Showing posts with label Power. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Power. Show all posts

Monday, July 14, 2014

Whitewashed History




I have never visited a Presidential library, but I've had numerous chances to do so. To me, they are not destinations nor are they worthy of a visit due to the propaganda referenced in this article. I agree with some of it, but I do take exception to the idea that this is shocking or otherwise. It's not.

The mere existence of a Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library speaks volumes to how ridiculous it would be to "celebrate" his legacy. He tarnished his legacy and remains a disgraced and horrible figure in American history. His own library has to draw out the releases of embarrassing audio tapes and transcripts of conversations that demonstrate him to be a craven and power-hungry man.

However, you can find examples of the same behavior in virtually all of the other administrations that have gone before but not really since. The libraries that exist now are tourist traps that whitewash the "Nixonian" stain from history.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

We Failed to Remember Our History One More Time




The Bundy Rebellion isn't over yet:

The victory a Nevada rancher claimed in a government standoff with armed militiamen has served to embolden right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists across the country, an organization that tracks hate groups said in a new report Thursday.


The Southern Poverty Law Center based its findings on online chatter among extreme right-wing groups. 


Cliven Bundy's faceoff with the Bureau of Land Management agents and Las Vegas police at his ranch in southern Nevada in April has "invigorated" an extremist movement that has exploded since President Barack Obama was elected, growing from 150 groups in 2008 to more than 1,000 last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center said.


The report warns of the potential for more violence like the recent killing of two Las Vegas police officers by a pair of anti-government zealots — Jerad and Amanda Miller — who spent time at Bundy's ranch before they were asked to leave because of their extremist views.


"Cliven Bundy may have faded from public view, but the movement that spawned him is boiling," said the report entitled "War in the West, The Bundy Ranch Standoff and the American Radical Right."

This boiling movement has no fear of armed confrontation with the United States Government--they are actively encouraging it. How is that possible?

The example of Shays Rebellion is instructive. It was put down largely because reasonable people saw the threat to peace and stability; it led to a more powerful centralized form of government--the one we have today. The Bundy Rebellion weakens the power of the central government and exists because enough people feel the U.S. government has no legitimacy.

In other words, watch what happens when we forget American history.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Another Neoconservative Gift to the World










Iraq is a failed state, in case you are keeping score at home:


Militants seized control of the airport, TV stations and the governor's offices in Iraq's second-largest city as police and soldiers ran away from their posts in Mosul on Tuesday, a stunning collapse of the security forces that has raised questions about Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ability to hold the country together.


In perhaps a sign of just how serious the threat is to Iraq's stability, al-Maliki took to the airwaves to call on all men to volunteer to fight, promising to provide weapons and equipment.


"We will not allow for the remainder of the ... province and the city to fall," he said in a live broadcast carried on Iraqi state television.


The militants are believed to be members of the extremist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, an al Qaeda splinter group also known by its acronym ISIS. Many foreign fighters are believed to be among their number, senior police officials said.



Joe Biden's idea was to partition Iraq into three distinct states--one Sunni, one Shia, and one for the Kurds up north. If we had gone with that plan, Iraq would be less of a failed state than it is now, but it would still be a brittle, violent place. This region will be fought over again and again until someone can play the part of strongman and slaughter the weaker groups opposed to a centralized power.





Large tracts of Iraq will soon be in the hands of groups crazier than al Qaeda and meaner than a snake on LSD in a petting zoo. Once the country gets around to electing Rand Paul the next president, get ready for Iraq War III, starring Sylvester Stallone and the Texas National Guard.





Not a single neoconservative will ever be held accountable for Iraq. My guess is that it's all Obama's fault, now and forever.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Guess Who Is Shrinking and Irrelevant?




Just in time for summer, another lazy media meme that will constantly be recycled for as long as there are Democrats who get elected President:

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.


Less than two years after voters gave President Barack Obama a strong mandate for a second term, the White House is struggling against perceptions that it is losing its grip.


At home, the bungled rollout of the Obamacare website and the shocking revelations about an entrenched culture of incompetence and fraud in the VA have undercut faith in the President’s managerial competency.

The central reason for the President's "shrinkage" is Obamacare's website? That's old news, my friends. Old news. Millions have cheaper health care and no one cares if a website ran slow months ago. 




