Thursday, December 31, 2009

I've been calling them Robber Barons, among other things, for some time now ...

but this post delves into the similarities of our current march into financial feudalism and that of the Robber Barons of the early 1900's:
The New Robber Barons by bmaz, firedoglake.com

Today's quote (and a second one for good measure, oh and a third one too) ...

... some beyond galatically confused Nigerian failed to blow up a plane with his freaking underwear, for chrissakes, and that was it, the god damn Republicans and Dick Cheney came instantly hissing out of the woodwork ...

-- Please Get A Life, Republicans by paradox, The Left Coaster
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... As always, the most Serious and Toughest among us are the most easily frightened, particularly in the American media.

-- Craving terrorist melodrama by Glenn Greenwald, salon.com
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[this one was just too good to pass up]
Barack Obama, doing his best to make Dick Cheney’s questions about leadership look rational, has assigned John Brennan to conduct the Administration’s ballyhooed investigation into the claimed failure of the terrorist watchlist program in the Christmas Fruit Of The Loom Bomber incident.

-- Obama Appoints Fox To Evaluate Terror Watchlist Henhouse by bmaz, firedoglake.com

Anyone know what happened to the Obama of the campaign trail? Not that I'm a very good judge since I wasn't very taken with him, but he certainly did seem to have his ducks in a row and I was hoping to see a little of that behavior in his endeavor to implement some promised --now what was that he promised?-- oh, yeah, change.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So we will be better off with a Crooked Evil Republican as president ...

... and the usual dumb, incompetent Democrats in Congress (as long as the VP is not Palin, or Lieberman)?
Jane Hamsher: George Bush couldn’t pull off the great Social Security robbery because of opposition from the left. But Obama has neutralized liberal institutional pushback by locking them in the veal pen, holding EFCA hostage to sideline the unions and relying on his own personal magnitism [sic] to to keep member organizations like MoveOn or the Sierra Club from making a strong move without fracturing their own ranks.
Sad but possibly so.

Fixing the donut hole by making it bigger before they make it smaller? ...

The Democrats and President Obama have been clear that the “doughnut hole,” as the gap is known, would disappear gradually over the next 10 years. They have not mentioned that Medicare patients would, according to House figures, face a slightly larger hole in coverage during two of the next three years than they do today.

[from:
Health Care Reform: This is Getting Personal by Ann in AZ, firedoglake.com]
When I get around to it I will be switching my voter registration from Democrat to Independent.

The Republicans are evil and dangerous and the Democrats are incompetent and dangerous.

Today's quote ...

Yes, we'll tie ourselves in knots to keep a taxpayer dollar from getting anywhere near an abortion, yet we continue to fund the slow starvation of the Palestinians.

--One Year Later, Palestinians Live in Rubble While Israel Blocks Aid by Susie Madrak, Crooks and Liars

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today's quote ...

On the politics, one hates to jump to conclusions but it is very curious that in virtually every single issue area, the administration goes out of its way to reject the people and items that are at the top of the liberal agenda. It's hard to believe that it's an accident.

-- Nothing Worth Fighting For by digby, Hullabaloo
I often refer to George W Bush as Bush the Lesser. Nothing-worth-fighting-for might just be the right handle for Barack Obama, though it's a little long.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Your worst nightmare ...

So why did Obama nominate Dawn Johnsen for the Office of Legal Counsel ...

By now it's obvious he didn't want her in that office. I just wonder if, by the time Obama is Lieberman's age, he [Obama] will have the same creepy smug appearance. A lifetime of lies from the mundane to the spectacular must have a physical fallout on a person.
34 Obama Nominees Not Named Dawn Johnsen Confirmed

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Healthcare: Obama scores against the ol' USA again ...

Obama wins again. The Senate health care vote
... was [a] loss for the country. Our broken health care system will remain broken and costs will continue to rise at an alarming rate. Things like drug re-importation and a robust public option, which would have helped bring down prices for millions of Americans, were stripped from the bill at the request of powerful industry lobbyists.
Obama, his family and his cronies must be so proud that Obama has ensured the continued rise toward absolute power of the government's corporate ├╝ber lords; the insurance industry, the drug industry, the war industry, the financial industry.

Like any good Republican, Obama is shameless in betrayal.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The chickens are coming home to roost ...

Betrayal

You can’t claim you didn’t campaign for it if you put it on your website, signed onto HCAN’s health care principals, included it in your white paper on health care reform, and talked it up as a candidate to the Washington Post. This is being too clever by half and an insult to those of use who have been paying attention.

I, and millions like me, upheld our end of the bargain. We organized, made calls, canvassed, and defended him against the worst the Tea Baggers had to offer.

With this one interview, Obama didn’t just break a promise, he shredded the entire social contract with us.

As my good friend Robert Cruickshank pointed out to me, take a look at the Drew Westen must-read article on the failures of Obama’s communications strategy. Westen argues that people are beginning to tune Obama out, and I’m here to tell you right now it’s absolutely true.

For myself, I’m looking forward to taking a nice, long break from all things Obama come the New Year and once that weak-tea Senate HCR bill is finally signed.

Feel free to label me a purity troll, but my New Year’s resolution also includes not donating one thin dime to the DNC, OFA, DCSS, or DCSS, not one phone call for the OFA, not one precinct walked, not one rally attended.

My energies are better spent on change I actually believe in.

Seeing something coming does not make it welcome! If anything the inability to change its course is disheartening.

It's not a good sign that Obama seeks to compete with Bush the Lesser as far as warmongering, destruction of the US Constitution, disrespect for justice and law. Now he must compete with the liar of all times with lies.

Obama and the pouty child syndrome: But I didn't promise so why are you mad at me ...

Obama today told The Washington Post: "I didn't campaign on the public option."
Lots of links ... that appear to create a contradiction between the statement above and the actual facts.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Today's Quote ...

Leadership, Obama Style

Consider the president's leadership style, which has now become clear: deliver a moving speech, move on, and when push comes to shove, leave it to others to decide what to do if there's a conflict, because if there's a conflict, he doesn't want to be anywhere near it.

Health care is a paradigm case. When the president went to speak to the Democrats last week on Capitol Hill, he exhorted them to pass the bill. According to reports, though, he didn't mention the two issues in the way of doing that, the efforts of Senators like Ben Nelson to use this as an opportunity to turn back the clock on abortion by 25 years, and the efforts of conservative and industry-owned Democrats to eliminate any competition for the insurance companies that pay their campaign bills. He simply ignored both controversies and exhorted.

Leadership means heading into the eye of the storm and bringing the vessel of state home safely, not going as far inland as you can because it's uncomfortable on the high seas. This president has a particular aversion to battling back gusting winds from his starboard side (the right, for the nautically challenged) and tends to give in to them. He just can't tolerate conflict, and the result is that he refuses to lead.

We have seen the same pattern of pretty speeches followed by empty exhortations on issue after issue. ...

-- Leadership, Obama Style, and the Looming Losses in 2010: Pretty Speeches, Compromised Values, and the Quest for the Lowest Common Denominator by Drew Westen, Huffington Post

I once had a manager who fit this description. He acted like he was a very nice person. But he had an assistant, not unlike Rahm-boy, who he gave the 'dirty' jobs, the normal personnel related jobs that most managers must do and that many do well thus garnering respect and a reasonably smooth running organization. Playing the good guy while a subordinate plays hatchet man can have unintended consequences ... as we are seeing right before our eyes.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It doesn't feel like Christmas ...

... apparently all the early marketing is no longer working ... on me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The characterless Obama organization ...

Notice that in the following e-mail from my.barackobama.com there is absolutely no information about what's in the health care legislation.
gail --

If we don't pass health reform, millions of Americans will be trapped in a broken status quo, unable to pay their bills or see a doctor when they need one.

More and more employers will drop coverage for employees. And Medicare and Medicaid will blow a hole through our budget.

There's too much at stake not to get this done. That's why OFA supporters have made 849,856 calls to Congress in support of health reform since August.

And that's why today, with the Senate locked in last-minute negotiations, our goal is to hit one million calls.

Can you help? Please call your senators now and help us "ring in reform." Then click here to let us know you called.

According to our records, you live in Arizona. Please call:

Sen. John McCain at 202-224-2235
Sen. Jon Kyl at 202-224-4521
Actually calling McCain and Kyl would make just about the same amount of difference that Obama's efforts are going to make for the American people. What an insipid effort is Obama's health care fiasco. Except for the windfall it offers up for the health care robber barons.

We vote, they profit.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bush the Lesser strutted in cowboy boots, Obama blows smoke at us ...

Smoke and mirrors, but no legislation and no accountability.

Obama might as well hold his breath, stamp his feet, hammer his shoe on a table or strut across an aircraft carrier.
'Start lending,' Obama tells the bankers

Today's quote ...

Watching Sherrod Brown, Ron Wyden and Harry Reid try to explain why the Senate’s emasculated health reform bill was still worth voting for was painful. These men know they’ve been defeated and humiliated by an unprincipled extortionist fronting for what amounts to a deadly protection racket.

Whatever Joe Lieberman’s motives, the reality is that he just performed a moral crime on national television. He’s essentially said that if Democrats want to provide even poor health insurance to 30 million uninsured Americans, the federal government and those citizens will have to pay blood money to an industry protection racket that will have the economic and political power to set the terms of that protection, shield itself from oversight and competition, and raise prices at will.

-- This Isn’t Health Reform; It’s Extortion for a Protection Racket by Scarecrow, firedoglake.com

Obama, Reid, Lieberman. So are they evil or just plain stupid? ...

Who knows for sure? The only thing that is apparent to me is that Obama is no more fit to be President of the United States of America than was Bush the Lesser.

From TBogg at firedoglake.com:

So all I really wanted for Christmas was a Karl Rove of our own who would make all of our Obama wishes come true, even if he had to kick Evan Bayh’s mushy skull in to accomplish them. Someone who, I had hoped, would make Joe Lieberman’s life something akin to a hemorrhoidectomy gone horribly terribly wrong.

Such is not the case:

The White House wants Reid to hand Joe Lieberman the farm.

An aide briefed on discussions with the White House says that there would be no story if Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel hadn’t interceded. The aide confirmed an account, reported by Huffington Post, that Emanuel visited Reid personally, telling him to cut a deal with Lieberman.

Then the aide provided more detail.

Emanuel didn’t just leave it to Reid to find a solution. Emanuel specifically suggested Reid give Lieberman the concessions he seeks on issues like the Medicare buy-in and triggers.

“It was all about ‘do what you’ve got to do to get it done. Drop whatever you’ve got to drop to get it done,” the aide said. All of Emanuel’s prescriptions, the source said, were aimed at appeasing Lieberman–not twisting his arm.

If Rahm Emmanuel is all he was supposed to be, we can safely assume that the Obama White House either never gave a shit about health care reform, or they managed health care reform so horrifically and incompetently that they are now willing to settle for a “win”, no matter how meager.

I hope they enjoy their Pyrrhic victory because they just burned the base.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Only if you think 'coddling Lieberman' isn't the plan ...

Jane Hamsher: Sane people have long ago realized that coddling Lieberman is what got us here and needs to be stopped.
Though Reid may have not been in on all the turns in the labyrinth, and has been selected by Obama and his administration as the fall guy for Obama's failing to deliver anything on health care other than what Obama's corporate masters desire, Reid still participated, quite willingly, in the deception and scamming of the public on all important matters.

Jane Hamsher writes:
Sorry, Harry Reid, you’re the one that takes the hit for this. If you let Lieberman lead you and the country around by the nose, it doesn’t matter who asked you to do it. Slipping in “annual limits” on coverage, manipulating procedure only when there’s something you really want, and then shrugging your shoulders and calling yourself a prisoner of the Senate parlimentarian when you want to facilitate some massively unpopular clause in the interest of the insurance industry — it’s all going to come to rest on you. Personally. I promise.
I would just like to add that Reid and Lieberman are not the only villains here. The worst one is turning out to be the one in the White House. The more I see, the less I believe there is much material difference between Obama and his predecessor.

Synopsis of Obama's Democratic Party and, particularly, its leadership ...

Sign anything? Check.
Incompetent Democrats? Check.

If this happens, we'll have a Republican bill that won't work, which no Republicans will vote for and which they will run against for the next decade at least.

It's Newtie's wet dream.
Though Obama is not someone that I had expected much from, I thought he would get a few of the right things accomplished because
  1. he was a Democrat, and
  2. he was intelligent.
Boy was I wrong on both counts!

Really, could McCain have been worse. I think the only thing really different between what McCain promised and what Obama has delivered is Palin. Think about it ...

WAR: Obama's silly pursuit of Bush's attempt at manliness ...

Greenwald shines a light on the dangers as Obama escalates the causes:

The evidence proving this causation is now so overwhelming as to be undeniable. Waging wars, occupying, and dropping bombs in Muslim countries is the single most counter-productive step that can be taken to combat Islamic extremism (indefinitely imprisoning them without charges is a close second). It's akin to advising a lung cancer patient to triple the quantity of cigarettes he smokes each day. Yet we continue to do it over and over, and then point to the harms we cause as reasons we need to continue doing it. Our "counter-terrorism" campaign basically consists of three steps repeated endlessly:

(1) Interfere in or otherwise act aggressively in the Muslim world.

(2) Provoke increased anti-American sentiment and fuel terrorism as a result of Step 1.

(3) Point to the increased anti-American sentiment and terrorism as a reason we need to escalate our interference and aggression in the Muslim world. Return to Step 1.

The coordinated campaign to hype the alleged "growing domestic Muslim threat" at exactly the time we are escalating our conventional war in Afghanistan and our covert Predator war in Pakistan is a perfect illustration of this process. Basically, what Shane's article reveals is the shocking truth that waging war and otherwise interfering in Muslim countries for more a full decade radicalizes Muslims and drives some of them to want to return the violence. Who would have guessed?

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Pretty please ...

The Obama Administration's approach to handling the real problems in this country almost makes Bush appealing (I said almost).

The following is a copy of a post from Hullabaloo (digby). She appears to take these critters at face value. I cannot take they seriously anymore (not that I don't take the consequences of their perfidy seriously). They're playing us and they think we are stupid.
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"We Were There For Them"

by digby

Understatement of the century:

When I asked top White House economic advisor Larry Summers if the President needs to encourage banks to do more lending, he told me that bankers “need to recognize that they've got obligations to the country after all that's been done for them, and there is a lot more they can do.”

Tomorrow, the President will meet with heads of the country’s biggest banks and Summers told me the White House has a blunt message: “President Obama is going to be talking with them about what they can do to support enhanced lending to customers across the country.

"We were there for them. And the banks need to do everything they can to be sure they're there for customers across this country.”


They sure were.

But I'm afraid that Summers is willfully misrepresenting his banker pals' moral philosophy which says that they are "fulfilling their obligations" by making huge profits and giving themselves enormous bonuses. They are the productive members of society who are supporting all of us parasites with their superior talents and stronger work ethic. "We have to tolerate the inequality" of giving bankers huge paychecks in order "to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all.” In fact, they are doing God's work. Profits, after all, are not satanic.

It's nice that the president is going to scold these people about not being greedy bastards, but I'm fairly sure that after everything that's already happened, the bankers will be trying hard to keep from smirking and the rest of the country will roll its collective eyes at the absurdity of appealing to their sense of gratitude and fair play. It's just a little bit late for anyone to take finger wagging seriously, I'm afraid.
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We have money ...

for war, but NOT for jobs ...

for war, but NOT for health care ...

for war, but NOT for education ...

for war, but NOT for peace ...

We have all the money you want as long as it's for war.
-----------------------

Dennis J Kucinich via Crooks and Liars:
"The message is clear: We have money for war but not for jobs," said Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio). "We have money for war but not for health care. We have money for war but not for education. . . . We have money for war but not for peace."

Whose really responsible for Lieberman ...

In my opinion both Obama and Reid are responsible for the train wreck that is Lieberman. Either Obama and Reid approve of what Lieberman is doing or they both are such craven cowards that they are afraid to do anything that will stop or limit Lieberman's hare-brained and demented behavior.

Perhaps it's a little of both.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jane Hamsher says:

It’s time that people took off the rose colored glasses and faced the fact that Obama’s “leadership” on health care was empty and passive. He went for the corporate-friendly “win” that enriches the insurance and drug companies, just as he has enriched the banks and failed to hold them to account. Those who look first to others as scapegoats for his actions have apparently not come to grips with the fact that as President of the United States, he’s a very powerful man who is not using that power to advance the progressive agenda they attribute to him.
And I just have to agree!

The kind of health insurance corruption Obama and the Dems plan to keep in place ...

My Medicare Part D plan, through AARP, has a tiered copay amount for a 30 day supply of medication.

One of the ways to cheat a customer is to charge for two months copays (and those copays keep going up drastically each year) if they estimate that a liquid medication will last anything over 30 days. So for example if a medication is estimated to last 35 days then they will charge you for 60 days. They will not consider prorating the copay amount to cover 35 days. Imagine, someone might accuse them of being fair and not providing enough money for their executive bonuses.

-----------
Added: Turns out that two copays is more (by a couple dollars) than I would pay for the same 10ml bottle if I bought the drug from CostCo without insurance.

Insurance you can believe in?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Yeah, yeah, just part of the game ...

Source: Reid Fed Up With GOP Obstruction, Committed To Finishing Health Care By Xmas

Today's quote ...

What’s new is the public acknowledgment that this is what we do, and how we behave, that it’s routine, and the implicit acceptance that it’s okay. And all that has occurred with no recognition whatsoever that if an agent from another country did that here, it would be called a terrorist act carried out by a people without soul or morality.

-- Becoming 9/11: CIA Expands Drone Attacks Inside Pakistan by Scarecrow, firedoglake.com

Come on, if Obama cared about jobs ...

... he'd actually do something about them.

The only programs Obama is going for are what used to be called Republican programs --- permanent wars and more transfer of the nations wealth to the degenerate rich. These are now officially Democratic programs also.

What's left of the Republican Party is literally insane. The Democratic Party has morphed into the Conservative/War Party. There is no Party for the left.

All sane people has been ejected from the Republican Party. The controllers of the Democratic Party have no intention of honoring any promises to Progressives. They will continue to stage elaborate political theater in order to pretend they are 'working very hard' but can't quite make anything work.

I really think that working through the Democrats is a lost cause. Either give up or start a new movement. The collusion between Reid and Obama is manifest. Taking these people seriously is a wasted effort.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Classified Benchmarks ...

America's insanity just gets better and better. Once again the US has, will you believe it, BENCHMARKS! Remember those. Those benchmarks that have no consequence when they fail to be met. Those benchmarks that are forgotten when they no longer work as a propaganda tool.

But wait, these BENCHMARKS are better. These bench marks are CLASSIFIED. Just think of the propaganda value of CLASSIFIED BENCHMARKS.

Now that must be what Obama SMARTS brings to Bush STUPIDITY.

Way to go. Change you can believe in.
-------------------

Apparently Obama is working for the Republicans:
While Democratic lawmakers are increasingly opposed to a possible troop increase, Republican lawmakers say the move is necessary and that the president needs to convey that in his speech tomorrow.
Of course, fighting 'insurgents' and citizens in a country far, far away keeps the US from taking care of it's own problems: health care, education, starving children, overcrowded prisons and other little matters like an increasingly insane political environment.

Not to mention all the money certain factions make in and around the military establishment. Afghanistan is not the only center of corruption revolving around this war of the very wealthy and very unChristian 'Christians.'

America's delusion ...

... no matter how one rationalizes continuing and escalating the war in Afghanistan, the same arguments make a more compelling case for invading and nation-building in Mexico. Which we all know is laughable. So, why is no one laughing?