Friday Mashup (8/31/12)

August 31, 2012
  • I guess I should start with the proverbial low-hanging fruit, and it’s hard to go lower than Michelle Malkin (here)…

    While all eyes were on the Republican National Convention in Tampa and Hurricane Isaac on the Gulf Coast, the White House was quietly jacking up the price of automobiles and putting future drivers at risk.

    Yes, the same cast of fable-tellers who falsely accused GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney of murdering a steelworker’s cancer-stricken wife is now directly imposing a draconian environmental regulation that will cost untold American lives.

    It’s almost too easy when even the OMIGOD-What-Will-Chris-Christie-Do-Or-Say-Next Philadelphia Inquirer provides the rebuttal, but they do here

    …for an estimated 500,000 people, the mandate that automakers achieve an average fleet fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 also means they’ll be driving to new jobs.

    Many of those jobs will be generated by Detroit, as automakers invest $300 billion in tooling up to build better vehicles, but independent experts predict that other industries will also add jobs as a result of the fuel standards.

    Beyond that, the benefits to the environment will be seen in reduced smog. And the nation should become more secure by being less dependent on foreign oil.

    Given those gains, it’s unfortunate that partisan politics still have Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an ideological box on this issue. Romney campaign officials this week called the new fuel standards “extreme,” due to the added cost of producing cleaner cars.

    In fact, the mileage standards have earned support from automakers and environmentalists alike. President Obama smartly united the groups by sticking to an aggressive mileage goal while at the same time assuring General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and automakers that the policy would get a sensible, mid-course review.

    Maybe the only thing extreme about the process was its success.

    (Media Matters has more on this here.)

    Oh, and one more thing – Joe Soptic lost his health insurance when his company was taken over by Romney and Bain Capital and he was booted. After that, his wife lost her job due to a shoulder injury (losing her insurance), and she was diagnosed with cancer afterwards. So yes, there is no direct cause-and-effect relationship between Soptic losing his insurance and his wife dying from lack of coverage.

    But can we all agree that Soptic losing his insurance certainly didn’t help his wife’s battle with cancer? (If you want to read more about this, click here…and yes, Glenn Kessler of the so-called “respectable” corporate media really is that big of a dick – and with typical Malkin understatement, she alleges that Obama is saying that Romney killed Soptic’s wife, when of course nobody is saying that, nor, to my knowledge, has anyone on the Obama side ever said that.)

  • Next, Louie Gohmert and The Daily Tucker combined for more idiocy here, including the following…

    Gohmert drew on an observation of former U.S. Navy Admiral Mike Mullen that “our biggest national security threat is our overspending. But there are other national security threats. We’ve had thousands killed and the media’s not talking about it. We need to talk about it.”

    “There have been thousands killed since this president took over — thousands of our military,” Gohmert added. “They beat up on [George W.] Bush every day another soldier was killed. They were out there showing coffins and things. But not with this president.”

    “This president has put in place rules of engagement, that certainly were put there under his command, that are getting our people killed.”

    Gohmert went on to observe Obama’s public promise to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014. The president, he concluded, has “left these guys out there with rules of engagement that don’t allow them to adequately defend themselves.”

    The Texas Republican calls those rules of engagement “politically correct stuff.”

    For the record, this tells us that the Afghanistan rules of engagement were put in place by former Gen. (and head of U.S. forces there) Stanley McChrystal and were modified by incoming Gen. David Petraeus after McChrystal left (and how sad is it for Gohmert that it was so easy to refute him that Fox did it?)

    Yes, people, water is wet, sky is blue, and Louie Gohmert is still the stupidest life form in the entire galaxy (more evidence is here).

    Also, though this is a bit tangential (but it does have to do with foreign policy), I’ve withheld comment until now on the story of the Navy SEAL who basically outed himself as one of the members of the team that killed Osama bin Laden when he wrote a book about it (and by the way, I don’t care if bin Laden was unarmed when he was shot). And I hadn’t planned to say anything until I read this defense of Fix Noise for publishing his name from “Z on TV” himself, David Zurawik.

