Friday, August 15, 2008

Ron Suskind on Democracy Now

Suskind's new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, is going to be the foundation of another congressional investigation.
Good luck with that, John Conyers. And I mean that sincerely.
Did you know there's an interogation cell that's been used in the basement of the White House?
But I digress.
Anyhoo, this two part read/viewing is a great overview of his new book.
Which is chock full of evidentiary goodness.
Part One
Part Two

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I would be excited by this story, if it was true. Somehow I doubt it.
The buzz created around Bigfoot’s recent discovery reached unprecedented heights, especially due to the promises about the upcoming "DNA evidence and photo evidence" releases, expected later today. The announcement was made by the Web site, which actually claims to have a real specimen.

According to the researchers involved, Mathew Whitton, Tom Biscardi and Rick Dyer, the creature is 7 feet and 7 inches tall, weights close to 500 pounds and presents features from both human and ape. Also, other details are offered on the Web site: the Bigfoot has reddish hair, black-gray eyes and its footprint measures almost 27 inches long and almost 6 inches across.

The evidence should be released later today during a news conference in California.
There's a ring of truth element that I sense is missing here. I can't put my finger on it, but I truly sense there's an elaborate hoax being perpetrated.

I'm not so certain of that feeling that I'd put any money on it at all, but just an unease, and my gut instinct. Perhaps it's the fact that the referenced website has already been taken down for exceeding it's bandwith (check it out).

Perhaps it's the fact that the website is registered to "registercom", one of those DIY website providers, as opposed to a legitimate commercial domain provider (Think "").

Or maybe it's the fact that the person behind the "search", Tom Biscardi, has a reputation of not making good on similar promises to produce a Bigfoot in the past, despite swearing he could capture one live on pay-per-view TV...for only $59.95!

Whatever. This smells funny, and I don't mean the freezer they stuck the corpse in wasn't working (see photo)

Now, all that said, I want to go on record saying that it wouldn't surprise me if we actually do have some North American great ape, perhaps even a hominid, running around the wilds of the country. There are 310 million Americans, and 160 million live within 150 miles of the coastlines.

That means there's an awful lot of wilderness for an intelligent species to hide in, spotted only rarely.

Too, there's enough circumstantial evidence to support the possibility. But not the probability, and there's the rub.

Tales of dragons, unicorns, fairies, and monsters have been with us since the first time the sun went down on a human being who had an imagination. Tales told around tribal campfires are no different than turning on the television and watching "proof" of UFOs: it's a uniting theory, that there are mysterious creatures around us. It reinforces tribal bonds, brings us closer against a potential common foe, and can be used to scare people into conformity ("Don't go in the forest at night!").

In many respects, these myths mirror organized religion, proposing a mystical being and endowing it with some form of control over us.


Yes, I believe that one day we will likely find a creature who is close enough in appearance to justify calling him "Bigfoot" (unlike the one-horned goat that Barnum & Bailey circus fobbed off on us as an unicorn).

It will be a welcome reminder that, just as Christians don't know it all, neither do scientists. The difference, of course, is most scientists will admit that.

The reason I felt this was such an important story is, keep this tale in mind when your right wing friends start talking about this:
Two weeks before Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for president, conservative author Jerome R. Corsi has attacked his story with a narrative of his own: The son of an "alcoholic polygamist," Obama deals with his abandonment issues and "black rage" by experimenting with drugs and radical thought. He makes a calculated entrance into politics despite having accomplished little and having developed some "anti-American" sentiments. Once in office, he regularly manipulates the political machine and becomes a liberal who will "divide America."
Jerome Corsi. Tom Biscardi. P. T. Barnum.

Coincidence? Fleecing the ignorant is amazingly simple. After all, *somebody* falls for that Nigerian e-mail scam often enough that it's still popular!

(h/t to Memeorandum for showing the love)


"Lee" in comments points out that parallel stories to Bigfoot have also appeared in the press recently:The Montauk Monster (probably a large dog, maybe a bull mastiff, bloated from decomposition in salt water) and a chupacabra, clearly a dog from the distinctive running motion (see video)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hump Day Comedy Blogging

It is good to see enemy of liberals everywhere, Jesus' General, has lent his not-inconsiderable talents to the McCain campaign.

The Bush Legacy

I had intended a very different post this morning, until I logged into the news...
1) Caucasus ceasefire holds despite war of words - The ceasefire in the Caucasus conflict appeared to be holding today as Russia reported the pullback of Georgian troops from South Ossetia and denied Georgian claims that it was deploying more troops on Georgian territory outside the disputed province.

In particular, Moscow denied Georgian claims that 50 of its tanks were in Gori, the Georgian city near the Ossential border. The city had been abandoned by its authorities who had fled, said General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy head of the Russian General Staff. "We cannot find anyone. How they were evacuated and what happened there is a mystery to us," he said.

Russia continued to vent its anger on what it called Georgian aggression and atrocities as European foreign ministers gave the Union's blessing to a ceasefire accord that was brokered in Moscow yesterday by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President and current EU chairman.

2) Western Aid Workers Ambushed, Killed Near Kabul - Afghan officials say gunmen have killed three foreign aid workers - all women - during an ambush in eastern Logar province.

3) Lebanon Bomb Kills at Least 10 People - A bomb hidden in a briefcase exploded on a bus in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli during morning rush hour on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and wounding 30 others, the Lebanese Army said.

Lebanon has suffered a wave of bombings in recent years, including the 2005 killing of the former prime minister Rafik Hariri, which led to political upheaval in the country. However, the attack Wednesday was the first large-scale bombing in months.

4) Death toll hits 20 in Kashmir protests - Violent protests continued across Kashmir Wednesday, as the death toll from the past two days of demonstrations rose to 20, a senior police official said.

5) Philippines 'Liberates' 15 Villagers From Muslim Rebels - Philippine security forces on Wednesday announced they have "liberated" 15 villages forcibly occupied by Muslim rebels since July after three days of heavy fighting in southern Philippines.

Philippine Defense Chief Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., said the rebels retreated on Sunday after heavy air and ground assaults. More than 80,000 people displaced by the conflict in North Cotabato, have returned home.

Teodoro's statement was confirmed by Major-General Armando Cunanan, commander of the Armed Forces Eastern Command. He confirmed that the estimated 800 Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerillas that occupied the villages have fled.

6) Pakistan bomb hits military truck; at least 14 dead - At least 14 people were killed Tuesday in the roadside bombing of a Pakistani military truck, an attack authorities blamed on Islamic militants.

The powerful blast occurred just outside Peshawar, the nearest large city to a tribal area along the border with Afghanistan that has been raked by fighting for nearly a week.

7) Al-Qaida linked group takes sides in recent coup - A terror group linked to al-Qaida called for holy war in Mauritania following a coup last week that overthrew its democratically elected government.

"You Muslims prepare for war and raise the banner of jihad. Let us shed our blood, let our limbs be dismembered until we regain the wise caliphate rule," said the statement posted Tuesday on an Islamic web site.

The statement was signed by Abu Musab Abdulwadood, the leader of Al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, a cell that has been blamed for a string of attacks in Mauritania including last year's murder of four French tourists.

8) Three Security Officials Killed in W. China - Three security officials were killed at a roadside checkpoint in western China's Xinjiang region Tuesday when at least one assailant jumped off a passing vehicle and stabbed them to death, state media reported. It was the third deadly incident in nine days, coinciding with the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing.

We were supposed to be bringing peace to the Muslim world. We were going to give them a spoonful of democracy and hold their noses and ram it down their throats until they swallowed it whole, then pat them on the head and say "Good boys! Now go out and play..." only they spit the medicine out and decided to go out and play.

Which makes sense. Our president plays with his tin soldiers, and expects everyone else to busy themselves with their day-to-day lives, even his own people.

What the Bush regime and their cabal do not seem to grasp is that freedom comes with a price: blood.

