Saturday, September 30, 2006

It's the Weekend. Time For Home.

It's a day largely of fiscal responsibilities and family time here, so I'm just going to note that The Poor Man Institute's come back with an installment of The Keyboard Kommandos, and then move on to some links covering of the recent page scandal down in Florida and the House of Representatives.

Considering how much hay was made of sexual "scandals" between consenting adults in the late '90s then here's hoping the story concerning Republican Representative from Florida Mark Foley and an underage page manages to not only drag him down but the GOP's leadership in the House, who were reportedly informed of it almost a year ago, and which is now being spun into damage control mode, especially in the wake of Foley's resignation and everyone is backing away from it saying they didn't know anything until now. Billmon caps it off as it stands.

Read more?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Talk about a conflict of interest...

Alberto "The Inqguistor" Gonzales cautioning judges on interfering in any of el Jefe's dictates. I suppose I'd be inclined to tow that same line if I was backing someone who's misled a nation into war, authorized torture programs and violated both domestic and international law.

It's amazing the incredible powers the Constitution allows the President to do just by saying so -- and with the incredible power of his magic signing statement pen!

Why, this must be the warm feeling the people of Cuba have when they sit rapt in awe of what Fidel can do!

Can we ever look forward to this house of razor sharp cards being collapsed?

Read more?

Another Sad, Sad, Week For the Nation

...and another event we'll have a difficult time explaining to our grandchildren.

"Why didn't you take to the streets? Why didn't you revolt?" they'll wonder aloud, wondering how we could have been so gutless as the Senate knuckled under, granting Dubya (even more) dictarial powers, and taking a steaming dump on 900 years of civilized history by revoking rights of habeus corpus.

Glenn Greewald did a running update of it all day Thursday
, starting off with an excellent - and suitably grim - overview of what has happened, is happening, and what it means.

Twelve so-called Democrats voted in favor of the final bill. Remember them well:
Carper (Del.), Johnson (S.D.), Landrieu (La.), Lautenberg (N.J.), Lieberman (Conn.), Menendez (N.J), Pryor (Ark.), Rockefeller (W. Va.), Salazar (Co.), Stabenow (Mich.), Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.)
And remember kindly Rhode Island Republican Chaffe, who was the only Republican to vote against it.

When will this long, national nightmare be over?

Maybe that advice from Animal House to begin drinking heavily is a good call?

With two Bush nominees added to their ranks, can we even count on the Supreme Court to overturn this mockery?

Read more?

Well, you know, by this point I have no excuse for being surprised by the depths the bullying thugs behind the Republican Party will sink to, but I suppose I should count it as a victory of my humanity that I've retained the capacity for outrage.

It all started with an email from a well-intentioned, unfortunately too easily fooled former co-worker this morning.

The shame of the shameless, it is as follows (though I've removed some of the "dramatic" spacing between lines. It starts with a lie -- well, maybe not. Perhaps whoever sent it considers G.W. Bush as his friend -- and goes downhill from there. I have recreated the formatting and color choices from the email.

As you read through it -- I'll do you the honor of presuming upon your intelligence and not having to provide a running commentary -- note how they go from a tragic circumstance to folding in "God, country and home" and then attempt to get people to embrace without naming it the Republican Party which has apparently thoroughly embraced the color red as their own. Note that even here in PA, where former football player
and token candidate Lynn Swann is running as the GOP's candidate for governor, above and partially slipped between the a and first n of his name on the campaign banners is our very own Keystone State -- in red. (A hideous concept to conjure with.)

(An aside, it occurs to me that the GOP embracing red means that the rest of us can resurrect all those old feelings we had through most of the Cold War when red = Communism. They've handily swapped out one Evil Empire for another. We probably should thank them.)

The blatant use of the color red, and the over the top usage of it in the little dedication speech at the bottom, is reinforced by the only spot in the piece where they use the color blue -- a color that from the past two national elections has become synonymous with the Democratic Party as we looked at the national maps to see where fools, fraud and Dieboldt stole some key elections -- when they advise those "...who couldn't care less to hit the delete button."

It's amazingly juvenile and obvious, but experience continues to show that millions of americans are taken in by such ploys. So, I'm spotlighting this abomination -- this attempt to build their party on lies and the corpses of our fallen men and women in the armed forces -- in the hopes that you'll pass it on and watch for this and similarly scurrilous items in the the In folders of your family, friends and co-workers. Point it out to them and be sure they have an opportunity to get angry at this offensive, galling tactic.

The wretched rest of this post is their work, not mine:

I'm passing this on from a friend.

Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together. After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who'd been invited to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.

No, he responded.

Heading out I asked?

No. I'm escorting a soldier home.

Going to pick him up?

No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq I'm taking him home to his family.

The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn't know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier's family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days. I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, Thank you. Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do.

Upon landing in Chicago the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will then turn off the seat belt sign."

Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that I am proud to be an American.
So here's a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you do so we can live the way we do.

Red Fridays.

Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority." We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or overbearing.

Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -- and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that ... every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar, will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and family, it will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can
we do to make things better for you?" is ..."We needyour support and your prayers." Let's get the word outand lead with class and dignity, by example, and wearsomething red every Friday.




Read more?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A little attention... due for Hail Dubyus!, which handily hits the issues both with a political cartoon and comments linking to news stories.

From pegging softball interviews and party line "news" programs, to the "compromise" on torture and detainee rights and who it's really intended to protect, he does a nice job of spotlighting and encapsulating the issues.

Read more?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Unlucky Sevens

Health insurance costs rise 7.7%, twice the rate of inflation. More signs of another disastrously failed direction the nation's been taken in by the Bush administration.

Citizens should have health coverage, including precription plans, as part of being a citizen. Pitting workers against their employers and tying specific employment to specific plans is a recipe for disaster that's already poisoning millions.

The "health savings account" plans this vile administration has pushed, and turn people into "savvy consumers" of healthcare are at worst a cynical sham and at best ignorance on the part of a ruling class that rivals "let them eat cake." It's so much like the economic policies where they convince the simple-minded that they're their friends by saying "It's your money" when what they're really saying is "we got ours, you have to fend for yourselves."

Telling people that they're being given opportunities to buy the kind of healthcare they need ignores the simple fact that the vast majority of the people in this naion cannot reasonably afford the healthcare they need.

We cannot afford this trend to continue. This is not the path of a civilized nation, not the demeanor of a civilized government to its citizens. This is how a haughty elite treats those it sees as beneath it.

We need new leadership. We need a new plan. We need a government that exists for the betterment of its citizens. Not one that sees us as grist for the mill, beasts of burden, or simply as a burden.

If HMOs work, then a single-payer plan - the government - can assume the role currently taken by hundreds of thousands of businesses across the nation. Monies will still come in from businesses and in taxes from us, and we may have to pay a little more in taxes up front, but it can be done. It must be done.

The next time you hear someone say "socialized medicine" as if it were the name of the boogeyman or something to be spat out and reviled, be aware that you're most likely hearing someone who's been brainwashed by the repetitious liars serving a ruling elite, or are perhaps even members of that elite themselves.

Read more?

Gas Prices Manipulated
To Aid GOP
Power-Holding Bid?

Some food for thought, supporting the suspicions many of us have concerning a political agenda behind the sudden drop in oil prices being suspiciously timed as part of an attempt to make potential voters less angry about their circumstance and feel more secure in how their world is being run. (Full text below.)


LE METROPOLE CAFÉ - In yesterday's WSJ in Section C there is a very,very interesting item in the article, Some Investors Lose Their Zest ForCommodities. The article notes that over that past few months, commodityfunds have been liquidating commodity holdings. But here's the stunner:
"Consider the Goldman Sachs commodity index, one of the most popular vehicles for betting on raw materials. In July, Goldman Sachs tweaked the index's content by cutting its exposure to gasoline. Investors tracking the index had to adjust their portfolios accordingly – which sent gasoline futures prices tumbling."
Prior to Goldman's July GSCI revision, unleaded gas accounted for 8.45%of the GSCI. Now unleaded gas is only 2.30%. This means commodity fundshad to sell 73% of its gasoline futures to conform to the reformulatedGSCI. . .

Here we have Goldman, qua keeper of the commodities index, manipulating
markets simply by adjusting index components. It is noteworthy inseveral respects.

First, we are used to the notion of them front running
market sensitive information announced by third parties, but here aglorified hedge fund - albeit one dominating central banks and financeministries worldwide - maintains market-moving indices itself. . . .

Second, it lends credence to the theory that the current well-publicizedcommodities decline is just a well-timed, well-orchestrated head fake tobenefit the incumbents in the run up to the midterm elections - someonenoted recently that Bush's ratings vary inversely with gas prices...

The suspicion's been with me since at least September 7th, so it was interesting to me to see some buttressing of the argument.

Read more?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Choose Your Own Report
By G.W.B. as told through John Negroponte

Ooo, an "angry" President Bush declared he'd have portions of the National Intelligence Estimate report declassified and released so as to stop all the speculation and all attempts " confuse the American people about the nature of this enemy."

So, not wanting to have us "confused" in the wrong direction, he's having his Director of National Security "declassify the report's kepy findings." Well. There you go. (Updated)

All this happened during a meeting with (U.S. puppet strongman) Afghan President Hamid Karzai, or, rather, the press conference afterwards.

Addition: Here's a link to the "key judgements" currently published on the dni site.

The document's been apparently written since April, something that becomes suspiciously clear as one sees the sections talking about Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, both as a key target and danger.

Whose decision it was to determine which judgements were "key" in a report that took two years to compile is, of course, a key question.

As almost an aside, I can't be the only one to be repeatedly creeped out to see "The Homeland" referenced - much less multiple times - in print, can I? It's one of a variety of phrases I grew up hearing in movies and bad tv shows when some Soviet agent or nazi would invoke nationalistic sentiments.

