Sunday, July 31, 2011
Paul Krugman writes an epitaph
A deal to raise the federal debt ceiling is in the works. If it goes through, many commentators will declare that disaster was avoided. But they will be wrong.How soon before Mitch the Chin has Barry shuffling to his office and calling him Massa while he waits for his instructions?
For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status...
It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.
Why do Republicans want to kill Pell Grants & student loan programs?
Why lethal injection is the preferred method of execution.
That is the big sticking point here in the Senate," Kerry said in a floor speech Saturday evening. "We need to know that if there is a trigger that is used in an automatic way in which money is going to be held back, that money has to be held back in a fair and balanced way."In addition to setting up cuts to Medicare/Medicaid and possibly Social Security, they have set up an automatic mechanism so no one party can be blamed. At this point the Democrats are looking for some harmless revenue increase also so that they can adopt a holier-than-thou attitude come election time.
If it looks like a turd and smells like a turd you can expect it to stick to your shoe no matter what you do.
They are still makin' bacon
When the Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced the other day that pork belly futures would no longer be traded, it was hardly a shock. Trades had shrunk to almost nothing. Volatility was too much. The frozen bellies, used to make bacon, were, in the view of some, losing relevance.To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Still, the demise of the futures means something else is really gone now, too — a unique belly culture and its hard-charging, daring cast of characters who, decades ago, made their fortunes in the high pressure of the belly pit.
Did Karl Rove hire Obama to run as a Democrat?
Entering a campaign that is shaping up as an epic clash over the parties’ divergent views on the size and role of the federal government, Republicans have changed the terms of the national debate. Mr. Obama, seeking to appeal to the broad swath of independent voters, has adopted the Republicans’ language and in some cases their policies, while signaling a willingness to break with liberals on some issues.Way to go, chasing after voters by offering what they don't want. I have to admit it would be a change in tactics for TurdBlossom. But how clever is it to get the president to always offer up his weaknesses and never fight for anything?
That has some progressive members of Congress and liberal groups arguing that by not fighting for more stimulus spending, Mr. Obama could be left with an economy still producing so few jobs by Election Day that his re-election could be threatened. Besides turning off independents, Mr. Obama risks alienating Democratic voters already disappointed by his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and his failure to close the Guantánamo Bay prison, end the Bush-era tax cuts and enact a government-run health insurance system.
“The activist liberal base will support Obama because they’re terrified of the right wing,” said Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal group Campaign for America’s Future.
But he said, “I believe that the voting base of the Democratic Party — young people, single women, African-Americans, Latinos — are going to be so discouraged by this economy and so dismayed unless the president starts to champion a jobs program and take on the Republican Congress that the ability of labor to turn out its vote, the ability of activists to mobilize that vote, is going to be dramatically reduced.”
Wisconsin Republicans getting desperate?
Fire officials in La Crosse are continuing to investigate a Saturday blaze that destroyed the regional offices of We Are Wisconsin, a union political action committee (PAC) that has pumped millions of dollars into supporting Democratic candidates in the upcoming recall elections.Hm-m-m. Curious and well timed, don't you think?
The La Crosse Tribune reports that the cause of the fire, which started at about 9:30 a.m., remains unknown. Firefighters thought they had the blaze under control in the afternoon, however, that wasn't the case and it continued into the evening, the newspaper reported.
We Are Wisconsin used the building at 432 Jay St. to oversee its efforts in the 32nd Senate District recall election, which will be held Aug. 9. Incumbent Republican state Sen. Dan Kapanke is being challenged by Democratic state Rep. Jennifer Shilling in that district.
A spokesman for the group told the La Crosse Tribune that the group's office was a total loss.
And with all the fuss and feathers coming out of Washington
The federal piggy-bank that helps them pay for health care, jobless benefits, road building and schools could run out of cash.And afterwards, the "shared sacrifice" will cut deeply into the funding and thanks to the Republican/Teabaggers will not be replaced. One way or another, it will only get worse.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is warning that his state might not be able to fully cover potential shortfalls, and jittery California cushioned its finances last week by borrowing $5.4 billion from private investors. Massachusetts is preparing to replace $850 million in U.S. payments that could be derailed in August, while Oregon plans to free up a cache of money if Washington stops sending checks.
If the troops don't get paid
My God has a bigger dick than your god
Start Sunday with some bluegrass gospel music
Saturday, July 30, 2011
You know you want it
C & L has the full New Rules.
Recognition for The Stupidest King in Congress
In case you wondered where the jobs are
AT & T to throttle back data speeds
Irag has become more dangerous than last year
"Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work," Bowen concluded in his 172-page quarterly report to Congress and the Obama administration on progress – and setbacks – in Iraq. "It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago."Despite this, there are some who still want to keep an imperial outpost with about 10,000 US targets in Iraq after year end. While the Pentagon has long been known for some of the finest bureaucratic infighters in the world, their strategic vision is sorely lacking. Anything less than all out by December is a defeat for the US.
The report cited the deaths of 15 U.S. soldiers in June, the bloodiest month for the U.S. military in Iraq in two years. Nearly all of them were killed in attacks by Shiite militias bent on forcing out American troops on schedule.
It also noted an increase in rockets launched against the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, where government offices and foreign embassies are located, as well as constant assassination attempts against Iraqi political leaders, security forces and judges.
Additionally, the report called the northeastern province of Diyala, which borders Iran and has an often volatile mix of Sunni and Shiite Muslims and Kurds among its residents, "very unstable" with frequent bombings that bring double-digit death tolls.
Air Force removes Jeebus from the missile launch sites
As Washington seems paralyzed, our economy stagnates, and America's full faith and credit is on the brink, it is useful to recall how we got here. This was not an act of nature. There was no unforeseen earthquake, no tsunami, no hurricane that wiped out our surplus. It was instead a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican president who squandered the surplus. In full possession of the federal government for the first time since Eisenhower, the GOP—with, to be fair, some help from some very foolish Democrats—systematically dismantled the economic and fiscal policies that produced the strongest economy and largest budget surplus in our history.And I post it here in hopes that good readers will pass it around and understand that both parties are not responsible, only the Bat Shit Crazy one is.
Specifically, they did four things: cut taxes (with a heavy tilt toward the rich), waged two wars on the national credit card (one of which was against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no serious threat to America), passed a prescription drug benefit with no pay-for (the first entitlement in American history without a revenue source), and deregulated Wall Street (which helped turn the American economy into a casino and touched off the Great Recession).
I recap all that not to further depress you, Dear Reader. But it is striking how absent that history has been from the coverage of our current crisis. I can understand why the GOP doesn't want to remind folks of how they screwed the pooch. Indeed, they have a competing myth—that Washington went on a spending binge; radical young President Barack Obama went crazy with the national credit card. That, of course, is nonsense.
Looks like justice to me
A State Supreme Court justice in Brooklyn is threatening sanctions against the chief executive officer of HSBC Bank USA, blaming her personally as head of the bank for filing what he called false and misleading documents involving “robosigning” in a home foreclosure case.But Justice Schack took it one step farther by declaring that the HSBC USA CEO was ultimately responsible for the actions of her corporation and has required her presence to explain why she should not be oenalized.
In a complex decision issued in early July, Justice Arthur M. Schack denounced what he called the “frivolous conduct” and the submission of fraudulent paperwork by HSBC and the attorney representing it in the case, Frank M. Cassara of Shapiro, DiCaro&Barak LLP in Rochester.
He said the documentation submitted to the court by Cassara and HSBC to support the foreclosure is full of defects and “material factual statements that are false.” And he criticized their case as a “waste of judicial resources.”
Schack threw out the foreclosure case itself, declaring that HSBC lacked the legal right to foreclose on a woman’s home because it did not own the loan.
Schack justified his threat by citing a new statewide requirement for attorneys in foreclosure cases to certify, under penalty of perjury and sanction, that they have taken reasonable steps to verify the accuracy and correctness of documents submitted to the court.Three cheers for Justice Schack and may he set a landmark precedent with this action.
In Dorner’s case, Schack argued that she is “captain of the ship” and “bears a measure of responsibility” for HSBC’s actions. “She should not only take credit for the fruits of HSBC’s victories, but must bear some responsibility for its defats and mistakes,” he wrote, noting that she earned $2.3 million in total compensation for 2010.
Friday, July 29, 2011
I think I should retire to this place
The Great Orange Boner passes a bill
Shit in hand, slap forehead
If only they would go first
E J Dionne doesn't like centrists either
Moderation in politics is about balance. It means believing in a vibrant and innovative private sector and a government substantial enough to do what the private sector doesn’t, and it means enforcing sensible rules for economic competition. It means incentives for success, help for those making their way up, and security for the sick, the aging, the poor, the unlucky. It means balancing our love of individualism and our desire for community. This, in turn, means that reducing the budget deficit can’t rely only on cutting programs. Yes, taxes need to go up.If only we could get DC denizens to pay any attention to what America really wants instead of what their paymasters want.
All the polls I have ever seen peg the vast majority of Americans as moderate by this definition.
Centrism is something altogether different. It’s not a philosophy. It’s a position based on calculation. It doesn’t start with fixed principles. It measures where everyone else stands on some political spectrum at a given moment and then frantically adjusts.
Because centrism is reactive, you never really know what a centrist believes. Centrists are constantly packing their bags and chasing off to find a new location as the political conversation veers one way or another.
Like father, like son
Down Clown Alley, in the backstage tent for Circus Smirkus, a slight boy of 14 studies his clown self in a jagged piece of mirror. This is Sam Ferlo, the son of a former circus clown and a former circus showgirl, and the godson of a man once known as the Human Cannonball.Make 'em laugh, kid.
Guess what Sam wants to join when he grows up.
Seeing the need for a touch more of the garish, the boy dabs a finger into the greasepaint he keeps in his most precious possession, a makeup kit that is small, red and well traveled. His every move is watched by the tiny photograph of a clown taped to the inside of the kit’s lid. Practice, this clown tells the boy. Take clowning seriously. And always: Be big.
R.I.P. Hideki Irabu
Quote of the Day
I think a good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards, who are desperately afraid of the tea party people, and rightly so.Bruce Bartlett, former domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan discussing the state of the Republican Party, the seeds of which he helped to sow.
While Congress farts around with the debt ceiling
Another stealth disaster being cooked up in the Senate is an extension of telco immunity for spying on Americans. This is much wanted by the feds because if their tools have immunity, they can spy on us to their heart's content.
Amid the calamitous debt-limit talks seizing Washington in recent weeks, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence kick started yesterday the mark-up of legislation that would reapprove the spying activities and telecom immunity.The administration refused to provide an estimate because you don't really want to know. Chances are that if you are one of the "Professional Left" they have checked you out. You are the biggest threat.
