Friday, October 05, 2007

liveblogging Tony Snow on the Late Show with David Letterman

Tony Snow is quite tall. He's taller than Letterman by an inch or so and Letterman is 6'2. Wearing a light shirt, open collared, dark jacket. But of course, once he starts talking, he's largely full of it.

Letterman asks him if any reporters who were trying to start stuff and he said there was one who was always trying to instigate nuclear match-ups (David Gregory?) between countries. Now how could a reporter, asking a question, be responsible for two countries pointing nukes at one another? That's what countries do. Policy determines whether people point nukes at one another. If you have a nutjob as leader, perhaps he might force a confrontation. Otherwise, it's not going to happen. Certainly not because of a reporter.

Letterman wonders whether Bush's approval rating (he says/asks, what is it, 30 something; Snow agrees) bothers the White House. Snow says it could be better. How to make a 33% approval rating appear not so bad.....yeah, and the sky could be higher up. What does that mean? Snow babbles on about how a wartime President isn't popular. Uh Monkey Boy wasn't popular after initially hitting Afghanistan...through '03.....starts to slow down. Yeah, it has nothing to do with a quagmire in Iraq or a storm in New Orleans. And, uh, FDR (not sure if there were opinion polls then, but he was certainly very popular). Ike I believe was at least not too unpopular, even through the political minefields of high level political service. George Washington....very popular. Kennedy, popular in the very early days of Vietnamese involvement. Bush's daddy very popular during the Gulf War in '91. So it helps if the war is perceived to be for a somewhat noble cause. Yeah, I hate those unfortunate facts interfering with Tony Snow's unpaid PR work. I guess once a hack, always a hack.

Oh yeah, then when Letterman throws him a bone noting-perhaps this is a regurgitation of a right-wing talking point-that Bush is in person a decent guy (cough cough as long as you agree with him in everything cough cough) Snow notes that there are lots of practical jokes done in this administration. Well that's reassuring eh?

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Matthews gets a taste of his own medicine

Oh man....I've waited a long time to see this. Matthews, consummate insider, the man who's all cozy with Tom DeLay and all up in Hilary's bidness, who's never met a subject who he won't interrupt and who he won't talk over, just gets taken to town by Jon Stewart. Oh man, this was hilarious. I thought Matthews would concede Jon was basically correct and that it's important to do right...but no, he just keeps hammering away at (yes, he really said this) how (and this was such a bizarre anecdote) he thought the way to get girls in college (wait....wasn't that like 40 years ago Chris? You're talking as though it's ongoing) was drinking and hoping for the best...and Bill Clinton says, no, it's listening. Apart from the fact that, uh, when has Bill Clinton ever said that, Jon follows up that this begs the question of whether politicians are actually interested or whether they're just going through the motions. Either Chris has never thought of this or he's so in the tank that he can't think objectively about this, but he's confused. He presents the example of Hilary's listening tour and Jon says, well, does she (or any other pol) really care?

By the end, Matthews is really frustrated. BTW, what is up with his laugh? And why does he walk out with his arms crossed? Who does that? Jon's invited on Hardball and he demurs, saying "I don't troll". The funny thing Jon obviously knows what Chris is talking about....he just doesn't believe the hype, so to speak. Matthews has written a book that basically says (with apologies to that old chestnut) "Everything I Learn In Life, I Can Learn From Campaigning". And Jon says, isn't there something to do with, do right, do the right thing? And Matthews here gets a bit hazy. He claims the two are intertwined, but he doesn't seem to believe it himself. Matthews claims at the end that this is "the interview from hell." I think if he'd admitted essentially that he was a hack and there was a limited amount one can learn from the cynical business of modern politics, he might have survived. But when Jon notes that this book is a recipe for sadness in response to Matthews' claim that everything in life is essentially campaigning-trying to get a girlfriend, get a job, etc-he reveals his essentially craven political hack-ness. Matthews compares this interview to an interview he did with Zell Miller (D-Insania) during the '04 Repub convention in which he met his match in political cynicism. Miller's odd smile after supposedly convincing Matthews to back off a bit is one of the strangest political moments I've ever seen, and we've seen some doozies over the last nearly seven years in particular.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

more Rush

This guy is incredible. So now again, he's denying "agency" (a nice graduate history term which basically refers to autonomy) to the guy who said, "come and call me a phony soldier to my face", basically saying this guy is being used by the left.

As if this guy doesn't have a mind of his own. As if Rush's comments aren't despicable on their own. But yet where are the Repubs condemning this? FAUX News has circled the wagons with this clown? Ughh, I need a shower.

