The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    oleeb's picture

    Some Observations On Today's Osama Overkill Coverage

    The media paroxysms began last night just before the late local news programs were to begin. Since that time we have gotten very little substantive information that one could say really sheds any light on how the US finally was able to locate and kill Osama Bin Laden.

    We have gotten little gossipy snippets about how Osama's last cowardly act was to use a woman, perhaps one of his wives, to shield himself. We have been fed some oh-so-serious photographs of our fearless Commander in Chief and his top flunkies in the sacred "situation room" where they watched "the operation" unfold in "real time" like a "video game".

    We have been fed countless hours of the same basic facts over and over and over again. We have been fed a steady stream of essentially groundless speculation about "what it means" that Osama Bin Laden has bitten the dust, been rubbed out by Uncle Sam, been brought to justice and so on. We have been subjected to a genuinely enormous amount of gossipy speculation by puffed up celebrity news personalities, overpaid consultants to the Pentagon, terrorism "experts" of all kinds being asked questions about "what happens next" that they could not possibly answer with any certainty. We have endured all sorts of very self congratulatory commentary and "reporting" on just how damned fucking good our special forces are. And we've generally been bathed in fulsome applause for anything having to do with the US military which we all support, love, honor, and obey... "I do."

    We have been shown lots and lots of the same footage looping over and over of (mostly) the nation's privileged youth ballyhooing the death of the great terrorist in front of the White House, at "Ground Zero" and on college campuses. Interesting how the rest of the nation's adults are not really joining in but the gossip and kibitzing industry isn't focused on that. It's the action out there that's important so we'll just keep showing the same pictures and creating an atmosphere of much greater celebration in America than there actually is. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure few (if any) of our countrymen and women are shedding tears for Osama today.

    But really, beyond loads of gossip and speculation and a very sketchy narrative about what took place what have we got in terms of actual information that's all that different from the basic facts the President included in his late night statement of yesterday evening? Methinks not much really. Why is this?

    I am concerned about the false conclusions that appear to be being sold to the public with all this, shall we say, irrational exuberance. The undertone of much of the yammering on the airwaves and in the blogosphere since last night has been that this somehow justifies our imperial occupation of two Muslim countries and our not so covert imperialist wars in three other Muslim nations. The endless imperial wars that were begun by using the attacks of 9/11 as an excuse are enormously unpopular,but perhaps this news will boost the popularity of the wars that have no end because this is somehow "proof" that it's all been worth it. I think that to the contrary this demonstrates that by focusing on actually getting the job of getting rid of Al Qaida with intelligence and special forces since the beginning we could have saved trillions of dollars and countless human lives.

    Despite it's unpopularity with the people, the policy of our rulers remains full bore imperial warfare against the amorphous and moving target of worldwide terrorism and on occupying any Muslim nation we designate as not being sufficiently against terrorism. There plainly is no limit to the amount of money and lives we will expend to carry out the wet dream of the military industrial complex that is endless war on a worldwide scale. This will continue to keep our malignant arms and weapons industries humming along, sucking up needed resources that could be used to employ our 20 millions of unemployed Americans. Perhaps this news is going to be used to bamboozle people into thinking that because we got this one, horrible, evil son of a bitch that somehow means we're "winning" now and we will win the whole thing if only we don't withdraw our troops, if only we continue to pursue the same doomed policies and strategies of the past 10 years in Afghanistan.

    Our economy remains in tatters with little prospect for recovering in the next 4-5 years let alone the next 4-5 months. We have a craven, bellicose and meglomaniacal/authoritarian Republican Party trying to undermine the future of the nation by sacrificing it on the altar of a fantasy world reality that never was nor will be. They prefer instead to try and get the rest of the nation to drink their kool aid and follow them off the cliff of deficit reduction in order to destroy any chance for job creation over the last part of Obama's first term. I think the nation is in real peril but not from terrorists. No. The real peril comes from the total and complete disconnect between the interests of the ruling elites of this nation and those of the vast majority of our citizens.

    I don't think there's any question at all that the general war of occupation and attrition we are fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan played little or no part in the operation that led to Bin Laden's death. In fact, had we not stubbornly insisted on pursuing the same losing strategy the Pentagon clung to once before in Vietnam we could have put lots more resources toward this. Lost amidst all the gossip and speculation of the past 24 hours is the real issue of how our imperial military is sucking the life out of our economy, dooming the next generation to a less prosperous and less secure life. There have been a few courageous members of Congress meekly suggesting that this event necessitates the withdrawal of troops from AfPak, but only a few. I am afraid that this latest big development will only serve as a useful tool that those who love war will use to buy more time for themselves and their failed policy of war, war and more war.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. fought against what he called the triple evils of racism, militarism, and poverty. You cannot pick and choose among those three and hope to defeat even one of them. Racism and poverty feed and breed militarism and militarism breeds racism and poverty. The three go hand in hand you see. We have worked on fighting racism in this country and met with some success. We have made little effort to combat poverty in the past 40 years. And since King's death we have only increased our reliance upon militarism.

    Instead of talking about how "the fight is not over" against the now dead Bin Laden and his now completely fractured Al Qaeda we need to be talking about putting an end to the malignancy of militarism that has grown up in this nation since the end of World War II and that has caused little but heartache for our people. We can begin by expediting the withdrawal of US troops from AfPak as soon as humanly possible and bringing our other wars in Iraq, Yemen and Somalia also to an end. We need desperately to redirect the vast resources we've diverted for decades to the militarist agenda back to the needs of our people here at home who have suffered now for 35 years and more with stagnant wages, disappearing benefits and pensions, and massive job losses especially since the economic collapse began in 2007. But our politicians will never stand up to the inexcusably bloated military if our people do not absolutely demand that they do so.

    I pray that with the now vanished justification for much of the police state that has been introduced in our country since 2001 the people will begin to come out of their Cold War like fog and demand our political and business leaders start doing something to create good jobs. But you won't see that being discussed on cable TV shows. No siree Bob! The ruling elite have no time for such trivial matters as employing the nation's workers so they can educate and feed their families, pay their exorbitant medical insurance premiums and all the while do so while operating vehicles the fuel for which is going to skyrocket in the very near future, etc... The first step in putting our country back on track is to stand up and demand an end to the growing influence of the militarist element in our government and then to begin the proper defunding of the wasteful, bloated Pentagon and its endless wars of occupation throughout the Muslim world.


    Sorry, I missed most of this.

    Busy watching Senator Ensign's resignation speech on the floor the Senate.

    And replays of the Royal Wedding!  LMAO!


    I think you're asking (or expecting) too much of people on the day after the man they've been led to believe is the nation's worst enemy has finally been brought down.  It's a day of raw emotion, not clear-heading future planning or even internal finger-wagging. 

    Yes, all the celebrating and ruminating got tiresome.  I solved it by turning off the TV.  I'm not saying you're not right about all you've said, just saying you're going to have to give us this day. . .

    Who is this "us" to which you refer? From where I sit, Oleeb is one of "us" and this is his day too.


    What makes you think I wasn't including Oleeb in that collective "us"?

    The point isn't to say you can't be appreciative of what was done to Bin Laden.  It's long overdue and could have been achieved some time ago had our political leaders established sensible priorities.  But I do think we are being misled and misdirected... again by this information overkill orgy of the past 24 hours.  Really the point is to put in perspective that the US media just spent 24 hours saying very little that didn't amount to a propaganda campaign for a militarist approach to the mythical "war on terror" that, but for the killing of Bin Laden yesterday, has been more or less a miserable, expensive failure.  We have been pumped full of distortions and gossip that means little or nothing but have been told is extraordinarily significant.  I don't think it is.  Who could be upset that Bin Laden is dead?  Good riddance I say!  He was a vile criminal.  But to think his killing represents some sort of pivotal moment is simply a fantasy.  Our news media should not be pedaling propaganda of any type and certainly should not be pedaling fantasies on matters as grave as the wars we are fighting.

    Oleeb, I agree with much of what you say and I understand your wish to temper this celebration with the reality of what was done in our name to get to this day. But at the same time I can understand the jubilation, the need to feel it wasn't all for nothing. Bin Laden is nothing more than a symbol and I don't think anyone really thinks yesterday was our VJ Day, that somehow the killing of one figurehead will move us to pull out of the Middle East and at last concentrate on rebuilding our own country. They're already bringing out the old neocons to talk about the value of waterboarding. The claim is that we wouldn't have known about the couriers without harsh interrogation, including waterboarding. So here we go. My only point yesterday was that the day after bin Laden's killing was inevitably going to be a day for back-slapping. Today is a new day. Carry on.

    But at the same time I can understand the jubilation, the need to feel it wasn't all for nothing.

    I can understand this too, but at the same time, and I know you know this–I just don't feel that everyone does–we don't want to go from "it wasn't all for nothing" to "it was all justified".

    Absolutely, your last line. It could easily move in that direction now, given our government's penchant for insisting on showing our muscle overseas while fumbling miserably when it comes to domestic challenges.

    No argument there.  But going a little nuts over the near-perfect operation that finally took out bin Laden isn't something anyone needs to apologize for.  It also doesn't mean that anyone is changing views about where we should go from here.  Even the most dovish can be happy about the outcome and still be ready to fight against our on-going policy of invasions without justification.

    Excellent point Verified and guess what?  The early numbers in overnight public opinion surveys suggest just that: that the public now is moving toward believing that the pointless and utterly unwinnable mythical war on terror has been worth it and moreover that somehow magically we are "winning" it which we most certainly are not.

    See these two items over at our alma mater: TPM which illustrate this point perfectly.  The first shows public opinion warming up to the good ol terror war after the 24 hours of "We did it! We did it!" and the second shows Obama's approval jumping almost 10 points after 24 hours of "Ding Dong The Terrorist Is Dead!"


    Yeah, lets go. Let us get out now!

    Good by and good luck!

    And how 'bout sorry, really sorry.

    Kyle, could you explain?

    "Goodbye, good luck and we're really sorry we've killed so many of your family and friends."

    "And thanks for all the fish!"

    Your link about Frank and Levin's comments is a twinkle of hope.  Let's pray it grows and quickly!

    From the WSJ:

    "Osama was not in Afghanistan: they found him in Pakistan," Mr. Karzai said. "The war on terror is not in Afghan villages…but in the safe havens of terrorism outside Afghanistan."

    Karzai along with other Afghan officials suggest that it is time for the US to leave. Sen Lieberman warns against a rapid withdrawal. Karazai wants to negoiate with the Taliban. The Taliban won't negoiate until the US leaves. The Taliban Spring offensive is gearing up...and the band plays on.

    The public has to pressure their legislators to get  local citizen-troops out of Afghanstan. When legislators come back home, they should face a citizenry who wants troop withdrawal now.

    I get the strange feeling that Osama bin Laden was like a bottle of champagne that people keep in the refrigerator to open on some future, unspecified "special occasion". Since he was obviously under Pakistani surveillance and probably has been for years, I'm interested in understanding the timing of this great day.

    I agree with you David and am also interested in the timing and much else about this whole affair.

    It may be quite some time before anything resembling the truth about the events leading to the killing of Bin Laden actually emerge.

    Timing:   ??

    Here's Kevin Gosztola, who's been combing through the Wikileaks Gitmo files, and what he's seen is that since Sept. of 2008 OBL's approximate whereabouts have been known (A very recent wikileaks tweet led him to look).  He's wondering why no one printed it, but does get that the Pentagon would have um...asked that the news not be published.  The files are about detainee al-Baki. 

    He has a Scahill video on the subject up, too, though I haven't watched it; just scanned his piece so far.

    I have a hard time believing that the Pakistan army weren't told, in some manner or other, to stand down as the air space was entered, a forty minute raid conducted, a helicopter was destroyed, and an exit back across the border was achieved.  

    Bottle of champagne for special occasion--great simile.

    BTW---Both Jon Stewart and the incomparable Stephen T. Colbert, DFA were brilliant tonight on the whole Bin Laden is dead story.

    Well there were opportunities and economic prosperity created for blacks in the 90's - the Bush years shouldn't wipe away the memories. Unfortunately, the rise in unsustainable illegal Mexican immigration also wiped away a lot of our internal capacity.

    I also include a chart on manufacturing below - note that the decline of the manufacturing industry started some time before NAFTA and before China became significant, and continued linearly downhill even while China's exploded exponentially.

    But the chart on military growth during the last 12 years especially would be quite ugly.

    Chart 7

    Chart 6


    Unfortunately, the rise in unsustainable illegal Mexican immigration also wiped away a lot of our internal capacity.

    Is this anecdotal or based on something?  Because it sounds like your argument is that we would still be exploiting African Americans in menial jobs if there weren't so many undocumented Mexicans in our underground and sub-minimum wage economy.  

    I wonder if what hit African-American Detroit auto-workers more was factory closings or low wage Mexican immigrants. Forget it, let's just pit the Blacks against the Mexicans.

    Well there wasn't a sudden surge of Mexicans in 2009, certainly not to Detroit, so we can chalk that up to factory closings, no?

    But illegal Mexican immigration has little economic effect - except for high school dropouts, where it significantly lowers wages. And what ethnic group has low high school graduation rates? Lessee, only 47% of black males graduate nationwide - only 28% of black males in NYC graduate.

    Now, for illegal Mexicans to depress black wages, they typically have to be in the same place, which might mean cities like LA, Houston, Chicago. 

    .....Well there were opportunities and economic prosperity created for blacks in the 90's - the Bush years shouldn't wipe away the memories. Unfortunately, the rise in unsustainable illegal Mexican immigration also wiped away a lot of our internal capacity.

    Just so we're on the same page, let's review. You start off commenting about Blacks. then you say Mexicans decreaded our capacity. Aren't you implying that Mexicans impacted Black economic status? The poor graduation status of Blacks may be impacted by seeing few oppurtunities for employment based on the situation of the adults they see in their communities. I'm just not getting your connections between Mexicans and Blacks. Please clarify.

    Thank you for your patience here rmrd0000.  It should not be difficult for desider to clarify what he or she meant, which was my original question.  Urgh!

    Gee, that's tough - 400,000-500,000 illegal immigrants a year pushing wages down at the bottom?

    Yes, they impacted opportunities for poor Blacks as well as wages for poor Blacks, especially as noted, high school dropouts.

    Now, I don't know if I agree that "The poor graduation status of Blacks may be impacted by seeing few oppurtunities for employment based on the situation of the adults they see in their communities." How many of the adults in their communities who finished high school were as bad off as those in their community who didn't finish high school? Any examples of adults in the community who finished college? Or of those who finished college and left the community to better neighborhoods, depending?

    So at best you've got a 50-50 chance of having a high school graduate in the house. Perhaps 90% of those with a high school graduate in the house complete high school and 10% of those without a high school graduate in the house complete high school. The college students and graduates may have left the community either during college or soon after.

    There are likely some foreclosures in the 50% in the area who may be home-owners so you probably have a significant number of renters. An impression could be created that home ownership is not the norm.

    If you're poor everybody screws with you. The police exist to control you. The legal system exists to imprison you. Teachers exist to babysit you. The media exists to ignore you if you are doing the right thing (sports is an exception) or demonize you when you misbehave. Businesses stereotype you and don't hire you or follow you through the store if you come in to make a purchase.

    You are likely in worse shape from a health standpoint and have lesser access to health care. You are probably situationally depressed. And you are pissed.

    All this happens before you even see a Mexican.

    More doom-and-gloom anecdotal - the recession didn't happen overnight. Here's black home ownership in the 2000's. (from 1993, 42% of African Americans and 39% of Latinos owned their own home. By this 2000, up to to 46.9% of blacks and 46.2% of Latinos). 

    I'm not denying the housing crash and financial crash didn't hurt blacks more than most - especially with predatory lending, adjustable rate mortgages and illegal bank practices - but this is a recent thing. Oleeb's discussion mentioned no opportunity for blacks over 40 years, which I contested - we do have examples of success in fighting racism and improving prosperity and opportunity.



    I put the home ownership at 50% and you accuse me of doom-and-gloom. The home ownership rate is going to be higher in some areas than others, so 50% is a reasonable number. You noted poor graduation rates and now accuse me of being gloomy. I find a 50% high school graduate rate in the household of a current Black student not to be unreasonable. None of my theoretic numbers fall outside the statistical range of your real world numbers.

    I find it reasonable to state that all the consequences of being poor I noted would occur. You present gloomy numbers, I produce similar numbers and I'm considered to be in a depressive neurosis. You now switch to saying that we've been successful in fighting racism and improving prosperity. Are you now  saying that Blacks are doing better than you originally suggested?

    The poverty level among Blacks and other ethnic minorities is not going to be solved by pitting one group against another. The poor have been taken advantage of so often that there is little reason for them to trust government or non-governmental agencies. Look at the controversies that encompass GW Bush's former head of the Dept of Education, Roderick Paige, who headed the school system in Houson and former DC school superintendent Michelle Rhee. Good academic testing results in both cities appear to have been achieved by fudging the numbers.

    Detroit schools are bankrupt. The solution to this education crisis is to cut costs. Education comes second unlike paying for a war. The poor know that they are being screwed. They know that the Detroit mayor and the Governor of Michigan are the ones telling them to bend over. Many public school systems across the country have simply given up. The attempt to teach Ebonics was not put into operation by the Mexicans.

    Being the strong Afro-Centrist that I am, my antennae are always out for racial transgressors. I was ready to throw down when years ago when the newsies were talking about "latinos" killing "blacks" in Los Angeles. Imagine my disappointment when the statistics did not bear out the race war allegation. I wasted a lot of money on bullet proof vests, helmets , guns and ammo (snark).

    There are educational success stories in public and private schools in poor communities. Instead of learning from those models, we bring in corporate types to run schools like a business and watch them fail to produce results different from what public schools are already doing.





    The basic issue is that Bush's policies were a disaster for Blacks, Clinton's were mostly a big help (huge elephant being 3 strikes/drug incarceration with both huge lockup of black male population and huge decrease in crime), Obama's have been rather meh and in terms of jobs, horrible.

    Education "fixes" are usually hype and band-aids, though if you read Daily Howler, you'll find that black educational performance has improved significantly over the years despite media doom-and-gloom, but not through higher standards and more testing and magnet schools - through cold hard remedial work for unprepared students and simply good teaching and of course turning schools into calm places where studying can occur.

    While I'm not looking for race grudge matches, the fact is that there is some overlap in job niche for Black high school dropouts and illegal Mexican immigrants, and Blacks lose wherever the locations intersect.

    Detroit is its own problem, and many people have moved out of the Midwest before to find jobs elsewhere.

    But the housing mortgage breakdown has done more damage to Blacks than the financial crisis - housing was where Blacks had put much of their wealth, and Obama is complicit in letting widespread bank malpractice occur with little oversight and remedial efforts. That's not saying he didn't inherit a nasty collapse from Bush, but like with the jobs situation, he could have done something targeted and focused to ease the situation, rather than siding with large corporates over needs of little people.


    You didn't start out with Bush policies, you started with Mexicans. Having employees fill out tax information forms might impact hiring of some not in the country legally. Having American high school dropouts competing with illegal immigrants for low wage jobs seems short-sighted. In fact , from an economic standpoint the American dropout  might do better taking the low-risk route of collecting welfare/disability or the high-risk option of the drug trade. We need to work on getting the dropouts back in school and potential dropouts to be stay-ins. We need to focus on jobs that enable a person to feed a family after graduation.

    I mentioned above how some school systems have achieved better test results, so I am somewhat of a skeptic above improvements in outcomes. A major question is what jobs are we training the students to perform? Are they training to rebuild cities, training in biology/medicine or other growth fields? Are they just training to compete for slightly better than low wage jobs?

    Your duly elected Congress critters are fighting Elizabeth Warren tooth and nail on any reform policies. We need to work on cleaning the House. We also need to see if Harry Reid really has enough backbone to actually force Republicans to vote on the Ryan plan. If Reid caves, it will verify how little the President can count on Congressional Democrats for support. Stay tuned.


