Thursday, May 16, 2013

Around and about...

Sorry for the light posting, folks. I've been busy attending to various issues, both work-related and personal. I had planned to write a big juicy piece about the AP scandal, but have had no time. I urge you to read the work of Marcy Wheeler -- for example, here and here.

Let's look at some other tales floating around.

Bulworth Obama: Is it true? Has Barack Obama privately expressed the desire to "go Bulworth" -- that is, to emulate the politician in the 1999 Warren Beatty film who jolts himself out of a suicidal funk by telling the public what he really feels?
"Probably every president says that from time to time,'' said David Axelrod, another longtime adviser who has heard Mr. Obama's movie-inspired aspiration. ''It's probably cathartic just to say it. But the reality is that while you want to be truthful, you want to be straightforward, you also want to be practical about whatever you're saying."
Actually, Bulworth was, on one level, about a white politician who reinvents himself as a black man -- it's the only film I've ever seen in which a white actor gets away with calling himself a "nigga." Obama's whole act, heretofore, has been a classic Reverse Bulworth. Which means that he has privately expressed the desire to be a black man playing a white man playing a black man.

And on a related note...

Has Obama lost the Village? Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei argue that everyone-who-is-anyone in DC has turned against the president...
Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama — and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now. Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this president to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.
To which Bostonboomer of Skydancing helpfully responds:
Really? if powerful Democrats weren’t “big fans” of Obama, why did they work their asses off to hand him the nomination in 2008 when they could just as easily have chosen Hillary Clinton?
I'd take it further. If President Reverse-Bulworth has alienated the Insiders, then he must finally have done something against their interests.

But what might that "something" be?

Obama has refused to go to war in Iran -- so, like, there's that. They tried to "curveball" Obama into a Syrian war based on the chemical weapons canard, and he resisted. So, like, there's that too.

About those Syrian weapons... RT has a piece worth looking at. Forgive a long quote, but for most of you, what follows will come under the heading of I did not know that:
Thus far we can point to three concerted attempts in 2013 by the US and its NATO allies to fabricate a case for chemical weapons in Syria. The first was a plan allegedly hatched by the British with the help of Qatar, through the use of a safe proxy to provide‘deniability’ – in this case, a UK defense contractor named Britam. The plan was simple and would have gone unnoticed if not for the inconvenience of it being prematurely exposed in the “Britam Leaks” from an anonymous hack back in January. The plan was to take old Gadaffi era chemical weapons stocks from Libya, transfer them out via Benghazi, and then plant them in Syria in order to blame the Assad government and thus open to door for western military intervention. The leaked emails also indicated clearly that Qatar would be paying a substantive sum for the operation to be coordinated through Britam. The UK's Daily Mail had initially run the Britam Leaks story, but then suddenly pulled in down from their website within 24 hours of the story running.

The second attempt to make a chemical weapons charge stick in Syria came in March, following reports of a deadly chlorine attack in the northern region of Aleppo, with both sides claiming the other was responsible. With Washington openly touting its agenda of regime change and the Obama ‘Red Line’ promising intervention in Syria if either side was found to use chemical weapons, the obvious motive would fall on in the rebel opposition camp. The Aleppo case that was quickly knocked down by a number of alternative media outlets including 21st Century Wire, who outlined a detailed and compelling case to illustrate how manufactured chlorine munitions were not used in Aleppo by the Syria government forces, but rather, makeshift chlorine 'dirty bombs' were assembled and likely detonated by a Saudi-linked Islamic rebel confab originating out of Iraq, who coincidentally, had a track record of exploding the same devices before in Iraq.

The third attempt was led by British scientists who claimed they had found evidence of chemical weapons that were used in Syria in relation to two incidents in the Damascus area around March 19th. Critics rightly pointed out the inherent problems with their case, including the obvious chain of custody issue that meant the ‘evidence’ brought from Syria to a British lab could easily have been contaminated, or even fabricated in order to come to a conclusion which the British government wanted in order to get a green light for military intervention.

The UN’s own investigation into chemical weapons claims, led by Carla Del Ponte, has concluded that that witness and victim testimonies clearly show that Western and Gulf-backed Syrian rebels used chemical weapons such as the nerve gas sarin. This is at odds with US Secretary of State John Kerry who claims to having seen himself “strong evidence” that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons. Turkey has also entered the fray this week, themselves claiming to have seen evidence of Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
The writer goes on to point out that it makes no sense for Assad to use prohibited weapons in such a militarily useless fashion, while the rebels have every motive to draw America into their war.

Can Holder survive? He lost Bill Press, who has tweeted the following:
For people who say that Holder was "just doing his job," he didn't "do his job" by going after Cheney or Bush. He left THAT alone!
What "breach of national security" are we talking about re the AP story? It's BS and Holder should be fired.
Meanwhile, you can rely on David Ignatius to get everything all wrong.
The crippling problem in Washington these days isn’t any organized conspiracy against conservatives, journalists or anyone else. Rather, it’s a federal establishment that’s increasingly paralyzed because of poor management and political second-guessing.

What should frighten the public is not the federal government’s monstrous power but its impotence.
No, there really has been a conspiracy against anyone who tries to reveal the unsavory things that our government has been getting up to. Just ask Julian Assange. Just ask Bradley Manning.

I don't see any conspiracy against conservatism, although I know that right-wingers love to pretend to otherwise. As I said earlier, conservatives (both in and out of Congress) have ruthlessly pressured the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of Media Matters.

Those commies at the IRS: Right-wing political columnist Tim Carney argues that the IRS is a hotbed of sleft-wing activism. His proof: IRS Deputy Commissioner Mark Ernst used to be the CEO of H.R. Block, which is, apparently, a hotbed of liberal hippie-dom.

Killed by the web: Another writer on the Emptywheel site, Rayne, has a marvelous riposte to an absurd-but-popular interview with alleged visionary Jaron Lanier. Lanier argues that "the Web kills jobs, wealth -- even democracy."

Not everything the guy says is absurd...
Democracy is destabilized if there isn’t a broad distribution of wealth.
Damn right. But then he tells us...
And then the other thing is that if you like market capitalism, if you’re an Ayn Rand person, you have to admit that markets can only function if there are customers and customers can only come if there’s a middle hump. So you have to have a broad distribution of wealth.
No. Lots of Ayn Rand persons do not admit this. They have, in fact, devoted their lives to the defeat of this proposition.

Here's Rayne's response:
It wasn’t the rise of digitization that killed the middle class. It was the insufficiency of protests among U.S. brain power, including publicly-funded academics, failing to advocate for labor and home-grown innovation; their ignorance about the nature of blue collar jobs and the creative output they help realize compounded the problem.
Now academics can finally see the threat to their careers. They couldn’t give a rat’s butt when blue collar workers at dirty, dangerous jobs were threatened. They’re worried now, though, when the jobs of white collar folks supporting cultural creatives like themselves are threatened.
Too funny, Joseph.

For Obama to make Bulworth work, he would have to suffer the pangs of Vanilla Ice.

Yeah he should get credit for resisting (Hagel too) the bowel gas of the noveau neo-cons.

Other than that, he can go fish.

Have you seen Snuggly bear?

He's like Smeagle, my precious.

Regarding the academics, let em burn. The debts of the next generation were incurred to feed them their pay packs.

Problem is that it isnt the pigs at the trough that will suffer, but the next generation who are looking for tenure. But who is left to create demand given the existing set of policies?

Harry, my ladyfriend would one day like to join academia. So..."let 'em burn" is not my favored strategy.
while they have issues with gas mask in Gaza

dog gas mask
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