Friday Mashup (11/09/12)

November 9, 2012

  • Isn’t this particularly funny now (and nice touch to darken Obama’s face to make him look threatening …ZOMG SCARY BLACK MAN SCARY BLACK MAN SCARY BLACK MAN SCARY BLACK MAN!!!!).
  • Also, it’s kind of hard to truly get a handle on all of the wingnut caterwauling going on out there over Tuesday’s election results, but I’ll do what I can. Apart from Mikey the Beloved being returned to Washington in the name of “representing” PA-08 (not entirely surprising given the efforts of his PR apparatus including the Courier Times as well as all the GOP-devoted life forms in Bucks County), it was all good. Still, though, there definitely are some highlights (or lowlights, depending on your point of view, some of which I’ll present ably aided by Think Progress here – to me, all of these are funny, except the one by Glenn Beck; if the NRA didn’t basically own out government, he would be in jail for it).

    To begin, Fix Noise blamed Obama here for the stock ticker going down here the day after the election; actually, the Dow started off well on news of the Obama win, but declined because of typically bad Eurozone stuff and the fear of the U.S. House Repugs playing more infantile games with the debt ceiling.

    And really, Foxies, do you honestly want to compare the market under Number 44 versus its performance under Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History (here)?

  • Also, Armstrong Williams tells us here that Obama will prohibit Catholics from owning businesses, or something (seriously?). I’m sure that’s news to the Catholics who supported him, as noted here (Obama did well among non-white Catholics, as he did with all non-white groups).

    Besides, does Williams think we’ll forget that the two trail-blazing Catholic politicians in this country on the national level (former New York Governor Al Smith, as noted here, and JFK, as noted here), were both Democrats?

  • Oh, and in case you were wondering how those zany Teahadists were dealing with all of this, I give you the following from here…

    KENT, Ohio—Tea-party Republicans gathered to watch election returns here on Tuesday cringed when televisions flashed that the Republican Senate candidate had fallen to the incumbent Democrat.

    Sen. Sherrod Brown beat back a challenge by state treasurer Josh Mandel, a candidate with near-celebrity status among tea partiers here.

    The outcome “feels like people who work hard are really outnumbered here,” said JoAnn Schlue, a Republican voter who lives south of Kent, in northeast Ohio. A batch of early results showed Democrats retained control of the Senate.

    Shortly after, an “Oh, no,” and groans went through the room as Fox News called Ohio for President Barack Obama. “Why? Why?” several women at a table strewn with confetti moaned.

    For the tea party, Tuesday’s results tested the potency of a movement that helped reshape Washington two years ago. The party’s surge helped Republicans retake the House in 2010 and jump-started an anti-spending movement in Washington.

    According to exit polls Tuesday, 21% of respondents said they supported the tea-party movement, with 30% opposing it and 41% remaining neutral.

    So basically (now, as in 2010), we’re talking about a small, noisy minority. Which we already knew was the case.

    Continuing…

    “I will reconsider where we’re going and what we’re doing,” said Tom Zawistowski, executive director of the Portage County Tea Party and president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, the umbrella for Ohio tea-party groups. “We thought when we won in 2010 that the people were speaking, but this tells us differently.”

    Gee, ya’ think?

    As Mr. Zawistowski spoke, the room drained of volunteers. In five minutes, it was empty, except for two women collecting black, white and blue centerpieces from the tables.

    “Is there a country I can move to?” asked Paul Freck of Twinsburg, cringing at returns from nationwide Senate races.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yeah, wingnut; go ahead and move to Iran. Or Yemen. Or Somalia. You know, a place with the type of “government” you would appreciate.

    Oh, and by the way, Teahadists, thanks for giving us the U.S. Senate, as noted here.

  • Finally and perhaps inevitably, as part of their grieving process, you just knew the Repugs were going to find a way to invoke their idol, and the Foxies did so here…

    The Republican Party spent at least $1 billion on the 2012 presidential campaign and it still lost by a clear two percentage points in the national popular vote. There was no serious effort to reach out to women or Hispanics, nor to young Americans – a constituency who responded tremendously to Ronald Reagan back in 1980.

