Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Count the hypocrisies

Saving the Wealthy With Socialism, Conservative-Style - Baltimore Sun

I want out

For Wall Street, Greed Wasn’t Good Enough - The New York Times

A realistic alternative

How Positive Thinking Wrecked the Economy - Barbara's Blog

The worst cause

'Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency' by Barton Gellman' - LA Times
On the question of the war in Iraq and why Cheney pushed for it as he did, Gellman adds critical insight. Whether the vice president believed that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction is an open question, though it is clear that he knowingly lied about U.S. intelligence in this regard. What he did believe was that the war was winnable and, therefore, would make a valuable "demonstration" of U.S. power that would deter any other hostile nation from allowing itself to become a "nexus" of common purpose with the Islamic extremists who attacked New York and suburban Washington, D.C., on 9/11. The possibility of such a "nexus" was, in Cheney's view, the great threat to American security. He embraced the neo-conservatives' notion of the U.S. as liberator, bringing democratic regime change to the Mideast, as a convenient rhetorical counterweight to Jihadist propaganda. Personally, he doubted democracy even was possible in the Middle East.

Mistaking magic for science

Wiz Bucks - The New Yorker

Monday, September 22, 2008

He approved this message. As far as he knows

If this is how people choose a brain surgeon, then all my questions are answered

My Candidate, Myself - Salon

LATE ADDITION: Ringing Untrue, Again and Again - The New York Times

Manufacturing consensus

The Complete (Though Ever-Changing) Elite Consensus Over the Financial Collapse - Salon
What is more intrinsically corrupt than allowing people to engage in high-reward/no-risk capitalism -- where they reap tens of millions of dollars and more every year while their reckless gambles are paying off only to then have the Government shift their losses to the citizenry at large once their schemes collapse? We've retroactively created a win-only system where the wealthiest corporations and their shareholders are free to gamble for as long as they win and then force others who have no upside to pay for their losses. Watching Wall St. erupt with an orgy of celebration on Friday after it became clear the Government (i.e., you) would pay for their disaster was literally nauseating, as the very people who wreaked this havoc are now being rewarded.

More amazingly, they're free to walk away without having to disgorge their gains; at worst, they're just "forced" to walk away without any further stake in the gamble. How can these bailouts not at least be categorically conditioned on the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains from those who are responsible? The mere fact that shareholders might lose their stake going forward doesn't resolve that concern; why should those who so fantastically profited from these schemes they couldn't support walk away with their gains? This is "redistribution of wealth" and "government takeover of industry" on the grandest scale imaginable -- the buzzphrases that have been thrown around for decades to represent all that is evil and bad in the world. That's all this is; it's not an "investment" by the Government in any real sense but just a magical transfer of losses away from those who are responsible for these losses to those who aren't.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

If this is a "mental" recession, can't we just give these companies a mental bailout?

Speaking of mental....

Truthiness Stages A Comeback - The New York Times

Will the free-market fanatics please shut up?

The Corporate Financiers Are Wrong - Salon

LATE ADDITION: Free Market Ideology Is Far From Finished - The Guardian
During boom times, it's profitable to preach laissez faire, because an absentee government allows speculative bubbles to inflate. When those bubbles burst, the ideology becomes a hindrance, and it goes dormant while big government rides to the rescue. But rest assured: the ideology will come roaring back when the bailouts are done. The massive debts the public is accumulating to bail out the speculators will then become part of a global budget crisis that will be the rationalisation for deep cuts to social programmes, and for a renewed push to privatise what is left of the public sector. We will also be told that our hopes for a green future are, sadly, too costly.

What we don't know is how the public will respond. Consider that in North America, everybody under the age of 40 grew up being told that the government can't intervene to improve our lives, that government is the problem not the solution, that laissez faire was the only option. Now, we are suddenly seeing an extremely activist, intensely interventionist government, seemingly willing to do whatever it takes to save investors from themselves.

This spectacle necessarily raises the question: if the state can intervene to save corporations that took reckless risks in the housing markets, why can't it intervene to prevent millions of Americans from imminent foreclosure? By the same token, if $85bn can be made instantly available to buy the insurance giant AIG, why is single-payer health care – which would protect Americans from the predatory practices of health-care insurance companies – seemingly such an unattainable dream?

All good questions. And Klein's right, of course. The free-market fundies will never give up, no matter how great a catastrophe they create. They are the Energizer bunnies of sociopathy. There's still more money to be stolen, after all!

Meanwhile, once the smoke has cleared, a learning-impaired public will be all too willing to let it happen again. Perhaps one useful new branch for a reinvigorated government would be a department of institutional memory. Then, the next time Americans start falling prey to these self-serving robber barons and their attractive propagandists, there will someone standing by to say, "Cue the 9/08 tape, Charlie. Okay now, people, remember this. This is what they do."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This could be big

The following audio clip is from an Air America interview with media professor Mark Crispin Miller, who has studied and written extensively on issues of media and election reform.

