Thursday, December 31, 2009
I for one am sick and tired of these Bush-era chicken hawk politicians that never served in uniform attacking Democrats on National Security when in fact, they are largely to blame for our Nation's current national security problems. Apparently former Vice President Cheney and the likes of Senator Jim DeMint actually believe that they can score political points by forcing America to remember the incredible failures of the previous Administration and to that I say - "Bring it on." I have no problem running against their record of global economic failure, avarice, corporate greed run amok, no-bid insider contracts, and disastrous foreign policy decisions that left us isolated on the international stage at the very moment when we needed to count our allies. I welcome the opportunity for the Vice President to relive his glory days. And I welcome the opportunity to call him out and debate him one on one. Personally, I think it's time for Vice President Cheney to either put up or shut up.
If it were up to me the DNC, DCCC and the DSCC would print out his diary and hand it out to all their members to memorize so the rest of the Democrats in Washington can learn how to attack Republicans where they live instead of hiding their heads in the sand and hoping it all blows over. I hope the Democrats who remain silent on this issue are just opening themselves up to the very same attacks that President Obama is facing now, later. You can either attack now and put them on the defensive, or get attacked later and look like a weakling. Your choice.
1. Why haven't the Goldman Sachs executives been summoned on the Hill for some hearings and grillings like the AIG and Citibank folks etc have?
2. Now that it turns out that many of the risky investments that helped bring down our financial system last year were dealing with mortgages in the Cayman islands rather than just mortgages here in the States, is there anyone still foolish enough to believe that the government forcing banks to give poor brown people mortgages was really the root cause?
I don't know how much longer the Obama administration and Congress can continue to effectively look the other way when it comes to Goldman Sachs and expect the people of this country not to act a damn fool.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Update: As promised. Enjoy
The Same Old Washington Blame Game
Posted by Dan Pfeiffer on December 30, 2009 at 03:34 PM EST
There has been a lot of discussion online and in the mainstream media about our response to various critics of the President, specifically former Vice President Cheney, who have been coming out of the woodwork since the incident on Christmas Day. I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers. Unfortunately too many are engaged in the typical Washington game of pointing fingers and making political hay, instead of working together to find solutions to make our country safer.
First, it’s important that the substantive context be clear: for seven years after 9/11, while our national security was overwhelmingly focused on Iraq – a country that had no al Qaeda presence before our invasion – Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's leadership was able to set up camp in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they continued to plot attacks against the United States. Meanwhile, al Qaeda also regenerated in places like Yemen and Somalia, establishing new safe-havens that have grown over a period of years. It was President Obama who finally implemented a strategy of winding down the war in Iraq, and actually focusing our resources on the war against al Qaeda – more than doubling our troops in Afghanistan, and building partnerships to target al Qaeda’s safe-havens in Yemen and Somalia. And in less than one year, we have already seen many al Qaeda leaders taken out, our alliances strengthened, and the pressure on al Qaeda increased worldwide.
To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President.
Second, the former Vice President makes the clearly untrue claim that the President – who is this nation’s Commander-in-Chief – needs to realize we are at War. I don’t think anyone realizes this very hard reality more than President Obama. In his inaugural, the President said “our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” In a recent speech, Assistant to the President for Terrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan said “Instead, as the president has made clear, we are at war with al-Qaida, which attacked us on 9/11 and killed 3,000 people. We are at war with its violent extremist allies who seek to carry on al-Qaida’s murderous agenda. These are the terrorists we will destroy; these are the extremists we will defeat.” At West Point, the President told the nation why it was “in our vital national interest” to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to fight the war in Afghanistan, adding that as Commander in Chief, “I see firsthand the terrible wages of war.” And at Oslo, in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, the President said, “We are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land.”
There are numerous other such public statements that explicitly state we are at war. The difference is this: President Obama doesn’t need to beat his chest to prove it, and – unlike the last Administration – we are not at war with a tactic (“terrorism”), we at war with something that is tangible: al Qaeda and its violent extremist allies. And we will prosecute that war as long as the American people are endangered.
I couldn't really find a way to excerpt that post by Dan Pfieffer and I hope they don't mind but I thought it important enough to quote the whole thing. Of course if there were some Democrats in Washington willing to hit back themselves, this post wouldn't be necessary. But as we have seen by now with the health care fight, Democrats in Washington are still looking for a spine.
Anybody with two brain cells can probably figure out that this is all about the bogus right wing framing of her out of context commments on Sunday but you will never get Mr. Acocountability Sullivan to admit that.
Just to remind you that Sully is basically the only blogger over at the Atlantic now who doesn't allow comments. They have a system where you have to register with the site just to leave a comment and you can be banned for inappropriate responses and yet he STILL will not allow comments. Its really ironic that a guy who won't subject himself to accountability by his own readers in the form of comments that he alone could control whether they were actually published or not, is now screaming at President Obama because he isn't being as reactionary, and in this case stupid, as he would like.
