enlargeCredit: Life MagazineEugene McCarthy in 1961 - no doubt the cows were easier to work with.
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Most people think of Eugene McCarthy as the Peace Candidate during the 1968 Presidential election. His adamant stance against the war in Vietnam was well known and he was one of the more prominent "dove" senators on Capitol Hill throughout the later 1960's.
But McCarthy actually goes back quite a long ways, as far as 1949 when he was first elected to the House from his native Minnesota. By the time of this interview, from the ABC Radio From The Capitol series on October 24, 1961, McCarthy was already a familiar fixture around Washington and during this panel interview is asked about the previous session of Congress and what 1962 was going to look like.
Sen. Eugene McCarthy: ?This is a time at which Senators and members of Congress as well as newspaper men and columnists do back off and take a kind of long range view of the session of Congress, of its achievements, it?s accomplishments and its failures. And then after a suitable pause look forward to the next session of Congress. I think that generally this was a productive session, it was not one in which there was any great victories I suppose of a startling nature. But the victories were rather broadly based and I think of general significance.?
There was also talk about passing a comprehensive Healthcare bill and an Aid to Education. And we know what happened to those . . .
... the people of Phoenix, AZ were quick to call foul over the appearance of a dome-like structure along an interstate. But in the clamor over the impending Muslim takeover, these Arizonans missed one small detail — the building is not a Mosque, it’s a church.
Watch the local newscast about the "controversy."
The only question remaining is whether those outraged Arizonians were as happy to hear about La Luz Del Mundo Church as they were to learn that Muslims weren't plotting to pray in Phoenix.
The other day, someone alerted me to this Boston Globe article about "re-foreclosures." In some cases, the banks can obtain a successful eviction and control the property, but find themselves unable to obtain title insurance that they need to sell the[...]
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Via Ezra, here's another extremely critical review of the Simpson-Bowles plan from Henry Aaron, Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at Brookings. One of his primary concerns is that this proposal seems to have been created in a vacuum that didn't take into account the ongoing economic crisis.
All responsible budget analysts agree that the United States faces a daunting deficit problem. It should be addressed soon. But how soon is not clear. After the recovery is well under way, most would agree, and certainly before the debt/GDP ratio gets too large. What is not clear is what “well under way” means and whether it will happen soon enough to prevent to debt/Gross Domestic Product ratio from getting too large. The Bowles-Simpson plan would start deficit reduction in fiscal 2012, which starts on October 1, 2011, not even eleven months from now. Since unemployment is likely then to still be in the vicinity of 9 percent or higher, that is too soon, as premature deficit reduction could intensify and lengthen the recession. This is not a minor issue, as nothing more effectively depresses revenues and generates deficits than a weak economy.
Even more troubling than timing, is the program itself. Over the first nine years, 70 percent of the deficit reduction under the Bowles-Simpson “mark” would come from spending cuts, 30 percent from added taxes. The steady-state spending level, as a share of GDP, would be 20.5 percent of GDP. That is lower than spending averaged from 1980 to 2008 when none of the baby boomers had yet retired and claimed Social Security and Medicare and when spending on health care per person was a minor fraction of what it will be in 2020....
All in all, the draft plan is replete with magic asterisks, that infamous device in President Reagan’s first budget that promised spending cuts that never came. It sets targets for overall spending and taxation so low that it will be impossible to sustain even basic promises to provide pension and health benefits to the elderly, disabled, and poor.
The spending cuts are so numerous and so deep, the tax changes are so large and disruptive, that they are not only unlikely to be adopted but would have needlessly adverse effects if they were.
Deductions for contributions to IRAs, Keogh plans, and 401k plans would be ended ... [and] Social Security benefits would eventually be cut by 25 percent for people earning $43,000 today and by 40 percent for those earning $100,000. Note the double whammy -- less Social Security and no tax-sheltered savings plans.
Add to that we have no idea when the housing market will stabilize and whether the most significant investment most retirees and near-retirees own--their homes--will ever provide the kind of financial security they once did. This could be a disastrous proposal for retirees, and for the whole economy.
CHICAGO ? A major study out Monday promises to transform stroke prevention for millions of people with atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder that often sends blood clots swirling to the brain, researchers reported Monday.
