Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oh, this is good!

Just recently we learned that the Conservatives know better than God what should be in the Bible and none of it is that liberal crap spewed by his kid Jesus. Now, through the good offices of Kiss My Big Blue Butt, we learn the Top 5 passages of the New Conservative Bible.
The Top 5 Passages From the Conservative Bible

5. Jesus spoke on the mount and just as he said "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," a lone voice in the crowd shouted, "You lie!"

4. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a liberal-controlled Congress to pass a health-care bill.

3. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Not that I have any objections to capital punishment, you understand...

2. So the Lord God banished the brown people from the gated community of Eden, allowing them to returneth only during the day with landscaping tools.

And the Number 1 Passage From the Conservative Bible...

1. And Moses spake at the burning bush: "That'll teach you to run around with every man in town, you harlot! Now go get a shot of penicillin."
It's gonna be one hell of a book when they are done.

Matt Taibbi out lines the Crime of the Century

And as the century is still young, we can reasonably expect worse to come, unless we pick up our pitchforks and torches. Matt writes a long one here and it would be very hard to excerpt but when your article starts with
Wall Street has turned the economy into a giant asset-stripping scheme, one whose purpose is to suck the last bits of meat from the carcass of the middle class.
And
We're in a place we haven't been since the Depression: Our economy is so completely fucked, the rich are running out of things to steal.
You just know there is a lot to read and understand in what he writes. And you should be very scared when he can end by saying
The nation's largest financial players are able to write the rules for own their businesses and brazenly steal billions under the noses of regulators, and nothing is done about it. A thing so fundamental to civilized society as the integrity of a stock, or a mortgage note, or even a U.S. Treasury bond, can no longer be protected, not even in a crisis, and a crime as vulgar and conspicuous as counterfeiting can take place on a systematic level for years without being stopped, even after it begins to affect the modern-day equivalents of the Rockefellers and the Carnegies. What 10 years ago was a cheap stock-fraud scheme for second-rate grifters in Brooklyn has become a major profit center for Wall Street. Our burglar class now rules the national economy. And no one is trying to stop them.
Bow down before the new masters.

GOP, the party of Misogyny, as God wanted it

Over at the Great Orange Stan, Steve Singiser points out the unspoken side of Teabaggers, women and moderates not welcome. And if you are both, forget about it.

Halloween Music Blogging

For tonight is the night


Non Sequitur gets it



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Gosharoonie! Isn't this convenient?

From the NY Times:
Abdullah Abdullah, the chief rival to President Hamid Karzai, will announce on Sunday his decision to withdraw from the Nov. 7 run-off election, effectively handing a new five-year term to Mr. Karzai, according to Western diplomats here and people close to Mr. Abdullah.

But Mr. Abdullah seemed to be keeping his options open until the last second, as he has done through the Afghan political crisis. Those close to him, speaking on condition of anonymity on Saturday, said he was still trying to decide whether to publicly denounce Mr. Karzai, whom he has accused of stealing the Aug. 20 election, or to step down without a fight.

American and other Western diplomatic officials said late Saturday that they were worried that a defiant statement by Mr. Abdullah could lead to violence and undermine the credibility of Mr. Karzai,
I don't think they need worry about the last part, anything left unsaid by Mr. Abdullah will probably be filled in by Karzai of the Afghans or his brother soon enough.

Alzheimers creates holes in the brain

Was that what caused the sudden swiss cheese like memory of VP Dickwahd alCheney when he was interviewed by the FBI? For years Dickwahd was known for remembering everything and forgetting nothing so one has to ask if the FBI zapped Dickwahd with their top secret Alzheimer Ray Gun during the interview. Mother Jones has a partial list of the items Dickwahd could not remember.
# Whether the Wilson trip was discussed during any of the visits he made to the CIA with his Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby.
# Any reaction he had to Nicholas Kristof's New York Times' article about the Wilson visit at the time the article was published.
# Whether he discussed the Wilson situation with George Tenet at their meeting on June 10, 2003.
# Who he spoke to about Joe Wilson's July 6, 2003 editorial (he did remember speaking to someone, but not who it was).
# What happened to the Joe Wilson op-ed after he wrote on it suggesting that Valerie Plame Wilson had sent Joe Wilson on a "junket," and put it in his outbox.
# Any specific advice he gave his press people in the May-June 2003 timeframe regarding the Wilson trip to Niger.
# Whether he discussed the Wilson situation with Eric Edelman, one of his national security advisers.
# Whether Cathie Martin, his press secretary, entered his office while both he and Scooter Libby were present and advised both of them that Joe Wilson's wife was employed by the CIA.
# Discussing Joe Wilson or Wilson's wife with his former press secretary Mary Matalin, although he said it was possible.
# Ever discussing Valerie Plame Wilson with Libby prior to the publication of Novak's column.
# Whether Scooter Libby knew about Valerie Plame Wilson on July 12, the day before the publication of the Novak column.
# If Libby ever told Cheney he had independent knowledge of Valerie Plame Wilson's covert identity
Whoa! Who knew being VP was so hard on an old man's memory?

Does Tiny Tim Geithner have any idea what is going on?

It certainly does not appear to be the case in Illinois banking. There was Tiny Tim in the morning handing out a bright shiny $50 million grant to Park National Bank and in the evening there was the FDIC closing another insolvent bank, Park National Bank.
The timing was awkward. The government shut down $4.7 billion-asset Park National on the same day that its community development arm, Park National Bank Initiatives, received $50 million from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at a ceremony in Chicago. That money is intended to stimulate investment in low-income communities on such projects as charter schools, health clinics and stores.

