Friday Mashup (11/16/12)

November 16, 2012

  • Memo to the Bucks County Courier Times – stop publishing make-believe headlines (from yesterday) about the market supposedly reacting to the demise of those stinking George W. Bush tax cuts once and for all; as noted here, the real reasons had to do with Hurricane Sandy and weaker-than-expected earnings from Wal-of-China Mart.
  • Also, the Murdoch Street Journal was in a fit of high dudgeon recently here over the Obama Administration (of course) and what the Journal alleges is its failure to detain/imprison/subject to extralegal “rendition”/persuade to vote Republican/kill outright a certain Ali Musa Daqdug…

    The unpleasant post-election surprises keep coming. An Iranian attack on a U.S. drone in the Persian Gulf and l’affaire Petraeus came to light last week, and Monday we learned that the Iraqis plan to release a Hezbollah terrorist with American blood on his hands.

    A senior Iraqi official has told the Administration (Daqdug) may soon walk free to attack again, according to the New York Times.

    I’m sorry that’s all I have on the Journal piece, since it went behind the pay wall and I can’t access the whole thing unless I subscribe.

    (hee hee…excuse me for a minute…“subscribe to the Journal” – too funny.)

    As noted here, though…

    The U.S. believes (Daqduq) is a top threat to Americans in the Mideast, and had asked Baghdad to extradite him even before two Iraqi courts found him not guilty of masterminding the 2007 raid on an American military base in the holy Shiite city of Karbala.

    But the July 30 decision by the Iraqi central criminal court, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, ordered that Daqduq be freed immediately. It also makes it clear that Iraq believes the legal case against Hezbollah commander is over.

    “It is not possible to hand him over because the charges were dropped in the same case,” the three-judge panel ruled. “Therefore, the court decided to reject the request to hand over the Lebanese defendant Ali Mussa Daqduq to the U.S. judiciary authorities and to release him immediately.”

    It should also be noted that, according to the Status of Forces Agreement signed under Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History in 2008, the U.S. was required to turn over all Iraqi prisoners by the end of 2011 (and for good measure, Huckleberry Graham said that there would be “hell to pay” if Daqdug were tried in a civilian court – that’s ridiculous as far as I’m concerned, since doing that would be the fastest way to get a conviction against these characters…do Republicans honestly think that terrorists can’t communicate across the globe with the same technology we enjoy? And if one of these life forms like Daqdug ever broke loose on our soil, do they honestly think they would be able to go undercover for very long and concoct plots before they were caught?).

    I guess the Journal and their pals on Capitol Hill are giving us a peek into the Repug playbook for the next two years at least; blame the recent election on those supposedly lazy “minority” voters because they “want stuff” and try to gin up any bit of unpleasantness related to this administration as the new “scandal.”

  • Further, this missed the cutoff for Veterans Day, though I definitely agree with the sentiment that we should do all we can to help our veterans, in particular, to find employment.

    Which makes it all the more imperative for me to tell those numbskulls in charge of the U.S. House to get off the dime and pass Obama’s American Jobs Act, as noted here (Lamborn, along with the rest of his U.S. House same-party playmates, should take note in particular).

  • Next, it looks like the pastoral leader of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is telling the Catholic faithful here to engage in acts of civil disobedience, or something, over the “contraception mandate” of “Obamacare.”

    Of course, he doesn’t say anything about people whose homes were illegally foreclosed, or workers forced to train their replacements before their jobs are sent offshore (here), or people who were illegally disenfranchised or faced that threat due to voter ID laws (here), or teachers working for no pay in PA because Harrisburg somehow can’t find money for them even though our beloved commonwealth has no trouble at all doling out stinking tax cuts for the rich that don’t generate anything except wealth for people who are already wealthy (here), or anyone advocating on behalf of man-made global warming that is slowly suffocating this planet (or fracking protests, as noted here). As far as Charles Chaput is concerned, none of that merits “civil disobedience.”

    But the “contraception mandate” does.

    I wonder if Chaput knows that these people are advocating civil disobedience also. Does that make Chaput a “tenther” after all, I wonder?

