Saturday, November 21, 2009

Countdown: Palinisms

Grayson on Auditing the Fed ...

This is just wonderful. God, could we have used Alan Grayson a few years ago. All we need do now is elect a few more just like him!

This, by Heather at Crooks and Liars:

MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan talks to Rep. Alan Grayson about the amendment passed by the House Financial Services Committee to allow an independent audit of the Federal Reserve. If Alan Greenspan is not happy about it, I take that as a good sign they did the right thing. It only took putting this country on the edge of financial ruin that we're not out of yet for the S.O.B. to ever admit he might be wrong about anything.

Ratigan: Alright first big newsmaker of the Meeting, Democratic Alan Grayson, better known for some of his fiery comments on Republicans and health care, now taking aim at the Federal Reserve along with so many others. He says the Federal Reserve is more secretive than the CIA, and his new amendment co-sponsored by Republican Ron Paul would allow the first ever independent audit of the Federal Reserve. The amendment edged out a competing proposal from North Carolina Congressman Mel Watt who wants to limit those very audits.

Congressman Grayson now joins the Morning Meeting. Your amendment approved by the House Financial Services Committee—a huge step forward. Where do you go from here and what’s your level of confidence Representative that you can continue to addendum behind this piece of legislation?

Grayson: Where we go is to stop the secret bailouts. There have been hints and hints now for more than two years that the Fed’s been conducting huge bailouts on the scale of hundreds of billions of dollars to favor large failed banks. Now we’re going to find out all about it, and we’re going to decide whether it’s good or bad.

Ratigan: Comments from both the former Fed chief Alan Greenspan and for that matter former Fed chief going back even further Paul Volcker to the House Financial Services Committee. They say we can assure you that this protection of internal deliberations in reaching decisions that will affect market conditions and could expose sensitive information about particular institutions is indispensable to the Federal Reserve’s conduct of monetary policy. Basically if you look behind the curtain, you won’t like what you’ll see and it will screw things up worse. How do you respond to that?

Grayson: Well we are in Emerald City right now. We’ve arrived in Emerald City. Toto has just run underneath the curtain…

Ratigan: Excellent…excellent…

Grayson: …and we’re about to see who is that man behind the curtain and what’s he up to.

Ratigan: And they don’t want…and what would…what do you think is behind the curtain?

Grayson: Well what I think is favoritism towards selected big banks that have failed and led us to the brink of national bankruptcy.

Ratigan: What of the fact that lending law…being a bank no longer pays that much money to lend money. Lending because of modern technology is a low profit business so the government legalized much higher ways to do it in secret and basically the Federal Reserve is their back end. Do you…are we on our way to restoring laws for lending in this country?

Grayson: Listen, capitalism requires rewarding success and punishing failure. That’s what Joseph Schumpeter said almost a century ago. So far we’ve seen plenty of reward for success of Wall Street but no punishment for failure—not when the Fed is handing out blank checks.

Ray and Kurt

Thanks to Atheist Cartoons.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Christian "Manifesto" claims their god should be your god

[Photo - Archbishop Timothy Dolan, from here]

This from AOL News:

"More than 150 Christian leaders, most of them conservative evangelicals and traditionalist Roman Catholics, issued a joint declaration Friday [today] reaffirming their opposition to abortion and gay marriage and pledging to protect religious freedoms."

What they mean by "religious freedoms," of course, is their right to make laws based on their theology and force you to obey them.

This "manifesto" is formally "The Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience." It contains 4,700 words.

In it these so-called Christian leaders set themselves in opposition to the President of the United States, claiming that Obama's "proposals are likely to increase the number of elective abortions ... 'The present administration is led and staffed by those who want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development, and who want to provide abortions at taxpayer expense."

What's funny about the "taxpayer expense" comment is that these clowns live their entire lives at "taxpayer expense." They live in houses and worship in churches that are tax-exempt, meaning that they rest of us have to make up the difference.

So, the "taxpayer expense" crap is a smokescreen. They think they have the right (because they have a direct pipeline of the god of all creation) to rule the world!

