• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    William on About Roe
    William on What Fate Is Ours?
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on What Fate Is Ours?
    William on What Fate Is Ours?
    William on What Fate Is Ours?
    William on What Fate Is Ours?
    jmac on What Fate Is Ours?
    Beata on What Fate Is Ours?
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Media-Created “Reality…
    Propertius on Media-Created “Reality…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Media-Created “Reality…
    Propertius on Media-Created “Reality…
    Propertius on Media-Created “Reality…
    Beata on Media-Created “Reality…
    Propertius on Media-Created “Reality…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    September 2010
    S M T W T F S
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    2627282930  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

    • Georgia on my mind
      Stacey Abrams announces she’s running for Georgia governor again https://t.co/pLCWhwPCus — The Guardian (@guardian) December 1, 2021
  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • What Would Chinese Democracy Look Like?
      A few months ago I read a couple of books by the Singaporean intellectual Kishore Mahbubani. In “Has China Already Won he discusses Taiwan. The one exceptional trigger for a war involving China is Taiwan. Most of the time, the Chinese leaders have a lot of policy flexibility. There are no strong domestic lobbies to worry about. But the one issue where the Ch […]
  • Top Posts

Alan Grayson: Hates Children, Hates Seniors, Loves Satan


Townhall approved this fake message.

Really.

This is an open thread.


Winning their hearts and minds


ABC News:

The allegations are reminiscent of the military’s darkest days in Vietnam.

Again, young GI’s caught up in a difficult war are accused of widespread drug use and the random killing of innocent civilians, apparently for sport or thrills.

But the parents of one of the five soldiers charged with the premeditated murder of unarmed Afghans say that before one of the murders they tried to warn the Army and a U.S. Senator – and no one helped.

Now their son, 20-year-old specialist Adam Winfield, is charged with taking part in a killing three months after the Winfield family tried to blow the whistle.

The soldiers were serving at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in southern Afghanistan. On a videotaped confession obtained by ABC News, one of the soldiers, Corporal Jeremy Morlock, described how his Sergeant, Calvin Gibbs, had the men in his unit pick out civilians at random and then kill them with grenades and rifle fire.

“Gibbs called it like, ‘Hey you guys wanna, you guys wanna wax this guy or what?’ And you know, he set it up, like, he grabbed the dude.”

Morlock told how Gibbs allegedly threw a grenade at the civilian, and then told Morlock and the others, ‘Wax this guy. You know, kill this guy, kill this guy.’ ”

Morlock said that killing people came “too easy” to Gibbs. “”He just really doesn’t have any problems with f___ing killing these, these people, to be honest.”

Morlock also told investigators he believed that Gibbs was crazy and wouldn’t hesitate to silence witnesses.

“If Gibbs knew that I was sitting in front of this camera right now,” said Morlock, “there’s no doubt in my mind that he’d f—— take me out if he had to.”

This was supposed to be a “good” war. The Nobel committee even gave Obama a prize for escalating it, remember? We’re not winning their hearts and minds, we’re losing our souls.

We need to get out of Central Asia. Now.

Thing One and Thing Two, to Movement Progressives: “Grow Up!”

Obamelot is boring, Seussville is better: Thing One and Thing Two

I wrote much of this a day or so ago but didn’t have time to post it until now. On the completely off chance that someone reading this post hasn’t already heard about the sloppily choreographed one-two punch from President Obnoxious and Vice President Noxious by now, here is a brief replay of their antics.

Let’s start with Thing One’s “Buck Up” lecture from the end of his latest interview with Rolling Stone entitled “Obama in Command” (I’ve pared it down to its nasty essence for brevity’s sake):

We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. . . . But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.

The supporting punch from Thing Two (via CBS):

Biden said Democrats can win both races if they draw clear distinctions between themselves and their Republican opponents, and he urged Democrats to “remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives. This president has done an incredible job. He’s kept his promises.”

