Saturday, May 31, 2008
And all this after we did not apply and played coy by never expressing any interest in attending.
And yet they didn't deign to beg us to go.
Harrumph, I say, harrumph!
That's it, I'm going to have to vote for Gravel.
Whom he chooses for his vice president makes no difference to them. That he is pro-choice means little. Learning more about his bio doesn't do it. They don't identify with someone who has gone to Columbia and Harvard Law School and is married to a Princeton-Harvard Law graduate.
Yes, they are not the salt of the earth-types two Yalies like Bill & Hillary Clinton are!
Nothing against the Clintons, this is purely an example of one camp's supporter being off their fuckin' rocker (see, Father Pfleger). Logic like elitism for thee, but not for my two Ivy League favorites is rich indeed.
What America needs is apparently black people who are a whiter shade of pale. Because those are the only black people that Geraldine Ferraro will feel are not attacking her.
That's quite a legacy she's building for herself.
Friday, May 30, 2008
"There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues. No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique.
"In Bob Dole's nearly 36 years of public service Bob Dole has known of a few like you. No doubt you will 'clean up' as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, 'Biting The Hand That Fed Me.' Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years"
Bob Dole won't read your book because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high profile job"
That would have taken integrity and courage but then you would have had credibility and your complaints could have been aired objectively. You’re a hot ticket now but don’t you, deep down, feel like a total ingrate?
Ironically, this was not Bob Dole's letter announcing he wants a divorce to his wife Elizabeth, who owes her Senate seat in large part to the jobs and fame she obtained because she married Bob Dole.
No, it was a letter to Scott McClellan.
We don’t understand the Iranians because the Iranians don’t understand themselves. The regime isn’t sure whether it is an ideological movement championing global jihad or whether it is merely regional power seeking Middle East hegemony. Until the Iranians resolve this internal ambiguity, you can talk to them all you want, but they won’t be able to make a strategic shift or follow a more amenable path.
Well, it seems clear enough to McCain -- he's a uniter, so bomb 'em.
But the really important thing to Bobo is that we absolve Bush:
There are a hundred things they could have done differently, but the primary fault for the failure to contain Iran does not lie in Washington.
It lies first with the feckless international community
Yes, the UN is at fault for the Bush Administration toppling Tehran's major enemy in the region and allowing it to fill the vacuum and dominate the internal politics of the place it was at war with so recently.
But it isn't Bush's fault.
John McCain wants to stay in Iraq for
Why John McCain supporters!
A little-noticed civil lawsuit in Florida is shining a light on an unusual but hugely profitable Pentagon contract to ship millions of gallons of aviation fuel to U.S. bases in Iraq through the kingdom of Jordan.
The deal involves a cast of influential characters, including the king of Jordan’s brother-in-law, who is suing Harry Sargeant III, a top Florida-based fundraiser for Sen. John McCain's presidential bid.
Sargeant is a Florida businessman and former Marine Corps pilot hailed by the McCain campaign as a "Trailblazer" for raising $100,000 or more in political donations. Through a company called International Oil Trading Co., or IOTC, Sargeant and a partner have a lucrative contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars per year to supply American military forces in Iraq with fuel, especially aviation fuel. The firm ships the fuel to Jordan and then trucks it across the border, where U.S. forces escort the convoys to air bases...
The way the American military structured the deal, only a company with the blessing of the Jordanian government could win the contract. A bidder was required to have a Jordanian government "Letter of Authorization," and only IOTC received such a letter.
The lawsuit against Sargeant was filed April 10 in Florida state court by Mohammad Al-Saleh, who is married to the half sister of King Abdullah of Jordan. Al-Saleh’s suit says he essentially brokered Sargeant's contract by arranging the approval and cooperation of the Jordanian government, using his "connections and influence." The lawsuit alleges that Al-Saleh arranged for the Jordanian government “to issue a letter of authorization to IOTC.” Al-Saleh’s lawyer, Jonathan Frank, said, “Were it not for my client, they would not have been able to get that letter.”
Someone give Smedley Butler's coffin rotisserie a turn.
The news media have been, if anything, even more craven than the administration has been in defending its failure to investigate Bush's case for war in Iraq before the war.
Here's ABC News' Charles Gibson: "I think the questions were asked. It was just a drumbeat of support from the administration. It is not our job to debate them. It is our job to ask the questions.” And “I’m not sure we would have asked anything differently."
Or this from NBC's Brian Williams: “Sadly, we saw fellow Americans — in some cases floating past facedown (after Katrina). We knew what had just happened. We weren’t allowed that kind of proximity with the weapons inspectors [in Iraq]. I was in Kuwait for the buildup to the war, and, yes, we heard from the Pentagon, on my cell phone, the minute they heard us report something that they didn’t like. The tone of that time was quite extraordinary.” And this: "“It’s tough to go back, to put ourselves in the mind-set. It was post-9/11 America."
So the Pentagon tells the media what kind of reporting is in- and out-of-bounds?
Hogwash. Hogwash! HOGWASH.
Let us continue down that road, as found here:
I awoke in a hospital. As soon as I opened my eyes the nurse ran to get the waiting American officers and their press corps. I was taken back to the Concentration Camp Ohrdruf by jeep in a convoy headed by Generals Eisenhower and Bradley themselves. Several survivors and myself gave General Eisenhower and his men a personal tour of the horrors, which you had discovered at Ohrdruf.
I never forgot how General Eisenhower kept rubbing his hands together as we spoke of the horrors inflicted upon us and the piles of our dead comrades. He insisted on seeing it all, hearing it all, learning it all. He knew!! General Eisenhower knew. He wanted to have it recorded and filmed for the future. He said that sometime in the future there may come a time when people will say it never happened that way -- it's an exaggeration, it's propaganda, it was just the end results of war. Well, the time is now, only 50 years later. There are those who would tell you WWII of the 89th Division that what you saw at Ohrdruf and at other camps never happened the way you said it did. The atrocities never happened. The tortures. The hangings. The starvation. The brutality. It never happened and YOU NEVER SAW IT!! They would take your fight for goodness and freedom and call it futile, worthless. Your sacrifices would have no meaning if all that you fought for were nothing more than a tale of someone's imaginings!
But, we were there. I, the victim. You, the liberators. I, the survivor. You, the witnesses. And together we must, in our golden years on this earth, again do battle with the forces of man's worst evil so that what I and you lived through 50 years ago, what we say, will not be tossed aside as insignificant in the annals of man's history. It must be made so important that no one can ever say it didn't happen that way and therefore they could be allowed to repeat it.
Written by a survivor of Ohrdruf.
