Sunday, September 28, 2008

Is it live, or is it Memorex?

Here are excerpts from Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric. Which ones are real, and which one is the Saturday Night Live spoof? Sadly, it's difficult to tell in some places.

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain Wins Debate!!

Aw dang, those pesky Republicans went and spoiled the ending. Now what I am supposed to do tonight?

What is the bailout really about?

Something that's been noticeably absent from all of the fear-inducing rants about the absolute need to ram through Congress a bill to throw $700,000,000,000 at Wall Street to save them from themselves is any substantive discussion of why that specific amount of money? What will it be used for? What will we, the taxpayers, get in return for mortgaging our grandchildrens' futures? Treasury has already told us that that number was "not based on any particular data point" and that they "just wanted to choose a really large number" (how very like the Bush administration to use their "gut" in place of real analysis), which should be enough to set the "terrist threat level" to "severe with sprinkles on top".

Devilstower and Hunter over at DailyKos have been asking these questions and the conclusions they reached are very disturbing. Here's Devilstower's take:

"This crisis was brought to you by subprime mortgages. We know that because we're told it many, many times each day. So how big is the problem?

The total value of all home mortgages has risen steeply over the last few years as the housing bubble drove home prices up and lax lending rules roped more people into the pool. Home mortgages were valued at $7 trillion in 2003 but were up to $11.1 trillion by last year.

How many of those were "subprime?" It depends on how you define it. Funny thing: the initial definition was loans that didn't meet Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac qualifications, meaning that those institutions shouldn't be holding any subprime loans. But as a term, subprime is now more often applied to any loan where either the applicant's credit fell below the mid-range of "good" or where the lender did an abbreviated credit check. That kind of loan really came and went rather quickly. They were 8% of loans in 2003, topped out at 20% of loans in 2005 and 2006, and were back to 3% of loans in 2007. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, $139 billion of subprime loans were handed out in the last quarter of 2006, but this was down to $14 billion in the matching quarter of 2007

Now the real question: how many of those loans are in trouble?

Foreclosures were up a steep 79% in 2007, reaching just over 1% of mortgages. The numbers are up again so far in 2008 (though not as steeply). We could top 2% in default this year or next. There are some expectations that foreclosures could triple from today's historically high levels, meaning ultimately 3% of mortgages could be in trouble.

And that's where we get that math problem. 1% of all mortgages -- the amount now in default -- comes out to $111 billion. Triple that, and you've got $333 billion. Let's round that up to $350 billion. So even if we reach the point where three percent of all mortgages are in foreclosure, the total dollars to flat out buy all those mortgages would be half of what the Bush-Paulson-McCain plan calls for.

Then we need to factor in that a purchased mortgage isn't worth zero. After all, these documents come with property attached. Even with home prices falling and some of the homes lying around unsold, it's safe to assume that some portion of these values could be recovered. In the S&L crisis, about 70% of asset value was recovered, but let's say we don't do that well. Let's say we hit 50%. Then the real outlay for taxpayers would be around $175 billion.

Which, frankly, is a number that Wall Street should be able to handle without our help. After all, the top firms on Wall Steet payed out $120 billion in bonuses alone between 2000 and 2006. If they've got that kind of mad money, why do they need us to step in now? And why do they need twice as much as all the mortgages that are even likely to implode?"

So there's a little problem with the math. Would that mean that this really isn't about the subprime collapse? Hunter explains.
"...despite what we've been told, then, we can only presume that the problem is in fact not all the bad, scary subprime mortgages. And it's not. Yes, a lot of people are finding themselves upside-down on their houses right now, but Paulson isn't proposing we do squat to solve that -- and even the "controversial" Democratic counterproposal, that we actually do at least a little something to help those people, after they've already gone bankrupt, is pathetically weak.

Instead, we're getting a Wall Street bailout not of the mortgages, but of the absurd, speculative, economy-wrecking derivatives based on those mortgages, derivatives that investors and banks ravenously sold each other at unsupportable and quite-probably-crooked prices. Those derivatives, generally speaking, are "bets" on the state of the underlying mortgages. And they didn't just bet wrong -- they bet irrationally, based on presumptions of near-zero risks to those underlying mortgages. And worse, the big banks even -- bafflingly -- got special permission to overleverage themselves 40 to 1, all but assuring collapse if those derivatives went south. Which they did.

