In recent weeks, the housing market is showing a 10% increase. Consumer confidence is the highest it has been in years. Unemployment is slowly working its way down. The stock market has doubled in the last 5 years. The federal deficit is half what it was last year, even though our “socialist” President has been spending money, in direct contradiction to the Republicans, in an effort to jump-start the economy.
It appears that all the austerity programs promulgated by Paul Ryan, the Tea Party, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich et al have been completely and thoroughly debunked. Europe followed the recommendations of the two economists, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, who came up with the austerity mantra that the Republicans were following, only recently having acknowledged that it was based on flawed research.
They are finally realizing the magnitude of their errors. European economies are still in recession, unemployment is high (other than in Germany, which continued spending throughout the recession), with no near-term fix on the horizon. Their demands for austerity and budget cutting were wrong and millions have suffered as a result.
Paul Krugman is the Nobel Prize winning economist who exclaimed, from the beginning of the recession, that we needed to spend even more, and actually had the courage to say so. He was the only sane voice in the crowd telling us that austerity was the exact opposite of what we needed to do. His theory has been proven prescient, as indicated by the fact that all economic indicators are pointing toward the end of the recession. Spending was exactly what we needed to do. Barack Obama followed Paul Krugman’s message and we’re all better for it.
I was thinking this morning how the country would have reacted if Mitt Romney had been elected back in November and inaugurated last January. By that time, the economic cake put into place by Barack Obama was baked, and all this good news would likely have occurred even though Romney was in office.
Then it hit me…If Romney had been elected, he and his ilk would have been screaming to the heavens that the economy came back because businesses are more confident with a Republican President. They would have been preaching to their minions that the simple fact that there was now a Republican President in office had given people a sense of hope, which, in only 4 months or so, would have manifested itself in a recovering American economy.
To those for whom introspection and rational thought are not parts of their daily routine, it would have solidified the oft-repeated falsehood that Republicans are better for the economy than Democrats. I’m grateful that recent events have categorically proved otherwise.
The other day I was listening to someone discussing the oft-mentioned liberal bias of the news media. I’ve been hearing about this most of my life, yet after having seen the way every news organization treated Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinski scandal, as well as how they let George Bush get away with his cowboy tactics and mendacity, I must say that I’ve not usually agreed that it exists. I generally dismiss it as so much Republican-speak, used primarily as an escape tunnel into which they can dive when their policies turn out to be, shall we say, wrong. It’s always easier to blame the messenger than the message, n’est ce pas?
Fox “News” was ostensibly created to combat this imagined liberal takeover of the media and claimed to show less bias in its reporting. Let me know how that works out for ya’ folks.
I have also heard, again for most of my life, how American universities are considered hubs of liberalism, which is why some consider them a threat to conservative thought. (special mention in my next column to whoever finds the oxymoron in this paragraph).
While reflecting upon whether or not either of these assumptions is true, it struck me that, if either are, I’m not sure that I mind. To wit:
The news media at large are our eyes and ears to the things that happen every day as well as to the people and groups who make them happen. They see the things that go on in the world and report them to us. They see the people, experience the emotions and, at times, hear the lies that are told in order for some to keep their powerful positions in society. Although not all of them are perfectly honest in their reporting, they are, for the most part, to be trusted to tell us what is happening.
These are also the people who get close to the newsmakers. Politicians allow them into news conferences; provide them with direct statements, reveal secrets “off-the-record” and so on. The people of the news media, irrespective their personal biases, receive this information first-hand. They are, truly, the insiders.
And for some reason these people who are directly connected to the most powerful in our government, these guardians of new and developing information, tend to lean ever so slightly to port. Hold that thought while you continue reading…
Colleges, for the most part, are accused of this as well. As someone who has attended two colleges so far, I can’t say that it’s overwhelmingly true, but I will admit that many of my professors have been guilty of pulling more to the left than the right.
Colleges and Universities are the guardians of our collective empirics. They protect the old information: the history of society, the lessons of the greatest and worst among us. They collect and preserve yesterday’s news, the hard sciences, political data, military and law enforcement data, knowledge of medicine and psychology, physics and geology, art and music as well as literature.
In many of these institutions new research helps us to progress in medicine, climate sciences and other complex intellectual pursuits. They guard us, when we pay attention to them, from repeating history’s blunders. They are our intellectual grounding.
My aforementioned refection on this topic led me to the conclusion that when someone identifies both those who are daily on the threshold of new information, learning and knowledge, as well as the custodians of the immeasurably valuable cache of lessons we have learned over the centuries as liberal, I can only wonder why anyone would want to argue.
