Friday, October 31, 2008

Headlines - Friday

Happy Halloween!
Halloween horror

Nobel Prize Edition:
The long-feared capitulation of American consumers has arrived. According to Thursday's G.D.P. report, real consumer spending fell at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the third quarter; real spending on durable goods (stuff like cars and TVs) fell at an annual rate of 14 percent.

To appreciate the significance of these numbers, you need to know that American consumers almost never cut spending. Consumer demand kept rising right through the 2001 recession; the last time it fell even for a single quarter was in 1991, and there hasn't been a decline this steep since 1980, when the economy was suffering from a severe recession combined with double-digit inflation.
Looks like The Onion has some competition - h/t Biggi & Cheryl:

Seventy six American Nobel Prize winners endorsed Barack Obama in a strongly worded letter rebuking the Bush Administration's contempt for science.

h/t Dick
Colorado is one of several states facing a controversial ballot measure this fall that could have far-reaching impacts on abortion law. Amendment 48 would define "personhood" as beginning at the moment of conception, giving fertilized human eggs the same constitutional rights as a person.
What about all the frozen embryos thrown in the trash after In Vitro fertilization? Aren't their constitutional rights being violated?   
Heckuva job spreading the wealth, Hank

Makes you *wish* it was socialism, but it's turning into outright kleptocracy:

Banks to Continue Paying Dividends
Bailout Money Is for Lending, Critics Say

U.S. banks getting more than $163 billion from the Treasury Department for new lending are on pace to pay more than half of that sum to their shareholders, with government permission, over the next three years.

The government said it was giving banks more money so they could make more loans. Dollars paid to shareholders don't serve that purpose, but Treasury officials say that suspending quarterly dividend payments would have deterred banks from participating in the voluntary program.

As with Iraq reconstruction and Katrina, laissez-faire ideology trumps reality. With Bremer and Brown, the principals involved had little experience in handling the emergency they faced or the foresight to marshall government power to benefit the many. Paulson has been presented as this awesome and brilliant financier, whereas what he's demonstrating is total incompetence in handling this crisis, mixed with a singular ability to consider only the needs of his banking brethren.

In the British version of the bailout plan, the government put up taxpayer funds in return for receiving warrants (future shares in banks), suspended corporate dividends, and a requirement that the bailout money be paid out in loans. In other words, the goal was to help get the banks on their feet AND help the general economy moving again.

In the U.S. Treasury plan, the first version ("Let's buy all their toxic assets") was quickly discarded as unfathomably stupid. Plan B was to become part-owners in the banks ("Socialism!"), but apparently with no other safeguards to make sure the money isn't being used for anything other than doing the public good. So the banks are using it to purchase other banks, hoarding it to pad their balance sheets, giving out executive bonuses, and paying dividends to their own shareholders.

Anything, in other words, but what the bailout is supposed to achieve. The whole thing is turning into a direct siphoning of taxpayer funds into the pockets of bankers and corporate shareholders.

Ideological blindness mixed with incompetence got us Iraq and Katrina. We shouldn't be surprised if the bailout plan turns out the same way.

If you have a racist friend, now is the time for that friendship to end:
I am not at all disturbed by Barack Obama's alleged relationship with Rashidi Khalidi, nor am I disturbed by Khalidi himself.
I am, however, terribly disturbed by the McCain campaign's systematic assault on this man who not only has played no voluntary role in this campaign, but also owes what little prominence he does have at least in part to John McCain, who generously funded his organization in the 1990s.

Obviously, the reason this man is being targeted for his name and nothing more. I was watching a Palin rally yesterday in which she launched an attack on Khalidi, in the process so badly mangling his name that it was hardly recognizable, though it was clearly foreign-sounding.

Before she had finished mispronouncing it, however, the crowd was already booing. They had no idea who this man was. All they knew is that they didn't like the way his name sounded.

That's not the America we want to live in. That's McCarthyism. That's what McCain and Palin now represent, and on Tuesday, we bid them farewell.

It will be a good riddance.

Obama has not even won the election, yet here is a 67 page, 192 footnote pdf file titled "An Examination of Obama's Use of Hidden Hypnosis Techniques in His Speeches." Deep in the spittle, you can find insights such as the following:

Worse yet, his hypnosis probably has at least some effect on millions. Jews voting for the candidate endorsed by Iran, Hamas, Farakhan, and Khalidi should be a wake up signal that something is not Kosher.

The wingnuts may have actually stumbled onto something. While Obama clearly isn't doing hypnosis, his speeches and his 30 minute infomercial do something else entirely... they present a vision of America as a better nation, one where government works for the people rather than against them, where people don't have to struggle with health care costs and get a helping hand to build their businesses rather than a foot in the face, where folks are nice to each other again instead of all of this nastiness, etc. It's a compelling vision for people who are just sick and tired of the divisiveness, hatreds, selfishness, and petty small-mindedness that have characterized the Rethugs for the past eight years. And it's no wonder that a wingnut might confuse actually having a vision of the future with hypnosis, because the only vision of the future that wingnuts have is them on top, grinding their boot into the face of America forever. And they just can't seem to understand why the majority of Americans don't agree with their vision, so it must be hypnosis, right? Right?


"John McCain's ridden shotgun as George Bush has driven our economy toward a cliff, and now he wants to take the wheel and step on the gas. Obama, listing the facts like we want him to Link 



Most. Incompetent. GOP. Spokeman. Ever.


59% of the 16 million early votes have been cast for Obama:
In the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll, 59 percent of those who said they had already voted backed Obama, and 40 percent indicated that they supported John McCain. So far, the numbers are a near-mirror image of the past two elections.
The Washington Post Early Voters Breaking Records
$14.83 billion profit in one quarter.


Campaigning in Ohio yesterday, McCain said, "When I'm president, I'm not going to let Exxon reap record profits."

