Stuff to Read

Word is that President Obama is telling Congress, pass the whole jobs bill. Or nothin’. I hope he sticks to that. See also E.J. Dionne, “Obama Goes Big — and Should Stay Big.”

The headline on Dana Milbank’s column is “The irrelevancy of the Obama presidency.” However, it’s not so much about the Obama presidency as about Congress.

President Obama gave one of the most impassioned speeches of his presidency when he addressed a joint session of Congress on Thursday night. Too bad so many in the audience thought it was a big, fat joke.

“You should pass this jobs plan right away!” Obama exhorted. Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) chuckled.

“Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary — an outrage he has asked us to fix,” Obama went on. Widespread laughter broke out on the GOP side of the aisle.

“This isn’t political grandstanding,” Obama said. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) guffawed.

There was some unseriousness among the Dems as well. But I would love to see a video that cuts back and forth between the President talking seriously about jobs and the Republicans laughing. See also Steve M.

The New York Times uses graphics to show the real cost of the reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Staggering.

The smirk returns — and the pissant little creep thinks he deserves credit for the death of Osama bin Laden.

Alexander Cockburn looks at a decade of Trutherism. Thank you, Mr. Cockburn.

25 thoughts on “Stuff to Read

  1. The Milbank column reflects the cynical view of the GOP, some democrats, and much of the press that the speech to the Congress was a political stunt intended to boost Obama’s poll numbers. Maybe it was – I’m not invited to White House strategy sessions.

    What if the plan is a genuine attempt to do the best thing for the economy that stands a remote chance of both working and passing. In my book, a percent to a percent and a half drop in unemployment qualifies as partial success. The only reason to hope for passage is if the obvious result – obvious even to a teabagger – is disaster in the 2012 election.

    Continuing in a hypothetical vein, Obama gains nothing if a disemboweled version of his proposal is passed and fails to help the economy. A lot of the first ‘stimulus’ package was tax incentives for big business with no strings attached. The fat cats simply banked the money. That crap is missing in this targeted proposal and Obama might have the nerve to demand they pass his bill AS WRITTEN and then they will have time before the election to blame Obama if it doesn’t work.

    If you are willing to gamble that big.

  2. Did Obama cross the Rubicon? Sure looks like he did…I got a sense that his speech and his fight to get this bill passed in it’s entirety will determine whether or not he’ll be a one term President. The stakes are high with disapproval of Obama’s leadership and Congress’s floundering running almost neck and neck. Obama jumped into the political fight of his life where compromise is not an option.

  3. Oh, I already knew who the pissant little creep was!
    I learned from a friend that the firemen and police of NYC weren’t invited to the 9/11 commemoration ceremony (not enough room). This shouldn’t bother me tho; everyone knows it was the politicians who risked their lives to save folks that day.

  4. I understand that W also wants credit for Little Round Top and the Union victory at Gettyburg, and V-E, and V-J Days. What a putz!

    It’ll be interesting what Frank Luntz and the “Think Tanks” come up with to tell people that “The American Jobs Act” bill is actually a ‘Job’s kill’ bill.

    As for the Truthers, I look at them a slightly different way – they want to believe in the competence of government.
    When I was younger, to some degree, I did believe in elements of conspiracy. I even had some about 9/11. But as I grow older, I realize that the level of competence needed to pull off JFK, MLK, RFK, Area 51, and 9/11 exists only in movies. To think that Bush and Cheney, and the rest of “The Gang That Couldn’t Think Straight, Let Alone Shoot” were capable of pulling off 9/11 gives them a million-fold level of credit more than they deserve. I mean, look at Iraq and WMD. I remember Don Imus joked that they’d find some if they had to FedEx some over to Iraq. He was astounded later on that they couldn’t figure out to do that!
    If Bush and Cheney DID plan 9/11, they’d have hired their beloved contractors, and then, to increase their own profit margin on the job, Boeing would have provided specially built balsa-wood planes, each with a Zippo lighter, and Halliburton would have outsourced the building demolition job to a troop of mimes, because they know they can keep their mouths shut, and substituted Play-do for C-4. In other words, if Cheney and Bush had planned 9/11, today you could go out to the Twin Towers and watch a group of mimes, lighting their cigarettes with Zippo’s, while making animals out of balsa wood, balloons and Play-doh, because there was nothing left for them to do after the plot mysteriously failed.

    Could The Maine, Pearl Harbour, and the assasinations really have been conspiracies? Well, I’d have a lot more faith in government competence to pull that off then, than, say, anything post the Reagan De-evolution. And as for Tweedle-dumb and Tweedle-evil, W’s too stupid to even dress himself, and Cheney, that dick, wouldn’t have stopped at a couple of pissant towers in NY, and corner of the Pentagon – not when the whole world’s conspiring against him! It all comes down to competence. Not even Clinton and Gore could have pulled of 9/11. WAIT! Maybe THEY did it!!!

