Friday, June 24, 2005

Part of the script

Rove public statements are on message and part of a plan.

Shakespeare's Sister has a provocative take on the Rove comments and the storm they generated. Go here for the details.

Today, the RNC issued talking points obviously constructed in support of Rove’s statement, in addition to an attack ad against Dick Durbin based on his Gitmo comments.

And so the red herring is cast ashore for all to admire.

This is their defensive play—deflect all interest in the Downing Street Documents by some controversy and force liberals to defend themselves…again.

It’s nothing but subterfuge, designed to detract from this major issue with their usual disingenuous bullshit. The Good News: This is their last line of defense against something that’s big and bothersome for them, so we’re on the right track. The Bad News: This line of defense has worked for them before and it will work again, if we don’t call them on it.

Via Majikthis

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Out foxed

There are still some ripples around from the Susan Estrich/Fox news teapot tempest.

Yesterday this was posted on Talk Left

I've done legal commenting on Fox News for eight years, mostly from Denver but many times at their New York studio. I've never been paid a dime by them, although I've asked a few times. I can underscore they never, ever tell you what to say and you can say whatever you want. Their producers are top notch. They are appreciative, professional and a pleasure to interact with. I may not share the views of their anchors, but on a personal level, I like every one of them.

I've never met Roger Ailes, so I don't have anything to say there, but I think the attacks on Susan are catty and misinformed. Susan is a law professor and expert on politics and feminist issues. I don't always agree with her either - I'm far to the left of her - but the attacks on her embarrass me. Liberals need to stop eating their own.

Talk Left is a fine blog but I disagree with almost everything in this post. Even the worst people can be polite and socially gracious and characterizing Fox that way is a meaningless defense.

There is no need to “tell you what to say” because your message is not going to be heard. You are not there for an exchange of ideas, or to provide content. You are their to play a part in simple play. The Fox propaganda maestros know that in their territory when you are painted “liberal” you have no message of your own. You are a stooge in a political theater. The more earnest you appear the better it is for them.

Here’s how Rove characterized girly men liberal reactions to 9/11.

…liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers….

An ambitious liberal, even an eloquent and informed one, goes on Fox news, thinks he or she is making a point, is bullied, insulted, shouted down and, tail wagging, limps back for more. That simple, repeated play makes Rove’s point. Liberals are flower children, never to be entrusted with the responsibities of real power in a dangerous world. Only conservatives are strong enough to protect us.

No liberal should ever go on Fox news. But some will and will be out foxed. Being on TV is a high few ambitious egos are able to resist even though playing a part in their propaganda theater advances their message, not ours.

Lefties on Fox news embarrass me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

China Chevy to the levee

This Jim Hightower column,"Chevy's Revolting Revolution" caught my eye. I saw a version today in the Pocono Record.

...Check out Chevy's "Equinox," for example, a new SUV that's a central feature of the company's current star-spangled ad campaign. Chevrolet doesn't want you to know it, but there's not much that's American in the Equinox – it's assembled in Canada, its transmission is made in Japan, and – well, here's something revolutionary – its engine is made in China!

While General Motors has been shutting down its auto plants in Michigan, Maryland, and Ohio, it has been quietly investing more than a billion dollars in joint ventures with China's ruling elite to make cars and car parts there for export back here to the USA....

GM plans to layoff 25,000 workers in the U.S. by 2008 and blames the job loss on pension and health insurance costs. It looks like GM sees its future as being elswhere.

Now is not a good time to be an American who works.

Related Christian Science Monitor article

Made in China link

Dick Durbin

Why is it that so many Democrats can't wait to cave in? What possibly could have turned the man?

Senator Durbin, you should have held fast to the course. Your apology betrays us and encourages the crazy rightwingers.

Steve Gilliard is more forthright.


Whatever Cheney says, it’s a safe bet that the opposite is true. Yesterday, visiting Talk Left, I was reminded of the obvious: Cheney says Dean never won anything. Dean was elected Governor of Vermont five times.

And, there’s Cheney's truth forgotten statements on these issues: the “final throes” silliness, the WMD lies and all that stuff about being welcomed with bouquets from grateful Iraqis.

Or, maybe they’re not lies. Maybe Cheney's nasty ego is so inflated he actually believes that any thought he has is true simply because it is a Cheney thought.

It is amazing how far a crazy white man with a deep voice can go in this country. Even a pasty one like Cheney who is not especially bright, has few if any talents, spent most of his life shuffling papers and thinks shooting dozens of pheasants as they are released from cages is hunting.

What a country.

The big picture

If you’re in the mood to think big, here’s something to mull over, “A Future Timeline of Humanity and the Universe” which I linked to from Juan Cole’s “Cole on Knowing his Own History; and Isaiah Berlin”.

Fox fun

Here's an entertaining slugfest. DC Media Girl beats the shit out of Susan Estrich and others pile on.

DC Media Girl


The Sideshow (always hours ahead of most of us)

Steve Gilliard

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Follow the links exercise

Go here, to Atrios, and follow the link there to the Star Tribune. Read the editorial and then go here to get Richard Durbin contact information and then send him some encouragement.


With Coke Zero, Coke has done it again. Confused me completely.

In case you haven’t seen it, Coke Zero is the new Coke in the black, vaguely goth bottle—a package where I’d expect to find an Everclear and ground glass cocktail or maybe a new launch of Mad Dog 20-20

Here’s what Coke has to say on their web site:
“Coca-Cola Zero is exactly what young adults told us they wanted—real Coca-Cola taste, zero calories and a new brand they can call their own,” said Dan Dillon, vice president Diet Portfolio, Coca-Cola North America. “Young people today do not want to compromise on flavor or calories and we think Coca-Cola Zero’s taste and personality will appeal to them.”…

From the Q & A in the press release quoted from above:
Q. What’s wrong with Diet Coke?
A. Absolutely nothing. Diet Coke is the #1 diet cola in America and continues to grow. Coca-Cola Zero will provide non users of current zero calorie colas a great tasting option.

