Sunday, December 27, 2009

Board Members Who Skated Away From Financial Failure, Responsibility

Amazing, isn't it, that the men and the few women at the top of the USA's economic heap, who either openly or surreptitiously fund the Randian/libertarian cult of personal responsibility take absolutely no responsibility for their own actions.

And many of these same individuals in the NY Times article more than likely have lobbied in one way or another for looser federal regulations on banking and the financial industry. After all they, like their counterparts in the federal government, are the products of the US's finest institutions of higher leaning, Harvard, Yale, etc. So heaven forbid if they would ever do anything hinting of criminality, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Thanks in large measure to their excellent business school education they are the most competent systems managers money can buy.

Of course these fine upstanding products of America's most prestigious universities' schools of business, WaMu's Kerry Killinger the exception being a graduate of the University of Iowa's business college, always have an escape clause at hand when things go wrong: They were just hired hands.

That's the beauty of the American corporation, no one, no single individual is ultimately responsible for anything. The CEO was hired by the board of directors, who in turn were supposedly hired by the major shareholders, who gained control by owning massive blocks of stock. It's a circle jerk of passing the buck until the American tax payer bails them out.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Adam Nagourney: Debate Shows Obama Plays by Washington’s Rules

New York
As much as Mr. Obama presented himself as an outsider during his campaign, a lesson of this battle is that this is a president who would rather work within the system than seek to upend it. He is not the ideologue ready to stage a symbolic fight that could end in defeat; he is a former senator comfortable in dealing with the arcane rules of the Senate and prepared to accept compromise in search of a larger goal. For the most part, Democrats on Capitol Hill have stuck with him.

Still, Mr. Obama’s approach to this battle should not be a surprise to anyone who has followed his career or his campaign for the White House. He served in the United States Senate and in the Illinois Senate. His choice for chief of staff — Mr. Emanuel — was the No. 3 person in the House Democratic leadership, and many of his top West Wing aides came out of staff jobs in the Senate.

Mr. Green said that Mr. Obama’s failure to push for the public option — or to enlist his network of grass-root supporters behind it — had sapped the energy out of the base and would have consequences for the 2010 elections. If Mr. Green is correct, that could be a real problem for Democrats, particularly given how energetic opposition to the health bill and the entire Obama agenda appears to be among Republicans.

But this could also prove to be a test of just how much power the outside voices in the left wing have over the insiders in the White House and on Capitol Hill. The stinging attack from Mr. Dean and organizations on the left calling for the defeat of the health care bill failed to dissuade a single Senate Democrat from voting for it. And Mr. Axelrod said he was not worried that would hurt the party come November.

No shit, Sherlock

Pentagon sees big savings in replacing contractors with federal employees

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Defense Department estimates it will save an average of $44,000 a year for every contractor it replaces with full-time federal personnel to perform critical defense jobs, according to the House-Senate conference report on the fiscal 2010 defense appropriation bill.

Hedges truly diagnoses our national problem

Posted originally at
From the above article:Hedges...asserts in Chapter 3, "The Illusion of Wisdom," that Harvard, Yale, Princeton and most elite schools "do only a mediocre job of teaching students to question and think." Elite universities are in the business of producing "hordes of competent systems managers" not critical thinkers(emphasis added by me).

This, my friends, is as accurate, succinct definition of the coordinator class I have ever read. Economic class is at the base of America's political and economic problems yet we, the vast majority of the American people, fail to discuss it. So brainwashed are we as a people with the notion of "upward mobility" we do not see that for the vast majority the game is rigged against us.

Again from the article:Hedges not only blames the elite universities for our mortgage-fueled financial crisis but is sure their alumni on Wall Street and in Washington have no capacity to really fix the economic system..."They have no concept, thanks to the educations they have received, of how to replace a failed system with a new one." (He includes George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Obama's "degree-laden" cabinet members in this group.)

Elsewhere on this Web site Naomi Klein excoriates President Obama for squandering ...once-in-a-generation opportunities... to clean up the global environment and repair our broken economy at the same time. From my perspective President Obama fails to see the opportunities Klein describes for the very reasons Hedges outlines above. The president is a product of two of the most prestigious Ivy League universities, Columbia for his degree in journalism, then Harvard Law, and as such is, in Hedges' words, he is first and foremost a competent systems manager, a coordinator.

And why, I think, our center-left and center-right coordinator class politicians and economists try to work within and not alter the fundamental elements of what for the greater majority of Americans is an increasingly flawed and inequitable socio-economic system, is because it works for them. My coordinator class, real estate developer, Democratic state senator is known as a "champion" of the poor in my state, because his district includes some of my hometown's poorest neighborhoods. Yet at the same time he profits from tax incentives, rebates and credits laws for developers, many of which he has hand a hand in fashioning.

Discussion of socio-economic class in the United States is taboo unless it is coupled with race, i.e. blacks and Hispanics are poorer that whites. Yet there is real class resentment which the reactionary-right coordinator class recognizes and exploits to their own benefit, think of the tea party movement.

Sadly unless we can get the big money out of politics and end the myth of corporate personhood I can think of no solution to this dilemma other than the trumbles and guillotines. And this is a step that even the farthest left of the coordinator class will never take.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What if the Republicans had acted like an opposition party?

The health care "reform" bill slithering its way through the US Senate, Massachusetts-style Romney-care writ large, is what Congressional Republicans, had they been responsible and adult, should have offered to counter the allegedly more "liberal" bills from the Democrats. This would have forced Senate Democratic leadership, especially the round-heeled Harry Reid, to hold to a more "socialist" health care reform package that included a "public option" or Medicare expansion.

Unfortunately Republican leadership decided to bite the hands that fed it for so very long, Big Pharma and the health insurance lobbies, and do nothing. This left the door open for Republicans-in-donkey suits, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and long time GOP-deep plant mole Joe Lieberman to take up the cudgels of opposition which US House and Senate Republicans had dropped.

Through intransigence that came close to blackmail at times, Landrieu brought home $300 million in Medicaid bacon for Louisianans and Nelson got Nebraskans off the hook for Medicaid expansion forever.

Writes USNews & World Report columnist Doug Heye,"For Nebraska, the federal government (that means you) will pay the cost for all new enrollees in perpetuity. Think your governor likes that?" Well, Mr. Heye, my governor may not like it but what is he to do? Invade Omaha and hold Nebraska Furniture Mart hostage until the State of Nebraska forks over some dough for Iowa's Medicaid?

Even the darling of the left Vermont's Bernie Sanders got a little Medicaid sweetener.

Unwittingly the Republicans may have signed their own death warrant by taking the obstructionist road to health care deform. As witnessed by Wall Street's "US Investors Flock to Big Health Insurers",, after Democrats successfully closed debate on its health care deform bill. Why would the insurance/pharmaceutical industrial complex continue to back a bunch of losers who did nothing for them? So watch for contributions from Big Pharma and Big Insurance dry up for Republicans in 2010. For instance, why would Big Pharma want to contribute to Chuck Grassley, up for re-election, as heavily as in the past? He did nothing to increase their share profitability, nothing for their bottom line. It was all the Democrats.

So while establishment Republicans and teabaggers on the one hand, and progressives and the ideologically pure left on the other rant and rave about back room deals and pork put yourself in the shoes of a Nebraska or Louisiana voter. Why would you want to get rid of a Senator who has brought home the bacon. It is only pork if it goes to the other guy, if it comes to you it is needed federal funding.

And remember, kiddies, people power never trumps money, at least in my life time. Even that hero of the ideologically pure anti-war left Eugene McCarthy's 1968 quixotic presidential campaign was totally funded by four wealthy donors whose identities, and motives, remain secret to this day.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Obama, Wen Offer No New Emissions Cuts -- China Blamed For Lack Of Progress

President Obama I think it is time you admit the failure of the Copenhagen talks does not solely rest on the Chinese government but squarely on the shoulders of the United States.