The 30 branches of Park National will reopen Saturday under the banner of U.S. Bancorp. The failure of the FBOP banks is expected to cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. about $2.5 billion.
Oops! And for the record, does anyone expect US Bancorp to make any local low income community investments? I didn't think so.

A public service announcement


Friday, October 30, 2009

Lawrence O'Donnell bitch slaps those rat bastard Cheneys

And the contempt in his voice is most obvious.

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Your Two Minute Ed

With his guest tonight Dennis Kucinich

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Krugman looks at health care

And he approves of what has come forth. He acknowledges that it is not perfect but it is a quantum leap from the sad state we are currently in. And he takes a minute to strip the last fig leaf of argument from "Joe the Whore" Liebermann.
I won’t try to psychoanalyze the “naysayers,” as Mr. Orszag describes them. I’d just urge them to take a good hard look in the mirror. If they really want to align themselves with the hard-line conservatives, if they just want to kill health reform, so be it. But they shouldn’t hide behind claims that they really, truly would support health care reform if only it were better designed.

For this is the moment of truth. The political environment is as favorable for reform as it’s likely to get. The legislation on the table isn’t perfect, but it’s as good as anyone could reasonably have expected. History is about to be made — and everyone has to decide which side they’re on.
Which side are you on.

And now they come for the Daily Show

There is a sizable segment of the Jewish populations of America and Israel who view the Palestinians as no better than the Jews were in the eyes of the Nazis. They have accumulated money and influence and will attack any who might try to recognize the humanity of the Palestinians, as Jon Stewart did.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti Extended Interview Pt. 2
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis


Watch and learn and make your own decisions, but don't let a bunch of foreign teabaggers take away our Daily Show.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Charlie Brown - Part 3



Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Your Two Minute Ed

And he is smokin' tonight over the shortcomings in the Pelosi bill.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


Jon Stewart bleeds for health care

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Public Option Limited
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Oily Titz loses another one

But you know this is not really news, it is more like saying the sun rises in the east. If anyone wants to dig up some real news, they could find out who is throwing money at this brainless America hating twit to keep her going.

Pat Oliphant scares the little people



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Obama views the fruits of his decisions

Something that his predecessor did not want to even hear about.
President Obama traveled to Dover Air Force Base early Thursday morning, where he met with family members and paid his respects as the bodies of 18 Americans killed this week in Afghanistan were returned to the United States.

It was the president’s first trip to the Delaware air base, the main point of entry for the nation’s war dead to return home. The trip was a symbolic one for Mr. Obama — intended to convey the gravity of his decision as he moves closer to announcing whether he will send more troops to Afghanistan.
I hope he paid close attention to the families there. Right now he is trying to decide how many more families he will do this to.

Rachel and Glen shine a light on Joe the Whore

Watch Our Lady of the Cables, assisted by Glen Greenwald, detail the crooked path of the Whore of Bridgeport. Extra: dirt on Birch Bayh's idiot son.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

your Two Minute Ed

Targeting Teabaggers tonight.

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Charlie Brown - Part 2

Part 1 is here



Part 3 will follow

Dick Durbin Does a Poll

He wants to know howyou feel about various shadings of the public option, grading 0 through 10. Give him the good word.

eBay kills killers auction

From McClatchy:
An eBay auction planned by abortion opponents to raise money for the man accused of killing Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller will not be permitted, company officials said Tuesday.

"Based on the details we know about the anticipated listings, we believe these would violate our policy regarding offensive material," the company said in a statement to The Kansas City Star. "eBay will not permit the items in question to be posted to the eBay site, and they will be removed if they are posted."

Rachel and Jane on Judas Joe

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The CIA Connection

It has long been known that Karzai of the Afghans' brother is a major player in the opium trade, but there is more.
Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.’s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Mr. Karzai’s home.
Now you know why the CIA guy always has the best shit at those embassy parties. You also know why much of the information supplied by the CIA is shit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Charlie Brown



Parts 2 & 3 to follow

Your Two Minute Ed

Watch Ed lay down some smack on Judas Joe and a challenge to appear on his show.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy



Judas Joe won't appear because when you spread bullshit you don't want to defend it.

The Not News Moment of the Day

From notorious slime bucket and spooge sucker Judas Joe Lieberman. Up to now he has been remarkably quiet on health insurance reform, but you know he hates the idea. When your wife is a lobbyist for the thieves he just has to say he will stop it or no more hand jobs from Haddassah.
"I told Senator Reid that I'm strongly inclined--i haven't totally decided, but I'm strongly inclined--to vote to proceed to the health care debate, even though I don't support the bill that he's bringing together because it's important that we start the debate on health care reform because I want to vote for health care reform this year. But I also told him that if the bill remains what it is now, I will not be able to support a cloture motion before final passage. Therefore I will try to stop the passage of the bill."
If there really was a God, old Judas Joe would have been a crispy critter long before now.

EXTRA: Needles to say there is plenty of video footage of Judas Joe talking out of the other side of his ass.

For years he moved us to tears of rage

And now he will move us for $19.00.

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We have met the enemy, and he is us

Walt Kelly was so right and so ahead of the times when he wrote those words. Today Bob Herbert looks at, and deplores the passive condition of the American citizenry. To him there is only one course of action.
Being an American has become a spectator sport. Most Americans watch the news the way you’d watch a ballgame, or a long-running television series, believing that they have no more control over important real-life events than a viewer would have over a coach’s strategy or a script for “Law & Order.”

With that kind of attitude, Andrew Goodman would never have left the comfort of his family home in Manhattan. Rosa Parks would have gotten up and given her seat to a white person, and the Montgomery bus boycott would never have happened. Betty Friedan would never have written “The Feminine Mystique.”