Ike's son John (a retired brigadier general himself) endorsed Kerry in 2004. I sincerely doubt the old man would still be wearing the elephant pin today if it meant associating with the pricks that would diminish the service of those who liberated Ohrdruf or diminished it as a nightmare for its victims.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Second of all, the degree to which these dime-store (er, "Dollar Store) gumshoes will go to demonstrate their extreme imbecility is, indeed, something to behold. Just ask the Frost family.
This is truly awe inspiring in its douchiness (commenter, though the poster is the ultimate douche as well):
Still, Mr. Payne may have been present at the liberation of Ohrdruf. Which, it should be remembered, was a work camp — and not a death camp like Auschwitz or Treblinka.
So one wonders why he was so terribly traumatized.
So after denying this guy even exists, they add he was a pussy too. Way to honor a veteran you pathetic fucking morons.
Let us talk about Ohrdruf for a moment:
1. It was indeed part of the Buchenwald concentration camp, Buchenwald was the hub of a bunch of also hell-on-earth satellite camps, like Ohrdruf. This was true of many of the major death camps. Auschwitz for example had satellite nightmares similar to Buchenwald. Amongst it's most infamous was Monowitz. It is not inaccurate to call Ohrdruf, Buchenwald.
2. Saying Ohrdruf was just a "work camp" and not a "death camp" like Auschwitz is both incredibly stupid and incredibly insulting.
Ohrdruf had some pretty famous visitors a little over a week after it was liberated -- the visitors came on a pretty infamous day [FDR died the same day] during the Second World War and it created quite an impression:
When the soldiers of the 4th Armored Division entered the camp, they discovered piles of bodies, some covered with lime, and others partially incinerated on pyres. The ghastly nature of their discovery led General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, to visit the camp on April 12, with Generals George S. Patton and Omar Bradley. After his visit, Eisenhower cabled General George C. Marshall, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, describing his trip to Ohrdruf:
. . .the most interesting--although horrible--sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to 'propaganda.'
Seeing the Nazi crimes committed at Ohrdruf made a powerful impact on Eisenhower, and he wanted the world to know what happened in the concentration camps. On April 19, 1945, he again cabled Marshall with a request to bring members of Congress and journalists to the newly liberated camps so that they could bring the horrible truth about Nazi atrocities to the American public.
That same day, Marshall received permission from the Secretary of War, Henry Lewis Stimson, and President Harry S. Truman for these delegations to visit the liberated camps.
Ohrdruf made a powerful impression on General George S. Patton as well. He described it as "one of the most appalling sights that I have ever seen." He recounted in his diary that
In a shed . . . was a pile of about 40 completely naked human bodies in the last stages of emaciation. These bodies were lightly sprinkled with lime, not for the purposes of destroying them, but for the purpose of removing the stench. When the shed was full--I presume its capacity to be about 200, the bodies were taken to a pit a mile from the camp where they were buried. The inmates claimed that 3,000 men, who had been either shot in the head or who had died of starvation, had been so buried since the 1st of January. When we began to approach with our troops, the Germans thought it expedient to remove the evidence of their crime. Therefore, they had some of the slaves exhume the bodies and place them on a mammoth griddle composed of 60-centimeter railway tracks laid on brick foundations. They poured pitch on the bodies and then built a fire of pinewood and coal under them. They were not very successful in their operations because there was a pile of human bones, skulls, charred torsos on or under the griddle which must have accounted for many hundreds.
Just a workcamp, Eisenhower, Bradley & Patton at Ohrdruf.
Just a workcamp, corpses stacked at Ohrdruf just after liberation.
And what would Eisenhower think of these new, modern goons diminishing the nightmare of the victims of Ohrdruf and those who make light of it as an example of Nazi crimes after it was liberated by men like Barack Obama's great uncle Charlie Payne? I think we can guess pretty accurately:
Colonel Charles Codman, an aide to General Patton, wrote to his wife about an incident that happened that day. A young soldier had accidentally bumped into a former Nazi guard at the camp and had laughed nervously. "General Eisenhower fixed him with a cold eye," Codman wrote "and when he spoke, each word was like the drop off an icicle. 'Still having trouble hating them?' he said." General Eisenhower had no trouble hating the Germans, as he would demonstrate when he set up a POW camp in Gotha a few weeks later.
[Cross-posted at Firedoglake, because, as ever, I'm lazy]
There are gaffes, and then there is straight out BS. The man who has been singing the praises of whatever re-imaginings of actual reality he can manage to shove down the throats of the press corp slathered in gallon jugs of Kirkland-brand barbecue sauce is on a new theme.
Demanding Barack Obama hang out with his Mentholatum-dipped posse on their jaunts to the land of never-ending-ever-impending-undefinable victory, Iraq.
As I posted yesterday, McCain has engaged a constant drum-beat the last nearly six-years praising Bush, but mostly himself, for the "always" successful policy that is the Iraq War. At least as it exists frozen in a Rich Lowry NRO special of May 2005, "We're Winning". McCain styles himself the new Admiral Farrugut, "Damn the facts, full speed-o-wank".
Because Obama refuses to sit for three days as the meat in a "McCain-Lieberman sandwich" McCain gets to call him a coward, rather than what he clearly is, a person of at least modestly refined taste.
So now the self-styled "Mr. Straight Talk" is adding another layer of fertilzer to the pile, because Obama will do things on his own schedule, rather than toady to McCain's agenda, the "Maverick" takes away his offer of a Werther's Original and makes proclamations like this yesterday in Reno (the press corps went, just to watch him lie):
"Why is it that Senator Obama wants to sit down with the president of Iran but hasn't yet sat down with General Petraeus, the leader of our troops in Iraq?"
That's funny, I remember just last month, when all three of the remaining Presidential Candidates sat down and had talks with Petraeus. It was in all the papers and McCain was even there:
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
From Scotty McClellan:
McClellan describes Bush as able to convince himself of his own spin and relates a phone call he overheard Bush having during the 2000 campaign, in which he said he could not remember whether he had used cocaine. "I remember thinking to myself, 'How can that be?' " he writes.
The Don Knotts of Press Secretaries tells us Dirty Fucking Hippies we were fucking right all along.
And because we're always fucking right we all new this already.
But first, the press has to express how nobody could have anticipated matters such as this:
* after Hurricane Katrina, the White House “spent most of the first week in a state of denial,” and he blames Rove for suggesting the photo of the president comfortably observing the disaster during an Air Force One flyover. McClellan says he and counselor to the president Dan Bartlett had opposed the idea and thought it had been scrapped.
But he writes that he later was told that “Karl was convinced we needed to do it — and the president agreed.”
