Friday Mashup (12/14/12)

December 14, 2012
  • With all of the ongoing fiscal cliff kabuki going on, it was only a matter of time before deficit scold Judd Gregg made a return appearance, and he did so recently here

    In the parlance of John Wayne, it is a time to stand and deliver.

    “Stand” in this context means “stand up to” Republican and Democrat special interests.

    Both parties have, as part of their core elements, groups that do not wish to govern.

    Rather, they wish to stay in the corners of the ring and shout — artificially firing up their constituencies so that they can mine their followers for contributions and power.

    On the left, this is the cause of big labor and the AARP. On the right, it is the cause of the self-anointed definers of religious purity and the anti-tax cabal.

    These groups do not want action.

    That’s partly true, actually – no deal is better than a crappy one (oh, by the way, the last I checked, there was an “ic” in the name of the political party I support, as noted here).

    Oh, and did you know that Gregg helped kill the long-term care component of the Affordable Care Act, according to Charles Pierce here (and in case you don’t make it all the way to the end of either of the first two linked articles, allow me to point out that, since leaving the Senate, Gregg has taken up a nice cushy gig as an “international advisor” to Goldman Sachs…more on the “vampire squid,” as Matt Taibbi calls it, from here).

    And by the way, I could find no citation of John Wayne ever speaking the line “stand and deliver,” though Lee Marvin used it in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” in which Wayne co-starred (Marvin spoke the line to James Stewart).

  • Also, I know that continuing to pick on the media wing of the Republican Party is a bit of cruel sport at a certain point, but they do bring it upon themselves after all; as noted here, Obama campaign donor and Google ex-CEO Eric Schmidt (described as “creepy”) is attacked for sheltering money in Bermuda to avoid U.S. taxes.

    Didn’t we just finish an election where the nominee of the party Fox supports did the same thing in the Cayman Islands, as noted here?

    Boy, does our corporate media think we’re stoo-pid!

  • Continuing, Mike Moritz opined as follows at the Murdoch Street Journal (here)…

    After a seaside area has been designated as wilderness, when is it considered pristine enough by Washington’s standards? Is it after airplanes have been banned from flying over it? After electricity pylons and telephone cables have been removed, cars and bikers prohibited, the roads torn up? When hikers are forbidden access to trails, and kayakers, sailors and snorkelers banished from the water? When eucalyptus trees and other foreign species are eradicated? Or only after Miwok Indians’ arrowheads have been excavated and placed in a museum?

    Apparently it is none of the above, at least according to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Instead, he seems to think that turning a tiny portion of the lovely coastline of California’s Marin County (part of the National Seashore) into the first marine wilderness in the continental United States also requires destroying a family-run oyster operation that has conducted business in the same spot for eight decades.

    So Mr. Salazar recently ordered the business to close within 90 days—a decision that will spell ruin for the Lunny family, owners of Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm, which supplies 40% of California’s oysters.

    The Lunny family, which has made major improvements to the farm operation it took over in 2004, has been hounded for years by a National Park Service with a vendetta so chilling that any rancher on federal lands should be alarmed. Goaded by a clutch of environmental groups, the Park Service has resorted to tactics that might have come straight from Nixon’s dirty-tricks department. For instance, the Park Service alleged that the farm’s oyster boats disturbed the quiet of the area, but the measurements used were revealed to have been taken in New Jersey—and involved jet skis.

    Who exactly is Mike Moritz? As noted here, he’s a well-heeled venture capitalist with Sequoia Capital in Menlo Park, California; he also is a prominent supporter of President Obama, as Wikipedia tells us (I have a suspicion that there’s more going on here, but that’s all I have for the moment).

    More on this is noted in this story (and it looks like the person handling the litigation here is Dan Epstein of the conservative front group “Cause of Action”).

    To me, though (and based on this), Kevin Lunny took a gamble in 2004 and lost (and I think the whole “noise” thing involving the NJ park rangers is much ado about zilch).

    The bottom line, IMHO according to the Daily Kos post, is as follows (from the comments)…

    (The Point Reyes National Seashore, where Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm is located) was PRESERVED (in 1962 by JFK, and designated a marine wilderness in 1976). That means it’s for the environment and recreation FIRST. Ranching was specified in the enabling language as a compatible use so long as it was consistent with the natural resource values. Mariculture was NOT.

