The Aeration Zone: A liberal breath of fresh air
Contributors (otherwise known as "The Aerheads"):
Walldon in New Jersey ----
Marketingace in Pennsylvania ---- Simoneyezd in Ontario
ChiTom in Illinois -- KISSweb in Illinois -- HoundDog in Kansas City -- The Binger in Ohio
Monday, March 31, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
My wife forwarded an essay by Tim Wise, author of White Like Me, defending (for the most part) the statements and sentiments of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Here is an excerpt from the essay, "Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama and the Unacceptability of Truth; Of National Lies and Racial America":
Whites are easily shocked by what we see and hear from Pastor Wright and Trinity Church, because what we see and hear so thoroughly challenges our understanding of who we are as a nation. But black people have never, for the most part, believed in the imagery of the "shining city on a hill," for they have never had the option of looking at their nation and ignoring the mountain-sized warts still dotting its face when it comes to race. Black people do not, in the main, get misty eyed at the sight of the flag the way white people do--and this is true even for millions of black veterans--for they understand that the nation for whom that flag waves is still not fully committed to their own equality. They have a harder time singing those tunes that white people seem so eager to belt out, like "God Bless America," for they know that whites sang those words loudly and proudly even as they were enforcing Jim Crow segregation, rioting against blacks who dared move into previously white neighborhoods, throwing rocks at Dr. King and then cheering, as so many did, when they heard the news that he had been assassinated.For the most part, sadly, I have to take Wise's (and Wright's) side. In any case, Wise's contextualization of Wright's infamous comments is helpful to read.
Trying not to be self-righteous in my rejection of [white] American self-righteousness ( life is full of challenge, eh?). . . .
Happy Spring, from ChiTom
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Clinton's minister supports Wright
To evaluate his dynamic ministry on the basis of two or three sound bites does a grave injustice to Dr. Wright, the members of his congregation, and the
African-American church which has been the spiritual refuge of a
people that has suffered from discrimination, disadvantage, and
Out of town
Did you know U.S. soldiers in Iraq are being electrocuted by "friendlies"?
Under normal circumstances, this would be major-headline front-page news. Anybody who has followed American news over the years knows it’s a sensational story just by the nature of it: “Soldiers being executed in showers in Iraq. Faulty wiring blamed.” Arguably, it would not, in theory, deserve to be a sensational story any more than the now-ignored soldiers who get cut down by IEDs or snipers. But the fact is, in our culture of journalism, a substantial number of American soldiers being electrocuted in their own showers due to a contractor’s incompetence or negligence would be treated as a sensational front page story. As far as I can tell, though, the Washington Post did not even pick it up, period, and it appears that the New York Times buried it inside in its “Mideast” section. I see two hard-copy newspapers most days, and get a lot of news online. I watch the news every night. I missed it except for a reference I picked up (but was unable to follow) on Air America one afternoon.
Who is making the distinctly partisan, political decision not to treat it with the prominence it would normally get? Make no mistake about it, a decision to downplay a story of that dramatic magnitude is nothing but a dishonest, partisan editorial decision. It is what the American press has come to.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Chaos returning to Iraq
BAGHDAD — Heavy fighting broke out Tuesday in Basra and Baghdad, after Iraqi ground forces and helicopters mounted a major operation in Basra against Shiite militias, including the Mahdi Army, whose months-long cease-fire is credited with reducing the level of violence during the troop surge. There were also serious clashes in the southern cities of Kut and Hilla.
... Mr. Rikabi and other Iraqi officials said they did not know whether or how the unrest in Baghdad was related to the crackdown in Basra. Moktada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who commands the Mahdi Army and initially called for a suspension of his militia’s activities in August, called on Monday called for a nationwide civil disobedience campaign, beginning in Baghdad, in response to what his followers say is an unwarranted crackdown.
President Bush overstepped his authority when he ordered a Texas court to reopen the case of a Mexican on death row for rape and murder, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.
In a case that mixes presidential power, international relations and the death penalty, the court sided with Texas and rebuked Bush by a 6-3 vote.
The president was in the unusual position of siding with death row prisoner Jose Ernesto Medellin, a Mexican citizen whom police prevented from consulting with Mexican diplomats, as provided by international treaty.
An international court ruled in 2004 that the convictions of Medellin and 50 other Mexicans on death row around the United States violated the 1963 Vienna Convention, which provides that people arrested abroad should have access to their home country's consular officials. The International Court of Justice, also known as the world court, said the Mexican prisoners should have new court hearings to determine whether the violation affected their cases.
If you don't have something good to say ...
