Wednesday Mashup (9/30/09)

September 30, 2009

Obama_Crist

  • So it looks like Repug Florida Governor Charlie Crist, running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by Mel Martinez, is trying to play to the base by claiming that President Obama will fall victim to a “Carter-esque loss” in 2012 here (recalling the loss President Carter suffered to Reagan in 1980).

    Putting aside Crist’s ridiculous attempt at political prognostication for a moment, I would say that his pronouncement (funny when you consider how Crist smartly supported Obama on the “stim” earlier this year, pictured above) has a lot more to do with this than anything else.

    This is how the Republican Party treats anyone showing any impulse for moderation whatsoever. And this is why their only possibility of electoral success lies with Democratic cowardice in the face of positions of popular support, to say nothing of failing to make the case for party causes not enjoying that support (and sadly, either prospect is always a possibility).

  • kaganohanlon31

  • Here is some spin from this New York Times article today about President Obama and his supposed communication problem with Afghanistan U.S. commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal by Times reporter Peter Baker…

    Questions about Mr. Obama’s relationship with General McChrystal have percolated for weeks, following reports that the administration delayed his troop request and kept him from testifying before Congress. “Someone has to explain what the strategy is,” said Frederick W. Kagan, a military expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “I think it’s important for the American people to hear from the commander.”

    And just as a reminder, here is “military expert” Kagan pronouncing that the Iraq civil war is over, recounted in this March 2008 post from Glenn Greenwald, even though Patrick Cockburn of The Independent reported that “a new civil war is threatening to explode in Iraq as American-backed Iraqi government forces fight Shia militiamen for control of Basra and parts of Baghdad” at very nearly the exact same time.

    So basically, I don’t think Kagan can speak with any credibility on anything related to matters of war.

    But Baker’s piece actually gets more interesting…

    Some supporters of the war said Mr. Obama had made a mistake not to consult more directly with his commander.

    “I don’t think I can defend him for being out of touch with his commander,” said Michael E. O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution (in the pic above, O’Hanlon is on the right and Kagan is at the left). “He has other people who advise him. But there’s no one else with the feel on the ground that McChrystal has.”

    See how having fewer meetings with McChrystal than Dubya did with his military people running Iraq translates to Obama being “out of touch with his commander,” according to O’Hanlon.

    Yep, that’s the same Michael O’Hanlon who (as noted here) advocated for the Iraq “surge” in the pages of the Times despite the fact that seven active duty force members wrote an Op-Ed that also appeared in the Times at about that same time saying that the surge wasn’t working.

    As Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones tells us…

    What O’Hanlon refuses to recognize is that the surge was designed to slow violence in Iraq only in service of political ends. Going on the offensive against the insurgents is fine, but it’s only an important development if Iraqi politicians seize the opening and make progress towards a reconciled nation and a functioning government. They haven’t done that. They haven’t even come close.

    Without political progress, the surge (and the military success O’Hanlon believes it is having) is just another swing in the cycle of war. We’re doing better now, but the insurgents will return with new and different tactics in a few months.

    And as Stein also notes, we lost more troops in Iraq during June-July-August of 2007 than at any other same-month period of time during the war, despite O’Hanlon’s surge cheerleading.

    On second thought, though, I suppose O’Hanlon is a subject matter expert when it comes to being “out of touch.” I hope that is the only reason why the Times would be interested in his otherwise worthless opinion.

  • 091509PimpandHo3wf

  • Finally, here is some true Fix Noise comedy on the matter of the ACORN controversy…

    The courts should vindicate the First Amendment rights of the reporters and media outlets involved in breaking the ACORN scandal wide open.

    The intrepid duo of independent reporters James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles (pictured above), working undercover, caught ACORN workers in Baltimore and other locations across the country on tape, talking about these workers’ willingness to help the undercover pair engage in tax fraud, housing fraud, prostitution, and even smuggling in underage girls from abroad to be prostitutes in a brothel that would be obtained with ACORN’s help.

    “Intrepid duo” – tee hee hee (here)…

    Well anyway, given the legitimate news story about questions surrounding the contracting of Sarah Palin’s house on Lake Lucille and the concurrently contracted Wasilla Sports Complex (here), I think the above description can be edited as follows…

    The courts should vindicate the First Amendment rights of the reporters and media outlets involved in breaking the story of alleged favors involving the construction of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s house on a two-acre site along scenic Lake Lucille in Wasilla, assessed at $532,500 (3,500 square feet with four bedrooms and four baths), wide open.

    The intrepid duo of independent reporters Wayne Barrett of The Village Voice and Huffington Post blogger Shannyn Moore reported that Palin steered contracts for the 2003 construction of the Wasilla Sports Complex before leaving office as Wasilla mayor the previous fall, in return for work building her home about the same time.

    And Just Plain Folks Sarah Palin and her team of barracudas can huff and puff all they want, but the last time I checked, the truth was always a sound defense regarding a question of libel.

    And the only ones who are alleged to have broken any laws here are “journalists” O’Keefe and Giles, as noted here.

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    Responding To “The Fearful Five” (updates)

    September 29, 2009

    Fearful_Five1
    (Fearful of what their handlers in the insurance racket would do to them if they voted against their interests, that is…)

    As noted here, Max Baucus, Kent (“A Public Plan Would Bankrupt Hospitals”) Conrad, Blanche Lincoln (from top to bottom above), Bill Nelson and Tom Carper (from top to bottom below) did what we all expected them to do today, and that is to utterly cave on public option amendments introduced to the atrocious Baucus health care travesty of a bill (though Carper and Nelson voted in favor of the Schumer amendment, while all five voted against the Jay Rockefeller amendment).

    Fearful_Five2
    This is totally in character (or lack thereof) given the following past behavior:

  • Both Baucus and Lincoln opposed lending any money to the automakers after supporting TARP, as noted here.
  • Conrad laughs here when told of a health care reform ad airing in his state encouraging him to do the right thing on this issue (even if it means the Dems losing control of the Senate – and what good does “control” do when they vote like this anyway? – it would be worth it to see Conrad get the boot over this).
  • Nelson said that public option supporters “don’t have a clue” here.
  • And dusting off the memory banks a bit, this shows us that, given a choice between Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Senate Democratic primary and a certain Joe “He’s With Us On Everything Except The War” Lieberman, Carper chose to endorse – well, I’m sure you can guess the answer.
  • If you’re as steamed about this as I am (though, sadly, not entirely surprised), then I would suggest clicking here and forking some bucks over to a worthy cause in response (though I honestly have to wonder why anyone thought Olympia “Lucy Holding The Football” Snowe would have actually done the right thing here).

    Attribution for the pics is as follows:

    Baucus (here)

    Conrad (here)

    Lincoln (here)

    Nelson (here)

    Carper (here)

    Update 1 9/30/09: Good point here – needs to be repeated over and over to try and drown out the right-wing blatherings on this issue…

    Update 2 9/30/09: Figures…

    Update 3 10/1/09: Typical Carper “Third Way” BS here (h/t Think Progress)…


    Monday Mashup (9/28/09)

    September 28, 2009

    William_Safire_main
    Yes, I know William Safire is dead.

    Aside, from the fact that he once called Hillary Clinton a “congenital liar” (to which HRC famously replied that she didn’t feel offended for herself, “but for her mother’s sake”), and aside that he brought up the thoroughly debunked claim that Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, met with “an Iraqi intelligence agent” in Prague, he also claimed that the Iraq war would be “quick,” with “Iraqis cheering their liberators.”

    Bill Moyers called him out on this here, but, like Thomas Friedman, Bill Kristol, Roger Ailes, Charles Krauthammer and Judith Miller, Safire chose not to stand up and try to defend that which is indefensible.

    Also, this tells us that Safire once claimed that “nobody was telling (President Obama, on the occasion of his acceptance of the Democratic Party nomination for president last year) or the voters that Democrats preferred abject surrender,” when in fact Dems are routinely vilified by Safire and his like-minded brethren in that manner.

