Danny Cardwell's picture

    Netanyahu: America's Favorite Thug

    There’s been so much written about any potential influence Vladimir Putin could exert over Donald Trump that the influence Benjamin Netanyahu already has over him was largely ignored. The United Nations Security Council’s decision to call the Israeli settlements illegal, coupled with the incoming Trump administration's reaction to it, has pushed those of us still engaged in the political process back to our partisan cubbyholes on all things Israel. On Fox news, this story is being sold as President Obama’s final act of hostility against Israel: there might be some screw you aimed at Israel on the president’s part, but that doesn’t negate the principles that undergird the U.S. decision to abstain from vetoing Resolution 2334. The 4th Geneva Convention is the basis for the settlements being illegal. Our past UN vetoes have only emboldened Israel to keep building on contested lands. At the end of 2014 Israel begrudgingly slowed down the construction of settlements, but overall Israel has built more settlements during the Obama administration than during the Bush years. I’ve read articles and tweets from some very smart people who saw the UN’s decision as something to celebrate, but the reality is: the daily life of the average Palestinian and Jewish person affected by this decision is likely to get worse. 

    Money in Politics

    In 1994, Richard Mellon Scaife, a billionaire heir to the Pittsburgh Mellon fortune, embarked on a new $2.4 million effort to hobble the new liberal president called "The Arkansas Project" with fake news, eventually funding the Paula Jones' lawsuit as well that led to Clinton's impeachment, along with a couple "exposé" books on him.

    Scaife did not just embark on his endeavour unwittingly - his ex-OSS (pre-CIA) father had bought a news outlet to disseminate anti-Communist and pro-conservative propaganda worldwide, but had to shut it down once made public.

    Scaife's giving of $620 million by 1999 - worth billions in today's dollars - had from the 70's already created The Heritage Foundation and helped sustain such right-wing mainstays as the Hoover Institute, the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), later on NewsMax, FreedomWorks and ALEC. The term "Think Tank" does little credit to the destructively active role these orgs have played in American political life, and Scaife's focused conservative "philanthropy" was unusual for its time, helping to launch the Gingrich "revolution" in 1994 and propped up the new neocon movement post-2000.

    Topics: 
    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Mr. Trump, You're No Teddy Roosevelt

    “I think Donald Trump sees himself larger than life,” said former House Speaker John Boehner recently. “He kind of reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt, another guy who saw himself larger than life.”

    As a Roosevelt scholar, I beg to differ. Theodore Roosevelt did not see himself as larger than life; he was larger than life. We don’t celebrate him because of his ego; we celebrate him because he was a hero who embodied and championed the virtues that we Americans admire: honesty, courage, compassion, and resolve.

    Read the full story at The Daily Beast

    Topics: 
    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Thomas Sowell Retired: Bye Felicia

    Thomas Sowell Retired: Bye Felicia


    “But, to the race hustlers, black lives don't really matter nearly as much as their chance to get publicity, power, money, votes or whatever else serves their own interests.”                                                

    Thomas Sowell

     

     

    Topics: 

    The Unchangeable Hopelessness of Being

    [To Terry]. Eight years ago midnight New Year's Eve, I watched fireworks flying across the remote mountains with a queasiness in my belly as the world's economies melted down and Obama prepared to assume the presidency, and I meditated and prayed for his success as only an atheist can do, feeling that if the elements could pull together in some kind of Shakespearean concoction, we'd find a way out of this madness.

    It's been a maddening 8 years with occasional somewhat neutered success. The bailout that extended the tax breaks "stimulus" madness, retaining trader bonuses, forked stimulus cash straight to banks that never got used, diverged into largely unpunished mortgage theft after the dust had settled, and as a side-show had Washington bean counters combing over Detroit business trying to understand cars only in terms of cashflow, investors (gotta give the previous owners 100 cents on the dollar), and retirement plans. The health care that'd been derived from Hillary's campaign turned into an industry-friendly mixed cocktail, only after 2 years of favors and invites to all the objectors that never quite showed up in the end. That Nebraskan Senator who helped shove the no-abortion-benefits into the package and then got voted out of office anyway - all those Blue Dogs are gone now, but Obama still played the deficit scold compromise game with the Republicans that they largely won, tying hands for greater social programs. Rahm made it clear that unions no longer had a sure place at the table.

