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Little left to say… 22 June 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.


Cartoon from the UK Independent, June 5 2009

From McClatchy:

In stark legal turnaround, Obama now resembles Bush

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is morphing into George W. Bush, as administration attorneys repeatedly adopt the executive-authority and national-security rationales that their Republican predecessors preferred.

In courtroom battles and freedom-of-information fights from Washington, D.C., to California, Obama’s legal arguments repeatedly mirror Bush’s: White House turf is to be protected, secrets must be retained and dire warnings are wielded as weapons.

“It’s putting up a veritable wall around the White House, and it’s so at odds with Obama’s campaign commitment to more open government,” said Anne Weismann, chief counsel for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a legal watchdog group.

Certainly, some differences exist. [so few! What are we down to? Skin color? — Mcat]

The Obama administration, for instance, has released documents on global warming from the Council on Environmental Quality that the Bush administration sought to suppress. Some questions, such as access to White House visitor logs, remain a work in progress.

On policies that are at the heart of presidential power and prerogatives, however, this administration’s legal arguments have blended into the other. The persistence can reflect everything from institutional momentum and a quest for continuity to the clout of career employees.

“There is no question that there are (durable) cultures and mindsets in agencies,” Weismann acknowledged.

A courtroom clash Thursday illustrated how Obama has come to emulate Bush.

Weismann’s organization sued last year to obtain the notes from an interview that the FBI conducted with then-Vice President Dick Cheney. The interview was part of an investigation into leaks concerning undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame, and the Bush administration vigorously fought the release of the notes.

“The records contain descriptions of confidential deliberations among top White House officials which are protected by the deliberative process and presidential communications privileges,” Bush’s Justice Department argued in an Oct. 10, 2008, legal brief.

Obama’s Justice Department held the same line Thursday.

“The new leadership of the department supports those arguments,” Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Smith told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan during the oral argument.

“The Department of Justice is an ongoing entity, and it is not normal for us to update cases simply because we have a new attorney general.”

Perspectives, of course, often change once candidates assume responsibility upon taking office. As a candidate, for instance, Obama opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

As president, however, he’s following Bush’s lead in defending in court the federal marriage law, which a California same-sex couple is challenging.

The law “reflects a cautiously limited response to society’s still-evolving understanding of the institution of marriage,” Assistant Attorney General Tony West declared in a legal filing June 11.

Legally speaking, every administration inherits lawsuits filed against its predecessor. The Solicitor General’s Office, which represents the government in appeals, traditionally tries to hold a steady course. Personnel, too, stick around. John Brennan, the CIA director’s chief of staff during the Bush administration, is now closely advising Obama as a senior National Security Council staffer. [“stick around”? oh for fuck’s sake! Because OBAMA wanted him.. in fact, for a spot that required a congressional vote, which looked chancey, so he got dropped into the NSA… -Mcat]

Whatever the reasons, policy persists.

The Bush White House sought to keep e-mails secret. The Obama White House has followed suit.

The Bush White House sought to keep visitor logs secret. The Obama White House, so far, takes the same view.

Petaluma, Calif., resident Carolyn Jewel and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a legal activist group, sued the Bush administration over warrantless wiretaps. The Bush administration said that the lawsuit endangered national security. The Obama administration now agrees.

“The disclosure of the information implicated by this case, which concerns how the United States seeks to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Michael F. Hertz declared in a brief April 3.

Similarly, the Bush administration objected to an American Civil Liberties Union request for access to documents that include photographs that reportedly show the abuse of foreign prisoners held by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Obama administration declared in April that it would release the photographs.

Three weeks later, Obama reversed course and declared that “releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.” The administration’s attorneys followed up with a legal brief, augmented by a 24-page declaration that CIA Director Leon Panetta filed June 9.

“Information containing details of the (interrogation techniques) being applied would provide ready-made ammunition for al Qaida propaganda,” Panetta declared. “The resultant damage to the national security would likely be exceptionally grave.”

In an interview, ACLU attorney Amrit Singh said that “the trend, as it is now, is disappointing” as Obama follows the Bush lead.

The Obama administration now will appeal to the Supreme Court in an effort to keep the photos and related information secret.

On the opposite coast, a similar drama is playing out in a clash over so-called “torture flights.”

An ACLU lawsuit, initially filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., contends that the Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan knowingly supported a CIA operation that flew terrorism suspects to brutal overseas prisons. The Bush administration invoked the “state secrets” privilege in an effort to stop the suit.

