Friday, December 31, 2010

Another snow storm, another round of sarcastic wise cracks from the right, poking fun at those who would dare suggest that the planet is heating up. Why, we have a foot of snow on the ground in many parts of the country, how could it possibly be that Earth is warming? Those silly scientists, all they need to do is look around and read the newspapers.

Does it get any dumber? Many countries experience flash floods -- but then still continue to have droughts. Short-term events versus long-term trends. It's all just embarassing at this point and shame on anyone who falls for this load of crap. As I've written several times before on this blog, and just last month, global warming and climate change are very complex, or at least more complex than the dim-bulb crowd will lead you to believe.

As Dr. Peter Gleick states:
Record snowfall is not an indicator of a lack of global warming, as has been pointed out in the scientific literature and many, many rounds of Congressional testimony. It merely means that there was a storm and temperatures were close to or below freezing. Indeed global warming can contribute to greater snowfalls by providing extra moisture. Many scientists testifying before the Senate and House of Representatives have explained the difference between a steadily warming planet and occasional extreme cold events in particular spots. But we can expect to see more examples of this kind of B.S. when it gets cold and snowy somewhere, sometime, this winter.
And from conservative David Frum's web site, a quote from Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC):
People who make a lot of money on talk radio and talk TV say a lot of things. They slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night, and they’re experts on climate change. They substitute their judgment for people who have Ph.D.s and work tirelessly [on climate change].
Maybe in 2011 we'll see more Republicans convert to the side of reason and science, before it's too late.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

For those not already subscribers, Best of the Left is a terrific podcast. Strongly recommended.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

As if there was any doubt:
We found that those who watch Fox nearly every day, compared to those who never or only watch it a little, are more likely to believe some pieces of has been statistically proven that you will be more misinformed if you watch Fox (News) than other networks.
My favorite discovery:
The effect was also not simply a function of partisan bias, as people who voted Democratic and watched Fox News were also more likely to have such misinformation than those who did not watch it.
Yes, even if you voted Dem you were just as likely to be adversely affected by the power of Fox News. It's like an evil, near-invincible force, just waiting to suck in its next helpless victim. Ever see the movie Videodrome?
And the "Lie of the Year" goes to.... Yes, you guessed it, the GOP fabrication that health care reform was "a government takeover of health care."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Another item I've been meaning to write about for some time now: the Michael Moore / Wendell Potter exchange on Keith Olbermann's show. It's worth watching both Part 1 and Part 2.

It's disturbing to hear Mr. Potter admit to what was common practice by these insurance companies, as if there exists an understood, step-wise protocol on how to discredit someone or something. You try X and if that doesn't work you move to Y, and if that doesn't work you.... Really scary.

A particularly unsettling admission by Wendell is when he says, "But I think it meant that we would do what we had to do to create ads and op-eds that we would get conservative pundits to place in newspapers with the whole objective of, as they call it, reframing the debate, to try to move the attention from them to you as a filmmaker." [My emphasis]

Is Wendell inferring that these companies can "create" propaganda per se, or a fabricated line of attack, and then simply find one of many conservative "pundits" to write it up and get it published in a major newspaper? Really? As if insurance companies have a Rolodex filled with right-wing writers for hire, who are just waiting for that call telling them what to write, with the chosen writer likely sending the finished copy back to the company for final edits. In fact, Potter seems to imply that the insurance companies would actually write the op-ed and then get a conservative writer to attach his/her name and get it published.

I don't doubt it happens, but nonetheless it was revolting to hear.
I am half way through Juliet Schor's Plenitude and it's terrific. Very interesting, crammed with eye-opening facts and lesser-known realities, and yet not written in a preachy, finger-wagging tone. A very important book for our times.
I thought Tea-Party fave Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) was to be an agent of change in Washington DC, to work hard at putting an end to the business-as-usual shenanigans, where special interest money corrupts governing and unduly influences choices?

Yawn, yeah right.

But unlike Brown, I'm sure the rest of the Tea-Bag crew that won this past November will follow-through on their campaign rhetoric and they'll fight the power, refuse to accept special interest money, really "go rogue" and defy what has been the norm in DC....

Yawn, yeah right.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Judge Who Nixed Health Care Owns Stake in GOP Firm"

Does this shock or surprise anyone?
I'm late re this but still wanted to comment on Obama's press conference following his tax deal. Not long after I wrote, "And is he once again going to command Gibbs et al to lash out against us, the left, as if we were spoiled children who know not what we speak of or believe in?" did it come true, only it wasn't Gibbs doing the lashing but rather Obama himself.

