Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Auto Bailout: Lame-Duck Bush Versus Lame-duck Dems

  As is par for the course, Bush has his own version of the bailout that he would like to see passed, and the Democrats have their own version. Bush doesn't like the Democrat version because it would take money from the $700 billion financial bailout and give it to the auto manufacturers instead of having Congress authorize new money from our soon to be bankrupt treasury. Democrats have also added a few strings to this bailout bill.


Pelosi said the auto industry funds would come with many strings attached, including restructuring company finances, meeting new standards for gas mileage and requiring advanced technologies "to compete in the domestic and global market." The speaker's office offered no specifics about what the new fuel efficiency standards would be and what types of technologies would be required for the auto industry.

Democrats also said they would include new limits on executive pay at the Big Three auto companies, but offered no specifics on that idea either.

  The Dems bill would make it through the House fairly easy, but the Senate would be another matter all together.

Pelosi can probably push the auto bailout through the House next week, but in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has some serious negotiating on his hands with Senate Republicans. And Reid is working with even less than his 51-seat Democratic majority next week, thanks to Barack Obama and Joe Biden's promotions in the Nov. 4 election

  I am now waiting for Krispy Kreme to announce that they are also seeking a government bailout because they are facing flat donut sales. What next?

Death Threats Against Obama: Savage America

    The following threats and actions from Americans are pretty pathetic. Land of the free? Apparently, not yet. Welcome to 21st Century racism.


_Four North Carolina State University students admitted writing anti-Obama comments in a tunnel designated for free speech expression, including one that said: "Let's shoot that (N-word) in the head." Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.

_At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. "Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count," the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written "Let's hope someone wins."

_Racist graffiti was found in places including New York's Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and "Go Back To Africa" were spray painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.

_Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted "assassinate Obama," a district official said.

Bill Maher and RealTime: Season Ender

    Just a clip for you to watch from the last show of the season.

   If you wish to view the entire show, or past shows, you can view them at

Obama's Weekly Democratic Radio Address...

  was recorded Friday night and it has also been turned into a YouTube Video which can be seen at, or you can watch it below.

   Putting his weekly radio address on video is a cool idea and I hope that this continues.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Economic News: Company Closings/Layoffs

     You are about to read a list of companies who have announced either they are closing or they will be laying off workers. These closings/layoffs were announced during the week of November 2-8. This is just a partial listing.

   Go here for the entire list.

   Align Technology Inc. plans to cut 111 full time positions in Santa Clara, CA, of which 46 positions will be eliminated between now and January 2009.

American Express in New York is undertaking a companywide reengineering that will eliminate approximately 7,000 jobs or about 10% of the company's worldwide workforce.

Ball Corp. is closing its metal beverage packaging manufacturing plants in Kansas City, MO, at 1800 Reynolds Ave. The Kansas City plant operates four production lines capable of making 1.1 billion cans in a variety of sizes and employs approximately 180 people. It is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2009.

Dell Inc. this week has put in place a hiring freeze and is offering employees voluntary severance packages, as well as one to five days off without pay. Dell also is reducing its use of contract employees, cutting travel expenses and "reprioritizing" some projects and capital spending. Last fall, Dell announced its plans to cut about 8,900 workers.

Motorola Inc. posted a hefty loss in the third quarter citing the continued troubles of its cell phone division. Because of that, the company will postpone the planned spin-off of the unit, and cut more jobs -- 3,000 jobs by April, with about 2,000 of them coming from the cell phone unit. The company last announced 2,600 job cuts in April.
NBC Universal plans to cut $500 million in spending next year. The reduction would equal 3% of the company's budget. The cuts will come from staffing reductions and cutbacks in budgets for travel, entertainment and promotions.

Time Inc., the world's largest magazine company, is expected to cut 6% of its workforce - more than 600 positions. No magazines are scheduled to close, but some are likely to be severely cut back. The company, a division of Time Warner, the media conglomerate that includes CNN, Turner Broadcasting, HBO, AOL and the Warner Brothers movie studio, is facing the twin perils of a shifting media landscape from a severe economic downturn and a loss of readers and advertisers to the Web.
Washington Post revealed that 231 employees accepted its voluntary retirement incentive program offered to some employees earlier this year. The Post also plans to close its College Park, MD, printing plant at 5245 Greenbelt Road in the second half of 2009 and that none of the four presses will be moved to The Post's Springfield, VA, plant..

  Those are just a few of the closing or layoffs announced. The list is quite lengthy. So much for John McCain's economy being in good shape.

Nebraska's Safe-Haven Law To Change Due To Circumstances

  This story would fall into the " only in America " category.

  It seems that the state of Nebraska has been having a problem with parents dropping their children off at local hospitals and then leaving them there for the state to take charge of. This does happen all over this country, but in Nebraska, the children being left behind are not newborns, as is usual, but teenagers. some as old as 18.

  Yahoo News

LINCOLN, Neb. – The mother was running out of more than patience when she abandoned her 18-year-old daughter at a hospital over the weekend under Nebraska's safe-haven law. She was also running out of time: She knew that state lawmakers would soon meet in a special session to amend the ill-fated law so that it would apply to newborns only.

To the state's surprise and embarrassment, more than half of the 31 children legally abandoned under the safe-haven law since it took effect in mid-July have been teenagers.

But state officials may have inadvertently made things worse with their hesitant response to the problem: The number of drop-offs has almost tripled to about three a week since Gov. Dave Heineman announced on Oct. 29 that lawmakers would rewrite the law.

  This does not say to much about these children's parents. What a waste of some human beings. drop your teenagers off so that they become wards of the state? The parents should be prosecuted.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Barack Obama Administration: Politics As Usual with Iraq?

   Common Dreams

Published on Thursday, November 13, 2008 by Inter Press Service

Obama Pressured to Back Off Iraq Withdrawal

by Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON - The promotion of Robert M. Gates as President-elect Barack Obama's secretary of defence appears to be the key element in a broad campaign by military officials and their supporters in the political elite and the news media to pressure Obama into dropping his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in as little as 16 months.

Despite subtle and unsubtle pressures to compromise on his withdrawal plan, however, Obama is likely to pass over Gates and stand firm on his campaign pledge on military withdrawal from Iraq, according to a well-informed source close to the Obama camp.

Within 24 hours of Obama's election, the idea of Gates staying on as defence secretary in an Obama administration was floated in the New York Times, which reported that 'a case is being made publicly by columnists and commentators, and quietly by leading Congressional voices of Mr. Obama's own party -- that Mr. Gates should be asked to remain as defence secretary, at least for an interim period in the opening months of the new presidency.'

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that two unnamed Obama advisers had said Obama was 'leaning toward' asking Gates stay on, although the report added that other candidates were also in the running. The Journal said Gates was strongly opposed to any timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, and it speculated that a Gates appointment 'could mean that Mr. Obama was effectively shelving his campaign promise to remove most troops from Iraq by mid-2010.'

Some Obama advisers have been manoeuvering for a Gates nomination for months. Former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig publicly raised the idea of a Gates reprise in June and again in early October. Danzig told reporters Oct. 1, however, that he had not discussed the possibility with Obama.

Obama advisers who support his Iraq withdrawal plan, however, have opposed a Gates appointment. Having a defence secretary who is not fully supportive of the 16-month timetable would make it very difficult, if not impossible for Obama to enforce it on the military.

A source close to the Obama transition team told IPS Tuesday that the chances that Gates would be nominated by Obama 'are now about 10 percent'.

The source said that Obama is going to stick with his 16-month withdrawal timeline, despite the pressures now being brought to bear on him. 'There is no doubt about it,' said the source, who refused to elaborate because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Opposition to Obama's pledge to withdraw combat troops from Iraq on a 16-month timetable is wide and deep in the U.S. national security establishment and its political allies. U.S. military leaders have been unequivocal in rejecting any such rapid withdrawal from Iraq, and news media coverage of the issue has been based on the premise that Obama will have to modify his plan to make it acceptable to the military.

The Washington Post published a story Monday saying that Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, opposes Obama's timeline for withdrawal as 'dangerous', insisting that 'reductions must depend on conditions on the ground'. Along with Gen. David H. Petraeus, now the head of CENTCOM and responsible for the entire Middle East, and Gen. Ray Odierno, the new commander in Iraq, Mullen was portrayed as part of a phalanx of determined military opposition to Obama's timeline.

