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Archive for March 30th, 2009

If Only the World Had Listened

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

If Only the World Had Listened

Hurndall

Tom Hurndall was one of a bunch of “human shields” who turned up in Baghdad just before the Anglo-American invasion in 2003, the kind of folk we professional reporters make fun of. Tree huggers, that kind of thing. Now I wish I had met him because Hurndall’s journals show a remarkable man of remarkable principle.

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‘How Did This Country Get Stuck With an Empire?’

With military personnel deployed in 150 countries, Bill Maher says bringing the troops home from Iraq is only the tip of the iceberg. “Can you imagine if there were 20,000 armed Guatemalans on a base in San Bernardino right now? Lou Dobbs would become a suicide bomber.”

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Michael Conniff: Con Games: Cry, Beloved Neocons

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Michael Conniff: Con Games: Cry, Beloved Neocons
Can you remember a recent example of an Administration using a crisis to pound through an unrelated agenda? Earth to neoconservatives: here we go again.

Paul Magliocchetti, Star Lobbyist, Closes Up Shop As Criminal Inquiry Heats Up
WASHINGTON — For most of the last three decades, the lobbyist Paul Magliocchetti might have been mistaken for an owner of the Alpine, a wood-paneled…

Robert Kuttner: Obama’s Banking Rescue: O for Opaque
I fear that these columns have been too polite. What we have is something perilously close to a dictatorship of the Fed and the Treasury, acting in the interests of Wall Street.

Craig Newmark: Gov2.0 camp, a few words
Gov 2.0 Camp occurred over the weekend, and looks like they got a lot done, though we might not recognize its importance for quite a…


Limbaugh challenged: In LA Times op-ed, Klavan claimed he’s “never heard” Limbaugh “utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Limbaugh challenged: In LA Times op-ed, Klavan claimed he’s “never heard” Limbaugh “utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word”

On March 29, the Los Angeles Times published an op-ed by Andrew Klavan, a contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute’s quarterly magazine, City Journal, in which Klavan claimed of Rush Limbaugh: “I listen to Limbaugh every chance I get, and I have never heard the man utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word.” Klavan then issued to “liberals” what he referred to as “the Limbaugh Challenge,” writing: “Listen to the show. Not for five minutes but for several hours: an hour a day for several days. Consider what he has to say — the real policy material under the jokes and teasing bluster. Do what your intellectual keepers do not want you to do and keep an open mind.” Media Matters for America, however, listens to the entire Rush Limbaugh Show everyday and has documented numerous examples of Limbaugh spewing offensive commentary and basic misstatements of fact. Media Matters recently launched the Limbaugh Wire, providing hour-by-hour coverage of and commentary on Limbaugh’s program.

Below are some examples of offensive commentary and falsehoods by Limbaugh that Media Matters has documented in just the last month, complete with audio:

A Media Matters compilation of some of Limbaugh’s most outrageous remarks prior to March can be found here.

From Klavan’s March 29 Los Angeles Times op-ed, “Take the Limbaugh Challenge”:

If you are reading this newspaper, the likelihood is that you agree with the Obama administration’s recent attacks on conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh. That’s the likelihood; here’s the certainty: You’ve never listened to Rush Limbaugh.

[…]

You’re not a moderate or you wouldn’t be reading this newspaper. You’re not tolerant of a wide range of views; you are tolerant of a narrow spectrum of variations on your views. And, whatever you claim, you still haven’t listened to Rush Limbaugh.

Which leads to a question: Why not? I mean, come on, the guy’s one of the figures of the age. Aren’t you even curious? I listen to all your guys: NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, The Times, the New York Times, the New Yorker — I check out the whole left-wing hallelujah chorus. Why are you afraid to spend a couple of hours listening to Limbaugh’s show and seriously considering if and why you disagree with him?

