Sarah B.

Last active
14 hours, 19 minutes ago
  • If they don’t, they might as well disband themselves and go play golf.

    There is someone in the Oval Office who is always game for 18 holes — Mission Accomplished!

    Actually, if the Senate Intelligence Committee had even the nascent vestiges of a spine, that report would have been made public already. If they were any more gelatinous, they would not be able to get out of bed to collect their fat paychecks, whore for campaign contributions, and enjoy their lavish perquisites.

    I suspect that Obama would much prefer to put off releasing the torture report to the public until after the election — the 2016 election. Or better yet, after the Inauguration in January 2017, when he is eagerly heading out of town to embrace his fortune.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Ukraine Army Fired Cluster Bombs On Civilians

    2014-10-21 19:10:17View | Delete

    Human Rights Watch said it believed both sides used cluster bombs – something the Times could not confirm – but that its strongest evidence was that the Ukraine Army used them in the early October attacks.

    Typical Human Rights Watch report — “both sides do it, but one side does it slightly more” — despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary. The dust and cobwebs are already accumulating on the shelf.

    HRW issues the same hedged bets with regard to the IDF’s multiple and serial atrocities perpetrated on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, with little regard for the origins of the conflict and/or the disproportionate advantages which the U.S. funded, supported, and armed stooge governments exert over the rebels or separatists or militants or terrorists or whatever demonizing epithet du jour is in fashion at the time.

    The IDF used cluster bombs on Southern Lebanon during its war on that beleaguered country in 2006. Robert Fisk published first-hand reports of their use and the fact that the provenance could be traced to the USA in The Independent at the time.

    Surely, Obama and Kerry and Rice and Power will soon be screeching that it was Putin wot done it.

  • Why aren’t they doing as we say?

    You will have to ask the Saudis.

    Perhaps, the reason is that the Saudis don’t give a crap about what “we” say, as opposed to relying instead upon what “we” do, which is to continue to grovel and flatter and placate and defend them while selling them gazillions of dollars worth of high-tech military hardware an annual basis, and all this in conjunction with a willingness to turn a blind eye to the Kingdom’s grotesque human rights abuses and violations and crimes against humanity. Do you suppose the nature of that relationship might explain the phenomenon?

    You offer quite a rationale regarding what passes for “justice” in Saudi Arabia based on your personal hunches and beliefs — it reads more like wishful thinking than an analysis based on documented facts and evidence — but the information is there if you are willing to allow reality to intrude on your fantasies:

    Human rights in Saudi Arabia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Saudi_Arabia

    Corporal and capital punishment

    Saudi Arabia is one of approximately thirty countries in the world with judicial corporal punishment. In Saudi Arabia’s case this includes amputations of hands and feet for robbery, and flogging for lesser crimes such as “sexual deviance” and drunkenness.

    In the 2000s, it was reported that women were sentenced to lashes for adultery; the women were actually victims of rape, but because they could not prove who the perpetrators were, they were deemed guilty of committing adultery. [...]

    In 2004, the United Nations Committee Against Torture criticized Saudi Arabia over the amputations and floggings it carries out under Sharia. The Saudi delegation responded by defending “legal traditions” held since the inception of Islam 1,400 years ago and rejected interference in its legal system.

    The information on the Wiki page is drawn from numerous reliable sources — U.S. and international news reports, articles from scholarly journals, and investigations and well-documented reports carried out by the United Nations and the leading human rights groups. See the References.

    Just use the Google to search for Saudi Arabia and Amnesty International — or Saudi Arabia and Human Rights Watch — and you will be inundated with the vast wealth of documented accounts of crime and punishment in Saudi Arabia.

    Like the Israelis — “our” other BFFs in the Middle East — the Saudis carry out their multiple and serial atrocities with impunity.

    To borrow one of Obama’s favorite expressions, “we” have their back.

  • CIA Agents Reportedly Impersonated Senate Staffers While Torture Report Was Being Produced

    This truly explosive report by Ali Watkins and Ryan Grim reveals the extreme lengths to which the Obama Crime Family is prepared to go to protect the Bush Crime Family — apparently, to the ends of the earth and back if that’s what it takes — to guard the “Family” secrets and to protect the guilty and complicit (which now includes themselves).

    If only we had an independent U.S. Attorney General presiding over a Department of Justice with the determination and willingness to conduct serious investigations and prosecutions. But, what do we get instead of justice and adherence to the rule of law? [*Crickets*]

    Criminal convictions are, of course, the province of the jury, and sentencing the province of the judge, but the DOJ under Eric Holder hasn’t even bothered to try to make the effort to investigate and prosecute those in high places. Moreover, the relevant oversight committees in the House and Senate have willfully abdicated their responsibility to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the voters who put them in office in equal measure. Shameful, indeed.

    Kudos to Watkins and Grim for committing an act of great journalism.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post For Conservatives it is all About Fox News

    2014-10-21 13:42:37View | Delete

    But you have shattered my image of Jon.

