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 (12/7/09)

    December 7, 2009

  • 1) In case anyone somehow isn’t aware of it, today is the 68th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and in yesterday’s New York Times, writer James Bradley blamed the attack on…Theodore Roosevelt.

    Really.

    Bradley makes the case here that, while brokering peace in the Russo-Japanese War (for which Roosevelt won a Nobel Prize, and thus earning wingnut enmity I’m sure for a president then as now), Roosevelt secretly encouraged Japanese imperialist ambitions which culminated in the attack on Pearl Harbor while TR’s fifth cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, occupied the White House.

    Well, I think this critique of Bradley’s book “The Imperial Cruise,” about some kind of secret deal supposedly brokered by Roosevelt war secretary William Howard Taft which allowed for Japanese expansion, echoes much of what was wrong with Bradley’s Times column yesterday, notably that “Bradley says these agreements later came to light and then were forgotten by Americans. But he doesn’t explain why, in the 1930s, imperial Japan would act on the secret words of a man dead for more than a decade and out of office since 1909.”

    Of course, you could argue that Japan launched war against the U.S. because it thought we would immediately seek peace, not wishing to fight a “second front” since we were readying for war in Europe. And of course, there are those who thought FDR surreptitiously sought a way to involve us and allowed Pearl Harbor to happen (which I also disagree with, along with the notion of TR’s blame).

    But those latter two explanations are cold comfort to conspiracy theorists, since they don’t have the burden of the cold, hard logic of reality.

  • 2) Also in yesterday’s New York Times magazine, Matt Bai decried here the revolving door of sorts between the political and pundit class in Washington, D.C. (though, seriously, if it were any other way, he would have a lot less to write about, wouldn’t he?).

    And in so doing, he tells us the following…

    All of this has created an upside-down dynamic in Washington. For most of the country’s existence, prospective candidates have relied on their news-media ties to catapult them into office. As far back as the 19th century, the newspaperman Horace Greeley used his New York Tribune as a platform for his political career; more recently, Ronald Reagan made his radio commentaries the basis for a campaign agenda. Now, however, we may be confronting the opposite phenomenon: some politicians seem to seek office mostly for the purpose of landing on TV. How else to adequately explain the calculated outrageousness of obscure backbenchers like the Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann (who said Obama was practicing “economic Marxism” and worried that the census could lead to another internment of American citizens) and her Democratic colleague Alan Grayson (who called one lobbyist a “whore” and other Republicans “knuckle-dragging Neanderthals”)?

    Of course, Bai could have told us that Grayson apologized (as noted here), but Bai chose not to do so. And to be fair, Moon Unit Bachmann apologized for calling Obama “anti-American” here, though it should be noted that she was still running for re-election in ‘08 at the time.

  • 3) Also, I was not able to find the following online from David Herszenhorn of the New York Times, though it did appear in the Sunday print edition (about how our poor, put-upon U.S. Senators actually had to work Sunday on health care legislation, and what it did to their schedules of Sunday worship – and no, I don’t know why this is considered to be “news” either)…

    As the Senate geared up for its first weekend of debate on the health care legislation, lawmakers made plans to break from the rituals of governing to allow time for the rituals of religion.

    Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut and an observant Jew, was prepared to vote on Saturday the Jewish Sabbath, following his longtime custom when it comes to important issues, said a spokesman, Marshall Wittmann. Mr. Lieberman would walk to the Capitol, not drive.

    And the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is a Baptist, has secured an agreement from Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader (strange that “majority leader” was initial lower case in H.’s story, since it’s a title), Democrat of Nevada and a Mormon, that senators will have Sunday morning off so they can go to church.

    “I think it very likely that we wouldn’t come in until noon or somewhere around noon on Sunday,” Mr. Reid said.

    At the same time, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church on Capitol Hill has warned parishioners that because the Senate planned to be in session Sunday, they might not have access to a government parking lot that is normally used for parishioners.

    Oh, and by the way, this snark is noteworthy…

    The Senate Republicans’ appeal for time to go to church is just about the only Republican procedural request that Democrats have not suggested was a stalling tactic.

    Still, the calendar between now and the end of the year looks tighter than ever. Even with time off for Sabbath services, there is no sign of a day of rest anytime soon.

    Awww, poor babies!

    And by the way, maybe Herszenhorn didn’t see this from Politico (they actually get some reporting right every now and then, usually when Mike Allen isn’t involved), but it describes a memo circulated by Senate Repug Judd Gregg on doing whatever it could to “stall” on the matter of health care reform in particular (h/t Think Progress). So given that, I don’t know why it should be assumed that the Repugs wouldn’t do all they could to slow legislation.

