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April 07, 2007


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It seems reasonable to assume that at some point in his long career J Stalin blocked an ambassadorship.

Just like H Reid has done.

In saner times, Limbaugh and Cheney would be like that wierd guy who sits next to you on the bus and tells you about how the CIA put tracking devices in his socks: random, unimportant lunatics you can get away from by moving to another seat.

True, Model 62, but I'm fairly certain that Hitler was interviewed on the radio at some point, so things aren't looking good for Cheney!

I'm somewhere in the faceless crowd, staring up in adoration.

You look stunning in white!

As I recall Solzhenitsyn goes to visit that canal and watches a barge carry timber north - and then a while later sees another barge carry the same sort of timber south.

And it's absolutely certain that many times in his life Stalin sent innocent people to torture and imprisonment without due process.

Just like Cheney has done.

Just like Cheney has done.

It makes you wonder if there's anything they accuse others of that they haven't done, or want to do, themselves.

Sometimes I ask myself why any serious statesman, or even a politician, would broach the conglomerate media.

The independent media is a myth. Whether it is ignoring scientific evidence against cigarettes for decades and sparing their corporate advertisers, focusing on the theatrics of protesters at WTO ministerial conferences and ignoring the peaceful conduct of thousands of their betters, or conjuring the communist boogeyman, the goal is the same: tow the profit-model for their oligopoly owners, sacrificing journalistic integrity and the public's need to know.

He does this just to get you all riled up. And distract you from something else. Maybe he’s trying to draw fire from McCain, who shot his foot off this week.

VP:I've got some friends on the other side of the aisle

OK - who’s going to cop to that? ;)

He does this just to get you all riled up. And distract you from something else.

I'd say that was definitely true of Rush, but I think Cheney really really believes......

read a great column about a week ago concerning Rush. It was written and posted prior to the V.P.'s appearance but it is just as relevant.

Check it out, this guy seems to have some great insight and foresight.

I am curious when the first person* who called on Dick Durbin to apologize for comparing US interrogation tactics and those of the Nazis will call on Cheney to apologize for this. Not holding my breath.

* I know von's post didn't demand an apology -- just citing it for a frame of reference.

I have two observations to offer about this interview:

1. Note how far out of touch with reality these people are. Mr. Limbaugh claims that the appointment "garners a lot of support from the people in the country." This is manifestly false, but it demonstrates that these people live inside their own reality distortion bubble, talking among themselves and thereby convincing themselves of falsehoods. They have done this over and over again -- the pre-war intelligence on Iraq is another example. The good news is that their confident assertions are no longer given credence by most Americans. Conservatives such as Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Cheney are increasingly seen as out of touch. Even some conservatives are rejecting them as not truly representative of what they think of as conservatism.

2. Note how polarizing they are. Comparing Democrats to Stalin is the converse of comparing Bush to Hitler. Both comparisons are ludicrous; both represent an extreme form of partisanship that is corrosive to our democracy. Yes, there are plenty of left-wingers who like to compare Bush to Hitler. They're just as bad as Messrs Limbaugh and Cheney.

I hereby call on Cheney to apologize for agreeing with Rush that Democrats used Stalinist behavior. Oh yeah – and again for shooting that dude in the face. And for swearing at Congressmen. I’m sure there is more…

Is it still the case (as it was a few years ago) that Rush Limbaugh is the sole talk-show on Armed Forces Radio?

It's maddening to think my taxes pay for that, even to a tiny extent. It's also frightening.

@OCS: We all know who Cheney's "friend on the other side of the aisle" is. He's got his own party now, but he does sit on the other side of the Senate from the Republicans.

Is it still the case (as it was a few years ago) that Rush Limbaugh is the sole talk-show on Armed Forces Radio?

In 2003-2004 AFRN had for talk show: 1 hour of Dr. Laura, 1 hour of Rush, 2-3 hours of NPR (including 1 hour of Talk of the Nation, a centrist round-table show), and then a bunch of wierd hunting sports shows, pretty bad sports shows, and determinedly neutral Armed Services-specific stuff

Nell: Not to worry:

As of 2005 the Network has liberal/progressive talkers Al Franken from Air America Radio and Ed Schultz from Jones Radio Network. [1]

And they have always been balanced. It’s most annoying actually. An hour of rock has to be followed by an hour of CW and then and hour of hip-hop. If they have Rush on then they have Al on…

Ah, how it takes me back to the good old days, when I was broke and learning German in W. Berlin, and when I'd go to the East I would wonder: why are all the kids I talk to so up on American hip-hop and C&W, and nothing else? It took me ages to figure out that it was Armed Forces Radio.

