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Memorial Day Open Thread

* The White House braces itself for a whole new level of blame and recrimination over its handling of the Gulf spill.

* Also in that link, Bobby Jindal, anti-government diehard: "We need our federal government exactly for this kind of crisis."

* Will Obama condemn the Israelis' attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, which killed 10 and wounded dozens and is being met by international criticism?

* Right now, the White House is only saying it "deeply regrets the loss of life" and is studying the incident.

* Looks like Colleen Hanabusa's refusal to succumb to Beltway Dem establishment pressure and drop out of the Hawaii special House election was the right decision.

* Jim Webb keeps up his deeply misguided criticism of Dems for moving forward with repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

* Good stuff: CBS News sets the record straight on the ridiculous Erick Erickson/Glenn Beck criticism of Obama not going to Arlington. Not that it will make the slightest difference.

* Ryan Grim has video of Mark Kirk falsely claiming to have been Navy Intelligence Officer of the Year in the 1990s:

* And Digby writes about Liz Cheney's criticism of the Joe Sestak non-scandal, concluding she's the "most dangerous woman in America." I agree with Digby's overall read of Liz's character and ambition.

But I just don't find Liz's attacks to be all that scary. This "scandal" was going to continue churning in the far-right swamps no matter what did or didn't come out. But now that the facts are on the table, it will mostly peter out everywhere else.

The "noise machine" just isn't going to carry the day on this one. As for its broader effort to weaken Obama, if it wasn't this it would just be something else.

What else is happening?

UPDATE, 11: 41 a.m.: Another good read: Jessica Valenti skewers Sarah Palin's brand of fake "mama grizzly" feminism.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 31, 2010; 11:16 AM ET
Categories:  Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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A good read. You might wish to post a live link to the entire article.

"The fake feminism of Sarah Palin

By Jessica Valenti
Sunday, May 30, 2010; B01

Sarah Palin sure is dropping the f-bomb a lot lately.

In a widely noted speech this month to the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion-rights group, Palin invoked the words "feminism" and "feminist" no less than a dozen times. She called for a "pro-woman sisterhood" and addressed the "sisters" in the audience. If it weren't for the regular references to gun rights, you might have thought you were listening to Gloria Steinem.

If this rhetoric seems uncharacteristic of the former governor of Alaska, that's because it is. When running for vice president in 2008, Palin flip-flopped on the feminist question, telling CBS's Katie Couric that she is one, but later telling NBC's Brian Williams, "I'm not going to label myself anything."

Today, however, Palin is happily adopting the feminist label. She's throwing support behind "mama grizzly" candidates, describing the large number of women in the "tea party" as evidence of a "mom awakening" and preaching girl power on her Facebook page.

It's not a realization of the importance of women's rights that's inspired the change. It's strategy. Palin's sisterly speechifying is part of a larger conservative move to woo women by appropriating feminist language. Just as consumer culture tries to sell "Girls Gone Wild"-style sexism as "empowerment," conservatives are trying to sell anti-women policies shrouded in pro-women rhetoric.

Several years ago, when antiabortion protesters realized that screaming "Murderer!" at women wasn't winning hearts and minds, they launched more palatable campaigns claiming that abortion hurts women -- their new protest signs read "Women Deserve Better." (Not surprisingly, this message is much more effective than spitting invective at emotionally vulnerable women.)

When members of the conservative Independent Women's Forum argue against efforts to address pay inequity, they say the salary gap is a result of women's informed choices -- motherhood, for example -- and that claims of discrimination turn women into victims. Conservatives have realized that women respond to seemingly feminist arguments.

But, of course, Palin isn't a feminist -- not in the slightest. What she calls "the emerging conservative feminist identity" isn't the product of a political movement or a fight for social justice. "


Notice how Quitter Palin likes to compare herself to dangerous ferocious animals,("difference between a hockey mom, and a pitbull", " a mama grizzly bear', etc_)

However; if any Democrat then refers to her in the same terms, that Quitter Palin has previously used to describe herself, The Right Wingers erupt in a huge spasm of outrage at such "sexist demeaning attacks."

Posted by: Liam-still | May 31, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Liam -- done. thanks.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 31, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Jim Webb is talking out of his arse, and is ignorant of history.

If it had been left up to the military to make the decision, it would never be made, just as they would never have desegregated, of their own volition. They had to be ordered to make that change.

Civilian Leadership Mr. Webb. Get your head out of your arse.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 31, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

This is a great post by Dennis over at Balloon Juice. Must read.

"Dumbf*ckinstan. We are living in Dumbf*ckinstan and we are all Ed Henry now."

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 31, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Early reports on the Israeli flotilla attack look pretty damning. I guess we'll see when we get a full picture, but it looks pretty nasty.

