Welcome to Prairie Country
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Last night, snowed under up on the northern prairies, needing a little ol' timey feelgood, we watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington on TCM.
This morning I'm perusing my deadtree edition of the hometown paper, while it lasts, and a coupla thoughts occur. First, yesterday the front page featured a headline right out of the RNC Propaganda Playbook, courtesy the AP Washington bureau (yeh, I know, surprise, suuuurrrrrppprrrizzzzeee): "Is class warfare in plan?"
They don't even make a pretense of keepin' it on op-ed anymore.
And today, another teeny-tiny wee little article: Gregg aided base he invested in.
Yeh. Judd Gregg. Patron saint of santimonious flip-floppery. But, but, but, he broke no laws, he violated no Senate rules.....
That's the problem, now isn't it. And the sanctimony and hypocrisy play on.
Or as Gordonskene said over at C&L: Who ever said Politics was ethical? It's politics, fer chrissake!
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The machinations of former Senator Norm Coleman and current-as-of-this-keyboarding Senator Roland Burris to occupy seats in the U.S. Senate have now taken on the toxicity of the Menendez brothers.
You know: don't sentence us for murdering our parents...we're orphans.
Norm Coleman breezes into lunch with the GOP caucus—doubtless to attempt some kind of public appearance framing on a day when he will not be in the well of the House for the President's speech. And doubtless to solicit more funds for Ben Ginsberg aka Red Skull's legal fees in the we'll stall for a bazillion years before we let a Democrat sit in that chair court case.
Roland Burris scuttles behind closed doors to meet with fellow Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. And doubtless hints, whines, blathers about the legal fees [thousands of dollars, says Durbin] he's accumulating as the Blagojevich circus plays on.
Meanwhile, two states—Minnesota and Illinois—are deprived of the full representation and effectiveness their citizens need in these challenging economic times.
We're heading into blarney month. Maybe soon the luck o'the Irish will liberate both states from these two tainted story spinners so the rest of us can meet the challenges ahead.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette
Monday, February 23, 2009
Asked this morning on the Imus Show...have the American people lost faith in the government?
And answered...by Mr Sunshine: No, they've lost faith in the institutions of the private sector...
Adds Mrs. Sunshine [that would be moi]: We need to channel FDR's New Deal and Teddy Roosevelt's trust-busting.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
We are a nation forever defining ourself in our journey. The great American experiment. The immigrant voyages to these shores. The cross-country train rides to the frontier. The pioneer treks on oxcart trails and narrow footpaths.
Our culture celebrates the journey--from Wagon Train to boldly going where no one has gone before.
And this Saturday night, we watched another journey, the most basic, the most profound. The journey home.
Taking Chance brings to life the journal of Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, who volunteered for the duty of escorting the remains of 19-year-old PFC Chance Phelps to his home, his family, his friends, his community. His final resting place.
There is no shrieking shrill of partisans and pundits and politicians and gasbags of talk radio blustering about who was right, who was wrong about the decisions that led to the young man's death in this extraordinary HBO film.
No news cameras and pontificators opining.
There is only and solely the awakening of the Lt. Col. as he meets ordinary people along the way--airline ticket takers, fellow passengers, old vets, a funeral home director, his fellow soldiers. And the family of one fallen Marine. If there was any moment
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Nothing sets off the emotional and political Richter scale higher and faster than the subject of abortion. So the front page headline in the local daily (the Forum of Fargo, ND) caught people's eyes, including mine.
Since, as it turns out, the article was riddled with errors, including the actual bill number, which was HB 1572, I decided to directly contact legislators about the bill, not just rely on the public reporting.
And my take is, this bill was pushed through mostly under the radar and with an orchestrated contact campaign, based on misrepresentations and oh wait, what's that word? Lies. Yeah, that's it. Lies. The bill's sponsor, Minot representative Dan Ruby, sold the bill o'goods to fellow legislators as benign, and said, no prob, even Dorgan's supporting like legislation in DeeCee....
