Catapulting the Propaganda: Tender Sensibilities and Faux Outrage

When a foreign official accuses another nation of engaging in Goebbel-esque propaganda campaigns, it’s sure to make news. Yesterday, Brazil’s trade minister accused “rich nations” (read: the U.S.) of using Joesph Goebbel’s infamous strategy of repeating lies enough times that the lies become conventional wisdom. The Bush administration reacted sharply – but didn’t deny the accusations, only the reference.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Faux outrage always amuses me, particularly when it’s projected for media / public consumption. Here’s how it works: someone (say, a politician) will make an outrageous or insulting accusation; hyperbole to emphasize a point. Someone on the opposite side of the political fence takes public umbrage – “Gasp! How can you say that? Oh, my tender sensibilities!” – without disputing the main point of the accusation.

Such an occasion occurred yesterday at World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. According to reports, in advance of a WTO meeting this week, Brazil’s trade minister Celso Amorim accused “rich countries” of engaging in Goebbel-esque propaganda in attempting to ram through the Doha trade accords:

Brazil sought to play down a spat with the United States on Sunday that threatened to sour a week of key World Trade Organisation talks after its foreign minister likened arguments of rich countries to Nazi propaganda. Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told reporters on Saturday that “misinformation” about the WTO talks recalled the comment of Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels that a lie repeated often enough will be accepted as truth.

A spokesman for U.S. trade chief Susan Schwab said Washington regretted the comment. “We are here to negotiate on substance and that kind of venomous name-calling does not have a place in these talks,” spokesman Sean Spicer said on Sunday…

By way of background, the Bush administration has been trying to hammer out an overarching WTO deal (many core issues in dispute, at least in terms of agricultural trade).

In the end, though, Celso Amorim probably accomplished what he intended to do with such inflammatory remarks. He made the point that the U.S. is controlling the WTO “message” in a manner that does little more than amplify the interests

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Richard Blair |

Innocence Lost: The Path From Purity To Pragmatism

The attainment of morality is an elusive construct. Attempting to define the morality of a society is even more complex. Often, the combatants seeking to instill morality believe, with certainty, that the end justifies the means. In truth, cohesion often requires the concession of purity.


Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

AshesOfInnocence.jpg

Many Americans like to look at Europe as an example of the moral decay we can expect if we continue to alter our values and ignore our long standing Christian principles. Implicit in this belief, amongst many on the religious right, is the presumption that one’s morality is directly correlated with one’s sexuality…and that goes beyond any consideration of one’s orientation. It also includes a belief that sexual activity is only acceptable under the umbrella of a marriage. That means that sex before marriage is unacceptable and it also infers that both parties are expected to be virgins.

Along with these sexual mores and our disdain for Europe is a growing belief that Islam is an unacceptable religion…or at the very least a religion that will not lead to salvation and therefore it cannot lead to one’s admittance into heaven. Fortunately, life often provides the contrasts and comparisons necessary to illuminate the absurdity and/or hypocrisy of our beliefs…and our predisposition to judge others while ignoring the need for self-examination.

An article in The New York Times provides the backdrop for some measure of reflection…and an illumination of the slippery slope that moral certainty often becomes. The prevalence of Islamic immigrants in Europe has served to pit a strict religious ideology against a far more secular society…and that has led to some rather convoluted interpretations of propriety.

It seems that a number of the Islamic women (note that we don’t focus on the Islamic men) who have partaken in the sexual freedoms afforded by European culture now find themselves in the unenviable position of being unacceptable marriage partners. Islamic teaching require that a bride be a virgin, and should that not be the case, she can be rejected and the marriage can be nullified

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Daniel DiRito |

The GOP Price of Living (and Dying)

Those of us of a certain age have seen the economy expand, then contract, then expand again on many occasions. Things have changed, though – from Reagan’s “revolution” to GHW Bush’s “voodoo economics” through the unprecedented wealth transfer that has happened during Bush II’s reign, there’s a fundamental difference. In that difference lies the reason that I’m a progressive Democrat…

Commentary By: Richard Blair

The BeavI’m old enough to remember when the nuclear family was really the American dream: 2.2 kids, a house with a modest mortgage, mom met the kids at the school bus stop in the afternoon because she didn’t work outside the home, dad came rolling in later in the afternoon, dinner was served, homework was done, then maybe some TV (3 VHF channels and a couple of UHF “independents”). Rinse, spit, repeat.

The promise of technology and automation was never that Americans would lose their jobs to machines, but that the machines would make the jobs more efficient and lead to a better quality of life for everyone. LBJ’s “Great Society” was a product of progressive thinking – that yes, indeed, it was possible for the previous generation to leave the next generation just a little bit better off, and so on and so on.

In the past, I’ve ranted about how there was a palpable shift in the overall demeanor of big business back in the early days of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Perhaps I was a bit closer to it (“the shift”) at the time because of the point that I was at in my career – I’d been with the same employer for a couple of years, making a pretty good wage, and I was the sole breadwinner in the family. That was my role; that was the real role in life I thought I was supposed to play. But I could sense, even back then, that something was terribly amiss. I just couldn’t put my finger on it at the time. Something strange was happening in the work place that augured an uncertain future.

Allow me to use a personal story as a segue into a larger discussion on why I’m a progressive Democrat.

The company I worked for during the Reagan years made a very rapid transformation from a truly “family oriented” employer, to a “bottom line” company. Harvard Business School was just starting to churn out Michael Hammer-cloned MBA graduates using the “Chainsaw Al” Dunlap model of business education. The heady days of merger and acquisition really got cranking around the time of Reagan’s second inauguration. The atmosphere in the workplace shifted dramatically in the space of what felt like just a few short months. In fact, the change was so dramatic that, even in the quasi-professional / technical role that I filled, it was becoming obvious that the only way to survive was for those in my technical specialization to organize with a local labor union. And so we tried – I tried. I was very active in the effort.

I was active in the effort for several reasons, but the most important was that the HBS graduates were starting to fling around the specter of competition and deregulation and corporate survival as if to generate a self fulfilling prophecy. And, to a degree, the HBS’ers did just that. What a union offered, even a professional / technical union, were rules that the company and employees had to live by. I reasoned that, without a legally binding employment contract, non-represented, non-management employees were flying by the seat of their pants and without a net.

In the long run, I was right.

The company used a couple of really shady tactics, aided and abetted by a Reagan-reconstituted National Labor Relations Board ruling, to defeat the organizing effort, and the union local was not prepared well enough to respond. The threat of layoffs never emerged for the rank and file union members in the company, but the professional and technical specialties started to be purged in the late 1980′s, as folks like me began to simply make too much money.

As my salary and 401K grew, I clearly recall sitting at my kitchen table one night and amortizing the value of my salary and benefits 20 years into the future. I somberly recognized that evening that the company couldn’t sustain me and hundreds of my coworkers into the future. At some point, even a modest three or four percent increase per year in a fairly decent salary becomes like compounding interest to the bean counters in a company – and it was clear that something had to give. So the professional ranks started taking hits in terms of layoffs, “performance-based” firings, and early retirement package offerings to those in the organization who held the corporate institutional memory.

Here’s an example of how quickly the changes occurred, and why I worked so hard in the union organizing effort.

At one time, the technical and professional folks made time and a half for overtime (because the company would never compensate their professional people less than their union workers, don’tcha know…). Out of the blue, the non-represented technical workers were required to put in at least 45 hours a week to qualify for time and a half. The uncompensated five hours per week was euphemistically dubbed “professional time”. And then one day, word came down from the executive suite that overtime was completely gone for the professionals. You worked what you had to in order to get your job done, no matter how long it took or how much additional responsibility you had to assume because the guy’s desk next to you was suddenly vacated late on a Friday afternoon (the favorite time to issue pink slips), and there was no replacement for him or her.

But you know who didn’t go? The company never touched the union rank and file, because of the contract. There are still guys working for the company in union positions who were there when the great middle management purge of 1990 took place.

I was fortunate enough to see the handwriting on the wall, and started doing some serious programming work on the side back then, and that led to my ability to leave the company on my own terms in the mid-90′s. After all, computers were where the big money was, Tim Berners-Lee was rolling out the HTTP protocol, and the dot com boom was just getting underway. My services were in pretty high demand, and I brought not only my computer experience to a booming market, but my mature business acumen. It was a great combination that worked for awhile, and I made a pretty good living. And then the dot com bust hit.

Makin' the NutBy the time I was forced back into the job market in the early part of this century, even though my skills were at their peak, my earning power was not. The conservative mantra was, “well, you work whatever you have to work at. McDonalds, whatever. There’s no shame in working hard.” Indeed. It got to the point where I took one of the first jobs that I was offered that was even remotely reasonable in terms of compensation. And then that job was “mergered and acquisitioned”, even though it was in the non-profit sector. The last several years have been a struggle, having come down from positions of both authority and responsibility. In the business climate that I was unfortunate enough to experience, at a certain age, it’s impossible to regain career traction, and you settle for the best job that’s available in order to make ends meet.

