“Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book ‘America by Heart’ from being leaked, but US Govt can’t stop Wikileaks’ treasonous act?” Palin wrote on Twitter Monday morning, following the whistleblower site’s explosive publication of 250,000 classified documents.
Palin was referring to her own battle earlier this month against Gawker, which posted pages of her book online before its publication date.
Ah yes, of course. Because a website located in America and subject to American laws is just exactly the same as a website which is, y’know, not. Not to mention the fact that she didn’t prevent Gawker from leaking her book, she merely got them to take the excerpts down after they had already been posted for anyone to copy.
And my favorite part: Accusing a foreign website and a foreign national of treason. Brilliant.
1 commentNovember 30th, 2010 at 07:39amPosted by Eli
Bad enough that American exceptionalism is like a religion for conservatives, but it creeps me right out when they brag about it like it’s a good thing:
“This reorientation away from a celebration of American exceptionalism is misguided and bankrupt,” former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney writes in his campaign setup book, “No Apology: The Case For American Greatness.”
On Monday, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), who is also considering a White House bid, is scheduled to address the Detroit Economic Club on “Restoring American Exceptionalism: A Vision for Economic Growth and Prosperity.”
For former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the concept is a frequent theme in her speeches, Facebook postings, tweets and appearances on Fox News Channel. Her just-published book, “America by Heart,” has a chapter titled “America the Exceptional.”
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, contends in his speeches that Obama’s views on the subject are “truly alarming.”
In an interview in August with Politico, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee went so far as to declare of Obama: “His worldview is dramatically different than any president, Republican or Democrat, we’ve had. . . . To deny American exceptionalism is in essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation.”
And last week, Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, told a group of College Republicans at American University: “Don’t kid yourself with the lie. America is exceptional, and Americans are concerned that there are a group of people in Washington who don’t believe that any more.”
Now just replace the phrase “American exceptionalism” with its synonym, “reflexive, mindless jingoism,” and that should give you some feel for just how off-putting this is.
I understand the desire to have pride in your country, but by what metric is America exceptional right now? Our economy is in the toilet, we have a massive trade deficit, we’re lagging the developed world in education and healthcare, our government is paralyzed and corrupt, we’re mired in two unwinnable wars, and our public discourse is flooded with rage, fear, hate and reality TV. Unless you define exceptional in terms of military budget and insane wingnuts per capita, I just don’t see it.
I’m still not optimistic about the outcome, but it’s good to have some progressive alternatives out there so that Obama and the Republicans don’t get to pretend that the Bowles-Simpson plan and its Pete Peterson/Alice Rivlin siblings aren’t the only deficit-cutting strategies out there.
Watching the Obama administration in action (for want of a better word) is an awful lot like watching a bunch of cops standing around a bank robbery and saying “What a damn shame – somebody really oughta do something.”
3 commentsNovember 24th, 2010 at 11:27amPosted by Eli
Randy Sharp, director-special projects at the AFA, said that in the past five years the group has seen the percentage of retailers recognizing Christmas in their advertising rise from 20 percent to 80 percent. Just eight retailers are left on the group’s list of “Companies Against Christmas.”
It’s also become more challenging to find a large, national retailer to single out for the group’s annual boycott. This year, Dick’s Sporting Goods, which boasts an online “Holiday Shop,” will be the target of the boycott. The AFA is expected to send an Action Alert to its 2.3 million supporters on Friday morning. That alert will urge shoppers to boycott Dick’s between now and Dec. 25. It also calls for consumers to e-mail President-Chief Operating Officer Joseph Schmidt and then call Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hennion. The retailer declined to comment. In the past, Target, Sears, Gap and Walmart have been targets.
“We’ve had a complete flip,” Mr. Sharp says. “The politically correct holiday verbiage is going away. Companies are getting the message.”
Indeed, retailers that have found themselves the target of boycotts or media and consumer scrutiny have responded swiftly in recent years. Lowe’s “Family Trees” were renamed “Christmas Trees,” while Walmart’s “Holiday Shop” is now a “Christmas Shop.” Midway through the 2005 holiday season, Target, facing a boycott, announced its advertising messages would become more specific and include references to Christmas. And last year, Gap responded to a boycott by issuing a press release highlighting the use of the phrase “Merry Christmas” in its upcoming Old Navy ads.
Thank goodness, the retailers have finally been freed from the bullying and oppression of the PC police! Now they can enjoy the same feeling of freedom that the Iraqis felt seven years ago!