    Soooo…Fox “did nothing wrong” even though Zurawik admits that he has a “low regard” for the network? And Zurawik thinks Penguin Group, the book publisher, is just “a big commercial publishing house that exists first and foremost to make money”? And I suppose the Fox TV network is a non-for-profit enterprise, then? And Zurawik quite rightly doesn’t trust Fox, to the point where he waited for corroboration on the SEAL’s name from the AP – that’s fine, but doesn’t “Z” realize that Fox let the genie out of the proverbial bottle, not the AP, and it would have been awfully difficult for the AP to try and put the brakes on that story? And Zurawik also says that “anyone who writes such a book has no reasonable expectation of privacy”?

    Gee, under that logic, then “All The President’s Men” by Woodward and Bernstein (of course) should never have seen the light of day, since Mark Felt (who outed himself as Deep Throat before he died) should have had “no reasonable expectation of privacy”?

    As noted here, the SEAL who went public with his identity (his pseudonym is “Mark Owen”) so he could get a book published blaming Obama has subsequently put his life in danger for it. And that is unfortunate.

    Yes, he served his country, and he deserves our thanks. But am I the only one who thinks that going public like that was a pretty damn stupid thing to do, if for no other reason than because people who don’t like us can now use that information to try and go after his family, friends, and other service members who once served with him?

  • Continuing, I should note that I read this about Puppy-Dog-Eyes-With-The-Shiv-In-His-Pocket Paul Ryan’s speech the other night, and I’m glad to see that he has been busted on the myriad lies and half-truths he uttered in front of an audience of willing sycophants and TV viewers, some of which I’m sure may be (and perhaps still are) undecided.

    The point of me commenting like this isn’t to add to the chorus of people proclaiming quite rightly that Ryan is a liar. Here’s what I’m wondering about; Ryan tells everyone who will listen that he’s a Roman Catholic.

    Well, aside from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (who also quite rightly have said that what Ryan espouses has nothing to do with their faith and the faith that Ryan claims to practice, or words to that effect, here), where is the voice of the head of the archdiocese of Ryan’s congressional district?

    Well, apparently Tom Gallagher of the National Catholic Reporter was wondering the same thing; the following is an excerpt from here (dated last May)…

    I looked up Rep. Ryan’s congressional district in Wisconsin and to determine whether it was within the Milwaukee archdiocese’s jurisdiction or within the jurisdiction of the Madison diocese. I emailed the Offices of Communication for both dioceses and asked for a clarification.

    I wanted to see whether Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee or Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison have publicly reached out to Rep. Ryan to discuss his “moral failure” of a federal budget proposal and his acute misunderstanding of Catholic social teaching.

    What I found was both interesting and distressing.

    Instead of hearing back from (Julie) Wolf (communications director for the Milwaukee archdiocese), I heard from Jerry Topczewski, who it turns out is a seasoned public relations executive and chief of staff for Archbishop Listecki. He offered this response:

    “Archbishop Listecki has not made any public statements that I am aware of regarding the budget proposal nor, to my knowledge, has he spoken to Congressman Ryan regarding the budget proposal. Although a portion of Congressman Ryan’s congressional district overlaps the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Congressman Ryan lives in the Diocese of Madison. Recently, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the USCCB, made some comments regarding the budget proposal in a response to a reporter’s question. You may want to review his comments.”

    I followed up with this email question:

    Is it accurate to conclude then that Archbishop Listecki plans no formal engagement with Rep. Ryan with respect to the Congressman’s “understanding” of Catholic social teaching and Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal?

    Mr. Topczewski: “No.”

    My next follow-up email question:

    So going forward, will Archbishop Listecki publicly engage Rep. Ryan about his ‘understanding’ of Catholic social teaching and its application to the federal budget?