Benign? Yeah. Right.
As the Forum puts it today: "House Bill 1572 defines fertilized egg as a human being."
So consider the consequences: stem cell research—criminal act. birth control—criminal act. in vitro fertilization—criminal act (I mean, really. You think somebody's not gonna scream "child abuse" about freezing embryos? It's the next step.).
Bearing false witness about benign. Ironic, considering the anti-abortion
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
First reaction, WTF was the New York Post cartoonist thinking, drawing the cartoon in the first place?
Second reaction, WTF was the New York Post doing publishing it?
Rush Limbaugh's recent "I hope he fails." campaign has reached down to small town American talk show hosts like Fargo's Scott Hennen's "I hope Pres. Obama's socialist policies fail miserably." [Yes, he is the guy who chortled with Chee-knee about waterboarding. Figures.]
The rightwing Wurlitzer is ramping up the hate.
Now this disgusting cartoon published in a supposedly sophisticated marketplace like New York City. By the global empire of Rupert Murdoch.
Well, there's a tradition Murdoch's probably run across in his world travels — seppuku.
For the New York Post, and all of Murdoch's global propaganda machine for that matter, I hope they commit media seppuku. Ritual disembowelment of the Murdoch presses and the Murdoch websites and the Murdoch networks.
No entity deserves it more than the Partners in Propaganda brainwashing machine that is Murdoch Media.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Does it really matter if 90% of Republicans [adopting a Foxian talking point here] oppose the Obama stimulus package if there are only 2,347 known Republicans still in existence on the planet?
Figures lie and liars figure.
And polls and pundits say whatever they want with frames totally unrelated to reality.
Monday, February 16, 2009
The ratings are in and CNN's Campbell Brown aka Mrs. Dan Senor is not doing so well in her time slot. Hardly justified dumping Paula Zaun, now did it....
Here's a radical thought for the original cable news network:
How about giving us some news for an hour? No pundits. No "opinions." No "experts" at the desk. No glammed-up anchor babes or buffed boys in suits. No gizmos. No three-Dee. And absolutely no politicians spewing spin.
Who knows, we could get to know the rest of the planet better.
And it might catch on.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
The House just passed the stimulus package by an overwhelming vote. Not one Republican supported the stimulus. Not one.
Seven Democrats voted against it. One because he believed it was too small. The remaining six are all avowed "blue dogs."
Some might call them Republicans.
One of those seven, Minnesota's own Collin Peterson. Hey, neighbors, in 2010, how 'bout you find a Democrat to run for that seat?
John over at Crooks & Liars sums up exactly what is wrong with the media's scurrying to adopt the Republican frame:
Why are the Republicans obstructing, stonewalling, delaying, spinning, sabotaging and otherwise doing everything contra to bipartisanship? Oh, that's right, Pete Sessions told us: they are aping Taliban.
The media has completely failed to hold Republicans responsible for their inability to work with the Obama administration.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tom Friedman on the Imus Show this morning called the election situation in Israel a complete, bloody mess.
'course that phrase pretty much sums up what the Obama Administration has inherited, as well, in both foreign policy and the state of the economy.
And poor ol' Tom, he's reduced to staying home from the cocktail circuit with his head in his hands, dithering over whether to put his paycheck in Citibank or under the mattress.
At least he's got a paycheck.
Friedman tells us: be afraid, be very afraid. This is a national emergency we're in and people are acting as if it's business as usual....I find the grandstanding and partisan bickering appalling.
Well there we agree.
And as Friedman notes, the worst of it is, when contemplating the "banksters" who testified yesterday, they're a bunch of dopes. Bank of America, he says, was going along fine and then had unprotected sex with Merrill Lynch and the rails came off.
Friedman's solution is getting the heart that runs America pumping again, and that's the banking credit system.
So now what?