    Ronald Reagan have never have blamed (sic) these groups for not voting Republican. He would certainly never have written off 47 percent of Americans as a waste of time. He would never have dreamed of even thinking such a thought. Ronald Reagan loved and respected ordinary working Americans and they knew it. He always recognized clearly that arrogant, self-appointed elitists were political poison to the conservative movement and the GOP.

    Too funny – as noted from here (regarding Ronnie supposedly being a friend of the working man)…

    “If you’ll remember, there were 2 million who lost their jobs in the last six months of 1980, during the election…” (1/8/82)

    As I pointed out in the prior post (based on “Ronald Reagan’s Reign of Error,” by Mark Green and Gail MacColl) the number of people employed increased in the last six months of 1980, ending the year with 283,000 more people working than in July.

    “I realize there’s been an increase in unemployment. It’s been a continuation of an increase that got underway in the last several months of 1980.” (1/19/82)

    Still wrong. In the last six months of 1980, unemployment declined from 7.8% to 7.3%. It declined further to 7.2% in 1981, before beginning to climb to double-digit figures.

    “We have…in some of the hardest-hit states, extended the unemployment insurance. There’s nothing that strikes to my heart more than the unemployed…”(3/31/82)

    Then how come the Labor Department estimated that changes in the eligibility formula for the 1981 budget reduced extended benefits for 1.5 million jobless workers? Moreover, changes in the way a state became eligible for the extended benefit program had Michigan – the hardest hit of the states, then pretty much as now – thrown off that program for 13 weeks just prior to the President’s heartfelt speech.

    “Is it news that some fellow out in South Succotash somewhere has just been laid off?” (3/16/82)

    Enough said.

    And this is shades of Glenn Beck…

    “Anyone who wants to take a look at the writings of the members of the brain trust of the New Deal will find that President Roosevelt’s advisers admired the Fascist system.” (New York Times, 8/17/80)

    Some of the New Dealers made references to the efficiency of the Italian government. So did Winston Churchill. This does not add up to an admiration of fascism. Neither FDR nor the New Deal brain trust ever hinted at adopting that political program.

    …and from “Tear Down This Myth” by Will Bunch…

    …Jim Cramer, the popular, wild-eyed TV stock guru, and hardly a flaming liberal – was giving a speech at Bucknell University in which he traced the roots of the current mortgage crisis all the way back to the pro-business policies initiated nearly three decades earlier by America’s still popular – even beloved by some – fortieth president, the late Ronald Wilson Reagan. “Ever since the Reagan era,” Cramer told the students, “our nation has been regressing and repealing years and years’ worth of safety net and equal economic justice in the name of discrediting and dismantling the federal government’s missions to help solve our nation’s collective domestic woes.”

    And of course, Ronnie “loved and respected” working men and women so much that he was also responsible for this (Update 11/15/12: And this kicked off during his time in office also).

    But more to the point, I have some questions for conservatives; namely, don’t you realize that you can’t ultimately win with the tactics you’ve used since Reagan (at least that far back, and probably longer)? Don’t you see that your core demographic (elderly conservative white people) is slowly dying out, making you pretty much a minority-only party? Has it occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, the majority of this country is pretty much tired of your act?

    Don’t you realize that you have to change?

    Well, I got my answers to those questions today when I came across the following from clownhall.com:

    Sigh…

    And I just have one thing to say about this story (more “Mikey The Beloved” myth-making in Tuesday’s wake, on the only race we lost); any “Democrat” who actually voted for Fitzpatrick instead of Kathy Boockvar should, if they had a spec of integrity, get the hell out of our party and not let the door hit them as they leave.


