Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Google Cyber-attacked From Vietnam, China Had More Executions Than Texas

Thomas Friedman
Howard Fineman


"Republican donors aren't happy about this. It's not fair that rich Republicans spend huge amounts of money at sex clubs and poor Republicans have to go to airport bathrooms." –Craig Ferguson

The Daily Beast has tallied the score to see which political party had the more sex scandals. Unfortunately, the numbers don't have the sordid details that we like, and send people flocking to buy magazines like the national Inquirer at the supermarket check-out lines.

"After studying the 58 scandals over the past 20 years involving all politicians or major candidates for city mayor and above—many involved crimes, others just allegations, but all wound up as tabloid fodder—some conclusions can be reached.
• The number sex scandals has increased dramatically over the past few decades, thanks to technology, new press standards and a post-Clinton belief that everything is fair game.
• Republicans have more scandals (32 to 26), but Democrats have bigger ones, based on our methodology (13 out of the top 20).
• Democrats tend to have more problems with harassment, staffers and underage girls; Republicans tend to have more problems with prostitutes, hypocrisy and underage boys."


It's not that there have been so many scandals, we know how those who seek out power and use it end up being corrupted by it. Add to the numbers all of the other scandals involving abuse of power, and we can see that there are very few responsible among us. We need to have a national debate on how to reform our Congressional system so that we can make it more play-safe and child-friendly. Because with the male species, we never grow-up emotionally past five years old, and that's why we will always succumb to shiny objects and the allure of women's breasts. Throw in a bottle and a comfy blanket, and you will have one satisfied Congressman...

David Letterman's Top Ten Republican National Committee Excuses

10. 'We're fat, dumb, rich guys, nuff said?'
9. 'Thought 'SM' door was Sen. McCain's office'
8. 'It wasn't a sex club, just a regular club where grown men tickle each other'
7. 'Scott Brown raved about the place'
6. 'The Sheraton's meeting rooms were already booked'
5. 'I'm sorry, Ricky Martin is gay?'
4. 'Abraham Lincoln routinely spent $2,000 a night in sex clubs'
3. 'We're fat, dumb, rich guys, nuff said?'
2. 'If we can't spend donor money at a sex club, the terrorists have won'
1. 'Research for pending legislation 'No Stripper Left Behind''


cyberwars...
It's been a busy couple of months for computer security analysts. The folks working at Google have had a time of it, having their email clients attacked by mysterious forces inside of China, leading to an argument with the Chinese government over them and the extent of censorship the government wants imposed on its users. Google withdrew its servers and put them in Hong Kong, and the government tried to limit access to them even more.

Now, it seems that the next victims are the email clients of Yahoo.: "In what appeared to be a coordinated assault, the e-mail accounts of more than a dozen rights advocates, academics and journalists who cover China have been compromised by unknown intruders. A Chinese human rights organization also said that hackers had disabled its Web site for five days in a row.


The infiltrations, which involved Yahoo e-mail accounts, appeared to be aimed at people who write about China and Taiwan, rendering their accounts inaccessible, according to those who were affected. In the case of this reporter, hackers altered e-mail settings so that all correspondence was surreptitiously forwarded to another e-mail address... The victims of the most recent intrusions included a law professor in the United States, a Uighur exile in Sweden, an analyst who writes about China’s security apparatus and several print journalists based in Beijing and Taipei."
“I’m 100 percent I’ve been hacked. I’m angry at the Chinese, but I blame Yahoo for allowing this to happen.”
Yahoo has about the worst customer service, they are arrogant and rude and hardly ever reply to you directly. If you are going to use a free email account from a large company like Yahoo or Microsoft or Google, don't use it for anything that you consider sensitive. Never use it for business.

And if headaches with China isn't enough for Google, it just had some more attacks aimed at all of its Vietnamese users, that seem politically motivated against critics of the Vietnamese government: "In attacks it described as similar to but less sophisticated than those at the core of its spat with China, Google said malicious software was used to infect “potentially tens of thousands of computers,” broadly targeting Vietnamese speaking computer users around the world.


Infected machines had been used to spy on their owners and to attack blogs containing messages of political dissent, wrote Neel Mehta of the company’s security team in a post late Tuesday on Google’s online security blog."

If you want to see what is daily being offered by Google and what is being blocked, Google has set up a web page which you can link to here.

All of this activity means that it will be a long, hot summer this year. It used to be that summer was hacking season, when all of the teenage boys were out of school and spent long, boring hours in front of their computers, from rural Michigan to New Delhi, India. With governments getting involved in promoting malicious behavior, the sheer volume of hackers trying to attack security networks may be overwhelming to our current systems, and we will see some pretty impressive crashes before Fall...


china at top of execution list...
Another feather that China can add to its cap, is that it has topped Amnesty International's list of countries that have carried out the most executions this last year. "Methods of execution included beheading, stoning, electrocution, hanging, firing squads and lethal injection." china topped the list, followed by Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the state of Texas.

China, of course, disputed the fact, but the number they execute is kept as a state secret. “The Chinese authorities claim that fewer executions are taking place,” said Claudio Cordone, Amnesty’s interim secretary general. “If this is true, why won’t they tell the world how many people the state put to death?”

The US can be proud of the fact that it alone, is the only country in the Americas that has executed anybody last year. That includes all of the small countries and islands that you love to hate, they behaved in a more civilized fashion. "Amnesty, which has long opposed the death penalty, said death sentences and executions continued to be used for political purposes, often after unfair trials, and were used “disproportionately against the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic and religious communities.” Perhaps it would be a blessing for us to let Texas secede from the US...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Militias - R - Us

Meghan McCain
Christopher Buckley
Eugene Robinson
Dana Milbank

"The most serious threat of domestic terrorism has come from the growing ranks of paranoid, anti-government hate groups that draw their inspiration, vocabulary and anger from the far right." - Eugene Robinson

I updated the link to David Frum's blog, which had changed from The New Majority to the Frum Forum. I find that former conservatives who have become moderates like David, Christopher Buckley, Bruce Barylett, and Meghan McCain are more fun to read, they have a sense of humor, and almost all of them were fired from their jobs in retaliation for expressing criticism of their conservative friends. In Chris Buckley's opinion piece we get a twofer, with him writing about the firing of David Frum.

Which one looks like a federal agent?

Back in the 1970's a popular recreation when among friends was to partake some LSD and to read the Bible. A few had spiritual conversions and joined churches where having visions and talking in tongues were a regular part of Sunday service. Those churches are still here today, having gone mainstream, with larger congregations, and different content that is preached.


Ed Sanders relates another tidbit about one of the New York freaks who had their life altered by LSD. "Over at the Psychedelicatessen they kept a chalk board with a running tally of customers who had come in announcing they were Jesus. It was up to sixty-five. This guy was one of them... at the time we all felt sorry for J - so lost, so eery, so utterly insane, wxcept that now, going on to forty years later, he owns his own Bible college in the South, and his revivals on cable TV pull in hundreds of millions of dollars each year."


