A Seemingly Reasonable Negro With An Unreasonable Past?

First I’d like to say thanks to the Balloon Juice community for your support in this our first week (We don’t broadcast on Fridays.) We’re loving some of the comments we’re seeing and we will continue jumping all around in the comment section.

As for today’s show–I’ll admit it. I have all sorts of mixed feelings about Colin Powell. I can’t forget his place in the George W. Bush White House and his problematic role but at the same time his dive into the magical territory of “old black guy” combativeness is awesome. He’s saying what many folks in the black community feel he should have been saying much louder for years. On the latest TWiB! Radio we check out his interview on Bill O’Reilly and…well…we mock Bill hard. Plus talk on the record amount of school debt, our previous Asshole of the Day comes back with some extra assholic goodness plus more…

And as usual our morning show continues talking the gun control debate and why focusing on simply guns is not enough to curve gun violence.

And if you happen to have Current TV where ever you’re located you can catch our morning show host L. Joy Williams, TWiB Radio’s co-host Aaron Rand Freeman and myself on Viewpoint with John Fugelsang discussing the latest in news headlines. 8pm EST.






76 replies
  1. 1
    NobodySpecial says:

    “problematic role”?

    Really?

  2. 2

    I absolutely loved Andrew Sullivan’s remark on election night. “You have a black man in power with nothing to lose” Yeah.

  3. 3
    General Stuck says:

    As for today’s show–I’ll admit it. I have all sorts of mixed feelings about Colin Powell. I can’t forget his place in the George W. Bush White House and his problematic role but at the same time his dive into the magical territory of “old black guy” combativeness is awesome.

    Powell’s sin was being too good a soldier after he became a civilian. I think he did push back on Iraq, until he saw that the decision had been made and like a good General officer, he fell in line with the civilian leadership. Only he was a civilian himself, and his duty was different that an active duty mil person, and he violated his own doctrine of when and how we should go to war. He breached the public trust and truth when he went before the UN and lent his gravitas to lies. The good news for him is he has owned it, mostly, but he needs to leave the GOP for any chance of redemption, imho.

    But I don’t judge Powell that deeply for his mistakes. There were a lot of those from dems as well concerning Iraq and decisions made when the country was still in shock after 911.

  4. 4
    Little Boots says:

    a noob.

    well, it’s that kinda blog.

  5. 5
    TooManyJens says:

    I just want to say how pleased I am that the term “Gish Gallop” is becoming more widely known. It’s a very useful concept.

  6. 6
    Raven says:

    @General Stuck: Bullshit.

  7. 7
    Gwangung says:

    Just think its kinda awesome to have this content here.

  8. 8
    Little Boots says:

    powell’s gotta live that down forever.

    and he is trying.

    so I’m okay with Powell.

  9. 9
    General Stuck says:

    @Raven:

    Bullshit what?

  10. 10
    Raven says:

    @General Stuck: His “mistake” was a fucking lie and it was pivotal in suckering the country into that bullshit war.

  11. 11
    Little Boots says:

    @Raven:

    yeah, he did.

    is there a statute of limitations?

    I wonder.

  12. 12
    Raven says:

    @Little Boots: Not for me. And fuck LBJ while we’re at it.

  13. 13
    General Stuck says:

    @Raven:

    Fair enough, but I believe I said it was a lie, in clear terms.

    He breached the public trust and truth when he went before the UN and lent his gravitas to lies. The good news for him is he has owned it, mostly, but he needs to leave the GOP for any chance of redemption, imho.

    I don’t know if he was sure some of that shit was bogus, but he and Wilkerson did refuse to use some info from the bushies. I think the decision to invade Iraq was made long before Powell went before the UN, and there was nothing that could have stopped it. In fact, Bush and Cheney were getting ready to say fuck it to the UN and US congress early on, and doing it on their own. Powell did convince them to go through the UN, and maybe the US congress as well.

  14. 14
    Little Boots says:

    @Raven:

    I don’t really blame you.

    maybe there shouldn’t be.

    but I love the rest of the LBJ story, so I’m torn.

    but vietnam … and iraq, they are awful, maybe beyond repair.

    but I don’t think so.

