Saturday, November 22, 2008

Economy in Crisis

In case you never scroll down the length of my blog page, I have added a new feed in the left panel, Economy in Crisis. This extraordinarily informative web site "is a news blog dedicated to educating legislators and the American public in regards to the destruction of our country's industrial base, the impact on national and economic security, and the effect on our standard of living. We publish critical but overlooked facts and figures, keeping our readers up-to-date with daily articles regarding the U.S. economy.

"Out of concern for America's deteriorating economic condition, the individuals responsible for donate their expertise and time. EIC does not support any political organization or corporate interest."

As a testament to the even-handedness of EIC, one can read plaudits on their web site from a diversity of pundits of all spectrums, from reactionary Pat Buchanan through Reaganite Paul Craig Roberts to liberal intellectual Air America host Thom Hartmann.


And that's exactly what they are doing. Barack Obama isn't in office yet, but the right wing radio voices are already making references to "Obama's recession." My local pinheads write into the newspaper proclaiming how the economic shitstorm that we have entered is -- of course -- the result of Democratic party policies and, most specifically, Bill Clinton. Of course the oxygen-starved brains of the wingnut brigade forget two salient facts: 1) that Bill Clinton, zealous centrist that he was, left the ecocomy of our nation with a budget surplus, a declining deficit, and an expanding job market; and 2) that it was the capitalist wet dream of deregulation ushered in by Ronald Reagan where the seeds of today's corporate implosion were sown. But the right will forever excel at one thing and one thing only: re-writing history to justify their sorry ass gospel of greed, hypocrisy and intolerance.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Last tag

I might have thought that after last week's electoral victory I would be willing to cast a little slack George Bush's way. But the little thug is determined to be a miscreant to the very end of his sad, larcenous administration, not content to merely fade into history's dustbin.

The sociopath intends to finalize 90 Federal regulations, and do so in a way that will insure that the Obama administration must spend hours, weeks, months, embroiled in the process of undoing them.

According to constitutional scholar John Turley, Bush's moves are "akin to fouling a water-well ... almost a sign of contempt for the results of the election."

From a Raw Story article by David Edwards and Muriel Kane:

In an appearance of Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show, Turley explained, "This is the ultimate dead-hand control. ... What a president can do is, by finalizing a regulation, he can force his successor to go through an entirely new regulatory process that can take years."

"What the means in real terms," Turley noted, "is that you can have an Obama administration that continues to carry out George Bush's directives. And for people who elected Obama for change, that's a particularly obnoxious reality to accept."

Turley explained that the regulations in question are not the same as executive orders, which "are easier to undo. A President Obama can come in with his own superseding executive orders." However, once a federal regulation has been in effect for 60 days it can no longer simply be reversed by presidential action. This means that as of January 20, President Obama will be unable to undo any regulations finalized by November 22.

"We're talking about environmental regulations, a lot of issues that the public clearly indicated they wanted a change on," Turley continued. He observed that "President Bush has a certain benefit in being the least popular president in modern history. ... That seems to, in a strange way, have freed up his subordinates, where they are trying to just run the table and move every regulation, executive order they can to try to create this control."

However, as Politico pointed out on Wednesday, the "little-known" Congressional Review Act (CRA) of 1996 was passed to address just such a situation and will allow Congress to undo these last-minute regulations "with a joint resolution that can’t be filibustered in the Senate."

"It creates something of a fiction," Turley said of the CRA. "It says if you push it through in the final days of your administration, it won't be considered final until the new Congress comes in. ... Congress gave itself extra time to reverse it."

"The key here, however, is time," Turley continued. "We're not going to have a lot of time, and we're talking about a lot of regulations and a lot of executive orders. And that's why Obama reportedly has a team of dozens of people who are trying to unravel this very complex web of executive orders and regulations."

Olbermann asked whether late January will see Congress handling "a flurry of legislations in which a dozen of these are repealed at the same time -- or one giant Get Rid of Bush Bill?"

"They could do it in an omnibus manner like that," stated Turley, "and I suspect that they may have to."

"Congress ... is going to be dealing with literally hundreds of executive orders and regulations and also hundreds of signing statements by this president," Turley concluded. "And eventually, they going to have to tackle each one of those individually to give Obama the right to direct his own administration."

Here's the video:

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Circling the wagons (and shooting at each other)

It had to happen. The Republican Party is licking its wounds, and at the same time putting its worst foot forward. Soon, they will start eating their young. Instead of taking a lesson from the sweeping mandate given to Barack Obama by the American people, and accepting that turning the GOP into a vehicle for incoherent, white, radical right-wing rage is a thoroughly failed party paradigm, the wack jobs are proposing to expunge all moderate elements from the Republican Party forever, and crown Sarah Palin as the new voice of the elephant brigade.

