Monday, August 27, 2007

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Resigns

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally resigned today. The NY Times, CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo News are already reporting it and floating that the Bush Administration's first choice to replace him is "Gut Feeling of a Terrorist Attack" Michael Chertoff.

Yep, the hack in charge of the Department of Homeland Security who hasn't really done a very good job. DHS jobs remain unfilled and DHS employees rank the department as the very worst to work for. Just what we need after how the Department of Justice under Gonzales treated career prosecutors who worked hard for their country but weren't blind Bush loyalists.

It's one Bush crony after another in this Administration.

According to Yahoo, the interim replacement will be another Bush Appointee, Solicitor General Paul Clement. The sad thing there is, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a request to Clement to charge Gonzales with perjury for the lies he told on Capitol Hill under oath. Clement didn't bother to respond.

Gonzales and Bush seemed to not care about the heat from Congress, media and the public before. Why resign now? What changed?

Good question. One can only guess but I doubt it's a fit of conscience. They don't have those.

Let's just hope that the Chertoff speculation is just that. We can all recall his crisis experience with Katrina. He'll be just another Bushbot who will follow the Bush/Cheney doctrine of fucking the Constitution and rule of law at every turn. And remember the AG just got the rights to oversee the wiretapping program.

They want nothing but complete and utter elimination of the Constitution and other branches of government and will not stop until Bush is the unitary executive with full control of everything. Anything less is treason to them. All hail the new Hitler.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday Morning Toonage

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fun with Cartoons

Monday, August 20, 2007

So much for Turdblossom's Legacy

When Karl Rove resigned last week, the media went back into full Bush ass kissing mode and made the guy out to be some sort of incredible genius. A martyr for the cause. They practically anointed the guy a Saint. It was rather nauseating to watch.

But finally after the Right Wing tidal wave of lies about Rove, people are starting to get to the truth. Who knows if there will be enough of these truth telling articles to overcome the Neo-Con Media Manipulation. Once they decide to deify a Right Wing God, they seem to pretty much get away with all of their spin.

Look at Ronald Reagan. His economic policies set us on a course for immense debt and deep recession. He had very little to do with the fall of Communism, or at least certainly less than the softening of Communist policies by Mikhail Gorbachev and the introduction of American commercialism did but he gets credit almost singlehandedly for the fall of the Soviet Union.

After his death many Americans were treated to a funeral that was presented as the passing of one of the greatest Presidents ever. If this was not a complete stretch of the truth, there never has been one.

Still the media has been an absolute tool for Bush in getting through just about every failed policy he has attempted to launch so when some outlets actually buck up and challenge the Administration, it is noteworthy.

So I wanted to include snippets of an article from the Washington Post and a great commentary by one of our few bastions of honest journalism that remains in our propagandizing media, Bill Moyers. Enjoy.

From WaPo's "Permanent Republican Majority? Think Again." column:

Karl Rove dreamed of creating a "permanent Republican majority." But as President Bush's longtime adviser exits the Washington scene, the political landscape he helped chart is already shifting beneath his feet: The era of conservative values -- a tight-fisted approach toward government aid to the poor, traditional positions on social issues and a belief in a muscular foreign policy -- that emerged in the 1990s is coming to a close.

Disenchanted by the failures of the Bush administration, the public is moving away from its policies, values and ideology. This shift is an echo of the late 1960s, when weariness with the Vietnam War and discord at home resulted in a backlash against Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society, and the late 1970s, when growing discontent over the stumbling performance of Jimmy Carter's administration opened the door to the Reagan revolution.

This time, though, it appears to be the Democrats' turn to reap the benefits.


Leading this nationwide left turn are independents, who've always been the pivotal voting bloc. Rove largely de-emphasized those voters while concentrating on the care and feeding of the GOP base.

Didn't work.

Today, independents are much more in sync with Democrats than with Republicans on both domestic and international issues. One example: We see a striking increase in independents' support for more government help for the needy, even if it means going deeper into debt. Fully 57 percent of independents endorse this idea today; in 1994, just 39 percent did.

And Bill Moyers' commentary is below:

More fun:

-"If he's so smart, why did you lose Congress?" - CBS Reporter Bill Plante to Rove at his resignation announcement.

-"Demythologizing Karl Rove" by The DCeiver

-"Post-Rovian Thinking" by Dan Froomkin of The Washington Post

All fun reads and a nice way to finally cut through the media's orgasm over the greatness of Karl Rove.

My final thought on Karl is this. What Karl did best was politicize everything and divide everybody. He appealed to bigots in attacking John McCain in 2000. Appealed to Christians to abandon actual Christian principles and attack gays and liberals. Used Terrorism as a wedge. Helped steal two Presidential elections thanks to faulty machines set up in his favor and electronic ballot machine makers being politically connected to him. He used every office of Government as tools for the Republican party and conceived much of the President's policies in which the Constitution and Bill of Rights were nothing more than 225 year old toilet paper. He leaked a CIA operative's name to Time's Matt Cooper for political revenge.

Most of all because of his election thefts for his guy, our country has never been less respected worldwide, never been in deeper debt, never seen a larger disparity between the rich and the poor, never had more outsourcing of jobs, never seen the housing market collapse this badly, never had less health care and never been less secure. After all we're in a quagmire over there and Bush has had several chances to get Osama Bin Laden and passed.

