The Day Free Market Capitalism Died

March 17, 2008

Free Market Hypocrisy -- Bush's Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson went on the Sunday news shows, and according to Forbes "defended the Federal Reserve's decision Friday to come to the rescue of Bear Stearns, the Wall Street investment bank most hurt by losses on trading in mortgage-related securities. He said that the risk to financial stability outweighed his concern about moral hazard." So what happened to the dogma about the Free Market? The free marketeers and privatizers always say "let the market decide," unless, that is they are losing the game, and then it's time for the government to step in and use the taxpayers' money to bail out the big banks and corporations who need it. Suddenly the capitalists turn into a bunch of bleedng heart liberals when it's one of their own in the soup. Free market capitalism for rank and file working people, welfare for major corporations.
  • News Metamorphosis -- A new study on the news business shows that events continue to defy expectations. According to an Associated Press analysis, "The Internet has profoundly changed journalism, but not necessarily in ways that were predicted even a few years ago." Though the big news media outlets are suffering and laying off staff, it is not that they are losing their audiences. It's just that their audiences are finding ways to bypass advertising. The news still has an audience, but the big media companies are not able to make as much money from it as they used to. The old formulas are no longer workable in the changed environment.

    March 18, 2008

    Happy Republicans -- Jeff Mason in a Reuters Blog writes that "New York Senator Hillary Clinton and her campaign will throw their support behind rival Senator Barack Obama of Illinois if he 'for whatever reason' should win the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, a top aide to the former first lady said on Sunday." Well that's very big of her. Is that to say she won't support McCain, or Nader, or won't run independently? And what does that mean, "if for whatever reason..."? The reason would be if he got more delegate votes, right? What other reason might you be referring to? This information is coming from Hillary's communications director, Howard Wolfson, who also says, "We do not believe that he has passed the commander-in-chief test." Clinton has already said that she and McCain have the experience, but Obama has merely "made a speech," an endorsement McCain must be very thankful for (and which McCain would certainly not return in kind). So we can only conclude that Wolfson is saying that Clinton would give her support to Obama, even though he's not qualified to be Commander in Chief. The Republicans have much to be thankful for.
  • Repugs for Clinton -- In fact, Republicans are so happy that their nominee is settled so now they can cross over and meddle in the Democratic party contest. Superdelegates take note: Republicans are coming out in droves to vote for Clinton to prolong the contest and help get McCain into the White House though he opposes most of what the majority is for. According to CNN, "About 100,000 Republicans came out to support Clinton in Ohio. 119,000 voted for her in Texas, and 38,000 in Mississippi." Is this how we want the president to be chosen? The Republican capacity for dirty tricks is really limitless.
  • Democrats Prefer Obama -- Who knows what credence you can give to polls, but a CNN poll showed that 52 percent of registered Democrats picked Obama as their choice for the November national election, while 45 percent supported Clinton. xinhua
  • Ready for War? -- Meanwhile the Jerusalem Post says, "In the face of a possible escalation with Syria and Iran's efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon, parts of the country will shut down next month in what security officials say will be the largest emergency exercise in Israel's history."
  • Personal and Party Destruction -- Brent Budowsky: "there is one mathematically provable and irrefutable impact of the campaign of personal destruction that Hillary Clinton is waging against Barack Obama. It is this: The road of her campaign leads to helping to elect John McCain and hurting every Democrat on every ballot throughout America." And because of that, Budowsky says, "From the point of view of superdelegates, and especially elected officials and supers who want Democrats elected and not defeated, here is how it looks and why they will make their move for Barack sooner than pundits expect."
  • Wenner on Obama -- Rolling Stone endorsed Barack Obama. Rolling Stone's founder Jann Wenner writes, "The similarities between John Kennedy and Barack Obama come to mind easily: the youth, the magnetism, the natural grace, the eloquence, the wit, the intelligence, the hope of a new generation. But it might be more to the point to view Obama as Lincolnesque in his own origins, his sobriety and what history now demands." Wenner calls Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, "a capable and personable senator who has run the kind of campaign that reminds us of what makes us so discouraged about our politics. Her campaign certainly proved her experience didn't count for much: She was a bad manager and a bad strategist who naturally and easily engaged in the politics of distraction, trivialization and personal attack. She never convinced us that her vote for the war in Iraq was anything other than a strategic political calculation that placed her presidential ambitions above the horrifying consequences of a war. Her calibrated course corrections over the past three years were painful. Like John Kerry — who also voted for the war while planning a presidential run — it helped cost her that goal."

