Friday, April 30, 2010

Looking forward, not backward (unless persecuting journalists who reveal government malfeasance)

Glenn Greenwald notes that the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, is attempting to force James Risen to reveal one of his sources for his excellent book State of War. The part of the book that Risen is being hounded because of disclosed nothing that damaged national security, but did reveal gross incompetence on the part of the CIA in stupidly giving Iran information that could help it develop a nuclear program. Indeed, what damages national security is such behavior being hidden from scrutiny and oversight.

Yet it is illegal warrantless surveillance, torture, kidnapping and imprisoning (sometimes to often) innocent persons and frauding the country into a war resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars lost (many of them given to political donors who recieved cost plus and no bid contracts) that gets the "Look forward, not backward" mantra no matter how damaging and deleterious to the nation such actions are, while whistle-blowing is de facto criminalized. As Greenwald put it

This subpoena is being issued in the wake of the Obama DOJ's disgusting indictment of NSA whistle-blower Thomas Drake, who also exposed serious official ineptitude (along with corruption and illegality). Indeed, Holder has assigned the same Prosecutor in charge of that prosecution to Risen's Subpoena. Many of the key points write themselves. As John Cole says, this is yet another instance clarifying that Obama's Look Forward, Not Backward protective decree applies only to lawbreaking Bush officials, not to those who expose government wrongdoing or to anyone else (as Cole asks: "can't Risen just claim he tortured someone to get the information, but destroyed the tapes?"; he'd surely be granted immunity then).

A purpose that Beck's martyr fantasy serves

While it is easy to dimiss Beck's absurd, almost daily proclamations that the Obama administration and "progressive" elites want to have him killed as the delusional rantings of a deranged personality, it's important to recall the effect that these claims have on his audience: that is, they inculcate the belief that "progressives" are a violent, murderous bunch of thugs. It's hard to believe until you see it first hand, but I've actually heard people talking about how much danger Beck is in because people want him dead for "speaking the truth."

It's like Beck's own little version of Radio Rush.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quote of the day

" [T]he imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity." - George Orwell, "The Prevention of Literature" (1946)

Scumbag segment of the day

This I would like to see: Beck find a single instance ever of a non-white Supremacist defending Adolph Hitler on the grounds that he was "democratically elected."

My god: Beck is to "progressives" what Henry Ford was to "Jews."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Isaac Newton: lawman

In Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist, Thomas Levenson recounts the fascinating episode of Newton's life in which he became the Warden of the Royal Mint in 1696 and thus responsible for catching counterfeiters - a serious problem at the time Newton took on his new position - and gathering evidence against them.

This is one of the most interesting science books that I have read in recent memory, not least of which being because I'd never heard of the part of Newton's life that the book focuses on before: Newton's battle of wits with one William Chaloner, a counterfeiter who managed to keep alluding the law until Newton was finally able to build a case (a not entirely "just" case by modern standards)* that Chaloner could not escape.

The book touches upon Newton's scientific accomplishments and his biographical background but uses that information as context for understanding how it was that Newton became so proficient at both catching counterfeiters and overseeing The Great Recoinage in which the kingdom's money was recalled and recoined, thanks to Newton, much faster than had been anticipated or thought possible. In short, Newton applied his empirical mind, mathematical skill, and his ability to dedicate himself to a problem until he could find a solution to the task.

Newton was promoted to Master of the Mint in 1699 and served in that position for 27 years until his death.

Read the book to find out how Newton helped saved the England from financial crisis and begin the transition to the modern era of finance and became the scourge of counterfeiters everywhere.

For more on the book, see the Levenson lecture below.

