Wednesday Mashup (4/17/13)

April 17, 2013
  • Someone named Wayne Allyn Root over at Fix Noise opined as follows here

    There are no new jobs. There will be no new jobs. Creating jobs in Obama’s America is like trying to grow healthy plants in a nuclear blast zone. Obama has turned the U.S. economy into a “Hostile Work Environment.” I call it Obamageddon.

    And of course, there are zero citations for anything in this screed, which is totally typical from the media wing of the Republican Party.

    Yes, I’m sure there are smatterings of truth somewhere from Root (and at the very end of his column, he sneaks in a plug for his anti-Obama book, the latest from the right-wing outrage factory), such as payroll taxes going up (an expiration of the payroll tax cut not renewed by Congress, as noted here) and health insurance premiums going up (which has not one damn thing to do with “Obama Care,” since the exchanges aren’t due to go into effect until next year and the individual mandate, creating a whole bunch of new subscribers for the health insurance behemoths in this country, was upheld by The Supremes last year, as noted here).

    The inescapable fact is that the ultimate “power of the purse” in our government rests with the U.S. House, currently run by “Orange Man” Boehner and that sleazy weasel Eric Cantor, not Obama. And as noted here, Boehner couldn’t keep his own caucus together to get a deal even on his laughable “Plan B” on the economy, punting the decision back to Obama and the Senate, as Kevin Drum tells us (which ties back to Boehner’s practice of keeping our economy in perpetual crisis, which is bound to drag down job growth, as noted here). And as noted here, Boehner and his pals continue to sit on Obama’s American Jobs Act.

    And I’m tired of hearing about how “austerity” supposedly is the answer to our problems on the economy, including job growth (the latest debunking is here). And do you want to know where deficit reduction has come from so far? As noted here, 70 percent came from cuts in government programs, which are stimulative to one degree or another, and only 30 percent came from increased revenue (and for good measure, this omnibus post from Jon Perr of Daily Kos gives us all kinds of information on who does a better job of managing the economy between Democrats and Republicans).

    But of course this is typical for Root, who called Obama the “Marxist-in-chief” who has “declared war on capitalism” here (really?).

  • Next, Thomas Sowell at tells us the following (here)…

    Amid all the heated, emotional advocacy of gun control, have you ever heard even one person present convincing hard evidence that tighter gun control laws have in fact reduced murders?

    Actually, yes. And here it is, from here

    Last year, economist Richard Florida dove deep into the correlations between gun deaths and other kinds of social indicators. Some of what he found was, perhaps, unexpected: Higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness were not correlated with more deaths from gun violence. But one thing he found was, perhaps, perfectly predictable: States with tighter gun control laws appear to have fewer gun-related deaths. The disclaimer here is that correlation is not causation. But correlations can be suggestive:

    Also, here is more related info:

  • This tells us that states with looser gun laws have higher rates of gun violence.
  • This tells us that gun homicides in Missouri increased by 25 percent after the state repealed its background check law.
  • This tells us that members of law enforcement are more likely to be killed in states with weaker gun laws (as I’ve said I don’t know how many times, why the #@!$ can’t we make the discussion about guns start from the point of view of what works best for the police? And yes, I know the answer.).
  • Gosnell_MM_Pic_0417
    And by the way, I’m going to switch gears here, as it were, and add the following graphic concerning the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell (courtesy of Media Matters…I’m sick of reading and listening to wingnut caterwauling over a supposed “liberal bias” cover up on this truly horrific story, as noted here – truly sickening stuff, and Gosnell could quite rightly IMHO face the death penalty if convicted…more is here).

    Update 4/18/13: If Marsha Blackburn is involved, then the stoo-pid is thick enough to cut with a knife (here).

    From our area, Pancake Joe Pitts, Scott Garrett and Mike Kelly signed; go to Blackburn’s web site if you want to experience this idiocy first hand (the last thing I’m going to do is link to it myself – a good response is here).