Gotta love it!
"Systemic Failure": A Full Rebuke Of "The System Worked" in which he used the right wing out of context framing of Janet Napolitano's words on CNN over the weekend to profer that President Obama was rebuking what she had said.
It was also a complete 180 from what Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on CNN's "State of the Union" two days after the attempted attack was foiled--that "the system worked"--a direct and total rebuke of that initial assertion.
Except, that is not what Napolitano said on CNN's "State of the Union" AND he evidently missed the part of President Obama's speech where in fact he agreed with and endorsed what she actually DID say, in context, on Sunday as is evidenced in this Rachel Maddow clip from last night.
See when her whole quote is allowed in context and you can see that she was speaking of the RESPONSE to the attempted terrorist attack and not the events leading up to it that allowed the attempt to take place at all she sounds perfectly reasonable and in this case perfectly right. But that never stopped wingnuts from shrieking of course and so they took it out of context and ran with it for the last few days. And unsurprisingly they found someone in the quasi mainstream media realm to validate their shrieking in Chris Good who obviously didn't hear the part in the speech where President Obama agreed with her lest his whole post lose its relevance. Thankfully a commenter pointed this out to him and today he posted a retraction. But notice how he is still unwilling or unable to fully call bullshit.
Obama, as I failed to mention in that post, cast Napolitano's analysis as correct, saying that "once the suspect attempted to take down Flight 253, after his attempt, it's clear that passengers and crew, our homeland security systems and our aviation security took all appropriate actions."
Obama's "systemic failure" spoke to a different part of the security process than what Napolitano had originally addressed. When Napolitano said that the "system worked," she was talking about the response to the incident, not the cause.
"Everybody played an important role here," Napolitano said on CNN's "State of the Union." "The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action, within literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring all 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight."
I still feel that Obama's remarks in Hawaii were a response to criticism of Napolitano--to the notion that the system didn't, in fact, work to prevent the attack from almost occurring--which is something Napolitano had already said. After the protestations against Napolitano's comment, whether or not they were merited, it became somewhat necessary for the president to come out and say that the system had failed.
But to call this a "rebuke" of Napolitano was misguided.
Whether or not they were merited? Its pretty fucking simple, THEY WEREN'T MERITED. And the proof is in the fact that he had to post a retraction in the first place. But you just can't call wingnuts liars in this day and age I guess. You have to give them "the benefit of the doubt". Funny, but it didn't seem like Good gave Napolitano the same benefit of the doubt though, did he? If anything was rebuked it was the right wing framing of what she had said, but you won't get that post title anytime soon I am sure.
I guess I should just be glad he posted a retraction, because you can best believe if this was the Washinton Post no such retraction would be forthcoming. But you still have to marvel and despair at how the right wing can frame any story even in the face of evidence easily accessed to the contrary.
Wired for Republicans, Washington still is...
Well I guess for now Rachel Maddow will have to do...
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Knowing Karl Rove he will now call out President Obama for having a good marriage as further proof that he is against freedom.
Its because he hates America of course, and is soft on terrorism, and is an appeaser....yadda yadda yadda.
Seriously, where is our liberal version of Pete Hoekstra out there pounding this dumbass into submission?
Somebody better get the fainting couch ready! LOL
Monday, December 28, 2009
Man, you have to be a special kinda dumb to have bought that line of bullshit anyway though so I doubt many of them will be asking for their money back lol.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Yeah, personal responsibility and all that. Get the fuck outta here with that bullshit.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Turns out I didn't like it, I LOVED it. His books revolve around this central character by the name of Mitch Rapp who is a sort of CIA superman neanderthal but who also has a brilliant mind when it comes to tactics. The first few books I read of Flynn's had Rapp all over the world tracking down bad guys and dispatching them with extreme prejudice in almost impossible conditions. And he also found the time to rescue POTUS from an assault on the White House. And the thing about it was that Flynn writes in a style that basically keeps you on the edge of your seat from chapter to chapter. I practically couldn't put these books down because he kept the action and suspense going all through out the book. You would be hard pressed to find a boring chapter.
But then something started to shift in his writing. In his last two books all of a sudden you saw an escalation in what is an obvious attempt to spread real life right wing propaganda in his books. It was a little off putting in his last book, "Term Limits" when he used Rapp basically as a sort of Dick Cheney stand in to try to justify torture. Now don't get me wrong, Mitch Rapp tortured a bunch of folks in all of his previous books as well as assassinating more than a few. But it wasn't some big deal to me because hell its a book, its supposed to be entertaining, not necessarily reflect reality. But I just finished his newest book "Pursuit of Honor" and its obvious that the guy is now basically trying to forcefeed a right wing ideology in an otherwise great book.
