Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hey, How About That "Great" Bush-Cheney Economy?

Scary news here:

If anything, the United States is more vulnerable today [than in 1973 and the oil embargo]. In that era, America enjoyed a net inflow of earnings from global investments, ran a trade surplus, and lent far more than it borrowed...

But today, our trade deficit is more than 6 percent of gross domestic product, and we borrow heavily to finance both private capital needs and government debt. Until lately, optimists insisted that cheap foreign debt-financing would continue indefinitely and prop up the dollar, because it was in China's interest to keep underwriting American purchases of its ever-expanding exports.

But, swollen with dollars, China is behaving more like an activist investor. The Chinese government's investment arm has begun buying not just debt but real assets, including 9.9 percent of the private equity fund Blackstone and a big chunk of Barclays bank. We can't count on China -- or anyone else -- funding America's burgeoning foreign debt at bargain rates indefinitely.

If the dollar slide turns into a crash, the Federal Reserve would face the unhappy choice of either hiking interest rates to raise foreign confidence in the dollar (thus deepening domestic recession) or letting the dollar sink further and increasing imported inflation.

...And the prospect of higher credit costs has Wall Street increasingly edgy. The Wall Street Journal recently tallied 21 credit deals ranging from $150 million to $20 billion since mid-June that had to be scrapped or delayed because nervous investors balked at the proposed financial terms.

The unsold homes backlog is at its highest level in 15 years, according to the Financial Times. It reports a 57 percent drop in the stock price of building companies in the past two years. Busted private equity deals and predictions of a deeper housing slump sent the Dow down 520 in two days.
I've been saying for years that our profligacy (read: Republican irresponsibility) was going to catch up with us, and now it is. God help the economically vulnerable.
The Iraq disaster combined with a possible recession in 2008 spells one thing: A Democratic landslide on the magnitude of 1964--or better.

The Voice of the Insane

Really, why isn't Michael Savage in an asylum somewhere?

Ominous News for the Right Wingers for 2008

As the chickens continue to come home to roost.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

From Meteor Blades on DKos: Iraq By the Numbers

See if these stats don't utterlty enrage you:

655,000: Iraqi deaths a Johns-Hopkins study attributed to the war nine months ago.

2770: Iraqi civilians killed in May 2007, according to government reports. (Actual figure unknown because the Iraqi government refuses to share its data with outside agencies that could verify totals.)

1.9 million: Estimated Iraqis displaced within the country.

2.35 million: Estimated Iraqi exiles outside the country in January 2007.

18,000: Iraqi doctors who have fled the country since March 2003.

???: Iraqis orphaned by the war – no reliable statistics.

25%: Iraqi children who are malnourished (May 2006).

130,000: U.S. troops taking part in the invasion at Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s insistence.

500,000: U.S. troops estimated to be necessary by generals who put together a prewar contingency plan.

$60-$95 billion: Total cost of Iraq war and aftermath calculated by Paul Wolfowitz in February 2003.

$600 billion: Money Congress has allocated for direct costs of the war and occupation so far.

$750 billion: Total the Cheney-Bush Administration has sought for keeping the occupation going through September 2008.

$140,000: Estimated cost per minute of the war and occupation in 2007.

$2 trillion: Total direct and indirect costs of war and occupation (through 2010) calculated by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Blimes in January 2006.

$9 billion: Taxpayer money that disappeared in Iraq.

$549.7 million: Value of unaccounted for spare parts shipped to contractors in 2004.

$1.4 billion: Overcharges by Halliburton.

6,000-10,000: Estimated number of U.S. troops whose injuries have included brain trauma.

30%: Estimated percentage of troops who develop serious mental problems within three or four months after returning from Iraq.

14: Journalists killed by U.S. forces in Iraq.

112: Total number of journalists killed in Iraq.

1-2 a day: Hours of electricity available to the average residential household in Baghdad. (Actual figure unknown since U.S. no longer reports the electricity figures for the city.)

