Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
i, like you, am a person, with arms and legs, and we all sometimes stop for lunch, and as ordinary folks, we hate to get lint on our jackets, and...Nation lapses into instant coma:
I'm Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of the State of Kansas.Two hundred and forty-five words of pure filler, with ellipses intact from the hideous original. And this in response to the biggest, fattest hanging softball -- George Bush calls on Congress to balance the budget and bring the 9/11 attackers to justice! -- in years. It hurts to watch.
And I am grateful for the opportunity to speak with you tonight.
I'm a Democrat, but tonight, it really doesn't matter whether you think of yourself as a Democrat...or a Republican...or an Independent. Or...none-of-the-above.
Instead, the fact you're tuning in this evening tells me each of you is, above all...
...an American, first.
You are mothers, and fathers. Grandparents, and grandchildren. Working people, and business-owners. Americans, all.
And the American people - folks like you, and me - are not nearly as divided as our rancorous politics might suggest.
In fact, right now, tonight, as political pundits discuss the President's speech - chances are, they'll obsess over the reactions of Members of Congress.
"How many times was the President interrupted by applause? Did Republicans stand? Did Democrats sit?"
And the rest of us will roll our eyes and think, "What in the world does any of that have to do with me?"
And, so, I want to take a slight detour from tradition on this State of the Union night.
In this time, normally reserved for the partisan response, I hope to offer you something more:
An American Response.
A national call to action on behalf of the struggling families in the heartland, and across this great country. A wakeup call to Washington, on behalf of a new American majority, that time is running out on our opportunities to meet our challenges and solve our problems.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
a armee of wunSlow death.
Friday, January 25, 2008
a century of acts for civil rightsleading to a civil rights act
In 1962, Laura McGhee invited civil rights organizers to stay at her Mississippi farm. A widow with three sons, McGhee also repeatedly used the title on her farm as security for bail bonds to get civil rights workers out of jail. As a southern black woman challenging white men in positions of power, she soon found herself under fire; nightriders attacked her farmhouse, and police officers beat her and her sons with nightsticks whenever they had the chance.
But McGhee fought back, decisively and with apparent fearlessness. After a police officer once raised his club to strike her, Charles Payne reports, other civil rights protesters "had to pull her off him." As the attacks on her home intensified, she took to sleeping during the day so she could spend nights on her front porch "with her Winchester." When her sons shot at a carload of attackers one night, the local sheriff showed up with a group of FBI agents the next day "to warn her against letting her boys shoot back. She said that was okay; she'd do all the rest of the shooting herself. They were not bothered by nightriders for a while after that."
This set of events -- the violent attacks on a black woman who supported civil rights organizations, the involvement of the local sheriff and the FBI on the side of the white supremacists, and McGhee's own aggressive and persistent self-defense -- reflect the very most fundamental themes of the history of black Americans in the century after emancipation; it was another black woman, the anti-lynching crusader Ida Wells, who wrote eighty years before that "a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home."
In the last twenty years, the century-long exchange of violence between white supremacists and ordinary black men and women has been covered in breadth and depth by historians. Timothy Tyson, Robin D.G. Kelley, Jacqueline Jones, and many others have shown us in great detail the kinds of daily resistance to white supremacy that took place at the center of ordinary people's lives.
Tyson has paid particular attention to Robert F. Williams, a black WWII veteran who led the small local NAACP branch in Monroe, North Carolina, with an aggressive distaste for the concept of non-violence. Williams discussed his campaign against segregation in a memoir, Negroes with Guns, describing an incident in which white men tried to pull him and several other activists out of a car and kill them while the local police stood quietly by and watched. The police got involved, natch, only when Williams and his friends got out of the car with guns of their own. Daisy Bates, the local NAACP president who led the effort to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, tells a similar story in her book about those days. She fought to integrate the local high school; white men tried to kill her; she stuck a gun in their faces, and they ran.
And so, to go back to my earlier post about MLK and LBJ: Take a look at this section of the Letter from Birmingham Jail, with emphasis added:
I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community...The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible 'devil.'And yeah, that's a threat. Martin Luther King played a tactical posture of non-violence against a threat of violence; he said, to Lyndon Johnson and to the rest of white America, we can do this the peaceful way, or we can fucking kill some of you. He was able to make that threat, and make it plausibly, because of a century of black men and women who were willing to shoot back.
I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the 'do nothingism' of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as 'rabble rousers' and 'outside agitators' those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.
