Monday, March 31, 2008
Support was thin for the chimp yesterday at the season opener of the Washington Nationals baseball team in their new park.
Consider it an 'informal' poll of his popularity(approval) which is hovering at 20%.
Find those twenty per centers and send them for some edumacation on how to think proper and stop being stooopid.
And there is this From Ronald Raygun:
'A moment I've been dreading. George brought his n'er-do-well son around this morning and asked me to find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives in Florida; the one who hangs around here all the time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if they'll hire him as a contributing editor or something. That looks like easy work.'
Sunday, March 30, 2008
More fighting in Iraq. Somalia in chaos. People in this country can’t afford their mortgages and in some places now they can’t even afford rice.
None of this nor the rest of the grimness on the front page today will matter a bit, though, if two men pursuing a lawsuit in federal court in Hawaii turn out to be right. They think a giant particle accelerator that will begin smashing protons together outside Geneva this summer might produce a black hole or something else that will spell the end of the Earth — and maybe the universe.
Scientists say that is very unlikely — though they have done some checking just to make sure.
The world’s physicists have spent 14 years and $8 billion building the Large Hadron Collider, in which the colliding protons will recreate energies and conditions last seen a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Researchers will sift the debris from these primordial recreations for clues to the nature of mass and new forces and symmetries of nature.
But Walter L. Wagner and Luis Sancho contend that scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, have played down the chances that the collider could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they say, could eat the Earth. Or it could spit out something called a “strangelet” that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called “strange matter.” Their suit also says CERN has failed to provide an environmental impact statement as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.
Science gone bad? Black holes? Strange matter? As if we did not enough to think about already. Well I for one am not worried because we are all doomed anyway, might as well learn something before Global Warming suffocates us all eh?
Will this be the weapon eliminating 80% of the worlds population as some have suggested? Or just a benign experiment yielding good results just before we go that explains the secrets of the Universe we have always wondered about.
Seems like a segue into unneeded science to me.
But then I am not a scientist, I have a blog and I bitch about stuff, so there.
See you on the 'dark side'.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
“There is already a separate legal system in the territories for Israelis and Palestinians,” said Limor Yehuda, who argued the recent case for the civil rights association on behalf of six Palestinian villages. “With the approval of separate roads, if it becomes a widespread policy, then the word for it will be ‘apartheid.’ ”
Many Israelis and their supporters reject the term, with its implication of racist animus.
“The basis of separation is not ethnic since Israeli Arabs and Jerusalem residents with Israeli ID cards can use the road,” argues Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a conservative research organization. “The basis of the separation is to keep out of secure areas people living in chaotic areas. If the Palestinian Authority, which has thousands of men under arms, had fought terror, this wouldn’t have been necessary.”
The court’s latest decision is significant because it accepted the idea in principle put forth by the army — that while it had no choice but to ban Palestinian traffic from the road because of anti-Israel attacks on it, some of which it says originated from the surrounding villages, it would build separate roads for the Palestinians.
The court has never ruled on the legality of separate roads, despite a growing network of them around the West Bank. If this interim decision reflects its view that such a system is legally acceptable, that represents a big new step. A court spokeswoman said the justices would not comment.
Back in the 50's and earlier we had the same program going, "Whites only".
The arrogance of the Israeli's is astounding. To be blatantly racist in the 21st Century and receiving American dollars to do so is even more astounding.
Serious problems exist and we do not have any business giving Israel one dime until they apply "All people are created equal" to their realm and quit being frightened little cowards trying to feel powerful by pushing Palestinians around like third class people.
Not one dime!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
There was a time, not too long ago, when Washington did regulate banks. The Depression triggered the creation of government bank regulations and agencies, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Home Loan Bank System, Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC), Fannie Mae, and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), to protect consumers and expand homeownership. After World War II, until the late 1970s, the system worked. The savings-and-loan industry was highly regulated by the federal government, with a mission to take people's deposits and then provide loans for the sole purpose of helping people buy homes to live in. Washington insured those loans through the FDIC, provided mortgage discounts through FHA and the Veterans Administration, created a secondary mortgage market to guarantee a steady flow of capital, and required S&Ls to make predictable 30-year fixed loans. The result was a steady increase in homeownership and few foreclosures.
In the 1970s, when community groups discovered that lenders and the FHA were engaged in systematic racial discrimination against minority consumers and neighborhoods -- a practice called "redlining" -- they mobilized and got Congress, led by Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire, to adopt the Community Reinvestment Act and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, which together have significantly reduced racial disparities in lending.
But by the early 1980s, the lending industry used its political clout to push back against government regulation. In 1980, Congress adopted the Depository Institutions Deregulatory and Monetary Control Act, which eliminated interest-rate caps and made subprime lending more feasible for lenders. The S&L industry, like Keating's Lincoln Savings, balked at constraints on their ability to compete with conventional banks engaged in commercial lending. They got Congress -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- to change the rules, allowing S&Ls to begin a decade-long orgy of real-estate speculation, mismanagement, and fraud.
The deregulation of banking led to merger mania, with banks and S&Ls gobbling each other up and making loans to finance shopping malls, golf courses, office buildings, and condo projects that had no financial logic other than a quick-buck profit. When the dust settled in the late 1980s, about a thousand S&Ls and banks had gone under, billions of dollars of commercial loans were useless, and the federal government was left to bail out the depositors whose money the speculators had looted to the tune of about $125 billion.
The icing on the cake was the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, enacted during the Clinton years by the Republican-controlled Congress, which tore down the remaining legal barriers to combining commercial banking, investment banking, and insurance under one corporate roof.
As a result of industry consolidation, between 1984 and 2004, the number of FDIC-regulated banks declined from 14,392 to 7,511. In 1960, the 10-largest banks held 21 percent of the industry's assets; by 2005, the 10 largest banks controlled 60 percent of the assets. Meanwhile, a netherworld of non-bank institutions that lend and invest money emerged, offering complex and risky loan products and investment vehicles that defy common understanding and resist government regulation.