Let me guess at your answer. You don’t need to listen to him. You’ve heard enough to know he’s a) racist, b) hateful, c) stupid, d) merely an outrageous entertainer not to be taken seriously or e) all of the above.

Now let me tell you the real answer: You’re a lowdown, yellow-bellied, lily-livered intellectual coward. You’re terrified of finding out he makes more sense than you do.

I listen to Limbaugh every chance I get, and I have never heard the man utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word. Do I always agree with him? Of course not. I’m a conservative; I think for myself. But Limbaugh, by turns insightful, satiric, raucously funny and wise, is one of the best voices talking about first principles and policy in the country today.

Therefore, I am throwing down my gauntlet at your quivering liberal feet. I hereby issue my challenge — the Limbaugh Challenge: Listen to the show. Not for five minutes but for several hours: an hour a day for several days. Consider what he has to say — the real policy material under the jokes and teasing bluster. Do what your intellectual keepers do not want you to do and keep an open mind. Ask yourself: What’s he getting at? Why does he say the things he says? Why do so many people of goodwill — like that nice Mr. Klavan — agree with him?

The mainstream media (a.k.a. the Matrix) don’t want you to listen to Limbaugh because they’re afraid he’ll wake you up and set you free of their worldview. You don’t want to listen to him because you’re afraid of the same thing.

Don’t believe me? Well, then, gird your loins. Gather your courage. Accept the Limbaugh Challenge. See what happens.

I dare you.


Change? Not For the Better

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Change? Not For the Better
It didn’t take long for Iran to brush aside President Obama’s holiday video. In his message to Iran, complete with Farsi subtitles and timed to coincide with the celebration of the Persian New Year, Obama praised the “true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization” and said that the United States wanted to engage Iran and reverse decades of animosity.

Choked on Debt
WASHINGTON — With a bit of bookkeeping legerdemain borrowed from the Bush administration, the Democratic Congress is about to perform a cover-up on the most serious threat to America’s economic future. That threat is not the severe recession, tough as that is for the families and businesses struggling to make ends meet. In time, the recession will end, and last week’s stock market performance hinted that we may not have to wait years for the recovery to begin.


Why Can’t AIG Get Rid Of Its Non-Toxic Assets?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Why Can’t AIG Get Rid Of Its Non-Toxic Assets?
Don’t say AIG never put anything in your wallets, taxpayers! The company just sold its Taiwanese securities unit to the Bank of East Asia, for something between ten and twenty million dollars, or between five and nine retention bonuses. Which…





Spakovsky Finds More DOJ Politicization: Brazile Speech On …. Women’s Achievements!
One the one hand: Firing US attorneys because they won’t bring politically motivated prosecutions. On the other: inviting Donna Brazile to speak at a “Women’s History Month” event. Pretty much the same thing, right? That’s what voter suppression guru and…


If roles were reversed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

If roles were reversed


283 Bases, 170,000 Pieces of Equipment, 140,000 Troops, and an Army of Mercenaries: The Logistical Nightmare in Iraq

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

283 Bases, 170,000 Pieces of Equipment, 140,000 Troops, and an Army of Mercenaries: The Logistical Nightmare in Iraq
Why you’ll be paying for the occupation for years to come, withdrawal or not.

I Married an Illegal Immigrant: A First-Hand Account of How Screwed Up This Country’s Rules for Foreigners Are
The one argument in the immigration debate with absolutely no merit is that the system is fine.

Are Facebook Friends Really Your Friends?
The ease of creating virtual friendships teaches us that what we crave aren’t just cyber connections, but meaningful connections.

Christian Fundamentalist Group Preaches Patriarchy and Women’s Fertility as Weapons for Spiritual Warfare
Author Kathryn Joyce explains the bizarre Quiverfull movement dedicated to exploding the birthrate of ultra-conservative Christians.

I Married an Illegal Immigrant: A First-Hand Account of How Screwed Up This Country’s Rules for Foreigners Are
The one argument in the immigration debate with absolutely no merit is that the system is fine.


Business and Health Care, Money and Merit

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Business and Health Care, Money and Merit
Why doesn’t business get out of health-care provision? It really does seem like it’s more ideology and inertia than anything else. And not just on the part of business: I don’t get the sense that it’s really popular politically…

Coherent Reform Requires New Principles
I agree with Bob Litan that we’ll get change, for better or worse. To get rid of dead ideas, and move forward to a good place, I think America needs to have a discussion on the principles for change….

The Crisis and Fresh Thinking
It may be wishful thinking on my part but I think that the current crisis and likely slow recovery will afford considerable opportunities for fresh thinking, including a willingness to reject some of those dead ideas targeted by Matt…






Obama On Afghanistan: I Will Not ?Simply Assume That More Troops Always Result In An Improved Situation?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Obama On Afghanistan: I Will Not ?Simply Assume That More Troops Always Result In An Improved Situation?
Since President Obama announced his new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan last week, he and his administration have been careful to distinguish it from President Bush’s surge in Iraq. Today on Fox News Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates stressed that the focus of the mission in Afghanistan has been “narrowed”: “I think what we need […]

Since President Obama announced his new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan last week, he and his administration have been careful to distinguish it from President Bush’s surge in Iraq. Today on Fox News Sunday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates stressed that the focus of the mission in Afghanistan has been “narrowed”: “I think what we need to focus on…is making headway and reversing the Taliban’s momentum and strengthening the Afghan army and police, and really going after Al Qaeda.”

Today in an interview with CBS’s Bob Schieffer, Obama underscored this point. He pointed out that the reason he has increased troops in Afghanistan is because levels there are “greatly underresourced.” However, he is not going to “simply assume that more troops always result in an improved situation”:

OBAMA: What I will not do is to simply assume that more troops always result in an improved situation. […]

But just because we needed to ramp up from the greatly underresourced levels that we had doesn’t automatically mean that, if this strategy doesn’t work, that what’s needed is even more troops.

There may be a point of diminishing returns in terms of troop levels. We’ve got to also make sure that our civilian efforts, our diplomatic efforts and our development efforts are just as robustly encouraged.

Obama added that it this strategy doesn’t work, the answer won’t necessarily be more troops. “It’s not going to be an open-ended commitment of infinite resources,” he said. Watch it:

The 17,000 additional U.S. troops will be focused on fighting the Taliban in the south and east, allowing the U.S. to “partner with Afghan security forces and to go after insurgents along the border.” Later this spring, Obama will also be sending another 4,000 U.S. troops to help train Afghan security forces.

While the increase in U.S. forces has received the majority of media attention, Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy is actually a “comprehensive civil-political effort to improve basic services, accountability, and overall governance in order to defeat the hard-core Taliban and al Qaeda fighters at the heart of the insurgency,” as CAP’s Peter Juul has written. The President has also ordered an increase in humanitarian aid and civilian support, recognizing that the effort there cannot be won solely by military means.

Transcript: More ?


A Budget Watcher’s Guide to the Action

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 30th, 2009 4:31 am by HL

A Budget Watcher’s Guide to the Action
As the House and Senate take up their versions of President Obama’s budget plan this week, the congressional budget process will be on full display. While the quirky, arcane proceedings can be mystifying at times, here are five things you need to know to follow the action.

Walter Oleszek: A Hill Staffer’s Guide to Congressional History and Habit
Congress is filled with experts on virtually every topic, but when questions arise about Congress itself, members and Capitol Hill staff turn to Walter Oleszek, the man who literally wrote the book.

Momentum Grows for Relaxing U.S. Policy on Cuba; Bill Would Lift Travel Ban
Roughly a year after Fidel Castro stepped aside and handed much of the responsibility for leading Cuba to his brother Raúl, there is new momentum in Washington for eliminating the ban on most U.S. travel to the island nation and for reexamining the severe limitations on U.S.-Cuban economic…