Law-Abiding Hypocrites

Let’s wring our hands, because some Democrats are using the same laws Karl Rove used in 2010 to create their own giant anonymous PAC full of corporate money:

The effort is modeled on the one Republicans started last year — with help from the Republican strategist Karl Rove — that attacked Democrats with a barrage of advertisements, mailings and phone calls. It was widely credited with helping the party to take control of the House and diminish the Democrats’ edge in the Senate last fall. One of those groups, Crossroads GPS, was set up under a section of the tax code that allowed its donors to remain anonymous, leading Mr. Obama to refer to such groups collectively as “a threat to democracy” for the way they had shielded corporate interests from view as they sought to sway elections.

[…]Republicans seized on the formation of the group and its connections to the White House via Mr. Burton and the other co-founder of the groups, Sean Sweeney, a onetime deputy to the former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, as an example of hypocrisy.

This is the same kind of “hypocrisy” that Gregg Easterbrook wanked about last week:

If Obama is in earnest about wanting increased taxes on the wealthy, then he should send the United States Treasury $182,998. That’s the difference between his Form 1040 Line 60 (“This is your total tax”) and what he would have owed at the higher rate (plus limits on itemized deductions) he himself advocates.

Politicians are always advocating for what–in their view–is a better law, while following the current law. That’s just the way the system works. But the press is always ready to dream up, or re-print without comment, variations on the theme of calling someone a hypocrite for following a law they think ought to be changed. While I’ll admit that this does happen to both sides, it happens more often for Democrats, because they’re usually trying to strengthen existing law rather than weakening it.

The truth is out there

Goddammit. I post a righteous <a href=””>rant</a> about the world thinking Americans are all insane and then half an hour later the entire United States goes stark raving birther-mad just to prove me correct.

Anyway, it was the 5th of August 1961.

Keith and I had been in Nairobi undermining the more moderate sections of the Kenyan independence movement because Jack Kennedy wanted to piss off the British. It didn’t take much work in those days – either to undermine the more moderate sections of African politics or to piss off the British. Death of Empire and all that.

We’d had a very successful couple of weeks, but it finally came time for us to leave. This pleased me no end, not least because Nairobi was a pustular, pestilent shit-hole that even the Brits didn’t want. Dust, dirt, disease and not a decent bar in the entire place.

We arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport mid morning. Well, it was called an international airport but frankly it was just a room with one desk with two angry black men behind it which served for both ticket sales and check in. There was a goat tied near the door which they used to hitch to a cart for moving the luggage to the plane.

We lined up next to the goat to check in. I immediately noticed the young couple at the desk in front of us because they were a mixed race couple – he was black and she was white – which was still quite unusual at that time. He was trying to book airline tickets all the way through to Hawaii, which was causing untold confusion, while she was fussing over the most adorable tiny brown baby. It had huge ears, but a lovely smile. She kept calling the baby Barack, which I remember because I thought it an odd name.

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