Saturday, December 8, 2007
So, let's be clear: for eleven billion dollars more in domestic spending, House Democrats are willing to waste hundreds of billions more on the disastrous war in Iraq. Not to mention, you know- lives. Perhaps it should occur to them that there would be a helluva lot more for domestic spending if we weren't busily bankrupting ourselves in Iraq. Not to mention, you know- lives.
I'm sure it will come as great comfort to our troops, the families and friends of our troops, and the Iraqi people that we'll have more money for domestic spending. Certainly, their lives are worth it. Or something.
1. Bush is a lyin' sack o' crap
2. The Repugs are a buncha perverts, criminals, warmongers, and general all-around nogoodniks
Ho-hum, yawn, nothin' new. On to the good shit.
It should come as no surprise that I'm a fan of the Eagles. It was required for California citizenship a few (!!?) years back. Here's "How Long?" from their new album Long Road Out Of Eden, their first in 28 years. This song is nominated for a Grammy and is getting radio airplay. They have a video in rotation on some of the oddball TV programs I watch, but this is a performance at the Country Music Awards:
Frey and Henley can still write 'em and belt 'em out, Walsh can still pick 'em, Schmit's good on bass, and all of 'em make great harmony. 'Nuff said. Olde Fartes (lctp) Rule!
Since I seem to be in Eagles mode, here's a song the title of which is the best advice I can give you, "Take It Easy". Embedded in the tune is the second-best advice I can give you - "watch out for girls in flatbed Fords!". Seems like the guys forgot to color their hair gray for this one...
I tried to snag this one by The Derailers for you, but the embedding was disabled. Check it out.
Friday, December 7, 2007
We really needed snow. There are thousands of ski area employees that until today have had nothing to do except hang out on the street corners wonderin' where they're gonna get rent money. Also, the weeping and wailing of the merchants, who have had no skiers and other winter visitors to fill their coffers, has been keeping me awake nights. And I'm a mile from the nearest one.
Just another day in Paradise.
This was REALLY not kosher. A grocery store in Manhattan made a food faux pas, advertising hams as "Delicious for Chanukah."
A woman who saw the mistake over the weekend at the Balducci's store on 14th Street took pictures of the signs and posted them on her blog.
Jennifer Barton, director of marketing, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the signs were changed as soon as the error was noted.
She issued an apology on the company Web site, saying the company would be reviewing its employee training.
Boy, I'd like to be there for that!
Thanks to Fixer, I learned a new word for our Italian friends, and now I understand its etymology: Ginzo = Guinea + Bozo.
And by the way, I mean no offense to any ethnic group except Republicans.
This administration commits war-crimes, hides the evidence from federal law officers and the 9/11 Commission and then destroys the evidence completely. Give that some time to sink in.
Off to the shop ...
Thursday, December 6, 2007
[A South Carolina farm wife called the local phone company to report her telephone failed to ring when her friends called--and that on the few occasions when it did ring, her dog always moaned right before the phone rang.
The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog and/or senile lady. He climbed a telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed the subscriber's house. The phone didn't ring right away, but then the dog moaned and the telephone began to ring.
Climbing down from the pole, the telephone repairman found:
1. The dog was tied to the telephone system's ground wire with a steel chain and collar.
2. The wire connection to the ground rod was loose.
3. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current when the number was called.
4. After a couple of jolts, the dog would start moaning and then urinate.
5. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing the phone to ring.
Which demonstrates that some problems CAN be fixed by pissing and moaning. Just Thought you'd like to know.]
President Bush changed the way he talked about Iran in August: He stopped making explicit assertions about the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
Bush yesterday said he was only briefed about the new estimate last week.
But a close examination of his word choice over the past year suggests that he learned something around August that got him to stop making claims that were apparently no longer supported by American intelligence.
Instead of directly condemning Iranian leaders for pursuing nuclear weapons, he started more vaguely accusing them of seeking the knowledge necessary to make such a weapon.
As he did that, he and the vice president accelerated their rhetorical efforts to persuade the public that the nuclear threat posed by Iran was grave and urgent. Bush even went so far in late August and October as to warn of the potential for a nuclear holocaust.
Indeed, a careful parsing of Bush's words indicates that, while not saying anything that could later prove to be demonstrably false, Bush left his listeners with what he likely knew was a fundamentally false impression. And he did so in the pursuit of a more muscular and possibly even military approach to a Middle Eastern country.
It's an oddly familiar pattern of deception.
Blogger Josh Marshall examines Bush's wording at that press conference and notes: "It's no longer the need to prevent the Iranians from getting the bomb. Now it's the necessity of 'preventing them from hav[ing] the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.'
"That's the tell.
"That change is no accident. He wants claims that will survive the eventual revelation of this new intelligence -- while also continuing to hype the imminence of the Iranian nuclear threat that his spy chiefs are telling him likely does not exist."
Much, much more. Please go read. Froomkin manages to nicely cram ten pounds of Bush's lies into a five-pound sack.
Check out the cartoon links at the bottom, too.
Arab-American paratrooper faces deportation after Afghan service
A highly decorated Arab-American sergeant in the US army, who is currently serving as a paratrooper in Afghanistan, faces deportation on his return to the United States because of an irregularity in his immigration papers.
Benkabbou came to the US from his native Morocco in 1987, and was granted permanent residency four years ago. But when he applied to become a naturalised US citizen in 2005 - by which time he was already serving in the army - immigration officials discovered that he had failed to register his first marriage and alleged that the ceremony had been arranged fraudulently to get him into the country.
The aggressive prosecution of the case has surprised immigration lawyers who point to a directive that advises officials against pressing to deport acting military personnel unless they have been involved in drug trafficking, crimes against children or violence, or unless they pose a danger to the public.
Benkabbou's irregularity over his marriage falls into no such categories.
His lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, Paul Ford, said the only explanation he could find was that his client was a Muslim, "which sets off all the buzzers. There is no question that Arab-Americans are given a totally different treatment."
Ford said that Benkabbou had been accused of being a terrorist by officials from the immigration enforcement agency, ICE. "In court, ICE lawyers called Morocco a terrorist country, which I found astonishing."
It seems Immigration can't do anything about the alleged 12,000,000 illegal immigrants in this country, but their eagle-eyed pencil-pushers seem to have plenty of time to fuck with a serving US Army Sergeant who has served honorably in a war zone over a little glitch in his papers. Ask him to explain? Nooooo - try him with an eye toward deportation. After all, an ARAB with a supposed anomaly in his paperwork FOR 20 YEARS must be a deep-plant terrorist. Also, I wouldn't doubt that a paratrooper might have knowledge of firearms and explosives. Yep, terrorist.
Those fucking morons.
I'll bet this gets ironed out before it goes to trial. The Immigration idiot who came up with this brain fart is picking the flyshit outta the pepper, but it's indicative of an anti-Arab, anti-Muslim mindset that needs to be dealt with. Maybe some national leadership would help. Yeah, like that'll happen any time soon.
Just as an aside, as I was preparing to do this post, I went to get a cup of coffee and I was gone long enough that my 'My Pictures' screensaver came on. When I got back to my set, there was my favorite paratrooper Lurch grinning at me. It was like "Death From Above" gave me a blessing.
Bonus: Check out Sergeant Benkabbou's Unit History.
A little girl with pigtails in a pink dress has an Israeli soldier standing spread-eagle against a wall as she frisks him for weapons.
Down the street, an Israeli soldier has stopped a donkey and is checking his ID.
Nearby, a large rat holding a slingshot looks as if he is prepared to launch a few stones at Israel's towering concrete wall separating Bethlehem from Israel.
Welcome to Santa's Ghetto, a new artistic/political collaboration led by the celebrated/infamous/mysterious British artist known as Banksy.
This year, Banksy returned with an artistic posse and decided to bring Santa's Ghetto to Bethlehem as a way to highlight the political situation.
"If it's safe enough for a bunch of sissy artists then it's safe enough for anyone," he told The Times of London.
Sissy artists indeed!
Go see this. You'll like it.
If you're a man of a certain age, then you spent a lot of Sunday afternoons building ramps and wearing capes and trying to be the first on the block to jump over your labrador retriever. Or maybe you spent some time in an emergency room because your banana seat bike--the one with the sparkly flag seat--almost made it from the roof of the garage to the cow pond. When it was all over and the stitches were in place and the arms set, your mom had one man to blame: Robert Craig Knievel, Jr., aka, "Evel Knievel," every 12-year-old boy's man crush, circa 1974.
I'm a little older than that, so I wasn't tempted to do crazy shit like that, but I sure enjoyed the shit out of Evel Knievel.
Evel is now considered the 'father' of extreme sports. One of the big deals these days is the mid-air loop-the-loop on a motorcycle. It takes a pair to do that, sure, but I'd love to see the kids try it on a 650 Triumph or a Harley-Davidson XR750 like Evel jumped. Heh...
Go watch a few minutes of the movie and the poor quality will inspire you to go rent it.
Perhaps we need to start asking ourselves not only why so many conservative Republicans are perverts and hypocrites, but why they are so drawn to politics as a profession? I had always thought that a good number of the pedophiles who joined the priesthood did because they knew it was safe. Who would ever suspect the moralistic and sexually conservative church? Is it possible that perverts and hypocrites are joining Republican politics for the same reason?