• Bush was “clearly irritated, … steamed,” when McClellan informed him that chief economic adviser Larry Lindsey had told The Wall Street Journal that a possible war in Iraq could cost from $100 billion to $200 billion: “‘It’s unacceptable,’ Bush continued, his voice rising. ‘He shouldn’t be talking about that.’”
• “History appears poised to confirm what most Americans today have decided: that the decision to invade Iraq was a serious strategic blunder. No one, including me, can know with absolute certainty how the war will be viewed decades from now when we can more fully understand its impact. What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary.”
I remember when people were instructed from the White House Press Room podium to call such charges treasonous.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I hear the seminar on the purpose of Hitler will be awesome.
Senator Joseph Lieberman is scheduled to headline Pastor John Hagee's 2008 Christians United For Israel Washington-Israel Summit this July 22.
You know, if nothing else, the timing is exquisite.
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Doesn't Lindsey Graham have other old men to stalk?
John McCain yesterday continued his bombastic shell-game with Barack Obama proclaiming the latter needed to visit Iraq because "He really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq and he has wanted to surrender for a long time."
Aside from the laughable bluster of this, as McCain tries to prove he has 17 balls and talks like some sort of warmongering uberasshole, it ignores a few things.
First, McCain has absolutely no room to criticize others for being wrong about Iraq, zero. It matters not how many barbecued ribs he passes out to Michael Sherer or other apologists.
Second, I wouldn't doubt that sometime between mid-June and the Democratic National Convention Obama was planning such a move. Nevertheless, once it's done I have no doubt McCain will made the same blowhard assertions because with nothing else to crow about he'll spend his time calling Obama a coward. It's all he's got.
Third, instead of calling out Obama, maybe McCain should spend some time filling the shoes of Shurvon Phillip's mother and tell her and his family how awesome it all really is?
Pat Robertson asserted that on the eve of the Iraq invasion Bush told him there would be no casualties.
Five years and ten weeks later, more than 4,000 Americans have been killed, more than 30,000 are listed as wounded.
But they are not all of the casualties, nor is that where the story ends.
In Iraq’s Anbar Province, in May 2005, Shurvon [Phillip], who joined the Marine reserves seven years earlier at 17, partly as a way to pay his community-college tuition, was riding back to his base after a patrol when an anti-tank mine exploded under his Humvee. The Humvee’s other soldiers were tossed in different directions and dealt an assortment of injuries: concussions, broken bones, herniated discs. Along with a broken jaw and a broken leg, Shurvon suffered one of the war’s signature wounds on the American side: though no shrapnel entered his head, the blast rattled his brain profoundly.
Far more effectively than in previous American wars, helmets and body armor are protecting the skulls and saving the lives of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But according to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, a joint Defense Department and V.A. organization, about 900 soldiers have come home with serious traumatic brain injury, or T.B.I., which essentially means dire harm to their brains; it can be caused by explosions that deliver blunt injury to the helmeted skull or that send waves of compressed air to slam and snap the head ruinously even at a distance of hundreds of yards from the blast. (The 900 also include injuries caused by shrapnel or bullets that have managed to penetrate.) Some of these veterans have been left — for protracted periods and often permanently — unable to think or remember or plan clearly enough to cope with everyday life on their own; others, like Shurvon,
Obama represents a constituency that holds that much of the world's troubles are caused by the United States and can be rectified by a president who is alert to cultural nuance and can be a keen listener. This is the world according to Oprah Winfrey.
In one paragraph and three sentences, he manages to factually slur Obama, Oprah, and - according to Gallup - two-thirds of the country with the tired old FoxNews toss-away of Democrats being "America Haters".
Truly living up to his moniker of "America's Concern Troll".
Monday, May 26, 2008
“McCain is an avid gambler. Wes Gullett, a close friend who worked for McCain for years, told me that they used to play craps in Las Vegas in fourteen-hour stints, standing at the tables from 10 a.m. to midnight.” […]
* Wes Gullet is an old friend and gambling buddy of John McCain. They rolled dice together in 14-hour-long sessions in Las Vegas.
* Gullet was McCain’s campaign manager and top senate staffer and is now a lobbyist.
* Gullet was hired to lobby McCain on the largest land swap in Arizona history, exchanging private land in the wilderness for valuable federally-owned land ready for development.
* McCain, who initially opposed the swap, changed his position and supported it after Gullett was hired.
* The land swap benefited one of John McCain’s top fundraisers who has hauled in more than $100,000 for his Presidential campaign.
Originally from the Jed Report.
Yeah, I figured it was a lie then too.
And we were right.
President Bush's former chief political adviser denied meddling in the Justice Department's prosecution of Alabama's ex-governor and said Sunday the courts will have to resolve a congressional subpoena for his testimony.
But no pictures of their flag-covered caskets.
"But why should we hear about body bags and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or that or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that...?"
- Babs Bush
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Who were they?
- Tom Pyle, policy analyst, office of then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).
- Garry Malphrus, majority chief counsel and staff director, House Judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice.
- Rory Cooper, political division staff member at the National Republican Congressional Committee.
- Kevin Smith, former House Republican conference analyst and more recently of Voter.com.
- Steven Brophy, former aide to Sen. Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.), now working at the consulting firm KPMG.
- Matt Schlapp, former chief of staff for Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), now on the Bush campaign staff in Austin.
- Roger Morse, aide to Rep. Van Hilleary (R-Tenn.).
- Duane Gibson, aide to Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) of the House Resources Committee.
- Chuck Royal, legislative assistant to Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
- Layna McConkey, former legislative assistant to former Rep. Jim Ross Lightfoot (R-Iowa), now at Steelman Health Strategies
Here we see the operation in question.
Same folks that thought Iraq would be a cakewalk no doubt.
*Sorry, that's Hedley.
I'm memorializing by not going anywhere and thinking of all the money I'm saving by not buying gas.
For this precious right of staying home because it's too expensive to do otherwise, I'll thank a Republican for their service.
But it will have to be via email.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
There is nothing like showing your true face -- inhumanity and whatever the absolute opposite of compassion and integrity are -- while your administration grounds to a halt.
As the New York Times reported, we have an administration that is simply hell bent on doing whatever they feel, whenever they desire... and as always the consequences are irrelevant. So, this is the true face of compassionate conservatism revealed for those willing to see.
In temporary courtrooms at a fairgrounds here, 270 illegal immigrants were sentenced this week to five months in prison for working at a meatpacking plant with false documents.