Btw, is it me or is Obama's tone more indignant and hostile when he's criticizing the left than when he's doing the same versus Republicans and the right? Sort of akin to the parents who are meaner to their own kids than to strangers.

In the press conference, Obama attempted to equate the public option and healthcare reform with extending all tax cuts, including those for the wealthy, giving the enemy-of-the-perfect argument a try. Sorry, I don't find the two comparable, making it all seem a bit strained to say the least.

For one, I don't seem to recall Obama being so clearly and strongly in favor of the public option as he was against tax cuts for the wealthy. Secondly, Obama and the Democrats had much more power during the HC reform, to enforce their will, as opposed to coming off a brutal election leaving a lame duck Congress. Thirdly, the Tea Party furor and influence was in its infancy during HC reform, as opposed to now. Finally, most liberals did in fact support the eventual HC reform, even despite it not having a public option, so I think Obama is guilty of amplifying the few to make his point.

So I would argue his tax cut cave is quite different, and given this latest scolding, makes him appear that much weaker.

Let me also say that I fully understand his argument about being held hostage, that if he didn't do this the GOP would've voted against extending unemployment benefits, so Obama was acting as the bigger person and "caving" for the sake of the unemployed. I get that, BUT could we at least hear him be just as stinging and harsh in his comments about this craven maneuver by the Republicans as he was when commenting on the liberals and healthcare reform -- is that too much to ask? As opposed to him graciously and overly-respectfully describing it as the most important issue Republicans feel they must fight for -- no bite, no sting, no condemnation, no harsh tone.

And what makes him think Republicans won't repeatedly use this "hostage taking" tactic over and over again? Why wouldn't they? It worked for them beautifully this time, with hardly a fight and no mean words or mud-slinging. No wonder McConnell and others were praising Obama for acting so presidential. That in itself spoke volumes about how Obama made a mistake.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Obama caving on the tax cuts is just another unfortunate sign of how weak this president has become. Yes, I know he's attempted to offer up a seemingly rational excuse as to why he "had" to go along with this deal. Yada, yada, yada.

Are we not beyond sick and tired of the carefully-worded excuses for each time Obama gives in to the strident, unyielding Republicans? And is he once again going to command Gibbs et al to lash out against us, the left, as if we were spoiled children who know not what we speak of or believe in?

It's really just sad to see someone who was to be a strong advocate of change devolve so quickly into a willing vessel for the status quo. I always knew Obama was not the far-left, ultra-liberal "socialist" the right-wing machine made him out to be, realizing it was in their interest to portray him as a "pinko commie" just as they did with Bill Clinton. Nothing shocking there. However, I still maintained hope that he wouldn't lurch too far to the center and that there was the chance he would actually be a commanding force who exhibited continuous and consistent strength and fortitude. I'm sorry, many of us expected X and instead got Y, and it's not a matter of our expectations being out of whack or too unrealistic, but rather it's more a matter of feeling as if one was sold a bill of goods.

Look, I'm not one who doesn't appreciate the many good things that Obama has done during his two years in office. I've defended him to the point of growing weary (I know I'm not alone on this front), to the point where I feel I've defended him better than he has defended himself! I know he's light years better than most of the alternatives out there.... Blah, blah, blah. But Obama was not elected into office because he was less bad than McCain/Palin -- right?! His victory was one of excitement and promise, not begrudging resignation to what might have been otherwise.

With this recent cave, pact, covenant -- whatever you want to call it -- it just reminds me of the scene in The Godfather, when Brando slaps Johnny Fontane exclaiming, "You can act like a man!" As if Obama has become this pathetic, weak figure, groveling for understanding and support. STOP IT ALREADY, GROW A SPINE AND ACT LIKE A MAN!
Dr. Laura, another crazy right-wing hypocrite.

It wasn't long ago that she refused to belong to a network of stations that would include someone as repulsive and vile as Howard Stern (this was back when Howard was with Viacom).

But apparently with her recent agreement to join satellite radio Sirius XM, the network that Howard Stern belongs to and has built into a formidable operation, it seems now she's OK with being in the same family as Howard.

The hypocrisy just never ends. And as usual, the family-values BS is just crap tossed at the hapless audience, who gladly swallow it up, but meanwhile the Dr. Lauras tossing it could care less when it comes down to it.... Howard, Shmoward, just pay me....

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

There he goes again, being all far-left, socialist and ultra-liberal.... What a joke, and has always been one.
Julian Assange is now not going to be able to follow anyone, at least not for some time anyway. But I was intrigued with what Richard Cohen wrote:
Say what you want about WikiLeaks - and I don't much like what it has done - it nevertheless would be useful for its founder, Julian Assange, to follow George W. Bush as he lopes around the country, promoting his new book, "Decision Points." When, for instance, Bush attempts to justify the Iraq war by saying the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, Assange could reach into his bag of leaked U.S. government cables and cite Saudi King Abdullah's private observation that the war had given Iraq to Iran as a "gift on a golden platter."

Iraq now has a Shiite-dominated government and many senior officials who are ominously friendly with Iran. It was always American policy to use Saddam's Iraq to counterbalance Iran since it was really Iran that posed a danger to the region. That danger is now amply documented in the new WikiLeaks documents - including the revelation that North Korea has sold Iran missiles capable of reaching, say, Tel Aviv or, a minute or so later, Cairo.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Morning Coffee Spit

I'm going to try and put up here each morning an item that when read or viewed will cause you to spit up your coffee. It will be that ridiculous or idiotic.

OK, here we go for this morning, a video clip. A classic example of offering all opinions and seemingly passing them off as facts.

You have Frick & Frack (Beck and O'Reilly), trying to link Soros with WikiLeaks, with no hard proof offered, no facts, just Beck saying "I think..." and "We've talked about..." Best of all, you have O'Reilly literally say to Beck, "... I'm not going to ask you to prove it..."

No, we wouldn't want that, right?? HILARIOUS.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Senate passes overhaul of food safety regulations:
The biggest U.S. food-safety overhaul in more than 70 years won Senate passage as lawmakers sought to curb food-borne illnesses that cost the nation an estimated $152 billion a year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would gain more power to police food companies under the bill that passed today in a 73-25 vote. The measure, backed by the food industry, public- health groups and consumer advocates, adds inspections and lets the FDA force recalls, rather than relying on companies to voluntarily remove contaminated foods from store shelves.
Emphasis mine. I'm still trying to find out the names of the 25 senators who voted against this bill but I know one of them is Sen. Coburn (R-OK), so it's fairly safe to assume the other 24 are likely Republicans.

Let me understand, the food industry (i.e. big business) backed this bill, AND food illness costs this country over $150 billion per year, and yet still many Republicans felt the need to vote against this bill....? Really? And Tea-baggers wish to "take back this country" and hand it back to these partisan idiots?

UPDATE: Yup, all 25 were Republicans -- including John McCain. Maverick my arse.
It didn't take long for preppie-rock gods Vampire Weekend to sell out to commercial interests. But then again, that's assuming they had any artistic integrity to begin with. I tend to doubt it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tom DeLay found guilty? But I thought he said repeatedly that he was innocent...? I guess he meant of things other than this....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Go ahead, click here and try to balance the budget without touching Medicare, Social Security or military spending, and without raising any taxes -- GOOD LUCK!
Is Glenn Beck sending coded messages? Sounds completely plausible to me.
Another study, another unsurprising verdict:
A third of Americans say they have gone without medical care or skipped filling a prescription because of cost, compared to 5 percent in the Netherlands, according to study released on Thursday.

The study is the latest in a series by the non-profit Commonwealth Fund showing that while Americans pay far more per capita for healthcare, they are unhappier with the results and less healthy than people in other rich countries.

The study published in the journal Health Affairs also showed that 20 percent of U.S. adults had major problems paying medical bills, compared with 2 percent in Britain and 9 percent in France, the next costliest country.

"U.S. adults were the most likely to incur high medical expenses, even when insured, and to spend time on insurance paperwork and disputes or to have payments denied," the report reads.
Yes, we better make repealing watered-down healthcare reform priority #1!

Friday, November 19, 2010

True dat, from The Economist:
As to hubris, the Republican freshmen bound for Congress next January are in danger of reading into the election a message of their own creation. Many see the mid-terms as a popular rejection of the president’s “extreme” policies. This is doubtful. Voters were more likely registering a protest at the economy than repudiating an ideology. Besides, to the disgust of his own progressive base, Mr Obama enacted no extreme policies. Obamacare is a good deal less radical than the plan Richard Nixon proposed in 1974 or Bill Clinton 20 years later. In fact it closely resembles the bill the Republicans put up as an alternative to Mr Clinton’s, and its central idea—the individual mandate—was introduced in Massachusetts by none other than Mitt Romney, who hopes to become the Republicans’ presidential nominee in 2012.
Summarizes the state of things quite nicely.
The always-insightful Frank Rich:
The G.O.P.’s arguments for extending the Bush tax cuts to this crowd, usually wrapped in laughably hypocritical whining about “class warfare,” are easily batted down. The most constant refrain is that small-business owners who file in this bracket would be hit so hard they could no longer hire new employees. But the Tax Policy Center found in 2008, when checking out similar campaign claims by “Joe the Plumber,” that only 2 percent of all Americans reporting small-business income, regardless of tax bracket, would see tax increases if Obama fulfilled his pledge to let the Bush tax cuts lapse for the top earners. The economist Dean Baker calculated that the yearly tax increase at the lower end of that bracket, for those with earnings between $200,000 and $500,000, would amount to $700 — which “isn’t enough to hire anyone.”

Those in the higher reaches aren’t investing in creating new jobs even now, when the full Bush tax cuts remain in effect, so why would extending them change that equation? American companies seem intent on sitting on trillions in cash until the economy reboots. Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office ranks the extension of any Bush tax cuts, let alone those to the wealthiest Americans, as the least effective of 11 possible policy options for increasing employment.
Love that small business nonsense the GOP has stooped to offering as reason to extend tax cuts. Completely ludicrous.

But then while on the subject of what's ludicrous and nonsensical, Kevin Drum points out a sad fact, one that has been the case for decades:
This comes from the LA Times, but I think it could be the lead story in pretty much any newspaper in the country:
Californians object to increasing taxes in order to pare the state's massive budget deficit, and instead favor closing the breach through spending cuts. But they oppose cuts — and even prefer more spending — on programs that make up 85% of the state's general fund obligations, a new Los Angeles Times/USC Poll has found.

That paradox rests on Californians' firm belief that the state's deficit — estimated last week at nearly $25 billion over the next 18 months — can be squared through trimming waste and inefficiencies rather than cutting the programs they hold dear. Despite tens of billions that have been cut from the state budget in recent years, just a quarter of California voters believed that state services would have to be curtailed to close the deficit.
Well, there you have it. This is America in a nutshell.
Americans have always been all for cuts in "wasteful" spending -- just as long as those cuts do not affect any spending that benefits them. Nothing will ever get resolved with that kind of ass-backwards, delusional thinking, but you can count on politicians refusing to explain and force voters to recognize their flawed logic, fearing an angry backlash. Thus, we remain in this increasingly worsening state, seemingly paralyzed and sinking.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I could probably add another 20-30 items to the list, but not bad for starters.
I think we've known or suspected this for quite some time: "Rasmussen Polls Were Biased and Inaccurate"
Most global warming skeptics are ignorant about many things when it comes to that which they deny, this study not withstanding.

Whereas these folks seem to judge the veracity of global warming research based on daily weather patterns in their immediate location (!), the fact remains this subject involves highly complex and sensitive matters that go way beyond whether or not it happens to be inordinately cold in city/state/region "X" of the country. Ocean currents play a huge part in this complicated equation and as the study points out, it doesn't take much to skew the balance of seawater salinity (due to global warming) to significantly alter the direction of currents.

And we already know the ocean salt balance is changing. Weather patterns are already likely changing as a result.

But not to worry, it's all just cyclical, or due to sun spots, or something.... Let's get back to focusing on truly important things, like tax cuts for the wealthy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I wonder why the Tea Baggers never have a misspelled sign angrily protesting this (the fact that many bankers haven't been prosecuted). Instead, they choose to focus solely on getting rid of the African-American in the White House. Quite telling.
It's been quite a long time since my last post (!) -- did you miss me? Bet you thought I died, or better yet with the election of Obama that I was content to stop blogging now that our national nightmare (GW/Cheney) was over. Wrong on both counts.

Admittedly, with the Bush reign of incompetence no more, I did find fewer things to raise the blood pressure. However, by no means has the new guy in the White House been a bang-up success, and many of his supporters -- including myself -- will tell you about our great frustration with how he has let us down, repeatedly. His excessive willingness to proffer compromise with Republicans who only wish to see him out of office, his seemingly inability to grow a spine and fight for what he believes in ala FDR, his fear that he will be perceived as a -- brace yourself -- "liberal" despite the fact that right-wingers portray him to be much farther to left than he actually is, ultimately alienating the many who put him in office just two short years ago.... The list goes on and on.

Anyway, I'm back and I hope to return to my schedule of posting entries daily. As always, I'd love to receive emails from readers.

Monday, March 22, 2010

As always, Rachel is dead-on correct:
That guy right there, last guy there was Phil Gingrey. He was the one at the end, right after John Boehner — Phil Gingrey expressing his grave concern about how much this [health-care bill] costs.

To be clear, the CBO is projecting that this bill will cut the deficit by $138 billion over 10 years. You can see it right there. $138 billion, not added to the deficit, but subtracted from the deficit.

This is the same Phil Gingrey and the same John Boehner who voted for the Medicare Part D drug benefit in 2003. When the CBO scored that bill, at that time, the CBO said that bill would raise the deficit by $394 billion, and yet, Phil Gingrey and John Boehner now so piously concerned about how much things cost, happily voted for Medicare Part D anyway.

When Republicans passed the Bush tax cuts that same year, the CBO score of that one at that time said that legislation would raise the deficit by $349 billion. And Republicans, including Phil Gingrey, had no problem voting yes. When Republicans passed the first Bush tax cuts in 2001, the CBO score of that one at that time said it would raise the deficit by $1.3 trillion — trillion with a “T.” And Republicans, including John Boehner, went along for that ride, too.

So, let‘s just make sure we‘re here on the same page, OK? Phil Gingrey and John Boehner say yes to adding $400 billion to the deficit for Bush‘s Medicare thing, yes to adding $350 billion to the deficit for Bush‘s first tax cuts for rich people, yes to adding $1.3 trillion to the deficit for Bush‘s other tax cuts. Those three votes projected to add $2 trillion to the deficit. Votes yes on all of those.
Lack of consistency? Hypocritical? Nah, it's just liberal spin and mumbo-jumbo from that leftist, pinko Rachel.

Never mind that she cites non-partisan CBO numbers through out. To reiterate, Republicans didn't seem to have a problem with adding $2 trillion to the deficit when voting in favor of Bush-era legislation. However, they are more than willing to get hysterical and cry foul about costs now that they're in the minority -- even though the health-care bill is projected to cut the deficit by $1.3 trillion. So we're talking a total swing of $3.3 trillion, not chump change by any means.

Let's see if the mainstream media can convey to the public this fairly straight-forward contrast in absurdity.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The CBO says the health-care bill will reduce the deficit by $130 billion in the first 10 years, and cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion (with a "T") in the second decade.

In other words, Obama's health-care reform effort will eventually pay for Bush/Cheney's (illegal) war.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Michael Tomasky writes:
And remember, as I've said several times now: take the poll numbers on reform with a grain of salt. Republican opposition is like 95-5, which skews overall polls. The important thing is how it plays among independents. They're opposed now, but hardly by overwhelming margins. By changeable margins, if they can be persuaded to see the benefits.
It's my understanding that health care reform in the state of Massachusetts was at first not all that popular, but has since become very popular.

This is the GOP's and insurance companies biggest fear that they're not telling us: that this reform will eventually work, that it will eventually effect beneficial change for many, and that it will eventually become very popular. And when that happens, the Republicans will starkly, nakedly be seen on the wrong side of the issue, and if the Dems properly manage it (always a big "if"), it will spell doomsday for the GOP come November.

It's this very probable scenario that drives the GOP and insurance companies to try as hard as they can to block reform. Their livelihoods and positions of power depend on its failure -- and they're certainly not going to make the real reason for their stiff opposition widely known or plainly evident.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Anthony Weiner kicks some GOP butt. Always refreshing to see a Dem with a spine.
More encouraging signs:
Recent successes in killing or capturing top Taliban leaders have shaken the confidence of the militant organization and raised gnawing doubts in the minds of front-line fighters, the top allied leader in Afghanistan said Thursday.

"You see a weakening of the organization's confidence," U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal told USA TODAY at his headquarters in Kabul.
If this series of successes were occurring under Bush/Cheney, you'd be hearing about it via a two-ton megaphone. Instead, this enormously significant progress in the region is receiving woefully inadequate coverage -- certainly when compared to what we were accustomed to with the prior administration.
Recall the many Republicans who conveniently used the recent spate of cold weather and ample snow (to think, for this to happen in the winter!) to scoff at climate change. Once again, they have to eat their words.
"January, according to satellite (data), was the hottest January we've ever seen.... Last November was the hottest November we've ever seen, November-January as a whole is the hottest November-January the world has seen...."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dick Cheney -- survivor of five, yes, five heart attacks -- the poster child for what good health care coverage can do for you.
"He's had high-quality medical care and insurance, probably through most of his life," said Dr. Albert Wu at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. "That's probably Cheney's largest advantage."
"Surviving five heart attacks is certainly impressive, but the man himself is not a miracle," Wu said. "He's just been lucky enough to have good, consistent care."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rachel Maddow has not been on TV for that long (about 18 months) and yet in that time she's become one of the hardest-hitting, high-impact truth tellers on the tube. She doesn't hesitate to call out hypocrisy, blatant wrong-doing and when politicians simply lie. She deserves some kind of broadcasting award, no one else is doing what she's been doing for many months now.

