08 January, 2010

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Let's talk about failure.  No, we're not going to discuss my failure to fold the laundry, although that's put my bed under considerable stress and strain today.  There are failures in this world much more severe, and the specific ones I'd like to discuss belong to the Cons.

I hope you're sitting comfortably.  It's a long fucking list.

Let's start with economic issues and work our way up, shall we?
To reiterate a point from a month ago, the Republicans' track record of uninterrupted failure is rather astounding.

The GOP said the stimulus package would fail to create jobs. We now know the Republicans were wrong.

The GOP said the recovery efforts would fail to generate economic growth. We now know the Republicans were wrong.

The GOP said the stimulus "failed." We now know the Republicans were wrong.

The GOP said the government should cancel unspent recovery funds. We now know the Republicans were wrong.

The GOP said tax cuts are more effective at stimulating the economy than government spending. We now know the Republicans were wrong.

Had Republicans been in the majority a year ago, the results for the United States and the global economy likely would have been devastating. That GOP officials and their allies continue to pretend otherwise serves as a reminder of just how little role reality can play in our discourse.

Indeed.  And what's really sad is that no amount of evidence is going to convince these fucktards they're flat fucking wrong on economic issues.  We'd have better luck turning a fervent creationist into a staunch supporter of evolution.  But while they trumpet the fiction that the stimulus didn't work, the Cons are more than happy to take credit for stimulus dollars in their districts.  The latest: Mike Castle

Ladies and gentlemen, I have just three words to describe these people, and I shall shout them now:

Thank you.

Now, let's move on to other matters.  Let's talk terrorism.  The Cons have been having a field day with the Crotchfire Bomber, and the whole incident seems to have had a debilitating effect on both their sanity and their memory.  Take Rudy "A Noun, a Verb, and 9/11" Giuliani, who's terminally confused on time lines:
Last month, conservatives attempted to politicize the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas day by complaining that President Obama waited three days before publicly addressing it. “The President waits 72 hours before we hear from him, and it’s over 72 hours from the time of the incident to the time that the President spoke today,” said Karl Rove on Dec. 28, not noting that his old boss waited six days before commenting on the 2001 attempted shoe bombing.

But conservatives are now claiming that he waited 10 days to respond. On CNN’s Larry King Live last night, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed that Obama responded10 days too late“:
GIULIANI: I think the president has to make a major correction in the way he is dealing with terrorism because I think he has mishandled the situation. First of all, it was 10 days too late. This is something you react to immediately, not 10 days later after your vacation. The president of the United States, when there is a potential massive attack on this country, which is what this guy was going to do, should have been on top of this immediately, not 10 days later, 11 days later, 12 days later.
When King pointed out that “President Bush took six days once in a similar incident,” Giuliani responded that “six days is less than 10″ and that he believed “that six days was before the September 11th attack.”

Oh, for fuck's sake.  Can we please get a better class of opposition?  72 hours with a firm, extensive statement is not at all comparable to waiting six fucking days to mention the same fucking type of incident in passing.  And December 2001 happened after September 2001.  This shouldn't confuse anyone, because December comes after September every year.  Holy fucking shit, this man's a dumbass.

Moreover, this is the man Giuliani is claiming did such a better job than Obama:

Afterward, of course, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told the press: "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile." (As a matter of fact, just such a scenario had been foreseen by intelligence officials in 1998, as Rice later admitted.)
Then there was the Aug. 6, 2001, presidential daily briefing titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in US," which concluded:
We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a ---- service in 1998 saying that Bin Laden wanted to hijack a U.S. aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman and other U.S.-held extremists.
Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.
The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full-field investigations throughout the U.S. that it considers bin Laden-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group or bin Laden supporters was in the U.S. planning attacks with explosives.
We also remember that New York Times report, summed up by Eric Alterman:
Tenet briefed Condi Rice about a potentially catastrophic terrorist attack on the United States on July 10, 2001. Rice ignored the briefing, just as she and Bush both ignored the August 6 "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" memo, when Bush told the CIA briefer who delivered the memo to him that he had "covered his ass" and then went fishing for the rest of the day. Rice not only ignored the briefing, but also misled the 9-11 Commission and then lied when confronted with the evidence by Bob Woodward.
Rice and the Bush administration also went to great measures to cover up their own incompetence, too.
Then there was the Hart-Rudman Commission report, which warned the White House in May 2001 that it needed to take serious steps to prevent a terrorist attack. The report was ignored.

So was Richard Clarke's memo of January 2001 warning of the terrorist threat.

All this is consistent with what Clarke and other insiders reported about the Bush White House's pre-9/11 approach to terrorism: They viewed it as a "Clinton thing," and thus dismissed it as a minor concern for largely ideological reasons.

Far more fail here in an extensive exploration of the many and grievous failures of the Bush regime to keep America safe, both before and after 9/11.

