So the other day the New York Times finally got around to all-but-announcing that New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg has all-but-decided to run for President.
Which means – despite denials from his camp – that he’s running as a spoiler. Whether he’ll do more to screw up Republican or Democratic chances for the presidency remains to be seen. What’s clear is, he’s going to screw up the election, drawing votes from candidates on both sides.
Bloomberg’s position will be that he’s a “centerist” – whatever the hell that means. Does it mean he’ll favor the war in Iraq or oppose the war? Hard to say, because so far he has seemed remarkably disinterested in taking a stand on the issue. Ditto universal health care. Ditto, matters of making the income tax more graduated, caring for injured war veterans, ending or continuing inheritance taxes and other issues.
As I’ve in one way or another said here, here, here and here, Michael Bloomberg is a Class A phony. And a Class A spoiler. He won’t win, and heaven help America if he does. The only real reason he has for wanting to be president is, he wants to be president.
As the TV spots might say, "Tell 'Mike' Bloomberg to stop throwing monkey wrenches into the gears of Democracy."
Pass it on.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
You now owe nine trillion, 136 billion, four hundred and eighteen million, sixty-two thousand, 457 dollars and twenty nine cents. Thanks to this guy.
Hey, you want nightmares? Here’s a nightmare for you. Your share of the unpaid and growing national debt means that you or your heirs owe the IRS $30,000. Right now. Tomorrow it'll be worse. Matter of fact, it'll be worse by the time you finish reading this post.
The cause? Well, actually there are two causes – cutting taxes, and simultaneously firing up a war over nothing in Iraq. In other words, the two key features of the Bush conservative administration.
“Like a ticking time bomb, the national debt is an explosion waiting to happen. It's expanding by about $1.4 billion a day -- or nearly $1 million a minute,” said the Associated Press, in an article quoted in this revelatory horror story.More from the nightmare tale:
"In short -- we're issuing debt like it's going out of style. That means the Bush's tax cuts were in fact tax deferments because they'll have to increase in order to pay for the spending for the last six years. It also means that further tax cuts should be off the table. It also means the further spending for new programs are off the table."But do leading Republican presidential candidates get it? Nope. George Romney wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, while Rudy Giuliani wants even more of them.
That’s like trying to stave off foreclosure on the house by maxing out your credit cards.
But wait, it gets worse!
The "conservative" Bush financial policies are driving all of us into such a hole that foreign investors are snapping up – as if it's Halloween candy – all kinds of American property, American businesses, and the rights to control American technology. Others include investors in fairly undemocratic places like Dubai, Saudi Arabia the UAR, Russia and China. Click here for an example.
That means those folks are gaining more and more control over everything from the water you drink, to tolls collected on some of the highways you may drive, to the Pentagon's supply chain, to the U.S. Government’s staggering debts. If those foreign investors ever call in their chits, friend, chances are you’ll be on a breadline the next morning.
Somewhere in a cave in Pakistan, Osama bin Laden must be thanking Allah for giving the United States the reign George Bush and the so-called conservative policies that are sabotaging everything we have.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Merry Christmas, kiddies. Guess what’s in the toys Santa left you? And just lay off calling me a grinch, willyuh?
I woke up this morning wondering: To grinch? Or not to grinch?
I’ve decided to Grinch. So get off my case about it. I don’t need you to tell me I’m in a bad mood. And now for the reasons I took the trouble to post today:
• Hundreds of different kids toys – made in China for the likes of American “manufacturers” like Mattel – are lead-poison poisonous.
• All kinds of fish products from – you guessed it, pal, China – are poisonous. And we don't even know which ones.
• Earlier this year, it turned out dog food containing ingredients from China were poisonous. The key ingredient was wheat gluten, which is also in your bread, spaghetti, cookies, soups.
I could go on and on. Do you know where the wheat gluten in your breakfast toast came from?
It’s easy to blame China. To tell you the truth, they deserve a lot of the blame. But our own government, yours and mine, deserves a lot more of the blame.
The imbecile-in-chief we somehow let get elected and re-elected believes in unfettered capitalism. The idea is supposed to be, just get government out of commerce and the marketplace will fix all ills. Poison toys? They’ll go away. Poison fish? It’ll go away. Poison dog food? It’ll go away too, thanks to the wisdom of the unfettered market.
And how does that work? Easily. After you discover your kid is dead, your dog is dead, and you yourself are dead, you’ll stop buying the poisoned stuff. The market then will say to itself, “Hmm, we’ve lost three customers. We’d better get the lead out. Oh, and also the melamine, the antibiotics, the bacteria, the viruses, the mad cow prions and other toxins.”
Do you see a slight fallacy in that reasoning? Me too.
