Friday Mashup (9/21/12)

September 21, 2012

  • Memo to Time Magazine: Even though the Repugs have obstructed legislation in the Senate in an unprecedented fashion, they are not officially in charge of that body in the legislative branch, despite the implication in your headline.
  • And speaking of Time, I came across this column on the recent finding by the Inspector General that Eric Holder and President Obama are blameless in the matter of the “Fast and Furious” gun walking operation; it’s basically a sensible piece, except for this knuckle-headed attempt at false equivalency…

    (Department of Justice Inspector General, Michael Horowitz) does dispense with one unsubstantiated claim from the left side of the aisle. Some Democrats have said Fast and Furious shows lax gun laws are to blame for the weapons trafficking that contributed to agent Terry’s death. Horowitz finds that prosecutor Hurley and ATF agents in the case did believe they didn’t have sufficient probable cause to seize weapons during Fast and Furious, and Horowitz rejects their “narrow view” of “the quality and quantity of evidence that was necessary to take enforcement action.”

    But ultimately Horowitz says it was not the legal view that prevented ATF or U.S. prosecutors from interdicting the guns in Fast and Furious, but a tactical and strategic decision to let the guns walk in order to pursue higher-ups in the gun-running, drug-smuggling and money laundering operation they were investigating.

    I supposed what Horowitz (or Time writer Massimo Calabresi) is saying is that, on some level, the “tactical and strategic decision” to continue the “gun walking” would not have continued if those who made that decision believed that laws were being broken…ergo, no law could have prevented the tragedy? Perhaps, but am I missing something? How about a bigger ATF budget for operational enforcement for starters?

    Calabresi’s column on this subject is a studious work, though, compared to that of Jake Tapper of ABC, who basically chides Obama here for blaming gun walking operations on our prior ruling cabal, even though Tapper makes no mention of Operation Wide Receiver, which predated F&F (and speaking of F&F, isn’t this interesting?).

    Much of the right-wing hectoring over this, though, had to do with some supposed Obama plot to enforce stricter gun control measures (here), which, sadly, is not likely to ever occur (and here is a shocking candidate for the voice of reason on that subject, since the Party of Obama has, except for folks like Frank Lautenberg and Carolyn McCarthy, basically punted on this life-or-death issue).

  • Turning to the subject of racism by the Teahadists (more “water wet, sky blue” stuff I know), I still think this is beyond the pale…

    …a Tea Party group is now threatening to exact revenge upon the (PA) state supreme court for refusing to uphold a law that prevents many low-income, student and minority voters from casting a ballot:

    Oh, and did you know that the New Hampshire Teahadists have been supposedly collecting data on “voter fraud” for years (here)? Any idea where this “data” is located? “Grant’s Tomb,” perhaps? Or maybe a mayonnaise jar underneath Funk and Wagnalls’ porch (a dated “Tonight Show” reference)?

    Or how about the Tea Party Voter ID antics in Ohio, as noted here? Or the Teahadists’ claim that there are supposedly 30,000 “dead voters” in North Carolina, which has resulted in all kinds of headaches for polling station workers trying to figure out whether or not that claim is actually true (here)?

    Let’s dispense once and for all with the ridiculous notion that voter ID laws are aimed at “voter fraud,” shall we? Their aim is to disenfranchise Democratic voters. Period. Full stop.

    And yes, that is indeed racist (gosh, how shocking for a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger such as yours truly to point that out! I may faint!).

  • Next, I give you more hackery from Investor’s Business Daily (here)…

    Politics: The White House claims two ex-SEALs killed in Libya were inept security guards.

    You know what? Let’s just stop it right there, OK?

    This tells us that the Obama Administration is conducting an investigation into the Benghazi embassy attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, among others, the State Department is setting up an independent panel for that purpose as well, and the National Counterterrorism Director testified about the attack at a Senate committee hearing.

    We just got through a bunch of wingnut bloviation on Fast and Furious. Let’s not start over the embassy attack also, OK (yes, I know – I can dream, can’t I?).

    Update 9/23/12: Here’s more on one of the “inept security guards” (the bar is set pretty low with Investor’s Business Daily to begin with, but they still sank too low to reach even that).

  • Finally, it looks like the Potential Repug Presidential Nominee in 2016 haz a sad (here)…

    Asked to weigh in on Mitt Romney’s comments about not caring about 47 percent of Americans, Gov. Christie today went after the media.

    “Some people in the media should just turn in their media credential and get an Obama For President credential the way they focus on things that people said back last May.

    Gee, I wonder if this has anything to do with Governor Bully’s latest snit? Say buh-bye to a high-profile slot in a (God help us) Romney-Ryan administration if he can’t deliver The Garden State for The Mittster.

    Tee hee hee…


  • Monday Mashup Part One (5/17/10)

    May 17, 2010

    Three items from “the old gray lady” here, people…

  • I’m usually a fan of Gail Collins of the New York Times, but I have to wonder what she was thinking when she wrote the following in an otherwise sensible column on Saturday…

    “Do you support allowing people to carry loaded guns into an American airport?” Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey asked the attorney general at a recent Appropriations Committee hearing.

    The proper answer to this question would seem to be: “Huh?” However, Eric Holder is a dignified guy, so he settled for “very worrisome.”

    Lautenberg has a knack for proposing laws against things that most people would presume were illegal already. You may remember him from such past hits as “Let’s Not Let Convicted Felons Buy Weapons at Gun Shows” and “Don’t Sell Assault Rifles to People on the Terrorist Watch List.”

    Neither is anywhere near being passed. Or even coming up for a vote.

    Yeah, well, as noted here, people on the terror watch list are able to buy guns about 91 percent of the time, though the NRA rank-and-file membership (which has just about always acted more sensibly than its leadership) basically disapproves of this idiocy (here).

    Also, this story in the Times tells us that the U.S. Senate voted to allow Amtrak passengers to carry unloaded and locked handguns in checked baggage (and as I noted at the time, Amtrak train baggage is not “checked,” and anyone who thinks it is has obviously never ridden on Amtrak, or else they would know better…update: please see comment).

    Neither Collins nor anyone else should “presume” what is illegal and what isn’t. That’s exactly how the wingnuts are successful, by filling that information void with their propaganda that gets repeated to the point where it becomes “conventional wisdom.”

  • Also, it appears that John Harwood has been doing hallucinogenic drugs again, or something, based on this…

    Three United States Senate primaries on Tuesday offer new signs of the election-year intentions of America’s dyspeptic voters.

    A few voters, anyway.

    By the way, for those of you who haven’t eaten a Thesaurus for lunch or something, I should point out that “dyspeptic” means disgruntled.

    In Kentucky, Rand Paul’s bid for the Republican nomination will again test the strength of the Tea Party right against the establishment, represented by Trey Grayson.

    In Arkansas, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter’s attempt to oust the incumbent Democrat, Senator Blanche Lincoln, will measure the left’s resistance to compromise in the age of Obama.

    Oh, that’s cute (and Harwood then goes on to talk about Specter and Sestak in PA and how that race could show whether or not “partisan inconstancy is too much to bear”).

    If Harwood would decide to give a rest to his wankery for a minute and do some actual reporting, he would learn, among other things, that the Arkansas Democratic primary is actually a three-person contest between Lincoln, Halter and D.C. Morrison, the “Ralph Nader” candidate, if you will (harking back to Bush/Gore 2000…still painful, I’ll admit), who has zero chance of winning, though he could take just enough votes away from Lincoln in particular to keep her from getting 50 percent of the vote and thus force a runoff between her and Halter in June (all of this, along with more of Lincoln’s putrid record, is noted here).

    Also, the supposed “resistance to compromise” by “the left” has not a damn thing to do with an odious ad sponsored by a business group sympathetic to Lincoln criticizing Halter for offshoring of jobs to India; the highly questionable veracity of the ad is noted here, along with the fact that, though Lincoln has criticized it, that hasn’t stopped her from using imagery from the ad in a mailer (unfortunately, the ad appears to have succeeded in its goal so far; it is particularly galling for Lincoln to imply that she gives a damn about workers in this country when she opposes the Employee Free Choice Act).

    I sincerely hope that Harwood’s readers don’t grow “dyspeptic” over his preoccupation with “resistance to compromise” and “partisan inconstancy” as opposed to the reality point of view.

  • Finally, I give you The Moustache of Understanding (here)…

    … in a world where our demand for Chinese-made sneakers produces pollution that melts South America’s glaciers …

    Uh, you wanna run that one by me again, Mr. “The Mall Is Flat” (and by the way, how did the stock of General Growth Properties do last week)?

    So it’s supposed to be our fault that the sneakers we may buy at a big-box retail store come from some country made by someone paid a starvation wage under conditions of oppression most of us cannot imagine?

    In response, I give you David Sirota (here)…

    This is Tom Friedman’s world view – a view that has made him the shining star of what economist Jeff Faux calls “The Party of Davos.” It is a view we see not only in his writing about the UAE, but in his book “The World Is Flat.” His vision is of a world that is terrific for wealthy people like Friedman. He writes glowingly of booming metropolises in India, China and the UAE. But he refuses to go even one inch beneath the alluring veneer and actually look at day-to-day life for non-elites in the countries he trumpets as “modernizing models.”

    That’s not by accident, because Friedman is not stupid. His utopia is a world where a tiny handful of very rich people use “free” trade to move their capital wherever they please, exploit the most oppressed workers on the planet, and underwrite dictatorships who disenfranchise citizens. It is a world where the term “shared prosperity” means hundreds of billions of dollars being shared only between a tiny group of sheiks, dictators, businessmen and political elites. It is a world where the President of the United States simultaneously talks about his supposed desire to spread democracy, then publicly fawns all over the world’s worst dictators, and then wonders why anti-Americanism is on the rise.

    That world is a dream for someone like Friedman – it means he and his fellow class warriors get to continue living the high life, no matter how much anti-Western resentment their rhetoric and policies breed throughout the world, no matter how much economic destruction they are wreaking on ordinary people.

    And oh yeah, Friedman also says “We’ve become absorbed by shorter and shorter-term thinking.”

    As in “the next six months”?


  • Top Posts & Pages