Ok so I'm a harpie, but I am a poor one so I beat up on the BIG MONEY bunch.
As this article points out there has been a steady decline in the monitoring of banking transactions by the BIG Money boys and like Grade School, there are those that left unchecked will push the limits as far as they can to gain what they want.
When allowed to run free no ones money is safe. An Administration that condones and provides cover for manipulation, wiretaps for information and strategizes for their own gain is banking run amok, and what we have now.
I will let the article speak for itself in detail the why's and what-fors, so run down to your local bank and demand your money today, 20 dollar increments are easier to use but grocery stores will cash 100's.
Yup, a good old fashioned run on the bank might just open some eyes and let those buzzards know we do not need their money stoking asses any longer.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Never would have figured Mike for a Libertarian but I suppose if the Dems would not support him he would find someone who would.
Actually Mike is a pretty decent guy. He stands for America and The Constitution with a good dose of humor thrown in. Some think he is daffy, I think he was ignored deliberately.
Cast aside like yesterdays news he and many others fell from the MSM's graces, of course the fact that the MSM is controlled by major government contractors, we should not be surprised.
By publicity alone the choice candidates have been paraded before us disallowing the others by sheer neglect.
Folks we are under fascist rule right now. Ever so slowly our Constitution is being argued against in favor of the rich and powerful, Habeus Corpus? gone, Privacy? gone, Free Speech?, gone(except in specified zones).
Real ID, Patriot Act, Military Commisions act, KBR detention centers, Illegal Search and Seizure, Executive Privilege, Torture, Unlawful Detention, The new Constitution provisions for an by the BIG corporations and politicians controlled by them.
We are on a hell-bound train headed straight for our own demise, Mike and others like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich tried to tell us but we were redirected to other choices and made them look like we chose them.
See what I mean about fascism yet?
I'm not surprised.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
BAGHDAD — A cease-fire critical to the improved security situation in Iraq appeared to unravel Monday when a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in west Baghdad and issuing demands of the central government. Simultaneously, in the strategic southern port city of Basra, where Sadr's Mahdi militia is in control, the Iraqi government launched a crackdown in the face of warnings by Sadr's followers that they'll fight government forces if any Sadrists are detained. By 1 a.m. Arab satellite news channels reported clashes between the Mahdi Army and police in Basra.
The freeze on offensive activity by Sadr's Mahdi Army has been a major factor behind the recent drop in violence in Iraq, and there were fears that the confrontation that's erupted in Baghdad and Basra could end the lull in attacks, assassinations, kidnappings and bombings.
As the U.S. military recorded its 4,000th death in Iraq, U.S. officials in Baghdad warned again Monday that drawing down troops too quickly could collapse Iraq's fragile security situation.
Pentagon officials said that military leaders are watching for any signs of backsliding as they consider whether to keep drawing down troops below pre-surge levels.
President Bush spoke about the death toll, saying, "One day, people will look back at this moment in history and say, 'Thank God there were courageous people willing to serve, because they laid the foundations for peace for generations to come.' "
Even as he spoke, the situation on the ground was rapidly worsening.
On Sunday, a barrage of at least 17 rockets hit the heavily fortified Green Zone and surrounding neighborhoods, where both the U.S. and Iraqi government headquarters are housed, according to police. Most of them were launched from the outskirts of Sadr City and Bayaa, both Mahdi Army-controlled neighborhoods.
Keep your eye on the ball. Providing natural cover, the election has taken the place of the mis-information campaign. We have all had that sinking feeling when our hopes are held high for change, then some incident happens that takes it all away and all that is left is that empty feeling of quiet desperation to re-do the moment an put the evil Genie back in the box and hope once again.
We will commemorate the next thousand dead with the same indifference paid to the 4000 now, sure we talk about it, sure we are sad, but despite that this illegal and totally morally wrong war continues unabated with no end in sight. We hope and we hope but sometimes hope is not enough.
Youth of America, despite what you might think is a just and noble cause joining the military, it is not.
Cheney himself said of the war dead and injured, "they volunteered".
So my push is to get the word out to STOP volunteering! These people do not care about you or your family or you.
You are the means to an end for THEM, thats it, nothing more.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
A spectacular sunset from the parking lot of Chuckanut Manor restaurant near Bellingham.
Some folks have kids enjoying the Easter Bunny's leavings right now, me I'm too old to give a dang anymore, just waiting for the after Easter candy to go to half price and scoop some up.
Sympathies to all you Midwesterners suffering through more snow and crappy weather, sometimes winter seemingly never ends, this is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see ever.
Beyond religious and gluttonistic issues there is the issue of the 08 election and the rivalry for the highest office in the land.
Coffee in the corner and sticky buns on the side.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Bill Moyers interviews former talk show host Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro on the true cost of war and their documentary, BODY OF WAR, depicting the moving story of one veteran dealing with the aftermath of war. With extensive excerpts from the film, the filmmakers talk about Iraq war veteran Tomas Young who was shot and paralyzed less than a week into his tour of duty. Three years in the making, BODY OF WAR tells the poignant tale of the young man’s journey from joining the service after 9/11 to fight in Afghanistan, to living with devastating wounds after being deployed to Iraq instead.
Deeply moving look into this young mans life as it is after volunteering for what he believed was a just cause.
He is not the only one that has been deceived by this Administration of Evil. We too have paid the price for their misjudgments and ineptitude, it just so happens Tom took the direct approach in the war on terror, to fight them on their home turf, in their own land for a battle he felt was righteous, he was wrong and so were we.
We were wrong to believe the cause was just, that to fight this war was to fight Al-Queda and get the terrorists that killed our people, it was a convenient excuse to get what many had longed for, all that black crude under the sand, perhaps the greatest reserves outside Saudi Arabia, the big Kahuna, oil and lots of it.
