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« Liberal Outrage: February 2007 | Main | Liberal Outrage: April 2007 »

Liberal Outrage

I do not recall, Senator - I mean Congressman! Hah hah! It's all a joke to me!

Go watch this corrupt woman lie about how she just doesn't remember hosting a meeting where she tried to get the government agency she runs to use government resources to win elections for Republicans. Go watch. Go on.


By fnord12 | March 28, 2007, 2:18 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



More like this, please

(also found on Digby):

BLITZER: Here's what you told Bill Bennett on his radio show on Monday.

MCCAIN: Yes.

BLITZER: "There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today."

MCCAIN: Yes.

BLITZER: "The U.S. is beginning to succeed in Iraq."

You know, everything we hear, that if you leave the so-called green zone, the international zone, and you go outside of that secure area, relatively speaking, you're in trouble if you're an American.

MCCAIN: You know, that's why you ought to catch up on things, Wolf.

General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed Humvee. You want to -- I think you ought to catch up. You see, you are giving the old line of three months ago. I understand it. We certainly don't get it through the filter of some of the media.

...
BLITZER: Senator John McCain, a Republican presidential candidate, speaking here in THE SITUATION ROOM within the past hour.

Let's go live to Baghdad right now.

CNN's Michael Ware is standing by -- Michael, you've been there, what, for four years. You're walking around Baghdad on a daily basis.

Has there been this improvement that Senator McCain is speaking about?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'd certainly like to bring Senator McCain up to speed, if he ever gives me the opportunity. And if I have any difficulty hearing you right now, Wolf, that's because of the helicopter circling overhead and the gun battle that is blazing just a few blocks down the road.

Is Baghdad any safer?

Sectarian violence -- one particular type of violence -- is down. But none of the American generals here on the ground have anything like Senator McCain's confidence.

I mean, Senator McCain's credibility now on Iraq, which has been so solid to this point, has now been left out hanging to dry.

To suggest that there's any neighborhood in this city where an American can walk freely is beyond ludicrous. I'd love Senator McCain to tell me where that neighborhood is and he and I can go for a stroll.

And to think that General David Petraeus travels this city in an unarmed Humvee. I mean in the hour since Senator McCain has said this, I've spoken to some military sources and there was laughter down the line. I mean, certainly, the general travels in a Humvee. There's multiple Humvees around it, heavily armed. There's attack helicopters, predator drones, sniper teams, all sorts of layers of protection.

So, no, Senator McCain is way off base on this one -- Wolf.

[...]


Michael, when Senator McCain says that there are at least some areas of Baghdad where people can walk around and -- whether it's General Petraeus, the U.S. military commander, or others, are there at least some areas where you could emerge outside of the Green Zone, the international zone, where people can go out, go to a coffee shop, go to a restaurant, and simply take a stroll?

WARE: I can answer this very quickly, Wolf. No. No way on earth can a westerner, particularly an American, stroll any street of this capital of more than five million people.

I mean, if al Qaeda doesn't get wind of you, or if one of the Sunni insurgent groups don't descend upon you, or if someone doesn't tip off a Shia militia, then the nearest criminal gang is just going to see dollar signs and scoop you up. Honestly, Wolf, you'd barely last 20 minutes out there.

I don't know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad.


By fnord12 | March 28, 2007, 2:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Pod people

The government is infiltrated!

Monica Goodling, the lady who was taking the 5th with regards to testimony on the Gonzalez/prosecutor issue, is a graduate Regent University law school. This is Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition's college. She went to undergrad at "Messiah University".

Goodling is one of 150 graduates of Regent University working for the Bush administration.

At a school designed explicitly to produce inflential professionals, worldview plays an especially crucial role; it is the bridge from inner spiritual beliefs to public action in the professional sphere. It's for this reason that Regent's professors are required to integrate "biblical principles" into every subject area, and it's the reason that law students take a class their first year in the Christian foundations of law. Regent Law School Dean Jeffrey Brauch calls the result a "JD-plus" Students take the standard canon of legal education -- torts, property, constitutional law -- but supplement discussions of what the law is with discussions of what the Bible and Christian tradition say the law should be, reading Leviticus, the Gospel of Matthew, and Thomas Aquinas alongside their case law. The same model extends throughout Regent's nine schools, which offer courses like "Redemptive Cinema" and "Church-based Counseling Programs," while infusing standard professional training with insights and injunctions from the Judeo-Christian (read: Christian) tradition.

All of this found on Digby, who says: "I wonder what book in the Bible blesses vote rigging? Did Jesus preach that lying to is a good thing or that ruining someone's reputation in order to cover up ethical misdeeds (and potential crimes) is godly? I hadn't heard that. But then, I don't share the conservative Christian "worldview" so what do I know about morality?"


