The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, September 21, 2014.

New York Times: "Afghanistan’s election commission on Sunday pronounced Ashraf Ghani the winner of the country’s presidential election, but it withheld an announcement of the total votes won, despite an exhaustive and costly audit process overseen by the United Nations and financed by the American government. The suppression of the vote totals was apparently the final step necessary for the two presidential candidates to sign an American-brokered agreement to form a power-sharing government, giving the runner-up, Abdullah Abdullah, substantial powers in what is, in effect, the post of prime minister."

New York Times: "NASA’s latest Mars spacecraft, Maven, arrives Sunday evening to study the mystery of what happened to the planet’s air. A 33-minute engine firing, beginning at 9:37 p.m. Eastern time, will put Maven in orbit around the planet. Acknowledgment will reach mission controllers 12 1/2 minutes later, the time it takes for a radio signal to travel to Earth from Mars. NASA’s website will provide a live broadcast beginning at 9:30 p.m."

Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President thanked Congress for its strong bipartisan support for efforts to train and equip Syrian opposition forces to fight ISIL":

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
September 22

10:15 am ET: Latino educators meet

12:00 noon ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

1:00 pm ET: Mental health & suicide prevention briefing

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

CW: Here's some cheery news. The MacArthur Foundation has named the newest recipients of its "genius" grants. I hope none of them is somebody you personally dislike (thus keeping it cheery). The AP article linked includes a slide show with mini-profiles of each grant recipient.

** CW: The best, most provocative piece of writing in the "news" today is A. O. Scott's piece in the New York Times Magazine on "The Death of Adulthood in American Culture." If you don't watch a lot of TV & never see stupid movies, you will struggle with Scott's exemplary references. You may not accept all of his premises, & I think he falls short on defining "adulthood" (though maybe, like pornography, we're supposed to recognize it when we see it.). ...

... Adam Sternbergh responds in New York.

Jeff Weiss, in the New York Times, profiles comedian Bill Maher, who is in the midst of a schtick aimed to defeat the U.S.'s worst Congressperson. You would be a good idea to read Weiss's piece with A. O. Scott's essay in mind. Maher (& even Weiss, who -- in ticking off "bad things" about Maher -- never mentions Maher's offensive attitudes about women) is a fine example of Scott's thesis.

Guardian: "Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child, the royal family said on Monday morning. The announcement was made from Clarence House on Twitter.... The Duchess of Cornwall is suffering from acute morning sickness, as she did with her first pregnancy, and is being treated by doctors at her apartments in Kensington Palace."

Washington Post: "After less than a year at the top of Politico’s masthead, veteran New York Times editor Rick Berke has resigned as the publication’s executive editor.... Friction had been on display in the newsroom almost from the beginning of his tenure. Berke, according to several current and former Politico employees, tried to impose some of the values of the world he came from — where multiple editors might weigh in, demand multiple drafts, and shape bigger, more ambitious stories — on Politico’s fast-moving, reporter-driven newsroom."

 

Jimmy Fallon & Maroon 5 singer & Voice judge Adam Levine stage a "musical impressions-off." This clip, from a show that aired this week (September 2), already has more than 8MM hits:

New York Times: "The jilted lover of President François Hollande of France has written a tell-all book about her days as France’s onetime unofficial first lady and of her version of events that led the couple to separate after the president was exposed as having an affair by a French gossip magazine. The book by Valérie Trierweiler, 49, who separated from Mr. Hollande in January, describes how news of the affair pushed her to the edge. She acknowledges that she 'cracked' and attempted suicide by trying to overdose on sleeping pills when she learned of Mr. Hollande’s affair with an actress, Julie Gayet.... The book drew a barrage of criticism for revealing secrets about the president, whose office embodies the nation and is rarefied like that of a monarch."

Washington Post: "Apple said that its iCloud systems have not been breached Tuesday and that thieves stole celebrity photos from Apple accounts by targeting individuals, rather than by breaking into the company's infrastructure."