    A Visit from St. Vlad

    'Twas the day after Christmas and all through the site
    Not a blogger was stirring, no postings in sight.
    The comments were lined by the masthead with care
    With hopes for some non-Trump discussion as fare
    While readers rolled restlessly slumped in their beds
    Damning hangover headaches that chastened their heads.
    My alias and I had just poured a nightcap,
    thinking we'd hack out some politically motivated crap.
    When out in the blogosphere there arose such a natter,
    A tweetstorm with fake news that filled it with chatter.
    Off to my Facebook I flew in a rage
    To offer my musings on each open page.

    Ramona's picture

    In the Battle for America the Internet is our War Room


    It's been a while, I know, but I'm back in the saddle, ready to do my thing, hoping I can do it without an overabundance of whining or spitting at people. (Not that that's what I've been doing.) But first I need to say this up front and out loud:

    I despise everything Donald Trump says and does and what he stands for (whatever that might be at any given moment), and I'll never accept that he is anything close to what a half-way decent president of the United States ought to be.

    Topics: 

    Bring on the Lepers

    I stopped by an exhibit in the station this eve, a nice large format profile of dozens of homeless and the sheltered, their stories - the guy who finds out he's adopted when he finally gets his various documents on leaving high school, the woman who manages to free herself from an abusive husband only to lose her leg to disease and get thrown out of guest work in England, another who can't manage to stay off the juice, one's a mechanic who works hard but always finds himself on the wrong end of some scam or people who don't pay the bills. They describe their day, how they survive and pass the time. I see similar folks in front of the station, handing out their magazines trying to earn a few coins of respectable money in return for their soup and sandwich. Some have started giving tours to tourists and locals, showing the city from the homeless point of view, even though one's a struggling male prostitute with AIDS, others have different impediments that make it unusual for them to mingle and present their world.

    "There are a million stories in the naked city - this has been a few of them". A few that cut through.

    acanuck's picture

    Cleric is pawn in Trump-Putin-Erdogan power game

    Lots of people will feel lots of pain once the Trump administration takes power. Perhaps the first casualty will be Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric now in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.

    A moderate Islamist leading a popular movement, Gülen was once allied with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They split over accusations of government corruption. Since then, Gülenism has been branded a terrorist organization, Gülen followers were accused of staging July’s failed military coup, and hundreds of thousands have been rounded up, fired or arrested. Gülen denies any involvement, but Erdogan demands he be extradited to face trial in Turkey.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    The Rage and Outrage Economy

    The Daily Beast asked me to write about the relationship between Carl Icahn and Donald Trump.  I responded with a piece about how Icahn's decades of shareholder activism are the foundation for Trump's corporation-focused Twitter rants.

    Topics: 
    Danny Cardwell's picture

    The Hug Heard Round America

    On December 15th 79-year-old John Franklin McGraw plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of assault that stemmed from the well-timed forearm shiver he delivered to 26-year-old Rakeem Jones at a Trump rally in March. He was charged with a misdemeanor for a crime that had felonious intent. North Carolina state law allows such offenses to be classified as misdemeanors, so I can’t blame him, but let’s be honest: he was sentenced to unsupervised probation for committing an assault captured on video. If you're reading this and believe Rakeem Jones would have received such a lenient sentence had their roles been reversed you should do a quick Google search of this continent's history.

    William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Man positive oncoming train won't really hit him

    When Norm Rixon woke up this morning, he expected it to be like any other morning with some coffee, news and time with Shifty, his dog. Instead, he awoke tied to train tracks in a dusty location outside Joshua Tree, Calif.

    "I did not expect that," said Rixon, 32.

    Despite his predicament, Rixon said he felt confident things would work out for him.