Stepping into this great tradition of mixing drugs with religion, often with twisted and bizarre results, come the Hutaree, which is a made up name given the meaning of God's Warriors. Because it sounds so obvious, the founder of the Hutaree must have had a flashback to watching F Troop when he has a kid. Hutaree sounds too much like Fukawee, the Indian tribe on the series. Shows like F Troop and Get Smart were produced during a time when each network had their own censor, and each script had to be approved that it didn't contain anything sexual or obscene. It became a game that the comedy writers tried to put jokes in the scripts that went over the heads of the often illiterate censors. The Fukawee was the best joke, because it was used over and over during the life of the show.

Picture the two main heroes of the show, Union soldiers stationed in Indian territory, and they are out doing some reconnaissance. They are huddled down among some large rocks on a hillside, one is looking through binoculars. "I don't see them anywhere," he says. Suddenly, the other one stiffens, as if he senses something. "I think we may be surrounded," he says. "What? Fukawee? Where the Fukawee?" the first soldier would exclaim.

So the alliteration from a TV show watched when he was a kid became transformed into a made-up word that David Stone says means God's Warrior. Mix in alcohol and god knows what tainted drugs, and you begin to perceive the world of today's amateur militias. Further mix in a fervent, evangelical spirit, and you get on like the Hutaree, with their bizarre interpretations of the Bible. We're not dealing with scholarly interpretations here, more on the level of comic books and one's limited imaginings.

The Feds arrested nine members of the Hutaree: "... the Justice Department said they were part of a group of apocalyptic Christian militants who were plotting to kill law enforcement officers in hopes of inciting an antigovernment uprising, the latest in a recent surge in right-wing militia activity.


The court filing said the group, which called itself the Hutaree, planned to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer and then bomb the funeral caravan using improvised explosive devices based on designs used against American troops by insurgents in Iraq."
“The F.B.I. takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States.” - the FBI
“In Michigan, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to be in a militia,” - A Neighbor.
Of course, this brings up the paranoia of another Waco, where government forces surrounded and burnt down the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, prompting rallying cries of "fascist government takeovers" that has echoed through every fringe right wing evangelical group since, including our present day tea party rallies. Attention should also be focused that local militias and hate groups have been on an exponential rise over the last couple of years, and many of them spurred on by the fact that we have elected a Black man as President.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, who tracks such groups, Colorado has 17 radical groups:
        Name                                                 Type                                            

Aryan Nations Revival                          Christian Identity                  

Creativity Movement                            Neo-Nazi                              

Family Research Institute                     Anti-Gay                                

Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints        General Hate                          

Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints        General Hate                          

Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints        General Hate                        

Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints        General Hate                        
Knights of the Nordic Order                Neo-Nazi

MSR Productions                                Racist Music                          

Nation of Islam                                   Black Separatist                      

National Knights of the                                                                    
 Ku Klux Klan

National Socialist Movement              Neo-Nazi                                  

Nationalist Coalition                           Neo-Nazi                                

New Century Productions -               White Nationalist                        
Racist Music

Rescue Without Borders                   Anti-Immigrant                        

Scriptures for America                      Christian Identity                    
Ministries

United Northern and Southern                                                        
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

"I want to just take a moment to thank the Teabaggers. Thank you so much for helping us pass health care, for resurrecting the Obama presidency. I know they're saying, 'Why are you thanking me? I was so against it, I marched on Washington with tea bags hanging off my Founding Fathers costume, with a gun on my hip and a picture of Obama dressed as Hitler, screaming about his birth certificate.' And America saw that and said, 'I think I'll go with the calm black man.'" –Bill Maher

As long as our economy remains as bad as it and people are still being laid off from their jobs (my brother-in-law's work laid off 41 people two days ago), folks are going to turn away from the government and towards alternative groups. Because we have been involved in wars for the past nine years and our military has grown, the fascination with guns will continue, and violent outbursts will only escalate. Who loses the most, besides those figure who will get shot at, will be our children, and in a few years they will pass judgement on us. Personally, I hoped to be judged lightly, but who knows? I promised to take one grand-daughter shooting and teach her how to use a gun, but I never did. Did I prevent the next Columbine-type incident, or have I become a pacifist in my old-age, who couldn't see the target, much less kill it...

Monday, March 29, 2010

RNC Voyeurism, Divesting Israeli Arms Maker, The Democracy-Builder Who Loved Me

Paul Krugman
Clarence Page
Michael Hastings




A few days ago I wrote about some of the strange perversions that conservatives use to become sexually aroused, things I could never make up if I was drunk, stoned, and tied to a bed on a Saturday night. Today there are financial reports from the Republican National Committee on the excesses of Chairman Michael Steele. Although he is claiming that it really is some other staffer who enjoys watching lesbian bondage an awful lot, it appears that the new must-have gear that one needs to hike along the Appalachian Trail are a pair of fur-lined handcuffs... From the Daily Beast: "More information please: Under chairman Michael Steele, the RNC spent $1,946.25 at Voyeur West Hollywood, “a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex,” says The Daily Caller. The RNC denies that Steele himself visited the club, saying that it was "a reimbursement made to a non-committee staffer." The RNC is also investigating the claim. It’s just one of several lavish expenses that the RNC has incurred under Steele. Others include a $43,828 trip to Hawaii, $17,514 on private jets in February alone, and stays at other hotels like the W, the Venetian, and the Four Seasons." If you could fly in private jets and stay in expensive hotels on someone else's dime, wouldn't you also take advantage? After all, affluent appearances must be kept up...


I remember back in the '60's when we were encouraged not to buy Gallo wine because of their position regarding the farmworker's union of Cesar Chavez. To this day I haven't bought another bottle, even though they since have improved their image and the quality of their wine. Then, students tried to get their universities not to invest in companies that did business with aparteid South Africa. Lately, we are trying to install sanctions on businesses that support Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Now, it looks like Norway and Sweden are boycotting an Israeli arms maker that also makes drones: "The biggest Swedish pension fund said Monday it had barred Israeli arms maker Elbit Systems from its investment portfolios on ethical grounds. Following the lead of Norway's state pension fund, Foersta AP-Fonden said it had banned investment in Elbit because it had built and was operating a surveillance system for a controversial barrier between Israel and the West Bank. Israel says the barrier -- a network of walls, fences and closed military roads -- is designed to prevent attacks. The Palestinians view it as an "apartheid wall" that carves off key parts of their future state." Drones are used to patrol along the barrier, I don't know if they have armaments installed or just use cameras. Yahoo is among the American companies that has expressed their concern to Elbit. I guess we will have to wait awhile until Microsoft gains a conscience or Google does something dramatic...