“We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate” ((Peggy Noonan, referring to the IRS scandal (which has been fully admitted to and apologized for by those in charge of the IRS) in the Wall Street Journal, May 17th, 2013)).
Ms Noonan seems to have forgotten:
Gerald Ford Pardons Richard Nixon with no penalties 1974-no apology.
Iran Contra-Selling arms to Iran in return for release of our hostages 1985-no admission or apology.
George H.W. Bush refusing to testify as to his knowledge of Iran Contra 1988-no admission or apology.
WTC Bombing on 9/11-no Congressional investigation-no admission or apology.
Lies about Iraq buying Yellowcake from Yemen 2003-no admission or apology.
Iraq WMD never found to this day-no admission or apology.
Scooter Libby and the Valerie Plame affair 2007-no admission or apology.
Lawyergate, where non-Republican lawyers are fired without cause 2007-no admission or apology.
Jack Abramoff bribery of gov’t officials 2008-no admission or apology.
When someone perpetually claims that whatever happens is always the worst of its type that has ever happened, one must assume that they have:
1. Recently emerged from the womb
2. Just awakened from an especially deep sleep
3. An IQ resembling the temperature at which water freezes.
Watergate started with an illegal break-in to the Democratic National Committee headquarters by people working for Richard Nixon and ended up being covered up by President Nixon. This was an actual, illegal act, for which people went to jail. These are indisputable facts as admitted to by Nixon, not during his administration, but years later in an interview with David Frost.
This is falsely being compared to the current Associated Press and Benghazi scandal because certain political groups are desperate to find some way to negate their shame over Watergate. There is absolutely no similarity between them.
The Iran Contra scandal started with the illegal sale of arms to our ostensible enemy, Iran, with the proceeds being used to illegally fund a war that the Congress had refused the President permission to fund, in Nicaragua. (The word Contra is what the rebels who we were supporting called themselves). Ronald Reagan, after repeatedly denying any knowledge, finally, under intense pressure, went on TV and still denied knowledge of it, but said that he takes “full responsibility for it”, yet never defined what “full responsibility” actually meant, since he never fired anyone, yet others under him went to jail. Years later, when asked about his role in this scandal, Vice President George HW Bush said he had been “out of the loop”. These facts are undisputed.
After the attacks on 9/11, George W Bush commented on more than one occasion that “no one could have foreseen the 9/11 attacks coming”, yet he was informed that Al-Qaeda was planning to attack the US from the air only 1 month before. He has never, to this day, accepted any responsibility for it. These facts are widely known and remain undisputed.
This is not even being mentioned by those feigning such outrage over Benghazi, since they don’t want anyone to notice the similarities with 9/11 and the fact that their outrage right after 9/11 was conspicuous by its absence.
In 2004, the IRS audited the NAACP after they had made some disparaging remarks about the George Bush record on race.
“We have received information that during your 2004 convention in Philadelphia, your organization distributed statements in opposition of George W. Bush for the office of presidency,” the IRS wrote in an audit notice that the group released to the media at the time. Even the Bush administration never disputed these facts.
This is NOT being compared to the current IRS scandal because these same political interests are hoping that you don’t know it happened. There are lots of similarities between the two, yet no Republicans have chosen to discuss it. None of them are saying that “This is the worse IRS scandal since the one under the Republican’s watch in 2004”, since it was not widely publicized and they’d prefer that it wasn’t.
Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans after spending days in the Gulf of Mexico, heading right for that town. FEMA, the agency which exists solely for the purpose of defending us from natural disasters, (and has years of experience doing do) even with all this notice, failed miserably, causing the unnecessary death of hundreds of people of New Orleans.
This was compared to the Gulf Oil spill, which came without any warning and for which there was no government agency in place to deal with it, since it had never happened before, because certain political groups are desperate to find some way to negate their shame over Katrina. They were desperate to call it “Obama’s Katrina” simply because it happened in the same area of the country. They failed to realize that by calling it “Obama’s Katrina”, they were admitting what they had always denied, that Katrina was in fact a dismal Presidential failure, otherwise there’d be no reason to use the reference.
Republican Mark Sanford cheated on his wife, lied to his constituency about where he was when he went missing for 5 days, got caught, resigned from office in disgrace, yet was just elected a Congressman in his same home state of North Carolina. All is apparently forgiven, Republican Mark.
Democrat Anthony Weiner sends pictures of his covered penis to some women, was forced to resign and likely will never win in his current attempt to be Mayor of NY. No one wants anything to do with Democrat Anthony.
Republican David Vitter, Congressman from Louisiana, got caught with prostitutes, yet got re-elected to his seat just a year later. Hey, boys will be boys, right Republican Dave?
Democrat Eliot Spitzer does the same and is forced to resign from office. Democrat Eliot now works in TV News.