  • Time To “Beam” Newt Outta Here

    May 6, 2012


    This was too stoo-pid to ignore; I give you Fix Noise pundit James P. Pinkerton here…

    The Washington Post wrote recently that Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign “will go down in the annals as just another unsuccessful enterprise, along with so many other presidential wannabes whose bright expectations crash into the reality that it was not their time and perhaps was never to be.”

    Well, okay, but there’s another side to Gingrich: He has always been one of the most intellectually interesting, and politically questing, figures on the national stage. And so if there’s a little bit of Don Quixote in Gingrich, there’s also a lot of Captain James T. Kirk; he really did want to boldly go where no politician had gone before. Indeed, we might say that progress depends on Captain Kirks, or their non-fiction equivalents.

    Red Alert! Picking up reading of a life form in deep space! Looks like another flatulent bloviation from The Planet Murdoch. Arm the photon torpedoes! Set phasers to utterly destroy!

    In response, I’d like to point out the following…

    Captain Kirk would plunge headlong into an unknown world, fight interstellar bad guys with the help of the reincarnated Abraham Lincoln (remember that episode?), fall in love with the alien, let the “red shirt” get killed, forge a treaty, intervention or some agreement with that episode’s antagonists, and end up snatching their dilithium crystals before he and the Enterprise escaped (at warp speed, of course).

    Newt Gingrich, based on his military record (or lack of one), would run away from an unknown world, quote Abraham Lincoln as if the “modern” Republican Party bore any resemblance to the one to which our 16th president belonged (here), stay away from any “alien” romantic entanglements (at this point in his life anyway, lest he earn “The Wrath of Calista,” Gingrich being a “good Catholic” and all that…as noted here, though, Baby Newton Leroy has definitely been “Lost In Space”), concoct a “red card” immigration plan (to bring in all the “undocumented” workers employers would allow, depressing wages further, and leaving “red card” workers no recourse if they were fired…here), ridicule peace agreements (or embargoes anyway), and possibly, in a moment of stress, eat the dilithium crystals.

    And believe it or not, Pinkerton’s column gets worse, sneaking in some idiotic comparison between Kirk and JFK (ah, so, via a fictional spaceman, Gingrich supposedly shares some leadership qualities with our 35th president).

    In response, I’d like to note the following from here

    A nation which has forgotten the quality of courage which in the past has been brought to public life is not as likely to insist upon or regard that quality in its chosen leaders today – and in fact we have forgotten.

    Hard to argue with that, sadly (would have been nice for Pinkerton to read up on that before he concocted that idiotic screed).


    Tuesday Mashup (9/28/10)

    September 29, 2010

  • 1) The Bucks County Courier Time informed us of the following yesterday (here)…

    Pennsylvania should be considering right to work legislation to make the state more competitive in the current economic climate, said Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley.

    The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, Cawley has expressed that point of view while campaigning in parts of Pennsylvania. He can be seen in an online video at the Altoona First Festival in Blair County with a tea party member who asks his position on the Right to Work Act.

    “The last thing we need to do is put more impediments and demands on the expenses we face,” Cawley says in the video, which can be viewed on YouTube.com. “Right to work legislation is something that its time has come.”

    Water wet, sky blue, teabaggers are really Republicans in search of a political convention and/or an angry mob (assuming they don’t constitute one themselves) – this is a recording, I know.

    This Wikipedia article gives us at least two reasons why the “right to work” movement is yet another triumph of right-wing propaganda: 1) In 2003 the rate of workplace fatalities per 100,000 workers was highest in right-to-work states, and 2) Opponents argue right-to-work laws create a “free-rider” problem, in which non-union employees (who are bound by the terms of the union contract even though they are not members of the union) benefit from collective bargaining without paying union dues – to say nothing of the fact that the “right to work” movement is sponsored by right-wing groups anyway, of course.

    Meanwhile, Cawley’s fellow supervisor Diane Marseglia does the right thing again (here)…

    As Bucks County officials prepare to solicit bids to build a new courthouse, Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia is making another push for an agreement that would require contractors on the project to follow union rules and policies.

