Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Whisky Bar

Maybe it's the late hour, maybe it's too much time spent listening to blather, but tonight I read four of five posts at Billmon's The Whiskey Bar and was blown out of my socks by the insights and the skillful way they were presented. Go there, be amazed and be grateful Billmon's on our side.

Some lose, some win

Weapons labs, defense firms, and pundits who also have financial stakes in war-related venture funds and investments like James Woolsey clean up in times of low-trust and high-fear. If things go back to normal, these players lose. There is a zero-sum game underway where return to stability and normality is something that many in the Washington establishment will vigorously, though in nuanced and subtle ways, fight.

From Talking Points Memo (but not Marshall, from sub Clemons)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Secret truth you always knew

It is finally dawning on the Panglosses on the more centrist left that things are not what they seem. We do, in fact, live in a plutocracy; that the nuevo aristocrats in the media and government, Democrats and Republicans, are all in the same bed and conspiring to keep truth, wealth and power from you and me. It's for the good of the country, they tell themselves, when it is really for their own selfish interests. Hopefully this new realism showing up in posts by some of the super star leftist bloggers signals an awakening and raises some interesting questions. Is it at last a viable time for a third party to emerge? Should we oppose any and all insider candidates, Hillary and Biden, for example, and any other Democratic senators for that matter?

If you've been puzzled by the acquiescence of the Democratic Senators and the media, these two posts, Digby's (linked in the previous post) and The Tiny Revolution's will answer your questions, but not with answers you might wish to receive.

Here's a couple of paragraphs from A Tiny Revolution

...I grew up in the Washington area and went to school with lots of children of government and media types. Then I went to Yale, which is also full of such offspring. What I saw was that the corporate media—places like the New York Times, Washington Post, the networks, etc.—and government figures are blatantly, brazenly in bed with each other. And not just metaphorically; it's often literally true. There's Andrea Mitchell & Alan Greenspan; James Rubin & Christiane Amanpour; Judith Miller & a cast of thousands; and so on.

In any case, whoever they're shtupping, they share a mindset: the government and corporate media self-consciously see themselves as a governing elite that runs things hand in hand. That's why Nicholas Kristof is anxious that if the hoi polloi keep calling George Bush a liar, it may make America "increasingly difficult to govern."

From near the end of The Tiny Revolution's post:
...If you're not part of their little charmed circle, believe me, all your worst suspicions about them are true. They do think you're stupid. They do lie to you. They do hate and fear you. Most importantly, they think you can't be trusted with the things they know—because if you did know them, you'd go nuts and break America. ...

That would be their America. The America many of us live in is already broken.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Digby has a clear vision of what Washington and the press are all about. You should read it all.


Sometimes you come across something that is just too good to let go by. Here's a post by someone looking at Van Gogh looking at the world. Pretty fine stuff.

A Hole in Vincent's Head

A special post.

Gas from coal

Here's something that might give pause to even the darkest views of the most hardened pessimists.

Montana's governor wants to solve America's rising energy costs using a technology discovered in Germany 80 years ago that converts coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel.

The Fischer-Tropsch technology, discovered by German researchers in 1923 and later used by the Nazis to convert coal into wartime fuels, was not economical as long as oil cost less than $30 a barrel....

...Montana is "sitting on more energy than they have in the Middle East," Schweitzer told Reuters in an interview this week.

"I am leading this country in this desire and demand to convert coal into gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel. We can do it in Montana for $1 per gallon," he said.

"We can do it cheaper than importing oil from the sheiks, dictators, rats and crooks that we're bringing it from right now."

The governor estimated the cost of producing a barrel of oil through the Fischer-Tropsch method at $32, and said that with its 120 billion tons of coal -- a little less than a third of the U.S total -- Montana could supply the entire United States with its aviation, gas and diesel fuel for 40 years without creating environmental damage.

From here via Kos

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

American Legion

If you missed the American Legion's fascist like call for suppression of dissent you can go to Billmon and catch an interesting juxtaposition of their position today and their position when Clinton was facing the mess in Yugoslavia.

Needless to say, it's a 180 degree change of direction.

What's a blog?

One more point -- people fundamentally misunderstand this medium. Blog writing isn't like any other kind of writing. There are no drafts, no editors, no time buffers that allow for more careful consideration of the words used. So people latch on to posts and say, "oh, if only these three words weren't used, then this post would've been fine". That's not how this medium works. It's raw. It's immediate. And sometimes, that one "offending" word gets in. It's an occupational hazard, and one I'm comfortable with.