Friedman's willing to give Obama six months, a year to work through this current mess. Because, as he notes, this is not a test. This is real.
There's a whole lot of hysteria percolating right beneath the surface all over the place these days, as Friedman's commentary shows.
I take heart from looking at the totality of what the Obama Administration has already done. Obama promised his team would hit the ground running, and they have. Appalling last minute Bush directives have been overturned. A cabinet has been assembled.
Sure, if you listened to the dinosaur media, you'd think the only thing going on is the stimulus package and whether Drug-Rush will rule Republicanville.
But if you step back and take a deep breath, you'll see the same strategic thinking that sustained and grew the Obama campaign is now up and running in Washington.
And that's a good thing.
UPDATE: Maybe part of the problem is the 5 percent factor.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Just keep in mind, Republicans pride themselves on being the party of the red states.
And red coats.
And red ink.
Insurgents? Not so much.
Flashback: Republican Solution: Total Taliban Carnage
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Hmmm, well now, this is interesting.
Peanut Corporation of America—you know, the salmonella guys—has had to close a second plant. 'waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy out there in George W. BushCo's West Texas good ol' boy country.
The other better known plant was in Georgia, and the investigation there is underway.
This is no joking matter.
From the New York Times' article, we learn that Peanut Corporation of America has an interesting location for its corporate headquarters. Lynchburg, Virginia, best known as the hometown of Liberty University and the Jerry Falwell empire.
My, my. That's an intriguing coincidence.
Time to follow the bacteria....and see what vermin turn up.
Talking about the context of Daschle's tax problem, the corporate jet culture, and the way the Villagers in the Beltway do their (non)thinking on the Imus Show this morning:
"Fish are the only ones who don't realize they're wet."
Monday, February 9, 2009
The Republican Rump are in full court press now trying for tactical advantage on the stimulus bill. The big blowhard from Palm Beach aka Big Piggy their fearless leader has dubbed it porkulus (he would know pork) and of course the word is spreading.
So it's come down to this. Instead of sincerely trying to fix the dire economic situation we inherited from Team BushCo, the Republicans like Drug-Rush and Mitch McConnell and Karl Rove and Dick Shelby (why are all their names "Dick"?) are working to score points against the President.
They want this President to fail.
And I'm not the first to note that if this President fails, the country fails.
But maybe they're okay with that.
Me? Not so much.
So "Dick" Shelby, Big Piggy, all you Republican Rumpers in the neocon whine club. Yeah, you did lose. Big time. And it's going to get bigger.
Because you can try to scare monger with "isms," as "Dick" Shelby was doing on CNN this morning, but you can't hide the truth. Your "ism" got us in this mess. So if you don't have anything constructive to add to the conversation, then, please, just STFU and get out of the way.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Case in point on Partners in Propaganda, an update to the One Is the Loneliest Number post, take a moment to watch Bill Moyers discussion, via HuffPo. [Is Bill Moyers the best thing to come from Texas? Or the last best thing to come from Texas? Just asking.]
Witting, unwitting, or witless...it's time the media hold themselves to account.
Lots of talk these days about some pretty big numbers. Deficits, stimulus bill price tags, tax cut giveaways to appease "centrist" Republicans, votes in the Congress....yep, they all have three or four or nine or... digits, these numbers.
So it's pretty easy to talk numbers and forget about people. Suck it up you folks who might benefit from the Democratic plan, says South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford this morning on CNN. Ten thousand jobs here or a bazillion foreclosures there? pffft. Piffle. You got yourself in this mess. It's gonna be tough getting out, guess you're gonna be one of the collateral damage.
And his rationale is the same entities that screwed up Katrina would screw things up if we go down the Democratic path. And John King just lets him spew that spin unchallenged. Unauthenticated.
For one thing, George Bush isn't at the top of the entities, having his minions and cronies seed everything with the corrupt incompetent ideologues who were in charge the last eight years.
