Monday, August 31, 2009

Headlines - Monday

Yeah, I remember Dick Cheney. He was the sadistic bastard who pretty much called the shots during the Bush Administration, wasn't he?"
LA Times:
Stacks of ammo, once piled high at gun shops across America, have dwindled. Prices paid by consumers for much-sought-after Winchester .380-caliber handgun bullets have doubled. At weekend gun shows, trailers loaded with boxes of ammunition are drained within hours....

Bullets are in demand as the nation's appetite for firearms has soared. U.S. gun sales are up since the 2008 presidential election, during which the National Rifle Assn. poured millions of dollars into advertisements suggesting that Democrat Barack Obama would move to restrict gun sales if elected.
Another pot bust in my neighborhood - maybe the largest growing operation ever discovered in Utah!
Bob Dole. A Republican no more
From his piece in Newsweek on Ted Kennedy:
[Ted Kennedy] was proud of what he did, but he didn't wear it on his sleeve and remind you every day what a great guy he was. He was doing things that should have been done. He was not helping the rich. He was helping the disabled and seniors and children who didn't have enough to eat. Who can fault that?
Obviously, virtually all of the GOP these days could fault that.

Conservatism over the last couple of decades has struck me as being basically about the meanest, greediest and most self centered/selfish ideology there possibly can be. If a government program benefits them, they are all for it. Even if they are against the program, they have no compunction enriching themselves from it.

You can find no shortage of conservative politicians who railed against the stimulus package but then took credit for the stimulus money going to their states/district. Look at the current health care debate and you'll find conservatives working to make certain that their special interests get money.

The meanness trickles down. I've known no small number of Republicans who complained about the schools cutting programs when their kids were in school but, once all of their spawn have graduated, they were against all school funding. That is an attitude that is dripping in selfishness, it's an attitude of "government should serve only me."

Liberals have their faults. But liberalism, especially the New Deal type, is concerned with those who are on the bottom rung of the economic ladder. The only concern of conservatives is to make it easier for employers to exploit such people and for corporations to sell them shoddy goods.
We Have the Hope. Now Where's the Audacity? - by Peter Dreier and Marshall Ganz
On Aug. 25 last year, Sen. Edward Kennedy strode onto the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Denver and announced to a roaring crowd of party faithful the beginning of a new generation in American politics.

"I have come here tonight to stand with you, to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States," he said. Comparing Obama to his slain brother, John F. Kennedy, the senator shouted: "This November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans. . . . Our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on."

Eight months into the Obama administration, as we mourn the senator from Massachusetts, many of us retain the hope, but we are wondering what happened to the audacity that is needed to move the country in a new direction. In recent weeks, many progressives have expressed concern that Obama's bold plan to reform health care may be at risk. A defeat on this key issue could undermine other elements of his agenda. We don't believe that the president has changed his goals, but we wonder whether he underestimated the power necessary to bring about real change.

Aetna CEO Ronald Williams earned $24,300,000 in 2008, with more than half of that ($13,537,365) coming from option awards. He also received an additional $6,456,630 in stock awards to go along with his base salary of $1,091,764. Personal use of a corporate aircraft and vehicle, as well as financial planning and 401(k) company matches, added up to another $101,487 for Williams. Needless to say, he opposes the 'public option'.
Wondering what to wear when you attend one of John Yoo's law classes at Berkeley? Here's a suggestion.
Luster is Off Obama's `High Moral Ground' - by Leonard Pitts

Back in April, the U.S. government snatched Raymond Azar out of Afghanistan.

His waist, wrists and ankles were shackled, he was stripped naked and photographed, made to wear headphones, blindfolded, hooded and stuffed into an executive jet for the U.S. Azar says his eyeglasses were taken and he was left in an ice cold room, denied food for 30 hours and told he might never see his wife and children again.

Keep reading:



Dick Cheney is offended! No shit. He's complaining the White House is "politicizing the Justice Department", because AG Holder is looking into the torture of "enemy combatants" at Gitmo and black sites around the world.

You know, not that any government agencies were politicized during the Bush administration. Not that the CIA was tasked to gin up evidence of Saddam's "WMD program" as an excuse to invade Iraq. Not that FEMA was led by a horse lover and political hack who knew nothing about emergency management and allowed New Orleans to drown. Not to mention our emails and correspondence - and who knows what else - collected and scanned for 'subversive activity'. Not that a whole buncha U.S. attorneys were fired because they wouldn't falsely prosecute Democrats and look the other way when it came to Republican irregularities. Not to mention the manipulation of the color-coded terrorist threat status system when it suited.

You see, this is an opening that could send Cheney to jail. Now, being the cynic that I am, I don't expect more than a few low-level operators to eventually stand trial. I don't expect to see Yoo, Addington, or anyone else from the former administration to go to jail, let alone Cheney. Holder is using Yoo's memos as the legal yardstick to begin with, as opposed to the Geneva Conventions and settled U.S. law. The fact Cheney is so worried makes me happy but the only way they'll get him is if someone turns. Hopefully, the investigation will put enough pressure on Yoo, or another puppet, to give up his masters.
Update: DEMOCRAT Diane Feinstein, who loved illegal spying and Michael Mukasey, doesn't like the torture investigation either.
No wonder 57% would vote to reboot Congress.
Why we are so screwed
According to Paul Krugman, it is a combination of two factors. First, the GOP has gone from rational moderation completely into batshit-crazy mode. Second, the corporate lobbyists give so much cash out on Capitol Hill that they have, in essence, purchased enough to the Congress to stifle any real reform.
[S]urveying current politics, I find myself missing Richard Nixon.

No, I haven't lost my mind. Nixon was surely the worst person other than Dick Cheney ever to control the executive branch.

But the Nixon era was a time in which leading figures in both parties were capable of speaking rationally about policy, and in which policy decisions weren't as warped by corporate cash as they are now. America is a better country in many ways than it was 35 years ago, but our political system's ability to deal with real problems has been degraded to such an extent that I sometimes wonder whether the country is still governable.
I think he may be correct. And it is not going to change anytime soon, since not only is the Congress in thrall to corporations and cash-flush interest and astroturf groups funded by them.

In recent years, the Supreme Court has aligned itself, time after time, with the rich and the powerful to the detriment of the poor and the workers. Any attempt to rein in the effect of corporate cash on the political process would fail at the Supreme Court.

But let's get to the most corrosive idea that has corrupted the political process: The legal fiction that corporations are natural persons. They are not. You cannot beat the shit out of a corporation. A corporation cannot be imprisoned. Corporations feel no pain, they have no emotions, no instinct. Corporations may be considered to be artificial persons for the purposes of contracts, regulations and criminal law. Corporations should have some limited rights of free speech; the concept of commercial speech is fairly well settled.

But the idea that corporations have the full First Amendment rights of citizens does little more than enable corruption. You need only look at the current health-care debate to see senators from marginally productive states falling in line to defend the health insurance companies. Those senators are from states with high levels of poor and working poor people who would stand the most to benefit from a national health care system with a robust public option, yet those senators are more than willing to put their boots in the backs of their constituents and stand on their prostrate bodies in order to accept larger and larger bribes campaign contributions from the health insurance industry's lobbyists.

One of the things that keeps workers tied to bad jobs is health insurance. People will stay in a job that does not suit them and accept masses of abuse from their superiors because they have health insurance. And that last point, Dear Reader, will be the subject of another post.
On a level of stupid that I cannot possibly begin to grasp because I don't do fractal formula calculations in nuclear deciphre-code from other outer planets yet to be discovered,
2 people completely over rode their own basic basest instinct to GET THE F**K OUTTA HERE and chose, CHOSE MIND YOU, to attempt to ride out a California wildfire by hiding out in their back yard hot tub. 

YES, the incident involved air vacs and rescue workers, 3rd degree owies and critical conditions, and will likely soon be made into an action adventure comic book or some such utter incomprehensible nonsense, SOME fool will get a hold of it.......(you know how California is.....)

Can ya just imagine being a parent, or some other family member of these people? I'd be begging anyone for witness protection embarrassment relocation programs to ANYFRIGGINWHERE, really, ANYWHERE!

The story's here, and requires the ability to completely suspend your studpiometer in order to read through it. You KNOW some form of the alcohol ho had to have been involved in this sun sized turd of a decision/choice. 

How the hell are they going to bankrupt the country and turn us into socialists and fulfill the dire warnings of the wingnuts if bailout money is repaid and the federal treasury realizes a profit? So far the American taxpayers have realized a profit of about $4 billion, or approximately 15% APR.  Remember when people weren't insane and would kiss the ground and be grateful for a safe, solid 15% return?
A USA TODAY analysis finds two dozen hospitals near popular travel destinations, as compiled by the National Travel Monitor, have death rates among the worst in the USA. A separate analysis shows that one of every four hospitals with high death rates for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia - 94 of 402 - are near state parks.
The United States spends about twice as much on healthcare as any other developed nation in the world and in return receives just about the worst care.  Can someone remind me again why there's even a debate about whether we should put up with this?  

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Headlines - Sunday

Ted Kennedy will be the subject on all the talk shows today except on Fox, where Dick Cheney is the only guest.
If we weren't bogged down in two wars, handing out money to failed banks and to Israel, maybe we could help. 
Swine flu spreading at 'unbelievable' rate - and 40 percent of the fatalities are young adults in good health: 
adolf hitler
h/t Dick
Japanese and South Korean automakers registered the biggest market share gains in the U.S. government's "cash for clunkers" program that ended this week with bankruptcy related inventory shortages hurting General Motors Co GM.UL and Chrysler.
                Activia gives me the shits just like Glenn Beck does.
According to a report in the Saturday edition of the Independent, top US commander in Afghanistan General McChrystal will request another 20,000 troops for the war effort in Afghanistan, on top of the escalation already provided by (anti-war) President Obama, when he issues his new "plan" for the nation.
There, I Fixed It is another niche blog that catalogues odd fixes for common everyday problems.
Jacob Weisberg asks: Who's really pulling the plug on Grandma?

It's not preposterous to imagine laws that would try to save money by encouraging the inconvenient elderly to make a timely exit. After all, that's been Republican policy for years.

It was Sen. Grassley himself who rammed the GOP's most astonishing pro-death policy through the Senate in 2001. The estate-tax revision he championed reduces the estate tax to zero next year. But when the law expires at year's end, the tax will jump back up to its previous level of 55 percent. Grassley's exploding offer has an entirely foreseen if unintended consequence: It's going to encourage those whose parents and grandparents are worth anything more than a million bucks to get them dead by midnight on Dec. 31, 2010. This would be a great plot for a P.D. James novel if it weren't an actual piece of legislation.

irony6.jpg image by swiftian
Chevron's using solar power ... to drill for oil.
U.S. is 15 years behind South Korea in Internet speed (also behind 27 other countries)
Check your speeds here.
Mine suck.

Perfect incremental health care reform analogy:

Years ago, as the story goes, Britain's Parliament faced a difficult choice. On the European continent drivers use the right lanes, while the English remained on the left. But tunnels and fast ferries were bringing cars and drivers back and forth ever more frequently. Liberals in Parliament thought it time to change lanes. Conservatives resisted; after all, Brits had been driving on the left since William the Conquerer's charriot. Parliament's compromise was to move from the left to right lanes -- but incrementally, on a voluntary basis. Truckers first.

On health care there is another compelling problem, the left lane is forming a huge sinkhole and soon there won't be a road. Fixing it now is a national imperative.


George Bush Sr. was the only living president that refused to attend Senator Kennedy's funeral. 


"Well now, isn't that special?"

"Most CIA officers don't have much money and could go into debt to hire a good lawyer...." (to defend them against accusations of sodomizing, waterboarding, and/or killing detainees), so CIA Director Leon Panetta says his agency (which is really us, the taxpayers) will pay for their defense attorneys.


