The Ledes

Monday, August 3, 2015.

Guardian: "Former City trader Tom Hayes has been sentenced to 14 years in jail after becoming the first person to be convicted by a jury of rigging the Libor interest rate. Hayes, 35, a former UBS and Citigroup yen derivatives trader, was convicted of eight counts of conspiracy to defraud."

New York Times: After being closed for five weeks, the Greek stock exchange reopened today, & prices plummeted.

AP: "Fire officials called for thousands of evacuations as numerous homes remained threatened by Northern California wildfires Monday, while more than 9,000 firefighters battled 21 major fires in the state, officials said. Wildfires were also burning in Washington and Oregon as the West Coast suffered from the effects of drought and summer heat."

The Wires

The Ledes

Sunday, August 2, 2015.

Los Angeles Times: "The Rocky Fire exploded overnight, burning 47,000 acres as of Sunday morning and threatening 6,000 structures in [California's] Lake, Yolo and Colusa counties. The U.S. Forest Service said "fire activity dramatically progressed"  late Saturday, forcing the closure of several state highways in the area. The fire is just 5% contained; about 12,000 people have been ordered to evacuate. Nearly 2,000 firefighters are battling the blaze and more are coming into the area."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."

AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."

Washington Post (June 4): "The first-ever 'female Viagra' came one step closer to coming to market, as a key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted Thursday afternoon to recommend that the FDA approve the drug with conditions. The committee voted 18-6 to recommend that the FDA approve flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women."

White House Live Video
August 3

11:10 am ET: President Obama speaks at the Young African Leaders Iniative

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing with Energy Secretary Ernest Munoz

2:15 pm ET: President Obama speaks on the Clean Power Plan

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

New York Times: "Jason Fine, the editor of Men’s Journal, will take over as the managing editor of Rolling Stone as part of what the magazine’s publisher, Jann S. Wenner, described as a 'shake-up.'”

"Where Are My Pancakes?"

The Word Salad King. If Donald Trump's good friend & possible running mate Sarah Palin is the Word Salad Queen, it stands to reason that the Donald would be the king. Slate challenges you to diagram this "sentence." To help you out, Slate has transcribed the words in the order delivered. Not that the order delivered matters much:

Obama Slept Here

For a mere $22.5MM this Martha's Vinehard house on 10 acres can be yours. The Obamas stayed in the house for 8 days in 2013. The current owner bought the property, which has expansive views of the Atlantic & Chilmark Pond, in 2000 for about $3MM. So, hey, the price is negotiable. Slide show.

The Birth of Franklin. Washington Post: After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Glickman, a white California mother wrote to cartoonist Charles Schultz urging him to introduce a black character to his "Peanuts" cartoon strips. When Schultz demurred, saying he was afraid "it would look like we were patronizing our Negro friends," Glickman got two of her "Negro friends" who backed the idea to write to Schultz. A short time later, Schultz introduced Franklin. Oh, yes, & strips showing Franklin in an integrated! classroom upset Southern editors, according to Glickman.

Jane Hamshire of Firedoglake: "... I have decided to pass the torch on to Kevin Gosztola and Brian Sonenstein, who will launch their own media organization called Shadowproof that will build on the success of FDL."

Dylan Byers: "MSNBC has formally decided to cancel three programs -- 'The Cycle,' 'Now with Alex Wagner' and 'The Ed Show' -- as part of a larger effort to shift its daytime lineup away from opinion programming.... Alex Wagner and Ari Melber, a 'Cycle' co-host and MSNBC's chief legal correspondent, will remain with the network. Ed Schultz, the host of 'The Ed Show,' will leave the network, as will 'Cycle' co-hosts Abby Huntsman, Krystal Ball and Toure.... In September, MSNBC will add a 5 p.m. program hosted by 'Meet The Press' moderator Chuck Todd, while Brian Williams, the former 'Nightly News' anchor, will serve as the network's breaking news and special reports anchor."

If you can memorize & learn to use the University of New Hampshire's long list of "bias-free language," you can be the most politically-correct person in your neighborhood. Via Jonathan Chait. ...

