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Mark Ames

We all know in the backs of our minds that Barack Obama’s incredible victory will eventually be followed by disappointment. But does it have to come so soon, and hit so hard? The answer will be yes, if Lawrence Summers is named treasury secretary in the president-elect’s cabinet, as many observers believe will be the case. Summers was one of the key architects of our financial crisis–hiring him to fix the economy makes as much sense as appointing Paul Wolfowitz to oversee the Iraq withdrawal. And when you look at the trail of economic destruction Summers left behind in other crisis-stricken countries who sought his advice in the past, then “terror” might be a more appropriate word than “disappointment.” (more…)

Posted: November 11th, 2008

The first polls had just closed when the Republican Right’s “Agony of Defeat” moment arrived. It was just after 8 p.m. — right as Fox’s “America’s Election HQ” show returned from a commercial break, and Brit Hume welcomed viewers back to his “Fair and Balanced” network.

But something wasn’t right: There was a strange lack of background banter, none of the golf-buddy joshing that comes with overconfidence. There was just Bergman-esque silence between every one of Brit Hume’s dramatic pauses. The Fox cameras wandered over an incredible scene: the cream of right-wing/neocon punditry — William Kristol, Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke — were caught slumped in their chairs during the commercial break, deep in a state of hopelessness and depression. They didn’t see the camera train on them, or maybe they were incapable of faking it, as if they’d been on a three-day Ecstasy roll at Burning Man, and now they were paying the horrible serotonin-deprived price. (more…)

Posted: November 8th, 2008

You may not have noticed it, but a couple of weeks ago, the New York Times slipped in a story that completely contradicted a narrative that it had been building up for two straight months, one that was leading America into another war–a so-called “New Cold War.” The article exposed the awful authoritarian reality of Georgia’s so-called democracy, painting a dark picture of President Mikhail Saakashvili’s rule that repudiated the fairy tale that the Times and everyone else in the major media had been pushing ever since war broke out in South Ossetia in early August. That fairy tale went like this: Russia (evil) invaded Georgia (good) for no reason whatsoever except that Georgia was free. Putin hates freedom, and Saakashvili is the “democratically elected leader” of a “small, democratic country.”

Yes, it was only a month ago that we were stupid and crazy enough to think that the United States had no choice but to launch a costly new cold war against a nuclear power, even though we still haven’t closed the deal on a couple of mini-wars against Division-III opponents, and we were on the verge of bankruptcy. Ah, to be blissfully naïve–and bloodthirsty at the same time–wasn’t it wonderful? (more…)

Posted: October 23rd, 2008

The fix was in. There’s no other way to explain the disconnect between Sarah Palin’s performance in last night’s debate–which made me cringe so much that my forehead started to cramp–and the post-debate analysis, in which everyone in punditland agreed on the happy Hollywood ending: Sarah Palin has redeemed herself. Seeing pundits all agree about this was terrifying.

What I saw in the debate wasn’t the hyper-confident, polished, prom-queen bully from the GOP Convention, but a woman desperately in need of beta-blockers: a nervous, wobbly-voiced contestant in a County Fair amateur show trying her darndest not to forget her lines. I was sure that her performance had McCain kicking his dog and calling his wife unprintable names, and that Palin would be announcing her withdrawal from the race “for personal reasons” by breakfast time. (more…)

Posted: October 3rd, 2008

What is it with Cindy McCain’s eyes? Everyone’s noticed that there’s something odd about them. Even Katie Couric was caught in an unplugged moment omigodding about how weirded-out she was by Cindy McCain’s mysterious, odd-looking eyes:

“She looks like a husky, those weird blue eyes,” [Couric] said. “Cindy McCain has the most intense blue eyes … They were so intense, I couldn’t stop staring at her. She must have thought I was weird.”

To anyone who has ever enjoyed the opium poppy plant’s many wonderful by-products–Vicodin, Percocet, heroin, morphine, methadone, Codeine cough syrup, or just plain opium to name a few–Cindy McCain’s “weird blue eyes” are about as much of a dead giveaway about her real condition as, say, the folds in Trig Palin’s down-turned eyes are a giveaway about his Down Syndrome. (more…)

Posted: September 25th, 2008

John McCain is making a big show of criticizing the government “bailout” of insurance giant AIG. But it turns out that AIG, which received $85 billion in US tax dollars earlier this week, is one of the largest donors to McCain’s pet think tank, the comically named “Reform Institute,” which he co-founded in 2001 “in direct response to the millions of Americans who, during the 2000 presidential campaign, expressed profound disillusionment with corrupt fundraising activities.” Indeed. (more…)

Posted: September 19th, 2008

Last week, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin declared that she was willing to go to war against Russia on behalf of Georgia. Palin wasn’t talking about launching World War III on behalf of our Georgia–you know, the adorable Southern state famous for its peaches, June bugs and KKK marches–but rather for a tiny mountainous country that few Americans even knew existed before last month, and still couldn’t locate on a map if their lives depended on it–even though their lives now do depend on it.

(more…)

Posted: September 16th, 2008