Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"If You Can't Say Something Nice About Somebody, Come Sit By Me!"

On that theory, here's a send-off of the late "Jacko," (DOTOF™: Cleveland Bob/Lou-mouthSoup, from James Howard Kunstler:
By James Howard Kunstler
on June 29, 2009 6:01 AM

As America entered the horse latitudes of summer, befogged in a muffling stillness on deceptively calm seas, we were distracted for a while by visions of a pale death angel moonwalking across the deck of collective consciousness. Eerie parallels resound between the sordid demise of pop singer Michael Jackson and the fate of the nation.

Like the United States, Michael Jackson was spectacularly bankrupt, reportedly in the range of $800-million, which is rather a lot for an individual. Had he lived on a few more years, he might have qualified for his own TARP program -- another piece of expensive dead-weight down in the economy's bilges -- since it is our established policy now to throw immense sums of so-called "money" at gigantic failing enterprises (while millions of ordinary citizens wash overboard, without so much as a life-preserver).

Anyway, Michael Jackson was on the receiving end of one huge bank loan after another long after his pattern of profligacy was set and obvious. They threw money at him for the same reason that the federal government throws money at entities like CitiBank: the desperate hope that some miracle will allow debt servicing to resume. Michael could burn through $50-million in half a year. It didn't seem to affect his credibility as a borrower. When his heart stopped last week, he was living in a Hollywood mansion that rented for several hundred thousand dollars a month. You wonder how the landlord cashed those checks.

Like the USA, Michael Jackson was a has-been. He hadn't recorded a song worth listening to in over two decades. He had done almost nothing but spin his wheels, hop around the globe from one place to another at enormous expense, and make himself available for award ceremonies to stoke his ego (and give advertisers a reason to promote some televised award show). He existed strictly on image, an anorectic figure nourished by moonbeams of attention, famous for saying that he loved his worshippers when the truth was he merely sucked the life out of them. In his last years, he even looked a bit like Nosferatu, the personification of the un-dead, and his fascination with ghouls was the basis for his biggest hit way back in the last century. A zombie nation deserves a zombie mascot.

He was a poseur, vamping in weird military outfits as though he were a five-star general in the Honduran army, or a character from a melodrama by the reprobate Jean Genet. He once materialized during halftime at the Superbowl in a shower of sparks, thrilling the multitudes while grabbing and stroking his sex organs, as though that was a heroic activity -- and indeed the nation seemed to emulate him as its culture became dedicated more and more to acting out masturbation fantasies. America was a fat man jerking off on the sofa watching a vampire of no particular sex vogue deliriously on the boob tube.

More than once the authorities tried to pin charges of child molestation on him for suspicious activities at his boy-trap, Neverland Ranch, with its carnival rides, private zoo, video game galleries, and inexhaustible supplies of sugary treats. The first time he settled with the alleged victim's family for $22-million. They just walked away with the loot and happily shut up. The second time, he moonwalked out of a court-of-law while weeks later jurors mysteriously went on TV to say, well, they did kind of think after-the-fact that he really did those things he was accused of, but, you know.... The defendant himself behaved as though his trial were a TV celebrity challenge show on another planet, arriving on one occasion twenty minutes late in pajamas with some lame excuse about a backache. He spent the last years of his life wandering a few steps ahead of his creditors, gulling concert promoters into "comeback" schemes (with walking-around money up front), and with three bought-and-paid-for children, obviously not his own, for consolation.

When he dropped dead last week, the nation's morbidly maudlin response suggested a cover story for the relief of being rid of him and all the embarrassment he provoked. One CNN reporter called him a genius the equal of Mozart. That's a little like calling Rachel Maddow the reincarnation of Eleanor Roosevelt. A nation addicted to lying to itself tells itself fairy tales instead of facing a pathology report. Yet, like Michael Jackson, the undertone of horror story still pulses darkly in the background. The little boy who grew up to be the simulation of a girl was really a werewolf. The nation that defeated manifest evil in World War Two woke up one day years later to find itself stripped of its manhood, mentally enslaved to cheap entertainments, and hostage to its own grandiosity.

Maybe in grieving so exorbitantly over this freak America is grieving for itself. All the loose talk about "love" from the media and the fans gives off the odor of self-love. America is "the man in the mirror," the gigantic, floundering Narcissus, sailing into the stormy seas of history.
The complement to psychological ill "narcissism" is sociological one of "solipsism." Jackson was both, in in being so, he captured all that was and is sick about the USofA, 2009.

(Hed attributed to Alice Roosevelt Longworth)

"Unlike oil, there's no substitute for fresh water,"

"Well, they're putting up resistance..."

From Latin America to Africa, a growing moving
is (trying) to ensure water is a human right.

(However)...At the latest World Water Forum meeting March 16 to 22 in Istanbul, the dominant view of water-management issues prevailed. Whether discussing the Parisian water system or problems in South African townships, the prescription was the same: full cost recovery, which means that agencies, even public ones, that provide water must recover the full costs associated with delivering the service. This leaves the door wide open for privatization of our water. Increasingly pro-water-privatization development agencies, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), are insisting that consumers pay more for water.

Full cost recovery policy is immoral, claim organizers of the People's Water Forum -- an alternative to the World Water Forum advocating that water to be managed as a commons for all rather than a commodity for the profit of a few. Water commons activists point out that the full cost recovery strategy is applied only selectively. Poor users who consume the least amount of water bear a disproportionate burden of the cost. A better system would use progressive taxation programs to support public water systems just as they do public schools.

Consider the example of the Finnish company Botnia, operating in Uruguay. Its production of cellulose products consumes 80 million liters of water per day, using a large percentage of the daily output of Uruguay's public utilities at a low, subsidized price. Similar regressive anti-conservation subsidies are found throughout the world -- especially in the United States -- where irrigation water is priced far below cost, a boon for water intensive agribusinesses and a blow to family farmers.

Unlike air, it costs money to deliver clean water, so it's necessary to put a price on its management while taking care not to turn the water itself into a commodity. But the largest users -- and the wealthiest ones -- should pay their fair share and subsidize water use by the world's poorest families.
The article continues with suggestions for meeting these challenges, but of course the final mediator is and always will be the corpoRat bottom line.

Monday, June 29, 2009

OOOPS! I Think I Just Let My Voting Registration Lapse

Obama's lickspittles and minions are again playing word games with the Health-Care issue.
In an emailed statement to Bloomberg News, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she’s open to the idea of dropping a public health insurance option in favor of a medical-insurance cooperative. “You could theoretically design a co-op plan that had the same attributes as a public plan,” Sebelius said.
You could theoretically design a plan that looked like a duck too, which had the same attributes--head, beak, wings, webs, quack--as a duck, but yet could neither fly not float. What the fucking fuck!

Whatsoever "plan" ultimately emerges, it will inevitably be shit for citizens.

But whatsoever it is, that gutless, meliorating, incrementalist phuqqer Obama will sign it. And it will be universally greeted as the next best thing to the return of the baby Jeezus!

Not if the Titanic, itself, sailed into NYC harbor will or would there be such outpourings of wonder, such exaltations of miraculous, triumphal rhetoric, such flourishes of Epoch and World-Changing JOY at the wonder of Obama and the Congress.

And it won't mean shit. Can you say "Kahz-Met-Ick?" It will leave the status quo untouched, if not strengthened. It won't even be designed to redress the inequities of Medicare part 5, and/or rescind the Bushevik's deal with the pharmaceuticals that prohibits the government from negotiating the best deal.

Those seem to me to be benchmarks. The 'public option' was ONLY EVER on the table as a cynical negotiating chip a throw-away. That phukker Obama only mentions it so it looks like he's giving something away to the Rightards that he was never going to support in the first place.

