Archive for November 29, 2010

Looking Forward to Wall Street’s “Shared Sacrifice”

Insofar as President Obama proposed freezing the wages of Federal workers today (people who had nothing to do with the financial crisis the world is in), I’m looking to Wall Street executives pitching in and rolling back their Christmas bonuses and freezing their employees’ pay.

You know, it’s a “shared sacrifice” kinda thing.

Stay tuned here for BREAKING NEWS, as soon as it happens.

November 29, 2010 at 10:42 PM Leave a comment

Julian Assange: Fear for Your Life

Apropos of my post below, here’s Greg Mitchell:

November 29, 2010 at 10:23 PM Leave a comment

WikiLeaks Founder Says His Next Target is a Big U.S. Bank

WikiLeaks is going after the banks.  Can’t wait!

This is part of the transcript of a conversation between Andy Greenberg of Forbes magazine and Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks:

Megaleaks?

Megaleaks. That’s good. These megaleaks…They’re an important phenomenon, and they’re only going to increase. When there’s a tremendous dataset, covering a whole period of history or affecting a whole group of people, that’s worth specializing on and doing a unique production for each one, which is what we’ve done.

We’re totally source dependent. We get what we get. As our profile rises in a certain area, we get more in a particular area. People say, why don’t you release more leaks form the Taliban. So I say hey, help us, tell more Taliban dissidents about us.

These megaleaks, as you call them that, we haven’t seen any of those from the private sector.

No, not at the same scale for the military.

Will we?

Yes. We have one related to a bank coming up, that’s a megaleak. It’s not as big a scale as the Iraq material, but it’s either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents depending on how you define it.

Is it a U.S. bank?

Yes, it’s a U.S. bank.

One that still exists?
Yes, a big U.S. bank.

The biggest U.S. bank?

No comment.

When will it happen?

Early next year. I won’t say more.

Take care Julian.

I think his life is probably in more danger now, with this talk of exposing a big bank — hey, “they own the place” — than it was when he began dropping the cables his week.

November 29, 2010 at 9:15 PM Leave a comment

So, Obama’s Having a Good Week So Far

See posts below.

Can you hear me (screaming) now?

November 29, 2010 at 8:37 PM Leave a comment

OH, PLEASE!

White House Sees John Boehner as Possible Partner Ahead of Obama’s Meeting with Republican Leaders:

In the first test of Washington’s new political alignment, President Barack Obama will meet with Republican leaders Tuesday with the nation’s tax rates and a nuclear arms treaty in doubt.

[...]

“My hope is that tomorrow’s meeting will mark a first step toward a new and productive working relationship,” Obama said Monday, “because we now have a shared responsibility to deliver for the American people on the issues that define not only these times but our future.”

I know psychologists and psychiatrists aren’t supposed to offer an opinion as to a person’s mental state without actually sitting down with them but do any of you know of any profiles of Obama out there?

The guy has some real problems and I’d love to read a professional’s take on him.

I mean, what kind of mental illness is it when you can’t see what’s in front of you and see that it’s the same thing — or worse — than what’s been in front of you FOR TWO YEARS!?

Aaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!

November 29, 2010 at 7:47 PM Leave a comment

Democrats Think They’re Losers

It’s pretty hard to get behind the Democrats when folks like Greg Sargent, the Washington Post’s D.C. political blogger (first sentence) and Jake Trapper of ABC News send out tweets like this:

These guys hang around the political class all day long.  I surmised Democrats thought they were losers but these guys KNOW they think they are.

What a tragedy.  I can imagine the title of books written three, five years from now:  How Democrats Abandoned Their Responsibility to the United States.  Or, What Would Have Been Different Had the United States Had Two Strong Political Parties in the Early 21st Century?  Or, How Republicans Destroyed the United States — With Nary a Whimper from Democrats.

Geez.  So depressing.

November 29, 2010 at 7:06 PM Leave a comment

A Big Reason Why the “Liberal Media” Hates WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks Shows Up Our Media for Their Docility at the Feet of Authority.

November 29, 2010 at 5:40 PM Leave a comment

Start ‘em Early

An iPhone baby blanket:

(Via.)

 

 

November 29, 2010 at 5:35 PM Leave a comment

WikiLeaks Documents: Saudis Funding al Qaeda

State Department documents released by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks provided candid views of foreign leaders and sensitive information on terrorism and nuclear proliferation, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The documents show Saudi donors remain chief financiers of militant groups like al Qaeda…

Read more.

 

November 29, 2010 at 3:51 PM Leave a comment

Obama Wants to Freeze Pay for Federal Workers, Republicans Take Credit

This morning, President Obama, a/k/a President Gimmick, proposed freezing the pay of Federal workers for two years to “demonstrate concern over sky-high deficit spending,” a “symbolic gesture that will reduce federal spending by less than 0.05 percent.”

