Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not-so Free Press

Check out the
Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009

* # 1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
* # 2. Security and Prosperity Partnership: Militarized NAFTA
* # 3. InfraGard: The FBI Deputizes Business
* # 4. ILEA: Is the US Restarting Dirty Wars in Latin America?
* # 5. Seizing War Protesters’ Assets
* # 6. The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
* # 7. Guest Workers Inc.: Fraud and Human Trafficking
* # 8. Executive Orders Can Be Changed Secretly
* # 9. Iraq and Afghanistan Vets Testify
* # 10. APA Complicit in CIA Torture
* # 11. El Salvador’s Water Privatization and the Global War on Terror
* # 12. Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind
* # 13. Tracking Billions of Dollars Lost in Iraq
* # 14. Mainstreaming Nuclear Waste
* # 15. Worldwide Slavery
* # 16. Annual Survey on Trade Union Rights
* # 17. UN’s Empty Declaration of Indigenous Rights
* # 18. Cruelty and Death in Juvenile Detention Centers
* # 19. Indigenous Herders and Small Farmers Fight Livestock Extinction
* # 20. Marijuana Arrests Set New Record
* # 21. NATO Considers “First Strike” Nuclear Option
* # 22. CARE Rejects US Food Aid
* # 23. FDA Complicit in Pushing Pharmaceutical Drugs
* # 24. Japan Questions 9/11 and the Global War on Terror
* # 25. Bush’s Real Problem with Eliot Spitzer

“His motive is pure,”

“It is national interest.”

Of course, what's good for the General is good for the Nation, or at least the Empire. That's why he tells us what's good for us so frequently:

I'm sure his frequent appearances have nothing to do with the Pentagon's Information War, or PsyOps, or the padding of his own bank accounts in these difficult times. He can't help it that what's good for Amerika is also good for Veritas, or DynCorp, or Defense Solutions. It must be they're good Patriots. Just like he is.

Such purity of motive continues to touch me somewhere.

Hearts and Minds, Lungs and Livers, Lightning and Thunder

Tom Hayden:

The pact being negotiated between the US and Baghdad governments includes a direct rebuff to president-elect Barack Obama's promised policy of withdrawing American combat troops in 16-18 months. The pact instead would leave those troops in place until the end of 2011, a doubling of the timeline to which Obama pledged himself. But that's not all.

The most important things, some say, are the things left unsaid. If so, the unmentionable thing would be the police state America is leaving behind in Baghdad...

The Company likes it some Dictatorships. And Obama will do just fine if he keeps his mouth shut and does what the Pentagon says. After all, the Empire works best in the Homeland if it stays invisible.

But it has plans to keep it that way if Obama's supporters get uppity, patterned on well established protocols:

...Counterinsurgency often is framed as winning hearts and minds, not as crushing the alleged insurgents to protect the civilian population. In South Vietnam, that led to "strategic hamlets" and the Phoenix program. In Central America, it was death squads who killed priests, nuns and thousands of civilians. In both cases, American and world opinion was shocked.

In the case of Iraq, there is silence in the West.

For example, there has not been a single Congressional inquiry into the oblique revelations in Bob Woodward's latest book about secret operations launched in May 2006 to "locate, target, and kill individuals in extremist groups". The top intelligence adviser on these operations, Derek Harvey, told Woodward that the killings gave him orgasms. These were extra-judicial killings, with the Pentagon acting as judge, jury and executioner. The definition of "extremist" was stretched to include anyone named by an informant as a supporter of the Sunni insurgency, supported by an overwhelming majority of Sunnis.

During Vietnam, the Phoenix program, exposed as killing over 20,000 Vietcong suspects, was closed down after an outburst of ethical fury. In 2004, the Phoenix program's revival was recommended by Dr. David Kilkullen, described in the Washington Post as "chief adviser on counterinsurgency operations" to Gen. David Petraeus. Kilkullen advocated a "global Phoenix program" to combat global terror in a 2004 article in Small Wars Journal. He later reissued the article without the Phoenix label, having already described the Phoenix project as "unfairly maligned" and "highly effective." He also advocates applying "armed social science" against the "physical and mental vulnerabilities" of Iraqi detainees. He walks the streets of Washington today, widely accepted in the world of national security advisers. No one in that select establishment has ever criticised his writings.

Americans already pay for this sectarian repression - which even includes the diminishment of Christian seats in parliament - with $22 billion in tax dollars from 2003 through 2007 for American advisers to the Interior Ministry, police and prison guards. In 2007, there were 90 American advisers assigned to the interior ministry, which much of training of police and prison personnel is outsourced to contractors like DynCorps, according to Congressional oversight hearings.

One of the trainers has been Gen. James Steele, a veteran of the Central American counterinsurgency wars, who was with the US Civil Police Assistance Training Team when the sectarian Iraqi militias began operating under official cover. He was quoted in 2006 as "not regretting their creation..."

...The next stop is Afghanistan, where another 50,000 detainees fester under similar conditions to Iraq, and the British envoy recently recommended an "acceptable dictator." Instead of addressing the human rights crisis in that country, the envoy suggest that "we should think of preparing our public opinion" for dictatorship as the necessary outcome.

It's a needful thing, isn't it?

Free Market Fly Kool

Obviously the Company requires some price supports:

UNITED NATIONS — Afghanistan has produced so much opium in recent years that the Taliban are cutting poppy cultivation and stockpiling raw opium in an effort to support prices and preserve a major source of financing for the insurgency, Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the United Nations drug office, says.

Mr. Costa made his remarks to reporters last week as his office prepared to release its latest survey of Afghanistan’s opium crop. Issued Thursday, it showed that poppy cultivation had retreated in much of the country and was now overwhelmingly concentrated in the 7 of 34 provinces where the insurgency remains strong, most of those in the south.

The result was a 19 percent reduction in the amount of land devoted to opium in Afghanistan, the United Nations found, even though the total tonnage of opium produced dropped by just 6 percent.

The high output per acre was attributed to a good growing season in the south, a heavily irrigated area where the Taliban maintain a strong presence in five provinces and have for several years “systematically encouraged” opium cultivation as a way to finance their insurgency, the study said...

...without better economic opportunities, poppy will remain an attractive alternative for many in Afghanistan, the source of more than 90 percent of the world’s opium. Growth has lagged so badly, Mr. Costa noted, that the drug trade still accounts for a third of the Afghan economy. Other estimates put it at as much as one-half...

One of the big disappointments for Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton has been that the progressive movement hasn't gone the way of the antiwar movement of the 1960s.

While many progressives value the work of people like Hunter Thompson, most people realize the man limited himself largely due to substance abuse. Thompson and Leary became puppets of the very system they loathed.

On the other hand (and in the multiverse, there's always another hand), the Righteous Kool requires some pretty heavy endorphins. There's pharmacological dementia, and the kind they sell you on the tube, but they both require to change the landscape in your head. The desire to have a benevolent and powerful Dear Leader is a whole different order of addiction the Empire requires.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bonesmen have Souls?

Who'da thunk it?

...Luciferians such as the Bush men, who are family-tradition Bonesmen, actually DO (by means of stealth, fraud and force all samesame to them all) pro-actively seek our annihilation as a human species and genuinely viable culture. Those elite ones NEVER wait until Just Before Election to dispose of that "pesky, inconvenient and useless though quaint" Vital Component of a Genuine and Complete Human Being. That loathesome tho' (for THAT purpose) necessary detail is seen to with great thoroughness during the Skull-and-Bones Lodge First Degree Initiation ritual.

