Friday, May 16, 2014

Last Call For Bridge To Nowhere

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, GOP Gov. Chris Christie is convinced that Bridgegate is over and that it will have no effect on his future political career, "zero", because "I didn't do anything".  That was Wednesday.  Today he's dealing with his former campaign manager confirming Christie knew about the lane closings well in advance.

Gov. Chris Christie’s former campaign manager says he told the governor about plans to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge in December, contradicting Christie’s claims he had no prior knowledge.

Bill Stepien, who lost his job in the scandal, contends he told Christie about the GWB traffic plans on Dec. 12, a day before the governor told reporters his staff didn’t know about them. Christie issued a public apology on Jan. 9, claiming he was lied to by members of his staff on the controversy. Stepien’s lawyer, Kevin Marino, blasted an internal investigation the governor ordered that concluded Stepien had misled Christie about the politically motivated September closures.


So he lied to reporters, lied to his staff, lied to New Jersey, and lied to America.  Any wonder that Christie's 2016 prospects are fading fast?   He's in fifth place now, behind Mike Huckabee of all people.

That bridge is collapsing.  Fast.

The Spy Who Came In For The Cash

Seems Double G and Team Dudebro Defector made quite a nice deal for selling the rights to his new book to Sony Pictures.  Only one problem, as The AV Club points out:  He trashed Sony Pictures 18 months ago for the "propaganda film" Zero Dark Thirty.

Like a columnist jumping all over a movie he hasn’t seen, Sony Pictures has pounced on the movie rights to Glenn Greenwald’s new book, No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, The NSA, And The U.S. Surveillance State.

I’m very happy to be working with Amy Pascal, Doug Belgrad and the team at Sony Pictures Entertainment, who have a successful track record of making thoughtful and nuanced true-life stories that audiences want to see,” said Greenwald of the same executives he had previously accused of producing “the ultimate hagiography of the most secretive arm of America’s National Security State” when they made Zero Dark Thirty, but now heartily endorses, because they’re giving him lots of money.

“We are extremely proud that […] Glenn chose Sony to bring this riveting story to the big screen,” added Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, the Sony subsidiary Greenwald likened to the Nazi propaganda machine a year and a half ago, but which now owns the rights to Greenwald’s book.

Odd.  Double G thought these same executives were pretty much human scum back in December 2012, effectively working for the CIA.

Indeed, from start to finish, this is the CIA's film: its perspective, its morality, its side of the story, The Agency as the supreme heroes. (That there is ample evidence to suspect that the film's CIA heroine is, at least in composite part, based on the same female CIA agent responsible for the kidnapping, drugging and torture of Khalid El-Masri in 2003, an innocent man just awarded compensation this week by the European Court of Human Rights, just symbolizes the odious aspects of uncritically venerating the CIA in this manner).

It is a true sign of the times that Liberal Hollywood has produced the ultimate hagiography of the most secretive arm of America's National Security State, while liberal film critics lead the parade of praise and line up to bestow it with every imaginable accolade. Like the bin Laden killing itself, this is a film that tells Americans to feel good about themselves, to feel gratitude for the violence done in their name, to perceive the War-on-Terror-era CIA not as lawless criminals but as honorable heroes.

AV Club leaves with this stinger:

The exact specifics of Greenwald’s deal remain unknown, but it is expected to be even more profitable than the time he changed his mind about the War on Terror.

Douchebag.  Forever and always. And like any intelligence agent trying to recruit human assets on the ground, money will make people do pretty much anything.

Nobama Country, Even Over Our Dead Bodies

Eastern Kentucky in the Appalachian mountains contains some of the poorest counties in America.  They are overwhelmingly poverty-stricken, overwhelmingly on government assistance programs, and overwhelmingly white.  But they hate Barack Obama with a passion here, and it has everything to do with the fact that America's first black president wants to help them and backs the programs to do just that, but people like Jim Feltner will never give him credit in places like in Wolfe County.

A victim of two heart attacks, he lives off disability checks, and $105 a month in government food stamps.

Feltner voted for a previous Democratic president, Bill Clinton, but now says: “I will vote for anybody against Obama.

I don’t care who runs against him, I’ll vote for him. I don’t care if it’s a Democrat, a Republican, an Indian, a Pakistani — even a Frenchman!

The first reason is coal. He accuses Obama of dooming this mining region of the Appalachian mountains with environmental regulations.

Since 2011, 30 percent of the mining jobs — around 4,000 — in the region have vanished. Competition from natural gas is another factor in the decline.

“Here’s what he said about the coal business: ‘Go ahead, build your coal-fired energy plants, we will shut them down,’” Feltner alleged.

“Is that something for a president to say?,” he added. “He’s got a problem with the poor people.”

Got news for you Jim, coal in Kentucky is on the way out anyway.  Natural gas is king now, and it doesn't matter that coal companies ravaged the area, destroyed the environment, and cut corners to that coal miners died, trapped underground.  It's all the black guy's fault because he clearly hates poor people.

The same aversion to Obama is heard in Jackson, 13 miles down the road.

Eric Miller, 28, with bad teeth and an accent as thick as his tattooed arms, says he does not care about politics. He voted once, but can’t remember for whom. But one thing is clear: He does not like Obama.

I guess Democrats just worry about money in their pocket, what they and their friends are doing. They’re not worried about us small people,” Miller said.

The Republicans, they are the ones that know … raised up like we have, you know. Know what it’s like, what we need, what shouldn’t been taken away,” Miller added.

If there weren’t government programs, it would be a ghost town,” Miller said. He gets $380 on the sixth of every month, and with that he has to support himself and his girlfriend.

The money is loaded onto credit cards that are accepted at certain stores, just for food, although there is a black market in which goods thus bought can be exchanged for cigarettes and painkillers.

The bitter racist contempt for the President here is heart-rending, but nobody should be surprised.  The same Republicans that Eric Miller praises would cut those programs in a heartbeat if they had their way, but they've convinced Miller and thousands like him that the Democrats are the bad guys  Surely Miller qualifies for Medicaid and help under the Affordable Care Act, but don't you dare tell this asshole that, he won't believe a word you say and will vote for Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to take the same programs he counts on away from him.

So why is Barack Obama, who supports food stamps and whose Democratic allies in Congress tried and failed to stop a Republican-backed cut in the program, so deeply unpopular?

Racism is a taboo subject that simmers just under the surface of many a conversation here.

Jackson is 98 percent white, and the region has checkered past. In late 2011 a church further to the east triggered an uproar by barring mixed race couples.

But Bryant says voters’ main motivation when they go to the polls are coal and social issues: abortion, guns, and same-sex marriage, which he labels “the three biggies.” This is conservative Christian country.

But convincing the poor to vote against their self-interest has been the GOP specialty for 35 years now.  Nothing's more demonstrative of the modern GOP than a 98% white county with a crippled economy and half the people on food stamps complaining that Democrats hate poor people.

Welcome to Nobama Country.


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