Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wednesday Mashup (3/9/11)

  • To begin, I should let you know that I checked the web site of our PA-08 U.S. House rep Mikey The Beloved to find out what progress he has made with the daunting task of trying to bring jobs to our district.

    As noted here from last month, he “announc(ed) a small-business advisory panel.” And, with lightning speed and laser-like precision…we have exactly the same entry here. With no update whatsoever.

    Where are the jobs, Mikey?

  • Next, I give you the following from Repug “young gun” Eric Cantor here…

    House Republicans escalated pressure on President Obama to become directly involved in the budget debate roiling Capitol Hill, criticizing the White House for allowing a vacuum of leadership on the issue.

    “Where is the president?” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) asked in a press conference Wednesday morning, repeating the refrain five times in the 10-minute briefing.

    Negotiations on a spending bill to fund the government through September have hit a wall in the six days since Obama dispatched Vice President Biden to meet with congressional leaders at the Capitol. The Senate is expected to reject both the Republican and Democratic plans for spending cuts in votes Wednesday afternoon, and GOP leaders are already predicting that another short-term stopgap measure will be needed when current funding expires March 18.

    “We’re saying, ‘C’mon, let’s see some leadership,’” Cantor said. “We are ready to talk. We are ready to listen.”

    Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) mocked the White House for naming Biden to lead negotiations days before he departed Washington for a five-day trip to Finland, Moldova and Russia. “The vice president’s not even in the country,” McCarthy said. He noted that the White House press secretary refused to identify who was negotiating for the administration in Biden’s absence, and he gleefully recited examples of Democratic division on the proposed spending cuts.

    Neither Cantor nor McCarthy indicated what the next step in the stalemate would be, but both parties are waiting for the Senate to dispense with the two proposals to clear the way for negotiations to heat up in earnest.
    Well, I suspect that they’re going to keep waiting, seeing as how both proposals were “dispensed” with here.

    The gall and hubris of this bunch running the House continues to both astonish and disgust me.

    And that is particularly true when the following is noted (from here)…

    "Under Republican leadership in the early 2000s, spending and government got out of control," McCarthy writes. "As government grew, there were scandals and political corruption. The focus became getting reelected rather than solving problems and addressing pressing issues."

    The book is the latest attempt by GOP leaders to persuade voters their party has changed since it controlled Congress four years ago. Recent polls have suggested Republicans could make major gains in this fall's elections, but voters have broadly negative views of the party. According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, only 24 percent of people see the party positively, Republicans' lowest rating in the poll.

    Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican, has been a leading figure in trying to rebrand the party, even though he was a party leader then as now.

    In the book "Young Guns," the trio's rhetoric (including Paul Ryan) against their own party is frequent, even as it is vague on identifying the actual culprits. Former House speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.), former majority leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) and former President George W. Bush are almost never named, even as the congressmen suggest the Republican Party must be recast from the Bush era. Obama and Pelosi, meanwhile, are blamed for problems in Washington on nearly every other page.
    Oh, and as noted here, Cantor and his pals have more to lose from a government shutdown than Obama does (though nobody would look too good over it).

    So basically, this represents Cantor and McCarthy as far as yours truly is concerned.

    (I have a feeling that I’ll get sick of looking at this pic way before this bunch can be booted out in 2012.)

  • In addition, I give you the following from Fix Noise (here)…

    Representative Peter King’s (R-N.Y.) decision to hold hearings on American Muslim radicalization has presented an incredible opportunity to American Muslims.

    The course of radicalization over the past two years makes it exceedingly difficult for anyone to assert with a straight face that America is immune to the global Muslim radicalization problem. American Muslims must take the lead in creating solutions to the radicalization of our own. These hearings will provide the long overdue platform for us to step away from the standard denials and apologetics in order to reclaim our Muslim identity from the terrorists and redefine ourselves within the framework of the American pantheon.
    The author of this piece is Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, someone who puts kind of a smiling and benevolent face on anti-Muslim bigotry in this country (as noted here, he said that “most U.S. Muslim groups are soaking up the attention with civil rights issues (and) ‘victimology’”).

    Sarah Posner of The Nation tells us more here…

    Unlike more wild-eyed anti-Muslim agitators like Frank Gaffney (with whom Jasser has collaborated) and Pamela Geller, Jasser comes across as calm, sober and professional. He gained notoriety in 2008, with the release of the Clarion Fund film The Third Jihad, which claimed that a fifth column of Muslim extremists have infiltrated America with the intent of establishing a theocratic state. The star of the film, Jasser helped promote the claim that has ricocheted all over the right—that a single document written by a lone Muslim Brotherhood member in the early 1990s proves that American Muslim charities and advocacy groups are part of a plot to subvert the Constitution and America and install an Islamic theocracy.