    Good riddance.

    fiorina_6a00d8341e9e5b53ef00e55400e1388834-800wi
    This tells us that former John McCain Presidential Campaign Adviser Carly Fiorina, currently debating whether or not she’ll challenge California Dem U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer next year, discussed her battle with breast cancer in this interview with Karen Tumulty of Time Magazine. I give Fiorina credit for enduring this and trying to turn her struggle into something positive.

    However, as noted here, Fiorina has claimed that “There is no job that is America’s God-given right anymore,” an interesting remark for someone who, as former CEO of Hewlett Packard, turned a blind eye to that company’s trading with Iran (at the very least), as noted here.

    And as Mike Morrill of Keystone Progress tells us here (noting, among other things, HP’s disastrous merger with Compaq):

  • Fiorina Laid Off Nearly 18,000 HP Workers During “Restructuring.” According to the Omaha-World Herald, “Hewlett-Packard, based in Palo Alto, Calif., had a $ 903 million loss on revenue of $56.6 billion for its fiscal year that ended last Oct 31. According to a summary by Hoover’s Inc., an Austin, Texas, provider of business information, Hewlett-Packard has undergone extensive restructuring under Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina. The company announced earlier this year that it planned to cut 17,900 people by October because of a weak economy and its merger with Compaq.” [Omaha-World Herald 9/29/03]
  • Fiorina Suggests Her Biggest Mistake Was Not Firing More People More Quickly. In 2005, Fortune magazine reported that “Fiorina does not agree, naturally, that there’s been a brain drain (at HP). In fact, she believes that one lesson she’s learned while running HP is that she should have moved more quickly in ejecting certain people. Smartened up now, she says, “I would have done them all faster. Every person that I’ve asked to leave, whether it’s been clear publicly or not, I would have done faster.” [Fortune, 2/7/05]
  • Despite Being Forced Out, Fiorina’s Severance Package Was Reportedly More Than $42 Million. CNNMoney reported, “Ex-Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will get a severance package worth about $21.4 million, but stands to reap another $21 million after she was forced out by the computer maker’s board last week, a newspaper reported Saturday. The additional amount reflects the estimated value of her Hewlett stock and options as well as her pension, which were not included in her severance package, the New York Times reported.” [CNNMoney.com, 2/12/05]
  • Fiorina Was Paid $10.7 Million In 2002, But Was Decreased To $6.6 Million In 2003 Due To Poor Performance. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, “Hewlett-Packard has slashed the pay of chief executive Carly Fiorina after she missed some performance targets last year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission… Fiorina’s total pay — including salary, bonus and stock options — dropped about 38 percent from $10.7 million in fiscal 2002 to $6.6 million last year.
  • While her base salary went up from $1 million in 2002 to $1.24 million in 2003, her performance-based bonus dropped from $2.9 million to $2.1 million and the value of her stock option grants declined from $6.8 million to $3.3 million.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 1/24/04]

    If Fiorina is serious about making a run for the Senate, she should expect some sympathy for overcoming the odds on her personal health.

    However, that would be grossly overshadowed by the monstrous incompetence she has demonstrated in her corporate career, a frightening harbinger of what she would do in “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

    Medical Devices Fraud
    And finally, I’m going to do something I’ve been meaning to do for some time; that would be bringing us up to date on that political piñata running for governor of New Jersey as the Republican standard bearer (from here):

  • Hmmm, Christie and Turd Blossom, huh?
  • Christie’s bad week (8/18) continued.
  • Somehow I don’t quite think “oops” covers this on Christie.
  • Is it just me, or does Christie’s whole “law and order” facade start to crumble (here)?
  • Is the Christie juggernaut “off the rails” (here)?
  • Christie is nothing but a bully and a thug (here – h/t The Daily Kos).
  • It’s getting harder to keep up with all of the Christie revelations (here and here…this guy shouldn’t be running for dog catcher, let alone governor of New Jersey).
  • And it sounds like Christie’s running mate has a case of foot-in-mouth disease herself (here).
  • Not an appearance of wrongdoing by Christie on this, but worth considering anyway…
  • It should be an interesting fall.

    Update 10/14/09: No “small dive” is good enough for Christie, it seems, based on this, unless you’re talking about his polling numbers.