So the next time your Johnny goes marching to war remember, because of his sacrifice your home will have heat, cars will have gas and tires, and you will have all your plastic stuff.
And BIG OIL will reap EXTRA BIG profits.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Different Standards for Black and White Preachers
by Cenk Uygur
Rudy Giuliani's priest has been accused in grand jury proceedings of molesting several children and covering up the molestation of others. Giuliani would not disavow him on the campaign trail and still works with him.
Mitt Romney was part of a church that did not view black Americans as equals and actively discriminated against them. He stayed with that church all the way into his early thirties, until they were finally forced to change their policies to come into compliance with civil rights legislation. Romney never disavowed his church back then or now. He said he was proud of the faith of his fathers.
Jerry Falwell said America had 9/11 coming because we tolerated gays, feminists and liberals. It was our fault. Our chickens had come home to roost, if you will. John McCain proudly received his support and even spoke at his university's commencement.
Reverend John Hagee has called the Catholic Church the "Great Whore." He has said that the Anti-Christ will rise out of the European Union (of course, the Anti-Christ will also be Jewish). He has said all Muslims are trained to kill and will be part of the devil's army when Armageddon comes (which he hopes is soon). John McCain continues to say he is proud of Reverend Hagee's endorsement.
Reverend Rod Parsley believes America was founded to destroy Islam. Since this is such an outlandish claim, I have to add for the record, that he is not kidding. Reverend Parsley says Islam is an "anti-Christ religion" brought down from a "demon spirit." Of course, we are in a war against all Muslims, including presumably Muslim-Americans. Buts since Parsley believes this is a Christian nation and that it should be run as a theocracy, he is not very concerned what Muslim-Americans think.
John McCain says Reverend Rod Parsley is his "spiritual guide."
What separates all of these outrageous preachers from Barack Obama's? You guessed it. They're white and Reverend Jeremiah Wright is not. If it's not racism that's causing the disparity in media treatment of these preachers, then what is it?
I'm willing to listen to other possible explanations. And I am inclined to believe that the people these preachers go after are more important than the race of the preacher. It's one thing to go after gays, liberals and Muslims -- that seems to be perfectly acceptable in America -- it's another to accuse white folks of not living up to their ideals.
I think there is another factor at play as well. The media is deathly afraid of calling out preachers of any stripe for insane propaganda from the pulpits for fear that they will be labeled as anti-Christian. But criticism of Rev. Wright falls into their comfort zone. It's easy to blame him for being anti-American because he criticizes American foreign and domestic policy.
If Rev. Wright had preached about discriminating against gay Americans or Muslims, there probably would not have been any outcry at all. That falls into the category of "respect their hateful opinions because they cloak themselves in the church."
But one thing is indisputable -- the enormous disparity in how the media has covered these white preachers as opposed to Rev. Wright. Have you ever even heard of Rod Parsley? As you can see from what I listed above, all of these white preachers have said and done the most outlandish and offensive things you can imagine -- and hardly a peep.
If the disparity in coverage isn't racist, then what is it?Watch The Young Turks Here
Bagged this at Smirking Chimp because it highlights the double standard applied to Obama.
Religion is scary stuff for the intelligent non-sheeple. Just recently OBL issued a warning to the Europeans to beware because of published cartoons depicting Allah in a comedic light.
Get over it OBL! and the rest of you hard-assed zealots, Allah obviously has a sense of humor or he would not leave you on the planet-DUH!
You funny boy OBL! Stoopid but funny. Lucky for you you have relatives in SA willing to stand between you and American justice and keep your seemingly worthless butt alive, STFU!
Any religion that professes violence against non-believers deserves no quarter here on Earth, or anywhere else in the Universe!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Mar 18, 2008
|AP photo / Gerald Herbert|
That idiotic “what me worry?” look just never leaves the man’s visage. Once again there was our president, presiding over disasters in part of his making and totally on his watch, grinning with an aplomb that suggested a serious disconnect between his worldview and existing reality. Be it in his announcement that Iraq was being secured on a day when bombs ripped through that sad land or posed between his treasury secretary and the Federal Reserve chairman to applaud the government’s bailout of a failed bank, George Bush was the only one inexplicably smiling.
Failure suits him. It is a stance he learned well while presiding over one failed Texas business deal after another, and it served him splendidly as he claimed the title of president of the United States after losing the popular, and maybe even the electoral, vote. It carried him through the most ignominious chapter of U.S. foreign policy, from the lies about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to an unprecedented presidential defense of torture.
The totally unwarranted assurance was there this week as the once proud dollar fell into the toilet and the debacle of Iraq and Bush’s other failed Mideast policies pushed oil prices to record highs. The Europeans, who didn’t support the U.S. imperial intervention, are doing much better, not having to pay for guarding besieged oil pipelines while U.S. taxpayers are saddled with trillions in future debt, not to mention 4,000 U.S. military deaths and 30,000 U.S. injuries in a war the administration had promised would be paid for with Iraqi oil revenues. Even in Baghdad last week there wasn’t enough oil to keep the lights on for more than a few hours.
But the president is happy because his legacy issue, the war on terror, is intact. No matter that this week the Pentagon was forced to release a report conducted over the last five years that concluded, after surveying 600,000 official Iraqi documents captured by U.S. forces, that there is “no smoking gun” establishing any connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. The report was so embarrassing that we taxpayers who paid for it were not going to be told of its existence, even though the explosive conclusions were totally declassified, until ABC News forced its posting online.
The network reported that the Pentagon had canceled plans to issue a press release or make it available by e-mail or otherwise online because, as one Pentagon official put it, the study is “too politically sensitive.” Damn right it is—Bush squandered U.S. treasure and lives in an effort that had nothing to do with the infamous attack on America. As for the real war on terror against the real al-Qaida, those folks are very much on the rebound, just where they were before the 9/11 attack, building their bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, back on the home front, Wall Street is crumbling, not because of planes crashing into buildings but because the outrageous knaves of finance, freed from the most minimal requirements of public accountability, have been permitted to destroy America’s reputation in the world for financial probity.
