Monday, December 15, 2008

Headlines - Monday

While the economy sinks and while the policy wonks in the White House are trying to put together a rescue plan for Detroit while fending off the Senatorial Hooverites determined to slaughter the domestic auto companies, where is the Tsar of the Baboons?

He's off flying to Iraq and Afghanistan to polish up the rotting turd of his legacy.
Even though the mission was accomplished on May 1, 2003 and Commander Codpiece is extremely popular, he made one last "surprise" visit under the cloak of secrecy to the scene of the crime Iraq. The White House even released fake schedules to make it look like he'd be in Washington on Sunday, he's so loved in that part of the world. 

"The work hasn't been easy, but it has been necessary for American security, Iraqi hope and world peace," the president said. "I'm just so grateful I had the chance to come back to Iraq before my presidency ends."

Bush greeted as liberator:
An Iraqi reporter leapt from his seat, screamed, "This is a goodbye kiss, you dog!", then hurled both of his shoes at Bush. 

Bush ducked the first shoe. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, standing to Bush's left, tried to swat down the second. Neither hit the president. Another Iraqi journalist yanked Zaidi to the ground before bodyguards collapsed on Zaidi and held him there while he yelled "Killer of Iraqis, killer of children." From the bottom of the pile, he moaned loudly and said "my hand, my hand."

Oh, and White House spokestool Dana Peroxide got a black eye from a microphone that hit her in the ensuing chaos.

Freedom is on the march!

The guy who did it has a fan base:
World's corals reefs are vanishing, report says: The world has lost almost one-fifth of its coral reefs according a new report released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Forgive me if I've mentioned this: Senate torture report confirms Bush, top officials guilty of war crimes
Timothy McVeigh finishing school
This is disturbing:

Two years ago, the Southern Poverty Law Center ran a devastating report describing the infiltration of neo-Nazis into the ranks of the American military. The Pentagon's official response was steadfast denial of the problem.

The SPLC's David Holthouse just published a follow-up report, and found, predictably, that the problem is getting worse as the conflict in Iraq drags on.

Earlier this year, the founder of White Military Men identified himself in his New Saxon account as "Lance Corporal Burton" of the 2nd Battalion Fox Company Pit 2097, from Florida, according to a master's thesis by graduate student Matthew Kennard. Under his "About Me" section, Burton writes: "Love to shoot my M16A2 service rifle effectively at the Hachies (Iraqis)," and, "Love to watch things blow up (Hachies House)."

Kennard, who was working on his thesis for Columbia University's Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, also monitored claims of active-duty military service earlier this year on the neo-Nazi online forum Blood & Honour, where "88Soldier88" posted this message on Feb. 18: "I am in the ARMY right now. I work in the Detainee Holding Area [in Iraq]. … I am in this until 2013. I am in the infantry but want to go to SF [Special Forces]. Hopefully the training will prepare me for what I hope is to come."

One of the Blood & Honour members claiming to be an active-duty soldier taking part in combat operations in Iraq identified himself to Kennard as Jacob Berg. He did not disclose his rank or branch of service. "There are actually a lot more 'skinheads,' 'nazis,' white supremacists now [in the military] than there has been in a long time," Berg wrote in an E-mail exchange with Kennard. "Us racists are actually getting into the military a lot now because if we don't every one who already is [in the military] will take pity on killing sand niggers. Yes I have killed women, yes I have killed children and yes I have killed older people. But the biggest reason I'm so proud of my kills is because by killing a brown many white people will live to see a new dawn."


The source of the problem, as the report explained, was the extreme pressure military recruiters were under to fill their recruitment quotas. "Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces," said Barfield, "and commanders don't remove them . . . even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members." The military downplayed a neo-Nazi presence in the ranks, Barfield added, "because then parents who are already worried about their kids signing up and dying in Iraq are going to be even more reluctant about their kids enlisting if they feel they'll be exposed to gangs and white supremacists."

Well. Isn't that just an excellent reason not to do something about a problem that's going to (literally) blow up in our faces? There aren't enough cursewords in the dictionary to express what I'm thinking right now.

David Neiwert calls our military "the Timothy McVeigh Finishing School." He's absolutely right, and it's absolutely appalling.

Yet another Bush-era mess we'll be cleaning up for a long time to come.

In case you had any doubts that George W. Bush is going to make sure his base, the haves and the have-mores, are taken care of before he leaves office, here you go:
Congress wanted to guarantee that the $700 billion financial bailout would limit the eye-popping pay of Wall Street executives, so lawmakers included a mechanism for reviewing executive compensation and penalizing firms that break the rules.

But at the last minute, the Bush administration insisted on a one-sentence change to the provision, congressional aides said. The change stipulated that the penalty would apply only to firms that received bailout funds by selling troubled assets to the government in an auction, which was the way the Treasury Department had said it planned to use the money.

So here's how it shakes out, and this is so-called conservative economic policy in a nutshell: executives who run their companies into the ground can get huge golden parachutes using Federal bailout money. Auto workers in unions are told by United States Senators that they have to be sacrificed for wingnut anti-union ideology.

It may very well be that the Big Three will fold no matter what we do. And if the Republicans had only pointed out this reality - that any bailout is only to get the workers through Christmas - I might even see their point. But no, it isn't about reality, it's about mean-spirited corporatism. It's about putting millions of people out of work for ideology and opportunism. And that is about as reprehensible a motive as I've ever seen out of a bunch of people who've forgotten that as "public servants", working people, including auto workers, are part of that public.
The Party of Hoover is just evil. But they will continue to gum up the machinery of government because the spineless wimps in the Democratic leadership of the Senate, led by Harry Reid (D-Cnidaria), are unwilling or unable to do anything.
Anyone who thinks the availability of unemployment benefits would somehow cushion the blow of a layoff ought to guess again. Because state funds are tapped dry, and states are now having to borrow money from the Federal government (which if the truth were to be told, is also insolvent).
So what was the point, then?
Yesterday, top US military commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno said that, though the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) explicitly requires all US forces to be out of Iraqi cities by June 30, he expects troops will remain in the cities past that date:
Here's a really sad story:

Surviving spouses of war veterans have been wrongfully denied up to millions of dollars in government benefits over the past 12 years due to computer glitches that often resulted in money being seized from the elderly survivors' bank accounts.








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