A Special Note re: the Associated Press

This is Jennifer Palmieri, acting CEO of the Center for American Progess [sic] Action Fund.

Most readers know that the views expressed on matttbastard’s blog are his own and don’t always reflect the views of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Such is the case with regard to matttbastard’s comments about the Associated Press. Our institution has partnered with the Associated Press on a number of important projects and have a great deal of respect for their critical thinking and excellent work product (plus, we totally heart the donuts with sprinkles — thanks, Liz!) They are key leaders in the world of investigative journalism and we look forward to working with them in the future (especially if they remember to bring the donuts — Liz, you are a doll!)

In addition, we’d also like to extend our respectful admiration to the editors at Obsidian Wings and The Atlantic, with whom we hope to partner with on a number of important projects in the near future.

Also, ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO PALMIERI!

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Hey, George–Your Class Privilege is Showing.

by matttbastard

Champagne socialist George Monbiot to North American auto workers:

Drop dead.”

bfp to privileged asshole douchebags like Georgie:

Fuck you!

Related: Mitch Albom (yes, that Mitch Albom) goes off on the same “Republican nutcases” in Congress who have Georgie gushing:

In a world where banks hemorrhaged trillions in a high-priced gamble called credit derivative swaps that YOU failed to regulate, how on earth do WE need to be punished? In a bailout era where you shoveled billions, with no demands, to banks and financial firms, why do WE need to be schooled on how to run a business?

Who is more dysfunctional in business than YOU? Who blows more money? Who wastes more trillions on favors, payback and pork?

At least in the auto industry, if folks don’t like what you make, they don’t have to buy it. In government, even your worst mistakes, we have to live with.

And now Detroit should die with this?

h/t bfp

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Dear Associated Press

by matttbastard

1992 called–it wants its appalling lack of journalistic ethics and standards back.

No, seriously–you keep making shit up, with no apparent interest in sifting through unfounded allegations and baseless conjecture to find a nugget of fact. Hint: continually filing meat-free stories with breathless headlines like “Senate-for-sale case threatens new chief of staff” is a good way to brand yourselves as the Fox Newswire. Not to say that you’ve collectively lowered yourselves to the histrionic level of Professional Obama Haters (yet); but the desperate Blagobamarahmbogate obsession is getting a bit pathetic.

At this point, it seems that the primary source fuelling most of the recent unfounded allegations and baseless conjecture regarding Blagobamarahmbogate is–wait for it–the Associated Press. As Steve Benen said, “[a]s serious as Blagojevich’s problems are, it sounds like the Obama/transition team angle is a dud. There’s just nothing there.” So why, in the middle of the worst economic downturn since 19-fucking-29, do you insist on flailing and floundering with great speculative ado over, um, nothing?

Newsflash: there’s no clutter left to cut through, kids; you’ve totally eviscerated the biggest obstacle to successfully implementing Ron Fournier’s new mandate: your credibility.

in fairness and balance,

matttbastard

PS: George Stephanopolus would like to formally apologize for taking the wind out of your sails today. Not that this latest no-shit-revelation will be enough to stem the speculative bluster emanating from your Washington Bureau. But one can always hope you’ll now start charting a new course.

(I know, and a dapple-fucking-grey pony.)

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PSA: Vote for Joey Shithead!

by matttbastard

Via Frank Frink:

As you may or may not be aware, it’s the province of British Columbia’s 150th birthday! The Vancouver Sun newspaper has conducted an online poll and produced a list of B.C.’s 150 most influential people of all time. By reader’s choice, Canada’s punk rock godfather Joey Shithead Keithley has been voted onto the list.

Now we are asking you to kick it up a notch and vote Joe into B.C.’s top 10. The voting is open till December 22nd 2008. Imagine the look on the faces of those fat cats like the publisher of the Vancouver Sun if Joe got in there. A punk rocker making history in B.C… the world has changed.

