Wednesday, April 28, 2010


That was the famous question at the Army-McCarthy hearings that was the coup de grace (is that what my post brain surgery mind means?), the more-or-less final blow in what was becoming the unraveling of Joe McCarthy's political career.

A career based on the most outrageous lies about communist infiltration into all kinds of government agencies and branches of the federal government. He just made up numbers and supposed "facts" that the right has been trying to bring back as the "truth" that will return McCarthy to his rightful heroic place in their version of this country's history.

Because some declassified documents show that some people in the 1940s and before had been either sympathetic to the communist cause (because communists were almost alone in their fight against anti-semitism, racism, women's rights, etc.) and a few even belonged to "The Communist Party USA".

But that's like Republican House minority leader blowhard Boehner getting the media to pay attention almost every day to the lies he's constantly throwing out to them and the undiscerning public that falls for them, like how the Republicans are somehow suddenly the defenders of us peons against the giant financial institutions like Goldman Sachs.

Boehner actually declared to the media and his rightwing constituents that the Democrats were the recipients of Goldman Sachs largesse and should be exposed as the groveling lickers of the boots of that too-big-to-fail Wall Street powerhouse. When it turns out that most of Capitol Hill has taken money from Goldman Sachs, but more money was given to Republicans, much more, and more of it in March than in all of 2009, and that Boehner himself took twice as much money (or was it four times?) as Harry Ried.

Now they're all pretending to be outraged at GS's financial shenanigans that contributed to the economic disaster that didn't just head our economy over a cliff it pushed it over and only the smart actions of Obama and some of the Dems began to reverse. (But some on the left don't seem to be satisfied with anything. Now that the Democratic administration has toughened up the SEC and they're going after Goldman Sachs, who most leftists were saying just weeks ago were totally controlling Obama's money policies, are they jumping up and down and cheering that Obama is actually taking on those who contributed to his campaign? etc.? [see comments for some answers to that question!])

The most interesting thing about this to me (and I got out of bed to write this because it's been on my mind after catching the hearings today where the Goldman Sachs elite came off as clueless and the Senators came off as angry, better late than never, even if it's all for the cameras) is that Goldman Sachs executives must have been aware, in fact were obviously aware that an investigation was in the works which is why in March they gave out more money to Senators than like I said in all of 2009, and most of it to Republicans who are, surprise surprise, blocking any DEBATE EVEN on the financial reform bill the Dems and Pubs had supposedly agreed on.

I'm too tired to articulate this clearly but the point is that the Republicans have become like the party of McCarthy, throwing out lies and distortions to a public that often takes at least some of it as "truth" and then they take actions that are so blatantly against the good of the majority of us in order to protect their corporate masters and most of the media is so scared of their wrath or corporate overlords or looking "partisan" or whatever, they don't question it or point out the hypocrisy and outright lying.

[With a few exceptions, like John Stewart, here's one example.]


Butch in Waukegan said...

You have a WWF view of politics: Everyone has an obligation to cheer for Obama. Anyone who sees both of the wrestlers (political parties) as actors in a drama based on lies, is illegitate. If you don’t wave the pom poms you’re part of the problem.

As a matter of fact there are significant problems with the “reform” bill, as this former Goldman employee outlines .

Rather than cheering maybe a better response would be to pushing both parties for a better bill. One thing that neither party is proposing reforming the ratings agencies - Standard and Poors, Moody’s, etc. Fraud will continue as long as the banks pay these agencies to rate their products.

[To add a little texture to the history of McCarthy, Joe was very close to the Kennedy family. He dated 2 of JFKs sisters, Bobby was a staff member of his witch hunt committee for awhile, and JFK, as a member of the Senate, never criticized him.]

Lally said...

You're correct Butch that Obama and those Democrats that support his policies and actions are not perfect. The bill could be better. Absolutely. But as happened over my lifetime before, when Dems in the 1970s etc. couldn't accept a compromised healthcare bill (Ted Kennedy regretted this for the rest of his life) because it wasn't perfect or closer to the perfection they envisioned, the ended up with nothing.
I am a cheerleader for Obama's accomplishments, absolutely, and think anyone who has any practical knowledge of the reality of politics and the world and life etc. should be too, not because he has done everything I'd like to see done or done what he has as completely or in the ways I think would be best, but because he has managed to achieve so much in the face of the most beligerent and unified opposition almost any president has faced before and with a media that is cowed by that beligerence into accepting as equal facts supporting his positions against lies opposing it (I'm talking about things like Boehner saying healthcare reform as passed by Obama would bring "Aremgeddon"! etc.) and against those who purport to be for many of the things Obama is accomplishing but still attack him becyase he is doing it imperfectly or not as completely or whatever as they desire. Can you not accept that given the opposition and the odds this young president has managed to prevent at least for now what most economists IN THE WORLD were predicting would be an economic catastrophe worse than The Great Depression and gotten close to universal healthcare (yes I'd rather see a single payer program but nonetheless) so that the concept is now a given as possible whereas every president who tried it in the 20th century including the most successful (FDR, LBJ) at getting their policies through and in a time of much less opposition FAILED. Obama has moved every almost goal any progressive I know of is for closer. Despite the sceptics. You should be cheering along with giving your legitimate criticism too Butch. Unless you truly believe, which your comments over the course of the past year or so indicate, that the only world you can accept is one that conforms exactly to your specifications and anything less is to be scorned.

