The Ledes

Thursday, September 18, 2014.

Reuters: "Eight bodies, including those of three journalists, were found after an attack on a team trying to educate locals on the risks of the Ebola virus in a remote area of southeastern Guinea, a government spokesman said on Thursday."

New York Times: "The people of Scotland decide Thursday whether national pride outweighs economic risk.... Economists normally as ideologically disparate and disputatious as Alan Greenspan, Paul Krugman, Adam S. Posen and Niall Ferguson all have predicted a negative economic outlook for an independent Scotland, while expressing anxiety, too, about the impact of such uncertainty on the larger European and global economies."

... The front page of the Edinburgh Scotsman is here. The Guardian has a Scottish independence page here, with lots o'links. 

      ... Update: The Guardian is now liveblogging the vote & results. The final poll before voting put the yes votes at 47 percent & the no at 53. ...

     ... Update 2: The Guardian has a new liveblog here. Still no final results (as of 7:45 pm ET).

Guardian: "Toronto mayor Rob Ford has a 'rare and difficult' form of cancer called malignant pleomorphic liposarcoma, doctors treating him at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto announced on Wednesday." ...

     ... New York Update: Ford has endorsed his brother Doug for mayor.

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

AP: "Islamic State fighters shot down a Syrian war plane using anti-aircraft guns on Tuesday, the first time the group has downed a military jet since declaring its cross-border caliphate in June, a group monitoring the civil war said."

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 18

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press 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.

Thursday
Sep132012

The Commentariat -- Sept. 14, 2012

CW: This would be a good day to journey to the bottom of the post.

NEW. Dean Baker has a good piece on David Brooks' column. Headline: "Did Public Schools Fail David Brooks?"

Ben Bernanke holds a press conference to explain the Fed's action:

Felix Salmon of Reuters: "The main news isn't the fact that the Fed is back in the market, buying bonds. Indeed, as Binyamin Appelbaum [of the New York Times] points out, QE3 in volume terms, at $40 billion per month, is significantly smaller than QE1 and QE2.... [The big deal is that] QE3, unlike QE1 and QE2, has no set expiry date. The Fed's ... promising a steady extra flow of monetary fuel for the foreseeable future -- or at least until the labor market improves 'substantially.' ... But the Fed went even further ... where they all but promised zero interest rates until mid-2015." ...

QE3 -- Good for Everybody! Josh Barro of Bloomberg: "While overly tight monetary policy has hit the unemployed the hardest, it has been bad for almost everybody, including rich people. It's true that disinflation has been good for certain securities, particularly low-risk bonds. But wealthy bondholders also tend to be wealthy stockholders, and Fed policies that hold economic growth down are bad for equities...." ...

... Paul Krugman makes some remarks on the Fed's move. ...

... Michael Tomasky of Newsweek: "Republicans are piling on in the expected ways. Romney calls it another 'bailout.' I'd watch that word if I were he; that word is no friend of his (oh, by the way -- Obama is up 10 in Michigan).... If Republicans want to be in the position of opposing an effort by the Federal Reserve Bank to lower the jobless rate, that's their problem.

Krugman: You might be a Keynesian if ... you believe reports that sales of the new iPhone 5 is likely to stimulate the economy.

Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy: "President Barack Obama didn't intend to signal any change in the U.S.-Egypt relationship last night when he said Egypt is not an 'ally,'" the White House [said Thursday]. Here's the full transcript of the Telemundo interview. In response to the question, "Would you consider the current Egyptian regime an ally of the United States?" Obama responded, in part,

I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don;t consider them an enemy. They're a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident. How they respond to, for example, maintaining the peace treaty ... with Israel.... Certainly in this situation what we're going to expect is that they are responsive to our insistence that our embassy is protected, our personnel is protected, and if they take actions that indicate they're not taking responsibilities, as all other countries do where we have embassies, I think that's going to be a real big problem.

Finally, Juan Cole raises the question that likely occurred to all of us: "Why in the world [Ambassador Chris Stevens] was in an insecure minor consulate in a provincial city on September 11 is a mystery to me." Read Cole's whole post; he is an expert on Middle East politics, & he gives a more nuanced sense of what happened in Libya & Egypt.