President Obama has apparently bought into the conservative meme that Federal workers make too much money so their pay should be knocked down a notch or three so they’re as bad off as the rest of us — instead of embracing the progressive notion that wages of the rest of us should more evenly match those of Federal workers because their pay is more in line with the current cost of goods and services,  thus they have a higher standard of living.  In sort:  Bring us all down instead of raising us all up.

So, 24-hours before meeting with John Boehner Boner and Mitch McDonnell in the White House for what he hopes will be a bipartisan cum-bay-ah, Obama behaves like a Republican either because he believe their philosophy about keeping wages down, or he’s making a peace-offering to the Republicans, or both.

Whatever he’s doing, it only took a few hours for him to come out looking like a total fool:

Eric Cantor, the number two in the House GOP leadership, seized on the news as proof that Republicans, not Obama, are setting the governing agenda. Cantor said he was “encouraged” by Obama’s proposal, noting that House Republicans had already “offered the very same spending-cut proposal on the floor of the House.” Cantor continued:

“We are pleased that President Obama appears ready to join our efforts. As the recent election made clear, Americans are fed up with a government that spends too much, borrows too much and grows too much.”

In other words, Republicans are simply pointing to this as proof that Obama agrees with their interpretation of the elections and in response is now willing to follow their script.

If Obama doesn’t fight with all he’s got for an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and if he signs a bill extending them — coupled with this stupid move today — that’ll signal to me that he has fully crossed over to the other side.  The Republicans will play him like a fiddle until November, 2012 when he’ll be voted out of office for being one of the weakest presidents ever.

UPDATE:  Came across this which pretty much says it all:

UPDATE II:  More stupid planning on Obama’s part:  Freeze pay for two years?  Two years?  That brings us to November/December 2012 when Republicans will more than likely take over the government. They’ll keep the freeze in place.

Yo, Obama.  If you insist, extend the freeze for one year.  For God’s sake, don’t create a trap of your own making.

Hello.  Anybody home?

November 29, 2010 at 3:40 PM Leave a comment

The Supreme Court Says No to the Birthers

Too bad the birthers aren’t putting their energy into taking a case to the Supreme Court asking it to overturn Citizens United:

The Supreme Court has again cast aside an appeal that raised doubts about President Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship, a grass-roots legal issue that has gained little legal or political footing, but continues to persist in the courts.

The justices without comment Monday rejected a challenge from Charles Kerchner Jr., a Pennsylvania man who sought a trial in federal court forcing the president to produce documents regarding his birth and citizenship.

November 29, 2010 at 2:31 PM 1 comment

Democrat Calls the TSA’s Invasive Body Searches “Love Pats”

In our Orwellian society, waterboarding turns into “enhanced interrogation,” the TSA’s “body scanners” which telegraph pictures of our naked bodies are merely “machines,” and invasive, pornographic body searches morph into “love pats:”

This would be Missouri Senator, Democrat Clair McCaskill:

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said prior to Pistole’s testimony that she believed TSA was in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation, because people would be hopping mad at TSA if Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Adbulmutallab had succeeded. She went on to say the new advanced imaging technology–which has caused uproar because of its leave-no-secrets imaging and potential health risks–is more of a blessing than a curse.

“I’m wildly excited that I can walk through a machine instead of getting my dose of love pats,” Sen. McCaskill said.

That’s right.  Love pats:

November 29, 2010 at 1:18 PM Leave a comment

Citizens All Over the World Are Getting Screwed

As the financial crisis, caused by lax regulation of American banks, ripples around the world, it is the citizens of affected countries who are being penalized, not the bankers and the fat cats who caused the crisis.

The people of the United States wrote a $700 billion check to banks and big corporations during the last days of the Bush administration (TARP) but the economy still sucks so now the powers that be are talking about cutting Medicare and Social Security.  The bankers are still sitting in their corner offices but the small people are the ones who are being asked to pay the price for the economy they wrecked.

The same thing is happening to the small people in Ireland:

Ireland has lost. The EU has lost. We are both just pawns of European banks and the ECB, writes FINTAN O’TOOLE

This is not a rescue plan. It is the longest ransom note in history: do what we tell you and you may, in time, get your country back.

The extent of the abandonment of Irish national interests is clear from three aspects of the deal.

The interest rate, at almost 6 per cent, is viciously extortionate.

The National Pension Reserve Fund, which is all we’ve got left for strategic investment to rebuild our economy, is to handed over – in a brazen example of “demanding money with menaces” – to failed banks.