    I believe there is a good chance that you will recover with minimal effort and a couple of Dos Equis (or more as needed) to ease the pain.

    Actually, I thought it would be more unkind to allow your longing for pie charts and bar graphs too go unheeded when there is no need to languish in vain.

    Sometimes reality can be its own reward.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post US Aid In Syria Going To ISIS

    2014-10-21 12:54:09View | Delete

    We’ve got to keep in mind that President Obama plays chess, not checkers.

    Try Tiddlywinks — you will then, at long last, experience the delirious bliss of reality.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post For Conservatives it is all About Fox News

    2014-10-21 12:21:21View | Delete

    Jon…..JON….unless you can convert that into a bar graph or a pie chart I’m totally lost.

    If you want pie charts and bar graphs, you will find them here at the Pew Research Journalism Project website:

    Political Polarization & Media Habits
    http://www.journalism.org/2014/10/21/political-polarization-media-habits/

    That’s where Jon gets them…or at the Gallup website, if it’s a Gallup poll.

  • I take it you use the fox distortion translator to understand what Obama say??

    Clearly, you have a taste for red-herring given the fact that I don’t watch Fox News and have no idea what transpires on that network. But your reference to the Fox “distortion translator” suggests that you possess a greater knowledge and familiarity with that network than I could muster in a light-year of Sundays.

    This is where I gleaned the letter and the spirit of Obama’s speech on Syria:

    October 18, 2011

    By Scott Wilson and Joby Warrick

    Assad must go, Obama says
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/assad-must-go-obama-says/2011/08/18/gIQAelheOJ_story.html

    Does it really require the Fox “distortion translator” to get from “[The] time has come for President Assad to step aside” to “Assad must go!”? Obviously, the reporters and editors at the WaPo didn’t think so.

    While Obama was delivering those high-minded words that “The future of Syria must be determined by its people,” the U.S. and its NATO allies were in their fifth month of bombing Libya back to the Stone Age in a campaign that began with declarations that “Gaddafi must go!” to the hasty imposition of a no-fly zone under the aegis of UN Security Resolution 1973.

    On March 19, 2011, military operations against Libya commenced with American and British naval forces firing over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles and the French Air Force, British Royal Air Force, and Royal Canadian Air Force undertaking sorties across Libya in conjunction with a naval blockade by Coalition forces.

    On October 20, 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was turned over to a braying lunch mob, Hillary Clinton cackled at the news of his bloody demise, and the U.S. and NATO announced that their mission in Libya would end on October 31, 2011. Mission Accomplished!

    Today, Libya is not just a failed state, it is a Hellscape — the U.S Embassy in Tripoli has been evacuated and all personnel have fled to Tunisia — and one of the competing militias has taken over the complex, while the vast assortment of militias continue to ravage the country from one end of the Mediterranean to the other staking out turf and battling for control of the airport and the oil resources.

    Today, Syria is also a Hellscape, and the fate of the Syrian people — millions of whom have fled to neighboring Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan to live in refugee camps — is now being decided by ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, the U.S., its NATO allies, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE — and Bashar al-Assad is still managing to hold on to power and will continue to do so until the presidential compound in Damascus is blasted into rubble by a massive barrage of Tomahawk cruise missiles.

    If Obama’s mantra was that “Bush must go!” in 2004, then perhaps you could explain why he chose to morph into Bush (and worse) between 2008 and 2014?

    Plus, don’t look now, but Yemen — another of Obama’s favorite targets for missile strikes, drone attacks, and assassinations, and a failed state by any definition you care to apply — is on the verge of becoming the next Hellscape:

    The Houthi coup in Yemen is a new political era that may end in ruin
    http://qz.com/283579/the-houthi-coup-in-yemen-is-a-new-political-era-that-may-end-in-ruin/

    In September 2014, Yemen entered into a new political era. The Houthis, a Zaidi Shia revivalist group with a militant wing ended their month-long demonstrations in Sana’a after government forces killed nine peaceful protesters. Houthi fighters amassed in northern Sana’a, defending their positions and taking back that which was controlled by their rivals: the government and opposition tribes. After four days of fighting, the Houthis—once a small rag-tag group of rebels from the north—controlled the State TV, Ministry of Interior, and the infamous army Firqa Camp, commanded by their archrival Ali Mohsen al Ahmad.

    The recent U.S. bombing of Syria now brings to seven the number of Muslim countries which Obama has bombed since his Inauguration in 2009.

    You serve red-herring as the apéritif and crow on a bed of straw men for dessert:

    Do you think Obama was wrong and should have invaded Syria to remove Assad instead of leaving that for the Syrians?

    It should be obvious from my initial comment — and every comment I have ever posted at FDL — that I am opposed to any U.S. intervention in Syria, whether an overt invasion or a covert CIA-driven proxy war with arms and fighters being supplied by the U.S. and its rogues’ gallery of allies and sinister partners in crime.

