More Deep (?) Thoughts On the 2016 Election (updates)

November 12, 2016

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(Which has ultimately led to the behavior shown in this pic, by the way – this ties into a bit of what I got into here.)

I saw this item from Hillary Clinton, and I thought I needed to respond.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is right to say that the despicable actions of FBI Director James Comey contributed to her loss to Donald Trump (ugh) in the presidential election. But I think the following needs to be pointed out also.

I previously decried low-information voters who don’t pay attention to this stuff like they should, and I said they were partly to blame. I stand by that, with some caveats particular to Hillary Clinton that I’ll try to discuss, for what it’s worth. I also said that it’s pointless to engage in a circular firing squad on this stuff, but I’m going to break my own rule on that a bit.

With everything having settled in a bit, here is my number one reason why Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election:

She didn’t close the deal with the voters of this country on how she would manage the economy on their behalf.

The irony of this, to me, is utterly stupefying, because that is pretty much how her husband won election, particularly in 1992. And when it comes to voting psychology in this country, voters ALWAYS vote first and foremost on the economy.

Memorize this and burn it into your collective brains once and for all, Democratsvoters vote first and foremost based on the economy. Every time (I would put a bit of an asterisk on that next to 2004, though, since the Repugs beat 9/11 to death for political purposes and the economy hadn’t tanked yet).

The economy was teed up as THE political issue for Obama in 2008 since it was going all to hell, and the McCain/Palin team kept missing the proverbial boat on that issue over and over, particularly concerning the auto industry. So Obama almost couldn’t help but wrap his campaign around that. And in 2012, he had a record of success with the stimulus to run on (versus Willard Mitt Romney, who the Obama campaign had painted as a thoroughly out-of-touch elitist, which to me was an accurate portrayal). That year, Obama also had the power of incumbency on his side, and it’s hard to overestimate how important that is.

The Clinton team had none of these advantages. And they didn’t campaign as if they realized that. And that created the tiniest bit of an opening for that moron Gary Johnson and that nothing Jill Stein to jump in and claim that mantle instead (even Trump himself, laughably trying to act like he actually gives a damn about workers’ wages and that he actually knows something about creating jobs when he had experienced multiple business bankruptcies; of all of the corporate media stupidity during the campaign, the failure to point that out over and over was probably their biggest blunder).

Returning to the prior presidency of Bill Clinton (and why in God’s name didn’t Hillary remind voters of that era of economic success??), Hillary could have brought back the 1993 Bill Clinton budget that did a lot towards kick-starting a pretty solid era of job and wage growth. More than that, she could have reminded voters that it passed without a single Republican vote, and she could have tied that into a message about electing down-ballot Democrats to Congress!

(For the life of me, I will NEVER understand why Democrats seem to run away from their past record of success, but Hillary and her campaign did that. She did a really good job of portraying Donald Trump as the utterly narcissistic, intellectually lazy sexual predator that we all knew he was, but again, as her supporters, we knew that. She definitely didn’t appear to understand what it took to win over independents, who are the people that, for better or worse, decide our elections…something particularly galling given the fact that she probably had an army of people in her campaign who were supposed to know that in their sleep! Of course, the “Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party” knows better, I firmly believe – I’m sure that theory will be put to the test before too much longer.)

Or how about this – after defeating Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, she could have said “I’m Bernie Now,” and brought EVERYONE from the Sanders campaign on board and thrown out this band of DNC Beltway sycophants who seem to do absolutely NOTHING but lose elections! And she could have run her campaign accordingly (“go to the left,” as Kyle Kulinksi, among others, pointed out).

OK, enough of this exercise. We are where we are. Let’s take some down time for ourselves to try and regain our sanity and our strength. Because we’re going to need it.

Starting next January 21st, it’s probably going to be Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride every day. We just have to hang on for dear life and keep fighting in hope of a better future, eventually.

Update 11/13/16: I respect Joan Walsh a lot, and she’s right in a lot of what she has to say here about how our corporate media favored President Big Orange Cheetoh over HRC (and I suppose it’s just part of the cycle that the Dems have to try to make nice with this monstrosity who is now president – though I definitely would offer this in response).

