Saturday, September 20, 2008

Simply put ...

Mr. Philadelphia boils it down to one paragraph:


Again, the problem is that lots of bad loans were made, lots of people made highly leveraged investments in those bad loans, and still more people bet on those loans by insuring them. The loans are bad. The mortgages are not going to be repaid in full. Housing prices are not going to magically shoot up 50% over the next 6 months. People gambled and lost and now the Democrats are racing to bail them all out.


As I said about the airline industry after 9/11 (remember that bailout?). They shoulda been allowed to go under and let the chips fall where they may. Darwinism works. Time for a little pain.

When Black Friday comes
I'll stand down by the door
And catch the gray men
When they dive from the fourteenth floor
When Black Friday comes
I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road
When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
Don't let it fall on me



Steely Dan - Black Friday

I'm Not Angry

Here's a cute one! Semper Fi, Don & Phil!

Legend In His Time

Two of my favorites. They both died young.

Kate Wolf & the Wildwood Flower
This song is dedicated to Gram Parsons

Thanks to Rock 1945.

Geiger's 'Toons

Just go see.

Palin to dump McCain?

All Spin Zone

Seems John McCain is so connected to the good old boys in Washington that he’s dragging down the ticket. Reports are that Sarah Palin is going to fire him. From Post Traumatic Stress Disorder News:

“If there is anyone who can get officials to fire someone she doesn’t like, it’s Sarah,” said an unnamed Republican spokesperson. “This will be a good move for the GOP,” said Charles L. Sonderheim of the Heritage Foundation, “Palin has been packing them in, while McCain can’t fill a McDonalds.”

Rules state that if the front runner is removed before the election, the vice presidential nominee become the presidential candidate. “We all know that God has anointed her to be president,” said Reverend Ed Kalnin, Palin’s former preacher, “so why delay the process, just like we shouldn’t delay Armageddon.”

. . .

There has been no word on who would be tapped as Palin’s vice presidential running mate. “We need to emphasize Sarah’s qualifications to be president by picking someone who is a little less qualified than her, but charming, of course,” said a top GOP spokesperson, “However this may take some time, although we have a lead on a pig with lipstick in Waterloo, Iowa that is dying to get off the farm.”

Some would call that humor, maybe even satire. I’m sure some of you will call it hyperrealism instead. Whatever, it’s there for your reading pleasure today.


Face first into what!!!?

Charles M. Blow (If I had a name like that, I'da sued my parents and used the money to get my name changed.)

It turns out that the Republican enthusiasm for Sarah Palin is just as superficial as she is. They were so eager for someone to cheer for (because they really don’t like you) that they dove face first into the Palin mirage. But, on the issues, even they worry about her.

The visual of diving face first into anything that bimbo's got is horrifying! Might get my nose froze off, for starters. Excuse me, I gotta go direct the tank truck that just pulled up where to dump its load of bleach. In my ear...

McCain on banking and health

Paul Krugman

OK, a correspondent directs me to John McCain’s article, Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American, in the Sept./Oct. issue of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries. You might want to be seated before reading this.

Here’s what McCain has to say about the wonders of market-based health reform:

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

So McCain, who now poses as the scourge of Wall Street, was praising financial deregulation like 10 seconds ago — and promising that if we marketize health care, it will perform as well as the financial industry!

Oh fucking swell.

Don't worry - the government will never socialize health care, you know, that would be, like, well, French or Canadian, or commie, or civilized or something. Besides, it would help out people who aren't big political contributors. No, they'll just socialize the financial sector, who are. That's American!

Try not to get sick.

Moyers on the Meltdown

If you missed Bill Moyers last night, please watch it. In two parts, with transcripts.

Part one:

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the JOURNAL. The news this week drove us to pull THE GREAT GATSBY off the bookshelf and read what F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of his protagonists, the Buchanans: "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."

GRETCHEN MORGENSON: There was a lack of accountability where a banker didn't care whether the loan was repaid. And the Wall Street firm that sold the securitization trust didn't care if it ever got paid back, because they were happy with their commission. The broker making the loan didn't care, because he got, all the way up the ladder to the CEOs of these companies, who are allowed to walk away from a financial cataclysm with huge payments.

BILL MOYERS: Should they be required to return the loot?

GRETCHEN MORGENSON: Yes. Why not? Claw that back. But does anybody ask for that? No.

FLOYD NORRIS: The government is nationalizing companies. They nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And that made a little bit of sense, since we'd always thought Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had an implicit government guarantee, whatever that meant. And now they've nationalized AIG. They own eighty percent of the company. They have lent money to the company at very strict terms.

For this company to somehow pay that loan back will require amazing competence in managing things. And I don't think anybody expects them to ever do that. They're probably going to liquidate AIG. It amazes me. I'm not sure it was unnecessary, as I said. But I can only envision what the right wing would be saying if a liberal Democrat had decided to nationalize the biggest insurance company in America. I don't think you'd be hearing a lot of praise for it.

