Professor Smartass

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What should Wikileaks leak NEXT?

Assuming they had access to everything, what would be most vital to the public interest and cutting through the lies and crap from DC?

My top three:
  1. every shred of paper from the Cheney Energy Task Force in early 2000. One of the few documents that was released in response to a FOIA request was a map of Iraq's oil fields divided up and a list of foreign suitors for those fields. What role did this play not only in our Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but seeking bases and political machinations in Central Asia, where we are trying to wrestle the Caspian pipeline business away from Russia. Did they do this solely for the benefit of oil and energy companies, or out of a misguided sense of seeking energy security? Were there dissenting voices in the military and foreign policy establishment that said this would make a LESS secure world since Russia and China might not like us having that degree of hegemony?

  2. The Saudi pages Bush classified in a panic in the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 Report. It is already a matter of public record that we were attacked by terrorists given logistical help by an agent of our ally Saudi Arabia, who also funneled money to the terrorist and was in constant phone contact with their embassy and consulate before the attack. The piece that is missing is why they would do that and why the Bush administration didn't even skip a heartbeat before defending and embracing them.

  3. Likewise, why did our government initially ignore the documented financial help and direction Pakistan gave to al Qaeda and the Taliban, including evacuating key leaders from Tora Bora? In the last couple of years, they seem to be noticing, though the most damning evidence was available immediately after 9/11. What was the reason for the selective outrage? or more importantly, why the long delay before the outrage? What other issues did we have with Pakistan then and now that would explain it?

    OK, I lied. A fourth I'd like to see:

  4. Has the Pentagon done an assessment of the security threat Wall Street's shorting of other countries economies and/or how the gutting of our industrial base have created? Are they monitoring the threat and have they prepared contingency plans to neutralize it?
There's probably a whole lot that could be asked on the domestic front as well, but I'm curious to hear what other's want leaked.


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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shirley Sherrod & To Kill a Mockingbird

While not all conservatives had access to the real story like Breitbart might have, I'm wondering if, when he scoured the tapes to edit them, he might have been incensed at the real message in Shirley Sherrod's speech: that someone grew past their racial hatred to realize they are the same as the hated other, and worse, that a black person was in a position to feel sorry for and help a white and the whites wanted and were grateful for it.

The last time I heard a story like this was TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, a black man is accused of raping and beating a young white woman.

It becomes clear at the trial though that she was lonely,and was constantly asking the black guy to do chores around her house, which he did for free. Then when they were alone, she finally came on to him, but rather than kiss or have sex with her, he ran away.

Her father saw her advances through the window and beat her after the black man left.

It should have been clear to the jury that the black man couldn't have choked and punched the girl since he had one useless, deformed arm.

But the black man made a fatal mistake on the stand: when asked why he did the chores for free, he said he felt sorry for her.

And that struck at the jury's racist pride--they convicted him.

So it was with the Shirley Sherrod story.

Breitbart and Fox News peddled a story that fit the prejudices of their conservative audience: if a black person had any power, they would use it to harm or withhold help from whites (just as the conservatives know they would do themselves to blacks, Latinos, Muslims, gays, and others in that position).

But more outrageous to them than her imagined offense was the real one: her racism melted, she saw some white farmers as more like her own family than not, did everything in her power to help them, and they were grateful.

Maybe more offensive to them than that was she was in the position of power and the whites in need, was that her actions reminded conservatives why they are dying.

Not just through legislation and the Civil Rights movement, but slowly a person or family at a time, racial fear and hatred are being chipped away, until only the most hateful and ignorant hang on to it, like their favorite doll or teddy bear from childhood.

And their power will be dead when black and white folks alike can look at them and not feel fear or hatred, but simply sorry for them, like we would for a Boo Radley in our own family we were trying to draw out of his shell.

We aren't quite there yet though when the NAACP and the president of the United States still jump when our disturbed cousins say so, and abandon their posts as our Atticus Finches.