Except he's forgotten about his multi-billion-dollar corporate tax cut, which would give $4 billion in tax breaks to the five biggest oil companies — including more than $1.2 billion to ExxonMobil alone:





ABC News

U.S. Expects Bin Laden Message Near Election
As we race toward Election Day, sources say a number of intelligence analysts have concluded it is critical for al Qaeda's top leader to be seen or heard, if only for public relations purposes. Those analysts believe that if bin Laden is not heard from, he runs the risk of being considered irrelevant or impotent. The U.S. intelligence community has some indication that there is some confusion among Islamic radicals about their leadership.

According to sources, the full weight of the intelligence electronic eavesdropping and human sourcing is right now desperately looking for any hint of a bin Laden statement. So far there is only rumor, no hard evidence a message is coming, officials said.

Well, you know damn good and well that McCain is "desperately looking for any hint of a bin Laden statement". It may be the only 'Hail Mary' that will help him. Except that endorsement he got from al Qaeda was pretty sweet. 

Note to McCain: Call Bush. He can get his old family friend Osama to cough something up for you. The last time he did that was for himself, and it worked.

In 2004, bin Laden released a message in the days just before the election. Though some believe that the message affected the outcome in favor of President Bush, exit poll data do not support that notion. Among voters who called the tape "very important" in their vote, Kerry won, 53-47 percent. Among those who called it either very or somewhat important, the vote was 50-50. It was among those who called it unimportant that Bush won, by 56-43 percent.

It helped Bush and hurt Kerry. I'm not sure it would have the same effect on McCain and Obama this time. I hope we don't have to find out.



Garrison Keillor - The Angry Old Man of the Desert and Whoopee the Ice Queen


John McCain is an asshat. 

Reporter: Senator McCain's day began with a round of interviews on some of Miami's popular Spanish-language radio stations. One of the hosts, Enrique Santos, told McCain he was planning to cast his ballot the next day and remained undecided.

McCain: We have surveillance cameras, and we'll know how you vote, okay? [laughter] So, you, uh, I would suggest, if you vote the wrong way, you hire someone to start your car tomorrow morning. [laughter]

Reporter: That was a joke.

Of course it was. Because spying on American citizens and terrorism are freaking hilarious. Just like bombing Iran, murdering Jon Stewart, calling Hillary Clinton a bitch, domestic violence, and rape are freaking hilarious.

Quite an awesome sense of humor that guy's got.

Oh look. More bad behavior rewarded. This time it's the banks that send out pre-approved credit cards to everyone on the planet, and those that take advantage of them but can't pay them back....
Big banks have formed an unusual alliance with consumer advocates to urge the government to allow huge portions of credit card debt to be forgiven, a turnabout from recent years when the banking industry lobbied strenuously to make it harder for consumers to erase their credit card debts in bankruptcy.

The new pilot program — which the banks hope will become permanent — could involve as many as 50,000 people struggling with credit card debt. On an individual basis, the amount of debt to be forgiven would rise according to the severity of the borrower's financial situation, up to a maximum of 40 percent.
More job losses: AmEx has announced 7,000 jobs and Motorola 3,000.
Look at the smile on that child's face as he's held by a man who just might be our next president -- a man who looks like him. Look at the man, presumably the child's father, getting ready to take a photograph that both he and his son will treasure forever. Look at Barack Obama's face as he holds this child, fully aware of what he has come to mean to not just this child, not just this father, not just to black Americans, but to all of us who think that America has a responsibility to be better than the hate and fearmongering and narrow-mindedness and racism of the Republican party in this millennium.

I love this photo. I love this photo because in capturing three American black males at a critical point in our history, it also depicts a universality that Republicans want us to forget. I look at this photograph and I think of
another photo of a boy with a president; a photo capturing a moment that inspired that boy to a career in public service. And then I look at this child's beautiful, happy face and I wonder if someday we will see him too stand on the steps of a historic hall and announce his own candidacy for the presidency.
While I suppose it's important to hear from all sides, I can't help but be extremely disappointed that Obama says his cabinet will be bi-partisan. It's the Republicans that have destroyed this country, and it's been the Republicans that have been completely unwilling to work with the Democrats. I for one don't want anything to do with them. But that's just me.
According to the AP's Beth Fouhy, Sarah Palin's attempt at an energy policy speech in front of workers at a solar energy plant in Toledo, Ohio Wednesday didn't go over too well. Gee. Maybe she shouldn't have used her standard, "Drill, baby drill" routine. 
Obama pulls in crowds of up to 100,000 on a regular basis. McCain had a rally in Ohio yesterday. I wonder how he's measuring up?
As reported by MSNBC, he had to bus in 4,000 school kids from the surrounding area to reach 6,000. 
McCain seems to feel safe with kids who are too young to vote. Maybe he feels that seeing his former-POW self hurl insults like "socialist" at his political opponent while the crazy adults filling in the cracks in the audience scream "communist!" "terrorist!" and other choice epithets will ensure the kiddies are brainwashed enough to vote Republicon when they come of age. It hardly matters to McCain anyway: by the time these children are all grown up and voting straight Democratic tickets in hopes of purging the trauma from their minds, he'll be gone. 
Let us take note of the similarities between McCain's actions and the good old Soviet Communist Party:

  1. "Everything that comes out of their mouths is a lie." Check.
  2. "Want total control over the media." Check.
  3. "Compulsory shows of support by the masses for the beloved Party." Check.
  4. "Paranoid purges of suspected enemies, even when those 'enemies' are actually allies." Check.
  5. "Failed ideology forces them to manufacture and attack enemies to keep the people distracted from harsh reality." Oh, check.

Hmm. It appears the old Soviet Communists and the McCain campaign have much more in common than just the color red. Remember your Shakespeare, my darlings: the next time McCain blithers on about Obama's communist tendencies, we'd be right in thinking Grampa McCrankypants doth protest too much.
Here's the Global Electoral College Map, showing how the world would vote if it could.


Obama is currently crushing McCain 9,048 electoral votes to 324. The only indubitably red nation in the world is Iraq. Huh?
Baby on the tracks - Go read Fred Clark.
Plumber Joe's humiliating no show
Turns out that McCain got so flustered by Joe's no show that he flubbed an attack line on Obama, and instead of trying to correct himself, he simply said - in an irritated voice - "never mind."

These are the wheels coming off, my friends!


Introducing John McCain (allegedly tortured in Vietnam but voted no on the torture ban in this country) at an Ohio event yesterday, Sen. Lindsey ("I bought five rugs for five bucks") Graham warmed up the crowd with a few jokes, first saying McCain had obtained "the motherload" in marrying a beautiful woman who owned a beer company. He then criticized Sen. Barack Obama's half-hour campaign ad last night, comparing it to torture:

Anybody see the infomercial last night? Thank god for cable! If we had played that at a prison camp it'd have violated the Geneva Convention.

Another edition of: why can't these people just go away?
Chalabi rears his ugly head again - 
Bob Kerrey: "Obama understands that to succeed, he must make peace with John McCain just as he has done with Hillary Clinton. When this historic election concludes, I expect the two to sit down, without precondition, and negotiate an agenda of reform."

I'm not opposed to any such discussion that begins (and ends) with Obama saying "Here's my offer: nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming license, which I would appreciate if you would sell one of your 13 houses to put up personally." Students who have watched Kerrey perfect the the all-too-active art of concern trolling will not be surprised to learn, however, that the "reforms" Kerrey seems to have in mind involve Obama agreeing to implement Republican fiscal policies using feeble Republican talking points.
A friendly homecoming for Ted

Morons, all of them (except Gary & Leanne):

There was undisguised hostility toward the federal government and the FBI at the Stevens event, with people wearing T-shirts that said "F*#@ the feds, vote for Ted."

"Anyone who thinks you can get a fair trial in the heart of liberalism, Washington, D.C., is smoking dope. He was railroaded," said Mark Kelliher, a retired engineer.

Determined to screw up every last thing before he leaves the house he's been squatting in for 8 years....
The White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before Bush leaves office in January.

The new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Headlines - Thursday

A new ethics complaint about Palin

She allegedly keeps spreading Alaska's tax-payers' wealth to her own family.

Since 2006, Sarah Palin has 'redistributed' $54,803 of taxpayer's money to pay for her family's airline tickets: $32,629 for the girls, and $22,174 for Todd. 
Frank Gwartney, a retired lineman in Anchorage, filed a complaint last Friday with Alaska's Attorney General, Talis Colber in Juneau. "Palin ran on the platform of ethics, transparency and anti-corruption. I'm tired of the hypocrisy that exists in Government and people need to know the truth," said Gwartney.

The complaint against Governor Palin, alleges Misuse of Official Position: "Gov. Palin attempted to and in fact did use her official position for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits for her daughters..." All the allegations contained in the complaint are related to state reimbursed travel.
Move over, Sanjaya, and tell William Hung the news: Joe the Plumber is being pursued for a major record deal and could come out with a country album as early as Inauguration Day.
I think this is just awesome.

He can write patriotic songs and perform them at the Palin/Huckabee rallies in 2012. Maybe Tito the Builder could sing back-up. 

h/t Dick - Barack Obama is a socialist?
In a first, a military judge ruled on Tuesday that a Guantanamo detainee's confession was extracted through torture, and excluded it from the trial of a young Afghan detainee at the war court.
Obama now leads in four states won by Bush in 2004: 
Ohio (7 points), Nevada (12), Colorado (9) and Virginia (7) - 47 electoral votes total. 

And he's tied with McCain in North Carolina and Florida (also states Bush won)  - 42 more electoral votes.

Also, there are three states in which early voting has already exceeded its totals from 2004. These are Georgia, where early voting is already at 180 percent of its 2004 total, Louisiana (169 percent), and North Carolina (129 percent).

Fortunately, McCain is ahead 65-34 in Utah.



Goodbye, Cruel World

The world would be a better place if the American right wing had never existed. Thousands of Americans and Iraqis would still be alive, tens of thousands or Iraqis would still be living in their own homes. The American economy would not have hopped from bubble to bubble if the right wing had not put all of their faith in deregulation, and American jobs would not have been sent abroad. Our tax dollars would not have flowed upward into the coffers of the rich, and the war machine would not comprise such a large part of our economy. We would have retained the respect of other nations, and not aroused the absolute hatred of those we have attempted to bomb into submission. We would get along better with one another if the right wing had not used tribal hatreds to arouse their base against black people, immigrants, liberals, and the well-educated. Our infrastructure, health care, and schools would be better if the billions spent on futile wars had been spent on domestic needs. The planet would be a better place if our addiction to oil had been broken 25 years ago.



The Face of Christianism:

These people scare me.



You won't find it the front pages of major newspapers... 

Buried deep within the inside pages of the San Jose Murky News we learn that Kim Jong Il, dictator of North Korea, has been hospitalized due to a stroke, according to South Korean and Japanese intelligence agencies. This is likely to be the new President's first foreign crisis, says a veteran military reporter. And from the U.S. media... oh look! The Jonas Brothers are going to star in a movie with a farting dog!


