Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama good ...

Nathan Newman points out an Obama Good:
"We have not had a President that so forthrightly identified the health of the nation with the health of the labor movement in many decades."
Now if we could get him to also internalize the critical nature of national health care to the health, both figuratively and literally, of the nation.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Only the poor have to work for the 'American Dream' ...

Well I suppose the middle class are expected to work also.
President Barack Obama signed a series of executive orders Friday that he said should "level the playing field" for labor unions in struggles with management.
After discussing something called a middle-class-task-force to be lead by Biden, Obama assured the poor that "his administration wants to make sure low-income people "get a piece" of the American pie "if they're willing to work for it.""

But the rich. They don't have to work at all. The worse they perform at any task whether in Insurance, Banking, or Investments the more our government hands over to them so that they can keep all their houses and yachts and jets and bonuses ...

NOTE: The above is not a complaint about Obama. In fact it's not about Obama other than that he represents the country and while taking positive steps for labor at the same time he feels he has to qualify his desire for the poor to share in the wealth of the country. Of course the rights of the already rich to be richer without qualification is unquestionable.

Today's QUOTES:

It's like Democrats are negotiating with themselves. They give things up and get no votes in exchange.
--Stimulus Bill Passes House With 0 Republican Votes by Ian Welsh,

Obama, remember you are the Commander and Chief of the US armed forces ...

... or are you going to try bi-partisanship on them too and let the military run you like the GOP is doing?
Sack Odierno

You ARE President. The country needs a President and you are IT. You are going to get criticized no matter what you do. You might as well do the good and right. You will not stay popular by doing nothing. This is not a game!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What digby says ...

This can't be repeated enough. Obama is wrong, period. He will not get the Thugs on board by trying to 'work' with them unless he chooses to govern the way the Thugs want. They do not negotiate. They demand and obstruct. George Warmonger Bush was the perfect president for them. The nation is not their interest. They don't care what happens to the majority of Americans. If all of America were slaves in reality, rather than just financial slaves, they would not care. In fact they might just like the idea.
digby: Obama is facing a weaker Republican Party but a much bigger set of problems, with the stakes being exponentially higher. We just don't have time for this nonsense again. At some point, the Democrats are going to have to confront their central political problem, which is that the conservatives are not appeasable and that political and media elites have either been brainwashed by conservative propaganda or are conservatives by choice and they have to convince the citizenry that their ideology is better for their personal well being and the well being of the country. Until that happens, the conservatives will remain in power even as an opposition force and their failed ideology will continue to destroy this country. This isn't a game anymore. They have to pass good policies.
What Obama is trying to do is not new. He is repeating past mistakes.

I agree with Steve Soto. Clinton would not have been such a wuss, but then, in all fairness to Obama, Clinton knows from experience what the GOP are. Here's hoping Obama chooses to work for the people of this country, soon ...

Re-stating the absurdity:
Steve Benen: I'm trying to wrap my head around Halperin's logic here. By his reasoning, the only appropriate thing for Obama to do was let Republicans -- who failed at governing, and who've been rejected by voters -- shape the bill, addressing the crisis they helped create. If the far-right House GOP caucus was unsatisfied, it was Obama's responsibility to make them happy. Why? Because Mark Halperin says so.

Actually, I'm not sure there's much that Jeff Flake does understand ...

Do House Republicans Understand Tax Policy and Consumption Demand? --I submit that Congressman Jeff Flake does not:
It is difficult to tell what Jeff Flake is capable of understanding. Flake was the only one (as in solitary, uno) to vote no on the Plain Language in Government Communications Act of 2008. On November 8 of last year Flake wrote an editorial offering his vision for "A way out of the wilderness" in which he advised that 'we return to first principles' the most important of which, now that Republicans are not in the majority, is recommitting to 'limited government.' So is flake a genuine idiot or a sophisticated PR hack?

But then again Flake appears surprisingly straightforward at times, and I can't say I disagree with him, in stating that he believes bipartisanship “tends to produce the worst that Washington has to offer ” and that "Partisanship is underrated.” Whether these verbal assaults on 'bipartisanship' show his lack of understanding of how the GOP has used the bipartisanship lie against the Dems (and the Dems have let them do so, repeatedly and self-destructively) or whether Flake understands the Republican ruse and still chooses to speak truthfully is a difficult thing to judge in a Republican politician, or even a Democratic on for that matter.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More about the US Control, Sudden Death and Arbitrary Punishment System for the masses ...

Glenn Greenwald continues to puncture the idea (if it still exists) that the United States has a system of equal justice for all ...
  • "Homeless man gets 15 years for stealing $100"
  • "Under federal law, "the simple possession of just 5 grams of crack cocaine, the weight of about two sugar packets, subjects a defendant to a mandatory five-year prison term."
  • Alabama, the average sentence for marijuana possession -- an offense for which most Western countries almost never imprison their citizens -- is 8.4 years."
  • "The state of Florida "imposes mandatory-minimum sentences of 25 years for illegally carrying a pillbox-worth of drugs such as Oxycontin" and imposes shockingly Draconian mandatory sentences even for marijuana offenses."
  • "mandatory minimum sentencing schemes [are] a way to eliminate mercy and sentencing flexibility for ordinary people who break the law"
  • "Currently in the U.S., close to 7,000 people are serving sentences of 25 years to life under our merciless "three-strikes-and-out" laws ... including half for nonviolent offenses and many for petty theft."
  • the United States accounts "for less than 5% of the world's population yet close to 25% of the world's prisoners are located in American prisons."
  • "inhumane conditions ... characterize our highly profitable prison state."
  • Two tier justice system: ""ignore-the-past-and-forget-retribution" rationale is invoked by our media elites only for a tiny, special class of people -- our political leaders -- while the exact opposite rationale ("ignore their lame excuses, lock them up and throw away the key") is applied to everyone else."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bipartisan means ...