  15. 15
    Raven says:

    @General Stuck: OKEE DOKEE

  16. 16
    Raven says:

    @Little Boots: Well, Vietnam the war may be but the country seems to be doing ok.

  17. 17
    Little Boots says:

    welcome to the snake pit, james white.

  18. 18
    Little Boots says:

    @Raven:

    and it’s that that makes me wonder.

    how long to carry the anger?

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    @General Stuck:

    Like all Americans, Powell should leave the GOP, but the pragmatic side of me believes that whatever good he can possibly do now can only be done if he wears the GOP label.

  20. 20
    Raven says:

    @Little Boots: You want a link to some names on the Wall?

  21. 21
    General Stuck says:

    @Baud:

    but the pragmatic side of me believes that whatever good he can possibly do now can only be done if he wears the GOP label.

    You always make excellent points.

  22. 22
    Little Boots says:

    @Raven:

    nope, horrible war, horrible decisions.

    what do we do now? and what do we think of the president who started Medicare?

  23. 23

    @Little Boots: What if we like snakes?

  24. 24
    Baud says:

    @General Stuck:

    You are too kind.

  25. 25
    Raven says:

    @Little Boots: good night

  26. 26
    Ben Franklin says:

    Powell is a victim of the system he thought he could operate in, with a modicum of integrity.

    The deck was stacked against him as is all the other nice guys who think they can influence the greedheads surrounding him. You have to be an uber-genius to survive, much less thrive, in a world of psychopaths.

    Give him a break. He did endorse Obama, twice.

  27. 27
    Little Boots says:

    @Dacia Mitchell:

    fine, Eve, you can like all the snakes you want. just don’t eat the app–

  28. 28
    Little Boots says:

    good night, raven, but I really was wondering.

  29. 29
    geg6 says:

    @Raven:

    Word. LBJ lost my admiration when he caved to the likes of McNamara and when he lied us into Vietnam, just like Bush and Powell lied us into Iraq. Johnson had some policies that mitigate his disasters, though, quite unlike Bush. I don’t quite think Powell has paid sufficient penance for his lies and he has nothing like Medicare or the Civil Rights Act to mitigate his disasters. He can’t possibly make up for them in this lifetime or in another hundred lifetimes.

  30. 30
    Robin G. says:

    God might forgive Colin Powell’s sins, but the world shouldn’t. He used his well-respected person to knowingly trick this country into a devastating war that has killed tens of thousands of people. Just because he’s not as reprehensible as Dick Cheney doesn’t mean the same blood isn’t on his hands.

  31. 31
    Little Boots says:

    so I’ll ask you, geg.

    does Medicare mitgate some of that awfulness, or does Vietnam negate everything?

  32. 32
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I think it’s impossible to say any one factor swung the 2000 election, it was such a clusterfuck, but one of the factors that made it close enough to steal was St Colin endorsing the Shrubb, and while the recount and lawsuits were still sturming and dranging, he made a very conspicuous public appearance at “the ranch”, and as I would remind all the Beltwayers and Totebaggers for whom he is still St Colin, he didn’t resign from the Bush administration, they booted him out once he had lent his name and reputation to the re-election. He wanted to stay on. Counterfactuals are of course a mug’s game, but if any individual could have stopped the madness in the winter/spring of ’03, it was he.

    All that said, he has, unlike so many others who enabled Bush, especially in the media, at least tried make up for the damage he did. Today’s grotesque Senate farce painfully underscores the total lack of accountability wrt the Iraq War, and I doubt Tom Friedman has given more regretful thought to his support of that war than I do to my unwise diet choices.

  33. 33
    Little Boots says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    that’s where I am.

    he did damage.

    now he’s trying to undo it. does he get a pass for the damage? not sure.

  34. 34
    Little Boots says:

    and incidentally, or not, our host supported that war, once upon a time.

    does it matter now.

  35. 35
    dance around in your bones says:

    When Dubya first talked about Saddam and Iraq, my husband and I looked at each other with jaws dropped and a WTF?.

    When Colin Powell testified we gave about a millisecond to the “maybe he knows something we don’t”. A millisecond later we looked at each other and said “Nah”.