The nation’s political leaders and their corporate puppet masters have fouled this nation up to a fare-thee-well. We will not be pulled from the morass without a big effort from an active citizenry, and that means a citizenry fired with a sense of mission and the belief that their actions, in concert with others, can make a profound difference.

It can start with just a few small steps. Mrs. Parks helped transform a nation by refusing to budge from her seat. Maybe you want to speak up publicly about an important issue, or host a house party, or perhaps arrange a meeting of soon-to-be dismissed employees, or parents at a troubled school.

It’s a risk, sure. But the need is great, and that’s how you change the world.
This is not something you can hire someone to do for you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Those were the days.


Iceland shows how it is done.

And it is not an easy process, nor one you would want to initiate yourself, but Iceland is enjoying an unexpected benefit of the economic crisis that has devalued the currency.
Iceland’s McDonald’s Corp. restaurants will be closed at the end of the month after the collapse of the krona eroded profits at the fast-food chain, McDonald’s franchise holder Lyst ehf said.

McDonald’s in Iceland, which imports most of the ingredients it uses in its meals, will shut after costs doubled over the past year, Lyst said in an e-mailed statement today. The franchise holder said it doesn’t expect the situation to change in the short term.
Doing it the hard way, but they will be a better country for it.

Harry did it!

He is putting a public option plan in the Senate bill, 60 votes needed to remove it, and says he has to 60 votes to avoid a Democratic filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced what we've been reporting today - the merged health care bill will include a public option allowing states to opt-out.

"Under this concept states will be able to determine whether the public option works best for them," Reid told reporters. He said it was the "fairest" way to go.

Reid (D-NV) said after "countless hours" of talking to his caucus, there is a "strong consensus" for this plan. He said he will not submit a plan with a triggered public option to the Congressional Budget Office.

"As we've gone through this process, I've concluded, with the support of the White House and Senators. Dodd and Baucus, that the best way to move forward is to include a public option with an opt out provision for states," Reid said.

Reid said he was "disappointed" the public option had "frightened" Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) but that he hoped she would "come back."

"I spoke to Olympia on Friday...and at this stage she does not like the public option of any kind. And so, we'll have to move forward on this, and there will come a time I hope, where she sees the wisdom of supporting a health care bill," he said.

"We hope Olympia will come back, she's worked hard, she's a very good legislator," Reid added.

He also blasted Republicans, saying he can count the moderates in the GOP on "two fingers."
Actually I am hoping that, at some point, the trigger is added to the bill, to enable the opt out provision.

As Halloween approaches

Tom Toles finds a way to scare the bejesus out of us.



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Dr Krugman looks to the future

What will the future of healthcare hold now that the heath insurance reform package is poised to pass. For that he examines the Massachusetts experience and how it has wide approval despite some major flaws.
To be sure, Massachusetts isn’t fully representative of America as a whole. Even before reform, it had relatively broad insurance coverage, in part because of a large union movement. And the state has a tradition of strong insurance regulation, which has probably made it easier to run a system that depends crucially on having regulators ride herd on insurers.

So national reform’s chances will be better if it contains elements lacking in Massachusetts — in particular, a real public option to keep insurers honest (and fend off charges that the individual mandate is just an insurance-industry profit grab). We can only hope that reports that the Obama administration is trying to block a public option are overblown.

Still, if the Massachusetts experience is any guide, health care reform will have broad public support once it’s in place and the scare stories are proved false. The new health care system will be criticized; people will demand changes and improvements; but only a small minority will want reform reversed.

This thing is going to work.
Somebody should tell that to President Obama and his evil twin Rahmbo.

2009 World Series New York vs Philadelphia

Good luck to both of them and may the best team in pinstripes win.

Monday Music Blogging

A delightful overture to a seldom heard opera, some who are old enough may remember a TV show from their childhood.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Brother, can you spare a dime?

One of our best is in need and asking for a helping hand. Barbara O'Brien, the Maha in The Mahablog is short of funds and facing legal action that may result in the loss of her home. If you haven't been there before, read deep and learn. If you have been there. drop by and give her some help if you can. We need top level blogs like hers to keep the rest of us honest.

Sometimes I don't like being old

And sometimes I like having been around when TV shows had theme music that was way better than the show.




And now your Moment of WTF?

Timmy Lee Porter walked into a Midtown bank this month and handed a teller a note scribbled on the back of a bank slip.

"This is a bank robbery, place 1 100.00 bill on the counter or I will shoot you."

Police arriving on the scene moments later found that note on the floor. The $100 bill was still in the bank. So was Porter, who had taken a seat on a couch in the bank lobby, apparently waiting to be arrested.

Porter, 41, was initially charged with felony bank robbery, but after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty in front of a magistrate judge Thursday to a single misdemeanor count of bank larceny. Why Porter held up the bank and then waited to be arrested was unclear.

"Why he did what he did is a mystery," Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Cooper said.
So he comes from Arkansas and lives in Alaska, have they checked his wrappings? And what's with this US Atty Dan Cooper, is he any relation to DB Cooper? You be the judge.

We haven't built a new embassy yet

Which is probably just as well as the projects already underway in the Kabul Quagmire are continuing the tradition of over budget and overdue. About the only thing underdone is the thought put into the projects at inception.
Flipping a switch on one of Afghanistan's long-awaited electrical power plants in August, U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry urged Afghans to think of U.S. taxpayers' support when they turn their lights on at night.

Only about 6 percent of Afghans are estimated to have electricity, and in his appearance with President Hamid Karzai east of Kabul, Eikenberry hailed the project as part of the country's emergence out of the "darkness" of oppression and isolation.

To some U.S. experts, however, the project is the latest example of exaggerated political expectations and wasted American taxpayers' dollars in the effort to rebuild Afghanistan.

Plagued by delays and rising costs, the project reveals how the U.S. government continues to ignore the hard lessons of Iraq, critics say, where contractors received billions of dollars with little oversight and inspectors have found rampant waste, fraud and abuse....

...The Afghan government is expected to need up to $70 million in aid a year to truck in diesel fuel for the plant and at least another $60 million to maintain and repair it. U.S. officials who once envisioned the project as a major supplier of electricity in the region now describe it as an expensive backup system.

"It's a sophisticated power plant," said Guy Sands, an assistant inspector general who's overseeing an inspection of the plant for the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction that's due out soon. "But the reality is that it's totally dependent on diesel fuel, which comes from outside sources."

Meanwhile, the plant's construction costs have ballooned from about $240 million to $310 million, according to U.S. officials. Eikenberry's visit marked the completion of only the project's first phase, which was supposed to have been completed last December.
And these projects are cost plus deals which provide every incentive to get it wrong and long and none to get it right. But this and other projects in the KQ and Iraq do prove one thing, Ali Baba and his boys are no longer in Baghdad, having emigrated to the US years ago.

The power struggle continues

And Baghdad's government offices were the target yesterday of the latest and deadliest bombings of the power struggle in Iraq.
Two powerful suicide car bombs blew up outside the Justice Ministry and city government offices in downtown Baghdad Sunday, killing at least 136 people in the worst attack in more than two years. Iraqi leaders said the attacks aimed to disrupt political progress in the months leading up to January's crucial elections.

While violence has dropped dramatically in the country since the height of the sectarian tensions, the latest bombings underscored the precarious nature of the security gains and the insurgency's abilities to still pull off devastating attacks in the center of what is supposed to be one of Baghdad's most secure areas.
The struggle is underway and the sooner we get out of that country the sooner they will settle it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quote of the Day

By way of Suburban Guerrilla:
We think this is a new business for us, not a burden
Gan Zhongxue, a scientist with a Chinese energy company researching green technology

One last slop at the trough?

In advance of a health insurance reform bill that might kill their monster profits and associated bonuses, the health insurance companies are implementing large premium increases on small businesses and individuals, those unable to negotiate with the extortionists.
Insurance brokers and benefits consultants say their small business clients are seeing premiums go up an average of about 15 percent for the coming year — double the rate of last year’s increases. That would mean an annual premium that was $4,500 per employee in 2008 and $4,800 this year would rise to $5,500 in 2010.

The higher premiums at least partly reflect the inexorable rise of medical costs, which is forcing Medicare to raise premiums, too. Health insurance bills are also rising for big employers, but because they have more negotiating clout, their increases are generally not as steep.

Higher medical costs aside, some experts say they think the insurance industry, under pressure from Wall Street, is raising premiums to get ahead of any legislative changes that might reduce their profits...

..But benefits consultants say there is no doubt that premiums are soaring for many small businesses. Edward Kaplan, a consultant with the Segal Company, said his clients were seeing renewals for coverage at prices 15 to 23 percent higher this year. Last year, he said, they typically faced increases of 7 to 12 percent.

The brokers and consultants say the price jumps seem hard to justify. “Frankly, I’m mystified by the size of the increases,” said one broker, Charles J. Newman, who works with small employers in the New York area.
It may well be the last year of unbridled profits and the bonuses that go with them, so they are going for the max. The worst is yet to come, just imagine how many claims they will have to deny to maintain their level of profit.

GOPer polls on healthcare on his website

Texican congresscritter John Culberson R-Douchebag, put up a poll on the proposed health care bill on his website. His lead-in was heavily loaded to get a negative response. Cruise on over and give him a vote and see the results. Very interesting results.

Let's give Obama a big push



Petition here.

Halloween Music Blogging

With a week to go, some music to raise the spirits before our time to party hearty.


Welcome a new blog

One that should never have been necessary.

Republicans For Rape

We now have an H1N1 health emergency.

Declared by the President, it allows the Sec of Health and Human Services to bypass some federal rules to react more quickly to the flu problem.
Swine flu is more widespread now than it's ever been. Health authorities say almost 100 children have died from the flu, known as H1N1, and 46 states now have widespread flu activity.

Worldwide, more than 5,000 people have reportedly died from swine flu since it emerged this year and developed into a global epidemic, the World Health Organization said Friday. Since most countries have stopped counting individual swine flu cases, the figure is considered an underestimate.
What makes this a problem is the fact that the elements that cause an immune response in us have not been seen for fifty years and the younger segments of society have no learned response to it. It has been deadly to otherwise young and healthy people.

The Center For Disease Control has a website for those who don't get their news from Fux.

Toon looks at the GOBSCP*

Tom Toles



Ben Sargent



click pic to big

*Grand Old Bat Shit Crazy Party

Time to pin a note on his sweatshirt

And leave George Will at the bus stop in hopes that someone will take him to a nice nursing home where he can spend the rest of his days dribbling oatmeal instead WaPo columns. His latest effort sings the praises of the GOP's very own Bat Shit Crazy Lady, Michelle Bachmann. All things considered, Old Man Will would better serve his readers with a treatise on the dribble qualities of various oatmeal brands.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bernie Kerik IS different from other people

And Lawrence O'Donnell limns that difference in all its contemptible detail.

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Hoyt & Linda Music Blogging

Here's something you don't hear everyday, Chauncey.


Joe is getting very disillusioned

In his latest column, Joe Galloway writes about all the achievements missing from the Obama administration.
This year, in the 10th month of his presidency, it doesn't really seem that they can, or that he can. Nothing much has changed except the size of the federal budget deficit and the National Debt, both swelling and swollen by the humongous bailout of Wall Street and the big banking corporations.