I know I’m not alone in my tale, and that there are many out there like me. My real income has declined significantly since the mid-90′s. In fact, I was 1040–²ing more per year in 1995 than I am today. And I’m working harder today than I ever did in my life, for a relatively thankless employer whose executive battle cry at the end of every quarter is: “We’re not making the numbers!! Panic! Panic!!” So, the sales force forward-sells our product line to make this quarter’s numbers at the expense of bookings at the beginning of next quarter. It’s an endless cycle of stupid business decisions that leads to bargain basement deals for our customers, less revenue for the company, and a repeating of the cycle again at the end of next quarter.

The company that I work for in 2008 is by no means exceptional in the modern corporate world. There is no “quality of life”, so to speak. I’m tethered to a cell phone and a computer 24 hour a day, 365 days a year, and I spend my time reacting to business crises rather than getting a break from the bonds. I am literally doing the same work that three people did 20 years ago. But my employer thinks this is ok. (The customers don’t, but that’s another story for another day.)

This is the life that the Republican Party brought to me, and why I’m such a strong progressive, even if I’m getting a bit long in the tooth. I’m angry. I’m angry with the business climate that has upended my life and that of millions of others like me. I’m angry that I’m good enough at what I do that I’m the “go-to” guy when there’s a steaming pile of business shit that someone else has left for me to clean up, but there’s no one to back me up when I have a less than stellar day at the office. I’m angry that at this point in my life I’m locked into a fairly dead-end position because of the paycheck, but more importantly, benefits that I can’t (again, at this point of my life) afford to be without.

In the past year, I’ve seen one of my closest business associates hang it up because it just wasn’t worth it anymore – he bailed out early when he had the opportunity, even as he was somewhat unsure of his financial future. Another (15 years younger than me) had a heart attack just before Christmas. He was back at his desk last week. He’ll never make it to retirement. Another is opting for early retirement in March rather than spend another minute with her nose stuck to the grind stone.

The nuclear family is a dream of the past. There are so many among us (thankfully, I’m not yet one of them) who have to work two and three jobs just to pay the mortgage, electric bill, and put food on the table because real wages have declined so precipitously in years recently passed. But the GOP thinks that’s all right, in fact, they’re proud of it. They think it’s just peachy that mom and dad have to work themselves to the point of exhaustion, and then on the other hand they wonder why the nuclear family has disintegrated.

There is more than just a mortgage crisis at hand, and I don’t think anyone in a position to say so really wants to admit it in polite company. There is a very real family financial liquidity crunch that is underway, and sooner than later, the crunch is going to affect all of us. The unprecedented wealth transfer from poor and middle income families to the uber rich is nearly complete. The folks at the bottom of the GOP-led financial pyramid scheme are nearly bled dry, and the pyramid is about to collapse. To sustain itself a little longer, the folks at the top of the pyramid will have to start an Amway-style ritual of financial cannibalism amongst themselves. I think that (to an extent) this is exactly what we’re seeing in the stock markets and big financial houses as the true meltdown begins. Is this is how it starts?

An executive of a collapsed subprime mortgage lender jumped to his death from a bridge Friday, shortly after his wife’s body was found inside their New Jersey home, authorities said.

The deaths of Walter Buczynski, 59, and his wife, Marci, 37 – the parents of two boys – were being investigated as a murder-suicide, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office…

[He] was a vice president of Columbia, Md.-based Fieldstone Mortgage Co., a high-flying subprime mortgage lender that made $5.5 billion in mortgage loans and employed about 1,000 people as late as 2006.

However, it has since filed for bankruptcy and now has fewer than 20 employees. The company had recently filed court papers seeking approval to pay about $1.1 million in bonuses that would be divided among Buczynski and other staffers so the company could wind down its lending operations and go out of business…

Even in the last throes of corporate failure, the bosses reward themselves.

It’s only speculation, but perhaps this tragedy happened in part because the Buczynski’s were embroiled in some intractable sort of financial difficulty. Still, for each VP of a failed company that can’t take the personal pressure any longer and leaps from a bridge, how many more bodies and destroyed lives from the lower rungs of the economic pyramid have they left in their wake as they pursued the Republican holy grail of financial success and “A-list” cocktail parties?

When consumers stop spending, the economy is going to crash hard. Signs already point to a significant contraction in consumer spending, which is why George Bush today offered up a

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Richard Blair |

Bushie Kyle Sampson Claims Ignorance of the Law

It wasn’™t just Monica Goodling who broke the law in the DOJ and appointed career attorneys based on political criteria. Kyle Sampson also broke the law, though in his case he’™s making the usual whiney excuses, such as the notion that he, a member of the Justice Department, didn’™t KNOW the law he was sworn to uphold.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Our own Daniel DiRito has an excellent article about the lawbreaking of Bush Justice official Monica Goodling, a marginal lawyer, at best, who was empowered to make huge decisions in the Bush Justice Department under Albert Gonzales. This case will be part of the Bush legacy of both incompetence and politicization of our government’™s functions, a shameful legacy indeed, for surely the Justice Department is designed to serve all Americans, and not just Republicans. But it is the incompetence I write about today, and not Monica Goodling. In separate stories in the Washington Post and the New York Times, Kyle Sampson’™s lawyer, Bradford Berenson, gives a couple whiney excuses for Sampson’™s behavior, excuses that show Sampson himself was incompetent to fill his role in the Bush Justice Department. First, in the Washington Post

Friday, August 5th, 2011 by Richard Blair |

Musharref Resignation: Bush’s GWOT Just Got More Interesting

The world that the next president of the United States inherits is going to look very different than the current model. Global geopolitics are changing fast – Russia / Georgia, and now Pakistan’s Pervez Musharref resigns. Instability within the membership of the global nuclear club isn’t a good thing.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

I’m going to go out on a limb and make a prediction:

Before the next president takes office on 1/20/2009, the world is going to be a much different place. It’s almost starting to seem like the Bush regime is going out of their way to scorch them some earth, and leave a huge pile of crap for the next administration to sort through.

First, we have Russia and Georgia, a situation which isn’t going away anytime soon. The instability in the region will remain, and all parties will be nervously fingering a cocked trigger. But at least Condi Rice finally decided to leave the Feragamo store, quit vacation early, and head for the region. Bush himself delayed his two week vacay a day or two to “monitor developments”, but he’s now busy with brush clearing in Crawford.

Today comes word that BushCo / Cheney LLC’s lapdog, Pervez Musharref, has ended months of speculation and is resigning as president of Pakistan. There’s not much that I can add to this piece of news, other than what this means is even more instability in an already unstable member of the global nuclear club.

Georgia has nukes and ground forces. Russia has nukes and ground forces. The U.S. has nukes and essentially no uncommitted ground forces. Pakistan has nukes and ground forces, and a military which is not (apparently) answerable to the country’s civilian leadership.

The world that the next POTUS inherits just five short months from now will be very different than that which the Bush regime has operated with relative impunity. I’m not smart enough to know what that world might look like, but unfortunately, I am tuned into what’s happening just enough to be ve

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 by Richard Blair |

According to Poll, Time for Evangelicals to Ask WWJD Re Torture

Pew has stunning news out from a recent poll, that the correlation between allowing torture and church attendance is pretty strong. And what kind of frequent churchgoer prefers torture most? Evangelicals. Hold it a moment, isn’t George Bush an Evangelical? Have they even heard of Jesus the torture victim in his church?


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

This is a stunning survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and analyzed by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Here’s the graphs, and here’s the survey. The upshot is reported by CNN:

The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new analysis.

More than half of people who attend services at least once a week – 54 percent – said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is “often” or “sometimes” justified. Only 42 percent of people who “seldom or never” go to services agreed, according the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified – more than 6 in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only 4 in 10 of them did.

I would like to quote my wife on the subject.

Wow. Just wow. The people who would likely claim that they are most in tune with the teachings and doctrines of a man who was, well, tortured to death, are most likely to support torture and think it is “often” or “sometimes” justified. Unbelievable.

Man, this is disturbing. Sure, the survey is likely not merely measuring frequency of religious worship or the magnitude of one’s fundamentalism, but also how partisan one is a Republican. Yup, the correlation between one’s Republican partisanship and loving torture is probably even stronger than the one between religious practice and loving torture. What this tells me is that they’re teaching Republican values in these churches far more than they are teaching Jesus. How horrid such news is. How predictable, too.