Check out the issues he manages to weave into a book that didn't require any of it. He, through Irene Kennedy who is the CIA director in most of his books, gives a spirited defense of Joe McCarthy. He also has Kennedy, proclaim that torture is 100% effective. He also has a supposed Democrat Senator, a Senator Lonsdale, who has recently undergone a "transformation" after someone close to her was killed by a terrorist, compare incredulously a few of her fellow Democratic Senators complaining about torturing terrorist to them honoring an OB/Gyn who performed abortions. He has Rapp, in a Senate hearing no less, compare what he did to terrorists to a Senator Ogden supposed push for late term abortion because she was pushing for an investigation of his activities. And here is the kicker, this new Senator who supposedly would abort fetuses with her own teeth if ever given a chance, bears a striking likeness in the way he describes her to real life Senator Barbara Boxer. Not only does she hail from California, but she also admonishes Rapp for referring to her as Ma'am. Oh and did I mention that the term "limousine liberal" was used in the book as well as that bullshit line about how they supposedly all convert to right wingers just as soon as they get mugged? Seriously, its in there.
The great tragedy is that you could strip out the whole chapters where all of that bullshit occurred and you would have a great book. I mean as much as that bullshit pissed me off I still wanted to read the book all the way through and see what happened and if Rapp would once again save the day. But here is the deal, I have reached my limit with this guy. I do love his writing style and the plot lines are amazing, but if I wanted to hear that extra crap I would just tune into FoxNews each day. I read most of my books to get away from that kind of bullshit, not to have it thrown in my face. Unless and until he gets back to just writing about the action and staying away from the politics I don't think I will be reading any more of his books. There is only so much I can overlook.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
You see when you listen very closely to politicians who claim the climate change denialism mantle there is one central place where they are coming from in their opposition to any notion that global warming comes from man made sources. And that place is evangelical Christianity. Well rather a perverted version of evangelical Christianity whereby humans can not possibly do anything to affect the fate of the earth because everything is in God's hands. Now most regular Christians do not see the world this way. Yes we believe that Jesus will return one day to bring us all to heaven and yes I understand that lots of people think that is crazy talk. But there isn't anything anywhere in the Bible about human beings not being able to hasten the second coming of Christ. So that is the first principle to know but its actually the death blow best held onto until the end of the argument with a right wing climate change denialist.
The best way to engage them initially however is to go on the attack right away. Don't get caught trying to defend accepted science as it doesn't need defending and any effort to do so will only serve to make you look defensive. What you want to do right away is establish the aforementioned "why" this particular politician doesn't believe in climate change. If they won't come out and say it right away then you should pointedly ask them if it has to do with their religious beliefs. That will put them on the defensive and they will absolutely feel the need to over play their own religious faith and pimp their Jesus cred and pretty much try to hang you with it. You should allow this without interruption and just allow them to ramble on for a bit and then continue with your deconstruction.
Once you have made them admit that their denialism is grounded in their faith and the belief that God is in control then its time to hit them with the killer hypotheticals. Now not all hypotheticals and analogies are equal and some are better for right wingers than others, so let me offer a few up for you to use.
There is a certain former governor of a certan northern state that just so happened to have been impacted by a major oil spill by Exxon. Well that was one of many oil spills but the one that made the most noise. And so the question when dealing with that person or another person who hails from a coastal state is this:
If you believe that human beings can not affect our environment because God is in control, then do you also believe that if there is an oil spill somewhere off the coast of your state that it should not be cleaned up? If the idea is that God will fix climate change or global warming then why not take the same tact when it comes to something like an oil spill?
If you happen to be dealing with a politician who lives in an area where there is a nuclear plant somewhere nearby then your question should be phrased thusly:
Are you willing to open up your area/county/city/state to nuclear waste dumping so we can expand our nuclear capabilities? If not, why not? Surely you can't be worried about the damage to the environment. Won't God take care of that just like climate change?
If the politician denying climate change hails from a state with a lot of hunting and or is a big NRA person then you can hit them this way:
How do you feel about hunting seasons? Why exactly should we have hunting seasons? Why can't Americans go and kill whatever animals they want to kill whenever they want to? Surely there won't be any impact to their numbers. I mean we aren't powerful enough to make a have a major effect on our environment are we?
This would also be a good time to ask them about endangered species, specifically one endangered species in particular:
As you know one of our great American symbols, the bald eagle, has been on and off the endangered species list in years past. Are you in favor of allowing people to go hunting for bald eagles? If not, why not? Why should sportsmen be deprived the opportunity to bag something as beautiful as a bald eagle? Surely it can't be because of their numbers. Remember, you said human beings aren't powerful enough to affect our environment, so according to you no matter how many bald eagles are killed won't God just create more of them?