Any hope that we'd witness and celebrate a return to the rule of law after the departure of George W. Bush and his unindicted co-conspirators has long gone a' glimmering. President Barack Obama would rather face an uncertain future than look back at an ugly past.

Never mind that this nation was founded on the concept that no man, however powerful, is above the law, not even a king.

The president-to-be promised a swift withdrawal from the Iraqi quicksand, but that hasn't come to pass, either. Instead, we witness a slow-mo pullout that will sort of end things on the Bush administration's timetable of late 2011 for the last American combat troops to be gone, and God only knows when for the rest to leave. That's if the Iraqi parliament can pass a new election law in time for elections to be held on schedule in January.

Obama promised that America's Devil's Island, the prison for terrorists and not-terrorists at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, would be emptied and shut down by January of 2010, That doesn't look very likely now, either.
This and other missing items make Joe think that in 2012 Obama will be running on a new slogan,
No We Can't!

Your Two Minute Ed

In which our hero comes out hot and heavy for the public option. Good man!

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


A musical interlude

The Billionaires for Wealthcare serenade the AHIP conference.


R.I.P. Soupy Sales

I might have developed a normal sense of humor were it not for his delightful show.


Rachel puts paid to Dickwahds blather

Now, if only Dickwahds dicky ticker would do the same.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


Your Two Minute Ed

The batshit crazy lady is back.

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Krugman warns about the China

Not your grandma's dinnerware but that big country over there. Something should be done but nobody knows just what to do.

Longer than the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

When you are flying a commercial plane there are many wonderful electronic gadgets to help you along the way. Sadly there is none that announce to the pilots, 'Hey guys, we're here!'at the end of the trip.
The pilots of a Northwest Airlines jet failed to make radio contact with ground controllers for more than an hour and overflew their Minneapolis destination by 150 miles before discovering the mistake and turning around.

The plane landed safely Wednesday evening, and no one was hurt. But federal officials on Thursday began investigating whether pilot fatigue was a factor.

Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency does not know if the crew fell asleep, calling that idea "speculative."

Flight 188, an Airbus A320, was flying from San Diego to Minneapolis with 144 passengers and five crew. The pilots dropped out of radio contact with controllers just before 7 p.m. CDT, when they were at 37,000 feet.

The jet flew over the airport just before 8 p.m. and overshot it before communications were re-established at 8:14 p.m., the NTSB said.
Ground control to Major Tom?

They said the same of Dr Mengele and his crew

Dickwahd is out braying like an aggrieved jackass that it's not nice to call his failed policy of prisoner brutality torture.
In short, to call enhanced interrogation a program of torture is not only to disregard the program’s legal underpinnings and safeguards. Such accusations are a libel against dedicated professionals who acted honorably and well, in our country’s name and in our country’s cause. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation in the future, in favor of half-measures, is unwise in the extreme. In the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half-measures keep you half exposed.
And Torquemada thought his Spanish Inquisition was a holy cause. Doesn't mean either one is right.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ancient Wisdom Music Blogging

Many years ago, that which is normal in the GOP today, was recognized as a batshit crazy lunatic fringe. Enjoy this tune from 1962, you will need a history book for some of the names.


Another health care expense to eliminate

With a fair wind, Congress should be able to eliminate the anti trust exemption of the health insurance. Al Franken, Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse have joined to sponsor a bill to eliminate another public cost in support of private profit.
U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), along with co-sponsors Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), have introduced legislation (S. 1763) to disallow the federal tax deduction for all advertising and marketing expenses for prescription drugs. There are rumblings that the senators would like to have the proposal added to the health-care reform legislation, and the possibility exists that they may offer it as an amendment when the proposed bill is considered by the full Senate.

That would seemingly put in jeopardy the handshake deal that pharmaceutical companies struck earlier this year with the Obama administration and Senate Finance Committee leaders, which calls for drug-makers to pick up an estimated $80 billion in health-care costs over 10 years in exchange for no further crackdowns on the industry.

"From our perspective, that would appear to be the case," said Clark Rector, exec VP-government relations for the American Advertising Federation.

The proposed legislation to eliminate the tax deduction for health-care advertising is going under the short title of the "Protecting Americans from Drug Marketing Act." Mssrs. Franken, Brown and Whitehouse are asking to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 "to deny the deduction for advertising and promotional expenses for prescription pharmaceuticals."
Piece by piece we can dismantle the health care mafia.

Grayson v. Broun in committee

Do watch as our hero flenses the idiot from Georgia.


It looked as if Dickwahd had passed the torch to Dickless

But the old bastard just can't stay on the sidelines. It seems that last night he gave a speech to a collection of co-conspirators and fellow travelers lambasting President Obama for not being mean and stupid enough to continue Dickwahd's losing policies after the election. Retired Gen. Paul Eaton has the best response to Dickwahd.
The record is clear: Dick Cheney and the Bush administration were incompetent war fighters. They ignored Afghanistan for 7 years with a crude approach to counter-insurgency warfare best illustrated by: 1. Deny it. 2. Ignore it. 3. Bomb it. While our intelligence agencies called the region the greatest threat to America, the Bush White House under-resourced our military efforts, shifted attention to Iraq, and failed to bring to justice the masterminds of September 11.

The only time Cheney and his cabal of foreign policy 'experts' have anything to say is when they feel compelled to protect this failed legacy. While President Obama is tasked with cleaning up the considerable mess they left behind, they continue to defend torture or rewrite a legacy of indifference on Afghanistan. Simply put, Mr. Cheney sees history throughout extremely myopic and partisan eyes.
Apparently the speech was given at a dinner to award Dickwahd the "Flamer of the Keep". A previous winner was Rumsfeld, which should tell you all you need to know about this "honor".