Speaking to Fox New’s Sean Hannity in an interview to air Monday, Palin said she wants nothing to do with Katie Couric, the CBS Evening News anchor who’s line of questioning facilitated one of the most memorable political foibles of the 2008 presidential campaign.
“As for doing an interview, though, with a reporter who already has such a bias against whatever it is that I would come out and say? Why waste my time? No,” Palin told Hannity of Couric, according to excerpts obtained by Time’s Mark Halperin.
“I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism. And I have a communications degree. I studied journalism, who, what, where, when, and why of reporting,” Palin continued. “I will speak to reporters who still understand that cornerstone of our democracy, that expectation that the public has for truth to be reported. And then we get to decide our own opinion based on the facts reported to us.”
“Does this reporter make my ass look stupid?”
“No, your stupid ass makes your ass look stupid. And so does saying stuff like, ‘I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism.’ Also.”
The opening of the hilariously bad 80s horror movie, Necropolis. The best part of the movie starts at around 3 minute in or so (for context) – bear in mind that this scene supposedly takes place in the 17th century (NSFW).
During the premiere of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” Sunday night — a boy named Tre who went to school with the Palin kids wrote a status update that read, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska, is failing so hard right now.”
The comment sparked an intense response from Willow — who replied on the boy’s wall, “Haha your so gay. I have no idea who you are, But what I’ve seen pictures of, your disgusting … My sister had a kid and is still hot.”
Willow followed up that comment with another that read, “Tre stfu. Your such a f**got.”
After more users began to gang up on the Palins, Willow dropped another message that read, “Sorry that you guys are all jealous of my families success and you guys aren’t goin to go anywhere with your lives.”
Hey, remember when Sensitive Mama Tolerance Grizzly wigged out over Rahm’s “fucking retarded” quote?
Just as we’d be appalled if any public figure of Rahm’s stature ever used the “N-word” or other such inappropriate language, Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities – and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.
What a lovely and enlightened sentiment. Funny that she doesn’t seem to have a problem with her daughter using the word “faggot,” though. Why, it’s almost as if slurs that can’t be applied to her own family members don’t count. Or maybe she just doesn’t think gays are God’s children, or that anyone loves them.
The goals of reform, as Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson see them, are presented in the form of seven bullet points. “Lower Rates” is the first point; “Reduce the Deficit” is the seventh.
So how, exactly, did a deficit-cutting commission become a commission whose first priority is cutting tax rates, with deficit reduction literally at the bottom of the list?
Actually, though, what the co-chairmen are proposing is a mixture of tax cuts and tax increases — tax cuts for the wealthy, tax increases for the middle class. They suggest eliminating tax breaks that, whatever you think of them, matter a lot to middle-class Americans — the deductibility of health benefits and mortgage interest — and using much of the revenue gained thereby, not to reduce the deficit, but to allow sharp reductions in both the top marginal tax rate and in the corporate tax rate.
It will take time to crunch the numbers here, but this proposal clearly represents a major transfer of income upward, from the middle class to a small minority of wealthy Americans. And what does any of this have to do with deficit reduction?
Let’s turn next to Social Security. There were rumors beforehand that the commission would recommend a rise in the retirement age, and sure enough, that’s what Mr. Bowles and Mr. Simpson do. They want the age at which Social Security becomes available to rise along with average life expectancy. Is that reasonable?
The answer is no, for a number of reasons — including the point that working until you’re 69, which may sound doable for people with desk jobs, is a lot harder for the many Americans who still do physical labor.
But beyond that, the proposal seemingly ignores a crucial point: while average life expectancy is indeed rising, it’s doing so mainly for high earners, precisely the people who need Social Security least. Life expectancy in the bottom half of the income distribution has barely inched up over the past three decades. So the Bowles-Simpson proposal is basically saying that janitors should be forced to work longer because these days corporate lawyers live to a ripe old age.
Way to hand-pick a pair of evil elitist bastards to chair your deficit commission, Mr. President. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone want a second term less.
2 commentsNovember 12th, 2010 at 07:28amPosted by Eli
George W. Bush reveals in his memoir, Decision Points, that he personally waterboarded VP Dick Cheney.
“Dick was so in favor of waterboarding, that I thought he should experience himself to see what it was like. He thought it was a very effective tool.” Bush went on to say that after waterboarding Cheney as a “test” he used it on two other occasion to get the Vice President to keep his mouth shut on certain issues.
“Dick was making me look bad a few times with the press. He was too arrogant. So, I had to waterboard him to get him to shut his pie hole!”
