Monday, January 31, 2011

A little late: Happy BWAD

You can find the details here.

La Forza Del Destino

The Overture from Joe Green's opera The Force of Destiny.

Exxon-Mobil had another bad quarter

Exxon Mobil’s profit in the quarter was only 9.25 $Billion despite the certainty enjoyed by having a Republican/Teabagger majority in the House.

Your Dylan Dally Moment

Dylan brings us an update about political prisoner Bradley Manning from his friend David House.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Another activist Republican judge does his dirty work

This time it is a judge appointed by St Ronnie himself who has gone outside the law to declare that the Healthcare for Everyone bill is unconstitutional.
A federal judge has ruled that the health care reform bill signed into law by President Barack Obama in March is unconstitutional.

Judge Roger Vinson, a Reagan appointee serving in Pensacola, Florida, ruled that key components of the law are unconstitutional and that the entire law "must be declared void."

In the decision, Vinson writes:

"... I must reluctantly conclude that Congress exceeded the bounds of its authority in passing the Act with the individual mandate. That is not to say, of course, that Congress is without power to address the problems and inequities in our health care system. The health care market is more than one sixth of the national economy, and without doubt Congress has the power to reform and regulate this market. That has not been disputed in this case. The principal dispute has been about how Congress chose to exercise that power here.

Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void."
The government will appeal this blatant judicial overreach.

Go Veggies!

My father taught me to love all vegetables, except poop balls (brussels sprouts).

h/t AmericaBlog

Pay China and Big Banks before grandma

Such is the "brilliant" thinking of Pat "Bag of Rocks" Toomey, Teabagger senator from Pennsylvania. His plan would keep the US from defaulting on its debt to other countries and domestic rich folk while making sure your parents and gramdparents would not be able to pay for heat, housing, food and/or medical needs.
"I intend to introduce legislation that would require the Treasury to make interest payments on our debt its first priority in the event that the debt ceiling is not raised," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) wrote in a Friday Wall Street Journal op-ed.

If passed, Toomey's plan would require the government to cut large checks to foreign countries, and major financial institutions, before paying off its obligations to Social Security beneficiaries and other citizens owed money by the Treasury -- that is, if the U.S. hits its debt ceiling.
With "Bag of Rocks" as with all Republican/Teabaggers, the solution always comes back to screwing those with the least.

The raising of the rates

Paul Krugmans column today examines the banksters unnecessary call for an increase interest rates. The banksters think this would be a very good idea. Dr Krugman thinks this would be a very bad idea, not least because it would institutionalize high unemployment. So who are you going to believe, the dickheads who gave us this depression or the Doctor who warned us it was coming?

Everybody looks up when a blimp floats overhead.

Greenpeace floating over the Koch Brothers.

From the Land of Fucking Dumb Ideas

Comes one of the fucking dumbest ideas heard since the Republican/Teabaggers suggested the US default on its debt.
American taxpayers should not foot the bill for infrastructure improvements around the country, the new White House chief of staff said recently.

“I don’t think raising the taxes on the American people right now is the way to go at this point of our economy," William M. Daley told Bob Schieffer of CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday.

Daley, a former Wall Street executive who opposed two of President Obama's major initiatives, said that investment for US infrastructure could instead come from private sources both foreign and domestic.
Sounds like a good idea, saving the taxpayer from additional burden until you consider this scenario.
As you drive down the Poulan WeedEater Turnpike to the Heinz Ketchup cutoff you are glad you refilled your traveling water bottle from the Aquafina Water Service tap before they raised the rates again. Speaking of rates, that dump you took this morning put you at the limit of allowable waste with the Koch Brothers Shit Service and with their overage rates it looks like you will be shitting in the woods until next month.
Somebody always has to pay for it. The advantage of taxes is that you need not make a profit for Wall St or cover excess executive salaries and bonuses. Or as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society".

Wake up music

Can you TARP this?

You will probably need an extra $200 Billion on top of the original TARP amount if you want to fund a TARP program for the Kabul Bank. That is the current expected amount of the loss of the largest bank in Afghanistan due to fraud.
Fraud and mismanagement at Afghanistan’s largest bank have resulted in potential losses of as much as $900 million — three times previous estimates — heightening concerns that the bank could collapse and trigger a broad financial panic in Afghanistan, according to American, European and Afghan officials.

The extent of these losses make it clear that keeping the bank afloat — something the government has said it is determined to do — would require large infusions of cash from an already strained budget.

Banking specialists, businessmen and government officials now fear that word of Kabul Bank’s troubles could prompt a run on solvent banks, destroying the country’s nascent banking system and shaking the confidence of Western donors already questioning the level of their commitment to Afghanistan.

The scandal has severe political and security implications. Investigators and Afghan businessmen believe that much of the money has gone into the pockets of a small group of privileged and politically connected Afghans, preventing earlier scrutiny of the bank’s dealings.
To put it in perspective, $900 Billion is 30 times the 2010 Gross Domestic Product of the entire goddamned shithole of a country. $900 Billion is one hell of a haul. One can only imagine the quiet admiration of Blankfein, Dimon et. al. for the perps.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Big Issa is watching you

And I suppose he is just checking to see who is naughty and who is nice. Still the idea that Rep. Grand Theft Auto is checking up on people who just want to know what their government is doing is troublesome.
Representative Darrell Issa calls it a way to promote transparency: a request for the names of hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, business executives, journalists and others who have requested copies of federal government documents in recent years.

Mr. Issa, a California Republican and the new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, says he wants to make sure agencies respond in a timely fashion to Freedom of Information Act requests and do not delay them out of political considerations.
OK, so Mr Issa only wants to make government work better and cows only fly when they make butter. This would be a good time for everyone to file an FOIA with the FBI for Rep. Issa's file. Just to make him work better, you know.

Domestic terrorist/surfer dude/geezer arrested

Outside a Detroit mosque with a carload of explosives and a head full of evil intent. He was known to law enforcement and he was caught red handed so the only question is did he listen to Rush or Glen?

Defense spending in a nutshell

Not the penny ante stuff like troop support and beans & bullets and such. No, today the Star-Telegram looks at the biggest spending disaster ofPentagon procurement, so far, the F-35. In one paragraph they manage to delineate how these great ideas go so expensively wrong.
There are numerous reasons for the F-35 debacle, say longtime defense observers, and most of them were predictable: Pentagon officials and military officers cobble together unrealistic goals, timetables and budgets, and defense contractors sign on knowing that once a big program is launched, it's seldom canceled and the money keeps flowing.
The only thing missing is the congressional pressure from the hired stooge of whatever district has a plant in it.

