I pretty much walked away from this site about a year and a half ago out of total disgust, keeping Blogger as my main platform for this kind of thing. Not with WordPress as a blogging platform, I wish to emphasize, but with the impending Dem loss of the U.S. House, including the PA-08 seat of Patrick Murphy to “Mikey The Beloved” Fitzpatrick (guilty of this recent, particularly heinous moment which, in a manner utterly true to form, has been thoroughly ignored by his house organ, the Bucks County Courier Times). Also, at the time, I wasn’t sure if the Senate would fall either, but thanks to the intervention of the teabaggers, who made sure that “Yes, Wiccan” O’Donnell was nominated in Delaware along with Sharron Angle in Nevada and John Raese in West Virginia, the Senate remained under the control of the Dems. I wanted the post with the Rachel Maddow video to remain as the first thing a reader saw at this site as a “J’Accuse!” gesture of sorts (I think it’s safe to say that, after all this time, I’ve made my point).
Well, Blogger is now thoroughly hosed when it comes to fairly long, textual posts and I have neither the time nor the desire to figure out how to deal with the problem. So, on the infrequent, oft chance that I am able to generate content again, I’m planning to do so here for the immediate future.
Next, Ken Blackwell is back to attack Hillary Clinton (some things never change), including taking a shot at the new START treaty (here – in response, this tells us the following)…
The treaty commits the former Cold War enemies to each reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 – 30% lower than the previous ceiling.
Mr Obama said it was an important milestone, but “just one step on a longer journey” of nuclear disarmament.
Mr Medvedev said the deal would create safer conditions throughout the world.
If ratified by lawmakers in both countries, the treaty will replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start) of 1991, which has expired.
Update: My bad – should have noted that, despite the caterwauling of Repug Sen. Jon Kyl, the treaty was ratified by the Senate, as noted here, and a particularly brainless update is here.
Blackwell also whines as follows…
This is the same Russia whose foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, Hillary famously gifted with a red “Re-set” button on their first meeting. That was to signal the new administration in Washington wouldn’t fuss about Russia’s 2008 aggression against the Republic of Georgia.
In response, this tells us how the Obama Administration, far from acting like wallflowers while the Russia/Georgia conflict simmers, brokered the following deal…
At the end of last year, the final roadblock to Russian entry into the (World Trade Organization) was Georgia’s insistence that Russia agree to increase transparency of trade across Russia’s borders into Georgia’s breakaway autonomies of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. (WTO rules allow every member the right to veto a country’s membership, and Georgia, as a member, could do so with Russia.) The August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia led to Russian military occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Moscow’s recognition of the autonomies as independent states. Even before the war, however, Russia controlled both sides of the crossings into Abkhazia and South Ossetia and staunchly refused access to either Georgia or international monitors.
While Russian membership in the WTO has been a priority of the Obama administration’s Russia policy, the administration has also made a point not to pressure Georgia into giving its consent. The administration thus insisted to Moscow that it had to negotiate the conditions for its accession directly with Tbilisi, while it underlined to Tbilisi the importance the United States placed on a successful agreement.
The result is, on paper, a spectacular success. The WTO agreement provides a novel mechanism for monitoring trade between Russia and Georgia across Abkhazia and South Ossetia (as well as at their third, already functioning, land crossing in undisputed territory). Both governments have agreed to report data on trade to the WTO and to affix electronic seals on outbound cargo to facilitate the tracking of goods. They have also agreed to allow a private company to confidentially monitor trade and to recommend, on the basis of that monitoring, the inspection of cargo by either party. Finally, the agreement establishes a mechanism for arbitrating disputes.
Blackwell should really avoid anything more substantive than attacking children’s television programs, as noted here, which is actually more of his speed.
Finally, someone named John Hawkins at Clownhall.com presented five “devastating” numbers that supposedly show Number 44’s “incompetence” (here).
1) The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.”
This is from an analysis from Mark Knoller of CBS News, who, as noted here, has a history of absolving Former Commander Codpiece of any financial wrongdoing and laying all blame at the feet of Number 44.
Besides, as Media Matters points out…
In 2001, President George W. Bush inherited a surplus, with projections by the Congressional Budget Office for ever-increasing surpluses, assuming continuation of the good economy and President Bill Clinton’s policies. But every year starting in 2002, the budget fell into deficit. In January 2009, just before President Obama took office, the budget office projected a $1.2 trillion deficit for 2009 and deficits in subsequent years, based on continuing Mr. Bush’s policies and the effects of recession. Mr. Obama’s policies in 2009 and 2010, including the stimulus package, added to the deficits in those years but are largely temporary.
The second graph shows that under Mr. Bush, tax cuts and war spending were the biggest policy drivers of the swing from projected surpluses to deficits from 2002 to 2009. Budget estimates that didn’t foresee the recessions in 2001 and in 2008 and 2009 also contributed to deficits. Mr. Obama’s policies, taken out to 2017, add to deficits, but not by nearly as much. [The New York Times, 7/23/11]
2) This country has already lost its AAA rating, we’re 15 trillion dollars in debt, we have 100 trillion dollars in unfunded Social Security and Medicare liabilities…
The reason we lost our Triple-A rating was because of the dithering of Man-Tan Boehner and that sleazy weasel Eric Cantor on raising the debt ceiling. The debt was mentioned previously, and Social Security (which, as noted here, is projected to drop off funding to about 70-80 percent in 20 years, which is still more funding than what is paid out today…more here) has nothing to do with the deficit. And yes, we need to look at Medicare, but even that isn’t the biggest driver of the debt.
3) We’re now up to 1,091 days without a budget despite the fact that it’s the most basic function of Congress and it’s required by law.
Oh brother – as noted here…
HONOLULU — President Obama agreed on Friday to delay a request to Congress to expand the government’s borrowing authority by $1.2 trillion, allowing lawmakers time to return from recess and register their views on it.
The delay, which a White House official said would be only a few days, will not jeopardize the operations of the government, as last summer’s impasse over the debt ceiling did. The budget agreement of Aug. 2, which broke that deadlock, has made it highly unlikely that Congressional Republicans could block an increase in the debt limit through the 2012 election. Since signing legislation to codify that agreement, Mr. Obama has already obtained two increases totaling $900 billion.
And as noted here, Boehner and his pals are making noise like they might renege on the debt deal later this year (figures).
4) One of the great ironies of this election is the still rabid support that black Americans have for Barack Obama. This is kind of like Columbine High School throwing a “We Sure Do Miss You” Memorial Rally for Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Let’s see, tasteless, racist, and utterly inaccurate all at once? Yep, pretty much.
And as noted here…
During an exchange with Fox News analyst Juan Williams during a debate in South Carolina on Jan. 16, Gingrich defended previous statements that poor kids lack a strong work ethic, that they should be put to work as janitors (child labor laws be damned), and that black Americans should “demand jobs, not food stamps.”
“Can’t you see that this is viewed, at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans?” Williams asked.
“No,” Gingrich responded, to roaring applause and rolling laughter. “I don’t see that.”
“It sounds as if you’re speaking to belittle people,” Williams added later in the exchange.
“Well, first of all, Juan,” Gingrich said, “the fact is, more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.”
This statement, while technically true, is no more reliable as a factual observation than other conservatives’ claims that Obama has governed during the highest unemployment spike in decades, or that his presidency has overseen the biggest national debt in history.
All three statements may be true on their face, but they lay responsibility for the greatest recession since the Great Depression at the feet of a man who wasn’t even president when the economic floor caved.
Funny, but I don’t hear Democrats questioning the work ethic of men and women of color. And I know that’s a little tangential to job numbers, but it does have something to do with stigmatizing the employment prospects for a rather significant demographic in this country.
And in terms of economic policies that actually help African Americans, Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said here that unemployment funds are a stimulus of sorts, earning her the right-wing umbrage noted here.
More to the point, though, this tells us the following…
Even here, the black employment outlook is mixed. Black men appear to have gained jobs since February 2011 in manufacturing, construction and the service sector. And while government employment held steady this month, deep staff cuts in state and local government have hit black women particularly hard. Indeed, government agencies, a sector that has slashed about 500,000 jobs since February 2010, employed just over one-quarter of black women before the recession began. That has caused the number of black women with jobs to fall, although that number held steady in February, (Bill Rodgers, a Rutgers University economist who studies inequality) said.
The issue is spending to create demand not just to spur hiring for a racial class, but an economic class that will lift all of the proverbial boats, as it were.
And concluding with Hawkins…
5) The average unemployment rate during George Bush’s time in office was roughly 5.3% as compared to 8.2% today, which is part of the longest streak of over 8% unemployment since the Great Depression. However, because of the way the unemployment rate is calculated, even those horrific numbers don’t give you the full sense of the Mt. Krakatoa-like havoc that Barack Obama has wreaked on the job market.
In response, please click here to read each of the three charts, including the last one, showing job losses from Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History and job gains under the current occupant of An Oval Office.
Oh, and one more thing: Hawkins begins his screed with the following…
Whether you’ve had some form of head trauma that has caused you to like Barack Obama or like all good hearted people, you can’t stand him, his performance has objectively been terrible.
I realize that violent imagery and veiled threats of physical harm are right out of the typical right-wing playbook (along with typically pejorative, “us versus them” rhetoric about how all “good hearted” people can’t stand Obama), but I would just like for this fool Harkins to consider something here.
This is a picture of the late actress Natasha Richardson, who died three years ago last March. She fell while on a skiing trip and, indeed, suffered the “head trauma” that Harkins apparently thinks is something to use to ridicule those with whom he disagrees. She left behind a grieving husband and two young boys.
Find a conscience somehow, you contemptible guttersnipe.