Monday Mashup (1/7/13)

January 7, 2013

(I know I’m a news cycle or two behind on some of this stuff, but this is the best I can do.)

  • It looks like I’m not the only one who thinks that PA Governor Tom “Space Cadet” Corbett’s lawsuit against the NCAA on behalf of Penn State isn’t a stinking dead dog of a case (here)…

    There have been a lot of embarrassing days for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and, by association, Penn State, but Wednesday was the worst of all.

    After months of trying to heal from the most horrifying scandal and cover-up in the history of American colleges and universities, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett undid a year’s worth of goodwill by announcing in a bizarrely timed news conference that the state is suing the NCAA to overturn the strong Jerry Sandusky scandal sanctions Corbett himself welcomed less than six months ago.

    The crux of Corbett’s case is that the unprecedented NCAA sanctions were “overreaching and unlawful” and an “attack” on the economy of the state.

    But, on July 23, 2012, Corbett welcomed the NCAA sanctions, saying, “The appalling actions of a few people have brought us once again into the national spotlight. We have taken a monster off the streets and while we will never be able to repair the injury done to these children, we must repair the damage to this university. Part of that corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed by the NCAA on Penn State University and its football program.”

    So which one is it, Governor? This couldn’t have anything to do with trying to convince football coach Bill O’Brien to stay at Penn State and not bolt to the NFL, could it? (Although, after that performance Wednesday, one would think O’Brien would know that ripping the scab off the terrible wounds at Penn State is the last thing that will encourage already wary recruits to commit.)

    Christine Brennan’s well-done article in USA Today also points out the following…

    The fact that Corbett has the audacity to say these things with a straight face is mind-boggling. One could even ask why he’s still the governor, because his actions – inaction, actually – played an integral part in the entire, horrifying Sandusky saga. Corbett was the attorney general when his office took over the Sandusky case in early 2009. As we know now, even then, there was plenty of graphic and stunning testimony from at least one young man, then known as Victim No. 1, not to mention the story of another victim that had been covered up for 10 years.

    Yet it took Corbett’s state prosecutors nearly three years to charge Sandusky.

    Nearly three years.

    And to answer the question Brennan poses above as to the real reason behind this utterly pointless lawsuit (to say nothing of a waste of taxpayer money), she tracks down one of the biggest pieces of the proverbial puzzle by pointing out that a certain Tom Corbett was indeed PA’s attorney general while the Sandusky monstrosities were happening. Also, as noted here, Corbett needs to shore up his base as they say for an upcoming gubernatorial re-election bid, trailing a generic Democrat 47 to 37 percent.

    USA Today also tells us that Corbett has yet to discuss the suit with incoming PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who is facing a bit of a test on this issue herself. If she caves and goes along, then that will speak volumes as to how much she truly cares about the rule of law versus political expediency (and let’s not forget that she stood mute during Corbett’s “fetal ultrasound bill” nonsense while her Dem challenger Patrick Murphy rightly stood up and decried another hateful right-wing stunt…for now, though, Kane deserves the benefit of the doubt).

    (Oh, and an update here tells us that Corbett first went along with the NCAA sanctions against Penn State but has apparently changed his mind because he didn’t have all the information in front of him at first, or something – no word in the story as to whether or not Corbett’s nose grew when he said that.)

  • Next, Jeffrey Goldberg concocted the following in the Philadelphia Inquirer (here)…

    Myth: Renewing the assault-weapons ban is the clear answer.

    By my definition, any device that can fire a metal projectile at a high rate of speed into a human body is assaultive. How deadly a shooting is depends as much on the skill and preparation of the shooter as on what equipment he uses. It may be beneficial to ban large-capacity magazines and other exceptionally deadly implements. But we shouldn’t be under the illusion that this will stop mass killings.