Here's a good example, a complete take down of GOP hypocrisy, showing Republican wind-bags criticizing the stimulus bill, voting against it, but then showing up to have their picture taken when the big dollars are being dolled out. Classic stuff.

And by the way, where were these Republicans when GW was running up the deficit to the tune of $1+ trillion? I don't recall their red-faced outrage then....
It didn't take long after putting up my blog post Monday for reports to come in that several high-ranking Taliban leaders had been captured. The arrest of Mullah Baradar, Taliban's top military commander, is being heralded as the most significant capture since 9/11. It appears with Obama in the WH that Pakistan has started to cooperate and work with our people in the region. For years Bush/Cheney could not get this to happen.

What say you now Mr. Thiessen?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dana Milbank, a pompous, phone-it-in, more-inner-beltway-than-Broder "journalist" (hack)?? Nah, no way.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Just when you think their level of hypocrisy and hopped-up outrage couldn't be topped, they continue to surprise....

The latest: President Obama is killing too many terrorists. Yes, he's been too successful at taking out those which we presumably want taken out.

As usual, where to start... Mind you, this piece was not written by some big-gun neocon foreign policy expert, or a renowned professor on foreign affairs, or even a high-ranking retired military officer, but rather it's the work of Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for Bush II. My knees shiver given the level of assumed knowledge and authority on the subject. (Gads, it's like having the hired "certified" resume writer do the actual job as opposed to the candidate vying for it).

But just imagine if a piece like this appeared during Bush/Cheney's reign, accusing them of killing too many terrorists. Oh, the outcry that would've occurred from the screeching right, the fulminating condemnation riddled with labels like "unpatriotic," "enemy sympathizer" and "treason" to name a few. Yet here we are, this tripe published without a peep from the Country First crowd. Just crickets.

Not to mention the idiocy regarding the logic in the article. For one, at the start of this "War on Terror," such senior al Qaeda operatives were likely less submerged and more "available" for capture, but now years later it's apparent they've adapted and are more certain to be deeply hidden in the mountain ranges of Afghanistan or across the border in Pakistan, making it much more difficult for our forces to actually capture them alive. Thus, the new tactic using drones, i.e. they adapt, we adapt. Duh.

In addition, Thiessen lists several captured terrorists and then proceeds to mention several thwarted attacks on the U.S., as if they're linked. Can anyone provide proof that by torturing any of these detainees that it produced information which directly halted a future attack? Yes, we've seen and heard these things uttered, often, but never do you see anything of real substance backing it up. Notta.

Much of the piece is simply a plea to capture more to torture more -- never mind the overwhelming weight of the evidence has argued quite the contrary, that such illegal methods are counter-productive (uh, not to mention, as I mentioned, illegal!).

In the end, it's just another in a series of baseless attacks against the guy in office who beat their guy in Nov08. If Obama were perceived to be not doing enough regarding hunting down terrorists, you'd certainly read/hear about it, but given the ample evidence showing otherwise they decide to attack from another angle ("How can we criticize Obama for being too successful at hunting down terrorists?"). As much as Obama has stepped up efforts to fight terrorism since becoming president, what the opposition party has done in that time is just step up attacks against our presiding president.

Country first? Yeah, right.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Must listen: Beach House, Teen Dream. An astounding, stupendous collection of songs. Mesmerizing, incredibly melodic, and yet not cloying, rewarding again and again with each listen. Wow.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

More examples of the Democrats playing the role of political nitwits: here, here, and here.

In this age of craven, hardball politics, it's amazing they ever win any elections.
From Balloon Juice, a reader asks the question, "Why can’t we have a nationally televised debate about HCR and stimulus?" John Cole responds:
First off, Democrats already tried to do this over the summer- they were called town hall meetings, and basically they were freeped by a coalition of corporate backed teabaggers, spooked blue hairs who wanted to keep government out of their medicare, shameless Republicans interested in political advantage, and, in no small part, the mainstream media who simply regurgitated all of their bullshit.

I have seen nothing that would suggest that a national town hall meeting would lead to anything different. As entertaining as it was watch Obama make the Republicans look like the idiots that they are at their retreat last week, what really changed? They still believe all their talking points, as do their teabagging base, because this isn’t about facts or logic or reason, this shit is religion to these folks. And it wasn’t more than a few hours that our Politico inspired media was offering “equal time” for the Republicans to edit their remarks and inject more bullshit into the debate. Jeb Hensarling was given multiple opportunities for a do-over immediately after being depantsed, and guess what the media did?

