Friday Mashup (1/17/14)

January 17, 2014
  • In an otherwise sensible column, Andrew Taylor of the AP inflicts the following here –and of course, since we’re talking about a “villager” like Taylor, the topic MUST be about our supposedly “crushing” debt burden (wrong) and how we’ll have to CUTUCUTCUTCUTCUTCUTCUT so others will have to feel the pain that Taylor won’t have to worry about ever feeling himself on this…

    Excluded are the giant benefit programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps that run on autopilot and are increasingly driving the government deeper into debt.

    Even though the programs that Taylor mentions only account for about 45 percent of federal spending, as noted here.

    And I realize that “run on autopilot” is wingnut code, to say nothing of the fact that it’s wrong anyway since funding legislation still has to be passed by Congress and signed into law by the president; how else can these programs be administered?

    Oh, and as far as supposedly teetering on the edge of a debt apocalypse (or something), I give you Professor Krugman here.

    This type of wankery isn’t unusual for Taylor, who once claimed that President Obama suffered a “slide” in support in 2010 here without providing any, you know, actual data to support that claim.

  • Next (and sticking with financial matters), I give you yet another bad conservative idea on how to supposedly get our federal fiscal house in order (here)…

    After Congress managed in 1986 to largely accomplish the herculean task of tax reform by eliminating the many deductions, exemptions, and credits, those special tax provisions, like desserts, ultimately proved too tempting, betraying erstwhile commitments to diets and good policy alike. The reform was largely undone over time.

    Even the vaunted ‘86 reform left a few things untouched, some habits just proving too difficult to shed. If certainties are limited to death and taxes, a sub-certainty comes in the form of the mortgage interest deduction (MID), which is like the smoking addiction of the tax code.

    We don’t know exactly what will emerge from tax reform discussions, but supposedly everything is on the table (or chopping block, depending on how you see it). Except the MID of course. Defended as a way to encourage homeownership, one would be hard-pressed to come up with a worse way to accomplish this goal.

    Lather, rinse, repeat (sigh)…

    I’m sick of reading conservatives attack the home mortgage interest deduction. As noted here (quoting a story from Bloomberg News, prior to the 2012 presidential election)…

    Lots of middle class people would be hit hard by that. There is a real political issue here. Give up a mortgage tax deduction (the biggest loophole for the middle class) in order to give trillions of dollars of tax cuts to the rich. It also would make the real estate market much worse because home ownership is subsidized by that deduction.

    I think Romney would lose the suburbs if people understood. Of course, he’ll deny. He wants big tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations and he has a “secret plan” to end the war, I mean to balance the budget.

    Nixon beat George Romney in 1968 primaries, so Mitt became Dick Nixon, just as George Bush II modeled Ronnie Reagan rather than his father. I am tired of Republican “daddy” issues.

    There isn’t a lot that I, as a middle-class homeowner, benefit from when it comes to tax policy and our federal government (except for declining-over-time amounts that we have to pay, which isn’t insignificant I know), but the mortgage interest deduction is definitely one of those benefits (along with deducting state and local taxes; I don’t have a link at the moment, but I’ve seen the idea of getting rid of those deductions floated from conservatives too).

    There’s a reason why Willard Mitt Romney and Mr.-Puppy-Dog-Eyes-With-The-Shiv didn’t touch this with the proverbial ten foot pole. And that’s because they knew that it was a “third rail.”

    However, under the guise of supposedly encouraging “big ideas” or something, I’m sure this will get regurgitated over and over and over, which is why we must be ever vigilant when that happens.

  • Further, it looks like the wingnuts want Rachel Maddow to apologize here for a story saying that a Koch Brothers-affiliated group supported Florida’s totally ridiculous welfare-recipient-drug-testing law; see, the argument is that, because Maddow’s parent employer MSNBC (Microsoft, really) and Comcast, for example, donated to something called the State Policy Network, which counts among its members the Florida Foundation for Government Accountability, then the group is affiliated with Microsoft and Comcast also (hey, if the shoe fits)…

    Well, if this State Policy Network/Florida Foundation for Government Accountability takes money from the Kochs (which doesn’t seem to be in dispute), then what’s the problem with saying that they’re Koch-affiliated?

    Besides, maybe if the Florida Foundation for Government Accountability (which is to say, of course, Charles and David Koch) want to keep a lower profile on this issue (apparently not having the courage of their rotten convictions) then maybe instead of trying to persecute a cable TV personality, they could instead cease and desist from traveling to Georgia, for example, to tell that state how supposedly wonderful Florida’s welfare-recipient-drug-testing law supposedly is (noted here).

  • Continuing, I give you the latest in climate science denialism from Jack Kelly (here)…

    There were more record lows than highs in the United States last year, for the first time since 1993. For the 17th consecutive year, global temperatures were lower than in 1998. Arctic sea ice expanded by about 50 percent, confounding predictions the Arctic would be ice-free by the summer of 2013.

    Oh brother – as noted here in response…

    The Met Office in Britain recently pointed out that there are all sorts of reasons why sea ice extent can bounce around from year to year:

    — temperatures naturally vary from one year to the next ;
    — the amount of cloud can affect the amount of surface melting;
    — summer storms can also break up ice, which can accelerate the melting process;
    — settled conditions can be more conducive to ice forming;
    — winds may act to spread out the ice or push it together.

    Those variables can help explain why sea ice didn’t decline in 2013 as much as it did last year: “In 2012 we saw a record low which was storm which swept through the region in summer, but this year’s weather conditions appear to have been less conducive to ice loss,” noted Ann Keen, a sea ice scientist at the Met Office.

    Since things can vary a fair bit year to year, the Met Office advises looking at longer-term trends. And those are easy to see. There was less Arctic ice, on average, in the 2000s than there was in the 1990s. And there was less ice, on average, in the 1990s than there was in the 1980s.

    Clearly the ice is disappearing. Since 1979, Arctic sea-ice extent has been shrinking by about 4 percent per decade, with summer lows getting about 11 percent smaller each decade. And the volume of Arctic sea ice — which is trickier to measure — also keeps tumbling downward.

    And as long as we’re talking about Kelly, allow me to note that we’re coming up on the ninth anniversary of Kelly’s claim that the Iraq War was “all but won” in February 2005 here (proving among other things, that, like the forces affecting our temperatures, Kelly is an expert at generating hot air and apparently not much else).

  • Finally, this tells us that Repug U.S. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma will end his term early due to his battle with prostate cancer. I wish him well with this health issue, but before anyone gets carried away with too many hosannas to this guy, I think we should remember the following:

    On the positive side, he said that liberals were honest about the deficit, or something, here (true). He also wanted $1 trillion in defense cuts for the next 10 years (here).

    On the negative side, he said that President Obama wanted more people to be dependent on government because Obama supposedly was (here). He also said here that Obama was “perilously close” to impeachment, without providing evidence of course (here). Coburn also blocked a transportation bill affecting the FAA that could have ended up putting about 80,000 people out of work because trees and bike paths supposedly posed a threat to public safety (here).

    Oh, and there’s also the matter of Coburn’s role in the scheme to pay off the mistress of his now-disgraced fellow Repug Senate colleague John Ensign, which Coburn originally denied, though it came to light later (here).

    He also scuttled a budget deal with Dick Durbin because he wanted an additional $130 billion in Medicare cuts (here). Coburn also made sure that $2 billion was removed from funding health care for first responders (here).

    As noted here

    This bastard voted YES for tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. He voted YES to exempt them from the estate tax. He voted YES to give these same rich people additional benefits in the form of capital gains tax cuts. Yet, somehow he had the balls to vote NO on taking care of the 9-11 responders who risked everything to respond to the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil on the grounds that it’s too expensive. How can he possibly rationalize this?

    He also helped to block federal flood insurance here, along with an extension of unemployment benefits here (past is prologue, I guess). And he also told a woman distraught at a town hall over her husband’s brain injury that expecting help from the government was “an inaccurate statement,” or something here (nice guy…and of course, Coburn’s sheep-like minions in attendance applauded – somebody elects these fools, people).

    Tom Coburn made his name as someone who supposedly was a prudent fiscal conservative, but who was in fact a heartless shill on behalf of the “pay no price, bear no burden” one percent of this country, with the accompanying media hagiography provided for him by all-too-willing Beltway corporate media stenographers (as well as Number 44 himself, who didn’t do us any favors on Coburn either).

    He merely reinforced, and did his best to accelerate actually, the already ruinous right-wing political realignment and economic inequality of this country. And I’d be hard-pressed to come up a worse possible epitaph than that.


  • Friday Mashup (3/1/13)

    March 1, 2013
  • Did you know that conservatives are “leading” on prison “reform”? I mean, the Daily Tucker says it here, so it must be true, right (snark)…

    In conservative states like Texas, Georgia, and South Dakota, conservative policymakers have spearheaded statutory and budgetary reforms that prioritize prison space for violent and dangerous offenders while strengthening cost-effective alternatives that hold nonviolent offenders accountable.

    I have to admit that there’s a smattering of truth in that claim, but as far as I’m concerned, not much.

    To begin, I should point out that you really can’t talk about the state of prisons in this country without talking about the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). And you certainly can’t talk about the state of prisons in Texas without mentioning CCA; as noted here from 2010 about a scheme to privatize prison health care under the banner of “deficit reduction” (sound familiar?)…

    Private prisons are a big business in Texas, where the combination of federal immigration policies and one of the nation’s largest inmate populations has led to a boom in construction over the last two decades. As governor, Perry, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, has supported privatizing everything from public lands to highways, but according to Scott Henson, a criminal-justice watchdog who runs the blog Grits for Breakfast, the governor had remained largely quiet on the prisons issue—until this year.

    That coincided with an influx of campaign contributions from private-prison executives and lobbyists, among them his former top aide, Michael Toomey, a political powerbroker who represents the nation’s largest private corrections contractor…CCA, per its website, “provides health care services to male and female inmates and youthful offenders who are housed in local jails, detention facilities, and correctional institutions around the country.” (Toomey told Mother Jones he had not lobbied Perry’s office or the state Legislature on the prison health care plan; Perry’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.)

    Toomey, who had not contributed directly to any of the governor’s previous gubernatorial campaigns, opened up his wallet for two separate $10,000 donations to Perry two months before Election Day in 2010. Thomas Beasley, the founder of CCA, has given $17,000 to Perry’s campaigns over the last decade. Another private prison firm, the GEO Group, poured $15,000 into Perry’s 2010 reelection effort in 2010 through its eponymous political action committee. Luis Gonzalez, a GEO Group lobbyist, meanwhile, gave $50,000 to Perry’s reelection bid.

    Hmm, I can smell the conflict of interest like some sizzlin’ Texas beef barbecue. Can you?

    Turning to the Peach State, I give you the following (here)…

    For inmates at one Georgia prison, a one minute phone call could cost them five times more than they earn for a day of work.

    The Correction Corporation Of America’s Stewart facility, a private prison in Lumpkin, Georgia, is forcing prisoners to pay five dollars per minute to use the phone, Alternet reports (h/t ThinkProgress). The exorbitant rate would break most people’s budget, but it’s especially costly for inmates that the prison who make just one dollar per day to work at the facility.

    Faced with huge budget shortfalls, states are increasingly relying on privatized prisons to house criminals in their state and the for-profit corporations behind those prisons are coming up with various ways to maximize revenue. The money the Stewart prison is collecting from its 2,000 prisoners to use the phone helped the prison net profits of $35 to $50 million a year, ThinkProgress reports.

    Also, as noted here, what we have in Georgia, among other places, is basically a de facto criminalization of immigration. And turning to South Dakota, this tells us that the inmate population grew from “550 inmates in 1977 to more than 3,600 last year, outpacing the national prison growth rate” (in South Dakota, which comes out to about 500 percent).

    Call me a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but I wonder if the so-called prison reform movement by conservatives emphasizing decriminalization for non-violent offenses, which apparently is actually accomplishing some good, is also in part a feint so people don’t pay more attention to locking up illegals, which we seem to do in this country in ever-greater numbers, as well as paying attention to what is transpiring from outfits like CCA, aided and abetted by the silence of politicians who could turn over what I’m sure are some pretty unseemly rocks (including the fact that, as noted here, it doesn’t take much to draw a line from CCA back to ALEC and the Kochs – CCA ditched them, but I would argue that they did so because they didn’t need them any more).

    (Oh, and let’s not forget how the supposed “savior” of the Repugs tried to get CCA into “The Sunshine State,” as noted here.)

    Given all of that, I don’t think anyone has a right to crow about how reform-minded we supposedly are in a country where we still incarcerate a higher percentage of our population than any other nation on earth (here).

  • Next (and sticking with Tucker Carlson’s crayon scribble page), someone named Jamie Weinstein brought us the following nonsense here

    Listen to (Minnesota Dem U.S. House Rep Keith) Ellison’s plan to solve our long-term debt problem. He mentions closing tax loopholes and ending certain deductions for large corporations, citing specifically tax breaks for oil companies and special tax deductions for corporate jets. If Congress took Ellison’s advice on these two proposals, America’s deficit would decrease, at the very most, much less than $5 billion dollars a year. Our deficit last year was over $1 trillion. Our total debt is over $16 trillion.

    At best, Ellison is ignorant and/or an idiot.

    (Definitely glad I didn’t watch this clown on “Real Time with Bill Maher” recently; I understand that Maher is, first and foremost, an entertainer, but if he isn’t going to have a conservative who actually makes sense sometimes like David Frum, Rich Galen or Fareed Zakaria, then he really shouldn’t even bother.)

    I don’t know what exactly it says about Weinstein that he bothered to link to “Tiger Beat on the Potomac” for the item about oil industry subsides (worth about $40 billion) and didn’t mention the amount (here). I also don’t know what it says about him that he rather shockingly linked to a Center for American Progress post about closing the corporate jet loophole over 10 years ($3.2 billion) but didn’t provide the details, including how that would fund WIC, Head Start, Special Education, Title 1, and housing vouchers.

    And of course, Weinstein ignores what Prof. Krugman points out here – namely that the Obama Administration has already pursued deficit reduction (with the Budget Control Act and the American Taxpayer Relief Act), and all we need is about $1.2 to $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years to maintain our current debt-to-GDP ratio.

    Ellison has also proposed eliminating the damn sequester already here, along with fellow Dem Rep. Raul Grijalva, which automatically makes these two guys a lot smarter than many of the other horses asses on Capitol Hill (as noted here, Ellison did indeed vote against the Budget Control Act that created the sequester…more on Ellison railing against budget cuts, which really don’t do a hell of a lot to shrink our deficit anyway, here – also, based on this, the case can definitely be made that Obama has cut the deficit by $2.4 trillion already).

    Why Weinstein doesn’t point out any of this is a mystery to me. At best, he is either ignorant and/or an idiot (and speaking of idiots – Hannity, I mean…).

  • Continuing, I came across some true hilarity at clownhall.com here

    Liberals, whose connection with Hispanic America consists of lecturing their nannies about ensuring that little Bayley is raised in a gender neutral environment and doesn’t make toy guns out of his Legos, think all Hispanics are the same.

    In response to the life form named Kurt Schlichter who concocted this dreck, I give you this telling us, among other things, that President Obama is currently faring well with Hispanics.

    But of course it’s the “liberal establishment” that’s being driven by anger and fear.

    Sure it is.

  • Further, I give you the latest in that drama known as “As The Sequester Turns” from that sleazy weasel Eric Cantor (here)…

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Thursday blasted President Obama for touring around the country “scaring people, creating havoc” instead of working on a replacement for the sequester.

    “That’s supposed to be leadership?” Cantor asked on the House floor. “The president says to Americans that their food is going to go un-inspected, and that our borders will be less patrolled and unsafe.

    “His cabinet secretaries are holding press conferences and conducting TV interviews, making false claims about teacher layoffs.”

    I’m not going to bother pointing out once more that Number 44 is fundamentally correct on the impact due to hit us shortly, but instead, I’ll just link to this which lets us know that, as is the case on just about every other subject, Cantor has zero credibility when it comes to talking about the sequester.

    Cantor also said that the House supposedly passed an alternative and said that it’s time for the Senate to do the same – the first item is an utter lie (as noted here), and concerning the second, the Senate Dems offered a replacement, and Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao and his pals did what they do best – again (here).

    (And when it comes to the sequester, let’s not forget this.)

    Update: By the way, to get some idea of the cuts coming from the sequester and how they affect PA (and nationally), click here (thanks to the office of U.S. House Rep Allyson Schwartz).

  • LeBron1_LBJ

  • Finally, please allow me to try and leave my imprint on popular culture again after reading this story.

    This item really isn’t about basketball, but to me, it has more than a little bit to do with trying to equate someone idolized in professional sport with a legendary former President of the United States (yes, Vietnam took off on his watch, but you could argue that, between the two of them, Nixon, at a minimum, presided over at least as many casualties as Lyndon B. Johnson…probably more considering that Nixon escalated the war; being the filthy, unkempt liberal that I am, I tend to equate Number 36 more with The Great Society than anything else).

    36_lbj_1
    So for that reason, LBJ, to me, should be this guy…

    lebron-james-cory-mckee
    …and not this guy.

    And for anyone thinking that I’m making a mountain out of a proverbial molehill, let me point out the conservative apoplexy that would result if a serial killer was ever brought to trial who happened to be named Ronald Reagan: Irrational Spew, The Weakly Standard and others would be making every possible effort to make sure this person was referred to in the press as “Ronald B. Reagan,” “Ronald W.T. Reagan,” “Ronald Cleophus Reagan”…whatever – you see my point.

    Now I promise I won’t bring up this subject again unless and until the day comes when a superstar hockey player arrives from the Canadian junior leagues, holds out for a multi-million dollar contract, acts in a generally boorish way towards fans across the National Hockey League…and his name happens to be Jerry Francis Kinkaid :-).


  • 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.


  • Monday Mashup (7/9/12)

    July 10, 2012
  • All class, Tucker – not sure what else I can add to an atrocity like this.
  • Next, I give you the latest propaganda from Investor’s Business Daily (here)…

    Political leaders continue to peddle the snake oil that we can spend our way back to prosperity.

    Many Americans believe President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Keynesian conversion beat back the Great Depression. It’s pure myth. In the 1930s, the United States doubled government outlays relative to GDP. The unemployment rate didn’t fall; instead, it jumped from 3.2% in 1929 to 25.2% in 1933 — an outcome contrary to Keynes’ doctrine.

    I think it’s utterly hilarious that IBD only considers four years of FDR’s entire term of office in its “analysis.” (if you want to read about historical U.S. unemployment rates from 1920 until the present day, click here).

    In response, I give you the following from Professor Krugman (here)…

    …there were big moves in years when nothing much was happening to military spending, notably the slump from 1929 to 1933 and the recovery from 1933 to 1936. But every year in which there was a big spending increase was also a year of strong growth, and the reduction in military spending after World War II was a year of sharp output decline.

    Yes, the unemployment numbers got worse later in the 1930s. However, that was due to a cut in government spending, not an increase (here).

    And if you don’t want to believe me, then believe that noted “Keynesian” Willard Mitt Romney himself, who said here that spending cuts would lead to “recession or depression.”

    If you want to know the real story on the drag on job growth, though, click here (and yes, I know all of this is a recording, but as long as the other side keeps lying through its metaphorical teeth…).

  • Further, Mark Krikorian of Irrational Spew Online takes a shot here at Denise Rich, former wife of fugitive financier (and Bill Clinton and Repug BFF) Marc Rich, for doing the “expat” thing and renouncing her U.S. citizenship (which, apparently, about 1,700 former citizens do a year – color me shocked)…

    I have no quarrel with people who want to emigrate. But to do so for tax reasons (which may or may not be the motivation in this instance) is, as David French put it in an exchange about Eduardo Saverin, “pathetic. Not punishable, but pathetic.”

    Why not punishable? Hey, why do the “half wingnut” when you can go “full on” with the crazy, you know?

    Well, given Krikorian’s staking out of the “America, Love It Or Leave It” ground, you would think that one of his conservative simpatico pals would be all too happy to mete out something that they approximate to justice on this score, wouldn’t you?

    Then please explain the following to me from here

    Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has a status update for Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin: Stop attempting to dodge your taxes by renouncing your U.S. citizenship or never come to back to the U.S. again.

    In September 2011, Saverin relinquished his U.S. citizenship before the company announced its planned initial public offering of stock, which will debut this week. The move was likely a financial one, as he owns an estimated 4 percent of Facebook and stands to make $4 billion when the company goes public. Saverin would reap the benefit of tax savings by becoming a permanent resident of Singapore, which levies no capital gains taxes.

    At a news conference this morning, Sens. Schumer and Bob Casey, D-Pa., will unveil the “Ex-PATRIOT” – “Expatriation Prevention by Abolishing Tax-Related Incentives for Offshore Tenancy” – Act to respond directly to Saverin’s move, which they dub a “scheme” that would “help him duck up to $67 million in taxes.”

    So two Democrats are the ones going after Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin, not, say, “Diaper Dave” Vitter and Sen. Mr. Elaine Chao.

    Well, that must be why Krikorian’s fellow traveler Jeff Jacoby considers Schumer and Casey to be demagogues here, even though Krikorian is the one trying to wax poetic about those leaving the U.S. trying to sever “the mystic chords of memory” (and from the strange political bedfellows department, I give you this).

    (By the way, my thoroughly unscientific and not-grounded-in-economic-facts-and-figures analysis says that we should just leave Saverin alone, people – let’s try fixing real problems instead, such as closing the corporate tax loopholes we currently tolerate, OK?)

  • Finally, I checked in with Pastor Gerson of the WaPo today, and found that he’s still doing a predictable job of opining about matters of almost no consequence (he’s in favor of circumcision because it’s proclaimed in the Old Testament – hey, whatever).

    And I really wouldn’t care if it weren’t for the second paragraph from here

    Along with the Cologne judge (in Germany, who ruled that ritual circumcision is a “crime”), most critics of circumcision also regard it as a violation of individual self-determination, which raises religious-liberty issues larger than a single snip.

