Thursday Repug Nonsense Roundup

June 18, 2009

  • So much for Dubya owing Obama his “silence” (here)…

    “There are a lot of ways to remedy the situation without nationalizing health care,” Mr. Bush said. “I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care.”

    As noted here…

  • While he was governor of Texas, that state ranked next to last “in the percentage of children with health insurance and about 1.4 million children in Texas were uninsured.”
  • He supported expansion of SCHIP when running for re-election in 2004, then opposed it after winning a second term.
  • When he finally did decide to add $5 billion to SCHIP funding, it would have resulted in about 840,000 kids losing coverage, whereas the bipartisan congressional alternative provided coverage to 10 million kids.
  • “Replace the private sector”…what a nitwit!

  • We also have the following from California Repug congressman (and former Reagan speechwriter) Dana Rohrabacher on the matter of the Iranian election (here)…

    Well I think that Mr. Obama, if he continues to have these types of attitudes, we’re going to see things get very bad, very quickly. Already the North Koreans have challenged him and realized that he’s a cream puff, if that is what he is indeed going to be as a President.… [N]ow if the Mullahs in Iran are permitted to just roll over opposition something like Tiananmen square (I fixed Rohrabacher’s misspelling), we will have missed a great opportunity.

    Gee, maybe Obama should’ve traded arms for hostages with Iran, like Dana R.’s old boss.

    And if Obama is a “creampuff,” I don’t know what that makes Rohrabacher for aiding Afghan fighters in the ‘80s who would later become the Taliban, along with that bin Laden guy (noted here).

  • And speaking of the Iranian election, it seems that the Repugs actually allege a kinship of sorts with the protestors, claiming to be an “oppressed minority,” twittering to that effect to all who will care to read (here).


    It should be noted that, back when they were the majority party essentially from 2000-2006, one of the tools they used to ramrod their agenda through Congress was somewhat ironically titled “reconciliation,” which, as noted here…

    …is an optional procedure that can be included in the annual Congressional budget resolution process.

    Inclusion in the budget does not mean reconciliation will definitely be used; it merely leaves the option on the table.

    The main purpose of budget reconciliation is to provide Congress the ability to change current law in order to align revenue and spending levels with the policies of the budget resolution.

    I say it’s a bit ironic because, in effect, it means that the dreaded “60 votes needed for passage” in the Senate do not apply; a straight majority vote on whatever the affected piece of legislation happens to be is sufficient.

    And though, as The Gavel states, it is to be used primarily for budget matters, it was abused to pass the notorious tax cuts of the early part of this decade, which have a lot to do with our current economic mess, noted here (along with Judd Gregg’s tactic of using it to open the ANWR for drilling).

    And by the way, if you want to read some funny stuff in response to U.S. House Rep Pete Hoekstra’s “tweet” in particular, check this out (h/t Atrios).

  • Pletka Poses North Korea Nuke Nonsense

    June 5, 2009

    pletka200In case anyone out there still wonders how it could be that those considered to be knowledgeable by the insular Beltway punditocracy can be granted a forum to spout their drivel over and over even though they have been shown up as consistently wrong at every turn, I offer up the case of the AEI’s Danielle Pletka.

    In today’s Washington Post, she tells us the following (from here, in an opinion piece with the charming title of “Negotiating For The Other Side”)…

    …the Clinton administration and that of George W. Bush fell into the same negotiating trap with North Korea. The Clinton team was so wedded to the prospect of a nuclear-free North Korea that the president and secretary of state were willing to ignore intelligence indicating that Pyongyang was cheating on its agreement. When evidence surfaced that North Korea was diverting fuel-oil shipments to military industries in contravention of the Agreed Framework, Robert Gallucci, the agreement’s negotiator, blamed the Pentagon for having insisted on such restrictions. The Bush administration was little better. Indeed, Bush’s North Korea envoy, Christopher Hill, came to personify negotiator’s Stockholm syndrome, reportedly demanding that intelligence regarding North Korean noncompliance with its denuclearization commitments be vetted through him and cutting off the flow of information to diplomats with contrarian views on the wisdom of his approach to Pyongyang.

    I wish I could verify what Pletka said about Gallucci, but despite much Googling, I cannot. However, regarding the matter of cheating on the Agreed Framework, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times tells us the following (from here, and corroborated by Gallucci here in the 14th comment)…

    It is true that North Korea MAY HAVE cheated by trying to set up a second path toward nuclear weapons, involving enriching uranium. We know that North Korea imported some equipment that would have been used for enriching uranium, and when confronted in the fall of 2002, North Korea seemed to admit that it had something going on. But we don’t know if there was ever a formal program launched, and there’s zero evidence that a weapon was actually made. The intelligence community believes it wasn’t. So, yes, North Korea probably cheated on the agreement, but not in a serious way that produced a weapon (and the U.S. didn’t fully implement the agreement, either).

    But the George W. Bush administration abandoned the Agreed Framework, and North Korea then pulled out its plutonium fuel rods and made about six bombs. If there was a uranium program, it still hasn’t produced any weapons.