    And in another Herszenhorn column on health care reform (particularly the public option and the “opt out” provision – I know why all Senate Repugs and some Democrats are fighting it, but given its overwhelming support, their antics are particularly despicable), he concludes with the following…

    Two pivotal centrists, Senators Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said they could not support any of these proposals being floated by Democrats.

    “The public option is really a government-created and government-run insurance company,” Mr. Lieberman said. “It won’t help a single poor person get insurance.”

    It really is true about how The Last Honest Man is allowed to lie with impunity, my fellow prisoners.

    And I must admit that I really don’t know how directly to respond to such a bogus charge, except to point to this column from Chris Hayes of The Nation, in which he tells us the following…

    Red, rural states would almost all probably opt out and yet it’s rural America that needs the public option the most. As the Center for Community Change points out in a new report [PDF] people who live in rural areas are a) more likely to be underinsured, because fewer people receive insurance from their employers and b) live in markets where there is essentially no competition. In Alabama one health insurance company has 90% market share, in South Dakota, it’s two companies. It’s under these circumstances where the public option is most needed.

    And it should also be noted here that Holy Joe has thus far refused to appear on The Rachel Maddow Show to defend his claims against the public option and health care reform in general, so that tells you how ridiculous his arguments truly are.

  • 4) And speaking of ridiculous, CNN pundit Mary Matalin tells us the following here…

    Washington (CNN) – A leading Republican strategist and one-time aide to former Vice President Cheney said Sunday that President Obama’s recently announced decision to send an additional 30, 000 troops to Afghanistan is “a reassertion of the Bush doctrine.”

    “The [Bush] doctrine is no safe havens [for terrorists intent on harming the United States] and we go after those that provide a harbor [for such terrorists]. That’s the doctrine,” Republican strategist Mary Matalin explained Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

    The problem for Democrats,” Matalin also said Sunday, “is that they’ve bashed Bush strategy and tactics for so long and now they have to embrace them because they’re the only ones that do work.”

    Oh, that’s funny!

    In the matter of “Bush strategy and tactics,” let’s compare how our current chief executive has arrived at his own war strategy (whether you agree with it or not, and truth be told, I don’t), versus his predecessor.

    First, here is an excerpt from a Times story by Peter Baker which tells us the following…

    The three-month review that led to the escalate-then-exit strategy is a case study in decision making in the Obama White House — intense, methodical, rigorous, earnest and at times deeply frustrating for nearly all involved. It was a virtual seminar in Afghanistan and Pakistan, led by a president described by one participant as something “between a college professor and a gentle cross-examiner.”

    Mr. Obama peppered advisers with questions and showed an insatiable demand for information, taxing analysts who prepared three dozen intelligence reports for him and Pentagon staff members who churned out thousands of pages of documents.

    Now, let’s take a Tragical History Tour back about five and a half years concerning Obama’s predecessor (in a Times column by Bob Herbert)…

    Condi Rice was in Washington trying to pass her oral exam before the 9/11 commission yesterday, and the president was on vacation in Texas. As usual, they were in close agreement, this time on the fact that neither they nor anyone else in this remarkably aloof and arrogant administration is responsible for the tragic mess unfolding in Iraq, and its implications for the worldwide war on terror.

    The president called Ms. Rice from his pickup truck on the ranch to tell her she had done a great job before the panel.

    It doesn’t get more surreal than that.

    Mr. President, there’s a war on. You might consider hopping a plane to Washington.

    It’s hard to imagine that the news out of Iraq could be more dreadful. After the loss of at least 634 American troops and the expenditure of countless billions of dollars, we’ve succeeded in getting the various Iraqi factions to hate us more than they hate each other. And terrorists are leaping on the situation in Iraq like rats feasting on a mound of exposed cheese.

    The administration has no real plan on how to proceed. It doesn’t know how many troops are needed. It doesn’t know, in the long term, where they will come from. It doesn’t know whether it can meet the June 30 deadline for turning over sovereignty to the Iraqis. (It doesn’t know what sovereignty in this context even means. June 30 was an arbitrary date selected with this year’s presidential campaign in mind.) It doesn’t have a cadre of Iraqi leaders to accept the handoff of sovereignty. And so on.

    When you open the door to get a look at the Bush policy on Iraq, you find yourself staring into an empty room.

    Meanwhile, people are dying.

    But just remember that Obama has copied “Bush’s strategy and tactics.”

    And just to remind us, Matalin said this on CNN.

    We’ll have to “leave it there.”


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