"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." --Bishop Desmond Tutu

Monday, June 15, 2009

Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K

That would be the Circle-K in Tehran. Check out this video. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians poured onto the streets in Tehran in defiance of the theocracy to protest the election results. This is a banned protest where the police and military have been authorized to use live rounds to quell the protest. But people came anyway. Are we witnessing a second Iranian revolution?

Monday, June 01, 2009

The slipery slope

Yes, it's coming... sex with ducks.

BillO the Clown complicit in terrorist act

What a fucking tool. BillO, there's blood on your hands...

Anti-Choice Terrorist strikes in the US

Anti-Choice terrorism in the United States continues. Dr. George Tiller, a family physician, is gunned down in cold blood by the terrorist Scott Roeder. Perhaps that DHS report on domestic right-wing terrorism was correct after all.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pretty funny ad from the RNC

While I don't agree with the message, I think this is pretty funny.



Clearly they're flailing around for a message and, like a room full of monkeys and typewriters working on a play, they managed to get something funny out of it. Too bad their party smells so much like monkey dung...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We hatez teh gaiize! We hatez teh gaiize!!!

Direct from the cereberal cortex of some of the nation's most rabid wingnut haters, MediaMatters has compiled this little clip I like to call "We hatez teh gaiize!!!"

Secession-a-palooza

Looks like it's not just Texas that wants to secede from the US. Long Island wants a divorce from "tyrannical" New York state. Yes, that's right, the sand bar just south of Connecticut is tired of supporting those slackers in upstate New York and want out now!
Suffolk legislators approved a home rule message Tuesday calling for a study and referendum on the merits of Long Island seceding from a "tyrannical" New York State government, though they are unlikely to be taking up muskets for an armed revolt.

The dormant Long Island secession movement awakened by presiding officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook), who, angered by the regional payroll tax imposed by state lawmakers to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority bailout, called for a vote on the matter to register his anger about the new tax.
Where are the teabaggers when you need 'em?

She'll never hear this...

But you will!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Richard Cohen on Torture

Richard Cohen has an OpEd piece in the WaPo today that asks the question "What if Cheney is right?" Meaning, what if we did get useful intelligence information through the use of torture on suspects?
Still, every dog has his day, and Cheney is barking up a storm on the efficacy of what can colloquially be called torture. He says he knows of two CIA memos that support his contention that the harsh interrogation methods worked and that many lives were saved. "That's what's in those memos," he told Schieffer. They talk "specifically about different attack planning that was underway and how it was stopped."
That's some twisted logic. The ends justify the means. In a nation of laws, that's a very slippery slope. Imagine I decide to rob a bank but donate the money to breast cancer research. While the act of donating the money to charity is good, the means by which I arrived at the funds to provide that donation was illegal. Same goes for torture. Torture is illegal. No matter how much good information was gathered does not abrogate the Bush Crime Syndicate from answering to the law.

Still searching...

...for that elusive "Liberal Media bias." Take the recent discussions on the appointment of a supreme court justice. Not a lot of balance here...

Even the "ultra-left" MSNBC had more GOPers than Dems.

Friday, May 08, 2009

MDS: Mustard Derangement Syndrome

Conservatives are officially insane... Cheeseburgers without ketchup are some sort of socialist / Stalinist / Fascist conspiracy.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Where did my river go?

This could be a problem in the coming years. Global climate change is impacting the flow of rivers in some very populous areas.
Some of the developing world's largest rivers are drying up because of climate change, threatening water supplies in some of the most populous places on Earth, say scientists.

Researchers from the US-based National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) analysed data combined with computer models to assess flow in 925 rivers — nearly three quarters of the world's running water supply — between 1948 and 2004.

A third of these had registered a change in flow and most of them — including the Niger in West Africa, the Ganges in South Asia and the Yellow River in China — were dryer.
Before they melt, maybe it's time to start hauling icebergs down from the arctic to build reservoirs for these soon-to-be parched areas.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wingnuts and Flying Monkeys

These people are gnucken' futts...

That's some powerful stupid you got there, lady...

Leave it to GOP Representative Michell Bachmann to come up with some very powerful stupid.



Ahhh, Ms. Bachmann? It's Smoot-Hawley, darlin'. Not "Hoot-Smaley." And it was a tariff act signed into law by Republican President Herbert Hoover. According to Wikipedia
In May 1930, a petition was signed by 1028 economists in the United States asking President Herbert Hoover to veto the legislation, organized by Paul Douglas, Irving Fisher, James TFG Wood, Frank Graham, Ernest Patterson, Henry Seager, Frank Taussig, and Clair Wilcox.[6][7] Automobile executive Henry Ford spent an evening at the White House trying to convince Hoover to veto the bill, calling it "an economic stupidity".[8] J. P. Morgan's chief executive Thomas W. Lamont said he "almost went down on my knees to beg Herbert Hoover to veto the asinine Hawley-Smoot tariff."[9]

Hoover opposed the bill and called it "vicious, extortionate, and obnoxious" because he felt it would undermine the commitment he had pledged to international cooperation. (Hoover was right. The international community levied their own tariffs in response after the bill had become law.) However, in the end, Hoover bowed to pressure from his own party and business leaders and signed the bill. [10]

Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke against the act while campaigning for president in 1932.
Smoot-Hawley was a Republican idea!!!! Bachmann is one stupid person.

America, Love it or Leave it... Ok, we're leaving...