In the name of ending what were claimed to be onerous regulations imposed after the Great Depression, this administration accelerated a bipartisan pattern of allowing Wall Street to betray investors with impunity while abandoning the federal government’s obligation, once accepted equally by conservatives and liberals, to ensure our national solvency. This tendency, under way for decades to give the bankers what they wanted—codified in the Financial Services Modernization Act, which was signed into law by Bill Clinton and which permitted banks, stock brokers and insurance companies to merge—was exacerbated by Bush’s appointment of rapacious corporate foxes to watch the corporate henhouse.
They will take care of their own, which is why Bush was smiling, happily posed in that photo op between Henry Paulson Jr. and Ben Bernanke announcing the Bear Stearns bailout, made possible only by the federal government using your tax dollars to pick up the bad debt of the banks. Tape that picture to your wall to remind you, when you open a credit card bill with a 30 percent interest rate—not the 2 percent the Fed will charge banks—or see the increase in your adjustable rate mortgage, of just what your government will do for the really big guys that it will never do for regular folks.In the years to come, as millions lose their retirement income and homes, we will have occasion to remember Georgie Porgie, who kissed the taxpayers and made them cry before he ran away.
This is my last post about this fool and the mess he has made of everything he has touched.
If we even make it to November before total economic collapse and the entire nation in poverty except for the select few rich enough to rise above it we will find a hollowed out shell of a formerly great country and many fellow Americans on the street. Crime will rise, more people will snap.
We must not take our eyes off the economic ball here. Sal has reminded us about the coming economic disaster and it is coming, slowly, but it is coming. Gaming the system is what the three pictured are all about. Pumping the last of the near worthless dollars out of the economy to benefit the rich few while leaving the rest of us behind is their game. To them starvation and death in the streets of America mean nothing, their world is vastly different from ours full of luxury and opulence, servants, drivers and fistfuls of cash to afford whatever strikes their fancy.
To believe we will emerge from economic catastrophe unscathed is foolish at best.
They will, we will not.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
As we mark the five-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq this week, we continue to bring you the voices of U.S. veterans and active duty soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan testifying about the horrors of war. For four days, soldiers convened at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland for Winter Soldier—an eyewitness indictment of atrocities committed by US troops during the ongoing occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War, the event was modeled after the historic 1971 Winter Soldier hearings held during the Vietnam War.
Tomorrow night the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq will enter its sixth year. On Monday at least seventy-two Iraqis were killed in violence around Iraq, including 42 Shiite worshippers in a suicide bombing in Kerbala. Two U.S. troops were also killed, bringing the U.S. death toll to 3,990—ten deaths away from the four-thousand mark.
If the Bush administration’s drive to invade Iraq was aided by corporate media cheerleading, the five-year mark today is being met with near-silence by the corporate media. According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, the U.S. occupation of Iraq has accounted for just three percent of news stories in television, print, and online media so far this year. On cable news networks, it”s accounted for just one percent.
That silence was on display this past weekend when the corporate media largely ignored a monumental gathering just outside the nation"s capitol. For four days, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans convened at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland for Winter Soldier—an eyewitness indictment of atrocities committed by US troops during the ongoing occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War, the event was modeled after the historic 1971 Winter Soldier hearings held during the Vietnam War.
Yesterday we brought you some of the testimony from this weekend’s Winter Soldier hearings. We continue with more of their voices today as we mark the fifth-anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. This is Winter Soldier.
Hart Viges, he fought with the 82nd airborne division. After he returned from Iraq he was granted conscientious objector status.
Jason Washburn, served three tours in Iraq from 2003 to 2006 as a Corporal. He took part in the invasion and was deployed in the cities of Najaf and Haditha.
Jason Lemieux, Former Marine Sergeant who served three tours in Iraq from 2003 to 2006. He currently heads the Los Angeles chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Geoff Millard, Spent nine years in the National Guard and served thirteen months in Iraq at the rank of Sergeant. He heads the Washington, DC chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Domingo Rosas, Former Sergeant who served in Iraq with the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment from April 2003 to April 2004.
@ Democracy Now
Plenty of formats to choose from here for vets to tell their stories, hope you will all watch and send the link to your relatives and friends needing a good dose of reality or simply to understand the complete human wreckage that the war in Iraq has wrought.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Bush Diplomacy: Predator Planes Are Conducting Assassinations by Air
By Tom Engelhardt
Imagine, for a moment, that you live in a small town somewhere near the Southern California coast. You're going about your daily life, trying to scrape by in hard times, when the missile hits. It might have come from the Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) -- its pilot at a base on the outskirts of Tehran -- that has had the village in its sights for the last six hours or from the Russian sub stationed just off the coast. In either case, it's devastating.
In Moscow and Tehran, officials announce that, in a joint action, they have launched the missile as part of a carefully coordinated "surgical" operation to take out a "known terrorist," a long-term danger to their national security. A Kremlin spokesman offers the following statement:
"As we have repeatedly said, we will continue to pursue terrorist activities and their operations wherever we may find them. We share common goals with respect to fighting terrorism. We will continue to seek out, identify, capture and, if necessary, kill terrorists where they plan their activities, carry out their operations or seek safe harbor."
A family in a ramshackle house just down the street from you -- he's a carpenter; she works at the local Dairy Queen -- are killed along with their pets. Their son is seriously wounded, their home blown to smithereens. Neighbors passing by as the missile hits are also wounded.
As it happens, there are no terrorists in the vicinity. Outraged, you organize your neighbors and march angrily in protest through the town, shouting anti-Russian, anti-Iranian slogans. But, of course, there is nothing you can really do. Iran and Russia are far away, their weaponry powerful, your arms nonexistent. The state of California is incapable of protecting you. This is, in fact, at least the fourth time in recent months that a "terrorist" has been declared "taken out" from the air or by a ship-based cruise missile, when only innocent Californians have died.
KILL KILL KILL!!!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked.
By Greg Palast
Reporting for Air America Radio’s Clout
March 14th, 2008
Bernanke Explains why the 200 Billion is good for YOU
While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.
Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there’s a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush’s man Bernanke was using ours.
This week, Bernanke’s Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks’ mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.
Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers’ bordello: Eliot Spitzer.
Who are they kidding? Spitzer’s lynching and the bankers’ enriching are intimately tied.
@ Greg Palast.com
Put the coffee down, this is a rats nest of shenanigans like there has never been before.
Beyond comprehension of us 'little people' the BIG MONEY boys have been hard at work taking over and look what happens, we get screwed yet again.
Now don't get me wrong here, 'buyer beware' applies and a lot of folks got suckered by all the carrot dangling and the goal of something for nothing.
Well nothing is what they got.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Winter Soldier: America Must Hear These Vets' Stories
By Penny Coleman, AlterNet. Posted March 15, 2008.
I missed the Winter Soldier Investigation in 1971. At the time I was married to a vet who desperately wanted to put his war behind him -- and he wanted me to help him do it. We were supposed to pretend it had never happened. It didn't work.
Daniel refused to talk about Vietnam. "Talk to your old lady? No fucking way," his friend Bobby Lanz shot back when I said I thought that maybe Daniel wouldn't have killed himself if I had been able to get him to talk about whatever it was that was causing him such pain. "With other vets, you can say, 'shit man, I did all this horrible stuff. You're not going to believe the stuff I did', and someone who has been there will say, 'Yeah, so did I, so did we all.' But with your woman? You start to talk about having fucked some folks up bad, doing awful things, killing people, maybe, and she starts to cry and you don't go there again. You think, Fuck me, man, I don't need to hurt her. This is psychological abuse, so I am going to shut up."
Maybe I wouldn't have understood. Completely. But not knowing was far worse. For decades, I took responsibility for his death. I thought it was my fault. And even if I hadn't been able to understand exactly what he was talking about, I would have understood that he was in a kind of lethal pain. Whether it was that he thought he deserved to die or that he deserved to be put out of his misery, either way, execution or euthanasia, I would have understood that he had been injured in the war. And I would have known where to focus my grief and my rage.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Probably the biggest slap in the the face to the American people ever by a standing President.
Of course vulgar frat boy george most likely did not notice especially with such an amused audience cackling right along with the bozo, sick bastards one and all.
Grow up frat boy, you are the supposed leader of the free world, and while your at it SMOKE some brown, brown grass at home, it might help.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Posted on Mar 10, 2008
|AP photo / Oded Balilty|
By Chris Hedges
War creates a world without empathy. Those who have empathy cannot, as did Palestinian gunman Alaa Hisham Abu Dheim, coldly murder students in a Jerusalem library. Those who have empathy cannot drop tons of iron fragmentation bombs on crowded Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza, killing more than 120 Palestinians in a week, of whom one in five were children and more than half were civilians. Those who have empathy do not, as Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai did, thunder at the Palestinians that they face a shoah, meaning catastrophe or holocaust. Those with empathy are unable to rejoice, as many leaders of Hamas did, over slaughter, as if the murder of the other’s innocents is justified by the murder of your innocents.
We live in a world, at home and in the Middle East, hardened and distorted by hate. We communicate in the language of fear and violence. Human beings are no longer viewed as human beings. They are no longer endowed in our eyes, or the eyes of those who oppose us, with human qualities. They do no love, grieve, suffer, laugh or weep. They represent cold abstractions of evil. The death-for-death means we communicate by producing corpses. And we are all guilty, Americans, Palestinians, Iraqis and Israelis. But we are not all guilty equally.
Israel and the United States bear the responsibility for a world that has unleashed twisted killers such as Abu Dheim. It is the decades of repression in Gaza, as well as the callous occupation in Iraq, that has bequeathed to us a new generation of jihadists and gunmen who walk into yeshivas and spray automatic fire at people bent over books. For as the poet W.H. Auden pointed out:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, unable to break Hamas with the siege and frustrated by the Palestinians’ spontaneous rupture of the barricades that separate the Gaza Strip from Egypt, is trying to pound Gaza into submission. During the past three months of unrelenting Israeli strikes, over 300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have died in Israeli attacks. The strikes have done nothing, however, to halt the rocket attacks on Israeli towns or end Hamas rule.
This will NEVER end. As long as religion allows people to act the fool like they alone are holy blessed to smite their enemies, it will NEVER end.
We can read about it here but we will never understand fully until we are there will we?
Understand this, people are dying for different religious beliefs.
Is that any way for God's children to act?
Monday, March 10, 2008
The Pennsylvania Polka
At the Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, on Polish Hill in Pittsburgh, they can't afford a janitor anymore. The ladies of the parish volunteer, swabbing the tile floors and polishing the mahogany pews. They are a familiar Pittsburgh type: the wry, forthright, steel-willed wives of hardworking, shot-and-beer men. Long after morning mass, in the dim sanctuary, I asked the "Stara Baba" crew (Polish for "old grandma") whom they support in the suddenly pivotal Pennsylvania Democratic primary next month. The uniform answer: Hillary Clinton. "She's learned a lot, and everyone knows women are stronger and smarter than the men," said Gerry Kopczynski. Barack Obama, she said, didn't know much and was "a little cocky." Gerry couldn't stomach the way young people were gushing about him: "All these college kids yell 'change, change, change,' and they don't know a damn thing!" Better to focus, said Sandy Buczkowski, on bolstering Medicare and Medicaid. "Hillary can help us seniors," she said. "She's a strong-willed person."