So the liberal triumphalist narrative in which King used heartfelt reasoning to convince Johnson of the justice of the black cause, leading the benevolent white liberal president to grant black freedom and equality by waving the state's wand of justice, doesn't work. The facts aren't there. There was a hundred years' war in the United States, and the bad guys lost.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
but perhaps it is a hamster of DEATH!!!!!!!!Today, a hi-fucking-larious op-ed piece in the New York Times SOUNDS THE ALARM about the IRANIAN SMALL BOAT MENACE(!!!!!!) in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy is PERCHED ON THE EDGE OF A WORLD-HISTORICAL CONFRONTATION with a GREAT AND MIGHTY THREAT!!!! Sample claim:
"Three days later the frigate Carr was forced to use its ship's horn to ward off three Iranian small boats, two of which were armed..."
Take each piece, one at a time: "Forced" to "use its...horn" to "ward off" three small boats, "two of which were armed." Beep, beep. It's like the sinking of the Bismarck.
But the best part, for me, is to compare the dire text of the piece to the photograph the Times uses at the top to illustrate the nature of the threat. Take a look, then come back.
You're laughing out loud? Yeah. I especially love the way the headline and the photograph work together.
WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE GIGGLING!?!?!? WE ARE PLAYING THE MIIIIIIGHTY WURLITZER!!!!!
Saturday, January 19, 2008
and so then he just put his hand on that there boy's shoulder, and he done said to him, "why, son, you go right on ahead and do what you was doing"I hasten to add that this was a wholly non-paternalistic gesture
How the world looks through the eyes of an aging liberal of a certain high-establishment type. (Note also the historically obtuse contention that government had to act against white supremacy because it was illegal.)
Friday, January 18, 2008
excellent work, comradewe have a job for you at a tractor factory in xinjian county
Secret Service agent says in a deposition that his unlawful arrest of a man who shouted criticism at Dick Cheney was based on lies from other Secret Service agents. Said Secret Service agent was flown in for the deposition from his new assignment...
How can you not laugh? Welcome to Guam, Agent Reichle, and, uh, that right there is the most important porta-shitter on the whole island, so, uh, why don't you go ahead and guard that motherfucker till you're eligible for retirement.
Somewhere there's a Secret Service manager calling around to find out if they have any offices that are farther away. ("So, Agent Reichle -- we need to get you medically cleared for work in a zero-gravity environment.")
At least it's a pretty exile.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
"it's my right to do so for extremely unreasonable purposes"Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous video. I disagree with the guy's politics in quite a few ways, but fuck me gently do I love watching him stick it to the thought crime bureaucrat. Prickly, stubborn, magnificent.
This one's all over the InterTubes, so it arrives here via many others. But well worth the time.
sun orders self not to be a ball of hot gasAP headline:
"Tapes destroyed over CIA's objections"
Sixth paragraph of the accompanying story:
"The man at the center of the controversy, Jose Rodriguez, had been scheduled to appear Wednesday, but his lawyer's demand for immunity delayed his testimony. Rodriguez was the head of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, the CIA branch that oversees spying operations and interrogations. He gave the order to destroy the tapes in November 2005."
thank you, godJonah Goldberg on the Daily Show = Peter Griffin explaining what really grinds his gears.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
pretty much "case closed," at this pointActively complicit.
silence, peasantsJohn King is a self-polishing turd, but the best part in this is after the text of his email. The self-polishing turd is a common animal.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
ringuGorgeous thing, this small piece of writing.
potential suicide bombers......in bright orange life preservers.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
and somebody smarter agreesJeff Huber, a retired U.S. Navy officer who has actually passed through the Strait of Hormuz on American warships, weighs in on the Iranian speedboat menace.
desperately working the bellowsAP:
Also Sunday, the U.S. focused new attention on the Jan. 6 confrontation between American and Iranian naval vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.Some effing speedboats -- let's take grandma waterskiing -- have become a naval "fleet" that staged a "confrontation" between two mighty navies. It is now uncomplicatedly a fact that the boats "charged at" and "threatened to blow up" three U.S. Navy warships, a totally easy task when it's speedboats vs. destroyers, underway, in open water, without the element of surprise. And then, as Navy personnel squeezed back on the trigger -- deus ex machina! Mon dieu, mon cap-ee-tahn, they 'av vaneeshed! (Briiigadooon, Briiigadooon...)
U.S. Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, commander of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which patrols the Gulf, briefed Bush on the incident before the president left Bahrain on Sunday morning.
Cosgriff told Bush that he took it "deadly seriously" when an Iranian fleet of high-speed boats charged at and threatened to blow up a three-ship U.S. Navy convoy passing near Iranian waters. The Iranian naval forces vanished as the American ship commanders were preparing to open fire.
