Security is a Bad Idea, he wrote the following deathless words.

For more than a decade I have regarded Booz Allen Hamilton as indistinguishable from the Central Intelligence Agency. However, I did not realize the degree to which they were flourishing.


In my mind, the best result of the recent NSA revelations would be if Booz Allen Hamilton and its investors went bankrupt.

A giant, technology-enabled intelligence/security state system is rapidly eating up every shred of privacy that might remain to us as American citizens while our political process has been bought and sold by the highest corporate bidders and then relegated the level of to a media-controlled popularity/reality show, and all you can say is that you would prefer that this rapidly failing system be run by “governmental” systems…that is, relatively secretly corporately-owned rather than transparently so…than by companies like Booz Allen Hamilton?

Weak, Booman.

Very weak.

My own take?

I hope that this scandal enables Rand Paul to take over the Republican Party and then take this system back down to its roots.

I’ve had it with the glitz routine. Let’s get down to basics.

Memo: U.S. citizens to to government: “Stay out of our faces unless we ask for your help.”

Chances of the above happening?

Little or none, I suppose. As long as the corporate media continue to have a death grip on the minds and emotions of the American public nothing is going to change until some sort of complete collapse of the system occurs. It will happen eventually, that collapse…we cannot sustain this level of evil. But it won’t be pretty and it won’t necessarily make things better.

Read on.

Baffled, Befuddled, and Bamboozled: Penn State Trustees and NCAA are Sinking

When we last left the baffled and befuddled Penn State trustees, they were trying to figure out what happened in the Great NCAA Sanctimonious Sanction.

What happened is that the NCAA bamboozled university president Dr. Rodney Erickson. The NCAA–having spent most of its history figuring out ways to make college athletics even more prominent on college campuses–suddenly found religion, created new rules, didn’t conduct an investigation, and shredded anything resembling due process. Using the Freeh Report as its newly-found Bible, NCAA president Mark Emmert piously declared he wanted Penn State to “rebuild its athletic culture,” and preached the lesson that the NCAA hoped “to make sure that the cautionary tale of athletics overwhelming core values of the institution and losing sight of why we are really participating in these activities can occur.”

It was a neat little speech, probably written by PR people. But it couldn’t be Penn State he was referring to. Penn State athletes go to classes and graduate; its football team is often at or near the top of graduation rates for Division I football programs. The university itself, even with a well-recognized party culture, is well-known for numerous academic programs that are among the best in the country.

Nevertheless, Emmert somberly told Erickson that the NCAA was seriously considering the death penalty for Penn State. Death, in NCAA terms, means a suspension of the sport for at least one season. The only time the NCAA had issued the death penalty was in 1987 against Southern Methodist University for blatant and repeated recruiting violations. Death to the Nittany Lions football program would significant harm the university and private business, and affect far more than the football team, not one of them having been involved in what is now known as the Penn State Sandusky Scandal.
But, said Emmert, have we got a deal for you. If you sign on the dotted line, we won’t kill football at Penn State, we’ll just fine you $60 million, ban you from bowl games for four years, reduce the number of scholarships, vacate the 111 wins from 1998 to 2011, require you to follow everything the Freeh Report recommended, hire an athletics monitor, comply with everything we tell you, and place you on probation for five years.

Now, every career criminal and little ole lady who accidentally shoplifts knows the police and DA aren’t serious in their first presentment of charges. They overcharge, trying to scare the defendant into a plea bargain. Plea bargains allow DAs to claim high conviction rates, while not having to get all messy with such things as jury selection and presenting evidence. So, the defendant and the DA negotiate, and a few charges are thrown out, and the defendant agrees to a lesser offense–perhaps instead of felony burglary, it becomes a misdemeanor, complete with a small fine and probation–and everyone is happy.

Dr. Erickson, with Pigskin Proud drops of perspiration flowing freely, was so relieved his university wasn’t getting the electric chair, he agreed to whatever it was that the haughty NCAA demanded, and signed the consent decree that Penn State would never ever appeal the decision.

