Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dan of Steel ...

Steely Dan - Babylon Sister

Have a good evening!

Dear Mexico,

Would you like Texas back? We'll even pay to move the fence.



Go back, Jack ...

Do it again. D-cap to President Obama:


In reality, despite the incredible heat you will take - your best alternative is to call for a mulligan. Throw in the towel and start again sometime down the road, with a better, simpler, more organized and consistent plan. Anyone with half a brain knows that anything passed after this debacle will simply be a piece of legislation to allow you to save face. It will be watered down, ineffective, half-assed and probably end up doing more harm than good. You have always stuck me as a man who can admit mistakes and move on. Now is your chance to admit this was a very big one and begin again. You called the Gates-Crowley mess a learning experience, now lets learn something from the Death Panel/Keep Your Hands off Medicare disaster. [my em]


The next time, do it without the fucking Republicans.

Quote of the Day

The real war is not between the left and the right. It is between the average American and the ruling class. If we come together on this single issue, everything else will resolve itself. It's time we took back our government from those who would make us their slaves.

Go see who said this. Also see Henry Kissinger's description of us.

Goin' ridin'. See yas later.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hello, McFly ...

It was the best $3 billion ever spent in the last decade and we're gonna discontinue it. What a country! We should throw another $2 billion at the program instead of cutting it off.


The “Cash for Clunkers” program has also met a similar fate, with the government announcing the plan would end on Monday after dealers reported that the plan had exceeded their wildest expectations ...

And a word to the whiny, bitchy car dealers:

... Dealers had also been grousing that they hadn’t been paid by the government for the $4,500 outlays they’d made on about 80 percent of the cars. (A company pissed off because IT has to wait for a rebate… The irony is so thick, it’s delicious.) ...

Dickheads, the U.S. government pays every ninety days. As the son of a man who made his money as a defense contractor during the Vietnam war, I learned this when I was 3. Shut up, your money will get there. Got a problem with cash flow? Get a short term loan on your sales for the past 6 weeks. Good God, I gotta explain everything?

Friday Night Neo-Classical Music Blogging ...

Haven't posted one from the Bond Girls in a long time. Enjoy.

Bond - Allegretto

Convictions ...

How come former Bush administration members only develop a conscience long after it would be meaningful? If you're gonna get in touch with your convictions, you can't wait until it's politically comfortable.


So we have Powell, Ashcroft and Ridge all understanding the lawlessness of the Bush-Cheney Administration but choosing to wait until after the 2004 election to announce their resignations, when they were simply replaced with more "trusted" Bush insiders. Had these three individuals resigned before the election and disclosed their differences with the criminal policy that was being carried out, it's hard to imagine how Bush could have been re-elected.


Hope you can sleep well at night, fellas. I wonder if you all realize how much blood is on your hands. If you do, a loaded revolver would settle things. Ask the Japanese how that works.


The Rude One says it plainly:


So it wasn't important enough for Tom Ridge to tell Americans that the White House was going to scare them into doubling down on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. No, that didn't matter, like it didn't matter to Colin Powell or any of dozens of craven cunts who polluted the nation. It didn't matter to Tom Ridge that he could have ended the presidency of someone who actually wanted to lie to us that we were on the verge of attack in order to maintain power. That's actual evil, motherfuckers. Ridge didn't resign until February 2005, distant enough from the election so that the Bush administration could fully consolidate its power (until God, tired of waiting for an honorable person to turn on the White House, decided to fuck that up in August of that year*).


*That would be Hurricane Katrina, for those with short memories.

Update Zwei:



But, as Burke opined, "The only thing needed for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing," and such was the case. Robert* [Richard] Clarke notified the President and others in the national security apparatus that Osama bina Badboy was planning on striking us, but it was blown off in exchange for fantasies about how bad Saddam Hussein was.

With predictable results.


*Unbeknownst to Walt, Robert Clarke is a character in my novels (the President of the United States); also a former player for the Philadelphia Flyers enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Richard Clarke was the guy "running around with his hair on fire" in August of 2001.

Past The Point Of Rescue

This goes out to President Obama and the rapidly slipping away wraith of Health Care Reform.

Mary Black & Hal Ketchum ~ Past The Point Of Rescue
Thanks to Sportymike, Eire.

Obama’s Trust Problem

Paul Krugman hits the nail right on the head. A 'must read'.

According to news reports, the Obama administration — which seemed, over the weekend, to be backing away from the “public option” for health insurance — is shocked and surprised at the furious reaction from progressives.

Well, I’m shocked and surprised at their shock and surprise.

A backlash in the progressive base — which pushed President Obama over the top in the Democratic primary and played a major role in his general election victory — has been building for months. The fight over the public option involves real policy substance, but it’s also a proxy for broader questions about the president’s priorities and overall approach.

And let’s be clear: the supposed alternative, nonprofit co-ops, is a sham. [...]

Meanwhile, on such fraught questions as torture and indefinite detention, the president has dismayed progressives with his reluctance to challenge or change Bush administration policy.

And then there’s the matter of the banks.

So there’s a growing sense among progressives that they have, as my colleague Frank Rich suggests, been punked. And that’s why the mixed signals on the public option created such an uproar.

But there’s a point at which realism shades over into weakness, and progressives increasingly feel that the administration is on the wrong side of that line. [...]

It’s hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Obama has wasted months trying to appease people who can’t be appeased, and who take every concession as a sign that he can be rolled.

Indeed, no sooner were there reports that the administration might accept co-ops as an alternative to the public option than G.O.P. leaders announced that co-ops, too, were unacceptable.

So progressives are now in revolt. Mr. Obama took their trust for granted, and in the process lost it. And now he needs to win it back.

Can he do it? I think so, but he'd better get hot on it. We will see.

