February 4, 2009 archive

Nonviolently taking back our country – starting with the economy

We, the disenfranchised citizenry of the United States of America, have been left with an economic version of the Augean stables by the fascist Bush regime. The Obama administration has the herculean task of cleaning up this horrific mess which reached it’s peak during the last administration, but which in fact has been decades and generations in the making.

No longer able to extort our labor or our buying power from us under the threat of conveniently timed and placed terrorism; no longer able to justify the existence of their contrived and corrupt police state; the supporters of the military/industrial complex are fighting desperately to keep their corporate feudal house of cards intact. Moles are embedded everywhere, monkeywrenching everything good that the new administration tries to do, already running around behind the brooms of those daunted stable cleaners and leaving as much new horse puckey as they possibly can.

We, the disenfranchised citizenry of the United States of America, have been led to believe by propagandists, liars and thieves that our only recourse is to suck it up and take it. While they continue to live large, well insulated from reality in the robber baron towers they have constructed on the backs of the poor and the middle class; our houses, if we can keep them, are cold. Our elderly are going hungry. Our children are going without medical care. Our cars are breaking down. While they revel in the best privacy, security, life, liberty and pursuit of privileged happiness that money can buy; our Constitution is in tatters. Our civil liberties have been shredded. Our opportunities have been criminally limited.

We have been consistently betrayed not only by Republicans but by complicit Democrats who are more interested in saving their own skins and pandering to their corporate-backed voter bases. We are not getting what we want from our government, and we have been led to believe that our only real alternative will lead to blood in the streets.

Wrong.

What they have stolen is money. Money that was overprinted by a completely off-the-rails Federal Reserve. Money that is easy to move, easy to hide, easy to play a worldwide shell game with via electronic networks that have not been properly monitored because no one has been watching the watchers.

Most of what they have stolen is actually worthless. It’s about as substantial and necessary to survival as cotton candy. We suffer because we BELIEVE the lie that it’s worth something – and we are letting someone else who can no longer be trusted tell us exactly how much.  

Who determines that a loaf of bread in the NYC area is worth $3.50? Who decrees that a half gallon of milk is $2.39? Who says we have to pay that much? Why are we settling for this? Have we learned nothing from the way that the entire world was price-gouged for gasoline and oil while the Bush regime was still in power?

Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports U.S. energy secretary warns of dire climate change scenario for California. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu explained that California’s farms and vineyards could fail by the end of the century and its cities are in danger of collapse. “Chu warned of water shortages plaguing the West and Upper Midwest and particularly dire consequences for California, his home state, the nation’s leading agricultural producer.”

    “I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen,” he said. “We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California.” And, he added, “I don’t actually see how they can keep their cities going” either…

    I’m hoping that the American people will wake up,” Chu said.

  2. ProPublica reports Obama limits bailout corporate executive pay, but plenty of wiggle room. “The restrictions are stricter than the Bush administration’s, but provide plenty of wiggle room for execs to do well. There is no real limit on executive compensation, just restrictions on the type of compensation.”

    The Washington Post adds Bailout includes executive pay limits for some firms. “Under the new rules, companies can waive the $500,000 cap by informing shareholders that they planned to continue paying executives higher salaries. Companies would be required to allow a shareholder resolution on the subject, but the results would not bind the company.”

  3. The NY Times gives the low down on President Obama’s Commerce Secrertary nominee, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH). Gregg differs with Obama on nearly every major issue. “He differs with his boss-to-be in favoring oil drilling on the coast of an Alaska wildlife refuge. He promotes a lighter touch with China than does the president. And he disagrees with him in backing private accounts for Social Security.”

    Gregg is “the 21st-richest senator, with assets, according to his 2007 financial disclosure forms, of $3 million to $10 million.” Smells like Change we can believe in!

  4. The Washington Post reports Interior Secretary cancels leases on federal land in Utah. “Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is cancelling oil and gas leases on 77 parcels of federal land in Utah… The Bush administration conducted the lease sale in December, but environmental groups went to court to block the winning bids encompassing roughly 110,000 acres near pristine areas such as Nine Mile Canyon, Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument.”

