Friday, November 9, 2007

Krugman: Health Care Excuses

Paul Krugman's column is short and sweet today. Give it a once over.

Rudy Giuliani’s fake numbers on prostate cancer — which, by the way, he still refuses to admit were wrong — were the latest entry in a long, dishonorable tradition of peddling scare stories about the evils of “government run” health care.

The reality is that the best foreign health care systems, especially those of France and Germany, do as well or better than the U.S. system on every dimension, while costing far less money.

But the best way to counter scare talk about socialized medicine, aside from swatting down falsehoods — would journalists please stop saying that Rudy’s claims, which are just wrong, are “in dispute”? — may be to point out that every American 65 and older is covered by a government health insurance program called Medicare. And Americans like that program very much, thank you.

The Impeachment of Dick Cheney

The squad car turned onto the quiet street. The dispatcher had gotten a call of a possible domestic disturbance on First Street, unusual for that part of the neighborhood a few years ago, but it was becoming more and more frequent over the past year. The dispatcher answered the call and then the caller hung up after dispatch heard yelling in the background. Officer Kay exited the car and approached the large house. “Nice place,” he thought. “I wonder what’s going on in here.”

There were lights on inside, but all seemed eerily calm. He knocked on the door and waited a seemingly long while before knocking again. A few seconds later, the door cracked open a bit.

A small lady was on the other side. Through the opening Kay could see that she was visibly upset. She had a bruise on her right cheek and a small cut over her right eye.

“Ma’am, we received a call from this house. Are you okay?”

“Yes,” replied the obviously beaten woman. “I... I just tripped and fell down the stairs. It happens a lot… I’m a klutz. … I called 911 myself thinking I might need an ambulance,” said Nancy as her eyes welled up with tears, “but I’m okay now. It’s not as bad as I thought.”

“Well is anyone in the house with you? Do you need medical attention?”

Just then, Kay heard a voice coming from inside the house. “Who the hell’s at the door?!”
“Here we go…” Kay thought.

He heard steps coming toward the door and it forcefully swung completely open, Nancy visibly flinching as it whizzed by her.

“Oh… good evening, officer. Kin a help ya?” said a man of considerable size. He stunk of cheap whiskey and seemed agitated, sweat beaded on his forehead and he looked disheveled in his stained Ohio State tee shirt. He seemed to trip on himself a bit at the door as he reached into his pocket for a cigarette. Kay knew what he was in for.

He had seen this all before. An obviously battered spouse. A belligerent, overbearing man who pushed his compromising wife to the edge time and time again, and shoved her around if she dared talked back. He’d seen these types of cowards before.

Unfortunately, Kay’s hands were tied. The law prevented him from doing anything unless Nancy filed a complaint.

“Sir, we received a call and...”

“Yeah, she can be a bit of a klutz. She fell down a coupla’ steps. She’s alright now though, aintcha honey?” He put his arm around her and squeezed her in closer.

“Well, sir, I’ll need your name for the record, just to verify that we made the call.”

“John. And this is my wife, Nancy,” said the drunk with a scrape on his knuckle. Nancy stared down at the floor. She dared not look Kay in the eye. If she did, he would be able to see all the pain, all the frustration in her.

“And how long have you been living here?”

“Just about a year now,” Nancy said, still staring at the floor. John whipped his head around and looked at her with daggers in his eyes. How dare she speak. He squeezed her tighter.

“Nancy, can I speak with you a moment?” Kay stared at John as he said this to look for a reaction. John inched forward but immediately realized he’d better behave. If he did, it would all go away.

Kay took Nancy down the walkway. “Look Nancy, I know what’s going on. But I can’t help you unless you tell me. You need to take the first step. I’ll ask you again: Is everything alright? Will everything be alright once I leave?”