Right-wingers are the same everywhere

Fact-free and fucked up. From The Rude One:

That's President Barack Obama there, made to look like Yasser Arafat, thus demonstrating that Photoshop is available to any right wing tool anywhere, in this case Israel, don't you know, from a Monday protest. Man, between Hitler and Arafat, that Obama must be licking his chops to get the gold in Rahm Emanuel's teeth.

The teensy-weensiest hint that there might some day be a little bit of criticism of right-wing Israeli human rights abuses is enough to set these crackpots off. They're just like our wingtards. Some things are universal. What a comforting thought. Oy.

Steele commits gaffe, offers good advice

Think Progress

Yesterday, RNC Chairman Michael Steele attended a roundtable discussion on health care in Little Rock, AR. Mustering as much bravado as he could, Steele dared President Obama and Democrats to pass health care reform through budget reconciliation. “Get it to the floor — up or down, baby,” Steele said as he pounded the desk. “Put it on the table.”

Steele then denied that Republicans have been an obstacle to passing health reform:

Don’t come up in my face talking about, I’m an obstacle, and we’re blocking this process. You got the votes, Mr. President. Pass the bill!

I wonder if he'll claim the credit for the Repugs if a good bill passes and is successful?

Quote of the Day

Maru (in toto):

Criminal scumbag Tom DeLay wants to see Prez Obama's birth certificate.

Furious blogger wants to see Tom DeLay in prison. 'Dancing' with a huge-ass lib inmate.

Late for work ...

The Fringe ...

Remember when everything we (bloggers, people with their eyes open) said was supposed to be crazy talk? Going into Iraq? The fact Bush/Cheney manipulated the 'terror alerts' for their own political benefit? You know, all the things about which we were proven correct? Yeah, well, we're still crazy people.


But that is how our political culture works. Throughout the Bush years, those who said demonstrably true things were continuously dismissed as fringe, conspiracy-driven leftist-losers: those who questioned whether Saddam really had WMDs; those who argued that the invasion of Iraq would lead to long-term military bases in that country; those who worried that warrantless eavesdropping and Patriot Act powers would lead to abuses; those who opposed the war in Afghanistan on the ground that it would be drag on for years with no resolution, etc. etc.

Having been proven right about all of those things hasn't changed perceptions any at all. As Ambinder's comments today reflect, the paramount unchangeable Beltway Truth is that those who distrust government claims are unSerious Fringe Leftist Losers. Even when they turn out to be right, they're still that. And no matter how many times journalists like Ambinder are proven wrong in "giv[ing] the government the benefit of some doubt, even having learned lessons about giving the government that benefit," they still continue to do it and believe it is the right and responsible thing to do.


You know, in a proper world, those of us who saw reality through the tons of manure shoveled on us during the Bush years would be lauded as prophets or sages at the very least, and our collective opinion would be sought out when considering matters of import to the nation. In this world, they're still ready to fit us for straitjackets. I'm wondering what we have to do to change that; stand on our heads and make sparks shoot out our collective ass, perhaps?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You know ...

If you believe what conservatives teabaggers insurance shills those people say about 'socialized medicine', people must be dropping like flies in England, and Canada, and Germany, and France, and Holland, and ... what? They're not?

What If Liberals Packed Heat At A Tea Party?

Why, we'd be arrested or have to use them in self-defense, of course. Shit, the Repugs had people arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts for fuck's sake.

Air America with video.

But why would citizens exercise this somewhat outmoded Constitutional right to carry loaded guns (or unloaded guns) at a political event these days? We say it's plain old bully behavior using dogma as a stick.

That's it in a nutshell. Repugs are fucking bullies. Period.

You know that assclown who started this 'strapped' shit in New Hampshire? The guy was a fuckin' idiot. First, he had his firearm in a rig straight out of some special ops/tactical cop catalog that was so far down his leg he might have had to bend down to unholster it, and second, he was carrying his stupid-ass "tree of liberty" sign in his gun hand!

I could have had that pistol up his ass before he could have even touched it. Or broken his wrist and let him try. Probly would have been arrested for showing a phony 'patriot' what a fool he was being, too.

"Open carry" guns are visible and known. You can keep your eyes on those people and be ready for them. "Concealed carry" weapons are far more dangerous simply because their presence goes undetected until it's time to shoot someone.

This alarming trend toward carrying firearms to political events is just a stupid wingtard statement. I think the statement is "I brought my gun so Libruls wouldn't laugh at my funny little wingtard dick".

Note to the pencil-dick Repug fake pistoleros: It didn't work. My sides hurt...

Where News Stories Meet

The Political Carnival

Levi Johnston's mom cops plea: addiction blamed on no health insurance

Sherry Johnston pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of possession with intent to deliver the painkiller OxyContin. Five other felony counts were dropped.

Sherry Johnston has two pain pumps implanted in her body to deliver medication because she suffers a rare condition involving scurvy and chronic pelvic pain from prior medical surgeries, Butler said. She was receiving professional pain relief treatment but the problems arose when her insurer refused to pay for the medication, Butler said.

I'm sorry, what? Her insurer wouldn't pay for prescribed medication that her own doctor ordered for her? So they got between her and her physician? Isn't that called "rationing"? Was Ms. Johnston held hostage by her insurance company?

Would, say-y-y...a public option have helped prevent her drug abuse problems?

Nah, a government run program have just gotten in the way of her privately uninsured addiction, what with the Feds sticking their medical noses where they didn't belong and all.

Yeah, better to force someone to resort to committing felonies than to allow proper care.

Well, the Prison Industry Complex needs clients too. Gotta keep that taxpayer money rollin' in...

"People want to think she was just a drug addict," he said. "She made a poor judgment choice. But what do you do?"

Why, you run a lying, corporate smear campaign to prevent Americans from getting the care they need, that's what! Silly question.

There ya go.

Health care mobs = Swift Boat Vets. And the press plays dumb, again

Media Matters

During August's summer daze, right-wing mini-mobs (egged on by corporate interests) have run wild at town hall meetings, propagating all kinds of smears and misinformation in an effort to derail an important Democratic campaign. Yet the mini-mob members have been treated as deeply important newsmakers by the press during a slow summer news month.

