Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cynthia Davis, State Legislator, MO

In her June newsletter, State Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-MO) provided several “commentaries” to a press release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on a summer food program.

The program provides “food during the summer for thousands of low-income Missouri children who rely on the school cafeteria for free or reduced-price meals during the regular school year.”

Davis, who serves as the chairwoman of the Missouri House Special Standing Committee on Children and Families, questioned whether the program is “warranted,” and extolled the hidden benefits of child hunger:
Who’s buying dinner? Who is getting paid to serve the meal? Churches and other non-profits can do this at no cost to the taxpayer if it is warranted. [...] Bigger governmental programs take away our connectedness to the human family, our brotherhood and our need for one another. [...] Anyone under 18 can be eligible? Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals? Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break. [...] It really is all about increasing government spending, which means an increase in taxes for us to buy more free lunches and breakfasts.
A report by Feeding America found that one in five Missouri children currently lives with hunger. Taking apart Davis’ other arguments, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial noted that most of the summer feeding program sites are actually hosted by churches and that the program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fed 3.7 million meals at a total cost of less than $9.5 million last summer — “a pretty good use of federal money.

Tom Vilsack: Secretary of ADM, Monsanto, and Co(r)nAgra

Obama's appointments have basically sucked. Via Grist, we now find Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack sampling the shit up the assholes of BIG AG with his long and agile tongue:
Yet again, Vilsack bows to ethanol gods

* Tom Philpott
Posted 6:31 AM on 30 Jun 2009
“The President has been very, very clear about this. He wants the biofuel industry to take hold in this country. He wants us to break our addiction to foreign oil. The only way we can do that is by producing our own fuel and the biofuels industry is the way we are going to do that.

“Corn-based ethanol will continue to be part of the solution but by no means the only way to produce ethanol.

“We are working very hard to make sure that we maintain the infrastructure of the ethanol industry in the United States ... There will likely be some companies that will succeed and some companies that won’t, but it won’t be because we haven’t been giving them an opportunity to succeed.”
—USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, in an interview with Reuters
This is NOT "selective quotation." Vilsack is, indeed, a fucking tool of the CorpoRats and always has been. Manufacturing 'bio-fuels' from food crops is IN-FUCKING-SANE, unless all you care about is the financial health of BIG AG.

Which, it appears now (and for some time, actually) is all the CorpoRat Obamanistas DO give anything like a fuck about...

It's (STILL) The Fucking Oil, You Morons!

I said at the beginning there were always three (or four, depending on how you paerse 'em) prime imperatives for the USer occupation: 1) Remove Iraq as any kind of threat to Israel--1a) preferably through the balkanization/partition of the country into irreconcilably feuding bantustans; 2) gain control over the distribution and allocation of the oil; and 3) establish a permanent military presence in the region from bases in Iraq that put the whole of western Asia under USer tactical bombsights.

Now that the USer "combat troops" have been "withdrawn" to the 30 or so "temporary" bases the USers have built over the last six years, and ensured that they're going to stay IN IRAQ for the foreseeable future --if not exactly IN the cities, at least close enough to bomb the shit out of them should they become restive or threaten the oil-- it's mission accomplished in Iraq, with "international" oil companies (Brit and USer) now bidding to exploit the rest of the country's supplies, and Israel's north flank protected, and the Kurds threatening to partition the country again.

And no exit in sight...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Climate Crisis Deniers

Krugman in today's NYTimes, dares call it what it is: Treason:
So the House passed the Waxman-Markey climate-change bill. In political terms, it was a remarkable achievement.

But 212 representatives voted no. A handful of these no votes came from representatives who considered the bill too weak, but most (all but 8 Pukes. W) rejected the bill because they rejected the whole notion that we have to do something about greenhouse gases.

And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.

To fully appreciate the irresponsibility and immorality of climate-change denial, you need to know about the grim turn taken by the latest climate research.

