September 19, 2008

Going Underground



Some people might say my life is in a rut,
But I'm quite happy with what I got
People might say that I should strive for more,
But I'm so happy I cant see the point.
Something's happening here today
A show of strength with your boys brigade and,
I'm so happy and you're so kind
You want more money - of course I don't mind
To buy nuclear textbooks for atomic crimes

And the public gets what the public wants
But I want nothing this society's got -
I'm going underground, (going underground)
Well the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground, (going underground)
Well let the boys all sing and the boys all shout for tomorrow

Some people might get some pleasure out of hate
Me, I've enough already on my plate
People might need some tension to relax
Me I'm too busy dodging between the flak

What you see is what you get
You've made your bed, you better lie in it
You choose your leaders and place your trust
As their lies wash you down and their promises rust
You'll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns

And the public wants what the public gets
But I don't get what this society wants
I'm going underground, (going underground)
Well the brass bands play and feet start to pound
Going underground, (going underground)
So let the boys all sing and the boys all shout for tomorrow

We talk and talk until my head explodes
I turn on the news and my body froze
The braying sheep on my TV screen
Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!

Going underground, I'm going underground!

Someone Wants Revenge?

I just got a hit from Lehmann Brothers. Someone googling the words "cheney energy task force goldman sachs" hit this old post of mine: How Bush's Friends Manipulated Oil Prices For The '06 Mid-terms

Oh please, please let somebody rich and powerful spill the beans on Big Dick and send him to jail for the rest of his life!

Does that mean that goldman sachs got some preferential treatment out of Cheney's task force, which is why they are the only bastards (aside from MS, teetering) who still haven't gone under? Oh, and is it really just a coincidence that Paulson was the former CEO of Goldman Sachs? Know wot I'm talkin' 'bout?

TPM has the stats.

Seriously, it must take some cojones to stand up in front of the cameras and tell the world that the imminent collapse of the capitalist model has nothing to do with you. Either that or complete self-delusion.

Consider where we stand today, folks. Morgan Stanley, one of only two remaining Wall Street banking giants, is now begging the Chinese government to bail them out.
"The number two US investment bank, whose shares are down about 58 per cent this month, has also approached Chinese sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp about boosting its stake, the source said, following a $US5 billion investment late last year. "
From Wikipedia:
The management and board of the China Investment Corporation ultimately reports to the State Council of the People's Republic of China. The China Investment Corporation is seen as being "firmly entrenched" in the political establishment as the composition of its Board of Directors implies "considerable influence on the part of China’s Ministry of Finance."
Heckuva job, George.

UPDATE: Headline of the year?

September 18, 2008

What Bush Hath Wrought...

Who could have imagined.... ?
World banks, led by the US Federal Reserve, are pumping an extra $US360 billion ($450 billion) into global markets in a coordinated effort to avert a lock-up of the financial system.

The Fed, along with the central banks of Canada, England, Europe, Japan, and Switzerland, are auctioning off billions of US dollars to European banks in a move to ease the liquidity constraints brought on by the global credit crisis. The Reserve Bank of Australia is not participating in the cash infusion.

The move is in response to a chronic shortage of US dollars in Europe over the past couple days, said a person familiar with the situation. European banks have found themselves short of the US dollars needed to service US-dollar denominated short term finance.

The Fed's announcement comes after global share markets plunged yet again today, rattled by the recent collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers, the emergency rescue of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America and yesterday's $107 billion bailout of AIG by the US government.

The ECB and the Bank of England said they would each offer up to $US40 billion in overnight funds. The Fed said it would authorise $US180 billion expansion of temporary foreign currency swap arrangements and Bank of Japan announced it would launch dollar-supply operations as part of the worldwide effort to tackle the dollar shortage.
I just watched the evening news on Australia's ABC. It started off with the words:
Capitalism is in crisis tonight...
Bush's friends will tell you this is an example of media bias.

It is NOT an example of media bias!

This is how far we have come.

September 16, 2008

Bush War Crimes Tribunal

This looks promising:
Saturday morning, the dean of Massachusetts School of Law at Andover will convene a two day planning session with a single focus: To arrest, put to trial and carry out sentence on criminals in the Bush Administration.