Back in State College, the trustees, as is their history, were clueless and furious.
For years, they thought their only functions were to approve whatever the university president told them needed approving, raise tuition and fees, and get their friends good seats at football games. Now they faced a greater problem.

They had previously proven they were inept in how they handled the scandal. They had previously violated state law by their secret meetings and failure to extend any semblance of due process to Coach Joe Paterno and president Graham Spanier. Then to hide their meltdown, they commissioned Louis Freeh, former FBI director, to conduct what they claimed was an independent investigation, for which the insurance company paid about $6.5 million.

True to what the Trustees wanted, Freeh miraculously decided that the Trustees needed to reassert their power, and that the people to blame, in addition to the convicted child molester, were the former president who resigned,  a now-retired senior vice-president, a former athletic director, and the dead guy, also known as Joe Paterno. Problem solved.

However, there are still a few problems. The first problem is that the Freeh investigation is just that–a private investigation that was not subject to even the basic rules of due process, the right of individuals to subpoena witnesses and to challenge their accusers under oath.

The second problem is that Jerry Sandusky, convicted of an assortment of felonies, was not employed by the university or was a football coach at the time the crimes were committed. The first suspected felony in 1998 was not prosecuted by police or the DA. The second suspected felony, seen by a graduate assistant in 2002, was reported to Paterno who properly reported it to the persons in charge of athletics and the university police, as was university procedure. However, the university, apparently, chose not to report it to police or the DA. Sandusky had retired from Penn State in 1999, and had no connection to the football team.

The third problem is that Paterno and Spanier, who faced media hysteria and took the brunt of the Trustee condemnation, were never charged with having done anything illegal, nor did they ever face their accusers in court.

Enter Ryan McCombie, a Penn State alumnus who was elected to the Board in July as a reform candidate promising to get the Board and the university to be more accountable to the people and to protect the rights of accused. McCombie isn’t some wimp in the disguise of a corporate executive. He’s a retired commanding officer of Navy Seal Team Two, and not someone to be messed with.

One month after his election, McCombie unleashed his first shot, and it wasn’t over the bow. In a letter to the NCAA, McCombie, acknowledged the suffering of Jerry Sandusky’s victims. However, he also said that the NCAA objectives that led to the sanctions “should not be achieved by ignoring or trampling upon the fundamental rights of others. The desire for speed and decisiveness cannot justify violating the due process rights of other involved individuals or the University as a whole.”

He charged that Erickson didn’t have the authority to enter into the agreement with the NCAA. He noted that the lack of an NCAA investigation violated NCAA established procedures, and were “excessive and unreasonable.” But his most powerful torpedo hit dead center. The conclusions and recommendations of the Freeh report, which the NCAA used to justify its moral outrage, was “based on assumptions, conjecture and misplaced characterizations that are contrary to available facts and evidence,” said McCombie.
The Board of Trustees, in response, decided to hold a meeting Sunday night. Chair Karen Peetz, in a memo to trustees, obtained by the AP, says the Board will vote on a resolution accepting NCAA sanctions, because “it is now time to put this matter to rest and to move on.”

The final problem is that the NCAA and most of the Penn State Trustees are still paddling in choppy seas and don’t know they have been sunk.

[Walter Brasch is a former newspaper and magazine reporter and editor and university professor. He is the author of 17 books, the most recent of which is the critically-acclaimed novel, Before the First Snow, which looks at the American counter-culture and political corruption.]

What is Richard Cohen Talking About?

I’m actually kind of curious if anyone at the Washington Post knows, or even cares, what Richard Cohen is talking about. I mean, here are three sentences from his latest column that are a bit puzzling:

Among the attributes I most envy in a public man (or woman) is the ability to lie… I admire a smooth liar, and Romney is among the best. …He commands the heights of great assurance, and he knows, as some of us learn too late in life, that the truth is not always a moral obligation but sometimes merely what works.