The strategy here is pretty obvious, and naturally the puppies who have been kicked have that kicked puppy look on their faces. This reaction takes the cake (via Politico):

“It’s idiotic is what it is,” says Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, one of Obama’s most pointed critics on the left. “If Democrats, with the White House and Congressional super-majorities, had delivered on what they had promised, and if people had jobs, no one would be whining. They have reaped what they sowed. They haven’t delivered on what they’ve promised — and instead of making the case as to why they would do if they are reelected, they are insulting people.

“It’s a far cry from Bill Clinton’s ‘I feel your pain,’” he added

Markos 2010 is reaping what Markos 2008 sowed. (See youtube of Markos 2008).

Furthermore, Markos (any year’s version of him) isn’t much of a lefty, though he has tainted the left by his poseur alliance with it. He’s a former Repub-turn-“progressive,” a la Arianna. Opportunists both. They came over to my former party to destroy it.

Markos isn’t much of an Obama critic either, let alone one of his strongest critics.

Case-in-point: Kos’ idea of pointy asshat criticism during the HCR debate was to put up that pathetic/progressive banner of “Let’s get reform done right” (or whatever the exact wording of that BS was) at the top of his website. The problem? Reform was already way past being done right and was actively being done wrong. The writing had long since been graffitied on the wall that the public option was a bait and switch and the only “reform” that would be “done” would be a junk insurance mandate. So, all Kos did by chanting “let’s get reform done right” is to get it done wrong.

At every key juncture, Kos has enabled O when he should have put pressure on him to “deliver” on what he “promised” or else he can count on someone else to vote for him come election time. Kos and his Comatose Band of Frickin Soldouts are only whimpering now because Obama took the tops off their sippy cups.

Continue reading

Make room for Melissa at the loser lunch table!

Melissa McEwan, the latest blogger to be slushied by the Obama machine

I saw this righteously indignant rant from Melissa M at Shakesville last night:

1. When I wrote passionate criticisms of a Republican administration and Republican Congressional majority who failed to champion LGBTQI equality, assailed women’s bodily autonomy, treated Roe as a suggestion, refused to disclose lobbyist visits to the White House, invoked the separation of powers to protect themselves, called for spending freezes on social programs, legitimized rightwing extremists, advocated for offshore drilling, pushed HSAs, escalated a war, thumbed their nose at due process, engaged in black ops, treated scientists with contempt, expanded the executive’s extrajudicial powers, demeaned liberal activists, and invoked state’s-secrets privilege for bullshit reasons, I was a principled progressive.

2. When I write passionate criticisms of a Democratic administration and Democratic Congressional majority who fail to champion LGBTQI equality, assail women’s bodily autonomy, treat Roe as a suggestion, refuse to disclose lobbyist visits to the White House, invoke the separation of powers to protect themselves, call for spending freezes on social programs, legitimize rightwing extremists, advocate for offshore drilling, push HSAs, escalate a war, thumb their nose at due process, engage in black ops, treat scientists with contempt, expand the executive’s extrajudicial powers, demean liberal activists, and invoke state’s-secrets privilege for bullshit reasons, I am a stupid ingrate who doesn’t understand how politics works.

Yes, Melissa, this is how they operate.  In 2008, we were smart, politically savvy, astute observers of the body politic *until* we announced we were supporting Hillary Clinton, who we had determined from observation as the best qualified candidate for president.  Suddenly, we weren’t smart anymore.  No, we were racists, dried up pussies, stupid, low information, working class, uneducated.  In general, we were stupid voters who had never paid any attention to how politics works.  We lost a lot of friends.  People ran screaming from us in terror in case the cooties we got were contagious.  I mean, wouldn’t you rather be a hot, young, creative class voter than a tired old Roseanne Barr?

But we stuck it out because we are not Roseanne Barrs.  We’re just people who happened to see the peer pressure tactics of the Obama machine for what they were.

Now, it’s YOUR turn to feel that kind of unpopularity.  Isn’t it fun?  Nothing you say will be taken seriously anymore.  Your opinions can be dismissed.  You’re naive, stupid, a whiner.  You’re a loser.  Oh sure, they loved you in 2008.  That’s because they had you convinced that some dude was going to protect your reproductive rights better than some 60 year old woman or anyone from the Republican side of the aisle.  And how did that turn out?