“Further litigation of this case would pose an unacceptable risk of disclosure of information that the nation’s security requires not be disclosed,” the Bush administration declared in a legal filing on Oct. 18, 2007.

The Obama administration now says the same, after a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled April 21 that the case could proceed.

“Permitting this suit to proceed would pose an unacceptable risk to national security,” the Obama administration declared in a legal filing June 12.

For both arguments, the two administrations relied on the attestations of the same man: former Bush CIA Director Michael Hayden.

What can one say… and that is the short version, McClatchy hit the highest peaks.

Glenn Greenwald has a piece up on the DNA case the SCOTUS decided on Thursday.

Popcorn and hankies.  It is to weep over.. but………

Numerous liberal commentators are, rightfully, infuriated by the decision, but have been notably incomplete in their critiques.

There’s one important fact missing from all of that analysis: namely, this was yet another case where the Obama DOJ sided with the Bush administration and advocated the position that the conservative justices adopted. The Obama DOJ aggressively argued before the Court that convicted criminals have no constitutional right to access evidence for DNA analysis.  …

I am guessing W and GHW sent Ob a high five. One of the guys..And maybe a pair of gold spurs for his very own. Years ago Reagan sent Saddam a pair of solid gold spurs, I used to laugh, speculating that the personal note said some thing like:

From a guy to a guy.

Ob probably would drool for a note like that. From a bona fide, big time white conservative and global killer. He’d probably like to dig up Reagan,  kiss his orange cheeks and ask for some more spurs.

More from Greenwald:

[I]ndeed, the Obama DOJ rejected explicit requests from defendants rights advocates to repudiate the Bush position. Instead, the Obama DOJ announced that Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal would make his debut appearance before the Supreme Court in that capacity advocating the Bush position (and that’s what then happened):

The solicitor general’s office has turned down a request by the Innocence Project to disavow a Bush Administration stance on prisoners’ access to DNA evidence in post-conviction proceedings. As a result, on March 2, Neal Katyal will make his debut as deputy solicitor general by arguing before the Supreme Court in support of the state of Alaska’s view that prisoners have no constitutional right to obtain DNA evidence that might help them prove their innocence — even if the prisoners pay for the DNA testing themselves. . . .

The bolding there is Greenwald’s…  Within the text of his article he makes clear, the hue and cry over the ruling, all but one reference in the NYT leaves out the role of the current administration, and along the way he names Yglesias, Millhiser at Think Progress (a CAP project) and Scott Lemieux in particular… well, they all helped in their small way to put Ob in… why cry now… too late.

In my opinion it was not honest work, covering for him now surely is not.. but, done is done.

They will help again as well:  Good Democrats.  Bless their tiny and ever tinier liberal hearts.

In all of the commentary condemning this decision, the only acknowledgment I saw of the role played by the Obama administration was in yesterday’s New York Times Editorial:

We are also puzzled and disturbed by the Obama administration’s decision to side with Alaska in this case — continuing the Bush administration’s opposition to recognizing a right to access physical evidence for post-conviction DNA testing.

Thursday’s ruling will inevitably allow some innocent people to languish in prison without having the chance to definitively prove their innocence and with the state never being completely certain of their guilt.

Even the Wapo, in an editorial that showed Osborne, the person at issue here, to be a very unsympathetic character, states the SCOTUS ruling was wrong, based on due process.

The thread to the Greenwald post is very interesting.. one comment that seeks to show a different spin on the case before the court, here [I just don’t buy that Ob and congress are working like little civil rights beavers to expand use of DNA.  Share that Easter Bunny elsewhere, LOL].

And, another, very troubling, that indicates the amicus brief had widespread support from Democrats across the nation.  He names two, one of which is Jerry Brown, our AG.  IMO Jerry’s been off the tracks for some years now.

Bolding is mine…

That amicus curiae brief

Glenn — it is vitally important that you comment on the amicus curiae brief in this case, in which attorneys general and various other figures from across the country, from Jerry Brown of California to Tom Miller of Iowa, supported this decision.