I would almost pay someone to use that line of attack just to see the right wing politician damn near burst a blood vessel with anger. You know how much they love linking a bald eagle to FREEDOM!!! My advice would be to be careful though because some of them might want to fight you over this line of attack lol
Now, obviously those statements could still backfire at least initially because they will come off as condescending toward's their faith. I say WILL instead of MIGHT because the proper way to deliver those lines are as condescending as possible. You want to piss them off and challenge them on their faith and get the on the defensive. You ESPECIALLY want them to attack you and your faith once you go there with them. Because then its time to pull out the death blow.
When instead of addressing your hypothetical analogies, which most of them won't, they instead pound their chest about their faith and then wag their fingers at you to accuse you of not having any, then its time to calmly and respectfully ask them to quote anywhere in the Bible where it says man can not affect the environment. Then ask them to quote anywhere in the Bible where it says man can not hasten the end of the earth. Remember, calmly and patiently.
Once they are done fuming and yelling and screaming you just calmly state that there is no where in the Bible where you will find such passages. And that the politician's stance on climate change is blatantly at odds with whichever hypothetical analogy you used previously. Then you bring it home by saying something to the effect that "We all agree that when" (earlier hypothetical) "happens then we should" earlier hypothetical "to make sure that our impact doesn't have terrible consequences to our environment, well addressing climate change is no different. If it makes sense to clean up an oil spill/be careful with nuclear waste/impose hunting seasons/prohibit hunting of animals on the endangered species list then it should be obvious to all that we should also address our impact on climate change. Just like there have been permanent reprecussions from oil spills/chernobyl/eradication of whole species of animals because we waited too long to act to protect the environment from man made harm, the same will be the case if we continue to put off addressing the effects of climate change which are now staring us in the face"
Now you don't want to get too preachy about it, but you do want to make those points. And here is how you bring it home. You profess your own faith, and you say that as you see it there is nothing contradictory about being a good Christian and also believing in climate change. On the one hand you have seen (insert beautiful scenes in nature that you have personally experienced, the more the better) which are evidence of God's amazing abilities. But on the other hand seeing those things give you even more determination to make sure that we do not ruin what God has provided for us. It is your solemn duty to as a Christian and as an American that we do not squander our God given natural resources, one of them being our climate which makes our world liveable.
What you have just done, in an understated manner, is basically accuse your right wing opponent of not being a good Christian because they don't care about the environment, but hey let the audience figure that part out.
Well, that is my political advice for the end of the year. Hopefully someone will see it somewhere and put it to good use. Or not.
Merry Christmas everyone, hope you have a great holiday season!
GOP hypocrisy, its a feature not a bug.
Well my little shitty blog doesn't have a big readership or anything but I will tell you this, FireDogLake is now off my blog roll, I will never EVER link to any of Jane Hamsher's bullshit or anything else there aside from Spencer Ackerman again, and I personally hope every single person aligned with her abandons her ass over this bullshit. She has now allowed her anger to turn her into a bitter person with the same lack of morals that she used to decry in right wingers. I don't have any use for that kind of person on my side of the fence. I hope she enjoys her time in the land of irrelevancy as she has definitely earned it now. And what I really hope is true liberals and progressives extract themselves from her kind of poisonous bullshit before they get sucked in much further. There ain't a got damn thing on earth that would get me to join forces with someone like Grover Norquist and for that matter anybody who would see in him an ally on any issue.
This shit has gone way too far now and at some point, somebody close to Jane Hamsher who actually gives a shit about her needs to give her stage an intervention. And I am dead serious about that.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
But a curious thing happened shortly after that debacle. Naomi Klein, the author of the popular particularly on the left book on the financial crisis, Shock Doctrine, came up with this blatantly ignorant screed against President Obama entitled "For Obama, No Opportunity Too Big to Blow" (sensationalize much?)which included this great nugget of wisdom:
There's plenty of blame to go around, but there was one country that possessed unique power to change the game. It didn't use it. If Barack Obama had come to Copenhagen with a transformative and inspiring commitment to getting the U.S. economy off fossil fuels, all the other major emitters would have stepped up. The EU, Japan, China and India had all indicated that they were willing to increase their levels of commitment, but only if the U.S. took the lead. Instead of leading, Obama arrived with embarrassingly low targets and the heavy emitters of the world took their cue from him.
I would love to know what the color of the sky is on the planet which Klein lives on where she evidently snorts heroin. But what was most fucked up is that many liberals and progressives who were already disenchanted with President Obama over health care reform, bought this steaming pile of bullshit.
Now if there were any question left that China was the actual villan in Copenhangen we now have a first hand account of what actually went down in the room from Mark Lynas which ironically enough contradicts Klein even in the title "How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room" which included some actual reporting instead of ponies and rainbows:
To those who would blame Obama and rich countries in general, know this: it was China's representative who insisted that industrialised country targets, previously agreed as an 80% cut by 2050, be taken out of the deal. "Why can't we even mention our own targets?" demanded a furious Angela Merkel. Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was annoyed enough to bang his microphone. Brazil's representative too pointed out the illogicality of China's position. Why should rich countries not announce even this unilateral cut? The Chinese delegate said no, and I watched, aghast, as Merkel threw up her hands in despair and conceded the point. Now we know why – because China bet, correctly, that Obama would get the blame for the Copenhagen accord's lack of ambition.