    I know of no one arguing that that is the case; the issue is trying to make it as difficult as possible for those killings to take place. And as Think Progress points out here

    One of the principal weapons used by James Eagan Holmes in the horrific Dark Knight Rises shooting would have been subject to a series of sharp restrictions under the now-expired federal Assault Weapons ban. The AR-15 rife carried by Holmes, a civilian semi-automatic version of the military M-16, would have been defined as a “semiautomatic assault weapon” under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. If the law was still in force, semiautomatic assault weapons would have been outright banned.

    The post also tells us that there were loopholes in the 1994 bill that allowed gun manufacturers to legally produce slightly modified AR-15s, though a 2008 bill closed them.

    The Inky piece above is a little less wanker-ific for Goldberg on this subject relative to his other tripe; as noted here about another gun column he wrote for The Atlantic…

    Goldberg’s macho obsession reveals itself further in the stories he tells of shootings in progress that were allegedly stopped by good guys with guns. It’s telling that in every single one of these stories, he seriously misrepresents the facts — check out (Salon’s Alex) Seitz-Wald’s piece for the details of this.

    In fact, in the real world, it is very rare for people to successfully defend themselves with guns when they are unexpectedly attacked; indeed, such attempts often prove counterproductive. Seitz-Wald has more on this, but I urge you to check out this fascinating video, which illustrates the general point. Overall, the serious health and safety risks of owning a gun almost always outweigh the negligible benefits. That is generally true at the individual level. It is definitely true on the level of society as a whole.

    And yet, Goldberg is simply incapable of thinking clearly on this point. Instead, he spouts libertarian gibberish and wanks off to macho fantasies about whipping out his penis substitute and blowing the bad guys away. Toward the end of the article, he writes, “I am sympathetic to the idea of armed self-defense because it does often work” (not!) and “because encouraging learned helplessness is morally corrupt.”

    Does Goldberg believe that the majority of Americans, including a large majority of American women, who do not own guns are “morally corrupt”? What, exactly, is “morally corrupt” about leaving the business of armed defense to the trained professionals in our police departments and military who make this their life’s work? Isn’t one of the fundamental reasons of forming any kind of government in the first place to provide for a common defense, instead of having to bear the totality of that burden all by yourself? Did Goldberg ever take political science 101?

    Maybe not, or maybe for Goldberg, common sense is merely a “suggested elective.”

  • Continuing, it looks like the corporate media campaign to proclaim the Speaker of the U.S. House as a Republican statesman of some type is kicking into overdrive, with Ross Douthat of the New York Times performing a bit of fluffery noted here.

    Aside from Douthat’s ridiculous attack on Chris Christie for “Governor Bully” rightly calling out Boehner for refusing to hold a vote on aid primarily to New Jersey and New York as a result of Hurricane Sandy, we also get this from the Times’ conservative quota hire columnist…

    …Boehner has done his country a more important service over the last two years than almost any other politician in Washington.

    That service hasn’t been the achievement of a grand bargain with the White House, which he has at times assiduously sought. Nor has it been the sweeping triumph over liberalism that certain right-wing activists expect him to somehow gain. Rather, it’s been a kind of disaster management — a sequence of bomb-defusal operations that have prevented our dysfunctional government from tipping into outright crisis.

    I think it’s hilarious to read this from Douthat as he utterly whitewashes Boehner’s role in contributing to “dysfunctional government” that has risked “tipping into outright crisis” (please note the following)…

  • Here, Boehner basically made noise to the effect that he would take the debt ceiling hostage again in upcoming negotiations, even though he said here that doings so in 2011 would lead to “financial disaster.”
  • Here, Boehner allowed another vote to repeal the health care law, this one from Moon Unit Bachman (Boehner could have put his foot down and said no, but of course he didn’t want to risk the almost-perpetual rage of the Teahadists).
  • This tells us that Boehner’s supposed “Plan B’ at deficit reduction would have cut taxes for the richest 1 percent of earners and raised them for the poor (as Atrios and many others have pointed out, the Repugs claim to care about the deficit, but in fact they want to use that as a cudgel to attack “New Deal” and “Great Society” social programs).
  • Here, Boehner said that there’s “no difference” if revenue comes from the middle class or the super rich (the latter has had a nice, cushy ride for the last 10 years at least).
  • Here, Boehner threatened filibuster reform, which is particularly funny since that has nothing to do with the U.S. House, but it is a matter for the U.S. Senate.
  • There’s a lot more I could get into about Orange Man and how he has done more than his share to contribute to the utter mess in Washington, but instead of listing it all, I’ll merely link back to here if you want to read further (and here is another example of Douthat acting as the press secretary for another Republican politician, perhaps the most infamous one of this still-new century).