Bodyguard or Boyfriend?

You decide, let us just note that the Beckerhead was seen in constant company with some hunk the other night. They went everywhere together, even the mens room. And if that wasn't enough, Mr X was packing heat, which must have melted poor little Glennie to a puddle whenever he showed it.

Pat Oliphant Today



click pic to big

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesdays Song is Full of Woe

In My Time of Dying by The Lovell Sisters


Your Two Minute Ed

With Rep Alan Grayson who indentifies the real enemies of America.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


A Public Service Announcement


Can you make a binding deal with thieves

The latest blogospheric rumor making the circuit today is that Obama's deal with the various stakeholders in the fight against health reform included a guarantee against any public option. Scarecrow takes a scary look at what might be the case.
To be sure, getting 60 votes for cloture is a challenge, but that is not the same as needing 60 votes for a public option, no matter how many times the media equates the two. Only 5 or 6 Senate Democrats are even opposed in concept. Yet not one of these holdouts has publically declared that he/she would join a filibuster to keep a public option from getting a simple majority-rule vote. Sen. Harkin correctly asks, why should these five be empowered to force over fifty to give in?

Everyone also knows that if Harry Reid puts a viable public option in the Senate bill, there aren’t 60 votes to remove it. So why is Harry Reid behaving as though Democrats had something to fear if they demand party loyalty on a cloture vote and then push through a measure that has more voter support than any health reform measure they’ve proposed outside banning insurers from denying coverage to the sick?

...It is hard to avoid the fear that this White House has now become a principal obstacle to getting meaningful health care reform. It claims it wants major cost reductions in Medicare, via a semi-autonomous cost-cutting commission. But the White House has already bargained away the savings it can achieve from most of the major providers: PhRMa ($80 billion), hospitals ($155 billion) so they can give it back to the doctors (for whom AMA is demanding $240+ billion more over ten years in relief from automatic Medicare reductions).

Why should we not also believe that the White House has a deal to shield insurers from competition by preventing the creation of a public option in exchange for the insurers agreeing to reforms on guaranteed issue and limited community ratings (with the flexibility Baucus provided) and to support this framework with tv ads? (Read Ignagni’s WaPo op-ed today; while defending the PwC study, she says they made a deal, but Baucus broke it; she didn’t say the deal’s off.)

The White House isn’t taking up most of the chairs in Harry’s Reid’s meetings just to watch him make decisions on his own. They’re there to make sure Harry Reid doesn’t undo the White House deals and wander off the reservation.
It would explain why the White House was upset by the foolish AHIP report a few weeks ago. And in keeping with the character of the people Obama has surrounded himself with. Yeah, you Rahmbo!

Countdown last night

Wherein KO interviewed Anthony Weiner.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


R.I.P. Vic Mizzy

Thank you.


10 days

That is how long the current commander of Guantanamo would need to remove all the illegal detainees to another location and close the camp.
The military can comply with a White House order to empty the detention center and clear all 221 war-on-terror captives off this remote base "with 10 days notice,'' the prison camps commander said Tuesday.

Navy Rear Adm. Tom Copeman told The Miami Herald and Fox News in an interview that his 2,100-member team of guards and other support staff can meet President Barack Obama's Jan. 22 closure deadline right through the eighth anniversary of the establishment of the controversial prison camps.

"If they say on Jan. 12, 'Move them out,' we can meet the deadline,'' he said, "given the proper amount of logistical support.''

He ticked off such requirements as enough airplanes to move them elsewhere and ferry runs across the bay that separates the prison camps from the Navy base landing strip where C-17 Globemaster aircraft shuttle the captives away.
And Hardin Montana has an empty maximum security facility just waiting to be used and a population that needs employment. Problem meet solution? Not in this world.

A Public Service Announcement

Because we care for our readers.


Why are Aussies smarter than us?

Back in the days of VietNam, the Aussies were "invited" to join our effort in that poor country. They did and ran their corner of the war much more effectively than we did. They also recognized a lost cause and got out as soon as they were able. And now the Kabul Quagmire is stirring the same feelings in the Land Down Under.
Australia's defense minister Wednesday said he was hoping to wrap up military operations in Afghanistan as soon as possible, despite US and NATO moves for more troops to shore up the campaign.

Defense Minister John Faulkner said Australia was studying how to complete the mission in the "shortest time-frame". Australia has about 1,500 troops in Afghanistan with no date set for their withdrawal.

"I've certainly asked the Australian Defense Force for any recommendations they have about ensuring we do complete that important role and responsibility both effectively, but in the shortest time-frame possible," he told ABC radio.
This leaves McChrystal in a pickle, he needs bodies to put in harms way. Perhaps his Commander in Chief can help him out by following the Australian lead.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Cultural Music Blogging

Because you never know when you will win tickets to the Olympics.


Your Two Minute Ed

Would you join the military to get health insurance for your family?

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


Lawrence O'Donnell may not say all your favorite things

But he does have a way of blowing out the smoke so you can see what is in front of you. Here he is last night on KO.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


Vinnie the Poof?

A former mob hit man surprised a Brooklyn judge Monday by renouncing the Mafia -- and declaring that he's gay.

In a scene right out of The Sopranos, Robert Mormando came out of the closet while being sentenced for his part in the shooting of bagel store owner Angelo Mugnolo, who survived the attack.

Mormando turned government informant shortly after the botched hit.

The New York Daily News reports that although "Mormando's partner has refused to enter the witness protection program," they have relocated and according to Mormando's lawyer, they "live a peaceful working life."
No comment.

