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Archive for September 6th, 2011

China Was Planning to Arm Qaddafi

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 6th, 2011 4:49 am by HL

China Was Planning to Arm Qaddafi
In the final weeks of Col. Muammar Qaddafi’s battle with Libyan rebels, Chinese state companies offered to sell his government large stockpiles of weapons and ammunition in violation of United Nations sanctions, officials of Libya’s transitional government said Sunday, citing Qaddafi government documents found by a Canadian journalist.



Late, Late Night FDL: I’m In the Mood

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 6th, 2011 4:48 am by HL

Late, Late Night FDL: I’m In the Mood
John Lee Hooker and Bonnie Raitt – I’m In The Mood and Bonnie Bishop – Virginia

John Lee Hooker and Bonnie Raitt – I’m In The Mood

Courtesy of That Guy…

Bonnie Bishop – Virginia

A bonny pair of Lasses, eh…?

What’s on your mind tonite…?

Winner of the Dick Cheney Collective Shrug Award
Another stirring non-victory by the anti-heroes of the Bush foreign policy team.

picture via tswartz at flickr.com

Another glorious story of the collective war on a noun:

A Libyan rebel leader who was rendered to Tripoli with the assistance of MI6 said on Monday that he had told British intelligence officers he was being tortured but they did nothing to help him…

[Abdul Hakim] Belhaj was captured by CIA officers, in co-operation with Thai authorities, inside Bangkok airport. He says he was tortured at a site in the airport grounds and then sent to Libya, where Gaddafi had long seen him as one of the biggest threats to his tyrannical four-decade rule.

This was all part of the Bush Administration’s loudly trumpeted “victory” against global terror by getting Gaddafi to give up his non-existent WMD program in return for being treated like an eccentric ally to the United States and avoiding all those nasty lawsuits.

Like all Bush Administration foreign policy, this attempt to fight reality had the results you would expect.


The Problem With the Republicans

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 6th, 2011 4:47 am by HL

The Problem With the Republicans
Mike Lofgren retired this summer after 28 years as a congressional staffer, 16 of which he spent on the Republican side working with the House and Senate budget committees, and he wants to tell you something about the nature of the current Republican Party. Namely, that it has become a lunatic enterprise, different from that of the Democratic Party, through the willingness of its members to engage in any fantasy that suits them. The author is correct in drawing a distinction between Republicans and Democrats. But perhaps Republicans’ actions are best understood if we refrain from psychological evaluations and consider motivation instead, which would suggest we are witnessing the behavior of unscrupulous, calculating careerists. —ARK Mike Lofgren at Truthout: Barbara Stanwyck: “We’re both rotten!” Fred MacMurray: “Yeah—only you’re a little more rotten.”—“Double Indemnity” (1944) Those lines of dialogue from a classic film noir sum up the state of the two political parties in contemporary America. Both parties are rotten—how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot. The main reason the Democrats’ health care bill will be a budget buster once it fully phases in is the Democrats’ rank capitulation to corporate interests—no single-payer system, in order to mollify the insurers; and no negotiation of drug prices, a craven surrender to Big Pharma. But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP. To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele [Bachmann] (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy. Read more

Mike Lofgren retired this summer after 28 years as a congressional staffer, 16 of which he spent on the Republican side working with the House and Senate budget committees, and he wants to tell you something about the nature of the current Republican Party. Namely, that it has become a lunatic enterprise, different from that of the Democratic Party, through the willingness of its members to engage in any fantasy that suits them.

The author is correct in drawing a distinction between Republicans and Democrats. But perhaps Republicans’ actions are best understood if we refrain from psychological evaluations and consider motivation instead, which would suggest we are witnessing the behavior of unscrupulous, calculating careerists. —ARK

Mike Lofgren at Truthout:

Barbara Stanwyck: “We’re both rotten!”

Fred MacMurray: “Yeah—only you’re a little more rotten.”—“Double Indemnity” (1944)

Those lines of dialogue from a classic film noir sum up the state of the two political parties in contemporary America. Both parties are rotten—how could they not be, given the complete infestation of the political system by corporate money on a scale that now requires a presidential candidate to raise upwards of a billion dollars to be competitive in the general election? Both parties are captives to corporate loot. The main reason the Democrats’ health care bill will be a budget buster once it fully phases in is the Democrats’ rank capitulation to corporate interests—no single-payer system, in order to mollify the insurers; and no negotiation of drug prices, a craven surrender to Big Pharma.

But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.

To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele [Bachmann] (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.

Read more

Related Entries


‘The Price of 9/11’
Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who, along with Linda Bilmes, once calculated the staggering cost of America’s wars, takes a look at the “mostly avoidable” economic devastation we imposed on ourselves in reaction to the terrorist attacks a decade ago. Joseph Stiglitz in Project Syndicate: NEW YORK – The September 11, 2001, terror attacks by Al Qaeda were meant to harm the United States, and they did, but in ways that Osama bin Laden probably never imagined. President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security. The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to Al Qaeda – as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive – orders of magnitude beyond the $60 billion claimed at the beginning – as colossal incompetence met dishonest misrepresentation. Read more

Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who, along with Linda Bilmes, once calculated the staggering cost of America’s wars, takes a look at the “mostly avoidable” economic devastation we imposed on ourselves in reaction to the terrorist attacks a decade ago.

Joseph Stiglitz in Project Syndicate:

NEW YORK – The September 11, 2001, terror attacks by Al Qaeda were meant to harm the United States, and they did, but in ways that Osama bin Laden probably never imagined. President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security.

The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to Al Qaeda – as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive – orders of magnitude beyond the $60 billion claimed at the beginning – as colossal incompetence met dishonest misrepresentation.

Read more

Related Entries



PHOTOS: The Many First Pets Of The White House

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 6th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

PHOTOS: The Many First Pets Of The White House
The First Pets that have roamed the White House grounds over the years are far from your average cats and dogs. President Obama’s portuguese water…

Ed and Deb Shapiro: What The Buddha Might Say To Rick Perry
All is not lost for Perry nor the other Republican contenders. They have time to clear their thinking, open their hearts, and see the reality of someone’s life who does not have the wealth that they all seem to have.

Bachmann campaign manager, deputy stepping down
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann’s campaign manager, Ed Rollins, and his deputy are leaving their roles, Bachmann’s campaign said on Monday, adding…

Analysis: Petraeus battles fears of CIA “militarization”
By Phil Stewart and Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Newly retired General David Petraeus is well aware that his swearing-in as the next director of…


FEC Rules Gabby Giffords Can Use Campaign Funds To Secure Home

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 6th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

FEC Rules Gabby Giffords Can Use Campaign Funds To Secure Home
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) can use campaign funds to make home improvements that would enhance her security, the Federal Election Commission ruled Thursday.


Wis. Justice Gableman Issues Correction — Says Bradley Hit Him In Sept. 2009, Not 2008
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, a conservative, is responding to criticism from the court’s liberals, regarding his allegation to investigators that liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley hit him during a court meeting on September 18, 2008 — a date when the court did not meet. Gableman’s answer is that he is correcting a lapse of memory: It did happen on September 18 — but in 2009.



The Republican Vote-Bots of 2012

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 6th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

The Republican Vote-Bots of 2012


Quote of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 6th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Quote of the Day
“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong.”

— Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, introducing President Obama at a rally in Michigan.

Perry Holds Huge Lead Over Romney
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Rick Perry has jumped to a strong lead among Republican primary voters nationally with 38%, followed by Mitt Romney at 23%, Rep. Ron Paul at 9% and Rep. Michele Bachmann at 8%.

The Politico/Battleground Poll finds Perry at 36%, followed by Romney at 17%, Bachmann at 10%, and Paul at 10%.

Bachmann Will Not Attack Perry Yet
Following a decline in the polls and a staff shakeup over the weekend, Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign will be focused on the upcoming debates, the National Review reports.

“But don’t expect Bachmann to go after Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, her tea-party competitor, at least initially. Bachmann, another adviser explains, is aiming to use the debate at the Reagan library this week to reassert her credentials and message, “in the style of her New Hampshire debate, not the Iowa debate, where she fought with [Tim] Pawlenty.”