Dick Cheney, who hasn’t read Bush’s book yet, said that “Bush went a bit overboard with the waterboard stuff. He got a little waterboard crazy. He wanted everybody waterboarded, Andy Card, Karl Rove… one day he even wanted Laura waterboarded. I’m sure he’s waterboarding his staff in Crawford to keep them in line.”
Bush said that when he sees Cheney next month at a conservative conference in New Orleans, ‘I’d love to take an hour or so and waterboard Dick again. I had so much fun waterboarding Dick. It was a hoot!”
Bush said that he, personally, was never waterboarded, but “if I ever do anything wrong, I wouldn’t mind. But I’ve never done anything wrong. I have no regrets.”
I just hope there aren’t any photos of Dick Cheney naked, wearing nothing but a hood and some electrodes…
Would Lieberman try to win the Democratic nomination (unlikely the outcome would be any better than last time), or would he just go straight to an independent run again? As an added bit of fun, the Connecticut For Lieberman Party has pretty much been taken over by people who aren’t exactly Lieberman fans, so he’d have to come up with a new imaginary party banner to run under.
My fondest hope is that the CFL actually runs ads against him. What would be sweeter than seeing 27 seconds of Lieberman-bashing followed by “This message has been paid for by the Connecticut For Lieberman Party”?
The lead investigator for the presidential panel delving into the BP oil spill said on Monday that he had found no evidence that anyone involved in drilling the doomed well had taken safety shortcuts to save money.
Fred H. Bartlit Jr., a prominent trial lawyer hired to lead the panel’s inquiry, disputed the findings of other investigators, including plaintiffs’ lawyers and members of Congress, who have charged that BP and its main partners, Transocean and Halliburton, had cut corners to speed completion of the well, which cost $1.5 million a day to drill.
“To date we have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety,” Mr. Bartlit said on Monday as he opened a detailed presentation on the causes of the April 20 disaster on a drilling rig off the Louisiana coast, which killed 11 workers and led to the biggest offshore oil spill in American history. “They want to be efficient, they don’t want to waste money, but they also don’t want to get their buddies killed.”
The only charitable conclusion I can draw is that when Bartlit says stuff like “we have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety,” he means that favoring dollars over safety is institutional corporate policy. That I could buy.
I worry that conservatives’ lock-step posture on climate change is seriously out of step with their professed priorities. A strong defense of our national interests, rigorous cost-benefit analysis, fiscal discipline and the ability to avoid unnecessary intrusions into personal liberty will all be seriously compromised in a world marked by climate change.
In fact, far from being conservative, the Republican stance on global warming shows a stunning appetite for risk. When faced with uncertainty and the possibility of costly outcomes, smart businessmen buy insurance, reduce their downside exposure and protect their assets. When confronted with a disease outbreak of unknown proportions, front-line public health workers get busy producing vaccines, pre-positioning supplies and tracking pathogens. And when military planners assess an enemy, they get ready for a worst-case encounter.
When it comes to climate change, conservatives are doing none of this. Instead, they are recklessly betting the farm on a single, best-case scenario: That the scientific consensus about global warming will turn out to be wrong. This is bad risk management and an irresponsible way to run anything, whether a business, an economy or a planet.
This is all true, but the problem is that conservatives’ nonchalance and outright denial of the risk of global warming doesn’t contradict their approach to economic, health, or military risk: it mirrors it.
Conservatives are only risk-averse in theory – in practice, their operating principle is to grab a buck and score a political point whenever they can and damn the consequences. Not only that, but if global warming can’t be fixed using their toolkit of tax cuts for the rich, spending cuts for everyone else, or invading someone, they really can’t be bothered.
The Blue Dogs’ own opposition to effective stimulus and financial reform led directly to the Republican wave which cut them in half. (And I’m guessing that their opposition to the public option and support for the Stupak Amendment didn’t help them much either.)
And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of corporatist wankers. Too bad it had to result in the ascendancy of even bigger corporate wankers. Johann Hari sums it up nicely:
This is the story of the modern Republican Party. They use the cultural signifiers of the good people of Middle America to get their emotional identification, meanwhile they pillage Middle America and redistribute its wealth to the rich….
This is all made easy for Republicans by the fact that most of the Democratic Party slithers in the same trough of corruption, begging from the same billionaires and corporations, and so can deliver only a tiny notch more for ordinary Americans. This makes left-liberal ideas look discredited, when in truth they are largely discarded.
Unless and until we get some kind of robust public campaign financing, this is just going to get worse and worse. The Democrats’ own corporate corruption has essentially given the GOP license to run even further and further to the right, secure in the knowledge that the other side is too compromised to truly oppose them.