14 10 2018

Recently, our President addressed The United Nations, and something unprecedented  took place. When he said,

 “My administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”

That usually solemn body broke out in laughter.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Several commentators that I read were aghast, enraged that our country has been brought so low that our President is laughed at by other world leaders.

Not me. I’m glad it finally happened, and I hope it’s not the only time. I wish the world had started laughing at America’s pretensions a long time ago.

I wish that, when Colin Powell falsely asserted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, he had been laughed at. I wish the UN had laughed at George Bush for supporting those lies, instead of acquiescing and giving the US permission to invade Iraq and Afghanistan on the ludicrous pretext that a bunch of Saudis hijacked airplanes and flew them into buildings in the US. I wish the UN had laughed at Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech. I wish French and British diplomats had laughed at the US when this country put them up to the UN resolution that was wrongly used to justify intervention in that country’s US-incited civil war, which plunged Libya from being, as Iraq once was, one of the wealthier, more stable countries in the region into being a failed state and a gateway for African refugees seeking to escape to Europe. Not that African refugees don’t need a safe haven. Read the rest of this entry »


9 09 2018

Recently, I went looking for something authoritative about Russia during “the lawless years” that followed the fall of the USSR. After doing some internet searching, I found that Seymour Hersh, whose reputation is reasonably impeccable, had written a story, entitled “The Wild East,” on that subject in 1994. Yes, I know there are those who attack him, but if you’re reporting on things that annoy those in power, or who aspire to power, you will be attacked. Hersh has won plenty of recognition for his work, and this particular piece was published in The Atlantic, which does not put its support behind dicey reporting.

The page was so discouraging to look at that I almost gave up without reading it. It was in that old-style 90’s internet format–wall-to-wall words, no margins, no pictures, no skipped lines between paragraphs. At the top of the page were an underlined 1 and a 2, indicating that it was the second page of an article, since the 2 was black and the one was blue. Might as well start at the beginning, I said to myself, and jumped to page one.

The US embassy in Moscow

Hersh began his story with an account of the unsolved murder of a staff member of the American Embassy in Moscow: Read the rest of this entry »


18 12 2016

music: Leonard Cohen, “Everybody Knows

I confess, I didn’t really expect it to happen. I’m kind of in shock that it did, and I still wonder if some strong wind will suddenly rise up and blow this strange, new, apparent reality away, but for now, the fact remains: On November 8, a strategically located minority of America’s voters–barely a quarter of those eligible–rose up against being slowly roasted in the frying pan of the Democratic Party’s kinder, gentler neoliberalism and…jumped directly into the fire of an undisguised corporate/reactionary/climate denialist takeover of the United States Government. That strategic minority of voters didn’t jump alone, however. They took the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, with them. That’s the bad news. The good news is, millions of people who might have thought everything was OK because Hillary Clinton was in charge now feel extremely insecure, and with good reason. That may not sound like good news, but it’s actually an improvement on what their state of mind with Clinton as President would have been, namely, “feeling secure, but without good reason.” More on that later. It’s one of the several facets of this complex question that we are going to be examining.  We’ll call that “Bad news/Good news.” The others are “how did we get here,” “What is the nature of this “here?” we now find ourselves in?” and  “Can we/How do we change this “here” into a different, happier ‘here’?”

So…how did we get here? Let’s start by looking at a couple of intertwined longer-term phenomena: our overall national sense of well-being, which, I think, is the force that’s been driving the second phenomenon, the waxing and waning of political party ascendancies since the late sixties and early seventies. The Kennedy-Johnson years and early Nixon years were the point in our country’s history when American workers were at the peak of their earnings. A guy with a blue-collar job could buy a house, support his stay-at-home wife, have a family, and send his kids to college if they wanted to go, or into a high-wage blue-collar job of their own. Note use of pronoun “his.”