It's all about power and control. If these bishops and christianist wingnuts really cared about people, they'd be on the front lines of health care (even if that health care contained a few provisions with which they were not happy - hey, politics is the art of compromise); they'd be anti-war and would have fought G. W. Bush's lies and preemptive invasion of Iraq and they'd be fighting hard to shut down the Afghanistan military operation; they'd be working day and night to see that the laws of this land applied equally to rich and poor and were not geared - as they are now - to benefit the rich; they'd be adamantly opposed to the death penalty; they'd be providing condoms to the millions of Africans who have AIDS and beg forgiveness for all the people of that benighted continent who have died because the Roman Church has led the fight against the use of condoms; they'd ensure that their freaky priests who prey on children were forever banned from the Church and were brought to justice, instead of hiding them in out-of-the way rectories; they'd be marching in the streets to help fight global warming; they'd put their money and their power behind the efforts to preserve the environment and find new sources of energy; they'd step out of their robes and wrap them around the thousands of females who feel called of God to serve as priests and ministers; and they would sell their ornate, gold-infested palaces, and give the money to the poor, just as their legendary Jesus told them to do!

But they don't do any of that. They don't care about anything except power and control. And we know from history that any time religious leaders, be they Christian, Muslim or whatever, gain political control, they impose their beliefs on everyone, often executing those who refuse to accept that control!

The Roman Catholic Church has since its inception believed it has the right to impose its beliefs on the populace. Nothing has changed in 2,000 years except the fact that they have lost the political power to do so. The evangelical wingnuts follow in that same mold but from a different perspective, a perspective which believes they have the right to enforce their version of Christianity on everyone - it's call dominionism. And even though Catholics and evangelicals have always hated each other, they have joined forces on two issues: abortion and gay marriage. Take that away and they'll hate each other again because both sides believes deep down in their hearts that the others are going to burn forever in hell!

Here's a list of some of the signers of this "manifesto": "...15 Roman Catholic bishops, including New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl; Focus on the Family founder, James Dobson; National Association of Evangelicals president Leith Anderson; seminary leaders, professors and pastors."

Unfortunately, with a couple of exceptions, the mainstream Protestant church leaders remain silent; fearful, I suppose of alienating their declining membership.

Ultimately, though, this is scary! These people are not going away. Each and every day they are planning how they can gain enough power to make your most personal decisions for you, especially in the areas of abortion and gay marriage.

What's even more frightening is that you can be sure if they should ever grasp enough political clout (Congress is full of these fruitcakes, and Palin is waiting in the wings to exercise her dominionist mandate), they will do so. The Constitution will become an historical curiousity.

And all of us will be the losers!

"C Street" gang doesn't believe the Good Book

[Photo from the Democratic Underground here]

The "C Street" gang you know about; a bunch of rightwingnut christianist freaks who believe their god has called them to run the world and therefore they are not required to follow the same rules as the rest of us. They are the rich and the powerful, guided and blessed by the Almighty.

In accordance with that theory they concocted a scheme whereby congresspeople connected with The Family could live at the "C Street House" for very little rent by Washington's standards, but because they hold Bible readings and conduct prayers there, it qualifies as a "church" and thus they didn't need to pay taxes.

Additionally, and while this is not connected to the tax issue directly, a lot of hanky-panky went on at the "C Street House." In fact, several nogoodnik Repugnicans recently caught with their pants down in other houses where their spouses did not reside, spent a good deal of time there where they commiserated about how the media treated them badly when all they did was screw someone who to whom they were not married: John Ensign, Mark Sanford, and "Chip" Pickering come to mind.

The game is up. The District of Columbia has decided that this "C Street House" is not really a church after all. So they put it on the tax rolls. Well, part of it. Because it is partially a rental property, they are taxing 66 percent of the building. According to Rob Boston at Talk2Action, that will result in a $10,234 tax bill for 2010.

It's about time.

But the real problem is deeper than the tax thing. The real problem is that the clowns associated with The Family adhere to a godawful theology which puts them above the law. The real problem is that The Family knew all along "C Street" was not a church by any definition, and should have been taxed all along.

And, hiding behind their corruption of Christianity, they deliberately evaded and defied the laws of the land.

Which exemplifies once again that their religion is a sham, a smokescreen which they use to carry out their nefarious attempt to take over the world and run it according to their ultra-conservative political philosophy which has literally nothing to do with the legendary Jesus they claim to worship, and everything to do with money and power!

According to the Bible they revere, the man they revere said: "Render unto Caeser that which is Caeser's and unto God that which is God's."

But they don't believe that. Like most rightwingnut christianists they don't really give a damn about their holy book. It's just a prop to justify their propensity to do evil and call it good!