    A strain of modern liberalism contends that only individuals and their rights are real in the legal sense — and there is no other acceptable sense. It is the role of the state to defend individual self-determination against oppressive institutions, including religious institutions. Since circumcision is coerced, it is unjust. The same claim might be made — and has been made — of early religious indoctrination of any kind. Liberalism thus leads to an aggressive form of assimilation to the values of the liberal order.

    Really? Then I guess every Jewish person here is just a damn stinkin’, Mumia-lovin’, Kenyan-Muslim-Socialist-supporting tree hugger, huh?

    Basically, I don’t care that much one way or the other – I think it should be left up to the family (though this is certainly important to consider). There are sanitary reasons in favor of it (full disclosure: I had it way back when), but just because a family opts out of it doesn’t mean that they’ve fallen prey to “an aggressive form of (liberal) assimilation.”

    You gotta hand it to Gerson, though, coming up with a new and different way to completely distract us from the issues that truly matter (economy, jobs, environment, civil liberties, Afghanistan, etc.).

    Yep, the guy is sure a cut-up (sorry…couldn’t resist).


  • Friday Mashup (10/8/10)

    October 9, 2010

  • 1) Fix Noise brought us the following assault on common sense here…

    Living in NYC has truly awakened me to the New York elite and their penchant for the city’s self-described brilliant public transit system. I think it sucks… just like public transit always does.

    “Oh I just don’t think I could live without the subway system, it’s so convenient. I can get anywhere I need to go in the city in a flash.” Right. Or –and follow me on this here– I could live anywhere else in the country, take 3 steps out my front door, get into my car, and drive anywhere on the continent. How’s that for convenience? Not only is it faster, but my car generally doesn’t smell like mothballs and urine (last Tuesday notwithstanding). It would almost seem that –dare I say this– private transportation is more efficient than mass public-transit! That won’t change today’s leftists from disparaging the former and praising the latter.

    Why?

    It’s simple. Control. It’s no secret that the environmental movement is ultimately designed to create new inroads into increased government control. All of the shots taken at emissions, the dependence on fossil fuels and noise pollution are designed to paint those things as symptoms of a problem, with the government able to step in as the solution. The root of their problem is ultimately your independence.

    As frequent visitors to The Big Apple, I must say that I don’t share that opinion (and I won’t comment on the nonsense about “increased government control”). We have no issue with the city’s bus service (which we used to ride from Park Avenue across town to pick up the Circle Line and tour the Intrepid last spring, activities that we highly recommend, by the way). We also have no issue with the subway system (we frequently find ourselves taking the Lexington Avenue Express to get to the MOMA or Central Park). Basically (aside from the DC Metro, which I’ll admit I haven’t taken in years), I don’t believe that New York City transit “sucks” in any way whatsoever.

    All of this would be merely childish right-wing propaganda that I might otherwise leave alone if it weren’t for the fact that publishing something like this shows extraordinarily bad timing, even for the wingnuts. And that is because this column comes on the heels of a truly epochal blunder by “Governor Bully” in New Jersey, and I’m referring to his decision to kill the $9 billion project to add another very-much-needed commuter tunnel from The Garden State under the Hudson River (Professor Krugman thoroughly dissected it today here).

    Christie’s decision is stoo-pid on so many levels that it just about takes your breath away. And I have three words for all of those Democrats who sat on their hands last year and let him get elected instead of Jon Corzine – elections have consequences.

  • 2) Next, I found this item from The Daily Tucker (here)…

    The latest offering from conservative humorist P.J. O’Rourke, Don’t Vote — It Just Encourages the Bastards, is a real page turner. You may find yourself staying up way past your bedtime because you just can’t put it down.

    Like so many books on American political thought, O’Rourke begins Don’t Vote with a discussion of freedom, liberty, positive versus negative rights, the nature of man and how all of that relates to the Founders.

    You may be surprised to learn that, according to the Gospel of P.J., the Founders chose to follow John Locke over Jean-Jaques Burlamaqui and Samuel von Pufendorf because “Locke” was easier to spell.

    Then, O’Rourke goes on to tackle the issues of the day.

    Climate change: “There’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it.”

    Bailouts: “The advantage of a tax abatement over a stimulus plan is that, instead of idiots in Washington spending your and my money, us idiots get to spend our own.”

    Health care: “My suggestion for health care reform is that we skip lunch and quit picking on sick people.”

    Gun control: “With the economy being like it is, I call my .38 Special ‘the MasterCard of the future.’”

    I’m sure that at this moment (maybe they’re done now), Bill Maher is taking pity on his old pal and allowing O’Rourke to spout his blather (and of course, to promote the aforementioned book) on “Real Time,” despite the fact that, as far as I’m concerned, O’Rourke has had nothing whatsoever to say that could possibly be amusing ever since he started drinking the “glibertarian” Kool Aid (zip since “The Bachelor Home Companion”).

    Oh, and Media Matters tells us here of another pitiable attempt at humor on the part of O’Rourke in the name of making fun of liberals (think Ted Kennedy of course, noted in a particularly astute comment – Joe Strupp was uncharacteristically kind to this cretin, O’ Rourke I mean).

    So, for the purpose of trying to sell books, O’Rourke will pretend to be witty and thus earn plaudits from The National Review for encouraging yet another generation of readers to forego any notion of civic due diligence for the purpose of remaining sullen and utterly ignorant of this country’s proud history of political activism.

    Ha, ha, ha.

  • 3) Finally, I came across this rather interesting attack on the supposed liberalism of President Obama, and that is to have people like Orrin Hatch, Trent Lott and Sean Inanity say that, gee whiz and whaddaya know, maybe that William Jefferson Clinton fellow wasn’t such a bad president after all, and wow, doesn’t Obama look like some closet Kenyan Marxist and wealth redistributor who won’t show us his birth certificate by comparison (or something – having a hard time trying to get my mind around this new corporate media narrative)…

    Senator Orrin G. Hatch recently said that former President Bill Clinton “will go down in history as a better president” than the sitting one. Sean Hannity of Fox News, who has verbally abused Mr. Clinton for years, recently referred to him as “good old Bill.” Republicans in Congress have begun speaking of him with respect, even pining.

    “You know with Clinton the chemistry was right,” said Trent Lott, the former Senate majority leader. “He was a good old boy from Arkansas, I was a good old boy from Mississippi, and Newt, he was from Georgia. So he knew what I was about, and I knew where he was coming from.”

    Aw, heck, shoot and darn, you guys – why don’t y’all just mosey on down to the Piggly Wiggly to fetch a piece of gingham for Emmy Lou before those dern revenuers show up agin’ t’try and bust your still? Shoot ‘em full o’buckshot, I say!

    You know, I wish Lott and Hatch had shown a fraction of this camaraderie towards our 42nd president when it mattered. No such luck, though.

    As noted here (in an article telling us the reaction when Clinton went to the Repug-run Senate to ask for more terrorist surveillance authority in July 1996)…

    Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, emerged from the meeting and said, “These are very controversial provisions that the [Clinton] White House wants. Some they’re not going to get.” ….[Hatch] also said he had some problems with the president’s proposals to expand wiretapping.

    Of course, as we now know, Dubya and his pals would seek the same thing, but they just went ahead and got it without bothering to ask for congressional approval (getting it after the fact, which was bad enough, but eventually getting it legalized with Democrats in charge, which is beyond belief).

    And as for Lott, he and the Senate dragged their feet when Clinton proposed a variety of antiterrorism measures in 1995-1996, though that didn’t stop nematodes like Dana Rohrabacher from blaming Clinton for the 9/11 attacks, which is funny actually when you consider how tight Rohrabacher was with the mujahadeen and a certain member of the bin Laden family (here).

    Also (from here)…

    The House of Representatives had been scheduled to convene on Thursday, December 17 (1998), to begin considering the four articles of impeachment. However, on Wednesday, President Clinton ordered a series of military air strikes against Iraq, following the failure of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors. Clinton’s timing drew an immediate chorus of criticism from Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott who stated: “I cannot support this military action in the Persian Gulf at this time. Both the timing and the policy are subject to question.”

    Again, Clinton’s Republican successor in the White House would not face such hesitation from Lott or much of anyone else in his party with the possible exception of Ron Paul when the decision was made to carry out military action against Iraq.

    It galls me to no end that our corporate media continues to treat members of the current minority party as “wise heads” on matters both foreign and domestic, when in fact they remain the primary authors of our current misery. And trying to create some corporate media mythology along the lines of “sure the Repugs hated Clinton like no other, but they really were buddies the whole time” is particularly insulting (to say nothing of being utterly untrue).

    Yes, there were missteps when Clinton occupied the White House to be sure, but comparatively few of our military were killed during his presidency. And we enjoyed prosperity the likes of which I personally had never seen and probably will never see again. Also, when we executed military actions, they were against countries and entities that posed a legitimate threat to our national security and had, in fact, attacked us.

    And trying to cozy up to Clinton after all this time doesn’t make the Repugs any less guilty for their own appalling mistakes.


  • Thursday Mashup (9/2/10)

    September 2, 2010

  • 1) Want more information on why our discourse is stupid?
  • The Discovery Channel hostage gunman, James Jay Lee, is killed in a standoff (fortunately, no one else was killed or injured – good work by law enforcement), but is not universally condemned as a terrorist (here).
  • Holocaust Museum gunman James von Brunn, who killed a museum guard, isn’t universally condemned as a terrorist either; indeed, he is equated with Thomas Jefferson by the nutball who just had that D.C. rally claiming that we have to return to God, or something (here).
  • Joseph Andrew Stack flies a plane into an IRS government building in downtown Austin, TX, killing one person beside himself and injuring 13, but the White House (!) doesn’t consider that to be an act of terrorism either (here).
  • Do you want to know what is universally considered to be an act of terrorism in this country? The Times Square would-be bomber who (thank God) killed or injured absolutely no one (here).
  • Just food for thought, that’s all…

  • 2) Next, with the for-real, crossing-our-fingers-this-time proclamation that combat operations in Iraq have ended, we have the following from Daniel Henninger of the Murdoch Street Journal (here, on the matter of whether Saddam Hussein was the threat he was purported to be when we invaded – yes, they’re still rehashing this)…

    Mr. Obama and others believe that Saddam and his nuclear ambitions could have been contained. I think exactly the opposite was likely.

    At the time of Mr. Obama’s 2002 antiwar speech, three other significant, non-Iraqi events were occurring: Iran and North Korea were commencing toward a nuclear break-out, and A.Q. Khan was on the move.

    In March 2002, Mr. Khan, the notorious Pakistani nuclear materials dealer, moved his production facilities from Pakistan to Malaysia.

    In August, an Iranian exile group revealed the existence of a centrifuge factory in Natanz, Iran.

    A month later, U.S. intelligence concluded that North Korea had almost completed a “production-scale” centrifuge facility.

    It was also believed in 2002 that al Qaeda was shopping for nuclear materials. In The Wall Street Journal this week, Jay Solomon described how two North Korean operatives through this period developed a network to acquire nuclear technologies.

    In short, the nuclear bad boys club was on the move in 2002. Can anyone seriously believe that amidst all this Saddam Hussein would have contented himself with administering his torture chambers? This is fanciful.

    No it isn’t. I’ll tell you what is, though.