Dumbya has tried to run bloodless coups across the Arabic and Muslim world, but these are not stupid people. These are nations with histories and cultures and yes, they've been thru this before, as recently as the 20th Century when the patrician states of Europe divvied up the Middle East along economic and not population lines.

And now the djinn is out of the bottle. Now the festering violence that had simmered but remained in control, bottled up by the rational thoughts of men and women, has flared up and is spreading across the nations of Asia and even Europe like a fire that cannot be contained by mortals.

And Bush and his cronies laugh, leaving a world far worse off than they inherited. We were at peace. We spent eight years of the Clinton Administration at peace and in prosperity, with surpluses of goodwill and good money.

Now our dollar, so closely tied to those interests that we have antagonized, has fallen through the floor. When Bush took office, the euro purchased about 80 cents American. Now, the dollar purchases about one-third of the euro. Now our dollar, tied to the price of oil, works against us, not for us, as consumers pay more and more for gasoline and heating oil, precisely because our President has bungled the first and only mandate of his office: to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.

That's not *some* states, Mr. Bush, but ALL states, and that means you had a fiduciary duty to this country to prevent harm. And that means not only interior to our borders but to protect us from harm outside them as well: aid workers shouldn't be killed in Afghanistan because of miserable decisions on your part that will benefit you long after you have shuffled off these (and I use the term loosely, because you clearly believe in lip service) "responsibilities".

Indeed, it is likely that whomever handles your personal wealth has already instituted a "win-win" for you. If this were a fair and decent world, you would be made to pay restitution out of your pocket to the thousands of families of American soldiers who have died fighting your war, sir.

Your war. Not ours. You scratch your head and wonder why the nation nearly to a man disagrees with you on this point? It is because we had no say. Indeed, we were told that dissent in a time of terror alerts was unpatriotic, as if patriotism stops outside our borders.

Well, we see a far greater terror within and it sits in a chair in an Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and fortunately, it will be extricated, by hook or by crook, on 20 January, 2009.

Mark that date carefully, Mr. Bush, the day you are exiled from public life, the day when even the neo-cons of the Cato Institute will refuse your calls.

And you will watch in solitude as President Obama and those who succeed him, for indeed, you have started something that will outlast even this next generation of Presidents, successfully prosecute the global conflict that history will deem you have started single-handedly, simply because they have to. It is at that time the true mettle of your faux patriotism will be found wanting and a new paradigm of love of country will emerge.

Americans will love them, not you. You will be reviled in ways that few Presidents can even have nightmares about. You will sit in seclusion, riding out the war on your thousand acres in Paraguay, believing you are safe, not even cowboying up long enough to sit through what you started at Ground Zero, America (possibly more than just a catchy phrase developed by your marketeers, an actual nuclear bombsite).

You will not be afforded the reconstruction that even the most hated President of our time, Richard Nixon, was afforded, because Americans of all stripes will see you for what you are: a shameless, godless buffoon of disproportionate idiocy, a man who took a peaceful, prosperous country and tore it apart like a little boy with an Erector set, leaving twisted metal and the burned out engines of American lives lying on the floor.

But who could parrot talking points with the best of them.

That, sir, is your legacy. Enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Because, Yes, We Want MORE Tax Cuts For The Wealthy!

Oh lord, this can't help but seal the deal for Barack Obama:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress.

The study by the Government Accountability Office, expected to be released Tuesday, said about 68 percent of foreign companies doing business in the U.S. avoided corporate taxes over the same period.

Collectively, the companies reported trillions of dollars in sales, according to GAO's estimate.

"It's shameful that so many corporations make big profits and pay nothing to support our country," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who asked for the GAO study with Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

An outside tax expert, Chris Edwards of the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, said increasing numbers of limited liability corporations and so-called "S" corporations pay taxes under individual tax codes.

"Half of all business income in the United States now ends up going through the individual tax code," Edwards said.
I added that last bit of the story to present a reasonable condition to the headline, but also to rebut it, slightly.

It's true that many corporations are so-called "individual corporations", LLCs and S-Corporations where the income is essentially passed thru to the shareholders for tax purposes.

The problem, one the Cato Institute fails to note, is the compliance with this when filing tax forms.

The IRS estimates that roughly $300 billion in undeclared income just vanishes somewhere between the corporations' books and the shareholders' tax returns each year.

At a 35% tax bracket, that ain't small potatoes, taxwise!

Too, where Cato makes it appear that this problem is almost solely a function of the tax liabilty shifted to the individual business owner, in truth, the GAO report shows that "about 25 percent of the U.S. corporations not paying corporate taxes were considered large corporations, meaning they had at least $250 million in assets or $50 million in receipts."

That's each, not collectively. When you are talking about trillions in revenues, $50 million is a small piece, so this is not an insignificant number of tax evaders.

In plain English, what does this mean?

It means that the entities-- people and corporations-- that beneift most from the bounty of resources of this great nation, its people, land, and other natural resources, are not giving back in a commensurate fashion as payment for these resources.

In other words, they are stealing our country out from under us, and either refusing to pony up reparations or are off-shoring your tax dollars in their Cayman Island bank accounts!

John McCain would encourage this by extending Bush's tax cuts and specifically, his capital gains, estate and dividend tax breaks that benefit the richest one percent of this nation far more than Barack Obama's middle class tax cut would benefit the middle classes of America.

And the middle class outnumbers the wealthy, but make that case and you're declaring class warfare.

I think it's about time we did just that. After all, class warfare has already been declared on the middle class!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Maybe Yes, Maybe No....

Pity poor John McCain. Barack Obama goes off for a well-earned week's vacation in Hawaii, to the confused fulminations of the punditry of the not-ever-right wing ("He's an elitist, running off to the exotic, distant United States like that! He can't even stay in his own country!"), AND the news cycle has broken in his fvor, playing to his strongest card, his foreign policy experience, as an old foe, Russia, rises up and begins to reabsorb its Tsarist empire.

Tailor-made week for him, right? Ehhhh...not so much!
This debate over McCain's maverick-ness reflects a new challenge in his second bid for the presidency: the dilution of the McCain brand. To win the GOP primary this year, McCain embraced party dogma in ways big and small, from switching his opposition to President Bush's tax cuts, which he had criticized as skewed to the rich, to making amends with religious leaders he once denounced as "agents of intolerance."

The campaign has also undercut McCain's image as a straight-talker by dramatically limiting the national media's access to the candidate, who once charmed reporters and voters alike with his easy, free-wheeling, common-man conversational style on his campaign bus.

And McCain, this time around, faces an opponent who can make a case that, as a 47-year-old black man and first-term senator, he is more of a political outsider with a fresh new voice than the 71-year-old veteran of a quarter-century in Congress.
Personally, I think the word "maverick-ness" is clumsy, and have coined my own word: "maverickwitude," which also sort of fits with "fuckwit", which describes McCain to a T.

But I digress...

So McCain not only has to sell himself as the "NotBush," but also as the "NotMcCain," all while trying to sell voters that his insider experience in Washington is better than that young snot-nose punk's naivete.

Imagine! Talking to Iran!

It gets worse for Senator McCain. The one week he has the field to himself...:
An e-mail just sent out says Obama "is about to choose a running mate." And when word comes, it will come by text message, e-mail and on the campaign website. An interesting twist that could mean the word might be released this week even during Obama's family vacation.[...]

And if it came, oh, say, sometime this week. it would instantly dominate the news stream and erase any advantage Republican Sen. John McCain might have gotten from a week of campaigning without the Democrats' competition.
That head of steam McCain was hoping for looks like it might not even signal the tea water is boiling.

Listen, when even Karl Rove is thinking Obama will announce his Veep this week, you have a problem on your hands if you are running against him.

So, yes, give a moment's thought to John McCain, the sacrificial lamb the Republicans have thrown to Barack Obama this year.