I think it is time that you as the titular leader of the so-called "free" world admit to the rest of the world's peoples and to the American people that neither you, or the US Congress or any politician controls the United States. That the real political and economic power resides in in the hands of a select few uber-wealthy Wall Street investors, that all politicians of both major political parties are mere puppets for their desires. Republicans, and too many Democrats, dance to the tune of Nineteenth Century technological industries: coal-fueled electric generation, the internal combustion engine, the diesel engine, petroleum and it byproducts, gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene and so on.

It is the Wall Street banker, brokers and hedge fund managers who have doomed the world...not the Chinese government...and their puppets in the US Congress and their legions of brainwashed-by-FauxNews Americans.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lieberman's Medicare Flip-Flop Leaves Democrats Fuming

The subhead on the home page asked: "What Makes Joe Tick?"

Here's my guess, first he's in the pocket of Connecticut's insurance lobby.

But secondly he's also deeply in the pocket of Connecticut's defense contractors lobby and the Pentagon Shadow Nation. According the State of Connecticut was awarded $383,348,280,990 in contracts by the Department of Defense.

Life is good in the DOD Shadow Nation. Health care insurance is affordable. So what is the rest of the nation suffers. the DOD Shadow Nation ensures our liberties.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Lieberman Wins: Medicare Compromise On Chopping Block

Senate rules are ridiculous and anti-democratic. Harry Reid is a milquetoast. And President Obama is no LBJ. That's right Obama's no LBJ.

I know a lot of people have compared Obama's Afghanistan strategy with Lydon Johnson's build-up in Vietnam but really now, would LBJ have let a pipsqueak like Joe Lieberman buffalo the White House and Senate?

Johnson would have called Lieberman up to the White House, given him a tongue lashing in the Oval Office and sent him back to the Senate with a damp spot on his trousers' leg.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, December 12, 2009

NRA Quietly Winning Battles For Looser Gun Laws

Just look at the photo accompanying this news story. Who do you see?

Now, just think of the last time you saw a national news telecast on urban crime and violence? What about a network or cable news story about violence in urban high schools? How about a network or cable news story about gang-related gun violence?

Do you recall the skin pigmentation of all of the "inner-city" Americans who were subject of the news reports?

Did those people look like the gents in the photo accompanying this news item?

Do you think that National Rifle Association vice-presi­dent-for-l­ife Wayne La Pierre or the national and cable television news networks feel any sense of responsibility for casting one segment of American society, a minority, as potentially violent criminals while vast majority are portrayed as helpless victims?

It's a cinch neither La Pierre or the producers and top shareholders of the national network and cable news outlets have a sense of shame.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, December 11, 2009

CIA's Blackwater Ties Run Deep, Private Firm Participated In Covert Raids

More blowback from the 1973 foundation of the All Volunteer Force.

The US military trains highly motived individuals for thousands, perhaps millions of taxpayer dollars, to be elite, efficient killers. But they have a limited shelf-life in the Army, Marines, Navy or Air Force and their skills are of little value, except in police work, in the civilian world.

Since one of the more "free market" concepts of the AVF is the outsourcing of mundane military fatigue duties, cooking, cleaning, hauling etc., to private contractors such as Halliburton-KBR it wasn't that much a leap for the "free market" CEOs in the Pentagon apply that concept to the actual job of security.

And that Xe, formerly Blackwater, employees have partaken in CIA operations should come as no surprise. It's just mission creep for the best hired guns in the vicinity who speak English!

It's time to end the All Volunteer Force experiment. It's time to end military fatigue and security duties, Marines, after all, traditionally guarded our embassies.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, December 07, 2009

Jacqueline Marcus: Corporate Media Networks Want Obama to Fail

Jacqueline Marcus: Corporate Media Networks Want Obama to Fail

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Luke A. Nichter: Who Was Fritz Kraemer? And Why We Should Care.

Whether Vietnam, Iraq, or now Afghanistan, wars come and go, but the real battle is a philosophic one between two sects of conservatives. In The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons from Nixon to Obama, authors Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman challenge readers to examine the role of a little-known Pentagon figure named Fritz G.A. Kraemer. Colodny and Shachtman argue that Kraemer was the leading intellectual behind what became known as the neo-conservative movement, witnessed by the fact that Kraemer influenced so many high-ranking conservative figures over the course of six decades.

The Forty Years War should serve as a call to researchers to learn much more about Fritz Kraemer. Perhaps the outcome of this future research will confirm Colodny and Shachtman's view that Kraemer was a sort of ideological godfather to the neo-conservatives. After all, a split in the conservative camp indeed took place, and was never resolved. On the other hand, others may conclude that the emphasis on Kraemer is overdone. Either way, the first step is to learn more about the mysterious figure who was indeed influential to so many American diplomatic and military figures since Vietnam. For that, The Forty Years War indeed deserves credit.
Luke A. Nichter: Who Was Fritz Kraemer? And Why We Should Care.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Paul Craig Roberts, even when he's right he screws it up

Interesting rant by the "father of Reagonomics" Paul Craig Roberts:
Obama is Israel’s puppet

First a sample of Roberts' rant with which I agree:

Obama also found out that he cannot change anything else, either, if he ever intended to do so.

The military/security lobby has war and a domestic police state on its agenda, and a mere American president can’t do anything about it.

The war and insurance lobbies rattled their campaign contribution pocketbooks and quickly convinced Congress and the White House that the real purpose of the health care bill is to save money by cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits, thereby “getting entitlements under control.”

“Entitlements” is a right-wing word used to cast aspersion on the few things that the government did, in the distant past, for citizens. Social Security and Medicare, for example, are denigrated as “entitlements.” The right wing goes on endlessly about Social Security and Medicare as if they were welfare giveaways to shiftless people who refuse to look after themselves, whereas in actual fact citizens are vastly overcharged for the meager benefits with a 15.30% tax on their wages and salaries.

Indeed, for decades now the federal government has been funding its wars and military budgets with the surplus revenues collected by the Social Security tax on labor.

The real entitlements are never mentioned. The “defense” budget is an entitlement for the military/security complex about which President Eisenhower warned us 50 years ago. A person has to be crazy to believe that the United States, “the world’s only superpower,” protected by oceans on its East and West and by Canada and Mexico on its North and South, needs a “defense” budget larger than the military spending of the rest of the world combined.

The military budget is nothing but an entitlement for the military/security complex. To hide this fact, the entitlement is disguised as protection against “enemies” and passed through the Pentagon.

O.K. pretty fair assessment there. Yet Roberts fumbles at the endzone.

The United States no longer commands the respect it enjoyed under President Ronald Reagan or President George Herbert Walker Bush. World polls show that the US and its puppet master are regarded as the two greatest threats to peace. Washington and Israel outrank on the most dangerous list the crazy regime in North Korea.

I may be wrong, but I do believe (and, yes, I know belief with few facts is dangerous) the United States' slide into world infamy had its genesis in the Reagan White House.

Soldiers On Acid: 1963 British VIDEO Shows Troops Under The Influence Of LSD

“Here's how we get out of Afghanistan, a little LSD in the Taliban's morning coffee and...voil­a!...they see jesus and we all go home.”
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Chuck Grassley's 2010 campaign slogan

I’ve lived off the public tit all these years

GRASSLEY: For the first 16 years I made $3,000 every other year as a state legislator. Now do you expect me to live on $3,000 every other year? No I was a factory worker for 10 years and I was a farmer for that period of time and I farm with my son now. So if you’re trying to make a case that I’ve lived off the public tit all these years, I think you’re saying correctly in the years I’ve been in the Congress but not the years before I came to Congress.