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless bank!

When you give money to someone, it had better be from pure altruism because the isn't a whole lot of thank you left on this planet.
The Wall Street giants that received a financial lifeline from Washington may have no compunction about paying big bonuses to their dealmakers and traders. But their willingness to deliver “thank you” gifts to President Obama and the Democrats is another question altogether.

Mr. Obama will fly to New York on Tuesday for a lavish Democratic Party fund-raising dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for about 200 big donors. Each donor is paying the legal maximum of $30,400 and is allowed to take a date. Four of the seven “co-chairs” listed on the invitation work in finance, and Democratic Party organizers say they expect that about a third of the attendees will come from the industry.

But from the financial giants like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup that received federal bailout money — and whose bankers raised millions of dollars for Mr. Obama’s election — only a half-dozen or fewer are expected to attend (estimated total contribution: $91,200).
Forget all those lame excuses about appearences (bonuses anyone?), they just want to make sure Obama understands how much they want a toothless, useless bank regulatory bill. And they will probably get it.

The scales have fallen from his eyes

Bob Herbert looks at the way the great divide between Wall St and the US has occured and ponders what might be done. And then he says it.
If some company is too big to fail, then it’s too big to exist. Break it up.

Why should the general public have to constantly worry that a misstep by the high-wire artists at Goldman Sachs (to take the most obvious example) would put the entire economy in peril? These financial acrobats get the extraordinary benefits of their outlandish risk-taking — multimillion-dollar paychecks, homes the size of castles — but the public has to be there to absorb the worst of the pain when they take a terrible fall.

Enough! Goldman Sachs is thriving while the combined rates of unemployment and underemployment are creeping toward a mind-boggling 20 percent. Two-thirds of all the income gains from the years 2002 to 2007 — two-thirds! — went to the top 1 percent of Americans.

We cannot continue transferring the nation’s wealth to those at the apex of the economic pyramid — which is what we have been doing for the past three decades or so — while hoping that someday, maybe, the benefits of that transfer will trickle down in the form of steady employment and improved living standards for the many millions of families struggling to make it from day to day.

That money is never going to trickle down. It’s a fairy tale. We’re crazy to continue believing it.
But Fux News tells us it is so, and BilloHannityBeck wouldn't lie.

I hope his books are in english, I want to read them.

Nobel Prize winning author Jose Saramago created a stir the other day with his remarks about the Bible.
"The Bible is a manual of bad morals (which) has a powerful influence on our culture and even our way of life. Without the Bible, we would be different, and probably better people," he was quoted as saying by the news agency Lusa.

Saramago attacked "a cruel, jealous and unbearable God (who) exists only in our heads" and said he did not think his book would cause problems for the Catholic Church "because Catholics do not read the Bible.

"It might offend Jews, but that doesn't really matter to me," he added.
Some say his remarks are just a publicity stunt for his new book and that may be so, but you can promote a book with the truth, too.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cue the fan

Because here comes the part where the Afghan President hits the fan.
The audit released Monday stripped away enough questionable Karzai ballots in the Aug. 20 election to push his tally down from a preliminary total of 54.6 percent to 48.2 percent, according to Democracy International, an organization that's been monitoring the election on behalf of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The results by the Electoral Complaints Commission, if included in the final vote tally, would push Karzai's total well below the 50 percent threshold that would trigger a runoff in November with his closest challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.
He spent a lot of time and money stealing that election and he will be damded if he is going to give it up.

Your Two Minute Ed

Tonight he brings us a look at the second dumbest Republican senator in Arizona.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


Dylan Ratigan on the banksters

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


Quote of the Day

"There are 52 solid Democrats for the public option. Only about five Democrats oppose it. Should the 52 give in to the five? Or should the five go along with the vast majority of the Democratic caucus?"
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), asking a question that should not need to be asked.

Tom Toles Today



click pic to big

Is he tough enough?

Or has the old pugilist Harry Reid taken one too many jabs to the head?


Wall St is doing just fine

Thanks for asking, but as Dr Krugman notes, the real banks are still in real trouble and not lending money as they should.
You may recall that earlier this year there was a big debate about how to get the banks lending again. Some analysts, myself included, argued that at least some major banks needed a large injection of capital from taxpayers, and that the only way to do this was to temporarily nationalize the most troubled banks. The debate faded out, however, after Citigroup and Bank of America, the banking system’s weakest links, announced surprise profits. All was well, we were told, now that the banks were profitable again.

But a funny thing happened on the way back to a sound banking system: last week both Citi and BofA announced losses in the third quarter. What happened?

Part of the answer is that those earlier profits were in part a figment of the accountants’ imaginations. More broadly, however, we’re looking at payback from the real economy. In the first phase of the crisis, Main Street was punished for Wall Street’s misdeeds; now broad economic distress, especially persistent high unemployment, is leading to big losses on mortgage loans and credit cards.

And here’s the thing: The continuing weakness of many banks is helping to perpetuate that economic distress. Banks remain reluctant to lend, and tight credit, especially for small businesses, stands in the way of the strong recovery we need.
Paul does not call for a return to Glass-Steagal, but many people I know in the banking business think it would be a very good idea.

Monday Music Blogging

A composition from one of the 19th century's great pianists and composer, played by one of the 20th century's great pianists.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Perhaps there is a better comparison

For the Kabul Quagmire than VietNam. Maybe the military and the policy makers should be studying the Soviet effort of 1980-87.
Eight years into the war in Afghanistan: the most senior defence official running the conflict receives a letter from one of his officers. It is a depressing list of political and tactical failures.