The World That Awaits - Memo to the President-elect

When George W. Bush became president nearly eight years ago the world was largely at peace, the U.S. military was largely at rest, oil was $23 a barrel, the economy was growing at more than 3 percent, $1 was worth 116 yen, the national debt was just under $6 trillion and the federal government was running a sizable budgetary surplus. The September 11 attacks, for all they cost us as a nation, increased the world's willingness to cooperate with us. You, by contrast, will inherit wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tired and stretched armed forces, a global struggle with terrorism, oil that has ranged as high as $150 a barrel, a weaker dollar (now worth 95 yen), substantial anti-American sentiment, a federal budget deficit that could reach $1 trillion in your first year, a ballooning national debt of some $10 trillion and a global economic slowdown that will increase instability in numerous countries.


Palin leaves the reservation:


A gas sign in Atlanta today:

It's $3.19 in my town.


There's nothing funny about a noose. Sorry, there just isn't. Not in westerns, not in suicides, and certainly not in political humor. Which is maybe why hanging Sarah Palin in effigy as part of a Halloween display (click link for video) is so typical of West Hollywood. Tasteless and unfunny.

But a hate crime? That's serious hysterical over-reacting by the same people who thought the nooses in Louisiana were nothing but a practical joke.

To begin with, "hate crimes" are those perpetrated against someone because they're members of a despised group - blacks, Jews, gays, that sort of thing. Being a despised celebrity VP impersonator doesn't count. Neither does being a scorned Alaskan beauty queen with all the brains and knowledge one would expect from that member of a largely blonde group.

Or are the offended ones actually suggesting that a group as privileged - and as elite - as Stupid Beauty Queens Masquerading as Political Heavyweights is a despised minority?

Get the impression that wingnuts never really did understand the whole concept of a "hate crime"? If somebody they hate is beaten up or murdered, it isn't a hate crime. In fact it's probably a practical joke and the jokers should be patted on the back and sent on their way to do more good deeds.

If somebody they agree with has a pie thrown in his/her face, that is a HATE CRIME and should be punished with the full weight of the law up to and including death in a faulty electric chair while they sit in the audience and cheer.

Has it occurred to anyone else that the American right wing has never really gotten the concept of fairness for all? That maybe they'd be happier in Burma or Soviet Russia?


Jesus' General

God hates Barack Obama and loves HOV lanes

Janet Porter

Mrs. Porter,

Thank you so much for weighing in on the presidential campaign by declaring that
Obama voters are going to Hell. I know it isn't easy being God's campaign surrogate--one major gaffe and your ass will be eternally roasting on a spit as a host of fallen angels chant, "I want mine, medium rare."

But shouldn't God's endorsement list be a little bit more ambitious? After all, the presidential race isn't the only thing on the ballot. What about the other races, initiatives, measures, propositions, and referenda? What has God got to say about them?


Fox News has a soon-to-be-aired tape of Michelle Obama on the phone to some obscure African news site (a glorified blog), ranting for nearly an hour about her husband's birth status:       


Liddy Dole puts out an ad falsely accusing her opponent of atheism, although Kay Hagan is a Sunday School teacher. Pretty rich coming from a Republican, a member of the party whose only god is money.


We are all waiting for Sarah Palin's medical records to be released, as she continues to be the only one of the candidates on a presidential ticket to have not done so.

On Sunday morning, Palin spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt told ABC News that the campaign had planned to release information on her medical history early this week.

Palin herself says there's nothing in the records that would surprise anyone. Then again, Palin herself said an ethics investigation exonerated her of misuse of power when the opposite was true.

"So be it, if that will allow some curiosity seekers, perhaps, to have one more thing that they can either check the box off that they can find something to criticize, perhaps, or find something to rest them assured over. Fine. I'm healthy, I'm happy, had five kids. That is going to be in the medical records. Never been seriously ill or hurt. You will see that in the medical records if they're released," Palin told NBC's Brian Williams.

Two things here. First, Palin made a point of saying she's had five kids. What do you want to bet the records clearly confirm four, and then hem and haw about No. 5? Second, what was that part about "if they're released." I'm betting it will be a very hot day in Alaska before that actually happens.



John McCain keeps wanking that Obama "broke his promise" to accept public financing.

Wrong. Obama pledged to "pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election." Note especially the words "pursue an agreement." Obama's attorney met with John McCain's attorney, and came out of the meeting convinced that Camp Grandpa didn't want to reach an agreement, hence the opt-out.

You see, there's that little matter of how John McCain has been gaming the campaign finance system dating from back during the primary race. There's the fact that
he used money from the Federal financing system as collateral for a campaign loan before dropping out of public financing during the primaries. Josh Marshall explained this gaming of the system back in June.

Then there's the issue of how John McCain's campaign is rotten to the core with K Street lobbyists. Do you think these people are supporting him because they don't want anything for their corporate clients? So spare me the outrage, Senator McCain. If your lawyers had just been mensches back in June and agreed to a mutual framework, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.


The Hill:

Democratic leaders are discussing a major reshuffling of Senate committee chairmanships, according to multiple sources, and the proposed changes include ousting Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) from his coveted chairmanship.

Lieberman, a former Democrat who supports Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president, is likely to lose his gavel on the Homeland Security Committee he has chaired since January 2007, say the sources who see him being replaced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), the committee's third-ranking Democrat.

Memo to Harry Reid and the rest of the Democratic caucus: We may be a big tent, but traitors are not welcome in it. Period.



So Shephard Smith interviews Joe Wurzelbacher (hereafter "Wurz") for a bit over five minutes about why Wurz thinks Obama's election would mean the "death of Isreal." During the interview, Smith challenges Wurz, saying that Obama has repeatedly stated his position that the U.S. would be a friend of Israel, and suddenly people think "Shep" is some kind of a hero because he stood up to Wurz's smears.

Nonsense. By putting Wurz on his show and spending five minutes debating Wurz's absurd smear, Shep was in fact spreading the smear. You don't fight smears like that by giving the smear a platform, and then saying you don't agree with the smear. You fight smears by quashing them.

Here's an analogy: let's say that Keith Olbermann put someone one the air who made the case that if elected, John McCain would -- without provocation -- launch a nuclear strike against Iran. Now even if Olbermann gently suggested the person was making  baseless accusation, can you imagine a single person on the right being happy with Olbermann?

Here's the bottom-line: there are times when citing FOX is useful, but those times are almost exclusively limited to when FOX either contradicts itself, or reveals serious infighting amongst conservatives. Virtually every single time they are talking about someone on the left, they are up to no good.


On his radio show yesterday, far right talker Bill Cunningham — who Sean Hannity considers a "great American", claimed that people who are poor in America are not poor "because they lack money." "They're poor because they lack values, morals, and ethics."

On his Monday show, he declared, "Among the so-called noble poor in America…birth control is not used so illegitimate children can be brought into the world, so the mom can get more checks in the mail from the government."

In a couple of stories concerning morals and ethics:

Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, says it shattered its own record for the biggest profit from operations by a U.S. corporation, earning $14.83 billion in the third quarter.

Cuomo now asking for CEO pay details on 9 banks: Wall Street is in for some long days. Good.


McCain and his surrogates have attempted to paint Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) as holding anti-Israel views because of his relationship with Palestinian-American Professor Rashid Kahlidi. Says Rudy Giuliani yesterday on Faux: 

"Senator Obama and Ayers, sitting on the Woods board, gave something like $70,000 or $80,000 to Khalidi's organizations that participated in giving — doing these exhibits which would, I think, tell just one side of the story in terms of the Middle East. … But — and all that is available from public record."

Public record also shows this: 

A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group (International Republican Institute) shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi's Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank. … The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when John McCain joined IRI as chairman in January. Foreign Affairs noted in September of that year that IRI had helped fund several extensive studies in Palestine run by Khalidi's group, including over 30 public opinion polls and a study of "sociopolitical attitudes."

As Ezra Klein notes, "This, of course, just goes to show how absurd it is to suggest that Khalidi is some sort of radical polemicist. The guy is such a credentialed and respected scholar that even right-leaning organizations have funded his work, simply because it's good work."


4,189 soldiers killed in Iraq; 625 in Afghanistan.


McCain is shocked that Obama campaign would 'boycott' hostile media

Last week, after Biden sat down for that ridiculous interview with Barbara West of WFTV in Orlando, FL., the campaign canceled West's upcoming interview with Biden's wife.

Yesterday in an interview with Fox News's Sean Insanity, McCain said, "And of course, if anybody in the media, much less Joe the Plumber asks a tough question, then they're boycotted. They pull their ads, etc."

Let's take a trip down the Memory Hole:

McCain canceled an appearance on CNN's Larry King Live after CNN's Campbell Brown conducted a tough interview with McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds about Palin's foreign policy experience.

Last month, the McCain campaign barred New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd from flying on both the McCain and Palin press planes after she wrote a negative column.

McCain campaign officials barred Time's Joe Klein from traveling with them, after he asked McCain an uncomfortable question about foreign policy.

Campaign officials have repeatedly gone on air to bash journalists after tough interviews, saying that Katie Couric asked Palin "a series of trapdoor questions," the New York Times "cast aside it's journalistic integrity to advocate for the defeat of John McCain," and demanded that the media treat Palin with "deference."


George Bush has transformed America's federal appeals courts, "advancing a conservative legal revolution that began nearly three decades ago under President Ronald Reagan." By Inauguration day, "Republican-appointed judges, most of them conservatives, are projected to make up about 62 percent of the bench" while controlling 10 of the 13 circuit courts.



....that you guys need a morale-booster! 

US joke of a president George Dubya Bush, his approval rating below that of used-car salesmen, lawyers and rabid pitbulls with Ebola, paid a surprise visit Tuesday to his republican party's headquarters, pushing staff to work hard for struggling liar  John McCain, a spokesman said between tears.

And speaking of Ebola....

Bush builds huge federal Ebola lab, with horrendously deadly bugs, in path of hurricane

You want pork, let's talk pork. This is John McCain's good buddy, George Bush's pork. And it's sickening.

Much of the University of Texas medical school on this island suffered flood damage during Hurricane Ike, except for one gleaming new building, a national biological defense laboratory that will soon house some of the most deadly diseases in the world.

How a laboratory where scientists plan to study viruses like Ebola and Marburg ended up on a barrier island where hurricanes regularly wreak havoc puzzles some environmentalists and community leaders...

Built atop concrete pylons driven 120 feet into the ground, the seven-floor laboratory was designed to stand up to 140-mile-an-hour winds. Its backup generators and high-security laboratories are 30 feet above sea level.

That's nice, because hurricanes never get any faster winds. Oh wait, they do. There's more:

The laboratory will do research into some of the nastiest diseases on the planet, among them Ebola, anthrax, tularemia, West Nile virus, drug-resistant tuberculosis, bubonic plague, avian influenza and typhus.







Party before country

Alaska GOP still backs re-election for corrupt felon. 

The Alaska Republican party on Tuesday found itself in the awkward position of urging voters to return a convicted felon to the United States Senate.
"Awkward"? How about repugnant, repulsive, shameless, sickening...
The party is pushing for the re-election of Senator Ted Stevens, who was convicted on Monday of seven felony counts but continues his campaign for a seventh full term, in the hope that his re-election will allow the party of morals and integrity to hold onto his seat even if Mr. Stevens eventually resigns.
Which he's already sworn he wouldn't do.
Spencer Ackerman:

Here I was, all set to debunk Bob Kagan's allegations that it's an "absurd conspiracy theory" to say Bush lied about the basis for the Iraq war, when Matt "Angel" Duss of the Center for American Progress beat me to it. But why stop at the invasion? Bob Woodward's new book, The War Within, documents at absurd length how almost everything Bush said about Iraq in 2006 and early 2007 was a lie. F'rinstance:

The morning after his speech announcing the surge, the president went to Fort Benning, Georgia, to address military personnel and their families. His decision had been opposed by General Casey and General Abizaid, his military commanders on the ground. General Pace and the Joint Chiefs had suggested a smaller increase, if any at all. And General Schoomaker, the Army chief, had made it clear that the five brigades didn't really exist under the Army's current policy of 12-month rotations. ... But on this morning, the president delivered his own version of history.