    At DailyKos, mcjoan notes that “Salazar doesn’t rule out the possibility that some of the parcels on which leases were canceled today won’t eventually be put back out for sale once a valid process for determining their suitability for drilling is completed.”

Four at Four has, as a bonus, political theater below the fold.

Saving 49 Lives (Part 5)(With Poll)(Updated!!!)

Evidently, though I’m all fired up about getting the new Attorney General to review all of the pending federal death penalty cases– there are 49 of them– and to forbid prosecutors from seeking the death penalty, not so many others are quite as ignited as I am.  I think I know why.

The petition now has 62 signatures.  Many people have emailed the Attorney General at whitehouse.gov or at askDOJ@usdoj.gov to request that he review these cases.  I appreciate everyone’s efforts on this.

Please join me in DC, where things are somewhat “different.”

The Party of No ……WILL Happily Kill the Economy

The Party of No.

The party of No ideas. The party of No substance. The party of No solutions….except the ones that put the economy on the Death Watch it now enjoys. Even though no one BUT the Party of No is enjoying it.

They have nothing. Nothing but No.

Oh wait, they do have something….spin. And they are….amazingly, considering the last eight years….winning the spin. As usual. And as usual, they are winning the spin because the clueless media is STILL Listening to them. DESPITE the fact that is is the Party of No who got us into all of this.

The media are treating the Party of No as if they have something to offer …..besides No.

The Republicans are desperate for relevance. The only way they can get it is through the media (since they have NOthing of substance to offer, politically) is to give the media a story that contains drama and conflict and outrage. The only way that they can remain relevant is to say….No.

And if No keeps them in the news, they will keep saying no. No, all the way down. Even if it means killing the economy.

And then they will try to blame it on the Democrats. And the media, pundits, and Villagers (also desperate to stay relevant) will buy it.

There are two choices then. Either Obama can rally the troops and mount an offensive….or let the Republicans kill the stimulus bill, proving once and for all that they are the ones putting politics ahead of the interests of the country. And then try to win the spin on that as the Repubs attempt to snooker the media again.

Obama created this problem through his attempt at bipartisanship. He made the Repubs relevant enough for the media to listen to….instead of destroying them while they were down. It IS politically safer to have Republican support for such a bold, expensive stimulus….theoretically. That way….theoretically…the Repubs could not attack him and the democrats on it. But as we in teh blogosphere know….the Repubs will ALWAYS attack. Regardless of truth, integrity, facts and all of the other metrics that people NOT in the Party of No refer to as reality.

The story in the media has to be the Party of No obstructing Obama as he tries to rescue the economy from the damage THEY did to it. Obama has to win the spin. Otherwise the Party of No… WILL, happily, allow the economy to die….merely so they can remain relevant in the media.

If, as many in the blogosphere have speculated, Obama is ignorant of the depths of Republican destructiveness and dishonesty…and now desperation, he is getting his education. The Party of No is NOT acting in good faith. There simply cannot be bipartisanship if the other half of the ‘bi’ is not acting in good faith. The Party of No is not.

Iraq: Obama vs Petraeus? Or Good Cop, Bad Cop Kabuki?

After historian, national security policy analyst and investigative journalist Gareth Porter’s February 2 IPS article US-IRAQ: Generals Seek to Reverse Obama Withdrawal Decision, which TomP essayed about here Tuesday, Porter then was interviewed by The Real News about his story that the Pentagon and CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, supported by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq General Ray Odierno, and retired Generals, have launched the beginnings of a media campaign to undermine President Barack Obama and his stated plans to withdraw all “combat troops” from Iraq within 16 months and his order to Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, Gates, and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan for doing so.



Real News: February 3, 2009 – 7 minutes 55 seconds

Petraeus versus the President?

