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Batten down the hatches, the neocons are coming...again. Mitt Romney already has his national security team lined up. No big surprises in it -- it reads like a re-air of the Bush Administration, and Sean Hannity is in his element.
Here are the people Sean Hannity calls "the best, brightest military minds, heroes" that he has ever had the opportunity to meet. Evidently he doesn't get out much. Sean's list includes Oliver North (convicted felon), Gen. Thomas McInerney (birther), KT McFarland (Reagan PR hack), Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican tea party water carrier, and more.
Hannity's purpose in convening this tribunal was to try the president for the crime of "spiking the football." Well, that and also to foment some sympathies for a war with Iran, and also pimp some participants' books, and also to further justify torture. It truly was a shameless display from a shameless partisan who feels not even a pang of compunction at stirring up support for more senseless death and destruction in the world.
In the first section, we have Oliver North cheerleading for torture, and condemning the "media and the far left" for challenging waterboarding techniques so they can repeat the trope that "enhanced interrogation techniques" led to the capture and killing of Bin Laden. Meh. Only True Believers actually buy that nonsense. It's as much of a myth as WMD in Iraq at this point. I might actually take Hannity seriously if he had actually manned up and taken Keith Olbermann's challenge to be waterboarded himself.
Hannity then moves on to the question of the imminent takeover of the entire world by radical Islamists, while ignoring the takeover of our country by radical Catholics and far right-wing Christians. Birther McInerney takes over this segment for Sean, earnestly informing his audience that these Islamists "are just getting started," and how the ideology is as evil as "Nazism, fascism and communism." McInerney finishes off his statement with the declaration that the "Muslim Brotherhood is in the White House."
I kid you not. He actually said that. Not to be outdone, Hannity earnestly questions this disgrace of a general about whether this is World War III, and are we going to have to "launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran?"
Holy crap, these people are nuts. I can only hope no one bothered to watch this travesty and waste of broadcast time because they're just flat-out crazy.
The final piece of this clip deals with pearl-clutching over negotiations with the Taliban. Clearly Sean Hannity has not managed to understand the distinction between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban. They're two different and distinct organizations, and the Afghan Taliban are going to be a necessary part of any effort for Afghanistan to be self-sustaining and responsible for their own security. Not negotiating with them guarantees the country will continue to be ripped apart by civil war.
I realize these folks only understand "kill, maim, and destroy" as a solution, but they are shouting into a void, unless one is a Romney supporter. Romney definitely agrees with their fearmongering ways, but by a clear and concrete margin, Americans do not. Roger Ailes and Sean Hannity can keep flogging the fear and hoping they get some ears to hear, but what I know is that this country is tired of war, tired of losing our best and brightest to death by IED, and tired of going broke doing it. When only 17% of the country supports military action with Iran, no amount of Hannity and Associated Neocon Bloviation is going to move that needle.
If ever there was a case to be made that Rupert Murdoch and Associates are not competent to run a news network, Sean Hannity and his Gang of Neocons should be the closing argument. Disgusting.
Before I begin, after seeing Tom Bales first sentence of the 2nd graf let me just say: Fuck Chuck Todd. I was present at the Obama Rally today. The Schottenstein Center has a capacity of 18,809. I would estimate that 3500 - 4000 seats in the upper deck were un-used. But the crowd on the floor easily exceeded 1500 people.
But all in all, POTUS kicked off his reelection campaign in Boner's home state on a high note and with considerable success, no matter how hard the right wing media and talking heads try to downplay it. The fact that they're trying so desperately TO downplay it is ample proof of what I just said. If they weren't scared spitless they wouldn't be that desperate now, would they?
The surprise to me was Michelle. I had not ever seen her speak for as long as she did introducing POTUS. She is one heck of a speaker.
But the Main Event was the President. Michelle leaves as Barak steps to the podium.
There was a Romoney campaign bus near the Schottenstein Center today with a few tables with staffers present.
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Not long ago the election was thought to be a blowout, with current president Sarkozy on the losing side. Despite a stronger than expected debate showing by challenger François Hollande, Sarkozy has been closing the 10 point deficit and inching closer over the past week. In an American-style campaign, there may have been enough time to close the gap but with campaigns lasting only a matter of weeks, it may not be enough for Sarkozy. More from The Guardian:
Socialist voters face a nervous wait for the results of today's presidential election runoff between Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande after final opinion polls following Wednesday's fiery television debate revealed a late surge in favour of the outgoing president, who has trailed his leftwing rival throughout the race.
The polls indicated that Hollande was still on track to win the second round runoff vote, but revealed that the gap between the presidential rivals had narrowed from 10 percentage points a week ago to between four and six. An Ifop poll for Paris-Match showed Hollande at 52% and Sarkozy at 48%.
On Friday, before the official midnight deadline for campaigning to end, Hollande warned his supporters not to consider the election as being in the bag. At his last campaign meeting in Périgueux in south-west France, he said the battle was not yet won.
Just got this from a Biden spokesperson:
"The Vice President was saying what the President has said previously ? that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to rollback those rights. That?s why we stopped defending the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges and support legislation to repeal it. Beyond that, the Vice President was expressing that he too is evolving on the issue, after meeting so many committed couples and families in this country."
No he wasn't. The VP explained that all marriages, gay and straight, are the same. See my earlier post that I can't link to because Google's Blogger app doesn't let you create hyperlinks (yet another reason someone at Google should be fired).
Update: I can embed that link John wanted (cause google likes me best...GP)
It makes a nifty encore too! Leonard Bernstein conducts his Overture to Candide, kicking off this famous televised December 1989 concert performance with the London Symphony Orchestra.