Sound familiar? Recall August 2004, when the right-wing Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (egged on by corporate interests) stole a month's worth of campaign headlines by propagating all kinds of smears and misinformation in an attempt to derail an important Democratic campaign. Yet they were treated as deeply important newsmakers by the press during a slow summer news month.

Honestly, the only thing missing this time around is a crackpot, best-selling book.

(The Swifties' right-wing publisher must be kicking itself over the missed marketing opportunity.)

But what has been perfectly consistent is the way the press has, again, fallen for a right-wing smear campaign and dressed it up as news. Just as with the Swifties, the press has turned over its summer coverage to a band of agitators spreading misinformation. Five summers ago, the Swift Boat Vets helped hijack the election. They lied about documents, they lied about eyewitness, and they lied about their partisan affiliations and connections. For several crucial weeks during the campaign, journalists turned away from the pile-up of Swift Boat falsehoods and contradictions, rarely daring to call the Swift Boat attack out for what it really was -- a hoax. Too spooked by the GOP Noise Machine and its charge of liberal media bias, the press propped up the Vets as serious men and showered them with attention.

[...] It turns out journalists are petrified of calling out right-wing activists as liars, and the other side knows it.

"Journalists" are scared shitless. Dems are scared shitless. Of what? Telling the truth? Losing their jobs and money? That the ruling elites are gonna come out from under their beds at night and say 'boo'?

I swear, corporate America, the Repug pols, K Street,and the wingtard loonies need to have a dungaree liberty held on 'em. Let the Dems and journos watch so they'll know the bigwigs they're so scared of are just plain old bullies (Repug policy) made of flesh and blood just like them. Lotsa blood, I hope.

I looked for a good definition of "dungaree liberty" but didn't find one, so here goes:

When Marines or Sailors from a base or ship get fucked with in town by gangs, merchants, bar girls, whomever, and get tired of it, their C.O.s have been known to call a dungaree liberty wherein they put on their working clothes, 'dungarees', arm themselves with clubs, rack ends, entrenching tools, belaying pins, etc. and go into the places they've been fucked with and clean house.

I did find this:

...mid 1950's I recall scuttlebutt about Chesty declaring war on Mexico, a Mexican gang, the Pachukos were fvcking Marines up in Tijuana and he supposedly turned the 1st MarDiv loose on the gangs down there. Dungaree Liberty.

The way I heard that one was that they went down there as units, combat load-out, in Marine Corps six-bys. Armed to the teeth and loaded for bear, many of them just back from the Korean War. It may be an apocryphal legend.

I'm gettin' more and more up for a little 'nightstick boogie' on these 'tard assholes.

"Blue Dogs and Republicans (on behalf of the industries that own them) must get what they want "

Glenn Greenwald on the White House v Progressives on the 'public option'. Today's 'must read'. Links at site.

Over the past decade, the Democratic Party has specialized in offering up one excuse after the next for its collective failures. During the early Bush years, the excuse was that they endorsed Bush policies because his popularity and post-9/11 hysteria made it politically unwise to oppose him. In later Bush years when his popularity plummeted, the excuse was that Democrats were in the minority and could do nothing. After 2006 when they won a Congressional majority, the excuse was that Bush still controlled the White House and had veto power. After 2008 when a Democrat won the White House, the excuse was that Republicans could filibuster.

Now that they have a filibuster-proof majority, a huge margin in the House and the White House, the excuses continue unabated, as Democrats are now on the verge of jettisoning one of the most significant attractions for progressives to the Obama campaign -- active government involvement in the health insurance market. [...]

When progressives refuse to toe the White House line, they get threatened. Contrast that with what the White House does with Blue Dogs and "centrists" who are allegedly uncooperative on health care -- they protect them:

The attempt to attract GOP support was the pretext which Democrats used to compromise continuously and water down the bill. But -- given the impossibility of achieving that goal -- isn't it fairly obvious that a desire for GOP support wasn't really the reason the Democrats were constantly watering down their own bill? Given the White House's central role in negotiating a secret deal with the pharmaceutical industry, its betrayal of Obama's clear promise to conduct negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN no less), Rahm's protection of Blue Dogs and accompanying attacks on progressives, and the complete lack of any pressure exerted on allegedly obstructionists "centrists," it seems rather clear that the bill has been watered down, and the "public option" jettisoned, because that's the bill they want -- this was the plan all along.

The Washington Post today quotes an "anonymous White House official" excoriating what he condescendingly calls "the left of the left" for petulantly demanding a "public option." That article notes that the Obama White House is surprised by the intensity of progressives' insistence that the bill include a "public option," and who can blame them for being surprised? Ordinarily, progressives are told that they cannot have what they want because Blue Dogs and Republicans (on behalf of the industries that own them) must get what they want, and progressives meekly accept that because it's "better than nothing" (don't let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good, they are lectured). More than anything else, it's vital that this dynamic change. Such a change -- a shift in Beltway power dynamics -- would be far more consequential even than the specific health care policy issues at stake in this debate.

He says some nice things about Jane Hamsher's efforts to goad Progressives into action on this.

The shorter version is all about 2010 and getting industry support by giving them what they want and fuck real Democrats like always. Business as usual. Yeesh. Go read.


Go read Our Gal Jane on this. Today's second 'must read', dovetails well with Greenwald.

We started this whip count effort on June 23 because it became clear that in the course of making their deals with stakeholders, the Baucus Caucus (who were negotiating on behalf of the White House, with the participation of the White House) had very likely already dealt the public plan away.

