Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Tuesday Mashup (5/3/11)

  • I just loved the corporate media tut-tutting on display in this New York Times story from Saturday…
    A group of leading Democrats, including some with close connections to the White House, are officially forming what are expected be the major outside groups to combat Republicans — and support President Obama — in the 2012 elections with help from huge donations from big money donors and corporations who will have the legal ability to stay in the shadows that Mr. Obama has previously so vocally criticized.

    The groups are to be called Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, and, as such, are modeled after the Republican groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS that were started with help from the strategist Karl Rove and were credited with helping greatly in the party’s takeover of the House of Representatives this year — and, it happens, with facilitating a waterfall of anonymous donations from moneyed interests in the November elections.
    And of course, a quote from Jonathan Collegio of American Crossroads is provided to accuse the president of “brazen hypocrisy” (funny).

    Let me ask the following questions in response, then:
  • Who issued that horrific ruling in the Citizens United case? That would be Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents.

  • Who sponsored the DISCLOSE Act (which would have gone a long way towards fixing the problem created by Citizens United)? Chris Van Hollen in the U.S. House and Charles Schumer in the U.S. Senate, both Democrats.

  • Who opposed the DISCLOSE Act? Republicans (and the ACLU, strangely enough).
  • So basically, the Democrats have done a lot to try and fix the campaign finance mess created by Republicans. However, falling short of that, they are now wisely deciding to play by the same rules that had a lot to do with their midterm congressional losses last year.

    Oh, and nice “analysis” by the Times to not mention Citizens United in the story (found mention in the comments) and say nothing about the DISCLOSE Act also (just another reason for humble, filthy, unkempt liberal blogger types like yours truly to exist, I suppose).

  • Next, before he inflicted his ultra-ridiculous blog post yesterday where he gave Obama zero credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, J.D. Mullane propagandized as follows (here, about high gas prices and the complaints of individuals while filling up)…
    I reminded several SUV drivers that President Obama, on a recent visit to Bucks County, said they had only themselves to blame for pain at the pump.

    The president derided those who drive SUVs that get "8 miles a gallon," recommending they purchase more fuel efficient cars.
    There’s a scant bit of truth there, but Obama didn’t blame individuals for high gas prices (just because you read it at The Heritage Foundation doesn’t make it true…usually it’s the opposite) – as noted here…
    Gamesa employee Jerry Holt, who said he drives a large van to carry his big family, asked Obama if anything can be done to lower relentlessly rising gasoline prices.

    Oh, the president said, we might drill for oil a bit. But lower gas prices? In a word - nope.

    "(W)e can't just drill our way out of the problem," Obama said. Fuel efficient cars are the way to go, he said, which means Americans must switch to smaller cars. Some in audience applauded.

    "Now, I notice some folks clapped," the president said, "but I know some of these big guys, they're all still driving their big SUVs. You know, they got their big monster trucks and everything."

    Speaking directly to Holt, Obama said: "Well, now here's my point. If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting eight miles a gallon, you may have a big family, but it's probably not that big. How many you have? Ten kids, you say? Ten kids. Well, you definitely need a hybrid van then."

    He continued: "None of this is going to help you this week, though. So, like I said, if you're getting eight miles a gallon, you may want to think about a trade-in."
    Mullane then went on to say that hybrid vans cost a minimum of 40 grand, and as I pointed out, that claim was preposterous as usual. Also, if someone particularly with even a small family is driving a vehicle that gets lousy gas mileage and they need the President of the United States to point out to them that they need to do something about that…well, I’m not sure they don’t deserve to be called out over it.

    And as noted here…
    “Any claim that my administration is responsible for gas prices because we've, quote/unquote, ‘shut down’ oil production -- any claim like that is simply untrue. It might make for a useful sound bite, but it doesn't track with reality.”

    The president said that he will encourage offshore oil exploration and production as a way to reduce the nation’s reliance on imports, as long as it’s safe and responsible, something he said he learned from the oil disaster in the Gulf just under one year ago.

    “Lately we've been hearing folks saying, well, you know, the Obama administration, they put restrictions on how oil companies operate offshore. Well, yes, because we just spent all that time, energy and money trying to clean up a big mess. And I don't know about you, but I don't have amnesia; I remember these things. And I think it was important for us to make sure that we prevent something like that from happening again.”

    He added that the administration is “pushing” the oil industry to take advantage of the” tens of millions” of acres of leases where they’re not producing, by providing better incentives to promote “responsible development.”

    As the national average of a gallon of gas hitting $3.58 this week, the president noted that a long line of presidents before him have promised the same things – mentioning the politics of the moment that tends to takeover when gas prices rise.

    “Remember, it was just three years ago that gas prices topped $4 a gallon. I remember because I was in the middle of a presidential campaign,” the president said, “because we were at the height of political season, you had all kinds of slogans and gimmicks and outraged politicians. They were waving their three-point plans for $2 a gallon gas. You remember that, ‘drill, baby, drill,’ and we were going through all that. And none of it was really going to do anything to solve the problem. There was a lot of hue and cry, a lot of fulminating and hand-wringing, but nothing actually happened. Imagine that in Washington.”
    Gas prices go up in the spring, and if we’re lucky, they go down in the fall. Year after year after year.

