04.26.09

“It’s not torture if it works”

Posted in Miscellaneous at 12:53 pm by angela

Teh Cheney is at it again. Rachel Maddow lets him have it with an investigative piece that cuts to the heart of the question of whether “torture works” and what that even means.

Of course, this completely ignores the fact that when someone says, “torture works”, there may be multiple unstated meanings of the phrase.

Some people are under the misapprehension that the only possible correct interpretation is “torture results in us getting evidence that is timely, correct, and usable”. They have to ignore the fact that we tortured people for years who could not possibly have had new information, some of whom we knew were innocent, and thus could not possibly have had any information. As far as usability, somebody please share hard information on the signal to noise ratio that demonstrates we could even tell the difference.

A more cynical and probably more correct interpretation is that torture gave a lot of sadists a sexual thrill at being able to hurt people who might otherwise have been brought to a rather mundane trial or released for lack of evidence. How boring that would have been!

And don’t get me started on the Bush administration’s attitude toward the concept of truth, that there is no absolute truth. “Truth” is just how you frame what you want people to believe in order to get what you want.

And they claimed liberals are relativists concerning the subjectivity of truth!

And a brilliant piece of satire on the issue of whether the effectiveness of torture should be a consideration.

My personal opinion is that the current administration is playing the public to make it appear that they are following popular opinion, rather than going after the previous administration, which could be (and would be) interpreted as a political act.

04.22.09

A song to the waterboarding memos

Posted in Accountability, Is Dick Cheney a traitor? at 7:17 pm by angela

Jonathan Mann, who is writing a song a day, and previously gave us “Hey, Paul Krugman” has outdone himself yet again by putting one of the infamous torture memos to music.


Stunning

04.17.09

Colbert on NOM

Posted in humor, Steven Colbert, video at 1:54 pm by angela

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition’s Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA Name Contest

04.16.09

Best NOM ad parody

Posted in Communications breakdown, Fraud, humor, Hypocrisy, Propaganda, Religion at 5:14 am by angela

Why do right wingnut groups come up with such bizarre self-consciously serious propaganda that people can’t help but parody it?

We could blame the failures of the school system. But it could also be that some things are just ineffable.


My little parody:

04.13.09

Fox News from the other side of the pond

Posted in Accountability, Counter, Faux news, Faux noise, Fox News, Fraud at 1:10 pm by angela

For all of you who were thinking that Fox News it a bit on the overexcited side, here is how a Brit portrayed it in a little documentary.

And a quote from Robert G Kaufman, speaking at the 61st Annual Conference on World Affairs on what Republicans should do to advance their party…

The fifth thing that Republicans have to do is understand the problem of communicating in a world where much of the television media, particularly, is hostile…If I had to recommend one single thing that the Republicans should be doing to help articulate the message, it is to acquire another television network so that there is not just FOX, but multiple sources of alternative information that will do a much better job than we did in 2008 to keep things honest.

Admitting that Fox News was bought and paid for by the Republican party.

04.10.09

That pesky ‘teabag’ issue

Posted in Economy, Faux news, Fox News, neocon crackpots at 1:29 pm by angela

I’m sure you’ve heard about the “teabag” parties, at least if you are an American. For those of you who aren’t, or haven’t been paying attention to movement on the fringes, what happened is that Rick Santelli, a derivatives trader who plays a business reporter on television, staged a little stunt during his CNBC business show trying to prove that Americans think that everybody but investment bankers and traders is a loser who deserves to lose their homes. The fact that he had a few other traders agree with him vocally meant that it was time to start a movement.

Notwithstanding the fact that people who report on the news are not supposed to be using their position to make the news—or start political movements, for that matter—he got involved with a website that apparently had previously been set up just for this and ran with the “tea party” concept.

Again, for those of you who are not familiar with the concept, prior to the start of the American Revolution, a small group of colonists attacked a ship in Boston Harbor and dumped its load of tea overboard as a sign of their refusal to endure “taxation without representation”. The issue was that the King had put heavy taxes on many things to cover the expenses of financial mismanagement of government back home, and somebody had to cover the costs. This is now known as the “Boston Tea Party”.