  • gwb_13-george-w-bush

  • And speaking of Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History, The Daily Tucker propagandized as follows recently (here, using the business of Fluffy Head bringing the illegal ammunition onto “Meet The Press” despite being warned by the D.C. police not to do so)…

    (David) Gregory’s soft-glove treatment of Obama stands in contrast to the media’s treatment of President George W. Bush in 2003, and especially before the 2004 election.

    Shortly before the 2004 election, Bush was slammed by numerous media outlets for not securing the large stockpiles of weapons in Iraq. For example, in late October 2004, the New York Times ran front-page articles about missing weapons from the Al Qaqaa, creating a mini media scandal.

    But before and after the 2012 election, Obama escaped scrutiny from the established media outlets.

    Number One, I don’t know what that previous sentence even means. Number Two, trying to draw a comparison between the attack in Benghazi which, tragically, claimed the life of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others and the missing Al Qa’qaa explosives is particularly ridiculous. As Wikipedia tells us here (quoting from a Frank Rich New York Times column in May 2005)…

    It’s also because of incompetent Pentagon planning that other troops may now be victims of weapons looted from Saddam’s munitions depots after the fall of Baghdad. Yet when The New York Times reported one such looting incident, in Al Qaqaa, before the election, the administration and many in the blogosphere reflexively branded the story fraudulent. But the story was true. It was later corroborated not only by United States Army reservists and national guardsmen who spoke to The Los Angeles Times but also by Iraq’s own deputy minister of industry, who told The New York Times two months ago that Al Qaqaa was only one of many such weapon caches hijacked on America’s undermanned post-invasion watch.

    Staying with Number 43 for a minute, “The Pericles of Petticoat Junction” alleged here that Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in Libya dismantled his WMD because Saddam Hussein did also. In response, this tells us that Gaddafi first said he’d do that in December 2003, when the debate about Saddam Hussein and his alleged WMD was still raging (more is here).

    And while we’re still on this wretched subject, Jennifer Rubin of the WaPo tells us here that Dubya is supposed to be such a humanitarian…please; I guess the wingnuts have given up on the “Bush bounce” at last and are merely settling for a “bump” at this point.

    In response, this tells us that, over a year since we left Iraq under the SOFA, there are still about 500,000 “displaced persons” (i.e., refugees) as a result of the war of choice in Iraq waged by President Obama’s wretched predecessor.

  • Finally (switching back to sports), this tells us that the NHL lockout is over, the third of its type over the 20-year reign of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

    I hope you’ll excuse me if I’m not bubbling over with joy at the moment.

    Of course, many “Stepford” Flyers fans in this area are deliriously happy at this moment, if the social media activity is any indication. They can’t wait for the orange-and-black to hit the ice again.

    Count me out (and I think this covers a lot of how I feel about this).

    Of all the professional sports leagues, the NHL can probably afford this type of a spat between players and management the least mainly because of the comparative pittance the sport generates in TV revenue versus MLB, the NFL or the NBA. And while I’m not totally enamored with the players’ role in this mess, it should be noted for emphasis that they did not strike during any of the three stoppages, but were locked out by ownership each time.

    And I guess it would make me a bit too much of a cynic to put out the possibility at least that maybe the owners decided to cave a bit because they realized they were losing too much money.

    It really gets me, though, that, as I said, there are far too many people in this area of the country who are just willing to let bygones be bygones and put down the dough for a ticket to a Flyers game like nothing ever happened.

