America’s Premier Crime Family Rolls Out Its New Capo


(Jim Morin via GoComics.com)
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Never turn your back on a member of the Bush crime syndicate. John Ellis “I Got Ma’s Woodchuck Genes While That Lucky Sumbitch Dubya Got Pater’s Sewer Rat DNA” Bush is busily undermining his way beneath the garden fence of the media’s good graces, and loyal family retainer Michael “Wormtongue” Gerson is still working the streetcorner for him:

Jeb Bush’s recent field trip to Washington was not pleasant, but it was clarifying — a civics lesson in democracy’s darker side.

On June 1, Bush testified before the House Budget Committee on the topic of entitlement reform. First came an ambush by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — also head of the Democratic National Committee — who delivered a partisan tirade on an obscure spending item that Bush had supported as Florida’s governor. Then Bush ventured to criticize anti-tax pledges, which “outsource your principles and convictions” — comments that Grover Norquist, president of the advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform, immediately attacked as “ignorant” and “embarrassing.”

It was Washington in miniature: a momentous topic treated with the dignity and seriousness of cage boxing. Bush recalls the hearing as a “circus” and “laughable.” “It was not a discussion,” he told me, “but long questions that were really statements.” Bush, who has been reading Robert A. Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson, “The Passage of Power,” was struck by the historical contrast. “You might not always like where he came out, but Johnson used power to solve problems.” …

The existence of zombies is hereby disproved, because Zombie Lyndon Johnson did not rise screaming from his catafalque and kick both Gerson’s and Jeb’s flabby dishonest arses.

We are never going to be rid of this gang of thugs and criminals. For all Jeb pretends to Charlie Rose he ‘regrets’ that he won’t be Romney’s VP — second banana to a failed candidate is no place for a Bush, Poppy told him — Jonathan Chait is not the only observer who thinks Jeb is positioning himself for 2016:
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The Legacy of A Third-Rate Burglary

Shorter Kathleen Parker, wouldbe Suthrun Belle, and incidentally WaPo columnist: If only that partyless DFH Nixon hadn’t given the commoners such an excuse to jeer at their betters!

You think I’m kidding?

Nixon was a criminal to be sure, even if he never quite saw it that way. He broke the law and was willing to bribe, burgle, wiretap, lie and extort for political gain. Somewhere along his dark path of consuming paranoia, he lost any flicker of light to help him see that he was lost. Woodward and Bernstein say that our allegiance to the adage that the cover-up is always worse than the crime is misplaced in Nixon’s case….

We couldn’t all be Woodwards and Bernsteins, it turned out, but the presumption of corruption and government as the enemy was a pervasive, defining force in newsrooms across the nation. And this force in turn helped shape a relentless cynicism that persists today even as it morphs into something else.

And what is that? Hard to say, but a country without faith or trust in its institutions — from the presidency to Congress to the judiciary and even to the once glorious, swashbuckling, truth-seeking press — is going to have a rough go of things. As seems to be the case…

Charles Pierce is more honest (not a difficult feat):

[T]he true “lessons” of Watergate were how we could abandon our responsibilities as citizens, and twist the obligations of self-government, so that “the country” would never have to “go through” anything like that again. What was a triumph of self-government in 1974 was reckoned to be such a national trauma by 1986 that our elite institutions formed an iron circle to keep it from happening to Ronald Reagan and his people because the country “couldn’t take another failed presidency.” (As illustrated in On Bended Knee, Mark Hertsgaard’s essential account of the lapdog press under Reagan, even Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham, who’d stood all the gaff when her newspaper was alone on an island in its early Watergate coverage, was concerned that the press might go too far.) And the final absurd twist came with the impeachment of Bill Clinton for crimes against the Seventh Commandment, an exercise in Kabuki that really was only the final act in an ongoing campaign of dirty tricks. Kenneth Starr had far more in common with H.R. Haldeman than he did with Archibald Cox, and Henry Hyde had more in common with Gordon Liddy than he did with Peter Rodino. History was thereby turned on its head until its brains fell out its ears.