After the 'climate bill, and now this, anybody who continues to voluntarily participate in this charade, this extravagant and deadly kabuki, needs their fucking head examined.


Well, I'm gonna shriek and shout and make a goddam fool of myself in public, but I am through with the "process."

Scroom awl...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why Does The AMA Oppose Single-payer Health Care?

It's not such a surprise that the American Medical Association is opposed to a single payer plan. Dr. Oliver Fein of Physicians for a National Health Program explains why. What's the best system in his opinion? Medicare 2.0. (Duh. W) It's a simple, economical, and humane program that would cut excess costs, a bloated bureaucracy, and all too often inefficient care. Grist and Laura Flanders RAWK!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fucking BUSTED!: Madoff Stripped of Booty "Without Mercy or Sympathy"

Via YahooNews, good news for the retributively inclined, and just about anybody else, too. (Unfortunately, apparently Madoff succeeded in diverting attention away from his equally crooked, equally culpable, but apparently unindictable sons, who aided their old man throughout the whole crooked scheme:
Madoff ordered to forfeit $171 billion

By TOM McELROY, Associated Press Writer 2 hrs 28 mins ago

NEW YORK – Bernard Madoff would be stripped of all his possessions under a $171 billion forfeiture order handed down only days before prosecutors seek to put the disgraced financier away in prison for the rest of his life.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin entered the preliminary order Friday, ruling that Madoff must give up his interests in all property, including real estate, investments, cars and boats.

The forfeiture represents the total amount that could be connected to Madoff's fraud, not the amount stolen or lost, and the order made clear that nothing prevents other departments or entities from seeking to recover additional funds.

A call to Madoff's lawyer, Ira Sorkin, after hours Friday was not immediately returned. In a court filing in March, Sorkin said the government's forfeiture demand of $177 billion was "grossly overstated — and misleading — even for a case of this magnitude."

The 71-year-old Madoff pleaded guilty in March to charges that his exclusive investment advisory business was actually a massive Ponzi scheme. Federal prosecutors say Madoff orchestrated perhaps the largest financial swindle in history.

Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin, who released a copy of the order Friday night, plans to seek a 150-year prison term at Madoff's sentencing Monday. Sorkin has argued in court papers for a 12-year term.

According to Friday's order, the government also settled claims against Madoff's wife. Under the arrangement, the government obtained Ruth Madoff's interest in all property, including more than $80 million-worth that she had claimed was hers, prosecutors said. The order left her $2.5 million in assets.

The agreements strip the Madoffs of all their interest in properties belonging to them, including homes in Manhattan, Montauk, N.Y., and Palm Beach, Fla., worth a total of nearly $22 million. The Madoff's must also forfeit all insured or salable personal property contained in the homes.

Other seized assets include accounts at Cohmad Securities Corp., valued at almost $50 million, and at Wachovia Bank, valued at just over $13 million, and tens of millions of dollars in loans extended by Madoff to family, employees and friends.

The judge's order also authorized the U.S. Marshals Service to sell the Manhattan co-op, properties in Montauk and Palm Beach and certain cars and boats.

At the time of Madoff's arrest, fictitious account statements showed thousands of clients had $65 billion. But investigators say he never traded securities, and instead used money from new investors to pay returns to existing clients.

Prosecutors said the total losses, which span decades, haven't been calculated. But 1,341 accounts opened since December 1995 alone suffered loses of $13.2 billion, they said.

"The sheer scale of the fraud calls for severe punishment," the prosecutors wrote in response to the defense motion seeking lighter punishment.

Prosecutors said federal sentencing guidelines allow for the 150-year term, and any lesser sentence should still be long enough to send a forceful message and "assure that Madoff will remain in prison for life."

The government's papers quoted from letters to Chin written by victims of the scheme who are suffering severe hardships. Madoff "ruined lives," one letter said. "He deserves no mercy."

But Sorkin argued in filings that his client deserved credit for his voluntary surrender, full acceptance of responsibility and meaningful cooperation efforts.

"We seek neither mercy nor sympathy," Sorkin wrote.

He urged the judge to "set aside the emotion and hysteria attendant to this case" as he determines the sentence. (Emphases supplied. W)
Bernie's attorneys are seeking CREDIT, for Bernies voluntary surrender, etc.? Fuck me running! He only did it to save his kids' skeevy/sharpy, co-conspiratorial asses. Mission: Accomplished...

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Fault Lines" --- Recruiting Crusaders for Christ

Via Truthdig:

From AlJazeerah-English, with Chris Hedges, Mikey Weinstein and others:
“Fault Lines” has this disturbing look at efforts to transform American soldiers into “government paid missionaries,” as one Christian fundamentalist group put it. Featuring Truthdig’s own Chris Hedges.

Related Truthdig Classic: “The Cancer From Within” by retired U.S. Air Force Colonel David Antoon. (2007)
The fact that the report originates with Al Jazeerah does not diminish the truth of the allegations. Cf: MRFF: Miliary Religious Freedom Foundation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dept. of Things You Need (But May Not Want) to Know: The Food Chain

Via Alternet:
Food Inc: Michael Pollan and Friends
Reveal the Food Industry's Darkest Secrets

By Tara Lohan, AlterNet. Posted June 25, 2009.

The new film Food Inc. is a shocking look at the health, human rights and the environmental nightmare that lands on our plate each meal.

It turns out that figuring out the most simple thing -- like what's on your dinner plate, and where it came from -- is actually a pretty subversive act.

That's what director Robert Kenner found out while spending six years putting together the amazing new documentary, Food Inc., which features prominent food writers Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation).

Warning: Food Inc. is not for the faint of heart. While its focus is not on the gory images of slaughterhouse floors and filthy feedlots, what it does show about the journey of our food from "farm" to plate is not pretty.

The story's main narrative chronicles the consolidation of our vast food industry into the hands of a few powerful corporations that have worked to limit the public's understanding of where its food comes from, what's in it and how safe it may be.

But it's also a larger story about the people that have gotten in the way of the stampeding corporate herd -- like farmer Joel Salatin (also profiled in Pollan's Omnivore’s Dilemma), who has bravely bucked the trend to go corporate.

There's also Barbara Kowalcyk, who becomes a tireless food-safety advocate after her 2 1/2-year-old son Kevin died from eating an E. coli-tainted hamburger. And there is the economically strapped Orozco family, which is faced with the difficult decision of whether to save money by buying cheap processed food and spend more later on medical bills, or spring for the more expensive, but healthier food options that stretch its immediate income.

There are also the farmers who appear with their faces blacked out on screen for fear of Monsanto, or the communities ravaged by Type 2 diabetes, or the undocumented workers at processing plants who are recruited from their NAFTA-screwed homelands, illegally brought over the border to work dangerous jobs for peanuts, only to be humiliatingly sacrificed in immigration raids that only criminalize workers and never the employers.
Lohan follows with an incisive interview with film-maker Kenner.

High points:
we are spending less of our paycheck on food today than probably at any point in the history of the world -- and at the same time, this inexpensive food is coming to us at a high cost that you don't see at the checkout counter...

I went to a hearing on whether we should label cloned meats. When the lady who represented the industry spoke and said, "I really think it is not in the consumer's interest to be given this information because it's too confusing," I got goosebumps and thought, "this is scary."...

Barb Kowalcyk...can't tell me what she eats because of the veggie libel laws...You know, if you talk, and you're involved in this world of food production, you do so at great peril. And you pay the price. It is amazing how vulnerable you can be if you step forward and enter this conversation...

One thing we say in the film is that we are not opposed to people going from industry to government, that is OK. The problem is when they go from industry to government, rule on things they are involved in in industry and then go back to industry with great bonuses. That seems a conflict of interest...

(Like the previous tobacco debates) they are huge, powerful, rich corporations thoroughly connected to government issuing misleading statements about their products, saying they are not unhealthy...

I don't think you can solve health care without changing the food system, when 1 out of 3 Americans born after the year 2000 is going to get early-onset diabetes; it is going to bankrupt the health care system. And I think there is a direct connection between food and health...

I think these issues are coming to the surface and are becoming more important, there has just been some movement on food safety where the FDA will have the power to recall food (which they do not have now), such as Nestle's cookie dough, which has E. coli in it...
E coli in cookie dough? What the fuck!@! There's considerably more, and it will ALL make you quite uncomfortable. At this writing, Food, Inc. is not scheduled to show in Albuquerque or anywhere else in NM.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The BEEEEG Money Comes To The Table

Whatsoever bill emerges from the current Congressional/Presidential machinations, it will almost certainly be of little or no use to the citizens who actually need health coverage. It will, however, be structured to placate the Big Money, while still retaining the appearance of being populist/progressive enough to give "thePrez" a "VICTORAY!"

Be assured, however: It will comport with the desires of the BIG MONEY.

Can you say "kahz-met-ick?"

There is NO WAY any bill that is acceptable to the commercial interests--Health Insurance Parasites, AMA, PhRma, CoC, Business Rountable, etc--will do anything to actually HELP people.

There is just no way all those anti-democratic, pro-kapital groups will permit anything that actually reduces the reliance of the Proles upon corpoRat 'generosity,' or makes it easier for workers to resist corpoRat hegemony.

Nagahapun...The details for this assertion were conveyed yesterday, quite thoroughly, at the CJR blog by the formidable Trudy Lieberman:
It was only a matter of time before we heard from the business community. While the press has focused largely on the insurance industry and its opposition to the public plan option, other oppositional groups have also been hard at work. “The non-insurance business community is going to be in the middle of this,” says Harvard pollster Robert Blendon. “But there’s been very little coverage.” Anyone who thinks that trade groups representing American business are snoozing in their tents is sorely mistaken.

At the National Journal, Bara Vaida has done her homework on business lobbyists and has produced a good, in-depth story explaining what the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is up to. The group, a sometime ally of the insurance industry, doesn’t like a public plan because it represents government intrusion in the private market. Nor does it like the idea of its members being required to offer insurance to their workers. The business community will say reform is going to have “terrible implications” like cutting jobs, and the public will be sympathetic to that, Blendon says.

Big business has similar complaints. In a recent message to its members, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as influential a trade group as there is, asked them to “tell Congress to oppose flawed health care proposals.” In particular, the Chamber is upset over a public plan; any requirement that they provide employees with health insurance—the so-called employer mandate; and a minimum benefit package, which is emerging as a sleeper issue.

Reform advocates have hoped that legislation would force insurers to offer minimum benefits, as a protection against the skimpy coverage that is becoming commonplace. The Chamber says that a minimum coverage package, like the one offered through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, “will bankrupt employers and workers” and won’t appeal to younger workers. Instead, it’s advocating something like a high-deductible plan that includes preventative care. No surprise here.

Last week, the Chamber sent a letter to Sen. Edward Kennedy and Rep. Michael Enzi, outlining its objections. A public plan, the Chamber said, “must not be included in the legislation,” and “an employer mandate would exacerbate the already difficult situation of employers and workers.” Looks like Blendon is spot-on here. The Chamber also encouraged the committees, chaired by Kennedy and Enzi, to consider other provisions not included in legislative proposals. One would allow people enrolled in federal health programs to take vouchers and use them to buy coverage from private insurers.

On June 17, the Chamber also announced a campaign against the president’s health plan, asking its members to “push back” against Democratic bills emerging on Capitol Hill. Within three days, the Chamber’s member organizations had sent 36,000 letters, e-mails, and faxes to the Senate health and finance committees, expressing their opposition. More will be coming. “It’s just beginning because you ramp up. If done well and done quickly we’re adding some political leverage,” the Chamber’s executive vice president, Bruce Josten, told Bloomberg News.

The Chamber also plans a “sustained national media, education, and grassroots advocacy campaign to defend and advance America’s free enterprise values in the face of rapid government growth and attacks by anti-business activists.” The campaign begins in the fall, right when Congress is supposed to vote on health reform. It’s a safe bet that the Chamber will have health care in mind as it revs up its Free Enterprise Campaign.

The Chamber’s effort is significant. Not only can the group mobilize businesses in every Congressional district, it also has a history of generous Congressional campaign contributions. Over the last ten years, the Chamber has spent more to influence Congress than any other lobbying group. Now that’s clout!

Anyone who underestimates the power of the business community need only look at what happened to the COBRA provisions in the stimulus bill. Remember how the politicos’ rhetoric made the world believe the bill would help distressed workers keep their health insurance? In the end, Congress watered down provisions that would do just that. At one point, a House bill would have allowed people age fifty-five or older who had been at their jobs for ten years or more to stay on COBRA at their own expense until they became eligible for Medicare. That would have provided real protection for a group of folks whose health problems make it difficult to buy insurance.

Employers, however, objected, and the provision didn’t make it into the final bill. Seems they were worried about “administrative burdens.” More important, the increasing medical costs for these older workers would cause premium increases for a company’s entire work force, since all employees would be mixed in the same risk pool. And that, of course, would mean employers would have to pay more. An omen for things to come? (Emphases supplied. W)
The easiest solution, of course, in the latter situation is to fire the older workers. SCROTUS said it was okay.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran"

I am (for now) content with how "thePrez" is 'handling' the immediate, domestic Iranian situation: with caution. The situation is unstable and inflammatoryble. Official USer ambivalence is good. John Bolton, that mustachioed maven of all things Neo-Con and International, is not happy; nobody---except the "non-partisan" propagandists on NPR (ME, this morning; I wanted to PUKE)---gives a rabid rats reeking ass about what Sean Hannity thinks.

Because, of course, there are scores, perhaps hundreds, of USer/CIA operatives and agents provocateurs on the ground in Iran, stirring shit up, as usual "Destabilizing," they call it, in that sterile prose of the empire). Nothing happens in the world without grubby/bloody Murkin fingerprints showing up on the details somewhere, if only inside the assassin's gloves.

But Obama's strict hands-off stance as a matter of official policy cannot be rebutted, imho...It is far too easy to impute dissent to USer intervention in Iran. He's right to stay studiously distant.

While we're on the subject of Rightard/Flying Monkey fucknozzledom, here's another interesting factoid to consider: How those claiming the solidarity with the Iranian "people" were so eager a mere 6 months ago to murder those very people, and destroy their country, at the behest of a "client" state (Israel). How soon after these domestic difficulties in Iran are concluded will Bolton, the PNAC/Zionists, and the rest begin the aggro for "bomb bomb bombing" Iran, again?

BTW: Geaux Tigers! (CWS, 1-0)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Flying Monkey/Xo-Fucktard Contingent Should Find This REALLLY Offensive

DOTOF™: PZMyers/Pharyngula (he gets the BEST stuff!)

This happy gem was attached to the YouTube version of the previous vid. "Powerpointing with Jesus"! Apparently from the film "Jesus Camp."

Was The Man Sen. Ensign "Put Horns On" Pimping His Wife For Profit & Perqs?

That's sure what it looks like.

The Senator was---and unexpectedly confessed to---schtupping the wife of his (former) chief-of-staff and valued religious playmate in the promise-keepers. Ex-CoS Hampton found out, and threatened the Senator with exposure as, if nothing else, a cast-iron, promise-breaching philanderer. Ensign, who was regarded as blandly and uncontroversially stupid enough to be a plausible GOPuke Presidential candidate, apparently caved.

