The Third Shift


  1. ☛ Behind the Curtain: Obama, the puppet master - POLITICO.com

    There is so much stupidity contained in this piece by Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei that it drools. The primary stupidity is that ordinary people care about the travails of how hard the White House press corps has it in covering the president at all. Given that the people who do so largely make six-figure salaries from the large media corporations, sympathy is low, even from one’s fellow journalists.

    The second problem is that these tirades and hissy fits come in the wake of the WH press corps being shut out of a photo op of President Obama playing golf with Tiger Woods. Of all the things to complain about transparency and access after, this ain’t it, and I don’t care how much you protest — a la Ed Henry of Fox News — that it’s about more than a golf game.

    Third, and probably most salient, problem with this piece: the complaint by the press corps seems little more to me than the whining of an entitled class in the era of the Internet and easy to use media technology. Yes, the White House has increased its outreach through Twitter, Facebook, and other in-house methods of spreading its message rather than sitting down with journos. But every administration engages in this type of avoidance, only sitting down to softball interviews. Be a journalist. If you don’t get the access you want on an important story, then say so and find the information elsewhere. On covering subjects that actually matter, that means going to various departments and maybe greasing a squeaky wheel — like all those contacts and sources you’ve spent your time building up over your career.

    Fourth and finally, it’s laughable to read complaints about the president not doing hard-hitting interviews with press organs such as the NYT, WashPost, etc. and including Politico in that list when Gawker editor John Cook reminds us of the last time Mike Allen got to sit down with a president by posting all the softballs Allen tossed to G.W. Bush on his Twitter feed.

    Stop complaining about your lack of photo ops and go do your actual job.

  2. If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.

    These are harsh words for a man only recently canonized by President Clinton and my old friend George McGovern — but I have written worse things about Nixon, many times, and the record will show that I kicked him repeatedly long before he went down. I beat him like a mad dog with mange every time I got a chance, and I am proud of it. He was scum.

    Let there be no mistake in the history books about that. Richard Nixon was an evil man — evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him — except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat who kept scrambling to get back on the ship.

    He Was a Crook - Hunter S. Thompson - The Atlantic

    Today would have been Richard M. Nixon’s 100th birthday, and today, one of the two major political parties in America is made in his bent image, rotten to the core and uninterested in that which it is elected to do: govern. 

  3. sirmitchell:

This fucking butt baby pays to have a card made then goes out and buys himself dinner. He then eats his food (no doubt with a raging boner the entire time) knowing full well at the end he is going to leave this dick smell of a card for the person who served him instead of a tip. What a load of cock dust. 
First of all, Prop 30 is a California state proposition to help fund schools. It has nothing to do with Obama. Regardless, it also only affects those who make $250k or more a year. Yet this walking talking flacid dick still leaves it. 
I’ll tell you what, I don’t think I like this guy. 



if he needs to cut back, then maybe you don’t go out to dinner or have the cards made to leave for people. if you’re gonna go this far to make a point — having the cards made, spending money on a meal out — well, then you do have the cash to tip and you’re just an asshole.

    sirmitchell:

    This fucking butt baby pays to have a card made then goes out and buys himself dinner. He then eats his food (no doubt with a raging boner the entire time) knowing full well at the end he is going to leave this dick smell of a card for the person who served him instead of a tip. What a load of cock dust. 

    First of all, Prop 30 is a California state proposition to help fund schools. It has nothing to do with Obama. Regardless, it also only affects those who make $250k or more a year. Yet this walking talking flacid dick still leaves it. 

    I’ll tell you what, I don’t think I like this guy. 

    if he needs to cut back, then maybe you don’t go out to dinner or have the cards made to leave for people. if you’re gonna go this far to make a point — having the cards made, spending money on a meal out — well, then you do have the cash to tip and you’re just an asshole.

