Feb 09

This is what the GOP stopping from being addressed

People are losing urgent health care and states are withering on the vines.

Nevada resident Margaret Frye-Jackman, 71, was diagnosed in August with ovarian cancer. She had two rounds of chemotherapy at University Medical Center, the only public hospital in the Las Vegas area.

Soon after, she and her daughter heard the news on TV: The hospital’s outpatient oncology services were closing because of state Medicaid cuts. Treatment for Frye-Jackman and hundreds of other cancer patients was eliminated.

You got that? Public services for urgent medical care are being cut … and still the GOP fiddles and argues for tax cuts. If ever there were a group of more amoral, corrupt, soulless bunch of shitheads outside of collapse-of-Rome, I just can’t imagine.

Jan 25

Clemency, now

Texas is, surprise surprise about to execute a possibly innocent man on Tuesday. Sign the petition to try and get Gov. “Culture of Life” Perry to stop this travesty.

Four forensic pathologists agree that Larry Swearingen, set to be executed Tuesday, could not have committed the 1998 murder that sent him to death row.

The four include the medical examiner whose testimony helped secure Swearingen’s guilty verdict. That medical examiner now says college student Melissa Trotter’s curiously preserved body could not have lain in the East Texas woods for more than 14 days — and probably was there for a much shorter time.

The results mean Swearingen was in jail when the 19-year-old’s body was left behind, the pathologists say.

At the least there is significant objective doubt as to whether or not Swearingen could have committed this murder. All attempts to have the courts review this evidence or reconsider have fallen upon deaf ears. It is now down to appeals to mercy from a hangin’ Republican in order to extinguish all options.

Update: Fed court intervenes, grants appeal, execution is stayed. Fantastic!

Nov 18

Unfuckingbelievable

Democrats Let Lieberman Keep Committee Chair

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) easily won a vote to remain chairman of a key committee today and will stay in the Democratic caucus despite his high-profile criticism of President-elect Barack Obama and his support of Sen. John McCain during the presidential campaign.

To recap: Lieberman actively campaigns against the Democratic president, up to and including implications that he may be a terrorist, undermines the last Democratic president at every turn, is defeated in the Democratic primary and runs on an “independent” ticket, and is the #1 supporter of Bush on the “Democratic” side. Lieberman is also the head of one of the most important Senate committees around (Homeland Security), where he has yet to conduct a single investigation or question the administration.

Democrats win both houses of Congress and the Presidency in a landslide and do not need Lieberman’s vote.

Do the Democrats kick him from the Committee chair? Do they refuse to let him caucus with them?

No.

Lieberman retains everything.

Jesus fuck, Dems, can you possibly be any more of a collection of wimps? He actively attempted to destroy your party.

Lesson to be learned: senators hate the Left and outsiders far more than they hate being stabbed in the back.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give for an actual party with some balls and the ability to enact progressive legislation.

Just fucking shameful.

Jul 13

TAEE pt 4

Did I mention this is going to be the awesomest election ever? Because it is. Behold as the New Yorker channels the wingnut zeitgeist!

Fuck the new yorker

Now I want a McCain edition. Just show the Grim Reaper, that’ll be best.

To be clear: the above is clearly satire… it’s just poorly done, unfunny, and unimaginative. You know, like the typical dreck you find in the excruciatingly unentertaining New Yorker.

Update:
x

I’ll give the nutters at NatRev $50 if they run a similar cover.

To actually be analytical, though, Horsey gets it wrong as well even in his satirical response. For example, Osama is the enemy of all Americans, hero to none; Cheney is the enemy of thinking Americans, but hero to many. Not to mention that the counter response to the Obama outrage always, always ignores the actual and continuing impact of race and gender and the tyranny of the dominant class upon the marginalized groups. Anyway, enough of the critical thinking, fuck the New Yorker for being a bunch of socially rigid ponces.

Update: Here’s how it’s done.

Update: Vanity Fair responds
mccain vf cover

Apr 10

War Criminals

The Bush Admnistration was directly involved in the method, extent, and forms of torture used against captured persons of (possible) interest.

In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News.

The so-called Principals who participated in the meetings also approved the use of “combined” interrogation techniques — using different techniques during interrogations, instead of using one method at a time — on terrorist suspects who proved difficult to break, sources said.

Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects — whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.

The high-level discussions about these “enhanced interrogation techniques” were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed — down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

The advisers were members of the National Security Council’s Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security policy.

At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The fact that these people are still (mostly) running our government instead of being behind bars is probably the most accurate snapshot, and indictment, of our country today. Ruled by a clutch of undemocratic totalitarians, the America I grew up with is gone and our moral authority with it.