    March 19, 2008

    Barack Obama Gave a Speech -- The negative campaigning has been working. This guilt-by-association rap because of a soundbite of some harsh things said by Obama's pastor has been hurting. Obama finally hit the race issue head on. And that's a pretty big thing to do in a country as deeply conflicted and confused about race as this one. Obama used his skill as a writer/thinker to analyze the problem as it applies to his current situation, but then to zoom back and look at it in the context of American history and what has brought the respective camps to where they are. Air America's Rachel Maddow said it was the first political speech on race she had ever heard that wasn't patronizing and simplistic. We'll see how it plays out in the political arena.

    To me it was an intelligent, well-thought-out answer to a petty, manipulative attack, an attempt to snare Obama and discredit him using any available means, and it had little substance. I understand why many Americans might recoil in horror at Wright's comments, though I suppose they are mostly people who have successfully kept in the dark about American actions in Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, Greece and many other places. If those atrocities had been committed against them and their country, they would justifiably recoil in horror at the acts themselves. So since Wright was referring to those atrocities, I don't find his comments all that shocking. He was condemning the behavior, not making a blanket condemnation of the American people. If we are a great nation, we should condemn bad behavior and should not go on the defensive when indefensible acts are criticized. But the American media is pretty successful at keeping any real substance out of the debate, and without the underlying story, Wright's comments just sound hateful.

    I did see one statement in the transcript that affected me like nails on a blackboard. It's something most Americans would not notice because it merely states an unquestioned axiom of the American political landscape. Here it is in context: "But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam." It's the last phrase I'm pointing out: a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

    It's odd to me that someone who has just shown such a sensitive and nuanced view of the various sides of the race problems in America could throw out such a simplistic and one-sided view of the conflicts in the Middle East. The problems, deep-seated and bitter as they are, are certainly not simply attributable to "the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam". Just like the white racism of which he shows a sympathetic understanding of its origins, even the most hateful ideologies of the Arab world did not spring from nothing. There are many real grievances of people who cannot be written off simply as perverse and hateful. And the "stalwart ally" of Israel is not without sin, as this seems to imply. This passage is troubling to me, indicating that Obama might be as insensitive to the problems of the Palestinians as nearly all prominent American politicians. But again, we are not evaluating Obama in comparison with perfection, but only in comparison with Hillary Clinton and John McCain, who are much worse on this issue, and on most others.

    But, even though Barack Obama is certainly not perfect, as he explicitly admits in this speech, I do believe that he is the man of destiny here and now in this context. As I watched the country flounder and deteriorate over the last eight years, I often found myself comparing it to the times of Lincoln and of Franklin D. Roosevelt, both times when the country seemed to be coming apart at the seams. And in those times, history seemed to call forth those two men, who became great leaders, in part because of their inborn strengths, but also in large part because of historical necessity. Looking at them in their previous careers before their respective presidencies, neither showed the greatness to which they would later rise. As I saw America falling apart, I often thought that we desperately needed a great leader as in those earlier moments of profound national crisis, but who would it be? There seemed to be no one on the horizon. Al Gore with his Nobel-prizewinning work seemed to rise to the required stature and to be the most qualified to lead the country out of the current mess, but he declined the challenge. And certainly the collective consciousness of the country, really the world, is scanning the horizon, desperately looking for whoever can best fill that job description.

    To me and to many others, Obama is the man who most bears that mark of destiny. When Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner compares him to Lincoln, it might sound carried away, but such things to happen. History does create greatness. Lincoln as he strode into the White House surely left much doubt as to whether he would be able to rise to the occasion. Obama is certainly imperfect, but there is so much about him that seems to make him the right person to lead the country out of he Bush Hell years. The anti-Bush.

    Watch the speech at Read it here.

