Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cheney Admits to War Crime

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Still Trying to Kill Joe Hill


The GOP has decided that breaking a union is more important than preserving the industrial backbone of the US economy. The party issued an Action Alert on December 10, 2008 to Republican senators outlining a strategy to derail the Auto Bailout bill and listed as its first point:
This is the democrats first opportunity to payoff organized labor after the election. This is a precursor to card check and other items. Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it.

This is a rather bitter outcome for the automakers who have been big supporters of the Republican Party, contributing 3 times as much to GOP candidates as to Democrats in the last two decades. But of course, the GOP is more interested in beating down a powerful union than in supporting a powerful American business. Most times the car companies feel common cause with the Republicans in weakening unions, but they now must understand that that common cause does not correspond to any GOP interest in preserving their business.

At a time when we are at the edge of a deep recession that most acknowledge looks to be the worst in 70 years - since the Great Depression - the GOP is obsessed with lowering the wages of the middle class - they had no such concern with the wages of the Wall Street bankers who have received over $2 trillion in government dollars to prop up their business.

Thom Hartmann, interviewed by NBC's David Shuster puts the GOP actions in historic context as part of their deliberate effort to destroy unions - which are strong supporters of the Democratic Party - and to deliberately impoverish the middle class.



Michael Moore states it plainly:

Friday, December 12th, 2008
Senate to Middle Class: Drop Dead ...a message from Michael Moore

Friends,

They could have given the loan on the condition that the automakers start building only cars and mass transit that reduce our dependency on oil.

They could have given the loan on the condition that the automakers build cars that reduce global warming.

They could have given the loan on the condition that the automakers withdraw their many lawsuits against state governments in their attempts to not comply with our environmental laws.

They could have given the loan on the condition that the management team which drove these once-great manufacturers into the ground resign and be replaced with a team who understands the transportation needs of the 21st century.

Yes, they could have given the loan for any of these reasons because, in the end, to lose our manufacturing infrastructure and throw 3 million people out of work would be a catastrophe.

But instead, the Senate said, we'll give you the loan only if the factory workers take a $20 an hour cut in wages, pension and health care. That's right. After giving BILLIONS to Wall Street hucksters and criminal investment bankers -- billions with no strings attached and, as we have since learned, no oversight whatsoever -- the Senate decided it is more important to break a union, more important to throw middle class wage earners into the ranks of the working poor than to prevent the total collapse of industrial America.

We have a little more than a month to go of this madness. As I sit here in Michigan today, tens of thousands of hard working, honest, decent Americans do not believe they can make it to January 20th. The malaise here is astounding. Why must they suffer because of the mistakes of every CEO from Roger Smith to Rick Wagoner? Make management and the boards of directors and the shareholders pay for this.

Of course that is heresy to the 31 Republicans who decided to blame the poor, miserable autoworkers for this mess. And our wonderful media complied with their spin on the morning news shows: "UAW Refuses to Give Concessions Killing Auto Bailout Bill." In fact the UAW has given concession after concession, reduced their benefits, agreed to get rid of the Jobs Bank and agreed to make it harder for their retirees to live from week to week. Yes! That's what we need to do! It's the Jobs Bank and the old people who have led the nation to economic ruin!

But even doing all that wasn't enough to satisfy the bastard Republicans. These Senate vampires wanted blood. Blue collar blood. You see, they weren't opposed to the bailout because they believed in the free market or capitalism. No, they were opposed to the bailout because they're opposed to workers making a decent wage. In their rage, they were driven to destroy the backbone of this country, not because the UAW hadn't given back enough, but because the UAW hadn't given up.

It appears that the sitting President has been looking for a way to end his reign by one magnanimous act, just like a warlord on his feast day. He will put his finger in the dyke, and the fragile mess of an auto industry will eke through the next few months.

That will give the Senate enough time to demand that the bankers and investment sharks who've already swiped nearly half of the $700 billion gift a chance to make the offer of cutting their pay.

Fat chance.

