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."

The Wires

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":

The Ledes

Saturday, September 20, 2014.

Guardian: "The United States has quietly released 14 Pakistani citizens from military detention in Afghanistan, where the US holds its most secret cohort of detainees in its war on terrorism. The US military transferred the 14 to Pakistani government custody on Saturday. It did not publicize the release, as is typical with releases from the detention center on the outskirts of Bagram Airfield which is known formally as the Detention Facility in Parwan. A Pakistani human rights group instead announced the transfer and said it was the largest number of Pakistanis the US has thus far released."

New York Times: "Polly Bergen, an actress, singer and businesswoman who won an Emmy in 1957 for her portrayal of the alcoholic torch singer Helen Morgan and was nominated for another 50 years later for her role on the television show 'Desperate Housewives,' died on Saturday at her home in Southbury, Conn. She was 84."

New York Times: "The two candidates for president of Afghanistan have agreed on a power-sharing deal that will give the losing candidate substantial influence in the next government, initialing the American-brokered deal Saturday night and promising to sign it at a formal ceremony on Sunday. The deal promised an end at last to the tumultuous, five-month-long aftermath of the Afghan presidential elections, although previous settlements have repeatedly collapsed at the last minute despite the candidates’ promises."

New York Times: "A Texas man who scaled the White House fence made it through the North Portico doors on Friday night before being apprehended, the Secret Service said. The intruder, Omar J. Gonzalez, 42, was arrested just inside the doors and taken to George Washington University Hospital after complaining of chest pains, said Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman. None of the Obamas were home when the security breach occurred about 7:20 p.m., but White House staff members were evacuated as a precaution, officials said. President Obama and his daughters had left for the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., just minutes before the incident." ...

     ... New Lede: "The Secret Service will conduct an internal review of its security procedures around the White House after a man who jumped the fence Friday night at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue managed to make his way through the front door of President Obama’s home before being stopped, officials said Saturday." ...

     ... ** Washington Post UPDATE: "Within seconds, the man who relatives said served as a sniper in the Iraq War got to the front double doors of the North Portico, turned the brass knob and stepped inside the vestibule. There he was grabbed and subdued by an officer standing post inside the door. He was carrying a folding knife with a 2-1/2 inch serrated blade." ...

... Fox "News": "A New Jersey man was arrested Saturday outside the White House after driving up to a gate and refusing to leave, less than 24 hours after another man jumped the fence and got inside the presidential mansion before being arrested, which has resulted in increased security and a “comprehensive internal review,” according to the Secret Service."

New York Times: "Forty-nine Turkish hostages who had been held for months in Iraq by Islamic State militants were returned to Turkey on Saturday after what Turkey said was a covert operation led by its intelligence agency. The hostages, including diplomats and their families, had been seized in June from the Turkish consulate in the Iraqi city of Mosul." ...

     ... Too Good to Be True? AP UPDATE: "Turkish authorities say they have freed 49 hostages from one of the world's most ruthless militant groups without firing a shot, paying a ransom or offering a quid pro quo. But as the well-dressed men and women captured by the Islamic State group more than three months ago clasped their families Saturday on the tarmac of the Turkish capital's airport, experts had doubts about the government's story."

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 19

10:00 am ET: Annoucement of Department of Defense awards on biofuel production

10:15 am ET: President Obama & Vice President Biden host a White House event to launch the "It's on Us" campaign

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

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Thursday
Sep202012

The Commentariat -- Sept. 21, 2012

CW: For some reason, Reality Chex is terribly slow this morning. If the lethargy continues, I'll complain about it.

** Paul Krugman: "... the modern Republican Party just doesn't have much respect for people who work for other people, no matter how faithfully and well they do their jobs.... Some of [this disdain for workers] reflects the influence of money in politics.... But it also reflects the extent to which the G.O.P. has been taken over by an Ayn Rand-type vision of society, in which a handful of heroic businessmen are responsible for all economic good, while the rest of us are just along for the ride." ...

... Conservative Michael Gerson of the Washington Post: "... a Republican ideology pitting the 'makers' against the 'takers' offers nothing. No sympathy for our fellow citizens. No insight into our social challenge. No hope of change. This approach involves a relentless reductionism. Human worth is reduced to economic production. Social problems are reduced to personal vices. Politics is reduced to class warfare on behalf of the upper class.... Republican politicians mouth libertarian nonsense, unable to even describe some of the largest challenges of our time."

Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post: "In 3-1/2 years in office, President Obama has set in motion a broad overhaul of public education from kindergarten through high school, largely bypassing Congress and inducing states to adopt landmark changes that none of his predecessors attempted. He awarded billions of dollars in stimulus funding to states that agreed to promote charter schools, use student test scores to evaluate teachers and embrace other administration-backed policies. And he has effectively rewritten No Child Left Behind, the federal law passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, by excusing states from its requirements if they adopt his measures.... There is little or no research showing that these measures lead to better-educated children or higher graduation rates. Unions and some parents contend that Obama's approach overemphasizes testing and crowds out the arts and other subjects." CW: I wish I thought these "reforms" were a good thing; they are mostly horrible Jeb Bush/Very Serious People-style initiatives.

Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times: "For generations of Americans, it was a given that children would live longer than their parents. But there is now mounting evidence that this enduring trend has reversed itself for the country's least-educated whites, an increasingly troubled group whose life expectancy has fallen by four years since 1990."

Massimo Calabresi of Time: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz destroys crazy right-wing conspiracy theories -- promulgated by prominent House members like Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) -- about AG Eric Holder & President Obama's supposed "Fast & Furious" schemes: "Horowitz shows definitively that the Arizona ATF agents and prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's office there were responsible for the operation, not the White House or the Justice Department in Washington and that the primary source of the inaccurate testimony given to Congress was the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, Dennis Burke."CW: Burke is a Janet Napolitano acolyte.

Presidential Race

Jeff Zeleny & Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times: "There are seven days until early voting begins in Iowa, less than two weeks until the first debate and 46 days left in the race for Mitt Romney to change the dynamic of a campaign that by many indicators is tilting against him. That, advisers to President Obama acknowledge, is plenty of time. But the burden rests to a remarkable degree directly on Mr. Romney and his ability to restore confidence to his campaign, become a more nimble candidate and clearly explain to voters why he would be the better choice...."

Julie Pace & Kasie Hunt of the AP: "At the end of August, President Barack Obama had about $88.8 million to spend on the final months of the campaign, nearly twice as much as Republican rival Mitt Romney, according to campaign fundraising reports released Thursday. While Romney's report showed he had $50.4 million to spend as of Aug. 31, he also owed $15 million on a $20 million loan taken that month."

New York Times Editors: the presidential candidates faced Latino voters in forums sponsored by Univision this week & neither came off with flying colors, but Romney -- whose policies are draconian -- wouldn't answer the questions about undocumented workers. ...

... Lawrence Downes, who is on the Times' Editorial Board, is more blunt: "Mitt Romney has a miraculous secret plan to fix immigration for good.... Mr. Romney won't tell us what it is.... If you're not going to give 11 million people a way to legalize, which Mr. Romney has never said he would do, and you're not going to deport them, but you support Arizona-style laws that try to make sure immigrants cannot work, drive, go to school or otherwise survive, then what?" ...

... Reid Epstein of Politico reports on President Obama's turn at the forum. ...

... Jordan Fabian of ABC News reported on Romney's appearance. ...

... Guilardo Romnio. Well, okay, Fabian didn't mention Romney's actual appearance. Hilariously, Romney seems to have calculated that he could win Latino votes if he just went all brownface. So, the man who told fatcats he could win if he'd only been of Mexican heritage, went all-Indio for his Univision appearance. This takes pandering to a whole new, incredibly jamón-fisted level.

 

 

Oh, you were born with a silver spoon,' you know, 'You never had to earn anything,' and so forth. And, and frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you could have, which is to get born in America. I'll tell ya, there is -- 95 percent of life is set up for you if you're born in this country. -- Mitt Romney, in the Romney Tapes ...

** "You Didn't Build That." Ryan Grim & Arthur Delaney of the Huffington Post: "If Romney believes, as he said, that '95 percent of life is set up for you if you're born in this country,' then people who fail to become successful have only themselves to blame, which helps explain why Romney feels he'll never be able to redeem such people.... In crediting 95 percent of an American's success to the country in which he or she was born, Mitt Romney was saying that something else was responsible for that success. In other words, if you've got a business,you didn't build that."

Joe Conason of National Memo makes a compelling case that a book, titled A Nation of Moochers, by right-wing Wisconsin radio host Charles Sykes was the source of Romney's 47-percent meme: "... Sykes seamlessly melds two very distinct groups -- those who receive some kind of benefit or assistance from government, and those who pay no federal income tax -- precisely as Romney did, quite wrongly." To wit, in a passage near the beginning of his book -- the jacket includes a blurb from Paul Ryan -- Sykes writes:

Even as more people become dependent on government, fewer were paying their share of the tab. By tax day in 2010, nearly half of U.S. households paid no federal income taxes. After years of cuts, credits, and outright rebates, 47 percent of households had no net liability at all.