It ain't gonna happen
As to what happens if it comes to pass... I think most of us little guys would hold our noses at the stench of a third person who hadn't run being brought in over the heads of the two candidates who have spent over a year campaigning for this. I like Gore as much as the next guy, but not under these circumstances. It stinks.
So, my prognostication... it ain't gonna happen.
Can a Liberal be a Unifier?
And, of course, then there's McCain. The press is always dumping on him, aren't they? Dumping heaps of praise, that is.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Democrats, do the visual on McCain’s ignorance
That picture of Lieberman whispering factual information to correct another McCain blunder should dog McCain for the rest of the year. The importance of visuals or other was to capture a specific message in a dramatic way is understood by the Republicans. The party of big business is, inevitably, the party of the most prominent advertising agencies, and they know how to do stuff like this. It's their stock-in-trade. When will Democrats learn how to think this way?
Haste makes waste
JPMorgan and Bear were prompted to renegotiate after shareholders began threatening to block the deal and it emerged that several “mistakes” were included in the original, hastily written contract, according to people involved in the talks.
One sentence was “inadvertently included,” according to a person briefed on the talks, which requires JPMorgan to guarantee Bear’s trades even if shareholders voted down the deal. That provision could allow Bear’s shareholders to seek a higher bid while still forcing JPMorgan to honor its guarantee, these people said.
When the error was discovered, James Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, who was described by one participant as “apoplectic,” began calling his lawyers at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to seek a way to have the sentence modified, these people said. Finger pointing over the mistakes in the contracts began as bankers blamed the lawyers and vice versa.
It's hard to believe anyone would sign onto such a deal -- accepting the liabilities without getting the assets to support them. It's hard to imagine how such language ever got into the drafts of the deal. Was this the Fed at work? Apparently the Fed is trying to block the price increase in order to preserve the appearance that they didn't bail out the shareholders. But, it is rather troubling that the Fed seems to think it can intervene in this way to punish the shareholders (many of whom had nothing to do with the company's failure) by robbing them of assets that might rightfully be theirs in a bankruptcy proceeding. We're treading into very murky water in this, and everyone should be uncomfortable.
Update: Mrs. Walldon just made an interesting observation after hearing this tale of PJMorgan. Maybe we could put our house on the market, get JPMorgan to assume responsibility for our mortgage, skip out of the deal to sell them the house while leaving them with the mortgage liability. And, with any luck, maybe we could also get them to guarantee the mortgage loan for our new house as well!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Clinton endorsing McCain, again
Clinton said today in, that it would be great if the general election were between his wife, of , and of . The vote would involve ``two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country,'' said.
``People could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics,'' he said.
Intended or not, this leaves the nasty inference that Obama doesn't love his country and is not devoted to its interests. Frankly, I think it was intentional, and I'm getting pretty disgusted with these Clinton tactics. It appears she's willing to let the whole Democratic challenge go up in flames if she can't get the nomination. Yglesias thinks it may be because if Obama loses to McCain, the Clintons will still be running the Party.
Friday, March 21, 2008
And, what about Hillary and McCain? Who knows?
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Who lost the wisdom of the ages?
There really is no more toxic combination than the ability to urge war and simultaneously be shielded from all costs and consequences. Adam Smith put it perfectly in his 1776 An Inquiry into the Nature And Causes of the Wealth of Nations:In great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them, scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies. To them this amusement compensates the small difference between the taxes which they pay on account of the war, and those which they had been accustomed to pay in time of peace. They are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory from a longer continuance of the war.
Or, put another way, we must not withdraw from Iraq ever, sayeth the Washington establishment.
Vincent Foster, back in the news
War with Iran?
Earlier discussions of air attacks on Iran seemed to suggest that March and April were the optimal months for such attacks (I've forgotten why if I ever knew), so we may not have long to wait.
Question: How would this affect the presidential race? I suspect Bush & Co. would think it would help McCain, but who knows? I suspect it would be very, very unpopular with a very, very large segment of the population. But, once at war, Americans tend to rally round the flag.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The bottom line: Roveism at work
“I didn’t say that, and I don’t agree with what he said. It is my church, and I don’t pick out a church like a supermarket. If you want to know what I believe, listen to me, not someone else. That’s all there is to say. Accept it or don’t.”
Indeed, that's all there is to say. Accept it or don't. How far down is the barrel being scraped when you have to attack someone based on something someone else said. It's classic Karl Rove, though: Kerry's strength with independents -- he was a war hero. Swiftboat him. Gore, an Eagle Scout of a public servant with impeccable honesty. Make him a serial fibber. Obama's strength: he transcends racial barriers. Make him a Black Panther (and an Israel-hating black for a two-fer).
Of course, the mainstream media either falls for it or deliberately channels it, either from shared ideology or fear of right-wing attacks. The Democrat is put on the hot seat, McCain's active embrace of someone who uses hate-filled rhetoric is given a complete pass. Start making the attacks from our side. Get to management, board members, the advertisers. Demand journalism instead of pro-Republican propaganda.
Demand, too, that the candidates and all other prominent Democrats bring Roveism like this into the national consciousness. This is how our elections are being decided. How long are we going to acquiesce in letting this happen? Jesus got angry at the money changers. These guys are even worse, not just avaricious but deliberately evil.
Good news for the Thuglicans
The (Zogby) poll showed Arizona Sen. McCain, who has clinched the Republican presidential nomination, is benefiting from the lengthy campaign battle between Obama and Clinton, who are now battling to win Pennsylvania on April 22.
McCain leads 46 percent to 40 percent in a hypothetical matchup against Obama in the November presidential election, according to the poll.
That is a sharp turnaround from the Reuters/Zogby poll from last month, which showed in a head-to-head matchup that Obama would beat McCain 47 percent to 40 percent.
... Matched up against Clinton, McCain leads 48 percent to 40 percent, narrower than his 50 to 38 percent advantage over her in February.
I continue to believe that it is hard to underestimate the intelligence of the American people.
The president speaks for the people of Israel
The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel. It is not up to us to pick and choose from among the political parties.
I'm so glad that we will have a president who speaks for all the people of Israel. Of course, one wonders who speaks for the people of the United States.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone
New York's newly minted governor says he had affairs with several women, including a state employee.
The admission comes a day after Gov. David Paterson was inaugurated and disclosed at least one extramarital affair to reporters.
Somehow, I doubt we'll have to wait long.
Another C student
It's pile-on time
Now see the facts reported in the article:
Less than one-third of the 191 black members of the boards of the largest 250 U.S. companies have contributed to the Illinois senator's campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records. . . .
Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, who is backing Obama, said the relative lack of support reflects a systemic problem: black corporate leaders haven't yet developed the habit of opening their wallets for candidates. . . .
Many others, though, are sitting out the race. Of the corporate board members on the list, 62 contributed to Obama and 30 to his rival, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York.
Right to Arm Bears
A more perfect union
In any event, I found the speech uplifting -- I just hope it wasn't an uplifting swan song.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Paul Krugman thinks we're close. As he points out:
As of 10:38 this morning, the one-month Treasury rate was 0.57; the three-month rate was 0.825.
Is it a done deal?
If that's the case, the shareholders might well vote against the merger and kill the deal. Where does that leave things? Frankly, I don't know. There aren't many drawing boards left to go back to.
If you look back on those five years it has been a difficult, challenging but nonetheless successful endeavor ... and it has been well worth the effort," Cheney told a news conference in Baghdad after meeting Iraqi leaders.
Said Mrs. Walldon, "He's talking about the bottom line at Halliburton, KBR, and Cheney & Co,"
Will they condescend to use English when they ask where the train station is?
So will the middle and lower middle class Europeans who can see America for next to nothing deign to make an effort at least to say "Hello," "Have a nice day!!!" and "Do you speak (fill in the blank)?" in our language? Or will they stand there and start shouting louder in Catalan or Finnish when we don’t get what they’re asking? OK, so turnabout certainly would be fair play, but at least a few of us tried back in the day. And they actually know it anyway. We were a great power once, and we are very proud of our language. Making the effort is something I, for one, would appreciate. You know, like answer with a smile and stuff.
Was it George Bush the Elder who talked about the “New World Order”? He was right, but I doubt if this is what he imagined, or who would be the most instrumental in making it happen.
Third rate economy
The global crisis spreads
The Bank of England's emergency offer of 5 billion pounds of 3-day loans was nearly five times oversubscribed on Monday as financial institutions scrambled for cash in the face of a global credit crunch.
The central bank's "exceptional" offer was a direct result of much tighter money market conditions and was aimed at bringing overnight interest rates down after a spike higher in the wake of the firesale of U.S. investment bank Bear Stearns.
"It was very heavily bid which is not surprising given the overnight bank rate," said Russell Silberston at Investec Asset Management.
"It underlines how determined central banks are to keep some sort of order in the short-dated cash markets."
Overnight sterling lending rates in the interbank market shot above 5.5 percent early on Monday, considerably higher than the Bank's base rate of 5.25 percent.
I've got that sinking feeling
Somehow, this is beginning to make Jared Diamond's book Collapse look more and more prescient. There, he attributes one of the factors that brings on societal collapse is interdependencies between and among cultures that fail. The early settlers on Pitcairn Island, for instance, were dependent on trade with nearby islands. When those trade links were broken, the Pitcairners died out through starvation.
If you think of how the world economy is almost totally dependent on the world financial system, the collapse of that system has the potential to wipe out much of the world economy, and perhaps civilization (whatever that is) with it.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The foundations are crumbling
Department heads at Bear Stearns met with officials at J.C. Flowers and JPMorgan Chase Saturday afternoon to give an overview of their business divisions, including headcount and profit and loss positions, CNBC has learned.
The discussions indicate that potential bidders for Bear have been narrowed to those two firms, although other last minute contenders could still weigh in, according to one source aware of the talks.
While Bear would certainly like more bidders, time has become a major issue for the investment bank.
On Friday Bear Stearns, the fifth largest U.S. investment bank, said a cash crunch forced it to turn to the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan for emergency funds, intensifying fears of a widening global credit crisis and driving its shares down as much as 50 percent. It also stepped up efforts to find a buyer.
On the same day S&P lowered its long-term counterparty credit rating on Bear to "BBB" from "A," and it placed long-and short term ratings on credit watch with negative implications.
Because of that S&P downgrade, bankers have now come to the conclusion that a deal must be done by Monday morning because no one on the street will trade or lend to Bear Stearns, which is rated a notch above junk bond levels. If the downgrade hadn't happened, Bear management would have had more time to work the Street for a deal, sources said.
Look out below!
Chicago Trib exonerates Obama
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama waited 16 months to attempt the exorcism. But when he finally sat down with the Tribune editorial board Friday, Obama offered a lengthy and, to us, plausible explanation for the presence of now-indicted businessman Tony Rezko in his personal and political lives.
The most remarkable facet of Obama's 92-minute discussion was that, at the outset, he pledged to answer every question the three dozen Tribune journalists crammed into the room would put to him. And he did.
Along the way he confronted the starkest innuendo that has dogged him and his campaign for the presidency: the suggestion that the purchase of an adjacent lot by Rezko's wife subtly subsidized the Obamas' purchase of their home on Chicago's South Side. "This notion that somehow I got a discount and Rezko overpaid is simply not true ... simply, factually, incorrect," Obama said Friday, adding that he didn't need any intervention from Rezko to grease the purchase of the house.
As final results from the Texas Democratic caucus remain unknown, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign wants signatures from the March 4 contest verified before party conventions are held around the state later this month.
In a letter sent to the state Democratic Party late Friday, the Clinton campaign requests the March 29 count and state Senate district conventions be postponed until the eligibility of an estimated 1 million caucus-goers are double checked.
The Clinton campaign wrote they received more than 2,000 complaints of violations following the historic Texas turnout, which was perhaps the nation's largest caucus ever.
The automa ... delegates
I can still remember, as a child, the other children on the playground boasting that the US was the greatest country in the world, and the pride we all took from that. Predictably, George H. W. Bush's cokehead son has managed to reduce the US to the second largest economy after the eurozone. Bush was second best all his life, and has managed to make America second best.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Fiddle while Rome burns
WASHINGTON - on Saturday said the government must guard against going too far in trying to fix the troubled economy, cautioning that "one of the worst things you can do is overcorrect." Democrats said Bush was relying on inaction to solve the problem.
Actually, one of the worst things you can do is fiddle while Rome burns.
By the way, Beware the Ides of March!
Bailing out the big boys
The banking system that is tumbling was designed and built together with the GOP. They can sit silent but they own this. McCain and his friends own this. This is what they wanted and there is no reason why US taxpayers ought to keep funding their mistakes. Shouldn't we treat Wall Street the way Wall Street and the GOP treat America's poor? Let them pick themselves up with their own bootstraps. Let them dig themselves out of the hole they dug form themselves. We can't afford a war plus a tanking economy plus a bailout for Wall Street. If that means the market will decided (as they always prefer) then so be it. Don't come crying and asking for cash now that the system they wanted is failing. Tough luck.
While I sympathize with his distaste for bailing out the banking system, I also think we have no choice but to bail it out. It's too important to all of us to let it collapse. As I've mentioned before, if the system crashes, we would have no way to get money or to pay for anything. The whole economy would come crashing down on us. Banks would be closed, ATMs wouldn't work, credit cards would be worthless, stocks and bonds would be worthless. Try to imagine living in a barter economy. With nobody to buy their goods, companies would shut their doors and send their employees home without pay. It's a nightmare scenario, and we're very close to falling into it. So, let's hope and pray that the Fed is able to prevent a domino effect of bank closings.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Illegal stuff just fine in Bush's world
WASHINGTON - Almost 32 years to the day after President Ford created an independent Intelligence Oversight Board made up of private citizens with top-level clearances to ferret out illegal spying activities, President Bush issued an executive order that stripped the board of much of its authority.The White House did not say why it was necessary to change the rules governing the board when it issued Bush's order late last month. But critics say Bush's order is consistent with a pattern of steps by the administration that have systematically scaled back Watergate-era intelligence reforms.
Before Bush's change, the Board was required to refer apparently illegal activities to the Justice Department for prosecution. Now, they are not allowed to make such referrals. Of course, this may not make much practical difference, since Bush has ordered the Justice Department not to prosecute anything (except Democrats) anyway.
The bank failures begin
WASHINGTON - The invoked a rarely used Depression-era procedure Friday to bolster troubled . and said it will provide even more help to combat a serious credit crisis.
In a move that reminds one of the robber baron days, J.P. Morgan was part of the bailout plan for Bear Stearns. This plan works for only a month, so one wonders what happens when the month comes to an end.
Erasing the last eight years
The Environmental Protection Agency weakened one part of its new limits on smog-forming ozone after an unusual last-minute intervention by President Bush, according to documents released by the EPA.
On reading this, Mrs. Walldon said that the first thing the new (hopefully) Democratic President should do upon taking office is to reverse by executive decree every policy that was put in place by Bush during the preceding eight years. None of this one at a time, pick and chose crap. Just reverse it all, instantly and move forward from there.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
On the economic front
The U.S. has finally slid into recession, according to the majority of economists in the latest Wall Street Journal economic-forecasting survey, a view that was reinforced by new data showing a sharp drop in retail sales last month.
"The evidence is now beyond a reasonable doubt," said Scott Anderson of Wells Fargo & Co., who was among the 71% of 51 respondents to say that the economy is now in a recession.
Though the campaign later argued that he hadn't said it, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief campaign strategist [Mark Penn] told reporters this morning that Sen. Barack Obama "can't win the general election."
… Later, a reporter asks what he meant. Clinton campaign communications chief Howard Wolfson jumps in to say that "Mark did not say that."
Then Penn says that if Obama doesn't win the Pennsylvania primary, it "raises serious questions" about whether he can win the general election.
Cooking the books
A U.S. military commander altered a report on a firefight in Afghanistan to cast blame for the death of a Delta Force commando on a Canadian youth who was captured after the shooting stopped, a defense attorney said Thursday.
The attorney, Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, made the allegation at a pretrial hearing as he argued for access to the officer, identified only as "Col. W," as well as details about interrogations that he said might help clear his client of war-crimes charges.
The U.S. military has charged Omar Khadr with murder for throwing a grenade that killed Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer during a U.S. military raid on July 27, 2002, on an al-Qaida compound in eastern Afghanistan. Khadr's case is on track to be the first to go to trial under a military tribunal system at this U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.
Just keep on cheating us, we love to be cheated
The White House has indicated it will not remove a loophole quietly inserted into a budget rule which allows contractors abroad to keep silent if they observe fraud or abuse on US government contracts.Somehow, I picture a long hose running from the cheating contractors' directly into Dick Cheney's pocket. Of course, there's a large laundry somewhere along the way, but all the hoses come in from the Haliburton, KBR, Blackwater types and there's only one hose coming out of the laundry, direct to Cheney's pocket.
The proposed rule, put forth by the White House Office of Management and Budget last year, exempts all companies who do work overseas from a new regulation requiring US contractors to report waste, fraud or abuse they encounter while doing work for the government.
Obama's former pastor
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
That sinking feeling
A brief comment on the economy
This probably won't happen, but I think this is far more on the minds of the Fed than preventing a recession. Recession would be an minor problem compared to this scenario.
Just a personal note: I haven't decided to cash out all my stock and bond holdings and my bank accounts, buy gold, and store it under the mattress yet, but I have thought about it.
Leadership is needed
I painted the picture ... : the Constitution thrown into the gutter; the Assembly driven to prison with the butt-end of a musket, the Council of State dispersed; the High Court expelled by a galley-sergeant, a manifest beginning of victory for Louis Bonaparte, Paris ensnared in the army as though in a net; bewilderment everywhere, all authority overthrown; all compacts annulled; two things only remained standing, the _coup d'etat_ and ourselves.
"Ourselves! and who are we?"
"We are," said I, "we are Truth and Justice! We are the supreme and sovereign power, the People incarnate--Right!"
"Louis Bonaparte at every minute which elapses advances a step further in his crime. For him nothing is inviolable, nothing is sacred; this morning he violated the Palace of the Representatives of the Nation, a few hours later he laid violent hands on their persons; to-morrow, perhaps in a few moments, he will shed their blood. Well then! he marches upon us, let us march upon him. The danger grows greater, let us grow greater with the danger."
A movement of assent passed through the Assembly. I continued,--
"I repeat and insist. Let us show no mercy to this wretched Bonaparte for any of the enormities which his outrage contains. As he has drawn the wine--I should say the blood--he must drink it up. We are not individuals, we are the Nation. Each of us walks forth clothed with the Sovereignty of the people. He cannot strike our persons without rending that. Let us compel his volleys to pierce our sashes as well as our breasts. This man is on a road where logic grasps him and leads him to parricide. What he is killing in this moment is the country! Well, then! when the ball of Executive Power pierces the sash of Legislative Power, it is visible parricide! It is this that must be understood!"
"We are quite ready!" they cried out. "What measures would you advise us to
"No half measures," answered I; "a deed of grandeur! To-morrow--if we leave here this night--let us all meet in the Faubourg St. Antoine."
They interposed, "Why the Faubourg St. Antoine?"
"Yes," resumed I, "the Faubourg St. Antoine! I cannot believe that the heart of the People has ceased to beat there. Let us all meet to-morrow in the Faubourg St. Antoine. Opposite the Lenoir Market there is a hall which was used by a club in 1848."
They cried out to me, "The Salle Roysin."
"That is it," said I, "The Salle Roysin. We who remain free number a hundred and twenty Republican Representatives. Let us install ourselves in this hall. Let us install ourselves in the fulness and majesty of the Legislative Power. Henceforward we are the Assembly, the whole of the Assembly! Let us sit there, deliberate there, in our official sashes, in the midst of the People. Let us summon the Faubourg St. Antoine to its duty, let us shelter there the National Representation, let us shelter there the popular sovereignty. Let us intrust the People to the keeping of the People. Let us adjure them to protect themselves. If necessary, let us order them!"
... in the midst of the dauntless throng of workmen of that great district of Paris, enclosed in the Faubourg as in a fortress, being both Legislators and Generals, multiplying and inventing means of defence and of attack, launching Proclamations and unearthing the pavements, employing the women in writing out placards while the men are fighting, we will issue a warrant against Louis Bonaparte, we will issue warrants against his accomplices, we will declare the military chiefs traitors, we will outlaw in a body all the crime and all the criminals, we will summon the
citizens to arms, we will recall the army to duty, we will rise up before Louis Bonaparte, terrible as the living Republic, we will fight on the one hand with the power of the Law, and on the other with the power of the People, we will overwhelm this miserable rebel, and will rise up above his head both as a great Lawful Power and a great Revolutionary Power!"
While speaking I became intoxicated with my own ideas. My enthusiasm communicated itself to the meeting. They cheered me. I saw that I was becoming somewhat too hopeful, that I allowed myself to be carried away, and that I carried them away, that I presented to them success as possible, as even easy, at a moment when it was important that no one should entertain an illusion. The truth was gloomy, and it was my duty to tell it. I let silence be re-established, and I signed with my hand that I had a last word to say. I then resumed, lowering my voice,--
"Listen, calculate carefully what you are doing. On one side a hundred thousand men, seventeen harnessed batteries, six thousand cannon-mouths in the forts, magazines, arsenals, ammunition sufficient to carry out a Russian campaign; on the other a hundred and twenty Representatives, a thousand or twelve hundred patriots, six hundred muskets, two cartridges per man, not a drum to beat to arms, not a bell to sound the tocsin, not a printing office to print a Proclamation; barely here and there a lithographic press, and a cellar where a hand-bill can be hurriedly and furtively printed with the brush; the penalty of death against any one who unearths a paving stone, penalty of death against any one who would enlist in our ranks, penalty of death against any one who is found in a secret meeting, penalty of death against any one who shall post up an appeal to arms; if you are taken during the combat, death; if you are taken after the combat, transportation or exile; on the one side an army and a Crime; on the other a handful of men and Right. Such is this struggle. Do you accept it?"
A unanimous shout answered me, "Yes! yes!"
[From THE HISTORY OF A CRIME:THE TESTIMONY OF AN EYE-WITNESS By VICTOR HUGO, Translated by T.H. JOYCE and ARTHUR LOCKER]
Would that our own representatives would show similar fortitude in the face of similar threats. Of course, it didn't do them any good. Louis became emperor of France and remained so for many years.
They should be thanking us for letting them sit at the back of the bus
"The spin on the words has been that somehow I was addressing the his qualifications. I was not," Ferraro said Wednesday on ABC's Good Morning America. "I was celebrating the fact that the black community in this country came out with a pride in a historic candidacy, and has shown itself at the polls. You'd think he'd say, 'Yeah thank you for doing that. ... we want to say thank you to the community.' Instead I'm charged with being a racist."
She just gets worse and worse, and I'm certain this is all being orchestrated at Hillary Central. We all know that Pennsylvania is likely to buy this "he's the candidate of the black community" crap hook, line, and sinker.
Don't mess with U.S.
A city police chief who led an investigation into charges that Britain cooperated with secret CIA flights to transport terrorism suspects without formal proceedings has been found dead, his deputy said Tuesday.
Manchester Chief Constable Michael Todd, 50, was found dead in Snowdonia, about 240 miles northwest of London, Deputy Chief Constable Dave Whatton said. He had been missing since going out for a walk Monday during his day off.
Whatton said the body, which was found Tuesday afternoon, had not yet been formally identified but he believed it was Todd.
Move right along. Nothing to see here.
Feeling my age
“I had a conversation just last week with two college students who wanted to know what the ‘cc:’ in their email program stood for. I explained that it stood for ‘carbon copy,’ and then had to explain what carbons were and how you used them in a typewriter. I had just started describing the smell of freshly mimeographed, still-damp handouts in grade school when I decide to shut up. Some things just don’t translate well to the 21st Century.”
Of course, when Republicans like David Vitter do the same thing, nobody cares. They have a "get out of jail free" card.
Give a favor to my friend or we'll have the government screw you
After Philadelphia's housing director refused a demand by President Bush's housing secretary to transfer a piece of city property to a business friend, two top political appointees at the department exchanged e-mails discussing the pain they could cause the Philadelphia director.
"Would you like me to make his life less happy? If so, how?" Orlando J. Cabrera, then-assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, wrote about Philadelphia housing director Carl R. Greene.
"Take away all of his Federal dollars?" responded Kim Kendrick, an assistant secretary who oversaw accessible housing. She typed symbols for a smiley-face, ":-D," at the end of her January 2007 note.
Cabrera wrote back a few minutes later: "Let me look into that possibility."
The e-mails, obtained by The Washington Post, came to light as a result of a lawsuit provoked by HUD's decision last September to strip the Philadelphia Housing Authority of as much as $50 million in federal funds. In December, it declared the agency in violation of rules that underpin its ability to decide precisely how it will spend federal housing funds. Kendrick was the official who formally notified the authority that she had found it in violation.
HUD has argued publicly that this decision was not related to the demands by HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson that Greene turn over a $2 million vacant city lot to Kenny Gamble, a friend of Jackson's. HUD officials have said that Greene was not punished for his defiance.
No, of course they weren't related. Nor was the fact that we prosecuted Governor Siegleman for nothing and got him thrown in jail related in any way to the fact that he was a Democrat. Nor were any of the US Attorney firings related in any way to the fact that they wouldn't harass Democrats or fail to harass Republicans on command.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The Theory of Interstellar Trade
The Commander-in-chief Test
When your entire campaign is based upon a claim of experience, it is important that you have evidence to support that claim. Hillary Clinton’s argument that she has passed “the Commander- in-Chief test” is simply not supported by her record.
"There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton played an important domestic policy role when she was first lady," Craig continues. "It is well known, for example, that she led the failed effort to pass universal health insurance. There is no reason to believe, however, that she was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton Administration. She did not sit in on National Security Council meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the Situation Room. She did not manage any part of the national security bureaucracy, nor did she have her own national security staff. She did not do any heavy-lifting with foreign governments, whether they were friendly or not. She never managed a foreign policy crisis, and there is no evidence to suggest that she participated in the decision-making that occurred in connection with any such crisis. As far as the record shows, Senator Clinton never answered the phone either to make a decision on any pressing national security issue -- not at 3 AM or at any other time of day."
Only loyal Bushies, please
Admiral William Fallon is out as CENTCOM commander.
Fallon has resigned, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in a press conference at the Pentagon.
We obviously have to clean the house of all the military who haven't sworn their fealty to Bush in order to clear the way for a clean coup d'etat after the Democrats win in November.
