Nixon Wouldn’t have Authorized Torture, Suggests John Dean

I asked John Dean a few questions about his new book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It, during a Book Salon at Firedoglake.

1) After listening to hundreds hours of all conversations did President “Sock it to me” Nixon tell any good jokes? Were they dirty? Racist or sexist?  His answer was,  “Bottom line: Richard Nixon had almost no sense of humor whatsoever.” My suspicion, confirmed!

2) What did he think Cheney and Rumsfeld learned from the Watergate Scandal? His reply:

Rumsfeld and Cheney volunteered to help Nixon when he was sinking, but Nixon did not trust Rumsfeld (he didn’t know Cheney). Needless to say, it is pure speculation as to what Rummy and Dick “learned” from Watergate. I gave my views on the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld presidency in “Worse Than Watergate,” explaining how they imposed secrecy way beyond Nixon. This was how they got away with blatant violations of law that make Watergate look like little league. I am not sure that Richard Nixon in one of his darkest moods would have authorized torture! 

That last sentence surprised me. So I asked for more insight.

What would Nixon’s reasons have been for not torturing people? Was he close . . . → Read More: Nixon Wouldn’t have Authorized Torture, Suggests John Dean

Nixon Would Not Have Authorized Torture. Suggests

I asked John Dean a few questions about his new book, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It, during a Book Salon at Firedoglake.

1) After listening to hundreds hours of all conversations did President “Sock it to me” Nixon tell any good jokes? Were they dirty? Racist or sexist? His answer was, “Bottom line: Richard Nixon had almost no sense of humor.” My suspicion, confirmed!

2) What did he think Cheney and Rumsfeld learned from the Watergate Scandal? His reply:

Rumsfeld and Cheney volunteered to help Nixon when he was sinking, but Nixon did not trust Rumsfeld (he didn’t know Cheney). Needless to say, it is pure speculation as to what Rummy and Dick “learned” from Watergate. I gave my views on the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld presidency in “Worse Than Watergate,” explaining how they imposed secrecy way beyond Nixon. This was how they got away with blatant violations of law that make Watergate look like little league. I am not sure that Richard Nixon in one of his darkest moods would have authorized torture!

That last sentence surprised me. So I asked for more insight.

What would Nixon’s reasons have been for not torturing people? Was he . . . → Read More: Nixon Would Not Have Authorized Torture. Suggests

What’s the Media Strategy of #Ferguson Protesters? The Police Have One.

Does it seem strange I want to know the “media strategy” of the protesters in Ferguson?  I mean, they’re just a bunch of random people, catalyzed by an event, right? What are the protesters on the ground thinking? Do they know how they look to the world via the media? Who’s in charge? Is it the father?

 “I just want justice for my son, I really do … I need everybody to come together so we can do this right, so we can get something done about this. No violence.”

- Michael Brown Senior 

Aren’t they listening?

Although they don’t know it, the Ferguson protest and protesters do have a media strategy and a narrative. It was provided to them free of charge by the police and the media. It might change if you help.

You see, if a group or organization doesn’t have a media strategy or narrative someone will give it to them.  Often the very group they have an issue with, like the police. Other times by the “impartial” media. Definitely and vigorously by the RW media. Occasionally and timorously by the LW media.

So what if you are part of a . . . → Read More: What’s the Media Strategy of #Ferguson Protesters? The Police Have One.

The Wubble Bubble. A Tested and Proven Wonderful Thing

Bunny Meyer looks at “As seen on TV” products and makes videos answering the question, “Does this thing really work?”

Her funny expressions and quips while testing the item make the whole video fun to watch, even the frustrating failures. However, the sheer joy she shows when playing with the Wubble Bubble and “Honey Dog” make the video shine.

Her verdict? Yes, it really works.

Quote:

“I wish I could rewind time and be nine years old again in the summer, this totally would be my favorite toy to play with.”

She says that it is already sold out in Target stores around the country and it’s true. None can be found in SF.

You can order them from Amazon though.

Recommend on Facebook Tweet about it Email this!

Is it Funny When Pro-Troop Tea Partiers Are Scammed by RW Consultants?

The first answer to my headline questions would be, YES! Because who cares about them? We should laugh and rub our hands together in glee. “HA ha! Suckers!” But there is something more to do when we read about conservatives financially conning conservatives.

By defending the rights of others (especially ones we disagree with) we prove our values. We can direct people’s anger at the real enemy in their midst. Finally, helping the scammed removes the opportunity for the consultants to rally against an outsider enemy as they try to avoid anger directed at them.

Below I suggest a action for the people who were mislead and feel betrayed. The RW consultant group I’m talking about is the subject of a ProPublica piece by Kim Barker,  ‘Pro-Troop’ Charity Pays Off Tea Party Cronies Instead:  In summary she writes: “Move America Forward has collected millions to send care packages to U.S. troops. But its assets have been used to benefit conservative political consulting firms close to its Tea Party founder.” Barker does a tremendous amount of document-based research and makes this comment. 

Yet an examination of its fundraising appeals, tax records and other documents shows that Move America Forward has repeatedly misled donors and inflated its charitable accomplishments, while funneling . . . → Read More: Is it Funny When Pro-Troop Tea Partiers Are Scammed by RW Consultants?

Who Would Let Ebola Into The US? TV show The Strain vs. Reality

Anyone watching “The Strain?” It combines some real science with zombie/vampire stuff. What stuck me about the show was how realistic some parts were (like the first CDC team sweep of the plane) combined with ridiculous amounts of people carrying the idiot ball.

In this clip the CDC is overruled in a medical quarantine situation by the Director of Health and Human Services. There is no way this would happen in real life.  I just can’t suspend my disbelief when they get stuff like this wrong. When it comes to people’s health the medical community always has the final say, like Bones had on Captain Kirk on the Enterprise.

http://www.spockosbrain.com/wp-content/uploads/Strain-clip-discussion.mp4

Crazy, eh? But then I remember when Condi Rice overruled the EPA and ignored doctor’s advice. 

The EPA was not given full control over its press releases in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Administrator Whitman issued a memo on September 12 announcing that “all statements to the media should be cleared through the NSC [National Security Council] before they are released,”5 and the New York Post reported that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was “the final decision maker” regarding the release of information by the EPA.6 In addition the OIG report details how the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) pressed the . . . → Read More: Who Would Let Ebola Into The US? TV show The Strain vs. Reality

Snowpiercer Review

Snowpiercer. Have you seen it?

I saw the movie Brazil when it was first released in a big domed theater in San Jose.

It blew me away. I dragged others to it so I could see it again and again. I wanted people to see it so we could discuss it. I feel the same way about Snowpiercer.

I’ve read about 20 reviews of the movie and most reviewers assume everyone “gets” the various issues the film brings up and focuses on the directing, acting and cinematography.  Some call the allegories and metaphors “heavy handed.” Others touch on the economic theories shown and class struggles, but don’t spell them out.  I’d like to hear from people who can spell them out and talk to me about what they mean.

For example, there are a lot of references to Ayn Rand’s work. I know about her work but not enough to spot all the connections. Someone asked me if Snowpiercer portrayed her views in a good or bad light.  I said both, it depended on which part of the train you were on. Which raised the question. “Where am I in our economic train?  How did I get here? Why . . . → Read More: Snowpiercer Review

How Foster Farms Used the USDA, Big Chicken Lobbyists and Lawyers to Avoid a Recall

On the surface this story is good news. But read further as I dissect this announcement, the media coverage and wonder what levers were pulled and words tweaked to get there. Amid Outbreak, Foster Farms Steps Up Food Safety

Foster Farms poultry producers announced Monday that they’ve dramatically lowered levels of salmonella in chicken parts — and invested $75 million to do it — even as the firm battles a food poisoning outbreak that has sickened nearly 600 people in more than a year.

Most recent 10-week data shared with the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that salmonella levels in the firm’s chicken parts had dropped to 2 percent — far below the industry benchmark of 25 percent, Foster Farms officials said.

The announcement came at a Modesto, California, gathering aimed at marking the family-owned firm’s 75th anniversary. Foster Farms was lauded by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Dr. David Acheson, former chief medical officer of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and former associate commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration.

‘Certainly there was a problem,’ said Acheson, who is now serving as a paid member of the Foster Farms Food Safety Advisory Board. ‘They . . . → Read More: How Foster Farms Used the USDA, Big Chicken Lobbyists and Lawyers to Avoid a Recall

The Sting of the Drone for FDL’s Book Salon Postponed

UPDATE: I wrote this intro for the FireDogLake Book Salon today at 2:00 PST, but because of the ongoing DDoS attack at FDL it needs to be rescheduled.

Richard A. Clarke’s Sting of the Drone gives us the opportunity to talk about both ethical and political decisions we need to examine in the face of new technology.  The set up:

In Washington, the Kill Committee gathers in the White House’s Situation Room to pick the next targets for the United States drone program. At an airbase just outside Las Vegas, a team of pilots, military personnel and intelligence officers follow through on the committee’s orders, finding the men who have been deemed a threat to national security and sentenced to death.

On the other side of the world, in the mountains where the drones hunt their prey, someone has decided to fight back. And not just against the unmanned planes that circle their skies, but against the Americans at home who control them.

I’ll talk about the book in a minute, but as I write this FDL is under computer attack from unknown groups for unknown reasons. Maybe it’s FDL’s support for whistleblowers or a personal grudge, but it got . . . → Read More: The Sting of the Drone for FDL’s Book Salon Postponed

What To Tweet When You See a “Both Sides Do It” Story

When I’m sick and tired of certain media conventions, I write a post about it. If you are like my friend Jimmy Dore you write a funny comedy bit about it. Stewart, Colbert and Oliver all mock the media, but is it making the media change? Is there something we can do besides point and laugh?

Today’s sick and tired media phrase is “Both sides do it.” This phrase is designed as a preemptive answer to the right wing’s screaming about a story and to help show that “the liberal media doesn’t have a liberal bias.” The idea has become internalized by the MSM. My friend Eric Boehlert at Media Matters has written about this sliver in the heart of the MSM for years. Atrios makes a pithy comment about it every few months.

Why “Both Sides Do It” Short Circuits Brains

The magic phrase is destructive because it breaks down math and evidence in the heads of journalists. It converts a complex equation into 50-50!  For example, this magic phrase can take a $5 BILLION dollar multi-decade program and make it equal to a $5 Million five year program with the simple incantation, “Both sides do it.” Shazam!  The readers can now indulge in a “pox on both their . . . → Read More: What To Tweet When You See a “Both Sides Do It” Story