There was this article in the NY Times about if there is a future investing in Cuba, that had a really cool picture of a man driving a 1952 Cadillac along the malecon: "Although Cuba remains closed to American investment, dreamers in both countries are actively considering the money-making possibilities that the island might offer once the half-century-old travel and trade embargoes imposed by the United States become policies of the past."

The article touts that companies like McDonald's or Coca Cola would have no trouble setting up shop, but Americans would have to have an attitude adjustment: "... banish certain words from their minds — Bay of Pigs, dissidents, Elián González, hijackers and socialism, for instance — and to focus on the fact that the Cuban government had already joined more than 200 joint ventures with foreign corporations, none of them American." But currently, US officials cannot overlook the case of: "jailing an American government contractor, Alan P. Gross, whom the Cubans accuse of espionage but the State Department says was engaged in democracy-building."


Oh, this poor, innocent man, snapped up by the Cuban police for the crime of "democracy-building." So that's what we are calling it these days. He wasn't spying, no, he wasn't engaged in espionage, because that has such a negative connotation, and must be politically incorrect. I wonder if that is one of the progressive changes that Leon Panetta has instituted at the CIA, along with hiring more mercenary groups. Soon we will eradicate the word from our dictionaries, replaced by this more modern phrase that has less negative impact on our foreign neighbors. Perhaps there will be The Democracy Building Awards on MTV, or a rash of new campus groups The Young Democracy Builders. Sadly, we may have to go back and change the titles of some best-loved books and movies, for example, Ian Fleming's The Democracy-Builder Who Loved Me. or Anais Nin's A Democracy Builder in the House of Love... happy reading, oh politically correct ones...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Imelda Marcos is Baaack! Obama in Karzailand, Sending Rush to Venezuela

Frank Rich
Peter Yanev
Vanda Felbab-Brown
"Well, as you know, health care reform was passed by the House last night. Supporters of the bill say the American people now get the same health benefits members of Congress get, which is great. See, if we can just get some of those other perks — the free travel, the envelopes with the cash in them, the get-out-of-jail-free cards — oh, all of that could be great." –Jay Leno

"You know, not a single Republican voted for the health care bill. They claim the U.S. government isn't qualified to be in the health care business. Hey, kept Dick Cheney alive the last 30 years. It's got to be worth something." –Jay Leno

"Do you know who's going to be in charge of health care? The IRS No, this is true. The IRS will be in charge of enforcing the new health care laws. You thought you hated getting audited by the government? Wait until they're in charge of your prostate exam, O.K.?" –Jay Leno

"And before the vote, protesters on Capitol Hill heckled Nancy Pelosi. But she managed to keep a stiff upper lip, as well as a tightly stretched forehead, and an unnaturally arched eyebrow." –Jay Leno



If you like stories of blatant, in-your-face political corruption, shady characters, plot twists to rival Shakespeare, class struggles, conspiracy theories that go beyond bizarre and are all too true, then following the upcoming elections in the Philippines is for you. Probably the weirdest candidate is the entry of Imelda Marcos to the Presidential ring. Her sole platform is that if she wins, she will have her husband's body transferred to the national military hero's cemetery. Her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, was President back in the 1970's and '80's, was ousted for his corruption and had to leave the country, and ended up in Hawaii where he died in 1986. Imelda became a national symbol for conspicuous consumption in the face of poverty and unrest when it was revealed that she had a shoe collection of several hundreds. She was the Evita of the Philippines, don't cry for me, Manila... Some supporters of Marcos were thought to have developed the derivative drug "ice" and to have introduced it to the American public. From Foreign Policy: "Between the ongoing clan violence in Mindanao, a rumored coup plot, the meddling of disgraced former President Joseph Estrada, and boxer Manny Pacquiao's first foray into the political ring, there are almost too many subplots to keep track of in the Philippines' fascinating upcoming elections. The latest is the return of former first lady and footwear enthusiast Imelda Marcos to the public eye. Marcos is running for congress for the sole purpose of burying her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, in a "heroes' cemetery" Imelda makes Sarah Palin seem well read and intelligent, yet she has bounced back into the political spotlight more times than Richard Nixon reinvented himself. After the intensity of our year long health care debate, this upcoming election is candy to delight the mind and sweeten our thoughts in time for Spring...


I'm a little upset, I thought this story wouldn't be reported until tomorrow, but every news website has it as their major story...

Some folks take a break after a big win by going to Disneyland, Barack Obama went to the next best thing. Taking a break after an intensely fought health care win, and a new nuclear treaty with Russia, President Obama went to Afghanistan unannounced and schmoozed with Hamid Karzai. His goals were: "First and foremost was [determining] exactly what effort is being made by President Karzai - as he promised on his second inauguration last year - to make sure that corruption is being fought," he said. Also, [Obama was] to find out how the fight against the drug-growing industry here in Afghanistan is going. And of course, the corruption that comes with it.


He was also to use the trip to meet with US troops before heading back to Washington. There are some 120,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan and that is set to rise to nearly 150,000 by the end of this year as Washington sends in more troops as part of a new strategy to try and quell the mounting violence." This was to give some support for Karzai, to buck up his ego, and to give some tough love. Karzai is now essential to the Afghans successfully taking over the tasks that US and NATO forces are currently doing. Pakistani and Saudis are performing most of the diplomatic work to the Taliban groups, and the Karzai government has to appear strong, popular, competent, and honest, all new roles for an Asian government to perform. It's possible that Obama scored one of those cool custom made hats that Karzai has especially made for him...

I thought that the flap in Honduras was over with a new election, but evidently there are still a lot of people who felt that Manuel Zelaya got an unfair shake, especially since what  he was proposing, to allow more than one term for the President, was not worth such a vehement reaction from the military. It was a lot of political theater and grandstanding by the more conservative elements in the government.

Now, members of the Honduran Parliament are debating over allowing Zelaya a seat alongside the newly elected President. Guess this means that Honduras will get another visit in solidarity from some conservative Congressmen, maybe even our own Doug Lamborn will go back and shower them with mediocrity...

Who knows, Hillary hasn't had a chance to rest much this year, so we need to find another high profile person, maybe we could send treasonous Oliver North on down to take a look at the situation. After all, he made so many friends the last time he was in Central America... heck, maybe he could resolve our Iran problem while he is at it...

I say we need to start using our dissident voices to work for us and begin by putting our AM radio hosts to better use. They should all be drafted and sent to places where they can best influence a population. Just think, we could send Glenn Beck to talk with the Taliban since he is so good with a chalkboard, and maybe send Rush to other places in South America, once he gets settled in Costa Rico. Perhaps he would go to Columbia and Venezuela, where they could use his influence, then, who knows, he could take Google back to China...

