Monday, September 29, 2008

gas sprayed into packed Ohio mosque


update: Dayton police say no hate crime. What a fucking relief right?


bailout = epic fail

Congressman Dennis Kucinich voted against the bailout. Here he is on C-SPAN yesterday alluding to the conflict of interest regarding our Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson.

a few excerpts from the rush transcript of Dennis Kucinich's interview today with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:

" This is a copy of the bill which will provide for a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street. It has provisions in it where it talks about helping homeowners, but when you read the fine print, you see it has language like “may” instead of “shall” and “encouraging” instead of “mandating” help for the millions of homeowners who are worried right now about whether they’re going to lose their home. There’s no help for them in this. "

" And frankly, Wall Street is—has put itself on a trajectory with now we have almost a quadrillion—half a quadrillion dollars of derivatives that are out there, floating out there. People have said that if this is intended to be a fix, it’s a joke, on one hand. On the other hand, who’s paying for it? Why are we rushing this? I don’t—you know, and everything about this, I think, is unacceptable. "

" I said we’re the Congress of the United States; we’re not the board of Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is struggling to survive. And, you know, their former chief is now the head of the US Treasury. He’s in a position to be able to direct assets in a way that would help enhance his own financial standing. I mean, that’s a clear conflict of interest. And, you know, that’s something that needs to be said. You know, why are we permitting the person who has essentially been in a position where he’s managed assets that—you know, many of which are now in trouble, and he can come back and help clear the books for a lot of his friends? This is wrong. It’s fundamentally wrong. And, you know, it’s one of the things that adds a degree of stench to this. "

putting a fire under the gravy train, Henry Paulson

Last week

So last week I was and continue to be in too much shock to know where to begin, but my good pal Zach Scott summed it up pretty well, I thought. I'm gonna go ask him if I can use this now.


The past few days have been pretty eventful.

1. Financial system on the brink of collapse (again)
2. John McCain decides that the nation needs a hero, "suspends" his campaign, asks Obama to postpone debate, pisses off David Letterman:

3. McCain campaign suggests that it will continue to be suspended until a bailout deal is reached (it turns out he doesn't actually suspend his campaign, because for the remainder of Wednesday evening and Thursday, his ads continue to run across the country, and his talking heads continue to make appearances on all of the networks).

4. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin gives an interview so bad that it actually becomes national news:

5. Obama campaign: Uh...why is the debate canceled? Isn't this the sort of time when people should really find out what the next President thinks about important issues? His campaign says that they'll be in Mississippi for the debate, even if McCain will not. The prospect of Obama being alone on the debate stage for 1 1/2 hours on primetime television actually becomes possible for a brief time.

6. McCain, arriving in DC for crucial negotiations on the financial bailout,twiddles his thumbs for an hour, then mutters something about a House Republican proposal that he can barely defend or understand. Read all about it! McCain suspends campaign to rush back to Washington and destroy consensus! With Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, and House Democrats all strongly behind the bill, McCain decides to support an entirely different bill proposed by half of the House Republicans, and things get heated.

After a wild meeting at the White House, House Financial Service Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was asked whether the Congress and the president were close to a deal.

“Yes and no,” he said. "We're closer to a deal between House Democrats, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans and the administration. I cannot tell you, but we seem further away with the House Republicans because we thought we might have some differences of opinion over the president's approach. They're now talking about a very different approach."

Frank bashed McCain for becoming involved in the bailout talks, suggesting he was doing it only for political gain in the presidential race.

"I think Sen. McCain was hurting politically on the economic issue," Frank just told reporters. "I think this was a campaign ploy for Sen. McCain. I think they then had this problem that there might not have been enough of a deadlock for him to resolve. I don't know what motivated what, but the next thing we know, he's in a position, frankly, where he's making it harder to get things done rather than negotiate differences.

"He's slowed it down, I don't know whether he caused it or what," Frank said. "We are trying to put it back together."

In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Ms. Pelosi not to “blow it up” by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

“I didn’t know you were Catholic,” Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: “It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans.”

Mr. Paulson sighed. “I know. I know.”

It was the very outcome the White House had said it intended to avoid, with partisan presidential politics appearing to trample what had been exceedingly delicate Congressional negotiations.

Later that night, McCain high-fives the Prince of Darkness in his Mid-Manhattan hotel suite as he lights a cigar from the smoldering ashes of dead babies and sweet grandmothers who died as they were preparing pumpkin pies for 4th of July picnics.

7. McCain resumes campaign, the debate is back on. Now his campaign says that since a "framework" for negotiations has been established, thanks to McCain of course, the debate can go on as planned.

Sarah Palin is still a moron.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Country First or the Pig & the Lipstick

Ever heard of The Keating Five, one of whom is a presidential candidate? This pertains to " judgement " regarding the economy.
Did you notice the part of that article where they mentioned the Savings & Loan Crisis? Good.