    I book a flight to the Luxor Las Vegas. Two days before I’m due to depart, I order Chinese take out and get a fortune cookie telling me that I’ll be rich beyond my wildest dreams. The next day, I win a game of Monopoly by buying both Boardwalk and Park Place and bankrupting my opponents through exorbitant rent payments. For this reason, I believe that I’m on the proverbial “roll” and drain my savings account, then depart, looking to get rich by spending all my dough on games of roulette and craps.

    Hey, if Henninger can take all kinds of unconnected stuff and try forcing connections wherever he wants, I should be able to do that also, right?

    Continuing…

    The definitive account of Saddam’s WMD ambitions is the Duelfer Report, issued by the Iraq Survey Group in 2005. Yes, the Duelfer Report concluded that Saddam didn’t have active WMD. But at numerous points in the 1,000-page document, it asserted (with quotes from Iraqi politicians and scientists) that Saddam’s goal was to free himself of U.N. sanctions and restart his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and other WMD.

    Which, based on the actual Duelfer report, was as likely as me winning at the Luxor (here).

    And this from a column aptly named “Wonder Land”…

  • 3) Finally, I came across this item in the New York Times…

    WASHINGTON — Christina D. Romer, chairwoman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in a farewell speech on Wednesday that the administration’s stimulus policies averted “a second Great Depression.”

    But she also gave her most detailed explanation yet for why her original forecast that unemployment would peak at 8 percent “was so far off.”

    Ms. Romer’s last day as one of the four principals on Mr. Obama’s economic team is Friday, which means one of her last acts will be to provide the administration’s reaction to the latest unemployment report.

    For the last year those reports have been a monthly refutation of her early projection. The report for August, expected to show the jobless rate remaining near 9.5 percent, will be no different.

    With Republicans continually reminding voters of the erroneous forecast, it undercut Ms. Romer’s effectiveness as a public spokeswoman for administration policies.

    Really? Funny, but I thought she did a good job here.

    And when it comes to the economy, let’s not forget what Romer and the economic advisors inherited (here, talking about what transpired between 2001 and 2008)…

    –The number of Americans living in poverty has jumped from 31.6 million to 36.5 million.
    –The uninsured population has grown from 38 million to 47 million.
    –The annual total premium cost has nearly doubled from $6,230 per family to $12,106 per family.
    (Bush’s heartless health care policy: Let the markets sort it out. Business first, human beings later.)
    –The trade deficit has more than doubled from $380 billion to $759 billion.
    –Our dependency on foreign oil has shot up from 52.75% of fuel consumption to 60.38%. (Sweetheart trade deals benefit mega-corporations and oil companies, but not people.)

    And now that I’ve made that point, I need to vent about something else (and I’m probably just an impudent upstart for calling out my “A” list “betters” again, but here goes).

    I watched “Countdown” last night and saw Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, talk about how he’s doing his best to get labor motivated on behalf of the Democrats in the upcoming elections.

    And I swear to God, I wish I saw a fraction of that enthusiasm from my blogging brethren out there.

    If I read one more “Obama hasn’t done this like he said he would, and for that reason, I or people I know just don’t have any enthusiasm for the Democrats” post, I’m going to vomit (including this one, and I know the author knows better…in response, try imagining a national “papers, please” law based on the Arizona atrocity, and don’t think that can’t happen if the Repugs win Congress).

    Update: As long as I was critical earlier, I should be fair and point out that this is something that should be on every blog even remotely related to Democratic Party activism.

    Now that doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly going to support, say, Blanche Lincoln (or John Adler, or most any other “Bush Dog” who really does deserve to get retired). But there are plenty of other worthy Democratic candidates whose “tossup” electoral prospects are an utter mystery to me (Russ Feingold for one).

    Yes, by all means, call Obama and the Democrats to account for not working harder for immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for illegals who do the right thing (I always thought “pay a fine and get in line” was the sort of nice, catchy little slogan the Repugs seem to churn out like crazy but the Dems never seem to be able to master). Get Gibbs, Emanuel, Axelrod and the rest into a room and try to identify the drug they’re consuming that makes them actually believe that the “catfood commission” is doing something constructive (and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t disappointed also).

    But let’s do this after the election, OK?

    I’ll repeat myself some more from an earlier post, but I don’t care; take a guess as to what we have to look forward to under a Repug U.S. Congress, with Majority Leader Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell (Paul Krugman spelled it out in this column):

    Endless investigations. A new “revelation” every day about the First Family (get ready for the return of Bill Ayres, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and hearings into the alleged “New Black Panther Party” Philadelphia polling scandal on Election Day 2008, for starters). And no legislation (none of any good to us, anyway).

    Privatizing Social Security. Defunding Health Care Reform. The return of Tax Cuts for the Rich which will “pay for themselves.” Bye Bye Cap And Trade. Endless investigations. Testimony of Cabinet members before Congress as to why they’re actually doing their jobs instead of rolling over for the institutions they’re supposed to regulate, as they did under Dubya.

    So long Lilly Ledbetter Law. New restrictions on stem cell research. Legislation to enshrine the worst excesses of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. Reopening “K” Street for business. A bill to abolish Net Neutrality forever.

    Oh, and did I mention Endless investigations? And don’t think the “I” word is out of the question either, people.

    Basically, we can sit around and mope and let the corporate media narratives define themselves, or we can become involved again as we once were to build the majorities we should be working to defend with all the energy and talent we can muster (I don’t know how many of you were paying attention to the Congressional politics of the ‘90s, but I definitely was, and I never want to see those days again).