The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected: ice caps are shrinking, arid zones spreading, at a terrifying rate. And according to a number of recent studies, catastrophe — a rise in temperature so large as to be almost unthinkable — can no longer be considered a mere possibility. It is, instead, the most likely outcome if we continue along our present course.

Thus researchers at M.I.T., who were previously predicting a temperature rise of a little more than 4 degrees by the end of this century, are now predicting a rise of more than 9 degrees. Why? Global greenhouse gas emissions are rising faster than expected; some mitigating factors, like absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans, are turning out to be weaker than hoped; and there’s growing evidence that climate change is self-reinforcing — that, for example, rising temperatures will cause some arctic tundra to defrost, releasing even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Temperature increases on the scale predicted by the M.I.T. researchers and others would create huge disruptions in our lives and our economy. As a recent authoritative U.S. government report points out, by the end of this century New Hampshire may well have the climate of North Carolina today, Illinois may have the climate of East Texas, and across the country extreme, deadly heat waves — the kind that traditionally occur only once in a generation — may become annual or biannual events.

In other words, we’re facing a clear and present danger to our way of life, perhaps even to civilization itself. How can anyone justify failing to act?

Well, sometimes even the most authoritative analyses get things wrong. And if dissenting opinion-makers and politicians based their dissent on hard work and hard thinking — if they had carefully studied the issue, consulted with experts and concluded that the overwhelming scientific consensus was misguided — they could at least claim to be acting responsibly.

But if you watched the debate on Friday, you didn’t see people who’ve thought hard about a crucial issue, and are trying to do the right thing. What you saw, instead, were people who show no sign of being interested in the truth. They don’t like the political and policy implications of climate change, so they’ve decided not to believe in it — and they’ll grab any argument, no matter how disreputable, that feeds their denial.

Indeed, if there was a defining moment in Friday’s debate, it was the declaration by Representative Paul Broun of Georgia that climate change is nothing but a “hoax” that has been “perpetrated out of the scientific community.” I’d call this a crazy conspiracy theory, but doing so would actually be unfair to crazy conspiracy theorists. After all, to believe that global warming is a hoax you have to believe in a vast cabal consisting of thousands of scientists — a cabal so powerful that it has managed to create false records on everything from global temperatures to Arctic sea ice.

Yet Mr. Broun’s declaration was met with applause.

Given this contempt for hard science, I’m almost reluctant to mention the deniers’ dishonesty on matters economic. But in addition to rejecting climate science, the opponents of the climate bill made a point of misrepresenting the results of studies of the bill’s economic impact, which all suggest that the cost will be relatively low.

Still, is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn’t it politics as usual?

Yes, it is — and that’s why it’s unforgivable. (Emphases supplied. W
Entrepreneurs--scientific, commercial, and political--hate the Precautionary Principle. And it is probably too late for it to have any noticeable effect in the climate crisis, except to prevent possible (inevitable?) diminishments of necessary regulations.

What IS the Precautionary Principle? Via Wiki:
The precautionary principle is a moral and political principle which states that if an action or policy might cause severe or irreversible harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action.

The Precautionary Principle implies that there is a responsibility to intervene and protect the public from exposure to harm where scientific investigation discovers a plausible risk in the course of having screened for other suspected causes. The protections that mitigate suspected risks can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that more robustly support an alternative explanation. In some legal systems, as in the law of the European Union, the precautionary principle is also a general and compulsory principle of law.
Sadly, employing the precautionary principle now would be very much similar to learning your GF's knocked up and deciding THEN to use a condom...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

ABC, Obama, Gibson, CNN, Sawyer & Howie, the K...