    March 20, 2008

    Time Machine -- Salon posted a prescient warning from Senator Byrd as the U.S. was rushing foolhardily into war in 2003, and then published McCain's rebuttal. McCain seemed put out that Byrd bothered him by stating his objections. "I did not really look forward to coming to the floor and debating the issue. It has been debated. It has been discussed in the media. It has been discussed at every kitchen table in America. But I felt it would be important for me to respond to allegations concerning the United States of America, its status in the world, and, in particular, what happens after this conflict is over, which I do not think we have paid enough attention to, perhaps understandably, because our first and foremost consideration is the welfare of the young men and women we are sending in harm's way. But to allege that somehow the United States of America has demeaned itself or tarnished its reputation by being involved in liberating the people of Iraq, to me, simply is neither factual nor fair." Five years after McCain's "liberation" of Iraq, most Iraqis would like to be liberated from America, but unfortunately their country is so broken down now, they don't even have the option of continuing independently for the foreseeable future. What a fine mess the neocons got us in. Great for Halliburton though! And thanks John McCain for lending your "straight-talking" "maverick" prestige to the effort.
  • The Kettle Black -- Barbara Ehrenreich on Hillary Clinton's religious friends. "There's a reason Hillary Clinton has remained relatively silent during the flap over intemperate remarks by Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When it comes to unsavory religious affiliations, she's a lot more vulnerable than Obama." The Nation
  • Soldiers Speak -- On video at Truthout.
  • When the Smoke Clears -- Dick Morris: Wright's rantings won't sink Obama.
  • Torturer in Chief -- A cartoon at Mother Jones.

    March 21, 2008

    Nothing Accomplished -- New York Times editorial: Mission Still Not accomplished. Bush seems authentically deluded. " In a speech on Wednesday, the start of the war's sixth year, Mr. Bush was stuck in the Neverland of his 'Mission Accomplished' speech. In his mind's eye, the invasion was a 'remarkable display of military effectiveness' that will be studied for generations. The war has placed the nation on the brink of a great "strategic victory" in Iraq and against terrorists the world over." Bush said it was "well worth the effort," but he has no idea what the word sacrifice means. Maybe it's an infantile way of looking at things, but ever since the schoolyard days I've always felt a certain contempt for people who had other people fight their battles for them. Why is it that most of these militant conservatives who cream their jeans over this war have never been in one and certainly have no intention of ever participating.
  • President not Commander -- Joe Brewer and George Lakoff, writing at Truthout make the point: "We Need a President, Not Just a Commander in Chief". They say, "Emphasis on "commander in chief" activates a right-wing frame and progressives should be very circumspect in referring to the presidency in this manner." Obamamania Sweeps Europe -- French publishing house Presses de la Cité released the French language edition of Obama's memoir Dreams From My Father. The publisher believes it will sell more than Obama's The Audacity of Hope because it's less of a political manifesto and more of a personal testament. "'I believe 'Dreams From My Father' will be more successful than 'The Audacity of Hope' because what fascinates people most about Obama is his personality and his unusual profile,' Bombard said." International Herald Tribune.

    March 22, 2008

    Not the Last Word -- A new expose by Philip Shenon, the reporter who covered the 9/11 commission for the New York Times, shows its lack of credibility. An article in Scoop by Kyle F. Hence, says, "At the center of this riveting expose is the controversial figure of Director Zelikow whose impact on the Commission is depicted throughout the book, more often than not in a negative light. He lords threateningly over his underlings, restricts their contact with Commissioners, and most disturbingly fails to disclose the full scope and nature of his work for the Bush White House. More than any single commission member, the ambitious and willful Zelikow is responsible for the Commission’s nuanced, non-partisan, zero accountability "point-no-fingers" conclusions, and especially for minimizing the Bush administration record leading up to 9/11.... Though Shenon focuses heavily on Zelikow’s highly compromising conflicts of interest he is himself reluctant to draw obvious conclusions. Zelikow’s role in the Bush White House should have precluded any role in the 9/11 investigation, much less that of Executive Director. In fact he should have been a star witness. Prior to his hiring, the Commission Chair interviewed Zelikow and reviewed the resume he’d submitted. The only problem was the resume, like his final report, glossed over critical details that would have precluded his securing the job of Director."
  • Spitzer Taken Out by Mossad? Jerry Mazza writes in, "In my March 14 article, Spitzer taken down by Mossad, I quoted veteran Beltway reporter Wayne Madsen who said, 'Defenses sources have confirmed our March 11 report that Emperors Club VIP, the prostitution firm that entangled New York's outgoing Governor Eliot Spitzer in a call girl ring, is viewed by US intelligence as a front for Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad.' The sources claim that Spitzer was outed for his aggressiveness in attacking money launderers connected to Russian-Israeli organized crime syndicates and other Wall Street malfeasance."
  • Recession Deepens -- The New York Times reports, "Slump Moves From Wall St. to Main St." Peter S. Goodman writes, "The broadening of the slowdown, the plunge in home prices and near-paralysis in the financial system are fueling worries that what most economists now see as an inevitable recession could end up being especially painful. Indeed, some economists fear it will last longer and inflict more bite on workers and businesses than the last two recessions, which gripped the economy in 2001 and for eight months straddling 1990 and 1991. This time, these experts say, a recession in which economic activity falls over a sustained period and joblessness rises across the board could even persist into next year."
  • Obama's Speech on Race -- A CBS News poll indicates Obama's speech on race was effective in dealing the erosion in his popularity resulting from the emergence of video of the pastor of Obama's church giving a sermon that many found offensive. Seven in 10 now say the whole affair will not change their vote. But his popularity has taken a hit from it. See NY Times