Gabrielle Bluestone of Gawker claims she has compiled "everything we know about the alleged celeb nude 'trading ring' & leak." CW: I'll take her word for it, though I should warn you her post does not include any nude pix. My advice: If you wanna be in pictures, but you don't want photos of your naked self published on celebrity Websites, don't upload the pictures onto the Internets. There be hackers. 

... Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter interviews Jon Stewart, mostly on the making of his film "Rosewater," which is based on the arrest & incarceration of journalist Maziar Bahari in Iran in 2009.

AP: Actors "Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were married Saturday in the French hamlet of Correns, a spokesman for the couple says. Jolie and Pitt wed in a small chapel in a private ceremony attended by family and friends at Provence's Chateau Miraval. In advance of the nondenominational civil ceremony, Pitt and Jolie obtained a marriage license from a local California judge. The judge also conducted the ceremony in France."

No, he isn't. -- David Chase, in answer to the question, "Is Tony dead?" ...

... However, it's more complicated than that. Follow-up story, with Chase's response to the original Vox story by Margaret Nochimson, here.

Todd VanDerWerff of Vox discusses the final scene of "The Sopranos":

New Yorker illustration.

The New Yorker has opened up its archives for the summer. An excellent opportunity to get in on some fabulous reading.

 

Contact the Constant Weader

Click on this link to e-mail the Constant Weader.

Friday
Jul132012

The Commentariat -- July 14, 2012

The President's Weekly Address:

     ... The transcript is here.

Debtors Prisons. New York Times Editors: in violation of their Constitutional right to equal protection, "judges routinely jail people to make them pay fines even when they have no money to pay.... This devastating problem has gotten far worse the past five years, the result of budget-strapped state courts looking for sources of revenue.... This revenue-oriented approach is made worse by the increasing use of for-profit companies to collect fees owed to the courts.... State judicial leaders need to ... monitor and discipline judges who continue to allow the poor to be imprisoned, flouting the Constitution, Supreme Court holdings and basic fairness."

New York Times Editors: "The House Agriculture Committee's farm bill makes unconscionable cuts to food stamps and free school meals while protecting powerful farm interests."

Presidential Race

Callum Borchers & Brian MacQuarrie of the Boston Globe: Romney's account of when he left Bain has "evolved." "In a November 2000 interview with the Globe, Romney's wife, Ann, said he had been forced to lessen, but not end entirely, his involvement with Bain Capital."

Dave Weigel: "What confounds me about the Bain Capital/Romney story's current iteration is that there's such a long, uncontested record describing Romney's ties to the company through 2002." For example:

Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions. But he will leave running day-to-day operations to Bain's executive committee.(Greg Gatlin, "Romney Looks To Restore Olympic Pride," The Boston Herald, 2/12/99) ...

... Lisa Lerer & Julie Davis of Bloomberg News: "Romney is named as one of two managing members [emphasis added] of Bain Capital Investors LLC in annual reports filed in Massachusetts as late as 2002, adding a new corporate entity to a growing number of Bain-related investments and funds that list the Republican presidential candidate as controlling the company three years after he said he left it." ...

... Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: "A July 19, 1999 press release distributed on behalf of Regan Communications and Bain Capital described Mitt Romney as the 'Bain Capital CEO' and said he was 'on a part-time leave of absence to head the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee.' The press release, which announced the creation of a new private equity firm by two of Bain's managing directors, included a quote from Romney giving his blessing to the new venture. 'While we will miss them,' Romney said, 'we wish them well and look forward to working with them as they build their firm.'" ...

... David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix: "In a controversial investment deal that led to a federal inquiry, Mitt Romney personally signed SEC documents reporting the sale of Bain Capital shares in 2000 and 2001 -- during the time when he was on leave of absence to run the Salt Lake Olympic Games. The Boston Globe reported in 2003, during the SEC investigation, that "Romney ... signed the SEC's necessary documents for Bain when his company -- and he as an individual shareholder -- sold their stakes in DDi in the fall of 2000 and in the winter and spring of 2001. SEC records indicate that Romney remained well into 2001 as a general partner in three of the four Bain funds that are involved in the DDi transactions.'" ...

... Steve Benen: "In 2002, a Boston Globe article quoted a former Bain Capital executive named Marc B. Wolpow who said Mr. Romney remained in a very active role at Bain Capital while he was supposedly on a leave of absence for his [1994] Senate race. Wolpow specifically said of Romney's role, "I reported directly to Mitt Romney.... You can't be CEO of Bain Capital and say, 'I really don't know what my guys were doing.'"

... Jason Cherkis & Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post: "Mitt Romney's repeated claim that he played no part in executive decision-making related to Bain Capital after 1999 is false, according to Romney's own testimony in June 2002, in which he admitted to sitting on the board of the LifeLike Co., a dollmaker that was a Bain investment during the period.... In the testimony..., Romney noted that he regularly traveled back to Massachusetts. '[T]here were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth,' he said. Romney's sworn testimony was given as part of a hearing to determine whether he had sufficient residency status in Massachusetts to run for governor." ...

... Alexander Burns of Politico: "Romney didn't mention Bain Capital in his testimony as one of the companies with which he continued to work while leading the Olympic committee. Asked whether Romney attended any meetings or participated in any phone calls for Bain -- as he did for other firms -- a Romney spokeswoman reiterated that the candidate didn't have an 'active role' in the company during that time." CW: sounds like a yes.

... Steve Kornacki of Salon: "Romney didn't start pushing the idea that he’d severed all ties with Bain in '99 until late in the '02 campaign, when Democrats played up Bain's closure of a Kansas City steel plant, a move that cost 700 workers their jobs."

For Romney, the Buck Stops Elsewhere. President Obama speaks with Scott Thuman of Washington D.C.'s ABC-7 News on Romney's failure to take responsibility for the actions of the company he headed. (Via Greg Sargent.) The text is here:

Charles Blow: "Mitt Romney's stories just don't jibe."

Gail Collins: "While he was in Utah getting the luge runs in shape, Romney was also still getting a six-figure salary for being a Bain 'executive.' Perhaps for Mitt, that was just the going-away equivalent of a monogrammed briefcase."

On Friday Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post "fact-checker," is standing behind his earlier determination that Mitt Romney left Bain Capital in 1999, and keeps giving Pinocchios to the Obama campaign. He tried to justify the earlier assessment Thursday, too. Here's the original assessment, dated January 18, 2012. ...

... Brad DeLong has 137 Pinocchios for Glenn Kessler: "In 2002 Mitt Romney decided that he had retired from Bain in 1999. Yes, you read that correctly. When Mitt Romney took over the Salt Lake City Olympics in February 1999, he intended to come back and run Bain Capital full-time afterwards -- and he wanted to make sure that everybody at Bain Capital knew that he was still the boss... and that everybody should be careful to make sure that their actions were things Romney approved of. Come 2002, Mitt Romney decided that he was going to run for Governor of Massachusetts. So come 2002 Romney decides that he had retired from Bain Capital back in 1999. Yes. As Glenn Kessler says: 'when Romney decided to run for governor in 2002, he received a retirement package that was dated Feb., 1999'." ...

... Andrew Sullivan in the Daily Beast: "Kessler bizarrely asserts that telling the SEC that someone is the CEO and sole owner of a company, when he isn't, is no big deal. He says that all Romney did was list 'a misleading title.' Misleading? Really? Either you are CEO or you aren't.... How does Romney attend board meetings of Bain acquisitions, sign six filings on Bain acquisitions, get a six figure salary as an executive, list himself as sole owner and CEO with the SEC in these years, and insist he was not 'involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way'? Bain went further and stated that in the period involved Romney had 'absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its portfolio companies.' All of this is a spectacular contradiction -- and yet Kessler, defending, one suspects, his own reputation, refuses to give an inch." ...