Um, it goes like this, beloved Bunky: First, the man drinks from the Chalice. While he does so, the Chalice drinks from the man. So what manner of subtle-but-critical exchange of Resource do YOU suppose indeed takes place when, in a darkened, vaulted crypt filled with the pre-recorded shrieks of suffering and dying victims of State-sponsored war, pestilence and poisonings, a fresh-"tapped" Bonesman first resolutely sets their just-barely-of-age lips to the sawed-off-topless skull /cum/ chalice of our beloved War Chief Geronimo, therefrom to reliably quaff human blood? Especially when it is prepared for that very occasion by the High Priest of the Order?

You think it is all a Mumbo Jumbo Telly-Vision Paranoid Cartoon, o thou poor, ill-informed, media-driven, mentally labile, morally naive, generally know-nuthin' benighted fool of a Gentle Reader?

Um, kindly DO think again, Beloved! Those boys (and the occasional gal, these days) have been found keeping to "spiritual" ways and practices in this world that would put your squeamish little gorge to rising right quick. We of Indigenous blood know Black Magick full well when we find it. It is not an approved part of our own (OUR OWN, do you yet "get it" now?) ancient culture - and we recognize it right smart, even when white folk just fall down all over themselves to deny the fact and just divert the conversation...

But it's really all just a fraternity. Right?

Cover Up All Over Again

This isn't the first time the Clintonistas have advised covering up the war crimes of a son of a Bu$h.

The likely reason for this is the Afghan debacle extends all the way back to the Carter-Zbiggy preznitcy... and even before when somebody had to replace the broken pipeline from the Golden Triangle. Damned Commies.

What will we tell the children?

Good News Factory

From the Good War [with a tip o'teh tinfoil to b] more sunny news:

...KABUL (Reuters) - The U.S. general commanding NATO forces in Afghanistan has ordered a merger of the office that releases news with "Psy Ops," which deals with propaganda, a move that goes against the alliance's policy, three officials said.

The move has worried Washington's European NATO allies -- Germany has already threatened to pull out of media operations in Afghanistan -- and the officials said it could undermine the credibility of information released to the public.

Seven years into the war against the Taliban, insurgent influence is spreading closer to the capital and Afghans are becoming increasingly disenchanted at the presence of some 65,000 foreign troops and the government of President Hamid Karzai.

Taliban militants, through their website, telephone text messages and frequent calls to reporters, are also gaining ground in the information war, analysts say.

U.S. General David McKiernan, the commander of 50,000 troops from more than 40 nations in NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), ordered the combination of the Public Affairs Office (PAO), Information Operations and Psy Ops (Psychological Operations) from December 1, said a NATO official with detailed knowledge of the move.

"This will totally undermine the credibility of the information released to the press and the public," said the official, who declined to be named...

"What we are seeing is a gradual increase of American influence in all areas of the war," the NATO official said. "Seeking to gain total control of the information flow from the campaign is just part of that."

Be sure to do any follow-up soon, I'm sure that's one leak to be quickly plugged.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Unintended Consequences

In a very timely commentary, Glenn Greenwald writes about revisionism:

...Any decent, civilized person watching scenes in Mumbai of extremists shooting indiscriminate machine gun fire and launching grenades into civilians crowds -- deliberately slaughtering innocent people by the dozens -- is going to feel disgust, fury, and a desire for vengeance against the perpetrators, regardless of what precipitated it. The temptation is great even among the most rational to empower authority to do anything and everything -- without limits -- to punish those responsible and prevent repeat occurrences. That's a natural, even understandable, response. And it's the response that the attackers hope to provoke...

Whoever bankrolled them.

...many of these measures, particularly in the wake of new terrorist attacks, are emotionally satisfying, yet they do little other than exacerbate the problem, spawn further extremism and resentment, and massively increase the likelihood of further and more reckless attacks -- thereby fueling this cycle endlessly -- all while degrading the very institutions and values that are ostensibly being defended. The greater one's physical or emotional proximity to the attacks, the greater is the danger that one will seek excessively to empower and submit to government authority and cheer for destructive counter-measures which allow few, if any, limits.

What happened in the U.S. over the last eight years is about much, much more than what "the Bush administration" did. It begins there, but responsibility in the post 9/11-era is much more diffuse and collective than that. Shoveling it all off on the administration that is leaving, while exonerating our culpable media and political institutions that remain, isn't merely historically inaccurate and unfair, though it is that. Allowing that revisionism also ensures that the critical lessons that ought to be learned will instead be easily and quickly forgotten when similar episodes occur here in the future.

In one of those cosmic conjunctions Krugman is writing about the exact same thing... about the economy. Or lack thereof:

A few months ago I found myself at a meeting of economists and finance officials, discussing — what else? — the crisis. There was a lot of soul-searching going on. One senior policy maker asked, “Why didn’t we see this coming?”

There was, of course, only one thing to say in reply, so I said it: “What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?”

Seriously, though, the official had a point. Some people say that the current crisis is unprecedented, but the truth is that there were plenty of precedents, some of them of very recent vintage. Yet these precedents were ignored. And the story of how “we” failed to see this coming has a clear policy implication — namely, that financial market reform should be pressed quickly, that it shouldn’t wait until the crisis is resolved.

About those precedents: Why did so many observers dismiss the obvious signs of a housing bubble, even though the 1990s dot-com bubble was fresh in our memories?

Why did so many people insist that our financial system was “resilient,” as Alan Greenspan put it, when in 1998 the collapse of a single hedge fund, Long-Term Capital Management, temporarily paralyzed credit markets around the world?

Why did almost everyone believe in the omnipotence of the Federal Reserve when its counterpart, the Bank of Japan, spent a decade trying and failing to jump-start a stalled economy?

One answer to these questions is that nobody likes a party pooper. While the housing bubble was still inflating, lenders were making lots of money issuing mortgages to anyone who walked in the door; investment banks were making even more money repackaging those mortgages into shiny new securities; and money managers who booked big paper profits by buying those securities with borrowed funds looked like geniuses, and were paid accordingly. Who wanted to hear from dismal economists warning that the whole thing was, in effect, a giant Ponzi scheme...?

...Now we’re in the midst of another crisis, the worst since the 1930s. For the moment, all eyes are on the immediate response to that crisis. Will the Fed’s ever more aggressive efforts to unfreeze the credit markets finally start getting somewhere? Will the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus turn output and employment around? (I’m still not sure, by the way, whether the economic team is thinking big enough.)

And because we’re all so worried about the current crisis, it’s hard to focus on the longer-term issues — on reining in our out-of-control financial system, so as to prevent or at least limit the next crisis. Yet the experience of the last decade suggests that we should be worrying about financial reform, above all regulating the “shadow banking system” at the heart of the current mess, sooner rather than later.

For once the economy is on the road to recovery, the wheeler-dealers will be making easy money again — and will lobby hard against anyone who tries to limit their bottom lines. Moreover, the success of recovery efforts will come to seem preordained, even though it wasn’t, and the urgency of action will be lost.

So here’s my plea: even though the incoming administration’s agenda is already very full, it should not put off financial reform. The time to start preventing the next crisis is now.

The one positive thing about the Bu$hCo years is that the chicanery has been so obvious. So obvious, in fact, that those who can't see it have become the butt of popular humor once again. Really, Sarah Palin?

So obvious, in fact, it led an overwhelming majority of America to elect a black Democrat over another white Republican.

So obvious, in fact, the Invisible Empire has gone into overdrive trying to lower its profile. We're a Republic, right? And this election proved that, right?

Follow the money, campers. This was a $election as much as 2000. The man with the most scratch and the best Company portfolio won the fight.

Evidence of Revision

Just watch it.

