Daily Archive: August 21, 2009

Four at Four

  1. The NY Times reports the Ben Bernanke says the American economy is poised to grow. The chairman of the Federal Reserve claimed today that “the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good.”

    Not only does Bernanke believe the recession may be ending, but there is a “good” possibility of economic growth. But, he also warned any recovery “is likely to be relatively slow at first, with unemployment declining only gradually from high levels.”

    Meanwhile, McClatchy reports What rebound? Foreclosures rise as jobs and income drop. “Delinquency and foreclosure rates for U.S. mortgages continued to rise in the second quarter, with loans to the most qualified borrowers going bust at an unnerving clip”. Numbers “show clearly that rising job losses are worsening the nation’s housing troubles… More worrisome is a trend emerging deeper in the numbers: Subprime loans given to the weakest borrowers are now a declining portion of delinquency and foreclosure rates, while prime loans, given to the most highly qualified borrowers, are a rising share.”

Four at Four continues with the CIA, Obama defying federal courts, an update from Afghanistan, and the Death of the Nile.

“Conspiracy Theories,” The Left of The Left Was Right Again

Simulposted at Daily Kos

.

Tom Ridge’s admission/accusation that the Terror Alerts were politicized has proven yet another accusation of the Left of The Left to be true.

An accusation that as Greenwald ably and extensively illustrates, was labeled a “Conspiracy Theory” when the accusation was made.

So….What Other “Conspiracy Theories” Are True?

Don’t worry folks, I will not mention the Big Enchilada, the “Conspiracy Theory” That Must Not Be Named. (It’s impossible to believe they were competent enough to pull that one off anyway, lol.)

But the point is simply begging to be made. As more and more facts are revealed about the depth breadth and complete corruption and previously unimaginable extent to which our country and government were hijacked by the Bush Crime Family….one is forced to wonder just how far they DID go. And just how many “Conspiracy Theories” will be proven true in the future.

Idaho GOP official pulls gun on citizen, arrested on felony charges.

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Meet Ron Paul supporter, tea party organizer, Idaho GOP official and now facing felony charges Challiss McAffee.

    Idaho resident Challiss McAffee has been “charged with felony aggravated assault after police say he pulled a handgun on a resident whose home he told police he was photographing as part of a foreclosure investigation.” When the resident began questioning McAffee about what he was doing, the confrontation escalated, culminating in McAffee brandishing his gun. McAffee is a member of the Ada County Republican Central Committee and “one of 231 voting members of the state Republican Central Committee.”

thinkprogress.com

    More batshit and paranoid wingnut delusions below the fold.

First Amendment Friday 15 – Gooding V. Wilson

Happy Friday and welcome to the 15th in the Dog’s First Amendment Friday series. This series is following the syllabus for the class called The First Amendment and taught at Yale Law School by Professor Jack M. Balkin. As with the Friday Constitutional series this is a layman’s look at the Law, specifically the Supreme Court opinions which have shaped the boundaries of our 1st Amendment Protections. If you are interested in the previous installments you can find them at the links below:

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

America, the great meritocracy. NOT!

As Vets Await Checks, VA Workers Get $24M Bonuses

Wow, that’s special. Like olympics special.

The official, Jennifer S. Duncan, also engaged in nepotism and got $60,000 in bonuses herself, the IG said. In addition, managers improperly authorized college tuition payments for VA employees, some of whom were Duncan’s family members and friends. That cost taxpayers nearly $140,000.

Separately, a technology office employee became involved in an ”inappropriate personal relationship” with a high-level VA official. The technology office employee flew 22 times from Florida to Washington, where the VA official lived. That travel cost $37,000.

So, people like THIS are considered “employable” in your world? Yeah, right. Fuck you. Yeah, you – you know who you are.

In the meantime, does this remind anyone else of that little well-worn joke about how bureaucrats describe a crock of shit to their supervisors? “This wonderous and highly decorative container is full of the stuff that makes things grow…”

More on Failed and Criminal Government {UpDated w/video’s reports}

More of the cheney/bush/republican congress incompetent criminality coming to light, especially out of the VA, while Two Occupations were still ongoing and troops were returning for the care needed, as their brothers and sisters were returning in Flag Draped Coffins!!

IG reports detail abuses in hiring, travel, bonuses at VA technology office

Docudharma Times Friday August 21

C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones  



By JAMES RISEN and MARK MAZZETTI

Published: August 20, 2009



WASHINGTON – From a secret division at its North Carolina headquarters, the company formerly known as Blackwater has assumed a role in Washington’s most important counterterrorism program: the use of remotely piloted drones to kill Al Qaeda’s leaders, according to government officials and current and former employees.

The division’s operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. They also provide security at the covert bases, the officials said.

Robert Fisk: Democracy will not bring freedom

 

 Friday, 21 August 2009

So they voted. But for what? Democracy? Certainly not “Jeffersonian” democracy, as President Obama reminded us. Yes, the Afghans wanted to vote. They showed great courage in the face of the Taliban’s threats. But there’s a problem.

It’s not just the stitched-up Karzai administration that will almost certainly return, nor the war criminals he employs (Abdul Rashid Dostum should be in the dock at The Hague for war crimes, not in Kabul), nor the corruption and the hideous human rights abuses, but the unassailable fact that ethnically-divided societies vote on ethnic lines.

Docudharma Times Friday August 21

C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones  



By JAMES RISEN and MARK MAZZETTI

Published: August 20, 2009



WASHINGTON – From a secret division at its North Carolina headquarters, the company formerly known as Blackwater has assumed a role in Washington’s most important counterterrorism program: the use of remotely piloted drones to kill Al Qaeda’s leaders, according to government officials and current and former employees.

The division’s operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. They also provide security at the covert bases, the officials said.

Robert Fisk: Democracy will not bring freedom

 

 Friday, 21 August 2009

So they voted. But for what? Democracy? Certainly not “Jeffersonian” democracy, as President Obama reminded us. Yes, the Afghans wanted to vote. They showed great courage in the face of the Taliban’s threats. But there’s a problem.

It’s not just the stitched-up Karzai administration that will almost certainly return, nor the war criminals he employs (Abdul Rashid Dostum should be in the dock at The Hague for war crimes, not in Kabul), nor the corruption and the hideous human rights abuses, but the unassailable fact that ethnically-divided societies vote on ethnic lines.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

2009 Poems:  Dreamcatcher


Dream Catcher #10

Cycles

The wheel turns

orbiting onward

progressing through

space and time

available

for the wanting

until the void

ruptures

into reality

all generated

by those initial

hopes and dreams

of a better

world to come

Like a circle in a circle

a wheel within a wheel

the painted pony spins

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 24, 2009

Comparison of Premium Increases and Wages

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

The non-profit, non-partisan group Families USA has begun releasing state-by-state reports comparing the rise in health insurance premiums against the rise of wages from 2000 to 2009. So far 18 state reports have been released, with the remaining states coming over the next few weeks.

Copies of reports for each state, in pdf format, can be found here.

The reports specifically look at premiums for families, and compare the increase in those family premiums with the rise in median income. And, surprise surprise, health insurance rates have skyrocketed compared to average wage increases. On average, for the 18 states reported on so far, family premiums increased 4.4 times as much as median wages between 2000 and 2009. The following is a spreadsheet I put together to summarize the results of each report:

Comparisonpic

[ratio is how many times faster premiums have risen compared to wages]

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