Sunday, November 30, 2008

Old News: The Whole Of The Bushevik Tenure Was Stolen

This is almost 90 minutes long. Maybe you haven't got time to listen now. But mebbe tonight, when you're making dinner, you could have it on whilst cooking.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

To DIE For...

Or to kill for: a Samsung 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as "The Incredible Hulk" for $9.

Those were the featured items offered to the earliest shoppers at the Wal-Mart in Valley Stream (LI), NY: the "DOOR-BUSTER Specials," for which people started lining up outside the store many hours before the store's "Black Friday" opening-time of 6 am.

Those were the items toward which Valley Stream Wal-Mart shoppers were pressing in some hundreds when they somehow managed to knock down and trample to death a temporary maintenance man--Jdimytai Damour--hired in the store just for the holiday season through a temp agency.

And now police say they're looking at surveillance video to see if they can identify any of the shoppers who were involved in the death (another shopper, a pregnant woman, also suffered injuries in the melee, causing the miscarriage of the fetus), apparently with an eye toward prosecution.

But the shoppers at the front of the line where the death and injury occurred were no better than helpless pawns, pressed against the doors til they collapsed, then spewed through the opening--and onto the unwitting Jdimytai Damour--as indiscriminately and irresistibly as water rushing through a crack in a dam.

And the shoppers behind, who created the massive, mob-like force, are only to blame for succumbing (as they have been carefully trained at home and in school since childhood to so: USer schools train terrific consumers; citizens, not so much) to the "market forces" that equate early rising with thrift, and Black Friday with "Sales," and all of it with the orgy of mythopoeic, capitalist, consumerist, corpoRat over-kill.

The real culprits are the marketeers at Wal-Mart (and Madison Ave). They're the ones who create the orgiastic hype for "door-buster sales events" with relentless barrages of ads trumpeting the "savings" to be had at the 'early bird sale.' They are the ones who ginned up the shopping frenzy with the promised price reductions. They are the ones who didn't anticipate the crushes of sheer humanity waiting like cattle at the abattoir. They incited the frenzy. They profited from it. They are responsible, no matter the dismissive non-apologies from Wal-Mart corpoRat HQ.

People flock to the early-bird/buster sales because they know--have been successfully taught by several generations of marketeers--that while the prices are good all day, the availability of the items priced as these (they're called) "Loss-Leaders" is severly restricted. The scarcity of the loss-leader items stimulates the ardor of the shopping mob (it can scarcely be called anything else) to shopping fervor that literally will drive the deal-driven trample anything (and any ONE) in between the shopper and the object of her/his carefully, corporately orchestrated purchase lust.

In the earlier thread, someone suggested this sad outcome could have been avoided if the Wal-Mart staffs had been instructed and trained in the techniques of controlling such mobs. But such concerns would have cost extra money to implement, required hiring additional people (even if only disposable temps), and that would have cut into the profit margins.

But enough of this unproductive hand-wringing. Go on! GO shopping! The Country Needs You!

And Happy Shopping Season Wishes to you and all yours from the friendly folks at International CorpoRat Mercantile Corp...!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Killer Deals!!!

We Are SOOOOOOO Fucked...
Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede

DAILY NEWS WRITER (Updated Friday, November 28th 2008, 10:19 AM)
A worker died after being trampled and a woman miscarried when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart Friday morning, witnesses said.

The unidentified worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."

Nassau County Police are still investigating and would not confirm the witness accounts. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. Police did say there were several injuries but weren't more specific.

Jessica Keyes was among the shoppers. She told the Daily News she saw a woman knocked down just a few feet from the dying worker.

"When the paramedics came, she said 'I'm pregnant,'" Keyes said.

Paramedics treated the woman inside the store and then, according to Keys, told the woman:

"There's nothing we can do. The baby is gone."

Before police shut down the store, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk's life.

"They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. "People were still coming through."

Only a few stopped.

"They're savages," said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. "It's sad. It's terrible."
Save Murka! Go Shopping!

UPDATE: Via Ed Encho, commenting at WWL:
*[new] Killer Deals: Update - 2 killed at Toys R Us (0.00 / 0)
Is this a sick country or what?

2 people killed inside Calif. Toys R Us

Breaking News

updated 7 minutes ago

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Authorities said two people have been killed inside a Toys "R" Us store in Southern California.

Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said Palm Desert police got a call saying shots had been fired inside the store Friday. NBC News affiliate KMIR reported an argument between two teenagers preceded the shooting. A third person, a male, apparently pulled out a gun.

Gutierrez said two people are dead inside, but further details were not immediately available.

That's my motherfuckin Guitar Hero Bitch!!!

Jesus Fucking Christ!


Might this lust for consumption in some way presage the coming famine; in some strange, deep, dna-level way, are we the living, storing up fat against the coming shortages? I am not a biologist (though I have played one on tv), but maybe whatever it is that prompts the lemmings to jump also prompts Americans to shop.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Not For Naught Is "The Rude Pundit" Esteemed Far and Wee! Vide:

This guy's the very best!
Colmes Leaves Hannity (A Brief Fantasia In Play Form):
Sean Hannity's office at Fox "news" headquarters in the City of New York. The walls are decorated with signed photos of George W Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and other Republicans who have either lost election or their entire credibility. On a bookshelf bereft of any literature other than his books, there is a Ronald Reagan bobblehead. It was given to him as a joke. He does not get the joke. His desk has a blotter on it with one of Ann Coulter's used maxipads resting there.

Lights up: Sean Hannity, a man with a jaw that is seemingly steroidally huge and no visible neck, is fucking Alan Colmes, a thin man who looks as if he would shatter his face if he smiled, in the ass. The bored look on Colmes's face indicates to the audience that this is not the first time Hannity has reamed him. The date is Friday, November 21, 2008. The time is 8:45 p.m.

Colmes: You know, Sean, there's a point where my much-stretched asshole just swallows your little dick.

Hannity: (sweaty, with tears in his eyes) Oh, yeah, bitch, when's that?

Colmes: (not even grunting) Probably it happened sometime in September. But pretty much it was on November 4.

Hannity: (whimpering a bit) You're not gonna start that Obama-is-great shit again, are you? Now, tighten it up. We got a show to do in a few.

Colmes: I'm just saying. I think things are going to change around here.

Hannity: (pausing, pulling out, wiping his dick with Coulter's maxipad) What are you saying? (Yanks his pants up.) Alan? What?

Colmes: (standing, pulling up his pants) Maybe, with the way things are going in this country, it's time for me to pitch for a while.

(Long pause as Hannity stares at the other items on his desk. His CPAC letter opener with rhino horn handle, his Cheney memorial derringer, his razor blade that he uses to cut the cocaine that he snorts off Colmes's ass during commercial breaks.)

Hannity: (mumbling, a bit incoherent, to the audience) I could kill you if I wanted. Get Ailes to bury the pieces of the body. He's done it before.

Colmes: What was that?

Hannity: Nothing. (beat) You pitch? Fuck you. Now, make sure your ass is dry so I can do some coke.

Colmes: (not really able to muster much strength, but for him, this is titanic) Then...I'm gonna have to say good-bye. See you on-set.

Hannity: Pardon? (Colmes exits. In a priapic rage, Hannity trashes his office and demands that some Mexican lizard be made extinct to please him.)
(Lights out.)

The Dog That Didn't Bark

(E)lections are moments when groups of investors coalesce and invest to control the state..." This time they bought and installed an a brand-new (really!) "Obama."
...(O)ne thing surprising about the election was that it wasn’t a landslide.