The study of 14,000 patients found that a new one-a-day pill, rivaroxaban, prevents strokes as effectively as the current mainstay of treatment, Coumadin, without the need for routine testing to monitor patients’ ability to make blood clots and avoid unwanted bleeding, says Robert Califf, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C.
If Ribvaroxaban is as effective as Coumadin, then the real effects will become clear when millions of people take it. You have the cost of blood tests as often as several times a week, and the cost of hospitalization when the Coumadin has too little or too much effect. It’s a tough drug to regulate if you are not able to take it as ordered and get the labs.
It’s always risk v. benefit. Stroke is a terrible kind of injury, and it makes sense to do anything possible to prevent it. If there’s a medication that gives the benefits without the close monitoring needed with Coumadin then it would save time for practitioners and stress for patients.
Let me hurry up and get this post out of the way so that I can watch "5" and Vick mix it up down in D.C. (BTW, congrats to "5" and his new contract. I guess sometimes it pays to shuffle.)
So anyway, I can't help but wonder how many dumbocrats share the view of the two honorary house Negroes and traitors on my side-bar. Let me see, his O ness is two years in and there is actually talk that he shouldn't run in 2012? And, to make matters worse, the Washington Post actually allowed these two clowns to do an entire editorial on the subject. What a disgrace!
I have some advise for anyone who wants to run a credible news organization in A-merry-ca: Do not put anyone who appears on FOX NEWS on your network, and do not allow anyone who appears on FOX NEWS to write one letter in your newspaper. Everyone in A-merry-ca gets the joke but them. Honestly,the s&^# is getting past pathetic. The political and ideological buffoonery in this country has reached epic proportions.
And, speaking of buffoonery; I was going to give this brotha a chance ------even though I suspected that he was going to be just another empty headed wingnut, but, -true to form- he already did some dumb stuff that has me writing him off.
Allen West actually wanted to take a wingnut shock jock to Washington with him as his chief of staff, ( a woman who has called for the hanging of illegal immigrants) but thanks to public outcry, he had to withdraw her name from consideration. As is typical of the woe is me wingnut, Girlfriend channeled her inner Clarence Thomas and called it an "electronic lynching."
"Right wing talk radio host Joyce Kaufman told her listeners Thursday that she telephoned Congressman elect Allen West Wednesday night and informed him that she would not accept a job as his chief of staff.
?I owe you an explanation, and I owe Congressman West a statement,? Kaufman told listeners before making the announcement during her noon to 3 p.m. show on WFTL-850 AM in Fort Lauderdale.
The withdrawal follows an outcry over comments Kaufman has made in the past, calling for the hanging of illegal immigrants, and saying if the election did not go West and Republicans? way, her followers should get out their ?gun cartridges.? Among her statements at a July 4 tea party rally for West: ?If ballots don?t work, bullets will.?
Saying she was proud of West?s accomplishment in getting elected in Florida?s 22nd Congressional District, Kaufman said she was withdrawing because of what she called ?vile? attacks on her by unnamed enemies, which she said were designed to hurt West.
?I will not be complicit in this effort to diminish his stature [through] attacks against me,? Kaufman told her listeners. ?I will not allow myself to be defined by others. I return to my program on WFTL And as I have always believed, I?m in God?s hands.?
Kaufman, who is half-Puerto Rican and half Jewish, even played the race card in her denunciation of those who have criticized her comments.
?I will not be used in an electronic lynching by proxy,? she said during the show. ?The insanity of using a Hispanic woman to lynch a black American Army hero elected to congress ? what they?re trying to do is bring down Congressman-elect Allen West. They?re not fooling me, and they?re certainly not fooling you." [Full story]
If you are in "God's hands" I hope she drops you on your head. Wait, I think she might have already done that.
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At the beginning of the year when the TSA started to tell us body scanners were the answer to the underwear bomber, German TV showed us otherwise. They continue to promote this expensive process that has little proof that it's a valid solution. We also know that the bad guys and gals could hide whatever they like in a body cavity and it would go undetected. Hopefully Washington hasn't already signed up for those searches as well. Again, everyone wants to be safe, but enough of this security theater that trashes our rights.
I'd like my country back, so quit with the excuses.
John Pistole, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, told TODAY's Matt Lauer that his agency is looking for a balance between security and privacy.
"Everybody wants the best possible security to know that everybody else on that flight has been screened properly, that there's not a group of people with box cutters who may want to storm the cabin, or people with liquid explosives, or shoe bombs, or underwear bombs," Pistole said.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, in an opinion piece in USA Today, said body scanners used at many airports around the country are safe, and the images are viewed in private. Additionally, she said pat downs have been used for years at airports and measures are in place to protect travelers' privacy.
"At times the overt longing for simple answers that you get from Tea Party leaders is so earnest and touching, it almost makes you forget how insane most of them are."
-- Matt Taibbi, in his new book, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
I try periodically to make sense of the phenomenon that seems to me really at the heart of what we might call the Dittohead School of Political Discourse: an impassioned, almost desperate belief, or rather insistence, that complexity is a liberal plot, that in fact everything worth knowing can be reduced to a four-word mantra that can be spouted by a four-year-old. Now Matt Taibbi has made what seems to me a signal contribution to the taxonomy of American imbecility.
AlterNet has posted a chunk ("Taibbi: the Tea Party Moron Complex," originally posted on DailyKos in its preelection
GOTV" series) from Matt Taibbi's new book, Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America. We start with his laying out of what he suggests would be the logically appropriate division of the American body politic-- instead of ("two giant political parties of roughly equal size perpetually fighting over the same 5?10 percent swatch of undecided voters"):
[T]he parties should be broken down into haves and have-nots -- a couple of obnoxious bankers on the Upper East Side running for office against 280 million pissed-off credit card and mortgage customers. That?s the more accurate demographic picture of a country in which the top 1 percent has seen its share of the nation?s overall wealth jump from 34.6 percent before the crisis, in 2007, to over 37.1 percent in 2009. Moreover, the standard of living for the average American has plummeted during the crisis -- the median American household net worth was $102,500 in 2007, and went down to $65,400 in 2009 -- while the top 1 percent saw its net worth hold relatively steady, dropping from $19.5 million to $16.5 million.
If you want to understand why America is such a paradise for high-class thieves, just look at the way a manufactured movement like the Tea Party corrals and neutralizes public anger that otherwise should be sending pitchforks in the direction of downtown Manhattan.
There are two reasons why Tea Party voters will probably never get wise to the Ponzi-scheme reality of bubble economics. One has to do with the basic sales pitch of Tea Party rhetoric, which cleverly exploits Main Street frustrations over genuinely intrusive state and local governments that are constantly in the pockets of small businesses for fees and fines and permits.
The other reason is obvious: the bubble economy is hard as hell to understand. To even have a chance at grasping how it works, you need to commit large chunks of time to learning about things like securitization, credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, etc., stuff that?s fiendishly complicated and that if ingested too quickly can feature a truly toxic boredom factor.
So long as this stuff is not widely understood by the public, the Grifter class is going to skate on almost anything it does -- because the tendency of most voters, in particular conservative voters, is to assume that Wall Street makes its money engaging in normal capitalist business and that any attempt to restrain that sector of the economy is thinly disguised socialism.
That?s why it?s so brilliant for the Tea Party to put forward as its leaders some of the most egregiously stupid morons on our great green earth. By rallying behind dingbats like Palin and Michele Bachmann -- the Minnesota congresswoman who thought the movie Aladdin promoted witchcraft and insisted global warming wasn?t a threat because "carbon dioxide is natural" -- the Tea Party has made anti-intellectualism itself a rallying cry. The Tea Party is arguing against the very idea that it?s even necessary to ask the kinds of questions you need to ask to grasp bubble economics.
Bachmann has a lot of critics, but they miss the genius of her political act. Even as she spends every day publicly flubbing political SAT questions, she?s always dead-on when it comes to her basic message, which is that government is always the problem and there are no issues the country has that can?t be worked out with basic common sense (there?s a reason why many Tea Party groups are called "Common Sense Patriots" and rally behind "common sense campaigns").
Common sense sounds great, but if you?re too freaking lazy to penetrate the mysteries of carbon dioxide -- if you haven?t mastered the whole concept of breathing by the time you?re old enough to serve in the U.S. Congress -- you?re not going to get the credit default swap, the synthetic collateralized debt obligation, the interest rate swap, etc. And understanding these instruments and how they were used (or misused) is the difference between perceiving how Wall Street made its money in the last decades as normal capitalist business and seeing the truth of what it often was instead, which was simple fraud and crime. It?s not an accident that Bachmann emerged in the summer of 2010 (right as she was forming the House of Tea Party Caucus) as one of the fiercest opponents of financial regulatory reform; her primary complaint with the deeply flawed reform bill sponsored by Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank was that it would "end free checking accounts."