Speedboats. They were a handful of fucking speedboats. That drove by some armed-to-the-teeth destroyers, checked shit out, and drove away, while somebody dicked around on the radio. ("We are coming to blow you up -- because you have Prince Albert in a can! Is your refrigerator running, American pig-dogs?") ("Come back and we will taunt you a second time.") It's like Hitler! Will Western Civilization have the courage to stop them before they invade Poland!?!?
dot dot dot dash dash dash dot dot dot SEND BOOZE
Thursday, January 10, 2008
iranians! off the coast of iran!The U.S. complaining that Iranian boats harassed the U.S. Navy in the Strait of Hormuz is like Iran complaining that U.S. ships harassed the Iranian navy in the waters off Coronado Island or Norfolk, Virginia.
cheaper than a pair of movie ticketsI warmly recommend that you sign up for email updates from the thumbsuckers at Freedom's Watch, especially now that the WGA is on strike. I just got my regular update, and it included an invitation to take the "2008 Conservative Census." Cue the tough questions:
"Do Americans want higher taxes, anything-goes moral values, retreat in the war on terror and foreign policy dictated by the UN?"
I selected "yes," of course. I'm no fool.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
unicornz purtyI agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Audacity of Hope about what kind of world I'd like to see, while the world that the current Republican mainstream appears to be hoping for is just kind of hopelessly...off.
The first problem is the specific plausibility, as with this promise from the much-celebrated Jefferson-Jackson Dinner speech: "And I won't just talk about how great teachers are. As President I will reward them for their greatness -- by raising salaries and giving them more support."
He'll do this himself, apparently. With the "raise teacher salaries" provision in Article II.
The second problem -- it's the bigger one -- centers on the broader plausibility given the nature of state power, especially at this high-imperial moment. One guy is not going to shut this off. Or this.
The state has a history, and the national security state has a constituency. "Hope" is not a strong weapon against a couple of centuries of refined power, and a few hundred billion dollars a year in extra war funding, and a deeply entrenched political culture. I see the part where he wins the election; I don't see the part where he wins the contest that follows. And the linking of hope and government is just kind of quaint, considering.
we will taunt you with phone sexAP:
"Small Iranian fast boats swarmed around massive U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, and a man speaking heavily accented English threatened, 'I am coming to you...You will explode,' according to a video released Tuesday by the Pentagon."
close enough for politicsThe headlines: "Shocking Ron Paul Letters Unearthed."
"During some periods, the newsletters were published by the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, a nonprofit Paul founded in 1976; at other times, they were published by Ron Paul & Associates, a now-defunct entity in which Paul owned a minority stake, according to his campaign spokesman.I doubt very, very much that Ron Paul allowed a newsletter to circulate with his name at the top without knowing exactly what was in the thing, and I've already said that the racial views expressed in those newsletters are enough to keep me from voting for the guy. But this is a leap, and a smear, by any standard.
(Few of the newsletters contain actual bylines.)
Of course, with few bylines, it is difficult to know whether any particular article was written by Paul himself. Some of the earlier newsletters are signed by him, though the vast majority of the editions I saw contain no bylines at all. Complicating matters, many of the unbylined newsletters were written in the first person, implying that Paul was the author.
And then there's the now-hugely-familiar rhetoric in which Paul is revealed to have shockingly extreme views that, you know, aren't. (See my earlier post on the damning revelations that Paul claimed the Fed had little direct accountability to the people at large.) Today we learn that Ron Paul is affiliated with an institute founded by the late Murray Rothbard, "a Bronx-born son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and a self-described 'anarcho-capitalist' who viewed the state as nothing more than 'a criminal gang.'"
Comparisons between the state and criminal gangs? Why that's...uh...Pretty standard state formation theory. Charles Tilly = Timothy McVeigh, apparently, if you work for the good gray establishmentarians at the New Republic. Oh, and get this: Some crazy dude -- probably in a bunker in Idaho -- says the state is defined by its ability to develop a monopoly on legitimate violence. Craaaazy shit, dude. The cutting edge of late-twentieth-century far-right thought. Somebody should nail Ron Paul down on whether he associates with this Max Weber wingnut guy. (Or maybe stake out Max Weber's compound, and try to catch Ron Paul going in!)
As is the disgusting and proto-fascist view that, quote, "there is nothing wrong with loosely banding together small units of government." Ron Paul actually believes that -- doesn't it just make you want to vomit!?!? Why, pretty soon, he'll be talking about John Locke and the social contract -- right out in public!
Do people read this shit before they type it up as "evidence" of "extremism"?
Sunday, January 06, 2008
you've got to give the wogs a taste of the bootBatshit lunatic Ralph Peters lets it all hang out in the Armed Forces Journal:
A year after its publication, the Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency manual remains deeply disturbing, both for the practical dangers it creates and for the dishonest approach employed to craft it.See? Simple. Mass murder and concentration camps -- does the trick every time. And "hanging courts" for the anti-colonial "sympathizers."