    To me, there’s the potential for a rather dangerous precedent to be set here. If the decision to keep the oyster farm stands, then that means that federal laws and treaties affecting natural resources can be overturned by states in the name of preserving commerce.

    And if that happens, does anyone in this country seriously think the right-wing desecration of the environment will come to a halt over the fate of an oyster bed?

  • Next, I just want to add a little more about the decision of the illustrious governor of the commonwealth of PA, Tom Corbett, to let the feds run the health care exchange instead of the state (here)…

    “Health care reform is too important to be achieved through haphazard planning. Pennsylvania taxpayers and businesses deserve more. They deserve informed decision making and a strong plan that responsibly uses taxpayer dollars,” Corbett said in the press release. “Therefore, I have decided not to pursue a state-based health insurance exchange at this time. It would be irresponsible to put Pennsylvanians on the hook for an unknown amount of money to operate a system under rules that have not been fully written.”

    In response, here is some background on the exchanges, which apparently Corbett had no desire to actually read. It should also be noted that both Michael Leavitt, the HSS Secretary under Dubya (who had issues like everyone else in Bushco, but actually “found the nut” for a change here) said that the states should set up the exchanges (with Repug former Senate Majority Leader – and MD – Bill Frist saying the same thing here…see the Leavitt note). In addition, this tells us that, as employers drop Medicare, more seniors are turning to the exchanges for care.

    Oh, and did I note that Corbett committed PA to running its own exchange here (in November of last year…near the bottom of the article)?

    And when it comes to PA and demagoguery on the health care law, you just know that Mikey the Beloved, our mistake of a U.S. Congressional Rep from PA-08, had to have a say (here…and how funny is it to hear a Teahadist like Mikey complaining about President Obama and his “ideology”)…

    (Fitzpatrick) said the scheduled reduction of about 30 percent in Medicare reimbursement payments to health providers at year’s end and the federal debt limit almost certain to be reached this winter should be part of current fiscal cliff negotiations between Democrats and Republicans.

    “Singling out one piece of the puzzle without seeing how all the other pieces can fit together, while politically expedient for some, is reckless and just bad policymaking,” Fitzpatrick said.

    In response, allow me to provide the following from here

    Now it is true that the law envisions reductions in Medicare. And some of that money will help pay for the rest of the law. And there are problems in some places with doctors not being willing to accept Medicare patients. But those two things aren’t actually connected.

    And if THEY aren’t connected on health care, then you’d better believe that the debt limit isn’t either (care for some oranges with your apples and pomegranates, Mikey?). And we are talking about health care here, aren’t we, Mikey?

    Continuing with the NPR story…

    The problem with Medicare pay for doctors actually predates passage of the health law by more than a decade — it’s a preexisting condition, if you will, (Harold Pollack, a professor of public health policy at the University of Chicago) says. “And every year, Congress has to go through the song and dance with something called the doctor fix to prevent Medicare fees from a fairly catastrophic reduction. That has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act. Health reform does not cut physician fees.”

    But wait, there’s more (here)…

    (Fitzpatrick), in a statement issued jointly by 11 Republican members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, said Corbett made the right call (on the exchanges).

    “The President’s health care law was passed nearly three years ago and yet the Department of Health and Human Services has yet to issue clear guidance to states…”

    Really, Mikey? Try reading this once more (same link as the one for Corbett).

    There are times when I honestly don’t know how this thoroughly unprincipled liar can bear to look at himself in the mirror.

  • Further, “The Pericles of Petticoat Junction,” as James Wolcott called him, is baaaack to claim, among other things, that Number 44 is going to get rid of the home mortgage interest deduction (here)…

    Such Obama supporters may soon notice that the new federal and state tax rates, the envisioned end to traditional deductions such as those for blue-state high taxes and for mortgage interest, and means testing for most government services are aimed precisely at themselves.

    Meanwhile, Obama’s proposal to get rid of the home mortgage interest deduction “hit a wall of resistance,” as noted here, for earners under $250 K (and may that continue to be the case).