Digby documents yet another Rethug going to jail for molesting little kids. I tell ya, over the last few years I've lost count of how many of these guys have been busted. Hell, even the term "wide-stance" has made it into the blogger lexicon. WTF? Crooks, racists, and pedophiles; your Republican Party for the 21st Century. Why we haven't deemed the whole damn party a criminal organization by now is beyond me. The Mafia is jealous.
And just an unrelated note: My blogging will be iffy from now until next week, I think. We're leaving for Germany next Friday and we're scrambling to tie up a buncha loose ends before we go. I'm almost certain I'll have a connection to the intarweb tubes over there (or I'll steal my nephew's computer) so I should be in contact when I get there. And if you all think I'm fucked up, wait until you meet my family. Heh ...
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
These GOP bloggers are so afraid of democracy that they spend their days and nights blaming the press for allowing it to take place.
Yeah, the wingnut pansies would get rid of it if they could. News flash: Try as they might, they're not going to pull it off. Period.
Go ahead and click. Even if he throws that coat open, it won't be any bigger!
Wasn't there a New York Mafioso a few years ago who went around drooling and babbling so the law would think he was crazy and not fuck with him? It didn't work for him and it ain't gonna work for Turdblossom either.
Nice rendering of his Jag, though.
It's a very useful rule of thumb in foreign affairs to simply assume that the neocons are wrong no matter what, because they are always wrong about everything. [...]
The real question is why anyone ever takes them seriously about anything.
I think the answer to that one lies in the fact that they will call you a traitor if you don't agree with their insanity, and the press & pundits can't take it, so they give them moral equivalence to people whose views should actually count for something, and the attendant pulpit of air time to spread their shit. Cowards. A coupla schoolyard lessons the highly-paid gasbags apparently never learned are a) stand up for your principles (assuming you have any), and b) laugh at a bully and then hit him back harder than he hit you. When you go into a fight never ever worry about what might happen to you. Concentrate entirely on what you are going to do to prevail.
Scholars & Rogues on Giuliani adviser (proving once and for all that Rudy is out of his fuckin' mind) Podhoretz' views on the intel weenies in the wake of the NIE:
In essence, it seems to me that Mr. Podhoretz sought to lob a very large grenade at those responsible for the NIE. Unfortunately, like a certain cartoon coyote we all know, he seems to have lobbed the pin instead.
Heh. I can just see those huge white eyeballs with their little teeny pupils staring out forlornly from a blackened smoking neocon...
10:05: First question and it's right into the National Intelligence Estimate on how Iran ain't buildin' nukes. Bush says, "We know that they're still trying to learn how to enrich uranium, we know that enriching uranium is an important step in a country whose desire is to..." Holy Christ, we're down to Iran gaining knowledge as a way of defining their evil evilness? He views the report as a warning signal that they could "restart" the program. Man, he's got no enthusiasm for this Iran discussion. It's like he thrust his hard-on in Laura's face and she just slapped that Vienna sausage out of her way.
10:09: David Gregory is going for Bush's nutsack: Are you hyping the Iranian threat? "I was made aware of the NIE last week." Apparently, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell didn't tell Bush what the new information was, just that there was new information. What the fuck? Is he the goddamn President or the low girl on the text message circle about whether or not the new hot boy at school is gay?
10:11: Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge to make a weapon, he reiterates. What the fuck does that even mean? No, really, what the fuck?
10:12: George W. Bush giving advice on how the world can remain peaceful is not unlike a lion with gum disease telling an antelope to slow the fuck down so they can just talk.
10:22: If you're keeping your vodka in the freezer, a handy tip is to make sure that the cap is tight on the bottle. Otherwise, any odors in there will get into the taste. You could also keep your freezer clean.
10:24: Bush is talking about the old days of mortgages like everyone had the power to go to the bank to re-negotiate rates. Which was awesome if you were white and middle class in 1962.
10:28: Disturbing things you never want to hear your President say: "Here's why it's hard."
I gave up vodka a while back. Now I think I'm hooked on bleach...
10:36: Disturbing things you never want to hear your President say, part 2: On the campaign plane, "My friend Candy Crowley passed a virus around."
'Nuther slug o' Clorox...
Whoa, methinks he just stormed off. Angry that the reporters would dare think he's not been working to make sure their families are not nuked by non-existent Iranian weapons. Don't we get it? He's right. Everyone else in the world and in half of his administration and Congress is wrong. And if we can't see his innate rightness, then we can all go fuck ourselves.
Now, someone tell the Rude Pundit why anyone anywhere should trust this man?
Due to not enough bandwith in the Universe to answer that, I'll just assume it was a rhetorical question.
TEHRAN, Iran - A new U.S. intelligence review concluding Iran stopped developing an atomic weapons program in 2003 is a "declaration of victory" for Iran's nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday.
