Friday, June 26, 2015

Rampage Of The Overblown Ego

This is an essay by my friend, William Kendall, a fine writer and very smart man who blogs at Ottawa Daily Photo and at Speak of the Devil.


Rampage Of The Overblown Ego

“And lo, in that day, when the third member of a clan of trees will seek the office of highest lord of his land (clan of trees? I really need to stop drinking) and the mother bear and her demented partner will be seeking that office, there will come out of the darkness yet another contender. A demon of the Trumpius clan, the Donaldus... a repugnance with false hair and an inflated ego. He will crow and he will scream at the heavens and he will sneer in those days, for lo, it will always have been for him that he is, in a manner of speaking, the hindquarters of a horse. Not literally, mind you, just figuratively.” ~ from The Book Of Arcane Prophecies, Chapter 62

World’s Biggest Ego Announces He’s Running For President; World Laughs At Him

New York (AP) Real estate and casino mogul, television personality, and narcissistic ass Donald Trump announced his bid for the Republican nomination as President of the United States, taking the opportunity to lash out at the President and fellow Republicans, not to mention numerous world countries and America as a whole, all while stroking his own ego and boasting of his accomplishments and self delusionary glory. 

Trump, who has absolutely no chances in hell of winning the nomination, joins a crowded field of GOP candidates trying to pass themselves off as the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan. Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and the tag team of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are among the candidates trying desperately to evoke a back to the past Father Knows Best mentality. Trump, with his massive ego, rampant xenophobia, and embarrassingly bad hairpiece, joins the fray as the biggest clown yet. He has occasionally mused in the past about running for office, and has regularly used Fox News as his venue to complain about whatever annoyed him on any given day. The multitude of comments have often been fodder to point out his supremely overinflated ego, narcissism, and general stupidity.

“It’s not as if he’s actually going to see this through,” Evan Acheson, a public relations expert remarked after the fact. “We’re talking about a man who craves nothing but attention, the spotlight... he’s addicted to it, and announcing a run at the nomination, even though it’ll go nowhere, it feeds his addiction. Frankly, if everyone just stopped paying attention to the hairline challenged toupee wearing blowhard, he’d curl up into a ball and die of neglect. Granted, that would be a good thing.”

Trump made his announcement at his Fifth Avenue Trump Tower, coming down an escalator to the sounds of ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’, oblivious to the irony of the situation and the song and looking like an old, angry man coming down the mall escalator. The Tower is also home base to his Apprentice reality show, lending yet more credence to the suggestion that this announcement was a circus act yet to be followed by more circus acts. He has billed himself as “the most successful person ever to run for the presidency, by far”- yet another example of his rampaging ego.

In a long, rambling speech of rhetorical nonsense and blowhard stupidity, Trump blabbered on about how rich he is, listing off his assets and how great a mogul he thinks he is. He lashed out at Mexicans, the Chinese, Japan, and immigrants, claiming he would make America great again. He spoke about currency manipulation, terrorism in the Middle East, his false boasts of job creation, his excessive wealth, even claiming “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” He sneered as he noted that his attitude is needed after “losers” running the country.

Trump suggested a massive wall must be built at the Mexican border- and paid for by the Mexicans, and spoke of himself in the third person regarding ISIS. “No one would be tougher on ISIS than Trump.” His supporters applauded. Real reporters rolled their eyes and sighed, imagining that at the very least, late night comedians would be pleased by this, regardless of how long it would last. No doubt until the blowhard got bored and decided he’d had enough.

“We need a truly great leader,” Trump boasted, his every remark self centered, clearly believing himself to be that great leader- after all, the center of the world according to Donald Trump is Donald Trump. Those of us who live in reality know better. And yet for the mogul, there is no such thing as modesty or humility.

“Sadly the American dream is dead,” Trump said with his customary sneer as he finally finished up. “But if I get elected President I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before.” A typical Trump boast- the man has often spoken of his real estate ventures in such terms, as well as his own self belief that he’s the greatest human being on the planet. He seems oblivious to the disregard many, even Republican voters, have for him, let alone his complete failure as a human being to be able to empathize with others. He also seems oblivious to how truly ridiculous he looks with that toupee.

And so the campaign has yet another Republican in the mix, at least until he decides he’s had enough. Gambling houses are taking bets on how long before Trump quits the campaign, or how many gaffes he can make in a single day.

Psychologist Eleanor Warren had her own opinions on the campaign. “You know, I could go into detail about megalomania, his inability to feel empathy, his supremely over developed ego and overwhelming narcissism, his lack of manners and tact, his inability to understand humility and grace, his profound overcompensation for certain shortcomings as a man... but really, in the end, what it all comes down to is that the man is a complete jackass.”

Polls of Republican voters show that over half have a negative view of the mogul. Democrats view him as even worse. White House staff noted that since Trump has been one of the main voices fanning the flames of the “birther” movement that called into question the legitimacy of the President, they look forward to seeing him make a fool of himself repeatedly.

The last word must go to the Almighty, since Trump claimed he’d be the greatest jobs president God ever created. This reporter had a sit-down with God, who as it turns out actually looks a lot like Morgan Freeman. “You know, I have no idea what he’s talking about,” the Almighty remarked. “To be perfectly honest, I think Trump’s an asshole.”

Monday, June 15, 2015

My Fellow Americans, You Betcha!

[This is a guest post by my friend William Kendall.  Mr. Kendall is not only an excellent writer, but is on top of all things political (in Canada and the U.S.) and has a great sense of humor.  He has graciously consented to allow me to use this essay.  You can find more of what Mr. Kendall is up to on his blogs, Ottawa Daily Photo, and Speak of the Devil.]

Today I have something entirely different. Dick Cheney might want to have me come over for a hunting weekend after this. And we all know how hunting weekends turn up at Chez Cheney.

Insane Candidates Join The Fray; Comedians Everywhere Rejoice

St. Louis (AP) A crowded Republican list of candidates for the 2016 Presidential election just got more crowded. With frontline candidates such as Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry, and a slew of fringe candidates that include the egomaniacal bankruptcy prone casino developer Donald Trump already announcing their run at the Oval Office or expected to announce soon, two other Tea Party favourites have announced their joint run at the Presidency in this Mid-Western city yesterday.

Tea Party faithful were gathered at the America’s Center complex, along with media and staffers for the announcement. A flurry of faded politicians, hard right commentators, and washed up musicians were in attendance. Donald Rumsfeld, Pat Buchanan, John Ashcroft, Karl Rove, Herman Cain, Ari Fleischer, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and the urn containing the ashes of the late and not lamented right wing blogger Andrew Breitbart were among the most notable. Rocker and deranged lunatic Ted Nugent and country singer Toby Keith provided the entertainment and made veiled threats about anyone prying their guns from their cold dead hands. Nugent went on to repeat his oft mentioned question about why he wasn’t dead or in jail all this time after the previous election, given his remarks about the President, and rambled on and on, leaving one to wonder if he was drunk.

Then it was time for the big announcement. That announcement, of course, would come after Limbaugh, Coulter, Rumsfeld, Cain, Gingrich, and forty seven people from the lives and backgrounds of the two candidates made rambling and glowing tributes to both of them. As to which of the two would be the actual candidate was another matter. Finally after Keith finished performing ‘Courtesy of the Red, White, And Blue’, the singer made the announcement the Tea Party faithful and the Fox News reporters had been dying to hear. Those of us who are actual reporters had been rolling our eyes for at least two hours, wondering why the Republican party couldn’t field candidates who weren’t clinically insane or viewing the world with a mindset sixty years behind the times.

“Ladies and gentlemen! Hard workin’ Americans!” Keith bellowed, smiling like the cat that ate the canary. “Here they are, your next President and Vice President... and they’ll explain how they’re going to get around that all by themselves, they’re going to take the country back and put the boot in the ass to all those liberal commie haters who can’t stand eatin’ good ol’ American style steak, ladies and gentlemen.... Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann!”

Palin and Bachmann came out on stage, flashing the same vacant, slightly demented smiles they’re known for, accompanied by husbands and children, all of whom stood behind them on the stage. “Hello, America!” Palin called out, waving.

“Thanks for coming to our coming out!” Bachmann added. “Not that kind of coming out, mind you, the good kind!”

“You betcha!” Palin said with a grin confirming she wasn’t playing with more than a pair of twos, a three of spades, a ten of clubs, and one jack. The rest of the proverbial deck of cards that constituted her brain was long gone. “Gosh, golly, there are a lot of candidates out there for the Republican nomination in 2016, but when it comes down to it, the only way we’re goin’ to get those Dumbocrats outta the White House and Congress and every state house is if the two of us lead the way!”

Bachmann nodded. “So we’re gonna be President and Vice President! Or Co-Presidents to be more exact. Palin and Bachmann! Bachmann and Palin!”

Palin smiled again. “And we’re a team! So we’re gonna do things as a team. For instance, one day I’ll be the one in the Oval Office makin’ the big decisions and the next day Michele’s gonna be President for the day, and so on and so on. Presidents in turn!”

Aside from Tea Party faithful and Fox reporters, who broke out into gleeful applause, real reporters rolled their eyes and groaned. Did neither of these halfwits understand the basic concepts of the Constitution and division of executive powers? A Reuters correspondent spoke up. “You do realize the Constitution might have something to say about that kind of arrangement.”

Palin shrugged. “The Constitution? Who cares about the Constitution?”

Bachmann nodded. “Yeah, we’re goin’ to have it burned after we impose martial law and name ourselves Presidents For Life anyway.”

Palin looked confused. “Did we just think that, or say that out loud?”

“I don’t know,” Bachmann replied. She laughed in her typically demented way. “Look, what’s important is takin’ this country back from those godless latte slurpin’ commie liberals gettin’ in our way. And we gotta set this country back to the way things oughtta be, isn’t that right, Rush?” Limbaugh nodded enthusiastically. “That means Republicans in charge of everything, opposition destroyed, liberals caged up in super prisons if they so much as look at us funny....”

“You do realize you just said that out loud, right?” this reporter called out.

Bachmann frowned. “What’s your name? You’re goin’ on the enemy list!”

Palin smiled, shrugged, and remarked, “what do you expect from the lamestream media? You know, you don’t like America, Mr. Fancy Pants Reporter, why don’t you go to Russia?  You can see it from my house, if you squint real hard. America’s ours, a God fearin’, butt kickin’, beer drinkin’ steak and eggs apple pie gosh golly country that’s the greatest country on Earth! Everybody else eats our dust!”

Bachmann carried on. “This is our vision for America: a country full of freedom and fire and brimstone preachin’ and Mom’s apple pie, and the right to bear arms bein’ the only part of the Constitution we’ll keep, and Ronald Reagan statues in every town, and marriage being only between a man and a woman, and sex only being after marriage for the purpose of havin’ babies, with all the lights turned off. And Alan Jackson and Toby Keith and Ted Nugent tourin’ the country performin’ and keepin’ the dream alive. And no more Obamacare and lots of tax cuts for our corporate buddies and beer all around. And the Dixie Chicks in a concentration camp for ever darin' to insult a Republican president, am I right, Toby?”

Toby Keith stood up and applauded. “You sure are! I hate those Dixie Chicks!”

Bachmann laughed. “And while we’re at it, we gotta bring the rest of the world to heel, right, Sarah?”

Palin nodded. “Absolutely. That means takin’ down that Putin guy once and for all, and droppin’ some nukes on South Korea, and while we’re at it, a few nukes all over the Middle East. Get rid of those Iraqi Anwar Sadat fans once and for all.” This reporter shook his head- did this woman even know when she was making factual errors?

Bachmann continued. “What the world needs to know is that we’re in charge. That means respectin’ us and doin’ what we say or pay the price.” The fact that she said that with her usual vacant smile made the expression all the more disturbing. “That also includes gettin’ even with that Mountie who came down here a few months ago and beat up a few thousand of Rush’s supporters.” Limbaugh was nodding enthusiastically at this point. “No one makes Dittoheads bleed and cry and gets away with it! Canada, either you give us that Metallica drummin’ Mountie so we can have him drawn and quartered, or we drop nukes on you!”