Even if you can keep on making rational purchasing decisions when you’re dead, it’s pretty hard to purchase anything rationally if you don’t know where it came from. Besides, once you're dead, why should the poison sellers wonder whether you'll boycott them or not – unless the government puts enough people with policing authority in there to bop the malefactor marketers over the head with the threat of a prison sentence?
I bet you can’t answer any of the following questions:
•Where did the fish that went into your last fried fish sticks dinner come from? Not the company that sold it to you. The raw ingredients.
•Where did the wheat gluten in your “healthy” 7-grain bread come from?
Where did the food eaten by the turkey that you’re eating from Christmas come from?
And how come the U.S. Government isn’t testing any of this poisonous stuff before it gets unloaded in American ports?
The U.S. Government belongs to the American people. That, pal, means you and me. It’s time to take the government back and put it to work for us. National defense means defense against poisoning and unscrupulous profiteers here and abroad, as well as against Al Qaida.
But tell that to a Republican! Tell them we need more government inspections of goods and services. Tell them the government needs sharper teeth to bite off the ears of any company that purchases and redistributes poison. Tell them we need a labeling law that will tell you where not only your kids' toys and your dog's food came from, but also your own fish, and steak, and the mucilage you licked the last time you mailed back a bill to the phone company.
Okay, enough for today.
And watch what you stick in your mouth.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush does a little business with a New York bank. Next thing you know, Florida taxpayers are holding the bag for billions.
Corruption, thy name is Bush! This story has the makings of another Carl Hiaasen novel. All it still needs is a sexy blonde and a fisherman who finds his bone-fishing grounds occupied by a politician fellating a banker.
Remarkably, it appeared here on Bloomberg.com.
The nub of it
Here are a few choice excerpts from the Bloomberg News story:
Jeb Bush, who incorporated Jeb Bush & Associates in February 2007, a month after completing his second term [as Governor], had been hired as a consultant to Lehman Brothers in June. Bush is the brother of President George W. Bush.And furthermore:
`Do Something Quickly'
In November, school districts and local agencies that kept their cash in the state pool rushed to withdraw $12 billion, or 46 percent, of the money in the fund. On Nov. 29, the state froze the fund to stop all withdrawals. ``If we don't do something quickly, we're not going to have an investment pool,'' [Carl] Stipanovich [executive director of the state board of administration] told the board that day.
Until November, the Florida pool was the largest public money market fund in the U.S. It held cash for about 1,000 school districts, towns and local agencies in Florida.
Stipanovich resigned on Dec. 4. He declined to comment.
What Stipanovich, 58, hadn't told his boss, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, was that Lehman Brothers was the same firm that had sold the state fund $842 million of mortgage- backed debt in July and August. Those securities defaulted within four months, and totaled more failing debt than any other bank sold the state, Florida records show. `
`At the time, I never knew it was Lehman Brothers that actually sold us these investments,'' Sink says.
Florida CFO Sink is riled up about more than Stipanovich. She says JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Lehman Brothers were offloading tainted debt on Florida and other states at a time when those assets were plummeting in value.
So now, if you’re still following all this:
Ex-governor Bush, the President's brother with deep political ties in Florida, sets up a consulting business. Lehman becomes his client. Next thing you know, the taxpayers are stuck with a bunch of nearly worthless paper from Lehman. The public is screwed.
You don’t suppose George Bush’s new U.S. Attorney General appointee, Michael Mukasey, will bring corruption charges, against Jeb, do you?
Nah, I don’t think so either.
New York Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat), who rammed Mukasey’s approval through the senate, please take note. After all, the AG is now your boy.
Monday, December 17, 2007
New York: Stunned by the fallout from the Screen Writers Guild strike that threatens to make television an even-vaster wasteland, the networks have begun to consider asking advertising agencies to develop their own programming with non-union advertising copywriters.
The networks may consider promising that in turn for useable scripts, the ad agencies will be permitted to work generous plugs for their clients’ products into each show.
First the respond was an agency seeking to steal the AXE Deodorant account, currently at a different agency. The upstart agency put its best creative team on the job. Here are the first fruits of their fertile minds:
From: Axe Creative Team
To: Dave Whetstone, Creative Director
We’ve been working all weekend on these. We think they're really cool.
The Armpit Show: This one’s a real charmer, kind of kooky, kind of droll. It’s a sitcom about a family’s adventures and little conflicts, as told by their armpits.
Now don’t get grossed out, Dave. we don’t want to show real armpits. We're talking about sock puppet armpits. They can sniff each other, talk about stuff like body odor problems, and of course always turn to Axe Deodorant to solve their deepest problems.