    And I wonder what Chaput has to say about this (or that former Eagle Scout, Bucks County family man Mikey the Beloved, he of the six kids including three daughters)?

  • Continuing, I give you the following from here

    (Reuters) – Corporate America is raising the volume of its plea that the U.S. government avert a year-end “fiscal cliff” that could send the nation back into recession, but chief executives aren’t pushing the panic button just yet.

    No, they’re just bleating like stuck pigs as loudly as they can in an effort to tilt the economic scales as far in their favor as possible, that’s all.

    Continuing…

    Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) CEO Brian Moynihan said on Tuesday that worries about the cliff have companies holding off on spending.

    “That uncertainty continues to hold back the recovery,” Moynihan said, speaking at an investor conference in New York.

    I always believed worrying about “uncertainty” was a crock, particularly when a better case can be made that the lack of demand was much more of a culprit, but I think this post from Professor Krugman points that out pretty well; if you look at the graph and read Krugman’s analysis, then I think you can claim that the two most recent “spikes” of uncertainty on the graph were due to the Eurozone crisis (largely out of our hands) as well as the debt ceiling debacle that Boehner, Cantor and his pals are poised to repeat (definitely under our control).

    And that’s particularly ridiculous coming from Moynihan of “Skank of America”; as noted here, in a story about the utterly craven and self-serving “Fix The Debt” coalition…

    After a decade of risky and reckless mortgage lending, Bank of America survived the 2008 financial crash with the help of a $45 billion bailout. Today, Bank of America sits on $128 billion in cash — $18 billion of it is overseas —and much of that is sitting in the company’s 115 tax haven subsidiaries.

    Last year, after investors saw their stock price decline 58 percent and 30,000 Bank of America employees lost their jobs to layoffs, (Moynihan) saw his compensation quadruple to more than $8 million. His predecessor, Ken Lewis, raked in more than $50 million in the two years before the housing bubble that Bank of America had help inflate burst in 2008.

    Instead of running around going “OMIGOD THE FISCAL CLIFF THE FISCAL CLIFF OMIGOD OMIGOD!!!,” just let those Bush tax cuts die once and for all and then have Obama get together in the spring with the Senate and House “leadership” to eliminate the cap on earnings subject to Social Security withholding, preserve the home mortgage interest deduction, close some loopholes for the one percent, eliminate any tax breaks for offshoring of jobs, raise the top-end marginal rate a percentage or two and then wait for “Recovery Summer 2013.”

    (Yes, I know – if I ruled the world, every day would be the first day of spring…)

  • Moving on, this Brion McClanahan guy over at The Daily Tucker recently compiled his list of the five worst presidents here, and that would include both Roosevelts, Abraham Lincoln (seriously), Woodrow Wilson, and Lyndon Johnson (tied with Number 44).

    Number 1 is Lincoln because Number 16’s presidential predecessor Franklin Pierce opposed him (with Pierce, at the very least, being tainted a bit by scandal over his association with Jefferson Davis, Pierce’s former Secretary of War who later became president of the Confederacy; nothing was ever proved, though), and McClanahan also cites Roger Taney as someone who opposed Lincoln, with Taney being the author of the Dred Scott decision (here), so there’s no moral high ground there either.

    FDR is Number 2 on the list according to McClanahan because the New Deal was “obviously” unconstitutional; in response, I give you this (concerning conservatives and their so-called “Constitution in Exile” movement – and I’m pretty sure that “25 percent of Americans being dependent on government,” assuming that’s even true, had something to do with…oh, let me guess…that little dustup called WORLD WAR FREAKING TWO!!!)

    Woodrow Wilson is Number 3 on McClanahan’s list for “dragging the U.S. into World War I,” which is particularly funny since, at the time of his presidency, Wilson was criticized for not allowing U.S. entry into the war soon enough after the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 (we entered the war in 1917).

    And with that in mind, I give you this particularly repulsive excerpt from McClananhan (guilt by association big time)…

    It is no coincidence that two of the bloodiest military conflicts in American history took place under progressive presidents (Wilson and FDR). That alone should place them near the bottom of historical rankings.