Nancy stood there. She didn’t say a word. She thought perhaps she could finally get out of this relationship. She’d tried to be compromising in hopes that John would see how good a person she is. Maybe the kindness would be reciprocated.
But it never worked that way. John would take and take and take. He would never give anything. He wasn’t built for it. He’d been like this his entire life and an old biting dog doesn't like muzzles.
Maybe this time she could call John out on his cowardice. Maybe this time, John would see that she wasn’t going to stand for it anymore. She wasn’t going to sit there and take his crap anymore.

“No, I’m fine… I fell.”

Kay gave Nancy a business card and told her to call him if there was any problem. She looked back at the door and saw John standing there, arms folded across his chest, watching her every move. She slowly took the card. Kay watched as Nancy slowly turned back up the walkway heading towards her front door.

“Goodnight, officer,” John said with a shit-eating grin on his face. “Thanks for stoppin’ by. Nice to know we got the city’s finest watchin’ our back.” The business card was snatched out of Nancy’s hand before the door was shut.

And that’s how the resolution to impeach Dick Cheney ended in the House of Representatives.


If only the Democrats were attentive enough to the people to realize that a majority of Americans, including a majority of independent voters, support the impeachment of Dick Cheney, they would've treated the resolution with a little more respect. If they acknowledged their mandate and discarded their predictably impotent political habits, they would have had the mettle to at least debate the resolution and entered into the record their collective objections to the vice president's malfeasance, as well as forced into the record the Republican Party's inexplicable support for the man's attempt to undermine their authority. History demands this.

Instead, by engaging in such an awkwardly amateurish fire drill on the floor of the House, [Steny] Hoyer managed to inject his misguided capitulation into the national debate. He might not know this, but there exists cable news and internet blogs, both thirsting for material. Now, millions of people know that the House Democrats dropped their short pants and stumbled away from the task of holding the vice president accountable -- their trousers bunched around their ankles restricting normal locomotion -- simply because the Republicans dared them to act.

And so in trying to avoid a so-called public embarrassment, they publicly embarrassed themselves anyway.

Here is another video from Brave New Films summarizing the resolution to impeach Cheney. Watch it and then honestly tell yourself that he doesn't warrant impeachment.

More from CESCA:

When the Democrats acquiesce on torture or impeachment or anything that might reunite them with their balls, they're only succeeding in begging the right's aggression. There won't be any favors returned from the Bush/Cheney right wing. I don't think the Democrats fully understand who they're dealing with. And if they do, well then, how dare they play along. How dare they patronize us with 'I'm against this but I'm voting for it because I'm smart and important and you wouldn't understand anyway.'

You stand up and vote NO on torture, Senator Schumer. You allow a debate about impeaching the vice president, Congressman Hoyer. And you sure as shit don't vote to support the administration's Iran policy, Senator Clinton.

In other words, compromising with the White House won't make the president go all limp and soupy -- it will in fact make him louder and more petulant next time around...

..."Shut him up or shut him down!" That's what the American people are expecting. Any failure on that score leaves the Democrats in this pathetic ass-up submissive posture. When it comes down to choice of nuance versus aggression, the answer has to be aggression. Take on those bastards with the fury and tenacity these historically imperative issues demand.

We don't expect hand-holding and mutual masturbation between the Bush Republican White House and the Democratic Congress. No one has ever assumed the president would compromise on anything anyway. But we assumed -- perhaps wrongly -- that the Democrats would stick him. We expected a fight, and that's why we voted for Democrats a year ago yesterday. And if they should ever decide to collectively stand up and fight, we will gladly elect more of them a year from now.

It took me a few days to wrap my head around what the hell happened in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. If the Republicans wanted a fight, if they wanted to attempt to "embarrass" the Democratic Party by forcing a debate on Kucinich's resolution to impeach Cheney, then the leadership should have gone to the coat check room where they usually leave their collective scrotum at the door, strapped it back on and said, "You wanna throw down?! Let's go! Game on, brohim!"

But the Rethuglicans know the battered wife game. They wrote the book on it. They dared the Dems knowing they would flinch. And flinch they did. It's times like these that I feel like changing my party affiliation to Independent.