Can't wait to see how the media portray this as the Palestinians' fault.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 31, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Does Quitter, Grizzly Mama, Palin not realize that Grizzly Bears do not practice sexual abstinence?

Of course neither did she, or her daughter. They just found it very lucrative to go on, Fornicators For Sexual Abstinence, speaking engagements.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 31, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I still believe the Cheney's have been picking for a fight since they started taunting this Administration. They've got a network that will give them free reign to spread as much propaganda and reach a substantial percentage of Americans. And for whatever reason, MTP enjoys being Liz's stenographer.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 31, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Tomasky on a not very encouraging Memorial Day weekend - oil spill, Korea, Israeli attack on flotilla...

Posted by: bernielatham | May 31, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

If the reports are accurate, that Israeli forces stormed a Turkish Ship, in international waters, far outside Israel's internationally recognized waters, then they are in huge trouble.

As for claiming that they had a right to kill anyone who resisted the boarding, then so do the Somali Pirates.

Israel is really cursed with reckless and stupid leadership in recent years. Turkey has been a strong ally of Israel for decades, and to use force against a Turkish ship, in international waters is an act of stunning stupidity.

Recently, forged Irish Passports were used in the assassination of an Hamas leader. Two of the passports used the names of Irish children.

Just a little over a month before the assassination strike, Israel requested that that a delegation be granted permission to tour a brand new passport facility in the Irish Republic, that incorporated sophisticated biometrics identity features. Israel said that they were so impressed with those new features, that they wished to see how the production process worked.

Talk about exposing your own hand.

The Republic Of Ireland has been a long time staunch backer of the State Of Israel. Using fake Irish passports, using the identity of real Irish citizens, including children is no way to treat a true friend.

The people of Israel better wake up, and put the heat on their right wing factions to stop leading them into global isolation.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 31, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Liam, wonder how Lieberman will spin this.

Blame the victims in 3, 2, 1....

Your point is a really good one: the leadership has been really shrill and without much regard to international opinion/laws. Not sure what the polling is on left candidates (or sensible center ones), but I'd hope it would be changing.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 31, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Continued from the prior thread:

Associate disputes my assertion that the Right has been oddly quiet about the Gulf Oil DIsaster. Associate correctly points out the Obama's Katrina meme was floated about 20 minutes after the leak began. I should have been more specific. The National GOP has been oddly quiet. This from a party that routinely and automatically moves in lockstep to criticize every breath Obama takes. I just haven't seen that here for the GOP. I am interested in whether people agree with the premise. For those who do, what is the explanation? May I suggest the answer is partly evinced by Gov Jindahl's statement yesterday that we need the federal government for such disasters, which flies in the face of the core of Teabaggers who want the federal government neutered, and whose energy and votes the GOP craves. There is also the dilemma that just about every criticism of Obama is really a call for MORE government regulation and intervention and a rejection of the Antigovernment, ProBigBusiness foundation upon which the modern GOP is built. If there is truth to this, it should probably be entered into the political calculations for the Dems.

As to the Disaster itself, it seems increasingly likely that the oil will leak until the relief wells are finished, probably in August. By then, there will have been released anywhere from about 6 to 12 times the amount of oil that leaked from the Valdez. The Gulf may be too polluted (from oil AND dispersants) for fishing for years to come. The LA Coast is probably dead b/c the marshes MUST receive the Gulf water (now poisonous) to sustain themselves. The best we can do now is mitigate and hope for the best. The Feds should have BP hire all the fishers and oil workers put out of work; they know the waters and the coast. They can best protect what can be saved.

Now let's move the country forward. Green energy. We MUST use this catastrophe to make serious changes in this country. If we don't, if we learn nothing from this, then we Americans aren't worth a bucket of spit. President Obama must LEAD on this and the country must support him.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 31, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Everything you said wb and this too.

"The oil companies and other giant corporations have a stranglehold on American policies and behavior, and are choking off the prospects of a viable social and economic future for working people and their families.

President Obama spoke critically a couple of weeks ago about the “cozy relationship” between the oil companies and the federal government. It’s not just a cozy relationship. It’s an unholy alliance. And that alliance includes not just the oil companies but the entire spectrum of giant corporations that have used vast wealth to turn democratically elected officials into handmaidens, thus undermining not just the day-to-day interests of the people but the very essence of democracy itself.

Forget BP for a moment. When is the United States going to get its act together? Will we learn anything from this disaster or will we simply express our collective dismay, ignore the inevitable commission reports (no one pays attention to study commissions), and bury our heads back in the oily sand?"

Posted by: lmsinca | May 31, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

lms and wbg, agreed. It's obviously not a simple issue, but here's a simple principle.