    March 23, 2008

    Clinton's Exceedingly Remote Chances -- According to Jim Vendehei and Mike Allen of, it's virtually impossible for Clinton to win now. "In the latest Associated Press delegate count, Obama leads with 1,406 pledged delegates to Clinton's 1,249. Obama's lead is likely to grow, as it did with county conventions last weekend in Iowa, as later rounds of delegates are apportioned from caucuses he has already won. The Democratic Party has 794 superdelegates, the party insiders who get to vote on the nomination in addition to the delegates chosen by voters. According to Politico's latest tally, Clinton has 250 and Obama has 212. That means 261 are uncommitted, and 71 have yet to be named. An analysis by Politico's Avi Zenilman shows that Clinton's lead in superdelegates has shrunk by about 60 in the past month. And it found Clinton is roughly tied among House members, senators and governors - the party's most powerful elite." If Clinton wins all the remaining primaries by 60 percent -- extremely unlikely -- "she would get 340 delegates to Obama's 226. Under that scenario - and without revotes in Michigan and Florida - Obama would still lead in delegates by 1,632 to 1,589." There is hardly any fair way to include delegates of primaries in Michigan and Florida that were officially ruled out so the candidates did not campaign there and Obama's name was not even on the ballot in Michigan. It now looks like re-votes are not going to happen in those states, but if they did and Clinton won 60 percent of them, she would win 340 delegates to Obama's 226, a difference of 114. Giving her practically every benefit of the doubt, it's still very unlikely that she could overtake Obama's lead. Her only hope is to utterly destroy him, with some character blow that would practically land him in jail, make him completely unacceptable. And her ambition is so tenacious that it appears she is hanging in on the basis of that very negative hope. She is more and more coming to personify negativity, and her presence, her voice are becoming more and more abrasive.
  • The Real King -- A year after Martin Luther King came out against the war in Vietnam he was snuffed out, and once he was dead, his image could be more easily packaged and contained within the boundaries of his more neutral phrases, such as "I have a dream". The packaged King was much less contentious and difficult than the living one. All the mainstream politicians could adopt his mannerisms, his gospel-influenced oratorical techniques, but the real man was no longer around to shake up the establishment. Now his image has been so toned down that he can be used as a contrast to the pastor of Obama's church, who was considered so far out of line for criticizing American aggression that Obama should be condemned for even knowing him. But as E.J. Dionne points out in an article in the The Washington Post, the real Martin Luther King was a real troublemaker. A few months before he was destroyed, King spoke to his church in Atlanta in terms very similar to those of Reverend Jeremiah Wright. "God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war," said King. "And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place... And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."