However, I believe the Clinton team should have foreseen that they would get this kind of treatment from the news networks with initials for names. Was it fair? Of course not. But it was good for ratings, which is all they cared about, and EVER WILL care about.

But when faced with that, the Clinton team should have made THEIR OWN media. There were some very well done videos that they produced, but I couldn’t find anything approximating an “elevator pitch” on the economy. And yes, I looked.

There’s no shortage whatsoever of social media at our disposal – in addition to videos, there’s also Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter of course, other blogs sympathetic to the cause, etc. If you don’t like what the corporate media is doing, you make your own damn media! God knows the wingnuts don’t have any trouble propagating their garbage (always angers me that they have no problem getting out their lousy messages across scores of simpatico blogs and other sites and we have so much of a damn issue with getting out our good ones).

Besides, you generate enough of your own buzz, then the “news” networks WILL BE FORCED TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOU, if for no other reason that they’ll have potentially a ripe new audience for their advertisers.

Also, Walsh is sadly correct about those who purport to be on our side who demonized HRC regardless of what she did, and that was no help either of course (you reading this, Jimmy Dore?).

Update 11/14/16: I know I’m beating this to death and I swore I wouldn’t do that, and I apologize, but here is another observation from last Tuesday’s electoral hellscape, and it is this:

Hillary Clinton spent way, WAAAY too much time beating up on “Donald Drumpf.” The irony is that that fired up the Democratic base, but again, it did absolutely nothing for independents.

Yes, Trump deserved all of that invective and more. But here’s the thing: the person at the top of the ticket is supposed to leave it up to his or her surrogates to do that while the nominee for prez articulates the “vision thing,” as it was once called (I wish I has a nickel for every time I saw Bill Burton go at it with “Maniac Megyn” Kelly when Obama ran in ‘08, but that was his job).

Yes, our corporate media blocked out anything Clinton did on that time and time again. And yes, it was a scummy and lowdown thing to do. But you know what? That would have happened for ANY Democratic presidential nominee.

The media has been pulling this garbage for years. Back when we had Comcast Cable, I can recall an otherwise pretty solid news guy named Arthur Fennell who used to give us campaign updates on Bush and Kerry, and EVERY SINGLE TIME John Kerry gave a speech, Fennell would talk over what Kerry was saying to give his “spin” on what was going on and we never heard Kerry say a word. Now I think Fennell was just following orders, as it were, but it was still a dirty trick.

There are a bunch of solid presidential candidates I can recall who didn’t win because they were lousy campaigners. Is that fair? Of course not, especially considering the consequences. But I believe HRC thought the power of her personal narrative, as it were, would be good enough to win. It wasn’t.

Update 11/15/16: There aren’t too many people out there as far as I’m concerned who I would call studious observers of exactly what kind of electoral devastation took place a week ago, but I would say that Kurt Eichenwald is definitely one of those people, and I think he administers a dose of reality here (I had a feeling the Repugs had some “oppo” stuff on Sanders they would use if they had to, and believe me when I tell you that the stuff Eichenwald tells us is eye-opening…not saying it should have turned the election or how much of it is actually true, but to say it would have been a shot of hate-filled adrenaline to the wingnutosphere is a huge understatement).


Another Corporate Media Lesson

February 11, 2015

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(Note: As I’ve pointed out before, about all I can do now at this site is post random observations on selected topics, kind of like what I’m doing now. If that changes, I’ll let you know.)

So let me get this straight – Brian Williams, the person who (until recently) was the anchor of the NBC Evening News, can go ahead and basically fabricate at least one story, and his “punishment” is to be banished from his vaunted perch in the Beltway media/political/industrial complex for a period of six months, as noted here (oh, and I’m trying to forget about this too).

Meanwhile, Martin Bashir, who once hosted a mid-day news and opinion show on MSNBC (what I would argue is a higher quality broadcast, albeit with much lower ratings), says something admittedly a bit disturbing about a former half-term governor of Alaska (who has since been pilloried quite rightly as noted here), but even though Bashir apologized for it, he has to lose his show for good (here).