    Mr. Topczewski: “I haven’t asked him.”

    My next email question:

    Will you kindly present my questions to Archbishop Listecki and ask him to respond to the questions?

    Mr. Topczewski: “It is Confirmation season, so the Archbishop’s schedule is very busy. If I get the chance to ask him, I will let you know.”

    I asked if I could have responses by this past Friday so I could file this story, but I have not heard back. If Mr. Topczewski responds to these questions, I will be sure to give him and Archbishop Listecki plenty of space.

    Gallagher’s story also tells us that Morlino’s office said “This is an issue where the Congressman [Ryan] speaks well for himself. He is very aware of the demands of lay mission in the Church and he is free to carry that mission out as he does. There is no need for us, nor are we in a position, to enter into this discussion.”

    Oh, and did I point out that Archbishop Listecki referred to the church as a “corporation” here (as an astute commenter noted, if Listecki really believed that, then why does the church still have tax-exempt status…Update: The corporation comment probably same from the same mindset as this)?

    So basically, on the issue of Paul Ryan’s thorough and complete misunderstanding of Church teaching on the economy, the Catholic Church hierarchy (in Ryan’s district in this case) did what it does best…

    Heckuva job.

    Update 9/1/12: Say Amen, somebody (here).

  • Finally, did you know that Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History has “moved on with his life”? That’s what his brother said here the other night at the Repug Smear Fest And Misinformation Festival in Tampa…

    “He has moved on with his life,” (Jeb) Bush said. “I send him emails once every two weeks to say, ‘all I meet are people that love you,’ which is true. I am not making that up. In this hall people were saying, ‘I worked for your brother, history will prove him right on a lot of things.’ There’s a lot of goodwill for George W. Bush, but he also knows that he needs to stay out of the way. Back to this idea that you blame W. for everything: the common cold, breakout bacne (sic?), rain; so I think he smartly has taken a step back and let the Romney-Ryan ticket take the attention that they deserve.”

    Oh, and did you know that Jeb also said, in essence, that President Obama needs a “spanking” here? What a professional comment to direct at the head of state.

    And I’m so happy that Dubya has “moved on.” Aren’t you?

    I wonder if the families and friends of the victims of his completely and totally unnecessary war in Iraq have “moved on” too?

    I mean, it’s not like Dubya couldn’t ask them and find out. All he has to do is search this list for some names. He could use that as a starting point and then do what he does best, which is to turn over a tiresome chore (in this case, tracking down the people to ask) to somebody else.

    Actually, I could help him out with that. Dubya is supposedly living in a Dallas suburb now. Well, according to this list, Peter Burks, Simon Cox, Brian Grant, and Jeffrey Green all came from Dallas. He could pick up the phone, call some people and he wouldn’t even have to dial out of his area code. And it’s not like he doesn’t have the spare time on his hands these days.

    But of course, he’ll do nothing of the sort. And that’s because the Republicans don’t want the reality of real people experiencing real problems to penetrate their bubble of unreality, where, as Bill Maher famously said, “the only thing that gets in is Fox News and the only things to come out are misspelled signs and babies.”

    With that in mind, I have a question: how can we expect a party of unreality to know how to govern on the national level in the world of reality?

    That should be a question all of us ask in the voting booth this November.

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    Monday Mashup Part One (6/28/10)

    June 28, 2010

  • 1) In response to this pic, I only wish to ask the following question…

    This is CNN?

  • 2) Also, Tyler Cowen of the New York Times wrote an entire column yesterday about our economy with not a single mention of this country’s chronic unemployment (here).

    Meanwhile, in the reality-based community, Paul Krugman gives us the following (here)…

    We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will nonetheless be immense.

    And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world — most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting — governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.

    In the face of this grim picture, you might have expected policy makers to realize that they haven’t yet done enough to promote recovery. But no: over the last few months there has been a stunning resurgence of hard-money and balanced-budget orthodoxy.