A real question needs to be asked, thusly — why such broad support from the Democratic Party for such a massive punt on civil rights by the Supreme Court? I would be particularly interested to hear views on two hypotheses of mine. The first is that the generally bureaucratic, civil service, non-customer-oriented, non-citizen-oriented, cover-your-ass culture prevalent in much of the Democratic Party is rearing its head here as prosecutors don’t want to be placed on the hook for mistakes or misconduct by new technology. The second, more ominous reading, is that rather like New Labour in England, the US Democrats all the way from the hard left to the center are in general supporting authoritarianism as a central tool in the war on crime.

— decisivemoment
[Read decisivemoment’s other letters]
Permalink Flag Saturday, June 20, 2009 12:55 PM

Con law lecturer, elevated beyond the chalk board. And grading papers… A Chicago fixer.  A tool.

We are so blessed.


I cannot resist,  June 3, 2008 in Minneapolis, the night he won the nomination… mops at the ready for the drool, clear the storm drains:

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

AND in among the slobber that night was this line, too:

I’ve sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row.

… a rising ocean of drool, followed by fists.



1. Madman in the Marketplace - 22 June 2009

Just caught this story on Olbermann: “Hunger can be a positive motivator,”

State Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O’Fallon, is staking out a strong position on child hunger: She’s for it.

“Hunger can be a positive motivator,” she notes in the latest edition of her newsletter.

More precisely, Ms. Davis is against summer feeding programs for poor kids. They are an excuse “to create an expansion of a government program,” she says.

Ms. Davis chairs the House Special Standing Committee on Children and Families. In that position, she might be expected to have insight into child hunger in our state.

She might know, for instance, that about one in five Missouri children lives with hunger. That ties us with Louisiana for the nation’s seventh-highest rate, according to a report released last month by the hunger-relief charity Feeding America.

Or that the recession has pushed the number of poor Missouri kids who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches by 8.3 percent this year, well above the national average.

Apparently not.

“While I have not seen this as a problem in my district, it is entirely possible that the (summer feeding) program is designed to address problems that exist in other parts of Missouri,” Ms. Davis says in her newsletter.

“The right way to solve this is with more education. If parents … don’t know how to serve nutritious meals, let’s help them learn to do that.”

In that spirit, she offers some helpful hints:

— “Families may economize by choosing not to waste hard earned dollars on potato chips, ice cream or Twinkies.”

— “Laid-off parents could adapt by preparing more home cooked meals rather than going out to eat.”

— “Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break.”

It worked for Oliver.

Madman in the Marketplace - 22 June 2009

oops, can’t blockquote properly.

Madman in the Marketplace - 22 June 2009


brinn - 22 June 2009

I read that shit today too — I was just telling my momna few hours ago that when I read crap like that I just want to go find the person and beat them senseless with a stupid stick — I mean what the FUCK what she thinking?

Infuriating. So clueless about what people actually go through…hungry children, what a boon to motivation. goddes.

catnip - 23 June 2009

“The right way to solve this is with more education

What an idiot.

2. Madman in the Marketplace - 22 June 2009

in general supporting authoritarianism as a central tool in the war on crime.

this has been true for most of my lifetime, though I would leave the “hard left” out of it, since we don’t have one.

marisacat - 22 June 2009

I think the commenter probably meant some sort of person like Pelosi. Not of course that she is “hard left” nor left at all.

3. Madman in the Marketplace - 22 June 2009

oh, those wacky CA “liberals”: Obama May Lack Votes for Health-Care, Feinstein Says

June 21 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama may not have enough votes in the U.S. Senate to pass his effort to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein said.

“I don’t know that he has the votes right now,” Feinstein said today on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “I think there’s a lot of concern in the Democratic caucus.” Controlling costs of the new system is a “difficult subject.”

They’re “concerned” alright, but NOT about healthcare or their constituents. More like keeping their campaign coffers full of campaign money from the health extortion industry.

marisacat - 22 June 2009

the conservatives are really happy with her comment. Not that any of this matters… they never planned anything but some horrid butchered fucked mandated mess for us. It’s going to be bad and overpriced.

A ROTTEN TOMATO IN THE STORE!, that people will be forced to buy!.. 😆

4. marisacat - 22 June 2009

😆 I say toss them brioche… the “dissenting” blahgs will fall in line, maybe slowly… but eventually! In time for mid terms and esp in time for ‘RE ELECT the big O’

We reported earlier that the White House held a conference call at 2pm Eastern today with the members of the DNC’s gay caucus. We had a report that one of the caucus members asked the White House Deputy Chief of staff and political director:

“What are we going to do about the blogs?”

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 22 June 2009

Perrin — Revolting:

But that’s my opinion, formed countless miles from the front lines. It has no bearing on what’s occurring in Iran. Doesn’t affect events one fucking inch. Yet there are numerous Western commentators and bloggers who believe that their opinions are important and vital, that shaking their fists in the direction of Tehran holds some serious meaning. When you see snarky Gawker blubbering about “revolution,” you know that the spectacle enjoys mystical status. A feature of American narcissism that gains currency while everything else is devalued.

Wanna show solidarity with Iranian protesters? Take to American streets, clog the system at every opening, demand genuine political power through direct action.

What’s that? You can’t this week ’cause your plate is full? Understandable. We’re all busy. Maybe in August. That’s a slow month.

6. marisacat - 22 June 2009

what a scream… MO here today to build a jungle jim (or whatever) at a school in the Bay View and hype Volunteerism at Moscone Center… today at the little play ground building event, said this was her first trip to Cali as FLOTUS.

Whoops. Just last month she was at UCMerced for commencement. 😆 security and extra measures only cost the town a cool mil.

Nobody could brief her on that small item on the plane ride out?

I guess not.

Madman in the Marketplace - 22 June 2009
7. Madman in the Marketplace - 22 June 2009

Rhode Island Will License Medical Marijuana Shops

The Rhode Island legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto of a medical marijuana law Tuesday afternoon by an overwhelming margin, paving the way for state-licensed medical marijuana shops to begin operating. The House voted 68-0 for the pot measure and the senate moved it minutes later by a 35-3 count.

Once the law takes effect, the state will be the first in the nation to have one officially licensed nonprofit center selling marijuana. Over time, the state will license further nonprofit dispensaries.

The bill got a boost in the state after a much publicized incident in which a pot dealer beat up a medical marijuana patient. Proponents of the bill argued that patients shouldn’t have to deal with unregulated, unlicensed drug dealers, but deserved a more orderly system.

In March, New Mexico became the first state to grant a state license to a medical marijuana producer.

“We are seeing a historic shift to allowing state-licensed, regulated medical marijuana production and distribution,” said Karen O’Keefe of the Marijuana Policy Project after the vote.

Legislators in Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are considering similar legislation. Arizona and Maine voters may soon vote on similar initiatives.

The Rhode Island bill’s passage was only made possible by President Obama’s announcement that his Justice Department would not raid medical marijuana dispensaries in states where they were following the law.

California’s dispensaries operate legally in the state but don’t have the kind of exclusive state license that the new Rhode Island shop will have.

marisacat - 22 June 2009

I hope it helps.. is all I can say. They have not raided a second dispensary in SF, that I have heard of, since Emalynn’s… but they did raid several towns and districts up north, raiding small medicinal growers and arresting people… which in fact is NOT the norm in the raids of the big illegal growers… the norm is to seize product and NOT arrest.

So, good luck is all I can say.

8. marisacat - 22 June 2009

A very low blow!! 😆

How the Financial Reform Plan Protects the Status Quo

Obama’s (Latest) Surrender to Wall Street


In reaching across the aisle for Republican support – and no doubt future campaign contributions from the financial sector Pres. Obama is morphing into Joe Lieberman. There also is a touch of Boris Yeltsin in his sponsorship of a financial “reform” ominously similar to what advisor Larry Summers backed in Russia – relinquishing government power to a banking elite. The Financial Regulatory Reform proposal promotes Wall Street’s “product,” debt creation, at the expense of the economy at large, and lets financial chieftains continue to self-regulate the debt industry – and to keep scot-free all their gains from the past decade’s worth of fraudulent lending. snip

Joe Liberman and Boris Yeltsin! CRUEL! How can Hudson be so cruel to Beloved O?

9. marisacat - 23 June 2009

HA! NPR is in ga ga land. Or eyeless in O Land.. they had a cheery little report this morning…

now that the recession is lifting, let’s review WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED.

Lifting? If only.

10. Madman in the Marketplace - 23 June 2009
11. marisacat - 23 June 2009

aargh. MJ on Waxman-Markey, the climate bill. a dark read, at best.. worse than I hd expected even.

the comments (7) are very good (bolding is mine):

More like A Fistful of Dollars

Submitted by Christopher Muir (not verified) on June 22, 2009 – 12:55pm.

Looking carefully at this bill, it seems industrial polluters will score a major victory if this stinker gets passed.

It guts the Clean Air Act. It hands out 50% of its emission permits FOR FREE. By 2020, only a 4% reduction. No thanks, this bill stinks.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency are cut in half. As they undermine and replace California’s tougher requirements, they could actually have a negative overall effect. This isn’t hard to believe, considering that California is the *world’s 7th largest economy.

Assuming we don’t decide to run our planet into the ashes, much stronger legislation will have to be passed. But if this bill becomes law, it will be MUCH HARDER for lawmakers to accomplish this task.

Industry polluters will point to this bill and argue that these terms were signed in good faith. Environmentalists will be painted as reneging on their end of the deal. Legislators will seek cover with their constituents by pointing to a bill already on the books, failing in their sound bytes to mention how toothless the law really is.

Let’s not repeat the mistakes the Easter Islanders did a few hundred years ago. Call your Representative today, and urge him or her NOT to pass this piece of trash.

12. marisacat - 23 June 2009


Maybe it makes sense read upside down:

“I think what people are seeing is that the country has moved to another point in time,” First Lady Michelle Obama tells ABC’s Robin Roberts, on “Good Morning America” Tuesday.

“More and more people are ready for this kind of reform,” she said. “There are going to be tough choices that have to be made, and no system is going to be perfect, which is why my side of the equation, the wellness side, is to me one of the true keys of changing the health paradigm in this country.”

“If we are healthier people, then we won’t need the health care system that we think will put us in a position that is unrealistic. You know, we’re in charge of our own health, ultimately.”

FLOTUS to Robin Roberts on GMA. So The Note says.



13. marisacat - 23 June 2009

…the Wall Street Journal ran a piece on Detroit pointing out that, while it may still be hanging onto the tagline, the Motor City, like the lines above, that moniker now seems to tell the sorriest of tales. “You have to leave town,” the Journal’s Andrew Grossman pointed out, just to buy a new Chrysler or a Jeep, now that the dealers in town have closed up shop. The same is true if you want to get a new book, since the Borders bookstore chain, founded only 40 miles away, closed its Detroit store this June. Ditto just about everything else. There’s no longer even a national chain grocery store anywhere in the city. Talk about the hollowing out of America! snip

Not news, I realise… but still. Stunning in a way.

[A]fter GM, it was Ford’s turn to take the reins, with John F. Kennedy tapping its CEO Robert McNamara and his “whiz kids” to ready American troops for a “long twilight struggle, year in and year out.” McNamara used Ford’s integrated “systems management” approach to wage “mechanized, dehumanizing slaughter,” as historian Gabriel Kolko once put it, from the skies over Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

Perhaps, then, we should think of the ruins of Detroit as our Roman Forum. Just as Rome’s triumphal arches still remind us of its bygone imperial victories in Mesopotamia, Persia, and elsewhere, so Motown’s dilapidated buildings today invoke America’s fast slipping supremacy. snip

14. catnip - 23 June 2009

But but but Obamalama is a Washington outsider. Surely all of this criticism is just commie talk.

marisacat - 23 June 2009

Fascists among us! Commies under the bed! Socialists creeping about!

catnip - 23 June 2009

Who was it that Obamalama told he’d save from the commies i.e. the wild left? The bankers? Wall St? I can’t remember right now…

This is going to be a long 4 years.

marisacat - 23 June 2009

He told the banksters he stood between them “and the pitchforks”.

catnip - 23 June 2009

I’m sharpening the tines on mine as we speak.

15. catnip - 23 June 2009

CNN crawl: Madoff requests 12 year sentence.

Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

marisacat - 23 June 2009

probably wants to serve it in a PENTHOUSE!

catnip - 23 June 2009

No doubt. With 5 star cuisine and massages every other day. Bastard.

16. catnip - 23 June 2009

Ed McMahon, dead at 86.

BooHooHooMan - 23 June 2009

He will be missed, truly.
By yutzes, but missed nonetheless.
Ah well , but Ed at least had
a longer run in show biz than Obama.
And perhaps a more genuine positive impact on Society.
Helluva thing

catnip - 23 June 2009

At least Ed knew he was a second banana – a realization Obamalama has yet to come to.

17. catnip - 23 June 2009

Talking out of both sides of their mouths:

BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen said the protesters were talking about finding other ways to show their opposition, including strikes or civil disobedience.