The moral? Lie to millions of TV viewers, and you’ll get a slap on the wrist. However, if you piss off conservatives, your career is over.

God Bless America.

Update 11/20/15: And here is more proof.


Thursday Mashup (12/20/12)

December 20, 2012
  • I guess this isn’t really “cutting edge,” but this person at The Daily Tucker extols the supposed virtues of whaling here

    There are few activities more pleasurable than whaling. Like chess, the task of hunting giant, seafaring beasts engages all of a man’s wits. But unlike chess, whaling brings man deep into nature, far from the distractions of civilization. That combination is unique — no other sport matches it. That’s why I have never felt more alive, more human, than when I’m whaling.

    Whaling is also great for the economy. During its peak in the mid-nineteenth century, the U.S. whaling industry employed tens of thousands of Americans. Now, of course, it employs very few. Not only would legalizing whaling create jobs, it would spark the revitalization of America’s whaling centers, like New Bedford, Mass., while lowering the price of the whale oil we use to light our lanterns.

    Why, then, do environmental groups and others oppose whaling? It’s simple: racism. Whaling has historically played a central role in many Native American societies. Tribes like the Makah have whaled for centuries and want to continue to do so today. But the anti-whaling bigots will have none of it.

    It’s also possible that anti-whaling activists are Confederate sympathizers who are upset about the Union’s employment of whaling ships during the Civil War.

    (By the way, the author uses the pseudonym “Scoops Delacroix” to avoid prosecution, as the bio tells us.)

    Well, I oppose whaling, and I can assure you that I am most certainly not a Confederate sympathizer (I believe I have a bit more of an appreciation for their point of view after reading “Gods and Generals” by Jeff Shaara, but to me, that still doesn’t absolve them of leading an armed insurrection against this country). And while I readily admit that I’m not perfect on the issue of race and other matters, I do not believe that I’m an intolerant person on that subject.

    As nearly as I can tell, every product that we could obtain from whales can be manufactured synthetically. I will go along with some limited whale hunting by undeveloped nations that would be closely monitored by an international regulatory agency, but that’s it (more information is available from here, and here).

    And I don’t believe that God commands us to throw a harpoon or two into an 880-pound-or-more mammal that could easily kill me if I ever came face to face with it in a large body of open water.

  • Next, I suppose it’s completely inevitable that we revisit the issue of guns once more, which we should do I realize – as noted here

    The incoming chairwoman of the House Republican Conference urged caution in passing new gun laws.

    Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), speaking in an interview with C-SPAN set to air Sunday, was asked whether it was time to review current gun laws in light of a shooting rampage in Connecticut.

    “We need to find out what happened and what drove this individual to this place,” McMorris Rodgers said. “I think we have to be careful about new —suggesting new gun laws. We need to look at what drives a crazy person to do these kind of actions and make sure that we’re enforcing the laws that are currently on the books. And yes, definitely, we need to do everything possible to make sure that something like this never happens again.”

    The text I highlighted above is one of the typical Repug boilerplate responses on this subject; more such responses are noted here; McMorris Rodgers’ is #4, which I want to highlight in particular…

    We only need better enforcement of the laws we have, not new laws. In fact, Congress has passed several laws that cripple the ability for current gun regulations to be enforced the way that they’re supposed to. According to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, a series of federal laws referred to as the Tiahrt amendments “limit public access to crime gun trace data, prohibit the use of gun trace data in hearings, pertaining to licensure of gun dealers and litigation against gun dealers, and restrict ATF’s authority to require gun dealers to conduct a physical inventory of their firearms.” Other federal laws “limited the ATF compliance inspections” and grant “broad protections from lawsuits against firearm manufacturers and retail sellers.”

