Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hunter learns a few

Lessons that is in this political season. And he has been kind enough to share them with us. The first one is,
In a race that includes a former First Lady of the United States and a multimillionaire Republican senator rumored to share up to eight residences with his wife, the black guy from Chicago is unforgivably elitist.
Go read the rest here.

Six months is up already

And Tom Friedman is back among us. And damned if his first column back isn't pretty much right in the mark. See for yourself. joins the fray

You can help them run this ad here.

From the pen of Jeff Danziger

The Old Fart puts forth his health plan

It is nothing more than a re-warming of Our Dear Embattled Leader's hairball ideas with a few new twists to funnel more federal tax dollars into the insurance companies.
Mr. McCain’s health care plan would shift the emphasis from insurance provided by employers to insurance bought by individuals, to foster competition and drive down prices. To do so he is calling for eliminating the tax breaks that currently encourage employers to provide health insurance for their workers, and replacing them with $5,000 tax credits for families to buy their own insurance.

His proposal to move away from employer-based coverage was similar to one that President Bush pushed for last year, to little effect.
So the Old Fart wants to take away the strength of numbers in employer health care and let us all fend for ourselves against a vicious, greedy industry that values your dollars ahead of your health. And he will continue with his cradle-to-the-grave government health coverage.

And to help you understand the Old Fart's plan, someone was nice enough to put together this video.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The many sides of John McCain

Brought to you by KO & Rachel Maddow.

Obama repudiates his ex-minister

Now we wait with bated breath to see if the Old Fart will repudiate the two hatemongering antiChrists that he solicited for his campaign. Please note that I said "with bated breath" and not holding your breath. Holding your breath in anticipation of the Old Fart doing the right thing will result in death.

Another Afghan success

With only one problem, it is claimed by the Taliban.
A kilogram of the best Afghan heroin is worth £600 in Afghanistan. It is worth twice as much at the bazaar in Tajikistan. But rather than take cash, they take weapon parts, because they double their value in Afghanistan. An AK-47 assault rifle costs £50 at the bazaar. It is worth up to £100 in northern Afghanistan, and even more in the south and east where demand for guns is higher, because of the fighting.

The Taliban go-between said fighters in Helmand expect to get six AK-47s for 1kg of good quality heroin, a similar number of rocket-propelled grenades or a dozen boxes of ammunition.
Opium is the center of the only self sustaining economy in Afghanistan and another Republican success in the Middle East.

It's amazing what a little integrity can do

Witness Air Force Col. Morris Davis, once chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, and now witness for the defense to make the case that the military courts are pure 100% Kangaroo.
Davis told Navy Capt. Keith J. Allred, who presided over the hearing, that top Pentagon officials, including Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England, made it clear to him that charging some of the highest-profile detainees before elections this year could have "strategic political value."

Davis said he wants to wait until the cases -- and the military commissions system -- have a more solid legal footing. He also said that Defense Department general counsel William J. Haynes II, who announced his retirement in February, once bristled at the suggestion that some defendants could be acquitted, an outcome that Davis said would give the process added legitimacy.

"He said, 'We can't have acquittals,' " Davis said under questioning from Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer, the military counsel who represents Hamdan. " 'We've been holding these guys for years. How can we explain acquittals? We have to have convictions.' "

Davis also decried as unethical a decision by top military officials to allow the use of evidence obtained by coercive interrogation techniques. He said Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, the legal adviser to the top military official overseeing the commissions process, was improperly willing to use evidence derived from waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning. "To allow or direct a prosecutor to come into the courtroom and offer evidence they felt was torture, it puts a prosecutor in an ethical bind," Davis testified. But he said Hartmann replied that "everything was fair game -- let the judge sort it out."
It remains to be seen if the judgements were previously determined and his testimony was not necessary.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Food, food everywhere, nor any grain to eat.

With apologies to the dead poet who wrote the original. Bloomberg had a distrubing article on the effect of the futures market on the price of grain and foodstuffs. In a nutshell it decribes how speculation has driven the prices to a level of unbalance that prevents the markets from working as they should.
Commodity-index funds control a record 4.51 billion bushels of corn, wheat and soybeans through Chicago Board of Trade futures, equal to half the amount held in U.S. silos on March 1. The holdings jumped 29 percent in the past year as investors bought grain contracts seeking better returns than stocks or bonds. The buying sent crop prices and volatility to records and boosted the cost for growers and processors to manage risk.

Niemeyer, who farms 2,200 acres in Auburn, Illinois, won't use futures to protect the value of the crop he will harvest in October. With corn at $5.9075 a bushel, up from $3.88 last year, he says the contracts are too costly and risky. Investors want corn so much that last month they paid 55 cents a bushel more than grain handlers, the biggest premium since 1999.

``It's the best of times for somebody speculating on grain prices, but it's not the best of times for farmers,'' said Niemeyer, 59. ``The demand for futures exceeds the demand for cash grains.''
Futures are gambling and the speculators are gambling that whatever they buy today will be worth more keeping than eating.

The Supremes uphold major element of voter fraud

As expected, the Dread Chief Justice Roberts, aided by his first mate Scurvy Alito and the Cabin Boy Thomas have upheld the Indiana Voter Photo ID law, a major element necessary to Republican voter suppression efforts this fall. Rumor has it they were aided by the Italian cook, Bafangu Scalia, when they could get him to stop mooning traffic from his office window.

Hilary likes to jump the shark

Because there she goes again.
Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized Barack Obama on Monday for opposing proposals to suspend federal gas taxes this summer, a plan she and Republican John McCain have endorsed.
This song's for you Hilary.

Which Side Are You On? by Natalie Merchant

The Old Fart really is McSame.

And if you don't believe me, go read Reed Hundt's take on the Old Fart on Communications and Information Tech. His conclusion is, all in all, rather gentle on the Old Fart.
After Giuliani, Thompson and Romney all flubbed their chances, we can see why the White House turned to its fourth draft choice, John McCain, as the only viable alternative to Huckabee, who actually might have shaken up their establishment and even, if elected, withdrawn from Iraq. But the rest of America is not so constrained in its choice for President. We want a hard-working, knowledgeable, engaged, caring, and reasonable President. Based on his long record in Washington, McCain does not appear to be that person.

The Old Fart and Taxes

Yesterday I had a post on the Old Fart's tax fantasies. Today Krugman has a column on the same subject and does a much better job than I did. Go, Read, Learn.

Monday Music Blogging

A song for the Old Fart, should he forget New Orleans again.


Another audit, another number

The number being the amount of taxpayer dollars lost or stolen on failed or incomplete reconstruction projects in Iraq.
The audit released Sunday by Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, provides the latest snapshot of an uneven reconstruction effort that has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $100 billion. It also comes as several lawmakers have said they want the Iraqis to pick up more of the cost of reconstruction.

