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8 years Ago

On Congressional Resignation

Published by marco on

Michelle Bachmann is a member of the U.S. Congress. She has said:

“Literally, if we took away the minimum wage—if conceivably it was gone—we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”

She seems to be all for a race to the bottom, selling out every American in an ideological adherence to what she would no doubt call free-market principles. Turning her opinions into policy would be suicidal for the nation and would hurt... [More]

What We Do Without Dean Baker?

Published by marco on

The man is a steadfast news-reading and -debunking machine. You can read his reviews of articles from the mass media at Beat the Press by Dean Baker (CEPR). He is a national treasure and that he’s not as household a name as Anderson Cooper is a sign of the average American’s decline and inability to pay attention to that which could make his or her life so much better.

In response to the recent article, The Budget Debate, Revealed by Richard W. Stevenson (NY Times), Baker wrote The Battle Is About Giving More Money to Rich People, Not About the... [More]

Barbarians (Osama bin Laden is dead, take 1)

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It’s so hard to separate all of the threads in the warp and weft of history. A Saudi prince is reared in the lap of luxury. At first, he is fiercely nationalistic but also proud of his people and his religion and his culture. This pride is easily manipulated to draw him into battle in a foreign country to battle the communist foe in the employ of the capitalist one.

Years later, he will take up arms against his former employer for the crime of building bases in his homeland. He was purported... [More]

Which Part Makes Us the Good Guys?

Published by marco on

Warning: semi-inchoate and stream-of-consciousness rant lies ahead. YMMV.


It’s time to reëxamine our myth, to reëvaluate the stories with which we allow ourselves to be lulled into a complacency about who we really are. Or rather and more precisely, what it is that America really is when the scales have fallen from our eyes, when the rose-colored glasses are put away, when we stop turning a blind eye to the horror that our lifestyles engender the world over just so we can continue living... [More]

The State of the Media

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As usual, Stephen Colbert manages to encapsulate the problem with American media in a rant delivered to/in support of Mika Brzezinski on his show from the 18th (transcript below).

Mika Brzezinski Experiences Palin Fatigue by Stephen Colbert (Colbert Nation)

“Mika, you need to buck up. I know you think this story has no purpose other than to keep Sarah Palin’s name in the headlines for another news cycle. I know you think she has nothing to offer the national dialogue and that her speeches are just coded talking points mixed in with words picked at random from a... [More]”

Attention America: How to Pronounce a Certain German Propagandist’s Name

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Dear American Media, Political Talking Heads and Wonks of all Stripes,

If you’re going to insist on calling each other Nazis all the damned time, fine. I don’t even care that the shoe almost never fits.

But, if you’re going to invoke the dreaded Herr Göbbels (Wikpedia), at least pronounce his name correctly.

Take a close look, morons: that’s an umlaut, not an ‘r’.

While it’s inspiring that you actually manage the umlaut correctly, it’s a complete mystery why you all insist on adding an ‘r’ after it.... [More]

Wikileaks 2010

Published by marco on

 The article What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010 by Glenn Greenwald (Salon)offers a terse and eye-opening list of leaks in 2010.

The leaks range from revealing that U.S. forces are operating in Pakistan and Yemen—contrary to official statements by high-level U.S. officials—to revealing that the Obama administration folded on prosecuting Bush-era human rights transgressions (as well as avidly continuing them) to the Pope refusing to aid investigators in sex abuse investigations to dozens of other instances... [More]

The Stories the Rich Tell Themselves (And that We Believe)

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You would think that this article, Down and Out on $250,000 a Year by Karen Hube (Fiscal Times), is an example of Swiftian satire. You would be wrong.

“The bottom line: It’s not exactly easy street for our $250,000-a-year family, especially when it lives in high-tax areas on either coast. Even with an additional $3,000 in investment income, they end up in the red — after taxes, saving for retirement and their children’s education, and a middle-of-the-road cost of living — in seven out of the eight communities in the... [More]”

An Argument In Favor of Wikileaks

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The article Leak Soup by Morgan Meis (The Smart Set) discusses Ambassador Ischinger’s[1] response to Wikileaks actions, published in the New York Times, in which he wrote: “[t]his is more serious: It is about war and peace, and it can be about life or death.”.

“And that is where Ambassador Ischinger lost me for good. That is where I went over to the other side, where I became a Julian man. There is only so much bullshit that any man can ingest, and I’ve been topped off. Mr. Ischinger is in the same lineage as all the noble men... [More]”

9 years Ago

When $700 billion is considered restrictive

Published by marco on

Here’s the cover of a recent issue of the Weekly Standard. Though it’s possible that they were being highly ironic, it’s highly unlikely.