And what embarrassment would they have saved? A July poll showed that 54% of Americans favored impeachment of Cheney (including 17% of Republicans)... and that was in July! Four months ago! It's got to be riding at 60%+ now.

What is an embarrassment to me is that the Democrats fold like a house of cards time and time again. It's an embarrassment to me that Nancy Pelosi says impeachment is off the table when it's not her choice, but a duty that the Constitution dictates. It's an embarrassment to me when a Senate Nominating Committee with a Democratic majority would allow Michael Mukasey to be approved as the next Attorney General after hemming and hawing on torture and that Harry Reid would allow a simple majority vote for his confirmation after a five hour debate.

It's an embarrassment to me that they don't fight. That's why they were elected, but they've gotten so used to being the red-headed stepchild, they've forgotten that they have fists, that they have strength, that they have the backing of the American people. Stop worrying about what your cocktail guests in Washington will think, and start worrying what your constituents back home will think. Because if you don't, you won't need to worry what will be said about you at the next dinner party. You'll be cleaning out your desks in November 2008.

Not only do we have to vote Democratic in the general election, but we have to be wary of who we're voting for in the Democratic Primary elections as well.

Not only have to vote Democratic, we must vote for the better Democrat.

Attorney General Mukasey

Zzzz... hmm? Hrumph..wha. what? Oh... Oh, yeah (yaaaaaaaaaaawn), in other news, Mike Mukasey won Senate confirmation today replacing Torquemada for the position of our latest Inquisitor General . The vote was 53-40 in favor of his confirmation.

The so-called Democrats voting in favor of Mike "What's Waterboarding?" Mukasey:

Bayh (D-IN)
Carper (D-DE)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Nelson (D-NE)
Schumer (D-NY)

Seven Senators apparently were too bored and fell asleep before casting their vote. ...Oh wait, those Senators were:

Alexander (R-TN)
Biden (D-DE)
Clinton (D-NY)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Dodd (D-CT)
McCain (R-AZ)
Obama (D-IL)

Before you get your bloomers in a bunch on the lack of votes from potential presidential candidates, I understand that the last minute vote gave campaigning Senators approximately three hours to get from Iowa to DC. By "last minute", I mean that Harry Reid agreed to a five hour debate... FIVE HOURS - and that a 60 vote majority would not be needed. Simple majority would do.
Had these absent Senators voted along party lines, the final tally would have been 56-44. It would have been nice to get them on the record, but a waste of time for them to come back on a fruitless endeavor, no?

FYI - The two Independent votes:
LIEberman (IR-CT) : YEA
Sanders (I-VT) : NEA

Thursday, November 8, 2007

FOX "Decency"

This is hysterical. Another Brave New Film by Robert Greenwald. In an attempt to warn its audience of the lack of decency in this nation, FOX News continually uses gratuitous T & A film footage.

Watch it:

My particular favorite is the Spring Break story of a possible murder suspect in the area while video rolls of a whacked out beauty pageant on the beach the whole time. Sweet! Now that's a FOXy story.

Rudy & Bernie

What must Rudy Giuliani be thinking at this moment? Just a few days ago, Rudy came to the defense of Bernie Kerik, claiming the successes of the disgraced former police commissioner... outweighed his legal problems, and added that “if I have the same degree of success and failure as president of the United States, this country will be in great shape.”

Mr. Noun-Verb-9/11 then went on to flat out lie and pull more numbers out of that ever voluminous ass, numbers that boggle the mind. But I suppose his ass needs to be that big, as his head is constantly in it.

“There were mistakes made with Bernie Kerik,” Mr. Giuliani said in the interview. “But what’s the ultimate result for the people of New York City? The ultimate result for the people of New York City was a 74 percent reduction in shootings, a 60 percent reduction in crime, a correction program that went from being one of the worst in the country to one that was on ‘60 Minutes’ as one of the best in the country, 90 percent reduction of violence in the jails.”


