My friend Allen McDuffee has been busting his ass on a new blog called Think Tanked that you should all check out. Today, he posted an interesting little nugget about AEI’s Charles Murray, a white supremacist, but the “socially acceptable” kind that gets to write New York Times op-eds.
In a post titled “Arthur Sulzberger Needs YOU!,” Charles Murray takes his distaste over his payment from the New York Times to the AEI blog.
To all my fellow ink-stained wretches, a heads up. I got my check from the New York Times for an op ed that was published a few weeks ago. It was for $75. Not that anyone has ever paid the mortgage by writing op eds, but $75 for 800 words written for The Greatest Newspaper In the World is… how shall I put this? Weird. Do you suppose the red ink has really gotten that bad?
Yes. It’s true–not good at all. But what’s weird, actually, is posting something for the New York Times complaint department on the AEI blog.
Yeah, the writing world is a real harsh mistress, isn’t she, Charles?
This particular criticism isn’t only odd, as Allen pointed out, but also darkly hilarious. Here we have a white supremacist finally speaking up, not to defend his horrible beliefs, but to complain about his pay from the nation’s supposed shining example of journalistic integrity [insert hysterical laughter here]. At the same time, the media has been trying its damnedest to ignore the frequent and increasing instances of right-wing extremism in this country, a trend that I have reported on at length.
Surely, the BP disaster deserves the obsessive coverage it has received (thus far). But at the risk of missing some other important stories, I want to briefly address two somewhat overlooked catastrophes – one that has already taken place, and one that possesses the potential to be horrific, but we still have time to stop.
Many Americans would be surprised to hear there’s another domestic oil spill – in Salt Late City. (via)
Chevron says a hole the size of a quarter caused their pipeline to rupture around 33,000 gallons of oil into the creek.
The manager of Chevron’s refinery in the Salt Lake City area said Monday that the company believes the rupture in the 10-inch pipeline was caused by an electrical arc that traveled through a metal fence post. Mark Sullivan says the arc acted like an electrical torch, causing the hole.
Sullivan couldn’t say how long the pipeline was leaking before Chevron was notified of the problem Saturday morning. But Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker says residents could smell the odor of petroleum overnight Friday.
The spill has coated about 300 birds at area creeks and ponds, and the oil is possibly threatening an endangered fish.
Chairman of the Salt Lake City Council, J.T. Martin, calls the event a horrible tragedy.
I feel sorry for Matt Bai. It was just three years ago that he sighed over the wasteland of the Clinton era and pondered aloud, what was it all for?
Even without the allusions to the old days, his speech seemed strangely reminiscent of that first campaign, and not necessarily in a good way. Listening to him talk, I found it hard not to wonder why so many of the challenges facing the next president were almost identical to those he vowed to address in 1992. Why, after Clinton’s two terms in office, were we still thinking about tomorrow? In some areas, most notably health care, Clinton tried gamely to leave behind lasting change, and he failed. In many more areas, though, the progress that was made under Clinton — almost 23 million new jobs, reductions in poverty, lower crime and higher wages — had been reversed or wiped away entirely in a remarkably short time. Clinton’s presidency seems now to have been oddly ephemeral, his record etched in chalk and left out in the rain.
Yeah, what’s up with that? Why does America seem to be forever spinning its wheels, and why has politics been reduced to a series of empty promises and arguments about abortion and gay marriage?
Apparently, Matt has been asking this question for three years because he has yet to find an answer.
The President and the media can’t help BP rush through the unpleasantness of poisoning the ocean quickly enough. First, the government (starting with Bush, but extending through Obama’s reign) staffed the MMS with incompetents, who apparently alternated between allowing oil and gas company workers to fill out their own inspection forms, accepting Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl tickets from offshore drilling companies, and smoking crystal meth.