    Update 10/19/09: At least Christie is honest in acknowledging his debt to Bushco; I’ll give him that much based on this.


    Meet “America’s Assignment Editor”

    September 28, 2009

    From Beck/Drudge/Malkin onto the AP, New York Times, WaPo and everyone else (here, and speaking of the Times, this tells us of more ridiculous contortions by Clark Hoyt to try and keep Beck’s audience happy – h/t Atrios)…


    “A Bridge Too Far” For Some Teabaggin’ Fool (Or Two)?

    September 25, 2009

    I don’t know if Kentucky has the death penalty a death row or not, but if it does, the person (or persons) responsible for the murder of census worker Bill Sparkman (here) should be delivered there with all speed – what an awful story.

    Update 9/26/09: Ugh…


    A “War Between The States” Redux?

    September 24, 2009

    I’m telling you, one day, that awful word that starts with an “n” and ends with an “er” is going to slip out, and then what?


    Wednesday Mashup (9/23/09)

    September 23, 2009


    gwb_13-george-w-bush

  • Someone named Iain Murray at Irrational Spew Online has criticized President Obama for using the term “carbon pollution” instead of “greenhouse gases” in recent speeches here, as follows…

    I am proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history. . . . We’re investing billions to capture carbon pollution so that we can clean up our coal plants.

    This supposed catch is attributed to a reporter named Lauren Morello from openmarket.org, who noticed this “shift in the vocabulary (of) U.S. officials.”

    I would think that conservatives should be the last people in the world decrying a “shift in the vocabulary” or the employment of likely-marketing-tested wording to help sell a policy on behalf of the current administration.

    For you see, Bushco was proficient in selling any policy it wanted to achieve its nefarious ends, twisting words and meaning whenever it suited its foul purposes (of course, more and more people became wise to their con over time, but not soon enough).

    For me, the phrase “return on success,” as it allegedly pertained to the Iraq war, was a particularly galling example.

    As Think Progress told us here, “return on success” was Bushco-ese for “some of our troops are leaving Iraq, but most are staying behind.”

    And as Salon.com’s Alex Koppleman tells us here…

    …the withdrawal of these forces isn’t tied to success in the way the president pretends. In fact, he had little choice but to begin these drawdowns, and his top generals — including Gen. David Petraeus — have not made a secret of that.

    In July 2007, Petraeus appeared on Good Morning America, where he said, “We know that the surge has to come to an end … General Odierno and I have — are on the record telling our soldiers that we will not ask for any extension certainly beyond 15 months.”

    Also, as a Think Progress commenter noted…

    “Return on Success” is actually a play on the business term: “Return on Investment.” Looked at from that angle, it’s been a huge loss of investment in both lives and treasure for the American public. If this war/occupation was a stock offered in the financial markets, it would be worth about $-0.2. The only profitability has been for the war profiteers and stock holders in THOSE criminal corporations.

    So given all of this, I believe that using the phrase “carbon pollution” instead of “greenhouse gases” isn’t anything to get hot and bothered about (unless you’re thinking of replacing the phrase “return on success” with “return on failure” to describe the foul, fetid Bushco reign, in which case you would be substantively correct).

  • gay_rainbow_flying_flag

  • And by the way, anyone who had Kevin Jennings, assistant deputy secretary for the office of Safe & Drug Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education, as the next person on the list “Cracker Nation” (as Bill Maher calls them) would get into a tizzy over automatically wins first prize (wonder what it would be – a collage of “family values” Republicans such as Jesse Helms, David Vitter, Larry Craig, Mark Foley and Mark Sanford, maybe?).

    As noted here, Jennings’ “crime” is “aiming to prevent gender- and sexual orientation-related bullying in schools,” (wingnuttia reigns in this excerpt)…

    Jennings has spent decades actively and successfully promoting myths about homosexuality to schoolchildren as founder of the radical Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GSLEN). Van Jones was done in by two key charges and one taped quote; FRC documented at least seven outrageous facts about Jennings and five inflammatory quotes in documents we released in June (see http://www.stopjennings.org).

    Unfortunately, Jennings has now taken his office at the Education Department-where he will be charged with implementing laws like the “Safe Schools Improvement Act,” introduced as H.R. 2262. This bill to combat “bullying” and “harassment” is like a “hate crimes” law for schools-but without being limited to actual violence. Cutting down on bullying and harassment of anyone is a worthy goal, but naming “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected categories makes this bill more about advancing the homosexual agenda than keeping schools safe.

    Ah yes, the dreaded “homosexual agenda.” I know it’s permeating every aspect of my life whenever I feel an unmanly urge to watch “Project Runway,” read The Bell Jar or wear Mrs. Doomsy’s beige pumps.

    (…give me a frackin’ break, people!!…)

    As we learn from Pam’s House Blend here, charges that Jennings “hates Christians,” “is teaching children nasty sexual behavior through the group GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network),” and “covered up the sexual abuse of an underaged child” have all been refuted.

    However…

    The newest “controversy” is that Jennings gave a speech in 1995 explaining how to introduce lgbt supportive groups in schools:

    In 1995, he gave a speech in which he described how he has used the concept of “safety” in schools to promote homosexual advocacy in public schools in Massachusetts. He gave a speech called “Winning the Culture War” at the Human Rights Campaign Fund Leadership Conference on March 5 of that year.

    Excerpts have been posted on the website of MassResistance, where chief Brian Camenker has worked to oppose the demands of homosexual activists.

    In the speech, Jennings described how he was concerned about being described as promoting homosexuality, so he chose to campaign on the idea of “safety” instead.

    “If the radical right can succeed in portraying us as preying on children, we will lose. Their language – ‘promoting homosexuality’ is one example – is laced with subtle and not-so-subtle innuendo that we are ‘after their kids,'” he told the conference. . . “

    Actually there is nothing wrong with the speech. In fact, it’s a very good speech which should be remembered.

    Again, we have here another example of conservatives twisting words to suit their ends.

    As for Jennings himself, this tells us the following…

    Prior to his tenure at GLSEN, Jennings served as History Department chair and a history teacher at Concord Academy in Massachusetts and before that as a history teacher at Moses Brown School in Rhode Island. Jennings has also authored six books including Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son: A Memoir which was named a 2007 Book of Honor by the American Library Association and Telling Tales Out of School which was the winner of the 1998 Lambda Literary Award. Jennings received an A.B. in history from Harvard, an M.A. from the Columbia University Teachers College and an M.B.A. from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

    Besides, the prior regime employed a gay man named Mark Dybul at the State Department as Bushco’s “global AIDS coordinator,” as we learn here, and I don’t recall hearing any howls of protest from the FRC (or Fix Noise, for that matter – no surprise – as noted here).

  • Update 9/25/09: More from Media Matters here…

    monopoly-man

  • And finally, did you know that the pay of bank CEOs in this country “dwarfs” that of the rest of the world, as noted here?

    As Sarah Anderson, a fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies, tells us…

    “(U.S. bank CEOs) have claimed it is impossible to recruit people without paying such compensation. Yet, if you look at the pay levels in Europe and in a lot of Asian countries, somehow they manage to find people who can run major global firms while making a fraction of what they make in the U.S.,” she said.

    And so what exactly do we get for all that extra dough?

    Well…

  • Bank of America and Citigroup (I’ll be nice here and not use the scatological names) are alleged to have funded Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan national at the center of a reputed Al Qaeda terror cell probe, according to the New York Daily News here (as the post asks, “What kind of banks lend tens of thousands of dollars unsecured to 20-year-old coffee cart vendor / shuttle bus driver foreigners with no assets?”).
  • The banks bailed out by TARP “stuffed” CEOs with stock when the market was down, and now these CEOs are making out all over again now that the market is returning to reasonable health, as noted here.
  • As noted here in this story telling us that even token regulation of bank products was defeated, Barney Frank tells us that the banks generally “regard consumer affairs as a kind of nuisance.”
  • Meanwhile, Dem Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota continues to be absolutely correct in the matter of bank regulation, as noted here from last March.

  • Update: Oh, and, by the way…


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