Big Brother thy name is Google

What happened when Democrats in Congress cut off funding for the Vietnam War?

What happened when Democrats in Congress cut off funding for the Vietnam War?

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Some Simple Questions After Obama's Afghanistan War Speech

The "kids" in that audience at West Point are there to learn how to be an officer in the US Army. They are not there to learn candy making, needle-point or carpentry. And as we should know by now, paraphrasing Gen. George S. Patton, the "job" of a soldier is not to die for his country but to make sure the other poor s.o.b. dies for his.

Moreover I am certain the vast majority of those West Point cadets are willing to go themselves, so, David, your bleed heart concern is wasted upon the likes of them. From their vantage point it is their job to kill the bad guys over there so you and I can go about our merry way protesting their deployment over here. I know it is a rather simplistic and illogical view point but it is one drilled into their heads nonetheless. Anyway the media, politicians of every stripe and even dedicated anti-war activists universally hale these young stalwarts heroes so why should they lay down arms?

Thanks in large measure to the Vietnam anti-war movement's embrace of the Milton J. Friedman-invented All Volunteer Force in 1973 today's anti-war movement has very little to no stock in the uniformed services. Combat experience in little wars is the surest method for advancement up the ranks for a soldier or Marine. If the nation does not end the AVF experiment these little wars will never end.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Obama's Afghan War Plan: Nine Key Points

War may not be good for children or other living things but it is a godsend for anyone making a career of the military.

War is particularly good for officers. Rank and pay grade during war is on a constant upward arc for those who survive combat. And there is always a cushy managerial position in the civilian world, with full retirement, at the end of a successful career.

Sadly there is no disincentive for the current All Volunteer Force to stop waging little wars. Nor is there any incentive for our politicians, especially those who regularly get re-elected by grandstanding over flag-draped coffins, to end little wars in countries with no strategic importance to the security of the United States.

Those of us opposed to these little wars can protest all we want. It will do no good. Not enough Americans have invested loved ones in these little wars. And anyway the brainwashed professionals of the AVF like to say the reason they are killing people over there is so we have the "freedom" to protest over here. The anti-war activists' plea to "bring the boys, and girls, home safely," is only hear by its own choir, the members of the AVF are stone deaf to it.

The only thing that may end this national madness is a total economic collapse, and I can not foresee that happening any time soon.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jonathan Narcisse, Democrat. Since when?

Ready for a "WTF???" moment?
Des Moines Democrat says “someone” should run against Culver

Yeah, well, that's not too surprising in itself seeing how Chet has alienated the coalition that got him elected. The surprising thing is the "Democrat" doing the "saying."

On Monday, Jonathan Narcisse told The Des Moines Register that Culver has been a “reckless and irresponsible” governor and “any Democrat who loves the state must call on someone to run against Culver.”

Imagine that, Jonathan Narcisse a Democrat. I think Narcisse is a Democrat in the mold of Joe Lieberman. However, Narcisse's open-letter to Doug Vander Plaats is insightful and correct, but a broken clock is right twice a day.

Actually, from the overall tenor of Narcisse's missive to Vander Plaats and he's past record I think it's safe to say he is working for Terry Bransted's election next year.

Why does Karl Rove hate the USA?

Well, George Dubya Bush's favorite turd blossom is still collecting a check. This time from the Wall Street Journal, the tabloid bible of the Investor class.

Today we find Rove cheer leading for the United States' economic collapse as he raises the specter of the "scary" federal budget deficit.

After engineering an unprecedented spending surge for nearly a year, President Barack Obama now wants to signal that he takes deficits seriously. So this week the White House announced that it is considering creating a commission to figure how to fix the budget mess.

Anger over deficits was picked up in a late October NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which asked voters if they'd rather boost "the economy even though it may mean larger budget deficits" or keep the "budget deficit down, even though it may mean it will take longer for the economy to recover." Only 31% chose boosting the economy; 62% wanted to keep the deficit down.

Ominously for Democrats, concerns over spending have recently helped to flip the Gallup generic ballot to now favor Republicans by four points (48% to 44%). Last year, Democrats held a 12-point generic ballot advantage. The change has been driven by independents, who now favor Republicans by 22 points. By comparison, in the run-up to the 1994 congressional elections, Republicans first eclipsed Democrats in March of that year, when they gained a one-point advantage, before falling behind Democrats until the fall.

Mr. Obama's spending choices are dragging congressional Democrats into ugly electoral territory where many are likely to meet a brutal fate next fall.

Now Rove may be right when he pens The change has been driven by independents, who now favor Republicans by 22 points. So-called political "independents" in the United States are a fickle lot who always put person comfort and income before the good of the country. The most extreme of these crybabies are the so-called "teabaggers," the Sarah Palin-skirt sniffers who have had more than their fair share of TV face time.

Now if Karl had been paying any attention at all to balancing federal budgets he might have typed in "balanced budget dangerous for economy" in his Google search bar, he might have stumbled on this Business Week op-ed by Robert Kuttner from 1996:

A balanced budget requirement, especially one locked into the Constitution, would deepen recessions. Federal spending now provides countercyclical elastic to buffer business cycles automatically. In recessions, state and local revenues fall, and the demand for public expenditure rises. Increased federal outlays operate as automatic stabilizers, rising as state income falls. A constitutional amendment mandating budget balance would throw that process into reverse.

In recessions, the federal government, like the states, would have to reduce its own spending to match reduced revenues. Federal fiscal policy would become pro-cyclical instead of countercyclical.

A balanced budget requirement, especially one locked into the Constitution, would deepen recessions. Federal spending now provides countercyclical elastic to buffer business cycles automatically. In recessions, state and local revenues fall, and the demand for public expenditure rises. Increased federal outlays operate as automatic stabilizers, rising as state income falls. A constitutional amendment mandating budget balance would throw that process into reverse.

In recessions, the federal government, like the states, would have to reduce its own spending to match reduced revenues. Federal fiscal policy would become pro-cyclical instead of countercyclical.

Public discourse about the deficit is now out of sync with fiscal reality. With Congress and the White House moving toward balancing the budget via the appropriations process, the great deficit crisis is ending. It was a product of the fiscal imbalance of the '80s and early '90s. That, in turn, was a monument to the failure of supply-side economics. But thanks to the deficit reduction of the Clinton years, the budget is now on a sustainable path. We are nearly back to where government can again use fiscal as well as monetary policy as tools of economic management.

So there you have it. As cogent reason for continuing deficit spending until the current financial and economic crisis has passed.

Yet for a short-term political advantage, Republican control of both houses of the federal Congress, Rove and the entire wing nut universe is willing to risk the total economic collapse of the nation and the economic ruin of the very class of Americans who subscribe to this simplistic economic point of view.

A Special Message to Joe Lieberman from His Roommate at Yale

A Special Message to Joe Lieberman from His Roommate at Yale

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Obama To Copenhagen For Climate Talks (BREAKING)

This wouldn't be news if the American people had re-elected Jimmy Carter in 1980.

By this time, if Carter had won a second term, at least 20 or more percent of our electricity would be wind generated. Yet today a paltry 1 .3 % of our electricity is wind generated.

So who do we blame for this development?

If you are a Boomer or a GenXer look in the mirror. It was us who wanted the SUVs and the "shining city on the hill" and to continue living on The Big Rock Candy Mountain we had grown up on.

Our Fifties and Sixties lifestyle was paid for by WWII-era tax rates on the rich and industry, but since we Boomers and GenXers were just kids we had no idea where all the money for our great public schools, public swimming pools, Interstate highways and rockets to the Moon came from. It was all there, always and seemingly free.