Part two:

KEVIN PHILLIPS: It's been a bipartisan phenomenon. You can go back to the 1980s and say Reagan and George Bush, Sr., got a bubble started. Clinton got in and got an even bigger bubble going. And then George W. Bush with the biggest bubble of all. But it's not that the Clintonites didn't play. They did. Bob Rubin as Secretary of the Treasury — I mean, if he was a Hindu and he was being reincarnated, he'd come back as a pail because this guy bailed out everything you can imagine. They had the Mexican loan bailout. They had the long-term capital management bailout, the Russian Southeast Asian currency bailouts.

KP: So I think what we're looking at here is an attempt really like a drunk will feel better and get over his hangover better sometimes just by having more liquor. And I think what we're seeing with the actions of the Federal Reserve Board is the people who are the arsonists, the people who pumped it all up, who blew up the bubble are now racing to show up in firemen's hats and say, "We're gonna solve it. We're gonna take care of all this. Oh, and by the way, we're gonna keep pumping in the gasoline that we pumped in before that made a good flame." But, you know, nobody knows that.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, just to give you an example of how many there are, Alan Greenspan has finally decided to admit, you know, this may be one of those once-a-century biggies. Well, what makes it fascinating is that I sometimes use the description "seven sharks." There are seven sharks in the tank with the economy.

And the first is financialization because we're so dependent on this industry that's sort of half lost its marbles. The second is that you have this huge buildup of debt, absolutely unprecedented anywhere in the world. The third is you've now got home prices collapsing. The fourth is you've got global commodity inflation building up.

The fifth is you've got flawed and deceptive government economics statistics. The sixth is that you've got what they call peak oil where the world is, to some extent, running out of oil. So it's not just commodity inflation, it's a shortage of oil. And then the last thing is the collapsing dollar. Now, whenever you get this sort of package in one decade, you got a big one. And when Greenspan says it's a once a century, I think it's another variation but on a par with the Thirties.

BILL MOYERS: What do you think when you hear John McCain and Secretary Paulson say that the fundamentals, however, are solid?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, John McCain once said he didn't know anything about economics. And half the time what he says, you know, proves that on a day-by-day basis. I don't think we have a sound economy at all. Not remotely at this point. I mean, there are, like, ten yardsticks I could use. Paulson is your typical Treasury Secretary guy that has to deal with it. And everybody knows he has to exaggerate. He has to say all the Hoover type stuff about how strong the economy is and the recession's going to be over in three months and that sort of stuff. I don't really credit these people very much. But, frankly, I don't credit the Democrats either.

Quote of the Day


This has been a great week for the ownership society. Not only do we all own an insurance company, but now we've got ourselves hundreds of billions in bad debt. I don't know what to do with it all first.

I'll take it ...

Anyway I can, but Jeez, folks, could ya be a little less shallow? Montag:

A new poll says Americans, by a margin of 50 to 47, would rather watch a football game with Barack than with John. Thank God this important issue has been decided early so people can make their choice with clear facts ...

Every time I go to Europe and people find out I'm an American, their faces get this strange look and they all ask the same question. "What are you people thinking?"

Now I can tell them. "Not much."

Show me da ...

You know how it goes:


We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to fix Social Security
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to fix Medicare
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to provide health care to ALL Americans
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to help out Americans losing their homes
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to help all our veterans returning from war


We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to bail out Bears Stearns
We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to pay for an unnecessary TRILLION DOLLAR war

When the LITTLE GUY needs help, they scornfully say, "GET A JOB!"
But when of their BIG GUY CRONIES need a bailout, what do they say?

SURE, NO PROBLEM. Where's the checkbook?


Privatize the profits and socialize the losses. It is, always has been, the Republican way and we are, always have been, the ones who have to pay for it.

Great thanks to Dr. Fez-head for the link.

Republican imbeciles ...

They're everywhere.

But Gabe Schwartz a special kind moron. Not only does he say stupid Republican shit:


In an interview filmed the afternoon of Sept. 3 and posted on the Web site, Schwartz was candid about how he envisioned change under a McCain presidency. "Less taxes and more war," he said, smiling. He said the U.S. should "bomb the hell" out of Iran because the country threatens Israel.

Asked by the interviewer how America would pay for a military confrontation with Iran, he said the U.S. should take the country’s resources. "We should plant a flag. Take the oil, take the money," he said. "We deserve reimbursement."


But he gets himself robbed by a woman he picked up (a loose interpretation of the term; more like she picked him out as an easy mark) at a bar while at the RNC convention:


He met her in the bar of the swank hotel and invited her to his room. Once there, the woman fixed the drinks and told him to get undressed. And that, the delegate to the Republican National Convention told police, was the last thing he remembered. When (Gabriel Nathan Schwartz) awoke, the woman was gone, as was more than $120,000 in money, jewelry and other belongings.


