Wednesday, February 24, 2010
MANIPULATING INTELLIGENCE AND LYING TO CONGRESS TO JUSTIFY WAR IN IRAQ:
justifying the invasion of Iraq with false and misleading statements linking Iraq to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and falsely asserting that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program for which it was importing aluminum tubes and uranium, these assertions being either false, or based on 'fixed' intelligence, with the intent to misinform the people and their representatives in Congress in order to gain their support for invading Iraq, denying both the people and their representatives in Congress the right to make an informed choice, George Walker Bush, President of the United States, did commit and was guilty of high crimes against the United States of America."
-From Article I of House Resolution 1106: Articles of Impeachment against George Walker Bush, President of the United States, introduced by Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) on December 8,2006
The following is a little dated, but still good information. If you are at all rational and educated, you understand the absolute stupidity in some of the responses enumerated beneath the opening paragraphs You can read more HERE.
What do Islamic fundamentalists have in common with the far-right core of the Republican Party? And what do your average, non-extremist Muslims have in common with the (slim) majority of the GOP who are not right wingers?
The answers, of course, are obvious - the first two treat their worldview as the only correct, God-given view and treat anyone who demurs from this as worthy of any sort of attack up to and including destroying them, and the second pair remain silent, as in Burke's admonition that "all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good [people] to remain silent."
As reported elsewhere on HP, The Daily Kos, a liberal/progressive blog, employs a very reputable and neutral polling organization called Research 2000 to do polling for them on a weekly basis and posts their results no matter what they show, including demographic information about those polled.Recently they posted the results of the Daily Kos/Research 2000 Republican Poll 2010. For this poll, conducted between January 20 and 31, 2010, the interviewed 2003 self-identified Republicans by phone.
---39% of those surveyed say Barack Obama should be impeached with 32% saying no, and 29% not sure.
--- 63% said yes to "do you think Barack Obama is a Socialist, with 21% saying no and 16% not sure.
---36% believe Obama was not born in the US and 22% aren't sure.
---24% believe Obama "wants the terrorists to win" and 33% aren't sure.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
U.S. Healthcare Spending Sees Largest-Ever Annual Increase: U.S. national health spending in 2009 is estimated to have grown 5.7 percent and reached $2.5 trillion despite a projected decline in the gross domestic product, an outcome that largely reflects the economic recession, according to the annual report from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The analysts said the health share of gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to rise to 17.3 percent, an increase of 1.1 percentage points and the largest one-year increase since tracking began in 1960. The number of uninsured is approaching 50 million, with 14,000 Americans losing their health insurance every day.The report also said public spending growth is expected to account for more than 50 percent of all U.S. healthcare spending by 2012. In addition, the healthcare sector's share of GDP is expected to reach 19.3 percent by 2019.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
From Russ Douthat in The New York Times. Click the link to read more.
Consider what we have been seeing in just the last week. One of the few House Republicans with any coherent policy views, Paul Ryan, made an impressive budget proposal that his own leadership cannot run away from fast enough. In his first Q&A, Scott Brown simply ignored questions that pointed out the contradiction of supporting across-the-board tax cuts and demanding debt reduction, and it is this position of no taxes/no debt/no cuts that Republican leaders have been adopting. [Richard] Shelby’s blanket hold may be something that only insiders and activists notice, but it contributes to the overall picture that the minority party is unreasonable, petty and not fit to govern. This is not a party on the verge of a dramatic return to power.
In a widely published photograph as powerful in its own way as the "Mission Accomplished" one, Bush carried a roast turkey on a platter among army troops in Baghdad on Thanksgiving day, 2003, To ensure prime time television coverage "back home, the troops were obliged to "enjoy" their turkey—in reality a prop—at 6 A,M, It was all part of Bush's much publicized Thanksgiving day trip to Iraq—which consisted of 2 1/2 hours at the airport.
Friday, February 12, 2010
About 3 years ago, after repeated visits to doctors to try to find out why I was having chest pains (they couldn't find the problem even after a nuclear stress test), I went into the hospital for an exploratory angiogram. The doctors slide a very fine wire with a camera on it up through a major artery, entering either through an artery in the wrist or the groin, and look for blockages in the arteries around the heart. If they find one, it is quite uncomfortable as the wire and camera further block the arteries. They then pull the wire out.
They found two blocked arteries in my chest and reinserted the wire with stents attached. I had 4 of these wire-mesh stents placed in my arteries. The procedure is simple - and unless there are complications, you go home the next day. Two days later you're up and around (no heavy lifting for 4 or 5 days).
The problem is, they don't always work to perfection. My chest pains went away, but within two years the doctors found some irregularities in a follow-up stress test with me. I went in to the hospital for another angiogram and they found that the 4 stents placed originally were blocked.
At that point, it got serious - I had a double by-pass. Thanks goodness that I never had a heart-attack through any of this. The by-pass seems to have worked out well for me - knock on wood - no more chest pains and I'm able to walk, play golf, work-out, etc. without getting out of breath.
Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan has had it with the repugican's political games over national security. And, he's been calling them out for it:Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda. Terrorists are not 100-feet tall. Nor do they deserve the abject fear they seek to instill. They will, however, be dismantled and destroyed, by our military, our intelligence services and our law enforcement community. And the notion that America's counterterrorism professionals and America's system of justice are unable to handle these murderous miscreants is absurd.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
During the run-up to his first presidential campaign, President Bush told Texas evangelist James Robinson, "I feel like God wants me to run for president, I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen, I know it won't be easy for me or my family, but God wants me to do it."
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
"I'm the commander—see, I don't need to explain—I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president."
-George W. Bush, as quoted by Bob Woodward in The Washington Post, November 20,2002
April Gaede, who four years ago guided her teenage daughters, Lynx and Lamb (performing as "Prussian Blue"), to a brief music career singing neo-Nazi songs, announced a new project recently on the white nationalist Web site Stormfront.org. She offers a no-fee matchmaking service to fertile Aryans, hoping to encourage marriage and baby-making -- to help white people keep up with rapidly procreating minorities.
Don "Moose" Lewis announced plans in January for a 12-city pro basketball league composed only of white players (natural-born U.S. citizens, whose parents are both Caucasian). Lewis denied any "racism," explaining to the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle that whites simply like "fundamental" basketball and not "street ball" ("flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch").
A Montana-based sect is fighting to remain viable, six months after the death of its "Mother," the Jesus-channeling Elizabeth Clare Prophet. Several aspirants have tried to claim her mantle, but the sect's council of elders found them all to be charlatans, and membership rolls have dwindled. The church was similarly challenged in 1990, when Mother forecast nuclear doomsday and financed the construction of large underground bunkers on a mountainside north of Yellowstone National Park (which are still available). The council is having trouble, especially, finding volunteers to transcribe the 22,000 hours of video and audio in which Mother set out the justifications for the sect.
Read more HERE.
Monday, February 08, 2010
One of the Bush and Cheney machine's favorite games? Making former allies pay dearly for acts considered disloyal.
- Lawrence Lindsey, Director of National Economic Council: Forced to resign after he estimated cost of Iraq invasion at $200 million.
- (Jen, Anthony Zinni, Commander in Chief in the Middle East; Broke ranks on Iraq, calling it a failure, and was labeled an anti-Semite,
- Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki: Correctly estimated troops needed to occupy Iraq, disagreeing with Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Forced to retire.
- Paul O'Neill, Treasury Secretary: Fired for questioning tax cuts and smeared as malcontent for revealing inner workings of the cabinet.
- Richard Clarke, Counter-Terrorism Chief: Revealed Bush's lack of concern with terrorism pre-9/11. Smeared as liar, blame-shifter, out of the loop, and profiteering author.
The poverty rate in the United States rose each year of President George W Bush's administration; in 2006, 12.7 percent of Americans were living in poverty. Between 2001 and 2004, poverty among African Americans rose from 22.7 to 24.7 percent. Child poverty rose from 16.3 percent in 2001 to 17.8 percent in 2004. Between 1999 and 2004, median household income dropped 5.9 percent.
A major problem with their argument, which seems to be logical on the surface - is that there really are no market-correcting forces in the short term, and it is arguable that there are no such market forces (without government intervention) in the long haul. There is only profit to motivate the private sector. A crook in the private sector could continue to scam the unwitting for decades if there were no laws or regulations which allow law enforcement agencies to pursue them, or courts in which to sue them.
To argue that the private sector is so good for us, and so moral and so well-intentioned is just plain stupid. One need look no further than the banking industry and their recent credit scams that nearly threw (and still might) our nation into a depression. Republicans, despite the near calamity, are still fighting in Washington to keep the Dems from passing regulations to stop such speculation.
Imagine if Medicare/Medicaid were in the hands of the private sector. How much abuse would there be? How many of the elderly would be denied coverage once their costs overran their payments? How many corrupt deals would be struck between hospitals and the insurance company, or how many doctors would be paid under the table? Just an example to prove the point ... I have drawn this from an e-newsletter that I receive called "AFT Retiree E-News," ... reports the following...