Keith Olbermann - Glenn Beck, worst person in the world

Republicans Block Dodd's Efforts to Protect Consumers

From Crooks and Liars:

From Sen. Chris Dodd--Republicans Block Dodd’s Effort to Immediately Stop Credit Card Rate Hikes:

Senate Republicans blocked Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodds (D-CT) attempt to pass legislation to stop credit card interest rate hikes.

Dodd went to the Senate floor to ask for consent for the Senate to take up and pass his Credit Card Rate Freeze Act, which would prevent credit card companies from hiking interest rates, fees and finance charges on customers existing balances until Credit CARD Act protections take effect in February. Regrettably, Republican Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) objected to Dodds request, blocking the bill from Senate passage.

Consumers obviously have a responsibility to spend within our means and to pay what we owe. We bear that responsibility. But the credit card industry as well has a responsibility to deal with their customers honorably. There is nothing honorable about whats happened with these significant rate increases and fees. Most importantly, they dont have a right to rip off American families, especially when the Congress has already gone on record opposing the very actions they're engaging in, Dodd said on the Senate floor.

Happy Holidays from the GOP.

John Amato:

This is outrageous. The Republicans are actually blocking freezes on credit card rate hikes as the holidays approach us? What would Santa say? Where's the outrage from the Democrats and the Villagers? Will David Broder write a juicy article showing his disdain for the treatment of the American people by republicans? I mean he's the ultimate bipartisan scold. I bet if you asked the teabaggers waiting to see Sarah Palin at a book signing, they would say that it's un-American and Socialist to stop credit card companies from raising their rates. "That's their right as Americans if you support freedom and the Constitution." Maybe Palin will write something about it on her Facebook page for the media to lap up. You know, the Democrats are trying to use death panels on the poor credit card companies in a down economy. That's can't be good, right Katie?

Digby writes:

These people are sticking up for credit card companies who are gouging their customers during the holidays in the middle of a recession! What do they have to do to provoke some outrage from the Democrats, gun down Tiny Tim? (Of course, the Republicans would simply say they were defending their constitutional right to bear arms.)

Honestly, this should provoke a Democratic outcry of epic proportions because it's good policy and it's good politics. They missed the boat by failing to draw attention to the fact that the Republicans blocked the unemployment insurance extension for over a month but this issue is hitting both the employed and the unemployed, all across the country.
Sarah Palin's book is, according to Colbert, a "steaming pile of shit." He's right.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

God, guts and guns

[Photo from here]

It was a fairy new Hyundai, blue in color. At eight o'clock in the morning, the driver ran a stop sign, then accelerated down the road at a pace well over the speed limit.

But he was, as so often happens with speed demons, stopped at a red light when I puttered up behind him.

A sticker on the back of his car screamed "Throw the bums out" next to a picture of the U.S. Capitol. On the left side of the rear window was a NRA sticker. On the right side was another sticker which read:

"God, Guts and Guns made America. Let's keep all three."

We have too many stoopids in this country! Here's a guy who pompously proclaims his faith in "god, guts and guns" while at the same time defies basic traffic laws which are essential to our common good, e.g., the ability to share the roadways without killing each other in accidents that are not really accidents but simply piss-poor driving habits.

But his hypocrisy is merely a part of his stoopidness.

Obviously, he doesn't read books. Probably doesn't read the newspaper and if he did read the newspaper, he'd read the Washington Times. Also, obviously, he learned very little in school and has not bothered to learn anything since.

He lives in some mythical world where the deity is his buddy, and like a good buddy, his god carries a .38 strapped to his waist under his robes, and when he created the world he created the US of A for white anglo-saxon descendants of white, anglo-saxon immigrants.

In this mythical world, when those white anglo-saxon immigrants came to this country, the Injuns were the bad guys, and it was only right that the U.S. Calvary and the settlers did what was necessary to rid the land of the "red" man so the whites could move in and take it over. Damn Injuns didn't need it anyway.

Today, in his pea-brain, he "knows" it's not Injuns who are the problem, but "Mescan" illegals and Arabs [read Muslims] and others of dark complexion.

Ronald Reagan plays a big role in the wild driver's mythical world; and because he is stoopid and fanatically ignorant, our friend thinks Reagan struck down the mighty Soviet Union with his capitalistic sword, another myth repeated with increasing fervor by Repugnican nogoodniks bought and paid for by the corporations. He knows not that Reagan had little to do with the Soviet disintegration. Our friend also doesn't understand that his B-movie star hero is responsible for initiating a financial process which ended with the destruction of our financial system under Georgi W. Bush.