The funny thing is that we’re still personas non grata and you’ll probably gravitate to the other new losers.  *You’re* not like one of *us*, right?  What Jane Hamsher calls “a certain kind of woman”?  And what kind of woman would that be?  The kind that were right about Obama?  I think Jane has us confused with some of the people who became Tea Partiers and birthers.  That’s not who we are.  And we’re not all women either.  It’s a shame really.  Together, we could be formidable and shake the bastards to the core.  But as long as they continue to atomize the left by planting misrepresentations of Bill Clinton’s record in the comment sections of your blogs, keeping the former Clintonistas at arm’s length. we will never become a threat to them.

We would mail you out our complimentary Welcome to Under the Bus package with its white sheet and hormone replacement therapy starters but myiq2xu bristles when he doesn’t hear an acknowledgment that you piled on us during the primaries for no legitimate reason. I don’t argue with a homocidal clown.

One more thing:

This is for Peter Daou, who pointed out that it is Obama’s lack of principles that is the problem with the left blogosphere.  I wrote this post about the very same thing about a year ago.  I’m reprinting it here in it’s entirety. It’s not that we were cheering for Obama’s failure.  We’re not Republicans.  But we did expect him to do the right thing for all of the citizens of the US, not just the ones who funded him.  Based on our observations of his career in the Senate, the way he ran his campaign and our own personal experiences in 2008, we had no reasonable expectations that he was going to govern as a Democrat.  This is how his administration has played out, exactly as we predicted.  Jane et al are little late to the party, Peter.  They still hate us and have a weird notion of who we are.  It’s leading to the marginalization of the left.  There’s not much time to fix this.  They need to get a clue and fast.

I wrote this in April, 2009.

Thursday: This is what happens when you don’t have principles

Posted on April 2, 2009 by riverdaughter | Edit

What do the following posts have in common?:

The New Masters of the Universe by James Kwak at baselinescenario.com

The Obama Enigma by E.J. Dionne at WaPo

G20 Color Commentary by Adam Posen on Planet Money

What’s Wrong With Washington? by James Wolcott at Vanity Fair

Actually, the Wolcott piece doesn’t belong.  I just liked his description of Fox News gasbags like Karl Rove and Bob Beckel as “plump juicy roasters”.  Wolcott makes it safe for the mixed metaphor.  The piece is hillarious and spot on.

For the other three, the theme throughout is one of trying to make sense of several moves by the Obama administration and the various players in the economic mess.  One gets the sense that what is going on is not that hard to figure out: The finance industry is taking us to the cleaners.  It is going to prolong the recession/depression because it is going to be the last entity called upon to make any sacrifices.  Each piece suggests that the White House is playing a dangerous game and gambling whole industries and our futures by engineering workarounds that won’t upset the bankers and their friends in the private investment clubs who stand to make out like bandits on our dime. Each solution is tailored to extract the least amount of pain from the wealthy and well connected and saddles the rest of us with the most risk. At the heart of this is the fact that each crisis is dealt with individually, as if the other crises were unrelated.  Each is solved in isolation, deal by deal, banker by banker. And it’s ticking off the rest of the world.

Nicolas (pronounced nee-ko-la) Sarkozy may be a petulant prima donna but he’s right about one thing.  The world cannot get on its feet economically if we continue to deal with the finance industry in a piecemeal fashion without regulatory fixes.  If there continues to be separate deals for each problem and no international or domestic law to hold the financials accountable, there can be no trust or faith in the system.  If there is no trust, there is no confidence that once leant, your money will come back to you.  People understand risk.  What they don’t understand is how their governments can allow them to be fleeced.  Confidence needs to be restored to the system to make sure the money flows to where it is needed.  That can’t happen until the big countries involved agree to set standards for financial transactions and regulations.  We are global now.

But this is not something that is in Obama’s blood.  Obama is of the “everything is on the table” variety of president.  Actually, I don’t think we’ve ever had a president who has ever put his principles on such a sliding scale as this one.  George W. Bush was a stickler for details compared to Obama.  And Bill Clinton, that master of triangulation, at least had the perfectly rational excuse that he was faced with an overtly hostile Congress and national press.  But what is Obama’s excuse for throwing away the tenets and principles of the party he comandeered to shmooze his way to the top?  He has every advantage a president could want and still he sides with the bad guys.

Well, we shall see if Sarkozy follows through with his threat and walks out.  Europe may not be doing enough to stimulate the economy but at least they aren’t stupid enough to throw more money at the banking industry and not ask, “And how do you intend to spend this?”  You have to draw the line somewhere.  And after all,  a leader has to have principles.

OT

It occured to me that there are those who would argue that healthcare benefits that the unions demanded are ruining the auto industry.  This is the lame excuse we hear from the plump juicy roasters on cable TV all of the time.  You know, “Healthcare costs add $X to the cost of an automobile, blah, blah, blah.”  It makes you kind of PO’d to buy a car if your mind is on how many gall bladder operations and hemorrhoid treatments those X number of dollars paid for.  But even if the UAW *did* ask for so-called “gold-plated” policies {{snort!, like a working class guy isn’t going to have to run the insurance gauntlet anyway}}, the cost of those policies wouldn’t have increased so damned much if it hadn’t been for Harry and Louise.

Remember them?

If you don’t like the cost of the cars, you can send a thank you note to the GOP.

My mother made me write this.

Hi, people. It’s me, Brooke. I need help choosing a current event to write about for school, so my mom suggested that I ask you… It has to be an event that’s somewhat international, but there aren’t really any other requirements (other than that it should be an actually important event/issue). Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

(the person with the best idea gets a cookie)

Early Morning Cogitation

Morning starts too early in the day.

What I’m listening to now: Amazing Grace by Laura Love from her album Octaroon. (Stick with it, it has a great payoff)

Here’s the quote I mentioned last night on Conflucians Say:

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, l952-----

The Catfood Commission is going to eliminate Social Security.  It can’t hold together if recipients are split into full bennies versus skimpy to nonexistent bennies.  By the way, there are many jobs (including mine) that require deft hand-eye coordination.  Workers 70 years old are going to have a hard time doing them.  That is IF they are lucky enough to still have a job by then.

Edgeoforever has a round up of the headlines on Obama’s “Are you going to take your dishes and go home?” speech.

Um, Yeah.  He kind of reminds me of that asshole boyfriend we’ve all had.  They do something clueless and self-centered and then are bewildered when you get pissed off about it.  “Whuh?!  What are mad about?  You must be on the rag.”

Get a clue, Jane, Markos, Glenn.  He is trying to feminize you.  He wants to make you look weak.  He’s portraying you as whiners.  Daring you to leave.  Are you going to put up with that?  Or are you going to pick up a shred of dignity and let him deal with the rent money?

If 2008 is any indication, you’ll cave to the pressure and he’ll take it as a sign that he can do whatever the f$^* he wants andyou’ll come crawling back.

Oh, my man, I love him so

He’ll never know

All my life is just despair

But I don’t care

When he takes me in his arms

The world is bright all right

What’s the difference if I say

I’ll go away

When I know I’ll come back on my knees someday

For whatever my man is

I am his

forever more

Pack up his $%^@, wait til he goes out and change the locks.  He’s not going to change.

Some people never learn.

The rest of us holdouts don’t do dishes anyway and we’re just going to keep on singing:

Here’s a little ditty Brook brought back from her trip to France this summer where she learned all about French pop music.  It’s so damn catchy. :

Conflucians Say Tonight on Blogtalkradio

Think Virtually Speaking is the only game in town?  Not so fast.  We started Conflucians Say a couple of years ago.  It’s kind of like The View except we’re unpaid, political junkies who no one has ever heard of.  One thing is for sure: we are the other side of the lefty blogosphere.  You know, the ones who got it right?  Not that we’re keeping score or anything.

Join us tonight to find out whether RD can remember how to work the damn switchboard.  We’ll go over current events from the bitter knitters’ POV.

It’s tonight at 9:00pm EST on blogtalkradio.

Tuesday News: Voices Crying in the Wilderness

Good Morning Conflucians!!!!! Is anyone else getting the feeling that all hell is breaking loose in the U.S. political sphere? Maybe it’s just my usual apocalyptic viewpoint on events, but I’m getting a sense of time speeding up as we approach the midterm elections and a feeling that just about anything can happen.

Back in early 2008, Riverdaughter was banned from the orange place for calling out the mindless bands of Obots who were trying to shut down supporters of any other candidate than their messiah. Yes, she used the word “Jihad.” Here’s a sample of the diary that got her thrown out of the giant blog that had been taken over by Obama astroturfers:

They are zealous, our Movement Obamaphiles. We’re not quite sure what the Movement is all about except it has something to do with Unity. I thought we already had a Unity movement with Mike Bloomberg whose goal it is to “teach the world to sing in perfect harmony” and let uber rich middle aged white guys tell us how to sit nicely and lower our voices when we talk to Republicans.

Maybe the Movement is about getting people to sit around the table and come to some consensus, complete with trained negotiator and meeting facilitator. Wow! That sounds cool….

Obamaphiles have it made. They can pour their whole heart into their Movement. And they can look down on we poor Kossacks who don’t have anything to believe in. If only we would accept the Movement, our troubles would “melt like lemon drops a-way above the chimney tops”. We could stop worrying about people who have lost their jobs and their health insurance and their houses. We could give them hope! And states that are deep in debt and can’t cough up the money for SCHIP can use the power of their words to make it happen. And soldiers in Iraq who are on their third rotation can focus on the Change! that will come, just as soon as the embodiment of our Movement learns to do his job!

Bad, bad Goldberry was cast out of the Cheeto into the internet wilderness. Instead of just feeling sorry for herself, she established The Confluence. Other former orange place denizens found her new blog and joined her, and as more of the “progressive” blogs were taken over by the Koolaid drinkers, so did refugees from places like Firedoglake, Democratic Underground, and Talk Left.

In those days we were truly voice crying in the wilderness, trying all through the 2008 primaries to warn other liberals of the bad ending we saw coming for the Democratic Party if they nominated a guy with almost no experience and who thought Ronald Reagan was a “transformational” figure and that New Deal programs like Social Security should be cut and/or privatized.

Now, more than two years later, most of the “progressive” blogosphere is in an uproar, running around with their hair on fire, trying to stop the Obama Party (formerly the Democratic Party) from handing over the reins of government to the far right wing of the Republican Party. Sorry folks, when you nominate and elect a Republican in Democratic clothing that’s what happens.

So with that as background, let’s take a look at the latest political news from around the ‘net. Who knows how much longer we’ll be able to do that now that the Obama administration and Congress plan to start wiretapping every single form of electronic communication we have? See Wonk the Vote’s latest post for more on that.

Peter Daou, who was an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign wrote snarkily yesterday about “How a handful of liberal bloggers are bringing down the Obama presidency.”

With each passing day, I’m beginning to realize that the crux of the problem for Obama is a handful of prominent progressive bloggers, among them Glenn Greenwald, John Aravosis, Digby, Marcy Wheeler and Jane Hamsher*.

Virtually all the liberal bloggers who have taken a critical stance toward the administration have one thing in common: they place principle above party. Their complaints are exactly the same complaints they lodged against the Bush administration. Contrary to the straw man posed by Obama supporters, they aren’t complaining about pie in the sky wishes but about tangible acts and omissions, from Gitmo to Afghanistan to the environment to gay rights to secrecy and executive power.

The essence of their critique is that the White House lacks a moral compass. The instances where Obama displays a flash of moral authority – the mosque speech comes to mind – these bloggers cheer him with the same fervor as his most ardent fans.

