Saturday, August 02, 2008

Barack Obama: The Messiah Cometh

  It is a very hot and humid day here in Kentucky, so I've been on the Net just browsing for something funny and humorous. Guess what? I did find something that is well worth sharing with you.

  From TimesOnLine comes this nice little story about our Democratic Presidential contender. There is a bit of truth to this story since this is what Obama's many hard-core followers seem to think.

  July 25, 2008 by Gerard Baker

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time - to bring the light unto all the world.

He travelled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media. He ventured first to the land of the Hindu Kush, where the

Taleban had harboured the viper of al-Qaeda in their bosom, raining terror on all the world.

And the Child spake and the tribes of Nato immediately loosed the Caveats that had previously bound them. And in the great battle that ensued the forces of the light were triumphant. For as long as the Child stood with his arms raised aloft, the enemy suffered great blows and the threat of terror was no more.

From there he went forth to Mesopotamia where he was received by the great ruler al-Maliki, and al-Maliki spake unto him and blessed his Sixteen Month Troop Withdrawal Plan even as the imperial warrior Petraeus tried to destroy it.

And lo, in Mesopotamia, a miracle occurred. Even though the Great Surge of Armour that the evil Bush had ordered had been a terrible mistake, a waste of vital military resources and doomed to end in disaster, the Child's very presence suddenly brought forth a great victory for the forces of the light.

And the Persians, who saw all this and were greatly fearful, longed to speak with the Child and saw that the Child was the bringer of peace. At the mention of his name they quickly laid aside their intrigues and beat their uranium swords into civil nuclear energy ploughshares.

From there the Child went up to the city of Jerusalem, and entered through the gate seated on an ass. The crowds of network anchors who had followed him from afar cheered “Hosanna” and waved great palm fronds and strewed them at his feet.

In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.

As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.

And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.

The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.

And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.

Black gold gushed from the ground at prices well below $140 per barrel. In hospitals across the land the sick were cured even though they were uninsured. And all because the Child had pronounced it.

And this is the testimony of one who speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth so that you might believe. And he knows it is the truth for he saw it all on CNN and the BBC and in the pages of The New York Times.

Then the Child ventured forth from Israel and Palestine and stepped onto the shores of the Old Continent. In the land of Queen Angela of Merkel, vast multitudes gathered to hear his voice, and he preached to them at length.

But when he had finished speaking his disciples told him the crowd was hungry, for they had had nothing to eat all the hours they had waited for him.

And so the Child told his disciples to fetch some food but all they had was five loaves and a couple of frankfurters. So he took the bread and the frankfurters and blessed them and told his disciples to feed the multitudes. And when all had eaten their fill, the scraps filled twelve baskets.

Thence he travelled west to Mount Sarkozy. Even the beauteous Princess Carla of the tribe of the Bruni was struck by awe and she was great in love with the Child, but he was tempted not.

On the Seventh Day he walked across the Channel of the Angles to the ancient land of the hooligans. There he was welcomed with open arms by the once great prophet Blair and his successor, Gordon the Leper, and his successor, David the Golden One.

And suddenly, with the men appeared the archangel Gabriel and the whole host of the heavenly choir, ranks of cherubim and seraphim, all praising God and singing: “Yes, We Can.”

More Gloomy Facts On The Economy

   These numbers just keep on getting worse for the average worker.


Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz at the Economic Policy Institute write:

Job market recession persists

On average this year, payrolls have contracted by 66,000 per month. Job loss in the private sector has occurred more quickly, however, dropping an average of 83,000 jobs a month since it peaked in November 2007. Private sector payrolls are down 665,000 since then, including the loss of 76,000 last month. Since government employment is less sensitive to the business cycle, the private sector losses are more indicative of the full extent of labor market weakness.

This persistent and deepening slack in the job market, in tandem with accelerated inflation, is leading to significant real wage and benefit losses for most workers. Average weekly hours slipped slightly last month to 33.6 hours per week, the lowest level since November 2004. This put downward pressure on weekly earnings, which rose 2.8%, before inflation in July, the same rate as the previous month and the slowest pace of weekly earnings since September 2005. With inflation running between 4-5%, the buying power of weekly paychecks is dropping sharply.

In a related release yesterday, the BLS reported that the Employer Cost Index—a comprehensive measure of average wages and benefits—fell 1.8% in real terms in June 2008 compared to June 2007. That is the largest real decline in this data series’ history (dating back to the early 1980s).

Along with the decline in weekly hours worked, another important sign of the extent to which our current workforce is underutilized is the increase in part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs. In July, there were 5.7 million part-timers in this category, 1.4 million above last year’s level and the highest level since the BLS settled on a way of measuring this condition in 1994. Since these involuntary part-timers are included in the underemployment rate noted above, they are partly responsible for its spike last month.

Meanwhile, as Chye-Ching Huang and Chad Stone at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities noted in a new analysis on Wednesday:

Average pre-tax incomes in 2006 jumped by about $60,000 (5.8 percent) for the top 1 percent of households, but just $430 (1.4 percent) for the bottom 90 percent, after adjusting for inflation, according to a new update in the groundbreaking series on income inequality by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. Their analysis of newly released IRS data shows that in 2006, the shares of the nation’s income flowing to the top 1 percent and top 0.1 percent of households were higher than in any year since 1928. ...


Friday, August 01, 2008

Unemployment Rises To 5.7 Percent In July

  Not only did the rate rise to 5.7 percent, but, non-farm payroll

also went down in July by some 51,000 jobs. Hardest hit by the

job loses were construction, manufacturing and a few service

industry sectors. Once again, health care and the mining industry

added more jobs. Hourly wages did go up by 6 cents in July.

U.S. Department of Labor

Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed 
persons has increased by 1.6 million, and the unemployment

rate has risen by 1.0 percentage point.

  Among the unemployed, the number of reentrants to

 the labor force in July rose by 207,000 to 2.7 million.

  The number has increased by 623,000 over the past 12 months.  The number of unemployed persons who had lost their last job 
was about unchanged over the month at 4.4 million, but has

risen by 778,000 over the year.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Communist White House Threatens Veto Of Vets Appropriations

  Most of us already know about the veto threat from the Bush Grime Syndicate, so, here is a response to the veto threat by Chairman Chet Edwards of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies

The Gavel

Chairman Chet Edwards Response to White House Veto Threat of the 2009 Veterans Appropriations Bill

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S Representative Chet Edwards (D-Waco), Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, released the following statement in response to the veto threat issued by the White House on the Fiscal Year 2009 bill scheduled for a House vote this week.

“This is a slap in the face to every veteran in the nation, especially our Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. I do not understand the values that would suggest, during a time of war, we provide tax breaks for people making over $1 million a year, but we cannot afford to provide the health care our veterans deserve and the housing our troops need.

“In my 18 years in Congress, this is one of the worst decisions I have ever seen come out of the White House and OMB. For a country to send its sons and daughters to war and then to cut corners on their health care, benefits, and housing when they return home does not reflect the values of the American people. I believe our veterans, military families, and the American family will be as offended by this veto threat as I am.”

In his first year as Chairman of the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in 2007, Congressman Edwards authored a historic increase of $11.8 billion in veterans’ health care and benefits, the largest increase in veterans funding in the 77-year history of the Veterans Administration (VA).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

House Arrest For Senator Derrick Shepherd

Sen. Derrick Shepherd ( D-La ) was ordered by a federal judge to wear an electronic monitor but was denied the revoking  of his bail in a case stemming from charges by a women who has claimed that he assaulted her.

  At the hearing on Tuesday, the woman changed her initial story which she had given to the police over the weekend in which she said that Shepherd broke into her place of residence and assaulted. She said that he also took her BlackBerry and a $100 bill. She stated that she made up the story because she was pissed at him.

  Anyway, Shepherd was placed on a $5,000 bond after being charged with allegedly helping and insurance broker launder some $141,00 in checks.   Source

Monday, July 28, 2008

The " Grand Oil Party "/Oil Company Energy Plan

  Just a few more facts that I thought that I'd throw out to you since the GOP has been trying to con all of us into believing that drilling off of our coasts and in Alaska will help lower our gases prices.

                         The Gavel

    • According to the Bush Administration’s own Energy Department, if we repealed the offshore drilling ban today, oil and gas production would not begin there until 2017, and impact on prices would be “insignificant.” [EIA, 2007]
    • 80 percent of America’s oil and gas natural resources are in areas where oil companies can already drill. [Committee on Natural Resources, 6/18/08]
    • There are 33 million acres of the federal OCS lands that are under lease but are not producing.
    • Oil companies are spending more of their record profits on buying back stock than they are on new oil and gas exploration — both on and off shore. [AP, 7/21/08]


According to the Bush Administration’s own Energy Department, if we opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling today, we wouldn’t get the first drop of oil for 10 years, and it would take nearly 20 years for the field to reach peak production, and at that time, gas prices would drop by less than 2 cents a gallon. [EIA, 5/08]

The Republicans want to open up 2.3 million acres of public lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for tar shale development despite the fact that 3 million acres of prime tar shale lands are already owned by oil companies.

  • The technology needed for commercially-viable extraction of oil from tar shales does not yet exist.
  • To convert tar shale into oil, enormous electricity and water are needed to power the operation. It takes about three barrels of water to produce one barrel of oil from tar sands. This water would be taken in parts of the country experiencing long-standing water supply issues and historic droughts.  [Wilderness Society, 3/08]
  • Furthermore, even the most optimistic estimates say it will take 20 years for tar shales to produce 1 million barrels of oil per day and 30 years to produce 3 million barrels of oil per day. [RAND, 2005]

The President’s 2009 budget cuts renewable energy and energy efficiency programs at the Department of Energy $467 million below the FY 08 enacted level. President Bush’s 2009 budget request eliminates funding for programs that help low-income families save millions of dollars by making their homes more energy efficient. [2008]

  • If the Republican majority had not blocked the transition to a 35-mile per gallon (mpg) standard in the mid 1990’s, then we would now be saving 1.5 million barrels of oil per day and consumers would be saving $90 billion a year on gasoline they didn’t have to buy.
  • Lobbying Firms Top Clients In 2008

      Here we go with the corporations who have spent the most money on lobbyist thus far in 2008.

    Center for Responsive Politics

    top lobbying clients

    So why does the US Chamber of Commerce need to be paying a lobbyist?

    Why The Neocons Want To Attack Iran

      All of us here in the United States know that it is to enrich the Bush Crime Syndicate's corporate friends and to steal some other countries oil treasure.

       But HERE is a different take on the cries for war from Ed Kinane, at the Pakistan News Service, which is a must read.

    Original Article

    Method in the Madness: Why They Want to Attack Iran

    Friday July 25, 2008 (1719 PST)

      These days we’re on needles and pins. We keep our fingers crossed. We hope the US won’t attack Iran. There are good reasons to believe it won’t. Elsewhere I’ve argued the folly of doing so.

    Cheney and Bush, no doubt, have heard such reasons and yet still itch to attack. They’ve got the aircraft carriers and Cruise missiles in place. They keep poking Iran hoping to get an overreaction. They keep saber-rattling.

    Why, we all wonder, would they replay the same — or even greater — debacle as in Iraq? Many readers may be too humane to fathom what goes on in those men’s minds. Sociopaths are hard to understand. Nonetheless we must try.

    Who knows? Part of Cheney and Bush’s crusade may be theological. Isn’t it god-like to unleash the Predators? Isn’t it god-like to threaten and surge, kill and explode? Islamic Iraq and Islamic Afghanistan may seem to those men like latter-day Sodoms and Gomorrahs. Having smote them let Islamic Iran be next.

    Besides, having failed to force Iraq and Afghanistan to submit, they may well crave another chance. They certainly seek to shore up their faltered administration. They’ve seen how a new war distracts from scandals in high places. And how it distracts from policy disasters, both domestic and international. A new war puffs up otherwise plummeting presidential and vice presidential polls. Our cowed and co-opted Congress rolls over during war. War pumps up executive power.

    But for much of the power structure backing Cheney and Bush, it’s economics that rule. The anti-Iran orchestra has all the might and momentum of the Imperium. The US — with its proxies and puppets, its air, land and sea forces, its Delta and Special forces — now occupies not only Iraq but much of the Middle East.

    The threatened attack is bigger than Cheney and Bush. The US is engaged in a bi-partisan, multi-administration, region-wide resource war. The US oiligarchy covets the region’s (including Iran’s) vast energy reserves. Reinforcing that imperial thieving are other, subsidiary greeds, other hungers for power.

    Demonizing Iran is an old trick. It does what demonizing the Soviet Union did decades ago: it pumps up the jingo mindset. It pumps up military budgets. Military spending draws down domestic spending — a key right-wing agenda.

    Attacking Iran keeps the pot boiling. It perpetuates the phony war on terror. More war provides more enemies and so more pretext to erode civil liberties. Unscrupulous politicians and certain corporations thrive when fear keeps people dumb and dazed. With another invasion the Halliburtons and Blackwaters get to lap up more contracts.

    Realpolitik demands we crush our rivals. Despite its intense resistance, militarily Iraq is broken — in the Middle East that just leaves Iran. Going after Iran would further align our power structure to Israel’s military machine and to its allies here in the US. Neutralizing Iran would further strangle those pesky Palestinians.

    But note: It’s delusory to think that attacking Iran will just be a spasm of quick, “surgical” air strikes. Wars morph; violence bounces. Violating Iran will generate enormous blowback, both in the region and here in the US. This country will polarize. Widespread dissent or “terrorist” retaliation — contrived or otherwise — might lead to martial law.

    Surely the think tankers have explored the martial law card and have worked out every last detail of implementation. The plans are right there on the shelf. Martial law could provide the pretext for postponing the November election. Far fetched? Does the gang in Washington act as if it’s ready to bow out? Can it really allow subpoena power and indictment power to fall into unfriendly hands?

    Now, if elections do go forward and we’re bogged down with Iran, McCain — marketed as the tough, commander-in-chief type — will be more likely to win this otherwise uphill vote. But even if Obama wins, at least his White House years might be hamstrung cleaning up one vast mess. An Iran war begun before either the election or inauguration would, conveniently, derail any partisan domestic agenda he and a Democrat-controlled Congress may have.

    * * *

    If you’ve read this far, go with me a little further. Consider this back room scenario. Sometime late this summer Cheney and Bush’s people offer the Obama camp a deal: “Have your new attorney general drop any Iraq war crime charges and we won’t drop the bombs….”

    Sunday, July 27, 2008

    Top Donors To Barack Obama's Campaign

      From Center for Responsive Politics

    The organizations themselves did not donate , rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

    Goldman Sachs

    University of California

    JPMorgan Chase & Co

    Citigroup Inc

    UBS AG

    Lehman Brothers

    National Amusements Inc

    Harvard University

    Google Inc

    Sidley Austin LLP

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    Top Donors To John McCain's Campaign

      From Center for Responsive Politics

      The organizations themselves did not donate , rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

    Citigroup Inc

    Merrill Lynch

    Blank Rome LLP

    Morgan Stanley

    Goldman Sachs

    AT&T Inc

    Greenberg Traurig LLP

    JPMorgan Chase & Co

    Credit Suisse Group

    UBS AG

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