By the usual criteria, you would expect the opposition party to win in a landslide under conditions like the ones that exist today. The incumbent president for eight years was so unpopular that his own party couldn’t mention his name and had to pretend to be opposing his policies. He presided over the worst record for ordinary people in post-war history, in terms of job growth, real wealth and so on.

Just about everything the administration was touched just turned into a disaster. [The] country has reached the lowest level of standing in the world that it’s ever had. The economy was tanking. Several recessions are going on. Not just the ones on the front pages, the financial recession. There’s also a recession in the real economy. The productive economy, under circumstances and people know it.

So 80% of the population say that the country’s going in the wrong direction. About 80% say the government doesn’t work to the benefit of the people, it works for the few and the special interests. A startling 94% complain that the government doesn’t pay any attention to the public will, and on like that. Under conditions like that, you would expect a landslide to a opposition almost whoever they are. And there wasn’t one. (These and subsequent emphases, supplied. Ed.)
Exceptionalism Triumphant!
The election was described as an extraordinary display of democracy, a miracle that could only happen in America and on and on. Much more extreme than Europe even than here. There’s some accuracy in that if we keep to the West. So if we keep to the West, yes, it’s probably true. That couldn’t have happened anywhere else. Europe was much more racist than the United States and you wouldn’t expect anything like that to happen.

On the other hand, if you look at the world, it’s not that remarkable. So let’s take the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti and Bolivia. In Haiti, there was an election in 1990 which really was an extraordinary display of democracy much more so than this.
But what would a "real democratic election look like?
(It's) a victory for democracy when popular movements can organize and set programs and pick their candidate and put them into office, which is not what happened here, of course.

I mean, Obama did organize a large number of people and many enthusiastic people in what’s called in the press, Obama’s Army. But the army is supposed to take instructions, not to implement, introduce, develop programs and call on its own candidate to implement them. That’s critical. If the army keeps to that condition, nothing much will change.

If it on the other hand goes away activists did in the sixties, a lot can change. That’s one of the choices that has to be made. That’s Haiti. Of course that didn’t last very long. A couple of months later, there was military coup, a period of terror, we won’t go through the whole record. Up the present, the traditional torturers of Haiti--France, and the United States--have made sure that there won’t be a victory for democracy there. It’s a miserable story. Contrary to many illusions.

Take the second poorest country, Bolivia. They had an election in 2005 that’s almost unimaginable in the West. Certainly here, anywhere. The person elected into office was indigenous. That’s the most oppressed population in the hemisphere, those who survived. He’s is a poor peasant. How did he get in? Well, he got in because there were again, a mass popular movement, which elected their own representative. And they are the source of the programs, which are serious ones. There’s real issues, And people know them. Control over resources, cultural rights, social justice and so on.
A Triumph, NOT of "Democracy," but of Advertizing
Actually what happened here is understood by elite elements. The public relations industry which runs elections here-quadrennial extravaganzas essentially- makes sure to keep issues in the margins and focus on personalities and character and so on–and-so forth. They do that for good reasons. They know- they look at public opinion studies and they know perfectly well that on a host of major issues both parties are well to the right of the population. That’s one good reason to keep issues off the table. And they recognize the success.

So, every year, the advertising industry gives a prize to, you know, to the best marketing campaign of the year. This year, Obama won the prize. Beat out Apple company. The best marketing campaign of 2008. Which is correct, it is essentially what happened. Now that’s quite different from what happens in a functioning democracy like say Bolivia or Haiti, except for the fact that it was crushed. And in the South, it’s not all that uncommon. Notice that each of these cases, there’s a much more extraordinary display of democracy in action than what we’ve seen–important as it was-here. And so the rhetoric, especially in Europe is correct if we maintain our own narrow racist perspective and say yeah, what happened was in the South didn’t happen or doesn’t matter. The only matters is what we do and by our standards, it was extraordinary miracle, but not by the standards of functioning democracy. In fact, there’s a distinction in democratic theory, which does separate say the United States from Bolivia or Haiti.
And notice incidentally on the side that the institutions that run the elections, public relations industry, advertisers, they have a role—their major role is commercial advertising. I mean, selling a candidate is kind of a side rule. In commercial advertising as everybody knows, everybody who has ever looked at a television program, the advertising is not intended to provide information about the product, all right? I don’t have to go on about that. It’s obvious. The point of the advertising is to delude people with the imagery and, you know, tales of a football player, sexy actress, who you know, drives to the moon in a car or something like that. But, that’s certainly not to inform people. In fact, it’s to keep people uninformed.

The goal of advertising is to create uninformed consumers who will make irrational choices. Those of you who suffered through an economics course know that markets are supposed to be based on informed consumers making rational choices. But industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to undermine markets and to ensure, you know, to get uninformed consumers making irrational choices.

And when they turn to selling a candidate they do the same thing. They want uninformed consumers, you know, uninformed voters to make irrational choices based on the success of illusion, slander, and effective body language or whatever else is supposed to be significant. So you undermine democracy pretty much the same way you undermine markets. Well, that’s the nature of an election when it’s run by the business world, and you’d expect it to be like that. There should be no surprise there.

And it should also turn out the elected candidate didn’t have any debts. So you can follow Brand Obama can be whatever they decide it to be, not what the population decides that it should be, as in the south, let’s say. I’m going to say on the side, this may be an actual instance of a familiar and unusually vacuous slogan about the clash of civilization. Maybe there really is one, but not the kind that’s usually touted.
There's quite a bit more. Go listen.

Forp. Yksmohc is often reviled for being insufficiently awed by the wonderfulness of America and all its doings. I anticipate he'll catch his usual obloquy from the cake-eaters, but so be it. I hope it won't be the last time...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The "American Century" Is Over

The jig is, as they say, up.
This piece, copied here from the Guardian, appeared in the Observer of London in September. It's been reproduced in this month's Harper's. It should be read by everyone with the brain function of an amoeba.
The global financial crisis will see the US falter in the same way the Soviet Union did when the Berlin Wall came down. The era of American dominance is over.

Our gaze might be on the markets melting down, but the upheaval we are experiencing is more than a financial crisis, however large. Here is a historic geopolitical shift, in which the balance of power in the world is being altered irrevocably. The era of American global leadership, reaching back to the Second World War, is over.

You can see it in the way America's dominion has slipped away in its own backyard, with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez taunting and ridiculing the superpower with impunity. Yet the setback of America's standing at the global level is even more striking. With the nationalisation of crucial parts of the financial system, the American free-market creed has self-destructed while countries that retained overall control of markets have been vindicated. In a change as far-reaching in its implications as the fall of the Soviet Union, an entire model of government and the economy has collapsed.

Ever since the end of the Cold War, successive American administrations have lectured other countries on the necessity of sound finance. Indonesia, Thailand, Argentina and several African states endured severe cuts in spending and deep recessions as the price of aid from the International Monetary Fund, which enforced the American orthodoxy. China in particular was hectored relentlessly on the weakness of its banking system. But China's success has been based on its consistent contempt for Western advice and it is not Chinese banks that are currently going bust. How symbolic yesterday that Chinese astronauts take a spacewalk while the US Treasury Secretary is on his knees.
More Nuggets:
The populist rant about greedy banks that is being loudly ventilated in Congress is a distraction from the true causes of the crisis. The dire condition of America's financial markets is the result of American banks operating in a free-for-all environment that these same American legislators created. It is America's political class that, by embracing the dangerously simplistic ideology of deregulation, has responsibility for the present mess
The Iraq War and the credit bubble have fatally undermined America's economic primacy. The US will continue to be the world's largest economy for a while longer, but it will be the new rising powers that, once the crisis is over, buy up what remains intact in the wreckage of America's financial system.
The irony of the post-Cold War period is that the fall of communism was followed by the rise of another utopian ideology. In American and Britain, and to a lesser extent other Western countries, a type of market fundamentalism became the guiding philosophy. The collapse of American power that is underway is the predictable upshot. Like the Soviet collapse, it will have large geopolitical repercussions. An enfeebled economy cannot support America's over-extended military commitments for much longer. Retrenchment is inevitable and it is unlikely to be gradual or well planned.

The article continues, rich (if you will) with insight and interpretation, and it seems to me damn near irrebuttable.

I have long believed that we middle-class Murkins alive today lived more luxuriously, and better--no matter our individual status--than any members of our class since it emerged in the 16th century. However, the middle class has always been target of the elites and oligarchs who rightly recognized it as a far greater threat to their own perqs and prerogatives than the groaning, oppressed peasants. As such, they have sought the myriad ways to bring down the middle-class, to weaken it and to strip it of its economic power. Economic depression has been just about infallible in that regard.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nov. 22: A Day Of TWO Important Anniversaries

The first is that tomorrow is the 45th anniversary of the assassination of JFK by the CIA in Dallas. Killing Kennedy was the first 'shot' in the incrementalist fascist coup to take over the USofA and turn its anemic 'democracy' into a full-fledged, authoritarian oligarchy. That coup was finalized also on Nov. 22, appropriately: Nov 22, 2000. Vide:

Robert Parry's piece from August, 2002, seems appropriate here:
More than three decades apart, two political riots influenced the outcome of U.S. presidential elections. In 1968, protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago hurt Democrat Hubert Humphrey and helped Republican Richard Nixon eke out a victory. On Nov. 22, 2000, the so-called “Brooks Brothers Riot” of Republican activists helped stop a vote recount in Miami -- and showed how far George W. Bush’s supporters were ready to go to put their man in the White House.

But the government reaction to the two events was dramatically different. The clashes between police and Vietnam War protesters in 1968 led the Nixon administration to charge seven anti-war radicals with “conspiring to cross state lines with the intent to incite a riot.” The defendants, who became known as the Chicago Seven, were later acquitted of conspiracy charges, in part, because the protests were loosely organized and because solid documentary evidence was lacking.

After the Miami “Brooks Brothers Riot” – named after the protesters’ preppie clothing – no government action was taken beyond the police rescuing several Democrats who were surrounded and roughed up by the rioters. While no legal charges were filed against the Republicans, newly released documents show that at least a half dozen of the publicly identified rioters were paid by Bush’s recount committee.

The payments to the Republican activists are documented in hundreds of pages of Bush committee records – released grudgingly to the Internal Revenue Service last month, 19 months after the 36-day recount battle ended. Overall, the records provide a road map of how the Bush recount team brought its operatives across state lines to stop then-Vice President Al Gore’s recount efforts.

The records show that the Bush committee spent a total of $13.8 million to frustrate the recount of Florida’s votes and secure the state's crucial electoral votes for Bush. By contrast, the Gore recount operation spent $3.2 million, about one quarter of the Bush total. Bush spent more just on lawyers – $4.4 million – than Gore did on his entire effort.
In a related matter:

Mission: Accomplished.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obama AG Nominee Eric Holder Helped Chiquita Banana Beat Charges The Corp. Killed Labor Organizers In Colombia

You don't think labor unions threaten the powerful?

Chiquita Banana bankrolled para-military forces in Colombia which conducted non-judicial assassinations of peasants, and labor and community leaders who opposed the imposition of corporate peonage on the workers.

No, really! Check it out, via Counterpunch:
What is not being discussed too much, and was not even mentioned in today's New York Times report, is Holder's key role in defending Chiquita Brands International in a notorious case relating to the company's funneling money and weapons to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, AUC, the right-wing paramilitary organization on the U.S. State Department's own list of terrorist organizations.

In 2003, an Organization of American States report showed that Chiquita's subsidiary in Colombia, Banadex, had helped divert weapons and ammunition, including thousands of AK-47s, from Nicaraguan government stocks to the AUC. The AUC – very often in collaboration with units of the U.S.-trained Armed Forces - is responsible for hundreds of massacres of primarily peasants throughout the Colombian countryside, including in the banana-growing region of Urabá, where it is believed that at least 4,000 people were killed. Their systematic use of violence resulted in the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of poor Colombians, a disproportionate amount of those people being black or indigenous.

In 2004, Holder helped negotiate an agreement with the Justice Department for Chiquita that involved the fruit company's payment of "protection money" to the AUC, in direct violation of U.S. laws prohibiting this kind of transaction. In the agreement brokered by Holder, Chiquita officials pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a fine of $25 million, to be paid over a 5-year period. However, not one Chiquita official involved in the illegal transactions was forced to serve time for a crime that others have paid dearly for, mainly because they did not have the kind of legal backing that Holder's team provided. Holder continues to represent Chiquita in the civil action, which grew out of this criminal case.

One of the arguments in defense of Chiquita's criminal acts was that the company was being strong-armed by thugs in Colombia, and that it either had to make the payments, or close up shop in the country, which would have resulted in the loss of tens of millions of dollars in profits. Chiquita officials even disclosed to the Justice Department that they were making the illegal payments to the AUC, to see what could be done.

As the Washington Post reported back in 2007, Federal prosecutors had said in court papers that Justice Department officials made clear in April 2003 that Chiquita was clearly violating the law and that "the payments . . . could not continue."1 The Post reported "lawyers at Justice headquarters and the U.S. attorney's office in Washington were incensed by what they considered the flagrant continuation of these payoffs, despite the warnings." At the time, Holder said he was concerned that company leaders who disclosed the corporation's illegal activity to prosecutors were facing the possibility of prosecution.

"If what you want to encourage is voluntary self-disclosure, what message does this send to other companies?" asked Holder, deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration. "Here's a company that voluntarily self-discloses in a national security context, where the company gets treated pretty harshly, [and] then on top of that, you go after individuals who made a really painful decision."2

So in Holder's view, we should feel sympathy for these poor corporate executives, whose identities were kept confidential, and who were forced to make "very painful decisions" about opening up to their own criminality. Never mind that this company was complicit in the above-mentioned human tragedy waged by the AUC. The many victims of this paramilitary terror did not even cross the mind of the well-connected defense attorney now being considered for the Attorney General job.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Eco-Terrorism?" WTF Is "Eco-Terrorism?"

It is "vandalism, animal releases, arsons, and attempted arsons across Oregon, Washington, California, Wyoming, and Colorado," according to the FBI release today announcing the fact that the FBI has raised the amount of the reward for the capture of four members of Animal Liberation Front (ALF)/Earth Liberation Front (ELF), who are accused of those acts, to $50k apiece.

The four--Josephine Sunshine Overaker, Joseph Mahmoud Dibee, Justin Franchi Solondz, and Rebecca Rubin--have been 'implicated' in destruction of property amounting to in the neighborhood of $50Million, "including the largest eco-related arson in history, a $26 million arson at the Vail Ski Resort in Vail, Colorado," according the FBI/ATF release announcing the reward increases. “The crimes perpetrated by ALF and ELF have proven violent and potentially deadly, as the criminals use sophisticated incendiary devices, pipe bombs, and tactics” said ATF Deputy Assistant Director William McMahon. “As these fugitives are still on the run, law enforcement must remain aggressive in our pursuit. The ATF will continue to work with the FBI to battle the twin menaces of violent crime and terrorism.” To this point, there have been no deaths or injuries attributed to ALF/ELF activists.