    The project labor agreement Marseglia wants has been a source of controversy since the early discussion about the Justice Center project took place in 2004.

    The board of commissioners’ Republican majority say they have explored and rejected the possibility of using a PLA or similar requirements, and Commissioners Charley Martin and Jim Cawley said they won’t support one now.

    Even if the political support existed for a PLA on the Justice Center, putting it in place now would delay the project by months, Bucks County Purchasing Director Maureen McIlvaine said.

    “When other people have done this, it has taken months and months and months to hammer out the details of the labor agreement,” McIlvaine said.

    As Blue Mass Group tells us here, however…

    A Project Labor Agreement is a trade-off between the project owner…and the people building the project. Basically, the (county) agrees to hire all workers on the project through specified union halls, and non-union workers have to pay union dues while on the project. In exchange, the (county) gets a guarantee of labor peace – no strikes, slowdowns, etc. – and also sets wages for the life of the project so that it won’t be hit with unanticipated wage increases.

    What this does not mean is that non-union contractors are prohibited from bidding on these projects. It may mean that, in practice, they are unlikely to win them. But they can still bid. Even the PLA-hating Beacon Hill Institute describes the situation this way (PDF, p. 7):

    …open-shop contractors contend that their competitive advantages are nullified by the PLA. The result is that in practice, if not in principle, they are unable to bid competitively on jobs that have a PLA requirement.

    Furthermore, the Supreme Judicial Court held a decade ago that PLAs are acceptable only in certain kinds of construction projects.

    We do not articulate a bright-line, litmus-test standard for determining when the use of a PLA is appropriate. Nor do we conclude that a PLA will be justified in all, or even most, circumstances. A project must be of substantial size, duration, timing, and complexity, and the interplay between all four of these factors must be considered. It may be that, in certain cases, the sheer size of a project warrants the adoption of a PLA.

    I know I’m just a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but if I were in charge of the construction of the Justice Center, I would implement a PLA to control costs and make sure everyone working on the project had comparable skill sets to ensure the quality of the work.

    (Again, as much as I don’t want to see Tom Corbett win in November, part of me wouldn’t mind in the least seeing Jim Cawley leave this county for a minimum of four years.)

  • 2) Next, I give you the following from The Weakly Standard (here – on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon…more wingnut harrumphing over the recollections of Kennedy confidant Ted Sorensen – typical of conservatives; too much trouble to just leave the man alone at this point I guess)…

    While maintaining his standard posture that John F. Kennedy was a man of uncommon intelligence, charm, grace, wisdom, and magnetism, he is more contemptuous of Richard Nixon this time than abusive. Indeed, all goes relatively well until the last two sentences:

    Though it seemed at the time to be a battle between two opposing worldviews, the truth is that the two candidates did not vastly differ in that first debate. And while Kennedy would probably find a home in today’s Democratic Party, it is unlikely that Nixon would receive a warm welcome among the Tea Party.

    Oh? The Richard Nixon of 1960 may or may not get a friendly reception from the Tea Party of 2010—however that is defined—but is Sorensen serious when he suggests that the John Kennedy of 1960 “would probably find a home” in the party of Eric Holder, DailyKos, Keith Olbermann, MoveOn.org, Barbara Boxer, and Alan Grayson?

    What Ted Sorensen’s boss would have thought of gay marriage, cap-and-trade, racial quotas, Bill Ayers, and nationalizing General Motors, we can only speculate.

    Oh, I think we can do a little bit more than that on at least one issue (there’s enough red meat in what Philip Terzian says for a few more blog posts I guess, but this will have to do for now).

    I’ll let those in charge of the Nixon legacy defend Tricky Dick (my guess is that, since Nixon invented the “Southern strategy” that gave political clout to the life forms who largely comprise the teabaggers, I think he would be better received than anybody thinks), but as far as JFK is concerned, I have a feeling that he would have indeed defended legislation to reduce carbon emissions in pursuit of both saving the planet and ultimately ending our addiction to oil.