... CW Etiquette Tip: calling out your friends for using outmoded terms like "overweight" & "rich" is not politically correct. Simply try to steer the conversation in a more "inclusive" direction. So if your friend says to you, "My rich neighbor got so overweight he has to use a wheelchair now," you say, "Oh, that person of material wealth has become a person of size who is wheelchair mobile? Wow! He's your neighbor? I remember him when he was a person experiencing homelessness who lacked advantages that others have." It sounds so natural, your friend will never realize you've corrected his biased, dated stereotypes. ...

     ... UPDATE: Turns out the university's president is biased against the bias-free language guide & he was unaware of its existence until this week. Also, a Republican state legislator is "outraged" & finds the guide a good excuse to cut funding for the state university. Naturally. Thanks to MAG for the lead.

Will Oremus of Slate likes Windows 10. CW: I haven't had the courage to try switching over yet. I'll lose EVERYTHING!

Fuck off! I’m done with you. -- Jon Stewart, to Wyatt Cenac

... Alex Jung of New York: Jon Stewart repeatedly yelled at Wyatt Cenac when Cenac questioned a "Daily Show" segment meant to be a defense against Fox "News" allegations that Stewart's Herman Cain imitation was racist. ...

... Maron's WTF podcast of his interview with Cenac is here. ...

... CW: Here's the thing, black people. When you confront white liberals with accusations of racial bias, WE WILL NEVER ADMIT IT. We will remind you that we have been fighting for black civil rights for 50 years (Bernie Sanders). We will tell you all lives matter (Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley). We will tell you that white people are responsible for expanding your rights (Hillary Clinton). We will deny your accusations (Every one of us). And all the while, we will be highly insulted, even if we don't tell you to fuck off. Because white people's feelings matter. And, after all we've done for you, we can't believe you would accuse us of racism.

Even when they're only lip-syncing, some entertainers are pretty damned talented. I'm not much of a fan of Tom Cruise's, but ...

Tech Crunch: "It’s no secret that Google+ didn’t quite work out the way Google envisioned and now, after already moving Google Photos out of the service, it’s starting to decouple Google+ profiles from its regular Google accounts."

Stupid Pet Tricks, Reptile Edition:

Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast: NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is replacing MSNBC's Ed Schultz with -- Chuck Todd. [CW: Excellent decision! Let's change "MSNBC" to "VPN" -- "Village People's Network."] "The only programs that appeared safe from disruption were Morning Joe..., hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; Hardball ... with Chris Matthews; and The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m. Those programs have performed respectably...." ...

We live in a time when much of the corporate media regards politics as a baseball game or a soap opera. Ed Schultz has treated the American people with respect by focusing on the most important issues impacting their lives.... I am very disappointed that Comcast [the parent company of NBC & MSNBC] chose to remove Ed Schultz from its lineup. We need more people who talk about the real issues facing our country, not fewer.... At a time when a handful of large, multi-national corporations own our major media outlets, I hope they will allow voices to be heard from those who dissent from the corporate agenda. -- Sen. Bernie Sanders

Washington Post: "The latest update from NASA's Kepler space telescope — designed to spot distant exoplanets — adds more than 500 new possible planets to the fray. That's in addition to the 4,175 planets already found by Kepler. And of those 500 new potential planets, scientists say, a dozen could be remarkably Earth-like. That means they're less than twice as large as Earth, are potentially rocky and are at the right distance from their host stars to harbor liquid water." ...

... Guardian: "Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered 'the closest twin to Earth' outside the solar system, Nasa announced on Thursday."

Worst Person Ratings in the World. Andrew Kirell of Mediaite: Rumors are a'flyin' that MSNBC is headed for another line-up shake-up, which could include the Return of Dr. Olbermann, who is departing ESPN -- again. Because their third place in cable ratings wasn't as bad as their third place is now (sometimes 4th, behind Al Jazeera). And because the New Olbermann is now a suits-licking pussycat, unlike the Old Olbermann from way last week.