And speaking of post-9/11 security, you might hear Cons crowing about Gitmo recidivism and the Obama administration firing back that only detainees released by Bush are going on to a life of terrorism.  Steve Benen dug in and discovered the reason for that:
But given what we know, it seems entirely plausible that detainees released by Bush/Cheney returned to terrorist activities, while detainees released by Obama didn't. Why? Because we learned about a year ago that Bush/Cheney didn't keep files on the detainees.

Immediately upon taking office, President Obama and his team began a process that would review the case files for every detainee. The new administration found, however, that the Bush gang didn't keep files.
President Obama's plans to expeditiously determine the fates of about 245 terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and quickly close the military prison there were set back last week when incoming legal and national security officials -- barred until the inauguration from examining classified material on the detainees -- discovered that there were no comprehensive case files on many of them.
Instead, they found that information on individual prisoners is "scattered throughout the executive branch," a senior administration official said. The executive order Obama signed Thursday orders the prison closed within one year, and a Cabinet-level panel named to review each case separately will have to spend its initial weeks and perhaps months scouring the corners of the federal government in search of relevant material.
Several former Bush administration officials agreed that the files are incomplete and that no single government entity was charged with pulling together all the facts and the range of options for each prisoner. They said that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were reluctant to share information, and that the Bush administration's focus on detention and interrogation made preparation of viable prosecutions a far lower priority.
This seems hard to believe. Even Bush/Cheney critics might think, "Those guys were incompetent, but they weren't that incompetent."

But they actually were. On the one hand, the Bush administration released some detainees who apparently turned out to be pretty dangerous. On the other, the Bush administration refused to release other detainees who weren't dangerous at all, and were actually U.S. allies.

These misjudgments were common because the Bush administration just didn't keep very good track of who they had in custody -- even on those who'd been imprisoned for several years.

This is beyond epic fail.  I don't think there's a way to describe this level of fail.  This is the kind of fail one would only expect to find in a Hollywood film about the biggest bunch of incompetent jackasses in the history of the United States.

But we've been rather harsh.  Isn't there anything positive Cons have accomplished over the last 20 years?

On MSNBC's "Hardball" last night, Chris Matthews asked leading GOP strategist Todd Harris about what Republicans have done for the United States over the last 20 years. It didn't go well.

It didn't seem like an unreasonable question. Harris' goal was to make the case for Republicans to take power, at least on the Hill, in the midterm elections. Matthews, to his credit, argued that the GOP record matters, and sought one example of the Republican Party doing something worthwhile over the last couple of decades. Eventually, Harris said, "The Bush administration kept the country safe."

Matthews replied, "I just wanted to get the Republican bragging points straight here. So the Republican Party has kept us safe, except for 9/11. Is that the argument? No, really, because you had the worst attack on the American homeland in history, but you're bragging about your ability to defend the country.... That's your defense, right?"

After some additional badgering, Harris replied, "When I decide to write a book about the history of the last 20 years of the Republican Party, I'll be happy to talk to you about that."

Matthews pressed on, asking for just one thing. "YouTube is watching," the host said. "You're the Republican consultant, one of the best in the country. Tell me what the Republican Party has done for this country in the last 10 to 20 years?"

There was a bit of a satellite lag, but Todd Harris sat silently in response to the question, and Matthews ended the segment. That one of the top GOP strategists couldn't think of a response to a pretty basic question was not a strong moment for the party.

Believe it or not, it gets worse from there.  Go finish up the depressing tale at the link.

So, basically, we have an entire political party that's breathtakingly incompetent, and yet enough Americans don't pay enough attention to spot the obvious, so there's a real danger these incompetent asses may end up in power again.  It's enough to make a person despair.

But there is a tiny sign of hope.  It turns out everybody hates Joe Lieberman.  So maybe the vast majority of voters are smart enough to figure this out after all.

1 comment:

Woozle said...

"we have an entire political party that's breathtakingly incompetent, and yet enough Americans don't pay enough attention to spot the obvious, so there's a real danger these incompetent asses may end up in power again. It's enough to make a person despair."

Hypothesis: Enough of the country still gets its news from mainstream media -- which is apparently owned by people who are happy to continue seeing Republicans taken seriously, for whatever reason -- that the GOP will always have a small but significant support base, no matter how idiotic they act. (And the few "moderate Dems", i.e. right-wing assholes posing as Dems, will likewise be the major players in the Dem party, no matter how egregiously they work against the interests of their constituents.)

If this hypothesis is correct (and I think there is a great deal of evidence that it is), the single most important thing we need to do is de-consolidate the mainstream media.

I suggest (with apologies, if I'm repeating myself) that there is no reason any single entity -- individual or business -- should own more than one broadcast station or cable/satellite TV channel. (We also need some actual competition in the regional broadband industry; I'm not sure why that isn't happening.)

How to accomplish this is another matter (I doubt that an Obama-esque process of working "within the system" would accomplish anything meaningful in this direction, because the parties behind consolidation are too deeply entrenched), but it is probably something we should at least be discussing. What substantial* objections are likely to be raised? (*cries of "socialism!" don't count, of course.)