The conference, arranged by Lawrence Velvel, cofounder of the Andover school, will focus on which of Bush's officials and members of Congress could be charged with war crimes. The plan also calls for "necessary organizational structures" to be established, with the purpose of pursuing the guilty "to the ends of the Earth."

"For Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Yoo to spend years in jail or go to the gallows for their crimes would be a powerful lesson to future American leaders," Velvel said in a media advisory.
Video of the conference will be available on the Internet by Friday, Sept. 19, 2008. Participants include Vincent Bugliosi, David Lindorff and Phillipe Sands.

September 11, 2008

Sayonara, Japan

So much for their short-lived military excitement:
The Japanese government decided to finish "the mission of the Air Self-Defence Forces in Iraq by the end of this year," Komura told reporters.

The decision ends all Japanese military operations in Iraq.
It's funny that the agreements being reached with Iraq to keep forces in the country are called SFAs (Aussies use that term to mean "Sweet F*ck All", or in other words, "nothing"):
Q A couple of questions involving the President's meeting with President Talabani today. How much of his decision to order a fairly conservative troop withdrawal from Iraq was determined by the fact that the coalition of the willing will all but cease to exist next year? And just exactly how many members of the coalition do you expect to negotiate their own SFAs with Iraq?

MS. PERINO: I don't know how many, and I'll let the Iraqis, or MNFI address that. I don't know how many. But there will certainly be many countries that have already announced that they're going to be ending their operations in Iraq this year. They're basically able to do that because of the success that we've had working with them, and because of the President's decision to send in more troops and to fundamentally change our approach, in terms of protecting the population and making sure that we did not lose Baghdad.

The President's decisions about troop levels were based on the recommendations from the Department of Defense, who I'm sure took into account all of the other aspects of the conditions on the ground, including how many other coalition members would be there.

Q Meaning that we're going to have to cover for a number of other countries?

MS. PERINO: I actually think that we're able to make the -- we're able to bring back troops based on success because of the success that we've had. Other countries have already said that they were going to be scaling back operations. And as you heard President Bush say yesterday, we're very thankful for all that they've done. We knew that we were going to be in Iraq for a longer period of time. There are some countries that will continue to be there, but I don't have a list in front of me, I'll let MNFI announce it.

Q Are you suggesting we're not going to have to replace the troops that other countries withdraw?

MS. PERINO: You'd have to ask DOD. I don't think so.

Q Okay. When the President talks to President Talabani today --

MS. PERINO: I mean, I should just say that doesn't mean necessarily that they wouldn't move troops around to certain places where they think they might need them if countries pull back their troops, or if they need security training for forces. I don't know.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

September 10, 2008

Bye Bye Coalition

WaPo:
The Coalition of the Willing appears to be going out of business.

President Bush tucked a little extra news yesterday into a speech largely devoted to informing the public that he plans to withdraw 8,000 more troops from Iraq: He also announced that most of the countries that have been partnering with the United States in Iraq over the past five years will be pulling their troops out as well.

"Australia has withdrawn its battle group, the Polish contingent is set to redeploy shortly, and many more coalition nations will be able to conclude their deployments to Iraq this year -- thanks to the skill of their troops and the success of their missions," Bush said in a speech to the National Defense University.
Actually it is due to the UN "mandate" - always a transparently phoney legal proposition in any case - expiring at the year, and the lack of any Iraqi agreement to replace it, and the lack of any public support for this foolish charade in member nations.

The Coalition of the Willing was always a very meagre and transparent affair, cobbled together only when the UN had firmly refused to back the USA's illegal pre-emptive invasion with a further resolution endorsing force. But what is really telling today is that the USA would not even be able to cobble together such a sycophantic coalition any more. We have all learned our lesson! The neconon vision of unassailable US power throughout the 21st Century will have to rely on Hard Power or disappear - the Soft Power option is dead.

Even Bush, much as he refuses to admit it in public, has surely learned his lesson. One can only wonder whether the stupid bastard will ever dare admit it, and acknowledge his mistakes, before he goes to meet his Maker. I doubt it.