The only true, high level scandal that Republicans have been able to cobble together about Democrats after 1973 was Bill Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal. That’s right, all they have been able to hang their respective hats on is when a Democrat lied about cheating on his wife, and they tried to hang him for it…and failed.
When a Democrat makes the slightest error, the Republicans always resurrect THEIR repeated scandals, illegal activities and bald-faced lies and try to say, “Hey, this is much, much, much worse than when we did it”, and yet, in all this time, they still haven’t found one that actually is.
The pattern here should be obvious. Republicans do the exact things of which they accuse Democrats, only more often and with more vigor, yet rely on the ignorance and forgetfulness of their constituency when they claim outrage over what Democrats do.
And their constituency never disappoints…
Causation: The act or agency which causes an effect. Effect B was caused by Effect A.
Correlation: A relation existing between events or things not expected on the basis of chance. Effect B happened along with Effect A, but no proof exists that A caused B.
Causation: My wife left me because I was losing my hair, and now I can’t find a girlfriend.
Correlation: My wife left me right when I started losing my hair, and now I can’t find a girlfriend.
In March 2004, Condoleeza Rice refused to testify before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission). The White House claimed executive privilege under constitutional separation of powers and cited past tradition.
The Bush administration repeatedly stated that there had been no way to tell that we were going to be attacked on 9/11, even though others had testified to the existence of memos as early as a month before the attacks. One memo entitled, Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US was the President’s Daily Brief prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and given to U.S. President George W. Bush on Monday, August 6, 2001, while vacationing on his ranch in Crawford Texas. The brief warned of terrorism threats from Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda 36 days before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
There have been no Congressional Committee hearings as to what was known, what was said and who was responsible for knowing about and protecting us from these attacks. Neither Condoleeza Rice, our National Security Advisor, nor Colin Powell, our Secretary of State, were ever called to testify before Congress on these matters.
Here is a list of US embassy attacks around the world during the Bush Administration, Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell.
Date Location Details Deaths
22 January 2002 Calcutta, India Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami gunmen attack Consulate 5
14 June 2002 Karachi, Pakistanal-Qaeda truck bomb detonates outside Consulate 12
12 October 2002 Denpasar, Indonesia Consular Office bombed none
28 February 2003 Islamabad, Pakistan Unknown gunmen attack Embassy 2
30 June 2004 Tashkent, Uzbekistan Uzbekistan suicide bomber attacks Embassy 2
6 December 2004 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia al-Qaeda gunmen raid diplomatic compound 9
2 March 2006 Karachi, Pakistan Car bomb explodes outside Consulate 2
12 September 2006 Damascus, Syria Gunmen raid US Embassy 4
12 January 2007 Athens, Greece RPG Fired at Embassy by Revolutionary Struggle none
18 March 2008 Sana’a, Yemen Mortar attack against US Embassy 2
9 July 2008 Istanbul, Turkey Armed attack against Consulate 6
17 September 2008 Sana’a, YemenTwo car bombs outside US embassy 16
Here is a list of attacks on American Embassies during the Obama Administration under Hillary Clinton
5 April 2010 Peshawar, Pakistan An attack near the U.S. Consulate kills two 8
11 September 2012 Cairo, Egypt, Benghazi, Libya, U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. 4
1 February 2013 Ankara, Turkey in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Friday, 1
60 people died at American Embassies under George W Bush, 13 under Barack Obama. Yet this is the first time the Congress, under Republican Darrell Issa, has seen fit to determine that Hillary Clinton, widely believed to be a shoe-in for the 2016 Presidential Nomination, was a causative factor in these attacks, based on who said what on which day after the attacks.
Causation: Republicans have spent the last 5 years trying to discredit everything about the Obama Administration, and, based on continued failure, they cause the country to continue to waste its time and resources on witch hunts for actions of which they, themselves, are at minimum, equally guilty.
Correlation: There is no correlation between any of these attacks on the Obama Administration (The Birther Movement, accusations of Obama being a Muslim, a socialist, a Nazi, a communist, 40 separate congressional votes to repeal Obamacare, the latest of which will be next week, their discredited economic theories, all proven untrue by recent economic news and now his record on terrorism) and reality.
If Barack Obama wants Republicans to like him, he should immediately invade Syria and Iran.
He should then embark on the austerity plan that Republicans have been demanding, similar to that of Europe, which has caused unemployment to rise to as high as 25% and their economies to stagnate to the point of a double-dip recession.
The result of these actions will likely be that he will leave office in 2016 with the United States in the midst of two wars, and an economy on the verge of the worst recession since the Great Depression.
This, apparently, is what Republicans consider to be a job well done.
Donations for the library, anyone?