When I read reports such as this one, which I received in my daily e-mails today, I have to say that my sympathies are far more with the activists than with the 'authorities.' Regardez-vous:
The election is over, but the risk of corporate giveaways by an outgoing Bush Administration has never been greater.

In fact, the Bush Administration is rushing out long-term plans that would convert the ancient forests of western Oregon, with their towering trees, rushing rivers, and superb wildlife habitat, to empty clearcuts.

Under these plans, logging our public forests would dramatically increase, more than tripling the current level. More than a thousand miles of damaging logging roads would be built within the forests.

What's at stake? More than two million acres that contain some of America's few remaining ancient forests. Some 20,000 miles of rivers, where wild Pacific salmon thrive. Ancient forests that are home to huge Douglas fir, western hemlocks and western red cedar trees—some well over 400 years old. This wet, rugged environment also provides rich habitat for wildlife like elk, deer, black bear and Pacific fishers, as well as endangered species such as spotted owls and marbled murrelets.

These forests gain more importance each day as buffers against the impacts of global warming. That's just one of the many reasons why logging activities should focus on smaller trees—and always with restoration and fire protection in mind.
There are NO disincentives to corpoRat development and/or the rape and the eventual destruction of the forests, rivers and seas.

Except for activists like the "Elves."

Hence my sympathies. Buildings, vehicles, equipment: it all burns readily, which is why they have insurance.

You can send a polite letter, here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Congress COULD Revoke or Prevent Bushevik Regulation Roll-Backs

Apparently, Congress has the ability to block BushCo's last-minute anti-regulation regulations:
When it returns for its short, post-election session later this month, the Democratic-controlled Congress could pull the plug on a raft of last minute regulations being prepared by the Bush administration, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). By acting now to prevent enactment of the rules, Congress would save itself and the incoming Obama administration substantial time and effort that will later be required to repeal these “midnight regulations” one-by-one.
Regulations which were slated for Bushehvik pro-CorpoRat interference include:
* Undermine air pollution standards for cleaning up older, dirty power-plants (New Source Review). Another proposal would relax rules against smog-producing plants obscuring national park vistas;
* Make it much harder to impose new safeguards protecting workers from harmful occupational exposures; and
* Eliminate reviews to protect endangered species from ill-considered federal actions.

Beyond the environment, other pending changes would –

* Broaden the ability of FBI agents to conduct domestic surveillance on citizens;
* Allow medical providers to refuse contraceptive and other reproductive-related services on religious grounds; and
* Limit advice that AIDS prevention organizations could give.
New regulatory interpretations have already relaxed significantly EPA standards, as well.

Despite a directive from White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten stating that “Except in extraordinary circumstances…final regulations should be issued no later than November 1, 2008,” on topics ranging from mountain bikes to birth control, federal agencies are rewriting rules with no such finding of extraordinary circumstances. Somebody needs to stop these fuckers from taking the treasury and the whole of the commons with them.
DOTOF™: Phila/Buophonia, my old pal from Lite Blue...

Exudations from the Papal Privy

Mike's Blog Round-up of the Weekly Mysteries of Faith
HOLY CRAP: This statue should've been made of wood...When the Deity knows you're dead...In case you missed this...So the Mormons kicked down about $20 million this time but the LDS and Catholic Church joined forces 11 years ago to oppose same sex marriage...Christian Comic Books...On usury...Get Rapture Ready!...Religion and Race...Haggard Speaks...Catholics do more excercise than this during a High Mass...Funniest headline ever?...Brawling "brothers"...An early Christmas present!...A little child shall lead them...Meeting Jesus...Obama signs got me kicked out of Mass...Celebrate Christmas with a burning cross in your yard...What's love got to do with it?...Kills folks dead...Short takes...
I am always grateful for Mike Finnegan's endurance and courage exhibited in the collection and publication of these items.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Did Somebody Say "Pig Ignorant"?

It'd be hard to top the perfectly modulated tone incredulous disgust captured by Balloon Juice:
Pig Ignorant Religious Nuts

by John Cole

The American Family Association has really topped themselves:
Let Your “Light” Shine For Christ This Christmas Season!
Looking for an effective way to express your Christian faith this Christmas season to honor our Lord Jesus? Now you can…. with the “Original Christmas Cross” yard decoration.

Yes, thanks to the AFA, Christians everywhere can have their very own burning cross in their front yard for a mere $81.85, plus shipping and handling. Oddly enough, this does not seem to be a big seller in African American communities.

In all seriousness, I guess you can’t expect people who reject evolution, who think the world was created 6,000 years ago, and who think Adam and Eve roamed the world with dinosaurs to know anything about basic American history, can you?


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another Well-Beaten Drum: The Myth Of 60 Votes

To the general displeasure of the myriad emanations of Obamania, I have tried on a number of occasions to explain why the Obama presidency is doomed from the outset to failure and disappointment.

It's not from lack of good intentions or good will. It's a matter of sheer power. The CorpoRats are NEVER goiing to relinquish their hold on their effective veto in the Senate, no matter how many Dims hold seats. Today one of the Editors at Buzzflash has taken up the torch:
The Myth of the Democratic Filibuster Proof Senate


The corporate media and even progressive Internet sites are holding out the possibility that the Democrats, with three undecided senate races, may still reach the magical number of 60 Dems in the Senate to attain a "filibuster proof" majority.

There's only one problem with this universally-held assumption that 60 Democratic votes would give them the power to stop obstructive and destructive Republican filibusters: it's wrong.

Sometimes math triumphs common sense and this is one case that illustrates this. Yes, technically with 60 votes, the Democrats could prevent ongoing GOP filibusters to prevent America from progressing forward. But there is a difference between a technical threshold and the reality of how Democratic senators vote.

Take the infamous Benedict Arnold Joe Lieberman. He's included in that 60 threshold, and whether he remains in or out of the Democratic caucus, he is not going to vote the party line depending upon his whim. And then you have the Ben Nelsons of Nebraska, Max Baucuses of Montana, Evan Bayhs of Indiana, and Blanche Lincolns of Arkansas, for example, who often desert the majority of Democrats on key votes where they want to be aligned with the mythical "center."

If you recall, seven Democratic senators and seven Republican senators teamed up to prevent former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist from implementing an effort to eliminate the filibuster by exercising the so-called "nuclear option." These seven Democratic senators basically agreed with seven Republican counterparts that they would vote for Bush appointments to the federal bench unless they were proven child molesters or murderers, but wouldn't take their partisanship or bigotry into account. In short, the seven Dems gave Bush a pass to continue packing the federal bench with GOP hacks. The ad hoc bi-partisan coalition to enable Bush judicial appointments was known as the "Gang of 14."

Which Democratic Senators were in the Gang of 14? Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut (officially an Independent), Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Ken Salazar of Colorado. Guess what, all seven will be in the Senate in 2009.

And there are other Democratic senators who frequently defect on party line votes, in large part because Harry Reid doesn't punish Democrats who stray from the caucus position. On the Republican side, you feel the heat and retribution if you betray the party leadership. But none of that among the lenient Dems.

What that means, in essence, is that Harry Reid is unlikely to corral 60 Dems into voting to defeat a GOP filibuster, even if the Dems should miraculously win the three outstanding senate races. Oh, it could happen occasionally -- particularly if one or two Republicans defect -- but don't count on it as a regular occurrence.

Reid just doesn't enforce party discipline, and the Dems in the Senate from red states are concerned about preserving their "centrist" credentials.

So just remember that if the Dems somehow get to 60 votes, it doesn't by any means indicate that they will regularly stop Republican filibusters aimed at making the new administration's legislative agenda dysfunctional.