    (via afternoonsnoozebutton)

  4. Republicans are certainly not attacking Rice simply because she is a black woman. But it is certainly likely that they are attacking her because she is a black woman, allied with a black man, who represents the party which black America believes is the best vehicle for its particular interests, and the broader interests of the country. In other words the question isn’t “Is Senator Lindsey Graham racist?” so much as it’s “Who does Senator Lindsey Graham represent?”

    The answer is Graham represents a party whose candidate for the presidency believes black Obama voters are guilty of the sin of electoral bribery, while white Romney voters are simply guilty of loving their country too hard. Graham represents the party of birther claims and birther jokes; the party which thinks attempting to restrict the votes of black and brown people is good use of their resources. The notion that you can separate who Republicans target, from how their base tends to evaluate those targets is willfully naive.

    It does not matter what dwells in Lindsey Graham’s heart. No one knows. The hard interests are what matter.

  5. the downfall of a general, but for entirely the wrong reasons?

    That’s kind of what Michael Hastings is implying at BuzzFeed — kind of would be putting it kindly, as Hastings’ last major piece meant the end of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s career — and in the wake of a couple days of profiles and writing where Petraeus is lionized once again and Paula Broadwell gets slammed in ways that are way beyond the pale by people looking to protect themselves or their associations with the general, it’s worth asking the questions, both about Petraeus and journalists who lose the plot and become embedded.

    Spencer Ackerman admits to his own complicity in the lionizing of Petraeus, and Andrew Sullivan reveals his interactions with the general at a salon he was invited to when he was still at the Atlantic.

  6. Via Hullabaloo, we learn David Frum said something amazing on Morning Joe and neither Scarborough nor Chuck Todd nor David Gregory dared acknowledge it. It comes about four minutes in:

    Since the loss of the election, we have heard an enormous amount of discussion from Republicans on television and newspaper columns about immigration as an issue…but all of us who are allowed to participate in this conversation, we all have health insurance. And the fact that millions of Americans don’t have health insurance, they don’t get to be on television. And it is maybe a symptom of a broader problem, not just the Republican problem, that the economic anxieties of so many Americans are just not part of the national discussion at all. I mean, we have not yet emerged from the greatest national catastrophe, the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. And what are we talking about? The deficit and the debt. And these are important problems, but they’re a lot easier to worry about if you are wealthier than you were in 2008, which most of the people on television now are again, if you are securely employed, which most of the people on television now are. But that’s not true for 80% of America. And the Republican Party, the opposition party, needed to find some way to give voice to real urgent economic concerns held by middle class Americans. Latinos, yes, but Americans of all ethnicities.

    The debt is a real problem for the country, but right now, it’s secondary. We adopt the Charlie Pierce approach to the American economy: Eff The Debt. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money.

    Of course, had Romney won, we’d probably be right back in “deficits don’t matter” territory. But it’s telling that everyone ignored what David Frum said about it.  A Canadian conservative and former GW Bush speechwriter — the one who coined “axis of evil” — is calling out the cupidity and narrow parameters of the national political press, and they don’t dare acknowledge it. 

    Conservatives get worked up about media bias — supposedly “liberal” media bias. Well, part of this is true — there is a media bias, but it’s a class bias. The political media in America, in terms of income and status, is much closer to the people it covers than the people it is supposed to inform, and this frames what the acceptable discourse on the multitude of political chatfests is.

    Thus, we are hearing about the debt, deficit, and fiscal cliff as if it is Apocalypse Now for the U.S. and it means we have to cut social services for people who are already suffering — because everyone must suffer more.

    Why Did Mitt Romney Lose The Presidency? (by Mark Stothard)

  7. ☛ General David Petraeus's Rules For Living

    I swear, resigning one’s post as CIA director because you had an affair with your biographer just five days after she wrote this piece for Newsweek about your “rules for living” that is now riddled with unintentional comedy and double entendre that it probably puts the entire staff of The Onion in a headlock and makes them cry Uncle. I mean, how can “Stay fit to fight. Your body is your ulti­mate weapons system. Physical fitness for your body is essential for mental fitness” be anything other than a great joke now?