... Alec MacGillis of The New Republic: the reporting "of Kessler's own colleague [Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post] on pre-1999 outsourcing suggests that the Obama attack was more accurate than Chicago itself realized when it first launched the charge."

Dave Weigel: "Explaining why Romney himself wasn't really CEO during his leave of absence (when he was trying to save the American Olympics, for Pete's sake!) involves explaining some complicated corporation-fu. In the meantime, the Obama campaign can use 'outsource' in every other graf of its press releases, and ignore the Fact-Check squads."

Steve Benen has Volume 25 of "Mitt's Mendacity," & Vol. 25 has 25 examples of Mitt's lies of the week.

"The Sideshow Bob Defense" Jonathan Chait of New York: "Conn Carroll of the conservative Washington Examiner has what he considers a knock-out response -- if Romney is a felon, why hasn't Obama prosecuted him?"

The Incredible Shrinking Résumé. Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly: "In a bizarre if somewhat predictable development, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a very prominent supporter of Mitt Romney's candidacy and a possible running-mate, had this to say today: 'Asked during a press conference here whether he thought Romney's experience at Bain should be part of his 'record,' McDonnell shook his head and said 'No. No.' ... I thought Romney's experience at Bain was precisely what Mitt's been citing all along as his principal qualification to be president. He hardly ever mentions his tenure as governor of Massachusetts...."

Local News

Randy Lobasso in Salon identifies another group who won't be able to vote under Pennsylvania's new voter suppression law: women who have changed their names, usually because of marriage or divorce. Lobasso cites an expert: "Only 66 percent of women have an issued photo ID with their current name." So it's women in transition, students, minorities, poor people -- I believe that's called the Democratic demographic. President Obama cannot win the general election if he doesn't win Pennsylvania. And that is the point of the law.

Amanda Marcotte in Slate: "Late last week, Gov. Nikki Haley [R] of South Carolina vetoed a whole slate of budget items, including half a million dollars for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention." Haley's justification for the veto: domestic violence & rape are a "distraction" from other public health issues.

News Ledes

Washington Post: "President Obama barnstormed five cities across Virginia this weekend, stepping up his attacks on Republican Mitt Romney as the two candidates demonstrated the hard fight ahead in a state crucial to the battle for the White House."

AP: "President Barack Obama is keeping up a drumbeat of skepticism over Mitt Romney's insistence -- displayed in a blitz of TV interviews -- that he stepped down from his private equity firm years earlier than federal records indicate. Obama planned another day of campaigning in Virginia on Saturday.... Advisers said he would remind voters of the discrepancies between Securities and Exchange Commission filings and Romney's recollection of his role at the Boston-based firm."

New York Times: As the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State came to light, football coach Joe Paterno & his family negotiated a new retirement package that was even sweeter than his previous contract provided.

Savvy! New York Times: "JPMorgan Chase disclosed on Friday that losses on its botched credit bet could climb to more than $7 billion and that the bank's traders may have intentionally tried to obscure the full extent of the red ink on the disastrous trades. Mounting concerns about valuing the trades led the company to announce that its earnings for the first quarter were no longer reliable and would be restated. Federal regulators ... are now looking at whether employees of the nation's biggest bank by assets intended to defraud investors...."

Houston Chronicle: "The state's argument for a voter ID law met with skepticism Friday from federal judges who questioned Texas attorneys about the lack of witnesses and the need to prove the law is fair to minority voters."

New York Times: "Richard D. Zanuck, the once-spurned son of the legendary Hollywood producer Darryl F. Zanuck who carved out his own career as a frequently honored producer, running up more than $2 billion in grosses and, by producing 'Driving Miss Daisy' in 1989, becoming the only son to duplicate a father's best-picture Oscar, died on Friday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 77."

Reuters: "Visa Inc, MasterCard Inc and banks that issue their credit cards have agreed to a $7.25 billion settlement with U.S. retailers in a lawsuit over the fixing of credit and debit card fees in what could be the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history."