Post reporters Alec MacGillis and Ann Scott Tyson cited 'defence experts' as predicting a 'smooth and productive' relationship between Obama and these military leaders 'if Obama takes the pragmatic approach that his advisers are indicating, allowing each side to adjust at the margins.' But if Obama 'presses for the withdrawal of two brigades per month,' the same analysts predicted, 'conflict is inevitable.'

The story quoted a former Bush administration National Security Council official, Peter D. Feaver, who was a strategic planner on the administration's Iraq 'surge' policy, as warning that Obama's timetable would precipitate 'a civil-military crisis' if Obama does not agree to the demands of Mullen, Petraeus and Odierno for greater flexibility.

Underlying the campaign of pressure is the assumption that Obama's 16-month timetable is mainly posturing for political purposes during the primary campaign, and that Obama is not necessarily committed to the withdrawal plan.

Feaver, who has returned to Duke University, said in an interview with IPS that he did not believe such a crisis was likely, because, 'It is unlikely Obama will come in and do what he said he would do during the campaign.' Obama has given himself 'enough wiggle room to change the plan', Feaver said.

Similarly CNN Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre also reported Nov. 7 that Obama 'gave himself some wiggle room' to respond to military demands for more flexibility. McIntyre said he had 'pledged to consult U.S. commanders and adjust as necessary'.

Obama's website makes no such pledge to 'adjust' the timetable. Instead it says the 'removal of our troops will be responsible and phased, directed by military commanders on the ground and done in consultation with the Iraqi government.' It defends the rate of withdrawal of one or two brigades per month and offers to leave a 'residual force' in Iraq to 'train and support the Iraqi forces as long as Iraqi leaders move toward political reconciliation and away from sectarianism.'

When Obama met with Petraeus in Baghdad in July, Petraeus presented a detailed case for a 'conditions-based' withdrawal rather than Obama's timetable and ended with a plea for 'maximum flexibility' on a withdrawal schedule, according to Joe Klein's account in Time Oct. 22.

But Obama refused to back down, according to Klein's account. He told Petraeus, 'Your job is to succeed in Iraq on as favourable terms as we can get. But my job as a potential commander in chief is to view your counsel and interests through the prism of our overall national security.' Obama defended his policy of a fixed date for withdrawal in light of the situation in Afghanistan, the costs of continued U.S. occupation and the stress on U.S. military forces.

Opponents of Obama's plan outside the Bush administration appear to be unaware of the fact that the Bush administration has already given up the 'conditions-based withdrawal' that the U.S. military has called for in agreeing to Iraqi demands for complete U.S. withdrawal by the end of 2011.

Feaver, the former strategic planner for National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley, said he assumes that, 'if the U.S. agreed to it, it preserves the flexibility that Petraeus and Odierno say they've needed all along.'

But even the small loophole left in previous versions of the text, allowing the 2011 deadline to be extended if the pact were revised with the agreement of the Iraqi parliament, has now been closed in the 'final' version which the Bush administration submitted to the Maliki government last week, according to a Nov. 10 report by Associated Press, which had obtained a copy of the text.

© 2008 Inter Press Service

Alaska's Senator Ted Stevens Falls Behind In Election Vote

  This will really make those Republicans scream and shout, once again. Another corrupt GOPer on his way to biting the dust!


Democrat Mark Begich, who trailed Stevens by more than 3,200 votes to start the day Wednesday, jumped to an 814-vote lead as state officials resumed counting early and absentee ballots. The tally was 132,196 to 131,382, with an estimated 30,000 ballots remaining to be counted, some on Friday and some next week.

  If Stevens does lose this election, that will more than likely put a damper on the unannounced plans of Sarah Palin to be his replacement when he's booted out of the Senate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

President-Elect Obama's Change.Gov

  In the continuing effort to let the American people have a say in the new administrations objectives, soon to be President Obama has initiated for your input and ideas.