Devin Dwyer of ABC News: "The 14-year-old audio clip circulated by the Mitt Romney campaign this week to attack Barack Obama as favoring 'redistribution' of wealth was 'deceptively edited,' Democrats say, leaving out important context that Obama provided in his next breath."

Look Who Agrees: Glenn Kessler: Romney, Ryan & their campaign have taken 14-year-old remarks by then-state senator Obama "completely out of context" in a dishonest attempt to show "Obama's apparently socialist tendencies."

Even Chuck Todd of NBC debunks Romney. Via Charles Pierce:

Hitler finds out about the secret Romney tapes. In case you don't know who Jennifer Rubin is -- maybe because I never link any of her posts -- she's a winger blogger for the Washington Post, and yes, she sees the silver lining in every Romney blunder. Via Driftglass:

... After All the Sturm und Drang. Steve Kornacki of Salon: "According to a survey conducted by the Vanderbilt/YouGov Ad Rating Project, the video is enraging many Democrats and rallying some Republicans around Romney, but having essentially no impact on actual swing voters.... One reason why some swing voters might have liked the message of the video: 80 percent of respondents are under the impression that they pay federal income taxes. Many of them are surely mistaken, but if they don't know Romney was talking about them, they're not as likely to be offended." CW: this last bit -- that people think they pay income tax even when they don't -- is a point I've been making, so I'm glad it's now been documented.

When you think about our founding fathers..., blah blah, particularly since the '60s, that somehow or another there's this steel wall, this iron curtain or whatever you want to call it between the church and people of faith and this separation of church and state is just false on its face. [it is not the fault of the ellipsis that this sentence does not making sense] ... blah blah. President Obama and his cronies are making efforts to remove any trace of religion from American life.... blah blah. Satan runs across the world.... blah blah. The American family is under seize. [not a typo] -- Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas), in a conference call with extremist pastor Rick Scarborough as part of his "40 Days to Save America" campaign to motivate and organize Religious Right voters

If only Rick Perry had won the nomination, we could have had that substantive "exchange of ideas." -- Constant Weader

Congressional Races

Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal: "... even as the overall picture holds many possibilities, this week demonstrated how the seeds are in place for Democrats not only to hold the Senate but also to prevent any losses at all. That would be a remarkable turnaround for a party that looked resigned to losing seats, and a stinging setback for National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn, who set 2012 as the year when Republicans would ascend back into power." ...

... Adam Sorensen of Time: Boston Mayor Tom "Menino's endorsement [of Elizabeth Warren] is expected to come Friday..., and it's just the latest in a series of auspicious signs for Warren and Democratic Senate candidates like her. As volatile polling clouds the state of the presidential race and pundits diagnose the Romney campaign&'s alleged ills, it's actually the GOP's effort to take the Senate, not the White House, that's in grave condition.... A juiced conservative base may (or may not) help Romney nationally, but ideological warfare appears to be damaging Republican prospects down ballot." ...

Glen Johnson of the Boston Globe: "Senator Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren finally squared off face-to-face in a debate on Thursday night, and when they did, neither backed down from the criticisms they have lodged against each other from a distance on the campaign trail." ...

... Katharine Seeyle has a more extensive report in the New York Times. ...

... Michael Tomasky of Newsweek gives Brown a narrow win in the debate: "I'd bet she won 80-20 among independent women, and he won 80-20 among independent men. It was that stark." CW: hmm, since there are more women voters than men, sounds more like a win for Warren. ...

... E. J. Dionne: "My hunch is that whatever points [Brown] scored off Warren were more than wiped away by a tone that Rep. Barney Frank, a Warren supporter, accurately described on Rachel Maddow's show as 'snarky.' In his effort to derail Warren in a debate, Brown may have undermined one of the most important aspects of his get-along-with-everybody brand." ...

Laura Vozella of the Washington Post: "Republicans attacked Timothy M. Kaine on Thursday after he said during a much-anticipated Senate debate that he would consider a minimum income tax for every American, opening a fresh line of attack in a nationally watched race that until now has turned on mostly predictable and well-worn accusations. Kaine, a Democrat, made the comment as he squared off against Republican George Allen, a fellow former governor and his opponent in the Virginia race, in their first televised debate. The hour-long program ... was mostly devoid of fireworks.... Several times during the debate, [Kane] laid out his specific plan for fixing the nation's fiscal woes -- one that did not involve such a tax." ...