    And whom do you mean when you speak of “the Syrians” in that complex landscape? The Alawites (a branch of the Shias)? The Shias? The Sunnis? The Christians (Syriac, Chaldean, Assyrian, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic)? The Druze? The Kurds? Obama, like Bush before him, speaks of the “Iraqi people” and the “Egyptian people” and “Libyan people” and the “Syrian people” as if those societies were as homogeneous as Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. The Bush and Obama failures are matched only by their hubris.

    PS — I posted my comment about the grotesque and diabolical Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for a reason — if the U.S. wanted a rich and deserving target for regime change, they need look no further. How about several months of U.S. and NATO Tomahawk cruise missiles raining down on Riyadh and Jeddah? Or, how about this?

    “King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz must go!”

  • Saudi Arabia Ramps Up Beheadings As US Condemns ISIS For Beheadings

    Saudi Arabia = Beheadings R Us! — Beheadings and Stonings and Crucifixions, Too!

    Capital punishment in Saudi Arabia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_Saudi_Arabia

    The use of capital punishment in Saudi Arabia is based on Sharia (or Islamic law) and is prominent internationally because of the wide range of crimes which can result in the death penalty and because it is usually carried out by public beheading.

    In 2011, the Saudi government reported 26 executions in the country. Amnesty International counted a minimum of 79 in 2013. Foreigners are not exempt, accounting for “almost half” of executions in 2013.

    Unlike executions in most other countries that have not abolished the death penalty, executions of offenders are not performed privately in prisons, but publicly in central Riyadh, and have been called the “only form of public entertainment” in Saudi Arabia “apart from football matches”. It is one of the last four countries to still carry out public executions.

    Methods and Scope

    Saudi Arabia has a criminal justice system based on a hardline and literal form of Sharia law reflecting a particular state-sanctioned interpretation of Islam (Wahhabism).

    The death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, false prophecy, blasphemy, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery and can be carried out by beheading with a sword, or more rarely by firing squad, and sometimes by stoning.

    The 345 reported executions between 2007 and 2010 were all carried out by public beheading. The last reported execution for sorcery took place in August 2014. There were no reports of stoning between 2007 and 2010, but between 1981 and 1992 there were four cases of execution by stoning reported.

    Crucifixion of the beheaded body is sometimes ordered. For example, in 2009, the Saudi Gazette reported that “An Abha court has sentenced the leader of an armed gang to death and three-day crucifixion (public displaying of the beheaded body) and six other gang members to beheading for their role in jewelry store robberies in Asir.” (This practice resembles gibbeting, in which the entire body is displayed).

    Saudi law is extremely generous vis-à-vis the number of death penalty crimes and quite creative in the methods of execution, to wit:

    • Adultery (Unmarried adulterers can be sentenced to 100 lashes, married ones can be sentenced to stoning)

    • Apostasy (Apostates are sentenced to beheading but are usually given three days to repent and return to Islam)

    • Sodomy, homosexuality, or lesbianism (If a man or woman is sodomized by their own consent, then they will also be sentenced to death along with the sodomizer)

    • Armed robbery
    • Blasphemy
    • Burglary
    • Carjacking
    • Aircraft hijacking
    • Drug smuggling
    • Fornication
    • Home invasion
    • Idolatry
    • Murder
    • Rape
    • Sedition
    • Sexual misconduct
    • Sorcery
    • Terrorism
    • Theft (fourth conviction)
    • Treason
    • Waging war on God
    • Witchcraft.

    But there is nuanced fine tuning for some crimes and punishments.

    Adultery offers a case in point. In order for an individual to be convicted in a Saudi sharia court of adultery, he/she must confess to the act three times in front of the court, or four males or eight females who witnessed the sexual penetration must testify in front of the court. The burden of proof is on the accuser.

    Murder is much more dicey than adultery. Murder is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. But, if a murderer pays a family of the victim blood money, and the family approves of the choice, the murderer will not be executed. The criminal justice system waits until the family makes a decision on whether the family of the victim will accept blood money.

    If the family of the victim chooses to have the murderer executed, the family has the right to execute the convicted. Saudi scholar and author, Sandra Mackey, reports that the most gruesome beheadings are those carried out by the victim’s relatives where, lacking the professionalism of the public executioner, the condemned is repeatedly hacked and chopped until he dies.

    The Saudis execute foreign workers on a regular basis. According to figures by Amnesty International, in 2010 at least 27 migrant workers were executed and, as of January 2013, more than 45 foreign maids were on death row awaiting execution.

    What an ingenious and cunning plan by Barack Obama to send the Syrian “moderate” fighters to Saudi Arabia for “training” (indoctrination in Wahhabism) to fight ISIS — especially, given that ISIS is funded and supplied by the Saudis — and then once ISIS has been “degraded and destroyed” at long last, the “moderates” can get on with the dirty business of overthrowing Bashar al-Assad.

    Because, of course, “Assad must go!” — Obama said so.

