Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Mashup (10/24/11)

(Note: Posting will continue to be sporadic, with no videos for the foreseeable future.)

  • So much stoo-pid from Bernard Goldberg here (accusing Number 44 of the dreaded “class warfare”)…
    Pitting Americans against each other simply for personal political gain would be bad enough. But for a president who rode into office on a magic carpet of lofty promises about hopes and dreams to make America a better, post-partisan place, this is truly despicable.
    Do you want to know what else is “truly despicable,” Bernie? Claiming that that dreaded “liberal media” of yours didn’t report on then candidate-Barack Obama’s association with William Ayres until the last month of the presidential campaign in 2008 even though Sarah Palin raised it as an issue on the campaign trail, when in fact Palin didn’t mention it before October 2008 when the New York Times report in question had already appeared (here).

    Never mind that the poor aren’t poor because the rich are rich. In fact, if we had fewer rich people we’d probably have more poor people, since rich people are the ones who invest their money in companies that produce jobs. And even if the rich paid 100 percent of their income in taxes it would barely put a dent in the national debt and wouldn’t create a single job.
    Oh, brother – as noted here from last month…
    WASHINGTON — President Obama will unveil a plan on Monday that uses entitlement cuts, tax increases and war savings to reduce the federal deficit by more than $3 trillion over the next 10 years, administration officials said.

    The plan, which Mr. Obama will lay out Monday morning at the White House, is the administration’s opening move in sweeping negotiations on deficit reduction to be taken up by a joint House-Senate committee over the next two months. If a deal is not enacted by Dec. 23, cuts could take effect automatically across government agencies.

    Mr. Obama will call for $1.5 trillion in tax increases, primarily on the wealthy, through a combination of letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire, closing loopholes and limiting the amount that high earners can deduct. The proposal also includes $580 billion in adjustments to health and entitlement programs, including $248 billion to Medicare and $72 billion to Medicaid. Administration officials said that the Medicare cuts would not come from an increase in the Medicare eligibility age.
    And of course, we know what happened when Obama unveiled his proposal (and here is more hilarity from “Ding Dong” Bernie – fourth bullet). Also, based on this, it looks like, when it comes to "class warfare," this country wants to see more of it, not less.

  • Next, we have a crackpot history lesson from Joe Nocera of the New York Times, from a Saturday column (commemorating I suppose the anniversary of Robert Bork’s defeated nomination for Supreme Court Justice in 1987)…
    …The Bork fight, in some ways, was the beginning of the end of civil discourse in politics. For years afterward, conservatives seethed at the “systematic demonization” of Bork, recalls Clint Bolick, a longtime conservative legal activist. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution coined the angry verb “to bork,” which meant to destroy a nominee by whatever means necessary. When Republicans borked the Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright less than two years later, there wasn’t a trace of remorse, not after what the Democrats had done to Bork. The anger between Democrats and Republicans, the unwillingness to work together, the profound mistrust — the line from Bork to today’s ugly politics is a straight one.

    I’ll tell you what – I see you Robert Bork, Nocera, and raise you Abe Fortas.

    Who is Abe Fortas, you may ask? Only a sitting Supreme Court associate justice nominated to the High Court by President Lyndon Johnson, and subsequently confirmed; he accepted $15,000 for nine speaking engagements at the American University Law School. And for that, he was forced to step down from the bench in 1969.

    Let me emphasize that – Fortas was a sitting Justice who was forced to step down over the payment of $15,000 for speaking fees. Now try contrasting that with Silent Clarence Thomas, whose wife, Ginny, has made a tidy little income over that godawful Citizens United ruling, among other decisions involving her husband (here).

    Oh, and Nocera fails to mention the fact that then-Solicitor General Bork was the one who ended up firing Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox after Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus refused to do so (here).

    I’m really tired of hearing conservatives whine about “what might have been,” since, for the most part, they’ve managed to do quite well for themselves anyway, thank you very much. And Nocera is not going to win any “brownie points” by coming to their defense.

    Am I saying that Democrats are innocent when it comes to torpedoing presidential nominees? Of course not. I’m just saying that I’d like to see people like Nocera provide the context that he should to stories of political skullduggery so I don’t have to do his job for him.

  • And speaking of New York Times’ writers catering to wingnuts, I give you this additional item from Peter Baker; it seems that Our Gal Condi Rice, along with every other Bushco miscreant, has written a book (Cheney didn’t like her, Rumsfeld was dismissive, Dubya thought she was encouraging civil war in Mesopotamia, blah blah blah) …
    For the most part, though, Ms. Rice defends the most controversial decisions of the Bush era, including the invasion of Iraq. The wave of popular uprisings known as the Arab Spring this year, she writes, has vindicated Mr. Bush’s focus on spreading freedom and democracy.
    Uh, no.

  • Finally, I should note that last Saturday was the 30th anniversary of the decertification of the PATCO air traffic controllers as a result of their firing by The Sainted Ronnie R. And with that in mind, I give you the following…
    In 1981, members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), an independent labor union not affiliated with the AFL-CIO, voted overwhelmingly to strike the government. Within 48 hours of the walkout, Reagan (who ironically had been supported in his campaign by PATCO), fired the lot of them and ordered the FAA to hire permanent replacements.

    Replacing strikers in this manner wasn’t against the law, but it had always been considered a “nuclear option” not to be used. Strikers often were fired, to be sure, but when a contract settlement came within reach, the last item to be negotiated usually was a “return to work agreement” essentially rehiring the workers with full seniority, and often with back pay.

    Carter, no supporter of unions (even though labor overwhelmingly backed him in his run for the presidency) had set the table for Reagan by authorizing a campaign of harassment of PATCO leaders while he was still president. Twelve months before the government’s contract with PATCO was set to expire, Carter formed a “Management Strike Contingency Force” to prepare for a strike and plot the recruitment of replacement workers...

    Kirkland, miffed that the controllers had not consulted him before striking, denounced Reagan’s strike-breaking strategy, but formally ordered AFL-CIO unions not to get involved in supporting the strike. A year later, PATCO was decertified, its members never to be rehired.
    As the story tells us, the union was later reformed as NATCA, but as a result of the PATCO firing, “(the practice) of ‘permanently replacing’ striking workers quickly became standard operation procedure in private industry and helped employer after employer either face down strikes or break them.”

    And as noted here from last April (based on another story about sleepy air traffic controllers)…
    Every place where people work for a living has safety issues of some kind. Who is looking out for them? Who is looking out for us? Anyone who thinks market forces give a damn about health or safety is living on a different planet.

    Unions - they're not just about a decent day's pay for an honest day of work.
    Funny, but wasn’t this supposed to do something about that sort of thing?
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