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Shut the Fuck Up

December 14, 2009

After passing credit card reform which does nothing to limit usurious interest rates and health care reform which does nothing to limit exploding insurance costs and financial reform which does nothing to regulate the disastrous derivatives trade, all I want this year for the holiday which replaced the pagan festival of Saturnalia is for Congress to shut their goddamned yapping pieholes and stop “helping”.

52 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    December 14, 2009 9:08 am

    Haha! This is fantastic. John Holbo has come up with a lovely Cthulu-esque holiday verse complete with illustrations. Check it out – Sugarplum Sqeampunk.


    T’was the night before C’thrishm’sh,
    when all through the House
    What a Creature came stirring,
    all legs, wings and mouths.

    Ancient words had been read
    from an old book with care,
    In hopes that Sog-Nug-hotep
    would not come there.

    The children were trembling
    under their beds,
    While visions of Elder Gods
    danced in their heads;

    And mama in her ‘kerchief,
    and I in my madness,
    Had just hunkered down
    with foreboding and sadness,

    When out on the lawn
    there arose such a howl,
    I sprang from the bed
    to see what was so foul.

    Away to the window,
    faint hope of escape,
    Tore open the shutters
    and drew back the drape.

    The moon on the breast
    of the new-fallen snow
    Gave an uncanny luster
    to objects below,

    When, what to my lunatic eyes
    should appear,
    An unspeakable sledge,
    and eight Things to strike fear!

    With a tentacled driver,
    so slick in the fug,
    I knew, to my horror,
    it must be Sog-Nug.

    More rapid than eels,
    its limbs whipped the air,
    And it gibbered and moaned,
    whispered names of pure terror.

    “Now Dh’ashoshoth! Now Dh’azathoth!
    Now Prhathulu and Vozothun!
    On K’baa! On Cthul-Nug!
    On Dhrul-nur and Blas’atlun!

    To the cold of the stars!
    From which doom must fall!
    Now smash away! crash away!
    dash away all!”

    As limbs of the dead,
    too freshly inhumed,
    Push up through the earth,
    and refuse to be tombed,

    So up to the house-top
    the shoggoths they flew,
    With that sledge full of dread,
    and Sog-Nug-hotep too.

    And then a great weight
    I sensed press on the ceiling,
    The sliding and gliding of tentacles
    … feeling.

    As some force froze my will,
    made me tremble and quail
    Down the chimney Sog-Nug-hotep
    slid like a snail.

    Such impossible shapes
    seemed to make up its frame
    For which no geometer
    has any name.

    Its eyes—filled with darkness;
    its pustules, how many?
    Its body was hidden—
    did it even have any?

    Yet behind there were Things,
    seething darkly and heavily
    Mortal brain must refuse
    to regard such sights levelly.

    Could the uncanny mass of it
    be protoplasm
    That shook like a jellyfish
    suffering a spasm?

    It was made of such stuff
    as is not of this earth
    And I howled when I saw it,
    for all I was worth;

    A blink of its eyes
    that put thoughts in my head,
    Soon gave me to know
    I had Old Ones to dread.

    At this point there is a gap in the manuscript. I must have fainted and lain insensible for a time—how long, I know not. Upon awakening, in darkness, the moon having set, I would scarcely have credited my fantastic, already fading memory of these terrible events, save that I found the following lines among my fevered yet decorative designs, written in my own hand, the second couplet in a tongue unfamiliar to me, despite all my scholarship.

    As it left I still heard,
    like the voice of a dragon,

    “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh C’thr’ishm’sh
    R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!”

    Found the link to it at Pharyngula. Lots of good stuff to peruse there from the last few days for some funny atheist holiday cheer.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 14, 2009 10:24 am

      Truly a work of art, both the illustrations and the poem.

      You better not read that to the squidlette until she is much older ;)

      Here’s another good thing found at Pharyngula for an alternative view of trembling fetus day

      • cometman permalink*
        December 14, 2009 11:13 am

        That was a great song. Reminds me a little of this one from Nick Cave which I really like.