    "Having American high school dropouts competing with illegal immigrants for low wage jobs seems short-sighted." Well, our whole immigration and border control approach is short-sighted.

    And there's no way 18-year-olds are going to get jobs to feed a family as a general rule. We need entry-level positions that pay relatively shitty wages but allow some job training and just general work experience to let them build up value. (for example, Management skills are frequently more important than any specific job skill)

    Presumably Clinton's welfare reform did away with the attractiveness of the "low-risk" direction as you put it. 

    Regarding education, there are lots of remedial students out there. Training them in high-tech areas is often a no-go, or certainly not at the emergency get-'em-into-a-job-quick level for the masses I think we're discussing. 

    Since only a small segment will actually receive training that moves them far up the totem pole at the end of the day we're creating another large pool surviving on borderline wages for most of their lives. Wages that will not support a family is the long term goal?

    Come on, entry level wages for teens are usually not likely to support a family.

    If these people will remain at that level for a lifetime or even 5 years, yes, that's a problem.

    But what is your solution? Just hand them money?

    ..........But what is your solution? Just hand them money?

    Welll, I'm actually open to funding schools to bring them up to 21st century standards which is giving money.

    I'm even open to discussions of paying students to attend school. Although, I do admit that since academic performance would be required for paying the student, we are back to the question of whether we would trust a community to accurately grade the students. The more stuudents in a community, the more cash would go to the students. The community gains some economic benefit aand that cash might bias testing analysis.

    I'm also not above considering  paying students to go into engineering, sciences, math, etc. I guess the answer is yes, I might consider just giving them cash.




    But if students can't even read, there isn't a lot throwing money at the situation will do. There's a lot of hard basic work in there that money and testing and whatever's not going to fix. 

    Effectively people are paid to go to school - just they're paid when they finish, when they get that higher paying job. I'm not exactly sure how we start paying one batch of kids to go to school and not pay all the rest.

    The non-readers would be paid to learn to read. Better reading leads to be understanding of math concepts, better love for reading via exposure to new experiences or views of the world, etc. You may even find out about someone with similar experiences who found a way to succss. You may find someone very much unike you but who is still an inspiration.

    Well hey, is giving people jobs "exploiting them" just because they're menial jobs? People keep complaining about the death of the manufacturing sector, which from what I recall was pretty menial.


    The dictionary says menial means:

     "of or fit for servants; lowly; humble: a menial task ; servile; low; mean

    Origin: ME meynal < Anglo-Fr meignal < meiniee, a family retainer, servant < OFr meisniee, household < L mansio

    Destor had a nice blog up a few months ago about restarting the manufacturing sector in the country, and he and a few others made a pretty good case for many people finding factory jobs satisfying.  They may not all be assembly line repeptive, and it might not feel very creative, but surely not altogether menial. 

    I did read a guest editorial in the WSJ by a man griping that in his factories, the jobs required high-tech training, and that the Unions should pay to school potential employees, which seemed callous and self-serving.  In the old days, a company would often train workers they found worthy of it.

    Now McDonald's might well qualify as menial.  Chicken factories seem to be about at the top of the list of factory work that's worse than menial: it's unsafe, unhealthy, and pays poorly.  Agricultural work is a whole 'nother sort of work, IMO.

    Totally non-responsive and, respectfully, incomprehensible.

    Prevailing wage in the blue-collar sector used to be around $27.00 an hour plus full benes at entry level. A baseline set largely by America's manufacturing workers backed by strong unions.

    Hard work isn't what makes a job menial. Being forced to do that hard work for no pay is. Which is what the point of neoliberal globalism is all about. It's designed to allow certain liberals - well practiced in the art of moral (and economic) relativism - to benefit from the fruits of slavery while pretending like they fight to free the slaves.

    Sadly, the neoliberal's taste for the fruits of slavery has the effect of turning what used to be good jobs into something that can be valued down to the social status of India's "untouchables" and insulted as "menial" - therefore worthless. Nice trick that.

    Thanks.  I don't know how my comment got twisted somehow by Desider, but my original comment related to "sub-minimum wage menial jobs" which is what I think many undocumented workers are forced to accept in this economy. URGH!

    I think everyone knew what level of job your original comment was addressing. The charts detailed a decline in factory jobs. However you might view the tedium of the jobs, many people were able to put food on the table with those jobs. When the factories left, the communities crumbled> the term urban prairie refers to the desolation caused by the lost of stable families and appearence of run down homes in urban areas as a result of employment.

    The lost of factory jobs which provided employment for those with a high school education had a major impact on the rust belt. We are not really talking about Blacks competing with Mexicans for the sub-minimum wage jobs that you (we) had in mind.

    I still remain unclear as to the point desider was attempting to make initially.

    Yeah, Bruce, I twisted you so much: "we would still be exploiting African Americans in menial jobs if there weren't so many undocumented Mexicans in our underground and sub-minimum wage economy". That's a nice FU from you to me - "do you still beat your wife?" Des just wants to put Blacks back on the plantation rather than having Mexicans on them.

    1) admittedly I didn't know the derision of the word "menial" as not just being manual, but insultingly so.

    2) Mexicans are doing jobs like roofing, gardening, etc. Are these "menial" if they pay well? If Black teenagers say 18-years-old can get a roofing or gardening job for at least minimum wage, isn't that better than sitting at home doing nothing?

    Because Black teen unemployment improved in Februrary, dropping from an incredible 45% to a still horrific 38%. (and down from Nov 2009's 49% - 10 months into Obama's presidency)

    In September, fewer than 12% of black teens had jobs, down 20% from the peak 2000 levels and 10% from pre-recession levels.

    I don't mean to blame all of this on illegal Mexican immigration - certainly a jobs program focused on black youth would be a reasonable thing to ask? - but yeah, I think a few teens would go for being "exploited" to make a few bucks rather than none. You can debate whether $7/hour is enough, and I won't argue, but $7/hour for many will still be better than $0/hour, which is the basic economic point - illegal immigrants are willing to do these jobs for less, and that fact depresses wages and job opportunity at the bottom.

    Actually, the median day laborer rate in $10/hour, so slightly above minimum wage, with 75% of day laborers being illegals. I assume Stardust will agree that construction jobs aren't "menial" and "exploitive" unless they're at crap wages.

    [not all jobs for illegals are outside manual work - how many illegal nannies have appeared on DC politicians who turned down jobs?]

    There is obviously a volume of work in the US at the low end that wouldn't get filled by legal Americans or legal immigrants, but there's a large volume that would. The presence of 6 million+ illegal Mexicans taking jobs above and below minimum wage does have the effect of depressing opportunity and wages for some of America's neediest citizens and legal immigrants.

    ( how much of that $5 billion for weatherizing homes "job stimulus" went to illegal laborers?)

    There's a balance there to be made, but just pretending that this huge balance of illegals residing in the US doesn't cause any problems, that they only take jobs that nobody else would take, is some kind of dream.

    Will an African-American teen who can get a Social Security card work for the same wages that a Mexican worker being paid off the books would accept? This discussion came up during Katrina. Black workers were pushed aside for Mexicans. Both sides realized that they were both being abused. Both were doing what they colud to feed their families.

    The solution to this problem is making certain that employers pay an appropriate minimum wage and fill out proper tax forms for their employees. Having tax ID information would make sure that everyone is treated equally. The employer becomes the gate-keeper.

    Employers have at various points in time been wiling to use slaves, indentured servants and illegal immigrants to supply the cheap labor the country demanded. When the economic benefit of the specific group faded, that group was cast aside. The Black unemployment rate was twice that of Whites before the illegal immigrant "onslaught".

    "Both sides realized they were both being abuse". Well, you'll have to tell me what wages for what jobs, but if you're living in the middle of a flood zone, and you're in a historically underemployed demographic, yeah, maybe you should bust your butt and take the job.

    But given you don't give any rates or anything, are you talking about $3/hour or legal minimum wage?

    Black unemployment was twice that of whites forever - what's your point? Here's a graph that shows the huge drop in black unemployment during the Clinton years, and the rise back up under Bush. Of course it's caused by economics more than Mexican immigration, but at the bottom end, where teen unemployment comes in, there's an effect - a bigger effect the worse the economy. And we've recently hit record highs for black teen employment. Whether employers filling out tax ID cards will stanch a flood of 6 million+ illegals seems questionable.


    Eyeballing the graph, i see nothing that contradicts my statement. The employment rate for Black teens is 50% of Whites.

    Brian Williams last night described bin Laden as having caused the US to enter two wars. The coverage is idiotic and full of empty calories, but we are hungry for details and meaning.

    Exactly and, I think, the point of the orginal post!

    Emptywheel has been combing through the gitmo wikileaks, and is the process of trying to discover if the OBL-fingering courier's name and location were disclosed by tortured prisoners, specifically al-Libi or KSM.  It's a complicated timeline and document line, but she has what one person at fdl told me was a holographic memory, so she can weave this stuff together while I just watch in awe.

    She made some preliminary conclusions, then updated with new news from the AP she seems to take as so.

    Anyway, while al-Libi's treatment may have been torture or 'enhanced', she seems to think he wasn't waterboarded.  Cold comfort that that is now some bar; for my money, all of the enhanced barbarity was part and parcel of Extreme Torture.  (sorry to digress.)

    Toward the end she mentions that if he had been water-boarded, Cheney, would be shouting it from the rooftops.  Assholes.

    Well, KSM was tortured, and he REFUSED to give up the info. It was his refusal to name the courier that convinced them the courier in question was important. Somewhat convoluted effect of torture, but still torture-based intelligence.

    That said, I find all these anecdote-based arguments about the effects of torture rather pointless. It's like arguing about climate change by pointing to this or that place and how hot/cold it was on some particular day. The anti-torture argument is simple - if you want people to turn informer of their own accord, it helps if prospective informers are reassured they won't be driven insane or raped. If you want to be able to read people's body language, which is so fundamental to accurate intelligence, you don't make them mentally unstable so the cues get all out of whack.

    I can't speak for Marcy, but I think she is trying to rebut the argument that came out instantly that Torture Worked, which theme was present on this diary and A-man's.

    I'm not sure why you see it as pointless, Obey; the 50-whatever % of Americans who are fine with torture ALSO seem to believe that it works, (and I'd assume they must believe that intel they give up is factual, not crap they make up to stop the torture).  Those are the same people who don't seem to believe the many former interrogators who say that creating some bit of relationship with a detainee, like giving a Muslim a Koran, does more often lead to their revealing something of value.

    I appreciate, as I'm sure we all do, that you have such a complete understanding of how not to interrogate, but you and I aren't the people she (and others) are trying to talk down off their Torture Works perch.  I'm a little perplexed that you don't see it, actually, though I'm pretty sure you'll tell me where I'm wrong.   ;o)

    I think it's important to explain that a torture-based intelligence policy won't work, and why. In short - you'll get less info and less reliable info overall.

    I don't think there is any point to trying to argue that (i) no one ever extracted useful information through torture, and that (ii) none of the information leading to OBL's assassination was extracted through torture. And there is no point to trying to argue these things because claim (i) is patently false and claim (ii) pretty unlikely. It's like trying to argue that global warming is happening by claiming there are no more cold days ever anywhere. That's just not a plausible way of arguing.

    The best way to argue - and the most truthful way to argue - is to drag people away from particular imagined Jack Bauer situations and point them to the relative merits of two intelligence gathering systems. Torture is a great tool for systems of repression and terror. It is terrible if what you want is actual ... gathering of intelligence.

    Okay; your logic wins on the Big Picture.  But as the current discussions are this case, I can see why Marcy's doing it.  And the way I remembered it, the former interrogators had indicated more of a 'torture never brings usable intel' because even if some truth was told, more untruths were told...which polluted all of it.  Especially when the sessions were designed to elicit specific information that buttressed political and operational decisions.  But you seem to know more about this subject, so I'll yield.  And go wash my hair, which may be more productive in the end.  ;o)

    Well, truth be told there isn't much (any?) evidence for (ii) - despite copious disclosed records and a HUGE political desire on the part of the GOP for it to be true.

    And (i) is entirely dependent on what the observer is defining as "useful". The guy we tortured most - and then killed to cover it up - apparently BUILT the house Bin Laden was found in. See, from my perspective I would have found that tidbit of information FAR more useful than an association inferred because Al Libi was so adamant he didn't know someone ... an association with a name that isn't real and took like 5 years past the "end" of our torture program (and well past the end of Al Libi) to connect with the real name we were looking for. In short. Torture did not help us find Bin Laden in this specific case. To assert otherwise - absent SOMETHING to back up - is just dishonest. Even Rummy won't go there.

    It may not be a plausible way of arguing, but what you challenge certainly is the truth most well supported by all available evidence - arguably even in your ad absurdum general case. Maybe we should just try being honest with America *once* in a half-century. It didn't help us. Period. If you want to assert it did - prove your case as convincingly as Marcy has proved the opposite.

    The guy we tortured most - and then killed to cover it up - apparently BUILT the house Bin Laden was found in.

    Yes that is far more interesting. Agreed.

    As for the 'something' to back up the claim that torture produced information (though on net it was overall harmful), I don't know why you think the story, about how they tracked down the courier starting from information gleaned from KSM, fails to qualify. Is it that KSM was not tortured? that this was not gleaned through torture? that this was not useful AT ALL (and not just less useful than other info)? that this story is just fiction?

    Not sure what your problem is...