Fine, then, but how is that self-induced bubble an unweatherable economic crisis for the rest of us? Yes, those banks may fail -- as they should. It'd be a crime if they didn't, given their mismanagement of their accounts. But the real problem is that those banks are, literally, too big to be allowed to fail. Their failure would present a liquidity problem for the rest of the market. They can do anything -- they could even burn money on the street -- and the strong preference of government would be to bail them out for it, because the alternative is financial chaos.

The subprime mortgages aren't the problem. And the overleveraged firms shouldn't be a problem. The problem is keeping the rest of the economy afloat no matter what happens to the firms in trouble."

So we're being lied to. This bailout has nothing to do with the subprime market as we're being led to believe. This is about the smoke-and-mirrors derivatives market. It was an elaborate Ponzi scheme that allowed the same assets to be used as collateral for different investments many times over. So where do we go from here?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

False dichotomy

So Dubya was all over teh teevee last night mongering fear. Again. The sky is falling (even though the economy was strong just last month) and something drastic must be done. Everyone knows the story by now: we absolutely must give $700 billion to Henry Paulson immediately so he can save us all from imminent disaster, nevermind that he helped create this whole mess in the first place, both as CEO of Goldman Sachs and as Secretary of the Treasury. It's the way Republicans do government: they allow the people who create problems, due to either gross incompetence or willful action, to determine and implement the solutions to the problems they themselves created. If Paulson gets his way, what he will do with this money will be left to his sole discretion, and Congress won't even be allowed to ask because we're told that doing so would hinder the recovery process. Or something.

The choices are clear, Bush and his merry band of thieves are telling us: we must either give a huge pile of American taxpayer dollars to Wall Street -- even to the banks and investment houses that have been successful, and to foreign banks -- so they can continue the party, or they will wage a scorched earth campaign on the economy. This is a false dilemma. We are going to have a major recession as a result of their planned meltdown and there's nothing we can do about it. Giving $700 billion to Wall Street won't prevent that. This raid on the treasury is just Dubya's parting gift to the ultra wealthy. It will also have the effect of preventing the next president from pursuing his agenda since there simply won't be any money left because the "fiscal conservatives" have bankrupted the entire country. By the way, that $700 billion figure, by Treasury's own admission, was pulled out of someone's ass because they just wanted to choose a really large number.

I say don't give them a damn penny. It's their mess, let them clean it up. The fact is, Wall Street neither needs nor deserves a bail out. Many smart financial experts, including Warren Buffet, warned years ago that derivatives were "financial weapons of mass destruction", but their words were ignored because they were immensely profitable. Wall Street is trying to use this crisis (and it really is a crisis) to further increase their already massive wealth when we pay for the clean up. These people are flush with cash.

Just last year, Wall Street’s top five financial firms — including names such as Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns — awarded $39 billion in bonuses at a time when stockholder value in those companies fell by $74 billion.
Read that again: $39 billion in bonuses were paid to Wall Street's top five financial firms last year. And now they say they need a bailout? I don't think so. They're just holding a gun to our collective heads. This is nothing but extortion, plain and simple.

A recession is coming. Giving more money to Wall Street will do nothing but prevent those of us most affected by their greed from weathering the coming storm.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Did Palin have affair with husband's business partner?

I've never bought a copy of The National Enquirer in my life because they are just not a reliable news source. However, they did nail John Edwards' affair. Could they have another scoop?

No less than three members of the man’s family including one by sworn affidavit have claimed that Sarah Palin engaged in an extramarital affair with hus­band Todd’s former business partner, Brad Hanson.
I report. You decide.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Dear Congress:

I ran up $5,000 on my credit card betting at the dog track. Can I have $700 billion too?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

McCain is every neocon's wet dream

Gabriel Nathan Schwartz was a delegate to the Republican party national convention. This means he is your typical wingnut. He's not just any wingnut, however, he's a neocon. He's the kind of wingnut who thinks George Bush is a misunderstood genius. And Schwartz loves him some John McCain. He has masturbatory fantasies about a McCain presidency that go something like this:

In an interview filmed the afternoon of Sept. 3 and posted on the Web site, Schwartz was candid about how he envisioned change under a McCain presidency.

"Less taxes and more war," he said, smiling. He said the U.S. should "bomb the hell" out of Iran because the country threatens Israel.

Asked by the interviewer how America would pay for a military confrontation with Iran, he said the U.S. should take the country's resources.

"We should plant a flag. Take the oil, take the money," he said. "We deserve reimbursement."
So there you have it. McCain means more bombs, more killing, more American imperialism. Our economy, which took a huge interest in the "homeland defense" industry under Bush, will turn into an all-out war economy under McCain. And his base drools as the prospect.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Palin busted lying by ABC

OMG Sarah Barracuda got so PWNED!!!!!!1!ELEVEN!

An internal government document obtained by ABC News appears to contradict Sarah Palin's most recent explanation for why she fired her public safety chief, the move which prompted the now-contested state probe into "Troopergate."

Fighting back against allegations she may have fired her then-Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, for refusing to go along with a personal vendetta, Palin on Monday argued in a legal filing that she fired Monegan because he had a "rogue mentality" and was bucking her administration's directives.

"The last straw," her lawyer argued, came when he planned a trip to Washington, D.C., to seek federal funds for an aggressive anti-sexual-violence program. The project, expected to cost from $10 million to $20 million a year for five years, would have been the first of its kind in Alaska, which leads the nation in reported forcible rape.

The McCain-Palin campaign echoed the charge in a press release it distributed Monday, concurrent with Palin's legal filing. "Mr. Monegan persisted in planning to make the unauthorized lobbying trip to D.C.," the release stated.

But the governor's staff authorized the trip, according to an internal travel document from the Department of Public Safety, released Friday in response to an open records request.

The document, a state travel authorization form, shows that Palin's chief of staff, Mike Nizich, approved Monegan's trip to Washington D.C. "to attend meeting with Senator Murkowski." The date next to Nizich's signature reads June 18.

Last week a legislative panel approved a subpoena for Nizich to be interviewed by Stephen Branchflower, the prosecutor hired to conduct the Alaska Legislature's inquiry into Troopergate. The Attorney General informed the Legislature earlier this week that Nizich and other state employees subpoenaed in the matter would not submit to interviews.

Nizich did not respond to a message left Friday afternoon.

In Palin's court filing Monday  to stop an investigation by her state Personnel Board she earlier had requested  her lawyer, Thomas V. Van Flein, included numerous emails from her staff expressing confusion and incredulity over Monegan's planned D.C. trip. None of those emails were sent by or to Nizich, although he was cc'd on several.

Contacted Friday, Monegan confirmed the travel authorization was to pursue funding for the anti-sexual-violence program. He said the travel authorization form was completed in a fashion consistent with practice, even though it showed no expenditures. The signed form approved the travel, he said, and authorized him to use a government credit card or seek reimbursement for expenses he incurred during the trip.

Monegan said he didn't know why Palin's chief of staff approved a trip that confounded her other aides. "It sounds like it's a breakdown of communication internal to the governor's staff," he said.

The McCain-Palin campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

Now we're socialists?

After years of Republicans telling us how bad government is, that regulation stiffles the market, and that everything needs to be privatized, the market has destroyed itself. So the Bush administrations answer is, naturally, for the government to buy up the corporations whose greed had caused them to collapse, and to pay billions more for them than they are worth.

This is a pivotal moment for America’s economy. Problems that originated in the credit markets — and first showed up in the area of subprime mortgages — have spread throughout our financial system. This has led to an erosion of confidence that has frozen many financial transactions, including loans to consumers and to businesses seeking to expand and create jobs. As a result, we must act now to protect our nation’s economic health from serious risk.

Bullshit. These problems just didn't happen out of nowhere and they could have been, and were, predicted. Milton Friedman must be laughing hysterically right now. This is nothing more than a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. You and I are paying for this shit. The people who caused it are leaving with golden, multimillion dollar parachutes. The same people who caused this problem are still viewed as the wise and serious people who will save us from their crimes. Why is the federal government in the commercial banking, investment, and insurance businesses now? Does this mean that once these companies recover, they'll be "sold" at bargain prices to corporate interests?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why is Texas being ignored?

In case people aren't aware, Hurricane Ike left devastation in its path that is not being covered due to a media blackout ordered by the Bush administration. There is absolutely no excuse for this situation. These people are in trouble and need help from their country. There is no power or water, and little gas and food. This needs much more national attention.



Monday, September 15, 2008

Republicans: the party that wrecked America

They need to be branded with this every day between now and the election. Republicans: the party that wrecked America.