Continuing characters might include Bob Armpit as Father, Melissa Armpit as Mother, Bart Armpit (or if that’s too close to the Simpsons we could change his name to Brad Armpit) as the teen-aged son, Madison Armpit as the Little Sister, and a nosy neighbor, Mrs. Grungy Pitts.
Armpits In The News: Dave, I really, really think this could be serious competition to the Daily Show. The idea is to get laughs about the news by taking the people in the headlines and zooming in on their armpits. Sometimes you’ll be able to show wet armpits, but just as important, we’ll be able to rate the probable wetness under their clothing by the tenseness of whatever situation they happen to be in, on a scale of 1 to 10.
For example, if Barry Bonds has to answer questions about steroids and starts to look a little bit sweaty, that's an eight. If George Bush gets asked a question and gets that deer-in-the-headlights look again, that’s a nine. If Jessica Simpson gets asked about her love life – well, I think you get the idea. I foresee this adding a new phrase to the American idiom, “This looks like a number 10 armpit moment.”
The Scent Of Love. No, no, no, Dave, this is not a show about people. It’s kind of a Nature Channel show that each week features the scent of a different animal or bug and how that scent leads these wonderful creatures to find each other and reproduce. I figure our target audience would be adolescents, who are interested in sex but who can watch this show as an excuse to do high school biology term papers and feel they’re learning something.
Of course, adolescence is when a lot of brand preferences for things like underarm deodorant get formed, so this is a perfect show for the Axe people. We could even give it an intellectual atmosphere with scientific experiments. For example, we could coat a female fruit fly with Axe and watch how she gets ignored by male fruit flies.
Smelly Friends. The idea is, we have this co-ed apartment in the middle of Manhattan with a cast of continuing characters that include a guy and gal who are in love with each other but don’t know it, two gay guys who are in love with each other but also don’t know it and only one of them knows he’s gay, a real trampy-looking blonde who’s always bringing home guys she picked up in a bar or on the subway, and her two kids by an annulled marriage.
The big idea is, because it’s a New York apartment it’s always too hot, and there’s no way of turning off the radiator, so of course body odor becomes the main issue in all their lives. We keep seeing how body odor affects their romances and career prospects and how Axe comes in from time to time to solve various lifestyle problems.
The Axe Factory would be a program about a factory that makes electric guitars, and the musicians that buy them. Each week we follow a new guitar from the factory as it makes its way into the life of a different musician.
We see musicians on the road, sweating on stage, climbing back into cramped busses and so on. We learn a lot of inside stuff about musicians – for instance, that they have problems with expensive costumes that they can’t afford to replace very often – and that’s why they worry a lot about sweat stains. We have the tensions that arise on the bus when one or more of the actors get a little gamy. And of course we see how all these tensions get resolved with the help of Axe deodorant.
Axe Me Anything. This is a show about hip hop America, and the growing role that Axe deodorant plays in it. Each week, various up-and-coming hip hop stars get called to the stage and told an anecdote about body odor and Axe deodorant. They must then immediately do a rap song about the anecdote. The idea is to see which of the contestants can come up with the coolest rap number about body odor and Axe.
The audience gets to vote by keying their cell phones, and only Axe consumers who have a special phone number printed on the side of their Axe Deodorant know how to call in and vote. I see this as a kind of cross-cultural, or maybe multi-cultural kind of viewing experience with African-American, Spanish-American, Asian-American Indian-American and of course Caucasian-American rappers all doing their different numbers, so we can appeal to the widest possible audience.
Actor’s Apprentice: A group of waitpersons working in a restaurant on the Upper West Side vie to understudy Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The audience votes via cell phone whether to keep the actors on or throw them off the show. Once again, only Axe Deodorant consumers will have the phone number.
The waitpersons have to sing, dance, do love scenes – and of course there’s this great tie-in to Axe. See, they’ll have to do a lot of running, climbing and other adventure-type scenes and then pass an armpit dryness test. Of course, only those waitpersons using Axe pass. The rest get told, “You’re fired, Stinky!” It’s a great way of demonstrating on camera the efficacy of the product
The Odornos: I don’t need to explain this one to you, Dave. It’s like the Sopranos, but with body odor.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Divine Micromanagement: Jesus Christ goes to the Circleville (Ohio) Pumpkin Show – and picks a winning beauty queen
“I want to thank my family, everyone at church, everyone at school, my savior, Jesus Christ, and everyone who puts on the Pumpkin Show and makes it happen.” – Andrea Turner, Winner, Circleville Pumpkin Show Queen, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tis the season to be kind to car thives, election fraudsters, and extractors of defense contract kickbacks
Washington: President Bush today granted pardons or commuted the sentences of an assortment of thugs, petty crooks, drug dealers and other sleazy smallfry.
