Archive for October 14th, 2007

More Salk Institute Photoblogging

Some more photos from the Salk Institute.

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October 14th, 2007 at 11:06pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: La Jolla/San Diego,Photoblogging

What Stoller And Sun Tzu Said

Okay, so Frank Rich does a good job of itemizing all of Dubya’s evil with respect to war and torture, and to a certain extent he is correct that Americans in general are culpable for “allowing” him to get away with it. But as Sun Tzu points out, the biggest reason that most Americans have passively allowed it to continue, the biggest reason that Dubya was re-elected to continue his rampage, was because the media relentlessly sold them on it.

Worse yet, as Stoller points out, it was only one month ago that Rich slammed MoveOn for doing exactly what Rich laments that no-one is doing.

Rich sounds like a progressive most of the time, but he’s awfully protective of the media and political establishment’s turf. He laments that Americans aren’t fighting against BushCo, yet he resents those who are. Maybe he’s waiting for a centrist establishment uprising.

1 comment October 14th, 2007 at 09:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Bush,Iraq,Media,Politics,Torture,TV,Wankers,War

Dog Bites Man: Tom Friedman Still Doesn’t Get It

Tom Friedman’s column today starts out sounding like he knows what he’s talking about, but then he goes off the rails again:

Seeing Al Gore so deservedly share the Nobel Peace Prize, it is impossible not to note the contrast in his leadership and that of George W. Bush.

Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush each faced a crucible moment. For Mr. Gore, it was winning the popular vote and having the election taken away from him by a Republican-dominated Supreme Court. For Mr. Bush, it was the shocking terrorist attack on 9/11.

Mr. Gore lost the presidency, but in the dignity and grace with which he gave up his legal fight, he united America. Then, faced with what to do with the rest of his life, he took up a personal crusade to combat climate change, even though the odds were stacked against him, his soapbox was small, his audiences were measured in hundreds, and his critics were legion. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore stuck with it and over time has played a central role in building a global consensus for action on this issue.

“No matter what happens, sooner or later character in leadership is revealed,” said David Rothkopf, author of the upcoming “Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making.” “Gore lost the election and had to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. He took the initiative to get the country and the world to focus on a common threat — climate change. Bush won the election and for the first year really didn’t know what to do with it. When, on 9/11, we and the world were suddenly faced with a common threat — terrorism and Al Qaeda — the whole world was ready to line up behind him, but time and again he just divided us at home and abroad.”

Indeed, Mr. Bush, rather than taking all that unity and using it to rebuild America for the 21st century, took all that unity and used it to push the narrow agenda of his “base.” He used all that unity to take a far-right agenda on taxes and social issues that was going nowhere on 9/10 and drive it into a 9/12 world.

So far, so good, right? Here’s where he starts to go wrong:

Never has so much national unity — which could have been used to develop a real energy policy, reverse our coming Social Security deficit, assemble a lasting coalition to deal with Afghanistan and Iraq, maybe even get a national health care program — been used to build so little. That is what historians will note most about Mr. Bush’s tenure — the sheer wasted opportunity of it all.

Uh-oh. Afghanistan, sure; Iraq, hell no. I would also suggest that the “build so little” formulation is perhaps a little mild. “Destroy so much” would have been more apt.

Yes, Iraq was always going to be hugely difficult, but the potential payoff of erecting a decent, democratizing government in the heart of the Arab world was also enormous. Yet Mr. Bush, in his signature issue, never mobilized the country, never punished incompetence, never made the bad guys “fight all of us,” as Bill Maher put it, by at least pushing through a real energy policy to reduce the resources of the very people we were fighting. He thought he could change the world with 50.1 percent of the country, and he couldn’t.

Yes, a Democratic government in the Arab world would be nice, and yes, Dubya failed at all of those things Friedman lists, but none of that means that invading Iraq was a good idea. Democratizing Iraq wasn’t “hugely difficult”; it was impossible. It was always impossible, and even more so with a proven incompetent as Commander-In-Chief.

Friedman finishes with some pretty good stuff about the economic and even military benefits of a greener economy and the need for a president who understands that, but he makes a fool out of himself every time he insists that invading Iraq was the right thing to do, and the only failure was one of execution. Not only was it doomed from the start, but it wasn’t even undertaken for the noble reasons that Friedman imagines it was.

Please, Tom, either wake up or go away.

4 comments October 14th, 2007 at 02:00pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Media,Wankers,War

Cynical And Mean

From a Texas Monthly interview with Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison:

The mood of the country right now is pretty frustrated. People don’t like the partisanship — there’s kind of a toxic atmosphere about politics — I think the blogs, interestingly, feed on that. The intemperate nature of blogs, and the lack of accountability, have had an overall toxic influence on our elections. These blogs are cynical and mean — on all sides. I don’t think that’s good. Even if you disagree with the mainstream media, there’s a sense of integrity and honesty and standards. There are journalistic standards, which blogs don’t have.

Okay, I can sort of tolerate it when someone says that blogs are cynical and mean. If we weren’t cynical, it would mean we’re not paying attention, and a lot of us are frustrated and angry because our elected officials are betraying our country’s interests on a daily basis… and not just the Republicans, either.

But we’re also frustrated and angry because the corporate-owned traditional media displays a complete lack of “integrity and honesty and standards,” which makes it far, far easier for Republicans and fake Democrats to run roughshod over the Constitution and their own constituents. So to claim that the media is some kind of paragon of journalistic standards while the blogosphere is just an anything-goes, partisan snakepit, is disingenuous at best. (KBH “clarified” that she was only referring to “anonymous” bloggers, but I’m not really sure how that changes much of anything – I can think of several “anonymous” bloggers who I would trust over the corporate media any day.)

Also, does anyone else think it sounds like KBH just admitted that the media does not in fact have a liberal bias? Or at least admitted that it’s not a Democratic propaganda organ? Yeah, we all know the reality is quite the opposite, but the Liberal Media is one of the Republicans’ most cherished and valuable myths.

4 comments October 14th, 2007 at 12:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Media,Republicans,Wankers

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