Secret camps and guillotines? Groups make birthers look sane:


You've been played

It's all worked perfectly for them, hasn't it, these three decades of Republican dominance? They've wanted to dismantle programs that help anyone other than corporations, and now their latest hero, George W. Bush, put us in eight short years into a position in which the New Deal and the Great Society will have to be dismantled, because there's no money to pay for them. The middle-class is going to scream bloody murder at paying more taxes, partially because they are struggling themselves, but also because they were told by Ronald Reagan and others that if they just worked hard enough, they too could enter the Kingdom of Rich Men, when said Kings knew full well that they had no intention of letting even the hardest-working schmoe into their little club. These men begrudge even the existence of a middle class, and so they set out to dismantle it -- and have largely succeeded.



According to an article in Think Progress, Texas is once again on the cutting edge:

At present, the Texas Nationalist Movement has a petition with 1 Million signatures directly calling for a vote of secession….

The organization's petition echoes language used by other "tenther" activists who believe that everything from Social Security to Medicare to the federal highway system violates the Tenth Amendment. According to the petition, Texas officials must either "immediately move for the restoration of the complete and unadulterated Sovereignty of Texas, explicitly adhering to the 10th Amendment wording of the U.S. Constitution," or "move immediately for complete Secession from the United States of America." In light of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's recent expression of support for Texas secession, the petition could receive a friendly hearing.


badvertising 1

I love those Google Adsense generated ads. They always seem to go awry.


In an interview with Fox to be aired today, Cheney says that he's okay with CIA interrogators having used torture techniques beyond those authorized by the Justice Dept, calling them "good policy... properly carried out. It worked very, very well." Don't know if Chris Wallace asked him specifically if the creative use of power tools and threats to rape detainees' mothers were good policy, properly carried out (I'm gonna guess not), but he did get Cheney to say that he was aware of the use of waterboarding, though "not specifically in any one particular case, but as a general policy that we had approved."

But here's my favorite example of Cheney being Cheney: he said Obama should have personally stepped in to quash Attorney General Holder's decision to hold any inquiry at all: "The president of the United States is the chief law enforcement officer in the land. I think he's trying to duck the responsibility for what's going on here. And I think it's wrong." So Cheney wants no investigation of the torture he was responsible for, but it's Obama who's ducking his responsibility. And it's Obama's job as chief law enforcement officer to ensure that the law is not enforced.


The Washington Post goes pro-torture. 

More from Marcy Wheeler:


4,336 soldiers killed in Iraq; 807 in Afghanistan (177 this year and we still have 4 months to go).

Coalition Military Fatalities By Year

Year US Other Total
2009 177 125 302
2008 155 139 294
2007 117 115 232
2006 98 93 191
2005 99 32 131
2004 52 7 59
2003 48 9 57
2002 49 20 69
2001 12 0 12
Total 807 540 1347

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Headlines - Saturday

"Sailing on Mya with Vicki at my side and my dogs, Splash and Sunny, at my feet. And, of course, a Democrat in the White House and regaining our majority in the Senate."  Teddy, asked what his idea of happiness was - Link


Comments on Sarah Palin's Facebook page:

"This country is now much better off, one less socialist, anti freedom senator." 

"Now if we could just talk God into taking Spector, Reid and Pelosi, America would be Eutopia!" 

"good riddens" 

"I hope God makes him babysit all the aborted children for eternity." 

"Ted Kennedy dying has made my day...." 

"Good ridencance to a sorry person." 

"It's about time, we can only hope Pelosi and Ried  will be joining him very soon. All 3 of them should be buried in Moscow." 


Talking Sense to Crazies

Are you sick to death of the I-can-out-crazy-your-crazy screaming, the Obama-wants-to-kill-yo-mama infantilism, the he's-a-Kenyan-Nazi-Communist, America-doesn't-apologize, torture-shmorture, government-is-evil-except-when -it's-interrogating-Muslims, my-gun-gets-bigger-when-you-rub-it, and the O'Reilly-Beck-Hannity-Limbaugh Axis-of-Evil? If the answer is yes, I salute you. If the answer is no, I also salute you... with this one finger.

I have some advice for President Obama. Stop trying to get these people to realize how wrong they are and how right you are. Stop trying to apply reason to the profoundly unreasonable. Stop trying to mitigate or explain their collective temper tantrum. 
Stop trying to curry their favor, their votes, their attention. They don't care about truth, right and wrong, good or bad. They care about stomping feet, crying victim, and pointing fingers. Barney Frank had it exactly right, it's like arguing with a dining room table. Enough is enough. Fuck Kumbaya.


Palin backs out again
What's the opposite of "dependable?"


Organizers of an Anchorage event that has been billing Sarah Palin for weeks as a star speaker were left scrambling Wednesday after learning that the former governor won't be there for tonight's event and claims to have never been asked.

It would be at least the fourth time in recent months that an anticipated Palin speech has fallen through after the publicity whore and her camp disputed they had ever confirmed it. That includes the brouhaha over whether she'd speak at the annual congressional Republican fundraising dinner in Washington, D.C., this summer.  

Can you have a coincidence four times in four months?


A valuable lesson we've learned from this summer's health-care-reform town halls is how dangerous it would be to live in this country if it were a democracy.


"Obama wants to mandate circumcision ... And that means, if we need to save our penises from anybody, it's Obama." - the vulgar Pigboy, fantasizing about sex with a Black man, Link 

"Our penises?" How many do you have, Rush?


Rightwing shouters condemn Town Hall protesters

Yes, the rightwing talking heads are basically full of shit. But when you least expect it, they up and say something sensible. WTF???

Bill O'Reilly had this to say about these rowdy protesters who keep disrupting these town hall meetings:

"He wanted to disrupt the forum. And to me, I think he should be prosecuted…Look, the guy goes in there. He's totally inappropriate in every way…There isn't one appropriate thing the man did. He wants to disrupt the forum. Security has an obligation not to allow the forum to be disrupted."

You Go Bill.

Sean Hannity said: "This guy disrupted the event. He disturbed the peace."

You tell 'em Sean.

Glenn Beck also had some choice words for those loudmouth troublemakers — I don't have an exact quote.

Maybe it's just the "broken clock is right twice a day" syndrome. But let's give these guys credit for being impartial, for once, and calling things as they see them. Maybe there really is some common ground, and someday we can —

OOPS!!! My bad. Upon closer examination, the Three Stooges WEREN'T criticizing the recent town hall protesters. They were condemning that lone demonstrator who interrupted a John Kerry speech in September 2007. You remember — "Don't Taze Me Bro."

Nevermind. Well, that's totally different, isn't it.

So let me get this straight now. If a large group is shouting and drowning out a speech and yelling out threats, it's just hunky dory. Remember, democracy is messy and disorderly. But when a person is by himself and his only "crime" is continuing to talk after security guards have told him to stop talking — Taze that mofo!

OK, I've got it now.



Flushing Blackwater - by Jeremy Scahill

Blackwater, the private mercenary company owned by Erik Prince, has been thrust back into the spotlight by a series of stunning revelations about its role in covert US programs. Since at least 2002, Blackwater has worked for the CIA in Afghanistan and Pakistan on "black" contracts. On August 19, the New York Times revealed that the company was, in fact, a central part of a secret CIA assassination program that Dick Cheney allegedly ordered concealed from Congress. The paper then reported that Blackwater remains a key player in the widening air war in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where it arms drone aircraft. These disclosures follow allegations--made under oath by former Blackwater employees--that Prince murdered or facilitated the murder of potential government informants and that he "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe."


As I wrote yesterday, the death of Ted Kennedy can't help but affect the current debate on healthcare reform. A leader on many points, Kennedy made healthcare one of his signature issues. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that there are calls to name the final healthcare bill in his honor and, also in his honor, to make certain that final bill is worth the paper it's written on. It was practically inevitable.

Also inevitable was the Republican response to these calls. Never ones to resist their baser political instincts, the right has gone on a preemptive strike against Kennedy's memory. His death must not be politicized, they argue, because this would be... I don't know, it's not the best argument. The man dedicated his entire adult life to public service through politics, so how could his death be seen through any other lens?
Keep reading:


Pastor prays for president Obama's death on the eve of his visit to Arizona:


Next time a wingnut shrieks hysterically about tax cuts point out that President Obama has cut taxes for 98.6% of all working households.


Mormons' postmortem baptisms include serial killers and right-wing terrorists

Killers baptized by Mormons: Bundy (top left), Dahmer, Gein, Gacy, Bishop, McVeigh

Killers: Bundy (top left), Dahmer, Gein, Gacy (bottom left), Bishop, McVeigh

Mass murderers and serial killers are among the millions of deceased who have been posthumously baptized in temples owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). These names include the modern-day dictators and mass murderers — Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Mao Zedong. Other multiple murderers have been posthumously baptized in Mormon temples, like prolific serial killer, Ted Bundy.

Bundy, who was once a Mormon, is one of the most infamous serial killers in U.S. history. His primary occupation in life was the murder and mutilation of young women. He also engaged in necrophilia, which is a sexual attraction to corpses. Bundy destroyed many innocent lives — and his victims may have numbered over 100. Nevertheless, Ted Bundy was baptized by proxy on May 28, 2008, in the Jordan River, Utah, (LDS) Temple. 

Keep reading:


Responsible christians should sign up for the post-rapture pet care


As they are being drawn up into the bosom of the Lord at the time of the Rapture, what do you think will go through the mind of Christians?

  • How will I locate my wife on Heaven's alabaster avenues?
  • Did I turn off the coffee pot?
  • Oh no! What will happen to Rover and Fluffy??!!

Well, worry no more, Christians! There is help for your pets after the Rapture in the form of Eternal Earth-Bound Pets USA:

You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.

We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus.

We are currently active in 20 states and growing. Our representatives have been screened to ensure that they are atheists, animal lovers, are moral / ethical with no criminal background, have the ability and desire to rescue your pet and the means to retrieve them and ensure their care for your pet's natural life.

It's relatively inexpensive ($115 per first animal, $15 for each additional pet), but it's only good if the Rapture occurs within 10 years.

The service is not available in Florida yet, and I admit I was tempted to take out a franchise. But then, when I thought about it, I decided my post-Rapture time would probably be better spent girding my loins for Armageddon.


Phillip Garrido was a man of God with a joyful story to tell.

"If you take this a step at a time, you're going to fall over backward and in the end you're going to find the most powerful, heart-warming story," he said.

"I tell you here's the story of what took place at this house and you're going to be absolutely impressed.

Oh, right. Here's his heart-warming story: in 1991 he and his wife kidnapped an 11 year old girl; they imprisoned her in their back yard; he raped her repeatedly; and she eventually gave birth to two children, who are now 11 and 15, and who were also confined to that small yard for their entire lives.

I am not impressed. I presume that what he thinks makes this a happy tale is that he was an enthusiastic god-walloper who was caught while handing out religious tracts, but you can read his blog and see that he was just nuts.

Update: The freakazoid is now under investigation for a series of prostitute murders.


DOJ may skirt court order on interrogation documents, go generic

We've all seen what a few disclosures about torture can do. They were revelatory, were they not? More are due out soon, but oh, wait a minute, er... well...

The Obama administration may circumvent the spirit of a judge's order to disclose hundreds of documents relating to the CIA's Bush-era interrogation program, delivering instead generic descriptions of the documents and legal arguments for continued nondisclosure. [...]

On July 20, Judge Allen Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the government needed to complete a review of the documents for declassification in response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Monday, Aug. 31.