    Just fucking bullshit all around the board. Shame on him.

  36. 36
    Little Boots says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    yup,

    but again,

    now what?

  37. 37
    Little Boots says:

    so torn.

    this is one of those nights, I really wish John would come in and say. I piss him off, but this is kind of a thing. he has been on both sides of this, and I would love to know what he thinks.

  38. 38
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Little Boots: How the hell do I know?

    I think the guy has/had good intentions but was deliberately manipulated to promote an agenda. Sucks to be him.

    Jeez, if little ol’ me living in Baja at the time could smell a gawdamn skunk (re:Iraq) then Powell ought to have had as good a nose.

  39. 39
    Little Boots says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    yeah, he should have. and the whole thing sucks. and a lot of people are dead.

    it should be easy, but it isn’t.

  40. 40
    Little Boots says:

    we all know what we think now.

    what did you think in 2003? if you supported this war, then, do you feel guilty?

  41. 41
    Ted & Hellen says:

    This is great.

  42. 42

    @Little Boots: He doesn’t get a pass for damage, but I am endlessy entertained by his #RepublicanShade.

  43. 43
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Little Boots is DougJ

  44. 44

    As someone who was foolish enough to trust Powell (& Cheney) in 2003, I view him as a slightly better historical figure than Marshal Petain.

  45. 45
    srv says:

    You know, when I see the young kids fapping to Colin at reddit, I can forgive them. But to see all the old farts here going emo over poor Colin…

    Amazing how an incredibly political operator who made his bones on My Lai and knowingly violated a Congressional act for pappy and St. Ronnie (I guess Iran Contra isn’t treason anymore) can be seen as a victim.

  46. 46
    Loviatar says:

    When you join the military you tell your president; I give my life over to you sir, please use it wisely.

    By their lies Colin Powell and George W. Bush betrayed a lot of good men. Thats something that can’t be forgiven.

  47. 47

    @reflectionephemeral:

    As someone who was foolish enough to trust Powell (& Cheney) in 2003, I view him as a slightly better historical figure than Marshal Petain.

    A younger me totally believed the whole pitch. I was genuinely hurt when I realized it was all bullshit.

  48. 48

    @Gwangung:

    Just think its kinda awesome to have this content here.

    I’m happy to be able to share this content here.

  49. 49

    @TooManyJens:

    I just want to say how pleased I am that the term “Gish Gallop” is becoming more widely known. It’s a very useful concept.

    While we were discussing Bill O’s bullshit argument I started to break down how a person seems like they can’t handle dumb ass concepts and Dacia pointed out the label for it. I’ve seen it in action so much but finally I could explain exactly what was happening…

  50. 50
    Schlemizel says:

    My issues with Powell go back long before his toadying to the goopers. He was instrumental in the My Lai cover up. Like most officers he knew what to kiss and when. For all their bullshit and braggadocio nobody got stars that did not spend a lot of time ‘grooming’.

    That he went along with the bosses lies even though he knew it meant many needless deaths did not surprise me one bit.

  51. 51
    Schlemizel says:

    @Little Boots:

    If you don’t know what he thinks on the issue then you do not read this blog very well. He has posted several times about his ‘conversion’ and how he feels about it.

    You seem to be more interested in being irritating, like you are looking for a fight. I don’t think John does that much any more.

  52. 52
    Zandar says:

    I got no love for anyone who helped get us stuck in Iraq for *checks watch* yeah, that damn long.

    None. I will consider Colin Powell rehabilitated when all the people who died over there, soldier and civilian, magically come back to life and can fall in love and have kids and generally aren’t dead anymore.

  53. 53
    brantl says:

    Powell’s sin was being too good a soldier after he became a civilian. I think he did push back on Iraq, until he saw that the decision had been made and like a good General officer, he fell in line with the civilian leadership. Only he was a civilian himself, and his duty was different that an active duty mil person, and he violated his own doctrine of when and how we should go to war. He breached the public trust and truth when he went before the UN and lent his gravitas to lies.

    Context matters, too. Colin Powell was the first officer to speak in whitewashing My Lai, as well. Colin Powell is a career army liar, with the emphasis on career liar.

