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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thought for the Day

Dear Republicans, Are we Cuba yet?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday video

In Maine, a WWII vet speaks in support of the gay marriage initiative. If you've got the four minutes and haven't seen it....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's easy to get the mob angry, but difficult to control them.

This NY-23 race is getting pretty damned funny. The "tea party" folks are pretty much guaranteeing a Dem win in a district that hasn't elected a Dem since the 19th century.

You've got Dick Army destroying a Republican candidate to enlarge his mailing list, and Sarah Palin making a distinctly anti-Republican party endorsement of the third party Hoffman.

They're destroying their party for their own personal gain. (I believe "looting" is a classic stage of decline.)

PS. Don't think other Republicans aren't watching this and calculating just how far out on the crazy limb they'll have to go to placate these people. ....and then can they win a general election?

(Their traditional top down discipline has cracked when faced with bottom up internet organizing?)

Later: The Dem wins with 35%? DKos/R2000 poll: Bill Owens (D) 35, DeDe Scozzafava (R) 30, Doug Hoffman (C) 23.

Quote - "We...."

Big ironic balls from party switcher Arlen Specter.
"We have 60 votes without Sen. Snowe..."

(Arlen desperately needs healthcare for reelection.)

"Opt out" will mean all 50 states. eventually

I gotta tell ya, this "opt out" solution for the public option seems like a winner to me.

So long as there's a critical mass of states who opt in (blue states,) the public option will very likely offer a cheaper alternative for healthcare, and, once that's in place, just how long do you think the partisan hacks in states like mine will be able to hold out pushing their ideology to voters who see their neighbors saving thousands across state lines?

Republican "centrists" start to whine.

Leaving aside that Gingrich isn't really a "centrist," the establishment Republicans are starting to whine that their Frankenstein is out terrorizing villagers. (The "Villagers" double meaning is intentional.)
“If you seek to be a perfect minority, you’ll remain a minority,” says Gingrich. “That’s not how Reagan built his revolution or how we won back the House in 1994.”

Or David Frum,
Prelude to Republican fratricide

GOP candidates in New York and New Jersey should be cruising to victory this November. But angry conservatives would rather hand power to Democrats than help moderate Republicans win.

We had a great debate on this blog after the 2008 election over which direction the Republican party would go in their "civil war," whether the cooler Washington insiders would seize the inevitable oppositional independents and get the party to reach to the center or whether the cropped down Republican party would just get crazier and further to the right, extending their time in the wilderness.

I held the position that rationality would prevail, and the sane minded insiders would win out. I was sooo wrong.

And, definitely don't miss the picture of the teapartiers crashing the NY-23 Republican candidate's photo op and backing her with a wall of signs for the "conservative" third party challenger who will likely cost her what should be a safe Republican seat.

PS. Dick Army of FreedomWorks/TeaParty fame is openly backing the third party challenger, and may be endorsing him. (Armey may get rich by harnessing the teaparty folks, but he's destroying his party in the process.)

Later: Politico has a rather empty piece on the gap, but frames it from the "Republicans" worrying about the teapartiers. (because they're not the "Republicans" Mike Allen validates.)


That dynamic creates the likelihood of a deeply ironic result: If health care reform passes, many of the districts that benefit most from the federal subsidies to expand access to coverage will be those represented by members who voted against the bill.

Not quite the post-presidential career he was looking for

When I first saw the story that George Bush was going to feature at a "Get Motivated" seminar, I didn't link it, because I thought it was just some of the lefty blogs taking a shot.

But, thinking about it a little more, maybe instead of laughing at what George Bush is doing, we should notice what he's not doing.

Where are the overpaid international ex-president appearances we've gotten used to from Reagan to Clinton? Heck, where's his role speaking to Republicans or business/interest groups inside this country?

Nobody wants this man. Nobody wants to pay to have their group associated with him, not even his own party. Nobody is giving him that post-presidential payday he admitted he was after.

You would think at least the oil and coal companies would owe him something.....


Israel claims it held "nuclear talks" with Iran, but it appears to have occurred as part of a larger a regional meeting. (It gets press because such a meeting would be the first recognized official contact in 30 years.)

As Iran talking "disarmament" before Israel would be so unpopular back in Iran, and the timing comes so immediately after the IAEA deal was sent back to Iran for a decision, I can only gather the Israelis released details of the September meeting now in this characterization in an effort to get the Iranians not to take the IAEA deal.

Thought for the Day

Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson don't have to vote for the healthcare bill. They just have to vote for cloture.

(Graph is bigger if you click on it. The axis at the bottom is years in two year increments from 1947-1948.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The quietest nuclear deal, ever

With all the shouting over the last few years, you would think that news of a substantial step in the nuclear negotiations with Iran would have have been a huge topline story everywhere.

