Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Respecting the Free Press

A charming excerpt from the Blagojevich criminal complaint.

During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife can be heard in the background telling ROD BLAGOJEVICH to tell Deputy Governor A “to hold up that fucking Cubs shit. . . fuck them.”

ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked Deputy Governor A what he thinks of his wife’s idea. Deputy Governor A stated that there is a part of what ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife said that he “agree[s] with.”

Deputy Governor A told ROD BLAGOJEVICH that Tribune Owner will say that he does not have anything to do with the editorials, “but I would tell him, look, if you want to get your Cubs thing done get rid of this Tribune.”

Later, ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife got on the phone and, during the continuing
discussion of the critical Tribune editorials, stated that Tribune Owner can “just fire” the writers because Tribune Owner owns the Tribune. ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s wife stated that if Tribune Owner’s papers were hurting his business, Tribune Owner would do something about the editorial board. ROD BLAGOJEVICH then got back on the phone.

ROD BLAGOJEVICH told Deputy Governor A to put together the articles in the Tribune that are on the topic of removing ROD BLAGOJEVICH from office and they will then have
someone, like JOHN HARRIS, go to Tribune Owner and say, “We’ve got some decisions
to make now.”

ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that “someone should say, ‘get rid of those
people.’” ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that he thinks that they should put this all together and then have HARRIS or somebody go talk to the Tribune owners and say, “Look, we’ve got decisions to make now. . . moving this stuff forward (believed to be a reference to the IFA helping with the Cubs sale) . . . someone’s gotta go to [Tribune Owner], we want to see him. . it’s a political fuckin’ operation in there.”

Deputy Governor A agreed and said that HARRIS needs to be “sensitive” about how he does it.

ROD BLAGOJEVICH said there is nothing sensitive about how you do it and that it’s “straight forward” and you say “we’re doing this stuff for you, we believe this is right for Illinois [and] this is a big deal to [Tribune Owner] financially” but what ROD BLAGOJEVICH is doing to help Tribune Owner is the same type of action that the Tribune is saying should be the basis for ROD BLAGOJEVICH’s impeachment.

ROD BLAGOJEVICH said Tribune Owner should be told “maybe we can’t do this now. Fire those fuckers.”

Deputy Governor A suggested that ROD BLAGOJEVICH say, “I’m not sure that we can do this anymore because we’ve been getting a ton of these editorials that say, look, we’re going around the legislature, we gotta stop and this is something the legislature hasn’t approved. We don’t want to go around the legislature

ROD BLAGOJEVICH agreed and said that he wants HARRIS to go in and make
that case, “not me.” \

Deputy Governor A agreed and said that he likes it.

ROD BLAGOJEVICH asked Deputy Governor A to put the list of Tribune articles together.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This Is Actually Worrying

Unless we open a lot more MacD's.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Politics as Usual, as Always


Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Difference Between Rich Democrats and Rich Republicans

Rich Democrats feel guilty about all their money; rich Republicans feel proud of it.

Both groups keep investing...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Olmert Speaks the Truth

Of course, he can only speak truth now that he's out of power, as power makes speaking truth impossible.

Olmert's Change From Hawk to Dove Seems Complete

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, once one of Israel's leading hawks, is leaving office an outspoken dove.

Forced out by corruption charges, Olmert is saying something that used to be fringe opinion among Israelis -- that to make peace with the Palestinians, Israel must make sweeping territorial concessions, including Arab parts of Jerusalem.

''We must relinquish ... parts of our homeland as well as Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and return to the seed of the territory that was the state of Israel up to 1967, with the necessary adjustments arising from the reality that has since been created,'' he said in one of two speeches this week in which he laid out his credo.

The ideology he once espoused, of keeping the territory Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war, ''will not work. It is already not working,'' he said in speeches Monday marking the 13th anniversary of the assassination of his dovish predecessor, Yitzhak Rabin, by a Jewish nationalist.

''We were wrong. We did not see the big picture,'' he said.

Unless the land was partitioned into Jewish and Palestinian states, it would morph into one country in which an Arab majority would mean the end of Jewish statehood, he warned.

''The moment of truth has come, and there is no escaping it ... if God forbid, we drag our feet, we might lose the support for the idea of two states. The alternative is inconceivable.''

Never before has a serving Israeli prime minister spoken so forcefully for partitioning the land, and it was all the more striking given Olmert's background.

Raised in a staunchly nationalist home on an ideology that opposed any territorial concessions to the Arabs, Olmert went on to serve in the hard-line governments of his former Likud Party.

In recent years, though, he has come to publicly embrace a land-for-peace deal, but never the formula of complete withdrawal with border ''adjustments.'' As deputy prime minister, Olmert helped lead Israel's 2005 unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. He was elected prime minister in March 2006 on a platform calling for a broad withdrawal from the West Bank as well.

His latest speeches go further, to the astonishment of the public. They sound close to what has long between the international formula for Mideast peace but is sharply at odds with past Israeli governments that demanded a substantial redrawing of borders to protect the country from surprise attack.

''It's amazing, but it is tragic,'' says Moshe Amirav, a childhood friend of Olmert's who recalls being expelled from Likud 20 years ago for saying what Olmert is saying now.

''But I am optimistic about the future,'' added Amirav, a political scientist at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. ''If he, a right-wing prime minister, is saying this, there is hope.''

Olmert resigned in September because of corruption charges, but remains in office until a new government is formed after the Feb. 10 election.

Longtime Israeli doves fault him for not speaking up sooner. Lawmaker Yossi Sarid said he found the prime minister's comments to be heartfelt but delivered publicly only when he had ''nothing left to win and nothing left to lose.''

''It's too bad he woke up so late,'' Sarid said.

