The Republican Party has made the calculation that the only way they can get back in power is to prevent the Obama administration from accomplishing ANYTHING! This tactic shows that they really don’t give a shit about our country and are willing to sacrifice the American people to further their lust for power and money. And that is really what the GOP is all about, money. The most recent example of this is the Republican’s attempts to stop the passing of an extension of unemployment benefits. Every economist will tell you that these benefits have a direct impact on economic activity, when people have money to buy food and services, it helps to keep local businesses operating. It is disposable income that gets put right back into the economy. Greg Sargent has been telling us that Republican obstruction has been working and if you believe the polls, he is right. From Greg…
As you know, I’ve been arguing here that the GOP strategy of obstruction is paying off for Republicans — big time. The public is blaming Democrats, not Republicans, for the government dysfunction that has resulted from Republican obstructionist tactics, because Dems are in charge.
Now we have the clearest illustration of this phenomenon yet, courtesy of the internals of the new Washington Post poll.
Here’s the rub: The most visible example of GOP obstruction yet has been the blockade of an extension of unemployment benefits. The poll shows the public overwhelmingly supports this extension — and it also shows the public is deeply frustrated with the workings of Federal government. Yet despite these two facts, Republicans are now leading in the generic Congressional matchup.
Now I don’t put as much stock in polls as almost everyone else this far out from an election, I’ve been around too long and observed too many ups and downs in polls to get all excited about any given poll. I could give you dozens of examples of the media pronouncing a candidate dead and that candidate going on to win. Greg makes reference to one poll that has the Republicans leading in the generic Congressional matchup but Time’s recent poll showed the opposite. And really, generic polls are fucking worthless, they don’t tell us anything. People vote for real people, not generic people and I agree with Tip O’neill’s old line, all politics is local.
Digby at Hullabaloo pointed me to Greg Sargents post and gives his dead on analysis of the current political environment. Go Digby…
Similarly, the party in power is expected to do what’s necessary to pass its agenda. If it can’t, it is held responsible for the failure, not those who stopped them from doing it. This is particularly true in the present circumstance. The president blaming the “do nothing congress” only works when the congressional majority is of the opposition party. When it’s your own party, you just look like a weak leader and people think the underdog Republicans are simply “playing the game” better and so deserve to “win.”
And there is another dimension to this which especially applies to the Obama administration. Since he ran explicitly on the promise to end the bickering, change Washington and create a post-partisan consensus, people see the failure of those things to materialize as a measure of his failure to deliver on his promise. This president is more hampered than most in making the (legitimate) argument that the Party of No is to blame for the nation’s troubles. I didn’t subscribe to the “personal magic” theory of the presidency, so I had no illusions about Obama’s ability to keep this promise. But I think a fair number of people believed it and the rest think it’s the job description to beat the opposition with hardball politics. Failing at either makes him the loser, not the other side.
I think Digby’s analysis points to why the president’s approval numbers are where they are. Some of that disapproval is from liberals who want him to fight the Republicans more, take on those motherfuckers and beat them down. After 8 years of frustration during the Bush years, they want to see some blood, damn it. And of course, President Obama only brings out the big guns once in a while. I still remember the swooning on the left when the president went to the Republican caucus during the health care fight and beat them fuckers down. Keith and Rachel were swooning over him saying, where has he been, we need more of this. I know I want to see more of it, but unfortunately our president is trying too hard to end the bickering. We are coming up on an election and mark my words, the president has a lot of ammo that was handed to him by the moronic Republicans.
Democrats have finally passed that extension of unemployment benefits over the lock step opposition of the GOP, but what have the Republican’s set their sights on next? Help for small businesses. No shit, check out this from Steve Benen, the Political Animal that he is…
So, what’s next? A measure to help small businesses — which Republicans are also trying to kill.
Perhaps the last best hope of Democrats to pass legislation aimed at creating jobs before the November elections seemed to be crumbling in the Senate on Wednesday as Republicans signaled that they would block a bill to expand government lending programs and grant an array of tax breaks to small businesses. […]
[W]ith some Democrats viewing the small-business bill as critical to their political prospects in November, Senate Republicans were not about to let it through easily, and have insisted on a chance to offer amendments.
Yep, Republicans are fighting against a measure to help small businesses because it’s more important to undermine Democrats than it is to help the economy.
Indeed, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who isn’t exactly a liberal firebrand, noted what appears to be plainly true — that the GOP leadership wants to reject a measure to help the economy for purely political reasons. “I think Senator McConnell knows and believes this bill could actually create millions of jobs and doesn’t want to give the president and Democrats credit for doing what we do, which is standing up for the middle class,” Landrieu said.
It is infuriating that Republicans would purposely try to prevent jobs from being created for political reasons. They absolutely have no shame, no conscience. I can’t wait until President Obama and the democrats hammer those fuckers with this over the next few months. Bludgeon those bastards with it.
I’ve frequently heard economists and others wonder out loud where are all the jobs? Why aren’t businesses creating more jobs, record profits are being announced every day. I challenge you to go to Google and search the terms “record profits 2010” and see how many hits you get. Why aren’t these companies re-investing those earnings? I personally think that much of it is do to politics. Here are some facts from the Washington Post…
Nucor isn’t alone. The balance sheets of large U.S. corporations are for the most part in good shape. Many big companies have piles of cash on hand and credit markets have thawed so that they can raise new funds. Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 2, U.S. corporations overall raised $740.8 billion by issuing bonds, up from the $522.2 billion raised during the same period last year and almost as much as the $779.8 billion raised in the go-go year of 2007.
If you read the article, you will see that there are a lot of reasons why these companies may be holding back from investing, but I have a theory that at least some of it is political. I had this notion after reading this article about the US Chamber of Commerce by RJ Eskow at Crooks and Liars, it’s a must read…..go now and read…..here are a few pieces from it.
The United States Chamber of Commerce has released an “open letter” to the President, Congress, and the American people which contains its blueprint for our political future. It lays out the current Republican playbook in stark terms, and it reads like the battle plan for those alien spaceships from Independence Day: Drain the resources, take everything from the population, strip the land to a husk… and then presumably sail away in mile-long spaceships toward the next targeted planet.
What we’re seeing is the Politics of Plunder, revealed in all its nakedness. There will be another example of this corporate-driven mindset this week, possibly even today, when all but a handful of Republican Senators vote against a moderate set of curbs on Wall Street excesses. The Democratic Party may disappoint its supporters from time to time, but it seems that Republicans never do — once you accept the fact that its real “supporters” are the mega-businesses represented by the Chamber of Commerce. Some of the delegates who chanted “drill, baby, drill” at the GOP Convention are staring out their windows at oil-soaked beaches, while others have gone broke in an economy ruined by Wall Street gambling. That won’t stop the Politics of Plunder. (Come to think of it, “drill, baby, drill” would have been a perfect motto for those spaceships.)
To be clear, the Chamber of Commerce isn’t the political lobbying arm of “business,” as it sometimes claims. It specifically serves the interests of massive businesses, which are often at odds with the needs of small and medium enterprises. Any CEO of a smaller company who’s pressured by one of the Chamber’s sales representatives to join, as I was in my business life, is being asked to subsidize policies that will benefit the Chamber’s mega-donors — often at her or his own expense. The Chamber’s letter serves those mega-interests well, and we can expect most Republicans to follow it in lockstep, no doubt with cheering crowds pumped up for the same old chants and a few new ones.
Voters care more about helping the unemployed and getting Americans back to work than they do about cutting the deficit. Budget-slashing is a Washington fixation only, fueled by the think tanks and lobbyists that the Chamber/GOP crowd funds and promotes. But Chamber-driven Republicans hope that the public won’t understand what they’re doing, counting on “fatigue” and confusion to provide a smokescreen for the Politics of Plunder.
Those shadows over the nation’s cities aren’t spaceships. They’re the very real threats that continue to loom over us: Continued unemployment. A damaged environment in risk of even greater devastation. Generations of older Americans who might be left without financial security. Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce want to use our economic crisis as a “shock doctrine” moment to pass measures that will continue a massive transfer of wealth to the upper one percent, while mortgaging the country’s future to the economic interests that have already served it so poorly.
As the vote on financial reform will once again illustrate, this is not a movie.
Now, after reading that article or the above snippets, do you think I’m being conspiratorial when I think that the Chamber of Commerce and the huge corporations they represent might actually be stifling growth on purpose to put more money in their own bloated pockets? Isn’t capitalism wonderful?
Seriously, I think Vilsack should be sacked for his overreaction and not going to the source for the real story. Anyone that reactionary should be fired and replaced with someone who is thoughtful and honorable, Shirley Sherrod comes to mind. When you hear the entire story, what smacks me up-side-the-head is that the story pushed by Breitbart, Fox News, Morning Joe and others at MSNBC, the blogosphere and even the big 3 networks was the exact opposite of what she said. This woman’s father was killed by a KKK member, she harbored all sorts of hatred for white people and rightly so, until she met these white farmers. She grew as a person and realized that it wasn’t about black versus white, but about rich versus poor. Farming used to be one of the foundations of our economy, families could make a living from it and were respected. With the take over of “agribusiness”, farmers were struggling and it taught Shirley Sherrod a lesson that apparently no one else is going to learn.