"The commanders on the ground in Iraq, people who I listen to -- by the way, that's what you want your commander in chief to do. You don't want decisions being made based upon politics or focus groups or political polls. You want your military decisions being made by military experts. And they analyzed the plan, and they said to me and to the Iraqi government, 'This won't work unless we help them. There needs to be a bigger presence." 

That's just page 325. Bush went to Fort Benning, looked soldiers and their families -- men and women who he sent into combat or would be sending into combat -- right square in the eye, and lied. That's just what the man does. Anyone who tells you otherwise is as much a liar as Bush himself.


Take a gander at the "Sarah Palin: Promise for America" store, which provides further evidence that Palin's advocates have pretty much decided the campaign is over. Here's the pitch: is proud to release the Sarah Palin: Promise for America series of gifts. Regardless of what happens on election day, we can all take heart that Sarah Palin has helped to begin a movement, a restoration of our nation to the American Promise. These gifts will help us all remember her message and her mission; and we'll tell the world that we stand with her as our leader.


h/t Gary Thomas Jefferson

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."                                                                                

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Headlines - Wednesday

A week from today when we wake up, we'll have a new president. Tonight is Obama's 30 minute ad.


Just in time for a new president, Bush's military has begun freeing many (potentially angry and bent on revenge) Iraqi prisoners it's been holding without charges and aims to release all of them by December 2009.

In the five and a half years since the Iraq war began, U.S. troops have arrested and detained roughly 100,000 Iraqis, almost all of them without formal criminal charges. A year ago, 26,000 Iraqis were in American military detention, more than at any other point since the 2003 U.S.- led invasion. About 17,000 remain imprisoned, but that number is dropping fast.

Also, the U.S. military has warned Iraq that it will shut down military operations and other vital services throughout the country on Jan. 1 if the Iraqi government doesn't agree to a new agreement on the status of U.S. forces or a renewed United Nations mandate for the American mission in Iraq. This also includes activities that support Iraq's economy, educational sector and other areas, actually "everything." 

One of the biggest obstacles in the agreement is that the US wants private contractors (like Blackwater) that have been accused of killing Iraqi civilians to have immunity, and the Iraqis want them subject to Iraqi law. 

Robert Parry: "

Iraq seems intent on telling the United States the diplomatic equivalent of "don't let the door hit you on the way out."


Dumbo octopus.


Not only did Michele Bachmann's hometown paper, the St Cloud Times, endorse her opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg; so did the Star Tribune, the newspaper for the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul region.

Looks like she cooked (kissed) her own goose.

Bachmann and Bush


Bush prepares his pardon pen

Former US Pardon Attorney Margaret Love reviews of Bush's pardons and commutations to date (however ignoring his most famous--that of Scooter Libby) and ends with this tidbit:

Word on the street is that there will be more pardons after the election – and possibly even some before it. I would not be surprised to see a difference in the profile of those receiving pardons in the final weeks.

No, really, ya think?!? You think Bush is going to start working through the stack of requests from his thuggish pals to make sure he gives them a get out of jail free card before he leaves office?

You think maybe he's got the letters all drawn up, with the names of Dick and Addington and Yoo and Turdblossom and Clemons and Gonzales and Libby on them (note, given Dusty Foggo's dubious plea deal, Bush won't have to pardon Wilkes now)?

But what I find most fascinating is the suggestion that Bush might pardon people before the election. Eight days away, and the pardon won't wait? 

It sort of makes you wonder whether he's taking a page out of Poppy's book, halting the investigation that would eventually incriminate him personally, as Poppy did with Cap? It sort of makes you wonder whether Bush knows that Nora Dannehy's investigation into the firing of David Iglesias won't otherwise end up proving--as newspapers have reported--that Bush personally gave the order to fire Iglesias for not prosecuting Democrats in time to influence the election?


h/t Dick - Krugman: The economic circle of pain widens, spinning out of control.


Number one evildoer not only remains free, but he has inked a book deal.


ACORN has announced that it's assisting in two lawsuits filed against the New Mexico Republican GOP, alleging voter intimidation. The ACLU and Project Vote - a group that's been described as an ACORN affiliate - are filing suit in state court, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is suing in federal court, according to Matthew Henderson of ACORN's New Mexico office:


Right out of Orwell's "1984", McCain calls liberals a threat to the economy. Boston Globe.

McCain admitted not very long ago that he does not understand the economy. He just proved it. He really ought to STFU now before he chokes on his foot.

McCain said, "Now this election comes down to how you want your hard-earned money spent."

Yes it does, John, and that's why I would sooner cut my nose off than vote for another 8 years of the same GOP policies. Let's see. Did I want my hard earned money spent on a quagmire in Iraq? Nope. Am I happy that most of the money went to war profiteers? I think not. Did I enjoy seeing my hard earned money spent on fueling my car? Nope. Was I thrilled that most people didn't get raises in the past 8 years? Not really, no. Did I enjoy watching it evaporate in the stock market? Nope. In fact any gains I had over the past 8 years are completely gone. Why on earth would I want vote for you?

"Do you want to keep it and invest it in your future, or have it taken by the most liberal person to ever run for the presidency and the Democratic leaders - the most liberal, who have been running Congress for the past two years, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?" McCain went on, to boos. "You know, my friends, this is a dangerous threesome."

