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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 11/16/2008 - 11/23/2008
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The financial meltdown is picking up speed

when you see a 40%, 5,200-point year-to-date drop, and a 444-point, 5% drop in ONE DAY, you know things are getting really, really serious...


it ain't pretty, but my hope is that it will keep on going and force the kinds of changes we so desperately need...

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

bmaz at Emptywheel ain't too happy with Obama right now and, frankly, neither am I

it's not a pretty thing when i'm getting disenchanted only fifteen days after the election and well BEFORE the inauguration...
When I was first sworn into the bar, I had the good fortune of being mentored by an experienced and wise senior partner. One of the first things that he taught me in dealing with other parties was to be aware of the long arm-short arm syndrome. This is where a person has a long arm for taking, and a short arm for giving.

When it comes to the netroots, Barack Obama has the long arm-short arm syndrome. He has taken much from us in terms of support, voice, momentum, money, footwork and energy. Obama has given little, if anything, in return to the netroots. Unless you count disdain and scorn. And pokes in the eye with a blunt stick.

but wait, there's more...

on the attorney general choice...

[I]f you like the corporate apologist, rich people coddling, torturing approving and covering, illegal wiretapping loving, breakdown in the career ranks bullshit DOJ of the last eight years, you will absolutely love Eric Holder. He will, of course, be nominally better that Mukasey. If that is good enough for you, he is your guy! Thanks Barack!

and how about that stand-up guy, joe lieberman...?
Now, how exactly did we come to the point to where the guy who bolted the party and actively campaigned side by side, hand in hand, for the better part of two years for the race baiting Republican shame-meister John McCain? Who caused this love to be given to one of the netroots' most hated men? Uh, that would be good old long arm-short arm Barack Obama.

Obama didn't just shaft the netroots though, he stuck the shiv in the American people by engineering Lieberman's retention of his DHS Chairmanship. That man should not be allowed in the same universe as that committee. The American people are entitled to a man that will do the freaking job. A great American city was drowned. People are dead. Tens maybe hundreds of thousands are effectively still homeless. Billions of dollars were wasted. He. Did. Freaking. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Say goodnight New Orleans, and tell Barack Obama thank you!

and, yes, there's much, much more... i hate to think that my serious reservations about obama are being validated right out of the box... oh, well... my six weeks of cautious optimism were kinda pleasant even if they were totally misguided...

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Grand jury returns multi-count indictments against Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales for organized criminal activity

A Willacy County [Brownsville, Texas] grand jury under District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra returned multi-count indictments Monday against Vice President Dick Cheney, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, plus several other public officials.

The indictment accuses Cheney and Gonzales of engaging in organized criminal activity. It criticizes Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees by working through the prison companies.

Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.

let's hope and pray this is just the start of many more...

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'Scuse me, but I have a VERY strong suspicion about WHY there's opposition to an automaker bailout

yes, i'm cynical, but you already knew that...

i was watching cnn last evening where paulson and bernanke were testifying before congress on the bailout... this was interspersed with stories about the big three automakers also scheduled to appear with hat in hand... now, i don't know about you, but i've been watching our - taxpayers' - money being handed out by the billions to banks, insurance companies, investment brokers and damn near everybody else that passes by, and i was sitting there trying to make sense out of why, fercryinoutloud, our super-rich elites, personified by paulson and bernanke, people who've been so free with our money up to now, were suddenly so hard over against helping detroit... then it dawned on me...

what sets detroit's situation apart from the banks, insurance companies, etc...? hmmmmmm...?? think about it... yep, that's right... unions AND a very large, blue-collar labor force... what is it that our elite, corporatist, super-rich overlords hate beyond almost everything else...? hmmmmmmm...? that's right... unions... who works for banks, insurance companies and investment brokers...? hmmmmmm...?? the super-rich power brokers, that's who... why would these people who are so busy feeding at the taxpayer trough pass up the chance to completely destroy the unions AND take out a large swath of the u.s. middle class in one fell swoop...? what a golden opportunity...!

don't get me wrong... i'm not favoring a detroit bailout... i'm just trying to understand an apparent contradiction... why is aig "too big to fail," but detroit, with almost three million jobs at stake, can be flushed down the toilet without a backward glance...?

just sayin'...

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bite me, Henry...!

you suck...
Fighting the Financial Crisis, One Challenge at a Time
If we have learned anything throughout this year, we have learned that this financial crisis is unpredictable and difficult to counteract.

unpredictable, my ass... when an entire economy is built on nothing but expanding debt, it's most definitely possible to predict that, at some point, it's bound to collapse... get a clue, you fool... you may THINK we all just fell off the turnip truck, but, guess what...? ain't so...

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Just one more example of how the Bush administration totally sucks eggs

the thought that these criminals are embedding their political cronies in permanent positions of power and responsibility while the criminals themselves are preparing to happily waltz away from their crimes scot-free makes me want to puke...
Just weeks before leaving office, the Interior Department's top lawyer has shifted half a dozen key deputies -- including two former political appointees who have been involved in controversial environmental decisions -- into senior civil service posts.

The transfer of political appointees into permanent federal positions, called "burrowing" by career officials, creates security for those employees, and at least initially will deprive the incoming Obama administration of the chance to install its preferred appointees in some key jobs.

Similar efforts are taking place at other agencies. Two political hires at the Labor Department have already secured career posts there, and one at the Department of Housing and Urban Development is trying to make the switch.

Between March 1 and Nov. 3, according to the federal Office of Personnel Management, the Bush administration allowed 20 political appointees to become career civil servants. Six political appointees to the Senior Executive Service, the government's most prestigious and highly paid employees, have received approval to take career jobs at the same level. Fourteen other political, or "Schedule C," appointees have also been approved to take career jobs. One candidate was turned down by OPM and two were withdrawn by the submitting agency.

have i mentioned lately just how much i despise the bush administration...?

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Juan Cole: Iran supported the Iraq-US Security Agreement because they think they can trust Obama

i think professor cole may be spot on...
Omid Memarian explains Iran's turnaround on the Iraqi-US security agreement, which it was rejecting only last month.

McClatchy has more: "Reports from Iran's state news agency called an Iraqi Cabinet vote that advanced the security compact a "victory for the ruling party and its Kurdish partners," referring to the Shiite lawmakers who supported the agreement."

Me, I think the turning point was the election Obama. The Iranians would never have trusted McCain enough to hope for any good outcome from a security pact. But I think they are convinced that Obama really does want US troops out of Iraq, and that he wants to talk to Iran.

one thing's for goddam sure... even THINKING about placing your trust in bush or his gang of criminals would be sheer folly...

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Bush and bin Laden: "Their prolonged game has made not only the audiences tired but has also transformed the playground into a big pool of blood"

gee... do ya think...?

a stretch of the doctrine of fair use with apologies to juan cole...

The USG Open Source Center translates an article from the Persian Afghan press alleging that French troops were at one point close to capturing Usamah Bin Ladin in Afghanistan, but that American forces stopped them from doing so. It says that a forthcoming French documentary containing interviews with the French soldiers provides proof for the allegation. The argument is that the Bush administration needed Bin Ladin to be at large in order to justify its military expansionism.

Afghan article says US Bin-Ladin hunt phoney
Friday, October 3, 2008
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

Afghan article says US Bin-Ladin hunt phoney

Text of article, "Bin-Ladin on the run? The rumour which was fact", by Afghan independent secular daily newspaper Hasht-e Sobh on 29 September

So, the rumour was right: French soldiers trapped Usamah Bin-Ladin, but were not allowed by the Americans to arrest the apparent fugitive leader of Al-Qa`idah. A Bin-Ladin documentary just released by French documentary cinema examines this issue, an issue which has led to heated debate in the French media.

This French documentary shows how the Americans are interested in continuing the game, a bloody and expensive game whose victims are only the unprotected and local people of our dry and dusty country. It was last year that rumours spread about this report in Kabul, but it has not been taken seriously by the media. But watching this revealing French documentary changes the rumours into disturbing facts. "Bin Laden, the failings of a manhunt", produced by Emmanuel Razavi and Eric de Lavarene, two French filmmakers and reporters, assesses and confirms the claims of French soldiers that they could have killed Usamah within two operations, but the American forces prevented them. This film has not been broadcast publicly yet and is to be broadcast by Planet, a French network.

Even though French soldiers have insisted on this in the battlefield many times, the Elysee Palace in Paris and the White House in America have rejected this, and the Afghan leadership does not have any information about it yet!

The main question that arises is the extent to which the "Bin Laden on the run" project is a problem for America and Afghanistan. Seven years of suicide bombing and explosions, blood and violence, unmanned fighter planes, and old vehicles full of explosives, all to catch a long-bearded Arab whom America apparently hates? And an Arab who worked for the CIA in the name of Allah, and who now, also in the name of that same Allah, has conducted a jihad against that same CIA?

Facing the facts in this Usamah film is a bitter and disturbing experience and will make you nervous and wish that what it is that you are watching is just a baseless rumour, or a figment of Hollywood's imagination. But it is not. The pictures are real and you are facing a debate in documentary form. The only justification for the bloody presence of America in Afghanistan is the ambiguous existence of Usamah Bin-Ladin and the Al-Qa'idah terrorist network.

George Bush, with his "war on terror" project, has transformed the middle east and Afghanistan into an inflamed bomb ready to explode, but has not found out anything about his beloved lost Usamah Bin-Ladin so far.

What is seen, and the film also emphases this, is that all these slogans, this fighting and killing are a game, a painful and prolonged game whose end even the players do not know and which is running out of control. Apparently, it is a game of cat and mouse, just like "Tom and Jerry", the famous cartoon. But it is a reality that the stubborn one from Texas does not want to catch the mouse - unlike credulous Tom - and that the long-bearded Wahhabi Arab does not want to hide - unlike the intelligent and roaming Jerry. Their prolonged game has made not only the audiences tired but has also transformed the playground into a big pool of blood.

There have always been questions that neither the politicians have been willing to answer, nor the independent western media to raise. If Usamah is not the lost one of the Americans, then who is? What are the Americans searching for in Afghanistan and who are they looking for? The main media in the West remained silent before the report of the Usamah Bin-Ladin arrest by French soldiers. And, through a news boycott, they reduced a certain fact to a rumour.

Certainly, they will do the same before this film, too. But instead they will try to complicate the scenario. More painful than anything else is the political fair in Kabul, a poor fair where everyone offers his despicable commodity - a combination of generous western customers and thankful sellers of the country. Everyone knows the fact, like "an obvious secret", but no one wants to irritate the delicate minds of their nervous guests, guests who will be staying at home until the new year.

Politicians try to forget such news in Kabul, and this is the advice they give to the people. Forgetting and ignoring such facts is possible, but how can we forget and ignore the bombs exploding next to our houses every day?

let's hope this story grows legs...

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