For that, the Dems would have to grow a spine and replace Reid with a leader who could instill party discipline.

But don't expect that to happen anytime soon.

As a result, just remember that 60 Democratic votes will not mean a filibuster proof senate.

That concept -- given the lack of Senate Democratic party line discipline -- is just a myth.
In addition to the 'center-rightists' of the Gang of Seven, other malleable Dims include the "other" Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, Tom Carper, Jay Rockefeller, Max Baucus, and Diane Feinstein. Those, along with the previously named "Gang," result in 13-15 "dubious" votes on ANY 'progressive' legislative initiatives or judicial nominations.

The Pukes are both right and rong about the political cast of the country. The people ARE left-center, and growing more so almost daily. But the Congress, not so much. Obama, being himself a cautious, careful, bought-and-paid-for CorpoRat lap monkey, will not upset the apple-cart, I gauran-fuukin-TEE, chers...

The Wall Street Journal To Become MORE "Fair & Balanced"

Via Avedon today, over at Media Matters, EB posted this on Wednesday:
WSJ hires right-winger as deputy editor-in-chief

Politico's Michael Calderone has the internal announcement about Gerald Baker, former of Murdoch's Times of London, getting a top news job at the Journal. Writes Calderone:
It would be one thing for Baker to move to the conservative editorial page, but the self-described "right-wing curmudgeon" will have a role overseeing news coverage, a move that surprised some staffers because of his strong right-wing political views.

In February, Baker wrote a column that dubbed Obama a "dangerous left winger."
This appears to be the onset of what anybody with a whiff of acquaintance with Murdochian ways has been predicting since the "Great White Shark" of the world press acquired the rag. The WSJ had been renowned for the apparent ability of its news gathering and reporting staff to avoid being sullied by the Rightard rancor of its over-the-top 'editorial-page' ravings. The "Dirty Digger," who famously palled around with Hillary Clinton during the primaries, later shifted his personal support (including an endorsement from the NY Post) to Barack Obama, probably because the Obama Presidency will be so good for the ratings at Faux News...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yo, Hey, Man! Stop. Wait. Think! Don't Be A Fucking "Bush," Man!!!

This is the funniest story of the inter-regnum, so far, imho. Bernard Chazelle, on Jon Shapiro's always exquisite A Tiny Revolution, has a way with words:
Kaiser Sarkoko, aka President Nicolas Sarkozy, saved our Georgian buddy Saak-the-Bootlicker from being hanged “by the balls.”

With Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on August 12, Mr Sarkozy told Mr Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia’s Government. According to Mr Levitte, the Russian seemed unconcerned by international reaction. “I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” Mr Putin declared.

Mr Sarkozy thought he had misheard. “Hang him?” — he asked. “Why not?” Mr Putin replied. “The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein.”

Mr Sarkozy, using the familiar tu, tried to reason with him: “Yes but do you want to end up like Bush?” Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: “Ah — you have scored a point there.”

via tdd
On a tangential, but related, matter:
On a tangential, but related matter:
Militarism in the USofA is like poppy-farming in Afghanistan: it keeps the economy perking along, and the people profitably occupied, and it won't change unless and until a "better" alternative is found, where 'better' means the same or more money for the same or less effort.

One reason Mr Obama is doomed to be co-opted (and "our" hopes to be shattered) by militarism is suggested by this telling statistic: Some part of every multi-billion-dollar B-2 strategic stealth bomber is built, or programmed, or assembled, or polished, or inventoried, or shipped in EVERY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN THE USofA! All 435 of 'em.

And that's just one 'program.' There are THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of 'programs.' US military spending in New Mexico is just about exactly the same as the state's annual budget. Those are jobs for workers in those districts, paychecks, and rent checks, and groceries and liquor and car and computer sales.

Mr Obama is already deep in the toils of the cliched military/industrial/national security industry. He wouldn't be where he is today unless he'd been vetted at LEAST 'harmless', and more probably 'friendly' to those interests. War is safe in his hands, you may rest assured.

I have next to NO expectations that Mr Obama will be able to perform on the promises made and implicit in his campaign. I held my nose and voted for him, but I have not supported any Democrat with enthusiasm since McGovern, in 72.

I suspect in some final analysis, Mr Obama's election will be regarded as of far greater symbolic importance (i.e., rebuilding American Exceptionalism) than of practical consequence. I am deeply suspicious of 'true believers,' but my greater antipathy is towards those who consciously and deliberately appeal to and inspire them.

A Ticket To The Hague For Darth Cheney?

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy: this according to one of the most popular and influential talk-show hosts in the country, Gene Burns, of KGO in San Francisco. Scott Horton, over on the Harper's No Comment blog, has the news.
Gene Burns is one of the nation’s most popular talk radio hosts. For years he has dismissed accounts of torture; America, he has said, does not torture. But last night, after watching Torturing Democracy and realizing that he had not understood how important and serious an issue torture had become, Burns abruptly changed his tune. Here’s a transcript of his remarks.
I now believe that some international human rights organization ought to open an investigation of the Bush Administration, I think focused on Vice President Dick Cheney, and attempt to bring charges against Cheney in the international court of justice at The Hague, for war crimes. Based on the manner in which we have treated prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, and the manner in which we have engaged in illegal rendition–that is, surreptitiously kidnapping prisoners and flying them to foreign countries where they could be tortured by foreign agents who do not follow the same civilized standards to which we subscribe.

I’ve always said that I’ve thought that even at Guantánamo Bay the United States was careful to stay on this side of torture. In fact, you may recall that on a couple of occasions we got into a spirited debate on this program about waterboarding, and whether waterboarding was torture. And I took the position that it was not torture, that it was simulated drowning, and that if that produced information which preserved our national security, I thought it was permissible.

And then I saw Torturing Democracy.

And I’m afraid, now that I have seen what I have seen, that I was wrong about that. It looks to me, based on this documentary, as if in fact we have engaged in behavior and practices at Guantánamo Bay, and in these illegal renditions, that are violations of the international human rights code.

And I believe that Dick Cheney is responsible. I believe that he was the agent of the United States government charged with developing the methodology used at Guantánamo Bay, supervising it for the administration, and indulging in practices which are in fact violations of human rights.

A large part of the population still credits the Bush Administration’s absurd claim that it never embraced or applied torture to detainees as a matter of policy. Two recent documentaries, Alex Gibney’s Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side (for which I was both a consultant and interviewee) and Sherry Jones’s PBS feature Torturing Democracy investigate the administration’s policies and conduct. Both draw from decision-makers inside the administration and soldiers on the frontline.

The administration did its best to spike both films. Taxi... was to be aired on the Discovery Channel, but with Discovery Communications then in the process of going public and facing sensitive SEC clearances, executives apparently decided not to risk provoking the anger of the White House. As I reported elsewhere, PBS also found that it had no network space for Torturing Democracy until January 20, 2009—the day the Bush Administration decamps from Washington.

Why was the administration so concerned about these two films? The conversion of Gene Burns supplies the answer. No one who sits through these films, I believe, will be able afterwards to accept the official version of events. George Bush has good reason to be afraid of too many Americans watching these documentaries.
There is a great deal of sentiment abroad in the land to bring the malefactors of the Bushevik Regime to justice. It is my humble opinion that the tumbrels should be parked outside the WhiteHouse to collect the whole feculent lot of them and transport them directly to the guillotine. Likely, however, though the idea, while popular with many, perhaps even a plurality of the people, will not be pursued by a newly-minted President Obama. He is not going to risk any political capital on investigation or (eventual) prosecutions which will inevitably be spun as 'retributive,' and which could so easily be turned against him.