Here is a fun game. When you find words like "Democrats," or "America," or "Obama," in a quote from Rush Limbaugh, substitute it with the party, country, and despot of your choice. For example, if we sent Rush to Venezuela to talk insurrection about Hugo Chavez, we could alter these lines from his Friday's show to show how effective he would be:


"The real death threat is this legislation. The Plutocrats have aroused a majority of people in this country with their bill and their lawless attempt to pass it."


"When is the last time you can recall a bunch of conservatives having a riot, disrupting a congressional hearing, or coming out with books and movies on how to assassinate a president?"


"The simple fact of the matter is that the kind of behavior these people are running around scared to death of and accusing people of, they are the authors of this kind of behavior. These are the people that wrote the book on how to do this."


"There is genuine anger. A lot of Venezuelans, Mr. Chavez, think you're destroying the country, and you're smiling while you go about it."


"Every time we disagree with these people we have to hear how we're racists, sexists, bigots, homophobes, and all the rest. Is that not hate speech, especially when it's lies? The left is the architect, the author of hate speech."


"Do you remember when everybody in the media was just ripping George Bush to pieces 'cause gasoline got to three bucks a gallon? Well, it's there again. Gas prices up a dollar a gallon since Hugo Chavez was immaculated, and they are expected to go over three dollars a gallon during the summer driving season."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

al-Maliki the Hustler, End of Peace Talks, Colorado AG Also Tries to Revive Dead Possum

Charles Blow
Bob Herbert
Peter Lauria
“Let’s not beat around the bush, everybody here supporting John McCain, we are all part of that Tea Party movement.” - Sarah Palin
"McCain also said that there will be no cooperation from Republicans for the rest of the year. So that should be good for the country." – Jimmy Kimmel
"New Rule: You Can't Threaten "No Cooperation for the Rest of the Year" If There Was No Cooperation in the First Half of the Year" - Bill Maher


Ex-Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al Maliki is like some old time pinball hustler, leaning on the machine trying not to make it tilt yet come out in his favor, the way that he is manipulating the outcome of the election: "On Thursday, a day before the results were announced, he quietly persuaded the Iraqi supreme court to issue a ruling that potentially allows him to choose the new government instead of awarding that right to the winner of the election, the former interim prime minister Ayad Allawi.


On another front, officials in charge of purging the government of former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party said Saturday that they still expected to disqualify more than 50 political candidates, many of them members of Mr. Allawi’s Iraqiya Party. That could strip Mr. Allawi of his plurality, 91 parliamentary seats compared with 89 for Mr. Maliki’s State of Law party.


And if all that does not work, the prime minister still is clamoring for a recount, and he said he planned to file a legal appeal even though the United Nations, the elections commission and international observers have declared the election valid. Ultimately, the same Supreme Federal Court, which is nominally independent but has proved friendly to Mr. Maliki in the past, will decide the recount issue."
“They’re still going to take advantage of all the means at their disposal to eke out a victory. They’re all politicians.” - Gary Grappo, US Embassy
Probably the best possible scenario will happen if Ayad Allawi is able to form a government. He is less favorably aligned with Iran, and less willing to take sides in a religious dispute, seen by the Sunnis as having a fair and balanced attitude instead of the puppet of the US. It will be about two weeks before the election commission investigates all complaints and issues a formal result. The purpose of negotiating with other parties who won seats is to come up with the majority of the 325 parliament seats. Allawi won't negotiate with Maliki's party, he is critical of Maliki's policies, so if Allawi forms a government it means that the current Prime Minister has to take an aisle seat.

One thing that was troubling to me was the threat from al Maliki that he must be the one to win if there was to be stability. It was a threat of civil war, but I wonder if his party hasn't been using bombings as a political tool, like the one that killed 41 people yesterday. The party that can be the kingmaker here is the religious party loyal to Moktada al Sadr, who is in Iran studying to become an ayatollah. He is vehemently against the US, and he may eventually try to run for Prime Minister so that he could rule in similar fashion to the Ayatollah Khamenei does in Iran, except he would also combine the role that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plays as well, becoming a double-edged threat. If Ayad Allawi is successful, then Iraq may have its greatest chance at building a lasting tradition, with greater peace and stability among the warring factions. The US can bring its troops home with more confidence, and Iraq will be able to build lasting ties in the region, even influencing its neighbor Iran, ending those pesky suicide bomb attacks...


end of indirect peace talks...
Israel's extreme right wingers are doing their best to isolate Israel better than any Muslim country has been able to do. Not only have they embarrassed and pissed off the US, but now Great Brtain has expelled the top London Mossad agent over the flap that the Mossad used the forged passports of British citizens in an assassination in Dubai.

The cries of contempt from right of center media is predictable: "A right-wing Israeli Member of Parliament reached into strangely Maoist terminology, and called the British "dogs".
A commentator in a right-of-centre newspaper argued that "millions of Muslims live in Britain, and Gordon Brown needs their votes in the upcoming elections".
At the other end of Israel's brightly coloured political spectrum, a resident of one of the country's most stalwartly socialist kibbutzim, or rural collectives, e-mailed me to say that "if Israel was directly or indirectly involved in the Dubai incident then there's no limit, apparently, to the arrogance and stupidity of this regime/administration". Sounds a lot like the criticisms leveled at the Bush administration when they exhibited their right of center pig-headishness, sans lipstick.

With Netanyahu's declaration that East Jerusalem was never part of any bargain and they can do what they want and fuck you, USA, it has given the Palestinian Authority the opening it wanted to squeak out of even indirect peace talks, announcing today that it will wait until Israel stops building in contested areas before sitting down and talking to them. So we're back to square one, which is for the diplomats to make their rounds again, trying to soothe nerves and make bribes to get the process started again sometime in the future... Evidently, we are missing the main point in this, that: "... the rest of the world doesn't quite get it - that Israel is the only homeland the Jews have, that it's small and that it's trying to survive in a hostile neighborhood. It's that feeling which fuels the declamation "Jerusalem is not a settlement", repeated this week in Washington by Benjamin Netanyahu - and that the Israeli government will carry on building in the city wherever it chooses, even if that means the occupied territory of East Jerusalem, amid growing American displeasure." But, we get it, it's just that it's the same old bullshit excuse we've heard for over 30 years and it doesn't hold up well anymore. It's time to afford all people living in Israel the same rights and dignity, even to the ones of different faiths who were there before you. I was so hoping that this process would have gone forward and that the problem would have ended within the next few years. It would be nice to have a little peace and prosperity in this region instead of the mess that there is. Will we have to wait until Mr Netanyahu gets voted out and someone more moderate replaces him, then wait until the Palestinians replace Abbas in an election for someone less corrupt? It's a losing bet hoping that both will happen anytime soon...

playing opossum...
Here's my favorite silly news story today, courtesy from the state of Pennsylvania, courtesy of the Denver Post: "PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Police say they charged a Pennsylvania man with public drunkenness after he was seen trying to resuscitate a long-dead opossum along a highway. State Trooper Jamie Levier said several witnesses saw Donald Wolfe, 55, of Brookville near the animal Thursday along Route 36 in Oliver Township, about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh." Ahh, the images that are brought to mind...

It seems that the Republican Attorney General of Colorado has also drunkenly jumped on the band wagon along with 12 other AG's suing the federal government over the health care reform bill. This has prompted our Governor, Bill Ritter, to send a letter to the federal AG's office apologizing and saying that his office does not support such actions. What Bill should have done, was to let our AG join in but not with any money from the state of Colorado. If he wants to use his own salary to fund such a request as an individual, fine. Personally, I don't believe in attacking windmills or reviving dead possums...




late night political jokes:

"According to Men's Health magazine, 21 percent of men surveyed would rather have a sexier nurse than a more competent doctor when they're in the hospital. I say, why not have both? The government's paying for it now. Who cares?" –Jay Leno

"Sarah Palin spoke out this week against the health care reform bill, saying, 'Elections have consequences.' Well, of course, elections have consequences. That's why right now, instead of being vice president of the United States, she's trying to get a reality show on the Animal Planet." –Jay Leno

"They're now looking into whether cosmic rays from outer space could be responsible for causing Priuses to accelerate. What, is Toyota blaming Klingons now?" –Jay Leno

"Here's something amazing: A North Carolina jury, this week, awarded $9 million to a jilted wife, from the other woman. The other woman has to pay $9 million to the wife for breaking up her marriage. Wait, do you realize how historic this is? Guys, for the first time in history, women are agreeing it's not the guy's fault. It's her fault! This is what men have been saying for years. Poor John Edwards. He was tricked." –Jay Leno

"Well, today, President Obama signed the landmark health care reform bill into law, or as President Obama refers to it, 'The Rush Limbaugh Deportation Act.'" –Jay Leno

"President Obama, boy, he's feeling like a Toyota driver today. There's no stopping him." –Jay Leno

"I'll tell you how excited the president is. Today, he changed his slogan from 'Yes, we can,' to 'Yes, we finally did something.'" –Jay Leno

"Of course, the White House is now denying it made any side deals with members of Congress to pass this bill. See, I don't know if that's true. Did you see Mount Rushmore today? They're adding Dennis Kucinich's face to it." –Jay Leno

"Of course, this all couldn't have been done without the help of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. And today, the president thanked her for her unblinking support." –Jay Leno

"Actually, Nancy Pelosi used the Internet to help gain support for this. She reached out to people on her favorite social networking site, Icantmovemyfacebook.com." –Jay Leno

"And to help sell this plan to the American people, President Obama said it's the same plan Congress has. See, I think that's a mistake. I think that's why a lot of people opposed it. Have you seen members of Congress? Do they look healthy to you? Anybody here want to be as fat as Barney Frank? Huh? You want to be as orange as John Boehner? I don't think so." –Jay Leno

"And of course, a lot of right wingers are very upset about this because they believe this health care bill will cost a lot of money. You know what I think? Just pretend it's another unnecessary war. You'll feel better about it already." –Jay Leno

"And over the weekend, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants rallied across the country demanding a path to citizenship. Don't we have a path to citizenship? It's called the San Diego Freeway." –Jay Leno

"And the Pentagon is changing Army basic training for the first time in 30 years to deal with the fact that so many new recruits are so overweight. In fact, the Army's new slogan, 'Don't ask, no seconds.'" –Jay Leno


"Oh, hey, are you ready for the 2010 census? It's going to be complicated this year. So the government should have patience. Here's part of the problem: Most Americans count as two." –David Letterman

"Have you filled out a census form? Here's the deal: 10 questions in 10 minutes. That's what they're saying. Coincidentally, that is how John McCain chose his running mate." –David Letterman

"You got to count everybody in your household for the census. Right now, Angelina Jolie is going through the place with one of those clickers." –David Letterman

"Jersey Shore' is premiering in 30 different countries this week. It will be shown in France, except in France it's called 'Another Reason to Hate America.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"James Cameron, who directed 'Avatar,' is in a feud with Glenn Beck, because Cameron called him a mad man. The two are very different. One makes millions creating fictional stories, and the other is James Cameron." –Craig Ferguson

"The rising sea levels in the Indian Ocean have caused an island to vanish. Yesterday, Ben and Jerry were giving away free ice cream and today, global warming causes an island to disappear. It's a terrible rollercoaster week for Al Gore — so happy, but so alarmed." –Craig Ferguson

"Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush traveled to Haiti this week to talk about the country's long-term recovery plan. It was a departure for President Bush. It's unusual for him to visit a disaster of this scope and magnitude that wasn't his fault." –Jimmy Kimmel

"An entire day has passed since the healthcare reform was enacted, and the country has not been destroyed. You really can't trust politicians." –Jimmy Kimmel

"I was reading today that the whole healthcare fight took a big toll on Nancy Pelosi's popularity. Her favorability rating is down to 11 percent, making her the most disliked woman in America with less than eight kids." ''' –Jimmy Fallon

"Porn star Devon 'Triple X' James says that Tiger Woods paid her to have sex back in 2006. Hopefully this situation will make parents think twice before raising their daughters with the middle name 'Triple X.''' –Jimmy Fallon

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Rant on the state of the World, From Pakistan to Iraq to Mexico and Back...

Paul Krugman
David Brooks
Eugene Robinson
Health Care Apologists
Betsy Markey
Bart Stupak

"Commonsense Conservatives & lovers of America: 'Don't Retreat, Instead -- RELOAD!' - Sarah Palin
"Let's not pretend anymore that the tea party movement is harmless" - Eugene Robinson


So, the health care firestorm is behind us, and the tea parties may soon die out, as the readings in the bottom of the cup foretold. I still can't believe that anyone could get so cranked up over some piece of legislation, when you take two steps back and look at it, the whole thing seems surreal, not even Nathaniel West could have conceived of the scenes we have witnessed. And I am hoping that I never, never will have to listen to Dick Armey ever again.

Barack Obama can also put the feathers of a new nuclear agreement with Russia in his cap, it is a subject both Obama and Dmitri Medvedev are concerned about. And if we became engaged in another nuclear arms race it could break both of our fragile economies. The next area that Obama wants reform is in the financial sector. This is an area where the Mitch McConnell strategy of saying hell no and obstructing everything will not work, not if the Republicans want to win another seat in the upcoming election.

