Wednesday, December 17, 2014

National Review Fail of the Week: Addendum

Mojitos via CopyKat.
National Review was in a hurry this afternoon to get out of the gate with an early condemnation of the diplomatic recognition of Cuba:
The State Department has listed Cuba as a sponsor of terrorism since 1982:

National Review Fail of the Week

Chilly Willy, via Rufio Jones.
Oh hai, Charles C.W. (Chilly Willy) Cooke:
Why Gun-Control Advocates Lie about Guns 
The facts aren’t on their side. 
Oh, well, that would be a reason. Which facts are those? It's that desperately mendacious Mike Lupica writing in the Daily News over an unsettling Pew poll:
Over the course of 900 words, Lupica lambasted the public for continuing “to protect gun nuts,” chided the “mouth-breathing” NRA for its murderous myopia, and contended emotively that “there are no words” available to describe the horror of “a recent poll that says a majority of Americans believe it is more important to protect the right to own guns than it is for the government to limit access to guns.”
Are you seriously denying that the NRA is composed of mouth breathers, Charles? No,

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

For whom the Brooks trolls

Via Bette's Classic Movie Blog.
Couldn't figure out what Brooksy is up to today with seven paragraphs of book report on his Kindle searching of Elizabeth Warren's A Fighting Chance.

He didn't want to actually read the thing, that sounds a little like work, so instead he just called up all the instances of the words "fight" or "fighting"—224, he tells us—and culled his quotations from there, and then he devoted the remaining six paragraphs to speculating on whether she's running for president or has a chance of winning, like it was last May—to be fair, he's only a day behind Steve Inskeep at NPR.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cheap Shots and Big Times

Scott Shane went full Driftglass this morning, writing a report on the Big Dick's pro-torture appearance on Meet the Press (which the real Driftglass couldn't make himself watch, like me, and had to report out of the written-language coverage). He wasn't trying to be funny or anything, at least most of the time, but a few items really stood out for me as pretty grand in the guignol department.

Via TransmissionAtelier.
Language, language
“Torture is what the Al Qaeda terrorists did to 3,000 Americans on 9/11,” Mr. Cheney said in his latest interview defending the C.I.A. program. “There is no comparison between that and what we did with respect to enhanced interrogation.”
No, that's not torture. It's bad, it's morally wrong, it's illegal in most states (not sure about Texas), it's premeditated murder, aggravated by being a hate crime. It's just that torture is something different. Like I'm really against burying people alive but I don't call it child rape. As Merriam-Webster put it, simplifying down a bit from the legal definitions,

Heck of a job, capitalism!

Capitalists of the world, unite! Viktor Deni, 1920. Via.
Gail Collins writes:
One of the most unnerving parts involves the fact that the waterboarding, ice baths and wall-slamming were conducted under the direction of an outside contractor. It isn’t the first time the government turned to private enterprise and wound up with a human rights disaster — think Abu Ghraib. Or Blackwater.
Actually Abu Ghraib is a part of it (torturers there were trained by torturers from Guantánamo from the private enterprise torture-training program)—it represents, perhaps, the very beginning of the Bush administration drive to privatize everything they could from State Department security (that's where Blackwater came in) to Social Security (sorry, not privatization but the proposed "introduction of private accounts" which is totally not privatization except to the extent that it is that did not actually get done anyhow, though the former president persists in regarding it as his top achievement in domestic policy).

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Falsus in uno, falsus in cromnibus

Can't find a source for this; it's been on Twitter a lot.
Atrios writes:
One trick elite editorial boards regularly play is offering narratives of "bipartisanship" and "compromise" that don't really conform to their readers' understanding of those words. I mean, compromise is a good thing, right? Who doesn't love compromise!

But true bipartisanship, where lots of members of both parties actually agree on something (even if they pretend not to), is the way that Congress passes things that voters actually hate. Actual compromise would involve Dems giving up something in exchange for something Republicans want, and vice versa, not "let's pass this piece of shit that everybody but Fred Hiatt and our donors hate."
That's not exactly how I've seen it, from a partisan point of view: to me there's a clear asymmetry between "what Democrats want" and "what Republicans want" in that the former as a party are relatively more interested in voters and the latter in donors (and in Fred Hiatt, for whatever strange reasons), so that talking about the possibility of compromise between Democrats and Republicans is misreading a bit what the options are.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The sun was shining upside down

Harold Lloyd in Girl Shy (1924), via Popthomology.
Old David Brooks ("In Praise of Small Miracles") has been doing some heavy reading, in the World Bank's new report on behavioral economics, Mind, Society, and Behavior,  and so have I, but I seem to be getting a totally different message from the thing.  He doesn't actually mention the report till paragraph 7, so as to make it look, as always, as if he knew all this stuff before reading it, and he calls it "amazingly good" as if he were evaluating it against some vast secret knowledge he has of the subject. But, as we'll see, he's missed an awful lot of it, including its central message.

Like, Brooks keeps worrying about
a bias in the way governments often work. They tend to gravitate toward the grand and the abstract....

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Businessy risk

Look out, it's America's worst law professor!
Ignoring Risks to National Security 
The Feinstein report reflects the Democratic party’s contempt for U.S. intelligence agencies. 
Happened to catch this minutes after seeing Valerie Plame getting interviewed on MSNBC—remember her, the Cheney administration (Karl Rove in particular) got pissed off with her husband for casting doubt on its account of Iraq's imaginary uranium shopping and decided to punish him by revealing her identity as a CIA operative running a clandestine network in Iran, thereby destroying her career and incidentally wrecking for years the US ability to collect intelligence from inside Iran, a country said to be kind of important.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ex-VP Nabbed in Flagrant Truthfulness

Image credit to via TPK at Kos.
Out of his own mouth:
“What I keep hearing out there is they portray this as a rogue operation, and the agency was way out of bounds and then they lied about it,” Mr. Cheney said in a telephone interview. “I think that’s all a bunch of hooey. The program was authorized. The agency did not want to proceed without authorization, and it was also reviewed legally by the Justice Department before they undertook the program.” (New York Times)
Yes, I think at the very least Cheney himself and his office, and the Office of Legal Council, and various people in the Department of Justice, must have known exactly what kind of violence the CIA was perpetrating in our name, right from the Memorandum of Understanding of September 17 2001, as Emptywheel was explaining a couple of years ago:
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