    You know what? There are lots of venues for college or minor-league professional hockey out there that you can support if you love the game (the Trenton Titans for one are closer to my turf), and you won’t have to wonder if the entire league will shut down when it comes time once more to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. And you’re bound to have a seat closer to the action (ice hockey, on any level, remains a truly great live spectator sport).

    And that is all I will support when it comes to ice hockey for a little while. The NHL took all of the excitement and interest it has generated in the game to date (helped in no small measure by the great run of the Los Angeles Kings that led to their first-ever Stanley Cup win last season) and pissed it down the drain. Now they have to win me back (and firing Bettman would be a nice first step in that direction).

    I don’t like hostage taking when it comes to politics. And I certainly don’t like it when it comes to our professional sports also.


  • Wednesday Mashup (9/29/10)

    September 29, 2010

    Some of these are a few days old, but this is my first chance to say anything in response…

  • 1) John Harwood of the New York Times told us the following recently (here)…

    Mr. Obama aims to use President George W. Bush’s record in the same way Mr. Reagan used Mr. Carter’s. It was Mr. Bush and his Republican allies in Congress, he tells campaign audiences, who drove the economy “into a ditch.”

    The velocity of contemporary media, not to mention its ferocity, may render that argument more difficult to make. In the ever-advancing news cycle, on cable television and the Internet, news tends to get old faster.

    Soo…Harwood is arguing that the Internet will make people forget who created the mess that Obama inherited?

    Not according to this.

  • 2) Also, Marc Thiessen, in the midst of some shockingly sensible commentary, provided what I thought was a hilarious observation here…

    The arrival of conservative insurgents will fundamentally transform the Senate in other ways. Some of the worst bills in the Senate get approved by unanimous consent, which means all it takes is one senator to object. Today, for example, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma wages a lonely campaign for fiscal discipline by objecting to authorization bills where spending increases are not offset by spending cuts elsewhere. But it gets tiring being the skunk at the garden party every week. Soon there will be a raft of newly elected senators willing to join him in saying “no” to bad legislation.

    This tells us that Coburn is holding up a food safety bill costing $1.4 billion because he claims that the bill isn’t paid for. Of course, no immediate calculation is available telling us how much it would cost to hospitalize victims of something similar to the recent egg contamination outbreak were that to occur again – my guess is that it would cost more than $1.4 billion (And as far as I’m concerned, Coburn’s supposed fiscal prudence is more Beltway media mythology – how about cutting $95 million in useless “abstinence only” funding, as noted here?).

    What I object to most in Thiessen’s column, though, is the notion that, in the god awful event that people such as Ken Buck, Sharron Angle, etc. were actually elected to the Senate, they would restore some kind of fiscal rectitude.

    In response, I think we should look at a hero of the teabaggers from a few months ago, and that would be Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts. As noted here (hat tip to lynnrockets.wordpress.com)…

    WASHINGTON — Senator Scott Brown says he will fight to fund a multibillion-dollar weapons program that could generate jobs in Massachusetts but that the Pentagon insists it does not need, sparking criticism that Brown is breaking his campaign vow to rein in wasteful spending.

    The Bay State Republican’s support for General Electric’s bid to build a backup engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter puts the new senator in the middle of a confrontation over congressional earmarks with the Obama administration, which has threatened a presidential veto if Congress inserts funding for the engine for the fifth year in a row.

    “This is yet another example of how ‘fiscally responsible’ lawmakers have a giant blind spot when it comes to defense spending in their districts,’’ said Laura Peterson, a senior national security analyst at Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan budget watchdog group that monitors earmarks. “His support was clearly driven by parochial concerns rather than financial ones.’’

    “If Scott Brown helps out GE he will be doing exactly the opposite of what he said he would do when he ran,’’ said Loren Thompson, a defense budget specialist at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va., which is supported by multiple defense firms, including Pratt & Whitney.

    And in another related “pot, meet kettle” development, I give you this.

