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Tangled Webs

Cranky Musings to Bring Amusement

Updated: 2014-10-06T17:45:10.050-07:00


What We're Going To See


This is a cartoon from Pat Oliphant (click to enlarge):

Here's is a description of Pat Oliphant's creds:
No one is safe from the acid brush of Pat Oliphant, acknowledged by many as the nation’s most influential political cartoonist. A master of what he calls "confrontational art," Oliphant spares neither the liberal nor conservative, sinner nor saint. As the most widely syndicated political cartoonist in the world and a winner of the Pulitzer, he produces work that is as visually stunning as it is metaphorically powerful.
We're going to see just exactly how much racism is alive and well in America.

What Obama's Up Against.


Take just a second and go read this.

When you've finished, then watch this big wet kiss from the author of that piece.

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Now. If you're any kind of a citizen who cares about the press doing it's job, you should need to go take a bath.



Looks like the Dems have finally caved on telecom immunity and expanding the Preznit's surveillance abilities.
The WSJ highlights that the agreement "was driven largely by the realities of election-year politics" as Democrats facing re-election in more conservative parts of the country worried about appearing soft on national security. Obama is now in the unenviable position of having to decide whether to anger the Democratic base by supporting the measure or risk losing the support of independent voters if he speaks up against it. Ultimately, "the surveillance powers may end up being a rare survivor of the administration's post-9/11 redrawing of national-security law," the WSJ deftly points out.
Frankly I'm surprised they didn't cave earlier. But I still think it's wrong, both morally and politically. The moral arguments make themselves. But politically, how can anyone think that with Bush's approval where it is, and with Americans overwhelmingly suspicious of government, that ratifying the Bush surveillance is politically smart?

I hate to put on my tinfoil hat, but I think there's more to this. Whether it's to protect serious misdeeds by the administration or to get political donations from big telecom .... I don't know. But something of this sort would be the only reason for Dems to go along as far as I can tell.

Stop Digging


As I'm sure you know, there's an old saying that if you're in a deep hole, stop digging. Well John McCain thinks we need to keep on diggin'.

Set aside the facts of global warming due to petroleum burning, and set aside the fact that new oil drilling takes years to have any impact on prices, let's take a look at the impact of bringing our largest proposed oil field on stream:

(image) See that itsy bitsy bump in supply at the bottom that occurs in about ten years? That's the impact of drilling in the Artic. Meanwhile, in terms of demand, the hole just gets deeper and deeper unless we do something to realign our economy away from petroleum.

A Moment Of Truth


This woman has been doing fantastic work in Iraq. But she is a reporter, not an editor:
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It makes me sad to hear.

How It'll Go


This is from Josh Marshall:
Nate at FiveThirtyEight has a good analysis of the broad swath of recent polls and particularly these polls out this morning from Quinnipiac showing Barack Obama with leads in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. It's only one poll. But this is the first poll that has shown Obama ahead in Florida against either McCain or Clinton. Most models for an Obama win don't include Florida, though Obama's campaign certainly seem intent on contesting it. But that's McCain's firewall. If he can't win Florida, the electoral map starts to look very bleak. Even having to fight for it would put McCain in a hole.
Now, I know that polls this early in the game are pretty stupid. And I don't put much veracity in this one. So why put it up? Because I think this comment by Marshall is prescient.* I think Obama will win many states he's "not supposed to win". With the Bush albatross and his own fumbling/bumbling, McCain will go down in history as the worst Presidential candidate in history, even surpassing .... what's his name?

*assumes no attack on and war with Iran. Even with that, I think Obama wins.



Remember Gen. Anthony Taguba, the two star general that led the investigation of torture at Abu Grahib? Here's what he has to say today:
The new report, he [Taguba] writes, "tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individual's lives on their bodies and minds. Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors.

"The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. Through the experiences of these men in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, we can see the full-scope of the damage this illegal and unsound policy has inflicted --both on America's institutions and our nation's founding values, which the military, intelligence services, and our justice system are duty-bound to defend.

"In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. . . .

"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."
Held accountable indeed.

I'm not sure if I'm a member of this administration, and I'm someone who had anything to do with the legal opinions or chain of command involved with the torturers, if I'm going to be using my passport anytime soon. If Congress won't do anything, someone in the international community just might.

And I'd support them all the way.

On Sale Now!


What GOP'ers are wearing for their convention!

(image) But we know that race won't be an issue because the Sunday gasbags have told us so!

He Still Brings In Cash


The McCain campaign is flopping around all over the place. First they scheduled an event with a nutbar for fundraising, then cancelled because he's a nutbar, then held it anyway.

And just who is this nutbar? This guy:
[Clayton] Williams, a prominent Texas Republican, said during his 1990 gubernatorial campaign that rape is like the weather: “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.” More recently, Williams has helped raise more than $300,000 for McCain and was scheduled to host a fundraiser for him this week.

Good To Go


Digby discusses the latest and greatest technologies in "non-lethal" control of individuals by the police state law enforcement personnel.



I've sorta been out. Went to a Sheryl Crow concert (she was fabulous) and have been generally laying low.

I did want to comment on the passing of Tim Russert. He was too young and my condolences to his family and friends.


I know I've said this before. When the media loses a member of their family, you'd think Jesus Christ himself died. I have no idea of what kind of man Tim Russert was, but I do know that he was a mediocre interview who completely pandered to the kool kidz. He violated the ethics of journalism on many occasions, most notoriously in his handling of his part in the Valerie Plame outing.

And finally, the media's incessant narcissism. There are great people who die every day, including American soldiers in Iraq. But you rarely see much of anything done to talk about their deaths and the circumstances of why they were in Iraq. There's a bit of image reinforcement when the media goes ga-ga at the death of a colleague while ignoring their duties as the "fourth estate". They are, after all, the center of the universe.



I hesitate to even spill pixels on this. But we must stay informed!



Somehow this image conjures up more than the author intended ....




Some folks are speculating that Bush's attempt to get permanent bases in Iraq might backfire:
Ned Parker of the LAT reports that some in the al-Maliki government--and senior members of the Islamic Mission (Da'wa) Party and the United Iraqi Alliance coalition of which it is a part-- are seriously considering asking US troops to leave the country. They believe they can now handle security on their own, and that the Bush administration's demands that they surrender a great deal of national sovereignty in the proposed Status of Forces agreement are unacceptable.

But I doubt it. The Iraqi controlling interests may want the U.S. out, but they also value their necks. With the Iranians next door, the continued domestic Shiite Islamic fundamentalist movement, and with the Sunni's just waiting for an opportunity, the Shiites ability to keep the lid on is questionable. And if the lid is removed, it's likely their necks that go first. Thus the parliament will hem and haw, and maybe even avoid an permanent agreement for the time being. But anyway you cut it, the next President will be the one to decide the next move in Iraq for the U.S.

A Good Hypocrite


I ran across this excerpt of a news story today:
Cindy LaBeff, 46, drives 70 miles a day from the small town of McLoud to her job at a data processing center in Oklahoma City. Until a few months ago, she spent $40 on gas for her work week. These days it's $60 a work week - and $80 if she wants to go to church on the weekend.

She decided she can't afford the higher prices. With no public transportation in her area, she went online to form a carpool. LaBeff has been ridesharing for a week now, and she hopes to add two new members to her car. "That way, it's just a dollar a gallon," she said.

If our governor or mayor would help set up carpooling, if they would push it better, then people would think about it," she said. "But there has been nothing."
Sheeesh. Let me count the ways that this ticks me off.

Poor old Cindy. Cindy, who did you vote for in the last ten elections? If you're like any of your neighbors it was for Republicans. Cindy, do you know the stance that Republicans have taken on energy? And especially Oklahoma Republicans? And now that things are getting dicey, you want gov'mut to step in and set up carpools?

That's mighty liberal of ya.

I know it's human nature. And I call it a good hypocrite because at least Cindy is starting to think like a rational person addicted to petroleum. While it's painful, the recent price increases are apparently what it takes to get people to really deal with the problem. Unfortunately it has to be painful.

My only fear at this point is that demand destruction, increased supply (if that's even possible which is getting more doubtful) and price manipulations will bring prices "down" to a new adaptive level and ole' Cindy will simply pay the $80 to fill up her car for the stupid commute due to living in a society based on cheap fuel.

Added: Ole' Cindy isn't alone out there in the outback (click to enlarge)

You Know You're Off When ....


When even the Supreme Court thinks you're violating civil rights, you know you're way off base:
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.

The justices handed the Bush administration its third setback at the high court since 2004 over its treatment of prisoners who are being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The vote was 5-4, with the court's liberal justices in the majority.
What's particularly interesting is that it may not matter. Thus far Bush has pretty much ignored the rule of law in the situation. Does anyone really think this decision will change things now?

Also, this was another 5-4 decision. I don't even have to know the vote tally to know that a President McCain will move the court into full fascism with court appointments.



There's a bunch of buzz on the internets about yet another McCain gaffe. Apparently he said that it's "not that important" when the troops come home from Iraq. Of course his campaign is claiming he was taken out of context and all the usual nonsense. Josh Marshall makes total sense out of this latest foot-in-mouth moment for McCain:
Sometimes these references by McCain are treated as gaffes but they're not. This is what McCain believes: that we should have a long-term troop presence in Iraq to guarantee the survival of a pro-U.S. government and assert power in the region. That's not a crazy position. That's the position of the current administration. That's why we're currently trying to secure an agreement with the Iraqis to ratify that goal. The problem isn't that McCain's position is incomprehensible. It's just not popular. Most Americans think reducing casualties is important too. But they'd like to do both -- reduce casualties and leave too.

The problem for the McCain campaign is that he keeps stumbling into clear statements of his actual policy, which is close to lethal since the vast majority of Americans disagree with his policy and Iraq is virtually the only thing he's running on. The context the McCain campaign keeps trying to put forward after the fact is what they wished he'd said rather than what he did. And even that, when you push deep, isn't that different from McCain's actual policy, which is that he doesn't think we should be leaving Iraq for years to come, most likely decades.
Precisely. The GOP is going to have to work quite hard to put lipstick on that pig*

*assumes no attack on Iran.

The Trend


As the old saying goes, one picture is worth a thousand words. If you ever wonder why we're in Iraq, here's the answer (click to enlarge):




(h/t Digby, as usual)

Remember this?

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I guess McCain is resurrecting images of Carter to slime Obama. And most of the gasbags seem to be on the bandwagon that Carter was a terrible President. But really. Was he?



I agree with Kevin that Sebelius is a good looking possibility. Aside from not being a Senator (Dems need all they can get), she's a she which neutralizes the Hillary situation and from a region that can swing either way. Even if it's not Sebelius, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a governor.

More Evidence


Steve Clemons, who is very far from a left-wing nutbar, writes today that it looks like the Cheney faction in the White House in ascending again, and that Iran conflict is growing in possibility.

Ari .... Baby .....


Since Scott McClellan's mia culpa book came out criticizing the press for it's lousy Iraq war coverage, the media has been doing the usual hand-wringing about it's coverage. Via Froomkin, we have this jewel from Ari Fleischer who claims that the press did a plenty good job!

Not surprisingly, Fleischer was able to fish out a few examples of aggressive questioning from the voluminous press-briefing archives for his Washington Post op-ed on Sunday. But his argument ultimately boils down to an unpersuasive exercise in self-pity.

Fleischer cites McClellan's charge that the press "failed to aggressively question the rationale for war," and responds: "As someone whose duty it was to assume the position of a human piñata every day in the briefing room, I only wish Scott were right. . . .

"At the risk of agreeing with one of my toughest protagonists in the briefing room -- NBC's David Gregory-- the press was tough, plenty tough. I have the scars -- and the transcripts -- to prove it. . . .

"'I often returned to my office beaten down from the clashes in the briefing room.'"

Poor Ari. He doesn't seem to understand the fundamental difference between a reporters questions and the coverage that takes place in the actual outlet. Sure David Gregory can ask some tough questions, but does it make it into the news broadcast in any meaningful way? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?

Come on Ari. Don't be so conservatively literal. It's why I've contended that the White House briefings are meaningless. The press secretary's job is to get on the podium and lie spin in response to wet kisses tough questions from the media. Helen Thomas is a poster child for this dynamic. Thomas used to be typical, part of a crowd and a institutional apparatus designed to represent The People. Now she's been marginalized into a clown-like figure of fringe government skepticism.

Even when questions and skepticism abounds, the filtering by editors, producers and talking heads is so profound as to make any real reporting from the front end meaningless. That is the essence of "corporate" media. It's not that reporters don't "do their jobs", they often do. It's that the powers that be above them refuse to do the fourth estate's job out of fear and greed. It's much safer to do a hatchet job on the latests white woman kidnapper than the President.

Never Wiser


I've heard this before, but it has never been more relevant than today:

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Awesome News


Looks like Elizabeth Edwards is joining Obama to work on healthcare reform!

If you'll recall, Edwards was not exactly a fan of Obama's health care plan. Personally, I think Edwards approach to health care reform is superior to Obama's. This could be an awesome change. Obama's looking better all the time.

Good Enough For Clinton ....


.... then it's good enough for McCain. Here's a piece on McCain's first marriage and it's ignominious end. Excerpt:
She was the woman McCain dreamed of during his long incarceration and torture in Vietnam’s infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison and the woman who faithfully stayed at home looking after the children and waiting anxiously for news.

But when McCain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife had been disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier. Her car had skidded on icy roads into a telegraph pole on Christmas Eve, 1969. Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she suffered massive internal injuries.

When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of life-saving surgery, the prognosis was bleak. In order to save her legs, surgeons had been forced to cut away huge sections of shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure. She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter.

Through sheer hard work, Carol learned to walk again. But when John McCain came home from Vietnam, she had gained a lot of weight and bore little resemblance to her old self.

Today, she stands at just 5ft4in and still walks awkwardly, with a pronounced limp. Her body is held together by screws and metal plates and, at 70, her face is worn by wrinkles that speak of decades of silent suffering.


My marriage ended because John McCain didn’t want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that just does.’

Some of McCain’s acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centred womaniser who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to ‘play the field’. They accuse him of finally settling on Cindy, a former rodeo beauty queen, for financial reasons.

McCain was then earning little more than £25,000 a year as a naval officer, while his new father-in-law, Jim Hensley, was a multi-millionaire who had impeccable political connections.
Whooooaaa! Tell me it isn't so! I wonder if John McCain is related to Newt Gingrich somehow ..... Is John McCain a maverick or some kind of stallion (or at least thinks he is)?

At least he remarried a pure and upstanding woman.