Psychological sophistication was, not, and still is not, a hallmark of this culture, however, and white, working-class America’s response to change has been to perceive it as stress, and to respond to change/stress by rejecting the change/source of stress. Thus, some people perceived the Civil Rights movement and the Democratic Party’s efforts on its behalf, the hippies, and the anti-war movement as emotional threats, and reacted viscerally to them, rejecting Johnson’s heir apparent, Hubert Humphrey, and voting instead for Richard Nixon, who promised “law and order,” but proved to be pretty disorderly and unlawful himself. Too much stress. Jimmy Carter is a very unstressful Democrat, a Southerner that Northerners feel comfortable with. He’s the Pres.

But another, far more visceral, source of stress had started to kick in in the late 70’s. Workers’s wages quit rising, but the rest of the economy didn’t. In other words, everything cost more, but workers didn’t have more money at their disposal. Source of stress. Throw in a small Middle-Eastern country grabbing America by the crotch, aka the Iranian Hostage Crisis, and a botched rescue attempt, too much stress–Jimmy Carter is outta there after just one term, replaced by an entertainer, who had received hundreds of hours of television exposure as an easy-going, but principled, actor and show host. Much less stress! “It’s morning in America!” Ronald Reagan actually managed to hand the show off to George Bush, Sr., for one term, but the economic stress was continuing, even intensifying, and here’s two nice young Baby Boomers with a fresh approach. Hey, we all know he really did inhale, and so did his VP…they’ll chill us out way better than that crusty ol’ WWII vet. Read the rest of this entry »


3 04 2016

American democracy has been functionally describable as “a two-party system” for most of our country’s history. There have been “third parties,” but they have rarely been successful at breaking into the mainstream. One exception is the Republican Party, which took advantage of the collapse of the former “second party,” the Whigs, to  become the other major party besides the Democrats, in the election of 1856, running bearded, long-haired John C. Fremont for President.


John C. Fremont, the first Republican Presidential candidate–a long-haired guy with a beard.

They didn’t win that election, but went on to win in 1860 with Abe Lincoln, and kept that string going for most of the next seventy-two years, until Roosevelt routed Hoover in 1932.

Meanwhile, other parties kept hoping to do what the Republicans had done. The Populists and Socialists never got much traction; the Progressive Party, championed by Theodore Roosevelt and later Robert LaFollette, came closest. The Progressives were actually a spinoff from the Republicans, and succeeded in diverting enough Republican votes to allow the election of Woodrow Wilson, who first kept us out of, and then got us into, World War I. Hey, it was a good excuse for arresting radicals and labor organizers. It’s kind of amusing, in light of the current political landscape, to think of the Republicans as the progressive part of our political spectrum, but that is how they started out–taking the radical position that slavery should be limited and, ultimately, eradicated. I am sure that, when they endorsed this idea in 1856, they had no idea how soon it would come to pass. That should serve as an inspiration to all of us. Thank you, Republicans!

So, what has being a two-party system meant for the form and direction of politics in this country? Read the rest of this entry »


9 07 2011

I want to take a few minutes to honor the late Joe Bageant, who passed out of this world back in March.  Joe was a longtime editor and writer, but only recently came to what prominence he has (or had) through two books:  the recent Rainbow Pie, a memoir which describes how he became a “radical redneck,” and “Deer Hunting With Jesus:  Dispatches From America’s Class War,” a title which, I think, speaks for itself, in a koanish kind of way.

If you’re not familiar with Joe, here’s a couple of quotes that will give you an idea:

“I always say that if Obama was delivered to the White House with Jesus Christ, a five-piece band and six gilded seraphim holding up his f-ing balls he still won’t be able to do anything because the country’s broke and Congress is bought and sold.”

