Friday Mashup Part One (7/23/10)

July 23, 2010

  • 1) Christine Flowers tells us here today that, as long as the Obama Administration is apologizing to former USDA worker Shirley Sherrod for their overreaction to the doctored videotape from Andrew Breitbart of Sherrod’s speech to the NAACP, they should apologize to Alberto Gonzales also (and speak for yourself about “short-memory spans,” Christine)…

    Given our short memory spans, here’s a brief recap. Toward the end of the Bush administration, the Gonzales-led Department of Justice was criticized for firing a handful of U.S. attorneys over what liberals called “political reasons.” (Here’s where we insert the word “duh,” this being Washington and all.)

    Democrats were up in arms about the firing of prosecutors who they maintained had lost their jobs not for legitimate reasons but for their refusal to toe the Bush line. Notable among the firees was David Iglesias, accused of being soft on voter fraud in New Mexico. (He went on to parlay his dismissal into a lucrative career doing books, interviews and op-eds in the New York Times.)

    Which, of course, automatically makes Iglesias guilty of rank opportunism as far as Flowers is concerned – speaking of the Times, they had a lot to say about why Gonzales should resign, which he eventually did, here (some of this is repeated in posts that appear below).

    (Also, the third bullet here tells us who else wrote to the Times.)

    Continuing…

    In response to the uproar, which reached a crescendo during the run-up to the presidential election, the Department of Justice in 2008 assigned Nora Dannehy, a career prosecutor, to investigate the firings. Dannehy had a strong history of uncovering official corruption and was viewed by both liberals and conservatives as a straight-shooter.

    This was no exception. While acknowledging that the Justice Department was wrong to have fired Iglesias without bothering to get all the facts about the accusations against him (hmm, sounds familiar, White House . . . controversy . . . half the facts . . . pink slip!), Dannehy concluded that no crime had been committed and there was no effort to influence prosecutions, as Democrats had long alleged.

    Oh yes, Abu G. was merely a victim of Bushco circumstance, as it were, all this time; this post about his eventual hire at Texas Tech University for a job recruiting minority students and teaching a junior-level poli sci course touches on the ways that he fronted for the Bushco gang (more here) – and the fact that he wasn’t hired by a law school speaks volumes (interesting that Christine ignores that – yet another occasion where lawyer Flowers chooses to cast a blind partisan eye concerning her ostensible area of expertise).

    And as noted here by Glenn Greenwald, Gonzales tried to argue that he was innocent in the 2004 DOJ dispute over warrantless surveillance because he approved only of “data mining” of the calls as opposed to the surveillance of the calls themselves; spying on the calls of American citizens in the way Gonzales approved (and the manner objected to by former AG John Ashcroft as well as Robert Mueller of the FBI and deputy AG James Comey) was then illegal under FISA, though the Democratic congress, to their eternal shame, amended FISA to basically let Gonzales off the hook.

    Comparing Shirley Sherrod with Alberto Gonzales is typically monstrous Flowers demagoguery…just add this to her bilious pile of literary dreck.

  • 2) And speaking of journalistic hackery, J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times linked to this L.A. Times story about trying to resurrect the “public option” in health care reform as a deficit-reduction measure (with typically “brilliant” insight, Mullane dismissed it with the remark that “Nov. 2 can’t get here fast enough”).

    Well, I hate to break the news to you, J.D., but it would lower the deficit in a big way; this post tells us it would save $400 billion, and this from Media Matters tells us that it would “reduce the federal budget deficit by about $15 billion” in 2020 and would save “about $68 billion” through 2020.

    Of course, I’m sure that, by 2020, you won’t have a job as a pundit any more because of your paper’s loss of circulation, leading to its extinction (doesn’t give me a kick to say that, but I can’t imagine any other outcome, seeing as how they continue to allow you space to propagate your brand of wingnuttery, among other reasons).

  • 3) Finally, this from the Democratic Party tells us the following about Wingnut Pat Toomey, running as a Repug for the U.S. Senate from PA…
  • Even as the BP oil crisis raged on, (Toomey) advocated for expanding offshore drilling — and in the past has said that regulating oil companies “borders on the criminal.”
  • He voted to allow drilling in the Great Lakes, even though the amount of oil the BP oil spill crisis has leaked into the Gulf would contaminate every drop of Lake Erie, a source of drinking water for millions.
  • He is running a campaign funded by special interests. He’s pulled in $851,489 from Wall Street and $54,950 in donations from the oil and gas industries — including the largest donation that Halliburton’s PAC made in May.
  • Under his watch, the Club for Growth spent about $10 million on a publicity campaign to privatize Social Security; Toomey lamented that it was a “pity” that Bush’s proposed privatization “couldn’t be implemented sooner.”
  • After making a fortune trading derivatives on Wall Street, he wrote legislation repealing key laws that kept banks and investment firms separate — spurring massive deregulation that led to the economic crash.
  • In response, to help Admiral Joe, click here.