        I have much bigger plans for the squidlette than just reading her warped poems! She got roped into being in a Xmas pageant at the church Cometwoman attends sporadically and she is supposed to be one of the animals in the manger. The church ladies aren’t too exacting so we are recycling the fuzzy yellow duck suit she wore for Halloween. I am boycotting the pageant myself but I am trying to teach the squidlette to say “I am the new Messiah” when she takes the stage. So far she has “meatball” down as the new word for the week but no luck yet with the blasphemy. I’ll keep trying :)

        • Stemella permalink*
          December 14, 2009 11:25 am

          Haha. You could always try getting her to say, “Quack! I am the new meatball!” in the pageant. It would be incredibly subversive and hilarious. Film it for your arsenal in the teenage years. ;)

  2. cometman permalink*
    December 14, 2009 9:34 am

    Check out this broadside against Fifi Blair from former Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald.

    The degree of deceit involved in our decision to go to war on Iraq becomes steadily clearer. This was a foreign policy disgrace of epic proportions and playing footsie on Sunday morning television does nothing to repair the damage. It is now very difficult to avoid the conclusion that Tony Blair engaged in an alarming subterfuge with his partner George Bush and went on to mislead and cajole the British people into a deadly war they had made perfectly clear they didn’t want, and on a basis that it’s increasingly hard to believe even he found truly credible. Who is any longer naive enough to accept that the then Prime Minister’s mind remained innocently open after his visit to Crawford, Texas?

    Hindsight is a great temptress. But we needn’t trouble her on the way to a confident conclusion that Mr Blair’s fundamental flaw was his sycophancy towards power. Perhaps this seems odd in a man who drank so much of that mind-altering brew at home. But Washington turned his head and he couldn’t resist the stage or the glamour that it gave him. In this sense he was weak and, as we can see, he remains so. Since those sorry days we have frequently heard him repeating the self-regarding mantra that “hand on heart, I only did what I thought was right”. But this is a narcissist’s defence and self-belief is no answer to misjudgment: it is certainly no answer to death. “Yo, Blair”, perhaps, was his truest measure.

  3. cometman permalink*
    December 14, 2009 9:41 am

    Developing countries walk out on climate talks in Copenhagen because the rich countries refuse to do anything of substance.

    The UN climate negotiations were suspended this morning after developing countries staged a walk-out in protest over lack of progress on their key demand for legally binding emissions targets from rich nations.

    With only four days remaining before world leaders are due to sign a deal in Copenhagen, the protest is an ominous sign that the summit is going to fail to deliver a robust agreement.

    The talks resumed after a five-hour delay but there is now much more distrust between rich and poor countries than there was at the start of the two-week meeting.


    Developing countries want to maintain the Kyoto Protocol because it is the only legal instrument which requires rich countries to make emissions cuts. They fear that it will be replaced by a much weaker agreement under which rich countries would only make voluntary pledges on emissions and would not be held to account for failing to meet them.

    The Western “leaders” in Copenhagen are another group who needs to shut the fuck up and LISTEN for a change.

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 14, 2009 10:34 am

      What’s the alternative to a binding agreement? “Just trust us”? The South is no longer that naive.

  4. Stemella permalink*
    December 14, 2009 9:59 am

    I approve of this message when it comes to all the bastages and whores of DC and Wall St. I would also like Squobama to clap his trap and get something the fuck done that helps those other than the corporate masters.

    At this very moment he is in a conference room at the White House with trusty Rahmbo at his side, supposedly to wrap the knuckles of the banksters while the cameras are running, but giving them blowjobs begging for campaign contributions once he closes the doors.

    Hilariously, God’s Work Blankfein, Shittygroup’s Pandit and at least one other major CEO, Dimon? were not able to attend this powwow in person. Instead they are gracing Obama’s meeting briefly by conference call. Can the message be any more clear Barry? They just aren’t that into you. They are the alpha dogs.

    Expect even further concessions and compromises in the Senate version of the Financial legislation. The great and powerful Ozzies have spoken.

    I think it is time to start mass producing this item and this one and this one. You never know when these souvenirs could be multitasked.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 14, 2009 12:41 pm

      Ha! I can see it now.

      Blankfein to angry person on the street: “Are you just glad to see me or is that a model of One Wall street in your pocket that you plan to beat me senseless with?”

  5. Stemella permalink*
    December 14, 2009 10:12 am

    Can music and culture be evolving according to Darwin’s theory? These English scientists are trying to find out.

    Here’s an article about it:
    You have the power to make music… evolve

    and the project web site where you can participate in the research
    Darwin Tunes

  6. Stemella permalink*
    December 14, 2009 11:13 am

    More on the artist/naturalist who drew those cephaloxmas cards. I’ve used one of his illustrations on this blog before. His attitudes and work on race have long since been discredited, but his artistic contribution through illustration cannot be denied.

    Ernst Haeckel

    Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919),[1] also written von Haeckel, was an eminent German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including phylum, phylogeny, ecology and the kingdom Protista. Haeckel promoted and popularized Charles Darwin’s work in Germany and developed the controversial recapitulation theory (“ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”) claiming that an individual organism’s biological development, or ontogeny, parallels and summarizes its species’ entire evolutionary development, or phylogeny.

    The published artwork of Haeckel includes over 100 detailed, multi-colour illustrations of animals and sea creatures (see: Kunstformen der Natur, “Artforms of Nature”). As a philosopher, Ernst Haeckel wrote Die Welträtsel (1895–1899, in English, The Riddle of the Universe, 1901), the genesis for the term “world riddle” (Welträtsel); and Freedom in Science and Teaching[2] to support teaching evolution.

    More of his images may be found here, here, and hereon flickr

    As I looked as his illustrations I saw fractals and thought of Mandlebrot. Others have seen that too.
    Artforms of Nature

    • triv33 permalink
      December 14, 2009 2:20 pm

      Are we voting? I’d have to go with plate 49 on the first page of the flickr images. It is bee-yoo-ti-ful. I love how the colors pop on the dark background.

      • Stemella permalink*
        December 14, 2009 2:47 pm

        That’s a beauty. I like 71, 79, and 99 a lot too.

      • Stemella permalink*
        December 14, 2009 3:01 pm

        And check this one out

        Disco Medusa

        I do believe drugs were involved in the visualization of these particular forms in nature :)

    • cometman permalink*
      December 15, 2009 9:34 am

      Those were great. Never knew much about Haeckel before but I do recognize the style of the drawings. I think I may have used one before too without knowing who he was.

  7. Stemella permalink*
    December 14, 2009 11:39 am

    Here’s a good article recommended by one of the commenters over at Naked Capitalism that as a case study pretty much sums up the clusterfuck that is the real estate bubble and the fraud perpetuated by the banksters from which the whole world is suffering.

    Condo buyers allege flipping scheme

    Speaking of condos, it looks like a condo leaser is back at klub kumquat in a new incarnation. No surprise that he continues to be such a fucking hypocrite along with all of those in the know who are playing along and uprating him over there. Can the exposure of the Flaudulent one be far behind? Meh.

  8. cometman permalink*
    December 14, 2009 1:01 pm

    Interesting reprint of an essay that Michael Hudson wrote 30 years ago about the Nobel Prize in Economics. He doesn’t think much of economics as an empirical science, even though he is an economist himself.

    It is bad enough that the field of psychology has for so long been a non-social science, viewing the motive forces of personality as deriving from internal psychic experiences rather than from man’s interaction with his social setting. Similarly in the field of economics: since its “utilitarian” revolution about a century ago, this discipline has also abandoned its analysis of the objective world and its political, economic productive relations in favor of more introverted, utilitarian and welfare-oriented norms. Moral speculations concerning mathematical psychics have come to displace the once-social science of political economy.