Presidential Race

And You Thought Voter ID Laws Were Abominable. Evan McMorris Santoro & Ryan Reilly of TPM: "Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an informal advisor to ... Mitt Romney, said on Thursday he and his fellow members of a state board were considering removing President Barack Obama from the Kansas ballot this November." CW: the Kansas board won't get away with this of course, but it is important to realize to what lengths Banana Republicans will go to blow up the democratic process & exactly what their commitment is to "American values." Thanks to Jeanne B. for the link.

Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times: "President Obama spent the second day of what was to be an upbeat swing through the politically vital Mountain West on Thursday balancing the somber tone that a foreign policy crisis demands and the hyper-partisan rhetoric that eight thousand Coloradoans came to hear."

The Obama campaign released this Web video yesterday, hitting Romney on his secret tax returns again. Donovan Slack of Politico has a related story:

This Didn't Take Long. McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed: the Romney camp is blaming the "liberal" press for its problems. One "Republican said, 'Experienced political operatives say they've never seen the press be so unhinged and determined to write 'Republican in disarray' stories.'"

... Tim Egan on the burdens of free speech by hatemongers -- and Romney, whose popping off was the "most revealing moment of the campaign." ...

... Roger Cohen of the New York Times: "This September surprise has given the world cause to appreciate the cool head in the White House and worry about the hothead who aspires to replace him. Romney, in Jacques Chirac's immortal phrase, 'lost a good opportunity to keep quiet.'" ...

... Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post in a column titled "Romney Owes an Apology": "... no one should be surprised by Mitt Romney's decision to ... exploit the attack on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Egypt and Libya as ammunition in the presidential campaign. After all, [he] ... wrote a book in 2010 premised on, and titled with, the false notion that Barack Obama has been going around the world apologizing for America.... To Romney, apologizing means never actually having to say you're sorry." ...

... Glenn Kessler: "Earlier in the week, we hesitated about handing out Pinocchios because not all of the facts had been established. But now it is pretty evident that the Romney campaign misstated the facts on Tuesday, on Wednesday -- and then again on Thursday, even after the peculiar circumstances of this embassy statement had been made abundantly clear." ...

... Gene Robinson: "The most charitable explanation is that he's in a panic over polls that show Obama opening a lead. If this is not the case, then Romney's ignorance of foreign policy is more profound -- and potentially dangerous -- than anyone could have suspected.... You have to wonder whether he knows there are moments when the guiding principle has to be 'America first.' Not 'me first.'" ...

... Jonathan Alter in Bloomberg News: "It's hard to avoid the conclusion that [Romney] is trying to pander to the Republican base, almost one-third of which still believes -- against all evidence -- that Obama is a Muslim.... Americans recognize that judgment, prudence, instinct and a sense of what the moment demands are all job requirements for the presidency. Romney met none of them this week." ...

... Frank Rich talks with New York magazine's Eric Benson about the new soap "All My Cheap Shots," starring Mitt Romney (or something like that).

I think the challenge that I'll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren't true. -- Mitt Romney, to George Stephanopoulos:

... CW: I've taken down the video of part of George Stepheanopoulos' interview of Mitt Romney because it may be the cause of some readers' computers freezing up. You can see video of the whole interview & read the transcript here.

Ashley Parker of the New York Times: "Speaking to a modest-sized crowd in Northern Virginia on Thursday, Mitt Romney sought to move beyond his criticism of President Obama's response to the turmoil in Libya and Egypt and instead broadly paint the president as weak on foreign policy.... At the mere mention of Libya, however, a man in the crowd began shouting: 'Why are you politicizing Libya?' As the crowd shouted down the protester, Mr. Romney tried to continue, before concluding, 'I would offer a moment of silence, but one gentleman doesn't want to be silent so we're going to keep on going..., strong military..., American leadership,' blah-blah.'" CW: So he's going to stand up to the world, but he caves to a lone protester? ...

Philip Rucker of the Washington Post: "Advisers to Mitt Romney on Thursday defended his sharp criticism of President Obama and said that the deadly protests sweeping the Middle East would not have happened if the Republican nominee were president.... Mitchell Reiss, a top Romney policy adviser, said in an interview, 'There are things that we can do in terms of what we say, the constancy of what our vision is -- pluralism, respect for law, human dignity -- these are things that you don't hear from the administration, and the people in the region want to hear that.'" CW: I guess Mitt Romney was expressing his "vision" of "human dignity" when he said Israelis were more successful than Palestinians because of "cultural differences." And I suppose he was expressing respect for "pluralism" when he said Muslims should not be able to build a mosque within the vicinity of Ground Zero. Yessiree, those are great ways to win Muslim friends. ...

... Benjy Sarlin of TPM points out that Richard Williamson, the Romney advisor who claimed the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East would never have happened if Romney were president, was an official in the George W. Bush administration, & "Numerous deadly attacks on diplomatic compounds in countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Syria took place during the Bush administration."

If we [conservatives] want to win the battle of ideas in the long term, we should be willing to face the fact that Mitt Romney is likely to lose -- and should, given that he's neither a true conservative nor a courageous moderate. He's just an ambitious man. Nothing wrong with that, except when you want to be president. Great leaders combine ambition and ideas and conviction. -- Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" & a former Florida Republican Congressman who was one of the managers of the Clinton impeachment trial

Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon: where were Romney & RNC Chair Reince Priebus when President George W. Bush was actually apologizing for anti-Muslim actions & remarks by Americans?

A Diplomat Goes Rogue. Max Fisher of the Atlantic: "A senior public affairs officer at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, [Larry] Schwartz on Tuesday wrote a much-discussed memo stating that the embassy 'condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,' as well as several defensive tweets, some of which he later deleted.... State Department officials back in Washington, it turns out, had reviewed the memo and explicitly told Schwartz not to publish it, which he did anyway."

In yesterday's Ledes, there's a New York Times report on how President Obama told Israeli PM Netanyahu the U.S. would not accommodate his latest appeal. By contrast, Mitt Romney has said he would cede U.S. policy on Iran to Netanyahu. 

Dana Milbank: "Paul Ryan ... is scheduled to address the [Family Research] Council's 'Values Voter Summit' in Washington Friday morning.... He is making a mistake."

Daily Kos: "For the first time in 98 years, the 330,000-member Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) will not endorse a candidate for president this year. The FOP supported the Republican candidate for President in 2008, 2004, and 2000, and its non-endorsement is seen as a refutation of Mitt Romney. Why the change? One big reason was Mitt Romney's support of Senate Bill 5 in Ohio, which stripped collective bargaining rights from police officers."

AND Bruce Dickenson wants more cowbell:

     ... "Christopher Walken Endorses Obama." ...

     ... Thanks to contributor Lisa for her extensive research & virtual authorship of the "More Cowbell" feature.

FINALLY, Greg Sargent chooses this Fox Nation headline the Headline of the Day:

News Ledes

NBC News: "The bodies of four Americans killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, earlier in the week were returned to the United States and honored in a somber ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Friday." Secretary Clinton & President Obama speak:

... New York Times: "The violently anti-American rallies that have roiled the Islamic world over a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad expanded on Friday to nearly 20 countries, with demonstrators storming the American Embassy in Tunisia in a deadly clash and protesters in Sudan's capital broadening the targets to include Germany and Britain." ...

... Washington Post: "The team of FBI agents assigned to investigate the deaths of four Americans in Libya has not been able to get into the country because of the volatile situation there, according to law enforcement officials." ...

... Al Jazeera: "Protesters in Egypt, angry at a video they say insults Prophet Mohammad, have hurled stones on a police force that prevented them from marching towards the US embassy in Cairo. On Friday, police in riot gear fired tear gas and threw stones back at the demonstrators. A burnt-out car was overturned in the middle of the street that leads to the fortified embassy from Tahrir Square." Al Jazeera has a liveblog of news about this & other protest incidents related to the anti-Islam film. ...

... AP: The "Egyptian ... president went on state TV and appealed to Muslims to protect embassies, trying to patch up strained relations with the United States.... Islamist President Mohammed Morsi spoke for more than seven minutes on state TV, his most direct public move to contain protests...."