The prosecutions, which ended Friday, signal a sharp escalation in the Bush administration’s crackdown on illegal workers, with prosecutors bringing tough federal criminal charges against most of the immigrants arrested in a May 12 raid. Until now, unauthorized workers have generally been detained by immigration officials for civil violations and rapidly deported.
Nice legacy guys.
I don't think it is healthy that the information age causes such memes to circulate with such velocity that they are given far more significance than they deserve. Seeing Hillary abjectly and in a stunned voice apologize for any offense made me feel sorry for her. When you speak in public, you always risk misspeaking or having the audience misunderstand your intent. We make our presidential candidates speak constantly in public for 2 years straight, now. It is like a medieval form of torture. It is amazing that anyone runs this gauntlet.
Elections should be about issues, not about this sort of hothouse speculation about personalities.
And making it about personalities over issues is what television, especially, does -- and it is something that plays right into the GOP's hands.
How else could progressive positions continually trump conservative ones in public opinion polls but the GOP still eek out elections because our candidates are either portrayed as "effete elitists" (men) or "ball busting harpies" (women)? It happens over and over and over.
And it keeps giving us a shittier country.
You know who was an effete elitist? The greatest fuckin' President in the last 140 goddamned years, that's who. Plus he was married to someone who was portrayed as a ball-busting harpy [in reality, because she grew apart from him because he cheated on her with her own secretary]. But he was around before tee vee, so...
In this episode we see Ms. Howell tut tut about the lack of diversity on the Washington Post's Editorial Page and how old, white, and male it is. "We need more diversity", Ms. Howell says.
She then approvingly states that in an effort to broaden diversity the Post this week published an Op-Ed from Kathleen Parker.
And what did Ms. Parker editorialize about?
That Barack Obama, unlike John McCain "is not a Full-Blooded American". In other words a racist diatribe.
A Tuesday fundraiser headlined by President Bush for U.S. Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign is being moved out of the Phoenix Convention Center.
Sources familiar with the situation said the Bush-McCain event was not selling enough tickets to fill the Convention Center space, and that there were concerns about more anti-war protesters showing up outside the venue than attending the fundraiser inside.
Another source said there were concerns about the media covering the event.
I do think one goal of the McCain campaign is to get some money out of Bush while avoiding any more pictures of he and McCain together.
Friday, May 23, 2008
I think it's safe to say she did not mean to imply she's hanging around waiting for something awful to happen to Obama, but it sure is unfortunate. You cannot make this kind of statement, ever!
Let the several hours of explaining and apologizing commence.
Ugh, better damage control please:
"The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy," she added, referring to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's recent diagnosis of a brain tumor. "I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever.
You feel bad about Ted's brain tumor so it led you to bring up his brother being shot in the head?
Look, I know she doesn't mean to offend, but it is tasteless. Just apologize, say it was a mistake and move on. You're just making things worse.
I've got to say the reaction to the remark has officially become WAY over the top. She deserves to be criticized heavily for the remark perhaps but it's becoming a flogging several hours later. I'm not a Clinton supporter, but there are a lot of folks over-anxious to inflict a coup de grâce as if she actually explicitly did wish for someone to take out Obama. She did not do that, cut her a margin of slack.
The Bush-McCain saber rattling is the most self-defeating policy imaginable. It achieves nothing. But it forces Iranians who despise the regime to rally behind their leaders. And it spurs instability in the Middle East, which adds to the price of oil, with the proceeds going right from American wallets into Tehran's pockets.
The worst nightmare for a regime that thrives on tension with America is an America ready, willing and able to engage. Since when has talking removed the word "no" from our vocabulary?
It's amazing how little faith George Bush, Joe Lieberman and John McCain have in themselves – and in America.
Do McCain's medical records demonstrate he suffers from the 'military-industrial complex'? Because he's acting all junta-riffic:
"I can't understand why he would line up behind the president in opposition to this GI Bill," [Barack Obama] said. "I can't believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans. I could not disagree with him and the president more on this issue."
An angry McCain answered in a statement released by his campaign.
"I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did," said McCain
Only military guys can have opinions on military issues and thus be 'Commander-in-Chief'.
Sounds like a good idea -- for a military dictatorship.
So I guess FDR must have sucked at the job, huh?
Christ almighty, this HAS to be the last Vietnam War veteran to pick a fight. Is it a fight he picked with 5-Deferments Cheney? 2-Deferments Lieberman? AWOL-Bush?
I keep hearing how reluctant McCain is to wave this around...and yet he keeps doing it.
A Pentagon audit of $8.2 billion in American taxpayer money spent by the United States Army on contractors in Iraq has found that almost none of the payments followed federal rules and that in some cases, contracts worth millions of dollars were paid for despite little or no record of what, if anything, was received.
The audit also found a sometimes stunning lack of accountability in the way the United States military spent some $1.8 billion in seized or frozen Iraqi assets, which in the early phases of the conflict were often doled out in stacks or pallets of cash. The audit was released Thursday in tandem with a Congressional hearing on the payments...
The mysterious payments, whose amounts had not been publicly disclosed, included $68.2 million to the United Kingdom, $45.3 million to Poland and $21.3 million to South Korea. Despite repeated requests, Pentagon auditors said they were unable to determine why the payments were made.
“It sounds like the coalition of the willing is the coalition of the paid — they’re willing to be paid,” said [Rep. Henry] Waxman
Wonder how much it has to do with stuff like this? Always good at increasing an occupying forces popularity.
Meanwhile, the murky mystery of how we're ultimately going to see this disaster play out in its multiple choice game of losses continues on.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
My extra virgin olive oil [the Purity Ball of viscous fluids] is getting really pissed for having kept its chastity while "crude" oil is doing this:
Oil sped to new peaks for a third straight day on Thursday to top $135 a barrel as investors fretted over long-term supply constraints and a big drop in U.S. crude stocks.
Meanwhile, it brings us back to a simpler time before we were overcome by simple men:
Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.
If it wasn't so pathetic, you'd laugh yourself to death.
That was late-June 2000. The price of a barrel of oil was about $30 a barrel. It remained at about $30 a barrel well into March 2003 when the Chimperor made his awesome, "Let's invade Iraq" declaration.
Frank Rich, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, has signed on with HBO as a creative consultant to help develop new programming, while still writing his weekly column, HBO and Times executives said Wednesday.Glad to see Rosenthal and Pinch on top of this. I wonder why they weren't as vigilant guardians of the NYT's integrity when Judy Miller was consulting for Dick Cheny or Phil Taubman was consulting for Condi Rice.
He will be barred from writing in his column, which deals primarily with politics, about either HBO or its parent company, Time Warner, Mr. Rich and Times editors said....
Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor of The Times, said that he had signed off on Mr. Rich’s deal with HBO, and that the top newsroom editors and the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., were informed and did not raise any objections. “There was no concern that there was a conflict of interest, because he no longer has any connection to news coverage of HBO or any related entity,” he said.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) added that in his state, "regular was $3.89, medium was $4.04, super was $4.12." Asked the senator: "Where does this end?"
"I would like to be able to answer that," Exxon's [CEO Stephen Simon] said. But "it's absolutely impossible" to predict. "I'm not smart enough to do so."
He only made $32.7 million last year, so obviously he's not spending it on doctoral research, or even capable of picking up a phone and asking someone who is much smarter and paid much less.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
FBI agents who assisted with overseas interrogations of suspected terrorists after Sept. 11 often clashed with their military counterparts and refused to participate in the most aggressive intelligence-gathering methods because they doubted they were legal or effective, a long-awaited Justice Department audit found.
At the same time, the report released Tuesday by Inspector Gen. Glenn A. Fine faults officials at FBI headquarters for failing to provide prompt guidance to agents in the field on what to do if they witnessed interrogations using snarling dogs, sexual ploys and other abusive techniques that violated long-standing FBI policy.
According to a report in yesterday's Los Angeles Times, FBI agents were distraught and concerned about the military's overly aggressive interrogation tactics. Now I realize that not many of us see the FBI as the bastions of sound criminal justice policy because of an entire history of mistreatment, abuse, illegal wiretapping and all many of questionable surveillance and eavesdropping. But you have to wonder exactly how far was the military willing to go in conducting illegal interrogations? We know about some abuses which I will not rehash here. However I would wager that we do not know about all of them by a long shot. If so, what does this say about our government? While the NeoCons have created an unholy mess of foreign policy, I often wonder if they meant to do so...
Imagine the deep and lasting damage to the image of the United States and the U.S. Military's reputation in the world which causes political instability at home? Maybe the NeoCons are trying to destabilize American politics for years to come -- maybe they did mean to do all of this if the right opportunity arose. Then 9/11 happened, a horrible tragedy but a perfect opportunity to enact several draconian political measures and the open door to NeoCon's much desired military adventurism.
Imagine running up a huge bill (which is happening) and then you do not have to pay for it when it comes due.
We might have a scorched earth political policy which leads to many messes that the next president -- a Democrat -- has to try and solve. And because of the extreme and unitary actions of the NeoCons the problems become so intractable that real damage is also done to the Democratic party when a Democratic president tries to solve them. Then another NeoCon (or worse a religious nut-job NeoCon) swoops in with all kinds of promises and is elected for eight more years of NeoConservative political and governmental realignment. Sounds far fetched? Who would imagine a situation in which the FBI is troubled by interrogation techniques?
In the end it is never wise to fight extremism and terrorism with more of the same. Maybe we should listen to the FBI on this point.
Democrat Barack Obama has opened an 8-point national lead on Republican John McCain as the U.S. presidential rivals turn their focus to a general election race, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.
Obama, who was tied with McCain in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup last month, moved to a 48 percent to 40 percent lead over the Arizona senator in May as he took command of his grueling Democratic presidential duel with rival Hillary Clinton...
...The poll also found Obama expanded his lead over Clinton in the Democratic race to 26 percentage points, doubling his advantage from mid-April as Democrats begin to coalesce around Obama and prepare for the general election battle with McCain.
"Obama has been very resilient, bouncing back from rough periods and doing very well with independent voters," pollster John Zogby said. "The race with McCain is going to be very competitive."
The poll was taken Thursday through Sunday during a period when Obama came under attack from President George W. Bush and McCain for his promise to talk to hostile foreign leaders without preconditions.
Obama's gains followed a month in which he was plagued with a series of campaign controversies and suffered two big losses to Clinton in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
I do think that despite low points that are inevitable in campaigns (and there will be a few more groaners to come I'm sure) the battle between Obama and Clinton has been good for the likely nominee. It has, indeed, toughened him up and given his campaign a good idea where to hit and where to repair during the general campaign.
Plus, this has quite possibly been the highlight of the McCain campaign. He only has started to get coverage of any critical variety and despite the laughable common wisdom of national security being a Republican strength (which is sooooooooooo 2004) he has come out the obvious loser for obvious reasons:
But Zogby said the attacks on Obama by Bush and McCain, who have been critical of his willingness to talk to leaders of countries like Iran, did not appear to hurt Obama. If anything, he said, it reminded voters of McCain's ties to Bush, whose approval rating is still mired at record lows.
"The president is so unpopular. To inject himself into a presidential campaign does not help John McCain, particularly when McCain is tied to Bush," Zogby said.
And therein lies the rub. McCain is not comfortable with domestic issues, where he loses -- so he wants to concentrate on international matters, especially jingoism and wars where he feels most comfortable.
...and where he is tied most clearly with Bush, who's policies in these areas are grossly, grossly unpopular. The policy McCain has is the one clear idea that Bush has tied his Presidency to. McCain cannot talk about the area he is comfortable in without sounding just like the monstrously unpopular President, widely recognized because of these same policies as one the poorest President since the antebellum period.
There is some good news for McCain:
McCain led among whites, NASCAR fans, and elderly voters.
Okay first of all, "whites" & "NASCAR" fans is a bit redundant.
Second, McCain is not way ahead in the white polling and the elderly polling will change when McCain's social security policy is revealed as Bush's horribly unpopular social security policy, which began the second Bush term out with an anvil of unpopularity around its already sinking feet.
Be careful Mr. Kasparov, you don't know what form of toxic KY Putin has put on that thing.
It's fairly common knowledge that the position of President in Iran holds very little actual power. Back when moderate reformer Mohammad Khatami held the presidency, we were regularly reminded that he was pretty much of a figurehead with no real power. Now that the confrontational and controversial Ahmadinejad holds the office, we don't hear so much about how the president is not really the top dog.
Anybody remember who the elected political leadership of Iran were when Khomeini was the Supreme Leader?
I thought not.
So it's telling that McCain knowingly perpetuates this lie and the press is generally too lazy or ignorant to bring it up. They don't know, they don't care, and crazy Members-Only Jacket man is too easy a target for making Iran scarier.
Meanwhile, Republican Chuck Hagel has a few things to say about McCain's statements and clearly falls more on the liar side of the equation:
"We know from past campaigns that presidential candidates will say many things," Hagel said of some of McCain's recent rhetoric, namely his policy on talking to Iran. "But once they have the responsibility to govern the country and lead the world, that difference between what they said and what responsibilities they have to fulfill are vastly different. I'm very upset with John with some of the things he's been saying. And I can't get into the psychoanalysis of it. But I believe that John is smarter than some of the things he is saying. He is, he understands it more. John is a man who reads a lot, he's been around the world. I want him to get above that and maybe when he gets into the general election, and becomes the general election candidate he will have a higher-level discourse on these things."