Who takes that much of anything with them to a 4-day convention? We were gone for 3 weeks in Europe and all our possessions (including Mrs. F's jewelry and cash) didn't total a quarter of that.

Another Rethug asshole who got tripped up by his own dick. Heh ...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sigh ...

One last Mediterranean sunset before I let reality come back. Livorno, Italy two nights ago.

Click to en-nicen.

Of course ...

They're lyin' mofos.

As I cruise the interwebs, getting back up to speed with Left Blogtopia (y!sctp!), most folks are talking about the economic meltdown (I watched Europe freak over it during the last week), two posts struck me. First, Avedon talks about the philosophy (the reason we love her) of Democratic financial policy contrary to the line of bullshit the Rethugs have been feeding us over the past 4 decades:


I understand why people don't think much about this - we're always being told that the Republicans are "fiscally responsible" and good for business and so on, and we're also encouraged to think that our own experience is isolated and that out there in the rest of the world things really are better under the Republicans. Sure, it was easier for you to find a job in the '60s or the '90s, but the corporate media is always there to tell you that things are really fine with the Republicans in charge. Totting up the numbers takes a lot of research and time, and it's only recently that it's become relatively easy to do all that research on the internet instead of spending hours, days, even weeks, sniffing dust in libraries. Even so, it's still dry, time-consuming work.

But we repeat it for a while in our small numbers, and sooner or later more and more people are looking at the numbers and remembering that, by the gods, things really are better under Democrats!


And our pal PhysioProf naturally puts a sharper point on it (the reason we love him):

... Every decent citizen of the United States needs to know in no uncertain terms that the Republican Party caused this to happen through their intentional policy of privatizing gains by their greedfuck cronies while socializing their losses, and that a vote for McCain-Palin is a vote to continue destroying everything that normal decent people hold dear.

It'd be nice if the news media figured out that John McCain is a Republican and he supported the Republican 'economic' policies that allowed this mess to happen. They act as if McLame was kept in a stasis field since he was sprung from the Hanoi Hilton and had no influence on shaping the platform of his party.

Get back to work ...

Ya lazy bastid.

Vacation's over and I got my last two posts up, one from the Bastion of the Bourgeoisie and the other from romantic Florence.

I'll be back to normal blogging tomorrow so Gord can take a breath. You been prolific over the past few weeks, pal. Thanks for holding down the fort and thanks to all the readers who came along with us.

Hello Stranger

This is from back when Ricky Skaggs could still see his feet and before Emmylou got her hair chromed. This tells ya all ya need to know:

après son premier passage à Paris au Théâtre Mogador (1978), voici un extrait de son second passage en France à l'hippodrome de Pantin (1980), on peut reconaître entre autres Ricky Skaggs et Albert Lee

I always watch the thumbnails that come up after the video. Here's the same song fifteen years later. I like this one better. If she's going to grow like that every fifteen years, I can't wait for 2010!

Number Five and all Alive


The Marine battalion that has been to Iraq more often than any other returned home this week, and unlike previous trips to that combat zone, not a single leatherneck was lost.

"It was a pretty smooth tour," said Maj. Kevin Norton, second-in-command of 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. "I think a lot of these Marines would rather have gone to Afghanistan."

The battalion was among the units of the 1st Marine Division, based in Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms, that took part in the invasion of Iraq. They were the Marines who helped pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad's Firdos Square, the moment that effectively marked the end of offensive combat operations in the invasion.

On this seven-month tour, there were no fatalities and only a handful of wounded. One Marine was injured badly enough to be sent back to the United States early.

This was made possible by a nearly total reversal of the level of violence in Anbar province, which for a time could not be mentioned in a story without the term "restive" in front of it. But the tribes of Anbar changed their way of thinking in the last year or so, and decided to side with the Americans and fight the foreign jihadists who had brought fear, intimidation and death by beheading to both the Americans and the local Iraqis.

Known as the "Awakening" movement, the decision by the Sunnis of Anbar, aided by money from the Americans, has meant a precipitous drop in violence in that region, which is west of Baghdad and stretches to the Syrian border. It includes the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, once two of the most dangerous places on Earth.

Welcome home, 3/4. I hope the era of the absurdity of five combat tours in five years is almost over.

One of the reasons behind the "Awakening" movement in the Sunni Anbar Province was the knowledge that the strongest tribe wins and the local tribes wanted to be on the winning side. There's a lot more to it, of course, but it's a factor.

Bing West (site, bio) has a new book out called "The Strongest Tribe". Here's some excerpts from a review by the Austin American-Statesman:

West, an infantry officer in Vietnam who has written two prior books about the Iraq war, finds abundant evidence of wisdom and bravery among American warriors and faults the press for focusing on mistakes instead of heroism. Yet he finds a corresponding level of incompetence among U.S. civilian leadership — led from the top by an uninvolved and credulous president.

George W. Bush, writes the author, forfeited a president's role to hold civilian and military leaders accountable and rewarded loyalty above performance. [...]