Let's begin with Phil Gramm and the Glass-Steagell Act

" In 1999, former Senator Phil Gramm (who is, incidentally, Senator John McCain's economic adviser and cochairs his presidential campaign) set out to completely gut the Glass-Steagall Act, and did so successfully, replacing most of its components with the new Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act: allowing commercial banks, investment banks, and insurers to merge (which would have violated antitrust laws under Glass-Steagall). Sen. Gramm was the driving force behind the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, as he had received over $4.6 million from the FIRE sector (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate donations) over the previous decade, and once the Act passed, an influx of "megamergers" took place among banks and insurance and securities companies, as if they had been eagerly awaiting the passage of Gramm's Act. "

Another good article in the same vein.

" Undoubtedly Gramm is promoting the agenda of those who subsidize him, as he has done ever since he entered politics as a servant of oil interests in his home state. He took hundreds of thousands of dollars from energy and financial interests as a congressman and then as a senator, rising to the chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee, where he could really perform major favors. He is famed for slipping in an amendment desired by Enron Corp. back when his wife was on that doomed company's board. His employment by UBS, a company that recently warned some of its executives to avoid entering the United States for fear of criminal prosecution, demands fresh scrutiny of him as well as McCain. "

Also, here's an article from the NY Times which offers some historical perspective on John McCain's attempts ( highly successful in certain circles ) to be seen as a crusader against special interests.

( from page 2 )
" For years, Mr. McCain complied. At Mr. Keating’s request, he wrote several letters to regulators, introduced legislation and helped secure the nomination of a Keating associate to a banking regulatory board.

By early 1987, though, the thrift was careering toward disaster. Mr. McCain agreed to join several senators, eventually known as the Keating Five, for two private meetings with regulators to urge them to ease up. “Why didn’t I fully grasp the unusual appearance of such a meeting?” Mr. McCain later lamented in his memoir.

When Lincoln went bankrupt in 1989 — one of the biggest collapses of the savings and loan crisis, costing taxpayers $3.4 billion — the Keating Five became infamous. The scandal sent Mr. Keating to prison and ended the careers of three senators, who were rebuked by the Senate Ethics Committee in 1991 for intervening. Mr. McCain, who had been a less aggressive advocate for Mr. Keating than the others, was reprimanded only for “poor judgment” and was re-elected the next year.

Some people involved think Mr. McCain got off too lightly. William Black, one of the banking regulators the senator met with, argued that Mrs. McCain’s investment with Mr. Keating created an obvious conflict of interest for her husband. (Mr. McCain had said a prenuptial agreement divided the couple’s assets.) He should not be able to “put this behind him,” Mr. Black said. “It sullied his integrity.” "

and here's a funny ad that says it's approved by Barack Obama, but I remain dubious. I like it anyway:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Olbermann & Matthews/Palin & Ensler

Under Great Political Pressure MSNBC Removes Matthews' and Olberman's Anchor Status (about four fifths of the way down the page)

In media news, MSNBC has announced Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews will no longer anchor any of the network’s live political coverage for the rest of the presidential campaign season. NBC News’ White House correspondent David Gregory will become the primary host of the network’s coverage of the upcoming debates and on election night. In May, White House Counselor Ed Gillespie sent a letter to NBC News accusing Matthews and Olbermann of being “blatantly partisan.”

another take on it

Oh yeah! This is pretty moving:

Eve Ensler, the American playwright, performer, feminist and
activist best known for "The Vagina Monologues", wrote the
following about Sarah Palin:

Drill, Drill, Drill

I am having Sarah Palin nightmares.

I dreamt last night thatshe was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around
their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears.

Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice.

Whatever it is, I need the
polar bears.

I don't like raging at women.

I am a Feminist and have spent
my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists.

But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is
antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story
-- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering
women, giving young girls options, opening our minds,
deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war.

I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most
dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country
chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the
destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never
recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke.

In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the
presidency with regularity.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor.

In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list.

The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and
plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered.

As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God.

Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not.

She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth

I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence
and we know how many babies that makes.

Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking.

From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a
tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference.

This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth.

Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle.

She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.

Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right.

But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything
America has ever tried to be.

I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S.

but of the planet.

It will determine whether we create policies to save
the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack.

It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest
our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing.

It will determine whether America is a
free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression.

If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills.

I think of
rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.

Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in
the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the
trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric
of this precious thing we call life?

Eve Ensler

September 5, 2008

~~~this is also very moving:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Punk Rock Regains it's Relevance Through Global Migration! Oi!

"punk is kept alive in places like Cuba where simply criticising the communist regime can get your ass thrown in jail. As has been reported, that's what has happened to Gorki Ɓguila Carrasco, leader singer of Porno para Ricardo, currently facing four years in prison for "peligrosidad" - literally meaning the dangerousness of his music - specifically for dismissing the ruling Castro brothers as "geriatrics". It's hardly GG Allin is it? Maybe it was their vaguely wacky song 'El Comandante' that upset, um, El Comandante.

Elsewhere the appetite for punk rock grows unabated. Readers of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel Persepolis or its film adaptation will know the type of trouble faced when caught with contraband punk music under the theocratic tyranny of Islamist fundamentalists in post-revolution Iran. And indeed, how that hunger for anti-social sounds merely grows when challenged. The Sex Pistols might be a joke today, but for millions of oppressed youth they still represent a signpost to freedom."