On reflection: OCS, were you anywhere in the vicinity in 1987? Did we perhaps cross paths all unknowing?

(That year, I found myself in two consecutive anti-American demonstrations by mistake: the first I was watching when it went violent, and I hid out with the international press; the second, the next day, was completely by accident: I was walking home near it, and the police came marching down all the streets at once, sealing the demonstrators and also me in, for six hours. Six hours of being an American in an anti-American demonstration, with no shade, no bathrooms, and no exit, is no fun at all. At least I could, at that point, do a passable imitation of being German.)

i love that limbaugh is the most frequent interviewer for cheney. it's second only to the fact that stephen hayes is his biographer

@OCS: Have the talk shows on AFR always been balanced? I thought the addition of a liberal counterpart (Al Franken or otherwise) was a result of Congressional legislation pushed by Tom Harken in 2003-4, and that before 2005, Rush ruled alone. The lying fascist-enabling windbag has been on commercial radio since 1991 or so.

Time is whirling by faster and faster as I age, but isn't it the case that Franken only went on the radio at all, let alone AFR, in 2004?

"one hour of Dr. Laura"

On what, the etiquette of sexual humiliation when interrogating suspected terrorists?

Let's see. You've cheated on the Geneva Conventions. You're not married to them but you've made certain promises of fidelity over the years. What to do?

Let's open up the phones.

Hilzoy: In 1987 I was living in a suburb of Darmstadt (Eschollbrucken) and working in Babenhausen. No (serious) protests that I remember that year. However, I went through the Luisenplatz in Darmstadt twice a day and often 4 times a day on weekends: one of my favorite places on earth. If you were ever there we certainly could have crossed paths. If there was a protest going on it would have been in the Luisenplatz. I miss it even today. (Not the protests, the place.)

Nell: My insight goes back 20 years or so, take it with plenty of salt. What I recall is that the music was for sure balanced – you would not get an hour of R&R without an hour of CW and then hip-hop. Talk radio was not as big then. I don’t remember ever hearing Rush – but I did hear NPR. I can say with certainty though that they always strived to be balanced. As much as we complained about it, they went overboard to be all things to all people. In fact, the biggest complaint was that they were too balanced.

Nell, I was in West Germany in Oct. 2003-late Aug. 2004. Franken certainly wasn't on then. If the musical selection was a point of contention, OCSteve, let me point out that at that time weekends seemed to be all country, all the time. I would have killed for some hiphop.

I've got to say that I don't think much of having "balanced" partisan voices on AFRN. NPR does skew left, I'll admit, but they try really hard to remain intellectually honest and to find different voices and topics for their shows. Limbaugh is in another game entirely.

Hilzoy: I was broke and learning German in W. Berlin

Those were great days for me. How is it that our most fond memories are of when we were mostly penniless?

Darmstadt?!? Yes, I've been there, too. Luisenplatz is indeed a lovely place. I was there when they had a Christmas fair on that side area, and I bought some huge gingerbread cookies. Yum!

Lots of former Darmstadters around ObWi. It's a small world after all . . . I was back there in 2002, when I spent a month living in Frankfurt for work, and I was surprised at how little it had changed since I left in 1979. And Biebesheim, where my family lived, had changed even less. Like being in a time capsule, it was.

OCSteve: actually, I don't remember W. Berlin all that fondly. Other broke periods -- broke in Jerusalem, broke in Paris, broke in Tucson -- were much better.

In W. Berlin, I was so broke that I lived on lentils for the better part of a month. But then, in Jerusalem I was so broke that I lived off thick-rinded fruits and vegetables that I picked up from the ground in the open air markets, after they had closed.

Lots of former Darmstadters around ObWi.

That is just mind blowing to me. The most beautiful city in the world IMO. I am still homesick for it, many years later.

IMO there is no better way to celebrate Xmas than taking the H bus to the Luisenplatz. Christkindlmarkt and gluehwein. Beat that.

I was so broke that I lived on lentils for the better part of a month. But then, in Jerusalem I was so broke that I lived off thick-rinded fruits and vegetables that I picked up from the ground in the open air markets, after they had closed.

I have got to get you to myself someday for a cup of coffee that is going to run about 4 hours or so. OK – 6 cups. On me.

I am from W.Berlin (and hope to stay there) but have to my knowledge never visited Darmstadt. Since I do not usually take part in public demonstrations, it is unlikely that I have met our venerable host though.
I my impression anti-Americanism was not directed at the allied military presence here (I can't remember any real problems with that in my lifetime) but against US policies (with and without connections to Germany). That doesn't excuse of course the excesses of the radical left (radical from a European POV, not even on the US political map that).

OCSteve, they really haven't worked that hard lately to stay balanced when it comes to talk radio. Here's a link to where Schultz's web site has an article talking about how it was finally picked up...for some of AFR. It was a struggle to get even that far. First they said they were going to pick it up. Then they changed their minds. After the howls of protest about AFR being a touch too Republican they said they were bringing it back but the article points out the limitations of that.

Jim: Forgot the link. I’d be interested in reading that if you have it.

Here is a 360 degree view of the Luisenplatz for any old time Darmstadters.

I can still pick out the stops for the H bus and the #3 streetcar I took everyday for years.

Always wanted to drive one of those streetcars…

nothing Cheney's saying or doing now is an different from what he's ever done before. and America elected Cheney as VP, twice.

what you say about Cheney, you say about America

Hartmut: the demonstrations I was at were directed at Reagan, on the occasion of his 'tear down this wall!' speech (though I don't think that the content was known when the demonstrations were planned, so I think it was directed at Reagan per se.)

The first was scary: when all hell broke loose, I was (by chance) next to a bunch of -- were they called 'autonomen'? -- it's been a while -- who had arrived with walkie-talkies, medical teams, etc., and suddenly began to smash the windows, pry up stones and throw them at the police, all the while shouting: was heißt du? SS! was heißt du? SS! The police, meanwhile, just stood there, using their various shields etc. to block the oncoming cobblestones.

The next day, my German teacher started talking about how the police were just using their usual brutal tactics, etc. I asked whether he had been there; he said no. I said I had, and that it was my impression that this one group of demonstrators hadd started it, and that I had not witnessed any police violence. He then said -- and this is the part that stuck in my mind -- "well, you can't blame the kids, really. You and I, we can use the language of words, but they have only the language of stones."

I had no particular stake in this -- no particular views about the German police, no particular views about these demonstrators, other than those I had formed the night before -- but something about the combination of his willingness to lecture us all on what had happened when he hadn't been there and this "language of stones" idiocy, which seemed to me unbelievably wrong both about the demonstrators and about language -- really bothered me.

And then the next day, when I was walking home and encountered the next demonstration -- just before the police barricaded us all in -- I could hear a chant that went: Internationalen (inaudible) centralen: USA! USA! -- So I asked someone what the inaudible word was, and he said: Völkermord. (For those who don't speak German, the chant is: international center of genocide: USA! USA!) And before I could stop myself, I said: what a curious thing to hear in Berlin.

At this point, I thought (as the sheer rudeness of what I had said hit me) that he would have been perfectly within his rights to slap me, or say: hasn't enough time passed that you can let it lie? or, well, anything like that. Instead, though, he looked at me quizzically and said: but the USA is the world's genocidal country. Which is to say: he had not understood why I had said what I had and been angry or offended or contemptuous, all of which I would have understood; it had gone right over his head, and he didn't get the oddness of it at all. And I thought: dear God, I am talking to someone with no sense of historical irony at all.

And then the police appeared, and I had to spend the next six hours meditating on that thought while milling around a very hot, shadeless square with about a thousand anti-American demonstrators.

It was, all in all, an interesting 24 hours.

Hilzoy: Good stuff as always.

The Autonomes have a tradition to wreck the Berlin district of Kreuzberg every year on the 1st of May and to highjack any larger demonstration (independent of theme) in order to cause violence (you may call them ultra-left political hooligans*). Combined with some loathsome secretaries of the interior (state, not federal) with very authoritarian views that has caused many a civil war en miniature here. I can tell you, no need to be an American to fear for your bodily health when getting into the middle of it.

*Your description of them as highly organized is 100% correct btw.

I have but one thing to say. Any act against HUMANITY is a crime in itself because we are ALL hu-man-beings. And those that commit the the cruel acts against HUMANITY?...They know not THEIR SENTENCE in the end.

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