Monday Mashup Part One (11/01/10)

November 1, 2010

  • 1) I don’t know who else has noticed besides me, but the punditocracy is absolutely losing its collective mind as we near the end of this election cycle with its “doomed Dems” narrative, which is totally unsurprising I know; basically, I defy anyone reading this to navigate more than three clicks across any web news site to see what I’m talking about.

    And here is a sampling from yesterday’s New York Times, in which Sheryl Gay Stolberg does the best she can to concoct “Drudge bait”…

    CLEVELAND — The upper deck was mostly empty when President Obama closed out the campaign season Sunday afternoon with a rally on the campus of Cleveland State University here. His aides looked grim, fiddling with their BlackBerrys as Democratic National Committee staffers scurried to get a crowd estimate from fire marshals: 8,000 in a hall built for 13,000.

    It was a fitting coda to the waning days of a brutal election season for the president and his party. Mr. Obama spent the final, frenetic weekend of Midterms 2010 hopscotching the East Coast and Midwest trying to close the “enthusiasm gap” in key states. The task required him, at times, to confront the minor indignities that come with being demoted from rock star to mortal politician.

    What, no sneaky references to the faux Doric columns from Obama’s Dem nomination acceptance speech in Denver in 2008? You’re slipping, Stolberg! And funny, but I honestly cannot recall the last time I read about a campaign speech by a Repug in which the empty seats were counted.

    (And just for good measure, John Harwood depicted a “Republican rout” tomorrow here.)

    Stolberg, however, has nothing on Peter Baker, who, along with Helene Cooper, brought us this (from here, concerning the recent plane bomb scare that quite probably originated in Yemen)…

    WASHINGTON — Trying to manage a terrorism threat in the middle of an election campaign, the Obama administration is walking a political and national security tightrope.

    Remembering the debates over whether President George W. Bush sought to capitalize on the terrorism threat in the days before the 2006 election, White House officials do not want to look as if they are seizing on a potential catastrophe to win votes. But at the same time, they remember when President Obama was criticized when he said nothing publicly in the three days after an attempt to blow up an airliner last Dec. 25.

    “Every president has to be able to take off the partisan hat and assume the role of nonpartisan commander in chief when there is a security incident,” said C. Stewart Verdery Jr., a former assistant secretary of homeland security under Mr. Bush. “The president should be the public face of the response to send the right signals to Americans worried about our defenses, especially those partisans who might be inclined to find fault with anything the administration does.”

    Oh, and just in case we didn’t get it that the Obama Administration didn’t officially communicate with the media on the would-be Detroit pants bomber last December, Baker/Cooper go on to repeat it for good measure (of course, the period of time in question for Obama is three days, but I can recall nary a peep out of our corporate media slaves when a certain 43rd president went mute for six days in response to would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid, as noted here).

    There is still more hilarity in this column, as Baker/Cooper chide Obama again for his “breakdown” in responding last December (to which I ask the following: how many people were killed because of this “breakdown”), but by the end of the column, James Jay Carofano of the Heritage Foundation (now THAT’s a “fair and balanced” point of view) is wondering why Obama supposedly overreacted in the case of the most recent Yemen scare.

    And Baker went one better on Stolberg, by the way, writing an entire Op-Ed column yesterday on Obama’s supposed elitism to which I won’t even waste my time responding – if I want to read the National Review (and I don’t, I assure you), I’ll read the National Review.

    And in response to the supposed “apathy” of the Dem base, I give you this.

  • 2) Next, I give you what is perhaps the most schizophrenic opinion column I’ve read in a long time (and if you guessed that it came from Fix Noise, then you automatically win an autographed photo of humanoid Megyn Kelly with her face contorted as she yells at Obama spokesman Bill Burton, based on this).

    Former Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro decried sexism in political campaigns (good), but then adds fuel to the proverbial fire with the following (bad)…

    But it’s not only Democrats against Republicans who sometimes cross the line. Take for instance, Carly Fiorina. Don’t tell me she didn’t realize that she was being sexist — as well as a tad ageist — when she said referring to Barbara Boxer in an off-mic comment: ‘”God what is with that hair? So yesterday.”

    And how did she stand by when Sen. John McCain issued an unheard of jab at a colleague in the Senate, when he said about Barbara Boxer after distorting her record that “I should know (how difficult she is on defense issues) because I have had the unpleasant experience of having to serve with her.”

    For those who don’t know how the Senate works, no Senator refers to his colleagues in that matter. John McCain has never referred to any colleague before like that. He thought he could get away with it because she is female.

