“We are at the edge of losing an historic opportunity”

by matttbastard

Steve Clemons and Mustafa Barghouti analyze Barack Obama’s recent trip to Israel and speech in Berlin and the implications both present regarding his Middle East policy as president.

Related: The speech:

(Remarks as prepared for delivery here)

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The Beltway as Bret Michaels

by matttbastard

In 17 words, Gabriel Sherman unwittingly sums up precisely what is wrong with American campaign journalism:

[T]he press wants to put its love somewhere, and, right now, that love is up for grabs.

Fuck the public interest–it’s all about who’s ready to rock Adam Nagourney’s world!

h/t Atrios

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On John Edwards ‘Love Child’

by matttbastard

“Double standard!” cries Slate media critic Jack Shafer.  “An elaborate cover up!” whines hacktacular OG ‘even the liberal’ blogger Mickey Kaus.  ‘Liberal bias!’ wails the wingnutosphere (surprise, surprise).

All that self-righteous sturm und drang simply because the MSM hasn’t dove on recent reports from that bastion of responsible journalism, The National Enquirer, alleging that former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards cheated on his wife, Elizabeth, with a woman named Reille Hunter.

Oooh.  Shocking.  A liberal Democrat with no moral values–way to conform to years of movement conservative propaganda, John Boy.

Sorry, kiddies; as John Cole aptly notes, the Grand Old Party has upped the ante on sex scandals to the point where a mere (yes, heterosexual) extramarital affair (and illegitimate child) is now small beer, not worthy of the print expenditure:

The reason no one is paying attention to the alleged affair and love-child is simple. You guys have made standard affairs boring (I know, I know. You claim to be a Democrat.). No one is claiming Edwards was seen in two wetsuits hanging from the ceiling with a dildo lodged in his rectum. There is no DC madam with a black book involved. No one has transcripts of him instant messaging teen-age congressional pages or crashing their dorms in a drunken stupor. There is no arrest record for soliciting oral sex in an airport bathroom, complete with feisty confrontations with the arresting officer on video tape. There is no religious hypocrisy and gay prostitution and meth-fueled sodomy binge to talk about.

In short, aside from the fact that all there is to the story is an Enquirer report, it is just boring. You all have made standard affairs pedestrian and dull. Even when you use the phrase “love child,” what it boils down to is a guy allegedly sleeping with a woman. Pretty tame stuff, given what the GOP has provided us for the past few years.

Now maybe if he got caught engaging in oral sex with goats. That would probably get some attention.

I think there’s something to be said about the innate homophobia contained within media coverage of the aforementioned events. But the hook that made them ‘newsworthy’ by mainstream press standards is the fact that, in most instances, the principals were all on record as being militantly homophobic Christian conservatives; their moral (and, in many cases, legal) transgressions were thus in direct opposition to their images and records as public officials.  Even former NY governor Elliot Spitzer was a grandstanding anti-prostitution crusader, so when he was caught in the middle of a prostitution ring, the immensity of the hypocrisy was too much for the jackals in the MSM to ignore (even as the puritanical response once again served as a revealing Rorschach Test of the collective American unconscious).

So, unless there’s more blood to this latest (alleged) ‘scandal’, one shouldn’t be surprised (nor shocked and outraged!!11one) at the underwhelmed non-response from the press.

Of course, as David Corn notes, even if this story never makes the 24 hour cable news cycle, the allegations have effectively removed Edwards from VP consideration:

[W]hether you read about this matter in the Times or not, the veep-vetters of the Obama campaign have probably paid the story notice. If Edwards is still in contention, he better have for them a rather convincing denial to allay suspicions that this time the scandalmongers of the Enquirer might have actually gotten it right.

Regardless, one wonders if the McCain campaign really wants the media to be talking about political figures running around behind the backs of their sick wives.

Ahem.

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George H.W. Bush at the CIA – Tim Weiner

by matttbastard

Journalist Tim Weiner discusses future President George H.W. Bush’s appointment to Director of Central Intelligence under Gerald Ford.

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JewsOnFirst.org Pwns Pastor John Hagee; Greenwald Nails Joe Lieberman

by matttbastard

(Christian) Zionism: yr doin it wrong:

I’m with Glenn: Serious Centrist™ Joe Lieberman is totally getting a whiteboy pass from the media for appearing at an event sponsored by this anti-Semitic extremist.

h/t Hamsher @ FDL

Background: More on double-standards and Pastor Hagee:

Yes, Virginia, People Actually Get Paid For This Horseshit

The Rules: Hagee Rewind

The Rules: John Hagee on an Anti-Semitic Remix Tip

CNN: McCain Officially Rejects Hagee Endorsement

Pastor John Hagee: “The Antichrist is a dispatch deep from the recesses of my id!” and other NOOZ!

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Gordon Robertson Warns of Outlaw of Christmas

by matttbastard

The Nizkor Project:

The Slippery Slope is a fallacy in which a person asserts that some event must inevitably follow from another without any argument for the inevitability of the event in question. In most cases, there are a series of steps or gradations between one event and the one in question and no reason is given as to why the intervening steps or gradations will simply be bypassed. This “argument” has the following form:

  • Event X has occurred (or will or might occur).
  • Therefore event Y will inevitably happen.
  • This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because there is no reason to believe that one event must inevitably follow from another without an argument for such a claim. This is especially clear in cases in which there is a significant number of steps or gradations between one event and another.