Our world isn?t about ideology anymore. It?s about complexity. We live in a complex bureaucratic state with complex laws and complex business practices, and the few organizations with the corporate will power to master these complexities will inevitably own the political power. On the other hand, movements like the Tea Party more than anything else reflect a widespread longing for simpler times and simple solutions -- just throw the U.S. Constitution at the whole mess and everything will be jake. For immigration, build a big fence. Abolish the Federal Reserve, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education. At times the overt longing for simple answers that you get from Tea Party leaders is so earnest and touching, it almost makes you forget how insane most of them are.
Way to go!#
The economy of the 21st century will be based on an educated workforce. This will entail a familiarity with science and technology and the ability to recognize that peer-reviewed scientific work is a conspiracy. Employers will be looking for people to compete against foreign workers by having the skills to look online and find a Web site that tells them that entire fields of science are a hoax.
The United States is still, even in this era of budget cuts, able to turn out millions of adults ready and willing to cite obscure e-mails to prove that all scientists want is to control their lives. Adults able to seek out and find television and radio programming that gives them CLEAR, CONSISTENT misinformation that they can use to elect politicians who will turn that misinformation into policy.
And parenting is key. If you are one of the fortunate millions who have had these opportunities to arm yourself with a delusional worldview, be sure to PASS THAT ON to your children. This will equip them for a productive life in the global dust bin. This is how the U.S. will position itself for leadership in a world that is changing, in more ways than one.
(Relevant portion begins at 2:20)
Oh my goodness, the media is setting up Rand Paul as an economic oracle, haven't they? Funny that most of them could barely give his dad the time of day when he ran for the Republican presidential nomination, even though he polls higher than the media-deemed Serious Candidates. Maybe it's because they collectively get all a-tingle at the Ayn Rand call back of his nickname.
In any event, the Villagers have decided that Rand Paul--the guy who brought Aqua Buddha to our collective consciousness, who created his own certification group to give himself certification as an opthalmologist, who thinks that civil rights legislation is government overreach and who gladly accepts Medicare payments from the government while openly denouncing the program--without benefit of a single day in office (he's not sworn in until January 2011) and apparently little knowledge of how government works, is the Republican from whom we should get answers for our struggling economy. I'm sure actual Republican leaders like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell appreciate this media coronation for the apotheosis of the tea party movement.
Rand Paul appeared Sunday on Face the Nation and host Bob Scheiffer asks him where he's willing to compromise to get the people's work done. No surprise, the only area from which Paul will not budge is raising taxes:
When asked by host Bob Scheiffer about specific revenue-raising options suggested by last week's report by the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, such as a hike in the gasoline tax, Paul said, "I don't think I want to raise taxes right now."
"I think the best thing is to make the tax cuts permanent. And the reason is people are talking as if this is something new. Businesses have predicated and made their business plans based on these tax cuts now for five, six, seven, eight years. And so if you abruptly change that, you're changing the business model."
But when asked if he could support a temporary extension, Paul replied, "If that's all we can get, that's better than nothing."
For you and your wealthy friends, sure. For the rest of the country and the economy, not so much. It would be a mind-blowing moment of actual journalism for Schieffer to point out that these tax cuts have been in place during the entire recession, so asserting that these tax cuts would actually help anything (especially since tax cuts are the least effective stimuli for the economy historically) is a dubious claim at best. But then again, no one should be foolish enough to expect journalism on the Sunday shows.
But would it surprise you that the face of the Republican populist movement is actually not listening to the population wants?
The Tea Party senator wants [..] to focus on reducing spending because he sees the federal government as too big and too ineffective.
"[The government] now consume at the federal level 25 percent of the gross domestic product. Historically we were at 20 percent. So we've taken 5 percent away from the private sector," Paul said.
[According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the percentage of GDP for the 3rd quarter of 2010 attributed to government consumption expenditures and gross investment was 20.5%, and has been in the range of 20.3-20.8% since the 3rd quarter of 2008.] [..]
When asked if he could support raising Social Security taxes for higher-wage earners, Paul said he preferred instituting means testing for higher-income recipients of Social Security and Medicare benefits. He said instead of sending a government check to someone who makes $200,000 a year in retirement income, don?t tax them.