Olmert confidants say he couldn't speak out so frankly as long as he had to hold a shaky coalition government together.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, her centrist Kadima party's candidate to succeed Olmert, quickly distanced herself from his remarks.

''I am not committed to the words of the outgoing prime minister,'' she told Israel's Army Radio Tuesday. ''We can conduct negotiations my way without having to reach the points the outgoing prime minister presented yesterday.''

Polls regularly show most Israelis support a two-state solution with the Palestinians, though not necessarily a withdrawal to the 1967 borders. ''I am saying what this nation truly needs, not what it wants to hear,'' Olmert said at Rabin's grave.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat praised Olmert for his candor and remembered their first encounter 20 years ago.

''The man I spoke with then is a totally different man than the one I see before me today,'' he said. ''And maybe I am a different man now, too.''

Sunday, November 9, 2008




Obama's first appointment, Rahm Emmanuel as chief of staff, not a good sign.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How to Read the News


This article tells you something useful: that the jackasses running the country screwed up Afghanistan - and Pakistan - like they've screwed up everything else.

It also illustrates how less able world powers are able to dominate today than they were in the 19th Century. Do you think Great Britain would have suffered a puppet government aiding terrorists? Not likely: they would have annexed it, raised the Union Jack, and told anyone who complained to kiss their Tory ass. We taught them nationalism and now they use it to mess us up.

Friday, September 19, 2008

When Capitalists Were Capitalists

“Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate.”

- Andrew Mellon's advice to Herbert Hoover on how to solve the banking crisis.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bush Closes Libraries

I am shocked, shocked! by this. Well, not really. Wonder how his ex-librarian wife feels about it.


Perry Anderson on the Middle East

Perry Anderson is one of the more intelligent leftists writing on world politics these days. He's also a fairly elegant stylist. This essay from the New Left Review pretty much tells you all you need to know about the Iraq War (although it gets a bit fuzzy at the end).


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Slouching Toward Bethlehem

A gaunt character walks into my cafe wearing what seems to be a bird’s nest on his otherwise bald head. But no, it’s just his hair, disguised as a crown of thorns. He’s wearing a baggy white ‘Obama ’08’ t-shirt and baggy white pants, tucked into riding boots. If that’s a typical Obama supporter, than it’s gonna be McCain in a landslide.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cold War Blues

A great article from the AP about a South Korean woman who was executed for collaborating with North Koreans by way of torture and phony evidence. Her American lover, and father of her child, stayed silent through the whole process.


The article also points out that 75% of South Koreans supported communism before the U.S. invasion. The worst enemy of real communists, alas, wasn't the U.S. but Stalin and Mao.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Globalism Gets Naked

It seems that the American hospitals are air-lifting desperately sick illegals back to their home countries to avoid further costs. Actually hiring air-buses to take them. The practice is so bizarre, yet predictable and indicative, that it deserves a read.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Judges and Politics

Its a common perception to see the judiciary as somehow operating 'above' politics. Yet legal decisions always have a political component, which becomes more evident in times of crisis. The decision today, for example, by the Turkish Consititutional Court not to ban the ruling Islamist party is particularly naked example of this.


However, it happens all the time in the U.S. A perfect historic example is how the Supreme Court during FDR's administration cleared most of the obstacles to the New Deal, even though the justices - mostly conservatives appointed by Republican presidents - contradicted earlier rulings they'd made.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Reality vs. Ideology

NYTimes piece on how deregulation in financial markets has led to the current collapse of the mortgage industry.


Markets have never, anywhere, ever been 'free.' Governments have always manipulated them as much as they were capable of doing, often with unintended consequences. Yet the myth of the 'free market' and the deregulation drive of the last twenty years first further enriched our nepotistic oligarchy, and now has led to the impoverishment and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Americans. And guess who's going to pay for it?
You and me, brother.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Economists Won't Save You (especially right-wing ones)

This very elegant review by Alan Wolfe critiques the faddish field of psychological economics and also casually dismantles many of the assumptions of neoclassical economists (Chicago School).


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Eight Thousand Empty Words on Rush

Hendrik Hertzberg at the New Yorker rightly skewers the utterly banal Zev Chavets profile of Rush Limbaugh for the NYTimes Magazine. I had the misfortune to read the piece - it was like being suffocated in a swimming pool filled with vanilla yogurt. I'll never get those twenty minutes of my life back.
I think the competent shittiness of the piece speaks to what's wrong with the NYTimes Magazine writing in general - all originality or daring in tone or analysis is strictly verboten.


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Circle the Drain

If these two government-backed mortgage companies collapse - and that's what it looks like will happen - it will make Countrywide's crumbling seem like a quarter dropped on the street.


Obama = Sell Out

As Obama dances ever further to the right, wiping his ass with the Bill of Rights on the way, his most idealistic supporters are shocked, shocked! that the shining beacon of hope and change could betray them so callously.
Yet the fact is, except for his early opposition to the Iraq invasion, Obama has always been a centrist politician, with very few real working-class credentials. Yet I had a friend, a rabid Obama groupie, stop speaking to me when I suggested that his positions were very little different from Hilary's. 'You're just parroting he DNC line!' he shouted.
Oddly enough, I recently interviewed a Chicago political consultant who couldn't understand the outpouring of fervor for Obama. 'All of us who have worked with him here have no idea what this is all about. This person that we're getting is a complete creation of the DNC. He did very little of substance in his years with us.'
My Obama groupie former friend claimed 'character' was the most pertinent issue with Obama and that, I think, speaks to why he was groomed for the post. The Clintons' biggest stumbling block with the electorate at large was 'character' and Obama lacks that particular weakness.

I wonder how many people are now regretting their gushing Obama paens on their permanent Face Book records?