Mar 28

If You Didn’t Hate Wal-Mart Before

You sure should now

A collision with a semi-trailer truck seven years ago left 52-year-old Deborah Shank permanently brain-damaged and in a wheelchair. Her husband, Jim, and three sons found a small source of solace: a $700,000 accident settlement from the trucking company involved. After legal fees and other expenses, the remaining $417,000 was put in a special trust. It was to be used for Mrs. Shanks care.

Instead, all of it is now slated to go to Mrs. Shanks former employer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Two years ago, the retail giants health plan sued the Shanks for the $470,000 it had spent on her medical care. A federal judge ruled last year in Wal-Marts favor, backed by an appeals-court decision in August. Now, her family has to rely on Medicaid and Mrs. Shanks social-security payments to keep up her round-the-clock care.

Oh wait, it gets better

In August last year, U.S. district judge Lewis Blanton sided with Wal-Mart, ruling that when Mrs. Shank signed on to Wal-Mart’s health plan she was obligated to abide by its terms.

The ruling came six days before the Shanks’ 18-year-old son, Jeremy, was killed in September last year in Iraq shortly after he arrived in the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division.

If ever there was an entity that deserved strychnine in its reservoir, Wal-Mart would be the one.

Olberman has more

Now implement some goddamn national health insurance for fuck’s sake.

Mar 19

You have got to be shitting me

ABC News: Hillary Was in White House on ‘Stained Blue Dress’ Day

Hillary Clinton spent the night in the White House on the day her husband had oral sex with Monica Lewinsky, and may have actually been in the White House when it happened, according to records of her schedule released today by the National Archives.

Excuse me? Relevance? Is there a single iota of meaning or worth behind this story? Does it serve any purpose at all? This is taking the recent attack-on-the-Democratic-(but not St. Johnny McCain’s!!!)-surrogates ridiculousness to a whole new level. Apparently, you don’t even need to be a sentient being any longer in order for the corporate media to whip your existence into something for which one of the Dem candidates must “repudiate” or “reject.”

Ladies and gents, your “liberal” media at work.

Have you no sense of decency ABC? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

Jan 30

Fuck you, Ralph

Ralph Nader Flirts with ’08 Bid

Ralph Nader has formed a presidential exploratory committee, and said in an interview Wednesday that he will launch another presidential bid if he’s convinced he can raise enough money to appear on the vast majority of state ballots this fall.

Look, you narcissistic oblivious prick, you are part of the problem.

Here’s an idea, instead of reappearing every four years to throw elections for the biggest authoritarian kleptocracy in history like a bad case of gonorrhea… why don’t you do something useful during the intervening four years of nothing? Al Gore got an Oscar, what did you do? Besides charge five figure speaker fees for resting on your laurels, that is.

Because of you, thousands have died in Iraq. Because of you, our civil liberties have been eroded probably for the remainder of my lifetime.

I dunno, why don’t you form an actual progressive third party and build up the roots nationwide between elections. I know it’s hard work and I know you hate hard work, especially when you’re not getting press. Sometimes we all must make sacrifices.

Stop being a useful idiot and just be useful. Please.

Jan 22

Travesty of Justice

Jose Padilla sentenced to 17 years in prison

Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with al Qaeda to blow up a radioactive “dirty bomb,” was sentenced Tuesday to 17 years and four months on terrorism conspiracy charges that don’t mention those initial allegations.

Padilla, an American citizen, was taken on U.S. soil (with Ashcroft holding a press conference to announce the grab of the dirty bomber), held without charges for 3.5 years,1 in solitary confinement, denied access to an attorney, and tortured.2 I’ve mentioned this before.

Without even going to the elements of what appears on the surface to be a Thought Crime more than an actual crime, there is no conceivable way by which this trial could be imagined to have been fair or Padilla’s civil rights upheld. Any one of the elements above would be sufficient in a system still beholden to the rule of law to create a mistrial; taken together the are a nightmare of coercion, duress, and authoritarianism.

This verdict is a black eye on the Department of Justice, the prosecuting attorneys who did not resign rather than try this case, the judge, the judicial system, the media, the Bush administration, and America.

Just fucking embarrassing.

I’m sure my shame and anger will comfort the now-physically and mentally broken Padilla while he’s in solitary confinement and on suicide watch for the next 17 years.

The Bush administration and the DoJ forwarded an argument in this case, and one that has apparently stood, that the President has the power to declare anyone – even a United States citizen – to be an enemy combatant and outside the jurisdiction of our system of laws. Again, I’ve talked about this before. Gentle reader, from the results of this case, you too could be deemed an enemy combatant. At any time. In any place.

I hope you like Uzbekistan. Or at least windowless rooms in hot climates. I also hope you aren’t too attached to your fingernails, skull, or skin.