Both the 'cabron' and his son, 'the cabrito," found themselves favored by Ensign and the Nevada GOP with either cash stipends ("cabrito") or high-paying positions with firms connected to State GOP and/or the Sen. himself ('el cabron").

Funny, though, that Ensign still peremptorily confessed even after paying the cuckold's price.

"Blackmail" and "Extortion" are such a nasty words. "Titillation" and "exploitation" are so much nicer: Via the Las Vegas Sun:
The husband of cheating wife Cynthia Hampton, and former senior staffer to disgraced Nevada US Senator John Ensign, Douglas Hampton, is said to have tried to sell his family's story to a major US TV network and cash in on the affair gripping American politics.

News reports from Las Vegas suggest Douglas Hampton tried to exploit his wife, Cynthia Hampton's affair with the powerful Republican Senator by going to the media, before the news was scuttled by a public statement from Senator Ensign saying he had a love affair with Cynthia Hampton, surprising many in Washington DC.

Las Vegas media report that Douglas Hampton is said to have gone to hottie anchorwoman from Fox News channel, leggy blond Megyn Kelly, to help expose Senator John Ensign's “heinous conduct and pursuit” of his wife, Cynthia Hampton.

It seems as though before any news media could expose the Cynthia Hampton and John Ensign love affair, the Republican Senator from Nevada actually held a pre-emptive press conference to confess his extra-marital activities.
Let's just call it "payment for services rendered," shall we?

And when Darlene (Mrs. Ensign, in the foto, left) gets her settlement, I'd be available to help her spend it. She's a pretty woman, from the fotos, though skinny and probably somewhat deprived in the boobage department.

Wouldn't you just LOVE to know what Cindy Hampton, wife and chattel of the CoS, looks like, just for comparison? I'd bet she's got some meat on her, cuz her husband's not (yet) rich enough to ensure "skinny" trophy wives. My guess: fat and ugly. Her husband's no prix d'amour.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iran-Contra: The "Coup" Begins

Coup-plotters Rumsfeld, Ford and Cheney, White House, ca., 1976

The 'coup' began in 1975, when dunderheaded Gerry Ford pardoned Nixon and began this long national nightmare: our descent into tyranny. This narrative picks up the story in the '80s. Dennis Perrin flags/flogs a new blog by a friend of his named Jim Buck, who was a political operative back in the day.
My close friend and old comedy partner Jim Buck has taken the big blog dive, offering up a four-part piece about Eddie Hatcher and the hidden history of Iran/contra. Jim was in the thick of all this back when it mattered, and it still haunts him -- as it should all of us, considering the grand crimes that went unpunished and were steadily erased from the national memory. Start at the bottom and read your way up. Jim knows his shit. He'll soon learn that tending a blog is never-ending, which is why the Good Lord invented YouTube.
If you can stand rehashing the same old details, refreshed with lots of newer dots and connections you only ever IMAGINED (Jesse Helms, cocaine trafficker?), you need to turn your attention to Buck's narrative.

Start at Part I (and prepare to start sharpening your pitchfork in accompaniment). Then read UP: Part II, in which we follow the terrible fate of Eddie Hatcher unfolding--all unawares--inside the penumbra of global criminality that was the Reagan/Helms drug cartel; to Part III, and finally to Part IV, the rule of the Nixon/Ford cabal, and it's reach into Reagan/Bush, Bush/Quayle, Clinton/Gore, and Bush/Cheney regimes.

It is a sordid tale, and one which implicates the entire USer political system, Dims and Pukes as one, in the destruction of the actual USer 'democracy,' until it has become what it is today, merely a rubberstamp for the interests of Global Capital. It's pretty dismal, depressing stuff, and it suggests that the next time anybody suggests hauling out a convenient guillotine and subjecting the current crop of crooks and lawyers to the ultimate sanction, we ought ALL to join the parade.

Friday, June 19, 2009


The Obama Health Care Clusterfuck: "Taxing Benefits Will KILL the Dims"

Don't let anybody ever tell ya the Murkin Political Class--toadies, lick-spittles, empty suits, and doddering morons that they might appear--aren't 'smart.' They are wondrously attuned to the needs and desires of their masters--who are, incidentally, NOT the "people" but the paymasters in the corporate boardrooms where the reliable drones will be eventually rewarded for their devotion to the interests of the Elites.

Remember, it took Nixon to 'betray' the China lobby and visit China? It will take a Dim to undo "progressive populism." And St. Barry and the careful, centrist Dim moderates seem to be fixated on that outcome.

How? By taxing Health benefits allowed to workers. If "thePrez" and the Dims were under orders to fuck up the possibility of progressive gains, they couldn't do a better job than what they now propose. Bill Greider (The Nation/Alternet) tells the story:
Policy thinkers and rightward-leaning "Blue Dog" Democrats look upon the proposal as a tempting opportunity to raise lots of revenue for health-care reform, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently estimated could cost as much as $1.6 trillion over ten years. Limiting existing tax exemptions could produce more than $418 billion in the same span of time, according to the Joint Taxation Committee, a significant down payment.

Problem is, a big switch on taxing benefits would double-cross a major constituency and break some important promises. During the presidential campaign, Obama attacked John McCain for proposing the very same idea. Obama further promised he would not increase taxes on the middle class. "If you tax health benefits, you are taxing the middle class," Panvini explains. The issue was critical, he adds, in persuading many white working-class voters to put aside racial fears and return to the Democratic Party.
Conservative critics like to complain that union members enjoy "Cadillac" healthcare while other working people get little or no help from the government. This a valid point, and it ought to be addressed. But the solution is not to cripple the union members who have decent benefits. An equitable solution would set out, rather, to make everyone whole.

The only way to overcome the anomaly of union-employer health-care plans is to create a single-payer system that is effective and national in scope. Instead of targeting workers with slash-and-burn politics, policy-makers should look to organized labor's accomplishments as the model for health-care reform.
But of course that's not gonna happen. They needed a GOPuke to go to China: enter Nixon. It needs a Dim to destroy the working class: Welcome, Obama...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Health Care Double-header

Suzie Madrak's Suburban Guerilla piled insult upon injury this morning, in her usual, cryptic fashion, when she juxtaposed the 'sublime' (Bill Moyers) with the ridiculous rantings of a bunch of senatorial has-beens (the Dole/Daschle/Baker/Mitchell "compromise,") which she quite correctly identified thusly:
As you might expect, it reflects the constant mindset of the Beltway elites. They make a fetish of reaching the lowest common political denominator, rather than advocating for something which actually solves the problem.
That Village-viable political LCD always is that plan which LEAST disturbs the comfortable, profitable status quo, ante.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

If This WEREN'T "Murka," You'd Probably Figure This Warning Would Be Superfluous

But this IS the USofA, 21 Century version: placid, incurious, lazy, fat, stupid, ill-educated (but highly schooled), compliant, obedient. They need to be reminded, as Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo, expostulates today:
health insurance is not

the same has health care. health care is about treating you...making you better. health insurance is about making money for the company...and letting you die if you are too sick because it would affect their bottom line. you get sick...your insurance company will drop you like a hot potato...as some in congress are finding out:
...an investigation by the house subcommittee on oversight and investigations showed that health insurers Wellpoint Inc., Unitedhealth Group and Assurant Inc. canceled the coverage of more than 20,000 people, allowing the companies to avoid paying more than $300 million in medical claims over a five-year period.

it also found that policyholders with breast cancer, lymphoma and more than 1,000 other conditions were targeted for rescission and that employees were praised in performance reviews for terminating the policies of customers with expensive illnesses.