I don't think that the right wing can justify protesting in favor of unregulated corruption, in the light of the path forged over the last 30 years that led to almost a complete meltdown of our economic system. The stubborn among them will type about how we must have a free market system, but that is a myth. We never have had a free market system, it is a philosophical ideal more suited to fiction than actually  working in real life. What we have done is to alter the rules so they favor certain financial sectors and they have taken advantage past any reasonable amount of greed. So, it's time to change the rules again so that instead of bad behavior, we have responsible behavior, and the responsibility is towards the investors, or consumers... Would you carry a sign in favor of a Wall Street firm or even your local bank? Have you ever gone into a bank and felt that you were treated right? Or thought that you could run the place in better fashion? So, if the tea parties do organize and carry signs in favor of themselves being financially ripped off along with you and me, it should be the tipping point to clue you in that they are being manipulated and they have become a group of Mindless Marching Morons (hey, it's a title of a 1950's science fiction short story by CM Kornbluth...)...

I don't see how our foreign policy can be protested. Sure, the hard-headed right wing Israelis are unhappy with us, but that's because we want them to actually negotiate a real goal this time, stop delaying tactics and be more honest. We are trying for better relations in Asia and Latin America, where they see us as an aggressive, imperial power, not a democratic beacon to the world. We have been showing more respect to the Muslim countries, especially with Pakistan.

 In fact, Pakistan is happy because we will give them some new toys for their military, and now they will have drones of their own. They had tried to reverse engineer some that they had bought from a Russian satellite country, but that was slow going. If we can keep our homegrown terrorist wannabees from traveling around their country looking for Taliban groups (if the CIA has trouble finding them on their own, what makes you think you can find a reliable source using Facebook?), then the future is looking better.

The European markets have suffered from the economic collapse, but it has forced them to communicate better with each other and has resulted in better trade agreements that are mutually cooperative. Even China is trying to be a little bit more transparent after the Google fiasco.

The only really potentially dangerous hotspots are that another war will break out between North and South Korea after a South Korean ship has just been sunk. and our friendly neighbor to the south, Mexico. Immigration will be a topic soon to be tackled, but the more pressing problem is what to do about the war Mexico is having with the drug cartels. It's very fast paced, with a lot of collateral damage, way too many innocent civilians getting killed by both sides. The innocent have no-one to turn to for help. The largest "heroin kingpin" was arrested a couple of days ago in Matamorros, and then a jailbreak occurred, where 41 prisoners escaped with the help of some guards. It goes back and forth each time the government arrests someone.

It was estimated that the kingpin managed to import over 440 kilos of heroin per month into the US. US drug enforcement has estimated that heroin production in Mexico has doubled this last year, so double the previous amount, multiply it by the number of criminal gangs importing, and we will come up with a huge amount of it being consumed by Americans. Which is disturbing. Some of the heroin is being obtained by the cartels from African drug rings, who get it from Afghanistan and trade it for methamphetamines for distribution in Europe. It signifies that even the illicit marketplace has gone global and may be fueling the more legitimate economy. Illegal drugs form over 1/3 of Mexico's economy, it's no wonder that California would like to legalize marijuana and tap into some money by collecting sales tax. $4.20 per ounce is the proposed amount... Anyway, the Border Patrol is trying out different ways of doing their jobs, actually trying to coordinate their efforts with their counterparts in Mexico and seem to have better success...

The most amusing event are the results of the Iraqi election. It didn't go the way that the current Prime Minister, Nuri al Maliki, planned. There either will be a runoff between himself and Allawi, or allawi will take over and try to form the next government. Maliki is ranting and raving, cry foul and fraud, but nobody is taking him very seriously, with the end result in dashing his dreams of becoming the next mini-dictator. In this, the gift of democracy and the wisdom of the Iraqi people will have triumphed. It actually may be the influence of the Iraqis and how well they can keep their country together after the US leaves, that will end up changing the regime in Iran. The influence of the Iraqi Grand ayatollahs may prove more persuasive than any sanctions that the US can come up with, and it would be done while maintaining good relations among everyone. This is the positive scenario for Iraq and the rest of us, which is much better than the alternative of the US playing bad cop for the nations of the world. Talk about an ego-trip...

 from the angry arab, comes a translation from a poem by Hissa Hilal, poet and mother of four from Saudi Arabia:

I have seen evil in the eyes of fatwas,
at a time when the permitted
is being twisted into the forbidden.
The clerics are vicious in voice,
barbaric, angry and blind,
wearing death as a robe cinched with a belt.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fanning the Flames at the American Taliban Weenie Roast

Dana Milbank
Christopher Walker & Sara Cook
Robert Wright

"On Wednesday, Republicans found themselves in violation of the Kenny Rogers Rule: Know when to fold 'em." - Dana Milbank
"Feel free to remind Rush Limbaugh that he promised to move to Costa Rica if health care reform gets implemented. Once you’re done, you can go back and remind him that Costa Rica has national health care." - Gail Collins


We are living in interesting times, extreme silliness reigns in Washington DC, while the threat of death and violence grips the nation. After the health care reform bill passed, Republicans were proposing all kinds of amendments, trying to get the proposed bill changed so that it would be sent back to the House for another vote. The Congressional parliamentarian did their work for them, by telling Democrats that their were certain provisions in the education part that violated budget conciliation rules. So the bill was changed by striking out the offending parts and the Senate voting to pass the revised bill 56 - 43, with 3 Democrats voting against it.

Dana Milbank portraits the reconciliation session in the Senate, where Dr Tom Coburn sought to point out a major flaw in the legislation and offered his amendment to fix it: "Amendment 3556 to H.R. 4872: "No Erectile Dysfunction Drugs to Sex Offenders."


"If this bill goes through without this amendment, your tax dollars are going to be paying for Viagra for child molesters," Coburn, a medical doctor, said on the Senate floor as he introduced his E.D. rider.


The Levitra legislation did not get a rise out of Democrats. "Offering an amendment dealing with Viagra for rapists?" Majority Leader Harry Reid asked, struggling for words. "I mean, this is -- this -- this is -- this isn't serious." It also makes you wonder how many prescriptions of Viagra Dr Tom has written for convicts in jail, some strange fetishes they encourage the incarcerated in Oklahoma... I wonder, does Dr Tom prefer to dress up in his doctor's coat, or does he prefer the nurse's garb when he visits his friends in jail? As an aside, Dr Tom's daughter was a former Miss Oklahoma...

A lot of posturing back and forth over the recent violent threats issued against Democrats after the vote. Eric Cantor accused the Dems of fanning the flames of hatred and violence, while the fanners shot back that the Repubs were pouring gasoline on the flames. If they only could work together in bi-partisan support they could fisrt pour the gasoline, then fan the flames to roast their weenies... This is one bit of psychodrama that is useless, and doesn't address the real problem. It also shows the difference in governing philosophies: while Mr Cantor previously had refused to disclose his own personal death threats, his Democratic opponents believe in more transparency and opted to disclose.

