Just a general post of different news and thoughts.
Follow up to the no torture blog from a few days back. Hey I’m in favor of the death penalty and vigilante justice if you can be 100% certain that you have the right guy. Yesterday there was a story on the news about some jerk that started hassling and groping some young woman on a bus. Then when she got off the bus the jerk followed her. Luckily the bus driver helped the woman and prevented anything worse from happening. I am a strong supporter of the rule of law and due process, but here we know we got the right guy. I say beat the hell out of him so he never will consider committing the same transgression again. It saves time and money and will get the job done. I know I would have liked to put my heels to his head.
Fortunately, if someone isn’t caught red-handed in the act we have to let the wheels of justice slowly spin and hope that the courts, judges, jury, lawyers and witnesses all coalesce correctly so that the guilty are punished and the innocent are freed.
Which gets me back to the torture policy of the last administration and some Americans too. There’s the sorry story of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen that was picked up in New York by the US government. Because we can’t even manufacture paperclips any longer in the US, we also outsource torture, so We the People sent Mr. Arar to Syria where he was held incommunicado and was tortured for a year. We The People illegally kidnapped some guy, sent him to a foreign land and had him tortured.
Or another legal resident of the US, Ali Saleh al-Marri who has been detained since 2001 AS A WITNESS. Maybe he’s guilty of something and should be put to death, but we just don’t know because the government refuses to charge him or present any evidence.
Then there’s the case of another Muslim, Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen on vacation who was taken off of a tour bus, sent to Afghanistan and then beaten by CIA interrogators for a year.
That’s not the end of it, “In recent years, well over 100 people have disappeared or been “rendered” all around the world. Witnesses tell the same story: masked men in an unmarked jet seize their target, cut off his clothes, put him in a blindfold and jumpsuit, tranquilize him and fly him away.”
No American should be pleased by these actions of our government. How hard is it to imagine our government doing the same to any of us? Believe me it’s a small step. Today it’s Them. Tomorrow it’s US. Trust me on this.
Don’t become desensitized to Our Government grabbing people, drugging them, sending them to some weird outpost and torturing them. Today it’s Them. Tomorrow it’s US. Trust me on this.
Tomorrow it’s US.
Speaking of fascist Republicans, “Under a series of secret orders, Bush authorized the NSA for the first time to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mails between the United States and a foreign country without any court review. The law creating the court, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, made it a federal crime—punishable by up to five years in prison—for any official to engage in such surveillance without following strict rules, including court approval.” Here is a good story how a fascist government reacts to whistle blowers, “18 FBI agents—some of them wearing black flak jackets and carrying guns—showed up unannounced at Tamm’s redbrick colonial home in Potomac, Md., with a search warrant.”
And since I’m on our country’s rapid slide into fascism, let’s not forget the treatment of Jose Padilla. Not doubt Mr. Padilla is a despicable character, but he was held without being charged and then administered mind altering drugs. Free countries don’t hold suspects indefinitely without being charged or administer psychotropic or hallucinogenic drugs to prisoners or accidentally (of course) destroy tapes of the interrogation.
Read this, “Fascist America, in 10 easy steps.”
Are you worried yet, or do you defend these intrusions in exchange for an ethereal breath of fleeting safety?
Then I’m liking this Obama thing restricting the pay of the executives whose organizations receive taxpayer bailout funds. “President Barack Obama on Wednesday imposed a $500,000 cap on senior executive pay for the most distressed financial institutions receiving taxpayer bailout money…” I like that. I don’t expect it to make a difference, but it feels good. Ska-rew the banks. If people that get welfare or food stamps lose their rights, told how to spend their money or give up their privacy rights, then inanimate corporations should be held to the same freaking standard.
“I screwed up.”President Obama speaking about his nomination of that feckless and feeble Tom Daschle. It’s nice to hear someone admit to a mistake so frankly. Remember when a reporter asked President Bush to cop to a mistake that he made and Bush replied, “I wish you’d have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it,” Bush chuckled. After assuring the reporter that “something will pop into my head,” he finally gave up, admitting, “I’m not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.”
My thought has always been that you need to be able to recognize mistakes in order to take corrective action. If it makes sense, someone that is never wrong can never be right. Anyways, I like having a president that can say, “I screwed up.” Talk about the buck stopping there. It’s about time.
And then on the other hand I can’t tolerate the revolving door between the government/military/industry and media. Raytheon lobbyist picked for deputy Defense post. WTF!?!?! The guy who was Raytheon’s top lobbyist is nominated by President Obama to decide what military contractors will win the bids. Doesn’t that just reek of corruption? It’s wrong. It’s thievery. It’s piracy.
Add why does it seem like everyone Obama appoints has tax problems? WTF. First there was Daschle or Dickless as I like to call him. Now it’s his labor secretary. Why isn’t anyone doing any kind of due diligence and vetting on Obama’s appointees? It doesn’t give me much confidence in the runnings of the new administration. It’s just two weeks yester.
A few reasons why I believe in a graduated tax are because those who make more can afford more, sorry folks that’s the way it is. Trying to pay 10% of $1,000,000 and live on the $900,000 is a helluva lot different than making $10,000 and trying to live on $9,000. Also, those who benefit the most from our system should pay the most. You’re free to disagree,
Now why does it seem that those who make the most are able to pay the least and cheat on their taxes the most?
Have you heard Billionaire Buffet lament that he pays a lower effective rate than his secretary and his cleaner. Is that fair? NO! NO! NO! He benefited more. He should pay more.
Why should unearned income be taxed at a lower rate than wages? Why should FICA have a cap at $80,000?
I’ll tell you why………….because the millionaires and billionaires can afford lobbyists, lawyers and tax accountants. Why do you think Billionaire Steve Forbes is pushing the flat tax? Do you think it’s because he loves the welfare recipient or the factory line worker?
The next time you listen to Rush and he’s pushing some tax cut or change to the system please call him and ask him how much $ he stands to gain then ask how much $ your family stands to gain. Rush received MILLIONS in tax cuts while getting his hourly wage slave listeners to support them. You’re a bunch of rubes. More below.
The collapse accelerates. Weekly jobless claims were released, 626,000 Americans were laid off last week. That’s ain’t just a number. That’s 626,000 families whose lives were overturned last week. Think about that. People worried about paying rent/mortgage, putting gas in their tank, food in their bellies or shoes on their kids feet. This is serious, serious stuff. Economics is more often the cause of revolution than politics and liberty.
Wasn’t the American Revolution v.1 fomented more by taxation and unfair market protection for the East India Trading Company then any grand experiment in democracy? Thoughts?
Concerning the acceleration, “The US president Barack Obama says more American banks will collapse as a result of the global financial crisis.”
Inflation/Deflation blah, blah, blah. At some point inflation is going to come back worse then ever. You can’t run the printing presses and sell bonds like the US has without a future inflation. I liked this video that explains a good metric to use to track trends. It’s a short video and worth watching. Got silver? Got gold? I’m not saying to buy PM’s because they do seem historically high to me right now. I wish I bought 10 years ago, but I do think there is a lot of eventual upside to them.
The market is currently up over 100 points and why not weekly jobless claims jumped and retailers are biting the dust. (sarcasm) If you have any money in equities I hope it’s gambling money or you know something the rest of us don’t. Oh sure, it’s bumping up due to the wish of more federal bailout monies for the banks that now need a bailout after Years and Years and Years of record profits. I’d say it’s time for the shareholders to take it on the chin not the taxpayers. The stock market is irrational.
We have not hit bottom yet. The Elliot Wave gang is saying that we may fall to 5,000. I’m not sure how much stock (pun intended) I put into Wave analysis, but I don’t think we’re near bottom. Still an interesting tool to use for analysis.
Cheney is back doing what he does best, and enjoys most, building fear up in the American people. Boo! the bad guys are trying to kill us. Be very afraid.
Doesn’t Cheney have anyone else to shoot in the face? BTW I do hold Cheney accountable for shooting his hunting companion. I don’t care if his victim forgave him. When you shoot you have to know what’s behind your target.
Why doesn’t Cheney go back to what he does best and lay some people off. Although the Republicans have done a great marketing job of painting the Dems as being responsible for defense cutbacks, as SecDef, “Over Cheney’s four years as secretary of defense, encompassing budgets for fiscal years 1990-93, DoD’s total obligational authority in current dollars declined from $291.3 billion to $269.9 billion. Except for FY 1991, when the TOA budget increased by 1.7 percent, the Cheney budgets showed negative real growth: -2.9 percent in 1990, -9.8 percent in 1992, and -8.1 percent in 1993. During this same period total military personnel declined by 19.4 percent, from 2.202 million in FY 1989 to 1.776 million in FY 1993. The Army took the largest cut, from 770,000 to 572,000-25.8 percent of its strength. The Air Force declined by 22.3 percent, the Navy by 14 percent, and the Marines by 9.7 percent.“
Slowly now – under Bush 41 and Cheney the Marines were cut 10%, the Navy 14%, the Air Force 22% and the Army 26%. Got that!?!
And Clinton got blamed!! And you believed the Republican Media!! Hahaha!! Marketing con jobs don’t equate with the truth. Does the truth hurt you? The other side is that Clinton got credit for the peace dividend and the budget surplus that came about partly due to Cheney’s cuts as Secdef. BTW I was in favor of the cutbacks and base closings. I still think our military is at least 50% larger then it should be.
Yup, the military is too big. It’s corporate welfare with hardly any return or multiplier effect to the common cause. There was a reason that the framers were against standing armies because, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.“
It’s my sincere belief that if the military is too large we will be too anxious to use it.
And of course the bailout of the banks got screwed up. “The Bush administration received assets that were worth $78 billion less than the amount it invested as part of the massive infusion of capital into the country’s banks, congressional investigators have found.”
Let’s blame it on Obama and his Soo-shall-ism.
Let’s just give the richest 1% of Americans more of our hard earned money and call it a day. We don’t need our government to do it. “Not since the ’20s has income inequality been this great.” It’s not a mistake. This is what tax cuts do. The richest 1% get filet mignon and you get tube steak. And you bought it!
Glen Beck is a weird creature. I don’t have an opinion on him. I like some of the crap he spouts and dislike some of his spew. I don’t think that Glen Beck is a great or deep thinker. He’s more an opinion man and shoots from the hip. I saw a transcript from his show the other night saying that Obama is fear mongering. Maybe so, but I’ve yet to hear the vision of mushroom clouds or UAV’s spraying bugs over American cities used to lead us into the wrong war at the wrong time. I’ll just rebut a few things that Mr. Beck spoke about. To quote Dick Armey, ‘a jackass can bring down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to put one up.’ BTW I don’t like Armey. He’s wrong about almost everything. I wrote him a letter one time telling him that he was wrong about everything. He actually responded with a thoughful, well-reasoned personal letter back to me. For that I admire and respect the man, in spite of my disagreements with him.
1. The recession will last for years. We may face a decade like the Japanese did or worse we may face an Argentinian or Icelandic style breakdown. Fear mongering to point that out? Would you rather have a president that tells you to go shopping and act as if nothing has changed? Remember two weeks after 9/11 Bushie told us to go to Disney World and visit the malls?
Which do you want to be told to go shopping or that the country is facing big problems?
2. Beck complained about the cancellation of oil leases. Good. I would have canceled them years ago or charge the companies what they should be paying. What lies on the people’s common land is for the common good. It’s not to be sold or leased to private concerns at below market rates in order to enrich private ownership. And don’t forget that the government overseers were doing coke and were actually in bed (having sex) with those they were supposed to oversee. Cut the oil companies off from the leases is my opinion. Ska-rew them too!
3. I don’t begrudge the money for the WIC program. This is money for hungry woman and little kids. It’s better than bonuses for the guys that drove the banks into the ground. More people need help now than a year ago. These monies make a difference on the poorest streets of America. Why do Republicans hate food, medicine and shelter for the hungry, sick and cold?
4. Money for jobs for people is okay with me.
5. Money for university building projects is okay with me. Educational facilities have a big payback to a society.
6. $500 Mill for the NIH is reasonable. Think if some flu bug got going and the NIH wasn’t funded, do you think Beck would complain?
7. $1Bill for the Census seems good. They Census hires lots of people and this money will be injected right back into the economy. Seems like a better bet considering how we gave the banks much more than that and the banks aren’t making loans or even telling us what they did with the money.
8. $89 Bill for Medicaid. I don’t begrudge money spent on healthcare. Medicaid helps millions of people. We need to remove healthcare from employment. If you don’t agree with me now, you will when your wife or you loses your job. And at least one of you will!
9. $36 Bill for COBRA coverage. COBRA helps people who got laid off. I know people that are making use of COBRA. With unemployment spiking the way it it this seems like a good use of funds. Any of you know someone making use of COBRA? Money for kids’ healthcare is good too. Look at number 8 again.
10. $20 Bill for more food stamps seems good to me to when so many people are hurting. Once again this is money that will be injected right into the corner store or bodega. Twice again why do Republicans hate giving food to the hungry?
11. Begrudge more money spent on Amtrak? This is what I mean, is Beck just stupid? Ahhh, due to Peak Oil we need to spend much, much more money on mass transit. Why does Beck throw darts at more money being spent on mass transit?
12. Money spent on ice breakers. Beck is like a six year old. The ice doesn’t just disappear overnight. Because the ice is melting many more ships are taking the short route through the poles. There is a big race on to also claim resources under the ice. An icebreaker will help commerce to keep moving. Just last week a ship was rescued by an icebreaker.
13. $150 Mill for producers of livestock, fish and bees seems like a good investment to me. What’s more important than securing our supply of food? How fast do you think Beck would blame the government when the food supply dries up or the food chain breaks down?
14. Beck goes on to deride money spent on alternative energies, green technologies and conservation measures. Sensible investments and the manufacture of high tech batteries could employ thousands in the coming years.
He closes by asking if anyone else is insulted. Yeah I’m insulted by Beck’s stupidity and shortsightedness. It’s easy to throw stones and not so easy to come up with ideas to fix problems. Beck is a moron. Might be fun for entertainment, but it’s a good thing he’s not setting policy. His thoughts are an inch deep and as wide as the Mississippi.
In the end we get the government that we deserve. Some good Mencken quotes on government.
Get outside everyday. A healthy heart will do more for you than thirty 30 round mags. You live how you want. You polish your guns. Hold them close like a 14 year old with his Playboys. Meanwhile I’ll do my pullups, walk everyday or ski, eat well, sleep well because of exercise and not be a fat tub o lard sitting on the couch watching the tube.
Last Sunday we went back to that abandoned ski area again for a few runs. Six times up and six times down. Here is Running Bear skiing being chased by Green Eyed Dog through the beautiful birch forest. Tough to see, but those gators that Running Bear is wearing were made at one of those stores that existed in the 70’s where you could sew your own outside and camping gear. Anyone remember those stores? You’d buy the kit and then use the stores sewing machines to make your own backpack, tent, sleeping bag or gators. Running Bear still has his hand crafted gators that are 30 years old. Notice those big office buildings in the background. You can find nature anywhere if you open your eyes.
Another snowy day the other …
Snowy woods on a snowy day. Mmmm, mmmm, good.