Palin nodded. “Gosh golly, when we’re through, those godless liberal commie fascists won’t recognize the land of the red, white, and blue!” This reporter sighed in dismay, expecting that the difference between communism and fascism was too complicated for the mind of Sarah Palin. “Michele and me, we’re gonna take this country in the right direction, and we’re gonna be the most benevolent overlord rulers of any country everywhere! We’re gonna get back to the basics, and that means steppin’ up and doin’ what we say, and that means you, Levi Johnston! Time to man up and marry Bristol, you punk! And sure enough, give those commie liberals enough time and they’ll come around to see things our way. Or we can just toss ‘em all into some concentration camp with the Dixie Chicks and the gays and the peace activists and the Supreme Court and the holdout Dumbocrats."

Michele smiled in that delirious way of hers. “God help America.... I mean, God bless America! Remember, in 2016, vote Palin and Bachmann!”

“Or Bachmann and Palin!” Palin added.  “Vote for us! You can trust us! I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?”

The two left the stage to the sound of Toby Keith and Ted Nugent jamming in a strange rendition of God Bless America. As to the question of what was the worst that could happen, this reporter was envisioning nuclear holocaust. Granted, what were the chances? Who in their right minds would even vote for this pair of dolts?

GOP party bosses were horrified at the prospect of Palin and Bachmann running for the nomination. The Koch brothers were busy hedging their bets, wondering how much bribe money would be needed to control them. This reporter wondered if the Koch brothers ever thought they’d be spending less money just paying taxes than blowing it on political manipulation. And up in Canada, RCMP Inspector Lars Ulrich was cautiously approached by other reporters, who informed him of the demand by the Palin/ Bachmann team. “Drawn and quartered?” he asked, smiling in a strange way. “Well, they’re welcome to try.”

Late night comedians were ecstatic at the thought of a Palin/Bachmann run at the nomination and the sheer possibility of ways they could work this into monologues. “However long this campaign lasts,” Conan O’Brien told reporters, “we’ll have plenty of material to use for years.”

Stephen Colbert, due to take over David Letterman’s old spot on the Late Show in September, mused on getting an early start to take advantage of the full comic possibilities that a Palin/ Bachmann ticket presented. And Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, soon to move on, was stunned to hear the news. He told reporters, “They choose now to run for the nomination? This is a dream come true. I wonder if it’s too late to change my mind.”

Marco Rubio - things to know

Thanks to Ybor City Stogie!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rick Perry, et. al., mental and emotional midgets!

I found the following over at Daily Kos, from Karoli.  This little rap song is the way Rick Perry announced his candidacy for the presidency.  Isn't it cute?

Via Buzzfeed:
“Rick Perry supporter, let’s protect our border,” the rap part says. “To hell with anyone who don’t believe in the USA / Rick Perry all the way.”
“I won’t back up / I don’t back down / I been raised up / To stand my ground / Take my job / But not my gun,” the country part says.
         “Give me my right to vote / My right to tote / The weapon of my choice,            
          Don't censor my voice," goes the second rap verse.

Rick Perry is one of a pack of men and one woman who wish to be elected president of the United States in spite of the fact they are mentally and emotionally challenged.  They have a cumulative IQ of about 80 and clearly have not passed the age of 13 emotionally.

And then today, the dimwit, Lindsey Graham, trying to get out the vote said something to the effect that if you don't want war, don't vote for him!

There must be a few adults in the Republican Party but I haven't found them yet.

George W. Bush Revealed

Here is perhaps the best insight into George W. Bush's mind that I've ever seen.  It is from the article, "What a Piece of Work," by William Deresiewicz in the June 2015 issue of Harper's Magazine, p. 88ff.  Deresiewicz, pulls a quote from Mark Greif's book, The Age of the Crisis of Man: Thought and Fiction in America, 1933-1973.

Here's what Greif says about George W. Bush:

                                      "He makes up orders that are assembled
                                      from the bric-a-brac of instruction, correction,
                                      remembered adage, childhood experience,
                                      assumed law, scripture, in a collection of string,
                                      paper trash, and bits of bright foil.... He is not
                                      facing reality and trying to think; he is squinting
                                      and trying to remember his lessons."

Lest you think that George W. Bush is passe, remember his brother Jeb wishes to be president also and much of what Jeb knows come from George.  In fact, when it comes to foreign policy, George will be Jeb's go-to guy.

What could go wrong with that?


Fact Check: Social Security Does Not Increase the Deficit

By Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

The American people love Social Security, and with good reason. It protects seniors and the disabled from poverty, and it is the most important life and disability safeguard available to the nation's 75 million children. The program is a bargain: Its administrative costs are lower than privately managed retirement plans. Social Security returns in benefits more than 99 cents of every dollar collected, whereas a typical 401(k) could easily eat up 20 cents of that dollar in fees. The program is fiscally sound and prudently managed — a policy triumph.

There are basically two categories of people who want to see Social Security cut: 1) financiers who wish to move us toward privatized retirement accounts so that they can charge us fees; and 2) rich people who do not like to pay taxes. Their main champions are conservatives at the Heritage Foundation, libertarians at the Cato Institute and Wall Street financier Pete Peterson.

Just about everybody else in America is against cutting Social Security, as poll after poll demonstrates. The people have continued to speak loudly and clearly, and yet Washington can’t seem to get the message. This is obviously because a lot of media people and politicians rely on money from the two groups mentioned above. So they have to come up with arguments to try to convince the public that up is down and red is blue. It’s a war of attrition: repeat lies and distortions often enough and maybe they’ll come to be taken as facts.

The latest volley is a shameful and distorted editorial in the Washington Post which attempts to downplay the retirement crisis faced by Americans and to stoke generational tensions by suggesting that Social Security is a burden on young people instead of a vital safeguard. The editorial actually mocked a sensible bill introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) that would boost Social Security benefits by increasing taxes on the wealthy. The Washington Post's nonsense was blasted by Senator Elizabeth Warren, who spoke out strongly against cuts of any kind, including Obama's "chained CPI" cut which would prevent Social Security from keeping up with seniors' increasing costs.

A favorite tactic of Social Security's foes is to push the notion that the program somehow drives up the federal deficit, an argument that is completely without merit.

In the first place, the federal deficit is shrinking. That’s a highly inconvenient truth for people trying to stoke deficit hysteria, but they’re banking on the fact that a lot of Americans don’t know about the deficit going down. So they go on pretending that the federal deficit is a dire, pants-on-fire problem, even though most of them know that’s a bunch of hot air.

Even if the deficit were rising — which it’s not — the sensible way to deal with that would be to concentrate on putting people back to work and to invest in productive things like education and infrastructure. That gets the economy going and then, guess what? As tax revenues come back, the deficit goes down on its own, which is what’s happening right now.

Taking money out of people's pockets, which is what cutting Social Security would do, actually could have the perverse effect of increasing the deficit because it means that people can’t buy the stuff they would normally buy with this money, like food and healthcare. What that happens, the businesses trying to sell those items have to scale back and lay off employees, which means less tax revenue for the government. And so on. Not exactly a recipe for a booming economy.

In the second place, it’s a plain economic fact that Social Security is not a driver of the deficit. Nevertheless, irresponsible people continue to confuse the public by using various tricks such as predictions of the future that have little basis in reality and accounting methods applied in devious ways.

We’re going to cut through all of that. By the end of this article, you will be able to confound all Republicans and centrist Democrats who offer up nonsense linking Social Security to the deficit and spread hyperbolic rhetoric.

1. Social Security is a self-financed program.

First, let’s talk about how Social Security works. If you are employed, you most likely pay a certain amount of your paycheck, generally 6.2 percent, to Social Security. Your employer kicks in the same amount. (The exception would be a few state and local workers who get public state pensions instead of Social Security).

The Social Security program has an independent budget that is separate from the rest of the federal government. Social Security is fundamentally a pay-as-you-go system, which means that payments collected today immediately go to pay benefits.