Bush The Failure

Anyone who still talks about Iraqi deaths being in the "tens of thousands" is in denial. Anyway, FWIW, here's Bob Woodward via antiwar.com:
In our final interview, on May 21, 2008, the president talked irritably of how he believed there was an "elite" class in America that thought he could do nothing right. He was more guarded than ever, often answered that he could not remember details, and emphasized many times how much he had turned over to Stephen J. Hadley, his loyal and trusted national security adviser. There was an air of resignation about him, as if he realized how little he could change in his eight months left as president.

He alternately insisted that he was "consumed" by the war, "reviewing every day," before adding, "But make sure you know, it's not as though I'm sitting behind the desk and totally overwhelmed by Iraq, because the president's got to do a lot of other things."

By his own ambitious goals of 2001, he had fallen short. He had not united the country, but had added to its divisions and had become the most divisive figure in the country. He acknowledged to me that he had failed "to change the tone in Washington." He had not rooted out terror wherever it existed. He had not achieved world peace. He had not attained victory in his two wars...
Meanwhile, Bush the C-grade student is today set to receive a C grade as President:
Seven years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the federal government has made only limited progress toward preventing a catastrophic nuclear, biological or chemical attack on U.S. soil and combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction abroad, according to a report card to be issued tomorrow by 22 former U.S. officials.

The bipartisan Partnership for a Secure America gave the United States an overall grade of C. The government received in total three D's, eight C's and seven B's in areas such as sustaining support of foreign scientists and governments, integrating programs to prevent nuclear terrorism and strengthening multilateral law enforcement efforts.

The group urged the next president to appoint a cabinet-level White House coordinator with the authority to direct counterproliferation plans, programs and funding "from day one." The panel was co-chaired by Lee H. Hamilton (D), former congressman and vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission, and Warren Rudman (R), former senator and co-chairman of a 2001 blue-ribbon commission on terrorism.
Yeah, let's all listen to Lee Hamilton eh? Maybe he'll recommend Philip Zelikow as Counter-Proliferation Czar? Wonder what the salary will be, and what kind of budget he'll command, and which companies will get the contracts, etc etc etc....

Of course Bush has been a failure in the eyes of the world, and in the eyes of US voters. But to his base, who have benefited hugely from his largesse, will he not always be a hero?

Well, no actually. They think he has been a useful idiot. That is all.

The big question for them is: who's next?

September 09, 2008

McCain's Crazy Attack Bitch

According to yesterday's New York Times, Sarah Palin kept her pregnancy a secret because she was distressed about baby Trig being diagnosed pre-natally with Downs Syndrome:
She also feared a public backlash over the pregnancy. So she kept working, even travelling to Texas a month before her due date, to give a speech.

On the day of that speech, Ms Palin began discharging amniotic fluid. She went ahead and gave the speech anyway, before returning to Alaska – a 10-hour flight.

"Nobody knew a thing," Governor Linda Lingle of Hawaii told The New York Times. "I only found out from my security detail on the way home that she had gone into labour and that she had gone home to Alaska."

Trig Paxson Van Palin was born early next morning, weighing 6lb 2oz.
Is this a credible story? Can she produce medical records to confirm the pregnancy? Ultrasounds? Anything? There are rumors that the baby was actually delivered by her daughter, and Palin covered up for her. I don't really give a shit if that's true or not, but this story doesn't pass my smell test and the lady's credibility is already shot.

I mean, what sort of mother doesn't take more care than that with the delivery of her baby? Back at work after THREE DAYS? Who was taking care of the baby? Who is taking care of the baby now? Her daughter? Or a Philippine maid? Would Sarah Palin still be anti-abortion if she had to actually take care of this kid herself? Are these family values we can believe in, my friends?

Here are some Palin family names explained:
*Track, 19, named after the lake where his father fishes.

*Bristol, 17, named after Bristol Bay – where her mother wants to create a huge mine.

*Willow, 14, inspired by willow ptarmigan, Alaska's state bird.

*Piper, 7, bears the same name as the family plane.

*Trig, 4 months – Trig is Norse for "brave victory".
Branding your kids as symbols of your own political ambition? That's beyond creepy - that's sick.

Palin is a total whacko. She makes Michael Jackson look normal. Rightwing US voters might love her for now (despite how little they know about her) but the rest of the world just looks on in drop-jaw amazement:
“To paraphrase Martin Luther King, today we could say: “I had a nightmare,” wrote Lysiane Gagnon, of La Presse, a French speaking daily newspaper of Montreal. ”Worst is that this nightmare seems realistic, taking into account the age and the health of John McCain.”
Can you imagine this woman in a televised VP debate against Joe Biden??? Of course US politics is all a theatrical charade these days, but Palin's nomination takes it to a new low.

If President McCain died and Palin took over, who would really be running the US government? Why don't those people step out of the shadows and put themselves on the ballot?

I'll tell you why.

Because Dick Cheney is not allowed to run for VP again.

Still Creating Our Own Realities

This is hilarious:
So here was Namdar — Taliban chieftain, enforcer of Islamic law, usurper of the Pakistani government and trainer and facilitator of suicide bombers in Afghanistan — sitting at home, not three miles from Peshawar, untouched by the Pakistani military operation that was supposedly unfolding around us.

What’s going on? I asked the warlord. Why aren’t they coming for you?

“I cannot lie to you,” Namdar said, smiling at last. “The army comes in, and they fire at empty buildings. It is a drama — it is just to entertain.”

Entertain whom? I asked.

“America,” he said.
You have to wonder whether Cheney and Rove would even care, as long as they get the spin they want.

What's not so hilarious is that stories like this are only coming out now that Bush & Co. want to shift their military focus to Afghanistan and maybe even launch a war (declared or not) on Pakistan's tribal areas.

September 08, 2008

Thank You

Preliminary Business.

There was a time, long ago, when I used to hope that this little blog might get some recognition. That's not why I was blogging, of course, but I used to hope that one day all my efforts might perchance be rewarded with some public recognition, which might make it easier for me to keep blogging against Bush. And if I could make a few bucks out of it, so much the better.

I dont think I was being too egocentric. All I've ever wanted to do was save the world. Or to put it another way, take care of my wife and family, which includes making the world a better place for my kids and (one day, hopefully) grandchildren to live in.

The public recognition never happened, of course. But never mind. The message that I was preaching (along with so many thousands of others) slowly worked its way into the public consciousness, and George W. Bush will now be remembered forever as the sack of shit that he always was. That's what really matters. That's the real reward, right there.

Nevertheless I am pleased to see that SOMEBODY - by the unlikely name of Patdhiver - has just nominated this blog for a Bloggers Choice award. And not just one award, but two! Yes, not just Best Political Blog (move over, Josh Marshall!) but actually - even! - Best Blog Evuh! Tee hee! Move over, all you cute animal blogs!

Of course, these blogger awards are just a curious study in the failed short-term attention spans and mindless distractions of the celebrity-obsessed human race. But what I really appreciate here is being nominated along with great bloggers like Winter Patriot, Chris Floyd and Larissa Alexandrova. That is high praise indeed, and all the thanks I need. So thank you, Pat D. Hiver, wherever you may be (I think I can guess, but I could be totally wrong).

And thanks also to everybody "else" - including WP, Bukko and other regulars - who have supported me. The truth is there for anyone who cares to look.

OK. Business is now adjourned.

Winter has a good post today looking at the weirdness of our current political discourse. And that is pretty much why I am not blogging much any more. If you cannot even say that the Bush administration is full of criminals, and the 911 official story is full of holes, and the anthrax killer is still at large - if you cannot say these things and build a system of belief on them - which you cannot, because you simply do not have the facts to prove them conclusively, however much circumstantial evidence you may gather together - then you will find it very difficult to present a credible world view and hold a loyal audience.

As WP points out, Chris Floyd is lately doing a good job of it. I am not. Never mind.

Sometimes it's like tag team wrestling. One blogger flops to the canvas, injured or exhausted. Another jumps into the ring. So it goes.

So it goes.

But this is not showbiz, this is not orchestrated, this is not a cynical exercise in exploiting public gullibility for profit. Quite the opposite, in fact. This is the truth laid bare, for all who have the curiosity to seek it out. This is reality, if you can handle it. These are the horrible facts, make of them what you will.

