Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Fireside chat for July 31, 2010 (VIDEO)

More framing for 2010. Keep it up, Mr. President...

President Obama praises the successes of the auto industry restructuring as good news for our economy, and calls on Republican leaders in the Senate to "stop holding America’s small businesses hostage to politics" by blocking a vote to help them create jobs.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The President's speech on the Auto Bailout: July 30, 2010 (VIDEO)

Steve Pearlstein, in a piece blasting the Chamber of Commerce over their opposition to the GM bailout:

The irony is that this set of bold government initiatives that saved the country from economic catastrophe remain as unpopular today as when they were introduced.

Perhaps none was more controversial than the decision to rescue Chrysler and General Motors, using $86 billion in taxpayer funds and an expedited bankruptcy process that wiped out shareholders, brought in new executives and directors, forced creditors to take a financial haircut, closed dealerships and factories and imposed painful cuts in wages and benefits on unionized workers. It was an extraordinary and heavy-handed government intervention into the market economy that left the Treasury owning a majority of both companies. As one participant recalls, public opinion was divided among those who believed that the companies should have been allowed to die, those who believed they would never survive bankruptcy and those who believed the government would inevitably screw things up. Among the most vocal skeptics: the Chamber's Donohue.

A year later, the auto bailout is an unqualified success. The government used its leverage to force the companies to make the painful changes they should have made years before, and then backed off and let the companies run themselves without any noticeable interference.

The results, which President Obama will tout on a visit to Michigan on Friday: For the first time since 2004, GM and Chrysler, along with Ford, all reported operating profits in their U.S. businesses last quarter. The domestic auto industry added 55,000 jobs last year, ending a decade-long string of declines. Auto sector exports are up 57 percent so far this year and, thanks largely to new government regulations, the industry is moving quickly to introduce more fuel-efficient vehicles. Most surprising of all, GM and Chrysler have already repaid more than $8 billion in government loans, while GM is preparing for an initial stock offering later this year that would allow the government to recoup most, if not all, of its investment.

Greg Sargent, also of the Washington Post:

President Obama just delivered a rousing speech at an auto plant in Detroit, and it gave us a glimpse of how the fall elections could go for Dems if things start trending their way.

The tanking economy has left the public highly skeptical of Obama's larger goal of restoring faith in government as an effective agent for reform and a necessary corrective to the excesses of free enterprise. Indeed, a CNN poll out today finds that a whopping 61% thinks the government is doing too much that should be left to private individuals and businesses.

But today, Obama gets to claim that on one front, at least, he was absolutely right about the need for government intervention in the economy -- and that his critics were absolutely wrong. Last year, Republicans derided Obama's auto industry bailout as a dire threat to capitalism as we know it, but today, the auto industry is once again turning a profit and adding jobs in key communities.

And finally, Ezra Klein (what a coincidence!) of the Washington Post:

President Obama's remarks at various Michigan automobile plants today get to the heart of the task facing the administration as we enter the 2010 election. The White House doesn't lack for accomplishments. What it lacks is popular accomplishments.

The auto bailout is a perfect example. By and large, it worked. The automobile sector stabilized. GM, Chrysler and Ford are all posting profits. Millions of workers who would've gone down with the car companies still have their jobs. America retains an automotive industry that's both competitive in developing markets like China and starting to scrap with the Japanese and German automakers in the high-tech, green-car market.

But the policy wasn't popular. Few liked it. Some thought it socialism. Some thought it cronyism. Which presents, of course, a difficulty for the White House: Saving millions of jobs and the American auto industry at an ultimately very small cost to the taxpayer is the sort of major policy accomplishment you should be able to run for reelection on. But what if people don't really understand that you did it, or that it worked, or that it didn't cost them much?

Obama doesn't have to invent accomplishments for Democrats to tout in the 2010 election. Rather, he has to convince the public to also consider those policies accomplishments. You can read his Chrysler speech, which gives this a shot, here.  (See above)

The President Obama Urges Support for Small Business in Edison, N.J. (VIDEO)

The President urges Congress to pass legislation that will help remove obstacles to small business after meeting with small business owners at the Tastee Sub Shop in Edison, NJ. July 28, 2010.

In case you didn't already know, the GOP later went on to shoot down this bill.