5000: "Diehard" insurgents the Pentagon estimated to be fighting on July 28, 2003.

20-30,000: Insurgents the Pentagon estimated in October 2006.

70,000: Insurgents the Pentagon estimated in March 2007.

69%: Iraqis who say U.S. presence worsens security situation (polled in March 2007).

71%: Iraqis who want U.S. troops out within a year (polled in September 2006).

71%: Americans who want U.S. to withdraw troops by April 2008 (polled in July 2007).

52%: U.S. Senators who have voted to withdraw most troops by April 2008.

8%: Republican Senators who have voted to withdraw most troops by April 2008

Look at this whole list. Let it sink into your consciousness. Let your mind absorb these terrible data. Weigh the implications of these facts. Look at the criminal, traitorous, right wing conservative Republican administration that is responsible for them. And then redouble your resolve to help destroy the wretched, corrupt, lying, Bush-enabling Republican Party that has defended all of this to the bitter end. Yes, there were Democrats who were pro-war.

But only the Republicans still are.

Counter Argument That Pat Tillman Was NOT Murdered

And that the story is being spread to pin blame on his squad mates and away from the Bush Administration's negligence and incompetence. You can read it here.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Was Pat Tillman Murdered?

The rightwingers used his death to promote a war that Tillman was vehemently opposed to. And then they found out Pat had been a Democrat, a Kerry supporter, and they dumped him because he was no longer a useful prop. Hannity and Coulter even called his grieving parents liars for saying that Pat loathed the Boy King Cretin and his entourage. Now. there is strong evidence that Pat Tillman may have been murdered.

After an investigation, the government changed the story -- that Tillman was a victim of friendly fire, an honest mistake, because he was mistaken for the enemy. The recent revelations now cast this conclusion into serious doubt. You don't mistake someone from 10 yards away. But, was it murder or negligence? Was this a deliberate homicide?

President Bush is not helping at all. With these new details, and his decision to invoke executive privilege in the Tillman investigation, the president is certainly sending the signal that he has something to hide.

It is inevitable, then, that unless the president comes clean, rumors about Tillman's death will take hold. By stonewalling, there is no way to stop people from wondering, "Was the man the White House used to promote the war ordered to be killed because he was becoming increasingly critical of the war in Iraq?" It was well known that Tillman was critical of the decision to go to war, and had often read and quoted Noam Chomsky. I don't personally believe such a conspiracy to be the case, but until the president comes clean, rumors like that will continue to grow. Every officer knows that if a soldier in their command is killed they must write the family and tell them the truth, for exactly that reason. Why can't the man who sent Pat Tillman to war, and used his death for political gain, have the courage to tell a family what happened to their son?
Why is Bush invoking "Executive privilege", his all-purpose mantra for keeping people from seeing his dirty work? What the hell is going on here?
I want answers. We deserve them. But most of all, Pat's parents deserve them.

Monday, July 23, 2007

J. Miller Rampant is Fighting Technical Difficulties Right Now

That's why I haven't posted for a week. But I'll get these resolved very soon. Aloha.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Our "Friends" the Saudis

You know, the ones who are providing almost half the terrorist-insurgents who are targeting our troops:

The situation has left the U.S. military in the awkward position of battling an enemy whose top source of foreign fighters is a key ally that at best has not been able to prevent its citizens from undertaking bloody attacks in Iraq, and at worst shares complicity in sending extremists to commit attacks against U.S. forces, Iraqi civilians and the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

Not to mention being the source of most of the 9/11 attackers.

Of course, since the Bush family is on such intimate terms with the Saudi royal family, it might be in poor taste to mention it.

Friday, July 13, 2007


They had to go to green on parts of the map. They ran out of shades of blue.

I love it. God help me, I do love it so.

(From Survey USA)

Every Picture Tells a Story

Below is a picture showing how many Republican candidates turned up at the NAACP's recent candidate forum.