A larger question is when are people, including the idiot media and those in our government, going to stop believing ANYTHING that Andrew Breibart and Fox News say? It’s like the boy who cried wolf, haven’t we been tricked enough times now? I can’t wait to see what Rachel Maddow does with this story, unless she gets sidetracked like most everyone else and tries to blame it on the Obama administration. Sure, it’s a story about a screw up, but isn’t the larger story the blatant ploy of Fox and Breitbart to try to create racial tension in our country? Us poor, poor white people have been soooooooo discriminated against over the years……cough, spit, choke. We live in a fucked up country that is only getting worse by the day.
The White House has apologized and is going to try to make things right. I knew they would, thankfully this administration is capable of admitting when they’ve made a mistake. We’ll see how it all pans out but this is one classy person, go check out this discussion on CNN with her after Robert Gibbs apology. This may turn out to be a great way to expose the right and their relentless attempts to drive a wedge between the races and rile up the violent extremes in our country. Let’s take them fuckers at Fox News down…and that is really who Breitbart works for, you know?
If you haven’t heard about this story, you’re probably lucky. Geez O’pete…..WTF kind of world do we live in. Racist motherfuckers are running rampant. I’m posting the entire speech that the fucktard Andrew Breitbart chopped up to make this woman look racist. Go to this Media Matters page for background if you missed the story. This is a long speech, so I don’t necessarily expect you all to watch it but I want to post it to do my part to fight back against the latest Breitbart bullshit.
The Tea Party
Finally the Tea Party seems to have found something that goes over the line as far as what they allow their “members” to say and do. They kicked out Mark Williams, the head of the Tea Party Express, below is just a taste the fantasy letter he wrote…
It began “Dear Mr. Lincoln,
“We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!”
The media obsession with the oil spill and the immediate need to blame someone shows the immaturity of the press. Every twist and turn has caused them to hyperventilate on TV. They act like the Deep Water Horizon was the first oil well drilled in the gulf and ignore the over 30,000 other rigs out in the gulf. I wish as a country, we had done something about our dependence on foreign oil back in the 1970’s when OPEC was jerking us around.
Sarah, Sarah, Sarah…..there is this thing called “spell check” and this other thing called “dictionary.com”. You have to give her credit for sticking to her guns, right? She’s like George W. Bush in many ways, why should I be surprised that some Republicans like her? When I went to post this, I had to ignore the spell checker on “refudiate”. :)
Whoopie Goldberg, Come On!
What in the hell is wrong with Whoopie? Defending Mel Gibson after the latest racist, misogynistic rant? I googled Whoopie and the word “defends” and realized, she is a habitual defender of assholes. WTF Whoopie. Here is the list with links….
“Single Ladies Dance” (You know, the little girls dancing like Beyonce)
As regular readers know, I’m not a fan of polls and how they are being used by the media to try to sway legislators into voting with the popular trends in the country. Morning Joe on MSNBC is barely watchable anymore. And it isn’t just because Obama has been down in the polls, it isn’t just about politics these days. Remember this where the baseball pitcher was robbed of a perfect game, someone did a poll to see what the American people thought of a bad call in a freakin baseball game. If that isn’t taking the polling phenomenon to new levels of stupid, I don’t know what is.
Steve Benen has a piece based on a column by Dana Milbank which talks about the Republican Party’s mainstreaming of the fringe elements of the party. They seem to be welcoming all comers, whether sane or not, racist or not, conspiracy freaks or not and basically those who believe that the world is flat. Both Milbank and Benen say it better than I can so here is some of their words about it. First Millbank…..
Late last month, Thomas Sowell of the conservative Hoover Institution penned an irresponsible column likening Obama’s presidency (particularly his pushing BP to set aside funds for oil-spill victims) to the rise of Hitler in Germany and Lenin in the Soviet Union.
After the column came out, Sarah Palin tweeted her followers with instructions to “Read Thomas Sowell’s article.” Sowell’s theme — that Obama, like Hitler and Lenin, exploits “useful idiots” who don’t know much about politics — was strikingly similar to what wound up on the Iowa billboard.
Twenty years ago, the dawn of the Internet Age gave us Godwin’s Law: If an online argument goes on long enough, somebody will eventually invoke Hitler. When that happens, it’s basically the end of the conversation, because all rational discussion ceases when one side calls the other Nazis.
These sentiments have long existed on the fringe and always will. The problem is that conservative leaders and Republican politicians, in their blind rage against Obama these last 18 months, invited the epithets of the fringe into the mainstream. Godwin’s Law has spread from the chat rooms and now applies to cable news and even to the floor of the House of Representatives.
Consider these tallies from Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News since Obama’s inauguration: 202 mentions of Nazis or Nazism, according to transcripts, 147 mentions of Hitler, 193 mentions of fascism or fascist, and another 24 bonus mentions of Joseph Goebbels. Most of these were directed in some form at Obama — as were the majority of the 802 mentions of socialist or socialism on Beck’s nightly “report.”
And now Steve Benen’s take on this…
The speed with which conservatives went from zero to hysterical in 2009 was impressive, but it’s the mainstreaming of sheer madness that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. As Milbank noted, “[A]ccusations that once were beyond the pale — not just talk of Nazis and Marxists but intimations of tyranny, revolution and bloodshed — are now routine.”
And so the Republican Party shows no meaningful qualms about becoming the party of conspiracy theories (“Birthers,” Gulf oil spill was deliberate), wild-eyed accusations (ACORN, “re-education camps,” Gestapo-like security forces, New Black Panther Party), and radical policy positions (a five-year spending freeze to address a global economic crisis, the belief that tax cuts pay for themselves, a freeze on federal regulations, willful ignorance about energy, health, and education policy, the entire Sharron Angle/Rand Paul platform).
The point isn’t that political radicalism is new; it’s clearly not. Rather, the key development over the last 18 months is the ways in which right-wing extremism has gone mainstream — with the consent of the Republican Party, which sees the electoral benefits of blind rage and fear.
That Mason City billboard warned the public that “radical leaders prey on the fearful & naive.” On this, the Tea Partiers were far more correct than they probably realize.
I’ve argued all along that the LEADERS of the Republican Party are the crazies and now they are just “emboldened” by the election of Barack Obama. They’ve been there all along, they are just now taking over control of the party from those “thinking” Republicans. I have a hard time thinking of a “thinking” Republican these days, they all seem to have gone over the edge. We live in a scary country.
Reality, what a concept! Republicans and their complicit media have succeeded in creating an alternate reality that isn’t based on facts, but well tooled opinions that get repeated over and over and over again on right wing radio, right wing television (you know who you are), cable news networks all trying to be as shallow as the ratings leader of cable news and since everyone is doing it, even the broadcast networks. As this alternate reality has been taking form over the last year, I continued to see analysis by countless economists without political agendas and yes, even conservative economists, that say the stimulus has been wildly successful at preventing more job losses and in recent months, increases in jobs. Here is one story from February…
Just look at the outside evaluations of the stimulus. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Economy.com. They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.
For that, the stimulus package, flaws and all, deserves a big heaping of credit. “It prevented things from getting much worse than they otherwise would have been,” Nariman Behravesh, Global Insight’s chief economist, says. “I think everyone would have to acknowledge that’s a good thing.”
Something I’ve heard recently that proves the idiocy of Republicans and the media is the idea that because President Obama “promised” an unemployment rate of 8% and we haven’t reached it yet, that proves that the stimulus didn’t work. Let’s break that down. First, the 8% forecast was made early on in the administration before the dust had settled on the economic meltdown. A reminder for some folks that President Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, please store that in your brains for a minute. Everything that happened prior to that date, was done by the Bush administration. Everything leading up to that day in regards to the economy, happened under Bush. I’m sure the pea brains on the right will jump to the “stop blaming Bush” line that they trot out whenever anyone tries to give perspective to how we got where we are. How can they put everything at the foot of Obama after just 18 months, but can’t wrap their heads around the fact that being president for 8 years kind of lays some of the responsibility for the state of the economy at your feet. It is surreal that the media can now discard 8 years of gutting our economy and because Obama has been president for 18 months now, it’s ALL his fault. “Can’t blame Bush anymore, it’s Obama’s now” has become the new media line.
I just heard David Gregory, who seems to have an agenda when it comes to the Obama administration, present the stimulus as if its sole purpose was to keep unemployment at 8%, nothing else, that was the only reason and measure. The Republicans have succeeded in brainwashing the media and therefore the public of this meme. I live in Michigan where every day I see the stimulus dollars at work and I’ve said it before, those people working on the roads and bridges are collecting checks, paying their bills, paying their taxes, buying stuff that helps business stay afloat…..how can the right wing dismiss these people as non existent. All those teachers, police and firefighters that have kept their jobs because of the stimulus…I hear the right wing refer to them as government jobs as if they are robots, not people. Since when did a teacher, a cop and a firefighter become government workers?
I’m going to continue to push back against the perpetual lies of the Republicans, although it’s hard to keep track of all the lies that spew out of the right of this country. For a party that claims to be rooted in Christianity, there sure is a lot of sinning going on. I guess hypocrisy doesn’t just show up in their politics but in their very being.
Here is the New York Times story about the success. I’m sure all the “nothing is good enough” crowd will pick it apart, both sides will whine and cry and their will be “poutrage” from some on the left. The Huffington Post, which I refuse to link to, has a blazing headline “REFORMED BUT NOT TRANSFORMED“. They wouldn’t want to actually give credit where credit is do now would they? I haven’t been tracking on it too much, so I can’t speak to the details but I’m sure that since it took 3 Republicans to pass it, it probably is watered down pretty good. But considering the way our dysfunctional democracy works, it’s better than nothin’!
Yesterday I posted about Dylan Ratigan’s rant on Morning Joe where he referred to President Obama as a “little boy” and made a reference to him bending over for Wall Street. I commented on many “progressive” blogs about what I had heard and put up a post on this blog. I googled it shortly after I posted and found my post right there at the top of Google’s results. I thought to myself, woe…no one else caught that or if they did, they didn’t think anything of it? W.E.E. See You picked it up and did a post with the video of it. All day long I kept checking the big blogs and nothing, no mention of what I think were incredibly offensive comments towards our president. Not just the “boy” reference, a code word from days gone by, but the lack of respect for the office of the president itself. What a huge insult to the leader of the free world and what it stands for. I wondered if I was the only one who had seen it, are Morning Joe’s ratings so low now that no one is actually watching it? It is the lowest rated morning show on TV, you know?
Now imagine if Rush Limbaugh had said that. What do you think Media Matters would have all over their front page? Daily Kos? Huffington Post? TPM? Why has Dylan Ratigan been given a pass? Is it because he works for MSNBC, the Fox News of the left (according to some, not me)? I certainly had a lot of hits yesterday because of my post, I think it is because so many people saw it and were wondering where the outrage was and Jonathon Capehart linked to my blog as an example of Dylan “getting smacked around”, poor poor Dylan.
Now don’t get me wrong, I support my fellow leftie bloggers for the most part, a few exceptions, but I can’t believe they are ignoring this and letting Ratigan get away with it. His form of populist ranting is the worst kind, you might notice how he keeps reminding us throughout his rants that he is just representing the masses. It’s very subtle, but if you look at a transcript of what he says, he constantly drops in those populist cues. It’s very much a brainwashing technique, ala the Republican spin-meisters. Notice how he makes a general statement that most everyone can agree with, then he sprinkles in his supply-side economics propoganda and then returns to a populist statement. Since the bullshit is couched between two reasonable statements, well then the bullshit must be true too.
I’m not done with Ratigan either, stay tuned for more analysis of this wolf in sheep’s clothing.
On Morning Joe, Dylan Ratigan just went on a rant, like he is prone to do, and he was reenacting a conversation between the president and “Wall Street” and he called the president a little boy. He ended his little rant by saying the president bends over for them, or something to that effect. I have a feeling he is going to catch some flack for that little tirade. Of course his solution to all things economic, give some more tax breaks to rich people. I’m sure that will create a job for my nephew real quick.
I’ve been posting lite lately, in case you haven’t noticed. Lots going on in life and not too much that has inspired me. This post is a grab-bag of things I’ve read and watched, kind of a highlights reel of sorts.
Check out this clip from Fox News, hat tip to Bob Cesca….The Awesome One…..
I thought two wrongs did make a right?
The incredible Booman has this take on a long, long, long Eric Alterman piece that has its moments of clarity but reads like a history lesson, a good, thorough history lesson, but a history lesson none-the-less.
I am not disappointed for all the reasons that Alterman goes on to spell out in painful detail. I am disappointed that Obama has not been able to deliver on all campaign promises but since Alterman provides me with more than a dozen systemic villains to choose from to blame for this disappointment, I don’t need to point my disappointment at the man who proffered that agenda in the first place. Moreover, my recollection from the campaign was that all the major candidates (Clinton, Edwards, and Obama) were criticized from the left for not offering a progressive agenda. Yet, Alterman characterizes Obama’s platform as if it were the second-coming of the New Deal. He never promised that. What happened is that economic conditions changed and required Obama to respond much as FDR had to respond, with bold rescues and sweeping reforms. He didn’t have a mandate for that because the economic collapse came less than two months before the election.
I think it’s myopic to act as though the people elected Obama because of his promises on how to rescue the economy, but it’s equally short-sighted to behave as though an historic economic collapse shouldn’t have re-shuffled his campaign promises and priorities. That’s exactly what key advisers like Joe Biden and Rahm Emanuel argued when they said Obama should drop health care to focus on jobs. Obama stuck to his guns on health care, but it was inevitable that other promises would slip. And understanding that is just as important as understanding all the other obstacles in Obama’s path.
If you thought electing Obama would guarantee that all of his promises would become law inside of two years, you are going to be disappointed. I’m not. I’m extremely happy with the president and nearly at my wit’s end with pretty much everyone else in this country. No faction frustrates me more than my own, and I’m grateful for Alterman for starting this conversation. I just wish he’d shine a mirror on himself and our movement. We need to hear about our shortcomings, too. Our biggest shortcoming is not understanding what Alterman has written and what it means for how we should feel about this administration. As I’ve said, this present Congress is the most productive and progressive Congress since 1965-66 and this president is the most successful and progressive since LBJ, and too many of us are focused on our disappointments and not focused on the right-wing threat that lurks out there with all its institutional advantages, just waiting to destroy this country, for good.
The most excellent KayinMaine over at White Noise Insanity has a great Rachel Maddow clip up that is a most see, a little FOX News take down.
The one and only Digby at Hullabaloo takes the words right out of my mouth – so I took them right off her page.
Over the week-end, gasbags were all atwitter about whether Sarah Palin’s SarahPAC fundraising means she is running for president. And gosh, what on earth was that Mama Grizzly ad all about? Why it didn’t talk about any issues at all and just featured Palin and her fans! (Marc Ambinder presents the whole array of possibilities here.)
I find it very telling that the Villagers don’t get what’s going on here. She is not a serious politician. She is a political celebrity/entrepreneur, collecting money from her fans to fund herself and sell her brand. To the extent that she is working for anyone but herself, she’s working for The Republican Party, bringing together some of the disparate strands of the conservative movement, striking the pose of the “outsider.” But that is the extent of her serious commitment to politics.
Palin is a “reality” entertainer. Look on the covers of the celebrity magazines and you’ll see lots of them. There’s a lot of money to be made by someone like her in merchandising alone, much less personal appearances, books etc. I’m guessing she’ll find herself on the personal growth/religious circuit too, along with her reality show on TV.
She is a creature of the new political media, maybe the first pure version of her kind. As soon as people grok that, her fund raising and touring will begin to make more sense. But I would be shocked if she would ever feel the need to subject herself to parochial elective politics again. It’s not where her talents and ambitions lie.
I also read Paul Krugman from time to time, just to keep up my economic chops (a musician term) and here Paul reminds us that the stimulus worked….what little stimulus passed after the idiots in the congress watered it all down.
Let’s call it an open thread….”you’re an open thread”!
It always enraged me that the Bush Administration so willingly sent our troops off to fight in two wars of choice, but when they returned to the states with injuries or mental problems, they turned their backs on them. President Obama has been fighting for veterans for years and now as president he is helping them even more.
First, let’s take a look at what the last Republican administration did for veterans or rather, did TO veterans. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos gives us this in a post…
As VoteVets uncovered in 2008, the VA of those days deliberately misdiagnosed Veterans to reduce the cost of treatment and disability payments:
On March 20, 2008 a VA hospital’s PTSD program coordinator sent an e-mail to a number of VA employees, including psychologists, social workers, and a psychiatrist stating that due to an increased number of “compensation seeking veterans,” the staff should “refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out” and they should “R/O [rule out] PTSD” and consider a diagnosis of “Adjustment Disorder” instead.
How shitty is that to send young men and women into a horrible, frightening, brutal environment and then when these young people suffer mental problems from it, those fuckers just abandoned them. And not just abandon but actually put up roadblocks for them, make them suffer a little more. Not many people know that each year, over 6000 veterans commit suicide. That’s twice the national average. CBS News did some excellent research on this…
Dr. Steve Rathbun is the acting head of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department at the University of Georgia. CBS News asked him to run a detailed analysis of the raw numbers that we obtained from state authorities for 2004 and 2005.
It found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets. (Veterans committed suicide at the rate of between 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000, compared to other Americans, who did so at the rate of 8.9 per 100,000.)
One age group stood out. Veterans aged 20 through 24, those who have served during the war on terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age. (The suicide rate for non-veterans is 8.3 per 100,000, while the rate for veterans was found to be between 22.9 and 31.9 per 100,000.)
President Obama has done more for veterans in 18 months than the previous administration did in 8 years. Well, really, the Bush administration made many steps backwards for veterans all the while claiming to be the party that represents the military through it’s propaganda machines like Fox News and the rest of the right wing media which was aided and abetted by the cable news networks. Check this out from VetVoice via Daily Kos…
After already increasing VA funding and signing a bill to insure advanced funding for the Department, President Obama’s Department of Veterans Affairs plans to announce next week that it is removing the speed-bumps that hindered PTSD afflicted Vets from obtaining a disability rating:
The government is making it easier for combat veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to receive disability benefits.
The Veterans Affairs Department plans to announce Monday it will no longer require veterans to prove what might have triggered their illness. Instead, they would have to show that they served in combat in a job that could have contributed to post-traumatic stress disorder.
The nearly 20 percent of Veterans who return with signs of PTSD will now find it easier to obtain what they earned when they bravely defended their country. Making the process for obtaining benefits as smooth as possible is the least we owe these heroes. This decision to streamline the process for PTSD claims illustrates a commitment to our Veterans from this Administration that was absent for eight years under previous leadership…
…The new PTSD guidelines aren’t just a boon to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans–they apply to all veterans, and there are still many Vietnam vets suffering, who’ve waited decades for this help.
Hooray President Obama, finally someone who actually cares about the people that presidents like to send off to do their dirty work. Now I know a lot of people on the far left think Obama is just as bad as Bush was when it comes to wars and in my opinion, these people are really out of their minds. I completely understand the principled stance that no wars are good, I personally wish we lived in a world where they weren’t necessary. I never think war is a solution to any problem and am against all wars. Having said that, let me remind people that President Obama DID NOT get us into these two wars and in fact Barack Obama was one of the lone people who stood up against the Iraq war when everyone was signing from the same hymnal about WMD’s…remember that shit. Here is a Youtube post that uses people to read his speech in 2002 (before the war) which has apparently been lost…
Here is a transcript of that speech, please go read it, even you trolls who will undoubtedly go berserk over this post. And I challenge all you “Hillary inspired Obama haters” to go find what ole’ Hillary said in 2002 about the Iraq war. I only say that because some of President Obama’s harshest critics are these folks. If you watch that video or read the transcript, you might notice that this young, future president nailed it…absolutely nailed it…in predicting what would happen if we invade Iraq.
Active Duty Troops
So now onto how he cares for active troops. He’s bringing them home where they belong. This is from a blog I just came across called Musings on Iraq…
U.S. forces are scheduled to draw down to 50,000 by September 1, 2010 following President Obama’s withdrawal plan. It’s hardly been noticed, but U.S. troops are almost at that level already.
Since 2009 over 60,000 U.S. soldiers have been pulled out of Iraq. In January 2009 when Obama first took office, there were 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. After that, several thousand were withdrawn every couple months, going down to 140,000 in February, 137,000 in March, 134,000 in May, 130,000 in June, etc. According to the spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, there are currently 77,500 U.S. personnel in Iraq as of July 2010.
U.S. Troop Strength In Iraq 2003-2010
May 2003 150,000 – Invasion force
October 2007 171,000 – Height of Surge
January 2009 142,000 – Beginning Obama administration
February 2010 98,000
President Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do. How many of you have seen stories from the MSM about this? Or on the 24 hour cable news networks? I know that many of these troops are being re-assigned to Afghanistan, where the Obama administration is focusing it’s efforts to weaken Al Qaeda and help get some semblance of a stable government in place. Rachel Maddow was over there last week and did some excellent reporting about what’s going on. Her and Richard Engel are both amazing and paint a much different picture than you will hear out of the right-wing noise machine AND the MSM. Rachel had an exchange with Ann Curry from the Today show where Ann tried her hardest to be a Fox News morning host but Rachel told it like it is, like she usually does. From a Crooks and Liars post about the exchange…
This is the first time I’ve seen a journalist really try to get beyond the basics of the Afghan war and into the details of what our military is actually doing, what they hope to accomplish, and how they’re going about accomplishing it. Rachel Maddow is hardly a hawk, so part of the remarkable quality of her reporting is seeing her come to an understanding that much of what’s being done involves helping people, not killing them.
This clearly doesn’t fit the story they want to tell on The Today Show. Watch the video as Rachel is questioned about the July deadline and the supposed “delayed Kandahar strategy.”
For some reason the video C&L has up there isn’t Rachel on the Today show but here is some of the transcript, once again courtesy of Crooks and Liars…
CURRY: In fact, let’s talk about that. It’s a year from now that the US troops are scheduled to leave. We’re 104 months into this war, Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history. June was the deadliest month in the war with 60 Americans killed, Rachel. And so is this president’s deadline of leaving a year from now, beginning to withdraw a year from now, actually realistic?
Translated: FOX thinks a deadline is foolish. Don’t you think so too, Rachel?
And Rachel’s answer is perfect, because it’s the truth and it makes sense. That July deadline isn’t just there for show:
MADDOW: There have been a lot of critics who have said that that deadline doesn’t make sense in terms of military strategy. But I think that’s only true if you think of war, this kind of war, as if it’s some kind of D-Day every day. It’s really not like that. Counterinsurgency doesn’t look like that. The point of this counterinsurgency strategy is to set up an Afghan government so that Afghanistan is essentially hardened against the Taliban coming back into power and against them link — them — Afghanistan again linking up with these extremist groups. The deadline is not for military strategy in pure military terms. The deadline is so the Afghan government feels like they’ve really got to get their act together and stand up and get it done. I have to tell you that, you know, the counterinsurgency doctrine may not work. It may not work no matter what we do to set up — try to set up Afghan government here. But it definitely won’t work without a deadline, at least in Kandahar, not based on what I’ve seen after this latest embedding.