New York Times: "Syria has started moving some parts of its huge stockpile of chemical weapons out of storage, American officials said Friday, but it was uncertain whether the transfer was a precaution as security conditions across the country rapidly deteriorated, or something more sinister."

Washington Post: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Egypt's new president Mohamed Morsi today. ...

     ... Update: "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton weighed in Friday on Egypt's efforts to define its post-revolutionary course, saying that the United States supports the country's 'full transition to civilian rule' and the return of its politically powerful military to a 'purely national security role.'"

Washington Post: Members of the public and Congress are furious over the Made in China labels on the U.S. Olympic team's uniforms. Designer Ralph Lauren doesn't have a U.S. manufacturer.

Reader Comments (18)

Have aliens taken over the New York Times? The latest in long series of idiotic and misleading Times articles was this piece of nonsense today: "Candidates Racing for Future, Gaze Fixed Firmly on the Past."

Dear New York Times, please ask yourself: why is it illegitimate or inappropriate for candidates to question each other's fitness and preparation for the task of being President, and in particular to call attention to the fact that the other candidate's claim to prowess in creating jobs is completely contradicted by that candidate's actual history of destroying or outsourcing jobs?

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Marie,

Keep those damning stories coming. As quickly and as furiously as the Rat's apparatchiks strain to denounce the truth of his connection with Bain past the date he has averred, it is vital that as many outlets as possible declare Willard's assertions to be out and out lies. I realize that the MSM will do its best to deny such scurrilous verities but at some point a certain critical mass will obtain to the extent that Willard the buck-toothed, gnawing, prevaricating perjurer will be forced to throw up further laughable barricades to the truth or else admit his felonious infelicities.

Of course the MSM and the dominant fascist, right-wing media will provide whatever prophylactic protection is required, up to and including bald-faced lies and the most outrageously counterfeit versions of true events.

Nonetheless, it behooves all of us to keep this fire applied to Willard's soft, supple, never blistered by actual work foot soles.

This guy, by any measure, is perhaps even a more meretricious lying scumbag even than George W. Bush, one of the most mendacious, evil, manipulating, deceitful pricks on record.

How horrifically awful is it that someone worse than the lowest of the low is a few stolen votes away from the White House? At least Bush, like Reagan, seemed to have some kind of ideological heart (as reprehensible as that might have been). Romney is a hollow rich man who cares only for himself and his wealthy brothers.

He is a vacant cipher.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

According to the NYTimes, Romney said on TeeVee tonight that he will be releasing the 2011 tax return eventually ( in December?) and THAT'S IT.
You little people can just suck it.
And, while you're at it, get ready to give back your benefits such as Social Security and Medicare which we, the One Percent, have so graciously given you. But we're done.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

I am beginning to think this is an IQ issue for MittWitt and his campaign staff. Having a low IQ certainly does not make one a bad person--just not someone who should be running for POTUS. Maybe this guy loved to play monopoly during his prep school years (when he wasn't busy cutting hair) and now thinks he is playing it for real. Outsourcing is like having a "get out of jail free" card.

For sure, Mitters cannot add and/or subtract. And he gets very confused about dates. He also tends to stutter while uttering a lie. Someone smarter would have gotten speech therapy years ago!
Bottom line: a man who names his firstborn son TAGG can never be "IT!" Sorta like Sister Sarah naming her Downs' son TRIGG. What were they thinking? Or not?

I think Mittens and Glenn Kessler should go gentle unto that good night--together. Now.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Kate,

Glenn Kessler IS Willard's get out of jail free card. Here's why.