Some Would Be Heroes. Washington Post: Coast Guardsman Darren Harrity swims a mile in choppy, fuel-slicked sea to save four men in a leaky lifeboat.

New York Times: "What Pet Should I Get?" -- an aide to Dr. Suess's widow found the manuscript in a box. Dr. Suess -- Theodore Geisel -- died in 1991.

     ... Via BuzzFeed, for the fun of it.

Washington Post: "On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they're calling Breakthrough Listen." ...

... CW: What a waste. You know all they'll find is angels hovering around a pantheon of some sort & maybe, if they're lucky, their long-dead pooches floating around Pet Heaven, which is real & wonderful.

Contact the Constant Weader

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Monday
Oct082012

The Commentariat -- October 9, 2012

Brendan Nyhan in the Columbia Journalism Review on some major media outlets' irresponsible handling of the right-wing jobs report conspiracy theory. ABC News & Bloomberg News were among the worst, & other media picked up the Bloomberg story. Via Jonathan Bernstein.

** Based on a book by Yale law professor Akhil Amar, Stanley Fish writes a terrific primer on interpreting the Constitution.

Jon Stewart addresses the conspiracy to artificially lower the unemployment rate:

Presidential Race

Jeffrey Jones of Gallup: "Registered voters' preferences for president are evenly split in the first three days of Gallup tracking since last Wednesday's presidential debate. In the three days prior to the debate, Barack Obama had a five-percentage-point edge among registered voters." ...

... Nate Silver analyzes the latest presidential polling data.

Fact-Check. Bradley Klapper & Calvin Woodward of the AP: "Mitt Romney solely blamed President Barack Obama on Monday for potential defense cuts that Republicans in Congress worked out with the White House and Democrats and left the misimpression that Obama has ignored free trade initiatives." Read the whole article. Here's a surprise: Romney told one lie after another. ...

... President Obama has shown time and again that he is a tough, responsible and steady commander-in-chief. Mitt Romney has shown throughout this campaign that he would be the exact opposite. Behind the tough talk, he has been erratic, unsteady and irresponsible in his audition on the world stage. -- Ben LaBolt of the Obama campaign ...

... Josh Gerstein of Politico: "What [Romney's] campaign billed as a major foreign policy address didn't have much new in it and left some analysts unimpressed. The speech, they said, was much like Romney's previous swings at laying out a foreign policy: couched in broad ideology and big ambitions and lacking the specifics for how he'd bring any of them about." ...

... Spencer Ackerman of Wired: "Mitt Romney thinks Barack Obama is a terrible president. When Romney looks at Obama's foreign policies, he sees a president who projects 'passivity' in a dangerous world, as he argues in a big speech on Monday, leaving allies and enemies confused about where America stands. Which makes it curious that the policies Romney outlines in his speech differ, at most, superficially from Obama's." ...

... Adam Serwer of Mother Jones: "Romney's speech ... seems to have focused less on introducing new policies as introducing a new Mitt." ...

** ... Dana Milbank: "Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom famously predicted that the candidate would use an Etch-a-Sketch approach in the general election to erase his previous positions. But nobody predicted that the entire exercise would occur in the space of one week -- and just a month before the election. Stranger yet, Romney hasn't been shifting all his views to the center in recent days. While his domestic policies are moderating, his foreign policy is moving to more of a neocon hard line. The only consistency is inconsistency: Whatever Romney's positions were, they are no longer."

... Steve Benen: what Romney says about Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts in public is notably different from what he says in private.

Ezra Klein: Mitt isn't moderate, & he would govern as a conservative. Klein explains why.

CW: what this all boils down to is that Mitt's policies don't matter because he has no principles. He is completely unpredictable. He would be the Schizoid President.

Mike Allen & Jim VandeHei of Politico write what I think is a hilarious story: This Week's Willard is all the doing of -- wait for it -- Ann & Tagg Romney. "This story is based on campaign sources with direct knowledge of the events. The sources insisted on anonymity in order to discuss internal disputes and operations." Yeah, right. This story is what is technically known as a sack-o'-shit leak, designed to burnish the reps of Ann & Tagg & "explain" how This Week's Willard is the Real Romney.