On the Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIRblog) blog, Isabel Macdonald waxes uncustomarily loquacious on the anosognostic proclivities of virtually EVERY public and media figure in the official "health-care" debate, with a longish comment on the mendacities displayed and papered over in the Obama "health-care special" earlier this week, concluding--as is inevitable when he's involved in anything in any way--that Howard Kurtz defines for all time the meaning of "fucking PUTZ, Diane Sawyer is a co-opted, empty-headed blonde slag, Charlie Gibson is a dolt and a willing tool, ABC is no unbiased broker or forum, and Obama is the BIGGEST disappointment since edible undies:
ABC's Diane Sawyer claimed (CNN, 6/22/09) the network's June 24 forum on President Barack Obama's healthcare plan would feature "questions from every single vantage point."

Yet, ignoring calls from FAIR (Action Alert, 6/22/09) and advocacy groups such as Health Care Now!, the special did not include a single question from an advocate of single-payer national health insurance—despite the fact that the single-payer option polls well with the public (New York Times/CBS, 1/11-15/09) and is seen by many experts as the best way of expanding coverage to the uninsured while also controlling costs.

In the wake of well-publicized flak ABC received from the Republican Party over the special, the Republicans' position that Obama's plan amounted to a "government takeover of healthcare" was reflected in the questions selected by ABC.

ABC's Charles Gibson asked Obama directly to respond to Republican criticism. Meanwhile, one of ABC's hand-selected questioners said he was concerned with "the big brother fear," asking, "How far is government going to go in reference to my personal life and healthcare treatments?" Another questioner, identified as an M.D., said he was "concerned" with "the government taking over healthcare."

The insurance industry's perspective was also well-represented in the forum, with ABC medical editor Timothy Johnson citing "critics" who say Obama's plan "would eventually put private insurers out of business." ABC also featured a question to Obama from the CEO of the major insurance company Aetna, as well as the head of the Lewin Group--which is owned by another major health insurance company, the United Healthcare Group.

(Four medical practitioners, the president of the American Medical Association, two family members of patients, a former government health official, two human resources managers and a small business owner were also selected by ABC to ask questions to the president.)

David Westin, president of ABC, had defended ABC's selection of guests for the forum, saying, "We will include a variety of perspectives coming from private individuals asking the president questions and taking issue with him, as they see fit." Just days before the forum, Sawyer stated on CNN (Reliable Sources, 6/22/09) that it was going to be "a room full of widely diverse ideas in which people who actually experience the reality of front-line healthcare are going to get a chance to pose their challenging questions to the president."

Yet the issue of single-payer was never raised by either the ABC interviewers or ABC's hand-selected guests, despite the fact that it is popular, and favored by 59 percent of physicians, according to recent peer-reviewed survey (Annals of Internal Medicine, 4/1/08). And despite the fact that even Obama's own doctor has criticized the government's plan in favor of a single-payer system.

In the entire ABC healthcare special, the single-payer option was only once mentioned, and dismissively, by Obama himself, in response to Republican charges that his healthcare proposal is a "Trojan horse" for "socialized medicine."

Yet, tellingly, for the corporate media's most influential media critic--Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz-– the main concern vis a vis the ABC forum was not the silencing of a popular reform proposal. Rather, it was the question of whether health insurance companies and other industry perspectives would be sufficiently represented in the forum.

In a segment on the ABC healthcare forum on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Kurtz stated to Sawyer:

You have the ultimate guest for this special, the president. Why not also include guests from the insurance industry, the hospital industry, the drug companies who also have a stake in this health care battle?

It would be a surprise to many Americans that they do not, in Kurtz's view, have a stake in healthcare reform.

But then again, corporate media's longstanding blackout on the single-payer option shows that corporate journalists have long (treated) the views of citizens as unimportant to the healthcare debate.
CorpoRat media are owned and operated solely in the interests of the bottom line and elite hegemony. In the CorpoRat State, corporate media ARE State media.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What is the problem with Michael Jackson?

Practical "deconstruction."

DOTOF™: Jon Schwarz/A Tiny Revolution, apt and apposite as always...

