Saturday, July 17, 2010


posted by Armadillo Joe

I mentioned something a few posts back that may have seemed like a non-sequiter, about political instability in Mexico. It was just a passing comment, sure, but I think this, along with the clean-up of The Gulf, will be the major story of the next few years, maybe decades, because I think Mexico could be on the verge of socio-political collapse. The drug cartels basically run the show down there, and they're ramping up the violence (via HuffPost):

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — The first successful car bombing by a drug cartel brings a new dimension of terror to a Mexican border region already shocked by random street battles, bodies dangling from bridges and highway checkpoints mounted by heavily armed criminals.


Mexican cartels – armed with billions of dollars and networks of informers among corrupt police forces – have long demonstrated their ability to target the highest-ranking security officials and government officials.

Last month, cartel gunmen killed 12 federal police in the western state of Michoacan. A jailed suspect later described the carefully planned ambush to police, making it clear the gang knew exactly where the police patrol was going to be and when.

And in another first, suspected cartel gunmen assassinated two candidates during campaigning last month for local and state elections, including the leading contender for governor of the northern border state of Tamaulipas. Never before had drug gangs killed such a high-ranking electoral candidate.
And you'll never guess where they're getting so much of the weaponry they use to be the de facto ruling party in Mexico:
Mexican drug cartels' newest weapon: Cold War-era grenades made in U.S.

MEXICO CITY -- Grenades made in the United States and sent to Central America during the Cold War have resurfaced as terrifying new weapons in almost weekly attacks by Mexican drug cartels.

Sent a generation ago to battle communist revolutionaries in the jungles of Central America, U.S. grenades are being diverted from dusty old armories and sold to criminal mafias, who are using them to destabilize the Mexican government and terrorize civilians, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.
The spirit of Saint Ronnie lives on! A generation after he launched his War on American civil liberties Drugs, at the same time he sent U.S. weapons and arms south to thwart pesky commies in Central America (remember Iran-Contra?), that very same War on American civil liberties Drugs has over the last 30 years driven demand so high in our bloated, self-indulgent country that the Mexican cartels making money running this stuff across our borders have become wealthy.

Very wealthy. As in, amounts of money usually bantered about when discussing things like sovereign wealth funds. But for that money to have any buying power in the real world, it must be clean.

American banks to the rescue. How much money are we talking about? A lot...
Wachovia admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That’s the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history -- a sum equal to one-third of Mexico’s current gross domestic product.
Yes, Virginia, that is a lot of buying power. Enough buying power to maybe even pick up a whole government or two. Take a whole lot of drugs to make that kind of dough. And that's just through one bank in America. But don't you worry your pretty little head about it, right? The G-Men will swoop in and punish the wrong-doers... unless they are, you know, too big to fail...
No big U.S. bank -- Wells Fargo included -- has ever been indicted for violating the Bank Secrecy Act or any other federal law. Instead, the Justice Department settles criminal charges by using deferred-prosecution agreements, in which a bank pays a fine and promises not to break the law again.

‘No Capacity to Regulate’

Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory.

Indicting a big bank could trigger a mad dash by investors to dump shares and cause panic in financial markets, says Jack Blum, a U.S. Senate investigator for 14 years and a consultant to international banks and brokerage firms on money laundering.

The theory is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for big banks, Blum says.

“There’s no capacity to regulate or punish them because they’re too big to be threatened with failure,” Blum says. “They seem to be willing to do anything that improves their bottom line, until they’re caught.”

One of the definitions of government is the monopoly on violence and the threat of violence for coercive ends. The drug cartels are reaching a level of power and influence through their own use of extra-governmental violence that they appear likely to succeed in replacing the apparatus of the state of Mexico in all but name. And once the drug cartels neuter the Mexican government altogether and violence on our southern border spills across into our own country, to say nothing of the political refugees fleeing the ensuing anarchy, we'll have people like this to welcome them:
Arizona's controversial new immigration law has been hailed by many on the far right. But to some, like neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, the new bill is too weak. So he and some fascist buddies are roaming the desert looking for Mexicans!


37-year-old Jason "J.T." Ready, and his group America First, are full on National Socialists and are sick of Mexican "narco terrorists" crossing the border into their state.


what does J.T. Ready say he and his pals will do if they see Mexicans trying to cross illegally into Arizona? "We'll Kill Them."

And that's why we should all be very worried about what's happening right now in Mexico.

Must Reads

Chris Kelly: Laura Ingraham's New Book Could Be Better

John Cole: Apart From Better Sanitation and Medicine and Education and Irrigation and Public Health and Roads and a Freshwater System and Baths and Public Order… What Have the Romans Done for Us?