So we voted for Ronald Reagan and lower taxes, from which the middle class benefited little, and began the long, slow decline into the Third World.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Brainsdead 2

Monday, November 23, 2009

US Debt A 'Phantom Menace,' Krugman Argues

The hyperventilating over the budget "deficit," is a calculated strategy by forces on Wall Street, certain wealthy right wing upper one percent families and individuals (Rupert Murdoch, Richard Mellon Scaife, Charles G. Koch among others) and their dupes to push the United States into the final stages of what I call "free market" feudalism; i.e. an economic state in which the only legitimate function left for government is the police, the courts and the military, all other services now provided by government will be in the hands of "private" industry or nonexistent.

Krugman is right, the only solution to pull the US out of the current economic doldrum is a large dose of deficit spending. But since the Nineteen Eighties Republicans for the most part and so-called "deficit hawk" Democrats have increasingly tied any administration's hands from providing that remedy with so-called "balanced budget" legislation. The states are in worse financial shape as GOP dominated legislatures have pushed through "balanced budget" amendments.

One of the surest-fire methods to restore health and prosperity to the economy, besides a complete overhaul of the federal tax code, current skewed for the benefit of the wealthiest upper one per cent of the trust fund baby crowd, is a federal jobs program modeled after FDR's Civilian conservation Corps and the Works Projects Administration. It is far better, as John Maynard Kayne's said, for "The government should pay people to dig holes in the ground and then fill them up."
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

How to Get Out of Afghanistan

How to Get Out of Afghanistan

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Sunday, November 22, 2009


Well here he is, folks, the Iowa Republican Party's great white hope for recapturing Terrace Hill, Terry Branstad.

Here's what the Web site Iowa Knows has on Terry's record as governor:

■Branstad raised the sales tax – twice! In his first year in office, Branstad raised the sales tax by 25%.[1] It would not be the last time. He went back to the tax well over and over, increasing the sales tax 67%[2] as Governor.

■Branstad raised the gas tax on Iowa drivers. Branstad wasn't afraid to add to the pain at the pump for Iowans. During his tenure, he raised the gasoline tax by a total of five cents per gallon.[3]

■Terry Branstad even proposed a state income tax on Social Security recipients.[4]

■Branstad kept two sets of books. Branstad was hammered in the press and public for keeping two sets of books for the state[5] and running up a deficit of more than $400 million.[6] These days, voters will not tolerate this type of "creative accounting."

■Branstad's employees had to sue him to get what they had earned. When, during his tenure, Iowa’s budget was in deficit, Branstad decided to balance the budget on the backs of hardworking state employees. They were denied pay they had earned, sued Governor Branstad - and won.[7] Getting Branstad to do right by employees was never an easy task.

■Branstad used to think bonding was fine. Branstad now criticizes the Culver/Judge Administration for stimulating Iowa's economy through the I-JOBS bonding package. Branstad fails to tell Iowans he used the bonding practice for state projects.[8] Throughout his tenure, Branstad embraced bonding, a practice he now conveniently condemns.

Of course Terry's the Iowa Republican establishment's boy. And like all Republicans he's an accomplished liar, see above, but this year Terry will definitely have primary challengers in the form of weaselly-little-asshole Chris Rants, Bible-thumping businessman Bob Vander Plaats, both of Sioux City, and three non-entities. The Sarah Palin-skirt sniffers' money is on two-time gubernatorial primary loser and Mike Huckabee-fluffer Vander Plaats.

Current Democratic Governor Chet Cluver ain't the most popular guy but compared with the pack of lunatics wanting his job...Well, from where I sit he just may win re-election.

Frank Rich: Sarah Palin, The Pit Bull In The China Shop

Congratulations to Frank Rich for being the one US journalist to have the temerity to wade though Sarah Palin's so-called "book."

While we may ridicule Ms Palin for her vacuous celebrity worship, petty family infighting, childish religiosity and willfull ignorance the fact of the matter is that she represents a segment of American society whose values she is but a mere reflection. In a sane society this deluded minority would be treated as a crank fringe dangerous only to themselves.

However, we do not live in a sane society. Here the mainstream media, at the behest of their corporate overlords, present this sliver of Americans who sniff the hem of Sarah Palin's skirt as being at the forefront of political thought. These whiny, petty cases of arrested development, who want all the benefits and comforts of a modern industrial society but without paying for it, are cast in the role "authentic" Americans, thereby making the rest of us somehow foreign, strange, out of touch with these "real" Americans.

As Rich observes, "It’s a politics of victimization and sloganeering with no policy solutions required beyond the conservative mantra of No Taxes." The sad irony is that the more taxes are cut for the benefit of Wall Street and Inside the DC Beltway elites, the more Sarah Palin's skirt sniffers suffer. And they just never get it.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, November 06, 2009

Why The U.S. Should Accept Defeat And Start Withdrawing From Afghanistan

Look, the other day after Abdullah Abdullah withdrew from the run-off election slated for this Saturday Secreatry of State Clinton and then the administration declared Hamid Karzi the legitimate winner of the Afghan presidential election. This struck me as analogous to a presidential election in the recent US past, 2000 Bush v. Gore. Karzi's legitimacy rests on a decision of US officials.

This being the case perhaps the Obama administration should declare victory, as Karzi was "officially" elected by the Afghan "people," and get the heck out of Kabul.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

On Political Independents

My longtime working definition of an American political "independent" is a Republican who is too lazy to volunteer to campaign for their favorite GOP candidate and too cheap to donate to their favorite GOP candidate.

Over the years I've added the addendum that, by and large, these same so-called "independents" are suburban, white and professional, or coordinator, middle class, i.e. mid-level corporate managers, doctors, lawyers, small business owners, insurance agents and so on. In short the base of the Glenn Beck "teabagger" movement.

They are motivated by greed. Even though the majority are comfortable economically and have incomes which puts them in the alternative minimum tax, AMT, bracket, they always want more. These are the folks who are always whining at the "tea parties," that "we know how to spend our money better than the government."

And they are motivated by envy. Curiously they envy and begrudge the poorest segments of society. Envious in that "independents" envision the poor living the life of Reilly on food stamps and welfare and begrudging ever one of their tax dollars they imagine going to support that imagined lifestyle.

What American "independents" secretly and really want is to live on The Big Rock Candy Mountain, paying no tax yet still receiving all the services and benefits only government can provide.

To that I add that the reason why establishment Democratic politicians and liberal commentators are blind to the economic class element of Glenn Beck-Ayn Rand acolytes is because they are of the same socio-economic class: white, suburban, professional or coordinator class with a commensurate income and social status. And while not as odious as their fellow Beck-Randites, having a social conscience, they do everything to preserve their social status and income, i.e. tax incentives, deductions, credits etc. Establishment Democrats/liberals too want to continue living on The Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weimar America

"Our democracy is under attack. Men in high public office and with control over our national airwaves are deliberately stoking a potentially violent movement opposed to our democratic process. They challenge the legitimacy of the last election, they label our elected leaders with the worst political curse words they can think of, they encourage the purchase of weapons at local gun shops and talk of secession in the capitals.

"You don’t have to be a Holocaust-obsessed Jewish academic to see what is going on. Or to remember that German mainstream conservatives were so opposed to the liberal reforms pushed by the democratic system Weimar system that they thought they could harness a violent radical and hateful movement to win political advantage. They were stupid. But we would be stupider the second time around."
Steve Hochstadt
Weimar America

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Creigh Deeds Making Virginia Dems Wish They'd Picked Terry McAuliffe

Several things in this news story illustrate the sorry state of American politics and the electorate.

First: "[Terry] McAuliffe came into the race with a huge financial network that he built on the part of the Clintons; and in the unlikely event that his network had not come through for him, he had enough of a private fortune that he would have been able to help himself."