To say Rove, Bush and Cheney have been an unmitigated disaster the likes our country has never seen before would be a drastic understatement. And yet here we are. With the media in full compliance with the White House spin on a criminal.

Shame on anyone who doesn't think the only place this man should be retiring to should be a prison cell.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Miserable Failure: Exhibit B - Rampant Cronyism

The second exhibit in my two part series of why Bush has helped ruin America is his rampant cronyism.

Oh by now, everybody remembers "heckuva job" Mike Brown from the whole Katrina disaster debacle at FEMA.

As it turns out actually this was the tip of the iceberg. Time Magazine reported a fairly extensive list of inexperienced cronies being appointed for political reasons over experience that is beneficial to the post they ended up in. In fact it seems most either had the wrong experience or the worst possible experience for the position they were taking. In other words many worked for the industry giants that these positions were supposed to provide oversight for.

The cronies were part of the Karl Rove political plan to turn every department into another political arm for the GOP and Bush Administration. Every decision was made in a way that would benefit Bushco and their benefactors and the good of the country was never taken into account.

Rove got into some hot water when it was revealed he and Lurita Doan, the head of the General Services Administration, were giving powerpoint presentations to employees on how they could help the GOP politically in 2008. The presentations, illegal to give directly to non-partisan Government employees, detailed targeted races of 2008 and where they would need the most help. He had done so apparently in 2003 right before the Presidential election as well.

The Time link above shows cronyism at some of the most critical positions in government. Sure the positions are not as sexy as Senator or President but they have as much or more impact on our daily lives and someone with high integrity and concern for the public well being needs to be in those positions. High level positions at the Food and Drug Administration, FEMA, Homeland Security, Inspectors General and more were affected.

A new one came to light though. With the Utah mine collapse (and after the West Virginia mine collapse last year) the media seems to have very slowly started to latch onto the real issue here, Mine Safety.

It shows how pathetic the media is that it took this long for this to be the focus of the issue but it finally has.

Kudos must go out to Crooks & Liars, whom I think has taken the lead on covering how this has played out and the ridiculous comments made by an owner of the mine, Robert Murray of Murray Electric Co.

Murray attacked Congress for possible Global Warming legislation somehow hindering his company. Sounds like a brilliant gameplan to me. Miners get trapped, people are incredibly worried about them. Let's talk about Global Warming Legislation is the reason why they are trapped there. Or something of that sort. WTF?!?!

Anyway the big issue is Mine Safety. After the West Virginia mine collapse, Bush sent a nomination to Congress for a new head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Even with GOP control, they sent the nomination back to Bush rejected twice.

So what did Bush do? What he usually does. Sidesteps the process and goes around Congress for a Recess Appointment.

Congress was quite unhappy about this. Some of Bush's most ardent, lap dog supporters like Rick Santorum expressed public disappointment with the move.

Why was Congress so upset about this Crony appointment?

Meet Richard Stickler, new head of MSHA and former longtime Coal executive.

Just like every other appointment Bush makes, he puts industry insiders in charge of oversight.

This administration is Corporate rule run amok. They are proof of the worst cases of Capitalism gone bad. While nobody thinks Communism is a better alternative (especially any government made of authoritarian rule), and Socialism needs a lot of work, these people are proof of the pitfalls of the form of financial system we have become too reliant on to police itself.

Corporations should not be trusted with policing themselves and CEOs should not be trusted to do what's best for anyone but themselves.

Maybe that's the problem with Bush and his friends. They are all former CEOs who don't care about the health of the country as much as they really didn't give a shit about the health of the companies they ran. They cared about short term profitability so they could take home gigantic salaries and bonuses. When the company was on the verge of collapse, they cash in their chips and get out leaving the workers and common investors to die a financial death.

That seems to be what they are doing with America. They put themselves in positions of power where their private investments can increase exponentially in value. Then as they have milked the US Budget and every available means to fatten their personal portfolio's worth, they bail on the country leaving Democrats and any other sucker who really cares about the country to clean up the mess.

When it comes to any form of safety nets for workers, seniors, the poor, the middle class, residents of places hit by natural disasters, veterans, tax payers, etc. they don't care about anything other than how they can profit. Profit by dismantling those safety nets. Profit off how they can screw those people over.

Then they have the gall to turn around, cut taxes for the rich and propose even deeper corporate tax rate cuts.

They profit while we suffer. What wonderful people they are.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Miserable Failure: Exhibit A - The Economy/Housing Market Collapse

I could come up with more exhibits than the alphabet but I figure two will be good enough for the weekend. So Exhibit A will revolve around the housing market bubble bursting causing the economy to hint towards a collapse...

In fact you can easily provide proof enough to blame him for ignoring prominent investment firm heads and with a few links, as we will provide here, their credibility in the whole, "Nobody ever saw it coming" defense that they used after 9/11, their claims of WMDs in Iraq and the levees collapsing during Katrina all exploded in their face.

Truth was they were warned on each if those impending disasters and just like in every one of those other cases they chose to ignore critics of their economic policies because after all they knew better didn't they?

So way back in 2004 when the head of Morgan Stanley and Fidelity Stephen Roach came out and said we have a "one-in-10 chance of avoiding economic Armageddon", that should have sounded an alarm. He later wrote what would need to happen to avoid such an economic collapse in the NY Times but it was clear that we were on the verge of a major economy crash if no changes were made. Of course with this 'stay the course' administration, none were.