By fnord12 | March 28, 2007, 2:04 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



A Leftist's Opinion of MoveOn

From American Leftist:

MoveON.org has been one of my personal obssessions, but it is important to understand its centrality in preventing the emergence of an empowered antiwar movement. It has done so by calculated appeals to liberal pragmatism in relation to the electoral process. Sensing opportunity, MoveON.org organized against the invasion of Iraq in late 2002 and early 2003 on the slender pretext that it hadn't been authorized by the UN, as if to suggest that the colonial enterprise would have otherwise been acceptable. It participated in protest marches as part of a broader strategy to exploit antiwar sentiment to expand membership, while simultaneously limiting criticism of the impending conflict to the methodology of approval instead of the more compelling immorality of it.

The Iraqis? They were rarely, if ever, mentioned. Focusing upon the lack of UN authorization enabled grassroots liberals to subsequently support the occupation as questions related to the launching of the war were now considered irrelevant. It was a crude, but necessary finesse. Post-invasion, the Iraqis remained invisible, as the new mantra was Support the Troops.

Iraqis had died, and continued to die, in large numbers, with those still living lacking food, shelter, electricity and an uncontaminated water supply, but the new emphasis was about the extent to which the occupying force lacked sufficient body armour. Visitors to the MoveON.org website in 2004 and 2005 were subjected to a politically expedient fetishization of the military that, after repeated encounters, induced nausea. Removing the troops and liberating the Iraqis from the predations of the occupation was apparently not congruent with the objective of electing more Democrats.

Support the Troops is therefore one of the most insidiously effective advertising slogans in recent memory. It satisfied the legitimate motivation of people to empathize with the plight of soldiers in Iraq, while, paradoxically, enabling Democratic politicians, including liberals, to perpetuate the occupation. Or, to be more precise, people experienced the emotional release of remorse, while ensuring that there was no change in policy. Meanwhile, plans for the privatization of the Iraqi economy, and transnational control over the Iraqi oil supply, elicited little comment, except among global justice advocates. Support the Troops additionally served the essential purpose of concealing bipartisan support for the planned neoliberal transformation of Iraqi society.

The consequences of this success are dire. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, have fled the country and the US military is being destroyed by politicians who refuse to extract it before the command and control structure is shattered. It is a defeat so calamitous, so impossible to acknowledge, that the only solution is to expand the war to Iran and beyond. A more violent confrontation is required to conceal the stain of failure, even if the outcome is likely to be the end of US hegemony. Was it ever possible to peaceably scale back the American Empire? We will never know, but we do know that American liberals are among those responsible for excluding the possibility.

I'm inclined to agree with American Leftist at least partially on this. I have long felt that the Left has been too ready to compromise, too ready to take any scrap they can and herald it as a step in the right direction. The "center" of politics has taken a massive shift to the right in the last twenty years. Instead of these compromises slowly shifting the center back to the middle, it seems more like those on the Left are being pulled to the Right.

It's the mentality that in order to generate the greater consensus, in order to make the idea, bill, meme to succeed, you've got to build compromises into the original proposal. This seems like a stupid way to negotiate. You're already giving away half of your position before you've even sat down at the table.

This latest bill with the non-binding timetable for troop withdrawal is a good example. Instead of Barbara Lee's more aggressive proposal to strictly use funding towards troop withdrawal, many liberals pushed for Pelosi's softer bill. Yes, Pelosi had a better chance of getting hers through, but the idea is to make the other side fight for it. At least a little. It would help me personally shake that "Democrats are weenies" idea.

Also, what's with this "non-binding" crap? If you can't make him stick to it, what's the point in expending all this energy to get it passed? You would gain just as much by taking an add out in the paper.

I'm not sure of MoveOn is the root of all evil, though. I think they believe what they're doing is helping the Left make progress. I'm just not sure if i agree with the strategy.


By min | March 28, 2007, 1:31 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (2)| Link



Start Again

Due to all the cost of living increases and raises we've given you over the years, we now pay you more than we would have to pay someone new. So, we're just going to get rid of all of you and start fresh.

Circuit City Stores (CC) said Wednesday that it plans to cut costs by laying off 3,400 store associates and hiring lower-paid workers to replace them and by trimming about 130 corporate jobs.

Circuit City, the nation's No. 2 consumer electronics retailer behind Best Buy (BBY), will lay off store workers it said were earning "well above the market-based salary range for their role" and replace them with employees who will be paid at the current market range, the company said in a news release.

"We are taking a number of aggressive actions to improve our cost and expense structure, which will better position us for improved and sustainable returns in today's marketplace," said Philip J. Schoonover, Circuit City's chief executive.

