Michelle Malkin and the perils of “double-standards” that do not exist

Michell Malkin, 25 Feb. 2011:

A left-wing agitator based in Buffalo who impersonated Koch in a prank phone call this week used the slur to headline his “gonzo journalism” report. (If a right-leaning activist had perpetrated such a stunt, he’d be labeled a radical, stalking fraudster. But that’s par for the media’s double-standards course.)

Michell Malkin, 8 Oct. 2007:

I just returned from a visit to Frost’s commercial property near Patterson Park in Baltimore. It’s a modest place. Talked to one of the tenants, Mike Reilly, who is a talented welder. He said he had known the Frosts for 10 years. Business is good, he told me, though he characterized Frost as “struggling.” Reilly was an outspoken advocate for socialized health care without any means-testing whatsoever and an insistent critic of the Iraq war. Despite all that, he did agree with me that going without health insurance is often a matter of choice and a matter of priorities. Or maybe we were speaking two different languages.

I also passed by the Frosts’ rowhouse. There was an “01 – 20 – 09″ bumper sticker plastered on the door and a newer model GMC Suburban parked directly in front of the house. I’ve seen guesstimates of the house’s worth in the $400,000-plus range. Those are high. But Mark Tapscott’s point remains: “[P]eople make choices and it’s clear the Frosts have made choice to invest in property and a business, but not in private health insurance. The Maryland-administered version of the federal SCHIP program, by the way, does not impose an asset test on applicants.” [...]

On the issue of the Frosts’ children attending the $20,000/yr Park School, Manley states the students have near-full tuition discounts. It’s not clear when or how long they’ve had those scholarships. For the record, Reilly, who has known the family for 10 years, told me it was his understanding the children’s grandparents paid the bill.

For the record, I do not think that peeping on an average family’s property to see if they “deserve” publicly funded treatment of their crippled 12-year old is in the same league as making a prank call to a governor. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that a public official such as a governor should expect more scrutiny than the family of a crippled 12-year old.

Some figures to keep in mind when taxing the rich is called “theft”

Andrew Sum & Joseph McLaughlin, “How the U.S. Economic Output Recession of 2007-2009 Led to the Great Recession in Labor Markets,” Center for Labor Market Studies (Jul. 2010):

 


In short: worker productivity is up, corporate profits are up, wages are down. As far as I’m concerned, companies are exploiting the lack of worker bargaining power to pay their employees far less than their labor is worth.  If anything, it is the low-income earning worker that is being robbed.

And as for the argument that the rich pay a disproportionately large amount of the federal government’s revenue, I’ll turn to Alex Knapp (citing CBO data from 2007):

 

 

 

The taxes barely dent the disparity in wealth between the wealthy and the rest of us.

Higher income taxes on upper brackets should be justified on the basis that the rich did not make their wealth in a vacuum. They not only utilized the labor of an under-paid work force, but also benefited from a publicly-funded infrastructure (one that is often geared specifically toward their needs) and government provided security.

Priorities of the 112th Congress

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-CA), 15 Feb. 2011 (Cong. Rec., p. H846):

Madam Chair, I rise today to introduce my amendment to cut funding for the V-22, a hybrid helicopter/airplane that was in development for more than 25 years, cost the lives of 30 individuals before it ever saw combat, and still does not meet operational requirements in Iraq. Cost overruns have plagued the V-22 since its development. Initial estimates projected $40 million per plane. But today it has exploded to $120 million per plane–a threefold increase. This amendment would save $415 million for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 by cutting funding for the V-22 from the Air Force and Navy’s aircraft procurement accounts.

In 2009, the GAO found that the Marine Corps received 105 V-22s. Of those, fewer than half–only 47–were considered combat deployable. But on any given day, there are an estimated 22–fewer than one in four–ready for any combat. This is largely due to unreliable parts and maintenance challenges. It was reported that 13 of the V-22’s parts lasted only 30 percent of their life expectancy and six lasted less than 10 percent. In addition, the GAO found that the V-22 did not have weather radar and its ice protection system was unreliable. Not me. GAO. So that flying through icy conditions is prohibited on this plane. Can’t do it. Icy conditions are often found in Afghanistan. Oddly enough, the V-22 also had problems in dusty conditions, which, coincidentally, also exist and is common in Afghanistan.

So I ask my colleagues, why do we continue to fund this boondoggle? The majority claims to have made some tough choices in this bill. Apparently this includes continuing to fund a plane that Dick Cheney called, a, quote, turkey and tried to kill four times when he was Secretary of Defense. It should also be noted that Dick Cheney did not often meet a defense program he didn’t like, so this should be very telling to everyone here. In order to continue funding this plane, this Congress proposes steep cuts to be made on the backs of the most vulnerable citizens.