It turns out the real hurricane blew through Wall Street last week, not Galveston. This morning, Manhattan is strewn chest-deep with the debris of banking and at this hour (seven a.m.) nobody knows how far, deep, and wide the damage will spread. The fear, of course, is that we are witnessing a classic "house-of-cards" or "dominos-in-a-row," situation, and that the death of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch will cascade into a generalized collapse of the entire consensus of value that supports mediums of exchange.

At least one thing ought to be clear: this has happened due to the negligence and misfeasance of the regulating authorities, namely the Republican Party, and that now all the hoopla surrounding Sarah Palin can be swept away revealing that group to be what they actually are: the party that wrecked America.


Some group of somebodies will have to clean up this mess. Moving toward a major election, it is hard to imagine the American people giving the clean-up task to the very group that created the mess -- no matter how many cute little faces Sarah Palin can make on TV. Both parties have so far managed to ignore the gathering crisis of banking and money, but they can't ignore the sequoia trees crashing down around their ankles and shaking the earth they stand on.

At issue now will be the question of legitimacy in all its human social dimensions. Is our money legitimate? Is the authority of our elected officials legitimate? Are our values and ideas legitimate? These are the things that will determine what kind of future we find ourselves in.
John McCain wants us to believe that he will fix the problem:
"We will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street. This is a failure."
However, let's remember who enabled this and how it was done.

If McCain wants to hold someone accountable for the failure in transparency and accountability that led to the current calamity, he should turn to his good friend and adviser, Phil Gramm.

As Mother Jones reported in June, eight years ago, Gramm, then a Republican senator chairing the Senate banking committee, slipped a 262-page bill into a gargantuan, must-pass spending measure. Gramm's legislation, written with the help of financial industry lobbyists, essentially removed newfangled financial products called swaps from any regulation. Credit default swaps are basically insurance policies that cover the losses on investments, and they have been at the heart of the subprime meltdown because they have enabled large financial institutions to turn risky loans into risky securities that could be packaged and sold to other institutions.

Lehman's collapse threatens the financial markets because of swaps. From Bloomberg:

Bond-default risk soared worldwide as the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. sparked concern than the $62 trillion credit-derivatives market will unravel....
Lehman, the fourth-largest securities firm until last week, has been one of the 10 largest counterparties in the market for credit-default swaps, according to a 2007 report by Fitch Ratings. The market, which is unregulated and has no central exchange where prices are disclosed, has been the fastest-growing type of so-called over-the-counter derivative, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
"The immediate problem is the derivative default swaps market, in which a plethora of institutional accounts and dealer accounts are at risk,'' Bill Gross, manager of the world's largest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. in Newport Beach, California, said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio yesterday. "It induces a tremendous amount of volatility and uncertainty.''

Barclays Capital analysts have estimated that if a financial institution with $2 trillion in credit-default swap trades were to fail, it might trigger between $36 billion and $47 billion in losses for institutions that traded with the firm. So the Lehman fiasco--caused in part by the use of unregulated swaps--could lead to ruin elsewhere in the economy.

Gramm is responsible for the rise of the wild and woolly $62 trillion swaps market. And he was chairman of the McCain campaign and a top economic adviser for McCain--until he dismissed Americans worried about the economy as "whiners." After that comment, McCain dumped Gramm. But was Gramm truly excommunicated from McCain land? Last month, he attended a meeting of McCain's top supporters in Aspen, Colorado. And at a dinner that day, McCain singled out Gramm for praise. Last week, failed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul revealed that Gramm, now an exec for Swiss banking giant UBS (which also lost billions of dollars due to subprime loans and swaps), had recently called him as part of a McCain effort to win Paul's endorsement. Paul turned Gramm down.
Given that today John McCain once again said that the "fundamentals of the economy are strong," I think it's clear that he doesn't even recognize that there is a problem. His campaign is being run by lobbyists, but he wants us to believe that he'll be a reformer? I simply cannot understand why anyone who isn't filthy rich supports this guy. Given what happened today, I can't see why even wealthy people support him.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Quote of the day

From Jon Stewart. This would be funny if it weren't so serious.

It’s all sort of ironic, when you think about it. When you fly, you are inspected quite thoroughly. Whereas the plane itself is perhaps occasionally vacuumed. See, with this administration, if a passenger blows up a plane, it’s a failure in the War on Terror. But if a plane just blows up on its own, eh, that’s the market self-regulating.
I want my country back.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Bush decision making process

I about popped a blood vessel in my head after reading this today:

President Bush said Thursday the country is not recession-bound and, despite expressing concern about slowing economic growth, rejected for now any additional stimulus efforts. "We acted robustly," he said.

"We'll see the effects of this pro-growth package," Bush told reporters at a White House news conference, acknowledging that some lawmakers already are talking about a second stimulus package. "Why don't we let stimulus package 1, which seemed like a good idea at the time, have a chance to kick in?"

It "seemed like a good idea at the time"? WTF? This paints a very disturbing mental picture. A bunch of Bush cronies (none of whom have a background in economics) sitting around a conference room with him tossing out random ideas on how to fix the economy. Someone chimes in with "Hey, why don't we give everyone an advance on next year's tax refund. People will just go out and spend it on big screen TVs, which will pump up the economy." Bush ponders for a few seconds. "That's genius. By the time the Amurican public figgers out they have to pay it back next year, the Dems will be in charge and we can blame it on them!"

But when the highly anticipated turnaround doesn't materialize on his watch, Bush retorts, "It seemed like a good idea at the time." Jesus Tap Dancing Christ. How will we ever recover from the past eight years of this man?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

How projecting toughness at all costs is costing us everything

Why can't more people understand this:

The NYT’s Bob Herbert had an important column on a recent congressional hearing that barely generated any attention at all. The focus was on the cost of the war in Iraq, which is likely to reach $2 trillion, if not more.

On Thursday, the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Senator Chuck Schumer, conducted a public examination of the costs of the war. The witnesses included the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz (who believes the overall costs of the war — not just the cost to taxpayers — will reach $3 trillion), and Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International.

Both men talked about large opportunities lost because of the money poured into the war. “For a fraction of the cost of this war,” said Mr. Stiglitz, “we could have put Social Security on a sound footing for the next half-century or more.”

Mr. Hormats mentioned Social Security and Medicare, saying that both could have been put “on a more sustainable basis.” And he cited the committee’s own calculations from last fall that showed that the money spent on the war each day is enough to enroll an additional 58,000 children in Head Start for a year, or make a year of college affordable for 160,000 low-income students through Pell Grants, or pay the annual salaries of nearly 11,000 additional border patrol agents or 14,000 more police officers.

What we’re getting instead is the stuff of nightmares.

Noting this, Matt Yglesias added, “Few people seem to appreciate it, but it’s quite literally true that al-Qaeda’s strategy is to cripple the U.S. economy by dragging us into quagmires abroad. Osama bin Laden himself has said this, and it’s the only strategy that makes sense. A smallish number of people with no base of resources can’t possibly defeat us unless we shoot ourselves in the foot repeatedly as Bush and McCain propose.”

All Al Qaeda has to do is question George Bush's masculinity and he'll bankrupt the entire country to prove them wrong. It's so goddamned childish. I don't know what's worse: the fact that the neocons have used "terrorism" for such blatantly and transparently political purposes that are ruining the country, or the fact that so many American citizens are too stupid to get that they're being punked.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Florida Republicans honor their heritage

A Republican lawmaker in Florida introduced a bill last week to honor its history with "Confederate Heritage" license plates.

With the elections coming up, Republicans are desperate for attention and are no doubt hoping for a public outcry to help solidify their base. Or something. Princess Sparkle Pony liked the design so much that she's submitted some of her own for consideration.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Quote of the day

"I can't wait until it's Obama vs. McCain.
It's gonna be Youtube vs. Feeding Tube!"
- Bill Maher

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Republicans and Values

Uh oh. Saint McCain might have a little problem. Hopefully this story will have legs and will be another nail in McCain's political coffin.

And Republican operative Bay Buchanan is fall-on-the-floor-laugh-out-loud funny:

Buchanan: This is not the Democratic Party, this is a party of values. We assume our candidates have been loyal to their family.

The Party of Values. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Please stop! My side hurts!