The Stara Baba crew is one reason that Hillary begins the Pennsylvania political polka with a lead—and why Obama has to contest the primary with all his might, even at the risk of a fight with Clinton that leaves them both damaged for the fall. The Democratic nominee will need the Polish Hills of America, and Obama may as well begin the sales effort now. John McCain's military heritage and antitotalitarianism could resonate in places such as Polish Hill, where Stars and Stripes hang from windows year-round.
Nutz is right! Obama will scoop them up and keep on going. The neo-fascists were counting on one of their own to get the job but that ain't happening, this 'outsider' they have tried their best to discredit just keeps on rolling along, gathering delegates, like pickin paw paws.
Barack better get some damn good security tho, gotta keep that guy around and see what happens next. Get the squeezebox warmed up, the tuba tuned and get ready for a new song and dance.
Polka: "Happy music for happy people!" Big Joe
Damn 'bout time some happy stuff started happening, even if it is March Madness.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Many homeowners still trapped in Ameriquest loans
Foreclosure possible even for those with fraudulent mortgage terms
By CARRIE TEEGARDIN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 03/09/08
In 2004 David and Kelly Andronica were already looking into refinancing the mortgage on their four-bedroom house in Cumming when they got a call "out of the blue" from a salesman for Ameriquest.
"He was just speaking real clear and I felt like he was being real nice to me and Kelly," David Andronica recalled. "He acted like your best friend."
The Andronicas went through with a refinance with Ameriquest. They thought everything was fine until Kelly put in a call to the company to find out why their property taxes had not been paid.
Kelly said the customer service agent asked her to verify some figures from her loan application, including an annual income for Kelly in excess of $60,000.
"I haven't made that much money in my entire life," said Kelly, a 31-year-old mother of three.
Her W-2 statement, which she had supplied to the mortgage company, shows the housewife earned $1,408 working part time at a day care center.
But the Andronicas were to find worse news. They discovered they had signed for an adjustable-rate mortgage instead of the 30-year fixed rate they say they wanted. And, the appraisal Ameriquest ordered significantly overstated the home's value.
An appraiser hired by Ameriquest said the family's house was worth $283,000, much higher than the $209,000 value an appraiser hired by the Andronicas had set just two months before. David said that when he told his contact at Ameriquest that the value sounded high. "He was like 'No, everything's fine'."
Jason Farmer, who supervised the higher appraisal, said in an interview that he stood by all the home values determined by his Blue Ridge-based company. However, he said that his company stopped doing business with Ameriquest because the lender tried to inappropriately influence appraisals.
"Ameriquest was particularly bad about pressure for values," Farmer said. "A lot of times they would stipulate, 'Well, we are looking at at least this value'."
The more the Andronicas learned about Ameriquest, the worse things got. They started looking for a lawyer.
The central problem here is lack of education by the buyer and an need to deceive by the lender.
Like an athlete doing steroids, the money shufflers need that extra advantage to make a bigger buck. Sometimes it works for a while but most times the errors compound over time and you have what we have here, a shining example of American Capitalism gone bad, real bad.
Many people will suffer so a few can bake in the Caymans.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
They knew, but did nothing
Illustration: Harry Afentoglou
In the American summer of 2001, the nation's news organisations, especially the television networks, were riveted by the story of one man. It wasn't George Bush. And it certainly wasn't Osama bin Laden.
It was the sordid tale of an otherwise obscure Democratic congressman from California, Gary Condit, who was implicated - falsely, it later appeared - in the disappearance of a 24-year-old government intern later found murdered. That summer, the names of the blow-dried congressman and the doe-eyed intern, Chandra Levy, were much better known to the American public than bin Laden's.
Even reporters in Washington who covered intelligence issues acknowledged they were largely ignorant that summer that the CIA and other parts of the Government were warning of an almost certain terrorist attack. Probably, but not necessarily, overseas.
The warnings were going straight to President Bush each morning in his briefings by the CIA director, George Tenet, and in the presidential daily briefings. It would later be revealed by the 9/11 commission into the September 11 attacks that more than 40 presidential briefings presented to Bush from January 2001 through to September 10, 2001, included references to bin Laden.
@ The Sydney Morning Herald
A reminder showing the gross ineptitude of Condi-weasel and her/his lousy job skills.
Treason is too good for people like that who deliberately put their own agenda ahead of national security, firing squad would be preferred.
We and everyone else in the USA are still suffering from the failings these morons in charge. Interesting reading.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
"There are some corporations that clearly are operating at a level that are disastrous for the general public … And in fact I suppose one could argue that in many respects a corporation of that sort is the prototypical psychopath, at the corporate level instead of the individual level." --Dr. Robert Hare, The Corporation
Since 1901, Monsanto has brought us Agent Orange, PCBs, Terminator seeds and recombined milk, among other infamous products. But it's currently obsessed with the milk, or, more importantly, the milk labels, particularly those that read "rBST-free" or "rBGH-free." It's not the "BST" or "BGH" that bothers them so much; after all, bovine somatrophin, also known as bovine growth hormone, isn't exactly what the company is known for. Which is to say, it's naturally occurring. No, the problem is the "r" denoting "recombined." There's nothing natural about it. In fact, the science is increasingly pointing to the possibility that recombined milk is -- surprise! -- not as good for you as the real thing.
"Consumption of dairy products from cows treated with rbGH raise a number of health issues," explained Michael Hansen, a senior scientist for Consumers Union. "That includes increased antibiotic resistance, due to use of antibiotics to treat mastitis and other health problems, as well as increased levels of IGF-1, which has been linked to a range of cancers."
For its part, Monsanto is leaning on the crutch of terminology to derail the mounting threat to its bottom line: The consumer-driven revolution against recombined food. And so the St. Louis-based agri-chem giant has launched a war of words in the form of a full-court press to suppress the "rBGH-free" label at the state level. And it's sticking to its guns by obfuscating and indulging in cheap semantics.