(NYTimes, WaPo) The Iranians have tentatively agreed to send their stockpile to Russia for reprocessing into a fuel that can only be used in reactors.

It's certainly not everything, but it is the first successful step of any kind since the Iranians started their nuclear fuel cycle after they were cast into the "axis of evil."

A rather interesting interview about the drone strikes.

Just a few selected bits.
It’s surprising, but the Obama Administration has carried out as many unmanned drone strikes in its first ten months as the Bush Administration did in its final three years.....

So, to obtain Pakistani support—or at least the support of the Zardari government—the Obama Administration quietly decided last March to allow the Pakistani government to nominate some of its own targets. The U.S. has been and is involved in killing not just Al Qaeda figures, but Pakistani targets—people like Taliban leader Beitullah Mehsud who are enemies of the Pakistani state....

According to some recent studies, terrorists are scampering around only at night and accusing each other of being spies and informing on one another. So it’s had the desired effect in unravelling terror cells....

But there are all kinds of unintended consequences. For one thing, these missile strikes could scatter Al Qaeda, and cells could move to other parts of Pakistan, maybe down toward Karachi, where the population is denser. There have been reports of people already starting to move there.


How very Christian of Richard Land, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission,
"What they are attempting to do in health care, particularly in treating the elderly, is not something like what the Nazis did. It is precisely what the Nazis did."

I mean, Wow.

The only country allowed to spy on the US

Former NSC figure, Livermore and NASA researcher Stewart Nozette was arrested in an espionage sting by the FBI as an agent pretended to be from Israeli intelligence. At the time of the arrest, investigators made a very clear statement that there were no charges against Israel.

The only thing is, they actually caught Nozette's trail from his past dubious dealings with Israel. And, it's not like he didn't give them ample reason to go after Israel for the espionage. Talking (on tape) to the FBI agent posing as an Israeli spy, Nozette said
"I thought I was working for you already. I mean that's what I always thought, [the foreign company] was just a front."

If this was any other country in the world....

Brazil's Olympics/World Cup

...over the weekend, in a chilling outburst of violence, drug traffickers wielding what the police say they believe was a large-caliber weapon shot down a police helicopter just one mile from Maracana stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics will be held and the World Cup final will be played two years before the Olympics.

(An armored police vehicle sits near two public buses set on fire by drug gangs trying to distract the police from their battle for the control of a slum, in Rio de Janeiro October 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes))

(Police work to extinguish the burning remains of one of their crime-fighting helicopters after it was shot down when trying to intervene in a battle between two opposing drug gangs, in a Rio de Janeiro slum October 17, 2009. (REUTERS/Alexandre Brum-O Dia))

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Still less popular

Less than one in five voters (19 percent) expressed confidence in Republicans' ability to make the right decisions for America's future while a whopping 79 percent lacked that confidence.

Among independent voters, who went heavily for Obama in 2008 and congressional Democrats in 2006, the numbers for Republicans on the confidence questions were even more worse. Just 17 percent of independents expressed confidence in Republicans' ability to make the right decision while 83 percent said they did not have that confidence....

And, perhaps most troubling for GOP hopes is the fact that just 20 percent of the Post sample identified themselves as Republicans, the lowest that number has been in Post polling since 1983.

So, I guess the question is, why does the press still treat their every criticism as credible?

Picture of the Day

Political bits

(Globe) President Obama is facing an "unprecedented" number of death threats, stretching the Secret Service near breaking.

(NYTimes) NJ Gubernatorial hopeful Chris Christie may be in serious trouble. An aide he "loaned" $46,000 to undertook some pretty skeevy public acts to help his campaign.

And, (CNN) Biden's claiming he first said no to a VP offer months before he was officially chosen. (Biden's still around?)

Funny, they don't cover it as 50+%

So, all this time, the public option has had 50+ %? (I've loved all the media roundtables with public option supporters outnumbering opponents.)
On the issue that has been perhaps the most pronounced flash point in the national debate, 57 percent of all Americans now favor a public insurance option, while 40 percent oppose it. Support has risen since mid-August, when a bare majority, 52 percent, said they favored it. (In a June Post-ABC poll, support was 62 percent.)

I don't think I remember 50+% being mentioned during the week of tea party coverage. Do you?

(Hell, the WaPo didn't even lead the article with the numbers, (8th paragraph,) even though it's the title of top front page story.)

This is John McCain

Against Martin Luther King Jr Day when he needed "a certain segment" of the white vote in Arizona, but for a much less meaningful "pardon" for Jack Johnson.
McCain, who says he made a mistake by once voting against a federal holiday for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., sees the pardon as a way to right an old wrong.

Yeah. That should even things out.