Our friend remains stoopid because he gets what little information his brain can process from the folks at FAUX News, and from Rush Limbaarger, and really believes Obama might not have been born in "Amurica" and may even be a Muslim, if not the anti-Christ.

No doubt he thinks the quitter from Alaska would make a wunnerful pres'dent. I mean, she believes in God and ev'rything!

God, guts and guns. God, if he or she existed, would probably destroy this country for all the evil it has perpetrated and continues to perpetrate. The ancestors of today's "WASPS" wiped out an entire native population, sometimes with deadly efficiency, such as handing out blankets infected with smallpox. Then our ancestors stole the land. Then, they herded the natives off to concentration camps called "reservations." They made 150 treaties with the Indians beginning in the middle of the 19th century and broke EVERY SINGLE one of them!

During the early years of the 20th century our troops marched off to Latin America to ensure that American corporations could exercise their license to steal the natural resources of the people living in those lands. Proclaiming a belief in "democracy," we proved the opposite by propping up dictator after dictator for the simple reason they looked the other way while we raped the country. U.S. Marines were posted in Nicaragua until 1936 for precisely that purpose!

It is true we fought a couple of world wars in order to rid the world of some nasties, and we did a good job, overall. But we also used poison gas. We fire-bombed entire cities filled with civilians. We corralled our own citizens and put them in concentration camps because they were ethnic Japanese. Furthermore, we were betrayed by some of our own companies, including those owned by the Bush family. And "Big Blue," aka IBM, made it possible for Hitler to round up and murder 11 million people (including 6 million Jews) with deadly efficiency.

Slavery was the epicenter of evil in this country for over a century. God-fearing Americans bought and sold other human beings and claimed the right to do so based on their interpretation of the Bible, just as today's christianists deny gays and women their civil rights based on their interpretation of the Bible. Nor did the Civil War end slavery; it continued by another name. In fact, thousands of black Americans were enslaved up until the 1940s, many by companies well-known to us today, such as U.S. Steel.

Fast-forward to 2003. George W. Bush, president by virtue of a Supreme Court decision which denied the vote of the people, a vote clearly in favor of Albert Gore, decided to wage war on a piddling little country in the Middle East which posed no threat to the U.S. But Mr. Bush and his friends wanted Iraq's oil, for under the Iraqi sands lie some of the largest oil reserves in the world! In order to gain the support of the American people for this murderous adventure, Bush told one lie after another. The "war," which was a preemptive invasion by a big, powerful country of a small, weak country, turned quickly into a disaster which continues to this day. It has caused the deaths of over 4,000 American soldiers, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, destroyed the country of Iraq and has depleted the U.S. treasury. Bush has not been held accountable and struts about on the world stage as if he were not a criminal but some sort of "conservative" hero.

God, guts and guns made America? To which America is this clown referring by flaunting his stoopid car sticker? If there should be a deity and if he or she should actually be an ethical god, he or she would likely strike down this person's "America."

Guts? We could come up with thousands of anecdotes regarding the personal courage of American people. But what would that prove? Nothing, other than there are Americans, who, like people all over the the world who are able to sometimes act heroically.

As a nation, we have indeed stepped up to the plate in times of world crisis, but the mythology is wrong.

For example, in 1939 and beyond, as Hitler's troops stormed over Europe creating hell on earth, there was no great uprising in the United States to take him on. In fact, many, if not most Americans, wanted nothing to do with him. Hitler, they said, was Europe's problem. Let Europe deal with him.

President Roosevelt had to resort to subterfuge in order to supply the British with the war materiel they needed to survive the Nazi onslaught. Many members of Congress hated Roosevelt with a passion and did everything they could to keep America isolationist. If they had had their way, we would have a very different world right now!

God had nothing to do with any of this. It was men like Roosevelt and all those fighting men and women who marched off to war that had the "guts" that made the difference. Miserable little wackos marching to Glenn Beck's corporate "tea party" drummers do not demonstrate "guts."

Guns. What is it with these guys and guns? I think maybe they have such little penises that guns provide some kind of compensation for their physical shortcomings. But guns are part of the American myth popularized by Hollywood from the early days. According to our friends in Tinseltown, everybody in the Old West carried at least one gun, strapped low on the hip, ready to go at a moment's notice.

The truth, however, is quite different. Few people carried guns. To carry a gun was dangerous; it was a good way to get killed.

And even if you can make a case for hunting and killing our brother and sister animals, why in the world do these wingnuts feel the need to have automatic weapons in their fevered little palms?