In other words, in the world of US politics the race does not go to the best and brightest, it goes to the one with the deepest pockets. One the the reasons for the growing cynicism on the part of the average voter is the perception that state and national political campaigns are merely the domain of competing members of the same socio-economic class, i.e. the suburban coordinator class, to the exclusion of everyone else.

Second: "Perhaps the single most politically devastating moment for Mr. Deeds was when he gave a halting and fumbling answer...about whether he would raise taxes to pay for repairing the state’s transportation system. Republicans have used clips from it to produce two of the most devastating advertisements of the campaign, raising questions at once about his views on taxes..."

The sorriest fact of the matter is that the vast majority of Americans want to live on The Big Rock Candy Mountain. We want everything government provides without paying for it. Therefore as voters we truly get what we pay for.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Does anyone on the Left seriously believe that a President John McCain or a President Hillary Clinton would have promoted peace as much as Obama has?

"And when it comes to a country as powerful as the United States, gradations matter; they can be the difference between untold numbers of people living or dying, as Election 2000 should have made clear, when some on the Left said there was "not a dime's worth of difference" between Bush and Al Gore. "
Robert Parry

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Ayn Rand Redux

Ayn Rand Redux

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Middle class squeeze: The deep roots of an economic and social transformation -- DailyFinance

Middle class squeeze: The deep roots of an economic and social transformation -- DailyFinance

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Second Great Depression Still Possible: <I>The Financial Times</i>

Yes, it will get worse before it gets better. In fact the coming economic collapse, because the economy has not truly collapsed as yet, will make the "recession" of last year look like a child's tea party.

As for the public sector contraction, it is happening in my state. Our less-than-popular Democratic governor has instituted a ten per cent across the board cut to all state departments because of a short fall in tax revenue collection. Lay-offs will likely fall heaviest on unionized state workers, who do not lover our Democratic governor in the first place, putting added strain on the already overtaxed unemployment insurance fund.

Our governor's potential Republican opponents, however, offer the typical GOP response to economic crisis: cut public spending even more, especially to social services such as child care, job training, drug counseling and so on. The irony lost on the typical Republican politician is, many in the GOP base, rural whites, rely on Depart of Human Services programs.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The “Tea Party” Movement and Its Misuse of History

The “Tea Party” Movement and Its Misuse of History

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

McCain must not know about the Internet

Either Arizona Senator John McCain hasn't learned about the existence of the Internet yet or he thinks, and perhaps rightly so, Americans have the memory span of a gnat. Or, to be generous, perhaps the good Senator is exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer's' disease for there must be a reason for this:
McCain: big troop buildup needed in Afghanistan
By CHARLES BABINGTON (AP) – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain says President Barack Obama will make a huge error if he does not substantially increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan

McCain said he did not think the United States can win in Afghanistan unless Obama sends at least 40,000 more troops to augment the 68,000 now there. He agreed with those who see 40,000 new troops as the desire of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, although McChrystal gave Obama a range of options.
October 11, 2009

Here's why Senator McCain's position on sending more troops to Afghanistan is rather puzzling: back in the Nineties the Arizona senator as something akin to a pacifist.

You see back during Bill Clinton's presidency after the Blackhawk down incident in Mogadishu, Somalia, the ex-Naval aviator and POW said things like, "The longer we stay the more difficult it will be to leave. The loss of American lives is not only tragic, it is needless." and "Now is the time for us to get out of Somalia, as rapidly, and as promptly, and as safely as possible."

A few months later, when Clinton sent troops to Haiti peace-dove McCain was for getting them right back out.

Then when Clinton decided it was time that US forces intervene in Bosnia, hippie-boy Johnny said something like this , "I think you can draw a parallel to the military challenge in Bosnia with what the Russians faced in Afghanistan. Even with ground forces and with overwhelming air superiority, they were unable to defeat a motivated, very capable enemy."

So what could cause this most pacifistic of US Senators from the Nineties into a saber-rattling war monger he is today? Politics. The nature of today's Republican Party is to be contrarian on anything and everything which any Democratic politician proposes. It's just all a shadow-puppet show for the masses anyway. The real power is on Wall Street so who cares what an aging senator sliding into senility says or how many kids in the All Volunteer Force get ground up into so much hamburger.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Newt Pornographer Strikes Back: Gingrich Named Porn Fan of the Year by Scorned Dinner Date

The Newt Pornographer Strikes Back: Gingrich Named Porn Fan of the Year by Scorned Dinner Date

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Where are the "moderate" Republicans?

Today the burning question on the lips of all the talking heads--he wrote as he listened to David Byrne--is, "Where are the moderate Republicans?"

Indeed where are the "moderate," I guess meaning those expressing a willingness to compromise, Republicans?

Simple answer, the Democratic Party.

It should come as no surprise to pundits, commentators and the other various and assorted wise guys and gals of the mainstream media that from about 1980 until now the Reagan-Norquist-Limbaugh wing of the Republican Party has, with the exception of say an Olympia Snow, driven any semblance of moderation from the party of Lincoln. And actually this migration began long before the ascendancy of the great deity, Ronald Reagan.

In a word the migration of the moderate wing of the Republican Party began, truly began, the night of December 1, 1969 when the first Nixonian draft lottery was drawn. I was 1-A at the time and living in the Hillcrest dorm on the campus of the University of Iowa. And oh, the moaning and groaning I heard in the TV room. Of course the college campuses blew up afterward when it was disclosed US forces had widened the war by invading Cambodian, then the shooting of four demonstrators at Kent State University in Ohio. But I digress.

The effect of Vietnam was that many young men and women from Republican voting households switched allegiance to the Democratic Party, at least the peace wing. Our current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is a good example of that kind of individual.

So to answer the musical question, where are the moderate Republicans? There ain't any. Mayo Clinic Warns of Swine Flu Pandemic Mayo Clinic Warns of Swine Flu Pandemic

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Congratulations President Obama on the Nobel Peace Prize -- Now Please Earn it!

Cornell West said as much on "New Rules with Bill Maher," last night.

It is incumbent upon us, the people who elected President Obama, to keep him on the course we want, not one set by the corporations or by the Pentagon or by political action committees.

We do not elect dictators. We elect chief executives who are to carry out the will of the people. And the best way under our Constitution the will of the people can be carried out is by electing Representatives and Senators who understand what the will of the people is, and 2010 represents an opportunity expand progressive representation.

And we must keep pressure on President Obama through our letters, phone calls and emails. We can not let up on this guy for a minute. When he screws up, tell him.

And we must set aside our American need for instant gratification. We mandate the president and Congress to undo thirty to forty years of pro-corporate corruption and that will take time because we do not elect dictators.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Analogies for War: Vietnam and Afghanistan

Analogies for War: Vietnam and Afghanistan

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To rat fuck the Iowa GOP or not?

Look, incumbent Governor Chet Culver hasn't been all that good of Democrat. In fact I more or less predicted as much, a Culver governorship wouldn't be much different than that of his conservative '06 Republican rival Jim Nussel. Christ I hate being right.

But the thing is Iowans seem to like bland, go-along-to-get-along politicians in Terrace Hill and Chet kind of fits the amiable bumbler mold. But Chet stabbed one of his natural constituencies, organized labor, in the back with his veto of the "Fair Share" bill.

So with Chet's future looking cloudy goes this bit of sunshine for Iowa's Republicans.
Former Gov. Terry Branstad's formation Wednesday of a committee to explore running for governor exposed tension among Iowa Republicans over who would be the best candidate to take on Democrat incumbent Chet Culver as a steward of the budget.

By forming a campaign organization with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, Branstad took a step toward launching a comeback campaign, a move expected to whittle the field, although none of the six contenders already campaigning for the nomination quit the race Wednesday.

In 1992, Branstad admitted making mistakes in handling the state's budget, and later that year signed his administration's second sales tax increase to help close a $400 million gap.
The Des Moines, Thomas Beaumont, October 8, 2009

In today's political climate, however, to red meat Republicans, i.e. wing nuts, Branstad is little more than a Democrat under false pretenses.

So the question is: Should Democrats re-register as Republicans during the primary and vote for squirrel-bait bastard Chris Rants or let the Republicans bloody themselves?

I know, I know a lot of folks on the ideologically pure left don't buy the less-of-two-evils theory but, dope though he is, Chet is preferable to Terry and the GOP pirates.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Michelle Bachmann Saturday Nite

Yep, Minnesota US Representative Michelle Bachmann like to keep it clean.

Too bad her politics are so dirty.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Glenn Beck Wet Dream No. 1

Here ya go, boys and girls, a peek at what could be the GOP's dream ticket for 2012!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Are we really that stupid?

Are we Americans really that stupid?

Of course this is a rhetorical question and of course the answer is yes. And here is why this morning:

Iowa Poll: 47% oppose health care reform effort
By TONY LEYS • • September 25, 2009

When asked how they feel about the overall health reform plans, 47 percent of Iowans say they're opposed, and 43 percent say they're in favor.

However, most Iowans say they like specific reform ideas, such as health care co-ops, a national insurance exchange, a requirement that employers offer policies, and a requirement that U.S. residents have coverage. Even one of the most controversial proposals, to create government-run "public-option" insurance plans, draws support from a slight majority. Iowans oppose only one of the six specific options noted by the poll - the idea of cutting payments to doctors and hospitals.

A national expert said the Iowa Poll's findings are consistent with those of many national polls. "When you talk about specific options, people tend to think they're pretty good ideas," said Mollyann Brodie, who oversees polling for the Kaiser Family Foundation. However, she said, many Americans worry that bills being debated in Congress will wind up costing too much and harming their families' medical care and health insurance.

Poll participants who expressed negative attitudes about the debate in Washington, D.C., were asked to rank reasons for their feelings. Their top-ranked reason was the sense that "members of Congress are not being truthful about what is and is not being considered." Next came feelings that the proposals would be too expensive and that the plan "sounds like socialism."
Oh, jesus christ, "sounds like socialism." Do the morons who say things like that even know what socialism is? Again this is a rhetorical question this time, however, the answer is no.

As an example of how stupid those contacted by the Iowa Poll are, from the same news story:
Poll participant Carol Cox of Clinton agrees with all of those statements.

"I think the cost is going to be so much more than they say it's going to be, and it feels like we're getting closer and closer to socialism," Cox, a Republican, said in a follow-up interview.

Cox, 61, said she's always had good insurance through her husband's work as a school administrator, but her volunteer service brings her in contact with people who have no insurance. She wants private-market reforms that will help cover such people, but she doesn't think the government needs to expand public programs to achieve that goal.

Cox plans to sign up for Medicare when she's 65. She thinks Medicare generally is a good program, but she worries that it will be hurt by politicians' efforts to add other public insurance plans. "I'm afraid they'll rob Peter to pay Paul," she said.
[Barbara Larson, 66, of Knoxville] said she and her husband have been happy with their health insurance, which for years was through Blue Cross and now is through Medicare. She noted other polls showing most other Americans feel the same way. Some Americans are uninsured, and the country should help them, she said. "But when 80 percent are happy, why do we have to revamp the whole insurance system to cover a small percentage?"
Here we see the magnanimity, the humanity of the oldest of the aging Boomers. They got theirs so fuck everybody else.

And the stupidest "argument" against a public option and mandated insurance I have heard in this "debate" from Republicans and Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh is that young, healthy people think they don't need health care insurance. Anyway, society will take care of them if they have a traumatic accident or a serious illness, right?

Well, way don't we take this "libertarian" argument against a socialist medical system and extent it to its "logical" conclusion and tell these young, healthy anti-mandated health care insurance kids: "If you get your leg cut off and you don't have medical insurance, society has no obligation to treat you. Bleed to death. If you're 25-years-old, get cancer and don't have insurance, society has no obligation to cure you."

Yes sir, Jimmy Carter was so right when he said America deserves government as good as its people.

Shouting Conservatives and Whining Liberals

Shouting Conservatives and Whining Liberals

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Afghanistan is not Vietnam

Let us be very clear: Afghanistan is not Vietnam.

Aside from the obvious geographical and climatic and ethnic differences our Afghan foe, the Taliban, does not enjoy of support and aid of powerful and nuclear armed allies as did North Vietnam in the Soviet Union and China. This is assuming, of course, that the government of our ally Pakistan, Afghanistan's next door neighbor to the east, does not fall the influence of religious fundamentalists, then Katy bar the door.

And, in light of Afghan theater NATO commander US Army General Stanley McChrystal's call for more "boots on the ground" or all is lost, we must keep in mind that most generals have what I call "McClellan's disease." For like the U.S. Civil War's most magnificently incompetent field commander, George B. McClellan, regardless the true size of the enemy arraigned before them our generals will always say they never have enough troops to complete the "job."

Yet to my way of thinking, the biggest difference between the current Afghan conflict and the Vietnam war is in the composition of the US army and Marine Corps this is, after all, an all volunteer force.

In an Associated Press news story on the ninth anniversary of the al Qaida attacks on the United States, reporter Heidi Vogt writes:
Many of the troops now fighting here were high school students at the time. Some saw the attacks on TV during class, and vowed to sign up when they were old enough.

Army Sgt. Joshua Applegate of Springfield, Mississippi, was in high school when the planes hit the towers, and enlisted two years later, though he said he had wanted to do it right away.

"I like my country too much not to," said Applegate, who arrived in Afghanistan in April

Many troops called Friday's anniversary a galvanizing event, and said marking the day reminds them that the U.S. mission here is important.

"It's still one of the reasons why we're here. Sept. 11 is part of it. For those of us who see the repercussions of fighting, it's still there every day," said Air Force Capt. Christopher Dupuis, 26, of Lacey, Washington.

"I feel that a lot of people have forgotten. I would have them replay the video from that day," said Air Force Technical Sgt. Shawn Merchant, 33, of Ellsworth, Maine.

"It became what Pearl Harbor was in World War II: Now we step up," Merchant said.

I am afraid that even though we here safe and secure in the United States desire a speedy withdrawal of US forces from a seemingly unwinnable situation in Afghanistan, there may be little support for a stateside peace initiative among the troops over there. Unlike the conscripted army and to a lesser extent Marine Corps in Vietnam, this is an all volunteer force. And while war may not be healthy for children and other living things is it positively wonderful for the career militarist. As a Vietnam era Marine Corps vet friend of mine relates, "My sergeant said, 'Boys when this war's over you better tattoo those strips on your shoulder. That rating's not going anywhere until Washington gets us into another one.'"

For the career militarist combat is the quickest route to promotion and in the AVF promotion means more than advancement in rank and medals. Not asking questions and following orders is the surest path of advancement in the AVF. As the late Col. David Hackworth observed:"Volunteers tend to go with the flow and seldom blow the whistle on military stupidity, flawed tactics and self-serving leadership. And draftees don't hesitate to make waves and tell the truth."

Quite frankly, the conduct of whatever one chooses to call the situation in Afghanistan it is clearly out of the control of the civilian leadership in the United States. The Democratic Congress at this time may say it opposes more troops for the Afghan theater and the president may demure but General McChrystal will in the end prove persuasive. Meekly, and under cover of darkness, the general's request for more troops will be approved.

