Liberal, Irreverent

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Howard Dean: Republicans took a majority

"Republicans took a majority last year saying they were going to create jobs, but instead they've launched the most radical right-wing assault on the middle class that I have ever seen. They're trying to kill Medicare, Social Security, workers' rights -- not to mention women's rights, the environment, student loans, and voters' rights."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"Getting Wise to Breitbart's Lies"

From Truthout

"Getting Wise to Breitbart's Lies": Missouri Professors Survive Right-Wing Smear Campaign by Andrew Breitbart (Video)
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!: "Two Missouri labor professors have been vindicated after a right-wing smear campaign almost cost them their jobs. Last month, the website - run by right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart - posted footage of a labor relations class taught by University of Missouri professors Judy Ancel and Don Giljum. In the video, the professors appeared to make a number of statements backing the use of violence in the struggle for labor rights. But it turned out the video was edited in a way to distort their words - similar to recent video campaigns against ACORN, Planned Parenthood, NPR and former FDA official, Shirley Sherrod." 
Watch the Video

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wolf Paul Ryan in a Sheep Suit

Disgusting that Paul Ryan criticizes class warfare by adopting populist class welfare arguments himself (read some Ryan's remarks after my rant). 


You have to vomit at Paul Ryan's hypocrisy. Conservatives and their Republican puppets, their purpose is to redistribute wealth upwards. Take from the poor to give it the rich. Kill Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, take away workers rights, kill workers pensions, etc., with only one purpose: free taxpayers money to finance more tax cuts for the rich and corporations. As simple as that. Yes, there is class warfare brewing and with reason. Decades of Republican and corporate Democrat rule have resulted in greater and greater wealth disparity. People have the right to be angry. People have the right to show that anger. People have the right to fight against the forces that are redistributing wealth upwards and killing the middle class. Yes. People have the right to class warfare. 

Some Paul Ryan's remarks at the Chicago Economic Club: 

"Class warfare may be clever politics, but it is terrible economics. Redistributing wealth never creates more of it. Sowing social unrest and class envy makes America weaker, not stronger. Playing one group against another only distracts us from the true sources of inequity in this country - corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless."

BTW, Republicans voted to keep corporate welfare to big oil. The basis for Republican winning elections is precisely making empty promises to all those Americans that can't spend the time to separate and compare republican words from republican actions. Beware of Republican MO. Stick a knife in the people's belly and when the people cry in pain, their answer is don't worry, the knife is just there to make you better.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

For-profit colleges business: education

the title of this article below (after I finish my rant) should be "For profit colleges fight for their "right" to keep milking taxpayers and students". As someone ( I dont remember where I read it) wrote, education and privatization dont mix, as the purpose of a for profit business is to maximize profits by charging the highest price while keeping production cost as low as possible. In education this translates to charging the highest possible tuition while providing the least possible amount of education.  And this is exactly what we see not only in for profit colleges but also  in many for-profit K-12. Studies are showing that performance of for-profit schools is not better when compared to the performance of non-profit or public schools funded and staffed at comparable levels (apples to apples comparison). What Republicans and conservatives have been doing for decades is systematically defunding public schools, so performance drops and justify their scheme of privatization, shifting taxpayers dollars to the private companies that are also the funders of their political campaigns. Ok, the article below. 

From AmeticaBlog News

For-profit colleges fight back against gov’t attempt to make them deliver education

Every now and then, I see an "issue ad" for an issue I've never heard of. Those "union boss card check" ads that turned up almost a year (it seems) before the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) became news are a prime example. But there are others. 

Lately I've noticed a two-pronged assault against "government" limiting "education choices" — in which the actor-advocate pretends to be a lower-middle class person (and is well cast to look it) who is working in the health care field and wouldn't have had a chance in the world to earn a living, she says sincerely, without the education she received. From some unspecified somewhere. 

"Somewhere" in these ads is a for-profit college. 

Turns out there's a brewing controversy in the for-profit college world. Surprise — many, perhaps most, for-profit colleges exist to vacuum as much money as they can, often from the government, and deliver the least education possible. 

How do we know they don't deliver? Grad rates. From the HuffPost (my emphasis throughout): 

For-profit colleges graduated an average of 22 percent of their students in 2008, according to a new report from Education Trust

That average palls [sic] in comparison to bachelor's-seeking graduation rates at public and private non-profit colleges and universities for the same year, which averaged 55 percent and 65 percent, respectively. 

The report, titled "Supbrime Opportunity" (PDF) [properly spelled, of course] also reveals that for-profit colleges increased their enrollment by 236 percent from 1998 to 2009. 

The median debt of for-profit college graduates -- $31,190 -- far outpaces that of private non-profit college graduates, which stands at $17,040, and is more than triple the median debt for those from public colleges, which is $7,960.
So, low grad rates, high debt-to-student ratios, high debt-to-default ratios, andgovernment subsidiesMission accomplished, as we business types like to say. 

The graduation rate for the "University" of Phoenix is 5%, to give a well-advertised example. (But hey, they have this great pretend football stadium, thanks to corporate naming rights.) 

