Be INFORMED

Friday, December 09, 2011

Friday Funnies: Politician’s Edition

Jay Leno: "There was an embarrassing moment for Rick Perry. He announced that it was the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Jam."

"Joe Biden visited Greece last week on the debt crisis. I don't want to say the vice president doesn't know much, but he kept asking for John Travolta."

"Herman Cain dropped out. Our writers and I were despondent. But sometimes when God closes a door He opens a window. And standing outside that window is a circus peanut wearing a badger. Donald Trump will moderate a Republican debate Dec. 27. Thank you, Jesus."

"Cain says that he and his wife...everything is fine between them. Though it's not certain this wife still trusts him 100%. Like today Mrs. Cain called Michele Bachmann and asked if she could pray him gay. Does it work that way? Can you pray a guy gay?"

"Newt Gingrich met with Donald Trump yesterday. There's a good combination – two guys, 6 wives, 0 chance of either one of them ever becoming president of the United States."

"The head of the Federal Aviation Administration … has been arrested on charges of drunk driving. I don't want to say how much the guy drank, but when they pulled him over, he was driving the beverage cart.'"

"The good news: unemployment is down and people are out looking for work. That's good news. In fact today Herman Cain applied at Domino's, Pizza Hut, Round Table, and Little Caesars..."

David Letterman:  "Rod Blagojevich is going away for 14 Years in prison. His barber got the death penalty."

"Newt Gingrich did not make it on the Most Fascinating People list. He made it on another list of 2011 though: Most Fascinating Newts."

"Herman Cain, the Herminator, said 'I will not be silent, and I will not go away.' Then he shut up and left."

Friday Funnies 1: Republican Debate Hosted By Donald Trump?

   This will be the one debate that I will not miss and you can bet that his comedy will not need a laugh-track. Speaking of laughs.

It's On!! Donald and the 7 Dwarfs Get Ready to Rumble!    Thu Dec 08, 2011   by cassandracarolina

Question: What’s the difference between Donald Trump and the Pope?
Answer:  You only have to kiss the Pope’s ring.

The Donald is once again jonesing for relevance and ratings. Undecided on his next course of action, he’s torn between the roles of Kingmaker and King. If only there was some way to do both. Now, as the “moderator” of the upcoming debate on December 27th, The Donald has found the answer! He can do both!

As if the GOP campaign had not already degenerated into  a gladiatorial spectacle, it’s about to take a turn for the more absurd as The Donald sets the stage for a verbal brawl with the 7 Intellectual Dwarfs. In this race for the lowest of common denominators, we’re headed for the Marianas Trench. Follow along below the curious life-form of the deep for more on each of our contenders.

Michele “Squeeky” Bachmann, doubling down on her hateful pronouncements, has declared that yes, gay people can marry! Hallelujah!! Oh… wait. They have to marry someone of the opposite sex! Well, that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? I mean, who in the world would enter into a marriage like that, where one (or both) of the participants was clearly not committed to that sort of a heterosexual “lifestyle”? You’d have to be batshit cra… Oh. Sorry. Well, at least she can rely on her sham spouse for fashion advice. Judging from her recent debate outfits, it looks like he’s been playing a cruel joke on little Squeeky. No worries, though. She puts on a good face (a colorful one, anyway) and soldiers on.

Newt “Meanie” Gingrich has dashed the Christmas hopes of many a child with his Dickensian vision of child labor as a pathway to continued poverty. No gifts for you kids! In fact, Christmas morning, since school’s out, it’s the perfect time to get down on your bloody and bruised hands and knees and give those school floors the thorough scrubbing they deserve. Then back home to your miserable hovel for some macaroni and cheese for the big day. Meanwhile in a mansion far, far away, Stepfordian wife-du-jour “Blingy” will try in vain to force her Botoxed face into some semblance of a smile as she unwraps Newt’s holiday appeasement gift from Tiffany’s.

Jon “Smarty” Huntsman has wisely declared that he would not kiss the ring – or any other portion – of the Donald. Smarty knows that there’s nothing to be gained by bringing a supercomputer to a knife fight, so he’s diligently working the Granite State retail politics circuit in hopes of a strong showing with the denizens of Dixville Notch. 

