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Saturday Morning News and Views

Good Morning, Conflucians!

There is quite a bit of news this morning for a Saturday. The President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, was killed early this morning in a plane crash, along with his wife and other Polish officials.

The president, 60, had been traveling with the Polish delegation to Russia for the 70th anniversary of the massacre of Polish prisoners of war in the village of Katyn. Some 20,000 Polish officers were executed there during World War II.

The Polish military plane originated in Warsaw, the Polish Defense Ministry said. It was approaching the airport at Smolensk — just a few miles east of Katyn — and probably hit some trees at the end of the runway, Paszkowski said.

The Investigation Committee of the Russian prosecutor’s office said the plane, a Tupolev-154, was trying to land in heavy fog.

Putin to head investigation into Polish president’s death

Russian authorities have already said they suspect pilot error in the crash, near Smolensk, in Western Russia.

There are reports the jet made several attempted landings before the crash.

Also on board were leading members of Poland’s political elite, including the army chief of staff and the governor of the central bank.

This is pretty devastating for Poland. So far, it doesn’t sound like there is anything suspicious about the crash.

A “progressive” organization, Campaign for America’s Future, is trying to fight CNN’s plan to give four hours to Pete Peterson, the guy who wants to eliminate what is left of America’s safety net, especially Social Security. Why is CNN allowing Peterson to attack Social Security without allowing opposing views?

BTW, Peterson seems to have an “in” with Obama, and has been appointed to Obama’s “independent commission” to reduce the deficit (i.e., get rid of the “entitlement programs” that we have all paid into for our entire working lives.) This seems like a good political action item for anyone who has the time. Here is the main page for the Campaign for America’s Future.

I learned something new about retiring Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens. Would you believe Stevens was at the World Series game in 1932 when Babe Ruth “called his shot” and then hit a home run? And he has the framed scorecard to prove it. Stevens is a Cubs fan.

Barely wet behind the ears pundit Ezra Klein thinks Obama should appoint Hillary Clinton to the Supreme Court.

I’ve always been partial to the idea of seeing Hillary Clinton appointed to the Supreme Court. She’s got a law degree, of course. She’s practiced law, practiced politics and practiced statecraft. She’s been present in both the executive and the legislative branch. She’s done an enormous amount of retail politics, which I think is useful. She’s smart and hardworking and has proven herself adaptable to a wide range of institutions. The counterargument I got on Twitter is that she’s controversial, but I’m not sure I really believe that anymore. She’s well-known, and many Republicans in the Senate like her personally.

Hmmm…sounds like she could have been a good President. But Klein and the rest of the gang of barely wet behind the ears prog bloggers decided they wanted a barely wet behind the ears President instead. Why should we listen to their suggestions about the Supreme Court? Here are some suggestions from Emily Bazelon and Dahlia Lithwick, two female pundits with much better experience and track records than Klein.

Yesterday, Sarah Palin and Barack Obama had a back and forth in which they ridiculed each other’s experience in nuclear matters. First Palin said:

“It’s kind of like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, ‘Go ahead, punch me in the face and I’m not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to with me,'”

Then Obama parried with:

“Last I checked, Sarah Palin’s not much of an expert on nuclear issues,”

And here’s Palin’s next volley:

Palin shot back in her comments Friday, mocking the president for “the vast nuclear experience that he acquired as a community organizer.” She said that his alleged experience had not helped him make progress in the issue with Iran and North Korea

Newsweek has a story about the Hutaree militia–the Michigan group that was raided by the FBI and Homeland security recently: Ex-Members of U.S. Military Were Members of Hutaree Militia Extremist Group

The particular concern raised by military members among extremist groups is that former service members, including disgruntled veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, may be helping to train extremists in firearms and military tactics, according to Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. In the Hutaree case, the federal indictment charges that, as part of their plans to spark an “uprising” against the U.S. government, group members engaged “in military-style training” that included “firearms and explosives training, weapons proficiency drills, patrolling and reconnaissance exercises, close quarter battle drills” as well as “preparing defensive fighting positions” and “ambush kill zones.”

The discovery makes the Hutaree case the latest example of what watchdog groups say has been evidence of disturbing links between some current and former members of the U.S. military and extremist hate groups. “This is one more indication that [military] training is of interest to these kind of extremist groups,” said Potok.