The Republicans are in lockstep now, with few exceptions. Standing against the will of the American people. Standing against the needs of the American people. Standing against the interests of the American people.
Because for John "Bagman" Boehner (remember him handing out those tobacco lobby checks on the floor of the Congress? No? Well no wonder the country's in such dire straits) and Mitch McConnell and Richard Shelby and Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the Republican leadership, it's all about scoring points against the new President. It's all about roughing him up..."Welcome to Washington"...it's all about carrying water for the same elite insiders that drove us into this quagmire the last eight years.
And they're not going to give up...heck, they're going full bore with their talk radio partners in propaganda still.
This week, President Obama is reaching out to the American people. Going to town halls to talk directly to the American people.
While the Congress meets in their cloakrooms and closets and caucus retreats and talks to each other. And their willing watercarriers in the media.
And in northern Minnesota, here in tall timber country, the foreclosure listings fill the paper. The business news is the layoffs at Teamworks.
And in Akeley, Minnesota, the Paul Bunyan Grocery is going out of business because the owner cannot afford the losses any longer.
So tell that little eighty-year-old widow lady in Akeley who depended on that Grocery because she doesn't drive and the nearest "big" town of Walker is some ten miles away. And it's 20 below and the wind chill's even colder.
Tell that lady to suck it up, because the posturing and preening of the demigods for those who line their pockets is so much more important than passing an economic stimulus bill that will put America back on track.
Friday, February 6, 2009
You have to wonder at the sheer breathtaking evil of this Republican party's agenda for the future. Not solving America's problems. Witness their destructive and, frankly, ignorant attacks on the stimulus bill as a "spending bill."
And then there's this, from a Republican Congressman from Texas, Pete Sessions. And maybe you should be kind and just consider the source. After all it is a white male Republican politician from Texas.
"Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban -- I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that's not what we're saying. I'm saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with."No, no, of course not, Mr. Congressman from Texas. There's nothing in your demographic group that would lead one to believe you're the Taliban. Or that you're urging that fellow Republicans should be Taliban. Not at all.
If the Democrats can't make at least as much hay from this as ol' Boner made from "condoms," then they might as well shutter their side of the aisle.
Bipartisanship was never an option for these Republicans. And any of those who profess to be moderate Republican, meet in the middle Republicans...you know who we're talking about...
It's time to ask them: are you with the American people? Or the Taliban?
Time for an up or down vote. Time to use the microphone and call these phonies what they are. Maybe Joan Walsh could give you a few tips.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Day by day, the disclosures of the what-should-be-criminal misconduct of the ideologues in the Bush Administration are being brought out of the shadows into sunshine. And it's an ugly sight.
Yesterday, a House hearing on the failure of the SEC to investigate the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheming—despite voluminous filings by Harry Markopolos, a Boston accountant. Markopolos, it seems to me, was overly generous in attributing the failure to turf wars between New York and Boston. But he went further:
In his testimony yesterday, a frustrated Markopolos said the SEC is "captive to the industry it regulates and it is afraid of bringing big cases against the largest, most powerful firms." He added, "Clearly the SEC was afraid of Mr. Madoff."Kind of the meta-theme of the entire George Bush era. The crooks have been running the country and cowardly, quaking BushCo did nothing to stop it.
A lot of fingerpointing is going on these days, and it's not a pretty sight. But more and more the nature of the mess that we've all inherited from the worst administration ever is one of ideology and bungling over pragmatism and competence.
Dick Cheney, the magic man behind the preening President, has emerged from his disclosed McLean VA location to talk to Politico. Evidently he's decided he's found the right [in all definitions of "right"] venue to replace Meet the Press as his go-to place for spewing his scaremongering. Maybe some will quiver and shake in their brush-cutter boots, but the more Dick talks, the more the rest of us see his inner Dr. Strangelove in control.
The frustration of the American people is palpable. We voted for change, and yet we see the new President ensnared by the same ol' same ol' posturings and spin, putting party before country. Party before we, the people.
