Saturday, March 29, 2008

weekender reading room 

Eric Alterman, The Nation - on Samantha Power:
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to argue that Samantha Power is not an extraordinary woman. An all-but-unique combination of combustible contradictions, she is simultaneously a foreign policy insider and outsider, an academic and journalist, an activist and observer, a world-class schmoozer possessed of a burning intensity and an obsession with the understanding and prevention of genocide. Regardless of what form her work takes, Power is exactly the kind of person whose experience, expertise and passion might help repair what remains of America's tattered reputation as we finally approach the close of a benighted political era.


Armed with the advice of new voices with new visions, like Samantha Power, Barack Obama represents a challenge to discredited clichés that have hitherto governed US foreign policy. When Obama announced during the Democratic debating season that he had no fear of negotiating with America's enemies, he was immediately attacked by the same tired old voices in the media, the establishment and, it must sadly be added, the Clinton campaign. How refreshing at that moment was the Obama campaign's unyielding response, in the form of a memo by Ms. Power, who wrote:

American foreign policy is broken. It has been broken by people who supported the Iraq War, opposed talking to our adversaries, failed to finish the job with Al Qaeda, and alienated the world with our belligerence. Yet conventional wisdom holds that people whose experience includes taking these positions are held up as examples of what America needs in times of trouble.... We cannot afford any more of this kind of bankrupt conventional wisdom.

If that's "university elitism," I say, bring it on...

More on Samantha Power at: Huffington Post

w w w w w w w

Jeff Faux, The Nation - Is This the Big One?:
So here we go again.


Giant Ponzi scheme? Not to worry, responded the Wall Street geniuses. By spreading risks among more people, the miracle of "diversity" was actually turning bad loans into good ones. Anyway, banks were buying insurance policies against default, which in turn were transformed into a set of even murkier securities called "credit default swaps" and marketed to hedge funds, pension managers and in some cases back to the banks that were being insured in the first place. At the end of 2007 the market for these swaps was estimated at $45.5 trillion--roughly twice as large as all US stock markets combined.

This huge pyramid of debt was made possible by thirty years of relentless deregulation of financial markets, culminating in the 1999 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had prohibited banks from dealing in high-risk securities. In effect, Washington regulators became passive enablers to Wall Street's financial binge drinkers.


We are now staring into the abyss. The Bear Stearns bailout has created a presumption of a safety net under any major stockbroker, in addition to any major bank. Rumors are that Lehman Brothers and Citigroup may be next. The Fed could handle a Lehman crash. But the collapse of Citigroup, the world's largest bank, would be catastrophic, bankrupting businesses, other banks and consumers and cutting off credit for state and local governments. And it could stretch the Fed to the limit of its resources.

from the Department of I Don't Have Any Idea What's Going On Around Here:
"Our financial market approach should include encouraging increased capital and financial institutions by removing regulatory, accounting, and tax impediments to raising capital. I am prepared to examine any new proposals and evaluate them based on these principles." ~ John McCain, March, 2008.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Staybehinder 3AM Hotline 


please record your message after the tone.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Staybehinder Video Lounge 

¹ Protests in Sadr City
Reuters TV

¹ Heavy fighting in south / Basra
Reuters TV

¹ Fire in market, Sadr City
Reuters TV

¹ Rocket attacks in Baghdad
Reuters TV

¹ Bush, joint chiefs and fighting in Iraq
Reuters TV

¹ Rocket and mortar attacks inside Green Zone ABC News video
Diplomats told to take cover in Baghdad
WASHINGTON - The State Department has instructed all personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad not to leave reinforced structures due to incoming insurgent rocket fire that has killed two American government workers this week. [Associated Press]

¹ TPM video roundup of entire fiascoTPMtv.


Tuzla 1996: sniper and rocket fire erupt around Hillary Clinton... new footage shows actual extent of danger at time.
Barely Political.com has unearthed the following footage of Hillary Clinton visiting Bosnia in 1996.



Full Metal Pantsuit 

"...when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Hillary Clinton, The Tarradiddler of Tuzla, emerged from her self induced fog of war to inform the nation that her cork-screwy bullet riddled arrival and deplaning on a hot tarmac in Bosnia in 1996 was in actuality a lot more codpiece and crow than cork screw and crisis management. A lot more sniper fire fib than actual sniper fire.
"I just made a mistake. I had a different memory. My staff and others have all come together trying to sort out -- so I made a mistake. That happens. It proves I'm human, which for some is a revelation."