*Counterfeiting was considered treason and was punished with death. Seeing (through the mind's imaginative eye) men put to death for such crimes by hanging (with being drawn and disembowled William Wallace style being the full punishment) while not even being necessarily afforded a fair trial really demonstrates how unjust and cruel such a system was, fostering a greater appreciation for the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Excellent article on the imbalance of "fair and balanced" climate journalism

Via Deltoid, Johan Hari on how the press misinforms the public about the state of climate science. A key quote:

The climate scientists have to be right 100 percent of the time, or their 0.01 percent error becomes Glaciergate, and they are frauds. By contrast, the deniers only have to be right 0.01 percent of the time for their narrative--See! The global warming story is falling apart!--to be reinforced by the media. It doesn't matter that their alternative theories are based on demonstrably false claims, as they are with all the leading "thinkers" in this movement.
Hari also notes that this has happened before

At last! The controversy is over. It turns out the "scientific" claims promoted for decades by whiny self-righteous liberals were a lie, a fraud, a con--and we don't need to change after all. The left is humiliated; the conservatives are triumphant and exultant.

The year is 1954, and the "science" that has been exposed as a "sham" by conservatives is the link between smoking and lung cancer. Welcome to Tobaccogate, as Fox News would call it. The conservatives are championing professor Clarence Cook Little, who says he has discovered insurmountable flaws in the use of statistics and clinical data by "anti-tobacco" (and quasi-commie) scientists. The press reports the "controversy," usually without mentioning that Cook Little is being paid by the tobacco industry. A relieved nation lights up--and so, over the next few decades, millions of them die.

It is happening again. The tide of global warming denial is now rising as fast as global sea levels--and with as much credibility as Cook Little.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Worse than War now online

I had meant to post a reminder (see the comments) before it aired on PBS on April 14, but the documentary Worse than War, based on Danile Goldagen's book Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity, can now be viewed at the link.

As usual for PBS, the site itself is a useful resource. For example, I recommend reading this excerpt from the book explaining the concept of "eliminationism."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Best satire ever written featuring an amphibian race? or: bargain buys for the Kindle

Surfing the Kindle store this afternoon I came across Karel Capek's War with the Newts (1936) - a sci-fi satire about a global war between humanity and an intelligent race of newts - for $1.05. (You can read the book online for free, here.)

Although I consider myself a book geek, I must confess that I had never heard of this book, despite being vaguely aware that Capek is credited with popularizing the term "robot" in his earlier work R.U.R. (1920) which can also be found for 1.05 on the Kindle (and Dover offers a $2.50 pb edition). I should have heard of it, however, given that Robert Zubrin, author of The Holy Land, one of the books on my list of books I've wanted to read but haven't yet, cites War with the Newts as an inspiration.

Unrelated to sci-fi, but another interesting book (play, actually) I came across for the Kindle is Socrates by Voltaire for $0.99 (It can be read on-line, here, if you scroll down.) I don't know much about it other than that a play about Socrates by one of the great satirists and leaders of the Enlightenment (I would expect Voltaire to use the trial of Socrates as an allegory) is something I'm excited to read.

Do as we say, not as we do

Another example of the self-induced blindness of nationalism.

As Orwell put it, "Actions are held [by nationalists] to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them."

And I wish I had an equally acute quote on partisanship handy, since a number of folks who were perfectly willing to criticize President Bush for lawlessness in the name of national security now seem content to rationalize President Obama for mostly embracing the same programs.

On being influenced (and influencing)

Simon Owens chats with Glenn Greenwald about it.

Bargain dystopian alternate history

I'm pleased to say that my latest discount book purchase is The Plot Against America (hc) by Philip Roth for $5.50. I'm a fan of dystopian literature and this about completes the list of such books I've been wanting to read (thanks also to my free download of The Iron Heel on the Kindle.) Now I just need to get a copy of We.

See here for an extensive review of The Plot Against America and here to read an excerpt of the first chapter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Still little time to blog, but Beck is still deranged (and a huckster)

I should have more time to blog starting next month, but here's another brief post in which the delusional Beck warns his audience that he might be assassinated this weekend by "the usual suspects.":

And a post from Bob Cesca detailing the scam that is Beck's "The Plan".