Waiting For John said...

Hiy Lally,

Nothing intellectual to add but I thought your introduction"about me" wa the greatest I've ever come across.


Anonymous said...

Hey Butch..
I wasn't gonna comment..

I am GLAD that your brought up Robert kennedy...

BOTH young lawyers at the time
working on t h a t committee:

Robert Kennedy AND Richard M. Nixon...

seems to me OUR U.S. Congress HAD the oversight tools to watch this all happen... but didn't "do there job"

it s all just abstractions to them and to us...

we used to turn off the McCarthy hearings which were on live tv as soon as
Howdy Doody came on!

wasn't the McCarthy hearings during that Ike period....

what a phantasy he was.

look up how bologna is made and what is in it...

politics and religion are made of same "stuff"... b=o=l=o=g=n=a

Butch in Waukegan said...

I remember Howdy Doody, for sure. I don’t remember the hearings but I remember, being 6 years old and sitting on the back steps when my mother came out with the good news that the Korean war was over. Of course, it wasn’t really over. Almost 60 years later there are 30,000 US troops still there. Fruits of Empire.

You should be cheering along with giving your legitimate criticism too Butch. Unless you truly believe, which your comments over the course of the past year or so indicate, that the only world you can accept is one that conforms exactly to your specifications and anything less is to be scorned.

Either I haven’t expressed myself well or you are misreading me. I support anything that would be improve our lives. I believe you see improvement where there is none.

Here’s what I see.

Health reform: Manditory insurance is a boon to big business. “Reforms” are supported and promoted by the health care industry itself. Financial reform: Ditto. Afghanistan: 50,000 more troops. Iraq: no troop reduction and no prospect of any. Iran: ratcheting up the pressure increasing the chances of another war. Nuclear power: subsidies to build more reactors. Any chance that Obama’s ties to Excelon influenced this? Torture and civil liberties: Can you defend him on these?

Bring troops home, reduce the power of wall street, tough environmental laws. I would cheer each one. I just don’t see the improvement you claim is there.

Obama liberals accept things from Obama that would have had them screaming at the top of their lungs if Bush or the Republicans did them. Imagine Bush opening up large sections of our coast to offshore oil drilling and then a few weeks later there was a major oil spill in the Gulf.

Another teflon president.

Lally said...

I'm too tired in more ways than one to get into an extended argument over your simplistic dismissal of everything Obama has achieved because of the flaws in these achievements. So this will be my last comment here, but if you think any other president from Teddy Roosevelt to Clinton could have gotten anywhere close to full coverage for everyone, let alone no restrictions on previous conditions etc. etc. etc. then explain why when they tried they didn't. Yes, Obama included the health industry in, including the doctors of the AMA, and as a result he got his foot in the door so that now it is a reality A REALITY that the idea of universal healthcare is no longer impossible nor unAmerican, but A GIVEN, and IF Democrats are able to keep the presidency and score an unbeatable majority in the Senate and House these initial steps will be the basis of further improvements on the healthcare reform bill so that eventually truly full coverage would be seen as the right it is in my mind and the necessary changes in the law will lead to the healthcare a lot of us believe to be best. But if the rightwingers and their now decades old successes at convincing the "American" public that all politicians are phonies and out for themselves and there's no difference among them, well then Independents will stay home along with left thinking Dems and the rightwing base will get out the vote and take over the country again. And Butch if you don't see any difference in what Obama has accomplished (and by the way not recognizing the reduction in troops and certainly in their activities in Iraq is an insult to not only Obama but to the troops who have served or are serving there now) and what the last administration did, then you are either secretly shilling for the right or a total victim of their strategy.

AlamedaTom said...

When McCarthy tried to go on the attack once more, Welch stepped in again and famously rebuked:

“ Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyers Guild. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency? ”

Butch in Waukegan said...

You must be tired because you’re becoming increasingly shrill in your defense of Obama. I was going to retire from this thread but — “shilling for the right wing.” Pretty lame.

Regarding the troops, it’s difficult to characterize in a few short sentences. The Pentagon shifts classifications around for political purposes. Yesterday a unit was “combat”, today it is “force protection.” Throw contractors into the mix and today the US has pretty much the same personnel commitment to Iraq.

For Iraq and Afghanistan the number of troops in uniform is increasing, the number of contractors is really increasing. The military budget has increased by close to 10%, and there is no evidence that Obama has ever said no to the military.

Do these facts indicate Obama is reigning in the Empire?