... Dave Weigel of Slate: "Kaine's been programmed to never rule out anything bipartisan. He gives his dumb answer. I don't think the dumb answer appreciates how cynical you need to be to win elections in 2012. Look: The House and Senate passed mandatory defense and discretionary spending cuts because Republicans demanded them in exchange for a debt limit hike. A year later, the existence of these cuts are being used against Democrats."

Re: commentary by contributor JJG:. More about the painting in this difficult-to-read pdf from the St. Louis Art Museum, which holds many of Bingham's works:

"The County Election," by George Caleb Bingham, 1852.

News Ledes

New York Times: "Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, did not violate House ethics rules when she contacted the Treasury Department in 2008 to set up a meeting on behalf of top executives from a bank her husband owns stock in, a special investigator announced on Friday. But the House ethics committee is still debating whether her chief of staff, Mikael Moore, acted improperly when he continued to work behind the scenes on behalf of the same bank, OneUnited, which is based in Boston."

Huffington Post: "President Barack Obama revived a 2008 campaign promise on Friday, telling the crowd at an AARP forum that he would be open to raising the level of income on which Americans pay Social Security taxes."

ABC News: "The last of the 33,000 American surge troops sent to Afghanistan two years ago have left the battlefields of Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said. With the departure of the last of the surge troops, there are now 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan."

Washington Post: "Thousands of Pakistanis staged violent protests Friday morning against a YouTube video that insults Islam's prophet, burning down two movie houses in Peshawar and torching a tollbooth and cars on major highways near Islamabad and nearby Rawalpindi, authorities and local television channels reported."

Reuters: "The dispute between China and Japan over a desolate jumble of rocky islets in the East China Sea has taken a familiar turn with Beijing deploying a fleet of paramilitary patrol ships while similar Japanese vessels steam out in response. As in earlier disputes over rocks and shoals in the South China Sea, Beijing is relying on these vessels rather than more menacing warships to assert its sovereignty over the disputed islands known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan."

AP: "In what promises to be a crowd-rousing air show, Endeavour, strapped atop a 747 jumbo jet, will take off after sunrise from Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert and dip low over various landmarks in a 4 1/2-hour sightseeing flight before landing at the Los Angeles International Airport. It's Endeavour's last aerial hurrah before it spends its retirement years as a museum piece."

AP: "In a now familiar global ritual, Apple< fans jammed shops from Sydney to Paris to pick up the tech juggernaut's latest iPhone. Eager buyers formed long lines Friday at Apple Inc. stores in Asia, Europe and North America to be the first to get their hands on the latest version of the smartphone."

Reader Comments (13)

If I were a professor of philosophy and logic, and Mittens was one of my students, I would suggest that he either pay attention, stop jerking off, and do the reading, or drop out and support his addiction to "Right Wing Comics: Rich Conservative Superheroes to the Rescue!!"

Today, in Marie's home state (how do you stand it?), the Rat made this entirely nonsensical, to the point of knee-slapping guffawing, statement: "Obama has said that Washington cannot be fixed from the inside. And he's right! So put me on the inside and I'll fix it."

Say what?

Then he goes on to rip Washington lifers, suggesting that only an outsider can fix what's broken.

That's why he has, for decades--wait, let me say that again--DECADES, been trying to buy into that insiders' club. And that is, I guess, why he has drafted a lifelong Washington insider who has never drawn a check in his adult life that wasn't government issued, as his bosom buddy in the effort to Fix Things.

I'm not sure if this is pure stupidity, mendacity, manipulation, or retardation. But it sure as shit ain't the truth.

Swine.

P.S. Nice to see that Jennifer Rubin has a fan in Hitler. He digs her shit in a big way. And I do mean shit.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

True the Vote and its offshoots are engaged in a concerted effort to throw roadblocks up to people voting. The local branch - "the Voter Integrity Project" (ha!) - in the swing state of North Carolina is actively trying to eject 30,000 voters off the rolls for bogus reasons. The state has never had a challenge of this magnitude. The process has usurped a lot of time and resources from the elections board, which should be spending its time on making the electoral process go more smoothly, to maximize the numbers who can vote.
You have to wonder if this is an intentional effort to Screw the Vote, which would make the perpetrators voting vigilantes.