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    Thursday Mashup (12/10/09)

    December 10, 2009

  • 1) The Philadelphia Inquirer Op-Ed board wrote the following today (from here)…

    One would think political leaders would have learned some lessons in the wake of the scandal surrounding the firings of U.S. attorneys in the George W. Bush administration.

    But apparently Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) and some of his colleagues didn’t get the memo about restoring confidence in the Justice Department.

    Turns out Baucus, 67, nominated his girlfriend to be the U.S. attorney in Montana. Melodee Hanes, 53, a top aide to the senator, was one of three names Baucus submitted for the plum post earlier this year.
    Hanes later withdrew her name from the list, and President Obama nominated one of Baucus’ other choices to be the top federal prosecutor in Montana.

    I’ll grant you that this doesn’t quite pass the “smell test,” nor does Baucus’ explanation that he submitted Hanes’ name as a Montana federal prosecutor in February, but reconsidered when their relationship “intensified” in March, with Hanes ultimately settling in the Justice Department (and the press played no role in this whatsoever – uh huh).

    But, true to fashion, the Inquirer tried to hammer the proverbial square peg into the round hole here by invoking the U.S. Attorneys’ scandal under the previous administration (and how cute is the Inky here only noting cases of Democratic patronage, because, as we know, IOKIYAR).

    As nearly as I can tell from the individuals the Inky lists here who benefited from their connections, here’s the difference: these people are all competent professionals (including Brendan Johnson, son of Dem Senator Tim of South Dakota, as noted here). The problem in the attorneys’ scandal wasn’t that the fired attorneys weren’t competent – they were, including David Iglesias – but that, as Max Blumenthal of HuffPo notes here, they were replaced (or, at least, that was the plan, perhaps not completely realized) by Bushco bottom-feeders (graduates of Pat Robertson’s phony-baloney law school, including Monica Goodling at the DOJ who was in charge of staffing) who would have no problem bringing political-only cases to try and discredit Democrats.

    When the DOJ under Eric Holder decides to engage in these tactics, let me know. Otherwise, Inky, save your self-righteous indignation for Adam Lambert, Tiger Woods, or this city’s thug/murderer/crooked politician of the week, OK?

  • 2) Not to be outdone, though (and fresh from its dunderheaded decision to allow Just Plain Folks Sarah Palin column space on its Op-Ed page to do her full-mooner global denialist bit – or, as Jon Stewart has said, “Poor Al Gore, undone by the very Internet he invented…oh, the iron-nee!”), Kaplan Test Prep Daily (otherwise known as the WaPo) allowed Kristol Mess to opine on President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech today.

    And in a startling development for anyone who actually isn’t an ideological quisling and neocon enabler, Kristol believes that what Obama said mirrored a speech by Number 43 in 2002.

    Before I say anything, though, I’ll merely present the same excerpts and let you decide.

    “proliferation may increase the risk of catastrophe. Terrorism has long been a tactic, but modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murder innocents on a horrific scale….

    “We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.

    “But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation,…I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms.

    “So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace….

    “But it is also incumbent upon all of us to insist that nations like Iran and North Korea do not game the system. Those who claim to respect international law cannot avert their eyes when those laws are flouted. Those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of an arms race in the Middle East or East Asia. Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war.”

    — President Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize speech, Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10, 2009

    Now, here’s former Commander Codpiece…

    “Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction….

    “North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.

    “Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom….

    “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.

    “We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction….

    “We’ll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”

    — George W. Bush, State of the Union speech, Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2002

    Now I don’t know about you, but I checked out on what Kristol said as soon as Dubya mentioned WMD.

    Out of curiosity, though, I decided to do a search on some keywords between the two speeches, and I think this actually shows even more how dissimilar they are (and if a keyword appears under one list but not another, such as “protect,” it’s because I could find it in only one of the speeches…didn’t see the point in listing a 0)…

    Obama:

    Law (or some variation) – 1
    Protect -1
    Defend – 1
    War – 2
    Danger – 1
    Threat (or some variation) – 1
    Rage – 1
    Peace – 2
    Al Qaeda – 1

    Bush:

    Terror (or some variation) – 6
    Weapon (or some variation) – 6
    Danger – 3
    Destruction (or some variation) – 4
    Hate (or some variation) – 1
    Starve (or some variation) – 1
    Freedom – 1
    Threat (or some variation) – 3
    Al Qaeda – 0
    Peace – 1

    Yep, as far as Kristol’s wankery is concerned, this is indeed a case of “plus ça change.”