Rachel Maddow is no hawk, she’s telling the truth about what is going on in Afghanistan – which doesn’t fit in the alternate reality that some on both the left and right seem to be living in. It is creating much cognitive dissonance in their brains…..many I’m sure are just tuning it out or simply denying it. I’m sure my favorite troll will call me and President Obama murderers and all sorts of vile stuff, I really feel sorry for him, not just because his comments always end up in my spam filter but that his brain is actually so clouded that clear thoughts can’t emerge.
I firmly believe that the Obama administration really will have fighting troops out of both Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of his first term. Until then, the haters will surely claim he can’t do it, he’s a warmonger or from the right, he’s soft on terrorism or whatever else Frank Luntz tells them to say. President Obama is proving to be a much better president than I even imagined, he’s able to stay on track and stay focused even with the fickle media (MSNBC and CNN) and the hard right-wing liars (Fox News) and the lame mainstream media (thanks Sarah) trying to trump up stupid ass process stories or the latest poll of 700 people who still have land-line phones. Results really do have a huge effect on the general public, much more effect than the media does. And since the public IS so fickle, with a coordinated advertising campaign for the general election in November, the Democrats simply have to tell the truth about what has ACTUALLY happened over the first two years of Democrats in control and that is much easier when you have the truth on your side.
Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos has been blacklisted at MSNBC for calling out Joe Scarborough on his hypocrisy. It revolves around the little known “dead intern” problem that Joe Scarborough swept under the rug successfully back in July of 2001. Markos simply sent a tweet referring to the dead intern, which was really pretty random, but good for Markos for doing it. I first heard about this story from a commenter at White Noise Insanity, the very insightful Grant in Texas. I looked into it because of my dislike of the smarmy Joe Scarborough who I think is the worst kind of propagandist on television. He gets away with more bullshit on his morning show than anyone on TV. Now for the twitter exchange that Joe has blown up into a big story, and has forced me to post this long detailed post about. Thanks Joe, I’ve wanted to expose this fishy dead intern story since I found out about it. From Markos….
In case you were wondering why you haven’t seen me on MSNBC recently, it seems that Joe Scarborough, he of the lowest rated morning show in cableland, has blackballed me. And Phil Griffin, the alleged president of MSNBC, is going along with it.
It all began May 29, with Joe Scarborough taking to Twitter to whine about the media coverage of the supposed Sestak scandal (remember that one?):
JoeNBC: The Sestak story is as unbelievable a cover story as Nixon throwing little Checkers under the bus. A farce on it’s face. Luckily for the White House, the media has been negligent on this story since Day 1. The press will let this laughable story slide.
That was too much horseshit for me. If there was someone who had ZERO ground to stand on whining about media bias, it was Scarborough. So I shot back:
markos: Like story of a certain dead intern. RT @JoeNBC: Luckily for the White House, the media has been negligent on this story since Day 1.
Markos: But if you want to talk about bullshit “scandals”, @JoeNBC, there’s this one about Joe Sestak and the White House you might’ve heard of.
It degenerated from there.
JoeNBC: @markos Unbelievable. You have a long history of spreading lies suggesting I am a murderer. This is the 3rd or 4th time by my count.
Markos: @JoeNBC, I’ve never suggested you’re a murderer. I’ve noted media hypocrisy in going after Gary Condit. But he was Dem. You aren’t.
JoeNBC: Anyone in media who interviews @markos, know that you’re extending your credibility to someone who regularly suggests that I’m a murderer.
Markos: A bit touchy, @JoeNBC? Links for where I accuse you of being a murderer please.
So Joe Scarborough went crying to the president of MSNBC who put out the word to his “teams” not to book Markos for a while, kind of like a journalistic “time-out” or something. But since Joe wants us all to know about this dead intern who mysteriously died in his district office in Florida, let’s have at it. I’ll start by saying if it was someone else that it happened to and there was a “D” behind that congressman’s name, can you imagine how Joe would react? He has gone off on people with much less evidence and for much less serious offenses. Some background on the story from Conservative Babylon.
Just the facts: Scarborough got a divorce. Then he suddenly resigned from Congress, just six months after re-election. (Invoked old fallback excuse of wanting to “spend more time” with children.) Then he suddenly resigned as publisher of the Independent Florida Sun. Then, just as suddenly, Lori Klausutis, 28-year-old staffer to Scarborough, was found dead in Scarborough’s district office in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Date was July 20, 2001. Cause of death: Blow to the head. Conclusion: Heart condition caused her to collapse, fall, hit head on a desk, and die. Story barely a blip on the radar. Lots of people left with lots of questions.
Click on the blue “Read More” for the rest of the post.