...a texas nurse said she lost her coverage, after she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, for failing to disclose a visit to a dermatologist for acne... latte times
Every expedient now under consideration leaves in place precisely all the faults and failings of the current system. Every single one. Nothing changes. NOTHING. Witness:
...Executives of three of the nation's largest health insurers told federal lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday that they would continue canceling medical coverage for some sick policyholders, despite withering criticism from Republican and Democratic members of Congress who decried the practice as unfair and abusive.-

Are You fucking GETTING it, now, folks? C'mon, you dumb fuckers. Put down the Wii and the fucking pizza, and WAKE THE FUCK UP! It's time for pitchforks, torches, tar, and feathers for these scurvy, scummy motherfuckers!

It's a shuck-and-jive, a three-card-monte game, a fraud. ALL OF IT.

At the end there will be a big parade--think World Championship--with Obama sitting atop the elephant, leading the Circus --the Congress, the CorpoRats, the "Press-- right into your town, proclaiming
"VICTORAY!!!! For The People"

And 'the proles,' the 'drones', the lumpen-menschen, are and will be terrified, and insecure and eager enough to believe ANYTHING, that they'll eat this shit with a fucking SPOON!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh, Come--FUCKING--ON! For Shit's Sake!@!: More "Transparency"

The Obama WhiteHouse has sealed the visitors' book.

It happened after folks from CREW tried to ascertain the access to the Obama White House enjoyed by coal executives. Remember in the campaign when Obama praised "clean coal" all over Appalachia and the Ohio River valley?

Just as did the Bushevik regime before them, as you will no doubt recall, when the issues were the visiting permits for one Jeff Guckert/Gannon, an on-line, male escort who may have been a consort/toy of Karl Rove's, as well as the folks earlier who'd met with Cheney to plan Gulf War II.

I never really expected there to be any change, especially in the practice of 'security,' and the plethora of sins that nominally valid concern is permitted to cover. I served in "Intelligence." So I am not 'disappointed.' But it would be fair to say I find it increasingly discouraging at a time when more discouragements are both gratuitous and insulting.

From CREW, via Aravosis:
16 Jun 2009 // Washington, D.C. - Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is filing a complaint against the Department of Homeland Security based on the refusal of the Secret Service to provide CREW with White House visitor records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

CREW sought records of visits by top coal executives in an effort to learn the extent to which these individuals may have influenced the administration’s energy policy.

Taking the exact same position as the Bush administration, the Obama administration claimed the records are presidential, not agency records, and otherwise exempt in their entirety because of the possibility in some instances they could reveal information protected by the presidential communications privilege.

In prior litigation U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth agreed with CREW that the records are agency records that must be disclosed under the FOIA.
At least ya gotta figger this time the Coal Capos--the Energy Dons--are meeting with the guy in the FRONT office.

Monday, June 15, 2009

When "National Security" Means Local/Regional Insecurity

Before the coal-ash "dam" at the Kingston TVA Plant collapsed:

The same place, the day AFTER the dam's failure:

Remember that coal-ash "dam" that washed away a couple of score of square miles in Tennessee? The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston plant. It killed a couple of folks, really fouled up the local homesteads and farms, the landscape, the wildlife, and the river system for some miles downstream...which included some pretty big towns and some pretty big, important rivers. That was but one of 44 such dams scattered across the country. The EPA won't reveal their locations, however, for reasons of 'security.' This, according to a story on the Grist weblog, by Sue Sturgis.

And that's hardly 'transparency,' of course.

Because the security concern is kinda spurious.

You know why?

Well, for one thing, I betcha they wouldn't be that hard to find, ya know?

Telltales would be something profound, like: Huge, stone buildings, with numerous, stout wires radiating, to the deep, resonant hum of steam fired generators spinning massive turbines and tall plumes of steam spewing inito the sky. Served by roads. Manned by people. Probably, there's a phone number. Hiding in plain site...

Oh, and a river or a stream.

That's NOT gonna be that hard to find.

And somewhere around any one of them big, smoky, steaming, humming things, you're going to find a big, deep pond enclosed by coal ash.

And that'll be another one off the list...I betcha a determined person could get 'em all found in a summer.

Really. Especially with GPS.

Empires Seldom Decline Peacefully, Never Gracefully

There's a king-hell, big goddam shit-storm a'comin'!

This week, finance and economics officials from Russia, China, India, Singapore, Pakistan, and Iran--the more or less 'developed' states of Eurasia, from the Indian Ocean to the Moldau River, and the natural proprietors of the huge energy resources in the Trans-Casapian region--are gathering in the Russian city where the Russian Empire died (Yekaterinaberg--aka Sverdlosk--where the last Romanovs were assassinated) to decide the future of the American Empire.

Not whether that decline should occur--that's already baked into the bread. It's happening, and is unstoppable.

Rather, what's at issue are the questions "when," "how it should be 'managed' by its creditors," and "who gets what pieces of the corpse?"

Chris Hedges, perhaps the gloomiest pundit in America, writing for Bob Sheer's TruthDig, lays out both the scenario for the decline (which has already begun, is irreversible, and inevitable). Like just about every previous exemplar of the art, we will have "defended" ourselves to death: half of ALL USer so-called "discretionary spending" is on the military, either for support of aggressive USer militarism abroad, or for domestic production of the tools of the Imperium.

The US dollar will, in all likelihood, be removed as the 'defaut' or 'reserve' currency at these economic meetings (conspicuously without attendance by ANY USer representatives). What will this mean? Hedges quotes Brit historian/economist Michael Hudson on the consequences:
I called Hudson, who has an article in Monday’s Financial Times called “The Yekaterinburg Turning Point: De-Dollarization and the Ending of America’s Financial-Military Hegemony.” “Yekaterinburg,” Hudson writes, “may become known not only as the death place of the czars but of the American empire as well.” His article is worth reading, along with John Lanchester’s disturbing exposé of the world’s banking system, titled “It’s Finished,” which appeared in the May 28 issue of the London Review of Books.

“This means the end of the dollar,” Hudson told me. “It means China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran are forming an official financial and military area to get America out of Eurasia. The balance-of-payments deficit is mainly military in nature. Half of America’s discretionary spending is military. The deficit ends up in the hands of foreign banks, central banks. They don’t have any choice but to recycle the money to buy U.S. government debt. The Asian countries have been financing their own military encirclement. They have been forced to accept dollars that have no chance of being repaid. They are paying for America’s military aggression against them. They want to get rid of this.” (Emphases supplied. W.)
That looks bleak, and gets bleaker.
“We have in effect had to declare war to get us out of the hole created by our economic system,” Lanchester wrote in the London Review of Books. “There is no model or precedent for this, and no way to argue that it’s all right really, because under such-and-such a model of capitalism ... there is no such model. It isn’t supposed to work like this, and there is no road-map for what’s happened.”
What's happened and what's gonna happen are irremediably linked. With the fall of the dollar, conditions for "average Americans" will soon decay to desperation:
The cost of daily living, from buying food to getting medical care, will become difficult for all but a few as the dollar plunges.

States and cities will see their pension funds drained and finally shut down. The government will be forced to sell off infrastructure, including roads and transport, to private corporations. We will be increasingly charged by privatized utilities—think Enron—for what was once regulated and subsidized.

Commercial and private real estate will be worth less than half its current value. The negative equity that already plagues 25 percent of American homes will expand to include nearly all property owners. It will be difficult to borrow and impossible to sell real estate unless we accept massive losses. There will be block after block of empty stores and boarded-up houses. Foreclosures will be epidemic.

