Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Come to Stumpburners.

You can always catch me in the politics section at Stumpburners. If you enjoy politics, come on and join us. I think you have to register now because of spam, but it will be worth it.
Right-wingers are welcome, but not pampered.
And if you think it's just a bunch of dumb Okies talking NASCAR and football, I'll have you know that just tonight we parsed the difference between Fascism and Nazism.
C'mon over, get in a discussion and exercise your right of free speech, without the chain link fence.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wealth Distribution for the Rich and Famous and Blackwater: America's SS.

I'm not surprised by the greed of the super-wealthy, I'm not surprised at the boot licking mentality of Congress, I'm not even surprised that we have Republicans masquerading as Democrats and the party thinks this is just fine. I am a little surprised that the American people have pretty much abdicated their Constitutional responsibility to keep these jerks in line.

We seem to have only one party with a purpose in this country, hence the visual aid above. The Republican Party has one basic purpose and that is to get as much of that tiny little vertical line into the horizontal line at the top. Despite all their rhetoric the primary goal of the Republican Party is to transfer wealth upwards.

They are quite good at it too. I'll let one of their newspapers give you the happy news.

The richest Americans' share of national income has hit a postwar record, surpassing the highs reached in the 1990s bull market, and underlining the divergence of economic fortunes blamed for fueling anxiety among American workers.

The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. That is up sharply from 19% in 2004, and surpasses the previous high of 20.8% set in 2000, at the peak of the previous bull market in stocks.

The IRS data go back only to 1986, but academic research suggests the rich last had this high a share of total income in the 1920s.

Being in the bottom 18% I find it hard to explain how happy I am that Paris Hilton and Leona Helmsley's dog won't be going hungry for a while.

Meanwhile, "Where's our Democrat Party? They're supposed to be guarding the interests of the working class.", you ask.

Well from what I can see, the Blue Dog section of the Democrat Party are busy voting with the Republicans. That's to be expected since they are, in fact, Republicans. The majority of the Democrats in Congress are busy dithering, they're trying their best not to take a stand on any issue. They fear Right-Wing Propaganda when they should be fearing us. The few Democrats who will take a stand are characterized as pariahs or the lunatic fringe by the Right, the MSM and unfortunately by their own party. We'd still be West England if these guys were in charge in 1776.

So there you have it. The government of this country is systematically draining the little wealth of the people that actually generate this country's economy. It's not the rich, it's the poor working bastard that lives from paycheck to paycheck because every penny they make goes right back into the economy.

I was just curious. Why exactly does the nation that spends more on it's military than just about the rest of the world put together, need the services of a private security firm to provide mercenaries?

And still, just curious, why in the hell is the U.S. military supposed to be subservient to this private company?

Oct. 15, 2007 issue - The colonel was furious. "Can you believe it? They actually drew their weapons on U.S. soldiers." He was describing a 2006 car accident, in which an SUV full of Blackwater operatives had crashed into a U.S. Army Humvee on a street in Baghdad's Green Zone. The colonel, who was involved in a follow-up investigation and spoke on the condition he not be named, said the Blackwater guards disarmed the U.S. Army soldiers and made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV. His account was confirmed by the head of another private security company. Asked to address this and other allegations in this story, Blackwater spokesperson Anne Tyrrell said, "This type of gossip has led to many soap operas in the press."

Anne Tyrrell should be working for the White House. She certainly thinks we're stupid enough to believe whatever she says.

Responsible for guarding top U.S. officials in Iraq, Blackwater operatives are often accused of playing by their own rules. Unlike nearly everyone else who enters the Green Zone, said an American soldier who guards a gate, Blackwater gunmen refuse to stop and clear their weapons of live ammunition once inside. One military contractor, who spoke anonymously for fear of retribution in his industry, recounted the story of a Blackwater operative who answered a Marine officer's order to put his pistol on safety when entering a base post office by saying, "This is my safety," and wiggling his trigger finger in the air. "Their attitude was, 'We're f---ing security; we don't have to answer to anybody'."

I was in the old draftee army. I'll admit that a bunch of us were beer drinking, dope smoking, girl chasing, hippies at heart soldiers and I never once saw a mercenary. But nonetheless, we were good soldiers and proud of it and I just can't see being disarmed and being put on the ground by a bunch of punk civilians.

But we also hadn't spent months in a hostile environment with no mission other than providing target practice for any nut with a weapon. I can't even imagine the stress these soldiers are under everyday. We should be ashamed as a nation for putting these people through this for absolutely no reason.

Protecting us from terrorists in Iraq, while the real danger to this country is sitting on his dumbass in the White House.

Later. Have a good weekend.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Rush Limbaugh, The Leader of the Simple: A Draft Dodger Calls Combat Troops Phony.

Here's the link to the above.

OK, we all know that the whole Conservative/Liberal thing has to do with brain function, at least that's what scientists at New York University and UCLA say. I'll let you do the obvious jokes here.