Ron “Grampy” Paul, the voice of reason in this field of policy lightweights, continues ambling along with a respectable showing, particularly among young people (with the promise of legalized marijuana) and aging adherants of Ayn “Icy” Rand, who see in this quirky septuagenarian the chance to get all those young people off their lawns, once and for all.

Rick “Goofy” Perry continues reminding late-night comedy audiences of his aw-shucks inability to remember more than two things at a time. His latest stream-of-unconsciousness advertisement equates gays in the military with the demise of school prayer. In his spare time, he’s studying his own team’s polling, which shows him with a “nice path” in Iowa. Turn the paper around, Rick. His latest gaffe: referring to the New Hampshire primaries as “caucuses”.  Um, Rick… it’s the “Granite State”, not the “take it for Granite State”.

Mitt “Floppy” Romney, no longer clinging to his low-profile “prevent defense” strategy of remaining aloof as other contenders fall by the wayside, has kicked his campaign into second gear. He has even deigned to meet with (gasp) Fox News and other lower life forms to endure insipid interviews, where he has allowed the “real Mitt” to emerge: an irascible, petulant man, seething at the growing probability that he is not actually the “inevitable” nominee despite nearly a decade of campaigning.

Rick “Creepy” Santorum`remains concerned, very concerned, that America’s moral values are falling like glitter off a cheap Christmas card. He, and he alone, stands between American families and the horrific prospect of people sharing the holidays in some unnatural way with their – gasp! – loved ones. He’ll continue his campaign until conditions improve or he runs out of cash. Can you guess which will happen first?? Good for you!

In Memoriam:  Herman “Gropey” Cain has dropped off the radar and through the trap door of oblivion, recovering somewhere from his pivotal meeting with Gloria, and probably in hiding away at a rehab clinic for people addicted to inappropriate workplace behavior. With the onset of winter, he’ll at least be able to keep warm burning the now-useless copies of his epic autobiography.

Originally posted to cassandracarolina on Thu Dec 08,
Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A New York Spider Gave Me an Insight into US Private Healthcare

Published on Sunday, December 4, 2011 by the Sunday Observer/UK

Written by Laurie Penny
Occupy Wall Street is right – a rash of bites showed me how private healthcare keeps Americans cowed and compliant

It started with a spider. Someone with a taste for narrative justice might call it retribution, but there's really no moral correlation between the wisdom of absconding with a relative stranger after a party and waking up the next morning in Brooklyn with a rash of poisonous bites on your arm. When the angels of sexual continence want to punish you, they send crabs not spiders.

I assumed, at first, that the maddeningly itchy marks were the work of common-or-flophouse New York bedbugs, but 12 hours later, with my right arm swollen to the width and purplish color of a prize turnip, my friend identified the hallmarks of the brown recluse spider, and uttered words I had hoped never to hear on this side of the Atlantic: "You should really get that checked out by a doctor."

I first came to New York to write about the emerging social justice movements associated with Occupy Wall Street. Through my conversations with the protesters in Zuccotti Park, I began to understand how profoundly the stranglehold of American private healthcare keeps ordinary people cowed and compliant in the land of the notionally free.

It's not just the 59 million Americans living without health insurance and unable to access treatment for everyday maladies without crippling expense. It's the millions more who dare not risk a dispute with their boss for fear of losing their medical cover, who expect to remortgage their homes in old age to meet the costs of failing health, or who live in fear of bankruptcy should they develop a chronic condition or have an accident.

The notion of a society that sanctions companies to profit from sickness feels barbaric enough, without then forcing ordinary people to choose between medical treatment and the financial future of their families. President Obama's attempt to reform the system in 2009 roundly failed to remove healthcare as a source of perennial anxiety for most American citizens, or to lighten the dead hand of the market on medical provision in the US.

Socialized healthcare is in my blood but, unfortunately last Wednesday, so was a hefty dose of spider venom and several billion extra bacteria – the unfriendly sort that make an infected limb sweat and swell like a rotten root vegetable. I had travel insurance, but no idea if it stretched to the snacking habits of urban arachnids. So I uttered the words familiar to any uninsured or precariously insured American: "I'll just wait for a little bit and see if it gets better."

Had I waited another 24 hours, I might have lost my arm. By the time I was persuaded to go to the emergency response unit at Beth Israel hospital I could no longer move the limb, which was developing worrying purple track-marks. The triage nurse sent me straight through to ER, where I was given a bunk next to a groaning man in his mid-30s who, like me, had been so worried about the cost of treatment that he had allowed an infection to spread, in this case from a rotten tooth. He was already missing several teeth. He told me he was a postal worker with no health insurance, and that he wouldn't have come for treatment had his girlfriend not driven him to hospital when he collapsed with a fever.

