Archive for February, 2007

Ron Paul and Alex Jones

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

I notice the press clips relating to Presidential Candidate Ron Paul disparaging him for favouring appearances with fringe media types such as Alex Jones. A typical example is:

He feels more comfortable speaking with eclectic pundits such as Alex Jones rather than with members of the more conventional media.

Understand Ron Paul is a superstar on what I’ll call for my purposes here the “Alex Jones Circuit”. In the realm of mainstream political punditry, he is a mere blip, his q-rating perhaps above average amongst a Congressional roster of 435 largely meaningless House members and 100 oh-so-important Senators, and most importantly, rrelevant to the Washington concensus — as personified by the Sunday Morning Blathering Shows which reserve spots for John McCain, Joe Biden, Chuck Hagel, and Joseph Liberman, with an all star panel of tedious hack newspaper political columnists.

It’s a hierarchy that demands to be either turned upside down or shaken up. The House of Representatives is perfect for founding a parallel power order. In the corner of the political spectrum that Alex Jones operates from, slide alongside Michael Ruppert’s organs, the list of heavy-weights are a veritable bi-partisan caucs and assortment of politiicans tilting at windmills against the Elite Empire — probably easily chunked down to Ron Paul and Cynthia McKinney. (Plotting her political comeback with their aid, no doubt). And there are only a handful of other elected officials worth mentioning — curiously enough, it adds up to the number that the Sunday Morning shows bother with.

Right wing Christiondom can align themselves their own heroes of home-school advocating under-god fetishist abortion fighters. If this only serves to move them to the one of a number of fringes of largely irrelevant agenda-cliques, at least it tends to be more interesting than the beltway mainstream.

A campaign issue was made in 2006 by Ron Paul’s Democratic opponent over comments Ron Paul made on Alex Jones’s show which seemed to suggest Paul was pushing for the Impeachment of President Bush. Alex Jones blared it out on his cluster of websites, somewhere aside his hawking of his apocalyptic videos eschewing the police state. Paul threw the onus on Congress, largely saying Congress oughta be impeached for not reigning the President in, and it delved mostly into philosophical points. It doesn’t fit into the Jones claim that he predicted the 9/11 inside-job, precursing the series of predictions made that don’t ever seem to come to pass.

Still, he flatters Ron Paul and provides Ron Paul with a platform for his somewhat outside the mainstream opinions, outside the political scope of “Who’s Up and Who’s Down”, somewhere in the realm of appealing to those who believe we need to destroy the Federal Reserve.


Gregg Schumacher: Martyr

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

This is fairly shallow, and people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but Gregg Shumacher is pretty creepy looking.

The concluding chapters of the Schumacher Furrier story are now being written, reporting into the Oregonian and any other local news outlet that is interested.  Gregg Schumacher is not coming off too well.

Gregg Schumacher is a Drama Queen whose persecution complex is building him a small world of delusion and martydom.

It’s not that the protesters haven’t been hounding him, and clearly and quite verifiably on any number of occasions they’ve crossed over the line in doing so.  But his belief of a coordinated an particularly strong campaign of intimidation directed at the two malls that might have him are startling not believable.

#1, From the Protesters, agenda – driven though they may be — though they’re not too shy in sharing credit for the closure of the thing, so it’s hard to double-loop their agenda back to this place: Rossell denied that the group mounted an organized campaign to stop Schumacher from moving into a mall. “If there was a campaign, I would have certainly known about it.”

#2, the mall owners: Dye confirmed that mall managers met with Schumacher, but says there was nothing close to an agreement. The handful of e-mails were mostly polite — ranging from “educational” to rhetorical to support for Schumacher — but didn’t come into play. “We decided that at this point and time that it was not a good fit,” he said.

Running counter with Schumacher: McWilliams says Schumacher has documents proving mall managers received threatening e-mails and phone calls from “people who clearly support the protesters.” McWilliams said he didn’t have copies of the documents.

The credibility of whom is hurt with, and on a jury I would slide my “preponderance of the evidence against” due to:  Monday afternoon, Schumacher, who has announced his intent to sue the city, referred phone calls to McWilliams & Co., a Portland public relations firm. But his announcement, titled “Furrier Forced Out of Business By Violent Eco-Terrorist Protests,” showed that he wasn’t surrendering gently.

Which is his vision of the hordes, who can easily be transferable to a meager pile of comments inflated to apocalyptic scenarios.

The Amazing Sam Johnson of Texas

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Sometimes the duty of a blogger is to very self-conciously add to an echo-chamber.  Hence… the dualing quotations of Republican Representative Sam Johnson.  Followed by some commentary on what stuns me about these quotations.

December 1995, regarding Clinton and Bosnia:

I wholeheartedly support withholding funds… Although it is a drastic step and ties the President’s hands, I do not feel like we have any other choice. The President has tied our hands, gone against the wishes of the American people, and this is the last best way I know how to show my respect for our American servicemen and women. They are helpless, following orders.