Bipartisan means:
  • that Congress' stimulus bill will reduce the taxes paid by businesses and rich blood suckers in this country even more, at a time when we should be holding the rich to their fair share of running this country
  • that Congress will delay reversing BushCo's tax gifts to this country's rich blood suckers giving the Republicans more time to manufacture support and blackmail for making this tax giveaway permanent
  • that Obama and Dems in Congress will allow the Republicans to whittle away at legislation for the good of the people (as apposed to legislation for the rich only) such as mass transit and family planning
  • that Congress will produce a defective stimulus bill in an attempt at 'bipartisan' appeasement of Republicans and that the Republicans, after they have managed to damage the bill as much as possible, will vote against the bill anyway.
Obama chooses bipartisanship over what's right and workable and he will lose on both counts.

Obama had a significant win. I think a little partisanship, for the people of this country, is in order.

My opinion, anyway ...

Today's QUOTES:

Citi took $1.77 million of our dollars, and spent it on lobbyists.
--Sunlight is to Lobbyists as Garlic is to Vampires by masaccio,

With only a week in office, Barack Obama has already fulfilled this Presidential initiation rite, as his body count -- of civilians -- already easily exceeds the number of days he's been President. ...
--Continuing Bush policies in Israel and Afghanistan by Glenn Greenwald,

... characteristics of modern mainstream discourse - roughly speaking, they include journalistic incompetence, laziness, and the knowing distribution of unadulterated bullshit ...

[...] But Lemann neglects to include a crucial qualifier, indeed the most important point of his anecdote: No one competent at reality testing or possessing a nanogram of integrity has ever compared Bush favorably to Lincoln, not even in the days following 9/11. Problem was, hardly anyone competent at reality testing or with a nanogram of integrity could get remotely near the mainstream media in those days. Problem was, the media were overrun by the kind of clowns who actually would shamelessly compare Bush to Lincoln. Problem was, that kind of preposterous comparison was acceptable mainstream opinion.

The problems remain. ...
--The Problem by tristero, Hullabaloo

... Obama has maintained this sugar plum fairy vision of bipartisanship, yet his bill manifestly does NOT value "what works" over ideology. Quite the opposite. It makes room for ideology, conservative ideology, and pre-empts provisions that would work much better in bringing back the economy. ...
--Post-Partisan Pain by dday, Hullabaloo

Instead -- with some important, isolated exceptions -- [the national media is] now more akin to defense lawyers and PR representatives for the government officials they serve. ...
--Richard Cohen fulfills the role of the American journalist by Glenn Greenwald,

The state of the United States of America ...

Digby frequently writes about the state of torture in our country.

I commend Digby for keeping a spotlight on the infiltration of the torturer's mentality into the very core of our 'justice' system. If we were not so attuned to Orwellian nomenclature we would not pretend we are still striving for a system of equal justice for all but instead call it what it has become: the US Control, Sudden Death and Arbitrary Punishment System for the masses.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Obameter: Promises kept so far ...

Promise Kept rulings on the Obameter
Promise No 125 (Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq) may have been kept but extricating the US from useless, destructive and immoral wars around the globe is does not appear to be part of Obama's mindset.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Bankers are coming. The Bankers are coming. Run for your lives ...

The Banks Have Stolen Enough; It's Time to Take Them Over

It's too bad that the Republicans' anger over giving tax breaks to workers who did not pay income taxes does not extend to giving tax dollars to Wall Street banks who have wrecked our economy. Where are the anti-government conservatives when we need them?
The banks have stolen enough? Way beyond enough, I'd say. Anyone else as embarrassed as I am about the state of our society? Talk about values!

When one actually pays attention to what Republicans do, rather than what they say, it is obvious that greed, corruption, pettiness are the values that Republicans stand for. Go figure . . . and we know they are such very good Christians ... we know because they are always telling us so.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Liberals better get them some linguistic power ...

... because where the GOP has been subsumed by rabid extremists, the Dems are being (have been?) devoured by much of what was once Republican.

The post the following quote comes from approaches linguistic reclamation from the feminist perspective, but there are parallels to how the Democrats --specially liberal or progressive Dems-- are treated by the media which, in the main, take their cues from Republican talking-points as they work to obscure that fact by repeatedly reporting that these same Republicans complain that the press is just oh so liberal which multiple talking heads prove by pointing to the few reporter/journalists endowed with working brains who are capable of gathering, investigating, probing, and interpreting information, data, and facts.
Linguistic reclamation is the re-appropriation of a term used by those in power to demean and disparage those in a less powerful group. One way in which women refuse the object position and reclaim their subjectivity is to take back control of pejorative terms such as “bitch”, “slut”, “chick”, “crone”, and “harridan”. Defused, a reclaimed word can become an in-group identifier, with a positive, powerful spin. It’s all about who gets to define “us” - “them” or “us”? Reclamation is about refusing to let others define your group, set the parameters, or establish the meanings. In some instances, reclamation is about reclaiming not just an arbitrarily-defined pejorative word, but about proudly reclaiming the pejorative meaning, when it is based in the fear of women speaking their minds, defending themselves, not letting their personal value be defined by their sexual worth to patriarchy.
I suppose PIG was a linguistic reclamation? Anyone remember Pride-Integrity-Guts. I don't hear that anymore. I suppose because police forces have evolved into occupying armies --except for the LAPD which always behaved as an occupying army-- and no longer wish to be identified with the communities the used to 'serve' and now enjoy terrorizing.

All for show?

As Steve Soto writes:
How serious are all your bells-and-whistles about bringing ethics back to the Executive Branch when you immediately waive those rules just so Bob Gates can have a Raytheon lobbyist as his deputy?
What's so wonderful about William J. Lynn that he will get to represent his former employer, Raytheon. Could Obama be following Harry Reid's craven philosophy.