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Senator Ted Kennedy steps to the rostrum in prime time and gives a stem-winder as memorable as his 1980 speech all in support of the Democratic Nominee -- and ripping the Republicans a new one for how they have treated the nation he and his family have had such an integral part of -- in triumph and tragedy.
"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die."
There will be few dry eyes in the nation.
Get well Ted.
It's simple to behold — a single mattress, tucked into a dark, curtained back room of the showcase space. On it: a lithe brunette. She's perfectly quiet, but once you sit or lie down, she responds to your every move. Lie on your back, she snuggles up right next to you in a log position. Curl up in the fetal position, she spoons. The only hitch: She's 2-D. "Yeah, you can't feel the girl. That's the thing," Burrows explained as he demonstrated his invention, an "infrared sensitive" light projection (meaning it reacts, and the projected woman moves, based on an infrared sensor) called INBED. "Still, it's so nice if you're tired and worn out to have someone to curl up with."
Ok, I can handle many strange ideas, deviant behavior, and more but this leaves even me feeling a wee bit uncomfortable... I just love how the reporter is pushing the creepiness factor in the story as well. Thanks a lot.
Cynthia Ruccia, 55, a sales director for Mary Kay cosmetics in Columbus, Ohio, is organizing a group, Clinton Supporters Count Too, of mostly women in swing states who plan to campaign against Mr. Obama in November. “We, the most loyal constituency, are being told to sit down, shut up and get to the back of the bus,” she said.
[John] McCain plans to continue, and perhaps even accelerate, George W. Bush’s conservative counter-revolution at the Supreme Court....
In short, this one passage in McCain’s speech amounted to a dog whistle for the right—an implicit promise that he will appoint Justices who will eliminate the right to privacy, permit states to ban abortion, and allow the execution of teen-agers.
The question, as always with McCain these days, is whether he means it. Might he really be a “maverick” when it comes to the Supreme Court? The answer, almost certainly, is no. The Senator has long touted his opposition to Roe, and has voted for every one of Bush’s judicial appointments; the rhetoric of his speech shows that he is getting his advice on the Court from the most extreme elements of the conservative movement.Perhaps Ms. Ruccia is living in a bubble that will protect her from those rulings. If so, would one of you please pierce it and clue her into the fact that the rest of us will have to live with those decisions and that this election is not about the dashed hopes and dreams of Cynthia Ruccia? Thanks.
For all the elisions in John McCain’s speech, one unmistakable truth emerged: that the stakes in the election, for the Supreme Court and all who live by its rulings, are very, very high.
The fact that Americans, still at this point, don't understand international politics and such -- due both to determined ignorance and incredibly shoddy and scant coverage by the media explains the fact that American politics has to be more pro-Israeli and anti-Palestinian, than Israel's internal politics.
As Marshall says:
I won't take the time to recapitulate the whole article. But you should read it because it covers a basic reality -- by conflating being pro-Israel with supporting the continued colonization of the West Bank, many of Israel's 'friends' in the US are placing Israel in great danger and doing no favor to the United States either.
It is infuriating and incredibly bad for Israel that its most important international supporter has become so myopic. At this point, thanks to the poison of the Neo-Cons and the Bush Administration taking less than the full-on Likud position on anything gets you labeled as a potential "anti-Semite" or having a "jewish problem" [even when polls show most American Jews agree with your position -- just not the ones who speak about Israel on the tee-vee]
It is the road to disaster for all of us, but especially Israel and the Palestinians.
Not surprisingly the reporting on the very legitimate point brought up by Obama at a campaign appearance in Oregon, that Iran poses a significantly smaller threat than the Soviets who we always talked to, has brought out the insanity of those with no historical "bearings" whatsoever.
But really, let's compare:
1. Revolutions: The Soviets shot the Tsar, his family, his servants, his dog, his stuffed animals, his draperies, his yearbook editor, etc. Millions of Russians also died. The Shah died of natural causes...terminal dickishness. Hundreds died. And we can have an accurate position on this because America backed the losing side both times -- so there's that [USA! USA! USA!].
2. Evil Leaders: The Soviets had Stalin. They win. Plus there was nothing about Stalin that rhymed with "ass-a-hola" so it really cut down on T-shirt sales.
3. World War II: No matter how you want to slice it, the Soviets started off pretty badly, but then kicked Germany's ass in the most deadly and brutal war ever fought. Iran hosted a summit that got Stalin to wear his summer generalissimo outfit [dude was definitely "a summer"]. In comparison Khomeini was the Iranian "man in black". Mr. Blackwell would definitely vote Comrade.
4. Key Moment of Victory: Stalingrad, 200 days killed 750,000 Germans, captured 250,000. Iran, hostage crisis lasted 444 days, all American hostages freed safely.
5. Weapons development: The Soviets developed nuclear weapons more than 60 years ago, the H-bomb well over 50 years ago. The Iranians have "enriched" some uranium, yay! Although it should be noted the Iranians have been widely-used test subjects on the effects of chemical weapons. Which would explain a few things, if George Bush gave a damn -- but he doesn't so continuing on...
6. Number of Nuclear Weapons: The Soviets possessed about 30,000 of them at the end of the Cold War...most all of them pointed at the United States. Iran...uh, that would be zero. But, on the other hand you can honestly say that all existing nuclear missiles are pointed at the United States...or Israel depending on who an American politician is speaking to.
7. Eyebrows: Brezhnev in a split decision over Khomeini.
8. Clown-like Leadership, non-George W. Bush Division: Khrushchev banged his shoe with more authority than Ahmadinejad wears that Members-only Jacket. This is especially true in that Khruschev actually ran things, while the latter just drives the tiny, tiny car around the circus.
9. Allies: The Soviets had a "bloc" comprising half of Europe through the Warsaw Pact [coincidentally comprised of nations they occupied, funny that], the Iranians were tossed in with North Korean and Iraq as the "Axis of Evil" [much to the surprise of Iraq & Iran, see #5 above] because Bush learned his history from Dixie Cup sayings.
10. Movies: "Red Dawn" much cheesier than "Not Without My Daughter"
11. Military Spending: In the mid-1980s the Soviet Union spent 15 to 17% of its GDP on the military. Iran, as of 2006, spent 3.5% of its GDP on the military, the least as a percentage of the country's gross national product (GNP) in the region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on its military. Saudi Arabia spends more than 10 times what Iran spent. Oh, and not matter what you hear about oil, the Soviet Union had a much, much, much (add a few more) bigger economy than Iran [damn commies had oil too].
