21 June, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

You know, it really burns my butt when law enforcement agencies give in to Con temper tantrums:
Newsweek had an item the other day that I found a little startling.

In February, the Missouri Information Analysis Center, one of several "fusion" centers created after 9/11 to share intelligence among local, state and federal agencies, issued a "strategic report" warning about a resurgence of the "modern militia movement." Last week, on the same day that white supremacist James von Brunn allegedly killed a guard at Washington's Holocaust Memorial Museum, Missouri's police chief informed legislators that the fusion center had suspended production of such reports. Why? Outcry from conservative activists, who felt they were being tarred too. [...]

They may talk about it less in public now, but law-enforcement and intel officials tell NEWSWEEK they're quietly scrutinizing threats from the far right just as carefully as those from Islamic extremists.

So, let me get this straight. Law enforcement officials decided, on purpose, to stop preparing reports on potentially dangerous radicals, because conservative activists said scrutiny of extremists made them feel put upon? Conservative activists whine about all kinds of things; shouldn't law enforcement officials ignore them and focus on real threats?

I don't care how much the perpetual victims on the right scream and howl: if extremists are a danger, and law enforcement agencies want to keep an eye on said extremists, they should do it despite the wailing and moaning from people who are only extreme in their stupidity, not in their follow-through.

Speaking of extreme stupidity, let's see what the "let them eat cake" pols on the right have to say about programs to feed hungry kids:
In her June newsletter, State Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-MO) provided several “commentaries” to a press release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on a summer food program. The program provides “food during the summer for thousands of low-income Missouri children who rely on the school cafeteria for free or reduced-price meals during the regular school year.” Davis, who serves as the chairwoman of the Missouri House Special Standing Committee on Children and Families, questioned whether the program is “warranted,” and extolled the hidden benefits of child hunger:
Who’s buying dinner? Who is getting paid to serve the meal? Churches and other non-profits can do this at no cost to the taxpayer if it is warranted. [...] Bigger governmental programs take away our connectedness to the human family, our brotherhood and our need for one another. [...] Anyone under 18 can be eligible? Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals? Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break. [...] It really is all about increasing government spending, which means an increase in taxes for us to buy more free lunches and breakfasts.
No, it's all about making sure kids don't starve. Starvation isn't a character-building experience. And sending 16 year-olds to find work in this economy is a sick joke. I remember looking for a job at that age in the boom years of the 90s, and it was godsdamned hard. Imagine how much harder it is when you're malnourished.

Not that true-red Cons have any sort of ability to empathize. But they do have the ability to scream about deficits when and only when it's Dems running them up in order to help ordinary people:
I feel like I'm turning into Jerry Seinfeld: Have you ever noticed how only Democratic deficits are a problem? Republicans are sticking to their Frank Luntz-authored talking points on health care (as Chris Dodd points out about Lindsey Graham on This Week this morning) and pulling their beards, speaking ponderously of the horrors of spending money to save money:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Republicans seem to be digging in, Senator Graham, on a couple of big issues. On the issues of taxes to pay for health care, on the issue of a public health insurance plan. But let me show you this New York Times poll that's just out this morning showing 72 percent, 72 percent of the public supports a government health insurance plan and 57 percent of the public is willing to pay more taxes for universal health care. They seem to be ready for the kind of change that Republicans are fighting.

GRAHAM: Well, it's just not Republicans, George. The reason you're not going to have a government run health care pass the Senate is because it would be devastating for this country. The last thing in the world I think Democrats and Republicans are going to do at the end of the day is create a government run health care system where you've got a bureaucrat standing in between the patient and the doctor. We've tried this model -- people have tried this model in other countries. The first thing that happens -- you have to wait for your care. And in socialized health care models, people have to wait longer to get care and the government begins to cut back on what's available because of the cost explosion.

Lindsey, you silly thing! I know you're only saying what Frank told you to say, but since you've apparently had government-run health care most of your adult life (in the military and in public office), you probably don't know: We already have bureaucrats standing between us and our doctor. We already wait for care, and it's already rationed. That's why these talking points from Frank aren't working - they're not our reality.

So sadly true. Steve Benen adds:

It's why I'll take Graham's opinion on this far more seriously just as soon as he explains why he'd like to see Medicare and the Veterans Health Administration hospitals eliminated because of their "devastating" effects for the country.

And while he's at it, maybe he can unveil a proposal to prevent unaccountable insurance company bureaucrats from standing in between patients and doctors. I can't wait to see what he comes up with.

Neither can I. However, I won't hold my breath.

Here's a blast from the past for ye. Remember how Cons were screaming bloody murder over voter registration fraud? Remember how they couldn't make a damned thing stick against ACORN? Wanna see who was actually perpetrating voter fraud? Here ye go (h/t):

What's perhaps most interesting here is what isn't mentioned in this story, as written on the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" blog. First, here's their entire blog item...

The owner of a voter-registration company pleaded guilty Tuesday to voter-registration fraud, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Laguna Beach resident Mark Jacoby, who collects signatures for petition drives, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to three years' probation and 30 days of service with the California Department of Transportation.

Jacoby, owner of Young Political Majors, registered to vote at Los Angeles addresses that were not his own. State law requires petition circulators to be qualified voters. Jacoby will also be required to show proof he is registered at his correct address.

And what they didn't bother to mention in that story?...Amongst other things, the fact that Jacoby and Young Political Majors were hired by the California Republican Party to head up their voter registration efforts in the state.

Yup. But then, hypocrisy's kinda the norm for that bunch, innit?

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