  9. Stemella permalink*
    December 14, 2009 1:10 pm

    Greece is really in trouble

    Premier warns Greece may ‘sink under its debt’

    The prime minister of Greece delivered a sobering speech Monday, warning that the country has lost international credibility and is in danger of sinking under the weight of its ballooning budget deficit.

    The remarks by Prime Minister George Papandreou were eagerly anticipated by investors, since concerns over the deficit have triggered a sell-off in Greek bonds and stocks in recent weeks.

    Pressure on Greece has been mounting after the government admitted that its deficit this year will rise to 12.7% of gross domestic product, well above previous official projections.

    Papandreou, speaking to business and union leaders Monday, said that his government will make hard decisions over the coming months, as “Greece faces the risk of sinking under its debt,” according to an Associated Press report.

    He added that Greece “has lost every trace of credibility,” the report said.

    Papandreou pledged to bring the deficit to below the European Union limit of 3% of GDP by 2013, the AP wrote.

    In a related article, Greece’s economy is compared to another sinking ship,

    Greece vs California

    • cometman permalink*
      December 15, 2009 9:44 am

      Doesn’t sound good. I noticed this in the article:

      One of the main ways to bring down the deficit would be to slash government spending, a measure likely to be unpopular with the Greek public.

      Slashing spending in this type of climate would probably not be a great idea. But I do seem to remember reading that the Greek shipping companies get real sweetheart deals on their taxes and they are a pretty big part of the Greek economy. Raising taxes on these guys probably wouldn’t do much good now either as consumption seems to be down everywhere and there are already tons of ships sitting idle with no freight to carry.

      But maybe if these businesses had been taxed at a reasonable rate in the past when times were good Greece wouldn’t be in such hot water right now. Kind of like the situation in California and the rest of the US.

  10. artemis54 permalink
    December 14, 2009 6:18 pm

    22 million Bush emails? Oy. I’ll take the first 22; maybe we can get through them before the next presidential election?

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 15, 2009 8:00 am

      I feel sorry for the people who work at National Archives who have to read all of them. Imagine the challenge in deciphering BushCo. speak in typo.

  11. sisdevore permalink
    December 14, 2009 6:55 pm

    use your tools! :

    no, it isn’t an “octopooties” diary.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 15, 2009 7:57 am

      Too cute. I saw the footage which is linked below. Can’t embed it. The thing is, I thought it was well known that octopi used shells and other containers for makeshift homes. What is so special about coconuts? Does it have something to do with Monty Python and sparrows?

    • cometman permalink*
      December 15, 2009 9:49 am

      Thanks. I’d missed that one at Sciencedaily. Pretty cool how they sit in the coconut and then walk around like they’re on stilts.

  12. sisdevore permalink
    December 14, 2009 8:05 pm

    I just got an “Organizing for America” email, asking for my donation, and I had quite a meltdown in my unsubscribe note….I think I got a sore neck typing it in such anger.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 15, 2009 9:49 am

      Bet you feel better though ;)

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 15, 2009 10:55 am

      It works though, they quit bugging me after my tirade a few weeks ago.

      Btw, two days ago I received five calls from 5035015000, linked to PacificCorp, with which I have no business. Each time I seemed to be linked to a computer or fax machine, just beeping and whistling away. No response so far to email request to fix. That night I started getting the same thing from an 888 number.

  13. Stemella permalink*
    December 15, 2009 7:52 am

    The too big to fail banksters are the giant windmills making Volckner, Stiglitz, and Johnson into Don Quixotes.

    Regulators Resist Volcker Wandering Warning of Too-Big-to-Fail

    Paul A. Volcker visited nine cities in five countries in the past eight weeks to warn that bankers and regulators “have not come anywhere close to responding with necessary vigor” to the worst economic crisis in 70 years.


    There’s little evidence that policy makers are heeding Volcker, the former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve. More than 50 regulatory overhaul proposals have been submitted in the U.S. and Europe, the data compiled by Bloomberg show. Lawmakers and regulators have debated new rules for capitalization and leverage, central clearing for derivatives trading, oversight of hedge funds and ways to monitor systemic risk.

    While the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a financial regulation bill, authorities in the U.S. and Europe have sidelined measures that would automatically force changes in the structure of financial companies that Bank of England Governor Mervyn King called “too important to fail.” Volcker is leading a chorus arguing for restricting the size or primary functions of financial institutions.

    Don Quixote or Old Man Yelling at Clouds is what the banksters and politicians are making him. I have a feeling, if he lives long enough, he will be the one saying “I told you so”

    • cometman permalink*
      December 15, 2009 1:47 pm

      That was a good piece and I think you’re right about Volcker. I have to think that some of the animus towards Volcker from the rest of the banksters stems from this:

      After Volcker became chairman of the Federal Reserve in 1979, he restricted the money supply, forcing interest rates to 20 percent to break an inflationary surge. Following the recession that ensued, President Ronald Reagan nominated Alan Greenspan in 1987 to replace Volcker, who had succeeded in driving the inflation rate to 1.1 percent by the end of 1986.

      Volcker knew that to fix things back then there was a bitter pill to be swallowed and he succeeded in shoving it down the bankers’ throat. There are too many today who think they can still have a stable market while engaging in a free-for-all with no oversight. Don’t know if they truly believe that but it’s what they try to claim at least.

      The article mentioned the fear that breaking up the banks will limit economic “growth”. George Monbiot has a good article today about another bitter pill that needs to be choked down if we’re ever to solve the problems with climate change and he very succinctly sums up the problem with “growth”.

      While economies grow, social justice is unnecessary, as lives can be improved without redistribution. While economies grow, people need not confront their elites. While economies grow, we can keep buying our way out of trouble. But, like the bankers, we stave off trouble today only by multiplying it tomorrow. Through economic growth we are borrowing time at punitive rates of interest. It ensures that any cuts agreed at Copenhagen will eventually be outstripped. Even if we manage to prevent climate breakdown, growth means that it’s only a matter of time before we hit a new constraint, which demands a new global response: oil, water, phosphate, soil. We will lurch from crisis to existential crisis unless we address the underlying cause: perpetual growth cannot be accommodated on a finite planet.

      You don’t have to be Einstein to understand that. But somehow the oligarchs never do.

  14. Stemella permalink*
    December 15, 2009 8:05 am

    Contrary to what we were told in our youth, instead of self inflicted brain damage, indulging in dope increases brain cells!

    At least rattus brain cells which is disturbing.

    • triv33 permalink
      December 16, 2009 6:43 am

      I feel smarter already. heh.

  15. cometman permalink*
    December 15, 2009 1:08 pm

    Great article posted at TomDispatch describing the perfect storm brewing in Iraq. A combination of ongoing wars, regional drought and the damming of the Tigris and Euphrates in Turkey and Syria is turning the fertile crescent into a dustbowl. It’s gotten so bad that some farmers have given up agriculture completely and are now farming salt, which is all that remains on their once fertile land. Definitely worth reading the whole thing. A snippet:

    Here, in the land between the two rivers that was once the heartland of ancient Mesopotamia, the water crisis has ravaged agriculture, an industry still struggling to regain its footing after three decades of deprivation and war. This was the second mooted site (the other was the Marshlands themselves) of the fabled Garden of Eden — a land so rich in soil and water that it would quench the needs of its dwellers throughout eternity. It doesn’t look quite like that now. Crops of grain, barley, mint, and dates have failed almost en masse. Further west, in Anbar province, a prized rice variety that was once sold at a premium throughout Iraq and in the markets of neighboring countries has just been harvested. Like almost all other crops, this year’s yield is a disaster.