Indeed, as I have remarked on many occasions, there is no precedent for such acts, and it would be the height of folly for Obama to become the first president fo bring his predecessor to the bar of justice, no matter how deserved, if by doing so he were guaranteeing his own eventual fate at the hands of the proven vindictive sorts like a future or subsequent GOPuke regime.

You've got to admit, though, that the idea of Darth Cheney, Mukasey, Gonzales, Addington, Rove, the Chimp, and the rest in pillories for a couple of days is immensely entertaining.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Probably Incomplete List Of California Businesses Which Supported Prop. Hate

Here is a list (via MSOC's MLW) of businesses who have endorsed / donated to Yes on 8 that you can boycott. Even now, you can still vote with your dollar.
Ag West Distributing Co (Fresno, CA); Alpasina Insurance Services (Unspecified location); American Build & Design (Escondido, CA); American Focus (Alhambra, CA); Automated Environments;

Bambrick & Associates (Anaheim, CA); Best Tire and Automotive (San Pedro, CA); Bluefields Creative; Rich Bott-Bott Radio Network (Fresno/Modesto/Merced 99.9FM); Bradley L. Quick Insurance Agency, Escondido, CA; Briden Wilson Farm (Arbuckle, CA); Buildex Inc. (Granite Bay, CA); Busy Little Bee Daycare (San Jose, CA);

CC Layne & Sons Inc (El Segundo, CA)); Carter Construction Company (Texas based); Chiropractic Family Health Center (El Cajon, CA); Classic Clean, Inc. (Los Gatos, CA); Community West Mortgage (Scotts Valley, CA); Cornerstone Custom Construction (Location unspecified); Cottonwood Quilting (Silverado,CA); Culp Diversified Properties (Red Bluff, CA); Curry Copy Center of Hemet; Cyrus Tree Service (location unspecified);

David Smalley MD (Riverside, CA); Design Electric (Pleasanton, CA); Direct to You Mobile Dentistry (Murrieta, CA); Duncan's Auto Sales (Corning, CA);

Ebmeyer Charter and Tour (Apple Valley, Ca); EL VOCERO MAGAZINE (Salinas, CA); Environmental Geology Services (Santa Rosa, CA); Esthetique Dental Center (Auburn, CA); (Wisconsin based);

Fahillion Technology Consultants (San Luis Obispo, CA); Fetal Diagnostic Center (Mission Viejo, CA); The Fire & Cop Shop (Moreno Valley, CA); First Data Cardservice (Laguna Beach, CA); First Experiences Preschool (Bakersfield, CA); First Security Home Loans (Poway, CA);

GFBB Benefits and Insurance (Roseville, CA); Golden Door Press (Santa Rosa, CA); Guy Strohmeiers Auto Center (Lakeport, CA);

Harmonious Scents (Tennessee-based); Haws, Record & Magnusson, Attorneys at Law (Santa Barbara, CA); Home Instead Senior Care (National); Honda Car Repair (Tracy, CA);

I Wannabe Costumes (West Sacramento, CA); Images by Aida (Sherman Oaks, CA); inetMatrix (Riverside, CA); Inspired Stylus Writing and Copyediting (affiliated with iNetMatrix--Riverside, CA);

Jason's Glass Tint (San Clemente, CA); Justin A. March Associates (El Cajon, CA);

Kerr Real Estate Advisors (Fair Oaks, CA); Knapp Financial (Calabasas, CA:)

Lampstand Studios (Colorado based); Land Resource Investments (Nevada based); The Law Office of H. Craig Miller (Roseville, CA_; Law Offices of Kimber B. Goddard (Sacramento, CA); Lewis Appliance Repair and Installation (Los Banos, CA); Lion's Roar Media (Victorville, CA);

Maximum Marketing Inc (Bakersfield, CA); MJ Baxter Drilling Company (El Cajon, CA;
May be affliliated with M.J.B. Floral Services); MOTE Inc (San Diego, CA);

Napa Valley Engraving (Napa, CA); (Encinitas, CA); NorthBay Neonatology Associates (Vallejo, CA);

Pacific Coast Auto Body (San Diego, CA); PaperPack, Inc. (Georgia based);

Quietcool, Inc (Winchester, CA);

RCS Door Service (Salida, CA); Reimer's Wholesale Nursery (Bakersfield, CA); Reliable Referrals LLC (Wisconsin based); Resources For Continuing Education, Inc (BRYN MAWR CA); RF Sweet & Associates Real Estate (Palm Desert, CA); Rickert Cabinetry (Silverado,CA); Roche Oil, Inc (Tulare, CA); Rockingham Asset Management (Los Angeles, California); RPM Events, Inc. (San Luis Rey, Ca);

The Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System (SCVHHS--Santa Clara, CA); Schindler & Schindler Inc (Fountain Valley, CA); Scott McDonald & Assoc. (McDonald is former Marketing Manager for the California D. A.); Senior Helper's (Fresno, CA); Sheppard & Associates Insurance Agency (Citrus Heights, CA); Sibling Systems (Roseville, CA); Splash! Designworks (Dover, Delaware); Stubblefield Family Chiropractic (Yuba City, CA); Superior Notary, LLC (Rocklin, CA);

Tri-Valley Propac, Inc (Danville, CA); Tropical Sands Vacations (Corona, CA);

Valencia Tax Service (SAN YSIDRO, CA);

Warren Photography (Victorville, CA); The Wellness Advantage (Scottsdale, AZ); West Coast Commercial Mortgage, Inc (Huntington Beach, CA); White Diamond Jewelers (Canoga Park, CA); (Bakersfield, California).
If you gotta spend money on any of the services these folks provide, try to find another provider. Make 'em pay!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For Secretary of Education: "bell hooks"

We've met, and this is a VERY SMART person. Her language is sometimes explicit, as they say...

Avedon has a great idea: Deluge The White House With POSTCARDS!

Quotha, today:
You know, I really don't think it would hurt if thousands of people sent actual, physical postcards to Obama saying (politely, but emphatically. Ed.) that they did not vote for some tinkering at the edges, and they really do want real change, no matter what the conservatives who are wrecking our country want to call it. Call it liberalism, call it "socialism" if you must, or call it democracy, but we want an end to war and a return to pursuit of the liberal goals of accountability, freedom, and progress, and anything less at this point really is treason.

It's worth remembering that, despite what the (right-wing-fuelled) punditocracy says, and have misled many people into believing about themselves, we're a liberal country, and liberalism is what we want. Sure, after 30 years of hearing people on TV claim that what liberals believe in is "big government" and that we all think abortions are fun and everyone should have them (even though everyone should also be gay), not many people self-identify as liberal, since no one believes in that. But the policies that most people believe in are far, far to the left of what the so-called "centrists" believe in, which is probably more like big government than anything any actual liberal would ever support.
Rock ON, Avedon!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Last weekend, an 8-year-old boy calmly pumped 4 bullets into his father, killing him, then another man

Via the NYT: Prosecutors Say Boy Methodically Shot His Father
An 8-year-old Arizona boy charged with premeditated murder in the deaths of his father and another man shot each victim at least four times with a .22-caliber rifle, methodically stopping and reloading as he killed them, prosecutors said Monday.

Although investigators initially said they thought the boy might have suffered severe physical or sexual trauma, they have found no evidence of abuse, said Roy Melnick, the police chief in St. Johns, Ariz., where the shootings occurred. Psychologists say such abuse is often a factor in the extremely rare instances in which a small child murders a parent.
Apparently the murder weapon was a single-shot, .22 caliber rifle. Meaning, the kid had to reload--either individual rounds, or by jacking a round from a clip with the bolt--after every shot. Meaning the act was as much pre-meditated as an 8-year-old can be. His dad, an avid hunter, had taught the kid to shoot and kill prairie dogs. In early reports, I heard the child was perturbed over having been denied access to video games.