"Let's just not send the money to them. You don't want to tax them though, because they are creating jobs. You don't want to take more money out of the private sector."
Paul also said he wants to cut the federal work force by 10 percent.
"The federal employees unions are pretty strong, but you have to do it," Paul said. "I think you should shrink the federal work force and make their pay more comparable. Right now the total compensation for government workers versus private workers is almost two to one."
[Paul's claim that federal workers earn twice as much as private workers comes from an August USA Today article that cited Bureau of Economic Analysis data. But the Bureau notes that comparing compensation of all federal and private workers does not lead to an accurate account, since skill and education levels of federal workers tend to be higher. The BEA lists a number of factors that explain the disparity, and a Politifact article aimed to analyze USA Today's claims.]
So Paul bases his stance of fiscal responsibility on his erroneous grasp of facts? Typical. But moreover, it ignores what tea partiers say they want too:
A new poll contradicts the widely held belief that the Tea Party movement is opposed to government action to help the economy. It shows that self-described Tea Party supporters are very much in favor of government action to revitalize America's manufacturing base.
Seventy-four percent of self-described Tea Party supporters would support a "national manufacturing strategy to make sure that economic, tax, labor, and trade policies in this country work together to help support manufacturing in the United States," according to the poll, put out by the Mellman Group and the Alliance for American Manufacturing. Likewise, 56 percent of self-described Tea Party Supporters "favor a tariff on products imported from other countries that are cheaper because they came from a country that does not have to comply with any climate change regulations in the country where the products were made."
There are your economic stimulus marching orders. Get to work.
Greg Mitchell at The Nation reminds us what a real anti-war protest looks like:
The wars in Iraq an Afghanistan were notably, and tragically, absent as campaign issues this autumn. Street demonstrations? Very scattered. Various forms of protest continue online but it's a long way from the heated Vietnam era. This Monday, in fact, marks the 41st anniversary of the largest mass antiwar march ever, the November 15, 1969, demo in Washington, DC, which I attended as a college student.
But this month marks another notable anniversary in the annals of Vietnam protest: the day Norman Morrison, a 31-year-old Quaker from Baltimore handed his infant daughter off to a bystander, doused himself with kerosene and set himself ablaze under Pentagon chief Robert McNamara's window at the Pentagon.
One week later, on November 10, 1965, another antiwar protester, Roger LaPorte, did the same thing in front of the United Nations building in New York.
Morrison had been particularly saddened by the burning of villages and killing of civilians in Vietnam. A Catholic priest's account of a bombing in a Vietnamese village particularly distressed him. He had resisted taxes, demonstrated, and lobbied in Washington, but now said to his wife (she recalls), "It's not enough. What can be done to stop this war?"
In his final letter to Anne, his wife (they had three children), he wrote, "Know that I love thee, but I must go to help the children of the priest's village." It is believed that he carried his daughter to the Pentagon that day to remind him of the children he was trying to save in Vietnam.
McNamara would later describe Morrison's death as "a tragedy not only for his family but also for me and the country. It was an outcry against the killing that was destroying the lives of so many Vietnamese and American youth."
Morrison became a kind of folk hero in US antiwar circles, his name or face carried on antiwar posters for several years. North Vietnam named a street after him and issued a stamp in his honor-the possession of which was declared illegal in the US. Morrison's widow visited Vietnam in 1999 and met a poet who had written a tribute to her husband. On a visit to this country in 2007, Nguyen Minh Triet, the country's leader, read the poem near the site where Morrison set himself ablaze.
I can't remember the last day that passed without a press release from DoD:
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
No, not for nothing. They died - and continue to die - for Wall Street and Halliburton and Lockheed Martin and Blackwater and oh yes indeed BP.
They died - and continue to die - because George W. Bush is a sociopathic arrested adolescent with a mommy complex and a teeny-tiny dick.
They died - and continue to die - because Barack Obama - tragically just like McNamara 45 years ago - doesn't have the guts to say what I'm sure he believes: that this clusterfuck is destroying the nation and has to stop.
But no, Afghanistan is not Vietnam. Not until another Norman Morrison stands before the White House gates, hands his infant daughter to a bystander, pours kerosene over his head and sets himself on fire.
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