More: The RoveCyberGate Campaign - Velvet Revolution
We are working with Ohio election attorneys, Cliff Arnebeck, Bob Fitrakis and Henry Eckhart to find out the truth about recent information indicating that Karl Rove architected and directed a strategy to manipulate elections through the use of computers. Rove’s Cyber Guru, Michael Connell, has worked for the Bush family for over 20 years and helped Bush Sr., Jeb and Bush Jr. “win” their elections using his computer skills. Whistleblowers, including Republicans, say that several of these and other national elections have been rigged through various invisible and illegal means, including vote tabulation manipulation, improper partisan use of the Justice Department to target Democrats and uncooperative US Attorneys, and the laundering of hundreds of millions of corporate dollars funneled into fake advocacy groups directed against Democrat candidates running for public office. Ex-Alabama Governor Don Siegelman has stated publicly that Rove was the person who directed Siegelman’s rigged election and criminal prosecution. Here GOP cyber sleuth Stephen Spoonamore has stated publicly that the leadership of the GOP has been "lying and stealing elections" link and doing so through computers. link

According to the attorneys, Rove’s goal with this strategy is to establish a unitary Executive Branch with a supportive judiciary, a weak legislature and a fearful press. Corporate sponsors of this strategy, such as tobacco, energy, telecom, and pharmaceutical companies are rewarded with hands off government: deregulated oversight, stringent limits on class-action damages, the stacking of high courts with pro-business/anti-consumer Justices etc. link

Cheney misled GOP leader about Hussein, Al Qaeda, and nukes to get war support

Cheney Linked Hussein to Al-Qaeda, Ex-GOP House Leader Says in Book - Washington Post

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Repeat after me: Obama will CUT my taxes, Obama will CUT my taxes....

What's Your Obama Tax Cut? - The Nation

Take that, CNN

McCain Skewered on "The View" - Salon

Thank God for Barbara Walters? - The Nation

Good approach

How Obama Should Frame McCain - The New Republic

She does it all with a six-figure salary and a large staff. What's wrong with you?

Whine Not - The New Republic

You'd think this was...wait, who's worse than Belarus?

Sure, their employment rate is higher, but their health-care system is far worse--Belarus ranks almost as far below the U.S. as we rank below France! That's awful!

Dear God, Bootsie, that nun is tending to those wretches. My sides are positively splitting

Here's something I meant to highlight before I was swept away by the McCain camp's recent river of lies. That is Rudolph Giuliani's quip during the GOP convention's "community organizer" sneerfest:
"You have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer. (laughter) Okay. Maybe this is the first problem on the resume. He worked as a community organizer."

Unwittingly, America's mayor put on display for the entire nation how Republicans think. They can't even grasp the concept of an unselfish act, of sacrificing personal gain to help others. The concept is so far removed from this group's self-serving universe, they are so astonished that one might be so incomprehensibly foolish as to actually turn away money, that they can only laugh. Beneficence! How droll!

Mother Teresa must have had these people rolling on the floor.

LATE ADDITION: Speaking of aristocrats.... The Aristocrats II: Starring George Will Attacking Firefighters on 9/11 -

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

McCain's insanonomics: doing the same bad things and expecting a good result

How to Beat McCain's Bounce - Washington Post

Why they bypassed Huckabee: his concern for the little guy is genuine

Palin, Huckabee and the GOP's 'Hick Factor' - AlterNet

It's no wonder candidate McCain can't define "honor"

Does the Truth Matter Anymore? - Washington Post

As Campaign Heats Up, Untruths Can Become Facts Before They're Undone - Washington Post

Note the McCain spokesman on Palin's lies: "...[T]here's a bigger truth out there and the bigger truths are she's new, she's popular in Alaska and she is an insurgent. As long as those are out there, these little facts don't really matter." Translation: Lies are fine, as long as they dupe the voters.

Here's a bigger truth: You're all scuzzbags.

(Aren't these campaign games to be expected? To an extent. As a counterexample see the Obama camp, whose mild instances of spin--all firmly rooted in reality and defensible even as stated--seem to me within bounds. What McCain & Co. are doing, on the other hand, is beyond spin--B.S., if you will.)

(For those of you who missed it: McCain on honor.)

LATE ADDITION: Why Do Lies Prevail? - Washington Post

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Surely the American people are smarter than that. Aren't they?

Ok, so we Dems are nervous. But as Salon's Gary Kamiya points out, it's not without reason:
[After the latest round of polls], the same Democrats who were crowing with glee a week ago about McCain's off-the-wall choice [of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for vice president] are suddenly panicking. And you can't blame them. Four years after Americans looked at the first term of the worst president in modern history and decided they liked what they saw well enough to sign up for four more years, it's all too plausible that just when victory is in sight, the most crucial election of our time could be tipped by the 11th-hour appearance of a slick, unqualified, right-wing extremist and religious zealot in designer glasses....
And large numbers of Americans think she's hot.
This latter point cannot be underestimated. Iraq may be a quagmire, a new cold war may be looming, the economy may be tanking and the world may be heading toward environmental doom, but the presidential race may be decided by the perceived doability of the governor of Alaska.

The Dominatrix - Salon

Let's hope, as Kamiya does, that such Caligulan fantasies are confined to the adult adolescents in the GOP base. There's far too much at stake in this election for the outcome to be decided by the penile vote. Likewise, there's far too much at stake even remotely to risk a Sarah Palin presidency.

The surge is only part of the story

Why Did Violence Plummet? It Wasn't Just the Surge - Washington Post

Their disdain is for you

Disdain Versus Change - The Huffington Post

LATE ADDITION: The Politics of Contempt - The American Prospect

When they have a problem, they just call a politician they own

The Need for Community Organizers: Not Everyone Can Afford to Buy Politicians - TPM Cafe

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong: Beltway pundits are proud to be clueless

The Times, They Have A-Changed - The Nation

Palin and Giuliani ridicule Catholic charity work

The difference between the GOP's standard-issue demagoguery and the headline above is (a) the headline is merely intended to make fun of their dishonest, inflammatory rhetoric and (b) my inflammatory rhetoric is true.

Palin, Giuliani Mocked Obama's Organizing Work, But It Was Sponsored By The Catholic Church - Mother Jones

Community Organizers - The American Prospect

Leave it to Republicans to sneer at those who do good in the world. Such Christians they are! To borrow a post-convention quip, "Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor."

LATE ADDITION: GOP Mocks Public Service - The Nation

Convention fact check

At GOP Convention, Context and Facts Go Missing From Message of the Day - Newsday/AP

A slight variation: bipartisan corporate B.S.

Corporations and the Conventions - Common Dreams

The difference between Palin and a Capra hero is sincerity

It seems that today's theme is "GOP bullshit."

Consistency is not their forte

Sorry, that's MSM-speak. I should have said, "Honesty is not their forte." Noooo, still pretty MSM-y. How about "What a collection of lying weasels"? There we go.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The GOP economic plan? An indifferent shrug

Economy? What Economy? - Washington Post

A McCain victory = a renewal of red-state pathologies

Baby on Board! Palin's Unhelpful Story - Credo Action

Fact-checking is not in their job description

Note to Press: Get a Spine - Mother Jones

Are St. Paul's stormtroopers following the Nixon playbook?

Twin Cities Violence: Just What The RNC Ordered -

In other news:
Democracy Now's Goodman reports that a U.S. Secret Service agent ripped her press credentials from her neck the moment she identified herself to him as a member of the media. Her producers emerged yesterday from their jail cells bloodied and scarred, reporting unusually harsh treatment at the hands of local and federal authorities.

St. Paul Mayor and Media Mum on Journalism Crackdown - The Huffington Post

Welcome to Burma!

UPDATE: Why We Were Falsely Arrested - TruthDig

He's b-a-a-ack...

Phil Gramm Is Conservatism: The Sequel -

Phil Gramm Reemerges - Washington Monthly

Ok, but what do you really think?

Some accidental honesty on the Palin pick from some top GOP pundits (profanity in original):

Oy ... Live Mics Are Such Dangerous Things - Talking Points Memo

LATE ADDITION: Candidate McCain’s Big Decision - The New York Times

The rich are more stressed? Yeah, right

Stress and Class - Slate

UPDATE: Dalton Conley Replies - Slate

Monday, September 1, 2008

More news from Beijing St. Paul

Scenes from St. Paul -- Democracy Now's Amy Goodman Arrested - Salon

While the protesters here may believe their free-speech rights are being smashed by the heavy fist of an aspirationally totalitarian state, what they fail to realize is that spying on meetings of nonviolent groups, arresting those who peaceably assemble, and performing random acts of violence against them are merely peacekeeping activities. And if these noisy freedomites want to continue speaking and assembling and petitioning their government for a redress of grievances, they should just move back to America where they belong.

Holiday humor break

GOP Campaign Increasingly Resembling Unproduced Goldie Hawn Film - The Borowitz Report

If you listen closely, you can hear their jackboots crushing your freedoms

I don't know whether to be more appalled by the police-state tactics here or by the fact that our alleged protectors--even at the highest levels--believe that "vegan=danger" ("Watch out, Bob! He's got a cucumber!").

Massive Police Raids on Suspected Protesters in Minneapolis - Salon

Federal Government Involved in Raids on Protesters - Salon