  • Finally (and returning to Fix Noise)…well, it just wouldn’t be the season without more hilarity from this bunch, would it (here)…

    The 2012 White House “Holiday” card spotlights the Obama’s family Portuguese water dog — instead of Christmas.

    The black and white illustration was designed by Iowa artist Larassa Kabel and shows Bo the dog, wearing a scarf, while frolicking in the snow on the South Lawn of a blurred White House.

    The inside of the card reads:”This season, may your home be filled with family, friends, and the joy of the holidays.” The card is signed by the entire First Family — along with Bo’s paw print.

    Vanity Fair deemed this year’s Obama ‘Holiday’ card his best-ever in a posting titled, “Bo Obama: the True Meaning of Christmas.”

    Returning to the world of reality, this tells us the following…

    …White House holiday cards have not included the word ‘Christmas’ during the terms of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. It was not included in the final six years of former President Ronald Reagan’s term. This year’s card (December 2005) does not mark a departure from the practices of recent previous administrations.

    And while we’re on the subject of the alleged “war on Christmas” by The Roger Ailes BS Factory, let’s not forget that we have a case of “physician, heal thyself” as noted here.

    God bless us every one.


  • Wednesday Mashup (3/31/10)

    March 31, 2010

  • 1) Jim Hightower tells us here of Joseph Casias, a 29-year-old former employee of a Walmart store in Battle Creek, Michigan (one with an exemplary record, and “former” is the key word here of course).

    What happened? Well, five months ago, Casias developed a cancer that invaded his sinuses and brain, leading to what you might expect: a severe level of chronic pain, as Hightower tells us. However, Casias was able to do his job by using “a controlled dose of marijuana that his doctor prescribed to alleviate pain, a prescription that is perfectly legal under Michigan’s medical marijuana law.”

    Hightower continues…

    By carefully scheduling his daily dosage, Casias never came to work under the influence, and he never took the medicine on the job, so Walmart saw nothing but an employee performing well.

    Until last November. In a routine drug screening by the company, Casias tested positive for pot. He showed his state medical marijuana permit to the corporate cogs, but instead of using common sense or showing a smidgeon of human compassion, the managers mindlessly clicked into Program 420g, Section 21-mj (or some such) of corporate-code — and summarily cashiered Casias.

    Get Sick. Smoke Pot. Feel Better. Get Fired. Wal-Mart.

    Ugh…

    Well, here’s something to put in the “elections have consequences” file from last October…

    MONDAY, Oct. 19 (HealthDay News) — The Obama administration has decided it will no longer prosecute medical marijuana users or suppliers, provided they obey the laws of states that allow use of the drug for medicinal purposes.

    The new guidelines, which were to be sent in a Justice Department memo to federal prosecutors on Monday, are designed to give priorities to U.S. Attorneys who are pursuing drug offenders.

    “As a general matter, pursuit of these priorities should not focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana,” the memo states.

    During his campaign, President Barack Obama promised to change the government’s policy on the use of medical marijuana in those states that allow it. The administration of President George W. Bush had opposed the use of marijuana as medicine.

    “This is a huge victory for medical marijuana patients,” Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a nationwide medical marijuana advocacy organization, said in a prepared statement.

    And as noted here from last May, The Supremes upheld California’s medical marijuana law and said the feds did not have the right to supersede it, a departure from a 2005 ruling in which they claimed that the feds could do so.

    To me, it looks like our politicians and – reluctantly, perhaps – our courts are recognizing that this country has grown more amenable to legalizing pot over time, as reflected in this poll.

    And if those smiley-faced bastards refuse to do so…well, there’s always BJs and Costco, people.

  • 2) Also, since this week marks Holy Week in the Christian calendar as well as Passover in the Jewish calendar, I suppose it’s time for some wingnut site to post something about Obama and religion, and clownhall.com dutifully obliges here (and the line about “a different messiah than Obama” is just way too damn funny)…

    More than a full year after taking office and a handful of church appearances, President Barack Obama has announced that he and his family will not regularly attend a church here in Washington.