While the Obama administration has urged the FAA's renewal, at least two Senators are calling for greater caution in the process. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) asked the director of national intelligence to explain how the Obama administration had applied the 2008 act, and to provide an estimate of how many Americans' communications were spied upon.
The administration refused to provide an estimate, according to The Associated Press.
Some of us have long complained about the cult of “balance,” the insistence on portraying both parties as equally wrong and equally at fault on any issue, never mind the facts. I joked long ago that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read “Views Differ on Shape of Planet.” But would that cult still rule in a situation as stark as the one we now face, in which one party is clearly engaged in blackmail and the other is dickering over the size of the ransom?Krugman goes on to call a spade a shovel because he does not note that Fux Nooz and and their stable of talking heads are paid to generate just that sort of confusion in the public. Still he is making a point that is starting to break into the consciousness of many as the current congressional fap fest continues.
The answer, it turns out, is yes. And this is no laughing matter: The cult of balance has played an important role in bringing us to the edge of disaster. For when reporting on political disputes always implies that both sides are to blame, there is no penalty for extremism. Voters won’t punish you for outrageous behavior if all they ever hear is that both sides are at fault.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Update from below
Now here is something that will cost money to fix
The Transportation Security Administration cannot determine the real identity of thousands of the people to whom the Federal Aviation Administration has issued licenses as pilots and aircraft mechanics, but has located an additional 27 who should not have held them because of terrorist connections, according to an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security.And now, thanks to the union busting zeal of the Republican/Teabaggers, the Dept Of Fatherland Security are the only ones working on this problem. And if the FAA ever gets back to work on this, you can bet they won't have the budget to improve their record. Gotta love those Republican/Teabaggers, making America safer since, oh I don't know, how about the 12th of Never.
The report was requested two years ago by four members of the Senate, after a private data analysis company in New York determined that the man convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 still held an F.A.A. license, as did a man caught trying to smuggle military equipment to Hezbollah in Lebanon, a man convicted of trying to manufacture an airborne poison in his basement and a self-described "eco-terrorist" who fled the country after he was indicted on a charge of arson.
The F.A.A. and the Department of Homeland Security were supposed to scour the list of licensed pilots, mechanics and flight dispatchers for terrorists under a law approved by Congress after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but they have shown great difficulty in doing the work, despite having access to far more information than the private company.
Eine KleineThursday Nacht Musik
Gay Mr Bachmann too special for press scrutiny
Dumber than a bag of hammers
A fugitive from upstate New York who taunted police on his Facebook page to `catch me if you can. I'm in Brooklyn' has been arrested.I guess we should be glad he was dumb enough to catch himself.
The Daily News says U.S. marshals and NYPD detectives tracked Victor Burgos down to an apartment in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood Monday night, sitting at his computer with his Facebook page open.
Murdoch's bad habits
93 Members of Congress get it
NEWS FLASH: Secaucus Fats taken to hospital
Cheap bastard doesn't want to pay anybody
One of the most uncompromising members of the Republican tea party, Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), has a personal problem he'd rather not discuss in public: his ex-wife is suing him for over $117,000 in unpaid child support.Given Pinchpenny Joe's record, the judge should garnish his pay. Probably won't happen because of some law Congress passed to protect itself.
While Walsh's lawyer denied that he owes anything near that amount thanks to a stint of unemployment before his surprising election to Congress, Laura Walsh's lawsuit pointed to a $35,000 loan he personally gave to his campaign, claiming that if he had enough for that, he had enough to help support their 9-year-old child.
“Joe has paid himself back at least $14,200 for the loans he gave himself," Laura's attorney wrote, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.
She also asked a judge to revoke his driver's license until he starts making payments. In prior attempts to have him pay-up, she's even gone so far as to ask a judge to garnish his wages.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
With Washington doing their damndest to kick us into a Depression
Koch Brothers forgot the buses again
Everyone in their proper place
The DoJ awakens
The Department of Justice is preparing a lawsuit against Wells Fargo, the nation's largest home mortgage lender, for allegedly preying upon African American borrowers during the housing bubble and steering them into high-cost subprime loans, according to three people with direct knowledge of the probe...It is not clear if these were Wells Fargo practices or legacy problems from Wachovia, which ended its days as an unindicted RICO enterprise. Whichever, a banker friend of mine informs me that in the Carolinas, Wells Fargo is now known colloquially as WTF Bank.
Last week, the Fed said that perhaps more than 10,000 borrowers were inappropriately steered into subprime mortgage loans or had their loan documents falsified by bank personnel. Wells Fargo agreed to pay $85 million to settle the civil charges. It did not admit wrongdoing.
In its ongoing case against Baltimore, Wells Fargo stands accused of using those same practices, but deploying them against black borrowers in majority-black neighborhoods, an act commonly known as "reverse redlining." The city alleges that the bank targeted black borrowers, knowing they'd ultimately default on their loans, but did not fear shouldering the cost because Wells sold those loans to investors. Wells Fargo denies the allegations.
Die a Motherfucking Legend
Social Security Reform Bill Encourages Americans To Live Faster, Die Younger
Grasping for straws
Just protecting his turf
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, President Obama’s nominee to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned on Tuesday that proposed cuts in the military budget of up to $1 trillion would be “extraordinarily difficult and very high risk.” ...Perhaps in the next round of base realignment he can include for closure a large percentage of our Imperial overseas outposts.
