Thursday, April 30, 2009

Headlines - Thursday




In this post about the Atlanta, GA teabaggers' convocation at the state capitol, Jim Galloway of the AJC mentioned that "today [April 26th] is Confederate Memorial Day." 

I must confess that I've never heard of such a thing.  To Wikipedia!

Confederate Memorial Day, also known as Confederate Decoration Day (Tennessee) and Confederate Heroes Day (Texas), is an official holiday and/or observance day in parts of the U.S. South as a day to honor those who died fighting for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. 

Just when you think you've seen it all, here comes something that once again beggars the imagination.  Something which confirms that, no matter how far they have previously sunk, there is no depth to which the revisionist historians of the American south cannot sink in their quest to celebrate one of history's greatest evils and the monsters who caused it.

"Confederate heroes?"  There were no Confederate heroes, only massive numbers of relatively ignorant people duped into fighting and dying for the region's moneyed elite, goaded into violence by twisted racial propaganda and enough theological blasphemy to make the Dutch Reformed Church blush.

Now, 144 years after the end of their treasonous war against their brothers and sisters, they still have holidays which celebrate that massive betrayal, closing state offices.  Further, several states combine this observance with the federal day honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.  But they're not racists!  There's no hard feelings about the Civil War!  Oh no, it's just a coincidence that Arkansas and Texas honor their homegrown traitors and terrorists on the same day the nation honors - halfheartedly, to be sure - the memory of the man who, more than any other, taught reconciliation between the races.

The only honor the Confederacy needs is to know the truth of what they did and why, to be glad they're dead and gone and to vow to never again betray one's fellow citizens.


Smithfield Foods is denying responsibility for the outbreak in Veracruz, Mexico, of the swine flu. They say they test and vaccinate the pigs they torture in their huge factory farm. They say none of the infected people had contact with hogs.

However, Smithfield's statement fails to mention that countless residents of La Gloria were routinely and relentlessly exposed to airborne droplets of pig feces and decayed tissue for an undetermined number of years, thanks to toxic and sick-making clouds blowing outward from Granja Carrol's so-called "oxidation ponds"--or pig sewage lagoons. And that they have long complained of respiratory illnesses, well before their children started dying in March.

Nor does the company's statement explain that contracting the H1N1 influenza virus does NOT necessarily require that one "have contact with hogs"; in fact, the flu virus is spread via tiny droplets of infected matter--feces, body fluids--that reach the mucous membranes and lungs when someone touches a contaminated surface before rubbing his eyes, for example, or when he unwittingly inhales airborne, virus-containing waste droplets floating around his town, courtesy of a nearby pig or poultry CAFO.

And there's something else--several things, actually--that Smithfield Foods left off its website: photographs of the Granjas Carrol plant itself. The photos are published on the news website Enlace Veracruz 212 (Veracruz Connection) - Analytical and Investigative Journalism. It must be said, these writer(s) and photographer(s) are very brave journalists indeed--for reasons both obvious and not-so-obvious: according to the accompanying article, speaking out against the Granjas Carrol operation has, disturbingly but not unsurprisingly, led to various residents being intimidated, threatened, and arrested by certain officials tasked with protecting the company's financial interests. (These images are, in a word, grisly. You've been warned.)

The infamous oxidation ponds, or pig-waste lagoons, filled with concentrated excrement, blood, and the rotting bodies of dead pigs; note the broken pipe.

Rotting pig carcass floating in the oxidation pond/pig-waste lagoon

Dead pigs, stacked on a wheeled cart and left out in the heat. It is not clear if these animals' bodies were destined for processing or disposal. 

More dead pigs left out to rot; scavenger animals got hold of these carcasses. As the Enlace Veracruz writer notes, "This is the how Granjas Carrol cares for its dead."

So, readers, are you horrified yet? And are you, too, wondering where on Earth the American mainstream media are?


It was decision day for the Bank of America on the future of Chairman Ken Lewis. And, Ken Lewis lost.

SEIU has led the effort to dump Lewis. Over the past couple weeks, SEIU along with, True Majority and a bunch of other groups collected more than 90,000 "taxpayer proxy cards." You know, as taxpayers, we are the largest shareholder in BofA, and those 90,000 taxpayers want Ken Lewis fired. The proxy cards were delivered at the meeting today


Obama just completed his first 100 days. But there was another 100 days as well. The Republican first 100 days... in opposition. And they didn't do so well. Here is Dan Balz in yesterday's Washington Post:

How much more can the Republicans take? Demoralized, shrinking and seemingly lacking an agenda beyond the word "no," Republicans today saw their ranks further thinned with the stunning news that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter is switching parties and will run for reelection in 2010 as a Democrat....