There will be long lines at soup kitchens and many, many homeless. Our corporate-controlled media, already banal and trivial, will work overtime to anesthetize us with useless gossip, spectacles, sex, gratuitous violence, fear and tawdry junk politics. America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds. Those who resist will be silenced, many by force.

We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon, for the gross malfeasance of our power elite.
It's already too late to hold those sonsabitches to account.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Texas School Board Scrapes Bottom of Barrel

Via The ReligionClause comes news that the State of Texas has totally capitulated to the fucktard-wackloon-ID/anti-science lobby and mandated that there be three "conservative Christians"--half the number of actual panelists--on a newly constituted panel charged with reviewing and suggesting possible reforms to the Texas primary and secondary Social Studies Curricula.
According to Dan Quinn of the Texas Freedom Network, writing last week at Talk to Action, the Texas State Board of Education has now made public the entire panel of experts it has appointed to review the state's social studies curriculum. It is evenly divided between mainstream academics and Christian religious conservatives. The academics are Prof. James Kracht of Texas A&M, Prof. Jesus Francisco de la Teja of Texas State University- San Marcos and Prof. Lybeth Hodges of Texas Woman's University. The three religious conservatives, all of whom apparently reject notions of separation of church and state, are Rev. David Barton of WallBuilders, Rev. Peter Marshall who runs Peter Marshall Ministries, and Prof. Daniel Dreisbach of American University in Washington, D.C. The panel is charged with reporting back to the Board by June 29. The panel will also review the work of teams of teachers and others working on revision,s, in anticipation of Board action next year. [Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]
I am about at the point that I will disregard, out of hand, and with due contempt, any academic credential issued by ANY Texas academic institution, up to and including the Ph.D. (and not necessaarily retroactively) However, if you intend to pursue a degree or a diploma from a Texas school, a re-evaluation may be in order: Probably you'd want to find a State which is NOT totally in the thrall of the anti-intellectual, anti-tolerance Xian/Taliban. If you rcently earned and now possess such a degree or diploma, probably you should see what kind of a trade-in allowance you can get on it, elsewhere, before any and all value permanently leaks off the parchment.

UPDATE: Harper's "Index" in June listed Texas the third highest-ranked state in the number of teen pregnancies. Coincidentally, it reported 94% of Texas School Districts teach the 'abstinence-only' sex-ed curriculum (when they teach anything at all).

I am sure there is no connection whatsoever between those two facts, or those facts and the content of the story above, and would regard any imputations based on those mere coincidences as calumnies against the public-spirited citizens of the Gret Stet.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Semi-Meta Analysis: A Commentor's Crie d'Coeur

In a TP thread about the implications of some more information about the memos John Yoo wrote to rationalize and (post facto) legitimize Bushevik torture, murder, illegal detention and other war crimes committed in the name of the "crisis," to which facts it now seems likely he will be called to testify (but which he will no doubt apply himself to the 5th Amendment to excuse his silence), commentor @ 37, pags2 says: ...Can someone please tell me WHY President Obama would want to protect THESE BARBARIC CRIMINALS???

Sez I:

Mainly because he's now of their number. He'll say it is the institution he's protecting. But it's power. Once you have it, you don't give it up.

The facts emerging about Yoo only serve to illuminate what we knew all along: we were living under tyranny, made tolerable by manufactured excesses in fats and credit. the Busheviks TOOK OVER Sept 11, and for all intents and purposes, this was a police state until last Nov., (if not longer. W)

A police state? you say. Surely he exaggerates.

But no. Consider the so-called PATRIOT ACT. Not even the most draconian, authortarian provisions of that abomination have been repealed. It's up for renewal this year, and the Obama regime hasn't yet expressed any misgivings about any parts it would like to see removed or repealed. Two provisions in particular caused concern:
Allowing investigators probing terrorism to seek suspect's records from third parties such as financial services and travel and telephone companies without notifying the suspect. It was criticized as a violation of First Amendment rights.

Permitting roving wiretaps of terrorism suspects. In the past, authorities had to seek court approval for each electronic device carried by a suspect, from a telephone and BlackBerry to a home computer. Under the Patriot Act, one warrant can cover all of these machines.
So far, Attorney General Eric H. Holder has expressed some support for renewing the provisions.<

(Holder seems indisposed to undo any injustices which do not directly relieve former members of the Bushevik regime and its enablers in the GOP of their inconvenient sentences. W)

Nobody with that kind of power will ever voluntarily relinquish it. Happened once in Roman times--a general, Cincinnatus, refused to be crowned Imperator--and once in 1789, when Washington did it. That's it...
Obama's motives may be pure as the virgin snow. But that power is useful in his position. By now it's probably dawned on him that he's a sacrificial beast tossed to the people to efface and erase the unpleasantness that was Bush, in preparation for Bush.3. Obama's the bite of bread you nibble at a wine-tasting to cleanse the palate. The enormity of the challenges--call 'em wha they are: CLUSTERFUCKS!--that are the Reagan/Bush legacy will defeat any effort at amelioration, no matter how compromising, no matter how open-handed, no matter how collegial.

It is necessary that ALL these clusterfucks become OBAMA'S clusterfucks, so that when he fails to clean up the impossible mess, the next wave of the Reagan/Bush crowd will be greeted by an electorate whose palate retains no trace of their prior desecrations and depredations.

And it's working...

I'll Try ANYTHING That Can Make Uber-Manly Jesus General "Tear Up!"

Well, it isn't really Jesus' Ubermanly General. It is an associate, named Tammy, who is dabbing her eyes. But it's on The General's site.

The book sounds terrific. I hope they don't make it into a movie, cuz--as my good brother, Pelican Pete, maintains--the dog ALWAYS dies in the movies...They die way too soon anyway; making movies about it doesn't help...Speaking of which, here's the poem:
The Revenant - Billy Collins

I am the dog you put to sleep,
as you like to call the needle of oblivion,
come back to tell you this simple thing:
I never liked you--not one bit.

When I licked your face,
I thought of biting off your nose.
When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap.

I resented the way you moved,
your lack of animal grace,
the way you would sit in a chair to eat,
a napkin on your lap, knife in your hand.

I would have run away,
but I was too weak, a trick you taught me
while I was learning to sit and heel,
and--greatest of insults--shake hands without a hand.

I admit the sight of the leash
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched.

You do not want to believe this,
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated the car, the rubber toys,
disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives.

The jingling of my tags drove me mad.
You always scratched me in the wrong place.
All I ever wanted from you
was food and fresh water in my metal bowls.

While you slept, I watched you breathe
as the moon rose in the sky.
It took all of my strength
not to raise my head and howl.

Now I am free of the collar,
the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater,
the absurdity of your lawn,
and that is all you need to know about this place

except what you already supposed
and are glad it did not happen sooner--

that everyone here can read and write,
the dogs in poetry, the cats and the others in prose.
Oh, by the way: This is what happens when you go racing in the rain (about a MILLION dollars worth of automobiles--Ferraris, Sellenes, A GTR among them--become metallic and plastic hash; not for the faint of heart...):

Friday, June 12, 2009

Buy American! Erm, Well, Not the USCoC So Much...

The hugely, grossly, pantingly, obsessively patriotic, nationalistic, pro-bidness, pro GOPuke, pro-growth, pro-money, pro-ANYTHING "Murkin," gigantic lobbying arm of the All-Murkin Boardroom has changed its mind.

DON'T "Buy American!" No, no, no. Sends the wrong 'message.'

Or: "Don't limit economic stimulus package purchases to "American" goods. Via RawStory:
The United States Chamber of Commerce asked the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on Thursday to allow greater freedom in the spending of stimulus dollars.

Specifically, the Chamber, traditionally an advocate of big business and Republican economic policies, cautioned that requiring taxpayer dollars to be spent on American goods threatens the loss of billions of dollars.