That’s right- they just wrote down what he said and didn’t bother to fact check it or point out he is full of shit. And so it goes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Will Republicans heartily back bank reform? I doubt it, very much. Between the GOP being in the back pocket of the financial lobby and odds favoring their continued insistence to just be a hemorrhoid to Obama, they're likely hard had work right now to come up with ways to frame Obama's proposal as unpatriotic or an unjust curtailment of free market activity, which will ultimately lead to economic calamity.

Make no mistake, they will indeed come up with something to sink this. They effectively did it with HCR, throwing the kitchen sink at it (death panels, kill grandma, will balloon deficit, doctor rationing, government takeover and overreach, first step to socialized medicine). Just wait, the fear-mongering will start up again, and predictably too many will allow it to freak them out and adversely affect their ability to make rational decisions.

It's sad but it works, so the GOP will continue to got there.

A bit too cynical perhaps, hope I'm wrong. But precedent dictates otherwise....
Unfortunately, very true:
This really is a defining moment for both Obama and the Democratic Party more broadly. So far both have failed miserably: the party is in a state of meltdown, surrendering completely to a resurgent Republican narrative, refusing to fight for anything it believes in, and caving in to a truly toxic combination of electoral fear and narrow interest group parochialism. For his part, Obama seems either unable or unwilling to rally his troops. I'm not sure which. But the American public really needs to hear some conviction from him, and so far they haven't. He's remained aloof from the healthcare upheaval, pivoted on financial regulation in a way that looks driven more by politics than by core beliefs, and has just generally sounded more chastened than reinvigorated.

This really needs to turn around fast. Another week like this — hell, another day or two like this — and we might as well start measuring the Oval Office drapes for the upcoming Cheney/Palin administration. It's time for everyone to take a deep breath and grow a pair.
My fear is it may actually be too late. The level and depth of disgust by frustrated Obama supporters and his diehard foes collectively may be too chiseled in stone at this point to overcome. It really is amazing to witness how far Obama has slid so quickly. Yes, we've seen the same in other presidents before him, but wasn't Obama going to be different...?
Well said by the terrific Dick Polman:
And yet...the Democrats really have no alternative but to enact something. They're too far in to back out.

If they now abandon health reform, after seven fitful decades, they will lose politically at both ends of the spectrum. Since they're already on record, in both chambers, as having voted Yes on health reform, a retreat at this point would give the Republicans a two-fer message: "Democrats engineered a socialist takeover of the health care system - until they flip-flopped! They were for a takeover until they were against it!" And the Democratic base would simply stay home on the '10 election day for its own reasons - having become convinced that it doesn't pay to elect large Democratic majorities, since those majorities clearly lack the cajones to get anything done.

The only viable alternative for Democrats is to persevere and stick to their policy convictions (thus keeping faith with their base), and remind themselves that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush stuck to theirs even when public opinion was against them (Bush, especially, persevered on his ambitious Medicare drug prescription bill in December 2003 even though only 32 percent of the general public, and only 26 percent of seniors, supported it). It would better for Democrats to have something affirmative to show for their efforts, to campaign this year as the party that (in the face of Republican opposition) barred insurance companies from dropping sick people, that barred insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and that extended health coverage to millions who lacked it before. This political option might not work either, but it's surely more attractive than the fetal position.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Great blog entry by Steve Benen. Another in a long series of examples of why/how Karl Rove has zero credibility and just spews forth fictional nonsense distorted to fit his alternative reality.
The Washington Post recently invited various politicos to offer the Democratic Party advice for 2010. The paper ran a 211-word missive from Karl Rove, which blamed Democrats for creating the "mess" his former boss left for Dems to clean up. In particular, Rove blasted Democrats for "running up" the debt.

Today, David Axelrod, after noting the irony of the Post inviting Rove to give Democrats suggestions, sets the record straight in the same paper.
The day the Bush administration took over from President Bill Clinton in 2001, America enjoyed a $236 billion budget surplus -- with a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. When the Bush administration left office, it handed President Obama a $1.3 trillion deficit -- and projected shortfalls of $8 trillion for the next decade. During eight years in office, the Bush administration passed two major tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest Americans, enacted a costly Medicare prescription-drug benefit and waged two wars, without paying for any of it.

To put the breathtaking scope of this irresponsibility in perspective, the Bush administration's swing from surpluses to deficits added more debt in its eight years than all the previous administrations in the history of our republic combined. And its spending spree is the unwelcome gift that keeps on giving: Going forward, these unpaid-for policies will continue to add trillions to our deficit.

This fiscal irresponsibility -- and a laissez-faire attitude toward the excesses of the financial industry -- helped create the conditions for the deepest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression.
Well, sure, if you want to bring reality into the debate.