General Dempsey, who is expected to be easily confirmed, tangled briefly at the hearing with Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who demanded to know what $800 billion to $1 trillion in military cuts would do to the readiness of the armed services over the next decade. General Dempsey replied that Mr. Obama had asked the Pentagon to cut only $400 billion, but “based on the difficulty of achieving the $400 billion cut, I believe 800 would be extraordinarily difficult and very high risk.”
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
If only there was someplace to get good boudin
Quote of the Day
This isn't just about them saying we should reduce the deficit. This is an excuse. The budget deficit is an excuse for the Republicans to undermine government plain and simple. They don't just want to make cuts, they want to destroy. They want to destroy food safety, clean air, clean water, the department of education. They want to destroy your rights.Nancy Pelosi unleashed.
The Republican/Teabagger debt disaster in pictures
Let the other primary battles begin
The 2012 presidential race is the first to fall under new rules from the Republican National Committee, which had intended the contests to start in February, a month later than in 2008. But at least a half dozen states are threatening to defy the rules and move up their primaries.And everybody has their people pushing for their favorite date.
The result is that the first ballots are once again likely to be cast in January as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina move up the dates of their contests to protect their franchises as the early voting states.
At the same time, the rush toward the front of the calendar by Florida, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and Missouri is accompanied by another trend: several states are pushing back their presidential primaries — or canceling them entirely — because of tight state budgets.
In a perfect world, all the primaries would be held in the first three weeks of June. The states would be grouped by delegate counts or electoral or Congressional district counts, with the smallest states first, middle then largest states last. No campaign may begin before Feb 1. They would then have all summer to have their convention and run for office.
Ambassador Crocker doing it the hard way
Just get the fuck out
Is there no end to what these pricks will try?
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Monday that he is giving Congress ten days to pass a constitutional amendment that would make raising taxes nearly impossible. And if he doesn’t get what he wants, he will do everything in his power to force the U.S. to default on its debts.And over in the House we have Rep. Steve "The Most Stupidest King in Congress" King R-IA squealing like one of those pigs they feed all their corn to.
A Republican member of the House of Representatives declared today that President Barack Obama could be impeached if the U.S. defaults on its debts.And with time yet before default or other conclusion we can only imagine what next will come from the Grand Old Party of Anarchy. One thing the rest of us should remember. When you encounter a rabid animal you do not pet or feed it, you kill it.
The comment is from Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who told his followers on Twitter that they should "stop talking about" a potential U.S. default.
"The 1st dime of each $1 of revenue services debt," he wrote. "Obama would be impeached if he blocked debt payments."
Monday, July 25, 2011
Feed your head
England Beats India by 196
Massachusetts joins New York and Delaware
Massachusetts said it won’t sign on to any settlement of a nationwide foreclosure probe that includes certain liability releases for banks, joining at least two other states that have raised concerns over terms of a possible deal.This will surely piss off BO & Tiny Tim who promised a sweetheart settlement to the Banksters in time to make campaign contributions.
The banks in settlement talks with state and federal officials are seeking broad releases to protect them from legal claims. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said today she won’t support an agreement that includes releases for securitization of mortgages and conduct related to a database of mortgages known as MERS.
“Massachusetts will not sign on to any global agreement with the banks if it includes a comprehensive liability release regarding securitization and the MERS conduct,” Coakley wrote to the Norfolk County register of deeds in Dedham, Massachusetts. “These investigations must continue.” The registry keeps real estate records.
Speculators and hedge funds to push oil to $120 by year end.
The biggest bet in the oil market has become a 20 percent increase to $120 by the end of the year as global growth drives demand for raw materials.This is the next big oil run up coming. The alleged reasons are malarkey. The economy will stagger under the blow of either a Teabaggers sponsored US default or the return of the Depression when the cuts pull the last support out of the economy will spread worldwide faster than last time.The high oil prices will only last a month or two after the New Year as the smart money takes its profits.
The number of contracts held by traders in options to buy West Texas Intermediate crude at $120 a barrel in December totaled 45,502 lots on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of July 21, 4,226 lots more than the next-highest wager, which is for $125. Open interest in the two contracts jumped 29 percent in the past four weeks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Traders anticipate this year’s gains will exceed forecasts of the most accurate strategists as economic expansion in emerging markets outweighs the debt crisis in Europe, slowing U.S. growth and efforts by Saudi Arabia and the International Energy Agency to curb prices. Bullish bets mark a turnaround from April, when $80 a barrel was the favorite wager and futures fell as much as 22 percent in the next two months.
Along with all the other crooks, we support the Taliban, too
The military summary included several case studies in which money was traced from the U.S. Treasury through a labyrinth of subcontractors and power brokers. In one, investigators followed a $7.4 million payment to one of the eight companies, which in turn paid a subcontractor, who hired other subcontractors to supply trucks.The military has promised an new transport system that will eliminate the crime and improve the security. This essentially means increased attacks on the supply trucks until a new modus vivendi is worked out with the Taliban. The only way we can stop supporting the Taliban is to get out of a country where we don't belong and don't need to be.
The trucking subcontractors then made deposits into an Afghan National Police commander’s account, already swollen with payments from other subcontractors, in exchange for guarantees of safe passage for the convoys. Intelligence officials traced $3.3 million, withdrawn in 27 transactions from the commander’s account, that was transferred to insurgents in the form of weapons, explosives and cash.