  54. 54
    Paul in KY says:

    @Elon James White: You were either an idiot or someone who wanted to believe it (due to your political leanings/feelings about brown people/muslims).

  55. 55

    […] lesson in rhetoric (via This Week in Blackness on Balloon Juice) — the Gish […]

  56. 56

    @Elon James White:

    A younger me totally believed the whole pitch. I was genuinely hurt when I realized it was all bullshit.

    Yep, ditto. And angry.

    The realization that our leadership would straight up lie (or at best, just plain not care about whether what they were saying was true, making your use of “bullshit” exactly right) was not a very fun realization.

    Gradually it became apparent that around half the country, and pretty much everyone among the policymaking elite, didn’t really care that much about having been bullshitted. Old news by now, and all, but still rather shocking.

  57. 57
    Interrobang says:

    @Schlemizel: Yes, this, a thousand times. I can’t believe the people who are still defending his Iraq bullshit with the “innocent victim of politics and circumstance” crap; Powell did pretty much the exact same thing in 1968 — either he’s an incredibly slow learner, or he’s a tool and a liar, and my money is on “lying tool.” With bloody hands, in both cases. I don’t really actually care what he’s done since then.

  58. 58

    @Paul in KY:

    @Elon James White: You were either an idiot or someone who wanted to believe it (due to your political leanings/feelings about brown people/muslims).

    I don’t think I qualified as an idiot. I also didn’t have an issue with “Brown People/Muslims” I was simply a New Yorker who was inhaling dead people for a few days and couldn’t imagine that the idea of misleading the country over something like this.

  59. 59
    General Stuck says:

    Haters gonna hate

    same ole dogmatic leftist firebaggers flashing their moral and personal purity.

  60. 60
    General Stuck says:

    Did Colin Powell knowingly and willingly lie in his presentation to the UN, or was he negligent in trusting the CIA analysis at the time? Powell was against the Iraq invasion, if you recall, or at least as it was being presented, and certainly did not support Bush throwing out the inspectors and invading without the required second vote he argued for. Is Powell guilty, absolutely, but unless you are a reflexive idiot, not near as guilty as those that took us into the Iraq nightmare, and would have without Powell’s presentation.

  61. 61
    Loviatar says:

    @General Stuck:

    You know how you can always tell when an Obot/OTBers has a losing argument, they throw out the term “firebaggers” like its an insult.

  62. 62
    General Stuck says:

    @Loviatar:

    You know how you can always tell when an Obot/OTBers has a losing argument, they throw out the term “firebaggers” like its an insult.

    Just Rousting the usual suspects,
    tying to get the band together, and you came running on cue. Like my grandpappy youst to call in all the hogs for some slop time. Sui sui firebagger, same difference.

  63. 63
    Paul in KY says:

    @Elon James White: You were terribly naive for thinking that the modern Republican party (GW Bush, Cheney, Rove) would not stoop to doing that.

    Didn’t you read the PNAC docs? Remember the 2000 election & all their chicanery?

    “Idiot’ is too hard a word. Wish I had not used it.

  64. 64
    Tone in DC says:

    I don’t think I qualified as an idiot. I also didn’t have an issue with “Brown People/Muslims” I was simply a New Yorker who was inhaling dead people for a few days and couldn’t imagine that the idea of misleading the country over something like this.

    I hear that.

    That late summer morning I walked outside of my office and saw (and smelled) the smoke and commotion of the fire at that five sided building, about a mile away from me. I remember that morning like it was yesterday.

    And yes, many people were in shock that day. I know I was, and it lasted a while. Reading comments about brown people, naivete and idiocy regarding what happened back then makes me discount your putative contribution.

  65. 65
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tone in DC: Doubt away. His initial comments didn’t imply being in shock for only a day or a week or whatever (causing his mistaken belief that the Cheney admin just wouldn’t do that). The drive for the invasion of Iraq & the Republican perfidity continued for a period of many months.

    Their commencing of the plan may have started that terrible day, but it went on & on & on for a long period of time (before we ever had boots on ground in Iraq).