And they wonder why employees don't feel any qualms about calling out "sick" or quitting suddenly to pursue a "better" opportunity. They wonder why we aren't gung ho about our jobs. I dunno. Mebbe is because we can feel the knife twisting in our back already? Like the man said, soup is good food. How does it feel to be a budget cut?


By min | March 28, 2007, 11:21 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Maybe you're ok with this

Maybe you don't mind if a city's police department spent a year spying on people all over the country and the world because they planned on peacefully protesting. Maybe you think they're protecting you.

For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews.
...
In hundreds of reports stamped "N.Y.P.D. Secret," the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law, the records show.

These included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations, as well as environmentalists and people opposed to the death penalty, globalization and other government policies. Three New York City elected officials were cited in the reports.

In at least some cases, intelligence on what appeared to be lawful activity was shared with police departments in other cities. A police report on an organization of artists called Bands Against Bush noted that the group was planning concerts on Oct. 11, 2003, in New York, Washington, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston. Between musical sets, the report said, there would be political speeches and videos.

"Activists are showing a well-organized network made up of anti-Bush sentiment; the mixing of music and political rhetoric indicates sophisticated organizing skills with a specific agenda," said the report, dated Oct. 9, 2003. "Police departments in above listed areas have been contacted regarding this event."


By fnord12 | March 27, 2007, 1:23 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



God help us all

Go watch this movie.


By fnord12 | March 20, 2007, 9:40 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Whoah: mean!

Dean Baker (who is usually much more polite. I guess he really misses Bill Moyers. I do too):

PBS is Too Dumb for Words
I was just watching David Brancaccio on NOW discussing with a guest how it would be desirable to encourage shareholders to take a longterm perspective. What was Mr. Brancaccio's proposal? Eliminate capital gains tax on shares held for more than ten years.

What a fantastic idea!!! Why should anyone expect Bill Gates to pay the same tax rate as someone who cleans toilets for a living or puts out fires. After all, Bill Gates sits on shares of Microsoft -- much more important work.

Of course, if David Brancaccio is smart enough to breath (something that he seemed to be doing), he knows that we could also provide incentives for longterm holdings of stock by taxing short-term holding. In fact, this is exactly what they do in communist England. England imposes a tax of 1.0 percent on every stock sale (0.5 percent paid by the seller and 0.5 percent paid by the seller). This discourages frequent trading without allowing the richest people in the country to get away without paying any taxes.

I don't mind David Brancaccio saying stupid things, but it does piss me off that he does it on PBS. I really don't like paying my tax dollars for such nonsense. Where is Newt Gingrich when we need him?


By fnord12 | March 19, 2007, 6:05 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Quick! We Need A Distraction!

Unknown reporter: "So, Mr. Bush.....about that thing with Alberto Gonzales purging U.S. Attorneys.."

Bush: "Hey! Look over there! We got us a confession from one o' them Number Three guys!"

Unknown reporter: "What? Where?"

As Josh Marshall puts it "9/11 Mastermind who confessed to being mastermind after being captured like five years ago confesses again at Gitmo hearing and now the transcript is released by the Pentagon to get Gonzales off the front pages!"

But he went on to accuse the US of double standards, saying America made an exception of the rule when it killed people in Iraq. "You said we have to do it. We don't like Saddam. But this is the way to deal with Saddam." His conclusion: "Same language you use, I use."

Well, duh. We have bigger guns.


By min | March 15, 2007, 12:10 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



The Price of Invasion

Michele sent me this link yesterday.

Here's what the face of Bush's War for Oil looks like.

From Nina Berman's Portfolio

I don't think there is anything the White House and the Pentagon can possibly do that could ever give this poor guy back what they took from him. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't spend a lifetime trying.


By min | March 13, 2007, 1:04 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1)| Link



Who Will Cleanse Our Spirit?

Best thing i've read so far today.

Mayan Indian leaders have vowed to "spiritually cleanse" an ancient site in Guatemala after U.S. President George W. Bush visits during his seven-day, five-nation tour of Latin America.

They're gonna need an army of spiritualists to get that stench out of the White House, that's for sure.

Or they could just blow it up after he leaves and start again.

"Governor Tarkin. I should have expected to find you holding Vader's leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board."


By min | March 12, 2007, 12:33 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



Wha-huh?

You know that guy on Law and Order who plays the bobble-head DA's boss? The guy who's only in a couple of scenes, says something to his underlings about making sure they get it right and then is never seen again in the episode? Well, that guy is thinking of running for president in 2008.

Fred Thompson thinks there isn't enough star power in the GOP presidential field, so the actor and ex- Tennessee senator is considering joining the 2008 race.