... Washington Post: "As the anti-U.S. demonstrations spread, the [Obama] administration acted on a variety of fronts to convey two messages: that it had nothing to do with the offending video and that violence was not an acceptable response to the material." CW: a comprehensive story with info on a number of developments. ...

... ABC News: Glen Doherty, "one of the Americans killed alongside Ambassador Christopher Stevens in an attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya Tuesday, told ABC News before his death that he was working with the State Department on an intelligence mission to round up dangerous weapons in the war-torn nation."

... The Washington Post also reports on the "mystery" surrounding the video's producer(s).

Friday Afternoon News Dump. New York Times: The White House delivered a report to Congress Friday "detailing line by line what will happen next year if Washington fails to act to head off about $100 billion automatic defense and domestic spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 2. The Obama administration had been reluctant to show its hand on the true impact of so-called sequestration, but once forced to do so by Congress, the White House budget office did not scrimp on the details. 'As the administration has made clear, no amount of planning can mitigate the effect of these cuts. Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. It is not the responsible way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction,' the report concludes." You can read the report here.

Chicago Tribune: "Chicago Public Schools and the teachers union have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract and classes could resume for 350,000 students on Monday, according to school and union officials."

Washington Post: "The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a six-month stopgap government funding bill on a 329 to 91 vote, putting aside the partisan warfare of the past 18 months in bipartisan resolve to avoid a budget showdown ahead of the November election. The Senate is expected to pass the same measure late next week, providing funding for agencies for the first six months of the fiscal year and avoiding any threat of a government shutdown when the year ends Sept. 30."

New York Times: "Two Republican state senators who provided pivotal votes to legalize same-sex marriage last year fought opponents to a standstill on Thursday in primary races so close that they will be decided only after absentee ballots are counted."

Reader Comments (27)

So what took the Fed so long to get off its ass and do its job?

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@James Singer: Politics. Ben Bernanke is a Republican. He's known for a year the Fed must do more to meet the 2nd part of its "dual mandate": create optimal conditions for job growth.

Anything the Fed gets around to doing in the next two months will have no immediate effect on the economy or jobs numbers. And you can bet whatever the Fed does will be a slow roll. So it won't have an impact on the election; that is, it won't help Obama. Romney has said he doesn't want the Fed to act at all & he'll fire (i.e., not rehire) Bernanke. So Bernanke is "compromising": if Fed action helps the economy, it will be well after the election.

Marie

September 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Marie. Understand that. But it's bound to alter the perception of the economy, which is probably more important.

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

@James Singer. Well, the stock market liked it -- which ain't the same thing, of course. But it's true that if ordinary Americans perceive that Bernanke's getting off his ass to "fix the economy," maybe they'll feel better about the prospects for the future.

Marie

September 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

@Marie. Interesting about the market. My mother, who never had a pot to piss is, always said she voted the Dow Jones... but maybe that was just 30s' wisdom (or desperation).

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

This is a little behind the times, but has anyone recognized that the pseudonym for the anti-Islam film producer and director, Sam Bacile, when said out loud, sounds rather like the French "(s)imbécile"? Perhaps it is a modern usage contraction of "C'est imbécile," roughly translating to "It's idiotic"? Truth in advertising.

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNiskyGuy

@NiskyGuy: Interesting. It's an anagram for a lot of nonsense: BASIC MALE, BASE CLAIM. It also contains the words CAIN & ABEL. And ISLAM. Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal has done a little sleuthing & has come up with someone from California named Sam Bassel or Sam Basseley, who must have some connection to this so-called movie trailer.

If I were that jerk, I'd hide my identity, too.

Marie

September 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Nisky Guy.....I did notice ......Even in English it sounds like " 't's imbecile." Probably a coincidence.
I was quite interested in the alleged connection of a producer of the movie, Steve Klein, to right wing Christian causes and to "pastor" Terry Jones, according to Adam Nagorney in the Times.

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

Re: Obama - Kansas ballot
Well..... what would you expect from a state that has a continual fight to get "intelligent design" proponents on the state board of education?
Sent from the "Glorious State of Brownbackistan"

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan Lowery

Juan Cole's rundown of what went down in Libya is excellent. The idea that one life, in a moment's discretion, can ruin countless others. The fragility of human beings being just like the butterfly. And in this case encompassing countries, politics, and deaths on a large scale.

By the way, understand that the Egyptian president, Morsi, is a weak leader with legs firmly planted in sand (in this country we would say clay).

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Re: expensive tasseled loafer chokes Presidential hoper; I think Tim Egan is the best guy writing for the NYT these days.
Imagine this; Bain Capital is looking for a new leader, someone that knows how to ring the most out of a borrowed dollar, is ruthless in negotiations, thinks 'truth' is modeled out of lies, and is selfish to the point that he will take candy out of his own baby's mouth.
After months of searching; they hire...Me; a broken-backed carpenter who's entire financial expertise is thinking it's better to have one Twenty than twenty Ones because you don't spend as fast.
That's the candidate the Republicans have proposed to hire to run our foreign policy. Good choice. Morons.
BTW, if I was head of Bain Capital I'd buy Chinese companies and outsource them to the Ol' USA.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

According to Frank Rich (linked above) " Of the 24 special advisers on foreign policy to Romney, 17 are Bush-Cheney alumni who ...... bear responsibility for some of the most catastrophic national security decisions in the history of the nation."
As if we needed any more reasons to mobilize against Romney. Yikes!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

I must correct the word "discretion" in my comment–-I meant to say INDISCRETION.Romney, however, would heed well the proverb––"discretion is the better part of valor."

My son and I were emailing about this butterfly effect and he reminded me of another example––Gavrilo Princip, the Bosian nationalist who shot Archduke Ferdinand that started WWI. The back story is that Gavrilo who loved to read Walt Whitman during those cold Bosnian nights, believed he was following Whitman's orders in bringing down the kings so therefore an American poet was the one who was responsible for the outbreak of WWI. Now there's a butterfly effect for you!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Just a note to say 'what! what!' to all the Kansans in the house.

Represent!

Indeed I hail from the fiefdom of the Kochs. Where we teach the younguns' about the good lord's creatonism, where the Arts don't benefit anyone so we became the first state to axe it completely out of our budget (later reinstated after angry mob arrived), where the notable Fred Phelps ensures our Freedom of Speech by reminding us good Jesus-followers that 'God hates Fags' and we should too, where Republicans don't even bother coming to campaign 'cause Kansas don't need more convincing: we're brainwashed and it feels good.

What's the matter with Kansas? Damn good question.

Luckily I grew up in the only small beacon of sane light that permeates out of this red sea of bigotry. If you've been 'round these parts you'd know which city I'm referring to.

(In thick Kansan accent)
Home, home on the range
Where the deer and antelope grazzeeee........

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

As if we needed more evidence to support the conclusion that unthinking allegiance to ideology destroys everything it touches, the Willard Mechanism (aka Willard the Rat) regularly opens the throttle on the blind ambition circuits and flips the ideology switch when confronted with a problem it is unable to process (and holy mother, there are a lot of those), the combination of which immediately overrides a multitude of other functions absolutely essential to true leadership: morality, ethics, critical thought, heart, soul, and decency. Thus demonstrating, as it has over and over again, its utter inability to control itself when presented with an opportunity for crass self-advancement, even at the expense of human life and safety.

The Mechanism has no use for such things. They do not compute. Its goal is domination and what it perceives in its programming to be “success in the material world”.

But let’s pretend for a moment that Willard is not a mechanical thing, but is a human being like we are. I know it’s tough, but try.

So here we have a thing…er, sorry, person, who cravenly seizes on every opportunity to promote himself even as other humans are in dire straits or actual physical jeopardy. This isn’t just due to the nodding stupidity brought on by soul killing ambition. This ….person....has also bought, heart and soul…or, um, something and something, into far right ideology, or at least his perception and interpretation of it, which demands unquestioned fealty to its causes and schemes.

Among these are burning hatred for Obama, knee jerk (read: unthinking) denigration of anything he does, and bristling bellicosity in uncritical support of American Exceptionalism, especially if there’s a chance to do the Shock and Awe Tango on a bunch of foreigners (preferably Mooslims--Bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran.)

The truly despicable thing about Romney is that he is not a card-carrying member of the right-wing SS, like, say Palin, or Limbaugh, or Bachman. That means, like so many judges in Nazi Germany who knew better, or like anyone during the Bush Debacle who knew better but went along to get along, Romney’s sin is far greater than the cradle haters. He leaves whatever values he has at the door. He checks his manhood into a blind trust in order to achieve his ends.

Like Mitch McConnell who has just hired a Teabagger goosestepper to run his next campaign (McConnell is no Teabagger himself, but he has no problem pandering to the mob if he thinks it will help him stave off an attack by another Rand Paul type zombie going after his seat in two years), Romney loads his Trained Dog Program when the right screams at him, he sits, he begs, he rolls over, and would probably crawl into a carrier on top of a car if Limbaugh told him to, as long as he believes that will get him closer to his goal. As Marie noted yesterday, he’s too easily punked.

But maybe it’s no hardship for Romney to drop his values, his moral core, his manhood because he has none. Well, none worth anything anyway. His values mainline to Mitt First. Mitt Last. Mitt in between.

That’s why he cannot ever be trusted with the keys to the kingdom. The Willard Mechanism will override any impulse to decency, morality, and critical thought (ergo, true leadership) if it feels that it might not be able to maximize its own profits. And like any broken or poorly designed hardware operated by buggy software, it will crash and burn just when we need it most. And on top of that, the Mechanism’s operating system has been corrupted by the most deadly virus of them all: unbending, unthinking right-wing ideology.

So far, morality scientists have yet to find suitable virus protection against that.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

PD,

Walt would be appalled at the thought of being the match that lit the flame that burned down the world in 1914. Who says arts don't matter?

Well, one state that doesn't think so, apparently, is Kansas.

Safari, as red a state as mine is, I don't envy a thinking person their existence in Brownbackistan "where civil responsibility takes a back seat to religious intolerance and corporate greed."

Yikes.

Don't you just love it when Christians yelp about god and Jesus "hating" someone or something? Isn't the opposite the whole point of Christianity?

Oops, my mistake. Carry on, haters.

Maybe a little Walt Whitman would do them good. Oh wait, he was gay, right? Never mind. Maybe god let WWI happen to punish Whitman for not de-gay-ifying himself. You see how creative you can be when you unleash your inner crazy? No wonder Ayn Rand is so big on the right. Insanity is so much fun!!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@P.D. Pepe & @Akhilleus: I hadn't heard about the Whitman connection to the assassin of Archduke Ferninand, & I'm glad you pointed it out. I now realize that the three worst wars in which the U.S. was involved were all caused by gays: President James Buchanan whose ineptitude contributed to the Civil War, Walt Whitman whose incendiary poetry caused WWI, & Hitler who started WWII. I'm sure if some of you would do a little research, we'd learn that some gay Brit caused the American Revolution & Vietnam was totally gay.

Marie

September 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

As a public service to the many readers out here, I offer the following for your consideration.

A new book written by former San Francisco investigative reporter Seth Rosenfeld outlines the history of one of the FBI's most active and obliging informants. A guy helped by Hoover and his men time and again as payment for his pointing fingers at friends and colleagues, adding many names to Hoover's list of "enemies" to be purged. This informant, vowed, later in life that he had never, ever, ever pointed fingers at anyone, he being a good guy and highly moral and all, but Rosenfeld has, through FOIA requests, uncovered dozens of files which show those assertions to be outright lies.

The informant, T-10, went on to have a fairly successful career and continued as an FBI informant as long as Hoover was alive.

He was Ronald Reagan.

Also an excellent recounting of how Reagan worked a deal to avoid being sent abroad into combat during WWII, spending his short time in the military at a movie studio then hanging up his officer's uniform, unstained by neither blood nor sweat, and returning to a $3,500 week salary.

Check it out. Saint Ronald of Reagan. Professional Rat.

Seems to be quite a few of those in the Republican Party, no? Liars, rats, and hypocrites.

Anyway, if you're interested, check out this review on the Book Forum site by Rick Perlstein, author of the excellent "Nixonland".

http://bookforum.com/inprint/019_03/10030

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Marie,

Wow. You may be on to something. In fact, I think I read somewhere that Romney, who used to love Glee, found out that Chris Colfer, the actor who plays a gay character on the show really IS gay!! Holy santorum!!