Republicans sure seem to have a lot of memory problems. Maybe that's because the GOP is the party of Old White People. No worries, though. The Internets have a very long memory:

  • Republican presidential campaign official Matthew Joseph Elliott was convicted of sexual exploitation of a child.
  • Republican Party Chairman Donald Fleischman was charged with two counts of child enticement, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child and a single charge of exposing himself to a child.
  • Republican prosecutor John David Roy Atchison was arrested for soliciting sex from a 5-year old girl, then killed himself three weeks later. At the time of his arrest, Atchison was an “assistant U.S. attorney” appointed by President Bush’s attorney general.
  • Republican city councilman John Bryan killed himself after police began investigating allegations that he had molested three girls, including two of his adopted daughters, ages 12 and 15.
  • Republican legislator Ted Klaudt was charged with raping girls under the age of 16.
  • Republican city councilman Joseph Monteleone Jr. was found guilty of fondling underage girls.
  • Republican congressional aide Jeffrey Nielsen was arrested for having sex with a 14-year old boy.
  • Republican County Commissioner Patrick Lee McGuire surrendered to police after allegedly molesting girls between the ages of 8 and 13.
  • Republican prosecutor Larry Corrigan was arrested for soliciting sex from 13-year old girls.
  • Republican Mayor Jeffrey Kyle Randall was sentenced to 275 days in jail for molesting two boys — ages ten and 12 — during a six-year period.
  • Republican County Board Candidate Brent Schepp was charged with molesting a 14-year old girl and killed himself three days later.
  • Republican Congressman Mark Foley abruptly resigned from Congress after “sexually explicit” emails surfaced showing him flirting with a 16-year old boy.
  • Republican executive Randall Casseday of the conservative Washington Times newspaper pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a 13-year old girl on the internet.
  • Republican chairman of the Oregon Christian Coalition Lou Beres confessed to molesting a 13-year old girl.
  • Republican County Constable Larry Dale Floyd pleaded guilty to charges of soliciting sex from an 8-year old girl. Floyd has repeatedly won elections for Denton County, Texas, constable.
  • Republican judge Mark Pazuhanich pleaded no contest to fondling a 10-year old girl and was sentenced to 10 years probation.
  • Republican Party leader Bobby Stumbo was arrested for having sex with a 5-year old boy.
  • Republican petition drive manager Tom Randall pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 14, one of them the daughter of an associate in the petition business.
  • Republican County Chairman Armando Tebano pleaded guilty to fondling a 14-year-old girl.
  • Republican teacher and former city councilman John Collins pleaded guilty to sexually molesting 13 and 14 year old girls.
  • Republican campaign worker Mark Seidensticker is a convicted child molester.
  • Republican Mayor Philip Giordano is serving a 37-year sentence in federal prison for sexually abusing 8- and 10-year old girls.
  • Republican Mayor Tom Adams was arrested for distributing child pornography over the internet.
  • Republican Mayor John Gosek was arrested on charges of soliciting sex from two 15-year old girls.
  • Republican County Commissioner David Swartz pleaded guilty to molesting two girls under the age of 11 and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
  • Republican legislator Edison Misla Aldarondo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his daughter between the ages of 9 and 17.
  • Republican Committeeman John R. Curtin was convicted of molesting an underage teenage boy and sentenced to serve six to 18 months in prison.
  • Republican anti-abortion activist Howard Scott Heldreth is a convicted child rapist in Florida.
  • Republican zoning supervisor, Boy Scout leader and Lutheran church president Dennis L. Rader pleaded guilty to performing a sexual act on an 11-year old girl he murdered.
  • Republican anti-abortion activist Nicholas Morency pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer and offering a bounty to anybody who murders an abortion doctor.
  • Republican campaign consultant Tom Shortridge was sentenced to three years probation for taking nude photographs of a 15-year old girl.
  • Republican racist pedophile and United States Senator Strom Thurmond had sex with a 15-year old black girl which produced a child.
  • Republican pastor Mike Hintz, whom George W. Bush commended during the 2004 presidential campaign, surrendered to police after admitting to a sexual affair with a female juvenile.
  • Republican legislator Peter Dibble pleaded no contest to having an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl.
  • Republican advertising consultant Carey Lee Cramer was sentenced to six years in prison for molesting two 8-year old girls, one of whom appeared in an anti-Gore television commercial.
  • Republican fundraiser Lawrence E. King, Jr. organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.
  • Republican lobbyist Craig J. Spence organized child sex parties at the White House during the 1980s.
  • Republican Congressman Donald “Buz” Lukens was found guilty of having sex with a female minor and sentenced to one month in jail.