The special IG's review of 47,321 reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars found that at least 855 contracts were terminated by U.S. officials before their completion, primarily because of unforeseen factors such as violence and excessive costs. About 112 of those agreements were ended specifically because of the contractors' actual or anticipated poor performance.
$100 Billion would build a lot in this country, too.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

Did you, for example, ever know a single fact about Joe Biden’s health care plan? Anything at all? But let me guess, you know Barack Obama’s bowling score. We are choosing a president, the next leader of the free world. We are not buying soap, and we are not choosing a court clerk with primarily administrative duties.
Elizabeth Edwards, in her well reasoned and accurate critique of all the campaign news coverage.

The DNC knows who the enemy of America is

Tom Toles doesn't like barbecue

The NY Times examines the candidates fiscal plans.

You can read all about it here, but I was stunned by the Old Fart's economic vacuity combined with his suicidal intent on more tax cuts. One can look at it as a fiscal kamikaze.
The centerpiece of Mr. McCain’s economic plan is a series of tax cuts that would largely benefit corporations and the wealthy. He is calling for cutting corporate taxes by $100 billion a year. Eliminating the alternative minimum tax, which was created to apply to wealthy taxpayers but now also affects some in the middle class, would reduce revenues by $60 billion annually. He also would double the exemption that can be claimed for dependents, which would cost the government $65 billion.

On the expenditure side, Mr. McCain has called not only for continuing an open-ended deployment of troops in Iraq[$2.3Billion per week], but also for spending $15 billion annually to expand the Army and the Marine Corps and to improve health care for veterans, among other programs.[But no GI Bill-ed.]

Mr. McCain’s advisers have said the new tax cuts would be paid for by eliminating earmarks and making large spending cuts, but they have not identified specifics. And they have spoken vaguely about making entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare less costly for the government. Mr. McCain’s chief economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said the campaign had simply presented its vision of what the tax code should look like and noted that some of the proposals would be phased in.
His plan to pay for the tax cuts to everybody and everything making over $250,000 a year is really easy. It boils down to "Trust us, the economy will grow", also known as more of the same old bushshit.
Mr. McCain said he would push ahead with his tax cuts even if Congress did not approve his spending cuts.
And if Congress opposes him, you can readily imagine the language he will use. Do you think he would equate Nancy Pelosi to his wife by using the C word?

Sam Tanenhaus, McCain Barbecue Boy

Behind his facade of New York Times reporter, his heart clearly beats strongly for the Old Fart.

Funny how everything just fits into place

Almost as if it were planned. In fairness to the Old Fart, only the first part can be directly tied to his foresight in writing the campaign law.
Given Senator John McCain’s signature stance on campaign finance reform, it was not surprising that he backed legislation last year requiring presidential candidates to pay the actual cost of flying on corporate jets. The law, which requires campaigns to pay charter rates when using such jets rather than cheaper first-class fares, was intended to reduce the influence of lobbyists and create a level financial playing field.

But over a seven-month period beginning last summer, Mr. McCain’s cash-short campaign gave itself an advantage by using a corporate jet owned by a company headed by his wife, Cindy McCain, according to public records. For five of those months, the plane was used almost exclusively for campaign-related purposes, those records show.

Mr. McCain’s campaign paid a total of $241,149 for the use of that plane from last August through February, records show. That amount is approximately the cost of chartering a similar jet for a month or two, according to industry estimates.

The senator was able to fly so inexpensively because the law specifically exempts aircraft owned by a candidate or his family or by a privately held company they control. The Federal Election Commission adopted rules in December to close the loophole — rules that would have required substantial payments by candidates using family-owned planes — but the agency soon lost the requisite number of commissioners needed to complete the rule making.
This all happened to the candidate that Fur Face Blitzer declared was the least wealthy of those running, his wife has all the money and he is kept, on a tight financial leash. The Old Fart was also a prime mover in writing the law that left this convenient loophole. The only thing that can't be pinned on him is the lack of commissioners on the FEC, although it is the Republicans who are continuing this sad situation. The GOP, however, is more concerned with running their planned election frauds than giving any direct aid to a candidate most did not intend to support.

But the most sublime part of the NY Times article comes from the Old Fart's recent past.
Last summer, just before starting to use his wife’s plane, Mr. McCain was quoted in a newspaper report as saying that he did not plan to tap her substantial wealth to keep his bid for the Republican presidential nomination going.

“I have never thought about it,” Mr. McCain was quoted by The Arizona Republic as saying at a July appearance. “I would never do such a thing, so I wouldn’t know what the legalities are.”
Always the consummate disingenue.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The end justifies the means

And with this logic, Our Dear Embattled Leader has thrown the rule of law out the window. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has made public letters sent to him by the Justice Dept that explained the administration outlook on what it considers torture.
While the Geneva Conventions prohibit “outrages upon personal dignity,” a letter sent by the Justice Department to Congress on March 5 makes clear that the administration has not drawn a precise line in deciding which interrogation methods would violate that standard, and is reserving the right to make case-by-case judgments.

“The fact that an act is undertaken to prevent a threatened terrorist attack, rather than for the purpose of humiliation or abuse, would be relevant to a reasonable observer in measuring the outrageousness of the act,” said Brian A. Benczkowski, a deputy assistant attorney general, in the letter, which had not previously been made public.
And, in an attempt to defend the indefensible, an anonymous DOJ official reinforced this view Friday,
“I certainly don’t want to suggest that if there’s a good purpose you can head off and humiliate and degrade someone,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was describing some legal judgments that remain classified.

“The fact that you are doing something for a legitimate security purpose would be relevant, but there are things that a reasonable observer would deem to be outrageous,” he said.

At the same time, the official said, “there are certainly things that can be insulting that would not raise to the level of an outrage on personal dignity.”
And the Geneva Conventions and supporting laws passed since their adoption are not so vague as Dear Leader would have us believe. But Dear Leader, out of the goodness of his heart, has seen the need to "adjust" their definitions when they become inconvenient to his purposes.

Bill Maher's New Rules

KO's look at Excrement in Broadcasting

And what will Rush say when one of his dittoheads drives a truck full of fertilizer & diesel into Denver at convention time?

Festung Baghdad now open for business

Shoddy construction, cost overruns and all, the new US Embassy built almost like a fortress and covering an area the size of Dien Bien Phu, is now open for business. The embassy staff are happy because, even poorly built, the living quarters offer more protection than a trailer. Our Dear Embattled Leader is happy because his Kuwaiti buddies were able to pocket enough to satisfy them. The State Dept vendors are happy because it will cost $1 Billion a year to operate. And the Iraqis are so happy about it they organized a flyover of flying pigs to celebrate. That just leaves you and me who have to pay for it.

Newsday may not be dead yet.

It seems that Mort Zuckerman of Daily News fame has also made a bid for the paper and is promising that his bid can actually close. His premise is that Rupe the Poop has been too greedy in snapping up media outlets in the NYC area and this will derail his bid. Hopefully Mort has not underestimated the influence of all the politicians Rupe the Poop has bought over the years.