The above information was discussed in an interesting take by Patrick Doherty on from April 19, 2004:

In the 1980s, Reagan’s chief budget adviser, David Stockman, admitted that it was White House policy to expand the federal deficits in order to squeeze out social entitlement spending. The Bush administration has taken that tactic one step further, explained by the pre-eminent Republican operative Grover Norquist’s famous goal, “to get government down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

And they have already declared their intentions to do just that. The Bush administration has identified its top three legislative priorities in the next term, and none of them involves reducing American consumption and increasing American savings. Instead, their priorities represent the final operations of the battle started in 1964: tort reform, Social Security reform and tax reform. Tort reform to curtail consumer protections. Social Security reform to force every working American to buy risk-filled investment accounts. Tax reform to make taxation fully regressive, placing the highest burden on the lowest earners through either a flat tax or a value-added tax.

Given our severe account imbalances, this second-term agenda of the Bush administration will signal to our global creditors that we are not serious about our debts. That will make dollar-denominated securities worthless and the dollar will cease to be the global currency, as America will no longer be the mass market of last resort. At some point, OPEC will have to switch to a new currency—probably Euros—and the price of oil for Americans will rise significantly as the dollar continues to fall. As Roach’s collapsing stock market ushers in a recession, the inevitable job losses will pop the housing bubble across the country. Americans, with trillions of dollars of consumer debt leveraged on the value of their homes, will find that their futures will have disappeared. Hard-earned home equity will be gutted and stock values will have crashed. Unemployment will be widespread.

Sound familiar? The warning signs were out there at least that far back but there was no correction made by the White House, no change once soever. They plowed forward with their agenda.

Many felt that the 2004 election was won, in part, due to the false sense of security many Americans felt with the economy. An economy built around the housing market. While people were losing their manufacturing jobs but getting back lesser paying substitute jobs through temp agencies/staffing companies, the Bush Administration was trying to tout how their economy actually created jobs. The lesser paying jobs meant a shrinking middle class.

Americans now were relying on credit more than ever before and doing so they were buying homes based on creative mortgage arrangements, mostly gimmicked loans with adjustable mortgage rates. Those mortgage rates were tied to the federal interest rates which were very low during the early part of the decade. People overspent their means, hoping that the rates would remain low as this economy stayed strong, or so the Bush Administration kept telling them.

I did discuss this before but I want to point it out again because our economy is on the verge of tanking and when Democrats were decrying the policies of this Administration before the 2004 election, they were ignored and dismissed. The economy seemed to upturn before the election, or at least unemployment rates did. This made the election hedge on the Iraq War, which already a quagmire, was still early enough for many to want to give Bush another chance at correction.

Certainly there is a ton of blame to go around. Blame the lenders who irresponsibly pushed loans that had "default" written all over them. Blame the Media for not covering the issue truthfully or the Chairmen at the Fed for not acknowledging the certain collapse responsibly.

I blame Bush. The saying goes, the buck stops here. Even with every warning in the world, he has never foreseen anything correctly. I don't expect the President to be a psychic but they need to at least have some idea of what is coming on something. This guy was wrong by ignoring 9/11 intelligence, wrong on the consequences of invading Iraq, wrong on how to deal with Katrina and now he was warned and is very wrong on the economy.

The Democrats, finally in some sort of position to do something about this mess, are trying to present correction options. Bush will have none of that.

From the US News & World Report:
The Washington Post notes that "despite mounting concern over the downturn in the housing market," Bush "dismissed proposals advanced by prominent Democrats to grant government-chartered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac more freedom to buy mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. And he ruled out any taxpayer bailout of lenders threatened by the subprime home-loan crisis." The Wall Street Journal says the President "shrugged off concerns about stock-market turmoil, saying Wall Street is adjusting to a flood of liquidity and is beginning to 'readjust its assessment of risk.'" He also "dismissed recent polls showing that US citizens are feeling sour about the economy. ... He said he understands 'there's disquiet out there' but attributed much of the economic anxiety to concerns about the war in Iraq. '"I happen to believe the war has clouded a lot of peoples' sense of optimism.'"

Yeah your fuckup in Iraq is why people are scared out of their minds about losing their homes and a market collapse. It's all pessimism, see?

Oh wait, the fucking Federal Reserve admitted there is market turmoil. Better give them the memo asshole...

From the Washington Post:
The Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate yesterday, trying to ease a worldwide credit crunch, and said for the first time that it viewed turmoil in financial markets as a major risk to the U.S. economy.

Once again, Bush's policies have screwed things up and he has found yet another way to possibly ruin America. Although that's what they wanted didn't they?

They're not just drowning government in a bathtub, they're drowning the American people with them.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The War Time President

Bush has often declared himself a "Wartime President". He seemed to do it with glee in a private interview with Tim Russert for Meet the Press a few years back. As ironic as it is for someone who went AWOL from their National Guard duty to now be Commander in Chief and declaring wars, he seems eager to not only continue his current wars but start new ones before he leaves.

General Petraeus is getting ready to give Congress that September report on Iraq as we have reported here several times. The media is gearing up for it by discussing how it might involve troop withdrawals from Iraq. It will be, as expected, positive media for Bush who will look like he's pulling some troops out and not being the complete stubborn prick he has been otherwise. The problem with this is the media again has no idea what they are talking about as troop rotations would require that some troops be redeployed or withdrawn anyway.