A spokesman for the US government said it “would not endorse” general strikes.

But he added: “We’ve seen the beginnings of change in Iran.”

Shorter Obama admin: Protest – but only in the way we tell you to. Oh – and of course we’re not interfering in your affairs.

18. catnip - 23 June 2009

Meanwhile, back at the drone ranch:

At least 45 people have died in a missile strike by a US drone aircraft in Pakistan, officials there have said.

The people killed in South Waziristan region had been attending a funeral for others killed in a US drone strike earlier on Tuesday.

Intelligence officials said at least 45 people had been killed and dozens more injured in the later strike, when two missiles were fired.

But a local official told BBC News the death toll was more than 50.

19. catnip - 23 June 2009

Today’s moment of Obama puffery:

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. We have to believe that, ultimately, justice will prevail.

Now watch this drive.

Madman in the Marketplace - 23 June 2009

I love the way he paraphrases MLK without ever doing anything to make peoples’ lives better.

marisacat - 23 June 2009

there is a quote runnign around from obster (sorry I don’t have it handy, but it is findable).. he was asked before inauguration, forget when exactly, bout Loving v Virginia… and he said that had he been advising CR groups then he would have adivsed them to seek legal cases to do with voting and other rights, and NOT to pursue mixed race marriage.

He really is a shit.

20. marisacat - 23 June 2009

Take that!

UK expels two Iranian diplomats in response to Iran’s expulsion of two British envoys.

For more details: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

21. marisacat - 23 June 2009

NY Rev of Books… They review a book Leslie Gelb of CFR has out, seeking to instruct Obama on FP. God help us, prolly just what Axe and Rahm and Only Begotten Son really do want to read – and follow…. Have Gelb in for tea and cookies.


[T]he high point of American foreign policy in Gelb’s lifetime, he suggests more than once, was the Russia and China diplomacy conducted by Nixon and Kissinger in the early 1970s; accompanied as it was by the renewal of bombing of North Vietnam on a devastating scale—all this at a time when peace in Vietnam was the leading apparent item on the agenda of American policy. Gelb marvels at the “streams of diplomacy” that amounted to “a cascading display of America’s unique role.” And again:

The genius of President Richard M. Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger [in their withdrawal from Vietnam]… was to let the victim drown slowly while they steered the world’s attention in another direction—to the most dazzling and theatrical display of American power ever.

Machiavelli would have appreciated the sentiment if not the economy of that sentence.

What would be the correlative of a policy like Nixon and Kissinger’s today? It might seem to be an escalated war in Afghanistan, and serious bargaining on Iran that should not be expected to bring a “quick resolution,” combined with overwhelming high diplomacy elsewhere.

Gelb thinks that Obama is situated to deliver an impressive display of war that adds heft to diplomacy, and of diplomacy that reconciles us to war. The reason Obama can do this is that “to Arabs and Iranians, America is still number one.”

22. brinn - 23 June 2009

I have joined the ranks of the unemployed — such a great “back from vacation” gift, even better than the 300$ bill that the insurance co sent us…

I am debating applying for unemployment benefits… you see, if they find me a “suitable job” that pays me less than 400$ a week, we will actually be PAYING for me TO GO TO WORK because of the cost of finding childcare for two kids…..

It’s gonna take me a week or so to figure out what the hell the best course of action is here — in the meantime, I may head over to Trudy’s (a great Tex-Mex place) and get a job as a waitress, wait, they call them servers now, right? Hell, it’s been 20 years…wonder if my body can still take it….

How was ya’ll’s day? 8)

marisacat - 23 June 2009

OH brinn!

Well catch your breath, there is a week’s wait for Unemployment benefits anyway… I don’t know what the weekly benefit is in Tejas… but at least under the current state of affairs in almost all states it runs for up to 79 weeks… which is some small help…

brinn - 24 June 2009

Thanks, Mcat — I am up for living in a tent in the woods at this point…just applied online line for UI…we’ll see what happens — I have ZERO confidence that it will help, if I ever see a penny in the first place, that is.

I didn’t need to do the “week’s wait” because I received my last paycheck 6/1…was hoping they would renew my contract and I’d be back at work in the fall (was expecting to be income-less over the summer in any case…)

I have no diea if they’ll actually afford me benefits or not, as I was “only” employed part-time…

Will upodate for sure.