  5. Don’t forget our fake landing on the Moon. I actually have an otherwise sane friend who believes that particular fantasy.

  6. Lynne,
    I think that that fine documentary film, “Capricorn One” did a great job proving that the moon landing was a hoax. 🙂

    I wonder who ‘conspired’ to make OJ an actor?
    That’s what I want to know!

  7. Here’s a little something off topic for those of you who might want to recharge your patriotic batteries.. It’s titled “An unlikely hero” but some of you might think it’s an unlikely story… don’t let the minor inconsistencies from what would be called reality deter you from enjoying a full measure of the patriotic experience. God bless America!

  8. I worked 34 years for the Federal Government and most Government workers are just like everyone who reads and writes this blog. Some could even be relatives to every one connected with this blog. People should stop generalizing about groups of people including Federal Government workers. We are really people with ordinary lives, problems, etc. For most of this country’s existence, the Government has worked very well–up to and including writing the U.S. Constitution.

  9. Tomorrow is the 10th “Anniversary” of 9/11.

    I’ll wait until tomorrow to write about a new monument that I saw going up in my home town.

    It’s a beam from the WTC. A totem. I have a lot of things I want to say. And I want to think about what I want to write about it, that date, and what’s happenend to the country, and my town, since then.
    Rest assured, none of it will be overly optimistic. 🙂

    • It’s a beam from the WTC.

      Strikes me as being a bit ghoulish. Once about 2004 or so I was in a museum and turned a corner and there was a 9/11 exhibit complete with a bit of metal from the towers, and I had to leave the room because I couldn’t breathe. Too raw. I wasn’t prepared for it.

  10. Alexander Cockburn’s essay on trutherism was very good. In general, he writes some great stuff. Unfortunately, he’s a devout global warming denialist. He manages to damage his credibility so much with the nonsense “facts” he makes up to prove that global warming is a “hoax” that I have trouble believing the many other facts (which are probably valid) he cites when talking about other issues.

  11. Actually, I think Candide has a point. Alexander Cockburn, does occasionally get a bit questionable.

    I succumbed to the 9/11 thing and watched a BBC documentary called “Why the Towers Fell”. It includes substantial time with the chief engineer and CEO of the Architectural firm that built it. It is well worth watching.

  12. maha,
    Yes, that’s it – it feels ghoulish.

    And Swami,
    No, at least it’s not that!

    My town’s not too far from NYC. I wasn’t living here on 9/11, I was in NC. And there might have been some people from here working at the WTC who died in that awful tragedy. I don’t know. I’m one of the lucky ones, because I didn’t know anyone who died on 9/11. A friend of mine who grew up in Staten Island knew almost a dozen guys who died on that day – they were childhood friends who became firefighters and cops.

    But I digress. I don’t know what it is about the new monument that I saw that bothers me.

    It’s a beam, at an angle like the ones in a famous photo – may be one of them, for all I know. Maybe it’s the angle that bothers me. We use to build things straight and true. I don’t know…
    And now, my town has built, not what I look at as a requim, a memorial – but a totem. It’s almost like the Middle Ages where, in a church, they displayed a piece of “The One True Cross,” or a Saint’s knuckle bone.

    Is this a memorial? I’m sure it’s meant to be. But what does is say about the nations subconscious?
    Maybe this country is starting to fetishise defeat. It’s a far different country now than is was on the early morning of 9/11/01. And far, far different than it was on 9/11/1991.
    I’m going to drive by it in a few minutes, after I pick-up my copy of the NY Times, and look at it again. Maybe I’ll feel differently about it. I hope so.
    I’ll write about this later. Maybe. I get the feeling I won’t like today much, this 10th Anniversary of that horrible tragedy. Not that anyone will. I just get the feeling that in all of the mix of feelings, people will get the wrong message. To me, 9/11 was a reminder to this nation to be humble, that we are not the end-all and be-all. But I’m afraid that people will remember that awful day 10 years ago, and lust for more revenge, to take more vengeance out on our ‘enemies,’ just to prove that we can.
    And the beat goes on…

    Take this day to remember the people that we lost, the innocence that we lost, the rights that we’ve lost, but remember we can have a brighter future. It’s up to us. We have new leaders. The phoenix rose from the ashes – and so can we.
    If I don’t write later, I hope everyone has a safe day. Be vigilant, but not fearful.