    …In the meantime, he’ll have to rely on the “spiritual guidance” of advisor Jim Wallis, who preaches wealth redistribution as “biblical justice.”

    Ordinarily, I could care less about whether or not politicians go to church, but I need to link once more to this article by Amy Sullivan to remind us all (as if we could’ve forgotten, I guess) of how Obama’s predecessor used his faith as a justification for every horrific decision he ever made (oh, and by the way, he never joined a Washington congregation either…and I’m not sure why the argument that both Dubya and The Sainted Ronnie R made – that they basically created too much of an intrusion by their presence – is good enough for those two, but not Obama).

    And another thing, according to Sullivan…

    Okay, Bush’s defenders say, but even if he did go to church, it’s tough for a president to be really involved with a congregation. He is, after all, running the free world. But, then again, he has spent almost 500 days on vacation over the past four years. You’d think some of that time could have been devoted to planning the next church social or sitting in on mission board meetings. Jimmy Carter found time to teach Sunday School at a local Baptist church while he was president.

    On the Sunday that I joined (Foundry Methodist Church), I was seated in the pew just in front of Bill and Chelsea Clinton. I spent the service listening to the president sing too loudly and slightly off-key (just like my own dad) with his daughter elbowing him (just like me). I turned around at the sound of scribbling during the sermon to see him jotting notes in his Bible. And when it came time for communion, I was powerfully affected. All of us–president, senator, student, welfare mom–drank from the same cup, shared the same sacrament. “His blood, shed for you,” was the sentiment offered to each of us. Shed for me, shed for the president, shed for any who would come forward. For the first time, I understood the humanizing (in every sense) and equalizing aspects of the act of communion.

    However, I honestly don’t believe Jessup actually cares about spirituality here (and based on this, I don’t think she cares a whole lot for legal due process either).

  • 3) And hey look, kids, The Weakly Standard is holding a contest (here)…

    Lots of great submissions to the haiku contest. The judges inform me that they’re also willing to accept haikus about politics in general, not just the EU or its haiku-loving president. So email wws [at] weeklystandard.com with your best haiku on Obama, the Democrats, or anything else and you may be the lucky winner of a year-long subscription to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

    ZOMG! A year-long subscription to The Weakly Standard? Why, that sounds like as much fun as a case of dry heaves after an Ipecac cocktail (…or, maybe not).

    And Haiku also? Gee, I wonder if any of these would qualify…

    Ah, Wingnuttia
    Truth mangled and read by drones
    God, I need a drink

    Teabaggers all hate
    Our President from “Kenya”
    Sarah Palin too

    Call our media
    Time to rouse the “sheeple” for
    Bill Kristol’s new war

    Here comes “Gramps” McCain
    Talks to the kids who will vote
    “You Get Off My Lawn!”

    Report on issues?
    So this country is informed?
    You must be crazy!

    Well, perhaps not.

  • 4) Finally, five years ago today, Terri Schiavo died; for the benefit of the handful of people on this earth who don’t know who she was, this HuffPo post provides a reminder, as well as background on issues surrounding end-of-life care (it’s hypocritical for me to remind people of the importance of a living will since I don’t have one either, but we all should).

    Also, this post linking to the story of the passing of Keith Olbermann’s dad earlier this month also contains commentary and information that we should consider when dealing with end-of-life planning issues.

    Lastly, though the Schiavo story was a human and legal tragedy first and foremost, there was most definitely a political component to it. Along with Hurricane Katrina and the drip-drip-drip of the Iraq catastrophe, it numbered the days of the ruinous conservative rule in this country, as Bill Frist, Mel Martinez, Jeb Bush and way too many others sought some kind of electoral advantage over it. It showed just how far the Repugs are capable of overreaching when they believe they have the upper hand, no matter how cringingly awful their excesses turned out to be (and for what it’s worth, it was one of the main reasons I started blogging, because I felt like I had to do something in response).

    The Schiavo story is a cautionary lesson for those who dream of a Republican electoral resurgence later this year. Don’t think it could never happen again if they were in charge once more.


  • It’s “More Health Care Hijinks” Monday!