    March 24, 2008

    Contemptuous Dick -- Question to Dick Cheney: "Two-third of Americans say it's not worth fighting." Cheney: "So?" If you don't believe it, see it here: Why doesn't congress impeach this arrogant cretin? Why are members of Congress sitting on their hands? What moves them? What do they think is important?
  • The Dog Ate My Homework Again -- Next time a federal judge subpoenas documents from you, try telling him it's "too much work" to find them. That's what a White House stooge is telling U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola. The White House claims to have lost or destroyed 10,000 e-mails from 2003 to 2005 during the time of the Valerie Plame leak and the lead up to the Iraq war. See Jason Leopold at Atlantic Free Press. According to the Washington Post, the White House said it destroyed the hard drives, in violation of the Presidential Records Act.
  • Arrogance of Power -- A Chilean envoy to UN published a book that shows what lengths the Bush administration went to to strong arm other countries to back its invasion of Iraq. Not surprising, the Bush administration believed in exercising maximum power to gain its objectives without regard to any kind of restraint or limitation. It was pure power exercised with unlimited arrogance. It is no surprise, but this book gives the grim details. See Washington Post
  • Shameless -- Robert Novak has given us his considered opinion on the "Democrats' Obama Dilemma" (see Washington Post) and all I can think of is: why isn't he in jail? He outed Valerie Plame. He's a criminal, or at least an accessory, and a liar to boot. Why does anyone care what he thinks?
  • Calling the Kettle Black -- The New York Times published a story on the fact that Republican consultant Roger J. Stone Jr. wrote to the FBI saying that Governor Eliot Spitzer had patronized high-priced prostitutes during trips to Florida. Stone, according to the Times, "has referred to politics as "performance art," and "is a longtime Republican consultant known for hardball politics and a cloak-and-dagger sensibility. He started out as a teenager in the campaign of Richard M. Nixon, and has a tattoo of the former president's head on his back."
  • Good Idea -- America needs a new New Deal, says The Nation. An idea whose time has come -- again.

    March 25, 2008

    Speaking Some Truth -- On his blog, Anderson Cooper takes the trouble to look into the actual sermon that Reverend Wright made from which some soundbites were taken to create fear and suspicion of Obama. Cooper says, "I have now actually listened to the sermon Rev. Wright gave after September 11 titled, 'The Day of Jerusalem's Fall.' It was delivered on Sept. 16, 2001. One of the most controversial statements in this sermon was when he mentioned 'chickens coming home to roost.' He was actually quoting Edward Peck, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and deputy director of President Reagan's terrorism task force, who was speaking on FOX News. That's what he told the congregation. He was quoting Peck as saying that America's foreign policy has put the nation in peril: 'I heard Ambassador Peck on an interview yesterday did anybody else see or hear him? He was on FOX News, this is a white man, and he was upsetting the FOX News commentators to no end, he pointed out, a white man, an ambassador, he pointed out that what Malcolm X said when he was silenced by Elijah Mohammad was in fact true, he said Americas chickens, are coming home to roost.'"
  • Architect of Her Own Failure -- Frank Rich asks why Hillary Clinton's "major policy address on the war in Iraq" the day before Obama's speech on race was virtually ignored. "What if Mrs. Clinton had come clean Monday, admitting that she had made a mistake in her original vote and highlighting her efforts to make amends since?" asks Rich. "John Edwards, arguably a more strident proponent of invading Iraq in 2003 than Mrs. Clinton, did exactly that also in the weeks before her 2005 letter. He succeeded in lifting the cloud, even among those on the left of his party. Instead Mrs. Clinton darkened that cloud by claiming that she was fooled by the prewar intelligence that didn’t dupe nearly half her Democratic Senate colleagues, including Bob Graham, Teddy Kennedy and Carl Levin. Even worse, she repeatedly pretends that she didn’t know President Bush would regard a bill titled 'Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002' as an authorization to go to war. No one believes this spin for the simple reason that no one believes Mrs. Clinton is an idiot. Her patently bogus explanations for her vote have in the end done far more damage to her credibility than the vote itself."
  • No Way -- Willie Nelson on why he doesn't believe the 9/11 story.
  • Friends of America -- How George W's grandpappy aided Hitler. The Guardian.
  • New Math -- With few other possibilities left to it, the Clinton campaign is trying to convince superdelegates that Clinton would win the electoral votes of the states she won in primaries and therefore is the most electable. But winning the Democratic primary in a given does not automatically mean one would win the general election. And losing it in the primary does not mean necessarily losing it in the fall. As the article in Mother Jones points out, under this formula, Clinton is counting California in her column, but there is no reason at all to assume Obama would lose California to McCain just because he lost it narrowly to Clinton. Unless Clinton succeeds in absolutely destroying him, which is apparently her objective now.
  • As Mean As He Looks? What Dick Cheney did in the nine months leading to 9/11.