I've spent a little time going through a raft of articles debunking Willard's claims about when he left Bain. After a certain point it starts to sound like nit picking over small details (which they certainly are not). I'm looking at this, mind you, from the point of view of an independent who might not be convinced either of the veracity of such counter claims or their importance; someone who might be inclined to give Romney a shot. So what do I do next? Answer: read Glenn Kessler. Problem solved. Like people looking for reasons to doubt or completely dispense with the thousands of papers, reports, studies, tests, and outright incontrovertible evidence of global warming, all they need is that one single report from Professor Hugo Z. Hackenbush of the Petroleum Council of America stating in an exhaustive three paragraph article that there's no such thing, that it's all a liberal hoax and somehow all those thousands of scientists have gotten together to fabricate this idea to make money or solidify their careers or get free bubble gum for life from Greenpeace or some damn thing.

It doesn't matter.

The Romneybots, fence sitters, conservative pundits and anyone who hates Obama (and that's lots of people apparently) can rest easy knowing that they have one single person who says all those other hundreds of investigators, including the SEC, are lying. Even better, that guy works for the Washington Post, not some grubby little Koch sponsored website.

So all the details about what Romney signed and when and arguments (all very compelling, entirely believable, and ultimately incredibly damaging) made in an effort to prove Willard's essential mendacity all begin to look like the caviling of the well known liberally slanted MSM.

The fact that Romney is the one caviling will never register. He'll use this as one more example of how the media is out to get him because he's a "businessman" and a conservative. Once he plays that card it will be game over for this little contretemps. At least for many voters. It's already being downplayed and sniffed at by quite a few in the MSM. We'll see tomorrow morning. If Fluffy and his Sunday morning pals do a "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" when they talk about this and dispense with it in a round robin game of who can make it seem the funniest, then it may be done as a campaign issue.

Unless Obama can keep the heat on.

And he should.

But until then, Glenn Kessler should call Willard's campaign manager and ask for compensation. The past few weeks he's been working harder for Romney than anyone else on that staff.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterakhilleus

Akhilleus, thanks for clearly expressing my inchoate rage at the lapdog posture assumed yet again during this campaign by our gallant Fourth Estate. Unfortunately, for the 99% of voters who don't pay close attention (not that there's anything wrong with that--I guess), the impression at least thus far is that the Obama team has, unprovoked, attacked poor little Romney, who now sits in his tears and tresses, requiring sympathetic scribes to come to his rescue. Oh, Glenn Kessler, you so big and stwong!

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

The most scary part of the Bain story is that Marie has managed in two days to put together more information on the subject than the MSM. All I can find in most newspapers and TV is a little blah, blah, blah. When is a TV reporter going to actually report the facts. The interviews with Mitt on evening 'news' were a joke.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Re: Does it matter if you are a deceitful person in today's world or in yesterday's world? Not if the returns favor you. Mitt spent his entire career using that as his calling card. So he's lying about the extra four years he spent lying while making more millions. Ronald Raygun said it best; "Scariest words you'll ever hear are; "I'm from Bains Capitol and I'm here to help." I made that up, so? Did not. Did too. Not uh. Ah uh. Who are you going to vote for? The lying Mormon. Is there such a thing? I'll be damned. Got me.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

It just occurred to me how appropriate that Mitt is the R candidate. It's a party full of bullies who whine like victims whenever called on their shenanigans.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

It should be simple for MSM to determine if Willard the Rats is lying. Are his lips moving?

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

Today's RealityChex proves Willlard is a LSOS*and that goes for Glenn Kessler, too if he chooses to be a Romneybot.

*Lying Sack of Shit

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbarossa

Reading all the negative reports of Romney's activities concerning Bain and his general lackluster performance(toput it kindly) as a candidate begs the question: who will be stupid enough to agree to be his running mate. Ideas, anyone?

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

I'd like to leave whatever's left of Romney–––boy, you guys know how to tar and feather so artfully––and mention our other bête Noire, the Babbling Brooks whose opinion in yesterday's Times caused me much consternation. He is using Chris Haynes' book about the "elites' as a foil for his own "stuff" and in the process misrepresenting Chris (one wonders whether he actually read Haynes' book). I thought this cat nip for Marie, but since she was knee deep in bathroom matters, I was hoping someone would tackle it. Sure enough, today three––Dean Baker, Charles Pierce and Jason Linkins––articles appear in NYXE that affirm my feelings exactly. And apropos of elites and Brooks' I add this:

Kai Bird––one of my very favorite writers––wrote a biography of John McCloy––one of the "wise men" of yonder past. McCloy would on many occasions use the Latin "gravitas" to describe the few men of sound judgement, men in whom the republic placed its trust, not because of their rank or status, but because they possessed a balanced, centered understanding of the complexities of life. When asked about this, McCloy responded: "Gravitas does not imply age or brilliance, and least of all, a style or school of thought. It means a core, a weight of judgement and honest appraisal." And one of these honest appraisals and good judgement was McCloy's hands in implementing the Japanese concentration camps. This is the Groton crowd that Brooks refers to.

The other bit of historical knowledge that Brooks leaves out when he speaks of the white Protestant elites running the country back in the good ole days were the Jewish bankers that were known as The Four Hundred to differentiate from The One Hundred–-families of the gentile social elite.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

@Victoria D. I have an answer to your question. A politician. Almost all have something in common, a pathetic ego that far exceeds their brains. And let us not forget that Mitty is actually Bishop Romney. His magic underwear will protect him from evil Democrats.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

I realize I'm still a youngin' (26) with lots to learn about this upside-down world we live in, but the State of Our Union has become so farcical that I hardly know what to make of this "Exceptional" land I was born into. Living extensively abroad hasn't helped in this minor identity crisis, but it has certainly allowed me to outmaneuver the nearly-perfected propaganda box surrounding our borders and reaching ever-further abroad.

As a regular visitor to Reality Chex I absorb all the different plagues of our society with a slight grin as I imagine the lesioned souls of the Very Important People who have sold themselves out to an early retirement of tranquil over-consumption of self-nominated luxury goods aside their fellow white-collar extortionists talking up the good ol' days of submitting their fellow common Man to the mangling machinery of corporate plutocracy.

Why with a grin you may ask? Am I a young, budding Robme hastily taking notes as he gives his daily lessons of the Art of the Squirm? My grin arises from my lessons from Albert Cossery's, "La Violence et la Dérision" which in his case was used taking down bigger fish than banksters and corrupt corporate panderers.

As is apparent in Upton Sinclair's timely "The Moneychangers," we're not living anything new today; history is certainly cyclical. Today's game is merely more interconnected and its inevitable downfall will have vastly more devastating global effects, particularly for all of the underdeveloped economies we have speared, bled, and left swimming along side our sputtering oil tanker.

Having pulled the rug out from under the façade of my Texas-approved textbook education, I remain optimistic mostly due to my youth and the wise words of past and present sabios. Following the fellow commentators on this site at times gives the modern-day ambiance of the past Parisian reunions of Stein, Hemingway, and Pound as they mused about their own societal ills. Ironic that once such intimate encounters are now replaced by internet connections of anonymous minds dispersed throughout our tiny planet.

Sharing some secrets of how to keep the optimism after decades of wading through the bullshit would be appreciated from the Post-Indocrinated Youth of this country who follow this blog and occasionally have blurry visions of unraveling the curtain of our Wizards of Oz.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

@safari. Say what?

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

As a latecomer to the Commentariat I may not have earned the right to serve as even auxiliary host, but "welcome" nonetheless, Safari. I am old enough, though, to say this: an admixture of young blood and the optimism you claim for it can't hurt the delightful discussions that occur on this beloved site one bit.

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

@safari-

The words that came to me after reading your thoughtful comment were not my own--they belong to my favorite mentor of long ago, Carl Whitaker, a family therapist in Madison, Wisconsin.

..."Develop a sense of the benign absurdity of life--yours and those around you--and thus learn to transcend the world of experience. If we can abandon our missionary zeal, we have less chance of being eaten by cannibals."

July 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison
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