The lasting “lesson” of Watergate, it appears, is that self-government was too dangerous, that the perils of it outweigh its values, and that the obligations of citizenship, beyond those which are purely ceremonial, are too heavy for citizens to bear.

The Watergate hearings ran aground on the iceberg that threatens all Truth & Reconciliation commissions: Without truth, there can be no reconciliation. Officially labelling Richard Nixon as a paranoid with a drinking problem who misled a carefully circumscribed inner circle of true believers into an unprecedented and unreproducible confluence of “political miscalculation” allowed all the other miscreants to scuttle away unpunished like cockroaches under the appliances. The key figures in every American political disaster over the last forty years — people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, the Bush criminals, father & sons — took only one “lesson” from Watergate: never get cornered. When truth is the enemy, make lying the default. Keep in mind that a workable percentage of the media can always be purchased, that a pundit class will respond favorably to raw power no matter how such power is directed, and that people remember a narrative (which can be controlled) better than they remember facts (which can’t). Perfect recipe for the creation of a second Gilded Age — aka, a banana republic for our Bananas Republicans.



Stopped Clocks and All That

John McCain and I don’t agree on much, I reckon.  I think the old man has been a net drag on American politics for a long time.

But I can’t find much to dispute in his take on Sheldon Adelson and Citizens United. (Via TPM):

“[M]uch of Mr. Adelson’s casino profits that go to him come from this casino in Macau,” McCain told Judy Woodruff in an interview that aired Thursday night. “Which says that, obviously, maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign.”

McCain, who once worked with former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) on the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, a.k.a. the McCain-Feingold bill, called the Citizens United decision the Supreme Court’s “most misguided, naive, uninformed, egregious decision” in the 21st century.

“Look, I guarantee you, Judy, there will be scandals,” he said. “There is too much money washing around political campaigns today. And it will take scandals, and then maybe we can have the Supreme Court go back and revisit this issue. Remember, the Supreme Court rules on constitutionality. So just passing another law doesn’t get it. So I’m afraid we’re in for a very bleak period in American politics.”

Unlike Romney — who famously said last summer that “corporations are people” — McCain said he believes that “corporations are not people.”

“That’s why we have different laws that govern corporations than govern individual citizens,” he said. “And so to say that corporations are people, again, flies in the face of all the traditional Supreme Court decisions that we have made — that have been made in the past.”

Put this another way:  McCain actually seems to recognize that Mittens is setting up to be the front man for a presidency whose IOUs belong to Adelson’s Israel-first hunger and, as McCain himself points out, that Chinese connection that will surely disappoint those who actually credit Romney’s bluster on confrontation with Beijing.  (Not to mention all the other notes that will have to be paid to folks like the Kochs, et al.)

John McCain sees this as “a very bleak period in American politics.”

Grandpa: you’re on to something.

Image:  John Singer Sargent, Charles Deering at Brickell Point, Miami, 1917.

 

 



Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Labored


(Mike Luckovich via GoComics.com)
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Certain juxtapositions are irresistable. Here’s Doghouse Riley on the GOP’s “Fuck You Society“:

Last Sunday, Absentee Governor and Retired Lawn Ornament Mitch Daniels went on FOXNews to call for an end to public-sector unions. Sorta. Daniels is from the wing of the party which doesn’t like to say that sort of thing without the required hemming and hawing necessary to prevent it from being held accountable for the crazy shit it’s going to do anyway…

Is this really what this election should come down to? Is it really someone’s definition of “economy”? Eliminate public unions, and our wealthy job creators will be free to create jobs, namely, security guards and private bucket brigades.

Was the 2012 election really decided when Big Donors chose up sides in 2010?

Is this really the United States of America in the 21st century? Don’t tell me.