What I’m trying to say is, the MMS was extremely busy, which is probably why they didn’t notice BP’s blowout preventer had a dead battery in its control pod, leaks in its hydraulic system, a “useless” test version of a key component and a cutting tool that wasn’t strong enough to shear through steel joints in the well pipe and stop the flow of oil in the event of a fiery explosion, which by the way, totally happened. But who has time to check superfluous stuff like a blowout preventer? I mean, that meth isn’t going to smoke itself.
BP has shown a desire to cover its own ass by allegedly forbidding clean-up crews to wear respirators so as to avoid future negligence lawsuits even as it continues to dump toxic dispersants, which have been banned in the UK, ignoring the EPA’s pleas to find a less toxic (and extremely available) version.
Bloomberg.org’s Amity Shlaes recently grouped me together with two other “left-leaning” bloggers in an article about the nefarious world of the Internets. In this murky underworld, faceless bloggers exist only to baselessly attack innocent politicians post-election as part of a dastardly plan to undermine “gentlemanly” newspapers. My qualms with Shlaes article are threefold, but I first want to offer a little background about the article and my initial response.
I am “Exhibit B” in Shlaes’s example. “Exhibit A” is Talking Point Memo’s Eric Kleefeld, and “Exhibit C” is Think Progress’s Matthew Yglesias. In a truly bizarre turn, Shlaes links to a video I cross-posted from TPM of Bobby Jindal retelling the fictitious encounter he had with Sheriff Lee in post-Katrina New Orleans. She cites the headline I gave the post: “Bobby Jindal: Chronically Stupid.” Other than the title, that blog post came entirely from TPM. So Shlaes actually presents TPM as two of three examples of the supposedly dishonest bloggers trolling the Internet.
I am sort of disappointed that Shlaes linked to one of my cross-posted blogs because she would no doubt also enjoy my original Conservative-bashing blogs where I write that Peggy Noonan is a terrible columnist, who “practically shouts that she wants a penis inside of her” at the slightest hint of an impending conflict, Davis Brooks is “elite and clueless”, and that Douglas Feith (among other former Bush officials) are war criminals. Shlaes failed to find these other, better examples of “character assassination” either because the Jindal post really pissed her off, and she was seized by the desire to use it as example of nutty bloggers gone wild, or she was too lazy to properly search my blog for an original work. The blog post is clearly marked “Talking Points Memo” with a link to the original work at the top of the page, so I have to assume the latter is true.
“Some things in life need to be mysterious,” Peggy Noonan explained. Americans needed the Noon’s guidance. You see, the unenlightened herd needs political elites to explain complicated and seemingly contradictory lessons in morality. Why is it okay if America tortures? Didn’t we sign that Geneva Conventions thingy?
Nevermind. Aunt Peggy is here to explain away the bad thoughts. ”Sometimes you need to just keep walking.” Indeed.
Roger Cohen agrees, and as usual, wrote a succinct summation that would have made Hemingway blush at his own rambling oeuvre: “In a thicket of words lies plausible deniability when the time for horror’s accounting arrives.” Cohen translates a few paragraphs down: “I’m wary of the clamor for retribution.” Oh.
Senate Democratic leaders, teaming with the Obama White House, rushed to support the study of Noonology, and said they would resist efforts to investigate the harsh interrogation methods used on detainees. (Emphasis mine).
Mr. Reid, who repeatedly denounced the use of harsh interrogation techniques when Mr. Bush was president, suggested that naming a special panel would signal an intent to exact “retribution” and he sought to paper over the disagreement with members of his own caucus, like Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who want a commission.
Apparently, upholding the law is now a fringe issue. Those on the “hard left ” want accountability, and the serious beltway “journalists” want to “keep walking” away from “retribution” so as to maintain life’s sweet “mystery.”
Sweeping away the government’s crimes is no longer the behavior of apologist sycophants. It’s called Noonology, and now you can try it at home!
Got some unpaid parking tickets? Not a problem. You march right into your local courthouse, look that mean ole’ judge right in his beady eyes, and say, “I’m not paying these tickets! I’m moving forward!”