What can we say? Yes, our President is a lying, war-mongering moron? True to form though, this administration pulls something out of its ass:
[SECSTATE] Rice declined to respond to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remark, but told reporters in the Ethiopian capital that the public release of the National Intelligence Estimate showed the Bush administration was committed to transparent democracy, while Iran was not.
Yup, gotta love that transparent democracy. When was the NIE supposed to be released? February?
It's a very useful rule of thumb in foreign affairs to simply assume that the neocons are wrong no matter what, because they are always wrong about everything.
Because now that the NIE is out, they're all screaming it's an anti-Bush plot by the CIA.
I think the pshrinks have a name for this. Paranoid-schizophrenia.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Oil has fallen below $88 a barrel, losing ground after a US report downplaying Iran's nuclear ambitions had eased geopolitical concerns.
As long as the tension remains high, so do oil prices. His portfolio musta taken a hit this week. Heh ...
Here’s my best guess: facing open revolt from the Joint Chiefs of Staff against any offensive military move against Iran (because the military is already stretched to the breaking point), Bush found himself in a pickle. For months he’s been pushing the Iran bogeyman. How could he back out now? The NIE was his ticket out.
There are some links and 19 responses so far at the site. The following one is kinda what I was thinking:
Finally, someone was getting ready to leak the truth and the “Administration” had to beat them to the punch or have it look even worse than it does. He wouldn’t care about rebellion behind the scenes, it would just mean more people retiring to “have more family time”.
Their House of Lies is falling in on them and these cockroaches are running for cover.
We may never really know, but it's good that the NIE is out. There's no shame, embarrassment, or admission of mistakes or wrongdoing in this administration, so they'll just spin the shit out of this like they do everything else. Lies upon lies.
Perhaps their plans to deepen the hole they've got us into are slowed a little. Assuming (Ha!) they plan to leave office according to the Law (Ha!), we're playing for time now. Run, clock, run!
Rove went on to say that if voters wanted a change from the disastrous Bush years, they'd have to vote Republican. "It's sad how these Democrats mishandled the Bush Presidency."
Rove also blamed Bill Clinton for having "come before" Bush. "It's just awful the way Clinton directly preceded him," said Rove.
Note to Turdblossom: You got caught lyin' big time this time. Even your accomplices, truly accomplished professional liars all, are dumpin' on you. Go away now.
Note to Turdblossom deux: It dawns on me that you're just making these outrageous claims, AKA 'lies', to try to sell books. Well, boy-o, an awful lot of folks in this country hate you and would like to see you in jail just on general principles. They're not going to put any money in your pocket. The folks who think you're a great man won't buy them because they can't read. So what you can do with the unsold print run is, what won't fit up your ass will taste a lot better boiled, with some peppers, onions, and garlic, maybe a little ketchup. Eat hearty, asshole.
DO NOT MISS Betty & Her Invisible Running Mate on the Issues. Absolutely the best sendup of Repug 'moral values' ever!
I've said it many times, most recently yesterday, businesses can't be trusted to regulate themselves. At least now the Dems are looking into the credit industry, something the Rethugs, who are beneficiaries of Big Bank, failed to do:
WASHINGTON - Some members of Congress are denouncing credit card industry practices that include raising interest rates for customers whose credit ratings decline, even if they make their card payments on time.
Industry critics say it's one more example of abusive, confusing practices that can push consumers deeper into debt.
Of course they're confusing. It's what allows the industry to get away with so much. Most of the people charged with overseeing these clowns don't even understand how some of these 'creative vehicles' work.
In March, the subcommittee focused on complex billing and interest-rate practices, such as charging interest on balances paid on time but not in full, and so-called double-cycle billing _ which eliminates the interest-free period of consumers who move from paying the full balance monthly to carrying a balance.
I learned something a long time ago. In this day and age, a credit card is a requirement, there's so much you can't do unless you have one. That said, pay attention to the terms before you get one. If they send you one without you asking (you're preapproved!) don't take it. Getting a credit card shouldn't be a chance happening between you and the fourth-class mail. Shop for a card the same way you do with everything else. Read the fine print especially.
Don't have a million cards. It's not free money. Use Amex if you can; another rule of thumb I use is that if I can't pay the bill in full when it comes, I don't charge it (there are exceptions but it's a general rule). If you can only make the minimum payments, don't use the card unless it's an emergency, or keep it only for emergencies.
Maxing your cards out for Christmas presents when you can only afford to pay the minimums will keep you on the credit cycle, digging you a deeper and deeper hole. You won't have this year's 'Christmas Cheer' paid off by the time next Christmas rolls around and guess what? The cycle begins all over again but you're starting out in a hole the next time.