The disastrous banking strategy is to be continued: “an intensification of the measures already adopted by the Government” is the Government’s own phrase. And a savage attack on low-paid workers, in the form of a huge reduction in the minimum wage, is to be written into a binding agreement.

Would the Irish people, if asked, vote for any of these measures as decent solutions to our very real dilemmas? That the answer is so obviously “no” tells us the brutal truth: Irish democracy has been abandoned by a zombie government.

A weak, demoralised rump administration, served by the same Department of Finance that oversaw the gestation of the crisis, went into bat against the big powers of global finance.

A government that was spooked and stampeded by the small-time bullies of the Irish banks was never going to be able to stand up to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The losers, however, are not the Irish governing classes, who have shown themselves so impervious to shame. They are the Irish people, whose sense of democratic citizenship has been rudely stripped away.

And to the small people in Greece:

A whole raft of measures, which include huge cuts to Greece’s public sector, have been announced since December last year, when the Greek government acknowledged the need to tackle Greece’s dire public finances.

The government is planning a pay freeze for all public sector workers.

Some pay cuts will also be implemented, and public sector contract workers are set to lose their jobs.

In the private sector, the legal maximum number of people companies can lay off each month will be doubled from 2% of personnel to 4%.

Under the planned changes, the retirement age, which is currently 65 years for men and 60 years for women, will be linked to average life expectancy.

In addition, the minimum number of years someone will have had to have worked to qualify for a full pension will rise to 40 years from 37.

Pensions will also be reduced so that they reflect a worker’s average working pay rather than their final salary.

ndirect taxes – including those on alcohol, fuel and cigarettes – will see a 10% rise.

And now this new measure in the U.S.:  Obama Proposes Freezes on Federal-Worker Pay:

President Barack Obama on Monday proposed a two-year salary freeze for all federal civilian employees, ahead of negotiations with Congress on deficit-cutting that are likely to dominate Washington next year.

The freeze, which would require congressional approval, would affect about two million workers and cover calendar years 2011 and 2012.

Though in effect for two years, the proposed freeze would save $28 billion over five years and more than $60 billion over 10 years as the government pockets savings from a lower wage base for its civilian work force, said Jeffrey Zients, deputy White House budget director for management.

Workers were due to have a 1.4% pay raise in 2011. Federal wages generally rise each year in step with inflation, though Congress often makes adjustments.

“Clearly this is a difficult decision,” Mr. Zients said, lauding federal workers as dedicated civil servants. “The president is clearly asking them to make a sacrifice.”

When are the people who caused this crisis going to be asked to “make a sacrifice?” Never.  We’re witnessing the pillaging (both physically and economically) of the entire planet by a small group of indescribably powerful and wealthy individuals.

November 29, 2010 at 11:55 AM Leave a comment

Regarding All Those Lives Lost Due to WikiLeaks’ Leaks

Here’s the current tab of the number of lives lost due to the documents WikiLeaks has leaked over roughly the last 12 months:

American officials in recent days have warned repeatedly that the release of documents by WikiLeaks could put people’s lives in danger.

But despite similar warnings ahead of the previous two massive releases of classified U.S. intelligence reports by the website, U.S. officials concede that they have no evidence to date that the documents led to anyone’s death.

Nice try.

November 29, 2010 at 11:01 AM Leave a comment

More on the Ahem, Integrity of Republicans

Tweet of the day (or maybe the decade):

November 29, 2010 at 10:51 AM Leave a comment

Wingers Undermining the “American Exceptionalism” They Rave About

I’ve been thinking — as most of us have — about how the United States is slipping farther and farther behind in so many areas, from energy independence to our infrastructure to health care to the number of us who live in poverty and/or are “food insecure,” to our basic understanding of history and science.  Lo and behold, someone beat me to putting those thoughts into words:  Peter Daou:

Republicans and Tea Partiers are Making a Farce of American Exceptionalism

Here’s the farce: From Bush to Palin, Gingrich to Limbaugh, the Tea Party to the GOP, any claim to American exceptionalism is being undermined. Spurred by the simplistic and contorted worldview of the aforementioned, science is under assault, the environment is being ravaged, women’s right and gay rights are regressing, religious tolerance is evaporating, civil liberties are being dismantled, wealth disparities are exploding, privacy is disappearing, and wars are being waged with no end.

It’s a nightmarish joke that Republicans and Tea Partiers want to assail President Obama for denying American exceptionalism, while doing everything possible to undercut it.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t believe in the ridiculous notion that God has granted the United States a special place in the universe that places it above all other nations, but Republicans and Tea Partiers do believe that.  Yet, as Peter writes, even though they make the most noise about our supposed exceptionalism being undermined, they’re the ones who are promulgating policies and social agendas that do so.

November 29, 2010 at 10:41 AM Leave a comment


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