What's the deal with Joe Hill? He was the union organizer and song writer who was framed and executed in 1915 as part of the effort to destroy the labor movement. His death backfired, making him a martyr and rallying cry that ensured the movement's continued growth. In 1936 Earl Robinson wrote I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night based on the poem by Alfred Hayes:

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night
Alive as you and me
Says I, "But Joe, you're ten years dead,"
"I never died," says he, "I never died," says he.

"In Salt Lake, Joe, by God," says I
Him standing by my bed,
"They framed you on a murder charge."
Says Joe, "But I ain't dead," says Joe, "But I ain't dead."

"The copper bosses shot you, Joe,
They killed you, Joe," says I.
"Takes more than guns to kill a man,"
Says Joe, "I didn't die," says Joe, "I didn't die."

And standing there as big as life
And smiling with his eyes
Joe says, "What they forgot to kill
Went on to organize, went on to organize."

"Joe Hill ain't dead," he says to me,
"Joe Hill ain't never died.
Where workingmen are out on strike
Joe Hill is at their side, Joe Hill is at their side."

"From San Diego up to Maine
In every mine and mill
Where workers strike and organize,"
Says he, "You'll find Joe Hill," says he, "You'll find Joe Hill."


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saving Detroit


OK, I've been thinking about this for quite awhile. We need to save jobs. And we need to do it smarter than we did for the banks. Ultimately financial institutions only shuffle ones and zeroes, auto companies create real wealth by making things. In a sane world we'd spend the $2 trillion (or more) saving our industries and bicker over whether the banks deserve a mere $34 Billion. But since we live in bizarro world we are now negotiating between Congress and the White (quack) House to advance a mere $15 billion to let the auto companies stay open long enough to lay off half their workforce.

I think I have a better idea. Let's put their entire workforce back to work, on overtime, maybe even let them hire some of the 1.9 million people who have lost jobs this year. Let's do it in a way that puts them on the course to offering the high mpg and alternate fuel vehicles the world - and environment - really need.

Instead of lending them money to lay off workers, let's use that money to buy a whole bunch of cars.

Let's place an order for a million vehicles.

Phase one is for versions of the hybrid vehicles they already make.
Phase two is for their first generation conversions of existing vehicles to plug in hybrids.
Phase three is for a variety of new vehicles to meet special needs and new refined models of plug in hybrids, all electrics, alternative fuels and other new technologies.

The government would use these vehicles as replacements for retiring vehicles in the existing federal motor pool, for new needs, as well as for sales to other governments in the US and abroad, and even to corporate fleets. In other words, It would replace purchases the government would make anyway, except with new technology, plus create an inventory for the government to resell.

And with $30 billion in assured sales, the automotive companies should have no problem obtaining bridge loans to meet short term liquidity needs from the banks who have received $2 trillion in government money.

I know ... it isn't socialism, but it just might work anyway.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Real Mavericks want their good name back


Turns out that there were Real Maverick's in the old west long before James Garner's fictional Bret Maverick. However since Garner's "Maverick" was an amiable con-man and gambler he might be the best one to compare to McCain when he calls himself a maverick.

Radio host Thom Hartmann read my comment about Garner's "Maverick" and expanded on it with information on the real Maverick family that popularized the term as chronicled by John Schwartz in the New York Times: Who You Callin' a Maverick?

Thom Hartmann on Maverick

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The 700 Billion Dollar Mugging


This was all premeditated.
This IS the "October Surprise".
It has been planned for years.
And yes ... they plan to steal us blind.

The proof is call-girl Ashley Alexander Dupre.

Ashley, or "Kristin" has no particular connection to the government plan to dump over a trillion dollars of taxpayer IOU's on Wall Street in order to reward Wall Street for it's irresponsibility. She just happened to be the tool used to take down New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who as governor, and previously as Attorney General of New York was one of the only grown ups in government willing to take on the corporate criminals on Wall Street during a time when the Federal government had abdicated its responsibilities and had thrown in with the crooks instead.

