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Oh, those evil Democrats believe in (gasp) income redistribution!!!

Republicans would never do anything like that, would they?

Banks to Continue Paying Dividends
By Binyamin Appelbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 30, 2008; Page A01
U.S. banks getting more than $163 billion from the Treasury Department for new lending are on pace to pay more than half of that sum to their shareholders, with government permission, over the next three years.

There you have it, folks: middle-class tax dollars being "redistributed" to shareholders.  

Next time, an explanation of how no-bid contracts to politically-connected companies brings free-market competition to government.


Should bailout funds be paid out to shareholders?

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Let's connect the dots:
Dot 1: Instant-Messagers Really Are About Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon
Dot 2: According to news reports, "the NSA began monitoring the communications of anyone "connected" to Al Qaeda figures"
Under this doctrine, even Rush Limbaugh is "connected" to al Qaeda and subject to warrantless surveillance.  In other words, the Bush Administration can now wiretap the international communications of anyone, anywhere, at their sole discretion.  And if any purely domestic communications "accidentally" make it through the filters, I'm sure the loyal Bushie in charge would never, ever consider relaying any politically useful bits to the appropriate political operatives...
(more below the fold)


Is the Bush Administration wiretapping you?

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Yes, a Bush Administration official stressed the importance of timetables:  

"The goalposts keep moving. How much money do they want us to give away unilaterally for no date certain?" Schwab asked, referring to ...

To What?  Iraq?  

No, to opening up free trade to Columbia as a reward for not killing as many union organizers as they used to (they're running out...)

Source:  Pelosi hands Bush loss on Colombia trade pact, Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Friday, April 11, 2008

Yet another example of Bush League hypocrisy - imagine what would happen if someone had asked this of General Petraeus?


Will Bush offer Congress a "date certain" in return for Iraq funding?

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Remember this blast from the past?

Pentagon pays Iraqi papers to print its 'good news' stories
The Guardian, Thursday December 1 2005
Faced with suicide bombings, claims of Iraqi death squads, and kidnappings, the Pentagon has come up with an innovative solution to solving the problems in Iraq: buying good news. Using defence contractors or intermediaries posing as freelance reporters, the military has been paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by a military propaganda unit lauding the US mission.

And this recent diary?

How the Spooks Took Over the News
by Inky99
Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 11:46:21 PM PST

No, this isn't about Operation Mockingbird, whereby the CIA put journalists and news personnel on its payroll in order to lie to the American people.

So, in the midst of all these "the Surge is Working" reports from the MSM, one wonders whether all the happy news comes from some psyops colonel in the Pentagon?


Why is the Surge Working?

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Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 06:51 AM PST

Executive Earmarking

by RepubAnon

Now that Democrats have control of Congress, President Bush has launched a highly visible talking point blizzard  on the evils of Congressional earmarks.  Congressional earmarks, we're told, are quintessential pork-barrel money wasters.

Remember, however, this is coming from a fiercely partisan President who politicized formerly non-partisan government actions, and seeks to expand the Executive Branch's power whenever possible.  This leads one to question whether it is the earmarks that Bush opposes - or the "Congressional" part.  Today's New York Times documents the answer:

From Bush, Foe of Earmarks, Similar Items
Published: February 10, 2008
The White House contends that when the president requests money for a project, it has gone through a rigorous review — by the agency, the White House or both — using objective criteria.

Of course, those criteria were applied by the likes of Lurita Doan (continued)

Continue Reading

Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 07:22 PM PST

Bush Consistent on Voting Rights

by RepubAnon

You've got to hand it to the Big W on this one: he's applying the same standard on foreign elections as he does when he's running:

Rights Group Says U.S. Is Too Eager to Endorse Suspect Elections
By HELENE COOPER (New York Times)
Published: February 1, 2008
WASHINGTON — The advocacy group Human Rights Watch on Thursday said that the Bush administration was giving lip service to the promotion of democracy around the world by endorsing suspect elections while allowing human rights violations in those countries to go unchecked.
Russia, Jordan and “even China,” the group said, have “gotten into the game” of merely using the word democracy to claim real democratic credentials.

Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 seem to have caught on - just like human rights violations in the name of fighting "terror."