Here’s how to vote:
Click on the link below and select Joey Keithley from the list. Then hit submit. That’s it.
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/features/spiritofbc/vote_new.html

Vote once, vote often… there are many fine candidates (some evil ones too)!

  • It’s B.C.’s 150th Anniversary!
  • Joey Keithley of D.O.A. voted in as one of B.C.’s most influential citizens
  • Vote Joe into the top 10
  • Voting ends December 22nd

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Beltway Inertia and the Rule of Law

by matttbastard

In a must-read post today, Glenn Greenwald challenges Ruth Marcus and the establishment Washington consensus, in which the pursuit of war crimes charges against soon-to-be-former Bush officials is arbitrarily dismissed as either too polarizing, too partisan, or just too goddamn difficult to successfully prosecute, and thus should be preemptively abandoned.  Greenwald explains why this virtually ensures the perpetuation of an unlawful historical feedback loop:

Along with the desire for just retribution, one of the two principal reasons we impose penalties for violations of the criminal law is deterrence — to provide an incentive for potential lawbreakers to refrain from breaking our laws, rather than deciding that it is beneficial to do so. Though there is debate about how best to accomplish it and how effective it ultimately is, deterrence of future crimes has been, and remains, a core purpose of the criminal law. That is about as basic as it gets. From Paul Robinson, University of Pennsylvania Law Professor, and John Darley, Psychology Professor at Princeton, in “The Role of Deterrence in the Criminal Law“:

For the past several decades, the deterrence of crime has been a centerpiece of criminal law reform. Law-givers have sought to optimize the control of crime by devising a penalty-setting system that assigns criminal punishments of a magnitude sufficient to deter a thinking individual from committing a crime.

Punishment for lawbreaking is precisely how we try to ensure that crimes “never happen again.” If instead — as Marcus and so many other urge — we hold political leaders harmless when they break the law, if we exempt them from punishment under the criminal law, then what possible reason would they have from refraining from breaking the law in the future? A principal reason for imposing punishment on lawbreakers is exactly what Marcus says she wants to achieve: “ensuring that these mistakes are not repeated.” By telling political leaders that they will not be punished when they break the law, the exact opposite outcome is achieved: ensuring that this conduct will be repeated.

[…]

Every time we immunize political leaders from the consequences of their crimes, it’s manipulatively justified in the name of “ensuring that it never happens again.”  And every time, we do exactly the opposite:  we make sure it will happen again.  And it does:  Richard Nixon is pardoned.  J. Edgar Hoover’s lawbreakers are protected.  The Iran-contra criminals are set free and put back into government.  Lewis Libby is spared having to serve even a single day in prison despite multiple felony convictions.  And now it’s time to immunize even those who tortured detainees and spied on Americans in violation of numerous treaties, domestic laws, and the most basic precepts of civilized Western justice.

One would hope to see those individuals who have been granted a national platform that allows them to have a measurable impact on the tone of discourse in Washington be responsible and advocate on behalf of the rule of law. Instead, they collectively sigh, texturally furrow their brows over how hard it is to do the right thing, before finally settling for the cold, easy comfort of doing nothing (shades of grey, children. Shades. Of. Grey.) In an article published yesterday by McClatchy Newspapers, Marisa Taylor starkly lays out the logical consequence of elite apathy towards defending the rule of law:

Without wider support, the campaign to haul top administration officials before an American court is likely to stall.

What this says to the nation, and the world, about the US and its lack of commitment to justice, human rights, and the rule of law is nothing short of staggering.  As Loyola war law expert David Glazier put it,

It is mind boggling to say eight years later that there is not going to be some sort of criminal accountability for what happened… . It certainly undermines our moral authority and our ability to criticize other countries for doing exactly the same thing. But given the legal issues and the political reality, I am hard pressed to see any other outcome.

And because our gatekeepers of ‘reasonable’, ‘serious’ discourse can’t begin to envision any viable course of action other than forgive and (try our goddamndest to) forget, all of this–state-sanctioned torture and rendition, unlawful domestic surveillance, an unnecessary war in Iraq that, thus far, has killed well over a million people–has, in effect, been green-lighted twice.  First, by Bush, Cheney and the rest of those who felt that burning the Constitution was the only way to save it. Then, retroactively, by those in the Beltway press corps, elite Washington society and–most egregiously–the incoming Democratic administration, all of whom would apparently rather practice their statesman-like ostrich pose than risk disrupting the inertial ebb and flow of their delicate political ecosystem.

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More on Barack Obama, Post-Partisanship and Billy Graham 2.0

by matttbastard

Via Sully, Erica Barnett has compiled some of the many not-so-inclusive views held by Obama’s new spiritual BFF, required reading for those who still don’t get why including Rick Warren in the Inauguration ceremony has provoked such an outcry from the left side of the aisle. Yes, by now I fully realize that the President-elect doesn’t give a rat’s ass about progressive and LGBT objections to his upcoming public indulgence in post-partisan political symbolism. But that’s precisely the point: Obama apparently feels that cementing his political philosophy into the general consciousness at the expense of a marginalized group (ie, citizens who identify as LGBT) is of greater import than symbolically challenging entrenched bigotry.

Unless Obama truly believes that progressive “intolerance” of social conservative hobbyhorses trumps the institutional denial of agency to 10% of the US public–in which case we should all just fucking give up and hand Amy Sullivan the gold medal for finally winning the Oppression Olympics.

Once again we have been presented with evidence that establishment figures within the Democratic Party–including, and, especially, Barack Obama and his 1337 team of advisers–really do believe that Sister Souljahing must be a standard operating principle if a ‘liberal’ politician is to be seen as a consensus-builder. Judging by his latest message to progressives, social conservatives, and the Beltway, Obama seems bound and determined to establish himself as the ultimate High Broderist POTUS–which is fine, if the immediate desired outcome is to receive kudos from the Sunday bobblehead brigade. Such a too-clever-by-half strategy could, however, become a long-term political liability when the time comes for Obama to court his perpetually spurned base.

Perhaps I’m a political dinosaur, desperately clinging to the vestiges of a nakedly partisan era, unprepared to navigate the terrain of today’s pragmatic political landscape. Regardless, I really don’t appreciate always being used as a goddamn prop in a broad Kabuki performance established solely for the purview of the chattering classes. There must be a (*cough*) less-divisive way for Obama to broadcast his message of inclusiveness, one that doesn’t require making a blood sacrifice on the altar of centrist credibility–especially one where he, as a straight person, has no personal stake.

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“This should be a fight over the official prayer itself”

by matttbastard

Steve Benen puts the Rick Warren controversy in broader perspective:

The real problem isn’t with who will give the invocation, but rather, the fact that there’s going to be an invocation in the first place. We had 144 years of presidential inaugurations, dating back to George Washington, in which there was no invocation and no benediction. This shouldn’t be a fight over which pastor delivers the prayer; this should be a fight over the official prayer itself.

If anyone needed an indication of how the contemporary Evangelical movement has drastically shifted the intellectual landscape of the public commons, the manner in which this debate has been framed–the existence an inaugural invocation accepted as a given, rather than challenged as an ahistorical anomaly–certainly provides a stark illustration.

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Rick Warren: The Wrong Choice

by matttbastard

Is he serious? Rick “politicians have to believe in God” Warren? Rick “cone of silence” Warren? Rick “Prop 8 is great” Warren? Rick “take out the evildoers” Warren? Rick “Dobson-lite” Warren? That’s the kinder, gentler hatemonger who the President-elect The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (see update below edit: and second update) has selected to give the Inaugural Invocation?

I’m with Libby Spencer:

If there was ever a time to reach out to the side of the fence that didn’t oppose him tooth and nail all the way to the White House, this is it. I would suggest people might want to leave a suggestion at change.gov and ask him to rethink this choice. Frankly, I don’t know who to suggest as an alternative, but there has to be someone more neutral than Warren.