And ultimately, it's a package deal. You get the good and the bad.

from Kos

Nutcase mullah revealed to be lying weasel

Not only is Robertson a nutcase, blood thirsty fanatic, he also reveals himself to be a lying weasel.

"I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP [Associated Press], but that happens all the time," Robertson said on "The 700 Club" program.

Here's what Robertson said Monday:

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it," said Robertson on Monday's program. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war."

Both quotes from CNN

Monday, August 22, 2005


Digby (Hullabloo) sums it all up very nicely and indirectly helps me understand the phenomenon of "Sportsmen for Bush." Armed with Digby's analysis and given what I know about Americans, I won't be surprised if they win it all next time without even having to fix the election.

From the Digby link:

I keep hearing that the beltway insiders have their money on George Allen to be the Republican nominee in 2008. I assume it is because he is just as stupid as George W. Bush....

...The Republicans have determined that they do better with nominees who make their constituents believe they are smart enough to be president. It's the right's version of the self-esteem movement.

George Allen is an extremely dumb guy. Really dumb. Awesomely dumb.

Who do we have that's dumb enough to beat him?

I've been trying to think of a way to make this simple little point for quite a while. Maybe I'm dumb enough to win some votes from people pleased to discover they are as smart as I am.

Christianity, right wing style

Here's an illuminating quote from Pat Robertson made today on the 700 Club broadcast, from Media Matters via Atrios.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he (Chavez, President of Venezuela) thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

You good Christians might want to let us know where assassination fits into the gospels.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Computerized voting machines and other instruments of voting for funsies are in place, or are about to be, even here in Pennsylvania.

Many Democrats continue to believe those presently running our country can be voted out of power. These Democrats will soon be energetically whirling around gathering votes and contributions as if votes will be fairly cast and honestly counted and we will all get sucked into particpating in the charade. Unfortunately, fair elections are not going to happen again. The Republican extremists have been in power long enough to perfect their vote fraud techniques and they do not intend to let go of control.

Maybe the reason Democrats choose not to face election theft issues is because they have no answers. Pretending there are no problems makes the issue go away for awhile. And, for those of us with no power whatsoever, but nonetheless looking eagerly forward to the next election, what fun it is to take polls with our blogs, have serious discussions about positions and imagine fantasy candidates cruising to victory, or to losses by respectable, better than anticipated margins, and oh what unbridled joy it is to pretend the loony nitwit Santorum is humbled in defeat and the freshly discovered Hackett celebrates a Senate victory in Ohio....

We better wake up.

Election 2000 was stolen, more coup than election. Election 2004 was also stolen, though more smoothly. The plain truth is: once in power fascists are difficult to dislodge.

Read Krugman.

Sweet dreams.

Bush supports Islamic Republic of Iraq.

It really doesn't get much nuttier than this, from Talk Left and, via link there, to Juan Cole.

In Iraq, the U.S. is now supporting formation of a fundamentalist Islamic state, like Iran and similar in function (though not in sect) to Taliban Afghanistan. This is not good news for Iraqi women, nor for secular Iraqis. Thanks to us, many Iraqis will be worse off without Saddam than they were with him.

Support for Bush has become support for a crazy Sharia governed state. I wonder how many Senators would have voted for the war if they were told it was being fought to establish a fundamentalist Islamic republic.

Bush will take anything that lets him get out of Iraq; anything that provides enough cover for him to call Iraq a democracy and say "mission accomplished". No doubt many Americans will admire these new clothes our naked emperor will wear, including many of our "centrist" Democrats. The Right will claim victory. Centrist Democrats will say "it's not a complete victory, but Saddam no longer threatens us and that is at least a small victory." And the decks will be cleared of Iraq and we will be off to more manageable invasions. Cuba for example, or better yet Venezuela, because it has oil and because Chavez pisses Cheney off.

If you are interested in keeping track of events in Iraq, the great Juan Cole is the best. After checking out Juan Cole, read a few of the also great Billmon's recent posts. Following these two bloggers keeps you on an easy path to being an expert. For informed takes on breaking news before it breaks, stick to Atios, Kos and Talk Left (see right margin). To gain wisdom while being entertained, go to Noutopia.

If you prefer to be a fool or simply well versed in the administration's positions, watch and believe CNN, FOX and the New York Times. That course will keep you brain dead.