The unindicted co-conspirators of Wki Leaks

To be honest, no one has yet been indicted in the massive information release over the last half year. Today Bill Keller uses the NY Times Sunday Magazine to reveal the story of how much the revelations were a cooperative effort of Julian Assange and The Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel.
The first articles in the project, which we called the War Logs, were scheduled to go up on the Web sites of The Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel on Sunday, July 25. We approached the White House days before that to get its reaction to the huge breach of secrecy as well as to specific articles we planned to write — including a major one about Pakistan’s ambiguous role as an American ally. On July 24, the day before the War Logs went live, I attended a farewell party for Roger Cohen, a columnist for The Times and The International Herald Tribune, that was given by Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. A voracious consumer of inside information, Holbrooke had a decent idea of what was coming, and he pulled me away from the crowd to show me the fusillade of cabinet-level e-mail ricocheting through his BlackBerry, thus demonstrating both the frantic anxiety in the administration and, not incidentally, the fact that he was very much in the loop. The Pakistan article, in particular, would complicate his life. But one of Holbrooke’s many gifts was his ability to make pretty good lemonade out of the bitterest lemons; he was already spinning the reports of Pakistani duplicity as leverage he could use to pull the Pakistanis back into closer alignment with American interests. Five months later, when Holbrooke — just 69, and seemingly indestructible — died of a torn aorta, I remembered that evening. And what I remembered best was that he was as excited to be on the cusp of a big story as I was.
And this was only the beginning, A must read.

Egypt is still a mess

Al Jazeera TV has been shut down and the police have disappeared. The army is the only functioning power left. The crisis will be resolved when the army decides which way they want to go. Whatever the army decides, Hosni is done, time for him to go on his hadj.

Jack Kingston is an ass

The question is did he evolve into an ass or did God make him an ass?

Celery Stalks at Midnight

WARNING: May contain the "Brown Note". Caution is advised.

The Orange Boner dabbles in playing Debt Chicken

The Republican/Teabaggers are talking a mean game of Chicken revolving around the debt ceiling. The hard core deficit hawks are babbling on about not raising it and the sort of responsible ones are saying it has to be done. What they have in common is their inarticulate demand for spending cuts. And now, in an effort to control his caucus, the Orange Boner has jumped into the fray.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says it's not a threat.

Even as he admitted that not raising the debt ceiling would mean a "financial disaster" for the US and the world, the Speaker said Sunday that Democrats must agree to big spending cuts before the GOP-controlled House will support the Obama administration's spending plans.

"I know you're not threatening to default, but do you agree with administration officials and other economists that defaulting on the full faith and credit of the United States would be a financial disaster?" Fox News' Chris Wallace asked Boehner.

"That would be a financial disaster," the Speaker agreed. "Not only for our country, but for the worldwide economy. Remember, the American people on election day said we want to cut spending and we want to create jobs. You can't create jobs if you default on the federal debt."
Poor OB he doesn't want a financial disaster on his watch but neither does he want a split in his caucus between those who would do irreparable damage to our country and those who have grown up. Can the Orange Boner pull it off? Only time will tell.

And back at the Jacobin Club

The various and sundry Teabag parties, like the Jacobin clubs of Revolutionary France, are already working on the Purity Tests to find the proper whackjobs to run in primaries in 2012 against those Republicans deemed flawed by our homegrown Robespierres.
The early moves suggest that the pattern of the last elections, in which primaries were more fiercely contested than the general election in several states, may be repeated.

They also show how much the Tea Party has changed the definition of who qualifies as a conservative. While Ms. Snowe is widely considered a moderate Republican, Mr. Hatch is not. Mr. Lugar, similarly, defines himself as a conservative. He argues that he has consistently won praise from small-business groups, supported a balanced budget amendment and pushed for a reduction in farm subsidies and the closing of agricultural extension offices as part of an effort to reduce unnecessary spending — all initiatives that fall under the smaller government rubric of the Tea Party...

The advocates in Indiana, which national Tea Party groups say has the most organized of the primary efforts, point to Mr. Lugar’s push for the New Start nuclear treaty, which the Senate approved in December; his sponsorship of the Dream Act, which would grant a path to citizenship for limited groups of illegal immigrants; and his votes for President Obama’s picks for the Supreme Court, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

“The senator would call it bipartisanship, but we think you’re siding with the other side,” said Greg Fettig, a Tea Party supporter in Indiana.
Poor Dick Lugar, having already sinned irreparably in the eyes of the Tebags, his only fate is the electoral guillotine of the primary.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Behold, the power of Tea

Frank Rich examines the power of Teabaggers and their agenda to hijack the Republican efforts to defeat Obama. As if the Republicans didn't have the ability to drive their own train off the tracks.

And MoDo is back from rehab in time to say goodbye to old buddy, David Axelrod.

An American original

Reportedly Bob Dylan's favorite folksinger in the early days.

They are still overpaid and underworked

But to their credit, the compensation is going in the same direction as the company.
Bank of America Corp.’s investment banking division set aside about 10 percent less for employee compensation than a year earlier as revenue slipped, said two people with direct knowledge of the decision.

Managing directors in areas that underperformed compared with 2009 saw pay shrink by as much as about 20 percent, said the people, who declined to be identified because the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank doesn’t disclose compensation figures. Employees of the global banking and markets unit, run by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. trading head Thomas Montag, were told their year-end payouts on Jan. 27, the people said.

“It’s what you should expect considering it was a pretty volatile year,” said Alan Johnson, managing director of New York-based compensation consultant Johnson Associates Inc. “People were down more than that at other places; I’d say a 10 percent decline overall is a pretty good outcome.”
If only we could get them to pay their fair share of taxes.

Who didn't see this coming

From the pen of Tom Toles

click pic to big

R.I.P. David Frye and Charlie Callas

A very sad time to lose two funny men when so many in the spotlight today are the other kind of funny.

David Frye

Charlie Callas

So what is a Governor supposed to do?

The economy has gone "Deep South" in your state and your predecessors spent years fiddly-fucking with the books to make them look good and all the problems land on your desk. Facing a public trained over the last 30+ years to bark and foam like mad dogs if you suggest a tax increase and unable to carry a deficit like the feds, what choice do you have? Why you screw the sick, the poor and the old because they don't contribute to your campaign kitty.
Hamstrung by federal prohibitions against lowering Medicaid eligibility, governors from both parties are exercising their remaining options in proposing bone-deep cuts to the program during the fourth consecutive year of brutal economic conditions.

Because states confront budget gaps estimated at $125 billion, few essential services — schools, roads, parks — are likely to escape the ax. But the election of tough-minded governors, the evaporation of federal aid, the relentless growth of Medicaid rolls and the exhaustion of alternatives have made the program, which primarily covers low-income children and disabled adults, an outsize target.

In Arizona, which last year ended Medicaid payments for some organ transplants, Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, is asking the Obama administration to waive a provision of the new health care law so that the state can remove 280,000 adults from the program’s rolls. In California, the newly elected governor, Jerry Brown, a Democrat, proposes cutting Medicaid by $1.7 billion, in part by limiting the beneficiaries to 10 doctor visits a year and six prescriptions a month.
With the Congressional Republican/Teabaggers salivating at the thought of denying any funding to the states, kicking the helpless may become a national pastime.

Moody's rated pre-defaulted mortgages as Triple A

And now they are trying to suggest that the US government credit rating is at risk of a downgrade. Who in their right mind would believe that US debt is worth less than a bundle of Countrywide mortgages? Isn't it time for Moody's to close up shop and go away?