In giving Franks, Bremer and Tenet our highest award, West concludes, Bush "rewarded loyalty to the president rather than national achievement, smacking of self-justification for the principals in a mismanaged war far from won."

West's critique of the conduct of the war echoes that of Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks' "Fiasco," although that devastating analysis was published in 2006 and thus doesn't recognize the turn in the war. And where West trumps Ricks or any other journalist is in his knowledge of tactics and strategy and his passion for ordinary soldiers and Marines.

West artfully describes "the stack," in which a dozen Marines line up outside the courtyard wall of a house, shouting and stomping rhythmically, trying to provoke insurgents into firing prematurely.

"Usually they didn't," writes West:

The marines then breached the iron outer gate, ran across the tiny patch of grass, and flattened themselves along the wall next to the front door. On signal, the door would be smashed in and four marines would rush into the front room, each pointing his rifle toward a different corner, each betting his life that none of the others would freeze or not shoot quickly enough.

You push open the door and rush in, pivoting to cover your sector when there's a flash and the firing hammers your ears. You can't hear a thing and it's way too late to think. The jihadist rounds go high — the death blossom — and your M4 is suddenly steady.

That takes balls, training, discipline, and faith in your fellow Marines. That's why the Marines were sent to deal with Anbar in the first place. Give the worst situation to the craziest motherfuckers.

As an Iraqi colonel said to him in 2004, "Americans are the strongest tribe."

Please read the rest of the review.

I saw General West on TV the other night. He doesn't get into the 'coulda, woulda, shoulda' part of actually starting the criminal clusterfuck in Iraq, just that we are where we are over there. He focuses on the military and political realities. I've read his two other books about Bush's War and they were about the troops and their bravery, and how Bush's politics got a lot of them killed, particularly in Fallujah.

I am ordering this book right away, and I will recommend it to you sight unseen on the basis of his previous work.

Dear United States, Welcome to the Third World!

The rest of the world could not be raised to our standards by uplifting them, but greed, corruption, and criminality have accomplished the same thing by lowering us. The ruling class doesn't care. They made themselves rich and that's what matters.

Rosa Brooks

It's not every day that a superpower makes a bid to transform itself into a Third World nation, and we here at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund want to be among the first to welcome you to the community of states in desperate need of international economic assistance. As you spiral into a catastrophic financial meltdown, we are delighted to respond to your Treasury Department's request that we undertake a joint stability assessment of your financial sector. In these turbulent times, we can provide services ranging from subsidized loans to expert advisors willing to perform an emergency overhaul of your entire government.

We hope you won't feel embarrassed as we assess the stability of your economy and suggest needed changes. Remember, many other countries have been in your shoes. We've bailed out the economies of Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea. But whether our work is in Sudan, Bangladesh or now the United States, our experts are committed to intervening in national economies with care and sensitivity.

We thus want to acknowledge the progress you have made in your evolution from economic superpower to economic basket case. Normally, such a process might take 100 years or more. With your oscillation between free-market extremism and nationalization of private companies, however, you have successfully achieved, in a few short years, many of the key hallmarks of Third World economies.

Your policies of irresponsible government deregulation in critical sectors allowed you to rapidly develop an energy crisis, a housing crisis, a credit crisis and a financial market crisis, all at once, and accompanied (and partly caused) by impressive levels of corruption and speculation. Meanwhile, those of your political leaders charged with oversight were either napping or in bed with corporate lobbyists.

Admittedly, your transition to Third World status is far from over, and it won't be painless. At first, for instance, you may find it hard to get used to the shantytowns* that will replace the exurban sprawl of McMansions that helped fuel the real estate speculation bubble. But in time, such shantytowns will simply become part of the landscape. Similarly, as unemployment rates continue to rise, you will initially struggle to find a use for the expanding pool of angry, jobless young men. But you will gradually realize that you can recruit them to fight in a ceaseless round of armed conflicts, a solution that has been utilized by many other Third World states before you. Indeed, with your wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you are off to an excellent start.

Perhaps this letter comes as a surprise to you, and you feel you're not fully ready to join the Third World. Don't let this feeling concern you. Though you may never have realized it, you've been preparing for this moment for years.

Since about 1980.

*Read about all the new 'shantytowns'. See also 'Hooverville'.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain: Dead Man Walking


Over 2,200 Doctors Agree: John McCain Should Release His Medical Records

Why is McCain so secretive about his health history?

But now we're not the only ones crying foul on this issue anymore. Over 2,200 medical experts have highlighted the urgent need for McCain to make his health records public. Just read from a couple of them who agreed to let us publish their comments here.

Joseph Mungai writes:

I used to practice medicine nationally certified in the field of psychiatry as a registered nurse. Chemotherapy has been shown to impair memory and the ability to concentrate and think clearly. PTSD can also negatively effect cognitive function and temperament. However, we must be careful here. Remember the Patriot Major General Smedley Darlington Butler was accused of being mentally ill after exposing a fascist plot here in the U.S. by bankers and industrialists. Certainly we can all agree that his experience leading to many medals of bravery effected his thought process and view of the world. Nevertheless, changed by war he chose to speak truth to power to defend and protect our Constitution, Soldiers and Security of this nation -- above all else. Given other factors involving Senator McCain, like age related diseases and side effects of the other medications he takes we must have his entire medical record collection. His treatment team must be interviewed to find out the whole truth. After all, what kind of background checks and testing are required to become a U.S. secret agent?

And Maggie Jochild has written an even longer post entitled, "John McCain, Dead Man Walking?" which is excerpted here:

Last week, when I got the letter from Robert Greenwald talking about John McCain's refusal to release his medical records to fair scrutiny, the fact that there are 1,000 pages of them (I create medical records for a living, 1,000 pages is EXTREME), and the news that he has had malignant melanoma, deep primaries with removal of lymph nodes, my immediate thought was "Then he's dying." If he were to be elected, he'd have an almost 2 out of 3 chance of having a recurrence if he doesn't have one already. This is not the kind of cancer you count on escaping from. This is not Stage II, as it has been reported: Stage II by definition does not have lymph node involvement. By definition, it must be either Stage III or Stage IV.

Dementia and cancer. McCain stands a very good statistical and actuarial chance of not surviving a first term. It's becoming clear to me that this is exactly what the neocons are counting on to get their own president, whether by his death or non compos mentis.

McCain's Brain Fails On Spain


This isn't funny. It's actually quite serious. We may have the first evidence, on tape, that McCain's age, or illness, or both are catching up with him and he's losing his mental faculties.

When asked about Spain and Zapatero, by a Spanish reporter for a Spanish newspaper, McCain responded about Mexico and Latin America. A reader suggested something that Josh had already considered, that perhaps McCain thought the reporter was talking about the Zapatistas in Mexico, the guerilla group. But that's not possible as the reporter clearly said she was talking about Spain and Spain's leader, Zapatero. She told McCain this twice. Let me tell you exactly what she asked McCain (per the translation):

"Senator, finally, let's talk about Spain. If you're elected president, would you invite President Zapatero to meet with you in the White House?"

McCain then gives this odd answer about America's friends and America's enemies. He also, oddly, talks about Mexico (why Mexico? The question was about Spain) and how he'd invite friendly leaders to the White House. She then asks him again, would that invitation include President Zapatero? He says again that he'd have to review relations first, blah blah. She then says again, "so you'd have to wait to see, so would you meet with him in the White House?" He again repeats his weird statement about friends and enemies. McCain also throws in, oddly, to the Spanish reporter, when she's asking him about meeting the Spanish president, a line about the importance of our relationship with Latin America (this is now the second time he answered a question about meeting the president of Spain with an answer about Latin America). She then says to McCain one last time:

"Okay, but I'm talking about Europe - the president of Spain, would you meet with him?"

This time, there was no room for confusion. McCain then gives this very bizarre answer:

"I will meet with any leader who has the same principles and philosophy as us in terms of human rights, democracy, and freedom and I will stand up to those who do not."

[...] The interview is absolutely bizarre, especially in that it sounds like McCain wasn't even lucid, it sounds like he simply doesn't have complete control over his faculties anymore. And judging by the fact that just a few months ago McCain was fine with Zapatero, it sounds like McCain simply wasn't quite all there any more during the interview. He got horribly confused and didn't know what was going on.

This is just incredibly disturbing. And remember, this is hardly the first time in the last year that McCain has become confused about his signature issue, foreign affairs. It's happened a lot in the past year, and it never happened before. There's a pattern here, even if in polite company the media isn't supposed to talk about. McCain is having trouble focusing and understanding what's going on around him. He gets increasingly confused. And that's just scary.

This may be why McCain's last unscripted press conference was 36 days ago. He's losin' his marbles. We can only hope he loses them publicly before the election in a big enough way the MSM has to take notice.

If he gets in, the neocons may not have to kill him to get their she-devil president, just declare him incompetent.


Go see Neoconservatives plan Project Sarah Palin to shape future American foreign policy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sorry ...

Meant to post some more from Europe but somehow time got away from me. We're packing right now to catch an early flight from Rome in the morning. I'll finish up when we get back to NY and I'll be back with the program in a couple days. Oh boy do I got some shit to say about this financial meltdown. It's ugly over here.

See yas when I get across the pond.


Here's a video about the last Great Depression which I dedicate to Gramm and McCain, the authors of the one we're entering into now.

Some of us are lucky enough to be out of the country...(wink)

Another Palin lie. Ho-hum.


So Sarah Palin's latest explanation for why she fired Walt Monegan is that he had gone over her head in seeking federal money for an initiative to combat sexual assault crimes, before she had approved the program.