“U.S. businesses and local governments are quickly waking up to the reality that Buy American restrictions are likely to cause them substantial harm, particularly if countries such as Canada retaliate with protectionism of their own, said Myron Brilliant, the chamber’s senior vice-president of international,” in a report by Canada’s Globe and Mail.

We could be at risk for billions of dollars and we’re very concerned about those numbers,” Brilliant was quoted saying.

He added: “We’re sending warning signals now that if we don’t fix it the numbers could get very big. We would face potential retaliation from our friends in Canada, potentially from Europeans, and we want to avoid that.”

Already ‘watered-down’

The “Buy American” rules which landed in the stimulus were ultimately a “watered-down” version of the original proposal. In the Senate, the inclusion would have required all manufactured goods bought with stimulus funds to come from the U.S. However, after being cautioned by European Union and Canadian leaders, the Obama administration backed off Buy American.

President Obama said he did not wish to “send a signal that we’re not open for business.”

What passed essentially amounts to requiring stimulus expenditures to comply with U.S. trade agreements.

Foreign trading partners alone did not lead the charge against reinvestment in American manufacturing. Joining the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in opposition to Buy American are the American Business Conference, The Associated General Contractors of America, Associated Builders and Contractors, the Coalition of Service Industries, the National Defense Industry Association and the National Foreign Trade Council, among others.

“Under North American free-trade agreement rules, Canada is exempt from the Buy American restrictions on most larger federal projects,” noted The Globe and Mail. “But the bulk of the stimulus cash is actually spent by states and cities, which are not covered by NAFTA or World Trade Organization government purchasing rules.”

The Mail also quoted Auggie Tantillo, director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, who contended that the pushback against Buy American rules “doesn’t pass the U.S. economic interest laugh test.”

“The U.S. Chamber in Washington should change its name to the ‘Chamber for Offshoring U.S. Jobs,’” he added. (Emphases supplied. W)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Needed: A Few Good Spartans!

With the zeal and style which earned him the moniker "Bulldog," Col. Mikey Weinstein (USAF, Ret.) has launched a recruiting drive to find volunteers to help him shore up the crumbling wall of separation between Church and State in the US military services. With a kind of flair that is typical of his approach to his struggle against the illicit and unconstitutional encroachment of the 'militant' evangelistic "Christian" Church upon the structure and purposes of the USer military machine.

Harper's last month had a long, featured piece in which Weinstein's crusade against "God's Warriors" was prominient.

Weinstein leads the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, from offices in Albuquerque. This is the MRFF Mission Statement:
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they and all Americans are entitled by virtue of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment and the “no religious test” of Article VI.
Weinstein is an AF Academy grad, former SJA, who served over three years in the West Wing of the Reagan White House as legal counsel. In his final position there, Weinstein was named the Committee Management Officer of the much-publicized Iran-Contra Investigation in his capacity as Assistant General Counsel of The White House Office of Administration, Executive Office of the President of the United States.

This career concealed a maverick, which took form in MRFF when his son also attended the AF Academy and experienced frequent, demeaning verbal assaults by "Christian" proselytizers within the ranks of both the Corps of Cadets, but more dangerously and more damningly among the faculty and trainers who held the careers of the cadets in their hands. In 2006, Weinstein sued, but the suit was dismissed.

And the MRFF was born. And according to Mark Crispin Miller, is "Doing the Lord's work":

MRFF is doing the Lord’s work (so to speak)–and paying for it, too.

You ought to see the foul emails they get, day after day, and hear the threats phoned in, day after day. The stuff is really toxic, as there are, of course, some seething people out there–livid types who can’t contain their racist bile or, especially, their antisemitism.

Most of them are, fortunately, much too cowardly to go beyond anonymous invective;
and yet you never know. (Look what happened at the Holocaust Museum on this very day.)

And so MRFF has to spend a lot just on increased security for Mikey Weinstein and his
family; and this is only part of it, since MRFF’s all-important litigation–suing the DoD for allowing Christianists to run the military, in blatant violation of the Constitution – also costs a lot.

So please do try to donate what you can, even though these are tough times.

Understand that they’re not getting any help from the Anti-Defamation League (which never would offend the ultra-right supporters of the right-wing government of Israel), or any help, of course, from Pres. Obama (who has actually expanded Bush’s "faith-based" programs, even though they too are fundamentally unconstitutional).

It’s therefore up to those of us who care about the First Amendment to step up and help, by doing whatever we can do.
And here's the Link to "Build The Wall!, where there's a vid of some scary sky-pilot talking savior-proselytizing shit to young, scared, 'open' kids.

"The Only Difference is 8,000 Miles..."

That was Dr. Walter Hern, one of only a handful of late-abortion specialists in the USofA, on the difference between the Taliban in Central Asia and the Anti-abortion movement in the US. He wants "thePrez" to make a statement that "choice" on abortion is a legal right.
I think that the President of the United States has to go on—address the nation—this is a crisis, this is a serious, serious crisis—and make a clear statement that hasn’t been made before by any president of the United States, that women have the right to have a safe abortion; that safe abortion is a fundamental component of women’s healthcare in this country; that doctors should not have to fear for their lives to help women; that the anti-abortion violence and terrorism has to stop, it will not be tolerated; that the people that threaten doctors and threaten women and threaten the clinic workers are terrorists, and they will be brought to justice, and they may not do these things; that the anti-abortion fanatics need to shut up and go home and leave other people alone.
(Like THAT's gonna happen? Bwahahahahahahahaha! St. Barry hasn't got the balls for it; no fuukin way!)

Dr. Hern was a guest yesterday on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now" broadcast. And he was not circumspect about the threat posed by the "tens of millions of church members" who applaud what happened to Dr. George Tiller, in Wichita, KS, two weeks ago.

Dr. Hern:
...(T)he glee expressed by the anti-abortion fanatics is just grotesque. It’s ghoulish. These people—this is a violent terrorist movement in this country, and the American people need to understand that there’s a great deal more at stake here than the activities of one doctor, of the services of one doctor.

...(A) very highly organized, active, well-armed and well-funded terrorist movement in the country that opposes the basic premises of American society. These people are opposed to constitutional democracy. They’re opposed to the rule of law. They’re opposed to a democratic government, representative government. They’re opposed to basic personal freedom. They’re opposed to thought. And this is a tremendous step backwards.

...And there aren’t enough resources to protect every single doctor. I mean, this is—and I’m very grateful for the federal government’s response to my situation and to protect me and my family, but my family is terrified. We can’t—this can’t go on. There aren’t enough resources, manpower, money to protect every single doctor twenty-four hours a day. That is ridiculous. Just as in the ‘60s, you couldn’t put federal marshals and federal troops around every single black person in the country. We have to have some changes in attitude...

The anti-abortion movement is a terrorist, fascist movement. They do not believe in the rule of law. They reject the rule of law. They’re not trying to change the law through violence. They reject the American Constitution. This is a very dangerous movement.

Acts of violence against clinics, doctors, and staff fell off during the Bushevik years because the Busheviks (appeared to) supported the anti-abortion agenda. Obama is not as explicitly anti-choice (though he's distinctly NOT "Pro-choice"), and so the violence, threats, and activism will grow.

I am objectively pro-abortion: legal, safe, free, on demand, no questions asked. If you oppose abortion, don't have one. Just shut the fuck up and leave people to live their own lives, their own tragedies.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

$3 Billion,405 MIllion,669 Thousand, 482

That's BILLION, with a "B."

Lotsa money. About One THOUSAND dollars for every living man, woman, and child in the ENTIRE country.

It's what the Health Insurance Parasites and Big Pharma have spent, in the last 10 years, to ensure that you and I will never have comprehensive, universal health care. I betcha you wish they'd given it to you instead of the regulators, doncha?

But that money's well spent because it went to guarantee that, whatsoever the eventual Obama health-care compromise looks like, it will NOT in any way diminish the revenues--and therefore the clout--of the Health Insurance and Big Pharma parasites, or reduce their influence in patient-care decisions. If it happens by some fluke that there are some benefits to the people, well you know what the say: Shit happens.

Down With Tyranny has a semi-hopeful (and, to the extent that it is optimistic, also delusional) post about the matter, along with names and phone numbers of the relevant legislators who can be counted upon to reply politely to your query, look thoughtful, and only then totally ignore your pleadings...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Moral Relativism: Never There When You Need It Most

If Scott Raeder, the apparent wackloon/fundi anti-abortionist alleged killer of late-term abortion-provider Dr. George Tiller, were named Ali Mustaffa, and his victim had been a Zionist rabbi, the threats he's uttering about there being more to come would be being taken much more seriously, I'll betcha.

I haven't figured out how to embed code for C&L vids. I wish I could. There's links 1`) here and 2) here. TPM ponders the very issue that led me to first speculate about the wider, politico-symbolic resonances embedded in his threats, noting the reticence of torture advocates to endorse such practices to potentially save lives.

Catch-300: With Bad Credit, Everything ELSE Goes Bad

At least that's true in the 'legitimate' economy. The LA Times Business section today features a piece about folks who, having lost jobs and experienced difficulty in meeting their credit 'obligations,' later find it difficult to find new jobs BECAUSE their credit reports reflect 'deficiencies' ensuing from their un (or often, dis) employment. The Times story discloses this form of injustice is increasingly happening to formerly middle-class (and higher!) white people. The personal experiences should grab the reader where s/he lives.

We are all sooooo close to the abyss! What is it, 75-80% of people are less than one month's pay away from catastrophic insolvency?!?! Credit rating affects virtually every part of a person's life in the "straight" economy. Even landlords nowadays routinely require tenant applicants to complete credit applications, too, and base decisions on the results. (Aside: Did you know frequently checking on your credit score can actually cause the score to decline? It can, and does. Credit reporting outfits don't track who requests the information. They only count the number of hits, on the theory that if the account is active, the client is actively seeking credit, and they must NEED it for some reason.)

Ironically, on the page adjacent to the story there's a 'google ad' inviting the reader to "Access Your Score In Seconds Get Your Free Credit Report Today!" Or maybe it's not ironic, and that Vonnegut was right that irony died the day Kissinger was awarded the peace Prize. It would be ironic if the article in the paper included the fact that frequent checks of an individual's credit report can be regarded as damaging information and hurt the score. But the paper neglects the information. So Irony slumbers yet.

While reading and considering this story, perhaps in the back of the reader's (either one of them) mind should also be lodged the information that USer 'capitalism' contains within its structure of assumptions and conventions the stipulation that "Full Employment" is not REALLY "full employment." A certain level of "structural" unemployment is always factored into the equation. Typically in the range of three to five percent, depending, so-called 'structural unemployment' is required as a necessary condition for "market efficiency" because the unemployed present a threat quick replacement to workers who might be dissatisfied with capital's generosity to its workers and want to organize.

(Here concludeth Marx 101 for today. Go in solidarity!)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Five Mercs Held For Green Zone Slaying Of Yank Contractor

This is not gonna come out well, if I may be permitted to predict:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Five American security contractors (i.e., mercenaries. W) have been detained in connection with the killing of another American contractor last month inside Baghdad's Green Zone, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad confirmed Sunday morning.

The five men work for Corporate Training Unlimited, sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN Saturday.

The company was founded by a former member of the Delta Force elite anti-terrorist unit and has been operating in Iraq since 2003, according to its Web site.

Among those detained are the founder of the company and his son. Iraqi and U.S. personnel took the five into custody in an operation inside the Green Zone before dawn on Friday, according to an Iraqi official involved in the investigation into the killing of James Kitterman.

The five, who have not yet been charged, were being held by Iraqi security forces Sunday at a jail inside the heavily protected zone, he said.

The troops also confiscated weapons during the raid on the suspects' firm at about 4 a.m. Friday, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Video Watch the men held in connection with their colleague's death »

Four of the detainees were identified by multiple sources as Donald Feeny, the founder and chairman of the company; his son, who shares the same name; Micah Milligan; and Mark Bridges. The name of the fifth detainee was not immediately clear.

The U.S. Embassy would not confirm the names of the detainees, citing privacy laws. But a spokesman said consular officials have visited with them and "they appeared well." Embassy officials have been visiting them frequently, an Iraqi security source said.

The U.S. State Department and the Iraqi government will negotiate to determine what happens next, according to the Iraqi security source close to the investigation, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. Iraqi jail workers are treating the five contractors very well and with respect, he said.

Kitterman was found bound, blindfolded and fatally stabbed in a car in Baghdad's Green Zone, formally known as the International Zone, on May 22. The 60-year-old Houston, Texas, resident owned a construction company that operated in Iraq.

The Iraqi security souce said three of the men being held are allegedly involved directly in Kitterman's death.

Both the Iraqi and the Green Zone sources noted that the FBI has been involved in the investigation from the start.

Once the suspects are charged and referred to trial, the case would be sent to Iraq's Central Criminal Court, the Iraqi official said.

If that happens, it would mark the first time U.S. citizens go to trial in Iraq since the United States returned the country's government to the Iraqis.
This will test the limits of the Status-of-Forces agreement, I reckon.

Open-Mindedness: Not All That Meets The Eye?

Materialists are often accused of being "closed-minded." This seems an apt and apposite reply:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Good Investment!

It's a truism in 'bidness': You don't let your meat loaf. Money that's not MAKING money is LOSING money.

So, you presumably knew, or guessed, and were't too alarmed that Citi, Goldman, BoA, and the rest of the banksters who extorted trillion$$$$$ in Bushevik and Obamanista largess had thereupon relied upon the 'plausible deniability' conferred by the fungibility of kapital to conceal the fact that they were using tax-payers' money to speculate in--and not incidentally to drive UP the price of--OIL? And they stand to make a fucking KILLING!!! So saith Ravi Bhatra, a widely heralded, critical economist, last week, on the Thom Hartmann radio show. No problem, right? Nuttin poisunul, yous know dat, right? Jus' bidness,?

So, guess WHAT the Health Insurance Parasites (HIP-sters) are investing their obscene profits in?

No really. Guess....

Think: LSMFT! What you'd walk a mile for.

Yeah! You gottit! Tobacco! According to Susie Madrak, posting on Suburban Guerilla:
Of course their top priority is making money! That’s the problem, right? That’s why we shouldn’t have a for-profit healthcare industry:
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Major US, Canadian and British life and health insurance companies have billions of dollars invested in tobacco companies, a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine said.

Wesley Boyd, the study’s lead author, found that at least 4.4 billion dollars in insurance company funds are invested in companies whose affiliates produce cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.

“Despite calls upon the insurance industry to get out of the tobacco business by physicians and others, insurers continue to put their profits above people’s health,” said Boyd, a faculty member of Harvard Medical School.

“It’s clear their top priority is making money, not safeguarding people’s well-being,” he wrote.
Of course, what else would one expect in a culture which, on EVERY level--from safety, to regulation, to taxation, to policy--always subordinates the health of its people to the wealth of its elites.

And really, shouldn't we consider the humanistic work tobacco consumption does in keeping the population down. We always forget that, if the 5-6 million people tobacco kills every year were to live, and such, they'd raise demand and therefore prices.

So, smoke 'em if ya got'em...