    (Acknowledgements to Wiki)

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Sensible Leadership On Economics In Real Life

    2014-10-19 18:49:20View | Delete

    karenjj2

    Thanks for that.

    I eagerly awaited the release to the public of that vaunted one-time audit of the Fed by the GAO, and I don’t know which factor I was shocked and dismayed by more — the $16 trillion plus looted not just by the banks, both foreign and domestic, but by the giant multinational corporations as well! — or by the shameful nothingburger reponse to the GAO Report by Obama and his administration and members of the House and Senate, Democrats and GOPers alike, and by the corporate media and even much of the alternative media. The story came briefly to light and then vanished just as quickly down the memory hole never to be revisited again.

    The Dems and the GOPers can be remarkably bipartisan, both in acts of omission and commission, when it suits them and when their campaign coffers are lavished with contributions in the process.

    It really is telling that no one, not even the Fake Socialist from Vermont — “I’m not a Democrat, but I caucus with the Democrats” — has pushed for another GAO audit of the Fed, let alone a call for audits to be conducted at regular intervals, perhaps every two years, given the power which that private, secretive, cloistered banking cabal inside the Temple wields over shaping monetary policy that affects the entire economy. Go figure.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Sensible Leadership On Economics In Real Life

    2014-10-19 16:50:37View | Delete

    It’s good to see the President rejecting this nonsense, and doing it in front of a crowd likely to benefit from the [trickle-down] theory.

    George Will — of all people! — totally disagrees with your assessment, to wit:

    October 3, 2014

    George Will: Obama Is Practicing Trickle-Down Economics [video]
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2014/10/03/george_will_obama_is_practicing_trickle-down_economics.html

    GEORGE WILL: The president went to the state of Illinois to brag about the economy. Illinois has 300,000 fewer jobs than it had in 2008. For the last four years in the state of Illinois, the number of new food stamp recipients has increased twice as fast as the number of new job recipients. He was speaking in Illinois on a college campus. He did not mention that 40 percent of recent college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed — that is, in jobs that don’t require college degrees — and one in three recent college graduates is living at home with their parents.

    Now, the president, we just heard, disparage trickle-down economics while bragging about doubling the stock market value. He is practicing trickle-down economics by doubling the stock market. He, and, for six years now, and most recently under his choice to be head of the Fed, Janet Yellen, have had zero interest rates, the intended effect of which is to drive people out of bonds and into assets like farm land, but particularly into stocks. That is why this has been a boon to the 10 percent of Americans who own 80 percent of all the directly owned stocks. And this is why 95 percent of the wealth created in the last six years have gone to the dreaded top one percent. (Emphasis added)

    While I am no fan of George Will, not even by even the wildest stretches of the imaginaion, I find it difficult, if not impossible, to find fault with his argument that Obama has been Godzilla on trickle-down and feathering the nests of the dreaded 1% and worse, the diabolical 0.1% , which includes the evil Koch Brothers!

    Consequently, 95% of wealth creation for the top 1% and 0.1% — and 5% for the 99% — is hardly a winning recipe for narrowing the income inequality gap in this country any time in the foreseeable future, and that will be Obama’s legacy, like it or not.

    Obama nominated Janet Yellen to serve as Fed Chair, and he also renominated her predecessor Ben Bernanke, who had been nominated by Goerge W. Bush to replace Alan Greenspan. That’s quite a rogues’ gallery even for the Federal Reserve Crime Family.

    Obama also nominated Timothy Geithner, former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — who presided over the New York Fed in the years before, during, and after the Wall Street crash of 2008 — to serve as his Secretary of Treasury and to oversee the continued rounds of bailouts funneled to the top Too-Big-To-Fail banks under TARP and its various iterations and to protect the banksters (many of whom were Obama’s campaign contributors) from criminal prosecution. Mission Accomplished.

    Before his tenure at the New York Fed, Geithner served as director of the Policy Development and Review Department (2001–2003) at the International Monetary Fund — it really doesn’t get more neoliberal and trickle-down than the IMF — wealth and prosperity for the select flew, and austerity and pain for the unfortunate many.

    Plus, Janet Yellen is only sloppy seconds — Obama’s first choice for Fed Chair was Larry Summers!

    Gevalt.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Sensible Leadership On Economics In Real Life

    2014-10-19 15:29:53View | Delete

    Sensible Leadership On Economics In Real Life

    Lakshman Achuthan, financial analyst and co-founder of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), is not happy with Janet Yellen’s speech on income inequality and calls bullshit:

    October 17, 2014

    Let Them Eat Cake
    https://www.businesscycle.com/ecri-reports-indexes/report-summary-details/yellen-let-them-eat-cake-retire-income

    According to the Fed’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, the top 10% of U.S. families are doing just fine, and those in the bottom fifth are essentially being kept afloat by transfer payments; but the inflation-adjusted median family income has shrunk by one-eighth since 2004. Quite simply, middle-class incomes are being gutted. (Emphasis added)

