April 29, 2009

Uuunnnnh... WHAT?!

Just when I think I've seen everything the stumbling leaders of the GOP could possibly do to put another bullet in their collective metatarsals, they come up with something that leaves my jaw on the floor.

I simply have no words. Courtesy of Think Progress (and be sure to watch the short video compilation):
The House is scheduled to vote today on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The bill, also called the Matthew Shepard Act, would "permit greater federal involvement in investigating hate crimes and expand the federal definition of such crimes to include those motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability." Yesterday, President Obama urged Congress "to act on this important civil rights issue," and pass the bill. Indeed, in 2007, the most recent year for which statics are available, there were 7,621 single-bias hate crimes that involved 8,999 offenses, more than 50 percent of which were racially-motivated.

The right wing, unsurprisingly, is up in arms over extending protection to victims of anti-gay crimes. Led by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), House Republicans took to the floor last night to warn that the bill would impose "tyranny," create a "Big Brother" government, and end religious freedom:
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): I feel that this hate crime legislation could be considered the very definition of tyranny.

REP. GRESHMAN BARRET (R-SC): This bill would inhibit religious freedom in our society -- a scary thought.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): You think a pregnant mother does not deserve the protection of a homosexual? You think a military member doesn't deserve the protection of a transvestite?

REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): I, Mr. Speaker, oppose and I defy the logic of the people that would advocate for such legislation the very idea we could divine what goes on in the heads of people when they commit crimes...
Debating the bill on the House floor today, REP. VIRGINIA FOXX (R-NC) called Matthew Shepherd's murder "a hoax" and denied that it was a hate crime.
You know, on second thought I do have a few words.

Not to be blunt, but there is simply no excuse for this level of ignorance and intolerance in those select few individuals who decide the fate of our nation in the halls of Congress. I'm not talking about one's right to genuine, private opinions about human sexuality, nor the Constitutional freedom to express those views in a peaceful, non-violent way.

However abhorrent I may personally find them.

No, I'm talking about willfully misrepresenting legislation, fearmongering, slandering, and outright lying by elected representatives. I'm talking about callously belittling the deliberate torture and murder of a young man on the floor of the House of Representatives with his mother seated in the Gallery.

And all in opposition to a long-overdue measure of basic humanity that no sane, enlightened, "real" American could justifiably oppose.

What's wrong with these people? And when are the rational, decent members of the Right going to rise up and denounce the sheer stupidity and dishonesty of dangerous individuals like Bachmann, Gohmert, et al? Are there none of you left out there who are willing to do something that demonstrates your good Christian "values?"

I'm disgusted and appalled. Matthew Shepherd's murder a hoax?! Maybe reeducation camps - for Foxx and her ilk - aren't such a bad idea after all.

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(UPDATE: The House passed the bill today, 249 to 175. A mere 18 Republicans joined 231 Democrats to approve the bill.)

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Still focused on the trees...

Norman Lear, writing about yesterday's Supreme Court decision to uphold the FCC ban on the use of "fleeting" expletives on broadcast TV, ruefully notes:
Maybe now those pesky kids in schoolyards across the country will cease their fleeting use of those appalling words. Or, since the kid likely never lived who used a filthy word just "fleetingly," perhaps the Supreme Court will consider issuing a second ban on the wall-to-wall use of s- and f-words in the schoolyard.

It could happen. I'd put nothing past the cultural wisdom of Justice Scalia whose prevailing brief included these stunning insights: "We doubt that small town broadcasters run a heightened risk of liability for indecent utterances... their down-home local guests probably employ vulgarity less than big city folks, and small town stations generally cannot afford or cannot attract foul-mouthed glitterati from Hollywood."

Look how he nails us all -- kids; small-town folk; big city creeps; trashy Hollywood types -- does this man know his Americans, or what?! Certainly better than silly Justice Stevens, who in his dissenting opinion, finds it ironic that "while the FCC patrols the airwaves for words that have a tenuous relationship with sex or excrement, commercials broadcast during prime time frequently ask viewers whether they are battling erectile dysfunction or having trouble going to the bathroom."
I'm so glad that the highest court in our land has taken the time to settle one of the genuinely pressing issues that confront us today - and to issue a majority opinion that reinforces just how depraved we urbanites are compared to real Americans. Sheesh!

As Mr. Lear does note correctly, one need only visit a typical schoolyard to get an earful of America's favorite expletives. So I sincerely doubt that a majority of our kids will be scarred by the randomly broadcast obscenity any more than they're damaged by years of watching iCarly! That doesn't mean, however, that I disagree with Scalia in principle - I do feel we should step up efforts to regain a semblance of class in this nation, and educate our children to speak elegantly, accurately, and always with respect.

Believe me, my teenage sons don't need any further encouragement to drop an F-bomb in casual conversation!

And yet, while (in a broad sense) I bemoan the coarsening of our "culture" - and therefore, surprisingly, oppose the encroachment of random "s&$t"s and "f#%k"s into our primetime viewing schedules - yesterday's decision is yet another example of our collective inability to discern the forest from the trees. There is something far more insidious that permeates the American airwaves than the occasional swear word or ED commercial.

The intentional dissemination of lies.

While Scalia and his prudish compatriots fret over essentially harmless outbursts of bad language, we are pummeled daily with a barrage of obfuscation, misdirection, and half-truths from our television "news" divisions, organizations that are more concerned with profits and ratings than factual, dispassionate reporting; more obsessed with Lindsay Lohan's latest relationship woes than the fact that Taliban forces are now just 60 miles outside of Islamabad; more focused on driving a particular political ideology than a patriotic and constructive commitment to simple truth.

Over three years ago, addressing the FCC's similar "oversight" of obscene radio content, I wrote:
Now it's one thing if the fabricated facts being fed to an empty-headed public by such influential radio figures have to do with Brad and Jen and Angelina. Those tall tales are regrettable, even repulsive, yet in the scheme of things they don't amount to much. But it's another thing entirely when those falsehoods concern matters of grave importance, and are being used to sway a significant percentage of the population toward unwarranted support of issues with real consequence.

Things like Iraq's "connection" to 9/11. The Social Security "crisis". The torture and indefinite detainment of suspected "enemy combatants". The tenor of the Alito confirmation hearings and the big "crying" scandal. The "imminent threat" of a nuclear Iran - or a non-military San Francisco. The "necessary" wiretapping of American citizens.

Unlike some fraudulent gossip about silly Hollywood celebrities, misinformation on these topics affects the nation in demonstrably harmful ways. Bad legislation is written into law. Civil rights are violated and/or eliminated. Potentially violent divisions in our citizenry are fostered and exacerbated.

Young men and women are needlessly sent to die.

Yet despite the seriousness of the consequences that result from this ongoing litany of misdirection, there seems to be no regulatory body charged with guaranteeing that the information dispersed to the American public is actually based on proven fact, or ensuring that misinformation presented as truth (because of the potential harm that can arise based on said deception) is subject to swift rebuke, prosecution, and punishment.
As long as "the sun sets in the East" is given the same prominence as "the sun sets in the West" (under the guise of "balanced reporting"), as long as politicians are empowered to rewrite history without being challenged, as long as obvious untruths are allowed to be sold as fact without any common-sense restrictions, it is our flailing Fourth Estate that poses the greatest danger on TV. It ensures a confused, divided, and cynical electorate, unable to discern fact from fiction.

You'll never hear me say it on TV, but THAT shit is truly fucked up!

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April 27, 2009

The Audacity of "Nope"

Ah, pity our poor Republican brethren. Seems like even when they actually do something in the hallowed halls of government it ends up being the wrong thing. From reporter Jason Linkins in today's HuffPo:
Well, as it turns out, volcano monitoring wasn't the only worthwhile public safety program that was deemed extravagant in the stimulus package; funding for pandemic preparation was axed as well.
Now, I know the GOP couldn't actually foresee the current swine-flu scare when they were stripping $870 million in "pandemic preparedness" from the stimulus bill. But someone could - and did - recognize the good, common horse-sense in funding a program that just might keep us healthy and productive in the event of such a crisis.