September 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

My response to David Brooks probably won't be printed in the NYT:

As someone who actually started a business twelve years ago and grew thousands of jobs during the Obama administration (whose SBA---in contrast to Bush's--- was really business-friendly), I would like to take violent exception to David's smug inane remarks. We don't need ridiculously favorable tax rates or special coddling. What we really do need are a well-educated work force (supported by tax dollars), a decent infrastructure of roads and bridges and airports (paid for by tax dollars), thoughtful and fairly enforced regulations (promulgated and enforced by a respected government), and most of all freedom from the inane private health insurance racket so that we and our workers can have the peace of mind that we won't be bankrupted by sickness or injury.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

"According to a survey conducted by the Vanderbilt/YouGov Ad Rating Project, the video is enraging many Democrats and rallying some Republicans around Romney, but having essentially no impact on actual swing voters.... "

I guess this proves that Romney's approach of saying anything without regard to whether it is true or not is absolutely correct: in America in 2012, it just doesn't matter what you say as a Presidential candidate. The people who will decide the election just don't care about the truthfulness of the candidates or whether they make sense. They seem to make up their minds on whether the candidate "seems" likable or "Presidential" or "not too angry" or whatever. Pathetic.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

@Victoria D. & @Calyban: your comments converge. Screw the Vote (apt re-branding!) & "rallying around Romney" for dissing half of us are of the same order. "Winning at all costs" means lying & disenfranchising. It means not just trashing those who disagree with you, the way Romney did, but also making sure "those people" can't vote their economic & social interests.

I wish that Screw the Vote gang, most of whom are probably in the 47 percent whether they know it or not, had some idea that they were working their selfish little hearts out to empower people who despise them and will ruin them.

I think you can liken politics to war & diplomacy. Diplomats try to solve conflicting interests through persuasion & negotiations -- just as, ideally, politicians try to present their own visions of governance in a persuasive way. War is hell. It's all about winning, at almost any cost -- including the massive loss of life (the U.S.'s bloodiest day occurred 150 years ago at Antietam). And that is what politics is in this country. Metaphorically speaking, would-be Democratic voters are cannon fodder. Too bad millions of Screw the Vote/Tea Party types are collateral damage.

Marie

September 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Re: Nothin' of import; Calyban; I never add to or respond to your comments because you say what you say without much leeway. Todays comment was my idea of how REAL Americans would think.
Note the 'REAL'; it's important to all of us to not fall for the idea that progressives are alien thinkers. I believe the wingers are doing their best to portray themselves as the holders of the American Ideal and the rest of us as impostors.
Second: I walked a Civil War battlefield in Virgina once; words don't work.
Third: I came across George Caleb Bingham's "The County Election" painted in 1852. Human nature doesn't change, all of todays voting problems are depicted.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

Watching the Warren/Brown debate last night produced in my mister and me some belly laughs, eye rolling and "Did you understand what he just said?" more than once after Scott finished a hard to follow no-makie-sense diatribe. It was like watching the cute, not too bright, high school football hero take on the smartest girl in the class. There are some that are good at debating––Scott Brown is not good at debating; Warren, given this was her first, shows potential and skill at hammering home her central message.

Marie: I agree with you most empathically about the education reforms Obama has put in place. Arnie Duncan and Obama should have stuck to just playing basketball together and let those that actually know about education reform our stinky system.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Here is Kaine's response to his comments: http://www.kaineforva.com/blog/why_dave_weigel_got_it_wrong_on_todays_debate

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I watched the Warren-Brown debate on my laptop yesterday (from CA). I think he was peevish to begin with as Harry Reid exposed Brown's attempt to avoid the debate in front of God and everybody on the Senate floor, then sent him packing for the airport.

Brown is a fool. I sincerely hope that Warren's campaign spends some time working with her to take advantage of the the spaces Brown left that she could drive a semi through. My jaw drop moment was when he gestured at her and said something to the effect that "you can see she's not "Native American". No rejoinder from Warren and it was a perfect moment for some righteous snark. Many many things come to mind - headdress in cleaners, didn't want to intimidate you with my warpaint, Sen Brown has 20/20 ethnic vision.... Warren did well with his voting record to which his only and repeated response was "she's lying".

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane

I recently scanned a journal article concerned with lying in the public sector. The author went through the usual litany of examples of big lies and small lies (without weighing in on that very fun new category: Romney Lies).

The conclusion, which none will find overly surprising, is that, especially in political forums, candidates, their surrogates, and supporters, who feel their cause is just will lie more readily. I guess that covers most everyone. But the article goes on to state that the liars in those instances don’t often feel that what they’re doing is lying (which might be one reason the Rat and the Fraud can look at themselves in a mirror without cringing).

That brings us around to something that has been touched on this morning out here, at least tangentially, and something I’ve been thinking about the past few days.

Marie raises the distinction between diplomacy and war; a good one. Now consider another point she’s been making, along with a number of observers about the lack of political and social self-awareness regarding, among others, many of the Steal the Vote teabaggers, none of whom, I will bet my house, believes they wallow among Romney’s despised 47%. Okay, hold that thought. Add to those thoughts something Santorum recently said about how wingers will never be supported by smart people.

Now go back to that thought about lying. You see, if you buy the article's premise that everyone lies at some time or other, then you have to consider what they're lying about and for. My rather partisan take is that even when Democrats lie (most times) they are shooting for some goal that is based in the real world. It's impossible to say that about most Republican lies. (In other words, lying to bring the nation into some fantasy bubble is beyond perverse. It's fucking dangerous).

So Whaddaya got?

First, we have a vast number of followers (and believe me, they ARE followers) of a major political party who view politics as war; a zero sum game. They already see themselves as victims. They don’t see themselves as “smart people” but instead comfort themselves with being the only “REAL” Americans. Their worldview suffers from an alarming lack of basic information and so they can be easily led to vote against their interests and to view those who would prefer political persuasion and comity over bare knuckle boxing and RPG attacks as somehow un-American and worthy only of their hatred. Lying doesn’t bother them because they feel god is on their side. Romney’s lies don’t bother them for the same reason, if they are even able to perceive them as lies.

So nonsensical policy statements and philosophical chicanery are cheered wildly.

We’ve seen the result of such ignorance, mendacity, and self delusion over the last 20 years, and especially over the last 3 ½ years.

The takeaway is pretty basic. Intellectual shallowness, duplicity, and chimerical politics guarantee that serious domestic and international problems will never be treated with anything other than ideological claptrap and nonsensical bluster. A one way ticket to the wingnut fantasy bubble.

But that’s exactly what makes the Republican Party run today.
The entire goal is a whacko combination of turning the country into a one party theocracy ruled by wealthy, isolated Romneybot oligarchs. They’re not all that far away from their goals. Anyone who thinks differently hasn’t been paying attention. As Kate and PD and others have been saying: remember the Supremes. We are one Justice away from no justice.

The knives come out this fall.

One final word about war vs. diplomacy: Republicans have always been ready to go to war in an election. Democrats have typically been much more politic, more diplomatic. To their dismay. This year, for the first time since I can recall, Democrats have been hitting, and hitting back hard. And Republicans don’t like it.

Romney and Ryan cry foul and whine like babies. I guess there’s no getting around it. As JJG says, and as you can read in many pages of De Tocqueville, American political elections haven’t changed much over the last 200 years.

Except now one of the two parties has completely lost its fucking mind. Support from smart people? They can’t even attract the support of half-smart people. They rely on raving imbeciles being led by shadowy ringmasters who traffic in damaging metaphors and furious hatred.

As Jim Morrison would say, no one here gets out alive.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Marie,
I know you mentioned going to the U.of Wis. I don't know if you get the Alumni magazine. The cover story of the latest issue is about a study carried on since the early 90's examining psychopathic thinking and its' relationship to behavior. It was carried on at Mendota State Hospital and Wis. State prisons at Fox Lake & Oshkosh. Brain activity of the subjects was monitored electronically.
The findings of the study indicate goal orientation in the brain so strong that it blocks attempts at inhibition from other parts of the brain to the extent these people commit murder and other types of mayhem. However, to some extent this is learned behavior and can be reversed.
Akhilleus description of Republican behavior is the exact definition of psychopathology.
One has to wonder if at this stage of the game, given The Rats continued floundering in public, continuing to piss their million$ down a Rat hole is such a smart thing to do. Do they want to be bailing out another millionaire's $20 million loan for an ego trip? Just wondering.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Henry

Re: memo to makeup dept. As a cardholder for over twenty years this retired IA stagehand (yea, I have had two job careers, how else do you make it in this worker's paradise? Stage carpenter, rigger, union job steward and yes, truck loader. Carpenter by day; stagehand at night. No wonder I'm tired; coming and going, and going and coming;...jez, I go on) anyways, if you are going to go brown; you have got to do the hands too. Mitt; shoulda' been wearing gloves! Oh, fuck it, Why not say your grandfather had many Mexican wives and you have a little Aztec in your face.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJJG

JJG. Say what? His grandfather had a non-caucasian wife? A mormon with a colored wife? You're shitting me.

September 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer
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