Thunderbird is go, kiddies — remember, keep it civil (edit: and make sure to read the update below before crafting a response).

Update: Mike Madden at The War Room reports that Obama wasn’t [edit: solely–see Update 2] responsible for Warren’s selection:

[T]he decision to get involved with Saddleback was actually not Obama’s. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, run by the House and Senate, put together the program for the swearing-in ceremony. Congress, not Obama, invited Warren… .

Still, I’m sure the Committee could be convinced to reconsider their decision, were Obama to sic Rahmbo on them. So keep those suggestions coming.

Update 2: Well, so much for the Committee dodge (h/t Greg Sargent):

The program participants were invited by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and chosen by the Chairman, the Presidential-elect and the Vice President-elect.

So whether or not Warren was directly selected by Obama, the President-elect obviously had a big say regarding Warren’s inclusion in the program.  Wonderful.  BarbinMD is exactly right:

What a spit in the eye to the GBLT community in particular, and to anyone who supports equality, dignity and justice under the law.

Todd Beeton @ MyDD has more info on who else to contact regarding the decision to include Warren in the inauguration ceremony:

If you’d like to register your displeasure with the pick, calling Dianne Feinstein’s office might be a good place to start. As the Chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, Feinstein announced the line-up — including Warren — today, calling it “superb.”

LA: (310) 914-7300
SF: (415) 393-0707
DC: (202) 224-3841

Click here to contact Feinstein via email.  Again, keep it civil.  Rather difficult, I realize, when one sees the following brand of shiny happy hatred being rewarded by a nominal ally:

(h/t Todd for the Warren Prop 8 vid, by way of Teddy Partridge)

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Dear Toronto Star

What will those crazy kooky kids think of next?  Smoking cigarettes? Having sex?

April Fool’s Day is just over 4 months away. I’ll charitably assume someone merely jumped the gun with this hyperventilating get-off-my-lawn pearl-clutcher about the “new culture of intoxication”, and isn’t sincerely peddling the notion that getting pissed at home prior to going out on the town is in anyway a ‘new phenomenon’. Still, just to be safe, I’d recommend ordering a Breathalyzer test and having security check his or her desk for funny smelling beverage containers–I mean, there has to be some explanation as to why anyone would purposely greenlight poorly-reasoned alarmist tripe like this.

Besottedly yours,

matttbastard

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Jane Says

by matttbastard

Like Atrios, I’m not at all thrilled at the prospect of a legacy appointment to the Senate, especially  someone who has never run for elected office. But Jane Hamsher’s recent irony-free HuffPo missive is a classic example of doin it rong:

It seems Caroline Kennedy has decided she’d rather have a US Senate seat than a pony for Christmas[…] Really? She’s “making calls this morning to alert political figures to her interest?” I guess it was either that or get her nails done.

Yes, because the only way one could possibly express opposition to dynastic appointments and elitism in Congress is to blow sexist dogwhistles.  Unless your name is Glenn Greenwald, of course.  Or Chris Bowers.

Well, I’m sure they’ll both make sure to include crude gender-based stereotypes in  future posts.

Jeff Fecke makes an obvious but important point:

If this were Jim Kennedy, would you suggest he was getting a manicure, asking for a pony? Of course not. You might pick out other symbols of idleness, but those quintessentially feminine grace notes would be left out. It’s not enough to suggest Kennedy isn’t a good pick for the seat — she has to be derided as idle and, most damningly, an idle woman.

Bint goes one step further, noting the lack of self-awareness in Hamsher’s chosen line of criticism:

I just love when privileged, white Americans like Hamsher try to pretend as if they have any idea what it’s like to be a part of the world’s “unwashed masses”.

Isn’t it funny that this article was written by the same person who also once wrote:

“No shit. Why is it the women are taking crap for this — from other women? One need look no further than the cracks about blond hair and tits from self-described “feminists” to see the reason for the sad state of feminism in this country today.”

We should all be grateful she didn’t put Kennedy in blackface.

Related: Louise Slaughter for Senate!

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