Funny...
Still, it’s certainly ironic that so many Republicans, who have spent most of this decade accusing Democrats of being un-American and unpatriotic, are now talking treason against this country. When it comes to “America, love it or leave it,” half of Texan Republicans want to leave it. Those bumper stickers that say “These colors don’t run”? Apparently they do. And their patriotism is apparently so skin-deep that it depends entirely on the occupant of the White House.

If nothing else, perhaps it’s time for the GOP to stop calling itself the “party of Lincoln.”

The First 100 Days -- of Opposition

Hysteria, radicalism, fear and anger... Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the GOP!!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Newt Gingrich: Still a tool

Henry Waxman uses Newt as a punching bag. After blathering on with false and misleading data, Henry Waxman corrects Newt's numbers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Democratic Hypocricy Watch

We're an equal-opportunity blog. When Dems act like asses, we'll point it out. Take Jane Harmon for instance. Glenn Greenwald does a good job of pinning the hypocrite tail on her.
...when the U.S. Government eavesdropped for years on American citizens with no warrants and in violation of the law, that was "both legal and necessary" as well as "essential to U.S. national security," and it was the "despicable" whistle-blowers (such as Thomas Tamm) who disclosed that crime and the newspapers which reported it who should have been criminally investigated, but not the lawbreaking government officials. But when the U.S. Government legally and with warrants eavesdrops on Jane Harman, that is an outrageous invasion of privacy and a violent assault on her rights as an American citizen, and full-scale investigations must be commenced immediately to get to the bottom of this abuse of power. [emphasis his]
Read more here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

From the horse's mouth: TORTURE DOES NOT WORK


Neither do "enhanced interrogation techniques" or whatever other euphamistic bullshit you want to use to describe torture. In a Washington Post Op-Ed today, Ali Soufan, a supervisory special agent with the FBI describes the lies and deceptions of the torture apologists with actual evidence of the failures of torture as official state policy.

There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions — all of which are still classified. The short sightedness behind the use of these techniques ignored the unreliability of the methods, the nature of the threat, the mentality and modus operandi of the terrorists, and due process.

Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a top aide to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Mr. Padilla. This is false. The information that led to Mr. Shibh’s capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods. As for Mr. Padilla, the dates just don’t add up: the harsh techniques were approved in the memo of August 2002, Mr. Padilla had been arrested that May.
Got that? THIS IS FALSE. It's a lie. But not only that, torture has other consequences...
One of the worst consequences of the use of these harsh techniques was that it reintroduced the so-called Chinese wall between the C.I.A. and F.B.I.
This was because the FBI were explicitly forbidden from using torture to get information. They could not be present when the CIA were waterboarding or using other torture techniques.
An F.B.I. colleague of mine who knew more about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed than anyone in the government was not allowed to speak to him.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) steps on his dick

Pence apparently believes that international diplomacy began in January, 2009. He seems to forget all those other actual "socialist dictators" like Brezhnev, Castro, Khrushchev, Ho Chi Minh, Mao and countless others that previous Presidents greeted warmly. The lack of understanding of how even basic diplomacy is conducted by a GOP house member is staggering. But have no fear, HRC sets him straight.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bush Six to be indicted today

Over at The Daily Beast, Scott Horton is reporting that the so-called Bush Six (including Fredo) will be indicted in Spain today.
Spanish prosecutors will seek criminal charges against Alberto Gonzales and five high-ranking Bush administration officials for sanctioning torture at Guantánamo. By Scott Horton.

Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid. But the decision is likely to raise concerns with the human-rights community on other points: They will seek to have the case referred to a different judge.
At least someone's doing something... Who are the other five?
The six defendants—in addition to Gonzales, Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith—are accused of having given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S. detention in “the war on terror.”
The game's over you fucking neocon assholes. Time to pay up. Bush, we're coming for you next.

Nailing it, Richard Cohen style

I don't always agree with Richard Cohen, but when he's right, he's very right.
Former president George W. Bush and some of his White House aides are gathering in Dallas this week to plan the future George W. Bush Policy Institute. There, I guess, they will ponder grand themes and marble foyers, but I propose they begin by simply renaming the place. I suggest naming it the "George W. Bush Institute of Management Failure" and dedicating it to studying how this presidency went so wrong -- a task as big as Texas itself.
I can't for the life of me imagine what one might learn at the "George W. Bush Policy Institute" other than how to be a horrible leader. How to fuck up two wars and alienate everyone? Lessons in waterboarding and other torture techniques? How to eavesdrop without a warrant? Kidnapping? Fear mongering?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Christopher Hitchens conducts public roast

Christopher Hitchens is way too smart for Todd Friel, a smarmy Radiovangelist talk show host. He manages to shred him well in a little mock game show.

Part 1


Part 2

Happy Easter!

Major Teabaggin' Wingnuttiness!

This is freakin' hilarious! Here's a group of prime, USDA Flying-Monkey Meat Wingnuts discussing what's wrong with America and preparing to teabag Obama. Let's just say it devolves into a diatribe about how digital set-top boxes are "brainwashing devices." I kid you not...

These people are nuckin' futs!

Thomas Paine: Insufferable Schmuck (in the hands of Glenn Beck)

Only Glenn Beck could make Thomas Paine look like an asshole...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It makes you think...

While countless Conservitards chant "no taxation without representation" in mimicry of the Revolutionary War era Boston Tea Party event, the place which really does represent non-representative taxation, Washington DC, is quiet. Like this bunch of teabaggers...

Hundreds of Nebraskans chanted no taxation without representation in protest of increased government spending spawned by the stimulus bill at the state capitol Saturday

The tea party style protest is intended to mimic Revolutionary War era protests where citizens believed they were being unfairly taxed.