Are Tea Partiers Racist? ... an unfortunately ongoing series.

"We have people from all ethnic backgrounds who today are here to talk about how they feel about American constitutional government and lower taxes and lower spending, so I hope all of you in the media today will carry that message back that the tea party movement is all across this country, there are all races involved and all ethnics groups."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

They have called us racists. They have called us many names and they have insulted the Americans who are against big government and socialist policies. We do not want a socialist democracy. We want a constitutional republic back to the basics of how it was founded.”

Woodbridge, Va

"I started writing this July 13, while the NAACP was meeting to decide whether or not the Tea Party Movement was a racist organization. I could have saved them a lot of trouble because all they had to do is watch me to find out."

Bob Costa (not Costas, he's a different guy)
Sierra Star

Tito, Dan, Bob...

These are Tea Party Comix. Publisher unknown, and granted some of you are disavowing this crap, but still...they're out there, and they're done in your name:


Talking Points Memo has more, I have to say any more?!?!?!?

First off, as a Warner Bros. Employee (and thus the parent company of D.C. Comics), I'm hoping that our Copyright Office is about to sue their asses off. That is clearly Superboy (the ahem villian of the piece identifies him as such). Plus, that racist icon of the President cuts dangerously close to the Parasite, another trademarked property of Time-Warner, Inc.

...and unless that's Kryptonite coming out of the racist icon's hands, that ain't knockin' down Superboy.

So let me be absolutely clear. The position of this blog hasn't changed since April: if you are a teabagger, I suspect you of racist motives in your so-called, beliefs. I say so-called because I don't think have of you know or even understand the definitions of: Fascism, Marxism, or Socialism. Tito, that moron, clearly doesn't.

"The Stupidity of Liberal Apathy", Part II

The Andrew Sullivan edition (posted in full):

I was never one who believed that Barack Obama could - in a mere two years - repair the enormous damage of decades of unfunded entitlement and defense spending, two disastrously conceived, off-budget and negligently prosecuted wars, a financial market collapse, the worst recession since the 1930s, two burst bubbles in tech and housing, and the importation of torture into the American way of war. Maybe I over-estimated how much the GOP might learn from their appalling record in the new millennium - but that would require an admission of failure that they seem incapable of.

Nonetheless, the sheer difficulties and resistance that Obama has met with - from the FNC propaganda channel to the balls-free liberal press to the utopian activist left and deranged radical right - is remarkable. But, as P.M. Carpenter notes, this is not an inherently bad thing. We need opposition - if a more intelligent and less cynical opposition than we now confront. And no real change has come to America without slowness and resistance and division - as its constitution requires. The filibuster has become, it seems to me, a promiscuously wielded impediment, but in real context, the huge shift Obama has already achieved is quite remarkable:

I direct your attention to American history, from early 19th-century social reforms to the decades-long battle for emancipation to the century's later political-bureaucratic reforms to TR and Wilson's Progressive Era to FDR's New Dealism and to the Great(er) Society envisioned by LBJ. Each level of sociopolitical progress was grinding and grueling and packed with half-measures -- because remember, the other side gets its say, too; plus the other side, notwithstanding our oft-proper ridicule, is not always without its own version of idealism, possessed just as passionately.

And now, Barack Obama's correction of a dreadful, 30-year pseudoconservative misadventure. Step by step. Piece by piece. Half-measures by half-measures, which in time will become 60-percent measures, then 80-percent measures ...

That, quite simply, is the way it is. Indeed, that's the way it's supposed to be. If genuine conservative genius there ever was, it came in the Founders' Burkean inspiration that true and lasting progress must pass the tests of peaceful struggle and tireless debate. Achieving a national consensus is hard, but it's necessary to progress' durability; vast and overanxious progress in a consensual void only insures its unraveling.

If you backed Obama and want to see real change continue, now is not the time to give up because it's not as easy as you thought it would be. Now is the time to oppose the passionate intensity of his opponents with the reasoned conviction that elected him.

Remember: we are the ones we've been waiting for. Are we really going to substitute pique for purpose and ennui for hope now? By all means criticize when necessary, as I have. But he's the best we've got, and we are lucky to have him.