And once again it wasn't someone with an "R" after his or her name.

Our national wellness is an integral, inter-connected part of our ability to sustain economic recovery. I would expect our elected officials, regardless of party stripe, to understand that as a matter of course. Sadly, it would seem that once again key conservative leaders just didn't get the memo.

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April 23, 2009

Too much time on their hands

To quote one of my favorite childhood icons, "Good grief!" From today's Politico:
A conservative faction of the Republican National Committee is urging the GOP to take a harder line against both Democrats and wayward Republicans, drafting a resolution to rename the opposition the "Democrat Socialist Party" and moving to rebuke the three Republican senators who supported the stimulus package.

In an e-mail sent Wednesday to the 168 voting members of the committee, RNC member James Bopp, Jr. accused President Obama of wanting "to restructure American society along socialist ideals."
I suppose we should all take comfort in the fact that Republican leaders - faced with a bankrupt economy and two costly wars that their party created over the past eight years - have their priorities straight. Nice to see such creative energy being applied to the truly important issues confronting the nation.

Of course, as anyone with an IQ higher than Mr. Bopp's age could probably tell you, the ol' RedWhite&Blue has long been a mixture of capitalist and socialist practices. And it seems to me that this blend of economic and social theorems worked pretty well - until its operation fell into the hands of George the Younger and his minions, that is.

I'll admit I'm the teensiest bit muddled, as well. Wasn't it just eight days ago that the President and his party were being called Maoists and/or fascists? I sure wish the conservative masses would decide which way they want to go with this. The vitriol and hypocritical noise emanating from the Right is confusing enough as it is.

But (as my teenage daughter is fond of saying), whatEVER, dude. Let them have their fun. When the GOP decides to adopt a similarly honest rebranding - let's say, the "Homophobe Obstructionist Tax Cut and Torture Party" - then maybe idiotic proposals like Bopp's will be more than just a tragic waste of breathable oxygen.

Well... probably not.

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April 22, 2009

A shameful debate

The "T"-word is on everyone's lips these days. And no, I don't mean TARP or teabagging, terrorism or taxes. I'm of course referring to torture, and to the unthinkable contention by many (primarily on the Right) that it is not only justified and defensible, but a practice that should be allowed to continue unabated in the name of "national security."

Sure, I've heard all the arguments that favor an embrace of tit-for-tat barbarity: the much-ballyhooed "ticking time bomb" scenario (paging Jack Bauer!); the as-of-yet unsubstantiated claims that "enhanced interrogation techniques" (good God, George Orwell must be proud) have yielded valuable, life-saving information; the disingenuous dance around the Geneva Conventions by categorizing certain foes as "enemy combatants" (isn't it interesting that those opponents in our alleged "war" on terror are somehow, conveniently, not considered prisoners of war?).

None of which changes one incontrovertible fact - as long as America hopes to position itself on the moral high ground, torture, in any shape or form, cannot be condoned.

I'm sickened and ashamed as an American that there is even a debate over what, precisely, constitutes torture to begin with. Is waterboarding for 10 seconds acceptable, but 20 seconds too much? Is electric shock administered to the nipples justifiable, but genital electrocution beyond the pale? Is sexual humiliation a "useful" procedure, as long as it doesn't escalate to outright rape?

Have we as a culture succumbed so completely to our animal fears that we can coldly dissect the specific details of various forms of brutality in such a way as to actually rationalize the sadistic mistreatment of any human being?

I hate to say it, kids, but if your answer is "yes" then the terrorists have already won.

Political strategist and author Robert Creamer notes today at HuffPo:
As a country, we need to emerge from this debate having placed the argument that "torture works" outside of the boundaries of acceptable political discourse once and for all.