Perhaps we've become influenced by the Iraqi war too much. For tomorrow's election results, many Iraqis have stocked up on food and water, and plan on staying home for the anticipated wave of bombs and violence. See, it's just our American Taliban expressing solidarity with their Iraqi roots. We've had assassinations, planes flown into federal buildings in Texas, folks strapping up and wearing their guns to Starbuck's, and rocks thrown through the offices of Democrats; the next step will be suicide bombers at the voting booths, with Sarah Palin stickers stuck to their backpacks...

It also was interesting to watch different Republicans trying out different variations of their next new catch-phrase, given to them by a public relations firm that was paid way too much money. Mitch McConnell, he who crafted the failed strategy of just saying no and obstruct everything, tried out "Repeal and Reform." This morning it had become "Repeal and Replace" in Karl Rove's Wall Street Jounal column. It does sound better, because of the repetition of the "rep" in both words making the phrase more melodic, and hopefully, more catchy when set to music on YouTube...



I think that Rush Limbaugh was misquoted when he said that he was going to move to Costa Rica if the health reform bill was passed. Yeah, going back and listening to his tapes, he said that he would buy Costa Rica if the health care bill was passed. He can do that comfortably from his $12 million dollar home... I don't listen to him very much, I prefer classical music in the afternoons, but I don't think he's even mentioned a certain Central American country with a healthy base of US retirees living there. Guess he's too busy talking now what the health care bill doesn't have that the Republicans could have put in it, if they had only participated in its creation... If he did move, dittoheads would then be referring to El Rushbo as El Jefe, a title he would have more in common with Fidel Castro, proving what a small world it is after all...


The NY Times has a wonderful profile on my hero, Elizabeth Warren, who was the top watchdog on the Troubled Assets Recovery Program, and who might become the head of the financial consumer agency if the bill passes the Senate. It was her idea, and strangely enough, is opposed by Republicans who are not in favor of strengthening individual's rights: "Ask Elizabeth Warren, scourge of Wall Street bankers, how they treat consumers, and she will shake her head with indignation. She will talk about morality, about fairness, about what she calls their “let them eat cake” attitude toward taxpayers. If she is riled enough, she might even spit out the Warren version of an expletive.
“Dang gummit, somebody has got to stand up on behalf of middle-class families!”
Despite the dang gummits, I like her for her passion, intelligence, and the fact that: "she is such a fearsome interrogator that Bruce Mann, her husband, describes her as a grandmother who can make grown men cry."

While she feels, as many do, that the cycles created over the last 30 years of deregulation have spawned abuses and the collapses of institutions, and that we must make safeguards to protect people who may invest their life savings or lose their house: "Critics argue that such an agency, which would regulate mortgages, credit cards and nearly all other loans to consumers, would tighten credit in an already tight market, stifle innovation and hurt small businesses." In other words, the banks and the Treasury hates her.

“This is America’s middle class,” she recently said on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” “We’ve hacked at it and pulled at it and chipped at it for 30 years now, and now there’s no more to do. We fix this problem going forward, or the game really is over.”


“When you say it like that and you look at me like that, I know your husband is backstage, I still want to make out with you,” Mr. Stewart responded." Yes John, that Bruce Mann is one lucky guy...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Little Fetish With Your Tea? New American Lexicon, Google = Democracy

Anneli Rufus
Kathleen Parker
Maureen Dowd
"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they've exhausted all of the alternatives" - Winston Churchill
"There will be no cooperation for the rest of this year" - John McCain
"And the Democrats were thrilled, as you can guess. And they got a little rowdy, as Democrats can do. They tipped over Rush Limbaugh." –David Letterman


It looks like I'm jumping right into the sick and perverse this morning, perhaps a result of too much caffeine. Anneli Rufus's piece linked above deals with a conservative male sexual fetish, one I never knew about - "pedal pumping—a fetish in which men watch women trying to start stubborn cars." I know it seems pretty silly and tame, but most fetishes deal with an attachment to a form of abuse that occurred in childhood that's been coupled to desire. Even weirder is the Mid Western habit of dressing up in a costume resembling a teddy bear or plush toy and using it during sex, or putting on diapers and having someone pee on you, which is a favorite of Louisiana Representative David Vitter. I guess if the latest spat of name-calling is the Democratic Elites, then it's fair to sling back with the Perverse Conservatives... but it is indicative of the psychological undercurrents that moves along certain segments of our culture, for better or worse.


Kathleen Parker gives us this new entry into the american lexicon:

Stupak.

Etymology: Eponym for Rep. Bart Stupak.

Function: verb

1: In a legislative process, to obstruct passage of a proposed law on the basis of a moral principle (i.e., protecting the unborn), accumulating power in the process, then at a key moment surrendering in exchange for a fig leaf, the size of which varies according to the degree of emasculation of said legislator and/or as a reflection of just how stupid people are presumed to be. (Slang: backstabber.)



From John Avlon at the Daily Beast is another entry, his reaction to a recent Harris Poll. I also would link it to the rising rate of domestic abuse of spouses and children that will continue to rise until the job rate goes down:

Obama Derangement Syndrome—pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism—has infected the Republican Party. Here's new data to prove it:
67 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Americans overall) believe that Obama is a socialist.
57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim
45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president"
38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did"
Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."


My local newspaper is proud to publish the headline stating that Republicans are doing their best to stall the health care bill, yet already such craven hypocrites are releasing press releases telling what parts they contributed to... Not only are Congressional Republicans acting grumpy after they lost the health care vote, they are continuing in trying to obstruct regular business in any way that they can. Filibustering every bill that comes on the Senate floor, introducing frivolous amendments that must be considered, and now refusing to attend any committee meeting after 2 pm in the afternoon. This has affected the Armed Forces Committee, who had scheduled appearances from general who had to fly in from Hawaii and Korea to give testimony. It could be a cool thing if they set up a kegger or two of beer and partied, but the Party of No won't allow any fun. No wonder why they wander off to partake in kink and extra-marital affairs...

I guess I'm feeling lazy today, what with the snow outside and nothing much in the paper. I find it ironic that the largest purveyor of freedom of information, a cornerstone of what we tout as democracy, is being demonstrated by Google, not the State Department. The decision to retreat to Hong Kong was one that was agreed upon with the Chinese government, it gave Google a gradual way to leave the Chinese market, and let the Chinese government appear strong and then they could block Google's servers in Hong Kong as a demonstration of that strength. Saving face is another form of social sickness, which the Chinese excel at.

I don't know why any company thinks that they are going to make a fortune by setting up in China, the lure of over a billion untapped consumers is a carefully cultivated myth that the Chinese government created to lure poor suckers into a lucrative trap. They will steal your technology and then discard you while they get rich off of your knowhow, something they have done for centuries. If they get caught in the process of ripping you off, they will cheat, steal, and lie to discredit you, or put you in jail on trumped up charges if you are on their soil. This is one reason why so many people have fled China over the last 300 years, some forms of oppression never change.