    And I say that because of quotes such as this (from here)…

    All this is not unrelated to world peace. “When a man’s ways please the Lord,” the Scriptures tell us, “he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter human rights – – the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation – – the right to breathe air as nature provided it – – the right of future generations to a healthy existence?

    And the .pdf from here contains the following words from our 35th president (at the Institute for Conservation Studies in Milford, PA on September 24, 1963, in a tribute to conservationist Gifford Pinchot)…

    I begin today a journey to save America’s natural heritage – a journey to protect the past and preserve the future.

    Today’s conservation movement must therefore embrace disciplines scarcely known to its prophets of the past. It must marshal our vast technological capacity on behalf of our vast resource supplies.

    The American people are not by nature selfish and wasteful. They are not unappreciative of the heritage of the past and their obligation to the future. But without guidance and information, without leadership and inspiration, without the qualities provided by Pinchot in his day which this Institute can provide in our time, mistakes will be made – mistakes which can never be undone.

    Fortunately there is evidence that this nation, once alerted, can take constructive actions – actions for which our grandchildren and their grandchildren will be ever more grateful than we.

    The dispute is no longer one of principles or goals – it is now merely a question of pace and means. And no one maintains that the obligation to use our resources efficiently and thoughtfully depends solely on the Federal Government. Nor is conservation merely the job of the park ranger or the forest ranger, the soil conservationist or the game warden. Conservation is the job of us all.

    …the role played by the Federal Government is a key one. Its attitude, effort, legislation and example all influence the national pattern.

    But in the field of resources, opportunities delayed are frequently opportunities lost – and those that are not lost are clearly more costly to achieve.

    This Nation is now rising to the challenge of exploring the vast universe of space. That is as it should be – for we cannot afford to ignore that challenge. But neither can we afford to neglect the universe here below.

    …”a Nation whose national resources are destroyed must inevitably pay the penalty of poverty, degradation and decay…Conservation…is the key to the future.”

    Yeah, speaking only for myself, I think Kennedy would have been “all over” cap and trade legislation; more than that, I can just imagine how rightly stinging his rhetoric would be over our inaction to date.

  • Update 10/31/10: And I’m sure this makes Terzian’s day.

  • 3) Finally, we found out from that Franklin and Marshall poll last week that Mike Fitzpatrick was supposedly leading Patrick Murphy by 10 points in the PA-08 contest (here).

    Well, this tells us that Murphy has a slight lead over Mikey in this recently-commissioned poll (which is pretty much what we figured anyway…that this contest would go down to the wire, I mean).

    And to help our incumbent congressman, click here.

    (And speaking of Mikey…)


  • A Tyrrell Tirade Misfires At “The Angry Left”

    March 11, 2010

    Yep, why let the occasion of a genuine human tragedy go unused when it comes to demonizing those with whom you disagree, right?

    As noted here, R. Emmett Tyrrell, one of the granddaddies of right-wing hate, expectorated the following (“theater of the mind,” people)…

    Thus, John Patrick Bedell, a lifelong member of the Angry Left, gets himself killed while assaulting the Pentagon, and the pious journalists at The Washington Post lump the poor guy in with right-wing militias. It is shoddy journalism. Much worse, it is a shocking act of disrespect for the dead.

    I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, if you choose to indulge in all of what Tyrrell has to say, which is typical for the idiotic ramblings you are inclined to find at clownhall.com.

    As Think Progress tells us here, though…

    Bedell “appears to have been a right-wing extremist with virulent antigovernment feelings,” the Christian Science Monitor reports, who traveled from California specifically to attack the Pentagon. While police were hesitant to assign a motive, “writings by someone with his same name and birth date, posted on the Internet, express ill will toward the government and the armed forces and question whether Washington itself might have been behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”

    In one posting, Bedell ranted against “big government.” In another, he wrote, “I am determined to see that justice is served in the death of Colonel James Sabow” — a Marine whose suicide has been the subject of conspiracy theories — because it would be a “step toward establishing the truth of events such as the September 11 demolitions.”

    In podcasts, Bedell propagated his conspiracy theories, which eerily reflect fringe right-wing rhetoric…

    Also, Tyrrell conjures up images of the attack of another gunman against our government, in the figure of our former head of state…

    On Nov. 22, 1963, an American communist, Lee Harvey Oswald, who admired the Cuban Revolution, gunned down JFK in Dallas, and the same kind of pious journalists caught gibbering in the Post the other day fastened the nation’s attention not on left-wing violence, but on right-wing critics of Kennedy living otherwise-peaceful lives in Dallas.

    My overall anti-Texas snark notwithstanding, I am quite sure that there are a lot of fine people in that state of diverse political persuasions (though I wish they’d make more noise to drown out the fools who get the majority of media coverage). However, I should point out the following concerning those one-time Kennedy critics living “otherwise-peaceful lives” (here)…

    In 1963, Dallas was known for its peculiar brand of right-wing extremism, says Darwin Payne, SMU professor emeritus of communications, who as a young newspaper reporter covered the assassination. Two incidents before the assassination seared this image into the national consciousness: During the 1960 presidential campaign, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson were nearly attacked by a screaming mob of Dallas residents outside a downtown hotel and later, only a month before the assassination, Democratic leader Adlai Stevenson was heckled loudly at a speech. This climate of extremism caused many Americans to blame the entire city for the president’s death, Payne says. Out of tragedy, however, rose a more moderate city leadership.

    “The extreme right wingers were tolerated by the power brokers. After the assassination, city leaders wanted to moderate those tensions. At the time, Dallas had the nation’s most conservative congressman and the only Texas Republican in Congress, Bruce Alger. The power brokers ran then-mayor Earle Cabell against him and defeated him,” Payne says.

    Let us hope and pray that it does not take the death of another prominent political figure to make hate mongers and other blowhards in that state (to say nothing of this country, including Tyrrell) come to their senses.


    Obama Should “Chill” On His Spending Freeze

    January 26, 2010

    Gee, didn’t a certain former Democratic presidential candidate criticize a former Republican presidential candidate for proposing this idiotic idea two years ago…

    Here’s a message for our “hopey, changey” chief executive:

    Despite the corporate media drum beat that people supposedly care about deficit reduction above all else (I mean, these news organizations with initials for names have paid such close attention to stories affecting the lives of everyday people all along, haven’t they?), it seems that I need to remind President Obama that deficit reduction doesn’t put food on the dinner table, help families to pay their bills including heating their homes, doesn’t give working men and women actual purchasing power to, you know, BUY STUFF THAT THEY AND THEIR FAMILIES ACTUALLY NEED, like clothes and furniture, doesn’t help families to pay for medicines or doctor’s visits, etc. (of course, that ties into health care, and I REALLY don’t want to go there).

    Do you want to know what does all of the stuff I mentioned above?

    JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS

    That’s what.

    And in light of this brainless spending freeze idea, get an idea of what our “too cool for school” chief executive thinks (from here)…

    “I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president…”

    Notice that a really sucky one-term president isn’t listed as an option.

    And to not be sucky, here is what the president needs to focus on…

    JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS

    Yes, deficit reduction is important, but that is an issue for another time (you know, when our economy is actually NOT shedding thousands of jobs a month).

    And to get an idea of how a president is supposed to react when working men and women and families in this country are getting absolutely screwed over, here is the audio of President Kennedy’s remarks about U.S. Steel from April 1962 (alluded to in Frank Rich’s fine column in the New York Times last Sunday).

    Listen and learn, Mr. President (and note that there is not a word about deficit reduction – more proof is here).


    A Blood-Stained History Lesson

    November 22, 2009

    Gee, I’m still waiting for Bishop Thomas Tobin (here) and other religious leaders to decry this…

    …particularly since individuals in this country once wished for this man’s days to “be few” also, which was realized with horrifying finality 46 years ago today.