Alan Greenspan testified before Congress and admitted that he'd put "too much faith" in the ability and desire of Wall St to regulate itself (paraphrasing). Obama in his presser said that he'd put "too much faith" in the oil companies assurances that they could handle drilling and safety issues.

The lesson is clear. Government is not in the FAITH business. It's in the regulation business, and needs to be better at doing its job. That means two things.

1. This country MUST break the business community's (and right wing's) stranglehold on the idea that regulation hampers capitalism and growth. It's only bad and stupid regulation that does this, and we've gone on too long without getting better at this.

2. Government has to demonstrate its willingness and capacity to act independently and intelligently to regulate where our economy is most in need of such rules that would make it function better.

My biggest fear is that both these points forbid the GOP from having power in this country. They have a destructive ideology and no independence. If the Dems strike a course that is more independent and accountable, and show that they mean business, they can hold majorities. Supporting the likes of Lincoln and Nelson does not cut it.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 31, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

BG, you write: "This country MUST break the business community's (and right wing's) stranglehold on the idea that regulation hampers capitalism and growth."

I'm not sure that says exactly what you mean, but I get what you're after--that we somehow have to convince Americans that this idea, pushed so much and for so many years by business and the right, is simply wrong.

I agree entirely. My question is how.

Posted by: AllButCertain | May 31, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The facts of the Sestak affair are hardly on the table.

All that is on the table is a coordinated story about one phone call allegedly made by Clinton.

We haven't heard the rest of the story, except for Sestak's own earlier statements, which are not at all explained away by the Clinton story.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 31, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Sestak and the Hatch Act.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 31, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

"The facts of the Sestak affair are hardly on the table."

bla bla bla

He had a press conference where the he exhausted the press of questioning. That was the opportunity for those that wanted to know something to ask it.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 31, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

The GOP on the Sestak thing sounds like they all wish they were back in grade school so they could be hall monitors.

Hey, do you have a hall pass?

So trivial. You want corruption? How about 8 years of Bush and deregulation. How'd that work out?

When Obama wrecks the economy and the environment then you can make a case. Otherwise, stay in school.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 31, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Peter Wehner's appraisal of Obama is dead on and eloquent.

Someone please be brave enough to defend the statement by Obama quoted around paragraph 9 or 10 at the Boxer fundraiser.

It is so shockingly ahistorical that one can only conclude this President truly has delusions of grandeur and narcissistic personality disorder.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 31, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

qb. I don't have the whole speech at the fundraiser but he could have been referring to the economic situation only. Not sure why you're getting your panties in a knot over that quote or Weekly Standard for that matter.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 31, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

"He had a press conference where the he exhausted the press of questioning. That was the opportunity for those that wanted to know something to ask it."

All that vigourous questioning by his media lapdogs, you mean?

He "answered" a total of two questions (really must one and a half) on the topic -- merely by referring to the forthcoming "statement" from his "administration," which really answers nothing.

The coordinated statements they put out don't even remotely explain the questions they face. And you are grasping at straws.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 31, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

"He "answered" a total of two questions (really must one and a half) on the topic -- merely by referring to the forthcoming "statement" from his "administration," which really answers nothing."

What are you talking about? He answered like 50 questions or more. The press didn't have any more questions. I believe all networks were present.

Not sure what more you are expecting to happen.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 31, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse


I am tempted to say, wait, taking statements out of context is par for the course on this blog.

But I doubt very seriously the context was so limited, and even then it would be an absurd claim. Anyone who is old enough to remember the late 70s and beginning of Reagan's term -- as Obama is -- knows better.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 31, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

He answered two questions about Sestak. No?

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 31, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Out entire banking system almost collapsed and Wall Street had some of the biggest losses on record. That didn't happen in the late 70's.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 31, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

According to this transcript, he took about 15-16 questions total, almost all focused on the Gulf. He gave no substantive answers about Sestak.

If the press's failure to ask him more questions about Sestak on Friday is the new standard for exoneration, then he really has transformed the country.

The bottom line is that the statement they issued answers no hard questions at all. The story is far from over.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 31, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Forgot the link.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 31, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

"He answered two questions about Sestak. No?"

I'm talking about the press conference Sestak gave. He sat in front of the press for around 15 minutes and answered all questions asked of him till the press had no more questions.

Not sure what else there is to answer. If there were unanswered questions that's the press' fault for not asking them when he said, are there any more questions.

All that's going on now is muddying of the waters trying to obfuscate the situation.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 31, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Here's another great balloon juice post from yesterday I missed. I don't think anyone linked it yet. Also, BG thanks for the tip on "By the Lake", I finally had a chance to begin reading it today, by my pool.

"I’m all for constructive criticism, but flailing around over things that no one can control is just driving me nuts. Why hasn’t Obama done more to stop the leak? I dunno. Why didn’t Obama do more to save John Murtha and Dennis Hopper! Why won’t he wave his magic ___king wand and bring world peace! Why is unemployment at 10%? Why are we all going to die one day!"

"Because sometimes things don’t have solutions or answers, you losers. Try acting like you are a little older than five for a change."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 1, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

lms, good holiday reading.

John Cole and that bunch have been aces on how the media fails in covering the spill.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 1, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Is BP still using that leftover batch of Agent Orange as a dispersant?

Posted by: jzap | June 1, 2010 2:07 AM | Report abuse

RE: Kirk

Exaggerating military service is bound to deeply offend virtually everyone. You would think politicians in both parties would instinctively get that.

Interested to see what new polling for this race shows. Giannoulias is a solid Dem, and from what I can tell, the attacks on him and his fathers bank are dishonest to say the least. Whether his campaigned had stabilized was predictably a point of contention, but that should all be irrelevant now if Sarah Palin fan Mark Kirk's "I can see Invisible Awards from my campaign office" routine gets anything near Blumenthal level attention.

Out of the "big symbolic 3" Senate races, NV and IL are looking significantly better. Over to you, Chris Coons.

Posted by: michael_conrad | June 1, 2010 4:03 AM | Report abuse

This Sestak "press conference," where he told reporters he wouldn't comment further until after the WH released its statement, which it coordinated with his brother and Bill Clinton?

All that's going on now is cover up.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 1, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Ims & BG:

Totally agree about what must be done. I realize Obama is not, pardon me, the audacious type. He has so far determinedly avoided all philosophical forays into the proper role for government. Notwithstanding the health care debate; notwithstanding the Wall Street Cataclysm. But this one he simply cannot ignore. He must act. He must say, in black&white, that the Gulf Oil Disaster proves the need for muscular government regulation. The country needs Obama to say it. I hope he does. Soon.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 1, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse


Your incessant chatter about Sestak coupled with your vehement criticism of Blumenthal in conjunction with your silence re: Paul Kirk tells everyone all we need to know about your bona fides. Namely, you ain't got none. I will proceed accordingly.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 1, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse


Right back at ya. As usual, you can't deal with substance. You prefer ad hominem.

Greg continues to "chatter" about the Sestak affair, declaring it insubstantial and finished several times a day. But no hard questions at all have been answered.

What were the other "efforts" that were made?

What "advisory" positions were offered? There appear to be only two, with the PIAB being the only likely candidate here.

Since these boards do not include members of Congress, how, per Bauer's memo, was Sestak going to be able to serve in both roles?

Why would anyone believe Sestak would accept a position on an unpaid advisory board that meets a couple of times a year in exchange for giving up his Senae run?

What other positions were offered?

They deny that SecNav was offered; was it floated? Was it mentioned?

You liberal dems don't care whether any laws were broken by the WH and Obama; I get that.

The Obama WH's own declaration of innocense is good enough for you. It isn't for other people.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 1, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Greg said: "But I just don't find Liz's attacks to be all that scary. This "scandal" was going to continue churning in the far-right swamps no matter what did or didn't come out. But now that the facts are on the table, it will mostly peter out everywhere else.

The "noise machine" just isn't going to carry the day on this one. As for its broader effort to weaken Obama, if it wasn't this it would just be something else."

I think that's right in the specific. But on the other hand, I don't see any particular individual's attacks on Obama to be uniquely dangerous (or any particular line of attack to this point).

The main dangers here, it seems to me, are the consequences of the sustained and broad-based propaganda efforts aimed at damaging the President - a reprise of what was done to Clinton (and Gore, and Kerry and Carter). Cheney is a high-level part of this campaign both as voice and as organizer (referring here to her new operation with Kristol). The organizational efforts are largely invisible at this point but I deem her as an effective voice who has reach I(institutional and personal) into the media establishment or a sort which Palin or Bauchmann can never have - she won't get the sort of snickers that the other two get and deserve.

The danger from this lady lies up the road a bit. She's clearly being positioned to be a sort of Thatcher figure - strong, smart conservative female - within the conservative movement. And when she does run for the Presidency, which she surely will, she will be the recipient of more money and more institutional support from the corporate sector and from the "noise machine" and from the DC establishment than possibly any other Republican figure I can think of.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 1, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

All, morning roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 1, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

And I want to express my utter disgust for the WP editorial this morning on the flotilla attack. It could have been written by Netanyahu but it sure as hell couldn't have been written by anyone on the other side of this equation.

It is another example in a very long list of what Walt/Mearsheimer have covered or what Beinart's recent piece in the NYRB describes re US media.

I ought to add that, for at least two decades, the Canadian press has been no better as regards failing to carry any narrative not approved by a Likud vision of reality.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 1, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

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