McCain has been in Congress for decades, but he has remained a national rather than a parochial politician. The main axis in his mind is not between Republican and Democrat. It’s between narrow interest and patriotic service. And so it is characteristic that he would oppose a bill that benefits the particular at the expense of the general.
Yeah, he's never cut favorable land deals for parochial supporters, he's never kissed up to special interests, he's never cut corners on ethical behavior, he's never engaged in practices unbecoming a Senator, he's never been in favor of wasteful government spending.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Yet the graying men in the shadow of their glittering daughters were the true focus of the night. To ensure their daughters’ purity, they were asked to set an example and to hew to evangelical ideals in a society they say tempts them as much as it does their daughters.So if daddy stays pure, then daughter will stay pure? And if daddy strays, is daughter's purity compromised? Is daughter's purity the only way for daddy to control himself?
“It’s also good for me,” said Terry Lee, 54, who attended the ball for a second year, this time with his youngest daughter, Rachel, 16. “It inspires me to be spiritual and moral in turn. If I’m holding them to such high standards, you can be sure I won’t be cheating on their mother.”
The girls, many wearing purity rings, made silent vows. “I promise to God and myself and my family that I will stay pure in my thoughts and actions until I marry,” said Katie Swindler, 16.
If I'm a teenage girl with impure thoughts somehow straying into my gray matter, in addition to feeling shame because I've broken my promise to God, am I also thinking, "I've got to stop because if I don't, daddy will cheat and mommy and daddy will divorce?"
That's an awful lot of pressure for a teenage girl.
Mr. Straight-Talks attempts to counter blows to his metaphorical gut are so over-the-top yet lame, only Sean Hannity could be inspired, this is a pretty bad sign of the self-immolating campaign they plan on running:
Aggravated over persistent questions surrounding their new policy on lobbyists working for the campaign, Team McCain sought to change the topic tonight by raising Barack Obama's ties to a 60s-era radical.
“Just a few years ago when Barack Obama was beginning his career in politics he was launching it at the home of William Ayers, an unrepentant domestic terrorist...
If this is the card McCain wants to play, then Mr. Straight-Talk deserves all the attention he gets for his terrorist & Chalabi coddling lobbyist buddies and consultants.
It also means McCain opens the door completely to his Charles Keating days.
How much barbecue is that guy going to grill anyway?
I really have to credit Bill Kristol, for being transcendentally wankerish across various mediums. It really is a notable accomplishment. Matching Bill O'Reilly's ability to be a douche on TV, Radio, and newspaper.
And to think they are both stars in the FoxNews firmament.
Obama took Bush to be alluding to Obama’s willingness to meet, without preconditions, with Iran and North Korea, and attacked Bush. The conventional view in Washington is that Obama was smart to pick a fight with the unpopular Bush. And when McCain intervened, Obama was able to attack Bush and McCain in the same breath. But over the longer term, it can’t be in Obama’s interest to divert voters from a focus on gas prices or health care to the question of what he hopes to achieve by negotiating with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Well, that's your opinion asshole. I'm sure that jaw jaw being better than war war, the Churchill quote Kristol-types always forget while tonguing random bulldogs because of their resemblance to "Winny" has no popularity when compared to "Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran". And again, enough with the lying scumbaggery about Ahmadinejad, the leader of Iran is named Ali Khamenei -- which is why he is called "Supreme Leader Khamenei". I bet if you asked Kristol who the "Supreme Leader" of Iran is he'd get the answer wrong.
And the wankery doesn't end there:
On Thursday, the California Supreme Court did precisely what much of the American public doesn’t want judges doing: it made social policy from the bench. With a 4-to-3 majority, the judges chose not to defer to a ballot initiative approved by 61 percent of California voters eight years ago...
Yeah, and Obama said he's cool with it. But Bill, you know who else is cool with it? California's Republican Governor, Ahhhhhh-nold.
If you think the Democrats are going to lose California this year Bill, then your hypocrisy over medical marijuana is showing.
Of course, the underlying premise of Kristol's article is that the GOP brand is a disaster...apparently because those idiots listened to douchebags like Bill Kristol. So, thankfully Bill Kristol has some helpful advice for how fine things actually are for John McCain.
My first computer, 1988, Leading Edge, 8088, MS-Dos 3.11, 512k of memory, later boosted up by 128k for $250.00; two 5.25" floppy drives...and for cutting edge 14" amber monochrome monitor with a 1200 baud moden...1200 fuckin' baud!!!
Along with a 9-pin dot matrix printer it was all mine for $1800.00.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
First, the good:
Charlotte's diversity of housing options and home affordability were two of the reasons users nominated the city, Nickerson said. The city's strong economy, boosted largely by the banking industry, was another selling point.But then, an ugly surprise ...
The biggest surprise on the list is Charlotte, N.C., which is ranked ninth. Charlotte has undergone tremendous economic growth the past decade, while the population has soared 32%. But the current picture isn't as bright. Employment growth has not kept up with population growth, meaning unemployment rates are up more than 50% compared with 10 years ago. Charlotte scored in the bottom half of all six categories we examined and ranked 140th for violent crime....Whatever. My hometown is fourth on the "Misery" list. I wish some of the zillions of tourists who throng New York year-round now knew that. (And Philadelphia is fifth, so take that, Duncan Hack!)
....*Misery Measures are derived at by ranking the 150 largest metropolitan areas on six criteria -- income tax, violent crime, Superfund sites, commutes, weather and unemployment – and then adding their ranks. For example, New York ranked worst (150th) for commutes, 150th for income tax, 99th for unemployment, 78th for number of Superfund sites, 105th for violent crime and 86th for weather, which add up to its Misery Measure of 668.
The reasons for Romney go beyond McCain's image problem and party doubts. Romney was the first GOP presidential candidate to publicly warn back in January that Obama would be the likely GOP opponent, and then say that he could beat him. This was not mere political braggadocio. He like Obama sold himself as the change guy who can go to Washington cut the cronyism, bureaucratic and congressional inertia, and restore public confidence. McCain is the walking embodiment of the much loathed Washington insider establishment.
Considering my agnostic sensibilities, I naturally find it hard to believe that either "Old World" virgin Jesus or "New World" serial marrying Jesus love me this much.
Mitt Romney proved one thing this election cycle.
He is the biggest effing phony to come down the political pike in years. He certainly is not the only phony, but he's the only one that is so obscenely artificial in construction that 75% of the country finds him a walking, talking, buffoon.