Obama a liberal? I wish. Is that the new PC code word for "African American?" I know it was the code word for "Jew" not that very long ago. Pelosi and Harry Reid- liberal? Uh huh. I really ought to purchase hundreds of copies of "1984" and pass them out to undecided voters and see if they make the connection. But I don't have that kind of money to waste anymore. The bankers do. Gee, how did they get all that cash infusion? Socialism by the GOP? Hmmm.

What does McCain think that Obama is going to do with all our "hard earned" money? He doesn't say. He doesn't say what he would do with it either.

I think what disappoints me most about my fellow Americans is their willingness to pick up on this new "Marxist" and "socialist" meme put forth by the McCainiacs. Does anyone bother to take statements into context anymore? I wonder if any of the morons who cheer when McCain or Palin utter the words, "socialist" if they even know what that means. I doubt it.

Furthermore, many of these knuckleheads who are repeating the "socialist" meme consider themselves "christian." A Christian implies that they are followers of Jesus. Jesus was such a socialist that it would make their heads explode if they ever bothered to read what he had to say. "Sell all that you have, give it to the poor and follow me," Jesus once said to his disciples. Talk about spreading the wealth. I don't think there's a true Jesus follower among the McCain supporters.


In the typhoon of commentary that's blown around the world a step behind the financial tsunami that's wrecking everything, two little words have been curiously absent: "fraud" and "swindle." But aren't they really at the core of what has happened? Wall Street took the whole world "for a ride" and now a handful of Wall Street's erstwhile princelings have shifted ceremoniously into US Government service to "fix" the problem with a "toolbox" containing a notional two trillion dollars. This strange exercise in financial kabuki theater will shut down sometime between the election and inauguration day, when the inaugurate finds himself president of the Economic Smoking Wreckage of the United States. What will happen?


Fun fact: In the latest Pew survey, Obama leads McCain by a 52% to 36% margin. 


In case you were wondering, you can't be a Christian and vote for Barack Obama. This is probably proof that Barack and Michelle Obama are not Christians. I know this is confusing but Deuteronomy explains it all.


These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

It sounds to me like a pretty good case not to vote for McCain. 


Pfizer experiments on children in Nigeria - and yet they have the audacity to say it was ethical. 

Pfizer administered meningitis medication to 200 Nigerian children - including 100 with the then-experimental antibiotic Trovan - without the authorization of the Nigerian government or the consent of the patients' guardians - killing 11 and incapacitating 181 others. Reuters has more


From the battleground commonwealth of unauditable voting machines, Pennsylvania:

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) -- Barack Obama carried on Tuesday with an outdoor rally at Widener University, outside Philadelphia, despite a cold, steady rain that made the temperature feel freezing.

About 9,000 people came out to hear the presidential contender. They stood in mud.

"I just want all of you to know that if we see this kind of dedication on Election Day, there is no way that we're not going to bring change to America," Obama told the shivering crowd.

The weather was so miserable that Obama's rival, Republican John McCain, canceled a rally 50 miles north in Quakertown - hardly insignificant, given the dwindling campaign time.

Even Major League Baseball suspended the fifth game of the World Series in Philadelphia because of the same wet conditions Monday night, a first in the history of the baseball championship.

The weather forecast for Election Day is sunny and in the sixties.


4,188 soldiers killed in Iraq; 625 in Afghanistan.

A giant open-air "burn pit" in Balad may have exposed tens of thousands of troops, contractors and Iraqis to cancer-causing dioxins, poisons such as arsenic and carbon monoxide, and hazardous medical waste, documentation gathered by Military Times shows. 

Wait. Wait for it....Officials deny risk:


Charles meets Barack - just watch it:


Hey Obama supporter, feeling pretty good about the polls? Watch this 30 second clip: 


George Bush shakes hands with convicted felon Senator Ted Stevens who is now an eligible recipient for the annual George W Bush Corruption in Government Award.

If Sarah can feel vindicated by a guilty verdict, so can Uncle Ted

Yesterday, after his conviction on 7 felony counts, Ted Stevens declared his innocence and asked "Alaskans and his Senate colleagues to stand with him."

Umm, well...

At least two did: Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), a stalwart Stevens friend who testified on his behalf at trial.

John McCain has called for Ted to step down, and now Palin has jumped on the bandwagon too.

I don't think Stevens has any intention of resigning. His entire plan was to have an early trial result in his exoneration, which would then enable him to cruise to re-election in 7 days. Well, that sort of backfired. Now, conventional wisdom is that Stevens will lose his Senate seat to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich and if he doesn't, will be expelled from the Senate shortly after election day (and Governor Palin would have to declare a new election to fill the spot - one in which she herself would be able to run.) 

To his credit, Begich has never run overtly against Stevens' corruption and now that he's been convicted, is taking nothing for granted. From a Begich campaign e-mail blast:

As you have probably heard, Senator Stevens, my opponent in next week's election, has been convicted on seven felony counts of failing to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts from his friends. The last year has been a difficult one for Alaska, but Alaskans are strong and stand ready to move on to new, ethical representation in Washington.

While some may believe these convictions mean certain victory, this election is far from over. Senator Stevens remains a formidable opponent. [...]

Will you stand with me during these final 7 days of the election - helping me stay on TV, radio, and traveling around Alaska? We cannot give up, the stakes are too high.

This election is not about the verdict decided in a DC courtroom - that verdict will be delivered next week by Alaska's voters. Help me continue talking with them about the future of our country.

Let's not forget that Ted's good friend Colin Powell testified at the trial. Here are some of the things he said:

"He was a trusted individual whose word you could rely on."

"When you shook hands with Ted Stevens, it would benefit the nation in the long run."

There was "nothing to ever suggest a lack of integrity."

Asked to describe Stevens' reputation for honesty and integrity, Powell replied, "In a word, sterling. As we say in the infantry, this is a guy you take on a long patrol."