Spitzer had to be silenced because he was unraveling the bailout mugging plot. It is laughable to believe that random bank audits led to his exposure as a serial "John" as claimed - the eminent legal expert Alan Dershowitz throws overwhelming doubt upon that notion in The Entrapment of Eliot. Spitzer was under intense domestic surveillance - probably of precisely the sort that Bush won't allow to be reviewed by the courts. You'll note that there are still no criminal charges against him - for good reason - it is doubtful that the evidence could be presented in any court if it was derived as a result of surveillance without a warrant.

Just one month before he was taken down, Eliot Spitzer wrote a Feb. 14, 2008 Op-Ed for the New York Times titled Predatory Lenders' Partner in Crime: How the Bush Administration Stopped the States From Stepping In to Help Consumers in which he detailed the Bush Administration's efforts to prevent the States from taking any steps to forestall the current crisis.

Even as Spitzer public life was imploding, in March 2008, the first $200 Billion dollar installment of the plan was being made.

What? Whaddya mean you didn't know the bailout started back in March?


Yep, the Fed's Bernanke loaned 1/5th of a trillion dollars to the very same villains we are now promising another $700 billion to. Greg Palast connected those dots back on March 14: Eliot's Mess: The $200 billion bail-out for predator banks and Spitzer charges are intimately linked. Add to that the $300 Billion spent on the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, and Bear Stearns episodes. That's $1.2 Trillion in less than 8 months. Someone is cashing out their chips before leaving the casino.

Remember Deep Throat's imperative "follow the money", or "follow the honey" in Kristin's case ... she's the link that shows us that this mess was planned well ahead of time, and that even a US governor would not be allowed to stand in its way.

Obama makes "Worst Persons" list

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Barack Obama has finally landed on Keith Olbermann's Worst Persons in the World list ...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Democracy First First First

Newly minted US citizen Craig Ferguson loves him some democracy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

700 Billion Dollars, Section 8, and my Tin Foil Haberdashery


"Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

- Section 8 of the Wall Street bailout bill

Nothing to be alarmed about - unless you think giving unchecked power and funds to the people who allowed this meltdown to happen in the first place is ... problematic. And gee ... wouldn't it be easy to steal if no one can oversee what you are doing and no court can hold you accountable? It's not like we haven't seen a billion dollars or 12 slip through the cracks before.

And then there is this - Welcome to the final stages of the coup... which sees this as the fulfillment of Prescott Bush's Business Plot to overthrow the US Government back in the 30s. And even if this 'enabling act' fails, they still have this.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Why They Lie


Have you been pondering why the "Straight Talk Express" has devolved into a lie machine? Lies every day. Obvious lies. Ridiculous lies. Lies repeated even after they have been publicly proven false. Despite the fact that McCain and Palin are exposed as proven liars, they continue to lie. Even the usually complacent media has dropped euphemisms and started to call them lies - not just "misstatements" or "inaccuracies" or "misleading".

Why?

I found the answer listening to On The Media: Uncorrectable

They lie because it works.
Because it works even better when the lie is exposed.
The more McCain is proven a liar, the more he is believed.
Conservative America really is Bizarro world.

Here is what is going on:

The Power of Political Misinformation

By Shankar Vedantam
Monday, September 15, 2008


A series of new experiments show that misinformation can exercise a ghostly influence on people's minds after it has been debunked -- even among people who recognize it as misinformation. In some cases, correcting misinformation serves to increase the power of bad information.

In experiments conducted by political scientist John Bullock at Yale University, volunteers were given various items of political misinformation from real life. One group of volunteers was shown a transcript of an ad created by NARAL Pro-Choice America that accused John G. Roberts Jr., President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court at the time, of "supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber."

A variety of psychological experiments have shown that political misinformation primarily works by feeding into people's preexisting views. People who did not like Roberts to begin with, then, ought to have been most receptive to the damaging allegation, and this is exactly what Bullock found. Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to disapprove of Roberts after hearing the allegation.

Bullock then showed volunteers a refutation of the ad by abortion-rights supporters. He also told the volunteers that the advocacy group had withdrawn the ad. Although 56 percent of Democrats had originally disapproved of Roberts before hearing the misinformation, 80 percent of Democrats disapproved of the Supreme Court nominee afterward. Upon hearing the refutation, Democratic disapproval of Roberts dropped only to 72 percent.