    By the way, as far as comments from a politician go on this subject, I thought this was pretty good; I honestly don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but I’ve been making noise about this for years, and incurring varying degrees of wingnut wrath for it – that’s just the price you pay, but my point is that, while it’s positive to add any voice in support, it’s terrible that it took the slaughter of white children in a well-to-do suburb to do it, whereas people of color in inner cities have been getting slaughtered for years, and I’m talking about all ages here, with nary a peep of outrage from a lot of these people who, quite rightly, are upset now (and in that vein, kudos to Bob Casey for this – a little late to the party, as they say, but at least he showed up).

    And by the way, you can learn about more “fun” involving Cathy McMorris Rodgers here.

    Also, on this subject, I came across this bit of soul-searching from Repug strategist John Feehrey, who has come to a bit of a realization on guns, or so he says.

    Well, I think the silence of Feehrey’s old boss on Capitol Hill, Dennis Hastert, speaks volumes. I realize that he hasn’t been in public life for a little while now, but I think he among others needs to answer for the fact that he supported reducing the waiting period for a gun from three days to one, co-sponsored banning a gun registration and trigger lock law in Washington DC (both noted here), and dragged his proverbial feet in allowing the assault weapons ban to expire in 2004 (here –Dem Rep Jan Schakowsky was absolutely prescient in her remarks).

    And sticking to our guns, so to speak…well, we know what Ann Coulter is, but I thought her drivel was particularly obnoxious here, extoling the supposed virtues of concealed carry laws (and citing more statistical misinformation from John Lott to do so).

    In response, Bob Cesca tells us here that, according to a U of P medical study, “people with a gun were 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.”

    Cesca also tells us the following…

    PROPAGANDA: Banning guns won’t stop mass shootings because of the outlaws, blah blah blah.

    REALITY: Once again, totally not true. Australia, May 1996, a lone gunman killed 35 people and wounded an additional 23. Subsequently, Australia passed a very strict gun control law that included a buy-back program that managed to recover 600,000 assault rifles and other arms — 20 percent of all the known firearms in Australia. There were no more private sales of firearms, there were stringent registration laws, and, as with other nations, you had to prove to authorities that you had a specific reason for purchasing a firearm. And no, according to Slate, self-defense wasn’t a valid excuse. What happened after that?

    Violent crime and gun-related deaths did not come to an end in Australia, of course. But as the Washington Post’s Wonkblog pointed out in August, homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase, contrary to fears that firearm ownership is needed to deter such crimes. But here’s the most stunning statistic. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since.

    One of the thoughts on my mind about this issue is as follows; we’re taught to do so much from a defensive posture in our lives, which makes sense since the need for protection is self-evident. Here is one example; any driving instructor worth his or her salt tells the student to drive defensively and try to avoid situations that could lead to auto accidents.

    Well, why don’t we apply that thinking to guns? Buying more guns is taking an aggressive posture that could (and often does) lead to violent behavior. I mean, going back to the driving analogy, we’re not taught that looking for ways to cause accidents will make us safer, are we?

    (At least, I hope not.)

    And by the way, kudos to the mayor of Bridgeport, CT near Newtown for this; instead of destroying the guns, he should send them to Texas (removing my tongue from my cheek).

  • Continuing, there are those on our side who claim that President Obama received a “mandate” with 51 percent of the popular vote (I don’t agree with that, thought I wish it were true, and he should govern like he did anyway), which kicked off another round of wingnut caterwauling, as noted here.

    Funny how many of those same folks believed that a certain Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History had a “mandate” also with the same percentage when he was re-elected, as noted here (and I definitely didn’t agree with that either).

  • Finally (and on a somewhat related note), I give you the following from a former half-term-before-she-quit-to-cash-in governor of Alaska here

    When asked last night by Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren about Time magazine’s selection of President Obama as the 2012 person of the year, Palin responds, “Time magazine, you know, I think there’s some irrelevancy there, to tell you the truth. I mean, consider their list of the most influential people in the country and the world—some who have made that list: yours truly. That ought to tell you something right there regarding the credence that we should give Time magazine and their list of people.”

    This may come as a shock, but I actually agree with that.

    gwb_13-george-w-bush
    After all, in addition to Palin, this guy was also named Number One (and not once, but twice).


  • Monday Mashup Part One (10/25/10)

    October 25, 2010

  • 1) The Bucks County Courier Times basically copped out yesterday in the matter of an endorsement for the PA-08 congressional race, writing one column supporting Patrick Murphy and one column supporting Mike Fitzpatrick (here). And as you may have guessed, the “endorsement” of Fitzpatrick basically consisted of “he’s not Patrick Murphy.”

    If, God forbid, this district is ever represented in Congress by a Republican again, I will watch to see if an editorial endorsing both candidates is ever forthcoming (with the Dem endorsement basically being that he/she is not a Repug). And I’m sure I won’t see it.

    And get a load of this in the “pro-Mikey” screed…

    Rather than stand on his own record since January 2007, Murphy’s strategy has been to berate Fitzpatrick for his performance in Congress in 2005-06 and has even bashed him for his service as a county commissioner well over a decade ago.

    Memo to the Courier Times editorial board: is there some statute of limitations out there beyond which a candidate cannot be criticized? If so, I don’t know of it.

    And keeping up with that theme, we have this from Courier Times reporter Gary Weckselblatt, who, as far as I’m concerned, has been carrying water for Mikey throughout this campaign (noted in a particularly astute Letter to the Editor here).

    Today’s article tells us, in part, the following…

    AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has been the biggest outside spender in the 8th by purchasing $628,000 worth of radio ads.

    Their theme has been to hit Fitzpatrick for “giving himself a $20,000 raise” while he was a Bucks County commissioner. In actuality, the $20,000 came over a 10-year period as part of annual cost of living adjustments.

    Give me a break, people!

    How many of us have jobs in the public sector where we are awarded annual COLAs of $2 grand? And that doesn’t even take yearly raises into account!

    And get a load of this from the pro-Mikey editorial…

    More importantly, we’re not sold on the Democratic program for the nation. Give the Dems credit for averting an immediate economic disaster. But their game plan has come at an enormous financial cost that most people can’t begin to fathom. Unemployment remains high. And the centerpiece of the first half of Obama’s term in office, health care reform, was so badly botched that many Democrats who supported it, Murphy included, have shied away from it as they seek re-election.

    Oh yes, click here to find out how much Murphy has “shied away” from health care reform (and if you support him, click here to help elect our congressman for another term).

  • 2) Staying with the Courier Times, Rob Ciervo, running against Steve Santarsiero for the latter’s PA-31 House seat, laid it on thick as follows today (from here)…

    This year (Steve) joined with the Democrat majority to borrow $600 million to fund pork barrel projects like $10 million for an Arlen Specter library and $20 million for a luxury spa and golf resort in Chester County.

    This is a typical trick from “Republic” Party candidate “Self” Ciervo, blaming Steve for appropriations to other districts in this state (the last time Ciervo wrote something for the Courier Times, he blamed Steve because the Philadelphia school district received a bigger appropriation than the Pennsbury or Council Rock school districts in Bucks – sorry I cannot locate the link).

    I’m sure that, given the chance, Ciervo would hold his breath and turn blue if an appropriations bill for Bucks County wasn’t passed aside from one for the rest of the state, thus creating more gridlock for him to complain about.

    Also (from Ciervo’s column today)…

    Contrary to what you might have read elsewhere, I voted against building two new township buildings in Newtown Township and voted against taking on any debt to do so.

    Really? Not according to this letter.

    Update 10/27/10: In response to Mr. Booth, I think this criticism is bogus, but I’ll allow it anyway.

    And as noted here, Ciervo sought a tax increase for the preservation of open space in Newtown before he bothered to complete a report on the subject (Steve has favored municipal cooperation within Bucks which, while cheaper, also makes a lot more sense).

    Also (returning to Ciervo’s column again)…

    If (Steve) had done what he actually promised, such as eliminate wasteful spending and make our state competitive for job creation, I might not be running for state representative at all.

    From Steve’s web site (here)…

    Since taking office in January 2009, I have been working to bring jobs into the Yardley-Newtown area while fighting to protect the jobs that we already have.

    Earlier this year I succeeded in getting a major international marketing firm to relocate to Lower Makefield, bringing with it over 200 jobs to our community. At the same time, I fought the New Jersey Legislature over its proposal to require that all New Jersey public employees live in the Garden State. As a result of my efforts, New Jersey lawmakers finally agreed to exempt current employees from the new rule, saving over 3,000 families in the Yardley-Newtown area from having to choose between their jobs and their homes.

    But we need to do more.

    That’s why in a second term I will work to create a system of tax credits to small businesses to help them expand and create more jobs. Those credits will compliment the bill that I proposed this year – and which was passed and signed into law in July – that will make more credit available to small businesses as they grow.

    I also will work on a series of targeted tax incentives to attract biotech and alternative energy companies to Pennsylvania. These incentives will include the creation of “Green Enterprise Zones” designed to offer tax abatements to companies in the alternative energy and green technology sectors who pledge to stay in Pennsylvania for the long haul and create jobs for Pennsylvanians.

    Finally, when the economy begins to improve and revenues to the state pick up, we need to continue previous efforts to lower the corporate net income tax rate to help make Pennsylvania more competitive with other states. At the same time, we should phase out the corporate stock and franchise tax for the same reason.

    Ciervo also criticizes Steve for not “stand(ing) up to the special interest groups like the teachers union,” though, as the Courier Times noted in it’s editorial endorsing Steve today…

    We disagree with the Democrat on teachers’ right to strike, which he supports, although Santarsiero makes a strong case for a negotiation process that would start earlier and end with arbitration, with teachers barred from striking if they do not accept an arbitrator’s decision, and a district’s state money held in escrow if the school board does not accept the arbitrator’s decision.

    Another thing…let’s not forget that Ciervo is another “teabagger” in these parts (here), and also, let’s not forget the following (here)…

    Mike Gallagher, a Newtown Township Supervisor, was recently arrested and charged with a DUI. Not only is Gallagher still a Newtown Township Supervisor, he is being supported by follow Republican Supervisor Rob Ciervo in his decision to remain on the [board], which oversees the Newtown Township police force.

    Also, as noted in the comments, Gallagher tried to threaten the arresting officer, though Ciervo continues to support Gallagher (just another case of Repug “do as I say, not as I do” self-entitlement run amok).

    Please click here to support Steve and keep Ciervo in Newtown for as long as the township wishes to tolerate his presence.

  • 3) Finally, this story tells us the following…

    ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) – Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin rallied Republican candidates in Florida on Saturday by pillorying President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms and economic policies — and she also used her speech to plug her new TV reality show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”

    I don’t have much to say about this, except the following:

    I double-dog-dare Palin to come up here and make an appearance for Pat Toomey!

    Particularly since, as noted here, “No-Corporate-Tax Pat” is backing away from Palin’s protégé “Yes Wiccan!” O’Donnell here, saying in part the following…

    Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Toomey said he does not agree with O’Donnell’s idea that states should not be bound by the First Amendment’s prohibition on establishing a religion.

    “This is nothing that I’ve ever spoken about or agreed with,” Toomey said.

    However, as noted here…

    In a question on the separation of church and state, Toomey tried to clearly demonstrate that he understands the First Amendment separation of church and state _ an issue in O’Donnell’s race _ but went on to suggest that it shouldn’t be used to ban all involvement between religion and government.

    As an example, he said parents of children in poorly performing public schools should be able to send their children on the public dime to private schools whether or not they have a religious affiliation.

    It really isn’t a good idea for Toomey to talk about school issues anyway, seeing as how, as noted here…

    Toomey pioneered dangerous interest rate swaps “In the years that Toomey ran sales and trading at Morgan Grenfell, the company brokered a number of interest rate swap deals with municipal governments (called “local councils”) in the United Kingdom. (Although Toomey was based in New York, he also managed the firm’s derivatives business [11] in Tokyo and London.) In the UK, municipalities are generally funded by the central government. But under Margaret Thatcher, their funding had become sharply limited, and many were searching for alternative, off-the-books methods of funding their operations. Morgan Grenfell and other derivatives dealers stepped into the breach, brokering deals with and between various municipalities. Interest rate swaps-where the two parties in effect bet on whether interest rates are going to go up or down-were especially popular. Many of these deals were in effect loans-the councils would receive large sums up front and pay them back over time based on interest rate differences. Of course, if the interest rates went the wrong way, you could end up owing far more than you initially anticipated.”