Right after Santelli’s rant, there were a few gatherings called “tea parties” around the country, though attendance was rather spotty. Some only had a few dozen attendees. There were a few where the size of the crowd was claimed to be in the thousands, but official estimates (by public authorities) put it significantly lower. So altogether nationwide it didn’t total the attendance at one typical Obama rally.

The thing is, even among right wingnuts, there isn’t that much enthusiasm for raising taxes for the poor so that rich people can keep more of their money. They have to keep the issue abstract and hope that their supporters don’t start calculating how much money they have lost in real wages and buying power in the last 8 years.

Example:

I answered a question on Yahoo Answers a week or so ago, written by someone who claimed to be in the bracket where he would be paying more taxes, but thought that he and his wife ought to be able to keep their money because “they work hard”.

I answered that if he’s making $250K he should be able to afford to pay the extra few dollars a day, and everybody works hard. The guy sent me an email complaining about how he has paid $70,000 for special schools and rehabilitation services for his autistic child. I was like, “Whoa, you’re complaining to the wrong person. I think the government ought to pay all of that, whether a person is rich or poor.”

He didn’t respond.

So many of the people who show up at these “parties” have some other agenda. They may be “birthers” who believe that Obama was born elsewhere and therefore can’t be President. They may be opposed to abortion rights. They may be anti-immigrant, anti-welfare, anti-civil rights. Or they may be just plain nuts.

The “parties” are all organized from the top down to try to generate the appearance of populist sentiment. That’s about all that Republicans seem to be able to do nowadays, and it’s not working out all that well. Fox News is pushing these parties hard to try to get people to attend. So is the Huffington Post, which is looking for “citizen reporters” to upload videos and write stories about their local parties. So it is not impossible that many of the parties will be attended by mostly moles.

At this link you will find several videos recorded at the last round of tea parties. I don’t want to put them all in here, so I’ll just give you one.

By now of course Rick Santelli has found that he was losing credibility by being associated with this “movement” and has dissociated himself from it.

But anyway, the big “teabagging” issue is how they thought they could squeak that name by. While many people involved in the parties do not seem to have been aware of what the term also means, it seems like at least some of them thought they could use the sexual allusion to their heart’s content and not have it turned against them. Or at least not for comedy.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “teabagging”, you will by the time you have watched both these videos.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

04.07.09

The Ted Stevens prosecution: the sequel

Posted in Bush legacy, corruption, Fascism, Fraud, High crimes and Misdemeanors, History, Hypocrisy, Is Dick Cheney a traitor?, Justice at 3:02 pm by angela

Last week, when the case against Ted Stevens was dropped for prosecutorial mishandling, we heard about evidence that was withheld from the defense. It happens all the time, but rarely is it so severe that anything comes of it, at least not influencing the disposition of the case.

As in the Coleman/Franken case, the judge usually finds out about it and chews out the lawyers. Occasionally the judge will throw out a case.

Now if you were one of those defendants who doesn’t have a lot of money for expensive lawyers, you’d never even know it happened to you. They’d probably get away with it every time, which obviously is not the way the justice system is supposed to work in this country.

But for the case to be completely dropped, rather than merely seeking a retrial of some sort had to mean that the case was so ‘poisoned’ by whatever had been done that it could not be retried.

There was even speculation that the Bush administration was responsible for making sure that the case would inevitably be thrown out on appeal, thus being an embarrassment for everyone involved, except of course Ted Stevens, who is claiming that this is proof he never did any of the things that they said he did.

Not hardly.

Well, of course we assumed that maybe somebody would get a slap on the wrist, or some Bush appointee would get pushed out of their job a bit early and end up getting wealthy writing slanted books rewriting history as fiction and giving interviews on hate radio claiming persecution by liberal fascists.

Not so. It seems that we really will find out wtf was happening.

“In nearly 25 years on the bench, I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case,” U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said.

And then he appointed a special prosecutor to figure out exactly what happened and bring the criminals in the department to justice.

YES!

In case there is any confusion about what “justice” might mean in a case like this, they are looking at disbarment and prison time.

The word is that the Bush administration has salted the employment rolls of the current administration with hangovers who are ‘moles’, undercover operatives waiting to take orders from Bush, Cheney, Rove, and the Republican caucus and sabotage whatever the Obama adminstration tries to do.

Let’s get the criminals out of there. Now.

Stevens case closed, case against prosecutors open

04.06.09

Why do Republican voters support tax cuts for the wealthy?