The credit industry is predatory and you're the prey. Use your credit with that in the forefront of your mind. In nature, the weak and infirm are the ones that don't survive and it's the same way with credit. The subprime mess should give you a clear picture of how the industry works. The card companies (just like the mortgage lenders) don't give a shit if you can afford the credit you're asking for. All they care about is getting you 'on the books'. It's up to you to determine what you can and can't afford. They might be happy to give you a card, or mortgage, but they're gonna crawl up your ass and stay there if you can't pay.
I know a buncha folks whose earnings fall in the six figure range and are hanging on by their fingernails because they're mortgaged, or use credit cards, to the hilt. People who should know better, people who should be aware of the pitfalls. Be careful out there when you navigate the credit jungle. It doesn't take much (sudden illness, loss of a job, divorce) to push you from the black into the red. Until there is some regulation of their business practices, the only one looking out for you will be you.
Link thanks to Chris @ AMERICAblog.
Monday, December 3, 2007
A new US intelligence report indicates that Iran halted its nuclear weapons development program four years ago -- but the White House on Monday nevertheless urged global powers to "turn up the pressure" on the country.
The new NIE represents a change from two years ago, when US intelligence agencies believed Tehran was determined to develop a nuclear capability and was continuing its weapons development program. A 2005 report stated that Iran was "determined to develop nuclear weapons despite its international obligations and international pressure."
"Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005," states the summary of the new NIE, according to AP.
If you think this is going to deter or stop that mono-fuckin'-maniac Cheney from his plans to attack Iran, think again. It might slow him down a little at best, but time is running out for him to do it. Unless of course this administration thinks it has all the time it needs if there's no election in November.
This is one more of their lies coming to light from within their own administration. Impeach the bastards NOW.
Bush, Maliki Agree on Long-Term U.S. Presence in Iraq
We'll stay as long as there's oil.
Europe Faces New Wave of Illegal Immigration
Undocumented Americans taking jobs Europeans won't do, sending euros back to families in U.S.
Administration Lowers Expectations of Political Progress in Iraq
A theocratic state aligned with our enemies now “best case scenario.”
Study Links Bad Behavior in Youth to Career Problems Later
Unless your father’s friends buy you a baseball team.
Report: D.C. Has Highest Rate of AIDS in Nation
Lawmakers who frequent prostitutes call for immediate action.
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible
It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies. -- Mark Twain, Letters From the Earth
1. "And Adam knew his wife; and she conceived." This is the first sexual intercourse mentioned in the Bible. 4:1
OK, it starts out a little slow. Read on. We're gettin' to some serious porn and real Repug moral values pretty soon.
14. Lot and his daughters camp out in a cave for a while. The daughters get their "just and righteous" father drunk, and have sexual intercourse with him, and each conceives and bears a son (wouldn't you know it!). Just another wholesome family values Bible story. 19:30-38
I think that biblical passage must be a particular favorite in the South...
19. Jacob is tricked by Laban, the father of Rachel and Leah. Jacob asks for Rachel so that he can "go in unto her." But Laban gives him Leah instead, and Jacob "went in unto her [Leah]" by mistake. Jacob was fooled until morning -- apparently he didn't know who he was going in unto. Finally they worked things out and Jacob got to "go in unto" Rachel, too. 29:21-30
20. Jacob goes in unto Leah by mistake. 29:23, 25
21. Jacob finally gets to "go in unto" Rachel. He loved Rachel more than Leah. 29:30
32. Joseph swears by putting his hand under Jacob's thigh -- a euphemism for holding his testicles in his hand. 47:29
And that was just in Genesis!
Well, so far there's been a lot of homosexuality, incest, rape, homosexual incestuous rape, God-sex with old women (Whee! It's a miracle!), daisy chains and swinging, and not a whole lot of marital straight sex. Now I think I understand the Christian Right a little better. No wonder they think the Bible is literally true - that's their real life! AKA "The Truth That Dare Not Be Spoken". That "not speaking the truth" shit carries over into every facet of their oh-ever-so-much-more-moral-than-thou phony christian lives as well. Like Twain said, "Upward of a thousand lies".
And all of it Direct From God. Chumps.
I'm too tired to read any further just now...
Bush: If it’s our oil, why do Venezuelans get to vote on it?
The Family Bush can fix Florida. They can fix Ohio. But it’s just driving them crazy that they can’t fix the vote in Venezuela.
Why is the Bush crew so bonkers about Hugo? Is it because Venezuela sits on the world’s largest reserve of coconuts?
Like Operation Iraqi Liberation (”OIL”) - it’s all about the crude, dude. And lots of it. The US Department of Energy documents I obtained indicate that the guys holding Bush’s dipstick figure that Venezuela is sitting on 1.36 trillion barrels of crude, five times the reserves of Saudi Arabia.
Chavez’ continuing tenure means that Venezuelans’ huge supply of oil will now be in the hands of … Venezuelans!
I guess I shoulda warned ya about the "holding Bush's dipstick" crack. Sorry about that. I'm recycling my bleach these days since I'm using so much of it to delete visuals what with the all the Repug scandals, but I'll let ya pour some of it in yer ear...
Big Oil has better ideas for Venezuela, best expressed in several Wall Street Journal articles attacking Chavez for spending his nation’s oil wealth on “social programs” rather than on more drilling platforms to better fill the SUVs of Texas.
Chavez has committed other crimes in Washington’s eyes. Not only has this uppity brown man spent Venezuela’s oil wealth in Venezuela, he withdrew $20 billion from the US Federal Reserve. Weirdly, Venezuela’s previous leaders, though the nation was dirt poor, lent billions to the US Treasury on crap terms. Chavez has said, Basta! to this game, and has called for keeping South America’s capital in … South America! Oh, no!
Oh, and did I mention that Chavez told Exxon it had to pay more than a 1% royalty to his nation on the heavy crude the company extracted?
And that’s why they have to kill him. In 2002, The New York Times sickeningly applauded the coup d’etat against Chavez. But that failed. Therefore, as the electorate of Venezuela is obstinately refusing to vote as Condi Rice tells them, there’s only one solution left for democracy-loving Bush-niks, the view express out loud by our President’s spiritual advisor, Pat Robertson:
“We have this enemy to our south controlling a huge pool of oil. Hugo Chavez thinks we’re trying to assassinate him. I think we ought to go ahead and do it. … … We don’t need another $200 billion war … It’s a whole lot easier to have some covert operatives do the job.”
But Hugo’s not my enemy. Indeed, he’s made a damn good offer to the American people: oil for $50 a barrel - nearly half of what it sells today. By locking in a long-term price, Venezuela loses its crazy Iraq war oil-price windfall. In return, we agree not to let oil prices fall through the floor (it dropped to $9 a barrel in 1998) and bankrupt his nation. But Saudi Arabia doesn’t like that deal. And Abdullah’s wish is George Bush’s command. (Interestingly, Chavez’ fellow no-term-limits dictator Bill Clinton endorsed the concept.)
I don’t agree with everything Chavez does. And I’ve found some of his opponents’ point well taken. But unlike Bush, I don’t think I should have a veto over the Venezuelan vote.
In Orwellian Bush-speak and Times-talk, Chavez’ referendum was portrayed before the vote as a trick, a kind of “Saddam goes Latin.” Maybe their real fear is that Chavez has brought a bit of economic justice through the ballot box, a trend that could spread northward. Think about it: Chavez is funding full health care for all Venezuelans. What if that happened here?
Single-payer health care for all and a modicum of social justice for the poorest amongst us at the expense of the rich? Cut out the greedy vultures of capitalism? Here? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Mr. Palast is always a hoot to read. He cuts through the shit and is fun to read at the same time.
I don't know if children should be allowed to watch the Republican presidential debates.
There's so much talk of violence and mayhem as the solution to our ills. The candidates seem so eager to flex their muscles and engage the nation in conflict: Let's continue the war in Iraq. Let's show them what we're made of in Iran. Let's round up those immigrants and ship 'em back where they came from.
It's like watching adolescent boys playing the ultimate video game, with no regard for the consequences. Rudy, the crime-fighter and terror maven, says he's tougher than Mitt, who actually had illegals working on his property. Mitt begs to differ and says he'd like to double the size of the Guantánamo prison.
Are we electing a president or a sheriff?
We've got the thunderclouds of a recession heading our way. We're in the midst of a housing foreclosure crisis that is tragic in its dimensions. We've got forty-some-million people without health coverage. And the city of New Orleans is still on its knees.
So you tune in to the G.O.P. debate on CNN to see what's what, and they're talking about - guns.
I'll concede that it's difficult to have a thoughtful exploration of complex issues in a format that allows a candidate just 90 seconds to answer. But the Republicans, far more than the Democrats, go out of their way to present themselves as 21st-century Rambos - a childish, cartoonish posture that solves nothing and can easily lead to tragedy in a world that is in fact quite dangerous.
The Republican Party has won a lot of elections in recent years. So maybe this crop of candidates knows something about American voters that many us would rather not acknowledge, that too many of them are small-minded, fearful, bigoted and too shallow to recognize policies that are against their own - and their country's - best interests.
Or maybe that's not the case at all. Maybe this lot of Republican presidential candidates is misreading the public, and placing its bet on the wrong side of history.
I hope it's the latter. Maybe voters in the early primaries will deliver the message that a more thoughtful, insightful, inclusive and constructive style of campaigning is desired.
As I see it, these 'debates' aren't debates at all, at best they are 'forums' (fora?), are sales pitches by snake oil salesman selling different brands of kool-aid. The Dem brand is weak, but the Repug brand will plunge those who partake into a sheeplike acceptance of moral darkness disguised as patriotism, which is about where we are now.
Bush's Oil War, the response to Katrina, and the present Recession are all serious symptoms of abuse of power, abrogations of public trust, and favoritism for the few at the expense of the many. In other words, lying, cheating, and stealing while professing to be doing God's work, AKA Republican policy.
I sincerely hope the Repug candidates are misreading the public. Heck, there's only a one letter difference from what they've been doing for years - 'misleading' the public. If the Repugs had done anything - anything at all - in the best interests of the American people during their absolute reign, I could see where the sheeple would stick with them. I like to think that some, a good percentage, hopefully most, never all, of the Repug faithful of recent years have pulled their heads out of their ass and awakened to what the Repugs are really up to and have the sense God gave a goose at last and won't keep very many of them in office come the election.
As far as the Repug presidential candidates go, this is the weakest bunch of morons I've ever seen, thank you Lord. If they think Americans want even more disastrous war, more domestic policy that steals from the poor and middle class to give to the rich, and more social injustice, well, let 'em think so.
The Repugs have been so wrong about everything else for many years now, they better be wrong about that too. For all our sakes.
How bad is it? Well, I’ve never seen financial insiders this spooked — not even during the Asian crisis of 1997-98, when economic dominoes seemed to be falling all around the world.
This time, market players seem truly horrified — because they’ve suddenly realized that they don’t understand the complex financial system they created.
See, I've always likened the markets to Las Vegas. It's gambling, but with other people's money. With all the different investment vehicles floating around, there are just as many games on the floor as there are at Harrah's.
“What we are witnessing,” says Bill Gross of the bond manager Pimco, “is essentially the breakdown of our modern-day banking system, a complex of leveraged lending so hard to understand that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke required a face-to-face refresher course from hedge fund managers in mid-August.”
And you can blame this whole mess on the same thing that's keeping us in Iraq and stealing away our civil liberties.
Why was this allowed to happen? At a deep level, I believe that the problem was ideological: policy makers, committed to the view that the market is always right, simply ignored the warning signs. We know, in particular, that Alan Greenspan brushed aside warnings from Edward Gramlich, who was a member of the Federal Reserve Board, about a potential subprime crisis.
And free-market orthodoxy dies hard. Just a few weeks ago Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, admitted to Fortune magazine that financial innovation got ahead of regulation — but added, “I don’t think we’d want it the other way around.” Is that your final answer, Mr. Secretary? [my ems]
Look, I don't care what the fucking 'financial guys' say, business needs regulation. The mess in the air travel sector we're feeling now is directly related to the deregulation of airlines by St. Ronnie of Raygun in the '80s.
Big Business, be it airlines, banking and credit, pharmaceutical, or others, can't be allowed to police themselves because they always look to the bottom line, the environment, economy, and consumers be damned.
It's time to rein these businesses in, especially the credit markets. We're gonna have a bitter pill to swallow real soon and the sooner we accept reality, the sooner we can straighten this mess out.
Via Skippy, Dave Johnson asks: Is Your Money Safe?
This is exactly what could happen to money markets and banks as people realize this is their money everyone is talking about in the news. YOUR money. Find out where your money is, your parents' money, etc.. [em in orig]
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Tom Tancredo Hired Illegal Laborers to Renovate His McMansion
But there is one way the Republican candidates can never out-Tancredo Tancredo. The congressman lives in a “sanctuary mansion” built by the kind of people he has made a career out of demonizing. Tom Tancredo may have no hope of winning the Republican nomination, but in the cause of hypocrisy, he is the frontrunner.
Tancredo is the Perfect Repuglicant - Do As I Say And Not As I Do, in other words IOKIYAR to talk out of both sides of your mouth at the same time.
Columnist Helen Thomas brought down the house this morning in the White House briefing room.
Ms. Thomas, as the morning, off-camera gaggle wound down, asked White House press secretary Dana Perino what President Bush thinks of former advisor Karl Rove being given a regular column by Newsweek.
Mrs. Perino turned the question back on Ms. Thomas, and asked her what she thought.
"I think it's terrible," Ms. Thomas said.
That was the whole article. Further development was limited to a coupla Repuglitard comments.
Ms. Thomas, my invitation for a night out stands.
See more of the exchange between Ms. Thomas and 'Danial' Perino at Raw Story.
JUST 24 hours after Hillary Clinton mowed down a skeptical Katie Couric with her certitude that she would win the Democratic nomination — “It will be me!” — her husband showed exactly how she could lose it.
Election year isn’t even here yet, and already most of the first drafts penned by the political press have proved instantly disposable, from Fred Thompson’s irresistible Reaganesque star power to the Family Research Council’s ability to abort the rise of Rudy Giuliani. The biggest Beltway myth so far — that the Clinton campaign is “textbook perfect” and “tightly disciplined” — was surely buried for good by the undisciplined former president’s seemingly panic-driven blunder last week.