As I have said before, anything Petraeus says should be immediately dismissed. Republicans and Neo-Cons (like the World's Biggest Idiot, William Kristol on this The Daily Show appearance this week) try to play him off as some independent, non-partisan voice. As we know from my previous postings that is simply not true.

Not to mention everyone is waiting on his report to Congress as if whatever he says is what we need to act on. This would be a foolish decision for any Democrat in Congress to make especially now knowing that the White House is actually writing his report.

Yes, they've now admitted what I have been saying all along!

From the LA Times:

Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.

And though Petraeus and Crocker will present their recommendations on Capitol Hill, legislation passed by Congress leaves it to the president to decide how to interpret the report's data.

Well that pretty much sums up how truthful that report will be. Petraeus himself earlier this year slipped up and said the surge didn't stem the violence in Baghdad. Must have been a fleeting bout of conscience I guess.

As if that were not enough for Mr. Wartime President, his Vice-President Dick Cheney is urging for strikes on Iran. These people are unbelievable.

What I'd like to note here is that their flawed (as usual) premise is that the upswing in violence during the surge is somehow all Iran's fault and that all the Shiites that are fighting US forces in the surge are connected to Iran in some way.

Strange how they were surpressing the actual numbers of casualties by excluding deaths by bombing originally in this surge but are now using those numbers to justify a war with Iran.

The worst part is the lack of logic that goes into this explanation. Our surge, by it's very nature, is meant to induce more violence. We're going in and forcing more conflict with al-Sadr's Shiite sect and thus the violence between US Forces and Shiites has risen. It likely has little to do with Iranian influence as much as it does with Iraqi Shiites just wanting to force us out of their homeland.

From the Asia Times:

When a top US commander in Iraq reported last week that attacks by Shi'ite militias with links to Iran had risen to 73% of all July attacks that had killed or wounded US forces in Baghdad, he claimed it was because of an effort by Iran to oust the United States from Iraq, referring to "intelligence reports" of a "surge" in Iranian assistance.

But the obvious reason for the rise in Shi'ite-related US casualties - ignored in US media coverage of Lieutenant-General Raymond Odierno's charge - is that the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr was defending itself against a rising tempo of attacks by US forces at the same time attacks by al-Qaeda forces had fallen.


Odierno claimed intelligence reports supported his contention of an Iranian effort to influence public perceptions of the "surge" strategy. "They're sending more money in, they're training more individuals and they're sending more weapons in."

He repeated the charge in an interview with Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times published on its front page on August 8 under the headline "US says Iran-supplied bomb is killing more troops in Iraq". In that interview, he declared of Iran, "I think they want to influence the decision potentially coming up in September."

What Odierno framed in terms of an Iranian policy, however, can be explained much more simply by the fact that the US military mounted more operations on Muqtada's Mahdi Army during the spring and summer.

Sounds like they're framing the Iranians to force a war to me. Not all that differently than how they framed Saddam for 9/11 so they could go to war with Iraq.

What goes through the minds of these people? Our President is supposed to keep us safe no matter what. Peace is always supposed to be the option and war is supposed to be a reluctant, last ditch effort made in self defense. Your job as President is to keep us OUT of wars. In doing so your job REQUIRES you to use diplomacy, even with those who have not traditionally been our allies or that completely agree with us. You use law enforcement here and abroad (with the help of partner countries) to capture terrorist suspects before they strike. You strengthen our own country's security at airports, nuclear facilities and ports. You make tactical strikes where you need to but with the cooperation of leadership in that country to have help in flushing out the enemy. But you DO NOT STRIKE PRE-EMPTIVELY JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO. That is NOT the President's job. Afghanistan you can make a strong case for after 9/11 but Iraq is absolutely wrong and Iran would be as well.

Not to mention our military is stretched beyond their limits. It's to the point where they'll accept anybody. They lowered standards and missed recruitment goals in 2005. They lowered them further and barely reached recruitment goals in 2006.

Much of the money we're sending to the Pentagon to handle this war has gone to overpay contractors like Blackwater, whose mercenaries go to Iraq with no United States military jurisdiction and kill at will. It's become a nightmare and they're killing our troops now... while we pay them!

So back to recruiters, they'll accept anybody right? Well almost anybody. Remember that Max Blumenthal video we posted about drafting College Republicans? Well apparently on a College Republican wrote an editorial trashing him for it and proved why those cowardly jerks who used every cheap health excuse in the book, REALLY couldn't serve.

At the July 2007 National College Republican Committee Convention, whining wannabe journalist Max Blumenthal asked attendees why they weren’t fighting in Iraq. The college kids in his amateur ambush video fumbled with their words and gave medical excuses like asthma and bad knees. They were young, nervous and in front of a jerk holding a camera. Guilt isn’t necessary. The reality is that most of us wouldn’t make the cut.

There you have it. College Republicans are physically and mentally inferior to high school dropouts, felons, racists, convicts, and illegal immigrants and cannot join the military. They said it, not me.

That being said, if that is the case, none of them should then ever be considered qualified to be elected for a public office. After all they're too dumb to pass the military recruitment exams, do we really want them working on complex budget issues, passing laws, or worse dealing with complicated policy negotiations? Please. Time to treat this bunch of fools worse than drop outs are treated. At least the drop outs have the courage to stand and fight for their country, unlike these chickenshits who just call for war while hiding behind their parents' money.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Where the hell was THIS video in 2004?

Or 2002 for that matter? Everyone's talked about Dick Cheney telling people about how going all the way to Baghdad would be a mistake. Nobody seemed to have video of it when it was most needed during the 2004 elections apparently.

Now you can see it for yourself. He even says it will be a quagmire!

Mark the calendar. It might be the only time Cheney's been right in his entire life.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Democrats unveil "None of the Above" Campaign

Taking a page out of the classic Richard Pryor flick, Brewster's Millions, the Democratic National Committee is running their own "None of the Above" Campaign.


None of the Above has polled higher than Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, and all the other Republican presidential candidates, reflecting a lackluster field that isn’t catching on with the American people.

Because Republicans are clamoring for a change, None of the Above is testing the presidential waters. This week in Iowa, look for an ad in the Ames Tribune, in which None of the Above will ask for the support of Republican voters. You can view the ad by clicking here (PDF).

Only 1 in 5 Iowa Republicans “say they are satisfied with” their choices in the Republican caucus. The current field represents no new ideas, no strategy to end the war in Iraq, and no plan for America’s future.

Only one candidate has a plan -- and it’s None of the Above.

And now, None of the Above is asking for your support.
I think this is a hilarious way to turn the focus on how pathetic the Republican candidates are. Maybe one of the Republicans can go full force with the campaign like Monty Brewster did and we'll see one of these billboard gems...


Bush talks, Stock Market Plummets... Coincidence? I think not.

Yesterday the stock market fell 387 points. Most of it appeared to be based on credit concerns as a French bank was freezing three funds that invested in the United States Mortgage Market. It seems our credit and debt issues here are spreading to other markets.

The supposedly "strong and vibrant" economy Bush has touted for years has been propped up by false premises. First, most of the economy's success was based off the housing market but as anyone that knows how mortgages work that is a deceptive game at best. The reason being was buying a house was considerably more affordable when the fed dropped interest rates early in the Bush Administration's term.

Fixed rate mortgages are always a bit higher for your payment but at least the actual house payment will not change over the life of the loan.

On the flip side Adjustable Rate Mortgages have incredibly low introductory rates but the payment goes up every time interest rates do. As someone who worked as a mortgage loan servicing representative let me just say that a large portion of first time home buyers do not understand how drastic their payment changes can be.

So many people who never thought they could own a house before saw these rates and jumped in. Now they're paying for it. Interest rates have gone back up and people can't pay off their loans. Mortgage foreclosures are becoming a serious problem in our economy.

As this Bloomberg article put it:

U.S. housing prices will fall this year, the first annual decline since the Great Depression of the 1930s, according to the National Association of Realtors, based in Chicago.

The inventory of unsold U.S. homes in May was the largest since the realtors group started counting them in 1999. Defaults and foreclosures may increase because about $1 trillion of payments on adjustable-rate mortgages are scheduled to rise this year, hitting a peak in October, according to Credit Suisse.

Housing and related industries generate almost a quarter of U.S. gross domestic product, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The mortgage fallout "ensures the economy will grow well below its potential through the remainder of the year and next," says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's in West Chester, Pennsylvania, who predicts GDP growth of 2.5 percent this quarter and next. Second-quarter growth was 3.4 percent.

And it's not only the mortgage itself. Homeowners are responsible for property taxes and homeowner's insurance as well.

The Bush economy has squeezed State budgets and local municipalities to the point that to make up their shortfalls and provide the services they need to provide, many have had to raise property taxes to help shoulder the burden.

Also insurance companies have not been a help as the Bush Administration chooses business over people and doesn't force these companies to help people. With disasters like Katrina, people lost their homes to disasters but insurance companies that had taken their money happily for years refused to pay to repair or replace the homes. Some said their hurricane coverage did not include either flood damage or wind damage which is a fine print fraud if there ever was one.

Not to mention this economy has been propped up by more and more outsourcing and in turn many of the best jobs (in manufacturing particularly) have been taken overseas and those workers are working through staffing agencies and making half or less than half of what their former wages used to be.

The Bush Administration rewards corporations who outsource and continues to allow corporate tax loopholes so they don't have to pay their tax bill every year while you do. Then as an extra reward, those CEOs who got rich downsizing American jobs and sending them to India, not paying their corporate taxes here and cutting off pensions and health care benefits, have received incredible tax cuts from the Bush Administration that affect basically only the top 1% of the income bracket. Not to mention huge financial windfalls from their own companies.

Nice to know what side Bush is on. It's no wonder why America has lived on credit alone these past seven years. And no wonder why international banks feel the need to cut off investment and loans to us.

But the strange thing is when you look at the chart above, something happened right around the time Bush gave a speech on his plans for the economy.

He wants to cut corporate taxes too. So now even though they've been able to dodge paying taxes here, dump workers and their benefits at will and have been rewarded for their outsourcing, we're going to give more corporate welfare out?

On Wall Street these policies usually do well for the market. After all the market is based off of investors wanting to turn a profit off the corporations they invest in and corporations have made a killing off of Bush and his policies. But today once they heard that the market seemed to sink like the Titanic.

Any honest economist has to know that putting more of the bill onto the backs of Americans when you have never shown any fiscal restraint before is just a way to deepen our debts with international countries who are lending us the money that is keeping our economy afloat.

And considering how some banks are now pulling out even the greediest investors on Wall Street have to know we're running out of capital to keep borrowing from other countries and looking for a major crash in our economy that would crush investors and everyday Americans alike.

But don't tell Bush that. He tried to run some phony numbers out there and blame Democrats for fiscal irresponsibility. This from a guy that didn't veto a single pork laden spending package the Republicans sent to him in 6 years.

What should we expect though from a guy who has ridden every business he ever ran into the ground?

Why break up such a dubious streak at this point?


Thursday, August 9, 2007

STRATA presents... The New National Anthem

Those of you who know me know I love music. One of the bands I have had the honor of meeting is Strata. In particular I have spoken a couple of times with Eric Victorino (lead singer) and he's a deep and thoughtful guy who has written a pretty cool poetry book called "Coma Therapy" and is very open to conversing with his fans.

They also have two albums out now you should check out:
Strata (Self-titled) and The End of the World

The best song (IMO) off The End of the World (their latest album) is quite political and called, "The New National Anthem". A Youtube poster named "The Mars Army" put the song to clips of the war from the news and it's a very compelling and moving video. Check it out and support Strata!


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Digging a Hole to China

On Tuesday at the AFL-CIO debates in Chicago Congressman Dennis Kucinich showed us why it is important to have a liberal voice in the debates.

While Obama, Hillary and Edwards are always worrying about parsing words and backtracking on positions to try to please the center-right "moderates", Dennis just lets it all hang out and tells it like it is. In doing so he has become the most entertaining part of the debates and has been able to knock a lot of the questions out of the park with his straight forward, non-nonsense attitude about why America has as many issues as it does. He was the only candidate that rightly wants to withdraw from NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and the WTO (World Trade Organization). Both have given corporations free reign to take our jobs elsewhere and have given America very little in return. The agreements for lack of a better word, suck. They do nothing for America but have strengthened the economies of our trade partners considerably.

Take our situation with China. The Bush Administration has run up ridiculous debt and our deficit that was in a surplus when Bill Clinton left office is now at record highs. Common sense says that when you start two wars and need to pay for them you don't cut taxes on the rich, expand or protect loopholes that allow corporations to evade paying their taxes and you certainly don't give financial rewards to corporations that outsource American jobs to countries like China and India. Less jobs here means less taxpayers and less taxes means we can't pay our debt.

But Bush has no common sense and we're in an incredible hole now and China happens to be the country reaping the rewards. We have little to no negotiating leverage when we owe them as much as we do and this, coupled with them tinkering with the value of their currency, has put us in a very deep hole.

From the New York Times:

A declining dollar is a source of inflationary pressure because it can boost the cost of imports. So if the Fed tried to rev up the economy with a rate cut at the same time the dollar is falling, it could end up provoking even more inflation. That would be a drag on economic growth rather than a boost. In an extreme case, it could result in a toxic combination of weak growth and high prices that is a central banker’s nightmare.

How did the Fed lose room to maneuver? The answer is rooted in the Bush administration’s misguided economic policies.

Over the last several years, America’s imbalances in trade and other global transactions have worsened dramatically, requiring the United States to borrow billions of dollars a day from abroad just to balance its books.

The only lasting way to fix the imbalances — and reduce that borrowing — is to increase America’s savings. But the administration has steadfastly rejected that responsible approach since it would require rolling back excessive tax cuts and engaging in government-led health care reform to rein in looming crushing costs — both, anathema to President Bush. It would also require revamping the nation’s tax incentives so that they create new savings by typical families, instead of new shelters for the existing wealth of affluent families — another nonstarter for this White House.

Check out Dennis Kucinich's response to our trade problems with China. He tears the house down with his hilarious take on where we are with them. While it's a great comedic zinger it's sadly 100% true.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Screw the Constitution!

The Fear of Fear Itself

The Democrats should read this op-ed from the NY Times today...

It was appalling to watch over the last few days as Congress — now led by Democrats — caved in to yet another unnecessary and dangerous expansion of President Bush’s powers, this time to spy on Americans in violation of basic constitutional rights. Many of the 16 Democrats in the Senate and 41 in the House who voted for the bill said that they had acted in the name of national security, but the only security at play was their job security.

There was plenty of bad behavior. Republicans marched in mindless lockstep with the president. There was double-dealing by the White House. The director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, crossed the line from being a steward of this nation’s security to acting as a White House political operative.

But mostly, the spectacle left us wondering what the Democrats — especially their feckless Senate leaders — plan to do with their majority in Congress if they are too scared of Republican campaign ads to use it to protect the Constitution and restrain an out-of-control president.


The House handled this mess somewhat better than the Senate, moving to the floor a far more sensible bill. Mr. McConnell certified that the House bill would address the problem raised by the court. That is, until the White House made clear that it wanted to use the court’s ruling to grab a lot more power. Mr. McConnell then reversed his position and demanded that Congress pass the far more expansive bill.


But the problem with Congress last week was that Democrats were afraid to explain to Americans why the White House bill was so bad and so unnecessary — despite what the White House was claiming. There are good answers, if Democrats are willing to address voters as adults. To start, they should explain that — even if it were a good idea, and it’s not — the government does not have the capability to sort through billions of bits of electronic communication. And the larger question: why, six years after 9/11, is this sort of fishing expedition the supposed first line of defense in the war on terrorism?

While serving little purpose, the new law has real dangers. It would allow the government to intercept, without a warrant, every communication into or out of any country, including the United States. Instead of explaining all this to American voters — the minimal benefits and the enormous risks — the Democrats have allowed Mr. Bush and his fear-mongering to dominate all discussions on terrorism and national security.