Of course *we* aren’t included in the list of liberal bloggers who “put principle before party” (even though that has been our battle cry since May 31, 2008). But that’s OK, we’re used to being dismissed at this point. Most of us are Independents now, we’ve given up on the Democratic Party. Perhaps the progbloggers that Daou praises will eventually follow us, but we don’t expect them to ever acknowledge that we were right.

As Daou argues, the Obama administration is frustrated by the pushback they are getting from the progbloggers. They apparently believed they could pull the wool over the eyes of every “progressive” and that none of them would ever notice the lies, the broken promises, the fact that the Democratic Party had duped them into working their asses off to elect a Republican President. Well some of them have waked up, and they sound just like we Conflucians did back in the spring of 2008. Unfortunately, it’s a bit late now to prevent the deluge.

It looks like Rahm Emanual is leaving the sinking ship this Friday and heading back to Chicago in hopes of becoming king mayor of the windy city.

Although no final decision has been made because of family considerations, ABC News has learned that White House officials are preparing for Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to announce on Friday — as Congress adjourns for recess — that he is leaving his post to explore a run for mayor of Chicago.

White House officials expect that President Obama will also name an interim chief of staff, perhaps senior adviser Pete Rouse, at the announcement.

Sources close to Emanuel cautioned that he has yet to pull that last trigger on the decision.

Two of Obama top economic advisers, Christine Romer and Larry Summers are leaving, and David Axelrod and David Plouffe will be leaving to work on President Obama’s doomed endangered 2012 reelection campaign.

Vice President Joe Biden has emerged from obscurity to tell uppity liberals to quit “whining.”

Campaigning for Democratic candidates in New Hampshire, Vice President Joe Biden said Monday the party’s base should “stop whining.”

Biden attended a fundraiser for Rep. Paul Hodes, who is running for the Senate; Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who is seeking re-election to a third term; and the state Democratic Party.

Biden said Democrats can win both races if they draw clear distinctions between themselves and their Republican opponents, and he urged Democrats to “remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives. This president has done an incredible job. He’s kept his promises.”

[….]

Biden said Democrats will lose if the November election is a referendum on how people feel about the economy, but they’ll win if they emphasize the progress they’ve made and plans to build on it. He said he understands that someone looking for a job doesn’t have time to track the details of the new health care law or stimulus program, but he said Democrats should remind those voters that many of the benefits haven’t kicked in yet.

“We’ve made great progress, but to the guy or the woman sitting at their kitchen table without a job it doesn’t matter – they’re in trouble. We owe them an answer as to how we’re going to … now that the economy’s been stabilized, build it again,” Biden said.

Yeah, yeah, we know. More tax cuts for business and nothing that creates jobs or consumers. If all you’re offering is Republican solutions, why on earth do you expect liberals to support you?

President Obama himself has joined the chorus of administration figures chiding liberals:

Admonishing his own party, President Barack Obama says it would be “inexcusable” and “irresponsible” for unenthusiastic Democratic voters to sit out the midterm elections, warning that the consequences could be a squandered agenda for years.

“People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up,” Obama told Rolling Stone in an interview to be published Friday. The president told Democrats that making change happen is hard and “if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.”

The midterm elections are in five weeks and polling shows that Republicans, out of power at the White House and on Capitol Hill, have a much more excited base of supporters than Democrats. Obama, campaigning this week in four states, is in a sprint to restore the voter passion that helped him win office.

Bwaaaaahahahahahahah! He wants us to “buck up?” Good luck with that, Mr. President.

What are you seeing out there in the internet wilderness today fellow Conflucians? Please share your links in the comments, and remember “buck up” and “quit whining,” or you might have to be “drug tested.”

Have a terrific Tuesday!!!!

Abandon the last vestiges of Hope™ all ye who enter here?

“Nobody” could have predicted “the first wired president” would seek to wiretap the internet. From that last link (via the Gray Lady):

WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations for the Internet, arguing that their ability to wiretap criminal and terrorism suspects is “going dark” as people increasingly communicate online instead of by telephone.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.

From the CNN “first wired president” article I linked to above (this story was published back in January 2009):

As the first president-elect with a Facebook page and a YouTube channel, Barack Obama is poised to use the Internet to communicate directly with Americans in a way unknown to previous presidents.

Judging by Obama’s savvy use of social-networking sites during his campaign and the interactive nature of his transition team’s Web site, Americans can expect a president who bypasses the traditional media’s filters while reaching out to citizens for input, observers say.

“The rebooting of our democracy has begun,” said Andrew Rasiej, founder of Personal Democracy Forum and the techPresident blog. “[Obama] has the potential to transform the relationship between the American public and their democracy.”

Our democracy has been rebooted? Well, as a matter of fact it has. Just in the opposite direction of what Rasiej and others who pushed the “first wired president” meme had in mind.

If anyone really couldn’t have seen this coming by now, here’s a little refresher from May:

Donna continues:

If a single move could restore civility to politics, that is it. Get rid of the left-vs.-right commentators who are just out scoring points for their team. This sort of opinion-mongering is not only boring and predictable, it is destructive of the truth. If your only credentials are “GOP shill” or “Democratic hack,” you’ve no business cluttering up the airwaves or the op-ed pages. My momma always told me that if you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s best to keep your mouth shut. That’s good advice.

[…]

Timing is everything. Brazile’s commentary bears an uncanny resemblance to remarks made by President Obama in his commencement speech to Hampton University graduates this past Sunday:

“With so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs, on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult, at times, to sift through it all; to know what to believe; to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s not,” Obama said. “Let’s face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I’ve had some experience with that myself. Fortunately, you’ll be well positioned to navigate this terrain.

“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t rank all that high on the truth meter,” Obama said. “With iPods and iPads; Xboxes and PlayStations; information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment.

[…]

“All of this is not only putting new pressures on you; it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy.”

Point being, there have been red flags up the wazoo. So anyone at this point who is surprised, that Obama isn’t exactly the natural ally to internet freedom and other first amendment issues that he was pitched as, isn’t paying enough or proper attention to what has continued to be telegraphed over the last few years by Obama and his allies.

The part that saddens and troubles me most about the latest developments is not that the Obama Administration is going to submit a plan to wiretap the internet.

As much as I admire and respect Hillary and as strong and forceful an advocate as she is with her Clinton Doctrine on Internet Freedom on the global front, I have to say point blank that I would not have been surprised to see anyone else’s Administration–including a potential Hillary Administration–make some sort of request to Congress about the internet and wiretaps.

The cynic in me would frankly have been surprised not to see anyone who won in 2008 lobby for something like this at some point in their Administration. (Even the Kooch himself. Or actually especially the Kooch himself. But, that’s a topic for another post. It’s in my drafts folder.)

So, to reiterate, what I find disturbing about the Obama Admin seeking to wiretap the internet is not that development itself–it’s that I do not have confidence that the left will be holding Obama as accountable as they should be throughout the process of his Administration making such a request. If a Hillary Clinton Administration or a McCain Administration were doing this, I can’t imagine the left would be anything other than rightly holding their feet to the fire. I think that would have been a force for pulling the conversation to the left and served as at least some kind of check on the process.

The Obama Admin’s plans to wiretap the internet probably won’t do much to change anything as far as the 23 percenters who will always be Obama’s true believers. But, for the rest of the Obama Left wavering in and out of states of consciousness and clarity, if this doesn’t shock them out of their Hope-coma for good, I’m not sure how much more has to happen for them to understand that Obama is a politician and a president. He has his own agenda. The left’s role is not to coddle and apologize and make excuses for him but to hold him accountable from the left.

If Bush were doing this, I can just imagine the level of outrage and the types of commentary that would be pouring out of left blogistan and other progressive media right now. If their complaints about Bush were sincere and they were not just made as a means to achieving progressive power and relevance, then Obama must be held to the same standards as Bush would be on this. Otherwise the left just looks disingenuous and blindly partisan (I am actually in favor of partisanship grounded in reason, but I’m not fond of blind-anything.)

Oh, and remember the “Vote Different” ad? (this isn’t the end of the post, so keep reading after the video.)

Yep. The Obama netroots sure voted “different” in 2008. We really avoided an Orwellian nightmare there.

The netroots powered Obama’s candidacy and had great hopes that he would “reboot” our democracy. And, reboot he has. He has rendered the left irrelevant where the left had been alive and well in challenging the oligarchy during the Bush years. Just goes to show that old saying, “be careful what you wish for,” is as relevant as ever.

Too bad the left has yet to strategize differently.

A profile in self-reflective journalism: Michael Ware (Updated)

This post has been updated; please see the update below on the video links from mickware.info. (If you are reading this on the frontpage, the update is after the Continue Reading jump.)

In my last post, I took a look at the progressive netroots and how they have turned into the blogospheric equivalent of the media Village they have long railed against.

I want to shift gears somewhat and focus on one of the journalists out there who is worth watching:

War correspondent Michael Ware.

Here’s the header of an article previewing the first part of a two part special on Ware that aired recently in Australia, from ABC News in Australia, September 10, 2010:

After a decade of working in war zones, and being kidnapped and almost executed by Al Qaeda, Australian journalist Michael Ware has plenty of personal demons to confront.

The article begins:

In an interview to air on Monday night’s Australian Story, Ware says he is coming to grips with his ordeal at the hands of Al Qaeda.

“No matter how many times I’ve told the story of me being kidnapped by Al Qaeda, every time I’ve told that story it just rolls off my tongue. I thought I was talking about someone else. I never stopped to go back and contemplate how it felt,” he said.

While working in Afghanistan, Ware says he went from being a bumbling Aussie journo to being completely immersed in the conflict.

Adopting local guise and speaking the language of the Taliban, he gained trust on both sides of the war.

“We would go into these Taliban-controlled areas and stop for a bite to eat and the Taliban would be absolutely unaware that a foreigner had just been among them,” he said.

“If they had known I would have been executed instantly, as would my team.

“I was going to their first training camps in the dead of night, having been blindfolded or shoved in trunks of cars and taken by circuitous routes to arrive at these places where men were training other men in how to conduct guerrilla warfare.”

The write-up goes on to discuss Ware’s prisoner of war experience:

Ware is the only Westerner to be captured and later released by Al Qaeda in Iraq.

He says the time of his kidnapping was a particularly violent chapter in the country.

“The blood-letting was at a horrific rate. There was a day in September when there was a particularly furious battle on Haifa Street, when the Americans went in,” he said.

“After that battle, the Iraqi guerrilla commander who controlled Haifa Street sent one of his mid-ranking commanders to my house.

“That commander came to my house and he said ‘Al Qaeda has taken over Haifa Street… the boss said to come and bring you in and show you’.

“Whilst we were driving I clearly saw the multitude of Al Qaeda fighters… A member of Al Qaeda stepping out from the median strip pulling a pin on a grenade – that’s the only film I have of my kidnapping.”

And, this is just amazing:

His actions have often rankled authorities, but former US Army Staff Sergeant David Bellaviva cannot help but notice his physical courage.

“Michael Ware has completed the equivalent of eight to nine combat tours – there is no soldier in our military that has done that… Michael Ware has done that,” he said.

Even though I had been aware of Michael Ware’s extensive war correspondence, that quote just left me somewhat stunned and speechless when I read it.

But life at war gave Ware little time to deal with the psychological effects of the things he had seen, and so he says he locked away many memories to deal with another day.

Shell-shocked and back in Australia, that day has come.

The first episode in this two-part Australian Story will air on Monday, September 13 at 8:00pm on ABC1.

In the second part of the special, Michael Ware comes forward with the revelation that in 2007 he witnessed and filmed a war crime which he says CNN censored. The story broke in the Brisbane Times last Sunday, before the rest of the special aired in Australia the following night:

Continue reading