UPDATE: You CANNOT make this shit up!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The American "Right"

Via Juan Cole's Informed Comment blog:
The fact is that despite the bluster of the American Right that Something Must be Done, the United States is not a neutral or benevolent player in Iran. (And never has been. W) Washington overthrew the elected government of Iran in 1953 over oil nationalization, and installed the megalomaniac and oppressive Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, who gradually so alienated all social classes in Iran that he was overthrown in a popular revolution in 1978-1979. The shah had a national system of domestic surveillance and tossed people in jail for the slightest dissidence, (where they were tortured and sometimes killed. W) and was supported to the hilt by the United States government. So past American intervention has not been on the side of let us say human rights.

More recently, the US backed the creepy and cult-like Mojahedin-e Khalq (People's Holy Warriors or MEK), which originated in a mixture of communist Stalinism and fundamentalist Islam. The MEK is a terrorist organization and has blown things up inside Iran, so the Pentagon's ties with them are wrong in so many ways. The MEK, by the way, has a very substantial lobby in Washington DC and has some congressmen in its back pocket, and is supported by the less savory elements of the Israel lobbies such as Daniel Pipes and Patrick Clawson. I am not saying they should be investigated for material support of terrorism, since I am appalled by the unconstitutional breadth of that current DOJ tactic, but I am signalling that the US imperialist Right has been up to very sinister things in Iran for decades. A person who worked in the Pentagon once alleged to me that then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was privately pushing for using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. And Dick Cheney is so attached to launching war on Iran that he characterized attempts to deflect such plans as a "conspiracy." Given what the US did to Fallujah, it strikes me as unlikely that a military invasion of Iran would be good for that country's civic life. And there are rather disadvantages to being nuked, even by the kindliest of WASP gentlemen of Mr. Rumsfeld's ilk.

Moreover, very unfortunately, US politicians are no longer in a position to lecture other countries about their human rights.(Here's where the blog name comes in. W) The kind of unlicensed, city-wide demonstrations being held in Tehran last week would not be allowed to be held in the United States. Senator John McCain led the charge against Obama for not having sufficiently intervened in Iran. At the Republican National Committee convention in St. Paul, 250 protesters were arrested shortly before John McCain took the podium. Most were innocent activists and even journalists. Amy Goodman and her staff were assaulted. In New York in 2004, 'protest zones' were assigned, and 1800 protesters were arrested, who have now been awarded civil damages by the courts. Spontaneous, city-wide demonstrations outside designated 'protest zones' would be illegal in New York City, apparently. In fact, the Republican National Committee has undertaken to pay for the cost of any lawsuits by wronged protesters, which many observers fear will make the police more aggressive, since they will know that their municipal authorities will not have to pay for civil damages.

The number of demonstrators arrested in Tehran on Saturday is estimated at 550 or so, which is less than those arrested by the NYPD for protesting Bush policies in 2004.

I applaud the Iranian public's protests against a clearly fraudulent election, and deplore the jackboot tactics that the regime is using to quell them. But it is important to remember that the US itself was moved by Bush and McCain toward a 'Homeland Security' national security state that is intolerant of public protest and throws the word 'terrorist' around about dissidents. Obama and the Democrats have not addressed this creeping desecration of the Bill of Rights, and until they do, the pronouncements of self-righteous US senators and congressmen on the travesty in Tehran will be nothing more that imperialist hypocrisy of the most abject sort.

American politicians should keep their hands off Iran and let the Iranians work this out. If the reformers have enough widespread public support, they will develop tactics that will change the situation. If they do not, then they will have to regroup and work toward future change. US covert operations and military interventions have caused enough bloodshed and chaos. If the US had left Mosaddegh alone in 1953, Iran might now be a flourishing democracy and no Green Movement would have been necessary. (Emphases supplied. W.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Richard Nixon/Billy Graham/CBS News

Editing is hard!

Graham seems a moderating presence, innit? Now, here's what the transcript actually records Graham saying (mp3, via A Tiny Revolution):
NIXON: The thing that you've really got to emphasize to him, Billy, is that this anti-Semitism is strongly than we think, you know. It's unfortunate, but this has happened to the Jews, it happened in Spain, it happened in Germany, it's happening—now it's going to happen in America if these people don't start behaving.