Posted in Fiscal responsibility, Taxes at 11:49 am by angela

So the question came up in Yahoo Answers, and I answered it. It was picked as a “best answer” by voters, and I decided to share it with you, as it is an interesting issue why Republican voters keep falling in line to vote against their own interests.

They have fallen for what I would call The Great Republican Lie of Income Redistribution”, which is, “Rich people work hard for their money, and people who work hard for their money deserve to keep it.” This lie is based on false premises and leads people to internally inconsistent conclusions. Here are the arguments, as you can read in the thread.

1. “Rich people work hard for their money”

Implied: How hard a person works can be shown by their income, so a person who makes $20,000 a year is working 2x as hard as someone who is making $10,000 a year, and the person making $10 million a year is working 1000x as hard.

False conclusion that the listener is supposed to draw: “People who don’t make much money aren’t actually working hard and are lazy, but I work hard for my money, too, so I am like a rich person.”

Truth rating: False. Most rich people do not work any harder for their money than anyone who works a job and does it well. The hardest, dirtiest, and most dangerous work out there is some of the worst-paying.

Not only that, but most rich people started higher on the ladder than poor people. They had someone to pay for their education at a pricey school where students hobnob with the wealthy and well-connected, and their connections that enabled them to get a job that a person born poor could never hope for his children to achieve, even if he borrowed enough money to pay for their college. Or like many rich people, they were already born rich.

2. “People who work hard for their money deserve to keep it.”

False conclusion: We should lower taxes for people like the rich who work hard. I work hard, so therefore I will get a tax cut, too.

Inconvenient fact: Historically, Republican “tax cuts” have resulted in huge tax cuts to the wealthy and much smaller if any tax cuts to the rest.

Hidden inconvenient fact #1: Lowering taxes disproportionally for one group of people means increasing the tax burden for all other groups. During the past generation the tax burden in real dollars on the working poor and middle class has risen while their incomes have fallen.

False conclusion: We can just lower taxes, and nothing will be affected, or the government will cut programs to those who don’t deserve it. (Remember, we have defined “undeserving” above as “not making as much money as a rich person”.).

Fact: Money invested in speculation rather than production of goods and services does not result in the creation of new wealth, but rather in a bubble effect.

Fact: Government policy over the past generation has encouraged the abandonment of our manufacturing base and funneling of money into high-risk investments and fraud schemes based only on the ability of the designers to get away with what any other citizen would be charged with a crime for doing.

Fact: Following this path has brought the country to its knees. Continuing to do more of the same will destroy us.

Conclusion: The Republican establishment has been manipulating their voters to vote against their own self-interest for a generation. Without not only the support of these voters but their complicity in attacking their fellow workers, government would have long ago had to answer for their crimes.

04.05.09

Cramer: the Depression is over

Posted in Accountability, Economy, Fraud, Hypocrisy at 11:58 am by angela

Yep, Cramer has declared the depression over.

What Cramer is saying is that the only consideration in determining the economic health of the nation as a whole should be stock market prices. This is an interesting perspective. Clearly a great many investors feel this way. That is why the administration has been putting so much effort into boosting investor confidence. The media, locked into worship of the market as a be-all and end-all, has responded by declaring that the depression is over and it’s back to normal for the country. It takes the pressure off announcements of continuing job losses, foreclosures, corporate corruption and looting, etc.

The administration “fixed” the stock market to get the media off their backs.

The stock market “creates wealth”? I thought that was the problem with investment in this country, money from nothing creating bubbles.

Bill Moyers did a show about the real problem, which is nowhere near being addressed: corporate fraud.

Finally, the full-length video IOUSA.

04.04.09

Glenn Beck and Fox News

Posted in humor, News, video at 9:36 pm by angela

So we all know Glenn Beck is unbalanced, even those who take most of his antics as “loving his country” (sob) “so much” (sob). Some of us think he’s either more than a little unbalanced, which means he’s a mentally ill person being manipulated (did I say this somewhere before) or a total liar and hypocrite. Colbert did a great takedown a la Jon Stewart the other day. I’d show you the original Beck footage it is based on, but you get the idea.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The 10.31 Project
comedycentral.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA Name Contest

And now, a parody of the Beck show. Make sure you watch it twice so you can read those whacky news trailers on the chyron.

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