They call it "Operation Leper." To quote, the blog where the proposal received its maiden voyage:

"RedState is pleased to announce it is engaging in a special project: Operation Leper.

"We're tracking down all the people from the McCain campaign now whispering smears against Governor Palin to Carl Cameron and others. Michelle Malkin has the details.

"We intend to constantly remind the base about these people, monitor who they are working for, and, when 2012 rolls around, see which candidates hire them. Naturally then, you'll see us go to war against those candidates.

"It is our expressed intention to make these few people political lepers."

Notable members of the list so-far? Steve Schmidt, McCain-Palin's campaign strategist.

With the characteristic deficit of self knowledge we've come to associate with this wing of the party, they obviously fail to understand that they themselves are the true lepers in our nation today.

So, is it worth $11.99 to buy one of those cups for the simple pleasure of smashing it against a rock?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Not as red as you think

You are looking at a cartogram of the now familiar red/blue electoral map that has become the hallmark of Election Night media. The difference between this cartogram and the usual map is that the states have been "morphed" to proportionally reflect their population rather than the size of the state. Looking at the results of Tuesday's election from this perspective gives a much more realistic view of how successful Barack's campaign was and how solid was the victory.

This and other transformations of the electoral map can be found here.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Best news I heard all day

"BREAKING: Federal Judge Compels GOP IT Guru Mike Connell To Give Deposition in Ohio '04 Election Case "

"The BRAD BLOG has learned that Mike Connell, the Republican IT guru whose company, GovTech Solutions, created Ohio's 2004 election results computer network, appeared in federal court today, as compelled, and has been ordered to appear for his deposition on Monday, November 3, just 24 hours before Election Day 2008.

"Though Connell's attorneys have fought to quash the subpoena, recently issued after the judge lifted a stay on the case several weeks ago, it looks like his options to avoid testimony, or at least jail for avoiding it, may have come to an end. The attorneys in the case have said that Connell's testimony may well lead to the subpoenaing and under-oath questioning of Karl Rove, who, they say, would be unable to use Executive Privilege as an excuse to avoid such a subpoena in a civil RICO case."

Sunday, November 02, 2008


GOTV. It stand for "Get Out The Vote." It is the rallying cry of the last days of the Campaign for Change of Barack Obama who stands to inspire not only the largest voter turnout in American history, but perhaps a shift in the consciousness of our nation. A much-needed shift, after the seeds sown by Ronald Reagan have their flowering amid the meltdown of the American Dream.

My garage is a local staging area for GOTV. My area field organizer arrives early with his older sister - I'll call her "T," who will man our HQ with me. We suspend a huge "CHANGE" sign from the open garage door, and pepper the yard with signs and flags. From here, we dispatch volunteers to other neighborhoods in the vicinity throughout the day, armed with canvas lists and their own story. "Hi, I'm ______ , and I'm a local volunteer for the Barack Obama campaign. Have you voted already?" The supporters we cajole for a few volunteer hours.

All day, the cars pull up. Women and men by themselves, or families. Perhaps they have done nothing else since the campaign began. But now they have stepped up to the plate, because they know what is riding on a Florida victory for Obama/Biden. White, black, Asian, Indian, Hispanic, of all ages, they arrive in spurts of activity. T. checks them in, and I train them in the art of canvassing. Only one returns prematurely, embarrassed by her admission: "I"m sorry, I can't do this." After that we team up the more timid ones, though that usually means less doors knocked. But we want every one in their comfort zone.

The packets come back, unsurprisingly, with a comfortable margin of Barack supporters. Over weeks and weeks of door-knocking and phone calling, the lists have been winnowed down to predominantly Obama voters. We look for people who will need transportation to the polls, and press the able ones for a canvas commitment. And always: "Have you voted yet?"

Early voting ends today in Florida. On November 4, we decide nothing less than the future of our country, and perhaps the world. Regardless of the outcome (which I hereby declare will be a landslide victory), I have had the opportunity the past 3 months to see the best side of America, a taste of the unification of spirit that I believe will be the over-arching theme of an Obama administration. That has changed me, in late middle age, back to something of the innocent I was before Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were mowed down within 3 months of each other. I have always thought that something inside me was irrevocably lost that year. But is turns out that it was only sleeping.

The whole world is watching.