Monthly Archives: November 2008

Now, who’d expect a fellow like this to engage in spin?

Claim on ‘Myth’ of Obama’s Small Donor Base Challenged
By Greg Mitchell

NEW YORK (Commentary) The Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) study asserting that Barack Obama actually raised most of his campaign money from “larger” not “small” donors has gained wide, often approving, coverage in recent days, from, among others, USA Today, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and countless other web sites. Almost inevitably such accounts have held a headline referring to the “myth” of Obama riding a wave of small donations to victory. The study’s author himself uses it.

But the “myth” is actually in the spinning of the report, including by its author, Michael Malbin, a former speechwriter for Dick Cheney, when he was Pentagon chief, and a resident fellow at The American Enterprise Institute from 1977 to 1986.  continue reading here


Quote of the day

“I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process”  George W. Bush

Which political process are you speaking of, Mr. President? 

Skipping gracefully past any mention of that double insistence that he actually falls under the category of “person” we could make a bit more sense of this quote by translating it;

“The convincing evidence that I am really a good man and leader who operated on principle and not political considerations is that so many citizens of my own country and of the rest of the world now regret that I ever appeared on the world’s stage.”

Conservatism’s future…determined by its (real) past

The following analysis by Neal Gabler is very bright indeed.  Pieces like this are far too rare in the modern daily papers.  This is a must read. 

Ever since the election, partisans within the Republican Party and observers outside it have been speculating wildly about what direction the GOP will take to revive itself from its disaster. Or, more specifically, which wing of the party will prevail in setting the new Republican course — whether it will be what conservative writer Kathleen Parker has called the “evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy” branch or the more pragmatic, intellectual, centrist branch. To determine the answer, it helps to understand exactly how Republicans arrived at this spot in the first place.

The creation myth of modern conservatism usually begins with Barry Goldwater, the Arizona senator who was the party’s presidential standard-bearer in 1964 and who, even though he lost in one of the biggest landslides in American electoral history, nevertheless wrested the party from its Eastern establishment wing. Then, Richard Nixon co-opted conservatism, talking like a conservative while governing like a moderate, and drawing the opprobrium of true believers. But Ronald Reagan embraced it wholeheartedly, becoming the patron saint of conservatism and making it the dominant ideology in the country. George W. Bush picked up Reagan’s fallen standard and “conservatized” government even more thoroughly than Reagan had, cheering conservatives until his presidency came crashing down around him. That’s how the story goes.

But there is another rendition of the story of modern conservatism… In this tale, the real father of modern Republicanism is Sen. Joe McCarthy…

The basic problem with the Goldwater tale is that it focuses on ideology and movement building, which few voters have ever really cared about, while the McCarthy tale focuses on electoral strategy, which is where Republicans have excelled…McCarthy was another thing entirely. What he lacked in ideology — and he was no ideologue at all — he made up for in aggression…Henceforth, conservatism would be as much about electoral slash-and-burn as it would be about a policy agenda…

As historian Richard Hofstadter described it in his famous essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” McCarthyism is a way to build support by playing on the anxieties of Americans, actively convincing them of danger and conspiracy even where these don’t exist

continue reading here,0,1009632.story

Bobby Jindal…conservative movement biggies turning to him?

This piece in the Washington Post describes what may look like a shift from Palin as new favorite over to Jindal.  Strategically, this makes sense as he seems infinitely better as a candidate against Obama than Palin now looks after her many disasters and in light of her clear lack of brain power and knowledge.  Further, as some of the movement biggies note, he’s young and a man of color and the Republicans cannot win if they continue to put up candidates who disadvantage them electorally with the young and with non-whites.

Talking him up now are Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and even Tony Perkins.  There’s more than a bit of irony in this as Jindal is a Rhodes Scholar (pointy head, intellectual elite) and was a Hindu until college when he became Catholic.  All of which demonstrates how these movement organizers are concerned only with access to power.  Each have personally become very wealthy mouthing populist everyman rhetoric and despising government/Washington while making their fortunes as effective parasites on the system they deride.  They are a pretty disgusting lot.

But if this shift from Palin to Jindal continues to look like their best bet electorally, then somehow Palin is going to have to be given the boot.  They will be working against their own previous propaganda to bring this about which will be somewhat problematic.  They’ll have to convince a large sector of their audience (the ‘base’) to switch the allegiance away from that Palin-creature they created..  And her ambition looks likely to keep her up front unless some ‘revelation’ which would dissafect her with that base comes to light.  Of course, these boys, in their righteousness, can pull revelation from pretty thin air.

Business and the Pentagon…revolving door (with some help from CNBC)

Access like this does not come cheap, but it was an opportunity potentially worth billions in sales, and Defense Solutions soon found its man. The company signed Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and military analyst for NBC News, to a consulting contract starting June 15, 2007.

Four days later the general swung into action. He sent a personal note and 15-page briefing packet to David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, strongly recommending Defense Solutions and its offer to supply Iraq with 5,000 armored vehicles from Eastern Europe. “No other proposal is quicker, less costly, or more certain to succeed,” he said.

Thus, within days of hiring General McCaffrey, the Defense Solutions sales pitch was in the hands of the American commander with the greatest influence over Iraq’s expanding military.

In the spring of 2007 a tiny military contractor with a slender track record went shopping for a precious Beltway commodity.

The company, Defense Solutions, sought the services of a retired general with national stature, someone who could open doors at the highest levels of government and help it win a huge prize: the right to supply Iraq with thousands of armored vehicles.

“That’s what I pay him for,” Timothy D. Ringgold, chief executive of Defense Solutions, said in an interview.

General McCaffrey did not mention his new contract with Defense Solutions in his letter to General Petraeus. Nor did he disclose it when he went on CNBC that same week and praised the commander Defense Solutions was now counting on for help — “He’s got the heart of a lion” — or when he told Congress the next month that it should immediately supply Iraq with large numbers of armored vehicles and other equipment. 

continue reading here

We already know, from reporting on many of the ex-military who were brought into the nightly news shows and 24 hour cable news networks before and during the Iraq war, that they were commonly used as propaganda agents run out of Rumsfeld’s department.  In some of those cases, these men also had personal business ties to defense industries that stood to gain from the war.  McCaffrey’s is just one more example on top of those previous ones. 

The major networks have utterly refused to cover or, in most cases, even mention their role in facilitating this propaganda effort.


The group that persuaded California voters this month to pass Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage, now is fighting its friends as well as its foes.


h/t george

Melting houses…chocolate subways…lizards at the bar…all vaguely familiar




Located in Sopot, Poland. Inspired by various fairytale drawings and built by Polish architects Szotyńscy Zaleski, this strange-looking building actually houses a multitude of bars, cafes, and shops.

h/t to friend george