  8. ☛ The “Political Press,” AKA “People Paid To Lie On TV,” Were Very Wrong | The Awl

    this kind of efficient, useful, and LOUDLY POINTED SUMMARY of just how wrong certain pundits got this is why I love reading Choire, Alex, and anything at the Awl.

    Why don’t TV news producers stop booking these people when they lie so baldly and get the thing they’re supposed to (politics) so wrong?

  9. Nate Silver’s Braying Idiot Detractors Show That Being Ignorant About Politics Is Like Being Ignorant About Sports

    deadspincom:

    By David Roher

    In case you haven’t been hanging around the benighted corners of the political internet lately, there’s an idiotic backlash afoot against Nate Silver, the proprietor of the FiveThirtyEight blog who made his name as one of the sharpest baseball analysts around.

    With the election just a few days away, analysis based on state poll aggregation—Silver’s included—suggests that Barack Obama is a heavy favorite against Mitt Romney. The president holds a slight but strong lead in key electoral states. This doesn’t sit well with many political pundits, who insist that the outcome is anyone’s guess and headed down to the wire. Many of these people have directed their anger toward Silver, whose New York Times-hosted blog has predicted a strong probability of an Obama victory since June. They insist he is biased or sloppy in his methodology, even though they seem unaware of how he makes his predictions and of statistical analysis in general. They say—and I’m not kidding—he’s too gay for this sort of work.

    In retrospect, we should’ve seen it coming. It was only a matter of time before the war on expertise spilled over into the cells of Nate Silver’s spreadsheets. In fact, in some ways it had already. Turns out that nothing could have prepared Silver better for the slings and arrows of a surly and willfully obtuse pundit class than working on the fringes of sportswriting over the past decade. 

    Read More

    This is fantastic. This is what happens when English, history, journalism, and poli sci majors (some with law degrees) try to take on math and don’t have the background to do it with any authority — it winds up revealing their own biases in favor of a tight race to ensure viewership and readership, and exposes our political press as it is: obsessed with campaigning instead of the actual goals or merits of policy. Comparing it to sportswriters’ reaction to PECOTA is pretty much spot on.

  10. full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Foreign policy debates in America are particularly unedifying because neither major party candidate is willing to say anything to disabuse US citizens of the notion that our country is a shining city on a hill, a beacon, a moral exemplar of democracy, and an arbiter that should be “leading” the community of nations.

    Thus, despite zingers and any other point made in support of my preferred of the two viable candidates for president, I remain inexorably disappointed in the fact that both men support a foreign policy that appears to rob other countries of their agency, as if the rest of the countries that made up those on earth did not have their own specific preferences.

    American foreign policy debates are always about what we should be doing on the world stage to make our presence felt. Rarely, if ever, is it asked why we should be intervening in events thousands of miles away when they affect us not one bit. This is the debate that leads us into unfunded wars of choice, involvement in civil wars where we pick and choose the winners and hope they’re better than the people we want out, and blowback from people who get pissed off at the autocrats we wind up supporting over the decades because they’re our autocrats.

    It is sadly ironic that a day after the passing of George McGovern, there is sentiment throughout the country that cries “Come home, America,” yet much of the policy practiced by its leaders mean we will be doing anything but, no matter which party is in power.

  11. ☛ George McGovern, former presidential candidate, dies - USA Today

    Rest in peace, sir. If we as a nation had truly known the man who beat you in an electoral landslide, maybe it might not have happened. Maybe we could have saved ourselves from the long, sordid discovery the President of the United States was a crook.