    That said, I really don't want to go down this road where I play the contrarian defending torture. Because I just don't want to be that guy. If you all think this is a plausible and persuasive mode of argumenting the case against torture, go for it. I was just suggesting a different tack.


    Thanks for another thought-provoking post, and I'll offer a few observations.  I don't believe that the exuberance, even the irrational kind, brought on by the news of Bin Laden's death is something that is principally being felt or expressed by privileged kids right now.  I disagree, and I do so even though my son at his own elitist university was poking fun at some of his buddies who appeared to be using the announcement about Bin Laden as just another excuse to get wasted on a Sunday night.

    But at least in New York City, where the Towers fell, the exuberance, to the extent there is exuberance, seems to have nothing to do with class.  That's not to say that everyone is walking around with a spring in their step, but I'm sure you would agree that only Governor Walker and his supporters would call the NYC firefighters and their families and neighbors at Ground Zero a part of the privileged elite.  

    Put another way, I would submit that the demographic make-up of those who watch John Stewart and Stephen Colbert is probably more elitist than anything you saw at Ground Zero yesterday or on Sunday night. 

    And I'm not sure that there are really too many people, elitist or otherwise, who are taking the position that  the death of Bin Laden justifies unfettered and reckless intervention in any Islamic nation that doesn't genuflect properly towards Washington, D.C.  I'm sure there are some who assert that, but I think they are on the margins, and I don't think they'd fool too many folks, elitist or otherwise.

    I think where you and I have common ground is that we as a nation are not properly focused on things like putting people back to work.  I just wouldn't conflate that with any exuberance that you see with respect to the death of Bin Laden.  There are many people who are anything but elitist but who understand that Bin Laden is the mastermind of the attacks on this country on 9/11, and that because of that it is good that he is dead.  I also believe that the non-elite are able to make straight-forward judgments about events like this even if the 24/7 cable programs are as uniform in their militaristic drumbeating as I read you to be suggesting.  And I think there's a link between understanding and respecting those who feel a sense of pride and satisfaction and unity and justice as a result of killing Bin Laden, and being successful at convincing people that butter tastes better than guns.

    Finally, as someone who supported going into Afghanistan but doesn't really understand what we're doing there now, and as someone who opposed military intervention in Iraq, I still cannot understand something that concerns me greatly and is somewhat tangential but stuck in my mind.  And that is that I think we that we conflate our appropriate aversion to increased anti-Muslim bigotry with appropriate and frankly traditionally "leftist" aversion to the totalitarian nature of too many regimes throughout the Islamic world.

    Put another way, I don't think that we on the left, and I understand that we're as different as apples and brussel sprouts on this side of the fence--have successfully articulated what, if anything, we as a nation should be doing to support democratic reform in the Islamic world.  Maybe the consensus is that it's none of our business, but  I'm not convinced that "see no evil hear no evil" is consistent with the core, anti-fascist essence of what has defined and distinguished progressive ideology over the years--notwithstanding the historical tendency of some of the left to stand behind despots like Josef Stalin.  

    And please, this is not a call to arms by any stretch of the imagination, but to me it seems like there are freedom-seeking democrats courageously rising up in places as diverse as Iran and Yemen and Libya and Tunisia and Egypt, and the best the collective left can do is smugly cheer on the democrats who are risking their lives in countries with pro-American despots.

    Anyway, I've just been thinking about that quite a bit lately, and I have no answers but it is something I'm bothered by.  Thanks for letting me ramble in your thread.


    Hey Bruce!

    People in New York City are an understandable exception.  Other than in NYC though, the only people dancing around and making a big display of celebrating the death of this criminal are young people, almost all of them college kids.  That says something about the nature of how this news is welcomed by the vast majority of adults which is pretty soberly though I can't imagine anyone not being pleased that Bin Laden was finally found and dealt with.  I know I'm glad that he has finally paid some price for the mass murders he has been responsible for.  I didn't mean to indicate it was only elitists who were happy just noting the fact that almost all of the public revelry was taking place amongst a pretty small and narrow slice of our society.  There have been no outbursts of people across the land making big public displays normally reserved for Super Bowl or World Series Championships other than on college campuses that I've seen with the notable exception of NYC.

    Stewart and Colbert are comedians and were over the top in their take on it and I thought that was appropriate not to mention both broadcast from the great city as well where the feelings about this monster were far more visceral than elsewhere.

    Nobody has the answers Bruce.  All I know is that peace is better for us all than war and that war is the enemy of all human civilization.  We need to attend to our national needs and quit ignoring them in order to please a faction of our political power structure that sees war as a means of maintaining American supremacy around the globe.  It doesn't take a geopolitical genius to figure out that, that is a strategy that will necessarily end badly.

    Pepe's take (with help from The Clash) on OBL's irrelevancy except in the West; it may get your head spinning!  LOL!  (Yep; maybe mine spins too easily, especially with the insame shit that's being said around the world...)  I'd add that it's at least a bit insane that we've learned how little we're told may ever add up to What Is So, or What Was So.  (Thanks, whistleblowers.) 

    Talk about a wild ride, though....   ;o)

    One of the things I have been reminded of from 9/11.
    After 9/11 there was a long period when there was a severe problem for comics. I seem to recall that there were serous discussions about when it would be okay to laugh again and what is okay to make a joke about. I'm not sure anybody has made a joke about 9/11 yet. The Trade Center sight became "Hallowed ground". I do not understand why people make shrines of spots on the ground but I know that it is an urge that reveals itself everywhere I have been. Earlier this year I took a bike ride down to the tip of Baja California. There are very long stretches of Baja that are completely empty of any man made objects beyond the road all the way to the horizon in every direction. As devoid of evidence of human influence as any place I have ever been. But along the way, on the edge of the road, in the middle of nowhere, often at a curve, there were many little shrines marking a place where someone's loved one died in a car wreck. Some places had multiple shrines. Those spots had become hallowed ground to someone. Someone could wear out his camera if he shot them all and he would get some good ones. If every spot on the globe where someone had died an un-natural death was the sight of a shrine, though, we would have to stand two deep. Some places, like the supposed cradle of civilization where people have gone about their ways the longest, would require deeper stacking.
      I watched The Daily Show tonight and then part of Colbert. I laughed a lot for a while but when he showed the clip of the college kid screaming with hysterical  joy that, "We killed Ossama!", it changed my mood and then when Colbert came on with his continuation of the shtick of his overwhelming joy I turned it off after about ten minutes.
     Now I am sitting here trying to make some sense of my thoughts, to have some of what I know come together as a coherent way to see the world. That screaming kid was caught up in the crowd energy that was obviously all around him. "We Killed Ossama!!!".  He was like a rabid sports fan after a buzzer beater against the arch rival. He didn't take the shot but he was pumped up with pure excited adrenalin packed joy. "We Killed Ossama!!!".  And he seems to be emblematic of a very significant part of our country.  And he was right, WE killed Ossama, not to mention countless others. But, after hundreds of thousands of deaths we finally are responsible for a death that lets us shout for joy. I just can't get that feeling going. I can't get into the spirit of this game.