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    Things That Aren’t Cool

    by matttbastard

    Today’s example: Slanderously appropriating catastrophic events in someone’s life just to rig some Mean Girls redux game of “See? I told you those women are walking the razor’s edge!”

    Great–you’ve won a postcard from Clueville with the words “get a life” written on the back in cherry red lipstick.

    Look, I can’t for the life of me see any difference between comments like these and the recent decision rendered by Alberta Justice Peter McIntyre.  Rape/VAW apologia is wrong, regardless of who is spouting it.

    Period.

    Your Feminazi membership card ain’t no pass for hyping a passive aggressive variation on “she was asking for it”, y0. It should be obvious, but obviously bears repeating: women never, ever invite anything upon themselves.  There is no fucking excuse for violation of bodily sovereignty.

    Period.

    Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

    Homeland Insecurity in the US Dividing Refugee Families

    by matttbastard

    Steve Lannen of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports on the unintended consequences of so-called ‘material support’ provisions contained within the Patriot Act:

    Losi Grodya works two jobs, has a driver’s license, is working on a community college degree and is readying to take her U.S. citizenship exam.

    Despite all she has accomplished since settling in Lexington as a refugee from her native Democratic Republic of Congo nearly six years ago, she feels helpless when she talks on the phone with her daughters. Their home has been a Rwandan refugee camp for the past four years.

    ”They ask me when they are coming. Why is it taking so long? They tell me since I am in America, I must be able to do something to get them to come, but I’ve tried everything I can,“ Grodya said. ”I just want them to come here so we can all be together again. … But I can’t even do that.“

    Her daughters, who as of late January were approved by U.S. officials to join her in Lexington as refugees, have seen their cases caught up in a post-9/11 provision in the Patriot Act that bars people from entering the United States if suspected of aiding a terrorist group.

    […]

    After months of delay, Grodya learned last week that her daughters are suspected of providing material support to a terrorist group. But she doesn’t know precisely what they are suspected of doing.

    Grodya’s five daughters have shared stories not of complicity, but of kidnapping and rape in a country torn apart by decadelong conflict, she said. She fears they have not told her the worst, but that what they have said ”is now being turned against them.“

    Unfortunately, because it wasn’t published in the New York Times or the Washington Post, the story of Losi Grodya–and the broader issue underlying her plight–likely won’t get the attention it deserves. But hopefully a little blogospheric momentum will help broaden its impact. So, please, read the whole thing, blog about it, pass it along to your friends, your colleagues, and (if you’re one of our American readers) your Congresscritters.

    Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

    On Kangaroo Courts and Dry Runs: Hamdan is Ready For His Close-Up

    by matttbastard

    Tomorrow marks an historic occasion: the first military commission trial of a so-called ‘enemy combatant’ in the War on Terror is scheduled to take place at beautiful, sunny Guantanamo. And Osama Bin Laden’s chauffeur–a prime example of “the worst of the worst”, IMO–is the lucky duck who’s been given the opportunity to see post-9/11 justice in action:

    When Salim Ahmed Hamdan, accused of ferrying weapons for al-Qaeda, enters courtroom 01-A in a former aircraft operations center, he will face court proceedings unlike any the United States has seen in decades. They will unfold before a military commission — the first since the end of World War II — with a jury of uniformed officers and rules that give great deference to the prosecution. Evidence obtained from “cruel” and “inhuman” interrogation methods is admissible in certain circumstances, as is hearsay evidence.

    Unlike a civilian trial, even if the defendant is acquitted of conspiracy and material support of terrorism charges, he probably will not be released. Hamdan has been designated an “enemy combatant” by the military, a status that prosecutors said would be unchanged by an acquittal even if international pressure mounts for his release.

    According to Wikipedia,

    Kangaroo courts are judicial proceedings that deny due process in the name of expediency. Such rights include the right to summon witnesses, the right of cross-examination, the right not to incriminate oneself, the right not to be tried on secret evidence, the right to control one’s own defense, the right to exclude evidence that is improperly obtained, irrelevant or inherently inadmissible (e.g. hearsay), the right to exclude judges or jurors on the grounds of partiality or conflict of interest, and the right of appeal. The outcome of a trial by “kangaroo court” is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of providing a conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or by allowing no defense at all.

    Ok, so if “justice” (such a September 10th concept, that) isn’t the end result that is being sought by going the military commission route, then why waste precious time (and taxpayer dollars)?

    [T]he proceedings are…something of a dry run, a way to test the long-delayed military system on an alleged low-level al-Qaeda foot soldier so it is primed for the self-confessed terrorist leaders to come. In line behind Hamdan at Guantanamo is Khalid Sheik Mohammed, self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and other accused planners.

    “It’s the first contested war crimes trial since World War II, so it’s important,” Col. Lawrence Morris, the military commissions’ chief prosecutor, said recently. “You’re looking at it primarily and appropriately as bringing Mr. Hamdan to justice, but we’re also well aware that . . . it provides the first opportunity to test and validate this mechanism.”

    Ah, so, in essence, Mr. Hamdan is, in fact, a pioneer, blazing a trail for future generations to come! Well, that more-than-pertinent fact certainly kills any unpatriotic misgivings that whole predetermined outcome thing might engender. Huh–wonder how he feels about serving such a prominent role in world history?

    “There is no such thing as justice here… . America tells the world about freedom and justice… . Give me a just court … give me my human rights.”

    Geez, bloodthirsty America-hatin’ terrorists sure are a hard lot to please, eh?

    Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers