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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Next from Wikileaks - one of the biggest banks

That should be interesting. Apparently tons of internal e-mails that are as damning as the ones from Enron. Remember their traders joking about cutting off power to California during a heat wave.

It's expected in January. Let's see the Republicans try to roll back financial reform and kill the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau after that comes out. Rumors say it's Bank of America because they are going to have to buy back tons of mortgages, mostly done by Countrywide, that clearly failed to meet even basic underwriting standards.

And today's winner is Judson Phillips, Tea Party Nation President

Let's turn the clock back 150 years. Words fail me.

PHILLIPS: The Founding Fathers originally said, they put certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote. It wasn’t you were just a citizen and you got to vote. Some of the restrictions, you know, you obviously would not think about today. But one of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you’re a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners.

More shameless economic idiocy from Republicans

Sorry if I sound like a broken record but stupidity like this is stunning. This tgime it's John Shadegg of Arizona who is fortunately retiring. Unfortunately his replacement is no better.

BARNICLE: What about the fact that unemployment benefits pumped into the economy are an immediate benefit to the economy? Immediate…

SHADEGG: No, they’re not! Unemployed people hire people? Really? I didn’t know that.

BARNICLE: Unemployed people spend money Congressman, ’cause they have no money.

SHADEGG: Aha! So your answer is it’s the spending of money that drives the economy and I don’t think that’s right. It’s the creation of jobs that drives the economy…Actually, the truth is the unemployed will spend as little of that money as they possibly can. Job creators create jobs.

BARNICLE: Have you ever been unemployed? Have you ever been unemployed?

SHADEGG: Yes, I have.

BARNICLE: What did you do with the money? Save it?

The average unemployment check is $290 per week. The people who's unemployment is about to expire have been unemployed for at least 6 months. Does this idiot think they are living off trust funds and saving their $290 a month. Jobs are created by increased demand for the products produced by the job creator. If demand drops you can lower taxes to 0% and companies will still not hire. It's that simple.

Let's all shed as tear for Shadegg who will be unemployed in a month. He'll be getting a comfortable pension as well as Social Security so he won't exactly be living from check to check.

It's a pity the interviewer, Mike Barnicle who should know better. It's been shown that every dollar of unemployment creates about $1.60 in economic activity but every additional dollar received by someone earning over $250K creates about 40 cents of economic activity.

Also notice the little lie that Shadegg snuck in there saying accusing Obama of raising taxes. No such thing has happened. In fact part of the stimulus was a tax break for 95% of Americans but few know that because we are all being buried in the bullshit that spews out of people like Shadegg.

Some late night cool down music from Bob Marley

RIP Leslie Nielson - he invented the TSA pat down junk touching routine

Airplane was his classic film but this famous baseball umpire scene from The Naked Gun is one of his best. So this his where the TSA got their pat down junk touching routine from.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The economic illiteracy of the GOP

David Stockman, former Pres. Readan's budget director and the originator of the 'trickle down' theory admitted years ago that the theory was basically a fraud. The idea was that tax cuts for the rich would lead to more investment which would lead to more jobs which would lead to increased tax revenue so the ta cuts would pay for themselves.

When Reagan took office, the cumulative deficit from 1789 to 1982 was about 900 billion dollars. Reagan increased total national debt by 212%. Trickle down out to be a cascade of pissing all over the average taxpayer. By the time Bush the younger left office 28 years had increased the deficit by over 1,000%. About 840% came from the 5 Republican presidential terms. So much for fiscal discipline.

Yesterday on CNN he said that tax cuts have become a theology for the GOP and the solution for every economic situation.

Then today, the newly elected Senator from Illinois, mark Kirk raised the bar of econimc illiteracy even higher, saying that extending unemployment benefits for 2.5 million Americans just before the4 holiday season is misguided but extending the Bush tax cuts for even the richest Americans at an annual cost of $70 billion (just for the richest 2%) must be extended, "no matter what" without offsetting a penny with cuts elsewhere because tax cuts pay for themselves as the GOP have so ably proved over the past three years.

This time it's not a trickle, but the Niagara Falls of piss.

Haley Barbour calls for rationing care aka 'death panels' under Medicaid

Haley Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi as well as the Chairman of the GOP Governors Association is one of the more powerful Republicans around.

Medicaid provides health care insurance for the poor and for people on disability who are under 65. The recession has caused enrollment to increase 8.5% in fiscal 2010 which for the Federal government ends at the end of the third quarter.

"Rationing health care", isn't that what all the bullshit about 'death panels' was all about. I guess it's not a 'death panel' if it's about the poor and the disabled, it only matters when when it's about deal old grandma.

Barbour is all for it before he was against it. He's probably in favor of privatising it which would make it cost even more but that wouldn't bother Republicans as long as it benefits private health insurance companies.

The war on climate science continues

Tim Phillips, the head of Americans for Prosperity together with the Heritage Foundation are determined to kill all vestiges of environmentalism including thet fight against gloaal warming, the entire EPA and any green technology.

American for Prosperity sounds like such a benign organization. Who could possibly oppose that? In reality, it should be called Rich Americans for even more Prosperity for themselves. It's funded almost entirely by the far right wing Koch brothers who are each worth about $21 billion and change from their oil company. Seeing as the Hummer is no longer being made their druthers would be that everyone drives an Escalade and burns coal right through the winter.

The right gained momentum with the so called 'Climategate" scandal which turned oout be be literally a lot of hot air. Quotes were taken out of context and the final conclusions by the UK government as well as the Universities concerned and scientific peers concluded that the scientists in question could have used alternate methodologies it doesn't change the fact that 'global warming' among climate scientists worldwide is virtually unanimous. Those few out of context quotes have convinced the right that global temperatures are actually cooling.

As soon as the first major snowstorm hits the East Coast they all come out of hiding and bleat in unison "It's snowing, how can that be with 'global warming'".

If you want to read more about the "climategate" scandal this Wikipedia article covers the entire issue.

Phillips also argues that the idea that 'green jobs' can and will be created is a myth. It's not a myth but he would love to turn it into a myth. It's estimated that by 2020 green industry will generate about $2.3 trillion a year worldwide.. The Koch brothers and it seems almost the entire GOP and right wing these days would love to cede that entire industry to the rest of the world. As it is, China is leading the U.S. in many areas of green technology including wind turbines and solar panels.

And the other thing that we’re really pushing with allies is the myth of green jobs. I know many of you have been on this issue as well. What a great balloon to puncture. Because that’s the last leg they have to stand on. You noticed what the president, what the left talks about on this? It used to be the science. Then they began tilting away from the science and saving the polar bears to it’s the right thing to do, you know. And now it’s job creation. They’re literally reduced to a job creation argument. They don’t even talk about the polar bears any more. How sad for the polar bears, right? It’s wrong. But, now it’s job creation argument. That’s the last thing they’ve had. And it’s not a legitimate argument. I think the public is getting that.

More of his idiocy can be read here. if you can stomach it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

GOP Rep. thinks Pilgrims came to America to escape socialism - 100 years before socialism first became an idea

What a nitwit. They came to escape religious prosecution. The first ideas of a 'socialist society' came 100 years later. Hw was talking about Thanksgiving which commeorates how the Indians helped the settlers survive harsh conditions by sharing their food with them. That's socialism we can believe in.

AKIN: It might be helpful to think back and say, there’s more to Thanksgiving than the Pilgrims. They were a group of people who were willing to change the system, to think of different ideas. They came here and separated civil and church governments. They came here and created the model of a written constitution, the idea that the government should be the servant of the people. They came here with the idea that after trying socialism that it wasn’t going to work. They realized that it was unbiblical, that it was a form of theft, so they pitched socialism out. They learned that in the early 1620’s.

The first 'socialist' political party was formed about 200 years later. Their stupidity is endless.

Willie Nelson busted for pot in Texas - Let him be, he's an American icon

Willie Nelson's bus was pulled over in Texas by the border. No surprise when the Border Partol opened the door of the bus and no, surprise, a pungent aroma of pot came wafting out of the bus. The Border Patrol searched the bus and found six ounces of pot. Willie admitted the pot was his and was arrested for possession.

Firstly, WTF is the Border Patrol doing pulling Willie's bus over? Willie is a national treasure, exempt from the petty rules us mortals have to pay. He's smoked pot at the White House and everywhere else he goes. If there is one person in the U.S. who should be immune from the inconvenience of not being able to get stoned it's Willie. Without it Willie wouldn't be Willie.

A couple of years ago the Louisiana state troopers were decent enough to send him on his way after his bus had to stop at a weigh station. I'm sure the State Troopers even posed for a photo or two with Willie before the bus pulled back on the highway.

Willie was decent enough to admit that the pot was his. An apology for inconviencing him would have been sufficient.

Incredible play in Oklahoma - Oklahome State football game

Even if you're not a fan of college football or American football in general this is brilliant. Incredible presence of mind and athleticism.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy birthday - Jimi Hendrix

He would have been 68 today. I am sure he wouldn't have compromised his music if he was still with us today.

Things are going so well in Iraq

we were told peace and freedom would break out in Iraq after we invaded. From an earlier post you can see that the Germans strongly disagreed. The U.S. didn't listen and went ahead with little or no planning. Seven years later and it's getting worse again.

BAGHDAD — A second exodus has begun here, of Iraqis who returned after fleeing the carnage of the height of the war, but now find that violence and the nation’s severe lack of jobs are pulling them away from home once again.

Since the American invasion in 2003, refugees have been a measure of the country’s precarious condition, flooding outward during periods of violence and trickling back as Iraq seemed to stabilize. This new migration shows how far the nation remains from being stable and secure.

Time to invade Iran.

Former GOP Senator: "Republicans have gone overboard"

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) want to retire in 2012 when he is up for election. He supports signing the START nuclear arms treaty with Russia. Republicans are blocking its passage and attacking Lugar for supporting it. The fact that their hero Reagan signed and supported a similar treaty means nothing for the current reality challenged party.

Expect Lugar to be challenged and probably lose the primary to someone Tea Party idiot in 2012. Former GOP Senator John Danforth, a moderate who would be run out od the party today came to Lugar's defense.

“If Dick Lugar,” said John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, “having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”

Mr. Danforth, who was first elected the same year as Mr. Lugar, added, “I’m glad Lugar’s there and I’m not.”

The military and many elder Republicans such as Brent Scrowcroft and James Baker have come out in support of Lugar and the treaty but this is a bridge too far for the current crop of idiots.

Mike Delph an Indiana state senator who is considing running against Lugar in the primary epitomizes the lunacy saying that Lugar needs "to remember Reagan’s philosophy of Peace through Strength.” He did that by negotiating a treaty with the old Soviet Union that mirrors START. Has anyone told these fools that the Cold War is over and the virtually the entire Soviet bloc has happily embraced capitalism.

Like I said - new TSA screening equipment all about the money

Feds: Somali-born teen plotted car-bombing in Ore.

Even before the new TSA porno scanners and groping policies there was enough security to deter any would be terrorist already in the U.S. from trying to blow up a plane.

First we had the Times Square bomber and now the Portland Christmas tree bomber. Thankfully both attempts failed but it should be noted that both selected targets with little or no security. That's two more terrorist attempts in the U.S. than there have been on about 80 million domestic flights since 9/11. In fact, there have been zero attempts on domestic flights since 9/11. Both the 'shoebomber' and the 'underpants bomber' boarded international flights into the U.S. That's where tight security is needed.

Any potential terrorist already inside the U.S. has plenty of tempting targets where there is no or minimal security such as sports events, concerts, shopping malls and anywhere that people gather. Even with the previous less obtrusive security no one intent on terrorism already within the U.S. would even try a domestic flight of which there are over 27,000 a day or over 9 million a year.

It's all about the money. Michael Chertoff, former head of Homeland Security campaigned for the new porno screeners without revealing he was being paid by the manufacturer, Rapiscan. They have also spent about $4.5 million in lobbying efforts, far exceeding their previous spending. Last year the company recorded revenue from government contracts of $17-$20 million. In the first six months of 2010, they have already booked $40 million in government contracts.

At the same time rep John Mica (R-FL) is pushing for privatizing airport security. Needless to say he has been the beneficiary of donations from private security companies. Not that privatizing airport security would change anything for passengers. It will only increase the cost to government so the private companies can profit.

That money spent on lobbyists has more than paid off. Returns on money spent on lobbying pays off far better than investing in jobs, equipment or innovation for corporate America.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leaked documents show the Germans were 100% right about Iraq

A classified document obtained by SPIEGEL shows notes from a meeting between a top German diplomat and Condoleezza Rice just weeks before the Iraq invasion. It shows that the Germans wanted no part of the war, contrary to Bush's claim in his recent memoir that he had the support of Germany.

It's a big "told you so" for the Germans. They predicted virtually every aspect of the disaster in a 90 minute meeting with Condi Rice and made it clear that they wanted no part of it.

According to the notes — all in German — the meeting amounted to 90 minutes of verbal blows, which primarily stemmed from Rice’s “relatively rigorous and uncompromising” defense of the US position. The same notes indicate that [German foreign minister envoy Klaus] Scharioth didn’t budge an inch toward Washington, either. In retrospect, though, they document a high point in German diplomatic history, because the objections and predictions put forward by Berlin on that Tuesday have turned out to be legitimate and correct.

The crux of the German argument was that the political costs of a war in Iraq would be “higher than (the) political returns.” While Rice predicted that Iraq would take advantage of the “opportunities for reconstruction” like the ones Germany enjoyed after 1945, the delegation from Berlin countered that the rapid establishment of a democracy in Baghdad was “not (to be) expected.”

The Germans also predicted that the real beneficiary of a war in Iraq would actually be Iran, and that a US-led attack would further complicate efforts to reach a solution in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Likewise, they prophesied that going to war would precipitate a “terrorist backlash.” Scharioth stressed that it was important “to win over the hearts and minds of the Muslim elite and youths,” according to the notes, and that this was “not to be achieved” by going to war. He also added that doing so would greatly increase the danger of prompting an “influx to Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.”

The full article here.

Palin - who needs innovation - just "drill baby drill"

Sarah Palin was on Fox News last night repeating her favorite theme; 'drill baby drill', repeating the idea that opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling is the solution to all our energy problems.  She dismissed opposition as “extreme politicians over on the left who want to buy into” arguments against drilling from “extreme environmentalists.”

Even the most optimistic estimates of the total oil in ANWR will cover 2 years worth of domestic consumption. It's not entirely insignificant but is nothing more than a band aid.

What is becoming more and more evident is that Republicans reject green innovations, especially if the government is involved in any way. The ridiculous light bulb 'controversy' is enough evidence of that.

Later on Fox News Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) spelled the real issue out clearly.

INSLEE: The fact of the matter is, if we’re going to grow our economy, if we are going to seize the jobs of the next century, we have to get busy focusing our national debate and our national investment on the new clean energy technologies, or China is going to eat our lunch.

China right now is preparing to roll out electric cars, lithium ion batteries, solar cells, cellulosic ethanol. This is where the future of energy is. We’ve a finite resource in oil, just like we had a finite resource in whale oil, and we made a transition. And we have to really focus our national energies in a bipartisan way, I would hope, on finding our way to compete with China to really build new energy sources of the future.

In 2009 China spent $35 billion on 'green energy' while the U.S. spent $18 billion. China is already the largest manufacturer of wind turbines and solar panels. They missed out on the computer revolution but are determined to make up for it in the energy revolution.

By 2020 clean energy is expected to be one of the biggest industries in the worldwide economy, totaling an estimated $2.3 trillion. What are the GOP's policies to compete in this arena? More oil drilling, kill Cap and Trade, neuter the EPA and conduct investigations into climate the claims and methodology of climate scientists.

There are no elected Republican officials at the Federal level any longer who believe in even the possibility that human actions are influencing climate change. When the leading candidate for the House energy committee believes that there is nothing to worry about because God promised he was done messing with the world after Noah's flood you know that we're screwed.

Fox fooled by satirical Onion story about Obama e-mail

The headline read in The Onion read::

Frustrated Obama Sends Nation Rambling 75,000-Word E-Mail

For the people at this was too good to be true.  Obama is losing his mind, yesssss!  Within a couple of minutes it was the headline story on

The first clue may have been checking their e-mail to see if the full e-mail was actually there.  The second clue was a link at the bottom of the article directing readers to to read the full e-mail.  When it comes to convenient "facts" for Fox News due diligence goes right out the window.   Even more ridiculous was the fact that it took about 20 gleeful comments from readers before someone figured out it was a satirical piece from the Onion.  

The Onion had disguised the story by not using their usual url to post the story,, thinking someone was going to bite on the hook.  They caught the biggest one out there.  Fox News itself.  

Here's the link to the article now on The Onion's website.  

It's not the first time conservatives have been suckered in by The Onion.  This satirical video had been floating around the Internet for three years before the right wing blogosphere went into mass hysteria that “Martial Law Plans Revealed.”  A quick Google check would have shown that neither Rep. John Haller of Pennsylvania or the "homeland terrorist preparation bill" existed. 


Republicans don't understand basic economics or basic facts

The GOP want to stop extending unemployment benefits which will cost $12,5 billion but want to extend tax cuts for the richest Americans which will cost about $70 billion a year.

Newt Gingrich recently made a fool of himself when he claimed he couldn't understand tehe stimulative effect of unemployment or food stamps. It's been calculated that $1 of food stamps generate about $1.80 of economic activity while unemployment benefits create $1.61 of economic activity for every dollar. Gingrich questioned the logic behind this voodoo math. It's really quite simple. food stamps and unemployment are spent within 30 days. In the case of food stamps the groceries buy the food from producers who receive income from that and spend some of that income to buy the ingredients and the packaging for the food. easy to understand for anyone using that simple logic which is either beyond Gingrich's grasp or he knows it but refuses to believe it. Unemployment money is also put back into the economy in a hsort period of time for a variety of reasons.

About 2.5 million people could see their unemployment benefits ended in the next month unless Repubicans change their minds. That will, ironically create more unemployment.

Tax cuts for the rich will put anywhere from 10-40 cents of each dollar back into the economy. Neil Cavuto, the so called Fox News economist took issue with that earlier this week when Democratic strategist Chris Hahn said that tax cuts for the rich would generate about 30 cents per dollar on average. Cavuto immediately accused Hahn of making up that number. Not true. The CBO and all serious economists without an ideological axe to grind agree with that.

To quote Upton Sinclair yet again, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Not understanding has become rampant by the right and the result is and will be a policy based on not understanding basic economics. If, or more likely when the economy stalls and unemployment stays at the same level or rises they will continue to 'not understand' but will understand that their job is to blame Obama.

Glenn Beck doesn't understand anything as well

Beck has no clue what 'Net neutrality means' so he's against it. Very simply, net neutrality would give every content provider the same access to the entire bandwidth of the internet. A similar principle is that anyone with any sort of vehicle has the same right of access to the Interstate Highway system. Internet providers want to reserve part of the bandwidth to large and powerful content providers who will pay to reserve some of that bandwidth by paying money to the internet providers for that bandwidth, squeezing smaller content providers to less and therefore slower access.

This blog, which is run and hosted by Google would benefit from the end of 'net neutrality'. I don't want that privilege.

Beck is completely confused by this relatively simple issue. He equates it with the 'Fairness Doctrine". The Fairness Doctrine was introduced in 1949 provide adequate coverage to public issues and that coverage must be fair in reflecting opposing views. It was abolished in 1987. It has given conservatives a distinct advantage in talk radio because the free market has determined that right wing talk radio is far more popular than liberal radio. Perhaps it's because conservatives need to be told what to think while liberals can actually think for themselves. I have no problem with that even though I don't like it.

Recently right wing paranoia has claimed that the Obama administration intends to reintroduce the Fairness Doctrine without a shred of evidence. The delusional Beck thinks that 'net neutrality' is designed to introduce the Fairness Doctine for the internet, once again showing just how ignorant and delusional he is.

This week he said:

Beck: "They want to make sure that you can get the Huffington Post on Fox News." On the November 22 edition of his Fox News program, Beck claimed that net neutrality rules would require conservative news outlets to provide progressive content, falsely comparing net neutrality to the Fairness Doctrine. He added: "They want to make sure that you can get the Huffington Post on Fox News. No, thank you. They're about to control what you see on the Internet."

The full article on his delusion can be read here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

How The New TSA X-Ray Scanners Got Into Airports

The dim bulbs of anti science Republicans

There is a war going on in the GOP world about incandescent light bulbs. Fred Upton who sponsored a bill in 2007 to wean America off traditional high energy consuming light bulbs to more efficient ones is angling to become Chairman of the House energy and commerce committee. It looks like he doesn't stand a chance.

Here is a quote from Freedomworks, the Tea Party favoring group run by former Congressman Dick Armey.

Fred Upton, currently considered the front-runner for chairmanship of the critical House Energy and Commerce committee, is far out of step with the Tea Party movement, the GOP and the American people as a whole. You may have heard Glenn Beck talking about Fred Upton introducing a bill to ban incandescent light bulbs in favor of so-called “environmentally-friendly” alternatives. The truth is, Fred Upton has a Big Government record a mile long, and light bulbs are just the beginning.

Nevermind that the bill doesn't actually ban the traditional light bulb as Freedomworks claims, the bill has spurred more innovation in the past three years with incandescent lights than the previous two decades. Upton is backtracking as fast as he can

There was, in fact, no bill to ban incandescent light bulbs. Because of the advanced light-bulb standards Upton helped pass in 2007, “the incandescent bulb is turning into a case study of the way government mandates can spur innovation,” the New York Times reported last year. “There have been more incandescent innovations in the last three years than in the last two decades.”

The Tea Party movement is increasingly attacking American innovation and 21st-century jobs on all fronts: Rush Limbaugh is leading the charge against the breakthrough Chevy Volt, Republican governors are killing high-speed rail, Glenn Beck is cooking up conspiracy theories about smart grid technology, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is trying to kill the wind industry, and the entire right-wing movement is convinced green jobs are going to destroy the United States economy.

The full article here.

Joe Barton who apologized to BP and suggested taxpayers foot the bill for the cleanup and John Shimkus who doesn't worry about global warming because God promised he wouldn't destroy the world again after he spared Noah and the all the animals.

They hate science, want to teach creationism in schools and refuse to use government policies to spur innovation. Meanwhile the rest of the world is passing us by. Their atavistic worldview, longing for a time that of smplicity and prosperity that exists only in their minds will probably prompt some idiot to suggest bringing back the horse and buggy to create jobs and bury us all in horseshit.

Germany gets it right

During the boom years Germany was derided by the British and America for being far too unadventurous. Germany had the strongest economy in Europe until the financial world figured out how to really grow the economy. While manufacturing in America and Britain declined to about 10% of the economy as outsourcing became the trend the Germans plodded along, relatively doing things the old fashioned way.

But then, Germans have something to honk about. Germany's economy is the strongest in the world. Its trade balance - the value of its exports over its imports - is second only to China's, which is all the more remarkable since Germany is home to just 82 million people. Its 7.5 percent unemployment rate - two percentage points below ours - is lower than at any time since right after reunification. Growth is robust, and real wages are rising.

It's quite a turnabout for an economy that American and British bankers and economists derided for years as the sick man of Europe. German banks, they insisted, were too cautious and locally focused, while the German economy needed to slim down its manufacturing sector and beef up finance.

Even Germany's largest companies are investing far more of their money than large American companies who are sitting on record amounts of cash and now record profits, based more on cutting costs than growing and investing. That can only yield short term results until deman increases significantly and that is a lot less likely with the Republicans blocking any rational economic policies.

In large part, that's due to Germany's system of co-determination, which places an equal number of union and management members on corporate boards. The German metal workers union, IG Metall, has been working with automakers to train workers, for instance, to mass-produce electric cars. "Our goal is to really retain high-value-added manufacturing in Germany," says Martin Allespach, the union's policy director. It's hard to identify any group with real input into corporate conduct that's pursuing such a goal in the United States.

All Republicans and even many Democrats would have a heart attack at the prospect of running a large corporation in that manner. Here Unions need to be crushed and corporations need to operate with as few regulations as possible. Look where it's got us.

Arlo Guthrie - Alices Restaurant, the classic Thanksgiving song

Palin attacks Michelle Obama for her anti-obesity campaign

Even the reliably right wing editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal had praised Michelle Obama's campaign against childhood obesity but for Sarah Palin it's another example of government interference.

Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat. And I know I'm going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track.

It's estimated that health related obesity costs America close to $200 billion a year. The statistics are frightening, especially among children. Type 2 Diabetes, also called adult-onset Diabetes is no longer restricted to adults. Obesity rates for adolescents has tripled since 1980 to almost 20%. Among adults its also tripled to about 30%. Including those who are overweight and obese the number rises to about 70%.

The Wall Street Journal is right on this one.

The Administration wants $10 billion to fund more nutritious school breakfasts and lunches, and here's a modest proposal: Take the money out of U.S. farm subsidies that make unhealthy foods artificially cheap. Most of the excess calories in the American diet come in the form of highly processed starches, and Tufts University's Timothy Wise estimates that since the 1996 farm bill corn and soybeans have been priced 23% and 15% below average production costs.

You'll never hear Palin complain about the farm subsidies mentioned above but trying to educate adults and children about eating well is too much government interference. There was a time when cigarettes were considered healthy. Education put an end to that.

In Palin's dismal world view making "our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track" is the right course so not fighting obesity is a better way, and damn the cost.

America leads the world in obesity and as a rule, the more conservative a state is, tehe more obese its citizens are. In 2009 every state with an obesity rate over 30% is reliably Republican.

If we continue on the path of eating our way to fatness there will be no solution to bringing down health care costs. America has plunged to 49th in the world for longevity, lowest among developed nations and the biggest culptit os obesity. Just getting back to 1980v rates will save the country well over $100 billion a year. We all pay for that no matter how healthy we are and Palin is too stupid to figure that one out.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The classic Sarah Palin turkey pardon fiasco

A Thanksgiving classic

Tom Delay convicted of money laundering

It couldn't have happened to a more deserving person. He and Newt Gingrich were the pioneers of the ugly ideological who gives a shit about the citizens just fuck the Democrats politics that has become hallmark of the GOP.

I hope he gets to spend some time in jail. He was totally corrupt and was lucky not to be prosecuted in the Jack Abramoff scandal as well. Good riddance to the former bug exterminator.

The TSA scanning/groping insanity

Since 9/11 there have been a couple of attempts to blow up planes. Both the shoe bomber and the underpants bombers were on flights that originated from foreign flights. Despite that fact the TSA have stepped up airport security to a level of paranoid hysteria.

There are an average of over 25,000 domestic flights per day in the U.S. That's about 9 million flights a year and over 70 million since 9/11 yet there hasn't been one attempted on flight bombing on a domestic flight.

If a terrorist in the U.S. wants to randomly kill Americans the last way they would do this is on a flight. The security rules in place even before the latest security methods were more than enough of a deterrent.

Sports events, concerts, shopping malls, office buildings are all tempting targets where there is a minimum of security. Terrorists want to cause hysteria and fear. There are so many other avenues where they could do that without detection so any potential terrorist already inside the U.S. would have bringing down a plane at the very bottom of the list of juicy targets.

Are we that stupid? Obviously we are.

Julie London - Perfidia

Phyllis Dillon - Perfidia

An early reggae version of a classic standard covered in countless genres over the years.

The GOP wages war on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Elizabeth Warren has been a tireless fighter for more protection for consumers from the financial world.  Obama put her in charge of setting up the bureau and finding someone to head the bureau.  Republicans are now claiming that this is unconstitutional.  Obviously it is unconstitutional because Obama did it, but aside from that what the fuck is unconstitutional about it?

Their legal argument is that only the appointed head can do that.  The real reason is that Warren is smart and tenacious and Wall Street is very unhappy about that.  One of the letter writers is Spencer Bachus who will likely take the place of Barney Frank in heading the House Financial Services committee in the next Congress that will be seated in January.   Bachus received $132,200 from the securities and investment industry and $88,800 from commercial banks.  Pissed off consumers didn;t give him any money. 

The GOP has also demanded 'rigorous' oversight of the Consumer agency. At the same time 'rigorous' oversight of the financial services industry is, or any oversight for that matter something the GOP wants to kill entirely. They have already stated their intention to defund the agency once it is set up, especially if Warren is involved in any capacity.

The GOP claim that any restrictions on the banks to invest and create derivatives will "impose substantial costs on the American economy" and "may spark a mass exodus of clients." Bachus also targeted other regulations. "The derivatives provisions in Dodd-Frank alone... as they stand now they're going to take a trillion dollars out of our economy. Think how many jobs that's going to kill,"

Bachus obviously lives in an insulated balloon. Hasn't anyone told him thatour current econimic disaster was vastly exacerbates by turning the housing bubble collapse into a total overleveraged derivative based financial disaster that cost, rather than created billions of jobs. The Dodd-Frank financial reform bill won't ban derivatives but would make them more transparent and will prohibit tax payer guaranteed high risk derivatives from being used to finance them. Something that sane is too much for GOP minds to handle. It's Nazism and Communism all rolled into one.

A far saner person than Bachus, Warren Buffett has called derivatives "financial weapons of mass destruction." As Upton Sinclair famously wrote, "It is difficult to get someone to understand something when his paycheck depends on not understanding it." There are 221,000 thousabd reasons for Bachus to make sure he doesn't understand it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Motor trend magazine sticks it to Limbaugh

The Chevrolet Volt has been voted Motor Trend magazine's 'car of the year'.  This is pissed off Rush Limbaugh no end.  In his world, the more gas a caar uses the better it is.   Throw in how pissed he is that the bailout saved Chev and he's been ranting about the Volt for some time now.

He embarrassed himself by saying, “[O]f all the cars in the world, the Chevrolet Volt is the Car of the Year? Motor Trend magazine, that's the end of them. How in the world do they have any credibility? Not one has been sold [and] the Volt is the Car of the Year.”    Rush is beyond embarrassment but the reason none have been sold yet is because they aren't on the market yet.

Motor Trend's editor Todd Lassa nailed the fat drug abusing fuck with the followoing:

So, Mr. Limbaugh; you didn’t enjoy your drive of our 2011 Car of the Year, the Chevrolet Volt? Assuming you’ve been anywhere near the biggest automotive technological breakthrough since … I don’t know, maybe the self-starter, could you even find your way to the front seat? Or are you happy attacking a car that you’ve never even seen in person? [...]
All the shouting from you or from electric car purists on the left can’t distort the fact that the Chevy Volt is, indeed, a technological breakthrough. And it’s more. It’s a technological breakthrough that many American families can use for gas-free daily commutes and well-planned vacation drives. It’s expensive for a Chevy, but many of those families will find the gasoline saved worth it. If you can stop shilling for your favorite political party long enough to go for a drive, you might really enjoy the Chevy Volt. I’m sure GM would be happy to lend you one for the weekend. Just remember: driving and Oxycontin don’t mix.

Lennon NYC debuted on PBS tonight - Watch it when you can

The almost two hour documentary covers the years he spent in America, from New York to Los Angeles and back to New York when he became a father again and seemed to find a peace and contentment that had been missing through much of his life until he was taken from us in one of the most mystifying and insane murders ever committed. 

He touched my life like few others I never met from when I was 11 in 1963 and heard The Beatles music for the first time in my life.  I was on a daze for days after his untimely passing.  More in this tomorrow but it's past 3 in the morning and I have to work in the real world tomorrow. 

Paul Krugman - "There will be blood"

Krugman nails it as usual. The outlook is grim for the next two years at a minimum. The economy will not, and cannot improve because the GOP will do everything in its power to derail anything, including policies they support that will help. They have one goal and that is the continued opposition and vilification of everything Obama.

He writes:

Former Senator Alan Simpson is a Very Serious Person. He must be — after all, President Obama appointed him as co-chairman of a special commission on deficit reduction.

So here’s what the very serious Mr. Simpson said on Friday: “I can’t wait for the blood bath in April. ... When debt limit time comes, they’re going to look around and say, ‘What in the hell do we do now? We’ve got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give ’em a piece of meat, real meat,’ ” meaning spending cuts. “And boy, the blood bath will be extraordinary,” he continued.

Think of Mr. Simpson’s blood lust as one more piece of evidence that our nation is in much worse shape, much closer to a political breakdown, than most people realize

He goes on to write,

The fact is that one of our two great political parties has made it clear that it has no interest in making America governable, unless it’s doing the governing. And that party now controls one house of Congress, which means that the country will not, in fact, be governable without that party’s cooperation — cooperation that won’t be forthcoming.

Elite opinion has been slow to recognize this reality. Thus on the same day that Mr. Simpson rejoiced in the prospect of chaos, Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, appealed for help in confronting mass unemployment. He asked for “a fiscal program that combines near-term measures to enhance growth with strong, confidence-inducing steps to reduce longer-term structural deficits.”

My immediate thought was, why not ask for a pony, too? After all, the G.O.P. isn’t interested in helping the economy as long as a Democrat is in the White House. Indeed, far from being willing to help Mr. Bernanke’s efforts, Republicans are trying to bully the Fed itself into giving up completely on trying to reduce unemployment

We have more widespread exonomic pain than we have seen in America since the Great Depression It could have been far worse. Tarp was enacted in a panicked hurry with too little transparency and far too much deference to Wall Street but without it the damage would have been far worse. Those newly minted deficit hawks including the entire GOP, who were either silent or acquiescent during the Bush years have suddenly found religion. In their view everything the government is, by definition wasteful, except the spending they like or the entitlements they dare not touch. What they will try cut or object to, is every program that helps the people who are hurting the most because they have no say nor power. They will also support everything that helps corporate America and the richest among usin their belief that this is the only way to create jobs.

We did manage to get a stumulus package that helped. It was big enough to stabilize the economy and steady the increase in unemployment bot not big nearly big enough to reach the Obama's ambition goal of it bringing unemployment under 8%, something a second stimulus of similar sizze could have reached but with the eletion of Scott Brown, that possiblity died.

We still got a far from perfect health care bill, which will not be undoone. We got a lukewarm financial reform bill that did stop some of banks and credit ard abuses and for the next two years any attempt to undo that will be met with a veto. In more danger is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which is a step too far for Wall Street and Republicans. We have a Consumer Protection Bureau for thast covers all products but financial products.

Until now consumers have never had a Bureau to protect them against banks, cerdit ard issuers and other financial services. The new bureau with teeth could do that, but if it survives, the GOP will make sure it has as few teeth as possible.

The Volcker Rule, without teeth will give the investment banks license to put taxpayer money at risk again in dubious, opaque financial instrument. Investment banks are paying under 1% giving them virtually free government money. The scope of the Volcker rule has yet to be determined but it's looking more and more likely that it will to Wall Street's liking and taxpayer money will be at risk in the sort of insanely reckless mortgage backed derivatives that brought everything crashing down in the first place.

There are still 7.6 trillion in mortgage backed securities, billions of which have still not made its way onto the banks books. A shotstorm of lawsuits is yet to come from local governments, pensions funds, the banks, the buyers of the derivatives. From the liar's loans issued by companies like Countrywide and Washington Mutual to the investment banks that packaged the securities, the paperless handling of the transfer of titles without following the legal requirements including paying the taxes on each transfer to the robo foreclosures every step has been masisvely fraudulent.

We may never see this level of greed and recklessness but there will be little to stop a lesser version from happening again if the moneyed interests get their way. They have felt little pain and appear to be completely embarrassment proof.

Unemployment insurance could end for 2.5 million people before the end of the year and if it is extended, it will happen only if it is 'paid for' it will be paid for, from a program that helps those who need it a lot more than any of the political puppetmasters. The Bush taxes cuts for the wealthy will be extended for at least a year or two at aminimum but that $83 billion a year will not "be paid" for because it will, as it's proponents naively claim will create so many jobs it will rescue the economy.

This toxic mess will continue little or nothing will pass a GOP controlled house that has already revealed its intentions. There is no center left so there is no point in the Democrats moving into that vacuum. Obama is in a streetfight and he has yet to prove he has the stomach or the will for it. His presidency will be defined by it. His biggest ally could be the GOP who will have to simutaneously battle the truly wacky Tea Party fringe who would be quite happy to see the US default when raising the debt ceiling has to be done next April. That will paas out of necessity but I would never bet on the GOP shooting themselves in the foot feet in the next two years. 

It's going to get ugly and nasty.  That is a given.  Obama should take page out of Harry Truman's story.  In the midterm elections during his first term the Republicans took both houses from the Democrats.   Truman chose to spend the evening on one of his favorite pastimes. playing poker with friends.   When he was told that he had lost both houses, he sent a message to his wife that nothing had changed, he will still do whatever the hell he wants to.

It's unlikely he will win much with that attitude, but he has nothing left to lose.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Socialist light bulbs are going to destroy the American way of life.

New energy saving light bulbs are a 'Socialist' plot so we have to stick with the old high energy consuming incandescent versions, even though George W. signed the bill in 2007 and most Republicans voted for it. One of the three candidates to chair the new House energy committee, Fred Upton so despite his impeccable conservative credentials Glenn Beck has already labeled him a 'socialist'. Joe Barton, one of the others in the running gained fame for his apology to BP voted for the bill in 2007 but is keeping very quiet about that. The third candidate, John Shimkus made it onto an earlier post because he believes that it doesn't matter how much we pollute, God promised he wouldn't destroy the earth again after the flood that allowed Noah to make a name for himself.

If every household in America swapped out one traditional incandescent light bulb for a newer more efficient bulb it would be the equivalent of 800,000 cars off the road. Despite that, any effort to mandate or support a better environment will be dead on arrival for the next two years. If anything can get us out of the current economic morass it will be in creating and inventing alternative energy but with current attitudes, other countries are beating us to the punch.

America owned computers because of our education system, our creative. entrepreneurial spirit and government encouragement, research and spending for NASA etc. The next wave will be green and a huge voting segment has been taught to believe that being green is a socialist plot and 'drill baby drill' and 'burn baby burn' as in coal are the answers. God help us, because God might just decide that we didn't read the small print in his promise not to destroy the earth after the flood and he's pissed off enough to get rid of us and start all over again.

All because of an effing light bulb. Read the article here. Read the article here.

Most of the opposition to the light-bulb law just seems to be cultural: Conservatives don't like the government telling them what to do (unless, of course, it's bedroom-related), and the only benefits of this law are to solve a problem (global warming) that the right doesn't even think exists. That's not a promising sign for energy policy. Cap-and-trade may be dead, but there are still a lot of smaller, relatively non-intrusive measures that could help curb power use, save money, and make the economy more efficient, such as stronger building codes. This isn't some wild-eyed liberal idea; even Ronald Reagan signed a big appliance-standard bill back in 1987. But the odds of small-bore compromise seem low now that even efficient light bulbs are considered unacceptably socialist.

The establishment's strange debt fetish

An exit poll from the recent elections showed a whole 4% of the electorate thought deficits are the nation's #1 problem. Well over 50% thought the economy was the # 1 problem. Deficits are a problem but the best way, in the short term to solve the problem, is to make growing the economy the #1 goal. When George H. Bush and when Bill Clinton raised taxes, guess what. The economy still grew despite all the predictions of doom by the GOP and the deficit shrank. In Clinton's case we even ended up with a surplus. Right now there is no reason not to continue the Bush tax cuts for 98% of the country.

So why the fuck is Washington and the media establishment so obsessed with the deficit? Partly because they have felt absolutely economic no pain in the past two years and can't really relate from their mental fortress in DC.

At least some media pundits get it like Jonathan Chaitof the New Republic.

What's truly bizarre is this idea that it's the most urgent issue to address. Climate change seems clearly more urgent--and, what's more, it's probably irreversible. The economic crisis is also more urgent. But Washington elites are fairly removed from the cataclysmic effects of the economic crisis--they're not losing their homes or living in economic terror. And climate change is a "partisan" issue, unworthy of the urgings of a non-partisan wise man. And so, by dint of the peculiar isolation and sociological demands of the members of the political and media establishments, the deficit must become the top priority.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Punk in Africa

South Africa - it even reached there, when you could be jailed or worse, for speaking out.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

None dare call it sabotage

Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader in the Senate said their number one goal is ensure Obama is a one term president. Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly said that he hopes Obama fails and is not apologetic about it. Put simply, if the economy recovers in the next two years Obama will win re-election in 2012. If it doesn't, he will more than likely lose unless Sarah Palin somehow manages to win the GOP Primary.

Plain and simple, it's in their interests to see the economy oontinue to flounder. The interests of the American people have been subsumed by a strategy of beat Obama at all costs no matter what the collateral damage.

You might start with rejecting the advice of economists and oppose any kind of stimulus investments. You'd also want to cut spending and take money out of the economy, while blocking funds to states and municipalities, forcing them to lay off more workers. You'd no doubt want to cut off stimulative unemployment benefits, and identify the single most effective jobs program of the last two years (the TANF Emergency Fund) so you could kill it.

Read the article here.

What's worse is the so called 'liberal' media and the Democrats don't call them on it. I know it's not easy because they do claim to have a 'plan' but we haven't seen any evidence of it other than more tax cuts for millionaires and more spending cuts, which for all their wishful thinking have never proved to work.

Glenn Beck's continuing war on George Soros

Last week Glenn Beck went on a two day tirade against his favorite bogeyman, George Soros, the billionaire investor.  He started by accusing Soros, a Jew of being a Nazi collaborator in his native Hungary at age 13, helping the Nazis confiscate Jewish property.  The true story is that his father paid a non-Jew to look after his his son when the Nazis invaded Hungary.

Media matters has the full story here.

Beck then went on a tirade accusing Soros of plotting to collapse the American economy as part of the 'one world government' conspiracy, repeating the fact that Soros is Jewish and is a billionaire investor. His rant was remarkably similar to the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion', the fraudulent screed from 1903 that claimed that Jewish bankers were plotting to take over the world which became the cornerstone for Anti Semitism in the 20th century.

Beck has often praised Elizabeth Dilling's 1936 book, The Red Network: A "Who's Who" and Handbook of Radicalism for Patriots. I doubt that he;s actually read the book. I think the title appeals to him and that's good enough for him. If he had taken the time to read the book he would have noticed one glaringly obvious fact. Dilling was an active supporter of Hitler and a virulent anti-Semite.

I don't believe that Glenn Beck is an anti-Semite. He just has no idea how anti-Semitism is conveyed and perpetuated.

This week the war on Soros resumed. The IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America). In 2007 Beck hosted Paul Rieckhoff, the head of IAVA and had this to say,

BECK: Let me tell you something. If you are a vet and you’re watching this show and you’ve got a problem, you either get it to Paul and his organization or you get it to me. This is absolutely inexcusable. And we will take care of it. Its the right thing to do.

Things change. IAVA recently rated congress on their support of veterans from the two wars. 154 Congressmen received a 'D' or an 'F', 142 of them were Republicans, 94 received an 'A' or an 'A+', 91 of them were Democrats.

On his radio show this week a caller said,

CALLER: The next day and checked them out online and come to find out that they’re actually funded by which totally shocked me. I mean my heart literally just dropped. And I immediately came home and I told my boyfriend, “You are not going to believe what I found out today. George Soros has his hands even in the military. In our American military.” And I was very very disturbed by this.

She claimed she read it somewhere on the Internet. That was proof enough for Beck who then launched into a new tirade on Soros, Move-On, the SEIU and communists who are trying to take over the country by infiltrating the military and everything else. I guess for Beck having someone tell him they read it somewhere on the internet is proof enough as long as it fits into his worldview. There is no evidence that either Move-On or Soros is funding IAVA. As a philanthropist he may have donated money to IAVA but all IAVA are doing is making sure that vets from our current wats are being taken care of, something that Republicans are ignoring, judging by IAVA's rating of congressional support. The GOP are happy to send our men off to war but can't be bothered with them once they return. Shame on them for that.

Hey I read on the internet that Glenn Beck is the devil and he abuses children. It must be true then.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Jon Stweart: Glenn Beck the Manchurian Lunatic

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
George Soros Plans to Overthrow America
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

Mike Huckabee needs to go back to school to study civics

He could also do with a course in logic because he doesn't understand that either. 

A few weeks ago he said health insurance companies shouldn't have to insure anyone with a pre-existing condition.  He compared that to someone trying to get insurance after their house has burned down.   He's also an ordained Southern Baptist Minister.  This puts him at odds with that radical Communist, Pope Benedict XVI who recently said that health care is an 'inalienable right' and that every country should strive to provide universal coverage. 

Insurance companies have used the flimsiest of reasons for denying coverage such as hay fever, high blood pressure, migraines, pregnancy and even being a victim of domestic abuse.   Compare that to his analogy of the burned down house and you have to scratch your head to figure out his logic. 

In a recent radio interview he claimed that lawmakers can ignore Supreme Court rulings if they disagree with the ruling, negating one of the basic principles of government which is the separation of powers.  He said:

A president has certainly got to respect a ruling of the court, but if the ruling of a court is wrong, and it’s fundamentally wrong, and you have two branches of the government that determine that it’s wrong, then those other two branches supersede the one.
While Congress can pass a law overruling a Supreme Court ruling his words render the Constition as something that lawmakers can opt out of merely because they don't like what it says.  Re[ublicans revere the Constitution or at least the parts of it that they like.  How does his logic explain, "Congress shall make no law respecting an established religion."

Huckabee has also been an outspoken critic of the health care bill, even calling it unconstitutional.   How that squares with his quote above defies logic.   Then again. the hew right in America habitually declares anything they don't like as 'unconstitional'.

Blind Faith - Sea of Joy - 1969

Those were the days.

Head scratching time

Somewhat related to the previous post about how the health insurance industry was able to use their new freedom to pump unlimited and anonymous amounts of money into the electoral system is that it has become so much easier to befuddle Americans in the screech of a 30 second political ad.

Consider these exit poll numbers from the recent election. 

35% of voters blamed Wall Street bankers for the current econimic crisis.
29% blamed George W. Bush
23% blamed Barack Obama.  

For anyone who had spent the last year stuck on a deserted island  with more sense than a five year old would look at those numbers and automatically assume the Democrats would do quite well in the election, knowing that Republicans and Wall Street Bankers tend to be rather fond of each other.  

Except that 56% of people who blamed the Wall Street Bankers voted for the Republican candidate.   Republicans campaigned on reform, though they adeptly sidestepped exactly what they wanted to reform other than platitudes to the "usual way they do business in Washington". 

They were quite specific when it came to health care and wall street reform.   In those two cases they campiagned on reforming the reform that had already been signed into law and reforming it back to what had created the current mess in the first place. 

All that this proves is that even though you can't fool all the people all the time you can fool enough people to get elected, especially since the Supreme Court voted to let those with the most resources spend as much as they want to fool the American people. 

The 'Reform' that people voted for will allow banks to go back to squeezing as much as they can out of the average citizen with credit card interest rates, bank fees, overdraft charges while not letting customers opt out of the privilege of being overcharged.  It will also allow investment banks to borrow taxpayer guaranteed money from the Fed at current interest rates which can be lower than 1% and use that money to create new derivatives with minimal capital requirements, make money betting against them while simultaneously selling them just the way they did business in the past few years.

They will also do their utmost to kill or cripple the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which, according to Jeb Henserling,  a Republican congressman from Texas, "assaults the liberties of the consumer."   I assume in his up is down world the average citizen needs to have the right to allow himself to be bamboozled by a credit card agreement with 25 pages of legalese in fine print that is almost impossible to read, never mind understand.  