The Frankenstein's monster which the late neoclassical economist and "free market-Jesus" Milton J. Freidman created at the behest of the crafty Richard M. Nixon, who out manoeuvred and manipulated the effete suburban, coordinator class anti-Vietnam war activists at every turn, is clearly in the driver's seat in Afghanistan. And we, the American people, had better "click it, or ticket it!" for we are along for a very bumpy ride.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pres. Obama's removal of missiles from Poland is a good thing, too bad we won't hear about it on TV

Ever since President Obama announced a cancellation of a stupid anti-missile missile system that numb-nuts Bush wanted sited in Poland with the radar unit in the Czech Republic back on September 17, our right wing media has been having a field day saying it shows the guy's a push over and scared of Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Morons of both the mainstream media and the Republican Party are peddling the bullshit that "we're abandoning our "allies", Poland and the Czech Republic. Seems these badasses are afraid Iran, a goofball country surrounded by Islamic enemies with nukes to the east (Pakistan) and nuclear armed Jewish enemies to the west (Israel), will want to nuke Poland just to fuck with somebody their own size.

Well, here's what the Polish people think:
WARSAW (Reuters) - Almost half Poland's population supports a U.S. decision to scrap a planned anti-missile system partly based on their soil, a survey published on Saturday showed.

The survey published in the daily Rzeczpospolita by polling firm GFK showed 48 percent of Poles believed the decision was good for Poland, while 31 percent had the opposite view.

Political analysts say the economy is a far bigger priority than missile defense for Polish and Czech voters.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's center-right, pro-EU government never embraced missile defense as keenly as its more conservative predecessor led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski which it ousted in 2007.

Make you wonder why these brave American assholes didn't consult the people of Poland, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Remember, folks...

I don't want to hear a peep...a whimper...a squawk...or a squeak out of any of you when the Taliban march into downtown Kabul, round-up a bunch of women and begin murdering them for the television cameras in the soccer stadium for imagined offenses to the Qur'an, a book no one can read much less understand. Once again an Abrahamic religion rears its ugly head.

I don't want to hear or read one word about how terrible the Taliban is because these turbaned punks, many of whom are the sons of our old mujahideen buddies from twenty years ago, stop little Afghan girls from going to school.

And I especially don't what to hear one word of surprise or shock or indignation when our fighting soldiers and Marines march off those airliners and up to the TV cameras and tell the world, they could have finished the "job" (that "job" being to kill as many Afghans as humanly possible) if the politicians and "liberals" hadn't stabbed them in the back!

Believe me, we will hear interviews echoing those sentiments from returning G.I.s and Marines once some one pulls the plug on this thing in Afghanistan. Why? Because this is an All Volunteer Force, the bastard child of anti-Vietnam war activists and Richard Nixon, midwifed by free market Jesus, Milton J. Friedman. Our men and women in uniform are there because they want to be there. never mind if it is because of economic necessity, just don't take my son to be a soldier. Take the neighbor's boy.

Another reason many returning vets will be ungrateful because President Obama or the Congress or whomever pulled their sorry asses out of Afghan quagmire is because they were doing "God's" work killing and/or converting heathen Muslims. Remember this article from April 21, 2007 Birth of the Christian Soldier: How Evangelicals Infiltrated the American Military, by Michael L. Weinstein and David Seay, Thomas Dunne Books? Or how about this news story from Agence France Presse from February 13, 2008 US military accused of harboring fundamentalism. Or This one from Democracy Now! from May of this year: “The Crusade for a Christian Military”: Are US Forces Trying to Convert Afghans to Christianity?

Won't that be just great. A bunch of pissed off ex-Marine, ex-paratrooper snake-handlers and holy rollers ready, willing and able to convert the country to their twisted "Taliban" version of Christianity by force if necessary. Quite frankly, I think I'd rather we funnel off these armed and dangerous Jesus-loving pinheads off to fight and die, especially die, in a pointless war in a foreign land than hand them jobs in our civilian police departments.

Whatever the out-come in Afghanistan, it will not be pretty. But a percipitious withdrawal, say within 90 days, will have even uglier repercussions domestically.

Please think about it. You have been warned.
posted at

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chalmers Johnson: Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire

Chalmers Johnson: Three Good Reasons To Liquidate Our Empire

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Top Ten Ways To Tell Your President

Top Ten Ways To Tell Your President & His Party Aren't Fighting For Health Care For Everybody

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"America the Great ... Police State"--Gore Vidal

For those of us who had hoped that the Obama administration would present us with a rebirth of the old republic that was so rudely erased a few years ago by that team of judicial wreckers, Bush and Gonzales, which led, in turn, to a recent incident in Cambridge, Mass. that inspired a degree of alarm in many Americans. But what was most alarming was the plain fact that neither the president nor a “stupid” local policeman seemed to understand the rules of behavior in a new America, where we find ourselves marooned as well as guarded (is that the verb?) by armed police who have been instructed that they are indeed, once armed, the law and may not be criticized verbally or in any other way and are certainly not subject to any restrictions as to whom they arrest or otherwise torment.

This is rather worse than anyone might have predicted, even though the signs have been clear for some years that ours is now a proto-fascist nation and there appears to be no turning back; nor, indeed, much awareness on the part of our ever-alert media. Forgive me if you find my irony heavy, but I too get tired of carrying it about in “the greatest nation in the country,” as Spiro Agnew liked to say.

But the true meaning of the mess in Cambridge has been carefully avoided by a media incapable of getting the point to anything if they can excitingly change the subject to something else. So here we now have a cast of characters that includes the president himself, a distinguished scholar and a feckless young policeman who on the radio said, when asked why he had behaved so rudely to the “old” scholar, he said because the old guy had been rude about his mother. I haven’t heard this excuse since the playground of St. Alban’s in 1935.

What the police in their ignorance have not figured out is that they have lost all credibility since World War II. They are sort of parasites on the fringe of society and do no particular good for anyone except possibly themselves. Certainly to hear them complain—you’ve never heard such whines as from a policeman who feels he’s been wronged! Apparently, all Earth owes him a living, and he’s the bravest man on any block.

You can read the essay in its entirety at

The Joint Public-Option Single-Payer United Front |

The Joint Public-Option Single-Payer United Front |

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

email to Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Dear Dr. Gates,

I do not blame you for being outraged by your arrest. From the news stories I read Sergeant James Crowley's reaction was out of proportion to the situation.

But do I think his actions reflect any racism on his part. Well...technically no. And I will get to that below.

If there was any overt racial profiling involved in your recent arrest it was on the part of the neighbor who called the Cambridge Police Department when she saw, "...two black males with backpacks on the porch," with one "wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry." (Melissa Trujillo, AP) Your neighbor owes you and apology...and then some.

However, what Sgt. Crowley arrested you for was "contempt of cop." Now as my cursory research shows me, African American men are arrested for "contempt of cop" at higher rates than whites, but I was almost arrested for contempt of cop myself last winter! This happened after I had spent two hours of struggling with a software problem on my computer, I decided to take a long walk.

During my walk the credit union where I do my "banking" was robbed by a white, male wearing sunglasses, a baseball cap and hooded jacket. Guess what I was wearing.

Anyway, as I was making the last leg of my walk home I noticed a larger number of police and Sheriff's cars than usual in my neighborhood. I had just crossed the intersection of a major street when the "Neighborhood Patrol" officer of the Des Moines PD pulled his SUV over to the side of the street where I was walking and haled me:"Where are you going?"

"Home!," I truthfully answered.

"You know a bank's just been robbed?"

"How would I know that, I was out on a walk!"

"You fit the robber's description," because, he said I had a narrow face, white hair and was wearing a hooded jacket, ball cap and sunglasses.

This particular bank robber had been caught on camera at an earlier robbery where it was established the man was well over 6 foot tall. I'm 5'6". And I told the officer so. He replied,"You know eye witnesses are unreliable."

Long story short, this went on for five minutes or so, during that time a local business waddled up and offered his two-cents worth that I did, indeed, match the description of the robber. During this time the office threatened me with arrest more than once. Noting that I was "feisty."