  • Republican fundraiser Richard A. Delgaudio was found guilty of child porn charges and paying two teenage girls to pose for sexual photos.
  • Republican activist Mark A. Grethen convicted on six counts of sex crimes involving children.
  • Republican campaign chairman Randal David Ankeney pleaded guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child and was arrested again five years later on the same charge.
  • Republican Congressman Dan Crane had sex with a female minor working as a congressional page.
  • Republican activist and Christian Coalition leader Beverly Russell admitted to an incestuous relationship with his step daughter.
  • Republican Judge Ronald C. Kline pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer.
  • Republican congressman and anti-gay activist Robert Bauman was charged with having sex with a 16-year-old boy he picked up at a gay bar.
  • Republican Committee Chairman Jeffrey Patti was arrested for distributing a video clip of a 5-year-old girl being raped.
  • Republican activist Marty Glickman (a.k.a. “Republican Marty”), was taken into custody by Florida police on four counts of unlawful sexual activity with an underage girl and one count of delivering the drug LSD.
  • Republican legislative aide Howard L. Brooks was charged with molesting a 12-year old boy and possession of child pornography.
  • Republican Senate candidate John Hathaway was accused of having sex with his 12-year old baby sitter and withdrew his candidacy after the allegations were reported in the media.
  • Republican preacher Stephen White, who demanded a return to traditional values, was sentenced prison after offering $20 to a 14-year-old boy for permission to perform oral sex on him.
  • Republican talk show host Jon Matthews pleaded guilty to exposing his genitals to an 11 year old girl.
  • Republican anti-gay activist Earl “Butch” Kimmerling was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting an 8-year old girl after he attempted to stop a gay couple from adopting her.
  • Republican Party leader Paul Ingram pleaded guilty to six counts of raping his daughters and served 14 years in federal prison.
  • Republican election board official Kevin Coan was sentenced to two years probation for soliciting sex over the internet from a 14-year old girl.
  • Republican politician Andrew Buhr was charged with two counts of first degree sodomy with a 13-year old boy.
  • Republican legislator Keith Westmoreland was arrested on seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition to girls under the age of 16 (i.e. exposing himself to children).
  • Republican anti-abortion activist John Allen Burt was found guilty of molesting a 15-year old girl.
  • Republican County Councilman Keola Childs pleaded guilty to molesting a male child.
  • Republican activist John Butler was charged with criminal sexual assault on a teenage girl.
  • Republican candidate Richard Gardner admitted to molesting his two daughters.
  • Republican Councilman and former Marine Jack W. Gardner was convicted of molesting a 13-year old girl.
  • Republican County Commissioner Merrill Robert Barter pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact and assault on a teenage boy.
  • Republican City Councilman Fred C. Smeltzer, Jr. pleaded no contest to raping a 15 year-old girl and served 6-months in prison.
  • Republican activist Parker J. Bena pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on his home computer and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and fined $18,000.
  • Republican parole board officer and former Colorado state representative, Larry Jack Schwarz, was fired after child pornography was found in his possession.
  • Republican strategist and Citadel Military College graduate Robin Vanderwall was convicted in Virginia on five counts of soliciting sex from boys and girls over the internet.
  • Republican city councilman Mark Harris, who is described as a “good military man” and “church goer,” was convicted of repeatedly having sex with an 11-year-old girl and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
  • Republican businessman Jon Grunseth withdrew his candidacy for Minnesota governor after allegations surfaced that he went swimming in the nude with four underage girls, including his daughter.
  • Republican campaign worker, police officer and self-proclaimed reverend Steve Aiken was convicted of having sex with two underage girls.
  • Republican director of the “Young Republican Federation” Nicholas Elizondo molested his 6-year old daughter and was sentenced to six years in prison.
  • Republican president of the New York City Housing Development Corp.
  • Russell Harding pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on his computer.
  • Republican benefactor of conservative Christian groups, Richard A. Dasen Sr., was found guilty of raping a 15-year old girl. Dasen, 62, who is married with grown children and several grandchildren, has allegedly told police that over the past decade he paid more than $1 million to have sex with a large number of young women.
  • Republican Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the rape of children in Iraqi prisons in order to humiliate their parents into providing information about the anti-American insurgency.
And let's not forget David Vitter, Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, and Ted Haggard. Family values, indeed. I must have missed Sunday school the day they taught that Jesus approved of pedophilia.