    August 10, 2009

  • I stumbled across some truly wankerific punditry by Sheryl Gay Stolberg in the New York Times yesterday in which she attempted to draw a faux equivalency between the “teabaggers” disrupting the town hall meetings (with this as the next logical step in their hooliganism, unfortunately) and members of the SEIU and other Dem-simpatico organizations trying to ensure order at these meetings and make their points in favor of reform. And I was all set to lay into Stolberg for it, but the good people at Media Matters did it for me here (h/t Eschaton).

    However, it looks like Stolberg’s playmate John Harwood is picking up right where she left off here…

    Spontaneous or contrived, the shouting, shoving and other shenanigans at lawmakers’ town-hall-style meetings point to one probable outcome: the demise of bipartisan health care negotiations.

    Those negotiations have proceeded tortuously all summer, with centrists on the Senate Finance Committee maneuvering around obstacles erected by the Democratic left, the Republican right and the White House.

    And what exactly would those “obstacles” be, Harwood? The public option, for example, supported by 70 percent of those polled, as Bob Cesca notes here?

    Or, as noted here (from July 30th)…

    When given a fairly detailed description of the plan they are pushing, Americans registered strong approval, with 56% saying they favor the plan versus 38% who oppose it.

    Many of these details, such as requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, haven’t been the focus of the congressional debate, which has centered on more controversial issues.

    Americans are persuadable but are not sold on what they hear on the news. Specific plans sell, but the opposition is well financed and quite skilled at obstruction.

    Uh, yep. And continuing with Harwood…

    …the rowdy start of the August Congressional recess has galvanized activists on both ends of the ideological spectrum. That makes it tougher for negotiators to stake out a middle ground — especially in conservative locales that Democratic centrists call home.

    “There are groups that are out there trying to disrupt public meetings with specific strategies that they have put on the Internet,” Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and one of the Finance Committee negotiators, said in an interview. “I mean, is that what we’ve come to in the United States, that we’re going to have people basically functioning as thugs?”

    Do you see where Harwood is going with this? The bland descriptor “groups…with specific strategies” from Kent Conrad (a guy who, as noted here, laughed when ads were run in his district reminding him of how important it is to do this right and include a public option) is used to tar those on both sides of this debate equally. And that of course leaves it to the Democratic “centrists” (re: Evan Bayh’s coalition of cowards in the Senate and the hopelessly compromised “Bush Dogs” in the House) to ensure that nothing of substance actually occurs anyway.

    Harwood also tells us the following…

    The backdrop is political danger for the president’s party, with fat budget deficits and high unemployment increasing the risk of traditional midterm election losses. In Mr. Conrad’s view, 2010 “could be a very challenging year.”

    Uh, Kent? Try unsucking your thumb, do your job and forget about the midterms, OK? If you won’t deliver, then there’s no sense worrying, since the result could be a foregone conclusion.

    Revamping one-sixth of the United States economy without Republican help would compound those anxieties. Yet many Democrats perceive greater risk in failing to deliver as Washington’s governing party — and stand ready to act under special “reconciliation” rules that would heighten partisan tensions by blocking Republican filibusters.

    And by the way, do you know who supports using reconciliation personally doesn’t support reconciliation on health care (which the Repugs used to ramrod Dubya’s horrific tax cuts through Congress when they were in charge) but acknowledged that the Dems could use it (update from comment below)? That noted “liberal” Dr. Bill Frist (here), that’s who.

    Also, on the subject of how those supporting health care reform are part of the same amorphous blob standing in the way of their prized notion of “bipartisanship” (to Harwood and Conrad’s thinking), I should point out that I actually have viewed some YouTube videos filmed by conservatives in St. Louis and Tampa where misbehavior against them is alleged, and as is always the case with these people, the films are heavily edited, no one is identified, and what you inevitably see is the aftermath of something having occurred that we know nothing about.

    On the other hand, if you watch any video filmed by a progressive (Mike Morrill in particular), everything and everyone is identified, questions are asked and answers are provided (if the respondents reply, that is), and you have the full context of what is going on. I know this is obvious stuff to people who pay attention, but I thought it should be pointed out anyway.