    More War Revisionism From The Murdoch Street Journal

    July 8, 2009

    FMJ_untitled1
    Leave it to Uncle Rupert’s conservative house organ to use the occasion of Robert McNamara’s death to sputter itself into a rage at “(McNamara’s) former liberal allies for refusing to turn against the Vietnam War as early as they did,” even though, in this editorial, the Journal admits that “only later as the war dragged on did these liberals lose their nerve, and they never forgave McNamara for fighting on — even years later after he finally agreed they were right.”

    Yes, you can argue that the Vietnam War split the “left” in this country, with those such as Senator Henry Jackson supporting it, and others, most notably George McGovern, opposing it (along with the “new left” borne of the Civil Rights movement; Dr. Martin Luther King most definitely opposed the war). Also, President John F Kennedy (for whom McNamara served as Defense Secretary, and Lyndon Johnson later), when interviewed in September 1963, opposed sending more troops (I cannot access the YouTube video at the moment).

    The fact of the matter, though, as noted here, is that our involvement in Vietnam really began in 1950, when President Harry Truman authorized $15 million in military aid for the French whose outposts in North Vietnam were attacked that year; his successor, President Dwight Eisenhower, greatly increased military aid during his presidency, including training for the new South Vietnamese Army.

    As I said, I will acknowledge that some liberals supported the war until about 1965, but to imply that conservatives did not is patently absurd.

    And of course, since we’re talking about the Journal, you can rest assured that they won’t miss this opportunity to fluff Commander Codpiece and his determination to “stay the course” in Iraq as a contrast, crediting him solely for whatever successes have transpired in that country, failing to acknowledge of course that the surge, by itself, would have been fruitless without the benefit of the Sunni Awakening councils and the ethnic cleansing that has been totally ignored by our corporate media.

    Also, concerning the composition of President Kennedy’s military advisors (including McNamara), I think Errol Morris (whose film “The Fog of War” prominently featured McNamara) had some interesting insights here (and believe me, there were no liberals in this bunch)…

    Mr. McNamara became defense secretary in 1961. The Joint Chiefs were hawks. This is clear in reading the transcripts of the Cuban missile crisis; the generals speak to John F. Kennedy with derision, contempt and anger. When Mr. McNamara took office he discovered secret Pentagon plans for a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union.

    He worried that the Joint Chiefs wanted nuclear war, and he was determined not to allow that to happen. From ’63 to about ’67, we had first-strike capacity and nuclear superiority against the Soviet Union. (In the words of George C. Scott in “Dr. Strangelove,” I’m not saying we wouldn’t have got our “hair mussed.” But we would have destroyed them.) After Kennedy’s death, he served that central role of keeping the Joint Chiefs in check. If true, he becomes not the villain of American history, but something quite different.

    And what about the escalation of the Vietnam War? Recently, the taped conversations between President Lyndon Johnson and his advisers have been made public. Listening to the president and Mr. McNamara, it appears that the pressure for escalation did not come from Mr. McNamara, but from Johnson. Mr. McNamara was not an enthusiast for this war. But charged with the responsibility for carrying it out, he argued for it.

    And after Johnson’s term ended and Richard Nixon’s began, we saw “Tricky Dick” and Henry Kissinger, then his assistant for National Security Affairs, concoct their scheme to secretly bomb Cambodia; Nixon told the country during the 1968 election that he planned to bring “peace with honor” to Vietnam, though in fact this tactic ended up extending the war for seven more years, and it also led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge in that country – the genocidal slaughter was documented in “The Killing Fields.”

    So basically, you cannot assign blame or praise for our experience in Vietnam and Southeast Asia to any one political party or ideology; there is blame enough to go around.

    Often I find myself laughing at the bald-faced partisanship of the Journal’s editorials. On this occasion, however, I find myself cringing in abject disgust over their twisted interpretation of not just one war in Vietnam, but the second one in Iraq, from which we are still trying to extricate ourselves due to the willful, stupid intransigence of another president from Texas.


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