What saved me from arrest was that the cop radioed in a description of me and what I was wearing. Fortunately, besides being several inches shorter, my hooded jacket and cap were not the same colors as the robber's clothing. So I was allowed to go my merry way home. Undoubtedly had I been African American, different color clothing or not, I probably would have been cuffed and taken for a ride downtown. Needless to say, I was pissed and wanted to call in a complaint to the police and my city council man. But upon reflection that would have been futile. However, I have heard the words "arrogant" and "asshole," used by neighborhood businessmen with whom I trade, describing our "Neighborhood Patrol" officer.

I think your arrest goes beyond merely being an issue of white cop-black civilian man. I feel there is a systemic problem with our civilian polices forces throughout the nation. In the recent past two small town Iowa police officers, actually one was the chief, were tried, convicted and sentenced for rape. This has become especially acute since the founding of the Milton J. Friedman All Volunteer Force in 1973, since most police departments recruit officers directly out of the military. I have no remedy for the situation but as long as police officers, especially white police officers, feel that they are somehow apart and above those whom they are sworn to "protect and service" then arrests such as your's will continue.

I'm glad all charges, spurious as they were, were dropped.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., asshole cops and Al Sharpton

Geezus, read this:
BOSTON — Supporters of a prominent Harvard University black scholar who was arrested at his own home by police responding to a report of a break-in say he is the victim of racial profiling.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. had forced his way through the front door of his home because it was jammed, his lawyer said Monday.

Cambridge police say they responded to the well-maintained two-story home near campus after a woman reported seeing "two black males with backpacks on the porch," with one "wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry."

The woman, Lucia Whalen, is the circulation and fundraising manager at Harvard Magazine, a news and alumni magazine affiliated with the school. The magazine's offices are down the street from Gates' home.

Here we have a case of racial profiling, but not by the police. The racial profiler in this instance was the woman who called police after seeing two black men with backpacks...yaddy-yaddy-yaddah, Lucia Whalen. Ms Whalen is white. Liberal hypocrisy rears its ugly head in what the local wing nut wags refer to as "The People's Republic of Cambridge." The bitch owes Mr. Gates a very large apology...and then some.

But what about the cop, Sargeant James Crowley of the Cambridge, MA police? Is he guilty of racial profiling?

Technically, I don't think so.

But what I do think Sgt. James Crowley is guilty of is being an asshole cop. And by asshole cop, the vast majority, I mean a guy, usually, who just because he wears a black uniform, carries a sidearm, mace, maybe a taser and whatnot thinks he's king of the world. You, guilty or not, are his serf in that instant and will obey all his commands whether they seem reasonable or not from your perceptive.

Now real criminals don't have any trouble understanding this relationship. But we law abiding citizens do. According to The New York Times:
According to his lawyer, Professor Gates told the sergeant that he lived there and showed his Massachusetts driver’s license and his Harvard identification card, but Sergeant Crowley still did not seem to believe that Professor Gates lived in the home, a few blocks from Harvard Square. At that point, his lawyer said, Professor Gates grew frustrated and asked for the officer’s name and badge number.

Professor Gates followed him outside, the report said, and yelled at him despite the sergeant’s warning “that he was becoming disorderly.” Sergeant Crowley then arrested and handcuffed him. Professor Gates was held at police headquarters for hours before being released on his recognizance.

Now here's where I say, "What the fuck! Did you really have to arrest the guy, Sgt. Crowley?"

No, Crowley didn't.

In fact: (CNN) -- A prosecutor is dropping a charge against prominent Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. after Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the city's police department recommended that the matter not be pursued.

So cooler heads prevailed but not after the Cambridge, MA police department made itself look like a bunch of Southern nedneck sheriffs and until Al Shapton:
called Gates' arrest "an outrage of no small implication."

"I have heard of driving while black and even shopping while black, but now even going to your own home while black is a new low in police community affairs," said Sharpton, who is vowing to attend Gates' Aug. 26 arraignment.
Al Shapton is the last guy Professor Gates needs in his corner. Whenever this fried, dyed and laid to the side clown make the scene, the right wing bloviators lick their chops in hopes he'll say something they can work into their "pity the poor, privileged white guy" meme. So thankfully, no arraignment, no soapbox for Al Sharpton to pontificate on. And no "white" backlash.

I don't blame Professor Gates for being pissed. After all the guy gets home from a trip to China, he's probably tired after a long flight, which I know makes me cranky, and he can't get into his house. The next thing he knows some asshole of a cop is on his porch hassling him.

I'd be pissed too and I'd probably react just like Professor Gates.

And from a guy like Professor Gates' prospective, an African American scholar whose major works deal with racism in America, he will naturally react to perceived racism.

I see nothing but an asshole cop.

If this country had fewer asshole cops there would be fewer incidents like Professor Gates'.

Monday, July 20, 2009

More "poor" Paula....bleech

Here's an update to yesterday's post concerning the American Idol "judge" Paula Abdul and her whining campaign for a bigger slice of the American Idol-pie.

That paragon of American journalistic excellence, People magazine is polling its online readers on the question: Should Paula Abdul come back as a judge on American Idol?

Here's a sample of the comments

  • Silkrose July 20th, 2009

    Yes, she should be back. I would miss her.

  • barbara July 20th, 2009

    i love Paula. Yeah….. whatever she & the CEO’s decide. I, for one, would LOVE HER TO COME BACK. but it’s out of my hands ~~~ GO PAULA….”"” YOU “”" ARE THE FASHION DIVA~~~~~~~~~~

  • nichol July 20th, 2009

    If Paula goes, im not watching and im asking my friends to do the same.. They brought Kara in hoping we’d get use to her and it would be ok to dump Paula but i dont think so..

  • Michelle July 20th, 2009


  • SA July 20th, 2009

    Paula is AMAAAAZING… our generation just sucks so we don’t appreciate such artists from the past. She should be back!
  • I could go on but what's the point. You'll notice the major of posters seem to be female and young.

    And scattered throughout the comments are some very pointed remarks, almost to the point of hatred, on new "Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi, a woman whom I, and I suppose anyone, knew anything about until her addition to the "Idol" judging staff. Though Ms. DioGuardi does have at least one fan

    Danielle July 20th, 2009

    I think Kara is a good judge. She actually makes sense, unlike Paula. I think Paula should have been gone a while ago and the addition of Kara was a smart one. Honestly I have to fast forward on my DVR every time Paula talks because I literally cannot watch her. She makes me cringe. I find that she says the same things over and over again and I also think she takes whatever Kara says and paraphrases in her own jumbled words. It’s time for Paula to move on so this show can continue to thrive.
    And one "Idol" fan does get the equation right

    Valerie July 20th, 2009

    First, this is just a ploy by Abdul to get more money and more press…

    Secondly, if they are going to have a singer as a judge, they should at least be able to sing. Abdul couldn’t sing her way out of a paper bag unless it was over-engineered with too much reverb and dubbing, etc.

    Get someone in there who knows what they are talking about and has something constructive to say.
    Yes, this is all bullshit publicity engineered to boost the ratings of Fox television's flagship program. A leaking flagship that is set to crash on the rocks of bloated salaries, inflated egos and diminishing amateur talents.

    But the saddest fact of the "People" piece is those who are defending some one who clearly does not need defending. Ms Abdul will get her money and the stupid show will go on.

    But in the skinner-box that is early twenty-first century America, the pigeons are dancing to the tune paid for by Wall Street's elite. As long as the unwashed remains fixated on the comings and goings of "celebrities," whom the right wing bloviating class labels "Hollywood liberals" and "liberal elite," then the folks who brought you the Dot Com-bubble, the housing-bubble and the TARP bailout-bubble will happily continue in their criminal ways.