    More recently, Jasser made an appearance in Newt Gingrich’s 2010 documentary, America At Risk: The War With No Name, produced by Citizens United, the conservative group whose efforts to air its anti–Hillary Clinton documentary led to the Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate money in campaigns. The release of the film roughly coincided with the Geller-created hysteria over Park51, as well as with Gingrich’s own calls to ban Sharia, warning of “a comprehensive political, economic and religious movement that seeks to impose sharia—Islamic law—upon all aspects of global society.” The film is notably anti-Obama. (Just last week, Gingrich launched a presidential campaign exploratory committee.)

    Jasser is undoubtedly part of a strategy to deflect widespread criticism that King’s hearings are an attempt smear all Muslims with a broad brush. That’s an accusation that Jasser and others in the anti-Muslim agitprop stable are accustomed to averting. And they do so with a sleight of hand: that it’s not individual American Muslims who are radical, it’s their leaders—Muslim charities and civil rights groups, imams and a religious leadership that is dominated by radicals, who in turn dupe the gullible masses.

    This attack on the Obama administration may well point not only to the possible testimony at King’s hearings but to the right’s political rhetoric heading into the 2012 presidential campaign: vague, unsupported insinuation about the connectedness of Obama, radical Islam and “collectivism.” By speaking to “these groups,” Jasser charged, administration officials “put our country in peril, because they are advocating and promoting and basically apologizing for groups that have ideas that are a slippery slope toward that jihadism.”
    So, as Posner says, we can rest assured that, even though the stated goal of people like Jasser is to defend King’s utterly indefensible anti-Muslim hearings, what he and his fellow travelers really hope to accomplish is to keep beating the drum of Obama supposedly being “the other,” and a closet Muslim, and all of the typical garbage accompanying that laughable claim in the hope of getting electoral mileage out of it on behalf of the Repug 2012 presidential candidate.

    And as far as Jasser’s supposedly pleasant countenance, I cannot help but recall the following lyric of a John Lennon song: “first you must learn how to smile as you kill.”

  • Finally, in between analyzing the quotes from Wordsworth and Faulkner in proclaiming his state budget (actually, references to Charles Dickens might be more apropos since it will hasten ever greater division between the very rich and the very poor), I happen to come across this little item that didn’t seem to generate as much press as I thought it might (the text of what our “space cadet” governor told us is here)…

    I have asked my very capable Lieutenant Gov. Jim Cawley to lead a Marcellus Shale Commission to oversee how we can build around this new industry and how we can make certain we do this while protecting our lands, our drinking water, our air, and our communities, all the while growing our workforce. I've directed Jim and the commission to get back to me with findings in 120 days.
    There are all kinds of hosannas to the wingnuts in Corbett’s little travesty (all of which was thoroughly predictable – heckuva job, PA voters!), including singing the virtues of “tort deform,” “government can’t create jobs,” and invoking John Dickinson, a Continental Congress member who refused to sign the Declaration of Independence (as noted here…well, maybe that was politically neutral, I dunno).

    However, I think putting the thoroughly disreputable Jim Cawley in a position to “oversee” Marcellus Shale development is one of the most atrocious moves of the already-noxious Corbett Administration.

    Time, space and the limits of my sanity do not permit me to catalogue all of the reasons why this is a bad idea. Here is one, though – as noted here, Cawley, while running for Lt. Guv with Corbett last year, accepted campaign funds from Brian Preski, who Corbett (as former D.A.) charged on six counts of theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest for allegedly using public resources to conduct campaign work for House Republicans.

    Also, here are some lowlights from Cawley’s term as a Bucks County Commissioner:

  • This tells us that Cawley once said $400,000 of county dough could only be spent for recreational purposes, and that’s why it went to a golf course (another of which Bucks needs like I need a second uvula), even though residents of Bristol had hoped that some of the dough would go to a homeless shelter (and by the way, the county solicitor pointed out that Cawley was wrong).

  • This tells us of a tidy little quid pro quo in which former Bucks Commissioner Cawley and his pal and fellow Commish, Charley (“I Have A Semi-Open Mind”) Martin, steered $200 an hour in legal services to the Langhorne, PA firm of Begley, Carlin & Mandio (which had given $142,000 to county Republicans and commissioner campaigns in the past seven years), and on that same day, six of the firm's attorneys contributed $9,000 to the county GOP, according to an analysis by the Democrats.

  • This tells us of the role played by Cawley and Martin in the move of the one-time polling place at the Creekside Apartments in Bensalem, PA to a location more amenable to registered Republican voters (the population of Creekside is largely elderly and infirmed who could not make the move…two letter writers to the commissioners complained of crime at the polling location, though they could not substantiate the charge, and both letter writers “are or were GOP committee members”).
  • Actually, as long as Corbett chose to invoke a famous figure from our colonial past, I think he should have chosen Thomas Paine instead of Dickinson; the former famously wrote “these are the times that try men’s souls” here.

    And I’m not sure if truer words were ever spoken.

  • Update 3/24/11: And speaking of Dickens (pertaining to the economy under the U.S. House Repugs), I give you this.

    No comments: