The Republicans simply don’t care.
They don’t care that they lie. They don’t care that their lies are obvious. They don’t care that their lies wouldn’t fool an underpaid substitute Social Studies teacher in a public middle school…They don’t care that their history is a lie and that, by spreading it, they devalue the actual history of the country, which is something that belongs to us.”
That Esquire‘s estimable Charles Pierce writing on the first day of the RNC, and he hadn’t even heard Paul Ryan’s ridiculously falsehood-filled screed of night two. I’ve already said all I need to say about this clownshoes, but still: It’s amazing what a congenital liar this guy is. (As you know, people in real life don’t “accidentally” lowball their marathon time by an hour — especially not Type-A gunner physical trainer types.)
Of course, Republicans have lied before — Their 2004 convention, for example, was devoted to turning a bland Vietnam war hero into a brie-eating surrender monkey and the Democrats at large into an Al Qaeda sleeper cell. But I can’t remember hearing another speech by a major-party nominee so rife with statements that were easily and demonstrably untrue.
As Winston Smith wrote in his diary, “Freedom is freedom to say 2+2=4. If that is granted all else will follow.” And that is exactly the freedom Ryan launched a full-scale assault upon in his convention speech. In short, this was a new low for the GOP.
So, yes, as you may have heard, we finally found Osama Bin Laden, fulfilling a key promise President Obama made during the 2008 campaign. While I would have preferred to see the perpetrator of 9/11 captured alive and brought to trial — cause that’s how we do justice here in the US of A — congrats to the president’s team, the analysts who did the hard work, and the men and women who executed the operation, on finally getting their man.
All that being said, the second half of the president’s statement above is troubling. The death of Bin Laden should mark the beginning of the end of the 9/11 decade. With the splinter finally removed, it is time to take a long hard look not just at our continuing war in Afghanistan — after all, Osama was eventually found in Pakistan, mainly through what the Bunk would call good po-lice work — but at all the questionable and/or extra-constitutional actions we have taken in the name of fighting the terr’ists since September 11th. (Newsflash: Torture had nothing to do with capturing OBL.) If the death of Bin Laden doesn’t move us to this reconsideration, what then ever will?
Unfortunately (and of course), that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening. Instead, Congress is laying the foundation for a wider war: “Contained in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 is a new authorization to use military force that would grant the executive branch the power to ‘address the continuing and evolving threat posed by these groups.’ In practice, that means the president could use military force against any suspected terrorist across the globe — indefinitely.“
Indefinite war? No thanks. There’s been an eerie touch of Emmanuel Goldstein in the way Bin Laden was used to justify all manner of extraconstitutional actions and civil liberties violations under Dubya — actions that have been ratified and continued under Obama. Now that the Bogeyman is dead, it’s time to stand down. It’s time to start acting like America again.
“What I have wanted most to do…is to make political writing into an art.” By way of Return of the Reluctant, it seems George Orwell’s diary entries will be posted online in blog form beginning August 9, seventy years after he initially wrote them. Welcome to the political blogosphere, George! (And good luck breaking into the TNR-Politico-Atlantic-TPM mutual-regard society.)
“I’m not going to put my lot in with economists.” As TPM noted, we seem to have finally reached the point where there are “no more sharks left to jump.” For alas, Sen. Clinton’s final, fraying tether to the reality-based community (and my general election vote, not that she’ll be getting that far anyway) gave up its last this weekend, as she — in defiance of her usual m.o. and very much in the manner of Dubya and the GOP — deemed universal opposition to her gas tax pander to be merely a figment of “elite opinion“. (She’s also doubled down on her anti-Obama gas tax ads.) As Robert Reich noted: “In case you’ve missed it, we now have a president who doesn’t care what most economists think. George W. Bush doesn’t even care what scientists think. He rejects all experts who disagree with his politics. This has led to some extraordinarily stupid policies.” (Rabid Clinton partisan Paul Krugman, also a member of the elite-economist cabal, has yet to weigh in on his being cast down as an enemy of the people.)
As it turns out, one of the salt-of-the earth proles at the event (self-identified as an Obama voter making less than $25,000 a year) called Clinton out to her face for this blatant idiocy: “‘I do feel pandered to when you talk about suspending the gas tax,’ the woman said, adding: ‘Call me crazy but I actually listen to economists because I think they know what they’ve studied.’” Clearly, this woman will be requiring significant reeducation. “‘How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.’ ‘Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.’” (Give Clinton credit: Her campaign has been a travesty, but it’s been great fodder for Orwell references around here.)
In any case, regarding the big picture: Unfortunately for earlier hopes that we’d be done May 6, it’s looking like tomorrow will almost assuredly bring a split, with NC for Obama and IN for Clinton. (That is, unless Zogby has finally broke out of its slump this cycle.) Meaning, of course, that Clinton will be even more mathematically eliminated. And yet, in all likelihood, we’ll slog on to June 3. Yay. (With that in mind, each side picked up another super today: Kalyn Free of OK for Obama and Theresa Morelli of Dems Abroad for Clinton. But as Morelli only counts for 1/2 a vote, that’s another 1/2-vote pick up for Obama.)
Update: make that two and a half: Obama picks up two more MD supers, Michael Cryor and Lauren Dugas-Glover. And it sounds like some of Clinton’s CA supers are reconsidering their options.
Update 2: Apparently, economists still mattered in 1992.
First we had Senator Clinton adopting various Hail Mary Rovianisms, which have been well recorded here, including but not nearly limited to an ad featuring Osama Bin Laden just this past week. Then Bill went on the Rush Limbaugh show. Then Sen. Clinton played nice with Richard Mellon Scaife, architect of the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” for his endorsement. And now we have this:
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.“
“In the beginning, it was about momentum. When she lost momentum, it was about pledged delegates. When she lost pledged delegates, it was about the popular vote. And now that she’s on her way to losing the popular vote, it’s about the number of electoral votes held by the states in which the candidates have won primary victories.” Comrades! Pleddel and popvote now fullwise ungood and goldstein. The new metric of our glorious success is and has always been Elecvote. Be wary of thoughtcrime, brothers and sisters. Also, chocorat going up 15%.
Speaking of Newspeak, this may work against Sen. Obama, but I feel forced to admit it: His lead in pledged delegates, the popular vote, and the number of states won notwithstanding, Sen. Clinton won every state with “New” in its name — New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York. And, since the superdelegates are looking to pick a “new” president, their choice is sadly all too clear. I’d hoped and assumed Sen. Obama would be our nominee, but you just can’t argue with ironclad logic like that.
“This man has advanced Communist views, and several of his Indian friends say that they have often seen him at Communist meetings. He dresses in a bohemian fashion both at his office and in his leisure hours.” Big Brother was watching him: Ralph Luker of Cliopatria points the way to the recently-released UK Security Service files on George Orwell (as well as those on folk music archivist Alan Lomax and others.) “[W]hile his left-wing views attracted the Service’s attention, no action was taken against him. It is clear, however, that he continued to arouse suspicions, particularly with the police, that he might be a Communist. The file reveals that the Service took action to counter these views.”
“April the 4th, 1984. To the past, or to the future. To an age when thought is free. From the Age of Big Brother, from the Age of the Thought Police, from a dead man… greetings.” By way of Ed Rants: all of Michael Radford’s excellent film version of 1984, online.
“The idea that Truman and Dean Acheson could be hauled out as exhibits for preventive war in Iraq against ‘abject pacifists’ such as myself made me feel that I was living in Oceania, and the Ministry of Peace had rewritten the textbooks to prove that the legacy of a president who rejected preventive war in fact constituted the best justification for it!” By way of my friend Mark, Peter Beinart and Michael Tomasky go toe-to-toe over the legacy of ’48 at Slate‘s Book Club. I’m inclined to agree with the latter.
“When we think about the authoritarian world that Orwell painted, the catchphrases are one thing, but when you read the book again, the specifics and relevance for now are stunning.” Apparently, Tim Robbins is thinking of bringing 1984 to the screen (again). Hmmm…I dunno. I enjoy Bob Roberts and Dead Man Walking, but thought Embedded was way over the top. And it’d be really hard to make a better or more faithful adaptation than the Michael Radford version with John Hurt and Richard Burton.
As the Cheney-Addington gang work to strip the Geneva Convention from prisoner treatment manuals, the Washington Post uncovers an overseas network of CIA “black sites,” a.k.a. gulags, some of which actually use old Soviet compounds in Eastern Europe(!) “It is illegal for the government to hold prisoners in such isolation in secret prisons in the United States, which is why the CIA placed them overseas…Legal experts and intelligence officials said that the CIA’s internment practices also would be considered illegal under the laws of several host countries, where detainees have rights to have a lawyer or to mount a defense against allegations of wrongdoing.”
Whatsmore, these gulags, created under this administration since 9/11, “were built and are maintained with congressionally appropriated funds, but the White House has refused to allow the CIA to brief anyone except the House and Senate intelligence committees’ chairmen and vice chairmen on the program’s generalities.” There’s no other way to look at this: By appropriating the tactics of our enemies, as John McCain warned earlier this month, we have abandoned our most fundamental principles and shamed our nation. Evildoers? Please. Dubya need look no further than his own White House and CIA. Update: Congress and the EU want answers.