Tom Tancredo, the virulently anti-immigrant congressman, was the sole GOP representative.

Gee, I wonder why African Americans vote more than 90% Democratic?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

HAW! I Just LOVE it When These Right Wing Hypocrites Are Exposed

The current Exhibit A is right-wing Louisiana Senator David Vitter, who has been caught in prominent New Orleans whorehouses and has now been outed in the DC Madam investigation. David Corn nails Vitter's typical conservative hypocrisy here:

Vitter, who is married with four children, has been a vigorous advocate of family values, championing abstinence-only programs and calling for a ban on gay marriage. In a statement his office rushed out on Monday night--before he could be outed by Hustler magazine--Vitter said he had committed a "serious sin" and claimed that "several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling." I seem to recall that Bill Clinton took a similar stance after he acknowledged his affair with Monica Lewinsky. That, though, did not prevent Vitter from calling for Clinton's forcible removal from office.

Of course it didn't prevent him from calling for Clinton's removal, just as Newt Gingrich wasn't deterred from attacking Clinton while he, Gingrich, was having an adulterous affair with his own secretary. These right wing bastards almost NEVER hold themselves to the same standards they hold other people to. Their whole vile philosophy rests on sheer moral bankruptcy and empty moral posturing.

Hey Vitter--if you're so damned contrite, resign from office.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ted Nugent: Talentless Right Wing Liar, Fraud, and Hypocrite

Ted Nugent, who plays the guitar as if his hands were made out of concrete, has published a hilariously bad "op-ed" in the lunatic right's most high profile cesspool, the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. He excoriates "filthy hippies" for their obsession with sex and drugs and basically blames everything that's wrong with America on the 1967 "Summer of Love". Down with Tyranny has an excellent rebuttal here:
Nugent is a voice of ultra-reaction, something like Ann Coulter, with the craziest corner of modern day Republicanism. Like the Germans who blamed their predicament on everyone but themselves after World War I and constantly agitated for fascism, Nugent is incapable of learning anything from history.

Laughably, Nugent poses as a paragon of traditional values. Let's see what Mr. Brave Right Wing Defender of Morality is really like. From The Populist:

Ted Nugent is not a perfect person, nor is he the Rock and Roll superstar that he likes to believe that he is. It is well known that Ted Nugent was quite the Ladies man back in the 1970's. It is also a somewhat well known fact that Mr. Nugent led a very naughty relationship with an under aged woman, who was about 15-20 years his junior, and also became her legal guardian, with the consent of her parents of course. Although, confidentially I am told that Ted intimidated her parents into signing the consent forms. The relationship was not a very happy one, however, once this beautiful young woman realized that she was nothing more than an on call sex slave and caretaker of Ted's Children and house. She finally became fed up with his womanizing ways and left. I will give Mr. Nugent credit; he did marry and have children. His first wife, Sandra Jezowski, was killed in a car accident in 1982. Ted blamed drugs, although, friends of mine who live in the area in which this happened, tell me that Sandra was suicidal because Ted was more interested in being mister rock and roll star than being a loving husband and father to their two children. The couple was divorced when the accident happened.

And how many underaged teenaged girls did Mr. Virtue nail while he was tour? I think that's still called statutory rape. (Or maybe he would prefer the term pedophilia.) Hey, Teddy Boy, don't you advocate death for rapists?

Nugent also likes to portray himself as a superpatriot. Let's see how he was when it was his turn to defend America in Vietnam:

In 1990 he told the Detroit Free Press newspaper:"[that] that 30 days before his draft board physical, he disavowed personal hygiene. The last ten days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and with a week to go until the physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether. When the big day came, he had been living in excrement-caked and urine-stained pants. Always the hero, however, Nugent reassured the Free Press, “But if I would have gone over there, I’d have been killed, or I’d have killed all the Hippies in the foxholes. I would have killed everybody.”