[T]he Republican Party continues to contract, especially outside the South, and that it appears increasingly less welcome to politicians and voters who do not consider themselves solidly conservative. Northeast Republicans have gone from an endangered species to a nearly extinct species. Republicans lost ground in the Rocky Mountains and the Midwest in the last two elections. That's no way to build a national party.

Balz adds:

Republicans have been on a downward slide for the past four years, a decline that began not long after the reelection of former president George W. Bush in 2004. Many Republicans have blamed most of the party's problems on Bush's leadership. But the problems go deeper than any one person. Specter's shocking departure may provide a wakeup call to Republicans that a broad reassessment is now urgently needed.

It's not about George Bush. He was an abject failure, to be sure, but Republicans fool themselves when they blame Bush as some kind of aberration. The only problem, they say, is that Bush wasn't a true conservative. In fact, the only problem was that he was. He cut taxes. He took us to war, repeatedly. He deregulated and favored business over the individual. He opposed abortion and bashed the gays. And what did it get us?

The Republicans need to wake up and smell the Kool-Aid. George Bush didn't fail because he wasn't conservative enough. George Bush failed because he was a true Republican. 


Spain is not backing down on the Gitmo torture investigation. AP


Permanent Republican Majority

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s appearance at a Michigan county Republican Party event was scrapped this week after the county chairwoman said that hosting the moderate Utah governor would mean abandoning the party's conservative principles.




Obama hits back against Bybee's defense: "Legal rationales for torture memos were a mistake"


Yesterday the House passed President Obama's $3.4 trillion budget outline by a vote of 233-193. However, all House Republicans voted against the plan:

Not a single Republican voted for the measure; 17 Democrats, mostly from GOP-leaning districts, voted against it. The Senate will vote on the measure Wednesday afternoon.

The House GOP also voted in unison against the stimulus package in February -- despite President Obama's aggressive bipartisan outreach. In January, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that "it would be a great mistake for the House GOP to turn inward and simply become the party of 'no.'"


Arlen Sphincter's first vote as a Democrat 

In a 53-to-43 vote tonight, the Senate followed the House in passing President Obama's budget. Not a single Republican voted in favor of the budget resolution, but a number of key Democrats including Sens. Evan Bayh (IN), Robert Byrd (WV), Ben Nelson (NE), and most notably Arlen Specter (PA) voted against it. Just yesterday, Specter reportedly said to Obama, "I'm a loyal Democrat. I support your agenda." The budget resolution that passed tonight allowed for health care reform to be implemented using the budget reconciliation process, which Specter expressed his opposition to yesterday.


The state of New Hampshire fell victim to the Gay Marriage Flu sweeping the nation; its Senate and House have approved a marriage bill. Now they have to see if the governor will sign it. [Boston Globe]


Gay marriage fever upgraded to Level 5G

GOP hysterical over hate crimes bill because it would protect gay people:

Less than one month after she used the term "tar baby" on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) says the notion that Matthew Shepard murder was a hate crime was a "hoax"


Georgia governor candidate who has already admitted to having sex with a mule before finding God says he's ready to sacrifice his own son in an effort to get his state to secede from the union. Neal Horsley made national headlines when he posted the names, phone numbers and addresses of abortion doctors online. His "Nuremberg Files" website also crossed off the names of doctors as they were killed:


4,278 soldiers killed in Iraq; 679 in Afghanistan.

Another US drone kills at least 10 in Pakistan.

April is deadliest month in Iraq in over a year.

Yesterday in Iraq: 63 Iraqis killed and 108 wounded.


The prez targets the teabaggers

At his 100th-day town hall meeting in St. Louis, President Obama took direct aim at the "tea party" demonstrations that cropped up over the last month – and took a veiled shot at Fox "News," the network closely associated with the protests.

Asked about fiscal discipline and entitlements reform, Obama seemed to be
repressing a smile as he jabbed critics of his spending plans.

"Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I'm not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, Obama said, "let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security."

"But," Obama continued, "let's not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act."  


Tearful obstructionist has another hissyfit, but neglects to provide any sort of constructive countermeasures. Spray-tanned, whiny and clueless is no way to go through Congress, moron.

The top House WATB said Tuesday that the "liberal" bills being pushed by President Obama and congressional Democrats make him "want to throw up."

Permanent-Minority Leader John "butt-hurt" Boehner burbled in an interview that decisions such as closing Guantanamo Bay and releasing classified memos on CIA torture techniques reflect a dangerous, "piecemeal approach" to national security.

"They have no plan for taking on the terrorists, and they have no plan for keeping America safe," he whined to the Moonie Times.

Coincidently, Mr Boner did not offer any plan of his own. Huh.



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Headlines - Wednesday

Why factory farms are bad - volume 696,265
Swine flu linked to Smithfield Foods factory farm? 
Facing South

Grist Magazine online has a must-read story by North Carolina-based food editor Tom Philpott examining a possible link between the outbreak of swine flu and Smithfield Foods of Virginia, the world's largest pork producer and processor.

Philpott notes that the Mexico City daily La Jornada has reported on the possible connection between the flu outbreak and Smithfield's operations, noting that a Mexican health agency has acknowledged that the original carrier of the disease may have been the flies that breed in the company's hog waste lagoons.

"Hog waste lagoons." Sounds like a dream destination resort, huh? Blechhh...

The swine flu outbreak has led to a drop in Smithfield's stock prices, with analysts increasing their loss estimates for that company has well as Arkansas-based Tyson Foods due to consumer concerns about pork.
The Repug gasbags are trying to blame this deal on Obama. Probably closer to the truth to lay it at the feet of the Repugs who are famous for removing laws that protect consumers. Watch them try to cover up this part of the flu story.
I don't like or trust Arlen Sphincter, for I well remember that when the party of Hoover was in control of the Senate, he made brave noises about confronting the Bush Administration on wiretapping and other blatant violations of the Constitution. But when it came to to pick up the hammer and bring it down, Specter reached for the Nerf hammer.

Specter is a weasel. Now he may be the Democrat's weasel, but he is still a weasel. 
Dittos - What Glenn said:

Arlen Specter is one of the worst, most soul-less, most belief-free individuals in politics. The moment most vividly illustrating what Specter is: prior to the vote on the Military Commissions Act of 2006, he went to the floor of the Senate and said what the bill "seeks to do is set back basic rights by some 900 years" and is "patently unconstitutional on its face." He then proceeded to vote YES on the bill's passage.

Yeah, that sums up the World According to Arlen. 

And before you get too excited about the magical 60 vote majority, down w/tyranny reminds us about the blue dog democrats.
Update: when Sphincter announced he was leaving the Republican party, he pledged loyalty to Obama's agenda:

At 10:32 am, President Barack Obama reached Specter and told him "you have my full support" and "thrilled to have you."

Specter told the president, "I'm a loyal Democrat. I support your agenda."

Just hours later, however, Specter reaffirmed his unfounded opposition to Obama's pick to head the Office of Legal Counsel, Dawn Johnsen:

Q: How are going to vote on the Dawn Johnsen confirmation?

SPECTER: I'm opposed to the nominee for Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Council, Dawn Johnsen.

Specter also reaffirmed his opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, and has a long voting record opposing a new clean economy. Plus, if he gets chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee, the "loyal Democrat" will be able to indefinitely delay hearings on Johnsen, not to mention completely kill Leahy's efforts to hold a truth commission to examine Bush's use of torture and other illegal practices.


Stop me if you've heard this one before. It's a real knee-slapper... Gov. Ricky thinks we're jealous of his state. 
Jealous of you? Bite me, Gov. Goodhair.

Music aside, the best thing to ever come outta Texas is Interstate 40. You can get outta Texas faster.
Because nothing says that you love your faith more than having a blue-skinned zombie amputee Jesus on your license plate, framed by an orange.

The State of Florida proves once again that any state run by Republicans is a state run by idiots...

Since the banksters have put their economy in the toilet, Icelanders have decided to return the favor. 
Good family man and Mormon that he is, Bybee defends the torture memos he wrote:
Full-time lunatic Michele Bachmann, woke yesterday from her barbiturate-wine cooler stupor, heard the news about the swine flu, and decided to craft a response — you know, something that would, uh, blame a swine/bird/human flu virus on, uhm, LIBERALS. She then did an interview with PajamasTV, where she falsely claimed that the last swine flu outbreak occurred under "another Democrat President, Jimmy Carter." Bachmann, however, insisted she was not trying to blame either man for the outbreaks:

BACHMANN: I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under Democrat President Jimmy Carter. And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it is an interesting coincidence.