  12. sashya-k:

vicemag:

Cornel West Plans to Vote for Obama in November and Protest His Policies in February
Cornel West is special. Hes rocks the best afro, has impeccable taste in music, and boasts the unique ability to communicate complex political ideas, as Sly Stone said, “everyday people.” As an activist, author, and public speaker, West has transcended academia to become the moral compass for a country teetering on the political, spiritual, and economic bankruptcy. How can you knock a guy who was the first professor at Yale to be arrested on campus while protesting against apartheid in South Africa? We love him, even if we don’t always agree with him, because he doesn’t bite his tongue for anybody—not even the Commander in Chief.In an interview with Truthdig back in 2011, West infamously described the president as, “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”With the election suddenly up for grabs since President Obama’s sluggish performance in Denver against Mitt Romney, we hit up the famed professor to uncover his thoughts on the prospect of a Romney presidency, the second debate, and whether he and Tavis Smiley will ever announce a bid for the White House..

VICE: What did you think of Tuesday’s debate?I said a prayer for brother Barack Obama the first time and the prayer did not kick in. I said a prayer the second time and it did kick in. He was much stronger. I was glad to see him defending himself.
Brother Mitt Romney has a sense of entitlement. With Candy Crowley and the others, he doesn’t listen—he just takes off. Barack really made sure to respond to the actual questions. I thought he did a much better job, but it looks as if the polls are still tight. Regardless, I was glad to see Barack much being more forthright.
Which Obama was more authentic—Obama in debate one or Obama in debate two?I think that Barack Obama is a shy man. He does not like to be aggressive. The only moment he became angry was when he was accused of using American soldiers, precious human beings, as pawns for politics. You could see the anger in his face. He was very upset. But generally speaking, Obama is reconciliatory. That’s just who he is. When it comes time to fighting in the muck and mire, that’s just not his terrain.
After the polls swung in Romney’s favor after the first debate, did you reconsidered your criticism of President Obama?We have to prevent a Romney takeover of the White House. No doubt about that. It would be very dangerous in terms of actual lives and actual deaths of the elderly and the poor. Those people who are dependent on various programs would have to deal with the ugly damage of the further redistribution of wealth from the poor and working people to the well to off.
Right. But doesn’t criticizing Obama make all that bad stuff you just said more likely to happen?I’m strategic. We have to tell that truth about a system that’s corrupt—both parties are poisoned by big money and tied to big banks and corporations. Speaking on that is a matter of intellectual integrity. American politics are not a matter of voting your moral conscious—if I voted my moral conscious it would probably be for Jill Stein. But it’s strategic in terms of what the actual possibilities and real options there are for poor and working people.
Continue Reading

That title. Yes. 


Cornel West is many things and some of them I do not agree with, but he is not a politically ignorant or stupid man. You can vote for the president and vocally object to the policies he holds, particularly on drone strikes and other foreign policy matters.

But I’ve always believed it’s long past time for the left to support the candidates closest to it while holding their feet to the fire in office. Republicans have done it for decades post-Goldwater.

    sashya-k:

    vicemag:

    Cornel West Plans to Vote for Obama in November and Protest His Policies in February

    Cornel West is special. Hes rocks the best afro, has impeccable taste in music, and boasts the unique ability to communicate complex political ideas, as Sly Stone said, “everyday people.” As an activist, author, and public speaker, West has transcended academia to become the moral compass for a country teetering on the political, spiritual, and economic bankruptcy. How can you knock a guy who was the first professor at Yale to be arrested on campus while protesting against apartheid in South Africa? We love him, even if we don’t always agree with him, because he doesn’t bite his tongue for anybody—not even the Commander in Chief.

    In an interview with Truthdig back in 2011, West infamously described the president as, “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”With the election suddenly up for grabs since President Obama’s sluggish performance in Denver against Mitt Romney, we hit up the famed professor to uncover his thoughts on the prospect of a Romney presidency, the second debate, and whether he and Tavis Smiley will ever announce a bid for the White House..

