Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hillary, Scaife etc

photo via National Review
photo: National Review

Firstly, three items from Slate:

1.Rich Men Behaving Badly: Meet the super-rich, the dysfunctional class threatening American values.
By Daniel Gross
Posted Saturday, March 29, 2008, at 7:08 AM ET

2."The New New Deal:"
Roosevelt-era reforms are saving capitalism—again.
Daniel Gross
March 25, 2008, 3:29 PM ET

3.Hillary's Rev. Wright:
His name is Richard Mellon Scaife.
Timothy Noah
March 25, 2008, 6:47 PM ET

"Hate speech [is] unacceptable in any setting," Hillary Clinton today told the Tribune-Review. We turn now to this excerpt from a 1981 Columbia Journalism Review profile of Scaife by Karen Rothmyer, in which the reporter describes a conversation with the distinguished publisher and philanthropist:

"Mr. Scaife, could you explain why you give so much money to the New Right?"

"You fucking Communist cunt, get out of here."

Well. The rest of the five-minute interview was conducted at a rapid trot down Park Street, during which Scaife tried to hail a taxi. Scaife volunteered two statements of opinion regarding his questioner's personal appearance—he said she was ugly and that her teeth were "terrible"—and also the comment that she was engaged in "hatchet journalism." His questioner thanked Scaife for his time. "Don't look behind you," Scaife offered by way of a goodbye.

Not quite sure what this remark meant, the reporter suggested that if someone were approaching it was probably her mother, whom she had arranged to meet nearby. "She's ugly, too," Scaife said, and strode off.
[What a guy. I should note that I think Jeremiah Wright seems like a much more agreeable character than Mr. Scaife, and hardly deserves to be compared to him.-JV]

Alex Jones loses it on Youtube,

And finally,"America is Run by Gangsters",
via Joe Bageant:

Tony from Sydney Australia writes to Joe:
I have been over to the USA four times and travelled around the back blocks a bit, including your area. I feel a sadness for the average citizen there. They haven't got a clue as to what's going on. I feel the USA has become a giant military camp to protect world capitalism and the citizens are not aware they have been conscripted. I have also travelled around Asia a bit. I've had deeper conversations about world affairs with Indonesian fishermen, Thai taxi drivers and even Tibetan peasants in far western China than I could get out many of the "middle class, educated" people I have met in the USA.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Michael Pacher's devil

at the Alte Pinakothek museum, Munich

Michael Pacher , 1498. I have seen this painting referred to as Saint Wolfgang and the Devil as well as Saint Augustine and the Devil. I'm inclined to believe it's Wolfgang, as the devil's butt would quit smirking if he was dealing with St. Augustine. What do you think?

Plus, Augustine was probably black, although a 15th c. European painter could be reasonably expected to paint him as a caucasian, as he might reasonably expect to get into hot water otherwise-- or so I imagine.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mike Gravel leaves the democrats

On Wednesday Mike Gravel announced that he was leaving the Democratic party and joining the Libertarian Party, with the intent of securing their nomination for president. While I don't think Gravel is a real libertarian(and that's mostly a good thing), I can easily understand his sentiment when he says "I didn't leave the democratic party, the democratic party left me." (see video, above)

Although I don't entirely agree with his platform, to me the fact that he's nearly 78 is the only shortcoming Gravel presents as a viable candidate. Yes, he's an unpolished debater and very few people take him seriously, but those are separate matters.(I also like his sense of humor, as evinced by the rock-in-the-lake video.)

If you live in a solidly red state like I do, it makes very little sense to vote for the democrat when the GOP will win all your state's electors, but a vote for Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, or Gravel should he secure the Libertarian nomination, is a meaningful way to vote against the war, and doesn't strike me as any more of a "wasted vote" here than voting for the democratic nominee, especially one who's already hemmed and hawed about withdrawing from Iraq by 2012, as both HRC and Obama have.

Perhaps even less of a "wasted vote," if you think about it. In the past the Libertarian Party has always made the ballot here in Texas in presidential years, but the Greens weren't on the ballot here in 2004. The dynamic is substantially different in a place like, say, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania.