Note: unlike John Cole, I don’t think this sentence is a rebuke to the Bush government. To reach that stage, you first have to accept the Bush-DoJ interpretation of enemy combatant and that this was a fair trial. A real rebuke would have dismissed the case. This is just mealy halfassed reasonableness by the judge.

1. Remember, the Bush DoJ held Padilla for more than 2 years in a Navy brig in order to keep him from the reach of US courts.

2. The tapes of Padilla’s interrogations have, naturally, vanished and could not be produced at his trial. Convenient, no?

Jan 21

Those Crazy Shredders

Wow, what a coincidence! It just so happens that the missing emails (related deletions discussed previously) from the records the White House turned over to Congress aren’t complete. Golly gee willickers! Whouda thunk that the emails turned over by the OVP would be missing 16 days worth of emails?

House Oversight Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) revealed that the White House failed to preserve emails for at least 473 separate days. Waxman’s report said “Vice President Cheney’s office showed no electronic messages on 16 occasions from September 2003 to May 2005.” Among the sixteen days for which email are missing from Vice President Cheney’s office “is Sept. 30, 2003, the same day the day the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced they were investigating who outed former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.”

INT. office – night

We revolve around a classic, quality desk largely cleared of papers. It’s dark wood exudes power and solidity. A single lamp spotlights the desktop and the two liver-spotted hands lightly touching at the fingertips. CHENEY, the man behind the hands, is in shadow. He may or may not be undead. Thunder BOOMS outside and rain DRUMS on the windows. The phone RINGS.

cheney

The data we provided to Congress is incomplete you say? And the missing days just happen to align with my Energy Task Force and the Plame records?

(beat)

My, that is unfortunate.

(beat)

How could that have ever happened?

CUT TO:

Close up of a severe, old, possibly dead man’s eyes. Which are behind glasses. We slowly pan back until we can see all of CHENEY’S face. A corner of one side of his mouth curls up. CHENEY winks. The lamp CLICKS off.

END

Remember, this is the group that permanently deleted the pre-Iraq email backups. The group (especially Rove) that used RNC mail servers for official government business and then deleted those emails when subpoenaed. All of this is in violation of the Federal Records Act and we’re not even into conspiracy to obstruct justice territory or the substance of the underlying crimes yet.

And Congress apparently still thinks “impeachment” is a new cocktail from Georgia.

Jan 17

Fire up the Shredders!

Just like the Enron they so resemble and admire (and used to work for), the Bush administration just happened to destroy all records of pre-Iraq war emails. How convenient!

The White House has acknowledged recycling its backup computer tapes of e-mail before October 2003, raising the possibility that many electronic messages — including those pertaining to the CIA leak case — have been taped over and are gone forever.

The disclosure came minutes before midnight Tuesday under a court-ordered deadline that forced the White House to reveal information it has previously refused to provide.

Among the e-mails that could be lost are messages swapped by any White House officials involved in discussions about leaking a CIA officer’s identity to reporters.

Note that this, in addition to, you know, hiding the crimes, is almost certainly in violation of the Federal Records Act. To be in compliance with the FRA, records may only be destroyed under the authority of a records disposition schedule approved by the Archivist of the United States.

NARA issues a General Records Schedule (GRS) that gives record descriptions of records that are common to most Federal agencies and authorizes record disposals for temporary records. The Department is responsible for developing agency record schedules-with the approval of the Archivist of the United States-that are tailored to our own agency-specific records that are not provided for in the GRS.

Record schedules are mandatory instructions of what to do with records (and nonrecord materials) no longer needed for current Government business. The records schedules indicate how long a document must be kept before it is transferred to a Federal Records Center, destroyed or transferred to NARA for permanent preservation.

Now, gentle Congresscritters, who is going to be the first to query the record schedules to see if these documents were on the list? Who is going to be the first to issue a subpoena? Who is going to be the first to mention “criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice”?

I’m going with “no one,” but they should. Not only did Congress let the administration get away with rampant lawbreaking for 7 years… they’re going to let them destroy the evidence while they sit around and have bullshit investigations about fucking steroids in a sport?!? Jesus fuck that makes me want to find the nearest protruding object and run into it full force with my eyeball.

The sad part is, I remember when this behavior by the Busheviks used to surprise me.

Jan 07

The End of the Clinton Candidacy

The problem, you see, is that she’s a woman

How voters interpret Sen. Hillary Clinton’s composure – emotional, cold or just plain tough -could be a deciding factor in her campaign for the presidency, political analysts told ABCNEWS.com.

Earlier today at a campaign event in New Hampshire, Clinton’s voice broke and her eyes welled up with tears as she spoke to 16 undecided voters about her passion for the election as well as for the country.