Ezra Klein points out that we ration healthcare in this country, namely by simply pricing millions out of the market:

The numbers are almost mirror images of each other. Twenty-seven percent of Canadians wait more than four months for treatment, versus only four percent of Americans. Twenty-four percent of Americans can't afford medical care at all, versus only 6 percent of Canadians. And the American numbers are understated because if you can't afford your first appointment, you never learn you couldn't afford the medicine or test that the doctor would have prescribed.

We ration. And if the numbers and the surveys don't convince you of the point, this is what it looks like when we ration.

Oh gee. The Pentagon lied. What a shock.  

They were lying all along and they have now admitted that they were denying access to reporters who were not willing to participate in promulgating Pentagon propaganda. Stars & Stripes:
The secret profiles commissioned by the Pentagon to rate the work of journalists reporting from Afghanistan were used by military officials to deny disfavored reporters access to American fighting units or otherwise influence their coverage as recently as 2008, an Army official acknowledged Friday.

What's more, the official said, Army public affairs officers used the analyses of reporters' work to decide how to steer them away from potentially negative stories.
What the Army and the Pentagon are looking for are propagandists, not reporters. They want people who will just regurgitate the stuff the Army puts out. What they don't want are reporters who will go look under the rocks and find out the real truth of the matter.

Maybe the Army and the Pentagon ought to dwell on what "freedom" and "liberty" are all about, for it seems that they have forgotten.



One year ago today, Mooselini was thrust into the national spotlight, thanks to the failing and flailing presidential campaign that Grandpa Walnuts was running. And in some sort of act of desperate daring-do, the old fart unleashed upon an unsuspecting public perhaps the greatest grifter and her clan of hillbillies in modern American history.

Besides the animal like Todd, we have:

  • Track: the alleged meth connection sent to Iraq to head off a criminal charge, and to clean him out, but it's pretty close to ground zero in the heroin supply chain.
  • Bristol: the single mother of Trip, ex-girlfriend of Levi and noted abstinance educator.
  • Willow: the mysterious Palin with a vacant Jan-Brady smile. bristol, Bristol, BRISTOL!
  • Piper: perhaps the one to keep an eye on, she might snap any moment now that she is the second-place human shield when her brother…
  • Trig/Algorythm: who may or may not be Mooselini's kid, and served as the campaign's prop and took first place as a human shield away from Piper. Trig is the likable Palin.
  • Levi: the handsome but stupid sperm donor and father of…
  • Trip: who probably is another likable Palin, because he is really a Johnston.
  • Sweet Jeebus? Only one year? Really?


You want a damned good reason for healthcare reform NOW?  One of the victims of the sick bastard who shot up the gym in Pittsburgh because he couldn't get a woman of his own had no health insurance.  Now she has hefty bills for the medical care that saved her life.  To help her pay her medical bills, her friends and family recently held a car wash.  I'm sorry  Car washes and bake sales are for new band uniforms and soccer equipment, not medical bills that run tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.


In Salt Lake City today, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) held a fundraiser with former Bush adviser Karl Rove (who should be in prison), where Rove declared that "Republicans will be defined this year by their effort to block Democrats' efforts for health care reform." "This year is going to be defined by Republicans and conservatives by what we oppose," said Rove. After Rove praised Bennett's health care plan, Bennett said that he agreed with Rove's goal of killing health care reform:

Rove said that he supports Bennett's work on the Healthy Americans Act - the health care bill Bennett is co-sponsoring with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon - although he said it's "not exactly the bill that you or I would like each and every section."

Bennett said his bill is not a negotiating tool on health care, but it will be there as an alternative after Democratic reforms are blocked. "The No. 1 assignment in 2009 is to kill Obamacare," Bennett said.


Mike Huckabee says Obamacare would have killed Ted Kennedy forever

Mike Huckabee, being a douche on the radio! "[I]t was President Obama himself who suggested that seniors who don't have as long to live might want to just consider taking a pain pill instead of getting an expensive operation to cure them. Yet when Sen. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at 77, did he give up on life and go home to take pain pills and die? Of course not. He freely did what most of us would do. He choose an expensive operation and painful follow up treatments." Let's make this CLEAR: Ted Kennedy was rich!

The rich will always be able to get the most expensive, boldest treatments — now, later, under any system. This is one of the advantages of being rich, which most people will never be. "Most of us" would have died well before Ted Kennedy did, if we had had his disease. It's just the way it is. So pass over the morphine tabs, a pistol, and one bullet — the good things in life.


The racists are getting so creative! Here's someone in an Obama mask, whipping an old man and a fetus:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Headlines - Friday

An Idaho Republican gubernatorial hopeful insists he was only joking when he said he'd buy a license to hunt President Barack Obama:
An addict, a pretty boy past his prime, and an effeminate heterosupremacist think Ted Kennedy is best remembered by not passing the health care reform bill that he said he wanted right before he died.

Climate change denier and teabagger Jim Inhofe says on the health reform bill, "I don't have to read it or know what's in it, I'm going to oppose it anyways."
From the Rude Pundit
Ted Kennedy: There Went a Man:

Finally, we must take a measure of the man. Not the person, or the legislator, or the family member. No, the man. Ted Kennedy was more of a man's man than any of the brush-clearing, hick-talking, pick-up driving politicians who overcompensate again and again by faking it. No, Kennedy demonstrated, through all the ups and downs, again and again what a real man is. It is a type of masculinity that we rarely see anymore because it is a fearlessness that few are allowed to embrace.

Put aside the money for a moment. Wealth makes life easier but it does not make one happy and it is not a measure of character. Don't you think that Kennedy would have given away his whole fortune to have his brothers back?

For a man does not shy away from the tragedies of his life. When John was assassinated, Kennedy took up the cause of the civil rights movement as his first major action in the Senate. When Bobby was killed, he began to push even harder against the Vietnam War. When his 12 year-old son, Ted, Jr., had to have a leg amputated to
prevent the cancer there from spreading in 1973, Kennedy threw himself into the cause of rights for people with disabilities as much as his sister, Eunice, had, a crusade that would last the rest of his life.

A man fucks up again and again, but he owns his mistakes and learns from them. Ted Kennedy wore his flaws openly in his personal life. Some of it was the price of juvenile overindulgence (even as an adult) and some of it was just stupidity. The question is less about fucking up, but how a man reacts to it. He was kicked out of Harvard for cheating on an exam, so he joined the military (although he would achieve none of the glory of John and Joe, Jr.). When the Chappaquiddick incident happened, he nutted up and told the voters to decide on his fate. He was a hard-
drinking son of a bitch who screwed around on his first wife, a Dean Martin-like punchline to jokes about alcoholism and a tabloid laughingstock. During that period, among other things, he was getting funding cut off to Chile because of Pinochet's barbarism, pushing legislation to help political refugees, getting sanctions imposed on apartheid-era South Africa, negotiating with Gorbachev on nuclear missiles, stopping Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination, and strengthening the Civil Rights Act. What did you do on your years-long bender? He paid, too, with his presidential ambitions dashed. And when he was slugging 'em back like a frat boy with his nephews on a night that ended with William Kennedy Smith arrested on an accusation of rape, Kennedy made another public reckoning about who he was as a man in a speech in October 1991. And despite all he had accomplished before, he grew up, finally, understanding that to be a man one must become a man.

A man works to help those who need help. A real man is a liberal because a real man is unafraid of change and progress and difference. Let us come back to the money. The Kennedy family has always seen wealth as a privilege, a burden, and an opportunity to do good for others. Yes, it is easier to support charities and to have the time to work for various causes. But Kennedy made it his role in government to level the playing field. Where do you wanna go with this? Other than his work that climaxed with the Americans With Disabilities Act, other than his support for civil rights legislation going back to the 1964 act, we could talk about the Ryan White CARE Act, which gave funds to cities hardest hit by the AIDS crisis; we could talk about his intense support for the rights of workers through raising the minimum wage and supporting union goals; we could talk about his work for housing, for education, for
women and children, for the Family and Medical Leave Act. We could talk about how he opposed the Iraq War, how he was working to provide educational opportunities to kids in Muslim countries, how he helped end the war in Northern Ireland. We could talk about how he believed, his entire career, that health care for everyone was a right, not a privilege, with COBRA and S-CHIP having been accomplished because of him. He was an unabashed, proud liberal whose full-throated speeches roared in defense of the whole ideology against the ignorance of those who would keep progress from being achieved.

A man is willing to embrace his enemies. Yesterday, Ron Reagan, Jr. had his mother on his radio show to talk about how much the Reagans loved Ted Kennedy. Kennedy and Nancy Reagan were allies on stem cell research funding, but the former first lady talked about how she and her husband were dear friends with Kennedy. Kennedy worked with Orrin Hatch, Richard Lugar, both George Bushes, and anyone he could to accomplish his goals. That's called politics. Compromise was a willingness for both sides to move. When George W. Bush dicked him over on No Child Left Behind funding, Kennedy had to know that a tide had shifted in a way that was going to make the entire process of legislating more rancorous and difficult. The political nature of the nation was moving into entrenchment, which was not how Ted Kennedy functioned.

A man knows how to
die. A man understands that the end comes and doesn't desperately cling to every millisecond of life that medical science can squeeze out of him. No, a man dies with his family, in a place he loves, having done much, knowing that there was much still to be done, but accepting that there's only so much one can live.
Larry Summers was next in line to succeed Ben Bernanke, but he overslept.
Torture Fallout
Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is connecting the dots:
"To put it simply, we need to worry a lot less about how to communicate our actions and much more about what our actions communicate," Admiral Mullen wrote in the critique, an essay to be published Friday by Joint Force Quarterly, an official military journal. The essay does not appear to be up on the web site this morning

"I would argue that most strategic communication problems are not communication problems at all," he wrote. "They are policy and execution problems. Each time we fail to live up to our values or don't follow up on a promise, we look more and more like the arrogant Americans the enemy claims we are."
Which is something that a lot of of people have been saying for years, with little effect, as the supra-legal arrogance of the Bush Administration was acted out. "Do as we say, not as we do" has never been a workable way to persuade people of the righteousness of one's cause. You may also want to read "A Long, Hard Fall from the Pedestal", though there is an undercurrent in the article of "most of us didn't want to do this, but `befehl ist befehl'."

The prison complex at Guantanamo Bay, the feeble attempts at any sort of legal process there, and the use of torture have done enormous damage to our national credibility, as has the entire Iraq War, which has been regarded as a war of choice (if not an outright act of aggression) by virtually everyone outside of the Loyal Defenders of All Things Chimpy.
OMG. He's leaving the kids there to die. 

Helen Cooper of the NYTimes does some interesting writing here about the Carebear leaving Martha's Vinyard to attend Ted Kennedy's funeral:

With Tropical Storm Danny heading toward New England on Saturday, Mr. Obama doesn't want to take any chances, administration officials said.

So Mr. Obama, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, will fly to Boston late Friday night, leaving their daughters Malia and Sasha on Martha's Vineyard.


Obama to continue Bush's policy of intrusive laptop searches: 


The astroturf grassroots lobbying firm Bonner & Associates, which sent fake letters to congressmen on behalf of coal companies, is now blaming the embarrassing incidents on a temporary employee. The firm claims it was "the victim of a fraud" perpetrated by a temp who joined the firm "with the pre-determined intent of engaging in fraudulent activity."


Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that AHIP — the multimillion dollar lobbying juggernaut for the health insurance industry — has mobilized 50,000 employees to lobby Congress to defeat the public option. ThinkProgress has learned that AHIP's grassroots lobbying is being managed by the corporate consulting firm Democracy Data & Communications. DDC has made a name for itself as one of the most effective stealth lobbying firms. Earlier this summer, DDC was caught by reporters using a front group called "Citizens for a Safe Alexandria" to attack the Obama administration for seeking to prosecute Guantanamo Bay prisoners in Alexandria, VA.