Ready. willing and able
So why is the president embracing these bad policy ideas? In a forthcoming article in The New York Review of Books, the veteran journalist Elizabeth Drew suggests that members of the White House political team saw the 2010 election as a referendum on government spending and that they believe that cutting spending is the way to win next year.I just love the way those who have it all are so willing to sacrifice others for their foolish beliefs.
If so, I would respectfully suggest that they are out of their minds. Remember death panels? The G.O.P.’s most potent political weapon last year — the weapon that caused a large swing in the votes of older Americans — was the claim that Mr. Obama was cutting Medicare. Why give Republicans a chance to do it all over again?
Of course, it’s possible that the reason the president is offering to undermine Medicare is that he genuinely believes that this would be a good idea. And that possibility, I have to say, is what really scares me.
Nothing to see here
Federal investigators have opened a second criminal probe of U.S. Rep. David Rivera, examining undisclosed payments from a Miami gambling enterprise to a company tied to the Republican congressman, The Miami Herald has learned.Just another Republican son being good to his mother and seeing that she is comfortable in her old age.
Agents with the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service have begun interviewing witnesses knowledgeable about a $1 million consulting contract between Flagler Dog Track — now known as Magic City Casino — and Millennium Marketing, a company co-owned by Rivera’s 70-year-old mother and her business partner, according to sources familiar with the investigation.
No permenant bases in Afghanistan
The United States has no interest in creating permanent military bases in Afghanistan and does not want to use the country as a platform to influence neighboring countries, the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan said Monday.This is all part and parcel of the campaign to stay there as long as the military can sucker the White House into thinking it's necessary. The operative phrase came next.
Washington is negotiating with the Afghan government on a deal to define the long-term American role in Afghanistan beyond the end of 2014, when NATO-led combat troops are due to leave after handing security control to the Afghan army and police.
It remains unclear whether the "strategic partnership" agreement would explicitly refer to possible U.S. military bases in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the possibility of long-term U.S. bases can only be addressed once peace has been achieved.
"We have no interest in permanent bases in Afghanistan," said U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker shortly after he was sworn in at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, in an apparent nod to Afghanistan's powerful and wary neighbors.
"We will stay as long as we need to and not one day more."If that were truly the case we would have been gone years ago.
It's just a matter of time
Sunday, July 24, 2011
In heat like this
Jefferson County to file for bankruptcy
The Ultimate Anarchists
h/t Mule Breath
Will the Banksters get their waiver?
Oslo gunman thinks like a Teabagger
He has said that he believed the actions were atrocious, but that in his head they were necessary,The main difference is the Teabaggers want to pull the plug on people and let them die slowly rather rather than shoot them directly.
The DC Delusion continues
Jesse Ventura has had enough
Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura lambasted Friday at a federal court hearing "un-American" security procedures implemented at airports across the nation in 2010.No doubt about it, Jessie got this one right. I hope he wins his suit.
He filed a lawsuit with the Transportation Security Administration in January, claiming their use of pat down searches at airport security checkpoints is unconstitutional. Pioneer Press reported that a lawyer for Ventura argued in federal court that the searches violate his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable and unwarranted searches.
The Justice Department has filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed, claiming that the searches are legal and that they can only be challenged in a federal appeals court.
"In a free country, you should never feel comfortable being searched," Ventura told the Justice Department lawyer Tamara Ulrich. "This is not the country I was born in. We're a fascist nation now."
Bill Maher has a pledge, too
Hey, do you remember the Ritz Brothers?
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Why Rick Santorum will never again be elected to anything
Quote of the Day
The problem with the 112th isn’t a structural impediment; it’s the result of a radicalized Republican Party that has no use for compromise, evidence, or reason. We have a congressional GOP abandoning all institutional norms, pushing extremist policies, rejecting their own ideas if they enjoy Democratic support, and engaging in tactics that were once thought unthinkable from policymakers who put the nation’s needs first.Steve Benen explaining in his post why this is the Worst. Congress. Ever.
For those who have had enough summer heat
In defense of their right to breathe dirty air
Within weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to tighten the national standard for ozone, the main ingredient in smog. In last-minute lobbying, business groups are warning that the country can't afford cleaner air in an economic downturn and that President Barack Obama can't afford it politically, either.You can have my ozone when you pry it from my cold dead lungs.
Ozone inflames the airways, makes it hard to breathe, worsens asthma and other lung ailments, and increases the risk of death from lung or heart disease.
When making their case for your right to breathe crap they always discount the jobs created by the necessary cleanup efforts.
It's that bad
So now we have an official number
The United States has wasted some $34 billion on service contracts with the private sector in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a study being finalized for Congress.All things considered, we should really label all $200 Billion wasted because a) it was spent doing things the military used to do for itself and b) it was spent in Iraq and Afghanistan where we have no reason being, then or now.
The findings by a bipartisan congressional commission were confirmed to Reuters by a person familiar with the draft of the study, which is due to be completed in coming weeks.
The analysis by the Commission on Wartime Contracting, details of which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, offers the most complete look so far at the misuse of U.S. contracting funds in Afghanistan and Iraq, where more than $200 billion has been doled out in the contracts and grants over nearly a decade.
So what now
Friday, July 22, 2011
Just thinking of my college days
And they are still around and so am I.
Remember when The Onion was satire?
Members of the U.S. Congress reported Wednesday they were continuing to carefully debate the issue of whether or not they should allow the country to descend into a roiling economic meltdown of historically dire proportions. "It is a question that, I think, is worthy of serious consideration: Should we take steps to avoid a crippling, decades-long depression that would lead to disastrous consequences on a worldwide scale? Or should we not do that?" asked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), adding that arguments could be made for both sides, and that the debate over ensuring America’s financial solvency versus allowing the nation to default on its debt—which would torpedo stock markets, cause mortgage and interests rates to skyrocket, and decimate the value of the U.S. dollar—is “certainly a conversation worth having.” "Obviously, we don't want to rush to consensus on whether it is or isn't a good idea to save the American economy and all our respective livelihoods from certain peril until we've examined this thorny dilemma from every angle. And if we’re still discussing this matter on Aug. 2, well, then, so be it.” At press time, President Obama said he personally believed the country should not be economically ruined.One or two years ago this would have been ROTFL, but now it is current headline fare. We are so fucked.
The Great Orange Boner tries to make a funny
You know the dizzying array of debt talk drama has gone beyond the state of ridiculous when an announcement from Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) about striking a deal with President Obama is his idea of a joke.Went over like a lead balloon that joke did. Funnier than a screen door on a submarine. Curious how worried the Republicans were at the thought of a solution to the problem they created.
Boehner began a conference meeting Friday morning by deadpanning that Republicans, the White House and Democrats had reached a deal, according to a lawmaker in the room. The response from his conference was nervous silence before Boehner eased the tension by letting them know he was only joking.
Everybody officially says DADT is dead
Send Joe Lieberman to Guantanamo
Doesn't take a detective to uncover this gang.
Wall St prepares for 2nd half of the Bush Depression.
Layoffs have returned to Wall Street as investment banks bemoaning economic malaise and disappointing revenues are moving to pare their payrolls, by far their largest expense.I guess the layoffs will give the Banksters some sense of certainty in the marketplace.
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have announced plans to eliminate hundreds of employees, UBS and Credit Suisse are reportedly preparing to cut thousands of jobs and Barclays Capital has already imposed two rounds of layoffs this year.
But as banks again resort to pink slips, they appear inclined to spare the most generously compensated executives -- the people who enjoyed the biggest gains from the bubble in mortgage-related investments that savaged the economy -- while instead dismissing less-expensive employees.
"Wall Street is a cutthroat business. That's how the capital market system works," said Sung Won Sohn, a former Wells Fargo chief economist who is now a finance professor at California State University Channel Islands. "The more seasoned, experienced, higher-paid people have a lot more connections and contacts. That is very, very valuable. Whereas junior, younger people are more replaceable."
When Republicans demand their right to breathe dirty air
Joyeux anniversaire Mireille Mathieu
Austerity is not a country south of Germany
These are interesting times — and I mean that in the worst way. Right now we’re looking at not one but two looming crises, either of which could produce a global disaster. In the United States, right-wing fanatics in Congress may block a necessary rise in the debt ceiling, potentially wreaking havoc in world financial markets. Meanwhile, if the plan just agreed to by European heads of state fails to calm markets, we could see falling dominoes all across southern Europe — which would also wreak havoc in world financial markets.Rat begins to make more and more sense.
We can only hope that the politicians huddled in Washington and Brussels succeed in averting these threats. But here’s the thing: Even if we manage to avoid immediate catastrophe, the deals being struck on both sides of the Atlantic are almost guaranteed to make the broader economic slump worse.
In fact, policy makers seem determined to perpetuate what I’ve taken to calling the Lesser Depression, the prolonged era of high unemployment that began with the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and continues to this day, more than two years after the recession supposedly ended...
For those who know their 1930s history, this is all too familiar. If either of the current debt negotiations fails, we could be about to replay 1931, the global banking collapse that made the Great Depression great. But, if the negotiations succeed, we will be set to replay the great mistake of 1937: the premature turn to fiscal contraction that derailed economic recovery and ensured that the Depression would last until World War II finally provided the boost the economy needed.
click pic to big
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The lower the woman the lower the risk of cancer
A new study published in The Lancet Oncology found that the shorter women are, the lower their cancer risk. Or, vice versa, the taller women are the greater their risk.But her chances of being run over by a bus are greater.
In fact, British researchers determined that the risk of cancer in women jumps 16 percent with each 4-inch increase in height.
To determine whether stature had anything to do with cancer risk, the researchers, led by Dr. Jane Green of Oxford University, followed 1.3 million middle-aged women from the United Kingdom for 10 years.
Even after accounting for the women’s different lifestyles and socio-economic backgrounds, there was still a significant jump in cancer risk associated with increasing stature. And it wasn’t just one kind of cancer. Taller women were more likely to develop cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus and bowel, as well as leukemia and melanoma.
Which side AARP you on
Obama is not caving in this time
A Congressional aide briefed on ongoing negotiations between House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama says the two principals may be nearing a "grand bargain" to raise the debt limit which would contain large, set-in-stone spending cuts but only the possibility of future revenue increases.Has any president ever "crossed the aisle" in mid term?
"All cuts," the aide said. "Maybe revenues some time in the future."
The White House press guy tweeted that BO won't go for a deal without revenue, but he is so deniable it means nothing.
Where they belong
Raise the debt limit
Desperately seeking stupid
The Discovery Channel has greenlit, so to speak, a new reality show to debut this fall that follows the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary, according to a report published Wednesday morning.Must Not See TV
Focusing on Steve DeAngelo (pictured, left), proprietor of the Harborside Health Center in Oakland, Weed Wars looks to strip the mystique off the emerging, legally ambiguous world of retail marijuana sales.
Steal a man's wallet and do hard time
State attorneys general are negotiating to give major banks wide immunity over irregularities in handling foreclosures, even as evidence has emerged that banks are continuing to file questionable documents.Too big to fail, too big to control and too big to prosecute. And too poorly run to benefit shareholders.
A coalition of all 50 states' attorneys general has been negotiating settlements with five of the biggest U.S. banks that would include payment of up to $25 billion in penalties and commitments to follow new rules. In exchange, the banks would get immunity from civil lawsuits by the states, as well as similar guarantees by the Justice Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development, which have participated in the talks.
State and federal officials declined to say if any form of immunity from criminal prosecution also is under discussion. The banks involved in the talks are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, CitiGroup, JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial.
Todays proverb comes from Russia
A full stomach likes to preach about fasting.Go ahead, send it to your favorite congresscritter, just for fun.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Your Dylan Dally Moment
Quote of the Day
The sad thing is America no longer has a two-party system. One of our two parties has morphed into kind of a cult driven by a singular fixation and obsession: preserving tax breaks for the wealthy at all costs.Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
Over the last 70 some years
Thanks to Matt Stoller & h/t to AmericaBlog
Teabagger apologizes for being a shit to Wasserman-Schultz
Needs no explanation
Sauce for your goose but not their gander
Freshman House Republicans who rode a wave of voter discontent into office last year vowed to stop out-of-control spending, but that has not stopped several of them from quietly trying to funnel millions of federal dollars into projects back home.Their parochial avarice is a curious position if they won't vote to raise the debt ceiling to pay for their pet pork projects. I guess it just goes to show that Smart is not a Republican/Teabagger value no matter which side of the vote you are on.
They have pushed for dozens of projects in their districts, including military programs opposed by the president, replenishing beach sand lost to erosion, a $700 million bridge in Minnesota and a harbor dredging project in Charleston, S.C. Some of their projects were once earmarks, political shorthand for pet projects penciled into spending bills, which Republicans banned when they took over the House.
An examination of spending bills, news releases and communications with federal agencies obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows that nearly two dozen freshmen have sought money for projects that could ultimately cost billions of dollars, while calling for less spending and banning pork projects.
Politicians have long advocated for projects on behalf of individuals and businesses back home, even without earmarks. Several lawmakers said they were merely providing a constituent service. But since many of the freshman Republicans campaigned on a pledge to cut spending and to change Washington’s time-honored ways, their support of spending projects suggests that in many cases ideology can go only so far in serving the needs of people back home.
Breitfart to answer for his crimes
No doubt because it is such a lovely place
Several Iraq experts and former defense officials, including people who were involved in the formulation of the original 2008 agreement that permitted American troops to remain in Iraq, said the administration appears to be wary of the consequences of leaving Iraq in full, or with too few troops left in place – and is in the process of seeking a new pact with the Iraqi government.Maliki of Iraq has two very good reasons to be careful and cautious about this. The first is his ruling coalition which relies heavily on its large Sadrist component. The Sadrists most definitely do not want any Americans troops to stay. And the second, unmentioned in the article is that if he asks the US to stay, we will become a permanent part of Iraq. We will not leave Iraq in his or his children's lifetimes. It is hard to say if he understands this last point.
"At the time of the negotiations it was made clear that it would not be the last agreement, it would be the first," said a former defense official with knowledge of the talks over the 2008 pact, known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).
"Subject to conditions on the ground in 2011 there might be revisiting of the agreement -- if not as a SOFA then as part of the Strategic Framework. But there was never a contemplation that we would walk out of Iraq at end of 2011 like we did at the end of Vietnam. The SOFA was a bridge document to get us to end of 2011."
President Obama has repeatedly pledged to adhere to the original terms of the deal and withdraw all of the nearly 50,000 American troops still in Iraq by the end of the year, save, perhaps, a handful in embassies and other select locations.
But in recent months, the U.S. has let it be known that it is willing to consider staying in significant numbers -- if the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki requests it.
All the hearings may be exciting but
Online hacking group LulzSec said Monday night it had obtained a large cache of emails from the servers of News International, the News Corp. subsidiary which oversees global media baron Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers.Their hacked post of Ruperts obit may have been premature, but maybe by not that much.
Along with the emails, LulzSec said it had unearthed the email logins and passwords for News International executives, including former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, who was arrested recently in connection to the paper's phone hacking schemes.
A Twitter account connected with the hackers said they planned to release the emails online tomorrow. Also unearthed were phone numbers for News International officials, along with personal information about an online content editor.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Alan Grayson is looking for 100,000 Good Americans
If He's Chasing You...
Cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? Let’s think about this.
Medicare helps to heal people who are old and sick. Medicaid helps to heal people who are poor and sick. And for most people, without Social Security, they would have to work until the day they die.
These are not things that I want to cut. But some people do.
Who are these people who want to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? I know some of them. For two years, I sat with them in a room – the Floor of the House – for several hours a day.
I got to know some of them quite well. I can summarize their views in six short words: “Let the Devil Take the Hindmost.”
“Let the Devil Take the Hindmost” refers to a situation where the Devil is chasing us. Some of us – the young, the fit, the healthy -- are able to run away from the Devil. And those others – the old, the children, the sick and, frankly, the scared – they can’t run as fast. They’re the hindmost. They’re the ones that the Devil catches, and destroys.
So what should the ones who run faster do? Should they grab hold of the hindmost, lift them up, and help them to run to safety? Or should they just let the Devil take the hindmost, while they escape?
You know what Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity would do in that situation. And Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. They would let the Devil take the hindmost.
But you wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t.
The phrase “Let the Devil Take the Hindmost” is a venerable phrase; it just celebrated its 400th birthday. It comes from a 1610 play called “Love Lies a-Bleeding.” (All you Elton John fans now know where the song “Love Lies Bleeding” comes from.) Shakespeare didn’t write the play, but it was performed by Shakespeare’s theatre troop, The King’s Men.
In Act V of “Love Lies a-Bleeding,” the people rise in rebellion against a bad government. The character Thrasiline questions whether the people can remain united, however. Thrasiline says that even when a mere “toy” clicks at the people’s heels, “they run all away, and cry, ‘the devil take the hindmost.’”
Dion responds to Thrasiline this way: “Then the same devil take the foremost too, and souse him for his breakfast! If they all prove cowards, my curses fly amongst them, and be speeding!”
(“Sousing” is cooking a cut of meat until it is well done, pulling the meat off the bones, and then mashing it.)
And that’s the point – the 400-year-old point. If the Devil is chasing us, there is no reason to think that he’ll ever be satisfied just taking the hindmost. The Devil will take the foremost, too. Mash them up, and eat them for breakfast.
The Devil in America today is poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, bigotry, selfishness, ignorance, disease and death. When the Right Wing says that we have to cut Social Security, cut Medicare, cut Medicaid, cut unemployment insurance, cut education, cut food stamps, what they’re really saying is “let the Devil take the hindmost.”
I think that we’d all be a lot better off if we stopped running, we all turned on the Devil, and we fought back together. At least we would have a chance.
I’d rather fight, not run away.
What about you?
P.S. Please sign our petition at www.No-Cuts.com. And pass it on to every friend you have. Let’s stop running, and fight back together.
Some imported music for Tuesday
Where the freshman Republican/Teabaggers come from
And the door to another dimension opens
President Obama heaped praise on a deficit-reduction proposal produced by bipartisan group of senators known as the "Gang of Six," calling it a "significant step" and arguing that members on both side of the aisle are beginning to coalesce around a balanced approach involving cuts to entitlements and tax increases.As I try to follow all these budget things it strikes me that Republicans must be born with Teflon assholes because their elected officials are always trying to stick up there. Democrats would need an awful lot more lube to take it that often.
"We're in the same playing field and my hope is that we start gathering everybody in the next couple of days" on an agreement, Obama told reporters in a brief appearance in the White House briefing room Tuesday.
"...We're seeing the potential for a bipartisan consensus around [the Gang of Six proposal]...but there are still a lot of difficult negotiations to get something done," he added.
Obama called on all Congressional leaders to support the proposal that includes both significant cuts and revenue raisers (i.e. tax increases and loophole closures.) He also said the plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is necessary to consider but only as a backstop if agreement on a broader deal falls apart.
Even the Fuhrer feels such tsoriss
How much lower can we go?
God Bless Dr Elizabeth Warren
Art imitating life
I'm pretty sure we don't have poop gills
Kudos to LulzSec for their story on Murdoch's demise.
Monday, July 18, 2011
No wonder the Banksters are pushing for a settlement.
In the housing boom, lenders created millions of new mortgages, packaged them into pools, and securitized them rapidly for sale to investors in so-called mortgage-securities trusts.It looks like New York AG Schneiderman has enough work, if he chooses, to set up a prosecution mill. Lord knows we have enough empty prisons upstate for the convicted.
The agreements setting up the trusts, called "pooling and servicing agreements," require that key documents, properly executed and endorsed, be turned over immediately for each mortgage when a trust is established. The two most important ones are a promissory note and mortgage assignment.
The Reuters examination turned up thousands of instances --more than 2,000 in Florida alone — involving recently filed mortgage assignments which ostensibly transferred mortgages to these trusts years after they were formed.
The problem, according to Georgetown University law professor Adam Levitin, an expert on securitization: About 80 percent of all trust agreements provide that New York State law applies, and under New York law, any mortgage assignments made later than specified in the agreements would be void.
Let me impose some religion on you
The History Channel will never be the same
America's largest Anarchist group comes out for default
Powerful conservative interest groups are demanding they vote for it. And at the same time they're warning the GOP against voting for the only viable option currently on the table for avoiding a catastrophic debt default.If the stoopid boogers vote to raise the debt limit, the anarchist group Club For Growth and others will primary them. If they vote for default their big money people will drop them like a hot rock. Their only sane choice is to shoot themselves.
"Cut, Cap, and Balance will fix our fiscal mess. The McConnell-Reid plan does not," said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola in a statement accompanying an alert that these votes will be counted on the group's scorecard. "McConnell-Reid simply punts our budget problem further down the road and is everything that's wrong with Washington. Congress has proven that they are unable to balance the budget without reform. Cut, Cap and Balance is the only plan that permanently handcuffs politicians from spending more money than they take in."
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