Labels: ,

C-SPAN 3 hearing on Blackwater

Wow, in these partisan times, I love the relations among the House Oversight Committee members. It's just wonderful the passive-agressive snipping between committee members. When one representative was simply asking the CEO of Blackwater, about the number of accidents involving Blackwater employees and Prince noted that the company had lost three helicopters in Iraq in the past year, professional civic idiot Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Moronia) interposed, outside of the Roberts' rules of orders-just straight interrupted and said.....I swear I heard this.......did this committee investigate the helicopter crash of (former Clinton Commerce Secretary) Ron Brown. Rep. Waxman and Rep. Davis, the chairs and minority standing members both said they weren't on the committee at that time. Really, Issa is such a douche. He, Dan Burton (R-Idiotiana-he's from Indiana but I have nothing particularly against Hoosiers), Tom Mica (R-FL) just want to give this guy's balls a little tickle. They all noted that Blackwater had not allowed any Congresspeople to be injured. Is this the indication of the fitness of Blackwater's work? Dan Burton also just attempted to offer Prince the floor (when he didn't have the floor) to answer a claim that was not an opinion and which was made at the end of one of the Representatives' period for questioning witnesses and in which there was no more time for questions to be addressed. Of course, the reason for Burton's defensiveness is that these are inconvenient facts (as most are) for neo-cons. It's unbelievable how intellectually dishonest these guys are. They had (and still have, in some ways, because of the spinelessness of too many Dems) their way in pushing undemocratic, unaccountable, unresponsive government, for several years after 9/11/01, but when the tables are turned, they attempt to minimize the validity of opposing points of view. And Chris Shays just seems bonkers. He was very brusque with Prince even though his questions weren't particularly harsh. He really is a sick dog. Who knows WHAT goes on behind closed doors with him.

To be honest, Prince seems like an OK guy-at least he's somewhat decent. Given the lawlessness of his company, he seems pretty forthcoming. He might be a nice guy. Again, that is not reason to win a billion dollars in contracts. He's obviously a hard-core neo-con judging by his financial contributions to the Republican party, but the problem is really bigger than whether Blackwater is running amok in Iraq. What we really need is testimony of the State Dept. about the accountability of Blackwater and whether they are accountable to the Dept. of Defense. And unfortunately they are not accountable to the Dept. of Defense, but to the Dept. of State. It is this crossing of wires in the accountability of US personnel is the unaccountable space in which Blackwater and others like them can act so blithely.

Humorous quote of the last 20 minutes: Prinz says: "I think my financial folks will tell you I'm not a financially-driven guy." Yeah, that's why he just said earlier today that he made more than one million dollars in '06 while David Petraeus, the man in charge of US forces in Iraq, made at least six times less. Also in the previous link, Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus notes that in arranging a contract with Regency Hotel for hospital security, Blackwater charged Regency on average $1100 per day per person while their average employee made $600 a day. So you do the math. There are $500 per day per person profits on a 34 person contract negotiated for a year for a contract back in 2004 which is going straight into Blackwater's pocket. And the average pay for a soldier in Iraq? Glad you asked. Also from Pincus' article, an unmarried sergeant makes about $83 a day and a married sergeant, around $170. Something smell bad to you too?

(More has been written about this disaster capitalism by Naomi Klein including excerpts here, and the seminal book on Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill).

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

mock Jena 6 re-enactment

This is really pretty sick. These kids dressing up blackface and re-enacting the Jena 6 assault claim that they had been drinking and things just got out of hand.....yeah, I'll say. Is it any wonder this country is in such a mess?


Monday, October 01, 2007

Rush Limbaugh goes wawee wawee wawee

  • You know, I wouldn't be surprised if aliens have reached and contacted Earth, just not the US. They might have contacted people in other countries and established relations with them, on the grounds that we don't have interact with those crazy Americans.

    Yes that's right, Rush Limbaugh is at it again. It's not enough that he refers to soldiers who don't agree with him as phony, but when Harry Reid rightly criticizes him, he comes back like a third-grader who's just been hit in the head at dodgeball. Say it to my face? He could say it to your face, but it'll be a ways from you because of that big belly between you and the Senator. If you wanna see a couple good smackdowns of this pomposity, here's one from a vet, and here's another from the veteran advocacy group Vote This is all despicable. These guys, most especially Limbaugh, play rhetorical games while soldiers die. Forget the fact that the policy itself is a disaster, let's argue about how polite we are in talking about how disastrous the policy is.

  • Hadn't found a translation of Bush's comments to then Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar as printed in El Pais so hadn't commented about this, but it's pretty dreadful. Well, it's really not too surprising I guess; it's about in keeping with what he said to Blair last year in terms of his awarness of the world and international relations. At that time, as Juan Cole says so well above, he displayed the lack of mastery of international relations which bedevils our relations with the rest of the world, suggesting that the Syrians "need to cut this shit out." It's as though he was telling his 8 year old son to stop poking his seven year-old sister or something. Ah, yeah, cut that shit out-thanks W-now we know how to stop this gruesome hemorrhaging in the Middle East. If no one had told us that before, we would just have continued bombing and killing each other. But now we know.....why didn't someone tell us that in 1949? So many lives could have been saved.....

    And here Bush goes again, this time with then Spanish PM Aznar, saying that waiting for Saddam was like "Chinese water torture", that there was "no guarantee" Saddam wouldn't be assassinated as an alternative to going into exile (which he had offered to do), said that he was running out of patience with Saddam and said that he didn't think he could wait for the UN too long. He also says makes the sort of thuggish, bullying suggestions for which he is now known, suggesting not-so-subtly that those world beaters Angola, Chile, and the Cameroon, if they attempt to hold Bush back, might be dealt with punitively. This is a 6th grader pounding on a 2nd grader. And then when Aznar mentions waiting until March 14, Bush demurs, saying maybe he can handle the 10th. This guy's megalomania, while well-established, becomes just more appalling by the minute.

Labels: , , , ,