Monday, January 5, 2009

Headlines - Monday

Frank Rich says George of the Bungle is "smaller than life."
Apparently believing there is still something to pillage and pilfer, Papa Bush tells Fox Spews that he's ready for another Bush in the White House: 

"I think he'd be an outstanding senator ... I'd like to see him be president some day. Right now is probably a bad time because maybe we've had enough Bushes in there."

Hopefully, in addition to everything else he's ruined, Dim Son has ruined favorite son Jeb's chances to be President.

During the same interview, surprisingly enough, Chris Wallace actually pointed out that the former president had acknowledged some failures in Shrub's two terms and asked him to elaborate. "No! You can go back to your, what do you call it, your Google, and you figure out all that," Bush responded. 


Common Dreams - We Arm the World: The United States once again leads the world in exporting weapons


FBI email says George "We do not torture" Bush ordered the torture of detainees.


Chris Hedges has written a column entitled, "Why I Am A Socialist."

In speaking about the similarities between Psychopaths and Corporations, he makes the following point:

Psychologist Dr. Robert Hare lists in the film psychopathic traits and ties them to the behavior of corporations:

  • callous unconcern for the feelings for others;
  • incapacity to maintain enduring relationships;
  • reckless disregard for the safety of others;
  • deceitfulness: repeated lying and conning others for profit;
  • incapacity to experience guilt
  • failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior.


"All this was, and is, disproportionate, indiscriminate mass violence in violation of international law. Israel is not exempt from international law and must be held accountable. "It is time for the UN to not just call for a cease-fire, but for an inquiry as to Israel's actions."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

Sooner or later, there can't be one set of rules for the "Good" guys and one set of rules for the "Bad" guys, especially since that very situation blurs the line, as we have learned in our own country, until, as Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

We invade a country for the sole reason of Bushian personal revenge for his Father with a dash of neoconservative wetdream. Their theories fail. We allow corporations to run amock in the name of Free Enterprise Without Government Oversite and are teetering on the edge of destruction as a country.

Israel blows into town, killing innocents — unless you count the three brothers above who are 14 and under to be enemies of the State — and while Kucinich has the balls to stand up and say something, our own failed international goobers are sluffing it off as "boys will be boys" and saying that Hamas must stop the missles cause "they started it!"

There is no excuse — not religious, not traditional, not diplomatic, not ethically, not morally — to roll over and let Israel have its way in this one. The other side of the equation are far from angels themselves, but Israel hasn't got a clue as to winning the hearts and minds, do they?

I don't feel humorous today. I feel like we are even closer as a civilization to our own nervous breakdown — witness this mess along with India and Pakistan and much, much more. The truth is, we are living in an era of Religious Wars. The sad part is, there are people who will blame it on religion as being inherently evil and destructive and, to a point, that much has become the case because spirituality, rather than being a force for good, has allowed itself to become a tool for destruction, discrimination, death-dealing and a hundred other failings of a humankind that seeks to wrap itself in the cloak of the religious.

If anyone in this horrible mess was really religious — for example, practicing the religion of Jesus rather than the religion about Jesus — things would be different because they were, to our own depths, different within in our hearts. Rather than being pawns manipulated by someone spamming the "Religion" button, we might, gasp, take on a Higher view, each in our own way. We might even stand up and say that enough is more than enough.


I knew that the English language was one of the richest languages on the planet, but I had no idea that the English Language is to Have One Million Words by April

And just think of how many new words and expressions have been added to the English language since the 'chimpster' became 'pretzeldent'. Now we can 'google' on the 'internets' and get more 'edumacated' so we don't 'misunderestimate' anything.


With the recount being over and Al Franken winning, the fight will now move to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which hasn't decided if it will hear arguments or not.

Franken could be named as the winner as early as Tuesday (when the other senators will be sworn in), but Coleman has promised to challenge the result. Nevertheless, short of a miracle, Stuart Smalley is going to be a U.S. Senator. And that's pretty cool.

When will Bill O'Reilly's head officially explode?


New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, tapped to be Obama's Secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his name pending an investigation.


Gaza crisis

The Times of London reports that Israel's rain of fire on Gaza is thought to be caused by controversial white phosphorus shells. 

* Israel invades Gaza and says that it has hit dozens of "militants" during heavy gun battles. Which seems a little like us invading Iraq and calling the people defending their homeland "insurgents."

* Gaza medics say at least 463 (update: at least 530) Palestinians have been killed - including 75 children - and 2,310 wounded in the air campaign. And that traces of depleted uranium have been found in Gaza victims.

* A very disturbing story had emerged from Gaza after a 13 year old girl had 17 bullets pumped into her by Israeli officers - who showed no remorse and said they would have killed her if she had been three. 

* People in Gaza are in dire need of food, medical supplies, and body bags - but Israel is hampering relief efforts. 

* In case anyone besides me is feeling pity towards the Palestinians, don't. According to an editorial in Israel's leading newspaper, any pity toward them is "unethical and immoral." 

"[j]ust as a crying baby who only elicits pity will continue to cry, the citizens of Gaza will continue to cry out to the world instead of taking matters into their own hands."


Meanwhile in the other two wars....

4,221 soldiers killed in Iraq; 630 in Afghanistan.

Here's what happened yesterday in Iraq.


Shrub will leave the office he disgraced with staffers for a Dallas office, Secret Service protection, a travel budget, medical coverage and a $196,700 annual pension, all at taxpayers' expense.

We also get to pay him and Shooter "transition expenses" for seven months "to facilitate their transition to private life"; travel expenses for any official activities attended by a former president, health care in military hospitals, and a state funeral with full military honors. 

However, Bush will be the first president not to benefit from one former lifetime benefit: Secret Service protection. He's only getting that for 10 years. 


The Wages of Post/Trans/Whatever-Partisanship and the Global Warming Discussion That Wasn't.


One of the better side effects of Obama's inauguration is that we can finally stop the endless theoretical arguments in the blogosphere about how he means to govern. Whether he's a cautious centrist who will fulfill his campaign promises in incremental ways and do little to challenge Beltway assumptions, or he's a secret progressive who has been hiding his true intentions and employing scores of cabinet members from the political center to give himself breathing space to implement sweeping progressive policies, we'll know soon enough and the exhausting parlor game of pondering will be over. One early test will come in the case of Ali al-Marri, where an Obama Administration will have to provide an opinion on where they stand on key Constitutional issues such as the rule of law, executive power and detainee policy in the "war on terror."


From a C-SPAN interview,:

Q You've had a tough couple of years. Most second Presidents have had tough second terms. Why is that?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, in my case, I was a wartime President and war is very exhausting. War is hard for a country.


Fundies call for exodus from public schools - again

Don't they promise this every year? Are they all being home-schooled or sent to religious indoctrination/flat earth institutions of learning? An outfit called Exodus Mandate has released an unhinged video, "Call to Dunkirk", that stresses the urgent need to pull "Christian" kids out of the secular schools.


Employees of a pizza delivery shop say the owner has cut off the heat in the store. And they say if the workers don't like it, they can leave.

Apparently the owner took retribution on one of the employees who spoke out not only by suspending then firing him, but by publicly airing the fact that the employee had previously had a DUI (and apparently reporting the results of a background check from another person who never even worked for them, but commented negatively on the comments in that blog.) 

Oh, and here's the best part:

The temperature was 55 degrees when we went in on Friday, but we saw something else. There's a space heater in the office where Benjamin's wife - the real boss - runs her accounting business.


