25 January, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

We already had a feel for how dramatically incompetent the Bush regime was, but we knew that as Obama took office and the crannies were poked into, we'd discover more. This truly takes the breath away:

Upon announcing his plan to close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Barack Obama also began a process that would review the case files for every detainee. The problem for the new administration, however, is that there are no 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.

These people are un-fucking-real. They were so busy torturing they couldn't bother gathering evidence for prosecution. They must have had some fantasy that they could just keep people locked away forever without doing a damned thing other than degrading them.

It's no wonder our economy's in such a wretched mess. Oh, and the next time some idiot of a Con tells you how great everything was under Bush, you might want to remind them that we haven't seen a president this bad since Hoover:

On Friday, the New York Times provided a jaw-dropping analysis of the dismal state of the economy under George W. Bush. Just days after the Washington Post documented that Bush presided over the worst eight-year economic performance in the modern American presidency, the Times charted his historic failure in expanding GDP, producing jobs and fueling stock market growth. As it turns out, Bush is just the latest Republican to confirm the maxim that Wall Street and the economy overall almost always do better under Democratic presidents.

As the Times revealed (article here, charts here), the only bright spot for the first MBA president's economic mismanagement was the low inflation rate during his tenure:

During his administration, the country grew at the slowest overall pace of any recent president, whether measured in gross domestic product or employment. The last president to preside while the stock market did worse was Herbert Hoover...

...President Bush's administration was marked by a recession that began two months after he took office and another downturn in his final year of office. In the end, the economy during his term added enough jobs to employ only 14 percent of the added number of working-age Americans, the lowest proportion of any postwar administration. Employment grew at a compound annual rate of only 0.3 percent, half the 0.6 percent rate that his father had recorded in what had previously been the worst post-World War II performance.

For the investor class so fond of perpetuating the myth of Republicans' superior economic stewardship, the collapse of the stock marketing during the Bush recession must be particularly galling. The Standard & Poor's 500 spiraled down at annual rate of 5.6% during Bush's time in the Oval Office, a disaster even worse than Richard Nixon's abysmal 4.0% yearly decline. (Only Herbert Hoover's cataclysmic 31% plunge makes Bush look good in comparison.)

The article goes on to explain in some detail, with plenty of evidence, that Dems do the economy right, and Cons leave it in tatters. Not that this will matter to people so disconnected from reality as to still support Cons, but at least it might reach those who just didn't know any better.

In other stupid Con news, McCain's flip-flopping didn't stop with the spectacular fail of his campaign:

Today on Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that he would not support the stimulus plan in its current form. With the help of host Chris Wallace, McCain criticized infrastructure spending, specifically singling out a plan to expand internet access to rural communities:

MCCAIN: There’s got to be some kind of litmus as to whether it’ll really stimulate the economy and whether it will in the short-term. Some of the stimulus in this package is excellent; some of it, frankly, has nothing to do — some of the projects and others that you just mentioned, $6 billion for broadband and internet access. That will take years.


Expanding broadband was also a major part of his presidential campaign. Speaking last April in Inez, KY, McCain emphasized that “government has a role to play” to makes sure “every community” has access to high-speed internet — and that it was key to driving innovation:
MCCAIN: In particular, through access to high-speed Internet services that facilitate interstate commerce, drive innovation, and promote educational achievements, there is the potential to change lives. These kinds of transformations of our way of life require the infrastructure of modern communication, and government has a role to play in assuring every community in America can develop that infrastructure. This country has a long history of ensuring that rural areas have the same access to communication technology as other places.
Still a raging idiot, I see. Quelle surprise.

By the way, if anyone tells you America is a center-right nation, cite this Gallup poll and tell them to go fuck themselves with a fork:

But the numbers I found even more interesting were released Friday, measuring party identification. Based on all 2008 polling, 36% of Americans describe themselves as Democrats, while 28% identify as Republicans. The eight-point gap is "the largest for the Democratic Party since Gallup began regularly conducting its polls by telephone in 1988."

When the poll includes those who "lean" toward one party or the other, the gap is even larger: 52% back Democrats, 40% back Republicans. This is not only the third consecutive year in which Democrats held a majority, but it's also the "best showing for the Democrats -- in terms of both the percentage of Democratic supporters and their advantage over Republicans -- since Gallup began regularly tracking this measure of party support in 1991."

Dems are in. Cons are out. America's finished with them fucking up the country. Eventually, the Cons may even comprehend this reality and start acting like responsible adults.

But I'm not holding my breath.

1 comment:

Woozle said...

"America leans center-right": Yeah, Mike tried that one on me; I didn't have anything concrete to point to at the time, but that statistic confirms what I thought I had seen.

Wonder when Mike is gonna respond to my last (double-)post in The Great ProgressiveConservative - RationalLiberal debate...

(Today's trivia-post is brought to you by the verification word "workinge".)