Thursday, March 25, 2010

Breaking News: Eric Cantor is not in favor of violence!

Cantor says "I do not condone violence. There are no leaders in the building that condone violence" he's not condemning it. He's simply saying I'm not in favor of it. This is about as controversial as being against mass-murder or child abuse or liking kittens or sunny days. Again, it's clear that Repub leaders like Cantor want to signal to their increasingly agitated base that they don't want to be seen as explicitly condemning them while at the same time knowing that that events have gotten so overheated of late that it's imperative they make some sort of "violence is not good" statement. But yet Cantor is such a wuss that he won't even say that. He simply says leaders don't condone it. Wow, so we won't find any pro-murder or assault memos originating out of GOP headquarters? Well gee, maybe I'll need to re-think my perspective on Repubs now I see you're anti-murder and assault. Perhaps I've been too hard on Repubs. Well gee, thanks for that Eric. I'm betting for your next bold prediction you're gonna say that that Kobe Bryant might just be a decent basketball player if he keeps on workin' hard.

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Dean Baker on health-care reform

Yes it's good that folks who didn't have healthcare will now have it and it's good that a "pre-existing condition" (health care speak for a reason to increase our bottom line and increase the stock price) no longer precludes people from being cared for, but there is no public option and the very greed which caused the health-care debacle will undoubtedly only be further motivated by the prospect of even greater profits. Accordingly, Dean Baker's column is right on point. He suggests people taking advantage of excellent medical care and much lower prices in other countries in order to secure better healthcare for themselves.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Republican party: the world is watching

All these Republicans, if they want to avoid being tarnished with the same brush, need to repudiate this racism being propagated so brazenly and confidently. There is no place in America for this sort of attitude. If you don't repudiate it, you'll be tarnished as a racist yourself. Really, it's these sorts of divisive acts which can destroy a nation, gut it, from the inside. This unanswered hate is creating serious divisions among political parties, state populations, families, etc. Claiming these are the actions of a few bad apples won't fly. The Southern Strategy, popularized by Republican strategist Kevin Phillips asserted that because of the Democrats' support of Civil Rights, they would be less attractive to white southerners when previously white folks in the South had been a key Democratic constituency. In order to increase their appeal to white southerners, Republican strategists decided to employ racist, hateful, but somewhat subtle, means of playing on white peoples' fears.

David Frum, one of W's speechwriters, in the wake of the passage of the healthcare, wrote that Republicans had listened to the most extreme voices in their party in failing to attempt to make a deal with Democrats on healthcare and putting all their eggs in one basket - staking a huge portion of their short and near-term electoral outlook on ONE ISSUE. By taking such a hard tack, they gave themselves no wiggle room through which they might make some compromise that would allow them to take some action that would allow them take some credit for the health care legislation. But they didn't reject the extremism but made a Faustian bargain instead-gambling that they could "defeat" health-care reform - as if being the gatekeepers for the health-care industry is more important than ensuring that kids don't die in childhood - and now that they've lost, they have no tangible results from this Congress to show to their constituents. The party leaders' failure to condemn the disgraceful strategies emanating from these Tea Partiers' speaks to the tolerance Republican "leaders" have for the tea party ideas.

They might not really agree with some of the disgraceful things that Tea Partiers and others have said, but they are happy to take advantage of the increased enthusiasm for Republican, and Republican-friendly, ideas which the Tea Partiers have generated by turning the media's attention to their regressive gatherings. Frum says that the party elders made a mistake in failing to reject the hell-bent, extremist, Republican strategy on health-care. The longer Repubs fail to reject such disgraceful actions from Teabaggers, the more I have to conclude that the Republicans don't disagree with them.

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you stay classy


I'm not a Truther....

I'm not I'm not I'm not. I don't think the government is competent enough to perpetrate such a massive cover-up and some of the claims about even more widespread conspiracies are completely incoherent, and consequently, for my money, not credible.

That said, I know when someone's me. If the US had nothing to hide about 9/11, why did Bush and Cheney first resist a 9/11 Commission so passionately, why did they then nominate a man linked with some of the most egregious examples of secretive governance Henry Kissinger to head the Commission, and finally, if Bush and Cheney had nothing to hide, why would they initially refuse to testify and only agree when they were allowed to testify together? Given what we know about Bush and Cheneys' disinclination to adhere to laws they didn't want to respect, do you not think they would shout from the rooftops if they were truly innocent of some charges?

Anyway, with that proviso, lemme say, I was listening to "Background Briefing" this past week and heard a discussion with former CIA agent John Kiriakou. He says (about 50 minutes in) that when the CIA re-claimed some documents from the Taliban embassy in Peshawar, they found a file folder of phone calls, in English, of 163 calls made from the embassy to a large number of destinations in the United States until September 10, 2001. These calls resume September 16, 2001.

This seems extremely problematic. If there are multiple calls being made to the US which include a gap coinciding just before September 11 and ending just after, suspicions are raised. At a bare minimum, it would seem we should investigate whether there is a material connection between the phone numbers where those phone calls went and folks suspected of terrorism. If there is no fire where the smoke is, fair enough. On the other hand, if the recipients of the phone calls were suspected terrorists or were under investigation for something, such investigation should continue.

Again, some of things I've heard from Truthers are not substantially supported by documentation, or are speculative. But that does not mean that we have been told the whole story. There's a lot of daylight between some conspiracy theories and claims that Bush and Cheney did nothing wrong with regard to September 11. Given Bush and Cheney's furious protestations of their innocence, do you not think that if they truly were innocent, that they would proclaim that from the rooftops? I don't. Again, I'm not a Truther but I know we haven't been told the whole story either.

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