Thirty years ago when I was sent to Vietnam in a similar situation, Vietnam started out as a peace type mission, no defined goal, no exit strategy, no idea whose side we were on, and a created incident to gain support of the Congress. A peacekeeping mission? Come on. Does this not sound just like a carbon copy? I think it is.

AND, thank you this guy for the February 16, 2007 address:

We POWs were still in Vietnam when Washington cut the funding for Vietnam. I know what it does to morale and mission success. Words can not fully describe the horrendous damage of the anti-American efforts against the war back home to the guys on the ground.

Our captors would blare nasty recordings over the loud speaker of Americans protesting back home…tales of Americans spitting on Vietnam veterans when they came home… and worse.

We must never, ever let that happen again. […]

Now it’s time to stand up for my friends who did not make it home – and those who fought and died in Iraq – so I can keep my promise that when we got home we would quit griping about the war and do something positive about it…and we must not allow this Congress to leave these troops like the Congress left us.

Today, let my body serve as a brutal reminder that we must not repeat the mistakes of the past… instead learn from them.

We must not cut funding for our troops. We must stick by them. We must support them all the way…To our troops we must remain…always faithful.

I can shrug off politicians’ tendency to say two separate things at politically different moments.   In fact, to oppose or support the mission in Bosnia is not a contradiction with supporting or opposing the mission in Iraq, even as one may end up saying things that seemingly contradict.

But this one is a doozy.  This is, quite simply, the most amazing flip flop I have seen.  Sam Johnson is flip-flopping on the very meaning of the Vietnam War, and is taking opposing sides in a crucial crux of the Culture Wars that emenate from the 1960s.  I don’t know of any parallels here.

KPOJ needs some re-programming

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Contemplating KPOJ’s line-up, which is a horrible schedule.  It is a mish-mash on-the-fly re-working from previous scheduling, and simply needs to be chunked.

2-3: Mike Riley 
3-6: The Young Turks
6-9: Thom Hartmann, local
9-12: Sam Seder, 3 hours delayed
12-3: Ed Schultz, 3 hours delayed
3-6: Randi Rhodes, 3 hours delayed
6-9: Sam Seder, rebroadcast
9-12: Thom Hartmann, national, 12 hours delayed
12-2: Rachel Maddow, several hours post.

So it is, a full 12 hours — half a day — of 2 hosts, one of which is simply a show repeated, and a mere seven hours of live programming.

Explaining the contours of this schedule and its reason for being: Ed Schultz is now tape-delayed because he just changed his show up 3 hours to be available to replace Al Franken.  I don’t much like Schultz, but I congratulate him on his savvy business sense.  KPOJ has not followed suit, and has replaced Franken with Sam Seder, which has been airing at roughly the slot of his old show at 6 pm.  Perhaps this is due to them rescheduling before Schultz made his move?  Thom Hartmann’s national show was Air America’s replacement for Franken — and you cannot abide by six straight hours of Thom Hartmann, which KPOJ appears to have quickly fixed by tossing Seder into the slot.  (Hartmann’s national program came on KPOJ roughly replacing Mike Malloy when Air America canned him.)

Randi Rhodes has been tape-delayed from the start to situate her into the drive-time slot the Eastern Standard time has her properly programmed into.  Rachel Maddow has been an after-thought, tossed in at midnight, running straight into Air America’s morning programming up to Thom Hartmann.

Playing the part of ametuer program director and jiggling the jigsaw pieces together, I have three basic premises and one unsettled problem.  #1: Rumor is that KPOJ is planning to pick up Mike Malloy from the new syndication network he is now affiliated with.  I assume this to be the case.  #2:  Rachel Maddow should be moved from her dead-zone to the light of day, not simply because I want to hear her but because I think she fits Portland’s personality.  #3:  Ed Schultz will be obliged and moved to 9:00.  Smart bastard, that asshole.

The matter of Randi Rhodes is a tricky one.  Which trade-off is the better deal: live — and, mind you, directly competing against Lars Larson — something that apparently pleases her local fan base, or on drive-time.  With her in mind, I have 2 schedules:

2-3: Mark Riley
3-6: Young Turks
6-9: Thom Hartmann, local
9-12: Ed Schultz
12-3: Sam Seder, 6 hours delayed
3-6: Randi Rhodes, 3 hours delayed
6-8: Rachel Maddow
8-11: Mike Malloy
11-2: Thom Hartmann, nationl


3-6: Young Turks
6-9: Thom Hartmann, local
9-12: Ed Schultz
12-3: Randi Rhodes
3-4: Politically Direct
4-6: Rachel Maddow
6-9: Sam Seder
9-12: Mike Malloy
12-3: Thom Hartmann, national

I may have bungled the “Politically Direct” / Rachel Maddow block.  In that scenario, it is preferable to slot Rachel Maddow to 4-6, for better drive-time cohesion, but if not possible, oh well.  It does make an interesting NPR-ish slot up against… NPR at the time they are doing the news.