Republican disapproval of Roberts rose after hearing the misinformation but vanished upon hearing the correct information. The damaging charge, in other words, continued to have an effect even after it was debunked among precisely those people predisposed to buy the bad information in the first place.


Not too surprising, but then something really strange happens when Conservatives hear a refutation to something they are predisposed to believe. Unlike Democrats, who reduce their belief after a refutation, Conservatives believe the falsehood even more strongly when it has been refuted - often they are nearly twice as likely to believe the lie after it has been proven false.

Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler provided two groups of volunteers with the Bush administration's prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One group was given a refutation -- the comprehensive 2004 Duelfer report that concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction before the United States invaded in 2003. Thirty-four percent of conservatives told only about the Bush administration's claims thought Iraq had hidden or destroyed its weapons before the U.S. invasion, but 64 percent of conservatives who heard both claim and refutation thought that Iraq really did have the weapons. The refutation, in other words, made the misinformation worse.

A similar "backfire effect" also influenced conservatives told about Bush administration assertions that tax cuts increase federal revenue. One group was offered a refutation by prominent economists that included current and former Bush administration officials. About 35 percent of conservatives told about the Bush claim believed it; 67 percent of those provided with both assertion and refutation believed that tax cuts increase revenue.

In a paper approaching publication, Nyhan, a PhD student at Duke University, and Reifler, at Georgia State University, suggest that Republicans might be especially prone to the backfire effect because conservatives may have more rigid views than liberals: Upon hearing a refutation, conservatives might "argue back" against the refutation in their minds, thereby strengthening their belief in the misinformation. Nyhan and Reifler did not see the same "backfire effect" when liberals were given misinformation and a refutation about the Bush administration's stance on stem cell research.

There you have it.

In a Machiavellian (or Rovian) campaign both sides would have an incentive to lie - because even after the lies are exposed, there is some gain among those predisposed to believe the lies. But for conservatives the incentive is overwhelming - the more boldfaced and untrue the lie - and therefore the inevitability that it will be soundly refuted - the more solid the support and belief in the lie among the base. And McCain's biggest problem has been his very weak support among the conservative base. All he has to do to change his lukewarm support from the conservative base into rock solid enthusiastic support is to become the biggest most obvious liar on the planet.

Mission Accomplished.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Man Without Honor


I hardly know how to respond.

I don't see how anyone with a conscience can hold his head high in public after "approving this message".


This is the most vile lie, worse than the "Willie Horton" ad.

Obama voted for a bill to help fight child molestation. McCain's ad fabricates a complete lie about it, suggesting he wants to teach kindergartners to have sex.

Don't even try to defend this obscenity. Seriously. Don't.

McCain may have been a hero once.

No more.

He is a man utterly without honor.

More here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin Education Plan


Governor Palin on Creationism and Evolution:
"Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information....Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides."

New Memes in the Echo Chamber

The Echo Chamber

I ran into an interesting meme from some colleagues at the office. They were upset about how "wrong" it is for Obama to give his acceptance speech at Denver's Mile High Stadium. Unseemly. It should be inside the convention hall and only be open to the delegates.

What the heck?

How in the world do otherwise sensible people develop sense-free opinions like that?

Here's a clue ... they think the smartest two people in the world are Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.

Right wing radio sucks the IQ right out of people.

If enough people hear the same nonsense repeated enough it begins to have the ring of truth. Thus the son of a single mother who attended school on scholarships and student loans that he only finished paying off a few years ago is an "elitist" while the multi-millionaire in $500 Ferragamos and a private jet who can't remember how many homes he has is a working class hero.

What next?

Watch for a meme to develop that paints Obama as reckless and impulsive.

Even though Obama's history is clearly of a man who is calm and cool, studied and intelligent, who makes decisions very deliberately and with unusual accuracy.

The classic right wing (Rovian) tactic is to slime your opponent with your own shortcomings and attack their strengths. Thus McCain's well documented short temper, tendency to speak before thinking, and knee jerk reactions will be framed as Obama's faults by the right wing echo chamber. It makes no sense whatsoever, but it will resonate with enough repetition.