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On bookophilia

"Sensible that I labour grievously under the malady of Bibliomanie, I submit to the rule of buying only at reasonable prices, as to a regimen necessary in that disease." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Lucy Paradise (1789)

"I cannot live without books" - Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams (1815)

I can understand the sentiment.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

More on the "socialism" of President Obama

Poliblog notes that Norm Ornstein of the Communist Studies Institute AEI has written an article for the Washington Post pointing out that President Obama is hardly a radical.

To one outside the partisan and ideological wars, charges of radicalism, socialism, retreat and surrender are, frankly, bizarre. The Democrats' health-reform plan includes no public option and relies on managed competition through exchanges set up much like those for federal employees. The individual mandate in the plan sprang from a Heritage Foundation idea that was endorsed years ago by a range of conservatives and provided the backbone of the Massachusetts plan that was crafted and, until recently, heartily defended by Mitt Romney. It would be fair to describe the new act as Romneycare crossed with the managed-competition bill proposed in 1994 by Republican Sens. John Chafee, David Durenberger, Charles Grassley and Bob Dole -- in other words, as a moderate Republican plan. Among its supporters is Durenberger, no one's idea of a radical socialist.

Friday, April 16, 2010

On learning

From "The Great Instauration" by Francis Bacon

For, however varied the forms of civil government may be, there is but one state of learning, and that ever was and ever will be the democratic. Now with the people at large, the doctrines that most prevail are either disputatious and violent, or specious and vain, and they either ensnare or allure assent. Hence, without question, the greatest wits have undergone violence in every age, whilst others of no vulgar capacity and understanding have still, from consulting their reputation, submitted themselves to the decision of time and the multitude. Wherefore, if more elevated speculations have perchance anywhere burst forth, they have been from time to time blown about by the winds of public opinion, and extinguished; so that time, like a river, has brought down all that was light and inflated, and has sunk what was weighty and solid. Nay, those very leaders who have usurped, as it were, a dictatorship in learning, and pronounce their opinion of things with so much confidence, will yet, when they occasionally return to their senses, begin to complain of the subtility of nature, the remoteness of truth, the obscurity of things, the complication of causes, and the weakness of human wit. They are not, however, more modest in this than in the former instances, since they prefer framing an excuse of the common condition of men and things, to confessing their own defects. Besides, it is generally their practice, if some particular art fail to accomplish any object, to conclude that it cannot be accomplished by that art. But yet the art cannot be condemned, for she herself deliberates and decides the question; so that their only aim is to deliver their ignorance from ignominy. The following statement exhibits sufficiently well the state of knowledge delivered down and received by us. It is barren in effects, fruitful in questions, slow and languid in its improvement, exhibiting in its generality the counterfeit of perfection, but ill filled up in its details, popular in its choice, but suspected by its very promoters, and therefore bolstered up and countenanced with artifices. Even those who have been determined to try for themselves, to add their support to learning, and to enlarge its limits, have not dared entirely to desert received opinions, nor to seek the springhead of things. But they think they have done a great thing if they intersperse and contribute something of their own, prudently considering that by their assent they can save their modesty, and by their contributions their liberty. Whilst consulting, however, the opinions of others, and good manners, this admired moderation tends to the great injury of learning: for it is seldom in our power both to admire and surpass our author, but, like water, we rise not higher than the springhead whence we have descended. Such men, therefore, amend some things, but cause little advancement, and improve more than they enlarge knowledge. Yet there have not been wanting some, who, with greater daring, have considered every thing open to them, and, employing the force of their wit, have opened a passage for themselves and their dogmas by prostrating and destroying all before them; but this violence of theirs has not availed much, since they have not laboured to enlarge philosophy and the arts, both in their subject matter and effect; but only to substitute new dogmas, and to transfer the empire of opinion to themselves, with but small advantage; for opposite errors proceed mostly from common causes. Even if some few, who neither dogmatise nor submit to dogmatism, have been so spirited as to request others to join them in investigation, yet have such, though honest in their zeal, been weak in their efforts. For they seem to have followed only probable reasoning, and are hurried in a continued whirl of arguments, till, by an indiscriminate license of inquiry, they have enervated the strictness of investigation. But not one has there been found of a disposition to dwell sufficiently on things themselves and experience. For some again, who have committed themselves to the waves of experience, and become almost mechanics, yet in their very experience employ an unsteady investigation, and war not with it by fixed rules. Nay, some have only proposed to themselves a few paltry tasks, and think it a great thing if they can work out one single discovery, a plan no less beggarly than unskilful. For no one examines thoroughly or successfully the nature of any thing in the thing itself, but after (p.336) a laborious variety of experiments, instead of pausing there, they set out upon some further inquiry.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The slippery slope to Serfdom

