Sunday, November 21, 2010

Streams of Consciousness


Disclaimer: I've never been a David Broder fan and his OMG! What happened! column in today's Washington Post doesn't make me anymore sympathetic to him. He comes across as some kind of a 1930's Weimar conservative who thought Hitler could be easily contained and guided by the adults. If he ever had any, Broder has long lost any kinds of sharp or worthwhile insights. He seems bewildered that the Miss McConnell and the resurgent congressional Republicans are not showing any signs of "willingness to compromise." Who'd a thunk?

And what seems to be really tearing the old hack apart is that the extremists he helped ascend to power aren't paying any attention to his Republican Establishment heroes, Henry Kissinger, James Baker III and Brent Snowcroft in the little matter of bipartisan foreign policy. I guess the red t-shirts psychopaths like Allen West (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Tom Marino (R-PA), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Mike Lee (R-UT), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Tim Griffin (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sandy Adams (R-FL), Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Vicky Hartzler (MO), Allen Nunnelee (R-MS), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Ron Johnson (R-WI) were wearing confused people like him into thinking they were seeing Teddy Roosevelts, Dwight Eisenhowers and Bob Doles instead of Adolph Eichmenn, Joseph Goebbelses und Heinrich Himmlers. Broder worries that the Republicans are "feeling their oats and will be hard to deal with."
A central goal of American foreign policy under both Republican and Democratic administrations has been securing our ability to monitor and limit Russian missile development.

Intrusive examination of Russian facilities ended with the expiration last December of the START treaty negotiated by President George W. Bush. A follow-on agreement, reducing the number of missiles on both sides and guaranteeing the inspections will continue, was negotiated and signed by Obama and the Russians this year.

Obama has urged publicly and privately that the Senate ratify the treaty in the lame-duck session, rather than letting the unmonitored period extend into some point next year, when the new Senate may or may not get around to it.

At a White House event last week, his call for action was endorsed by former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and James A. Baker III and by former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft.

But those three, representing the Republican foreign policy establishment of the past two administrations, are being countermanded by Jon Kyl, the senator from Arizona who is No. 2 to McConnell in the Senate.

McConnell has made it clear that he backs his partner in delaying the treaty, forcing Obama to seek at least nine Republican votes despite the opposition of the GOP leadership.

It is notable that McConnell bases his opposition on the claim that the Senate schedule does not allow sufficient time for debate on the treaty. That is normally a judgment that would be made by the majority leader, Harry Reid, who backs the president in calling for action by the lame-duck session.

It is typical of these Republicans to usurp that role, even if they did not reach their goal of claiming a Senate majority in the midterm elections.

Typical? Really? Funny how he never hinted at that during the election campaign.

Maybe Obama Just Mastered How To Do Well On Tests Or Something

Someone who was much more prescient than Broder during the campaign was Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winning economist and professor who isn't considered as "serious" as the demented and dull WaPo drudge in the Village. It looks like he's pretty much giving up on Obama; how is there any way not to?
Some readers may recall that back during the Democratic primary Barack Obama shocked many progressives by praising Ronald Reagan as someone who brought America a “sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.” I was among those who found this deeply troubling-- because the idea that Reagan brought a transfomation in American dynamism is a right-wing myth, not borne out by the facts. (There was a surge in productivity and innovation-- but it happened in the 90s, under Clinton, not under Reagan).

All the usual suspects pooh-poohed these concerns; it was ridiculous, they said, to think of Obama as a captive of right-wing mythology.

But are you so sure about that now?

And here’s this, from Thomas Ferguson: Obama saying:

We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly.

As Ferguson explains, this is a right-wing smear. What actually happened was that during the interregnum between the 1932 election and the 1933 inauguration-- which was much longer then, because the inauguration didn’t take place until March-- Herbert Hoover tried to rope FDR into maintaining his policies, including rigid adherence to the gold standard and fiscal austerity. FDR declined to be part of this.

But Obama buys the right-wing smear.

More and more, it’s becoming clear that progressives who had their hearts set on Obama were engaged in a huge act of self-delusion. Once you got past the soaring rhetoric you noticed, if you actually paid attention to what he said, that he largely accepted the conservative storyline, a view of the world, including a mythological history, that bears little resemblance to the facts.

And confronted with a situation utterly at odds with that storyline … he stayed with the myth.

Like Sharron Angle, Gingrich Will Only Participate In Debates If He Approves Of The Moderator

That lets out real journalists. On C-Span's Washington Journal this morning, the Beltway's biggest crybaby forswore being part of any debates that included Keith Olberman and or Chris Matthews. He didn't mention Rachel Maddow but maybe he mixed up Matthews and Maddow; he must have. In any case, I'm guessing most, if not all, of the Republicans planning on running only want softball questions from the Fox cocoon and will settle for nothing more than Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Chris Wallace, Bill O'Reilly... right-wing propagandists and hacks only.

“There's no possibility that I would ever go to a debate and have Olbermann or Chris Matthews asking questions," declared the money-grubbing faker from Georgia... I watched the debate a couple of years ago and it was an embarrassment because they were so relentlessly hostile and they were so left-wing that every question they asked of the Republicans was designed to embarrass and divide the Republicans. And every question they asked the Democrats was designed to make them look good. Well, why would we participate in that?”

This was in his mind, something that never actually happened in the real world, a world Gingrich doesn't inhabit anyway. There were no debates that either Olbermann, Matthews-- or for that matter, Maddow-- participated in that pitted Democrats and Republicans in 2008. But when has objective reality ever stopped Newt Gingrich? Jimmy Carter has a very different perspective on what fair and balanced is than Gingrich. Appearing on CNN's Reliable Souces the former president said aloud what everyone already knows but is seldom voiced on TV-- that “The talk shows with Glenn Beck and others on Fox News, I think, have deliberately distorted the news." He went on to draw the false equivalency by comparing them to MSNBC.

And speaking of Fox, Texas closet case Rick Perry was on Fox News Sunday this morning pushing the 1937 GOP line that Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme.
"What I'm saying is that between Social Security, Medicaid and Medicaid there's $106 trillion of unfunded liabilities and not one dime saved to pay for them," Perry said on Fox News Sunday. "My children who are in their 20s know that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme." 

When challenged by host Chris Wallace, who pointed out that when Social Security started there were seven or eight workers for every retiree, Perry doubled down on his criticism by arguing the program would even shame Charles Ponzi, who inspired the term by paying returns to early investors using money from later investors.

"It probably is a program that even makes Mr. Ponzi feel pretty bad if he was still alive. The fact is our children know that the money that they're putting into Medicaid they'll never see," Perry said.

"And it is a Ponzi scheme. I don't know how you would explain it any other way than what you just did. There are fewer people paying into it and our kids are never going to see any benefit from it. Fix it and fix it today. "

Despite his criticism Perry didn't have any immediate ideas for how to put social security on stronger footing, but said giving states their Medicaid funds in the form of block grants would go a long way towards saving taxpayers dollars and balancing state and federal budgets.

"Medicaid, we think we can save substantial dollars for the federal government and for the states if they'll allow us to implement that program," Perry said, urging the administration to allow states to be the laboratories of innovation.

Perry also disagreed with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) that this week's initial public offering from General Motors shows the government's bailout of the auto companies had been a success.

I know we're all mad at the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security this weekend, but let's not forget what asshats the DEA can be as well. A friend sent me this today:
DEA officer stops at a ranch in Texas, and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs." The rancher says, "Okay, but don't go in that field over there," as he points out the location.

The DEA officer verbally explodes saying, "Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me." Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removes his badge and proudly displays it to the rancher. "See this badge? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish. On any land. No questions asked or answers given. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?"

The rancher nods politely, apologizes, and goes about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the DEA officer running for his life chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull...

With every step the bull is gaining ground on the officer, and it seems likely that he'll get gored before he reaches safety. The officer is clearly terrified. The rancher throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs...

"Your badge. Show him your BADGE!"

And Democratic Spinefulness:

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At 4:14 AM, Blogger H said...

Obama has been a tremendous letdown. A eunich has bigger balls than he does.Sad.


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