The Weekly Standard is not alone in promulgating this propaganda. It is the standard story that the U.S. military is on the point of collapse not because it is too large or used too often, but because the “liberals” are trying to strangle it in its crib. The poor, benighted thing barely stands a chance at survival if the American people don’t rise up and... [More]

A Discussion on Undocumented Workers

Published by marco on

Portions of this discussion are taken from a discussion I had on Facebook.


Joe Legal vs. José Illegal

This comparison of Joe Legal vs. José Illegal (Snopes.com) reaches its conclusion by employing both straw-man reasoning (knocking down an exaggerated, drastically simplified or superficial version of a premise and then claiming to have refuted the original) and a pretty cavalier attitude toward fact (e.g. undocumented workers are not eligible for welfare; their American children, on the other hand,... [More]

Israel on the High Seas

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The reason that so many people believe unquestioningly that the Israeli attack on the cargo flotilla was completely justified is that these people really and truly believe that there were terrorists on board. It’s hard for those who know that the boats were mostly filled with humanitarians, activists, foodstuffs and cement to imagine how people could really and truly believe that their main mission was to deliver missiles and suicide bombers. It’s faith, pure and simple; those that don’t doubt... [More]

Bizarro World

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Two recent events have elicited reactions from participants

Pat Buchanan on the Flotilla Attack

The recent Israeli attack on the the Hamas military resupply flotilla (as it must surely be called in U.S. media) forced Patrick Buchanan (Wikipedia)—perhaps most famous for having such stridently and racist nationalistic views that the fact that so many Florida Jews voted for him was cited as proof that something was rotten in Florida in the 2000 presidential election—to write the article, Lift the Siege... [More] (Antiwar.com)

When is it OK to kill someone?

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Unfortunately, this isn’t the easiest question to answer. There are those out there who would naively declare that it’s never OK to kill someone are just showing the gross inexperience in thinking in an ethically constructive way. These people are also most likely anti-Semites. The article, This Says It All by Justin Raimondo (Antiwar.com), gets us started.

“Vice President Joe “Loose Cannon” Biden, […] when asked about the attack on the flotilla, said: “So what’s the big deal here?” […] At the time he said it, the odds... [More]”

Why Iran?

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Why Iran? Why, why, why are we hammering on Iran again? Which countries have they attacked? Which countries have they threatened? And don’t say Israel, because that little tidbit is a mistranslation bordering on a lie. The NIE has, for the second time in a decade, come out and conclusively said that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons. This despite the fact that doing this is pretty much career suicide for all involved in the report. Iran just sealed a deal to deposit about half of its already... [More]

Cruel & Unusual

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The article, My Brother Faces a Lifetime of Solitary Confinement on a Spurious Terror Conviction by Mariam Abu-Ali (AlterNet), tells of a young student’s life in an American super-max prison in Colorado. He spent two years in a Saudi Prison, a stay during which a confession was extracted using torture. His stay in the U.S. is hardly better, where he’s

“[…] under 23-hour lockdown, in a 7x12 cell. He has one recreational hour in which he must get strip-searched if he wishes to leave his cell. He gets one unscheduled... [More]”

Your Papers, Please

Published by marco on

I got this question recently in a mail:

“From my quick understanding I don’t see why it’s a big deal to ask the immigration status of someone that has potentially broken the law?”

The main reason that it would be a big deal[1] is that it violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. (Wikipedia)

Here’s the text of amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no... [More]”

War on Terror Rides Again

Published by marco on

 Howling at the Muslim MoonJust one day after writing the article, Terror Kabuki, the cartoon to the right show up, almost as if on cue. The question mark is the coward’s shield, protecting the cartoonist from actually putting the statement in print that he doesn’t think the Times Square bomber was acting alone. That, in fact, he sees it as just another skirmish in the battle against Islam itself—as evidenced by the crescent moon and star.

That’s quite a stretch, though, isn’t it? The guy they arrested is the bomber?... [More]

Not Obama’s Joke to Make

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Obama did his second White House Correspondents’ Dinner, as covered in the article, Did You Hear the Joke About the Predator Drone That Bombed? by Medea Benjamin and Nancy Moncias (AlterNet) One joke apparently stood out as out of line—as out-of-line as Bush’s jokes about not being able to find WMDs.

“‘Jonas Brothers are here, they’re out there somewhere,‘ President Obama quipped as he looked out at the packed room. Then he furrowed his brow, pretending to send a stern message to the pop band. ‘Sasha and Malia are huge fans, but boys,... [More]”

Terror Kabuki

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The American media machine is truly something to behold. On Saturday, there was a “bomb” in Times Square—bomb in quotes because the incident actually involved potentially combustible materials put together so ineptly that only smoke was (or could have ever been) produced. All qualified observers (including NYC police commissioners and mayor Bloomberg) deemed the would/be bomber laughably incompetent. Though his intent was undoubtedly malicious, his skills were so thoroughly lacking as to... [More]

On Jesse Ventura

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Jesse Ventura is a former pro wrestler and action movie star—he famously starred in Predator with Schwarzenegger. He claims to have been in the Navy Seals—though it turns out he was in the predecessor to the Seals and never actually saw combat in ‘Nam, though he trained for it. He was elected governor of Minnesota as an independent and went on to write a book about conspiracies to accompany a TV show about conspiracies. He’s a self-professed 9–11 truther.

He sounds like a joke, really. A... [More]

Death from Above

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A little while ago, WikiLeaks released a video showing a U.S. helicopter in Iraq on patrol in 2007. During its patrol, it engaged and killed several Iraqis. Despite several Freedom of Information requests, the Pentagon refused to release the video because two of the slain turned out to have been reporters for Reuter’s. The full, unencrypted video was finally leaked by Pentagon personnel and posted on the Internet. There is a 38–minute version and a 17–minute version. The shorter version is... [More]

Two Wars Are Not Enough

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There are some for whom the dream of going to war with Iran has not died. As succinctly detailed in the article What War with Iran Means by Patrick Buchanan (Antiwar.com), these criminally insane members of the Senate have expressed themselves in no uncertain terms:

“Diplomacy has failed. Iran is on the verge of becoming nuclear and we cannot afford that.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
“We have to contemplate the final option. The use of force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”
Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind.
“[War is a ] terrible thing, [but] sometimes it is better to go to... [More]”
Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.

Berubé likes Krugman better than Chomsky

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From the article Torture: Business as Usual? by Michael Berubé (Dissent Magazine):

“[I]t’s crucial to know when you’re dealing with a radical break and crucial not to normalize it by saying, in effect, move on, move on, nothing new to see here.”

But Chomsky doesn’t really say “move on, move on, nothing new to see here”, does he?. To me, Chomsky’s leftism always seemed to emphasize the importance of tackling what is in fact not an ephemeral or generational problem. It may be a hopeless endeavor because no one is listening, but it’s... [More]

The Congress and The Senate: Legislating by Accident

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The health care bill has passed the Congress and most of the world is assuming that it will pass through the Senate as well. The reconciled bill is much closer to the original House bill than to the Senate bill, so that assumption seems a bit premature. Though the Senate’s 41 Republicans will definitely vote against it, the Democrats have to hope that the changes don’t cause enough defections by so-called “Blue Dog” Democrats. Perhaps none of them are willing to risk the political damage at... [More]

Obama’s First State of the Union Address

Published by marco on

In years past, it’s always been more interesting to read the Transcript of the State of the Union Address (NY Times) (in this instance, Obama’s first, in 2010) than to listen to it. It is in the reading that one gets a good sense of what the president thinks he can get away with. Remember Bush spending minutes talking about the steroid problem in high school sports as two wars he started raged? Remember his talk of a Mars shot when he needed to distract attention from some debacle? Well, now it’s Obama’s... [More]

The Dreaded Left Wing

Published by marco on

Power politics has always been about fear. Prop up a boogeyman, get people good and scared and riled up about it, accuse your opponents of being the boogeyman, get the media on your side, then watch the fireworks.

And never—ever—let up.

Note that the last clause in the last sentence in the first paragraph was not “then sit back and watch the fireworks”, as one more colloquially hears. Sitting back is for those who no longer want to be in power. Those in power must be relentless in finding... [More]

Four Decades Plus One

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 Port-au-Prince January 17, 2010In the just over four decades since Martin Luther King was murdered, it seems as if, were he to be resurrected, he would—after a brief acclimatization to the technological changes that had occurred—simply be able to pick up right where he’d left off. Because very little has changed. The illegal surveillance under which the FBI kept him throughout his career now extends to all Americans—and has been made legal. It is unlikely that he would draw comfort from the notion that, though America... [More]

Our Gift to the World

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In a very well-written piece, The Quiet American (Antiwar.com), by the always thoughtful Israeli journalist, Uri Avnery, the “War on Terror” is taken to task as an expression as well as a concept. Though the Obama administration has officially consigned the phrase to the dustbin, the policy it represents is nearly unchanged from the Bush era. The concept as a shining light leading America through the inky blackness of an ever more dangerous world lives on with a vengeance.

At the press circus after the... [More]

Rudy: Always Good for a Laugh

Published by marco on

Rudy Giuliani is a mean, small, racially-motivated and purely political animal and always has been. Viz:

“We had no domestic attacks under Bush.”

Giuliani started the primary race for the Republican presidential nomination with a bang. That he was, for a while, running neck-and-neck with Hillary can be in no small part attributed to his near-constant reference to “9–11”. In fact, he quickly became known not as a “one-issue candidate” but as a “one-phrase candidate”. His orations were nothing... [More]