Isakoff seems to be the designated hitter for the Obama administration in pushing this story about scary militia groups as the new terrorist menace. Frankly, I’m a lot more scared of the government than I am of a few ex-military guys running around in the Michigan woods. But what do I know?

I’ll leave you with a couple of depressing but important pieces on the state of our economy and our nation.

15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Wealth And Inequality In America

The article is made up of charts that show that wealth inequality is approached Guilded Age levels.

America: The Grim Truth by Lance Freeman

You have the worst quality of life in the developed world – by a wide margin.

If you had any idea of how people really lived in Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many parts of Asia, you’d be rioting in the streets calling for a better life. In fact, the average Australian or Singaporean taxi driver has a much better standard of living than the typical American white-collar worker.

I know this because I am an American, and I escaped from the prison you call home.

I have lived all around the world, in wealthy countries and poor ones, and there is only one country I would never consider living in again: The United States of America. The mere thought of it fills me with dread.

Read it and weep.

So what are you reading today? Post freely in the comments, and have a great Saturday. We’d better enjoy ourselves while we still can.

82 Responses

  1. Morning, bb.

    Hmmm…sounds like she could have been a good President. But Klein and the rest of the gang of barely wet behind the ears prog bloggers decided they wanted a barely wet behind the ears President instead. Why should we listen to their suggestions about the Supreme Court?

    LOL, right on. That Hillary for SCOTUS meme is so 2008, anyway.

  2. Actually when I think long term I can not help but think that HRC would be an amazing addition for the good to the SCOTUS. She is about the only nominee that I can think of who is staunchly for improving the rights of women and lgbt community who would have any real chance of getting actually approved for the court.

    • Now, imagine the court we’d get if she were the one nominating the nominees.

    • Unfortunately, if Hillary were on the SCOTUS, even she wouldn’t be able to do much good if her opinions were always in the minority. I would much rather have her nominating justices to SCOTUS than serving as one.

  3. The link to the Lance Freeman piece gets a FORBIDDEN/404 error page.

    • I’ll try to find a better one. Try this link: http://www.sott.net/articles/show/206251-America-The-Grim-Truth

      The one in the post is working for me. If this one doesn’t work for you, let me know.

      • I’ll bet Costa Rica would be nice.

      • Well, that was a cheerful way to start the morning. Unfortunately, the man’s largely right.

      • Who the hell is this Lance Freeman writing for World Net Daily. Isn’t that a wingnut site. He sounds like a bitter nut. There is no country on earth that’s not enduring a great deal of pain right now, and there is certainly no country that is as idyllic as bitter Lance describes. Grass always looks greener fairer freer somewhere else.

        • World Net Daily? Huh? That came from Information Clearing House. It’s a fairly far left site.

      • Oops, silly me. It’s the World News Daily, a truther site. The other nutty extreme. Charming.

        • Ahhhh, truthers.

          The other crazies. Charming, indeed.

          • Actually there are a lot of questions to be asked about 9/11. However Information Clearing House is not a “truther” site.

        • No wonder the government establishment is having such an easy time dividing and conquering the voice of the people. All they and the opinion media need to do is point out the delusional nuts at either extreme. Undermine the credibility any other groups might have, piece of cake.

        • Actually, I believe it’s a socialist site. You might be thinking of World Net Daily.
          I thought it offered a lot of food for thought.

          • That makes more sense: Freeman sounds like a socialist. Do you have a link to him at World News Daily? I couldn’t find one and don’t see him listed on the masthead. Another problem is that there are at least three Lance Freemans–this columnist, a sociology prof at Columbia and a photog.

          • The site is called Information Clearing House. It’s been around for years. It’s a lefty site and not nutty in my experience.

        • Information Clearing House is not a “truther” site. What are you smoking?

          • I’m out and about boomer. Check out the list of headlines on the homepage link. The War on Truth 9/11 Disinformation, Fall of the WTC, 9/11 Eyewitness, Terrorism Globalism and Conspiracy, 9/11 Special, Loose Change 9/11, etc. Click thru the links.