The actuality of the PPACA is this--Americans are getting health care that they can afford. People who had to work to keep health care coverage can now retire and do other things. Bankruptcy because of a health care issue is rapidly becoming a thing of the past for many Americans. Women are getting health care they need. And the President is shrinking because of that?





Because the website was slow? 





Well, this President got rid of Kathleen Sebelius. He cashed in Eric Shinseki and I would be willing to bet you that corrupt VA hospital administrators everywhere have stopped counting on their bullshit bonuses. He has fired people and issued orders. How is that "shrinking" in any way, shape or form?





I mean, damn. This ain't my first rodeo:







Time Magazine, circa 1993





Bill Clinton went on to give everyone peace and prosperity. Let's hope that President Obama can do the same before he shrinks away into nothing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Paul Ryan Was Against Community Organizers Before He Was For Them




In case anyone is wondering, Paul Ryan still wants to run for President:

On Tuesday, he waded into the conversation with veteran civil rights leader Robert Woodson Sr. by his side and explained that he “wanted to get out of the ivory tower, out of committee hearing rooms, and go out around the country and learn. Not talk, not lecture, but to learn.” The goal was not to make him a better politician but a better policy-maker. He wants to attack the root causes of poverty rather than simply ameliorate root symptoms.

Ron Christie is one of the most dishonest shills in America. His identification of Robert Woodson leaves out the fact that he is also a community organizer.

Yes, a community organizer. Paul Ryan's epiphany should come with a trigger warning for people who hate community organizers.

Barely one year ago, he hated them with a passion:

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said Tuesday that a "data hub" being compiled for Obamacare presents a danger to Americans.


"This thing gives me a tingle down my spine. It's just chilling," the Janesville Republican told conservative Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes on WTMJ-AM (620).


"It's the biggest database ever collected on us, meaning people, the citizens of this country," Ryan claimed.Ryan said the data hub will merge databases from the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal and state agencies.


The hub will be used to determine eligibility for Obamacare subsidies, he said.


In a National Review column posted Monday, Ryan is quoted as saying "community organizers" working to implement Obamacare will have access to the data hub.


“Giving community organizers access to the Federal Data Hub is bad policy and potentially a danger to civil liberties,” he said. “But it’s one of the most underreported stories I’ve seen. If people only knew about this Data Hub program, it would touch off a huge public outcry.”

Now that's a flip flop. And it's funny how a history of being one kind of jackass and then pretending he never held an opinion in his life can come back to haunt him.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

No Courage Needed Whatsoever




Steven Mufson rains on the hagiography parade:

Here’s the Kennedy Library’s version of what happened:


“He had promised Americans no new taxes during the presidential campaign two years earlier and he was voted into office with that promise. But, he had also promised to serve his country, and he decided that was the promise he would keep…. America’s gain was President Bush’s loss, and his decision to put country above party and political prospects makes him an example of a modern profile in courage that is all too rare.”


I was covering economic policy for The Washington Post from 1990 through 1993, and things were not that simple. First, making the pledge was a political maneuver that Bush must have known was not sustainable given the mounting federal deficits in the 1980s.


Second, he held out for a long time to avoid breaking the pledge; the deadlock with House Democrats forced the government to briefly shut down. He did not lead the way to a tax deal; he made Democrats push hard for it and let his budget director figure out how to package it.


Third, after signing the budget deal, Bush tried to distance himself from it. Even before the formal signing ceremony, he said at a press conference that he "had to gag and digest" parts of the deal. Later he was pressed by some of his political advisers to renounce the deal when he was campaigning for reelection in 1992. On March 3, 1992, Bush declared in a public appearance and interviews that the 1990 deal was a mistake. "If I had it to do over, I wouldn't do what I did then, for a lot of reasons, including political reasons," he said.


Mufson correctly places this "courage" in the proper context--there was none. This is absolutely critical when making an assessment of American history--without the context provided above, the Kennedy honor becomes the thing that historians will cite again and again because the reality of what happened will fade into memory. What was a reluctant, lazy, dishonest bit of political posturing becomes an anecdote repeated throughout texts for years to come.





There was no courage, there wasn't anything especially honorable about it, and, oh by the way, the President whitewashed his own foreign policy record by pardoning everyone but himself when he left the Presidency, effectively disinfecting both his own and the Reagan Administration of some of the era's worst affronts to the Constitution. If ignoring the will of Congress isn't an abuse of Executive Power, then what the hell is?