  • And what would health care demagoguery be without more from J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times yesterday (here)…

    At the National Constitution Center a week ago, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter looked spectral as a crowd of hundreds booed and jeered him and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a “town hall” meeting on health care.

    Across the country, members of Congress have been confronted by constituents demanding answers to questions regarding the prospect that the Obama Administration intends a GM-style takeover of medical care.

    See, never forget that, as far as J.D. is concerned, those who stand up and make every effort to shout down a member of Congress or someone in the Obama Administration from speaking on this issue or addressing a legitimate constituent concern, to say nothing of resorting to violence (such as hanging a member of Congress in effigy), are not bought-and-paid-for thugs courtesy of Dick Armey or Rick Scott, among others. They’re “constituents.”

    Sure they are.

    Anyway, Mullane then decides to confront Bob Casey, Jr. on this since he’s been “laying low,” which – shockingly – makes sense for J.D. since Casey is on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, from which the Senate bill has originated (I believe there is only one bill in the Senate, but I’m not positive). And in so doing, Mullane does his very best “cherry picking” of the draft bill…

    …under “Shared Responsibility” (p. 103), it mandates each citizen to purchase health insurance, or be fined. This means if you are healthy and young and starting out life on a shoestring budget and you need to spend your thin resources on rent and car payments, Bob Casey, Jr. has a message: Tough. Pay us, kid, or else.

    Then, something bizarre. On page 411 under “Data Analysis, Detection and Quality,” the bill instructs the health and human services secretary to “develop standards for the measurement of gender.”

    Unless Sen. Casey and his committee colleagues have top secret information, there are only two measurements of gender: (A) male and (B) female.

    And as a result, according to J.D…

    Casey Jr. told (a Politico) reporter that he wants Pennsylvanians to know that 10 Republicans who sit with him on the Health, Energy, Labor and Pensions committee voted against the committee’s mammoth health care reform bill.

    Republicans voted against national health care? Gee, stop the presses.

    My response…

    I read pgs. 103-107 of the draft of the Affordable Health Choices Act, and I think the following should be noted (by the way, you cannot directly access the .pdf from Casey’s web site – you need to go from the Casey site to the HELP Committee site and find the link there).

    What Subtitle D – Shared Responsibility for Health Care discusses beginning on pg. 103 is the individual tax liability for anyone who didn’t have “qualifying coverage.” However, there are exemptions noted in the draft of the legislation, such as for someone who didn’t have qualifying coverage for less than 90 days, for someone who does not reside in a “participating State or an establishing State” (as such terms are defined in section 3104 of the Public Health Service Act…I read over the legalese on that, and I’m a bit fuzzy on it, to tell you the truth), someone who is an enrolled member of a federally recognized Indian tribe, someone for whom affordable health care coverage is not available, or someone for whom “a payment…would otherwise represent an exceptional financial hardship.”

    Also, under his “measurement of gender” remarks concerning pg. 411, I hate to break the news to J.D., but there are lots of LGBT individuals out there who have health care needs also and thus deserve coverage.

    Of course for good measure, Mullane harks back at the end of the column to Casey’s father who “chose principle over party – paid the price for it, too.”

    Well, as long as J.D. decided to mention Casey Sr., the following should also be noted about Senator Casey’s father, PA’s former governor (here)…

    He lobbied unsuccessfully for universal health care in his state, but, failing that, as The New York Times reported in its May 31 obituary, “he did sign a bill providing health insurance for children whose families were too poor to pay for it but whose incomes were too high to be eligible for public assistance.”

    So Bob Casey, Sr. supported universal health care in his state, for which he “paid the price” at the hands of PA’s Repugs, J.D.’s ideological playmates (and which Casey’s son is now trying to help enact on the national level)?

    Gee, stop the presses.

  • And finally, as a response to the tactics of the town hall meeting disruptors, at least one Dem congressman has had enough (here), from Stephen Hayes at The Weakly Standard)…

    “The war’s on,” Representative Baron Hill (D-IN) told the Indianapolis Star. And his opponents are “political terrorists.”

    Hill is not holding town hall meetings. Why? “I’m trying to control the event,” Hill said. “What I don’t want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions.”

