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November 18th, 2008
ARGH!!! So now that Democrats will in January have the White House, the House and the Senate, Joe Lieberman (Lieberman for Lieberman Party-CT) gets to keep his Senate committee chairmanships as if he were a Democrat. This after Lieberman campaigned for Republican John McCain and several other Republicans for Senate.
Now, far be it from me to try and define regular, ordinary words for politicians, who don’t seem to understand the meaning of regular, ordinary words. Words like “Party” and “Loyalty” and “Procedure” and “Majority” and “Governance.” Politicians don’t want to know these things, preferring instead to make things up as they go along.
During these past couple of years when Democrats didn’t have an actual majority in the Senate, Lieberman has been allowed to be a Republican mole in the Democratic Caucus, reporting to his puppeteers and financial backers every move planned by members. He has been allowed to hold several committee chairs, including Homeland Security, where he has steadfastly refused to enforce subpoenas, investigate illegalities of the Bush administration, or even to investigate FEMA’s horrendously inadequate response to hurricane Katrina.
So Lieberman has been rewarded with a pass from the now-actual Democratic majority, encouraged to do more of the same obstructionism that has made him so immensely unpopular outside of Israel.
One day soon, as the public wakes up to realize the Republicans are now a fringe party of right-wing wackos and religious nuts and the Democrats are what the Republicans were before they purged everyone with any sense, there will be a new Progressive Party for the “rest of us.” And it will, within 8-12 years, be electing more than a handful of representatives and Senators, way more than the fringe Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, Communists and Nazis can ever manage.
Sigh. The more things “Change,” it seems, the more they remain the same.Filed under Appointees, Caucuses, Coalitions, Democrats, Hypocrisy, Outrage | Comment (0)
September 23rd, 2008
What happened today on Capitol Hill:
Secretary of the Treasury and ex-CEO of Goldman-Sachs Henry Paulson called Congressional leadership for a get-together. He tells them something – no doubt using charts and graphs – so horrifying, so absolutely terrifying that they all come out looking like Moses (er… Charlton Heston) after meeting the burning bush. Hair’s grown a foot and is stark white, their beards fall to their bellies, they’ve all got that far-away look in their red-rimmed eyes, and their hands are shaking. None dare breathe the edict: Set My People Free!
So. What was it, exactly, that Paulson told them? Gee, we dunno. Nor are we allowed to know. Just as if this were top secret intelligence pinpointing WMDs that don’t exist right in Saddam’s palace, we don’t get to find out. Even though it’s supposedly OUR trillion or three or four they MUST have right now to bail themselves out. With a laughable “emergency” plan that, Deputy Admin press secretary Tony Fratto said just today, was drawn up over the course of months.
Months. Not days or even weeks. They sure as shit knew it was coming, and simply waited for just the right moment of panic to spring it on us as if the end of the world is mere hours away. Ah, the lively tune reverberates in my mind…
“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!”Analysis, Appointees, Class War, Corruption, Economics, Federal Reserve, Humor, Market Crash, Outrage | Comment (0)
July 31st, 2008
…this one is ominous!
Yahoo News reported: White House unveils intelligence powers overhaul.
“Unveils?” Is this some sort of proposal? Nope. It’s a done deal, no oversight or even prior notice required…
The action by Bush provoked bipartisan anger among House of Representatives lawmakers who said they were not properly consulted or briefed on the planned changes.
“We were only shown the document after it was complete and on its way to the president for his signature,” said Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Texas Democrat who heads the House Intelligence Committee.
“Given the impact that this order will have on America’s intelligence community, and this committee’s responsibility to oversee intelligence activities, this cannot be seen as anything other than an attempt to undercut congressional oversight,” said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the top Republican on the panel.
So. What exactly does this done deal include? Over at AFP the story is entitled: Bush orders overhaul of US intelligence. But don’t bother, it’s mostly a pro-fluff piece. Better is the offering by Raw Story: Watchdog: Bush turning intelligence agencies on Americans…
“This kind of concentrated power, exercised in secret, is a lit fuse with our Constitution likely in danger of being burned,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.
Another interesting analysis appears in cskendrick’s DKos diary, Who Needs Congress? Bush Reorgs Intel Services by Decree. The logical next question for any citizen concerned about civil liberties, the US Constitution, and things like the orderly transfer of power to the next duly elected President is,
Are they doing this for Barack Obama’s benefit?
P.S. Check out Pulitzer winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s report in the New Yorker (analyzed at Think Progress) about how VP Dick Cheney proposed a “false flag” operation to provoke war with Iran To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal to Dress Up Navy Seals as Iranians and Shoot at Them. Is it likely these guys are tired of All The Power In The World yet?Filed under Appointees, Bush, Intelligence, Outrage, War | Comment (0)
June 2nd, 2008
After a long, hard-fought and predictably ugly campaign for the Democratic nomination for POTUS, the Rules Committee of the RNC on Saturday did not hand Hillary Clinton what she demanded – ALL of the delegates for both Florida and Michigan. These two states had broken the rules by rescheduling their primaries to occur before “Super Tuesday,” knowing they would incur penalty and lose their seats at the convention. They did it anyway, Hillary claimed wins in both, even though Obama (and Edwards, and Richardson, etc.) weren’t even on the ballot in Michigan.
Thus as of today, June 2 on the eve of the last primary contest tomorrow, the count stands at Obama 2,071, Clinton 1,914.5. Obama needs 46 of the remaining 234 delegates, Clinton needs 202.5 of them. Which she isn’t at all likely to get, so for all intents and purposes (and barring some not-so clever coup d’etat at the convention by Bill and Hill), It’s Over.
There has been increasing buzz over the last couple of weeks that the Clintons are positioning for Vice-President on Obama’s ticket, but I predict this will quickly slide into the rain-gutter. Why would a President Obama want to have not one but TWO vice-presidents with egos so big they’d undermine his policies just to get the attention they crave? This is a bad idea, and I don’t think Obama or anyone moving and shaking in his campaign are going to fall for it.
So… what do we do with the Clintons? It’s quite obvious that their ambition, sense of entitlement and passion for divisive politics wasn’t quenched after 8 years’ worth of Vast Right Wing Conspiracy or Bimbo Eruptions. They still feel they’ve something to contribute, and we might all be better off if we go ahead and let them contribute. Here’s my ideas…
Hillary should go back to representing the State of New York in the Senate, and the moment one of the current cadre of Supreme Court justices dies or retires, she should be the first and foremost Obama nominee to that bench. With a Dem congress it should be a breeze to get her confirmed, and a lot of the folks there are themselves floating this idea of what to do with Hillary.
Continue reading »
April 3rd, 2008
Our ever-vigilant U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey committed a major faux-pas last week when trying to work up some crocodile tears during a speech touting “necessary” domestic spying in San Francisco. Attempting to blame a lack of power-to-spy for the 3,000 American fatalities on September 11, 2001, Mukasey revealed…
Officials “shouldn’t need a warrant when somebody with a phone in Iraq picks up a phone and calls somebody in the United States because that’s the call that we really want to know about. And before 9-11, that’s the call we didn’t know about. We knew that there was a call from someplace that was known to be a safe house in Afghanistan and we knew that it came to the United States. We didn’t know precisely where it went.”
Holy Moley, Batman!!! Did the AG just tell us something nobody in the BushCo administration bothered to tell the 9-11 Commission during its investigation? That US officials KNEW of a call from an Al Queda “safe house” in Afghanistan to someone in the United States, but didn’t listen in because they were scared of breaking the law?
Is Mukasey trying to tell us that US intelligence agencies – including NSA who monitors virtually ALL telecommunications, and the CIA who knows where Al Queda’s “safe houses” are – have no understanding of the FISA law that has been on the books since 1978? What in the world DO they teach these spooks at training camp?9-11, al Quaeda, Appointees, Hypocrisy, Intelligence, Propaganda | Comment (1)
March 31st, 2008
Treas. Sec. Henry Paulson
It seems the recent recognition by Wall street’s overzealous speculators that the nation is in deep recession (something they’ve ignored for years despite it being a regular big deal out amongst the real people who do real work when they can find it) has led to yet another opportunity for the Bush Administration to make an unprecedented power-grab. And predictably, they’ve leapt at the chance.
From the New York Times:
The Bush administration on Monday rolled out the broadest overhaul of Wall Street regulation since the Great Depression, presenting a series of proposals that would, for the first time, create a set of federal regulators with authority over all players in the financial system.
But the proposal will do almost nothing to regulate the alphabet soup of sophisticated financial products that have fueled the current financial crisis. And it will not rein in practices that have been linked to the mortgage crisis, like packaging risky loans into securities carrying the highest ratings.
[Emphasis mine] Well. There you have it. The overwhelming greed of the financial sector has led to serious financial troubles, so the Bushies want to claim more power while at the same time doing nothing at all about the greed that will by summer (if projections are correct) have millions of hard working Americans homeless in the streets.Appointees, Bush, Economics, Market Crash, Recession | Comment (0)
March 17th, 2008
Bear-Stearns Bailout: Billionaires 1, Taxpayers 0
Hat Tip to The Bonddad Blog
This video consists of clips of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson lying his ass off on George Stephanopolis’ Sunday talk-fest (you can tell he’s lying because his lips are moving, but pay attention to his “tell” – how he blinks, stutters and shakes his head when he tells lies, negating what he’s saying. The man just cannot defend bailing out a speculative investment bank – the fifth largest in the country – while doing precisely zip to help the citizens who are losing their homes to this mess.
Which, unfortunately, is only going to get worse as more greedy billionaires who haven’t paid any taxes since Bush exempted them get the people they’ve screwed (US citizens) to bail them out of their bad decisions. If the US taxpayers have to bail out the billionaires, shouldn’t we also make them pay some taxes? How about refinancing their homes at a flat 4% for 30 years, as if they’d gotten those loans from a fed-guaranteed lender (since that’s now who owns the paper)? How about wiping out THEIR debts?
I like this “Hillbilly Report,” thought readers would find it refreshingly truthful too. Enjoy!Filed under Analysis, Appointees, Class War, Corruption, Depression, Economics, Federal Reserve, Market Crash, Policy, Recession | Comment (0)
February 20th, 2008
Kangaroo Trials for Gitmo prisoners
The Pentagon announced on February 11 that it is charging six detainees at Guantanamo Bay with war crimes, and will be seeking the death penalty for all. According to ex-JAG officers, it has already been decided that all will be convicted, and all will die. The highlights will be secret evidence and confessions gathered under torture from people who have been held for years sans habeas corpus.
Ross Tuttle’s Rigged Trials at Gitmo appears online from The Nation. Looks like BushCo are fixing to compound their own war crimes. Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for Gitmo’s military commissions detailed a conversation with Pentagon general counsel William Haynes, who now oversees the tribunal process for the Department of Defense…
Filed under 9-11, al Quaeda, Appointees, Guantanamo, Military, Torture, War, War Crimes | Comment (0)
“[Haynes] said these trials will be the Nuremberg of our time,” recalled Davis, referring to the Nazi tribunals in 1945, considered the model of procedural rights in the prosecution of war crimes. In response, Davis said he noted that at Nuremberg there had been some acquittals, something that had lent great credibility to the proceedings.
“I said to him that if we come up short and there are some acquittals in our cases, it will at least validate the process,” Davis continued. “At which point, [Haynes's] eyes got wide and he said, ‘Wait a minute, we can’t have acquittals. If we’ve been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them off? We can’t have acquittals, we’ve got to have convictions.’”
November 7th, 2007
It’s just so darned hard to get a straight answer out of policy makers and policy hacks. Though, interestingly enough, it’s not that hard to get opinions from warriors (or prisoners) who have been subjected to it.
Yes, it’s torture. It’s labeled such, known as such, practiced as such. The fact that we subject our SEALs and Rangers and other special forces operatives to it to give them an idea of what torture *is* and how to resist it, tells us that it’s legitimately, objectively classifiable as TORTURE.
So, you might ask with wonder in your eyes, why are Senators and Congresscitters and administration hacks arguing about it in public? Why is it “important” on somebody’s scale of things to do to make this long-ago made distinction? Why won’t AG candidate Michael Mukasey lend us his views on the issue? It’s a fair question, let’s ask it…Anti-War, Appointees, Corruption, History, Humor, Hypocrisy, Military, Republicans, Snark, Torture | Comments (2)