Compared to the accident and emergency unit at my local London hospital, the waiting period was civilized; it was a mere hour before a stern-looking registrar arrived to take my money. He explained the covering clauses of my travel insurance and showed me where to sign on several complicated forms. When I explained I was unable to do so because my arm wasn't working, he gave me a look that suggested I'd have had to find a way to sign even if I'd come in with all four limbs off. I signed with my left hand.

After that, the service was exceptional. I was whisked off to intensive care for intravenous antibiotics. I was put in a quiet bed near a window, with no cracks or mildew in the walls, and brought cool water and a clean towel. And when, in the middle of the night, I went into near-fatal anaphylactic shock, the staff's reaction was swift and efficient. I felt, in other words like a valued customer. But it also meant that, at 2am and thousands of miles from home, I was already wondering how I would afford the prescription for all the antibiotics I needed.

This is the difference that social medicine makes to the fabric and quality of life in a civilized country. When I finally wobbled out of the shiny lobby of the Beth Israel, clutching a bag of drugs, follow-up advice and complimentary hospital toiletries, I understood what it really means to be without means in America. Those who are wealthy enough to afford decent healthcare have their needs met in relative luxury, while those who are poor live in fear of getting ill, worrying that one misadventure might leave you with yet more debts to pay off.

No amount of fresh towels and edible breakfasts can make up for the feeling that your health is less important than the capacity of your checkbook. Which is why children and pensioners are still standing in Manhattan's financial district with placards telling the world they cannot afford healthcare, as police patrol the perimeter. And why, when I got out of hospital, I went straight back down to Liberty Plaza to stand with them.

© 2011 Guardian/UK

Laurie Penny is a journalist, author, feminist, reprobate. Lives in a little hovel room somewhere in London, mainly eating toast and trying to set the world to rights. Drinks too much tea. Has still not managed to quit smoking.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Newt Gingrich: The View From Overseas

       The truest piece of shit that the Republicans  have in the run for the nomination to face off against President Obama in November 2012, has finally risen to the top. That piece of crap would be none other than life-long politician, serial  adulterer, and lobbyist Newt Gingrich from the state of Georgia.

  From Neue Zurcher Zeitung, a Switzerland paper:

Again, a New Front-Runner
for America’s Republicans

By Peter Winkler
Translated By Lisa Probst
27 November 2011

Edited by Jen­nifer Pietropaoli

Switzerland - Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung - Original Article (German)
Former Speaker Gingrich’s surprising high flight
Newt Gingrich, a dinosaur of American policy, has surprisingly swung himself to the top of the list of Republican presidential hopefuls for next presidential election. The question is: How long will he be flying high?
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and a conservative opponent of President Clinton for many years, has swung to a surprising high in Republican polls in his candidacy for the presidential elections of the United States.
However, the edgy dinosaur of the Washington political establishment has been his own worst enemy, often damaging his own reputation, as in the first TV debate in his new role. In addition, Gingrich is dragging along some pretty bulky baggage from his past, with many commentators asking just how long the high flight of this controversial, sharp-tongued, bullying politician, who is often perceived as arrogant, will last.
The latest “anti-Romney”
The media is already describing Gingrich as the newest ”anti-Romney.” The Republican base seems to be testing him as an alternative to the former governor of Massachusetts, who appeared to be too slippery smooth for many conservatives.
Before Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain were already in the same boat. Their numbers in the polls fell as quickly as they rose. They had to go through the bitter experience of being the front-runner, whose words and histories are being watched much more closely than those of other candidates. Gingrich, after his Nov. 25 performance, experienced much the same thing.
In the debate about homeland security, which was organized by CNN and the conservative think tanks, the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, Gingrich pleaded for amnesty for those illegal immigrants who came a long time ago, started families and have integrated themselves into society. The Republican Party, as the party for family values, would certainly not be swayed to destroy families, he assumed. Gingrich called his suggestion humane; his rivals immediately spoke against it, calling it a “magnet for illegal immigrants” and “back door amnesty.” For many conservatives, these are the two brightest red flags in regards to immigration policy.
It’s still too early to determine the effect on voters’ favor. It was noticeable how badly Gingrich’s comments were received by the Republican base in Iowa, where the first primary elections will take place on January 3. Aside from that, Gingrich is not exactly without guile. Religious conservatives could be opposed to the fact that he is on his third marriage. His present spouse was his mistress at the time that he was up in arms against Clinton’s extra-marital escapades. Gingrich had to resign from his post as speaker after getting penalized with a record-high fine for unethical behavior in a business transaction of expense claims.
More damaging, although a more recent development, is that his consulting firm was receiving a monthly honorary sum of roughly $30,000 from mortgage giant Freddie Mac until September 2008, which obviously came for political lobbying. Freddie Mac, along with affiliated company Fannie Mae, had to be put under state control during the mortgage crisis and now belongs among the favorite targets of Republican critics of the Obama administration’s crisis management.
Miraculous recovery
“The Newt,” as Gingrich is often called, put a damper on his newly announced candidacy in May when he criticized Republican Paul Ryan’s budget proposal “right-wing social engineering,” which he said was no better than a “left-wing social engineering.” Although he apologized to Ryan, the damage was done. In June he appeared to get suffocated by his campaign bills and almost his entire election campaign staff left. Until recently, nobody thought it possible that he could ever recover from that.