But instead of throwing bags of tea in the water, protestors at today's rally brought cans of pork and beans to symbolize their unhappiness with pork barrell spending.

This whole meme is truly moronic. Nebraska has full representation in the government, so these 'tards should shut the hell up. Just because their worthless candidates didn't succeed in the last election, doesn't mean they aren't represented. It means that their opinions are, in large part, irrelevant. If these people who are so concerned with "representation," why do their ideological leaders oppose DC statehood? Why aren't they marching on Washington to support the rights of the 600,000 DC residents who pay taxes but have no representation? Because they're hypocritical douchebags is why.

Whoa...

The Mad Hatter himself... (Thanks Driftglass!)

David Broder, Village Idiot

You know the Villagers do seem to be hard-wired for Republican rule when Broder spews crap like this

David Broder today, on whether there should be an investigation of the Bush years:
“I understand the reluctance to open a wide-ranging probe of past practices. It seems to me we are better off focusing on cleaning up the policies and practices for the future than trying to settle scores for past actions.”
David Broder, famously, as Clinton’s administration wound down:
“He came in here and he trashed the place, and it’s not his place.”
The disparity in outrage is really amazing. The above Broder quote comes from an infamous 1998 piece in The Washington Post by Sally Quinn in which many D.C. establishment figures expressed raw shock about how Bill Clinton had despoiled what Quinn called their “town.” In that piece, Chris Matthews summed up the emotional reaction of the townies by saying: “I resent deeply being constantly lied to.”

Whenever you feel down about Obama...

Watch this video and marvel at his predecessor.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wingnut paranoia goes mainstream

The whole wingnut meme about Obama "taking guns away" is really getting out of hand. Without a shred of evidence, wingnuts on TV and radio are bloviating away about this and a lot of other lunatic ideas originating from the most extreme of the wingnuts.

Deja vu all over again


Apparently the soul of "Tail Gunner" Joe McCarthy has surfaced in the body of a cranky southern Congressman by the name of Bachus. Bachus claims to have the names of 17 colleagues in the US House of Representatives who are "socialists." It's pathetic, really. This is all the conservative movement has left. Vague accusations and innuendo.
...[H]e said he is worried that he is being steered too far by the Congress: "Some of the men and women I work with in Congress are socialists." Asked to clarify his comments after the breakfast speech at the Trussville Civic Center, Bachus said 17 members of the U.S. House are socialists.
For the record, there is exactly one socialist in Congress and he's in the Senate. His name is Bernie Sanders. Bernie, the junior Senator from Vermont, is a self-described democratic socialist. He caucuses with the Democrats for the purposes of committee assignments.

This is precisely how the McCarthyite witch-hunts of the early 195os began. Vague suspicion
and lists of unnamed enemies.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Fake Hate from Fake People

This hate filled video of "real people" lying about the impact of gay marriage



turns out to be a bunch of actors lying about the impact of gay marriage.



how special...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Poor John McCain, nobody likes him...

Meet John McCain, aka Mr. Petulant. At a meeting with Hispanic business leaders, he had a literal hissy fit over his support of immigration reform and the fact that Hispanics support Obama 2-to-1
McCain's message was obvious, the source continued: After bucking his party on immigration, he had no sympathy for Hispanics who are dissatisfied with President Obama's pace on the issue. "He threw out [the words] 'You people -- you people made your choice. You made your choice during the election,' " the source said. "It was almost as if [he was saying] 'You're cut off!' We felt very uncomfortable when we walked away from the meeting because of that."
You people? Nice, Mr. Petulant. Very nice.

When a think tank lacks any actual thought...

One of the primary supports of the right wing echo chamber is the so-called "think tanks" like the American Enterprise Institute. Founded in 1943, it is often seen as a conservative counterpoint to the Brookings Institution. But in recent years, it has become a hotbed of neoconservative "thought." In a lengthy posting over at Daily Kos, Devilstower does an excellent job exposing the apparent lack of thought happening over at AEI. He concludes

The truth is, the American Enterprise Institute isn't a think tank, not in any conventional sense. The thoughts of its members were frozen a decade ago, and no amount of evidence will cause them to change one jot or tittle of their rigid ideology. AEI is a booking agency. A PR firm tasked with providing Republican "names" to fit any gap in your programming schedule.

For a media producer, AEI means you don't have to find someone who really knows a subject, or someone who has something new to say, or someone who might provide an unconventional angle. Why bother? One press of the speed dial, and AEI will deliver faster than Tony's Pizza. They'll give you someone who you already know is an experienced talking head, so you don't have to worry that a knowledgeable economist or teacher or scientist might turn out not to be a sparkling "on air personality." They'll deliver familiar talking points, so you know your host and other guests won't be challenged. They'll deliver reliably pro-corporate hard-right content which will serve to "balance" any program where the facts start to have that devious liberal slant.

In simple terms, AEI is an excuse for producers to be lazy. Calling them means that you place a higher value on filling time than providing information. It means ignoring the many connections that the unscholarly "scholars" have to other organizations and corporations. It means not minding that you're balancing progressive views with views that are simply and demonstrably wrong.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Iowa hate statute get's the big smackdown!

Looks like another stunning victory for equal rights in America. In Iowa, the state Supreme Court has struck down the so-called "Defense of Marriage" act which bans same-sex marriage. In a strong unanimous decision the court ruled
"We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective," the Supreme Court wrote in its decision. "The Legislature has excluded a historically disfavored class of persons from a supremely important civil institution without a constitutionally sufficient justification."
Wow... How long until the US Supreme Court will be challenged with the same issue? Soon, I hope. The haters are not happy...
The Rev. Keith Ratliff Sr., pastor at the Maple Street Baptist Church in Des Moines, went to the Supreme Court building to hear of the decision.

"It's a perversion and it opens the door to more perversions," Ratliff said. "What's next?"

Can you taste the hate?

You can find a copy of the actual ruling here. (PDF) Iowa has a long history of the enforcement of equality through judicial decision. In 1839, the Iowa courts declared contracts of enslavement were null and void under the concept of equality.

My favorite passage from the ruling (and one that could be applied at the Federal level)

A statute inconsistent with the Iowa Constitution must be declared void, even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion.

We are a nation of laws... not a nation of empty faith.

Did Nixon suffer from "anal poisoning?"

According to Boss Limbaugh, if you act cordially you are subject to something he calls "anal poisoning" and you might die. Who, perchance, might contract this horrible disease? Well, apparently Gordon Brown (and by extension anyone at the G20 who was cordial and complementary of President Obama). So does this mean that Nixon suffered from it when he went to China and paid Mao a few complements? How about Reagan when he sat down with Gorbachev in Iceland? Limbaugh has come completely unhinged.


Of course this is from the guy who sat out Viet Nam because he had a boil on his ass... So his obsession with "anal poisoning" may stem from some sort of personal knowledge or experience.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

That darn iPod!

President and Mrs. Obama presented Queen Elizabeth II with a video iPod containing footage of her last visit to America two years ago. And there was outrage in Wingnuttia! How dare the Obama's present the Queen of England with something so pedestrian as an iPod. Didn't they know she already had one? Shocking! Outrageous! Indefensible!

Except of course that she asked for it. And according to a spokesman for the Palace, she loved the gift. But, leave it to the commentators in Wingnuttia to miss the target (again... and again... and again... and again).

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

MSNBC signs Ed Schultz

In an ongoing effort to remedy the conservative imbalance of the cable news channels, MSNBC has added Ed Schultz to it's weeknight lineup. From the press release:
Veteran talk radio host Ed Schultz joins MSNBC as host of "The Ed Show," premiering on Monday, April 6. "The Ed Show" will air weekdays, 6-7 p.m. ET. The announcement was made today by Phil Griffin, President, MSNBC.

"I am thrilled to have Ed kicking-off our primetime lineup," said Griffin. "Ed's proven that he can connect with Americans and will be a perfect compliment to Chris, Keith, and Rachel. He's already made his mark on radio and I'm excited to see what he'll do with the 6 p.m. hour."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity with MSNBC," said Schultz. "I look forward to having a day to day discussion with fellow Americans on issues that really matter to all of us."
Awesome news!

Sticking pins in Glenn Beck

Only Steven Colbert could do it so well...
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The 10/31 Project
comedycentral.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

Tool Time! (Not)Joe the (non)Plumber

Opinions without facts are (not)Joe's stock-in-trade!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quite possibly the dumbest person in the US Senate

Wow, this is a powerful load of stupid.



"...like watching a car accident..."

Joe Scarborough looses it after watching a montage of Glenn Beck and his tearful act. The commentators even claim that he's a parody of Colbert (something I suggested). Enjoy!

Sick Around America

This should be interesting. A Frontline expose on healthcare in America entitled Sick Around America. The program airs tonight (March 31st).
As the worsening economy leads to massive job losses—potentially increasing the ranks of the tens of millions of Americans without health insurance—FRONTLINE travels the country examining the nation’s broken health care system and exploring the need for a fundamental overhaul. The scale of the problem now facing the Obama administration, FRONTLINE finds, is staggering, as lay-offs, major illness and other unexpected life changes leave more and more Americans uninsured, underinsured or uninsurable. FRONTLINE also goes inside insurance companies to question executives on their policies, programs and priorities and examines the problems in one state’s attempts at health care reform.
Perhaps it will be Sicko without the hyperbole.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Genius of the Teabaggers!

Heh...

Deja vu all over again!


With apologies to Yogi Bera, these neocon motherfuckers must never be allowed near the reins of power in our country ever again.

Elliot Abrams:
[W]e are not talking about the Americans killing civilians, bombing cities, destroying mosques, hospitals, schools. No, no, no – weʹre talking about nuclear facilities which most Iranians know very little about, have not seen, will not see, some quite well hidden.

So they wake up in the morning and find out that the United States if attacking those facilities and, presumably with some good messaging about why weʹre doing it and why we are not against the people of Iran.

Itʹs not clear to me that the reaction letʹs go to war with the Americans, but rather, perhaps, how did we get into this mess? Why did those guys, the very unpopular ayatollahs in a country 70 percent of whose population is under the age of 30, why did those old guys get us into this mess.
The only phrase he's missing is that "we will be greeted as liberators." This tool (and all the other neocon tools like him) need to crawl back under their rocks and let the adults get on with the business of running the nation. This kind of child-like naivete can no longer be tolerated in the administration of our affairs.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"Was it over when the German's bombed Pearl Harbor?"

Over at DailyKos, Devilstower has posted an open letter to journalists asking (no begging!) them to do their jobs and correct the misinformation spewing from the gaping maws of the GOP's talking heads.

If Republicans were appearing on your news broadcasts and insisting that Barry Goldwater was the 38th president of the United States, or that the Chinese bombed Pearl Harbor, surely you would take a moment to halt the conversation and correct them. At least, I'd like to think so.