What's He Got To Hide?

Interesting:
Months before the Bush administration ends, historians and open-government advocates are concerned that Vice President Cheney, who has long bristled at requirements to disclose his records, will destroy or withhold key documents that illustrate his role in forming U.S. policy for the past 7 1/2 years.

In a preemptive move, several of them have agreed to join the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in asking a federal judge to declare that Cheney's records are covered by the Presidential Records Act of 1978 and cannot be destroyed, taken or withheld without proper review.

September 05, 2008

Short Memories

Does anyone remember, about eight years ago, there was this skinny little guy running for President who kept insisting that he was going to shake up things in Washington? Does anyone remember how - despite his father having been President - this guy kept insisting that he was an outsider, not one of the Washington elite? Does anyone remember how he promised to be "a uniter, not a divider" and to bridge partisan political divides?

Does anyone remember how he got nominated?
Having run Senator John McCain's campaign for president, I can recount a textbook example of a smear made against McCain in South Carolina during the 2000 presidential primary. We had just swept into the state from New Hampshire, where we had racked up a shocking, 19-point win over the heavily favored George W. Bush. What followed was a primary campaign that would make history for its negativity.

In South Carolina, Bush Republicans were facing an opponent who was popular for his straight talk and Vietnam war record. They knew that if McCain won in South Carolina, he would likely win the nomination. With few substantive differences between Bush and McCain, the campaign was bound to turn personal. The situation was ripe for a smear.

It didn't take much research to turn up a seemingly innocuous fact about the McCains: John and his wife, Cindy, have an adopted daughter named Bridget. Cindy found Bridget at Mother Theresa's orphanage in Bangladesh, brought her to the United States for medical treatment, and the family ultimately adopted her. Bridget has dark skin.

Anonymous opponents used "push polling" to suggest that McCain's Bangladeshi born daughter was his own, illegitimate black child.

September 04, 2008

What Are You Doing Here?

Like I said, the dude abides.

Strikes and gutters, folks. Strikes and gutters.

September 02, 2008

Where Did You Go, Joe?

I was nearly right. I posted a kinda sarcastic readers blog at TPM explaining why McCain chose Palin:
The GOP only chose McCain as their presidential candidate because all the other choices were even worse. And that's exactly why McCain chose Palin.

It was supposed to be Lieberman, actually - that was the plan. But at the last minute, Joe told John that he had something big to confess. He said that if this big secret ever got out, it would be a huge scandal that would sink the GOP ticket for good.

McCain was shocked - shocked! - to hear Lieberman admit this sordid truth: he is an AIPAC stooge and has been putting Israel's interests ahead of the USA's for many years.

Shh - don't tell anybody.
Well, now the NYT has come out with the true story. And I wasn't too far off:
Up until midweek last week, some 48 to 72 hours before Mr. McCain introduced Ms. Palin at a Friday rally in Dayton, Ohio, Mr. McCain was still holding out the hope that he could choose a good friend, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, a Republican close to the campaign said. Mr. McCain had also been interested in another favorite, former Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.

But both men favor abortion rights, anathema to the Christian conservatives who make up a crucial base of the Republican Party. As word leaked out that Mr. McCain was seriously considering the men, the campaign was bombarded by outrage from influential conservatives who predicted an explosive floor fight at the convention and vowed rejection of Mr. Ridge or Mr. Lieberman by the delegates.

Perhaps more important, several Republicans said, Mr. McCain was getting advice that if he did not do something to shake up the race, his campaign would be stuck on a potentially losing trajectory.

With time running out — and as Mr. McCain discarded two safer choices, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, as too predictable — he turned to Ms. Palin. He had his first face-to-face interview with her on Thursday and offered her the job moments later. Advisers to Mr. Pawlenty and another of the finalists on Mr. McCain’s list described an intensive vetting process for those candidates that lasted one to two months.

“They didn’t seriously consider her until four or five days from the time she was picked, before she was asked, maybe the Thursday or Friday before,” said a Republican close to the campaign. “This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe or Ridge.”

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