    [C]iting that same survey, Ms. Yellen expressed concern about “lower-income families without assets” that “can end up, very suddenly, off the road.” She therefore advised families to “take the small steps that over time can lead to the accumulation of considerable assets.” She did not, however, explain how they were to accumulate these assets, in light of falling incomes and zero interest rates. (Emphasis added)

    This uncomfortable disconnect between theory and reality also came out during her Senate confirmation hearings last fall. Given the predicament of “the little person out there who is just trying to pay the bills and maybe put a buck away for retirement,” Ms. Yellen was asked to “explain to the senior citizen who is just hoping that CD will earn some money” the impact of “a policy that says, for as far as the eye can see … keep interest rates low.” She replied: “I understand … that savers are hurt by this policy, [but] savers wear a lot of different hats… They may be retirees who are hoping to get part-time work in order to supplement their income.” (Emphasis added)

    The money quote:

    In essence, despite a zero interest rate policy that mainly helps the wealthy, struggling families with falling incomes ought to take steps to accumulate “considerable assets,” as retirees take part-time jobs to make ends meet. Let them eat cake, indeed. (Emphasis added)

    Yellen’s public relations Inequality Tour would be laughable were it not so tragic for those who now feel they are forever trapped in a rotten economy made worse and perpetuated by the current Fed Chair and her self-serving predecessors over the past 60 plus years, but most acutely since the Wall Street crash of 2008 and subsequent bailouts of the banks.

    Like her fellow elites at the top of the socioeconomic pyramid, Yellen’s speech on income inequality from inside the bubble was patronizing, condescending, feckless, and mind-numbing in its failure to apprehend a clue that might help her to understand and explain the fundamental causes of the problems facing so many Americans six years after the Wall Street crash of 2008. Moreover, she was incapable of offering any meaningful suggestions or solutions that would narrow the income inequality gap in the near term or in the future.

    Fed Chair Janet Yellen should stick to what she does best — QE to Infinity, Operation Twist, ZIRP and NIRP — “printing” money which benefits the rich and powerful and buying up toxic paper and U.S. Treasuries in secret with the full knowledge, comfort, and confidence that the Fed will never be audited (again) or subject to scrutiny by inferiors and subordinates positioned outside the Temple.

    The first ever one-time GAO audit of the Federal Reserve was carried out due to the Ron Paul, Alan Grayson Amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill, which passed in July 2010. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) led the charge for a Federal Reserve audit in the Senate, but watered down the original language of the house bill (HR 1207), so that a complete audit would not be carried out — clearly, an example of the Fake-Socialist at his bipartisan worst.

    On July 21, 2011, the first and only top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve was released to the public. The GAO Report revealed astonishing new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 Trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and multinational corporations — including General Electric, McDonald’s, Caterpillar, Harley Davidson, Toyota and Verizon — during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

    What was the consequence or lasting significance of that one-time audit of the Fed? [*Crickets*]

    If you’re seeking sensible leadership on economics in real life, the Fed Chair, whether Janet Yellen or her predecessors, would be the last place to look. Simply mouthing the words “income inequality” because it is a favorite topic du jour in the wake of Thomas Piketty’s laborious tome — her blinkered suggestions for “the little guy” and seniors notwithstanding — without offering any concrete solutions or correctives for the problem, Yellen’s speech is little more than public relations.

    In keeping with Ben Bernanke’s plan to taper QE3 to zero, Yellen is winding down the Fed’s asset purchases on October 31, 2014. But, if the markets get really jiggy and volatile and beyond of the capacity of the Plunge Protection Team to set the algos to “Buy!” to save the day (or the week), she can return to metaphorical “print” mode and commence with QE3.5 or QE4. Plus, the Fed’s discount window is still set at ZIRP.

    PS — I submitted a version of this comment on BrandonJ’s Roundup but decided to repurpose it here since this thread pertains more specifically to Yellen and her speech.

  • Sarah B. commented on the diary post Sunday Talking Heads: October 19, 2014 by Elliott.

    2014-10-19 13:49:52View | Delete

    Ebola — Obama’s more “aggressive” response! Military preps team for Ebola response in US http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/19/health/us-ebola/index.html

    (CNN) — The U.S. military is forming a 30-person “quick strike team” equipped to provide direct treatment to Ebola patients inside the United States, a Defense Department official told CNN’s Barbara Starr on Sunday. (Emphasis added) A Pentagon spokesman later confirmed [...]

  • Sarah B. commented on the diary post MENA Mashup: Inherent Resolve, House of Saud, and Petrobuck$ by CTuttle.

    2014-10-18 00:12:10View | Delete

    I do regret omitting the I/P shenanigans, of late…!

    Hiya, CT Just another day and another dead child in the I/P Hellscape: Teenage boy shot dead by Israeli troops in West Bank http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/17/teenage-boy-shot-dead-israeli-troops-west-bank

    Bahaa Badr killed on Thursday evening during clashes between protesters and Israeli forces west of Ramallah: A 13-year-old boy has been shot and killed [...]

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post The Roundup for October 17th, 2014

    2014-10-17 23:40:54View | Delete

    Janet Yellen, the head of the Federal Reserve, warned income inequality in the U.S. was a danger that must be addressed

    Lakshman Achuthan, financial analyst and co-founder of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), is not happy with Janet Yellen’s speech on income inequality and calls bullshit:

    October 17, 2014

    Let Them Eat Cake
    https://www.businesscycle.com/ecri-reports-indexes/report-summary-details/yellen-let-them-eat-cake-retire-income

    According to the Fed’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, the top 10% of U.S. families are doing just fine, and those in the bottom fifth are essentially being kept afloat by transfer payments; but the inflation-adjusted median family income has shrunk by one-eighth since 2004. Quite simply, middle-class incomes are being gutted. (Emphasis added)

    [C]iting that same survey, Ms. Yellen expressed concern about “lower-income families without assets” that “can end up, very suddenly, off the road.” She therefore advised families to “take the small steps that over time can lead to the accumulation of considerable assets.” She did not, however, explain how they were to accumulate these assets, in light of falling incomes and zero interest rates. (Emphasis added)

    This uncomfortable disconnect between theory and reality also came out during her Senate confirmation hearings last fall. Given the predicament of “the little person out there who is just trying to pay the bills and maybe put a buck away for retirement,” Ms. Yellen was asked to “explain to the senior citizen who is just hoping that CD will earn some money” the impact of “a policy that says, for as far as the eye can see … keep interest rates low.” She replied: “I understand … that savers are hurt by this policy, [but] savers wear a lot of different hats… They may be retirees who are hoping to get part-time work in order to supplement their income.” (Emphasis added)

    The money quote:

    In essence, despite a zero interest rate policy that mainly helps the wealthy, struggling families with falling incomes ought to take steps to accumulate “considerable assets,” as retirees take part-time jobs to make ends meet. Let them eat cake, indeed. (Emphasis added)

    Yellen’s public relations Inequality Tour would be laughable were it not so tragic for those who are forever trapped in a rotten economy made worse and perpetuated by the current Fed Chair and her self-serving predecessors over the past 60 plus years.

    Like her fellow elites at the top of the socioeconomic pyramid, Yellen’s speech on income inequality from inside the bubble was patronizing, condescending, feckless, and mind-numbing in its failure to apprehend a clue that might help her to understand and explain the fundamental causes of the problems facing so many Americans six years after the Wall Street crash of 2008. Moreover, she was incapable of offering any meaningful suggestions or solutions that would narrow the income inequality gap in the near term or in the future.

    Fed Chair Janet Yellen should stick to what she does best — QE to Infinity, Operation Twist, ZIRP and NIRP — “printing” money which benefits the rich and powerful and buying up toxic paper in secret with the full knowledge, comfort, and confidence that the Fed will never be audited (again) or subject to scrutiny by inferiors and subordinates positioned outside the Temple.

    The first ever one-time GAO audit of the Federal Reserve was carried out due to the Ron Paul, Alan Grayson Amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill, which passed in July 2010. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) led the charge for a Federal Reserve audit in the Senate, but watered down the original language of the house bill (HR 1207), so that a complete audit would not be carried out — clearly, an example of the Fake-Socialist at his bipartisan worst.

    On July 21, 2011, the first and only top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve was released to the public. The GAO Report revealed astonishing new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 Trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and multinational corporations — including General Electric, McDonald’s, Caterpillar, Harley Davidson, Toyota and Verizon — during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

    What was the consequence or lasting significance of this one-time audit of the Fed? [*Crickets*]

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post Hating the Other Party Really Drives Turnout

    2014-10-17 16:49:40View | Delete

    Jon, you’re sill THE BEST when it comes to graphs.

    I don’t want to ruin it for you, but those graphs and charts you’re so fond of are not Jon’s workmanship.

    He just does cut-and-paste jobs or screen captures directly from the Pew and/or Gallup websites, to wit:

    Pew Research — October 17, 2014

    Political Polarization in Action: Insights into the 2014 Election from the American Trends Panel
    http://www.people-press.org/2014/10/17/political-polarization-in-action-insights-into-the-2014-election-from-the-american-trends-panel/

    The Pew Research Center has developed a new tool for looking at the 2014 elections – a panel survey that enables us to check in with the same representative group of Americans several times during the course of the campaign. This survey includes far more information about respondents than is found in a typical election poll: Their underlying attitudes on a wide range of political issues, drawn from the largest political survey in the Center’s history; a track of voter preferences over the course of 2014; and a link to their actual voting histories.

    See the following graph — Look familiar?

    Sub-heading: Partisan Antipathy a Powerful Motivator

    Disliking the Other Party Motivates Votor Turnout
    http://www.people-press.org/2014/10/17/political-polarization-in-action-insights-into-the-2014-election-from-the-american-trends-panel/

    If anyone deserves credit for the charts and graphs, it’s the Pew and Gallup organizations.