The most immediate indication of the manual’s limitations has been Army Gen. David Petraeus’ approach to counterinsurgency in Iraq. The manual envisions COIN operations by that Age of Aquarius troubadour, Donovan, wearing his love like heaven as he proceeds to lead terrorists, insurgents and militiamen to a jamboree at Atlantis. Although the finalized document did, ultimately, allow that deadly force might sometimes be required, it preached — beware doctrine that preaches — understanding, engagement and chat. It was a politically correct document for a politically correct age.
The manual’s worth revisiting a bit longer to underscore the dishonesty of the selective use of history. Citing a narrow range of past insurgencies — all ideological, all comparatively recent — the authors carefully ignored parallel or earlier examples that would’ve undercut their position. For example, the British experience in Malaya is cited ad nauseum (although it’s portrayed as far less bloody than it was in fact), but the same decade saw a very different and even more successful British campaign against the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya. After realizing (a bit ploddingly) that the Mau Mau could not be controlled by colonial police forces, the British took a tough-minded three-track approach: concentration camps for more than 100,000 Kenyans; hanging courts that sent more than 1,000 Mau Mau activists and sympathizers to the gallows; and relentless military pursuits that tracked down the hardcore insurgents and killed them. It worked.
But we're too blinded by political correctness to see how well it works.
Friday, January 04, 2008
blind in one eyeFish in a barrel. But if you're bored, take a look at this astoundingly dimwitted post from Earl Ofari Hutchinson, who warns us that craaaazy Ron Paul doesn't think government is good at making there not be any racism:
Here's what Paul on his campaign website ronpaul2008.com has to say about race. In fact he even highlights this as "Issue: Racism" on the site. "Government as an institution is particularly ill-suited to combat bigotry." In other words, the 1954 landmark Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of education school desegregation decision, the 1964 and 1968 Civil Rights Acts, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and legions of court decisions and state laws that bar discrimination are worthless.Get that? There's a whole amazing history of government attacks on racist practices in the United States, and anyone who tells you that government hasn't been good at attacking bigotry is a right-wing racist lunatic. Smell the Whiggery -- American political establishments really are providential gifts from Jesus, marching ever-onward to justice, hooray!
Except that, for crying out loud, the state actions that Hutchinson identified mostly aimed to reverse the effects of state action. From the moment the Freedmen's Bureau began selling emancipated slaves into debt peonage in exchange for planters paying their "vagrancy" fines, state institutions mostly created, maintained, and operated on the premise of the subordination of black Americans to white Americans. Jim Crow laws were, wait for it, Jim Crow laws -- see how that works for the "government makes there not be any racism" argument?
To stick with the most obvious and well-known examples, George Wallace was the governor of a state, standing in the door of a state university. Eisenhower sent troops to integrate Central High School against the active wishes of Little Rock's political authorities. And Bull Connor ran a police department, which many right-wing nutjobs believe to be a government institution. Hutchinson knows that government ended racism; he doesn't appear to know that government established and ran a white supremacist regime for a full century. (If he knows it, he sure isn't saying it.)
This is the state. So is this. And so, right now, is this.
It's so good at fighting racism.
"societies need to be rebuilt"Learning the wrong lessons.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
FAILTalking Points Memo posts Jane Harman's "don't destroy the tapes" letter to the CIA. And, yeah, she says the interrogation techniques she's been briefed on raise "profound policy questions," and yadda yadda. But here's how the letter begins:
Last week’s briefing brought home to me the difficult challenges faced by the Central Intelligence Agency in the current threat environment. I realize we are at a time when the balance between security and liberty must be constantly evaluated and recalibrated in order to protect our nation and its people from catastrophic terrorist attack and I thus appreciate the obvious effort that you and your Office have made to address the tough questions.And that's it. Once you've realized that liberty must be recalibrated -- do note the plainness of that "I realize," and all that it implies about Jane Harman -- the game is over. The rest of the letter has no meaning.
And do be sure to check out the hi-fucking-larious comments from TPM readers that follow the post and the letter. Oooh, this just proves that George Bush and his cronies are a bunch of big meanies (stomps tiny foot), it's time to IMPEACH!!!
Jane Harman thought liberty needed to be recalibrated, and -- lucky for her -- there was a group of cubicle-dwellers in and around the EOVP who were perfectly happy to recalibrate the motherfucker. If other people had worked in the executive branch, Jane Harman would still have been who she was, and would have thought what she thought. And she already was that person before the Dubya was inaugurated. And etc.
If you think your sofa can be moved, you might think to move it. If you think liberty can be recalibrated, you might bring some dudes around to put the wrench to the bolts. If you don't like the way your living room looks afterward, there's not much point getting mad at the movers.