Maybe McConnell needs to spend a little time back home in ol' Kentucky helping his homies get the lights back on. And a little less time trying to tear down the progress the country needs.
Some say there should be trials for all the ideologues and warmongers and profiteers and embeds throughout the government whose mission du jour was to destroy the country to save it in their own likeness.
Surely the militaristic among 'em would recognize the phrase "dereliction of duty." Even if they don't want to understand the compelling case for applying it to the former commander-in-chief on down through his ranks. In the civilian world, it's recklessness, negligence, malpractice.
The revealing SEC hearing yesterday is like a boulder in the Stonehenge [yes, I did watch Sunrise Planet Earth this morning, why do you ask?] of evidence building up in the case against the Bush Administration.
But there's also this matter of the urgency of cleaning up the mess, getting the country back on the right track, pulling back from the abyss of financial ruin.
So I've got a proposition. We'll apply their very own standard on them. Round up every member of al BushCo suspected of being linked to the egregious dereliction of duty that led to this financial and confidencial ruin of our country. Bush, Chee-knee, Norquist, Rove, Rush, Condi, Chris Cox, Alberto Gonzales, Don Rumsfeld, Goodling....feel free to fill in your own nominees...and let's send 'em all to Gitmo.
After all, they tell us, Gitmo's a grand place. Surely they won't mind languishing there a decade or two while we tidy up the cesspool they left us. We'll keep the case files handy and well-organized. Promise.
How's that legacy thing working out, George?
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The short, unhappy nonconfirmation process of Tom Daschle was a cautionary tale. The system worked...ugly. Will the lesson take? Yet to be determined.
One thing we did discover. We know a whole lot less about those who represent us, back home here in "the sticks" than we think we do.
The disclosures that came out, not just about the unpaid taxes for the driver, but the multimillion dollar fees from the healthcare industry, make me think that for all the ugliness of Daschle's determination to stick it out until he couldn't any more, we dodged a bullet.
There's an entitlement among too many Senators and Representatives and others who sign on to work in DeeCee that after a while they lose touch with what brought them there in the first place.
[Disclaimer: I don't think the Bush ideologues who trashed the place for the past eight years ever had any other agenda than trashin' the place. But then that's me....]
But even the best of them, at their Super Bowl parties or in their caucus lunches or wherever, tell each other how the little people just don't understand how hard they're working for them. Don't appreciate just how important they are.
Oh, they probably don't put it quite that crassly....
But they posture and sometimes preen and find each other the most awesomest, wonderfullest, honestest....
And the rationalization becomes easier. And that's the slippery slope that avalanched right over Obama and his vetting team this week. Chock-full o'Daschle and the deniers and the demigods.
They become "they," not "we," "the people."
They lose touch...with their constituents, their states, their country,
...and whatever brought them to Washington in their dusty ol' cars, still married to their home state wives and their principles.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
ThinkProgress is reporting that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson may oppose the stimulus package because of--get this--Pell Grant funding.
More Pell Grant funding = more students who can afford to go to college = more students who need teachers to teach them at that college = more jobs for college-level teachers.
Sounds to me like the good Senator may need to go back to college for some remedial arithmetic and critical thinking.
This message brought to you by the parent of a doctoral teaching assistant.
Josh notes over at Talking Points Memo the synchronicity of Obama and Daschle. That Daschle's Senate seat loss in 2004 opened a wealth of staff for the freshly elected Obama. In sum, says Josh, it'll take a lot for Obama to "pull the plug" on Daschle's nomination.
Which is exactly why Daschle should do the honorable thing himself and withdraw.
All the political capital or likability or loyalty in the world doesn't justify going forward with this nomination. Daschle is not just tainted by tax problems, he's drenched. We're supposed to be better than the Republicans. Not just as weaselly.
crossposted at firedoglake's Oxdown Gazette