Transition officials call it Obama 2.0 — an ambitious effort to transform the president-elect's vast Web operation and database of supporters into a modern new tool to accomplish his goals in the White House. If it works, the new president could have an unprecedented ability to appeal for help from millions of Americans who already favor his ideas, bypassing the news media to pressure Congress.

"He's built the largest network anyone has ever seen in politics, and congressional Republicans are clueless about the communications shift that has happened," Democratic strategist Joe Trippi proclaims. The results, he says, "will be amazing to watch."


But transition officials have already begun a new digital outreach effort, based on the campaign model, aimed at supporters and others interested in being connected to the activities of the Obama White House.

The transition operation has a new Web site,, designed for anyone who wants to post a message of congratulations, offer suggestions for the new administration or apply for a government job. People are invited to submit their names and e-mail addresses, with the goal of creating a new list for the president-elect to tap when he wants to communicate directly about a program he's promoting or seek help urging members of Congress to support legislation he's proposed.

"Just imagine what happens when a congressman comes back to his district and 500 people are lined up for his town hall meeting because they got an e-mail from Obama urging them to attend," said Thomas Gensemer, managing partner of Blue State Digital which designed Obama's campaign Web site and

Universal Healthcare Inches Closer To Reality?

   This version of healthcare would have a few mandates, but it's a start.
by TomP @ DKos Wed Nov 12, 2008

Just a quick diary here. Senator Max Baucus (D. Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which is the committte with jurisidiction over a universal health care plan, says we need mandated health insurance.  While I prefer single payer, so long as the eventual plan has a means to migrate to single payer, I think this is progress.  And this plan has a government option.

Paul Krugman indicates that Barack Obama may not oppose a plan with mandates:

This is very big news.

But now Max Baucus — Max Baucus! — is leading the charge on a health care plan that, at least at first read, is more like Hillary Clinton’s than Barack Obama’s; that is, it looks like an attempt at full universality

(The word I hear, by the way, is that Obama’s opposition to mandates was tactical politics, not conviction — so he may well be prepared to do the right thing now that the election is won.)

Paul Krugman, Hopeful signs on health care

More, after the poll. (Obama spokesman update at end of diary)

It looks like the Democrats are not going to settle for baby steps:

Baucus of Montana, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a health-care blueprint released today that only a mandate could ensure people didn't wait until they were ill to buy health insurance, forcing up the price for everyone.

The 89-page proposal revives a debate from the Democratic presidential primaries about how to overhaul the U.S. health- care system. Obama supported requiring coverage only for children, saying adults would buy coverage voluntarily if it were affordable. Senator Hillary Clinton of New York said insurance must be mandated for everyone.

``Requiring all Americans to have health coverage will help end the shifting of costs of the uninsured to the insured,'' Baucus said today in his plan. The requirement ``would be enforced possibly through the U.S. tax system or some other point of contact between individuals and the government,'' he said, without spelling out possible penalties.

Senate Finance Chief Calls for Making Health Coverage Mandatory

The Baucus plan has a government option:

Echoing Obama's campaign proposals, Baucus said the exchange should include a new government plan, similar to Medicare, that would compete with private insurance, as well as subsidies to make coverage more affordable. Except for small businesses, employers that don't offer insurance to their workers would have to contribute to a fund to help cover others.

``Once affordable, high-quality, and meaningful health insurance options are available to all Americans through their employees or through the Exchange, individuals would have a responsibility to have health coverage,'' he wrote in his plan.

Senate Finance Chief Calls for Making Health Coverage Mandatory

I hope Krugman is right that Obama's anti-mandate proposal was more tactical than deep conviction.  At one time, Obama favored single payer.  I suspect he will sign a bill with mandates or without mandates, so long as it has a government plan that will compete with private insurance and could migrate to single payer.

Other big players in the Senate will be Teddy Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.  Baucus says this 89-page proposal is a ``vision for health-care reform,'' not a legislative proposal.  And Teddy Kennedy wants Democrats to agree on a single bill first and then work together to pass it. 

The big news is that universal health care is on the agenda.  If we cannot get single payer, this is a real step forward.

(Just a note: the Clinton universal health care plan (on which the Baucus plan is somewhat based) was extremely similar to the plan announced by John Edwards in early 2007, months prior to the Clinton plan:

Feb 5, 2007

Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Senator John Edwards today released a bold plan to transform America's health care system and provide universal health care for every man, woman and child in America. Under Edwards' plan, families without insurance will get coverage at an affordable price, families with insurance will pay less and get more security and choice, it will be cheaper and easier for businesses and employers to insure their workers.

"The American health care system today is broken for far too many of our families," said Edwards. "To fix this crisis, we don't need an incremental shift, we need a fundamental change. We need universal health care in this country—not only access to insurance as some politicians say—so every American is insured and we bring down costs for middle and working-class families."

Edwards Announces Plan for Universal Health Care

John Edwards had some personal failings, but he placed universal health care on the agenda last year, leading to the announcement of universal health care plans by Obama and Clinton months later.  At the time Edwards made the announcement of his plan in February 2007, and said he was willing to pay for it by repealing Bush's tax cuts for those who make over $200,000, most Democrats thought that universal health care was years away.  The failure of the Clinton administration in 1994 to get its plan passed took universal health care off the table for years.  Dr. Dean supported it in 2003 and 2004, but incrementalism was the policy.  Many Democrats were afraid of being called "socialists" or being accused of favoring "socialized medicince." Hillary Clinton spoke of doing it at the end of her second term, and Barack Obama had no plan for months in 2007.  Edwards, as he did with many issues, pushed the agenda leftward, and that was a good thing. (I'm glad Obama won the nomination and he was clearly the right choice, but I'm also glad Edwards ran and pushed these issues.  It was a win/win for all of us.)

Hillary and Bill Clinton also tried to reform health care in 1993 and 1994. Many have fought for this, but I wanted to thank John Edwards here). 

Update I:  The Office of Barack Obama provides a non-committal comment:

"President-elect Obama applauds Chairman Baucus’s work to draw attention to the challenges of the health system and looks forward to working closely with the Chairman and other Congressional leaders, as well as the American public, to make quality, affordable health care a reality for all Americans."

Ben Smith, quoting Obama spokesman spokesman Tommy Vietor:

Whether you agree or disagree with mandates or even an insurance plan, this is good because it keeps health care as a priority.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New CNN Poll: American's Have No Problem With Dems Being In Control

   There goes another GOP argument. When these clowns realized that they were actually heading into the deep end of a pit, the GOP started screaming that it will not be good for you and I to have " one party " rule in the government. To bad that they did not feel this way from 2001-2006.


In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, 59 percent of those questioned think that Democratic control of both the executive and legislative branches will be good for the country, with 38 percent saying that such one-party control will be bad.

The poll also suggests that the public has a positive view of the Democratic Party, with 62 percent having a favorable opinion and 31 percent an unfavorable opinion.

That is not the case for the Republicans, with a majority, 54 percent, having an unfavorable view of the GOP and 38 percent holding a positive view.

"The public has a positive view of the Democratic Party, while the GOP 'brand' is hurting. Overall views of the Democratic Party have gone from 53 percent favorable in October to 62 percent favorable now; the GOP overall has seen a 5-point drop in its favorable rating," Holland said.

  The public does want the Democrats to play nice with the Republicans ( reach across the table ) and to at last attempt a bi-partisan government.

   Any bets on how long that would last. Republicans are not known for helping anyone unless there is a dollar in it for them.

Right-Wing Readying to Impeach Obama

  These fucking lunatics have no shame.


No I'm not kidding. 

Not even sworn in yet "Impeach Obama" sites are popping up on Facebook and the web.

On Facebook, an "Impeach Barack Obama" group has attracted more than 700 members and a lively debate about the Democrat's election victory on Tuesday over Republican John McCain.

Another Facebook group of the same name has 160 members and urges others to join because "we might as well get a head start on the impeachment of Obama."

"There are a lot of Americans out there that do not fully understand the concept of Socialism or Communism which is why they've elected Obama as president," it says.

Yet another Facebook group, "Impeach Barack Hussein Obama," has 160 members.

There's a bumper sticker

And more:

People forming these Impeach Obama groups seem to be anticipating that President Barack Obama will almost certainly commit impeachable acts. Therefore the Impeach Obama groups are being formed to be ready when such a thing occurs.

What impeachable offenses do these Impeach Obama groups anticipate? One group, Impeach Barack Hussein Obama, suggests that some of Obama's policy proposals are unconstitutional, hence impeachable offenses.
- Associated Content

They anticipate that he will ban assault weapons and bring back the "Fairness Doctrine." But while they "think" these may be unconstitutional they are sure he will do something unconstitutional.

Here's the money quote:

One problem is that American Presidents make unconstitutional proposals all the time. Often it is not apparent that a policy proposal in unconstitutional until the Supreme Court says that it is. It's therefore a stretch the want to impeach a President for making the proposal in the first place before it is officially determined to be unconstitutional. A President trying to continue the policy after the Supreme Court strikes it down might be another matter.

You mean like all the policies of George Bush, especially regarding Gitmo - the policies he continued even after SCOTUS determined to be unconstitutional - that he has NOT been impeached for?

Here's one of the many problems with not impeaching George Bush.  If one of the reasons the Democratic leadership thought that they would increase civility if they didn't impeach Bush for his actual crimes . . . well that's not going to happen. 

The vultures of the Republican party  are already circling the White House waiting for him to make one mistake, no matter how minor.

These are the politics that Republicans employed against Clinton in it's rawest form. They are already letting us know what they will use against Obama.  They aren't even waiting until he does something.  They are ready, NOW!

Our leadership's unwillingness to fight and impeach for actual high crimes did nothing to mollify the other side and get them to a bipartisan Kum-By-yah moment. 

They want nothing of it.  And in the mean time we are letting criminals go free. 

Obama has done nothing.  He hasn't even put his hand on the Bible and recited the oath of Office and they are ready to take him down.     ( DKos )

Polls Show Lack Of Support For Automaker Bailout

   While the auto industry's push for government aid is gaining steam in Washington, a lot of Americans don't think bailing out the industry should be one of President-elect Barack Obama's economic priorities.

According to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, 47% of adults believe "providing loans and other help" to auto companies is "not very important." USAToday

   So who comes up next for a bailout? The cable companies?

Monday, November 10, 2008

VP Wannabe Sarah Palin's Clothing Problem

  and just to think. We could have had a natural-born female comedian as our Vice President! The comedy show would have been endless!

  Fear not my friends because Mrs. Palin is still intent on being the brunt of jokes coming from the late-night comedy crowd.

   Submitted to your approval is the latest news on " ClothingGate."

 By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

  Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin spent part of the weekend going through her clothing to determine what belongs to the Republican Party after it spent $150,000-plus on a wardrobe for the vice presidential nominee, according to Palin's father.

Palin's father, Chuck Heath, said his daughter spent Saturday trying to figure out what belongs to the RNC.      More Here

   I have an idea for Sarah. Instead of going through the clothes trying to figure out what belongs to the RNC, maybe she should just look at the labels. Chances are that if the label says Wal-Mart or Salvation Army, then the clothes aren't hers and they should be returned.

  Mrs. Sarah Palin. The gift that keeps on giving!

Financial Bailout ( SCAM ) To Wall Street

  As if we did not know that the friends of Bush wouldn't be making out like bandits at the taxpayer expense.


Too big to fail. Or to pay taxes. Or to be identified.

by SusanG  Mon Nov 10, 2008

So. Quite the morning for bailout revelations.

First, we learn that nestled into the Paulson bailout was a secret windfall of $140 billion in tax breaks for the banks. A tax break, mind you, that it looks like the Treasury Department didn't have the authority to grant:

The financial world was fixated on Capitol Hill as Congress battled over the Bush administration's request for a $700 billion bailout of the banking industry. In the midst of this late-September drama, the Treasury Department issued a five-sentence notice that attracted almost no public attention.

But corporate tax lawyers quickly realized the enormous implications of the document: Administration officials had just given American banks a windfall of as much as $140 billion.

..."Did the Treasury Department have the authority to do this? I think almost every tax expert would agree that the answer is no," said George K. Yin, the former chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the nonpartisan congressional authority on taxes. "They basically repealed a 22-year-old law that Congress passed as a backdoor way of providing aid to banks."

Then we learn that the tax break isn't the only secret the feds are keeping. Apparently, it's now none of our damn business which banks actually laid their hands on the stash:

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return.

Of course, there was other more open news ... like that AIG got its umpteenth cash infusion, bringing its total thus far to $150 billion. Don't even think of complaining. It's the one piece of news you're allowed to know. So shut up and be grateful for the crumb of information you're financing.

You are not allowed to know where your money is going, fellow citizens. You are not permitted to know where $2 trillion of your money has gone, fellow taxpayers. Just shut up, pay up and quit whining about your job losses and your lack of health insurance and your petty little home foreclosures. When banks are bailed out and CEO's are rewarded, it's patriotic. When the taxpayer wants some relief, it's chiseling. You see, you're small enough to fail, so they're going to let you. And if you think you're ever going to know where all that $2 trillion went ... forget it. You're asking for information way above your station in life.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

8 Year Old Taught to Shoot By his Father

  By now you all know about the 8 year old boy in Arizona who faces double- homicide charges after he allegedly shot and killed both his father and another male boarder. This is a sad story in America.

  Now I have an update.


A man who police believe was shot and killed by his 8-year-old son had consulted a Roman Catholic priest about whether the boy should have a gun and had taught him how to use firearms, the clergyman said.

The Very Rev. John Paul Sauter said the man, Vincent Romero, 29, wanted his son to learn how to hunt, but the boy's stepmother, Tiffany, suggested that he have a BB gun.

  So what are the police saying about the shooting?

The boy, who faces two counts of premeditated murder, did not act on the spur of the moment, St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick said.

"I'm not accusing anybody of anything at this point," he said Saturday. "But we're certainly going to look at the abuse part of this. He's 8 years old. He just doesn't decide one day that he's going to shoot his father and shoot his father's friend for no reason. Something led up to this."

On Friday, a judge ordered a psychological evaluation of the boy. Under Arizona law, charges can be filed against anyone 8 or older.

The boy had no record of complaints with Arizona Child Protective Services, said Apache County Attorney Brad Carlyon.

"He had no record of any kind, not even a disciplinary record at school," he said. "He has never been in trouble before."

   The child did confess to police but it seems that the police did not read the boy his rights and they also appear to have questioned the boy without either his parent being there or an attorney present.

   I will follow this story.

HBO Snags Obama Documentary

  Home Box Office Got the rights to a piece on Barack Obama's run for the White House.

CBC News

"Senator Obama's history-making race for the White House has given our film a perfect framework to explore the pulse of the country at this vital moment in our history," Norton said, according to industry publication Hollywood Reporter.

"We believe this film will capture a tipping point in American history when a new generation of leadership emerged and old prejudices were finally vaulted over."

  Norton would be one Edward Norton, who in a co-producer of the film. Release date is expected to be in 2009.

Heartbreaking Story On Our Healthcare System

  Hidden Hurt, a story on the lack of healthcare in SW Virginia, takes a look at the 800 or so volunteers who provide free medical care to residents of the area for three days of the year. the fact that doctors,nurses, and dentist have to do this at all in the United States is a sad indictment of our healthcare system as it now operates.

Hidden Hurt comes by way of the Washington Post Magazine, which I highly suggest that you read it.

  But for three days a year, more than 800 volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses and other health-care workers come from all over Virginia and beyond to this isolated place in Appalachia to provide free medical care to those who cannot afford it. Sick and hurting people by the hundreds gather and wait for the gates of the Wise County Fairgrounds to swing open -- their presence a testament to the country's health-care crisis.

  We all know that people in this kind of situation exist all over America and this shit needs to change.

Sunday Talk-show Lineup

  Today's Sunday chats should be interesting after the drubbing that McCain and the GOP took this past Tuesday.

Meet The Press:  grumpy old man John McCain, Charlie Cook, Kelly O'Donnell and Chuck Todd.

Face The Nation:  James Rubin, McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin,Gov. Ed Rendell , Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Fox News: Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA, the unreal part), Tom Ridge, and permanent GOP minority designer Karl Rove.

    There should be quite a lot of blame and back-stabbing on a few of today's shows among the GOP guest.