AND, speaking of hilarious, contributor Julie L. links this Obama campaign ad:

     ... John McCain is not amused. ...

... Sorry for all the "Daily Show" stuff, but this is an instant classic -- "This Week with George Snuffleupagus":

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the AP does a nice job of politely debunking Romney's claims that he plans to provide health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions. Headline: "Big Gaps in Romney Plan on Pre-Existing Conditions."

Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic runs down a few of Romney's more severely conservative positions: "Romney had more than a year of campaigning to position himself as a moderate. He chose not to do so. That tells us a lot -- more, surely, than anything he says now."

Paul Ryan gets pissed off, walks out of interview by Flint, Michigan reporter. Via Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed:

... John Aravosis of AmericaBlog: "It was clear that Team Romney won't permit Ryan to do an interview, or continue an interview, with anyone who seems prepared to question the Romney campaign's lies."

Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution, writing in Salon, on the gay vote. Why would gays vote Republican? Ever? Um, jobs or something. So far, Log Cabin Republicans have chosen not to endorse Throwback Mitt.

Congressional Races

Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times: "A potent combination of Congressional redistricting, retirements of fed-up lawmakers and campaign spending by special interests is pushing out moderate members of both parties, leaving a shrinking corps of consensus builders."

Alison Cowan of the New York Times: through an associate, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) (Staten Island & parts of Brooklyn) has ties to the Gambino crime family.

Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post: Rep. Todd Akin (jRTP-Mo.) is gathering support for his candidacy & has closed the 10-point gap that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) enjoyed after Akin's "legitimate rape" remarks. And evangelicals love him!

Right Wing World

Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times has more on former state legislator Charlie Fuqua, who is running to take back his old seat. In his book God's Law: The Only Political Solution, Fuqua writes that "the guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children ... in Deut 21:18-21 ... would rarely be used, if it were the law of land, [but] would give parents authority." Even more frightening: Fuqua is a former lawyer for the state department of human services. Fuqua's campaign gets financial support from the state Republican party. CW: shouldn't a lawyer who advocates the occasional murder of brats be disbarred?

News Ledes

New York Times: "As tens of thousands took to the streets in protest, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Athens on Tuesday in her clearest gesture of European solidarity since the debt crisis began."

New York Times: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called for elections early next year instead of as scheduled in October 2013, saying that conversations with his coalition partners had proved it would be impossible to pass 'a responsible budget' with deep cuts."

AP: "Senior State Department officials on Tuesday revealed for the first time certain details of last month's tragedy in the former Libyan rebel stronghold, such as the efforts of a quick reaction force that rushed onto the scene and led the evacuation in a fierce gun battle that continued into the streets. The briefing was provided a day before department officials were to testify to a House committee...."

AP: "A French-American duo shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for inventing methods to observe the bizarre properties of the quantum world, research that has led to the construction of extremely precise clocks and helped scientists take the first steps toward building superfast computers. Serge Haroche of France and American David Wineland opened the door to new experiments in quantum physics by showing how to observe individual quantum particles without destroying them, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said."

Reuters: "The unprecedented price spike that added more than 50 cents a gallon to California pump prices last week ended as quickly as it began, market analysts said, and consumers should see prices fall dramatically in the coming week. Political outrage, however, was still heating up as Senator Barbara Boxer joined calls for a federal investigation into possible market manipulation."

ABC News: "Jerry Sandusky didn't take the stand during his child sex-abuse trial this summer, but Tuesday at his sentencing he will declare that he is innocent despite the 45 verdicts finding him guilty, his lawyer said Monday, as Sandusky made the same claim in a new audio recording." ...

     ... Philadelphia Inquirer Update: "An emotional Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison today for molesting 10 young boys he encountered through his charity for disadvantaged youth."

Guardian: "Julian Assange's supporters have been ordered to forfeit £93,500 in bail money after the WikiLeaks founder sought political asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London."

Reader Comments (30)

CW,
On the election season in general-
Author Toni Morrison on the election season and race....
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-radio-and-tv-19827316
mae finch
note: tried to post during the day (10/8) but kept getting script error and a frozen computer.

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae finch

Mae Finch : What a relief, I thought something was wrong with my computer when I got the "script error" prompt. Have to hit close twenty or thirty times to get it off page. First time it happened, I had to shut down to get rid of it.

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

Yesterday's comments about problems in latin America should be a warning to us all. These countries are a demonstration of the fact that people will not starve or be continually abused quietly. If we continue on the course of creating economic inequality we will end up a "banana republic" and an unsafe situation for everyone.
This is our destiny unless we stem the fall of working America. With the weak Obama it will take a while to self destruct.
A tea party led Romney will do it quicker. Neither candidate nor party seems to realize that we cannot accept eight percent unemployment and a fifteen percent under employed and growing numbers of poor.
Exceptional America will soon be looking up to Argentina. Brazil, and Chile. Canada and all the OECD look down on us already.

e

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

@Carlisle,
I could not get off the page with error script at all.
Here is my little (very little) knowledge of shutting down everything.
I hit Ctrl, Alt, and Delete buttons-
and voila, computer would shut down- and reboot.

mae finch

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae finch

I think the problem was the "This Week" videos I'd embedded. I've removed them, & I won't post "This Week" videos again, unless I find copies on YouTube.

Marie

October 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Carlyle-

YIKES! Did I read your comment right? Hope not. Sounds like you are interested in a Romney victory. Holy Scalia! I thought you had been listening to me all of these months when I have whined and wailed: REMEMBER THE SUPREMES!

Am I mistaken, or do I need to become extremely needy and manipulative? Please tell!

October 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Kate Madison :
Obama is dandy, but Romney is quicker.
We are in a lose, lose and Obama is too weak to lead us out. Only the savior that follows the Republican disaster will have the support for the needed radical changes and redistribution.
A devastated public will finally demand real change.
Kate, this is not a preference, it is a prophesy.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

Carlyle, I have had the same thoughts that we need to fall farther and hurt more before, as Obama is trying to ask for in his speeches, the people recognize and take back the power they are unwittingly relinquishing as they selfishly turn on each other. Most people don't recognize how willing people like Romney are to throw them under the bus in their quest for money and power because he is their version of America - pious and wealthy.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

@carlyle. There are no "saviors" in politics. We have a system that -- by design -- saves us from saviors, a/k/a megalomaniacal dictators.

Since Kate Madison's run-in with a leftist purist this past weekend, I've been thinking about how to reach people like that purist. Logic doesn't work any more than it works on people who insist the world is 6,000-10,000 years old & a supernatural being created it in seven days.

So here's one thought. Think of Bernie Sanders. Most people on the left love Bernie Sanders. I do. If the Congress declared Bernie Sanders Day & automatically passed every bill and Constitutional Amendment Bernie presented in a day, & the president agreed to sign all the bills into law, this would be a far better country. Imperfect still, but far better.

Now, think about Bernie Sanders' voting record. With nearly every vote, Bernie votes against the type of bills he would submit on Bernie Sanders Day. Nearly all of Bernie's votes are contrary to his strongly-held beliefs & principles. He constantly votes for bills that are just not good enough. The same is true for a few others in the Senate: Sherrod Brown, Sheldon Whitehouse, maybe Barbara Boxer. Is Bernie Sanders a flaming hypocrite for voting for the not-terrible over the terrible? I don't think so. (It might help you to read the John Paul Stevens review I linked yesterday. His argument for why the framers reluctantly agreed to the constitution of the Senate makes a similar case.) Being an effective member of society means doing the best you can, not sitting in a corner & stamping your feet feet because what's possible is far less than perfect. Pragmatism is a quiet form of heroism.

I hope this helps.

