Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for April 6th, 2009

The Welsh pine marten

Posted by Charles II on April 6, 2009

Welsh pine marten (from BBC) (BBC)

Now you know.

Posted in Good Things, Wales | Comments Off on The Welsh pine marten

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats Out of Context

Posted by MEC on April 6, 2009

Certain “fiscal conservatives” are fond of claiming that President Kennedy would support their obsession with cutting taxes, because President Kennedy after all said that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and that rising tide, as they all know, is the wealth of wealthy people.

There’s a slight problem with that claim. Professor Emeritus Donald Lazere has been looking for an original source for the quotation that supports this interpretation, and can’t find one. The people who are so fond of quoting it, such as President Reagan’s economic guru Arthur Laffer, can’t provide a source.

President Kennedy did actually say, more than once, that “A rising tide lifts all [the] boats.” In the actual documented instances, however, he wasn’t talking about letting the rich get as rich as they can.

“After an extensive library and Internet search (including the data bases of the Kennedy Library and the University of Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project)”, Professor Lazare cites three speeches:

September 1960, in Cheyenne, Wyoming:

I think that there is a direct relationship between the policy of no new starts in developing our water and power resources, and irrigation and reclamation and conservation, and the fact that our agricultural income has dropped so sharply in the United States in recent years, and the fact that we are using our steel capacity 50 per cent of capacity. Pittsburgh, Wyoming, Montana, Wisconsin are all tied together. A rising tide lifts all the boats. If we are moving ahead here in the West, if we are moving ahead in agriculture, if we are moving ahead in industry, if we have an administration that looks ahead, then the country prospers. But if one section of the country is strangled, if one section of the country is standing still, then sooner or later a dropping tide drops all the boats, whether the boats are in Boston or whether they are in this community.

August 1962, in Pueblo, Colorado:

What I preach is the interdependence of the United States. We are not 50 countries—we are one country of 50 states and one people. And I believe that those programs which make life better for some of our people will make life better for all of our people. A rising tide lifts all the boats. And as Colorado moves ahead, as your steel mill produces, it is benefiting all the people, as they are benefiting you.

October 1963, in Heber Springs, Arkansas:

These projects produce wealth, they bring industry, they bring jobs, and the wealth they bring brings wealth to other sections of the United States. This State had about 200,000 cars in 1929. It has a million cars now. They weren’t built in this State. They were built in Detroit. As this State’s income rises, so does the income of Michigan. As the income of Michigan rises, so does the income of the United States. A rising tide lifts all the boats and as Arkansas becomes more prosperous so does the United States and as this section declines so does the United States. So I regard this as an investment by the people of the United States in the United States.

In those speeches, Kennedy was talking not about individual wealthy but about public policy and government projects. He was, in fact, speaking in praise of the government spending that rightwingers misuse the quotation to oppose.

Do you think The Usual Suspects will stop using that quotation now that we know their meaning is not what President Kennedy meant at all?

…Neither do I.

Posted in Republicans acting badly, truthiness | 1 Comment »

Republicans Trying To Hide Bush Torture Crimes By Blocking Key Obama Appointments

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 6, 2009

Wonder why the Republicans are indulging in yet another bout of nonsensical-seeming hissy kabuki over Obama’s nominations of Dawn Johnsen and Harold Koh? Wonder no more — it’s all about the GOP’s desire to keep Bush and his buddies from being sent to the Hague:

Senate Republicans are now privately threatening to derail the confirmation of key Obama administration nominees for top legal positions by linking the votes to suppressing critical torture memos from the Bush era. A reliable Justice Department source advises me that Senate Republicans are planning to “go nuclear” over the nominations of Dawn Johnsen as chief of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice and Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh as State Department legal counsel if the torture documents are made public. The source says these threats are the principal reason for the Obama administration’s abrupt pullback last week from a commitment to release some of the documents. A Republican Senate source confirms the strategy. It now appears that Republicans are seeking an Obama commitment to safeguard the Bush administration’s darkest secrets in exchange for letting these nominations go forward.

Time to melt down some Capitol Hill phones, folks. And some media phones as well. The whole reason this story got leaked to the outside world is twofold: Some Republicans have consciences, and the Democrats want there to be a big public outcry against the GOP’s stonewalling so that it can’t be easily framed as mere “politics” and thus blown off by the press.

Oh, and here’s a sample (h/t DougJ) of the right-wing pushback against Eric Holder for daring to want to release the torture memos. Edward Whelan wants to keep his own butt away from The Hague as well.

Posted in 111th Congress, abuse of power, obstruction of justice, President Obama, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, torture, transparency | 6 Comments »

Obama Calling For Ridding The World Of Nuclear Armaments

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 6, 2009

Reviving a theme he mentioned last year during his campaign for the presidency, and revisited shortly after his winning the presidency last year, Barack Obama is calling for ridding the world of nuclear warheads once and for all — with Russia and the US to lead the way (since of course these two nations have the most nukes by far):

“In Prague, I will lay out an agenda to seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons,” Obama said yesterday after arriving in continental Europe for the first time as president. “The spread of nuclear weapons or the theft of nuclear material could lead to the extermination of any city on the planet,” he warned, adding that suspected rogue nuclear states, such as North Korea or Iran, may only be persuaded to abandon their quests if the big nuclear powers set an example.

“We can’t reduce the threat of a nuclear weapon going off unless those that possess the most nuclear weapons, the United States and Russia, take serious steps to reduce our stockpiles,” Obama said. “So we want to pursue that vigorously in the years ahead.”

At Obama’s first meeting with Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s president, in London on Wednesday, both agreed on fast-track negotiations to slash their nuclear stockpiles by about a third from the end of this year. Robert Gibbs, Obama’s spokesman, said the president believed “loose nukes”, stolen nuclear materials or the acquisition by terrorists of weapons-grade fissile material, were among the gravest risks to the US.

And yes, he’s going to push the Senate to finally join the rest of the civilized world in ratifying the Test-Ban Treaty.

Posted in Iran, nukes, President Obama, Russia | Tagged: | Comments Off on Obama Calling For Ridding The World Of Nuclear Armaments

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