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Taliban Advances in Pakistan

The ham-handed, post-9/11 foreign policy moves of the Bush administration have actually led the world much closer to the possibility nuclear terrorism. In the near term, President Obama is left with very few (if any) realistic options to deal with the deteriorating political situation in Pakistan.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Taliban in PakistanIn the immediate aftermath of the events of 9/1//2001, the Bush administration made a strategic foreign policy blunder that is still reverberating with negative consequences: embracing the government of Pakistan, then controlled by military strongman Pervez Musharraf, as a full partner in the administration’s horribly misguided “global war on terror”.

The thing is, the Musharraf regime was never more than an unwilling accomplice to BushCo’s wet dreams of U.S. dominion in the Middle East. Terrorist training camps within Pakistan continued to operate unfettered even as U.S. forces stormed into neighboring Afghanistan. Operations conducted by Pakistan’s military have been mostly staged for “show” purposes, and have been only marginally effective. Since Musharraf’s resignation as President, extremist elements in the country have made significant inroads, up to and including the government acceding to Taliban demands earlier this year that Shari’a law be implemented in a major Pakistani province.

And now, it appears as if Taliban militias are within striking distance of toppling the Pakistani government. Militia forces have advanced to within mere miles of Islamabad:

Residents streaming from Buner, home to nearly a million people, told local newspapers that armed militants are patrolling the streets. Pakistani television stations aired footage of Taliban soldiers looting government offices and capturing vehicles belonging to aid organizations and development projects. The police, say residents, are nowhere to be seen…

…Maulana Fazlur Rehman, head of one of the country’s Islamic political parties, warned in Parliament Wednesday [that] the Margalla Hills, a small mountain range north of the capital that separates it from Buner, appears to be “the only hurdle in their march toward the federal capital,” The only solution, he said, was for the entire nation to accept Shari’a law in order to deprive the Taliban of their principal cause.

The Bush administration left office with the full knowledge that they were leaving behind a fetid, smoking pile of foreign policy manure. Without a doubt, the instability in nuclear armed Pakistan is fast becoming the number one priority for Team Obama.

It’s interesting that the handwringers on the right were so worried about extremist Islamic elements getting their hands on nuclear weaponry from Saddam in the aftermath of 9/11. Many of us on the left also harbored the same concerns – except that the geographic source of the concern was much different – Pakistan, a nation that already possessed the weapons of mass destruction.

The ham-handed, post-9/11 foreign policy moves of the Bush administration have actually led the world much closer to the possibility nuclear terrorism. In the near term, President Obama is left with very few (if any) realistic options to deal with the deteriorating political situation in Pakistan.

But deal with it, he must. And soon.

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 by Richard Blair |

Why Not Snakes?

The CIA was authorized under the Bush Administration to use insects as interrogation enhancements. But no snakes. Not one thing about snakes. I’m smelling some kind of injustice here.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

We found out today that the Bush Administration wrote a memo that authorized the use of insects as an interrogation enhancement. Here’s the creepy crawly from Time:

The CIA desire to use insects during interrogations has not previously been disclosed, according to two civil liberties experts contacted by TIME. The Bybee memorandum, which was written on August 1, 2002, described the CIA’s plans for using insects this way:

“You [the CIA] would like to place Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box with an insect. You have informed us [the Department of Justice] that he appears to have a fear of insects. In particular, you would like to tell Zubaydah that you intend to place a stinging insect into the box with him. You would, however, place a harmless insect in the box. You have orally informed us that you would in fact place a harmless insect such as a catapiller in the box with him.”

An additional sentence at the end of this paragraph is redacted in the copy made public Thursday. Later in the same memo, Bybee concludes that “an individual placed in a box, even an individual with a fear of insects, would not reasonably feel threatened with severe physical pain or suffering if a caterpiller was placed in the box.” Bybee adds, however, that the interrogators should not tell Zubaydah that the insect sting “would produce death or severe pain.”

This sounds like the rejected script of a James Bond film or something. The evil guy, who has a lair inside a mountain, tortures Bond with insects. No, no, the rewrite says they have to use snakes. Hey, even Indiana Jones hates snakes!

Man, this is lame. The Bushies simply had no imagination. They should have had Simon Cowell lecture the terrorist suspects, or just shown them pictures of Dick Cheney and his friend with the shot up face. These guys needed some serious advice. Insects, indeed. What about the SNAKES!