There are also five earlier episodes. You need to see them all.

Only on a Need-to-Know Basis

Bu$hCo blocks English translations of the agreement with the Iraqi government:

... The Bush administration has adopted a much looser interpretation than the Iraqi government of several key provisions of the pending U.S.-Iraq security agreement, U.S. officials said Tuesday — just hours before the Iraqi parliament was to hold its historic vote.

These include a provision that bans the launch of attacks on other countries from Iraq, a requirement to notify the Iraqis in advance of U.S. military operations and the question of Iraqi legal jurisdiction over American troops and military contractors.

Officials in Washington said the administration has withheld the official English translation of the agreement in an effort to suppress a public dispute with the Iraqis until after the Iraqi parliament votes.

"There are a number of areas in here where they have agreement on the same wording but different understandings about what the words mean," said a U.S. official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media...

It doubtless means what Dear Leader says it means, under the appropriate circumstances.

The Stars Align

"...it could be all sorts of constellations that are at work."

Spooks love a false flag operation where they basically just have to get out of the way.

More analysis here about how this attack has reshaped the Indian ability to respond.

Speaking of responses, Darth Paulson seems to have set the groundwork for a New World Order indeed.

Incompetence? Don't let's be silly.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks for a little spine


... Maddow: So the White House says now, at least to the Wall Street Journal, that they are not likely to pardon anyone who might have implemented or taken part in these torture policies because they believe that their Justice Department memos excuse them, so there's no need to pardon anyone. Are you buying that reasoning?

Turley: No. I don't believe that anyone seriously believes in the administration that what they did is legal. This is not a close legal question. Waterboarding is torture. It has been defined as a crime by U.S. courts and by foreign courts. There's no ambiguity in it. That is exactly why they have repeatedly acted to stop any court from reviewing any of this.

And so what's really happening here is a rather clever move at this intersection of law and politics. That what the administration is doing, is they know that the people that want him to pardon our torture program is primarily the Democrats, not the Republicans. The Democratic leadership would love to have a pardon so they could go to their supporters and say, "Look, there's really nothing we could do. We're just going to have this truth commission, and we'll get the truth out, but there really can't be any indictments now."

Well, the Bush administration is calling their bluff. They know that the Democratic leadership will not allow criminal investigations or indictments. And in that way the Democrats will actually repair Bush's legacy, because he will be able to say, "There was nothing stopping indictments or prosecutions, but a Democratic congress and a Democratic White House didn't think there was any basis for it."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Maybe he can run the Fourth Branch

Damned liberal bloggers, criticising Barry O.'s private intelligence advisor.

John O. Brennan, a C.I.A. veteran who many believed would be the spy agency’s next director, on Tuesday withdrew his name from consideration for a top job in the Obama administration amid concerns he was intimately linked to controversial C.I.A. programs authorized by President Bush.

In a letter to President-elect Barack Obama, Mr. Brennan said he did not want these concerns to be a “distraction” for the incoming administration. At the same time, he vigorously defended his C.I.A. record and called himself a “strong opponent” of the harsh interrogation methods the agency has used in recent years, including waterboarding.

The letter came as a surprise to many intelligence experts and even some lawmakers, and some questioned whether Mr. Brennan had been forced to withdraw his name by senior members of Mr. Obama’s transition team who were concerned about Mr. Brennan’s association with Bush administration policies. One official with the Obama transition team, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision was entirely Mr. Brennan’s.

The opposition to Mr. Brennan had been largely confined to liberal blogs, and there was not an expectation he would face a particularly difficult confirmation process...

That's okay, there's still plenty of black budget bucks floating around to keep him on contract. I'm sure Poppy will think of something.

...Mr. Brennan, who will continue to work as part of Mr. Obama’s transition team, was one of the president-elect’s senior national security advisers during the campaign...

See? He can probably get more done with Barry coming through the back door anyway. Maybe he can get more cupcakes for Joe the Counselor.

The Unity Pony Rides On in a Time of War

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama has decided to keep Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in a show of bipartisan continuity in a time of war, the first time a Pentagon chief has been carried over from a president of a different party, Democrats close to the transition said Tuesday...

"This is how liberty dies- with thunderous applause..." But a bipartisan one.

Pirates and Emperors

Size does matter.

Even a child could figure this out.

Conspiracy theory rock.

Cake for the Cronies but no soup for you!

Especially if you're from Detroit!

The bailout of Citigroup, which put the government at risk of hundreds of billions of dollars of losses, was set in motion by three men whose professional lives have long been intertwined.

Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr.; Citigroup board member Robert E. Rubin; and Timothy F. Geithner, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, have for years followed one another in and out of jobs in government and industry. Their close relationships helped pave the way for one of the largest and most dramatic government interventions to date in the financial crisis.

The bailout, announced late Sunday night, was designed to make a statement, officials said. In agreeing to protect Citigroup against potential losses on a $306 billion pool of troubled assets, the government made clear that it was not going to allow one of the nation's largest financial firms to collapse.

Yesterday, the markets cheered the rescue, sending Citigroup's shares soaring 58 percent while the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 4.9 percent, or 396.97 points...

I like this comment over at Hullabaloo, where Digby is moving slowly away from her Oborg defense:

Obama didn't have to appoint Phil Gramm.

He appointed Larry Summers, who backed every piece of de-regulation Gramm wanted passed, especially derivatives, which gave us Enron AND subprime mortgages.

You didn't know?

Well, I could have guessed. With an electorate so big the Republicans couldn't get away with the theft of the election, the Company had to drop back to its populist position.

Still, many people are beginning to see through it. What a bewildered Christopher Hayes sez:

...Not a single, solitary, actual dyed-in-the-wool progressive has, as far as I can tell, even been mentioned for a position in the new administration. Not one. Remember this is the movement that was right about Iraq, right about wage stagnation and inequality, right about financial deregulation, right about global warming and right about health care. And I don't just mean in that in a sectarian way. I mean to say that the emerging establishment consensus on all of these issues came from the left. There's tons of things the left is right about that aren't even close to mainstream (taking a hatchet to the national security state and ending the prison industrial complex to name just two), but hopefully we're moving there.

And yet, no one who comes from the part of American political and intellectual life that has given birth to all of these ideas is anywhere to be found within miles of the Obama cabinet thus far. WTF?


Never steal anything small, baby.

Monday, November 24, 2008

National Kool Aid Advisor

Not Jonestown. We hope.

General Jim Jones as National Security Advisor.

Board of Directors of Boeing and Chevron. Best buds with Brent Scowcroft. Probably Poppy's kind of guy, too.

Definition of Terms

Lambert points towards Clemons, who discovers:

A senior Obama campaign official shared with The Washington Note that In July 2008, the McCain and Obama camps began to work secretly behind the scenes to assemble large rosters of potential personnel for the administration that only one of the candidates would lead.

Lists comprised of Democrats and Republicans were assembled, sorted into areas of policy expertise, so that the roster could be called on after the election by either the Obama or McCain transition teams.

The term Lambert is reaching for is parapolitics as defined by Peter Dale Scott.

"...the investigation of parapolitics, which I defined (with the CIA in mind) as a 'system or practice of politics in which accountability is consciously diminished.'...I still see value in this definition and mode of analysis. But parapolitics as thus defined is itself too narrowly conscious and intentional... it describes at best only an intervening layer of the irrationality under our political culture's rational surface. Thus I now refer to parapolitics as only one manifestation of deep politics, all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged."

The other term is deep politics:

“...in every culture and society there are facts which tend to be suppressed collectively, because of the social and psychological costs of not doing so. Like all other observers, I too have involuntarily suppressed facts and even memories about the drug traffic that were too provocative to be retained with equanimity.(1)

It's important to realize the level of deception is such that the players, themselves, are being played.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Deep Politics

"Where it will take us if we, the people, let it..."

In 1986.

Congratulations, kids. We're there.

The New Deal Was the Real Deal

The Repiglicans just can't stand it, and they're trying to revive the meme that FDR's New Deal never worked.

Via Brad Delong, the data don't lie:

...The interruption of the Roosevelt Recovery in 1937-1938 is, I think, wel understood: Roosevelt's decision to adopt more "orthodox" economic policies and try to move the budget toward balance and the Federal Reserve's decision to contract the money supply by raising bank reserve requirements provide ample explanation of that downturn. And once those two factors had run its course the continuation of Roosevelt's policies was no obstacle to an investment recovery driven by war-related exports monetary expansion produced by capital flight from Europe...

The New Deal was the real deal. It sounds like Obama is gearing up to do a lot of the same things: a national jobs program to rebuild infrastructure and tackle alernative energy development. This is wise, but it may be the sons of Prescott Bu$h do they same thing they did with FDR and try to throw a wrench in the machinery of recovery.

How nature says "do not touch".

Len's right. Bu$hie is nuts.

In reviewing this video a lot of apologists, even progressive ones, are pointing out that Bushie had already shaken hands with every one the previous day.

That second clip itself was pretty weird- Bu$hie's at the center of the camera in isolation, and all the world leaders are called up individually to shake his hand, smile, and pose for the camera.

What we see in that clip is Bu$hie's interaction with people in the more normal social setting the next day. They're greeting each other not specifically for a photo-op, but the way any group of social peers do at any organizational meeting.

The original take, and Len's, is the correct one. Nobody wants to shake Bu$hie's hand. He has no desire to shake anyone else's, either.

Dementia Rides the Unity Pony

And it's serious:

...The week after the election, in a talk at the New York Public Library, Ms. Didion lamented that the United States in the era of Barack Obama had become an “irony-free zone,” a vast Kool-Aid tank where “naïveté, translated into ‘hope,’ was now in” and where “innocence, even when it looked like ignorance, was now prized...”

It is particularly prized by the folks who want to sell you on how good it is, so they can refinance your home with an APR mortgage or sell you stock in AIG.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

UnHoly Moley from the Undead

Think Progress:

Yesterday, the president of the nation’s largest general science organization railed against efforts by the Bush administration to give political appointees “permanent federal jobs with responsibility for making or administering scientific policies, saying the result would be ‘to leave wreckage behind.’” James McCarthy, who heads the American Association for the Advancement of Science, called the “burrowing” of people without scientific backgrounds into science-related jobs “ludicrous“:

“It’s ludicrous to have people who do not have a scientific background, who are not trained and skilled in the ways of science, make decisions that involve resources, that involve facilities in the scientific infrastructure,” said James McCarthy, a Harvard University oceanographer who is president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “You’d just like to think people have more respect for the institution of government than to leave wreckage behind with these appointments.”

McCarthy particularly questioned the qualifications of Todd Harding and Jeffrey T. Salmon, who received civil service positions at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Energy Department’s Office of Science, respectively.

It's more than ludicrous, it's dangerous, because it perpetuates the anti-technology policies of Bu$hCo. Good luck finding alternatives to fossil fuels with these clowns at the helm.

Salmon happens to be Cheney's speech writer and #2 in the DOE bureaucracy.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Strange v.2

Quoth the Dark Wraith:

President-elect Obama has formed the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform policy working group to "develop.... proposals and plans from the Obama Campaign for action during the Obama-Biden Administration."

So, what kind of people are being put on this important policy formation committee? Among others, Blair Levin, a telecom investment analyst; Julius Genachowski, former chief counsel to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt; and Sonal Shah, head of Google.org, which is Google's "global philanthropy" front.

That's right: a telecom veteran, an apologist for a federal agency that has let Right-wing corporatists consolidate control of the American media, and a bigwig shill for an emerging global monopolist.

Yes, indeed. These are just the kinds of people we want advising the government on reform and government implementation of technology.

Someone please drown out my laughter by chanting something about Obama and that Hope-'n-Change stuff.

Meanwhile, even the main$tream is noticing something funny. The LA Pravda tends to take these posts down after a few weeks, so I'll link to the Cryptogon piece that led me to the original and reproduces it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Struck Down by Dies Irae

When you insult your own gods, sometimes their lighting does strike.


...this is what he said just before he collapsed: "And I am hopeful that some time from now, after the next Administration has had the chance to review the decisions made and the legal advice provided, it will acknowledge that despite any policy differences, the national security lawyers in this Administration acted professionally and in good faith and that the country was safer as a result." He said, "as a result" three times and then fell over...

Not No One

A moment of glory in the sunset.

Free to Follow Orders

Cop Chokes Photographer And Says " I can do whatever I want"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Strange

Dan Kolvik, November 6th: Lawyer for Chiquita in Colombia Death Squad Case May be Next U.S. Attorney General [tip o'teh tinfoil to Cryptogon]

No maybe about it!

Handouts to Bankers, a Backhand to Detroit

Bailouts to Detroit: UnAmerikan sez Mittens.

Doing the Handout thing the way Darth Paulson did for his Goldman-$acks pals is beyond stupid, it's criminal. Hundreds of billions that were originally intended to fund lower interest loans to American businesses are being sat on by the banks, for use in mergers and acquisitions and pretty much whatever the CEOs want. Cushy hotels and doubtless high-priced hookers when the church ladies aren't looking.

This comes of giving them the money without any regulations.

If the banks could only have the bailout cash if they used it for loans !% above prime, you'd see the economic problems begin to evaporate everywhere.

It's not going to happen, even if the banks could pocket all of the low interest.

The current economic problems are social engineering of the Poppy Bush kind. The banks were giving a bailout slush fund, not just because Bu$hie's Ba$e comes first, but because the engineers of this situation suddenly found themselves swirling down the vortex like everyone else.

The Right Thinking people wanted to make sure they have their own. Which is why Paulson is sitting on a lot of the money and not letting his cronies use it for fall vacations. Like he says, economic recovery is not what it's for.

Which brings us to Mittens.

Detroit is in one pile of trouble of it's own making. The Romney family has been responsible for setting a lot of the policies that have caused this trouble. Mittens, like the rest of the Right Thinking people are more than happy to use this situation to torpedo the UAW and the rest of Michigan, too. After all, we're the bluest of blue states.

Not that a bailout of Detroit should be the same kind of handout Paulson gave Wall Street. Detroit has to change it's ways. But listen, campers, it isn't because a green automobile, or even a Detroit version of a Honda, would cost a couple of thousand more.

A Civic base model costs about $5,000 more than an Escort. People pay it gladly. Why?

The car runs forever and uses a fraction of the gasoline.

Mittens bemoaning the cost of American cars as the fault of the UAW is a straw man argument. In this case, the straw man, the UAW, is an entity Mittens and his friends would like to abolish completely.

It's part of their attempt at social engineering. In fact, that's really all this economic crisis is. It's not simple global mismanagement. It's global malmanagement, with the intent of eliminating the middle class and delivering all the money into the hands of people with the Right Stuff.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Last Great Hurrah of Marie Antionette and the Free Marketeers

All that cushy cash for AIG & Goldman-$acks Amerika, no soup for you!

Driftglass nails it:

...It would be hard to understand why the same people bailing out Big Finance (with oversight and reform string attached) would freak out over bailing out Big Auto, until you remember the Republican's inbred, bone-deep contempt for working people, which reach a full-throated peak under the Reagan Administration and hasn’t abated one decibel since.

Which is why when Byron Dorgan replies to Kyl with:

It was no-holds-barred in shoving money at the fucking bankers, but how about a fraction of that money to help save American jobs. Take 3% of the 700 billion dollars. What about workers?


It’s about jobs; 350,000 directly and 3-5 million working on the industry indirectly.

He is making exactly the right points and asking exactly the right questions, but even he is undershooting the impact of manufacturing on the economy.

For your own future reference, these are the numbers Dorgan is referring to, compiled not by wild, Hippy anarchists but by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

“Directly and indirectly, the economic breadth and contribution of the U.S. automotive industry is deep and far reaching across the country. U.S. automakers directly employ approximately 355,000 American workers and indirectly employ nearly 5 million additional jobs through related industries that are dependent on auto manufacturing, sales, and related activities. Over the last two decades, the automotive industry has invested nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars in the U.S. and is among this country’s top industries for R&D spending. Automakers also are among the largest purchasers of U.S.-manufactured steel, aluminum, iron, copper, plastics, rubber, electronics, and computer chips.”

Bad enough, but pause for a moment to consider the secondary ripple-effect that all of those manufacturing jobs – from plant managers to suppliers to dealers – have, in turn, on their local economies:

Manufacturing directly employs 14 million America and supports 8 million more.

Each manufacturing job supports as many as four other jobs, providing a boost to local economies. For example, every 100 steel or every 100 auto jobs create between 400 and 500 new jobs in the rest of the economy. This contrasts with the retail sector, where every 100 jobs generate 94 new jobs elsewhere, and the personal and service sectors, where 100 jobs create 147 new jobs.

Yes, around 350,000 are directly affected, and 3-5 million people work supporting manufacturing indirectly, but you also have to factor in the effect on your local dry cleaner when the finishing plant shuts down. And what happens to the corner grocer or restaurant owner when their regulars -- the sixty people down the block who make gear-ratio widgets for windshield wiper assemblies -- are all out of a job?

You cannot build a healthy economy on hotel sheet folding and paper-hat gigs...

But really, even a lizard like Hank Paulson can't help but let the truth slip out past his forked tongue occasionally:

...“The primary purpose of the bill was to protect our financial system from collapse,” Mr. Paulson told the House Financial Services Committee. “The rescue package was not intended to be an economic stimulus or an economic recovery package.”

There you have it. The current economic situation is an implementation of a long-standing policy decision by your Betters. The bailout is to make sure they don't get consumed by the monstrosity they've unleashed on the world to ensure their rule in the post-industrial feudalism that's going to develop as the oil runs out.

Economic recovery? Don't let's be silly. Like McCain always said, their economy is fundamentally sound as long as they make the rules. They have their crumpets and fine brandy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Uncle Obama

Heckuva job, Barry.

More Clintonista and the best Poppy has to offer.

A 4th term for a Poppy Bu$h preznitcy- well, 6th if you count the years that Reagan fronted- except unlike Junior this preznit knows how to take orders.

Requiem for a Pine

People who think that global warming is just a belief and ignore the evidence bug me.

...From New Mexico to British Columbia, the region’s signature pine forests are succumbing to a huge infestation of mountain pine beetles that are turning a blanket of green forest into a blanket of rust red. Montana has lost a million acres of trees to the beetles, and in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming the situation is worse...

In Wyoming and Colorado in 2006 there were a million acres of dead trees. Last year it was 1.5 million. This year it is expected to total over two million. In the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, the problem is most severe. It is the largest known insect infestation in the history of North America, officials said. British Columbia has lost 33 million acres of lodgepole pine forest, and a freak wind event last year blew mountain pine beetles, a species of bark beetle, over the Continental Divide to Alberta. Experts fear that the beetles could travel all the way to the Great Lakes...

Foresters say the historic outbreak has several causes. Because fires have been suppressed for so long, all forests are roughly the same age, and the trees are big enough to be susceptible to beetles. A decade of drought has weakened the trees. And hard winters have softened, which allows the beetles to flourish and expand their range...

But the main cause is a dominant species of animal who mostly can't see the forest for the trees.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Racketeering On A Scale This Country Has Never Seen Before"

And that would mean a lot of racketeering indeed.

More good questions from when the bailout was first leveraged.

No connection, of course

The Washington Pravda:

An Oxon Hill man who worked with sensitive national security information was fatally shot Wednesday evening as he sat in his car at a stop light near his home, according to police, family members and coworkers.

Sean Nicholas Green, 31, had stopped at a red light at about 5:31 p.m. when a man approached his car and fired several shots into the driver's side window of his black Cadillac Deville, police and family members said.

Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a spokesman for Prince George's County police, said detectives do not have a suspect and are still working to establish a motive for the killing. "It doesn't appear to be a carjacking, he was sitting at the light, he wasn't the only car there -- it's weird stuff, a mystery right now," Copeland said.

Other motorists who were stopped at the intersection of Virginia Lane and Saint Barnabas Road witnessed the shooting but were able to provide only vague descriptions of the gunman, who quickly fled the scene, Copeland said.

Stephen I. Green Jr., the victim's older brother, said the shooting occurred about the time his brother usually left his apartment in the 2700 block of Alice Avenue to go workout at a nearby gym...

Sean Green lived alone, had never been married and had passed a security background check to begin working at the National Counterterrorism Center in Northern Virginia about two years, according to his brother and a supervisor at the center. He worked in information technology and handled computers with sensitive national security information, the supervisor said...

The slaying is the second mysterious killing of a security worker in Prince George's in recent months. In August, Kanika Powell, a security specialist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory was gunned down by someone waiting near her doorstep. Five days before she was killed, police said an impostor had knocked on her door claiming to be an FBI agent. Police said there's no indication the two killings are connected...

No connection, nothing to see here, or here either:

This week and into next, NorthCom and NORAD are conducting a joint exercise called “Vigilant Shield ’09.”

The focus will be on “homeland defense and civil support,” a NorthCom press release states.

From November 12-18, it will be testing a “synchronized response of federal, state, local and international partners in preparation for homeland defense, homeland security, and civil support missions in the United States and abroad.”

NorthCom is short for the Pentagon’s Northern Command. President Bush created it in October 2002. (The Southern Command, or SouthCom, covers Latin America. Central Command, or CentCom, covers Iraq and Afghanistan. And the new AfriCom covers, well, you get the picture.)

Vigilant Shield ’09 “will include scenarios to achieve exercise objectives within the maritime, aerospace, ballistic missile defense, cyber, consequence management, strategic communications, and counter terrorism domains,” the press release states.

NorthCom’s press release also says that other participants in the exercise include the U.S. Strategic Command’s “Global Lightning 09,” which is a plan to use nuclear weapons in a surprise attack.

The Pentagon’s “Bulwark Defender 09” is also involved in the exercise, and it is a cyberspace protection outfit of the Pentagon.

Something called the “Canada Command DETERMINED DRAGON” also is participating, as is the California National Guard and California’s “Golden Guardian...”

Which is of course also unrelated to this.

Welcome to the New New World Order. Totally nothing to worry about. So get back to work, consume, and pay those bills. So you can work some more.

Oh... unless, Dear Leader says, you're Barack Obama or were foolish enough to vote for him over McCain, in which case you should worry about this, which is, according to Bu$hie and all his minions, an inevitable result of having a soft-on-Terror Democrat in line for the Presidency.

Bu$hie and his minions are certainly in a position to know what's on the minds of the real Terrorists, according to Sibel Edmonds, who had a very high security clearance but made sure everyone was aware of what she knew before she could be retired.

