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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"An unexpected name started popping up after President Barack Obama laid out his new defense strategy: Donald Rumsfeld. Obama and Pentagon leaders used words like 'leaner' and 'agile' Thursday in describing the kind of military they intend to build. Senior Pentagon officials said the leaner, more agile force Obama’s new strategy envisions is necessary so the force can both fight a major conflict while also quickly responding to a number of other situations and conflicts. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the envisioned force’s 'greatest strength' is that it would be 'more agile, flexible, ready to deploy, innovative and technologically advanced.' The commander in chief acknowledged in the strategy that, 'yes, our military will be leaner.' 'But the world must know — the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats,' Obama said. If those descriptions sound familiar, they should. When George W. Bush appointed Rumsfeld to be defense secretary after the 2000 election, the two-time Pentagon chief set about his so-called 'transformation agenda.' Rumsfeld, too, wanted a leaner, meaner military able to adapt quickly to various situations and deploy quickly.'We need rapidly deployable, fully integrated joint forces capable of reaching distant theaters quickly and working with our air and sea forces to strike adversaries swiftly, successfully, and with devastating effect,' then-secretary Rumsfeld said in January 2002. 'We need improved intelligence, long-range precision strikes, sea-based platforms to help counter the access denial capabilities of adversaries,' Rumsfeld said. The latter is a major thrust of the new Obama defense plan." (TheHill)


"Thomas Frank is the thinking person’s Michael Moore. If Moore, the left-wing filmmaker, had Frank’s Ph.D. (in history from the University of Chicago), he might produce books like this one and Frank’s previous best seller, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?' ... Meanwhile, things have gone from bad to worse. Conservatives continue their Sherman’s march through the landmarks of liberal government, burning and looting as they go. They’ve gone after the legacies of Lyndon Johnson (Medicare), Franklin Roosevelt (Social Security; financial regulation) and Theodore Roose­velt (environmentalism). And working people continue to be duped into supporting measures manifestly against their own self-interest. In 'What’s the Matter With Kansas?' Frank attributed this to a clever bait-and-switch by conservatives, who appeal to middle- and lower-class voters on the basis of social issues like abortion and gays in the military, and values like patriotism and religion. And then they govern on the agenda of traditional Republican groups like businessmen and bankers.  With 'Pity the Billionaire,' the emphasis is different and the explanation is simpler: President Obama has betrayed the voters who elected him. He ran like a populist, Frank believes, but he has governed like a plutocrat, or at least a friend of plutocrats." (NYTBR)


"Peter M. Brant – 63-year-old industrialist, real estate mogul, magazine proprietor, art collector, polo player, husband of a supermodel, father of nine (by two wives) – is someone most people would categorise as a member of the 1 per cent. There is his net worth, which reports have put at between $500m and $1.4bn, his affinity for empire-building (four of his grown children work in his business empire), his 53-acre estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, and his penchant for Anderson & Sheppard tailoring: when he arrived for our lunch, he had on a grey flannel double-breasted suit, blue and white pinstriped shirt, navy knit tie, white pocket hankie and gold knot cufflinks. If you were drawing up a stereotype of a corporate titan, it would probably look a lot like this. But Brant himself would say this is wrong. In fact, during our meal he says, to be specific: 'I identify with the 99 per cent.' As a statement, it is something to chew on. Especially because the place Brant picked to eat, Sant Ambroeus, is in the heart of 1 per cent land – the core of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, near the Whitney Museum – and because one of the reasons we are having lunch in the first place is to talk about Brant’s role as a great art benefactor, generally another 1 per cent sort of thing." (FT)


"Sugar baron Pepe Fanjul and wife Emilia are co-chairing a fund-raiser for GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Thursday. The $2,500-a-head event will be at the Palm Beach home of real estate developer and Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross and jewelry designer wife Kara, also chairing the event, along with Darlene and Gerald Jordan, who are on Romney’s Florida finance committee. Fanjul is a prominent political donor, who along with his brother Alfy has reportedly lavished both the Republican and Democratic parties with millions in contributions. A rep for the Fanjuls declined to comment." (PageSix)

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