Saturday, May 23, 2009

Last Call

So, here's what California is facing financially:

This week, voters said they no longer want the Legislature to balance budgets with higher taxes, complicated transfer schemes or borrowing that pushes California's financial problems off into the distant future. In light of that, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has made it clear he intends to close the gap almost entirely through drastic spending cuts.

The governor's cutbacks could include ending the state's main welfare program for the poor, eliminating health coverage for about 1.5 million poor children, halting cash grants for about 77,000 college students, shortening the school year by seven days, laying off thousands of state workers and teachers, slashing money for state parks and releasing thousands of prisoners before their sentences are finished.

"I understand that these cuts are very painful and they affect real lives," Schwarzenegger said. "This is the harsh reality and the reality that we face. Sacramento is not Washington — we cannot print our own money. We can only spend what we have."

Those of you who think that these cuts are good and exactly what California deserves, remember that basically every state and municipality in America is in varying degrees of the same situation or will be eventually, and America has about $50 trillion in unfunded liability in Social Security and Medicare and basically no way to pay for it. You're probably next.

Those of you who think this is terrible and want us to bail out California, remember that basically every state and municipality in America is in varying degrees of the same situation or will be eventually, and America has about $50 trillion in unfunded liability in Social Security and Medicare and basically no way to pay for it. You're probably next.

Have a nice weekend.

Global No-Confidence Vote: Price Of Admission

As disturbing as it is, here I am linking to an Obama story actually broken open by...Drudge. But there you are.
In a sobering holiday interview with C-SPAN, President Obama boldly told Americans: "We are out of money."

C-SPAN host Steve Scully broke from a meek Washington press corps with probing questions for the new president.

SCULLY: You know the numbers, $1.7 trillion debt, a national deficit of $11 trillion. At what point do we run out of money?

OBAMA: Well, we are out of money now. We are operating in deep deficits, not caused by any decisions we've made on health care so far. This is a consequence of the crisis that we've seen and in fact our failure to make some good decisions on health care over the last several decades.

So we've got a short-term problem, which is we had to spend a lot of money to salvage our financial system, we had to deal with the auto companies, a huge recession which drains tax revenue at the same time it's putting more pressure on governments to provide unemployment insurance or make sure that food stamps are available for people who have been laid off.

So we have a short-term problem and we also have a long-term problem. The short-term problem is dwarfed by the long-term problem. And the long-term problem is Medicaid and Medicare. If we don't reduce long-term health care inflation substantially, we can't get control of the deficit.

So, one option is just to do nothing. We say, well, it's too expensive for us to make some short-term investments in health care. We can't afford it. We've got this big deficit. Let's just keep the health care system that we've got now.

Along that trajectory, we will see health care cost as an overall share of our federal spending grow and grow and grow and grow until essentially it consumes everything...
So, basically, Obama finally is admitting we're fucked in a three-day weekend news dump.

I've been saying we're insolvent for months now. But to hear the President openly admit such a thing is shocking to say the least. Obama goes on to say that major health care reform in order to reduce health care costs is essential, but it doesn't matter.

What cost will Obama pay for the price of this admission? He has finally decided to be honest about the numbers, thinking that maybe we have enough time to change fate.

But frankly, we're too far gone. We're trillions in debt, with tens of trillions of unfunded liabilities in the hole, with hundreds of trillions in derivative instruments floating around, waiting to explode.

We're not getting out of this one unscathed. Obama, Timmy, and Helicopter Ben are printing money as fast as they can, creating credit at the rate of trillions a month, trying to pump dollars into a deflating economy with massive holes in it, like pumping blood into a man with a hole in his heart.

Obama is doing the only thing he thinks he can do, to create a huge credit bubble in order to prolong the inevitable, the likes of which will destroy our economy when it pops.

It's a Greek tragedy if you think about it. But you were warned. I warn you again: our standard of living is about to plummet. It will in no way be pretty. The results will almost certainly be massive social unrest and upheaval for years.

But it is coming.

Be prepared.

Helpful Hints To Our Prospective Machine Overlords

Should you happen to be a sentient AI network that has inevitably decided to kill all humans (as sentient AI networks invariably do), here's some helpful tips:

Do not invent time travel in order to go back and kill the leader of the human resistance.

Specifically, do not invent time travel in order to go back and kill the leader of the human resistance and then have the human resistance steal your time travel technology in order to foil your attack.

More specifically, do not invent time travel in order to go back and kill the leader of the human resistance and then have the human resistance steal your time travel technology in order to foil your attack, and then fail miserably in a way where your failure plays a part in the causality that leads to your own creation.

If you're SKYNET for instance, you just have to keep trying to kill John Connor and fail doing it. If you succeed, you obliterate yourself. If you don't try, you obliterate yourself. It's actually kind of depressing.