To paraphrase Mr Krugman this morning,

Mr. Obama may not be the politician of our dreams, but his enemies are definitely the stuff of our nightmares.

The President's Speech on Education Reform before the Urban League (VIDEO)

This was a fun, rollicking speech. He didn’t bring the house down, but it was clear that the audience and the President were all having a good time.

What amazed me was the aftermath. Marc Ambinder (whom I actually enjoy reading) made it sound like the President threw a rhetorical hand-grenade at the Teacher’s Unions:

Today, President Obama wades in to a controversy that threatens to split one of the Democratic Party's most generous source of donations and activists, the teacher unions, from the whole. The dispute is about teacher performance, narrowly, and about government's distribution of common goods more generally.

Obama wants more accountability for teachers. The teachers unions contend that there is no universal metric that can reliably assess teacher performance, particularly in poor neighborhoods where students experience intense social dislocation. Part of the problem is that nothing seems to work: not charter schools, not tying teachers to student performance, not throwing money at schools, not even curricula reform. There are blips -- a voucher program works here, a charter school works there. Nothing seems to work everywhere. Performance measured in the short term doesn't tell people much about anything, but people grab on to numbers, and the government rewards states who show progress on the numbers, so... states do everything they can to get their numbers up.

Of course, Huffington Post (not a favorite) emblazoned a headline on this story as well.

I listened to the speech. It was a nudge at best.

I also want to directly speak to the issue of teachers. We may have some teachers here in the house. (Applause.) I know Urban League has got some teachers. Nothing is more important than teachers. (Applause.) My sister is a teacher. I’m here because of great teachers. The whole premise of Race to the Top is that teachers are the single most important factor in a child’s education from the moment they step into the classroom. And I know firsthand that the vast majority of teachers are working tirelessly, are passionate about their students, are often digging into their own pockets for basic supplies, are going above and beyond the call of duty.

So I want teachers to have higher salaries. I want them to have more support. I want them to be trained like the professionals they are –- with rigorous residencies like the ones that doctors go through. (Applause.) I want to give them a career ladder so they’ve opportunities to advance, and earn real financial security. I don't want talented young people to say I’d love to teach but I can’t afford it. (Applause.)

I want them to have a fulfilling and supportive workplace environment. I want them to have the resources -- from basic supplies to reasonable class sizes -- that help them succeed. And instead of a culture where we’re always idolizing sports stars or celebrities, I want us to build a culture where we idolize the people who are shaping our children’s future. (Applause.) I want some teachers on the covers of some of those magazines. (Applause.) Some teachers on MTV, featured. (Applause.)

I was on the “The View” yesterday, and somebody asked me who Snooki was. I said, I don't know who Snooki is. (Laughter.) But I know some really good teachers that you guys should be talking about. (Laughter and applause.) I didn't say the teacher part, but I just -- (laughter.) The question is, who are we lifting up? Who are we promoting? Who are we saying is important?

So I am 110 percent behind our teachers. (Applause.) But all I’m asking in return -- as a President, as a parent, and as a citizen -- is some measure of accountability. (Applause.) So even as we applaud teachers for their hard work, we’ve got to make sure we’re seeing results in the classroom. If we’re not seeing results in the classroom, then let’s work with teachers to help them become more effective. If that doesn’t work, let’s find the right teacher for that classroom. (Applause.)

Arne makes the point very simply: Our children get only one chance at an education, so we need to get it right.

I want to commend some of the teachers unions across this country who are working with us to improve teaching -- like the Delaware Education Association, which is working with state leaders as part of their Race to the Top efforts, not only to set aside 90 minutes of collaboration time a week to improve instruction, but to strengthen teacher development and evaluation. That's the right way to go.

So, for anyone who wants to use Race to the Top to blame or punish teachers -- you’re missing the point. Our goal isn’t to fire or admonish teachers; our goal is accountability. It’s to provide teachers with the support they need to be as effective as they can be, and to create a better environment for teachers and students alike.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Julian Assange is a clown" Part II

...or worse.

It does seem as if measures have been taken by Wikileaks to protect U.S. and allied personnel whose lives might be endangered by the leaks. The same cannot be said for the Afghans. A cursory search of the Wikileaks documents by the consistently excellent Afghanistan-based journalist Tom Coughlan revealed hundreds of Afghan lives to have been put at risk by these leaked documents. The mentions of Afghans -- either because they have confounding, non-Western names or because they simply are not considered of importance -- do not seem to have been considered by Mr. Assange and Wikileaks when they decided to dump these documents into the public sphere. I don't know whether Mr. Assange simply did not understand enough about Afghanistan to realize what he was doing when he leaked these documents or just doesn't care, so myopic is his focus on the governments of the United States and Europe.

So Julian made sure he blacked out the America names, and left the Afghan names alone. Peachy. Is this what Secretary Gates meant by there being blood on Wikileaks hands? (From what I read, partially).

Got this from the Daily Dish, so hat's off to Andrew Sullivan.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"The Stupidity of Liberal Apathy"

I've started to describe myself in recent months as a Liberal who hates other Liberals.

Thus, Jonathan Cohn's piece in the New Republic sums up my feelings perfectly (posted here in its entirety):

Activists at last week’s Netroots Nation talked about disappointment and disillusionment. The polls show a slow, steady decline in support for the president among Democrats. Neither sample captures perfectly the state of the liberal mind this summer, but you’d have to be pretty oblivious not to see that President Obama, and the Democrats, are losing the love of their base.

It’s a somewhat predictable decline, given lofty expectations for the Obama presidency and the stubbornly slow recovery. It's also a relatively modest decline: After all, it’s not like anybody is talking about starting a third party. Still, the right is energized, the left is ambivalent, and that means Democrats are in big trouble this November.

If you read this blog, then you know I see things more or less the way my colleague Jonathan Chait and some of our friends in the blogosphere do: This seems totally nuts, purely on the merits. Obama and the Democrats passed a major stimulus that cut taxes for the middle class and invested heavily in public works. They saved the auto industry, created a new regulatory framework for the financial industry, and enacted comprehensive health care reform. Compromises watered down each of these initiatives, to say nothing of the ideas (climate change!) that aren’t going to pass. And still this was the most productive liberal presidency in a generation or maybe two.

But liberal ambivalence isn't just foolish substantively. It's also foolish strategically.

The fact is that voting for these measures, particularly health care and (in the House) climate change, was tough for many members of Congress. Liberals consider the Affordable Care Act a watered-down version of a watered-down of something resembling a true universal coverage system. But in Tennessee, Idaho, and a bunch of places in between, it's a government takeover of health care. Liberals think Waxman-Markey was a conservative half-solution to a planetary crisis. In more conservative districts--and, let's face it, plenty of liberal ones too--it's higher energy bills.

But consider what happened after the climate change vote in the House last year. When Democrats went back to their districts, conservatives pummeled them--in person and on the air--while liberals just shrugged. And consider what happened after the health care bill passed: Conservatives went into overdrive about socialized medicine, while liberals kept talking about what a lousy bill it was.

Not surprisingly, members from more conservative parts of the country are pretty frustrated, particularly when they're getting attacked directly by the left. As one senior Democratic aide told me on Wednesday, expressing a sentiment I've heard many times on Capitol Hill:

Liberals have savaged these members and the lesson many will take is don’t stick your neck out because the left will kick your ass regardless.

To be clear, sometimes ass-kicking is good. Call Kent Conrad a hypocrite on the deficit. Blast Joe Lieberman for carrying water on behalf of the insurance industry. Hold Obama accountable for the bureaucratic neglect that enabled the Gulf disaster. Liberals won't get anywhere by meekly accepting every compromise that comes down the pike or looking the other way when Democrats screw up. Politics goes is a two-way street and liberals need their leaders to lead sometimes.

But if the left is going to demand action, it has to do more than shrug when action--even modest action--actually happens. They have to show some enthusiasm, if not locally then at least nationally. (Truth be told, a member in a Republican plus-three district probably benefits more from higher Obama approval ratings than an ad buy from Otherwise office-holders, even ones from relatively liberal districts, won't have much incentive to vote liberal next time around. As another congressional aide told me, via email:

I hear this stuff all the time, about climate change, health reform, financial reform--members complaining about having to vote for these things because they were forced to by party leadership with NO upside for them. ... They’re getting hit on all sides. ... these members need more than just the stick, you also have to give them the carrot every once in a while.

It'd be nice if we lived in a world where politicians voted based on the public interest. But we happen to live in a world where, to varying degrees, politicians vote based on their immediate electoral needs. If liberals don't embrace politicians who vote with them today, then liberals can't expect the same politicians, or their replacements, to vote with them tomorrow.

The President shows off the new Website...

Not content with handing a virtual Lombardi Trophy to a virtual Drew Brees, the President gets down with some more Computer action, showing off the website.

And for the record, yes...that is a 15 Inch unibody MacBook Pro he's sporting (he's clearly upgraded since this picture originally appeared in Rolling Stone in 2008).

Despite the Presidential Seal, I recognize it from its keyboard and CD-slot configuration.

Underpants Gnomes

As NC Steve reminded me today, whether its Senator John Thune's lame-brained idea to eliminate the deficit 10% a year in just ten years, or Tax Cuts for the uber wealthy, the GOP's ideas boil down to the same ol' Underpants Gnome business model.

And to quote my Father about this (cough-cough) idea to eliminate the defict in ten years...

If the deficit is $100,000, and you reduce it 10% a year, the first year you reduce it $10,000 to 90,000. The next year you reduce it $9,000 (10% of 90,000) to 81,000, then you reduce it 8,000 to 73,000.

Anyway it takes way more than ten years to reduce it to zero. There are even tables to help you figure out where you will be in n years. Greta Van Susteren and John Thune don't understand math, amongst other things.

Sure, Pop! It's all so easy if you take Middle School Mathematics. How do you know Greta and Senator (Democrats are scurred of me in 2012) Thune even went to Middle School, Dad? That's awfully presumptuous of you, sir!

For the record, my Father is Professor of Mathematics, and former Chairman of his Department. One presumes he took Junior High School Math at some point.

Amen, Erza

From "Senate not the special snowflake it thinks it is"

When you talk about how the Senate rules are being misused, the quick rejoinder is often that the problem isn't the rules, but polarization and bad behavior and opportunistic leadership. We don't need to change the rules, some say, we need to change how they're used. Unfortunately, I've not yet heard of a proposal that would do this.

One of the problems that doesn't get addressed nearly enough, is that the American people themselves tend to talk out of both sides of their mouths. "Keep your Government hands off my Medicare!". "Let me go to Town Halls to advocate for the benefit of Health Insurance Companies."  "Unemployment Benefits are wasteful spending, but tax cuts for the rich are okay!"  "There oughta be a law..."

Madden 2011's Virtual Barack Obama (VIDEO)

Via TPM. If you play Madden 2011, and win the Super Bowl, your virtual team will meet the virtual President Barack Obama.

Honestly, though. Saints, I can buy, given their Offense. But the Jags in the Super Bowl? Please.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And about those Independents?

From Andrew Sullivan, quoting a Congressional Connection Poll:

The number of independents who said neither administration's policies would help was higher than the overall sample, 27 percent. Forty-three percent of independents favored Obama's policies, while 20 percent favored Bush's.

Sullivan continued:

I have a simple suggestion for Democratic candidates: ask which of Bush's policies does their Republican opponent oppose? Keep asking. If they say sending, ask them what they intend to cut. And keep asking.

I still think he's wrong on Journolist, but at least he dialed that back today.

"Negrophobe Whites. That's where the votes are" (VIDEO)

An old (from last week), but necessary examination of how Fox News is working overtime to gin up racial tensions in the country.:

Oh, and by the way, the USDA-Racism was (again) stripped out of the War Supplemental. Way to go, U.S. Senate!

Remember, this...

Whenever a Republican talks about more transparency in Government, remember how they voted on the DISCLOSE act.

My side of the aisle isn't innocent either.  The AFL-CIO was also against it, and for the first time, I find myself truly pissed at Richard Trumka.

What can "brown" do for Private Prisons?

Apparently, rake in the money!

Think Progress:

This Thursday, SB-1070, Arizona’s radical new immigration law, will go into effect. Despite an incoming lawsuit from the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) has maintained that her state “will prevail,” claiming that she is simply defending the border integrity and safety of her state.

Yet a new investigation by local Arizona TV news station CBS 5 finds that the Brewer administration may have ulterior motives for its strong support of the new law. The station has found that “two of Brewer’s top advisers have connections” to private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

Paul Senseman, Brewer’s deputy chief of staff, is a former lobbyist for CCA. His wife continues to lobby for the company. Meanwhile Chuck Coughlin, who leads her re-election campaign, chaired her transition into the governorship, and is one of the governor’s policy advisors, is president of HighGround Public Affairs Consultants, which lobbies for CCA.

This is important because CCA currently “holds the federal contract to house detainees in Arizona.” CBS 5 notes that the company currently bills $11 million a month to the state of Arizona and that, if SB-1070 is successfully implemented, its profits would be significantly padded as it would take responsibility for imprisoning immigrants arrested by Arizona police.

Here's the segment that aired on the local CBS affiliate. Watch Jan run!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Van Jones's Speech at Netroots Nation 2010 (VIDEO)

Here's a guy, let go by the White House because Glenn Beck came up with some bull@#$ about him, standing up before the cream of the Liberal Blogosphere crop telling them to ease up.

"Julian Assange is a clown"?

It's not my quote, but there's much about this that smacks of a pub-grab.

My feelings about Wikileaks is mixed. I sympathize with whistleblowers...always, but leaking National Security Information makes me nervous.

Still, I find it interesting that in light of the Wikileaks 91,000 page Afghanistan thing, the I-hate-the-Afghanistan-War-Crowd (populated by people who somehow listened to President Obama talk about ratcheting up the Afghan War in virtually every Foreign Policy speech, yet still did not hear him) cheered the release. (A cross-board summary can be found here.)

More telling, the professional Military Reporters (at least the ones I read) haven't so much as reacted, as they have...yawned.

Andrew Sullivan, no Afghan War lover, also said that not much was learned, while spending the day trumpeting the Wikileak stuff.

Thomas Ricks:

A huge leak of U.S. reports and this is all they get? I know of more stuff leaked at one good dinner on background. I mean, when Mother Jones yawns, that's an indication that you might not have the Pentagon Papers on your hands. If anything, the thousands of documents remind me of what it is like to be a reporter: Lots of different people telling you different things. It takes awhile to learn how to distinguish the junk from the gold.

You know how Robert DeNiro used to shout once in every film, "You got nothin' on me, nothin'"? (I think it was in his contract.) This data dump reminded me of that.

Fred Kaplan:

Some of the conclusions to be drawn from these files: Afghan civilians are sometimes killed. Many Afghan officials and police chiefs are corrupt and incompetent. Certain portions of Pakistan's military and intelligence service have nefarious ties to the Taliban.

If any of this startles you, then welcome to the world of reading newspapers. Today's must be the first one you've read.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has likened these documents to the Pentagon Papers, the top-secret history of the Vietnam War that Daniel Ellsberg leaked in 1972. The comparison is preposterous.

Adam Weinstein (Mother Jones):

Here's a cliche for you: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And here's a fact: A little knowledge is precisely what Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks cohorts have given us in the "Afghan War Diary." The intimation by Assange (and the media outlets he cherry-picked to preview the data) is that these are the Pentagon Papers of the Afghan war. Certainly there are a few eyebrow-raising details in the bunch, as Mark Mazzetti, Chris Chivers & Co. at the New York Times point out. But in truth, there's not much there. I know, because I've seen many of these reports before—at least, thousands of similar ones from Iraq, when I was a contractor there last year.

And finally, the whole Abu Muqawama post from the Center for a New American Security:

Here are the things I have learned thus far from the documents released via Wikileaks:

1. Elements within Pakistan's Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) support the Taliban.

2. The United States integrates direct action special operations into its counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, targeting insurgent leaders through capture/kill missions.

3. Civilians have died in Afghanistan, often as the result of coalition combat operations.

I'm going to bed, but if I were to stay up late reading more, here is what I suspect I would discover:

1. "Afghanistan" has four syllables.

2. LeBron is going to the Heat.

3. D'Angelo Barksdale didn't actually commit suicide in prison. Stringer Bell had him killed.

4. Although a document dated 17 October 2004 claims the Red Sox were down 3-0 in a seven-game series with the Yankees, they actually went on to win 4-3.

5. Liberace was gay.

6. The Pathan remains wily.

7. Julian Assange is a clown.