Marie

October 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Marie, if our political system can't save us from Romney, it can't save us from his successor. Romney may be followed by a military dictator or we may get real lucky and find another Franklin D. Roosevelt.
I am certain Romney, if elected will be our Hoover, sadly without Hoover's good intentions, only his ignorance.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

I found myself clicking on the Ryan clip. I was curious as I grew up near Flint, family/friends still there. His solution for the problems in inner cities was to "provide opportunities" by "teaching character and discipline". Yup, I want me some character and discipline - that'll feed the kids. What he really meant was just drop a 10 ton bomb on urban areas and wipe out all those annoying poor people who usually vote Democratic.

That supercilious little prick is one of the most repulsive mother humpers to pop out of the pod.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

@Diane. Thanks for your precisely accurate interpretation of the Romney/Ryan Plan for Urban Moochers & Takers.

Marie

October 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Carlyle,

More than a few times my views have been presented, here and elsewhere, in a way that, shall we say, does not lack for stridency. I have been accused, over the years, by friends and foes alike, of being a rank idealist. I believe it's essential that we have ideals, naturally. But just because I will go along with a less than perfect solution to the many problems we face doesn't mean I've kicked off my ideals like comfortable slippers to which I can return when everything's warm and cozy again. Marie's Bernie Sanders lesson is a fine description of what it means to hold this sort of position.

Another way to think about the place of ideals is to make a quick gloss of any number of Plato's dialogues, or take a dip into The Republic. The old boy places a high premium on Ideals but he also realizes that they are exactly that: something to strive for. Plato tells us that it is unlikely that we shall reach many or most of our ideals in this world, but that doesn't mean we don't try.

I get--entirely--your dissatisfaction with how things are going. But here's another thing to consider when you suggest that the whole shootin' match should just be blown up so we can start over. The nature of our system, our country, the media, all of it, is pretty much structured to resist that sort of solution. Think of it. Even when things have been terribly bad in this country, there has been no serious call for revolution (or at least none that would actually pay off). I too am concerned with who or what will slither out from the right after Romney, but I still have a kind of faith in our fellow citizens, most of who seem led like sheep quite a lot of the time, but who may, at last, turn away from the treacherous, the religious zealots, the haters, and the xenophobes. History has a way of evening things out after time. Romney and the current GOP have bet the farm on one single belief which has brought them great success but may yet be its downfall:

Americans are Stupid.

That's it. That's all they got.

They believe that if they tell enough lies, enough people will buy their bullshit and they'll be back in the catbird seat. Their leaders don't trust democracy, don't like or trust most Americans, and don't have any compunction against doing or saying anything in order to hold on to power.

But I think that only carries you so far. You have to offer something more than hatred, more wars, and currying favor with the wealthy. There is no soul left on the right. It's hollow.

So as much as I despair at what may happen to us as a nation, I don't let myself go too far down that road. Pragmatism may not be a straight road to the ideal (more of a zig-zaggy way to do it) but it's better than the alternative.

Anyway, hang in there. We're not all sheep.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Romney and Ryan should spend a week in Flint, the one time home of Buick and a good portion of the automobile industry in Michigan.
A CIO birthplace and site of the first sit down strikes.
Once prosperous, Flint is loaded with people R&R do not give a shit for. Unfortunately, almost half of the citizens of Flint will vote for R &R. Perhaps our Founding Fathers fear of the rabble was justified.
On the other hand, this rabble, beaten down even farther, and frightened and confused may help establish a demagogue like Huey Long or Sinclair Lewis or Father Coughlin or a General, whoever promises relief and is believed.
We got lucky last time.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

@Diane - You were too kind to Ryan. Other than that, I agree with your assessment completely.
Let's hope the "little prick" gets huffy and walks off the debate stage this week.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Akhilleus: Of course you are right. This election will be a referendum on the intelligence of the American voter and the malfeasance of the media.
I am fearful.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarlyle

Thanks to Marie for the link to that excellent no-punches-pulled CJR review of the execrable crap offered in place of actual journalism in the coverage of the right’s recent heart attack over improving employment statistics “But things just CAN’T be getting better! We need Americans to SUFFFFFERRRR!”

