Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Soft Balls (for Clarence Thomas); Mud Balls (for Babies)

If you missed yesterday's Washington Post , you missed a fine example of a super-soft-ball interview. The op-ed page published excerpts of a Q&A Lally Weymouth conducted with Clarence Thomas. There was not one tough question posed to the Supreme Court justice now engaged in a massive PR blitz to sell his new book. In that book, Thomas bashes Anita Hill and calls her a liar. He does not address the evidence and testimony (from others) that supported her claims about his improper conduct. Two weeks ago, Ruth Marcus, a Post editorial writer, penned an op-ed laying out much of this evidence.

But in her published interview with Thomas, Weymouth does not ask him about this evidence and testimony. She just lets him play the victim one more time:

Along the road from Pin Point, Ga., to the Supreme Court, why did you not give up during difficult times?

I wanted to give up a hundred times. The thing that was so hurtful to me was after the end of that long journey to be beaten like that.

You mean at the hearings?

Yes, throughout the hearings, the summer, everything....I asked my wife, "Why? I just disagree with them. I don't even know if I disagree with them on specific issues." [But] I cannot carry around bitterness and at the same time carry around a positive message for young kids and for people who still need help. My goal is I will never treat anybody the way I was treated in this city. I also will never do my job as poorly as people did their jobs when I was at their mercy.

The op-ed page of the Post is indeed supposed to give voice to a diversity of views. Still, this interview was striking in its obsequiousness. But Weymouth, a onetime leftist who turned rightward years ago, is a regular contributor to the Post op-ed page. For some reason, she's allowed to use the Post as a platform. By the way, she was born Elizabeth Morris Graham and is the only daughter of Philip Graham and Katharine Graham, the late (and great) publisher of The Washington Post . Her brother is Donald Graham, the CEO of the Post.

BABY POLITICS. Tired of the usual cheap-shot political discourse that's more concerned with scoring points than debating policy? Yeah, I know you are. So take a look at my pal Reid Cramer's piece on the so-called baby bonds. A few weeks back, Hillary Clinton referred positively to the idea of awarding a chunk of money to each newborn American--funds that could later be used for education, home-buying or retirement. She mentioned a figure of $5000, though a similar proposal in Congress only called for $500. She probably slipped up on the number, since she had previously called for a $500 endowment. But her campaign, true to form, would not admit she had made a mistake.

Of course, Clinton was immediately pummeled by her foes on the right for championing a big-spending social program. Rudy Giuliani, in particular, pounced on her. Clinton turned tail and threw the baby bonds into the bathwater. So much for informed discussion about social policy. Defending baby bonds, Cramer, research director at the New America Foundation, writes,

Access to even a modest pool of assets can provide an essential element of economic security, helping people weather income shocks and take advantage of strategic opportunities.

Much of this simply can't be achieved through social insurance that is geared toward specific risks like unemployment or very low pay, or specific services such as health care. Assets provide the flexibility families need to navigate a volatile economy.

And there are a number of benefits to starting this savings process at birth. Not only do you get to maximize the advantage of compound interest, but these accounts can become a teaching tool to deliver the fundamentals of financial education - a primary skill for navigating our 21st-century economy.

This is actually the approach that they are using in the United Kingdom, which is already implementing a similar accounts-at-birth proposal with support from both the Labor and Tory parties.

If we engage in a dialogue that goes beyond headlines, the merits of baby bonds could garner support from progressives and social conservatives alike. That's because, at its core, this policy is about ownership and opportunity, offering a little something for everyone.

Gee, social policy that combines the values of progressives and social conservatives? We don't want any of that. Instead, we get mud balls and calculating and self-serving politicians. The babies of America ought to be really angry.

Posted by David Corn at October 16, 2007 10:44 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

What do you expect from the WaPo?

I hear there will soon be a real and honest source of journalism from the new Washington Bureau at MoJo.

I think you give the worthless rag too much credit. Obviously the "truth" being reported at the WaPo and others is driven by bias and lies.

No more stories about the failings at the big newsrags - just put out some honest reporting about how the people have failed to keep the papers honest.

The second they had the nerve to "report" that stories were held that could have effected a national election subscription cancellations should have put them in check.

"As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it."

~ Dick Cavett
US comedian & television host (1936 - )



Hajji said...

Cool! Baby Grubstakes!!!

Anybody know a do-it-yourself way to reverse a vasectomy?

I got BABIES to make!

After 10 or so, I should be able to afford a HOUSE to keep 'em in!


capt said...



capt said...

"They are advocates. We are leaders."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in regards to "Anti-war activists."

capt said...

Here's an idea:

Universal healthcare for ALL minors - all children from birth to 18 years.

We will need a healthy workforce to pay the next generations war debt.


Gerald said...

From the previous blog Dick Hitler Devos' face is shown. He is up to his eyeballs with Blackwater. The Nazi Party in Michigan has the greatest number of low lifes in the United States of Evil. They are totally scum and slime.

Another priest to stand trial

We are a banana republic with a despotic ruler.

Gerald said...

Clarence Thomas is another Nazi's Nazi. He may be more of a Nazi than Hitler.

Gerald said...

Love and Kindness Must Win Over Everything

Gerald said...

"Nonviolence in its dynamic condition means conscious suffering. It does not mean meek submission to the will of the evil-doer, but it means pitting one's whole soul against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of our being, it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire." - Gandhi


Gerald said...

Head Bloody But Unbowed

Gerald said...

"Christianity has to condemn the exploitation of man by man and of class by class from a religious and moral point of view, and she has to protect the worker and the exploited, for the Christian faith attaches a value beyond price to personality and to the human soul. There it is impossible for her to refrain from condemning also that regime under which this personality and this soul are turned into a means towards the unhuman economic process." - Berdyaev

Gerald said...