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 16, 2009 7:05 am

      It is tempting to say “mission accomplished” as with the destruction of Iraq’s museums, the destruction of the national seed repository in Abu Ghraib, etc. but the actors are different.

      It is utterly amazing, but there are no international agreements governing the use of rivers in this fashion. Theoretically at least Sudan could divert the entire Nile and it wouldn’t violate any international understanding. More to the point is what China is planning to do in SE Asia.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 16, 2009 8:51 am

      By the rivers of Babylon
      Where we sat down
      There we wept
      When we remembered Zion

      For the wicked
      Carried us away captivity
      Requiring from us a song
      How can we sing a song of joy in a
      strange land

      I saw a program on PBS not long ago about how an Iraqi American scientist was working to restore the Marshlands. There is also a UN Programme dedicated to them, with hopes of making them a World Heritage site. This UN site makes no obvious mention of the drought conditions impacting the marshlands with their last updates being in June. I wonder if World Heritage status will still be awarded if the marshlands instead become permanent salt flats.

      Yet another tragedy for a land so long burdened with tragedies.

  16. cometman permalink*
    December 15, 2009 2:18 pm

    Stupendously horrendous art alert!

    GM tries to make sure that no self respecting person ever wants to buy one of their energy efficient cars.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 16, 2009 8:30 am

      That is clearly stupendous and horrendous. However, it is most definitely not art. It does nicely illustrate the state of the American auto industry, though. :)

  17. Stemella permalink*
    December 16, 2009 9:02 am

    Two putrid pieces of news

    1. Bernanke is on the cover of the Time as their Plutocrat of the Year. Puke.

    2. U.S. gave up billions in tax money in deal for Citigroup’s bailout repayment

    Seems to be another little bit of backdoor action (yes, in the pornographic sense) from Team Obama for Team Bankster. Tools of Mass Distraction and Destruction, all of them. (TMDD)

    • cometman permalink*
      December 16, 2009 11:43 am

      Guess that explains how Citi is going to pay all the money back when they don’t really have any – just give them another freebie and cook the books some more.

  18. cometman permalink*
    December 16, 2009 9:58 am

    Cue up the Dean Scream reruns because the doctor just pissed off a bunch of people again and I’m sure they’d rather just call him crazy than admit he’s telling the truth. Dean thinks the entire health care bill should be killed and Congress should start from scratch.

    Following the jettisoning of both the public option and the Medicare buy-in provision, one of the nation’s leading progressive voices on health care reportedly said Tuesday that the Senate bill is no longer worth supporting.

    “This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate,” former Gov. Howard Dean told political reporter Bob Kinzel of Vermont Public Radio. Kinzel relayed the news to The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent, and the full VPR interview will air at 5:50 pm today.

    “Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill,” he said.

    Dean has been an outspoken champion of the public insurance option, describing it as the central component of the legislation. A health care bill without it, he has said, is not worth supporting.

    Good video at the bottom of the link. Nice to see Dean sticking to his guns on this one.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 16, 2009 1:25 pm

      Glenn Greenwald rips into those who would portray Obama as some helpless victim for his approach to the health care legislation. Joe Liebeman isn’t going against the man he once mentored in the Senate but instead he’s doing exactly what Obama really wants.

      As was painfully predictable all along, the final bill will not have any form of public option, nor will it include the wildly popular expansion of Medicare coverage. Obama supporters are eager to depict the White House as nothing more than a helpless victim in all of this — the President so deeply wanted a more progressive bill but was sadly thwarted in his noble efforts by those inhumane, corrupt Congressional “centrists.” Right. The evidence was overwhelming from the start that the White House was not only indifferent, but opposed, to the provisions most important to progressives. The administration is getting the bill which they, more or less, wanted from the start — the one that is a huge boon to the health insurance and pharmaceutical industry. And kudos to Russ Feingold for saying so:

      Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), among the most vocal supporters of the public option, said it would be unfair to blame Lieberman for its apparent demise. Feingold said that responsibility ultimately rests with President Barack Obama and he could have insisted on a higher standard for the legislation.