Here's Dana Peroxide when asked about Ted's conviction:

"Well given that Sen. Stevens has said that he's going to fight his conviction and that he's going to appeal, and that is his right to do, since it's going to be a matter of ongoing litigation, we'll decline to comment for now. "

In other words, yet another ongoing investigation they can't comment on.



Nancy Greggs: Unforgiven:



George of the Bungle chalks up yet another failure

Repugs - great at spewing sewage, incapable of cleaning it up: Shrubya blew $100 million on Iraqi 'Sewer to Nowhere.'  The Iraqis should call it the Abu Bush Sewage System.


The McCain campaign is now warning against "one party rule" if Obama is elected president at at time when there will likely be a Democratic landslide in the House and the Senate.

McCain's party had one-party rule in 2000-2006 and really did have all three branches of government under their control. Can anyone think of any major Republican leader in that period who argued that it was a bad thing and who urged voters to cast ballots for Democrats in order to restore some checks and balances?

On the contrary, the Republicans seriously considered abolishing the Senatorial tradition of requiring 60 for the passage of especially important measures such as confirming justices. They wanted to be more, not less, powerful, to exercise the prerogatives of one-party rule without let or hindrance.

McCain would only have credibility on this issue if he denounced the Republican majority in all three branches of government in 2000 - 2006.

I don't think he did.  



For the past two months, a major American magazine and an allied news service have been engaged in a legal battle with the United States Navy over records that they believe show that John McCain once was involved in an automobile accident that injured or, perhaps, killed another individual.


Doesn't it strike you as peculiar that white homegrown right-wing fascist killers like the recent skinheads that were planning to go on a killing spree are somehow exempt from being called what they are — terrorists?


Child abuse

Another "Proposition Hate" commercial, featuring adorable miniature musical homophobes:


Yesterday, Glenn Beck offered his long-awaited presidential endorsement. And it was weird.

I have looked at the other candidates. I don't see any of them that have the fire in the belly. I don't see any of them that actually believe in you, who actually is you, except Sarah Palin. So I'm going to pull the lever for John McCain and let the Lord sort it out. I want somebody that just, whose compass points north. Even though all these candidates think their compass points north, it doesn't. It's pointing east and some places it's pointing south. In Barack Obama it is pointing south. He says that it's pointing north, it's to you, but it's not. It's to the government, it's to Washington, it's to the special interests. John McCain I think points somewhere maybe northeast. It's in the right direction but it's not right. Sarah Palin points to you. I'm casting my vote for Sarah Palin.

It appears that Glenn Beck is praying that John McCain will win the election next week, but that God will miraculously intervene at some point in the near future to incapacitate him, or worse.


Remember Victoria Jackson, the has-been from SNL? 

"I don't want a political label," she wrote on her website, "but Obama bears traits that resemble the anti- Christ and I'm scared to death that un- educated people will ignorantly vote him into office. We must in all seriousness ask if Barack Hussein Obama could be a Muslim terrorist sympathizer or a Marxist mole. His closest friends include Communists, domestic and Muslim terrorists, racists and convicted felons. In his book Audacity of Hope, Barack Hussein Obama says, 'I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.


Obama's "religion" of the last 20 years is Black Liberation Theology. What is that? It is simply Marxism dressed up in Christian rhetoric...He pretends to be a Christian and he incriminates himself everytime he speaks about Christianity. To lie about being a believer in Christ is very dangerous. Lightning could strike him at any minute! But seriously, he doesn't have a clue what the Bible says and yet he pretends to be a church- going Christian to win votes. That is sooooo evil."

Stay smart and classy, Victoria.


Henry Waxman joins Andrew Cuomo to discuss the bonus money Wall Street pigs are determined to hand out. Thank you.

Now please do something about this:

Chrysler bellies up to the trough to get part of the $25 billion bailout that was supposed to be used for production facilities for fuel efficient cars, and then announces it's shutting down its only plant that produces a hybrid gas-electric vehicle. 

No comment. 


They don't appear to like each other much:


Props to Crist

Miami Herald: There are so many people voting early in Florida that Governor Charlie Crist has flip flopped and declared a state of emergency in Florida to extend voting hours. 


I'm sorry, but plumbers from Sarah Palin's "Real" America do not have the welfare of Israel at the top of their hit parade of issues. But "Joe the Plumber" does. How much are they paying him to be a Republican shill?


Random act of kindness:   



Even in its last throes, the Bush administration continues its uninterrupted lawlessness. As two recent stories by Charlie Savage of the New York Times revealed, President Bush ignored Congressional statutes requiring privacy disclosures by his Department of Homeland Security and non-discrimination in hiring by faith-based groups receiving federal funds. In twice turning his back on the rule of law, Bush again resorted to his favorite executive power-grabbing tools, the signing statement and "interpretation" by the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel:


A Veterans Administration study found that one in seven female veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan seeking medical care from the VA suffered sexual trauma - everything from harassment to rape.

Medical records of 125,000 war veterans, both men and women, showed 15 percent reported sexual trauma. That works out to nearly 2,600 veterans, almost all women.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg, since the study covered only a fraction of the 870,000 veterans who have fought - and none still on active duty.

Imagine how many women simply didn't report it.


Bush surveys electoral damage at GOP headquarters

Now this is an October surprise I can live with:

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush dropped by the Republican National Committee headquarters unannounced to give the staff a little pep talk Tuesday amid polls showing Republicans trailing in the presidential contest and scores of key congressional races one week out from the general election. ... "He encouraged them to work hard for John McCain and keep turning out the vote until the final ballot is cast next week," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said after the 20-minute visit.

Heckuva' job, RNC.


Fox news thinks McCain is a Democrat:

McCain, D-AZ


A very sweet headline over at Politico:

"7 days -- One week out -- Republicans expect to be crushed in historic landslide"