Madman in the Marketplace - 23 June 2009

oh no!!!

hang in there brinn.

brinn - 24 June 2009

Thanks Madman — I’ll be fine, we’ll be fine…goddes how I hate that word “fine”….

More matches? 😉

catnip - 23 June 2009

*hugs* brinn. On to better and brighter things!

brinn - 24 June 2009

Thanks, catnip — hugs are always appreciated!

Remember back in our Booman days when I asked you to look for land for me in Canada? I was always dead serious about that. I am SOOOOO wanting to buy an “escape hatch” somewhere — of course, it will take a collaborative pooling of (re)sources for any kind of down payment, but I have been poking people with the idea for almost 5 years now, and some of them might be more open to it these days….if you have suggestions about good places to look for livable land (with or without structures), email me at guddoeh@gmail.com

and thanks again for the hugs — I need ed that and right back at ya! 😉

lucid - 23 June 2009

So sorry Brinn… I’m not sure if Tejas is different from other states, but, from what I understand they can’t ‘force’ you to take a job if you’re on unemployment. If you can’t find anything good quickly, take a part time, under the table job for a bit to round out your benefits until you can find something that actually pays the bills.

My thoughts are with you… more and more of my friends are being laid off as the days go on – you’re not alone.

brinn - 24 June 2009

thanks, lucid — maybe I’ll get some verse4 out of it all int he end! heh.

Dunno about them not being able to ‘force’ you — just applied online for bennies and it says:

Suitable Work
Suitable Work is work that TWC determines you should be willing to accept> [emphasis mine], evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Some factors TWC considers are:

* Your experience, qualifications, and training
* The working conditions and pay for similar work in your area
* Any risks to your health, safety, or morals
* The distance to work from your home and local commuting patterns
* The length of your unemployment

In the process of applying, they already reduced what THEY deem to be my “normal wage” by 1000$/month….


and so it goes — have a BLAST in Italy — play music, drink wine, and share and take pix and stuff! Safe travels, my friend bard!

23. catnip - 23 June 2009
marisacat - 23 June 2009

Sadly, not everyone can be Leonardo da Vinci or Karol Wojtyla. Or Andrew Sullivan.

Sullivan, who has worn dozens of hats in his lifetime, is truly unique. He stands astride the worlds of politics, journalism, theology, foreign policy, and applied obstetrics like the Colossus of Rhodes.

What a scream! and a treat to read.. thank you… 🙄

catnip - 23 June 2009

So over the top – but so is Sully.

lucid - 23 June 2009

a genius whose force of will and flexible, dominating intellect allows him to master or nearly master not one or two, but a whole host of related and unrelated fields of study and practice.

You missed the ‘pith’… He’s a genius! Genius I tell you! He has intellect! It dominates! He is as comfortable with bestiality as with the unrelated field of heterosexuality, though he is himself, a homo! And he takes pharmaceuticals, which makes him have the special wisdom that only a pill popping aristocrat can have when faced with the dark forces closing in – even if he knows those dark forces are caused by the very real nightmares he has every evening [which are dispelled by another dose of ambien]…

Gah… Aesop gathering water was more interesting.

marisacat - 23 June 2009

One day I laughed really hard when Sully posted that people like me with little to no interest in MJ, in any form, who believe it should be legalised COMPLICATE the political issue.

Gee. How so Master.

lucid - 23 June 2009

Well why not? I’m sure he spends hours every day trying to figure out why it’s OK to kill just about any living person, meanwhile, the blastocysts must be preserved.

I’m sorry, anyone who scales that fissure is worthy only of mockery, because they obviously have no capacity for reason.

He isn’t intelligent enough to be a parody.

marisacat - 23 June 2009

well not to worry! After riding the Tiller killing and riding late term abortion he decided it was likely (no doubt he is praying for guidance) those are the “good” abortions.

All I cna think is that Sully truly truly hated hsi mother, with a vicious passion. His bizarre interest in womens reproductive lives, almost matched by the baby-faced Douthat (they need to get a room!), is simply depraved.

24. lucid - 23 June 2009

On a better note… Italy or bust, Thursday…

marisacat - 23 June 2009

Have a wonderful wonderful trip!

25. lucid - 23 June 2009

I’ll type in a few updates via the iphone… Getting almost giddy!

26. marisacat - 24 June 2009

hmmmmm new thread……………


…………….. 😯 ………………

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