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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Obama: don't bow & scrape to business--divide & conquer

An article in Politico says the Obama administration is worried the are gaining an unfair reputation of being anti-business and includes the pitch Rahm Emanuel is making publicly to get back in corporate America's good graces, but only one part of it is on target, the point about reregulation (see highlight in excerpt below).

The fact is, when Wall Street is run like a boiler room scam factory, it's bad for legitimate businesses that produce actual goods and services, who could become the target of the next pump and dump bubble. Worse, without fairly applied regulation, smaller businesses must always be afraid that larger, more politically connected corporations will cheat them in deals or use monopolistic tactics to put them out of business with impunity.

There is also the old Henry Ford case to be made prosperous workers buy more products, and the various scams and exorbitant health insurance costs have meant less money for workers to spend buying electronics, cars, and refrigerators.

Probably the best cases to be made though is a Machiavellian divide and conquer one: not all businesses are the same just as not all people are. There were and are some bad actors who harmed not just the American people but all other American businesses.

Unless a business really believed they could get out of paying for health insurance altogether, health care reform will help them (and it would have helped them more if it had been even more progressive and gave people a public option).

Likewise, the damage BP has done to fisheries, tourism, and probably even some agriculture in the Gulf of Mexico is incalculable. When you add the other hidden costs of catering to the oil industry like the taxes we pay that go to subsidies, tax breaks, and troops to seize and protect oil reserves and pipeline routes, taking care of the health effects of burning fossil fuels, and the suppression of alternative energy to replace it.

Rahm's approach assumes that a business is a business is a business, but that is like saying your corner diner is the same as Microsoft is the same as a tobacco company, ''massage'' parlor, or Tony Robbins get-rich-quick scam.

Clamping down on and holding the bad actors accountable makes it possible for ethical businesses to thrive since the lack of regulation puts ethical businesses at a disadvantage against the unethical who will cut corners in product or worker safety or by giving their customers less than promised.

And just as many conservatives think certain individuals are so dangerous to society that they cannot be allowed to live, so it is with certain businesses and even whole industries that need to be put to death or at least put out on ice floe in the arctic, so that their survival depends on their anti-climate change propaganda being true.

If BP hasn't earned that fate, we should apologize for executing Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer*, and Tim McVeigh.

To do this though, taking care of the public good would have to be a top priority, and if you read up on the DLC, corporate wing of the Democratic Party that Obama has filled his administration with, it is obvious that they would rather replace the Republicans not just in elected offices, but in the hearts of sociopathic CEO's and trust fund babies as their most trusted servants, and if that means grinding us up and using us to chum for sharks off the back of the wealthy's yacht, so be it.




W.H. works to flip anti-business rep

By: Ben White
July 8, 2010 12:51 PM EDT

Obama has been happy to be seen by voters as cracking down on Wall Street but those efforts have had an unintended result: feeding a sense that the president and his party are indifferent or even actively hostile toward big business, whether those businesses are Silicon Valley tech companies, Midwestern manufacturers or Main Street small businesses.

And it is more than just politics: Obama’s aides believe confidence in the general direction of White House policy has an effect on the willingness of corporations to hire, invest and push the economy toward a more solid recovery.

The stakes are high. Nearly every economic report suggests that corporate America, flush with cash and generating strong profits, is waiting to unleash a wave of hiring if only they have confidence there will be no double-dip recession and that consumers will have money to spend.

***

In a Thursday interview, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel argued that rather than recoiling against Obama, business leaders should be grateful for his support on at least a half-dozen counts: his advocacy of greater international trade and education reform open markets despite union skepticism; his rejection of calls from some quarters to nationalize banks during the financial meltdown; the rescue of the automobile industry; the fact that the overhaul of health care preserved the private delivery system; the fact that billions in the stimulus package benefited business with lucrative new contracts, and that financial regulation reform will take away the uncertainty that existed with a broken, pre-crash regulatory apparatus.

FULL TEXT

*NOTE: I know Dahmer was only executed by poetic justice not by the judicial system.



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