In considering whether "torture works" the first question is: what do we mean by "works"? Torture has been used for centuries to achieve a variety of goals. It has been used to force subjects to tell what they know, to confess to crimes, to renounce their faith.

There is little question that torture gets a response from its victims. That's why its practitioners find it "useful." But that is also what makes its results completely unreliable. It isn't hard for anyone to imagine that they would say pretty much anything to make the pain stop if they believed they were drowning, or if their joints felt they would break after they had hung by their arms for hours, or if they were repeatedly slammed against the wall, or if they had been left naked and shivering for hours in the cold and periodically showered with cold water, or if they had been confined in a small box for hours with insects. All of these were methods approved by the Bush Justice Department...

(Former CIA Director) Hayden and (Bush's Attorney General) Mukasey would have us believe that only the "bad guys" were subject to torture. But of course we know that wasn't true - that hundreds of innocent people who were rounded up off the streets of Iraq were subject to "enhanced interrogation techniques" by the contractors at Abu Ghraib. We know that many of the detainees shipped to Guantanamo were turned over to our forces by bounty hunters and were innocent of anything except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But that didn't stop some of them from being subjected to various forms of "enhanced interrogation."

The fact is that once you go down the slippery slope of tossing aside the law and allowing some people to be tortured, there is nothing to stop each and every one of us from being the subject in the chair with the light glaring down that someone in authority has decided - mistakenly or not - is a "security risk."

There is only one thing that we know about torture that works for certain: torture debases us. It doesn't just debase its victims or those who perpetrate it. It debases all of us in whose name it is conducted. It debases us to others in the world - who lose respect for our values and grow to hate our society. But just as importantly, it debases us to ourselves. It debases our self-respect and our respect for the institutions that make us civilized human beings.
In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, commenting on a case of alleged pornography, famously intoned:
"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it."
In that same spirit, we must categorically reject any further debate over what techniques qualify as "torture." The point is moot - and the fact that there are those among us (the Cheneys, Hannitys, Becks, and Limbaughs, to name but a few) who persist in defending any level of Medieval barbarism should sicken us all.

We're supposed to be better than that, America. We're supposed to represent an enlightened way of thinking that rises above the violence and cruelty of our enemies. We're supposed to act always with honor, reason, and restraint no matter the bestial savagery of our ideological foe.

We're supposed to lead by example, not seek out unconscionable justifications for our basest instincts.

The word "torture" simply must not be a part of the American vocabulary. Period. Like Justice Stewart, I don't need any further definition of what euphemistically-named practices may be "embraced within that shorthand description." I just know it when I see it.

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January 20, 2009

Magnificent

What can I say about today that hasn't already been said by so many far more talented writers than myself? Today marks an historic event I despaired would never happen in my lifetime. As tears of elation rolled down my cheeks this morning and afternoon, I could only think of the following words:

Magnificent

Presidential

Intelligent

Elegant

Hopeful

Optimistic

American

Thank God the reign of ignorance under George the Younger has come to a close. Thank you - all of you - who helped to make this glorious day possible.

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November 09, 2008

Waiting for a leader

Courtesy of The New York Times' always wonderful Frank Rich:
For eight years, we’ve been told by those in power that we are small, bigoted and stupid - easily divided and easily frightened. This was the toxic catechism of Bush-Rove politics. It was the soiled banner picked up by the sad McCain campaign, and it was often abetted by an amen corner in the dominant news media. We heard this slander of America so often that we all started to believe it, liberals most certainly included...

The actual real America is everywhere. It is the America that has been in shell shock since the aftermath of 9/11, when our government wielded a brutal attack by terrorists as a club to ratchet up our fears, betray our deepest constitutional values and turn Americans against one another in the name of "patriotism." What we started to remember the morning after Election Day was what we had forgotten over the past eight years, as our abusive relationship with the Bush administration and its press enablers dragged on: That’s not who we are.