Today's QUOTES:

Shorter WSJ II: The decline in the unemployment rate in the middle Bush years, after Bush cut taxes, proves that tax cuts work — and had nothing to do with the housing bubble. The much larger, much more sustained decline in unemployment through the whole Clinton administration, which followed a tax increase, proves that tax increases are a terrible thing. Honest!
--Shorter Wall Street Journal by Paul Krugman, NY Times

Well, what do you know, the people have it all figured out as to the degraded state of America and who is to blame; I wonder when the big media sources, their blathering heads and pin head pundits will catch on?
--Colin Powell Tees Off A Parting Shot At Bush & Cheney by bmaz,

... the arguments used against women's suffrage a hundred years ago are almost identical to the anti-feminist arguments of today: If women change at all the sky will fall! This odd power of women to bring down both Western civilization and god's wrath on his creation is a constant theme in the articles and familiar to anyone who follows anti-feminist arguments of today.

What is also familiar is the way the power of women to wreck everything is combined with their uselessness in all other tasks except child-rearing within the home. ...
--Read It If You Dare by echidne, ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES

Friday, January 23, 2009

For the southwest, it will continue to get worse.

---Update below---
Our region has already begun to heat up, Overpeck said.

"The warming has already been about 2 degrees Fahrenheit . . . That's kinda scary," he told the audience in an opening statement. "It's affecting the Southwest of the United States more than any other area outside of Alaska."

We will have more fire and insect outbreaks, erosion from wind and water and competition among plants from non-native species, especially grasses, Breshears said.

One key problem is fire combined with non-native grasses, such as buffelgrass. When buffelgrass burns, it kills native plants, leaving more room for more grass. With each burn, more of the desert dies and more grass spreads.

"We're setting up a feedback that is very difficult to get out of," Breshears said.

Climate change even threatens to eradicate our "megaflora" of the Southwest, such as Joshua trees and saguaro cactuses. Buffelgrass kills young saguaros by blocking sun and sucking up the water the budding behemoths need.

"That's a pretty grim forecast for Tucson," Breshears said.

Despite thousands of scientists studying climate change, major questions about the Southwest remain unanswered, Overpeck said.

"One of the things we can't say is whether the monsoon will get stronger or weaker - the models are all over the place," he said.

Quotes from the Tucson Citizen -- UA prof: Global warming hitting Southwest via Arizona Geology -- Southwest to get more droughts, floods, & fires.

By the way, the Border Reporter writes that The Tucson Citizen, Arizona’s oldest newspaper
will close unless they find a buyer. March 21 is the date given.
Not that Bush didn't speed it along with his special form of environmental abuse, Orwellian named Healthy Forests, but western forests are dying on their own as part of Global Warming's steady march across our planet.

Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values ...

All those are liberals?
Any political term that supposedly encompasses Rachel Maddow, Paul Krugman, Bill Moyers and me (#18) [Glenn Greenwald] -- along with the likes of Maureen Dowd, Christopher Hitchens, Chris Matthews, Tom Friedman and Fred Hiatt -- is not a term that has any meaning.
I'll say!

I'm particularly struck by the 'willing to discard traditional values' in the definition of liberal. That would be traditional values such as witch-burning, religious wars and crusades, encouraging and enforcing ignorance, lying, cheating, ignoring and denying crimes when committed by the rich and powerful, seeing poverty as a crime ...

... and without the obnoxious TV commentators!

Via The Left Coaster, this clip of Secretary of State Clinton's welcome at the State Department is refreshing and inspiring and it's all done without a single 'journalistic' moron telling us what to think.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One good start, one bad rigid mindset ...

A good start:
President Obama To Order Guantánamo Closed

The bad:
Mass Transit Got the Shaft to Make Room For Tax Cuts

This is particularly bad because tax cuts don't have the effects promised. But these gifts to the wealthy please the Thugs (for a few seconds) and for some reason Democrats keep wanting to please the Thugs in spite of the fact that all it leads to is the Thugs demanding to be pleased some more. They care not about the country or its citizens. Can't Democrats stopped repeating the same self destructive behaviour over and over again? Apparently not ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Harry Reid is a real dinosaur ...

Harry Reid is part and parcel of the entrenched corruption:

Reid invited top lobbyists to join him and his supporters for an inaugural brunch Monday where he told ABC News that he will still do plenty of business with them.

"And there's nothing wrong with that," said Reid. "And Obama will be meeting with them too." When asked to clarify his remarks, given Obama's promises to change that part of Capitol culture, Reid responded that lobbyists are part and parcel of the job.

"People should understand that lobbyists, per se, are someone's father, mother, son, daughter," said Reid. "They work for a living." The Democratic leader's sons and a son-in-law have worked as lobbyists.

Right, they work for a living corrupting politics and buying Senators like Harry Reid. Lobbyists have their tentacles embedded in the Congress and Harry Reid is one of their willing co-conspirators.

Prediction from the Border Reporter?

It’s a new day but it’s an old border. Watch the U.S.’s next maneuver toward placing soldiers on the border. It’ll be interesting to see how it manifests itself. Will someone (Napolitano) directly propose it? Or will it begin with an incident; training exercises along Cabeza Prieta, maybe.

Yep, that's Arizona ...

... with it's really, really idiotic, blind and destructive Republican legislature (not that Arizona Democrats are that far behind):
On the same day the new President proclaims "We will restore science to its rightful place," the Arizona State Senate held a hearing on shutting down Science Foundation Arizona (SFA). [Arizona Geology]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama is President!

Here's hoping ...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama, Obama ...

Per McClatchy: Pelosi, Summers signal discord on quick end to Bush tax cuts

Obama apparently sees no hurry (assuming he still plans to do it at all) to back out one of Bush's gifts to the rich: special tax status for being rich.