What I find interesting, Michele, is that the last U.S. outbreak of swine flu did not begin under Carter. Rather, it began in February of 1976, when Republican Gerald Ford was president
May the lord God of Abraham shrivel your testicles like a raisin in the Negev sun

Gordon James Klingenschmitt, Chaplain, USN (ret)

Dear Chaplain Klingenschmitt,

Far too often, Christians respond to charges of wrongdoing by either turning the other cheek or by quickly repenting and asking for forgiveness. That's the wrong response - it's wimpy and unmanly. It's not what Jehovah would have done. He'd have kicked some ass; he'd have smited the offender's whole city with hemorrhoids.

That's why I was so happy to see your response to charges that you were improperly wearing your uniform for political and religious purposes. You didn't turn the other cheek. No,
you uttered the following imprecatory prayer:

Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who recently issued a press release attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround me and tell lies about me. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore, find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with godly people. Plunder their fields and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants. And remember their sins. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Now some might say that Our Lord, God of Abraham, would be engaging in a bit of overkill if He granted all of your requests. I mean, hey, is economic ruin and impotence (that's what you mean by cutting off descendants isn't it - I'd have gone more for, "Please Lord, dry up their testicles like a raisin in the Negev sun," but that's just me) really an appropriate response to a cease and desist letter from a lawyer? I have one response to such wimps. Look up Judges 2:23-24. God sent two she bears to eat 42 children simply because they mocked a bald guy. You're letting Weinstein and Lynn off pretty easy if you ask me. Heck, you're not even going after their teeth.

Heterosexually yours,

Gen. JC Christian, patriot

Is the Porter Goss who is now condemning the release of the torture memos the same Porter Goss who hired Dusty Foggo--now in federal prison--and who resigned suddenly and mysteriously in 2006 as director of the CIA? Normally, the answer would be 'Yes', but since the essence of the CIA is deception and deceit, it's hard to say. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Headlines - Tuesday

Forced-birthers link flu emergency to Sebelius cloture vote

Revealing that her understanding of public health alerts has not evolved from the Bush-generated panics over color-coded terror alerts and anthrax attacks, the head of Concerned Women for America, Wendy Wright, says, "some people" blame the Obama administration for the political timing of the swine flu alert, since it happened one day before today's cloture vote on the nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to head HHS, a critical department.


I think the religious right's newest bimbo mascot isn't going to be doing any more media for a while after this revelation. Alvin from Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters found the following (and lots more) on the Web site of Miss California's church:
There are also moral repercussions stemming from homosexual behavior as evidenced by the fact that one third of all sexual crimes against children are committed by homosexuals even though they are representative of only one percent of the population. Pedophilia has even been called central to the gay lifestyle. The agenda of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) is to lower the age of consent so that sex with children will be legal.
For anyone living under a rock, the homosexuality-pedophilia canard was debunked three decades ago. What's worse, the "research" Miss C's church is quoting - they also claim that 30% of gay men will die or get AIDS by the time they're 30 - appears to come from a known hate group (as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center) led by one Paul Cameron, a quack researcher thrown out of all the top professional societies in his field.

So, Miss California may have been influenced in her attitudes towards gays by the research of a known hate group. I can't wait for her next interview.

This is quite impressive:

General Electric says it has achieved a breakthrough in digital storage technology that will allow standard-size discs to hold the equivalent of 100 DVDs.

The storage advance, which G.E. is announcing on Monday, is just a laboratory success at this stage. The new technology must be made to work in products that can be mass-produced at affordable prices.

But optical storage experts and industry analysts who were told of the development said it held the promise of being a big step forward in digital storage with a wide range of potential uses in commercial, scientific and consumer markets.

"This could be the next generation of low-cost storage," said Richard Doherty, an analyst at Envisioneering, a technology research firm.

I still laugh when I think about paying $196 bucks for 4 megs of ram to throw into my Gateway 2000 486 SX-33 to double the memory to 8 megs.

In 1992.