The Rude Pundit: Nevada Senate Candidate Sharron Angle Is a Fucking Retard, Too

David W. Dunlap: 18th-Century Ship Found at Trade Center Site

Jon Perr: Meet the New Republican Alchemists

Peter Beinart: The Tea Party's Immigration Hypocrisy

Elise Foley: Violent Crime Is Down in Arizona, Up in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s County

Matt Taibbi: The Steinbrenner Slobituary

President Obama's Weekly Address - July 17, 2010

Filibustering Recovery & Obstructing Progress

"Some Republican leaders actually treat this unemployment insurance as if it’s a form of welfare. They say it discourages folks from looking for work. Well, I’ve met a lot of folks looking for work these past few years, and I can tell you, I haven’t met any Americans who would rather have an unemployment check than a meaningful job that lets you provide for your family.
...after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, including a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, [Republican leaders] finally decided to make their stand on the backs of the unemployed. They’ve got no problem spending money on tax breaks for folks at the top who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them; but they object to helping folks laid off in this recession who really do need help."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Zbigniew Brzezinski Is One, Smart... SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

...But I'm talkin' 'bout Zbigniew!

A long but very informative and eye-opening clip including discussions about BP, foreign policy based on a moral compass, 9/11 and the invasion of Afghanistan.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Yep, That's My Moronic Citizenry!

Via Political Wire:

A new Pew Research poll finds that just 34% of Americans know that the federal government's bank bailout program was actually signed into law by President Bush while 47% incorrectly believe it was enacted during the Obama's administration.
I know this news isn't really surprising, but maybe if our attention deficit disorder afflicted population spent just a little more time paying attention to matters of importance instead of Keeping Up with The Kardashians, Jersey Shore, Real Housewives of Orange County or Fox News Channel, we'd all be a lot better off.

But hey, why believe your lying eyes when you can blame the black guy?

Make. It. STOP!

Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin are already looking to bring outsiders into their upcoming marriage -- in the form of a reality TV crew ... this according to a source very familiar with the negotiations.
TMZ has learned the couple has been shopping "multiple reality shows" around town -- some of the ideas involve the couple AND their two-year-old son, Tripp.
We're told the leading concept involves all three people -- and will focus on "parenting issues."
Nothing to see here folks. Just another white trash attempt at financial opportunity, you know, because America is the land of opportunity... unless you're "colored." If I hear Mama Grizzly talk about how the "lamestream media" should leave her cub pack alone, I'm going to put a bullet in my brain.

So... show titles, anyone?

The Wasilla Hillbillies?
Wasilla 99654?
Northern Overexposure?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nope! No Racism Associated With Tea Party, Right Sarah?

I am eagerly awaiting Sarah Palin and the rest of the Tea Party to jettison Mark Williams for this disgusting letter. Otherwise, they are all full of shit. Every, single one of them. No excuses. Denounce Williams are forever be branded as racists.

Obama Can't Close The Deal? Yeah... RIght.

You can argue over whether Obama’s achievements are good or bad on the merits. But especially after Thursday’s vote you can’t argue that Obama is not getting things done. To the contrary, he has, as promised, covered the uninsured, tightened regulations, started to wind down the war in Iraq and shifted focus and resources to Afghanistan, injected more competition into the education system and edged closer to a big energy bill.
This quote from Politico's John F. Harris & Jim Vandehei continues the pushback to Eric Alterman's diatribe the other day about how President Obama's current tenure is so disappointing,  "significant accomplishments notwithstanding." And really, if any of our accomplishments are to be cast aside in a futile, report card type of exercise, wouldn't we all be lacking?

Here again, is President Obama's "disappointing" record in just 18 months.

Fierce Urgency of Patience


Looking back on the Obama campaign, I think there were two major blunders in their messaging that sounded great at the time but have become a problem for the administration.

1) Thinking that the MLK phrase "The fierce urgency of now" wouldn't confuse the instant-gratification-psychosis of Americans. Many either didn't hear or have forgotten when Obama also said "The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term." And now the fierce urgency (aka impatience) of America is biting the Obama Administration in the butt.

I have a preschooler who asks to do B so I'll say, "Yes, after we finish A". Emotional chaos ensues because he equates "wait" with "no". That is how America is acting toward Obama. If he hasn't accomplished each American's personal agenda by now, they react as if waiting equals never. Add to that the unwillingness of my son or Americans to listen and process, and we face a lot of unnecessary chaos.

As I tell my son, waiting does not mean no, but tantrums make the wait longer and more unbearable.