And the Rat is so pissed about this that he may just decide to nuke Iran the day he's inaugurated, which means.....

ANOTHER WAR CAUSED BY GAYS!!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I replied to Timothy Egan's commentary this morning around 6:30. As it hasn't yet appeared, I am assuming it was too inflammatory. There goes my little green check mark:

I sometimes wonder if the world will end in a proxy war on behalf of two angry groups' imaginary friends.

You wrote that, "Mobs attack the embassy in Cairo, shouting there is no God but their God." Can you imagine that there would be less violence in the world if the last three words were excised? I can.

There is nothing like religious fervor to excuse cruel and unusual behavior. In this country, those who value the unborn more than they value live children would impose their values on those outside their little inbred group. The Mormons poured millions of dollars into a successful campaign to deny gay Californians the right to marry.

Yes, we value free speech in this country. And yes, we should never minimize the inherent dangers that come with free speech. However, one would think that the role of the press would be to define the border between opinions based on evidence and those merely designed to stimulate fear and loathing.

Their fundamentalists attack embassies. Our fundamentalists kill doctors and attack buildings that house day care centers. We correctly identify the religious motivations in the former attack, but somehow soft-pedal that in the latter. Is such journalistic behavior responsible or does this conciliation toward those who will not be placated just fan the flames?

As for Mitt Romney, I'm amused that the press seems so shocked that he would lie and play to the cheap seats. Have you not been paying attention?

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

Just spotted this in your yellow box:

"I think the challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true. -- Mitt Romney, to George Stephanopoulos:"

WHAT? What! What? Say what?

Mitt = total douchebag! Wish I had the word skills (of say Akhilleus) there wouldn't be enough space on this post for all the ripostes I'd like to make.

Mitt is one big MTF despicable he! Aggggggggggggggh!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

Re: Alexander the Gay; I want to go on record saying that I have nothing against gays if they would just stop starting war. By the by, Alex got his name from a bath house he visited on the way to India.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

So everyone is no doubt wondering why we haven't started a major
war this week. Well, we've been busy destroying the sanctity of marriage, converting youths, decorating interiors, doing your hair,
designing your clothes and furniture, etc. etc. So how did I end up
doing stonework? Patios, retaining walls and ponds.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterforrest morris

Forrest,

Get with the program dude!

Time to unleash your inner Barbarossa and start fomenting unrest, rattling sabers, and blowing shit up. None of this building stuff and improving the quality of life for your clients! Fuck that shit.

Shock and Awe!!

And while you're at it, save a few RPGs for Willard's national headquarters.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Okay, Okay! I know Kansas is the pits--along with Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri in the Great Plains. But this is really OVER the top:

..." KANSAS CITY— Kansas election officials on Friday were seeking to obtain a certified copy of President Obama’s birth certificate as they determined whether to allow him to remain on the ballot after a state resident challenged his citizenship, reigniting long-running conspiracy theories that the president was not born in the United States."

I just do not think I can spend the rest of my life in the United States of Acrimonious Assholes!

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

MAG,

The Rat's whining complaint (has there ever been a bigger lying crybaby than Willard demanding that voters accept his serial lies as he shills for votes? Oh wait. How 'bout that dry drunk deserter Bush?) sounds like Don Corleone complaining that he's unhappy that prosecutors might dare to tell the truth about what he's been up to.

Look up "lying sack of shit" in the dictionary and you'll see a portrait of Lord and Lady Romney.

I didn't see the clip, but if Stephanopoulos kept his mouth shut he's no more a man than right-wing testicle cozie, Fluffy Gregory.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

@ Akhilleus: there's an extended clip above. Stephanopoulos did challenge Romney in a number of places -- and did a fairly good job of it -- but on Romney's projection of his own mendacity onto Obama, Georgie completely let it slide. Romney: "Obama is a lying sack of shit." George, smiling & chuckling: "How do you prepare for the debates, Lord Romney?" Pure Greggers. That part is in the clip. The full transcript is here.

Marie

September 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader
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