Keep reading:


The AP reports that Republicans who opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly referred to as the stimulus, are nonetheless vigorously pursuing money from the program. Many GOP members, like Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), are still slamming the stimulus as waste and a failure, yet at the same time are making internal appeals for more funds. Guthrie, attacked the Recovery Act for its "staggering" costs just days before he urged Defense Secretary Robert Gates to consider using stimulus money to renovate a military hospital in his congressional districT.



John McCain is not having an easy time at these Town Hall Death Panels. A few days ago he got booed for suggesting that former Constitutional law professor Barack Obama is familiar with the Constitution; and then last night he got hassled by one of those irritating Code Pink broads. So he THREW HER OUT, bodily.

Or: he had some guys stand around awkwardly while the Code Pink lady continued to yell about the war or whatever, and eventually she stopped yelling and left, followed by a man with a gun. JOHN McCAIN IS REPRESSING OUR FREE SPEECHES, ETC, JUST LIKE HITLER.



The Cause of Our Lives

Yesterday, in a statement on his death, President Barack Obama called Sen. Ted Kennedy "not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy." Vice President Joe Biden said Kennedy "had so many of his... foes embracing him, because they know he made them bigger, he made them more graceful by the way in which he conducted himself." The Lion of the Senate was gone.

It was no surprise. Kennedy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer
early this year. More recently, we were reminded of his illness when he wrote a letter to the Governor and Legislature of Massachusetts regarding his quick replacement. He knew he didn't have long.

But I've always believed that the world we live in is an ongoing project. As a result, we'll all leave something unfinished. It's human nature to build and to progress and one person's contributions to that project are part of the work of us all. If the task is necessary, it won't go unfinished for long -- you don't leave a house half-built because the carpenter died. Kennedy's necessary work will go on, it won't remain incomplete.

Along those lines, Sen. Robert Byrd is now calling for Kennedy's own work -- unfinished but still underway -- to become his memorial.

The Hill:

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the only senator to have served longer than the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), mourned his friend Wednesday, saying his "heart and soul weeps."

Byrd said he hoped healthcare reform legislation in the Senate would be renamed in memoriam of Kennedy.

"I had hoped and prayed that this day would never come," Byrd said in a statement. "My heart and soul weeps at the loss of my best friend in the Senate, my beloved friend, Ted Kennedy."

Byrd's wistful statement focused on the work accomplished with Kennedy during decades together in the Senate, and called on the healthcare bill before Congress to be renamed in honor of Kennedy.

"In his honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American," he said.

A good idea. In fact, a damned good idea. Kennedy once called fixing our broken system of healthcare delivery "
the cause of my life." The word "memorial" refers to remembrance of the lost, not to the mourning of that loss. His life's cause should be his remembrance. If he'd wanted a big statue, he'd have bought one.

Over at Huffington Post, political writer
Bob Cesca echoes Sen. Byrd's call -- healthcare reform in Kennedy's memory. But he adds one important caveat:

If they're going to name the final healthcare reform bill after Senator Kennedy, we ought to be demanding with voices as powerful and booming as the late senator's...

The bill must not suck.

Now there's an idea. Not just a bill, but a good bill. The Sen. Edward Kennedy Memorial Bandaid would be an insult. We need a good bill, with universal coverage, and a strong public option.

And those goals are nowhere near as controversial as shrieking town hall nuts would have you believe. The loudest voice doesn't always represent the majority, but the most strident minority. A
new poll from Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates shows that 86% believe that everyone should have access to health insurance, regardless of their health history (i.e., no one turned down for "pre-existing conditions") and 79% believe that people should be able to buy into a "federal government health insurance option."

The problem is that about a quarter of the population is poorly informed. "[A]bout one-fourth of those polled believe the 'public option' is a national health care system, similar to the one in Great Britain," reports the Denver Post. And that bad information is the result of a deliberate campaign to misinform the public, says one of those behind the poll.

"These two words [public option] have become radioactive, they have been swift-boated," said William Mann, senior vice president of Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates. "There is a real misunderstanding."

"There is so much more educating that needs to be done across the board on various health care reform options," agrees Morie Smile of the AARP. "Nobody seems to have a firm grasp on the vocabulary. It's either a sacred cow or a punching bag."

So the work, still unfinished, begins in educating the public and countering the lies. The people want this -- even if they're not exactly clear on the nomenclature. The cry of "No reform, ever!" is a minority position, as loud as that cry is. And many of those rallying to that cry really mean "Not this reform" -- when they completely misunderstand what this reform is.

The question isn't whether we should do this, it's not even whether we can do this. The question is how we do this, because it's necessary that we do. Too many people understand the problem, too many people suffer under our present system, and too many people pay too much for too little.

This is too important to allow a handful of angry stooges and corporate puppets to derail. The cause of Ted Kennedy's life should become the cause of our own. In one sense, it already is, because so many of our lives would be improved or even saved by it. But the work isn't finished. The work is never finished.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Headlines - Thursday

Barack Obama (on the left) enjoyed golfing with one of his 'friends', Robert Wolf, President of UBS Americas (on the right). (Wolf raised $250,000 for the Obama presidential campaign.) It is not known if these golfing buddies discussed the ongoing investigation of UBS as a haven for tax dodgers.

Who's a better Christian?

Our Lady of the Holy Wolf Slaughter, Sister Sarah Palin, whose major accomplishments

  • Fought for and signed House Bill 3001 for awarding a contract to TransCanada Alaska for developing and building a pipeline stretching for 1,715 miles from the Prudhoe Bay treatment plant to Alberta Canada.
  • Fired the gubernatorial chef.
  • Issued Administrative Order 242 signed August 20, 2008. This order puts together a co-op of the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Revenue to work with organizations who wish to commercialize Alaska's North Slope natural gas.
  • Defended the Constitutional right to use aircraft when executing wolfofascists.
Patriot Pastor Steven L Anderson, who:
Or Ted Kennedyn who sponsored or lead the fight for the following vile legislative acts:
  • The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996
  • State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP)
  • Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act of 2009 (Americorps)
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
  • Fair Housing Act of 1968
  • Handicapped Children's Protection Act of 1986 (overturning a SCOTUS decision)
  • Ryan White Care Act of 1990 (AIDS care)
  • Americans with Disability Act of '90
  • Civil Rights Act of 1991
  • Minority Health & Health Disparities Research & Education Act of 2000
  • National & Community Service Trust Act of 1993 (Americorps)
  • Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1990
  • Military Child Care Act of 1989
  • The WARN Act of 1988 (60 days notice prior to plant closings)
  • Employment Opportunities for Disabled Americans Act of 1986
  • Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (vetoed by Reagan)
  • Job Training Partnership Act of 1980
  • Refugee Act of 1980
  • Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980
  • Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act - 1975
  • Title IX of Education Amendments of '72 (bans sex discrimination by schools getting Fed $)
  • Establishment of Women, Infants & Childrens ("WIC") Nutrition Program at USDA
  • Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Act of 1970
  • Older American Community Service Employment Act of 1970
  • Occupational Safety & Health Administration Act of 1970
  • The Voting Rights Act amendments of 1970
  • The Bilingual Education Act of 1968
  • The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (War on Poverty: Head Start, Job Corps)
  • The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996

The Torch

Mr. Kennedy had told friends recently that he was looking forward to a "reunion" with his seven departed siblings, particularly his brothers, whose lives had been cut short.

"When he gets there, he can say 'I did it, I carried the torch,' " Mr. Delahunt said. " 'I carried it all the way.' "

Yes, Ted. You did.


Why does the media keep forgetting that Dick Cheney is a liar? 

Dick Cheney is a liar. That anyone would find this a controversial statement is beyond me. He lied about outing Valerie Plame, he lied about WMD, he lied about Iraqi ties to al Qaeda. If the birthers want to see anyone's birth certificate, make it Dick Cheney's - I want to see that name on one before I'll believe it's really his. He is a well-known liar.

If you want to say something nice about Cheney, about the best you could say is that he's a very good liar. He has a talent for it and, if it weren't for the tens of thousands of lives those lies have ended, you might admire him for his grasp of plausible fiction. The question isn't whether or not Dick's a liar, the question is why the media treat him as if he were anything other than one. Whenever a story involving Cheney crops up, the press is right there, asking him questions and treating his answers as if there were any reason in the world to believe him.
When next you dine at Applebee's, be sure to tell your server Glenn Beck is your homie.

AIG boss starts new job - with Adriatic holiday overseeing grape harvest

After an $85bn government bailout, Robert Benmosche is raising Wall Street eyebrows by spending most of his first month at his Croatian villa


... Well, obviously, if anyone was in a rush to pass the plan so Teddy could see it signed, that urgency is gone, and if any good can come of his passing, I hope it's that they rethink this whole hurry-up-and-wait-for-worse-than-nothing project the Blue Dogs (including, as near as I can tell, Obama himself) have been saddling us with.

It's time to junk the whole current proposal and go back to square one. Demand single-payer now, at the very least. Do it for yourself, and your family and friends, and your country - and, perhaps, in memory of all the times he really did hold the line and remember what it's all about, do it for Teddy.
Fair & Balanced 

Not news: Chris Wallace talks about President Obama's "Assisted Suicide Death Book" on Fux.

News to anyone watching the Fox Nutwork: The object in question is actually a guidebook on living wills written during the Bush misadministration.

Jed Lewison:

"There's nothing surprising about the Fox propaganda machine peddling outrageous lies, but Chris Wallace's fabrication is one of the most despicable, reprehensible falsehoods Fox has ever put on air. It's bad enough that Wallace lied through his teeth, but the fact that he chose to exploit our nation's veterans for his dirty political game tells us everything we need to know about his integrity -- or lack thereof."

Southwest Airlines got caught with unauthorized parts on at least 42 jets:
Class. That's what attracts me to the conservative movement. Sheer, unadulterated class. It isn't just about comic relief or the moral relativism that turns Democratic sinners into saints by comparison. It's their class.

What follows are just some handpicked comments from our various ideological competitors on the death of iconic Senator Ted Kennedy. If you ever needed a better reason for donating to Pottersville, spelunking into the moral and intellectual sewage pipes of places like Free Republic, Little Green Footballs and Red State would be it. I took a lot of hits for the team by doing this. (Look out for my counter-comments- They're parenthesized.)

The Freepers never disappoint, as this sampling shows:
In honor of Ted Kennedy, liver transplants for alcoholics will not be free in the government option.

Instead of putting these people on pedestals we should be knocking them off!
Andrew Breitbart
And here's classy conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart, who began his sustained assault on Kennedy's memory, tweeting "Rest in Chappaquiddick": 


Heart attack on a plate

KFC is test marketing a new "sandwich"- The Double Down. It's bacon, two kinds of cheeses and sauce between two pieces of fried chicken (instead of bread.) 

Beloved Utah Republican Orrin Hatch loves to sing, and he loves to compose songs, so he can sing them! The songs are often about the Mormon God, but this time the song is about the Liberal God, Ted Kennedy: 


CIA documents fail to prove Cheney's 'enhanced interrogation claims'

Hmmmmm…. "Give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour" – Jesse Ventura, 5/09.

Strikingly, [the documents] provide little evidence for Cheney's claims that the "enhanced interrogation" program run by the CIA provided valuable information. In fact, throughout both documents, many passages actually suggest the opposite of Cheney's contention: that non-abusive techniques actually helped elicit some of the most important information the documents cite in defending the value of the CIA's interrogations.
Can we prosecute him for war crimes now?

"All coons look alike to me."

GOP Rep. says party must find 'Great White Hope' to fight Obama:


It always does. Global warming will hurt the poor, minorities and the elderly in cities the hardest, according to the World Wildlife Federation and Physicians for Social Responsibility.


Helicopter Ben involved in identity theft ring: