Saturday, March 22, 2008

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

From Erica Jong's "Why Am I So Afraid?"

If anyone in Washington read history, they'd understand that any empire that spends more in war than on its people eventually goes down in flames. The Persians, Greeks and Romans proved it -- see Herodotus -- and the British, French, Belgians, Dutch and Germans proved it all over again in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But does anyone care?

Apparently not. It's a rule of history that when an empire gorges on guns and forgets butter, that empire winds up on the scrap heap of history.

Dubya could have learned this at Yale had he not been drunk or stoned all the time and figuring out ways to avoid going to 'Nam.

The rest after the click ...

Brother John McCain Explains It All For You

by Ian Gurvitz

The following is an excerpt from a chapter on world religions from John McCain's upcoming book: I Spent Five and a Half Years in a Vietnamese Prison Camp and My Mind is as Sharp as a...Ooh, look, a Birdie! Published by Harper Collins.

Purim. The Jewish version of Halloween, in which children dress up in costumes and go door to door, though instead of saying "trick or treat" and receiving candy they say "we are your only ally in the region, give us money and guns and support in the U.N." In this ritual they often employ a ceremonial noisemaker called a grogger which, when twirled in the air, simulates the sound of machine gun fire. This is done every time someone utters the name of Haman, a traditional Purim hobgoblin.

Easter. Christian Ground Hog Day. A holiday commemorating the time when Jesus came out of his grave and saw his shadow, which meant six more weeks of lent, a traditional period of self-denial in which Christians are forbidden from drinking Scotch, playing golf at restricted clubs, wearing plaid pants, or attending pancake breakfasts. Instead they must send all their money and pancakes to the fattest religious leader who, like the traditional sin-eater, takes on all their impurities and because of his heightened spiritual awareness can get rich and fat without his soul being tainted. (See Rev. John Hagee.)

More Holidays explained after the click ... by that seasoned foreign policy expert, John McSame, who has years and years of experience in foreign affairs, who's knowledge of the peoples of the world and the issues that divide them ... well, you get the drift.

My comment:

The John McSame campaign is becoming gaff central. His gaffs can be divided into two categories: a.) the "Ha ha! He doesn't know what the f&$% he's talking about" variety and b.) "Oh, My God! He doesn't know what the f&$% he's talking about" type. His discussion of Jewish holidays in Israel is one of the former. His comments on the support of al Qaeda by Iran is one of the latter.

The common thread in his never ending litany of misstatements is "He doesn't know what the f&$% he's talking about" But, then, he IS the best the Republican's have to offer.

Are you SURE that you want a guy who doesn't know his Shi'ite from Shinola to have his hand on the nuclear trigger when that red phone rings at 3AM?

If Hillary had half a brain she's make a public statement to the effect that "perhaps John McCain HASN'T passed the threshold required to be Commander-in-Chief."

Friday, March 21, 2008


or watch the video here ...

Now, lets consider the Rev. Wright again?

* IOKIYAR = It's OK if You're a Republican.

Irony is just a hypocracy with a little class.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Leningrad Cowboys

or ... catch the video here!

Regulation has a point

from Bonddad's blog:

1.) There's a fundamental belief that regulation is bad and deregulation is good. That's a horrible over-simplification. It's important to remember that at the base of capitalism is greed. Some greed is a good thing -- it can inspire people to make better products more efficiently which means the end result costs less. That's good and I think it's safe to say we all like better products cheaper. Too much greed compromises ethics. That's bad. There are plenty of situations in the last 25 years that demonstrate that. For example, the S&L crisis, Enron and Worldcom and now the housing mess. The line between the good and bad effects of greed is very fine and it moves regularly.

2.) There is such a thing as too much regulation. Red tape is a bad thing if it gets in the way of innovation or development. A classic example is the lack of building new refining capacity in the US since the 1970s. Like it or not, the US uses a ton of oil products and our demand for oil products has increased greatly since the late 1970s if only by reason of population growth. Yet we are still using the same refining plant developed when my parents were in their prime. That's a problem. And no -- this is not a call from Bonddad to pollute or cause a ton of environmental damage. But it is a call to deal with the situation in a far better way then we are dealing with it now. Frankly, that probably means developing a national energy policy -- which we should have done 30 years ago.

3.) The government's role is to play referee. Before his resignation, Eliot Spitzer was one of the best things to happen to Wall Street in a very long time. Why? Because he enforced the rules -- which is something that has to be done. Here's s simple question: how many food recalls have there been in the last three years? A ton. Why? Because the government isn't enforcing the rules. I don't know about you guys, but I like the idea of my food being safe to eat. Maybe I'm different. But when the CEO of the latest company to initiate a meat recall said in open testimony on Capital Hill that he was using sick animals I almost become a vegetarian (almost). That's the end result of not enforcing the rules. That does not mean we make it impossible to do business. But we do need to make sure the rules are followed and that means enforcement.

More after the click ...

My comment:

That about sums it up. There can be too much regulation but there can also be too little regulation. There can also be too little enforcement of existing regulation.

Instant replay: The Lost Bush Years

White House E-Mail Battle Heats Up

Hat tip to C&L for the graphic.

Judge: White House Has Three Days to Explain Why It Shouldn't Have to Copy Its Computer Hard Drives

ABC News

The White House has three days to explain why it shouldn't be required to copy its computer hard drives to ensure no further e-mails are lost, a federal judge ordered Tuesday.

Already, e-mails between March and October 2003 appear to have been lost, Judge John M. Facciola noted, because they were improperly archived and no backup copies exist. That period includes the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

E-mails by White House staff are considered part of the nation's historical record, and federal law requires they be preserved. The White House has admitted that potentially millions of e-mails from the past eight years have been erased, although it has provided conflicting accounts on how many may still exist on backup tapes, though it has since said it believes "all or substantially all" e-mails are available on backup tapes.

The order, issued Tuesday morning by a federal magistrate judge in Washington, D.C., comes in a case brought against the Bush administration by the National Security Archive, a nonpartisan group affiliated with George Washington University.

More after the click ...

My comment:

In order to re-write history, one must first eliminate the past.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Conservative YoYo Economics

You're On Your Own ...

Unless you happen to be a corporation. Then you can expect to collect a welfare check.

Pray Harder!

Report: 32% Of Prayers Deflected Off Passing Satellites


According to an official NASA report released Saturday, nearly 32 percent of all prayers exiting Earth are deflected off satellites orbiting the planet—ultimately preventing the discharged requests for divine intervention from ever making it to the Gates of Heaven. "After impact with the satellite, these diverted prayers typically plummet back into the atmosphere, where they either burn up or eventually land, unanswered, in a body of water," the report read in part. "Of the remaining prayers, research confirms 64 percent fail to make it past the stratosphere because they aren't prayed hard enough, 94 percent of those with enough momentum are swallowed by a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and 43 percent are eaten by birds." The report concluded that, of the 170 billion prayers issued last month, one made it to God, whose reply was intercepted by a hurricane and incorrectly delivered to a Nigerian man who reportedly did not know what to do with his brand-new Bowflex machine.

Source: The Onion

In memory of Arthur C. Clarke

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) --

Even in death Arthur C. Clarke would not compromise his vision.

The famed science fiction writer, who once denigrated religion as "a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species," left written instructions that his funeral be completely secular, according to his aides.

"Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral," he wrote.

More after the click ...

Jack Cafferty: How is the shaky economy effecting you?

Katherine writes:
Groceries are killing us. We started a garden this year to help keep expenses down. We have to watch where we go and the cost of gas. And we are doing better than some I know. I fear more for what may come next and if it gets worse.

Josh from Tampa, Florida writes:
I bought a house in 2007, 100% financing at a fixed rate. Remodeled it and now almost overnight my house is worth 25% less then when I bought it. How exactly does that happen? It’s a home, not a stock, people! Things are seriously broken.

Don writes:
Two weeks ago, a dozen plain donuts at Wal-Mart cost me $2.50. Yesterday, I went to Wal-Mart and the same dozen cost me $3.33.

Kevin from Red Hook, New York writes:
My boss is sweating bullets over the economy. The weak dollar and high costs are putting a huge strain on us. We manufacture car racing equipment and the cost of some materials has doubled in the last year, up 23% just this past week. He’s talking about making cuts, but doesn’t know who or where. My main worry is that we’ve only got six employees and I’m the new guy. I’m getting ulcers already.

Ann from Newton, New Jersey writes:
I am over 70 years of age, unable to live on Social Security and still have to work to keep my head above water. With gas prices over $3.00 a gallon, food and heating rising, having to pay supplement health and prescription insurance, higher taxes, the water is now also rising past my lips. I hope I don’t drown too soon.

Jeff from Boston writes:
Jack, I was laid off on Friday of last week. My brother just called to let me know he was laid off today. Does that answer your question?

My comment:

The invisible hand of the free, unrestricted, unregulated market is giving you the finger. Get it?

More evidence that we're doomed

Heard in Dupont Circle (Washington DC) during the "Free Tibet" march on Saturday the 15th as two males watched marchers carrying signs. One guy turns to the other guy and says, "Dude, seriously, who is Tibet?"

My comment:

At least one child has been left behind.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Race in America ... and the distractions from the issues

Maybe you're tired of the main stream media's 10 second sound bite coverage of Obama's speech on race in the United States. Maybe you're tired of someone interpreting for you what he meant. Maybe you think there is enough at stake in our collective future to take an active interest in those who presume to lead us through it. Maybe you think it's important to go to the source and hear what the man had to say for himself so that you can judge it's merits. Here's Obama's speech in its entirety:

or watch it here on YouTube ...

In the meantime, if you'd RATHER have someone give you a synopsis, here's one *I* like from Joseph Palermo:

Senator Barack Obama displayed a quality in his speech today that the Democratic Party desperately needs in its nominee in 2008: Fearlessness. It was not Barack Obama who injected race into this campaign -- Bill and Hillary Clinton did that for the most crass political purposes -- but when his political enemies moved Reverend Jeremiah Wright's sermons to center stage Obama masterfully shifted the political discourse and replaced the media-driven hype about Reverend Wright with a frank discussion of the state of race relations in America.

In his speech today, Obama displayed his nuanced understanding of the meaning of the U.S. Constitution and of the trajectory of American history. No presidential candidate in decades has had such a masterful grasp of the engine of social change and the role of struggle against injustice in moving history forward. Obama elevates our political discourse by trying to educate the electorate on the problems we face and speaking truth to both the powerful and the powerless.

The rest after the click...

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's the Economists, Stupid!

from Huffington Post by Jane Smiley

The lead article at Slate today is about how American corporate managers have become the laughingstock of the world because they can no longer manage "complex systems" as they were once famous for doing.

If you want to read it, you can go to the link, but really, I thought, what's so hard to understand? The economy we have, with all its volatility, is exactly the economy any sane person would have predicted after the wholesale decline of regulation, as both a reality and an idea, in the eighties and nineties. And who has kept up the drumbeat for deregulation, not only here but everywhere, if not those screwy, and tenured, free-market economists? Their whole job for the last thirty years has been to prop up the egomania and greed of corporate CEOs by making that greed and egomania look both positive and unavoidable. As a result, the gambling side of capitalism has driven every other side away, to a chorus of bleats from the left that, Gosh, something big and bad was bound to happen, and an accompanying chorus from the right that even saying such a thing was treason.

Let's review.

Review the rest after the click ...

Riffing on the same theme, the New York Times did a little fact-checking against Bush's most recent speech:

Through Bush-Colored Glasses

Mr. Bush said he was optimistic because the economy’s “foundation is solid” as measured by employment, wages, productivity, exports and the federal deficit. He was wrong on every count. On some, he has been wrong for quite a while.

Mr. Bush boasted about 52 consecutive months of job growth during his presidency. What matters is the magnitude of growth, not ticks on a calendar. The economic expansion under Mr. Bush — which it is safe to assume is now over — produced job growth of 4.2 percent. That is the worst performance over a business cycle since the government started keeping track in 1945.

Mr. Bush also talked approvingly of the recent unemployment rate of 4.8 percent. A low rate is good news when it indicates a robust job market. The unemployment rate ticked down last month because hundreds of thousands of people dropped out of the work force altogether. Worse, long-term unemployment, of six months or more, hit 17.5 percent. We’d expect that in the depths of a recession. It is unprecedented at the onset of one.

Mr. Bush was wrong to say wages are rising. On Friday morning, the day he spoke, the government reported that wages failed to outpace inflation in February, for the fifth straight month. Productivity growth has also weakened markedly in the past two years, a harbinger of a lower overall standard of living for Americans.

Check some more facts after the click ...

Shoe, Other foot?

Philip K. Dick, Meet George W. Bush
by Tom Engelhardt
TomDispatch via Anti-War

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 couple 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.

More after the click ...

No, John!

or watch the video here ...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Obama's Minister Committed "Treason" but When my Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero

by Frank Schaeffer

When Senator Obama's preacher thundered about racism and injustice Obama suffered smear-by-association. But when my late father -- Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer -- denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr.

Every Sunday thousands of right wing white preachers (following in my father's footsteps) rail against America's sins from tens of thousands of pulpits. They tell us that America is complicit in the "murder of the unborn," has become "Sodom" by coddling gays, and that our public schools are sinful places full of evolutionists and sex educators hell-bent on corrupting children. They say, as my dad often did, that we are, "under the judgment of God." They call America evil and warn of immanent destruction. By comparison Obama's minister's shouted "controversial" comments were mild. All he said was that God should damn America for our racism and violence and that no one had ever used the N-word about Hillary Clinton.

Dad and I were amongst the founders of the Religious right. In the 1970s and 1980s, while Dad and I crisscrossed America denouncing our nation's sins instead of getting in trouble we became darlings of the Republican Party. (This was while I was my father's sidekick before I dropped out of the evangelical movement altogether.) We were rewarded for our "stand" by people such as Congressman Jack Kemp, the Fords, Reagan and the Bush family. The top Republican leadership depended on preachers and agitators like us to energize their rank and file. No one called us un-American.

More after the click ...

My comment:

As usual, IOKIYAR. (It's OK if you're a Republican.)

Thinking the impossible

Bush Screws America, Again: Economy Slips to #2

Paul Abrams / HIffPo

He did it to Arbusto Energy in the '70s, to Spectrum 7 and Harken Energy in the '80s. Enormous debt. Selling his shares to foreigners just days before a negative report on losses, leaving the other shareholders to shoulder the burden.

Now, he's done it to the United States of America. Enormous debt (a $9 trillion turnaround from a $5 trillion projected surplus to a $4 trillion debt), sold to foreigners. Until, that is, the value of the dollar falls to levels that foreigners may prefer other currencies instead -- such as, say, the Euro?

For the first time since World War II the United States is not the world's #1 economy. We have slipped behind the European Union. (This, according to Erin Burnett on CNBC, Friday, March 14th.)

The European Union? What and where is that? Of course, we all know a "European Union", but that has national healthcare, strong unions, high tax rates on the wealthy, sales' taxes, well-funded pubic transport, free daycare, paid maternity leave..... so there is no chance that this is the same European Union whose economy exceeds the US, because those policies make prosperity impossible.

The rest after the click ...

My comment:

It's a miracle! And all in only 7 short years. Imagine what could happen if he could have just one more term! But hope is on the way ... VOTE McSame McCain! John McSame McCain wants to keep all those policies in place. He doesn't want to change a thing!

You know as well as I do that the Libertards want to destroy this country but if you want the kind of experience that really gets results ... vote Republican. They're the only ones who have a proven track record ... Iraq AND the United States of America!

FOR MORE OF THE SAME ... VOTE JOHN McCAIN ... vote Republican in 2008! It's the ONLY patriotic thing to do!!

Thought for the day

"When I drink alone, I prefer to be by myself."

-- George Thorogood