The goal of keeping stakeholders at the table was threefold:

1. Keep them from advertising against the White House plan
2. Keep them from torpedoing vulnerable Democrats in 2010 so there isn't a repeat of 1994
3. Keep their money out of GOP coffers

You can see the fingerprints in the deals that they made: the $150 million PhRMA was spending on ads for health care reform, the $2.5 million they spent helping vulnerable freshmen, and the total fury that Boehner has unleashed on PhRMA and other stakeholders for making deals with the White House.

People make a mistake when they think the battle for health care reform is about ideology, because it's not. It's about who controls K Street and the cash that flows from it, which could fund a 2010 GOP resurgenece -- or not.

A word about Jane - we've been big fans of hers since she started Firedoglake several years ago. Right in amongst being a Liberal firebrand, she took time out to survive breast cancer and barely missed a step. She's an American hero.

Update II:

Jane again:

Matt Taibbi says that Rahm Emanuel's health care debacle could be to the Obama administration what the Iraq war was to George Bush.

He's right.

Oh fucking swell.

What if ...

The Dems did health care the way the Rethugs did Iraq? Via Maru, the incomparably talented Tom Tomorrow.

Piling on ...

Yeah, I know everybody's got this up, but maybe if enough of us post it, the President might take a lesson from it. Barney Frank at his best:

I happened to steal this one from Creature.

Barking at the Moon ...

The White House on Wednesday rejected reports that it is abandoning its effort to secure a bipartisan healthcare reform bill.




White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration remains committed to drawing Republican support for the bill, particularly in the Senate.


What Republican support? They want to pick it apart until it's only one, drippy, shit-covered, square of single-ply asswipe.


He said the White House believes some Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee "are still working in a constructive way to get reform through the Senate and ultimately to the president's desk."


In what Senate? Our Senate? The United States of America's Senate? Because I don't think me and Gibbs are looking at the same group of 'lawmakers'.

Please, fellas, it's the Dog Days of Summer and it's too hot and humid here in NY for me to shove my head that far up my ass to understand your point of view. Idiots.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Care less ...

Stays on top today - G

So, since yesterday, we've heard administration officials running around, telling everyone that the 'public option' is still 'in', though there are no less than 5 drafts of the reform bill circulating through the House and Senate. It sounds, to me, that they are trying to keep progressives behind the 'reform' initiative until House/Senate reconciliation of the bill, whereupon it will be tossed aside like yesterday's trash. I don't give a shit anymore.

The way this health care initiative has been handled was fucked up from the beginning, taking 'single-payer' off the table from the get go - like the Army going to war and announcing they're going to win it without the field artillery and armor (more like the Army going to war with the goal of "winning hearts and minds" before the first bullet flew). Krugman puts his finger on it:


Partly it’s a matter of style — as many people have noted, he has been weirdly reluctant to make the moral case for universal care, weirdly unable to show passion on the issue, weirdly diffident even about the blatant lies from the right. Partly it’s a spillover from his other policies: by appointing an economic team that’s Rubin redux, by taking such a kindly attitude to the banks, he has squandered a lot of progressive enthusiasm.

Add in the dealmaking as part of the health care process itself, and progressives can be forgiven for having the impression that Obama (a) takes them for granted (b) is way too easily rolled by the other side.


As I said the other day, the campaign of "hope and change" that we all supported, that we all welcomed after 8 years of the Bush/Cheney corporate free-for-all, has become "business-as-usual". The limp, insipid leadership from the White House on an issue so important to a huge chunk of the American people makes you wish, as Kieth Olbermann put it last night, "for a little more of George Bush's certitude".

And, speaking of the past 8 years, you'd think they all would have learned something of the Republican modus operandi. My knee jerk reaction is "how can they be so naive" to not understand the nature of the bullshit thrown at them from the Right. It's as if they thought we would all join hands and pass something that was actually good for the American people whether they knew it or not. But I can't believe that in the end. Obama is, without argument, an intelligent man so I have to think he and his advisers knew what was coming. I did, Gordon did, and a couple thousand other bloggers did too. Most of us aren't political 'insiders' yet we got it and, from what we were promised during the campaign, we expected a champion to rise above the noise and dirty tricks from the Right, especially with majorities in both houses of Congress. Instead we got what, representatives scared of their own shadows and a White House that gets blown around by the constantly shifting political winds? Any real reform we could hope for has gone the way of 'banking reform' and what we'll get, if anything, will be a load of watery shit that offers no relief, only a burning sphincter.

The uninsured in this country will continue to live on the edge, wondering when a family member will get sick enough to ruin them. I, like Members of Congress and the news media, have good insurance that I can afford to pay for but that could change in an instant, as it can for 90% of us who are fortunate enough to be able to buy into 'the system'. It is the crux of the biscuit and why so many experts say the health care system cannot go on in its present form. It is why the call for reform is so strong, because so many people are hanging on with their fingertips. To let them fall over the edge is unconscionable but that is what probably will happen once the dust finally settles on this mess. I wonder, with all the deal-making going on, all the 'negotiations' behind closed doors, if anybody gives the un- and under-insured a passing thought anymore. They were thrown under the bus in favor of special interests months ago.

So I could give a shit less at this point. Whatever squirts out of the national sphincter will be less than what is needed and many will be left behind. It seems a foregone conclusion at this point, though I hope I'm wrong. Until the President stands up and provides the magnitude of leadership required to do the right thing, I can't get worked up over 'co-ops' and 'public options', and whether they're 'in' or 'out'. If a half-assed, watered down, gift to the insurance companies ends up on Mr. Obama's desk, I would hope he does the right thing and vetoes it. Somehow, I don't see that happening either.

What should be done, is scrapping whatever has been done so far and the White House should write a bill. It should then be given to Congress with a message to the Dems to "vote it down at your own political peril". That is what leadership looks like. Kissing the collective ass of people who would never support anything is a waste of time and a sign of weakness. Take heed, Mr. Obama or you just might be a one-term President. I mean, coming off this fiasco, you really don't expect to have a majority in Congress after the 2010 elections, do you?