Thompson, who plays District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC's drama "Law & Order," said Sunday that "I'm giving some thought to it, going to leave the door open" and decide in the coming months.

...

Thompson, 64, said he was pondering a run after former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker and other Tennessee Republicans began drumming up support for his possible GOP candidacy, citing his conservative credentials.

On the issues, Thompson said he:

Is "pro-life" and believes federal judges should overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade abortion-rights decision as "bad law and bad medical science."

Opposes gay marriage but would let states decide whether to allow civil unions.

Opposes gun control and praised last week's 2-1 federal appeals decision overturning a long-standing handgun ban. "The court basically said the Constitution means what it says, and I agree with that."

Supports President Bush's decision to increase troops in Iraq. "Wars are full of mistakes. You rectify things. I think we're doing that now," he said.

Would pardon former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby's conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice. Thompson is a fundraiser for Libby's defense.

Link

I don't know what else to say other than "Oh, just stop it."


By min | March 12, 2007, 8:31 AM | Liberal Outrage & TeeVee | Comments (0)| Link



I'm an X-Man, with the power of Godlessness!

PZ Myers


By fnord12 | March 8, 2007, 6:37 PM | Comics & Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (0)| Link



Lucky!

NYT:

The New York Police Department has been going fishing. Not content to nab criminals when they break the law on their own, the department has been planting unattended bags in subway stations to see who might take them, at which point waiting officers pounce.

As NY1 News reported last week, 220 people were arrested last year in the sting, known as Operation Lucky Bag.

(Found on This Modern World, where he notes, as the article does, that people might be bringing the bags to the Lost and Found, or home to track down the owners.)


By fnord12 | March 7, 2007, 11:22 AM | Liberal Outrage & Ummm... Other? | Comments (4)| Link



Guilty On 4 of 5 Counts

Libby was found guilty on 4 of the 5 counts. I'm sure FDL's got the full soap operatic version over there, if you want to know every dirty detail.

Or you can get the somewhat drier version here.

Libby's team is going to ask for a new trial. I don't know what grounds they have for that. I'm pretty sure "We didn't want to lose" isn't enough of a reason. I don't think he can use the 11 jurors instead of 12 as leverage because the defense ok'd that decision and in fact said they would prefer to go ahead with 11 instead of seating an alternate. I'm sure FDL's got that speculation going, too. I just don't have the energy to go to their site right now. If you manage, just give me a summary of the bulletpoints. Thanks.


By min | March 7, 2007, 8:25 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (5)| Link



Purely hypothetical

Dean Baker:

In his testimony before Congressional today, Ben Bernanke reportedly made an effort to sooth uneasy financial markets. For this he was widely applauded by the business press. But is it the Fed's job to be soothing financial markets?

Let's throw out a purely hypothetical scenario. Imagine that the bad news on new home sales, mortgage applications, durable goods orders, and productivity actually translates into an economy that is about go into a recession.

Now let's suppose that the market has two types of investors. The first type are the high rollers. They move in and out of financial assets on a moment's notice. Let's call them "hedge funds." The second type are naive investors. They put money into the stock market at regular intervals and let it sit. We'll call them middle class 401(k) investors.

Okay, now in our hypothetical scenario, because the economy is genuinely facing serious problems, the market is likely to be heading downward in the months ahead. Our hedge fund investors will likely begin to recognize this fact and dump their stock. On the other hand, our middle class 401(k) investors are likely to keep putting new money into the market.

Suppose that Mr. Bernanke recognized that the economy is facing trouble and told Congress that the future looks bleak. The markets would presumably crash, because both the hedge funds and the middle class 401(k) investors would dump their stock. Everyone takes a hit, but the pain would be shared between the hedge funds and the middle class 401(k) investors.

Now, let's suppose that Mr. Bernanke recognizes bad times ahead, but thinks that it is best to try to calm the financial markets, so he tells Congress that the economy is just fine. While this could be sufficient to assuage the middle class 401(k) investors, the assurances may not be sufficient to calm the hedge fund investors. Suppose they offload their stock over the next few weeks.

In this case, Bernanke's soothing words would have the effect of keeping the market high while the hedge fund investors offloaded their holdings. The big losers would end up being the middle class 401(k) investors who keep buying into a sinking market.

In this purely hypothetical scenario, it would not be good for Bernanke to soothe financial markets, unless the goal is to redistribute wealth from middle class 401(k) investors to hedge funds. While this scenario may bear no relationship to the actual situation, it is not always true that the Fed should be trying to stabilize financial markets. The press could ask some questions along these lines, instead of just assuming that stable financial markets are always good.


By fnord12 | March 1, 2007, 5:36 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0)| Link



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