The reason has to do in part with the unrelenting war waged by the National Rifle Association on behalf of its corporate sponsors, the gun manufacturers, to ensure that any and all weapons be available at all times to every American who wants them.

So the NRA harps continually on the notion that any gun control is bad. Any attempt to regulate the purchase and use of any kind of weapon is evil, and will automatically lead to further restrictions and eventually no one will be able to own any guns. During the last presidential campaign, the NRA told lie after lie about Obama's position relative to guns and said quite bluntly that he was a threat to gun owners everywhere.

That's the mythology; again, not true.

But have guns made America "great"? Of course not. Such nonsense is another part of the mythical world in which too many of our citizens live!

"God, guts and guns made America" proclaims the moron in the Hyundai - as if this country, which is way down the list of countries in terms of infant mortality, education, health care, etc. is some kind of paradigm of righteousness.

It isn't. But still it is a great country in other ways. Our Constitution stands as a beacon of freedom in spite of the fact that Presidents and Vice Presidents like Bush and Cheney and other stoopid Repugnicans tossed it in the trash, and in spite of the fact some Repugnican nogoodniks don't know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (e. g. "Weepy" John Boehner).

The US of A is a country of possibilities, many unrealized and increasingly denied these days by rightwingnut religious and non-religious crazies.

But it sure as hell isn't Paradise. And God, guts and guns are not only not responsible for America's greatness (realized or potential) but each, in and of themselves, pose a real threat to, not only our "greatness" but our very existence.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Costs of health care vs. costs of war

Is this a great country, or what?

Maybe not. It appears, unfortunately, that we've got our priorities all screwed up. The Repugnicans and the Blue Dogs whine and worry about fiscal responsibility and deficit spending ... at least when the conversation turns to health care. But when it comes to waging war on real or imagined enemies, however, they don't seem to be worried at all about fiscal responsibility and deficit spending.

Could the reason have something to do with their allegiance to the various industries that charge exorbitant prices for the faulty equipment they provide for our military; an allegiance which fills their Congressional coffers to overflowing thus ensuring their re-election to office?

An AP story today cites an Obama administration aide as saying the health bill heading to the Senate floor is projected to cost $849 billion over TEN years. It will cover 96 percent of the American population.

Now, the war in Iraq, which has been waged with little success for six years has already cost, according to National Priorities, over $701 billion, and some have projected the total cost to be over $1 trillion.

The projected cost for the war in Afghanistan in the fiscal year 2010 is $73 billion. That's about $1.2 billion a WEEK!

Now consider that in our beloved country, the most adamant haters of Obama and his health bill are lovers of God and Jesus Christ. They have no problem with the cost of killing thousands of people in other lands; no problem with wreaking the worst kind of devastation upon innocent civilians, including children; no problem with destroying the infrastructure of another country; but they do have a problem with providing health care for the least among us!

Not once have I heard a christianistwingnut or a radical freak fan of FAUX News complain about the fact that employees of the U.S. government (including our Congress people) receive a wonderful health care package. That's "socialism" you know. And you surely won't hear Congress people complaining about their health care. But the greedy stoopids don't want other folks to share in their largess.

And, well, we have to kill people. And that takes money. So we don't have any left for health care!

I ask you again: Is this a great country, or what?

Rachel Maddow - The right's reckless rhetoric

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!"

Oh, yeah? If history tells us anything it tells us that words do matter. Rhetoric can be helpful and upbuilding or hurtful and degrading. The rightwingnuts know this, and use their rhetoric to tear down the very country they pretend to love.

And as Frank Schaeffer points out, the christianist wingnuts with the tacit and sometimes outright support of the Repugnican nogoodniks on the right are ramping up the rhetoric actually calling for God to strike down our president. And these creeps claim to follow the so-called Prince of Peace!

Keith Olbermann - Worst Person in the World - Convict Hasan without a trial

Some of our right-wingers really don't like the idea of a Democracy and really hate our Constitution.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jon Stewart - Preggers Can't Be Choosers

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Wanda Sykes Takes on OBAMA CARE Fear Mongers

From Crooks and Liars:

November 15, 2009 FOX Wanda Sykes Show
In a hilarious monologue on her second installment of The Wanda Sykes Show, Wanda takes on the Health Care Reform fear mongers and republicans in general... "The only way Republicans will read the Health Care Bill is to rest it on the back of the hooker they're banging down at C Street House!"