At the same time Obama appears to be willing to continue mainlining money into bank coffers. Money that supposedly was going to induce the banks to make loans; loans that supposedly would go to businesses; businesses which supposedly would hire real people. Remember trickle down? The government can't grasp that the concept that giving to the rich with no rules and no oversight and no consequences helps no one but the rich. Or they do realize it and they are a part of this confidence game played upon the nation.

There's still Social Security which the Republicans, and not a few Democrats, have so far failed to destroy. The Social Security contributions, paid by employee and employer, are used to fund pensions for employees when they retire. Horrors. Not trickle down but actual contribution by workers paid to actual people (the rich included). The rich Robber Barons of our society have failed to gain absolute control of the funds, as yet.

The belt tightening Obama so eloquently says we all must do seems to point to a program paid for by employee/employer contribution (SS) but not to those who are rich and who get free money from the US government (paid for from our taxes) while they pay no, or little taxes themselves. Money that they get to do whatever they want with, like pay themselves bonuses or buy banks or just let it sit in their coffers until sometime in the future when they decide to buy the country up cheap.

But us citizens, we should tighten our belts. As if that isn't happening already while the rich get richer and wait ...

Can this be true?

Lisa Derrick at reports that:
The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee [emphasis added] made the decision to keep the invocation [by gay Bishop Robinson] as part of the pre-show [in order to keep Robinson off the air?].
If they really did this they made a bigger mess than they had to begin with. What Perverted Brains on that committee there must be ...

The Bank Robber Barons are just holding onto our money ...

... when they are not paying themselves bonuses (no doubt for being such clever people to get something for nothing while Rome burns)?
“With that capital in hand, not only do we feel comfortable that we can ride out the recession,” he said, “but we also feel that we’ll be in a position to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves once this recession is sorted out.” --(quote from Down With Tyranny)
This is another Bush Consequence. There is no bailout. Just another transfer of public funds to the wealthy and crooked.

Down with Tyranny concludes:
... We haven't seen Obama stand his ground on one contentious issue yet. This would be a good one to start with, although with Republicans playing games with the confirmation of his Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, who knows what kinds of foul compromises at the American peoples' expense will have to be made.
I hadn't thought of it that way, but it's true Obama has not stood his ground on even one contentious issue. He can start with the 'bailout' and torture. If he doesn't stand now he never will. It will be a real shame if Obama just waffles away his popularity being yanked one way and another trying to satisfy the Republican destroyers and the talking-head ignoramuses all the time legitimizing Republican slogans like 'fix' Social Security. Speeches alone will not continue to work without substance. If Obama should decide to do the right think about torture and oversight he has the rhetorical ability to explain and get backing from the citizenry. Will he?

Today's QUOTES:

Crawford has exposed to bright sunlight the lie that is Barack Obama's, and other politicians', simple minded reliance on the Army Field Manual as cover for their torture reform credentials. Interrogators can stay completely within the Army manual and still be engaging in clear, unequivocal torture under national and international norms, laws and conventions. [...] This is the lie. The Army Field Manual provisions, especially with those pesky footnotes like "Appendix M", leave a wide open path for torture. ...
--Obama, The Crawford Torture Admission & The Army Field Manual Lie by bmaz,

It's hard for me to believe that we are going to have this conversation while the government is giving hundreds of billions of dollars to bankers who see it as a handout to be used to enrich their stockholders and themselves. And I am as stunned as I always am that we are going to have this conversation while the government insists that the United States must spend more on its military than all the other countries in the world combined.
--Sacrifice by digby, Hullabaloo

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We'll see ...

Glenn Greenwald writes that 'Binding U.S. law requires prosecutions for those who authorize torture.'
It's just as simple as that. Once Eric Holder stated unequivocally that waterboarding is torture, and once a top Bush official used the word "torture" to describe what the U.S. did at Guantanamo using authorized techniques other than waterboarding, the "discretion" to investigate and prosecute disappeared-- at least for people who believe in the most basic precepts of the rule of law and equality under it, Western principles of justice established at Nuremberg, and the notion that the U.S. is bound by the treaties it signs. There simply is no way to argue against investigations and prosecutions (and no way to argue that we should use torture-obtained evidence against Guantanamo detainees) without fully rejecting all of those principles.
We'll see. If Obama's administration follows the law, instead of hiding lawlessnes behind such slogans as looking to the future and not the past (an approach that is offered when powerful law breakers are involved but not the rest of us), then I will let Obama explain to me what he means by 'fixing' Social Security.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Obama is ignoring reality so he can threaten Social Security, just like Republicans repeatedly do ....

... either through his own ignorance or through deliberate malevolence, I don't know which.

Obama's already backed off his promise to reverse the tax cuts for the rich robber barons and royalty wannabes. Now he's suggesting that Social Security needs 'fixing.' Whatever that means.

Medicare and health care for all Americans needs fixing. Americans need jobs. America needs industry. America needs good schools. America needs mass transit systems. America needs bridges and roads fixed. America needs ...

America does not need a government that cuts the taxes of the wealthy and in additions hands out massive sums so that banks can pay their crooks bonuses and buy other banks. That's the kind of government the Thugs and Robber Barons wish. Obama was not elected to follow in Bush's footsteps.

I do not believe that Obama is either stupid nor ignorant of the real state of Social Security. That makes any pretense on his part to 'fix' it less than honest. If his intent was other than to steal from the funds contributed over the years by all of us then he would be more specific about what fix means. There is no reason to believe that Obama want's to improve Social Security for those who contribute to this worthwhile system. If anything Obama is showing that he is willing to concentrate on making the rich happy and forget about the rest of us. It would be really ironic if Obama tries to accomplish what Bush failed to do with Social Security. That is destroy it. In an economic crises where he should be looking to increasing the security of all American's he appears to be following the same failed Thug approach. Tax cuts for the rich and steal from the working people.