When I read F.A. Hayek's Road to Serfdom for the first time, the thing that jumped out at me the most was the inconvenient detail that history had demonstrated one of Hayek's core points of the book to be false: that welfare state and social democratic policies neccessarily led to tyranny of either communist or fascist variety. (I also found his understanding of fascism as an outgrowth of economic policy to be a facile, superficial and wrongheaded understanding of the subject, far inferior to the sort of analysis offered by Paxton.)

I mention this because I noticed this snarky post at Crooked Timber in regards to the ongoing significance that Road to Serfdom has in libertarian circles:

While we’re on yet another libertarian kick, can anyone find me a copy of Hayek’s prescient 1944 book, The Road to Serfdom, which predicted that the policies of the British Labour Party (policies that were implemented after the 1945 election) would result in relatively poor economic performance, and would eventually be modified or abandoned, a claim vindicated by the triumph of Thatcherism in the 1980s? This book, and its predictive success, seem to play an important role in libertarian thinking.

Despite a diligent search, the only thing I can find is a book of the same title, also written by an FA von Hayek in 1944. This Road to Serfdom predicts that the policies of the British Labour Party, implemented after the 1945 election, would lead to the emergence of a totalitarian state similar to Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, or at least to a massive reduction in political and personal freedom (as distinct from economic freedom). Obviously this prediction was totally wrong. Democracy survived Labor’s nationalizations, and personal freedom expanded substantially. Even a defensible version of the argument (say, a claim that, Labor’s ultimate program included elements that could not be realised without anti-democratic forms of coercion, and that would have to be dropped if these bad outcomes were to be avoided) could only be regarded as raising a hypothetical, but unrealised, cause for concern.. Presumably, this isn’t the book the libertarians have read, so I assume there must exist another of the same title.

The imaginary world that Glenn Beck lives in

I flipped to the Glenn Beck radio program this morning and within seconds heard Beck talking to his audience about the "hostile Marxist takeover" that the country is experiencing. And so I asked myself again: how can anyone hear such nonsense and continue to believe that Beck is a person that should be taken seriously? I wish I could understand this pathology of mass delusion.

That America has suffered a "hostile Marxist takeover" is not a sane belief (I seemed to have forgotten the Marxist guerilla warriors storming the White House and seizing the government.) Democrats take money from corporations and then write legislation (or let their lobbyists write it) just like Republican do, yet when Democrats pass a health care reform bill - heavily influenced by the health care lobby - similar to the sort of reform advocated by the Heritage Foundation in the 90s we get hysterical cries that America is suffering from socialist radicalism.

What's more, it is implicitly subversive to the process of constitutional democratic governance, as Beck has redefined the transfer of power resulting from the peaceful election of Democrats by the voters and the passage of legislation by members of Congress as a "hostile takeover." In other words, either only the candidates Beck favors and the legislation he wants is legitimate ... everything else is "Marxist" tyranny.

And while Beck works his audience into a Quixotic fury about stuff that doesn't exist, the Obama administration might actually make the Supreme Court more conservative for the second time, is trying to prosecute a whistle blower who helped publicize the massive (and wasteful) NSA surveillance program of the NSA, and claims the power to assassinate US citizens at its discretion.

Beck is perfectly willing to warn his audience about his paranoid delusion that the Obama administration and/or members of ACORN are trying to assassinate him, but when actual evidence that the government is attempting to assassinate an American is doesn't seem to bother him.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The type of murder mystery that doesn't interest our pathetic media

While CNN HLN's execrable Nancy Grace night after night fixes her permanent scowl of indignance upon footage of Casey Anthony carrying on a phone conversation with friends/family/lawyers while in prison, evidence has finally come out that Henry Kissinger gave a nod and a wink to a foreign government carrying out an assassination on US soil.

On September 21, 1976, agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet placed a bomb in a car in Washington, D.C., used by Chile’s former ambassador, Orlando Letelier. When detonated later that day, the bomb killed Letelier and an American citizen accompanying him, Ronni Moffitt. Did the U.S. government play some sort of role in this double homicide, carried out in the nation’s capital? On Friday, as Ken Silverstein notes, the Associated Press’s Pete Yost published the essence of a damning new document, showing that Henry Kissinger canceled a State Department warning that was to have gone to Chile just days before the assassination.
Of course, given that Kissinger is not an attractive white female, it's obvious why the story is of far less importance and significance to a democratic society that Casey Anthony or Natalee Holloway or Laci Peterson and other such figures whose deaths (or suspected crimes) are turned into infotainment by the likes of Grace and other such media vultures.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On the origins of "liberal fascism," a concept that was d.o.a.

Although the concept of "liberal fascism" has caught on like wildfire with the sort of "conservatives" who watch Glenn Beck or read Jonah Goldberg, it's interesting to note, as John Holbo did, that the concept which originated with H.G. Wells never caught on. You might think that would kind of shake the foundations of Goldberg's argument that liberals are really fascist, but we must remember that "facts" only exist in the Conservative alter-verse to the extent that they can be put to ideological/partisan service.

Goldberg has cited the origin of the phrase with Wells to justify his categorization of fascism as a form of liberalism, yet, as Holbo points out, Wells did not even mean "liberal fascism" in the sense that Goldberg gives his reader, i.e. that Wells was a fan of actual, real world fascism.

Wells was imagining a two-stage evolution. An authoritarian, elitist stage, to be followed by a liberal stage. Obviously the two stages are mutually incompatible – Wells is perfectly aware that he is minting an oxymoron. But somehow the authoritarian stage will give way. Basically, Wells believed parliamentary democracy is incapable of bringing about a proper political order. Only an authoritarian, technocratic elite can do so. But when the ideal order is realized, it will be in some ways liberal. “One prosperous and progressive world community of just, kindly, free-spirited, freely-thinking, and freely-speaking human beings”. Well, maybe. Accordingly, Wells fits Spencer Ackerman’s characterization: a liberal fascist is one who won’t take his own side in a putsch. I’ll quote Coupland:

even on the page unresolved tensions between Wells the ‘liberal’ and Wells the ‘fascist’ were visible. Shifting from the voice of the ‘future historian’ narrating The Shape of Things to Come, Wells commented in his own voice of a ‘distaste . . . as ineradicable as it is unreasonable’ aroused by the actions of the Airmen, and continued that ‘but for “the accidents of space and time” ‘he would have ‘been one of the actively protesting spirits who squirmed in the pitilessly benevolent grip of the Air Dictatorship’.
Philip Coupland, the historian who first made note of Wells coining the phrase, noted himself that Wells rejected actual fascists when it came to it.

And the excerpt I'm about to provide from also goes a bit further in putting down the notion that fascists are really liberals because H.G. Wells once or twice (in the early 30's) mentioned that fascist means would be necessary to achieve an ideal liberal state. From Crimes Against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice by Geoffrey Robertson:

The revival of human rights idea in the twentieth century really began at the instigation and inspiration of the British author H.G. Wells, in the months immediately following the declaration of the Second World War. It can be traced to letters he wrote to The Times in October of 1939, advocating the adoption by 'parliamentary peoples' of a Delcaration of Rights - a fundamental law defining their rights in a democracy and drafted to appeal to 'every responsive spirit under the yoke of the obscurantist and totalitarian tyrannies with which all are in conflict' ....


His achievement was to make human rights relevant to a world from many parts of which they had vanished with the secret policeman's knock on the door, and to include in his list [of universal human rights] the social and economic rights which Western governments had refused to acknowledge during the Great Depression. His Penguin Special, which must be accounted one of the twentieth century's most influential books, was a far-sighted demand for what he was the first to call a 'New World Order,' in which fundamental human rights, enforced by law, would protect individuals against governments of whatever political complexion. What made this slim volume of 128 pages so powerful was the way its author was able to mix unassuming idealism with a devastating attack on Stalin, and especially upon 'the young Germany of Hiter, wearing its thick boots (that have stamped in the faces of Jewish women), its brown shirts, that recall the victims smothered in latrines and all the cloacal side of Hiterlism; its swastika - ignorantly stolen from the Semitic Stone-age peoples; oafish and hysterically cruel , they remind us all how little mankind has risen above the level of an exceptionally spiteful ape.' Wells was the first to argue from 'those outrages upon human dignity' in the concentration camps - outrages that others only felt after seeing the pictures of the corpse-strewn Belsen, six years later.
While Wells was busy inspiring a movement that would culminate in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and denouncing Hitler for violating fundamental human rights, Glenn Beck's hero Henry Ford, one of the biggest promoters of anti-Semitism in the 20th century, was still a big fan of the Nazi regime (having accepted in 1938 from them the highest award Nazis bestowed upon foreigners.)

But, of course, Ford is an anti-fascist hero and Wells is a pro-fascist villian in the Beck bizarro verse.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is it even possible to run a country that undistributes the wealth?

Glenn Beck has been busy the last few weeks defaming Jim Wallis as a Marxist because he said he's in favor of wealth redistribution. I was going to write a post pointing out the fact inconvenient to those like Beck who think is Manichean sound bites that if you pool your resources as a society through taxation and then spend that money on x and/or y you are redistributing the wealth, the point being that "redestributing wealth" does not in and of itself equal commumism, much less Marxism. As I said, I was going to write such a post, but didn't because by the time I had the time to do so I noticed that Ed Brayton had already done so.

First of all, let's recognize the undeniable truth that all taxing and spending by the government is a redistribution of wealth -- every single penny. Redistribution of wealth does not mean merely taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Every dime of taxes -- even when it's spent on things Glenn Beck would surely believe must be done, like defense spending -- redistributes wealth in some way because it takes money away from some people (reducing their wealth) and gives it to others (increasing their wealth).
And, of course, there is the counter-example that David Cay Johnston has been documenting in his books Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch in which Reaganomic and plutocratic policies embraced by both parties for the last 30 years have redistributed wealth upward to an elite few of super rich, hardly a Marxist process.

A bunch of posts about Beck

You may have noticed that I've been blogging a lot about Glenn Beck lately. You'll get more of that this week, as I've got a plethora of posts about him that I've been wanting to get up.


Because: (1) I continue to find it utterly amazing and profoundly disturbing that someone as transparently deranged and stupid is on the tv on a major American network promoting hate and ignorance (2) Beck on a daily basis demonizes the humanistic values I hold as some kind of nefarious, anti-American Satanic plot, appealing to prejudice and bigotry to do so. I believe that he has far surpassed Bill O'Reilly (whom I previously used to focus much of my blogging on) in mainstreaming extremist hate.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Saving Americans from "liberal fascists" so that they can get killed in mines

This post says about everything that needs to be said demonstrating why I find the phony populism promoted by leaders of the Tea Party movement so sickening - and sad for the people worked into such a blind fury that they're willing to overthrow the government in order to reduce the quality of their own lives to the benefit of the very rich hucksters who scream "socialism" any time anything gets in the way of their bottom line.