Mr. Bush claims that he has kept America safe since 9/11. But that claim ignores the country’s very real and present vulnerabilities. Six years after the 9/11 attacks the administration has still failed to secure American ports, railroads and airports from terrorist attack, and has put the profits of the chemical and nuclear-power industries ahead of safeguarding their plants.

Hmmm... sounds pretty close to what I was saying last night. Hopefully being in the NY Times, the Democrats will get this and read it. It's one of the few papers the beltway crowd reads after all, because lord knows something has to burst this ridiculous bubble that these people live in insulating them from the outside world.


Changing Our Thinking...

Just a really late night post with some links for interesting reading. There's a definite theme here. Follow me on this....

Maybe it's time to change our thinking on some things.

Like maybe we need to change our thinking that the Pentagon is a great place to spend our money and that doing so it is vital to our security.

Where else can we LOSE $2.5 trillion dollars and then get flack just for asking where it went?

Where else can we lose 190,000 weapons we sent to Iraq for the Iraqi National Security Forces and then watch helplessly after knowing we just armed the insurgents that are KILLING OUR TROOPS?

Where else could billions of your dollars be used for crazy ass ideas like "gay bombs"?

The Pentagon, that's where!


Maybe we should change our thinking on our civil liberties. We seem to think we're this great Democracy that provides us with stronger civil liberties than the rest of the world. We scoff at Europeans that say otherwise. After the surveillance fiasco mentioned below, maybe we should be listening to them.


Maybe we should change our thinking about why "they hate us". Anyone with a brain (note: this includes nobody in the Bush Administration) knows they don't "hate us for our freedoms". Maybe we should actually read up on how our own foreign policy over the years has helped foster a lot of the anger towards us in the Middle East.


Maybe we should change our thinking on abstinence sex education.

For years repressed Republicans (who always end up in the most hypocritical of scandals) have tried to cut off funding for sex education, condom availability, planned parenthood, etc. Their failed line of thinking is no sex = no unwanted pregnancies and no diseases. Oh, such a simple world they live in. The problem with that is that since Bush got into office and they took this approach to sex education funding, teen sex rates have actually gone up. Worse their plans, besides being ineffectual, are also proving to be detrimental as they are not providing proper sex education. Or at least a major study by Oxford University says.


Maybe we should change our thinking, collectively, that no President would want harm to come to us. And that, just maybe to some really evil ones, a few deaths are justifiable for a political power grab.

Why else would a President, when given a daily briefing paper on August 6, 2001 titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" ignore it? Why else did he ignore similar intelligence in July, would he ignore it? Why else, when another member of the CIA flew down to bring extra attention to that briefing did he say, "All right. You've covered your ass, now." and dismiss him completely?

Why else would they continually spread bogus reports about potential terrorist attacks or "dry runs" unless they were just using it for political gain?


Maybe we should change our thinking about Iraq and that our idea of Democracy can work there. Our democracy didn't come from the British holding a rifle to our heads and forcing us to write a Constitution, agree on a Congress and pass laws that are clearly more complicated (and objectionable to many Iraqis) than our political timetables suggest.

When Sunnis are quitting the cabinet our of fear for their lives, the chances of our ideal gathering of different political forces in one Iraqi Congress is likely misguided. They need to fight it out, just as we did in ejecting our British occupying forces, and decide on their own what they want their future to be. It worked for us in the late 1700s, it can work for them. As long as we are there, nothing politically positive will happen because every group will believe that the other is only working to appease the Americans, not do what's best for Iraq. That dooms us and them to failure there as long as we stay.

Maybe we should also consider the sickness and death we have caused there. Both directly from Iraqis being in the line of fire and indirectly from the effect of chemicals in our weapons and do the right thing. Get out now.


And finally, maybe we should stop thinking that pathetically weak Congressional motions to stop Bush will work.

Contempt of Congress is dependent on a now very corrupt Department of Justice, who have said they will not enforce the citation.

Likewise Special Counsels are appointed by the same DOJ and since they are loaded with Bush appointees, there is no chance they will pursue perjury charges against people like Alberto Gonzales.

Censure is another worthless option proposed by Russ Feingold (Sorry Russ, I love ya but this is not a good option). It's a slap on the wrist at best and the way Bushco has ignored every other legal process, this would do nothing to them and they'd probably raise a toast in laughter to such a weak proposal.

The only option that will stop these criminals is Impeachment. As mentioned below though, there's not enough Democrats with spines to do this.

Maybe we should start changing our thinking about impeachment. After the attempt to get Bill Clinton for oral sex, impeachment has been portrayed as political suicide and petty politics.

While that instance was, this is not. There are more than high crimes and misdemeanors involved. There is outright treason from the entire Executive Branch to try this case on.

But hey, if none of the above sways your thinking on any of those issues, maybe our state and federal government enforced Civics and History curriculum in our schools have paid off and we really are trained to think one way and one way alone....

Their way.

Think about it.


Monday, August 6, 2007


As you can tell I haven't written anything this week. You'll notice a similar pattern back around the time when Democrats caved on the Iraq funding bill.

I come on here and talk about Democratic values. Values the mass majority of the party shares. The problem is that there are always some beltway Democrats that prefer to keep the status quo in place. Their constituents don't matter as much to them as the lobbyists that fill their coffers come election time and ultimately that money makes it impossible for real Democrats to pose a real primary challenge. When someone does, the other beltway Democrats get the all stars out and bring in the big donors and their clout clouds the media to believe this is the only Democrat running. The majority of voters, even in the Democratic party, rely on the media (foolishly I might add) to help them learn about the candidates.

Only the hardcore politicos get to know the candidates not on TV or in the news frequently and thus that lobbying money that buys ads and those other big name beltway Democrats (see: Sen. Chuck Schumer & Rep. Rahm Emanuel) buy clout with the media. The uninformed are told from the beginning that this candidate is the only one with a real chance to win because of that financial support and not wanting to lose the seat to a Republican, Dems go out and vote for the total loser who will just capitulate to the Washington way of life.

Case in point: Freshman Senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar. She wasn't the best candidate. Many would say Ford Bell won the debates and was certainly the most progressive. Remember that word, progressive. Because that scared the hell out of the beltway Dems. So Schumer and his DSCC backed her before the primary had even begun. Before they had really begun they forced Patty Wetterling, a strong children's advocate whose son had been abducted, out of the race and had her endorse Klobuchar. In return the beltway crowd would support her House run against nutcase Michele Bachmann.

Then when Bell showed promise in the debates and made Klobuchar look like the clueless talking point-memorized putz she was, Schumer called in the "rock star", Barack Obama to do a fundraiser for Klobuchar. How can you compete with the biggest star of the party?

So she went on to the Democratic nomination, the win in the Senate race and so it shouldn't have been surprising when she voted with many other Democrats to give Bush expanded wiretapping powers that he didn't even ask for.

This is what we get with the beltway crowd. They are so insulated from the American people they refuse to listen to them.

Now as stated above, Klobuchar was not the only Democrat that voted for this. Many beltway Democrats felt some sort of incredible urgency to give Bush exactly what he wanted on this electronic surveillance bill.

What they should have been doing is investigating and bringing charges in the illegal actions performed previously on this issue. Bushco knew they were breaking the law and a secret court ruling leaked illegally by Rep. John Boehner told them the FISA courts could not give them authority to do what they wanted to do.

This was after it was let out by Mike McConnell the director of national intelligence, that wiretaps and e-mails were not the full scope of Bush's directive to spy on Americans. That's a pretty huge admission and yet Democrats not only caved on this bill and gave Bush everything he wanted, they actually made the person solely in charge of making these judgment calls....

Alberto Gonzales.

Yes... the guy they want an Independent Counsel appointed to prosecute for perjury in his testimony to Capitol Hill, the guy whom House members are putting impeachment resolutions in for. The most distrustful member of the Cabinet.

That guy.

You could make a case for the Democrats over the cave on Iraq War funding. After all they were between a rock and a hard place there. They didn't have enough votes to override Bush's veto and the media, as slanted to the right as they are, tried to blame them for not funding the troops even if it was Bush who vetoed their funding and even if Democrats gave the troops more than Bush ever wanted them to have. There was not much politically the Democrats could do then.

This time, there is not question that they were cowards. Afraid to look weak on terror, they gave this President carte blanche to spy on any American he chose. In fact considering the expanded powers he has already claimed, all this basically did was legalized the actions of this criminal cabal.

As if that were not enough, many Democrats seem eager to cave to Bush on Iraq again based on Gen. Petraeus' September report. As mentioned on this blog before, Petraeus is a Bush propagandist for the war. He's been spouting Administration talking points for the war dating back to 2004. Of course the Democrats would blindly trust another Bush hack. Are we really surprised?

It's time to stand up and vote the beltway, centrist Democrats who clearly have no spine, out of office. Whether it's giving Bush everything he wants on spying, the Iraq War, torture, the bankruptcy law, the medicare prescription bill... check all those votes that were WRONG and look at the names.. they should repeatedly look the same.

They hurt our cause as much as any crazy right wing Republican does, in fact more so. Because every time we come out and speak the truth about this Administration and try to call them to justice, the media points to those beltway jackasses and calls us the "Extreme Left" as if we're some sort of Communist/Socialist propaganda group.

We are the mainstream. Those in power would lose it if the media reported it that way or the Congress voted that way. That needs to change... and fast.

September 15th there is a march in Washington D.C. Unfortunately I can't make it but all of you that want real change, I ask you to attend. March to Capitol Hill and chant "SHAME!" at all the Congress. When House Republicans did it as a publicity stunt on a vote they lost (they were upset about the confusion but more so because they actually did lose the vote), the media but mostly those beltway Democrats came out and tried to appease them.

If only 100 right wing racists could get that kind of reaction from those who lay in fear of losing re-election of their cushy beltway jobs, imagine the kind of fear millions of Americans, pissed off, would create if they stared down the Congress and gave them the hell they deserve for handing our civil liberties to a criminal.

Finally I leave with a quote from a REAL patriot and ask the Congress to do something it doesn't appear it has ever done. READ THE CONSTITUTION. Yes, that paper below!

It is the foundation of this country, it is what our forefathers and generations afterwards that faced REAL threats to our society and Democracy relied upon and protected as YOUR OATHS OF OFFICE requires you do. Read it and weep, for you have failed America and failed what our country's real patriots made real sacrifice of life, limb, wealth and reputation for. You are cowards with no shame and for that may you be chased from office and replaced by true keepers of the Constitution.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

-Franklin's Contributions to the Conference, Friday Feb 17, 1775