Is Cohen exhibiting his famous sense of humor here? Is this no more than an epic failure at snark?

On one level, Cohen is using his column to call Mitt Romney a gigantic liar. Yet, at least ostensibly, Cohen is also praising Romney for his extraordinary ability to prevaricate. The last sentence is truly opaque. Is Cohen saying that “what works” is a moral obligation even when it is a lie, or is he is saying that sometimes “the truth” is what works? Is there an editor (and a psychologist) in the house?

The default assumption of normal, healthy humans is that lying is bad. Is Cohen trying to tell that we’re wrong? Here’s his conclusion:

A marathon of debates and an eon of campaigning have toughened and honed Romney. He commands the heights of great assurance, and he knows, as some of us learn too late in life, that the truth is not always a moral obligation but sometimes merely what works. He often cites his business background as commending him for the presidency. That’s his forgivable absurdity. Instead, what his career has given him is the businessman’s concept of self — that what he does is not who he is. This is what enables the slumlord to be a charitable man. This is what enables the corporate raider to endow his university. Business is business. It’s what you do. It is not who you are. Lying isn’t a sin. It’s a business plan.

This isn’t presented as a cynical observation. There is no visible protrusion of the tongue into the cheek. We can only infer sarcasm or irony by assuming that Cohen couldn’t possible mean what he appears to be saying. This isn’t how comedy is supposed to work.

But maybe the only comedy here is that Fred Hiatt continues to give Richard Cohen a paycheck.

my Global Warming Debate on Facebook

I would appreciate any advice on how to improve my communication methods to conservative friends and family regarding the need to address air and water pollution as a global crisis.  

The following is a copy of a post and comments on my Facebook page from this past weekend.

Facts don’t always matter if your only intent is to justify your position…
The ugly delusions of the educated conservative
Better-educated Republicans are more likely to doubt global warming and believe Obama’s a Muslim. Here’s why
Saturday at 3:00pm
3 friends like this.

Friend 1:  Ted:
That’s a good, if disheartening read Tom. On the selfish side, it’s good to you jump into the fray of posting things that get your conservative friends all mad at you like they get at me 🙂 It’s not easy to penetrate the conservative bubble, but I keep poking at it!
Saturday at 3:26pm

 Likewise, Ted, I enjoy your posts and have decided that the risk is worth it. I am sure that my educated conservative friends will be more mad at the messenger for calling them gullible than being mad at the ones who have been lying to them. Worth the risk, I think…
Saturday at 3:36pm

Friend 2: Dan:
 Our minds are strange places. Here’s a great lecture on roots of moral consciousness, liberal v. conservative, why we choose sides and ignore the truth, and the challenge of stepping outside the moral matrix to challenge our self-righteousness:
Sunday at 11:25am
Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives | Video on
TED Talks Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we’re left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most.
Sunday at 11:25am

Friend 2: Dan:  
BTW, I’m quite concerned with some of my conservative friends’ ability to disregard climate science; otherwise smart people doing exactly what the article you posted describes. One of them recently emailed me a quote which I think he was using to justify a willful ignorance: “Only intuition can save you from the most dangerous individual of all, the articulate incompetent.” In other words, don’t try to confuse me with the facts when my gut tells me it’s wrong — instead I’ll declare you incompetent.
Sunday at 11:32am *

Excellent lecture, thanks Dan. Now, here’s the problem (and you touched on it): I really am convinced that a large percentage of people in the world need to understand the need for us to collectively address the problems of air and water pollution. My efforts to persuade with logic, science, and economic facts isn’t working because of the reasons laid out in both of our links. So, I am now forced to either give up, or to try to appeal to moral values and intent. Of the 5 moral foundations described in your link, all but one should lead a moral person to the conclusion that these pollution problems should be fixed.