The sad fact is that the stenographers who pretend to be actual journalists (none of these aspire to being actual journalists; pretense is just fine) are complicit in lobotomizing this society. The response of the fourth estate to the post-factual world built by and for the right is nothing less than shameful. One ABC hack termed the employment statistics an “October Surprise”. Really? Seriously? The numbers were good but nowhere near that good. Go back and see what a real October Surprise is, numbskull.

This same “reporter” recently turned in another story in which he parrots Romney lies as if they were handed to Moses on Mt. Sinai. His breathless headline is “Romney Promises $17,000 in Tax Breaks for EVERYONE!!” Well, actually, no, he didn’t. Most of these hack-bombs offer the merest attempt at judicious reportage, usually in the last 8 words of a 1,000 word piece, in tiny 7 pt type: “oh by the way, the other side disagrees.”

This is how the Lying Rat and his partner the Supercilious Prick (thanks, Diane) can just open their mouths and let the lies flow freely. They have no fear of EVER being called on it. At the very least, half of the media outlets will simply repeat their lies without context or fact checking. A few will demur, and the rest will do a he said/she said treatment.

Read this CJR article. This is the way to deal in an upright, straightforward manner with incompetents and liars.

Could we have more like that one, please?

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

This Onion really makes me cry, so painfully true:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/romney-proudly-explains-how-hes-turned-campaign-ar,29845/

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Carlyle,

Your mention of the possibility of various personalities, such as a general, coming to power through a popular belief in their perceived ability to rescue a restless and downtrodden populace reminded me that just such a problem presented itself in France in the late 19th century.

The outcome might be heartening.

General Georges Boulanger, a rabble rouser and warmonger, constructed a career for himself that many current right-wing politicians would envy. Boulanger presented himself, to the power brokers, as a supporter of the destruction of democracy and the return of the monarchy, but to the public, he cultivated an image of savior of the people. He was pretty cute about playing all sides off against each other in his quest for the presidency. He skillfully played on the fears and hatreds of conservatives, convincing them that everyone was out to get them, even going so far as to instigate an unnecessary war with Germany to demonstrate his power (sound familiar?). War was averted but his supporters worshiped him as the kind of powerful blowhard Romney now presents himself as, attack first, ask questions….well, no need to ask any questions, is there?

Boulangisme became a feared force in French politics in the late 1880s and many believed the country to be a coup d’etat away from a military dictatorship. But Boulanger misplayed his hand. His scheme became less obscure and eventually an arrest warrant for treason was issued.

Rather than suffer inferiors to touch his person and allow himself to be dragged to prison for his plot to overthrow the government, Boulanger put a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. A rat bastard coward right to the end.

The bad guys don’t always win. (And wouldn't you love to see a bunch of these creeps perp-walked in handcuffs, arrested for treason?)

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Akhilleus, the 'Willard the Rat' label, while appropriate for describing the feeling of disgust his lies,behavior and attitude arouse in us, is totally inadequate in describing this sociopathic predator. Willard the Hyena would be more accurate, for he is now the leader of a pack of rapacious creatures, bent on plundering all they can survey.
His nervous laughing attitude matches the laughing of the hyena pack on the trail of carrion or another kill. Willard, like the hyena does his deeds out of sight, under the cover of darkness. Truly a son of Pluto, the prince of darkness.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

Lisa,

Funny/sad....Laugh? I thought I'd cry.

But a good reminder to resume my Onion addiction. Other favorite headline:

Reince Priebus Forced Back Into Ancient Puzzle Box After Being Tricked Into Saying Name Backwards

"It was the strangest thing,” conservative blogger Christine Parnell said. “One second Reince was talking about the importance of a two-parent household, and the next he turned into this ugly, shrieking little troll and began levitating across the podium. But as soon as the box snapped shut around him, all the lights came back on, the wind stopped, and it was as if he never existed at all.”

If only....