          • I still can’t access Information Clearing House, bb, but the second site you linked to, Sott.net, is definitely lefty. The front page features stories on the arrest of a 12-year-old war protestor and his mother, the murder of a Hispanic immigrant, the loss of women’s history thanks to the Christian right. But maybe those don’t count because ending the war, immigrants’ rights and women’s history and civil rights are all “personal agendas” that should give way before theoverarching importance of. . . …something or other.

  4. {{{sigh}}}

    • And she’s dead wrong in this argument. He does have more nuclear experience than she does. She forgot about Exelon.

  5. Pete Peterson on a committee deciding the fate of SSI?

    {{{double sigh}}}

    • Pete Peterson has been one of Obama’s go to guys all along. That’s why I thought it was obvious Obama wanted to kill Social Security.

      • Yep. Obama also assigned Alan Simpson as a co-chair, and Simpson’s eager to cut as much as possible—“everything’s on the table.”

      • I swear It’s genius.

      • Would Biden be any better? If he would, it’s time to get serious about demanding impeachment 🙂 I think Obama has proven how much real damage can be done to the American dreams in a short period of time.

  6. You gotta read Somerby from yesterday, if you get the chance.

    He’s calling Digby “Sally Quinn-lite,” as in snooty snob, sneering at people “beneath” her, driving people away from her side because she’s too stupid to know better. lol

    “Sally Quinn lite” Cracks me up. 🙂

    • Ooooooh! I’m going right now.

      • Wow!

        …we could never have dreamed how small and nasty we liberals would actually turn out be once we emerged from our decades-long slumber and rejoined the political world. We couldn’t have dreamed how much we’d enjoy playing nasty, self-defeating race cards. We couldn’t have dreamed how much we’d enjoy sneering at our lessers.

        • That’s a 5-whoas rating on that one.

        • Isn’t it amazing???

          He also mentions that even amongst the race card played on the Congressional steps the day of the HC vote, both Clyburn and Cohen have admitted, when pressed, that THEY didn’t actually hear any of the “n” word name calling.

          And he eviscerates Tweety and Olbie for ramping up the “must be true” crap.

          This is how Democrats lose, he says, cuz our side is too stupid to get it.

          • LOL! Somerby calls Frank Rich a “bloated, pale, Imus-loving hack”

            Too funny.

        • Can we nominte Somerby for a Pulitzer for this: “Matthews, a re-purposed corporate pseudo-liberal”?


          • Dontcha love it? Somerby was in the ZONE when he wrote Friday’s post.

            Digby’s gonna be pissed when she finds out she’s the new Sally Quinn lite.


          • Only when he figures out how bad the health insurance bill is. He can’t figure out that 8% of the AGI is a WHOLE LOT for people to be forced to pay for medical insurance (NOT health care, medical insurance) even if their premiums are otherwise “largely subsidized” (for awhile until another batch of Demopublicans gets their hands on the subsidies).

    • That’s perfect

  7. Republicans are promising a “whale of a fight” over Stevens’ replacement.


    I wonder how President Wimpy will react?

    • What would you expect from Republicans. This has become the party of crazy people.

      I don’t know how they were under Carter, but since the election of Bill Clinton, they have simply decided to deny the legitimacy ANY democratically elected Democrat to the White House, even one who is destroying his own party to be their friend.

      At this point they dont even want to accept ANY Democrat elected to ANY office, talk about “you’ve won only if I accept the results”.

      Wasn’t it Jon Kyl who was threatening to filibuster a nominee who hasn’t even been appointed?

      • What would you expect from Republicans. This has become the party of crazy people.

        Unlike the prog side…

        • Ain’t dat the truf?

          We only see the crazies on the other side.

        • At least Dems accept the results of elections and find a way to leave with their frustration, even to a fault (remember how they rushed to accomodate Bush and Reagan screwed up the country even when Dems had both Houses of Congress).

          Moreover, as disgusted as we are with the Democrats, nothing compares with the absolute craziness coming from the other side.

          I don’t buy the “both sides are bad” people like to put out.

          The nutiness of Republicans is not new. Sometimes it even seems to me that they were crazier during the Clinton years but they do their best day in day out to outdo themselves.

          • You’re 1st paragraph voids your 3rd. Just sayin’

          • How so?