Gareth Porter: US military leaders are pressuring Obama to cancel his Iraq withdrawal promise

The base premise of Porter’s article and his Real News interview is that The Pentagon and the Generals, presumably backed by the foreign policy establishment, are creating a narrative of 18 months of “success” in Iraq and Obama blowing it and throwing away all the supposed “gains” made beginning with Bush’s “surge”, to pressure Obama into easing up on plans to withdraw from Iraq, and thus pitting Obama as the deliverer of “change” against the Bush policy of occupation of Iraq and domination of the Middle East in direct opposition to and counterbalancing the “threat” posed by Iran.

Obama the “anti-imperialist” vs hegemony and imperialism, in so many words.

But is this what is really happening, or are we witnessing a smoke and mirrors kabuki in which both sides are playing their roles perfectly? Is the whole play meant to fog the situation and enable Obama, who has said in the past that he will “listen” to his Generals, to appear to have done his best and eventually relent on his campaign promises in the face of “reality” and continue the occupation of Iraq for years to come?

Soldiers Get Shafted, Again and……………………!!

I was trying to write something more about this report I just read, but after these last eight previous years my rage keeps me from thinking straight in trying to add words to the total apathy, arrogance, and incompetence found in this country and it’s elected representatives.

But I want you to meet Melissa Sterry, a Gulf War I National Guard Veteran, from New Haven Connecticut, and read the cuts I placed below also visiting the Hartford Advocate and read the rest, not only about Ms. Sterry but as to the rest of the Veterans of Connecticut, and what the state reps have to say.  

Open Thread

 

The Big Thread.

Class Warfare Pix: The So-Called Death Tax

Nowadays, the Rockefellers are probably best known as the namesake for the TV show 30Rock.  One of them, Nelson, was the unelected Republican Vice President under Gerald Ford after Nixon resigned.  100 years ago, along with Morgan and Carnegie and others, John D. Rockefeller was just another robber baron getting rich beyond imagination on oil and coal and steel and railroads.

A brutal massacre of mineworkers at his Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, in Ludlow, Colorado, became a shocking national scandal – not unlike the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.  (The pic is of one of the militia guys who did the killing.)  Some say that Rockefeller’s kids were so ashamed, they eventually put much of the family fortune into the various Rockefeller Foundations, as an attempt to redeem the family legacy.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos

Hypocrisy

I’ve got hypocrisy on my mind, thanks to recent developments in the process of appointing officials to the Obama administration. First, Timothy Geithner, appointed to the position of national tax collector in chief, turns out to have failed to pay certain taxes. Then former Sen. Tom Daschle, the nominee to head Health and Human Services, turns out to have failed to pay much more. He wriggles and squirms a while under the spotlight but makes no move to step aside until a third nominee, Nancy Killefer, withdraws on principle over a much smaller sum of unpaid taxes, after which Daschle can’t stick around without looking like an utter tool.

And all this, to hear some speak, reflects badly on the incoming Obama administration, which was supposed to have been better than all this.

Well, yes, it does reflect badly.

But at the same time, it reminds me of a passage from Neal Stephenson’s novel The Diamond Age:

Eric Holder Sworn In As Attorney General Tuesday

You may find VP Joe Biden’s remarks interesting here….

“Welcome back to the Justice Department. As we gather here to day it’s worth remembering the mission statement that guides this great department.”

To enforce the law and defend the interest of the United States according to the law. To ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic. To provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime. To seek just punishment for those guilt of unlawful behavior, and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

“There’s no mention in that mission statement of politics. There’s no mention in that mission statement of ideology. And that’s how it should be, because there is no place for politics or ideology in this building.”

With the appointment of Eric Holder as Attorney General, we’re going to be returning to a standard that has governed this great department at it’s greatest moments in my view. No politics. No ideology.

Yes, Even SOME Hindus Are Religious Lunatics

I’ve always considered  the Hindus to be the endearing exception  to my “all religions are dangerous to others” rule. I mean, how dangerous can a religion be when they have a god who  has an elephant head? Apparently I was mistaken about our Hindu brethren and sistren: they’re as nuts as the rest. I look at the lunatics of  every major religion, and somehow the fact that my pagan Celtic ancestors went in  for the odd bit of headhunting  and human sacrifice seems almost benign. (and yes, I recognize that this organization is purportedly a “nationalist” or “cultural” organization, but this sort of “defend the culture” madness is always driven by deep wells of religious lunacy. Always.)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new…

Militants belonging to a group called Sri Ram Sena, who claim to be custodians of Indian culture, said Valentine’s Day is un-Indian.

The threat comes days after the group’s activists stormed a bar in the south western city of Mangalore, dragging out and beating women they accused of acting obscenely and “going astray”.

The attack led to fears an extremist “Hindu Taliban” was on the rise in India.

Gangadhar Kulkarni, an activist in the group, which is a radical wing of the Hindu nationalist movement, said: “If people celebrate the day despite our warning, then we will definitely attack them.”

“Valentine’s Day is definitely not Indian culture. We will not allow celebration of that day in any form,” added Pramod Mutalik, the group’s founder.

So much ignorance

Sigh.

There are those who will dismiss this as yet another Obama bashing rant, but unlike Rush Limbaugh and the Republicans he leads I really would like Obama to succeed.

I understand Rush.  I am hyper partisan.  I never accepted W as my president even during the smoking pile nobody could have anticipated bin laden determined to attack in the US bullhorn bullshit 95% of YOU! you willfully ignorant accessories to war crimes times you thought he was the bees knees.

I want to grind your nose in your tortures and murders, your common thefts and lies and pederasty and perversion that you accepted by your complicity.  Up against the wall motherfuckers.  Were I not fundamentally opposed to the death penalty you might hope to provoke me to a quicker relief from your shame and degradation than the lifetime in Spandau I think your pissy pants craven cowardice and oathbreaking deserve.

Obama has never been a liberal.  The DLC assumed he was one of theirs until he disavowed them.

The reason progressive Democrats deluded themselves is that Obama was consistently anti-Iraq.  For them the real game is whether we meet the 16 month deadline and the Odierno – Petraeus – McArthur axis are doing what they can to impede it.  No nukes in Korea.  Get the troops out or find another job.

Frankly if he satisfies that minimum requirement Obama need fear no challenge from the left, for the most part they will be co-opted.  Those of us who care about little things like the Geneva Convention and the Magna Carta and the US Constitution can hope they get carried along on the tide but…

We are the 5%ers and proud of it.

Still who knows?  The level of ignorance about simple dimple economics astounds me.

These Chicago School Free Market Fundamentalists, these Randian Hard On Libertarians, these Friedmanite (Milton and Thomas) Monitarist Morans refuse to recognize that we have efficiented ourselves out of business.  We don’t make anything except conmen who will sell you a lump of wood and call it nutmeg.

Tulips.

Keynesian denial seems to have permeated our discourse and people no longer understand that it’s possible to over supply demand.

Supply side economics is a lie.

It doesn’t matter how much you can produce if nobody is buying.  Prices fall into a deflationary spiral and you have an economy with excess capacity.  Cars rotting on lots, high inventory, job cutting, fall in demand.

DUH!

You need to reduce inventory and create scarcity- plow under those debts and fuck the creditors.  You need to create demand and re-inflate.  This is basically spending, but if you were wise and responsible you’d spend it on stuff that was valuable and would last, still spending alone will do because of the multiplier effect.

If I pay you a dollar it doesn’t just go to you.  It goes to your Starbucks barrista and from them to their Chiropractor and Aroma Therapist (you stand on your fucking feet all day and it doesn’t fucking matter).  Eventually your dollar ends up in the pocket of someone who decides to invest it in something like a Credit Default Swap and with less stimulative effect than a bet on 24, odd, black when the ball comes up 00 the coupier rakes it in.  Sucks to be you.

In the mean time someone got coffee which made the coffee people happy and the barrista stands a little straighter.

Fuck you, you tightfisted greed heads.

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