Also, it may be pushing it to have a somewhat too-stale by then Sam Seder delay on the prime-slot of noon to 3.

Thom Hartmann’s national program becomes a bit of an after-thought, but that seems appropriate enough because he has six hours here.

None of this is perfect, but I think it makes more sense for their bottom line than what they have now.  Mind you, this is mostly a parlor game on my part — I’m not listening to Ed Schultz or Randi Rhodes.

Existential Threat…

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Before dashing Jonah Goldberg’s latest editorial to the scrap-heap, I pause and reflect on this very simple question which Golberg wants everyone to answer:

Existential Threat?

It’s a simple question without a simple answer.  Use the Cold War as an example.  For most of the Cold War, Russia and the Soviet Union was not an Existential threat to the United States, and for the part that it was an existential threat, it was only a potential existential threat.  The proof of the non-existential threat is shown when at that famous point where a Russian watched as his computer screen showed that nuclear missiles had been launched from America.  Protocol said that he launched countering-missiles, he did not.  He did not because the idea that the United States would launch nuclear missiles at Russia was absurd, as was the case with the Soviet Union at the United States.

But, we spent half a century in intermittent terrifying fear.

al Qaeda?  Existential Threat?  It’s something that we focus our foreign policy around, sure.  I run around in circles at this:

no terrorist attacks on our soil since 9/11.

… Europe is a lot closer to their general bases of concentration, and the nations in Europe generally a bit easier and better monitored by the state (London, anyone?) with which they were hit than the United States, you know…

… and …

Never mind.  Answer the question for yourself, and delve into it a bit deeply.

The White House Web Site biography of Chester Arthur

Monday, February 19th, 2007

In honor of Presidents’ Day, here’s the’s biography of Chester Arthur:

Dignified, tall, and handsome, with clean-shaven chin and side-whiskers, Chester A. Arthur “looked like a President.”

The son of a Baptist preacher who had emigrated from northern Ireland, Arthur was born in Fairfield, Vermont, in 1829. He was graduated from Union College in 1848, taught school, was admitted to the bar, and practiced law in New York City. Early in the Civil War he served as Quartermaster General of the State of New York.

President Grant in 1871 appointed him Collector of the Port of New York. Arthur effectively marshalled the thousand Customs House employees under his supervision on behalf of Roscoe Conkling’s Stalwart Republican machine.

Honorable in his personal life and his public career, Arthur nevertheless was a firm believer in the spoils system when it was coming under vehement attack from reformers. He insisted upon honest administration of the Customs House, but staffed it with more employees than it needed, retaining them for their merit as party workers rather than as Government officials.

In 1878 President Hayes, attempting to reform the Customs House, ousted Arthur. Conkling and his followers tried to win redress by fighting for the renomination of Grant at the 1880 Republican Convention. Failing, they reluctantly accepted the nomination of Arthur for the Vice Presidency.

During his brief tenure as Vice President, Arthur stood firmly beside Conkling in his patronage struggle against President Garfield. But when Arthur succeeded to the Presidency, he was eager to prove himself above machine politics.

Avoiding old political friends, he became a man of fashion in his garb and associates, and often was seen with the elite of Washington, New York, and Newport. To the indignation of the Stalwart Republicans, the onetime Collector of the Port of New York became, as President, a champion of civil service reform. Public pressure, heightened by the assassination of Garfield, forced an unwieldy Congress to heed the President.

In 1883 Congress passed the Pendleton Act, which established a bipartisan Civil Service Commission, forbade levying political assessments against officeholders, and provided for a “classified system” that made certain Government positions obtainable only through competitive written examinations. The system protected employees against removal for political reasons.

Acting independently of party dogma, Arthur also tried to lower tariff rates so the Government would not be embarrassed by annual surpluses of revenue. Congress raised about as many rates as it trimmed, but Arthur signed the Tariff Act of 1883. Aggrieved Westerners and Southerners looked to the Democratic Party for redress, and the tariff began to emerge as a major political issue between the two parties.

The Arthur Administration enacted the first general Federal immigration law. Arthur approved a measure in 1882 excluding paupers, criminals, and lunatics. Congress suspended Chinese immigration for ten years, later making the restriction permanent.

Arthur demonstrated as President that he was above factions within the Republican Party, if indeed not above the party itself. Perhaps in part his reason was the well-kept secret he had known since a year after he succeeded to the Presidency, that he was suffering from a fatal kidney disease. He kept himself in the running for the Presidential nomination in 1884 in order not to appear that he feared defeat, but was not renominated, and died in 1886. Publisher Alexander K. McClure recalled, “No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted, and no one ever retired … more generally respected.”