But it now appears that the program in question is one that most elected officials would be wary of admitting they hadn't strongly backed. According to Peggy Brown, who heads the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Monegan wanted to use the federal money to hire retired troopers and law enforcement officials, and assign them to investigate the most egregious cases of sexual assault -- including those against children.

In other words, if Palin's new story is true, she fired Monegan for being too aggressive in going after child molesters.

Fat chance, Zach. Since when have any of her stories been true? In any case, it sounds like she's covering something up with something that sounds even worse but isn't criminal.

I'm hoping our "October surprise" will be her indictment for criminal abuse of power.


More from The Last Chance Democracy Cafe:

Wow, hell of a defense, Sarah, really — sort of like confessing to a murder in order to establish an alibi in a burglary trial.

Firing a law enforcement official because he was overly aggressive in seeking resources to fight sex crimes against children would be politically dicey under the best of circumstances: but for Palin this is anything but the best of circumstances. Remember, this is the same Sarah Palin who, as mayor of Wasilla, either acquiesced in or actively supported a requirement that rape victims pay for their own rape kits (used to collect evidence at the hospital).

Apparently this is that new face of right wing “feminism” we’ve been hearing so much about — contempt for the rights of rape victims combined with disinterest in fighting sex crimes.

Sounds like a winner to me.

Now, given that this is about the fourth excuse Palin has offered for firing Monegan, there’s good reason to suspect it isn’t true anyway. Taking into account everything we’ve learned about her, including her long history of using the public trust to settle personal scores, it’s probably more likely that it was, in fact, Monegan’s refusal to play along with her vendetta against her sister’s ex that sealed the deal.

Still, the very fact that Palin and her minions thought that using Monegan’s alleged “insubordination” in seeking federal funding to fight sex crimes would be a politically winning response to the charges leveled against her says something — something quite troubling — not only about her judgment, but also about her humanity.

Judgment and humanity are neither Repug prerequisites for candidacy, nor are they Repug policy. Blind fealty to right-wing ideologies, however false, are what's important.

And, oh yeah, the ability to lie with a straight face.

The Campaign, "The Matrix," and the GOP Offensive Against Truth

I think this is terrific!

John Aloysius Farrell

[...] The ruling white-skinned patrimony creates myths that fit its view of the world and justify its barbarous behavior. Society exists in a kind of consensual mass hallucination.

("Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real?")

Startlingly, in American politics it's the by-gosh, just-folks Republican Party that has taken the postmodern theory of the French elites to heart and pushed it to its soulless, cynical limits. We're seeing that in the McCain campaign's current disregard for "truth."

In the last few weeks, various news organizations and academic "truth squads" have targeted many of McCain's pronouncements as bald-faced lies. The candidate and his advisers have shrugged, and McCain and his commercials have blithely continued to repeat the falsehoods. He is betting that the voters are too cynical to care.

It is, perhaps, no accident that Republican operatives derisively call Obama "the One." What is their "empire" to "history's actors" but a low-tech Matrix?

("We've had our eye on you for some time now, Mr. Anderson.")

And, when you think about it, they are right. The Matrix—written and filmed with foresight in 1999—is not a bad metaphor for this election year. Its creators, the Wachowski brothers, were obviously influenced by postmodern theory and the implications of constructed truths.

("I know you're out there...I know that you're afraid...You're afraid of change.")

If Obama is the One, then I guess McCain is Agent Smith.

But what about the rest of us—we saps out here in the reality-based community?

("I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin.... I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world...without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible.")

In 50 days, will we take the red pill, or the blue one?


One lie might have started Bush's criminal war

I used to think Cheney belonged in prison. Now I think he belongs under it. Watch this:

Grito de Dolores

There's been so much to try and keep up with the last few days, I almost forgot that yesterday was Mexico's 198th Independence Day. The title of the post refers to the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence. ¡Feliz 16 de Septiembre, Amigos!

Here's a little cancion for ya, sung by a lovely Mexican-American lady.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I knew that...


“We need to settle the issue of ‘Who lost Iraq’ now,” Galbraith says. “Because the last thing we need in our politics is another corrosive debate like ‘Who lost Vietnam’ and ‘Who lost China’,” Galbraith says.

Well, then, who exactly did lose Iraq?

“George W. Bush.”

Tell us something we don't know.

McCain Spokesman Told Off On All Networks


Congratulations to the John McCain campaign, which has now officially been told off on all three big cable news networks! Attached is a video of MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell taking some hard swings at McCain's sacrificial spokesman, Tucker Bounds, about campaign lying Monday. Also attached: Video of Fox News's Megyn Kelly doing the same thing on right-leaning Fox News Channel. Wow. Remember when CNN did this to Bounds, so McCain cancelled a Larry King interview in a snit? Guess that won't work anymore. Bounds has become a human piñata like Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan before him, as the media hold him responsible for the crimes of his boss, who they can't get at. It's awesome to see, but still all too rare — on all the networks. Watch all the fun video after the jump.