Do we really have to relive the excesses of the fucking Gilded Age just because rich people won the 1980 Presidential election?

This is the program which has failed, publicly and demonstrably, time and again, since. Incontinent tax cutting and irresponsible regulation are precisely what got us here. And they are promoted by the likes of Mitch Daniels, public liars, political cowards, and “principled” men who won’t actually do anything except accompanied by a new moon, and the sort of massive PR campaign which convinces Americans to eat pig anus stuffed with bacon and cheese…

Apart from the fact that, as Churchy LaFemme would say, Friday the Thirteenth fell on a Wednesday this month, what’s on the agenda for what’s left of the evening?



Mitt Romney Thinks High Private Sector Growth and 4.3 Million New Jobs is a “Moral Failure of Tragic Proportions”

Mitt Romney is a liar. Lately, I’m finding it physically painful to listen to this man speak, or to read his remarks because he is shameless, unethical, and a bald-faced liar. It is unclear who Romney thinks he’s running against, but it is clear that he is not running against President Obama. At least, he’s not running against “IRL” President Obama. Mitt Romney is running against a strawman, all the while erecting strawmen and promptly setting them on fire.

Take Mittens’ comments on Thursday about President Obama’s economic policies:

Mitt Romney today declared that the floundering economy under President Obama is not just a “failure of policy” but a “moral failure of tragic proportion,” though he offered few new details as to what he would do differently as president.

“This president’s misguided policies have seem muddled, confused and simply ineffective,” said Romney, speaking at the minority-run Production Products, a military contractor that manufactures shelters to shield from chemical and biological attacks, among others.

“When you look around at America’s economy, three-and-a-half years into this presidency, it’s painfully obvious that this inexperienced president with no experience as a leader was simply not up to the task of solving a great economic crisis,” said Romney. “This is not just a failure of policy; it is a moral failure of tragic proportion. Our government has a moral commitment to help every American help himself. And that commitment has been broken.”

“I will not be that president of doubt and deception,” said Romney. “I will lead us to a better place.’

Or take Romney’s comments yesterday after President Obama’s rhetorical “the private sector is doing fine” slip-up in a press conference:

“For the president of the United States to stand up and say that the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history as an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a president who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again,” Romney said.

After you stop laughing at Mr. Roboto calling President Obama out of touch, let’s take a look at the effect of President Obama’s economic policies.  (Don’t groan! Stick with it.  It’s not that bad. The links in the list below are charts):

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Schooled By The Bayou

While the country’s been focusing on the Presidential election and the euro crisis, Bobby Jindal and Louisiana Republicans are about to execute their plan to privatize the state’s public schools in a massive voucher mess that will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions.  The real crime is that the “schools” that will profit tremendously from this little voucher scheme writ large are…surprise!…religious-based:

Far more openings are available at smaller, less prestigious religious schools, including some that are just a few years old and others that have struggled to attract tuition-paying students.

The school willing to accept the most voucher students — 314 — is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.

The Upperroom Bible Church Academy in New Orleans, a bunker-like building with no windows or playground, also has plenty of slots open. It seeks to bring in 214 voucher students, worth up to $1.8 million in state funding.

At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains “what God made” on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.

We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children,” Carrier said.

Other schools approved for state-funded vouchers use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don’t cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution.

And Louisiana tax dollars are going to this.  It’s insanity…and yet, Republicans now dominate the state.  This is the “future” of American education that will make us “competitive” in math and science with Europe and Asia.  Awesome.

Meanwhile, the students left in Louisiana public schools lose more and more funding for every student that takes advantage of this “more efficient approach to education”, necessitating more vouchers as students and parents flee a doomed system that eventually goes under a critical mass point and collapses.  Lotteries determine who gets into the posh schools, and who gets into the windowless cubicles with the textbooks where evolution doesn’t exist.  It’s a grift that would make the best cons grin from ear to ear and everyone’s lining up to open a school to get in on the action.