    Toomey’s interest rate swaps were dangerous and risky. “During the campaign, Toomey has referred to the products he worked with [12] as “non-risky” “common derivatives,” different from the “toxic” mortgage-backed derivatives that some believe caused the financial crisis. “That’s not true,” says Michael Greenberger, a professor at the University of Maryland and former CFTC official. “It just so happens that the 2008 meltdown involved credit default swaps, but interest rate swaps and currency swaps can be as risky as anything else. These swaps are very, very risky.”

    Toomey’s interest rate swaps cost Pennsylvania (schools and local) communities millions. “Toomey’s defense ignores the recent history of interest rate swaps, which led to fiscal problems for many American towns, cities, and states across the country in recent years. The US never had a House-of-Lords-type decision forbidding municipalities from making these sorts of deals. So just as Morgan Grenfell had in the ’80s, US banks pressed local governments to agree to swap deals to bring in extra revenue. And this time, many of the banks allegedly paid kickbacks [13] on the deals. (The kickbacks are the subject of an ongoing federal investigation.) In Pennsylvania alone, 107 school districts reportedly [14] entered into swap deals-”gambling with the public’s money,” according to the state’s auditor general. Some have since paid millions of dollars to Wall Street banks to get out from under the deals. Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Missouri, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon all recently lost money on similar swap deals, according to the [14]Wall Street Journal [14].”

    Click here to help elect Admiral Joe Sestak to the Senate next week, and thus send Toomey back to Wall Street, who I’m sure will greet him with open arms, and probably a blank check as well.


  • Monday Mashup Part One (10/11/10)

    October 11, 2010

    (At least one of these items is from last week, but this is the first chance I’ve had to post on it.)

  • 1) Former Senator (and would-be Repug party presidential nominee, apparently – dear God, please let him win the nomination…I’ll post forever!) Man-On-Dog opined as follows in (where else?) The Philadelphia Inquirer recently here…

    Liberal elites are once again using health-care policy to advance one of their agenda items, this time on the abortion front.

    The American Civil Liberties Union has launched an effort to force religious hospitals to provide abortions. The organization is asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – which controls nearly $800 billion in President Obama’s latest budget – to force hospitals to provide abortions or lose federal funding.

    The views of the centers’ administrator, Dr. Donald Berwick, are so controversial that Obama had to appoint him while Congress was in recess. Now he is overseeing the writing of countless new health-care regulations, and the ACLU can’t let an opportunity like that slip by.

    Using a handful of mostly anonymous anecdotes about pregnant women who were denied abortions at religiously affiliated hospitals, the group is demanding that Berwick’s agency rewrite the rules of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act to force care providers to perform abortions.

    I’m not going to post about Dr. Berwick because I don’t want to rehash any right-wing arguments and thus inadvertently give them more oxygen than they deserve. Instead, I want to focus on an “anonymous anecdote,” as Little Ricky glibly puts it, that seems to be a lynchpin for his specious argument (of course, he con-vee-niently chooses to downplay the anonymity right patients have anyway due to HIPAA regulations).

    This tells us of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ, a Catholic-owned hospital that provided a life-saving abortion to a young mother of four who was dying from pulmonary hypertension.

    As the story tells us…

    The hospital’s Ethics Committee determined that her physicians would be permitted to perform the abortion under the Ethical and Religious Directives under which Catholic hospitals operate. Though the hospital provided the necessary care in this instance, the Catholic hierarchy — via the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (PDF) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix (PDF) — subsequently issued statements denouncing the emergency abortion, and making clear that abortion can essentially never be performed at a Catholic hospital. This means that the next woman who enters a Catholic hospital in need of an emergency abortion could die.

