Archive: September, 2009
This just into my email box, courtesy of the Republican National Committee:
Yes, it's true -- the Leader of the Free World did indeed call Kanye West "a jackass" tonight in comments that were supposed to be off-the-record but were sent out on Twitter by ABC's Terry Moran. However, since the story involves President Obama, Kanye West and Twitter, I doubt it will get any coverage on cable TV over the next 48 hours or so :-).
Actually, this will do more to boost Obama's approval rating than his speech on healthcare. I'm dead serious.
What our elected officials say in public -- even when it's calling the President of the United States a liar in the middle of his speech -- is often half of the story, or often less than that. Was that really Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouting "You lie!" at President Obama -- or was it the money talking?
Joe Wilson -- the Republican Congressman from South Carolina who is at the center of Washington's latest brouhaha for shouting "you lie" at President Barack Obama during the president's health reform speech before a joint session of Congress -- has long relied on financial support from health-related industries. Two of his top staffers have also lobbied and advocated for health-related clients in recent years.
Wilson was first elected to Congress in 2001, and over the course of his career, his committees have received about $455,800 from political action committees and individual employees within the health sector. The majority of this sum (about $267,900) comes from health professionals, which are Wilson's No. 1 top industry backer. Individual employees and PACs associated with pharmaceutical manufacturers have contributed $100,650 to his committees over his career.
Specifically, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Lexington Medical Center, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Dental Association have donated between $22,000 and $32,000 to Wilson over his career and are all among his top 20 financial supporters.
I had a bit more to say about this but our computers here crashed and destroyed it. Maybe the new owners -- whoever they might be -- could spare a few dollars for a new system.
If you have 13 seconds and need a laugh today, watch this (h/t E&P Pub)
It's always interesting when one of the nation's premier liberal voices -- take-no-prisoners blogger Glenn Greenwald -- says that he can sympathize with the so-called Tea Party protestors who turned out en masse on Saturday in Washington to air their greiviances, some real and some perceived. Greenwald's point is right on the money, that the American middle class is right to be furious, but their true targets lay elsewhere:
This is the paradox of the tea-party movement and other right-wing protests fueled by genuine citizen anger and fear. It is true that the federal government embraces redistributive policies and that middle-class income is seized in order that "someone else benefits." But so obviously, that "someone else" who is benefiting is not the poor and lower classes -- who continue to get poorer as the numbers living below the poverty line expand and the rich-poor gap grows in the U.S. to unprecedented proportions. The "someone else" that is benefiting from Washington policies are -- as usual -- the super-rich, the tiny number of huge corporations which literally own and control the Government. The premise of these citizen protests is not wrong: Washington politicians are in thrall to special interests and are, in essence, corruptly stealing the country's economic security in order to provide increasing benefits to a small and undeserving minority. But the "minority" here isn't what Fox News means by that term, but is the tiny sliver of corporate power which literally writes our laws and, in every case, ends up benefiting.
Greenwald makes a point that I've thought about, too, that there was a brief moment in American when most people -- right, left, and even center -- were mad about the same thing, and that was the billion-dollar bailout of Wall Street bankers. Since Bush was behind the bailout and Obama (and McCain) voted for it, there was a target for everyone. But no one protests the bailout anymore, not in the concrete way that conservatives oppose health care reform. Too bad.
Has a major American newspaper ever given a monthly platform to a former public official so he can regularly seek to thwart or at least criticize a criminal probe into the very program that he authorized while in government? Comes now Exhibit A, John Yoo, who is back in the Philadelphia Inquirer today and returns to his favorite topic: How America as we know it will be destroyed by an investigation into any aspect of torture and other war crimes that were authorized by his own legally dubious memoes.
Is this really ethical? Borderline, and I only say that because so far the smoke signals from the U.S. Justice Department is that they are only investigating extreme torture by rogue CIA agents and not thet actions by Yoo and his superiors like David Cheney and David Addington to apporve waterboarding and other torture tactics that had long been considered illegal. This even though a separate probe by internal Justice Department investigators reportedly accuses Yoo of "sloppy legal analysis, misjudgments and possible political interference in the process" and recommends possible disbarrmant.
The most interesting story of the weekend (no offense, um, "patriots") came from overseas, proving that when it comes to foreign affairs and realpolitick, everything you know is wrong. Remember Margaret Thatcher, the "Iron Lady," Ronald Reagan's partner in conservative resolve?...except when it come to that whole Berlin Wall thing. This is pretty stunning in 20-20 hindsight:
Two months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Margaret Thatcher told President Gorbachev that neither Britain nor Western Europe wanted the reunification of Germany and made clear that she wanted the Soviet leader to do what he could to stop it.