Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Words for the healthcare debate

Not from partisans, spinsers, profit-protectors or folk looking to cash in. Just a flat-out expert:

and a real insider not pushing an agenda:

Back to commentary mode. Know your terms.

Algae and climate change
Algae produces ethanol and oxygen. Oxygen is fed to a coal plant, which produces CO2. The CO2 is then fed back to the algae.

The coal is burned cleaner and ethanol is produced for fuel or to replace petrochemicals in plastics. What's the down side?

Even us Prius drivers wouldn't mind $1/gallon fuel.

Do you think global climate change is a good thing or a bad thing? If you said "bad thing", then, while you are correct, you would be a traitor according to the "fair and balanced" "reporting" at Fox "news".

And there are still Fox watchers that don't understand why people who
value real news look down at their source of infotainment.

Is Rafsanjani just another middle eastern name?


If you want to understand what could happen in Iran, don't focus on the election of Ahmadinejad over Moussavi. First, Moussavi is not a reformer - he is not Khatami. Secondly, and more importantly, the President of Iran doesn't hold the power, the Supreme Leader does. You know, the position originally created by one Ayatollah Khomeini, he of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. That position is now held by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and that position is not permanent.

The real power struggle to watch is not between Ahmadinejad and Moussavi. It is between Khamenei and Rafsanjani

(disclaimer: I'm no expert, just trying to be less than totally uninformed. Can't trust the spoonfeeding of mainstream US media for world affairs.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Picture of the day from Iran


It's one thing to point out the atrocities of the Bush Administration while they were being committed. But I never thought I'd be taken away and tortured, or killed, for doing so. The protesters in Iran are facing those very real possibilities for their actions.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Non-partisan economic primer - how'd we get here

Yes, the current budget deficit is courtesy of George W. Bush, even though he inherited a massive budget surplus. Yes, President Obama's plans to fix the economy might be too ambitious to succeed. Why? Because, thanks to the last 8 years, we are now at the mercy of foreign investors.

The conservatives try to blame Obama for 100% of the budget deficit, saying his plans are failure because he could not fix 8 years of abuse in just 6 months. They say his lavish spending is the cause. The reality is that President Obama's initiatives are responsible for 3% of the deficit, and his continuation of the economic stimulus to end this recession accounts for 7%. The other 90% of the deficit was inherited from failed Republican economic policies under Bush.

Sorry Republican blamesters, that's the actual unspun truth.

Iranian elections

Imagine, massive political rallies, completely peaceful. A citizenry that wants to oust hard-line conservatives, religious extremism and political rhetoric in favor of peace with the US and prosperity for themselves. A desire for democracy where we're told, by our own mass media, that military options are the best options because of religion.

The (still freshly ousted) neo-conservatives in the US must be beside themselves with anger. They had been beating the drums of war for so long that they must have felt that they could taste the profits that would come from destroying and "rebuilding" another oil-rich country. Now, however, their grand, long-range plans may come to ruin with open and honest dialog threatening to take over US/Iran relations, replacing saber rattling with peace.

Palin non sequitur

So, let me get this straight. Sarah Palin and the Republican Party trotted out Bristol, Sarah's unwed pregnant teenager, all over the 2008 campaign trail, using her as a political prop as a symbol of superior family values. All the old guard at the party that used to rail against teen pregnancies instantly switched their morals to show support.

Now David Letterman makes a joke about it, and Palin and the Republicans are all over him, calling him sick and perverted. They're twisting his joke (any joke can be interpreted as funny or not) to insist that he meant something completely different, and repeating their "alternative" interpretation of Letterman's joke to any talk show that will put her on.

How desperate is Palin for publicity that she has to make up this kind of garbage and slander someone because she didn't like a joke? How desperate is the Republican Party for any kind of leadership that they're looking to someone like Palin, and sad tactics like that?

The GOPpers are getting more pathetic every day.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

MAJOR judicial ruling

The US Supreme Court has ruled that it is NOT OK to bribe elected judges with campaign contributions. While this should seem like an obvious decision, we here in Wisconsin just look back at two recent elections that were bought by corporate interests, putting horrible and corrupt candidates Ziegler and Gableman on our state's highest court.

Even more telling was the Supreme Court's dissenters. All 4 justices that are widely viewed as completely politically-driven appointments voted against. (there are legitimate arguments that Thomas' independent streak should keep him off the list, but on political issues most important to the GOP, he is usually in alignment)

Let me make it clear what that last paragraph means. Supreme Court Justices Roberts (Chief), Alito, Scalia and Thomas are on record saying that it is OK for an individual or corporation to donate massive amounts of money to get a judge elected, and for that judge to decide cases regarding that person or company. Bribery is OK with the hard-right Republican wing of the Supreme Court.

Do NOT improve healthcare, I'm warning you

How scared are the Republican Party's corporate financial backers that President Obama might actually IMPROVE the state of healthcare in the United States, perhaps even making it one of the best 10 countries instead of 37th?

