I have no doubt that part of the reason Mitt Romney doesn't want to release his tax returns before 2010 is that he doesn't want people to know how obscenely rich he is and how little he has paid in taxes (if anything). I'm also sure there are all sorts of ridiculous deductions and credits he has claimed on his returns that will provide fodder for the Obama campaign to portray him as an out-of-touch, pampered, spoiled rich kid who gets tax breaks for things like dressage horses. But I have a hunch there may be something much more damaging lurking in Mr. Romney's tax returns, and his refusal to release any of his returns before 2010 supports this hunch. So I am begging, pleading, exhorting someone from the traditional media to ask Mitt Romney this particular question, in front of a camera: Governor Romney, have you ever participated, or applied to participate, in any IRS amnesty program for undisclosed foreign accounts?
--Follow me across the fold--
So, I just read that Lou Dobbs is mulling a run for president. My first, fleeting instinct is to laugh, but then it hits me: this news, and my initial reaction to it, crystalizes a thought that's been much on my mind lately. By focusing so much on ridiculing the "stars" of the conservative movement and the people who admire them, we're missing the fact the reason Dobbs and Palin and Beck and Limbaugh have such fervid followers is that they are speaking to the frustrations of a certain segment of the middle class that liberals aren't speaking to. Dobbs says it himself in the linked article: "Do I seek to represent and champion the middle class in this country and those who aspire to it? Absolutely. And I will."
Of course, the idea that Dobbs is genuinely interested in the "middle class" in this country is ridiculous. He knows it. We know it. But the people who respond to his diatribes on "illegal immigrants" also respond to his scathing remarks about Wall Street's war on the middle class, and they find his hot-button issues pretty compelling evidence of his commitment to their interests.
Nothing monumental in this diary. I've just been doing a lot of cogitating on the hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance that define modern "conservatism."* So I thought I'd make a little list of the most blatant ways the right wing doesn't really believe its own (supposed) principles.
This diary is intended as a forum for Kossacks to add their own examples. I'll get us started, but I look forward to seeing what the community can contribute.
Follow me below the fold.
*I've put "conservativism" in quotes because they aren't really conservatives -- they're pro-corporate, fanatical, statist authoritarians. A much different animal.
Until the Bush administration came into office and proceeded to laud themselves for their willingness to deal "harshly" with persons suspected of terrorism, or of knowing a terrorist, or of looking like a terrorist, or of sharing a name with a suspected terrorist, I never thought this country would ever reach the point where torture became a more-or-less open policy option, with a significant portion of its political establishment openly advocating and defending torture (even if lacking the honesty to call it by its proper name).
And until the Obama administration came into office and started talking about "looking forward" rather than getting "bogged down in the past," I never thought this country would ever reach the point where people would be allowed to get away with torture with no credible threat of criminal liability.
The adoption of and refusal to punish torture has created some delicious, if painful, ironies. Some of them are obvious, such as the spectacle of the nation that is the first to praise itself for its commitment to human rights and the "rule of law" jettisoning that commitment so easily when the time comes to apply that alleged commitment to itself, the true test of one's commitment to any moral principle. But there are other, less obvious ironies.
More musings below.
I've been reading the many good diaries on here about developing talking-points and themes to use to persuade undecided voters to swing to Obama.
The basic thrust of the talking-points diaries is to try to work out an uncomplicated, powerful narrative centered on the listener's major concerns and issues. Great advice, and I wish I could add to it, but I can't. This is not a diary about finding uncomplicated narratives. This is a diary about a much more complex and, ultimately, terrifying question: are we as a nation sane?
We're going to soon find out, and it's not yet crystal clear what the answer will be, even if Obama is elected. This election is only Part A of the two-part sanity test facing us. If we pass Part A, we'll face Part B of our sanity test after Obama takes office and starts working to clean up the mess that has been wrought over the last 8 years (38, if you really want to get technical about it).
For a little background on what drove my concerns to write this diary, take a look at this NYT article and join me over the fold.
In an excellent diary that was on the rec list until recently, David Sirota asks When Will the Innocent Bystander Fable Stop ? It's a good question, and David provides a great analysis for why the Fable is BS. But in doing so he promotes another fable: that the Dems are spineless, poll-watching cowards beholden to the DLC consultant class. This, I submit, is bunk, pure and simple. Let's explore why below.
Scott Ritter has an article on Common Dreams, "Calling Out Idiot America," that is sheer brilliance and should be required reading for everyone in Congress, in the media and among the general citizenry who isn't actively agitating for a withdrawal from Iraq.
In essence, the article, structured in the form of a "pop quiz," exposes the fact that the US is in way over its head in Iraq and cannot hope to begin to understand the complexities, intensities and irreconciliable nature of the internecine conflicts that are tearing Iraq apart. More specifically, the article exposes the fact that those charged with overseeing those in charge of this impossible project (i.e., the Congress and ultimately the citizenry) are hopelessly ignorant of the crucial factors involved, and thus cannot possibly provide effective, informed or meaningful oversight, so we have absolutely no hope of "success" on any terms and no business being involved in the project at all.
More below the fold.
Denmark's prime minister, Anders Fogh-Rasmussen, called a press conference a few minutes ago to announce that he is joining Tony Blair's decision to withdraw forces from Iraq. Denmark has just under 500 soldiers stationed at Basra Air Base under British command and will begin withdrawing them gradually in step with the UK's withdrawal of its forces.
An article (in Danish) reports, as well, that 64% of the Danish public is opposed to the continuing Danish presence in Iraq. Denmark has lost 6 soldiers since the war began in 2003. A short blurb in English is available here.
Whatever happened to Poland, by the way?
The AP a few weeks ago "reported" that Gore told an audience in Tokyo that he would not run for President in 2008. Now the Agence France Press is reporting that Gore has told an audience -- this time in London -- that he is not running for President in 2008.
It will be interesting to hear whether this story can be debunked, like the last one. But given the quote in the story -- "I don't have plans to be a candidate again and though I haven't... completely ruled out any possibility of running at some point in the future I don't expect to and cannot perceive circumstances in which I would" -- it seems to be getting clearer that Gore will not run. One has to wonder about that ellipsis, though.
Where does that leave Gore supporters, like me? I'm inching closer to Edwards, but keeping my eye on Vilsack. Don't talk to me about Clark. He'll make a great Vice President this time around. But what I would really like to know is whether anyone has information that the MSM is getting this story wrong, yet again.
I am keeping the diary here solely to preserve comments. The front page has a more thorough update.
CNN is reporting that Sen. Johnson had "successful" brain surgery for a condition known as arteriovenous malformation, which causes arteries to grow to abnormal size.
The story is in the "developing" banner and has not been incorporated into the lead story on the front page.
I am assuming from this brief information that he is going to be OK. Keep those prayers, chants and good thoughts coming, people.
I will delete this as others post more complete info.
Update: cadejo4 has a link in a comment below to an AP story with more info. I cannot access the page, for some reason, or would provide the link here.
A story I heard about last week has now broken into the news
. It is a story that sends shivers down my spine, and it should yours, too. Welcome to the Bush-Kafka administration's view of justice. (Note: parts of the account below are from what a lawyer with inside knowledge of the relevant events has related on a private email list I am a member of. The updates at the bottom provide corroborating links.)
Mohammed Munaf, 53, is a naturalized US citizen of Iraqi descent who worked as a translator in Iraq for three Romanian journalists. The journalists he worked for were kidnapped and held incommunicado in Iraq by insurgents, who also captured and held Mr. Munaf for the same period. All four were eventually rescued by US forces.
That's when Mr. Munaf's nightmare began in earnest. His story, detailed below the fold, is a nightmare for us all.
Foley, the July 10 briefing, Abramoff, the NIE -- this couldn't have been what Karl wanted. He promised his base something in October.
On that theme, I offer a haiku below the fold -- a little frivolity, for your dead-of-night reading pleasure.
Feel free to add your own in comments.
Wikipedia summarizes the conventions of the modern English-language haiku thusly:
Due to the various views and practices today, it is impossible to single out any current style or format or subject matter as definitive "haiku". Nonetheless, some of the more common practices in English are:
Use of three (or fewer) lines of no more than 17 syllables in total;
Use of metrical feet rather than syllables. A haiku then becomes three lines of 2, 3, and 2 metrical feet, with a pause after the second or fifth;
Use of a caesura to implicitly contrast and compare two events or situations.
Of course, I ignored these rules, for the most part, so feel free to experiment.