    March 26, 2008

    Not Just a Game -- James Carville's comments on Bill Richardson were so strange! Calling him a "Judas" for endorsing Obama when he used to work in the Clinton administration. This is all so strange on so many levels it seems almost beyond rational discussion. Mr. Carville has passed his judgment, pronouncing that Richardson "should have stayed neutral" based on some mysterious code that only he fully understands. Bear in mind this is a guy who is married to Mary Matalin, a woman who has devoted her life to serving Dick Cheney, so trying to understand his mind is not necessarily a project that is worth the effort. By what set of principles does he determine that Richardson should have remained neutral? To a man married to a woman who devoted to one of the most destructive, evil villains in American history and yet claims to be a Democrat, it seems like politics is just another version of the Super Bowl. But what if Bill Richardson actually feels that the country is in pretty bad shape and would have a better chance if Barack Obama was president? What if he believes that the Democrats need to get settled in on their candidate before they squander their chance to take the White House from McCain, Cheney's successor? Where does this maniac get the gall to start telling other people who they should support for president? It's not just a game, not to everyone, maybe to James Carville. Thousands, millions of lives are at stake. Because Bill Clinton appointed Bill Richardson as U.N. ambassador, does that mean Richardson should be bound to support Clinton's wife for president? What if he doesn't think she would be a good president? What if he feels strongly about it? Didn't Bill Clinton and the U.S. also receive some value from Richardson's serving? Was it just a favor from one man to another that should then be paid back by permanent allegiance? And the Judas reference on Good Friday, why aren't the Christians up in arms about that? To trivialize the act that led to the brutal murder of Jesus by comparing it to Richardson's endorsement of Obama is distasteful even from a secular point of view. Are we supposed to draw comparisons between Jesus and Hillary? Or Bill? The whole idea of what Carville is implying with his lowlife comment is so stupid it barely deserves comment. But then, something so deeply stupid in so many ways is sometimes irresistible.
  • Welfare Only for the Rich -- An article in the New York Times is headlined "McCain Warns Against Hasty Mortgage Bailout". I didn't notice any complaints from McCain about the federal bailout of Bear Stearns. What's a few billion among friends? But helping people who have lost their homes and are living in growing tent cities -- well, let's not get hasty. California's not too cold, they are okay without homes for a while. Let's not rush into anything. To quote Martin Wolf in that bleeding heart liberal newspaper, The Financial Times, "Remember Friday March 14 2008: it was the day the dream of global free-market capitalism died. For three decades we have moved towards market-driven financial systems. By its decision to rescue Bear Stearns, the Federal Reserve, the institution responsible for monetary policy in the US, chief protagonist of free-market capitalism, declared this era over. It showed in deeds its agreement with the remark by Joseph Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, that 'I no longer believe in the market's self-healing power'. Deregulation has reached its limits."
  • Hillary's Ethical Lapses During Watergate -- Jerry Zeifman, who served as Chief Counsel to the full Judiciary Committee during its Nixon impeachment proceedings and had overall supervisory authority over the House Judiciary Committee's Impeachment Inquiry staff that included Hillary Rodham, wrote a piece that appears at OpEd News who says he now regrets that "when I terminated her employment on the Nixon impeachment staff, I had not reported her unethical practices to the appropriate bar associations." He goes on to list several. She was one of a group of Democrats who did not want to impeach Nixon because they thought it would be more advantageous to Democrats in the next election if Nixon finished his term than if Gerald Ford took over. Sounds similar to her choice to support Bush's use of force against Iraq for short-term political gain rather than the long-term benefit of the country. The article is quite explicit about Zeifman's objections.

    March 28, 2008

    Siegelman Bombshells -- Two separate developments broke in the Don Siegelman case. The former governor of Alabama, who was imprisoned in a conviction that looks to many Americans like a political hit orchestrated by Karl Rove, has been ordered to be released by a federal judge. (See Associated Press) According to the New York Times, "Mr. Siegelman's case has been cited by Democrats here and in Washington as Exhibit A in their contention that politics has influenced decisions by the Justice Department, which prosecuted the former governor. In addition, Mr. Siegelman's conviction in June 2006 here sharply polarized the political climate in this state, and suggestions by his supporters and others that the former Bush White House political director, Karl Rove, may have been involved have only increased the tensions. Republicans have angrily denied the accusations of politics, but Mr. Siegelman has picked up some outside support for his claims of political prosecution. The House Judiciary Committee has held hearings on his case, and 44 former state attorneys general, Democrats and some Republicans, signed a petition last summer urging Congress to look into the conviction." In addition to the court order, the House Judiciary Committee wants to question Siegelman in connection with its investigation into Bush and Rove's tampering with the Department of Justice to turn it into a political hit machine. According to the Times, "The court's order came on the same day that the Judiciary Committee made a request to the Justice Department that the former governor be freed temporarily to travel to Washington next month to testify about his assertions that he was prosecuted for political reasons. A committee spokeswoman cited difficulties in getting information from the department as a reason for wanting Mr. Siegelman's testimony."

