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May 18, 2013


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This nation has always been Moronistan. If we argue mostly about nonsensical "family values", that's what we're capable of. No one even dares to attempt real public policy debates because complex details are boring. But they always have been. Remember how the Vietnam war was greenlighted? If we didn't fight them there, we'd have to find them here? Not just dumb, but dumb and utterly vile.

What has changed is the radical empowerment of stupidity itself. People who deny climate change, brazenly ignorant as that is, are joined by the likes of George Will, the high Tory of Washington insiders. People who think austerity is an economic tonic (but only when a Democrat is president) are called "serious". And those who think Benghazi is worse than 9/11 only have to listen to Chris Matthews, a bloviator on crack, to think this is Obama's Watergate.

If you're a right-winger, you are by definition uninformed. You think Medicare is American as apple pie for those over 65 but socialism for those under 65. If you think Obama is a socialist, you're simply an idiot. And if you feel propagandists for Big Oil would never lie but scientists would, you really should be sedated. But politicians fall over themselves catering to your every birdbrain opinion about Mexicans, guns, and abortions. That latter, because you're such a good person you think a fetus should never die, unless they're born and can't afford health insurance.

The latest "scandal" involves a Marine holding an umbrella over President Obama's head during a joint press conference with another head of state. This one is at least easy to understand on its own terms. A nigger makes a white hero serve him instead of the other way around. This is your country: as idiotic and racist as it has always been. Now, back to your regularly scheduled "analysis" of who won the week.

Soleri: you are da bomb! There's a black man in the White House and for some . . . there's just no getting over it. We'd like to think that we've evolved in our racism, but I wonder . . . .

Morecleanair, I think just over half the country has evolved in terms of race relations. The younger generations are even further along.

Side note: posted something about "Phoenix" in Reinventing Hance Park.

A black man in the White House has been a tremendously galvanizing event for the reactionary right. Had Hillary Clinton, member of the white limousine liberal class, been elected with a filibuster proof Democratic Congress, the white power Tea Party would not have arisen from its John Birch Society roots.

Before the optimistic phxsunfan declares the decline of racism in the US, I suggest he reside east of the Mississippi in a northern urban environment which was geographically near enough to the South and the recipient of millions of victims fleeing the Jim Crow laws during the latter part of last century.

Many foreign service officers risk assassination and bodily harm serving in conflict zones. The State Department Diplomatic Security Service, not the CIA, is primarily responsible for on the ground diplomatic security.

A US ambassador not DSS has final say into whether the ambassador will take or not take personal bodily risk. Classified State Department cable traffic between the overseas post and DC often do not accurately represent communications between the parties.

Ambassador Stevens honorably gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He did so with open eyes and full understanding of the risks involved. Today other foreign officers are accepting such personal risk as part of their chosen career. CIA or DSS cannot guarantee safety in some necessary posts.

The Bengazi fabricated crisis is a Republican inspired political show which actually focuses on beltway wordsmithing between DC bureaucrats with little relation to the on the ground reality of conflict zones. It is not surprising really when you realize that the House representatives making the most noise are from white power suburban districts with little knowledge of US diversity let alone the complexities of overseas conflict zones.

ah the ever optimistic phxsunfan!!!


Before the optimistic phxsunfan declares the decline of racism in the US, I suggest he reside east of the Mississippi in a northern urban environment which was geographically near enough to the South and the recipient of millions of victims fleeing the Jim Crow laws during the latter part of last century.

In defense of phxSUNSfan, I'll mangle a quote from Attenborough's Gandhi (couldn't find the original on the Google, so please forgive:) "I admire your [optimism.] We need such [optimism]..." Of course he goes on to say "...but I'm not sure that it will bring you the result that you desire" but I do not mean to be so back-handed.

In any case, to Homeless' point - I recently had to un-link from a Trenton (NJ) Facebook "local pride" site - that being my first real hometown - because of the relentless and ubiquitous use of very obvious racist dog-whistling in their local politics. They have a rather incompetent Mayor at the moment who happens to be Black, and many, many people have a problem de-linking his "blackness" from his incompetence. (I recall going back to visit some of my very-hippie friends from high school back in the '80's and was struck with mute horror at some of the things that came out of their mouths.) So yeah, racism.

As for Jon's post (and soleri's most gratifyin' lucifyin') - thanks be.

The depressing part about these scandals is that they're "out there," and that is all it takes. I'm self-aware enough to know that I'd be getting myself all up in a lather (or, perhaps, that I would have been before today - but that's probably just empty self-assurance) if these were broken under a Republican president (with a slight caveat - the AP thing is truly, truly dark.) So I can forgive the partisans of "Moronistan" their glee, while at the same time I shake my head at the damage done.

I share the lament that these things overshadow real policy debates and considerations, but American politics had quickly descended to that dysfunction from the get-go. One can only hope that it has ascended to such a "high art" that perhaps we, the electorate, will finally mention the nudity of that particular "Emperor." Ah, who am I kidding?

In any case, I am ambivalent about the mitigating facts that are emerging as regards two of the "scandals" (Benghazi & the IRS), because it's just too nice and easy to feel relief when my ox is being un-gored and, as has been noted, such un-goring will be gleefully ignored by the Machine, its media, and the denizens of Moronistan.

To wit: Robert Reich takes up the lance and tilts at the windmill.

As for the IRS "scandal," this is a direct outgrowth of Citizens United and the huge influx of corporate and plutocrat money into the electoral process. Why the 501(c)4 tax break for these powerful and shadowy organizations was ever created is scandalous, not that they were given some scrutiny by the IRS. The Tea Party was always doing the work of its hidden puppet-masters, no matter what the old white people dressed up in colonial garb and ignorant of American history thought.

LOL! Bazinga!

It's a scandal that we have passed the ominous 400 ppm level of carbon dioxide and the United States is doing nothing to slow, much less reverse, the rate of climate change.

Perhaps it is not as gloomy as you presuppose:

After the gloom that followed the failure, in Obama's first term, to pass a national cap-and-trade scheme to cut emissions, the new mood of optimism may seem surprising. Yet it is backed by hard numbers, laid out in a report released last October by Resources for the Future (RFF), a think tank based in Washington DC.

The group totted up emissions reductions likely to result from action taken by states and cities, and cuts that will occur through market forces as a glut of cheap natural gas encourages power utilities to burn gas instead of coal - which emits far more for the same amount of energy generated. Together, these get about a third of the way to Obama's pledge.

But the biggest contribution comes from regulations under the Clean Air Act, including vehicle fuel economy standards that are already in place. Controls on emissions from power plants that are expected from the US Environmental Protection Agency make up the rest (see diagram). Given all this, RFF estimates that the US could cut emissions by 16.3 per cent by 2020.

"The US had been doing more than we're given credit for," says Matt Woerman, one of the report's authors. "As an American citizen, I'm pleasantly surprised."

That's behind from the best science magazine on the planet. Unfortunately the article is now probably behind a firewall:


As an aside...

It is well to remember that Romney promised to roll back those vehicle fuel economy standards "from day one".

So kudos to Moronistan for choosing correctly last November.


While it may not fit the description of "scandal", what's a word or expression that describes how our country tends to treat the poor and the minorities . . . including Jews. Our local progressive Methodist church professes to have open hearts, open minds and open doors While this is an admirable slogan, it is also a long way from reality for some of the Midwest transplants.

"...Sarah Palin, perhaps the future governor of Arizona..."

Now that sent a chill up my spine. It would be fitting tho. Maybe an ambassadorship will come up in the middle of her term. Too bad there will be no Wes Bolin or Rose Mofford to take her spot.

Now that sent a chill up my spine.
Hey, we could use a little Alaskan chill here as we head into summer...

Sarah Palin, Ambassador to ???

Why, Russia, of course.

Thanks Petro, I might need a new display because of your funny.

If Sarah Palin ever became governor of Arizona I just might have to move. I highly doubt that would happen and that soon, demographics will not favor these Republicans anymore.

Playboy could do a Putin / Palin Centerfold with a Grizzly bear and a few hovering helicopters in the background

Perspective can sometimes be found in surprising places. Very surprising. Arch-conservative commentator Doug MacEachern of the Arizona Republic had an irony-laced "Quick Hit" (blurb commentary) at the top of Saturday's op-ed page:

"Really looking forward to opening my new non-profit organization. Just waiting on the OK from the IRS. I’m calling it “Conservative Tea Party Patriots for Patriotically Opposing Big Government.” Who could object to a name as all-American as that, eh? Totally nonpartisan, I assure you. Education-oriented. We even got a bit of start-up funding from Koch Industries, which supports such endeavors. It’s taking the IRS awhile. But that’s red tape for you! I’m patient."


Who would have expected this from Doug MacEachern?!

Mr. Talton wrote:

"It's a scandal that we have passed the ominous 400 ppm level of carbon dioxide and the United States is doing nothing to slow, much less reverse, the rate of climate change. No, we are drilling, baby...to ensure (as they say on Battlestar Galactica) that the planet is fracked."

Actually, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions peaked in 2007 at 6,023 million metric tons. As of 2012 U.S. carbon emissions had declined 12 percent (730 mmt).

This is analyzed in a paper by The Energy Collective titled "Which Government Policies and Other Factors Have Reduced U.S. Carbon Emissions?"


China's emissions, meanwhile, keep growing. Enormously.


Obama has the chance to do some big things regarding the environment and roadless wilderness in the next 3 years

Good post Jon but that paraphrased quote about how those who give up liberty for a little security deserve neither is actually Ben Franklin, not Churchill.

Deadpan: True about Franklin. I was riffing off this Churchill quote:

"You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war."

Should have been more clear.

far right -> farright -> faright -> fright

it seems there are many more watchers than responders to this blog?

cal, the kids call them "lurkers" and "commenters."

It looks like I might be (happily) wrong, at least about the Benghazi "scandal." Even the GOP aides are having a hard time with this:

GOP Aides Mock House Republicans' 'Crazy' Benghazi Witch Hunt

Plus, O's polls are up, Republicans down. Talk about your blowback.

Oh my, these people are really off of their game (what a shame):

Rrepublican accidentally debunks GOP narrative at IRS hearing

"It seems there are many more watchers than responders to this blog?"

Isn't that true for every blog?

The Arizona Republic has a daily circulation in the hundreds of thousands, yet it receives only hundreds of letters -- including emails -- in a given week (the weekly number of letters, along with the number per major topic, is published by the Republic itself once a week on the Letters page).


Given the fact that the Arizona Republic is 16th in circulation nationally (or was in 2011) and that "active readers" (by this standard) constitute roughly 0.001 of the readership, we might extrapolate a Rogue Columnist readership in the tens of thousands. Mr. Talton can correct this if necessary/desirable.

You are correct, Emil.

Most people don't want to comment, either out of shyness or because they don't have anything to add to the conversation. On my recent trip to Phoenix and Tucson, I was surprised by the number of people who said they read and enjoyed Rogue.

I would say we have some of the best commenters anywhere here. Thank you all.

Here's a Churchill quote worth quoting:

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

Apparently the FAST team was sent to Libya after the fact:


Don't have time tonight to research this, but excellent question, Mr. Talton. Perhaps the FAST team isn't that fast?

"Most people don't want to comment, either out of shyness or because they don't have anything to add to the conversation."

This is a problem that some of us commenters do not have. I've often used my sharp elbows to get to the front and add my two-cents whether I know what I am talking about or not.

If you have nothing to add to the conversation, but a burning need to say something anyway, take heart from my example and 'keep a goin'.... or, 'git 'er done'.

Other people as incoherent as you are are just waiting for someone to give them a voice.

I find mental vomiting, cleansing

"I find mental vomiting, cleansing"

I've learned a lot from the often merciless, but sometimes accurate, criticism of my pet certitudes on various comment threads.

Emil Pulsifer is particularly good at this -- although he's a little sensitive when his receive a little critique of their own.

There was a takedown of the Benghazi timeline at Foreign Policy:


The Colbert Report pointed out that legally, IRS approval of 501(c)4 is NOT required (its voluntary)!

I hate to say it, but by far the best Q&A addressing Mr. Talton's point about the FAST team based in Rota, Spain can be found here:


Note that this includes specific claims made by State Department spokesmen, not just speculations by Fox News pundits.

That said, it's hard to be FAST when the diplomats issue last minute orders to deplane and change into civilian clothes.

Note that the article also states that the Rota based FAST team was ordered to fly to Libya the night of the attack by the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

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