    So what’s the order after that? TR is Number 4, presumably because he ushered in the progressive era (though of course McClanahan gives him no credit for this), and Number 5 is Lyndon Johnson, for supposedly taking us off the gold standard, when in fact FDR started us down that road in 1933 and Richard Nixon took us off the standard once and for all in 1971 (McClanahan also tries to perpetuate the wingnut mythology that that Great Society and anti-poverty programs of the Johnson administration were a failure – I think that notion got slapped down pretty well by Joseph Califano here).

    As we can all see, the wingnutosphere is particularly good at inflating its own self-sustaining bubble of misinformation, and this dreck from McClanahan is just another example.

    However, we all saw what happened when movement conservative thought met reality on November 6th. And given the fact that the right wing never seems to learn, I’m sure we’ll see it again.

  • Finally, here is the latest on the efforts of individuals in 30 states to file secession petitions (too funny).

    So these folks really want to go, huh? Well, they might want to consider some stuff from here; namely, that they’ll have to negotiate their own commerce with other states; they likely won’t have access to basic cable or other satellite systems since all of that is regulated by the FTC; they will no longer be eligible for federal funds if a disaster strikes like a hurricane; they will no longer benefit from assistance from the National Guard (think “national” here); all inmates incarcerated at state and federal levels must be released because without federal funding, many of these law enforcement protection services will be slashed dramatically (that goes for fire protection services and emergency medical services, too); medications, chemicals, food items, and other usable material or ingestible items will no longer be federally tested or regulated for safety (no more FDA); most of your state’s banking systems will no longer be FDIC insured, so you might as well kiss those greenbacks goodbye forever; any seceding state or commonwealth will have to support its own infrastructure without federal funds, including bridges, trains, highways, airports; no more help with making sure your air is safe to breathe or your water is safe to drink, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

    And in the case of Texas in particular…well, somehow I have a feeling that Mexico would take the opportunity to settle an old score or two, which poses no issue at all as far as I’m concerned.

    So, in other words…


    Works for me.

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    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.


    “Governor Hottie” Gets Blown Off By Bushco

    October 17, 2008

    This Newsweek story tells us that John W. McBush, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden were called by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Our Gal Condi Rice for an Iraq troop briefing this week…

    The calls this week were part of the Bush administration’s campaign to line up political support for a compromise deal with Iraq that cedes some authority over U.S. forces, and a courtesy to the presidential hopefuls on whose watch the deal would take effect.

    “We are keeping them informed about activities and remember, certainly, they have committee assignments and things like that as senators as well,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said Friday. “One of them is going to win the election, and they will be taking over and having to deal with these issues … So it’s only prudent for us to make sure that we get them the information that we think they need.”

    As to why the “Alaska Disasta” wasn’t included…

    State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters: “If you hadn’t noticed, she’s a governor, not a senator or congressman.”

    Well, this prompted me to go searching, and I found the following headline from this New York Times story dated 40 years ago (subscription only)…

    JOHNSON TO BRIEF NIXON AND AGNEW ON TALKS IN PARIS; Republican Nominees to Fly to Ranch Today — Will See Rusk, Vance and Helms TRIP TO SOVIET IS OFF Presidential Candidate Will Visit Party Chiefs in States That Opposed His Bid Politics: Johnson to Brief Nixon and Agnew Today on the Talks in Paris on Vietnam CANDIDATE’S TRIP TO SOVIET IS OFF Presidential Nominee Plans to Visit Party’s Leaders in States That Opposed Him

    By WARREN WEAVER Jr.Special to The New York Times
    August 10, 1968, Saturday
    Page 1, 1015 words

    And the story tells us the following…

    The Republican nominee for President was invited by President Johnson to take Gov. Spiro T. Agnew with him to the L.B.J. Ranch for a meeting with Secretary of State Dean Rusk; Cyrus R. Vance, one of the negotiators in Paris, and Richard C. Helms, Director of Central Intelligence.

    And just for the record, Agnew was the governor of Maryland at the time.

    Hey, I don’t like Palin either, but fair is fair, right? And it serves McCormack right for being a typical Bushco smartass.