So even as we celebrated our first black president, we looked around and rediscovered the nation that had elected him. "We are the ones we've been waiting for," Obama said in February, and indeed millions of such Americans were here all along, waiting for a leader. This was the week that they reclaimed their country.
"Waiting for a leader." That pretty much sums it up for me. My joy is unabated that in the transformational Barack Obama, we the people have finally found that individual.

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Here we go!

From WaPo:
Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues...
Thank heavens. Time to hit the ground running and undo at least some of the damage done by George the Younger and his drooling disciples.

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November 06, 2008

A New Dawn

"President-elect Barack Hussein Obama..." Frankly, I'm still in such a state of euphoria every time I hear a variation of those words, I don't know what to write. It's my guess that it will be several more days before I'll be able to put my thoughts and emotions into some sort of coherent prose.

Suffice it to say that I can once again feel proud of America. I've dreamed of this day since I first saw the young Senator from Illinois speak at the DNC four years ago. That this dream has come to pass seems somehow like a miracle, yet, at the same time, like an inevitable event whose time had most certainly come.

God bless Barack Obama for giving us hope once again, for allowing us to dare to envision a new dawn for our reeling nation. That's all I've got for now - time to cry tears of joy and pride a little while longer...

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October 21, 2008

Brilliant

No preamble. Just watch and be amazed.

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October 04, 2008

Changing the subject

Golly. You die-hard Rethuglicans must be so proud of your "honorable" candidate. You must really believe in the appeal of your Party's policies. You must truly be committed to that whole "change" thing Captain John and Saint Sarah of Wasilla keep mentioning.

I mean, what better way to demonstrate those beliefs and commitments than by employing the same Rove-ian dirty tactics of character assassination, misdirection, and outright lying as the current Chimp in Chief did during 2000 and 2004? From WaPo:
Sen. John McCain and his Republican allies are readying a newly aggressive assault on Sen. Barack Obama's character, believing that to win in November they must shift the conversation back to questions about the Democrat's judgment, honesty and personal associations, several top Republicans said...

"We're going to get a little tougher," a senior Republican operative said, indicating that a fresh batch of television ads is coming. "We've got to question this guy's associations. Very soon. There's no question that we have to change the subject here."
"No question that we have to change the subject..." At last, a glimmer of honesty from the GOP. Damn right you have to change the subject. After the things you've done to our once-great nation, what else have you got?

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October 03, 2008

A vote for peace

As we ponder the theatrical "implications" of last night's VP debate - and collectively worry about the tumbling economy and our individual abilities to just stay afloat - it's necessary to remember the big-ticket item at the top of the Republican legacy. You know, that unprecedented, unjustified, unforgivable jaunt down Baghdad way. The very thing that defines the word "American" to a majority of the world.

So I turn this afternoon to blogger tristero at Hullabaloo, who, in the midst of a well-deserved critique of The New Yorker, sums it all up for me...
Regardless, I cannot let the following slide without comment:
There is still disagreement about the wisdom of overthrowing Saddam Hussein and his horrific regime...
Sorry, Mr. and Ms. New Yorker, but among people with working brains and souls, there is no - zero, zip, nada - disagreement. It was a screaming yellow bonkers idea. More importantly, it was an insane idea back in '02 and it was still irredeemably crazy in '03 when you shamefully endorsed it.

And no, I won't forget about it. And no, I won't get over it. Ever.

But look, I know my unrelenting anger at liberal hawks doesn't matter in the slightest. It is the dead that matter, and the mutilated, and the tortured. And they are all that matter.

So, dammit, the least the New Yorker could do is not try to finesse things. Not "over 4000" American troops as the New Yorker so roundly puts it, but close to 4200 troops have died because of this insane war, a war enabled by the support of folks like The New Yorker's editor, not to mention the silence of most of the rest of the liberals/moderates cowering in the interstices of the Bush-licking mass media. And not "tens of thousands" Iraqis, but nearly 100,000 confirmed pointless Iraqi deaths, and if you think that's even close to the real total you're being unreasonably optimistic. And let's not forget: While Bush had a few foolish partners in all this murderous stupidity, the blame is all America's.

It was unimaginable, unspeakable back in '03? Nonsense. It was easily imagined and many spoke up. In fact, the great majority of the world foresaw this awful tragedy, including millions upon millions of sensible Americans, including - to his everlasting credit - Barack Obama.
This election is about many things. As I'm fond of reminding everyone around me, it is, at its very core, a battle for the soul of America. It is about the kind of image we wish to establish in this new millennium.

But November 4th is overridingly about one thing which eclipses health-care and energy independence and creating jobs and women's rights and whatever issue du jour is grabbing the full attention of our impotent 4th Estate. It is about war and the consequences of a national policy built upon war as the 1st solution to all the world's ills.

A vote for John McCain is a vote for war. A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for peace. It's really that simple, kids.

I know which way I'm leaning...

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October 02, 2008

Eloquence

Maybe there is hope for our future. Via HuffPo, this beautiful post from 15-year-old Obama volunteer Cassie Goldring:
I am a fifteen-year-old girl who is a spectator in this election, for I am unable to vote due to my age which is why I write this to you.

On November 4th, 2008, you will be deciding the future of our country. When you elect our next president of the United States, you are not only choosing the individual who will lead our country for the next 4 (maybe 8) years, but you are deciding what the future of our country is going to be like; how our country will change, or won't. This election is not a matter of gender, race, age or religion, this is a matter of we as Americans understanding that we can no longer sit by as spectators and allow leaders such as George W. Bush to command our country...

This is a new world from the one that my parents and grandparents grew up in, a place in which we do not judge people based on the color of their skin, but only on who they are as people and on their character. We need a President who sees the world through my generation's eyes because this is the world that we will soon inherit and have to ourselves lead. We are the ones who will inherit the economic debt that the George W. Bush administration has currently left us in. We are the ones who will have to repair the rapidly deteriorating Earth, and we are the ones who will have to deal with the consequences of two mismanaged wars.
Out of the mouths of babes... If only every voter were as reasoned and well-informed as she.

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The real John McCain

A must-read from Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone about John McCain's "disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty." Excerpt:
This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

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Shameful

Sadly, I'm not surprised that this shameful story hasn't gotten any media attention whatsoever. From Chris Rodda at Daily KOS:
On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" -- the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail -- were distributed by mail in Ohio, a "chemical irritant" was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers. This, apparently, is what the scare tactic political campaigning of John McCain's supporters has led to -- Americans perpetrating a terrorist attack against innocent children on American soil.
Good God, people - is this the kind of "America" we want in the new millennium?

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September 30, 2008

Uh, run that by me one more time...

OK, now I'm really confused...

Courtesy of Laura Rosen at War and Peace, this little tidbit from Bloomberg.com:
The Federal Reserve will pump an additional $630 billion into the global financial system, flooding banks with cash to alleviate the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression.

The Fed increased its existing currency swaps with foreign central banks by $330 billion to $620 billion to make more dollars available worldwide...

"Today's blast of term liquidity will settle the funding markets down, and allow trust to slowly be restored between borrowers and lenders," said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York.
So, what gives?

Does this mean that the "experts" we've been hearing from were revealing only half the total required to prevent "Hooverville, Part Deux"? Does this mean that Bush-appointee Hank Paulson was somehow unaware that the Fed could inject this cash into the market, regardless of Congressional action?

Does this mean that the $700 billion in taxpayer money specified by the "bailout" wasn't really necessary after all?

Whew - glad THAT's behind us!

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September 27, 2008

Missing in action

Please, Republicans (and I count many among my friends and family, believe it or not), pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease just be honest and end this embarrassing love affair with Saint Sarah of Wasilla. Good God, where was she last night while Joe Biden was demonstrating (on practically every channel) that he's absolutely ready to assume the office of Vice President?!

Even you, my conservative lemmings, have got to admit that this continued avoidance of the press is not only disturbing, but inexcusable.

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September 24, 2008

Hating America

You know, I really don't want to seem petty. But when dealing with petty and small-minded people (i.e. modern Republicans), pettiness is quite often the only gesture they're able to comprehend.

In that light, I offer up the following, full-page picture of Saint Sarah of Wasilla which appeared in the September 13th print edition of Newsweek magazine...

I've long complained about Bush-era conservatives who "wrap themselves in the flag" while desecrating the ideals which that flag represents. Apparently, the Alaska Governor decided that, for her feature article in one of America's leading newsmagazines, it would be a good idea to take that philosophy from the merely metaphorical to the gallingly literal.

Just a gesture to energize the "base," I suppose.

One tiny little technical problem, though. Apparently, this most visible mouthpiece for the "country first" crowd overlooked the fact that her choice of wardrobe violates the United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 - The Flag. According to Section 8d, "The flag should never be used as wearing apparel... It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free."

All of which makes me wonder: Why does Sarah Palin hate America?

OK, OK. As I admitted up front, I would ordinarily hesitate to be so petty. It's just that, not so long ago, Saint Sarah's own Party and supporters tried to whip up public sentiment against Senator Obama over his well-reasoned decision to stop wearing a flag pin on his lapel. Hysterical conservatives called his very patriotism into question over the insignificant absence of jewelry arbitrarily affixed to his clothing, frightening a compliant media to join in the chorus of doubt about the Senator's allegiance to America itself.

As if those ubiquitous magnetic ribbons plastered onto the back of your SUV meant a damn thing about your devotion to the principles of democracy in the first place.

Imagine, for a moment, if Mr. Obama released a similar photo of himself wrapped in the ol' RedWhiteandBlue. I guarantee there'd be an outcry of protest from the Right so loud and self-righteous it wouldn't dissipate for months. And I'm sure some clever student of Rovian politics would point out the fact that the Illinois Senator was willfully violating that Flag Code, once again denigrating his patriotism.

Petty? Sure. But what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Looks like respect for the American flag is just one more thing that Mrs. Palin currently knows nothing about.

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Random words of wisdom...

A hat tip to Worldwide Sawdust for this sobering - and accurate - indictment of the architects of the Iraq "war" from Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon:
Breaking every international law, and under the pretext of the war against terror, there has taken place since 2003 a devastating attack on the rule of law and against the very essence of the international community. In its path, institutions such as the United Nations were left in tatters, from which it has not yet recovered...

We should look more deeply into the possible criminal responsibility of the people who are, or were, responsible for this war and see whether there is sufficient evidence to make them answer for it...There is enough of an argument in 650,000 deaths for this investigation and inquiry to start without more delay.
- - -

From The Demon Princess at MoronCowboy, a few choice words for Congress to remember as it confronts, well, everything that the lame-duck Administration is trying to sneak through:
"Centrism" is not a political position so much as it is a survival strategy, a way of treading water while unbelievably vicious and nasty rightwingers have made of EVERYTHING a partisan issue. WAKE UP! The worst of them are gone now, marginalized, their theories and dire predictions completely discredited, having left everything in utter disarray. There could not be a better time to begin to turn things around, while the memories are fresh and the detritus lies in heaps around our feet.

Instead we get Dems who've internalized the empty rhetoric of their abusers and can't seem to find the courage to do anything more than tinker at the edges of disastrous neocon policy...
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Via Daily KOS, contributor Hunter weighs in on the just-released conservative Republican counterproposal to the bailout:
By what possible measure could anyone honestly believe that the solution to this crisis is to eliminate the capital gains tax on corporations and the wealthy? The only thing I can come up with is that the purveyors of this nonsense are goddamn, no good, flim-flamming bullshitting soulless America-hating megacrooks who have absolutely no interest in anything except getting a narrow class of people out of paying their damn taxes -- and are willing to scream "Depression!" at everyone if they don't get it.

Whoever wrote this alternative "plan" shouldn't merely be fired -- they should be fired into the sun.
'Nuff said.

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