  13. These things I believe;
    There is no magic, only illusion.Laws exist only for the common man.
    We are governed by the laws of physics only. You can’t pray or wish away a bad situation or condition.
    Religion is the cause of much suffering, but some good also.
    Bad men will use religion to get what they want.
    Evil people will try their best to gain advantage from those looking for a “leader”
    or “savior”.
    A bellowing gas bag can become a wealthy “authority” for angry white guys.
    God does not control the weather, nor does he love America or the Jewish people best.
    There is always one person who wants his “cut” from those around him.
    Having oral sex with one consenting adult intern is worse than torturing numerous people to death.
    Blue Bell ice cream is not “home made”.
    Cookies are not made by little men in hollow trees.
    Bears don’t use toilet paper.
    The chance that three sky scrapers could fall within there own footprints are slim to none, but they did.
    The events of 9/11/2001 have been exploited by a group of people to do things that would have been very difficult, if not impossible to do otherwise.
    An appointed President (the first in history after Gerald Ford) who was known to want to invade another land, appointed those who “investigated” the crime.
    You can’t bomb a nation into democracy.
    If you are the president of the united states, you can direct armies and secret organizations to commit mass murder.
    Osama Bin Laden (so it’s said) had a plan to lure the US into numerous small but costly wars in far flung areas of the globe to bleed us of treasure and young lives.
    They don’t hate us because of our “freedom”.
    We need an independent in depth investigation of the PNAC members and the members of the former Bush 43 administration.
    The investigation will never happen because we have a 2 party system, and both parties want to have the freedom to do what they want without fear of prosecution.
    Members of BOTH parties who approved the invasion of Iraq are still at their jobs.

  14. I went by the memorial again a little while ago, and what struck me was, I got a feeling like I was living down South again.

    It seems to me to be not a memorial of remembrance, but more of a memorial of/to aggrievement. It seems like it fetshises loss, like the Confederacy.

    The new ‘memorial’ stands kitty-corner at a fairly busy intesection of two two-lane roads, to a slightly larger than life-sized statue of an infantryman, maybe a Marine, post WWI because of the helmet, planting a rifle in the ground as a marker for a fallen comrade. That small statue is a thing of beauty. You can almost see the sweat on the infantyman, and his, and our loss. Having a rusted girder at an oblique angle diagonally across the street sends me a different message. Not of loss, and the battle of trying to make the world a better place, but of someone showing off an angry wound, and promising revenge.

    I’m probably reading way too much into a hunk of rusted steel, but, like all ‘art,’ it is what it is, and it is what it means to me, and what it means to me is what is. And I don’t like it. Sorry…

  15. Gulag.. I hear ya!..I don’t see it as a solemn remembrance for the the lives lost on that tragic day. I also see it as wallowing in a victim hood… I guess when I see people holding signs that read — We will never forget— that are adorned with American flags, I kind of sense the focus is not on the individual lives lost,but on how those lives were lost…An affirmation of being a victim.. I don’t want to diminish or deny the rightful grief of those who suffered through that tragedy, but when I see Bush standing in Shanksville PA with his head bowed in an attempt to act like he has some reverence for life while knowing it was his cruel exploitation of that tragedy that stole from the memory of those who lost their lives that day. My bitterness about 9/11 doesn’t come from the event itself, it comes from how it was exploited and manipulated to achieve political ends..Bush destroyed anything sacred about 9/11.

  16. Swami, if W had any human decency at all, he’d have stayed home, and spared us from having to look at his pathetic visage.

    Maybe someone should have thrown him in Cheney’s man-sized safe for the day.
    With Cheney.
    Locking it so that they couldn’t get out.
    And sealed off any cracks so no oxygen could get in.

  17. Chris Hedges, We’ve Become What We Loathe

    …I returned that night to the [NYT] newsroom hacking from the fumes released by the burning asbestos, jet fuel, lead, mercury, cellulose and construction debris. I sat at my computer, my thin paper mask still hanging from my neck, trying to write and catch my breath. All who had been at the site that day were noticeable in the newsroom because they were struggling for air. Most of us were convulsed by shock and grief.

    …There would soon, however, be another reaction. Those of us who were close to the epicenters of the 9/11 attacks would primarily grieve and mourn. Those who had some distance would indulge in the growing nationalist cant and calls for blood that would soon triumph over reason and sanity. Nationalism was a disease I knew intimately as a war correspondent. It is anti-thought. It is primarily about self-exaltation….

  18. I just read your article, Barbara, on the Buddhist definition of “attachment” on Absolutely terrific article — I’m trying to lessen my attachment and this really gave me a good definition so that I understand my goal!
    La Crescenta, CA

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