Quote of the Day



45%of the American people actually believe the government will be euthanizing the elderly. What the hell is wrong with these people?


The United States of Stupid.

I still care, but...

The only way real reform will take place now is if Barry gets up and takes control of the situation. - Fixer's comment on this post

What should be done, is scrapping whatever has been done so far and the White House should write a bill. It should then be given to Congress with a message to the Dems to "vote it down at your own political peril". That is what leadership looks like. - Fixer

It's uncanny sometimes how close Fixer and I think. We never collaborate on anything, but sometimes it's like a transcontinental mind meld. Ibuprofen helps.

Just yesterday I came up with the following for Obama to use to address a joint session of Congress:

"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives. I want the health care and insurance reform bill that I want, so here's the deal - you people bring me a bill that reins in your thieving insurance industry by means of a strong public option and I will sign it into law. Anything less and I will not only veto it, I will veto every goddam spending proposal you bring me for the rest of my term and you ying-yangs will never get to bring one goddam dime of taxpayers' money to your districts ever again. This is so goddam important to change the criminally negligent way you clowns have conducted the people's business for so many years that I don't give a shit if I get re-elected or not. I'm puttin' my ass on the line for this and I'm puttin' your asses on the line as well.

"As to bipartisanship, I now know exactly what to expect from you Republicans, which is diddly squat for the American people and all out for big money special interests and their status quo if not further enhancement of profit at the public's expense and to the public's detriment. Business as usual. I suspected all along that this would be the case but I tried to work with you. Bent over backwards and frontwards. It didn't work. As a result, fuck you. We don't need you. You may leave. What passes these days for reporters are standing by outside to hear your usual bullshit.

"And to you Democrats, I have never seen such a spineless bunch in my life. You finally got a solid majority after years of getting shat upon and have the power and you're too goddam scared to use it! What's with you people? You just continue to let the goddam Republicans steamroller you with their lies and bullshit! You should stomp the fuckers! Frankly, you pussies disgust me. This may be your last chance to grow a pair and get on board on the side of the people who elected you. Do it.

"The 2010 elections? I will actively work against any of you who do not stand with me on this important legislation, to include Democratic campaign money for your primary opponents, not to mention selective leaks of some verrrry interesting material we have on file that the enquiring minds of your constituents want to know.

"2012? Couldn't care less. Health care reform is what the American people elected me to do for them, and good health care reform is what I'm going to get for them or die trying.

"This is it. The line in the sand is drawn. Stand together with me and the American people or stand with the special interests and prepare to have me shout it from the rooftops whichever way you go. The choice is yours.

"Good day, ladies and gentlemen. God bless the United States of America and may God have mercy on your souls if you go the wrong way on the most important issue you are likely to face in your careers. He's got your soul, but I'll have yer ass."

He might want to change a coupla words here and there. I just write like I talk. I threw the 'God' shit in there because politicians always do. Like God gives a shit.

Yes we can? Fat fuckin' chance.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pulling the plug on the Republicans

I think I got a theme goin' today.

Mark Rubin, EssEff Examiner.

The worst part of Obama's mishandling of healthcare reform has been his attempts to have a bi-partisan bill. The question is why?

The country voted the Republicans and conservatives out of the federal government because the country had enough of the ineptitude, dishonesty, incompetence, and multiple disasters visited on the country as a result of conservative Republican policies.

If there is anything the Republicans proved in the last 8 years its that they are incapable of leading and running the government. And Senator Judd admitting they "weren't very good stewards of the government", and Senator Grahams's admissions of mismanagement, while sincere, isn't enough to give anyone confidence they can do anything right.

Bush all by himself did more damage to the United States in 8 years than the Soviet Union could in 50.

The results of having engaged the Republicans in the healthcare debate are evident. There's been lying, disinformation, smoke screens, and the loud, disruptive, dishonest, holier than thou groups dominating town hall meetings which were stuffed with Republicans and conservatives who still think, after being proved wrong about everything, that they know best. As we saw from the shouters at Senator Specter's town hall, the Republican idea of healthcare reform is limits on medical malpractice awards.

Obama's problem is he didn't take on the lying and disinformation from the beginning, and as John Kerry found out in 2004, lies that go unchallenged can be effective. And believed by ignorant people. Now that Obama has had a few "teachable moments" at the hands of the Republicans he may be a bit wiser (my em).

Soldiers and Marines train intensively to minimize 'teachable moments' in combat that can leave them dead. The fight against the goddam Repugs is less fatal, but war nonetheless.

What's needed now for the sake of real healthcare reform and getting a bill that will do the most good for the most people, which includes a public option, is for Obama and the Democrats to do what the doctor ordered. And that means pulling the plug on the Republicans, ramming the reform bill through with a public option. and asking Senator Grassley and Michael Steele where to send the flowers.

Fuckin' A.

Note to Barry: Look, dude, wise up. Bipartisanship was a nice idea. It didn't work. Those assholes aren't going to vote for real health care/insurance reform in any case, no matter what you do. Tell 'em to go fuck themselves and get a bill passed. Ram it down their fuckin' throats. With a public option or it's all for nought - when you took single-payer off the table, that was the compromise. More than I would have given them.

Time to man up and do what you know is right.

In America, Crazy Is a Preexisting Condition

Rick Perlstein

In Pennsylvania last week, a citizen, burly, crew-cut and trembling with rage, went nose to nose with his baffled senator: "One day God's going to stand before you, and he's going to judge you and the rest of your damned cronies up on the Hill. And then you will get your just deserts." He was accusing Arlen Specter of being too kind to President Obama's proposals to make it easier for people to get health insurance.

My response to that would have been, "Don't you dare tell me what your asshole God's gonna do to me for doing something you don't like, you arrogant sonofabitch!"

I wouldn't last long in politics. It's just as well.