As Greg Sargent at TPM notes, "Rudy appears to have hit a trifecta of sorts: He may have told three lies in one sentence." Sargent then deftly proceeds to break apart Giuliani's incredibly bold protestations on Kerik's record (no, not his criminal record, not yet anyway).

Kerik is now being indicted on charges that include tax fraud, corruption and conspiracy counts. And through all this, Rudy seems to be morphing into the new Teflon Don. He's getting caught in lie after lie, from having a better chance to survive his prostate cancer because the US doesn't subscribe to the evils of "socialized medicine," to the craptacular statistics on Kerik during his 18 month tenure as New York's Top Cop. And frankly, Rudy the Rat doesn't care. Mr. 9/11 is counting on the fact that the majority of the population is stupid and no one will call him on his lies. And if they do? So what. It'll all fade anyway.

And now to top it all off, the pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-gun control, pro-torture Republican from New York now has gotten the endorsement of that crazy wackjob, Pat Robertson. The same Pat Robertson who once said permissiveness toward homosexuality and abortion led to God’s “lifting his protection” to allow [the 9/11] attacks.

But there they were Wednesday morning, Mr. Robertson endorsing Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, as “an acceptable” Republican “who can win the general election.”

So now Robertson is throwing all that "we deserved 9/11 because of abortion and homos" shit away because apparently the thought of frontrunner Hillary Clinton as the next possible Prez is so abhorrent to these freaks, they'll screw the moral high ground. They're looking for someone who can win! ... Miserable, hypocritical bastards.

As my friend Armadillo Joe at Expatriate Thoughts always tells me, "God I hope he gets the nomination! He'll totally implode!" I hope you're right, Joe.

Gadget Gone Glitchy?

As someone who goes gaga for gadgets, I thought this NY Times article was worth the read and perhaps a good place to reference certain fix-it sites.

Don’t Throw Out Your Broken iPod; Fix It via the Web

(By the way, the picture to the left is not an exaggeration in my case, to which my wife will attest.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Suck On This Veto, Chimp Boy

NY TIMES: Congressional Democrats escalated a confrontation with President Bush over federal spending on Tuesday as the House overrode Mr. Bush’s veto of a popular water projects measure and approved a $215 billion bill to pay for health, education, labor and veterans programs despite a veto threat.

The vote on the water measure was 361 to 54, far more than needed to reject the veto. If the Senate follows suit, it will be the first time Mr. Bush has had a veto overturned.

...Democrats said it was Mr. Bush and his Republican allies who were acting irresponsibly by resisting slight increases to pay for improvements in health care and education while simultaneously seeking nearly $200 billion in new deficit spending this year to pay for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Mukasey

The 11-8 vote came only after two key Democrats accepted his assurance to enforce any law Congress might enact against waterboarding.

...Mukasey's assurances on torture that won over Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer was disingenuous, according to Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

"Unsaid, of course, is the fact that any such prohibition would have to be enacted over the veto of this president," said Leahy.

...Specter, of Pennsylvania, said that outlawing waterboarding rests with Congress. He revealed that he had talked with Mukasey a day earlier and received an assurance that the nominee would back up any such legislation and quit if Bush ignores his opinion.

...Legal experts cautioned that if Mukasey called it torture, that effectively could have constituted an admission that the United States engaged in war crimes. It could also commit him to prosecuting U.S. officials even before he takes office.

Mukasey Vote Today

Monday, November 5, 2007

Can We See Your Tongue Stud?!

Is Hannah Storm kidding?! You gotta love those mainstream media "journalists." What an embarrassment.

Bush Administration Blocked Waterboarding Critic

ABC News: Daniel Levin, then [2004] acting assistant attorney general, went to a military base near Washington and underwent [waterboarding] to inform his analysis of different interrogation techniques.

Watch the video here.

After the experience, Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn't die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning. Levin then began writing a memo forming the administration's legal position on torture.

...Sources said he was forced out of the Justice Department when Gonzales became attorney general.