Just for the record, he wrote that when The Socialist Review asked his opinion of Obama’s election.  And “f-ing” is a polite contraction of the word he really used.  The next quote comes from “Deer Hunting With Jesus”:

“Republican or Democrat, this nation’s affluent urban and suburban classes understand their bread is buttered on the corporate side. The primary difference between the two parties is that the Republicans pretty much admit that they grasp and even endorse some of the nastiest facts of life in America. Republicans honestly tell the world: “Listen in on my phone calls, piss-test me until I’m blind, kill and eat all of my neighbors right in front of my eyes, but show me the money! Let me escape with every cent I can kick out of the suckers, the taxpayers, and anybody else I can get a headlock on, legally or otherwise.” Democrats, in contrast, seem content to catalog the GOP’s outrages against the Republic, showing proper indignation while laughing at episodes of The Daily Show. But they stand behind the American brand: imperialism. They “support our troops,” though you will be hard put to find any of them who have served alongside them or who would send one of their own kids off to lose an eye or an arm in Iraq. They play the imperial game, maintain their credit ratings, and plan to keep the beach house and the retirement investments if it means sacrificing every damned Lynndie England in West Virginia.”

To sum it up:  Republicans may be sociopaths, but Democrats are their enablers.  What a choice we have in politics!  And that brings me to my next subject, the continuing coup here in America, including validation of Joe’s prophetic abilities–there was recently a well-documented incident in which a male Republican government official all but put a female Democrat elected official in a headlock–which, once more sums up the whole situation in one messy image.  More on that later.

One of the more prominent arenas in which the struggle between the psychopaths and their enablers is playing out is the various state and national budget battles that are taking place.  Let’s look at Minnesota as an example.  It may well be a harbinger of things to come for all of us.

The government of Minnesota is currently shut down, because Republicans won’t agree to raise taxes for the wealthiest Minnesotans, arguing that a tax increase on the wealthy hurts everyone.

Now, I have just castigated Democrats for being enablers to their Republican sociopath counterparts,  but credit where credit is due:  Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Mark Dayton laid out his logic in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

The Minnesota Department of Revenue reports that, as a percentage of income, the wealthiest 10 percent of our citizens pay only three-fourths as much in state and local taxes as do the rest of Minnesotans. The richest 1 percent, who on average make over $1.2 million a year, pay only two-thirds as much.

If they all paid the same percentage of their incomes as everyone else, there would be an additional $4 billion in revenues for the next biennium. That would eliminate two-thirds of our state’s next budget deficit.

It would allow us to begin to restore our commitment to education. To serve our senior citizens. To lower property taxes.

Earlier in the article, Dayton pointed out that property taxes have doubled in Minnesota in the last decade–while Republican Tim “no new taxes” Pawlenty was governor.  Property taxes can be very regressive–just because you own land or a house doesn’t mean you have a lot of income, y’know?  Somehow, Republicans don’t seem to have a problem with that tax increase.  Or maybe, it’s “if we didn’t have to support all these socialistic public schools, we could cut property taxes.”  Some school districts in Minnesota have cut back to four-day weeks due to lack of funding.  I’m not that crazy about public schools, myself, for a whole host of reasons I don’t have time to go into now–but on the positive side, they can be one of the glues that hold communities together.

The Minnesota Republicans’ stonewalling on tax increases for the richest one  percent of Minnesotans harks back to one of the highlights of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, when George Bush said:

This is an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base.

And that’s just what Republicans all over the country are doing:  working to make the richest richer and to hell with the rest of us.   In Spain, everybody knows that “Republicans” is just a polite word for “fascists.”  I’d say I wish that awareness would catch on here, but I think there are too many people who don’t care what the opposition calls them as long as they have the most toys.  And so the class war drags on, and the selfish wealthy are winning.

Republicans can collect a political majority for two reasons:  one–a lot of Americans are gullible and mis-educated enough to believe that, even though they’re not rich, they could get rich and it would make them happy; and two–Republicans believe that because they are right it is OK to bend the rules and cheat like hell.  We see this in Republican efforts all over the country to limit voter turnout through increasingly restrictive voter ID laws, voter  caging,  and creative redistricting.

That’s what happened here in Tennessee when the legislature went Republican for the first time since Reconstruction, a hundred and fifty years ago–and not only did they restrict the hours and days for early voting and require people to produce a photo ID to vote, they rescinded the previous legislature’s bipartisan mandate to switch to  a recountable voting system.  We vote on computers in this state, and there is no way to tell whether they are accurately recording voter preferences, but there are plenty of ways to hack the machines so that they inaccurately record those preferences–undetectably.