As you may have guessed from Friday's preview ("Encore, encore!"), when we heard the great cellist János Starker play three prime encore pieces -- all, as it happened, arranged for cello and piano from other instrumental configurations. I didn't have a very clear idea Friday where exactly this post was headed, except that it would be all encores.
Okay, we're stretching a little with the above video clip, in which Leonard Bernstein conducts his Candide Overture at the start of a concert performance of the piece. But for easily understandable reasons, countless conductors -- including Lenny himself, as memory serves -- used the Candide Overture as a peerlessly rousing encore.
The thing about encores is that they often represent the artist at his/her most personal, whether they're designed to rouse, seduce, charm, or just plain ravish. It's such a large subject, however, that after initially deciding that we would deal only with instrumental encores, leaving the vast subject of vocal ones for another time, I decided to narrow it down even further, to piano encores, at least once we get to the click-through, where we're going to hear sets of encores from three of the 20th's century's greatest pianists-- two of them actual sets of encores from actual concerts, the third a selection of favorite encores of his made by the artist to fill out an LP side.
Before we go there, though, I though we might hear another encore-suitable piece, an arrangement of a traditional Catalan carol for cello and orchestra, which aims to stir listeners in a very different way.
CASALS (arr.): El Cant dels ocells (The Song of the Birds)
Prades Festival Orchestra, Pablo Casals, cello and cond. Columbia/CBS/Sony, recorded 1950
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OUR THREE LEGENDARY PIANISTS, CLICK HERE
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While discussing whether the "war on terror" is over or not and some of the documents that were newly released that were acquired in the raid on Osama bin Laden's complex, The National Review's Rich Lowry decided to take a cheap shot at Media Matters. Apparently if a spokesman for a terrorist organization says something bad about Fox, that means the watchdog site Media Matters that also does not like Fox are exactly the same.
Here's the offending quote by the al Qaeda spokesman:
Adam Gadahn: In general, and not matter what material we send, I suggest that we should distribute it to more than one channel, so that there will be a healthy competition between the channels in broadcasting the material, so that no other channel takes the lead. It should be sent for example to ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN and maybe PBS and VOA. As for Fox News, let her die in anger.
Fox News Watch, which this segment is from, is supposed to be Fox's sorry excuse for a media watchdog site, that calls out biases in the "mainstream" evil liberal media, as opposed to all that "fair and balanced" reporting we get from Fox.
The show's equivalent we have from CNN is Howard Kurtz's Reliable Sources. It's usually a toss up from week to week on which one is worse with failing completely to be any sort of check on whether we're getting any honest reporting from our corporate media, and instead of adding to making their so-called "reporting" worse.
The right absolutely hates Media Matters because they dare to record and often just post without comment, what comes out of their mouths on a daily basis. But that's the equivalent of siding with terrorists in Rich Lowry's world. I'm sure if anyone actually asks him about this later, he'll write it off as another sorry attempt at right wing humor and claim that he was just joking, because everyone knows that it's completely hilarious when you call people you disagree with terrorist sympathizers.
And h/t to Media Matters for flagging this clip.
Back in January, we discussed a little bit Mitt Romney's life as a locust capitalist.
And on Wednesday, we discussed an interesting chart that told the story of how the workers who actually performed the labor behind a remarkable and history-making increase in productivity were left behind when it came to sharing the fruits of that increase.
So I've been thinking about revisiting the topic of just how Romney managed to keep making so much money from companies that, in many cases, ended up failing. But so has everyone else, so now I have some video support that does the job for me, in just three minutes.
So yeah, it's largely like I said it was in January. Romney borrows money to buy a majority stake in a company, takes over its board of directors, and uses that position to vote Bain a fat management contract, and take out the biggest loans possible from the company's bank. That money goes to pay back the people who put up the money for the purchase, as well as giant bonuses for Bain managers. But now the company has a huge debt to the bank (the interest on which is, of course, tax deductible), which the Bain managers sorta-kinda attempt to pay back by cutting payroll, benefits, investments in equipment, etc. Basically anything they can find to transfer the pain to anyone other than themselves.
Thanks, Secretary Reich! Beautiful job!
And now you know something about the mechanisms that produce economic insanity like this:
So, yeah. What that means is that not only is Romney not a "job creator," he's not a even really a "businessman," either. He's a financier, but he knows that's always been kind of a dirty word. So it's "businessman," or "entrepreneur," or... "job creator."
To a financier like Romney, what a business does, and who does it, doesn't matter. He's in it for the money. Specifically, taking money from other people.
And as the video now makes clear, the "business" theory of "businessman" Romney is first and foremost that all businesses are the same. You'll notice that Secretary Reich never even has to mention what's being made. What a company makes is of no concern to Romney, except insofar as the infrastructure built up by the original owners around the process of making it can now be used as collateral for loans Romney never really needs to worry about repaying. The company, to Romney, is nothing more than a vessel full of money to be moved and extracted. That it might make something or provide some service?and employ thousands of people who make a living from doing it?is merely incidental.
A real "businessman," as we're traditionally meant to understand it, wants to make a good product for it own sake, and take profit from other people's appreciation for its quality and value. But that's not and never has been what Romney's "business" has been.
The business experience Romney has is finding ways to make the work of others pay for him. That's not the kind of experience in building for a nation and a people that we're looking for in a president. And it puts a frightening new spin on the old Republican saw about running a government like a business. Running a government like a business, to Romney, would mean finding ways to make the work Americans do worth more money to its president. And that has nothing at all to do with the concept of America that most people have. (It used to be that I would have felt more confident saying nobody thought of America that way, but things have changed.)
What we need is a president who can find ways to make our government worth more to the Americans it serves. That's the social contract. Can Obama do that? Can any president do it? I don't know. But I know I'd rather elect someone who's not ideologically opposed to trying.
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