But they're totally unrelated, of course.

Expediency is the King

Glen Greenwald:

... There's nothing unique about circumstances now. New Presidents are always going to have Very Important Things to do. And investigations and prosecutions of past administration officials are always going to be politically divisive. By definition, investigations of past criminality are going to be "distractions" from the Important Work that political leaders must attend to. They're always going to be what Litt perversely refers to as "old battles." To argue that new administrations should refrain from investigating crimes that were committed by past administrations due to the need to avoid partisan division is to announce that the rule of law does not apply to our highest political leaders. It's just as simple as that...

Nobody believes that "policy differences" should be criminalized. That's a strawman -- an obfuscating term -- erected by those who are defending presidential lawbreaking license without having the intellectual honesty to admit they're doing that. This is about having laws in place that clearly and explicitly say that "X shall be a felony," only to then watch as the President does X, and thereafter have our political establishment announce that it's more important to avoid partisan anger than it is to hold high political officials accountable under the rule of law.

Here, X = "eavesdropping on Americans with no warrants," and "torturing detainees," and "destroying evidence relating to investigations," and "interfering in criminal prosecutions for political purposes." Those are crimes -- felonies -- in every sense of the word, not policy differences. And they are all actions in which Bush officials have clearly engaged.

But our political establishment venerates "centrism" and "bi-partisanship" as the highest religious concepts. Those terms are, in reality, nothing more than vehicles to insulate government officials and the political establishment generally from any accountability. Their only real meaning is that cooperation within the political establishment is paramount, regardless of political principles and the rule of law. Hence, investigations and especially prosecutions are scorned as terribly divisive and partisan, even when they involve crimes; good "non-partisans" and "centrists" eschew such unpleasantries, by definition.

In his 1776 revolutionary pamphlet, Common Sense, Thomas Paine famously declared that "so far as we approve of monarchy, the law is King." But the Robert Litts and Cass Sunsteins and David Broders have radically re-written that principle so that, now, "trans-partisan harmony is King," which means, in turn, that the President -- whose crimes should no longer be prosecuted due to fear of sowing "divisiveness" -- resides above the rule of law, and thus possesses one of the defining traits of a King.

As political scientists have documented, one hallmark of tin-pot tyrannies is the belief that political leaders should be liberated from the constraints of law as long as that helps to achieve good results. That's the defining mentality of those who crave benevolent tyrants -- our Leaders have so many Good and Important Things to do for us that they can't be distracted and weighed down by abstract luxuries like upholding the rule of law. That's now clearly the prevailing consensus of our political establishment...

It's Good to be King.

The current situation the country finds itself in is one of design, not accident.

The primary goal of the people who own the GOP and who may well have bought the Democrats is to establish an American aristocracy. The economic and social conditions that led to the last Great Depression have been intentionally reproduced under the Bu$h administration. Their goal now is to maintain these conditions under the rule of the Democrats. They seek to produce a state of learned helplessness among the American people. They have much better propaganda tools available to use in the quest for dominion.

The idea is to shift accountability and the rule of law into a two tiered system. One for the Commoners. Another for the robber barons.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

140 years

Of UFO sightings

The battle "...over Los Angeles on February 25, 1942. The bright blobs around the flashes are anti-aircraft shells exploding."

The locals thought it was the Japanese at the time. But it was something else.

What's good for the goose is good for the propagander

The New York Pravda, on the Detroit bailout:

...Congressional Democrats and President-elect Barack Obama, who are pushing for many billions worth of emergency aid for the nation’s least-competent carmakers, must ensure that tough conditions are attached to any rescue package. If not, the money will surely be wasted.

This goes beyond firing top management, forbidding the payment of dividends to stockholders and putting limits on executive pay — all necessary steps. The government should insist on a complete restructuring of any company it pours billions of public funds into...

...It makes no sense at all to give these companies billions just so they can struggle on for a few more months down this disastrous path...

Well said! So we're going to do this for all the banks- including AIG- too, right? Right?


In a hearing today, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) excoriated “bailout czar” Neil Kashkari after reports emerged saying that AIG doled out $503 million to top executives. Noting the financial troubles in his Baltimore district, Cummings asked rhetorically whether his constituents would think Kashkari is a “chump” after learning of the AIG bonuses:

CUMMINGS: "I’m just wondering how you feel about an AIG giving $503 million worth of bonuses on the one hand, and accepting $154 billion from hard-working taxpayers. You know, because I’m trying to make sure you get it. What really bothers me is all these other people who are lined up. They say, well, is Kashkari a chump?

“I wouldn’t want to be asking my friend for some money to stay afloat. … Then my friend, who can barely afford to go to McDonald’s sees me in a restaurant costing $150 a meal. There’s absolutely something wrong with that picture!”

A Chump? Not. A crook, much more likely.

And AIG? The Feds pretty much leave it alone, since it's laundry service is top-notch!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Unholy Alliance

The have so much in common...

Borderline Plausible Deniability

Criminal? There's no borderline about it, except for the Oborg who are still too warm and fuzzy and misty-eyed to see they're being led to the slaughter...

...In a moment of high panic in late September, the US Treasury unilaterally pushed through a radical change in how bank mergers are taxed--a change long sought by the industry. Despite the fact that this move will deprive the government of as much as $140 billion in tax revenue, lawmakers found out only after the fact. According to the Washington Post, more than a dozen tax attorneys agree that "Treasury had no authority to issue the [tax change] notice."

Of equally dubious legality are the equity deals Treasury has negotiated with many of the country's banks. According to Congressman Barney Frank, one of the architects of the legislation that enables the deals, "Any use of these funds for any purpose other than lending--for bonuses, for severance pay, for dividends, for acquisitions of other institutions, etc.--is a violation of the act." Yet this is exactly how the funds are being used.

Then there is the nearly $2 trillion the Federal Reserve has handed out in emergency loans. Incredibly, the Fed will not reveal which corporations have received these loans or what it has accepted as collateral. Bloomberg News believes that this secrecy violates the law and has filed a federal suit demanding full disclosure.

Despite all of this potential lawlessness, the Democrats are either openly defending the administration or refusing to intervene. "There is only one president at a time," we hear from Barack Obama. That's true. But every sweetheart deal the lame-duck Bush administration makes threatens to hobble Obama's ability to make good on his promise of change. To cite just one example, that $140 billion in missing tax revenue is almost the same sum as Obama's renewable energy program. Obama owes it to the people who elected him to call this what it is: an attempt to undermine the electoral process by stealth.

Yes, there is only one president at a time, but that president needed the support of powerful Democrats, including Obama, to get the bailout passed. Now that it is clear that the Bush administration is violating the terms to which both parties agreed, the Democrats have not just the right but a grave responsibility to intervene forcefully.

I suspect that the real reason the Democrats are so far failing to act has less to do with presidential protocol than with fear: fear that the stock market, which has the temperament of an overindulged 2-year-old, will throw one of its world-shaking tantrums. Disclosing the truth about who is receiving federal loans, we are told, could cause the cranky market to bet against those banks. Question the legality of equity deals and the same thing will happen. Challenge the $140 billion tax giveaway and mergers could fall through. "None of us wants to be blamed for ruining these mergers and creating a new Great Depression," explained one unnamed Congressional aide.

More than that, the Democrats, including Obama, appear to believe that the need to soothe the market should govern all key economic decisions in the transition period. Which is why, just days after a euphoric victory for "change," the mantra abruptly shifted to "smooth transition" and "continuity."