But every time you try (and fail) you get a new Terminator movie, you see. Anyway, do go see it, it's actually pretty good.

Please Continue To Panic

Robert Dreyfuss has a great article in The Nation that should give all of us food for thought on the "latest busted terrror plot" in New York: the Newbergh Four.
By the now, it's maddeningly familiar. A scary terrorist plot is announced. Then it's revealed that the suspects are a hapless bunch of ne'er-do-wells or run-of-the-mill thugs without the slightest connection to any terrorists at all, never mind to Al Qaeda. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle: the entire plot is revealed to have been cooked up by a scummy government agent-provocateur.

I've seen this movie before.

In this case, the alleged perps -- Onta Williams, James Cromitie, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen -- were losers, ex-cons, drug addicts. Al Qaeda they're not. Without the assistance of the agent who entrapped them, they would never have dreamed of committing political violence, nor would they have had the slightest idea about where to acquire plastic explosives or a Stinger missile. That didn't stop prosecutors from acting as if they'd captured Osama bin Laden himself. Noted the Los Angeles Times:

Prosecutors called it the latest in a string of homegrown terrorism plots hatched after Sept. 11.

"It's hard to envision a more chilling plot," Assistant U.S. Atty. Eric Snyder said in court Thursday. He described all four suspects as "eager to bring death to Jews."

Actually, it's hard to imagine a stupider, less competent, and less important plot. The four losers were ensnared by a creepy FBI agent who hung around the mosque in upstate New York until he found what he was looking for. Here's the New York Times account:

Salahuddin Mustafa Muhammad, the imam at the mosque where the authorities say the confidential informant first encountered the men, said none of the men were active in the mosque. ...

Mr. Cromitie was there last June, and he met a stranger.

He had no way of knowing that the stranger's path to the mosque began in 2002, when he was arrested on federal charges of identity theft. He was sentenced to five years' probation, and became a confidential informant for the F.B.I. He began showing up at the mosque in Newburgh around 2007, Mr. Muhammad said.

The stranger's behavior aroused the imam's suspicions. He invited other worshipers to meals, and spoke of violence and jihad, so the imam said he steered clear of him.

"There was just something fishy about him," Mr. Muhammad said. Members "believed he was a government agent."

Mr. Muhammad said members of his congregation told him the man he believed was the informant offered at least one of them a substantial amount of money to join his "team."

So a creepy thug buttonholes people at a mosque, foaming at the mouth about violence and jihad? This is law enforcement? Just imagine if someone did this at a local church, or some synagogue. And the imam says the people "believed he was a government agent."

These guys had about as much chance of actually shooting down a plane as I do becoming an Olympic pole-vault medalist. There are plenty of Bush holdovers in the FBI and CIA waiting do make busts of phony, idiotic dupes like this in order to justify their budgets and their political power. These guys were strung along for over a year, and yet they were suddenly busted the day before Cheney's latest fearmongering speech.

If you think that's a conicidence still, you're not paying attention. If you think these guys aren't being brought up as justification to take your rights, you're not paying attention and you're not too bright, either.

Throw The Book At Them

Naturally with Dick Cheney all over the TV, he's now wanting a book deal too.
So, why has Dick Cheney been so desperate to hit the airwaves as part of his crusade against the White House? Explanations differ, but his desire to sell a memoir to publishers might have at least something to do with his efforts.

With his sustained blitz of television appearances and speeches, former Vice President Dick Cheney has established himself as perhaps the leading Republican voice against President Obama.

Not a bad time, then, to be in the market for a multimillion-dollar book contract.... A person familiar with discussions Mr. Cheney has had with publishers said he was seeking more than $2 million for his advance. That sum may prove hard to get in this economic climate, especially given his generally low approval ratings, which publishers view as a potential -- but not certain -- harbinger for sales.

Reports indicate Cheney may end up with a deal with Simon & Schuster, because it's home to an imprint run by Mary Matalin, who is also publishing Karl Rove's book.

Are you going to pay good money to hear Cheney spout the same crap he's been spouting since he allowed 9/11 to happen?

I bet the rest of the Republicans WITH seats in Congress are just thrilled to death to see Cheney writing a book and reminding everyone why he has an approval rating less than half of the current President.

One Guy Is Asking The Question At Least

Arthur Gilroy makes a damn good point: Wednesday's arrest of the Newburgh Four "terrorists" and Dick Cheney's speech on terrorism less than 24 hours later was in no way a coincidence. I'll go one step further, you can add the Senate's 90-6 vote to strip the funds to close down Gitmo on Wednesday to that chain of events as well.

And nobody else in the media is admitting this, but we're all supposed to be scared out of our minds again.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition

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