Tuesday Mashup Part One (8/31/10)

August 31, 2010

  • 1) In response to this story, I would like to ask the following questions:

    Where is the U.S. Congressional committee with subpoena power looking into the massive thievery of taxpayer funds designated for the reconstruction of Iraq (a topic that is noticeably missing in this triumphal column on the subject by BoBo today)?

    Where is Attorney General Eric Holder and his arrest warrants for those allegedly responsible for this genuine scandal?

    And why aren’t the members of our prior ruling cabal being called to account by our media and all of our institutions of government (and why is this story basically being ignored – yes, I know, everyone is focused on the economy, but that really isn’t an excuse, is it?).

    And why isn’t this person being called to account first for the insulting stupidity of her remarks on this subject from December 2008, noted by Think Progress?

  • 2) And speaking of investigations, look at what Fix Noise is telling us (here)…

    The Veterans Affairs Administration is spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year to maintain hundreds of buildings – most of them vacant – that have fallen into such a state of disrepair that many of them are considered health hazards, an investigation by FoxNews.com reveals.

    Exactly how much it costs to maintain the run-down and abandoned buildings is a matter of dispute. The General Accountability Office estimates that the VA has spent $175 million every year since 2007. But the VA disputes that figure, saying it spent $85 million on the buildings in 2007 and only $37 million last year.

    Whatever the figure, the timing couldn’t be worse for the VA, as tens of thousands of American troops, many of whom have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, prepare to return to the U.S. and will require the expensive medical, psychological and support services it provides.

    Wow, talk about being “late for the party” – by about three years in this case…

    For you see, Fix Noise and their brethren basically ignored the scandal of how the VA was run when it was first reported by Anne Hull and Dana Priest of the WaPo here, including the particularly infamous “Building 18” of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, described as follows…

    When (a) wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

    And how did Fox and its right-wing brethren react at the time? I think Steve Young captures that pretty well here.

    But of course, now that Dubya is long gone (thank God) and we have a Democrat in the White House, Fix Noise is paying attention, as well as concocting propaganda that Obama was pushing a plan to get our vets to pay more for health care (here) and encouraging them to commit suicide (here – particularly despicable even for Fox).

    That, however, is very much in keeping with the “M.O.” of this bunch, as noted here.

  • 3) Finally, we have a particularly propagandistic screed from Cal Thomas (here)…

    President Obama may have experienced his Walter Cronkite moment over the economy.

    Responding to Cronkite’s reporting from Vietnam four decades ago that the only way to end the war was by negotiating with the North Vietnamese, President Lyndon Johnson was reported (though never confirmed) to have said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”

    Now President Obama appears to have “lost” New York Times liberal economic columnist Paul Krugman. Krugman, who enthusiastically supported the president’s redistributionist and stimulus plans, has bowed to the reality that they are not working. In a recent column titled “This is Not a Recovery,” Krugman took issue with the president and Vice President Joe Biden that we have experienced a summer of economic recovery. “Unfortunately, that’s not true,” he wrote. “This isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters. And policymakers should be doing everything they can to change that fact.”

    And of course Thomas then launches into a commercial for the RNC and its supposed economic platform, which of course is a rehash of every bad idea over the last 30 years or so that got us into this mess to begin with.

    I realize that only a fool would actually expect Thomas to tell the truth, but it’s particularly galling for him to take Krugman’s statements so thoroughly out of context, given that Krugman also said the following (here)…

    In the case of the Obama administration, officials seem loath to admit that the original stimulus was too small. True, it was enough to limit the depth of the slump — a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office says unemployment would probably be well into double digits now without the stimulus — but it wasn’t big enough to bring unemployment down significantly.

    Now, it’s arguable that even in early 2009, when President Obama was at the peak of his popularity, he couldn’t have gotten a bigger plan through the Senate. And he certainly couldn’t pass a supplemental stimulus now. So officials could, with considerable justification, place the onus for the non-recovery on Republican obstructionism. But they’ve chosen, instead, to draw smiley faces on a grim picture, convincing nobody. And the likely result in November — big gains for the obstructionists — will paralyze policy for years to come.

    And besides, given this incorrigible dreck, Thomas really should stay away from any historical references whatsoever.

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    On Dem “Misdeeds,” Ferris Brews “Weak Tea”

    August 30, 2010

    Philadelphia Inquirer Op-Ed writer and conservative shill Kevin Ferris concocted the following yesterday (here)…

    …The Inquirer, Politico, and others have reported on several instances of Democrats helping so-called tea-party candidates – nationwide and close to home.

    Florida: Republicans and tea-party activists are accusing Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and a Republican consultant of forming a front group, the Florida Tea Party, to help Democratic candidates in state and congressional races, including Grayson.

    Michigan: A Democratic official was forced to resign his party position last week after being accused of fraudulently notarizing campaign filings for a dozen so-called tea-party candidates. The 23 candidates statewide who were supposedly representing tea parties have been denied ballot positions.

    New Jersey: In the Third Congressional District, where Republican Jon Runyan is challenging Democratic freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler, the GOP says the incumbent is boosting the third-party bid of Peter DeStefano. There are reports of longtime Adler and Democratic Party supporters signing nominating petitions, and Adler’s campaign suspiciously released an early internal poll that included DeStefano. Adler denies any connection between his campaign and DeStefano.

    Pennsylvania: In the governor’s race, a review of state records led the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review to report on Aug. 10: “Members of unions that endorsed Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, as well as one of his campaign workers, helped get Tea Party candidate John Krupa onto Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial ballot.” Krupa dropped out of the race a week later when challenged by tea-party activists.

    In the Seventh District race to replace U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, third-party candidate Jim Schneller wouldn’t be on the ballot with Republican Pat Meehan and Democrat Bryan Lentz if not for Democrats circulating petitions for him. Swarthmore Democrat Colleen Guiney, one of the “Lentz or Schneller for Congress” devotees, was referred to by Lentz earlier this year as “the hardest worker on my campaign.” A hearing on Meehan’s challenge to Schneller’s candidacy is scheduled for this week.

    “It’s almost an admission that the party’s candidates need something other than merit to win this fall,” a recent Detroit Free Press editorial said of the Michigan case.

    Wow, what a festival of generalizations, innuendo, and strawman arguments! It must’ve taken Ferris more than a week to come up with this dookey (I’m sure that’s why his column didn’t appear last week).

    And of course, it’s only an issue if those teabaggers are helped by Dems and not Repugs as far as Ferris is concerned (can you say “double standard”?).

    Concerning FLA, the following should be noted (here)…

    In Florida, the evidence of a Democratic conspiracy is circumstantial at best. But Republicans gained new traction this week with a Roll Call article outlining connections between Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson, the famed firebrand who accused Republicans of telling patients to “die quickly,” and the upstart Tea Party. As reported in the piece, one of the Tea Party candidates for the state House, Victoria Torres, took $11,000 from the Grayson campaign for polling work. And one of the Florida Tea Party’s most prominent backers is longtime political consultant Doug Guetzloe, who serves as a Grayson appointee on a business advisory board and whose teenage son has worked as an intern for Grayson

    A spokesman for Grayson, Todd Jurkowski, denied the charges to The Daily Beast and produced a copy of the poll he said the party commissioned from Torres, which was publicly released at the time it was conducted. It was a publicity stunt: Grayson polled himself as a candidate in the Republican primary and found himself in the lead. Jurkowski said the party sought a Republican pollster to better capture that side of the electorate, and that the firm that conducted the poll, Middleton Market Research, was subcontracted by Torres. (Torres did not return requests for comment.) As for Guetzloe, Jurkowski noted that Grayson has plausible appeal to some Tea Party members given his close association with Ron Paul on legislation like an amendment to audit the Fed.

    So what of Michigan, then? As noted here…

    According to a report from the Detroit Free Press Jason Bauer, former director of operations for the Oakland County Democratic Party, notarized a dozen affidavits for Tea Party candidates including one for a candidate who had no idea he was on the ballot. Two of the candidates were also later found to be under-aged and one was a resident of Phoenix, Arizona.

    The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating the matter and on Friday Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson filed a petition in court asking for a one-person grand jury to investigate possible election fraud.

    Bauer resigned Sunday night and was condemned by the Oakland County Democratic Party as reports of his actions surfaced. He faces potential criminal charges over misusing his notary license. The head of the Oakland County Democrats resigned on Sunday as well.

    So basically, Bauer acted like a total idiot and notarized the affidavits when he shouldn’t have, but my question is who prepared the affidavits to begin with? Until we know the answer to that question, I’m reserving judgment on the question of whether or not this is some kind of Dem “dirty tricks” operation or just a case of Bauer getting duped (he’d have to be pretty dumb to orchestrate something like this just to help his party knowing the risk).

    And in New Jersey, Ferris is alleging a Dem/Tea Party conspiracy because incumbent Rep John Adler “suspiciously released an early internal poll” that included third-party candidate Pete DeStefano? Shocking!

    Try reading this post where DeStefano says the Dems and Repugs “are both full of crap” and the Tea Partiers “are shills for the Republicans.” With that in mind, you would truly have to have a vivid imagination to think DeStefano is in collusion with anyone.

    And concerning John Krupa, the alleged tea party candidate in the PA gubernatorial race, if the state GOP thought he was a “plant,” then why didn’t they challenge his petition? Why did they leave it up to the teabaggers to do that (here)?

    The charge about Jim Schneller in the PA-07 U.S. House contest (pitting Dem Bryan Lentz against Repug Pat Meehan for Joe Sestak’s seat) is the one from Ferris that looks the most legitimate, though Schneller doesn’t consider himself to be a “tea party” candidate (walks like one and talks like one, though, based on this – the story notes, though, that Schneller has been percieved as a threat by both Democrats and Republicans).

    However, considering that the Repugs did the same thing with Jay Russell in the Bucks County Commissioners election (here, with convenience store owner Russell siphoning just enough votes to prevent Dem Steve Santarsiero from winning and re-electing Repug Charley “I Have A Semi-Open Mind” Martin instead), I have no sympathy for the teabaggers on this or any other issue.


    “These People Could Be In Charge”

    August 29, 2010

    And if that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what does.

    Update 8/30/10: And here and here is more of the stuff of nightmares.


    Sorry Meg, The Price Isn’t Right

    August 28, 2010

    Sounds like “Gubernatorial Campaign Fail, Clean Up Aisle 7″…


    Five Years After Katrina

    August 27, 2010

    Still lots to do (here)…


    Take A Stroll Through Downtown Kabul

    August 27, 2010

    And try not to lose your lunch (kudos to Rachel Maddow and Richard Engle – this is where our tax dollars are going; it kind of reminds me a bit of Atlantic City after the casinos took over, though at least the streets are paved).

    Also, speaking of Afghanistan, this just about made me physically ill.

    (By the way, it will probably be just videos for a few days.)


    Meg Whitman’s Notion Of Civic Duty

    August 25, 2010

    Fortunately, it isn’t shared by everyone.


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