The finances of the Social Security program have been managed extremely well, and until the recent financial crisis and recession, more payments were collected than were needed for benefits and the surplus was placed into a trust fund. The Social Security program has loaned this extra money to the U.S. government, which used it for other things. In return, Social Security gets interest-bearing Treasury securities, or bonds.

The Wall Street-driven financial crisis and recession reduced the payroll collections, and in 2010, Social Security began to tap into its trust fund, which had been built up for just such an emergency.
You might hear some guy from the Cato Institute getting clever by pointing out that Social Security is using interest on the government bonds it holds to help pay for benefits, and therefore adding to the deficit because the government has to pay that interest. That’s a bit like saying that because I was smart and saved money and then loaned it to my profligate neighbor, I am somehow responsible for increasing his debt when I ask him to pay back what he borrowed. Would any reasonable person make such an upside-down claim?

No. Yet people calling themselves “fact checkers” are promoting this absurdity in the mainstream media.

As economist Dean Baker has explained, it’s a perfectly ordinary thing for bond holders to use interest collected on bonds. Grandmothers with pensions do it, and they aren’t generally accused of adding to the deficit. Just for fun, Baker uses the example of Pete Peterson as an illustration: “If Peter Peterson used $5 million in interest on government bonds he held to finance the startup  of his Campaign to Fix the Debt, would it be accurate to say that he had contributed to the deficit? I suspect that most of the fact checkers would say that it is not.”

2. Social Security is not in danger of running out of money.

Another thing you hear is that Social Security is going to run out of money sometime in the future. Actually, by the forecasts made on the part of the Social Security Trustees, the program isn’t going to run out of money even if its trust funds — and that’s a big if — get depleted some decades down the road (2033 is the latest projected date).

The Trustees report is based on predictions that are deliberately conservative. Yet even with its worst-case scenario reasoning, the report says that the tax income would still be enough to pay about three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2085. Does that sound like a crisis? No, because it isn’t. The real crisis is the growing number of Americans who will face retirement without traditional pensions and not enough money in their 401(k)s. Cutting Social Security would only add fuel to that fire.

3. There is no justification for tampering with Social Security’s financing right now.

Economists are not very good with crystal balls. If you don’t believe this, look at how few of them predicted the last financial crisis. Yet they are addicted to making prognostications.
Social Security’s finances are in perfectly good shape: the Social Security Trust Fund has a $2.7 trillion surplus and will continue to grow until 2021. Perhaps there will be more trouble some decades down the road, but we will be better able to make those assessments when we actually see what the reality is. To cut benefits right now because of a problem that might occur years from now is ridiculous, unless of course your real concern is to cut taxes, which is naturally the desire of America’s Ebeneezer Scrooges.

If you insist on doing something right now, there is a very simple way to generate more revenue for the program, and it doesn’t involve cutting benefits in all the myriad ways the politicians and pundits have proposed: Raise the cap on earnings taxed to pay for Social Security from its current $113,000 to something like, say, $200,000. Presto! You now have loads more revenue and you did not keep grandma from buying medicine.

You don’t hear the greedy rich jumping on board with this idea, because they don’t like to pay taxes, even when doing so might benefit the economy where they make their millions. You don’t hear the financiers cheering this approach, because they really want to see the program destroyed so they can get their mitts on your retirement money. But it would certainly suit everybody else.
Now you’re ready for Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws. Enjoy!

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.  It is reprinted here by permission of AlterNet.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Corporate Welfare - the Real Problem!

h/t and thanks to Ybor City Stogie for this graphic.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

GOP Reality Check

h/t to Bob Poris.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

No Guns in Florida's Schools!

Apple Lays Waste to Conservative Ideology

Apple website screenshot:
[Attribution: Apple]

Tuesday morning, riding high after yet another gangbusters quarter, Apple reached a new high, worth more than $760 BILLION. This makes it worth more than, well, a ton of things, including all but 18 COUNTRIES in the world.