So why do you continue to allow Republican officials and conservative pundits to make statements such as "the Great Depression didn't end until World War II" or "the New Deal prolonged the depression" without comment? These statements are as incorrect as declaring Idaho a sovereign monarchy -- why are they constantly unchallenged?

Recovery from the Great Depression started in the first months of the Roosevelt administration and was directly attributable to the actions and programs that FDR undertook in his first 100 days. This is not an opinion. It's the conclusive verdict of history. It's a fact.

But we all know that Reality has a well-known liberal bias...

Glenn Greenwald hits it out of the park (again)!

In his most recent piece for Salon, he reflects on the difference between conservative support of Bush and liberal support of Obama and delivers (with ample evidence) the following perceptive conclusion.

A rational citizen, by definition, praises and supports political leaders only when they do the right thing (regardless of motive), and criticizes and opposes them when they don’t. It's just that simple. Cheerleading for someone because they're on "your team" is appropriate for a sporting event, not for political matters. Political leaders deserve support only to the extent that their actions, on a case-by-case basis, merit that support, and that has largely been the behavior of progressives towards Obama.

Hence: civil libertarian critics of Bush have vehemently criticized the Obama administration for embracing Bush’s secrecy theories, shielding government policies (including torture) from judicial review, denying all rights to Bagram detainees, and retaining some of Bush’s extreme detention powers, but have praised him -- often lavishly -- for restricting FOIA secrecy, banning waterboarding and CIA black sites, disclosing key Bush-era OLC memos, bringing charges against the last "enemy combatant" in America, and guaranteeing International Red Cross access to all detainees. Foreign policy critics have objected to Obama's escalation of our military presence in Afghanistan and drone attacks in Pakistan while praising him for preliminary changes in our tone (if not policy) towards Israel and his diplomatic overtures to Iran. Economic critics have attacked his bank rescue plan as a sleazy give-away to Wall Street and his excessive stimulus compromises, while praising his ambitious domestic budget and his core stimulus approach. In most areas, his record has been mixed, and thus progressive reaction to it has been as well.

And conservatives? Not so much...
The point, though, isn't so much the lockstep devotion to Bush among the conservative rank-and-file as it is the blindly uncritical, cult-like glorification of him by the Right's opinion-making leaders and their refusal to criticize what he did -- until they sought cynically to distance themselves from the stench of his failure late in his presidency (and anyone who doubts that should just click on the links in the first paragraph or read this). If one searches for it, one can find that devoted reverence towards Obama among some creepy cultists and overly eager supporters, but that has not been the predominant behavioral trait among progressives.
Nor is it the behavioral trait among the progressive leadership and opinion-makers.

Fire them all RIGHT FU*KING NOW!!!

Here is why the bailout is going to fail.
Recently, securities rated AAA have changed hands for roughly 30 cents on the dollar, and most of the buyers have been hedge funds acting opportunistically on a bet that prices will rise over time. However, sources said Citi and BofA have trumped those bids . . .”
So instead of doing what they're supposed to be doing, these shitpiles (Citi and BofA) are out there doubling-down on toxic assets with our money. Money that was intended to recapitalize them and free up the credit markets is being used to scoop up discounted toxic assets. Do we need any more reason to nationalize these fuckers, fire all the management and start again?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where's the beef?

The GOP unveiled their "plans" for the economy today. Trouble was, there wasn't any substance to their "plan." It was some vague "blueprint." A hollow shell devoid of any real solutions to the problems faced by real Americans.
...[At] a news conference unveiling the plan, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner was peppered with questions about why he was offering only what he called a “blueprint” and not specific details. In fact, there were few specific numbers or line items — mostly just broad outlines.

“This is a blueprint,” Boehner responded, noting that House Republicans will bring their specific budget figures to the floor next week. “Wait till next week.”
Next week? Hmmm... But all is not well in GOPer Fantasy Budget Land (the Unicorns are restless!). Not everyone was happy with the rush-to-camera lead by Boehner and Pence.

[Ryan] and Cantor were reportedly told by Boehner and Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) they needed to move more quickly to counter Democrats' charge they were becoming the "Party of No," according to House GOP staffers.

The 19-page document, prepared by Pence's office, was distributed two days after President Obama criticized Republicans for trashing his detail-crammed 142-page budget outline without producing a credible alternative.

“In his egocentric rush to get on camera, Mike Pence threw the rest of the Conference under the bus, specifically Paul Ryan, whose staff has been working night and day for weeks to develop a substantive budget plan," said a GOP aide heavily involved in budget strategy.

"I hope his camera time was gratifying enough to justify erasing the weeks of hard work by dozens of Republicans to put forth serious ideas," the person added.

Gee, I hope they can work out their little differences before becoming irrelevant. Oops! Too late!

Obama Dumb - Bush Smart (meme alert!)

I'm going to re-post this blog entry because I'm simply incapable of improving on it.

Dispatches from the Alternative Right Wing Universe

Today John Hinderaker at Powerline wrote the following about Barack Obama:
Everyone knows that Barack Obama is lost without his teleprompter, but his latest blunder, courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, via the Corner, suggests that the teleprompter may not be enough unless it includes phonetic spellings. [Obama apparently mispronounced the name of the company "Orion"]

So evidently we have to add astronomy to history and economics as subjects of which Obama is remarkably ignorant. I'm beginning to fear that our President has below-average knowledge of the world. Not for a President, but for a middle-aged American.
If that alone isn't enough to make your head explode, here's what the very same John Hinderaker had to say about our previous president:
It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
The alternative universe that these folks manage to create for themselves is really quite something to behold. In their world, a man who was the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Review and a constitutional law professor at a top law school is some sort of empty suit who is incapable of thinking or expressing a coherent thought without a teleprompter. A man who spent much of his childhood in Indonesia, has travelled extensively overseas, and who, by all accounts, is an avid student of foreign policy is some kind of ignoramus who knows nothing about the world.

But a man who was notorious for his struggles with the English language, who achieved everything in his life by virtue of his last name, a man who admittedly had no interest in foreign policy and had traveled nowhere prior to becoming president . . . that guy is worldly beyond measure, a "man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius."

What's really sad is that Hinderaker is not alone in this belief. If you read the right wing blogs, it's just an accepted fact that Obama is a moron. It's as if they think that if they say it over and over again, it will somehow catch on with the public at large. The problem with this meme, of course, is that it's so easily disproven. No one who watched Obama give his hour long prime time press conference last month--where he gave lengthy professorial answers to every question asked--would entertain for even a moment the suggestion that he is stupid or unknowledgeable or incapable of speaking without a teleprompter. The right wing blogosphere might as well be trying to convince the public that Obama is white.

But in the up-is-down world of the right wing echo chamber, anything goes, no matter how dumb.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bagley tackles the Pope

Court orders FDA to re-consider Plan B OTC status

In a decision handed down by a Federal court yesterday, a judge ordered the FDA to re-examine it's stance on the morning-after-pill known as Plan B.
A federal court yesterday called on the FDA to do the right thing and revisit its politically motivated decision to unnecessarily restrict access to the emergency contraceptive Plan B. Often referred to as the “morning-after pill,” Plan B is a concentrated dose of the birth control pills millions of women take every day. And as yesterday’s court duly noted, the science is clear: women of all ages do not need a prescription to safely and effectively use Plan B to prevent pregnancy.
The court cited interference in the approval process by Bush political appointees as the primary reason the drug was not available to women.
Yesterday, federal Judge Edward Korman held that “the FDA’s decision was not the result of good faith and reasoned agency decision-making” because of “improper political interference” and departure from standard FDA policies. It ordered the FDA to expand over the counter access to 17 year olds and to reconsider its decision requiring any age restriction.
Good news for women who would like an alternative to pregnancy and for women subjected to intercourse against their will.

Holding Israel Accountable

Why don't we? Why is nobody doing anything to report or investigate the charges of war crimes against the IDF for their illegal invasion of Gaza? The Guardian in the UK is at the forefront of investigating allegations of war crimes yet the US media seems content to ignore what Israel did.

The Guardian has produced three videos detailing the charges agains the IDF.



Two other videos, one on the use of armed unmanned drones, and one on the use of human shields, are also available.

Just to review, based on international and customary law, the following holds true:
Medics and medical workers are not legitimate targets under international humanitarian law, and any wilful killing of such people who are clearly identified is capable of amounting to a war crime.

The use of involuntary human shields has already been declared unlawful by Israel's supreme court, which said the practice was a violation of international humanitarian law. There are specific rules against hostage-taking in international conflicts.
Israel is guilty on both counts.

Headline of the day!

Go back into hiding, GOP begs Dick Cheney

Heh...
Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, “He became so unpopular while he was in the White House that it would probably be better for us politically if he wouldn’t be so public...But he has the right to speak out since he’s a private citizen.”
Back to your cave, sir. Say hello to Osama Bin Laden for us!

The right not to be photographed

(UPDATED WITH LINK) In Lancaster City, PA, the police department just learned an expensive lesson. After 150 days of illegal incarceration, a man has won a federal lawsuit against the police department for illegally detaining him after he refused to allow them to photograph him without probable cause.
A settlement was reached last week in the federal lawsuit filed by Bush, 24, of Philadelphia, against the Lancaster City Bureau of Police and Officer Ray M. Corll II, in August 2007. The lawsuit stemmed from an incident that occurred May 17, 2007, when Bush was helping a cousin and his girlfriend move out of a home on the 300 block of Plum Street.
...
When it was Bush's turn [to be photographed], he said he didn't want his photo taken and raised his hands to cover his face. Bush was then "subdued" by Officer Corll, which caused Bush to cut his face on the pavement, according to court documents.

Following treatment at Lancaster General Hospital, Bush had his picture taken — after police had placed him under arrest, charged with obstruction of justice.

Bush spent 160 days in jail, in Lancaster and Montgomery counties. When the case finally went to trial, the judge listened to opening arguments, then granted the motion made by Bush's attorney to dismiss the charges.
As a result of this, rules in Lancaster have been changed.
[The new guideline] states that "field photographs" of the general public can be taken anywhere the public has no expectation of privacy — such as on a city street or in a shopping mall — and photos may be taken anytime a subject voluntarily gives consent.

However, "Individuals may not be required to remove their hands, or anything they are using to cover their faces so as to avoid being photographed."
The Police cannot photograph you, absent probable cause, without your consent. (Tip-o-the-hat to Photography is Not a Crime!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

F(au)x News admits that it isn't news anymore

In a surprising revelation today, F(au)x News Senior VP of Programming, Bill Shine admitted that the network was now "the voice of opposition." Yes, that's right. No longer "Fair and Balanced," F(au)x News is now the official mouthpiece of the GOP. They're not a news network anymore, they're officially an outlet for GOP propaganda (kinda like they were all along, only now we don't have to pretend they matter in the greater scheme of news anymore!)
“There were a couple of people who basically wrote about our demise come last November (and) December and were, I guess, rooting for us to go away,” said Bill Shine, senior vice president for programming at the Fox News Channel. “With this particular group of people in power right now, and the honeymoon they’ve had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of opposition on some issues?”
Even Roger Ailes has referred to F(au)x as "the Alamo."

Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, your bus is waiting!

We're shipping you up to Alaska to learn about volcano safety! Turns out that the Redoubt Volcano has gone active and is spewing ash 50,000 feet into the sky. Exciting stuff. Thank goodness we have a Volcano Observation Team stationed there. Maybe now's the time to educate Piyush on the facts of vulcanology.

Locals are taking no chances and are stocking up on things like masks, water and supplies. And they prepare for ashfall...

WWAK71 PAFC 231528
NPWAER

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ANCHORAGE AK
728 AM AKDT MON MAR 23 2009

AKZ145-232000-
/X.EXT.PAFC.AF.Y.0001.000000T0000Z-090323T2000Z/

SUSITNA VALLEY-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...TALKEETNA...WILLOW...CANTWELL
728 AM AKDT MON MAR 23 2009

...ASHFALL ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON AKDT TODAY...

THE ASHFALL ADVISORY IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON AKDT TODAY.

REDOUBT VOLCANO AT 60.5N 152.7W HAS ERUPTED SEVERAL TIMES DURING
THE NIGHT. LIGHT ASHFALL HAS ALREADY BEEN REPORTED AT SKWENTNA.
LIGHT ASHFALL IS POSSIBLE THROUGHOUT THE SUSITNA VALLEY THROUGH THE
MORNING.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

AN ASHFALL ADVISORY MEANS THAT ASH WILL BE DEPOSITED IN THE
ADVISORY AREA. PEOPLE IN AREAS OF ASHFALL SHOULD SEAL WINDOWS AND
DOORS. PROTECT ELECTRONICS AND COVER AIR INTAKES AND OPEN WATER
SUPPLIES. MINIMIZE DRIVING. LISTEN TO YOUR RADIO STATION FOR
FURTHER INFORMATION.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Border Patrol harassment

It's going to take a few years to re-educate law enforcement that they do not posses god-like powers to harass citizens. This video shows the extent to which authoritarian ideology has permeated the Federal law enforcement ranks.


No citizen can be forced to answer questions unless there is a reasonable cause for such questions. Random stops on the highway don't constitute reasonable cause. (h/t Photography is not a Crime)

Madoff's Tale


Schadenfreude indeed...
Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff is being held in a super-max wing of the Manhattan federal lockup - a unit so tough it drives hardened criminals mad, the Daily News has learned.

It's known as 10 South.

...

Imagine its impact on a first-time offender used to a $7 million East Side penthouse with a bedroom drawer filled with cuff links and a $39,000 Steinway piano in the living room.

"I had a guy in there who went bonkers," said one veteran defense lawyer. "They had to take him out of there and give him sedatives."
Yikes...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Do they know Ayn Rand was an atheist???

Ayn Rand

While all these "go Galt" nuts are frothing at the mouth, people like Michelle Malkin, Glenn Beck and Billo-the-clown, have they even bothered to vet their new hero, Ayn Rand? Her views on religion are startlingly close to my own (i.e. it's a useless waste of time, energy and money). For Rand, blind faith is tyrany. I find most of the rest of her Objectivist philosophy pretty reprehensible, I do concur with her that only through reason (and by extension, science) can man finally break free from the shackles of superstition.

American's adherence to Christian doctrine to the exclusion of reason is foolish and enslaving. Here's a bit from an old interview with Playboy.

PLAYBOY: "Has no religion, in your estimation, ever offered anything of constructive value to human life?"

RAND: "Qua religion, no—in the sense of blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason."

Blind faith, the faith of many leaders in the GOP and the Dems, according to Rand, is "extremely detrimental to human life." Imagine that. While the GOPers are busy handing out copies of Rand's Atlas Shrugged, do you think they realize how reactionary the author's views of religion and faith actually are? I suspect not.
"[F]aith and force. . . . are corollaries: every period of history dominated by mysticism, was a period of statism, of dictatorship, of tyranny."
Indeed. Blind faith inevitably leads to enslavement. Her observation that philosophy should replace faith is right on
"Philosophy is the goal toward which religion was only a helplessly blind groping. The grandeur, the reverence, the exalted purity, the austere dedication to the pursuit of truth, which are commonly associated with religion, should properly belong to the field of philosophy."
And, by extension, to science.

Matt Yglesias is smarter than I am

He certainly writes better. So let me let you enjoy his bit on Ayn Rand (in response to this absurd OpEd from Carol Baum in which she wrote the following Albee-esque paragraph:
The hero of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” is smiling because he’s seen it all before: the government’s intervention in the private sector; the constraints placed on business in the name of the people; the desperation on the part of government bureaucrats when they realize their leverage is limited; and -- this part is still fiction -- the decision on the part of business leaders to walk away from the enterprises they built.
Here's Matt's response.

Atlas Shrugged is a stupid book, Ayn Rand is a stupid woman, and John Galt’s ideas are stupid. That said, none of them are nearly this stupid. Rand’s novel isn’t about a world in which executives who build companies based on a lot of incorrect decisions, then pay themselves millions of dollars while bankrupting their firms, then come to the government hat-in-hand asking for bailouts, then find that the bailers-out want to attach some strings to their hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds and then go to hide out in Galt’s Gulch. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

If the folks running Citigroup and Bank of America and AIG were good at their jobs, we wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. That’s the point. But they weren’t good. They lost staggering sums of money. Their companies went broke. They had to beg for taxpayer dollars. You don’t get to do that and then turn around and “go Galt.”

Wish I could have said it that well. Stupid book, stupid woman, stupid Galt.

Obama continues his string of wins!

Obama reaches out to the people of Iran through a new video message. He's doing what he promised. While we have "serious differences" with the Iranian regime, we're now committed to an "engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Pet Goat?

W is embarking on a memoir. Imagine that...

There are no words...


Speaking of tone-deaf executives with their heads buried firmly in their asses, let's have a look at the new digs Citigroup plans for the CEO and his pals...
Citigroup Inc. plans to spend about $10 million on new offices for Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and his lieutenants, after the U.S. government injected $45 billion of cash into the bank.

Affidavits filed with New York’s Department of Buildings show Citigroup expects to pay at least $3.2 million for basic construction such as wall removal, plumbing and fire safety. By the time architect’s fees and expenses such as furniture are added, the tally for the offices at the bank’s Park Avenue headquarters will be at least three times as high, according to a person familiar with the project who declined to be identified because he’s not authorized to comment. Citigroup said the project will help it save money over time.
Really? Save money? How?

What are we, the partial owners of this (morally) bankrupt company getting for our $10 million?
Plans and instructions for the bank’s contractors, on file with the city, specify the installation of at least one Sub-Zero Inc. refrigerator and icemaker in the renovated space, along with “premium grade” millwork and Madico Inc. “Safety Shield 800” blast-proof window film. The project encompasses 17 private offices, each with space for administrative assistants, as well as two conference rooms and open areas with “soft seating,” according to the plans.
Hmmm, "blast-proof window film." That might come in handy for these parasitic motherfuckers.

Your modern Republican party in (in)action

Asked whether he'll vote for the "Tax the Bastards" plan put forth by Rangel in the House to get back the AIG bonus money, Minority Whip Eric Cantor flips and flops around like a flippy-floppy thing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another Bush-era mistake draws to a close...

Stop-Loss is coming to an end.
The military will phase out its "stop loss" program, the contentious practice of holding troops beyond the end of their enlistments, for all but extraordinary situations, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Wednesday.

Instead, the military will use incentives programs to encourage personnel to extend their service.

Starting this month, the department will provide "special compensation of $500 per month" to troops whose tour has been extended, Gates said. "This special compensation will be applied retroactively to October 1, 2008, the date when Congress first made it available."

Good news for our over-stretched military.

THUMP!

From the feather, to me, to the floor... An actual apology from F(au)x News over a doctored video clip they used.

Obama is determined...

...to get his legislation through. So much so that he has asked Congressional Democrats to move his bills through without any Republican support. Obama intends to use the budget shortcut called "budget reconciliation" to get his legislation approved. GOPers are fuming...
"That would be the Chicago approach to governing: Strong-arm it through," said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who briefly considered joining the Obama administration as commerce secretary. "You're talking about the exact opposite of bipartisan. You're talking about running over the minority, putting them in cement and throwing them in the Chicago River."
Ok, whatever it takes, Mr. Gregg. Your cement shoes are ready whenever you are. Standing in the way of progress at a time of national emergency will get you moved to the irrelevant bucket faster than you can say "obstructionist." How is this possible, you ask? Here's how.
The shortcut, known as "budget reconciliation," would allow Obama's health and energy proposals to be rolled into a bill that cannot be filibustered, meaning Democrats could push it through the Senate with 51 votes, instead of the usual 60. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both used the tactic to win deficit-reduction packages, while George W. Bush used it to push through his signature tax cuts.
Make it so, Number One.

The imminent death of the F-22!

Looks like Gates is girding his loins for a fight with the Military-Industrial Complex. He is targetting a number of useless weapons systems representing billions of wasted dollars. The MIC is lining up for a fight.
Two defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly said Gates will announce up to a half-dozen major weapons cancellations later this month. Candidates include a new Navy destroyer, the Air Force's F-22 fighter jet, and Army ground-combat vehicles, the officials said.
And gates is just the guy to do it too.
"He has earned a great deal of credibility over the past two years, both inside and outside the Pentagon, and now he is prepared to use it to lead the department in a new direction and bring about the changes he believes are necessary to protect the nation's security," said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.
Go, go, go Mr. Gates!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

America is better than Bush

The shame of being an American during a time when lawlessness was pervasive in our leadership. The International Committee of the Red Cross produced a classified document back in 2006 which detailed the ways in which so-called "enemy combatants" were treated in US custody. Have a look at the table of contents
Contents
Introduction
1. Main Elements of the CIA Detention Program
1.1 Arrest and Transfer
1.2 Continuous Solitary Confinement and Incommunicado Detention
1.3 Other Methods of Ill-treatment
1.3.1 Suffocation by water
1.3.2 Prolonged Stress Standing
1.3.3 Beatings by use of a collar
1.3.4 Beating and kicking
1.3.5 Confinement in a box
1.3.6 Prolonged nudity
1.3.7 Sleep deprivation and use of loud music
1.3.8 Exposure to cold temperature/cold water
1.3.9 Prolonged use of handcuffs and shackles
1.3.10 Threats
1.3.11 Forced shaving
1.3.12 Deprivation/restricted provision of solid food
1.4 Further elements of the detention regime....
It's a litany of tactics right out of the Nazi playbook. Or WW2 Japan. Or the Khmer Rouge. Or any number of authoritarian regimes. If nothing else convinces you that Bush and his whole crew need to be hauled off to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, then let this concluding paragraph from the ICRC report sink in.
The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
So when Bush said
"The United States does not torture. It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorized it—and I will not authorize it."
he was a lying sack of shit. And now it's time to hold him accountable.