    As far as rhetoric is concerned, the revival of the old-time religion is most evident in Europe, where officials seem to be getting their talking points from the collected speeches of Herbert Hoover, up to and including the claim that raising taxes and cutting spending will actually expand the economy, by improving business confidence. As a practical matter, however, America isn’t doing much better. The Fed seems aware of the deflationary risks — but what it proposes to do about these risks is, well, nothing. The Obama administration understands the dangers of premature fiscal austerity — but because Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress won’t authorize additional aid to state governments, that austerity is coming anyway, in the form of budget cuts at the state and local levels.

    And who will pay the price for this triumph of orthodoxy? The answer is, tens of millions of unemployed workers, many of whom will go jobless for years, and some of whom will never work again.

    What a shame that those in the “pain caucus” such as Cowen, who seem to have no problem whatsoever with a national unemployment rate of 9.7 percent, apparently can’t or won’t find an appreciation for the plight of those worse off than they are.

  • 3) And in the department of corporate media illogic, Ross Douthat of the Times tells us the following today about Afghanistan (here)…

    Advocates of a swift withdrawal tend to see Biden as their ally, and in a sense they’re right. His plan would reduce America’s footprint in Afghanistan, and probably reduce American casualties as well.

    But in terms of the duration of American involvement, and the amount of violence we deal out, this kind of strategy might actually produce the bloodier and more enduring stalemate.

    It wouldn’t actually eliminate the American presence, for one thing. Instead, such a plan would concentrate our forces around the Afghan capital, protecting the existing government while seeking deals with some elements of the insurgency. History suggests that such bargains would last only as long as American troops remained in the country, which means that our soldiers would be effectively trapped — stuck defending a Potemkin state whose leader (whether Hamid Karzai or a slightly less corrupt successor) would pose as Afghanistan’s president while barely deserving the title of mayor of Kabul.

    At the same time, by abandoning any effort to provide security to the Afghan people and relying instead on drone strikes and special forces raids, this approach would probably produce a spike in the kind of civilian casualties that have already darkened America’s reputation in the region.

    Shorter Douthat…

    We have to stay in Afghanistan and execute McChrystal’s counter-insurgency strategy, including rules of engagement that allow our people to get killed easier than they might otherwise, because if we pull out (and Heaven forbid we execute some cowardly li-bu-ruul strategy like that), we’ll just have to go back in and start all over, and in the process, kill more people than we are now. Is that about right?

    But just remember that Douthat tells us that “success is the only way out.”

    With all of this in mind, I give you the following from U.S. House Rep Dennis Kucinich (here)…

    In a little more than a year the United States flew $12 billion in cash to Iraq, much of it in $100 bills, shrink wrapped and loaded onto pallets. Vanity Fair reported in 2004 that “at least $9 billion” of the cash had “gone missing, unaccounted for.” $9 billion. Today, we learned that suitcases of $3 billion in cash have openly moved through the Kabul airport.

    One U.S. official quoted by the Wall Street Journal said, “A lot of this looks like our tax dollars being stolen.” $3 billion. Consider this as the American people sweat out an extension of unemployment benefits. Last week, the BBC reported that “the US military has been giving tens of millions of dollars to Afghan security firms who are funneling the money to warlords.” Add to that a corrupt Afghan government underwritten by the lives of our troops. And now reports indicate that Congress is preparing to attach $10 billion in state education funding to a $33 billion spending bill to keep the war going. Back home millions of Americans are out of work, losing their homes, losing their savings, their pensions, and their retirement security. We are losing our nation to lies about the necessity of war.

    Bring our troops home. End the war. Secure our economy.

    Amen to that.


  • Monday Mashup (10/5/09)

    October 5, 2009

  • I have to tell you that I, for one, am already sick of this narrative that “ooh, Obama suffered such a loss of prestige over visiting Copenhagen to lobby on behalf of Chicago for the 2016 Olympics, only to see Chicago eliminated in the first round” (and this reads like it was dictated directly from the RNC…why don’t you try commenting on some of this instead?).