  • Update: I realized later that I made an exception to the “0” thing with the al Qaeda reference, but that’s the only one.

  • 3) Also, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm is back to tell us the following (here, speaking of Palin – trying to mention her a time or two before I try honoring my New Years’ Resolution to ignore her)…

    Almost nearly not quite one-in-five Americans believes (sic) that President Obama has accomplished enough to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize that he had to go to Norway in December to collect.

    At this point, my attitude is “yeah, whatever”; I mean, it’s not as if Obama hasn’t already pointed out that he’s not sure he deserves it either (actually, I think Obama has more of a problem with this, which I thought was uncharacteristically bad form).

    But once more, Malcolm uses this as an opportunity to try and get a good word in for “Sister Sarah”…

    Meanwhile, the favorability rating of Republican Sarah Palin, an unemployed itinerant author, have climbed back up to 46% from a summertime low of 39%.

    I’ll just ignore for now the fact that Palin has absolutely nothing to do with Obama and point out, yet again, that Malcolm is wrong based on this (and “honorary peace prizes” available to all who just ignore him for the wanker he is – just because I take it upon myself to call out this hopeless partisan doesn’t mean anyone else is obligated to also).

  • 4) And finally, over at The Hill, Repug U.S. House Rep Frank Lucas inflicted the following nonsense here…

    We like to say that we have the safest, most abundant, most affordable food and fiber supply in the world. But this isn’t just a boastful expression, it is a reality. Our farmers and ranchers are responsible for feeding folks living in our country and throughout the world.

    But, cap and tax legislation threatens that safe, abundant and affordable food and fiber supply. The agriculture industry, as we know it, will not survive under the heavy burdens of a cap and tax policy.

    Actually, as you read Lucas’ screed, you find that he incorrectly used the proper phrase “cap and trade” three times instead of the Frank Luntz-approved “cap and tax.” Lucas had better be careful, or else he’ll get sent back to “the factory” for reprogramming.

    In response, I give you the following (here)…

    Lucas’ concern is short term, about decreasing profit for farmers due to increases in the cost of farming and ranching, assuming that farming technology will not respond to the incentive for increased efficiency by becoming more efficient. But he ignores the larger picture. What happens if global warming is allowed to proceed as greenhouse gases skyrocket? What happens to Oklahoma? According to Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science the future will look like this:

    With severe drought from California to Oklahoma, a broad swath of the south-west is basically robbed of having a sustainable lifestyle.

    And Lucas is acting in a particularly brainless fashion when you consider that his state was a big part of the “Dust Bowl” in the 1930s, a phenomenon which, as noted here…

    … was caused by severe drought coupled with decades of extensive farming without crop rotation, fallow fields, cover crops and other techniques to prevent erosion.

    And as noted here…

    Opponents complain that the bill would be too costly, raising the prices of energy, fuel and consumer goods. That’s based on the mindless notion that doing nothing to fight climate change would have zero economic cost. Yet if the globe warms as much as climatologists predict, the cost of adapting would dwarf the cost of prevention. A report released last week by the U.S. Global Change Research Program found that, without efforts to stem the problem, average temperatures in the U.S. could rise by 7 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. The result: large-scale flooding and destruction along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, ruined crops in the Midwest, rampant fires in California, worsening incidence of insect-borne and plant diseases, skyrocketing heat deaths and a host of other woes.

    For what it’s worth, I should note that I started blogging around the middle of 2005, and I would guess that I’ve probably posted about a couple of dozen times at least about global warming, including this one. And at this point, despite the many, many, many, many, many times I’ve presented scientific evidence to support what I say, the climate change deniers have, if anything, gathered steam in response to the vast majority of people who understand the scientific basis in fact behind the claim that something should have been done about this years ago and must certainly be done about it now.

    And at this point, I don’t feel like being tolerant towards the deniers any more.

    Anyone who argues that global warming isn’t occurring is a stone-cold moron. You’d have better luck trying to convince me that gravity doesn’t exist and the earth doesn’t revolve around the sun.

    And who cares how much of it is man made (quite a bit, I believe) or not? Why does that somehow reduce the urgency as to whether or not we should act in response?


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