Blowjobs put our nation in peril - war crimes, not so much

The Weekly Yambag's Bill "Always Wrong" Kristol pulls another one out of his well-worn ass:

"We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history," President Obama said when he ordered the release of the Justice Department interrogation memos. Actually, no. Not at all. We were attacked on 9/11. We responded to that by using the Constitution as a beer-coaster and... what? Oh. The dark and painful chapter we have to fear is Obama's, in which politicians preen moralistically as they throw patriotic officials who helped keep this country safe to the wolves... Obama throws the door open to years of lawsuits and investigations that will do injustice to those who've served the country and will demoralize those still seeking to do so."

Yeah -- tell that to Bill Clinton, you hypocritical douchewad.


Analyzing the polls post-tea party shows Obama's approval has either been steady or has increased, right- and wrong-track significantly better, and the GOP has either declined or are still in the same sorry state...

There is a
warning sign for the GOP in the new poll: 21 percent of those surveyed said they identify as Republicans, the fewest to do so in a Post-ABC poll in more than 25 years.

[T]here are no signs of a dramatic rebound for the party, and the chance of Republicans winning control of either chamber in the 2010 midterm elections is zero. Not "close to zero." Not "slight" or "small." Zero.

"As a matter of reality, in the first 100 days, [the Republican't Party] has not done anything to improve its political position with regards to the fact that it has been a shrinking entity."

So much for the huge populist uprising! The sense of rebellion brewing!


Poll: majority of American-hatin' Minnesotans also hate Norm Coleman

A new Star-Tribune poll makes it pretty clear that the people of the North Star State have had it with their former Senator. 

Nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans surveyed think obstructionist asshat Norm Coleman should pack it in, for the love of God already, and concede the U.S. Senate race to Al Franken.

Yeah! God bless America.

Another belch from the black hole of stupid

Dueling headlines at freetardia today almost cause a blip in the space-time continuum:

  • Obama went golfing during swine flu public health emergency warning!!!!!1!
  • Obama to not let crisis go to waste with press conference @ 9AM this am per Fox News. What will TOTUS add that was not said yesterday.
  • BTW, 'TOTUS' = telepromper of the US. Sigh. This is why we can NEVER let up. Ever.

    Don't miss The Top 10 Conservative Idiots, No. 363: The Ultimate Meltdown Edition. You know its bad for the GOP when a list entitled 'The Ultimate Meltdown' doesn't include appearances by regulars Glenn Beck or Sean Insanity.
    Majority of Americans give high marks to socialist commie
    In new polls, Prez Obama gets a high approval rating for his first three months in office, says Politico, wiping their raging butt-hurt with extra-quilted Charmin®.

    69 percent of America approve of Obama, + the highest 'right track' numbers in years.

    An ABC News poll released this morning shows that a vast majority -- 69 percent -- of Americans approve of President Obama and 72 percent view him favorably, "the best job approval rating at this point in 20 years, [and] the broadest personal popularity since Ronald Reagan."

    Fifty percent now say the United States is headed in the right direction, up 31 points since the end of the Bush administration.
    "Obama leads the Republicans in Congress in trust to handle the economy by a garish 61-24 percent."
    Meanwhile, Fair and Balanced (sic) Fox refuses to air President Barack Obama's primetime press conference on Wednesday night, scheduled to mark the president's 100th day in office:
    "I swear to God, I'm going to arrest these guys!"

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Headlines - Monday

    Let's just send tea to Texas!

    Gov. Rick Perry Saturday asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 37,430 courses of antiviral medications from the Strategic National Stockpile as a precaution after three cases of swine flu were confirmed in Texas.
    Yes, that is the very same Rick Perry who, eleven days ago at the tea-baggery protests, said this:
    "I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state."
    And this:
    "Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that."
    Oh, sure. When everything is going well, douchebags like Perry rail and scream at the Federal government. But when Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston, Perry had zero problem with asking the Federal government for help. There was not one Texas teabagging protester at the border to stop FEMA trucks.

    That didn't stop the teabaggery fiasco from happening not eight months later. How soon they forget. They all want the Federal government to step in and help them, but horrors of horrors if they actually have to pay taxes!

    Now, with a chance that a serious pandemic is in the offing, Governor Perry is in the forefront of asking the Federal government for help.

    So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a photo of a world-class hypocrite: The Governor of Texas, the not-exactly-honorable Rick Perry:

    This pandemic has been brought to you by the Republican party
    That is the story in the Nation, which reported that the Republicans were very proud in being able to strip nearly a billion dollars' worth of funding for pandemic flu preparations from the stimulus bill. As noted in the article, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was a leader in the move to strip funding for pandemic preparation. As she brags in her own website:
    Sen. Collins expressed concern about a number of spending provisions, including $780 million for pandemic-flu preparedness.
    I predict that, if the swine flu turns into a real pandemic, you will see Republicans running for cover on this even faster than sick people going to the pharmacy with a prescription for Tamiflu.  
    Nice to know Donald Rumsfeld will be profiting from this.
    And this:

    Bush's Brain doesn't appear to be quite so prescient in the face of a potential global flu epidemic.

    Writing in a column in the Wall Street Journal in February, Rove attacked Democrats for what he dubbed as reckless spending — stimulus money being doled out to industries "that added jobs last year."

    Among them? Education and healthcare.

    What nefarious programs were Democrats trying to insert? Among other things, Rove cited $900 million for "pandemic flu preparations."

    Cool! Scroll around the Sistine Chapel:
    h/t Dick
    Do I have this right?  If you're a private citizen caught brewing meth in your home, prosecuting your crime is seeking 'justice'.  If you're an elected politician or an appointed official openly and actively conspiring to undermine the Constitution and subvert national and international law in your Washington office, prosecuting your crimes would be seeking 'retribution'. That about it?
    Politicians free to do as they please without fear of criminal prosecution.  Change I certainly can believe in.
    bill clinton
    Frank Rich: The Banality of Bush White House Evil:
    In the midst of the  swine flu mess, the Republicon bastards are filibustering the confirmation of Secretary of HHS
    Yesterday at the White House briefing, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, was there as was John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. They were joined by the Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But, we don't even have a head of CDC because the Secretary of HHS appoints that person. And, no Secretary of HHS. In fact, as the White House transcript shows, Napolitano had to make the announcement about the "public health emergency" for HHS:
    The first thing I want to announce today is that the Department of Health and Human Services will declare today a public health emergency in the United States.
    For the time being, HHS is being led by Acting Secretary Charles Johnson, a Bush-appointee from Utah who spent most of his career working as an accountant.
    Dick Cheney has been asking the Obama administration to release certain pages of certain classified documents, in order to "prove" that torture works. Here's a question: How does a 68 year old man remember specific pages of specific documents when he left his job over three months ago and, presumably, presumably lost his access to those documents at the time he left the White House? Did Cheney take copies of classified documents with him? Is someone leaking Cheney information about classified documents? Did Cheney takes notes on classified documents, which would themselves be classified?

    Consider the amount of paperwork the vice president of the United States sees on a daily basis. Then consider that Cheney held the job for 8 years. We're to believe that he can remember specific pages of specific documents well enough to request in writing that those specific pages and documents be declassified? I smell a leak.

    Joe Wilson is feeling ornery:

    Cheney's request for the declassification of material is a welcome development, but it should not be limited to his narrow request. Our country's understanding of what was done in our name by the Bush administration depends on the release, not just of the documents Cheney has designated, but of all documents related to the efforts of the Bush administration and Cheney himself to defend the indefensible—the decision to invade Iraq despite the knowledge at the time that Iraq did not have a nuclear program, had no ties to al Qaeda, and posed no existential threat to the United States or to its friends and allies in the region.

    The disinformation campaign to manipulate public opinion in favor of the invasion, the torture program, and the illegal exposure of a clandestine CIA agent—my wife, Valerie Plame Wilson—were linked events. In their desperate effort to gather material to whip up public support, Cheney and others resorted to torture, well known in the intelligence craft to elicit inherently unreliable information. Cheney & Co. then pressured the CIA to put its stamp of approval on a series of falsehoods—26 of which were inserted into Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech before the United Nations Security Council. At the same time, Cheney was furiously attempting to suppress the true information that Saddam Hussein was not seeking yellowcake uranium in Niger. After I published the facts in an article in The New York Times in July 2002, Cheney tried to punish me and discredit the truth by directing the outing of a CIA operative who happened to be my wife.

    Among other documents Cheney should release is his testimony to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald about the role he played in the treasonous leak of the identity of a covert CIA officer. His chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury for his efforts to ensure that the "cloud over the vice president," as Fitzgerald noted, was not penetrated.

    As a witness in the Libby case, Cheney has the legal grounds to release his own testimony. If he feels more comfortable, he can ask permission, though he does not need it, from former President George W. Bush—and ask that Bush release his testimony as well. Because Cheney has called for transparency, why should he or Bush object? Then Pat Fitzgerald can make public the transcripts. It's time for this coverup to end.