If McCain picks Romney he'll instantly plunge at least 5% in the polls. People really have a visceral dislike of the guy, especially independents. And the thought that "old man" McCain would have a higher than normal likelihood of being succeeded by his VP choice if elected is a factual point Democrats would relish.
So by all means, please pick Romney -- please!
Damn, I hope this becomes conventional wisdom.
Oh, and African Americans too.
And FoxNews is the most far reaching today as well, because...
"Fox News Sunday" - ... Rick Dutrow Jr., trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown.
I wonder who Mr. Ed supports?
Kennedy, 76, is reportedly resting comfortably at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston while doctors run tests to determine the problem. A family friend told TIME on Saturday afternoon that he was awake and joking with family — his old self. Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and dozens of others joined McCain in expressing concern and sending prayers.
His advice for those candidates who will return to the Senate after failed presidential bids? It boils down to following his example. "They'll work their way through it. It's a great opportunity for service," Kennedy said. "You know, running for office is not the purpose of this business; it's service. And there's opportunities for service as President and there's also important opportunities as Senator and I'm sure they relish that." Kennedy certainly has.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
What if the music companies realized they should work with file sharers rather than attack them? What if the RIAA's only significant law suit against a music downloader fell apart on a legal error? What would they do?
Well, we should soon have the answers to some of these questions.
As we have reported repeatedly on this blog, last October the Recording Industry Association of America - RIAA - achieved what many commentators on the industry described in unison as a significant victory when alleged file sharer Jammie Thomas was ordered to pay in excess of $222,000 for music piracy by sharing access to his music files. This conclusion sent a shockwave throughout the music community.
But persistent and important legal questions which we have commented upon here remain. These questions hang on the idea of sharing versus downloading. And this is far from settled, it remains a sticky mess for the RIAA. The question is focused upon whether the act of simply making a song available for others to copy is an active and indefensible act of infringement. There remains the possibility of a new trial and the thuggish tactics of the recording companies (in several cases going to extreme and potentially illegal steps to find file sharers, especially on college campuses) are not going to serve them well in a new trial.
According to Catherine Rampell, different courts have come to different conclusions on the “making available” argument:
[Some] courts have said that making a song available on one’s computer for download does constitute infringement, while others have decided that an unauthorized download must be proven to have occurred as a result of the song’s being made available. In the Jammie Thomas case, which is the first and only music-sharing case to go to a jury trial, the judge specifically instructed the jury that if Ms. Thomas had made songs available, she had committed copyright infringement.
And at long last it appears that this instruction conflicted with a binding precedent from the very same court. And, of course that is a bit of a mistake for a court to have committed. The presiding district judge said he may have committed “a manifest error of law” in his jury instructions that would require nothing less than a new trial for Thomas. Given that the RIAA and individual record companies point to the Thomas case as their "standard" regarding file sharing, they may have a serious problem here.
This is especially important given the increased efforts of the association which has been going after college file sharers with renewed vigor following the Thomas case. So, this mess may have profound and long lasting consequences for these college (and a few high school) file sharers threatened with fines and lawsuits by the RIAA. This could force a realignment over these issues which could potentially lead to a very good outcome. It is far past the time when the association should embrace and use file sharing in some way as a means of getting music into the ears of fans rather than attacking them for their devotion to the music.
There is a serious flaw in what the Association has done in concentrating its efforts on catching college students who share music. The flaw as we have consistently reported here is that the record companies have publicly acknowledged that they have no identifiable way of telling if a student (or other user whatsoever for that matter) is making an illegal download from shared files. It can only tell one thing and one thing alone: when users have potentially made music available for others to download. Last I checked, you cannot convict on the possibility.
So, as you can see the RIAA has a big problem here.
Kathleen Parker, the latest odious reich-wing blogger to get a spot on Fred "Where's his fucking buyout?" Hiatt's wankitorial page:
The Democrats Hug It Out
By Kathleen Parker
Saturday, May 17, 2008; Page A17
Well, at least they didn't kiss.
Yeah, they're that dumb...you want hugging?
Nobody saw that coming.
Here's a clue WaPo, fewer racists writing editorials, thanks.
All so he could come back and run for President and proclaim he will not negotiate with people we don't like?
Friday, May 16, 2008
For release embarrassing new and important information, that is. Yes, we are all going to agree that the quickest way to bury a news story appears to release it on a Friday afternoon. Perhaps we should paraphrase The Cure about Friday I'm in Love with the ignorant media.
I would call this a pretty damn important story in the continuing series of episodes that destroy what little credibility Mr. Straight-talk had left:
Republican operatives Doug Davenport and Doug Goodyear were both quietly released from their duties with the McCain campaign this week when it was revealed that their Washington lobbying firm, DCI Group, had been paid $348,000 to represent Burma's repressive military junta in 2002. McCain's critics noted that top McCain aide Charlie Black has lobbied for authoritarian regimes as nasty or worse than Burma's, raising the question of whether McCain will cut ties with tainted figures only when it is politically expedient for him to do so.
It is so very interesting how the McCain camp managed this nothing-to-see-here wee news item about him taking money from military dictators by releasing it on Friday. Military dictators who are creating a human tragedy in their country right now, in case we're all not paying attention. And as usual the national media played right into the McCain camp's hands. Could they have helped him slip out of this anymore easily?
And forget the local media -- they have abrogated their responsibility to the public good a long time ago. How much decent (forget good) political coverage do you see from your local stations?
This is a much more important issue than the out of context rantings of a preacher with an ego. This story is so much more important because it reveals more about McCain than any of his "aw shucks" just-doing -my-duty illusion -- the 'ol war hero straight talk carefully crafted image is just that, a carefully orchestrated image. McCain consistently reveal his true image, a walking talking political cartoon.
I am curious, though. Can we think of anyone who did not have to jump through numerous hoops, tests, and interviews in order to secure their employment? So the idea that McCain didn't know who these guys were and what they did before they joined his campaign is a boldfaced lie. One more lie to the mountain of lies that McCain is willing to tell to secure what he thinks is some strange kind of birth right to become president.
Or worse... is it possible that McCain was stupid enough to think that their ties to the Burmese/Myanmar dictators would not be discovered? In any case, this whole episode gives us a clear glimpse into what a McCain administration will actually look like, what they will do. It will make George W. Bush's mis-administration look positively competent. Just imagine how bad your organizational skills have to be to accomplish that....
Isn't that a frightening thought? Was that a chill down your back, too?
Hey, think McCain will give the money back? Think that will happen on a Friday?