Weather update: this fucking sucks. I made it to work past all the wonderful accidents, the roads are freezing, and more snow is on the way. Isn't it Christmas yet?
But at least there's good news:
By now, the list of problems -- structural, practical, ideological, historical -- facing the Republican Party is pretty familiar. Time's Michael Scherer makes the compelling case today that the economic crisis, in addition to contributing to the GOP's electoral defeats, presents the party with a perilous future and threatens the Republicans' fundamental identity.
Liquidity traps are fought with government interventions. They are fought successfully with big ones. Republicans now face the real possibility of a generation of American voters who will see government not as the problem, but as the solution.
The last time America faced such a major economic retrenchment, Franklin Delano Roosevelt responded with a massive expansion of government spending and regulation, new programs like Social Security and new protections for unions and workers, which were controversial at the time, but which proved to be popular over the long haul. It took leaders like Goldwater more than two decades to gain some significant popular traction in opposition to Roosevelt's vision. Conservative economic ideas did not really impose themselves on the White House until 1981, more than 40 years after the bulk of the New Deal era had been established.
In the face of this peril, conservatives find themselves without leadership, direction, or even a cogent ideological response to the crisis. Conservative lodestars, like Dick Cheney, are warning of Herbert Hoover times if Republicans don't open up the federal pocketbooks. Even President Bush has admitted that he "abandoned free market principles to save the free market system." And he did not succeed, clearing the way for much more abandoning to come.
So, what's going to happen? Scherer predicts Republicans will "retrench to a guerrilla war," and use EFCA to characterize Democrats as the "party of big labor." (Look out, Democrats are on the side of working Americans! Eek!) It hardly sounds like a recipe for success.
Not really, no. And that's all to the good, considering that the Cons's ideas, frankly, suck leper donkey dick.
And in even better news, it looks like KBR's chickens may finally come home to roost:
Controversial military contractor KBR has racked up quite a record of endangering the lives of U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq. Over the years, the former Halliburton subsidiary has been accused of everything from giving troops ice tainted with “traces of body fluids and putrefied remains” to ignoring warnings of unsafe wiring that led to troop deaths.
Earlier this month, attorneys for 16 members of the Indiana National Guard filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that they “knowingly exposed the soldiers to a cancer-causing toxic chemical.” In a special report last night, CBS News revealed that KBR knew of the toxic exposure to hexavalent chromium long before it informed the guardsmen...
I hope these lawsuits succeed. This is one company that needs to cease to exist.
In ever more excellent news, we have less than a month of Bush stupidity to deal with. In slightly less good news, that means he and his minions are working overtime to try to convince us that he was actually a wonderful president who did all kinds of spiffy stuff, like destroy our civil liberties to keep us "safe:"
They'll try to revise all of their insanity out of existence. They've been doing it for eight years - why stop now?
As part of the apparent Bush Legacy Project, we've been hearing quite a bit -- from the president on down -- about Bush's record of keeping America safe from terrorist attacks since 2002.
The latest comes by way of Ed Gillespie, a White House aide and former RNC chairman, who wants Americans to remember a key "fact":Our homeland has not suffered another terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. That, too, is part of the real Bush record.
First, this is plainly false. In the fall of 2001, someone (presumably scientist Bruce Ivins) launched an anthrax attack on the country using the U.S. postal system. Five people were killed, 17 were injured, and millions had the bejesus scared out of them. Why so many like to pretend this didn't happen is a mystery to me.
Second, Gillespie focuses on "our homeland," but it's worth noting that U.S. troops have been subjected to terrorist attacks overseas, as have our allies.
And third, this notion that evaluating Bush's legacy on counter-terrorism should start on Sept. 12, 2001, is just odd. Gillespie and others seem to be arguing, "Just so long as one overlooks the terrorism that killed 3,000 people in 2001, Bush's record on domestic security is excellent."
There are signs that the endless swallowing of bullshit spewing from the right is starting to taper off. There are even hints that the MSM is starting to get a wee bit skeptical when it comes to wild right-wing claims. I nominate this one for Question of the Month:
Earlier this month, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) released a report citing “more than 650 international scientists” who back up his claims that manmade global warming is a hoax. This list was a revision of his original compilation of 400 names earlier in the year. That list fell apart, however, when experts pointed out that many of those people 1) had no background in climate science, or 2) “demanded to be taken off, since they didn’t disagree with the scientific consensus on climate change at all.”
Inhofe’s new report with 650 “experts” doesn’t seem to be much better. Anja Eichler, one of the scientists cited by Inhofe as believing that half of the earth’s warming is caused by the sun, said that her work was “misinterpreted”; in fact, she believes that “Earth’s temperature does not change randomly — it changes when it is driven to do so by an external forcing.” TNR’s Bradford Plumer also found others on this list new who appear to support the theory of manmade global warming.
Yesterday on MSNBC, David Shuster grilled Inhofe on his report, bringing up the case of Eichler. After pointing out all the problems with the report, Shuster asked, “Senator, if there is a hoax, isn’t it this report of yours?” [emphasis added]
Beauty. More reporting like this, please.
Sorry to keep this short, but I have to slog through snow and ice to go fetch a soda before returning to glumly staring at traffic cams and wondering how I'll get home tonight. Snowy weather sucks.