    Your move, Dick.


    It appears that Mexican authorities are sitting on information in an attempt to keep people from panicking - and of course, people are panicking because they have no real information on the Swine Flu.

    Once again, it looks like the internet is ahead of the official media. Comments on a BBC News site paint a much grimmer picture than we've been led to believe about the swine flu epidemic in Mexico. And while I'm reluctant to assume all commenters on a news site are telling the truth, I don't think we can completely dismiss this, either. After all, Mexican authorities, already reeling from a sharp drop in tourism, have a strong financial incentive to downplay the size of this problem. Here's a sample:

    There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes and there is great sadness among health professionals here.


    Today, the U.S. and Iraq will begin negotiating "possible exceptions to the June 30 deadline for withdrawing American combat troops from Iraqi cities, focusing on the troubled northern city of Mosul" and parts of Baghdad. In the rest of Iraq's cities and towns, the withdrawal of all United States combat troops "is on schedule to finish by the June 30 deadline."

    Mr. "I was against the Iraq war even though I couldn't vote on it" Obama better not cave on this.


    Californian victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme would like to have back the taxes they paid on all their imaginary earnings. Los Angeles Times


    political pictures for your blog






    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Headlines - Sunday

    We interrupt your lefty blog reading experience to bring you this important information about to be crammed down your throat by every Wingnuttistan outfit imaginable:

    Also from American Street:

    Ali Soufan refutes the claim that torturing prisoners was effective. He makes the case, simply, that the use of torture harmed our national security.

    This, from an interrogator with direct experience with the techniques, the men being questioned, and the actual intel.

    And let us keep in mind why Bush administration officials will continue to make the claim that the torture was useful and necessary.

    That's all they've got.

    They're aware that there's a push to have them prosecuted as war criminals. So they have to try and pre-emptively defend themselves, hoping to avoid such a trial.

    They're not really concerned with national security. They're just trying to cover their asses. And as long as people like Mr. Soufan keep speaking up, they're likely to find their ain't enough silk in China to handle asses that supersized. 


    Dick T. writes letters to the editor - here's another:

    On Torture:
    Mr. Obama will live to rue his unfortunate decision regarding the investigation and prosecution of those individuals within our government and its various agencies and contractors, both past and present, responsible for suborning and practicing torture.
    His greatness as a leader, as adjudged by future historians, no matter his performance as a commander in chief or his success at restoring the economy or overhauling the failed healthcare and educational systems, will forever be seconded to his inability to grasp the merit in restoring the moral and legal integrity of our nation through the long and agonizing catharsis of investigation, prosecution and punishment of those...all those...involved in the conspiracy and commission of the most heinous crimes perpetuated by our government in its history.
    In the absence of such investigations and prosecutions we will have summarily and forever abandoned our moral credibility and our legal integrity in the eyes of all the world. 
    This is not an issue easily swept under the carpet for some nebulous short-term political expediency.
    Hopefully Mr. Holder will demonstrate clearer vision and judgment than our President, and exercise properly his independence - and his responsibility - as Attorney General.
    h/t Dick - Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the US:
    Matt Taibbi: The Class Clowns
    Once the masters of evil politics, Republicans have been reduced to half-assed buffoonery, providing comic relief for desperate times:
    Pastor or not, this is just plain sick
    Pastor confesses to using church funds to hire hitman to kill blind, disabled man for insurance money:
    On health care, Obama discovers limits to his own bipartisanship

    Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post reports:

    In a meeting with House Republicans at the White House Thursday, President Obama reminded the minority that the last time he reached out to them, they reacted with zero votes — twice — for his stimulus package….

    Obama also offered payback for that goose egg. A major overhaul of the health care system, he told the Republican leadership, would be done using a legislative process known as reconciliation, meaning that the GOP won't be able to filibuster it.

    Congress has until October 15 to pass health care or student lending reform under the normal process. If it doesn't, reconciliation can be used to eliminate the 60-vote requirement.

    Commenting on the same news, Chris Bowers at Open Left says:

    Without the filibuster available to Republicans, it is highly likely that in 2009 Democrats will succeed where they failed in 1994. This might be the biggest legislative victory for progressives in, well, about as long as I can remember.

    However, Grim at HuffPo notes that the Repubs have a plan to counterattack — by whining!

    A GOP source familiar with the meeting said that the president was extremely sensitive — even "thin-skinned" — to the fact that the stimulus bill received no GOP votes in the House. He continually brought it up throughout the meeting.

    Look for the "thin-skinned" meme to start getting heavy airplay at Drudge and establishment media outlets near you.


    When I heard that Sean Hannity had jauntily offered to allow himself to be waterboarded, I confess to a moment's small, viciously gleeful anticipation. However, archy makes a good case for not doing it. After all, if it really is torture, and torture is wrong, and we argue that we shouldn't even be doing it to putative terrorists…we also shouldn't be doing it to the small, weak-minded, and stupid.


    Verbatim Bill "Wrong About Everything" Kristol:

    Of course, everyone's first choice for president in 2012 is Dick Cheney. But Liz Cheney's boffo performance yesterday in the lefties' den, MSNBC, defending sensible interrogation policies in the war on terror, surely puts her in contention for the runner-up position.

    And if you think this is the stupidest thing they have ever posted over at The Weekly Standard, then you probably forgot that Goldfarb still writes there:

    As to the morality of the methods used, I don't see anything immoral about smacking around a terrorist or making him sit in the cold or dunking him in the water, but you can argue it either way. Still, I wonder why the same people squealing about the alleged moral indignity to which these monsters were subjected are the same people who want the government to keep morality out of their bedrooms and doctors' offices. Why should the government be forbidden from making a moral judgment about gay marriage or abortion but compelled to make a moral judgment about the treatment of terrorists plotting to murder Americans citizens?

    Michael Goldfarb's parents should ask Princeton for a full refund. Maybe even sue for damages...


    Former GOP lawmaker and KKK member arrested in Prague

    Our good friend, former Republican state lawmaker, and KKK leader, David Duke, was arrested in Prague for denying the Holocaust. It's a crime punishable by three years in prison. Too bad he didn't go to the Vatican instead. They'd have made him a Bishop. Putting that aside, it's understandable why the Czech Republic would have laws against Holocaust denial. Though I am waiting for the religious right to now come to the rescue of their poor soulmate. After all, he's a bigot being persecuted under hate speech laws. And you know how the religious right is all up in arms over European hate speech laws. Perhaps some intrepid reporter should ask the Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, and the Family Research Council how they feel about David Duke's arrest under hate speech laws. It would make a fascinating story.
    From WIRED: teabagger arrested after threatening to turn Oklahoma City capitol steps into a bloodbath.
    Wow, a potential domestic terrorist was associated with gun issues. Funny, but that's exactly what the Homeland Security report said - the one the Republicans and the religious right wanted us to ignore.
    Sweet Jebus! They've gone from teabagging to...



    Yes, this is the actual and official logo for the next anti-tax event the mouth-breathers are planning.


    Swine Flu

    It's been confirmed that at least eight of the students "probably" had swine flu, city health officials say. Two cases confirmed in Kansas City.

    People are so mobile now, this could really be a disaster:

    The New York City health department dispatched a team of investigators to a private school in Queens on Friday after dozens of students complained of symptoms that officials believed were consistent with a strain of swine flu that has swept Mexico City.

    The agency said about 75 students at St. Francis Preparatory School had complained Thursday of nausea, fever, dizziness and aches and pains. Several of the students were said to have recently traveled to Mexico, where as many as 61 people have died and possibly hundreds more have been infected in an outbreak of swine flu in recent weeks.

    Fun fact: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who was last making headlines for suggesting that Texas may consider seceding from the Union, is requesting help from the federal government to deal with a possible swine flu pandemic:


    Gov. Rick Perry today in a precautionary measure requested the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide 37,430 courses of antiviral medications from the Strategic National Stockpile to Texas to prevent the spread of swine flu. Currently, three cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Texas.

    According to a recent DailyKos/Research 2000 poll, "37% of Texans and 51% of Lone Star Republicans agree with Gov. Rick Perry's recent suggestion that Texas may need to leave the United States. ... Imagine the outcries of patriotism (or lack thereof) if Massachusetts or New York hinted at secession during the Bush years," writes NBC's Mark Murray. And imagine how Texas would deal with the swine flu without federal assistance.

    Also, Swine Flu fears prompt quarantine plans, pork bans:
    FDA so understaffed it inspects less than 1% of imported food:
    Good thing Obama's pick to head the FDA still hasn't been confirmed by Congress.
    I guess they're too busy covering their asses over the torture and wiretapping. Besides, Margaret Hamburg is pro-choice, which means no Republicans will vote for her.