Another irony is that lately Iran has been under criticism for jamming the airwaves, violating international business contracts that they have with various content providers and satellite owners. Yet an Iranian minister sits at the head of a UN committee that monitors and tries to prevent such actions. I guess when they want to conduct real business, they have to send him out for the mint tea...


Instead of the mean-spirited signs that appear at tea party rallies today, I miss the humor and inventiveness from the hippie and yippie movements. If you are going to portray anger, do it like Lynda Barry did with this iconic poster that stopped me in my tracks when I saw it in a store window in San Francisco on my way to Sam Wo's...



how about some late night jokes:

"A lot of upsets over the weekend. Kansas lost to Northern Iowa. Georgetown lost to Ohio. Republicans lost to the Democrats." –Jay Leno

"Well, as you know, health care reform was passed by the House last night. Supporters of the bill say the American people now get the same health benefits members of Congress get, which is great. See, if we can just get some of those other perks — the free travel, the envelopes with the cash in them, the get-out-of-jail-free cards — oh, all of that could be great." –Jay Leno

"You know, not a single Republican voted for the health care bill. They claim the U.S. government isn't qualified to be in the health care business. Hey, kept Dick Cheney alive the last 30 years. It's got to be worth something." –Jay Leno

"Do you know who's going to be in charge of health care? The IRS No, this is true. The IRS will be in charge of enforcing the new health care laws. You thought you hated getting audited by the government? Wait until they're in charge of your prostate exam, O.K.?" –Jay Leno

"And we're getting more details on what happened in the White House after the vote. In fact, the minute it passed, Joe Biden, he was speechless. So, right there, the bill is already paying dividends." –Jay Leno

"And before the vote, protesters on Capitol Hill heckled Nancy Pelosi. But she managed to keep a stiff upper lip, as well as a tightly stretched forehead, and an unnaturally arched eyebrow." –Jay Leno

"President Obama said last night this proves this is a government of the people, and by the people, except for the 55 percent of the people who opposed him." –Jay Leno

"See, and the nice thing is, if you lose your job, you know, you're still covered, which is great news for the Democrats in November." –Jay Leno

"And Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced, for the first time in the Navy's history, women will be allowed to serve on submarines. See, the problem before was they didn't want men and women spending time together in such unbelievably cramped quarters. And then they realized, 'Wait a minute, it's no different than flying Southwest.'" –Jay Leno

"According to a new Gallup poll, Congress's approval rating is at an all-time low, 16 percent. Only 16 percent of Americans think Congress is doing a good job. The other 84 percent didn't get any bailout money." –Jay Leno

"And the famous jeweler, Tiffany & Company, announced their fourth-quarter profits were quadruple what they were this time last year. Experts say it's either a sign the economy is improving or more guys are getting caught cheating." –Jay Leno

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Health Care Bill Signed, Conservatives Sign Death Pact

David Brooks
Peter Schneider
Matthew Duss

“There is no downside for Republicans, only for Americans.” - Michael Steele
“Freedom dies a little bit today.” - Marsha Blackburn
“When this bill goes into effect, and none of the things Republicans warned about begin to happen — none of the death panels, none of the government takeover, none of the socialism — Republicans will have no credibility,” -- Robert Menendez

Of course President Obama signed the health care bill this morning, although the attorney generals of several states have vowed to fight it in court, because of the lack of windmills in America.. Their main argument is their states have laws saying you cannot mandate all citizens to have insurance, and that a federal mandate would infringe on those state's rights. Unfortunately, it's an argument that would lose, as case law has proven that federal law supercedes state law, as in the example where states have approved medical marijuana that is in opposition of federal drug laws. There are other, more frivolous arguments that seem to have been dreamed up by Orly Taitz Esquire.

From the NY Times: "With the strokes of 20 pens, President Obama signed his health care overhaul — the most sweeping social legislation enacted in decades — into law on Tuesday during a festive, at times raucous, White House ceremony. “We have just now enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care,” Mr. Obama declared in the East Room, before an audience of more than 200 Democratic lawmakers, White House aides and others who rode a yearlong legislative roller-coaster ride that ended with Sunday night’s House passage of the bill. They interrupted him repeatedly with shouts and standing ovations."



After the anger and whining from Congressional Republicans has died down, will come the realization that they blew their big chance to influence the legislation in their quest to discredit Barack Obama. They have been revealed to be a party of old hacks without credibility, and this will affect the further decline of the GOP. They will have some seats won during the upcoming mid-term election, but it won't be enough to change the makeup of the House. The question is will the various tea parties be able to organize themselves into a viable force, or will some charismatic independent arrive to band them together. Ron Paul? Bob Barr? I don't think so...

While the media focus has been on the historic legislation, the finance reform bill is slipping on through, having passed the House and the Senate Finance Committee giving it a vote of approval. It contains creating a consumer finance protection department, which, again, the Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot by opposing it, looking like they are in favor of businesses who employ corrupt practices. Within the week, Obama will have made two important pieces of legislation, making the Repubs looking pretty impotent. Perhaps now they might want to rethink their goal of limiting the size of their tent, as the circus is passing them by...

Sarah Palin has decided to add to the ugly by publishing a hit list of Democrats she feels should be unseated and whom she will work against. From Politico: "Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), John Salazar (Colo.), Betsy Markey (Colo.). Allen Boyd (Fla.), Suzanne M. Kosmas (Fla.), Baron P. Hill (Ind.), Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), Charlie Wilson (Ohio), John Boccieri (Ohio), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.), Christopher Carney (Pa.), John M. Spratt, Jr. (S.C.), Tom Perriello (Va.), Alan B. Mollohan (W.Va.), and Nick J. Rahall II (W.Va.). I note that John Salazar is a Blue Dog Democrat, one of the more avowed conservatives, but his brother is serving as Obama's Secretary of Agriculture. It'll be good to see Sarah stumping around the state again, maybe I will be able to get a picture of her for under $10,000...

I, for one, will be glad not to hear this socialism crap bandied about by brain dead individuals who have lost the ability for critical thinking. My fellow Republicans (and yes, I am a liberal Republican) need to confront their emotional inner demons and accept that there are homosexuals among us and they aren't any threat, that people of other faiths may consider themselves to be members of your party, that you can't place exclusivity on love of country or family values, and that it's always wiser to consider a wide range of opinions than stick with a pitiful few. This is actually the best time to rebuild the GOP so that it will represent the generations of the future. Instead, I am afraid that I am watching the angry, ugly death throes of an old elephant, who is trying to find its way to the burial ground. But the media won't give it the dignity to die in peace, they document each weak shake of its head and stamp of its feet, as it rages on blindly into the dark night...