2) Saying the campaign wasn't about Obama but about US spoke to the me-me-me psychosis of America . He repeatedly reminded Americans of our role in our government. He was absolutely correct and it was something I appreciated. But now, not so much. Now each American thinks they now control each decision, priority and sentence coming out of the governing process. Should we play a role? Definitely. But the phrase "too many cooks in the kitchen" is an understatement when every American thinks that he or she alone can demand and condemn the White House without considering any other American's demands. Three-hundred-million Americans can't all have it their way. Again, it's like my preschooler who wants to play with his friends and his toys until the friends want to play with the same toys.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pawns and Shields


It was just over a year ago when I first heard Sarah Palin refer to herself as a “Mama Grizzly”. Today it is her platform. Along with “pink elephants” (do these people not think to check the history of phrases like tea bagging and pink elephants before they use them) Sarah says that “Mama Grizzlies” -- aka pissed off mamas -- will be marching into power to take back America from the socialists she hates. Granted, she never presents better ideas, or any ideas for that matter. What she gives us is an emotional tug as her platform. Being a mom is and has always been her platform. I’m a mom of five -- one a “chosen” special needs baby and one a pregnant teen -- vote for me. She is a mom. She tackled jobs as mayor and governor as a mom to infants under the desk. Wow. What a symbol of feminism. A working mom. She is a mom. And not just any mom: she’s a mama grizzly who protects her young. She’s a mom.
So if that’s how she defines herself, why can’t we talk about her choices as a mom? Why, if we talk about her as a mom, does she twist it into we are talking about her kids? Tricky move, Palin. You see, she sets herself up as a mom so that we can’t challenge her without being accused of going after her family. It’s because she uses her children as pawns and shields.
The first time I recall the “Mama Grizzly” reference was when David Letterman made a wide-arching joke about Bristol Palin. At the time, Bristol was an adult making the circuit telling her story about getting pregnant while an unmarried teen. Everyone who heard the joke KNEW it was about Bristol. But Sarah Palin decided to warp the joke to mean it was about her 14-year-old daughter, Willow, and rape. So what she did was plant the idea of her young daughter getting raped in the minds of Americans. David Letterman didn’t make me think of Willow being raped, but Sarah did. Why? So she could have a public feud with a talk show host. That’s all. It wasn’t about young women and rape (just look into the Wasilla policy that charged women for their own rape kits while she was mayor). But because the issue was so touchy, we couldn’t make too big of a deal about Sarah’s use of Willow as a pawn and a shield without appearing as if we condoned the rape of girls.
Now, it’s true that every politician parades their families in front of cameras to show their family values. Palin is no different there. So having her children at the announcement of her as McCain’s running mate wasn’t a big deal. Trying to hide her daughter’s bump – not a big deal. But when internet sites started focusing on the Alaska scuttlebutt of Bristol’s pregnancy, what did Mama Grizzly do? She told the world her daughter was an unmarried teen. Considering what the right-wing media did to Jamie Lynn Spears (younger sister of Britney, who got pregnant as a teen and faced the wrath of Fox News) I would think a Mama Grizzly would have declined the McCain offer and considered what the campaign would do to her daughter. But no. She threw her daughter to the wolves! She MADE her daughter a target of gossip and judgment and at the same time criticized anyone who tried discussing the relevancy of this to a “no sex ed in schools” candidate. We couldn’t even mention Sarah’s hypocrisy without being accused of being mean to Bristol. Again, you can’t talk about Sarah as a mother without her twisting it into an assault on her pawn and shield, oops, I mean child.
And then there’s “retard”. And by that, I mean a word. The word retard means to slow or delay. It does not mean Downs Syndrome. It does not mean Trig Palin. I, personally, do not like to use the word “retard” as a pejorative, having worked with special needs kids and knowing the negative connotation behind its use. When Rahm Emanuel used the word, it had NOTHING to do with Trig Palin yet Sarah Palin made it all about her son. When people in her own party used it, she was silent. She politicized her son. She used him as a pawn and shield. And as of this posting all she has publicly done for kids with special needs is make some speeches and small donations. Is that the advocacy she promised? I'd like someone in the "lame-stream media" to ask her about it but no one will because of the pawn and shield game.
But let’s get to the real issue that everyone is afraid to discuss because she made it impossible to do so. The woman who made being a mother one of the top three things that qualifies her to speak for “real Americans” in whatever capacity she’s considering, has not been challenged on what may be THE choice that should define her. I am not talking about her “choice” to have a special needs baby despite the false claims on the right that a liberal would have aborted. I am talking about her “choice” to get on a plane and fly from Texas to Alaska, while in her 40’s, having had two miscarriages and in PRE-TERM LABOR (including leaking amniotic fluid and contractions per her interviews and her auto-biography starting on page 193 of Going Rogue) with a baby known to have Downs Syndrome, without being seen by a doctor.
She awoke early in the morning feeling weird, leaking and having contractions. She was worried enough to call her doctor all the way over in Alaska and pray for the unborn baby. Yet, she didn’t go to a hospital to make sure the baby was safe. Instead she gave a speech and got on a plane.
What kind of “Mama Grizzly” does that? But we aren’t allowed to talk about it because that’s somehow an affront to Trig. No. The affront to Trig was when she decided to risk his life for… for… for I don’t even know what.
So, now that she has released her “Mama Grizzly” video, void of solutions to our problems, can we NOW ask questions about her “choices” as a mom? NOW can we ask her how protective she was being on “The Wild Ride”? Or would that be one more attack on her child? NOW can we ask her why she chose to put her daughters in the national spotlight over controversial issues for political gain?
This isn’t about her kids and it never was. This is about Sarah Palin. And it’s time we reminded her of that and it’s time the media realized that and asked some damn questions.
We aren’t after the pawns and shields.
We’re after the Mama Grizzly.

Quote of the Day

We’ll never know how differently the politics would have played if Obama, instead of systematically echoing and giving credibility to all the arguments of the people who want to destroy him, had actually stood up for a different economic philosophy. But we do know how his actual strategy has worked, and it hasn’t been a success.
~ Paul Krugman on his problem with President Obama

Cartoon of the Day


Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are engaged, and they've shared the news on the cover of Us Weekly, seen below. They have not shared the news with Bristol's mom Sarah Palin, who has mocked Levi as "Ricky Hollywood" and poked at his "aspiring porn" career.
Bristol tell the glossy, "It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be. Hopefully she will jump on board."

Uh... I don't know if Mama Grizzly is going to be so pleased. And all I can say is... HAAHAHAHAAHAAHAAAAAA!!!

ADDING... There are those who think this is one small step in the Rehabilitation of Sarah Palin's Image for an eventual run in 2012. I don't necessarily doubt that, but one has to be a complete moron not to see right through it. How can Sarah be happy for her daughter if she's completely trashed Bristol's future husband in the public eye nonstop? But then again, judging by Sarah's following, there are plenty of morons out there to be had.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Limbaugh Just Can't Help Himself

Rush just can't hide the fact that he's a racist scumbag. Even in speaking of the death Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, he makes it about race.

I suppose to Limbaugh, paying an athlete to play for your team is some sort of redistribution of wealth... unless the athlete is white, of course.

(H/T Jason Linkins)

Quote of the Day

"Laura Ingraham is a highly successful political pundit, radio host, author and public speaker, but she's never said anything funny in her life. I'm not saying that as a knock. She also hasn't free styled a rap or yodeled or done birdcalls. It's simply not part of her act. Which is to be a horribly angry hurt unpleasant person.
She radiates wounded joylessness and her voice makes animals miscarry."
~ Chris Kelly wondering about Ingraham's decision to write her "parody" book, The Obama Diaries.

Jeff Sessions Is A Douche

Ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) had asked for the delay on behalf of committee Republicans, who claimed they needed the extra week to read through Kagan’s written responses to their questions.
...[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick] Leahy said he would defend Sessions’ right to request the delays, but noted that he did not want Republicans to further delay votes on the nominees.

George Steinbrenner Dies at 80

NY TIMES: George Steinbrenner, who bought a declining Yankees team in 1973, promised to stay out of its daily affairs and then, in an often tumultuous reign, placed his formidable stamp on 7 World Series championship teams, 11 pennant winners and a sporting world powerhouse valued at perhaps $1.6 billion, died Tuesday morning. He was 80 and lived in Tampa, Fla.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Batshit Brewer's Beheading Bull

How do these people actually make it to elected office?

Arizona Governor and Immigration fear monger Jan Brewer has gone so far off the deep end, I suppose it doesn't matter to her that anything that she says, like law enforcement finding decapitated bodies in the desert, or that most illegal immigrants who cross the border are drug mules, or Phoenix having the 2nd highest kidnapping rate in the world, or the majority of law enforcement officers are killed by illegal immigrants, can be researched and found to be entirely false.

Two months ago, the Arizona Republic published an exhaustive report that found that, according to statistics from the FBI and Arizona police agencies, crime in Arizona border towns has been "essentially flat for the past decade.
...FBI statistics show violent crime rates in all of the border states are lower than they were a decade ago -- yet Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reports that the violence is "the worst I have ever seen."
Leave it to the Maverick to get in on the act.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bob Sheppard Dies at 99

NY TIMES: Bob Sheppard, whose elegant intonation as the public-address announcer at Yankee Stadium for more than half a century personified the image of Yankees grandeur, died Sunday at his home in Baldwin, on Long Island. He was 99.