She "had a different memory"? And her "staff and others" are trying to "sort out" her different human memories for her? What the flibbertigibbet does that mean? Maybe she had a Bill O'Reilly memory:
"I've been in combat. I've seen it. I've been close to it. And if I'm... my unit is in danger, and I've got a captured guy, and the guy knows where the enemy is, and I'm looking him in the eye, the guy better tell me. That's all I'm gonna tell you. He better tell me. If it's life or death, he's going first."

Remember that "combat" memory moment from human commando Bill'O back in the winter of 2005? Al Franken had a lot of human fun helping the Fantasy Factor sort that one out. Maybe Hillary should ask Al Franken to help her sort out her memories too? Or maybe Hillary is somehow - through some kind of paranormal osmosis - exchanging memories with Bill O'Reilly.

Oh noooo Hill'O!
I hope that isn't the case. What if, after defeating the pastor Jerimiah Wright in the Democratic Party nomination title fight, and John McCain in the general election, Hillary becomes the next president of the Yoo-S.A. and suddenly starts having Bill Kristol memories. Or begins to believe that she is Artemis the Greek goddess of forest and fertility and angry arktoi!
Pre-pubescent Athenian girls young Athenian girls approaching marriageable age were sent to the sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron to serve the Goddess for one year. During this time the girls were known as arktoi, or little she-bears. A myth explaining this servitude relates that a bear had formed the habit of regularly visiting the town of Brauron, and the people there fed it, so that over time the bear became tame. A young girl teased the bear, and, in some versions of the myth it killed her, while in other versions it clawed her eyes out. Either way, the girl's brothers killed the bear, and Artemis was enraged. She demanded that young girls "act the bear" at her sanctuary in atonement for the bear's death. LINK

Alright, which one of her staff wants to sort through her memories in that event?

And then, what if Hillary Artemis Clinton starts staying up until 3am waiting for the glowing red hot-phone of doom to ring - while surrounded by blind angry she-bears - dressed in a lambswool angora tweed and velvet reversible hooded cape, loden check kevlar pantsuit with Audley House havana leather cartidge belt, nubuck ankle boots, Selina Scott angora socks, a felt tribly, and Coco Chanel costume pearls. And carrying a Purdey 12 bore side by side while sporting a crescent moon on her head and dragging a bloody fawn and a stringer of dead ducks around behind her. All the while spewing the combat fantasies of Bill O'Reilly and Bill Kristol and Bill What's-His-Face (so many Bills, so many arrears).

Well, if it comes to that, don't say I didn't warn ya.


Even worse, what if it's 3am and your children are safe and asleep. But there's a phone in the White House and it's ringing:

Helloooo, Oval Office, yes, this is President Hillary Clinton speaking.

"So anyway I'd be rubbing your big boobs and getting your nipples really hard, kinda' kissing your neck from behind...and then I would take the other hand with the falafel thing and I'd just put it on your puss..." TRACE CALL

( Bill, is that you.. Bill?



This is President Hillary Clinton, how may I help you?

" CALLER: "Yeah, uh, I'd like to buy a vowel! hahahaha..."



Good morning, President Clinton speaking what can...

" CALLER: Hillary!, is that you? It's me, Bill. Bill Clinton! Your husband! We met back in Law School at Yale. Hill, please, just listen a minute. I wanna come home. Please, I don't want to be the first former president to live aboard the international space station anymore. Especially not for two years. I need to get out Hillary. I need to meet people and make friends, and.... and... are you wearin' the nubuck ankle boots right now, ya know how I love em' on ya... Hillary, I just sayin'... I just ain't having any fun here. Governor Richardson is always hoggin' the treadmill and Ken Lay won't stop complaining about media assasins and conspiracies of rogue executives and... Hillary, are ya there? Hillary... it's always nighttime up here, please don't hang...



Hello, this is President Hillary Clinton. Thank you for calling the White House Red Phone. No one is here right now to take your call but if you leave a message I will get back to you as soon as possible.:

" CALLER: Hello, Ms President, this is Admiral Michael Glenn Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I'm sorry to have to bother you at this hour but I think we have a situational update you should be made aware of concerning security developments aboard the international space station. We may have a security breach with respect to known target. Reporting, ghost surveillance targeting Orbit Dawg: The rabbit is in the wind! Repeat, the rabbit is in the wind! -- Will keep you notified if and when situation develops further. Well, that's all, give me a ring when you get a chance. Bye. -- *CLICK*


Personally, I like to make up my memories ahead of time. If you make up your memories ahead of time, then, by the time anyone gets around to sifting through all your unforgettable memory mementos and begin discovering that your memories were never actual milestones (as in occurences or actual incidents) but more like fuzzy recollections or transpirings or cherished qualities... well, by that time, you will have already made arrangements for elucidated clarifications or admissions of minor misstatement to be presented as atonement for any previous lapses or problematic amplifications. Know what I mean?