    And as this story tells us, the hospital administrator, Sr. Margaret McBride, was “automatically excommunicated” by Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted.

    The story from the ACLU web site tells us that the group “asked the federal government to ensure that religiously affiliated hospitals provide emergency reproductive health care as required by the Emergency Medical Conditions and Women in Labor Act and the Conditions of Participation for hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds (PDF).”

    Of course, given what passes for Santorum’s thought processes, forcing Catholic hospitals to comply with the law automatically gets spun into forcing health providers who oppose abortion to act against their “conscience.”

    So just remember, you would-be moms who run into catastrophic circumstances with your pregnancy, as far as Santorum is concerned, you can either save your own life and commit a mortal sin in the process, or die a slow, excruciating death with a clear conscience, just so long as you “propagate” the faith.

  • 2) Also, I haven’t had much to say about columnist Deroy Murdock, but this item was impossible to ignore, particularly the following…

    Washington dictates showerhead water pressure, limits the capacity of flush toilets, and essentially will ban Edison-style light bulbs as of 2014.

    Yep, looks like those dern terrists are even gonna come after us in our bathrooms (Godless heathens, including those danged li-bu-ruuls).

    This tells us that the law phasing out incandescent light bulbs was signed in 2007, so whatever you may think of that (and the jury seems to still be out, as they say, on the replacement-type bulbs…I’ve read that though fluorescent bulbs contain a smaller amount of mercury than the traditional incandescent bulbs, they pose more of a risk of mercury exposure than the older type if they break), you can’t blame Obama for that (not as president, anyway).

    But in terms of the water from the shower heads, the Murdoch Street Journal tells us here that consumers mostly aren’t affected, and 95 percent of existing shower heads are compliant anyway.

    So it looks like Deroy Murdock is all wet (sorry, too easy).

  • 3) Finally, it’s time for another chapter of Fun With Poll Numbers Starring Former Laura Bush Employee Andrew Malcolm (here)…

    According to president No. 44, George Bush presided over eight years of failed policies and left a huge mess that Obama has been unable to clean up, even with Joe Biden’s verbal help.

    But here’s the problem. And it’s a big one: The American public is now disagreeing with Barack Obama on that issue, too. A new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows the pair are virtually tied now in terms of approval of their presidencies.

    This tells us the following (“Photoshopped” pic and all)…

    A new CNN/Opinion Dynamics poll released today should provide some hope to Democrats and cause a bit of concern for the GOP ahead of the mid term elections. The poll revealed that a majority of Americans (53%) blame George W. Bush and the GOP not Barack Obama and the Democrats for the nation’s current economic problems.

    The CNN/ Opinion Dynamics poll asked a very simple question. Who do you hold responsible for the nation’s current economic problems George W. Bush and the GOP, or Barack Obama and the Democrats? Fifty three percent of respondents blamed Bush and the Republicans, while only 33% blamed Obama and the Democrats, 10% blamed both parties, 3% said neither, and 1% were not sure.

    In the poll cited by Malcolm, the numbers are 47 percent Obama and 45 percent Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History (which, despite it all, are twice those at least of a former moose-hunting, half-term Alaska governor, as noted here).


  • A “Young Gun” Almost Shoots Off His Foot

    September 24, 2010

    “Worst Persons” (A former McCain/Palin campaign flak spoke out against references to Barack Hussein Obama in ’08, even though that happens to be his name, but now, Palin says that people are trying to learn more about “Yes Wiccan!” O’Donnell than, you guessed it, Barack Hussein Obama; Rand Paul really takes the long way comparing Obama to Hitler…God this is so old (how can this pinecone actually be still leading Jack Conway?); but Repug U.S. House Rep Paul Ryan gets it for supporting reconciliation after he opposed it – more here…and nice work on “Contract on America II,” as noted here)…


    An Opening Salvo In The Repug Civil War

    September 11, 2010

    And that was all before this little gem today – what fun!

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    An Opening Salvo In The Repug Civil War, posted with vodpod

    (On another note, I’m hoping to post more frequently next week – I’ll try.)


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