Figger there's any connection?



Monday, November 10, 2008

AIG Walks Into A Bar....

Via Hilzoy, Washington Monthly:
"This is the essence of AIG's latest proposal:
Man walks into pawn broker. He says to the person behind the counter, "You know that watch I brought in two weeks ago? I know you lent me $85, but now I need another $50. And I will tell you why you will give it to me. I have a gun with me. I will blow my brains out here, right now. With your nice carpet, I guarantee it will cost you more than $50 to clean up your store. And that's before we get into the cost of keeping your store closed while you clean my grey matter off your walls and what my suicide might do to your store's reputation."

Oh, and we forgot to mention that the man in the story above pulled the same trick last week and it worked like a charm."
You HAD heard that AIG was going to get ANOTHER $40BILLION in bail-out money, hadn't you? This occurs in the context of another piece of official fiduciary chicanery, with the news of which Benen begins his column today:
"The financial world was fixated on Capitol Hill as Congress battled over the Bush administration's request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry. In the midst of this late-September drama, the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention.

But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion.
Did the Treasury Department have the authority to do this? "I think almost every tax expert would agree that the answer is no," said George K. Yin, the former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the nonpartisan congressional authority on taxes. "They basically repealed a 22-year-old law that Congress passed as a backdoor way of providing aid to banks."
The change to Section 382 of the tax code -- a provision that limited a kind of tax shelter arising in corporate mergers -- came after a two-decade effort by conservative economists and Republican administration officials to eliminate or overhaul the law, which is so little-known that even influential tax experts sometimes draw a blank at its mention. Until the financial meltdown, its opponents thought it would be nearly impossible to revamp the section because this would look like a corporate giveaway, according to lobbyists.
THAT'S Waddahmtalkinabout! See, now, THAT'S how you do it; THAT'S how it works: While the rubes are lookin' one way, you just scoop up the silver-ware and split! And I am SURE everyone is shocked--SHOCKED!, I say--in a Naomi Klein kind of way...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering...

Why Wholey Joe Loserman suddenly has found the will to govern, Steve Benen (Washington Monthly) NAILS IT!
"...Reid offered Lieberman a chance to stay in the Democratic caucus, keep his seniority, and become the chairman of some other committee. Lieberman thinks that's "unacceptable" and reportedly "begged" to stay on as chairman of Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

...(I)t's only partly about holding Lieberman accountable for his betrayals. This is actually about a specific power Lieberman is intent on keeping for a specific reason.

...(C)onsider what the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs actually does: it's the committee principally responsible for oversight of the executive branch. It's an accountability committee, charged with investigating the conduct of the White House and the president's administration.

As chairman of this committee for the last two years, Lieberman decided not to pursue any accusations of wrongdoing against the Bush administration. Lieberman's House counterpart -- Rep. Henry Waxman's Oversight Committee -- was a vigilant watchdog, holding hearings, issuing subpoenas, and launching multiple investigations. Lieberman preferred to let his committee do no real work at all. It was arguably the most pathetic display of this Congress.

And yet, now Lieberman acts as if keeping this chairmanship is the single most important part of his public life. Why would he be so desperate to keep the gavel of a committee he hasn't used? I'll let you in on a secret: he wants to start using the power of this committee against Obama.

Lieberman didn't want to hold Bush accountable, but he seems exceedingly anxious to keep the committee that would go after Obama with a vengeance, effectively becoming a Waxman-like figure -- holding hearings, issuing subpoenas, and launching investigations against the Democratic president.

Lieberman doesn't care about "reconciliation," he cares about going after a Democratic administration. Why else would he fight diligently to be chairman of one committee instead of another?

In anticipation of Senate Dems deciding Lieberman's fate, MyDD's Josh Orton, AmericaBlog's John Aravosis, and others, are getting organized, preparing to push the party to do what Harry Reid apparently wants to do. It's a very worthwhile endeavor.
I can think of none better, actually, other than holding Obama's feet to the fire to try to accomplish things that would turn Wholy Joe's scrofulae to concrete. Let's lose Lieberman NOW!

(DOTOF™ to Eli/Multi-Medium! Emphases supplied.)

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Five Labors Of Barack Obama

No matter his platform, Obama was elected to do five things 1) End USer military adventurism overseas; 2) create Universal Health Care ; 3) restore the civil liberties stolen by the Busheviks in the name of national security; 4) bring alternative energy resources to parity with conventional sources , and 5) to restore economic health to the middle and lower class. When we voted for him as president, those were the five major themes that voters wanted him to pursue.

Unfortunately: 1) he has said he merely wants to move the base of operations to Afghanistan and ENLARGE the military; 2) he has said he merely wants to bring 'insurance' to the uninsured, and not even all of them; 3) he voted to sustain the FISA, and to RENEW the fucking Patriot Act; 4) he has said he's for that toxic oxymoron, "Clean Coal", and ethanol for fuel, and 5) he voted for the Big Banker's Bail-out. This record does not inspire hope, because:
Each and every one of those challenges involves conflict with wealthy, embedded, CorpoRat interests to whom he is beholden. He got their "quid" (campaign money, support); now he's gotta do the whole "pro quo" thing. These are not folks who are gonna roll over and show their bellies just because his election was 'historic.' It was, but it wasn't a "landslide" or anything like it. FDR, LBJ, Nixon (in 72), Reagan (in '84): those were landslides...Historical or not, his popular vote margin is too slim to effect real change against the prevailing currents of the hegemonic interest or to compel their cooperation or even their passivity....even in the (imho unlikely) event he actually meant to accomplish them...

We don't need a new New Deal. A "New Deal" with the same deck--the cards dirty, as well as marked and shaved--is gonna turn out the same way it already has.

We need a whole new deck.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

What's The Lesson of Obama's Election?


"That the USofA is still 'the land of opportunity'!!!!! We're Number One! USA! USA!..."

Well, sorta.

But only if you're willing to play "Majority-ball."

That is, only if you're willing to not only play by the rules set up by the dominant, majority, hegemonic culture, but to promulgate them, and proselytize them.

No rebels need apply.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bill Ayers, Ph.D., Breaks His Silence

Back in the day, when I was professing Education, Bill Ayers and I hung around in somewhat the same crowd of eccentric, philosophical rebels in the field of critical curriculum theory. We met as a group for an annual conference, and pretty regularly, individually, at other academic gatherings. We weren't 'friends' per se, but collegial acquaintances.

The following document I found on Craig's List today, quite by accident. I cannot swear to the provenance, but the voice I hear sounds exactly like the Bill Ayers I knew.
Early this morning, the Obama family voted at the Beulah Shoesmith Elementary School, in Hyde Park. Long after they had gone, the lawn in front of the school was filled with reporters, mostly Europeans, filming voters. While I was talking to an eight-year-old kid dressed as George Washington, my colleague Peter Slevin, of the Washington Post was across the street, knocking on the door of someone else who had voted at the Shoesmith School this morning: William Ayers.

Ayers has avoided reporters ever since he became an election talking point, scratch pole, and general sensation. But now he answered the door of his three-story row house, and I joined the discussion. Ayers is sixty-four and has earrings in both ears. He wore jeans and a Riley T-shirt—Riley the kid from “Boondocks.” The day was fall-bright and 50th Street was filled with fallen gold leaves. Ayers waved to neighbors and kids as they went by on the sidewalk. He was, for the first time in a long while, in an expansive mood, making clear that, in all the months his name has been at the forefront of the campaign, he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn—ex-leaders of the Weather Underground and longtime educators and activists in the community—have been watching a lot of cable television, not least Fox.