There's a whole lot of shakin' going on

* In the last eight days, there have been more than 400 earthquakes at Yellowstone - where the volcanic system powers the geysers, mudpots and steam vents. - npr

* Yellowstone sits atop a supervolcano. The entire park is the depression of a caldera more than twice the size of Oahu that is the result of an unimaginably large eruption some 600,000 years ago. By comparison, the caldera left by the explosion of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 is about the size of downtown Honolulu. - honolulu star bulletin

Indonesia: a series of powerful earthquakes have killed at least four people and injured dozens more in remote eastern Indonesia, cutting power lines and destroying buildings. One of the quakes - a 7.3-magnitude tremor - sent small tsunamis into japan's south-eastern coast, but there were no reports of damage there and no tsunami in Indonesia's impoverished Papua area, AP has reported. - australia herald sun

Afghanistan: a moderate earthquake shook northeastern Afghanistan Sunday, sending people running from their homes, but there were no immediate reports of damage, witnesses and officials said. The 5.9-magnitude quake struck at 12:53 am (2023 gmt saturday), around 255 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of the capital Kabul and near the border with Pakistan, the USGS said. - afp


Countdown: Twenty Days

This is going to be the longest twenty days of our lives. In less than three weeks, the most insanely corrupt and incompetent administration in the history of this once-great nation will be pulverized to dust. All that will be left will be the after affects which our great grandchildren - who will never even know our names - will still be dealing with generations from now.

Read on.


For the second time in four days, the United States has quashed an attempted United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate end to the war in the Gaza Strip. 

Come on, everybody sing it with me...

"....and I'm proud to be an American..."


What happened to the "It's patriotic to pay taxes" thing?

Looks like President-elect Obama's detractors may have to remove the first part of their "tax-and-spend liberal" smear. In what must be an effort to suck up to Repiglicons, Obama is asking that tax cuts make up to 40 percent of his $775 billion stimulus. That means more than $300 billion in tax cuts, which are naturally already winning Republican approval from the likes of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Digby says, "I certainly hope they really believe that it will work to create jobs and stimulate investment because if they are doing this as a political move to appease the Republicans they will not only create a stimulus that is highly unlikely to work, but the Republicans will not reward them for it. Sure, they may get a few more to sign on to the plan, but if it doesn't get the job done the conservatives will soon swarm them like a school of starving piranhas, no matter who voted for it."

Krugman: Fighting Off Depression.


Fun fact: Bernie Madoff was investigated eight times in 16 years by the SEC and other regulatory agencies, reports The Wall Street Journal, "but regulators never came close to uncovering the alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme that investigators now believe began in the 1970s." The SEC's failures will be on display today in Congress, as the SEC's inspector general will testify. I hope he mentions how busy they were surfing porn and running their own personal businesses.


Democrats: snatching defeat from victory since 1992

Tim Kaine has been chosen to head the DNC. You remember Tim - he's the guy that gave that wretched SOTU rebuttal a few years back, is pro-life, against gay marriage and stem cell research, has a poor record on the environment and climate change, and is still a governor until January 2010.


"The relatives of Mexicans in the United States have become a new profit center for Mexico's crime industry. Hundreds of families are emigrating out of fear of kidnap or extortion, and Mexicans in the U.S. are doing everything they can to avoid returning. Instead, they're getting their relatives out."


According to the Maryland State Police, these were "terrorist groups" requiring covert monitoring:

  • Amnesty International, for the crime of "civil rights."
  • The DC Anti-War Network, "white supremacists."
  • Code Pink.
  • Catholic nuns.
  • People opposed to the death penalty.
  • People in favor of bike lanes.

Nobody was ever arrested, let alone charged because of the spying by the Maryland KGB State Police. Nobody has ever been disciplined by the State of Maryland; on the contrary, they've been promoted.

I hope the taxpayers of Maryland are ready to shell out huge sums in legal fees and judgments.

And anyone who thinks that this is not going on elsewhere is seriously delusional.

"Iraq puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again."

Yesterday, Dick Cheney continued the Legacy of So What tour with an interview on Face the Nation.


"Iraq rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again."

Yesterday, Dick Cheney continued the Legacy of So What tour with an interview on Face the Nation.

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