[...] Were Mr. Obama to best Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic nomination, he may prove harder for the Republicans to rally against and defeat than the all-powerful, battle-tested Clinton machine.
But much like the Clinton campaign itself, the Republicans have fallen into a trap by continuing to cling to the Hillary-is-inevitable trope. They have not allowed themselves to think the unthinkable — that they might need a Plan B to go up against a candidate who is not she. It’s far from clear that they would remotely know how to construct a Plan B to counter Mr. Obama. The repeated attempts to fan “rumors” that he is a madrassa-indoctrinated Muslim — whether on Fox News or in The Washington Post, where they resurfaced scurrilously on the front page on Thursday — are too demonstrably false to survive endless reruns even in the Swift-boating era.
Part of the Republicans’ difficulty in countering Mr. Obama, should they have to, is their own cynical racial politics. For the most part, race has been the dog that hasn’t barked in this campaign despite the (largely) white press’s endless fretting about whether the Illinois senator is too white for black voters and too black for white voters. Most Americans aren’t racist, most Republicans included. (Those who are won’t vote for the Democratic presidential candidate even if it’s not Mr. Obama.) But the G.O.P., by its own doing, is nonetheless saddled with a history that most recently includes “macaca” and Katrina, Mr. Bush’s appearance at Bob Jones University in 2000 and the nonexistent black population of its Congressional delegation.
Perhaps most striking is the case of Shelby Steele, the archconservative scholar who shares Mr. Obama’s mixed-race heritage. Though he has just written an entire book, “A Bound Man,” to argue (unpersuasively, in my view) that Mr. Obama “can’t win,” he can’t stop himself from admiring the guy throughout. Peggy Noonan wasn’t being tongue-in-cheek when she wondered in The Wall Street Journal last month whether Mr. Obama “understands the kind of quiet cheering he is beginning to garner from some Republicans.” In her view “they see him as a Democrat who could cure the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton sickness.”
Or at least they do in the abstract. Should Mr. Obama upend the Beltway story line by taking Iowa, the Republicans will have every reason to be as fearful as the Clinton camp is now.
I couldn't begin to do Pop's piece justice with just those few quotes. Please go read the rest. Lotsa links, too.
If Senator Obama does nothing more than make the establishment candidates, on both sides, crap their britches, he will have done good.
If he really catches fire and actually wins this crippled-horse race, he better be prepared to really do good.
Because they want to get the most from the Republicans that they bought before said Republicans are toast in Nov '08. After all, one would have to be a miserable excuse for a human to think there is any reason for these rules changes.
Every bit as depraved, deranged and demented as he looks, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has enlisted firefighters and emergency responders as his eyes and ears in the fight against discontent in America. Not satisfied with demanding warning labels for satire, the Screaming Skull vowed to stamp out not only discontent, but metaphor, double entendre, innuendo, facetiousness, puns, sarcasm and anything smacking of witty repartee.
Man, this is getting personal! If there's anything we 'smack of' around here, it's discontent, metaphor, double entendre, innuendo, facetiousness, puns, sarcasm and witty repartee. It's on, motherfuckers.
Firefighters and emergency personnel are being grilled in the investigative arts of detecting subtle signs of subversive activity such as the possession of worthwhile books, posters proposing world peace, suspiciously intellectual phrenology and telltale signs of terrorist sympathies inferred from micro facial expressions. Don't let a careless impulse to laugh betray your evil seditious secrets.
That dust covered Cat Stevens album in the attic? You can count on just something like that to net a lengthy stay in Guantanamo or an overnight rendition to Syria. So, hop around like hell, today, scrubbing your environs of anything that could be deemed as seeding dissent by postal workers, librarians, delivery drivers, neighbors, friends or family (including, I shudder to say, in-laws). Thought you'd enjoy a morning cup o' joe while perusing the Buzzflash headlines? Huh. Just remember, if there's a fire, you're fucked.
Unlike Chertoff I'm concerned about not disrupting vital services or I'd suggest a date and time for those millions of us yearning for a functional society to turn ourselves in.
Now there's an idea! If we could get all the illegal Meskins to turn themselves in at the same time, we could bring this country to a screechin' halt! Lawns would run wild, kids' diapers would be full, rational thought would disappear, and those left on the outside would have to retreat, drooling and whining (which they do anyway), to deep dark caves. Or the recesses of their alleged minds which is about the same.
Firefighters should fight fires and aid those with emergencies, which is what they signed on to do and do supremely well.
Just as an aside, my little town relied on volunteer firefighters for many years. Their motto was "We haven't lost a foundation yet!"
I call on firefighters everywhere to tell Chertoff to go fuck himself.