MANY MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS GUILTY OF MARKETING ABUSESAnd yet, why do Republicans try to ignore this evidence of the failure of the private sector to regulate itself? It's simple - they can make money off of these crooked firms by investing in them. They can't make any money from the government unless they can channel those tax dollars into private firms, which can falsify their records to steal even more tax dollars - thus making Republicans rich.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services took compliance and enforcement actions against at least 73 Medicare Advantage plan sponsors between January 2006 and February 2009, charging them with marketing abuses, according to a Jan. 19 report from the Government Accountability Office. The companies’ actions included misrepresenting plan benefits, conducting door-to-door solicitations without an appointment, and providing meals or gifts to entice beneficiaries to enroll. As of March 2009, there were 192 organizations offering Medicare Advantage plans. At congressional hearings held in 2007 and 2008, state insurance officials and Medicare beneficiaries testified that marketing abuses led some beneficiaries to enroll in plans by mistake, and enroll in plans that didn't provide the coverage they needed. The House healthcare reform bill (H.R. 3962) would give states the right to punish marketing violations and expand the definition of such violations. The report said CMS was able to help beneficiaries leave plans that engaged in inappropriate marketing by offering special election periods that enabled them to change their plan outside of the regular open enrollment season. However, researchers also found that some beneficiaries experienced problems disenrolling from their plans, including lengthy delays in making the change.
At least that's my take on it.
If you listen to the Republicans, the GOP has done nothing wrong. Never. Not Once. There is no connection between the current economic decline in the nation and Bush's decision to cut the taxes of the top 1% of the U.S. population and go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. No, no connection whatsoever. It was Clinton's fault. It is Obama's fault. It is FDR's fault. No, our current situation has nothing to do with Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush, or King George the Usurper. Yet, the republicans have been in charge of this nation for 28 our of the last 41 years; the Democrats held control for only 12 of those 41 years. Still, nothing is the responsibility of the Republicans. They want you and I to buy their lie. They want you and I to consider them a viable alternative. They want us to embrace them. It lacks any credibility what so ever! It is insane! It is sin!
I tell you, look at the works of the GOP. They favor the wealthiest, and put the burden of their colonial wars upon the poorest of the poor of our nation. They let people die of treatable disease because it is too expensive for them. They let the widow and homeless suffer in the cold. They turn their back on the afflicted and injured. They deprive men of wages earned. They make those who can least afford it support the burden of the prosperity that they enjoy! So, where then is their faith? Is it in Jesus? Is it in God? Or is it in the level of wealth that they have achieved at the expense of others?
From Clifford Allen Potts
Friday, February 05, 2010
In court we swear to tell the truth with a hand placed on the Bible. But in the book itself, Jacob, nearing death in Egypt, asks Joseph to swear an oath not to bury him there by “put[ting] your hand under my thigh” (Gen. 47:29). Earlier in Genesis, Jacob wrestles with God, who touches “the hollow of his [Jacob’s] thigh” (32:25). “Thigh” happens to be a biblical euphemism for male genitalia; it’s from Jacob’s “thigh” or “loins” that his numerous offspring sprang.This was new to me:
The practice of swearing an oath while touching one’s or someone else’s testicles was common in the ancient Near East (Abraham also orders a servant to do just that in Genesis 24:2). Its linguistic memory survives in our word “testify”—testis being the Latin both for “witness” and the male generative gland.
More than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday. The police helicopters are for sale on the Internet. The city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops — dozens of police and fire positions will go unfilled.
The parks department removed trash cans last week, replacing them with signs urging users to pack out their own litter.
Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own lawn mowers to local green spaces, because parks workers will mow them only once every two weeks. If that.
Water cutbacks mean most parks will be dead, brown turf by July; the flower and fertilizer budget is zero.
City recreation centers, indoor and outdoor pools, and a handful of museums will close for good March 31 unless they find private funding to stay open. Buses no longer run on evenings and weekends. The city won’t pay for any street paving, relying instead on a regional authority that can meet only about 10 percent of the need.
We often wonder what a conservative paradise would really look like on the liberal blogs, and it looks like Colorado Springs---home to many defense contractors and to Focus on Family---has become a shining star in the much-desired collapse of basic government services that Grover Norquist and other anti-government fanatics have always wanted. Unfortunately, it seems less paradise to have much-slashed government, and more stinky, ugly, boring, and scary.Read more HERE...
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Last year, in a series of "town-hall meetings" across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama's proposed healthcare reforms. What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.
But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform - the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state - are often the ones it seems designed to help.
Why are so many American voters enraged by attempts to change a horribly inefficient system that leaves them with premiums they often cannot afford?
Why are they manning the barricades to defend insurance companies that routinely deny claims and cancel policies?
Thomas Frank, author of "What's the Matter with Kansas," explains it like this:
He believes that the voters' preference for emotional engagement over reasonable argument has allowed the Republican Party to blind them to their own real interests.
Right-wing politics has become a vehicle for channelling this popular anger against intellectual snobs. The result is that many of America's poorest citizens have a deep emotional attachment to a party that serves the interests of its richest.
Monday, February 01, 2010
The United States of Corporation is here:
For the first time in recent history, the lobbying, grassroots and advertising budget of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has surpassed the spending of BOTH the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee.