Friday, August 8, 2008


That dead cat bounce, it's a funny thing. Dow up 302. Oil drops, the dollar getting stronger. Good, right?

Not if the dollar is strong because other world currencies are taking a beating. Asia is now starting to feel the global slowdown. The greenback looks good now, but as other countries buy less dollars due to their own economic troubles, the dollar will sink, oil will rise, and markets will fall.

The problems behind the slowdown are still there, weak housing, credit crunches, debt explosions and a soft labor market. It'll get worse soon.

Much worse. PS, that $30 drop in oil in 3 weeks? Speculators bailing. What changed in supply and demand from six weeks ago? Nothing that would justify a 20% drop in oil. Unless it was being used as a hedge against the dollar. Lemmings bailed, oil drops as dollar gets stronger.

That'll reverse soon as the world catches up. And oil will go right back up another $30.

Remember, the lowest gas prices in the last two years were during the first week of November 2006...mid-term elections. GOP still lost.

The Poetry Of Politics

Mark Ambinder posits in prose:

If there were a group of questionable donations all with the name Abdullah
that were funneled through a guy in Jordan
who is a Jordanian national
who is under investigation for war profiteering
and it were Barack Obama
instead of John McCain
would this be a bigger deal?
Yes. In fact the scandal in question would be the largest Presidential campaign finance scandal of all time, instead of the most widely ignored Presidential campaign finance scandal of all time.

Heeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!

Former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards admitted to an extramarital affair in an interview with ABC News, the network reported Friday. He denied being the father of the woman's child, as had been alleged in tabloid reports.

Speaking to the network for a story to be aired Friday night, Edwards acknowledged the affair with 42-year-old Rielle Hunter, which began after she was hired to make documentary videos for his campaign, ABC said.

He said he has not taken a paternity test, but that the timing of the affair rules out the possibility that he could be her baby girl's father. A former campaign aide has publicly said he fathered the child.
...Well, at least now the wingnuts will leave Obama alone while he's on vacation next week, right?

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan points out MOAR EPIC FAIL.
"I think this President has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen," - John Edwards, on Bill Clinton, 1999.
In hindsight, this would have cost him the election. It also would have cost Obama the election if he was Veep if Barry had taken him early. Both options would be leaving us with McCain right now as a shoo-in for President.

Important lesson here, folks. In the end, all politicians will do something stupid, that's why I'm here. Yes, this means Obama too. I'm hoping his support for FISA was the limits of his stupidity.

I doubt it will be.

Krugman Versus The Stupid

Paul Krugman at the NY Times: "Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid."
What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”

In the case of oil, this takes the form of pretending that more drilling would produce fast relief at the gas pump. In fact, earlier this week Republicans in Congress actually claimed credit for the recent fall in oil prices: “The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Representative John Shadegg.

What about the experts at the Department of Energy who say that it would take years before offshore drilling would yield any oil at all, and that even then the effect on prices at the pump would be “insignificant”? Presumably they’re just a bunch of wimps, probably Democrats. And the Democrats, as Representative Michele Bachmann assures us, “want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, take light rail to their government jobs.”

Is this political pitch too dumb to succeed? Don’t count on it.

This is what it's all about, and every now and again the Village gets it right. The GOP strategery has been willful ignorance of the facts on the ground as they were busy running about creating their own little reality and expecting everyone else to buy into it out of sheer laziness and cynicism. It is stupidity raised to an art form, the art being the Art of Governance. Keep the people fat, dumb, and happy!

Eight years of this and we're facing a nasty recession, a country that is no longer recognizable as America the free, two wars without end and a third on the way, and a President despised by the world.

Now don't get me wrong, plenty of Democrats contributed to this mess. Some are gone, many are still in the halls of power. And there are plenty of realities that the Democrats choose to willfully ignore.

But with the choice being McSame and Obama, I take Obama. I know exactly what I'm getting with John Sidney McSame. Obama I still have hope for. That hope wavers on days, but it's still there. I have to believe that he can start the healing, and that he has to be better than who we have now.

Krugman ends with this:

In any case, remember this the next time someone calls for an end to partisanship, for working together to solve the country’s problems. It’s not going to happen — not as long as one of America’s two great parties believes that when it comes to politics, stupidity is the best policy.

Next time you hear somebody dump on the Dems for being elitist and condescending and appearing to consider Americans to be dumb, remember the GOP game plan of lying and obfuscation for the last eight years, and actually treating Americans like mindless idiots.

Red, White, And Blackwater

As I pointed out yesterday, the Bushies just executed McSame on Iraq policy with the deal to get out by the end of 2010. Obama's plan? Mid-2010. McSame's plan? Stay forever. But what's the deal with the hold up on the plan?

Turns out it's our old buddies at Blackwater.
Two senior U.S. officials said negotiators have made progress and are close to a deal. But they also said that some issues are unresolved and that troop withdrawals would be tied to conditions on the ground.

The U.S. military presence is spelled out by a U.N. mandate, which is to expire by the end of this year. Iraq and the United States want to replace that mandate with a status-of-forces agreement governing how U.S. troops will operate in Iraq.

The U.S. officials said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke with al-Maliki on Wednesday to try to resolve the issue of legal immunity for U.S. contractors working in Iraq.

The officials described the phone call as tense.

Under a provision put into place in the early days of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, security contractors have had immunity from Iraqi law.

The Iraqi government has criticized the blanket immunity because of incidents such as the fatal shootings of 17 people in Baghdad's Nusoor Square on September 16. Iraqi officials say Blackwater Worldwide contractors killed the 17.

It's insanity. We have an opportunity to leave Iraq and end this war, finally, after years of pointless deaths and trillion wasted, and it's being held up because of those assholes at Blackwater want a get out of jail free card for the murders they committed.

As Blue Texan over at FDL points out:

Selling out the Constitution to give telecoms immunity is bad enough. Selling out the troops to give Blackwater immunity is a whole new level of sickening.

Hey Obama campaign? Here's your clean-up hitter.

Sequoia National Pot Farm

The Feds have completed Operation LOCCUST and eradicated a billion (with a b, yes) bucks worth of weed grown in the Sequoia National Forest. Mexican cartels have been using the forest as their own pot ranch.
Illegal immigrants connected to Mexico's drug cartels are growing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of marijuana in the heart of one of America's national treasures, authorities say. It's a booming business that, federal officials say, feeds Mexico's most violent drug traffickers.

"These aren't Cheech and Chong plants," said John Walters, director of the National Drug Control Policy. "People who farm now are not doing this for laughs, despite the fact Hollywood still thinks that. They're doing it to make a lot of money."

Walters spoke from a "marijuana garden" tucked deep into the Sequoia National Forest, about a two- to four-hour hike from the nearest road, far removed from the giant sequoias the region is best known for.

Three observations:

1) Maybe if the Bushies were more concerned about preserving, protecting, and funding our national parks instead of trying to sell the land to the highest bidder, we wouldn't be in this problem. Of course, this will be shown as proof that national parks need to be disbanded and the land sold off to where it can be monitored by private interests, preventing this from happening again. Who was asleep at the wheel to let a billion bucks of weed grow out in the open like that?

2) The War on Drugs is still stupid and has been for decades. Legalize the stuff already to reduce the street value of it, so that criminal organizations don't build billion dollar empires based on raising weed and kill people. Then, we go around and incarcerate people for using instead of going after the guys getting rich off of it. Hell, make a publicly traded company that manufactures the stuff. Capitalism. Whee.

3) Illegal Immigration + Drugs + Violence + violating a "US National Treasure" = right wing meltdown. I can already see Malkinvania and her buds going into high apoplexy over this, and will be telling anyone they can that THIS is the major issue of Election 2008, and not the fact that you're flat-ass broke, and that the GOP should start rounding up brown people. Doing so will help them at the polls, because brown people don't vote!

Mother Lode

Taylor Marsh points out that the Wall Street Journal thinks Obama is on to something.

The underreported economic news of the week is that Barack Obama favors a stronger dollar. Even better, he thinks a stronger greenback would help to reduce oil prices.

That at least is what the Democratic Presidential candidate told a town hall forum in Parma, Ohio, on Tuesday. "If we had a strengthening of the dollar, that would help" reduce fuel costs, he said, according to a Reuters dispatch ignored by most of the media.

This ought to be a bigger story. In linking the dollar to oil prices, Mr. Obama is pointedly at odds with the Bush Administration and Federal Reserve, both of which blame high commodity prices on supply and demand, despite falling demand due to slower global growth. Fed officials -- in particular, Vice Chairman Donald Kohn -- have expressly rejected any strong link between the dollar's collapse and the oil price surge since last August.

Even the WSJ isn't buying the Bush line on this. It's absolutely the case that a weak dollar is the major contributor to the massive inflation we're having, and especially the inflation in oil prices. In the last three weeks as the dollar has strengthened, oil has dropped 20%. The greenback shored up a bit because with their own inflation problems, the Eurozone has left their interest rates alone and the Fed has stopped cutting rates here. People flocked to oil as a hedge on the dollar, overinflating the price of oil. Now that pressure is draining somewhat...for now. When the dollar starts floundering again, oil will shoot back up. The Bushies and McSame are simply denying the dollar has anything to do with oil prices when it's the major factor. Weak dollar = inflation. Period.

Not really shocking that the media didn't pick up on it. Economics isn't always explainable in a way that can translate. This is real trouble for McCain any way you slice it. Because it all points to Bush's economic policies or better yet, lack thereof. Now Obama has to keep pounding it home. Economics tied to energy could win the race.

This goes again back to that 48% that think the economy is the issue. These are the people Obama has to reach. Eight years of Bush policies have done this to our economy.

"What's in your wallet?" is this year's "Are you better off than 4 years ago?"

Dammit Nancy

The Village and Nancy may be ignoring the hell out of the will of the American people, but the people press on anyway, recently Dennis Kucinich delivered 100,000 petition signatures to start proceedings to Nancy Pelosi. (h/t Crooks & Liars)

The Village is trying to do everything in their power to spike the growing movement for impeachment, and with the Ivins anthrax case adding yet another crime to the Bush administation docket (and with the Village becoming increasingly complicit in catapulting the propaganda) it becomes more important than ever to get this rolling.

This man is a criminal. The people who work for him are criminals. It's time we start acting like they are. But Pelosi does nothing, and the Village does nothing, and Bush remains free.

I Heart Failblog

fail owned pwnd pictures

I really, really do. Failblog rocks.

What would a stupidity fighting blog be without the occasional Failblog reference?

The Nameless One Comes!

And he will speak at NamelessCon 2008.


Please, by all means, remind America what 4 more years of McSame entails, o hoary host of the Netherworld. Let the world know how under John Sidney Grandpa Angrypants McSame how he plans to have the same wonderful policies on torture and human rights.

Stare into the camera menacingly and tell Osama to RUN, COWARD! RUN, RUN, RUN! for another 4 years. Remind everyone of your manifestly awesome failures, and your criminal acts.

In short, remind everyone why that Obama chap might not be such a bad choice after all. Please.

Georgia On My Mine(layer)

Well, nothing good can come from this.

Georgia's president said Friday that his country is under attack by Russian tanks and warplanes, and he accused Russia of targeting civilians as tensions over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia appeared to boil over into full-blown conflict.

"All day today, they've been bombing Georgia from numerous warplanes and specifically targeting (the) civilian population, and we have scores of wounded and dead among (the) civilian population all around the country," President Mikhail Saakashvili told CNN in an exclusive interview.

"This is the worst nightmare one can encounter," he said.

Asked whether Georgia and Russia were now at war, he said, "My country is in self-defense against Russian aggression. Russian troops invaded Georgia."

For those of you keeping score, the South Ossetia republic of Georgia (not Russia, this is important) decided it wanted to be independent. First, some background on Ossetia, Georgia, and Russia.

South Ossetia and Georgia's Black Sea region of Abkhazia broke away from Georgia after fighting wars against Tbilisi in the 1990s. Both have financial and political support from Moscow and the vast majority of locals have Russian citizenship.

But the frozen conflicts are fast beginning to thaw, particularly since pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili took power in 2003 and angered Russia by pledging to steer ex-Soviet Georgia towards membership of NATO.

However, the Georgians have decided to retake the region by force. This has caused Russia to step in and say "No." The offical reason is that Russian peacekeepers are in the area. The unofficial reason is because Russia doesn't want another Chechnya on its hands.

About 150 Russian armored vehicles have entered South Ossetia, Saakashvili said, and Georgian forces had shot down two Russian aircraft.

Russia's Defense Ministry said it sent "reinforcements" to South Ossetia to help the Russian peacekeepers already stationed there.

The events followed an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council to discuss a dramatic escalation of violence in Georgia and South Ossetia.

The session ended Friday morning without a statement about the fighting.The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said it was sending an envoy to the region immediately.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer issued a statement Friday saying he was seriously concerned about the recent events in the region, and he called on all sides to end armed clashes and begin direct talks.

But right now there's a three-way war among Ossetian rebels, Georgian troops, and the Russian Army. Imagine France invading Quebec after it seceded to stop Canadian troops from retaking Montreal, on the premise that most of Quebec and Montreal are French, and you have some idea of what's going on. This is ugly all the way around. More as this develops.

Gentlemen! Behold!

Of all the questions the Washington Post could ask about the Ivins anthrax case, they choose to go with "How many other unstable dudes have access to germs?"

"An estimated 14,000 scientists and technicians at about 400 institutions have clearances to access viruses and bacteria such as the Bacillus anthracis used in the anthrax attacks, but security procedures vary by facility, and oversight of the labs is spread across multiple government agencies.

Screening for the researchers handling some of the world's deadliest germs is not as strict as that for national security jobs in the FBI and CIA, federal officials said."

And before you get all annoyed, yes the question needs to be asked, yes it is a valid concern.

No, it is not the major concern here. That should be "Why did it take the FBI seven years to bust this guy, what did he know, how did he do it" and most importantly "Why did our government lie and tell ABC News that Iraq was behind this?"

ABC News and Brian Ross ran with that for weeks after 9/11. It helped lay the groundwork for our invasion of Iraq. It was patently false. While the FBI and the security of facilities like USAMRIID needs to be investigated, the Media was complicit in spreading propaganda. It came from somebody high up in the government. We need to know who that somebody was, and why it was used to justify an act of war with another country.

That's treason, folks. Whoever in the government did this needs to be held responsible. And I'm not at all convinced that Bruce Ivins is guilty. Who told Brian Ross it was Iraq? That's who we need to be looking for right now.

To its credit, WaPo IS asking "Where's the beef?" on the evidence. The goods on Ivins are flimsy at best. We know the FBI has this habit of making things up to cover their ass, ask Richard Jewell. But that 800-pound gorilla in the room is why Iraq was the culprit for seven years.

UPDATE: Track TPM Muckracker's coverage of the anthrax case.

Speaking of Books...

The NY Times notes nobody's buying Nancy Pelosi's new book.

That's probably because nobody's really interested in paying money to hear what she has to say. I'm not. I think she's a horrendous Speaker of the House for a number of reasons. The Dems can do better than her. Yes, she knows how to play the game. But right now we need leadership in our House Leadership, and nobody's been a bigger Bush enabler than Nancy. She lost me at "off the table."

Well Duh!

Oliver Willis smacks the Village with the Obvious Stick.

I’m a little puzzled at some of the reaction I’ve seen to the news that President Clinton is going to speak at the convention. Was there any thought that he wasn’t going to? Whatever lingering bad feeling there may be from the primaries (and I count myself in that group of people who are still disappointed in him), why wouldn’t you have the last Democratic president - especially one who is such a gifted orator and shrewd operator - speak? For the rest of his life President Clinton is likely to have a spot at Democratic conventions.

It's a no-brainer to have a popular, charismatic ex-President speak at a convention. As opposed to, well, a sitting President that two-thirds of us want to kick square in the nuts.

The real question is if George W. Bush will be speaking at the Republican convention. Because, you see, unlike President Clinton, President Bush is a disastrously unpopular leader who the nominee is making an almost unprecedented effort to disassociate himself from.

Perhaps the MSM could throw out their woefully outdated “Democratic Disarray” script and do some work for a change.

Yeah, that'll happen. See one post down for more on that. Obama's gotta find one hell of a solution to this mess, and part of that mess is the Village Idiots in the press who will redefine Obama as a wounded Alpha Male no matter what he does at the convention.

Convention Junction, What's Your Function?

Rick Moran over at Right Wing Nuthouse has an excellent post up describing what will happen at the DNC convention in a few weeks, and correctly concludes that it's not what Hillary does that actually's how Obama deals with her that does.

With the press eager to jump on every sign of disunity, with a former candidate whose supporters think she deserves her moment in the sun, with a former president probably secretly wishing that he loses in November, and with his poll numbers stagnating or dropping, Barack Obama faces the greatest challenge to his leadership of the party and his chances for victory in November in Denver three weeks from now.

How he handles these problems will no doubt affect the decision of the American people when they go to the polls in November.

Read the whole thing. "If Obama can't handle Hillary, how can he handle the economy, Iraq, Iran, etc." is a quite legitimate argument. He's going to have to tame the Potomac Swamp to get anything substantive done. His first crack at that swamp is the brackish mess of Democratic backroom politics. If he can't deal with Hillary, the GOP will eat him alive, and we can't afford four years of Gridlock Stupidity right now.


  • The Olympics kick off today in Beijing. Don't know how much I'll watch. The whole place has the atmosphere of a party at your high school assistant principal's house.
  • Does "The Future Of The Internet" include an "i9/11" and a resulting "iPatriot Act"?
  • Regulators are making sure big financial players are paying up on auction-rate securities. It could have something to do with the large number of state and local government who got burned on this, maybe?
  • McClatchy News says Joe Lieberman would make a good Veep for Grandpa McSame. I'm still convinced he's on the short list as the ultimate Village Stupidity pick. They'd love him for it, and they need each other.
  • Three French reporters were thrown out of the Black Hat internet security conference for hacking passwords.
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