You see, she can’t win. If she’s strong and businesslike, then she’s a frigid bitch. If she’s actually emotional, then she’s a crazy bitch (you know how wimmin are!). The Cligina never stood a chance. I give it about -30 minutes before one of the denizens of right blogistan declares that the display of emotion was a calculated move.

For a man, this would be OK (and a classic example of leveraging dominant stereotypes against type to your benefit) because he would be showing his compassion. For a woman in our narrative, there’s no benefit in either direction (see also: how the media treats those who were right about Iraq).

It’s a sad, sad state of affairs and an embarrassment for our country that our sexism and misogyny is so ingrained that this is our level of discourse. Jesus fuck, even Pakistan has had a female Prime Minister (sure she’s dead now and was a corrupt nepotist when alive, but she still had two X chromosomes. Reportedly. I haven’t checked).1

It’s not like I have any love for Clinton or a desire for her to be president – she’s a warmongering centrist carpetbagger with little to offer over the status quo, but I dislike and ridicule her her on policy, not gender, grounds (just in the past couple of days, she’s baselessly called Obama weak on choice and fearmongered with the best of the Busheviks)

Also, fuck you, Edwards.

“I think what we need in a commander-in-chief is strength and resolve, and presidential campaigns are tough business, but being president of the United States is also tough business,” Edwards told reporters Laconia, New Hampshire.

While anything can be a political, there are far, far classier ways to address this issue. You know, like ones where you don’t come across as callous and sexist. Like, oh, how Obama handled it.

“I didn’t see what happened,” he said, but added, “I know this process is a grind. So that’s not something I care to comment on.”

Score one for wooooo!bama

* Unless it’s not the end and only the beginning. What do you think I am, a pundit?

Side note: “Jesus fuck” is my new favorite expression of exasperation

Jan 03

And you thought the media was shameful in 2000… and Iowa thoughts

Imagine these sophomoric little heathers in a Clinton-St. John McCain general election:

In a noble attempt to warm up reporters on caucus eve, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made a surprise jaunt onto the press bus on Wednesday morning, bearing coffee and bagels. “It’s been a long campaign,” she said, standing at the front of the bus. “I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s been a great experience.” Dumbfounded by the appearance (her first and only on board the bus since she started campaigning almost exactly a year earlier), the traveling press corps watched in silence as she handed off the goods to Phil Singer, her spokesman, making a rare appearance on the press bus himself. Clinton then turned and left.

Just to restate: a/the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination steps onto the press bus, bringing gifts and yummies and the press, the defenders of our freedom and bringers of light into the darkness of untruthiness … sat mute. Not a single question. Just the cold shoulder.

Now, imagine if the bagels n’ coffee were brought by McCain. Or Bush ’00. Do you think the collected media would have shrugged, took the vittles, and given the cold shoulder? Me neither.

Looking at the current results, Obama wins (unfortunately, that pandering choda scrubber; remember it’s his back yard and got both traitor Kucinich and Mrs. Grumpy fav Richardson to back him as their delegates second choice), Edwards looks strong (he was outspent by more than 5:1 by Obama and Hillary – look at the pretty graphs!), finishes in second, Hillary looks like toast. She’s dead in the water, it’s just a matter of time now. Media + unfavorables == dead in the water. I don’t see Obama getting derailed, but my fingers are crossed.

Huckabee creams the pathetic GOP crop and sends party aparatchiks into conniption fits, Romney’s toast and McCain looks unelectable (he’s in 4th behind the animated corpse known as Thompson, though they’re going to argue that he didn’t “try” for the state. Then again, neither did Thompson). I think watching the GOP and faux news go into apoplexy is the highlight of my week.

In other news: fuck Iowa and New Hampshire. That these two, tiny, unrepresentative states hold such large sway over our presidency is absolutely ridiculous. Rural, white, and provincial… yeah, exactly the dominant characteristics I want determining my country’s leader.

The media’s coverage is absurd as well. Hillary’s 30% is a repudiation, but McCain’s 88% rejection percentage is a huge victory!!!1!!! (Chris Matthews). Iowa’s super important… unless it isn’t… which it isn’t when we’re talking to Giuliani, but is when we’re leading into a commercial break. Fuck you, corporate media. Now bring me some male enhancement ads.

Jan 03

The Panoptic Era continues

Sears distributing spyware edition

It’s not that Sears fails to notify users it intends to spy on them. Indeed, the email sent to users states that the application “monitors all of the internet behavior that occurs on the computer on which you install the application, including…filling a shopping basket, completing an application form, or checking your…personal financial or health information.”

The rub is that this unusually frank warning comes on page 10 of a 54-page privacy statement that is 2,971 words long. Edelman, who is a frequent critic of spyware companies, said the Sears document fails to meet standards established by the Federal Trade Commission when it settled with Direct Revenue and Zango over the lack of disclosure about the extent of their snoopware.