    March 30, 2008

    Free At Last -- Former Governor Don Siegelman is out of jail, see Don Abrams report,,,, and

    March 31, 2008

    How to Extricate -- Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor for Jimmy Carter, writing in the Washington Post, points out correctly that the main issue between the Democrats and Republicans is still the ongoing war in Iraq. The Democrats both want to end the combat mission in 12 to 16 months and McCain wants it to go on up to a hundred years, or until "victory", which has always been more or less undefined. "The core issue of this campaign is thus a basic disagreement over the merits of the war and the benefits and costs of continuing it," he says. That's what all people who seek a more sane country need to keep in mind and not get sidetracked by all the petty he-said-she-said crap of the news coverage of the interminable primary campaign of the Democrats. Continuing along a rational course (unlike so much of the coverage of the election), Brzezinski writes, "The case for U.S. disengagement from combat is compelling in its own right. But it must be matched by a comprehensive political and diplomatic effort to mitigate the destabilizing regional consequences of a war that the outgoing Bush administration started deliberately, justified demagogically and waged badly." He goes on to consider the pragmatic considerations, a good process for every American to think through, since so little attention is given to it in the national media. "Contrary to Republican claims that our departure will mean calamity, a sensibly conducted disengagement will actually make Iraq more stable over the long term. The impasse in Shiite-Sunni relations is in large part the sour byproduct of the destructive U.S. occupation, which breeds Iraqi dependency even as it shatters Iraqi society. In this context, so highly reminiscent of the British colonial era, the longer we stay in Iraq, the less incentive various contending groups will have to compromise and the more reason simply to sit back. A serious dialogue with the Iraqi leaders about the forthcoming U.S. disengagement would shake them out of their stupor." Furthermore, says the man of many Zs: "The overall goal of a comprehensive U.S. strategy to undo the errors of recent years should be cooling down the Middle East, instead of heating it up. The "unipolar moment" that the Bush administration's zealots touted after the collapse of the Soviet Union has been squandered to generate a policy based on the unilateral use of force, military threats and occupation masquerading as democratization -- all of which has pointlessly heated up tensions, fueled anti-colonial resentments and bred religious fanaticism. The long-range stability of the Middle East has been placed in increasing jeopardy."
  • Discovered, Pre-Edison Recording -- Researchers found a sound recording in France that pre-dates Edison by a couple of decades. Mercury News.
  • McCain's Media Man Won't Face Obama -- McCain's chief media strategist, Mark McKinnon, says he will quit if Obama is the Democratic nominee. ( He explains: "Well, this goes back to a memo that I wrote to the campaign when I came aboard more than a year and a half ago, and I simply let them know that I had spent time with Obama and read his book and I like the guy. I think he has strong character and a fascinating life story, and I disagree with him fundamentally on issues like Iraq and trade and a number of others. But I just flashed forward to the improbable scenario, at that time seemingly improbable, that John McCain and Barack Obama might face off against one other. And I just told them at the time that I thought that I would be uncomfortable being on the front lines -- being as aggressive as you need to be in a presidential campaign -- and not only that I would be uncomfortable, but that it would be bad for the campaign, and that if that circumstance were to come to be, that I would just take a step to the sidelines and continue to support John McCain 100 percent and be No. 1 fan and cheerleader. But just kind of take myself out of the front lines."
  • Good Music Site: -- An excellent way to listen to music if you have good speakers hooked to your computer: It seems to be a model that works, allows you to listen to a vein of music, but which exposes you to new things. It's all music that is commercially available so it can make the labels money to participate. And it works. It does turn you on to music you haven't heard, but that is selected to fit your preferences as ascertained from your choices. Everyone makes out. It's a nice way to listen to music with no commercial interruption, also giving you a way of interacting with the programming, but still be subject to exposure to new things.

    -- David Cogswell

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