UPDATE

As it turns out I was wrong about the new meme - although there have been some attempts to paint the new president as reckless and impulsive, the new meme being pushed is that he is "Other" than normal Americans, in fact he may not even really be an American.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Smartest Move Ever Made By A TV Network


New show following Olbermann on MSNBC at 9pm EST begins 9/8/8

Finally, something for those who complain about the liberal media to worry about. More Rachel.

Straight Talk

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Double Standards


If the 'liberal media' is so in the tank for Obama, why does McCain get a pass on marital infidelity while the stupid libido of John Edwards - who isn't even a candidate anymore - is nonstop news?

Personally I am outraged by the sheer idiocy of Edwards, a man who was my first choice in the primaries. How could he do such a stupid thing, and then how could he - and Elizabeth - believe it could be put behind them as he continued his presidential candidacy last year?

The answer of course is that plenty of other candidates have done so. Bill Clinton for example. And Bob Barr who is running as a libertarian right now. And John McCain. So why is this an issue about Edwards, who is out of the race, and not about Barr. Or McCain who is very much still in the race?

Was it because McCain's was almost 30 years ago? When he was a mere youth? (He was about the same age then as Obama is now). Were the circumstances of Edwards affair worse than McCain's?
If John Edwards' infidelity is news, and he's not a candidate for anything, why isn't John McCain's? He reportedly had numerous affairs in the years after returning home from Vietnam to a beautiful wife who had been disfigured in a car accident, and ultimately, by his own reports, he zeroed in like a laser on beautiful a 25-year-old heiress upon meeting her one evening in 1979 while he was still married, promptly lied to her about his age, and almost as promptly left his wife for her. We all extol John McCain for enduring 5 years of extreme hardship in Vietnam. But aren't his first wife's circumstances much like Elizabeth Edwards'? After all, the first Mrs. McCain waited in agony (and presumably fidelity) during those five long years for her beloved husband to return from Vietnam, raising their children while he was away and undergoing dozens of painful operations herself, only to be repaid by a philandering husband who ultimately left her for a younger woman.
- Drew Weston

Watch how Sean Hannity and his fellow cons fall all over themselves when Alan Colmes asks them if they are applying a double standard to Edwards and McCain:



Of course, McCain is excused because he spent 5 and 1/2 years as a POW. (That's his 'little black dress' - appropriate for any occasion.) But what about during his 2000 campaign? Why isn't the media falling all over itself to remind the viewers of allegations that McCain's own campaign had to intervene to keep him away from a pretty young lobbyist?

Is it because Republican sex scandals don't count if they don't involve children or homosexuality?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New McCain Ad?

"The Hope" is for those viewers who found the McCain campaign ad "The One" to be too subtle.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

john.he.is



by Election08, LA-based comics and actors on politics. Featuring veterans of MTV, ABC, NBC, The Daily Show, Second City Chicago, Reno 911, Current TV, and Showbiz Show With David Spade.

Dear Superdelegates


We have two wonderful candidates remaining in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Barring a series of landslides in the remaining primaries, it is likely that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton will win enough delegates in the primaries and caucuses to win the nomination - thus throwing the choice to the 796 "party leaders and elected officials" - you superdelegates. Many of you have already pledged your support and vote to one of the candidates, and the rest of you are bound to have a preference, you will have each voted your choice in your state primary or caucus, but please, I beg you to hold your vote at the convention in trust for the Democratic rank and file who have voted and caucused in their state contests.

We Democrats have to be acutely sensitive to the need to live by our democratic ideals, and none are greater than our dedication to clean and fair elections. It would be anathema for us to reject the elected choice of the people in a brokered convention. Particularly after two presidential contests that were nullified by judicial coup and election fraud. A brokered convention would legitimize our nation's continued movement towards a political system independent of the will of the governed.

Please, endorse you choices, campaign for them, support them, and vote for them in your state contests. Exercise your leadership by shaping public opinion and promoting your choice, but please, above all else endorse democracy by holding your convention vote in trust for the people - your opinions, your choices, mean nothing if you do not support the democratic process first.