The Year’s Defining Political Moment
GOP pollster Bill McInturff tells Gerald Seib that the debt negotiations over the summer “were more than a passing moment of politically induced indigestion” and instead “may rank right up there with the Iranian hostage crisis, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Hurricane Katrina and the collapse of financial markets as a defining political moment.”

Said McInturff: “We are entering a new phase of the American political dialogue that has been irrevocably shifted in a way that will prove difficult to predict. Historically, though, this type of deep voter anger, unease, and economic pessimism leads to unstable and unpredictable political outcomes.”


Note to Conservatives – It Isn’t Always About Us

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 6th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Note to Conservatives – It Isn’t Always About Us
I’m returning to my proper foreign policy subject matter after several weeks of irresistible debt ceiling / Republican presidential follies blogging. The topic today: must the United States position itself at the forefront of every important struggle in the world,…

Bachmann & The Golden Bough
If there’s one book that’s familiar to every Liberal Arts major it’s probably James Frazer’s mighty tome on comparative religion, 1890’s “The Golden Bough.” For generations many undergraduates have probably used this classic work the way I did: as a…

Nukes and Dictator Survival
On Wednesday night’s Last Word, Chris Hayes and Steve Clemons fretted over the effect of Qaddafi’s overthrow on other despots’ survival strategies with regard to nuclear weapons. Bear in mind that Qaddafi agreed in 2003 to hand over the entire…



Minnesota Protesters Drop Glitter On Anti-Marriage Equality Fair Booth

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 6th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Minnesota Protesters Drop Glitter On Anti-Marriage Equality Fair Booth
For unclear reasons, the Minnesota State Fair found last-minute space for a booth for the coalition supporting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (Minnesota For Marriage), but not for the pro-equality coalition opposing the amendment, Minnesotans United for All Families. To protest the seemingly unfair treatment, members of the “barbarian” group dumped glitter on the […]

For unclear reasons, the Minnesota State Fair found last-minute space for a booth for the coalition supporting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (Minnesota For Marriage), but not for the pro-equality coalition opposing the amendment, Minnesotans United for All Families. To protest the seemingly unfair treatment, members of the “barbarian” group dumped glitter on the anti-gay booth from the skilift above, shouting “where’s our booth?” and “equality for all.” Watch it:


Rollins taking reduced role in Bachmann campaign

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 6th, 2011 4:34 am by HL

Rollins taking reduced role in Bachmann campaign

Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign is undergoing significant staffing changes, with campaign manager Ed Rollins taking on a reduced role and deputy campaign manager David Polyansky departing.

Alice Stewart, a spokeswoman for Bachmann (R-Minn.), confirmed the departures late Monday. Rollins, whose decision was first reported by Politico, told The Washington Post he was too old to deal with the campaign grind.

“I am tired and am concerned about my health,” Rollins said. “Managing a campaign is tough for a young man, and I am 68 and battered by many years of campaign combat.” There was no word on who will replace him.

Read full article >>

Obama ratings sink to new lows as hope fades

Public pessimism about the direction of the country has jumped to its highest level in nearly three years, erasing the sense of hope that followed President Obama’s inauguration and pushing his approval ratings to a record low, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

More than 60 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy and, what has become issue No. 1, the stagnant jobs situation. Just 43 percent now approve of the job he is doing overall, a new career low; 53 percent disapprove, a new high.

Read full article >>

Netflix global expansion includes bigger D.C. lobby office

Netflix on Monday launched its online streaming service in Latin America, undeterred by the setback with its Starz partnership and angry customers.

And as it sets its sights on expanding across the globe with plans for Asia and Europe, the Silicon Valley streaming giant is trying to beef up its lobbying and policy staff in Washington to work out an onslaught of international and U.S. issues that threaten its business.

The company recently posted a position for senior manager of government relations to work for its local D.C. head, Michael Drobac. It may hire more staff as it grapples with issues such as online privacy for video service providers, net neutrality and Internet consumer billing issues such data caps.

Read full article >>