Democrats need to hammer the Republicans on this whole "family values" meme until November because it's a lie and we all know that Republican operatives are going to be smearing whoever ends up being the Democratic nominee (e.g. - Obama is a Muslim who will only take his oath of office on the Koran). The difference is that the Republican scandals are actually true!

Oh, and here's a note for some clueless journalists: most of us voting Democratic aren't excited about electing the first woman or the first black man as president. Polls clearly indicate that we'll enthusiastically support either Obama and Hillary. We don't care about the color of our candidates' skin or whether or not they have breasts. That's how conservatives view the world.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bush dogs served notice

Donna Edwards' primary win in Maryland's 4th District over incumbent Al Wynn should serve as a wake up call to the Blue Dog Democrats. You are not safe. Your support for George Bush and all of his corporation-loving, warmongering, trample-the-constitution, shit-on-working-Americans policies might cost you your political lives. Even with the support of Democratic heavyweights Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, Al got pwned. And Nancy, you'd better watch your ass, too. We'll remember that you put politics ahead of the constitution. You can be ousted just like Al Wynn.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

George W. Bush Countdown Calendar - February 2

If you aren't outraged by what's going on, you're not paying attention.

Presidential Tax Cuts

For 2005, George W. and Laura Bush reported income of $738,880, paying $187,854 in taxes - about $26,000 less than they would have paid before the tax cuts he initiated. That same year, Dick and Lynne Cheney reported income of $9,120,960, paying taxes of $517,287, saving about $1,100,000 because of the tax cuts. Part of this savings was from charitable contributions he made that, due a law designed to benefit Katrina victims, qualified for deduction from his income. None of his contributions went to hurricane victims.
For Dick, that works out to a tax rate of 5.6%. And he thinks he's paying too much and needs more tax breaks. Life is tough for the rich in this country. I just don't know how they survive.

Monday, January 28, 2008

George W. Bush Countdown Calendar - January 26

"Who Needs Scientists When You've Got Lobbyists?

In a radical change of policy, the EPA decided at the end of 2006 to effectively eliminate input from its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee in setting standards for dangerous pollutants like lead, ozone, and soot. The independent panel, which until then had provided key scientific recommendations early on in the standards review process, will now be allowed only to comment on proposed regulations after the public has been notified of them, in effect putting the scientific board on the same footing as industrial lobbyists and other special interest groups."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Soldiers love teh shootin' and killin', according to McCain

This is just too good to pass up.

John McCain accused Mitt Romney of wanting to withdraw troops from Iraq, drawing immediate protest from his Republican presidential rival who said: "That’s simply wrong and it's dishonest, and he should apologize."


Asked about the comment in Land O' Lakes, Romney balked. "That's dishonest, to say that I have a specific date. That's simply wrong," he said. "That is not the case. I've never said that."

"I know he's trying desperately to change the topic from the economy and trying to get back to Iraq, but to say something that's not accurate is simply wrong — and he knows better," the former Massachusetts governor said.

Campaigning later in Sun City, McCain took note of Romney's demand for an apology and said it is his GOP rival who should apologize to U.S. troops in Iraq "who are serving this nation in hard times and good" for his position.
McCain and Romney are arguing over who can keep our occupation of Iraq going the longest. But it's even better than that. McCain thinks our soldiers like being in Iraq and Romney should apologize to them for trying to ruin all their fun by bringing them home (even though Romney wants them there forever, just like McCain). It sounds like John McCain really enjoyed all that time he spent as a POW in Vietnam. The fact that Ron Paul, who wants the troops out of Iraq immediately, has received more campaign contributions from active military personnel than any other Republican is lost on these guys.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Republicans ecstatic that Americans must work 2 jobs

From ThinkProgress today:

Topping Congress’s agenda as it returns this week is a plan to “jump-start the economy and try to shorten the slowdown that many economists say has already begun to take hold.”

Today, Rep. Eric Cantor (VA), the chief deputy Republican whip in the House, unveiled his proposal to stimulate the economy. His legislation — the so-called Middle Class Job Protection Act — does nothing for the middle class. Instead, it reduces the corporate tax rate by 28 percent.

At a press conference today unveiling the stimulus proposal, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) justified the conservative plan to give tax breaks to corporations — instead of working Americans — by arguing that people actually like working long hours:

I am so proud to be from the state of Minnesota. We’re the workingest state in the country, and the reason why we are, we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs.

Bachmann’s version of the American Dream is apparently working two full-time jobs and struggling to get by.


Bachmann may be taking her cues from her bosom buddy President Bush, who on Feb. 4, 2005, told a divorced mother of three: “You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.”