"RBST is a supplement that helps the cow produce more milk," Monsanto spokesperson Lori Hoag explained to me via email. "It is injected into the cow, not into the milk. There is no way to test because the milk is absolutely the same. Neither the public nor a scientist can tell the difference in the milk because there is not a difference. Consumers absolutely have a right to know if there is a difference in foods they are buying. In this case, there simply is not a difference."
Humans are not meant to drink cow's milk anyway but what have we done? made an entire industry with it and BIG PHARMA is developing anti-cholesterol drugs to counteract it's effects. My son has a lactose intolerance as do I and many others also cannot tolerate this substance which we are supposed to drink 3 times a day, PTOOIE!!
Monsanto are just one of a long line of corporate greed producers willing to sacrifice the American people for profit.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
WASHINGTON - Hillary Rodham Clinton scored three victories in a night of revival that denied Barack Obama a ripe opportunity to drive her from the Democratic presidential race. Clarity came only to the Republican side, where John McCain made the nomination his own.
Meanwhile, Clinton, fresh off big primary victories, hinted Wednesday at the possibility of sharing the Democratic presidential ticket with Obama — with her at the top. Obama played down his losses, stressing that he still holds the lead in number of delegates.
In a night that failed to clarify the Democratic race, John McCain clinched the Republican nomination. Clinton won primaries in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, halting Obama's winning streak. Obama won in Vermont.
2,025 delegates needed for nomination
(stolen info fromMSNBC)
Hey! Ole Hill will consider an Obama VP! so she hinted at on Scarborough this AM.
One big tent!
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Obama, Being Called a Muslim Is Not a Smear
by Naomi Klein
February 28, 2008
Hillary Clinton denied leaking the photo of Barack Obama wearing a turban, but her campaign manager says that even if she had, it would be no big deal. "Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely."
Sure she did. And George W. Bush put on a fetching Chamato poncho in Santiago, while Paul Wolfowitz burned up YouTube with his antimalarial African dance routines when he was World Bank prez. The obvious difference is this: when white politicians go ethnic, they just look funny. When a black presidential contender does it, he looks foreign. And when the ethnic apparel in question is vaguely reminiscent of the clothing worn by Iraqi and Afghan fighters (at least to many Fox viewers, who think any headdress other than a baseball cap is a declaration of war on America), the image is downright frightening.
The turban "scandal" is all part of what is being referred to as "the Muslim smear." It includes everything from exaggerated enunciations of Obama's middle name to the online whisper campaign that Obama attended a fundamentalist madrassa in Indonesia (a lie), was sworn in on a Koran (another lie) and if elected would attach RadioShack speakers to the White House to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (I made that one up).
So far, Obama's campaign has responded with aggressive corrections that tout his Christian faith, attack the attackers and channel a cooperative witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee. "Barack has never been a Muslim or practiced any other faith besides Christianity," states one fact sheet. "I'm not and never have been of the Muslim faith," Obama told a Christian News reporter.
Of course Obama must correct the record, but he doesn't have to stop there. What is disturbing about the campaign's response is that it leaves unchallenged the disgraceful and racist premise behind the entire "Muslim smear": that being Muslim is de facto a source of shame. Obama's supporters often say they are being "Swiftboated," casually accepting the idea that being accused of Muslimhood is tantamount to being accused of treason.
Substitute another faith or ethnicity, and you'd expect a very different response. Consider a report from the archives of this magazine. Thirteen years ago, Daniel Singer, The Nation's late, much-missed Europe correspondent, went to Poland to cover a hotly contested presidential election. He reported that the race had descended into an ugly debate over whether one of the candidates, Aleksander Kwasniewski, was a closet Jew. The press claimed his mother had been buried in a Jewish cemetery (she was still alive), and a popular TV show aired a skit featuring the Christian candidate dressed as a Hasidic Jew. "What perturbed me," Singer wryly observed, "was that Kwasniewski's lawyers threatened to sue for slander rather than press for an indictment under the law condemning racist propaganda."
We should expect no less of the Obama campaign. When asked during the Ohio debate about Louis Farrakhan's support for his candidacy, Obama did not hesitate to call Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments "unacceptable and reprehensible." When the turban photo flap came up in the same debate, he used the occasion to say nothing at all.
Farrakhan's infamous comments about Jews took place twenty-four years ago. The orgy of hate that is "the Muslim smear" is unfolding in real time, and it promises to greatly intensify in a general election. These attacks do not simply "smear Barack's Christian faith," as John Kerry claimed in a campaign mailing. They are an attack on all Muslims, some of whom actually do exercise their rights to cover their heads and send their kids to religious school. Thousands even have the very common name Hussein. All are watching their culture used as a crude bludgeon against Obama, while the candidate who is the symbol of racial harmony fails to defend them. This at a time when US Muslims are bearing the brunt of the Bush Administration's assaults on civil liberties, including dragnet wiretapping, and are facing a documented spike in hate crimes.
Occasionally, though not nearly enough, Obama says that Muslims are "deserving of respect and dignity." What he has never done is what Singer called for in Poland: denounce the attacks themselves as racist propaganda, in this case against Muslims.
The core of Obama's candidacy is that he alone--who lived in Indonesia as a boy and has an African grandmother--can "repair the world" after the Bush wrecking ball. That repair job begins with the 1.4 billion Muslims around the world, many of whom are convinced that the United States has been waging a war against their faith. This perception is based on facts, among them the fact that Muslim civilians are not counted among the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan; that Islam has been desecrated in US-run prisons; that voting for an Islamic party resulted in collective punishment in Gaza. It is also fueled by the rise of a virulent strain of Islamophobia in Europe and North America.
As the most visible target of this rising racism, Obama has the power to be more than its victim. He can use the attacks to begin the very process of global repair that is the most seductive promise of his campaign. The next time he's asked about his alleged Muslimness, Obama can respond not just by clarifying the facts but by turning the tables. He can state clearly that while a liaison with a pharmaceutical lobbyist may be worthy of scandalized exposure, being a Muslim is not. Changing the terms of the debate this way is not only morally just but tactically smart--it's the one response that could defuse these hateful attacks. The best part is this: unlike ending the Iraq War and closing Guantánamo, standing up to Islamophobia doesn't need to wait until after the election. Obama can use his campaign to start now. Let the repairing begin.
Postscript: Ari Melber criticized this column, citing a video the Obama campaign has been circulating featuring a minister of Obama's church who makes it clear that while Obama is not a Muslim, there would be nothing wrong with it if he was. I had the same clip sent to me directly from the Obama campaign and wrote this in response: "What I am suggesting needs to be said can only be said by the man himself, just as he has taken brave stances against racism directed at Latinos under the guise of fighting illegal immigration. Do not underestimate the message that his silence is sending, not just in the U.S. but around the world."
One more thing: now is the time when candidates are most open to pressure. For instance, Hillary Clinton just announced that she will co-sponsor legislation to ban the use of private military companies--exactly one day after my Nation colleague Jeremy Scahill revealed that both Clinton and Obama were poised to let the mercenaries stay in Iraq even if the troops come home. Pushing candidates on the issues during a campaign can have a real impact, so can we please move beyond superfandom? I have also heard from people who think that saying Arabs and Muslims are worthy of exactly the same rights and protections as other minorities is just too high-risk a position for Obama during the campaign. If that's the position, so be it, but don't pretend the campaign is doing something it is not. It is precisely because he has been so strong on other issues of discrimination and racism that his trepidation on this issue leaps out.
In these days when Muslim is equated to the 'bad guys' certain people will use it as a ploy to denigrate. When religion takes on a world they feel is against their beliefs it results in a sort of religious fascism among the followers of that religion. The Jews have proven this beyond reasonable levels against Arabs. Militancy arises and wars begin, religious wars. Kind of an oxymoron isn't it? Religion and the followers of it killing the perceived unbelievers. Somehow that is supposed to increase credibility of that religion? Not likely, but it continues today as it has for a millennium.
Discrimination because of religious affiliation is prohibited here in the USA making those that would use it as a political tool are guilty of subversion and traitors of the first degree, they alone possess the tools of hate. This fact should not be tolerated for one second and as Naomi pointed out, by Obama not declaring it a form of religious intolerance in a supposed religiously free nation speaks volumes.
As a leader of the greatest country in the free world he needs to set the bar for the future to let everyone know the intolerant will not be tolerated, not now, not in the future.
Friends, we have had our once proud country dragged through the dirt by the worst administration in recorded history. Our standing in the world has diminished from the once proud beacon of hope, to tattered collection of fascist entities intent on burying the past and creating their future wealth not ours, gutting the soul of our country, making us slaves to the almighty dollar and corporate interests.
Obama needs to rise above the crowd and declare a return to once revered beliefs of faith, hope and charity and reject the current so-called 'acceptable beliefs' put in place by people who care more about their money than their fellow man.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Out riding yesterday, I ran across this single water power generator on the American river. Utilizing water is one of the most efficient ways to generate power. Water cannot be compressed and acts like a solid against the turbine wheels which turn the generator.
Ocean wave action is also water in motion and could be harnessed to provide electricity. Power from water is reusable and efficient. Development of more water sourced energy makes sense. We do not need to burn stuff constantly.
With that I welcome everyone to a new week ahead. The Primary wage on and the MSM is only too happy to provide whatever they think they need to promote their choices.
Could be a turning point for the Clinton camp tomorrow if Obama continues his stampede for the nomination.
Meanwhile, coffee in the corner and waffles on the side, anybody got syrup?
Tom Brokaw has written a bestselling novel entitled “The Greatest Generation” detailing the many achievements of my father and mother’s peer group. I remember having a conversation with my mother after seeing her reading the book and asking her opinion about it. She said “oh it’s good, but there isn’t anything in here that your dad and his friends haven’t experienced. There is nothing special about this.” I have learned that it is never a good idea to correct my mother to her face for several reasons. But on this one, I have confidence. Here, mom, I think you are wrong.
My father stayed married to the same woman for 61 years, saw all his children graduate from college, built our home mostly by himself, was a plane commander during WWII responsible for the lives and welfare of a crew of ten men. He had a group of buddies that held together for most of his life and theirs. He thought his children the value of doing things the right way, all the while finding time to have fun.
What makes him special is the example he gave for 86 years, never wavering from the understanding that his job was not to change the whole world, but to make the part he touched better.
Lest you think that this was accomplished without a touch of Irish humor, a couple of stories will I thin tell what kind of person he was. Our father was never one for a fancy meal, preferring instead simple food surrounded by family and friends. My mother, seeking to expand his culinary horizons, fixed him a meal that Julia Child would have been proud of. Dad ate everything on his plate and my mother seeking some acknowledgment of her labors asked him what he thought of the meal. Dad went over to the calendar, pointed to a date 6 months in the future and turned to mom and said “See this date? Don’t make this again until that date”. The fact that he lived several decades after this scene also speaks well of my mother’s forbearance.
Our garage door has borne the brunt of many drivers’ education experiments. One of us, who shall go nameless to protect the innocent (my sister in law), had never driven a stick shift before and accidentally drove into the garage door. Dad, who always seemed to know what to do in situations like this, called my brother and informed him that the offending door had leaped out of its hinges to attack the car and not to worry that he would punish the offending garage door.
I never saw him get angry about situations like this and with five children there were plenty of occasions. I think he always knew what, or perhaps who, was important at those times.
On behalf of my mother, my brothers Mike and Bill, my sisters Jeanne and Mary, and our families, thank you for being here to share with us the life experience of a truly special man. He loved his family and friends; he liked golf, dogs named Lady, a sweet Manhattan, and Louie Lamour westerns. He will be missed.