    Hill is not alone. Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi believe that “drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.” Just like Democrats argued when they condemned unruly Iraq War protesters.

    I’m not aware of anyone protesting Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure in Iraq who ended up threatening anyone either face to face or over the phone, or who shut down a town hall meeting, or (as noted previously) ended up leaving a gun behind at one of their appearances.

    Some apples with your oranges, Hayes?


  • McBush’s Feeble Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac Attack

    September 19, 2008

    Never one to miss an opportunity to make political hay out of a catastrophe, John W. McBush tells us the following today (here, from the National Review Online)…

    Two years ago, I called for reform of this corruption at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Congress did nothing. The Administration did nothing. Senator Obama did nothing, and actually profited from this system of abuse and scandal. While Fannie and Freddie were working to keep Congress away from their house of cards, Senator Obama was taking their money. He got more, in fact, than any other member of Congress, except for the Democratic chairmen of the committee that oversees them. And while Fannie Mae was betraying the public trust, somehow its former CEO had managed to gain my opponent’s trust to the point that Senator Obama actually put him in charge of his vice presidential search.

    This CEO, Mr. Johnson, walked off with tens of millions of dollars in salary and bonuses for services rendered to Fannie Mae, even after authorities discovered accounting improprieties that padded his compensation. Another CEO for Fannie Mae, Mr. Raines, has been advising Senator Obama on housing policy. This even after Fannie Mae was found to have committed quote “extensive financial fraud” under his leadership. Like Mr. Johnson, Mr. Raines walked away with tens of millions of dollars.

    The former Fannie Mae CEO is Jim Johnson, who resigned as head of Obama’s vice presidential search team after it was revealed that he got a sweetheart deal on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial (as McBush acknowledges). And I believe McBush is also correct, amazingly enough, about Obama ranking #2 in donations, with Chris Dodd at #1 (and how is that an issue anyway? Is McBush serious about alleging corporate influence in the Obama campaign? Just how many lobbyists work for McBush at this point anyway, about a thousand??!!).

    And by the way, former Fannie Mae chairman Frank Raines has issued the following statement in response: “I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters.”

    All of this is corroborated by Time’s Swampland reporter Karen Tumulty here, in her story about McBush’s latest vile campaign ad, implying some nefarious activity between Obama and Raines while an elderly white woman appears distressed and vulnerable.

    Of course, if McBush had been interested in accuracy, as Tumulty reports, it could have shown Obama and Johnson, but it didn’t because Johnson is white and Raines is black, and what McBush is going for is a racial smear as opposed to a legitimate shot over Johnson’s role in the Obama campaign.

    And I’m not going to bother researching how much money Johnson and Raines got for “walking away” (though, as you can read here, being told by a company to go away and receiving way too much damn money to do so is a familiar scenario for at least one senior McBush adviser).

    Instead, I want to take note of this “call for reform of the corruption” that McBush is talking about (and actually, it was over three and a half years ago, not two – also, has anyone noticed besides me how McBush flails away at everyone in sight when he has a hissy fit? Otherwise, why on earth would he blame “the administration”?).

    This takes you to information on S. 190, the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005 (and as you can see, the sponsor of the bill was Senator Chuck Hagel, though McBush was a co-sponsor). It was introduced on January 26, 2005.

    Pop quiz: which Congress was in session at that time? The current 110th Democratic congress? The 108th?

    Nope – it was the utterly-beyond-useless 109th, my friends (as it states on the linked page).

    The fact that this bill was introduced but never scheduled for debate isn’t the fault of the Democrats. Hell, it isn’t even Dubya’s fault, for a change.

    It’s the fault of the ReThuglican Congress that never bothered to move it along! And they could have done so easily since they, being the majority party, ran all the committees! Blame then-Majority Leader Bill “Cat Killer” Frist for never scheduling a debate over it!

    Using allegations of malfeasance against your opponent to launch sickening racial attacks is no more going to solve this mess than it will win the election for you (and by the way, Hunter at The Daily Kos has some similar concerns here also – and if you think this latest stunt is going to improve these numbers, McBush, you’re crazier than I thought).

    Update: “As we have done” indeed.


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