    Bob Herbert Speaks – We Listen

    September 13, 2008

    From 9/9 also…words to live by from here (though, being a columnist, Herbert has been known to drift over to “the dark side” on occasion – h/t Atrios)…

    Ignorance must really be bliss. How else, over so many years, could the G.O.P. get away with ridiculing all things liberal?

    Troglodytes on the right are no respecters of reality. They say the most absurd things and hardly anyone calls them on it. Evolution? Don’t you believe it. Global warming? A figment of the liberal imagination.

    Liberals have been so cowed by the pummeling they’ve taken from the right that they’ve tried to shed their own identity, calling themselves everything but liberal and hoping to pass conservative muster by presenting themselves as hyper-religious and lifelong lovers of rifles, handguns, whatever.

    So there was Hillary Clinton, of all people, sponsoring legislation to ban flag-burning; and Barack Obama, who once opposed the death penalty, morphing into someone who not only supports it, but supports it in cases that don’t even involve a homicide.

    Anyway, the Republicans were back at it last week at their convention. Mitt Romney wasn’t content to insist that he personally knows that “liberals don’t have a clue.” He complained loudly that the federal government right now is too liberal.

    “We need change, all right,” he said. “Change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington.”

    Why liberals don’t stand up to this garbage, I don’t know. Without the extraordinary contribution of liberals — from the mightiest presidents to the most unheralded protesters and organizers — the United States would be a much, much worse place than it is today.

    There would be absolutely no chance that a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin could make a credible run for the highest offices in the land. Conservatives would never have allowed it.

    Civil rights? Women’s rights? Liberals went to the mat for them time and again against ugly, vicious and sometimes murderous opposition. They should be forever proud.

    The liberals who didn’t have a clue gave us Social Security and unemployment insurance, both of which were contained in the original Social Security Act. Most conservatives despised the very idea of this assistance to struggling Americans. Republicans hated Social Security, but most were afraid to give full throat to their opposition in public at the height of the Depression.

    “In the procedural motions that preceded final passage,” wrote historian Jean Edward Smith in his biography, “FDR,” “House Republicans voted almost unanimously against Social Security. But when the final up-or-down vote came on April 19 [1935], fewer than half were prepared to go on record against.”

    Liberals who didn’t have a clue gave us Medicare and Medicaid. Quick, how many of you (or your loved ones) are benefiting mightily from these programs, even as we speak. The idea that Republicans are proud of Ronald Reagan, who saw Medicare as “the advance wave of socialism,” while Democrats are ashamed of Lyndon Johnson, whose legislative genius made this wonderful, life-saving concept real, is insane.

    When Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law in the presence of Harry Truman in 1965, he said: “No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine.”

    Reagan, on the other hand, according to Johnson biographer Robert Dallek, “predicted that Medicare would compel Americans to spend their ‘sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like in America when men were free.’ ”

    Scary.

    Without the many great and noble deeds of liberals over the past six or seven decades, America would hardly be recognizable to today’s young people. Liberals (including liberal Republicans, who have since been mostly drummed out of the party) ended legalized racial segregation and gender discrimination.

    Humiliation imposed by custom and enforced by government had been the order of the day for blacks and women before men and women of good will and liberal persuasion stepped up their long (and not yet ended) campaign to change things. Liberals gave this country Head Start and legal services and the food stamp program. They fought for cleaner air (there was a time when you could barely see Los Angeles) and cleaner water (there were rivers in America that actually caught fire).

    Liberals. Your food is safer because of them, and so are your children’s clothing and toys. Your workplace is safer. Your ability (or that of your children or grandchildren) to go to college is manifestly easier.

    It would take volumes to adequately cover the enhancements to the quality of American lives and the greatness of American society that have been wrought by people whose politics were unabashedly liberal. It is a track record that deserves to be celebrated, not ridiculed or scorned.

    Self-hatred is a terrible thing. Just ask that arch-conservative Clarence Thomas.

    Liberals need to get over it.

    Update 9/10/09: By the way, I had to remove the “New Rules” video because HBO decided to be hardasses about it.


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