Think about that ... Apple is worth more than the GDP of Saudi Arabia, or Switzerland, or Sweden. And despite being this financial juggernaut, the company is still experiencing double-digit growth. In just the past three months, Apple booked profits of $13.6 billion on $58 billion in revenue. Four years ago, the last of Steve Jobs' reign, he bragged about hitting $50 billion in revenue ... for the YEAR.

Not only are those numbers eye-watering, but that profit margin is the envy of the entire business world. The company has just shy of $200 billion in its cash horde, even as it has stepped up efforts to return cash to its shareholders. A $1 trillion valuation isn't far away.
So by all objective measures, Apple is the most successful company in the modern era. (The Dutch East India Company wins overall top honors, with an inflation-adjusted valuation of $7.3 trillion.) Yet, keep in mind the following:

* Apple is based on California, and continues to expand its operations in the state. Conservatives bray incessantly about the Golden State's "high taxes and burdensome regulations," yet the world's most high-value and innovative companies continue to be based here. You don't see Apple or its peers fleeing to tax havens like Alabama. Why? Because those taxes and regulations actually create a favorable business climate for Apple, delivering it the talent it desperately needs.

This story is from Daily Kos.  There is so much more - very enlightening; read it all, click here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Michele Bachmann, Jesus' Favorite Moron

Republican candidate for president U.S. Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) (C) holds a news conference with Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) (L) and Representative Steve King (R-IA) (R) to discuss the debt ceiling and military benefits, at the U.S
Former Rep. Michele Bachmann is very excited that the world may be coming to an end. Iran may be getting the bomb, and gay people are getting married these days, and all of this is wonderful news because it means Israel is going to be destroyed and there will be wars and plagues and famines and that means Jesus is going to come back to fly all the bestest Bachmann-approving-of Christians into heaven while her enemies get left to rot in whatever post-nuclear wasteland comes next. You think we are making this up. We are not making this up.

The above is from Daily  Please read the entire article here.  It's a laugh until you realize this moron was actually elected to Congress.  Then you want to gag.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Greg Palast on the "Deepwater Horizon Killings"

Chelsea Manning
and the Deepwater Horizon Killings

By Greg Palast  |  for Truthdig
Sunday, 19. April 2015

The military whistleblower’s 2010 Wikileaks dump included information that could have saved the 11 BP workers who died that spring in the Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster.

Five years ago Monday, 11 men died on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig — despite Chelsea Manning’s effort to save their lives.
Let me explain.
The BP drilling rig blew itself to Kingdom Come after the “mud” — the cement used to cap the well — blew out.

The oil company, the federal government and the industry were shocked — shocked!  at this supposedly unexpected explosion in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
But BP knew, and Exxon and Chevron knew, and the U.S. State Department knew, that just 17 months earlier another BP offshore rig had suffered an identical, disastrous blow-out halfway across the planet in the Caspian Sea.

In both the Gulf and Caspian blow-outs, the immediate culprit was the failure of the cement, in both cases caused by the use — misuse — of nitrogen in the cement mix, a money-saving but ultimately deadly measure intended to speed the cement’s drying.
The cover-up meant that U.S. regulators, the U.S. Congress and the public had no inkling that the cost-saving “quick-dry” cement process had failed on an offshore rig only a year before the Deepwater Horizon blew.

You can watch the Deep Water Horizon report in Palast's documentary compilation film, Vultures and Vote Rustlers, which will be available as a FREE download for the next two days courtesy of the not-for-profit Palast Investigative Fund.

But Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning tried to warn us. The details of the Caspian Sea blow-out off the coast of Baku, Azerbaijan, were revealed in the secret State Department cables Manning released in December 2010 through Wikileaks. Cables from the U.S. ambassador relayed a summary of confidential meetings in which BP’s top Azeri executive confided that their big Caspian offshore rig suffered a “blow-out” in September 2008 leading to the “largest such emergency evacuation in BP's history” — its likely cause "a bad cement job.”
The message was relayed to Washington after BP’s American partners in the Caspian, Exxon and Chevron, asked the State Department to find out why BP had ceased to drill in the Caspian, costing them all millions. State, then headed by former Chevron board member Condoleezza Rice, got the oil chiefs their answer then joined them in keeping it secret.

[Not knowing about the Manning cables, I had to find out about the Caspian blow-out the hard way. Just days after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out, I received a tip from an eyewitness to the Caspian disaster. To check out the facts , I flew to Baku, where my British TV crew and I found ourselves placed under arrest by a team of goons from the Azerbaijan secret police, the military and some of BP’s oil-well-insignia-sporting private security clowns. As a reporter for British Television, I was quickly released — with the film of the bust captured on my little pen camera. But, terribly, two of my rig-worker witnesses disappeared.]

Had BP or the State Department 'fessed up to the prior blow-out — a disclosure required by U.S. and British regulations — it is exceptionally unlikely that BP would have been allowed to use the quick-dry cement method in the deep Gulf of Mexico.
Indeed, there may have been a complete prohibition on the drilling, because Department of Interior experts had opposed deep drilling in that part of the Gulf. To lobby the government to allow drilling there, just six months before the Deepwater Horizon blew, BP executive David Rainey and the presidents of Exxon USA and Chevron testified before Congress that offshore drilling had been conducted for 50 years “in a manner both safe and protective of the environment.”

It is hard to imagine the oil companies defeating the Interior experts had the executives admitted to the recent blow-out in the Caspian Sea.
Ultimately, Rainey was indicted for the crime of making false statements to Congress on a lesser matter. However, indicting the executives for concealing the earlier blow-out was not possible because our own State Department participated in the cover-up.
And that’s what Manning exposed — though not quickly enough to save those 11 lives.
Pvt. Manning may not have known about the specific memo of the secret meeting of State and BP. It was one in an ocean of cables she released.
But Manning knew this: The truth can save lives. Or, as Manning was brought up to believe: The truth shall set us free.
And if truth sets us free, then official secrets enslave us.
Barack Obama and John Boehner and Mitch McConnell know this. So do Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and the other candidates for Secret-Keeper-in-Chief.
Years ago, Daniel Ellsberg told me that he was surprised when Judge Stanley Sporkin dismissed all charges against him although Ellsberg had revealed top-secret military intelligence, the Pentagon Papers. The judge noted that the U.S. was unique among nations in having no “official secrets act,” no law against telling the truth to the public.

No more. The brutal 35-year prison sentence for Manning on espionage charges and the continuing manhunt for Edward Snowden makes it clear that the Obama administration considers truth-telling a crime.
As I see it, the State Department officials who withheld BP’s blow-out secret are as culpable as the oil company in the deaths of those 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon. You can say that the men who died on the rig were victims of the corporate-government enslavement of information, martyrs to official secrecy.

Read Greg Palast's Deepwater Horizon investigation in full in his book Vultures’ Picnic . The investigation was also broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4 Dispatches.

Greg Palast is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers,  Billionaires & Ballot Bandits The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Jeb Bush looted Florida pension funds to fund his brother's presidential campaign

When word got out that creepy Jeb might be running for prez, the crap started hitting the fan.  The crap being that he was more moderate and more intelligent than his brother.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He is a true member of the Bush clan.  They've never found a rich man they didn't like or think deserved special handling by the government.  Never turn your back on a member of the Bush clan!

There were many things he did wrong while governor of Florida, but this may be one of the most egregious and we're just learning about it now.  What does that say about our MSM?

While Jeb Bush was governor of Florida, state pension officials committed at least $1.7 billion to financial firms whose executives were “Pioneer” fundraisers for his brother’s presidential campaigns. To achieve Pioneer status, the fundraisers had to amass at least $100,000 worth of bundled contributions to one of George W. Bush’s campaigns.

An International Business Times analysis of Florida government documents and a list of George W. Bush’s bundlers compiled by Public Citizen found that 11 firms that received new Florida pension investments under Jeb Bush were Pioneers. IBTimes also analyzed data from the Florida Division of Elections and Political Moneyline to determine how much money executives from those firms donated directly to Jeb Bush’s campaigns, George W. Bush’s campaigns, the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Florida between 1998 and 2006.

The crooks really have been in charge!

This story from Daily Kos.  Read the entire piece HERE.