Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Bubble Economy today

Your Faithful Fireman likes to keep an eye on economic happenings. One of those happenings is the diligent efforts of the Bushoviks to send American assets to other countries. Mind you, nothing so petty as a Swiss bank account, we are talking the wealth of the nation flowing out and not flowing back. In fairness, Our Dear Leader and his minions are not solely responsible for this, they have merely raised it to the level of a crusade. This post from Billmon is a long one but it is required reading for anyone who is not fully invested in gold bullion buried in the back yard.

PS. Here is a little frosting from Stephen Roach, an economist at Morgan Stanley

Up to now I have not written about Social Security

The reason is quite simple. There are many folks out there doing an excellent job already. Josh Marshall, for one, has focused on this issue and done much to dispel the fog of lies Our Dear Leader has been blowing up Americas collective ass. The good folks at Media Matters track the individual frauds perpetrated in the various news media, including this summation of the press response to ODLs stand up routine the other night. You can also get excellent detailed explanations from Matt Yglesias on his blog. I recommend these and other sites in my link list to you, gentle reader, because they do it so much better than I.

Update:Do take a trip over to Maha. She has a wonderfully literate breakdown of the Bushoviks SSI fraud.

MoDo on the Thief of Baghdad

Maureen Dowds' column today discusses the ressurrection of Ahmed Chalabi as the "interim" Minister of Oil in the new Iraqi government. It's hard to say she discovers anything new, as all her points have been common knowledge for quite some time. If the Bushoviks think that this will help their good friends back in the oil patch they should consider this:
Ahmad Chalabi - convicted embezzler in Jordan, suspected Iranian spy, double-crosser of America, purveyor of phony war-instigating intelligence - is the new acting Iraqi oil minister.

The neocons' con man had been paid millions by the U.S. to tell the Bushies what they wanted to hear on Iraqi W.M.D. A year ago, the State Department and factions in the Pentagon turned on him after he began bashing America and using Saddam's secret files to discredit his enemies.

Newsweek revealed that the U.S. suspected Mr. Chalabi of leaking secret information about American war plans for Iraq to the Iranians before the invasion, and of perhaps leaking "highly classified" information to Iran that could "get people killed" if abused by the Iranians.

Now, showing survival skills that make Tom DeLay look like a piker, the resourceful Thief of Baghdad has popped back up as one of the four deputy prime ministers and the interim cabinet minister controlling the one valuable commodity in that wasteland: the second-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia. He even has a DeLay-like talent for getting relatives on the payroll: a Chalabi nephew is the new finance minister.

Oh Yeah! This guy is really gonna turn Iraq into the new Saudi Arabia for us. Anybody want to buy a bridge?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Have a laugh

I like a good joke. It sets the world right and helps us to see ourselves better. Indeed, a wise man once wrote; " A man who can not laugh at himself must surely be president" Don't stop me if you have heard this one before, it won't do any good.
One day in the near future, George Bush has a heart attack and dies. He immediately goes to hell, where the devil is waiting for him.

"I don't know what to do," says the devil. "You are on my list,but I have no room for you. You definitely have to stay here, so I'll tell you what I'm going to do. Believe it or not I've got some folks here who weren't quite as bad as you. I'll let one of them go, but you have to take their place. I'll even let YOU decide who leaves."

Bush thought that sounded pretty good, so the devil opened the first room. In it was Ronald Reagan and a large pool of water. He kept diving in and surfacing over and over again. Such was his fate in hell.

"No," George said. "I don't think so. I'm not a good swimmer and I don't think I could do that all day long".

The devil led him to the next room. In it was Richard Nixon with a sledge hammer and a room full of rocks. All he did was swing that hammer, time after time after time.

"No, I've got this problem with my shoulder. I'd be in constant agony if
all I could do was break rocks all day," said George.

The devil opened a third door. In it, Bush saw Bill Clinton, lying on the floor with his arms tied behind his head, and his legs in a spread eagle pose. Bent over him was Monica Lewinsky, doing what she does best. Bush looked in disbelief and
finally said, "Yeah, I can handle this."

The devil smiled and said "OK, Monica, you're free to go."