So the birthers, the anti-tax tea-partiers, the town hall hecklers -- these are "either" the genuine grass roots or evil conspirators staging scenes for YouTube? The quiver on the lips of the man pushing the wheelchair, the crazed risk of carrying a pistol around a president -- too heartfelt to be an act. The lockstep strangeness of the mad lies on the protesters' signs -- too uniform to be spontaneous. They are both. If you don't understand that any moment of genuine political change always produces both, you can't understand America, where the crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy, and where elites exploit the crazy for their own narrow interests.

The orchestration of incivility happens, too, and it is evil. Liberal power of all sorts induces an organic and crazy-making panic in a considerable number of Americans, while people with no particular susceptibility to existential terror -- powerful elites -- find reason to stoke and exploit that fear. And even the most ideologically fair-minded national media will always be agents of cosmopolitanism: something provincials fear as an outside elite intent on forcing different values down their throats.

There is something to be said for 'forcing different values down their throats'. The 'tards ain't gonna get 'em any other way. When I was a kid, I got cod liver oil 'forced down my throat' a few times. I damn sure didn't like it, but I was the better for it.

I'd rather force a little common sense, wrapped around a phone pole, up the wingtards' asses, but that's just me. Ya can't fix stupid.

The tree of crazy is an ever-present aspect of America's flora. Only now, it's being watered by misguided he-said-she-said reporting and taking over the forest. Latest word is that the enlightened and mild provision in the draft legislation to help elderly people who want living wills -- the one hysterics turned into the "death panel" canard -- is losing favor, according to the Wall Street Journal, because of "complaints over the provision."

Good thing our leaders weren't so cowardly in 1964, or we would never have passed a civil rights bill -- because of complaints over the provisions in it that would enslave whites.

Yeah, how's that workin' out? Yeesh.

Someone made the point the other day that 'good' Americans don't like being told what to do, but they don't seem to mind being told what to think, if 'think' is even the right word for what they do.

Bob Novak is dead at last

More at HuffPo.

This isn't an obit, it's a victory announcement. One at a time is pretty slow, but it works.

Oddly enough, that old bastard may turn out to be an American hero. His outing of Valerie Plame had the unintended consequence of putting the first crack in the Cheney & Bush wall of secrecy and lies.

Beyond the taco..


A new wave of mobile vendors is altering the way we look at that hallmark of Los Angeles' street cuisine, the taco truck. Broadening the offerings to be had on four wheels, these trucks demonstrate a decidedly more experimental -- and often more expensive -- culinary sensibility. These are the Nouveau Food Trucks.

The complete article is here, but here's a coupla examples. Most have links:

1. Baby's Badass Burgers

Baby's Badass Burgers, which rolled out Monday, Aug. 10, features gourmet burgers like the Man Eater (-half-pound beef burger) and the Cougar (aged beef, St. Andre cheese and black truffles), all served by babes in cheek-hugging hot pants and skintight tank tops.

Sounds OK so far...

3. Bool BBQ Truck

Born in Korea and raised in Sao Paolo and Los Angeles, owner Dan Kim dishes out Korean-Mexican barbecued tacos and Brazilian pastels.

Still OK. As long as Kim barbecues the 'meow' out of it.

Here it starts ta get a little weird:

9. Fishlips Sushi truck

This roving sushi truck serves spicy tuna rolls, California rolls and crunchy rolls plus tamari sushi.

20. Marked 5 truck

Hamburger, tonkatsu, curried chicken or tofu patties tucked between two "buns" made of pressed rice.

23. The Pupusamobile

This handmade mobile pupuseria is coming soon.

I ain't got the faintest idea what a 'pupusa' is. Sounds like a stage of insect development.

I'd say 'only in L.A,' but I'd be wrong. Anyplace ya got a good melting pot of cultures goin' on, yer probly gettin' an upswing of ethnic food trucks. Reg'lar ol' street food on wheels, and why not?

"Fuck off, wingers. We don't need you."

The Rude One on health care legislation:

The push for health care reform needs to be presented as a civil rights movement.

That's the bottom line, but let's put it at the top here: in the arguments about public options and co-ops and whatever, the left, in Congress and elsewhere, has allowed the right to control the language of the debate. And instead of arguing morality and greater good, this has all been about economics.

Make it into the difference between being for a right and against a right. And that means taking all the risks that accompany the granting of a civil right.

At this point, we could continue to go over the myriad ways that the Obama administration and congressional Democrats have screwed this up like Jerry Lewis in a movie where he's asked to build a nuclear bomb. [...]

God, the lies conservatives spout when it comes to the perceived evils of giving people rights. [...]

[...] Now, with little time left before this debate comes to an end, there's no way to appeal to reason anymore. It doesn't work. The death-panel-look-it's-socialism gang has demonstrated that clearly. We don't have to lie. But we need to take it out of political theory and sell it as something courageous: we who want health care for all are good, brave people. The ones who don't are cowardly and bad. Do you want to be courageous or afraid?

Of course the Dems want to be courageous. Everyone does. Trouble is, they're institutionally cowardified.

Mostly, though, there's only one real solution: Democrats have to have the guts to tell Republicans that they're no longer part of the process. They have not negotiated in good faith and they're not gonna vote for shit, no matter how watered down. It's gotta be "Fuck off, fuckers" and bar the door and pass what needs passing.

Unfortunately, that would take balls the Dems don't have. And aren't likely to get.

Sweetheart deals ...

Not just for Halliburton/KBR anymore:


Read the whole article and you'll see that this is a totally corrupt form of government contracting that is costing taxpayers a mint which keeps honest suppliers from being able to compete, which should, in a rational world be something that "free market" fetishists should be incensed about as well. Why this isn't highlighted as part of the "waste fraud and abuse" argument is beyond me.


Because, my dear Digby, it's part of the game.

Overslept and running late this morning. See yas later.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Stays on top today - G

I'm not.

Via a combination of Republican Noise Machine, insurance lobbying groups, and the aggregate stupidity of the American public, this weekend we kissed any sort of 'public option' being included in the health care reform package goodbye.

I had as much 'hope for change' as anyone did after the elections last November, a majority in the House and Senate and a Dem President, I thought the sky was the limit. I know a lot of you did too. After all the rhetoric during the campaign and after, how could we not?

Once again we got screwed. Correction, 46 million Americans got screwed royally. The rest of us, those who fought for coverage for all Americans, merely were ignored in the face of special interest and the ranting of the 'Dead End Quarter'. For all the change we were promised, business-as-usual prevails. The insurance companies will still be in control with little regulation and no competition, still retaining their vast influence over public policy. Once again we, those who got these clowns elected, get handed a shit sandwich.

It's what it comes down to in the end. The average American is only worth listening to until his vote is cast, until any campaign contributions he can afford are issued, and then quickly forgotten. The 'Washington Bubble' seems to be impenetrable by voices from the outside, the voices of those our representatives owe their existence to. Even the 'town hall meetings' gave off the stench of manipulation by insiders, controlling the gullible to disrupt and sidetrack the 'debate'. And the worst offenders were the news media, giving the crazy credibility and playing the perfect 'straight man' to the Machiavellian machinations of the insurance industry, acting as if the obvious was an illusion.

The Fourth Estate, entrusted to protect the American people, abdicated any responsibility to us decades ago and instead adopted willful ignorance as its modus operandi. Lies taken at face value and allowed to sit unchallenged before the public, the most fantastic of them given a hearing and put up for debate when they should have been met with only laughter, did much to rouse the rabble, the gullible, and the uneducated. What passes for news nowadays is a joke, an industry now a full fledged accomplice of the corporate oligarchy of the United States. I wonder if Wolfie, John King, Charlie Gibson, and the rest ever worried about their financial situation whenever they got sick, wondering if this would be the illness that broke them. I would think not.

The whole evolution of this 'reform' package has me disgusted beyond belief. After what we were promised, after the hope we were given, I think this failure troubles me more than what happened throughout the Bush years. We knew what we were up against then, knew the forces that were arrayed against us, and knew it would be an uphill battle, especially after the '04 elections. But after '06, and again last year, we thought (at least I did) it would become easier. They were on our side and we had a majority. Anything (at least things within reason) was possible and health care reform was high up on the list. It seems anything meaningful is no longer a priority. It seems, once again, nothing will change.

Thank you, Democrats, for living up to my very cynical expectations of you. Once again you have proven you are no more fit to lead than the Republicans. I was hoping you'd surprise me this time.

Les Paul, 1915-2009

Click to embiggen

Les Paul...was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which "made the sound of rock and roll possible."

The Gibson Les Paul, one of the world's most popular electric guitars, was named in honor of Paul.

Les Paul & Mary Ford Show: World Is Waiting For The Sunrise

Thanks to oobleckboy.

Vaya con Dios, Les.

Cheney's New Gambit

Ray McGovern with today's 'must read':

The stenographers of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) are missing the most obvious explanation for former Vice President Dick Cheney’s widely reported “disappointment” with former President George W. Bush on the issue of pardons -- self-interest.

What Cheney is “urgently focused” on right now is staying out of prison. As he sits writing his memoir in his own Eagle’s Nest over his garage in a fancy Virginia suburb, Cheney is pulling out all the stops to ensure that he does not have to face the music for war crimes.

For Cheney, there apparently will be no trips to Paris? No, that’s where Rumsfeld almost got arrested two years ago. After a war-crimes complaint was lodged, he had to go out the back door of the embassy and dart to the airport for the first flight back to the U.S., before the Paris magistrate decided whether or not to detain him.

I do think that Hayes, the pundits for Time and Gellman have it right when they say that Cheney is angry with George W. Bush, but they are disingenuous about the reason why. They must have figured out that when Cheney vents his anger at Bush’s failure to pardon Libby, the ex-Vice President is really livid that Bush did not issue a blanket pardon for Cheney and other co-conspirators.

Cheney had every reason to expect the pardon (excusing crimes such as torture and launching an aggressive war by deceiving Congress), given that he seems to have engaged in those crimes with his boss’ full knowledge and encouragement.

But when Cheney accuses Bush of abandoning “an innocent man” who had served the President loyally; when Cheney excoriates anyone who would “sacrifice the guy who was asked to stick his head in the meat grinder” — he appears to be talking about himself as much as Libby.

It is such an obvious allegory, a classic example of self-pity masquerading as altruism; and the pundits don’t get it — or, more likely, pretend not to.

My sense is that Cheney is feeling abandoned; that he senses the real danger of being brought to justice; and that he is waging a series of pre-emptive strikes to head that off.

Reading recently about the post-WWII Nuremberg Tribunal, I was reminded that it was the film of Nazi concentration camps that wiped the arrogant smirks off the faces of senior Nazi officials, defendants like Hermann Goering and Rudolf Hess.

Bulldozers pushing corpses into open pits, bodies stacked like cordwood — the films of such atrocities had devastating effect. According to one witness, “Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel sat there, bent over and broken, mopping his lined face with a soggy ball of handkerchief.” The smirks never came back.

Cheney and his associates have got to be prepared for something similar, even though they were not vanquished in war. They probably consider the chances slight that they would be brought to an international court, even though Chief U.S. prosecutor, Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, pointedly warned at Nuremberg:

“…the ultimate step in avoiding periodic wars, which are inevitable in a system of international lawlessness, is to make statesmen responsible to the law. And … while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment.”

As for violations of U.S. law, the list is long. Interestingly, two of the three Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon approved by the House Judiciary Committee on July 27, 29 and 30, 1974, were based, in part, on misusing the CIA.

The bottom line for Cheney is this: Too much has gone wrong, and Cheney cannot afford to take any chances that there will not be more cracks in the wall protecting Bush-era secrets.