  • 3) Finally, Joe Pitts was given more online real estate at Tucker Carlson’s Crayon Scribble Page recently to concoct the following (here)…

    The first objective of the Pledge to America is to create jobs, end economic uncertainty, and make America more competitive. This means standing against job-killing tax hikes that are due to take effect on January 1, 2011. Our plan calls for growing new and existing small businesses through a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their business income. We also need to repeal the burdensome new tax-reporting requirement created by the health care reform bill.

    As noted here…

    Republicans forecast disaster when the Democratic Congress and President Bill Clinton raised taxes in 1993, and forecast rising prosperity when taxes were cut in 2001. Both forecasts were wrong.

    From the end of 1993 through the end of 2000, the American economy grew at a compound annual rate of 3.9 percent. Since then, the average rate has been 1.6 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose at a compound rate of 13.1 percent a year during the first period, assuming reinvestment of dividends. Since then investors have not even broken even. Of course, there is no way to know what would have happened had tax laws not changed in those years.

    Pancake Joe also tells us…

    The Pledge calls for an immediate stop to stimulus spending. Over $200 billion remains unspent and we must act quickly to prevent more waste. This also means permanently cancelling the TARP bailout program and returning the money to the Treasury.

    As the New York Times noted recently here in a fine editorial about the “pledge,” the recent Dodd-Frank amendment in financial reform legislation prohibited more TARP funding.

    The editorial also tells us the following…

    While it promises to create jobs, control deficit spending and restore Americans’ trust in government, (the “pledge”) is devoid of tough policy choices. This new “governing agenda” does not say how the Republicans would replace revenue that would be lost from permanently extending all of the Bush tax cuts, or how they would manage Medicare and Social Security, or even which discretionary programs would go when they slash $100 billion in spending. Their record at all of these things is dismal.

    The best way to understand the pledge is as a bid to co-opt the Tea Party by a Republican leadership that wants to sound insurrectionist but is the same old Washington elite. These are the folks who slashed taxes on the rich, turned a surplus into a crushing deficit, and helped unleash the financial crisis that has thrown millions of Americans out of their jobs and their homes.

    Not only are the players the same, the policies are the same. Just more tax cuts for the rich and more deficit spending. We find it hard to believe that even the most disaffected voters will be taken in. But again, these are strange and worrying times.

    Returning to Pitts…

    One way to get back to balanced budgets is to repeal the healthcare law. Contrary to White House claims, the Congressional Budget Office and Medicare’s own actuaries have shown that Obamacare will not pay for itself. This new law will be an extraordinary weight on government, businesses, and, most importantly, doctors and patients. We are committed to repealing the law and replacing it with free-market solutions.

    No word on whether or not Pitts wants to “repeal” the defense budget, for example, and replace it with “free market solutions” (many expenditures in the budget will not pay for themselves and are “an extraordinary weight”…of course, Pitts con-vee-niently singles out one of his favorite targets).

    Meanwhile, in the matter of the financing of health care reform, the following should be noted (here)…

    (The Congressional Budget Office) has finished its work and will release the official preliminary score…But here are the basic numbers: The bill will cost $940 billion over the first 10 years and reduce the deficit by $130 billion during that period. In the second 10 years — so, 2020 to 2029 — it will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. The legislation will cover 32 million Americans, or 95 percent of the legal population.

    And if Pitts had read the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) report that was released in April of this year, he would know that increases in national health expenditures are largest in 2016 and “gradually decline thereafter” (here).

    Update 10/1/10: As noted here, HCR is “paid for” anyway, so Pitts’ entire talking point looks particularly ridiculous.

    When I think of the GOP’s “pledge,” I think of a household product of the same name that applies a shine to furniture, but does nothing to structurally reinforce the product to which it is applied. And in terms of making something look attractive without implementing economically sound fundamental fixes, I think of the GOP’s “pledge” in about the same way.

    Once more, to help Lois Herr, Joe Pitts’ Dem opponent for his PA-16 U.S. House seat, click here.


  • 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.


  • Tea Party Mythology Versus Reality

    February 12, 2010

    I think this opinion column illustrates the corporate media disconnect over those teabaggin’ wingnuts pretty well, particularly the following…

    Nearly every household and business in America has curtailed spending over the past few years. Some, dramatically. The only place where profligate spending remains popular is in Washington. Politicians wonder what’s fueling the rage behind the “tea party” activists who feel the government is out of control. Then they turn around and add another zero or two to the massive debt that taxpayers are responsible for.

    (Trying to run the government like a business, including cutting spending 25 percent, an idea put forward in this column) would not be a pragmatic strategy. It would be remarkably cynical, because any president proposing something so draconian would know it had zero chance of getting through Congress. Charges of populism would fly. Political advisers would panic because of all the Americans whose livelihood would be threatened and votes potentially lost.

    But it would delight the tea partyers and lots of other Americans who are appalled at politicians who keep spending taxpayer money, apparently clueless about the privations that many Americans are enduring.

    As you can see, the teabaggers are being presented as allegedly sane bunch of methane dispensers whose primary concern is supposedly out-of-control government spending (no, I don’t like adding to the deficit either, but this is what you’re supposed to do when faced with an economy currently dealing with 10 percent unemployment, in an effort to create jobs – 10 freaking percent, people!).

    Well, I would argue that the pics below from some of these “tea parties” tells an altogether different story (though I agree that someone here is “clueless,” all right).

    And finally…

    (Funny, but I always thought that word was spelled with an “e.”)

    As you can see, government spending has very little to do with what motivates these life forms. It is pure hate of an African American president who is trying to rescue this country from the carnage of the ruinous Bushco reign, as well as the political party to which he belongs (and if you don’t want to believe me, read this).

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled propaganda.

    Update 2/17/10: What the hell is it going to take until we start treating these people like the dregs that they truly are (here)?


    Friday Mashup (11/27/09)

    November 27, 2009

  • 1) I don’t know if anyone else noticed that the New York Times was able to discover some typos on the menu for the state dinner the White House recently held for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and his wife, Gursharan Kaur (with CNN taking note here).

    However, what would really impress me would be if they weren’t quite so brainless in their feature writing (here), to say nothing of acting as a propaganda conduit for global warming denialists (here).

  • 2) Also, get a load of the latest from U.S. House Minority Leader John “Man Tan” Boehner here…

    At every turn this year, Republicans have offered better, fiscally-responsible solutions to tackle the immediate challenges facing the American people, including an economic recovery plan that would have created twice the jobs at half the cost, a budget that would impose strict caps to limit federal spending on an annual basis, and the only health care bill that would cut the deficit and consistently reduce federal spending on health care over the next two decades.

    When Boehner is referring to “fiscally-responsible solutions,” would he be talking about the budget alternative noted by Nate Silver here (the one with, like, no actual numbers in it)? You know, something containing all the worst ideas from right-wing “think tanks” (here)?

    And when he’s talking about an alternative health care bill, is he referring to the one noted here, with “eight or nine ideas” posted on the RNC web site?

    Yes, busting on Boehner in this way is like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel, but he makes the temptation irresistible when he continues to peddle such obvious nonsense.

  • 3) And finally, former Dubya speechwriter Michael Gerson laments the demise of journalism today in the WaPo (here – hint; as far as Gerson is concerned, it’s the fault of those darned U.S. bloggers who mostly don’t report from war zones and cable TV).

    Oh, and by the way, what exactly are the “lies” of Dan Rather to which Gerson refers, I wonder (here)?

    Such pontifications are actually funny from someone like Gerson, who, as noted here, ignored a speech President Obama gave to evangelicals and then accused Obama of not reaching out to them.

    And as noted here, Gerson said Obama should “come out strongly for policies reducing the number of abortions,” even though did just that. And this tells us how Gerson inflated his role in the development of his former boss’s AIDS initiative in Africa, otherwise known as PEPFAR, which, as I noted here, had strings attached all over the place.