Friday Night Airplane blogging

The P-38 Lightning was known as The Whispering Death in the Pacific Theater because of the muffled exhaust noise from the turbosupercharged Allison engines. This large twin boom design was surprisingly maneuverable and fast. The speed and stability of the counter-rotating engines made it an ideal platform for photo-recon or guns. Not bad for a pre-war design whose hand built prototype crashed at the end of a cross country publicity stunt.  Posted by Hello

Somebody got it right.

I spend time reading various editorial columnists as part of my daily routine. I confess I read those whom I believe reflect my own beliefs and values and as a result I generally enjoy my reading. However, I seldom read one that I think hits the problem square on the mark. That is why I recommend this effort by Rod Watson. In one short column he accurately describes the problem and the threat to America posed by the current Republican party leadership.
After all, when it comes to persuading people regardless of the facts, who better to learn from than the folks who say one thing, do the opposite, and still command majority support?

These are the folks who talk values - and give us Tom DeLay, whose ethical lapses and strong-arm tactics have turned the GOP into a street gang without guns.

They talk coalition building to save American lives - and give us John Bolton who, as U.N. ambassador, would destroy the U.N. and ensure that U.S. troops fight with virtually no allies.

Read it all, it says it all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Just a thought

Yesterday the official US weapons inspector put paid to the idea of Saddams' WMD. The fairy tale of Saddam & Osama in bed together disappeared a long time ago. Recent numbers show
* 1,574 U.S. Military Fatalities in Iraq
* 11,888 U.S. Military Wounded in Iraq (The last department of Defense update was on the 5th of April)
* 24106 Iraqis Reported Killed

Our mighty coalition of the willing is proving more unwilling as time goes on. And after all this time there is one constant.
The Bushoviks have never yet given the American public the real reason for starting their own private war with public money and public lives.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Mouth wide open, eyes wide shut

Sen William "Billy the Cat Killer" Frist (R-Jesusland) walked right into a political no-win today. After the Democrats put out feelers for a compromise regarding judicial nominations today, Sen Frist found himself unable to do anything but refuse all compromise.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid had been quietly talking with Frist about confirming at least two of Bush's blocked nominees from Michigan in exchange for withdrawing a third nominee. This would have been part of a compromise that would have the GOP back away from a showdown over changing Senate rules to prevent Democrats from using the filibuster to block Bush's nominees.

But Frist, in a rare news conference conducted on the Senate floor, said he would not accept any deal that keeps his Republican majority from confirming judicial nominees that have been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Billy has been assiduously courting the religious right in support of his presidential aspirations. Had he compromised and gone with less than all the nominations these God fearing, Jesus hating folk would have ripped him a new one and left him standing on the curb wondering what happened. And now real Americans will get a chance to see who is willing to work for America.
And if you need a clearer explanation, try this one from Kos

Monday, April 25, 2005

Support our troops.

Impeach Bush. When you read this story, think about all the promises made by the Bushoviks before the rubber hit the road.
On May 29, 2004, a station wagon that Iraqi insurgents had packed with C-4 explosives blew up on a highway in Ramadi, killing four American marines who died for lack of a few inches of steel.

The four were returning to camp in an unarmored Humvee that their unit had rigged with scrap metal, but the makeshift shields rose only as high as their shoulders, photographs of the Humvee show, and the shrapnel from the bomb shot over the top.

"The steel was not high enough," said Staff Sgt. Jose S. Valerio, their motor transport chief, who along with the unit's commanding officers said the men would have lived had their vehicle been properly armored. "Most of the shrapnel wounds were to their heads."

Among those killed were Rafael Reynosa, a 28-year-old lance corporal from Santa Ana, Calif., whose wife was expecting twins, and Cody S. Calavan, a 19-year-old private first class from Lake Stevens, Wash., who had the Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis, tattooed across his back.

They were not the only losses for Company E during its six-month stint last year in Ramadi. In all, more than one-third of the unit's 185 troops were killed or wounded, the highest casualty rate of any company in the war, Marine Corps officials say.

In returning home, the leaders and Marine infantrymen have chosen to break an institutional code of silence and tell their story, one they say was punctuated not only by a lack of armor, but also by a shortage of men and planning that further hampered their efforts in battle, destroyed morale and ruined the careers of some of their fiercest warriors.