GRAHAM: Well, you know I told you one time that the bible talks about two kinds of Jews. One is called the Synagogue of Satan. They're the ones putting out the pornographic literature. They're the ones putting out these obscene films.

[three minutes of talking]

NIXON: It may be they have a death wish, that's been the problem with our Jewish friends for centuries.

GRAHAM: Well, they've always been through the Bible at least, God's timepiece. He has judged them from generation to generation and yet used them and they've kept their identity.

Rahm Emanuel/Barack Obama

VIA TPMuckraker:
Emanuel: Obama 'Open To Alternatives' To Public Option
By Brian Beutler - June 24, 2009, 9:16AM

After being pressed twice yesterday (once by USA Today's David Jackson, then again by ABC's Jake Tapper) at yesterday's press conference, President Obama declined to insist upon a public option. "[W]e are still early in this process," Obama said, "so we have not drawn lines in the sand other than that reform has to control costs and that it has to provide relief to people who don't have health insurance or are underinsured."
There are a whole host of other issues where ultimately I may have a strong opinion, and I will express those to members of Congress as this is shaping up. It's too early to say that. Right now I will say that our position is that a public plan makes sense.
Well, some key senators are saying that Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has already reached out to them--and not to express a "strong opinion" about the public option.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met last night at the U.S. Capitol with Senate Democrats and told them Obama is "open to alternatives" to a new government insurance program in order to get legislation overhauling the health-care system to his desk, said Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota.

"His message was, it's critical that you do this," Conrad said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana said Emanuel urged the senators to seek Republican support and didn't discourage them from pursuing the use of non-profit cooperatives, an idea Conrad has proposed.
Conrad says that, unlike the public option, his co-op proposal can attract Republican support, but at this point the evidence suggests that it's been a good tool for attracting conservative Democrat support and that Republicans remain broadly opposed to several aspects of the reform proposals on the table.
Anosognosiac symptoms include, in that greasy fucker Emanuel's case, the inability to react to GOPukes ass-fucking you in the name of spurious "cooperation." Conrad, too, seems to be afflicted, with his assertion that some skeevy "co-op" plan is NOT designed to suck all the air out of the meager impetus to provide a 'public option' which, of course, is a specious effort to foreclose forever the option of universal, single-payer health care.

Rep. Duncan Hunter's Got It

PZ Myers (Pharyngula) has a network of folks who send him links to on-line polls. Mostly they are like this one: Stupid, leading questions meant to elicit stupid, misled answers. Often they have to do with religious supersitions, like "Do you believe in God?"

We Pharyngulites, in our thousands, then set about to skew the results wildly and improbably against the impetus of the leading queries. Today, Pharyngulites are overloading the Congressional website of California GOPuke/Flying-monkey/fucktard Duncan Hunter.

Warning: When I tried to access the page, I couldn't get in. Pharyngulosis had occurred. We crashed the fucker...
Even if he does try to clumsily word his polls to drive answers towards the one he wants — we're smart enough to see through that and boldly click where we want. Let's surprise Congressman Duncan Hunter with the vigor of our response.
Do you support a government imposed healthcare policy?
even if it requires tax increases. 54.2%
No, we can reform health-care without a government-run plan that limits choice. 44.4%
Unsure 1.4%
The numbers/percent cited in the quoted post were accurate as of 9:07, EDT. Pharyngulate at will, friends! Late reports have "Yes" at over 80%. You too can join the festivities.

UPDATE: At 9:25 AM, MDT, 82 percent had voted "Yes." The page is loading very slowly and baulkily. Also,our activities seem to have awakened the sleeping Freepers. Redoubled efforts are required. Remember Chicago: Vote early and often!

UPDATE (4:12 PM MDT): That fucking pussy took the poll down.