Three little paragraphs

In the NY Times make it clear that despite all the fustian and bombast of the administration about the really bad things that Iran is doing in Iraq, nobody had any solid knowledge of what is going on.
The United States has gathered its most detailed evidence so far of Iranian involvement in training and arming fighters in Iraq, officials say, but significant uncertainties remain about the extent of that involvement and the threat it poses to American and Iraqi forces.

Some intelligence and administration officials said Iran seemed to have carefully calibrated its involvement in Iraq over the last year, in contrast to what President Bush and other American officials have publicly portrayed as an intensified Iranian role.

It remains difficult to draw firm conclusions about the ebb and flow of Iranian arms into Iraq, and the Bush administration has not produced its most recent evidence.
This may make it easier for Cheney and his bloodthirsty crew to get some hot military action going, but it won't make the resulting disaster any easier to take. By then Dickwahd will probably have had his final heart attack, the anticipation of which is probably driving his current actions. We can only hope it comes sooner rather than later.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I guess the Old Fart is 100% disabled

But McCain has topped both candidates, missing a staggering 58 percent of his votes during the 110th Congress, according to the Washington Post’s congressional votes database.

To put this in perspective, McCain has now missed more votes than Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who suffered a brain hemorrhage in December 2006 and was unable to return to the Senate until fall of last year. McCain has now missed nine votes more than Johnson.
When a Senator, who had to battle back from a debilitating stroke, has been present for more votes than Johnny it makes you think maybe the Navy was correct in their assessment.

The WaPo looks at the Old Fart's flip flops on taxes

And he has moved back and forth in his positions, depending on which group he is trying to impress. The most impressive point in the whole article is this.
McCain's concerns -- about budget deficits, unanticipated defense costs, an Iraq war that would be longer and more costly than advertised -- have proved eerily prescient, usually a plus for politicians who are quick to say they were right when others were wrong. Yet McCain appears determined to leave such predictions behind.
What more do you need to know?

200 years of Navy shipbuilding tradition

Thrown out the window in favor of the latest "sexy" shipbuilding idea.
A project heralded as the dawning of an innovative, low-cost era in Navy shipbuilding has turned into a case study of how not to build a combat ship. The bill for the ship, being built by Lockheed Martin, has soared to $531 million, more than double the original, and by some calculations could be $100 million more. With an alternate General Dynamics prototype similarly struggling at an Alabama shipyard, the Navy last year temporarily suspended the entire program.
And you and I pick up the tab, as usual.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

They did it before and they can do it again

Yes, they can do it again and the rest of us will need Depends when we fly.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday its second effort in three years to stop its managers in Texas from covering up air safety violations _ after a new investigation found the misconduct continued into last year.

In the latest blow to an agency already under fire for letting airlines ignore its safety directives, the FAA announced that the top two managers of an air traffic control facility in Dallas-Fort Worth had been removed from their jobs.

In addition, the Transportation Department's inspector general found FAA managers in Dallas-Fort Worth routinely and intentionally misclassified instances where airplanes were allowed to fly closer together than they were supposed to, the FAA said. Instead of calling them operational errors or deviations from safety rules by FAA controllers, the managers labeled them pilot errors or nonevents.
If anything shows how deeply the Bushovik ideology of corporatism has seeped into the government, this is a prime example. To hell with what you were hired to do, take care of the airlines.

Quote of the Day

"This is a test of leadership for John McCain. If he can't pick up the phone and make members of his own party stop airing a television ad he claims to oppose, how can he lead our country through an economic crisis or the war in Iraq?"
Howard Dean, stripping away the Old Fart's facade of concern about the latest Republican smear ad. You know John wants it.

The Old Fart makes it to #1

On KO's Worst Persons in the World.

And he had some stiff competition.

You could say that

But you really shouldn't. From Defense Secretary Robert "Kool-Aid good" Gates.
Asked whether the planned nominations by Mr. Bush were a sign that American policy was to “stay the course” in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said that the security gains that had been achieved under General Petraeus’s command meant that “staying that course is not a bad idea.”
That implies that there is a course despite having been witness to a totally improvisational war. After spending years planning step 1 to get into Iraq, the neocons came to realize that they had no step 2. All the talk of tactical success makes it obvious that there is still no strategic goal involved and that is the heart of the US disaster in Iraq. Maybe, Mr Secretary, it would be better to find a course.

DO NOT come between bingo players & their cigarettes

Michael Hanson for The New York Times

The picture above shows just what will happen . The NY Times provides the details

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yoo, slimy bastard

It seems that he is authorized to postulate various means of attack on the Constitution but not to answer to Constitutionally authorized overseers of his executive department. Forget the subpoena, strip him of his citizenship and send him back to North Korea.

According to the Navy

The Old Fart is 100% disabled. We are finishing up 8 years with a mentally challenged president, do we want to replace him with one who is 100% disabled?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Republicans propose their own new GI Bill

And as you might expect, they try to do it on the cheap. You can read about it here.

I like Gene Robinson

Because when he sees reasonable ideas lying around, he picks them up and arranges them in a sensible manner. Consider his look at how, the Republicans will try to market the Old Fart.
Republicans certainly can't sell McCain to the American public as a sure-handed pilot to steer the economy through dangerous straits. Maybe voters will be generous enough to let him withdraw his confession that he doesn't really understand economics that well. But I don't see how most Americans will believe that McCain's basic economic philosophy -- keep cutting taxes for the well-to-do and restrain discretionary government spending -- will make their lives any better.

McCain can hardly be painted as a foreign policy sage. His biggest handicap in this regard, of course, is the war in Iraq -- an albatross that McCain actually volunteered to wear.
I think that he does, in fact show the way that Republicans will try to sell the unsellable.
mage consultants could try to portray McCain as a latter-day Dwight Eisenhower. I've actually heard Republicans try to make the comparison, but it won't work without rounding up and destroying all the history books.
But the Republicans will not even try to change the history books, they will just lie and lie as long and as loud as they need to make people forget what history has taught us. Pure Goebbels 24/7 until we put the Old Fart in the White House or destroy the Republican Party.

The choice is yours.

L.I.Newsday about to go down the shitter

Looks like old Rupe the Poop Murdoch will be buying his third major New York Metro newspaper. And so we can soon expect another newspaper to have its news staff trashed to be replaced by sports, gossip and good old right wing propaganda on behalf of wealthy anti-American elements. Is this the end of Jimmy Breslin?

How The Old Fart works with big money

The NY Times has a long look at how Old Johnny works out the give and take of politics and on of his biggest contributors in Arizona.
Mr. Diamond, 80, met Mr. McCain when he was a former prisoner of war running for Congress in 1982. “I liked him right away because I respected what he went through in Vietnam,” Mr. Diamond recalled. When he got to know Mr. McCain and his wife, Cindy, Mr. Diamond said, “it became a love fest.”
Sounds kinky.

Their loyalties are easy to buy

All they want are water, electricity and garbage collection. Those three services would help capture the hearts and minds of the parts of Sadr City controlled by the US for Maliki of Iraq. Now all he has to do is provide them.
For weeks, there have been reports that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is preparing to move ahead with a multimillion-dollar program to rebuild the southern swath of Sadr City, which is currently occupied by Iraqi and American troops.

But almost a month after American and Iraqi forces pushed into the area, there are no signs of reconstruction. Instead, the streets are filled with mounds of trash and bubbling pools of sewage. Many neighborhoods are still without electricity, and many residents are too afraid to brave the cross-fire to seek medical care. Iraqi public works officials, apparently fearful of the fighting, rarely seem to show up at work, and the Iraqi government insists the area is not safe enough for repairs to begin.

On Saturday, three Sadr City residents gingerly approached an American Army position to deliver a warning: Unless the Iraqi government or its American partner did something to restore essential services and remove the piles of garbage, the militias would gain more support.
The main flaw of trickle down theory, for some it is impossible to give up even a trickle for those below.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Face The Nation's Bob Schieffer on Patriotism and Flag Pins


A few good men

And 350 felons to pad the numbers. That is one of the means used to achieve recruiting numbers by the Marines in 2007. The Army needed 511.
the Pentagon statistics showed the Army allowed 106 convicted burglars to enlist in 2007, up from 36 the year before. It also granted waivers to 43 recruits convicted of aggravated assault that year, up from 33 a year before; and to 130 people convicted of possession of drugs other than marijuana, a rise from 71 in 2006.

It also allowed two people convicted of making terrorist or bomb threats to enlist in 2007, up from one the year before.
Just so long as the last two don't get explosives training.

Tom Toles

Here's your sign

A ceremony at which she unveiled a plaque commemorating civilian deaths in the Green Zone was briefly delayed by a "duck and cover" alert, one of several during her six-hour visit to the fortified compound housing the U.S. Embassy and much of the Iraqi government.
Not that Condi or any of the Bushovik crew would ever notice.

Monday Music Blogging

An international selection today from one of the divas of Bahia

Ivete Sangalo - Meia Lua Inteira

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tom Tomorrow on the Land of Hope

Click to biggerize

Mean old Boston Globe

Today they take a look at the Old Fart's freshly polished image as a maverick and piss all over it.
McCain insists he has never budged from his lifelong belief in less government and less taxation. But whoever wins the Democratic nomination will surely argue that behind McCain's antipolitician label, he has always been cozy with the agents of the special interests he rails against.

The policy shifts are evident: He abandoned comprehensive immigration reform last year as it threatened to sink his candidacy and is supporting tax cuts for the wealthy he had criticized for years and twice voted against in the Senate. And he has all but ignored the signature issues that framed the 2000 portrait of a maverick: campaign finance reform and a crackdown on the tobacco industry.

Compared with his 2000 insurgency, a doomed high-wire act that was short of money, staff, research, and policy papers, the McCain campaign of 2008 also has come under fire for its reliance on elite Washington lobbyists - 66 by one recent tally - who work for or are helping his campaign. News stories in recent weeks have questioned McCain actions that benefited political supporters or clients of friendly lobbyists.
Later in the piece, the Globe considers his claim to be a reformer. It amounts to little more than heavy use of the word "reform" when talking about his policies. Pity poor Brian Mooney of the Globe, he has written himself out of any future McCain barbecues.

Can they even spell shame?

The Sunday Observer seems to think that the very, very wealthy are beginning to feel pangs of conscience about their great wealth, but not about the way they get it. Nor, with the exception of Buffett and Gates, do they seem about to give back any of it.
And as the financial crisis spawned in the US spreads globally, there is even unprecedented talk of 'shame' in the ranks of the super-rich. 'There is something really obscene going on. This is an era of ridiculous excess. We have not seen the worst of it and there is going to be real anger,' said David Rothkopf, author of a new book, Superclass

The man with history's biggest annual pay packet is hedge fund manager John Paulson of Paulson & Company. But he is not alone, as the 'Alpha 25 list' of the super-rich published by Alpha financial magazine last week made clear. Up with Paulson were global markets gambler George Soros and rival dealer James Simons, who made $3bn apiece. Meanwhile ordinary Americans are being squeezed harder by inflation and the credit crunch, a stagnant economy, falling house values and rising unemployment - and, in a tax system rigged against them by successive conservative administrations, often pay proportionately twice as much tax as Paulson, Soros and their cohorts.

The widening gap that these trends are producing in US society is shaking traditional values to their roots. There are growing signs that the majority are losing faith in the remains of the American dream, while the chief beneficiaries of it feel guilty as never before. 'It's unprecedented that the superwealthy would express so much shame in public', said Robert Frank, author of the book Richistan, which chronicles the rise of America's new super-wealthy to a point where they live in a separate world of rarefied exclusivity. 'It is not just people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett standing up and saying "it's not fair". I spoke to 100 people earning over $10m who would not even admit to being rich: they feel ashamed about the inequality.'
Feelings are nice, might even make a hit song, but it don't mean shit to a tree if they don't put their feelings into actions. Until they do, I can only wish them all the misery in the world.

The old fart sure can get angry

And he has shown it may times. The WaPo has a front page look at what sets the old boy off and how the campaign is spinning it as some kind of leadership virtue.
In 1994, McCain tried to stop a primary challenge to the state's Republican governor, J. Fife Symington III, by telephoning his opponent, Barbara Barrett, the well-heeled spouse of a telecommunications executive, and warning of unspecified "consequences" should she reject his advice to drop out of the race. Barrett stayed in. At that year's state Republican convention, McCain confronted Sandra Dowling, the Maricopa County school superintendent and, according to witnesses, angrily accused her of helping to persuade Barrett to enter the race.

"You better get [Barrett] out or I'll destroy you," a witness claims that McCain shouted at her. Dowling responded that if McCain couldn't respect her right to support whomever she chose, that he "should get the hell out of the Senate." McCain shouted an obscenity at her, and Dowling howled one back.

Woods raced over, according to a witness, and pulled Dowling away. Woods said he has "no memory" of being involved, "though I heard something about an argument."

"What happens if he gets angry in crisis" in the presidency?" Hinz asked. "It's difficult enough to be a negotiator, but it's almost impossible when you're the type of guy who's so angry at anybody who doesn't do what he wants. It's the president's job to negotiate and stay calm. I don't see that he has that quality."

Having reunited with his old boss after a falling out in the '90s, Woods is back on board. Barbara Barrett, too. Other Arizona Republicans, once spurned or alienated from McCain, have accepted invitations to rejoin him, though not Sandra Dowling or Jon Hinz, who said, "I've just seen too much. That temper, the intolerance: It worries me."
After 8 years of Our Dear Embattled Leader being to small for the job, can we afford 4 years of someone too angry for the job?

Dugout Doug didn't have PR this good

And MacArthur is famous in military annals for his ability to project himself and his image of what is happening into the media. The NY Times takes a sharp look at the current Pentagon efforts to get their favored spin on military events, whether in Iraq or Guantanamo Bay.
To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as “military analysts” whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.
It is cheaper and more effective to bullshit the public than to get it right. But what do we know, we just get to pay for it.

MUST READ: Juan Cole's post today on this and yesterday's NYT piece on the old fart's Iraq policy, including this paragraph.
McCain can't come out and say we need to crush the Armed Iraqi Revolution, because that would be an admission that the US has been fighting Iraqis for 5 years and still hasn't defeated them. So he and the Republican strategists and the retired generals and their Pentagon handlers make up this "al-Qaeda" business, as though people in Baquba would be gunning for Americans if Americans hadn't invaded their country and turned it upside down.

Bitter New Rules on Who's Elite

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It would be nice

If Frank Rich had the last word on the Gibson/Stepanopoulos audition for Imus last Wednesday night. It would be nice if the media were to suddenly sit up and say, Hey we've got a job to do. But it isn't and they won't, so we have to be content for the moment with his column today.
Of course, Obama fans were angry because of the barrage of McCarthyesque guilt-by-association charges against their candidate, portraying him as a fellow traveler of bomb-throwing, America-hating, flag-denigrating terrorists. The debate’s co-moderator, George Stephanopoulos, second to no journalist in his firsthand knowledge of the Clinton White House, could have easily rectified the imbalance. All he had to do was draw on his expertise to ask similar questions about Bill Clinton’s check-bearing business and foundation associates circling a potential new Clinton administration. He did not.

But viewers of all political persuasions were affronted by the moderators’ failure to ask about the mortgage crisis, health care, the environment, torture, education, China policy, the pending G.I. bill to aid veterans, or the war we’re losing in Afghanistan. Those minutes were devoted not just to recycling the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bosnian sniper fire and another lame question about a possible “dream ticket” but to the unseemly number of intrusive commercials and network promos that prompted the jeering at the end. The trashiest ads often bumped directly into an ABC announcer’s periodic recitations of quotations from the Constitution. Such defacing of American values is to be expected, I guess, from a network whose debate moderators refuse to wear flag pins.
Betcha Gibson likes lattes and Stepho dives a Volvo.

8 questions for George Stephopoulos

Hey, George! If your could ask a question for Sean "God, I hate this country" Hannity, you should return the favor and pick one of KO's questions to ask the old fart.

It's what we will throw at the old fart in the general election.

Republicans will break the law to screw kids

And, no, I am not talking about the usual Republican pedophilia, though if history is a guide there is plenty waiting for exposure. No, this time it is another chapter in the sordid Republican story on SCHIP. It seems that in their haste to deny coverage to as many kids as possible, Our Dear Embattled Leader was issuing orders that contravened existing law.
The Bush administration violated federal law last year when it restricted states’ ability to provide health insurance to children of middle-income families, and its new policy is therefore unenforceable, lawyers from the Government Accountability Office said Friday.

In a formal legal opinion Friday, the accountability office said the new policy “amounts to a marked departure” from a longstanding, settled interpretation of federal law. It is therefore a rule and, under a 1996 law, must be submitted to Congress for review before it can take effect, the opinion said.
But it takes more than a formal legal opinion to deter this administration from their lawless ways. Indeed, they have built their legacy on the deliberate refusal to follow the law.
But Jeff Nelligan, a spokesman for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said, “G.A.O.’s opinion does not change our conclusion that the Aug. 17 letter is still in effect.”
Or to put it in outside the Beltway English, "Our Dear Leader has spoken, screw the kids".

Maybe Dougie Feith wasn't the stupidest etc, etc

According to the Guardian, that title may well belong to former chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, General Richard Myers. A new book describes the way he was kept out of the loop as the White House crew devised new ways of torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
"We never authorised torture, we just didn't, not what we would do," Myers said. Sands comments: "He really had taken his eye off the ball ... he didn't ask too many questions ... and kept his distance from the decision-making process."

Larry Wilkerson, a former army officer and chief of staff to Colin Powell, US secretary of state at the time, told the Guardian: "I do know that Rumsfeld had neutralised the chairman [Myers] in many significant ways.

"The secretary did this by cutting [Myers] out of important communications, meetings, deliberations and plans.

"At the end of the day, however, Dick Myers was not a very powerful chairman in the first place, one reason Rumsfeld recommended him for the job".
This is not the first time that politicians have maneuvered around unwanted military scruples. The results are similar.

Why is this necessary?

From the WaPo:
The nation's top transportation official yesterday announced steps that she said will improve oversight of airlines' compliance with safety mandates and ensure that last week's mass groundings and flight cancellations do not recur.

The measures included establishing a roving team of officials to conduct comprehensive checks of airline maintenance practices and the creation of a system to better track the status of looming and overdue inspections, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said.
Why would anybody think there is an advantage in flying uninspected aircraft?

If you have an Occupation, you need a Ghetto

And the US military, in its efforts to help poor old Maliki of Iraq, is doing just that in Baghdad.
In recent days, United States forces have built high concrete blast walls to cordon off Sadr City’s government-controlled southern section from the rest of the sprawling district, which remains firmly under the control of the Mahdi Army militia. Within that Mahdi-controlled area, Falah Shanshal, a Sadrist member of Parliament, said Friday that the American and Iraqi government offensive in Sadr City was a “political war against the Sadrists.”
The effort is not always successful.
During a tour of several streets in the Mahdi-controlled area on Friday, it was clear that concrete blast walls erected elsewhere in Sadr City had been moved or knocked down. Some were covered with anti-American slogans.
And in the meantime.
Posing as municipal workers in fluorescent orange and yellow vests, three militia members — one masked with a checkered head scarf — dug holes in one main thoroughfare while wary drivers skirted around them and loose wires trailed across the street every few yards. Nearby, some of the heaviest fighting in weeks broke out late Friday night.
No doubt about it, they are ready and willing to begin a full scale civil war. Time for the US to get out of the way and let them finish it.

The old farts plan for Iraq

Craft a bunch of cool soundbites, reality will only make voters heads hurt. It doesn't solve any problems but the media will eat it up. The NY Times looks at the situation and finds it much more complex that the old fart would have us believe.
“The U.S. has not been fighting Al Qaeda, it’s been fighting Iraqis,” said Juan Cole, a fierce critic of the war who is the author of “Sacred Space and Holy War: The Politics, Culture and History of Shi’ite Islam” and a professor of history at the University of Michigan. A member of Al Qaeda “is technically defined as someone who pledges fealty to Osama bin Laden and is given a terror operation to carry out. It’s kind of like the Mafia,” Mr. Cole said. “You make your bones, and you’re loyal to a capo. And I don’t know if anyone in Iraq quite fits that technical definition.”

Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is just one group, though a very lethal one, in the stew of competing Sunni insurgents, Shiite militias, Iranian-backed groups, criminal gangs and others that make up the insurgency in Iraq. That was vividly illustrated last month when the Iraqi Army’s unsuccessful effort to wrest control of Basra from the Shiite militia groups that hold sway there led to an explosion of violence.

The current situation in Iraq should properly be described as “a multifactional civil war” in which “the government is composed of rival Shia factions” and “they are embattled with an outside Shia group, the Mahdi Army,” Ira M. Lapidus, a co-author of “Islam, Politics and Social Movements” and a professor of history at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in an e-mail message. “The Sunni forces are equally hard to assess,” he added, and “it is an open question as to whether Al Qaeda is a unified operating organization at all.”
It is probably too much to expect an old man, who once thought his jet plane could out run a SAM missile to his bombing point, to understand what is really happening. To get our troops out of harms way it is necessary for voters to understand what is happening.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle. As of fall 2007, this conflict has cost the United States over 3,800 dead and over 28,000 wounded. Allied casualties accounted for another 300 dead. Iraqi civilian deaths—mostly at the hands of other Iraqis—may number as high as 82,000. Over 7,500 Iraqi soldiers and police officers have also been killed. Fifteen percent of the Iraqi population has become refugees or displaced persons. The Congressional Research Service estimates that the United States now spends over $10 billion per month on the war, and that the total, direct U.S. costs from March 2003 to July 2007 have exceeded $450 billion, all of which has been covered by deficit spending.1 No one as yet has calculated the costs of long-term veterans’ benefits or the total impact on Service personnel and materiel.

The war’s political impact also has been great. Globally, U.S. standing among friends and allies has fallen.2 Our status as a moral leader has been damaged by the war, the subsequent occupation of a Muslim nation, and various issues concerning the treatment of detainees. At the same time, operations in Iraq have had a negative impact on all other efforts in the war on terror, which must bow to the priority of Iraq when it comes to manpower, materiel, and the attention of decisionmakers. Our Armed Forces—especially the Army and Marine Corps—have been severely strained by the war in Iraq. Compounding all of these problems, our efforts there were designed to enhance U.S. national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East.

Joseph J Collins, National Defense University study of the Iraq Occupation.

Now everybody knows.

Bushed: 1 to annoy, 2 to anger and 3 to really piss you off

But it is just another view of Republicans great love for the troops

Whom do you trust

The various party hacks and stooges cheerleading for the old fart as he reveals his "Money for Everybody" economic plan? Or the economists and analysts who know how numbers really work? Bloomberg reports on what both sides are saying and it should be easy to guess who knows whereof they speak.
McCain's proposal, outlined April 15, would extend President George W. Bush's tax cuts, reduce the top corporate rate, repeal the alternative minimum tax and double exemptions for dependents. Price: $3.3 trillion by the end of a President McCain's second term in 2017, according to figures from his campaign and the Treasury.

The Arizona senator said that would be offset by eliminating pork-barrel spending, freezing a portion of the budget, and Medicare savings. He could cut the budget by $100 billion a year ``in a New York minute,'' he said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday.

``The huge imbalance'' in McCain's plan ``is that the tax cuts are specific and large and the spending cuts are small and vague,'' said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Washington- based Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan group that advocates budget restraint.

Once, McCain was a deficit hawk, Bixby said, but ``strange things happen when people run for president.''

Tax Cuts

Extending Bush's tax cuts would cost $1.5 trillion through the end of a hypothetical second McCain term, according to Treasury Department figures. His proposal to reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent would cost $100 billion a year, McCain's campaign estimates. Doubling the exemption for dependents to $7,000 a year would cost another $65 billion annually and the AMT repeal adds another $60 billion a year, his campaign said.

McCain released tax returns today that showed he paid $5,413 in AMT in 2007 and $6,979 in 2006.

McCain's spending cuts, combined with increased revenue from economic growth, total $1.5 trillion over eight years, leaving a $1.8 trillion net increase to the national debt.

``This is really a massive increase in the deficit,'' said Joel Slemrod, an economist specializing in tax policy at the University of Michigan.
Can you see the differences between the old fart and our current Dear Leader? No, perhaps if you put on the magic Republican glasses you could see better.
``The numbers add up,'' former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in an interview.

To help pay for the tax cuts, Holtz-Eakin said he would save $30 billion a year by eliminating so-called ``rifle shot'' provisions. Those include items such as tax breaks for small insurance companies.

A Treasury Department report Holtz-Eakin cited as the source of his estimate states $27 billion could be raised by eliminating narrowly used tax preferences spread over a decade, not a single year.
There now, you see how easy it is. If you still have trouble seeing it, just click the heels of your ruby red slippers three times and repeat after me, "The Republicans are good with money".

Bloomberg speaks

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday that whoever wins the presidency in November, "at least we'll have an adult in office who can lead and accomplish something."

Just a thought for today

Going forward, let us rechristen all those head slapping moments of confusion, forgetfulness and just plain boneheadedness that have been called "senior moments", "brain cramps or farts" or "Alzheimers". Going forward, let us call them

McCain Moments

Tom Toles Today

Good thing he can't play the fiddle.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How do we measure success?

I doubt that this would be an effective yardstick,
A suicide bomber struck the funeral of two anti-al-Qaida Sunni tribesmen in a town north of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 45 people, police said.

The blast was the latest attack in Iraq's Sunni areas after a period of relative calm that was broken this week, raising concerns that Sunni insurgents are reorganizing.
They will do this if we stay and they will do this if we go. It will cost us less if we go.

EXTRA: It seems that Maliki of Iraq has been studying at the George W Bush School of Inane Utterances.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki told European lawmakers Wednesday that his administration is closer than ever to defeating al Qaida-allied Sunni Muslim extremists, a day after bombings attributed to the Iraqi version of the militant group killed about 60 people and wounded 120 north of the capital.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Quote of the Day - Part 2

The President’s short-term goal is to do nothing, his medium-term goal is to do nothing much, and his long-term goal is to do nothing close to what’s needed to save the planet from global warming.
Rep. Edward Markey, Chairman of The Select Committee On Energy Independence and Global Warming

Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, It's time for Condi Rice to go

Sign up here.

“They are lighting up everything, tell them to knock it off.”

From the NY Times today, we get a sense of how well all those years of troop training and billions of dollars of equipment are doing.
A company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions on Tuesday night in Sadr City, defying American soldiers who implored them to hold the line against Shiite militias.

The retreat left a crucial stretch of road on the front lines undefended for hours and led to a tense series of exchanges between American soldiers and about 50 Iraqi troops who were fleeing...

...One big problem is that the Iraqi troops have responded to militia gunfire with such intense fusillades that the soldiers have endangered civilians, American soldiers and even their own forces. The barrage of Iraqi Army fire has become such a regular occurrence that some American soldiers are worried that militia fighters have tried to insert themselves between nearby Iraqi units to induce the Iraqi soldiers to fire on one another.
When all is said and done, they are fighting their own civil war and we have no business being in the middle of it.

Quote of the Day

The people who know him like him the least. He is a media darling, so the general population doesn't know his record - and conservatives do
Rob Haney, McCain's home district Republican chairman

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Love this ad from Progressive Media

Starring Li'l Georgie and the Old Fart

Another threat to draft

From the State Dept. which seems to be having trouble rounding up people to staff the facilities in Iraq. Last year's threat came up with enough "volunteers" to make it unnecessary.
The State Department is warning U.S. diplomats they may be forced to serve in Iraq next year and says it will soon start identifying prime candidates for jobs at the Baghdad embassy and outlying provinces, according to a cable obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

A similar call-up notice last year caused an uproar among foreign service officers, some of whom objected to compulsory work in a war zone, although in the end the State Department found enough volunteers to fill the jobs.

Now, the State Department anticipates another staffing crisis.

"We face a growing challenge of supply and demand in the 2009 staffing cycle," the cable said, noting that more than 20 percent of the nearly 12,000 foreign service officers have already worked in the two major hardship posts - Iraq and Afghanistan - and a growing number have done tours in both countries.
We will see how it plays out this summer.

Iraqi improvements

From Reuters:
A car bomb killed 40 people and wounded 70 others outside a government office in the Iraqi city of Baquba on Tuesday in one of the deadliest attacks in months, police said.

Police said they expected the death toll to rise because there were still charred bodies inside cars at the scene of the blast in the capital of Diyala province, north of Baghdad.

Police and a hospital source also said a suicide car bomb had killed 13 people and wounded 14 others in the Iraqi city of Ramadi. That bomb exploded outside a restaurant.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Old Fart has another senior moment.

And the AP is reporting it.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona may not have been paying the closest of attention last week during hearings on the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.

Speaking Monday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, McCain was asked whether he, if elected, would shift combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to intensify the search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

“I would not do that unless Gen. [David] Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that,” McCain said, referring to the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Petraeus, however, made clear last week that he has nothing to do with the decision. Testifying last week before four congressional committees, including the Senate Armed Services Committee on which McCain is the ranking Republican, Petraeus said the decision about whether troops could be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan was not his responsibility because his portfolio is limited to the multi-national force in Iraq.

Decisions about Afghanistan would be made by others, he said.
You would think that a man who touts his military cred as much as Old Johnny does, would pay some attention to the chain of command.

Press release from the ACLU

ACLU Calls for Independent Counsel to Investigate Administration's Approval of Torture and Abuse

WASHINGTON – In a stunning admission to ABC news Friday night, President Bush declared that he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details of the CIA's use of torture. Bush reportedly told ABC, "I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved." Bush also defended the use of waterboarding.

Recent reports indicate that high-level advisers including Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and George Tenet were part of the National Security Council's "Principals Committee" that met regularly and approved the CIA's use of "combined" "enhanced" interrogation techniques, even pushing the limits of the now infamous 2002 Justice Department "torture memo." These top advisers reportedly signed off on how the CIA would interrogate suspects – whether they would be slapped, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning.

"We have always known that the CIA's use of torture was approved from the very top levels of the U.S. government, yet the latest revelations about knowledge from the president himself and authorization from his top advisers only confirms our worst fears," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "It is a very sad day when the president of the United States subverts the Constitution, the rule of law, and American values of justice."

Romero added, "It is more important than ever that the U.S. government, when seeking justice against those it suspects of harming us, adhere to our commitment to due process and the rule of law. That's why the ACLU has taken the extraordinary step to offer our assistance to those being prosecuted under the unconstitutional military commissions process. We unfortunately can't erase or make up for what has already happened, but at least we can attempt to restore some of the values and some semblance of due process that the Bush administration has squandered in the name of national security."

The American Civil Liberties Union is calling on Congress to demand an independent prosecutor to investigate possible violations by the Bush administration of laws including the War Crimes Act, the federal Anti-Torture Act, and federal assault laws.

"No one in the executive branch of government can be trusted to fairly investigate or prosecute any crimes since the head of every relevant department, along with the president and vice president, either knew or participated in the planning and approval of illegal acts," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Congress cannot look the other way; it must demand an independent investigation and independent prosecutor."

Fredrickson added, "Congress is duty-bound by the Constitution not only to hold the president, vice president, and all civil officers to account, but it must also send a message to future presidents that it will use its constitutional powers to prevent illegal, and immoral conduct."
Remember reading about this in your local paper?

Republicans like those pink cigars

TPMMuckraker has another story of Republican virtue triumphant. Bruce Barclay was exonerated from a charge of rape brought by another man, when the police searched his house they found hours of secret videotapes of his sex life with hundreds of other men. Among those tapes was his accuser engaging in what was obviously consensual sex. There was no indication if the gent in the picture below, shown leaning towards Bruce, was in one of the tapes as well.

Well, I'll be a blue nosed gopher!

Either Libby Quaid has integrity or she is allergic to barbecue. Whichever, she does well in this AP piece on Old Johnny Two-Face McCain that actually gives some detail on the old farts real position on many issues that are important to Americans.
The four-term Arizona senator, a longtime member of the Armed Services Committee, criticized the earlier handling of the war but has been a crucial ally in President Bush's effort to increase and maintain U.S. forces in Iraq.

Besides the war, McCain agrees broadly with Bush and other conservatives on:

-Abortion. McCain promises to appoint judges who, in the mold of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, are likely to limit the reach of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. McCain's record is not spotless on abortion: He said once, in 1999, that Roe v. Wade should not be overturned.

But that was an aberration in an otherwise unbroken record of opposing abortion rights for women. McCain voted repeatedly to ban federal funding for abortion; he once voted against Medicaid funds for abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

He voted to require parental consent for abortion and voted to criminalize anyone but a parent crossing state lines with a minor to help get an abortion. McCain also supported a ban preventing women in the military from getting abortions with their own money at overseas military hospitals.

"I am pro-life and an advocate for the rights of man everywhere in the world," McCain told the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. "Because to be denied liberty is an offense to nature and nature's Creator."
There's more on and it is so straight forward and accurate that I fear for her job once Old Johnny's people talk to the AP brass.

Monday Music Blogging

When I was in college, I had a history professor who had some friends in a rock band. The band was McKendree Spring and his class was pretty good, too.


Tom Toles Today

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday funnies

Corporations are honest and people are not.

The NY Times has a report on how the IRS is doing their audits of the returns they get.
The I.R.S.’s scrutiny of the nation’s biggest companies is at a 20-year low, according to the study, conducted by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, or TRAC, a research group affiliated with Syracuse University.

The study, made public Sunday, points to “a historic collapse in audits.” It found that major corporations — defined as those with assets of at least $250 million — have about a one in four chance of being audited, down from about three in four in 1990.
Because corporations act for the public good but people are just out for themselves.

The Guest of Honor can't make it.

From Raw Story

President Bush and his wife, Laura, will host a White House dinner in honor of the pontiff Wednesday evening. U.S. Catholic leaders from around the nation will attend. The menu will offer Bavarian-style food in recognition of the pope's German heritage. It's even the pope's 81st birthday. But he won't be there.
This from a man who, in his younger days, would have stood in the rain for hours to catch a glimpse of Adolf Hitler.

Quote of the Day

Found at The Great Orange Stan

"They hate us for our freedom" was possibly the dumbest, most insulting piece of bullshit ever to escape the lips of an American president.
Matt Taibbi, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire, due for release May 6, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe to stand in front of the fan

Here comes another load of shit from the banks.

So you think you know what's happening in Iraq.

If you have trouble with the idea in the graphic above, I heartily recommend you read up on Juan Cole, from his blog today and from his Op-Ed in the Boston Globe. Learn more in a half hour of reading than you ever got in 7 years of rampant Bushevism.

Thanks be to BadTux for the excellent graphic, which he hopes will be shared by all.

Ever seen a state trooper be funny on duty?

I haven't. And that is why this particular joker got slapped down.
A highway patrolman who was photographed in a handmade Ku Klux Klan costume while on duty the day before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday has been suspended without pay, authorities said.

A fellow trooper who transmitted the cell-phone photo of white-masked lawman has been demoted.

Craig Franklin, a 12-year veteran of the Ohio Highway Patrol, is pictured in the January 20 photo with a white cone on his head, white paper mask and a white cloth covering his shoulders, according to a highway patrol report.

Franklin is otherwise in trooper uniform. A handgun holster, a radio normally issued by the patrol and other police equipment can be seen in the photo, the report said.
Trying to be funny like Dave Chappelle, he said. If Dave were in the picture, hamming it up, maybe. But with just Officer Dimbulb it is "WTF were you thinking?"

Bad science

It seems that poor black neighborhoods were used to test questionable science without any medical followup to see if they were right or wrong. And the guinea pigs weren't told the truth. But they were black so what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them.

Would you hire this man as a lawyer?

I wouldn't and neither will anyone else.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Teflon John

Max and the Maginalized wrote a song about Old Johnny McCain and the press. Damn good lyrics but hard for an old phart like me to dance to.

Listen here.

Quote of the Day

And I approved
Our Dear Embattled Leader, George Walker Bush, admitting that he knew his boyos were sitting around the table drinking beer, eating pretzels and planning to torture people in the name of the United States of America.

Obama responds to a couple of elitists

Nobody likes to think they are bitter, but if you talk to people who have been worked over by TPTB it is hard to find a more accurate word.

Sounds to me like he took a page from John Edwards playbook. Now all he needs are some progressive programs to go with it.

Joe Galloway reveals Bush's exit strategy

And it really takes no great wisdom to see this coming, just some history and experience. When all is said and done, this is what Republicans have always done when their cherished ideas create another disaster.
It was easy to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein. Easy, too, to let the genie of sectarian violence out of the bottle. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and then-defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and their neo-conservative cheerleaders predicted that our troops would be greeted as conquering heroes, that the war would cost only $50 billion, last only three or four months and implant Jeffersonian democracy in the Middle East.

Now it's harder than Chinese algebra to get out after five long years of war, an American death toll of more than 4,000, an Iraqi death toll numbered in the hundreds of thousands and a cost to the United States estimated at as much as $3 trillion if the war ended tomorrow.

How much more American and Iraqi blood must be spilled between now and January 20, 2009, so George W. Bush can boast that Iraq wasn't lost on his watch, that he never cut and ran and that — never mind — it wasn't al Qaida or Iran that defeated us in Iraq, it was the Democrats?
Never mind that the Republicans own this mess 100%.

Remember the Keating Five?

If you don't, you should because one of those crooks wants to be your president. Here is a refresher course on largest S&L failure to date and Old Johnny McCains part in it.

When the rubes figure out last weeks bullshit

That's when you hit them with this weeks bullshit. Last week it was al-Qaeda in Iraq and this week it is Iran.
Last week's violence in Basra and Baghdad has convinced the Bush administration that actions by Iran, and not al-Qaeda, are the primary threat inside Iraq, and has sparked a broad reassessment of policy in the region, according to senior U.S. officials.

Evidence of an increase in Iranian weapons, training and direction for the Shiite militias that battled U.S. and Iraqi security forces in those two cities has fixed new U.S. attention on what Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday called Tehran's "malign" influence, the officials said.

The intensified focus on Iran coincides with diminished emphasis on al-Qaeda in Iraq as the leading justification for an ongoing U.S. military presence in Iraq.
And they continue to raise false boogymen to support the Bushovik bullshit bushido for eternal war. Always trying to stay one step ahead of the rubes.

The legacy of George W Bush

The man who says that history will have to judge how magnificent his reign was, has his domestic record examined by Bob Herbert. He starts by asking a simple question.
I wonder what the answers would be if each American asked himself or herself the question: “How is the war in Iraq helping me?

While the U.S. government continues to pour precious human treasure and vast financial resources into this ugly war without end, it is all but ignoring deeply entrenched problems that are weakening the country here at home.
What follows should be familiar to all Americans, even if they don't realize that it was, in large part, actively sought by Our Dear Embattled Leader. What is even harder to believe is that time will ever put a favorable sheen on the dogs breakfast of disaster that George W Bush will leave behind him next January.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Keith O dissects Our Dear Leader's speech

If only he could do the same to Our Dear Leader.

Oliphant today

Old Johnny McCain Flip Flops

Thanks to the seductive lure of McCain barbecue, Michael Cooper uses the neutral word pivot to describe his maneuver, but even those schooled under Reaganite standards of education know a flip flop when they hear it.
Senator John McCain, who drew criticism last month after he warned against broad government intervention to solve the deepening mortgage crisis, pivoted Thursday and called for the federal government to aid some homeowners in danger of losing their homes, by helping them to refinance and get federally guaranteed 30-year mortgages.
In fairness to the old fart, this "pivot" does fit nicely with his plié on the Bushovik tax cuts.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

If you had sex with Renee from the Pamela Martin Agency

You were screwing the U S Navy. That was the nom de boink of Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Dickinson.

Found on Krugman's Blog

From the Telegraph:
In parts of Helmand Afghan farmers are this year sowing wheat instead of poppy - not because they have suddenly been converted to the argument that producing heroin is not in the national interest.

Market forces have been the deciding factor - with wheat prices doubling in the past year, and the street price of heroin falling, it is now more cost effective to grow wheat.
Some would praise this miracle of the free market, I say no one on Wall St would be smart enough to go short on smack and long on wheat.

A smoking gun for war crimes

ABC news reported last night what most Americans have suspected, the Big Swinging Dicks of DC, including Condi, were very closely involved in the tortures used at Guantanamo Bay.
In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News.

The so-called Principals who participated in the meetings also approved the use of "combined" interrogation techniques -- using different techniques during interrogations, instead of using one method at a time -- on terrorist suspects who proved difficult to break, sources said.

Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.

The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

The advisers were members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security policy.

At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

As the national security adviser, Rice chaired the meetings, which took place in the White House Situation Room and were typically attended by most of the principals or their deputies.
American leaders acting like Nazis and pretending they were Jack Bauer. Was our VP Dickwahd al-Cheney just warming up for his very own "Wannsee Conference"? And would he have put his own man, David "Reinhardt" Addington in charge? We will have to wait for the answers to these questions.

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