    If the women of Arizona go on the Internet and Google three words: John McCain, rape and gorilla — they might see where he is coming from as far as women are concerned.

    OK, I think we need to step back a bit here.

    To begin, Ferraro is clearly angry about McCain involving himself in the California contest between Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina. And Ferraro has a right to feel that way, even though I don’t think this happened only because of Boxer’s gender; former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist involved himself in the South Dakota contest against former Senator Tom Daschle and on behalf of John Thune, which was also a low blow.

    Also, I am not going to excuse some of the truly lowbrow remarks by McCain that he has uttered in his public life – if you do what Ferraro suggests, you will indeed find the type of language she’s referring to.

    However, I think it’s more than a little self-defeating for her to make those remarks in a column where she’s decrying hateful language.

    Besides, who is Ferraro to say this when she had no trouble spouting some genuinely racist remarks while supporting Hillary Clinton, a sample of which is noted here?

  • 3) Finally, I just want to make a bit of a personal plea concerning tomorrow’s elections.

    Yes, I’m going to say that you should vote Democratic – no surprise there, I’ll admit. And I believe there are a lot of good reasons to do that.


    And one of them has to do with the fact that, for the first time in over 10 years, this guy won’t figure into the outcome of anything (even though he was ineligible in 2008, his policies were very much at issue then as I believe they still are now).

    My request is that you vote Democratic because of the good work done by the Democratic majority in Congress, notably of which is health care reform, jobs bills, the Lily Ledbetter law and granting the FDA more power to enable the safety of the food supply (there are a lot of other reasons, but I think those are some good ones for starters).

    All I ask is that I don’t read everywhere in the universe on Wednesday that the Repugs took over at least one house of Congress because all the “professional left” had going for it (the people who powered Obama’s victory two years ago first and foremost) was “Bush Derangement Syndrome.”

    Please click here to find a polling place in your neighborhood.

    Let’s keep doing the hard work we need to do up until the polls close tomorrow to make it plain to everyone in the world that our support for Democrats is based on moving this country forward for real, as opposed to running away from the past.

  • Advertisements

    More Wingnut Wrangling Over The Miranda “Bogeyman”

    February 10, 2010

    This is almost too stupid for words, but I believe it needs to be addressed.

    Via Irrational Spew Online, Byron York over at The Washington Examiner sayeth the following (here, in the matter of whether or not reading the Miranda rights to the Christmas pants bomber supposedly caused him to go quiet, which John Podesta recently commented on here)…

    …(Obama) and his administration are still trying to justify their actions in the Detroit case. “They’re changing their story constantly to try to defend their tactics,” says a knowledgeable source on Capitol Hill.

    For example, we know that the FBI interrogated Abdulmutallab for just 50 minutes before Attorney General Eric Holder decided to advise the suspect of his Miranda rights to remain silent and to have a court-appointed attorney. After that, Abdulmutallab shut up.

    Republicans hit the administration hard on that point, especially when the White House made the unbelievable claim that agents had gotten every last bit of valuable information from Abdulmutallab in that brief talk. In response to GOP criticism, administration officials leaked the story that Abdulmutallab actually stopped talking before being read his Miranda rights, meaning Holder’s decision was not to blame for cutting off the brief flow of intelligence.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, say knowledgeable sources on Capitol Hill. “It is totally false that he had stopped cooperating and then they made the decision to Mirandize him,” says one GOP source. “They made the decision, and then they weren’t trying to question him any more.”

    (By the way, one would assume this is a news report from the way it’s structured, but it’s actually editorial commentary, and it should be labeled as such.)

    In response, John Brennan, Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said the following here…

    The Republicans have been trying to score political points on “terrorism” by, among other things, suggesting that the FBI, which has obtained information from the Christmas bomber without torture, should not have been allowed to question him.

    Brennan calls them out:

    Politics should never get in the way of national security. But too many in Washington are now misrepresenting the facts to score political points, instead of coming together to keep us safe.

    Immediately after the failed Christmas Day attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was thoroughly interrogated and provided important information. Senior counterterrorism officials from the White House, the intelligence community and the military were all actively discussing this case before he was Mirandized and supported the decision to charge him in criminal court.

    And York actually mentions Brennan in his column, but check out how York spins what Brennan has to say…

    Brennan said he called four top GOP lawmakers — Sens. Mitch McConnell and Christopher Bond and Reps. John Boehner and Peter Hoekstra — on Christmas night, just hours after Abdulmutallab tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253. Brennan said he told the Republicans that the FBI had a suspect in custody; from that, Brennan claimed, the lawmakers should have inferred that Abdulmutallab would be read his Miranda rights.

    “None of those individuals raised any concerns with me at that point,” Brennan said. “They didn’t say, ‘Is he going into military custody? Is he going to be Mirandized?'”

    Within hours of Brennan’s TV appearance, all four GOP lawmakers denied the story. “Brennan never told me of any plans to Mirandize the Christmas Day bomber,” said Bond. “It never came up,” said Hoekstra. Spokesman for McConnell and Boehner denied it, too.

    GOP lawmakers don’t expect to hear that charge again.

    Well, of course they’re not going to “hear the charge” if they don’t even bother to ask the question about it, are they?

    I would tend to agree with the analysis of Matt Yglesias on this, who said the following from here…

    The underlying issue here, as I’ve been saying, is that conservatives think that any constraint on the state security apparatus is too much. They believe, contrary to all of the evidence, that the rule-bound criminal justice system can’t or doesn’t function and that things would be better if we scrapped all the rules. And, indeed, in the civilian context they’ve worked steadily and systematically over a period of decades to weaken the constitutional protections as much as possible, and bring us as close as possible to their dream scenario of limitless state-sponsored violence. The desire to push certain categories of people (non-citizens) or certain categories of suspects (terrorists) out of the constitutionally protected realm is just part-and-parcel of that broad-based assault on the idea of a rule-bound justice system.

    And leave it to Holy Joe Lieberman and three of his Repug pals in the Senate who, as noted here…

    …are pushing legislation that would require civilian authorities to consult with intelligence leaders when taking an accused terrorist into custody.

    “[This] legislation would not deprive the President of any investigative tool,” Sen. Lieberman’s Web site claims. “It would not preclude a decision to charge a foreign terrorist in our military tribunal system or in our civilian criminal justice system.”

    In a response, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, fired back: “It is extremely disturbing that members of the U.S. Congress are essentially calling for Obama administration officials to discard the Constitution when a terrorist suspect is apprehended – as if the Constitution should be applied on a case by case basis.”

    And as noted here, as long as York and his ideological pals are so upset by our intelligence officials adhering to the rule of law, they should be reminded that Obama’s predecessor also “Mirandized” terrorism suspects also.

    But of course, we know this doesn’t comport with the wingnut worldview, if for no other reason than because it never worked for Jack Bauer on “24,” as we know.

    Update 2/12/10: More from mcjoan of The Daily Kos here…


    Monday Mashup (12/28/09)

    December 28, 2009

  • 1) I know most everyone is in year-end wrap-up mode at this point, including yours truly, and some in supposedly decade-end wrap-up mode (even though the decade really doesn’t end until about a year from now, as Paul Krugman points out here today). And that entails revisiting issues believed to be of some importance.

    However, if you’re former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm of the L.A. Times, what that really means is a second chance at spewing some pretty vapid right-wing nonsense.

    As noted here, Malcolm recently revisited a July post about the misspelling of President Obama’s first name on an official document and used that as an excuse to inflict his alleged attempt at humor upon us (a copy of a new agreement between the United States and Russia on how to re-start the START arms reduction treaty); Obama’s first name was spelled “Barak.”

    Ha, ha and ha – as noted here, Malcolm also made light of a proposal by Sen. Al Franken to provide service dogs for wounded military veterans, claiming it first cost $15 billion, then $7.4 billion, then admitting that he really didn’t know how much it cost.


    As you can see, providing service dogs for our wounded veterans is pretty hilarious stuff (I mean, if you’re Malcolm, of course).

    Am I trying to excuse the boneheaded typo in the document about trying to revive START? No. I’m merely trying to point out that Malcolm doesn’t know the difference between making light of idiocy and someone else’s misfortune (with that misfortune caused through their heroic service to our country).

    In the spirit of the season, though, I’ve provided what I believe is an appropriate gift for Malcolm, and that is a word scrabble that communicates a message he should take to heart (assuming he actually has one, of course).

    RAWNED LOCMLAM SI A HELSWTSOR TIRGH-NGIW AKHC!

    Happy Holidays, you nitwit.

  • 2) Also in keeping with the holidays somewhat, Adam Nagourney of the New York Times delivered some Christmas wankery here in his paper’s ongoing campaign to reinforce the notion once and for all that only liberals cared about the public option in health care reform (its support embodied by those nutty lefties at The Daily Kos, MoveOn.org and Howard Dean, who “demanded,” as Nagourney put it, that the Senate bill be killed – a picture of the “Dean Scream” is of course included for good measure).

    Nagourney also tells us the following…

    And Mr. Obama never exhibited the left’s passion for establishing a public insurance option as part of an overhaul of health care. He rarely talked about it during scores of debates, speeches and interviews during the campaign; instead he focused on expanding coverage, lowering costs and ending health insurance abuses.

    This Think Progress post enumerates the many, many times that Candidate Obama discussed the public option, or words to that effect, as part of health care reform. Also, here is one constituency that strongly favored the public option (Heaven forbid that I read about that in the Times, though).

    Yes, there is more good than not in the legislation that is now being worked on by a Senate-House committee prior to submitting to Obama for his signature. But the chance to make it so much better by providing a feature so clearly supported by a majority in this country may not come again in our lifetimes.

  • 3) Also, over the weekend, Newtown, PA manager Rob (Self) Ciervo opined as follows here in the Bucks County Courier Times, which no doubt rushed to publish his drivel…

    Once again I find it extremely troubling and unfortunate that state Rep. Steve Santarsiero puts the wishes of the House Democrat leadership above those of his own constituents. Again, when given the opportunity to vote for families and college students in his district he turned a blind eye to them and refused to vote to approve funding budgeted long ago for the state-related universities of Penn State, Temple, the University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln.

    “Democrat” leadership, huh Ciervo? Funny, but I’m not aware of the existence of a “Republic” Party, you creep.

    In response, Steve Santarsiero communicated the following recently (here)…

    Santarsiero said he is pleased that the House voted yesterday for several bills that will provide funding for Pennsylvania’s state-related universities, including Pitt, Lincoln, Penn State and Temple, and other so-called nonpreferreds, including museums around the state.

    “We committed $657 million in subsidies to our state-related universities when we passed the state budget in October, and we needed to live up to that commitment,” Santarsiero said. “Without this subsidy, many students would have been facing mid-semester tuition increases, increases that may have forced them to leave school and delay their college education.”

    Nonpreferred appropriations are research, education and other institutions not under the control of the Commonwealth but which the state provides funding for.

    Of course, you can be sure that Ciervo will return to spew more fictions as the campaign proceeds (and to contact Steve, click here).

  • Update 1/10/10: Good stuff by Diane Marseglia on Ciervo here…

  • 4) Finally, leave it to the minority political party to try and score cheap points over the near-catastrophe that was averted on the recent flight from the Netherlands to Detroit, for which al Qaeda has recently assumed responsibility (here).

    This story at The Hill tells us the following…

    “The president has asked the Department of Homeland Security to, quite frankly, answer the very real question about how somebody with something as dangerous as PETN [the explosive used] could have gotten on a plane in Amsterdam,” (White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs) said.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), along with King and Hoekstra, said Sunday on ABC that he doesn’t understand why the suspect was not on the no-fly list in the first place.

    “It’s amazing to me that an individual like this who was sending out so many signals could end up getting on a plane going to the U.S.,” he said on “This Week.”

    Responding to that criticism, Gibbs said the suspect was on a watch list, which has about 550,000 names, as a result of the suspect’s father alerting U.S. Embassy officials in Nigeria about his son’s radical Islamic views.

    But that information was not enough to put the suspect on the narrower selected and no-fly lists, which contain about 14,000 and 4,000 names, respectively.

    Yes, this incident needs to be thoroughly investigated, but the Repugs really have no ground to complain about individuals on no-fly lists; as noted here from April 2007…

    A top Constitutional scholar from Princeton who gave a televised speech that slammed President George W. Bush’s executive overreach was recently told that he had been added to the Transportation Security Administration’s terrorist watch list. He shared his experience this weekend at the law blog Balkinization.

    Walter F. Murphy, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Emeritus, at Princeton University, attempted to check his luggage at the curbside in Albuquerque before boarding a plane to Newark, New Jersey. Murphy was told he could not use the service.

    “I was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list,” he said.

    When inquiring with a clerk why he was on the list, Murphy was asked if he had participated in any peace marches.

    “We ban a lot of people from flying because of that,” a clerk said.

    Murphy then explained that he had not marched, but had “in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution.”

    The clerk responded, “That’ll do it.”

    Here’s a crazy thought – maybe if our prior ruling cabal hadn’t actually provided a reason for unhinged individuals like alleged “pants bomber” (?) Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab to hate us by virtue of our ridiculous Now And Forever You Godless Commie Li-bu-ruul An’ We’re Gonna Water The Tree O’Liberty In 2010 Global War On Terra! Terra! Terra! and instead fought our enemies with common sense and by obeying the rule of law (instead of scoring cheap ideological points as noted above with Professor Murphy), then maybe we would be just a little bit safer than we actually are now.

  • Update 12/29/09: Good stuff on this from BarbinMD at The Daily Kos here…


  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Advertisements