Yeah, I know this subject is old news - but the Ohio Secretary of State's 334 page report (pdf warning) remains a scary thing.  Here are the highlights:

The EVEREST report was released Dec. 7 and (Larry Dignan) found it via Slashdot. Overall, the report really raises questions about election systems. Buffer overflows, leaky encryption, audit problems and firmware issues abound. One machine, the M100, from ES&S accepts counterfeit ballots. The Premier AV-TSX allows an unauthenticated user to read or tamper with its memory. The Hart EMS has audit logs that can be erased.
Source: ZDNet, Larry Dignan's blog: 2008: The year of hack the vote?

Of course, 2000, 2002 and 2004 were probably the real "hack the vote" years - but this is scary stuff.  The most frightening thing, of course is that the various state and local government put these things into use without the most elementary security testing.  I guess they figured on never losing another election...


What is the biggest danger to free and fair US elections

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Every year, the stories about "higher sales volume on Black Friday means good news for retailers" meme spouts forth.  All the big media outlets bow to the advertisers funding their operations, speaking of how the sales volume makes or breaks Christmas for retailers.

Given the deep discounting going on, I wonder how reliable this is.

You see, gross sales is not a valid measure of profitability.  It's the old (somewhat updated)  joke of the two MBAs who get a big wad of venture capital to sell fresh produce.  Their plan is to buy cabbages at $0.50/lb and sell them at $0.25/lb.  One of their investors asks "How will you make a profit if you lose money on every sale?"  "Oh" replies one of the MBAs while collecting his bonus check, "We'll make it up through volume!"
(more below)


Will the US be a third-world country within

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Thu Nov 08, 2007 at 07:32 PM PST

Let Them Eat Cake

by RepubAnon

Gee, times are indeed tough for the ultra-rich.  Forced, forced to choose between things like a $14,500 sabayon in Sri Lanka or a $25,000 chocolate sundae.

Fortunately, they've still got the protection of both the Bush Administration and the Senate, noteably Senator Chuck Shumer:

But key Democratic senators, among them New York’s Charles Schumer, who is the main fund-raiser for Senate Democrats, are balking. They know they must provide alternative tax relief, but they don’t want to tax private equity and hedge funds to pay for it.
(Source: NY Times Editorial Alternative Tax Showdown)

Valiant protector of tax breaks for the ultra-rich, defender of pro-torture Bush Leaguers... which party does he belong to again?

A science fiction author named Mack Reynolds wrote some humorous novels about a future US where one person, one vote was replaced by one dollar, one vote.  Prophetic


Oil isn't the only precious fluid we're running low on:

The Future Is Drying Up
New York Times
October 21, 2007

(Nobel Laureate Stephen) Chu noted that even the most optimistic climate models for the second half of this century suggest that 30 to 70 percent of the snowpack will disappear. “There’s a two-thirds chance there will be a disaster,” Chu said, “and that’s in the best scenario.”...

Meanwhile, the developers keep building, and new golf courses keep popping up in desert communities.  And it isn't just the West, either:

Georgia Declares State Of Emergency Over Drought
Published: October 21, 2007
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Georgia has declared a state of emergency over its worst drought in decades and appealed to President George W. Bush for federal aid, newspapers said on Sunday.

I doubt the "free market" will solve this one.(More Below)


What'll we run out of first?

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Separation of church and state?  No establishment of religious beliefs by the government?  Not in Iowa!

Teacher: I was fired, said Bible isn't literal
The community college instructor says the school sided with students offended by his explanation of Adam and Eve.


September 22, 2007

A community college instructor in Red Oak claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.

Steve Bitterman, 60, said officials at Southwestern Community College sided with a handful of students who threatened legal action over his remarks in a western civilization class Tuesday. He said he was fired Thursday.

And this is the "make or break" state for presidential candidates?  (More below)


The snake who talked to Eve was

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Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 06:55 PM PDT

French warn of War with Iran

by RepubAnon

Well, it looks like Bush and the Republicans can safely eat french fries again:

France warning of war with Iran
BBC World Service
16 September 2007

French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner says the world should prepare for war over Iran's nuclear programme.

"We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war," Mr Kouchner said in an interview on French TV and radio.

Mr Kouchner said negotiations with Iran should continue "right to the end", but an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose "a real danger for the whole world".

Looks like Bush has a new friend in Europe... I'd say the bombs start falling in early 2008, unless the Bush League needs a distraction sooner.

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