Marines don't "go public" when there is a man in the White House.

Wonder where the GiGi went.

The Raw Story has some details from the newly disclosed White House sign ins and sign outs of noted Republican Gay Escort and Journalist Jeff Gannon (nee Guckert) Including these interesting bits.
Perhaps more notable than the frequency of his attendance, however, is several distinct anomalies about his visits.

Guckert made more than two dozen excursions to the White House when there were no scheduled briefings. On many of these days, the Press Office held press gaggles aboard Air Force One—which raises questions about what Guckert was doing at the White House. On other days, the president held photo opportunities.

On at least fourteen occasions, Secret Service records show either the entry or exit time missing. Generally, the existing entry or exit times correlate with press conferences; on most of these days, the records show that Guckert checked in but was never processed out.

In March, 2003, Guckert left the White House twice on days he had never checked in with the Secret Service. Over the next 22 months, Guckert failed to check out with the Service on fourteen days. On several of these visits, Guckert either entered or exited by a different entry/exit point than his usual one. On one of these days, no briefing was held; on another, he checked in twice but failed to check out.

It's too bad Jeff isn't one to kiss and tell.

Democrats respond to Republican nuclear option.

I found this press release from Sen Reid on The Daily Kos.
As a matter of comity, the Minority in the Senate traditionally defers to the Majority in the setting of the agenda. If Bill Frist pulls the nuclear trigger, Democrats will show deference no longer.

Invoking a little-known Senate procedure called Rule XIV, last week Democrats put nine bills on the Senate calendar that seek to help America fulfill its promise.

If Republican's break the rules Democrats will use the rule to bring to the Senate floor an agenda that meets the needs of average Americans, such as lowering gas prices, reducing the cost of health care and helping veterans.

"Across the country, people are worried about things that matter to their families - the health of their loved ones, their child's performance in schools, and those sky high gas prices," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. "But what is the number one priority for Senate Republicans? Doing away with the last check on one-party rule in Washington to allow President Bush, Senator Frist and Tom Delay to stack the courts with radical judges. If Republicans proceed to pull the trigger on the nuclear option, Democrats will respond by employing existing Senate rules to push forward our agenda for America."

Democrats have introduced bills that address America's real challenges. (Details attached)

1. Women's Health Care (S. 844). "The Prevention First Act of 2005" will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions by increasing funding for family planning and ending health insurance discrimination against women.

2. Veterans' Benefits (S. 845). "The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2005" will assist disabled veterans who, under current law, must choose to either receive their retirement pay or disability compensation.

3. Fiscal Responsibility (S. 851). Democrats will move to restore fiscal discipline to government spending and extend the pay-as-you-go requirement.

4. Relief at the Pump (S. 847). Democrats plan to halt the diversion of oil from the markets to the strategic petroleum reserve. By releasing oil from the reserve through a swap program, the plan will bring down prices at the pump.

5. Education (S. 848). Democrats have a bill that will: strengthen head start and child care programs, improve elementary and secondary education, provide a roadmap for first generation and low-income college students, provide college tuition relief for students and their families, address the need for math, science and special education teachers, and make college affordable for all students.

6. Jobs (S. 846). Democrats will work in support of
legislation that guarantees overtime pay for workers and sets a fair minimum wage.

7. Energy Markets (S. 870). Democrats work to prevent Enron-style market manipulation of electricity.

8. Corporate Taxation (S. 872). Democrats make sure companies pay their fair share of taxes to the U.S. government instead of keeping profits overseas.

9. Standing with our troops (S. 11). Democrats believe that putting America's security first means standing up for our troops and their families

"Abusing power is not what the American people sent us to Washington to do. We need to address real priorities instead -- fight for relief at the gas pump, stronger schools and lower health care costs for America's families," said Senator Reid.

Give 'em hell, Harry!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

"Oily Dick" Cheney loves to say F#*& you to senators

The VP has jumped into the debate over what Republicans have called the "nuclear option" with both feet.As this article in the NY Times says:
Vice President Dick Cheney plunged the White House into the judicial confirmation battle on Friday by saying he supported changing the Senate rules to stop the Democrats from blocking judicial nominees and would, if needed, provide the tie-breaking vote.

"There is no justification for allowing the blocking of nominees who are well qualified and broadly supported," Mr. Cheney told a gathering of the Republican National Lawyers Association. "The tactics of the last few years, I believe, are inexcusable. [ed.note.Dick meant to add "unless you are a Republican and the Clenis is in the White House."]

The R's keep saying that the rejectable nominees are capable but the fact is that the guy who delivered milk to my house when I was a kid would have made a better judge. At best they could fill in for Judge Judy when she goes on vacation.
The filibuster is one of the elements of American democracy that protects all of us from the tyranny of the majority. Even when we don't like it, we should protect it. We hope the Senate does not fall victim to what Democrats call "the Crybaby Option"

Healthcare in Ameica

Barbara at Mahablog has an excellent and detailed post on some of the troubles with healthcare today. Included is a report on the latest attack of the Fetus People on reality.

Toms' troubles

From the Washington Post we read these details of The Travels and Adventures of Tom Delay
The airfare to London and Scotland in 2000 for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was charged to an American Express card issued to Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist at the center of a federal criminal and tax probe, according to two sources who know Abramoff's credit card account number and to a copy of a travel invoice displaying that number.

DeLay's expenses during the same trip for food, phone calls and other items at a golf course hotel in Scotland were billed to a different credit card also used on the trip by a second registered Washington lobbyist, Edwin A. Buckham, according to receipts documenting that portion of the trip.

House ethics rules bar lawmakers from accepting travel and related expenses from registered lobbyists. DeLay, who is now House majority leader, has said that his expenses on this trip were paid by a nonprofit organization and that the financial arrangements for it were proper...

The records also indicate that the expenses associated with DeLay exceeded those that he declared in a signed statement to the House clerk on June 30, 2000.

My guess, and my hope, is that Tom will continue to fight this until all the details have been laid out in the press. Keep up the good work Tom!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

A nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is in order.

This woman gave her life in her quest to help innocents in a war zone. Perhaps all christians tomorrow should consider her example when they ask themselves, "What would Jesus do?
"In my two years in Iraq, the one question I am asked the most is: "How many Iraqi civilians have been killed by American forces?" The American public has a right to know how many Iraqis have lost their lives since the start of the war and as hostilities continue...Recently, I obtained statistics on civilian casualties from a high-ranking U.S. military official. The numbers were for Baghdad only, for a short period, during a relatively quiet time. Other hot spots, such as the Ramadi and Mosul areas, could prove worse. The statistics showed that 29 civilians were killed by small-arms fire during firefights between U.S. troops and insurgents between Feb. 28 and April 5 -- four times the number of Iraqi police killed in the same period. It is not clear whether the bullets that killed these civilians were fired by U.S. troops or insurgents...
A number is important not only to quantify the cost of war, but as a reminder of those whose dreams will never be realized in a free and democratic Iraq."

Marla Ruzicka was founder of Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, or CIVIC ( In 2003, she organized surveyors across Iraq to document civilian casualties. Before that, she managed a similar project in Afghanistan that helped to secure assistance from the U.S. government for civilian victims.

When Jesus does return, you will want to have the right answer.

UPDATE:Here is a link to the nominating process. If you know anyone who qualifies as a Nominator, please contact them.

Tomorrow is "Just-Us Sunday"

Here is the Call-To-Arms for all real Americans.

The Ghost of Credit Future

BAD ATTITUDES is a blog that is blessed with insightful posts from its creators. Take a look at this post speculating what might follow from the new bankruptcy bill that Our Dear Leader recently signed into law. Then take the time to read the rest of the blog. You will enjoy it.

Der Pope Ratzenfuerher has many nicknames

And MoDo seems to have found most of them in her column today. Sadly, most of them appear to be appropriate. If the shoes of the fisherman fit, may God help us all.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Friday night airplane blogging

The Junkers Ju-87 illustrates the rapid advance of airplane technology in WWII. What began the war as a devastatingly effective dive bomber in the first years of the war, was merely a slow, lumbering target by 1944, easy prey for newer, more advanced and faster fighters. Surprisingly, despite the German preference for dive bombing, they never developed an adequate replacement for the Stuka. Posted by Hello

Never kick a faithful dog.

He will remember what you did much longer than you will. The Bushoviks are discovering this thanks to Sen Voinovich and Colin Powell this week. First, the good Sen single-handedly stops the nomination of John "The Furball" Bolton,from being reported out of committee. Then we get this from Colin Powell. In the diplomatic world, this is loud and clear, the man is unfit for the position! Had these two gentlemen been treated better by the Bushoviks, I am sure that Furball would be driving his wrecking ball up FDR Drive at this moment.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Just when you thought everyone had a tax cut...

..along comes another poor, starving segment of corporate society. The energy industry, long deprived of the fruits of the Bush Boom, will finally get to step up to the table thanks to the latest House energy bill approved by the Ways and Means Committee. Blessed are we that Our Dear Leader has spoken out against this dreadful double dip. It's just a darn shame that George never interferes with the workings of Congress. It's not his job.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Abu Ghraib was worse than you were allowed to see.

This story from Al Jazeera tells a sickening story. As an American, I am very distressed that something like this could even be possible. Before you dismiss the source, consider this. Almost every government in the Middle East wants to shut down Al-Jazeera, they must be doing something right.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

When you get "fat and sassy" you should expect trouble.

For too long the Republicans had everything go their way. And they thought it would go on forever. Some are starting to wake up, let's hope it is too late.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

What the public doesn't know won't hurt us.

Or so seems to be the latest Bushovik policy on anti-terrrism. After all, when you are governing with extreme incompetence, it is not a good idea to publish the evidence.

Want to know who is paying for Toxic Tommy DeLays' legal bills?

You can find a PDF file of who paid what here.

Also enjoy this dream of Toms as narrated by Leonard Pitts in an updated Dickensian style.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Nevada eloquence

Atrios has the response from Sen. Reid to "The Right Rev" William 'Billy the Cat Killer' Frists upcoming evangelothon. When will these effete Ivy League types learn? You don't mess with a westerners belief.

Welcome to Friday night airplane blogging.

The P-47, also know with great affection as The Jug, was raw power on the wing. The designer Seversky took a 2000hp engine and designed the plane around it. The top speed in level flight was over 400 mph.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Who say scientists don't have a sense of humor?

Read this and enjoy.

What have you done for me lately?

The Marine Corps Times has a story on the House passage of the latest $80 Billion funding bill for Bush War II. Read how the Bushoviks honor our fighting men by blocking an amendment that would provide a $1.9 billion increase in VA medical care for returning vets. Some 10 to 20,000 have already been smuggled home in the dead of night by the Bushoviks, so as not to upset the natives. Before this is finished we will probably see that many more, several times over. The VA will need funding for the care these brave and loyal troops deserve.At least that is the way it seems to real Americans. Apparently the Bushoviks don't think so.

Monday, April 11, 2005

AmericaBlog says the fun has just begun.

Read all about it here. No doubt there will be more to follow.

Always save room for the Rude Pundit

Such a trip to the heart of the matter.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Remember when the lacing on your baseball started to come apart?

Read this.

And this.

And this.

The cockroaches are starting to desert the Bug Man. Abramoff may be calling for help as Kevin Drum suggests, but I can't help but think that Jacks days are numbered. It only remains to be seen if it is a tragic accident or a warning to others.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Jos. Stalin, Republican philosopher?

Politics has long been described as left and right, but perhaps it would better be described as a circle. It would appear that the Legions of Wingnuttery have gone so far to the right that they have run smack-dab into that old icon of the extreme left, Joseph Stalin. As this article in the Washington Post by Dana Milbank makes clear, some conservative folk have taken the words of the late Soviet leader as their political guidance in the battle to destoy the American court system. It seems that constituional lawyer-author Edwin Vieira takes as his mantra for dealing with judges with the wrong basis for their jurisprudence, a quote from Stalin,

"Death solves all problems: no man, no problem."

If one listens carefully, one can hear Old Joe laughing in his niche in the Kremlin wall.

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