That's what "staff and others" are for. To have pre-sorted all the memories and hallucinations and romanticized figments and so forth and prepared in advance any clarifications for such misspokements or peculiar prevarications that might present themselves problematically somewhere along the rosy way.

Unfortunately, as things are these-a-days, the liar in chief threshold (especially in the age of Bush and Cheney and Rove and Rumsfeld and Rice and so on. All masters of the liars universe) is the one threshold that must be mastered and traversed by any magnifico who wishes to be installed as commander in chief of the good old Yoo-S-of-A.

It's a kind of resume padding/enhancement threshold thing. Preferably you should cross this liars threshold and enter the universe of liars with the giggling yeanling japes and jesters of the press and teevee media in tow. Once you lure that easily amused hairbrained herd over the threshold with jerked BBQ and Dove Bars and other bah-lamb seductions you are well on your way to universal conquest and shepherdom. Once you have convinced the media dolts that the apocryphal is the authentic... once you have sold the fog of war as a fluffy summer cloud with a silver lining... once you have Joe Lieberman fluttering around you like a twittering bluebird in a fantasia ballet... once you have crossed that important threshold dividing reasoned cognitive reality from fanciful gasiform enterprise... you and your fawning media coterie are on your way to the gravity free deep space gloryland center of the liars universe.

All Aboard the Amnesia Express Cuckoo-Choo-Choo Sooper Dooper Rocketship to the planet White House. Well, at least that's how it works if you are a Republican.

But if you are a Democrat you will have a much more difficult time crossing into this anti-matter outter limits. It may also be difficult for you if your mission control people have not properly prepared you for your dangerous journey over the threshold and into the interstellar medium of gaseous liars space. For one thing, if you do not know how to eat Dove Bars in a weightless atmosphere you will probably be at a severe disadvantage with your fellow traveler media cadrenauts. Also, if you insist upon allowing James Carville -- a creature who looks like something that may have hatched from a charred pod that crashed into the desert outside of Roswell, New Mexico on July 7th 1947 -- -- if you insist on allowing this being to hover around your campaign trying to freak out the Governor of New Mexico with wholly absurd and pretentious comparisons to recreant biblical figures, you might risk alienating large segments of human terrestrials who might begin to think that James Carville should be netted and subdued and loaded aboard the next Voyager mission to the intergalactic void. And that maybe you should blast-off right along with him!

In general, being a Democratic candidate these days requires you to at least maintain some kind of earthy grounded attachment to telling the truth. At least theoretically. It's sort of a selling point thing these days. If the Republican party wishes to die by asphyxiation in the vaccum of outter liars space then i say by all means bon voyage, have a nice flight! Take CNN with ya! And don't forget to send back a yoo-toob vid postcard as you pass beyond the heliopause.

Where was I? I seemed to have wandered astray of my intended orbit in this post.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton wasn't ambushed by snipers hiding in the Bosnian hills while crossing a tarmac in Tuzla in 1996. She wasn't dashing head over head down hobnails for cover while rotors whirred and bullets ricocheted - ping ping ping - at her heels and all gawd-awful hell came uncorkscrewed around her. Far from it. It was all a great big corkscrew kickshaw combat geegaw of a yarn intended to pad her full metal pantsuit for her launch across the threshold of glory and into the cosmic untouchable outter limits universe of spinning extra terrestial bullshit.

Mission, not accomplished.

Next time you decide to cross a tarmac watch where you are going. And try not to shoot yourself in the ass while you are at it.

Hello, yes, this is Hillary Clinton. Oh, hello President Obama. Oh yes, I understand, Bosnia can be chilly this time of year. Yes, yes, I see, well, I recommend packing a fleece lined duster and a pair of good angora socks for those difficult blustery tarmac receptions.

No... no no, really, yes, yes Mr President, I assure you... this time I'm not making it up.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Staybehinder Weekend 

Weekender Open Stage featuring Jerry Miller (of Moby Grape fame - at left) and The Coachmen:

sing-a-long in the comment threads below.


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