They're actually making pre-emptive threats against such actions.

GOP Senator Orin Hatch: 'Democrats would live to regret it if they insist on a public plan'

Such is the concern that massive profits at the expense of ordinary citizens could be tempered in any way. The big profiteers in US healthcare want more profits, and the Republican party is dutifully repeating their talking points.

South Carolina - new common sense, same rhetoric

South Carolina's Republican Governor Mark Sanford used to proudly proclaim that he would turn down all federal economic stimulus money. While this would directly harm the citizens of South Carolina, that approach was in line with the Republican Party goals of causing failure whenever President Obama tried to lift the country out of the severe economic downturn that he inherited.

Well, the esteemed Governor has seen the light, and has quietly changed his mind. He will now allow South Carolina to receive the same federal economic stimulus that other states are receiving, benefiting the people of South Carolina. The one catch? In public, he will still insult the very stimulus that he's now receiving.

What a piece of work the new GOP is...

Well THAT cannot possibly work

The concept is simple, don't spend more than you take in. It the 90's, it got the US out of its disastrous budget spiral that built up starting in 1980. However, the spending of 2000-2008 was even worse. So, this very simple concept sounds like straightforward common sense to me. In fact it has a name - fiscal conservatism.

The Republican Party, however, follows their mantra of opposing President Obama no matter what he does. Since it is difficult to oppose common sense with reasoning, this is their approach instead: "it's obviously wrong because the current budget isn't balanced". OK, that doesn't sound off-base, does it? Well, except for the fact that the Bush Administration's wild spending on America's credit card has come due, and THAT is the cause for the massive chasm in the current budget.

So, that makes the Republican logic: well, you're no good because you cannot fix, in 6 months, the damage that we caused for 8 years, some of which were time bombs set to go off now.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Baa, just keep on attacking. Baaaaa...

The latest Republican "outrage" - President Barack Obama kept a campaign promise to his wife by taking her out to dinner and a Broadway show. The right is feigning outrage that he would incur such a lavish expense of money and time when he should have been working as President.

Let's see, the Obamas offered to fly coach, but the Secret Service would not allow him to, due to security concerns. President Obama also kept his staff with him so he could continue working during the trip.

None of that matters, of course, to the GOP faithful who are dutifully repeating the shepherding party talking points and attacking Obama over anything and everything.

Ignore the fact that George W. Bush smashed the record for number of vacation days taken by a US President (both total and proportionate to term length). Ignore how Bush would not cut short a political fundraising tour as New Orleans drowned. Ignore Bush using a US aircraft carrier as a political photo opportunity during a time of open warfare. Ignore the fact that there were no Republicans decrying these excesses by Bush when they happened. Just keep attacking Obama, just like you're told, and
ignore history and reality.

At least they're consistent.

Victory for the right wing

The neo-conservative calls for the murder of Dr. Tiller were realized when a gunman opened fire at Church. The "pro-life" crowd's calls for this violence have been answered.

“To call this a crime is too simplistic.” He added, “There is Christian scripture that would support this."

Uh, "do not kill" seems pretty straightforward to me. I don't recall from my Christian teachings any loopholes for going into Church and starting to shoot people so, as a good Christian, an individual can act as judge, jury and executioner.

But thus is the domestic version of religious fundamentalism that is brewing, and actively being courted by fellow conservatives.

Oh, there's no threat here

The incoming Administration recognized the threat of extremist right-wing groups. In April, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report on the very real evidence of this threat. The Republican Party response was to openly criticize and mock these findings as just political wishful thinking. To a person, the GOP denounced the DHS under talking points like "political witchhunting" or "partisan fearmongering".

Predictably, now that 2 people are dead and 7 are injured outside of a Church, they aren't so cavalier is dismissing the warnings.

Then there's (the late) George Carlin's take on it:

Stop asking questions!

Excerpt from Mike Papantonio's article at

[Former Minnesota Governor Jesse] Ventura earned the right to humiliate the right wing tough talkers because unlike them, he spent his early years enlisted as a Navy SEAL on active duty in Vietnam. He explained that he had experienced waterboarding unlike the war sissies he criticizes. Given the chance, I’m certain that Ventura could at least get Cheney to come clean over many of the questions people have about the scandals and criminal activity that developed during Cheney’s watch. You’ve probably noticed that Cheney has come out of his secluded bunker after hiding for eight years. Think back to the number of times when the media was asking “Where is Cheney?” Like the time he hid in his private bunker after 9-11. Or the times no one could find him after Katrina, and after he shot his friend in the head during a bird hunt.

Cheney’s handlers were skillful in keeping Cheney away from the public eye. They recognized that his public approval was just about equal to that of the Taliban. But do we really need to put Cheney in a room with Ventura and a waterboard to figure out why Cheney is everywhere in the media these days looking like Richard Nixon right before Nixon was busted for Watergate? With every Cheney interview, you expect him to break into one of those Nixon-like speeches where he says, “I am not a crook.”