Take Obama's pick for chief of staff. Despite the Republican braying about his partisanship, Rahm Emanuel, the House Democrat who received the most donations from the financial sector, sends an unmistakably reassuring message to Wall Street. When asked on This Week With George Stephanopoulos whether Obama would be moving quickly to increase taxes on the wealthy, as promised, Emanuel pointedly did not answer the question.

This same market-coddling logic should, we are told, guide Obama's selection of treasury secretary. Fox News's Stuart Varney explained that Larry Summers, who held the post under Clinton, and former Fed chair Paul Volcker would both "give great confidence to the market." We learned from MSNBC's Joe Scarborough that Summers is the man "the Street would like the most."

Let's be clear about why. "The Street" would cheer a Summers appointment for exactly the same reason the rest of us should fear it: because traders will assume that Summers, champion of financial deregulation under Clinton, will offer a transition from Henry Paulson so smooth we will barely know it happened. Someone like FDIC chair Sheila Bair, on the other hand, would spark fear on the Street--for all the right reasons.

One thing we know for certain is that the market will react violently to any signal that there is a new sheriff in town who will impose serious regulation, invest in people and cut off the free money for corporations. In short, the markets can be relied on to vote in precisely the opposite way that Americans have just voted. (A recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans strongly favor "stricter regulations on financial institutions," while just 21 percent support aid to financial companies...)

It would be nice to think that fear of the consequences is what keeps the DINOcrats from acting in the national interest. But let's face it, even fearful people will act to save their own necks. If their necks are at risk.

They aren't. They're profiting just like Wall Street. Count on it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Just because there's a Democrat in the White House is no reason to stop reading Lovecraft."

-Jeff Wells

...It was the longest moment for some, lasting eight years, since the done-deal that was Gore's Florida flipped columns. Old certainties, even among cynics, of how bad things could get, suddenly seemed wretchedly naive as the Earth staggered like a drunk, with Dick Cheney its designated driver. As kleptocracy and high crime compounded illegitimacies and low comedy, many millions - conservative Republicans and conspiracy debunkers among them - came to feel themselves in a strange place, with unlikely companions and no sure footing, and entertaining hypotheses they had once thought unimaginable. And as the years dragged, it became difficult to conceive of anything different, or to reflect upon what "different" might even mean.

And now, it would seem, the moment has passed. The Earth has resumed its kinder, gentler course, and the shadow in America's attic has been dispelled by - I dunno; shall we call it a thousand points of light? Democrats can awake from a nightmare and fall into a dream, and conspiracy theory can once more become the property of the "patriot" right...


NASA sez "I dunno". But follow the links. It wasn't there a short while ago. However, I'm certain they just overlooked it...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dumb and Dumber

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's surprise announcement Wednesday that he'll shift from purchasing troubled assets under the $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan is likely to result in spending taxpayers' dollars to shore up unregulated financial institutions that aren't banks but are vital to consumer lending...

"Accountability? We doan' need no steenkin' accountability"


Every once and awhile I find a thread so full of nice sightings on the Beast I just have to share them.

The Saudi money trail to (and from) 9-11.

Keystone Fed Cops pre- and post 9-11.

Money trail to the Black Budget:

Russia: J'accuse! J'accuse!

Like Obama is going to stop it. Like Clinton would have been better. Like it's anything new. Like the main$tream wants to talk about it. Like the Feds really care. Like honest cops really have a chance. Like the dirtiest don't have job security.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Conditional Surrender

Bu$hie thinks somebody ought to just nuke 'em.

...Mr. Bush indicated at the meeting that he might support some aid and a broader economic stimulus package if Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats dropped their opposition to a free-trade agreement with Colombia, a measure for which Mr. Bush has long fought, people familiar with the discussion said.

The Bush administration, which has presided over a major intervention in the financial industry, has balked at allowing the automakers to tap into the $700 billion bailout fund, despite warnings last week that General Motors might not survive the year...

Bob Herbert groks this problem in fullness:

...The fat cats who placed the entire economy at risk with their greed and manic irresponsibility are trying to lay claim to every last dime in the national Treasury. Meanwhile, we’re nowhere close to an economic recovery program that will help the people who are hurting most...

But fat is where it's at. Open books aren't:

... Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.

``The collateral is not being adequately disclosed, and that's a big problem,'' said Dan Fuss, vice chairman of Boston- based Loomis Sayles & Co., where he co-manages $17 billion in bonds. ``In a liquid market, this wouldn't matter, but we're not. The market is very nervous and very thin.''

Bloomberg News has requested details of the Fed lending under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and filed a federal lawsuit Nov. 7 seeking to force disclosure.

The Fed made the loans under terms of 11 programs, eight of them created in the past 15 months, in the midst of the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression...

I have a better suggestion for dealing with Dear Leader, who plays chicken with the American economy and the lives of millions while he fishes for financial breaks for his fascist Colombian buddies.

Bail out Detroit, and open your books, or face impeachment followed by criminal charges. The Hague comes to mind... but only after 20 years or so in a federal prison.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"The New New Deal"

Something for everybody.

...What saved the economy, and the New Deal, was the enormous public works project known as World War II, which finally provided a fiscal stimulus adequate to the economy’s needs...

Ah, yes, the good War that we had to fight. After all, Poppy's Pappy bankrolled the Reich just to give the economy the boost it needed.

A disturbing fact

Most of the white people you meet- 55% of us- are incapable of voting for anything other than Wonder Bread, even if it's shot full of cancer and/or intent on precipitating the Apocalypse.

How are such people ever going to achieve Ultimate Cosmic Power with their minds all wrapped up in their itty bitty living space?

More correlations here by Jim Moss [and a tip o'teh tinfoil to Avedon]. Notice any trends?

The electoral map:

How many of us live in poverty:

And finally, income inequality:

It's like this:

"...If you overlay an education map with the rates of high school graduations and the numbers who pursue and graduate from post secondary school programs, you will get a fairly close correlation with the poverty and income inequality maps.

The worse off people are in the areas of meeting basic needs - adequate and consistent/reliable nutrition, clean water, safe and comfortable shelter, safe and reliable transportation, competent schools and education - the more likely it is that people will not have developed even basic competencies in critical thinking, using evidence in order to make decisions and being able to have and to make choices which are based on long term goals.

People who are impoverished in one or more essential survival needs must think only in the immediate short term. They can’t think long term as they have no or inadequate control over the chaos that rules and defines their lives.

They don’t envision an American dream. They (we) are trying to simply survive an ongoing nightmare of hunger, want, joblessness, societal condemnation, inadequate or no housing, and no ability to envision a future any different..."

Joe Vecchio also calls it:

...From McCarthy to Nixon to Reagan to Gingrich to Bush, the right wing has used fear and divisiveness to demonize Americans who don't agree with their politics. They've been desperately trying to put an end to the New Deal and re-establish the laissez-faire system that was in place before FDR's sweeping changes. As the years have gone by and they grabbed more and more power, they've gotten nastier and more delusional. For the leaders of this movement, the corporatists who believe the country belongs to them and them alone and who want the government to act for them and no one else, that's worked out well. They got capitalism when they made a profit and socialism when they took a loss.

For the racists and the proudly ignorant who allowed themselves to be manipulated by these corporate snake oil salesmen because they were belaboring under the false assumption that they could become snake oil salesmen themselves, it hasn't been so good. The poorest among them found their salaries going down or remaining the same (when their jobs weren't being outsourced altogether), their taxes going up slightly and the cost of living going through the roof. And thanks to a well-funded campaign of corporate propaganda, they were manipulated into blaming "other" poor people for what was going on. Some of them are beginning to understand who the real crooks are, many others, having invested so much of their lives believing the propaganda, have doubled down on their hatred and refused to accept it...