  • Eric Schmidt and Google — By the Numbers

    Lobbyist
    • Schmidt, Eric (2000)

    Contributor:
    https://www.opensecrets.org/usearch/?q=Eric+Schmidt&cx=010677907462955562473%3Anlldkv0jvam&cof=FORID%3A11

    4 unique names in 6 states contain “Eric Schmidt” in 41 total contributions.

    1 California
    2 Illinois
    3 New York
    4 North Carolina
    5 Utah
    6 Wisconsin

    41 Contributions — Occupation, Date, Amount, Recipient
    https://www.opensecrets.org/usearch/?q=Eric+Schmidt&cx=010677907462955562473%3Anlldkv0jvam&cof=FORID%3A11

    Erick Schmidt invested very heavily in Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ed Markey (D-MA), but his record of contributions demonstrates both a desire and a willingness to spread his wealth in a bipartisan fashion.

    Obama Inaugural Donors
    • Schmidt, Eric

    Open the link to Open Secrets Blog (18)

    List of 18 articles from OpenSecrets that include references to Eric Schmidt (2006-2013)
    https://www.opensecrets.org/usearch/?q=Eric+Schmidt&cx=010677907462955562473%3Anlldkv0jvam&cof=FORID%3A11

    Needless to say, the references to Google at OpenSecrets are significantly more extensive:

    Google — Contributor
    https://www.opensecrets.org/usearch/?q=Google&cx=010677907462955562473%3Anlldkv0jvam&cof=FORID%3A11

    Lobbying Spending Database – Google Inc, 2014 | OpenSecrets
    https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientsum.php?id=D000022008

    Presidential Race — Top Contributors — 2012
    https://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/

    Barack Obama (D)
    1 University of California — $1,212,245
    2 Microsoft Corp — $814,645
    3 Google Inc — –801,770
    4 US Government — $728,647
    5 Harvard University — $668,368
    6 Kaiser Permanente — $588,386
    7 Stanford University — $512,356

    Presidential Race — Top Contributors — 2008
    https://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638

    Barack Obama (D)
    1 University of California — $1,799,460
    2 Goldman Sachs — $1,034,615
    3 Goldman Sachs — $1,034,615
    4 Harvard University — $900,909
    5 Microsoft Corp — $854,717
    6 JPMorgan Chase & Co — $847,895
    7 Google Inc — $817,855

    Clearly, Eric Schmidt and Google are among the top pay-to-play corporate contributors to politicians and PACS. Plus, the generous investments in Democrats and GOPers alike appear to be paying very attractive dividends for Mr. Schmidt and Team Google.

    Well played, sirs!

  • “The Affordable Care Act Is Poorly Designed for Dealing With Epidemics and the GOP Plan Is Even Worse”

    The “Affordable Care Act” — aka Obamacare — IS the GOP plan!

    The provenance can be traced directly to The Heritage Foundation in 1989, Bob Dole’s presidential campaign in 1996, and Governor Mitt Romney in 2006, with the passage of RomneyCare in Massachussetts.

    Of course the current Republicans’ health care ideas, which are a vague combination of repeal, promise of market magic, buzzwords, and opposing mandatory paid sick leave, would be an even a worse system for dealing with rapidly spreading disease. The current plans they are discussing don’t even try to get near universal coverage.

    With the exception of repeal, the referenced paragraph is a reprise of the primary features of Obamacare, in particular, the promise of market magic — state-based exchanges referred to as “marketplaces” — and buzzwords about bending the cost curve and risk corridors and reinsurance and medical-loss ratios and community rating and adverse selection and death spirals, et cetera.

    The Democrats may bleat their approval for mandatory paid sick leave, but where is it? You won’t find it in Obamacare. There is no federal requirement for paid sick leave, although certain aspects of the Fair Labor Standards Act will apply with exempt employees. But the employers and their lawyers and lobbyists will no doubt find ways to avoid compliance with those requirements.

    Yes, certain state legislatures and city councils — San Francisco, the District of Columbia, Seattle, Portland and Connecticut — all have variations of paid sick leave laws. Moreover, paid sick day campaigns exist in 18 states and at least four cities, but those laws have yet to be passed by state legislatures and/or city councils. But Obamacare gets zero credit for those campaigns and/or passage of those mandatory paid medical leave laws.

    In stark contrast, at least 14 states have passed or have proposed preemptive laws that bar any city or county within the state from enacting their own paid leave standards, and Obamacare has done nothing to prevent such constraints on mandatory paid medical leave.

    Mandatory paid sick leave: How your business could be affected
    http://www.bizjournals.com/wichita/how-to/human-resources/2014/07/mandatory-paid-sick-leave-affect-your-business.html?page=all

    The GOPers’ plan may even be a worse system for dealing with rapidly spreading disease such as Ebola or an influenza pandemic? It’s difficult to imagine in what way that would be the case inasmuch as any GOPer plans — and Obamacare, which is a GOPer plan — destroy the fundamental public health care infrastructure through neoliberal private for-profit schemes that provide constant revenue streams for the AHIP, PhRMA, Big Hosptial and Big Medical Device rentiers.