Update: Of course, there will be a war with Iran in the meantime.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Something in the air
People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones
NEW YORK - Gov. Eliot Spitzer apologized to his family and the public on Monday, but did not not elaborate on a bombshell report that he has been involved in a prostitution ring.
"I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family ... my sense of right and wrong," he said at a news conference at his Manhattan office. "I must now dedicate some time to rededicate my trust to my family."
Spitzer's wife stood at his side, her hands behind her back and her eyes cast downward, as he made the statement.
The New York Times reported that a person with knowledge of the governor's role believes the governor is identified as a client in court papers. Four people allegedly connected to a high-end prostitution ring called Emperors Club VIP were arrested last week.
The rumor mill says he's going to resign, which sounds plausible.
You really wonder why a person would seek out the limelight when he has skeletons like this in his closet.
Jay Rock stinks
Don't look now, but they're still spying on you
"The central role the NSA has come to occupy in domestic intelligence gathering has never been publicly disclosed," The Wall Street Journal reports on Monday page ones. "But an inquiry reveals that its efforts have evolved to reach more broadly into data about people's communications, travel and finances in the U.S. than the domestic surveillance programs brought to light since the 2001 terrorist attacks."
Blogging from jail
Am I sufficiently prejudiced against every group in the world to keep me off of every jury? Hopefully.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
A US missile strike in Somalia, aimed at a man described by the Pentagon as a "known al-Qa'ida terrorist", succeeded only in hurting six civilians and killing three cows and a calf, the IoS has learned.
I wonder how much those missiles cost us taxpayers.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Negative interest rates
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis tells us that real interest rates have turned negative.
Things are really getting screwed up.
Friday, March 07, 2008
The Midas Touch
After failing to anticipate Hamas’s victory over Fatah in the 2006 Palestinian election, the White House cooked up yet another scandalously covert and self-defeating Middle East debacle: part Iran-contra, part Bay of Pigs. With confidential documents, corroborated by outraged former and current U.S. officials, David Rose reveals how President Bush, Condoleezza Rice, and Deputy National-Security Adviser Elliott Abrams backed an armed force under Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan, touching off a bloody civil war in Gaza and leaving Hamas stronger than ever.
Speak with forked tongue
For all the chatter about Obama adviser Samantha Power's calling Clinton a "monster," another set of remarks made on her book tour in the United Kingdom may be equally threatening to the Obama campaign: Comments in a BBC interview that express a lack of confidence that Obama will be able to carry through his plan to withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months.
"He will, of course, not rely on some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator," she said at one point in the interview.
Power downplayed Obama's commitment to quick withdrawal from Iraq on Hard Talk, a program that often exceeds any of the U.S. talk shows in the rigor of its grillings. She was challenged on Obama's Iraq plan, as it appears on his website, which says that Obama "will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months."
"What he’s actually said, after meting with the generals and meeting with intelligence professionals, is that you – at best case scenario – will be able to withdraw one to two combat brigades each month. That’s what they’re telling him. He will revisit it when he becomes president," Power says.
Look out below, VI or good news, bad news
... the unemployment improved to 4.8% from the 4.9% reading in January.
Here's the bad news:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Employers made their deepest cut in staffing in in almost five years in February, according to a closely watched government report Friday that showed the labor market far weaker than expected, fueling already building recession fears.
There was a net loss of 63,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department, which is the biggest decline since March 2003 and weaker than the revised 22,000 job loss reported for January. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a gain of 25,000 jobs in the most recent reading.
Economists had been forecasting job growth of 25,000 jobs and a rise in the unemployment rate to 5.0%.
The world is very, very strange in the Bush Universe. In that universe, unemployment drops when people lose their jobs and rises when they get their jobs back. Of course, the US doesn't use torture either.
Chelsea for President in 2016
Of course, by that time, there will be plenty of Bushlets available too.
As Louis Armstrong said, "Oh, what a wonderful world."
Clinton endorses McCain
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
And this doesn't even tap the recent stuff The Daily Howler has done on these appointees hand picked for NBC by right-wing Republican Robert Welch.
It's going to be a tough row to hoe.
I don't get it
Yes, I understand there was this recent flap about Obama and the Canadians, but it seems to me that the Canadians have said there was nothing to that. Of course, the US press doesn't seem to want to hear that -- they want the Hillary-Obama fight to continue. It's gets attention. But, was that big enough and did enough people hear about it to really make the difference? I just don't get it.
Read and weep
Ah yes, I guess I also have to admit that something happened last night. My biggest question is why Ohio is so strange. And even now, they run out of ballots. I was born and raised there, but I don't get it.