    I was consumed with killing fundamentalist arab muslims who hid out in Afganistan and/or Saudi Arabia. I never had any thought that freaking Saddam (that noted pious defender of Wahabist Islam) had anything to do with that. IMO, people who thought that (in NYC/DC or Walla Walla) were ‘terribly naive’. You too, if you thought that.

  66. 66
    Loviatar says:

    The Iraq War and their 2003 (wrong) position on it is a subject that can not be discussed with an OTBer.

    Like John McCain during Hagel’s nomination hearing your typical OTBer will use any justification to validate their thinking or lack their of at the time. You can not and will not challenge their assumptions or you will be subject to the “firebagger” chant.

    —-

    P.S.

    I was in the city at the Javits center for a convention. My mom worked at the WTC and at the age 54 walked over 50 blocks uptown in heels, she came home covered in dust and ashes from the falling towers. She is now battling lung cancer.

    SO PLEASE DON”T GIVE ANY BULLSHIT ON HOW YOU WERE TRAUMATIZED BY THE FALLING TOWERS.

  67. 67
    Paul in KY says:

    @Loviatar: What is an ‘OTBer’?

    Guess I was trying to ‘firebag’ one :-)

    Very sorry to hear about your mother. Best wishes for her & your family.

  68. 68
    Loviatar says:

    @Paul in KY:

    What is an ‘OTBer’?

    .

    Its a version of the modern Democrat, in olden time (pre-2000) we would have called them moderate Republicans, now we call them authoritarian Democrats. In other words they still have all the habits and and concepts of Republicanism; lockstep agreement with everything the leadership says, virulent attacks against internal disagreements. With the demise of the Republican party into insanity the more sane members have reluctantly joined the Democratic party.

    The OTB subset is to make a public apology and then all your past sins are pushed down the memory hole and is never to spoken of again.

    —–

    An amusing and unusual habit of the OTBer is that during a discussion the OTBer will yell “firebagger” to distract away from a weak argument. However its yet to be determined if this an insult or a reference to a burning ass.

  69. 69
    Steeplejack says:

    @Loviatar:

    I think he meant WTF does “OTB” stand for?

  70. 70
    General Stuck says:

    @Steeplejack:

    I think he meant WTF does “OTB” stand for?

    Not sure. But it might stand for me. Isn’t Loviatar a clever chap, bringing the troll lingo up to snuff with catchy acronyms.

  71. 71

    @Loviatar:

    P.S.
    I was in the city at the Javits center for a convention. My mom worked at the WTC and at the age 54 walked over 50 blocks uptown in heels, she came home covered in dust and ashes from the falling towers. She is now battling lung cancer.
    SO PLEASE DON”T GIVE ANY BULLSHIT ON HOW YOU WERE TRAUMATIZED BY THE FALLING TOWERS.

    So…because you were in Town and your Mom is has gone through a terrible ordeal…that means that people weren’t traumatized? That’s an odd declaration to attempt. It’s not all of a sudden “bullshit” just because you may not have dealt with it in the same way. Humans deal with things differently. That’s fine. But to dismiss real reactions and trauma seems a bit much.

  72. 72
    Loviatar says:

    @Elon James White:

    that means that people weren’t traumatized?

    What it means that even after facing the “trauma” of Sept. 11 2001 my first thought wasn’t to run off and indiscriminately kill some brown people in the middle east.

    What it means that even after facing the “trauma” of Sept. 11 2001 my bullshit meter wasn’t broken enough to believe idiots telling me to kill brown people from a different country than the one that attacked us.

    —–

    We were all tested on Sept. 11 2001 and every day since, you and a lot of others like you failed that test because of your “trauma”.

    Next time take up knitting I hear its good for the nerves.

  73. 73
    Corner Stone says:

    @Elon James White: Not really sure what argument you’re attempting to make here.

  74. 74
    Paul in KY says:

    @Loviatar: Appreciate the definition. Sounds like a Republican (with a tenuous grounding in reality) to me.

  75. 75
    Paul in KY says:

    @Loviatar: That is sorta what I was thinking when I read your comments.

  76. 76
    Paul in KY says:

    @Steeplejack: I did want some words to go with the acronym ;-)

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