Given Gravel's historically important role in defending an open society[video], you'd think the mainstream press would have told you about Gravel's announcement. I didn't see anything about it on TV, but both the Washington Post and New York Times dealt with it using the new 21st century style of burying news on the back pages: by only discussing the news in their blogs.

WaPo, here, and NYT, here.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

a Prescott Bush interview

I posted this at roughly 70% of the standard youtube size to improve the so-so image resolution, but if you want the rest or the "full-size", it's here( part one), and part 2 is here.

Both are via a channel called "BBC propaganda news", which, presumably, is not related to the BBC. As most of you already know, Prescott Bush was a US senator and the current president's grandfather.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Mister Fish is new (well, to me)

If finding this amusing is wrong, I don't wanna be right. (via King Simbaud)

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Dennis sings

Friday, March 21, 2008

100 years...or more

Thursday, March 20, 2008

God [darn] America

here, lazily, is the comment I left at ATR earlier tonight, apropos of a really nice post* by Bernard Chazelle referencing "the speech" Obama gave regarding Jeremiah Wright:

The speech was sheer BS-- he had a real chance to do what he does best, round off sharp edges, by saying Wright was right but the problem was in his vitriolic style, not the content. And if anybody in US politics today could have pulled that off, it was Obama.

Instead, he's playing Hillary's game and chasing the white swing voters who won't vote for him anyway, instead of being square with a slightly different demographic, the white swing voters who otherwise might vote for him.

What he accomplished instead was he demonstrated weakness. That when push comes to shove and sacred cows push, he'll let them shove him around, and will disavow his friends for votes.

In the past I've said I'll discuss thing/person/phenomenon x at greater length tomorrow, or the day after, without always following through. Nevertheless, this time I will follow up with a lengthier discussion in 24-48 hrs, tops.

*"the perils of truth-telling"— Bernard Chazelle

Salon has the text of the speech here, and the video is up on YouBiquitousTube, here.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Triumph 2000

This is a 1949 Triumph 2000 roadster, a slightly more powerful version of the Triumph 1800 that preceded it. According to our wiki friends at Wikipedia, contemporary road tests of the 1800 and the 2000 indicated the clear superiority of the larger T2000 engine, as it could rocket off the line up to 60mph in under 28 seconds, whereas the 1800 required a little over 34 seconds to do so, and the 1800 could maintain a top speed of 75mph, while the 2000 could do 80.

Nevertheless I suspect that imposing a "hotrodcentric" preoccupation with acceleration numbers is probably missing the point with these cars, as they look truly charming. I also imagine they're a joy to drive on a sunny day in the country, especially if you're not afraid of a nonsynchro gearbox.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

More from The Real News and Winter Soldiers

Winter Soldiers: Clifton Hicks and Steven Casey

The Real News main site, and their Youtube channel.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

15 mar 2008

testimony from "Winter Soldier"(more here)

As you may already know, the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition had a large demonstration scheduled for the mall in DC for this weekend, to commemorate and protest the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, which they discuss here(see below, from their bulletin):

Regarding the March 15, 2008
Fifth Anniversary Mass March on Washington DC:
In December, the ANSWER Coalition sent out an email that contained an announcement from the Year5 Coalition (that included 17 anti-war organizations) about plans for a mass demonstration in Washington DC on March 15, 2008.

This announcement was the culmination of several national meetings hosted by Cindy Sheehan. The purpose of the Year5 Coalition was to create the maximum unity between many anti-war coalitions and organizations so as to mobilize a huge outpouring of the people in Washington DC on the fifth anniversary of the start of this criminal war and occupation.

The ANSWER Coalition was committed to doing everything in its power to support the effort to unify the movement for a massive mobilization. The fifth anniversary is a critical time and will be marked by protests around the world. Saturday March 15 was chosen for a huge march on Washington because the following weekend is Easter weekend and it was considered much more difficult to bring people from all over the country to DC.

Not all anti-war groups concurred that it was a good idea to carry out a mass march in DC on the 5th anniversary. That was the stated position of UFPJ for instance. But 17 organizations did issue a call for the March 15 national march in Washington DC. The day following the announcement by the Year5 Coalition a public letter was sent and circulated by the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) asking that there be no national mass march in DC or any protests at all in DC against the war from Thursday March 13 through the weekend ending Sunday March 16. The IVAW explained that it was planning its own event called Winter Soldier (that will take place in a DC suburb in Maryland.) Winter Soldier is an indoor event that will feature the live testimony from Iraq veterans and others about war crimes committed in Iraq. IVAW asked that there be no mass march during their four days of testimony.

Is this tactically astute? I don't know. I wonder, just as I wondered if the real reason the ANSWER people called off the march was because they were afraid that with the increased restrictions the government has instituted on demonstrations at the mall, the demonstration would either turn counterproductively tepid, or violent, and the request of the Winter Soldier group merely gave them cover. Besides, why should the Winter Soldier group insist that there be no march? The corporate media tends to downplay the marches as much as they can anyway, and they might have even given "Winter Soldier" more coverage as an example of "well-behaved" protest as a counter-example, if they just waited and had their events after the A.N.S.W.E.R. protest. Who knows?

I haven't been to a protest march, but I wonder if a lot of the people who put them down do so because they've never participated in one. As far as the question of whether or not protests are effective, I wish I knew a way to measure this objectively-- I am agnostic about it myself. Davis Fleetwood has some thoughts about protests, here, apropo of the 9.15.2007 protest[video].

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

don't forget to vote, parte dos

And, from the "I try to learn something new every day" department: "Smurfing"

Courtesy Gov.(for now)Spitzer of New York.

I don't know whether prostitution is a victimless crime or not. It's especially unclear at the tonier levels-- but I fail to see how Spitzer's behavior warrants impeachment when that of You-Know-Who and Mister Growls-a-lot does not.

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Don't forget to vote

Or, stay home and watch "Mexican Radio"; the result may be the same-- who knows?

also: "find Chuck Norris"

I posted part of this earlier, then took it down- it's not meant as a commentary on the Mississppi primary in particular.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

God and country on the Real News

Listening to these people in this story talk about how they really believe the Iraq war has helped keep them safe is singularly depressing to me. Earlier today I spoke to Arvin Hill, not about this video but in general terms about people's capacity for willful gullibility and denial, and he compared it to drug addiction.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Monday 3-3

Xymphora writes:
Counterpunch continues its pathetic campaign of attempting to explain the abject failure of the traditional left (as exemplified by editor Cockburn) by blaming it on 'conspiracy theory'. We know that the real reason for the failure of the anti-war movement is the conscious decision by its leaders to abuse it for the partisan political purpose of getting Democrats elected. The worst thing that could happen for the Democrats is for Bush to authorize an end to the American presence in Iraq before the next election. The anti-war movement is a failure because it is really a pro-war movement.

(also, "Freud on Zionism")
(Emphasis mine. Although I disagree with his broader view of Counterpunch think he's right in the more particular view, insofar as the left has given up principles for tactics.)

King of Zembla: "It's Not Bad Apples, But Bad Barrel-Makers"

from Nir Rosen's "Myth of the Surge", in Rolling Stone:

"Before the war, it was just one party," Arkan tells me. "Now we have 100,000 parties. I have Sunni officer friends, but nobody lets them get back into service. First they take money, then they ask if you are Sunni or Shiite. If you are Shiite, good." He dreams of returning to the days when the Iraqi army served the entire country. "In Saddam's time, nobody knew what is Sunni and what is Shiite," he says. The Bush administration based its strategy in Iraq on the mistaken notion that, under Saddam, the Sunni minority ruled the Shiite majority. In fact, Iraq had no history of serious sectarian violence or civil war between the two groups until the Americans invaded. Most Iraqis viewed themselves as Iraqis first, with their religious sects having only personal importance. Intermarriage was widespread, and many Iraqi tribes included both Sunnis and Shiites. Under Saddam, both the ruling Baath Party and the Iraqi army were majority Shiite.

Juan Cole:

McCain (and the US corporate media) manages to avoid noticing that Turkey has staged a major incursion into Iraq and still has ground troops there and is refusing US requests to withdraw! Ironically, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, the Turkish chief of staff used McCain's own language against the Bush administration, rejecting the idea of any timetable for withdrawal.

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