"We should honestly admit," he writes, "that our efforts over the last eight years have not led to the expected results. Huge material resources and considerable casualties did not produce a positive end result – stabilisation of military-political situation in the country. The protracted character of the military struggle and the absence of any serious success, which could lead to a breakthrough in the entire strategic situation, led to the formation in the minds of the majority of the population of the mistrust in the abilities of the regime."

"The experience of the past years," he continues bleakly, "clearly shows that the Afghan problem cannot be solved by military means only. We should decisively reject our illusions and undertake principally new steps, taking into account the lessons of the past, and the real situation in the country..."

The date is 17 August… 1987. The writer is Colonel K. Tsagalov and he is addressing the newly appointed Soviet defence minister, Dmitry Yazov.
The Guardian takes a look at some of the similarities and not only are we following in their footsteps, but all too often we are wearing the same size boot.
Just as western officials now home in on the failings of the Hamid Karzai regime three decades later, the Soviet leadership lamented the lack of legitimacy and authority of their man in Kabul – Nur Mohammad Taraki – recommending, as US and British officials would do later, that the primary task of the Afghan leaders was to "create a new state apparatus, reorganise and strengthen the army and gather practical experience in building a state and party".

It was this desire – insistence on a modern, centralised state similar to the one the international community would seek – that the Soviet Union realised was one of the biggest factors to its catastrophe in Afghanistan.

As a result, in both conflicts foreign forces have found themselves propping up a minority grouping with unsustainable claims to nationwide legitimacy. Russia backed the narrowly represented supporters of the PDPA, the fractious and divided Afghan communist party; now Nato has promoted a small elite surrounding Karzai's weak government.
We knew better, we weren't going to make the same mistakes as the Soviets. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Or as one Soviet general was quoted as saying, "we should have read Kipling!"

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?*

McClatchy takes a deep look at Moody's Investors Service transformed itself from the watchdog of bond quality on Wall St to the running dog of the investment hustlers, putting their once respected OK on unadulterated crap, for the right price.
A McClatchy investigation has found that Moody's punished executives who questioned why the company was risking its reputation by putting its profits ahead of providing trustworthy ratings for investment offerings.

Instead, Moody's promoted executives who headed its "structured finance" division, which assisted Wall Street in packaging loans into securities for sale to investors. It also stacked its compliance department with the people who awarded the highest ratings to pools of mortgages that soon were downgraded to junk. Such products have another name now: "toxic assets."
All for the worshiped profit that would make or break your options. Give them a good rating and they pay more, Moody's make more and you get rewarded. But the question that is barely touched on is how street wise people who could see what the results of their actions were could turn a blind eye to the consequences. Or as Lawrence McDonald, a former VP at Lehman Bros. suggests,
"How on earth could a bond issue be AAA one day and junk the next unless something spectacularly stupid has taken place? But maybe it was something spectacularly dishonest, like taking that colossal amount of fees in return for doing what Lehman and the rest wanted,"
Dishonesty or just totally unrestrained greed is yet to be determined, but it is appalling to see how quickly Moody's gave up the only thing of value thing of value it had for a bag of gold. Or as Shakespeare put it so well on Othello,
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.


*Who watches the watchers?

The Goldman Sachs conondrum

Is Goldman Sachs the New Wall St? Same as the old Wall St? Frank Rich looks at this and sees the one bank that played the game and the other players very well. While not quite the equal of earlier monopolies, he does not the monopoly of influence enjoyed by the last great economic survivor. As they use that influence to return to business as usual he also notes the great failure of their casino culture.
Even as we wait for Congress and its inquiry to produce results, the cultural toxins revealed by our economic crisis remain unaddressed by the leaders in the private and public sectors who might make a difference now. Blankfein may be giving $200 million to “education,” but Goldman is back to business as usual: making money by high-risk gambling, with all the advantages that the best connections, cheap loans from the Fed and high-speed trading algorithms can bring. As the Reuters columnist Rolfe Winkler wrote last week, “Main Street still owns much of the risk while Wall Street gets all of the profit.”

The idea of investing in the real economy — the one that might create jobs for Americans — remains outré in this culture. Credit to small businesses remains tight. The holy capitalist grail is still the speculative buying and selling of companies and the concoction of ever more esoteric financial “instruments.” The tragic tale of Simmons Bedding recently told in The Times is a role model. This successful 133-year-old manufacturing enterprise was flipped seven times in two decades by private equity firms. Investors made more than $750 million in profits even as the pile-up of debt pushed Simmons into bankruptcy, costing a quarter of its loyal workers their jobs so far.
Wall St gets all the profit and more than enough money to buy any legislator who would try to criminalize their behavior.

Will President Obama make the right choice?

It is beginning to look like he is headed that way with the latest announcement from the White House.
President Barack Obama will not commit more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until he is convinced that the central government can be a credible and effective U.S. partner, a senior White House aide said Sunday.

But it was unclear whether Obama intends to accept the recommendation by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, for thousands more American troops and other resources in the 8-year-struggle to stabilize Afghanistan.

The central question before Obama, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said, is ''not how much troops you have, but whether in fact there's an Afghan partner.''
"Making a silk purse from a sow's ear" and "Getting blood from a stone" come to mind as events that will occur before "he is convinced that the central government can be a credible and effective U.S. partner" unless he sets the bar below ground level.

Score one more for Taser

Police say a 19-year-old man has died in Southern California after officers used a Taser to subdue him at a board-and-care facility.

A San Bernardino police department statement says the man died at a hospital early Saturday.

The department says officers had been summoned to the facility to investigate a fight involving three people late Friday night.

Police say officers separated the trio but "one of the subjects became combative and a Taser was deployed to control him."
Just imagine what the number would be if the Taser was not Non-Lethal?

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