Just lost your job? Never fear! Go rob a convenient store. When the cops try to arrest you, explain they’re shattering life’s sweet mysteries by prosecuting you under the law.
Neighbor playing loud music? Shoot him!** If society, or “the man,” starts harassing you about murdering a human being, explain that retribution is pointless, and by trying to hold you accountable for your deeds, the cops are tearing at society’s very fabric.
- Main Entry: noon·o·lo·gy
- Pronunciation: \ˈnün-ä-lə-jē\
- Function: noun
- Etymology: English, creation of a smartass blogger
- Date: 2008
** I’m kidding. You’ll totally go to jail because you don’t work for the government and so the law applies to you.
Listen here: http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?show=6692.
After the Unfunny But Totally Real Headlines, Citizen Radio discusses Australia, the cursed liberal media, torture memos, miseducation, prison, and Mumia Abu Jamal.
What’s more gross than grown adults pleasuring themselves to the thought of the U.S. military? When the press does it! Citizen Radio discusses the mainstream media, and how they’re miseducating America.
Next, Jamie talks about dropping out of high school and Allison comments on Noam Chomsky’s “On Miseducation,” a book that explores how institutionalized education encourages ideological domestication.
Upcoming guests include: Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Janeane Garofalo, and Jeremy Scahill.
If I’m to believe the mainstream press and pundits (most disappointingly, Rachel Maddow,) there are bands of inexplicably evil men sailing around the Horn of Africa, pillaging ships and terrorizing sailors simply because they are pirates. And pirates are evil. End of story.
Except, that’s a rather shallow interpretation of what’s happening in the Somalian waters. Acts of piracy are acts of desperation, and not the acts of evil men. Of course, terrorizing civilians is never acceptable, though I would like to point out my own government is guilty of crimes against humanity that far exceed any acts of Somalian piracy.
In his excellent article, Johann Hari writes of a fascinating exchange between Alexander the Great and a pirate. The pirate was captured and brought before Alexander.
[Alexander] demanded to know “what he meant by keeping possession of the sea.” The pirate smiled, and responded: “What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor.” Once again, our great imperial fleets sail in today – but who is the robber?
Hari went into further detail about Somalian pirates when I interviewed him for my show Citizen Radio. During the interview, he explained that Somalian pirates are actually poor fishermen. It was only after Somalian waters were poisoned by western nations, and the livelihoods of Somalian fisherman were destroyed, that civilians turned to acts of piracy as means of survival.
What happened in Somalia is that in 1991, the Somalian government collapsed and the country imploded. Two processes began in different parts of Somalia; bearing in mind it has a 3000 km coastline. A European shipping fleet, mostly Spanish, Italian and some British came along and basically started industrially fishing Somalian fish, which is one of the main sources of food in a starving country. Suddenly these tiny little fishermen with nets were being out fished by these industrial trawlers and the fish started just disappearing, so there was a massive increase in hunger in Somalia.
In another part of Somalia, industrial waste from Europe begun to being dumped just off the coast, because it’s expensive to get rid of waste in Europe [whilst] it costs nothing to take it in a boat and dump it outside Somalia. The most incredible thing that was dumped was literally nuclear waste. So after the tsunami, barrels of all sorts of random shit started to wash up on the coast of Somalia, including nuclear waste that we now know [as a result] radiation sickness killed around 300 people but no ones bothering to count or check. That’s [what] the UN special envoys estimate to me was, 300 died, could be far more, no one’s looking, cleaning or doing anything.
Imagine if this happened in Florida, imagine if the government of Florida didn’t have any resources and suddenly Italians came, stole all the fish and everyone was going bust in Florida, and they started dumping nuclear waste. People of Florida would be calling for the nuking of Italy.
The Somalians with very limited resources sent what they called the ‘National Volunteer Coast Guard’ to try and stop these people, and the people we call pirates call themselves the coast guard. This is not that implausible when you bear in mind the context. It’s absolutely true that the some pirates have committed unacceptable acts, I don’t believe it’s ever right to take a hostage, [but] they haven’t killed anyone, harmed anyone, but they have taken hostages. That’s not right, they do it to get money but they then in some cases give it back to [their] communities, which have been desecrated in several instances. So it’s a good example of how something is presented as mindless insanity when actually it’s actually completely different.
Pundits (even our beloved Progressive pundits) adore simplicity, and the pirate coverage off the coast of Somalia presented to them an orgasmic, cartoonish stand-off between “noble seamen,” and “evil pirates.”
The truth is more complicated than that.
Somalians live in a shockingly volatile environment complete with stark poverty and religious fundamentalism. Their environment has been poisoned by the west, their source of food and income destroyed, and now desperate men are resorting to desperate acts.
To stress again: it’s never acceptable to harm civilians, and hostage-taking is never a valid means of negotiation. Still, when considering the stress placed upon Somalia’s civilians, it’s actually pretty surprising that there hasn’t been more violence, and that most nautical conflicts with pirates have been resolved peacefully. (Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, even admitted that “in most of these cases to date, [the] crews have ultimately been released unharmed.”)
It’s important not to demonize Somalians, even the Somalian pirates. When we demonize our enemies, they become less than human, and it becomes easy to apply such blanket rhetoric as “terrorists.” Demonization (particularly by our media) allows hawkish figures an excuse to say that Somalia “must be invaded,” that poor fisherman AKA pirates “must be destroyed,” and that the “axis of evil” has a new peg.
Johann Hari’s official website: http://www.johannhari.com/
The mainstream media’s players are incapable of cognitive dissonance.
The editors of our major, failing newspapers, seem perfectly comfortable with printing foreign policy advice from men, who would be arrested in other countries for war crimes.
I expected some kind of disclaimer before former undersecretary of defense, Douglas Feith’s, New York Times op-ed. Maybe Warning: This man has been accused by Spanish human rights lawyers of providing legal cover to Bush policies under which detainees were tortured. TAKE NOTHING HE SAYS SERIOUSLY.
Or Warning: Douglas Feith created the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group shortly after 9/11. The group was under investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for whether it exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq to justify the war.
Or Warning: Taking advice from men like Douglas Feith got us into two wars, which — in case you haven’t been watching television — aren’t going very well, so maybe you shouldn’t take what he has to say very seriously.
Alas, I reached the end of the article to find the following benign interpretation of Feith’s career:Douglas J. Feith, a former under secretary of defense, is a senior fellow and Justin Polin is a research associate at the Hudson Institute.
This is like describing Augusto Pinochet as a stern fellow with an unpopular vision of Chile’s future.
The media continues to perpetuate the cycle of bad advice by treating men like Douglas Feith as “serious” foreign policy “experts.” We could replicate (or possibly improve upon) Feith’s world class strategy advice by dressing a chimp in a suit and having him hurl his own feces at a world map. Wherever the shit lands, that’s where we send our troops. And we only have to pay undersecretary Chimp in bananas.
Our national conversation could benefit greatly from banning Douglas Feithian contributors. Feith has nothing new to offer the debate, anyway. In the Times, he recycles the old arguments that we must invade Pakistan for, like, the good of the people! Remember, this was partly the excuse Neo-Conservatives concotted for why we had to invade and occupy Iraq. While it is true Iraqis were suffering greatly, firebombing their villages was hardly a solution to the problem.
But then, helping the indigenous people is never the real reason we send our army overseas. And men like Douglas Feith know this. Though he writes about spreading the message of moderate religion via radio in Pakistan, his true interests have nothing to do with his love of Pakistani culture. He (and his cronies) are only interested in political and military leverage.
The Times is the only player still harboring the debunked notion that the Neo-Conservatives have something of value to offer the planet.