    A concept like that is so simple that I think even J.D. can comprehend it.

  • Further, I happened to stumble across the following ripe stuff from Mona Charen at clownhall.com (here – another “Terra! Terra! Terra!” replay upon bin Laden’s death)…
    In those harrowing first days and weeks after the 9/11 atrocity, Americans were traumatized -- but also bewildered. What vicious hatred was this? Who was this new and terrifying enemy? What could possibly motivate people to sacrifice their lives for the honor of killing innocent American civilians -- and cause thousands of others to cheer mass murder?

    Naturally, some Americans couldn't resist the temptation to ride their own hobbyhorses. We had it coming, said the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, for tolerating abortion and gay unions. (Falwell later apologized.) On the left, a veritable chorus of "blame the victim" analysis explained that America's crimes had driven our enemies to terrorism. The Nation magazine declared that America was "the world's leading rogue state."

    Noam Chomsky offered his own twist, calling the U.S. the world's chief "terrorist state." Michael Moore, who held a seat of honor at the Democratic National Convention in 2000, offered that we shouldn't be surprised by the attack because "we have orphaned so many children ... with our taxpayer-funded terrorism."
    For the record, here is the full quote from Moore along with some others:
    “We abhor terrorism - unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing. We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me. Thirty thousand murdered civilians and who the hell even remembers!”

    “We fund a lot of oppressive regimes that have killed a lot of innocent people, and we never let the human suffering THAT causes to interrupt our day one single bit.

    We have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world, with our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador) that I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised when those orphans grow up and are a little whacked in the head from the horror we have helped cause.”
    And while OBL is turning into shark food, let’s not forget that we did a lot to make him into what he turned out to be in the end, as noted here (nice to not repeat that same mistake).

  • In addition, I give you the following from The Weakly Standard (here)…
    The Wall Street Journal editorializes on the latest activities of Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services. Sebelius has decided effectively to tell the elderly CEO of Forest Labs to get a new job. The Journal's editors write:

    “HHS this month sent a letter to 83-year-old Forest Labs CEO Howard Solomon, announcing it would henceforth refuse to do business with him. What earned Mr. Solomon the blackball? Well, nothing that he did—as admitted even by HHS….

    “This is a threat to every health CEO in America. If Forest wants to continue to sell its drugs to Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration — the biggest buyers of pharmaceuticals — it will have to change management. Losing the federal government as a customer is potentially crippling to a drug company.
    Now before we shed a tear for that elderly, 83-year-old Howard Solomon, CEO of Forest Labs (and how dare that mean Kathleen Sebelius actually hold a CEO in the pharma biz accountable), consider that his company is guilty of the following, as noted here…
    • 1997: The FDA declares that Forest’s Levothroid thyroid disorder product was an unapproved drug and that the company would need to seek FDA approval to continue selling it. Although the drug had been on the market for decades, no company had actually proved its safety and effectiveness to the FDA.
    • 2001: The FDA gave Forest until this year to get an approval for legal sales of Levothroid. Forest continued to sell its drug.
    • Jan. 11, 2002: Forest received a letter from FDA indicating that the agency will not recommend approving Forest’s drug.
    • Sometime in January 2002: At a meeting with the FDA, Forest executives are warned that there would be no more warnings about sales of Levothroid and that the agency will pursue legal action.
    • March 29, 2002: The FDA writes to Forest that the company’s proposed remedies for Levothroid are inadequate.
    • April 18, 2002: Forest “decided internally not to comply with the Guidance’s phase-down schedule,” according to the criminal charges.
    • May - July 2003: Forest “dramatically increased its manufacture of Levothroid” by offering customers special terms for bulk orders of several months’ supply of Levothroid.
    • Aug. 7, 2003: The FDA sends a warning letter addressed to Solomon: “Our investigators determined that you have failed to obtain an approved application and have made a deliberate decision not to follow the agency’s gradual phase-out plan,” it states. Solomon is ordered to stop making Levothroid.
    • Aug. 8 and 9, 2003: Forest directs its factory staff to work overtime until 1 a.m. filling the remaining bulk orders for Levothroid. The workers had to override the computer system to get the job done, and worked on Levothroid to the exclusion of the company’s other drug orders. The company made special arrangements for extra trucks to pick up the bulk order, according to the feds.
    (And you know it was bad if Dubya and his pals actually had to do some government oversight for a change.)

    This tells us more about Levothroid, the condition for which it is prescribed, and its side effects.

    If Solomon truly knew nothing of what his company did in marketing the drug (which I don’t believe), then he deserves to be fired for incompetence (of course, he’ll probably end up bailing with a cushy “parachute”); in the “through the looking glass” world of The Weakly Standard and the Murdoch Street Journal (where the column today originated), however, it is nothing but a “big gumint power grab” for HHS Secretary Sebelius to look out for those who would be done harm by Solomon and his company’s negligence.

  • Finally, as a Roman Catholic, I know it is cause for celebration that Pope John Paul II was beatified on Sunday May 1st (not sure why Robert Mugabe was allowed to attend the festivities, though, as noted here).

    However, I have a question; given that “May Day” was a source of pride for the Communist regime the pope opposed most of his adult life, couldn’t they have flipped the calendar a little more and found another more appropriate date instead?
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