    As noted here, “Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Spanish King Juan Carlos (also came) to support Rio de Janeiro and Madrid” in their bids for the Games, with da Silva eventually winning the Rio bid.

    Which, to me, begs the following question: I wonder if King Juan Carlos suffered a “loss of prestige” over the elimination of Madrid?

    And as Think Progress notes here, the tourist Visa policies instituted by Dubya and his pals may have had more than a bit to do with the “Windy City’s” early elimination, though I’m sure you won’t hear a word of that from our beloved corporate media (more related commentary from Paul Krugman appears here, in which he quite rightly compares the Repugs to “bratty 13-year-olds” on this and other matters).

  • Update: And it will be interesting to see how our corporate media spins this against Obama, though they will try of course.

  • This Pew study tells us what we already knew, and it is that most stories having to do with everyday Americans were absent from the coverage of the economic crisis (and by the way, speaking of strange media coverage, can anyone hazard a guess as to why the Inky decided to publish a column by former sports columnist Bill Lyon about former Phillies closer Brad Lidge in its “Currents” section yesterday, which is supposed to pass for Sunday Review and Opinion?).
  • I just have three words to say in response to this: pot, meet kettle.
  • Another point over which Obama has been beaten up lately is the supposed controversy over speaking directly with Gen. Stanley McChrystal “only once since June” (not counting recently), reiterated by Turd Blossom here as part of Obama’s alleged “hands off” style (yes, I know this is about what we can expect from the supposed political genius whose fingerprints are all over our current foreign policy and domestic miseries).

    (By the way, let’s not forget that McChrystal is Number 47 on this list.)

    Of course, being a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, I would consider President Obama’s interactions with his generals as nothing more than following the chain of command. But what do I know?

    bushmiers
    You want a portrayal of “hands-off style,” Karl? Here it is, you dirtbag (based on this, and we know what happened a month after this photo was taken – your good buddy decided to go “clear brush” for awhile and then go and sit dumbfounded in a Florida classroom while this country burned).

  • And comparing Obama to his predecessor once more, it should be noted that (from here), our current president has chosen not to meet with the Dalai Lama, a move intended to avert the rage of our “good friends” the Chinese.

    However, Obama’s predecessor did decide to meet with the Tibetan leader, as noted here. And before you think to yourself that, “gee, Bush actually had a spine on this while the ‘aloof’ Obama…another pointless editorial slam disguised as news aimed at Number 44…didn’t,” consider that Bush had to more or less make amends with the country holding the vast majority of our debt by attending the Olympic games in Beijing last year in the face of protests from other countries over China’s atrocious record on human rights.

    You tell me who made the right moves here and who didn’t.


  • Wednesday Mashup (9/30/09)

    September 30, 2009

    Obama_Crist

  • So it looks like Repug Florida Governor Charlie Crist, running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by Mel Martinez, is trying to play to the base by claiming that President Obama will fall victim to a “Carter-esque loss” in 2012 here (recalling the loss President Carter suffered to Reagan in 1980).

    Putting aside Crist’s ridiculous attempt at political prognostication for a moment, I would say that his pronouncement (funny when you consider how Crist smartly supported Obama on the “stim” earlier this year, pictured above) has a lot more to do with this than anything else.

    This is how the Republican Party treats anyone showing any impulse for moderation whatsoever. And this is why their only possibility of electoral success lies with Democratic cowardice in the face of positions of popular support, to say nothing of failing to make the case for party causes not enjoying that support (and sadly, either prospect is always a possibility).

  • kaganohanlon31

  • Here is some spin from this New York Times article today about President Obama and his supposed communication problem with Afghanistan U.S. commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal by Times reporter Peter Baker…

    Questions about Mr. Obama’s relationship with General McChrystal have percolated for weeks, following reports that the administration delayed his troop request and kept him from testifying before Congress. “Someone has to explain what the strategy is,” said Frederick W. Kagan, a military expert at the American Enterprise Institute. “I think it’s important for the American people to hear from the commander.”

    And just as a reminder, here is “military expert” Kagan pronouncing that the Iraq civil war is over, recounted in this March 2008 post from Glenn Greenwald, even though Patrick Cockburn of The Independent reported that “a new civil war is threatening to explode in Iraq as American-backed Iraqi government forces fight Shia militiamen for control of Basra and parts of Baghdad” at very nearly the exact same time.

    So basically, I don’t think Kagan can speak with any credibility on anything related to matters of war.

    But Baker’s piece actually gets more interesting…

    Some supporters of the war said Mr. Obama had made a mistake not to consult more directly with his commander.

    “I don’t think I can defend him for being out of touch with his commander,” said Michael E. O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution (in the pic above, O’Hanlon is on the right and Kagan is at the left). “He has other people who advise him. But there’s no one else with the feel on the ground that McChrystal has.”

    See how having fewer meetings with McChrystal than Dubya did with his military people running Iraq translates to Obama being “out of touch with his commander,” according to O’Hanlon.

    Yep, that’s the same Michael O’Hanlon who (as noted here) advocated for the Iraq “surge” in the pages of the Times despite the fact that seven active duty force members wrote an Op-Ed that also appeared in the Times at about that same time saying that the surge wasn’t working.

    As Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones tells us…

    What O’Hanlon refuses to recognize is that the surge was designed to slow violence in Iraq only in service of political ends. Going on the offensive against the insurgents is fine, but it’s only an important development if Iraqi politicians seize the opening and make progress towards a reconciled nation and a functioning government. They haven’t done that. They haven’t even come close.

    Without political progress, the surge (and the military success O’Hanlon believes it is having) is just another swing in the cycle of war. We’re doing better now, but the insurgents will return with new and different tactics in a few months.

    And as Stein also notes, we lost more troops in Iraq during June-July-August of 2007 than at any other same-month period of time during the war, despite O’Hanlon’s surge cheerleading.

    On second thought, though, I suppose O’Hanlon is a subject matter expert when it comes to being “out of touch.” I hope that is the only reason why the Times would be interested in his otherwise worthless opinion.

  • 091509PimpandHo3wf

  • Finally, here is some true Fix Noise comedy on the matter of the ACORN controversy…

    The courts should vindicate the First Amendment rights of the reporters and media outlets involved in breaking the ACORN scandal wide open.

    The intrepid duo of independent reporters James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles (pictured above), working undercover, caught ACORN workers in Baltimore and other locations across the country on tape, talking about these workers’ willingness to help the undercover pair engage in tax fraud, housing fraud, prostitution, and even smuggling in underage girls from abroad to be prostitutes in a brothel that would be obtained with ACORN’s help.

    “Intrepid duo” – tee hee hee (here)…

    Well anyway, given the legitimate news story about questions surrounding the contracting of Sarah Palin’s house on Lake Lucille and the concurrently contracted Wasilla Sports Complex (here), I think the above description can be edited as follows…

    The courts should vindicate the First Amendment rights of the reporters and media outlets involved in breaking the story of alleged favors involving the construction of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s house on a two-acre site along scenic Lake Lucille in Wasilla, assessed at $532,500 (3,500 square feet with four bedrooms and four baths), wide open.

    The intrepid duo of independent reporters Wayne Barrett of The Village Voice and Huffington Post blogger Shannyn Moore reported that Palin steered contracts for the 2003 construction of the Wasilla Sports Complex before leaving office as Wasilla mayor the previous fall, in return for work building her home about the same time.

    And Just Plain Folks Sarah Palin and her team of barracudas can huff and puff all they want, but the last time I checked, the truth was always a sound defense regarding a question of libel.

    And the only ones who are alleged to have broken any laws here are “journalists” O’Keefe and Giles, as noted here.


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