Q. What will Coca-Cola Zero taste like?
A. It has real Coca-Cola taste, with zero calories.

I'm still confused. Except for the bottle is it the same as Diet Coke?
Zero they call it. Zero it is.

Here's some other links that young adults told us they wanted:



Mad Dog 20-20

Intelligent debate

From an AP story "Bill would allow 'intelligent design' lessons in schools" (PA schools that is) published in today's Pocono Record

Experts on both sides of the debate over whether public schools should teach "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution — a question already before a federal court — sparred in front of a state legislative panel Monday.

The House Subcommittee on Basic Education heard testimony on a bill that would allow local school boards to mandate that science lessons include intelligent design, a concept that holds the universe must have been created by an unspecified guiding force because it is so complex.

It is hard to believe that legislators are actually ingnorant enough or intimidated enough to sit down and talk seriously about this.

I need to scream. aaaaaaaargh.


From the Socialists.
The US balance of payments deficit hit an all-time high for the first quarter of the year, rising to $195.1 billion, up 3.6 percent from the previous record of $188.4 billion for the final three months of 2004 and well above market predictions of $190 billion. The latest figure means that the US payments deficit is running at an annual rate of $780 billion, requiring $2 billion a day from the rest of the world—mainly provided by Japan, China and other Asian nations—to finance it.

We can’t afford to send enough troops to Iraq. We can’t afford to properly equip those that are there. We can’t afford to draft reserves and the National Guard, stripping towns of all the people that know how to do useful things.

It’s hard to afford to do anything while giving tax cuts to the rich and funding wildly out of control war profiteering by Halliburton and other favored companies.

You don't need to be a wizard to see that as long as we continue to underwrite the gluttony of the extreme Right elites we can’t afford the basic structures we working people counted on. If this continues we will lose medical coverage, access to higher education, quality public schools, ability to own our homes, cheap travel, retirement and much more.

We are an empire in decline. It should be apparent to all that the Bush dreams of seizing control of the world’s energy resources are delusional.

To raise our spirits maybe we can invade Grenada again or take a shot at Venezuela. Or, we could once again create a society so attractive everyone would want to be a part of it or duplicate it in their own countries. Nice idea, but not likely to happen with a government that insists on stripping rights and economic independence from working people and rule them by keeping them insecure and terrified. Who wants that?

The pump

From Kunstler's Clusterfuck Nation.
Iraq is not Vietnam, all right, because there is no way the US can pull out now without severe consequences, namely the loss of our access to all the oil in the Middle East -- where two-thirds of the world's remaining oil is

From a Patriot News (PA) editorial

...It may be true that the world has 40 years of oil left. But it doesn't have 40 years to figure out how it will manage once the Age of Petroleum expires. Long before then, the price will make oil too expensive to burn. ..

America and the world needs leadership today to begin moving beyond the assumption we can drill and pump our way through any potential energy shortfall. Better to act now than wait until the geological realities of oil depletion hit the world economy with full force.

From The Pocono Record:

"I definitely drive a lot less," said 18-year-old Greg Bremer of Brodheadsville, who carpools to his job in Quakertown to conserve gas.

Filling the two tanks of his light brown, 1988 Ford F-150 truck costs him $80. Bremer pumped $30 into one tank Monday evening and admitted he misses the 4-cylinder Nissan Stanza he drove before it was wrecked in an accident.

Also from the Pocono Record is this link to cheap gas in your neighborhood

Monday, June 20, 2005

New way to make war pay

Sell equipment to soldiers.

Marines going to Iraq are being urged by superiors to buy their own special equipment, including armored vests. Begin following the links here.

Or go here.

(via Sideshow)

From the birds

An estimated 675,000 Americans died of influenza in the 1918 epidemic.

We are overdue for another, possibly worse, epidemic and it may well be bird flu. So far (according to this site) there are more than sixty reported cases of people with bird flu, 28 people hospitalized with symptoms and 13 with confirmed bird flu.

Compared to the past, our population is so dense and travel between continents so common that once a virus gets started it could be impossible to contain. We can’t count on drug companies to be able to configure vaccines and manufacture them quickly enough to keep up with virus mutations.

(Working people can be comforted by the certainty that if such an epidemic occurs, their beloved leaders in Washington will be first to be safely vaccinated as will the adored super-rich and the super star journalists. Hopefully, some vaccine will trickle down to help many of us as well.)

The possibility of a major epidemic is real but it remains on the edge of the public radar because there are so many other issues in focus, like torture, Iraq, runaway brides, and Michael Jackson.

Here’s a link to a very ambitious project, in infancy, planned as a base for grass roots action against bird flu. And a link to Majikthis who also has her eye on health issues and where I found the Effect Measure link.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Peaking? Peaked?

Oil scales new peak, eyes $60 on demand
Sun Jun 19, 2005 10:23 PM ET

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices soared to a new record high over $59 a barrel on Monday, extending last week's surge as a threat against Western consulates in OPEC member Nigeria jolted traders already worried about tight supplies.
Oil prices climbed more than 9 percent, or nearly $5, last week, drawing additional buying interest from trend-following hedge funds as they surpassed the previous early April high.

Just in time for the Monday morning 80 mile plus commute from my neighborhood to NYC.

Too much joe

Here comes Biden. The next Lieberman. link