And what else are the Republicans doing with the power they are seizing from all-too-often clueless Democrats?

They seem to be doing their best to turn America into the kind of country George Orwell envisioned in “1984”:  a small, well-off, well guarded elite, a slightly larger class of desperate wannabes, and a vast, disempowered, ignorant sea of proles, kept in their place by Fundamentalist Christian Shari’a, in our case, rather than Orwell’s “love of Big Brother.”

The nature of this repression is brought to light in a recent Guardian/ Alternet story focused on a fifteen-year old Mississippi girl who is facing a life sentence for having a miscarriage.  Yes, you heard/read that right.  Her case, however, is only the tip of the misogynist iceberg:  Thirty-eight states have passed or are considering “fetal homicide” laws, which are billed as a protection against assaults on pregnant women–but in South Carolina, where such a law has actually been passed, only one man has even been charged, while three hundred pregnant women have been prosecuted, mostly for having had miscarriages and testing positive for illegal drugs, even though there is no scientifically demonstrable link between drug use and miscarriage.  Other states’ “fetal endangerment” laws  have resulted in pregnant women being charged with child abuse and sent to prison simply for testing positive for marijuana.   Is the mother or the prosecutor engaging in “reckless endangerment” here?  Is it not truly Orwellian when we criminalize body chemistry rather than behavior?

But the bullying isn’t just at the relatively impersonal, prosecutorial level.  In at least one case, in Wisconsin, there has allegedly been one-on-one physical abuse.  Newly elected Republican Supreme Court Justice David Prosser allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Bradley, a Democrat, by the neck after she asked him to leave her office for referring to the Democrat Chief Justice of the Court, Shirley Abrahamson, as “a total bitch,”  and threatening to “destroy her.”  Is this not the language of abuse?   What is this abusive man doing on the Wisconsin Supreme Court?  Elected, no less?  This is a sad reflection on our country.

So, seeing the Republican and Democrat Parties as locked into abuser/enabler roles is not just a metaphor.  American politics are dangerously dysfunctional, and, short of the Green Party pulling off an electoral miracle in the next few cycles, likely to become even dumber and more deadlocked as we drift into the future.  The coup that was launched with the Supreme Court’s selection of Cheney and Bush as winners of the 2000 election will continue.   Republicans may succeed in their battle for complete control of the ship of state.  Congress can pass resolutions declaring that the roar of the waterfall ahead is merely a figment of Al Gore’s imagination, and continue to focus the power of the government on oppressing the people rather than saving the planet, but the reality is that the current is only going to get swifter, and the roar is only going to get louder, and sooner or later the American ship of state will lurch over the waterfall at the end of oil and empire, and crash onto the rocks below, dashing all the Republifascists’ control fantasies in the process.  They can’t say they weren’t warned.

music:  Grateful Dead, “Throwing Stones


8 08 2009

I was going to write a scathing article on how little difference there is, really, between the current and former occupants of the White House, but first Bill Maher and then  David Michael Green beat me to the punch. Here is a quote from Green’s scathing essay, which appears on the website Commondreams:

(Did you know that the Bush administration)…steered hundreds of billions of bail-out dollars to the very people who drove the country into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, required nothing of these sharks in return, and did almost nothing for ordinary Americans struggling to survive this disaster?

…opposed congressional legislation limiting financial institution incentive pay packages that put the whole global economy at risk?

…opposed legislation allowing shareholders the right to have even a non-binding say on salaries, even though executives took home billions in bonuses last year while their companies were hemorrhaging money so badly they required a trillion bucks in taxpayer bail-out?

…actually threatened Britain, America’s closest ally in the world, with withdrawal of intelligence data that could prevent terrorist attacks unless the British government blocked one of its courts from accepting documented evidence of torture at Guantánamo?

from there, Green runs through a long list of infringements of civil liberties, unreasonable extensions of executive privilege, and various flavors of bigoted behavior before ending with

..dramatically increased the influence of religion in government, directly violating the First Amendment, by lavishly spending federal dollars on “faith-based” programs, and giving religious groups massively increased power and access within the White House to shape policy questions?

…stood by silently, allowing climate legislation to be watered down to nothing, to include generous pollution allowances to coal utilities, and to undermine the EPA’s authority to control carbon emissions?

…backed health care legislation that did little for the public and actually increased wasteful federal expenditures, while continuing to enrich insurance, medical, hospital and pharmaceutical corporation vampires?

…and lots and lots more.

At this point, Green reveals that everything on his list, which he credibly attributes to the Bush junta, has in fact been done by Obama.  Talk about “kinder, gentler conservatism”…Papa Doc Bush must be laughing from his grave, or wherever it is he seeks shelter when the sun is out….

Green didn’t even mention one of the Obushma administration’s more bizarre gaffes, which occurred when Gil Kerlikowske, our new “drug czar,” proclaimed

“‘Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit.”

Uhh…didn’t Obushma’s promise that he would base decisions on science, not politics?  Promises, promises.  Made to be broken, especially if you’re a politician and the subject is marijuana….but I digress….

OK, I have to admit I no longer have that persecuted feeling that got to be second nature during the years of the Bush junta.  Obushma and Biden are not a sociopath-and-his-bitch team like Cheney and Dubya.  They are smooth operators, and in some ways that makes them more dangerous.  Obama can be cast as the triumph of Martin Luther King’s vision, even though the record reveals that he is an Uncle Tom of the first order, a slavering lap dog of Wall Street, and in general a consumate, polished defender of  the privileged classes.   Obama is almost completely unlike Martin Luther King.  If he were alive today, I believe Rev. King would be lighting a fire under President Obama, not anointing him.  Sorry, folks, Obushma is more like Colin Powell or Conoleeza Rice than MLK.  You been had.

“Well, OK, Mr. Smarty Pants…what else is there?”

Another document that crossed my desk  recently came from the Green Party, and is entitled, “The First 100 Days:  What Would A Green Administration Look Like?”  It’s actually not a single document; in typical Green fashion, there are nearly a dozen essays on the subject from Greens all over the country, advancing proposals like these:

1: Initiate a one trillion dollar community-based grant-in-aid program from the national government to local communities. These funds will be channeled though collaborative arrangements between state and local governments. They will require maximum feasible participation in governance by all parts of each local community receiving these grants. A five percent matching grant from each participating local community is also required. The purposes of the grants are for sustainable community development and community empowerment. The grants include funds for renewable energy, conservation, workforce housing, small business development coupled with apprenticeship programs to hire the unskilled, open space,P extra support for teachers and for ecologically informed education, college scholarships, food and water security, public works, public transportation, regional cooperative pro­jects, support for neighborhood policing programs, and support for the arts. This replaces the 750 billion dollar “bailout from the top” scheme initiated in late 2008 called the Troubled Asset Relief Pro­gram (TARP).

2: Direct the national Treasury Depart­­ment to shift the measurement of economic progress away from reliance on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to reliance on Gen­uine Pro­gress Indicators (GPI). This will assist government officials, business executives, and university economists to provide, and be provided with, a critical tool to measure sustainable economic activity. We can no longer deceive ourselves that 50,000 deaths a year on our highways contributes to our well being—which by present measurements seems to be the case because all the work connected with these deaths adds to the GDP. Other sources included in the GDP include: building more prisons, piling up waste, buying more oil because our buildings leak tons of energy, waging wars for oil (adding enormously to the GDP!) instead of shifting to renewable energy. We need to measure well being, not commodity transactions of goods and services.

3: Substantially lower the income tax and combine this with a carbon tax of $250 per ton to be phased in at the rate of $25 per year from 2009 to 2020. The carbon tax would be offset with a matching reduction in income tax. This is advocated by Lester Brown of “State of the World” fame and is designed to discourage fossil fuel use and to stimulate investment (in) renewable sources of energy.

4: Extend Medicare to the entire population; in other words, a single-payer health care program for all.

Another essayist proposed

The President will instruct the EPA to place a moratorium on new permits for coal fired-power plants, and will instruct the NRC that there will be no new nuclear power plants in the future. Existing nuclear plants will be decommissioned as expeditiously as possible, starting with the oldest plants, or plants with the most consistent violations first.

The President will instruct the EPA to enact rules which will:

  1. Quickly, reduce by 90% the mercury emissions of coal-fired power plants by 2012.
  2. Make rules reducing CO2 and SO2 emissions by 80% by the year 2020.
  3. Regulate the disposal of coal-fired power plant wastes in a manner that will protect human health and the environment.

EPA will be instructed to impose a moratorium on new permits for mountain top coal removal, while the Administration works to ban the process. EPA, through rule making, will ban the dumping of mountain top removal wastes in stream beds and valleys.

In the realm of foreign policy, we find ideas like these:

If we wish to undercut support for al-Qaeda, it is imperative that we work for a just resolution in the Middle East. This requires engaging with Hamas and supporting human rights and international law in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It also requires that the U.S. negotiates with Iran, and for the U.S. to obey the Nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Under this treaty, Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy while the U.S. is supposed to make a good faith effort for nuclear disarmament. The U.S. must also end its occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and work with the U.N., the surrounding nations including Iran, and the indigenous populations on plans to stabilize these two nations. The U.S. must also pay huge reparations to both Iraq and Afghanistan for the devastation it has caused.

It is essential for world stability that we improve relations with Russia. Instead of provoking crises with Russia through acts that do little to enhance our security, the U.S. should work to reduce tensions. Among other things, this means that the U.S. should push for the disbanding of NATO and also cancel plans for establishing tracking radars in the Czech Republic and placing missiles in Poland.

OK, so the Green Party mouse has wonderful plans for the American elephant…but the thing about this little Green Party mouse is, it can grow.  We can spread virally through the grass roots of America, start winning local, then state, then national elections, and turn this country and this world back from the brink that those who pursue privilege are pushing us over.  It is not too late, but it is almost too late.  It will take all of us doing all we can, but what else can we do?  Long ago, Joe Hill, on the eve of his state-sponsored murder, counseled his fellow IWW union members, “Don’t mourn, organize.”

We had better get organized, or there will be no one left to mourn.

music:  Paul Robeson, “Joe Hill


27 03 2008

Everyone including their own Supreme Court.  It’s all about the short-term bottom line for these guys, it seems.  In its entirety, from the LA Times:

Bush’s EPA hurts the environment, again

In overruling the EPA, Bush again shows his disregard for the environment and the courts.
March 17, 2008
What do you do when the president behaves as if he is above science and the law? When it comes to environmental regulation, George W. Bush has repeatedly ignored both, and this country’s system of checks and balances has been powerless to stop him.

The latest outrage came last week when the Environmental Protection Agency released its new standard for ozone, the primary ingredient in smog. The administration lowered the standard that regions must meet to comply with clean-air rulesfrom 84 parts per billion to 75, which seems like progress until one considers that the EPA’s panel of independent scientists had recommended a standard no higher than 70 parts per billion. The higher limit set by the EPA won’t protect Americans from the damaging effects of ozone, which irritates the lungs, worsens asthma and kills susceptible populations.

Ignoring scientists is nothing new for Bush, but in this case he also ignored the U.S. Supreme Court. The EPA wanted to include a tougher secondary standard during growing seasons, designed to protect forests, crops and other plants from ozone, which retards plant growth and depletes soil moisture. Alarmed at the costs this would exact on polluters, the White House Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson saying the EPA couldn’t impose such limits without considering their economic effect. This is flatly untrue; a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in 2001 held that the EPA did not have to consider the costs of its clean-air regulations, only their scientific basis. When the EPA still refused to back down, the White House sent a curt letter saying the agency had been overruled by the president: The secondary standard was out.

The administration, in fact, seems to be making a habit of defying the Supreme Court. On the same day the EPA was releasing its watered-down ozone standard, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) was posting a letter to Johnson questioning why the agency’s efforts to crack down on greenhouse gases had apparently “been effectively halted.” Last April, the court ruled that the EPA had to regulate carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming. Waxman’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which was already investigating the EPA’s inexplicable refusal to let California regulate greenhouse emissions from vehicles, now will also examine its refusal to crack down on CO2 nationwide.

We could go on listing the casual abuses of power, but why bother? Bush is immune to criticism, shrugs off every court ruling and is unswayed by scientific evidence. There is only one check on his power that he won’t be able to dodge — the end of his term. It’s vital that voters replace him with someone who will reverse his extraordinary attacks on public health and the environment as quickly as possible.



23 03 2008

Or, double standards, part the second.

This video mostly just repeats Spitzer’s Washington Post op-ed in which he accused the Bush Junta of setting up the mortgage crisis, and claims Spitzer was singled out for retribution for this.  (Highly likey, I’d say!)It adds the tantalizing claim that male prostitute/phony reporter “Jeff Gannon” spent at least a couple of nights at the White House…a dead girl or a live boy, as they say….


21 02 2008

Here’s a story that makes the point that Bush has, in his way, been very effective as America’s leader.  A sample:

The Clinton/Obama nomination battle is filled with ironies. It is important to watch, yet it is also a side show, a dangerous distraction from other developments. Obviously it matters who gets the nomination and in this tight race, how they go about getting it. But it must never be forgotten that George W. Bush still sits in the White House. His presidential powers are not diminished and he clearly has no intention of coasting through his lame duck year.

Bush has little reason to back down. His goals in 2008 are to leave his office to John McCain, and set the stage for continued Democratic support for his awful legacy. A kangaroo court show trial complete with a 9/11 conviction might do the trick.

While two people with essentially the same voting record battle as if they were actually different, six men will be tried by military tribunal at Guantanamo, charged with planning the September 11th attacks. They will face the death penalty if convicted. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is among them, a victim of “extreme interrogation” techniques before he confessed to killing journalist Daniel Pearl, planning 9/11 and causing bad weather.


“Bush’s goal is to set the stage for continued Democratic support for his awful legacy.”


Not only have the six accused men been denied due process in the American judicial system, but this military tribunal will be conducted in a presidential election year. Neither the media nor the Democrats have asked why they have not been charged until now, despite being in United States custody for years.

Neither Clinton nor Obama has pledged to end these travesties of justice and violations of international law. Both speak only vaguely of closing Guantanamo. Clinton goes out slightly further on the limb, saying she would determine on a case by case basis whether the federal courts or court martials should be used to try prisoners. Not surprisingly, Obama won’t go that far. “I think it’s important to be careful about commenting on specific cases pending before the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay.” In other words, Obama will continue the Bush policy of violating the Geneva conventions regarding treatment of prisoners. Bush still wins.

George W. Bush is an intellectual mediocrity who was never legitimately elected president in the first place. He now faces Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and has an abysmal approval rating. It never seems to matter. Bush is clearly the most successful president in modern history.

“Obama will continue the Bush policy of violating the Geneva conventions.”

Where has he failed? He wanted to win by hook or crook, and he stole an election. He then perfected the art of electoral theft to insure more Republican victories. He wanted to loot the treasury for the benefit of corporations and wealthy individuals and he has. He wanted to invade Iraq, steal its resources and make it a cash cow for corporations and he did just that. He wanted to expand his power to conduct surveillance on anyone and he did. He declares that the president is above the law and can do anything he wants, including hold citizens indefinitely without trial. He has done that as well.



31 01 2008

Greg Palast points out that the steep rise in gas prices is essentially a form of taxation.

Since taking office, Bush has doubled the federal debt to more than $5 trillion. And, according to US Treasury figures, on net, foreign investors have purchased close to 100% of that debt. That’s $3 trillion borrowed from the Saudis, the Chinese, the Japanese and others.

Now, Bush, our Debt Junkie-in-Chief, needs another fix. The US Treasury, Citibank, Merrill-Lynch and other financial desperadoes need another handout from Abdullah’s stash. Abdullah, in turn, gets this financial juice by pumping it out of our pockets at nearly $100 a barrel for his crude.

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