H.R. 1 puts the safety of American families at risk. The bill eliminates COPS hiring, a program that will put 1,330 fewer cops on our streets. The bill cuts the SAFER program, which means there are 2,400 fewer firefighters protecting our communities; so that we can build a plane that can’t fly under icy conditions, can’t fly when there’s sand, and one out of four is ever used at any given time?

The majority has made the shortsighted choice to cut $1.3 billion from community health centers which, according to the CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers, is equivalent to terminating health care to the entire population of Chicago, or to everyone living in the States of Wyoming, Vermont, North and South Dakota and Alaska combined. Why? For a plane that cannot fly when it’s icy, which cannot fly when it’s dusty. And where are we at? In a combat situation where we need it to do both things.

Look. If this weren’t enough, the bill also eliminates title X funding which provides services for cancer screenings, annual exams, STD testing and contraceptives.

H.R. 1 would also cut $5 billion from Federal Pell Grants. In Illinois, this will reduce financial aid to 61,000 poor students. And as I had suggested earlier here today, maybe as Members of Congress, maybe because we are in the top 1 percent of wage earners in the United States of America, people of America understand we make $175,000, each and every one of us, and there are over 150 millionaires in this body, maybe we don’t care. Maybe you can cut the Pell Grant program because you don’t care whether kids get ahead and are able to go to college. But some of us should, especially those of us that have been blessed with the riches of wealth in this Nation and allowed to be able to serve in this body.

And so I simply say, Let the kids go to school. Let there be health care for the most vulnerable of Americans. And all we will be missing is this boondoggle of a hybrid helicopter that does not serve the purpose for which it was proposed.

Delaware County Daily Times, 17 Feb. 2011:

Boeing’s V-22 Osprey program escaped the federal budget chopping block after the U.S. House of Representatives voted against an amendment that would have slashed funding for the tilt-rotor aircraft.

“This is an instrument that has proven itself in the theater of war,” said U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby.

Meehan vowed to fight for the program in recent months and applauded his congressional colleagues for voting against the amendment Tuesday. U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-4, of Illinois, proposed the failed amendment, which was part of House Resolution 1, or the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act.

“Boeing is grateful for Congressman Meehan’s support of the V-22 Osprey program and we applaud the 325 members of Congress who joined him in supporting the program through yesterday’s vote,” said Andy Lee, spokesman for the Boeing Mobility Division, Wednesday. “The V-22 Osprey continues to receive high praise from the U.S. Marines and Air Force Special Operations Command for its outstanding performance in combat, ship-board and humanitarian deployments around the world. We are pleased that Congress is recognizing the critical role the Osprey is playing for the United States military.”

See also.

A sampling of recently proposed state legislation

Part 2 can be viewed here.

  • Republican lawmakers in Arizona are in favor of a requirement for hospitals to check the immigration status of patients who arrive for non-emergency visits. Critics assert that the bill would punish the sick for seeking care and force doctors to take up the duties of immigration agents.
  • Rep. Phil Jensen of North Dakota is pushing forward an expanded definition of “justifiable homicide” that encompasses violent actions done to protect a fetus from harm. This is being widely interpreted as a move to legalize the killing of abortion providers.
  • Sen. Tim Schaffer of Ohio wants to mandate urinalysis drug tests for beneficiaries of need-based assistance programs and suggests that criminally prosecuting applicants who fail drug tests could save the state “thousands” (disregarding the cost of criminal court proceedings and incarceration, I suppose).
  • Rep. Bill Wright of Utah proposes that the state claim itself exempt from new FDA authorities granted under the Food Safety Modernization Act for products that do not cross state-lines.

Their own private COINTELPRO: the “Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell”

 

In many cases, people and/or organizations use the inherent insecurity in Internet communications to conduct criminal or unethical activities. This represents a paradigm shift in the capability of individuals and small groups to conduct effective planning and execution of asymmetric operations and campaigns that can have major impacts on large organizations or corporations.

Despite the increased capability and anonymity that these new communications technologies provide, it is still possible to counter individuals and groups who are leveraging networks, platforms, and/or applications to conduct criminal and/or unethical activities. In such cases, it is necessary to develop a more forward leaning investigative capability to collect, analyze, and identify people or organizations conducting such activities. In order to effectively track and understand the complex, interconnected networks involved in these actions, it becomes critical to utilize proven, cutting-edge tools and analytical processes; applying them in a deliberate, iterative manner against those involved in illicit activities. The most effective way to limit the capability of individuals and/or groups is to develop a comprehensive picture of the entities involved through focused collection, conduct rapid analysis to identify key nodes within the network, and determine the most effective method for influencing/limiting these entities.

Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell (“Team Themis”), 3 Nov. 2010

It should also be a goal of the Counterintelligence Program to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them before they exercise their potential for violence.

FBI memo, “Counterintelligence Program: Black Nationalist Hate Groups,” 4 Mar. 1968

Context: Here, here, here and here.

Suleiman claimed Egypt wants Gaza to go “hungry” and that he would welcome IDF invasion of Philadelphi Route

Meanwhile, the Egyptians continue to offer excuses for the problem they face: the need to “squeeze” Hamas, while avoiding being seen as complicit in Israel’s “siege” of Gaza. Egyptian General Intelligence Chief Omar Soliman told us Egypt wants Gaza to go “hungry” but not “starve.” Minister of Defense Field Marshal Tantawi and the Director of Military Intelligence MG Mowafy both pressed recently for the return of EUBAM monitors to oversee the crossing between Gaza and Egypt of Palestinians with urgent humanitarian circumstances. In their moments of greatest frustration, Tantawi and Soliman each have claimed that the IDF would be “welcome” to re-invade Philadelphi, if the IDF thought that would stop the smuggling.

US Embassy in Cairo, 17 Dec. 2007

It’s like a meeting with a dietitian. We need to make the Palestinians lose weight, but not to starve to death.

Dov Weissglas, adviser to Israeli PM, 2006

WikiLeaks cable: Chile suspected that the US exported biological agents to Pinochet regime

A newly released State Department cable details the Chilean government’s investigation of the 1982 death of ex-president Eduardo Frei Montalva. The Chileans had just charged six people with assassinating him by poisoning him with a chemical agent of some sort. In the middle of discussing the US government’s involvement in the investigation, a few small details about a Chilean inquiry to the US government are revealed.

U.S. involvement in the investigation took another strange turn in October 2009 when two Chilean Policia de Investigaciones (PDI) officers assigned to the Frei case attempted to speak with officials from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. The officers wanted to know if the CDC sent strains of “clostridium botulinum” (toxin or antidote) to the Chilean Institute of Public Health in 1981 or 1982. The officers requested the meeting with the CDC through the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) rather than through a U.S. law enforcement agency, creating another situation where Chilean authorities did not follow proper protocols. After consulting with Post and [Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs], the CDC declined to meet with the Chilean officers because they did not follow established rules for arranging such a meeting. The State Department’s Chile desk officer verbally notified the Chilean Embassy in Washington about the need to follow proper channels when conducting investigations and Post’s Legatt discussed the issue with the PDI officials (US Embassy in Santiago, 4 Feb. 2010, ¶ 11).

It seems relevant to note that clostridium botulinum was one of those exported to Iraq in the 1980s according to a 1994 report by the Senate Banking Committee.

It may also be worth noting that this is not the first time the US has been suspected of providing biological warfare agents to Latin American rightists.

[In 1981] an epidemic of dengue fever swept the Cuban island. Transmitted by blood-eating insects, usually mosquitos, the disease produces severe flu symptoms and incapacitating bone pain. Between May and October 1981, over 300,000 cases were reported in Cuba with 158 fatalities, 101 of which were children under 15. In 1956 and 1958, declassified documents have revealed, the US Army loosed swarms of specially bred mosquitos in Georgia and Florida to see whether disease-carrying insects could be weapons in a biological war. The mosquitos bred for the tests were of the Aedes Aegypti type, the precise carrier of dengue fever as well as other diseases. In 1967 it was reported by Science magazine that at the US government center in Fort Detrick, Maryland, dengue fever was amongst those “diseases that are at least the objects of considerable research and that appear to be among those regarded as potential BW [biological warfare] agents.” (William Blum, Killing Hope, Ch. 30)

In the 1984 trial of Cuban exile Eduardo Victor Arocena Perez, the defendant testified about a boat which traveled to the island in 1980:

The group that was ahead of me had a mission to carry some germs to introduce them in Cuba to be used against the Soviets and against the Cuban economy, to begin what was called chemical war, which later on produced results that were not what we had expected, because we thought that it was going to be used against the Soviet forces, and it was used against our own people, and with that we did not agree. (Transcript, 10 Sep. 1984, p. 2187)

In short, there is much evidence to suggest that the US has given dangerous biological warfare agents to unsavory characters that it viewed as favorable at the time.