The reduction of human beings to slaves of a Burmese pipeline sets the stage for the slaughter which has taken place over the last few weeks. Once again, an economic abstraction has been given mastery over the needs of human beings. To help support globalized oligarchy, the corporate media has been busily promoting a degenerate form of Christianity in which economic success is the sign of God's favor, thus deadening the religious conscience. The truth lies elsewhere: "There is nothing more inconsistent with Christianity than the optimistic idea that the economically strongest and most successful are of necessity the best, that wealth is a favor granted to man as a reward for his virtues." - Berdyaev

Gerald said...

The World Is Tired of the U.S. of Evil

Gerald said...

Dignity is the issue that vexes billions of people around the world, not democracy. Indeed, when people hear President George W. Bush preaching about democratic values, it often comes across as a veiled assertion of America power. The implicit message is that other countries should be more like us - replacing their institutions, values and traditions with ours. We mean well, but people feel disrespected. The bromides and exhortations are a further assault on their dignity.

Gerald said...

Putin is all talk and no show when it comes to action

The United States of Evil will soon level Iran.

Gerald said...

The United States of Evil will do what pleases her. Carnage and the slaughter of human beings pleases the United States of Evil.

capt said...


capt said...

Free Trade Does Not Work

Few economists have bothered to think about the issue of offshoring, preferring to dismiss concerns about it as manifestations of the old protectionist fallacy. They learned in graduate school that free trade is always mutually beneficial and ceased to think when they passed their exams. This is especially true of "free market economists," who believe that economic freedom, which they identify with the freedom of capital, is always good. Thus, most economists mistakenly believe that offshoring is protected under the authority of free-trade doctrine.

Free-trade doctrine is based on the assumption that domestic capital seeks its comparative advantage in its home economy, however, specializing where its comparative advantage is best and, thereby, increasing the general welfare in the home economy. David Ricardo, who explicated the case for free trade, rules out an economy's capital seeking absolute advantage abroad instead of comparative advantage at home.

Jobs offshoring is not only a problem for displaced U.S. manufacturing employees -- displacement that Princeton economist and former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alan Blinder says will also impact 30 million to 40 million high-end U.S. service sector jobs, as well -- but also a problem for economic theory.

Economic theory assumes that capitalists pursuing their individual interests are led to benefit the general welfare of their society by an indivisible hand. But offshoring, or the pursuit of absolute advantage, breaks the connection between the profit motive and the general welfare. The beneficiaries of offshoring are the corporations' shareholders and top executives and the foreign country, the GDP of which rises when its labor is substituted for the corporations' home labor. Every time a corporation offshores its production, it converts domestic GDP into imports. The home economy loses GDP to the foreign country that gains it.

Recently, Ralph Gomory, co-author with William Baumol of "Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests," the most important work in trade theory in 200 years, pointed out that traditional trade theory has broken down because companies are no longer bound to the interests of their home countries. Offshoring has decoupled the link between a company's motivation for profit and a nation's desire to improve the wealth of its citizens. "Most economists," Gomory observed, "have not acknowledged this fundamental change and its implications for economic theory."


*The above article has been excerpted from Paul Craig Roberts’ article “Cato's Trade Report: Blinded by Ideology.” Mr. Roberts is an economist. He served as Assistant Secretary to the Treasury in the Reagan Administration where he earned the nickname the “Father of Reaganomics.” He was an editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Business Week. In 1993, Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States. Currently he is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate and a frequent contributor to EconomyInCrisis.org.

E-mail editor@economyincrisis.org


capt said...

The powerful have invoked God at their side in this war, so that we will accept their power and our weakness as something that has been established by divine plan. But there is no god behind this war other than the god of money, nor any right other than the desire for death and destruction. Today there is a "NO" which shall weaken the powerful and strengthen the weak: the "NO" to war: Subcomandante Marcos - Source: No to war, 2/16/03

Each of the Iraqi children killed by the United States was our child. Each of the prisoners tortured in Abu Ghraib was our comrade. Each of their screams was ours. When they were humiliated, we were humiliated. The U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq - mostly volunteers in a poverty draft from small towns and poor urban neighborhoods - are victims just as much as the Iraqis of the same horrendous process, which asks them to die for a victory that will never be theirs: Arundhati Roy
Source: Arundhati Roy, "Tide? Or Ivory Snow? Public Power in the Age of Empire," 8/24/04

"Then what is freedom? It is the will to be responsible to ourselves.": Friedrich Nietzsche - (1844-1900) - Source: Twilight of the Idols, 1888

"One of the things that bothers me most is the growing belief in the country that security is more important than freedom. It ain't.": Lyn Nofziger [Franklyn C. Nofziger] Press Secretary for President Reagan

"The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.": Theodore Roosevelt - (1858-1919) 26th US President - Source: letter 01/10/1917


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Specter: No Retroactive Immunity for Telecoms

As the ACLU worries that Senate Democrats in the intelligence committee will give retroactive immunity to telephone companies for collaborating with the administration's warrantless surveillance program, the two senior members of the judiciary committee say they won't entertain that without knowing what the telecoms did.

Here's Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and ranking member Arlen Specter (R-PA) speaking earlier today on CNN:


I certainly would not give them immunity retroactively on programs that we don’t know what they are…. I think it’s unreasonable to ask us to give them immunity for things we don’t know what they did. If there was a need for it at the time, and if the telephone companies were good citizens and if they supplied information which was important, then I’d be prepared to look at it. But I’m not going to buy a pig in a poke, and commit to retroactive immunity when I don’t know what went on. They’ve kept that from us. That’s a big problem, Wolf.


*****end of clip*****

A sure sign the senate will roll over. Spector is just too predictable.


capt said...

New Thread