One night, Ayers recalled, he and Dohrn were watching Bill O’Reilly, who was going on about “discovering” Ayers’s 1974 manifesto, “Prairie Fire.” “I had to laugh,” Ayers said. “No one read it when it was first issued!” He said that he laughed, too, when he listened to Sarah Palin’s descriptions of Obama “palling around with terrorists.” In fact, Ayers said that he knew Obama only slightly: “I think my relationship with Obama was probably like that of thousands of others in Chicago and, like millions and millions of others, I wished I knew him better.”

Ayers said that while he hasn’t been bothered by the many threats—“and I’m not complaining”—the calls and e-mails he has received have been “pretty intense.” “I got two threats in one day on the Internet,” he said, referring to an incident that took place last summer when he was sitting in his office at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he has taught education for two decades. “The first one said there was a posse coming to shoot me, and the second said they were going to kidnap me and water-board me. This friend of mine, a university cop, said, ‘Gosh, I hope the guy who’s coming to shoot you gets here first.’”

Ayers seemed curiously calm and cheerful about the way he had been made an issue in the campaign. He seemed unbothered to have been part of what he called “the Swiftboating” process of the 2008 campaign.

“It’s all guilt by association,” Ayers said. “They made me into a cartoon character—they threw me up onstage just to pummel me. I felt from the beginning that the Obama campaign had to run the Obama campaign and I have to run my life.” Ayers said that once his name became part of the campaign maelstrom he never had any contact with the Obama circle. “That’s not my world,” he said.

As the polling day drew into the late afternoon, the level of security in Hyde Park matched the level of anticipation. Obama’s house, four blocks away, was surrounded.

Ayers said he felt “a lot of sympathy” for the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, “who was treated grotesquely and unfairly” by the media. He said that Martin Luther King Jr. was, in his time, far more radical than Wright: “Wright’s a wimp compared to Martin Luther King—he had a fiercer tone.” Ayers was referring to the speeches King gave late in his life in opposition to the Vietnam War and on the subject of economic equality. “Martin Luther King was not a saint,” Ayers said. “He was an angry pilgrim.” Ayers said that he had commiserated recently with yet another former Hyde Park neighbor (and fellow Little League coach), the Palestinian-American scholar Rashid Khalidi, now at Columbia University, who has also been a punching bag of the right wing in recent weeks.

Across the street, neighborhood kids chanted “O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!” and “Yes we can!” for the cameras. Ayers smiled, looking a little like a more boomer Fred MacMurray in an episode of “My Three Sons.”

Ayers said that he had never meant to imply, in an interview with the Times, published coincidentally on 9/11, that he somehow wished he and the Weathermen had committed further acts of violence in the old days. Instead, he said, “I wish I had done more, but it doesn’t mean I wish we’d bombed more shit.” Ayers said that he had never been responsible for violence against other people and was acting to end a war in Vietnam in which “thousands of people were being killed every week.”

“While we did claim several extreme acts, they were acts of extreme radicalism against property,” he said. “We killed no one and hurt no one. Three of our people killed themselves.” And yet he was not without regrets. He mocked one of his earlier books, co-written with Dohrn, saying that, while it still is reflective of his radical and activist politics today, he was guilty of “rhetoric that’s juvenile and inflated—it is what it is.”

“I wish I had been wiser,” Ayers said. “I wish I had been more effective, I wish I’d been more unifying, I wish I’d been more principled.”

Ayers said that his life hasn’t been much altered by recent months, though he decided to postpone the re-release of his memoir, “Fugitive Days”—“I didn’t want it to be put in the meat grinder of this moment.” Two books he co-edited will also be republished soon: “City Kids, City Schools” and “City Kids, City Teachers.”

It was late afternoon, and Ayers was talking about his plans for the evening: he was heading to Grant Park with some friends for what they assumed would be a mass victory party. “This is an achingly exciting moment,” he said.

As we were getting ready to go, after an hour of front-stoop conversation, a neighbor came by and ironically reminded Ayers of the event that he and his wife held for Obama in 1995 when Obama was making his run for the Illinois state senate. "Everyone, including you, wants to have a coffee here," he joked to the neighbor. “I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do!”

The Rapture, The Rapture?

The southern New Mexico congressional district NM-2 is a vast district that includes the parts of the State referred to by the rest of the State as "Little Texas" on the east side and "Little Arizona" on the west. It's a very conservative region, a deep notch in the "Bible Belt," with lots of ranchers, hunters, and Xian fundies. I have long said--and firmly believed--that NM-2, wouldn't go Democratic before the Rapture.

Harry Teague, a wealthy, southern New Mexico 'conservative' Democratic businessman with connections to the gambling and energy exploitation industries, won the House seat in NM-2 yesterday.

I haven't heard about any unoccupied Mercedes-Benz, Hummers, or F-350s rolling down I-25 around Las Cruces, so I guess the Rapture is still pending.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

In Precinct 193, Albuquerque, NM: Obama Wins

89-50, w/4 for Nader.
New Mexico was called for Obama about 5 minutes ago.
Udall wins, and Heinrich led over White in the precinct where I was a Judge.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Surge IS Working! Chrysler and General Motors Verge on Merger

And it'll only cost the country around TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND jobs...

Chrysler had been part of a proposed deal that would have united France's Renault, Japan's Nissan and the US firm. The deal had been proposed by Cerberus Capital Management. According to Wiki, "Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. is one of the largest private equity investment firms in the United States. The firm is based in New York City, and run by 48-year-old financier Steve Feinberg. Former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle has been a prominent Cerberus spokesperson and runs one of its international units."

But Cerberus apparently prefers a union between Chrysler and General Motors mostly because, apparently, there's MORE free money available from the US government for throwing MORE Murkin workers into poverty by merging two domestic companies than they could have collected by crushing the workforce in THREE countries simultaneously.

The essential Calculated Risk has the stories.
From Detroit News: Chrysler-Nissan talks halt
Talks between the Renault-Nissan alliance and Cerberus Capital Management LP have stopped as both sides acknowledged Cerberus's preference to conclude a deal for Chrysler LLC with General Motors Corp. ... viewing it as financially more advantageous and also better for the U.S. auto industry.
The WSJ hints that a deal may be imminient:
Speculation continues to swirl that Cerberus is looking to make a move on Chrysler as early as Tuesday but has run into problems in lobbying for federal aid.
And the impact of a merger could be significant:

News of a GM-Chrysler merger has chilled automotive workers throughout the country. Such a partnership would result in the closing of seven of Chrysler's 14 U.S. factories and ... As many as 200,000 jobs could be cut ...
Who says Dan Quayle didn't learn anything from his stint a heart-beat away? Quayle, a colossus, standing astride the financial world!!! It's the stuff of LEGEND!

Interesting, too, the NAME of the company:
"Cerberus (Κέρβερος Kérberos) is the name given to the entity which, in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed dog which guards the gates of Hades, to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping. The name "Cerberus" is a Latinised version of the Greek word "Kerberos," meaning "demon of the pit".
That, too, seems fitting for, Quayle, nest paw?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

"Where's MY Bail-out? Huh? Where? Where The FUCK'S MY FUCKING BAIL-OUT?"

Asking the immortal question: Why is it that the RICH are the only ones whom the Govt protects from their own avarice and stupidity?

You REALLY should check out Calculated Risk. He/They're pretty technical, bare economics stories, but they/he puts up something like this just about every day.

Just sayin'...