(And I'm sure he'll be on the Sunday Shows to explain.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Picture of the Day

(A defaced and torn election poster of Afghan President Hamid Karzai is seen in Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday, Oct. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq))

The coming face of the Republican party, sexist, racist, etc.

There's been alot written about the shift in national demographics that will, in the longer term, dwarf the current Republican white voting block. The GOP has two choices, either expand their base into some of these growing demos, or try to appeal more and more strongly to white males only.

That strategic battle will be the future for the GOP, and thus far, it looks like the crazy baiters are winning.

Just today, (ThinkProgress) Republicans in SC said (in a submitted editorial!) that Sen. DeMint is "watching our nation’s pennies’ like a Jew.

(Politico) Giuliani race baiting in the NY mayor's race,
“You know exactly what I’m talking about,” Mr. Giuliani said .... “This city could very easily be taken back in a very different direction — it could very easily be taken back to the way it was with the wrong political leadership.”

(MediaMatters) Rush Limbaugh tells a female CNN personality "Carol, you need to go sit on a fire hydrant and improve your day."

And, (ThinkProgress) FoxNews praising the illegal aliens costumes that have gotten so much flak.

So, in one day, Jews, blacks, women, and Hispanics. ....and that's just today.


(AP) In Afghanistan, the Karzai dominated Independent Election Commission is refusing to accept the runoff producing results from the UN dominated Electoral Complaints Commission meaning that the election result is..... what.... stalemated?

(NYTimes) It appears the Obama administration will wait to deploy more troops until the election is decided.

(NYTimes) The Taleban's money flow is diversified and secure. ($100 million from overeas donations.)

(Reuters) As predicted, the Iranians are blaming Britain and the US over the Jundullah bombing that killed 5 senior Revolutionary Guard figures. (Interesting how carefully they work to avoid naming Afghanistan, "The base of the terrorists and rebels has not been in Iran. They are trained by America and Britain in some of the neighboring countries.")

(AFP) If civilians have time to flee the Pakistani government's offensive, don't the Taleban have time to get their leadership out as well? (Not to mention the 4 month build up. (BBC))

And, (Reuters) Two illegal Israeli electronic spy posts left in Lebanon after their war both explode? (Unsuccessful self destruct?)

Quote - Rep. John Shadegg (R-Az.)

"What we're really getting here is we're not just getting single-payer care. We're getting full on Russian gulag, Soviet-style gulag health care."

...because the gulags were famous for their healthcare?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Jacob Weisberg carries the anti-FoxNews water in Newsweek.
What's most distinctive about the American press is not its freedom but its century-old tradition of independence—that it serves the public interest rather than those of parties, persuasions, or pressure groups. Media independence is a 20th-century innovation that has never fully taken root in many other countries that do have a free press. The Australian-British-continental model of politicized media that Murdoch has applied at Fox is un-American, so much so that he has little choice but go on denying what he's doing as he does it. For Murdoch, Ailes, and company, "fair and balanced" is a necessary lie. To admit that their coverage is slanted by design would violate the American understanding of the media's role in democracy and our idea of what constitutes fair play.

"Don't follow FoxNews"

It's interesting that the White House is trying to talk the other networks into not following FoxNews' lead.

Maybe that was one of the lessons the White House took from the "tea party" summer, that FoxNews talking to their base isn't damaging, but the bleed over to other networks is? ...so they're trying to sever FoxNews as agenda driver?

5 Senior Iranian Rev. Guard officers killed in bombing

31 killed. Best guess is that it's Jundullah, the Sunni/Baluch terror group.

We probably need to go back and revisit that Sy Hersh piece from last summer (stll not confirmed anywhere else) about the Bush administration and CIA working with Jundullah around CentCom and Adm. Fallon who, if you'll remember, resigned suddenly and without much explanation after an article he later rejected said he was standing against Bush policis on Iran.

I don't know if any of that is pertinent, but you can certainly expect the Iranians to talk CIA.

Also of note, The attack was targeting an Iranian Government/Baluch reconciliation meeting, so it's certainly plausible that Jundullah wanted to disrupt the process.

We just don't know much at all right now, so, we'll have to wait for more details to come in.

"Trust Buster"

Whether you think it's warranted or not, can you remember a President in modern times being this harsh in a pre-written statement against a specific American company/industry/sector? (I can't find a transcript of the weekly "radio address," but here's an article and the source video.)
"And they're earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exception from our anti-trust laws, a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing," he said.....

Obama maintained, however, that the insurance industry "is rolling out the big guns and breaking open their massive war chest -- to marshal their forces for one last fight to save the status quo."

"They're filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads. They're flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists and campaign contributions. And they're funding studies designed to mislead the American people," he said.