Read more?

"Our tone should be crazed"

Last night, another excellent Must Read Special Comment from Ken Olbermann, this time over the Bush administration's failures and their and FOX News proxy attempts to blame the Clinton administration for 9/11. (Over on The Poor Man is the video of this speech. Thanks, Highlander, for pointing that out.)

If it weren't for the fact that so many weak-minded, almost by definition ill-informed people get their view of the world via the FOX News (sic) machine, what's been happening would be hilarious, albeit black, comedy.

Read more?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Be Sure

Election Day is November 7th. Register if you're not already, and help be sure others are registered, too. GoVote makes it easy.

If you're not sure if you're registered, look up your state's Department of State website; they should have some mechanism to allow you to check. It'll be a local county office or official.

As an example, here's ours in Pennsylvania... where I also see that October 10th is the cut-off for registration. Don't let November fool you by seeming so far off.

Be sure.

Read more?

So, Which Was It, Gentlemen?

Always to be counted on, Thom Hartmann's brought an interesting historical perspective to the recent cave-in to the Bush Admninistration by Senators John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham in their abandonment of a defense of habeas corpus.

...and ultimately finds himself wondering if they were threatened with something or simply have been submerged in the political mire for so long that they lack integrity.

Either way, Thomas Jefferson would be ashamed or at least appalled.

Read more?

Oh, And Rummy? The Military's Talking Again
(and Oh, a related update)

...and they don't have a great deal positive to say about how Iraq's been handled.

But, hey, Rummy! Kentucky's Senator Mitch McConnell thinks you're the cat's pajamas, so who cares what actual military commanders who served in the region have to say?

And, oh... the current Army chief of staff needs billions more to continue doing what's already underway.

Read more?

Hey, George! God On Line Two

So, I see that G.W.'s own church is urging a pull-out of US troops from Iraq.
Jim Winkler, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, said that protesting the war is similar to the church's work to promote other social movements. The church took prophetic positions on civil rights, women's rights and nuclear disarmament before Congress acted, he noted.

"It has taken time for Congress to catch up," Winkler said. "We may be seeing another example of that."

Read more?

Where We Are

Not time for much else this Monday morning, so I thought I'd post a few markers to help us see where we are, looking back and ahead, briefly.

This weekend brought us news that by Friday of last week the total number of US military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan had matched the lives lost in the 9/11 attacks: 2,973. Not that we want to tie the two so closely, since Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or any terrorist threat to the U.S., but considering that it was repeatedly used as the rallying point it's not something we can dismiss.

I'm discouraged that despite many strong and serious reservations there's little to no sign of a fight coming from any Democrat over the sham "compromise" deal reached last week, wherein the White House still got what it wanted (a continued license to engage in torture) while the GOP got to play human rights advocates via a small group of Republican resistors headed by Senator John McCain.
"It only takes 30 seconds or so to see that the Senators have capitulated entirely, that the U.S. will hereafter violate the Geneva Conventions... and that there will be very little pretense about it," according to Marty Lederman, an international law professor at Georgetown University School of Law, who suggested that the White House had gotten the better of the rebels.

Please keep in mind that deals of this type are part of an ongoing effort to retroactively save the skins of Bush and other top administration officials by retroactively decriminalizing activities that could, currently, see them up for prosecution.

Meanwhile, we're closing in on the mid-term elections and for a variety of reasons even some Republicans are becoming wary of electronic voting machines. Maybe a select few of them are justifiably afraid. A gambler who's gained from loaded dice is going to be more prone to worry in the future about others discovering the trick and using it to their advantage. Machines without a paper trail - including a viewing window so a voter can see how his or her vote was recorded - should not be in use anywhere.

Read more?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

And this is a surprise to... who?

Okay, old news by this evening, but then again the conclusion of the report was old news to anyone who'd been following reality: A classified intelligence report concludes that the Iraq War has worsened the terrorist threat to the United States.

The matter's covered in more detail at Daily KOS, and the election implications and political reaction is looked over on Common Dreams.

Read more?

Tyger, Tyger...

I'm going to join Mark Gibson in promoting a piece by Peter B. Gillis on the nature of the "appeasement" propaganda the Bush administration is handing us in this run-up to war with Iran. Nicely stated.

It's definitely worth spreading around.

Read more?

In the Near Future...

A look at a world that might not be too far off?

But, boy, won't this protect us from The Terrorists!

Some days I can almost understand part of what drove Ted Kaczynski.

Read more?

Saturday, September 23, 2006


While I don't expect I'll be taking on a greater focus as a political hack - there are so many others who do a much more thorough job of it, I'll likely just take this as an opportunity to focus more attention on those worthies.

Primarily I decided that political posts were being ignored in such a catch-all blog as my main one (Miraclo Miles), which is generally more of a pop culture, comics, Heroclix, etc. affair. Worst case, this will sit here neglected.

Read more?