Take it from One Who Knows: When Turdblossom calls bullshit on ya, ya mighta gone too far. Worse, ya got caught at it.


Richard Cohen
, of all people!

The precise moment of McCain's abasement came, would you believe, not at some news conference or on one of the Sunday shows but on "The View," the daytime TV show created by Barbara Walters. Last week, one of the co-hosts, Joy Behar, took McCain to task for some of the ads his campaign has been running. One deliberately mischaracterized what Barack Obama had said about putting lipstick on a pig -- an Americanism that McCain himself has used. The other asserted that Obama supported teaching sex education to kindergarteners.

"We know that those two ads are untrue," Behar said. "They are lies."

Freeze. Close in on McCain. This was the moment. He has largely been avoiding the press. The Straight Talk Express is now just a brand, an ad slogan like "Home Cooking" or "We Will Not Be Undersold." Until then, it was possible for McCain to say that he had not really known about the ads, that the formulation "I approve this message" was just boilerplate. But he didn't.

"Actually, they are not lies," he said.

Actually, they are.

I am one of the journalists accused over the years of being in the tank for McCain. Guilty. Those doing the accusing usually attributed my feelings to McCain being accessible. This is the journalist-as-puppy school of thought: Give us a treat, and we will leap into a politician's lap.

Not so. What impressed me most about McCain was the effect he had on his audiences, particularly young people. When he talked about service to a cause greater than oneself, he struck a chord. He expressed his message in words, but he packaged it in the McCain story -- that man, beaten to a pulp, who chose honor over freedom. This had nothing to do with access. It had to do with integrity.

McCain has soiled all that. His opportunistic and irresponsible choice of Sarah Palin as his political heir -- the person in whose hands he would leave the country -- is a form of personal treason, a betrayal of all he once stood for. Palin, no matter what her other attributes, is shockingly unprepared to become president. McCain knows that. He means to win, which is all right; he means to win at all costs, which is not.

McCain was going to fix all that. He was going to look the American people in the eyes and say, not me. I will not lie to you. I am John McCain, son and grandson of admirals. I tell the truth.

But Joy Behar knew better. And so McCain lied about his lying and maybe thinks that if he wins the election, he can -- as he did in South Carolina -- renounce who he was and what he did and resume his old persona. It won't work. Karl Marx got one thing right -- what he said about history repeating itself. Once is tragedy, a second time is farce. John McCain is both.

Thank you, Joy. The lies he 'approves' are so obvious as to be beyond belief. Despicable excuses for human beings and Americans as they are, at least Bush, Cheney, and Rove were good at it. No way, no how, no McCain.

Palin: Ready On Day 2

So, Johnny-boy, what's it like knowin' yer life ain't worth a plugged nickel if you get the morons to elect yer old white ass?

Note to the DC Medical Examiner: Look for a needle hole before you call it 'heart failure' in the official report. You won't be allowed to say it, of course, but you'll know.

The W∅rd

My Apologies, Lucy

This Palin deal is even fuckin' with my fantasies. They've gone too far this time. I've had the original of that poster hangin' on my bathroom door for years. After seein' Palin's head on Lucy's bod the magic is gone. It's not workin' any more so I had to take it down. Sorry, Lucy.

Provence ...

We pulled into Marseilles, France yesterday and took a side trip to Aix en Provence. One of the best days so far.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Count the Lies

There's a new website devoted to counting and debunking McCain's lies. There went our bandwidth...

SNL Season Opener

In case you missed it. I like Tina's Great White North accent. Heh.

Note: NBC musta whined and YouTube pulled their video. Thanks to Jason at Armchair Generalist for the re-embed.


Many photoshops of Palin here.

Andover law school convenes Bush War Crimes Conference

Raw Story

Saturday morning, the dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover will convene a two day planning session with a single focus: To arrest, put to trial and carry out sentence on criminals in the Bush Administration.

The conference, arranged by Lawrence Vevel, cofounder of the Andover school, will focus on which of Bush's officials and members of Congress could be charged with war crimes. The plan also calls for "necessary organizational structures" to be established, with the purpose of pursuing the guilty "to the ends of the Earth."

"For Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Yoo to spend years in jail or go to the gallows for their crimes would be a powerful lesson to future American leaders," Velvel said in a media advisory.

In a published document entitled "The Long Term View", Vevel argues, at the very least, "there is no question" George W. Bush is guilty of conspiracy to commit torture, a war crime.

"He is a former drunk, was a serial failure in business who had to repeatedly be bailed out by daddy's friends and wanna-be-friends, was unable to speak articulately despite the finest education(s) that money and influence can buy, has a dislike of reading, so that 100-page memos have to be boiled down to one page for him, is heedless of facts and evidence, and appears not even to know the meaning of truth," said Vevel.

There's more.