    Me either, Lulu.  And in the ‘what a difference a day makes’ category, you may not get chastised for it as much today.  Just the Iraqi Diaspora alone is estimated to be 4 million souls; staggering, and with no security or anything but a ruined and toxic country to return to if they could, ruled by another oppressive …creep.  Staggering numbers in Afghanistan, too, and the photos of the ruined mosques and other building are horrific.

    During one of my comments yesterday I'd asserted how far our nation accommodated a key wish of OBL’s: to waste our treasury and reign in our civil liberties in the name of ‘security’, as though we could militarize and police-state our way to that, rather than reverse such a long history of war for resources, occupation and permanent bases all over the globe, and support for despots in the name of stability and resource control.  In regards to the US, I still say he won. 

    Pepe’s piece mirrors my thoughts that this great and efficient operation gives more credence to the idea that with Petraeus soon at the helm of the CIA, there will be greater use of dark ops to rid the world of whomever our leaders decide are Bad Guys, as even some drug lords have been targeted for assassination in Afghanistan.  And Clinton and others will use this event as a ‘Wow; NOW the threats from al Qaeda will really be coming at us!’ justification for even more military solutions, not just the JOSC ones.

    I just chose at random an MSNBC show to listen to while I ate my toast, and on Tweety every expert he had on proved that, at least for now, it’s the theme.  Some nods were made here and there to the need for the US to get behind democratic movements in other nations, but it’s hard to see, give how many proxy wars are being fought between Saudi Arabia and Iran (not to mention how Israel factors in).

    Chris Matthews let the “USA!” chants from NY and the White House play for what seemed like a full minute, then Tweety gave a brief narrative about how much those young folks who have lived under the legacy of 9/11 will now GOTV for Obama.

    So thanks for writing this, Lulu; I’m glad I got to meet you, and count you as a friend.  And for The Big Lebowski.   ;o)

    I agree that the kid screaming his jubilation and that he wasn't studying for his finals because we killed Bin Laden was uncool.  But, I chalk that up to youthful exuberance.  Those young folks have been taught to believe that this guy was the ultimate bad man and so many reacted like that young man did.  It wasn't terribly appropriate and didn't put our country in the best light but it was understandable.

    I found out about Monday morning when I had Mike & Mike on ESPN2 on while I was getting ready for work.  They were discussing the issue and how during the Philly baseball game they ended focusing on how the text messages were spreading the crowd, which then spontaneously erupted into chants of "USA! USA!" although some of the crowd I saw seemed seemed pretty somber about the news.

    I think for older Americans, there are a lot who want to believe that America is still the greatest country in the world, etc etc.  There have been so many humiliations over the decades, with our inability to get this old guy in a cave (well, now compound) at the top of the list.  One of the subtexts to the story I keep hearing is this proved in a sense that in the long run the US will be victorious.  Given how people feel about our economic slide, something like this, rightly or wrongly, is a boost to the esteem of the nation - hence the focus on how well the Seals and their support performed during the operation.

    First, I can honestly say I slept thru the ordeal.

    Second, from what I'm reading on-line everyone wants to know how it was accomplished in exact detail. Of course, the military isn't going to be specific. In fact. they'll be hemming and hawing about with lots of theatrics and little substance if not a honey pot of false info and facts to satisfy the curious. After all, why let everyone know exactly how you accomplished the other terrorists a heads up for what to look out for in the future.

    Third, second guessing is in full swing on the media outlets. All based on opinion with out facts in lieu of the military or Obama opening the flood gates. And this attack will go off on a course of it's own based solely on opinionated second facting. When all is said and done, what actions really took place and what people believe will be exactly opposite to one another.

    Thirdly, seems not too many people realize Obama is practically tripping over his own success to make it look as if the Pakistani's were completely clueless and out of the loop all together. Especially with Osama sitting in the garden community of high ranking officers, officials and home of their military academies just a stones throw from the capital.The Pakistani's come off looking as fools, but it also makes them look like they had nothing to do with the attack (saving face with the rest of the Arab world) and were hoodwinked by US bullying, black-ops tactics. The more Americans demand answers why Pakistan was so clueless, the more face they save and the better their standing becomes. I'd say Obama has earned his Foreign Service Medal on this one.

    Finally, with the confirmed death of Osama,  the US military has just experienced another Berlin Wall. Remember ... once the wall came down, defense was on the chopping block. Just look at what happened to California to catch my point. Now that the only known boogie-man they had to chase has been dispatched, they no longer have an active job in the global theater..there will be calls for shutting down shop in Iraq, Afghanistan, Baharain, Qutar and other Middle East posts and returning men and equipment to either Europe...faster turnaround time...or the US. And be prepared for base consolation, relocation or closures over the next 4 to 8 years as a result of cutting DoD funds. Of course that means full-time employment with benefits and retirments in military-industrial and military-based cities will plummet adding to the unemployment rolls for many years to come. Peacetime is hell for an economy in the state we're currently in.

    As with the death of Che Guevera not being the end of "the communist threat" so too the death of Bin Laden is not the end of "the terrorist threat".  I don't think they have any intention of letting that bogey man leave the scene for decades.  It's the meal ticket for the MIC and they know it despite the fact that the alleged threat really is not all that great and doesn't justify the trillions that have been spent on war making ostensibly to fight this scary, scary threat. 

    Without a physical entity to focus on, the threat diminishes. That's why Osama was so important to Bu$h and the GOPer's War on Terror. Without him, no one would have taken the threat or Bu$h seriously. People have a tendency to become complacent with ideology, whereas a physical entity keeps the fires roaring. Castro in Cuba is a prime example. Communism may be dead nowadays, but Castro is still alive and the hatred for him and communism is still a hotly debated issue. Take away the man and the temper subsides and things get back to normal as if it never happened. So too with Osama. Now that's he's gone, the US will withdraw into itself and won't be heard too much outside their borders. And while there may be some out there willing to take up where Osama left off, it'll only be random acts of violence with the maximum amount of fatalities and injuries...just to hurt the innocent because they can't touch the ones they want to without getting caught. Terrorism is a coward's tool. Effective, but without cause or purpose other than meanspiritness with no place to vent other than on the innocent. One has to understand the method to understand it's use. It serves no useful purpose other than to terrorize the innocent that they are the intended victims and have no recourse.

    Interesting points as always Beetle. How about using redundant military personnel to get rid of the outsourcing that is costing so much (and was supposed to be a major $$$$ saver)?

    When they dreamed all this up they weren't thinking of predatory companies like Halliburton and Backwater, whose top goal was to game the system rather than to provide service and make a reasonable profit. They don't have the discipline or the oversite (imperfect, but at least not evil) that the military has.

    Do you see any possibility of this?

    redundant military personnel ???

    Sorry to burst your bubble there mate but for the past few years the USAF and Navy have been shearing their ranks...they're not active boots on the ground so they're not high on the totem pole for retention.In fact, the USAF is forcing many out. Their new fat boy program is set up to single out those not in tip top physical shape. Hell they discharge people with diabetes now...can't have anyone down range in need of medical supplies and resources that distract doctors and corpsman from their duties tending the wounded. They're becoming highly selective in whom they retain. That translates into just-in-time performance without the luxury of personnel overhead to compensate for sickness, leaves or temporary duty assignments.

    Part of the outsourcing problem was as Rumsfeld put go to war with the Army you have. The all volunteer force is made up of less than stellar candidates when compared to the Vietnam era with its draft. The draft forced many to volunteer rather than take a chance at Uncle Sam deciding for them either Army or Marines. So Rummy opened the forces to outsourcing to relieve military personnel of their drab, office duties and focus on fighting skills.

    Chances are outsourcing will be around for some time because the civil component is reliable and not subject to troop movements, transfers or reassignments. As long as there's a need and money in the budget, contractors have nothing to fear, except their own. That being other outsourcing companies in dire need of more income to meet Wall Street expectations bidding on contracts driving the costs so low profit is sacrificed just to win the bid. It's great for the military, but someone has to take it in the shorts so the workers employed will see smaller pay and benefits to offset the lack of profit. Just a fancy way to get around wage theft.

    As I see it, the military is adjusting to its role as a focused military fighting force. Office and administration jobs supporting the troops, such as medical records, personnel, finance, motor pool, civil engineering and so forth at post and base levels, is in the process of being turned over to civilians thus freeing soldiers, sailor, airmen and marines for combat training and duties. For example, I have heard many USAF personnel whose career fields aren't supporting aircraft operations are dispatched down range to convoys manning heavy gun mounts for supply runs...think of your typical office worker manning a 50 caliper to get the picture.  Also, some bases and posts are completely run by civilians. For example, Fairford AB, England was reduced to nothing but civilians a few years back...all military personnel were reassigned...the base is operational, but no aircraft are assigned at the moment.  At the most, there are small, token military contigents at remote locations, but the majority of the work force remains civilian. Especially the bomb dumps throughout Europe.

    Outsourcing is here to stay in the military until something is done to increase troop strengths which will only occur if a draft is reinstated and Congress approves more funding.

    But everyone wants to cut DoD funding now. So the dog is chasing its tail.


    Obey, [he means Oleeb] I Just got here. I agree with many of your conclusions, but your condescending language hurts your argument in that it marks you as opinionated before you start.

    What is this about?

    "We have been fed some oh-so-serious photographs of our fearless Commander in Chief and his top flunkies in the sacred "situation room" where they watched "the operation" unfold in "real time" like a "video game"

    I think it was a very brave act for the President to give this order, and from what we are hearing, he made unilateral decisions about the operation which are credited with making it a success.

    What "flunkies" are you referring to? Hillary Clinton? Gates? Biden? The military leaders who were present? What makes them flunkies?

    There is plenty to criticize without sounding like a petulant petty poop head, and I'm sorry you didn't make your argument more objective. (I'm also sorry that I couldn't resist the alliteration)

    I hope you mean Oleeb, not Obey.

    If you do mean me, I do apologize and will try to better myself in future...


    Oh, sheeeeeesh! Sorry Obey. My contacts need changing, and I've been sick. Will you forgive me? Thanks for pointing it out!!!!

    Phew! I was wondering whether I'd been saying some things while I was blacked out on crystal meth there...


    You have - something about a courier and a pseudonym.

    Black Sitez Rool.


    Man, I walked right into that one.

    Er...not to quibble, but you may have meant to address this to Oleeb.  ;o)

    Looks like y'all got it sorted; took me five minutes to find the quotes.   ;o) 

    Yes, I meant Oleeb, the author of the blog!!!!  Sorry guys!  


    PS to Obey -- Pixy Stix are so much better than crystal meth, but they ruin your teeth just the same!!!!

    Are you kidding me? Dangerous stuff! I only started on the meth to wean myself off that pixy dust...


    What's it about?  I think it's about putting into perspective that we've been fed a steady stream of hardcore propaganda for political reasons and it's about pushing these august leaders off the pedestal that is being built for them in the wake of the assassination squad's work.  They put their pants on one leg at a time.  They're still the same pols they were last Friday.  The pictures of the President et al in the holy of holy's: the vaunted situation room are released to the public to manipulate public opinion and help build up the reputation of those in the picture and that's the only reason those pictures are released.  It's about understanding that while we can all give credit where credit is due in terms of finally catching up with the great crime boss we need to understand the manipulations that are taking place right in front of our very eyes.  We need some cold water thrown in our face to get us to realize what has actually taken place.  In Abbotabad a special forces team took out Bin Laden. In Washington ever since a giant political propaganda campaign has been waged and quite successfully designed to shore up flagging support for our ill concieved and unwinnable imperial wars.  It's about mocking the dutifully obedient Greek chorus we call "the media" in this country who are breathless in their coverage of "important" news as they repeat every word the government feeds them wihtout the slightest hint of healthy skepticism or doubt.  And the condescending language is a very good way to bring everyone back down to earth and realize what is going on, that the propaganda machine is creating myths and legends before our very eyes and for specific reasons and that the people who are being praised are just people, not extraordinary people, just people.  You seem to think that being opinionated in a manner that is clear and up front as I was being is somehow undesirable in and of itself.  We clearly disagree on that point.  I think it has real purpose in this sort of context and is a needed departure from the sanctimony and false seriousness of much of what is being broadcast about this entire matter.

    As for your confusing me with Obey, let me say I am honored by it.  If you thought what I wrote was Obey's work then I'd say I've written it pretty darn well and can take real pride in it.

    OK, OK, to atone for my dumb mistake, I hereby submit a riddle:


    What is red and smells like blue paint?

    Red paint?

    Do you know that it took me 10 minutes to figure that out? I kept thinking -- all paint smells the same, but I was sure it was a trick question. Anyhoo -- bravo to you. (I know, it was a dumb riddle, but I wanted to lighten things up a bit like we used to do at TPM). Thanks for playing along, stardust!

    LOL!  Took me a minute looking at the mind pictures.  Then as soon as I pressed the Save button, I realized it was for Obey, goddam.  I'm sorry.  Do ya have another one for him?  And thanks for the lightener...always welcome, CVille!    ;o)

    p.s. I was glad to think of an answer; I suck at riddles....

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