China, backed at times by India, then proceeded to take out all the numbers that mattered. A 2020 peaking year in global emissions, essential to restrain temperatures to 2C, was removed and replaced by woolly language suggesting that emissions should peak "as soon as possible". The long-term target, of global 50% cuts by 2050, was also excised. No one else, perhaps with the exceptions of India and Saudi Arabia, wanted this to happen. I am certain that had the Chinese not been in the room, we would have left Copenhagen with a deal that had environmentalists popping champagne corks popping in every corner of the world.
Now I am not going to question Klein's motives for her post (although I think they had to be dubious at best) but I will say that if she is half the journalist she claims to be she should at worst note that a first hand account has been published that directly contradicts her claims, and at best print a full retraction.
See its bullshit like her post that gets liberals and progressives labeled as crybabies because it give the appearance that when we get mad or dissappointed then we just start making up shit like a child throwing a fit. That is not the left that I want to be a part of. And that's real.
Yep, this is your GOP 2010 edition. For all your black Republicans, have fun with that.
Please please please understand that while it might have been Lindsey Graham talking this time, this is the same mindset of many southern Republicans and even some southern "conservative" Democrats. He was just stupid enough to actually articulate it for the world to hear.
Do better dumbasses
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Welp, FUCK THAT.
I am still very dissappointed in that bill and I think its going to really bite Democrats in the ass next year in the midterms, but I will be got damn if I align with the other side just to try to kill the bill. When you have to go that far then its time to look in the mirror and reassess just what it is you are fighting for, or against, in my opinion. I doubt if she will actually do that, but I encourage those who have been following her lead up to this point to engage in some soul searching. Is that kind of shit really what you think progressives really should be about?
And if they do, won't that be an example of the same kind of affirmative action practices they claim to hate?
I mean seriously, if the DNC sat down and imagined the perfect RNC Chairman to drive the GOP off the cliff could they have done any better than Michael Steele? I don't think so.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Now see this is the fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans wouldn't have been on the floor asking what a Democrat meant by what Coburn said. Hell nah. They would have been on the floor en masse pounding his ass into oblivion over and over and calling him all kinds of names probably including domestic terrorist. Hell they would have called for hearings over that kind of shit. And you know who would know better than anybody else? Well Dick Durbin, that's who. Or have you forgotten how they pilloried him and made him apologize for speaking truth to power when he said the torture that went down at Guantanamo would have made folks think it was something that the Nazis or Russians had done if they didn't know who had actually done it.
But hey, its Tom Coburn so I guess he deserves the benefit of a doubt....
Will somebody, anybody in the Democratic Caucus of the Senate PLEASE GROW A FUCKING SPINE!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Well today he has a post up that should be used as a bludgeon against all of the conventional wisdom promoting, concern trolling, Villager assholes who like to try to throw the netroots and the left under the bus without ever addressing their specific concerns.
It would really be nice if certain Beltway journalists could get it into their heads that the Senate bill’s critics on the left have actual substantive differences with the bill’s proponents, and are not motivated solely by “ideology,” whatever the hell that means.
Ronald Brownstein, for one, is actually trying to claim that Howard Dean opposes the bill because he’s a “wine track” Democrat who doesn’t lack insurance and hence has the luxury to indulge in ideological struggles.
Brownstein writes that Dean and the “digital left” are able to “casually dismiss” the bill because “they operate in an environment where so few people need to worry about access to insurance.” He adds that for these critics, the debate is “largely an abstraction” and merely a crusade to “crush Republicans and ideologically cleanse the Democrats.”
Brownstein doesn’t meaningfully respond to any of Dean’s substantive policy objections to the bill. If he did, he could no longer claim Dean’s critique is purely “ideological.”
Brownstein isn't likely to forget that ass kicking any time soon, nor should he. All I can hope is that Sargent hasn't burned any bridges that hinder his work going forward. It is so damn ironic that the better you do your job as a journalist the harder it is for you to advance in the Beltway. Better to just set up strawman and copy down Republican talking points and then find yourself a featured op-ed columnist.
Guilty by association and all that ya know.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Who am I talking about you ask?
The so called progressives in the Senate.
Here is the thing, Joe Lieberman et al forced Harry Reid's and President Obama's hand at least publicly by announcing they wouldn't support cloture on this health care reform bill at various times. Now this may have been what President Obama had wanted all along as some folks are saying, hell I don't know. But I do know this. If Jay Rockerfeller or Chuck Schumer or Sheldon Whitehouse or Sherrod Brown had the guts/balls/courage, take your pick, to make the same stance and draw a line in the sand over the public option and or the Medicare buy in then we wouldn't be in this mess.
It all came clear when I saw Rockerfeller on MSNBC today and Robert Gibbs feverishly going after Howard Dean for saying kill the bill. They don't have ONE FUCKING WORD to say about Joe Lieberman, but Governor Dean, hell he's the enemy. For all of the lip service they paid to the public option and the Medicare buy in, not one, not one single solitary one of them EVER even alluded to perhaps not voting for cloture if they weren't in.
Now ask yourself a question, why is that?
Its because they know that they don't have to take such a courageous stance and all they have to do is offer a few amendments and then come out of a meeting with that "we did all we could" bullshit and folks will buy it. I mean who could challenge Rockerfeller or Whitehouse or Brown on their progressive cred?
I could, that's who.
This has been a total load of bullshit from the start. And it should have dawned on me when the only member of the WHOLE Senate Democratic Caucus who pledged not to vote for the bill without a public option was, of all people, Roland Burris. That ladies and gentlemen tells you how this game was rigged from the start. It shows you that even though they exhorted us to call our Senators and lied over and over again about the likelihood of getting a public option in, that all along they were planning on falling back when push came to shove.
And then we wonder why Republicans basically call them pussies to their face and they do nothing more than take it.
Hey, Joe Lieberman is an asshole, but at least he is a strong one. With everybody fucking with him and even his wife he still gave everybody the middle finger and said he wouldn't vote for the bill. Where is OUR asshole? A progressive asshole who is just as stubborn?
So here we are, now the White House and so called progressives in the Senate are attacking Governor Dean for speaking truth to power. They are flogging that 30 million people covered number, even though
A. The CBO hasn't scored the new bill. and
B. The CBO's earlier projection was based on people being mandated to buy coverage, not on their ability to pay for such coverage.
Basically the so called progressives are now coming out telling us all tho shut the fuck up. Well sorry, I ain't built that way.
So here is what happens now. For me waiting for midterm elections is too long. Here is what I plan on doing poste haste. The next emails I get from OFA and barackobama.com will be replied to with a "Remove me" email explaining that I will no longer be helping them in any way shape or form and health care reform is the reason. I will also refuse any email from the so called progressives in the Senate asking me to send money, phone bank, or organize and I will also let them know why. Basically I am cutting off anything associated with a so called progressive in the Senate and the White House until further notice.
I am also going to make sure to blog about the actual CBO score that should be out any day now and note how the numbers are invariably worse than the version with the public option in it. Because I can make a prediction right here and now, the Senate Dems are in such a rush to pass this shitty bill now that they won't even want to make any announcements about the new score because they KNOW it will be worse.
Now I am not jumping all the way off the ship, but I can tell you this much. Aside from taking potshots at Republicans which is basically my pleasure, I am not busting my ass for these assholes anymore. They feel like they don't need progressives. They think they can win elections with out us. They think they can sell us out at every turn and we will still stick by them.
They are wrong.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Well Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown has no such qualms about calling a spade a spade.
Fiscal conservative? GTFOH wit dat!
It made it all the funnier when John Thune, the number #4 in GOP leadership and a wingnut idol, had to run and get his big brother John McCain to try to fight his battle. Too bad the war was already lost....
I think I am going to turn off the TV and unplug for the rest of the week.
Monday, December 14, 2009
But here is MY thing. If the Democrats want to put a trigger on a public option then I won't like it but under one circumstance I will hold my nose and support it. The public humiliation Joe Lieberman by stripping him of all his chairmanships and seniority at a very public press conference.
Not only would this be good policy, but good politics for the Democrats. Nobody can accuse them of banishing him because of purity tests. Remember he isn't actually a Democrat anyway AND he campaigned heavily for the Republican candidate for President last year. I was outraged from the get go that he was allowed to keep his chairmanships after all that and had no problem saying so. But at the time some good folks on the left kept telling me that it was all some great chess move by President Obama that would pay off in the long run.
Yeah, score one for me.
And I can promise you this much, liberals and progressives will not support a health care reform bill without a robust public option BUT kicking Lieberman's ass to the curb is very likely to fire up the base. Its time to drop the dead weight that is fucking up all our legislation. And overtly it can be a warning to the other jack asses in the me first caucus like Ben Nelson. Being a Democrat doesn't mean somebody has to agree with every single piece of legislation, but they for damn sure better not be standing in the way of up and down votes on legislation that has been on the Democratic platform for decades.
So Harry Reid, Rahm Emanuel, and the rest of you jackasses getting ready to sell the farm on health care reform for one Republican vote, just know that axing LIEberman, publicly and in a humiliating fashion just might soften the blow. Speaking strictly for myself of course.
Deal with it.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
TAMPA - An increasingly fractious challenge to the Republican Party from its own conservative base could relegate the party to indefinite minority status, some Republicans fear.
It's showing up in the form of conservative primary challengers against candidates blessed by the party establishment - a strange phenomenon in a party known for tightly controlled, wait-your-turn politics.
Some Republicans fear the divisive primaries could leave GOP voters divided and dispirited, or push to the party so far right it alienates mainstream voters.
"If you tried to devise a strategy for destroying the Republican Party in Florida, you couldn't do much better than this," said retired University of South Florida political scientist Darryl Paulson, a Republican and a former Heritage Foundation fellow.
"The kind of narrow appeal they're offering would almost guarantee Republicans would become the minority party in Florida," Paulson said.
Which drew this response about percieved or real inaccuracies in the piece from Tim Fernholz entitled "The Errors Of Matt Taibbi"
Which then, of course, drew this response from Matt Taibbi entiteled "On Obama's Sellout"
Now I encourage you to read all 3 pieces in their entirety and come to your own conclusions and decide for yourself who you think is more right or more wrong. But I will say this, while I like both Taibbi and Fernholz generally, it does seem like Taibbi had an agenda with his article in the Rolling Stone, especially after reading his response to Fernholz. Basically in his response he makes it seem as if they both have the same facts but he interpreted them differently from Fernholz. That is all fine and good but did he express any of that balance in his piece? Balance that he himself in his response admits is basically valid even though he doesn't agree?
I didn't see any.
Basically while Fernholz points out that many of the things Taibbi takes issue with President Obama over happened during President Bush's tenure, Taibbi still feels without any explanation that Obama should be held responsible for it because of the advisors that were chosen for his economic team. Again, its ok for him to have that opinion, but that's just what it is, an opinion. His article for me was ok as an op-ed but definitely not ok as a piece or actual reporting.
And here is my last major point in all of this. Fernholz takes Taibbi to task for flogging yet again the $23 Trillion dollar worst case scenario number for the bailout. Here is the graph where it appears in Rolling Stone:
But whatever jobs the stimulus has created or preserved so far — 640,329, according to an absurdly precise and already debunked calculation by the White House — the aid that Obama has provided to real people has been dwarfed in size and scope by the taxpayer money that has been handed over to America's financial giants. "They spent $75 billion on mortgage relief, but come on — look at how much they gave Wall Street," says a leading Democratic strategist. Neil Barofsky, the inspector general charged with overseeing TARP, estimates that the total cost of the Wall Street bailouts could eventually reach $23.7 trillion. And while the government continues to dole out big money to big banks, Obama and his team of Rubinites have done almost nothing to reform the warped financial system responsible for imploding the global economy in the first place.
Here is how Fernholz addressed it:
"Neil Barofsky, the inspector general charged with overseeing TARP, estimates that the total cost of the Wall Street bailouts could eventually reach $23.7 trillion." It could, if every single loan guaranteed by the Federal government failed at once and all of the assets bought with those loans were destroyed -- and many of those loans are to homeowners, including low-income homeowners, through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or to small businesses. Some of that money went to Chrysler and GM in what was primarily a job saving move. TARP's actual outlays are only $518 billion (still nothing to sneeze at), including foreclosure relief for homeowners. More money has been actually allocated so far on fiscal stimulus, including funds to reinforce the social safety net, than on the bank bailouts.
Here is Taibbi's response to Ferholz:
First of all, Barofsky did use that number, so let’s get that out of the way — there’s no factual issue with the passage I wrote. The Prospect writer wants to take issue with Barofsky’s number and imply that the use of it is misleading. Obviously Barofsky’s number is a worst-case scenario. But let’s cut the bullshit about the bailouts being intended to help ordinary homeowners and save auto workers. We could have paid off every subprime mortgage in America for about $1.4 trillion and instead shelled out at least ten times that to Wall Street, primarily to pay off derivative bets made by bankers on those assets.
The writer notes that the total TARP outlay was only $518 billion, and implies that this is the entire outlay for the bailouts when in fact the TARP is just one small slice of the bailout package — most of the bailout monies went out through little-known Fed programs like the TALF, the TLGP, the TIP, the PPI, and the Maiden Lanes. The number my friend Nomi Prins is using now for the bailouts is about $14 trillion in total outlays, and just as Barofsky pointed out, that number could rise. But to imply that the bailout outlay is not only comparable to the $700 billion stimulus but smaller than it is totally disingenuous.
The bailouts have been a massive boon to Wall Street, not so much to the rest of us (again, see Nomi’s report on that). Most of the bailouts came in the form of very cheap money lent out to the same banks that caused the crisis, who then took that money and lent it out at market rates, pocketing the difference.
That’s where all these billions in bonuses for the major banks are coming from this year; it’s almost impossible to not make mountains of money when you’re borrowing your money from the government basically for free. Moreover we issued government guarantees for all the least responsible banks in the country — so while you and I have to keep our same old shitty credit scores, all the people who leveraged themselves to the hilt and bet the farm on subprime mortgages that we ended up bailing out now get squeaky clean, brand-new AAA credit ratings to borrow from. The cost of credit for them plummeted thanks to these guarantees, while we’re paying the same old rates to borrow our money.
This, again, is perfectly in line with the basic premise of the article. Geithner and Ben Bernanke continued a bailout policy that rewarded the very people who were most responsible for the crisis. The rest of the population did not see those same benefits. We can argue about the motives behind Obama’s bailout decision, but the numbers are not really a factual issue.
Now I pasted the whole response to be as fair as possible to Taibbi but its really his response at the beginning that is the tell.
First of all, Barofsky did use that number, so let’s get that out of the way — there’s no factual issue with the passage I wrote. The Prospect writer wants to take issue with Barofsky’s number and imply that the use of it is misleading. Obviously Barofsky’s number is a worst-case scenario. But let’s cut the bullshit about the bailouts being intended to help ordinary homeowners and save auto workers.
Let's cut the bullshit indeed. First of all, I don't know how anybody reads Taibbi's article and gets that its "obviously...a worst case scenario". In point of fact anybody reading the article probably thinks its highly likely or at least reasonable to assume that the number WILL reach $23 Trillion. Time and time again Taibbi has flogged this number as a kind of gotcha moment in his articles and when he has had TV interviews. At no point have I personally seen or heard or heard of him caveating it as a worst case scenario. And when confronted on it by Fernholz his reaction is not to admit he should have caveated it this time, but to say it was "obvious".
Because I can guarantee you that there are folks on both side of the political spectrum who quote that $23 Trillion dollar figure as if it were gospel. It definitely doesn't seem so "obvious" to them. And again I have to point out that the article isn't "Bush and Obama's Big Sellout", its "Obama's Big Sellout" as if he were President when TARP was signed into law anyway.
And just look at the rest of Taibbi's response which is constructed of all manner of strawmen. Fernholz isn't holding the bailouts out as to being meant to help "ordinary homeowners" or "save autoworkers". In point of fact TARP WASN'T about helping anybody but Wall Street from its inception and when you REALLY sit down to think about it, the fact that President Obama and his team broadened the scope of TARP to help homeowners and help the auto industry doesn't that kinda, you know, kick Taibbi's point on the matter squarely in the junk?
Now I know there are some folks that believe President Obama should never be criticized, and there are others who think he should always be criticized and anybody who criticizes the people who level that criticism of him from the left are "apologists". I think if you go through my posts in this blog its clear that I fall into neither category. When Obama is fucking up I say so. When people on the left are full of shit in their criticism of him, I say that too. It is what it is.
But I have to say that for me, in this particular situation, Fernholz carries more weight. Matt Taibbi set out to write an article bashing President Obama essentially as guilty by association because of the economic advisors he chose and where he chose to put them. Again that's fine and dandy by me. But the problem for me comes in when he tried to mask it as actual reporting on President Obama's record since being, you know, President. When those facts are lined up against his opinion then his article becomes what it should have been, an op-ed.
But do the people reading the article realize that?
Somehow I highly doubt it because just like that $23 Trillion number, I just don't think its that "obvious".
Next step of course is for it to get eviscerated in the Senate as Harry Reid "negotiates" with the bought and paid for Democrats there....
Friday, December 11, 2009
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Beck - Not So Mellow Gold|
Funny thing is, they have convinced themselves that he is some kind of truth sayer so now I would imagine none of them will even believe the truth right in front of them. To do so would be to admit they would duped by a common sharlatan and we know the problems wingnuts have with admitting their own faults.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
"The president said he would look at some of our proposals,'' Representative Eric Cantor, the House Republican whip, told reporters after the session. But, he added, "there is a stark contrast between what the president is proposing and our no-cost jobs plan.''
And what exactly is their "no-cost jobs plan"?
But here is the thing, tax cuts actually, you know, cost money. Any cuts in revenue will have a negative effect on our deficit. Now sometimes that is necessary, like now, when you have an economy that is faltering. But make no mistake about it, when the CBO scores any tax cuts that are proposed and or are eventually implemented, it will affect our bottom line and add to our deficit. That the GOP is still classifying tax cuts as "no-cost" tells you everything you need to know about their mindset. Not only did they learn nothing about how the economy over the previous 8 years of big tax cuts to the wealthy, they seem to know absolutely nothing about what adds to the deficit.
Now again, in this case some targeted tax cuts will probably be beneficial in the short term to get our economy back on track. But to try to say that they will be free is just another sign of how dumb the GOP's leading figures really are. It ain't rocket science. Hell even a high school economics student would recognize that tax cuts cost money.
But this is your Republican Party these days, and that's why there is no reason to really take them seriously.
It is what it is.