    If we choose the former path, destruction is imminent, and it will be irrevocable. And despite the ways those we’ve supported have fallen short, we really will only have ourselves to blame if they get turned out. Imagine how silly we will feel while the “Tea Party” Repugs rule the roost and we’re still licking our wounds over the fact that the stimulus was only $787 billion instead of $1.2 trillion.

    If we choose the latter path, we can stand the people working for news organizations with initials for names on their heads, as it were, as they search for their next narrative (and wouldn’t it be nice if it were “A Dem Resurgence Confounds The Republican Revival,” or something like it?).

    The Republican Party as we know it today, full of doctrinaire, “movement” conservatives, was in utter ruins after Barry Goldwater lost when he ran for president in 1964. But they rebuilt themselves, recruiting conservatives as lawyers, journalists, politicians and other professions to further their cause. And by the time 1980 came, they saw the perfect opportunity to enshrine one of their own to the highest office in the land.

    It took them 16 years to get what they wanted, but they got it (to our almost eternal ruin). And we’re complaining that we haven’t turned things around in a fraction of that amount of time?

    And by the way (speaking of the enthusiasm gap), I thought this was an interesting post on the latest Gallup findings (namely, that crowing over the 10-point Repug lead on the generic ballot – I heard nothing but crickets when the Dems were up in that poll a couple of months ago).

  • Update 9/7/10: OMG!!!! Lookie, lookie here – why, the Dems and Repugs ARE TIED! in the latest Gallup generic ballot. Hey, what does our corporate media have to say NOW??!!

    (zzzzzzzzzz………)


    Tuesday Mashup Part One (8/31/10)

    August 31, 2010

  • 1) In response to this story, I would like to ask the following questions:

    Where is the U.S. Congressional committee with subpoena power looking into the massive thievery of taxpayer funds designated for the reconstruction of Iraq (a topic that is noticeably missing in this triumphal column on the subject by BoBo today)?

    Where is Attorney General Eric Holder and his arrest warrants for those allegedly responsible for this genuine scandal?

    And why aren’t the members of our prior ruling cabal being called to account by our media and all of our institutions of government (and why is this story basically being ignored – yes, I know, everyone is focused on the economy, but that really isn’t an excuse, is it?).

    And why isn’t this person being called to account first for the insulting stupidity of her remarks on this subject from December 2008, noted by Think Progress?

  • 2) And speaking of investigations, look at what Fix Noise is telling us (here)…

    The Veterans Affairs Administration is spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year to maintain hundreds of buildings – most of them vacant – that have fallen into such a state of disrepair that many of them are considered health hazards, an investigation by FoxNews.com reveals.

    Exactly how much it costs to maintain the run-down and abandoned buildings is a matter of dispute. The General Accountability Office estimates that the VA has spent $175 million every year since 2007. But the VA disputes that figure, saying it spent $85 million on the buildings in 2007 and only $37 million last year.

    Whatever the figure, the timing couldn’t be worse for the VA, as tens of thousands of American troops, many of whom have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, prepare to return to the U.S. and will require the expensive medical, psychological and support services it provides.

    Wow, talk about being “late for the party” – by about three years in this case…

    For you see, Fix Noise and their brethren basically ignored the scandal of how the VA was run when it was first reported by Anne Hull and Dana Priest of the WaPo here, including the particularly infamous “Building 18” of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, described as follows…

    When (a) wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

    And how did Fox and its right-wing brethren react at the time? I think Steve Young captures that pretty well here.

    But of course, now that Dubya is long gone (thank God) and we have a Democrat in the White House, Fix Noise is paying attention, as well as concocting propaganda that Obama was pushing a plan to get our vets to pay more for health care (here) and encouraging them to commit suicide (here – particularly despicable even for Fox).

    That, however, is very much in keeping with the “M.O.” of this bunch, as noted here.

  • 3) Finally, we have a particularly propagandistic screed from Cal Thomas (here)…

    President Obama may have experienced his Walter Cronkite moment over the economy.

    Responding to Cronkite’s reporting from Vietnam four decades ago that the only way to end the war was by negotiating with the North Vietnamese, President Lyndon Johnson was reported (though never confirmed) to have said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”

    Now President Obama appears to have “lost” New York Times liberal economic columnist Paul Krugman. Krugman, who enthusiastically supported the president’s redistributionist and stimulus plans, has bowed to the reality that they are not working. In a recent column titled “This is Not a Recovery,” Krugman took issue with the president and Vice President Joe Biden that we have experienced a summer of economic recovery. “Unfortunately, that’s not true,” he wrote. “This isn’t a recovery, in any sense that matters. And policymakers should be doing everything they can to change that fact.”

    And of course Thomas then launches into a commercial for the RNC and its supposed economic platform, which of course is a rehash of every bad idea over the last 30 years or so that got us into this mess to begin with.

    I realize that only a fool would actually expect Thomas to tell the truth, but it’s particularly galling for him to take Krugman’s statements so thoroughly out of context, given that Krugman also said the following (here)…

    In the case of the Obama administration, officials seem loath to admit that the original stimulus was too small. True, it was enough to limit the depth of the slump — a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office says unemployment would probably be well into double digits now without the stimulus — but it wasn’t big enough to bring unemployment down significantly.

    Now, it’s arguable that even in early 2009, when President Obama was at the peak of his popularity, he couldn’t have gotten a bigger plan through the Senate. And he certainly couldn’t pass a supplemental stimulus now. So officials could, with considerable justification, place the onus for the non-recovery on Republican obstructionism. But they’ve chosen, instead, to draw smiley faces on a grim picture, convincing nobody. And the likely result in November — big gains for the obstructionists — will paralyze policy for years to come.

    And besides, given this incorrigible dreck, Thomas really should stay away from any historical references whatsoever.


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