Everything about this is a complete disaster waiting to happen that will almost certainly collapse the state’s schools where major private charter outfits will have to step in and “save” the state of education in Louisiana.  And the GOP will gladly hand that control over to for-profit outfits.

Which of course is the point.  The rich get the goods, the rubes get fleeced, and the poor get screwed.  Nothing’s more American than that, folks.  There’s plenty of damage unlimited GOP control at the state level can accomplish, as Louisiana is about to find out.

I guar-ron-tee it’s working as intended.



Handful Of Job Breakers

Jobs numbers pretty much fooled everyone on the econ side, but not anyone on the political side.

The American jobs engine hit stall speed in May, with the economy adding just 69,000 new jobs while the unemployment rate climbed to 8.2 percent.

As another summertime swoon looms, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that job creation missed economist estimates for 158,000 new positions and the jobless rate rose for the first time in nearly a year.

Labor force participation remains near 30-year lows though incrementally better than last month, rising to 63.8 percent.

The unemployment rate that counts discouraged workers rose as well, swelling to 14.8 percent form 14.5 percent in April.

Long-term unemployment also took a sharp upturn, with the number of those out of work for 27 weeks or more jumping from 5.1 million to 5.4 million. The average duration of unemployment moved from 39.1 weeks to 39.7 weeks.

“It’s painfully obvious the economic recovery in the U.S. isn’t just slowing down, it’s pulling up the emergency brake. And, lack of job creation isn’t the only critical concern. Wages/Income is sharply lower,” said Todd Schoenberger, managing principal The BlackBay Group in New York.

Your headline:  “GOP Plan To Throttle Economy Ahead Of Crucial Elections Proceeding Apace.”

Open thread.

[UPDATE]  Yeah, pretty much every gorram thing Chuck Pierce says on this.

He cannot win re-election on the merits if he’s mixing pale middle-class nostrums with deficit-hawk snake oil. The nation is in crisis now. It’s not in as deep a crisis as it was when he came into office, when we were shedding 800,000 jobs a month, but the unemployment level we have now is not sustainable in a viable political democracy. The media will be no help. This morning, as the crows came to sit upon the Capitol, I heard one commentator after another talk about how the jobs figures were depressed because the corporate class in this country was “concerned” about, or “uncertain of,” the situation in Europe. This is all my balls. They’re still hiring people in Malaysia, and in China, and everywhere else that people will work for 40 cents a day and no bathroom breaks. They’re not thinking about Greece when they do that. They’re not hiring people in this country because, frankly, and I know their tender fee-fees will be injured by this, the average American corporate CEO has the same relationship to patriotism as John Edwards had to his marriage vows. But he cannot run on any of this, either, not credibly, anyway. He lost that opportunity a couple of years ago. This morning, it’s hard to see a way forward for him on this, except to argue that the ditch was deeper than he thought it was, which is, let’s face it, an argument for dullards.

Team Obama, I’m gonna say this once.  I had your back, I still have your back, I will still have your back.
But you guys?  Nut the fuck up and go the full Krugman.
Now.
[UPDATE 2]  OK fine, assholes.  Here’s what I would at least start with:
1)  Absolute full court media press on legislation.  I’d start with “Here’s the list of things we sent to the House to die under John Boehner’s watch, most recently the Paycheck Fairness Act on Thursday.”  Today, Saturday, Sunday, pound it, pound it, pound it.
2)  Europe.  Summit.  Meeting.  Hillary, Geithner, somebody goes over there.  Meets with Hollande, Merkel, Cameron, other leaders.  Gets on the same page.
3)  New stimulus bill.  Yes, it will die in the House.  Yes, it needs to be done anyway.  Let the GOP say “We will do nothing to help the economy, fuck you” with a huge 300 foot megaphone to all Americans.
4)  Executive order stuff, especially on the mortgage front.
That’s off the top of my head.