    When profit is the principal motive and incentive for research and development for new drugs and medical procedures and devices, the beleaguered public can reap the whirlwind while their taxes pick up the tab, both to pay for the R & D at the onset, and to pay the huge price tags when the innovations finally reach the marketplace.

    The current plans the GOPers are discussing don’t even try to get near universal coverage? Please note that Obamacare — which was signed into law in March 2010 and is still in the process of being fully implemented — doesn’t try to get near universal coverage, either, nor does it even profess to do so.

    According to the Census Bureau, 48 million people did not have health insurance in 2012, down slightly from 48.6 million in 2011 — a tiny reduction of six tenths of one percent — and that was down from 48.9 million uninsured in 2010, when Obamacare was signed into law.

    About 9 million people are expected to gain insurance through the expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor in 2014, now planned in a little more than half of the states. At present, 28 states, including the District of Columbia, are implementing the Medicaid expansion, with two states in debate about moving forward, and 21 states vigorously opposed to the expansion for the foreseeable future.

    Even then, reports on the numbers of uninsured Americans in 2010 differ depending how how the Census Bureau data are analyzed and interpreted:

    By Richard Wolf — September 17, 2010

    Number of uninsured Americans rises to 50.7 million
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-09-17-uninsured17_st_n.htm

    The author notes that the health care law signed by President Obama in March 2010 is designed to insure an additional 32 million people in public and private programs — 32 million in a country of 50.7 million uninsured in 2010 does not even pretend to come close to universal coverage — moreover, 32 million covered when the current number of uninsured is 48 million is still a very far cry from universal coverage.

    Of course, we have all witnessed in real time how efficiently the 2014 “kick in” has worked out thus far (and counting) — the rate increases for 2015 will not be revealed until two weeks after the November 4 midterm election — and the provisions pertaining to the employer mandate won’t kick in until 2015, and the effects and repercussions of that piece of the law remain to be seen.

    Obamacare is an insult to the goal of universal health care — and it’s even an insult to the notion of universal coverage (code for health insurance) — because it can hardly be called universal when it excludes so many people from participation, or does so in a de facto way, because people are unable to afford the high premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and bait-and-switch out of network charges that will continue to increase every year vis-à-vis cost-shifting onto the public even with a modest federal subsidy.

    Given the golden opportunity — when the stars were aligned for genuine health care reform the first time in more than a generation — Obamacare is an insult and a sellout and a major betrayal of the public and represents the death of what little was left of the Democratic Party. Obama and the Democrats had their chance, and they got exactly what they wanted for themselves and their corporate donors, and the rest of the public be damned.

    If this post was yet another sortie in the annals of the Democrats suck, but the GOPers suck even more, the fact is that they suck in equal measure, because they are two sides of the same coin. But Obama and the Democrats are the more effective evil, as Glen Ford has argued so persuasively, because they made Obamacare their brand and their grim and grossly inadequate legacy.

    No Sale.

  • I think Jon does it primarily for me. I LOVE polls and really LOVE his graphs.

    I don’t want to ruin it for you, but those graphs you’re so fond of are not Jon’s graphs.

    He just does a cut-and-paste job or screen capture directly from the Gallup website.

    Does the following graph look familiar?

    In U.S., No Preference for Divided vs. One-Party Government
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/178550/no-preference-divided-one-party-government.aspx

    Thirty percent prefer one-party government, 28% divided government

    PRINCETON, NJ — Americans lack consensus on whether it is better to have one party holding the presidency and the majority in Congress, or better to have control of each branch of government split between the two major political parties. Currently, 30% say it is better to have a one-party government, 28% say a divided government is better, and the highest percentage, 37%, say it makes no difference.

    If anyone deserves credit for the charts and graphs, it’s the Gallup organization.

  • Sarah B. commented on the blog post CDC Approved Symptomatic Nurse With Ebola To Fly

    2014-10-16 15:17:02View | Delete

    Great news!! Let’s blow that up on twitter along with Did you know the leather on a Gulfstream Jet comes from Liberia and is so soft because dogs lick the surface for hours?

    Good laughs are really hard to come by these days, but the referenced comment absolutely nailed it for me. That imagery just opens the floodgates and more laughter ensues. Hilarious!

    Thank you so much.

    Hillary Clinton would kill (quite literally) to get her hands on that Gulfstream — or, in typical Clinton fashion, she would get Goldman Sachs to buy it for her.

    Lloyd Blankfein is already on record having declared: “I’m a Hillary guy.” So, her dreadful candidacy — and god-forbid her presidency — will be the gruesome sequel to “Welcome to Griftopia!”

    PS — The narcissist diagnosis applies to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, and, like brain-eating zombies, they just won’t go away.

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