    So the upshot was that North Korea produced 1-2 weapons in the George H.W. Bush administration, 0 in the eight years of Clinton, and about 6 in the eight years of George W. Bush. That makes the Clinton policy of negotiation with North Korea look pretty successful, and the hard-line policies of Bush 43 horrific.

    And by the way, on the matter of Hill “demanding that intelligence regarding North Korean noncompliance with its denuclearization commitments be vetted through him and cutting off the flow of information to diplomats with contrarian views” (assuming this is not merely Pletka’s spin and it can actually be believed), I think it should be noted that Hill was continually undercut by “Deadeye Dick” Cheney, as noted here, and was probably trying to head off his interference in particular.

    Pletka continues…

    Too often U.S. negotiators are diplomatic gamblers who, in a quest for progress or a place in the history books, weaken American national security in the hope that their next throw of the dice will bring success. Some negotiators have shown themselves willing to shade the truth to Congress; others have politicized intelligence. Proponents of the negotiations game argue that entangling adversaries in a process buys time and security. But as North Korea’s most recent nuclear test proves, the time that negotiations buy helps only our adversaries.

    So far beyond a joke to hear Pletka say that “negotiators” have been known to “shade the truth” to Congress and have “politicized intelligence,” since she, for the most part, was a cheerleader for a presidential regime who did these dark deeds like no other.

    But this is typical for Pletka, a hard-core neocon who fronted for Iraqi National Congress con man Ahmed Chalabi, cut her “teeth,” as it were, working for Jesse Helms (as noted here), and has been a torture cheerleader, among her various other misdeeds (with more of her delusional behavior on display here).

    Thursday Funnies From The Murdoch Street Journal

    February 12, 2009

    (OK, Tuesday actually – I’m a little late with this one…)

    Bret Stephens of the WSJ laments the supposed foreign policy failures of the Obama Administration here (Jeez, people, he hasn’t even been in office for a month! Let’s wait until something blows up before we start crying about how he isn’t fixing every single problem at once, OK?).

    Get a load of this (and these are selected excerpts – I have neither the time nor the desire to punish myself by analyzing all of Stephens’ propaganda here)…

    “I have Muslim members of my family,” Mr. Obama recently told Al-Arabiya. Yet so far his efforts at outreach have been met with derision from Arab hard-liners and “liberals” alike.

    “We welcomed him with almost total enthusiasm until he underwent his first real test: Gaza,” wrote Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany in a New York Times op-ed. “We also wanted Mr. Obama . . . to recognize . . . the right of people in occupied territory to resist military occupation.” In other words, the price of Arab support for Mr. Obama is that he embrace Hamas and its terrorist tactics.

    Gee, Bret, nice…job to excerpt…only the portions of…what Obama is…talking about that…only seems to favor…your argument, huh? There was plenty of room to also include the additional words you left out, namely the part about “recogniz(ing) what we see as a simple, essential truth: the right of a people in occupied territory to resist military occupation,” as well as the writer’s note that Obama “studied law and political science at the greatest American universities.”

    For the record, here is the Op-Ed in question from the Times, in which, while the Egyptian writer indeed confesses his disenchantment with Obama over his silence on Gaza, he also tells us that…

    Have Egyptians irreversibly gone off Mr. Obama? No. Egyptians still think that this one-of-a-kind American president can do great things. Young Egyptians’ admiration for America is offset by frustration with American foreign policy. Perhaps the most eloquent expression of this came from one Egyptian blogger: “I love America. It’s the country of dreams … but I wonder if I will ever be able someday to declare my love.”

    (And yes, it would be nice if Obama did speak out, but I think he’s wise to fight one catastrophe at a time, focusing on the economy first – besides, while I would like to see nothing better than a political sea change in this country against both Israel and the Palestinians to the point where Israel would stop building those damn settlements and start negotiating for real about Jerusalem, water, right of return, etc., I know what the realistic chance is of seeing that happen any time soon.)

    And Stephens also tells us that, concerning North Korea (another supposed Obama failure), “a Taepodong 2 missile (is) potentially capable of reaching the U.S. West Coast.”

    Yeah, well, there are all kinds of things that are “potentially capable” of taking place: I, for one, am “potentially capable” of winning the Powerball drawing if I buy a ticket every single week, for example.

    However, in the real world, the following should be noted (from here)…

    In July 2006, the North set off a Taepodong-2 from its long-established site in the north-east of the country, but it fizzled out and fell into the Sea of Japan in a major embarrassment for the country’s armed forces.

    The current Taepodong-2 development is believed to have a range of just over 4,000 miles, enough to hit Alaska and maybe Hawaii.

    North Korea’s official media has whipped up its invective against the South in recent weeks, and in particular against South Korea’s right-wing president, Lee Myung-bak. On Friday, it said the two Koreas were on the “brink of war”.

    But the regime has been noticeably quiet about America, seemingly wishing to encourage Washington’s current policy of engagement with Pyongyang.

    Color me shocked that we are apparently still trying to contain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions; I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday (last year, in fact) that our dear corporate media cousins told us that Dubya “won” on a reactor deal here?

    See you next Tuesday, Bret.

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