Thursday, December 18, 2008

Headlines - Thursday

h/t Dick: Robin Williams on Obama's election. 
Cowboys herding cats: 
Digby: Let's party like it's 1999:
Senate Republicans have requested information about Attorney General nominee Eric Holder's role in the Elian Gonzales controversy as part of a broad probe into his tenure with the Clinton administration and potential ties to presidential scandals during that era.

Eight of nine GOP members on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote Clinton Presidential Library Director Terry Garner on Thursday to ask for 10 categories of material, and that includes any information on Holder's involvement with the Cuban boy seized by U.S. agents in April 2000.

Keep in mind that they are just doing this to generate enough heat that Obama will find it in his best interest to withdraw Holder's nomination so that these hearings don't turn the first days of his administration into a circus. They want a scalp. It proves their relevance, it is yet another shot at Clinton (which guarantees the media will eat it with a spoon) and it puts Obama on notice that they can still gin up a hissy fit at a moment's notice if they feel they need to. The press is already showing they will move right along with them without missing a beat, so it's a logical strategy.

Let's hope he doesn't give it to them. Once you start meeting their lunatic demands, there is no end to it.

Starting next month, U.S. soldiers will have to get warrants for searches and arrests in Iraq. 
The United States of America is bankrupt. Don't believe it? Consider this: Federal obligations now exceed the collective net worth of all Americans, according to the New York-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Washington politicians and bureaucrats have essentially mortgaged everything We the People own so they can keep spending our tax dollars like there's no tomorrow.

The foundation's grim calculations are based on Sept. 30 consolidated federal statements, which showed that Americans' total household net worth, diminished by falling stock prices and home equity, is $56.5 trillion. But rising costs for unfunded social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security increased to $56.4 trillion – and that was before the more recent stock market crash, $700 billion bank bailout, and monster federal deficits chalked up in October and November.

"Given more recent developments, it's clear that America now owes more than its citizens are worth," said Foundation president David M. Walker, the former Comptroller-General of the United States who has been trying to warn Americans of the coming financial tsunami for years, to no avail. So, after Uncle Sam bails out bankers, Wall Street gamblers, carmakers and over-their-head homeowners, who'll bail out Uncle Sam? 

Asked whether he was still the same person after being president, Bush said, "I didn't change my basic values." 
"I loved my wife then. I love her now. I realize my most important job was to be a loving father, and it is still my most important job. I believed in an almighty, then my belief has been strengthened. You've got to say I'm a little wiser. My knowledge of the world is more profound,"
Mark Morford has a few ideas about what could be thrown at Bush - although he warns that you should never REALLY throw anything at him as much as you might like to "because you could get shot or perhaps go to jail for a very long time, which, despite how you'd be hailed a hero worldwide forevermore, would just be no fun at all. Don't do it. Throwing is wrong. OK?"
If non-lethal tasers have killed 400....

In the aftermath of the deadly Mumbai terror attacks, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has come out with guns blazing - with a plan to get all 1,000 rookie cops ready to use heavy artillery in time for New Year's Eve, The Post has learned. 


Ugly housing starts number today, 625,000:


Invictus: Larry Kudlow, arguing for the Fed to raise rates, June 23, 2008:
Nobody expects the central bank to raise its target rate this week — although frankly I wish it would.[...]

I continue to believe that fighting inflation and appreciating the dollar would be the best medicine for the economy, and in the short term would be strong medicine to reduce world energy prices, including gasoline at the pump.

Larry Kudlow, gushing over the Fed's move to a ZIRP (zero interest rate policy), today (emph. mine):
And while some economists worry about higher future inflation from all this money-creation, Tuesday's consumer price report actually showed deflation of 10 percent annually over the past three months. That gives the central bank ammunition to ignore inflation and aim instead for a massive monetary easing.
Tell me again why he has a tv show? Kudlow called repeatedly for the Fed to raise rates, to "take back" some of last winter's cuts. It was absolutely the wrong thing to do, as we now see clearly. (As an aside, any Fed governors who voted over the summer for rate hikes should either resign or be dismissed, as they're clearly incapable of doing their job.)

And lest you've forgotten, boys and girls, Larry tells us yet again today what the only true solution is to any economic crisis:

But I still believe the best economic stimulus would be a move to cut tax rates across-the-board for individuals and businesses.
Just kill me. 
A heartwarming story about Newfoundland:
Mein Kake
The Campbell family of Easton, Pa., is up in arms over the denial of a birthday cake for their three-year-old boy: Adolf Hitler Campbell. ShopRite refused to make a cake for the genocidal murderers namesake.
Fortunately for the Campbells, Wal-Mart proved to have the Reich-stuff and made the cake for them and the birthday went off without a hitch. Story here.

Wingnut Rick 'cone of silence' Warren, of Saddleback Church fame, has declared that marriage, reproductive choice, and stem cell research were "non-negotiable" issues for Christian voters. He criticized Obama's answers at the Faith Forum he hosted before the election and vowed to continue to pressure him to change his views on the issue of reproductive choice.  Like the Mormons, he did not want the queers to get married in California. He said he can't be accused of being a homophobe tho, because he's given money to people with AIDS and he's eaten dinner in "gay homes." Warren has also declared that those who do not believe in God should not be allowed to hold public office. And, he's the one giving George W. Bush the first International Medal of PEACE from the Global PEACE Coalition in recognition of his contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

So I guess I have to wonder why Barack Obama has chosen him to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.

What's the matter Senator? There weren't any progressive ministers out there who actually believed in social justice without the fiery, extremist rhetoric of both the far left and right wing?

This is very disappointing and a little emblematic of a man who is trying too hard to appease segments of this society who don't have an interest in a successful Obama administration in the first place.

Giving Warren this platform now is politically stupid. Inevitably, Obama will do something to "disappoint" the anti-gay, anti-choice Warren down the road, and only someone naive or too taken with his own ability to charm would think he can avoid this.


Weapons of mass destruction future capability related program activities by Eric Martin

Dick Cheney is still lying about Iraq's WMD.  The ultimate dead-ender.  In response to Karl Rove's claim that the Bush administration would not have pushed for the invasion of Iraq had it known the reality of Iraq's WMD capacity:

Cheney said that the U.S. would have invaded regardless of whether or not Saddam Hussein possessed WMD because he retained the "capability to produce weapons of mass destruction":

CHENEY: As I look at the intelligence with respect to Iraq, what they got wrong was that there weren't any stockpiles. What they found was that Saddam Hussein still had the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction. He had the technology, he had the people, he had the basic feed stock.

First of all, using a country's "capability" to produce WMD at some later date as a casus belli is the thinnest of gruel.  But here's the kicker: Cheney isn't even telling the truth about that.

Cheney appears to be confusing "capability" with "desire." Indeed, in 2004, the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) — which searched Iraq for Hussein's supposed WMD stockpiles — concluded in a 1,000 page report that Iraq "had the desire but not the capability to create weapons that could attack the west" at the time of the U.S. invasion. Additionally, the ISG confirmed that Iraq's WMD capabilities were "essentially destroyed" in the 1991 Gulf War:

Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq's WMD capability—which was essentially destroyed in 1991—after sanctions were removed and Iraq's economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. [emphasis added throughout]

When your mendacity can make Karl Rove look honest and forthright in comparison you've really accomplished something. 

Dick Cheney is a national embarrassment.

(And a criminal void of any conscience. In other words, a psychopath). 

UPDATE: Ilan Goldenberg and Spencer Ackerman have more of Cheney's most recent lies, relating to the putative return to the battlefield of released Gitmo detainees, as well as the intelligence gleaned from torturing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, respectively.


A pediatric brain surgeon in Colorado discovered a small foot, parts of an intestine, and another developing foot, hand and thigh in a 3 day old's brain:


A rather well-timed report, (politically-speaking), that would make for a good step forward in Iraq

Blackwater should be dropped as the main private security contractor for US diplomats in Iraq, a US State Department panel has recommended.

Its report, commissioned by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, says the company's contract should not be renewed when it expires next year.

. . .

A decision on the recommendation will be left to the incoming Obama administration, which will be in office when Blackwater's contract comes up for renewal.

I guess this would help explain Blackwater's increased interest in fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia. One must keep the beast(s) fed, after all.

In any case, it would allow Obama to point out it was Bush's State Department that made the recommendation to end Blackwater's contract, while also allowing Bush to avoid firing a powerful political ally. Everybody's happy, except I suppose for all the Iraqis who've been killed by said "security contractors", but we've never counted them before, so why start now?


Somewhat shorter Glennzilla:

Bang a prostitute using your own bucks = moral turptitude so heinous that it can only be cured by crawling over glass, wearing only a hair shirt for the foreseeable future.

Screw the entire world up the keister, breaking every law of common decency and violating every last vestige of human rights, while bleeding the national treasury dry to do it = revered statesman.

He's talking about Eliot Spitzer and Dick Cheney. Why the difference? Because in the latter case, admitting that the morally bereft crime boss should be standing in front of the bench at the Hague instead of lolling in a comfy chair at ABC News, would require accepting responsibility for their own moral failings in not only aiding and abetting the crime spree, but also profiting from it.


What you have is a two-tiered system of justice where ordinary Americans are subjected to the most merciless criminal justice system in the world. They break the law. The full weight of the criminal justice system comes crashing down upon them. But our political class, the same elites who have imposed that incredibly harsh framework on ordinary Americans, have essentially exempted themselves and the leaders of that political class from the law.

They have license to break the law. That's what we're deciding now as we say George Bush and his top advisors shouldn't be investigated let alone prosecuted for the laws that we know that they've broken. And I can't think of anything more damaging to our country because the rule of law is the lynchpin of everything we have.  

The real Bush legacy - as opposed to the Rovian version:
Speaking of Rove, he has a message to Obama:
The top priorities for the Senator who will raise his right hand on January 20, 2009, and say "I do solemnly swear" are obvious: keeping America safe and growing the economy.
Less obvious is how to create a White House where forceful debate can take place. Plain speaking, straight talk, and dissent must be encouraged, with participants thoroughly prepared, ideas offered with deference for opposing views, and colleagues not subjected to self-serving leaks. The power of the Oval Office can cower critics and silence disagreement; the Chief Executive must labor hard to make it a place of debate and vigorous debate.
And Cheney has a message for Rahm: "The best thing you can do is keep your VP under control." Hilarity ensued. 
And the white washing of history continues...
Bush still trumpeting his record on national security, emphasizing that terrorists have not struck again since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 -- hoping that most people would forget he brushed off the August 2001 Presidental Daily Briefing entitled 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack in the US.' But don't expect any in the lapdog media to have the bad manners to bring that up.
Tony Fratto says, 'No one could have anticipated' terrorists flying planes into buildings before 9/11.
Condi says under Bush, the US has embraced the U.N. maybe more than any other administration. 
"There's no such thing as the United Nations. If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference." Recess-appointee UN Ambassador John Bolton
Thailand tiger temple - monks and tigers live together:
The perfect gift for all the vegetarians in your life
Burger King is offering for a limited time only "Flame" - the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.
At last, Chimpy is good for business!


BAGHDAD, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Call it product placement. Across the Middle East, rival shoemakers have claimed it was they who created the footwear flung at U.S. President George W. Bush by an angry Iraqi and immortalised by TV cameras…

Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported Turkish businessman Ramazan Baydan had made the shoes and carried a front page picture of the design, alongside the headline "Made in Turkey."

Baydan said he had designed the style in 1999, and orders from Iraq had increased by 100 percent since the Bush incident.

"If it had hit Bush's head it wouldn't have hurt him," he said of his shoe, apparently referring to the softness of the leather.

The article doesn't clarify if "the softness of the leather" meant the shoe or Chimpy's head…

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