From Keith Olbermann:

Study after study for generation after generation, sir, has confirmed that torture gets people to talk, torture gets people to plead, torture gets people to break, but torture does not get them to tell the truth.
Of course, Mr. Bush, this isn’t a problem if you don’t care if the terrorist plots they tell you about, are the truth or just something to stop the tormentors from drowning them.
If, say, a President simply needed a constant supply of terrorist threats to keep a country scared…

...Now if that’s what this is all about — you tortured not because you’re so stupid you think torture produces confession — but you tortured because you’re smart enough to know it produces really authentic-sounding fiction — well, then you’re going to need all the lawyers you can find because that crime wouldn’t just mean impeachment, would it, sir?
That crime would mean George W. Bush is going to prison. the seven years of your nightmare presidency, this whole string of events has been transformed from its beginning as the most neglectful protection ever, of the lives and safety of the American people into the most efficient and cynical exploitation of tragedy for political gain in this country’s history.

Here's the entire Special Comment:

Bill Maher - The Haves & The Been-Hads

Great "New Rule" finale by Bill Maher on November 2nd's broadcast. Here's a snip:

MAHER: ...the days when a shop girl in the big city could support herself working a full 40-hour week, or a family of four could live off a single blue-collar breadwinner, are as bygone a fantasy as malt shops or heterosexual wizards. If you’re living hand-to-mouth, and still buying into the con that the big threats to America are socialized medicine, Mexican immigrants and tax increases, then you’re not being kept down by the rich. You’re being kept down by you.

In America, it’s not the haves and have-nots. It’s the haves and the been-hads. If you, the citizen, deliberately vote for someone who won’t give you health care over someone you will, you need to have your head examined. Except you can’t afford to have your head examined.

Please remember that if you hear the new radio ad from Rudy Giuliani, who says his chances of surviving prostate cancer in America were 82%, whereas, in England, under “socialized medicine,” his chances would have been 44%. Numbers that, like the cancer, were pulled directly out of Rudy’s ass.

Now, I know socialized medicine sounds like Stalin himself is going to come over to your house and perform a forced sterilization. But, really all it is, is universal health care. Which means everybody – not just the rich – gets to see a doctor when their erection lasts longer than 72 hours.

And I just hope that one day, ten or fifteen years from now, one of Rush Limbaugh’s “Ditto Heads” is going to wake up in his cell in debtors’ prison – because that’s where President Giuliani throws you when you can’t pay your Visa bill – and he’ll turn on the Fox Financial Channel, and as he watches some CEO gloat over his $200 million in stock options, he’s going to suddenly realize that he’s been had. And on that day, that man will begin the great middle class uprising of the 21st century.

Oh, no, he’ll probably just switch over to “Pimp My Truck.”

Cold War Fred

Thompson revealed himself to be another "not ready for prime time player" as most assumed he wouldn't be.

Edward Paul, an employee of the Delta Dental Plans Association, asked the question Monday, but had trouble being understood.

"I'm proud to say that in January 2008 New Hampshire has passed a law facilitating civil unions here. ... What is your belief for federal civil unions to be passed?" Paul asked.

"Soviet Union?" Thompson responded.

"No, civil unions," Paul said.

"Oh. No, I would not be in support of that," Thompson said.

Paul said he wasn't surprised, or impressed.

"I think he needs to do more homework on whatever state he's in and I don't think he did on that question," said Paul. He said he is a registered independent who plans to vote in the Democratic presidential primary.

What's Frederick of Hollywood's obsession with the Soviet Union? Doesn't he know that Ronald Reagan "tore down that wall"? ... another myth, by the way.

Nora Ephron: It's Hard to be a Democrat

It's especially hard to remember that the real enemies are the Republicans, when the Democrats tend to break your heart and the Republicans are just the boys you'd never go out with anyway.

Read the enitre post here.

Flag Folding Fiasco

I received an email from an old high school friend and wanted to add my two cents. I am urging everyone to please check facts before forwarding emails like this because it can have a great impact on our political state of affairs at a very important time in our country.

The basic premise of the email was that the Veteran’s Administration banned flag folding ceremonies because of a reference to God. This is not true.

Let’s break down the website’s article:

The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a ban that removes any mention of God from Honor Guard Flag Folding Ceremonies at veterans' funerals. FALSE

In a simple Google search of “VA bans flag folding” I came across an article entitled “VA rescinds ban on flag-folding recitation at veterans' funerals”

The article states that the flag folding ceremonies weren’t banned; it was the recitation that was banned. And why? Not because it made references to God. On the contrary, it was because it made references to “Gods” (plural). Apparently, the handouts of the recitation had a typo that referenced “the Gods Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” It is supposed to read the “God OF Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

From the article: “Washington banned the recital after receiving one complaint about the 11th fold, a tribute to Jewish veterans that "glorifies the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." In detailing its reason for the ban, the government said a handout accompanying the script used at some burial services included a "gross error" that glorified "the Gods Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

In an attempt to cause people to react negatively to the VA, right wing hack Jay Sekulow's website page misinformed and misinterpreted the facts to suit his needs. I say this with confidence because his article states, "We have recently received a complaint sent to the President of the United States that there was a gross error in the handout with reference to the eleventh fold involving reference to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Sekulow omits that the “gross error” was that the “OF” was missing, thereby proclaiming that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all referred to as Gods. He conveniently excludes what the error was in an attempt to make those of us who are religious froth at the mouth in a frenzy and further perpetuate the falsehood.

And ultimately, let's not forget that the Veteran's Administration is being run by the administration of Mensa Man. So even if the allegations were true, who would be to blame?

It only took me 30 seconds to Google the subject of the article and find out the real facts. I ask everyone to please, please, please check your facts before you automatically assume what you read is true. Otherwise we’d all still believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Barack Obama is Muslim and Anna Nicole married for love.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pervasive Sickness

pro·jec·tion [pruh-jek-shuhn] -noun

a. the tendency to ascribe to another person feelings, thoughts, or attitudes present in oneself, or to regard external reality as embodying such feelings, thoughts, etc., in some way.
b. Psychoanalysis. such an ascription relieving the ego of a sense of guilt or other intolerable feeling.

trans·fer·ence [trans-fur-uhns, trans-fer-uhns] -noun

a. the shift of emotions, esp. those experienced in childhood, from one person or object to another, esp. the transfer of feelings about a parent to an analyst.

Many years from now, if and when the country ever recovers from the corruption, criminalization and dismembering of the US Constitution by this evil administration, I have no doubt that psychoanalytical reports done by the government will reveal George W. Bush to be a certifiable sociopath.

Now I know that he has speechwriters, but it's really spooky to me that Bush would say something so indicative of what his crime syndicate has done over the past 7 years and have the brass balls to say it with no regard, or even an inkling that his statements actually describe him to a tee.

Listen to what Chickenhawk George had to say to the Heritage Foundation, that bastion of conservative "values":

"...some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden and the requests of our commanders on the ground and less time responding to the demands of bloggers and Code Pink protesters."

Spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden?! Who the fuck does he think he's kidding?! I distinctly remember an August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" that was ignored by King George because he was too preoccupied clearing brush and playing cowboy while vacationing in Crawford.

More time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden?! This from the same idiot who said this: " So I don't know where [bin Laden] is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him... to be honest with you."

Or this: "I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."

Or this: "He's on the run, if he's running at all. So we don't know whether he's in cave with the door shut, or a cave with the door open -- we just don't know..."

And who disbanded the CIA unit dedicated to finding Bin Laden?

But in King George's pathetic speech which mentioned 9/11 eight times and "terror" 28 times, here is the classic psychoanalytical transference line: "History teaches us that underestimating the words of evil, ambitious men is a terrible mistake."

Truer words were never spoken by a lying, rat-bastard coward. And when the nuclear cloud clears years from now, people will look upon this phrase and wonder why the American public didn't see the danger in this psychotic bastard and remove him from office.