      “This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place, so I don’t think focusing it on Lieberman really hits the truth,” said Feingold. “I think they could have been higher. I certainly think a stronger bill would have been better in every respect.”

      His update is worth noting too:

      UPDATE III: Over at Politico, Jane Hamsher documents how Joe Lieberman’s conduct on the health care bill provides the perfect vehicle to advance the agenda of the White House and Harry Reid. Consistent with that, she independently notes media reports that White House officials are privately expressing extreme irritation with Howard Dean for opposing the Senate bill as insufficient, but have nothing bad to say about Lieberman, who supposedly single-handedly sabotaged what the White House was hoping for in this bill.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 17, 2009 10:07 am

      I agree with Dean. Kill this corporate health insurance windfall stimulus bill.

      In my opinion they should either remove the mandate provisions or scrap it and pass a bare bones minimalist bill out of reconciliation that can then be built up over time. If they pass a bill loaded up with garbage, the garbage will be left there for years to come. This government doesn’t reform bad legislation very well. NAFTA a perfect example.

      Better to start with little that does little to no harm than something destructive (the Senate bill) or to do nothing at all, which is unsustainable.

      It is great to see Dean leading as real opposition to the Corporatists. He truly does have the proverbial spine we wish the rest of the Democrats had. Rahm must be turning the White House red with embarrassment with the obscenities directed at the Doctor Governor.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 17, 2009 11:03 am

        Bernie is following Dean’s lead too. Yesterday the Senate blocked any debate on Bernie’s amendment for a single payer health care plan.

        Rather than allow the Sanders amendment to be debated as every other proposal to improve a fundamentally flawed Senate proposal, Republican senators engaged in extreme obstructionist tactics to block consideration of the amendment. Rejecting Senate tradition and standard practice during the current debate, several conservatives demanded that the clerk of the Senate read every word of the 767-page amendment Sanders proposed.

        Recognizing that the move would stall action not just on health care reform but on a host of economic issues that are critical to unemployed Americans, Sanders had no choice but to pull the amendment off the floor. But he was not happy about what happened.

        Here’s a Vermont Public Radio story with a few more details on what happened. As a result, Bernie says he will not support the legislation either as it stands now.

        Thanks for trying Bernie and please don’t cave.

  19. cometman permalink*
    December 16, 2009 10:08 am

    One rat gets trapped – Raj RajaRATnam from the Galleon Group hedge fund is indicted for conspiracy and securities fraud. This part was just weird:

    “Raj paid $4 million to have Kenny Rogers come to a birthday party at his house and sing his favorite song, ‘The Gambler,’ over and over again. Kenny refused to go on after a dozen times.”

    Update: Kenny Rogers’ agent called and had this to say about Raj-Raj’s country music lovin’ party: “Kenny did play for Galleon in Greenwich during September 2007 but we don’t discuss payment for the artist.” Team Kenny won’t admit if it’s more or less than $4m but said $4 million was not the amount of the contract. He also claims Rogers didn’t do a song repeat a dozen times, but only a few.

    Evidently Raj didn’t know when to run in this instance, but he may soon have plenty of time for counting.

    This WSJ link probably has better details but I couldn’t read the whole article without subscribing.

  20. cometman permalink*
    December 16, 2009 1:43 pm

    Very good article by Ellen Brown about countries protesting their debt payments and possibly refusing to pay them back – An EU/IMF Revolt.

    Noteworthy that Greece isn’t just going to bend over for the EU:

    Greece may be the first in the EU outer circle to revolt. According to Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Sunday’s Daily Telegraph, “Greece has become the first country on the distressed fringes of Europe’s monetary union to defy Brussels and reject the Dark Age leech-cure of wage deflation.” Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Friday:

    “Salaried workers will not pay for this situation: we will not proceed with wage freezes or cuts. We did not come to power to tear down the social state.”

    If you read the whole thing you’ll see that there are many historical examples of nations fixing their debt problems without listening to the prescriptions of the Western oligarchy. Brown argues that one method to jump start the economy without causing inflation would be by the government lending money directly with no interest, rather than giving the banks money at no interest so they can turn around and make easy money off the rest of us like the US is currently doing. Here’s one example:

    Besides thawing frozen credit pipes, credit created by governments has the advantage that it can be issued interest-free. Eliminating the cost of interest can cut production costs dramatically.

    Government-issued money to fund public projects has a long and successful history, going back at least to the early eighteenth century, when the American colony of Pennsylvania issued money that was both lent and spent by the local government into the economy. The result was an unprecedented period of prosperity, achieved without producing price inflation and without taxing the people.

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 17, 2009 10:23 am

      Yes, very good article. Thanks for that.

      Here’s a couple of recent articles about the Greek economy from the Guardian

      Papandreou unveils radical reforms to salvage Greece’s public finances

      Papandreou’s real route to recovery

      The measures the prime minister did announce addressed three main issues: inefficiency in public expenditure; public revenue in terms of raising and collecting taxes, and by means of utilising public assets; and improving competitiveness so the country has a real prospect of growth. A reduction of the deficit is to be accomplished by 2013. All this is to be balanced against the promise of the two-month-old Socialist government for a strong welfare state and an increase in real wages in the public sector. The Papandreou plan also contains a few crowd pleasers, like the 90% tax on bankers’ bonuses. It is by all means the start of a good plan, if somewhat vague, and of course incomplete. But this is not the plan that will slash the deficit from 12.7% in 2009 to 6% in 2010, as investors and the EU would like.

      The response of the markets today suggests they were not pleased with what Papandreou had to say.

      Good for Papandreou for not ben dovering as you note above. Like Dean, he wants to take an approach that doesn’t cause the little guy to be further strangled by the rich and greedy. I wish them and their kind every success, though sadly the rich greedy assholes always seem to defeat them.

  21. cometman permalink*
    December 17, 2009 9:04 am

    Bwaaahahaha! Semi-nude Mary and Joseph spark outrage in New Zealand.

    A New Zealand church has sparked outrage by erecting a billboard depicting Mary and Joseph lying semi-nude beneath the sheets.

    In an unorthodox take on the Christmas tale, the billboard depicts a forlorn Joseph and Mary looking to the sky with a caption which reads: “Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow.”

    The St Matthew-in-the-City church said it wanted to inspire people to talk about the Christmas story.

    Picture at the link!

    • Stemella permalink*
      December 17, 2009 10:11 am

      Hee hee. Viagra should use that as an ad. Classic!!

  22. artemis54 permalink
    December 17, 2009 3:37 pm

    Speaking of STFU, Franken was presiding over the Senate just now. When Lieberwhore asked for UC to whine and blather on some more, Franken objected “in my capacity as senator from Minnesota.”

    Hilarious. I think that is the Senate-speak equivalent of “STFU, and oh yeah how about kissing my ass while you’re at it.” Droopy Dogg looked like he’d been hit with a two by four. Apparently the first time anyone’s said no to him in quite a while. Obama, Reid, please note.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 18, 2009 9:40 am

      Here’s the video.

      Harming the comity of the Senate! The horror, the horror…..

  23. artemis54 permalink
    December 18, 2009 4:56 am

    Obama spoke at COP just now. Video should be floating around soon. I liveblogged at the Deli!

    Boy was this a mistake. He should not have even gone. His presentation was utterly pathetic and halfhearted. He didn’t even seem to believe it himself, like a child indifferently lying.

    The bloom is off this rose; he just made a fool of himself on the world stage.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 18, 2009 8:03 am

      I’ll be by to check it out. Thanks for the update.

  24. triv33 permalink
    December 18, 2009 8:41 am

    Got my X-mas card from the White House today! Gee, thanks. It’s just what I was hoping for…

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