    Michael Maiello's picture

    Truth Before Transition

    Barack Obama will hold a press conference tomorrow at 2:30 pm EST, before his family heads on their annual (well-earned) vacation to Hawaii.  We can hope for something important tomorrow as the White House has now made the following statements about Russia's election hacks:

    Topics: 
    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    In Defense of Ebeneezer Scrooge

    Oh, joy. The War on the War on Christmas is back. People are hollering that now that Trump has been elected, everyone is going to have to say "Merry Christmas" all the time and have "Merry Christmas" said to them all the time, whether they like it or not, and they don't like it, screw them anyway. What better way to express the meaning of Christmas? It's so very far from the spirit of Christian humility and love that I find myself, against all odds, ready to mount a defense of Ebeneezer Scrooge.

    Richard Day's picture

    NOAH'S ARK

    Last night I viewed two or three hours of the National Geographic Channel that centered upon Noah's Ark.

    Okay?

    So there I saw men in their early 40's? And these men were (once again) demonstrating that there was in fact a Noah's Ark; that all wild life (except for those who thrive in the seas or the fresh lakes?) had been destroyed by the wrath of God (what the hell did a hippo ever do that transgressed the laws of God?) and so God chose Noah

    To build an Ark?

    Taxing Economic Injustice

    Shortly after the Presidential election, I urged progressives to focus efforts on improving circumstances for poor, working, and middle-class people in targeted localities and states. At the national level, President-elect Trump and the solidly Republican Congress will not be responsive to our concerns and do not share our values. We will have to fight rearguard actions in Washington to try to preserve what remains of the positive legacies of FDR and LBJ. Opportunities to build on them at the national level are likely to be few and far between.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Hegemony, Demographics, and "Populism"

    "And before we knew it we were totally outnumbered at the family gatherings and consigned to a corner of the sectional, whispering and ducking among the flying hands, feeling rather small and blind, like moles or voles trembling in the shadows of the raptors."

    When I first heard Paul Hostovsky's poem "Hegemony" I was so caught up with the in-group out-group role reversal narrative that I completely missed the poems lesson: communication. In the poem the protagonist has three deaf cousins who were largely ignored by the rest of their family, but through a series of marriages, births, divorces, and new marriages the biblical narrative of "the first shall be last and the last shall be first" was manifested. The deaf cousins found themselves the center of attention. The "small and blind" feeling the new minority of the hearing felt was based solely on their response to their new position within the family. The majority's willingness to ignore the minority left them on the outside looking in. Maybe we need to start communicating better and read more poetry? 

    Topics: 
    Michael Maiello's picture

    That Nicaragua Feeling

    It's already become a transition cliche that Donald Trump is turning the US into a banana republic.  We've got the situational diplomacy, the crony appointments and the massive conflicts of interest as the president-elect clings to his global real estate and branding business even as he is about to take power.

    Topics: 

    From Russia with Love: A Tsar is Born (updated)

    Those surprised at Russia's annexation of Crimea during their Sochi Olympics shouldn't have been - in 2008 with the world focused the Olympics in Beijing, Russia launched a land, air & sea invasion of Georgia

    The Olympics themselves since Soviet times have always been a Russian showcase - extended to Eastern Bloc countries during the Cold War. And some habits die hard, what with 111 Russian athletes banned from the Rio Olympics for doping (originally the whole team), and the announcement yesterday of 1000 athletes implicated in doping.

    Ramona's picture

    Dear Funny Mr. Smith

    Terrible news to report this morning, fellow Daggers. Our dear friend Mr. Smith (Michael Tracy Smith) died yesterday, a day before his 66th birthday.

    As some of you may know, he suffered for many years with Spondylitis, a degenerative disease that fuses the spine. Through it all he kept his big heart and his delicious sense of humor.  He was a master of the art of Haiku and made his amazing haikus a regular Friday feature here at Dagblog, a gift for which we probably didn't thank him enough.

     

    Topics: 

    Pages

    Latest Comments