Now THAT'S creative draft dodging! Wow! What a BRAVE AMERICAN!! Man, no wonder that he and George W. Bush are such friends.
Additionally, Nugent likes to appear in public sometimes sporting his Confederate flag shirt. You remember the Confederates, don't you? The traitors who started the Civil War, a war that killed 600,000 Americans? So what if the rebel flag is the flag of treason and the people who wear it no better than the traitors who carried it into battle to fight for the preservation of human slavery and the death of America? Teddy Boy is proud, by God, to wear it to events such as Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry's inauguration.
Nugent is a pathetic, emotionally crippled former sexual predator. He mindlessly hates women, hates gays, hates the genuine patriots who are against the Iraq War, and tries to compensate for his inadequacies by fondling his phallic-symbol guns constantly. He's the perfect example of the modern conservative Republican: lecturing about virtue while being a complete moral degenerate.
Oh yeah: and his "music" is dogshit, too.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On Our 231st Birthday, a Republic in Danger

America has never really fully lived up to its ideals. The early nation countenanced human slavery and maintained a powerful, unquestioned patriarchy. But the great words of Jefferson's Declaration and the noble goals laid out in the Preamble to the United States Constitution told of the aspiration to a future where all humans could live in freedom and dignity. Lincoln understood that the Civil War was about this issue, giving voice to it in his immortal Gettysburg Address ("a new birth of freedom"). America, in short, was always a place that was in the process of becoming. Its people often acted foolishly or cruelly and they showed all the weaknesses and shortcomings of people everywhere. And yet the best part of our ideas always inspired most of us with the vision of a nation headed to a new kind of greatness, a greatness not just of military power but of justice and opportunity. There were always the crooks and the conmen, always the people who only paid lip service to the ideals, but they never really seemed to be running the show, at least not for long. They would always be exposed and ultimately defeated. It really seemed, therefore, that the United States might some day be the great example for humanity, a startling and unique aggregation of all the elements of humanity bound together by a set of ideas into a new kind of society, one in which the rule of law was above all and the preservation and expansion of human well-being and freedom were the ultimate objectives. That was the hope, the dream, the vision, that stirred the best in us.
Now, that vision is in the gravest danger it has faced in more than 140 years. Our nation has been captured by a set of individuals so fanatical, so ruthless, so ill-equipped to govern, and so contemptuous of our traditions, laws, and ideals that the very survival of our nation is in question. Driven by greed and cronyism, they are systematically bankrupting our nation and imperiling the economic future of our descendants. Led by the truly frightening and dangerous Dick Cheney, they are destroying the system of checks and balances which is one of the crown jewels of the system of government James Madison so carefully constructed for us. A bizarre coalition of laissez-faire ideologues, religious fanatics, cynical business leaders, and what can only be called neoimperialists has seized power, aided and abetted by a media that has been compromised to the point of paralysis. Many in the media are now the outright allies of and collaborators with this coalition, clouding every public issue in a mist of lies, distortions, and misdirections. The very institutions on which our country rests are under assault. A movement to transform America into a theocratic empire is well under way. And standing in the middle of all this, doing what we can, is a group of people who are often seriously divided and uncertain as to what approach to take to stop this nightmare from triumphing--most of the Democrats, the vast majority of the independents, and a small but truly decent minority of Republicans who see what's happening and are genuinely appalled by it. It is we who must dig in our heels and say no:
NO to illegal wars generated by lies and pseudo-patriotic wardrum beating.
NO to the use of torture and rendition as tools to destroy our enemies.
NO to the alliance between radical Islam and far-right fundamentalist Christianism.
NO to the attempt by the far right to interfere with and regulate every intimate sphere of human life.
NO to the abandonment of the poor and underprivileged.
NO the concept of the "unitary executive", which is simply a fancy term for dictatorship.
NO to the destruction of the Bill of Rights in the name of "security".
NO to theocracy.
NO to empire.
NO to the use of the media to manipulate and confuse public opinion.
NO to the cozy little Beltway culture where those who govern and those who report live in a mutually beneficial symbiosis that threatens the very essence of our country.
NO to a future impoverished by the short-sighted greed, looting, selfishness, and profligacy of today.
NO to cronyism, the rewarding of incompetence, the celebration of mediocrity, and the entrenched power of lazy, indifferent, adolescent-minded, upper class sociopaths like George W. Bush.
Our nation is in profound crisis. Any way you look at it, it is up to those of us who still believe in it and who still love it despite its faults and shortcomings to save the vision of our founders. We can still achieve the society they aspired to, but the time is short. The radical Right has rigged the system in its own favor--stacking the judiciary, dominating the airwaves, buying out or bribing gatekeepers in every direction--and their resistance is, as we have seen, savage and utterly unprincipled. But we can prevail if we have the courage to call corruption and authoritarianism by their true names. We need toughness, we need courage, we need brains, and above all we need backbone.
No more concessions. No more compromises. No more surrenders.
Here we stand--for America and for a future that can still be ours, if we want it.
God Bless America--now and for all time.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Keith Olbermann's Righteous Anger

It's a great thing to see, right here.

Wow. No one has said it better. Just watch, amigos and amigas. Just watch.

A Good Summary of Bush's Libby Outrage

It can be found here, courtesy of Andrew Sullivan.

Bush and Cheney are simply criminals, our national Mafiosi, protecting their friends, screwing their enemies, and basically spitting in the face of anyone who objects--such as the vast majority of the American people.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Myth of a "Conservative America"

One of the radical Right's most successful con jobs over the years has been the marketing of the lie that America is a "conservative nation" with "traditional values" (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean). This despite the fact that only about 32% of Americans describe themselves as conservatives. The 68% that call themselves moderate or liberal apparently don't count, I guess. I also guess that the 70% who disapprove of our so-called "president" don't count either. The national media continue to give the Bush Crime Organization a pass on the vast majority of issues, and the national political dialogue is dominated by repulsive rightwing toads like the despicable Ann Coulter, the pathetic Glenn Beck, and the laughable little punk Sean Hannity. In fact, a recent survey indicated that an astonishing 91% of commentary on talk radio is from rightwingers. Add in the entire Fox "News" propaganda apparatus and the rest of Rupert Murdoch's empire, the psychotic ranting of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, the bloodthirsty warlust of the Neocon Chickenhawks who appear constantly on national television, and the cringing, Bush-kissing White House press corps, and one sees clearly the source of the lie that America is solidly rightwing. This report from MediaMatters should help clear things up nicely.

Among the key findings from major, scientifically conducted surveys:

Now, I defy ANY conservative in America to tell me that these are the views of a "conservative" nation. Respect for the rights of women. Protection of the environment as a priority. Willing to pay more in taxes for government health care. Critical of the crackpot right's interference in private affairs. Equal job rights for gays. Read the whole article--it's truly eye-opening. And then DEMAND that the views of the TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS WHO ARE NOT CONSERVATIVE be given the respect and consideration in the mainstream media that they deserve.

Yes!! J. Miller Rampant Has Gone Hawaiian!!

Since few things in life are more tiresome than reading a writer's oh-so-personal reactions to being in a beautiful place, I'll skip the part about telling you how amazingly gorgeous Kauai is or how overwhelmingly nice the vast majority of people out here are. Kauai has all of the human issues and problems that any other place has. And yet there really is a sense here that one is more intimately connected with the natural world, and so perhaps those issues can be dealt with and endured more readily. There is also a sense of community that I've experienced that is unlike any other. Yes, it is expensive to live here, but if you shop carefully, you can do as well as back in Chicago. And knowing that I will never again experience a 30 degree overcast, wet, dismal, ugly, soul-destroying Midwestern winter day again makes any sacrifice well worth it.

Come and see Kauai--and you'll see what I mean.