Oh, and for those keeping score, the parent company that owns this mine is the same parent company that was responsible for the "the worst environmental catastrophe in the history of the Eastern United States" when 300 million plus gallons of toxic sludge were poured into the waterways in Inez, Kentucky on Oct. 11, 2000. Luckily, the Bush administration made sure that no Marxist fascist commie America haters would hold Massey criminally negligent for the spill.

Update: The guy wrapped in the American flag in the video at the first link so he can tell the Tea Party audience that he's for the working man and against the commies in the Obama administration and what not, previously told employees to mine coal and not worrry about other tasks, a point that was raised in court by the widows of men killed in one of his mines.

Update II: I forgot that the flag wearing champion of the worker is also a fan of buying courts to save his company money.

He unintentionally set a new national legal precedent last year when the United States Supreme Court ruled that judges must disqualify themselves from cases involving people who spent unusually large sums to elect them.

That case was brought after Mr. Blankenship spent about $3 million in 2004 to defeat an incumbent justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court. The beneficiary of Mr. Blankenship’s spending, Brent D. Benjamin, went on to become the court’s chief justice, and he twice joined the majority in 3-to-2 decisions throwing out a $50 million jury verdict against Massey Energy.

More questions about Mr. Blankenship’s ties to the court were raised in 2008, when another justice on the court lost his re-election bid after photographs surfaced showing him dining on the French Riviera and in Monaco with Mr. Blankenship at a time when cases involving Massey were pending before the court.
Good thing the Tea Party crowd has heroes like Blankenship looking out for their interests.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Update for the New American Newspeak Dictionary

Today's update for the New American Newspeak Dictionary, courtesy of Aristotle and an Aardvark go to Washington:Understanding Political Doublespeak Through Philosophy and Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, is:

Preventing voter fraud: disenfranchising poor and minority potential voters

Thursday, April 01, 2010

And Beck wonders why anyone would dare suggest there are extremists in his audience

There you have a guest host on the Glenn Beck radio program saying that the arrests of the Christian militia members who were allegedly planning to kill law enforcement and government officials is just more of the Obama adminstration's attacks on free speech and Christianity.

Nevermind that the Hutaree have an awful lot in common with Al qaeda terrorists. Of course, we know good and well that if those were Muslims arrested on the same charges the Beck guest would be saying the same thing about this just being an attack on free speech and Islam, because there is no such thing as prejudice in the Tea Party movement. And I expect that Beck will go on the air and warn Christians that unless they do more to denounce the Hutaree they'll end up in concentration camps and it will be their own fault.

Quote of the day

"That means that all 3 federal judges to consider the question have concluded that Bush's NSA program violated the criminal law (FISA). That law provides that anyone who violates it has committed a felony and shall be subject to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each offense. The law really does say that. Just click on that link and you'll see. It's been obvious for more than four years that Bush, Cheney, NSA Director (and former CIA Director) Michael Hayden and many other Bush officials broke the law -- committed felonies -- in spying on Americans without warrants. Yet another federal judge has now found their conduct illegal. If we were a country that actually lived under The Rule of Law, this would be a huge story, one that would produce the same consequences for the lawbreakers as a bank robbery, embezzlement or major drug dealing. But since we're not such a country, it isn't and it doesn't." - Glenn Greenwald

And while extremists go off into the woods and prepare to kill law enforcement officers in order to spark a revolution to restore America to a fictional past status as a Christian republic and defend it from the Constitution trampling of the anti-Christ serving Obama administration, you hear generally nothing about this sort of actual criminal Constitution trampling from the likes of Glenn Beck who has been telling his audience that a potential anti-Christ, anti-Christian totalitarian has been trampling on the Constitution (which supposedly established America as a Christian republic) because he wants to decrease the number of Americans without health insurance.

As Greenwald notes, the Obama administration attempted to invoke state secrets to prevent the court from ruling on the Bush administration's criminal program; yet that's the sort of thing that doesn't seem to bother the Beck's or Hannity's of the world: their conception of "tyranny" is the top marginal tax rate going up a few percentage points or the EPA preventing some corporation from dumping toxic waste into the local water.