Do not ignore the fate of Brisenia Flores

Will Bunch:
You're probably aware that the beautiful young girl pictured at the top of this post is not Christina Green. Her name was Brisenia Flores. Like Christina, Brisenia was 9 years old, and she also lived in Pima County, Arizona, not far from Tucson. Like Christina, she was gunned down in cold blood by killers with strange ideas about society and politics.

But there are also important differences. While the seriously warped mind of Christina'ss Tucson murderer, Jared Lee Loughner, is a muddled mess, the motives of one of Brisenia's alleged killers-- a woman named Shawna Forde -- are pretty clear: She saw herself as the leader of an armed movement against undocumented immigrants, an idea that was energized by her exposure to the then-brand-new Tea Party Movement. But unlike the horrific spree that took Christina's life, the political murder of Brisenia and her dad (while Brisenia's mom survived only by pretending to be dead) has only received very sporadic coverage in the national media. That's a shame, because it's an important story that illustrates the potential for senseless violence when hateful rhetoric on the right -- in this case about undocumented immigrants -- falls on the ears of the unhinged.

This week, Forde is on trial on Tucson, and the details are horrific:
Why isn't the media covering the trial of the vicious right wing murderer of this 9 year old girl? Was the victim not white enough to deserve coverage?

Friday, January 28, 2011

About Rush the Talking Racist Pig

State Sen Leland Yee of San Francisco is the one who has raised a voice of protest to Pig Boy's viciously demeaning "imitation" of Chinese President Hu's speech last week. Since his protest two things have happened. One,he has received hate mail and death threats from the dittoheads, and he has a petition to Pig Boy's advertisers to pull their sponsorship.
“Recently, Rush Limbaugh reached a new low as he mocked the Chinese language and culture. His classless act is an insult to over 3,000 years of cultural history and is a slap in the face to the millions of Chinese Americans who have struggled in this country and to a people who constitute one-quarter of the world’s population. His comments belittle the contributions of the Chinese community and are sadly indicative of the bigotry that has often plagued his commentary and lined his pockets. Mr. Limbaugh owes the Chinese community an apology for this pointless and ugly offense.”
You can sign the petition here.

First Dude designates First Hooker?

Not that I am one to spread evil, vicious rumors, but according to the National Enquirer, while Snowflake Snooki was running around the country showing everybody she is dumb enough to be blond, Todd got tired of "talking to the hand".
SARAH PALIN's husband TODD is caught up in a sleazy sex scandal, The ENQUIRER has learned!

Political bloggers are digging into incredible claims that the "First Dude" - father of the couple's five children — cheated on his wife with a female massage therapist who was busted for prostitution!
So to make up for the lack of Snooki Nookie he sought a happy ending. Hey, he's a man and it's Alaska, what do you expect? At least he shaves, mostly.

No wonder he wants to kill Social Security

It turns out that notorious Republican/Teabagger fiscal idiot Rep. Paul Ryan, a driving force in the efforts to destroy Social Security and steal the investments of millions of Americans, has a reason for his evil plan.
One day as a 16 year old, Ryan came upon the lifeless body of his father. Paul Ryan, Sr. had died of a heart attack at age 55, leaving the Janesville Craig High School 10th grader, his three older brothers and sisters and his mother alone. It was Paul who told the family of his father’s death.

With his father’s passing, young Paul collected Social Security benefits until age 18, which he put away for college.
Most of Ryans ideas have more holes than a wheel of Wisconsin Swiss sheese, but this is plain and simple. Having used the program to climb up the ladder of success, he has to pull it up behind him. This is the first and most sacred of Republican commandments and one they all obey.

h/t Firedoglake

She can't leave well enough alone

Poor little Snowflake Snooki still believes that those mean old Commies won the space race with Sputnik but were ultimately defeated by Spudnuts. I like a good doughnut as much as the next person, but we can do without the politician who is as dumb as a doughnut hole.

Austerity is "dangerous hogwash"

Which is pretty strong stuff coming from David Blanchflower in his opinion piece on Bloomberg. He being an English Professor of Economics he speaks of the example of his country as the best example of the failure of austerity as an economic policy.
Sorry, fiscal austerity doesn’t work. For evidence, look no further than the U.K.

This can’t be good news for the U.S. political right, whose mantra has been: cut spending, put a lid on deficits, and growth will improve.

All sorts of good things, it is claimed, will spring from a turn to austerity that stops all this stimulus nonsense and prevents the Federal Reserve from doing more quantitative easing. Reductions in spending, according to a theory known as Ricardian equivalence, will do no harm because lower borrowing will automatically lead to higher private spending. Plus, of course, there is the notion of crowding out, meaning that reining in the public sector leaves room for the private industry to step in and all will be well.

This is dangerous hogwash.

There is little historical precedent in the real world, though lots of fantasizing in the made-up world of economic theorists, to suggest that fiscal austerity works. The best example of austerity’s failure is the double-dip that occurred in the late 1930s in the U.S., when spending was reduced too soon in a nascent recovery. In contrast, the U.K. didn’t have a double-dip because it was engaging in classic Keynesian spending as it began re- arming.
And consider all the current European practitioners of austerity. A look at their numbers shows a disturbing return to recession as a result. This should be a serious lesson for the US and if there was a Republican president it might be so. Sadly austerity with a resulting recession is exactly what the Republican/Teabaggers want to do to this country to damage President Obama.

No longer precious

From the pen of Ben Sargent.

Paul Krugman answers the lies of Paul Ryan

And along the way shows that the only way to properly learn a lesson is to have a good teacher. Paul Ryan the current bright light (25W) of Republican/Teabagger fiscal policy spouted some major league lies in his "response" to the SOTU. It is obvious from these lies that he was more concerned with pushing the talking points than speaking truth.
Well, contrary to what Mr. Ryan seemed to imply, Britain has not, in fact, suffered a debt crisis. True, David Cameron, who became prime minister last May, has made a sharp turn toward fiscal austerity. But that was a choice, not a response to market pressure.

And underlying that choice was the new British government’s adherence to the same theory offered by Republicans to justify their demand for immediate spending cuts here — the claim that slashing government spending in the face of a depressed economy will actually help growth rather than hurt it.

So how’s that theory looking? Not good. The British economy, which seemed to be recovering earlier in 2010, turned down again in the fourth quarter. Yes, weather was a factor, and, no, you shouldn’t read too much into one quarter’s numbers. But there’s certainly no sign of the surging private-sector confidence that was supposed to offset the direct effects of eliminating half-a-million government jobs. And, as a result, there’s no comfort in the British experience for Republican claims that the United States needs spending cuts in the face of mass unemployment.
The concept of Paul Ryan as "as an intellectual leader within the G.O.P., with special expertise on matters of debt and deficits" should really scare the public. At no point has Paul Ryan ever indicated that he has a clue about what he speaks.

Republican/Teabaggers redefine rape

They have a hard time denying abortions to rape victims so they are narrowing the definition to forcible rape.
With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to "forcible rape." This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith's spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)

Given that the bill also would forbid the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, that 13-year-old's parents wouldn't be allowed to use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure. They also wouldn't be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.
The good side is their base voters can still bone their sister/daughter/underage neighbor kid as long as they give them the candy as promised. The bad side is that even the Orange Boner would no accept the definition as "Any sex with a Democrat".

Jon Stewart Fux with Fox

All because Bill O thinks it's all about him.

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Replace Medicare benefits with worthless coupons

In a nutshell, that describes the Republican/Teabagger plan to eliminate Medicare and pretty much any useful health care for seniors.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is testing support for his idea to replace Medicare with a fixed payment to buy a private medical plan from a menu of coverage options.

Party leaders will determine if the so-called voucher plan will be part of the budget Republicans put forward in the spring...

Under Ryan's plan, current Medicare recipients would get to stay in the program. People within 10 years of eligibility - ages 55 to 64 - would also go into Medicare. But those now 54 and under would get a fixed payment from the government when they become eligible at age 65. They would be able to use the voucher to buy a Medicare-approved private plan from a menu of coverage levels and options.
Now Medicare pays for most necessary medical procedures. The Republican/Teabaggers want to give everybody a fixed amount of money which won't come near to paying the full cost of an insurance policy. And the gap will widen as you get older, assuming you can find someone who will write a policy for you in your seventies and older. If you do find a policy you will be able to afford only 1 year out of four with the other three saving money and vouchers for the year you buy. This is what Republican/Teabaggers call a good deal.

Some music to chill out with

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Koch Brothers are not amused

Last week someone circulated a spoof press release from a website with an URL similar to Koch Industries. This fake press release purported to say that the Koch Brothers had a change of heart regarding global warming and would no longer fund denier groups and astroturf organizations. Needless to say this has pissed off the Koch Brothers, who are so rich they had their sense of humor surgically removed in high school, and they proceeded to unleash their Hounds of Legal Hell on the as yet unnamed perpetrators. The Koch Brothers will probably spend an obscene amount of money trying to uncover the people who had the temerity to make fun of them. We can only hope these Billionaire Bolsheviks fail, but they should be careful for another reason. Some real hacker may find his sense of justice and fair play upset and show the Koch Brothers what the internets can really do.

Mike Pence won't enter President race.

Fortunately some one was able to convince him that running for president is not like running in the Special Olympics, which he is qualified to enter.

Your Dylan Dally Moment

A thumbnail history of the rise of true populism.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Snowflake Snooki is dumber than the Queen of Bat Shit Crazy

And that is pretty damn hard to be but if you listen carefully to this clip you will not find any that makes the least bit of sense. And if you were awake in high school you will be amazed at her lack of understanding of recent American history.

Be Good Frazey

The first effort from Frazey Ford late of the Be Good Tanyas.

Thankfully it's filler and not the dog

From the pen of Mike Lukovich

The report has been officially released

And if you want to read it, you may do so here. This includes the two dissents by the Republican/Teabagger members. The dissent by Peter Wallison dredges up the old lie about mortgages for poor people being responsible for the crash. This only serves to highlight the sad fact that the Republican/Teabagger dissents are there to try and cover up the crimes of their friends and contributors.

Whether you read the full report or just the news stories available, you will find that no one involved is spared condemnation. The commission did a good job with what they were given.

J P Morgan Chase not the only bank to screw the military

They were just the first ones sued for doing so. The latest bank reported to be breaking the law regarding service members property rights is a bunch of damned foreigners, Deutsche Bank.
In violation of a law intended to protect active military personnel from creditors, agents of Deutsche Bank foreclosed on his small Michigan house, forcing Sergeant Hurley’s wife, Brandie, and her two young children to move out and find shelter elsewhere.

When the sergeant returned in December 2005, he drove past the densely wooded riverfront property outside Hartford, Mich. The peaceful little home was still there — winter birds still darted over the gazebo he had built near the water’s edge — but it almost certainly would never be his again. Less than two months before his return from the war, the bank’s agents sold the property to a buyer in Chicago for $76,000.

Since then, Sergeant Hurley has been on an odyssey through the legal system, with little hope of a happy ending — indeed, the foreclosure that cost him his home may also cost him his marriage. “Brandie took this very badly,” said Sergeant Hurley, 45, a plainspoken man who was disabled in Iraq and is now unemployed. “We’re trying to piece it together.”

In March 2009, a federal judge ruled that the bank’s foreclosure in 2004 violated federal law but the battle did not end there for Sergeant Hurley.

Typically, banks respond quickly to public reports of errors affecting military families. But today, more than six years after the illegal foreclosure, Deutsche Bank Trust Company and its primary co-defendant, a Morgan Stanley subsidiary called Saxon Mortgage Services, are still in court disputing whether Sergeant Hurley is owed significant damages.
The Department of Justice should be working with the prosecution/plaintiffs in this and every other case brought by troops that were screwed by banks while serving overseas. And the banking regulators should be reviewing the banks licenses.

S & P downgrades Japan debt

Yessirree! The company, one of three that labeled so much of the sub prime as AAA Primo stuff, still has the chutzpah to act as if they were capable of giving an honest rating. You may roll on the floor and laugh your ass off at any time.

Moody's is pretending their new, improved skilz will impress the impressionable.

The Orange Boner admits GOP can't handle money

It really is shameful that this idea has to be repeated over and over again to the public but the simple truth is that Republican/Teabaggers can not deal with any kind of finance more complex than buying a cup of coffee. Witness the latest admission from the Orange Boner less than one month after assuming the power of the purse as Speaker of the house.
"Well, if you really want to talk about what the 'Sputnik moment' is," he replied, "it's the fact that we're broke. And American people know we're broke."
Perhaps one of the Boner's business buddies could tell him that when you run an enterprise by maintaining high expenses while cutting revenues you can expect to go broke. Doing it in less than one month might be some kind of record.

They never do this in "broad daylight"

The health insurance companies know perfectly well when they pull a shitty stunt, like the one they did to Ronald Flanagan.
His wife, Frances, had just been informed that due a typo on their November premium payment, their insurance had been canceled. She had swapped a 7 for a 9, sending Ceridian a check for $328.67, instead of $328.69.

The Flanagans said the insurer did little to notify them their coverage was about to be canceled. Their next statement listed the faulty November payment, but did not alert them that their insurance was canceled. Their December premium payment was accepted, they say.

"They never did a certified letter saying what could happen. They never made a phone call. As far as I'm concerned, they're looking for a way to drop you," Ronald Flanagan said.

After sending a letter to ABC in Denver on Tuesday defending its decision to drop the Flanagans, the company appeared to quickly change its mind on Wednesday, when officials at the Florida-based insurer reportedly called the Flanagans personally to let them know their coverage had been reinstated.
As soon as their stunts become public they backtrack faster than a speeding bullet. Health insurance should be out of bounds to private for profit companies. They are not honest enough to operate safely.

The Orange Boner gets his hand slapped

According to the arcane world of DC symbolism, the call for a hike in the retirement age by the O Boner was not well received.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) walked back his prior remarks that Social Security benefits should be cut by raising the retirement age, but added that the idea still "ought to be on the table."

"I made a mistake when I did that because I think having the conversation about how big the problem is is the first step," Boehner told CNN's Parker/Spitzer Wednesday night. "And once the American people understand how big the problem is, then you can begin to outline an array of possible solutions."

Boehner, the most powerful Republican in Washington, made news last summer when he championed raising the retirement age from 65 to 70 for workers not retiring for another 20 years.
The Speaker has not yet given up hope that the Republican/Teabaggers can spout enough lies to confuse the Foxsuckers into supporting this evil idea. The Republican/Teabaggers have great faith in their ability to steal your rice bowl.

Jews condemn Glen Beck and Roger Ailes

Not a particularly newsworthy story until you include the fact that the Jews in question include rabbis and leaders from across the religious spectrum of Jewry from Reform to Orthodox. And their choice of media outlet?
The rabbis have called on Fox News's owner, Rupert Murdoch, to sanction his two famous employees via a full-page ad in Thursday's editions of the Wall Street Journal - one of many other media properties controlled by Murdoch's News Corp.

The ad is signed by the heads of the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements as well as Orthodox rabbis.

"We share a belief that the Holocaust, of course, can and should be discussed appropriately in the media. But that is not what we have seen at Fox News," says the ad, signed by hundreds of rabbis and placed by the Jewish Funds for Justice, a nonprofit advocacy group. Earlier this month, the group organized a letter-writing campaign asking Murdoch to remove Beck from the air...

"It is not appropriate to accuse a 14-year-old Jew hiding with a Christian family in Nazi-occupied Hungary of sending his people to death camps," says the ad. "It is not appropriate to call executives of another news agency 'Nazis.' And it is not appropriate to make literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterizing people with whom you disagree.

"We respectfully request that Glenn Beck be sanctioned by Fox News for his completely unacceptable attacks on a survivor of the Holocaust and that Roger Ailes apologize for his dismissive remarks about rabbis' sensitivity to how the Holocaust is used on the air."
We can not speculate on what the response from Murdoch will be beyond saying it will be based on what will generate the most revenue. We also believe that it is high time the US government revoked the citizenship of that greedy old Aussie bastard and deported him back down under.

The Right to Bear Sorrow

Lawrence O'Donnell speaks about the National Gun Dealers Association (NRA)

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Low down Music

Most folks agree that Tracy Nelson has owned this song since her Mother Earth days but Linda runs her a close second.

Is Afghanistan synonymous with failure?

Or do we just fail at everything we try there? Consider the plan to bolster the Afghan security forces, a major element of our removal from the Kabul Quagmire.
The Obama administration's $11.4 billion plan to bolster Afghanistan's security forces is "at risk" because of poor planning, a government watchdog agency concluded in a report released Wednesday.

Auditors with the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said the U.S. government "could not provide the plans or justifications" for building nearly 900 police stations and garrisons and other facilities for Afghanistan's national security forces.

The report confirms earlier findings in a series late last year by McClatchy that found the ambitious strategy, like much of the wider Afghan reconstruction effort, is faltering. The program is a linchpin of President Barack Obama's strategy to strengthen Afghan security forces so 100,000 U.S. troops can come home by the end of 2014.
It seems we can't even put a Potemkin like polish on the shit we can't build. Makes a fellow wonder if we can rebuild our own country if we ever come home.

EXTRA: Karzai of the Afghans ain't doing us any favors.

Louie Gohmerts wet dream

Garry Trudeau understands the mind of Louie the Louse and his kind.

click pic to big

A matter of perspective

From the pen of Stuart Carlson

Quote of the Day

We must come to realize that not every defense program is necessary, not every defense dollar is sacred or well-spent, and more of everything is simply not sustainable
Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, apparently not realizing that all those defense dollars are more precious than fetuses to Congress.

No wonder Dana Milbank is going Palin free in February

He has a major crush on the Queen of Bat Shit Crazy, Michelle Bachman.

You know all those big important people

The ones who know everything about ruling the world because they make huge amounts of money? I turns out they don't really know shit from shinola either. The Angelides Commission has examined the banking collapses that gave us the Great Bush Depression and their conclusion was that it was all avoidable.
The commission that investigated the crisis casts a wide net of blame, faulting two administrations, the Federal Reserve and other regulators for permitting a calamitous concoction: shoddy mortgage lending, the excessive packaging and sale of loans to investors and risky bets on securities backed by the loans.

“The greatest tragedy would be to accept the refrain that no one could have seen this coming and thus nothing could have been done,” the panel wrote in the report’s conclusions, which were read by The New York Times. “If we accept this notion, it will happen again.”
The details are ugly and no one in a position to change things escapes without a smack oh the head but unless some changes are made, which is not likely with the GOP fucking up the House, it will all happen again.

Democratic Senators have screwed the pooch again

Instead of enacting any meaningful filibuster reform, they have decided to throw themselves on the mercy of Mitch "The Chin" McConnell. That should work real good!

There he goes again

Rep. Peter King, who is in an intense competition with Rep Steve King to see who is the dumbest fucking King in Congress, has fired his latest salvo.
But King wasn't so busy that he couldn't take a few minutes Tuesday to appear on a conservative radio show, and claim that four out of five mosques in the US were "controlled by radical imams."

"Congressman, how widespread do you think this radical jihad sentiment is in US mosques?" the guest host on Laura Ingraham's radio show asked. "How many mosques do you think are infected by this?"

"The only real testimony we have on it is from Sheikh Kabbani who was a Muslim leader during the Clinton Administration, he testified back in 1999 and 2000 before the State Department that he thought over 80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical imams," King replied. "Certainly from what I’ve seen and dealings I’ve had, that number seems accurate."
And 100% of the pastors who handle snakes are stark raving lunatics, but Pete's OK with that. Pete's concept of radical should always be questioned, he was the guy who never met an IRA terrorist he didn't like.

Vermont is looking more and more attractive

Back in the Dark Ages they called for the impeachment of the worst president ever. Under Dr. Dean they established a health care plan for the uninsured. They have a resolution calling for an amendment to strip corporations of their "citizenship". And now
A small and progressive state whose legislators are sympathetic to single-payer, Vermont could be slated for a major breakthrough on a goal liberals have vigorously pushed for, but to no avail.

The state's top lawmakers have joined forces and made strides towards implementing a public-only health insurance system, taking up an ambitious idea that could have far-reaching impacts across the country if successful.
Since Medicare for All is too radical for the troglodytes, doing it state by state seems to be the solution. We wish them smooth sailing.

Border Patrol meet the Thought Police

In every job there exists, in addition to the normal transgressions than will result in termination, a special set of no-no's the will get you the gate. Most are related to the functions you perform. If you are a member of the Border Patrol, what you think can also be grounds for termination.
A former border guard who says he was fired for suggesting to a co-worker that marijuana should be legalized has filed a lawsuit against the US Border Patrol.

In documents (PDF) filed in a federal court in west Texas last week, Bryan Gonzalez alleged that he lost his job in 2009 after telling a colleague on the Mexican border that he believed legalizing marijuana could reduce drug war violence.

Gonzalez was issued a termination letter stating that he was fired because he "held personal views that were contrary to the core characteristics of Border Patrol Agents, which are patriotism, dedication and esprit de corps," according to the lawsuit...

In an exclusive interview, Gonzalez told Raw Story he was questioned by Customs and Border Patrol's Office of Internal Affairs -- a confrontation that felt more to him like an "interrogation."

"I was asked if I wanted to overthrow the American government," he said. "I was asked if I was a socialist."

But his only transgression was to say that legalizing marijuana would "eliminate a lot of unnecessary deaths."
He is fortunate in one respect, that he no longer works with the shit who ratted him out. That is the kind of guy you don't want covering your back. On the down side he learned a sad fact of modern life, No one ever expects the thought police.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When you have too much time and money

You end up doing something like this.
A grand piano recently appeared on a sandbar in Biscayne Bay, about 200 yards from the Quayside condominiums off Northeast 107th Street. Whoever put it there placed it at the highest point of the sandbar so that it's not underwater during high tide.

How and why the piano got there is a mystery. A grand piano weighs at least 650 pounds and is unwieldly to move, said Bob Shapiro, a salesman at Piano Music Center in Pembroke Park. ``You don't take it out there in a rowboat,'' Shapiro said.

This much is clear, however: The piano isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Unless it becomes a danger to wildlife or boaters, authorities have no plans to haul it away.

Thank God no one listens to CNN

They are the only news outlet that wants to show Queen Bat Shit Crazy Michelle Bachman's reply to Paul Ryan's reply to President Obama's State of the Union address. No one else wants to see it, not the other networks, not the Democrats or even the Republicans.
CNN's decision to air Bachmann's speech, interestingly, is angering liberals and Republicans alike. Steve Benen notes this morning that Bachmann's Tea Party brew could end up making Ryan's speech look moderate and reasonable in comparison. Both Benen and Atrios also point out that it could create a fundamental imbalance -- two Republicans responding to one speech from Obama -- and that there's no way CNN would allow a liberal Dem to offer a response from the left, as Bachmann is doing from the hard right.

But Republicans, too, have reason to be annoyed about this. Granting such a high profile to Bachmann's Messianic Tea Party air won't help the GOP manage the already difficult task of offering a response that has a chance of competing with Obama's speech.
The President already has a big built-in advantage during State of the Union speeches, and the designated opponent already faces an uphill climb when trying to rise to his stature. Elevating Bachmann, of all people, will likely complicate this dynamic even further.
Our favorite Queen of the Bat Shit Crazy is determined to shit in the punchbowl

What is sauce for the goose....

Is also sauce for the gander. From the pen of Signe Wilkinson

A suitable amount of time has passed

From the AP:
A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit that accused the security company formerly known as Blackwater of wrongful death, closing the case more than six years after four company contractors were killed in Iraq.

The cost of plotting the New Corporate World Order

Andrew Ross Sorkin has helpfully put together a price list for entree into the planning sessions for the future direction of the planet. I'm talking about Davos where all the big swinging dicks of the world get together to reassert their control over the developed world.
But before we get to the fees for private planes, hotels, and a car and driver, there is the all-important ticket. And it isn’t free.

Just to have the opportunity to be invited to Davos, you must be invited to be a member of the World Economic Forum, a Swiss nonprofit that was founded by Klaus Schwab, a German-born academic who managed to build a global conference in the snow.

There are several levels of membership: the basic level, which will get you one invitation to Davos, costs 50,000 Swiss francs, or about $52,000. The ticket itself is another 18,000 Swiss francs ($19,000), plus tax, bringing the total cost of membership and entrance fee to $71,000.

But that fee just gets you in the door with the masses at Davos, with entry to all the general sessions. If you want to be invited behind the velvet rope to participate in private sessions among your industry’s peers, you need to step up to the “Industry Associate” level. That costs $137,000, plus the price of the ticket, bringing the total to about $156,000.

Of course, most chief executives don’t like going anywhere alone, so they might ask a colleague along. Well, the World Economic Forum doesn’t just let you buy an additional ticket for $19,000. Instead, you need to upgrade your annual membership to the “Industry Partner” level. That will set you back about $263,000, plus the cost of two tickets, bringing the total to $301,000.

And if you want to take an entourage, say, five people? Now you’re talking about the “Strategic Partner” level. The price tag: $527,000. (That’s just the annual membership entitling you to as many as five invitations. Each invitation is still $19,000 each, so if five people come, that’s $95,000, making the total $622,000.) This year, all Strategic Partners are required to invite at least one woman along in an effort to diversify the attendee list.

As part of the Strategic Partner level, you get access to the private sessions as well as special conference rooms to hold meetings. And perhaps the biggest perk of all, your car and driver are given a sticker allowing door-to-door pickup service.
It looks expensive to most of us, but it's just pocket change to the MOU. The best part, "all Strategic Partners are required to invite at least one woman along in an effort to diversify the attendee list" Such a genteel way to describe knob gobbling.

US unable to tie Julian Assange to Bradley Manning

Despite this dearth of facts, there will be no let up in the continuing persecution of Mr Assange. As for Manning, the waterboarding will begin shortly.

Jon Stewart helps Megan Kelly find the Nazis

At least the ones that keep popping up on America's Brown Shirt network.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
24 Hour Nazi Party People
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

What Texas governor has good hair and two faces?

Why that would be Two Faced Ricky Perry, a man who has never yet met a principle that could not be sold. Remember his brave and courageous stand against Gubmint bailouts? I''l bet you don't remember this part.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, the Democrat-turned-Republican who served as George W. Bush's lieutenant and won his third term last year, wants you to think he's not a fan of federal bailouts.

Yet, on the same day "Texans for Rick Perry" launched their "No Government Bailouts" campaign, Perry himself was lining up with the rest of the states asking for billions in federal funding from President Barack Obama's Recovery Act.

Despite having $9.1 billion in surplus in a so-called "rainy day fund," Texas faced a $6.6 billion budget deficit in the 2010-11 fiscal years. To fill that gap, the state took $6.4 billion from the Obama administration and declared their budget gap covered, freeing up the Republicans who dominated the legislature to run on their fiscal responsibility.

The day after President Obama signed the Recovery Act, Perry published an op-ed in The Washington Times, railing against "unparalleled growth in government." On his blog, he urged supporters to sign his petition against "irresponsible spending that threatens our future."
I'm guessing he needed the money for his $10,000 a month rental while the Governors Mansion is being restored.

Bob Herbert rises to defend Social Security

And does so in a handsome fashion, shooting down the lies and lifting up the truth about the best government program, ever!
When you see surveillance videos of some creep mugging an elderly person in an elevator or apartment lobby, the universal reaction is outrage. But when the fat cats and the ideologues want to hack away at the lifeline of Social Security, they are treated somehow as respectable, even enlightened members of the society.

We need a reality check. Attacking Social Security is both cruel and unnecessary. It needs to stop...

Mugging the nation’s grandparents by depriving them of some of their modest, hard-earned Social Security retirement benefits is hardly an answer to the nation’s ills. And, believe me, those benefits are modest. The average benefit is just $14,000 a year, which is less than the minimum wage would pay. With employer-provided pensions going the way of the typewriter and pay telephones, the income from Social Security is becoming more precious by the day.

“If we didn’t have Social Security, we’d have to invent it right now,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future. “It’s perfectly suited to the terrible times we’re going through. Hardly anyone has pensions anymore. People’s private savings have taken a huge hit, and home prices have been hit hard. So the private savings that so many seniors and soon-to-be seniors have counted on have just been wiped out.

“Social Security is still there, and it’s still paying out retirement benefits indexed to wages. It’s the one part of the retirement stool that is working.”
This is one column you need to clip out and give to your crazy Uncle Louie who watches Glen Beck all the time. At the very least he will never speak to you again.

The game is afoot!

After working hard to get done within the restricted time frame of Congress and being dissed by the Wall St criminal class, the Angelides Commission is done.
The bipartisan panel appointed by Congress to investigate the financial crisis has concluded that several financial industry figures appear to have broken the law and has referred multiple cases to state or federal authorities for potential prosecution, according to two sources directly involved in the deliberations.

The sources, who spoke on condition they not be named, declined to identify the people implicated or the names of their institutions. But they characterized the panel's decision to make referrals to prosecutors as a significant escalation in the government's response to the financial crisis. The panel plans to release its final report in Washington on Thursday morning.
That is good news and bad news. Good if the state prosecutors can make their charges stick. Bad because anything referred to the DoJ or any other federal agency, has a snowball's chance in Hell of being successful. Still we will wait to see if any of the fish are big enough to catch.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thank you Vermont

The State Senate of Vermont has proposed a resolution calling for an amendment to the Constitution to overturn the damned activist judicial decision of Citizens United. It begins:
J.R.S. 11. Joint resolution urging the United States Congress to propose an
amendment to the United States Constitution for the states’ consideration
which provides that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United
States or any of its jurisdictional subdivisions.

Whereas, free and fair elections are essential to American democracy and
effective self-governance, and

Whereas, individual persons are rightfully recognized as the human beings
who actually vote in elections, and

Whereas, corporations are legal entities that governments create and can
exist in perpetuity and simultaneously in many nations, and
And a whole bunch of other Whereas' including
Whereas, corporations are not and have never been human beings and
therefore are rightfully subservient to human beings and the governments that
are their creators
They come to the final resolution
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:
That the General Assembly urges Congress to propose an amendment to the
United States Constitution for the states’ consideration which provides that
corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States or any of its
jurisdictional subdivisions, and be it further
Resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this
resolution to the Vermont Congressional Delegation.
It's a long shot but like that old saying goes, A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

Too many people know how this song feels.

And Janis sings it like it should be sung.

Your Dylan Dally Moment

Dylan and Jane Hamsher talk about the torture on US soil of Bradley Manning an US citizen.

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The Daily Kos does polls

And the latest one done by PPP has such wonderful numbers that you have to see them for yourself. And if you want to send them to any member of Congress, go ahead.

Obama won't throw Social Security under the bus

At least, according to the latest talk from DC, not in this State of the Union speech.
Over the weekend, the White House informed Democratic lawmakers and advocates for seniors that Obama will emphasize the need to reduce record deficits in the speech, but that he will not call for reducing spending on Social Security - the single largest federal program - as part of that effort.

Liberals, who have been alarmed by Obama's recent to shift to the center and his effort to court the nation's business community, applauded the decision, arguing that Social Security cuts are neither necessary to reduce current deficits nor a wise move politically. Polls show that large majorities of Americans in both parties - even in households that identify themselves as part of the tea party movement - oppose cuts to Social Security.
Republican/Teabagger bullshit really hasn't made much of a dent in this program in the eyes of the public.

The real beast

From the pen of Tony Auth

click pic to big

If you live, you are not doing it right

From the AP:
Witnesses say they saw a woman throw herself from the 23rd story of a Buenos Aires hotel Monday and survive.

The woman landed in a sitting position on the roof of a taxi whose driver got out just before the impact deeply dented his roof and shattered the windshield.

The woman, a 30-year-old Argentine, has injuries throughout her body and is being treated in the emergency room of the Hotel Argerich, said Alberto Crescenti, director of Argentina's Emergency Medical System.
Not yet time for her to check out.

Krugman Quote of the Day

From the NY Times:
The financial crisis of 2008 was a teachable moment, an object lesson in what can go wrong if you trust a market economy to regulate itself. Nor should we forget that highly regulated economies, like Germany, did a much better job than we did at sustaining employment after the crisis hit. For whatever reason, however, the teachable moment came and went with nothing learned.
Dr Paul Krugman who does not yet realize that America does not do "teachable moments". We do have a hell of a "shrug" to move on to the next disaster.

Having voted to repeal Health Care for all

Rep. Majority Leader Kosher Mouse has stated his support for gutting Medicare and Social Security.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on Sunday threw a measure of support behind a key Republican lawmaker's plan to dramatically cut Social Security and Medicare.

The plan, called "A Roadmap for America's Future," was created by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the new chairman of the budget committee, who promoted it last year as a means to cut the national debt.

"The direction the roadmap goes is something we need to embrace," Cantor said on NBC's "Meet the Press," praising the plan's capacity for deficit reduction.

The roadmap would partially privatize Social Security benefits and turn Medicare into a voucher program, effectively ending two monumental safety net programs for seniors in the United States.
Everybody knows that seniors were getting way too much from these programs and Republican/Teabagger corporate supporters were having to make do with trickle down benefits to their bottom lines. Such a situation has no place in a Republican/Teabagger nation. Despite his silence, the Orange Boner also supports this theft.

Only two things in life are certain, death and taxes

But taxes, unlike death, could be good for you. It's all in the attitude and living in a country run by adults. Southern Beale has an excellent post about an article in Inc. magazine on the effect of taxes on entrepreneurs and national attitudes in general in high tax socialist countries like Norway.
But don’t worry, America. You will never, ever have to suffer the slings and arrows of affordable healthcare, a clean environment, low unemployment, and a high standard of living like our Norwegian friends. That’s because we in America have been brainwashed for an entire generation into thinking certain things like taxes are a soul-crushing evil. Who needs taxes when we have our beloved Puritan work ethic, and “rags to riches” mythology, ammiright? The idea that America is the land of opportunity is as central to our national identity as the Stars and Stripes and National Anthem. Continually these national talismans prove to be worthless fairy tales, yet we cling to them because the idea that America is not the land of opportunity is just too painful to bear.

Norwegians have a completely different attitude toward taxes which I just can’t imagine flourishing in the United States. They don’t see it as a “punishment” the way some people, especially conservatives, do. Norwegians see taxes as an investment in their families and their country. Because they receive such high level of tangible services -- healthcare, pensions, free education (from preschool to college), robust family leave, etc. -- there’s an actual value.(my em) America never invested in itself in such a fashion; instead, what we get for our tax dollar is war.
The sweet sound of shibboleths shattering. Sadly, it took way more than 30 years to hammer the idea that taxes are bad into everybodys head. To reverse that idea and convince ourselves that we the people are worth investing in would take far longer than we currently have as a functioning nation.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

R.I.P. Jack LaLanne

Well, you finally ruined your image.

To rebuild a city the size of Brisbane, Australia

Takes a whole lot of building materials. If this report from Bloomberg is accurate it will take the following:
To build an average house, you need 6,200 bricks, 2,950 roof tiles, 785 floor tiles and 15 cans of paint -- multiply that 28,000 times and you get a picture of the task to rebuild Brisbane after Australia’s worst flood.

It gets worse: the state of Queensland will need to rebuild 90,000 kilometers (56,000 miles) of roads, enough to circle the globe twice, thousands of kilometers of rail line, almost 100 schools, an unknown number of bridges, several regional airports, power lines, sewers and water treatment -- the list goes on...

“The state’s a disaster zone,” said Greg Hoffman, general manager at the Queensland Local Government Association, which estimates up to 90,000 kilometers of road and “tens of thousands of drains” will need to be replaced or repaired across Queensland. “Roads have been torn away, airport terminals have been uprooted and you can’t believe your eyes when you see the wasteland left behind,” he said in a telephone interview.
And this is just Brisbane, the full damage extends over three states in Australia. To add to the troubles, there may well be a shortage of tradesmen to to do the work. Nevertheless:
The flooding across three states represents Australia’s biggest natural disaster in economic terms, said Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who has pledged the federal government will cover 75 percent of the reconstruction cost. ANZ Bank said the bill to rebuild just Queensland could be as much as A$20 billion, or 1.5 percent of the national economy.

The sugar- and coal-producing state accounts for about 20 percent of the A$1.3 trillion economy. The national and state governments have not yet said how much the flooding will cost.

“This effort is bigger than Cyclone Tracy in 1974, which destroyed Darwin, it’s bigger than the 1989 Newcastle earthquake, the 1999 Sydney hail storm and any other flood or bushfire we have seen,” said Professor Peter Grace, from the Queensland University of Technology. “It will take at least two years.
New Orleans, you are attached to the wrong country.

Skeeter time

Kosher Mouse throws the birthers under the bus

They have obviously outlived their usefulness and are now an embarrassment. Speaking on "Meet the Press", Kosher Mouse stated what rational people have known all along.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says he believes Obama is a citizen and that most Americans are beyond that question.
After saying the he went back to telling the usual passel of big lies, much to David Gregory's delight.

Israeli probe exonerates Israeli piracy

Which was about all that anyone expected but the appropriate forms had to be followed to assuage everyone's conscience..

Will curiosity kill the Republic?

According to the Onion News Networks latest survey a majority of Americans are curious enough about what Snowflake Snooki would do in office to vote for her as president.
"In an Onion News Network survey, 62 percent of Americans said that even though they don't support Sarah Palin's politics, they would consider voting for her out of a perverse desire to see what would happen if she were the president," Brooke Alvarez, host of ONN's FactZone, said in a report Friday.

Jason Copeland, ONN's political analyst, added that it would be possible for Palin, the former Republican governor of Alaska who stepped down in the middle of her term, to be elected president with the help of Democrats with a sick sense of wonder.

"In one sampling, 2,000 life-long Democrats were asked, 'What's the worst thing that could happen if Sarah Palin were elected president? Wouldn't you kinda want to find out?' he explained. "And more than 80 percent of them responded, 'God, I'm so sorry, but yes.'"
The Onion, bringing you the news no one else will report.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Texas Royalty

If you are not in the market for a bridge

Then maybe you would like to buy this load of shit.
Bob Barr, a former U.S. congressman, said Haitian ex-dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier is trying to unlock frozen funds left in Swiss banks after he fled to Paris exile amid a 1986 rebellion.

Duvalier “is very interested in trying to get those funds freed up, not for himself, but so they can be used to help the situation in Haiti,” Barr said by phone from Port-au-Prince today. Barr, 62, was a Republican representative from Georgia in 1995-2003 and ran for president in 2008 on the Libertarian Party ticket.

Barr accompanied Duvalier yesterday as the former dictator made his first public comments since his Jan. 16 return to his homeland from a 25-year exile. Also accompanying Duvalier were two other American lawyers, Ed Marger of Jasper, Georgia, and Mike Puglise of Snellville, Georgia, according to a statement issued by Barr’s office.

The 59-year-old Duvalier, also known as “Baby Doc,” apologized to victims of abuses during his government, vowed to help the quake-ravaged nation rebuild and said he expected to face “persecution” upon his return. Haitian authorities opened a corruption case against him two days after his return.

The former dictator said his desire to help Haiti rebuild from last year’s quake that killed more than 300,000 “far outweighs any harassment I could face,” according to a video of his speech posted on the website of the daily Nouvelliste.
Baby Doc has always had the highest regard for the Haitian people and you can take that to the bank. Nice friend you got there Bob.

A brilliant idea dies aborning

From Wiley's Non Sequitur

click pic to big

Memoria Publica

Be careful you don't underestimate it.
From the pen of Nick Anderson

Corporations contributing to inflation in DC

Once upon a time you could buy your Congresscritter for anywhere from a few thousand dollars for a back bencher to $25-$50,000 for someone in leadership. Now that the damned activist judges on the Supreme Court have eliminated all restraints, corporations are acting like a bunch of sports team owners at free agency.
The new Republican leaders in the House have received millions of dollars in contributions from banks, health insurers and other major business interests, which are pressing for broad reversals of Democratic policies that affect corporations, according to disclosure records and interviews...

Major health-care firms and their employees gave Republican leaders at least $5 million over the past two years, including well over $2 million to Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data...

Cantor received at least $5.6 million from corporate-linked donors during the 2010 midterm campaign, including $2.4 million from companies and employees in the finance, insurance and real estate industries, according to the Post analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

The total marks a 40 percent increase from 2008 and puts Cantor well ahead of most of his House GOP colleagues.
The corporations are way overpaying for Kosher Mouse and ruining the market for the rest of us. Next thing you know the back benchers will be asking 6 figure sums.

Republicans ramping up new wave of misogyny

Because it is a cornerstone of Republican belief that if a man can not tell a woman what she can do with her body then she has no purpose in life. Consider the list of new laws being considered to restrict women while leaving men free to do what they please.

Did Don Blankenship kill 29 miners to make a little more profit?

Under normal conditions that would be difficult and in the corporate owned state of West Coalminia that is impossible but consider the findings of the MSHA.
MSHA officials briefed the families on its findings in a closed-door meeting, but family members who spoke with reporters later said MSHA coal administrator Kevin Strickland said the blast could have been prevented if a coal cutting machine had been properly maintained and if highly explosive coal dust had been controlled.
Maintenance is an unnecessary expense but digging out 29 dead miners is just another cost of business. I think the bean counters need to take another look at this.

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