So far, Obama's promises are appear as solid as sand.

US workers have been paying into Social Security for decades. The baby boomers even paid in EXTRA so that the baby boomer retirement blip would be funded. SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT BROKEN!

From Beat the Press: The Washington Post Merges its Editorial Section and News Section [emphasis added]
The Washington Post regularly editorializes for cuts in Social Security benefits. It also routinely makes untrue statements in its news article about the state of the program that have the effect of undermining confidence in it. It did so yet again today with a front page story that told readers, "beginning in 2011, Social Security will take in less revenue than it pays out and will be forced to dip into reserves to pay benefits."

This is wrong, the program is projected by the Trustees to take in more money in tax revenue than it pays in benefits until 2017. The Congressional Budget Office puts this date at 2020.

Of course being "forced to dip into reserves" is not a problem for the program. The reason that the program built up a huge stock of reserves (more than $2 trillion) was to defray the cost of the baby boomers retirement. We over-taxed workers for the last quarter century precisely so that we would have reserves to tap when the baby boomers retired.

--Dean Baker
Posted by Dean Baker on January 16, 2009 5:41 AM

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Duh ...

WSJ/NBC Stimulus Poll: Americans Prefer Jobs Over Tax Cuts By 2:1

A plan I can believe in ...

Time to Fire Ken Lewis of Bank of America by Barry Ritholtz. January 14th, 2009, 9:14PM

Step right up to the bar here in Bailout Nation, 2009 version. Open 24 hours, we never close. No bailout too big, no investment/money pit too dumb. Yes folks, we can handle your bad assets, recapitalize your bank, no muss, no fuss. Yes, here in America, we cannot be bothered with things like plans and strategies and maximizing returns for taxpayers.That’s right, we avoid the planning, and pass the savings onto to you, the home viewer!

Really, how the hell did we ever win WWII?


[ . . . ]

Time for an orderly liquidation: Start with Citi, move on to BofA, fire the execs, toss the Board, spin out the assets to competent managers who now how to manage risk and avoid excess leverage.


Today's QUOTES:

Oh Goody. More bipartisan establishment institutions join with Pete Peterson to give the Republicans and the Blue Dogs excuses to ensure that the government can't do what's necessary to stave off a depression: ... [ ... ] Conflating the current economic crisis with the overall health care crisis and the non-existent social security crisis is a recipe for confusion, obstruction and failure.
--Full Court Press by digby, Hullabaloo

The political/media establishment isn't desperately and unanimously fighting against the idea of investigations and prosecutions because they believe there was nothing done that was so bad. They're fighting so desperately precisely because they know there was, and they know they bear much of the culpability for it. They fear disruptions to their own comforts and prerogatives if any more light is shined on what happened. The consensus mantra that the only thing that matters is to "make sure it never happens again" is simply the standard cry of every criminal desperate for absolution: I promise not to do it again if you don't punish me this time. And the prevailing Orwellian Beltway battle-cry -- look to the future, not the past! -- is what all political power systems instruct their subjects when they want to flush their own crimes down the memory hole.
--Establishment Washington unifies against prosecutions by Glenn Greenwald,

The “stuck to her knitting” comment by Carl Bass strikes me as one of those comments that men think are benign or even complimentary, but they’re not. They’re sexist and make the speaker into one of those men shaking the corporate ladder as women are trying to climb. Perhaps it is Mr. Bass who needs to tend to his knitting. ...
--Full Court Press by Bridget Crawford, Feminist Law Professors

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bad government, the Republican goal ...

From the Arizona Geology Blog: Don't eliminate Mines & Mineral Resources [Comments between brackets are mine.]
Arizona legislators are reportedly considering a proposal by the Goldwater Institute to eliminate the Arizona Dept. of Mines and Mineral Resources, in expectation of saving $500,000. That's a bad idea. [No doubt]

The Goldwater folks say the mining industry can take care of itself. [The Thugs oft-repeated slogan] But that's not the point. ADMMR works with the Arizona Corporation Commission to provide them with solid engineering and economic evaluations on the issuance and sale of mining securities. Selling phony mining stock has been a favorite of scammers and con artists for years. [Perhaps the Thugs would like to explore this option themselves.] Eliminate ADMMR and the ACC will just have to hire that expertise elsewhere. [Or not, if they follow BushCos example they will just let crooks and Thugs alike do as they please.]

ADMMR's customers are also other state and federal agencies, who need reliable information about mining projects across the state to understand the economic, planning, and environmental impacts that need to be dealt with. [I'm sure that wealthy mining interests would gleefully supply whatever information the mining interests think the state needs.]

Thirdly, it's not the giant multinational mining companies that pour through ADMMR's vast archives of maps and reports and draw on their expertise. It's the small and independent exploration companies who don't have the private libraries and files like the big guys. ADMMR helps level the playing field, makes sure everyone has access to the data, and keeps the cost of doing business in Arizona low by providing services open to all, instead of everyone having to duplicate them over and over again. [Now here may be the real objective. Since when do Thugs want a level playing field. That's been the whole point of the Bush years to get the US further and further away from a just and fair society with wars blasted across our TV screen to delude, desensitize and enthrall the populace. What do such groups care about level playing fields? Such concepts, except as marketing slogans, are anathema to them.]

And lastly, the postulated savings seem unrealistic. The museum would be transferred to the Historical Society to run. But most of ADMMR's budget goes to pay the rent on the huge museum building. Eliminating all the staff salary money with the expectation the museum will somehow run itself is a nice soundbite, but unrealistic fiscal policy.