After the 2004 election defeat of John Kerry I consoled myself by accepting the idea that America needed another 4 years of George W. Bush to come to its senses and to finally rid itself of the far right fanatical version that is the current GOP.   That obviously wasn't enough.  The anarchist in me is starting to think we will need 4 years of President Palin with a GOP majority in both houses to wake this country up except that by then it will be far too late.  

$86 million just to the US Chamber of Commerce to stop health care reform

That's how much the health insurance industry funneled into the US Chamber of Commerce alone in the past year to stop health care reform.  Much of that was spent convincing a significant chunk of older Americans that 'Obamacare' was going to cut their Medicare, which is not what the bill is designed to do in the first place. 

Throughout the election season it seemed such a contradiction that the Republicans who have always wanted to pare back entitlements such as Medicare were suddenly attacking the Democrats for allegedly doing what they have always intented to do.

Apart from that, the Republican propaganda was a complete and utter lie.  There are two types of Medicare.  One is run durectly by the government while the other, Medicare Advantage gives senior citizens vouchers to buy pay for private insurance.   Both offer the same services.  No prize for guessing which one cost the government more.   It's the voucher system by a whopping 14%. The $500 billion in proposed Medicare cuts in the health care bill is designed to cut the payments to insurance companies, hospitals and doctors without cutting services to patients so the real winners will be the taxpayers. 

It's a matter of faith to Republicans that the private sector is always more efficient and less costly than the government.  The try to prove this by being as wasteful and inefficient as possible when they are running the government.  

Needless to say that the 50 million Americans who choose not to, or can't afford health insurance spent about $0.00 trying to influence voters and politcians. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fox News President : "NPR run by Nazis"

Roger Ailes, head of 'fair and balanced' Fox news referred to NPR as being run by Nazis.  There was a time in American politics that you could call a politician anything but a Nazi.   In a well remembered incident, at least by Democrats, called for followers to submit their video takes on the Bush Presidency.  Thousands were submitted.  Among them, one called Bush a Nazi.   MoveOn removed it as soon as they realized what the content was and they never aired it, other that posting it, along with all the other videos on  their website.  It was there for no more than a couple of hours.

The right went apeshit.  In the Tea Party era calling someone a Nazi has become common, at least on the right,, prompted, partly by books such as Jonah Goldberg's nonsensical 'Liberal Fascism'.   Google 'Obama Nazi' and you get well over 5 million hits.

Ailes has since apologized.  Big fucking deal.   Something this absurd should never have even entered the brain of a head of a national Cable News Network......and of all things calling NPR (National Pulbic Radio) Nazi's.  NPR has often been targeted as being a liberal dominated media outlet but NPR, over the years has become far more evenly balanced than any of the cable new networks.    It's national news is straight down the middle.   What it doesn't resort to are the screaming matches on the other cables with pundits talking over each other.  They actually report news.   Their other programming tends towards the pointy headed but without any political bent.  

In the current climate, where ignorance and parochialism are cherished values anything that isn't that is automatically suspect.   The GOP's first bill since the election is to defund NPR.  NPR survives on some Federal money and fund drives.  In the current economic climate, defunding NPR could cause it to disappear.  That would be tragic for the voices of reason and intelligence, which, in the minds of today's right is the same as being a Nazi.  Strange world. 

Beatles - Twist & Shout (live in 65)

Apple (the music company) has finally allowed The Beatles catalog to be sold on ITunes.   A coup for the other Apple but it won't exactly save the music industry.

GM bailout: Entire GOP predicted failure and disaster

Remember when the GOP predicted President Clinton's economic policies would lead to a recession and or worse.  A balanced budget, a booming economy and 23 million jobs created proved them to be utterly wrong. 

They never learn.  Here was what they said when Obama bailed out GM. 

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH): “Does anyone really believe that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington can successfully steer a multi-national corporation to economic viability?” [6/1/09]
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL): “It’s basically going to be a government-owned, government-run company. …It’s the road toward socialism.” [5/29/09]
RNC Chairman Michael Steele: “No matter how much the President spins GM’s bankruptcy as good for the economy, it is nothing more than another government grab of a private company and another handout to the union cronies who helped bankroll his presidential campaign.” [6/1/2009]
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC): “Now the government has forced taxpayers to buy these failing companies without any plausible plan for profitability. Does anyone think the same government that plans to double the national debt in five years will turn GM around in the same time?” [6/2/09]
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA): “Unfortunately, this is just another sad chapter in President Obama’s eager campaign to interject his administration in the private sector’s business dealings.” [6/2/09]
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX): The auto company rescues “have been the leading edge of the Obama administration’s war on capitalism.” [7/22/09]
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ): When government gets involved in a company, “the disaster that follows is predictable.” [7/22/09]
The new GM went public today in the largest IPO in history.   While the Fed has no been made whole yet on the bailout they are on the way there.  The IPO helped them recoup $22 billion of the $50 billion bailout.   It also saved hundreds of thousands of jobs, preventing a huge drain on the government in unemployment benefits and lower tax revenues.   Watching CNN this morning, the economic talking heads never even considered that aspect of the bailout when discussing the economic cost of the bailout.

Ov er 80,000 jobs were directly saved and another 59,000 jobs have been added since then.  I am no economist but just the unemployment insurance on those jobs would have cost about $56 million a month.  Add in other jobs with suppliers etc that would have been lost and the revenue in taxes that both GM, now profitable, and the workers would pay and the benefit must be at least a few billion a year.  

One other interesting fact is that GM now sells more cars in China than in the U.S.  

The GOP are almost always on the wrong side in economic arguments.  The facts do not disprove that. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Louie Gohmert of "terror babies" fame is a complete idiot

Louie Gohmert, the GOP Congressman from Texas gained fame notoriety with his ludicrous paranoia about Muslim 'anchor' babies who will come return about 20 years later to blow us all up makes Sarah Palin look like an intellectual giant,

Here's what he said on the House floor.  There have been some dumb things said in Congress but this one could be an all time winner. 

GOHMERT: The only good news I see out of that is that for so long, I've been greatly concerned with the hypocrisy of this administration telling Israel, "Just let Palestinians build illegal settlements and take over areas that are not theirs. Just let 'em take over." And I thought, "How hypocritical for our U.S. administration to tell Israel, 'just let people take over areas of your country they're not authorized to takeover,' cause we would never allow that here in the U.S." Which brings me to the only good thing about violent illegal alien drug smugglers taking over American soil: At least we're not hypocritical anymore when we tell Israel just to let people take over land that's not theirs. Because now this administration can say, "Look, Israel, we're doing it here. We're letting people take over American soil that they shouldn't. So you can do it, too."

What world does Gihmert live in and more importantly how is he even able to dress himself in the morning?

Quick Hits

The Soviets are out to get us.

Sen Tom Barrasso (R-WY) opposes the START Treaty because of the 'Soviet threat'. Just to make sure he referred to Russia as the 'Soviets' twice in the same interview. I know it takes a while for news to reach Wyoming but the 'Soviets'. In America these days the one job you can get needs absolutely no qualifications except the endorsement of a sufficient amount of people as dumb as you are.

GOP blocks bill for equal pay law for women
The vote in the Senate was unanimous. They still regret giving women the right to vote.

GM set for the biggest IPO in history

The federal bailout of GM saved an estimated 1 million jobs when you add in their many parts suppliers, dealers and the businesses in the communities where GM or its suppliers have operations. The right are still railing against it, calling GM Government Motors. Consider the negative consequences had GM closed its doors. 1 million less people paying taxes and instead receiving unemployment checks from the government. That unemployement would have cost over $1 billion a month alone. That would also be 1 million people and their families abruptly cutting their spending, except for the vital necessities hurting all businesses in their communities. It would have meant a lot more foreclosures which is the last thing we need right now.

Fox News 'fair and balanced' but never when it comes to Obama

On the same day that Rupert Murdoch was claiming that Fox is 'fair and balanced' in an interview with Howard Kurtz, the lambaste Obama about a children's book he wrote. It's called "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters" and praises 13 great Americans, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Neil Armstrong, Cesar Chavez and Chief Sitting Bull.

Fox's headline was "Obama Praises Indian Chief Who Killed U.S. General." I guess in Fox's eyes American Indians are not 'real Americans' and what right did they have to fight back when the 'real Americans' stole their lands and tried to kill most of their people.

It was probably tough for Fox to decide between that headline and the alternative, "Obama praises Communist Labor agitator who claims he was born in the U.S.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gimme mine and screw everyone else

New GOP Congressman, Andy Harris, who ran on repealing health care reform, threw a minor hissy fit during orientation for Congressional freshmen when he began bitching about not getting his Government health insurance until he officially assumes office in January. 50 million Americans don't have any access to health insurance and he obviously doesn't give a damn about that, but deny him his insurance for a little more than a month and he has a shit fit.

At the same time he's come out and said that he will vote against raising the U.S. debt ceiling, just as long as he gets his cut of the debt. Not raising the debt ceiling will cause a worldwide economic shitstorm but parochial idiots like Harris don't understand a damn thing about the bigger picture and why we are in the mess that we are.

Smokey Robinson - The Tracks Of My Tears Live (1965)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Medical marijuana sqeaks by in Arizona

It look less than a 5,000 vote majority out of 1.67 million votes cast but victory in Arizona was a bit surprising considering the overall conservative nature of the population and that this election brought out an order demographic than most elections. On the other hands, conservatives in the West tend to have a more libertian streak than those in the Midwest for example. In the West medical marijuana i supported by 55% of all voters, but only 36% in the Midwest. I guess they prefer their traditional drugs back there, oxycontin, aka 'hillbilly heroin' and crystal meth.

Matt Taibbi on the Tea Party and Michelle Bachmann

Bachmann is the perfect symbol of the Dumb and Dumber approach to high finance. She makes a great show of saying things that would get a kindergartner busted to the special ed bus -- shrieking, for instance, that AmeriCorps was a plot to force children into liberal "reeducation camps" (Bachmann’s own son, incidentally, was a teacher in an AmeriCorps program), or claiming that the U.S. economy was "100 percent private" before Barack Obama’s election (she would later say Obama in his first year and a half managed to seize control of "51 percent of the American economy").

When the Chinese proposed replacing the dollar as the international reserve currency, Bachmann apparently thought this meant that the dollar itself was going to be replaced, that Americans would be shelling out yuan to buy six-packs of Sprite in the local 7-Eleven. So to combat this dire threat she sponsored a bill that would "bar the dollar from being replaced by any foreign currency." When reporters like me besieged Bachmann’s office with calls to ask if the congresswoman, a former tax attorney, understood the difference between currency and reserve currency, and to ask generally what the hell she was talking about, her spokeswoman, Debbee Keller, was forced to issue a statement clarifying that "she’s talking about the United States . . . The legislation would ensure that the dollar would remain the currency of the United States."

We live in an increasingly complex world. Few can understand the world of high finance and just how and why our economy ended in a train wreck. It wasn't vecause of too much government or too many regulation but rather because a cadre of smart people understood just how to manipulate complex financial instruments for their short term gain and rhe average person's long term lost. Returning to a 'simpler' time and relying in the intentionally vague Constitution will help no-one, If anything , it will lead to more of the same.

That vague argument resonated with the frustrated masses which i why the Tea Party was so successful in the elections. That and the fact that the system allows those very ame 'smart' people to pout billions into political campaign to befuddle the populace even more into voting for politicians who will only allow more of the same.

Anti-intellectualism has become the flavor du jour when just the opposite is called for. Read it all here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I can't get this image out of my mind from 2000

As soon as the Supreme Court stopped the recount in Florida this mock Time magazine cover popped up on the internet.  It was prescient then and it's  more true now than it has ever been.

And then there was this even more prescient piece from The Onion after Bush was inaugurated.

WASHINGTON, DC–Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."

The Who - My Generation

The Asian Century - and the twilight of American dominance

China's economy will be bigger than America's in about a decade. Obama's trip to Asia was less than stellar, not because of Obama, but because America's standing in Asia has lost much of its power.

Add to this the peculiar obsessions of the Washington power elite, with regard to Iran for instance, and you have an unpalatable mix. These all-American fixations are viewed as an inconvenience or worse in Asia, where powerful regional hegemons are increasingly determined to chart their own courses, even if in public they continue to humor a somewhat addled and infirm Uncle Sam.

Although the United States is still the world’s largest economy, it is shackled by enormous public and private debt as well as fundamental weaknesses. Rivaled by an increasingly integrated European Union, it is projected to be overtaken economically by China in just over a decade. While the president’s first stop, India, now has a nominal gross domestic product of only a little over a trillion dollars a year, it, too, is growing rapidly, even spectacularly, and its GDP may well quadruple by the early 2020s. The era of American dominance, in other words, is passing, and the time (just after World War II) when the U.S. accounted for half the world economy, a dim memory.

From Juan Cole, who has a better grasp on political realities in Asia than most. Link to the full story.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Matt Taibbi : In America it's more shameful to owe money than to steal it

For most people, the former bit about homeowners not paying their damn bills is the important part, while the latter, about the sudden and strange inability of the world's biggest and wealthiest banks to keep proper records, is incidental. Just a little office sloppiness, and who cares? Those deadbeat homeowners still owe the money, right? "They had it coming to them," is how a bartender at the Jacksonville airport put it to me.

But in reality, it's the unpaid bills that are incidental and the lost paperwork that matters. It turns out that underneath that little iceberg tip of exposed evidence lies a fraud so gigantic that it literally cannot be contemplated by our leaders, for fear of admitting that our entire financial system is corrupted to its core — with our great banks and even our government coffers backed not by real wealth but by vast landfills of deceptively generated and essentially worthless mortgage-backed assets.

Taibbi has by far doen the best reporting on the mortgage mess. Read the whole report, although it will raise your blood pressure. The contrast this with idiots like Pat Caddell in my previous post who think the solution to all of America's problems are for Obama to announce he won't run for a second term.

Why don't the banks want us to see the paperwork on all these mortgages? Because the documents represent a death sentence for them. According to the rules of the mortgage trusts, a lender like Bank of America, which controls all the Countrywide loans, is required by law to buy back from investors every faulty loan the crooks at Countrywide ever issued. Think about what that would do to Bank of America's bottom line the next time you wonder why they're trying so hard to rush these loans into someone else's hands.

When you meet people who are losing their homes in this foreclosure crisis, they almost all have the same look of deep shame and anguish. Nowhere else on the planet is it such a crime to be down on your luck, even if you were put there by some of the world's richest banks, which continue to rake in record profits purely because they got a big fat handout from the government. That's why one banker CEO after another keeps going on TV to explain that despite their own deceptive loans and fraudulent paperwork, the real problem is these deadbeat homeowners who won't pay their fucking bills. And that's why most people in this country are so ready to buy that explanation. Because in America, it's far more shameful to owe money than it is to steal it.

Pat Caddell - token Fox News pretend Democrat is an idiot

Pat Caddell was a pollster and political adviser to Jimmy Carter. Back then, there were reasonable and sane Republicans and the parties could actually co-operate to a certain degree. Caddell lost it during the 2000 Florida recount debacle, not only suggesting Gore should concede but offering some truly delusional reasons as to why Bush was the clear winner,

Since then he makes a living by playing a pretend Democrat on Fox News and writing the sort of idiotic drivel published by the Washington Post in tomorrow's edition.

To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012.

If the president goes down the reelection road, we are guaranteed two years of political gridlock at a time when we can ill afford it. But by explicitly saying he will be a one-term president, Obama can deliver on his central campaign promise of 2008, draining the poison from our culture of polarization and ending the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity and common purpose.

And that will suddenly cause the Republicans to start working with the Democrats to actually solve the country's problems and the GOP will miraculously transform themselves from the party of "Hell No" to the party of, "Hell Yea, let's help the American people together with the Democrats."

The GOP are only interested in lowering taxes for the richest Americans, gutting any and all regulations and stopping any legislation that might help the average citizen such as extending unemployment, supporting real financial reform, real health care reform etc. Jesus himself could be President and the GOP still won't give an inch,

This article in the Huffington Post dissects this piece of drivel point by point. The paragraph I quoted is not even close to the level of absurdity of the piece.