I haven't heard the upshot of this conference yet. Probably won't. I'm sure it was satisfying as an academic exercise, but the only way BushCo is gonna get the jail sentences they deserve is if a POTUS with balls has them arrested and tried. Or not tried, just sent to Gitmo.

I'm not going to hold my breath.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday crazy redneck music blogging

Lest we forget that there are actually some pretty good things to come out of Texas besides Interstate 10, here's one of 'em:

Guy Clark - South Coast Of Texas & Texas Cookin'

Country Sisters

There are six terrific reasons to watch this video - Linda, Lucy, Souka, Lenska, and Wendy*. But that's only five, you say. Hands off, boys, Sonia, bassist and den mother/enforcer, far right on stage, is mine! Grrrr...

The band is Country Sisters, formerly "Jizerská protěž" (Jizera Mountain Edelweiss), from the Czech Republic, doing a fine old traditional country tune. Enjoy.

*Introduced on OBS. Slightly different lineup than at their site, so add a coupla reasons...

See yas later. There's about 3,979 more of these I gotta watch. Purely for reasons of scholarly musical research of course.


As I was going through the list of Country Sisters videos, I ran across some country sisters who brought me back down to earth. Thank God for reg'lar ol' gals. Probly more fun than the flashy kind in the long run, and definitely more survivable.

Galveston Flood

Posted at YouTube day before yesterday by Damevid.

Scary times for the people of Texas; thanks to google images, to Tony Rice (the alien bluegrass genius), and to anyone who helped orchestrate the evacuation and expedite the hurricane recovery

The Republican Hardcore Loves a Good Liar

A little light Sunday read by Bobbo. Links at site.

An old buddy of mine used to say," The hardcore Republican vote is 5% the super-rich and 95% the super-stupid." I used to believe that, but I don't believe that anymore. I believe it's 5% the super-rich and 95% the super-evil. If you need a definition of super-evil, try here.

Please note that I am not talking about the deluded and the ignorant Republican voters. The deluded can be helped to see clearly and the ignorant can be educated. I am talking about the hardcore GOP base, the people who come to McCain/Palin events and turn them into rallies reminiscent of the ones at Nuremburg in the dark days before World War II.

The great and shining exception was of course, Ronald Reagan. With his actor's training and his avuncular public persona, he could lie repeatedly with a look of total sincerity that neither Nixon nor the Bush's could ever muster. That's why Reagan is the gold standard for the hardcore GOP base. He was one of the greatest serial liars of the 20th century, something that even his most bitter opponants (including me) would attest to.

Which brings us to John McCain. McCain is a terrible liar. He tells so many whoppers that he can't keep them all straight. He lacks Reagan's carefully polished theatrical charm and often comes off as peevish and tempermental. Until he recruited Sarah Palin to be his tag team lying partner, he was viewed with suspicion by the hardcore GOP base. What good is a terrible liar when your party is at its lowest ebb in decades?

This at least partially explains McCain's desperate Hail Sarah pass. Sarah Palin looked like the perfect serial liar: a mother of 5 from a small town in Alaska who had successfully ousted the Republican establishment to bring in her own passel of vindictive social climbers, bigoted religious fanatics and low life oil industry lobbyists.

If the Barack Obama campaign is the audacity of hope, John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin is the audacity of hate.

But even the best actor cannot overcome a bad script and that is where the Republicans are at a disadvantage. The lies of McCain/Palin are so outrageous and so over the top that even the corporate owned media has started to take offense. From the lie about Palin's support of the "Bridge to Nowhere" to McCain claiming that Obama wanted comprehensive sex education for kindergarten kids, ­and all the ones in between, there truly has been a "blizzard of lies" as New York Times economist Paul Krugman calls it.

This won't matter to the GOP hardcore base. In fact they will spread their love of McCain/Palin even more fervently.

The GOP hardcore base embrace bigots and liars like McCain/Palin because in the darkness of their own souls they hold those same values. As individuals they are too dishonest to get up and admit that in public. McCain/Palin gives them permission to feel good about their their own bigotry and small-mindedness. Armed with a permission slip from two major political candidates, they can give full throat to their own worst instincts. They are cowards and if they had any sense of decency they would feel a deep sense of shame and would come begging for our forgiveness.

Don't hold your breath. The Repugs see 'decency' and 'truthtelling' as weakness.

The hardcore Republican base likes to talk a lot about faith. Not faith in America's highest ideals of course. Their faith is in a vengeful and savage god whom they hope will punish the rest of us with tortures that even the worst thugs at Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib wouldn't administer. In their heart of hearts they hate this nation.

They hate it because of the very ideals that let niggers and spics and godless commie fucks like us be equal citizens who can rail against their greedy christowhackjob hateful racist ways becoming the law of the land..

The tour continues ...

After the cheap post I did the other day, I finally got around to posting the rest of my tour of ms Prinsendam.

Sunset on the Atlantic, between Portugal and Gibraltar.


We crossed into the Med from the Atlantic yesterday evening.