To its credit, the Obama Dept. of Education is pushing back. Pat Garofalo, who knowsabout this stuff (h/t Dictynna): 

Late last month, an organization called the Coalition for Educational Success (CES) announced its intention to formulate a new code of conduct to govern for-profit higher education institutions. CES said that, in conjunction with former Govs. Ed Rendell (D-Penn.) and Thomas Kean (R-N.J.), it plans to develop standards that “will improve and ensure transparency, disclosure, training, [and] provide strong new protections for students” attending “career colleges.” 

Sounds great. But what is CES and why is it proposing a higher education code of conduct right now? To understand that, one has to dive into a hotly-contested federal policy battle: the attempt by the U.S. Department of Education to implement new rules governing the for-profit college industry, which the coalition represents. 

Since late last year, for-profit colleges—schools like the University of Phoenix and Devry University—have been ferociously lobbying against a new Education Department regulation (known as “gainful employment”) that would cut higher education programs off from federal dollars if too many of their students can’t find good jobs and default on their students loans. ... “While a majority of career colleges play a vital role in training our workforce to be globally competitive, some bad actors are saddling students with debt they cannot afford in exchange for degrees and certificates they cannot use,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said last September.
Note the multi-pronged attack — Dem. Rendell and Repub. Kean lending their sellable names to an industry "self-regulation" maneuver (you can see those ads too, from time to time). Plus a strong push-back against the Dept. of Education. Plus attack ads criticizing government intrusion into education "choice." 

You can bet there will be action in Congress as well; after all, why have money if you can't buy stuff with it? 

If you remember just one thing, remember this (Garofalo again): 

Many for-profit colleges make up to 90 percent of their revenuefrom the government through various avenues of aid used by their students, including federal student loans, as I reported earlier this year. They have profit margins as high as 30 percent and their CEOs make millions annually—almost all of which comes courtesy of American taxpayers.
All you need to know? They're thieves. 

For the latest, read the article; it's excellent and rich in detail. This isn't over, and while it's under the radar, it shouldn't be — there's billions at stake, and lives.

Monday, May 16, 2011

1890′s America: A Peek at the Past You’r

From News Junkie Post

1890′s America: A Peek at the Past You’re Repeating

Posted: 14 May 2011 11:33 AM PDT

It has been said that a definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and expect a different result. While in one sense this may be considered persistence – to try, and try again – to do so against all evidence to the contrary must certainly be considered some sort of madness. Yet, despite the egregious crimes committed against the American people by Big Banks, Big Finance, Big Oil, Big Pharma and the corporate and financial elite as a whole, the American people seem determined to place even more trust in them by allowing the dissolution of organized labor out of a misplaced faith that their best interests will be taken care of by those who have just finished raping their economy.

While deregulation, corporate welfare, and an abundance of corporate and financial friendly policies have allowed a drastic disparity in wealth over the past thirty years, the onslaught against the American working class has been going on for much, much longer.

The advancements and protections that were championed on behalf of the workers of America over the past century were necessary, life saving measures. Back when people still understood that the purpose of the economy was to serve society, and not the other way around, as it is today, and before they had been completely deceived into fighting on behalf of the corporations that would enslave them and turn them into expendable commodities, a real movement had developed across America.

That movement succeeded through sacrifice of life and limb, and despite government repression and the use of the military against them. They endured incarceration and the destruction of their homes. Yet, decade by decade, their sacrifice won the eight hour day, minimum wage, sick days, the end of child labor, the right to organize, and every other labor law and standard that is now being taken for granted.

Current proposals to end the minimum wage, kill organized labor, and institute ‘right to work’ legislation will effectively abolish all of those gains that the generations that preceded us worked so hard to achieve. Once again, corporations will be in the position to treat the entire country as a ‘company town’, a plantation, where the workforce is completely disenfranchised and the corporations and financial institutions own the workers, lock, stock, and barrel.

Corporation must increase profits. This is their responsibility. They have no other purpose. The well-being and prosperity of the workers is counter to their purpose. They need to drive the cost of production, and therefore wages, employee health care, sick leave, over-time pay, safety precautions, and on and on, down. As little resources as possible will be spent on workers who will be demanded to produce as much as possible. You, and your labor, must be devalued as much as possible in order for them to achieve their goal of increased profit.

To expect that giving tax breaks to corporations will result in an increase in gainful employment is either naive of purposefully disingenuous. To expect that the removal of workers protections will be replaced by the benevolent, responsible management that provides opportunity for worker prosperity, is not only delusional, or a misguided faith in the unknown, it is directly contradictory to the proof available over the past one hundred plus years as well as what the corporations and financial institutions are saying right to your face.

Before you say ‘uncle’, and before you switch sides to become a corporate toady, read the words of those that started the fight that  won the protections about to be lost.

1890 – Mary Ellen Lease, at a convention in Topeka, Kansas:

Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street… Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags…

There are thirty men [a few hundred now] in the United States whose aggregate wealth is one and one-half billion dollars [the top 1% now hoard more wealth than the bottom 95% combined]. There are a half million looking for work [many more now] … We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks…. We want the accursed foreclosure system wiped out… We will stand by our homes and stay by our firesides by force if necessary, and we will not pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the Government pays its debts to us.

The people are at bay, let the bloodhounds of money who have dogged us thus far beware.

1892 – From the preamble of a convention platform, as read by Ignatius Donnelly in St. Louis, Missouri:

We meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot box, the legislature, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized… The newspapers [media] are subsidized or muzzled; public opinion silenced; business prostrate, our homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of the capitalists.

The urban workmen are denied the right of organization for self-protection; imported pauperized labor [now outsourcing] beats down their wages; a hireling army standing army… established to shoot them down… The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes…. From the same prolific womb of government injustice we breed two classes — paupers and millionaires [billionaires]…

Pick up an history book or two about the labor movement in America. Reacquaint yourself with the battle that was waged on your behalf. Before you capitulate, and willingly give up all for which they sacrificed, remember who the economy is supposed to serve. It’s not Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, Bank of America, Wal-Mart, Monsanto, Koch Industries, or Exxon Mobil, et al. They are using your national resources, both natural and human, in order to produce the profits they hoard. You should have more to show for it than a life spent laboring for an ever-increasing debt to them.

Excerpts from ‘A People’s History of the United States’ – by Howard Zinn

Friday, May 13, 2011

Some Final Thoughts on the Death of Osam

"The Nazis killed tens of MILLIONS. They got a trial. Why? Because we're not like them. We're Americans. We roll different." – Michael Moore in an interview last week

Thursday, May 12th, 2011 


Last week, President Obama fulfilled a campaign promise and killed Osama bin Laden. Well hedidn't actually do the killing himself. It was carried out by a very brave and excellent team of Navy SEALs. Not only does Mr. Obama have the overwhelming support of the country, I think there are millions who gladly wish it could have been their finger on the gun that took out bin Laden.

When I heard the news a week ago Sunday, I immediately felt great. I felt relief. I thought of those who lost a loved one on 9/11. And I was glad we finally had a President who got something done. This is what I had to say on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet in that first hour or two:

I want to point out that Barack Obama took two years to do what Bush couldn't do in overseven. That's the difference between STUPID in charge and SMART in charge. STUPID pursues two reckless wars, lets OBL escape from Tora Bora, keeps looking for him in caves and invades the wrong country. He bankrupts us to the tune of $1.2 trillion for the Iraq War (it will eventually actually be over $3 trillion), and worse, he cost us the lives of almost 5,000 of our troops, not to mention hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan – and, after all that, he STILL couldn't bring the perp to justice. In fact, in 2005, Bush closed down the CIA station that was devoted to looking for bin Laden! What does SMART do? He sends in a small elite strike force, no troops are killed, and the perpetrator is stopped for good.

I was thrilled that the Osama bin Laden era was over. There was now an end to the madness.

Being near Ground Zero that night, I decided to head over there and join with others who saw this event as a chance to have some closure. On 9/11, Bill Weems, a good and decent man I knew and worked with (we had just recently completed a shoot together in Boston), was on the plane that was flown into the Twin Towers. I dedicated 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' in part, to him.

But before leaving to go to the former World Trade Center site, I turned on the TV, and what I saw down at Ground Zero was not quiet relief and gratification that the culprit had been caught. Rather, I witnessed a frat boy-style party going on, complete with the shaking and spraying of champagne bottles over the crowd. I can completely understand people wanting to celebrate – like I said, I, too, was happy – but something didn't feel right. It's one thing to be happy that a criminal has been captured and dealt with. It's another thing to throw a kegger celebrating his death at the site where the remains of his victims are still occasionally found. Is that who we are? Is that what Jesus would do? Is that what Jefferson would do? I was reminded of the tale told to me as a kid, of God's angels singing with glee as the Red Sea came crashing back down on the Egyptians chasing the Israelites, drowning all of them. God rebuked them, saying, "The work of My hands is drowning in that sea – and you want to friggin' sing?" (or something like that).

I remember my parents telling me how, on the day it was announced that Hitler was dead, there was no rejoicing in the streets, just private relief and satisfaction. The real celebration came six days later at the announcement that the war in Europe was over. THAT'S what the people wanted to hear – not just the demise of one evil madman, but the end to all the killing. 

When the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, people didn't pour into the streets to whoop it up. Yes, people were happy that it might help end the war, but there was not a public display of "Yippee! A hundred thousand Japs have been fried!" If they had done that, well, who could have blamed them after so many tens of thousands of their sons and fathers had been lost in the war (including my uncle, a paratrooper, killed by a sniper near Manila). But the sailor kissing the girl in Times Square was on August 14th, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered and the war was officially over. That's when America went crazy with joy – not over a killing, but over an announcement of peace.

We are a different people now, aren't we? Well, sorta. There was no bloodlust euphoria on the day Timothy McVeigh was executed. We were silent. The families of the Oklahoma City dead were silent, relieved. What is the difference between McVeigh and bin Laden, other than the number they slaughtered? I wonder. I think we know the answer.

Though bin Laden is dead, we are told that Orwell's Permanent War – the "War on Terror" – must continue! Not allowed to have our V-J day and run into Times Square with exhilaration! No, there could be terrorists there. So all we're left with is to cheer the death of one evil man, and that is supposed to make us feel powerful and good. There can be no celebration for the end of the Afghanistan War because the war isn't ending. The war must continue! Even though our own CIA tells us there are no more than a few dozen al Qaeda left in Afghanistan. We still have 100,000 troops there fighting a few dozen crazies? We say we're fighting the Taliban, too, but the Taliban are Afghan citizens, not an invading force, and, for better or worse, they seem to enjoy the support of many of the common people throughout Afghanistan. (If you don't believe that, ask any soldier who has served there and seen it. Every day is like 'Apocalypse Now.' Poppies, anyone?)

Meanwhile, we – me, included – get lost in the weeds of how this one madman was killed. The official story from the Pentagon changed four times in the first four days! It went from OBL firing on the troops with one hand and using his wife as a human shield with the other, to, by the fourth day, not single person in the main house, including bin Laden, being armed when killed. Instantly, this created a lot of suspicion about what really happened, which itself was a distraction.

Here's my take: I know a number of Navy SEALs. In fact (and this is something I don't like to talk about publicly, for all the obvious reasons), I hire only ex-SEALs and ex-Special Forces guys to handle my own security (I'll let you pause a moment to appreciate that irony). These SEALs are trained to follow orders. I don't know what their orders were that night in Abbottabad, but it certainly looks like a job (and this is backed up in a piece in the Atlantic) where they were told to not bring bin Laden back alive. The SEALs are pros at what they do and they instantly took out every adult male (every potential threat) within a few minutes – but they also took care to not harm a single one of the nine children who were present. Pretty amazing. This wasn't some Rambo-style operation where they just went in guns blazing, spraying bullets. They acted swiftly and with expert precision. I'm telling you, these guys are so smart and so lethal, they could take you out with a piece of dental floss. (And in fact, one of my ex-SEAL guys showed me how to do that one night. Whoa.)

In a perfect world (yes, I would like to reside there someday, or at least next door to it, in Slightly Imperfect World), I would like the evildoers to be forced to stand trial in front of that world. I know a lot of people see no need for a trial for these bad guys (just hang 'em from the nearest tree!), and think trials are for sissies. "They're guilty, off with their heads!" Well, you see, that is the exact description of the Taliban/al Qaeda/Nazi justice system. I don't like their system. I like ours. And I don't want to be like them. In fact, the reason I like a good trial is that I like to show these bastards this is how it's done in a free country that believes in civilized justice. It's good for the rest of the world to see that, too. Sets a good example.

The other thing a trial does is, it establishes a very public and permanent historic record of the crimes against humanity. This is why we put the Nazis on trial in Nuremberg. We didn't do it for them. We did it for ourselves and for our grandchildren so that they would never forget these horrors and how they were committed. And we did it for the German people so they could see the evidence of what their elected leaders had done. Very helpful. Very necessary. Very powerful.

And for those who wanted blood back then – well, the majority of the Nazis all hanged in the end. So, it doesn't mean the bad guys get away – they still swing from the highest tree.

My own spiritual beliefs do not allow for capital punishment, and I was raised in the state (Michigan) that in the 1840s was the first government in the English-speaking world to outlaw it. So, I'm just not inclined that way. I don't believe in "an eye for an eye." I know the old book said that, but I like its sequel better (a rare case in which the sequel – like Godfather II, Star Trek II, Terminator II – is better than the original). If you don't believe the way I believe (it's also the official position of the Catholic Church, for whatever that's worth these days), then that's your right, and I understand.

Perhaps there was no way to bring him back alive – I sure as hell wouldn't want to be in that dark house trying to make that snap decision. But if the execution was ordered in advance, then I say we should be told that now, and we can like it or not like it.

For nine years I wrote and I said that Osama bin Laden was not hiding in a cave. I'm not a cave expert, I was just using my common sense. He was a multimillionaire crime boss (using religion as his cover), and those guys just don't live in caves. He had people killed under the guise of religion, and not many in the media bothered to explain that every time Osama referenced Islam, he wasn't really quoting Islam. Just because Osama said he was a "Muslim" didn't make it so. Yet he was called a Muslim by everyone. If a crazy person started running around mass-killing people, and he did so while wearing a Wal-Mart blazer and praising Wal-Mart, we wouldn't automatically call him a Wal-Mart leader or say that Wal-Mart was the philosophy behind his killings, would we?

Yet, we began to fear Muslims and round them up. We profiled people from Muslim nations at airports. We didn't profile multi-millionaires (in fact, they now have their own fast-track line to easily get through security, an oddity considering every murderer on 9/11 flew in first class). We didn't run headlines that said "Multi-Millionaire Behind the Mass Murder of 3,000" (although every word in that headline is true). You can say his wealth had nothing to do with 9/11, but the truth is, there is no way he could have kept Al Qaeda in business without having the millions he had.

Some believe that this was a "war" we were in with al Qaeda – and you don't do trials during war. It's thinking like this that makes me fear that, while bin Laden may be dead, he may have "won" the bigger battle. Let's be clear: There is no "war with al Qaeda." Wars are between nations. Al Qaeda was an organization of fanatics who committed crimes. That we elevated them to nation status – they loved it! It was great for their recruiting drive.

We did exactly what bin Laden said he wanted us to do: Give up our freedoms (like the freedom to be assumed innocent until proven guilty), engage our military in Muslim countries so that we will be hated by Muslims, and wipe ourselves out financially in doing so. Done, done and done, Osama. You had our number. You somehow knew we would eagerly give up our constitutional rights and become more like the authoritarian state you dreamed of. You knew we would exhaust our military and willingly go into more debt in eight years than we had accumulated in the previous 200 years combined.

Maybe you knew us so well because you were once one of our mercenaries, funded and armed by us via our friends in Pakistan to fight the other Evil Empire in the last battle of the Cold War. Only, when the killing stopped, the trained killer, our "Frankenstein," couldn't. The monster, you, would soon turn on us.

If we really want to send bin Laden not just to his death, but also to his defeat, may I suggest that we reverse all of that right now. End the wars, bring the troops home, make the rich pay for this mess, and restore our privacy and due process rights that used to distinguish us from any other country. Right now, our democracy looks like Singapore and our economy has gone desperately Greek.

I know it will be hard to turn the clock back to before 9/11 when all we had to worry about were candidates stealing elections. A multi-billion dollar industry has grown up around "homeland security" and the terror wars. These war profiteers will not want to give up their booty so easily. They will want to keep us in fear so they can keep raking it in. We will have to stop them. But first we must stop believing them.

Hideki Tojo killed my uncle and millions of Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos and a hundred thousand other Americans. He was the head of Japan, the Emperor's henchman, the man who was the architect of Pearl Harbor. When the American soldiers went to arrest him, he tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest. The soldiers immediately worked on stopping his bleeding and rushed him to an army hospital where he was saved by our army doctors. He then had his day in court. It was a powerful exercise for the world to see. And on December 23, 1948, after he was found guilty, we hanged him. A killer of millions was forced to stand trial. A killer of 4,000 (counting the African embassies and USS Cole bombings) got double-tapped in his pajamas. Assuming it was possible to take him alive, I think his victims, the future, and the restoration of the American Way deserved better. That's all I'm saying.

Good riddance Osama.

Come back to your ways, my good ol' USA.

Michael Moore 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

RedState: "Why I Will Not Support Jon Hu

I always enjoy the conservative cannibalism. RedState doesn't like Jon Huntsman at all. Its conspiracy theories against Huntsman even sound convincing. It goes like this. If Huntsman accepted the important assignment from the president as ambassador to one of our greatest adversaries, China, while planning all the time to run against (aka betray) that president, can America really trust the loyalty of Jon Huntsman? For GOPers to decide. Below the link.

“I cannot tolerate a man serving as our ambassador to our chief strategic adversary in the world plotting, while in that capacity, to run against the President of the United States.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Republicans Got Nothing On Healthcare

Jonathan Chait 

One of the things Republicans seem to have forgotten, in the wake of the introduction and swift passage of their Dickensian budget crafted by Paul Ryan, is their unshakeable commitment to health care reform. Remember that? Throughout the health care debate, they were determined to rally around their own reform plan. And now the House has passed a long-term budget that yanks health insurance away from more than 40 million Americans and neglects to put anything in its place. Maybe it’s just an oversight, like the time in freshman year when I turned in a history paper with no bibliography. But it’s kind of starting to look like the Republicans don’t actually plan to do anything for the uninsured.

The history of the elusive Republican quest for a health care plan dates back at least to 1993. President Clinton had proposed comprehensive reform; the public believed the system to be in crisis. Congressional Republicans came up with a combination of subsidies, market regulation, and an individual mandate that presaged the law eventually signed by President Obama last year.

Bad intel from torture, Bush admin stop

From Firedoglake

Posted: 08 May 2011 05:50 AM PDT

I noted this already, but it so exceeds even the abysmal standards of the Sunday show bookers, I’m going to repeat it.

To celebrate Mothers Day, the Sunday shows have brought you the Mushroom Cloud Brigade–Condi Rice, Rummy, and Dick Cheney–the three people who, on September 8, 2002 used the Sunday shows to trumpet the intelligence they had laundered through Judy Miller to lie us into war against Iraq.

RICE: You will get different estimates about precisely how close he is. We do know that he is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon. We do know that there have been shipments going into Iran, for instance — into Iraq, for instance, of aluminum tubes that really are only suited to — high-quality aluminum tools that are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs.

We know that he has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon. And we know that when the inspectors assessed this after the Gulf War, he was far, far closer to a crude nuclear device than anybody thought, maybe six months from a crude nuclear device.

The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t what the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.

Of course, the Mushroom Cloud Brigade won’t be lying about Iraq today. They’ll be lying about torture. And they’ll be helped by a slew of other torture apologists: Michael Hayden, Michael Chertoff, Rudy “9/11″ Giuliani, and Liz “BabyDick” Cheney. Update: My apologies for forgetting Univision, which also hosted a torture apologist (Alberto Gonzales), today.

As they spew their torture apology, remember this. The guy who ran their torture program, Jose Rodriguez, has said the best piece of intelligence we got from torture with respect to Osama bin Laden led him to conclude that OBL was no longer the tactical leader of al Qaeda.

Al-Libbi told interrogators that the courier would carry messages from bin Laden to the outside world only every two months or so. “I realized that bin Laden was not really running his organization. You can’t run an organization and have a courier who makes the rounds every two months,” Rodriguez says. “So I became convinced then that this was a person who was just a figurehead and was not calling the shots, the tactical shots, of the organization. So that was significant.”

That led the CIA to shut downits search for OBL precisely because they believed OBL no longer headed a hierarchical organization.

Only, at least according to abackground briefing at the Pentagon yesterday (which could itself be more propaganda), that conclusion was wrong. The biggest lesson our intelligence agencies have gotten from analyzing the stash of materials at OBL’s compound is that OBL was not a figurehead, he remained not just the strategic, but also the tactical head of al Qaeda.

The following is a key point:  the materials reviewed over the past several days clearly show that bin Laden remained an active leader in al Qaeda, providing strategic, operational and tactical instructions to the group.  Though separated from many al Qaeda members who are located in more remote areas of the region, he was far from a figurehead.  He was an active player making the recent operation even more essential for our nation’s security.

According to torture apologist Jose Rodriguez, the most important information we got on OBL using torture was that he was a figurehead. According to those analyzing the materials from OBL’s compound, OBL “was far from a figurehead.”

Rodriguez’ torture-induced conclusion was completely wrong.

That’s what the torture apologists have to show for themselves: they gave up the hunt for OBL because they got bad information from torture.

So whereas on September 8, 2002, the Mushroom Cloud Brigade used the Sunday shows to sell a war that would distract us from fighting al Qaeda and getting OBL, today they’ll use the Sunday shows to claim torture helped find OBL. Yet another lie from the Mushroom Cloud Brigade on the Sunday shows.

Happy Mothers Day, moms! May the breakfast in bed your kids made for you help you avoid seeing the Mushroom Cloud Brigade and torture apologists on TV.

Related posts:

  1. Jose Rodriguez Brags that He Got Terrorists to Deny Things Using Torture

  2. Why Did the Torture Apologists Come Out of their Caves?

  3. Choo Choo Track Attacks

For Anyone Blaming Obama for High Gas Pr

From Firedoglake 

Forward This Graph to Anyone You Know Blaming Obama for High Gas Prices

Posted: 08 May 2011 11:50 AM PDT

Republicans must think Americans are really stupid.

Sarah Palin blasted President Obama on Tuesday for what she called his “anti-drilling mentality” andsaid the president was waging a “war on domestic oil and gas exploration and production” that was resulting in high gas prices for Americans.


Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney pumped his own tank of gas on Friday and blamed President Barack Obama for a surge in prices that are straining American pocketbooks.


Rep. James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma who delivered the GOP’s weekly radio address, said “gasoline is at the top of the list” of concerns from people in his district. He said “prices at the pump have nearly doubled since President Obama took office, making everyday life like driving to work, buying groceries, picking up kids at school and visiting family more expensive.”

And as you can see, by “more expensive” Lankford means “still cheaper than it was under Bush/Cheney.”

Gas prices rose dramatically while George W. Bush was in the White House and the GOP controlled all three branches of government (after they complained that gas prices were too high under Clinton/Gore and promised to lower them), dropped significantly during the Bush/Cheney recession, and are now, because of the recovery, returning to the previous trend.

It would be helpful if some reporter would ask these Republicans spouting this nonsense what they were saying while gas prices went through the roof under President Arbusto and Vice President Halliburton. But there’s also something absurd about Republicans demanding that the government do something about gas prices.

Wouldn’t that be interfering with the free market?

(Graph courtesy of

Saturday, May 7, 2011 Paul Ryan spreads false,

Ryan's Budget Spin

The GOP budget chairman throws some curves while supposedly 'setting the record straight.' 

May 6, 2011 



Rep. Paul Ryan spreads some false and misleading information in a series of "Setting The Record Straight" web posts, in which he criticizes the president's proposed budget and promotes his own. Among the claims: 

* Ryan says his plan would not increase the debt. In fact, under his plan the public debt would increase from $10 trillion in 2011 to $16 trillion in 2021, by his own figures. That's a slower increase than under President Barack Obama's budget, but the debt would still rise substantially. 
* He says his plan would "bring deficits below $1 trillion immediately, ending the era of trillion-dollar deficits." True -- but just barely. The 2012 deficit in his plan would be $995 billion, just shy of $1 trillion. It would drop to about $700 billion by 2013 -- but that's what the president's budget projects, too. 
* A GOP document defending Ryan's plan wrongly claims that the budget "does not cut Medicaid" and that it "spends more on Medicaid each year than it does the previous year." That's false. Ryan's own projections call for slashing Medicaid below this year's spending level for years to come. 
* That GOP document says Democrats in Congress and Obama increased the deficit 259 percent since 2008, when it was $458 billion. That ignores the fact that President George Bush was in office in 2008. Obama inherited a $1.2 trillion deficit largely caused by declining revenues and Bush's response to the economic crisis. 
* Ryan says Obama's proposed budget "commits seniors to bureaucratically rationed health care." In fact, the new health care law states that the advisory board to which Ryan refers "shall not include any recommendation to ration health care." Furthermore, the board members are to be primarily doctors, economists and other outside experts, not Washington bureaucrats. 
* He says the "principles of tax reform" in his plan are "identical" to those in the bipartisan fiscal commission. That's misleading. Both would close loopholes and reduce tax rates, but the commission would raise $785 billion in new tax revenue from 2012 to 2020 for debt reduction. Ryan's plan is revenue neutral. 
* He says Obama's budget "imposes $1.5 trillion in tax increases on job creators and American families." But, as we written before, about half of that total would come from increases scheduled under current law. 
* He says that closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap would "increase prescription-drug prices for everyone." But the Congressional Budget Office says out-of-pocket costs would be unaffected or lower for many. 
* He claims the health care law doesn't improve Medicare's finances. Not true. It does, but experts worry some cost controls won't be fully implemented. Furthermore, Ryan's budget keeps in place some of those same cost controls. 

This is not to say that everything Ryan claims on his website is inaccurate. But it's our job to "set the record straight" when he doesn't. Read our Analysis section for more.


Note: This is a summary only. The full article with analysis, images and citations may be viewed on our Web site:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Find True Centrism in the People's Budge

From The Nation

Find True Centrism in the People's Budget
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL | The Congressional Progressive Caucus has provided a viable, courageous alternative to the Ryan Budget, and it needs your support.

Does @Politico believe the killing of OB

Politico using the word "assassination" to describe the killing of OBL could be a slip of the pen, or could be a subtle way to open a new front of controversy . We'll see.

RELATED? INTEL DEAL WOULD GIVE CIA MORE COUNTERTERRORISM AGENTS -- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, announced late Thursday that they have struck a deal on reauthorizing the programs of the nation's intelligence agencies. Most of the bill is classified, but one detail was made public: The bill would increase the number of counterterrorism jobs at the CIA. There's probably no better timing for the CIA, which did the groundwork for the bin Laden assassination. House leaders plan to put the measure on the floor, which will give lawmakers the opportunity to talk about the bin Laden killing and celebrate the success of the American intelligence apparatus. The Senate adopted a resolution recognizing the mission but the House did not. The intelligence authorization bill can serve that purpose.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Immigrant Mom, Shackled During Labor, Wi

Immigrant Mom Juana Villegas, Shackled During Labor, Wins Lawsuit
Thoai Lu, ColorLines: "A federal judge in Tennessee has ruled in favor of immigrant mother Juana Villegas, who was shackled during labor and after giving birth while being held in the custody of the Davidson County Sheriff's Office, the Tennessean recently reported. U.S. District Court Judge William Haynes Jr. will set a hearing for damages against Metro government and the sheriff's office in Villegas' case." 
Read the Article

GOP on the Brink of Weakening Flight Saf

from The Nation

GOP on the Brink of Weakening Flight Safety Rules
GEORGE ZORNICK | Backed by aviation industry money, the GOP is trying to weaken common-sense flight safety rules. The final showdown on their callous push to protect industry profits is coming soon.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The GOP's Stealth Plan to Redefine Rape

From Mother Jones

The GOP's Stealth Plan to Redefine Rape

They're doing it again: After jettisoning controversial legislative language narrowing the definition of rape for the purposes of abortion law, House Republicans are attempting a backdoor maneuver to ensure that solely victims of "forcible rape" are eligible for federal funding if they seek abortions: [READ MORE]


From Politico

CABLE BAIT - KOCH VS. TRUMP - Conservative billionaire David Koch is very publicly raining on Donald Trump's 2012 parade, telling the New York Post that Trump's "a wonderful guy, but I don't think he should run for office." The Post: "Noting Trump's love of press, Koch said the 'Celebrity Apprentice' host is 'getting more publicity than he ever dreamed about right now.' But, he added, 'at some point I think he's going to drop out of the race when he realizes that he's really not qualified to be President.' As for picking a candidate to back, Koch says: 'Only next year will I take a position.'"

You’re Invited to the R-Oil Wedding

You’re Invited to the R-Oil Wedding

There was more than one union being recognized besides Prince William and Kate: The R-Oil wedding between House Republicans and Big Oil.

The relationship between the House Republican leadership and Big Oil has gone on for many years -- with the GOP protecting taxpayer giveaways, speculation and price gouging -- so this wedding seems like the next step. In their relationship for rich or richer, we wish the happy couple all the best.

View the invitation and sign the guestbook on their nuptials here >>

Monday, May 2, 2011

Al Gore: Climate Skeptics Argue Birther-

From RSN

Al Gore: Climate Skeptics Argue Birther-Style 
Alex Guillen, Politico 
Alex Guillen writes: "Former Vice President Al Gore on Sunday night compared climate skeptics with birthers, saying money has allowed the line between fact and fiction to blur. 'There is now a tendency in our country to struggle over what is a fact and what is not,' Gore said at the opening of a conference on Jewish social justice in Washington." 

Supporters of George W. Bush are irked t

WHICH GLORY? GWB let OBL escape to Pakistan

Kasie Hunt has published a new story:

The next front: Claiming credit

Supporters of George W. Bush are irked that the White House isn’t doing more to share the glory.

Read More

With Osama Now Gone, Spend on Building R

Cliff Schecter 

With Osama Now Gone, Spend on Building Roads in America Instead of Afghanistan

Posted: 02 May 2011 11:33 AM PDT

Now that Osama bin Laden is dead and we find out that he has been living comfortably in Pakistan for a very long time, I really wish this tax payer money we are wasting building almost useless highways in Afghanistan would instead get spent building things in America, ans so create American jobs. From the New York Times:

The money paid to Mr. Arafat bought neither security nor the highway that American officials have long envisioned as a vital route to tie remote border areas to the Afghan government. Instead, it added to the staggering cost of the road, known as the Gardez-Khost Highway, one of the most expensive and troubled transportation projects in Afghanistan. The 64-mile highway, which has yet to be completed, has cost about $121 million so far, with the final price tag expected to reach $176 million — or about $2.8 million a mile — according to American officials. Security alone has cost $43.5 million so far, U.S.A.I.D. officials said.

The vast expenses and unsavory alliances surrounding the highway have become a parable of the corruption and mismanagement that turns so many well-intended development efforts in Afghanistan into sinkholes for the money of American taxpayers, even nine years into the war.

The fact that bin Laden found safe haven for years in a nice compound in a major city in Pakistan has proven how stupid the “we must prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven” argument is for continuing the war.

Along with bin Laden, one of the last pathetic excuses for why we are continuing to spend billions fighting to prop up the extremely corrupt Hamid Karzi administration, died with him.

Ideally, now will be the time Americans start honestly asking if they want billions of their tax dollars spent creating jobs in Afghanistan or creating Americas jobs and infrastructure.

Related posts:

  1. Social Security “Shortfall” Remarkably Similar to Cost of Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

  2. We Could Have Bought a Lot of Nice Things with That $550 Million We Spent on Libya

  3. Two-Thirds of Americans Favor Full Withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan

Joe Scarborough Makes Shit Up About Obam

The Progressive Electorate - Front Page 

Joe Scarborough Makes Shit Up About Obama and the Democratic Base

Posted: 02 May 2011 09:49 AM PDT

I can't tell if this is malicious or just pure ignorance. Morning Joe Scarborough tries to claim that President Obama went against his base and did something he never thought he'd have to as...

The Ultimate List Of What The GOP Fights

Posted: 01 May 2011 07:43 PM PDT

By Wayne Bomgaars

The Republican Party has been working overtime since their midterm electoral takeover of the US House and many state legislatures, and governorships.  What they’ve been fighting for however is pretty shocking to most Americans, resulting in recall elections in key districts around the country.  Below is a mega list of what the GOP has been up to along with multiple citations.

  • Fighting their #1 goal to make sure President Obama does not get a second term

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5

  • Fighting non-existent death panels

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting non-existent threat of Sharia law in the US

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5

  • Fighting to let woman die if an abortion would save her life

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting in SD & NE to make murder of abortion doctor be justifiable homicide

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to reduce and/or get rid of Social Security

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to destroy Medicare

Citation 1 Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5

  • Fighting to get rid of NPR

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to destroy the non-existent Acorn

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to prove our president is a non-citizen

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Many, many more

  • Fighting to prove our president is a Muslim

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to repeal the healthcare bill

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to redefine rape

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to support Mubarak

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to give tax breaks to the rich

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5

  • Fighting in South Dakota to require people to have guns

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to discredit the first lady

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting against improving infrastructure

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4


  • Fighting against programs for the poor

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5

  • Fighting against saving the auto industry

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to allow pollution

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting for Big Oil & Big Oil fights for them

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting against funding science

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to ignore global warming

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5

  • Fighting against gay marriage

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting against gays in the military

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting against allowing gays to adopt

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting against gay hate crime legislation

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to block any legislation proposed by democrats, regardless of content

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to stop extended benefits for the unemployed

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5 – Citation 6

  • Fighting Net Neutrality

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to kill Big Bird

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to allow racial profiling

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to keep $40 billion in oil company subsidies

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to prevent judges and cabinet members being confirmed for no other reason than because President Obama nominated them

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to allow guns in church in Arkansas and Louisiana

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting against women’s right to choose

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4


  • Fighting to reduce funding for education

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to get rid of the Department of Education

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to make the Patriot Act permanent

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting against high speed rail

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5

  • Fighting against Veteran’s benefits

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5

  • Fighting against healthcare for 9/11 responders

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to deny life-saving transplants resulting in deaths(Arizona)

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • If jobs are lost, “…so be it”

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to kill Head Start

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting in Wisconsin to use National Guard against protesters

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to defund healthcare reform

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to break unions

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting in Texas to pass a bill to allow students to have concealed weapons on campus

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting in Iowa to refuse services to people in a marriage that violates their religious beliefs (On the other hand, gays)

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting in Georgia to require gold or silver to pay state debts

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting in Montana to declare global warming a natural occurrence which is beneficial to welfare and business climate

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fought to allow torture

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to end foreclosure aid programs

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to repeal laws giving equal pay for women

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4


  • Fighting to eliminate or limit the Securities Exchange Commission

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to kill last year’s Wall Street reform law by cutting off funds to agencies in charge of enforcing it

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to save incandescent light bulbs

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to save styrofoam

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5

  • Fighting to cut $600 million from IRS tax enforcement (Mike Huckabee wants to abolish the IRS entirely)

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4 – Citation 5

  • Fighting in Wisconsin to ban crank calls

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to restrict certain people from voting

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting in Michigan to be able to impose Financial Marshal Law

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to defund poison control centers

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to take voting away from college students

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to Weaken Financial Reform

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting in Maine to undo child labor laws

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting for huge tax cuts for corporations

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to reduce funding to life saving tsunami warning systems

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to repeal the 14th Amendment

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to repeal the 17th Amendment

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting (GOP rep. Paul Broun) to repeal both the 16th & 17th amendment

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

  • Fighting to create and pass a bill that says the House doesn’t need the senate or the president to pass a budget. Basically about as unconstitutional as you can get.

Citation 1 – Citation 2 – Citation 3 – Citation 4

Editor’s note – this is the second contribution to News Junkie Post by Wayne Bomgaars.  The first was a collaborative projectwith others documenting the thousands of accomplishments of President Barack Obama and the Democrats from January 2009-November 2010.  Wayne is a power house on Reddit under the code name backpackwayne, where he originally compiled this compendium.