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Roger,

The Willard Mechanism is indeed a bone picking scavenger. Whatever it/he is, "human" ain't on the short list.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I wish Obama would start the next debate with an explanation. He should blame his last performance on the spiritual awakening/out-of-body experience he had there on the stage when the reality of the past four years were revealed to him. Little did he know that when Republican Congressman Joe Wilson cried, "You lie,' that he was foretelling the GOP's modus operandi, the defining campaign tactic of his next opponent and the mission of the corporate media. During this awakening, the words of the Founding Fathers rang in his ears, while he stood there and listened to a dishonest man lying to hide how he planned to radically transform this nation that was built on the premise of We the People. Obama could feel the soul being sucked out of the American dream......and then he could get all Obama-eloquent and fight for what is right and expose Romney for the man that he really is. He should also carry a "Gish Gallop" handkerchief that he pulls out and offers to Romney every time he spews his BS.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Lisa,
Obama also could just show up wearing a rubber sheet and say that he was now better prepared to listen to the other guy.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Carlyle-

..."We are in a lose, lose and Obama is too weak to lead us out. Only the SAVIOR that follows the Republican disaster will have the support for the needed radical changes and redistribution."

Methinks you are excessively hopeful! This is the "throw the baby out with the bathwater" and "rise from the ashes" philosophy I have encountered on other progressive sites. I agree that most of us are terribly disappointed in Obama, but see the system as unchanging in our lifetimes. Just think if RawMoney is elected who he will appoint as Secretary of State. He has more than once mentioned JOHN BOLTON! Yikes.

Then, of course, there is the matter of the Supremes. I know, I know--I am completely obsessed. But I think this is the bottom line in voting for Obama. We just cannot afford to have Stevens and Ginsburg replaced with Junior Scalias--and you may be sure MittWitt will appoint young justices!

Are we having fun yet, she asked hopefully?

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

Tomorrow, Little Johhny and the Dwarfs ( featuring 18th C Nino on the Texualist Tambourine--hey Mr. Tambourine Man play that song for me, in your jingle jangle wanderings, we'll go followin' you...), will answer the question about whether certain Americans who have been denied equal treatment for hundreds of years need to be stepped on some more.

Nino, Johnny, Sammy, and, perversely, Long Dong Clarence, who benefitted from this exact plan and who will now urinate prodigiously upon same, will once again do the intellectually dishonest ideology tango in order that their view of America, NOT the founders', gets to dance the Right-Wing Triumphalist Two-step.

Marie has suggested a very interesting read, Stanley Fish's review of Akhil Reed Amar's book on the unwritten Constitution.

Amar raises issues that envelop and strangle the insidious and selective intellectual mung proffered by Nino as incontrovertible evidence supporting his parched, simplistic, and un-American views.

Right-wing screaming to follow.

More later...

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I like the Big Bird ad put out by the Obama campaign but PBS has objected, presumably to the use of the image. I can see why they wouldn't want either side to use the Muppets for partisan purposes.
Even wihout the image, it would be an effective ad.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

This just leaked from the Romney campaign.
The October Suprise

Mitt has announced that he will throw in the floor mats AND the clearcoat. Offer good on Nov. 6 only, so act now.

Joe "Isuzu' has my vote.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan Lowery

Dan,

You get the Late 80s Slimy Pitchman Revivalist Remembrance Award.

Joe Isuzu, an inveterate and slimy liar, would be a perfect shill for the Modern GOP and, especially, for Willard and his sidekick, Pussy Boy Liar Ryan.

The most interesting thing is how the character of Joe Isuzu, a pathological liar, was embraced by American consumers who bought the products he pushed.

I recall one ad in which he described a list of unbelievable qualities for Isuzu products, after which he proclaimed "If I'm lying, may my mother be hit by a lightning bolt" with an onscreen text disclaimer "Good luck, Mom".

Good thing Romney's mom is already dead.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Crap, I forgot to include, in my first installment of the imminent Right-Wing Jihad against justice, the Scalia/Roberts/Alito/Thomas and maybe Kennedy attack on decency, a reiteration of Kate's mantra:

REMEMBER THE (fucking) SUPREMES.

October 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus
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