    VICE: What did you think of Tuesday’s debate?
    I said a prayer for brother Barack Obama the first time and the prayer did not kick in. I said a prayer the second time and it did kick in. He was much stronger. I was glad to see him defending himself.

    Brother Mitt Romney has a sense of entitlement. With Candy Crowley and the others, he doesn’t listen—he just takes off. Barack really made sure to respond to the actual questions. I thought he did a much better job, but it looks as if the polls are still tight. Regardless, I was glad to see Barack much being more forthright.

    Which Obama was more authentic—Obama in debate one or Obama in debate two?
    I think that Barack Obama is a shy man. He does not like to be aggressive. The only moment he became angry was when he was accused of using American soldiers, precious human beings, as pawns for politics. You could see the anger in his face. He was very upset. But generally speaking, Obama is reconciliatory. That’s just who he is. When it comes time to fighting in the muck and mire, that’s just not his terrain.

    After the polls swung in Romney’s favor after the first debate, did you reconsidered your criticism of President Obama?
    We have to prevent a Romney takeover of the White House. No doubt about that. It would be very dangerous in terms of actual lives and actual deaths of the elderly and the poor. Those people who are dependent on various programs would have to deal with the ugly damage of the further redistribution of wealth from the poor and working people to the well to off.

    Right. But doesn’t criticizing Obama make all that bad stuff you just said more likely to happen?
    I’m strategic. We have to tell that truth about a system that’s corrupt—both parties are poisoned by big money and tied to big banks and corporations. Speaking on that is a matter of intellectual integrity. American politics are not a matter of voting your moral conscious—if I voted my moral conscious it would probably be for Jill Stein. But it’s strategic in terms of what the actual possibilities and real options there are for poor and working people.

    That title. Yes. 

    Cornel West is many things and some of them I do not agree with, but he is not a politically ignorant or stupid man. You can vote for the president and vocally object to the policies he holds, particularly on drone strikes and other foreign policy matters.


    But I’ve always believed it’s long past time for the left to support the candidates closest to it while holding their feet to the fire in office. Republicans have done it for decades post-Goldwater.

  13. here’s the thing that irritates me the most about every presidential campaign, debate, or discussion of energy policy.

    Every time, without fail, someone, whether it be an person at a town hall, a reporter, or a politician will ask why the president (no matter what said president’s party) hasn’t done more to bring down gas prices. It is irritating because very rarely is this simple, basic concept introduced afterward:

    CRUDE OIL, WHICH IS NEEDED FOR GASOLINE, IS TRADED ON A GLOBAL MARKET. YOU HEAR ABOUT THE GLOBAL PRICE FOR A BARREL OF OIL EVERY WEEK ON BUSINESS REPORTS AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR GAS PRICES HERE — AND THEN DOUBLY SO WHEN WINTER ROLLS AROUND AND PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT HEATING COSTS. SINCE THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO NEED OIL-BASED ENERGY, PARTICULARLY IN QUICKLY-GROWING SECTORS OF ASIA AND EUROPE, ANY OIL DRILLING OR DEVELOPMENT DONE ON U.S. FEDERAL LANDS WOULD MOST LIKELY BE SENT TO AND TRADED ON THIS GLOBAL MARKETPLACE, PARTICULARLY BECAUSE MANY OF THE OIL COMPANIES DRILLING IN THE U.S. ARE GLOBAL COMPANIES. SINCE THE DEMAND FOR A FINITE RESOURCE IS NOT GOING DOWN ANY TIME SOON, IT STANDS TO REASON THAT WE WILL PROBABLY NOT SEE AVERAGE PRICES AT THE PUMP GO UNDER $2.50 AGAIN. THIS IS WHY WE TALK SO MUCH ABOUT HYBRIDS AND CARS THAT COULD GET HIGH 30S-40+ MPG, AND THIS IS WHY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS DEMANDING AUTOMAKERS DOUBLE FUEL ECONOMY BY 2026 (or some year close to that): BECAUSE THERE AIN’T A THING AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT CAN DO TO REDUCE THE DEMAND FOR OIL-BASED ENERGY IN THE REST OF THE WORLD. HIGH GAS PRICE SUCK, I GET THAT, BUT TRY FILLING UP IN EUROPE SOMETIME. YEESH. INSTEAD OF ASKING HOW WE LOWER GAS PRICES (which we can’t, not really), IT’S BETTER TO ASK ABOUT DIFFERENT FORMS OF MASS TRANSIT AND CREATING THE NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES THAT RUN ON LESS GASOLINE OR NONE AT ALL.

    I feel like the caps lock is important here because the general concept of believing American presidents and their energy policy can actually have major control over a global market annoys me to no end.

  14. We are entering a new period of important and hopeful change in America, a period comparable to those eras that unleashed such remarkable ferment in the period of Jefferson and Jackson and Roosevelt. Let the opposition collect their $10 million in secret money from the privileged few and let us find one million ordinary Americans who will contribute $25 each to this campaign, a Million Member Club with members who will not expect special favors for themselves but a better land for us all. In the literature and music of our children we are told, to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. And for America, the time has come at last. This is the time for truth, not falsehood. In a Democratic nation, no one likes to say that his inspiration came from secret arrangements by closed doors, but in the sense that is how my candidacy began. I am here as your candidate tonight in large part because during four administrations of both parties, a terrible war has been chartered behind closed doors. I want those doors opened and I want that war closed. And I make these pledges above all others: the doors of government will be opened, and that war will be closed.

    So let us give our — let us give your country the chance to elect a Government that will seek and speak the truth, for this is the time for the truth in the life of this country. And this is also a time, not for death, but for life. In 1968 many Americans thought they were voting to bring our sons home from Vietnam in peace, and since then 20,000 of our sons have come home in coffins. I have no secret plan for peace. I have a public plan. And as one whose heart has ached for the past ten years over the agony of Vietnam, I will halt a senseless bombing of Indochina on Inaugural Day. There will be no more Asian children running ablaze from bombed-out schools. There will be no more talk of bombing the dikes or the cities of the North. And within 90 days of my inauguration, every American soldier and every American prisoner will be out of the jungle and out of their cells and then home in America where they belong. And then let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad.

    We have had our fury and our frustrations in these past months and at this Convention, but frankly, I welcome the contrast with the smug and dull and empty event which will doubtless take place here in Miami next month. We chose this struggle, we reformed our Party, and we let the people in. So we stand today not as a collection of backroom strategies, not as a tool of ITT or any other special interest. So let our opponents stand on the status quo while we seek to refresh the American spirit. I believe that the greatest contribution America can now make to our fellow mortals is to heal our own great but very deeply troubled land. We must respond — we must respond to that ancient command: “Physician, heal thyself.”

    From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America. From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America. From the entrenchment of special privileges in tax favoritism; from the waste of idle lands to the joy of useful labor; from the prejudice based on race and sex; from the loneliness of the aging poor and the despair of the neglected sick — come home, America. Come home to the affirmation that we have a dream. Come home to the conviction that we can move our country forward. Come home to the belief that we can seek a newer world, and let us be joyful in that homecoming, for this “is your land, this land is my land — from California to New York island, from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters — this land was made for you and me.” So let us close on this note: May God grant each one of us the wisdom to cherish this good land and to meet the great challenge that beckons us home.

    George McGovern, who espoused a beautifully coherent anti-war, pro-equality position in his acceptance speech of the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972; one that as Charlie Pierce put it, every member of his party has spent the last four decades shamefully running from. Now McGovern is in hospice care. This is the man who would have spared us the true mendacity and criminality of Richard Milhous Nixon that nearly destroyed our country, if only the people had known about it at the time.

    The Forgotten Legacy of George McGovern, by Charles P. Pierce - Esquire

  15. via smrtmnky