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Friday, July 08, 2011

Around and about...

They've had all they can stands and they can't stands no more: Progs are finally signalling that they have had it with Obama's habit of selling out working class Americans. Social Security and Medicare seem to be the camel-back-breaking straws.

Will this mean a refusal to support Obama in 2012? That, I should imagine, would depend on the Republican alternative. If Romney achieves the nomination, one might as well stay home on election day. Romney would be a somewhat worse president -- I can't pretend that there is no difference between the two men -- but he is still cut from the same cloth as Obama. The biggest difference, of course, would lie in the fact that Romney would always seek to placate his base, while Obama sneers at his own base.

But if Bachmann attains the nomination...? Sorry, but even I can't make the argument that she and Obama are two of a kind. Romney and Obama are the devils we know; Bachmann is a new sort of devil, one who hails from a region of the inferno heretofore unknown to humanity. The only argument in favor of Bachmann would be this: The only way to cure Americans of their current fascination with libertarianism is to force them to live with the stuff.

But would we survive such an experiment?

CIA John: Some interesting photographic detective work has led to the possible identification of "CIA John," the fellow who led the effort to get Bin Laden. We caught sight of his tie, but not his face, in the famous "situation room" photo of Team Obama watching the Bin Laden operation in real time.

A couple of unrelated observations about that photo: The situation room looks a lot cooler in "The West Wing." At the very least, they should paint the walls black. Also: They're all using laptops without mice? Barbaric. Those tiny little trackpads make my wrist cramp up.

Andy Coulson, the former communications director for conservative British PM David Cameron (and former editor of a Murdoch tabloid), has been arrested in connection with the phone hacking scandal. Cameron's response is of some interest. In essence, he has said "How could I have known?" But look closer...
But Cameron is now playing the innocence card, saying he “wasn’t given” specific information about Coulson. He then corrected himself, sayng he didn’t “recall” any specific information. And it’s in the vagueness and lack of commitment to certain words that Cameron appears to be leaving himself plenty of wriggle-room.
The most intriguing response to all of this came from Stacy Herbert at I take the liberty of reprinting most of it, adding paragraph breaks for readability.
Hey, David Cameron – Ask Your Friend, Andy Coulson, What He Knew About the Tap on Alistair McGowan’s Phone

Most are going to say Alistair McWho? But I mention this only because in August or September of 2003, I had lunch with a freelance journalist who worked for UK tabloids. At the time I had lunch with her, she had been working for News of the World for several months. When she arrived at lunch, she was very frazzled.

She went on to explain that she had just come back from a meeting at which Andy Coulson and one other male employee of NoTW was in the room. The reason she was so shocked was that one of the stories she was pursuing involved an entertainer in the UK named Alistair McGowan. If I recall, they thought he (though single) was having an affair with someone else that was famous. Anyway, she had reported that she couldn’t find anything and she alleged that Andy Coulson responded with something along the lines of, “Don’t worry we have a tap on his phone.”

She was so shocked and mortified that he was doing this but so openly stating this. She wondered why a man in such a powerful position needed to bother doing this to someone so relatively unimportant. As I said, she worked for other tabloids as well and said she had never seen anything like working for News of the World. At the time, I didn’t really understand who Andy Coulson was but I certainly didn’t forget the conversation.

Cut to eight years later and Coulson is due to be arrested tomorrow.
There's more. Apparently, Coulson is taking the fall to prevent investigation of Murdoch himself -- and his activities in America.
Several journalists, even senior ones from News of the World, have provided testimony that Coulson knew about phone hacking, ordered phone hacking and/or listened to hacked phone messages. Somehow there is never enough evidence to charge him with anything. Let’s see what happens with the latest arrest.

Update: 2215 GMT: Hugh Grant just called the Murdoch Empire a protection racket live on Question Time.
Here's what Stacy Herbert tweeted about that.

Of course, only a conspiracy-crazed churl would suggest that any of this might have something to do with the Weiner scandal.
Welcome to the United States of Darwin. Those Democrat congress members and those progressive groups are making threats now but they'll cave like always.

Obama will accomplish in four years what the republicans have been working at for over a quarter century, erasing FDR's legacy.

Thanks, Kossholes.
Coulson is just the start. I have just come back from a wedding in the UK and have been totally immersed in this story. Like many repellent objects it is utterly fascinating.

So right now I have great hopes that Rebekah Brooks is going down as well. I find it totally impossible to think she will get out of the wholescale destruction of evidence and lying to a Parliamentary Inquiry. If she goes, then you will have someone right in the heart of the Murdoch empire who might have an incentive to "sing" to reduce her time inside. I am reaching a bit here but when you have had your democracy in someones pocket for so long, can you really blame us for hoping that the revolution is finally here?

As for the US, Im left not knowing what to think. Sometimes I think its worth letting them do what they want, just to see their faces when the whole world they think they know falls apart. Other times I recon we are a little too close to fascism to run that particular experiment. But I was much heartened by Krugmans piece. Obama is getting found out. Frank Rich's piece (and I hate that guy) suggests banksters are getting found out too. Hold on to your hats cos this ride is gonna get rocky. But however you cut it, there is no way out of this where we dont get poorer. The only question is whether the rich pay some of the bill or whether they escape entirely. And whether there is still a republic in the end.

Joe, I'm a popu-nationalist, not a libertarian. But Bachmann is an Israel-first pro-Iraq/Afghan war hawk, and a Police State Patriot Act supporter.

Ron Paul is the closest thing to a libertarian with (modest) power and his supporters are aghast at Bachmann's posing.
Ken, I know that those distinctions matter a great deal in your circles.

But not in mine.
If the R's run Michelle it is because they really want Obama to have a 2nd term.

I've become convinced that the whole game is pretty much rigged in the PTB's favor.
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