  • Continuing, it should be pointed out that, while one of Rupert Murdoch’s highest profile vanity rags is quite rightly getting excoriated for journalistic malpractice while reporting the horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon (here), it shouldn’t be forgotten that they also committed another affront to decency here

    Fifty years ago (on 4/16), Martin Luther King Jr. penned one of the most enduring documents of the civil-rights struggle while locked in a jail cell in Birmingham, Ala.

    His Letter From Birmingham Jail was a clarion call for the right to civil disobedience. Though first requested by an editor for The New York Times, it was in the pages of The New York Post that these words would first be printed.

    This week, the Times published a very different kind of prison letter. Yesterday its op-ed pages carried an article titled “Gitmo Is Killing Me.” It was written by Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, whom the Times identifies only as “a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay since 2002.”

    Pity the Times didn’t take a look at its own Web site before publishing. There, under a project called “The Guantanamo Docket,” is a Defense Department memo identifying the Yemeni national as “a member of al Qaeda who served on Osama bin Laden’s security detail.”

    The Post also points out that, as noted from here, Moqbel was indeed labeled as “A HIGH RISK . . . as he is likely to pose a threat to US interests.”

    However, when you read Page 3 of the 10-page “jacket” on Moqbel; you find out the following…

    Detainee traveled to Afghanistan, and stayed at a house in the Wazir Akbar Khan District of Kabul. Detainee left his passport at the house in Kabul before going to the frontlines to fight the Northern Alliance. He fought at the front lines north of Kabul as a fighter in the Sadiq Combat Unit, which consisted of approximately 15 or 16 fighters. Detainee received some pay as a fighter which enabled him to purchase needed items such as food and clothing. Detainee denied knowing (Osama bin Laden). After the US and Coalition bombing campaign initiated in Afghanistan, detainee believed it was too dangerous to be an Arab in Afghanistan; therefore, he fled the front-lines in December 2001 and stopped in Kabul. Detainee continued on to Khowst, AF, where he stayed for two weeks while he attempted to flee from Afghanistan.

    So basically, not only did Moqbel not fight against our troops, he was trying to get the hell out of Afghanistan after we invaded.

    And this guy is labeled “A HIGH RISK”? Am I missing something here? And as The Raw Story points out here, Moqbel was never even charged with a crime.

    Turning to Glenn Greenwald on this, we learn the following here (along with the fact that Moqbel is currently in the midst of a hunger strike to protest conditions in Guantanamo, which, when you learn more about it, is a national shame in and of itself, in particular the painful forced feedings endured by the inmates)…

    Moqbel…is Yemeni. More than half of the remaining 166 detainees at the camp are Yemeni. Dozens of those Yemenis (along with dozens of other detainees) have long ago been cleared for release by the US government on the ground that there is no evidence to believe they are a threat to anyone. A total of 87 of the remaining detainees – roughly half – have been cleared for release, of which 58 are Yemeni. Not even the US government at this point claims they are guilty or pose a threat to anyone.

    The Yemeni government not only is willing to take them, but is now demanding their release, using language notably harsh for a US puppet regime:

    “Even Yemen’s president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who generally enjoys close relations with the United States, has directed rare criticism at the Obama administration.

    “‘We believe that keeping someone in prison for over 10 years without due process is clear-cut tyranny,’ Hadi said in a recent interview broadcast over the Arabic language channel of Russia Today. ‘The United States is fond of talking democracy and human rights. But when we were discussing the prisoner issue with the American attorney general, he had nothing to say.'”

    “Clear-cut tyranny”, says Yemen’s president. But in January, 2010, Obama – not Congress, but Obama – announced a moratorium on the release of any Yemeni detainees, even ones cleared for release. As Amnesty International put it at the beginning of this year:

    “But President Obama adopted the USA’s unilateral and flawed ‘global war’ paradigm and accepted indefinite detentions under this framework.

    “Then, in 2010, his administration announced that it had decided that four dozen of the Guantánamo detainees could neither be prosecuted nor released, but should remain in indefinite military detention without charge or criminal trial. The administration also imposed a moratorium on repatriation of Yemeni detainees. and said that 30 such detainees would be held in ‘conditional’ detention based on ‘current security conditions in Yemen’. This moratorium is still in place.”

    I realize that Obama tried to close Guantanamo, but received push-back from Congress (and Greenwald has some interesting commentary on that also from his post). However, the matter of either charging the Guantanamo prisoners or releasing them to their countries of origin (as much as that is feasible considering whether or not they can return) is worthy of something I once heard referred to as “the fierce urgency of now” as opposed to “the somewhat tepid need to address this matter by whoever follows in office sometime after 2016.”

  • Finally, I should note from here that the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism were recently awarded; the New York Times won 4, including a team reporting award for some of the worker abuses at the Apple Foxconn facility in China. Others went to the Washington Post, the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, FLA, the Denver Post, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.Oh, and Bret Stephens of the Murdoch Street Journal won an award for editorial writing.

    OK, I’ll give you a minute to pick yourself up off the floor; no doubt that you experienced a convulsion of laughter over that last sentence that sent you falling out of your chair.

    There’s one problem, though – it’s true.

    Yes, really.

    As the story puts it…

    The Pulitzer citation said Stephens’ columns on American foreign policy and politics are incisive and “often enlivened by a contrarian twist.”

    Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot said in a statement, “We’re delighted to see our colleague Bret Stephens recognized for his influential and popular columns on foreign affairs and politics.”

    So, in the spirit of the occasion, here are some examples of Stephens with his “contrarian twist” at work…

  • Here, he lamented the supposed foreign policy failures of the Obama Administration, even though Number 44 had only been sworn into office a month ago.
  • Here, he rather disgustingly compared John Lennon to the former Communist Party strongman who shared most of his last name.
  • Here, he misrepresented the Bush Doctrine and criticized Obama for stepping up a bit on the Darfur crisis, as opposed to Former President Numbskull.
  • Here, he defended “the surge” in Iraq and criticized Obama for not giving Dubya enough credit for it (typical wingnut mythology – any gains experienced as a result had to do more with the so-called “Sunni Awakening” and “Saint Petraeus” handing out bribes like cards from a deck of poker).
  • Here, he criticized other countries for swine flu preparedness (that seems to be a particular sticking point for conservatives for some reason – guess they want unnecessary wholesale casualties to “decrease the surplus population,” as somebody once wrote).
  • Stephens once wrote that “Consistency, principled or foolish, has never been a hobgoblin of the liberal mind.” in a column where he tried to equate the outing of covert U.S. agent Valerie Plame, who made a living tracking loose nukes before Bushco blew her cover, with Eric Holder’s investigation of interrogators who “threatened to kill the children and sexually assault the mother of a key terror suspect,” as noted here (some apples with your oranges, Bret?).
  • Here (as K.O. tells us), he said that those who acknowledged the reality of global warming were “Stalinists” (and why the hell isn’t that man back on the air by now – Keith, I mean?).
  • Here, Stephens decided to look into the future in an effort to try and imagine more scenarios of failure for President Obama.
  • I cannot imagine what persuaded the committee awarding the Pulitzers into such an utterly laughable act as giving an award to this conservative hack (the fourth estate in this country continues to die a slow and inexorable death).

    If Bret Stephens can win a Pulitzer, then Dick Cheney can win the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Update 4/18/13: And as long as I’m discussing the Journal, I should point out that writer Peter Nicholas wrote this “news” story about Obama now choosing to lead, or whatever, in light of the fact that it took him three days to respond to the attempted Christmas plane bombing in 2009 by the guy who nearly blew up his junk instead. That appears to be accurate reporting, though.

    However, I don’t recall reading similar columns from the Journal about Obama’s wretched predecessor now choosing to lead or whatever after he waited six days to respond to the attemped plane attack by would-be show bomber Richard Reid, as noted here (see Myth 3).

    Lather, rinse, repeat…

    Update 4/22/13: And I somehow missed this earlier “gem” from Stephens.

    Update 4/14/17: Stephens recently won a gig as a columnist at The Old Gray Lady, where he no doubt will challenge BoBo as the leading white male practitioner of talking down to women, people of color and LGBTQ gender preferences – I think this is a good column to link to as a rejoinder of sorts (h/t Atrios).

Tuesday Mashup Part One (9/14/10)

September 14, 2010

  • 1) Here’s a late-breaking development from the Media Research Center…

    Appearing as a guest on Friday’s (9/10) Countdown show, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, formerly with Newsweek, referred to the debunked story that was retracted by Newsweek in May 2005 which had incorrectly claimed that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down a toilet to intimidate Muslim prisoners. But Wolffe did not inform viewers that the story was untrue as he accused conservatives of a double standard for criticizing Newsweek’s inaccurate Koran desecration story from 2005 while not being aggressive enough in condemning Pastor Terry Jones’s plan to burn the Koran on September 11.

    Wow, congratulations to the MRC for finding a droplet of water in an ocean and complaining that it’s wet.

    Yes, as it turns out, the story was retracted by Newsweek after the unnamed official used by the magazine as the source changed his story. However, as we also learn from here, “accusations of Qur’an desecration as a part of U.S. interrogations at prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Guantánamo Bay had been made by a number of sources going back to 2002,” with about a dozen such accusations cited.

    Besides, the real story here (which the MRC actually notes…shocking, I know) is that, given the uproar the last time a Quran desecration story appeared, the relative silence by conservatives on this was dangerously irresponsible (though, fortunately, the whole issue became moot when “Pastor” Terry Jones came down with an attack of sanity and decided not to do anything, though here is a story of a chronic offender on this who really is likely not to be restricted by anything except a jail cell…and kudos to the kid on the skateboard in this story.)

  • 2) Also, here’s another alert for Sheryl Gay Stolberg, former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm, and everyone else worried about the “negative perception” generated by Michelle Obama (more hard-hitting Politico “journalism” from here).

    And she didn’t even say “freedom fries”! Worse, I didn’t read about it from either Malcolm or Stolberg. I actually had to find out about this on my own!

    You’re slipping, people!

    Actually, I take that back on Malcolm; as it turns out – he did have something typically snark-filled to say about it here, including the following…

    First Lady Michelle Obama, who has been unable to convince the Smoker-in-Chief to give up that dreadful habit, now has some health suggestions for other American families and for restaurant menus across the country.

    Yeah, it sure is a shame when presidents have their “dreadful habit(s),” isn’t it?

  • 3) Finally, I came across the following from Joel Stein of Time (one of the stupidest columns about Net Neutrality that I’ve ever read, and that’s saying something; more info is here)…

    I like that everything is allowed to be on the Internet, which is like a planet-size bookstore with, for some reason, a continent-size section for pets doing stupid things. But I like that at a real bookstore, I can instantly tell the difference between works by actual historians and works by conspiracy theorists, since the real books are printed on good paper with pretty covers and the others are smudgy pamphlets. We need to bring those barriers of entry to the Internet, and speed is a key way to do it.

    Senator Al Franken, at the Netroots Nation conference in late July, talked about a dystopian future without Net neutrality: “How long do you think it will take before the Fox News website loads five times faster than Daily Kos?” Hopefully, this will happen right away. Fox News should load 20 times faster than Daily Kos, because far more people read it. It’s better for society that millions of people get someplace a little faster while the relatively few Daily Kos readers wait a few seconds. This is why not all roads are the same width. And more people go to the Fox News site because it’s got tons of people reporting, balancing and fairing, whereas two of the contributing editors at Daily Kos are named DarkSyde and Angry Mouse.

    Their names are also Steven Andrew and Kalli Joy Grey, but that’s not the main point, I know (also, according to this, the “relatively few” readers of Daily Kos include “thousands of diarists” and “millions of page views” every day – and this was in 2008; I should note that I found out everything in this paragraph through some truly easy Google searches).

    I want to comment also on Stein’s bookstore analogy, which may be more apropos than he realizes (and I know from whence I speak on this, since I toiled briefly in such an establishment that, happily, went out of business long ago…it was a big conservative donor).

    In a typical chain retail bookstore, you’ve got the mass market titles on display all over the place, since they will sell the most, obviously. And if the “self-help” and Edgar Cayce titles will sell more than the John Grishams and the Richard North Pattersons, well then, they get the center display table so it’s the first thing the customer sees after they shuffle in from Spencer’s, FYE, or whatever.

    But suppose you get somebody like me who may be looking for “The Hidden Persuaders” by Vance Packard, and I need to go to the microfiche counter to order it. Should I have to be told “well, we have more bandwidth for the best sellers than we do for some dusty piece of sociological piffle like the book you want” (and that certainly doesn’t describe “The Hidden Persuaders,” by the way, written about the ad biz in the era of “Mad Men”)? And for that reason, I get told that they have no possible idea of when the book can be shipped.

    I guess a scenario like this is just fine for Stein, but it certainly isn’t fine for me (Stein being a writer callow enough to concoct allegedly humorous columns about Asian Indians in America here, and here, where he said, “Most of what I know about poor people comes from watching ‘Good Times’”).

    Oh, and let’s not forget this from Stein about our troops and Iraq……

    After we’ve decided that we made a mistake, we don’t want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.

    But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they’re following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff’s pet name for the House of Representatives.

    I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I’m tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.

    Yes, but somehow, I don’t think I’ll ever click on a pop-up ad and, as a result, have my leg or another body part blown to bits, or suffer a concussive brain injury (idiot).

  • News From The Real World

    May 26, 2009

    More here – don’t know about posting for tomorrow, but I hope to be back no later than Wednesday.

    Dissecting Dubya’s “Binyam” Blunder

    February 25, 2009

    guantanamo_11329tFrom Monday’s White House press briefing (and again, what a difference between Robert Gibbs and Ari Fleischer/Scott McClellan/Tony Snow/Tony Fratto/Dana Perino here)…

    Q Binyam Mohammed, a Guantanamo detainee, arrived in Britain today. This would constitute the first Guantanamo detainee released freely into society. How does the administration respond to criticisms from some of the military families he met with just a couple of weeks ago that this is premature, it’s before the 180-day review is complete, and does not fulfill his promise to them and to the country at large that he would weigh all security implications before making a decision on a detainee for release?

    MR. GIBBS: Well, as you state, the President made a decision at the beginning of his administration to close the facility at Guantanamo Bay and to start a process of evaluating the detainees there in accordance with his solemn obligation to do all that he can to keep our country safe, to do it in a way that protects our men and women in uniform, and does so in accordance with our American values. That process, as you know, is ongoing.

    In terms of the specifics related to Mr. Mohammed’s case, I would point you to the Department of Justice. But the President feels confident that the process that his administration has undertaken will yield results that keep us safer.

    Q Can you comment in any way on how the administration decided this person was not only subject to release but would not pose a future danger to the country —

    MR. GIBBS: I would point you to Matt over at Justice.

    Well, in lieu of that, please allow me to present this story on Mohammed, which contains a timeline telling us all that is commonly known of him to date, including the fact that he was first “handed over to U.S. officials” in July 2002, then he was sent to Morocco for 18 months of torture, then to the “alleged” CIA-run ‘dark prison’ in Kabul, Afghanistan for five months and then to the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan for four months, then to Guantanamo in September 2004.

    And after the British government called for his release in August 2007, he was recharged in May 2008 before (surprise! surprise!) all charges against him were dropped by the departing regime cabal collection of thugs and pirates presidential administration in October 2008.

    So basically, President Fighting The Global War On Terra! Terra! Terra! Now And Forever You Chicken Obama-Speech-Lovin’ Luburuuls had OVER SIX YEARS to make a case against this guy, and he and his pals couldn’t do it.

    Anyone with even the faintest notions of anything approximating human decency knew that we had no legal alternative but to let Binyam Mohammed go.

    And let us hope and pray that Mohammed does not, by some miracle, “pose a future danger to the country.” Because if he does (assuming he was a threat to begin with and we couldn’t make the case, or we ended up radicalizing him while in our custody), then we have only ourselves to blame.

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