Rumor has it the WaPo has already agreed to publish Rove's response to Axelrod's response to Rove's initial claim.
Here's a Karl back-peddle that's just hilarious. Of course, most of the people that watch and listen to The Turd likely have no clue regarding his hypocrisy, contradictions, lies, etc. It's what he banks on -- ignorance.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Glenn Beck referred to the current president as "a racist" and apparently Scott Brown, Republican running for Ted Kennedy's senate seat in MA, suggests Obama is a bastard child.

As Paul Krugman writes, "So will this actually make political waves? If Brown were a Democrat, it would instantly be a huge scandal. The outrage machine would be working overtime. And the news media would, of course, pick it up."

However, Brown is not a Democrat but rather a Republican, so needless to say his remarks are the equivalent of a tree falling in the woods with no one there to hear it.

As Steve Benen points out with the unexpected continuing popularity of Sen. John Ensign in his home state, "PPP's communications director joked, 'Cheating on your wife is a deal breaker for Republican voters -- but only if you're a Democrat.'...The moral of the story: adultery is fine, and hypocrisy is fine, just so long as you have an 'R' after your name."

Yes indeed, a completely different standard applies for those with a "D" next to their name versus an "R." I mean just imagine the outcry and scandal if a Democrat posed naked as Scott Brown did for Cosmopolitan magazine. Sadly, we've become so accustomed to this blatant double-standard that often times it doesn't register and we have to remind ourselves it still exists, now more than ever.

It goes without saying that in one of the bluest states in the U.S., for a Dem to be neck/neck close with clearly a Bushian, non-moderate Republican says loads about Coakley's campaign (read: inept). But she is a Dem and if she loses it will change everything in DC. Already, because she has slipped into a dead heat race, many senior Republicans in Washington are exploiting this full tilt, saying MA represents a nationwide referrendum against health care reform and perceived overreach by government.

To some extent, I believe MA residents have grown so accustomed to Democrats leading races and winning that they got complacent, allowing Brown to sneak up in polls. Fortunately, this race has received tons of media coverage of late and should wake up the Dem faithful, having them turn out in droves on Tuesday.

If not, we get what we deserve.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Re Steve Benen's blog entry, I have to think that Lieberman wasn't delusional and politically stupid enough to not realize that his actions during the health care debate would result in such widespread disapproval by CT voters. He had to see it coming and quite frankly I'm willing to guess he didn't care.

2012 is a long way off so he either felt that was enough time to make plenty of amends to voters and hope they forgot, or more likely he had decided not to run for reelection. This way Joe could do right by his many corporate backers (read insurance companies), supporting their every desire, and in a few years end up working for them in some capacity -- much like his wife.

Just a guess.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

There's much talk about the underwear bomber potentially having valuable info, and the sooner the better with regards to obtaining that info.

How about obtaining the info that McCain always bragged about...? You know, that he knew how to track down and capture (or kill) Osama bin Laden.

Funny, it's been over a year and no one has followed up with McCain concerning these statements and the valuable info he may know. But then there is the longshot chance that no one had ever taken him seriously and it was just another of many desperate campaign utterances, promising much but backed by nothing. Like "Country First" and "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

Friday, January 08, 2010

Just when you thought Perino's comment (gaffe) couldn't be topped, along comes Rudy.... No domestic attacks under Bush? And yet one under Obama? WTF?

Either Rudy and Dana are completely clueless (very likely) or they believe they can say anything, no matter the veracity, and their doddering followers will just accept it without question. Probably a bit of both.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

As is often the case, I spent New Years watching several Twilight Zone episodes (yearly marathon). While watching "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" episode, it occurred to me that much of this past decade could be distilled in this short study of paranoia and the human condition. Introduce some unknowns, then sit back and watch it happen. Watch "the monsters" take over.

In fact, the main theme of many a Twilight Zone episode is fear and the ugly effect(s) it has on us. Regular folk are shown in everyday lives, and then the fear begins to take hold, amplify and spread, and before you know it people become unglued and mayhem erupts.

I wonder what Rod Serling would've said about the fear-mongering perpetrated over the last several years. I believe he'd find it beyond shameful, but I don't think it would shock him in the least. If anything, he was trying to warn us, to not succomb to mindless fear, to resist acting irrationally driven by anxiety. But as much as we repeatedly watch TZ episodes again and again, year after year, it's as if we willfully overlook the larger, more meaningful underlying messages.

I don't know what's more frightening, the fact that many of us have given in to the scare tactics employed since 2002, or that we've neglected to heed the warnings conveyed by those before us (such as Serling and Orwell, to name two). In either case, ignorance is the common culprit.