Let's be clear about this: The GOP leadership and their chief financial backers loathe the very idea of democracy. Whatever complexities conservatism may have, it always boils down to a single, simple statement: some people are better than others. The rest of us, who desire less ambitious things in life, are told that we should keep our mouths shut and be happy for what our betters deign to give us. When the right wing talks about "freedom", what they mean, what they've always meant, is the freedom for them to pull off whatever scam they're currently engaged in to separate the rest of us from our money, or to exploit us for their profit. And the only way to prevent that is with the balancing power of government, and a society that recognizes and understands the important and necessary balance between private and public institutions...

Poor people of color at least have the focus of race to show them who their real oppressors are. Poor whites don't even have that. In fact, rich whites since the 1600s in America have used race to keep both poor whites and poor blacks in their place. But while poor blacks see the whip in the hands of the Man, poor whites are too busy trying to be the Man to dream who's really behind the lash at their back.

The dreams these people do have are they dreams they are programmed to have. They have the dreams of acquisition but lack the knowledge to attain it. These people are the Led. These people are the cannon fodder for the Empire.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Perpetrators of the Illusion

The Cowboy speaks.

"The universe is not only queerer than we suppose, it is queerer than we can suppose."
-Fred Hoyle

People who aren't psychopaths can't imagine the depths to which the robber baron criminals have sunk.

I suspect it gets better. I suspect Obama (like Hillary would have been) was initially propelled to the fore because of the ease in which the Republican propaganda machine could dissemble him.

However, establishing the economic dominion of the robber barons created some severe resonating instabilities in the global markets.

Obama was allowed to win by gaining the support of the bankers. They needed someone to re-establish the Faith in the $ystem. Once Obama has stabilized the markets, he will be disposed of one way or another.

Submission to the Will of Dollah

Over at Correntwire, Lambert held the flame for Hillary, and has bee really critical of Obama for the entire $election without going over to the McCainiacs. I've pretty much pulled my punches on Obama until recently, but his behavior up to the $election and so far afterwards has pretty much confirmed that this is going to be Bill Clinton's third term after all.

Not that Bill really controlled his show any more than Bu$hie controls his.

I mean, Rahm Emmanuel. Really.

Lambert noticed Naomi Klien's latest, too, and in his comment I find jawbone's link to Kevin Phillips talking with Bill Moyers about the very same thing.

To relent now and leave it all in the hands of our betters is a great way to loose everything.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stop the Bleeding Quickly

As Krugman points out, the remains of the day are the most intractable.

Even now, the Bush-Cheney criminal cabal moves swiftly to rearrange the world to their advantage while they can.

We need to stop this now. Now, the Democratic Congress needs to move on Impeachment of Bush and Cheney to open the way for their criminal prosecution.

Even if it does not pass, it may serve to keep them from doing incredible damage in the time that remains of their administration.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


There is only once choice, so pity his fate.

Monday, November 03, 2008

It's Good to be the Pirate King

Goldman $acks America, as Condi finally figures out who is the real Big Time Dick

[via Ian Welsh via Spocko: and reported nowhere in the USA]

...Goldman Sachs is on course to pay its top City bankers multimillion-pound bonuses - despite asking the U.S. government for an emergency bail-out.

The struggling Wall Street bank has set aside £7billion for salaries and 2008 year-end bonuses, it emerged yesterday.

Each of the firm's 443 partners is on course to pocket an average Christmas bonus of more than £3million.

The size of the pay pool comfortably dwarfs the £6.1billion lifeline which the U.S. government is throwing to Goldman as part of its £430billion bail-out.

As Washington pours money into the bank, the cash will immediately be channelled to Goldman's already well-heeled employees...

That's an $11 billion bonus package after a $9 billion bailout in American English. After all, it was American taxpayer dollars given to an officially American financial institution.

Henry Waxman is the only one in Washington not too preoccupied or downright comatose to ask questions, but you won't hear much about that in the US press either.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Plundering, not Sharing, the Wealth

Bruce Wilson on the economic strategery most favored by the Dominion and the Fourth Branch of Government.

Bounty Hunters

If terra'ists didn't exist, the Company would have to invent some.

In Columbia, that's exactly what has happened.

Chris Floyd has some words to say about it.

"maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."

You know, kinda like witchcraft:

...For weeks, Republican leaders have warned that widely reported problems with fake voter registrations could result in a flood of phony votes in pivotal states.

But Ronald Michaelson, a veteran election administrator and member of the McCain-Palin Honest and Open Election Committee, said in an interview that he could not name a single instance in which this had occurred.

“Do we have a documented instance of voting fraud that resulted from a phony registration form? No, I can’t cite one, chapter and verse,” he said...

Like witches.

Now who can the Palins burn at the stake?

Aggressive Retreat

The Dark Wraith points to the emergence of an independent Palin campaign in Florida.

I have only one point of disagreement with his excellent post.

...the ashes of defeat the Republicans will suffer in the election rout three days from now...

We can only hope this is correct.

The Professor assumes the ballots are recorded and counted in a legitimate fashion. It seems nothing like this will occur. There will be pervasive attempts to manipulate the vote which only an overwhelming turnout for Obama will serve to override effectively.

It could be that the Palin campaign merely steals enough to throw the result into question among the Faithful. It could be that they raise enough of a stink with white collar and fake plumber poll unrest to throw it to the Supreme Court. However, with recent ruiings on Ohio and Michigan, it could be the Judiciary is following the wishes of the Corp Cons who view Palin as too destabilizing. Either way, the stage is set, as the Wraith accurately predicts, for an extreme Right insurgency among the voters.

Or it could be the covert, private contractor-run Fourth Branch eagerly embraces a menage a trois with the Palins. There is a couple whose corrupt hypocrisy and facile manipulability provide an open road to the authoritarian state the Wraith so correctly envisions as the inevitable result of coupling an illiterate electorate with a venal group of oligarchs. All it would take is another capitulation like Kerry's in 2004.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Golden Path

I vote the Golden Path.

I write this in answer to an honest inquiry encountered in cyberspace. "What do we do if the $election is stolen?"

This $election was stolen before the first primary.

Nonetheless, I will vote a solid DINOcrat ticket.

So the Rethuglicans have fractured into the CorpCon-DINOcrat coalition (this would have been inevitable with Hillary on Top, too) vs the NeoCon-TheoCon alliance.

There will be violence if the CorpCon-DINOcrat coalition wins. They are unable to embrace the economic reforms that might save the Republic. However, if they do win, it is obvious they have their scapegoat at the top of their ticket already. Look for a rapid dissolution of this coalition under the stress predicted by both Biden and Powell- who might head the Fourth Branch as a consequence.

There will be violence if the NeoCon-TheoCon alliance wins. The NeoCons love their War Machine, but you have to have Crusaders to actually do the fighting and killing and dying. The Crusaders of the Dominion intend to invite the NeoCon leader onward shortly after he's sworn in. Todd Palin would doubtless be a candidate to be installed as Vice-Preznit in charge of the Fourth Branch of government. Look for him to be true to the roots of the Reich.

There will be violence. They perpetrators and the instigators, the profiteers of this violence, doubtless have their agents monitoring us, therefore this is an unwise place to speak of real plans or attempt any real organization. It does work well for education, however.

Play your cards close to your chest, and try to be proactive rather than reactive. And for heaven's sake, remember non-lethal crowd control weapons are just as deadly as the more traditional ones. Do not confront the ones who use them.

Rather use the weapon free people have spent untold generations evolving. Use your mind to beat the Man.

By the way, there really is a damn good post on this topic here.