Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

El Pueblo

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Front page of the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and El Diario:

Michael Jackson!

Front page of the New York Times:

Declassified CIA Reports on Prisoner Torture

A more succinct supposition on the nature of the informed citizen doesn’t immediately come to mind.

Jindal Redux

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Dick Cheney, in his rebuttal to Obama’s speech on terrorism, may indeed have pulled a Bobby Jindal. To wit,

And when they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don’t stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along.

Instead, the terrorists see just what they were hoping for: our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.

Yes, how dare our democracy get in the way of defending our democracy. What was Bush’s famous quote? “If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” Yeah.

I Love To Hear This Guy Speak

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Quoth Obama in defense of his national security policies:

It’s no secret there is a tendency in Washington to spend our time pointing fingers at one another. And it’s no secret that our media culture feeds the impulse that lead to a good fight and good copy. But nothing will contribute more than that than a extended relitigation of the last eight years. Already, we’ve seen how that kind of effort only leads those in Washington to different sides to laying blame. It can distract us from focusing our time, our efforts, and our politics on the challenges of the future.

Thank you.

Irony

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Meathead* has it right.

Consequently, you know partisanship is alive and well when, in investigating the egregious wrongdoings of the former Republican administration on the matter of torture, a Democrat is getting the brunt of the judicial probe… for being in the same room as them.

Garrison Keillor (of NPR fame) did a recent piece that he came under flak for apparently offering appeasement for the torturers. So, in defense of Keillor and to find a viable solution because I, too, would like to see Dubya & Co. drawn and quartered over this, I ask this:

How can we hold a criminal investigation that may encompass a sizable chunk of Republican leadership without it appearing politically charged?

Consider how the Monica Lewinsky debacle completely eclipsed the second half of Bill Clinton’s second term, to the point that the entire Bosnian war was a mere footnote under the far more important tribulations of Slick Willy.

I worry that the assumed level of fealty politicians and pundits have to this country as compared to the party in power has waned precipitously. We don’t have the “Yes, Mr. President” bipartisanship of FDR’s first term. We don’t have the “nobody is above the law” eulogy of Nixon’s fall. The Republican establishment killed that: They didn’t just break the government’s ability to govern, they broke democracy.

What we have instead is a media franchise that smells blood and is all too willing to play the part of over-funded tabloids than actually report the news. As Obama said fairly recently, it’s the media that makes democracy possible, and I believe his reticence towards prosecution is a direct result of the media hampering his ability to assume the responsibility of office when it comes to enforcing the rule of law.

This isn’t to say that the media is necessarily politically biased (except where it is, Fox News) but that network “news” and the 24-hours news cycle, coupled with dire needs for advertising and readership for traditional outlets to remain solvent, means that the media is in the business of entertainment, not news, and as such will forego news for, well, tabloid tomfoolery.

*Archie Bunker reference a happy coincidence

Say It Ain’t So

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What? Foreign press finds it easier to criticize a country’s administration than domestic press?

What more illuminating insights will you bring next, Greenwald?

Just a Teensy Hint

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If you want to retain the Best and the Brightest in public service, probably the worst thing you could do is cover up their flagrant corruption or pardon their egregious lapses of judgment and humanity as a “perk” to the office. It’s really quite simple to get who you want:

Pay them more.

It worked under FDR. Hell, it worked until the Reaganite Revolution slashed budgets at the same time it detoothed industry regulators, thus making lobbying more rewarding than actually serving the country.

But y”know what; why do I even have to say this? Why is this even on the table? What mad world do we live in?

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