Maybe next year, on his way out the door, he’ll finally commute Karla Fay Tucker’s death penalty.
Monday, December 10, 2007
If only they were Russians or Mafiosi, we’d send out armed cops to destroy them. Instead, we pay them with your tax money.
Look at these goons. They’ve got “Police” written on their helmets and their uniforms. Think they’re really career cops?
Nope, they’re a bunch of thugs seeking to make big money by working as mercenaries. They’re part of the Blackwater team, a U.S. private enterprise mercenary outfit that’s taking billions of the taxpayers’ money to murder people, including U.S. soldiers and innocent civilians.
According to an article running in the current issue of The Nation, some of the current controversy swirling around Blackwater includes:
• Gunning down seventeen Iraqi civilians in an incident the military has labeled "criminal."
• Multiple Congressional investigations. A federal grand jury. Allegations of illegal arms smuggling.
• Wrongful death lawsuits brought by families of dead employees and US soldiers.
• A federal lawsuit alleging war crimes.
• Charges of steroid use by trigger-happy mercenaries.
• Allegations of "significant tax evasion."
• The US-installed government in Iraq labeling its forces "murderers."
In other words, they're just your average lovely guys.
The rise of Blackwater is one of the most formidable indictments of the Bush Administration, its incompetence, and its callousness. Even supposing you have no interest in morals, and murder and tax evasion you ought to be concerned that these killers have been contributing mightily to wrecking the USA’s image abroad.
And despite a so-called attempt to “soften” their image, they make menacing little gestures such as parachuting into San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium during a football halftime show. The message to law-abiding Americans is clear. “Don’t screw with us, Dude. We can parachute into where you live, too.”
Where does Blackwater recruit these guys? Why do I have a suspicion it’s from the classified pages of Soldier of Fortune magazine?
Whazzat? You don’t know “SOF?” Well, if you’re into war stories, justifications of torture, and news about where you can go to meet people and kill them, this is your pub, dude.
Do read the article in the Nation. Here, again, is the link. It’s important to do this because, well, one of these days Blackwater might make the United States an offer we can’t refuse.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Dude, don't look now but the Bush economy is headed exactly where you secretly fear it's headed.
I'm grateful to my pal Buce at Underbelly for calling attention a piece from the Washington Post that points out we may be one flush away from drowning the economy.
But it's even worse than that. With the Steagall-Glass Act now history – it was enacted during the last major round of bank failures during the Great Depression and killed off by Iago lobbyists whispering in the ears of Ayn Randite anti-regulation idiots – we're all in for a drubbing.
Thanks to the Steagall-Glass Repeal, when a bank fails, the brokerage house attached to it fails. When a brokerage house fails, so does the bank attached to it. With no Steagall-Glass the economy now can double your trouble in half the time.
What we need is more regulation, tighter regulation, and fast. What we're going to get under Bush and the somnolent Congress of Cautious Democrats is zip.
Nope, I take that back. We're gonna get shafted.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
War? Or no war? The dangerously stubborn fool in the White House is bruising for a fight with Iran. Any reason will do. Or no reason.
Say one thing for President George W. Bush. When it comes to war, he sticks to his guns.
He called for war with Iraq because Saddam Hussein was supposedly harboring weapons of mass destruction. Remember?
When an American inspector said there were no weapons of mass destruction, George Bush said uh uh, they really were there and we had to send in troops to find them.
When the troops discovered there was nothing to find, the reason we were in Iraq changed. We were there to topple Saddam Hussein.
When Saddam toppled, the reason became that we were fighting Al Queda. Nevermind that there hadn’t been an Al Queda in Iraq until we jumped in there.
Oh, and now we’re there to give Iraq democracy. Well, they’re not exactly interested in democracy, but we’re there to give them stability.
Stability? Saddam Hussein gave them stabililty.
Now we’re up to our necks in an Iraqi morass. The nation is broke because Genius George cut taxes and started a war in almost the same breath. So what does he want to do? He wants to invade Iran.
First the reason was that Iran was building nukes. Now our own intelligence says the Iranians discontinued their nuke program four years ago.
So now the excuse is, Iran wanted to build nukes before they decided not to build nukes.
Or if that doesn't work, the excuse is that Iran could build nukes if they ever decide to.
The same could be said of Uganda, Norway, Latvia, Poland, Ghana, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, and just about any other nation you could name. Not to mention a very bright kid in a basement somewhere. So what’s different about Iran? George Bush feels like starting a war with Iran, that’s what’s different.
His philosophy of national security got articulated on this blog a while ago. It’s time to reiterate his brilliant philosophy:
“We won’t be safe ‘till everybody’s dead.”