The good news, as far as Cheney is concerned, can be seen in the clear signs that neither Obama nor Holder have any stomach for holding Cheney to account — and still less for holding Bush accountable.

Obama and Holder sometimes appear so eager to prove themselves to the Washington Establishment that they protect Bush-Cheney secrets even when a disclosure would serve an important national security goal.

So, Cheney appears to be pursuing a new strategy of pre-emption. His most obvious tactic is to tie his actions on torture tightly to Bush. On May 10 when Bob Schieffer asked Cheney how much Bush knew about the “enhanced interrogation techniques," the former Vice President stated clearly, if redundantly:

“I certainly, yes, have every reason to believe he knew — he knew a great deal about the program. He basically authorized it. I mean, this was a presidential-level decision. And the decision went to the President. He signed off on it.”

Cheney was certainly eager to answer the question. The idea, of course, would be to juice the jitters he already perceives at senior levels of the Obama administration, and to make it clear that no one will take Cheney down alone; i.e., without Bush right beside him (my em).

Great article and you should go read the rest. Here's the money shot:

In Cheney's view, this image of a former President in the dock is sure to deter dithering lawyers and politicos at the top of the White House and Justice Department, who are more interested in sniffing the political winds than in enforcing the rule of law.

My worst fear is that Cheney may be right.

Until we get an AG and, yes, a President, who pay more than lip service to 'rule of law' and are willing to apply it to those who were at the very top of the Bush & Cheney criminal enterprise, he may just be right at that.

Note to MSNBC: Please Give Lawrence O’Donnell His Own Show

Pensito Review, with video.

Substituting for Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball” yesterday, Lawrence O’Donnell was at the top of his game during an interview about Republican opposition to health-care reform with Rep. John Culbertson (R-Texas). O’Donnell exposed the Republicans’ hypocritical opposition to the government option because it is “socialism” while insisting they support the equally socialist Medicare program. He also called Culbertson on his party’s lies over “death panels” and the rest. It was a joy to watch:

He is one of the best of the substitute hosts on MSNBC, and certainly ought to be given his own show, perhaps in the hour before the “Ed Show” — and, what the heck, maybe MSBNC could have at least one show that is anchored from Los Angeles, which is not only where O’Donnell lives but also home of a huge segment of the network’s audience.

Mr. O'Donnell is very knowledgeable and has stones the size of basketballs. I always enjoy watching him and I agree that he should have his own show but I doubt he would be willing to take the cut in pay.

Quote of the Day

Steven C. Day of The Last Chance Democracy Cafe follows up on Fixer's post:

This has gone far beyond pathetic and all the way to pathological. Establishment Democrats have become so terrified of being painted as liberals, they continue to rub their most dependable supporters' faces in it even though doing so may well lead them to defeat.

It's really that simple: Democrats have become too scared of losing to win.

There is nothing I can add to that.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

U.S. Tops 153 Other Countries in Health Care
Only France, Italy, San Marino, Andorra, Malta, Singapore, Spain, Oman, Austria, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Monaco, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium, Colombia, Sweden, Cyprus, Germany, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Morocco, Canada, Finland, Australia, Chile, Denmark, Dominica, Costa Rica rate higher.

Swiss Bank Reveals Names of Americans Hiding Money There
To see if you’re on the list, go to

GM: New Chevy Volt Gets 230 MPG

In test drive from top of Pike’s Peak to Denver.

House Leaders Ditch Plans To Buy VIP Passenger Jets
Item stricken from budget to trim spending, prioritize limited resources, and because public found out about it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bring 'Em Home Now!

[A big welcome to Crooks and Liars readers. - F.]

This is what U.S. Marines do when they get bored in Iraq...

See the sequel, "Iraqi Jackass Number Two" from Butthungryassclown.

Thanks to puppet601.

Clark AFB gone, sex trade, er, limps on...


Fields Avenue, the main pedestrian drag in Angeles City, is a legacy of the time when this row of run-down bars was the romping ground of restless young American airmen stationed at Clark Air Base.

A thriving sex tourism trade attracts foreign customers by the thousands in search of something they cannot find back home: girls young enough to be their granddaughters selling sex for the price of a burger and fries.

I bet a lot of 'em tried this on their granddaughters, but the girls just ate the burgers and fries and went on home. Heh.

Once populated by men in their early 20s who started each day with 100 push-ups, the place is now home to older men who need help pushing themselves out of bed in the morning.

The Air Force does pushups? Do tell!

Suddenly, a group of twentysomething men storms past, laughing and arm-punching. The news spreads and girls pop their heads out the doorways to catch a glimpse of boys their own age.

One calls after them with a deal she hopes they can't refuse:

"Free!" she says, laughing.

Heh. These gals deserve to have some FUN once in a while. With the young guys they can at least pass on the three-quarters of their work which is the, er, fluffing part.

There may be very little truth to the rumor I am starting here that many of the girls have been spotted with signs reading "Fixah, come back!"

Cheney Volunteers For Death Panel


BUNKER HILL, Wyoming - (PTSD News) - Once a fierce opponent to health care reform, former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney made a surprise announcement that he now fully supports President Barack Obama's vision of health care. "When I learned that under Obama's health care bill there was going to be a death panel," Cheney said, "I realized that the president had finally gotten it right."

"In fact," Cheney continued, "after researching candidates to head the panel, I have nominated myself to be the death panel chairman." Cheney said that when it comes to experience, "who better than he to go the the dark side if necessary to carry out the elimination of unnecessary people?"

Cheney explained there would be huge savings to health care if old people were eliminated. "So much of our American tax dollars are wasted on the elderly who are going to die soon anyway," Cheney said. "I just can't wait to start passing judgment on some of those aging Woodstock hippies."


What's wrong with this picture?

F** Noise could fuck up a junkyard with a rubber hammer, that's what. Their viewers don't know or care as long as they are sufficiently wingtardinous.

A tip o' the Brain to The Political Carnival.