    Oh, and this discusses the phrase “pulling a Gerson” (linked to the post)…

    “Gerson is a ‘planner,’ not a ‘plunger,’” a 2005 National Journal profile noted, “meaning that he makes a meticulous outline, which he consults during the writing process.” This is true, and equal care and intensity went into crafting the Gerson image. Colleagues were not in the outline, nor were the normal standards of discretion in White House speechwriting. People have a way of disappearing in Mike’s stories. The artful shaping of narrative and editing out of inconvenient detail was never confined to the speechwriting. (The phrase pulling a Gerson, as I recently heard it used around the West Wing, does not refer to graceful writing.) And though in (Gerson’s book) Heroic Conservatism (ugh!) Mike has doubtless offered a kind word or two for speechwriting colleagues, no man I have ever encountered was truer to the saying that, in Washington, one should never take friendship personally.

    And as noted here, Dubya and his pals (including Gerson) “came into office determined to tightly control the flow of information,” which is the life blood of any decent journalist (a stretch in Gerson’s case, I know).

    So the next time Gerson decides to go “tut-tut” over the “slow, sad death” of the profession to which he claims to be a member, he ought to take a good, long, hard look at himself in the mirror first before he ever decides again to waste our time with such sickeningly self-righteous drivel.


  • Our Corporate Media’s Tortuous “Trillion Dollar” Obama Tale

    August 26, 2009

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    This story tells us the following…

    WASHINGTON – In a chilling forecast, the White House is predicting a 10-year federal deficit of $9 trillion — more than the sum of all previous deficits since America’s founding. And it says by the next decade’s end the national debt will equal three-quarters of the entire U.S. economy.

    But before President Barack Obama can do much about it, he’ll have to weather recession aftershocks including unemployment that his advisers said Tuesday is still heading for 10 percent.

    (Funny, but I don’t recall hearing stories like this about 10-year budget projections when Obama’s predecessor took up space in An Oval Office.)

    But concerning the story, we find out the following near the end…

    At the same time, 10-year budget projections can be “wildly inaccurate,” said (former BCO official Stan) Collender, now a partner at Qorvis Communications. Collender noted that there will be five congressional elections over the next 10 years and any number of foreign and domestic challenges that will make actual deficit figures very different from the estimates.

    And of course, since we’re talking about the AP after all, God forbid that they omit the “Ooga Booga!” scare graf in the lede, right? And who cares whether it’s 100 percent factually correct.

    Yes, this is bad stuff, I know. But considering that Obama inherited a $1.3 trillion dollar deficit, only a teabaggin’ fool would believe he could turn that around in a mere matter of months.

    And of course, for good measure, former Bush economic advisor N. Gregory Mankiw chimes in here that it may be $14 trillion (past Mankiw ignominies on behalf of the former Bushco cabal are documented here).

    Also, I fail to understand yet again why Mankiw is considered some kind of an economic sage, since he surely should have known what would happen to the deficit as a result of Dubya’s Medicare Part D scam, noted by Brad DeLong here (and wasn’t it “Deadeye Dick” Cheney who told us here that “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter”).

    Fortunately, we have the reality-based commentary of Paul Krugman (here)…

    As I’ve pointed out, (the deficit is) bad, but it’s not horrific either by historical or international standards. On a comparable basis, federal debt hit 109 percent of GDP at the end of World War II, and hit a second peak of 49 percent at the end of the Reagan-Bush years. And a number of European countries have hit substantially higher debt levels without crisis.

    The only reason to fear these numbers is if you believe that our political system is broken, and that markets will soon come to see it that way. Then we could become a debt-intolerant country, and all bets are off. So it’s not really the debts per se, or even the economy; it’s the politics, stupid.

    Meanwhile, what everyone should be focused on is the sheer awfulness of the economic projections. OMB has unemployment still at 9.7% at the end of 2010; still at 8% at the end of 2011. These numbers cry out for a more aggressive economic policy. If that’s politically impossible, we’re really in terrible shape.

    “Stimulus Two,” anyone?


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