Each and every time a Republican screams about the Obama Administration, patiently remind them of a thing called the Iran-Contra scandal, Ollie North, and how the pardons came floating down from Bush's desk to save all the criminals from being indicted and tried for crimes against the Constitution. So far, we don't know of any efforts on the part of the Obama Administration to trade arms for hostages--maybe they're sending tanks to the Taliban to get that jackass malingerer and deserter Bowe Bergdahl back--who knows.





I can't wait to hear how shrill Mufson is being. Leave the poor old man and his nutty socks alone...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Michael Grimm Indicted on 20 Federal Criminal Charges





Michael Grimm, New York Congressman, indicted on 20 federal criminal charges | WJLA.com

Bear in mind, Michael Grimm threatened a reporter earlier this year with physical violence and was once an FBI agent. In other words, he's your typical politician of the week. The law is an inconvenience to these people.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This is Normal in a New Gilded Age




This is the new Gilded Age. For a handful of human beings, their existence is vastly different than the rest of humanity. They live in a fantasy world of extreme wealth and a poverty of accountability. Our elites are now so completely and utterly incompetent and bloated with cash that there is no way to reverse the path we're on, not without some sort of violent cataclysm or a really, really good series of Congressional hearings.

I kid. We're doomed. Start a blog, roll in the grass, eat something fattening, pet your dog. You'll be broke in a year like all the rest of us. Enjoy forever.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Conservative Agenda Dominates American Politics




Before the day is out, Matt Grossmann's bullshit will be eviscerated eight ways to Sunday. Here's what I carved out of his delusional piece:

Conservatives in Congress are the prime suspects in Washington’s dysfunction. Veteran congressional watchdogs Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann called the previous session the “worst Congress ever,” and they did not hold back in assigning blame: “The Republicans are the problem,” they said. After a fruitless government shutdown last fall, even House Speaker John Boehner lashed out at conservative groups and passed bills over the opposition of his caucus.


In response, conservatives make two simple claims: Most policies under debate are liberal, and Republican leaders sacrifice conservative principles when they compromise. History shows they are right on both counts.


Ornstein and Mann have simply identified the tactic of obstructionism; this is how Republicans drive the agenda. They obstruct when they cannot simply destroy something, like the labor movement or the regulatory agencies of the American government. 



The idea that U.S. policy has "gone the liberals' way" is laughable. The agenda that runs American politics is almost entirely a conservative one; liberal ideas are often non-starters.There are--as of yesterday--efforts underway by an anything-but-liberal President who wants to undertake the radical idea of closing gender pay gaps, something that would have been accomplished decades ago if liberals controlled the agenda. We are watching the destruction of voting rights in this country and conservatives are driving this agenda. We have a bloated defense budget and cannot establish a foreign policy initiative in this country without hearing John McCain scream for more war. There are no jobs bills alive anywhere and, hence, there is no initiative within the Federal government that has a chance of passing that would do anything to put people back to work. The oligarchs are in charge, and they are not liberals.

Obamacare? A liberal idea pushed by liberals on a conservative country? Oh my God--give me a break. We need single payer insurance for anyone to be convinced that the "liberals" have won this debate. We're lucky to have anything, period.





What few policies end up being delivered by the government are watered-down to the point where they almost inevitably betray the liberal agenda. I mean, there is no coherent energy policy, a liberal idea and agenda item if there ever was one. There is no way a progressive with a desire to protect the environment or the American worker is ever going to be elected to national office. And what? Go out and try to deliver jobless benefits, and stimulate business hiring in order to deal with our crippling unemployment?

The conservatives have successfully driven abortion providers into hiding in this country if they're even available at all. Despite things like actual democracy and voting--elections, Supreme Court decisions, constitutional amendments--the conservative agenda is one that subjects Americans to relentless attack. They hide behind bringing freedom because going out and actively saying, "we're here to force things into your vagina" only play in certain rural areas.They don't care about privacy, and what little they do pretend to care about will vanish as soon as a Republican wins the White House. 





Grossmann wants you to think the liberal agenda is one of handouts. It is not. The liberal agenda evens the playing field for working people. Ask your local oligarch how that's working out for him.