Thursday, April 16th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

No Drama Choc-Obama

For Obama the Ben and Jerry’s flavor is “Yes Pecan,” but from the reports about how the Obama White House handled the Somali piracy crisis this weekend, they might consider “No Drama Choc-Obama” instead. The whack jobs will whine that they don’t get a flavor. “Teabaggery Dunce” sounds good, but I’m up for suggestions.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Well, chocolate is the big thing ont he agenda today at the White House, and eggs and children. It will be a frenzied White House lawn, but there’s calm there in the White House, and we saw it over the weekend. I’m thinking we saw evidence that “Yes Pecan” is a good flavor name to represent the Obama candidacy, but that “No Drama Choc-Obama” might be the best Ben and Jerry’s flavor to represent the Obama Presidency given the last couple days. The pirates in Somalia got slammed, as we all know from reading the papers (Inquirer, New York Times) and watching the news, and Captain Richard Phillips is freed unharmed. Certainly this is a triumph for the US, and a triumph for Barack Obama as well, but the way the Obama Administration handled the crisis shows us calm and deliberation and competence. From an analysis piece by the AP:

Since the standoff began, Obama had made no public, in-person remarks on the topic, even declining to answer when questions were shouted at him during a press availability.

He did not call in his cabinet for a high-profile command meeting. He let military and top administration officials do the talking, but even they kept saber-rattling out of the equation.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said Obama’s silence should not be interpreted to mean he wasn’t deeply involved. Obama’s public posture was calculated to not raise the temperature on the situation or give the hostage-takers anything to exploit.

So what Obama did was receive regular briefings, sometimes half a dozen a day. He weighed in with two critical decisions letting the military act to save Phillips’ life. And he laid the groundwork for a federal criminal law-enforcement response.

Calm, efficient, competent. The Obama Administration did all the right things in this crisis, and while it is a relatively small crisis, it is a big contrast to the “sky is falling” character of the Bush White House, what with their terror alert color coding and their panicky use of torture, invasion of countries not involved in terror, etc. Big contrast, but not one we should be surprised at. This Obama team has shown consistent competence over the last couple years. The only question right now is how the whack job Republicans will spin this Obama triumph. Certainly at freerepublic.com there is happiness at the outcome, but the whack jobs that frequent the site are taking their shots at Obama, which you can read here. On Redstate the whining is about Obama taking credit for something he had no part in, despite facts, and the conversation is raving over there. I suppose these dimwits are taking after Newt Gingrich and Britt Hume and Glenn Beck when they slammed Obama before this crisis ended. Still, no consistent Republican whack job narrative is forming since this resolution of the crisis yesterday, but we’ve got the blowhard Rush Limbaugh going on the air in a couple hours, and he will likely complain that the captured pirate isn’t being tortured.

Meanwhile, I suggest the new flavor at Ben and Jerry’s to honor Obama should be “No Drama Choc-Obama,” and that it be added to the list alongside “It’s Pecan.” Sure, neither of those two flavors is as entertaining as the flavor suggestions for President Bush, but they are strong and calm and bespeak leadership.

Does anyone have any ice cream flavors to describe the whack jobs out there who can whine about even this triumph? I’m thinking it needn’t be an appetizing name, but should reflect the notions of whininess while also representing the divorce from reality evinced by the whack jobs on the right. On another issue one would be tempted to come up with the ice cream flavor “Teabaggery Dunce,” or somesuch, but no new flavor names are jumping to mind to describe the rank and file whack jobs of the GOP, their base and ugly “base,” as it were. Help me out, wouldya?

Monday, April 13th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

Starting Over

What a difference an administration makes…

Commentary By: Richard Blair

If you need to recall how globally reviled George W. Bush became during the last few years of his presidency, check out this video (it’s short and very good; hit the play button):

And, if you want to know the general consensus of world leaders, in terms of the Obama administration, take a look at this shot from the just-concluded G20 conference:

starting over

I have been, and will continue to be, critical of Obama administration policies with which I do not agree. But it’s quite clear that Obama himself has become a symbol to the world that the lone cowboy attitude of George W. Bush (and Dick Cheney) is a thing of the past.

We really need to remember, forever and ever, how absolutely reviled Bush became on a global basis. The only place he’s going to be welcomed in the world is in the protected confines of gatherings of the GOP faithful. Assuming they’re both still alive in 2012, it will be interesting to see if either Bush or Cheney will be allowed to show their faces at the next Republican National Convention.

Come to think of it, I’d love to see it.

It’s comforting to know that the adults are back in charge.

Major tip of the hat to Al Rogers @ Daily Kos for his great video and photo gallery.

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 by Richard Blair |
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