          • There is NOTHING redeeming about either party for me.

          • Addendum:

            “both sides are bad”

            I forgot EQUALLY. Very important!

            I don’t want people to think I agree with what the Dems are doing now. I think they are bad but Republicans are insane.

          • Where is the good stuff?

          • MaBlue,

            Equally doesn’t even matter when you start comparing those who are acting against our interests.

          • Just because the there’s a candy-coating on a cyanide pill it doesn’t take away the ultimate effect.

          • SoD,

            we both agree on how bad the Dems are at this point. My only point is that Republicans are way beyond that, which is not to redeem Dems.

            I’ve been following politics closely since the election of Bill Clinton and Republicans and their “leaders” have put out the most insane, incendiary, hateful stuff I can imagine.

            It just seem to me that they refuse to accept the election of ANY Dem to anything. That was actually the only point I was trying to make.

          • but Republicans are insane

            That is the exact used car the Democrats want you to buy. Congratulations! It’ll keep you voting for the “lesser evil”.

          • That is the exact used car the Democrats want you to buy. Congratulations!

            Please spare that kinda horse manure. I’m talking about my observations since the election on Bill Clinton.

          • MaBlue,

            The problem with you’re argument is that it makes assumptions. Bill Clinton made sure we shared in the prosperity and made gains in equality.

          • Crap– “your” not “you’re”

          • SoD,

            I absolutely agree with your assessment. The slight difference between us is that for once reason, I always liked Hillary more than I like Bill. I think it started with the vicious attacks she faced, and once, I met an “insider’s insider” who told me that Hillary was more Liberal than Bill and was more likely to get into fight to defend Liberal values than he was.
            I just became a fan and it hasn’t changed.

          • No disagreement there.

          • I’m with you mablue2. I think you’re exactly right.

        • SOD, part of that Somerby article was about the “left” side’s treatment of the working class, agreeing with you.

          In particular, Joan Walsh et al. He says THIS week our side cares about the dead miners in W Virginia, railing against unregulated corporate owners. But NEXT week, our side will be back to SNEERING at those same miners as un-educated, bitter racists clinging to their Gods and their guns, and we’ll also forget about those regulations that weren’t met.

          He’s got a point.

      • BB, even Dan Abrams (legal analyst for MSNBC) is saying The One will appoint someone not as liberal as Stevens , just to AVOID confrontation or a fight.

        Predicted he’ll go moderate, instead.

        • Obama thinks Scalia is moderate.

          • LOL And yet, he didn’t vote for Roberts or Alito, earning “liberal” political points while planning on a presidential campaign.

            Everything’s about his own advancement.

            Bob Schrum is out there with an opinion piece saying Obama will be a great president, in a Reagan sort of way.


          • His staff had to step in to prevent him from voting for Roberts–on political, not judicial or constitutional grounds.

          • That’s lunacy. Scalia is as radical as they get.

      • Here’s where Repugs are pure ignorance itself. If they would STFU with their talking points, they would see that this POTUS is writing better material for them.

  8. That Lance Freman article is – well, depressing to say the least.

    • unfortunately, not surprising. The Bush tax cuts basically went straight to the heart of the progressive tax system. I can’t believe the Dems went along with them at the time.

      • I can believe they went along with them. After all they supported “tax simplification’ which was pushed by Bill Bradley and Reagan in the ’80s. It’s just another step on the way to complete oligarchy.

        Bradley still thinks that was a marvelous idea, the clone.

  9. I watched this earlier on C-SPAN (It’s from Tuesday I believe) but it’s really good.

  10. I was just about to let some of the past go and join some B0bots in exile on a common forum, when this reminded me why I should not

  11. I find it extraordinary that any POTUS would feel compelled to policy joust with a private citizen. She sucker punches him every time.

  12. Um the left accepts election results and gives the president legitimacy? People still say bush stole the election.

    I know you guys are upset and dont see any facts to support the idea that Obama is working on your behalf but I just dont see how hes governning as a republican lite. This idea that because some republicans supported an idea means its an ideologically right wing idea is just wrong. I know my grammar is crap but i hope u get my point. Rank and file republicans many of us didnt vote at all if you look at the map. In fact some puma’s blamed us for obamas win.

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