CLICK HERE FOR ORIGINAL VERSION

$7.7 Trillion Rip-off Of The Taxpayer

   This is a huge issue which you are not seeing on the front pages of to many newspapers, if any, as has been noted by the author in the following article.

A $7.77 Trillion Call to Arms

by akadjian      Mon Dec 05, 2011

Bloomberg broke the biggest story of the year this past week by revealing that the Federal Reserve secretly committed 7.77 trillion dollars to bailing out banks.

7.77 trillion is more than 11 times the cost of the TARP program. Yeah, this is big. And this number was only through March 2009. 

So I think it's worth taking a few minutes to break down the importance of this story and what it means.

What does the $7.77 trillion secret program mean?

1. Any talk about being broke is bullshit.

Allen West:

I'm just not sold on this payroll tax extension, this unemployment extension. Because we're broke.

Bullshit.

Rush Limbaugh:

So what are your ideas, Candidate A? Which agencies are you gonna just wipe out? We can't go on as we are; we don't have the money.

Bullshit.

John Huntsman:

The fact of the matter is we're broke as a country, and we're going to have to look very, very carefully at foreign aid.

Bullshit.

John Boehner:

We're broke. And the American people know we're broke.

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. 

We have plenty of money when it comes to bailing out banks. Anyone saying we're broke is saying this to try to justify their own agenda.

2. We have the resources.

We can:

Fund job creation programs

Rebuild our infrastructure

Put money into education

Continue social safety net programs (as is)

Invest in energy independence

All we need is the political will. Anyone who says we can't do these things means they don't want to do these things.

If the government can come up with a $7.77 trillion secret program for banks, quit telling me we can't help out actual people.

3. You are being asked to shoulder the cost.

That's right. Why the call to pull money from Medicare, defense, Social Security, education, pensions, pay, etc?

You didn't think the banks should have to pay for their failures, did you?

This is the strategy known as privatize the profits, socialize the risks. It is the strategy behind the "too big to fail" banks.

In a nutshell, the strategy goes like this: Banks make risky trades using your deposits and, if they fail, they know they will be covered by the government because these assets are insured by the FDIC (at least up to a certain point).

Covering bank bets costs lots of money. How do we cover these bets?

Guess what? You're going to have to make do with less.

4. Our government is willing to lie to us.

This story didn't just happen.

Bloomberg had to fight in court for 2 years to get the Federal Reserve to release these details.

Why wouldn't they release the details?

Could it be because they knew no one would have gone along with this if it had been known?

The other shock is the magnitude of the lie. This is a $7.7 trillion lie.

5. The mainstream media does little to expose these lies

Much of the media continues to "back page" this story.

Ask yourself, with the exception of Bloomberg, if you've seen this story on any front pages. I haven't. 

Doesn't this sound like a front page story? Federal Reserve spent $7.7 trillion to bailout banks? Without telling anyone?

Sure sounds like front-page news to me. Yet it's vastly under reported in the media.

Would anyone in America go along with this continuous bailout if they knew about it?

6. Occupy Wall Street is right.

Say what you want about Occupy Wall Street, but this doesn't change the fact that the biggest challenge still facing our nation is our broken financial system and our government which is in bed with this system.

It's clear that very little has changed since the financial crisis. Very few new rules have been put in place.

Opponents of the Dodd-Frank reforms are trying to "block appointments of new leadership to key oversight positions, cut funding, alter policies, use cost- benefit analysis as a roadblock to reform, and make other efforts to slow the pace or water down regulations."

7. You can't get a loan at 0.01% interest

Yes, that was the rate at which we lent money to some of these banks.

In other words, free.

Of course, at the same time, we had politicians screaming that we couldn't help out people who were foreclosed upon.

If you're a person, it's your "responsibility," if you're a bank, then you're "too big to fail".

Only banks could get loans at 0.01%.

We have a double standard in our country. One set of rules for average people, another set for those with the right lobbyists.

8. The problem is not fixed. It will happen again.

The banks are still engaging in risky derivatives trading. And they're even bigger than before when they were "too big to fail".

Almost nothing has been done in the way of regulation and lobbyists are already fighting the little that has been done.

There is no incentive for banks to do anything differently and, with the government backing their bets, no risk to them.

Under these conditions, it is only inevitable that this will happen again.

9. Why is this the biggest story of the year?

It exposes everything that is wrong with our current system:

Secret government programs for banks.

The "we're broke" lie - anyone who says "we're broke" is saying it to justify some other goal.

One set of standards for banks, an entire different set for the rest of us.

The failure of the media to "front page" these issues. I bet you know what's happening with the Kardashians though.

Most importantly, we have the resources to do what's right for our country.

We just need those in office to work for our country instead of for the largest corporate donors and lobbyists.

So what can you do?

Tell anyone who will listen. It doesn't matter what political affiliation you are, this should make you angry.

Write, call, or e-mail your Congressman and ask him or her what they are doing to investigate. They should be angry too. 

Write your local paper or TV news affiliate and ask them how they're covering the story. Why isn't this news?

Support groups who are bringing these types of stories to light. Bloomberg deserves a huge amount of credit for pressing the government to release these documents.

Move your money. Banks have shown they are poor gamblers. Take away the deposits they're using to gamble.

Do whatever you can. Convince your friends. Support limiting corporate influence on Washington. Join those protesting in the streets if you can.

If this sounds like the beating of a drum you've already heard, apologies. But it's a drum that badly needs beating or nothing is ever going to change.

 

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Cain Is Gone? Newt’s At The Top?

   I am happy to see that Herman has left the game, at least for now. of course, the GOP still has nothing but human ( ? ) jokes as candidates for the White House with Newt Gingrich being the man at the top of the list for the time being. That, my friends, is a sad state of affairs not only for the Republican Party, but for America also.

Robyn E. Blumner of the St. Petersburg Times notes the statements that the Newtser made at a gathering of GOP assholes at the debate in Iowa, concerning the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Gingrich's statement on the Occupy movement, offered with self-satisfied gusto during the "Thanksgiving Family Forum" Republican presidential candidate debate in Des Moines, Iowa, says all you need to know about the man who wants the reins of the economy. Gingrich's prescription for reversing the nation's record-breaking long-term joblessness and the shrinking of the middle class is a little shoe-leather and deodorant soap.

"All of the Occupy movements start with the premise that we all owe them everything," Gingrich said. "They take over a public park they didn't pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn't pay for, to beg for food from places they don't want to pay for, to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and to sustain the park, so they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue for which we owe everything.

"Now that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country and why you need to reassert something as simple as saying to them: 'Go get a job right after you take a bath.' "

      Newt has no clue about the ills that many Americans face in this current economic disaster, or either he does not give a shit. As a candle-holder for the 1% who have screwed this country, I’d bet that he does not care.

   Fox News and the rest of the media will now push the Newt as the savior of both the Republican Party and America. When you start hearing how great Newt is, just remember his Contract On With America.

This is the Republican presidential hopeful who is rising in the polls. A man whose bloated ego is only matched by his antipathy for the plight of others. Every Republican who is unemployed, underemployed or knows and respects someone who is, should commit the phrase "Go get a job right after you take a bath" to memory. Then vote.

   America most certainly does not need a Newt sitting in the White House if only because the Newt is the prince of immorality.