But I'm beginning to think that hard-line Conservatives might just be a whole different species.

Let's take Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" line.

Rush issued a mea no culpa, said it was taken out of context and that he was only talking about one man as being a phony soldier. And now the right-wing garbage chutes are putting things out like this.

On Monday, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stepped onto the floor of the Senate and strongly denounced talk radio host Rush Limbaugh for what have proven to be out of context statements made by the conservative personality on his program last Wednesday.

That is from NewsBusters, their slogan is "Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias". Now keep in mind this "out of context" excuse.

And from a place called The Conservative Voice, ditto. Sorry.

Talker Rush Limbaugh is under fire for being falsely accused of saying that any U.S. soldier who comes out against the war is a “phony soldier.” He did not, of course, say such a thing. Rush was actually talking about a man named Jesse Macbeth who was touted by anti-war activists as a soldier who came out against the war, but it turned out later that Macbeth never served in the military at all.

Still, despite that Rush is utterly innocent of these scurrilous charges, members of the Democrat Party and assorted extreme leftists like Media Matters, a far left opinion group focused on the media, have used the “phony soldiers” line as a rallying cry against the right. These far left advocacy groups are desperately trying to lead people to imagine that conservatives, Republicans and war supporters are disingenuous with their support for the troops. These far left groups are at the same time trying to say that it is they, rather than the right, who really respects the troops and they who would never support “phony soldiers.”

Here's the transcript, see if you think Rush was talking about one man named Jesse McBeth. courtesy of Media Matters.

LIMBAUGH: There's a lot more than that that they don't understand. They can't even -- if -- the next guy that calls here, I'm gonna ask him: Why should we pull -- what is the imperative for pulling out? What's in it for the United States to pull out? They can't -- I don't think they have an answer for that other than, "Well, we just gotta bring the troops home."

CALLER 2: Yeah, and, you know what --

LIMBAUGH: "Save the -- keep the troops safe" or whatever. I -- it's not possible, intellectually, to follow these people.

CALLER 2: No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.

LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.

CALLER 2: The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. They want to be over in Iraq. They understand their sacrifice, and they're willing to sacrifice for their country.

Rush sent out a video clip of the call in order to make his case but cut out 1 minute and 35 seconds of it.

During the September 28 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, in response to Media Matters for America's documentation of his recent description of service members who advocate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as "phony soldiers," Rush Limbaugh claimed that he had not been talking "about the anti-war movement generally," but rather "about one soldier ... Jesse MacBeth." Limbaugh further asserted that "Media Matters had the transcript, but they selectively choose what they want to make their point." To support this claim, Limbaugh purported to air the "entire" segment in question from the September 26 broadcast of his show. In fact, the clip he then aired had been edited. Excised from the clip was a full 1 minute and 35 seconds of the 1 minute and 50 second discussion that occurred between Limbaugh's original "phony soldiers" comment and his reference to MacBeth, the full audio of which can be heard here .

I think we can all pretty much see that Rush did indeed call any troops that disagree with the war in Iraq "phony soldiers". Pretty simple stuff isn't it?

This is where the brain function difference or species difference comes into it. Check out the comments on the NewsBuster piece.

Of course they are protecting Dingy Harry. Because they know that Limbaugh never said what Reid says he did. If they thought this was a real scandal, they would have front-page stories on it every day. The broadcast media would be having hourly updates, complete with the diagnosis that "this is not going away."

I just had Rush on in my car, and he did a segment on how MoveOn et al have now corralled a group of Iraq vets who oppose the war. They have made a $60,000 ad that says Limbaugh accused them all of being phony soldiers. Taking the cue from Rush, the soldier speaking tell Rush to shut up until he is willing to come and call him a phony to his face.
These people will not quit. They are determined to give this story legs, even if they have to use prostheses.


Chris -- exactly. I think you hit it on the head. The instinctive reaction here for the media, when they smell a potential problem, is to protect the (their) Democrats.

Then perhaps, some in the media are specifically concerned, about protecting the front runner, HRC, as Noel suggested - even though I don't see why Noel referred to it as "a more cynical view." I say that because, it would surprise me if many in the MSM, here, sensed a problem with the connection between Media Matters and the Clintons, as they historically are only concerned about conflicts of interest when they can stick it on the other party.

Read all the comments over there and I think that you will see that the opposition is a pretty delusional, easily-led bunch. And for some reason these people scare the crap out of our Democrat leaders.

The media protecting the Democrats, these guys are whacked.

I just ran across some excellent related materal by Michael Mccord.

I'm puzzled by this: How can anyone be surprised at this given Limbaugh's venom toward anyone, serving or not, who disagrees with him on Iraq? He's slimed two decorated Vietnam War combat veterans — Republican Sen. Chuck Haegel of Nebraska and Democrat Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania — for daring to think the Iraq war has been a disaster of historical proportions and trying to change the course of madness. His legacy of endlessly trumping up the Swift Boat lies against John Kerry in 2004 speaks for his dedication to a cult-like truth only he has access to.

Helen Thomas, Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Reconcilitation Kaput, Hell's Embassy, Healthcare?, Bush and Jobs and Coney Island.

Helen Thomas, who has covered every President since JFK and who happens to be one of my few heroes, has written a piece where she unequivocally agrees with what I wrote last week.

"Unequivocally agrees with" may be a little strong, considering that she has no idea of who I am or what I wrote. But still, it's nice to think that my hero and I tend to think alike. Did I mention she's really, really smart? She also has the biggest set of cojones in Washington, D.C..

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic congressional leadership and the party's leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy.
Those Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S. troops out of Iraq, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war.

While Bush has no idea of what's happening in Iraq and our three top Democrat contenders are showing us just how afraid they are of the Right-Wing Propaganda Machine when it comes to Bush's war in Iraq, Iraqi leaders are telling us that we can put to rest any hope of reconciliation and that they would like someone competent to handle the occupation and rebuilding of their country. It's about the same thing we'll be looking for in next year's election.

BAGHDAD -- For much of this year, the U.S. military strategy in Iraq has sought to reduce violence so that politicians could bring about national reconciliation, but several top Iraqi leaders say they have lost faith in that broad goal.

Iraqi leaders argue that sectarian animosity is entrenched in the structure of their government. Instead of reconciliation, they now stress alternative and perhaps more attainable goals: streamlining the government bureaucracy, placing experienced technocrats in positions of authority and improving the dismal record of providing basic services.

Also in Iraq our new embassy in Iraq is kind of a microcosm of our whole situation in Iraq. When I first mentioned the embassy last year it was supposed to be a secret. I'll bet Bush wishes it still was. I'd imagine it's safe to say this well secured pleasure palace will end up costing over a billion dollars. It's a good thing that we're not wasting money on poor kid's health when we can waste money on this.

The massive U.S. embassy under construction in Baghdad could cost $144 million more than projected and will open months behind schedule because of poor planning, shoddy workmanship, internal disputes and last-minute changes sought by State Department officials, according to U.S. officials and a department document provided to Congress.
The embassy, which will be the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in the world, was budgeted at $592 million. The core project was supposed to have been completed by last month, but the timetable has slipped so much that the State Department has sought and received permission from the Iraqi government to allow about 2,000 non-Iraqi construction employees to stay in the country until March.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he does not know when the embassy will be ready. "I can't tell you right now when it will open," he said Friday. "Now, that's not to indicate to you that it's going to be a lengthy period of time. It could be a brief period of time. But the fact is, I can't give you an opening date right now."

Just like everything else from the Bush Administration, we pay way too much for way too little.

Thank goodness we have the Republican Party and some Democrats to protect those of us who want a nationalized health system from ourselves. Yes, to protect us from an evil government and let us benefit from the benevolence of the private sector.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 — Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.

The problems, described in 91 audit reports reviewed by The New York Times, include the improper termination of coverage for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, huge backlogs of claims and complaints, and a failure to answer telephone calls from consumers, doctors and drugstores.

Gee, I don't have any of those problems with the V.A. hospital in Muskogee, OK, which BTW, should be the model of V.A. hospitals across the country. It sure beats the hell out of the V.A.'s show place hospital, DeBakey in Houston. Houston let me lay there for 24 hours, with me telling them I had peritonitis, but I lived anyway.

I know you heard it, it's certainly been said enough, "lowering taxes for the rich creates jobs". A lot of people believe that, a lot of those same people believe that there are still WMDs that haven't been found in Iraq.

Well the latest bit of message mangling from the White House and the Right is how, under Bush we have had the longest stretch of job growth ever. Well it's true, with an asterisk. Paul Krugman gives us that asterisk. Paul Krugman is really, really smart too.

The new White House “fact sheet” on the economy declares that job growth since August 2003 is the “longest continuous months of job growth on record.”
That’s literally true – the Bureau of Labor Statistics data from the great jobs boom of the 1990s do show a couple of scattered months of job decline, although these are probably statistical blips. But by any reasonable standard, job growth in the Bush years has fallen way short of growth in the Clinton years.

Over the whole of the Clinton administration, the economy added 22.7 million jobs – 237,000 per month.
Over the whole of the Bush administration to date, the economy added only 5.8 million jobs – 72,000 per month.

You know, growing up a redneck I'm supposed to have some kind of innate antipathy towards New York City. I guess I did once. When I got out of the Army a Fort Dix, me and some other guys took a cab to JFK in NYC. I had no desire to see the city, I just wanted to go home. It was 1975, New York City had more problems then.

I ran across an article that says that we might lose Coney Island. Even tho' I probably couldn't be trained to be a New Yorker, I feel a sense of loss. I think this country is lucky to have a city like New York City. It's the city that other cities in the world aspire to be. I mean it is America's City. So NYC I hope we can hang on to Coney Island because it's part of our culture and history too.

It's Monday, things will be better in four days.