(1) harm and care
(2) fairness (pollution is caused by some and hurts others)
(3) in-group loyalty (here is what is causing the problem, I think).
(4) respect for authority (unfortunately, the scientific institutions, such as the national academy of science and my alma matter Penn State, are not respected due to #3).
(5) purity/sanctity (clean air and water are virtuous).

So, instead of attacking through logic, I should work on getting my friends and the public in general to take a hard look at their morals and intentions. If I am not in trouble with my conservative friends already, I will be now!
Sunday at 3:48pm *

Conservative Family Member: Jim:
 I have two questions for you. I want to know two things. Can you tell me who has the data sets for the last hundred years of temperature? The raw data, including collection points and methods? That’s what science is about, yes? Where is the data? Who has it? Why are they not public record? Do they still exist, or have they been “lost?” For my second question, once you have the data, can we see the source code for the computer models that predict catastrophic results? I ask because the data is the basis of science, and the source code can tell us if the climate scientists are also qualified programmers. My guess is that it doesn’t, and they are not. If you can provide those two things, then you have an argument based on logic and the scientific method. Anything else, and you’re introducing politics and funding into the equation, which changes your argument substantially.
Sunday at 6:31pm *

Conservative Family Member: Jim :
I’ll believe climate change is a crisis when the people telling me it’s a problem start acting like it’s a crisis. Sell the jets and the big homes, get China and India on board, start publishing the data instead of hiding behind FOIA requests, and come up with a global plan that if it’s going to cost $15 trillion does more than slow down the temperature rise by a tenth of a degree. Since none of us are climate scientists, the easy way to find out what is happening is to look at the solutions. And the solutions are always the same. More taxes, more control, and more subsidies to well-connected lobbyists. Green technologies have filtered billions of dollars to failed companies in wind, solar, and alternative fuels. It made some people very rich, and has raised tens of millions for politicians, and has made the career of a lot of journalists. We don’t allow drilling domestic oil or even pipelines now to save the planet, but we’re fine with Brazil drilling? We’re supposed to take the word of people like Peter Gleick? I do believe morals and intentions have a lot to do with it. See, it’s easy to talk about “saving the world.” It makes people feel good to vote based on good intentions. It’s much harder to stand up to people who consider you an idiot for daring to ask where they got their data.
Sunday at 6:36pm *

The National Academy of Sciences is one of many credible sources. Try here:

I had you as one person in mind as I wrote this. My Alma Mater, Penn State, one of the leading institutions in the field of environmental sciences, was forced to investigate one of its leading scientists (Dr Mann) in this field, because politically motivated people like you accused him of scientific misconduct. Your unqualified assessments, pedantic at best, were done with what intent, Jim??

Climate Change at the National Academies
Sunday at 6:49pm *

Friend 2: Dan:
Open Data Resources for Climate Change | Data
Free and open access to the world’s most comprehensive collection of economic and development data. Browse, map, graph, or download data by country, topic on over 4,000 indicators. Available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese and Arabic.
Sunday at 7:55pm *

Friend 2: Dan:
I see what you mean, Tom.
Sunday at 7:56pm

Conservative Family Member: Jim:
Dan – that link you provided is a series of models pulling data from the CRU 2003 series. It’s not raw data. It’s the massaged data that is at the center of Climategate. Ask the CRU. Phil Jones said the data was no longer available. Except it was. They released different sets finally last summer, 9 years after getting the FOIA requests. So while you’re smugly winking at Tom about stupid conservatives, the data you’ve provided isn’t the raw data at all. it’s the massaged version that has already had a series of problems when compared to the actual data in New Zealand, Australia. You just gave me temperature modeling that is designed to show catastrophic effects of climate change, based on data that has been massaged to hide the MWP. You know – the famous Hockey Stick that was at the center of the IPCC “consensus” that was not a consensus.
CRU Data Availability
The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) has, since 1982, made available gridded datasets of surface temperature data over land areas and averages for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and the Globe.
Sunday at 10:31pm

Friend 2: Dan:

Climate Skeptic Sponsors New Climate Study, Confirms `Global Warming Is Real’ | Popular Science
Last year, as climate change deniers were up in arms over the so-called “Climate-gate” controversy involving alleged manipulation of climate data, one skeptical scientist proposed taking a fresh look.
Sunday at 10:35pm

Conservative Family Member: Jim:
 I’m not qualified to judge the climate data, but then neither are either of you – even you Tom, haven’t looked at the data and studied statistics and software sufficiently to make any claims. You’re working off your research of the matter in your spare time. I didn’t go to Penn State, and don’t know Michael Mann, but I do have a stake in the political decisions made from research into the climate. I have a right to question it, and to discuss it, and to work against bad solutions (like the statism I mentioned before), but I also have an interest in improving the level of discourse. When you start by calling me stupid (having me in mind with the title of that post), can you say that my intent is somehow to attack Mann? Or is it to find the truth? If Climate science is real, then why is Peter Gleick manufacturing evidence about Heartland just as Heartland is suing UVA to get Mann’s original logs? You know about Peter Gleick, right? He’s a climate expert. He’s also a fraud facing possible criminal charges for publishing a fake memo about global warming skeptics. You’ve made the charge that i’m pedantic and politically motivated. I’ll make the charge that to protect your school’s reputation, and that of the scientific community in general, you’re closing ranks around frauds because the thought of them being wrong is too painful to contemplate. One of us is emotionally involved in this decision. The other is just a blogger who reads and wonders why every climate solution ends with massive government bureaucracy and slush funds to connected donors (solyndra anyone?).

Friend 2: Dan:
Well James, as you’re smugly dismissing one link, here’s another, in which a former sceptic reviewed extensive data and realized he was wrong. I’ve got friends who won’t acknowledge the evidence either, so I’ll leave the conversation to you and Tom, but the scientific community at large has agreed on the facts, and they don’t have private planes and big homes to sell, like the entrenched cabal of big oil and energy execs do.
Sunday at 10:47pm

Conservative Family Member: Jim:
 Don’t go yet Dan.

Professor Muller’s epic report showed that the temperature has not risen in at least 13 years, contrary to all of the models. But don’t believe me, ask Professor Curry, on Muller’s team. See what happened was you went to Google and pulled a bubble gum article out, without knowing much about it. Professor Muller jumped the gun, which is why he’s sending the papers back to peer review, and the folks like PopSci writer Rebecca Boyle jumped all over it. But if Muller’s data doesn’t show it, and his team disagrees with his statement, does that mean there’s no warming? No, it just shows that I’ve been paying attention longer than you have, and don’t count Google as my primary source. We don’t know what is happening. The lack of warming is now being attributed to the oceans, and to falling clouds, which could be the case. But if the scientific consensus was correct in 2003, why do they have to keep coming up with new theories to fit the facts?
Scientists who said climate change sceptics had been proved wrong accused of hiding truth by colleague.
Sunday at 10:59pm

Conservative Family Member: Jim:
But remember, there are clear evolutionary reasons why I believe what I do. It’s completely reasonable to suggest that people are Republicans because of their genetic code based on a single study in Nebraska.
Sunday at 11:27pm

 I have several conservative friends and family in mind as I write this. My intention is to appeal to your moral foundations to consider the following:

The most highly reputable scientific organization, during the Bush administration in 2005, has concluded that we must act regarding air pollution.

I assume we share the moral values of not wanting people harmed and that we seek fairness. For example, we do not want to make everybody pay for something unnecessarily if there is not a costly problem. I am asking you to consider the values of purity and sanctity: doesn’t it make sense that clean air and water are things to be valued? Now the hard part. Ask yourself, do you really think that the vast majority of qualified scientists are flying around in private jets and conspiring to make this stuff up?? Yes, you can find some lone examples. But the fact is they are outnumbered by 100 to 1. I have given up trying logic and reason. Instead I appeal to your sense of and respect for authority. Let’s start with the National Academy of Sciences, the largest organization of the best scientists in the World

Sunday at 11:52pm

 An example of how a reputable publication discusses important subjects with authority and good intentions:
The Peter Gleick Incident: All Heat and No Light: Scientific American

How about MIT?? Far more credible than getting information from the (British) tabloids! On which should you base your moral judgments?? The Daily Mail tabloid or MIT??

Conservative Family Member: Jim:
I deleted several comments because you’re not actually discussing anything. You’re posting random bits of information and citing authority from them, but your original post was an insult, claiming that Republicans (a political party, not a genetic group) have an abnormality that prevents them from understanding logic. You actually posted that. Examine your own intentions, and the next time you’re going to call me stupid, keep it to just a few words and do it directly. It will save all of us some time.

Read BooMan’s Link: Robbed in Ohio

We’re not speaking of disenfranchising voters … the tabulation of votes were shifted! Did you read Booman’s linked story? After Election 2004 Markos black-balled all the Ohio lost election conspiracists.

Ohio lawsuit revealing mechanisms of stolen 2004 election

A new filing in the King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell case includes a copy of the Ohio Secretary of State election production system configuration that was in use in Ohio’s 2004 presidential election when there was a sudden and unexpected shift in votes for George W. Bush.

The filing also includes the revealing deposition of the late Michael Connell.  Connell served as the IT guru for the Bush family and Karl Rove.  Connell ran the private IT firm GovTech Solutions that created the controversial system that transferred Ohio’s vote count late on election night 2004 to a partisan Republican server site in Chattanooga, Tennessee owned by SmarTech.  That is when the vote shift happened, not predicted by the exit polls, that led to Bush’s unexpected victory.  Connell died a month and a half after giving this deposition in a suspicious small plane crash.

USA – Michael Connell’s Convenient Plane Crash

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You’d probably never know it, but in a recent Bloomberg poll of public attitudes on candidates and issues, the single most unpopular idea for fixing the budget deficit was to cut Medicaid. People oppose doing that by a 76%-21% margin. People don’t hate the poor. And they don’t want to coddle the rich either. The most popular ideas were to reduce Social Security benefits for high-income earners (64%-32%), repeal the Bush tax cuts for households earning more then $250,000 annually (54%-40%), and to raise the amount of salary subject to Social Security tax (52%-35%). Returning income taxes to the Clinton levels (48%-42%) has the support of the people, too. When it comes to the Supercommittee, people prefer that they focus more on raising taxes on rich people (51%) than on slashing benefits for poor people (35%). So, why don’t these ideas win out?

It’s simple, really. Rich people are powerful people. Rich people have their own cable news channel (Fox News) and they have almost total control of the radio airwaves. They contribute more money to politicians. They band together and hire lobbyists. They own almost all of our newspapers. They fund think tanks and actually pay people to spread their message on the internet. Through conservative organizations and the Republican Party, the rich are pretty much able to get their way, even though many rich people are more than willing to pay their fair share. As a result, income disparity hasn’t been so stark since the Roaring 20’s.

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Wanker of the Day: Walter Russell Mead

The funniest thing I’ve seen today? This:

The Tea Party WMD stockpile is currently stored in book form: Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon. By Gretchen Morgenson, one of America’s best business journalists who is currently at The New York Times, and noted financial analyst Joshua Rosner, Reckless Endangerment gives the best available account of how the growing chaos in the mortgage and personal finance markets and the rampant bundling of dubious loans into exotically toxic securities plunged the world, and millions of American families, into the gravest financial crisis since World War Two. It is gripping reading as well, and its explanations are clear enough that readers without any background in finance will have no trouble following the plot. The villains? An unholy alliance between Wall Street, the Democratic establishment, community organizing groups like ACORN and La Raza, and politicians like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Henry Cisneros. (Frank got a cushy job for a lover, Pelosi got a job and layoff protection for a son, Cisneros apparently got a license to mint money bilking Mexican-Americans of their life savings in cheesy housing developments.)

If the GOP can make this narrative mainstream, and put this picture into the heads of voters nationwide, the Democrats are toast.

Good luck making that narrative mainstream. I think it’s fair to say that the housing bubble and all the fancy financial instruments that fueled it took many years to develop and relied on a variety of weaknesses in the system, some of which were created by Bill Clinton. But, let’s remember that the bubble burst in late 2008, after nearly eight years of Republican ownership of the White House. And, during those eight years, the Republicans controlled the House for the first six and the Senate for part of 2001 and all of 2003-2006. They alone had the power to make the kinds of laws or utilize existing regulatory authority to prevent the giant fraud that was being perpetrated on the public. They didn’t do anything. They looked the other way. They let Wall Street run free.

Before we can get to any Democratic complicity in this, we first have to assign blame to the people who actually had the power to do something. Of course, Gretchen Morgenson served as Steve Forbes’s press secretary and is known for writing hyped and slanted opinion pieces posing as analysis. She also likes to steal bloggers’ work without giving attribution. We know how her bread is buttered. As for Rosner, he was prescient about the housing crisis, but he didn’t blame Barney Frank and ACORN for the impending doom. He blamed the rating agencies and the SEC for failing to do due diligence on the collateralized mortgage bonds. If he now has found new villains, it just means he has a book to sell. But, in truth, I don’t think Mr. Mead is giving a fair and balanced portrait of the book, which has won the praise of people like Bill Moyers. It sounds to me like it has a lot of villains that were conveniently left out of this review.

But, yeah, if the Republicans could convince people that they’re underwater on their mortgage and out of work because the Democrats gave free houses to blacks and Latinos, the Democratic Party would be toast.

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The blogosphere must be doing something right. It must be providing something important that is lacking in the news you get on your teevee and in the newspapers that are delivered to your door. If it wasn’t, the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America would not be hiring consulting firms to smear, intimidate, and buy-off bloggers as the New York Times reported last month. In a classic demonstration of what I’m talking about, Glenn Greenwald highlights the degree to which the traditional media can be pushed around and co-opted.

One section of the leaked report focused on attacking WikiLeaks’ supporters and it featured a discussion of me. A graph purporting to be an “organizational chart” identified several other targets, including former New York Times reporter Jennifer Lee, Guardian reporter James Ball, and Manning supporter David House. The report claimed I was “critical” to WikiLeaks’ public support after its website was removed by Amazon and that “it is this level of support that needs to be disrupted”; absurdly speculated that “without the support of people like Glenn, WikiLeaks would fold”; and darkly suggested that “these are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause.”

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Booman Is Missing It. Again. The Big, BIG Picture. And So Is The Left.

The BIG Picture? The real one? I got it. Right here.

Photobucket Photobucket

Booman’s latest post?

The Insanity Continues

The Republicans of Louisiana just nominated David Vitter to be their U.S. Senator for another six years. He got 88% of the vote. How’s that for family values? Cheat on your wife and have a prostitute dress you up in a diaper, and the social conservatives give you 88% of their votes.


 Also, in Louisiana’s Third District, it appears that another teabagger beat the GOP Establishment’s chosen candidate. Teabagger


So, the insanity continues with no break in sight.

I am going to say it again.

The Teabagger reaction to the ongoing failure of this government to put America on a good, solid societal and financial footing…for going on half a century, really…is not “insanity”, and using words like that to describe it is counterproductive and dangerous. Demonizing the Tea Partiers is as stupid as their own demonizing of the center and left.

Let us take General Motors as an example of the failure of the entire system.

Fact is, the last decade in which GM made the best cars in the world was the 1960s.

From then on it has been straight downhill. Now you might make the argument that the company has recovered its balance to some degree in the last several years and is once again making competitive automobiles…I wouldn’t argue too much with that idea, myself…but it has been a long time since 1970.

A long time.

Been down so long it looks like up to me, as Richard Manuel so presciently wrote.

As above, so below.

In both directions.

Read on.