Today's QUOTES:

AE: Will Obama get rolled by the torture crowd? Digby says ... But I would suggest that Obama contemplate one little thing before he decides to try to find "middle ground" on torture. It is a trap. If he continues to torture in any way or even tacitly agrees to allow it in certain circumstances, the intelligence community will make sure it is leaked. They want protection from both parties and there is no better way to do it than to implicate Obama. And the result of that will be to destroy his foreign policy.
--Establishment Dicks by digby, Hullabaloo

The war strategy which Friedman is heralding -- what he explicitly describes with euphemism-free candor as "exacting enough pain on civilians" in order to teach them a lesson -- is about as definitive of a war crime as it gets. It also happens to be the classic, textbook definition of "terrorism." ...
--Tom Friedman offers a perfect definition of "terrorism" by Glenn Greenwald,

I'm glad Susan Crawford has finally admitted that we tortured Qahtani and because of that he can't be charged. But will she have the courage (and the clearance) to admit that about Abu Zubaydah, too?
--What about Abu Zubaydah? by emptywheel,

Monday, January 12, 2009

One wonders why McClatchy would publish such a delusional commentary ...

Commentary: Bush may be most consequential president since Reagan by Ross Mackenzie, Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Service
McClatchy writes of Mackensie: Ross Mackenzie is a former editorial page editor at the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, now retired.

Mackensie writes: "On issue after issue they rejected his [George Bush's] appeals for bipartisanship ..." Ah, yes, I remember Bush's style of bipartisanship -- do as I say or else I'll stamp my footsie and hold my breath and the entire Congress said here you go divine one what else can I get you. Well, close enough. Surely as close to reality as Mackensie's scribblings.

On Social Security at least Mackensie has a point. The push back (which Mackensie considers malign worked that time). If I understand Mackensie's point of view the majority of US citizens had no right to fight his testiness' desire to turn SS over to the Wall Street:
"Yet from Social Security and judges to the surge and terror and continuation of the tax cuts, malign leftists dug in and sought to foil him on every front - to deny him any victory, any success, anywhere."
Mackensie ignores the opinions of the citizenry as did BushCo and as Congress does most of the time. SS was an exception.

Read the entire thing. Bush derangement syndrome is a sad thing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sooooo ...


... Mr. Change (Barack Obama to be precise) is saying that he's going to set up kangaroo courts for Guantanamo detainees ... just like George Warmonger Bush? Because the US Judicial system might not do what Mr. Change wants done? The courts might set the unconstitutionally imprisoned and tortured prisoners free and Obama want to keep them imprisoned?

Constitution, human rights, Geneva Convention, Rules of War be damned?

Just like George Warmonger Bush?

UPDATE Jan 13, 2009 a.m.
So after Obama equivocates on Guantanamo, we now get a news leak assuring us that Guantanamo will be closed, but like with criminal accountability for high government officials, the biggest problem with what Obama said yesterday is ignored:
... the one issue left unresolved by the Obama/Guantanamo leaks to the NYT -- namely: whether to create a special, new process to allow use of "tainted evidence" against Guantanamo detainees -- may be the most important issue of all.

Congress never, never, never gets the message ...

Paradox at The Left Coaster:
The truly irritating thing about recent DC Democratic Party peevish, immature pettiness—the odious Feinstein complaining she wasn’t consulted, the pathetic quisling Reid suddenly discovering bravery in obstructing a Democrat, the scurrilous, furtively blue Hoyer spitting out he doesn’t work for Obama—isn’t the disgusting spectacle of human souls who cannot mature beyond high school-level social posturing, it’s the utter predictability of it all, how retrograde of past failure it all is. Change is here, yeah.

[ ... ]

Hope is a great thing, perhaps the greatest of things, so wrote Stephen King in the short story Shawsank Redemption. The people of America worked extremely hard to bring change about in this last election but apparently Congress hasn’t got the message. Please publish a legislative priority calendar and don’t ever talk about our issues as triage again, our people and their problems aren’t going to undergo a slow death of neglect.

Congress doesn't believe there could be a message from voters that they should consider. Their main concerns are
  • their salaries and perks
  • keeping regular citizens from benefiting from living in what was once the richest and most powerful country in the world
  • what the corporate media says about them
  • how groveling they will have to be to that same media
  • how rich or richer they can become
  • how to imply what's expected and say nothing
  • how to avoid responsibility and blame.
Their lives, lived in this craven manner, must be as stressful as if they actually worked at doing their jobs. One wonders why they insist on living this way ...

... and why we put up with it?

Today's QUOTES:

That's all part-and-parcel of the broader trend whereby we now believe that the U.S. President is empowered to do anything and order anything -- from declaring someone an "enemy combatant" to proclaiming torture techniques to be legal -- and that the mere fact that he does so makes it legal. It's the classic Nuremberg defense -- though now (at least for ourselves) we expressly embrace it rather than emphatically reject it.
--America then and now by Glenn Greenwald,
I'm sure it hasn't escaped anyone's notice that the deficit scolds are coming out of the woodwork now that the Republicans brought us to the brink, slashing taxes for the wealthy, larding their own contributors with earmarks, solidifying the notion that military industrial complex spending is a sacred, untouchable icon, and fetishing and deregulating the market until they finally brought the whole system to its knees. They certainly didn't say much about the debt while it was adding up these last eight years.

They did the same thing during the 80s, which is why Cheney uttered "Reagan proved deficits don't matter. (What was left out was "for Republicans." Democrats are endlessly and relentlessly harassed about deficits --- as they clean up the big mess the deficit spending Republicans leave behind.)
--Fiscal Madness by digby, Hullabaloo

Saturday, January 10, 2009

When US citizens start getting killed will the US constructively help with some of Mexico's problems?

Problems intricately entwined with US policies.

From the redoubtable Border Reporter: He Thinks We’re Idiots
Sinaloa’s Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo released the stats last week both for the state and the country: 1,170 murders in Sinaloa, compared to the 743 in 2007. And throughout the country, 5,620 murders compared to 2,561 the year before.

The Culiacán daily paper El Debate published a story last week documenting the demise of at least 12 pueblos in southern Sinaloa, abandoned because of the carnage.

For anyone who wants to make the point that Mexico’s in a state of crisis, the evidence is so never-ending, it’s almost cyclical.

The tricky part is making people north of the border care.

Does he understand?

Though I'm not an Obama follower I thought he understood the problems. But like the headline from EconoSpeak, below, I'm not sure he has quite grasped how serious the situation is. He speaks as though he understands but his offerings so far don't quite match.

Our politicians appear to be having trouble shifting their thinking from handing out money to the rich. Money needs to be expended on what will benefit the country and its citizens. Not handed over with no strings or supervision to banks and other crooks. Not given as tax cuts to those who don't need it. Not used to pay insurance companies to set up roadblocks to medical care. Not given to corporations so they can keep their corporate jets and golden parachutes.

Obama’s Own Estimate of Employment Growth is Underwhelming

I understand that change is difficult. But, Obama, that's what you campaigned on.
And then there's this:
... why is Pelosi telling Energy & Environment News that the House won't be getting around to climate legislation this year? (Sub. reqd. for E&E, so forgive the link to National Review's "Planet Gore" denial site. They think this is a sign that the planet's actually cooling and Democrats are quietly burying the issue. Someone forgot to tell the scientists!)

Round 'em up, fence 'em in, FIRE ...

The Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip have all the elements of the holocaust.

What's currently happening in Israel is not self defense no more than Bush's invasion of Iraq. Both are a depraved form of hubris that allows the more powerful party involved to perform the same acts that they denounce in others.

The Israel Air Force has dropped leaflets on the Gaza Strip warning residents that it plans to escalate its two-week-old offensive.

The army says it has dropped the fliers throughout Gaza. It says the notices are meant as a "general warning."

The notice says Israel is about to begin a "new phase in the war on terror." It says it will "escalate" an operation that already has killed more than 800 Palestinians. [via Glenn Greenwald]

Israeli's targets have been very deliberately trapped behind walls, denied food and medicine. Like a buffalo hunt in modern day America? Except the buffalos are fed and watered before the brave hunters lean on the fence and shoot them dead. These brave hunters are after healthy prey. But when the object is extermination? Well, that model has been practiced any number of times.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I did think Obama was reality based ...

Apparently not. Why, oh why, would Obama follow the same failed every-problem-deserves-a-tax-cut approach that the Republicans and BushCo used to get the country into the state it's in?
The President-Elect's plan is wrong, Reaganite, and retrograde. It is very similar to policies which created a persistent depressed economy in Japan - and represents the next step to the Japanification of the American economy, where credit spreads are high and economic activity is slow, because any new money is used to pay off debts which should have been written off, but have not been.
I thought he understood that we need jobs. Those without jobs need services, food, hope. Tax cuts for those who should be paying taxes instead of benefiting from the pain of others is perverted. Didn't Obama understand any of his own rhetoric?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Jerk ...

Reid vows to lead till at least 2015
By JOHN BRESNAHAN, 1/7/09, Politico

Harry Reid vowed Tuesday that he’ll lead the Senate until 2015 and beyond, ...

The Nevada Democrat, who is up for reelection in 2010, said he’s actually looking forward to being considered a “vulnerable” incumbent then.

“You know, to be honest with you, I hope I am,” he said. “That way, [the Republicans are] going to spend lots of resources on me and leave states we’re looking at. They won’t have as many resources — and we have a lot of targets.”
Not that I trust Politico's reportage, but Reid is really a contemptibly obnoxious and destructive Senator and the Democrats in the Senate are incompetent fools, or worse, for keeping him in the position to do as much harm as he possibly can. For Heaven's sake sack him as Majority Leader and let him join his buddy Lieberman in the anti American Senatorial guerilla trenches supporting all things Republican.

Did the Israelis really plan on letting aid into the Gaza Strip ...

Israeli troops kill U.N. truck driver at Gaza crossing
by Shashank Bengali, McClatchy Newspapers

JERUSALEM — Israeli soldiers opened fire Thursday on a truck attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip, killing one United Nations-contracted driver and seriously wounding another, U.N. officials said.

The shooting occurred at the Erez checkpoint, the main entrance used by relief agencies to funnel badly needed food and medical supplies into Gaza ...

U.N. officials said that they had contracted the truck to deliver supplies into Gaza, and that the Israeli military had approved the delivery. But Israeli ground troops, which control the Erez checkpoint, fired on the truck. It wasn’t clear what caused the Israeli soldiers to open fire, and Israeli military officials weren't immediately available for comment.

Relief officials said that as a result of the shooting, Israel closed the Erez checkpoint. It was unclear whether any relief trucks would be allowed to enter Gaza on Thursday ...

Does Obama plan to cheat the people while preserving a free ride for the rich ... just like George Warmonger Bush?

Will Barack Obama now move to gut Social Security and further cripple Medicare to pay for the tax cuts and tax giveaways for the rich? Just like the Bush Administration wanted to do and failed to fully implement? Would such behavior on his part surprise his enthusiasts? If he proceeds along this line will his followers behave as the little Bushies did? Will they respond with anger and a sense of betrayal or with excuses and perverted logic? His administration hasn't even begun and there's already intimations that this extremely popular man, elected as a DEMOCRAT, is thinking of continuing and completing Bush's most perverted plans.
Scrooged by the Democrats: Will the Rich Ever Pay Their Fair Share?

During the Democratic primary campaign, Barack Obama, along with all of his Democratic contenders, promised a swift repeal of these tax cuts. A rollback of tax cuts benefitting only corporations and the wealthiest individuals was supposed to provide the financing for Obama’s policy proposals, from education and health care to infrastructure and green energy. But by September, the Democratic nominee was already backpedaling on his pledge, and within three weeks of his election, Obama’s economic advisors confirmed that, after all, the new president might just let the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule in 2011, rather than eliminating them two years earlier. The decision is based on the premise that it is unwise—in economic as well as political terms—to raise taxes during a recession, since lower taxes stimulate the economy.


But an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, released earlier this year, debunks the myth that tax cuts for the rich more than “pay for themselves” by fueling economic growth.

There is no evidence that the tax cuts caused any increase in economic growth, let alone growth sufficient to offset their cost. In fact, the 2001-2007 economic expansion was among the weakest since World War II with regard to overall economic growth. Moreover, revenue growth was very poor during 2001-2007. Real per-capita revenues fell deeply in 2001, 2002, and 2003 and have since risen to barely 2 percent above their 2001 level. Over the course of other postwar economic expansions, they grew by an average of 12 percent.

Capital gains taxes, CBPP found, have the effect of lowering revenue in the long run. And tax cuts financed by deficit spending—as they were under Bush, and undoubtedly will continue to be under Obama—are especially harmful. [emphasis added]

President-elect Obama Suggests Defaulting on the National Debt

While Medicare is projected to face shortfalls because of the incredible inefficiency of the U.S. health care system, the Congressional Budget Office projects that Social Security will be fully funded until 2049 from its own stream of tax revenues and the U.S. bonds it holds.

If Mr. Obama plans to cut Social Security in the near future, then this effectively amounts to a default on the bonds held by the trust fund which were purchased with workers' Social Security taxes.
Will Barack Obama become an enemy of the people of the United States of America by protecting the rich and powerful at the expense of the majority of citizens just like a despotic leader? Just like George Warmonger Bush?

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's a mad, mad world and more tax cuts?

More tax cuts, please ...

No jobs? How about some tax cuts.

Interest rates going up? How about some more tax cuts.

Interest rates going down? We definitely need more tax cuts.

Floods, famine, hurricanes, global warming? Tax cuts, tax cuts.

Sunshine, balmy breeze? See how those tax cuts run.

I suppose I'm the one who is mad and not the entire media/corporate/political world BUT it seems to me that with full employment and living wages workers would be able to pay their fair share of taxes.

And when there are no jobs or only part time or starvation-wage jobs then tax cuts have no benefit for those so accursed at all.

The only people and organizations who ever benefit from tax cuts produced by our elected aristocrat-wannabes are those that already don't pay anywhere near their fair share.
I actually suspect this unfortunately isn't about Republicans, but rather about a bunch of Blue Dog Democrats who are so incredibly stupid that they can't tell the difference between fiscal responsibility for a family of four and trying to stave off another Great Depression. (Yes, they really are that thick.)

Today's QUOTES:

Another good solution to the too-big-to-fail problem is to break up any institution that becomes too big to fail....
--It's a really bad crisis that forces this much truth on a newspaper of record, Prometheus 6
[AE: History is useless as all lessons must be learned anew.]

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Enjoying the fruits of their corruption ...

Looking through some clip art I purchased some time ago I found this image that could, I think, portray the attitudes of this country's growing cancer of scoundrels infesting politics, media and corporations.

It will be a Happy New Year when we unseat the rascals!

Today's QUOTES:

A very disturbing article: Living on Borrowed Time in a Stolen Land by Gilad Atzmon, January 4th, 2009, Dissident Voice

And today ... a rain of cluster bombs, dropped by Israel, bought and sold by us. Last night, the US blocked – once again – a call for a cease-fire at the UN Security Council, today Senate “leaders” Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Mitch McConnell were “standing solidly behind Israel's ground operation against Hamas.”
--Gaza Update: Cluster Bombs by Siun,

The best American analogy for Hamas is militant blacks in U.S. ghettoes in 70s, Mondoweiss

Friday, January 2, 2009

At least they are not suggesting it's separate but equal ...

From McClatchy by By Yonat Shimron, Raleigh News & Observer
Learning to swim: For Muslim women in U.S., it's not easy
Culture and religion are intricately entwined. Most women in the US have much more independence, opportunities and freedom than was allowed when I was growing up.

Expect the Christian fundamentalists to use the quasi cultural/religious 'modesty' of Muslim women as a propaganda tactic against women's independence in the United States. Christian, Moslem and Mormon fundamentalists will gang up to impose their shared desire to strip women of all rights and enforce their control over women's bodies and behavior just as we have already witnessed the combined efforts of the ultra right Christian and Mormon fundamentalists combine to lie and scheme to defeat Proposition 8 in California.

As for the segregated bathhouse, well, all precedents seem harmless in the beginning ...

This all makes me uneasy. I'd be much more comfortable if these differences in dress and behavior were attributed to culture and diverse cultures respected in all reasonable aspects. When religion gets involved then the first step is for the minority religion to demand its right to their own specific version of their cultural preferences (which of course come from their own version or God). All fine and good. But once those have been accepted the next step is to suggest, then demand, that everyone else should follow their rules, because, you know, their rules are the right ones, obviously. Their god said so.

How do we keep them in the 'live and let live' stage? The US Constitution was supposed to help with that. But with everyone ignoring it lately it has not counted for much.

Today's QUOTES:

This development was hailed as a breakthrough by behavioral psychologists studying learned helplessness, who look forward to analyzing Pelosi's recent diet and other environmental influences to see if a similar shift in thinking can be provoked in Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
--After 2 Years, Nancy Pelosi Realizes Democrats Have a Majority in the House by Swopa,

Reid and Pelosi are representing the Republican minority view quite well. Complete mission fail from Democratic leadership, once again.
--Gaza Attacks Roil Iraq — Where’s The “Debate”? by Jane Hamsher,