Abe's blog

Good on yer, McClatchy

 Throughout the prolonged surreal turn that has been the Bush Years, McClatchy News Service has been one of the few print media outlets to practice a consistently high level of journalism. The work of two McClatchy reporters was profiled in Bill Moyers' seminal documentary, Buying the War.

To say that the McClatchy reporters put their colleagues to shame is an understatement.

In a rare salute to journalism that matters, to journalism as a necessary functioning part of a free society, McClatchy's Washington bureau chief, John Walcott. received the I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence. Here's his acceptance speech.

Are you listening. NY Times? ABC? NBC? WaPost? CBS? CNN? Errrr, Fox?

-A 

Like W, but with ambition

 Rolling Stone just put on an article on Sen McCain, which is as damning and devastating as most any piece of journalism I can recall. St. John is revealed as a short-tempered, misogynistic narcissist who differs from Dubya primarily on the basis of his ambition. Oh yeah, Dubya is apparently a better pilot.

Most of all the piece completely deconstructs the ubiquitous Maverick Myth that McCain has deployed around himself like armor. There is nothing there at all. He has backtracked and and sold out every one of his vaunted principals, flip-flopped on virtually every issue on which he has claimed to be resolute -- campaign finance, kowtowing to secial interests, his position on the war, and on and on. Even on torture, an issue that carries street cred for him, he cravenly helped broker a deal with the White House that effectively annuls the Geneva Conventions.

McCain is a liar and a fraud. Worse, he's a dangerous and aggressive ideologue with twin Napoleon and Daddy complexes. You think Dubya has been a disaster? McCain would the same or worse -- only smarter and more belligerent.

-A

 

Close enough to steal

Categories:

 As has been made abundantly clear, the Republicans only need to keep the election close enough to steal.

"Also today, critics accused Van Hollen - a Republican serving as the state co-chair of John McCain's presidential campaign - of filing the suit for partisan gain and trying to purge legitimate voters from poll lists.


Van Hollen sued the state Government Accountability Board Wednesday, saying it must crosscheck voter names with driver's license records for voters who registered to vote or changed their addresses on or after Jan. 1, 2006."

New voter registration and turnout exploded during the primary campaign, and new voters broke overwhelmingly Democratic and pro-Obama. The Republicans know that the inevitable new voter turnout in November will also break overwhelming in Obama's direction. So what do they do? They go right back to the playbook and decide to start challenging voters' legitimacy. It's the only way they can win.

Van Hollen, Wisconsin's Attorney General, is demanding that crosschecks be made on the identities of voters who have moved since 2006. Which demographic moves the most often? Young people -- who, oh yeah, overwhelmingly support Obama.

Let's just keep track, shall we? This isn't the last time we'll see the GOP attempt to disenfranchise large numbers of voters.

-A

Pigs, lipstick, lies

Categories:

A couple of things have happened of late that led me to believe that the once-proud institution of American journalism might shake itself free of its calcified stupor and cover this presidential campaign in a manner befitting a free society. But then the Pig-n-Lipstick Pageant broke out and it's back to breathless junior high whispering for the chattering classes.

Does anyone really believe that Barack Obama would be so stupid as to characterize Sarah Palin as a pig? C'mon. Any truthful review of Obama's comments shows that he was referring to a McCain policy and not his running mate. This is Al Gore sighing, this is John Kerry on a windsurfing board. Another useless diversion from what's actually being said, what's actually at stake.

And it's a shame, cuz one of the recent happenings that has led me to believe that American journalism might be -- might be -- on the way back from wandering in the He-Said-She-Said wilderness is the growing willingess of reporters from major news organizations to call the McCain/Palin campaign out on Gov. Palin's false claim that she opposed the "Bridge to Nowhere."

See, it's important for reporters to not simply be stenographers. It's not enough to report one side's claim, and the other side's response. A good reporter has to determine which party's story falls closest to measurable, objective reality. It's not enought to report, "Republicans today claimed that 2+2=5. Some Democrats disagreed."

A good reporter might conclude that observable reality -- including things like counting, centuries of tradition, and the application of heretofore accepted mathematical theories and practices -- supports the fact that 2+2 does in fact equal 4, and thus, the Democratic position is the correct one.

And pointing out a falsehood and calling it as much is not bias, it's not the "liberal media," it's good journalism.

Even better is the Obama campaign calling out McCain for lying:

"I don't care what they say about me, but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift-boat politics. Enough is enough."

Lies. It's important to say the word. Lies are different than omissions, weasel words, or mistakes. Lying is a deliberate, conscious act.

John Kerry never came out in 2004 and said that Dubya was a liar -- about the war, about wiretapping, about torture, ad nauseam. In fact, he went out of his way during a debate to say he wasn't using that term. And he lost.

Obama is saying it. I hope he doesn't stop now.

And I hope the Pig-n-Lipstick Parade is over in time to talk about real life.

-A

New McCain ad: Obama is a big scary black man who wants to teach your children about sex

 New McCain ad: Obama is a big scary black man who wants to teach your children about sex

Not really sure what to say about this one. It certainly plumbs hitherto unfounded depths of sleaze.

I don't know the particulars of the law in question. I'm looking into it.

-A

UPDATE: The Obama camp responds:

"It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited  political attack against a father of two young girls – a position that his friend Mitt Romney also holds.  Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn’t define what honor was.  Now we know why."

LATE UPDATE: The law in question was from Obama's time in the Illinois Legislature. The kindergarten sex-ed referenced by the McCain ad amounts to teaching the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching.

Five reasons to be frightened of Sarah Palin

 1) She's a global warming denier.

2)  She thinks that God likes pipelines,  (h/t Juan Cole)

3) She has a whole lot in common with fundamentalists from other parts of the world.

4) She's a liar.

5) She believes the war in Iraq is God's work.

And there's more, believe me. I didn't even get to reproductive rights yet. Or the strange fetishizing of married teen parents.

Nice to be back

 Was on vacation. It was good.

What Digby said

Once again, here's Digby, doing it better than most could even hope.

Really, read it. She is one of the best bloggers around.

-A

FNB Politics

Apropos of my earlier post, here's Rick Perstein from March 2007:

... Rush Limbaugh calls the insufficiently martial Iraq Study Group “James Baker’s Fruit Salad.” To those with good memories who pay very close attention, this is a reference to the former secretary of state’s preference that the report be considered in its entirety rather than picked over like a fruit salad. But, to right-wingers who’ve forgotten that (the lion’s share, no doubt), the nickname made just as much sense. The report recommended diplomacy. Isn’t that kind of … fruity? And, in a nod to Ailes, Limbaugh has taken to calling Fox News’s chief competitor “PMSNBC.”

The only Democratic leaders who aren’t feminized, of course, are the women. With them, it’s just the opposite. Limbaugh has a phrase he uses to explain why, supposedly, Hillary Clinton is never questioned aggressively: She produces a “testicle lockbox” into which male reporters must deposit their manhood. Nancy Pelosi, in Rush-speak, is “Bella Pelosi,” a nice two-for-the-price-of-one slur: For Dittoheads nostalgic for the 1970s, it suggests the mannishness of the loudmouthed New York liberal congresswoman Bella Abzug; for the rest, the homophonology is to Bella Lugosi—the Democratic leader is Dracula.

Read the whole thing. It's well worth it.

It's the corollary of the racist code I was talking about earlier. As Perlstein points out, the Right wins elections by rendering the Left's the Center's candidates unpalatable -- whether it's by invoking his Scary Blackness or her Butch Manliness.

Why should we care about this bullshit, as you have asked many times on the radio? Why don't we talk about the business end of imperialism and the violence and injustice being wrought everywhere? Because this bullshit works, and it results in halfwits and their undead puppetmasters occupying the halls of power. And then they are free to do what they will.

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair

Mother Jones has the dirt on the Pentagon's abiding interest in history as a means to maintain American hegemony. Seems the Defense Department believes that studying the Macedonians, Romans, Mongols, and Napoleonic French can impart lessons as to how we can shore up our military advantage:

In the summer of 2002, the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment (ONA) published an 85-page monograph called "Military Advantage in History". Unusual for an office that is headed by Andrew Marshall, the Pentagon's "futurist in chief," the study looks back to the past—way back. It examines four empires, or "pivotal hegemonic powers in history," to draw lessons about how the United States "should think about maintaining military advantage in the 21st century." Though unclassified, the study was held close to the vest; a stamp on the cover limits its dissemination without permission. Mother Jones obtained it only through a Freedom of Information Act request. Though the report is far from revelatory, it provides a window into a mindset that unselfconsciously envisions the United States as the successor to some of history's most powerful empires.

The study looks a little like a high school text book, devoting chapters to Alexander the Great, Imperial Rome, Genghis Khan, and Napoleonic France and citing texts by Sun Tzu, Livy, and Jared Diamond. It attempts to break down exactly how historic empires sustained their military might across continents and even centuries. The study posits that the historical examples offer "insights into what drives U.S. military advantage," as well as "where U.S. vulnerabilities may lie, and how the United States should think about maintaining its military advantage in the future.

Now, I'm all for studying history, particularly when it's motivated by a desire to avoid re-making past mistakes. But the Pentagon's analysis of past empires begs a couple of prominent questions.

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